CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for December 10th, 2013

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Good morning for folks up this early, for the rest, good afternoon or good evening (They’re different, right?). Hope you’re doing well.

Nelson Mandela’s Death and Legacy, Day 6

– Speakers like Barack Obama, Raul Castro, Dilma Rousseff and more were at Mandela’s funeral

– Juan Cole: “Can Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation Heal the Middle East?

– Also: “After Mandela: Can Massacred South African Mine Workers get Justice?

– Mandela and the issue of Palestine

– “My Misdemeanors for Mandela

– “Mandela: the Man Who Kept the Darkness at Bay

– Understanding the media and Mandela

What was Canada’s role when apartheid occurred in South Africa?

Obama, Mandela and Palestine

– Stephen Colbert on Nelson Mandela

– Katrina vanden Heuvel: “Nelson Mandela and His Cause Weren’t Always Revered in the US

– “South African president booed at Mandela memorial

International Developments


– Ian cites progress with P5+1 over international agreement

– “A diplomatic spat has erupted between Israel and Romania after Bucharest reportedly refused to allow Romanian construction workers to be employed in West Bank settlements, Israel’s military radio said Tuesday.

– “The United Nations’ first relief airlift to Syria from Iraq will deliver food and winter supplies to the mostly Kurdish north-east this week with the permission of both governments, the UNHCR refugee agency has said.

– “Weapons watchdog receives Nobel Peace Prize

– “Two U.N. special investigators say they fear an Algerian man recently sent home from Guantanamo Bay against his will is in danger.

– “A United Nations official says plans are being made to restart major offensives in parts of Somalia held by the militant group al-Shabab.

– Croatia is interested in destroying Syrian chemical weapons only if public isn’t opposed

– “The United States and Russia are marking the end of a 20-year program to convert highly enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons into fuel for U.S. power plants.”

– “Grace and the Cycle of Abuse

– “Organizers are considering moving the opening of January’s Syria peace conference to the other end of Lake Geneva because of a luxury watch fair.

Middle East

17 have died in Baghdad due to bombings and shootings

– Part 1 with a former Zionist activist, now an anti-Zionist activist

– “The U.S. envoy to Afghanistan says a delay in signing a security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan is raising anxiety and imposing unnecessary costs on the Afghan people.

– National Coalition, Syrian Opposition: Syrian regime has killed 2,900+ with knives

– “The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards rebuked the country’s foreign minister Tuesday over comments he made about the military’s ability to withstand a potential American attack.

– “Popular Front’s role wanes in Palestinian politics

– “U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefed Qatari leaders on Tuesday about the effort to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, and he underscored U.S. support for Syria’s moderate opposition.

– Free Syrian Army has seized Turkish border crossing

– “Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique Tuesday said that protests and sit-ins are of no use to end US drone attacks, however, he added that no one could be stopped from their right of protest citing a civilian and democratic government in Pakistan.

– Foreign construction firms given contracts by Iraq for “low-cost” households

– “The Syrian Guns of August

– “Why Can’t Karzai Be More Blase About US Killing Kids – Like US Press Is?

– A historical analysis of Yemen and what’s next

– “Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.

– “Two Spanish journalists have been kidnapped in Syria by a radical Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda.

– Greg Mitchell: “Seymour Hersh Stirs Dispute After Casting Doubt on Syrian Chemical Weapons Intel

Asia and Oceania

– “The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has urged China to free the Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, five years after the writer was detained over his call for democratic reforms.

– Talking about China and “media protectionism

– “The Thai prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, tearfully pleaded for anti-government demonstrators to clear the streets and support a snap election, but protest leaders called for her to step down within 24 hours.

– ” An Islamist opposition leader in Bangladesh won a dramatic stay of execution on Tuesday hours before he was due to be hanged, according to his lawyers, allaying fears for now of a violent backlash less than a month before elections are due.


– “Egypt said Tuesday it has granted three-month residence permits to 171 out of a total of 206 Syrian and Palestinian immigrants who were detained for illegally entering the country.

– In Benghazi, a navy captain survived an assassination attempt when his car blew up as he was sending his children to school

– “Police and army units have been deployed at petrol stations in the capital in a bid to end the fuel crisis which was threatening to paralyse the city. The move was ordered by the government with the support of Tripoli Local Council and the petrol station companies.”

– French President Francois Hollande arrives in Central African Republic after two French soldiers were killed

– “The Libyan militia that shut down most of the country’s oil terminals for months causing the loss of millions of dollars said Tuesday that terminals will reopen on Dec. 15.

– “Repression Deepens in Egypt

– “The Obama administration has asked the State Department to spend up to $60 million for defense supplies to assist the African Union-led international support mission in the Central African Republic.

