Good evening all!

International Developments

France claims “Hundredsof Islamist militants killed in Mali” and wants Mali under a UN peacekeeping force asap so French troops can leave.

❖ The US has a drone base in Saudi Arabia, apparently the take-off point for the drone that killed Anwar al-Awlaki in September, 2011.  The press has known about the base, but kept silent.  Emptywheel has more.

❖ Hmmm.  “Iran arrests ally of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, notorious prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi”. Ahmadinejad has challenged Ayatollah Ali-Khamenei.

❖ The FBI has been dispatched to investigate last week’s bombing of the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

❖ When President Obama goes to Israel at the end of March he’ll “bring urgent peacemaking agenda”.

❖  Could the “UK face human rights court” as a result of The Open Society Justice Initiative’s torture report?

International Finance

❖ “Royal Bank of Scotland . . . has been fined $610m by UK and US authorities for its part in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.”

❖ “Deutsche Bank has suspended more traders as part of an inquiry into whether staff attempted to manipulate [Libor and Euribor] interest rates.”  Five suspended Tuesday in Frankfurt.

Greek seamen, on strike for six days, have been ordered back to work by the government.

Money Matters USA

   Thanks to “Congressional incompetence”, there’ll be no more Saturday mail deliveries, as the US Postal Service struggles to survive.

❖ “Judge Rakoff Delivers Big Blow to Bank of America and JP Morgan in Flagstar Mortgage Putback Ruling”.  Judge Rakoff wasn’t about to be fooled, either.  Thorough analysis, and–finally–a just award.

❖ Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the US credit rating and the Justice Dept’s lawsuit against them “is raising questions of whether it actually amounts to retaliation.”

❖ Outgoing Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, has expanded his argument against defense cuts to include the damage they will wreak on the overall economy.  He’s also recommending pay cuts for the troops.  And he’s pondering reducing the carrier fleet in the Persian Gulf by one.

❖ “Yale Suing Former Students Shows Crisis in Loans to Poor”.  And it’s not just Yale.

Politics USA

❖ Anti-immigration rally in Tucson.  American Indian walks by, takes a look around and calls them out.  Video.

❖ “Legal, ethical, and  wise”.  Those are the words White House Press Secretary Jay Carney used to describe drone strikes.

❖ The White House seems to be leaving it to John Brennan, nominee for CIA head, to explain that drone base in Saudi Arabia.

Cast aside your concern about lack of drone strike oversight .  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI),  Chair of  the House Intelligence Committee, has got it covered.

❖ The officer in charge of the Office of Military Commissions at Guantanamo is John Imhof, former owner of “Hotel Hell” in upstate NY which ended up $750,000 in debt.

❖ KKKKarl says he doesn’t want “a fight”with the Tea-party, he just wants to find and fund conservative candidates who can win.  Rove’s American Crossroads unleashed an ad against Ashley Judd, who might run  against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  Judd thanked Rove and American Crossroads “for all the attention”.

❖ “The Virginia House of Delegates killed a plan by the state Senate GOP to redraw legislative lines”.  Let us hope that’s the last of that “Dirty Trick”.

House member Tom Cole (R-OK) is adamantly opposed to “raising any additional revenue” in order to avoid the sequester.

❖ Former MT state Sen. Corey Stapleton (R) announced his 2014 candidacy for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)’s seat.

NC has a $2.6b unemployment insurance debt.  The GOP plans to  fix it by raising business unemployment insurances taxes.  Democrats say the fix hits workers the hardest, punishing them for things beyond their control.

❖ The American Council of Engineering Companies in California (ACEC-CA) contributed $400,000 of that  $11m in “dark money” used for political ads in the 2012 campaign.  The Professional Engineers in California Government responded that ACEC-CA “should be ashamed.”

Jeb Bush offered a handsome sum to buy the Miami Marlins, but they weren’t interested.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

NC’s Senate has passed a bill “that blocks state government from expanding Medicaid”.

❖ A UCLA lab has developed a very “Tiny capsule [that] effectively kills cancer cells “.

Working for A Living

Home Depot will hire 80,000 seasonal workers this spring, 10,000 more than last year.

Delphi Flint East of MI is moving to Mexico, according to United Auto Workers.  287 hourly workers are involved.

Heads Up!

❖ Do we, in the Land of the Free, have to undergo this all over again?

Charlottesville, VA’s City Council  passed “what is believed to be the first anti-drone resolution in the country.”

Frank Serpico, the New York police officer portrayed in the movie, has joined the legal team of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft who is charging the NYPD “dragged him off to a mental hospital after he accused them of fudging crime stats.”  $50m suit.

Planet Earth News

❖  The Environmental Protection Agency says fracking is the “second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases.”

❖  Jim White on the closure of the Crystal River (FL) nuclear power plant.

❖  The US Food & Drug Administration doesn’t “have enough data” and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently “evaluating” the situation, while the European Union “requires labeling of foods containing nanomaterials”, which “have deleterious effects on mice and cells.”

❖  US Power plants in 2011 “produced 4.5 percent less emissions overall” than in 2010.

Poland has outlawed Monsanto maize, 8th Eurozone country to do so.

Latin America

Cuba was elected to the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States,  another hint that it might be time to improve US-Cuba relations.  “The world has changed, as has Cuba.  Only [US] policy remains froze in time.”

Drummond  Co, of AL, “dumped nearly 1,900 metric tonnes of coal into the sea to prevent its barge from sinking” according to Colombia’s Environment Minister.

Mixed Bag

Glorious starfishes!

❖ Dammit, not the iron!

Break Time

Banjo Bach