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The Roundup for December 9th, 2013

Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Service: live link, program, guest list.

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Hey everyone, hope everything is going well so far.

Nelson Mandela’s Death and Legacy, Day 5

– “How Right-Wingers Attempted to Defame Nelson Mandela As A Terrorist

– Nelson Mandela, feminist

Legacy of reproductive justice for women in South Africa under Mandela

– “The Other Mandela

– “The right’s new litmus test: “Do you hate Mandela enough?”

– His daughter gives his final hours for those interested

– Palestinian Mandela demonstrations and tributes attacked by Israeli military

– “Nelson Mandela’s office becomes a place of pilgrimage

– “Don’t Blame Mandela for Our Failure

– Dave Zirin: “Mandela’s Uses of Sports: Resistance, Reconciliation and Rebranding

– Shameful to see the elite do this. “A delegation of the many of the most powerful and well-known figures in American politics is travelling to South Africa to pay respects to Nelson Mandela and, some may calculate, to be seen rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite during a global televised spectacle.

International Developments


– Pew: 43 percent of Americans disapprove of the Iranian deal compared to 32 percent who approve

– Seymour Hersh: Obama administration nearly lied to get into Syria. Full article here as both the New Yorker and the Washington Post passed on publishing it.

– “Switzerland’s private banks have until today to declare whether they will sign up to a US transparency agreement which would see them divulge client information.

– Syria to U.N.: Stop Saudi support for extremists

– “Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the Mideast for more peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and then will travel on to Vietnam and the Philippines.

– U.N. to Iraq: Please find the seven Iran dissidents who were abducted

– “Libya’s “excessive” political polarisation will be resolved only though national dialogue, the UN Envoy in Libya, Tarek Mitri, told the Security Council in New York today.

– “The United States and British governments are creating a task force to target online child sexual exploitation.

Middle East

– Juan Cole: “Young Israelis Emigrating Abroad Roils Politics in Tel Aviv

– He also finds the top 10 errors in Netanyahu’s speech that the latter gave yesterday

– “Syrian government forces are reported to have taken control of the motorway linking Damascus with the city of Homs.

– Israel: Iranian embassies are “terror bases“; Suuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeee

– “A senior Palestinian official said the United States was asking Palestinians to make security concessions in peace talks with Israel in order to silence the Jewish state’s criticism of world power diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program.”

– Natural gas from Iran is the main source of energy for Iraq

– “Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel attempted to bolster the US’s fraught relationship with Pakistan during a rare visit to the country – the first by a US defence secretary in more than three years.

– Iranian companies have been urged to invest in southern region to improve conditions

– Syrian phones and internet have been cut due to outages

– “The Deadly Pawns of Saudi Arabia

– Mark Weisbrot: Can war with Iran be prevented?

Asia and Oceania

– “Japan slashed its estimate of economic growth for the July-to-September quarter on Monday as investment by companies slowed more than first estimated.

– Chinese state media: Smog promotes equality!

– “China expressed “regret” on Monday that South Korea had extended its air defense zone to partially overlap with a similar zone declared by Beijing two weeks ago that has raised regional tensions.

– “Thailand’s government has proposed new elections be held on 2 February, hours after the prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house of parliament in an attempt to calm the country’s deepening political crisis.“; Yet, protesters still came out to demonstrate and call for a “people’s council” Reminds me of the soviets during the 1917 Russian Revolution!

– “Singapore’s prime minister has urged citizens not to show animosity towards migrant workers following the first rioting in 40 years in the wealthy state, which prides itself on being an island of calm in an often chaotic region.


– Art inspired by Africa can be found here

– French troops engage in firefight with rebels in Central African Republic with no one hurt, yet 465 have died so far

What can help Central African Republic?

– “Central African Republic mobs launch sectarian attacks


– “Ukrainian police have begun moving against protesters in central Kiev, with some protest camps in front of government buildings dismantled.

– “Vice President Joe Biden has urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to defuse escalating tensions in Kiev, where protesters and riot police squared off in the biggest of three weeks of demonstrations.

– Elton John speaks out against Russia’s anti-gay laws

– “Vladimir Putin Just Replaced Russia’s Best State-Run News Outlet With a State-Run PR Firm

– “An investigation into the fatal police helicopter crash in Glasgow has found no evidence of a major mechanical failure.”

– Up to 20,000 households in Greece lose their electricity every month this year

– “Migration Across the Mediterranean: When Will Europe See That Too Many People Have Died?

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “President Nicolás Maduro’s party won the most votes in Venezuela’s local elections on Sunday, disappointing the opposition and helping his quest to preserve the late Hugo Chavez’s socialist legacy.

– “Two international press groups are calling for a full investigation into the death of Honduran journalist Juan Carlos Argenal Medina, who was found shot to death at his home in the southeastern city of Danli.

