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The Weekend Roundup for December 14-15th, 2013

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May Peter O’Toole rest in peace

Hello folks, hope you are well this day. From now until Dec. 25, I will place Christmas music for “Break Time.”

International Developments


Part 1 of an interview with peace activist and FDL poster David Swanson

– U.N.: “E-waste” is being dumped on poorer countries and it is toxic

– John Kerry: Kim Jong-Un is “reckless and insecure” after recent execution

– Sen. McCain: Ukraine protests will make Europe better

Middle East

– “Gunmen kill Iraq government employee and family

– “Syrian government aircraft dropped barrels packed with explosives on opposition-held areas of the contested northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, leveling buildings, incinerating cars and killing at least 37 people including 16 children, activists said.

– Karzai: U.S. threat of removing troops is “brinkmanship”

– “Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and the Collapsing Free Syrian Army”

– Juan Cole: “Gaza: 5000 Palestinians evacuated from Flooded Homes, Israeli Blockade Hampers Rescue

“A Saudi Arabian political activist was sentenced to four years in prison, 300 lashes, and a travel ban after calling for a constitutional monarchy. ”

– Roger Waters attacked for being an “anti-Semite” by bizarre critics over his comparison of Israeli state to Nazi Germany on the issue of Palestinians

– “The Israeli and Lebanese armies were on high alert on Sunday evening after an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese soldier who opened fire across the border into Israel.

Asia and Oceania

– “More Dishonesty About Thailand’s Upheaval From the International New York Times

– China’s moon rover has reached the Moon successfully

– “China has condemned Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, for “maliciously slandering” its self-proclaimed air defence zone, ratcheting up the war of words between the neighbours over Beijing’s annexation of the skies over a group of disputed islands.


– South Africa holds a state funeral for Nelson Mandela. More here.

– Juan Cole: “Why are Christian Militias never “Christian Extremists”?

– “Despite some sporadic attacks and outbursts of aggression at service stations in Tripoli today, the petrol crisis was visibly lessening, with all of them open and queues starting to shorten.

– Central African Republic leader is now in talks with opposition

– “The head of a Libyan militia that has shut down most of the country’s oil terminals for months said Sunday they will remain closed because the government has failed to meet his group’s demands— mainly a share of revenues for their eastern region.

– “Islamists asked to vote in Egypt constitution poll”


– “Ireland PM Enda Kenny says the country’s ‘credibility’ is restored

– “Is Pope Francis Just Doing Savvy P.R. For the Oppressive, Dysfunctional Church?

– Pope Francis: I am not a Marxist, though I don’t mind being called one

– “About 200,000 anti-government protesters converged on the central square of Ukraine’s capital Sunday in a dramatic show of morale after nearly four weeks of daily protests, but the rally was shadowed by suggestions that their goal of closer ties with Europe may be imperiled.

– The popularity of e-cigarettes in France

– LGBT groups in Turkey look to Harvey Milk as inspiration in struggle

– “Hundreds of Romanians marched in Bucharest on Sunday to protest against parliament approving a bill that increases the immunity of deputies from corruption charges.

– French officials have stated they will not attend Sochi games

– “Joerg Asmussen said on Sunday that he would quit his job as an executive board member of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt to accept a Deputy Labour Ministry job in the new German government for “purely private family reasons”.

– “Wary of Roma, Europe cold-shoulders its new eastern workmates

– “Greek police have arrested four Pakistani citizens and are searching for three more for allegedly kidnapping 10 Syrian migrants and keeping them chained in a house for several days after enticing them with promises of help to get to Italy.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “Honduras’ Flawed Election: The Case of El Paraiso

– Chile’s Michelle Bachlet has won runoff election for President with 62 percent

Surveillance Planet

– “Obama Urged to Fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

– NSA is considering giving Snowden amnesty in exchange for the rest of the documents

– The U.S. “may never know the extent of Edward Snowden leaks

– “Google has been called “arrogant and immoral” for arguing that aprivacy claim brought by internet users in the UK should not be heard by the British legal system.

– “Snowden Reveals Extent of Canada’s Spying on Behalf of NSA

– “Facebook released my private messages from college

– “Abscam, the NSA and the ’70s: The real “American Hustle”

– “The US could block plans by the British government to privatise theMinistry of Defence’s equipment repair and maintenance arm because of fears over the security of shared military technology, according to secret MoD papers seen by the Observer.

