Politics and Legislation

Some Dems with tough primaries, but not all, seek Obama backing

By Molly K. Hooper

But just because lawmakers ask for the White House’s backing doesn’t mean they are going to get it.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/217493-dems-not-all-seek-obama-backing-primaries

Outrage among House GOP after Manzullo ousted in primary battle

By Cameron Joseph

Rank-and-file House Republicans are furious that party leadership took sides in a primary battle that led to the ouster of a longtime lawmaker.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/217497-outrage-in-house-gop-after-manzullo-ouster

Ryan budget passes committee by one vote

By Erik Wasson

The House Budget Committee approved Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget resolution on Wednesday night by a close vote of 19 to 18.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/217503-ryan-budget-passes-committee-by-single-vote

Sen. Wyden — it’s Reid on line one and Schumer on line two

By Alexander Bolton

Sen. Wyden’s decision to team up with Rep. Paul Ryan on an ambitious plan to reform Medicare has spurred intense concern from Democratic leaders.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/217499-sen-wyden-its-reid-on-line-one-and-schumer-on-line-two

Economy

Vatican Bank Account Closed At JP Morgan, Image May Be Hurt

By Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca

VATICAN CITY/MILAN, March 19 (Reuters) – JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank’s account with an Italian branch of the U.S. banking giant because of concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See’s financial institution, Italian newspapers reported.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/vatican-bank-image-hurt-closed_n_1363432.html

GOOD NEWS: If A European Sovereign Default Triggers CDS, Then US Banks Would Come Out On Top

U.S. financial institutions would be net recipients of credit default swap payouts in the event of a large-scale European sovereign default, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will say to Congress tomorrow.

Bernanke said American banks’ exposure to stresses in Europe’s banking sector remained a “concern,” despite U.S. firms’ moves to allocate offsetting capital.

In his full remarks, Bernanke details those actions.

http://www.businessinsider.com/bernanke-us-banks-would-be-net-gainers-in-europe-cds-trigger-2012-3#ixzz1ppJJItOO

Fed earned $77 billion last year, 2nd-highest ever

By Steve Goldstein

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Federal Reserve and its district banks said Tuesday it earned $77.4 billion last year, down from $81.7 billion in 2010 but the second-highest level in the central bank’s history. The bumper earnings allowed the Fed to distribute $75.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury, also the second-highest level ever. The earnings was derived primarily from $83.6 billion in interest income on securities acquired through open market operations, from Treasury securities, federal agency and government-sponsored enterprise mortgage-backed securities, and GSE debt securities. The Fed repeated that it doesn’t expect to record a loss on any of its emergency loan programs. On its portfolio of assets, unrealized losses totaled $4.3 billion, which the Fed attributed to “instrument-specific credit risk” on commercial and residential mortgage loans; the Fed earned $428 million on the securities it did sell.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-earned-77-billion-last-year-2nd-highest-ever-2012-03-20?siteid=bnbh

As Sweden Goes, So Goes the World: The Beginning of the End of Cash

There are many, many things to dislike about analog money. Cash and coins are unwieldy. They’re heavy. They’re dirty. They leave no automatic record of the financial transactions that are made with them.

Here in the U.S., despite Square and PayPal and other services that would seem to herald the end of cash, bills and coins still represent 7 percent of our total economy. In Sweden, however — which ranked first in this year’s Global Information Technology Report from the World Economic Forum — cash is scarcer. And it’s becoming, the AP reports, scarcer still. While Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661, it’s now come farther than any other country in the attempt to eradicate them. In most Swedish cities, the AP notes,

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/as-sweden-goes-so-goes-the-world-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-cash/254713/

Wars and Rumors of War

U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran

WASHINGTON — A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.
The officials said the so-called war game was not designed as a rehearsal for American military action — and they emphasized that the exercise’s results were not the only possible outcome of a real-world conflict

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/world/middleeast/united-states-war-game-sees-dire-results-of-an-israeli-attack-on-iran.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria

By KIRIT RADIA (@KiritRadia_ABC) and RYM MOMTAZ
MOSCOW, Russia, March 19, 2012

A Russian military unit has arrived in Syria, according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was “a bomb” certain to have serious repercussions.

Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest allies despite international condemnation of the government’s violent crackdown on the country’s uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations Security Council’s attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its allies of trying to start another war.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/russian-anti-terror-troops-arrive-syria/story?id=15954363#.T2rA6rRZe8b

Cyber Space

The Pirate Bay to Fly ‘Server Drones’ to Avoid Law Enforcement

One of the world’s largest BitTorrent sites is going to put servers on GPS-controlled aircraft drones in order to evade authorities who are looking to shut the site down

By Jason Koebler

The world’s largest and most resilient BitTorrent site plans to redefine “cloud computing” with a plan to move at least some of its servers onto unmanned drones miles above Sweden.

In a Sunday blog post, The Pirate Bay announced new “Low Orbit Server Stations” that will house the site’s servers and files on unmanned, GPS-controlled, aircraft drones.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/19/the-pirate-bay-to-fly-server-drones-to-avoid-law-enforcement

Whistle Blowers

Why is President Obama Keeping Yemeni Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye in Prison? 1 of 2

Uploaded by democracynow on Mar 15, 2012

democracynow.org – The Obama administration is facing scrutiny for its role in the imprisonment of a Yemeni journalist who exposed how the United States was behind a 2009 bombing in Yemen that killed 14 women and 21 children. In January 2011, a Yemeni state security court gave the journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a five-year jail sentence on terrorism-related charges following a disputed trial that was condemned by several human rights and press freedom groups. Within a month of Shaye’s sentencing, then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he was going to pardon the journalist. But Saleh changed his mind after a phone call from President Obama. Thirteen months later, Shaye remains behind bars. We speak to Mohamed Abdel Dayem of the Committee to Protect Journalists and award-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill.

Watch Part 2 of 2:

“Abdulelah Haider Shaye [is] a brave journalist who just happened to be on the wrong side of history in the eyes of the U.S.,” Scahill says. “His crime seems to be interviewing the wrong people and having the audacity to publish the other side of the story.”

Activism

As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail

The first of the more than 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested Saturday afternoon and evening were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Exhausted by a night and day in jail and shaken by the violence of the police response to Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary celebration, many burst into tears of relief when they were finally released to the friendly welcome of the movement’s Jail Support team

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/as_occupy_arres.php

Misc

UN’s Kofi Annan: An Agent of Wall Street

“Peace envoy” sits on board with traitors, meddlers, and warmongers.

By Tony Cartalucci
BlacklistedNews.com
“U.N.-Arab League envoy” Kofi Annan has claimed over the last several weeks to be backing “peace efforts” in Syria to end the conflict which has lasted over a year now. In reality, it has been revealed that his function is to simply buy time for a collapsing militant front and the creation of NATO-occupied “safe havens” from which further destabilization and “coercive action” can be conducted against the Syrian government.
This has been confirmed by Fortune 500-funded, US foreign-policy think-tank, Brookings Institution which has blueprinted designs for regime change in Libya as well as both Syria and Iran. In their latest report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” it is stated:

http://www.blacklistednews.com/UN%27s_Kofi_Annan%3A_An_Agent_of_Wall_Street_/18545/0/0/0/Y/M.html

NH Woman Sued For Planting Flowers In Her Front Yard

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – Kimberly Bois’ tiny front yard garden isn’t much to look at right now. But in a few weeks, it’ll be in full bloom, and every blossom will cost her dearly.

Even though she says her builder gave her permission to do a little planting, the current condo board now says she’s in violation.

They’re charging the Portsmouth, New Hampshire homeowner $50 a day for being so petal pushy. That fine has reached close to $6,000, plus the board’s legal fees.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/nh-woman-sued-for-planting-flowers-in-her-front-yard/

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