Greetings!

International Developments

Guantanamo:  A “‘medical ethics-free zone’“; “doctors must refuse to force-feed hunger strikers.”

Turkish Prime Minister “Erdogan’s chilling warning: ‘these protests will be over in 24 hours’. . ..  From now on security forces will respond differently.’”

60 Shiite Muslims were killed in Haita, eastern Syrian,  during brutal fighting, including by the al-Qaeda group, Nusra Front.

❖ “A Syrian helicopter opened fire on a Lebanese border town in the eastern Bekaa Valley . . . , wounding two people” according to the Lebanese army.

❖ “Syrian rebels and activists have condemned the killing of a 14-year-old boy, allegedly by al-Qaeda-linked fighters who accused him of blasphemy.

❖ “Six people, including two schoolchildren, have been killed in an ambush near Kenya’s border with Somalia”.

❖ Earlier assurances to the contrary:  “A team of [UNESCO] experts in Mali says damage to Timbuktu’s unique cultural heritage under rebel control is much worse than was first estimated.”

Life in a hellish Chinese labor camp:  an inmate tucked a description of it inside “a package of Halloween decorations sold at Kmart”, begging whoever found the note to “send it to the World Human Right Organization”.

International Finance

The Greek government just shut down ERT, the state broadcaster, “calling it a ‘haven of waste’.”  Thousands protested, riot police deployed.  2,500 jobs lost.

More rigging in the financial world, this involving  “manipulated benchmark foreign-exchange rates”.  It’s been going on for 10 years, but the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has bestirred itself into “considering opening a probe”.

❖ “Anti-G8 protest headquarters in London raided by riot police; Hundreds of officers deployed and 57 arrests made as Carnival against Capitalism is staged in London”.  Video.

❖ “Ireland’s trade union movement has taken the unprecedented step of asking human rights monitors to oversee the largest anti-G8 demonstration of next week’s two-day summit”.

❖ “Jamie Dimon hit back against allegations that JPMorgan Chase executives misled investors over the bank’s “London whale” trading losses, pledging to fight ‘to the end’ against any lawsuits filed in the affair.”

Money Matters USA

Pauperization of the US population has proceeded “faster under Obama than under George W. Bush”, with 1/2 of us “now considered poor or low-income”.  Graphs.

❖ The O-hits keep on coming.  “Obama Cans Regulator Who Crossed Wall Street: Ouster is a gain for big bankers advocating lax oversight.”    He’ll be replaced with Amanda Renteria, “a simply pathetic choice” which might be a move “to render the CFTC incompetent over time.”

❖ “Obama Nominates America’s Biggest Walmart Cheerleader as His Chief Economic Adviser”.  That would be Jason Furman.

❖ “The federal deficit is down, spending is down, revenues are up, and the balance sheet of Social Security and Medicare are stable or improving. . . . In a rational world, this would be seen as providing breathing room to create job-creating programs of real value to the overall economy.”

❖ “BMW sued by U.S. over criminal background checks in hiring” in Spartanburg, SC.  The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the complaint.

Surveillance USA

❖ “German outrage over a U.S. internet spying program . . . , with ministers demanding [President Obama] provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week”.  One official even said tactics resemble “the East German Stasi.”

Experts say “NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots”.  Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Intelligence Committee today the NSA data “disrupted ‘dozens’ of terror plots”, but details are classified.

Mozilla, the ACLU, Greenpeace, the World Wide Web Foundation and 80 other organizations have “launched a campaign . . . protesting the huge US online surveillance program”.

Google, Microsoft and Facebook “called on the U.S. government to provide greater transparency on national security requests . . . as they sought to distance themselves from reports that portrayed the companies as willing partners”.

❖ “Lawmakers concerns over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs were not alleviated after the full House received a briefing on the programs on Tuesday.” Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) still has concerns.

CBS News Poll:  60% of Americans think Edward] Snowden’s leaks “have no effect or will strengthen national security.”

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, says “private conractors [are an] ‘integral part’ of intel community”.  He didn’t mention who  made them so.

❖ “James Clapper must go:  His attempts to mislead the nation–and absurd claims afterward–should get him fired and prosecuted.”  Nonetheless, President Obama stands by his man.

Politics USA

As CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell departs, he will be “replaced by White House lawyer and agency outsider Avril D. Haines”.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD),  of the House Oversight Committee has said he’ll release full transcripts of the hearings on the IRS “targeting” matter.  Committee Chairperson Darrell Issa (R-CA) says that would be “reckless”.  Gee,  why?

❖ “While Sen. John Cronyn (R-TX)  has been adamantly opposed to the Affordable Care Act, he’s also been “writing the government in support of a grant application that would be funded by Obamacare.”

❖ Oopsie.  Former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) received payments [of $450,000] from four Department of Energy labs without “much proof of work actually performed”.

The War on Women

❖ “Reproductive Coercion, Domestic Violence and Anti-Choice Laws”.  It’s all about control, taking “away a woman’s basic right to self-determination”.

Great liberal Sen. Carl Levin (D-MN), “stripped a measure . . . [in the defense spending bill] that would have taken sexual assault reporting out of the chain of command” since that approach is not working.

Republicans in the WI Senate rammed through “a bill . . . requiring women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds” and physicians performing abortions to have local hospital admitting privileges.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) says “the chances of a pregnancy resulting from rape are ‘very low’” so no reason to have a rape and incest exception to his measure “to ban abortions after 20 weeks.”

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU “filed a federal lawsuit . . . challenging a new Alabama law that tightens restrictions on abortion clinics in the state” by requiring that physicians performing abortions have local hospital staff privileges

Break Time

Indian car.