Good evening!

International Developments

❖ “Somali poet Warsame Shire Awale killed by gunmen” in Mogadishu. Very popular poet, he was critical of al-Shabab “who he accused of misleading people in the name of Islam.” He urged youth to reject violence.

❖ After months of protests, the Bahrain government has banned all demonstrations and rallies by those pushing for “a greater political voice” in the spirit of the Arab Spring.

❖ “Two Nato soldiers shot dead by man wearing Afghan police uniform”. There have been 53 such killings of NATO soldiers this year.

❖ “A senior Syrian air force general has been killed by rebels in central Damascus . . . Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi was shot dead late on Monday”.

International Finance

Andrew Haldane, senior official of the Bank of England, “praised [Occupy] protesters for their role in triggering an overhaul of the financial services sector.” Seems the Occupiers were “right to focus on inequality as the chief reason for the 2008 crash, following studies that showed the accumulation of huge wealth funded by debt was directly responsible for the domino-like collapse of the banking sector in 2008.”

❖ They’ve delayed the Parliament vote by a week, so it’s not official, but Greece has agreed to make another $17.4 billion in cuts in order to receive bailout funds from the EU-IMF.

Money Matters USA

Home prices in 20-city composites increased by 2.0% between August 2011 and August 2012. Of those 20 cities, only one–Seattle–showed a decrease, and that by only 0.1%.

Eller & Sons Trees, Inc., a Georgia forestry contractor company, has been ordered to pay approximately 4,000 Guatemalan and Mexican guest workers $11.8 million they were not paid under the federal minimum wage for work performed between 1999-2008.

Politics USA

❖ Is Republican Veep candidate Paul Ryan’s plan for Social Security actually a modified version of the Pinera Plan under former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet? Jose Pinera, author of the plan under Pinochet, is apparently supported by the Koch brothers.

Documents given to volunteers being trained as WI poll watchers by the Romney campaign contain misleading info: people convicted of “treason, a felony, or bribery” aren’t eligible to vote (not true in WI, so long as they’ve served their prison sentences); poll watchers should “hide” that they’re working for the Romney campaign; and so on.

❖ The Romney camp sent former MN Republican Sen Norm Coleman to reassure Republican Jewish Coalition members in Beechwood, OH, that, under Romney, Roe v. Wade won’t “be reversed”. Meanwhile, American Bridge, Democratic super PAC, is running 30-second ads on ABC news tying Romney to anti-abortion zealots Rep. Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin (R-MO), Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), and IN Treasurer Republican Richard Mourdock.

❖ Back in 2011, Mitt Romney argued that the private sector should be in charge of disaster response and not the feds. Now he’s being asked about those statements and is refusing to answer a question about answering the questions: “Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times. Why are you refusing to answer the question?”

Michael “Heckuva Job, Brownie” Brown, head of FEMA during the Katrina disaster, criticized President Obama for “jumping on” hurricane Sandy “so quickly”, echoed by Newt Gingrich and Charles Krauthammer. Brown’s response to Katrina was so bad that he had to resign within two weeks of that hurricane’s landing in New Orleans.

❖ Digby refreshes our collective memory of the Bushies’ post-Katrina Reconstruction plan. Little goodies such as “suspended some union-friendly rules”, “waived some affirmative-action rules”, “limit victims’ right to sue”, “create tax-advantaged enterprise zones to maximize private-sector participation in recovery and reconstruction”, etc.

❖ In September 2010 and again this year, billboards went up in WI trumpeting “Voter Fraud is a Felony”, referencing illegal immigrants. Turns out those billboards were funded by a $10,000 grant from the Bradley Foundation (headed by Gov Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair) to the Einhorn Family Foundation.

❖ That little mess in FL is heating up. Republican Rep. David Rivera seems to have had a hand in one Justin Lamar Sternad’s running as a Republican against Democrat Joe Garcia in FL’s 26th Congressional District primary last August. Money seems to be involved, a key person is in hiding, and Sternad submitted a blank October quarterly reporting form to the FEC as well as a letter invoking the 5th.

❖ British version of the history of the US Democratic Party.

Women & Children

❖ Yesterday the US Supreme Court rejected consideration of a “fetal personhood” initiative in OK, upholding the OK Supreme Court’s ruling.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ Update on the meningitis outbreak: MA regulators have shut down a third pharmacy, Infusion Research. Ameridose, an affiliate of New England Compounding Center which was closed by regulators, voluntarily shut down earlier. (Conflict of interest issue: a member of MA’s Board Registration has close ties with NECC-Ameridose–and refuses to step down from the Board.)

❖ “Two UN agencies have presented a new tool to map health risks linked to climate change and extreme weather conditions, enabling authorities to give advance warnings and act to prevent ‘climate-sensitive’ diseases from spreading.”

Planet Earth News

❖ OK Republican Sen James Inhofe has been awarded the “Rubber Dodo” award for “being at the vanguard of the retrograde climate-denier movement.” The Center for Biological Diversity gives the awards annually. Past recipients include Alaska Gov Sarah Palin, BP CEO Tony Hayward and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Heads Up!

❖ Under an 2008 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 2005, international communications of US citizens may be intercepted. The US Supreme Court is considering whether to rule on the constitutionality of the law as challenged by Amnesty International, the ACLU, and other groups and individuals including journalists.

Latin America

Seven people–six Chileans and one American--have been charged by a Spanish judge “with genocide linked to the former regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and with the killing of Carmelo Soria, the Spanish diplomat who was working for the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America.” An amnesty law prevented the seven from being tried in Chile. (The American is Michael Townley, who served five years in US prison for involvement in the murder of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his US assistant, Ronni Moffitt.)

❖ She’s in constant pain from a bullet lodged near her spine during an assassination attempt in June, but Telma Yolanda Oqueli Veliz continues resistance with other community members against the NV-based company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates’ plans to build a mine in San Jose del Golfo, Guatemala. Oqueli and other locals are maintaining an encampment and blockade.

Mixed Bag

❖ RIP, Claudene Christian, HMS Bounty crewmember who died as the ship went down yesterday. She was 42 years old, and apparently the fifth great-granddaughter of Fletcher Christian.

❖ A 170-foot water tanker turned up on Front Street in Staten Island, NY Monday night, a mile from where it had been moored, thanks to a big lift and push from Sandy. No injuries among the crew.

❖ There is severe contamination at the Santa Susana Field Lab (nuclear research) area in Ventura County, CA. The Chumash tribe wants to acquire a portion of the land which has “some of the best preserved Native American pictographs in California.” They’re up against fears they’ll put in a casino or they’ll ignore “elaborate” cleanup agreements. Among the pictographs is a circle that lights up on the first day of Winter.

Break Time

Goblins & Bach