This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Violence increases in Damascus Syria, as Assad stays out of sight
- U.S. threatens to act independently after acrimonious U.N. vote on Syria
- Capital One fined $150 million for credit card fraud
- Israel promises retaliation against Iran for Bulgaria bombing
Violence increases in Damascus Syria, as Assad stays out of sight
Assad’s inner circle, including officials killed on Wednesday (Reuters)
Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad appeared briefly on state televisionon Thursday to swear in the new defense minister. Other than that,al-Assad has remained hidden in an undisclosed location, a day after abomber penetrated his deepest security and killed three people in hisinner circle. Violence increased in the capital city Damascus, withrebel forces attacked by army helicopter gunships, amid rumors thatal-Assad is considering the use of chemical weapons. Syrian refugeeshave been pouring across the borders into Turkey and Lebanon, with20,000 refugees crossing into Lebanon on Thursday alone. The mainconcern continues to be that the sectarian war within Syria willspread into a larger Sunni-Shia war in the region, pitting Iran andHizbollah against Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Reuters
U.S. threatens to act independently after acrimonious U.N. vote on Syria
An acrimonious shouting match in the United Nations Security Councilfollowed the veto, by Russia and China, of a new British-sponsoredresolution to extend the observer mission of the Kofi Annan Syriapeace plan. The plan, supported by the West, demanded thatthe Bashar al-Assad regime remove all heavy weapons fromcivilian residential areas or face sanctions. In vetoing theresolution, China’s ambassador said Western nations weresaid that the West sought to “fan the flames of extremists,including terrorist groups,” and that the West nowwanted “military intervention.” America’s UN ambassadorSusan Rice appeared to indicate that the U.S. would go aroundthe Security Council and take independent action:
“We will intensify our work with a diverse range ofpartners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear onthe Assad regime and to deliver assistance to those in need.
The Security Council has failed utterly in its most important taskon the agenda this year.”
She’s right that it’s very hard to justify the existence of the U.N.Security Council these days. The United States has been “policeman ofthe world” since President Truman announced the Truman Doctrine in1947, and it’s almost always been up to the United States to takeaction to bring peace.
The British ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said, “The United Kingdom isappalled at the veto of Russia and China. The effect of their actionsis to protect a brutal regime. They have chosen to put their nationalinterests ahead of the lives of millions of Syrians.” France’sambassador Gerard Araud said, “It is clear that Russia only aims togive more time to the Syrian regime to crush the opposition. RefusingAnnan the means of pressure that he asked for is to threaten hismission.” Middle East Online
Capital One fined $150 million for credit card fraud
Federal regulators order Capital One Financial Corp. to reimburse$150 million to more than 2 million consumers who were fraudulentlysold products they didn’t need when they called to activate theircredit cards. For example, they sold “payment-protection plans,”which cover up to 12 months of minimum payments if they lose theirjobs or become disabled. But they sold them to people whowere already unemployed or disabled, and after the consumers paida hefty fee, they were told that they were ineligible for theMarket WatchThis reminds me of a scam that I reported in 2009. The Senate Commerce Committee discovered thescan works as follows: You make a credit card purchase online fromPriceline or other retailers. At the end of the transaction, you’reoffered a “reward” of some kind, a coupon worth a few dollars. Youclick the fine print, and it turns out that you’ve agreed to let theretailer charge your credit card $10-20 per month. According to theSenate reports, the online retailers were fully aware that they weredefrauding consumers, but they didn’t care because they were making somuch money — $1.4 billion from millions of customers.
Here’s the list of online retailers that the Senate foundcommitted this fraud:
1-800-FLOWERS.com Hotwire Priceline.comAirTran Holdings Intelius Redcats USAClassmates.com FTD ShutterflyContinental Airlines Orbitz Worldwide US Airways GroupMovietickets.com Pizza Hut Vistaprint USAFandango
As I keep saying, the global financial crisis is far from over,because the same banksters are in the same jobs finding new ways todefraud people. These people graduated with masters degrees increating highly complex synthetic financial instruments with which tocommit fraud. Today, few people would be willing to purchase afraudulent residential mortgage-back collateralized debt obligation(RMB CDO), so these same people are now using other techniques todefraud people. In the meantime, Eric Holder’s Justice Departmentadamantly refuses to investigate and prosecute banksters who commiteven the most obvious fraud.
In the Capital One case, the company is fined some portion of theamount of their illegal gains. The actual people who perpetratedthe fraud still keep their 6-7 digit salaries and bonuses, whenthey should be going to jail.
Israel promises retaliation against Iran for Bulgaria bombing
Israeli officials maintained Thursday that Iran was behind a suicidebombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists, and vowedrevenge, at least covertly. Iran has accused Israel of beingresponsible for the killing of two Iranian scientists last year, andthe New York Times has published classified information revealing thatthe Stuxnet virus, which attacked centrifuges in Iran’s nuclearreactors, was launched by the United States and Israel. Iran isdenying that it caused the Bulgaria bombing, but it’s possible that itdid so because of a desire for revenge. Washington Post