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The Roundup for March 4th, 2014

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Hey everyone, how are you doing?

International Politics


– Vladimir Putin: I will not go to war, but force will be used as a “last resort“; Meanwhile, Russian forces have test-fired an intercontinental missile but the U.S. says they were given notice

– Rudy Giuliani: Obama isn’t like Putin, who is “what you call a leader“; Hilarious a neo-conservative is praising an oligarch ruling a neo-liberal haven

– Natasha Lennard delves into Putin’s argument as to why he decided to enter the Crimea region of Ukraine

– One billion dollars. That’s how much John Kerry has pledged the Ukrainian government. So let me get this straight, neo-Nazis in Ukraine get money, but the marginalized in our society get nothing?

Middle East

Six people died in a local council in Iraq after militants stormed in with suicide bombers and gunfire

– Part two of six in an interview with Michael Ratner on how he changed his opinion on the Israeli state

– It’s a tragic state of affairs in Iraq, almost as if “history repeats itself” in a country tainted by crimes of U.S. imperialists

– While attempting to go the Gaza Strip, Medea Benjamin was stopped by Egyptian authorities, jailed and even had her arm broken as a result. More here.

– Syria submits a plan to ship out its chemical weapons starting in April, while one-third of chemical weapon have already been given away

– At the 2014 AIPAC Conference (where useless might as very well be the slogan of the event), Netanyahu said Western powers should not allow Iran to enrich uranium, Palestine should recognize Israel as a Jewish state and other inane comments

Asia and Oceania

Nepal is cracking down on tourists who litter when going up Mount Everest as the trash problem there is huge


– Yes, we’ve heard about anti-gay laws in both Nigeria and Uganda, but Cameroon has it too and barely anything is being reported 

– An Egyptian court ruled Hamas and -Hamas-related activities- is barred from working in Egypt; Meanwhile, General Sisi in Egypt has been hinting (i.e. verifying) he will run in the presidential election

– An official Libyan TV station was attacked by gunmen but no one died in the ordeal


– Some good news out of Ukraine as students there are kicking out the far-right forces attempting to hijack the movement there for their sick rules

– Pew: 44 percent of Russians say it’s natural for the country to be an empire. Half of them say they miss the existence of the Soviet Union.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

There is barely any support (might not even be any) for the opposition protests in Venezuela from the low-income community, despite them continuing with obvious pull from major Western states for change

Surveillance Planet

– We’ve spoken on how government surveillance is out of control. But so is corporate surveillance. What’s being done about that?

– Keith Alexander: “Grave damage” was caused by the media against the NSA. I also believe the U.K. was right to detain David Miranda

– Industry leaders are warning government spying tools will weaken web security

– Emptywheel: “Is Twitter EFF’s Second NSL Client?

Financial Matters

– Gallup: The economic confidence index for February has come back at -16, which is the same as in January

Good news as increased transparency has caused drug companies to reduce funding to doctors

– What is U.S. federal debt, why is it important and what can we learn from it in today’s world? Here’s a good interview giving the basics on the topic

– Gallup: Spending increases more for a family with children than a family without any children

– In the past two years, Chick-fil-A has dropped donations to anti-gay groups by 99 percent

Labor’s a-Brewing

-In Pittsburgh, Penn., thousands of demonstrators protested “poverty” wages at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the largest employer in the city

– In a report to the SEC, McDonald’s says strikes and shaming over social media will lead to increased wages and could hurt them. Good.

Politics US

Washington USA

– The new proposed budget presented by President Obama assumes the unemployment rate will fall below 6 percent after 2017

– Pew: A new poll found individuals rate Hillary Clinton as “tough” and “honest”

– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Russia invaded Ukraine because of what happened in Benghazi …What?

– Pew: 50 percent of Americans state they would vote for a candidate who wants to raise the minimum wage

– Troubling statistic: One in five U.S. soldiers entered the army with a mental illness

Anytown USA

– States are having a tough time with emergency funds due to the severe winter storms they experienced so far

– U.S. national parks lost $414 million during the government shutdown a few months ago

– Attorneys for Barrett Brown want the case against him dismissed on the First Amendment charge and its effect on the internet

We Don’t Need No Education

– In New Jersey, an 18-year-old student is suing her parents to make them pay her tuition

Top Gun (Stories)

As this article mentions, if we can’t ban guns, then we must begin to show love for one another

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Gallup: Mississippi had the most obese adults throughout the U.S. in 2013, while Montana had the fewest

A new report from the watchdog of Medicare found that half of the insurance companies in the program haven’t reported fraud to the government

Another report found one-third of people in skilled nursing facilities have been injured and 1,500 died in just one month, higher than hospital rates

– Plastic water bottles, specifically the BPA-free ones, are lying. Even with all of these disclaimers, chemicals are still present in them that can disrupt hormones

– Chief medical officer in England said a sugar tax may be needed to reduce obesity rates

– LA’s City Council decided to ban e-cigarettes from public spaces (bars, restaurants, etc)

The Second Sex

– Stephen Colbert shows how utterly awful the decision to put Barbie on the cover of Sports Illustrated is (and how dumb it was for “Barbie” to write a NYT op-ed)

– A new bill in Nebraska was introduced and dealt with “postering” signs in abortion clinics telling women it’s illegal to force someone to get an abortion

– Good news out of Chile. Salvador Allende’s daughter, Isabel Allende, was elected as the first woman to lead the Chilean Senate

Planet Earth

– On March 11 it will be three years since Fukushima became a major topic in nuclear energy. Since then, however, there are instances where “business as usual” has been the decision after it

– How can hurricanes have their strength reduced? Scientists suggest building off-shore wind farms

– Even worse news: With climate change warming the permafrost, that can lead to reemergence of diseases

– Despite BP trying all it could to avoid paying victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, a court ruled the company must give compensation

– A N.Y. court ruled Chevron doesn’t have to pay for its crimes in Ecaudor

– Some good news now. Fracking bans are gaining popularity, not only in the U.S. but also in the U.K. as well

Mixed Bag

– “15 Years In Environment Of Constant Fear Somehow Fails To Rehabilitate Prisoner

– The Italian government will spend two million euros to repair Pompeii since it’s damaged

After new gamma ray studies scientists are saying it’s likely dark matter exists

Break Time

Black Horse & The Cherry Tree

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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.