Tuesday Reads: So Much Breaking News!

Photo by Stanley Kubrick for Life Magazine

Photo by Stanley Kubrick for Life Magazine

Good Morning!!

I have some serious news reads for you this morning, but–just because it’s a feel-good story–I’m going to begin with one more Market Basket update. The Boston Globe published an article yesterday about the Market Basket store I shop at in, in Burlington, MA: A Market Basket store, returning to life. Recall that the shelves were mostly empty when the employees returned to work on Thursday morning.

The doors of the tractor-trailer open on a bounty of chicken, Swiss cheese, and sliced onions.
A swarm of grocery clerks in blue jackets and managers in red descends on the loading dock, using hand-operated electric jacks to spear pallets of food that the workers stack in the cavernous storage rooms in the back of the Market Basket supermarket….

Bob McKeown fills a display case with fresh-from-the-fryer doughnuts, a few garnished with smiley faces made of jelly. Samantha Bond decorates a cake to honor the moment, etching the words “Market Basket Strong” in icing and an image of the yellow giraffe that served as the employees’ mascot of sorts during the protest — for “sticking their necks out.” ….

This Market Basket store in Burlington came back to life over the last few days, resuscitated by a cadre of employees eager to get to work after the six-week protest that forced the return of Arthur T. Demoulas as head of the family food empire. Like the others in the 71-store chain, the Burlington store was the scene of a rapid restocking, a huge task involving thousands of pounds of produce, meat, bread, canned goods, and other groceries….

The first morning back had been about congratulations and hugs and handshakes as customers came in more to talk to employees than to shop. Amid the celebrations, workers admitted to anxious moments during the stoppage. They worried their defiance would cost them their jobs — “I’ve been living on antacids for the last six weeks,” one said — and couldn’t wait to get back to the unglamorous but satisfying routine of running a supermarket.

That routine had returned in full by early Friday.

It’s a nice story, and I’m so happy for these workers. Isn’t it great that this happened over Labor Day weekend?

Now for the not-so-upbeat news . . .

reading_on_train

NBC News reports, Terror Leader Linked to Kenya Mall Massacre Targeted by U.S. Strike.

The U.S. military launched an airstrike in Somalia on Monday targeting the leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated group behind the Kenya mall massacre. U.S. officials told NBC News that a military drone launched Hellfire missiles at at least two vehicles in a remote area of southern Somalia. Sources said Ahmed Abdi Godane, the top leader of al Shabab, was the attack’s target. Al Shabab claimed responsibility for last September’s Westgate Mall siege that left at least 67 dead and around 200 injured. One U.S. security source described Godane as “operationally savvy and ideologically driven, with aspirations off the charts.”

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in a statement late Monday that “we are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.” Godane has served as the group’s leader since a U.S. airstrike killed his predecessor Aden Hashi Ayro in 2008. In October, U.S. commandos launched raids in Somalia seeking to capture Godane, who is also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr. Reuters reported that Godane’s close associate, Ahmed Mohamed Amey, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in January. In an online audio message following the Westgate Mall massacre, Godane said Kenya should be “prepared for an abundance of blood that will be spilt in your country.” Al Shabab, which means “The Youth” in Arabic, seized much of southern Somalia in 2006 before Somali forces and African peacekeeping troops ousted it five years later.

Photo of NY subway by Walker Evans

Photo of NY subway by Walker Evans

AP reports (via ABC News) that 6 militants were killed in the raid. There aren’t a lot of details as yet, but here’s a backgrounder on al-Shabab from The Council on Foreign Relations. Here’s the introduction and information on how the group began.

Al-Shabab, or “The Youth,” is an al-Qaeda-linked militant group and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. The group, also known as Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, and its Islamist affiliates once held sway over Mogadishu and major portions of the Somali countryside, but a sustained African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group considerably. Still, security analysts warn that the group remains the principal threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state.

