❖ ”Syrian rebels captured one village and parts of others on the edge of the Golan Heights [today] as fighting closed in on the strategic plateau”. If this continues there’ll be “Islamic militants [on] a front-line with Israeli troops”.
❖ “US and Israel ‘share Iran goals‘”. President Obama is “opening talks on extending US military aid [to Israel] beyond 2017″, and he’s “urged Palestinians to drop their demands for a freeze in Israeli settlement building as a precondition for peace talks.”
❖ “The jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has called for a truce after years of war.”
❖ The US wants a “swift transfer” of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda from the Embassy in Kigali to the International Criminal Court in the Hague “where he faces war crimes charges.”
❖ US Gen. John Kelly “plays down Guantanamo hunger strike”.
❖ The fruits of war: U.S. Has Left Iraq with Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers”. Depleted uranium, white phosphorus.
❖ “Cyprus crisis: Government to create ‘solidarity fund’ after ECB issues Monday ultimatum: . . . Longer queues at Laiki [major bank] cash machines”, much more, including pictures of protests. Blazing Saddles defense? “Cyprus threatens suicide strategy.”Live streams here.
❖ Austerity has been such a failure in the UK that Prime Minister George Osborne is promising “even deeper spending cuts after election”, targeting “Areas so far protected from austerity”.
❖ Iceland shines! “Icelandic bank Kaupthing’s top executives indicted over market rigging: Court documents are expected to allege a conspiracy by Kaupthing chairman Sigurdur Einarsson”, et al.
Money Matters USA
❖ Sequester victim: Dept. of Defense’s “Tuition Assistance program for all military members.”
❖ “Audit faults Freddie Mac’s oversight of mortgage servicers: At least eight big providers of mortgage customer service have failed to properly track and resolve serious complaints about servicing fraud”.
❖ “Private sector parasites: . . . the unproductive, rent-extracting rich”. ‘Rentiers’ exist for self-perpetuation, resulting in “low taxes [for them], privatization of natural monopolies, and a macroeconomic policy driven by fear of inflation.”
❖ The US House passed a continuing resolution, funding the government through September.
❖ Jamie Dimon, Farmer in the Dell? DDay on “How the nation’s biggest banks use the little-covered House Agriculture Committee to gut regulations”.
❖ Continuing their efforts to squeeze the US Postal Service, “Congress advanced a spending bill requiring six-day [mail] delivery”. The USPS wanted to suspend Saturday delivery, saving $2 billion annually.
❖ House Republicans passed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s sucky budget. Table showing Ryan budget tax savings by income level. House Republicans voting nay: Amash (MI), Broun (GA), Crawford (AR), Forbes (VA), Gibson (NY), Gingrey (GA), Heck (NV), Jones (NC), Massie (KY), McKinley (WV)
❖ What’s up with this? Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): Let’s have a Social Security Commission “to come up with a set of fixes to [Social Security's] fiscal programs that Congress could approve”.
❖ MI’s Gov. RIck Snyder (R) slashed “his state’sbusiness taxes”, but now that state roads are crumbling, he’s proposing increasing gasoline taxes by 19 – 33 cents/gallon and license plate fees by 60%, so consumers will pay.
❖ KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) used the phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ in a presentation to the KS legislature, to which State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D), Tohono O’odham Nation member, responded: “. . . when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you.”
❖ Is SD becoming a lost cause for Democrats?
Women & Children
❖ New law in India “. . . makes crimes of stalking and sexual harassment and provides for the death penalty for fatal rape attacks.”
❖ Rahmbo is set to close some 50 elementary schools in Chicago–to the outrage of “aldermen and community leaders in the mostly African-American neighborhoods that will be hardest hit.”
Working for A Living
❖ “The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint [similar to an indictment] against four companies involved in staffing and managing Walmart’s largest distribution center in the United States” for repeatedly threatening and punishing warehouse workers for labor organizing”.
❖ Amazon “has reportedly won a contract for CIA efforts to ‘collect everything and hang on to it forever’.” $600 million over 10 years.
❖ “Privacy laws urgently need to be updated to protect the public from information-gathering by the thousands of civilian drones expected”.
❖ Reddit and Craigslist have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Internet Defense League “to fight CISPA [the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] which allows the National Security Agency and the military to collect your private Internet records”.
Planet Earth News
❖ Sally Jewell’s nomination as Secretary of the Interior was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Only three Republicans opposed. Promised deals greased the wheels.
❖ “Climate science-denying GOPer to head climate subcommittee“. That’s Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT). He wants to dissolve the EPA, btw.
❖ “Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking” in PA’s northeast section.
❖ Canadian and US indigenous peoples are forming alliances, including “physical action”, ”to block oil pipelines”.
❖ The genocide and crimes against humanity trial of US-backed dictator “strongman, Ephraim Rios Montt” is underway in Guatemala, with standing room only in the courtroom.
❖ Who knew? Elephant seals use pedestrian cross-walks.
❖ The sky’s oldest light.