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The Roundup for September 4, 2012

Ready for some news this Tuesday evening? Well, here ’tis.

International Developments

? The US intends to relieve Egypt of $1 billion of debt “as part of an American and international assistance package . . . to bolster its transition to democracy . . ..”

? Another 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August alone, the highest monthly figure yet, bringing the total to approximately 235,300.

International Finance

? “Moody’s has lowered its outlook for the European Union’s AAA credit rating to “negative” and warned that the bloc’s rating could be downgraded.” Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK, which account for 45% of the EU’s budget revenue, are on negative outlook.

? Andalusia joins Valencia, Murcia and Catalonia in requesting a bailout. “Meanwhile, Spain said that it will immediately inject 4.5bn euros into Bankia, the lender that the government was forced to part-nationalise in June.”

? The “average self-employed Greek” spends 82% of income “servicing debt”. Professionals spend over 100%, and the amount of unreported income is estimated to be 28billion euros.

Money Matters USA

? “6 Myths That Are Destroying The Economy“: US will become like Greece; the Fed “is out of bullets”; technology and globalization = high unemployment; more debt won’t solve the debt crisis; we’re at the mercy of China, which owns us; “government can’t create wealth or jobs”.

? Uncle Sugar subsidizes the Wall Street traders, too, since trading “on Wall Street relies on borrowed money, or leverage, that can be obtained cheaply as long as the traders belong to a conglomerate [e.g., Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup] that gets federally insured deposits.”

? Erskine Bowles of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission has had other jobs over the past decade or so, including on the boards of Krispy Kreme, General Motors, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, Wachovia, etc. Seems the financial showing of companies trended downward after Bowles joined.

? “America’s infrastructure gets a grade of ‘D’ from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which recommends that we spend $2.2 trillion on repairs and maintenance.” Is Washington listening?

? August auto sales sped up in the US with Ford, GM and Chrysler reporting “solid gains from a year ago.”

Politics USA

? Fine analysis by George Zornick of “The Democratic Platform: The Good and the Bad” (“Ugly” perhaps is reserved for the Republican Platform).

? Adam Serwer on the “Democrats Retreat on Civil Liberties in 2012 Platform”–nothing on indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, racial profiling in the WOT, and more.

? What a profession! Several important figures in the Democratic campaign of 2008 are now working for Republicans.

? Oh, noooos. LA’s Workforce Commission has had to request “an emergency grant from the US Dept of Labor” for $3.4 million “to pay [approximately 450] unemployed state residents to help with cleanup work after Hurricane Isaac.”

? According to a Public Policy Polling result, 52% of likely voters in MI “think Romney should release 12 years of his tax returns.”

? Jon Husted, Ohio’s Secretary of State, will not “restore early voting hours for all voters in Ohio until an appeals court examines a federal judge’s ruling that restored those rights.”

? Virgil Goode Jr (R-VA) is now running for president as a Constitution Party candidate in VA, “adding a potential obstacle to Mitt Romney’s hopes . . ..”

? Despite evidence to the contrary that the US Department of Justice began investigating AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio during the Bush administration, Arpaio has and continues to misconstrue it as having been undertaken by Obama and hence a mean ol’ partisan attempt to do harm.

? Such class! MS Gov Haley Barbour said “he wished New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had ‘put a hot poker to Obama’s butt’ in his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention . . ..”

The War on Women

? There’s something in FL called the “Orange Blossom Trail [that] is notorious for prostitution”, particularly among girls and teenagers. Most are run-aways, easy prey for pimps. In FL, the average age of a child caught up in prostitution is 10-11 years old; nationally it is 12-13.

? From the Civil Rights section of the Democratic Party Platform 2012: We “affirm our support for the ERA, recommit to enforcing Title IX, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” That “language was not part of the platform” in 2008.

? Pot/Kettle: ND Republican House member Rick Berg, “voted for a bill that would have made any woman who obtained an abortion guilty of a homicide crime” regardless of the circumstances. Berg, currently running for the Senate, however, condemned the recent notorious comments by Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.

Working for A Living

? Baldemar Velasquez, founder of the AFL-CIO’s Farm Labor Organizing Committee, “called on activists and workers [at the Democratic National Convention] to target the cash flow of corporations in the South that resist labor organizing.”

? The temporary help services industry generates “lower wages, fewer benefits” and job insecurity, and also generates use of the so-called entitlements Temp workers erode wages and benefits, and lead to increased demand on the social safety net in order to survive.

? “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Monday mistakenly described Labor Day as a celebration of entrepreneurs and business owners, rather than workers.” Mistakenly?

? At a rally in Daley Plaza, the Chicago Teachers Union crowd responded with “a roar” when their president, Karen Lewis, “called Mayor Rahm Emanuel ‘a liar and a bully’.”

Heads Up!

? Good grief: An FBI agent had on his Dell laptop “more than 12 million Apple UDIDs [for iPhones and iPads linked to] names, cell phone numbers and addresses] of people who owned them, according to Anonymous and AntiSec.

Planet Earth News

? Another surprise in the Arctic ice melt–something seems to have happened leading up to May 2010 which could indicate summers with no Arctic ice in the near future. Remember in the olden days when all we had to worry about was the ozone hole?

? Seems Russia, the US and Japan are in a race to build solar power stations in space. Fascinating stuff.

? The Democratic Party’s 2012 platform “no longer pledges to free Americans from the tyranny of big oil, dropping the prior platform’s hard-line support for renewable energy . . . .” No more cap-and-trade, no more call for international agreement “to curtail the types of pollution that accelerate climate change . . .” Just stick your fingers in your ears and hum “Happy Days Are Here Again”.

Latin America

? FARC says it’s “ready to sit down at the peace negotiating table in a bid to end Latin America’s last armed conflict, now nearly 50 years old.” About a week ago, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said preliminary talks about a peace process were underway.

Mixed Bag

? Voyager 1 left earth 35 years ago and is now headed into a “new realm of space–the first time a manmade object will have escaped to the other side.” No one knows exactly when it’ll break through, but there is great anticipation. Yes!

? Stanford University study results on organic vs conventional food: Seems organic foods “generally reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” although there was “no difference in the amount of vitamins” in organic food. No taste test results reported.

Break Time

? Crazy never sleeps

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