Hello.

International Developments

❖ “The head of the U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria warned . . .  that the country is in ‘free fall’ and has become a battlefield where civilians are the main victims of acts of terror, from indiscriminate shelling to rape and sectarian killing.”

❖ “Egypt restores feared secret police units.”

❖ “Taliban fighters disguised as police and armed with bombs broke 250 prisoners out of a Pakistan jail”.

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin agree “on orders for the next two batches of F-35 fighter jets”, a $7bn deal.  That will be 60 for the US, 11 for Australia, Italy, Turkey and Britain.

International Finance

❖ “U.S. senators lament lack of progress on nuclear deal.”   They’re upset because it’s been eight years and New Delhi hasn’t acted yet on an agreement “that allows nuclear companies to move forward.”

Money Matters USA

The New York Times enters the fray:  Janet Yellen should head the Fed.

Will JPMorgan have to pay $400m to end the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s investigation that it used “improper bidding tactics in California and the Midwest [electricity markets] to boost profits”?   Answer:  Yep, $410m.

❖ “Robert S. Khuzami, former chief of the SEC’s enforcement division” is “joining Kirkland & Ellis, one of the nation’s biggest corporate law firms”.  He’ll receive $5 million a year for the expertise he gained while with the SEC.

President Obama wants to give corporations yet another tax break if they promise to uphold “various job creation proposals.”  Update:  The GOP nixed the deal.

❖ “Amazon is everything wrong with our new economy:  Amazon spends millions lobbying D.C.  It works: Today the president will herald new jobs which further inequality.”

Surveillance Planet

❖ More fallout:  “Overseas companies reluctant to use U.S. cloud after Snowden NSA leaks”.  10% have already cancelled.  36% of US participants said it’s now “more difficult to conduct business outside of the country”.

❖ “Edward Snowden’s renegade decision to reveal the jaw-dropping scope of the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance is being vindicated–even as Snowden himself is being vilified.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)  says violations of court orders pertaining to surveillance by US intelligence agencies “is worse than the government is letting on.” He referred to DNI head James Clapper’s admission last Friday that “court orders on phone record collection” were violated.

FISA Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he said “Verizon and other telephone companies didn’t protest when a secret surveillance court demanded that they turn over records on all of their customers.”

The informal House committee meeting tomorrow where Glenn Greenwald was to testify?  It’s reportedly been canceled since President Obama decided he needed to meet with House Democrats at that time.

They sent an FOIA request to the NSA, but “The NSA Couldn’t Answer . . . Because It Couldn’t Figure Out [Their] Address.”

Politics USA

Emptywheel on the Manning verdict:  “Today’s verdicts may be about Bradley Manning–but here’s why they also have huge consequences for the rest of us.”

Nobody knows for sure, but the US Ag Department could be “sending millions of dollars in subsidies to dead farmers”.  Go here to check on farmers in your community.

The Congressional Black Caucus has recommended Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)  be the new Homeland Security Secretary.  (Jackson Lee voted against the Amash Amendment, btw.)

Some of the GOP members are eager to spout off about global warming being a “big lie”, “scientific conspiracy”, “hoax”, and being disproved by the Book of Genesis, etc.  Democrats are delighted, using such quotes to show the GOP is anti-science.

Beleaguered Bob McDonnell (R), Governor of VA, is shifting some of the attention for troubles stemming from generous campaign donations onto VA’s First Lady.

Beleaguered Bob Filner (D), Mayor of San Diego, has asked the City Council to cover his legal fees as women line up to sue for sexual harassment.  Update:  The City Council “voted unanimously to sue” Filner.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ “Montana’s State-Run Free Clinic Sees Early Success.”  Operational for a year now in Helena and “already saving money” for the state.

30% of 877 New Haven mothers, many Hispanic,  “didn’t have enough diapers to change their children as often as they would like”; the women “were nearly twice as likely to experience mental health issues”.  73% had used food stamps and 89%  WIC, but you can’t buy diapers under either program.

The War on Women

❖  There are 8.8 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in the US, but 24.6 maternal deaths/100,000 live births in TX, “worse than Iran and Turkey”, with “black women . . . almost twice as likely to die giving birth than white women.”  TX has recently closed many women’s health clinics, so the situation may worsen.

Woman in county jail for theft, 7 months pregnant.  Her water broke, she claims she was handcuffed, taken to hospital and forced to deliver while handcuffed, which is against the law.  Where?  TX.

The last abortion clinic in Green Bay, WI will close this week.

Planet Earth News

❖ “North Dakota Natural Gas Flaring More Than Doubles in Two Years.  That’s about $3.6m per day and the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from one million cars each ear.

❖ “As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not ‘clean.’”

❖  Duke Energy is way behind meeting “deadlines on multimillion-dollar projects meant to protect against natural disasters.”

Repealing “SB21, the massive giveaway of state money to oil companies [will be] on the primary ballot” this August in Alaska.  Way to go!

French firm “EDF Begins Withdrawal From U.S. Nuclear: Hopes For a Nuclear Revival Withered By Shale Gas Boom.”

What were they thinking?  “A plan to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River for recycling in Sweden has been cancelled after delays caused by public opposition.”

Break Time

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