CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for September 2, 2012

Holiday or not, as long as they make the news, we round it up for you.

International Developments

? Finally! “Marikana mine strike: South Africa to drop murder charges” against the 270 miners whose co-workers were killed by police. Those murder charges were brought under an apartheid law. Some are now calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign.

? Following “a series of incidents in which foreign troops have been killed by Afghan soldiers or policemen”, training of police recruits has been suspended “while checks are carried out on possible ties to the Taliban.”

? Between September 21 – October 21, Iran will be conducting a test on its air defense systems. Priority: protecting nuclear facilities.

? Undercover spy, Mark Kennedy, infiltrated criminal and political groups for local police forces, “deployed in 11 countries on 40 occasions . . . [including] Germany, Denmark and Iceland.” Somehow, police and intelligence services have developed an international network with no parliamentary oversight. Even the Icelandic government can get no information about who authorized Kennedy’s activities there.

? Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wants Tony Blair and George Bush “to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court” for the invasion of Iraq. The “International Criminal Court [which the US doesn’t recognize anyway] can handle cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity”, but not aggression.

International Finance

? Well, well: “Business support for the [UK] government’s austerity plan started to fracture . . . after [the British Chambers of Commerce] called for a small stimulus funded through extra public borrowing.” Britain’s economy is in “a double-dip recession and the budget deficit” is rising. Both the BCC and the Confederation of British Industry “slashed their growth forecasts”.

Money Matters USA

? Three graphs: Corporate profits are so high they’ve set a new record; the number of people working is as low as in the early ’80s; wages as a % of the economy are at a new record low.

Politics USA

? “Do you think the lack of criminal prosecutions from the 2008 financial collapse could have something to do with all of the Wall Street money that went to President Barack Obama’s campaign?” If you think it’s bad now, “Just wait until after the Republican and Democratic conventions” when billions will be spent purveying “half-truths and lies.” Move to Amend is dedicated to stopping what Citizens United set in motion.

? When asked during a teevee show today whether Americans are better off than they were 4 years ago, MD Democratic Gov Martin O’Malley responded “No”, then quickly added “we are not as well off as we were before . . . the Bush job losses”, etc. Republicans have seized on the “No” and issued a statement about Americans’ patience wearing thin.

? Democratic Convention chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa characterizes the GOP platform as “The Platform of 1812”.

? Republicans plan to set up a counter-convention outside the Democratic convention. They’ll have 50 “communicators” in key positions around the arena who are going to. . . what? Talk people into voting for Romney?

? “Phyllis Schlafly calls for Rove resignation over Akin ‘murder’ remarks”. She wants Rove to resign but nobody’s sure from what.

? Newt Gingrich was upset with Rove’s remark, too, but had a more reasoned response: “‘in the age of Gabby Giffords, it is not a joke to say a member of Congress ought to get murdered.'”

? Today, Fox teevee’s Chris Wallace said that, in his first two years as president, Obama “had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate”, which isn’t true. There was a Democratic majority in the Senate–but for only 4 months–beginning Sep 24, 2009.

? Republican Veep candidate Paul Ryan “is correcting his recent claim that he ran a marathon in under three hours about two decades ago, noting he actually completed the race in just over four hours.

? A charter school for children with “emotional, behavioral or physical disabilities” in Bethlehem, PA no longer has a school house. The board of trustees sold it, due to overwhelming debt, and staff have been laid off. Nonetheless, the school is still receiving local and state tax dollars and will continue to, as long as it shows students enrolled.

? PA’s Department of Transportation has figured out how to enable the state’s oldest residents to get a “newly required voter ID after its computer system would not reocgnize the age of a 105-year-old woman.”

The War on Women

? Another one: MD GOP Representative Roscoe Bartlett, responding to a question about abortion, “‘. . . there are very few pregnancies as a result of rape fortunately . . . It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage . . ..'” Video.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “A homeless man was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in the Marion County [FL] Jail for stealing Twix and Snickers candy bars worth about $2, his second offense. He was also fined $500.

Working for A Living

? In 2011, 1.7 million workers in the US earned the prevailing federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour), while 2.2 million earned less than the federal minimum. The leisure and hospitality industries had the highest proportion of workers earning less than the federal minimum wage. More stats by age, gender, ethnicity, etc. [Emphasis added]

Heads Up!

? Here are some of the groups that will be protesting at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte: Occupy Wall Street, AFL-CIO, Southern Workers Assembly, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, No Papers No Fear, Greenpeace, North Carolina Values Coalition. How’d that last one get in this lineup?

? Is totalitarianism “An Accident Waiting to Happen” in the US?

Planet Earth News

? “Why the Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Matters”, what does it mean for us, and how quickly will the consequences occur? What can we do? “Wake up, Freak out, then Get a Grip”.

? According to the US Director of National Intelligence,”water demand . . . set to outstrip sustainable current supplies by 40 per cent by 2030.” Fighting over water is likely to commence, “as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.”

? Post-Isaac problems in LA and MS: Widespread flooding leading to evacuations in some areas (from a few thousand to 60,000), and 7 deaths. Over half a million people were without power in LA and 60,000 in MS.

? Three years ago, a Turkish bulk carrier ran aground off Cape Town, South African. It has now disintegrated to the point that oil is leaking from it.

Latin America

? So far, Venezuela’s investigative team has not found the Yanomami community which was reportedly hit by firebombs from a helicopter, supposedly at the hands of illegal gold miners from an adjacent area of Brazil.

Mixed Bag

? Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon, 92, has died.

Break Time

? Denizens of waaaay Down Under.

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