– Amnesty International protests removal of people from houses in Haiti

– “Mexican authorities found the bodies of eight kidnap victims, some dismembered, on a highway in the troubled southern state of Guerrero where government troops have been deployed to stem violence, officials said on Monday.

– How the Honduran election was stolen

– “Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ruled that municipal governments must respect the results of referendums on whether mining projects can be developed in their towns.”

– Child sex trade in Brazil soars as World Cup draws near

– “Cuba reforms seen as changing ideals, values

Surveillance Planet

– Latest Snowden document: US and UK have spied on MMOs (massive multiplayer online) games. Kevin has more.

– Report: Chinese hackers spied on European leader before G20 in Sept.

– “Hacktivists on Trial

– NSA recruting students to intern from as young as 15

– “Intelligence agencies would be “foolish” not to use modern technology allowing them to track terrorist plots, the chairman of Parliament’s intelligence committee has said.

– Pew: 39 percent of Americans state surveillance programs have helped kept America safer from terrorism

– “Leading global technology firms have called for “wide-scale changes” to US government surveillance.

– Police are demanding, at all levels, more access to cellphone data

– “Senior figures behind efforts to curtail the powers of American spy agencies have seized on the decision by the world’s largest tech companies to call for radical surveillance reform, saying the unexpected intervention is a potential “game-changer”.

– “CIA Spy Program Has Been a “Colossal Flop”

– Chris Hedges: Shooting the messenger

– Emptywheel: “NSA Failures and Terror Successes Drive the Dragnet” & “Former Top NSA Officials Insist Employees Are Leaving Because Obama Is Mean, Not Because They Object To NSA’s Current Activities

Financial Matters

– Gallup: 62 percent of Americans prefer saving rather than spending money

– “The job report mirage

– Study: 1 in 3 bank tellers must rely on public assistance because of low wages

The top 20 percent: Social liberals who reject tax increases on their wealth

– Dean Baker: “Let’s get this straight: AIG execs got bailout bonuses, but pensioners get cuts

– The Federal Reserve Bank can serve the people by giving them money, instead of giving money to the rich

– “A top Federal Reserve official who is sometimes seen as a bellwether for U.S. monetary policy on Monday offered his voice to a growing contingent at the central bank that has argued for reducing the Fed’s bond buying at a meeting next week.

Is it possible to access the Fed’s money?

– “Sysco Corp has said it will buy rival US Foods Inc for about $3.5bn and assume about $4.7bn in debt to cement its position as the biggest US food distributor. ”

– Celebrating Christmas without mass consumerism

– “Rising riches: 1 in 5 in US reaches affluence

– Study: 50 percent of Americans find it difficult to pay their rent

– “American Airlines and US Airways have completed their long awaited merger to create the world’s biggest airline.

Correcting misinformation on retirement savings

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Because all McDonald’s workers make millions! “For the fourth time in five months, McDonald’s has drawn unwelcome attention for what critics call tone-deaf guidance to its impoverished workforce. A section of the corporation’s worker advice website, reported by CNBC Thursday and then quickly removed – offers McDonalds workers advice on how to tip their au pair, pool cleaner, and masseuse.”

A return of the working class hero

“It’s designed to be an impressive show of force: Thousands of unionized teachers plan to rally Monday in cities from New York to San Francisco to “reclaim the promise of public education.””

Politics USA

Washington USA

–  New budget deal can be official by Tuesday, aides say

– With GM bailout, U.S. government has lost $10 billion

– “Last-minute efforts to close a loophole allowing guns made on 3D printers to escape airport metal detectors are expected to be blocked by Republicans in the Senate on Monday evening.”

– “U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida lost $18 million in a scheme that cheated him and about 120 other investors out of more than $35 million, according to court papers.

– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Unemployment benefits are a disservice to workers

– Meanwhile, he is “seriously thinking” of a 2016 Presidential run; I will scream if I see a reasonable person support their entire platform

– “Senate Republicans blocked a batch of mostly minor nominations by President Barack Obama late Monday in the aftermath of last month’s Democratic move weakening the minority party’s traditional ability to block most presidential appointments.

– “GOP Governors Who Refused Medicaid Expansion Are Screwing Over Their Constituents While Not Saving Money

– “Leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services committees have agreed on a slimmed-down defense authorization bill and want the House to vote on the measure before it leaves on its year-end holiday recess at the end of this week, Senator Carl Levin said on Monday.

– Gallup: 30 percent of Americans state costs of health insurance prevents them from getting it

– “Two reporters for The New York Times have sued the Department of Homeland Security after they were questioned at a New York airport as they headed to overseas assignments.

– “The nation’s top military leader pleaded with Congress on Monday to complete the defense bill before year’s end as Democrats and Republicans on the Armed Services committees reached agreement on compromise legislation to pay for warfighters, ships and aircraft.

