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The Roundup for December 4th, 2013

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Hey everyone, hope you are well this day.

International Developments


– Pew: 18 percent of Americans believe U.S. should spread democracy abroad as a top foreign policy priority

– Lawmakers in the U.S., specifically the House, are still concerned with enrichment of uranium with new agreement

– EU concerned about new “security threat” of foreign fighters in Syria

– “Syria’s chemical weapons to be shipped in delicate US-Danish operation

Regarding the power of Facebook

– Noam Chomsky: “The ‘Axis of Evil’ Returns

– “Britain is urging the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution calling on all countries not to pay ransom to kidnappers who use the money to finance terrorist groups.

– John Kerry seeking to restart Israel-Palestine talks

Middle East

Six people have been killed in northern Iraq by suicide bombers and gunmen

– “Four ex-Blackwater guards are pleading not guilty to multiple manslaughter charges stemming from a deadly 2007 shooting on the streets of Baghdad.

Interview with Max Blumenthal over controversy surrounding his book Goliath

– “A senior Hezbollah commander has been shot dead outside his south Beirut apartment in the biggest blow to the secretive Shia militia since its then military commander was assassinated by a car bomb in the city six years ago.

A growing movement of academics boycotting Israel

– “The United States sees value in getting to know Islamist militias in Syria, in order to better understand their intentions in the civil war there and their possible links with al Qaeda, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.

– General Martin Dempsey: Delaying security deal between Afghanistan and U.S. is a risk to Afghan forces

– “Hundreds Set Sail in ‘Reverse Flotilla’ to Protest Israeli Naval Blockade

– Iran has arrested 16 activists on the alleged charge of anti-government material

– “Syria’s Criminal Rebels”

Asia & Oceania

– “US Vice-President Joe Biden has begun a trip to China by encouraging people to ‘challenge the government’.” Cause it’s worked so well in the U.S.

– Joe Biden: We must have a relationship between China and U.S. based on trust

– “The Obama administration faced strong bipartisan opposition Wednesday to plans for limited U.S. engagement with Myanmar’s powerful military due to concerns over human rights and its lingering ties with North Korea.

– “Thailand’s political future is cloudier than ever, but one thing is for certain – self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra won’t be coming home soon.

– Debris from a rocket hits village in China

– “South Korea’s economy expanded at its fastest clip in nearly two years during the third quarter.


– “Popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef said Wednesday that he’ll take the military and the government it backs at their word that they were not behind the decision to take his weekly TV program off the air, but he said it still doesn’t make them look “very nice.””

– “Up to 30,000 Eritreans have been abducted since 2007 and taken to Egypt’s Sinai to suffer torture and ransom demands, new research says.

– “Libya’s prime minister said on Wednesday that his government is spending billions of dollars to offset the loss of revenue caused by militias who have shut down oil terminals in the country’s restive east, one of many challenges to state authority in the North African country after its 2011 uprising and civil war.


– Council of Europe: Austerity has eroded human rights

– Austerity in Europe has “Americanized” labour markets

– “Thousands of children in Greece have been left unvaccinated because they and their parents have no health insurance, the Greek section of an international humanitarian aid organisation has said.

– German foreign minister snubbed President of Ukraine and met with the opposition 

– A mediator from the Council of Europe flew into Ukraine to resolve quarrels as the government survives a “no-confidence” vote

Austerity politics does not work

– Regarding Portugal and bailouts

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “Mexican police have found a truck they suspect was stolen by common thieves and carried a dangerous radioactive medical material the United Nations said could provide an ingredient for a “dirty bomb,” a government official said.

– The U.S. won’t report to the media anymore whether a Guantanamo Bay prisoner is on hunger strike or not

– “Approaching the Conundrum That is Puerto Rico

– Brazil seeking to keep protests away during the World Cup

Surveillance Planet

– New Snowden document: NSA gathers 5 billion cell phone records daily. Kevin has more.

– Rania Khalek: Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. writers have self-censored for fears of government surveillance

– Two million Facebook passwords have been stolen and posted online

Surveillance footage that lead way into investigating Aaron Swartz has been found

– “12 Corporate Espionage Tactics Used Against Leading Progressive Groups, Activists and Whistleblowers

– New Yorkers uneasy with huge security at Freedom Tower, with some suing

– “How the FBI Conspired to Destroy the Black Panther Party

– Greg Mitchell: “Pierre Omidyar on PayPal Blocking WikiLeaks Funds—and Upcoming ‘Anonymous’ Trial

– Emptywheel: “Scary Terror Metrics: Do Indicted “Terrorists” Really Measure Back Door Spying?

– “US Government Has Secret Kill Switch for Communications

– “A Somali man who secretly pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in New York two years ago continues to provide information to the US government in what officials describe as an “intelligence watershed”, the Guardian has learned.

Financial Matters

– “The US job market remained “surprisingly resilient” through the government shutdown, adding 215,000 new positions in November, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday.

– Gallup: “U.S. Consumer Spending Gains More Over Thanksgiving

– Global day of action targets free-trade agreements

– “A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found that the U.S. economy held steady during the 16-day partial government shutdown, growing moderately in most regions from October through late November.

– “Activist investor attempts to make Apple boost stock buyback

– “The US trade gap narrowed in October, as rising sales of oil pushed US exports to a record high, the US Commerce Department has said.

– Pew: Five facts over the minimum wage

– “Detroit Enters Bankruptcy As Pensions and Benefits Go on Chopping Block

– “The European Commission has fined eight banks – including RBS – a total of 1.7bn euros (£1.4bn) for forming illegal cartels to rig interest rates.

