Greetings! Here’s your Monday evening edition of the news.
❖ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deputy foreign minister wants an “international declaration that the diplomatic effort to halt Tehran’s enrichment of uranium is dead.” This comes amid reports that Netanyahu is eyeing a military strike.
❖ A Kurdish member of Turkey’s parliament has been kidnapped by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
❖ Syria’s top envoy to the UN has defected in Geneva “because he no longer felt able in that position to do anything for the Syrian people.”
❖ A Syrian fighter jet has crashed with Syrian rebels claiming they shot it down and the government claiming it went down due to “technical problems.” The rebels have released footage of the pilot they claim to have captured.
❖ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US and Turkey are examining “the possibility of imposing” no-fly zones on Syria.
❖ “Europe Update: More Contraction”. Italy’s public debt is at a record high while the Greek economy “contracted 6.2 percent in the second quarter”, and more negative news.
❖ “The US, France and Mexico are planning talks to consider whether an emergency meeting is needed to tackle the soaring price of grain.” I trust there’s more to this meeting than concluding the obvious.
❖ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that “Gender discrimination blocks progress. Equality makes it possible to achieve huge breakthroughs.” He specifically addressed Asia-Pacific economies which he said lose tens of a billions a year because of discrimination against women.
❖ “Japan’s atomic power industry lost a record $46 billion since the Fukushima tsunami and meltdown last year, wiping out several years of profit. Then came the bad news.”
❖ Is financial fraud the big banks’ business model? What about the lack of vigorous prosecutions? What price do we pay? According to the World Bank, the financial crisis has made destitute between 64 – 100 million people. Other results: “loss of 8.2 years of perfect health”, “increase of between 200,000 and 400,000 in infant mortality” and so on.
Money Matters USA
❖ Gary Gensler is chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. His zeal for investigating Barclays and insisting that Libor rates “have to be based on honest figures” has moved the CFTC from a little-known agency to one which commands respect–and the usual grousing from the usual quarters.
❖ Largish collection of arguments for demoting and defanging FHFA’s Ed DeMarco.
❖ The Republicans’ so-called JOBS Act, which passed overwhelmingly and which President Obama signed, is having outlandish results. The English soccer club Manchester United is to file an IPO today as an ‘emerging’ company although it is a 134 years old club. Others, such as “shell companies with no employees are popping up and filing as ‘emerging’, too.
❖ Kerry Bentivolio is the Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives from MIchigan’s 11th congressional district. Back last October he said Wall Street bankers “need to be investigated and prosecuted” since they are “probably the biggest problem we have in this country.” He’s unique among Republicans for that viewpoint. We’ll see if he keeps it.
❖ Unbelievable, just unbelievable. At least they’ve got the guy–a shooter at Texas A&M.
❖ “Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand, before he said he didn’t”. Nice little history of flip-flops.
❖ Jane Mayer has more on the Ayn Rand-Paul Ryan connection, including the political necessity of the flip-flops.
❖ Last week’s Quinnipac poll showed “a robust majority of registered voters disapproved” of Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare. 60% – Medicare should remain as is; 34% – agree with Ryan plan. It’ll be interesting to see how poll results change as we go forward.
❖ Key differences in proposed cuts to Medicare by Obama and Ryan (reduction in certain reimbursement amounts vs fixed subsidy to seniors to purchase insurance, etc.)
❖ “What Wisconsin Journalists Want You To Know About Paul Ryan”: “his inside-the-Beltway focus, the high level of unemployment in his hometown, his family connection to the natural gas industry” and more interesting stuff.
❖ Found among some recently released emails “from Andy Speth, Paul Ryan’s Chief of Staff, to not just staffers for Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald, but also to a Judith Rhodes-Engels, Wisconsin GOP operative and “main fundraiser for Scott Fizgerald.” The emails were all sent to private email accounts, too. And that’s not all.
❖ Digby followed up on yesterday’s report from Lauderdale County, MS, about children being funneled from schools to jails for minor things and found all manner of similar punishments of school children from several other states.
❖ Oh, nooos. We were all so looking forward to hearing her. “Palin won’t speak at GOP convention.”
The War on Women
❖ After 20 years, and thanks to Nancy Pelosi’s urging, one of the moderators for the presidential debates will be–gasp!–a female. Well, regardless of who it is (sigh), it is a step forward.
❖ The Colorado Personhood Coalition has got a petition going to put on the state ballot a measure that would “effectively eliminate abortion in the state.” No exception for rape or incest. Also banned would be any “birth control that kills a person”, such as an IUD.
❖ Paul Ryan “co-sponsored a federal fetal personhood bill, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and wants to write discrimination into the Constitution by amending it to ban gay marriage.” That and more at this “front lines of the War on Women site.”
❖ “30% of Girls’ Clothing Is Sexualized in Major Sales Trend”. And who is purchasing these “sexy clothes” for little girls?
Health, Homelessness & Hunger
❖ Medicare will be penalizing 2,211 hospitals beginning October due to excess readmissions. Around $280 million in reimbursement will be withheld from them. This is part of the shift to reimbursement based on quality of care rather than volume of services. Almost 20% of hospitalized Medicare patients are readmitted to hospital “within a month of discharge.”
❖ Good news! “Adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of snacks and sugary drinks in public schools gained less weight over a three-year period than those living in states with no such laws.”
❖ Excellent video on “Occupy Our Homes: Fighting Back. Winning.” Yes!
Planet Earth News
❖ State-operated Stringfellow toxic waste dump in Riverside County, CA severely contaminated ground water. CA argued insurance companies should pay up, while the companies only wanted to pay a share. CA’s Supreme Court has now ruled that the insurance companies must pay more–estimated in the 10s of millions.
❖ Butterflies in Japan are paying a steep price for the Fukushima disasters, with scientists reporting “severe abnormalities”. Specifically, greater amounts of radiation were associated with “much smaller wings and irregularly developed eyes.”