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The Roundup for June 18, 2012

Greetings! This is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812. Within a month, the US had invaded Canada. Canada emerged from the war a strong, independent nation. In the US, the war set the stage for the decimation of American Indians and the rise of slavery in the Southern states, leading inevitably to the Civil War.

International Developments

? Trying to meld countries with distinct national and cultural identities by combining their economies (e.g., the eurozone) is difficult, as we now see. Other countries–the US, Russia and China–are huge military powers not about to relinquish control to another. But underlying those situations are the financial interests, which are stateless, and which have undermined the state’s role and subverted it to their own ends. Much more along these lines (“the road to anarchy”) from Yves Smith

? Maj. Gen. Salim Ali Qatn, an “important military commander in Yemen”, was killed by a suicide bomber who detonated in front of Gen. Qatn’s vehicle.

Politics USA

? US Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s views on “the federal government’s broad authority to regulate interstate economic activities under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause . . .” have given Health Care Act proponents some hope. Now, Scalia has written a new book in which it seems he might be of a different opinion.

? Surprise, surprise. Legislation is being prepared by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) who wants the Administration to stop “political pandering” and enforce our immigration laws.

? Fearless Joe Arpaio says his deputies have arrested a 6-year old girl who is suspected of being an illegal immigrant.

? One of NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s top political advisors and a big campaign contributor, William Palucci, is president of Community Education Centers which has a contract with the state to run half-way houses for prisoners. “Roughly 5,100 inmates have escaped from the state’s halfway houses since 2005 . . ..” Christie and Palatucci go back to the 1990s, intertwined in a variety of enterprises.

? “Koch Brothers Expand Political Operation”. Not everything, by any means–they’re far too secretive–but a provocative look inside their political operation.

? Do Republicans really want to go here? “. . . if Congress does nothing, 82.9 percent of U.S. households would face tax increases averaging $3,701 . . .. More than 98 percent of households earning more than $50,000 a year would pay higher taxes.”

? Why do progressive candidates keep coming up short? Is it due to the recent trend of liberal Democrats to join with “moderates”? To the contrary, as Digby shows, there were significant progressive wins in the recent primaries, some of them against major odds. “Slowly, but surely, progressives are learning how to do this.”

Money Matters USA

? “[Al] Gore’s eco-friendly firm lands $16M contract to manage [New York City] pension funds” Added to previous contracts with Gore’s firm over the years, that’s $35million. Gore’s firm, Generation, has “earned a 22 percent return for the city . . . [and] has delivered a 32.7 percent return on its state pension-fund investments . . ..”

? The US Supreme Court has ruled that the government “must fully reimburse Native American tribes for money they spent on federal programs.” Congress capped the amount, the tribes sued, and now have won.

? There’s a new ‘ology’ out there now: Buyology. And they’ve been able to gather data to determine which brands Democrats and Republicans favor.

Working for a Living

? “Nonprofit to turn center into food processing, packing plant for Western Pa. region”. A 50,000+ square foot building is to be turned into a “regional center that would be a linchpin in re-establishing a local food chain.” The Republic Food Enterprise Center will take in produce from rich farmlands within a 2-hour drive radius. Organic, too.

? A NE state labor court “awarded Omaha firefighters a second year of back pay in a ruling that could cost the city millions of dollars.’

? Lawsuits have been filed for protecting the rights of city workers in the wake of voter approval of a ballot measure “which eliminates guaranteed pensions for many city employees” in San Diego.

? UK Ford workers held a 24-hour strike today, saying they were ‘furious’ that the company wants to lower their pay and “close the final salary pension scheme to new employees.”

Heads Up!

? Yes! “A group of Roman Catholic nuns is set to leave Des Moines on a two-week bus tour of nine states to protest Republican federal budget proposals that the group believes hurt the poor and vulnerable.” Their itinerary includes the offices of Steve King in IA, John Boehner in OH, and Eric Cantor in VA.

? Disturbing statistics from Google. Countries all over the world are increasingly demanding and getting court orders to compel Google to remove materials from the web, and Goggle is complying with 65% of the court orders and 47% of the requests. Requests from the US doubled during the last half of 2011.

Planet Earth News

? Japan will soon become the second-biggest market for “solar power as incentives starting July 1 drive sales for equipment makers . . .. That may spur at least $9.6 billion in new installations with 3.2 gigawatts of capacity . . ..”

? Peter Jolly’s company was using underground injection of fluids in Hancock County, KY, to mine for oil and gas. The US Environmental Protection Agency fined him $1.5 million for failure to comply with safety measures, resulting in aquifer pollution. He’s refusing to pay, as he has done since 1999.

? “Truckloads of mud from oil well fracturing [in KS] are on an odyssey to find an unloading location.” Problem is the mud is too wet and landfills don’t accept liquids.

? This in from Germany: “In a riveting victory against genetically modified creations, a major biotech company known a Syngenta has been criminally charged for denying knowledge that its Gm Bt corn actually kills livestock.”

The War on Women

? At the US Conference of Mayors on Saturday a vote was taken and the Pro-Choice Resolution passed readily. Good on them!

Mixed Bag

? Well, it’s come to this: “Kazakhstan to Jail People Who Play Borat as the National Anthem”

? Wherever would we be without him: Alex Turing.

? The Pope has declared that child abuse by the Irish clergy is “a mystery”. No, Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie books are mysteries; sexual abuse of children by anyone–particularly clergy–is an abomination.

Break Time

? We were discussing it at yesterday’s Roundup and here is the definitive work on the subject: The International Chinese Communist Conspiracy.

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