Al-Shabab’s terrorist activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also proven an ability to carry out deadly strikes in the region, including coordinated suicide bombings in Uganda’s capital in 2010 and a deadly raid on a Nairobi mall in 2013. Washington fears the group, which has successfully recruited members of the Somali-American diaspora, may orchestrate strikes on U.S. soil. In recent years, the United States has pursued a two-pronged policy in Somalia: providing funding, training, and logistical support to UN-backed African forces battling al-Shabab, while escalating counterterrorism operations including Special Forces and armed drones….

Somalia, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, has seen a number of radical Islamist groups come and go in its decades-long political tumult. The group analysts cite as al-Shabab’s precursor, and the incubator for many of its leaders, is Al-Ittihad Al-Islami (aka Unity of Islam), a militant Salafi extremist group that peaked in the 1990s after the fall of the Siad Barre military regime (1969-1991) and the outbreak of civil war.

AIAI, which sought to establish an Islamist emirate in Somalia, sprang from a band of Middle Eastern-educated Somali extremists and was partly funded and armed by al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Many of its fighters, including current al-Shabab commanders, fled the country and fought in Afghanistan in the late 1990s after being pushed out by the Ethiopian army and its Somali supporters. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In 2003, a rift developed between AIAI’s old guard, which had decided to create a new political front, and youth members who sought the establishment of a “Greater Somalia” under fundamental Islamic rule. The hardliners eventually joined forces with an alliance of sharia courts, known as the Islamic Courts Union, serving as its youth militia in the battle to conquer Mogadishu’s rivaling warlords. Al-Shabab and the ICU wrested control of the capital in June 2006, a victory that stoked fears of spillover jihadist violence in neighboring Ethiopia, a majority Christian nation.

Much more at the CFR link.

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Yesterday, U.S. planes carried out an operation against ISIS militants in Iraq. Reuters: U.S. planes strike militants near Iraq’s Amreli, airdrop aid.

President Barack Obama authorized the new military action, broadening U.S. operations in Iraq amid an international outcry over the threat to Amerli’s mostly ethnic Turkmen population.

U.S. aircraft delivered over a hundred bundles of emergency supplies and more aid was dropped from British, French and Australian planes, officials said, signaling headway in Obama’s efforts to draw allies into the fight against Islamic State.

Iraqi army and Kurdish forces closed in on Islamic State fighters on Saturday in a push to break the Sunni militants’ siege of Amerli, which has been surrounded by the militants for more than two months.

Armed residents of Amerli have managed to fend off attacks by Islamic State fighters, who regard the town’s majority Shi’ite Turkmen population as apostates. More than 15,000 people remain trapped inside.

“At the request of the government of Iraq, the United States military today airdropped humanitarian aid to the town of Amerli, home to thousands of Shia Turkmen who have been cut off from receiving food, water, and medical supplies for two months by ISIL,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said, using an alternative name for Islamic State.

“In conjunction with this airdrop, U.S. aircraft conducted coordinated air strikes against nearby ISIL terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation,” he said, adding that a key objective was to prevent a militant attack on civilians in the town.

nyc_subway_riders_with_their_newspapers

President Obama is headed to Estonia today and then to Wales for the NATO Summit. CBS News reports, Russia and ISIS take center stage on Obama’s Europe trip.

President Obama leaves for Europe Tuesday with stops in Estonia and a NATO summit in Wales amid escalating crises in Ukraine and in Iraq and Syria, crises that are having a direct impact on a number of European nations.

While the Russian threat in Ukraine will be the focus of the upcoming summit, the meeting also puts President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel face to face with European countries who may be willing to join the U.S. in dealing with the other crisis in Iraq and Syria.

Officially, however, NATO says it doesn’t want to be involved in dealing with the Islamic militant group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that has swept across Iraq and Syria and poses a growing threat to the U.S. and parts of Western Europe that might be targeted by foreign fighters.

Why is Obama stopping in Estonia?

“It is clearly not accidental that the president has decided to stop in Estonia on the way to the NATO Summit. The two stops are essentially part of the same effort to send a message to the Russians that their behavior is unacceptable,” said Charles Kupchan, the White House’s senior director for European Affairs.

