Greetings!

International Developments

❖ “A string of nearly a dozen apparently coordinated bombs . . . in cities across Iraq killed at least 32 and wounded dozens”.

Syria top item at the G8 meetings.  US President Obama and Russian President Putin appeared ‘tense’ after their two-hour meeting.

❖ “Russia . . .  will not permit no-fly zones . . . over Syria”.

❖ “Pew Poll: 70 Percent [of US adults] Oppose Providing Arms To Syrian Rebels.”

Boris Johnson, London mayor: ”Don’t arm the Syria maniacs.”

❖ Outgoing Iranian President “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad summoned to criminal court.”

❖ Turkey’s “Public Workers’ Unions . . . and . . . Progressive Trade Unions . . . are demanding an end to ‘police violence’” and  called for a one-day strike.  Update:  “Turkish government says it may use army to end protests.”

International Finance

❖ “Greek court suspends ERT [state] broadcaster closure.”

❖ “The IOR [Institute for Religious Works, or Vatican Bank for short] is currently seeking recognition from the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee . . . that it is fully compliant with international standards on combating money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing”, which it hasn’t been for some time.

❖ “Plans for an ambitious transatlantic trade deal have been launched by the European Union and the United States.”

❖ “Chevron . . . has a new tool to dismantle a $19 billion judgment it faces in Ecuador”.  Ecuador accuses Chevon’s  predecessor, Texaco, of oil contamination in Lago Agrio.  Chevron blames Ecuador’s Petroecuador.

Money Matters USA

❖ “[O]wners of 7-Eleven franchises in New York and Virginia created a ‘modern day plantation system’ in which undocumented workers were furnished with stolen identities and forced to work 100 hours a week for a fraction of their wages”.

Surveillance Planet 

Turkey, South Africa and Russia are po’d about UK spying during the 2009 G20 summit in London.

40% of Britons polled said whistleblower Edward Snowden is a hero;  45% said he “should be reprimanded”.

A “trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers” say “Edward Snowden succeeded where they failed.”  Video.

James Clapper’s office said that it “is incorrect” to say that “a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization”, as Edward Snowden claimed.  Update: Snowden addressed that issue  earlier today.

Emptywheel digs in on CNET’s reporting that NSA “has acknowledged . . . that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls”, and on James Clapper’s assertion that “NSA doesn’t wittingly ‘collect’ data” on millions of us.

While the government snoops on us, some in the government “have used alternative [secret] e-mail accounts . . . to conduct federal business” so we can’t know what they’re doing.

How Uncle Sugar dispenses goodies to contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton. Much $ data, including the amount returned in the form of “lobbying” the Congress which bestowed so much.

❖ “Apple Inc., said it received 4,000 to 5,000 requests for customer data from U.S. officials during the six months ending in May”.

❖ “‘Quit Google, Facebook’ suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens.”

Politics USA

❖ “An Internal Revenue Service supervisor in Washington [DC}" provides more detail about the relationship of the Cincinnati office to D.C.  Once DC provided guidance  to the Cincinnati office, btw, 102 applications were approved, 29 of which were right-wing.  No rejections.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now wants "New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting."

Rahmbo "is losing control of his city: As his disapproval rating soars, he's getting tagged with names like the 'murder mayor.'  Here's how it fell apart."

The Zimmerman trial {Trayvon Martin death case] is now in jury selection process, and is live.

Wrongful death suits filed by families of four TX inmates, incarcerated for non-violent crimes, who died from heat stroke.

❖ “At least 74 Texas sites report large stores of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate.”

USSC Rules

❖ “[P]rosecutors can use a person’s silence against them if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.”

❖ “[A]n Arizona law that required proof of citizenship to register to vote” was overturned since federal laws trump such state laws.

Money “deals between pharmaceutical corporations and their generic drug competitors, which government officials say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, can sometimes be illegal”.

❖ “[L]awyers cannot gather personal information about drivers from state databases when seeking plaintiffs for potential lawsuits”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

Sweden’s healthcare program with “far more government involvement”, costs at least half as much/person/year as in the US, and has much better outcomes.

Geneticists are deeply concerned that DNA samples cannot be held anonymously, as they once thought was the case.

Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago is under federal investigation for unnecessary  tracheotomies on Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The War on Women

❖ “Fewer waiting periods for guns than for abortions.”

Hoag Hospital of Newport Beach, CA affiliated with Catholic St. Joseph Health and stopped performing abortions, claiming  that was strictly a “business decision”.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a new CEO.

❖ “Texas jailers ran a ‘rape camp’ where they ‘repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates,’. . . two women claim in court.”  Two of the guards are already in TX prisons.

Two Saudi women trying to help a Canadian escape her husband were “convicted of the Islamic sharia law offence of takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband” and sentenced to 10 months

Planet Earth News

❖ Depressing sign of the times:  “Climate talk shifts from curbing CO2 to adapting”.

❖ By year’s end, “The world will have enough wind turbines to generate more than 300 gigawatts of power–the equivalent of 114 nuclear power plants”.

❖ “The upcoming TriMet Portland-Milwaukee light rail line has been designed so that power captured from braking trains can power accelerating ones.”

Mixed Bag

NASA has selected 8 new astronauts–4 women, 4 men.

❖ O, Canada! Michael Applebaum, Montreal’s Interim Mayor, has been arrested “by Quebec province’s anti-corruption squad”.  And there’s more on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack video.

Break Time

Slo-Mo Surfing