Greetings.

International Developments

New charges that the Syrian government has used “poisonous gas” in an attack, killing “hundreds”  near Damascus.  Update: Emergency UN session scheduled.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: US military intervention in Syria “would plunge the United States into another war in the Arab world and offer no strategy for peace”.

❖ “Egyptian court orders [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak freed from prison.”  He’ll be under house arrest.

Reactions to the Bradley Manning sentencing.  Manning could be “eligible for parole in about seven years”, will seek pardon. Manning’s post-sentencing statement.

International Finance

❖ “For the first time since WWII, many Greeks are faced with hunger, homelessness and a lack of basic health care.”  Enter Golden Dawn, neo-Nazi party, reportedly supported by 20% of Greeks.

Money Matters USA

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is asking Attorney General Eric Holder why the DOJ employs such a “timid enforcement strategy” in dealing with mortgage servicers.

Bill Black:  FBI Partners with Banks and Blames Mortgage Fraud on Poor Borrowers: Instead of prosecuting banks for mortgage fraud, the Department of Justice is working with them.”

Attorney General Eric Holder  supposedly “plans to announce new cases stemming from the economic meltdown in the coming months.

❖ A new way to harm the economy: “a cash-generating asset structured similarly to CDOs, but consisting of loans to businesses.”  Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup.

Surveillance Planet

Now New Zealanders, too, can enjoy being spied on by their government, thanks to a new law just passed 61-59.

❖ “Two of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s most senior aides pressed the Guardian newspaper to hand over or destroy intelligence secrets leaked by Edward Snowden”.

❖ “White House knew Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda would be detained.”

Glenn Greenwald:  “But for state-loyal journalists, protesting thuggish and aggressive behavior from the state is out of the question.” Much more.

Emptywheel revisits NSA’s communications surveillance from the 2002 Olympics.

❖  The NSA’s surveillance network supposedly covers about “75% of all U.S. Internet traffic . . . it [can retain] the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology”.

❖ “PRISM works because a ton of data moves through U.S. servers. That’s also why it could fail.”  Because, you see, recent revelations of what the NSA is doing is making foreign companies and governments wary of using US servers.

Brazil might force businesses “selling online to Brazil-based consumers . . . to store any personal data they collect on those individuals on local services”.  Google and Facebook are objecting.

❖ “The US military has been investigating how to track security threats from terrorism to money laundering by mining public data from social media sites such as Twitter”.

Department of Homeland Security “is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would . . . scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces”.

For three years, the NSA operated a data collection effort the FISA court ruled unConstitutional–and “disclosed a substantial misrepresentation” of the program to boot.   The court’s ruling.

Think the NSA might be interested in this?

❖ “How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer.”

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL):  “I stand with Glenn Greenwald.  Do you?”

❖ “NSA story cuts into Obama’s popularity with young voters.”

Politics USA

Poll: 28% of Republicans in LA “think former President George W. Bush . . . was more responsible for the poor federal response” to Katrina, through 29% blamed Obama.  44%, however, aren’t sure whom to blame.

Beau Biden, DE Attorney General and son of Vice-President Joe Biden, at a Houston cancer center, has had a “successful procedure” performed.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is joining with “Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen, in a lawsuit to close [the] loophole” allowing “dark money” to flow through 501(c)4 entities.

❖ On top of everything else, Detroit’s mayoral primary vote is “in chaos“.

CO officials are reporting “tacit” federal approval of marijuana legalization.

Maps that show what the US thinks of its states.

Gun Corner

In Decatur, GA a remarkable woman, an unarmed school clerk, convinced a would-be mass killer of school children to disarm and allow himself to be arrested.

55 CO sheriffs “filed a lawsuit against the state over two new gun-control laws”.  Problem is, according to the state’s Attorney General, “they don’t have standing to sue.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

Evidence that the “shift to part-time labor driven mostly by economic weakness rather than” the Affordable Care Act.

❖ “UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare”.

Among young adults, “more Republicans [63%] than Democrats [45%] have signed up” for Obamacare.

The War on Women

❖ “A billionaire fracking tycoon is funding a nonprofit that’s recruiting an army of lawyers to sue Planned Parenthood.”

Planet Earth News

❖ “Obama Administration To Sell 316 Million Tons of Coal” in WY, putting “enough carbon in the atmosphere to undo all of Obama’s other climate work.”

“Not everyone a fan of oil boom in North Dakota”.  Not at all.

❖ Interesting:  The US Department of the Interior is disagreeing with the State Department’s assessment that “the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife would be temporary”.

❖ “Three major solar manufacturers are producing panels at full speed and contemplating plans to expand capacity to meet surging demand in Asia.”  And in NC, a solar developer “Plans 25 Solar Farms for 2014.”

Lake Erie is scheduled to have wind turbines by 2017.

Suddenly, the warning level at Fukushima “jumps to ‘serious’”!

❖ “50 screaming and singing activists . . .scuffle with Swedish police over mining”.

Khabarovsky, a city along the Russian-Chinese border, is preparing to evacuate due to worsening flooding.

Russia’s refusing to let Arctic Sunrise, Greenpeace icebreaker, into the Northern Sea Route.

Mixed Bag

❖ “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World”.

RIP Marian McPartland, enduring jazz promoter and pianist.

Break Time

❖  Alberta