International Developments

❖ “Afghan judges free three jailed for torture of child bride [12-year-old] Sahar Gul” who was imprisoned, starved and burned.

Almost overnight, “Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street” in Egypt.   “Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi.”  Update:  “Morsi loyalists vow to keep up ‘peaceful’ protest.”

❖ “Burma jails 25 Buddhists for mob killings of 36 Muslims in Meikhtila”.

The pilot of the Asiana plane that crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport last week was “temporarily blinded” by a bright flash of light “seconds before” the accident.

❖ “The operator of the runaway train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, this weekend recorded an accident rate far higher than the U.S. average over the past 10 years.”  Officials continue investigations. The conductor is “under police control.”

❖ From the New England Journal of Medicine:  Guantanamo Bay: A Medical Ethics-free Zone?”

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 mastermind and notorious waterboarding survivor, wanted to design a vacuum cleaner while in prison.

International Finance

❖ As this week’s US-EU trade talks wind down, consumer groups are fearful that “government will be . . . rushing to help corporations cash in on billions of dollars in new business.”

Money Matters USA

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked officials from the Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today at a Senate Banking Committee Hearing why they “had sought settlements with many of Wall Street’s bad actors instead of taking those firms to trial.”

Why relying on Econ 101 “in a complex, global and technologically driven economy in which nation-states compete” economically “is like a physicist today relying on Newton.”

Upon being assured by Big Daddy Bernanke that “stimulus measures [will continue] for the foreseeable future”, stocks soared to “near session highs”.

The US ran a $117bn surplus in June.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council has put AIG and General Electric Capital Corporation (GECC) under “consolidated supervision and enhanced prudential standards . . . by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve”.

Charles Koch is all against the minimum wage since it “reduces the mobility of labor.”  Uhhhhhh, wtf?

Surveillance Planet

❖ Not just government secrets, but “NSA Spying on Latin American Countries Included Targeting of Trade Secrets” (e.g. Venezuelan oil) as well as “military capabilities.”

“Brazil’s government . . . may contact . . . Edward Snowden as it probes allegations the U.S. monitored phone calls and e-mail in Latin America’s largest economy.”

Colombia is also “seeking answers” about US surveillance programs in the region.  Some Brazilian senators are even questioning whether President Dilma Rousseff should go to Washington as scheduled in October.

❖ “Even senators must fear to describe America’s laws to America’s citizens.  This is, yes, democracy-suppression, but it . . . keeps you and your adorable kids and even your cute pet dog alive.”

Information sharing between internet giants, the FBI and CIA through PRISM is a “‘team sport’”, says the NSA.  Glenzilla and his team report on the depth of the relationship between Microsoft and the FBI and NSA.  Update: What Microsoft “Is Letting the Government See”.   Update:  Emptywheel brings up the interesting timing of acquisitions by Microsoft and Verizon.

Yahoo wants to “publish its legal argument against a [2008] case that gave the government ‘powerful leverage’ in persuading tech companies to co-operate”.

Interview with CIA whistleblower, and now federal prison inmate, John Kiriakou:  “Everyone is corrupt, I’ve come to learn” as he offers advice to Edward Snowden and everyone else.

Jeremy Hammond “agrees to ‘non-cooperating plea agreement’ as alternative to endless court battle and decades of prison time”, for hacking Stratfor, “law enforcement and defense contractor websites.”  Facing 10 years.

❖ Thud! From NSA Director Keith Alexander’s keynote speech last year to: “Hackers convention ask government to stay away over Snowden”.

Politics USA

61% of US voters don’t want the US “to be involved in the Syrian civil war.”  Nonetheless, 49% said the US should “use drones or cruise missiles in Syria.”

“Eliot Spitzer takes lead over Scott Stringer in [New York City] controller race after just three days.”

❖ “The Backlash Begins:  Indiana Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Felony Punishable by Prison”, effective July 2014.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is defending one of his aides “who spent years as a pro-secessionist activist and radio shock jock.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

“House Approves Farm Bill, Without Food Stamp Program“. Watch Rep Louis Gohmert (R-TX) behaving badly.

How to get from the mess we have to a single payer, “‘unified, universal’ health care system” with access for all.

Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University’s suit against mandatory coverage of full-time workers and abortion subsidy under Obamacare was rejected.

The War on Women

Congrats to TX Gov. Rick Perry and his misogynist band of Republicans:  “Flea-Market Abortions Thrive as Texas May Close Clinics”.

MD officials have “sharply tightened oversight” of Maryland abortion clinics “through new regulations and procedures” negotiated “by heath officials in consultation with medical groups, clinic managers and anti-abortion leaders”.

Planet Earth News

A National Geographic photographer, George Steinmetz, has been arrested  and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing for “taking pictures of a feedlot outside Garden City [KS] from a paraglider”.

Six SD Sioux tribes are collaborating on developing “the largest wind farm in the US and one of the world’s largest.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists weighs in on genetically modified crops.

❖ “New Study Claims Fracking Leads to More Earthquakes.”

Latin America

“Tens of thousands of workers across Brazil walked off their jobs [today] . . . demanding better working conditions and improved public services”.

Mixed Bag

❖ RIP, Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger

New law in the Vatican makes “it a crime to abuse children sexually or physically on Vatican grounds” and includes “provisions of international laws against war crimes, racial discrimination and humiliating treatment or punishment”.

❖ Impalas, Cheetahs, and a Toyota.

Break Time

Finding Oregon