Good evening, everyone!

International Developments

❖ A different view of drones: “Without a better alternative, drones are here to stay.”

Money Matters USA

❖ “USPS Bailout Imminent: Postal Service Will Miss September 30 ‘Mandated’ Payment.”

Beginning Jan 1, 2013, there will be: a 3.8% tax on investment income for couples making $250,000+ and individuals making $200,000+; there will also be a 0.9% tax on salaries and wages above those income levels. Those increases are in the Affordable Care Act.

Bank of America now has a federal housing discrimination complaint filed against it by the “National Fair Housing Alliance and five affiliated organizations” who complain “the company’s properties obtained through foreclosures in minority areas were more likely to be poorly maintained . . . than those in white neighborhoods.” Homes investigated were in Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Dallas, Dayton, Miami, Oakland (CA), Phoenix and Washington, DC.

❖ Does this explain why the US Department of Justice is so slow in investigating (to say nothing of prosecuting) huge financial wrong-doings? In 2010, a “senior federal prosecutor in WV tried to stop conflict among several agencies involved in investigating HSBC, including prosecutors in Washington, DC and Brooklyn. All total, HSBC has been probed by “at least 11 different U.S. departments, offices and regulators”. And it’s still not done, though HSBC has set aside a few million to cover settlement costs.

❖ Priorities: The feds are raiding marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, and said more raids are likely. Why? “We couldn’t do all of L.A. at once. There’s just too many stores.”

Politics USA

President Obama’s record on housing has “been a case of self-induced paralysis” that should comprise a “big opening” for Romney. Instead, “The Romney housing plan comes in two parts: embarrassing, and more embarrassing.” Meanwhile, of course, millions of Americans are having to struggle with the threat of foreclosure and loss.

ProgressOhio has “filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, alleging that Murray Energy made an illegal corporate contribution to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign” by closing down the mine for a day and having its coal miners attend a Romney rally. Footage from the rally is being used in Romney teevee ads.

❖ Mitt Romney has a new ad out. As Taegan Goddard cautions, “Candidate-to-camera ads are typically when all else is failing and the bonds of trust with the voters are fraying.” Meantime, Mitt called Jack Nicklaus the “greatest athlete of the 20th century,” a remark that quickly went viral, and not in a good way.

❖ More on ND Republican contender in the Senate race, Rick Berg, and his “shady real estate ties [which] get shadier”.

Veterans in Osceola County, FL are demanding the incumbent elections supervisor resign because of a survey done for her campaign which asked such questions as “How likely are you to vote for a disabled veteran . . . and for someone born in the Dominican Republican?” The incumbent elections supervisor, you see, is being challenged for the position by a Vietnam vet who lost both legs in the war and who was born in the Dominican Republic.

Strategic Allied Consulting, Romney consultants, has been fired by the FL GOP “after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL., Supervisor of Elections. Seems Strategic Allied Consulting is another Nathan Sproul front.

Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya who was killed in the fiery attack in Benghazi on Sep 11th, “was a full, registered Chinook”, even though he might not have passed Scott Brown’s “look” test which Brown applied to Elizabeth Warren recently. And now. after Brown’s “senior” staff did all that hooting and hollering at a Warren rally–their idea, apparently, of Cherokee behavior–the Cherokee Nation has demanded an apology for their “uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples.”

Small explosions “have occurred in and around Granger, Ind.” where Democratic congressional candidate Brendan Mullen lives–and one in the mailbox at his home. The FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been contacted about the incidents.

❖ Those Nuns On A Bus have been at it again, with Sister Simone Campbell saying Mitt Romney’s recent remarks about the 47% “‘broke my heart’ because they demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the living conditions of America’s poorest citizens.” Video.

❖ Latest Gallup poll: 66% have “trust in the federal government’s ability to handle international problems”, the highest it’s been since–fwiw–mid-2003.

❖ Graphic showing proportions of Americans who have less than $100 in savings by various demographics.

❖ According to a YouGov poll, 39% of voters think there’s a “fundamental clash of cultures {with Islam] that can only have one winner” while 47% believe peace between Islam and the west is possible. However, 64% of Republican voters do see the west and Islam involved in that “fundamental clash” while 68% of Democrat voters think peaceful co-existence is possible.

❖ “Tagg Romney blocks hospice from being built”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

Innovative approach in Los Angeles, CA to getting the most difficult-to-place homeless persons into housing using “tangible social support”.

❖ “Food and power are related. It is almost impossible to find one person among the powerful . . . who has not sufficient to eat.” Agribusines, land-grabbing, inadequate “public regulation of existing conflicts of interest” are being challenged by “social movements . . . to regain people’s control over food and nutrition” and which are highlighted in This Right to Food and Nutrition Watch report.

The War on Women

From the Guttmacher Institute: “New Study Confirms What Many Have Long Believed To Be True: Women Use Contraception To Better Achieve Their Life Goals”. 2,094 women, clients of 22 family planning clinics in the US, participated in the survey. They reported, as a result of availability of contraception, they: “take better care of themselves or their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%).” No wonder the right-wing wants to keep contraceptives away from women.

Cardinal Dolan, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of New York, has gotten all worked up about New York City schools administering birth control to girls as young as 14. He provides no alternative solutions, needless to say.

Heads Up!

Regents of the University of California “have agreed to pay out roughly $1 million (about $30,000/victim) to end a lawsuit over last November’s pepper spraying of UC-Davis students”. Each person zapped with pepper-spray will also receive a personal letter from Chancellor Linda Katehi.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Is Climate Change Hell Now Inevitable?”

Latin America

❖ Well, they tried. Runner-up in the recent Mexican Presidential election, Andres Manual Lopez Obrador and his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) lost their legal challenge that the PRI candidate and winner, Enrique Pena Nieto, “had benefited from favourable media coverage”, “massive vote buying and dubious campaign funding . . ..”

Mixed Bag

❖ RIP, Andy Williams, here and here.

❖ The NFL referee thing is entering the coy phase with some saying a deal is near and others saying “‘Not so fast.’”

Break Time

This is disconcerting, and a bit ominous–to say nothing of the legal issues it’ll no doubt raise. But look at what else is being done: metal door pulls, a plastic bicycle, and with food. Sky’s the limit, it seems.