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The Roundup for April 1st, 2014

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Hey folks! It’ll be tough to post stories today since some of them seem like a joke due to it being April Fools.

International Politics


– Michael Ratner tells The Real News how the Obama administration is hypocritical for asking for respect of international law

– Pew: Last year, 53 percent of Americans said the U.S. should “mind its own business”

– Noam Chomsky: “The Prospects for Survival“; Regarding nuclear politics and the threat of warfare

– An article that slipped my mind to post. It is on how the West has vilified Vladimir Putin now, but not during the Chechnya war

– The White House is considering releasing spy Jonathan Pollard to get some leverage in peace talks, but risks huge fallout

Middle East

– The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 150,000 people have died, which features nearly one-third as civilians

– In Afghanistan, presidential candidates feared there will be fraud in the next election as the 2009 election had that issue

– John Kerry cancels his trip to Palestine as the Palestinian Authority signs international conventions over the delay of a prisoner’s release by Israel

– The U.S. rejected a demand by Israel for Iran to admit it had a covert nuclear weapon program

Asia and Oceania

– The Malaysian government released the transcripts of the MH370 flight before it was lost, which can be found here

– South Korea announced it has found a suspected North Korea drone after its skirmish with the country

– Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the country of Japan is starting to re-militarize and look at itself as a global power


– In eastern Libya, a rebel group has announced it will talk with the government to end its oil blockade “within days

– A suicide bombing by suspected Islamic militants killed 21 people in Nigeria

– A chief for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt called General Sisi a “tyrant


– NATO will strengthen its ties with former Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe with military exercises as it ends its military cooperation with Russia

– David Cameron ordered an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK after alleged reports of organizing in London for “militant activities

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– An interview with the talented Luis Britto Garcia on the failure of the media to seriously report on what is happening in Venezuela

– Venezuela has announced a new ID card for food purchasing to reduce food hoarding in the country

Surveillance Planet

– James Clapper decided to finally admit in a letter that the NSA used surveillance on the public without any warrant to do so; This is an example of news that may be interpreted as fake as its April Fools

A loophole allowed the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance of U.S. civilian’s emails and their phone calls

– Emptywheel: “James Clapper Confirms VADM Mike Rogers Needlessly Obfuscated in Confirmation Hearing

Financial Matters

– Gallup: The Economic Confidence Index in March averaged as -17, which is less than -16

– Steve Jobs, hailed by clueless individuals as one of the best entrepreneurs, is a selfish individual as court documents have found Jobs celebrating the firing of a Google employee, which he had a hand in doing

– The unemployment rate in February for the EU was 11.9 percent. Just a year before it was exactly 12 percent.

– Despite General Motors CEO Mary Barra apologizing for faults in GM cars, she offered little in terms of answers in her Congress testimony

– Stock buybacks are becoming so popular on Wall Street that is is impossible not to see a company go after it on the stock market

– The FBI will be investigating Wall Street over the high-speed frequency trading that has been found to be illegal by experts

Labor’s a-Brewing

– According to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both retail clerks and cashiers are occupations highest in employment

Politics US

Washington USA

– The White House announces its expectations were surpassed as more than 7 million people have signed up for Obamacare; Meanwhile, insurance companies are worried they may have to raise premiums

– President Obama: ACA is working and I am not sure why people want to stop others from getting coverage

– Here is an interview on The Real News featuring someone who worked with Cesar Chavez as his press secretary on immigration reform and how current discussions omit central topics of fairness and respect for worker rights

– Pew: Christians support the idea of immigration reform and say faith is not a big a factor

– This entire Hobby Lobby case in the Supreme Court makes no sense as Hobby Lobby’s pension plan invests in companies manufacturing contraception

– The Pentagon announced there were no deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last month, which is a first since January 2007

Anytown USA

– The state of Michigan has a new ally in its quest to stop same-sex marriage from being legal. Their new ally is white supremacists

– The idea of a public bus transport project in Nashville, Tenn. is under fire as the Koch brothers and their front organization are trying to stop it

Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee of The Daily Show brilliantly mock the recent report on Chris Christie by his lawyers, who he hired, and how it is all a PR stunt

– Stephen Colbert devoted time on his show last night to the #CancelColbert hashtag controversy. Some commentators felt defended Colbert, while others felt the defense of Colbert by some was ridiculous and privileged. A great one, at The Nation, gives a good review of the entire situation and how some commentators, especially white, are afraid.

– Dave Zirin: “Dan Snyder’s Anti-Public Relations and #CancelColbert

– The new film on Cesar Chavez, according to this review, de-emphasizes the power of organizing that he had and makes Chavez into an icon.

We Don’t Need No Education

– The troika want to push a plan in Greece that will make students quickly pass through college without being “radicalized”

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Here is a quick article on eight countries that provide better healthcare than the U.S. as the ACA deadline passes

The Second Sex

– At one Catholic hospital in Oklahoma, doctors have been forbidden to prescribe any form of birth control for their patients

– In Louisiana, lawmakers decided to pass abortion restrictions that can shut down the state’s five clinics claiming they are concerned for the “safety” of women

– When jailing men may increase the risk of domestic violence against women once they get out as the prison life is certainly not one of reform

Planet Earth

– A travel company in China offered a “new” commodities for residents in Beijing: bags of “fresh mountain air

– It is quite surprising to see Bill O’Reilly come to the defense of Tesla and advocate a future with clean cars as they are preferable

– Meanwhile, ExxonMobile released a report on how the world will not stop using fossil fuels because we are too dependent on it

– In Pennsylvania it seems regulators are unprepared to effectively regulate hydrofracking in the state, causing concern for the health of civilians

– It seems just one-third of nuclear reactors in Japan will be able to be re-activated; Meanwhile, a new report found the effects of nuclear meltdowns has a negative impact on the environment

– Certainly the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report had a lot of dire warnings, but it also featured positive recommendations to follow to alleviate climate change’s severity

– Health department investigators in Colorado will be investigating Garfield County after there was an increase of babies born with abnormalities. Did I mention there is heavy hydrofracking in Garfield County?

Mixed Bag

– Jimmy Carter, when he was president, installed 32 solar panels on the White House before Ronald Reagan took them down. Some are in museums, but where are all the others?

– “Study Finds Majority Of Non-Shark-Related Fears Completely Unjustified

– North Korea makes a space logo that is definitely a rip-off of NASA’s

– Last year, book sales were “steady” at just under one percent compared to sales in 2012

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.