❖ White House proclaims the Syrian government used nerve gas. White House considering “imposing a no-fly zone”. Russia dismisses “US claims of Syrian chemical weapons use [and] cautions US against arming Syrian rebels.” Syria protests US “lies” about use of nerve gas. US “looks to G8 summit [for] consensus over Syria”, “meets lukewarm reaction” to “small arms support” plan.
❖ “Six Afghan police found shot dead in Helmand” province, apparently killed by another policeman.
❖ After Istanbul’s Gov. Huseyin Avni Mutlu “called on the mothers of the Gezi Park protesters to ‘bring their children home’”, mothers showed up at the park, joined with their children and formed a human chain of resistance. Update: Prime Minister Erdogan “offers to suspend Gezi Park redeveloping pending court case.”
❖ Water wars pending as Ethiopa ratifies a treaty stripping “Egypt of its right to the lion’s share of the Nile river waters”.
❖ This explains a whole helluva lot of things: “Just thinking about money can make you more evil, researchers say.”
Money Matters USA
❖ “Everyone’s Quitting Facebook”: company executives, investors and 6 million US users last month.
❖ “US budget cuts ‘ill-designed‘” according to the International Monetary Fund.
❖ They’re all in it together. . . . It’s a new military industrial open source Big Data complex. The gift economy has delivered us the surveillance state.”
❖ “Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence”.
❖ “How Spy Agency Contractors Have Already Abused Their Power”. Lee Fang recalls the “plot by . . . Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary Federal . . . to sabotage left-leaning critics”.
❖ Startling stats about private industry’s involvement in government intelligence. E.g., 483,263 contractors have top-secret clearances; Booz Allen Hamilton got $1.3 bn for intelligence work; etc.
❖ Great “Chart: How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington”, and our tax dollars, too!
❖ Bennis: Data collected about Americans with no allegation that any crime has been committed is unprecedented, contrary to basic rights. Our rights are imperiled as terrorists attack the US government because of blow-back from government policies.
❖ “Justice Dept. Loses a Round in Battle to Keep Surveillance Wrongdoing Secret”. But a fight still looms, since “the Justice Department . . . will fiercely oppose [disclosure] . . . even when the nation’s most secret court has no objection.”
❖ After their closed-door meeting with NSA Director Keith Alexander, most senators lock-stepped away. But not all.
❖ DiFi’s solution is to “limit the access of government contract workers”.
❖ How can lawmakers provide oversight of “the practice of secret law, where there is a different interpretation used by the government of the United States than a plain reading of the statute would suggest”?
❖ Remember the AT&T data mining of 2006? “‘I warned whoever I could’: surveillance alarm bells sounded years ago.”
❖ R. Reich: “The Two Centers of Unaccountable Power in America“, the “intelligence community” and Wall Street.
❖ “Welcome to Utah, the NSA’s [$1.7bn] home for eavesdropping on America”.
❖ “Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks: NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disaster could spur anti-government activism.” Why not just clean up the environment?
❖ “Regulatory review times at the White House Office of Management and Budget are now the longest in 20 years.” Howard A. Shelanski, nominated to head up the office, said at confirmation hearings “his first priority would be to speed the agency’s review process.”
❖ Thin-skinned or what? Wi Gov. Scott Walker (R) refused to appoint a 20-year-old as student representative on the University of WI’s Board of Regents because he “signed a petition in 2011 to recall Walker.”
❖ Citizen Action of WI: “The Worst State Budget Money Can Buy”. Millions of federal dollars rejected for “BadgerCare, state-wide expansion of the failed voucher school experiment, a huge tax giveaway to the wealthy” and so on.
❖ TX Gov. Rick Perry (R): “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.”
❖ US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts “formally ordered” the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit to review the matter of 5th Circuit of Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones who allegedly said some awfully racist sounding things recently.
The War on Women
❖ Major study seeks to answer the question, “What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions”?
❖ WWJD? Catholic Holy Trinity School in San Diego fired a teacher because she was a victim of domestic abuse and threw her four children out of the school, too.
❖ Circuit court judge in TN is developing a dress code for women in court, banning “revealing blouses, miniskirts and . . . sweatpants.”
❖ “It’s Not Just Akin” website lets you see and read Republican misogynist and fact-free statements about women.
❖ Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) who thinks rape doesn’t result in pregnancy that often got his bill banning abortion after 20 weeks passed 20-12 through the House Judiciary Committee.
❖ “Two Catholic officials in Philadelphia were sentenced to prison . . . for sexually abusing a young boy more than a decade ago.” One setenced 6-12 years, the other 8-16.
❖ Americans For Safe Access estimate the Obama administration “has spent nearly $300 million on combatting medical marijuana”.
Planet Earth News
❖ The O-team will unveil “a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”
❖ In 2005, one of 13 “major pest species” was resistant to GM crops. That number rose to five in 2011.
❖ “Antibiotic ship paint is leading to more superbugs.” G8 ministers are upset.
❖ “[R]ivers across Texas have been severely tested by the long-running drought . . ., increasing demands for water from a growing population and industrial base.” TX plans to spend $2bn to finance water projects, but none for fish and wildlife.’
❖ Beautiful pictures of the world’s clearest lake.
❖ Be dazzled.