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The Roundup for May 14, 2013

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Patience, please: catching up and moving forward.

International Developments

? “The US and the UK say they will work to strengthen the moderate opposition in Syria and create a transitional body to replace President Bahar al-Assad.”  What moderate opposition?  Does Israel really want “US military intervention in Syria”? Update:  Grisly video “sparks doubts over wisdom of backing rebels.”

? “Three US soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan”; 3 afghanis killed by bomb in a marketplace.

? Afghan authorities are trying to “arrest on murder and torture charges . . . a man they say is an American and part of a Special Forces Unit . . . [which participated] in the killings or disappearances of 5 Afghans.”   The US rejects the accusations.

? “At least nine people, including children, have died in a car bomb blast near a hospital in the Libya city of Benghazi”.  Update: 12 were killed, 30 wounded.

? “Israelis worried that U.N. may quit patrolling Syrian border.”

? “Guantanamo hunger strikers subject to harsh new method of force feeding.  Lawyers for inmates say humiliating body searches instituted for prisoners who wish to talk to their representatives.”

? A Yemen jet fighter exploded in mid-air over Sanaa, leaving several injured.

? “A Turkish F-16 fighter crashes near Syria, killing pilot”.

? “Nigeria steps up fight against Islamist extremists”.

? “Rwanda genocide 20 years on“.

International Finance

? Bangladesh’s Minister for Textiles “announced the creation of a panel of union representatives and factory owners to raise the minimum wage”; 18 garment factories are shut “for safety reasons”; “a number of people” have been arrested for “causing deaths by negligence”.  Update:  Garment workers will be allowed “to form trade unions without prior permission from factory owners”.  Update:  The search in the rubble has ended; deaths = 1,127.  Update:  “[T]op fashion retailers” are/are not signing “Bangladesh safety accord.”

? They’re claiming  a fix for Libor, although “the idea could set up a conflict with US regulators.”

? “Some of the world’s leading hedge funds are pouring money into the Greek banking sector [expecting] huge potential returns”.

? What a surprise:  “Greek Crackdown on Tax Evasion Yields Little Revenue in Tackling the Deficit”.

Money Matters USA

? Fracking has produced a bonanza for the oil companies so now they want to export more, more, more. Consequently, we’ll be paying more, more, more for it here at home while habitat is destroyed due to drilling gone wild.

? Bill Black on why the bill by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and David Vitter (R-LA)  aimed at controlling the banks “Will Not and Cannot Work but it is Criminogenic.”

? Move the agenda already:  The Congressional Budget Office says the “deficit problem is solved for the next 10 years.”

? “Growing profits for the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cause Congress to lose interest in overhauling the agencies.”

? Bloomberg’s known since 2011 there were “privacy issues” with its computer terminals because reporters accessed them.  They responded by stopping  reporters’ access.  Sheesh.

? “Budget surpluses spur tension in some GOP states”.

Politics USA

? Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates,  said Sunday he, “would not have approved [sending troops in to Benghazi] because . . . it’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.” Update: Thomas Pickering of the scathing report on Benghazi, which also did not skewer Hillary Clinton, got into a he said/he said with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).  Update: Claims that the administration tried to cover-up Benghazi “facts” are bogus, according to a key internal memo.

? Finally: “It is time for President Obama to abandon his hopes of reaching a grand budget bargain with Republicans.”

? The IRS in hot water over concentrating on “tea party” or “patriot” organizations and organizations concentrating on “government spending, debt or taxes” or making “America a better place to live”.   Remember ACORN?  Remember NAACP?   Update:  The FBI is investigating the IRS about this.  Update:  The IRS scandal explained by the master.

? ProPublica requested applications of 67 nonprofits seeking “social welfare nonprofit” status from the Cincinnati office of the IRS. They received documents for 31 such groups, nine of which had not been approved.  Five of the 31 organizations said they wouldn’t “spend money to sway elections”–and spent $5m+ on just that. KKKKarl’s Crossroads GPS said their spending on elections would be “minimal”–and spent $70m+.   Much more.

? Emptywheel on the Justice Department’s secret seizure of Associated Press phone records here, here, here, and here (which pertains to Holder’s statement that the “AP story posed majority security threat”.  Update: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to comment.  Update: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is “very troubled by these allegations”.  Update: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the WH “has ‘no knowledge of any attempt’ by the Department of Justice to collect” those AP phone records.   Glenzilla on the subject. Update: Charles Pierce says “Eric Holder Must Go.”

? “Our outrageous Enron-style justice system:  Jeffrey Skilling’s reduced sentence exposes old and new double standard poisoning how America treats defendants”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “How Austerity Kills”: suicide rate up; infant mortality up; infectious disease rates up; binge drinking up; anti-depressant use up; etc.  If “austerity were tested like a medication in a clinical trial, it would have been stopped long ago, given its deadly side effects.”

? How sequestration causes hunger:  “70,000 Kids To Be Kicked Off Head Start, But Big Ol Complains About Small, Delayed Lease Sales” and congresscritters fly comfortably about the country.

? Kermit Gosnell:  “A Philadelphia doctor has been convicted of the first-degree murders of three babies delivered and killed with scissors in late-term abortions.”

The War on Women

? “Military recruiters across the country have been caught in a string of sex-crime scandals over the past year, exposing another long-standing problem for the Defense Department”.

? US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has some surprising, and disturbing, things to say about Roe v. Wade.

 Break Time

? Goodbye Stranger

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