Estonia, like Ukraine, has a large Russian population and is concerned about the potential of pro-Russian unrest there too. But Kupchan said Mr. Obama will send the message that the Article 5 commitment to common defense of other nations is ironclad.

“Russia, don’t even think about messing around in Estonia or in any of the Baltic areas in the same way you have been messing around in Ukraine,” Kupchan said the president would relay to allies there.

Mr. Obama will meet with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also speak to young people there.

Read more details about the NATO Summit at the link.

Why-do-people-read-newspapers

According to the New York Times, Russia is already making plans to respond to expected NATO actions.

MOSCOW — With NATO leaders expected to endorse a rapid-reaction force of 4,000 troops for Eastern Europe this week, a senior Russian military official said on Tuesday that Moscow would revise its military doctrine to account for “changing military dangers and military threats.”

In an interview with the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, the official, Mikhail Popov, deputy secretary of Russia’s military Security Council, called the expansion of NATO “one of the leading military dangers for the Russian Federation.”

Mr. Popov said Russia expected that leaders of NATO would seek to strengthen the alliance’s long-term military presence in Eastern Europe by establishing new military bases in the region and by deploying tanks in Estonia, a member of NATO that borders Russia.

“We believe that the defining factor in our relationship with NATO remains the unacceptability for Russia of plans to move military infrastructures of the alliance to our borders, including by means of expanding the bloc,” Mr. Popov said.

And so, we move closer to the possibility of another world war. At least that’s what Ann Applebaum of Slate suggested recently: Putin has invaded Ukraine. Is it hysterical to prepare for total war with Russia? Or is it naive not to? It’s brief and to the point, so please give it a read.

subway reading2

The New York Times also has an important story about the sex-trafficking scandal in Great Britain. I read about it at the Guardian a few days ago, but we haven’t discussed it here. The Times reports, Years of Rape and ‘Utter Contempt’ in Britain. Here’s the introduction:

ROTHERHAM, England — It started on the bumper cars in the children’s arcade of the local shopping mall. Lucy was 12, and a group of teenage boys, handsome and flirtatious, treated her and her friends to free rides and ice cream after school.

Over time, older men were introduced to the girls, while the boys faded away. Soon they were getting rides in real cars, and were offered vodka and marijuana. One man in particular, a Pakistani twice her age and the leader of the group, flattered her and bought her drinks and even a mobile phone. Lucy liked him.

The rapes started gradually, once a week, then every day: by the war memorial in Clifton Park, in an alley near the bus station, in countless taxis and, once, in an apartment where she was locked naked in a room and had to service half a dozen men lined up outside.

She obliged. How could she not? They knew where she lived. “If you don’t come back, we will rape your mother and make you watch,” they would say.

At night, she would come home and hide her soiled clothes at the back of her closet. When she finally found the courage to tell her mother, just shy of her 14th birthday, two police officers came to collect the clothes as evidence, half a dozen bags of them.

But a few days later, they called to say the bags had been lost.

“All of them?” she remembers asking. A check was mailed, 140 pounds, or $232, for loss of property, and the family was discouraged from pressing charges. It was the girl’s word against that of the men. The case was closed.

God, what a horrible story! Here’s a related post at The Daily Beast, The Psychology of Sex Slave Rings, by Charlotte Lytton. Lytton asks a controversial question, “are grooming rings endemic within certain cultures?”

subway reading1

Back in the USA, CNN reports that the FBI is investigating a hacker who released nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and several other female celebrities over the weekend. That’s good news. I hope they put catch the culprit and put him in prison for a very long time.

Here’s a little political news from Reuters, via Huffington Post: Eric Cantor To Join Investment Bank Moelis & Co. As Vice Chairman And Managing Director.

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will join investment bank Moelis & Co as vice chairman and managing director, the company said, adding that Cantor will also be elected to its board….

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” Moelis CEO Ken Moelis said in a statement.

