Hello.

International Developments

❖ The UN says “Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel.”

Desperate, despairing statement from Syria:  “‘We don’t care who rules us, we just want to live’.”

❖ Not satisfied with small arms supplies to Syrian rebels, US allies, including Saudi Arabia and France, want the US to do more.  Update:  “Since late last year, CIA and U.S. military operatives have been teaching Syrian rebels how to use anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns at bases in Jordan and Turkey”.

Taliban-US talks may be back on.

Rami Hamdallah once again Prime Minister of Palestine.

❖ “How Tunisia is Turning Into a Salafist Battleground:  An interview with a professor who was attacked for standing up for secularism.”

Contrary to concerns expressed by other physicians, “Guantanamo force-feeding does not trouble prison doctors”.

Top weapons buyer for the Pentagon “Admits F-35 Stealth Fighter Secrets Stolen”.

International Finance

❖ “Greek leftists quit coalition government after public media shutdown.”

❖ More on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the TransPacific Partnership trade negotiations being conducted in strictest secrecy–albeit with corporations included.

Money Matters USA

❖ Money talks: “Ex-Enron boss Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence cut” by 10 (to 14 years).

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Angus King (I-VT) have a bill tying student loan interest rates to  10-year Treasury notes plus one percent.

The great national mortgage settlement has hit some snags.  The oversight process doesn’t work, e.g, and major banks have “failed at least one” test.  There’s talk about fixing things.

Employers have the right to pay disabled workers pretty much whatever they want, as in 22-cents an hour.   There’s a bill in the works to fix this cruelty, but it’s being hotly contested.

❖ “How Wall Street Fraudsters Plunder Public Finances, And How To Fight Back”.

The US Chamber of Commerce is doubling-down on Social Security.

Surveillance Planet

❖ “France, Spain launch probe into Google’s privacy law:  Spain has launched proceedings against Google” and France has “given the search giant three months to rethink its privacy rules.”  Update: “UK regulator orders Google to delete private data” gleaned from its Street View project.

Does the NSA get data on Americans from allied countries‘ intelligence services, thereby getting around the prohibition on spying on US citizens?  Update: British agency “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications . . . and shares them with NSA”.

The Europeans are getting hot about US surveillance of their citizens after a two-year exhausting negotiation process with the US, topped by recent revelations.

❖ “Leaked NSA Doc Says It Can Collect And Keep Your Encrypted Data As Long As It Takes To Crack It.”  So, they gotcha coming (without encryption) and going (with encryption).

President Obama will attend the secretive Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board meeting today, its  first in many years.  Update:  Some info about the secretive PCLOB, including some of its members, and its statement summarizing the meeting they had with President Obama today.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) could not speak out about his concerns over government snooping late last year when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was wrapping up its work on renewing surveillance law.  He was muzzled by DiFi, et al.

USIS, under contract with the feds to do background investigations on potential employees, is itself under investigation, including for approving Edward Snowden “despite concerns about resume discrepancies.”

Politics USA

Howard Dean “open to presidential bid”. Ho ho ho!

President Obama provided a video message to the Netroots Nation conference, asking for help in moving forward some of his policies but, apparently, didn’t mention the Keystone pipeline, Trans Pacific Partnership, everybody-spy-on-everybody-and-we’ll-spy-on-you-too policies.

❖ “FBI insists Michael Hastings was not under investigation.”

Rep Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced “Aaron’s Law”, removing some of the harsher measures currently in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

With a week to go before the election, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has a 20-point lead over his opponent, Gabriel Gomez (R), for John Kerry’s old Senate seat.

All jurors in the George Zimmerman trial (in the death of Trayvon Martin) are female.

Paula Deen:  Chef Barf-a-roodie.

That GOP official in IL who called a Republican congressional candidate, who’s also a former Miss America, a “street walker” and “love child” has resigned.

The guy who planned to zap people with a “mobile radiation device“, apparently was targeting Muslims and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

The Poarch Creek high school student who wore an eagle feather in the tassel of her cap at graduation, will not have to pay the $1000 fine as originally suggested–and she got her high school diploma, too.

❖ “George W. Bush’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather was a Slave Trader.”  Thomas “Beau” Walker “died at sea in 1797 when his own crew mutinied and threw him overboard”.

Gun Corner

❖ Jaw-dropping:  Laws currently on the books limit “research on gun violence . . . , prohibit “access to federal gun data. . . . [and] public disclosure of a gun’s sales history, make that data inadmissible in court, require the Justice Department to destroy background-check records within 24 hours and prohibit requiring gun dealers to check their inventories annually for theft.”

Planet Earth News

In Albany, NY “thousands of citizens and celebrities . . . [gathered to]  protest the possibility of lifting the state-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing”.

The demise of sockeye salmon may occur if Pebble Mine in AK, “projected to be the largest open pit mine in North America” becomes a reality.

75,000 displaced by floods in Calgary, Alberta.  The entire downtown area, where 230,000 people usually work, evacuated.

Latin America

❖ “Brazilian Revolt Claims First Fatality as Violence Erupts“.  One million Two million in the streets “in hundreds of cities” demanding “better public services and an end to corruption”.  President Dilma Rousseff struggles “to get in front of the mass movement”.

Mixed Bag

Plants “do” quantum physics.

❖ Huge Hole on the Sun.

Break Time

Stardust