NATO will be holding its 25th summit in President Obama’s hometown of Chicago, United States, on 20-21 May 2012,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has announced. According to NATO’s website, the Chicago conference is expected to “deliver on decisions that were taken at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, driving forward key Alliance policies and reaffirming the transatlantic link.” Among the many significant achievements announced by the heads of state and government in the 2010 Lisbon Declaration referenced above is their claim that “we have ... invited Russia to deepen its cooperation with us on the areas where we have common interests.” A dramatic move toward closer ties between NATO and Russia has played out over the past several years while, on the surface, at least, relations between Brussels and Moscow have appeared to deteriorate. President-elect Vladimir Putin, who has been noted for bashing the United States and NATO, stepped up the harsh rhetoric during his recent presidential campaign, no doubt gaging much of his forensic attack to appeal to Russian nationalism. How much of this was theatrics for domestic and international consumption is open to debate. However, in his role as prime minister, Putin approved of NATO's use of Russian territory for air supply convoys for the Afghanistan War.
With little more than a month to go until Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker faces his recall vote, unions and their supporters are pulling out all the stops to replace him with one of their own. Writing for the pro-union newsletter The Progressive, its political editor Ruth Conniff decried every major piece of “Act 10” — the highly contested Budget Repair Bill that Walker finally got passed by the Wisconsin legislature last March — saying that “If you want a preview of the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan plan for America, take a look at Wisconsin:          - Huge tax breaks for corporations….          - Deep cuts to health care, education, unemployment insurance….          - Rolling back … protections and … regulations….          - Waging war on labor unions, taking away public employee’s collective bargaining rights…. So where does this blueprint leave us? Wisconsin is now dead last in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for job loss. Between January 2011 and January 2012, while 44 states and the nation as a whole were adding jobs, Wisconsin was one of only six states to lose jobs — and Wisconsin's job loss was the worst among that handful of losers.  
Padilla (left) is a citizen of the United States and a convicted terrorist. On Monday, he filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that the nation's highest court review the decision of an appeals court to dismiss his suit alleging torture at the hands of U.S. government officials. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia upheld a lower court's dismissal of the complaint. In his suit, Padilla claimed that, as an American citizen captured within the United States, he was unconstitutionally designated as an "enemy combatant," and alleged a range of other constitutional violations arising from his detention at a military prison in South Carolina.  Additionally, Padilla said that he was denied access to legal counsel in contravention of his civil rights as guaranteed by the First, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.   Padilla also asserted that he was denied access to the courts in violation of his constitutional rights as set out in Article III, the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and that the government of the United States refused to permit his writ of habeas corpus in violation of the the Habeas Corpus Suspension Clause of Article I.
Russian “Airborne Assault Forces” will be arriving in Colorado this May for joint terror-war exercises with U.S. soldiers, according to U.S. officials and Russian military personnel cited in media reports. The Kremlin’s Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense both said it would be the first time in history that American and Russian airborne special operations troops would be training together on U.S. soil. Analysts and commentators across the alternative media expressed alarm about the controversial announcement, likening it to a scene out of the movie Red Dawn or the predictions made by the late radio host Bill Cooper. It was not immediately clear exactly why the Obama administration decided to allow the scheme. “The Russian soldiers are here as invited guests of the U.S. government; this is part of a formal bilateral exchange program between the U.S. and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform,” Cmdr. Wendy L. Snyder, U.S. Defense Press Officer for policy, told The New American in an e-mail. “This is the first time that American and Russian special operations troops have participated in a bilateral exercise.”
A self-styled international “court” under the auspices of the United Nations ruled Thursday that former Liberian war lord and ruthless dictator Charles Taylor — who worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for years — was guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s ghastly civil war. He could face life in prison when his sentence is announced next month. According to the judges on the international “tribunal,” the ex-Liberian “President” and former CIA asset was guilty of "sustained and significant" support for a reign of terror that ravaged the neighboring West African nation of Sierra Leone. He pled not guilty to all of the charges and continues to maintain his innocence — claiming the prosecution is the work of “vindictive” colonial regimes. The "court” however, declared Taylor guilty on 11 counts anyway. Dozens of witnesses testified for and against him during the UN trial, including some celebrities. Taylor was accused of mass murder, rape, sexual slavery, using child soldiers, torture, cannibalism, and more. An estimated 500,000 people were killed or mutilated in the decade-long conflict.
A cross that has graced a World War I memorial at a fire department in Rhode Island for over 90 years has become the latest target of the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The group charges that the cross, perched atop the memorial at a fire stations in Woonsocket, a suburb of Providence, amounts to a religious symbol and, thus, is unconstitutionally impermissible on public property in the God-fearing community. In an exhaustive seven-page letter to Woonsocket’s mayor, Leo Fontaine, FFRF objected to the “unconstitutional Latin cross” on the memorial in the fire station’s parking lot, as well as the “unconstitional religious postings on the Woonsocket Fire Department website.” Most specifically, the anti-religious group complained about the web content, is a page containing “a prayer that makes reference to a monotheistic god and a picture of an angel.” “It is unlawful for a city government and its agencies to display patently religious symbols and messages on city property,” the atheist group soberly advised. “The website impermissibly demonstrates a preference for religion over non-religions,” and the Latin cross on the memorial “demonstrates Woonsockets preference for Christianity over other religions and nonreligion.”
In a surprise move the White House issued a statement on Wednesday threatening to veto CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) because of privacy concerns. Parts of the statement sounded as if they had been drafted by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul:
As President Obama and his GOP presidential rivals continue to pound the campaign trail, the grave issue of student loan debt has come under the spotlight. In what critics are calling the next "debt bomb," total student loan debt is slated to top a record $1 trillion, an amount larger than total U.S. credit-card debt and only second to the nation’s overall mortgage debt.
Perhaps prodded by Virginia’s success in passing a law preventing the federal government from apprehending and indefinitely detaining citizens of that state, the state legislature of Arizona on Tuesday passed its own anti-NDAA bill.  
If you want to know why American popular culture has become so strange and raunchy, it’s because we have a new popular religion that now also permeates public education: Nihilism, or Nothingism. Its holy scripture is Rolling Stone magazine, where writers use the “F” word and other similar repulsive expressions routinely in its pages.
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