CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for June 20, 2013

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Solstice coming!

International Developments

? A pretext for arming Syrian rebels.

? “Arab Islamist rebels, Kurds clash in northern Syria”.

? The US-Taliban peace meeting has been cancelled.

? In its hurry to depart Afghanistan, the US will leave  $7bn worth of equipment, including “170 million pounds . . . of vehicles and other” stuff they’ve destroyed.

? He took office just two weeks ago, and now the Palestinian prime minister has resigned.

? “Somalia’s al-Shabab militants in ‘deadly feud'”.

? Major UK Supreme Court rulings:  1) “families of British soldiers killed in Iraq can sue the U.K. government for negligence” under certain circumstances; and 2) the government should not have “imposed sanctions on the Iranian private bank over alleged links to Tehran’s nuclear programme.”

? “Wikileaks Says It Is Working to Negotiate Asylum in Iceland for Snowden.”

International Finance

? Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is “deeply concerned” about the secrecy surrounding the TransPacific Partnership, so voted “No” on the confirmation of Michael Froman as US Trade Representative.  She was joined by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

? “600 corporate advisors have access to [the TransPacific Partnership draft agreement] text, while the public, Members of Congress, journalists and civil society are excluded”.  A rundown of six major areas in which we’ll be affected.

Money Matters USA

? “Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed.  Was it an inevitable process–or . . . engineered by self-interested elites?”

? “How Republicans Made America A Top Poverty Creator”.

? CISCO has $50bn in profits offshore and can’t bring the money back to the US, according to its CEO, because “The U.S. tax system is broken” which means he’d have to pay taxes on that $50bn.

After Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke about “easing back on  . . the stimulus later in the year,” heebie-jeebies ensued. Yves Smith: “Bernanke Kills Fed Credibility and the Confidence Fairy in One Shot”.

Surveillance Planet

? Glenzilla has published “the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant:  Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA’s surveillance of Americans’ communication.”

? “[T]he Bush-Cheney administration began [domestic] surveillance at least 7 months prior to 9/11″, bypassing the FISA court.  AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth, apparently, agreed to participate.

? “Booz Allen, the World’s Most Profitable Spy Organization” at our expense, of course.

? “Government could use metadata to map your every move.”

? Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Max Kelly, went to work for the NSA in 2010.

? It hasn’t met since 2008, but the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is now back in action–meeting behind closed doors.

? A bill has been introduced in the US House to require the Attorney General “to declassify opinions of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court”.

? “If U.S. officials criminally charge Edward Snowden, they are likely to confront a complicated and lengthy process”

? “NSA revelations prompt questions about Australian intelligence agencies.”

? “India sets up elaborate system to tap phone calls, e-mail”.

? James Comey to head the FBI?  Bio.

Politics USA

? Michael Hastings was researching the Jill Kelley privacy lawsuit and was scheduled to meet a Kelley representative next week.  (Jill Kelley, Paula Broadwell and Generals John Allen and David Petraeus).

? The German press reacts to President Obama’s recent visit.

? The Republican House can’t pass its Farm Bill with the $2bn annual cut for food stamps.

? There’s a Senate  bill to put cameras in the Supreme Court for all its open proceedings.

? US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote the House Judiciary Committee explaining  the warrant issued for Fox News reporter James Rosen was a search warrant–and that he won’t testify any more about it.

? “Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is promised a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week security team staffed by Michigan State Police officers.”

? “The co-founder of the Minutemen civilian border [Arizona-Mexico] patrol group . . .  was arrested . . . on suspicion of molesting three young girls.”

? “GOP county Chairman from Illinois calls black female [Republican] candidate . . . a ‘street walker’ and ‘love child’ who will be sent back to ‘Shitcago’.”

? NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R) “signed the repeal of a law that has allowed death penalty row inmates to seek a reduced sentence” in certain situations.

The War on Women

? WHO:  “Violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.”  Studies show 1/3 of all women have been assaulted “by a former or current partner” and 40% of women killed “were slain by an intimate partner”.

? “Three Naval Academy Midshipmen Accused of Sexual Assault” on a female midshipman.  They’ve also been accused of “making false official statements.”

? The only university for women in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has been shut down after 25 women were killed in two attacks.

Heads Up!

? Bizarre nut-case, possibly KuKluxKlan member, developed a mobile, remote-controlled “device that could silently beam lethal doses of radiation at human targets”–and tried to sell it to a synagogue.

Planet Earth News

? Stimulus $s needed: 1)  The Environmental Protection Agency says “U.S. Drinking Water Infrastructure Failing”; and 2) “One in Nine [US bridges] Still ‘Structurally Deficient’.”

? Thanks to official austerity and escalating fire dangers, the US “is spending less and less on its main program for preventing blazes in the first place.”

Guess who won this year’s World Food Price: “the mastermind behind Monsanto’s big move into genetically modified crops.”  *throws up hands*

? US House of Representatives has delayed “sweeping food safety rules that would require farmers and food companies to be more vigilant about guarding against contamination.”

Latin America

? “Huge Protests In Brazil Are The Result Of Global Currency Wars”.

Braziiian authorities have rescinded the bus fare hike, but protests continue.  Why?

?  8,000 police deployed in Brazil.

? “[H]ow indigenous communities and other forest dwellers in Latin America” can benefit from timber in the future, depending not just on “tenure rights, but also on how well they deal with markets”.

Break Time

? Summertime

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