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The Roundup for April 17, 2013

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International Developments

? The US will be deploying 200 troops in Jordan “to boost the Jordanian armed forces in light of the deteriorating situation in Syria.”

? Syria won’t allow a chemical weapons investigation team into the country.

? A ceasefire is in effect in Aleppo, Syria so that rotting corpses can be collected.

? “Iraq’s Justice Ministry says authorities have executed 21 prisoners convicted on terrorism charges and links to al-Qaida.”  They were hanged.

? “Afghanistan war can yet be won, US general tells Congress; The commander of US forces in Afghanistan [Gen. Joseph Dunford] outlined three achievements that would secure a ‘win’ after 11 years of combat–acknowledging none is yet in hand.”  He likes the word ‘win’; said so himself.  [emphasis added]

? “North Korea open to talks but not with US ‘brandishing a nuclear stick'” and if that doesn’t stop, North Korean will “intensify ‘military countermeasures'”.

? “What Drives US North Korea Policy?  What’s behind North Korea’s saber-rattling?

International Finance

? And who didn’t see this one coming?  “Europe faces threat of full-fledged depression: Data taking turn for the worse, a likely black eye for earnings.”  Data?  Earnings? What about the lives of the people of the eurozone as a result of this imposed catastrophe?

Money Matters USA

? Rogoff and Reinhart (Kenneth and Carmen, respectively) have responded to the criticism from Univ of Massachusetts researchers.  This is a key controversy, since Rogoff and Reinhart’s work is used to justify Austerity USA.  Yves Smith:  “The experts have been shown to be wildly wrong, and any decision to follow their faulty analysis now rests squarely on Obama and his fellow travelers.”

? “Five years ago, I was of the middle class; today I’m of the missing class.” And what makes up this new state?  “It is abandonment, as government no longer cares for its citizens, but only for itself . . ..  It is a jagged edge of a broken bottle job market that demands your silence.”  Good article supported by good data.

? “CEOs Earn 354 Times More Than Average Worker“.  Or, to put it another way, last year the average CEO earned $12,300,000 while the average worker made $34,645.

? The Minimum Wage Machine.

Politics USA

? Having dined with the GOP recently, President Obama is now going to dine with Democrats.  Not at the White House, but at “a tony downtown Washington hotel.”  In attendance will be Sens. P. Murray (WA), D. Durbin (IL), D.  Feinstein (CA), J.  Shaheem (NH), M. Bennet (CO), R. Wyden (OR), D. Stabenow (MI), M. Warner (VA), C. Coon (DE), M. Landrieu (LA), J. Reed (RI) and S. Whitehouse (RI).  Interesting who’s not on the list.

? Republicans in the Senate have grabbed hold of a housing discrimination case in St. Paul, MN to try and discredit the nomination of Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary.

? “How Congress undercuts the Postal Service”, with help from ALEC, the Koch Brothers, and FedEx.

? Ooopsie!  PA hasn’t collected $35 million in corporate taxes, but the state’s Auditor General says they’re going to “aggressively go after that money”.

? Closed to the public?  “Philadelphia [PA] Mayor Michael Nutter [(D)] whose municipality has the lowest credit rating of the five most-populous U.S. cities, will address investors at a conference financed by underwriters and closed to the public and press.”  Philadelphia’s rating is “three steps above junk by Standard & Poor’s.”

? Anthony Weiner who distinguished himself a while back with a lewd photo, is trying to make a political come-back, this time as New York City mayor.  According to a new poll he’s second in a list of Democrats for the position–at 15%.

? Former SC Gov. Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford (R) has to appear in court “two days after running for a vacant congressional seat [against Stephen Colbert’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D)] to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife’s home”.

? Rep Michele Bachmann (R-MN)’s ethics investigation has now been expanded to include possible use of campaign funds to “promote her autobiography”.  Love the title:  “Core of Conviction”.

? Eric Williams was taken into custody in connection with the slayings of Kaufman County, TX DA Mike McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, and Assistant DA Mark Hasse.  Williams’ wife, Kim, has been arrested.  She’s confessed.

Gun Corner

? The Senate defeated expansion of background checks at gun shows 54-46.  Dems against:  Heitkamp (ND), Baucus (MT), Begich (AK), Pryor (AR).

Justice USA

? “Police following up on drunk driving investigations will no longer be able to draw their suspect’s blood without a court order authorizing the search”, according to the US Supreme Court.

? Sri Srinivasan’s appointment to the D.C.Circuit Court of Appeals just might make it through the Senate.

The War on Women

? Another Republican Class Act, NH state Rep. Peter Hansen (R) “referred to women as ‘vaginas’ in an email to colleagues on the official legislative electronic mailing list earlier this month, drawing outrage from his own party.”

? ND Gov Jack Dalrymple (R) has signed the bill “outlawing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that at that point a foetus can feel pain.”

Education Directions

? “California Democrats . . .  condemned efforts led by members of their own party to overhaul the nation’s schools, arguing that groups such as StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform are fronts for Republicans and corporate interests.”

Planet Earth News

? “Desertification crisis affecting 168 countries worldwide”.

? “[T]he target of keeping the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius this century is slipping out of reach.”

Latin America

Venezuela’s Supreme Court Tribunal chief “has issued arrest warrants against Henrique Cabriles . . . and members of Voluntad Popular for instigation to commit crimes.”  Related: “[Henrique] Capriles Falsifies Evidence in Order to Claim Fraud in Venezuela’s Elections”.

? “Police in Colombia have seized almost 300 properties [estimated at almost $28m] belonging to one of the country’s most notorious drug lords, Daniel Barrera–known as The Madman.”

Mixed Bag

? Have big WIMPs actually been spotted?

Break Time

? Gimme Shelter

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