CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for December 16th, 2013

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Hello folks, hope you’re doing well this day.

International Developments


– Gallup: Worldwide, the median household income is $10,000

– The U.N. needs $6.5 billion in order to keep Syria from starving

Part 2 of interview with David Swanson

– “The U.N. Security Council is expressing “grave concern” at the weakening security situation in Libya as the North African country struggles to control armed groups and transition to democracy.

A few places the U.S. military operates

– “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered harsh words for China and new maritime security assistance for Southeast Asia on Monday to bolster countries facing growing Chinese assertiveness in a region where the two world powers are jockeying for influence.

– “Two Guantánamo prisoners transferred to Saudi Arabia

– “The Horrors of the “Great” War

– President Francois Hollande: U.S. Senate will “squash” Iran if no talks are made

– Ban Ki-Moon: We need a ceasefire before we have negotiations 

– “A retired FBI agent who vanished six years ago in Iran, reportedly during a covert CIA operation, was arrested by authorities in the Islamic state, the last person to see him alive was quoted as saying on Monday.

Middle East

– David Cameron: Mission accomplished in Afghanistan; Sounds familiar

– “Netanyahu planned to hire ‘special manager’ to deport African migrants

– “The European Union promised Israel and the Palestinians better access toEuropean markets and “unprecedented” political and economic aid as an incentive to push them into resolving their decades-old conflict.

– Israeli troops have shot two Lebanese soldiers after one of their soldiers was killed

– “FSA alliance pushes back against Islamic Front

– Juan Cole: “Syrian Christians Menaced by Extremist Sunnis, Slam Lack of Lebanese Support” & “Dozens Killed by Regime Barrel Bombs in Aleppo, half of them Children

– “Suicide bombers and gunmen killed scores of people in Iraq on Monday in attacks mostly targeting Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims and official buildings ahead of a major Shi’ite ritual next week.

– The Yemeni parliament have voted to ban drone strikes in country, but requires signature by president. Still, it seems drone strikes will continue anyway

– “No Israeli-Palestinian peace without Gaza

Asia and Oceania

At least 21 Filipinos have died in a tragic bus crash

“Japanese business confidence improved over the three months to December to its highest level in six years, a central bank survey showed, suggesting prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Abenomics stimulus policies are gaining broader traction across the economy.

– North Korea erases all mention of Kim Jung Un’s uncle

– How are North Koreans reacting to the execution?

– In a rural school in China, the teachings of Mao are taught to students. More here.

– “Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Monday a new anti-terrorism draft law that criminalizes acts that disturb public order, defame the reputation of the state or threaten the kingdom’s unity, raising concerns by activists it could be used to quash political dissent.


– Poll: Half of the ANC want South Africa President Jacob Zuma to quit

– “The UN says more than 1,200 people have been killed in Islamist-related violence in north-east Nigeria since a state of emergency was declared in May.

– South Sudan president has stated the military has foiled a coup

– Slavoj Žižek: “The ‘fake’ Mandela memorial interpreter said it all

– Both Egyptian students and security clashed outside a campus

– “Tunisia chooses PM after long search for compromise


– “Media: Play Fair With Economic Reporting on Greece

– Details of how much Greek politicians earned in 2011 has been published online

– “Russia has deployed Iskander missiles with a range of hundreds of kilometers in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday.

– Regarding Pope Francis’ talk against capitalism

– “The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, approved Monday 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in financial aid to help build four major highways in Greece.

– “Athens’ lace curtain poverty

– “Ukraine’s president could secure loans from Russia on Tuesday when he meets Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin – money that could help fend off economic crisis as anti-government protests continue in Kiev.

– “Is NATO’s Trojan Horse Riding Toward the ‘Ukraine Spring’

– ” Left-wing opposition [in Greece] takes lead in poll

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “Hunger-striking Immigrant Detainees Held in Canada for Years Without Trial

– Venezuelan “Chavismo” survives in municipal elections

– “Venezuela is overhauling decade-old currency controls to benefit its struggling oil industry and arrest the decline of the bolivar on the black market.

– Chile’s Michele Bachelet pledges major reforms after victory

– “Guyana has pulled out of a U.S.-funded project designed to strengthen citizen involvement in local politics because it claims American officials want to work only with the opposition.

Surveillance Planet

– U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon: NSA phone collection program is likely unconstitutional. Read the full ruling here. Kevin has more.

– Edward Snowden: Latest ruling shows the need for NSA disclosures

– White House: No amnesty for Edward Snowden

– “Defense lawyers in the Sept. 11 war crimes case at Guantanamo are praising a judge’s decision to ease restrictions on what defendants can say about their treatment in CIA custody.

– “Mandela, Manning and Snowden

The shameful piece by 60 minutes on the NSA. More here.

– Report: Gathering for police intelligence is threatening national security

– “Beyond the NSA: Other Agencies Spy on You, Too

– Emptywheel: “NSA’s 60 Wiretaps and FBI’s 1,728 Wiretaps?

Financial Matters

Seven ways corporations and the wealthy exploit us

– Dean Baker: “The End of the Assault on Social Security and Medicare

– “Caramadre Gets Six Years for Investment Scheme Involving Terminally Ill

– “Insurer American International Group Inc said on Monday it will sell its aircraft-leasing business to AerCap Holdings NV for $5.4 billion, after four years of trying to divest its biggest non-insurance business in fits and starts.

