The Roundup for June 30, 2013

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Hey there.

International Developments

? “Tens of thousands of opponents of Egypt’s Islamist president massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in cities around the country Sunday, launching an all-out push to force [President] Mohammed Morsi” to resign. Update:  “Mass political protests grip cities.”

? Bomb attacks–two near a Shiite mosque in Quetta–“kill 49 people in Pakistan”.

? “Military Court [at Guantanamo] Holds Secret Session so Secret Defendant Can’t Attend”.  Pretrial hearing about the October 12, 2000, bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen.

? “Syrian war planes and ground forces have struck at rebel-held districts of the city of Homs”.

? NATO is to continue providing “advice to Afghan military until 2020″.

? Uighurs in China’s  western Xinjian region have become so violent in their fight with Han Chinese (35 killed last Wednesday) that troops have been sent to the area

? Femen held a protest in a mosque in Sweden. They had written “No Sharia in Egypt and in the world” and “My body is mine, not someone’s honor” apparently on their bodies (google translation a bit vague).  They were arrested.

? “John Kerry [US Secretary of State] reports progress on Middle East talks after fifth visit since March”, plus what he has “yet to secure”.

International Financial Matters

? “Key US-EU trade pact under threat after more NSA spying allegations”.

Money Matters USA

? Bill Black on star witnesses before the “massive House Financial Services Committee”, calling on congress to rein in the big banks.

? Bill Moyers with Greg Kaufman, “America’s Poor Are Demonized To Justify Huge Cuts in Gov’t Programs: Many low-income Americans work extremely hard but need food stamps and other support to make up for low wages.”

?  “Short-term work has become a mainstay of the American economy, intensifying the rise in income inequality.”  Temporary jobs, in places such as  “Walmart, Macy’s Nike, Frito-Lay” are increasing “10 times faster than private-sector employment.”

? A boom in manufacturing jobs will not bring back the middle class, given what today’s manufacturing jobs are:  they pay less than  “in the mid-1970s” and many are filled by temps.  How do we bring back decent wages?

? BART workers in San Francisco-Oakland, CA strike tomorrow.  Almost 2400 workers are involved.

? The amazing story of the DOD’s purchase of Russian helicopters (they’re better for withstanding Afghan dust storms).  “Freak Afghan hailstorm grounded scores of Nato helicopters . . .[some] for more than three weeks.”

Surveillance Planet

? “U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks”.   “38 embassies and missions, [described] as ‘targets'”;  “details [of] an extraordinary range of spying methods . . . ” including something called “Dropmire”, and much more. Update:  “The head of the European Parliament has demanded ‘full clarification’ from the US” over the Der Spiegel report.

? More fallout in Europe:  “U.S. taps half-billion German phone, internet links in month”, had classified Germany as a “‘third-class’ partner”.  German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has “called for an ‘immediate and comprehensive’ response from the U.S. government”.

? New “NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program” and “how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft.”

? “Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba to Discuss Snowden Asylum in Moscow” today.

? Susan Rice, in-between being US Ambassador to the UN and US national security adviser, “has dismissed claims that the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has weakened the President, Barack Obama, and damaged American foreign policy.”

? US Vice-President Joe Biden called Colombian President Rafael Correa and asked that Ecuador “please reject” Edward Snowden’s request for asylum.  Correa said the US’ opinion would be taken “into account”.

? Article in the New Yorker recently said “there are reasons to remain calm.”  Jim Maureckas, made nervous by those words, responds.

? There are “three primary public-private intelligence partnerships at work on the federal level:  The Domestic Security Alliance Council . . ., InfraGard, and the DHS Private Sector Information-Sharing Working Group.”

? “Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian: “tech companies should strive to uphold constitutional principles like privacy”, specifically by “not collecting and storing [Americans’] data online.”

? NSA’s Utah Data Center:  “Lots of zer0000000000000000000000es.”

? ‘Prism’ might “potentially fracture our view of each other and of ourselves as citizens.” Results could include “Diminished citizenship”, criminalizing behavior, emergence of the powerful “watcher class”.

? “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created [its] Surveillance Self-Defense site”.   Includes “appropriate steps to defend” against unwanted surveillance.

Politics USA

? Petition demanding the San Diego City Attorney drop charges against Jeff Olson,  facing “up to 13 years in jail–and $13,000 in fines” for writing “anti-bank slogans [on the sidewalk] outside Bank of America”. Using washable chalk.  Chalk-U-Py protests in San Diego.

? “Hillary Clinton to receive American Bar Association’s highest honor . . . recognizing the former secretary of state for her legal career and for helping women lawyers advance.”

? Literacy test black people had to pass in order to vote in LA in 1964.  Maximum allowable time to take the test–10 minutes.

? How Sacramento, CA’s mayor, Kevin Johnson–husband of Michelle Rhee–has collected millions in contributions from such giants as Wal-Mart, and what he does with the money.

Health, Homelessness & hunger

? Struggle underway to force “the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies to open their records to outsiders in an effort to better understand the benefits and potential harms of the drugs that billions of people take every day.”  Go researchers!

Planet Earth News

? Who didn’t see this coming?  “Insurance Firms Warn of the ‘Uninsurable’ Future of Climate Change.”

? What Vice President Joe Biiden saw on his way to a Democratic Party of VA to-do.

? Huge sinkhole in LA is threatening 100 homes, and “burping out oil, natural gas, and debris, shaking the area so powerfully that seismic equipment is being used to monitor the site.”

Latin America

? “More than 80,000 march for gay pride in Mexico City”.

? “Colombia cattle ranchers fear ‘communist’ redistribution of lands after FARC deal”, preferring the way it’s presently distributed–less than 1% of the population owns most of the best land.

Mixed Bag

? Would you eat a kangaroo?

Break Time

 Searching for the Snow Leopard

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