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November 28, 2012

The Roundup for November 28, 2012

Posted in: Uncategorized

Good evening, and here’s your news:

International Developments

❖ “Israel pulls back from threat to topple Palestinian leadership over UN vote: Israeli officials change tack after it becomes clear that request for statehood at UN is likely to gather significant support.”

❖ An estimated 800,000 – 1 million Iraqi children have lost one or both parents to the unending violence in that country. There are few laws in place for their protection.

❖ The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was hacked, data taken from one of its servers and posted on a “self-identified hacker group” site.

International Finance

Marshall Auerback on Mark Carney (old Goldman Sachs hand who’s to be Governor of the Bank of England): Carney likes “to assume [that as] long as banks are allowed to be so large that their failure can cause a crisis, they will be bailed out”. What is needed is a “redesign of the entire structure”, but Carney, “for all his market savvy, is yesterday’s man.”

❖ University of MA Economics Professor Leonce Ndikumana on how the big banks connive to facilitate capital flight from Africa. The world gives aid to Africa, but much of the money never benefits the African people. Overall, “Africa Lost 1.6 Trillion in Capital Flight and Odious Debt Over Forty Years.”

Money Matters USA

❖ Finally, the deposition of Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in MBIA v. Bank of America is available. Matt Taibbi takes us on a full romp through it. Example: “Moynihan seems to remember his own name, and perhaps his current job title, but beyond that, he’ll have to get back to you.”

❖ The Census Bureau says “New Home Sales in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate . . . of 368 thousand.” Be sure to click on the “New Home Sales and Recessions” chart and marvel at the drop in Sales from about mid-2005 to today.

❖ The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly “preparing a civil fraud case against SAC Capital Advisors, the $14 billion hedge fund run by the billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen”. Cohen is “confident” that he “acted appropriately”, but one SAC portfolio manager has been charged “with corrupting a doctor”, getting confidential data as a result and engaging in improper trading.

Very dramatic chart showing the incredible divergence, occurring since 2000, between average costs of attending a four-year public college and average full-time earnings for people with Bachelor’s degrees.

Politics, USA

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has confirmed his binding commitment to Grover’s pledge. Digby: “So thank goodness for morons like Rand Paul, the kind of people who still think tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves and don’t realize that this is their one big chance to cut Medicaid and Medicare in exchange for easily replaceable tip money for the rich, and blame it on the Democrats to boot.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has “welcomed White House assurances that Social Security benefits won’t be cut as part of negotiations on a year-end deficit-reduction deal.”

Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today: “I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Larry Summers on anything. He was a disaster as an adviser to Obama.” Furthermore, DeFazio characterized the “Fiscal Cliff” as more a bump in the road.

❖ As Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager, Stephanie Cutter says, Obama’s “‘mandate is to protect the middle class and help people enter and stay in the middle class’ . . . Adding that means protecting programs like Medicaid.”

Ever agreed with ex-Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) on anything? Here’s your chance. Simpson: “. . . or Grover wandering the earth in his white robe saying he wants to drown government in the bathtub. I hope he slips in there with it.”

Tom Ricks continues to amaze–from telling Fox news on air that it “functions as a wing of the Republican Party” to advising MSNBC “You’re just like Fox, but not as good at it.”

Jon Huntsman–former Governor of Utah, a Republican, and recent GOP presidential nominee contender–will be joining No Labels, a non-partisan group which “aims to encourage bipartisanship in national politics.”

Some “closed-door negotiations” will be resuming soon among a group of Democrats and Republicans on immigration legislation. Word from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is that she is “‘cautiously optimistic’ about the chances for a broad immigration bill coming to a vote next year.”

❖ A complaint has been filed against the Douglas County, NE Election Commissioner for poll workers “requiring an obscure identification number” of voters trying to cast provisional ballots. In addition, voters who tried calling their election office to get one of the numbers often couldn’t get through.

❖ What’s up with this? NV’s Secretary of State–a Democrat–wants voter ID legislation, including requiring registered voters who don’t have “DMV-approved identification” to let poll workers take their picture and “sign an affidavit that they are the person they represent”.

❖ Two members of former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)’s staff should be “spending time behind bars” following their appearance in court for petition fraud. Don Yowchuang pleaded “no contest to 10 felony counts and five misdemeanors” and Paul Seewald “pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor counts. McCotter resigned last July because of this.

Sen Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) are against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. More than 200 groups across the US form the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and support the CRPD, saying it “would extend American standards to the rest of the world.”

Women & Children

❖ Results from a major research study on what happens to women denied abortions have been released. Overall conclusion: “When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployment, on public assistance, and below the poverty line”. Despite GOP contentions, there was “no correlation between abortion and increased drug use” and no direct link between abortion and depression.

Planet Earth News

❖ Positive news: “The level of illegal deforestation in the Amazon continued to decline and registered another record-breaking low, reaching the lowest level since” they began measuring it in 1988. Seems technology is helping the Brazilian government better monitor illegal deforestation activities.

❖ According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “The global sea level is rising 60 percent faster than previous reports”.

Heads Up!

Occupy Sandy’s partial list of achievements: 10,000 – 15,000 meals distributed daily; 7,000 volunteers enlisted; $600,000 in cash raised; $700,000 in donated supplies; three centralized distribution centers. “On many occasions, the volunteer group has had more boots on the ground in disadvantaged neighborhoods than FEMA, the Red Cross” and other agencies.

❖ A Columbine survivor with a bullet permanently in his spine and using a wheelchair, is fighting foreclosure on his condominium in Los Angeles. He appealed to Occupy Los Angeles and does have legal help now, but his future remains uncertain. Video.

Mixed Bag

❖ 20% of military deaths last year were due to suicide; the incidence rate among veterans is increasing also. DOD Defense Counsel Jeh Johnson has suggested that a “genuine attempt at suicide” (whatever that is) not result in disciplinary action. Currently, active-duty members who suicide are considered to have died “honorably” while those who attempt, but do not complete, suicide are subject to prosecution.

“A miniature ‘cyber-city’ has been created in New Jersey, complete with a bank, hospial, water-tower, train system, power grid and a coffee shop.” The purpose? “To “train US government ‘cyber-warriors’ to fend off attacks.”

❖ The body recently found in the Gulf of Mexico has been identified as that of 28-year old oil worker Jerome Malagapo of the Philippines.

Break Time

❖ For Dems tempted to make a deal with the Repubs, and for your sheer enjoyment.



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