The Roundup for July 5, 2013
❖ “Syria’s Homs Pounded By Army And Hezbollah Militants”.
❖ “Helmand [Afghanistan]‘s top female police officer shot dead . . . killed on her way to work.” She’d “received death threats from her family.”
❖ “Libya aiming to make rape in armed conflict a war crime: The testimony of a woman who was sexually tortured under the Gaddafi regime is proving a catalyst for political change in Libya.”
❖ Force-feedings will continue at Guantanamo. The US “says feedings provide ‘essential nutritional and medical care’ and will not interfere with religious observance”.
❖ “China Russia launch largest-ever joint naval drill in Sea of Japan, highlighting warming ties.”
❖ Irish “Pensioners at ‘breaking point‘ because of austerity budgets”.
❖ US, Australia and UK tried to ensure the UN’s Green Climate Fund gave money directly to corporations, “bypassing poorer countries’ governments.” They were overruled, but they’re now maneuvering to wrest and keep control of the funds through other means.
❖ “Heartburn in Washington: India Calls Iran ‘Critical’ to their Energy Future.” And they aren’t the only ones who’ve “dodged the penalties accruing from violating U.S. sanctions” for purchasing Iranian oil.
❖ Stiglitz: “So-called free trade talks should be in the public, not corporate interest.” We need a transparent, democratic process not one ” likely to perpetuate a managed trade regime.”
Money Matters USA
❖ “Obama should have listened to Paul Krugman“. But he didn’t, hence weak stimulus, too-big-to-fail bailouts rather than effective correction, failure to connect with and mobilize grassroots, etc. With little to stop them, the Republicans effectively pursuing their agenda.
❖ One regulation aimed at reducing miners’ exposure to coal dust [think black lung]” was first proposed in October, 2010, now moved forward to September, 2013. And that’s not the only one.
❖ “As cities and states struggle to raise revenue in a sagging economy, they have increasingly turned control of public services and assets over to for-profit corporations”. Enter, stage left, The ‘Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda”.
❖ “Furloughs begin next week for Defense Department civilians; job cuts may be on horizon.”
In Hot Pursuit
❖ Reporting from La Paz: “Bolivians Indignant at European Treatment of President Morales”.
❖ “European Union Parliament President Martin Schulz today called ridiculous and unacceptable treatment given to Bolivian President Evo Morales by some countries . . . who banned his airplane to fly over their air space.”
❖ Spain’s “Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Friday . . . ‘they told us that the information was clear, that he was inside.’” Who is “they”?
❖ “Forcing down Evo Morales’s plane was an act of air piracy: . . . a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world”.
❖ The US “hosts some of Bolivia’s largest criminals“, including former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada who is wanted ”for the killing of 60 people who were protesting . . . policies to sell Bolivia’s resources to U.S. corporations.” Sanchez de Lozado is in the US, which “refuses to accept Bolivia’s extradition request”.
❖ The US has reportedly sent Ireland an arrest warrant for Edward Snowden “as a pre-emptive strike”.
❖ The UK and Sweden have blocked “plans to launch two ‘working groups’ on the espionage debacle with the Americans.” Instead, talks next week will concern data privacy and PRISM.
❖ The Vice-President of the European Commission says “providers of cloud services . . . could suffer significant loss of business” in the wake of the US NSA “surveillance scandal”.
❖ “France’s top security official publicly dressed down the United States at the American ambassador’s July 4 garden party [in Paris], denouncing alleged U.S. ‘espionage’ of France and other countries, while the European Parliament voted to open an investigation.”
❖ “France’s foreign intelligence service intercepts computer and telephone data on a vast scale, like the controversial US Prism programme”. Update: “French PM Ayrault says spy programme claims ‘inexact’.”
❖ Eugene Robinson walks us through the lies about NSA spying, and the glimpses we’ve gotten of hidden goings-on. He concludes: “The biggest lie of all? That the American people don’t even deserve to be told what their laws mean, much less how those laws are being used.”
❖ If you haven’t already, do listen to the voices of the future: “Students Question the NSA at Recruiting Session.”
❖ Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) intends to file a petition with the US Supreme Court, asking it “to vacate the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court . . . ruling which authorized . . . [collection of] metadata on domestic phone calls.”
❖ “Blowback from the White House’s vindictive war on whistleblowers: ”whistleblowers . . . punitively treated only motivate citizens of conscience more.”
❖ Sheesh. “State Department admits Kerry was on yacht day of Egypt Coup”–after denying it Wednesday.
❖ New York Times follow-up on IRS targeting shows that many organizations of different stripes (a “medical marijuana purveyor”, a group supporting Palestine, Occupy, etc.) received the same scrutiny.
❖ Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who’s running against Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) for the open Senate seat, has expressed his concern about Booker’s “close ties with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).”
❖ “Dozens of activists angry over austerity measures in Chicago used their Fourth of July holiday to demonstrate at the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”
❖ “Justice Ginsburg Won’t Bow To Liberal Pressure To Retire Before 2016″.
❖ GA is determined “to execute ‘mentally retarded’ inmate, even though both the “Supreme Court and state law” prohibit it.
The War on Women
❖ Birthing centers have proven to be “A middle ground between hospital and home birth [that] could save Americans lots of money.” Interesting to compare the licensure requirements for birthing centers to those for abortion clinics in recent anti-abortion bills and laws in various states.
❖ WI Gov. Scott Walker (R) “quietly signed a contentious Republican bill [today] that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures.”
❖ 12 “Occupy Oakland protesters awarded $1m over police violence during arrests”.
❖ Need a lock picked? Call a Cockatoo.