Howdy.

International Developments

❖ “Syria will allow U.N. inspectors full access to any site of a purported chemical weapons attack”.

Medecins Sans Frontieres has “sent 7,000 vials of atropine–an antidote against nerve agents” to Syrian hospitals, but “could not confirm the cause of symptoms or say who was responsible for the attack” since they have no staff in Damascus.

❖ “Syria’s Western-backed political opposition plans to create the nucleus of a national army to bring order to the disparate rebels forces . . . and counter the strength of al Qaeda-linked rebel brigades.”

❖ “A senior Turkish diplomat has strictly denied a news report that cited a Syrian rebel operative as saying that 400 tons of arms have been sent into Syria from Turkey.”

❖ “Al-Qaida branch blames Hezbollah for Lebanese bombing” and “threatens retribution against Shia group” it deems responsible.  Update:  “A powerful explosion . . . ripped through a bus carrying air force personnel . . . in Yemen’s capital, . . . at least 20 killed or wounded”.

❖ “Bombs across Iraq kill at least 42 people–police and medics.”

❖ “Air War in Kosovo Seen as Precedent in Possible Response to Syria Chemical Attack.”  Update:  “Obama gets ‘detailed review’ [from his 'top advisers'] of Syria options, speaks with UK’s Cameron.”

❖ “Having crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian authorities have begun cracking down on other dissenters, sometimes labeling even liberal activists or labor organizers as dangerous Islamists.”

❖ Good grief:  “Czech Republic: Hundreds of rampaging neo-Nazis attempt pogrom against Romani people in Ostrava.” 600 – 800 people involved, 60 arrests.

International Finance

❖ Fingers crossed: “Congress, Public Waking Up to Trans-Pacific Partnership Threat.”

❖ “A federal appeals court ruled that Argentina must pay a group of bond investors more than $1.3 billion . . . if it wants to continue making discounted payments that other creditors have agreed to accept.”  Remember the Libertad!

Money Matters USA

❖ “Chairing the US Federal Reserve is one of the world’s most important policymaking roles, but Obama’s apparent favourite, Larry Summers, is reviled for his role in the financial crisis, prompting Democrats to campaign for rival Janet Yellen.” A Yellen vs Summers Scorecard (what’s up with Brad DeLong?).

❖ “Elizabeth Warren May Control Larry Summers’s Fate.”  Heh heh.

❖ “Obamacare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists” (GlaxoSmithKline, UnitedHealth Group and Blue Cross Blue Shield”, among others).

❖ “Cash Hoarders Devastate Economy“.  The richest are hanging onto 37% of the money they’re collecting.

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has accused The Donald’s “Trump University of defrauding more than 5,000 people with promises that they would get ‘hand-picked’ teachers to help them get rich in real estate.”  The Donald has responded with a website accusing Schneiderman of “‘gross incompetence’”. Peterr claims “Trump has an ironclad defense”.

Boeing moved from Washington to South Carolina  to avoid all those (unionized) labor costs.  Result: “productivity has dropped immensely and Boeing is unable to meet their 787 Dreamliner production goals.”

❖ Oh, noooos.  An “embarrassing trading glitch” at Goldman Sachs may have cost the bank “tens of millions of dollars”.

Surveillance Planet

❖ “Thanks to Edward Snowden, the world now has a debate about the dramatic change in the contract between state and citizen.”

UK’s former Metropolitan Police Commissioner thinks stronger anti-terror laws will prevent further leaks.

Julian Assange on the relationships between Google and the US State Department, the impact on other countries, and on the collection and distribution of information.

We have HUMINT, or human intelligence gathered from agents. . . . SIGINT or signals intelligence.  And now we have LOVEINT or NSA analysts occasionally reading the emails of ex-lovers.  It doesn’t happen a lot, . . . but often enough that there is a word for it.”

❖ NSA commercial.

❖ “Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep Earl Blumenauer [both OR Democrats] told a Portland audience Friday that . . . The government over-classifies information” and has too many people with “top-security classifications”, leading to “too many weak points.”

TPM’s “Guide To The Latest Flurry Of NSA Revelations”.   ZDNet’s guide.

Marcy Wheeler reviews the Government Surveillance team put together by Obama, and its purposes (stated and not).

❖ “Files have been lost, computer searches monitored and emails ‘disappeared into the ether’ at Guantanamo Bay since January, say lawyers for the five co-defendants in the 9/11 case.”

Politics USA

Dick and Liz were at an annual Freedom Conference recently.  Dick defended the NSA and its director, Keith Alexander, as well as Dick’s own “view on waterboarding.”

San Diego, CA announced a new interim mayor, Todd Gloria (D).

Tea Party logic, unlike any other.  “Tea partier at Ted Cruz town hall: ‘Canada is not really foreign soil.”  And **presto** the quandary posed by Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada and his run for US president is resolved.

Sovereign Citizens are filing liens against people, usually officials, “in a war of paper . . . as a way to retaliate against perceived injustices.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ Shameful:  “Oregon Man Holds Up Bank For $1, Waits To Be Arrested To Get Health Care.”

The War on Women

Between 2006 – 2010, almost 150 female prison inmates in CA were sterilized by contract physicians “without the required authorizations.”  Investigation is underway.

Education Directions

❖ “The U.S. Justice Department is suing Louisiana . . . to block 2014-15 vouchers for students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders.” LA Gov. Bobby Jindal “slams DOJ for court suit against voucher program.”

Costs NYC corrections $168,000/year/inmate.  Yearly costs/student at Cornell Universityare $59,591.  At CUNY New York City College of Technology, yearly costs/student are $18,919.

❖ “Government profits to soar more than $700 million with new student loan rates.”

Planet Earth News

650,000 public comments delivered to the White House last week, “asking the federal government to ban hydraulic fracturing–fracking–on public lands.

❖ Starting to feel the pinch?  SC’s Public Service Commission cancelled a “solar energy forum” after rural power suppliers objected.

❖ “A proposed coal export terminal at the Port of Corpus Christi, TX, has been cancelled”.  The Sierra Club and partners have been very busy on this one, stalling 179 coal plant proposals.

Ecuadorians rally to “save national park from oil lobby.”

Break Time

Just for fun.