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The Roundup for September 1, 2013

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International Developments

? “Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the Syrian government . . . had carried out chemical weapons attacks against its own people”.

? “Assad is a war criminal, but an attack will do nothing for the people of Syria: The west needs to concentrate on formally criminalising the Assad regime and turning its members into international pariahs.”

? President Obama may strike Syria whether or not Congress approves.  The debate thus far.  Update:  Several lawmakers in on the White House’s “classified briefing” say the resolution as written is “too open ended”.

? French “President Francois Hollande reaffirmed to Obama [yesterday] his will to punish Syria but has come under increasing pressure to put the intervention to parliament.”

? “Latin American diplomats:  Wait for [UN] report before striking Syria.”

? To no one’s surprise, according to al-Jazeera, “Saudi Arabia backs US strike against Syria.”

? “Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after war began: Furious politicians have demanded [UK] Prime Minister David Cameron explain . . ..”  The chemicals were potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride.

? UK’s Royal Air Force claims to have intercepted “Senior Syrian military chiefs [telling Syrian] captain: fire chemicals or be shot.”

? Pope Francis has announced “Day of Fasting for Peace for Syria.”  He’s advocating a “negotiated settlement to the civil war in Syria”.

? “Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern: Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines.”

? “Syria: threat of US air strikes prompts global protests–in pictures.”

? Medecine sans Frontieres [Doctor’s Without Borders] has “warned that its medical information could not be used as evidence to certify the precise origin of the exposure to a neurotoxic agent or to attribute responsibility.”

? “At least 47 people were reported killed at an Iranian dissident camp in Iraq” today.

? Suicide attack in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.  Six dead.

? “Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa has survived an assassination attempt unharmed, officials in the capital Sanaa say.”

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi “is to stand trial on charges of committing and inciting violence, a state prosecutor decided”.  Also, the “army-backed governent unveiled a constituent assembly . . .almost devoid of Islamists, and gave it 60 days to review amendments that would erase Islamic articles brought in by the Muslim Brotherhood”.

“Three militants dead in suspected US drone strike in Pakistan:  Two also wounded in Mussaki village in North Waziristan as Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemns strikes as ‘unilateral’.”

International Finance

? “Eurozone unemployment steady at 12.1% in July . . . Eurozone figures show youth unemployment edging higher.”

? Malaysia to the rescue! It’s pushing countries’ abilities “to impose stiff rules on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within their own borders” under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The US was to have supported a similar stand, but “offered a weaker proposal” instead.

Money Matters USA

? What will be Congress’ reaction when the Obama administration requests funds to conduct military action in Syria? Many House Republicans are refusing to return early to Washington so they can discuss proposed military action in Syria.  Ten members of Congress (three Dems) own Raytheon stock.

? Big news:  The International Longshore & Warehouse Union, 40,000-strong, has pulled out of the AFL-CIO.

? Bill Black on that “incredibly over-the-top Wall Street Journal op-ed that thundered away about the terrible prosecutions of JPMorgan and the other main banksters.  And, of course, there have been zero prosecutions of any of the banksters whose frauds caused the crisis.”

? “Amazon executive Larry Kirshbaum accused of sexual assault: Publisher accused of two alleged assaults on his former lover and colleague, according to papers filed in NY Supreme Court.”

? “Dunkin’ Donuts has apologized for the ‘insensitivity’ of an advertising campaign in Thailand featuring a woman in blackface makeup to promote a new chocolate flavored doughnut.”

Surveillance Planet

? “Microsoft and Google to sue over US surveillance requests; Technology firms want to be allowed to publish information about US government requests under the Fisa legislation.”

? “Federal Court Sides With ACLU in No Fly List Lawsuit: Court Recognizes Due Process Rights of Americans on List.”

Politics USA

? Charles Pierce on WI Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s Capitol Police’s treatment of sing-along protesters, or at least African-American ones:  “Pain compliance is polite torture.”

? “Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA positions itself to support Hillary Clinton.”

? Federal appeals court 3-0:  The “White House visitor logs for the president and most of his staff are not public information subject to . . . the Freedom of Information Act.”

? No surprise here:  “An inane, money-eating sham: Drug tests for welfare a huge failure: . . . But if we’re testing those getting taxpayer money, how about politicians?”

? “A federal judge plans to appoint a monitor to watch over the operations of hardline Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio”.  Heh heh.

? Sheriff Mike Byrd of Jackson County, MS has been indicted for  “using his office to retaliate against people he considered political and personal foes [and for] fraud, extortion, embezzlement, witness tampering and perjury.”

? University of South FL researchers are excavating graves near the house of horrors at a former state school for boys in Marianna, FL.

? “Police Groups Furiously Protest Eric Holder’s Marijuana Policy Announcement.”  After all, “Local law enforcement agencies rely heavily on the drug war for funding [and] federal grants for drug war operations make up a sizable portion of local law enforcement funding.”

Planet Earth News

? According to MIT, “53,000 early deaths are attributed to exhaust from cars and trucks, annually.”

? “A fracking waste disposal well linked to 11 earthquakes that rocked the Youngstown [OH] area was the likely source of at least 98 additional temblors” so small that people didn’t notice.

? A FL citrus grower poisoned “millions of honeybees to death”.  Fine:  $1,500.

? Smithfield Farms’  production problems are expected to increase if Smithfield is acquired by China’s Shuanghui International, thus tightening “the grip of multinational agribusinesses and Wall Street on America’s kitchens”.

Break Time

? Talking About A Revolution

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