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The Roundup for July 31, 2013

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International Developments

? “Egypt’s cabinet orders police to end pro-Morsi sit-ins.”

? The US and Canada have a “planned pilot project [that] would see the two countries build on joint border-policing efforts.”  But, the US “wants its police officrs to be exempt from Canadian law”.

International Finance

? “A labor rights group [has] accused a Chinese company that makes iPhones for Apple Inc. . . . of abuses including withholding employees’ pay and excessive working hours.”

Money Matters USA

? “Larry Summers Gets ‘Full-Throated Defense’ From Obama In Capitol Hill Meeting”.

Surveillance Planet

? XKEYSCORE, the “NSA program that collects ‘nearly everything’ a user does on the internet’.  Glenzilla notes XKEYSCORE files demonstrate that Edward Snowden’s comment that he “could ‘wiretap anyone, . . .  if I had a personal email” was entirely accurate, despite the “vehement” denials by officials including Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) of the House Intelligence Committee.

? “Why NSA Surveillance Will Be More Damaging Than You Think:  The real threat from terrorism is . . . the over-reaction it provokes.  We saw that with the invasion of Iraq.  We’re seeing it with security-state overreach.”   And we’ll see it with the Internet.

? The government plans “to release newly declassified documents as early as this week about the National Security Agency surveillance programs . . . and also material related to a secret intelligence court”.  NSA director Keith Alexander now says, “I think the more we can give to the American people, the better.  We always have to balance security . . . ” and blahblahblah.  Amazing what a little sunlight can do.

? Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has ok’d releasing “telephone metadata that were collected under the authority of the PATRIOT Act”.  Interesting letters from Clapper to the Select Committee on Intelligence at the link.

? “The Obama administration has declassified a secret order directing Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records”.  Three documents were released and presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee today–with “significant parts” redacted.

? Today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing became quite the donnybrook.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and others criticized DNI James Clapper for lying to them and NSA Director Keith Alexander for “overstatement”. DiFi defended both.  “Robert Litt, the top lawyer for the US intelligence community” said they’re ok with “re-evaluating this program in ways that creates [sic] public confidence and trust”, whatever that means.   Clapper didn’t show, sending a deputy instead.  Live updates.

? “[I]t’s becoming clear that we can’t trust anything anyone official says about these [NSA]  programs.”  “This sort of thing can destroy our country”; steps needed to “restore trust.”

? Fallout:  “Prosecutors in a Miami case involving two Pakistani-born brothers” originally said they didn’t need to notify the defendants if evidence from NSA phone and internet surveillance programs were part of their case.  They’ve now changed their minds.

? “Obama defends NSA surveillance but acknowledges some limits are inevitable”, but they sure don’t want any.

? “Edward Snowden Has Done the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Work for Them” (and in a few instances, despite them).

? “Google’s Sordid History of Net Neutrality Hypocrisy.

? ACLU’s “favorite page from the recently declassified FISA Court Order.”

? Oakland, CA’s city council has ok’d a “controversial surveillance center” that will “continuously monitor video cameras, gunshot detectors and license plate readers.”

? “Will surveillance-state opponents start to fight at the municipal level, as anti-nuclear activists did in the 1970s and 1980s [for nuclear free zones]?”

Politics USA

? “For Congress, ‘it’s classified’ is new equivalent of ‘none of your business'”.  E.g., no public debate, no public vote last week when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence “reportedly gave its approval . . . to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria”.

? Silly grudge-mongers:  “House GOP Defunds ACORN Yet Again, Even Though ACORN Does Not Exist.”

? This Anthony Weiner thing is getting way out of hand (apologies).  Update:  Weiner’s former intern has accepted an apology from Weiner’s campaign aide who used very foul language  to describe her.

? TX “Republicans Want Wendy Davis to Foot Possible $2.4 Million Bill for Special Session”.

? Members of NC’s General Assembly, having passed what “has been called the most severe voter restrictions and Anti-Choice legislation in the country, [were] fiddling, dancing and [eating] ice cream.”

? Beleaguered Bob McDonnell (R), governor of VA, says “his daughter has returned the $15,000 gift given to her by donor and Star Scientific CFO Jonnie Williams Sr.”.

? Beleaguered Bob Filner (D), San Diego Mayor, now faces a broadening Dept. of Justice  “investigation into a pay-for-play deal made at the highest levels of San Diego city government [including] Filner and his staff with private developers.”

The War on Women

? NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R), handed a plate of cookies to Planned Parenthood supporters holding a silent vigil outside the governor’s mansion last night.  They returned the whole thing with an appropriate note.

? A federal judge has “made permanent her order barring Indiana from denying Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood clinics, ending the state’s two-year legal fight.”

? “Malala’s Forgotten Sisters”, victims of swara.

Planet Earth News

? Assuming you don’t move, will you be living lake- or ocean-side or even underwater by 2100?

? “[U]ntold millions of plastic litter bits, some visible only through a microscope” were  floating around in Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie last year.  This year, scientists are focusing on Lakes Michigan and Ontario.  Are fish eating them?

? Drummond mining company of AL “said it will fight sanctions levied against it for dumping vast deposits of coal into the sea earlier this year” while “Colombia’s Environmental Licensing Authority [tries] to specify the exact amount of coal” dumped.

Latin America

? Popularity polls:  Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos continues a stable 50% approval;  Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura’s rating is below 50% [Google translate];  Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s approval rating is at 33%, its lowest.

? 200+ poor farmers in Paraguay “reoccupied land where six police officers and 11 farmworkers were killed last year in a violent eviction that led to the ouster of President Fernando Lugo.”

Break Time

? El Tiede

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