– Amazon workers have launched a strike in Germany over wages

– “When Lenders Sue, Quick Cash Can Turn Into a Lifetime of Debt

– Matt Taibbi: “Lurid Subprime Scams Unveiled in Long-Running Fraud Trial

– Fears in France grow about a new recession

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “Independent Labor Candidates Win Two Dozen City Council Seats in Ohio

– “Finally paying for Wal-Mart’s sins: Wage theft settlement yields millions

Politics USA

Washington USA

– White House: TPP “remains top priority” for Obama; In other words, destruction of humanity is the top priority for Obama, just great!

– “US President Barack Obama will Tuesday meet bosses of tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter to discuss US spy agency surveillance and his notorious health care reform website.

– “Senate Democrats look for help from Republicans to move budget deal

– Pew: 90 percent of liberal Democrats approve of Obama, though not as strongly as before

– The Senate approves Jeh Johnson 78-16 as head of the Department of Homeland Security

– John Boehner tries to handle the far right in the GOP as schism continues

– “Many immigrants hesitate to seek health insurance

– The U.S. Navy will expand its training exercises, which have been found to kill both dolphins and whales

– “America’s Own Political Prisoners

– “Make Iran deal contingent on finding Levinson, says family

– “Congress targets fed workers’ pensions for savings

– “Fears of a Premium ‘Death Spiral’ Overstated

– “Conservatives in the U.S. Senate are unlikely to stop passage of a two-year budget bill this week, with some Republicans expected to join Democrats in the Senate in voting for the measure.

– David Cay Johnson: The budget deal makes absolutely no sense

– “It is a story that flummoxed investigators – how a highly paid climate-change expert at the Environmental Protection Agency managed to defraud the government of nearly $1m, by pretending for a decade to be an undercover CIA agent.

– The Supreme Court has declined to hear three cases, which can be found here and here and here

Everything Else USA 

– “When Happiness Died in America…

– Gallup: Republicans view cops and clergy with more honesty than Democrats do and more

– Ann Jones: “America’s Child Soldiers: JROTC and the Militarizing of America

– “A tenured professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is being pushed out of her position after she delivered a lecture on prostitution.

– Pew: 77 percent of Americans don’t care about the gender of their co-workers

– A definite recommended read. “The CUNY Wars: How David Petraeus Turned America’s Most Diverse University Into a War Zone

– “Gay couples who want to wed immediately in Illinois because one partner has a life-threatening illness could do so starting Monday, rather than waiting until the state’s same-sex law takes effect in June.

– “The Shameless New York Times

– On “Affluenza” — the latest excuse for death by the rich

– “Detroit considers alternative plans to save museum’s artworks from auction

– “New York’s longest serving police commissioner is going into public speaking after he leaves the department at the end of the year.

The top 10 drug stories this year

– ” Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are asking a judge for a later deadline for them to seek moving the trial from Boston.

– Ed Schultz: I am a one-percenter and anyone can see my planes on Twitter

– Using the tool of reverse eminent domain

– “‘Liberalism Doesn’t Carry the Critique of Capitalism That Progressivism Does’

– “An African American doctoral student conducting research on negative stereotypes of Mississippi was pulled over and aggressively searched.

– Chris Hedges: “The Play’s the Thing

– Love the headline. “As NORAD Tracks Santa, critics track NORAD

– “The Obama administration is letting legally married same-sex couples claim some health care tax benefits for this year.

We Don’t Need No Education

– “Abused by my teacher: What I learned from speaking out

– Charter schools get children ready for cubicle work

– “Harvard evacuates students after reports of bomb threat

– “Fewer than half of all students who entered college in 2007 finished school where they started, and almost a third are no longer taking classes toward a degree anywhere, according to review released Monday.

Top Gun! (Stories)

– More sheriffs are refusing to enforce gun control laws

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “The Jungle: Thousands of Homeless People Live in Shantytowns at the Epicenter of High-Tech, Super-Rich Silicon Valley

– FDA: Antibacterial soaps are ineffective and perhaps a public risk

– “Horsemeat used in medical research allegedly sold as food in France

The selling of the ADD

– On over-medication and children

– “A state judge on Monday ordered paint companies to pay 10 California cities and counties $1.1 billion to remove lead from millions of older homes.

The Second Sex

– “Prayers mark one year after a brutal gang rape that shook India

– A father of a gang-rape victim in India has said nothing will change until society changes

– “Loving “Beyoncé” as a black woman: The power of identification in an age of appropriation

– “Betty Dodson’s Feminist Sex Wars

– Spanish feminists fight back against a overtly sexist book by a female writer for traditional life for women

– “How News Outlets, Prosecutors Minimize Sexual Violence With Language

– “#NotYourAsianSidekick ignites massive conversation about race, stereotypes and feminism

Planet Earth

– “Liz Sidoti, politics editor for the Associated Press, is leaving the news organization after 15 years to become BP’s new head of communications.

A way to understand global warming in less than a minute

– “Tree Find Confirms Italian Alpine Melt

– “Coast Guard plan to transport fracking wastewater on barges prompts spill concerns

– “Hundreds of scientists are helping Brazil’s giant agricultural sector prepare for the effects of climate change and anticipate pests that hit neighboring countries.

– Report: Only 3 percent of turbines can be heard

– “Brazil’s Guarani Indians accused Coca-Cola of buying sugar from a Bermudan company that sourced it from their ancestral lands, urging the US soft drink giant to find a new supplier, a tribal rights group said Monday.

Mixed Bag

– Study: One out of 10 adults believe coffee causes cancer and/or aids with weight loss, despite neither being true

– “NASA debates spacewalk repair or restock of International Space Station

– Juan Cole: “How Peter O’Toole Saved the Arabs (According to David Lean)

– Researchers find that “Neanderthals cared for and buried their elders

Break Time

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

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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.