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The Roundup for March 24, 2013

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International Developments

? “Have We Ever Gotten to the Bottom of Exactly ‘Why’ Bush and the Neocons Disastrously Invaded Iraq?”  Beginning with  a “Clean Break” freeing Israel from seeking peace with its neighbors through the series of unprovoked wars to the ominous present.

? US Secretary of State John Kerry during an unscheduled stop in Iraq:  “allowing Iranian planes to use Iraqi air space to carry weapons to Syria was ‘problematic’.”

? “Palestinians Reacted Angrily to US President’s Visit”.

? Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi  threatening a crack-down after violent anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations.

? What could possibly go wrong?   CIA feeds “intelligence to secular-leaning rebels [in Syria, to counter the jihadists]” and trains  “rebels in Jordan [while] funneling weapons to Syrian rebels from southern Turkey.”  Saudi Arabia  funneled Croatian weapons through Jordan to rebels–weapons later used by jihadists.

? Israel made peace with Turkey to keep “Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons [from] reach[ing] militant groups bordering Israel and Turkey”.

? “Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib resigns“.

? “Lebanon in crisis as prime minister quits.”

?  Prisoner handover from the US to the Afghans has been accomplished.  Britain remains “the only foreign power . . . jailing Afghans in their own counry.”

? “France confirms death of Islamist commander Abou Zeid” in Mali last month, using dna.  No confirmation yet on Mokhtar Belmokhtar, another leader also allegedly killed.

? Islamist rebels in Mali re-took the town of Gao but were repelled after a two-hour “fierce fight”.

? “Hundreds of rebels have entered the Central African Republican (CAR) capital Bangui”.  Update:  CAR President Francois Bozize has fled; much violence, rape and looting; France seeks an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

? “Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has returned to Pakistan” after 4 years of self-imposed exile.

? More rioting in Burma, this time in the central part, after “a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and two Buddhist sellers”.  20 reported dead.

International Finance

? Great interview with Bill Black:  “From London to New York to Cypress, Fraud and Financial  ‘Insanity’; Standard Chartered admits to fraud, no one fired or prosecuted; Cypriots force government to give up on taxing smaller depositors.”

? Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades will meet with The Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission).  Update:  “Eurogroup meeting in Brussels delayed“.

? Turkey is warning Cyprus of a “new crisis” if “plans to collateralize future gas revenues as part of a national investment fund” materialize since Cyprus’ “natural resources also belong to Turkish Cypriots.”

Money Matters USA

? “The $397 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will not be ready to go into operation until at least 2019, 23 years after the Pentagon signed a contract in 1996 with Lockheed Martin to produce” the things.

Politics USA

? On the teevee today:  NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg v NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre and CO Gov. John Hickenlooper on gun control;  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) v Lawyer David Boies on DOMA; Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) on chemical weapons in Syria.

? Federal Communications Commission Chairperson Julius Genachowski is stepping down while net neutrality rules are before a federal court.

Gun Corner

? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “unveils $12m gun control ad campaign as NRA accuses him of ‘intimidating senators’.”

? UT Gov. Gary Herbert (R) vetoed a bill “that would have allowed Utah residents to carry a hidden, unloaded gun without a permit.”

? Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) tweeted that people “pretending” to work for him are calling Arkansans asking how many guns they own.

Droning On

? Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is opposed to having the Pentagon take over the operation of the US drone program.  She’s at odds with Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY), and former CIA Director Michael Hayden who support the move.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Ken Cuccinelli (R), VA’s Attorney General, currently running for governor, claims  the state’s Medicaid expansion commission “does not have authority to make a decision on the matter.”

? “Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America.”  Whatever the article’s slant, it does have some thought-provoking statistics and other info.

? Call centers are being installed in CA by Covered California, with $674 million in federal grant funds,  to enroll Californians in “affordable health coverage”.

Education Directions

? Rahmbo,  responding “to widespread criticism of his plan to close 54 Chicago Public Schools” (all in “overwhelmingly black neighborhoods”): “I did not run for office to shirk my responsibility.”  Think he’ll replace those schools with more of these?

? Diane Ravitch, “swept” into Raleigh, NC to refute state Sen. Phil Berger (R)’s proposed legislation aimed at “sweeping changes” to “repair the state’s ‘broken’ public schools”–mainly by attacking teachers.

Heads Up!

? New York City Mayor Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg:  “You wait, in five years, . . .  cameras everyplace . . . whether you like it or not.  . . . The argument against using automation is just this craziness that ‘Oh, it’s Big Brother.’  Get used to it!”

? “Excessive Force: Omaha Family Police Claim”.

Planet Earth News

? “Federal regulators . . .  approved Alpha Natural Resources’ [expansion of] one of the nation’s biggest coal slurry impoundments [near Whitesville, WV] to a height taller than the Hoover Dam [and] increase the volume of waste it holds to 8.5 billion gallons.”

? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s is proposing  “four reforms to better facilitate connection of small renewable generation facilities, particularly solar facilities, to the power grid.”

Latin America

? 14 political parties will back Acting President Nicolas Maduro for President of Venezuela (two more than backed Chavez last October).  Election date is April 14th.

? Why did the US State Dept assure Congress that the millions it sends each year to the Honduran National Police don’t go through Director General Juan Carlos Bonilla who’s been “accused of three extrajudicial killings and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances”?  If the US is funding death squads and “social cleansings”, Congress needs to know.

Mixed Bag

? RIP, Bebo Valdes.

? Had they lived.

Break Time

? Black tears (watch how he touches those keys)

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