Nine Circles of Hell!: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 Nine Circles of Hell!


Your bitter blind broke gap-toothed radio show host Chuck Mertz‘s blog, ‘The Nine Circles of Hell!,’ is now posted every week day, Monday through Friday, at Noon (US central). It’s all the news that give you fits in print, today’s nine reminders that ‘This is Hell!’

Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold, or today’s bonus story in italics, to go directly to the original article.

Nine days ago, Greece’s traditional political powers lost elections to the more left- and right-wing parties. Greece will now have new elections after party leaders failed to form a national unity government. As Greece confronts further uncertainty, Hungary joins the Czech Republic and Romania in an austerity-driven recession. Bloomberg quotes Neil Shearing, an emerging-market economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, saying, “The data today painted a pretty downbeat picture and there isn’t much policy makers can do about it.” Newly sworn-in French President Francois Hollande won his recent election with an anti-austerity campaign. Hollande is now visiting with the policy’s champion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel is finding that austerity is now losing popularity with Germans, too. Bloomberg reports, Merkel’s opposition in the German Bundestag will ask for “a tax on financial transactions and measures to boost jobs and growth.” While the EU struggles, NATO defends itself against disturbing claims. NATO is disputing another report condemning their killing of civilians. This time, Human Rights Watch claims NATO killed 72 civilians in strikes on Libya last year. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “The findings are similar to those of earlier investigations into the Libyan conflict by other groups, including an independent commission mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council.” Meanwhile, eleven Yemeni civilians were killed today by US drone strikes. A local resident, Ali Abu Abdullah, is quoted saying, “Our lives are valueless in the eyes of our government, and that is why civilians are being killed without a crime.” US government spending on strikes is losing popularity with Americans. A new survey shows two-thirds of Republicans and nine in 10 Democrats support making immediate military spending cuts. 75 percent of men and 78 percent of women opposed the Obama administration’s military spending, instead backing immediate cuts. On the Afghan war, a majority of respondents backed an immediate cut in spending, on average, of around 43 percent. As iWatch reports, “the survey disclosed an even larger gap between majority views and proposals by House Republicans this week.” In a country where there’s so much spending on the military, there is another way you can make fat coin. In the US, student loan debt collectors can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Bloomberg reports on a not-for-profit group, one of dozens, that “charges fees to borrowers and earns commissions from taxpayers — totaling as much as 31 percent — when it collects on defaulted student loans. Those rich rewards, which are approved by Congress, are sparking criticism that … collection agencies are reaping a bonanza from former students’ pain.” Robert Shireman, a former deputy undersecretary of education under President Barack Obama, is quoted saying the loan program “is enriching collection agencies and undermining a goal we all want for society — to encourage people to go to college.” (That’s not the only hellish college cost news. The Washington Post reports, “State grant and scholarship programs for college students increasingly favor students who aren’t needy, according to a new report.”) While the US keeps spending on the military – and cutting education – Chicago keeps spending on more and more cops. Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina, cops will join several hundred additional Illinois State troopers and Chicago’s police force at this week’s NATO summit protests. In New York, cops are now being ordered by the federal government to send fingerprints of everyone arrested to immigration officials. According to metro, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents then check to see whether that person should be deported. City officials said yesterday the program threatens New York’s immigrant-friendly nature, where police trust immigrants to report crimes, not fear being stopped by cops.”

That’s the Nine Circles of Hell! for Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

Come back tomorrow for the Nine! at Noon!