‘Evening.

International Developments

❖ “Rebel Groups in Northern Syria Are Fighting Each Other”.  ”The Free Youth Movement of Idlib, an activist group, lambasted both the Qaeda militants and the local rebel group [fighting] them.” SOS Kerry still wants to get involved in all this?

❖ “Mohamed ElBaradei named as interim PM, says Egyptian opposition.”  Update:  Mohamed ElBaradei’s appointment as Egypt’s interim PM thrown into doubt.” Update:  ”Egypt clashes continue amid faltering efforts to forge new government: Tensions run high between rival protesters as crowds gather in Tahrir Square to support ‘independence of the nation’”

❖ The Guardian:  ““Presumably, the WSJ thinks [lucky Egyptians] who dissent are tortured with electricity, raped, thrown from planes or–if they’re really lucky–just shot.” Plus, such lucky Egyptians will find their Pinochet-copy generals “preside over all this with the assistance of Britain and America.”

❖ “Nigerian students burned alive in extremist attack: One teacher and 29 pupils killed in pre-dawn arson and gun attack on Yobe boarding school by Islamist extremists.”  1600 people “slain by extremists since 2010.”

❖ “A series of blasts has shaken India’s holiest Buddhist shrine [in Bihar], where the Buddha himself is said to have gained enlightenment”.  Five were injured.

International Finance

❖ The UK and EU don’t seem to be getting along too well:  “Ministers to seize back 100 powers from Brussels . . . in a dramatic move this week.”

Greece has agreed to cut 4,000 state jobs in exchange for $8.1bn in bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund.  Lots of money to be made off this misery.

Money Matters USA

❖ Today, average CEO pay to that of the average worker is “273 to 1, meaning the average CEO makes in a day what their workers make in a year.”  Some CEOs and corps named, including Obama’s good friend Jamie.

❖ “Dodd-Frank executive pay rule [passed in 2010] still in limbo amid pushback from corporate America.”

❖ “The ‘market’ isn’t working for working people.  The rich have rigged the rules. . . . But why not, unions are asking, end the rule rigging?”

❖ “Jobless about to take big hit from sequester.”  That’s 11.7 million people.

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “is opening an investigation into the use of payroll cards by large companies” which issue them “in lieu of writing checks” to pay employees, who must bear the cost of bank fees and charges to cash them.

The BART strike in San Francisco-Oakland, CA is on hold for a month; bargaining continues.

The DOD tested an anti-ballistic missile interceptor Friday, and it failed.  They’re “continuing a plan to add 14 new anti-ballistic missile interceptors”, nonetheless, which cost $1bn.

In Hot Pursuit

Step-by-step reconstruction by McClatchy of the “diplomatic row between the United States and Bolivia”.  Apparently, the first big stumble was failure to recognize that Bolivia’s FAB-1 jet was at one Moscow airport and Edward Snowden at another.

❖ “Austrian officials did not [formally] search Bolivia’s presidential jet for fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Austria’s president said.”

Mark Weisbrot on violations of international law and protocol in the hunt for Snowden, and the importance of Snowden providing  interviews.

Surveillance Planet

Edward Snowden “accuses [the NSA] of partnering with Germany and other governments in its spying activities” sure to enrage a country recovering from the Gestapo and Stasi.  People are targeted “based on their ‘Facebook or webmail content.’”  And wait’ll you see what’s going on in Wiesbaden.

UK’s Labour Party wants “tougher scrutiny of intelligence and security services.”

❖ Glenzilla on  how “the NSA has, for years, systematically tapped into the Brazilian telecommunication network and indiscriminately intercepted, collected and stored the email and telephone records of millions of Brazilians.”  This is part of the NSA’s FAIRVIEW program.

❖ “Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman [Gen. Martin Dempsey] says NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s disclosures . . . have undermined U.S. relationships with other countries and affected what he calls ‘the importance of trust’.”  Both chairs of powerful committees, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) seem determined to teach Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua a lesson.

Chief Justice John Roberts appoints all FISA judges from a “pool of judges nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for ordinary federal trial courts.”

From The Hill:  “Five unanswered questions about the NSA’s surveillance programs.”  Good questions; don’t miss.

❖ “[W]e live in an era of anti-authoritarian revolution that may transform the world.”   There’s an “instinctive mistrust of bankers, politicians, spooks and big shots” that seems to be propelling us, albeit unevenly and sporadically, along.

Politics USA

Oregon just passed an amendment to overturn Citizens United.  It’s the 16th state to do that, so we’re half-way there.  Other states are CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, ME, MT, NJ, NM, RI, VT, WV.

❖ Robert Reich:  “Why Republicans Want to Tax Students and Not Polluters”.  Pssst: Koch Brothers.

Alan K. Simpson (R) says it’ll be “the destruction of the Republican Party of Wyoming” if Liz Cheney decides to run against current Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY).

Gun Corner

❖ Holy moley!  MO’s Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a gun bill that would, among other things, place “journalists in jeopardy of arrest for publishing virtually any information about gun owners”.

The War on Women

Nearly 150 female inmates in CA state prisons were sterilized between 2006-2010  ”without required state approvals”.  There could be another 100 going back to the ’90s.

Lawsuits began as soon as WI Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the Republicans’ abortion bill.

❖ “35,000 march in Dublin against Irish abortion bill.”

Planet Earth News

60 people, “at least” are missing in the wake of the explosions following the derailment of “thousands of tons of crude oil” near Lac-Megantic, Quebec Friday night.  “Train of 73 fuel-carrying rail cars was driverless when it derailed”.  Five now known to have perished in the disaster.  Update:  40 people still missing.  Video.

❖ “‘Intermittent & unpredictable’: [PG&E's Diablo Canyon] Nuclear reactor fails during heatwave.”

❖ “North Sea leaks ‘reality check’ for British oil industry, says Greenpeace. . . . 55 pollution incidents in last month.”

Break Time

A Day in the Life