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The Roundup for February 11th, 2014

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May Shirley Temple Black rest in peace

International Politics


– Great news. A court has ruled Gitmo hunger strikers can sue over force feeding

– Pew: As President Francois Hollande continues his tour of the U.S., nearly six-in-10 Americans have a favorable view of France

– Pew: Here’s a map showing the rights of LGBT folk in Russia and former Soviet republics

– James Clapper told Congress that Afghan President Hamid Karzai isn’t likely to sign U.S. pact

– U.N. workers are racing to get to Homs, Syria in order to deliver much-needed aid to people there as talks at Geneva II are going slowly with no progress made

– Obama: Anyone violating Iranian sanctions will be swiftly punished

– Also, Obama criticized Russia for blocking attempts in the Security Council for resolution in Syria

– Germany, Belgium and Israel are vying for a seat on the Security Council. Guess who the United States is supporting?

Middle East

– In Pakistan, one journalist has been kidnapped by 15 to 20 men in police uniforms or plain clothes. He was set to speak in Europe on the negative impact drones have as he lost his brother and son to them.

– Unknown individuals have thrown three grenades in a Pakistani movie theater killing at least 12 and injured at least 20

– At rallies celebrating the the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, leaflets were found criticizing the international agreement with Iran and Rouhani

Asia and Oceania

– The protests in Cambodia  have the government countering with a crackdown on the protestors.

– The organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar announced higher standards for workers, but not in other infrastructure projects

– In what is surely historical, China and Taiwan have decided to open up representative offices 


Part one of three with journalist and activist Danny Schechter on what brought him to South Africa and reporting on the apartheid period

– Massacres in South Sudan have gotten so bad that no one knows how many people have died.

– In Sudan and Egypt, as Human Rights Watch reports, hundreds of Eritreans have been tortured by traffickers, sometimes helped by state authorities

– In Algeria, a military plane crashed killing almost all 78 people on board. Only one person survived.


– John Pilger: “The Accessories to War Crimes Are Those Paid To Keep the Record Straight

Both New Democracy and PASOK in Greece have failed to repay loans to banks, a European Commission report has found

– Comical piece from Jason Jones of The Daily Show on the end of the Cold War and nostalgia for it

Great segment from Buddy Cole on The Colbert Report on going to Sochi

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

A new poll has found 56 percent of Americans and 63 percent of Floridians support better relations with Cuba

– Human rights groups are denouncing the Maduro government for what they state is the Venezuelan government suppressing dissent

– You’ve heard a lot on currency controls in Venezuela, but what are the benefits and drawbacks of the policy? Here’s an article on just that.

Surveillance Planet

– One NSA whistleblower tells The Real News that any current law to reform the NSA doesn’t go far enough for an agency built on unconstitutional process

– In today’s Day of Action that also is remembering Aaron Swartz, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has had her phone lines jammed. Keep it coming.

– With all this talk on metadata, you might (or might not) be surprised it’s not a new concept. The East German police, the Stasi, collected it during their time.

– Obama: There is no country in the world that has a “no-spy agreement” with the U.S.

– Emptywheel: “On the Day Ron Wyden Asked Whether NSA Complied with US v. Jones, It Collected 4 Billion Cell Location Records

Financial Matters

– Pew: 61 percent of Americans say they heard a mixed amount of good and bad news on the economy, unchanged for more than a year

– Dean Baker: “The Good Jobs News on the Affordable Care Act

– The elites up on top have to be afraid as even in our workplaces, the threat of rebellion is real and can (thankfully) overthrow them

– Fed Chair Janet Yellen expresses shock at the Jan. jobs report and admits there is still work to be done

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Here’s a sector of workers who get paid absolutely nothing in terms of living day by day: waiters and waitresses. When their salary is $2.13, it begs the question as to why this is allowed in our society.

– In Pennsylvania and Missouri, public sector unions are under attack by GOP officials seeking to have “paycheck protections” (elitespeak for austerity) for those beloved workers of theirs.

– Under pressure to implement reform, NYU has announced employers who have unpaid internship must state it right away as based on Dept. of Labor guidelines

– Tennessee to Volkswagen workers: If you unionize at your plant, then your subsidies will be cut.

– A compromise has been met between Association of Flight Attendants and United Airlines after the latter originally set “involuntary furloughs”

Politics US

Washington USA

We only spend 1/40th of what Germany spends for its arts. That is an absolute travesty.

By a vote of 221 to 201, The House has passed a bill to lift the debt ceiling. It now goes to the Senate.

– Meanwhile, last year saw House Republicans vote 95 percent of the time against any environmental legislation.

– On the Feb. 2 edition of the Roundup, I brought up an article on the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. Here is even more analysis on that faction with historical analysis throughout U.S. history.

– Attorney General Eric Holder: We should restore voting rights to former prisoners. What’s with the change in rhetoric from Holder?

– Democrats in the Senate want an investigation into U.S. Investigation Services for taking shortcuts in its security clearances

– Obama delayed the ACA mandate for mid-sized companies because he doesn’t want to punish them. Oh so he admits it’s all due to the midterm elections

Anytown USA

– In his testimony during the trial of murdered teenager Jordan Davis, Michael Dunn claims he felt a “clear and present danger” from the young teen. Sounds like he was saying because Davis was black, then he is in danger.

– Governor Jay Inslee (D) of Washington announced a stay on capital punishment due to “too many flaws in the system.

– New York announced it will be regulating the use of Bitcoin in the state

We Don’t Need No Education

– Pew: The cost of not going to college is rising every year with two in 10 Americans with only a high school degree living in poverty

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– One teenager is accusing a manager of a Taco Bell of locking a homeless man in a dumpster.

– The current discussion of GMO seems overblown from both sides as this article points out. It seems there really isn’t a lot on the line with this feature.

The Second Sex

– James Taranto, an editor for the Wall Street Journal, states victims who were drunk at the time of their sexual assaults are as guilty as their attackers.

– In Colorado, after a pregnant woman lost her fetus in a car crash she worked with an pro-life group to get recognition that her fetus is a person with “personhood” laws set in place. There’s a whole major problem with that, which could jeopardize pregnant women.

– New abortion restrictions in Ohio have left doctors, even those against abortion, talking to their lawyers as certain medical help for pregnant women is deemed illegal.

– Women in Libya are demanding a Women’s Supreme Council to be made to campaign on behalf of their interests

Planet Earth

– Regarding the coal ash spill in North Carolina, it’s been found agencies in charge of regulations dealing with that were colluding with the company the entire time.

– The current drought in California threatens to increase the price of cannabis

– By 2100, coastal flooding could end up costing the globe $100 trillion.

– Juan Cole: “Big Green Energy is Remaking Africa and Asia

– It seems in today’s world, fighting for the environment and against fossil fuels can make anyone a terrorist. That is a travesty.

– What happens when Big Oil meets up with the security apparatus? In Canada, Stephen Harper and his administration decided to do that and we can only hope it doesn’t produce significantly severe effects (but it will).

– It’s already been one month after the West Virginia chemical spill, so what’s happening, you might ask? Here’s an article going over five things so far

Mixed Bag

– Pew: Technology has a mixed impact on relationship with 27 percent of respondents stating the internet had a large effect on their relationships, yet 25 percent of cell phone owners state their phone distracts them

– For Chinese users of Bing in the U.S., anyone searching for terms like “Dalai Lama” will have their information censored.

– The owner of “Dumb Starbucks” was revealed to be Nathan Fielder, a Canadian comedian. I would like to add Fielder is absolutely talented and hilarious.

– Tom Brokaw announced that he has bone marrow cancer.

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.