International Developments

❖ Strayed off the ranch much?  ”Obama Policy Team ‘Trying To Rein In’ Kerry After Issuing Several Pledges to Allies, Rivals”.

❖ “Ten car-bomb explosions killed at least 39 people across” Baghdad, Iraq today.

Sunni-Shiite strife has resulted in the “Lebanese army storm[ing] Islamist mosque [in Sidon] as Syria crisis spreads.”

❖ “Egypt’s army chief warned on Sunday that the military is ready to intervene to stop the nation from entering a ‘dark tunnel’ of internal conflict.”

❖ “Pakistan to seek treason charges against Musharraf”.

Major issues raised by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdogan’s plans to  build a mosque, a mall and “a replica Ottoman Army barracks” which set off protests in Taksim Square–and the architect caught in the middle.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to 7 years in jail and “banned . . . from public office” for having paid sex with a minor and trying to cover it up.  He’s appealing.

International Finance

A “co-owner of Coral Springs, Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies claims that about 80 workers [in their Beijing factory] are blocking every exit of his building around the clock until their demands are met.”

Money Matters USA

❖ Think he means it? Richard Fisher of the Dallas Federal Reserve “warned the ‘feral hogs’ of financial markets against trying to force the Federal Reserve to . . . slow its bond buying”.  Further, he said the Fed would not be “propping up the economy indefinitely”.

Surveillance Planet

Jonathan Schell:  “There is a revolution afoot–one that is being carried out by the government against the fundamental law of the land.”

Why Ecuador?  “First, the country has an enviably loopholed extradition treaty with the United States.”  Second, the ruling regime of Ecuador doesn’t really care what America thinks.”

❖ Following the David Gregory-Glenn Greenwald mix-up  David Sirota asks:  Why is there a double standard when it comes to questioning other reporters who’ve also released classified information, why a hesitancy to question whether key government officials might not have committed perjury before Congress, and many more.

An account of Edward Snowden in Hong Kong by a chatty lawyer who tells us about phones, Pepsi and pizza.

Edward Snowden according to the South China Morning Post:  “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked.  That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”  Glenn Greenwald responds.

Ecuador issues Snowden a “document of passage”.

Russia says there’s no legal authority for it to turn Edward Snowden over to the US, while Secretary of State John Kerry demands otherwise.

While the US “scrambles” to find Snowden, Wikileaks claims to know where he is.

Continuous updates on the Snowden matter:  e.g., contrary to “NSA claims that the government needs to be able to suck up internet data from . . . Skype and Gmail to fight terrorists: . . . would-be terrorists don’t use those services”; etc.

❖ “Will The U.S. Be Able To Extradite James Clapper From Northern Virginia?”  You know, for lying to Congress.

Finally:  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced “the most sweeping bill yet dealing with the fallout over revelation of NSA surveillance of phone records and internet usage.”

Politics USA

How the top 1% of the top 1% “Now Dominate Our Elections”.

Political donations are sluggish, with the pro-Obama Organizing for Action having halved [its] $50 million fundraising goal”, and Republicans for Immigration Reform having sufficient funds to buy “just a tiny ad . . . in South Carolina”.

❖ “The Internal Revenue Service’s screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed” according to Danny Werfel, new IRS chief.  Search terms used included ‘Occupy’, ‘Progressive’, ‘Israel’.

The prosecution’s dramatic opening in the George Zimmerman trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Online map provided by PA’s Department of Transportation showing bridges and highways that could be built under the governor’s and senate’s bills.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ “80% of Pre-Packaged Foods in America Are Banned in Other Countries”.

❖ “Showdown at the Airport Body Scanner“.

US Department of Health & Human Services report:  “Obamacare saved consumers nearly $4 billion in 2012″.

The War on Women

US Air Force Lt. Colonel has been “charged with assault, rape and lewd acts against a child. . . over a six-year period in two states.”

Major struggle in the TX legislature  over anti-abortion legislation.  700 people signed up to testify against the bills.  Update: The bills were passed “in the wee hours” today and move to the Senate, and possibly a filibuster.

Maxed-out on ignorance, TX Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) says, “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out”.  (It’s thought she’s referring to evidence collection kits used in rape cases.)

❖ “Roy T. Dye, ‘men’s rights activist‘ . . . has to pay women to have sex with him . . . [then] beats them” up.

Education Directions

Compare top income families’ spending on “higher enrichment” for their children–from $3,536/child in 1970 to $8,872 in 2008–with families  in the bottom income–$835/child to $1,315 over the same time period.

Heads Up!

❖ O Canada!  “Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime”, up to 10-years in prison.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Tar Sands Mining Beginning in Utah: Why the U.S. Is Becoming Ground Zero For the Dirtiest Energy: The practice that has devastated parts of Canada is already underway in the U.S. and things could get a lot worse.”

How Canada went rogue and became a “reckless petrostate”.

Latin America

❖ ‘Bout time! “Watchdog groups [in Mexico] are gaining strength, opposition parties are challenging and exposing the faults of the status quo, and social and traditional news media organizations are increasingly seeking to hold officials accountable.”

Bolivia is considering legalizing abortion.  About one-third of “maternal deaths in Bolivia are due to unsafe abortion.”

Mixed Bag

Twinkies will be in the stores July 15th.

Break Time

This Note’s For You.