Boston Bomber’s Backstory, Ghost Schools & The Surveillance State: July 9, 2015

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Marathon Bomber Appeals Conviction: Do His Lawyers Know Something We Don’t?
By James Henry
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers continue the legal formalities necessary to build a case for appeal, despite an unequivocal admission by the defendant of his own guilt. Is there anything to be gleaned from an appeals trial about the backstory of the Boston Marathon bombing? Something that may help the public understand the shadowy relationship between the national security apparatus and “domestic terrorists”?

WHO

Trump: ‘I Will Win the Latino Vote’
The Donald is a gold-mine for the media and late night comedians. For the GOP, his bluster and bravado is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus reportedly asked him to tone down his anti-immigrant rhetoric. That’s all the incentive Trump needed to double-down. Also, he’s leading in North Carolina.

Jeb Bush: People Need to Work Longer Hours
On the day Politico runs a story touting a “summer surge” by The Next Bush In Line, the only thing on the media’s mind are remarks he made about the plight of the American worker. Bush responded to a question about his plan for economic growth by saying “people should work longer hours.” To be fair, he was referring to the workforce participation rate and the problem of part-time workers who want full-time work, but cannot find it. But that’s almost beside the point. It’s become a meme that will dog him for some time.

George W. Bush Spoke at a Veterans Charity Event, And It Only Cost $100,000
Speaking of dogs… in 2012, the same man who sent troops into an unjustified war then turned around and charged a charity that helps those who lost limbs in that war a hefty $100k fee for the privilege of hearing him speak a fundraising event. On second thought… that’s an insult to dogs. Sorry, Fido.

WHAT

The Big Lie That Helped Justify America’s War In Afghanistan
Buzzfeed’s exposé of Afghanistan’s “ghost schools” details the fraud and waste behind the educational mission supposedly underpinning US nation-building efforts in the war-torn country. Approximately $1 billion has been spent on this much-ballyhooed, but almost completely fictional, “success.”

Cybersecurity, Encryption and the Golden Age of Surveillance
Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write compellingly about efforts by Uncle Sam (a.k.a. Big Brother) to control the world’s “electronic nervous system.” Of note, FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress yesterday, calling for back doors in all encryption software that will allow authorities access to everyone’s information on an ad hoc basis. Here are the key takeaways from the hearings.

WHY

Bonobos Use a Range of Tools like Stone-Age Humans
If tool-making is thought of as the dividing line between human beings and the rest of the animal kingdom, then human beings are not as special as we think. Bonobos have been observed using sticks, rocks and antlers to dig. Some used longer sticks as levers to move rocks. And, in perhaps the most human-like behavior of all, one fashioned a stick into a spear and tried to stab a researcher. BTW, crows are deft tool-makers, too.

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