❖ “A Bahraini police officer has been killed as protests and violence continue in the Gulf kingdom”.
❖ “French incursion frees few slaves in Mali”, since Tuareg slave-owners fled into Burkina Faso and Mauritania as the French advanced. “Tuaregs and Arabs who failed to escape have been summarily killed”.
❖ “Fighters from the militant Islamist al-Nusra Front have captured a Syrian oil town near the city of Hasaka”. Fighting continues in Aleppo.
❖ Is there more than misogyny and sadism behind the rapes, even genital mutilation, of women in Egypt, particularly in Tahrir Square?
❖ The Chair of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party “condemns ‘dictator’ Erdogan” and calls for “a new constitution to protect individual rights” against concentration of power by Erdogan.
❖ Not only is North Korea working on nuclear tests, but also on developing and firing a long-range missile.
❖ “Amazon’s Thuggish Security Force in Germany Shows State Does Not Have a Monopoly on Violence”. Beginning with the heroic, now largely forgotten, struggles of labor vs hired thugs in the US, Yves Smith reports on Amazon’s use of Nazi-friendly thugs as security in Germany.
❖ Jamaica has signed a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $750m. Under the terms of the agreement, Jamaica must arrange a debt swap.
❖ “Italy makes [five] ‘Mafia’ arrests over Sicily wind farms”.
❖ Airbus will “scrap plans to use lithium-ion batteries on its new passenger jet . . . following Boeing’s cisis with the 787 Dreamliner.”
Money Matters USA
❖ David Dayen on “How to save the Postal Service–and protect ordinary Americans from financial predators–in one easy step: bring back postal banking!”
❖ The US General Accounting Office warns ”As climate change leads to more frequent and destructive natural disasters and threatens crop yields, bridges and other infrastructure, the federal government faces big financial risks that it is poorly positioned to address”.
❖ Wal-Mart Stores, Family Dollar Stores and other discounters “are bracing for a rise in the payroll tax to take a bigger bite from the paychecks of shoppers.” Leaked email shows Wal-Mart’s February sales were a “total disaster.” Result: Wal-Mart stocks tanked today.
❖ “Wal-Mart Off the Hook on Tackled Worker’s Death”. Disturbing on several levels.
❖ Warren Buffett is up to his eyeballs in ketchup. How well will that go with another Buffett’s frozen concoction?
❖ Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have told the White House to “Get serious on debt” in their relentless pursuit of wrecking Social Security and other “entitlement programs.”
❖ “New York City’s teacher pension fund has sold its stocks [valued at $13.5m] of publicly traded firearms manufacturers . . . in response to the school shootings in Connecticut”. CalPERS is considering the same action, following a similar decision by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System last month.
❖ Despite assurances that deportation of “hardcore criminals” is the goal, emails have surfaced which show that the goal is more on “meeting quotas” by finding and deporting people with “low-level offenses”.
❖ President Obama will work with Congress “to help the public understand the circumstances under which the government will target an American citizen with ties to al-Qaida using an unmanned aerial drone.”
❖ “Common Cause: Hagel fiasco shows need to repeal Senate’s filibuster rule”.
❖ Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), member of the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee, asked some top regulators (FDIC, SEC, OCC, CFPB, CFTC, Fed and Treasury), who appeared before the Committee how many times they had taken a big bank to trial. Great video. Update: ”Warren terrifies bankers“.
❖ Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) wants to “bring back the military draft and extend it to women for the first time.”
❖ Perhaps Rep. Rangel and others should first investigate this: “Inside the military’s ‘giant rape cult’”.
❖ In Chicago, it’s fine for a half-drunk police officer to be on duty, even written into the union contracts.
❖ Puh-leeze! “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering launching a 2016 presidential bid”.
❖ Rep Edward Markey (D) polls ahead of Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) in the MA Senate race.
❖ Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad told KKKKarl and his super PAC to bug off.
❖ FreedomWorks of AZ, responsible for the H.-Clinton-sex-with-panda video, planned sending bizarre Valentine’s Day cards to lawmakers. The Hitler card said “Be Mein”. The cards, and the video, were nixed early on.
❖ The NRA’s latest reason for everybody to arm up: “so that you can defend yourself and your family from the horde of rampaging bloodthirsty brown Mexicans about to come pouring over our borders.” Video.
❖ Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, AZ’s very own sheriff, has a record of approving “sex offenders, domestic abusers and other members with criminal records” as volunteers for his posses. He’s putting together a new posse now–to monitor AZ schools.
Health, Homelessness & Hunger
❖ US Dept. of Health & Human Services has drafted a “proposed rule covering Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug benefit programs . . . which will have to cap . . . overhead and profits at 15 percent beginning” 2014.
Women & Children
❖ A bill in the NC House “makes it a Class H felony” for women to expose their nipples and “any portion of the areola.” Lawmakers advised women to use pasties or duct tape, to be on the safe side. They don’t seem to know that men have nipples.
Planet Earth News
❖ Tom Wilbur, of “Under the Surface”, will be on FDL’s Book Salon this Saturday, beginning at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.
❖ The Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund’s “latest project [is] a campaign to stop state governments moving towards renewable energy”.
❖ How many holes are in pipes used for the Keystone XL pipeline? What tests are done, when, by what agency?
❖ “Arctic Death Spiral Bombshell: CryoSat-2 Confirms Sea Ice Volume Has Collapsed“.