CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for March 21, 2013

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”350″ height=”263″ align=”right” !}

Happy Spring!

International Developments

? “Syrian rebels captured one village and parts of others on the edge of the Golan Heights [today] as fighting closed in on the strategic plateau”.  If this continues there’ll be “Islamic militants [on] a front-line with Israeli troops”.

? “Syria crisis: Mosque bomb ‘kills pro-government cleric”, “at least” 41 others,  in Damascus.

? “UN to probe alleged chemical weapons use in Syria.”  US:  Chemical weapons use unlikely.

? “US and Israel ‘share Iran goals‘”.  President Obama is “opening talks on extending US military aid [to Israel] beyond 2017″, and he’s “urged Palestinians to drop their demands for a freeze in Israeli settlement building as a precondition for peace talks.”

? “The jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has called for a truce after years of war.”

? The US wants a “swift transfer” of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda from the Embassy in Kigali to the International Criminal Court in the Hague “where he faces war crimes charges.”

? US Gen. John Kelly “plays down Guantanamo hunger strike”.

? The fruits of war:  U.S. Has Left Iraq with Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers”.   Depleted uranium, white phosphorus.

International Finance

? “Cyprus crisis: Government to create ‘solidarity fund’ after ECB issues Monday ultimatum: . . .  Longer queues at Laiki [major bank] cash machines”, much more, including pictures of protests. Blazing Saddles defense?  “Cyprus threatens suicide strategy.”Live streams here.

? Austerity has been such a failure in the UK that Prime Minister George Osborne is promising “even deeper spending cuts after election”, targeting “Areas so far protected from austerity”.

? Iceland shines! “Icelandic bank Kaupthing’s top executives indicted  over market rigging: Court documents are expected to allege a conspiracy by Kaupthing chairman Sigurdur Einarsson”, et al.

Money Matters USA

? Sequester victim:  Dept. of Defense’s “Tuition Assistance program for all military members.”

? “Audit faults Freddie Mac’s oversight of mortgage servicers: At least eight big providers of mortgage customer service have failed to properly track and resolve serious complaints about servicing fraud”.

? “Private sector parasites: . . . the unproductive, rent-extracting rich”.  ‘Rentiers’ exist for self-perpetuation, resulting in “low taxes [for them], privatization of natural monopolies, and a macroeconomic policy driven by fear of inflation.”

Politics USA

? The US House passed a continuing resolution, funding the government through September.

? Jamie Dimon, Farmer in the Dell?  DDay on “How the nation’s biggest banks use the little-covered House Agriculture Committee to gut regulations”.

? Continuing their efforts to squeeze the US Postal Service, “Congress advanced a spending bill requiring six-day [mail] delivery”.  The USPS wanted to suspend Saturday delivery,  saving $2 billion annually.

? House Republicans passed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s sucky budget.  Table showing Ryan budget tax  savings by income level.   House Republicans voting nay:  Amash (MI), Broun (GA), Crawford (AR),  Forbes (VA), Gibson (NY), Gingrey (GA), Heck (NV), Jones (NC), Massie (KY), McKinley (WV)

? What’s up with this?  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL):  Let’s have a Social Security Commission “to come up with a set of fixes to [Social Security’s] fiscal programs that Congress could approve”.

? MI’s Gov. RIck Snyder (R) slashed “his state’sbusiness taxes”, but now that state roads are crumbling, he’s proposing increasing gasoline taxes by 19 – 33 cents/gallon and license plate fees by 60%, so consumers will pay.

? KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) used the phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ in a presentation to the KS legislature, to which State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D), Tohono O’odham Nation member, responded: “. . . when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you.”

? Is SD becoming a lost cause for Democrats?

? Latest tactic to stop ballot recounts.

Women & Children

? “John Stuart Mill had it right.  Our abuse of women at home mirrors, and sometimes dictates, our behavior abroad.”  Violence in the home by returning “warriors” captured in these photographs.

? New law in India “. . . makes crimes of stalking and sexual harassment and provides for the death penalty for fatal rape attacks.”

Education Directions

? Rahmbo is set to close some 50 elementary schools in Chicago–to the outrage of “aldermen and community leaders in the mostly African-American neighborhoods that will be hardest hit.”

Working for A Living

? “The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint [similar to an indictment] against four companies involved in staffing and managing Walmart’s largest distribution center in the United States” for repeatedly threatening and punishing warehouse workers for labor organizing”.

? CVS stores  ordering all employees using “the company’s health care to report their weight, glucose levels, and body fat to their insurer, or pay a penalty of $600 dollars”.

Heads Up!

? Amazon “has reportedly won a contract for CIA efforts to ‘collect everything and hang on to it forever’.”  $600 million over 10 years.

? “Privacy laws urgently need to be updated to protect the public from information-gathering by the thousands of civilian drones expected”.

? Reddit and Craigslist have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Internet Defense League “to fight CISPA [the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] which allows the National Security Agency and the military to collect your private Internet records”.

Planet Earth News

? Sally Jewell’s nomination as Secretary of the Interior was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Only three Republicans opposed.  Promised deals greased the wheels.

? “Climate science-denying GOPer to head climate subcommittee“.  That’s Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT).  He wants to dissolve the EPA, btw.

? “Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking” in PA’s northeast section.

? Canadian and US indigenous peoples are forming alliances, including “physical action”, “to block oil pipelines”.

Latin America

? The genocide and crimes against humanity trial of US-backed dictator “strongman, Ephraim Rios Montt” is underway in Guatemala, with standing room only in the courtroom.

Mixed Bag

? RIP, Rise Stevens. Carmen.

? Who knew?  Elephant seals use pedestrian cross-walks.

? The sky’s oldest light.

Break Time

? Brush with the Blues

Previous post

Chris Stewart, Climate Science Denier, Now Chair of Congressional Climate Change Science Committee

Next post

Keystone XL Coverup: Department of State Hides Oil Industry Connections