Greetings.

International Developments

❖ “UN says Syria refugee crisis worst since Rwanda“. 6,000 people fleeing/day, on average.

Lebanese officials confirmed the CIA  warned them “that al Qaida-linked groups are planning a campaign of bombings that will target Beirut’s Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs”.  Note: The NSA is being credited with intercepting key telephone messages, thus saving the day.

Cuba says it did ship those arms to North Korea, where they “were being sent for repair”.  The arms and ship are still being held in Panama.

❖ “A senior member of the Pakistani Taliban has written an open letter to Malala Yousafzai”, if you think you can handle it.

❖ “Obama Admin Appeals Judge’s Decision To Stop Genital Searches in Guantanamo”.

Money Matters USA

❖ This article should be plastered all over this country.  “The real budgets of McDonald’s workers” (including McDonald’s insulting “sample budget”).

❖ NSS:  “[F]ederal prosecutors are considering a new strategy for criminally charging Wall Street bankers who packaged and sold bad mortgages”: “intent to commit fraud”.

“Barclays fights US electricity price manipulations fine {$470 m) through the courts”.  CA electricity prices manipulation case, 2006-8.

Surveillance Planet

❖ “European anger over NSA spying turns inward.”  Opposition parties (e.g., Social Democrats and Greens) are keeping the heat on in terms of what current leaders actually knew and did vis-a-vis US spying.

There are 550,000+ miles “of flexible undersea cables about the size of garden watering hoses [which] carry all the world’s emails, searches and tweets.”  And they have been tapped, with NSA and GCHQ in the forefront.

❖ From the ACLU:  “Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking” and the data from the scanners is being kept indefinitely in some locales.

“NSA Surveillance ‘Intrusive and Unconstitutional’”, part of ACLU testimony before today’s House Judiciary Committee’s Oversight Hearing on the Administration’s Use of FISA Authorities.”

Judge Reggie Walton of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “has ordered the Obama administration to declassify and publish a 2008 court decision justifying Prism, the data collection program.”  Yahoo lawyers sought the ruling in June.

❖ “Slew of court challenges threaten NSA’s relationship with tech firms.”

❖ “Lawmakers of both parties voice doubts about NSA surveillance programs” as administration officials appear before a House committee.  Update: Officials revealed that “analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.”

Politics USA

A lower court Judge’s decision that barred “enforcement of a law that permits the indefinite detention of people suspected of supporting terrorists” has been overturned by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals”.

❖ Liz Cheney (R), daughter of ex-Vice President Dick “Dick” Cheney (R), will be running against “Wyoming’s senior U.S. senator [Mike Enzi (R)] in next year’s Republican primary”.  Update: Republicans are not happy.

Johnnie Williams, whose campaign contributions and gifts to VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) have attracted investigators, also made earlier contributions to VA Republicans.

❖ Meanwhile, VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) “has been renting his [$835,000] home outside Richmond, Va, to the state’s new health commissioner, . . . Dr. Cynthia Romero.

❖ “Ex-poll worker [in OH] sentenced to five years for illegal voting: . . . she voted multiple times for Obama.”

UT state Sen. Aaron Osmond (R) wants to abolish compulsory education in his state.  A member “of the famous Osmond Family of Utah“, he graduated from Timpview High School in Provo and attended the University of Phoenix.

❖  J. Oliver on the Zimmerman verdict.

A bill now in the TX legislature “which would prevent . . . enforcing any of the abortion restrictions [recently passed] until 60 days after Texas abolishes the death penalty.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ “Miami Considers Jailing Homeless People For Eating, Sleeping In Public.”  Also, defecating, urinating, engaging in lewd conduct, littering or cooking.  And to accomplish all this, Miami will have to back out of a 1998 agreement.

❖ “A ban on homeless people sleeping on the streets has overwhelmed Phoenix [AZ] social-service agencies, forcing up to 250 people a night to bed down in a makeshift camp in a parking lot next to the downtown Human Services Campus.”

NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) announced that New Yorkers who buy their own health insurance “will see their premiums tumble” in 2014–by 50%!

Planet Earth News

Friends of the Earth “is suing the State Department to force release of communications between State officials and lobbyists seeking approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.”

A Reuters correspondent charges that he faced “hostility . . . inside the [Reuters] organization toward any climate-related story”.

“Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Obama’s personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Cole LLP, which represents TransCanada’s South Central Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Project”.

❖ “Five solar energy farms” are scheduled for MA and NJ now that $42 million has been secured.  17 MW, “enough to power 2,500 homes each year.

A $60 million solar farm is scheduled for Carbondale, IL, on a 130-acre plot which was contaminated with chemicals from a wood treatment plant that is now gone.  The contamination will be abated through “capping”.

Fipronil, an “insect nerve agent that harms bees will be banned from use of corn and sunflowers in Europe” at the end of the year.

❖ “First Solar Advances 162 MW of Unsubsidized Solar in Chile“.  If approved by Chilean authorities, construction will begin next June.

Russia has blocked creating “the world’s largest ocean sanctuary off Antarctica”.

Latin America

Amazonian tribes are battling the government of President Dilma Rousseff “and her army of private contractors” who want to construct a dam on the Amazon’s Xingu River, displacing 20,000+ people.  Burial grounds “have already been desecrated”.

❖ “Colombia, Venezuela To Mend Ties“.  Presidents Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia) and Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela) to meet “at the border”.

❖ “Colombia President Santos meets surrendered ELN rebels“, calling “the development ‘a great step toward peace’.”

Mixed Bag

❖ Watch out Mauna Kea, here comes the TMT!

Break Time

Save the Whales