– Emptywheel: “60 Minutes Betters Their Benghazi Debacle: Pirates Ahoy! and Chinese Global Suicide Bombers

Financial Matters

– “Wikileaks TPP Revelations Prove US in “Left Field” With Trade Deal

– Robert Reich: “Rich People’s Idea of Charity: Giving to Elite Schools and Operas

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “10 Worst Things About Working in Fast Food and Retail

– “Does Organized Labor Have a Future?

– “Workers went on strike over late pay at one of the stadiums enduring the longest delays ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, officials said Saturday.”

– Qatar will publish report on migrant workers after exposure of abuse on them

– “A labor court on Sunday halted construction in part of the World Cup stadium where a man fell 115 feet to his death while working on a roofing structure in the jungle city of Manaus, further delaying the venue that will host England vs. Italy and three other matches next June.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– Poll: Three in four Americans say ACA coverage for uninsured went poorly

– “President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement that his promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan turned out to be inaccurate topped this year’s list of best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

– Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): The CIA didn’t “tell the truth” over the Levinson case

– “The Revelations of Kidnapped CIA Agent Robert Levinson

– Kerry: We have not abandoned Levinson whatsoever

– Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): Rightwing critics of the budget deal are “important” for the GOP

– Interview with “Days of Fire” author Peter Baker over Sept. 11, the Iraq War and the future of the GOP

The end of in-flight calls?

– “Does the Pentagon Really Need Another $20 Billion?

– Biden: We need immigration reform for moral and economic reasons

– “CIA officials’ testimony sheds light on Benghazi consulate attack

Everything Else USA 

– Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers: “America Is the Most Inhumane Developed Country on the Planet — Are We Going to Let It Stay That Way?

– The “Harper’s Index

– Just give them Howard Zinn, that’s what I got. “How High School Text Books Indoctrinate Youth With A False and Dangerous Sense of Our Racial History

– “Your down coat could be the product of cruelty

– The over-bloated salaries of top officials are non-profit Jewish groups

– “How a Texas Cop Who Killed a Double Amputee Holding a Ballpoint Pen Got Away With It

– “The 1% is Hogging so much of our Income that it’s Holding the Economy Back

– “America Managed Like a US Military Contract

– Megyn Kelly accuses critics of “race-baiting” and defends her “white Santa” comment

– “Five Unnecessary SWAT Team Raids Gone Terribly Wrong

On sodomy laws in the U.S.

– “Expecto Patronum: Lessons From Harry Potter for Social Justice Organizing

We Don’t Need No Education

– Report: 42 Presidents at colleges make over $1 million, up from year before. Top 10 list here.

– Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) questions given to students, which aren’t at all logical

– Going against undercover cops in schools

Top Gun! (Stories)

– “Five people wounded in Houston-area shooting

– Bill Moyers: NRA – “The Armed Bullies of American Politics“‘

– “George Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, said on Sunday that the school shooting which occurred in his state on Friday was “kind of inexplicable”, and added: “This kid by all accounts didn’t exhibit the warning signs of mental illness.””

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “The Five Biggest Food Trends of 2013

– How the U.S. allowed itself to have low-wages and increased poverty

– FDA will stop use of antibiotics in factory farming by asking companies to stop it. This’ll end well.

– Can bees sniff cancer?

The Second Sex

– “Women and LGBT Activists Fighting Street Harassment Hollaback! – And It’s Working

– Paul Dini: Superhero cartoon executives don’t think they’ll have female viewers, so they don’t do anything for them

– “A Look at Abortion in Haiti

– “Honduras: a Setback for Women’s Rights

Planet Earth

“The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation’s rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

– “Big Oil could mean desolation for American treasure

– I seriously hope not. “Is the Drought in the US Southwest becoming Permanent?

– Juan Cole: “The Enigma of Israel and Solar Energy

– “Why the First GMO Labeling Law in the US Doesn’t Matter

– “Reigniting the Climate Change Debate

– A “once-in-a-century” storm has hit both Gaza and Israel and turned them into a “disaster zone”

– Snowstorm in New England region is close to finishing

– “Japan is incapable of safely decommissioning the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant alone and must stitch together an international team for the massive undertaking, experts say, but has made only halting progress in that direction.

– “Climate change is new enemy for Kerry in Vietnam

Mixed Bag

– The “amazing” history of LSD

– How can fish swim in schools? Scientists find out

– Study: The littlest amount of exercise is good

– Researchers in Germany submit evidence that musician Wagner used his headaches as inspiration for his songs

– Study: Dogs continually go for our attention

– “3-Foot-Tall Christmas Tree Really Completes Incredibly Depressing Apartment

Break Time

Santa Claus is a Black Man

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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.