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The Roundup for March 25, 2013

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Good evening!

International Developments

? Ten years after (the Iraq Attack).

? “Guantanamo hunger strike grows”, a total of “28 of the 166 war-on-terror captives.”  Three of the strikers have now been hospitalized; 10 are being tube fed.  There were reportedly 26 hunger strikers last Friday.

? Secretary of State John Kerry unexpectedly dropped in  on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express “concerns that [Karzai] may be jeopardising progress in the war against extremism [by his] anti-American rhetoric.”

? With CIA help, “Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters . . ., a secret airlift of arms and equipment”.

? Riad al-Asaad, “who established and once commanded the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been badly wounded by an explosion in Deir al-Zour province.”

? “A tribal council long allied with the Jordanian monarchy has labeled King Abdullah II a Zionist agent because of comments he made in an interview with the Atlantic magazine.”

? Buddhist vs Muslim clashes are now occurring in Sri Lanka.

? “U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down on U.S. security support with a new agreement to extend annual military aid [to Israel] through 2027.”  From $2.4bn/ year to $3.1bn with “incremental boosts to nearly” $4bn.

? It’s been 10 years since they’ve made such a purchase, but China has now bought “24 fighter jets and four submarines from Russia”.

? “On a given day, 300 unauthorized immigrants are held in isolation in I.C.E. detention centers”.

? Russian President Vladimir Putin is hammering on Amnesty International now.

International Finance

? Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup, said earlier today that the “Cyprus rescue is model for the future”, generating such a wave of jitters that a spokesperson quickly countered that Dijsselbloem’s comments were  “taken out of context.”

? Paul Krugman reminds that the “unrestricted movement of capital” is a relatively recent phenomenon and it  “is looking more and more like a failed experiment”–as illustrated by recent disasters in “Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus.”

? “Big Five UK banks see profits for 2012 ‘wiped out’” due to “a mix of regulation and their own mistakes”.

? “World’s [50] Most Admired Companies.”

Money Matters USA

? Cyprus “was depicted as a willing tool of Russian money launderers and oligarchs” when it’s “not a tax haven but a low-tax jurisdiction” and most of the “Russian depositors are typically smaller savers and entrepreneurs.”  Contrast them to the US euphemistically-called “financial elite” who “increasingly dominate our society and are running it strictly for own self interest and devil take the rest of us.”  Great Yves Smith article.

? The other bailouts:  Lavishly-paid  CEOS.  Those in the top 10 whose compensation was $616.4 million in 2012, up from $57.88 million in 1986. In contrast, the average weekly wage for US workers during that time “barely increased at all.”

? How does society rid itself of “useless rich people”, the Rentiers?  Raising “capital gains taxes on rentiers”  and extending “public ownership to today’s out-of-control, predatory rentiers in higher education, health care, and–most of all–finance.”

? “Worst Company In America Round 1: Bank Of America Vs. Capital One”.

? “The $1.2-million reward in the case of ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner [who went on a rampage last month, killing 4 people before he was killed] may be drying up as three people fight for the money.”

Politics USA

? Matt Taibbi thinks we’re nearing the time when it’ll all come out:  “And when it isn’t Julian Assange the next time but The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian standing in the line of fire, the state will probably lose, just as it lost in the Pentagon Papers case”.

? Those  Democratic senators who voted against the Democrats’ 2014 budget are all “up for reelection in 2014 in states where Mitt Romney beat President Obama in the 2012 presidential race.”  They are Sens. Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Pryor (AR) and Begich (AK).

? “Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, does not plan to run for re-election when his current term ends in 2014″.

? Oh nooos.  Representative Michele Bachman (R-MN)’s presidential campaign is under a “preliminary probe” by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

? Robo-calls in PA today from former Gov. Ed Rendell (D) criticizing the “Republican plan to allocate the state’s electoral votes proportionally in presidential elections”.

? By a 48-2 vote, the GA state senate will “claim valuable water rights from the Tennessee [R]iver.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “Two nights a year, Tennessee holds a health care lottery of sorts, giving the medically desperate a chance to get help.”  It’s restricted to 2500 calls/night.  The lucky ones who actually get through,  can fill out a Medicaid application.  Meanwhile, the governor, Bill Haslam (R), hasn’t decided if he’s going to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

? “Four House Democrats have proposed legislation that would expand school lunch programs to weekends and holidays.”

Education Directions

? One FL teacher’s students are the severely disabled, homebound children–e.g., a 9-year-old born with a brain stem, “most” of his brain missing and blind.  These students are unable to provide a “score” for their  teacher, thereby they can “set her up for a poor review or even get her fired.”

? Teacher evaluation systems = a farce and . . . a tool to evict experienced teachers from their schools, so those schools can be handed over to private companies”. Plus much more.

Planet Earth News

? 96% of Utahns support protection of public lands but  Gov Gary Herbert (R) wants the state to assume ownership “of up to 30 million acres of federally owned land in Utah” so they will be “available for mineral extraction or for sale to private interests.”

? WI state Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee)’s assembly district is smaller than the proposed Gogebic iron ore mine designated for northern WI, by 231 acres.

? “Deer Run group adopts Carson City [NV] wild horses“.  They won’t become pet food; they’re headed to “a 2,000-acre ranch in Northern California where they will live wild and free forever”.

Mixed Bag

? March 25, 1911. The 146.

Break Time

? Ancient Winds

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