Everything Else USA 

– Henry A. Giroux: “The Spectacle of Illiteracy and the Crisis of Democracy

– Chase Madar: “Time to be Afraid in America: The Frightening Pattern of Throwing Police Power at Social Problems

– Gallup: 52.2 percent of Americans rate their life as “thriving”

– Thom Hartmann: The Bankruptcy and Privatization of Detroit Is a Terrifying Preview of What Republicans Want to Do to the Rest of the Country

– “Texas Campus Cop Kills Unarmed College Student After Sarcastic Remark

– “US household wealth reaches high of $77 trillion

– David Simon, creator of the Wire: There are two Americas, the country is a horror show

– “A man has admitted killing soldier Lee Rigby but said it was not murder because ‘I am a soldier of Allah’ and ‘this is a war.’

The top newsmakers of 2013

– “Federal officials on Monday unsealed five criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation’s largest jail system.

– “Here’s the story of how a grassroots network didn’t just complain about bank abuse — it actively worked to stop it

– Regarding white privilege

– “Newtown officials asked for privacy and joined victims’ families Monday in calling for people to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by performing acts of kindness or volunteering with charities.”

– “Catholic schools’ hateful pattern: Firing teachers for coming out

We Don’t Need No Education

– “What Happens When Neoliberalism and White Privilege Meet in the College Classroom? Black Professors are Disciplined for Talking About Racism

New strategies for campus papers

– The militarization of America, now on campuses

Tips to apply for college

– “Teachers, Parents Complain Overcrowding, Lack of Support Plague ‘Welcoming Schools’

Top Gun! (Stories)

– “A new report by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel found that agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used underhanded, rogue tactics in drug and gun-dealing stings.”

– Gun control battle shifts to the states after Newtown

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “”Harmless lung cancer? A provocative study found that nearly 1 in 5 lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems.

– Diet soda sales have plunged this year

– Study: Barely any difference of violence in U.S. film ratings

– “The number of city dwellers is at an all-time high of about 3.5 billion and will nearly double in the next 30 to 40 years, with almost all the growth in developing countries, the head of the U.N. agency focusing on cities said Monday.

The Second Sex

New CEPR study finds unionization rates yields higher pay and benefits for women workers. Press release here.

– Women are key to help solve climate crisis

– “Chaz Ebert, widow of beloved film critic Roger Ebert, has announced a week of sharing film writing by women on, an idea that her and her late husband were both “interested in doing” in order to explore the differences in how women and men write about and think about culture.

The Daily Caller defends men who sexually harass women as “fun”; Yeah! Sexism is fun!

– “Iowa GOP Senate candidate Mark Jacobs: Women want to be spoken to “on an emotional level”

Planet Earth

– “How Filipinos Can Obtain “Climate Justice” in the Wake of Super-Typhoon Haiyan

The outlook until 2035 on world energy

– “Preliminary Deal Reached for New Major Tar Sands Pipeline in Western Canada

– “We are deluding ourselves: The apocalypse is coming — and technology can’t save us

– “The World Cup may be great for planet soccer, but it isn’t so good for planet Earth. FIFA says the 2014 tournament, which will require huge amounts of air travel to venues across Brazil, will produce the equivalent of 2.72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

– The mayor of the island of Hawaii signed a bill banning GMOs

– Amnesty bill in Russia may free Greenpeace  30 (perhaps Pussy Riot, but contradicts yesterday’s report)

– “Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have signed a water sharing pact aimed at one day replenishing the rapidly drying Dead Sea.

– Study: Summer heat waves to blame for melting Arctic

– “Rural N.Y. Communities Use Fracking Waste to De-Ice Roads

– “The governors of eight Northeastern states petitioned the EPA to crack down on coal burning in the Midwest

– “Fault That Caused Japan’s 2011 Earthquake Is Thin and Slippery

– China: We are not ready to deal with climate change

– “Argentine Protesters vs Monsanto: ‘The Monster Is Right on Top of Us’

Incredible photos of nature

– “In Depth: Journal Retracts Independent Study Linking Monsanto GMO Corn to Cancer in Rats

– “The Plight of the Grayling

– Winter storm continues to threaten the East Coast after profound freeze in the South

Mixed Bag

Can there be new life on Mars with new evidence?

– “Study on twins suggests our political beliefs may be hard-wired

– New adult trend has swept the nation

– “Escape from Christian Fundamentalism – the Kids Who Flee Abusive, Isolated Christian Homes

Lord of the Sesame Street Rings

– Avocados should have gone extinct millions of years ago

– “FIFA said Monday that fans applied for more than 1.1 million tickets for the World Cup in Brazil in the first 24 hours after the latest sales phase opened.

Break Time

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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.