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The Roundup for August 31, 2012

Here we are at the end of the week and the end of the month–and a blue moon on the horizon!

International Developments

? “South Africa’s justice minister has demanded an explanation after 270 miners were charged with the murder of their colleagues who were shot by police. The decision by state prosecutors to charge them “under the apartheid-era ‘common purpose’ doctrine” has been “condemned by constitutional lawyers”, and the Justice Minister is demanding the prosecution “furnish me with a report explaining the rationale behind such a decision.” As one analyst noted, “By pursuing murder charges, the state is seen as choosing business over its people.”

? “In some respects to call this the ‘Syrian civil war’ is almost a misnomer.” There are “‘many wars going on at the same time: proxy war between the US and Russia, between Sunni Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey against Shiah [sic] Iran, between Salfists and secularists, between democrats and supporters of dictatorship.” And innocent people are paying a terrible price.

International Finance

? A “record 18 million in July” were unemployed in the eurozone. That number included 88,000 people who become unemployed during the month.

? It’s come to this: “Spain creates ‘bad bank’ for toxic property assets: The Spanish government is creating a ‘bad bank’ into which all the toxic property assets of its debt-laden banking sector can be off-loaded.”

? Oh, my. “A Japanese court on Friday dismissed Apple’s patent infringement claim against Samsung, a significant legal bounceback for the South Korean tech giant as the rivals wage a global battle over intellectual property.”

Money Matters USA

? “5 Charts That Show America‘s Middle Class Has Deteriorated”–and how!

? The fiscal crisis states and cities are in is “a godsend . . . to wall Street strategists” since it “gives creditors financial leverage to push through anti-labor policies and privatization grabs . . . cutting back pensions and health care, defaulting on pension promises to labor, and selling off the public sector, letting the new proprietors . . . put up tollbooths on everything from roads to schools.”

? Resolving student loan debts is a distinct legal effort–judges have to determine whether “good-faith effort” to repay has been made and whether the borrower has a good chance in the future to repay the loan. Despite many hurdles, “57% of bankrupt debtors [in one area] who initiated an undue hardship adversary proceeding were able to get some or all of their loans discharged.”

Politics USA

? Defense Dept General Counsel Jeh Johnson has informed the former Navy SEAL who authored the book, “No Easy Day”, describing the raid and killing of Osama bin Laden, that “he violated agreements to not divulge military secrets and that . . . the Pentagon is considering taking legal action against him.”

? After polling its members, the MO Farm Bureau is reconsidering its endorsement of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.

? Akin has a friend over in PA, one Tom Smith, Republican running for the Senate, who thinks out-of-wedlock pregnancy is similar to rape and that women speaking together during a campaign event are “gals” “talking about shoes”.

? “Exclusive Interview With Invisible Mitt Romney.”

? A “real” interview with @InvisibleObama, the Twitter Sensation.

? Al Gore has come to the conclusion that the Electoral College really needs to go. Video.

? The Car Czar, Steve Rattner, revealed that Paul Ryan did contact him about reopening GM’s Janesville, WI plant. Rattner said he told Ryan which plants to close or keep was the car companies’ decision and not the Obama Administration’s.

? The Republican platform on crime is surprising. They didn’t mention the War on Drugs nor being “tough on crime”, instead emphasizing rehabilitation and reducing recidivism. Partly libertarian influence? Partly the reality that states are struggling with the escalating costs of booming incarcerations?

? Chris Hayes’ book, “Twilight of the Elites”, receives piercing scrutiny from Freddie deBoer. “Hayes looks out at a burning house and with true moral convictions and unsparing vision, describes it. He then proposes solutions that amount to washing the windows while the building is engulfed in flames. . . . all Karl Marx in description, all Tom Daschel in prescription.” Good thought-provoking read.

Working for A Living

? “The largest meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union of the 21st Century (and perhaps in history) voted unanimously on August 30, 2012, to strike Chicago’s public schools unless an acceptable contract is reached during the current negotiations by September 10, 2012.” Seems they’re fed up with Rahmbo’s “Austerity, Chicago Style.”

? And the Teacher Retirement System of Texas reports “Dropping the guaranteed pension benefit for Texas’ future school employees would be costly, complicated and reduce benefits for retirees . . ..” This study was mandated by lawmakers, but the ‘wingers are itching for a fight to impose “Austerity, Texas Style.”

? Workers at the Republican National Convention are being paid the minimum wage ($7.67/hour), plus having to pay $6 – $12/week for their uniforms. The company that hires these workers, CleaneventUSA, doesn’t charge new hires for the uniforms, though.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? President Obama has signed an executive order “directing key federal departments to expand suicide prevention strategies and take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their families.”

? 21% of all adults “and almost half of India’s children under 5 years of age are . . . malnourished” while tons of wheat and rice set aside for them are untouched in huge government facilities. Why? “$14.5 billion in food was looted by corrupt politicians and their criminal syndicates over the past decade” in one state (Uttar Pradesh) alone.

Heads Up!

? At its anniversary this September 17th , Occupy Wall Street will try to blockade the New York Stock Exchange and perhaps undertake citizens’ arrests of bankers.

? Noticing that the bus used as a kitchen had left Romneyville in Tampa, the police arrived and unloaded 100 box lunches for the hungry people at the camp. (The bus was on its way to New Orleans to be of help to people in crisis there due to Hurricane Issac.)

Planet Earth News

? Royal Dutch Shell has received permission from the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement “to begin drilling preparations off the coast of Alaska, bringing the region a step closer to offshore oil production.”

? Watch the wind blow across the lower 48.

? AR, MO, IL, IN, OH, and KY are getting 3 – 6 inches of rain from Isaac, not enough to “end the drought, but will put a pretty good dent in it.”

Mixed Bag

? Over 100 Harvard students who took Government 1310: Introduction to Congress are under investigation for cheating on their final take-home exam.

? Father Benedict Groeschel believes “pedophiles are seduced by children in ‘a lot of the cases’ and the abusers should not go to jail.” He even expressed sympathy for Jerry Sandusky, Penn State football coach who was imprisoned for sexually molesting children.

? Those three soldiers at Ft. Stewart in GA who acquired about “$90,000 worth of guns and bomb-making equipment” which they apparently were going to use to assassinate President Obama and do other harm, are facing the death penalty if found guilty.

Break Time

? Enjoy tonight’s Blue Moon. Here’s a little something to help get you in the mood for it.

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