– Red Cross: Over 500 have died so far in CAR in the past week

– “Egyptian security forces fired tear gas to disperse students protesting outside Cairo University in support of the country’s ousted Islamist president Tuesday as unrest spread to a second college campus in the capital.


– Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an: We shall have no provocations against national will ahead of our elections

– “The tax authorities will have access millions of bank accounts and the right to seize money owed to the state electronically, when the register of bank accounts and electronic confiscations system is expected to become operational on Thursday.

– “Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich gave no ground on Tuesday to protesters who want Kiev to move closer to the European Union, insisting his government needs to deepen trade ties with Russia instead.

– Meanwhile, “Police move on protest camp in Ukrainian capital

Disturbing video of neo-Nazis in Greece of Golden Dawn who advocate to exterminate all those against them and have propaganda to show children with KKK and Nazi uniforms. Every last one of the leaders should be shipped to a deserted island.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “Colombia Develops New Strategy Against the Left

– “Barack Obama celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela with his own gesture of reconciliation at Tuesday’s memorial ceremony in Soweto: a historic handshake with Cuban leader Raúl Castro.” More here.

– “Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega moved closer to indefinite re-election Tuesday after his allies in the National Assembly approved constitutional changes that opponents say are designed to keep the Sandinista leader in power for life.

– “Many Argentines armed and barricaded themselves in their homes and stores in fear of looting mobs Tuesday as the nation’s celebration of 30 years of uninterrupted democracy were marred by police strikes for higher pay.

Surveillance Planet

– “The sharing of crucial intelligence about counter-terrorism between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police departments takes place through a patchwork process that amounts to “organized chaos”, according to a new report.

– 500+ leading authors throughout the globe sign document to demand “digital bill of rights” as they say state surveillance of personal info is theft. More here.

– Emptywheel: “Three-Hopping the Corporate Store, in Theory

– “Thirteen people have pleaded guilty to helping briefly disable online payment service provider Paypal as part of a protest that authorities say was organized by the hacking group Anonymous.

– Jon Stewart discusses the latest NSA info on video game snooping by NSA here and here

– Peter Van Buren: “How the Powerful Intelligence World Is on the Verge of the Ability to Make People Digitally Disappear

– “French surveillance bill criticized

– Natasha Lennard: Why the tech giants can’t break down the surveillance state

Financial Matters

– TPP talks have failed, though finalization might be near

– “U.S. employers advertised the most job openings in more than five years in October, and the number of people quitting also reached a five-year high.

– Gallup: U.S. economic confidence continues to grow

Service jobs are replacing skilled jobs more and more

– Pew: 49 percent of Americans believe government hasn’t done enough to regulate financial institutions

– “Turkey’s real estate sector will grow at around 6 percent by yearend and continue growing at around the same rate in 2014, as long as political stability is maintained in the election-intensive coming years, according to leading sector representatives.

– H&M states it might raise prices to pay foreign textile workers better in salary

– “The European Commission has fined pharmaceuticals giants Johnson & Johnson and Novartis a combined $22 million for colluding to delay the entrance of a cheap generic form of a pain killer to the Dutch market.”

– Regulators in U.S. approve of Volcker rule 

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “How big banks scam their own employees, too

– State and local governments on minimum wage action

– Mike Elk: “Volkswagen Tied to Another Anti-Union Group

A 16 day strike led to a wage increase for county public workers

Politics USA

Washington USA

– Tomorrow, John Kerry will brief U.S. Senate on the entire Iran situation

A budget deal seems to be near between both parties before Jan. 15th shutdown date (yes that again) as conservative opposition warns it will go against it. Update: Apparently, it’s already agreed on, so the AP has more here for you

– “A campaign against the criminalisation of HIV infection received a boost on Tuesday with the introduction of a bill in the US Senate aimed at repealing state laws said to discriminate against people with the virus.

– The U.S. Senate will vote next week on Janet Yallen confirmation

– “Democrats have taken advantage of their weakening of filibusters and muscled through the Senate President Barack Obama’s pick to lead a housing regulation agency.

– Meanwhile IRS pick will have his hearing resuming tomorrow after a Republican senator wished for hearing to be halted

– “After almost four years of allegations that two related helicopter companies in Lithuania and Russia were doing substandard work and should be banned from new contracts, the Pentagon continued to give them business, according to interviews and documents seen by Reuters.

– “John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, is returning to the White House to advise President Barack Obama as he struggles to regain his footing after the flawed healthcare law rollout.

– John Kerry to U.S. Senate: Don’t impose new sanctions on Iran

– “Democrats overwhelmed outnumbered Republicans and pushed a pair of President Barack Obama’s high-profile nominees through the Senate on Tuesday, the first to win confirmation since the chamber weakened the age-old filibuster.”

– Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): The Tea Party has created “an impossible standard” for the GOP in elections

– “Vote on Afghanistan War Extension Won’t Be In Defense Bill

– “The Supreme Court indicated Tuesday it could breathe new life into a federal rule requiring states to reduce power plant pollution from the South and Midwest that fouls the air in the eastern U.S.”

– “Bipartisan fix advancing for Medicare doctors’ pay

Everything Else USA 

– Imaging universal health care 

– “The Bay Area Has A Values Problem: “Non-Techies Are Dismissed as ‘Unimportant to the Nation’s Future’

– The U.S. — a broken banana republic

– “A Fox News reporter is protected by New York law from being forced to reveal her sources for a story about the suspect in the mass shooting that left 12 people dead in a suburban Denver movie theater last year, the state’s top court ruled Tuesday.

– To address racial profiling at their stores, both Barneys and Macy’s introduce “Customer’s Bill of Rights

– The U.S. is a poor country

– “Chris Christie is finding himself increasingly embroiled in a scandal over the September closure of two of the George Washington Bridge’s three lanes connecting Manhattan to Fort Lee, N.J. At heart is the question of whether a Christie appointee (and high school buddy) had the lanes closed in order to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing “The Governor.”

– Death with dignity versus death for profit

– “Another Casualty of L.A.’s Cultural Indifference?

– “Chicago’s ‘Smart Card’ Debacle and Privatisation

– “Progressives can’t let a love affair with social movements distract them from electoral politics.

– “Newly declassified documents show Tuesday that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to “Zero Dark Thirty” scriptwriter Mark Boal when Panetta gave a speech at CIA headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

– Can socialists win in electoral races in the U.S.?

– An interview with Ty Moore on socialism and local politics

– “Voters in Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District are contending with snow and slush as they trek to the polls to decide who gets to fill the U.S. House seat vacated when Edward Markey moved to the U.S. Senate.

– Corey Robin: “Socialism: Converting Hysterical Misery into Ordinary Unhappiness

– “Federal safety officials say a technology upgrade they’ve been recommending for years would probably have prevented the Dec. 1 train derailment that killed four people in New York.

We Don’t Need No Education

– It was only a matter of time. “Hillel International warned its Swarthmore College chapter that it cannot use the Hillel name if it flouts the international Jewish campus group’s Israel guidelines.

– “4.5 million schoolchildren will participate in the “Hour of Code”

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “The Case For And Against Legalizing Marijuana

– “Colorado Firm Recalls Meat And Poultry Products That Were Produced Under Insanitary Conditions

– Colbert talks about homelessness and hunger here and here

– “Vice President Joe Biden is pledging more funding for mental health as the White House prepares to remember the first anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

– Why is meat so cheap? Rolling Stone has the chilling answer

– Big Agra is on the rise with repression of animal rights activists who show their neglect to the public

– Pseudo-journalists New York Post: NYC is “too generous” to homeless

– Study: Organic milk may be better for your health

– “The European Food Safety Authority has found that the artificial sweetener aspartame is safe for people to consume at the levels currently used in diet soft drinks.”

The Second Sex

A fourth wave of feminism?

– GM announces Mary Barra as CEO, first time for a woman having major role at a major auto firm

– “Military sexual assault agreement advances without Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s reforms

Planet Earth

– Part 2: “Oil spill contractors deliberately avoid using proper clean-up technology, thereby exacerbating oil spill disasters in order to profit 

– “A federal judge has refused to declare a mistrial in the case of former BP drilling engineer charged with obstruction of justice following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

– Meanwhile, “A federal judge agreed Tuesday to dismiss some of the manslaughter charges against two BP supervisors in the deaths of 11 workers when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.”

– Canada: The North Pole is ours! while Russia boosts troops in vicinity

– “Local leaders planning for climate effects

– “Reactor down after explosion at Arkansas nuclear plant

– “The European Parliament has approved a fishing reform intended to ensure that overfished seas can repopulate.

– In the U.S., solar panel installations have surpassed records this year and will be against Germany

– “Romania’s lower house of Parliament has rejected an amendment to a mining law that would have allowed a Canadian company to go ahead with plans to build Europe’s largest open cast gold mine.

– “The Arctic Is the First Line of Defense Against a Climate Transition to an Uninhabitable Earth

Mixed Bag

– “Delirious Rover Hallucinates Water On Mars

– Welcome to New York! “Cockroach Species that Can Withstand Winter Cold Shows Up at NYC’s ‘The High Line’ Tourist Hotspot”

– “Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist, has been refused permission to enter Britain because of his criminal record.

– A Dutch company will work with others to send robots to Mars to see what is needed for human colonization

– Study: Metaphors affect one’s mind and decision-making

– “Sports stars, at UN, speak out against homophobia

New Johnny Cash album out in spring

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.