– Gallup: Job creation in the U.S. “flat

– “Top U.S. banks, including Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc, failed to fully comply with a government settlement to correct mortgage servicing abuses, a monitor of the settlement said on Wednesday.

– Talking about a stock market bubble

– “The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s is considering lifting its threat to Britain’s AAA credit rating in a boost to the chancellor George Osborne ahead of Thursday’s autumn statement.

– “Inside the Fight to Prevent Billions in International Money Laundering and Tax Shelters

– “The U.S. Justice Department plans to bring mortgage fraud cases against several financial institutions early in 2014, using as a template the case that ended last month in JPMorgan Chase & Co’s $13 billion settlement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday.

– A commercial by Toys ‘R Us “that should make ever parent vow to never shop

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “Professors to Grad Students: Focus on Studies, Not Wages

– For companies, higher wages are good

– It’s funny reading this since I know of a few anti-trade union socialist groups. “How the Defeat of Trade Unionism Gave Rise to Low-Wage Jobs

Politics USA

Washington USA

– A Harvard poll has found a decline of support by Millennials for Obama, now at 41 percent

Obama speaks about the middle class and the poor after quagmire with The Nation has more for those interested.

– “A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says there’s no evidence yet that Iran is violating last month’s nuclear accord with world powers.

– Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): I will serve out my six-year term and won’t run for President

– Obama may be able to bypass Congressional roadblock and raise worker wages

– Obama: I hope the youth are discouraged by problems

– Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA): We should “tactically nuke” Iran if we go to war with them; Never knew potential war criminals were in Congress!

– Some House Republicans are considering impeachment for Obama

– GOP in Ohio has resurrected voter suppresion

– Tim Carpenter, part of “Progressive Democrats of America,” talks about his move to make the Democrats go left

– The House renews Undetectable Firearms Act, which bans plastic handguns

– In testimony from NASA and MIT witnesses, a House committee hears we might be able to find extraterrestrial life, perhaps soon enough

– Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel: Staff cutbacks will save Pentagon $1 billion

Everything Else USA 

– “Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over controversial Sarah Palin comment

– After retirement, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will get a 24/7, 10 man security team 

– “New York Times’ blind spot on Clinton and race

– Washington D.C. is the top place in the country where someone can get busted for pot

– “New York grand jury resistor denied appeal for freedom

– Interesting. “The Contra-Cocaine exposes of the 80s laid bare a nefarious govt. orchestrated scheme. Big media outlets have attacked it ever since.

Noam Chomsky documentary soon to be released over his life, if interested

– ” With the fight over solving Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall now headed to the courts, the financially troubled state faces a grim possibility: The plan could be tossed, and Illinois could wind up in an even deeper fiscal hole than the one it’s in now.

– “Why atheist libertarian are a part of America’s 1 percent problem

– Lessons from Seattle WTO protests in 1999

– “The nation’s largest freight rail carriers announced Wednesday they will provide health care benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees, one day after legally married, gay engineers filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle.

– Lawsuit in Utah against same-sex marriage ban

– New York City Council thinks of e-cigarette ban

We Don’t Need No Education

– “The New York Times Gets an ‘F’ on Education Policy

– “The Economic and Political Context of Student Debt

Top Gun (Stories)

– Newtown 911 calls have been released

– New shooting with stand-your-ground law continues debate of self-defense laws

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Study: Food stamps can help increase independence when children grow up

– PepsiCo’s investments in India will lead to obesity and diabetes increase

– Hilarious Colbert segment with “Thought for Food

Homelessness ignored in Washington

– “A pioneering playgroup and family counselling centre for children who question their gender is preparing a significant expansion to cope with a surge in demand, amid high rates of bullying and suicide.

The Second Sex

– “Group sues government of El Salvador over treatment of critically ill pregnant women, ban on abortion

Ridiculous anti-rape posters by police

– To remove stigma and shame placed by, for lack of a better term, idiots, rape survivors speak about the issue and offer their own input

A Master Sergeant at Fort Hood was convicted as case over prostitution ring continues

Planet Earth

– Study: The world is consuming more meat than ever before

– “An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels – casting them as “freeriders” – in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.” Steve Horn has more.

– An electric car owner has been arrested for, get this, “stealing” 5 cents worth of electricity

– “Justice Department tries to set aside controversial coal mining regulation

– The Sahara desert is experiencing, according to this study, “catastrophic collapse” of wildlife

– Scientists remark 2 degrees Celsius is too high of a limit

– “Ontario Activists Protest Tar Sands Pipeline By Locking Themselves to Machinery

– “President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple to 20 percent its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020.”

– The World Bank is sending us to environmental destruction

– “Wildlife workers in boats struggled Wednesday to coax nearly four dozen pilot whales out of dangerous shallow waters in Florida’s Everglades National Park, hoping to spare them the fate of 10 others that already have died.

– Drivers come back to the road, as U.S. gas prices fall

– “How Ivy League Universities Are Failing Us on Climate Change

– In the BP trial, where an ex-BP engineer deleted messages over Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an FBI agent testifies

Mixed Bag

– Pew: Infographic over Jewish Americans

– “Unsuspecting audiences expecting to enjoy Disney’s animated movie “Frozen” in a Tampa, Florida movie theater were recently shown the sexually explicit trailer for “Nymphomaniac,” Lars von Trier’s art house film about sex addiction.

– Library of Congress study: American silent films are missing

– “The discovery of DNA in a 400,000-year-old human thigh bone will open up a new frontier in the study of our ancestors.”

A man was trapped for 62 hours underwater in an air bubble and was rescued

– “Big Banksy piece from gas station up for auction

– AP has numbers on Christmas at the White House

Break Time

Even Flow

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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.