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The Roundup for August 21, 2012

Good evening!

International Developments

? “Al-Qaeda leader arrested in Algeria”. He is supposed to be “one of the oldest members of Al-Qaeda’s north African branch”.

? Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey says that “my Afghan counterparts are as concerned about the insider attacks as we are.” He also sees continued US presence in Afghanistan: “We still retain signifiant investment and significant influence. But now it’s on the basis of a partnership and not on the basis of ownership.”

? Fighting in Syria has spread to Tripoli where clashes between pro-and anti-Assad groups resulted in at least five deaths (one a child) and 43 wounded, 33 of them civilians.

? “Even as the Obama administration hardens its rhetoric on Syria, members of the Syrian opposition say the United States has failed to deliver promised communications and other equipment intended to support those seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.”

? “Russia has warned against unilateral action in Syria after the US said it might intervene militarily if Damascus used chemical weapons on the rebels.”

International Finance

? The UK is encouraging its National Health Service hospitals to “set up profit-making branches abroad to help fund services in the UK.” This would be accomplished through arrangements with foreign governments, including Brazil, india, China, Libya and Persian Gulf countries.

Money Matters USA

? That stampede by investors to grab all those empty houses continues, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now selling the houses in bulk rather than one-by-one. Seems we’re headed toward Landlord Nation. Some of the worst landlords are highlighted in the article.

? Foreign “banks domiciled in the US have taken their cash balances back to all time highs . . . [confirming] what everyone has known: the only reason the US market has benefited in the last several months is due to” capital flight from Europe to the US.

? Standard & Poor’s thinks the US has a 25% chance of going into recession next year, up from their 20% forecast in February.

Politics USA

? Romney is lying when he says that Obama is “cutting welfare reform”. That has been proven, so why does the ad with the lie continue to run? “Because [Romney] thinks voters are idiots and he’s certain political journalism isn’t equipped to deal with a campaign predicated entirely on falsehoods.”

? A Daily KOS/SEIU poll showed that 45% of registered voters opposed “Paul Ryan’s proposal for reforming Medicare”. However, when asked whether vouchers for purchasing private insurance should be used under Medicare, 63% responded no. People may not understand exactly what the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan is, but they know they don’t like that key provision.

? Rep Michael “I Didn’t Swim Nude” Grimm (R-NY) has attracted the attention of the FBI. Seems Grimm’s Israel-Cyprus trip was paid for by the Cyprus Federation of America. Grimm, a former FBI agent, had not reported the Cyprus trip when he he filed papers about his Israel trip, but amended the paperwork to show the Cyprus trip a day after the president of the Cyprus Federation of America was busted on federal corruption charges.

? Gallup Poll results: Registered voters in swing states of CO, Fl, A, MI, NE, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA VA and WI were asked if they are better off today than they were 4 years go. 50% of Independents, 36% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans said no. Only 15% of those reporting they’re worse off blame Obama.

? Public Policy Polling results show MA Rep Sen Scott Brown with a 5-point lead over Elizabeth Warren. Interesting details–ability to separate him from what’s passing for Republicans these days, his popularity among Independents, etc.

? VA has expanded its voter ID law to include “student ID card issued by a state college or university as well as documents that carry no photo, including a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck showing the voter’s name and address”. The US Justice Department has approved.

? WI’s Attorney General is going directly to the state Supreme Court “to ensure the law requiring voters show photo identification at the polls is in place for the Nov. 6 presidential election.”

? In 2008, Obama squeaked by to win NC. This year it’s “demographics vs. economics’, with the demographics favoring Obama, but the economic situation favoring Romney. “Nowhere is this pattern as stark as in North Carolina.”

? Wal-Mart and the conservative Anschutz Film Group sponsored a CBS special “Teachers Rock” promoting the movie, Won’t Back Down, which is about “parent trigger” laws. Straight out of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the parent-trigger laws mandate that a unionized school can be turned into a non-union charter if a majority of parents approve. Currently enacted in several states, the law is tied up in court systems.

? Roscoe G. Bartlett, GOP Congressman from MD, has prepared for the end of the world. It’s coming, you see, when the electrical grid collapses, taking with it food in the grocery stores and water from your local tap. He’s now a “premier proponent of preparedness” (what alliteration!).

The War on Women

? SurveyUSA did a robocall Monday night in MO. 76% of respondents said they disagreed with Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, and 54% said he should drop out of the race. Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling conducted a snap poll which showed 44% supporting Akin for Senator and 43% Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

? They found one in the Missouri GOP Committee, a female, who clarified Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin’s remark about pregnancy resulting from rape as “God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.”

? Politico pulled reporter Dave Catanese from the Todd Akin controversy because of tweets the reporter issued. Example: “So perhaps some can agree that all rapes that are reported are not actually rapes? Or are we gonna really deny that for PC sake?” Catanese’s response to being pulled off the story? “Bad idea trying to have nuanced conversation . . ..” What’s ‘nuanced’ about rape?

? Rush Limbaugh, with advertisers fleeing his show, has come out ripping Todd Akin, et al., for their ignorance about rape and conception (really!), while his new competitor, Mike Huckabee “has doubled down in support of Akin.” Who’s sponsoring Huckabee?

Working for A Living

? Ah-ha! “A federal court judge suspended a Nassau [County, NY] law Monday that would allow County Executive Edward Mangano to slash negotiated employee benefits, saying it ‘places a knife to the throat of the unions.'” The judge also “indicated that if the county continues its court fight, he would likely rule that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s contract clause [no state shall pass any law ‘impairing the obligation of contracts’]”.

? And now the Fed’s released a report that the “damage inflicted on the US labor market by the recession is reversible . . . leaving open the possibility that additional stimulus will be effective in reducing joblessness.”

? MI Republican Gov Rick Snyder and the state attorney general went to court yesterday in an attempt to “block a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to protect collective bargaining rights.” The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on certifying the measure, strictly along party lines.

Heads Up!

? “Rahowa” = Racial Holy War. White supremacists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, etc. are urging their members to join the Army and Marines so they can became properly trained to wage rahowa. In response, the Pentagon has issued directives aimed toward identifying members of these groups and intervening. Wonder how many of them make it into local police forces.

Break Time

? What a catch–and look at those hooks!

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