CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for October 21st, 2013

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Hello everyone, hope you are well today.

International Developments


– “Does American might prevent global chaos?

– “UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez wants access to California prisons to look into isolation units.” Jail all the real criminals please!

– “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought on Monday to calm rising tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has spurned a U.N. Security Council seat in fury at inaction over the crisis in Syria.”

– Saudi Arabia under attack at UN for migrant worker and women’s rights

Crackdown in China now under review by the UN

Middle East

– “Syria’s president said Monday that the factors needed for a proposed peace conference to end the country’s conflict to succeed do not yet exist, raising doubts about renewed international efforts to bring the opposing sides in the civil war to the negotiating table.

– More on how Iraq violence is climbing into new highs

– “The U.S. has given 10 armored vehicles to the United Nations to help support efforts to verify and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.”

Israel’s new racism: African migrants

– “Amnesty International on Monday said Saudi Arabia had failed to act on UN recommendations and “ratcheted up the repression” since 2009, with the arbitrary detention and torture of activists.

– Iran has given Russia a copy of a US drone

– “A suicide bomber drove a minibus into a busy cafe in Baghdad on Sunday night, during a day of violence that left at least 45 dead across Iraq.”

Qatar will ease Palestinian debts with peace talks to increase

Differences remain when discussing Afghan-US security pact


– North Korea is at it again, this time threatening South Korea with imaginary bullets

Latin America

– “Honduras’ Banana Coast: Ripe for Development?

– Argentinians are linking health problems to Agribusiness

– Despite the Senate yet to vote it, Uruguay is planning to sell marijuana in 2014 at $1 a gram (that’s more than 20 pesos a gram in Uruguayan pesos)


Meet the activist behind Switzerland’s referendum on a minimum living wage

– Pope Francis: “Ideological Christians are a serious illness

– “Polish Nobel peace laureate Lech Walesa on Monday called for a new ‘secular Ten Commandments’ to underpin universal values, addressing a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Warsaw.

Financial Matters

Six Ways Privatization Often Ends in Disaster

– Despite the shutdown, Americans are set to continue to spend for holiday shopping

– Jaime Dimon so “damn proud” of JP Morgan

– Bitcoin price has surged to a post-crash high, $197

– Bank of America now facing more charges by the US

Surveillance Planet

– More leaks: France now upset after revelations that US spied on officials and citizens in France.

– Yes! “The White House conceded on Monday that revelations about how its intelligence agencies have intercepted enormous amounts of French phone traffic raised “legitimate questions for our friends and allies”.”

– New report says US hacked into ex-President of Mexico Felipe Calderon and Mexico is now angry.

– Marcy Wheeler: “Obama should split the NSA into two

– “[Glenn Greenwald,] the journalist behind stories about the National Security Agency’s global spy program, promised Monday that there are many more to come, including details about the United States spying on its own citizens.

– Researchers have found Megaupload bust has jeopardized tens of millions of legitimate files. Thanks Feds! GREAT WORK!

– Rep. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): NSA snooping “not surveillance”; The sky. The sky is purple.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “A leading labor union is bluntly telling Democrats that if they try to reduce Social Security or Medicare, the union would go after them electorally. The Huffington Post’s Dave Jamieson reports that Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, will deliver that message in a speech Monday to a conference for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

– BART strike entering fourth day right now.

– “In this post on reclaiming the conversation on education I offer strong views on the need to reorganize and redirect the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educational Association if these unions are to survive as a meaningful force for and ally of public education.

– “Fed up with state cuts to public school budgets, a group of North Carolina educators are planning a job action on November 4 to protest the cuts.

Politics USA

Government USA

– Gallup: About 45% of Americans approve of Obama

– “Democrats who gloat over Republicans’ bad week in Congress might pause to recall that conservatives still own major victories from past budget showdowns. And these wins may again thwart Democrats’ hopes of changing tax-and-spend policies in two-party talks beginning anew in the Capitol.

– Obama: “No excuse” for health care online problems

– “North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) debate with state Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) over the state’s restrictive new voting laws continued on Monday, with McCrory warning Cooper over expressing his own conflicted feelings over defending the legislation against a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department.

Everything Else USA

America’s Business is War

– Read four families who had loved ones affected by police brutality here

– Can we change the world just through our actions?

– Pew Research: 29% of those using health care exchanges feel it is going “very well

– Supreme Court’s DOMA decision driving same-sex marriage legalization in many states

– Governor Chris Christie ends gay marriage opposition as it is legal starting today (Marching to victory!)

Mayor of the 1% — Rahm Emanuel

More analysis of Eric Alterman’s review of Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath. In the mean time, read a chapter up on The Nation

– “One of the many disgraceful aspects of the media coverage of Obamacare—and criticism of the ACA, and the Tea Party claims in general—is the rote depiction of the new law as “very unpopular” or “opposed by most Americans according to polls” because it goes too far. Most people are said to be happy with the healthcare system as is, and so on. In other words, repeating the GOP line.

Top Gun (Stories)

– “Police say a Nevada middle school boy used a semi-automatic handgun to wound two students and kill a math teacher before turning the weapon on himself.”

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Welcome to Third World America: Life expectancy is dwindling to levels in developing or undeveloped countries

– Study: Humans were never met to wake up from sleep

– Suicide rate in Kansas climbs 30 percent as it cuts services. This is murder, plain and simple.

– Big insurers are avoiding the many state health exchanges

The War on Women

What does it mean to be a woman?

– “Nearly two dozen women have reported that they were forced to strip in a Washington police station while being recorded and watched by their male jailers.

– “The Cold Reaction to Sexual Harassment in Journalism

– Amherst College telling students to protect themselves from alumni in case of rape

Planet Earth

– “Hundreds gathered in the cold Toronto rain to oppose the proposal for the oil pipeline called Line 9B operated by energy company Enbridge. Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has been asked to approve Enbridge’s project that would enable them to bring oil from Alberta’s tar sands to 600 kilometers of pipeline running through Ontario and Quebec.

Hurricane Raymond now a major hurricane as it is set to strike Mexico

– Britain’s first new nuclear plant a long time is criticized for going to drive up consumer costs

Petrobras-led group has won a Brazilian oil auction

Mixed Bag

New, Improved Obamacare Program Released on 35 Floppy Disks

– “The statue of Tom Watson that graces the entrance to the Georgia state capitol will soon be removed from the grounds.

– Death anxiety increases creativity if you want to leave a legacy

Scientists have discovered DNA body clock

Break Time

The Warmth

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.