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The Roundup for February 24th, 2014

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Today Harold Ramis passed away at the age of 69. May he rest in peace.

International Politics


– With the Sochi Winter Olympics over, there is a story missing in the media on how geopolitics has been an important topic in Russia

– Defense ministers in NATO will meet this week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and what to do.

– An Israeli company and  the Italian government signed a deal that could restrict access to water for Palestinians

Middle East

– Even with the truces made to stop the war in Syria, the main causes still exist that started the war in the first place. Air raids in rebel-held towns killed 26, meanwhile.

– Iraq signed a deal to get arms from Iran, a move that would be in violation of a U.N. treaty

Asia and Oceania

– In Pakistan, near the Afghan border, a top Pakistani Taliban member was killed by unknown assailants

– The death toll from a bomb that exploded in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday rose to three people now. Still unclear who placed the bomb in the district.

– South Korea will go ahead with military drills alongside the U.S. military, despite objections from North Korea


– “Homosexual offensives” are now a crime in Uganda as the bill was signed by the President.

– The Prime Minister in Egypt (I’m surprised too) Hazem al-Beblawy resigned with his cabinet and called for the country to make sacrifices for the good of the country

At least 70 Muslims were killed by Christian militiamen in Central African Republic


– Max Blumenthal uncovers how some politicians in the U.S., like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have been meeting with neo-Nazis in the Ukraine.

– Russia, meanwhile, condemned “terrorists” in the protests and denounced the involvement of the West there. In Russia, hundreds were arrested for protesting over the release of prisoners

– Rejoice neoliberals! The current turmoil in Ukraine can promise one thing and that is the introduction of privatization thanks to the Western powers. Meanwhile, the country asked for Western aid after it ousted its President, something the White House recognizes. Meanwhile, an arrest warrant was issued by Ukraine for its ex-President

– Natasha Lennard highlights the Bosnia protests that feature something the Ukrainian protests have neglected to focus on: class.

– Brutal conditions—overcrowding, neglect and dirty living conditions—were found in a hospital wing of a prison in Greece.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– One state actor we’ve been talking about when discussing the opposition protests in Venezuelais the U.S. Here is another interview detailing more on that.

– Protests, meanwhile, heat up in Venezuela as the death toll has reached 13 people 

Surveillance Planet

– When writing his book The Snowden Files, author Luke Harding saw some of his paragraphs being deleted by itself. Could someone or some group have done it? More here. FDL Book Salon will be hosting Harding on Saturday March 22, for those interested.

– Chris Hedges: “Edward Snowden’s Moral Courage

– Emptywheel: “It’s Tough on My Family:” A Tale of Two Teachers”; Here she talks about the recent James Clapper coverage by Eli Lake. Kevin Gosztola has more.

Financial Matters

– An excerpt from Jed Morey’s book on how Morgan Stanley is an actor behind the manipulation of prices for commodities we consume

– Dean Baker: “Is Obamacare Bad News for the “It’s Hard to Find Good Help” Crowd?

– Netflix and Comcast have agreed to a deal to “improve internet service.” What’s included in the deal and why is it controversial? The President of Free Press has called this dangerous for consumers.

A new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found premiums may rise for 11 million small business employees, while declining for six million

– Thousands of computers have been infected by a botnet in the most significant attack in months to hit Bitcoin

Labor’s a-Brewing

– $15/hour is a demand that has been raised to popular acclaim in some minimum wage discussions. Seattle leads the way with that, specifically City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

– Ralph Nader discusses more on the UAW vote in the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. and how the politics of corporatism are at fault

– The United States is lagging behind in giving much-needed protections to temp workers as noted in this ProPublica piece. Need data on what other countries do with regulations on temp workers? Here it is for your pleasure.

Politics US

Washington USA

– Gallup: 53 percent of Americans believe Obama is not respected on the world stage. Yeah I wonder why…

– Today’s Supreme Court hearing pits EPA regulations against an industry determined to avoid it for their own financial gains

– Pew: 47 percent of Americans believe we should keep our defense spending where it is

– Neo-liberal supporter Bill Clinton will be on the campaign trail for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections

– Pew: Just 28 percent of Republicans in the U.S. say their party upholds their principles

Anytown USA

– Here’s something. According to Gallup, 47 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Mitt Romney, while 43 percent have an unfavorable view. Those numbers are surprising.

– Part one of two with an author discussing how Baltimore, in the 1960s, was a hotbed for activism against the Vietnam War 

– Three GOP lawmakers in Arizona who voted for a bill permitting businesses to bar gay individuals have called for Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to veto the legislation

We Don’t Need No Education

– Public schools have failed. It’s such a cliche phrase in our society today it might a well be from a capitalist propaganda book from decades ago. Where does it come from and how can we effectively challenge it?

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Drinking water in Iowa is being tainted by an industry that produces 5 billion gallons of pig manure every year and the regulations in place to stop that are being cut.

– A troubling event is occurring in California, children are coming down with a polio-like disease. Officials unsure why this is occurring.

– After (justified) criticism of the MTA (NYC’s agency in charge of transportation) going after the homeless by kicking them off trains, the MTA decided to drop its plans

– To return to the realm of the utterly inane fast food world, Taco Bell will be releasing (I’m not joking about this) the “Waffle Taco” which includes eggs, sausage and a side of syrup.

The Second Sex

– There’s a culture of sexual abuse in the U.S. military and one shameful aspect of it is that the top officials decided not to aggressively go after it

– Speaking of that, 20 years ago an army veteran filed a sexual assault claim. She hasn’t gotten any justice yet.

– At Northwestern University a popular professor was accused of sexual assault by a student there. The university responded by doing nothing.

– In order to get a rape victim to attend a trial to prove she was assaulted and raped, the police in Washington state arrested her.

Planet Earth

– In Maryland, protesters came out against a proposed hydrofracking facility which would export natural gas

– Oil workers in Texas are being deserted by federal government regulations as nothing is done to protect them, even after incidents of death on the job

– In West Virginia, both parties are determined to create more government regulatory measures after the chemical spill last month 

– A new study found climate change will not make winter storms less severe as the weather can still be volatile

– Not again. An oil spill shut down parts of the Mississippi River, it’s not known how much oil was spilled

– Colorado passed regulations that will limit air pollution by oil and natural gas companies in the state

Mixed Bag

The Onion does it again. “Expressing Deeply Held Political Opinion Referred To As ‘Gaffe’

– Great news as Piers Morgan will be leaving his show due to low ratings. What a pathetic excuse for a journalist.

– A new study found people are the most ethical during the morning.

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.