And finally, Politico writes: WHY THERE (PROBABLY) WON’T BE A SHUTDOWN

The apparent (but not finalized) decision by the White House to push executive action on immigration reform past the November midterms means there is no forcing mechanism to create a shutdown fight when government funding runs out Sept. 30th. Qorvis’ Stan Collender, a top budget expert, emails: “I never thought a shutdown was likely this fall (next March is another issue), but in a rational world delaying action on immigration should kill any chance of one happening. Then again — Benghazi, Obamacare, etc”

So, those are this morning’s breaking news headlines. What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific Tuesday!


62 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: So Much Breaking News!”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Suddenly, it’s summer in New England. I can’t believe it is already 86 degrees at 10AM, supposed to get into the 90s. It’s been cool all summer and now it feels like mid-July in September. WTF?

    • RalphB says:

      We’ve had a fairly cool summer here to, in comparison to recent years. It’s now an unremarkable 83 here.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Fortunately, it’s not likely to last long.

        • NW Luna says:

          We’ve had a hot summer in the Pacific Northwest. Well, to us it’s been hot — 80s and even 90s — OK, quit laughing! We poor drizzle-drenched people never get a chance to acclimatize. I’m glad it’s finally cooling off; in the high 60s today. We had a rainy weekend and I got out hiking only 1 day — but there were sweet juicy wild blueberries, and leaves just hinting of fall color.

          • bostonboomer says:

            We’ve had barely any 90-degree days this year until the past week. But this is strange. The temperature here got to 91 at about 11:30, but now it’s only 81 and it’s raining (not predicted). Weird.

  2. RalphB says:

    That story of abuse and rape from the UK is shocking to me. How people in power can knowingly let those kinds of things happen is beyond me.

    • NW Luna says:

      Beyond me, either. From the BBC:

      The report which revealed the abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham – mainly by men of Pakistani heritage – found many reasons why the shocking scale of child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town remained hidden. A “taboo” subject, “ignoring a politically inconvenient truth”, threatening “community cohesion”, “fear of being thought racist”.

      Councillors and council staff in particular were criticised for “avoiding public discussion”; some through fear of being thought racist, and some through “wholesale denial” of the problem. ….

      “In the name of what community cohesion and political correctness? Not in the name of my community,” said Muhbeen Hussain, founder of British Muslim Youth. “I’m truly disgusted to see such a report in my home town of Rotherham. “The fact these guys were predominantly Pakistani heritage men should not be a reason for providing a cloak of invisibility.” ….

      Professor Alexis Jay’s report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, said: “Several councillors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be ‘giving oxygen’ to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion.” ….

      Prof Jay’s report said that while ethnicity did not impact on the way front-line staff dealt with cases, it did affect the wider picture, with some staff in children’s social care saying they were “advised by their managers to be cautious about referring to the ethnicity of the perpetrators” in reports.

      • RalphB says:

        It’s just insane and would be absolutely impossible for me to keep my mouth shut for one minute about something like that. There is absolutely nothing that can justify not binging that to the attention of everyone and getting it stopped, no matter what the costs.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Morning! I saw a train loaded with tanks yesterday going to the grocery store. Last time I saw that much hardware headed to us we were headed towards Iraq. Wonder if it’s coming home from Afghanistan or what?

  4. dakinikat says:

    and from the annals of imagine No Religion:

    Mississippi gay man says Baptist teacher raped him for three years so he’d hate men

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/09/02/mississippi-gay-man-says-baptist-teacher-raped-him-for-three-years-so-hed-hate-men/

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This is for JJ if she shows up. The new Minecraft update came out this morning, and it has rabbits, including a rare “killer rabbit” that is intended to be a tribute to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. No holy hand grenade though.

  6. dakinikat says:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/31/putin-threatens-nuclear-war-over-ukraine.html

    Raising the spectre of nuclear war over Ukraine, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is playing a new, and dangerous, game.
    On Friday, as Russian Federation tanks and troops poured across the border into eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin talked about his country’s most destructive weaponry. “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations,” he said. “This is a reality, not just words.” Russia, he told listeners, is “strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces.”

