Courts: Report finds many prosecutors in California have committed misconduct | LA Times

A law school study discovers 707 cases in which state, U.S. and appellate courts found misconduct in opinions between 1997 and 2009. The authors criticize the State Bar for disciplining only 6 prosecutors.

Weekly Standard Exposé: Pot Prohibition Promotes Pretense, Paranoia - Jacob Sullum | Reason Magazine

Matt Labash has an amusing, informative, and frequently astute report on Michigan’s medical marijuana industry in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard. As in California, he finds, it’s not hard to qualify as a patient who is permitted to use cannabis under state law, and many people who do so have common complaints (such as back pain and migraine headaches) that are difficult to verify and may simply be a cover for recreational use. Likewise, the people who go into the business of supplying patients with marijuana include budding entrepreneurs and black-market dealers going semi-legit as well as sincere Good Samaritans who are keen to help people suffering from debilitating conditions such as AIDS wasting syndrome and the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. This being The Weekly Standard, Labash’s emphasis is on the shadier patients and suppliers, and the title of his piece is “Going to Pot: The Medical Marijuana Charade.”

Afghan security contractors: Karzai begins disbanding security firms | LA Times

Former Blackwater company is among four foreign firms Hamid Karzai has slated for closure. NATO and many international groups use private security contractors. Few believe Afghan police and military are ready to take over the role.

Exclusive: Blackwater Wins Piece of $10 Billion Mercenary Deal - Spencer Ackerman |

Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private-security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned.

CIA hired Karzai brother before 9/11, Woodward says - Jeff Stein | WaPo

Hamid Karzai was plucked from obscurity and installed as president after U.S.-backed Afghan forces chased the Taliban from power following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

There have been many accounts of his brother’s relationship with the CIA over the years, leaving the impression that he is a CIA “agent,” i.e., a controlled asset of the spy agency.

This is Your Brain On War - Barry Eisler | HuffPo

Andrew Sullivan’s defense of President Obama’s claimed power to have American citizens assassinated nicely reveals much of the illogic behind, and many of the dangers inherent in, America’s Forever War. Let’s examine it point by point.

Afghan War Drones On - Robert Weller | HuffPo

There is a simple way to keep a country at war: language tricks that obscure what is going on. The Afghanistan War has contributed several. The most widely used is “militants.”

Syria Wants Turkey to Mediate Talks With Israel | AP

Syria wants Turkey to mediate any new indirect peace talks with Israel, and other efforts would be subordinate to Ankara’s role, the Syrian foreign minister said Sunday.

Civilians Among Dead In Afghanistan Strike - Police | NY Times

At least three Afghan civilians were killed along with 17 insurgents in a NATO air strike targeting senior Taliban commanders in southern Helmand province, the provincial police chief said on Sunday.

Iran Says Several Held For Spying on Nuclear Sites | Reuters

The report gave no details and did not specify whether the arrests were linked to a virus Iran says infected computers at its Bushehr nuclear plant, which has yet to start working.

Citing the semi-official Mehr news agency, Press TV quoted Moslehi as saying “the enemy” had “sent electronic worms through the Internet to undermine Iran’s nuclear activities.”

2 Israelis Convicted for Using Boy as Shield in Gaza War | NY Times

An Israeli military court convicted two soldiers on Sunday of using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield by forcing him to check bags for explosives in Israel’s 2008-9 Gaza war.

In More States, Stepping Into the Bar, Pistol in Pocket | NY Times

Tennessee is one of four states that recently enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars. Eighteen other states allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol. The new measures come amid two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right — not just in connection with a well-regulated militia — to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.

Palestinians: Peace talks hinge on Israeli settlement construction | WaPo

Palestinian officials assert that by expanding settlements, Israel is seizing land the Palestinians want for a future state before its fate is decided in negotiations. Netanyahu has argued that limited building in the settlements during the year allotted to reach an agreement would not affect the final drawing of borders, and that halting settlement construction was never a precondition for previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Can we really blame Republicans for the wars? - Charles Davis | false dichotomy

Michael Moore has a list of five things he says Democrats should do to avoid a disaster at the polls in November. His first recommendation? That the Democratic Party run ads reminding voters “Who the Hell Put Us in the Misery We’re In”:

People need to be reminded over and over that it was the REPUBLICANS who concocted and led the unnecessary invasion of two countries, putting us in our longest war ever, wars that will eventually cost us over $3 trillion.

I know readers of this blog probably don’t need me to detail all that is wrong with that sentence but, fuck it, I’ll try to anyway.

U.N. Report finds Israel "summarily executed" U.S. citizen on flotilla - Glenn Greenwald |

Last week, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights released a comprehensive report detailing its findings regarding the May, 2010, Israeli attack on the six-ship flotilla attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Israel-blockaded Gaza.  The report has been largely ignored in the American media despite the fact (or, more accurately:  because) it found that much of the Israeli force used “was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers”; that “at least six of the killings can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions”; and that Israel violated numerous international human rights conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Conventions