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The Roundup for August 16, 2013

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International Developments

? “Egypt crisis: Defiant Muslim Brotherhood plans marches.”  Update:  “Not everyone in Cairo is unhappy with the violence:. 700 are now reported dead, 3,700+ injured.  Update:  “Egypt: scores killed in ‘day of rage’: At least 60 . . . amid fierce street fighting in Cairo and elsewhere”.

?  Radical Islamists in Egypt pushing toward greater conflict; Egyptian military responding with gusto.  Plus, “there’s plenty of support in Riyadh and Dubai for an effort to crush Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood once and for all.”

? “Palestinians protest Egypt’s bloody crackdown: Hundreds of Islamists rally on Temple Mount, accuse Egyptian defense minister of killing his people for the sake of Jews.”

? “Libyan PM Ali Zeidan warns oil port protestors [and] has threatened to use force against guards . . . protesting at some of the country’s oil ports for several weeks.”

? Polio upsurge in Somalia, leading the UN to warn of wider, “explosive” outbreak.

Money Matters USA

? The effort by some cities to use eminent domain to “force lenders to refinance loans on homes that are worth less than the mortgage at ‘market value'” is gaining steam.  In Richmond, CA things are going so well Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank have sued to stop it.

? “US consumer confidence in surprising fall from six-year high.”  Walmart’s cut its sales forecasts, too.

? Canadian utility Powerex is refunding $750m to CA resulting from the 2001 crisis and rip-offs.

? “Cayman Islands, US reach agreement on reporting American’s assets in Caribbean territory.”

Surveillance Planet

? DiFi’s response to the WaPo story that  the NSA violated privacy rules “thousands of times” yearly, is that her Senate Intelligence Committee “can and should do more to independently verify that NSA’s operations are appropriate”, and blahblahblah.  Emptywheel on NSA oversight by all three branches of gubmint.

? DiFi has upped the absurdity, declaring those thousands of NSA privacy rule violations “unintentional and do not involve any inappropriate surveillance of Americans.”

? Reggie Walton, Chief Judge of the FISA Court, “said the court lacks the tools” to provide “critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs”–and so they must “trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.”  We are so screwn!

? Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) say the WaPo stories (above) are “just the tip of a larger iceberg.”

? You’ll be shocked to learn that “when Obama said the NSA wasn’t ‘actually abusing’ its powers . . . He was wrong.”

? How the White House wrangled with the WaPo over “NSA Privacy Quotes”.

? President Obama “Fired Nearly All Members On Key Intelligence Advisory Board.”

Under the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, Congresscritters can enter statements into the Congressional Record without fear of prosecution.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was reluctant to test that protection, though law professor Jonathan H. Adler thinks he would have been protected.  After all, Rep. Darell Issa (R-CA) has been.

? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says “‘Congress must conduct rigorous oversight’ to ensure the law is followed” by the NSA.  Too bad Congress doesn’t investigate why it doesn’t ensure “the law is followed”.

Maybe Congress should investigate itself, since it’s difficult to determine which ones of them had actually paid attention to documents they supposedly could access.

? Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is also “concerned” that the NSA doesn’t give “straightforward answers”.

? Other politicians, Democrats all, “decry new NSA revelations.” Republicans are silent.

? Did Keith Alexander, NSA Director, lie before that Black Hat gathering in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago?

? Charles Pierce on our lying government and “Edward Snowden, International Man of Luggage and flawed human being, [who] has blown himself a helluva whistle here.”

? Edward Snowden has issued a statement establishing a clear separation between him and his father (and his father’s attorney and wife) as far as legal matters are concerned.

Politics USA

? At long last the US government is admitting what its citizenry has known for many decades: Area 51 exists.

? Chums: Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is hosting a fundraiser for NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R).

? TX’s very own Wendy Davis (D) in Vogue.

? TX Republican Gov. Rick “Perry Under Investigation For Possible Abuse of Office.”

? OK’s anti-Sharia law struck down by a federal judge.

? The 31-day student “Dream Defenders” sit-in at FL Gov. Rick Scott (R)’s office has ended.

Gun Corner

? Portland’s ordinance prohibiting “people from carrying loaded guns in public places” has been upheld by OR’s Supreme Court.

The War on Women

? TX Gov. Rick Perry’s extensive knowledge of female anatomy.

? OH Republicans to reintroduce their “no abortions after fetal heartbeat” bill again.

? Federal judge has ruled that it’s ok to send a letter to an abortion doctor “saying someone might place an explosive under her car”.

Education Directions

? Federal judge just “cleared the way for Chicago to close 50 public schools”.

? “Dozens of private schools across the Sacramento, CA region closed their doors in recent years as enrollment plummeted and students transferred to public schools.”

Planet Earth News

? “All U.S. nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorism, probe finds.”

? Who knew?  Fracking’s been occurirng along the CA coast “since the late 1990s.”

? Scientists have identified “chemical and isotropic compositions of water samples” from mountain top mining, allowing identification of mining operations’ impact downstream.

? “Oregon’s GOP Chair Wants to Sprinkle Nuclear Waste From Airplanes” . . .  “to build up our resistance to degenerative illnesses.”  Where do they find these people?

? Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has “abandoned a unique and ambitious plan to persuade rich countries to pay his country not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon rainforest preserve.”

Latin America

? “Venezuela’s economic, political woes knock its currency to its knees: the Venezuelan bolivar has plunged in value against the U.S. dollar since the presidential election in April.”

Mixed Bag

? Giant owls, oh my.

? Exploding sprites, oh my.

Break Time

Sweet Summer Day

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