    That same day, Putin used a term for eastern Ukraine meaning “New Russia.” So when he refers to repelling “any aggression against Russia” and speaks of “nuclear deterrence,” as he did on Friday, the Russian president is really warning us he will use nukes to protect his grab of Ukrainian territory.

  7. dakinikat says:

    WTF? Dallas Cops ‘Swarm’ School, Search For ‘Suspect’ After Miscarriage In Bathroom

    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/09/dallas-cops-swarm-school-search-suspect

    • janicen says:

      This story makes me want to cry. The poor woman must be terrified and may be in need of medical care. And WTH does this mean?

      Alan Elliott of Baby Moses Dallas explained to KDFW that the mother could have avoided any criminal charges if she had taken advantage of Baby Moses laws by carrying the child to term, and then dropping it off at a safe baby site like a fire station

      She had a spontaneous abortion fer fucks sake!! What the hell does the Baby Moses law have to do with this? I had no idea that it was a crime to miscarry a pregnancy. I guess my mom should have done time for the one she miscarried.

      • Done time? yup me too…

        • NW Luna says:

          Millions and millions of women would then be doing time. Most spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) happen in the first 12 weeks, and many are so early they may occur without the woman knowing she has been pregnant, and may be no more than a very painful menses.

          Spontaneous abortions can’t be stopped. They happen because there is something in the fetal development that is incompatible with life.

          Also, under quite rare circumstances the uterus will shed its endometrium, and the results can visually be confused with products of conception, which they are not.

    • RalphB says:

      Update: A miscarriage is no crime.

      KDFW: Fetus found at Dallas high school was result of miscarriage

      A fetus that was discovered Friday afternoon at an East Dallas high school was the result of a miscarriage, a spokesperson for the Dallas Police Department said Tuesday.

      Police have “spoken to all involved,” and the incident isn’t considered a criminal case, the spokesperson said.

      The fetus was found in a Woodrow Wilson High School bathroom that both students and staff members had access to.

      A school custodian was notified about the fetus Friday and told the principal, who then contacted police.

      Originally, the bathroom was considered a crime scene when police first began investigating.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    HuffPo:

    John Boehner And House GOP Tax Guru Profited From Offshore Tax Dodge

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) personally profited from a corporate tax loophole that they have opposed closing, according to Bloomberg.

    Boehner and Camp announced that they were selling their stock in Dublin-based Covidien shortly after the American medical technology company Medtronic agreed to acquire it. The merger would allow Medtronic to move its formal headquarters overseas to reduce its tax bill.

    According to Bloomberg, Covidien’s stock price shot up after the acquisition was announced, and both Boehner and Camp sold between $15,000 and $50,000 shares of their stock in the company.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Phyllis Schlafly: Women Can Avoid Rape By Focusing On Marriage, Not Career

    http://samuel-warde.com/2014/09/phyllis-schlafly-women-can-avoid-rape-focusing-marriage-career-audio/

    Noting that “marriage settles men down,” Schlafly asked, “So what’s the answer for women who worry about male violence? It’s not to fear all men. It’s to reject the lifestyle of frequent ‘hookups,’ which is so much promoted on college campuses today, while the women pursue a career and avoid marriage.”

    • NW Luna says:

      See there! Rape is wimmin’s fault, ’cause they work instead of letting the mens take care of ’em. How dare they blame the mens for violence they bring on themselves.

      How does Schlafly explain the married men who rape, then. No, don’t tell me; she thinks it’s the wife’s fault.

      Why on earth does anyone listen to that wingnut?

  10. dakinikat says:

    Muslims in Michigan denounce the Islamic State as “enemies of humanity” – See more at: http://rare.us/story/muslims-in-michigan-denounce-the-islamic-state-as-enemies-of-humanity/#sthash.tQ2ktFP3.dpuf

  11. dakinikat says:

    Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female

    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords

  12. dakinikat says:

    good grief!

    http://aattp.org/mi-open-carrier-will-not-be-charged-after-threatening-revolution-video/

    Guess What Happens When A White Guy Parades Around With an Assault Rifle Threatening Violent Revolution? (Video)

  13. RalphB says: