Hello.

International Developments

Moscow says “US Plans for Syria Strikes at Odds With Peace Conference Idea”.

An informal meeting is scheduled between the UN Security Council and “members of the opposition Syrian National Committee”, except “the chief rebel commander” will not attend.

“Syria Rebels Attack Civilian Convoy, Kill 1 Woman”.

❖ “Hagel: ‘Troops At a Breaking Point’; Vets: ‘Then Bring Us Home’.”  Hagel’s speaking of a “mental health epidemic” and citing “deployment readiness” as the solution.

❖ “CIA closing bases in Afghanistan as it shifts focus amid military drawdown.”

Contractors either didn’t install or improperly installed “simple” IED attack prevention systems in Afghanistan, says the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.  More.

❖ “Egypt’s army chief calls for street protests” to support the military’s confronting “‘violence and potential terrorism’.”  US “delays” selling four F-26 military jets to Egypt.

3 killed, dozens injured as “Pakistan bomb blasts hit intelligence agency in Sukkur.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will introduce an authorization to use military force against Iran in September if “nothing changes” by then.

❖ “Russia’s Putin to visit Tehran for nuclear talks” next month

❖ “Bulgarian protesters block parliament in Sofia unrest.”  They’re upset about government corruption.  Update:  “Police rescue 100 besieged MPs after parliament blockade . . . protest turns violent.

International Finance

❖ “Japan makes belated debut at end of TPP round in Malaysia.”

❖ “European investment bank to stop financing coal-fired power plants” as part of EU effort to cut carbon emissions.

Venezuela wants a $5bn loan from China “to finance a state investment fund that was recently the victim of an embezzlement scheme by the fund’s own employees”.

Money Matters USA

J. Oliver on the death of Detroit.

Since Detroit is not a big bank making big donations to campaign coffers, Congress says “Forget Financial Bailout”.

OK’s been given to move the Detroit bankruptcy case forward.

Janet Yellen has what it takes to be chair of the Fed, but there is a “whispering campaign that’s emerged against her”, some of it sexist, which helps promote the nomination of Larry Summers, known for sexist comments.  DDay:  “Larry Summer will destroy the economy (again).”  Is that the point?

In Hot Pursuit

❖ News about Eric Snowden’s chances of leaving the Sheremetyevo Airport has been yo-yoing all day. Examples here and here.

Surveillance Planet

❖ “Army’s Giant Surveillance Blimp to Start Tracking Objects in DC Region.”

74% of Americans “think the NSA surveillance efforts intrude on some citizens’ privacy rights”; only 28% see the intrusions as justified.  However, 57% think their privacy rights aren’t as important as investigating “possible terrorist threats”. 53% support charging Eric Snowden with a crime.

Amash-Conyers NSA Amendment Fact Sheet.

❖ Full court press against the Amash Amendment:  NSA head Keith Alexander met with selected House members to counter momentum for the Amash amendment, but it was held in secret.  The White House argues that the amendment is “not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process”–which is hard to have since everything’s a secret.   James Clapper, National Intelligence Director, has joined the fray  though he too “welcomes an open and candid discussion about the NSA programs”, which are secret. Update: “White House, GOP have joined forces against amendment limiting NSA powers.” Update:  Emptywheel on the Amash amendment’s returning Section 215 to Congress’ original intention.

Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) of the Senate Intelligence Committee are very opposed to the  Amash amendment since  the NSA has disrupted “numerous terrorist attacks”.  For instance . . . ?

Emptywheel on some of House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) contradictions.

Politics USA

26% of Wyoming Republicans say they’ll vote for Liz Cheney (R).  54% are sticking with Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

Beleaguered Bob McDonnell (R), governor of VA, has announced he’s paid back those loans to big donor Jonnie Williams. Now what about the gifts?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), is on a collision course with the City Council over “stop-and-frisk”.

Another beleaguered Bob, this one Filner (D), Mayor of San Diego, now has a third woman accusing him of sexual harassment.

❖ “North Carolina Senate Passes the Most Draconian Voter Suppression Bill Ever”.

Gun Corner

❖ “North Carolina Mayors and Law Enforcement Help Block Dangerous [gun-lobby] Proposal That Would Have Eliminated Background Checks on Handgun Purchases”.

“For 200 Hours And Counting, Sit-In At Florida Capitol Demands Stand Your Ground Repeal.”

The National Association for Gun Rights outspent the National Rifle Association almost 4 to 1 during the second quarter.

Gilberton, PA police chief, Mark Kessler has made a series of vile videos showing himself shooting automatic weapons while yelling “go f*ck yourself” to “libtards”.  The mayor is standing by her man, under the guise of supporting free speech.

The War on Women

A federal judge has “delayed until next year the enforcement of Alabama’s new abortion law, which tightens restrictions on providers” and could force closure of many abortion clinics.

Allegedly, the University of Southern California campus police denied a female student was raped since her attacker did not experience orgasm during the assault.  There’s more.

Education Directions

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is suing the US Department of Education for allowing  “the release of student records for non-academic purposes”, including “for commercial users”.

Planet Earth News

That offshore rig in the Gulf south of LA is  afire and spewing natural gas.

❖ “North Pole Now a Lake.” And along with that jolly news comes this:  “Arctic methane ‘time bomb’“.

❖ “Subarctic wildfire frequency is higher now than it has been at any other point in the last 10,000 years”.

❖ “A former supervisor at the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York has been accused of falsifying test results involving emergency generators so the plant would not have to shut down.”

Mixed Bag

❖ Get yr hankies out:  “Dolphin Makes Early Break for Freedom . . . and found her family in the open ocean.”

Break Time

Big Bro’ Is Watchin’ You!