Greetings.

International Developments

❖ “The International Committee of the Red Cross . . . is urgently sending a doctor to Guantanamo Bay because of a growing hunger strike among detainees.”

Modern warfare’s combat goal is “find, fix and finish“.  Will putting the drone program inside the Pentagon mean the CIA will find and fix with the Pentagon doing the finishing?  It might signal the end of drone use as covert, which has major implications.

❖ “Internally displaced people in Somalia are suffering sexual violence and other forms of abuse”.

❖ “North Korean severs military hotline with South Korea.”

International Finance

❖ In a recent presentation, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi used incorrect data, shutting down French President Hollande’s planned economic policies.  Corrected data show that “Germany . . .  has been a major contributing factor to the crisis.”

❖ Uh-oh.  The head of the Bank of Cypress was fired on the instruction of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Cyprus has announced Capital Controls prior to tomorrow’s bank reopening.  ”[F]oreign transactions and capital outflows” are limited, savings accounts withdrawals restricted,  check cashing suspended, etc.

❖ Then:  Iraqi oil will pay for Iraq’s reconstruction.  Now: “Iraqi oil . . . it’s mostly China’s.”

❖ 80% of drug arrests at the US-Mexican border are of US citizens.

Money Matters USA

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is urging TARP’s special inspector general to investigate FL’s mortgage assistance program, the Hardest Hit Fund.

Wal-Mart’s concerned that the probe of its alleged bribery of Mexican officials might hurt its stock.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extending a hand to beleaguered mortgage holders by easing consumer financial  documentation requirements.  If they do provide the documentation, though, their payments may be reduced further.

Politics USA

Management move with a Bad Message:  “The woman who approved a 2005 decision to destroy video tapes showing prisoners being [tortured] was tapped as acting head of the CIA’s clandestine services last month and may assume the job permanently”.

❖ Uh-oh.  “Obama To Dine With GOP Senators Again”.

❖ Now that Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is retiring, his powerful position as Chair of the Senate Banking Committee is up for grabs.

❖ The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee intends to “devote all of the resources necessary to win” the seat of retiring Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD).

Ashley Judd is “unable” to run against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his seat.

Republicans are going all NIMBY now that the impacts of sequestration are becoming apparent in their home states and districts–and they’re whining.

❖ Jon Stewart examines the Republican National Committee’s latest strategery to make themselves appealing to minorities.  Don’t miss; scroll to video.    Former head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, doesn’t like what his predecessor is doing, either.

❖ Having been put through the scandal wringer, “Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has seen a recovery in his approval ratings after falling into negative territory only a month ago.”  Could a really dirty trickster be involved?

Former FL GOP Chairperson, Jim Greer, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, 1 year probation for money laundering and theft.

Gun Corner

Newton, CT’s First Selectman (Mayor) Patricia Llodra: “President Obama should have initiated his pursuit for new gun laws in the immediate aftermath” of the massacre last December.  Indeed, support for strict gun control laws decreased from 54% in January to 47% yesterday.

❖ A physician in the local ER in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre showed the Senate what happens inside the body when a person is hit by an assault weapon bullet.

❖ A Republican who ran for mayor of Tucson and lost is now handing out free shotguns to local residents–this in the same town where former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

Gov. Bill Haslam is not in favor of expanding TN’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.  TN’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry supports the expansion.

❖ “[H]ealth advocates, doctors and others rallied” in Jackson, MS in support of expanded Medicaid.

❖ “Maine Hospital Association supports Medicaid expansion”, joining ME’s Medical Association and ME’s Osteopathic Association.

LA’s Dept of Health & Hospitals released an analysis favorable to the state’s  participating in Medicaid expansion.  Gov Bobby Jindal (R) is “staunchy opposed”.

MO Gov. Jay Nixon (D) is trying to rally support for his state’s participation in the Medicaid expansion, but the MO House has voted “No”.

❖ The trade-off for higher premiums under Obamacare is expected to be improved benefits. And, of course, there’s the magic of the market place to even things out.

❖ Yet another from what used to be America’s Heartland:  “Kansas bill calls for HIV positive people to be quarantined”.  It’s already passed the senate.

MI’s Attorney General wants that Massachusetts company linked to a meningitis outbreak, the New England Compounding Center, criminally investigated.

Sacramento, CA must pay $800,000 to attorneys who represented the homeless “in a lawsuit charging police with violating [the homeless'] constitutional rights by failing to protect their belongings” following campsite raids.  The city has already paid $796,050 to individuals whose belongings were seized and disappeared.

Education Directions

❖ “Michelle Rhee takes on teachers’ unions”.  She’s in Los Angeles on her crusade to defeat teachers, financed in part by Wal-Mart which shares her opposition to unions.

Planet Earth News

So-called “missing heat”, cited by global warming deniers, has been found–in the deep oceans.  “30% of the ocean warming over the past decade has occurred in the deeper oceans below 700 meters . . . unprecedented over at least the past half century.”

❖ That 5.7 earthquake in OK in 2011 has been linked to all the wastewater from the oil extraction process that was pumped underground.

Latin America

❖ “Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups . . ..”  Ecuador’s politicians have run up a large debt with China which is another factor at play.

Break Time

Arctic Light