CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for July 8, 2013

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International Developments

? 42 Morsi supporters killed by “government security forces” while the Muslim Brotherhood “decries” the killings.  “Army says ‘terrorists’ tried to storm Republican Guard club where Mohamed Morsi is rumored to be in detention.”  Update:  51 Islamists killed by Egypt’s military.  Update: Egypt’s “Interim leader Adly Mansour calls for calm”, expresses “sorrow” over the 51 deaths.

? Federal Judge Gladys Kessler “denied a request from Guantanamo Bay detainees to stop force-feeding at the prison, but urged President Obama to do something about the issue.”

? “Survivors of Lac-Megantic explosion devastated, enraged.” Residents tell of the horrific fire which may have vaporized an unknown number of their neighbors, friends and relatives.   Update:  They’re now trying to search for the 40 missing.

? “US effort to recover remains of missing soldiers a ‘total failure’–report: Internal analysis suppressed by military shows mismanagement in pursuit of thousands still missing on former battlefields.”  Somehow the AP got this story under FOIA.

International Finance

? What does the US want from Latin America and Asia in the TransPacific Partnership?  According to this source, to: deregulate their financial markets; adopt pro-US intellectual property provisions; and allow US firms to sue their governments for violating any TPP provisions.  Interesting comparison made to what China has reportedly offered.

? Greece did get those bailout funds ($8.7bn), with the warning that they are behind in fulfilling their “reform programme”, a cruel regimen which includes reducing salaries of 25,000 civil servants “before either being dismissed or redeployed”.  Unemployment currently at 27%.  Austerity is not the road to prosperity.

Money Matters USA

? “The 147 Companies That Control Everything.”  The top 20 begin with Barclays, and also include JP Morgan Chase, Walton Enterprises, Goldman Sachs.

? “Temporary jobs becoming a permanent fixture in US“.  Temp agencies, “freelancers, contract workers and consultants” encompass almost 17 million workers, or “about 12 percent” of the employed.  Temps alone have increased 50% in the past 4 years.  “[L]ow pay, few benefits and scant job security.”

? “Consumer Borrowing in U.S. Rises $19.6 Billion, Most in Year.”

? As part of his investigation into “the $25bn market data industry” where milliseconds are money, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is scrutinizing Thomson Reuters for “releasing closely watched consumer sentiment data two seconds early to clients who pay extra.”

In Hot Pursuit

? “Bolivia has summoned the ambassadors of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy to explain why their countries blocked President Evo Morales’ jet last week.”  Also, the Irish High Court “has refused” the US request for a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden.  Insufficient specificity about the “alleged offences”.

? Second part of the Guardian’s interview with Edward Snowden is available“Eight key quotes from the new Snowden video.”

Surveillance Planet

? “Brazil demands explanation from US over NSA spying: Foreign minister expresses ‘deep concern’ over extensive spying revealed in documents uncovered by Edward Snowden.”  They’ll be asking the UN “to work on an international regulation ‘to impede abuses and protect the privacy’ of internet users.”

? No surprise here:  Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks: NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism.” And they’re working with “the private sector” rather than the people.

? “The rationale that we have no privacy interest in our metadata because we share it with phone or Internet companies to route our communications was always a fiction.”  Much more from Kenneth Roth, former prosecutor.

? During the mid-2000s, the FISA court “accepted that ‘relevant’ could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people” rather than just “some of those records”.

? The Electronic Privacy Information Center will be filing “an emergency petition with the Supreme Court [today] asking it to stop the [NSA’s] domestic surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.”

? “20 investigators . . . have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying” background reports for government contractors.  “Half of them worked for companies such as Altegrity Inc., which performed a background check on . . . Edward Snowden.”

? “Booz Allen, Which Fired Ed Snowden, Hilariously Backs Discussion On ‘Transparent Society’.”

? Tom Tomorrow:  “The important questions”.

? Wait’ll you see why you can’t get any data about yourself from the NSA using a “standard FOIA request.”

Politics USA

? “How the media outrageously blew the IRS scandal: A full accounting: Almost everything ‘reported’ about the big Obama scandal was wrong, and no one has been held to account. Until now.”

? Former NY Attorney General and Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) is running for comptroller in New York City.

? Former DOD guy, former CIA guy, David Petraeus is once again in the middle of a scandal.

? Hot diggity, maybe he’ll run for preznent instead:  “Gov. Rick Perry [(R-TX)] Will Not Seek Reelection.

? “When Florida lawmakers recently voted to ban all Internet cafes, they worded the bill so poorly that they effectively outlawed every computer in the state”.

Gun Corner

? “Guns killing children: An American epidemic”.  Since the Newtown, CT massacre, “40 children accidentally shot by themselves or other kids” and 80 shot by adults.

? “An insurance company based in Iowa has refused to renew coverage for Kansas schools that permit teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms on campus.”  Heh heh.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Male rape in the US military: wrenching, cruel and totally unacceptable.

Planet Earth News

? “[WI] Gov. Scott Walker and 13 other Republican officeholders . . . signed on to a little-known “No Climate Tax Pledge” created by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose companies emit tens of millions of tons of coal-fired carbon dioxide every year.”

? Bhutan is developing “‘white gold’ hydropower“, with India as a prime customer.  The Buddhist kingdom’s aim:  “‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH).”

Mixed Bag

? White racist in Hope Mills, NC just had to have his little tractor-drawn “float”  (a wagon of watermelons) with “White History Month”, etc., signs in the 4th of July parade.

? Amazing what they’re finding two miles down in the Antarctic’s Lake Vostok.

Break Time

? Voyagers

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