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The Roundup for April 9th, 2014

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Hey folks, how are you this day?

International Politics


– Interesting and informative interview on how Western countries are interested in extending neoliberalism into Ukraine by pushing for their own control. It makes me think of primitive accumulation with the populace as the victim in this case

– The Foreign Minister of Iran said on the international agreement that it is “50 to 60 percent” agreeable between both sides

– Venezuela invited the Vatican Secretary of State (I never heard of that position before) to observe talks between them and the opposition

– It seems Secretary of State John Kerry is getting heat from back home for not getting a deal between Israel and Palestine

– Talks are scheduled next week between the EU, the U.S. and Russia over the situation in Crimea

Middle East

– Israel-Palestinian talks may have seen some progress (and that is a big ‘may’) but recent developments between both sides have seen it regress to nothing

– In a government-held district in Homs, two car bombs exploded and killed at least 25 people and wounded at least 100

– In mostly Shitte neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, car bombs went off killing at least 34 people

Asia and Oceania

– India’s elections are underway, but results will not be known until May 16. In the meantime, here is an interview giving a great frame of reference as to what Indian voters are facing as they head to the polls

– Meanwhile, Maoist rebels have killed three soldiers outside of a polling station there in India

– In Balochistan, Pakistan, Baloch separatists claimed responsibility for a bombing in Islamabad, the capital, that killed at least 24 people and injured more than 100


– Egypt, a country that has faced a lot of turmoil in just the past five years, is now a country sliding down with a military junta hoping to establishing modernization and order

– In Central African Republic, at least 30 people have been killed and at least 10 injured in clashes between sectarian groups; U.S. envoy to the UN said more troops should be sent there

– Doctors Without Borders has strongly criticized the UN for not moving displaced civilians in South Sudan


– One health clinic in Greece warned that uninsured patients have contagious and serious diseases but are left untreated due to austerity

– In Ukraine, a Holocaust memorial in Odessa was defaced with swastikas; So about that uprising…

– Meanwhile, pro-Russian groups freed 56 people from the buildings they occupied

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Mark Weisbrot: “FiveThirtyEight Gets it Wrong on Venezuela

Surveillance Planet

Even more on “Heartbleed” and how utterly alarming it is that all our information is now open without any protections. Even worse is that it is two years old and threatens a good majority of folks on the internet

– Emptywheel: “James Clapper Doesn’t Want You To Know about Verizon’s Foreign Metadata Problem He Already Told You About

Financial Matters

– Gallup: 77 percent of New Yorkers cite state taxes are too high, which is the highest in the nation. The lowest percent can be found in Wyoming at 19 percent

– The U.S. Census Bureau reported that for the third year in a row, states have seen their tax revenue grow by 6.1 percent 

– It is difficult to grasp. All of these major corporations that profit with only that motive in their mind also hold the power on our lives, which makes us feel trapped and powerless as they attempt to stop anything that threatens them

– The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have reported the global unemployment rate has risen .1 percent to 7.6 percent for February 2014

– U.S. regulators announced Bank of America will pay nearly $800 million for their deceptive marketing and unequal billing in credit cards

Labor’s a-Brewing

– The Real News does on-the-ground reporting on the protesters at Johns Hopkins University demanding better wages

– Robert Reich: “Seven Reasons Why the Minimum Wage Should Be Raised to $15 an Hour

– Despite efforts to prevent purchasing uniforms for public services from sweatshops, the problem still persists

– Even though there are instances where interns are abused for their labor and break Department of Labor rules, the latter investigates only a few companies

– For the first time this year, unions in Greece go on an all-day strike over cuts in labor and austerity in the country

– AP/GfK: 58 percent of Americans state filing federal taxes is easy

– A federal judge ruled there should be an investigation into the State Department for delaying to prosecute Blackwater for shooting Iraqi citizens in 2007

– Hewlett-Packer paid $108 million to the U.S. to end investigations bribing officials in other countries; Talk about slap on the wrist

Politics US

Washington USA

– A new report from the RAND Corporation found a net gain of 9.3 million Americans with insurance from September 2013 to halfway of last month

– Here is something I had not heard of: The top two percent of Medicare doctors get one-quarter of the money in the Medicare system.

– Meanwhile, the Medicaid program has suffered from backlog as states are trying to catch up with applicants wishing to join the program

– A federal investigator said energy regulators let a national security-related document be released without re-evaluating whether it should have been released in the first place

– The House shot down a fix to Obamacare to exempt citizens overseas from the mandate

Anytown USA

– A new study found that when whites in the U.S. are told they will be a minority in the future, then they become more conservative

– Qunnipiac: 49 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job Gov. Christie is doing, which is down from 55 percent in January

– Meanwhile, a judge in New Jersey ruled ex-aides for Chris Christie do not have to hand over documents to an investigative committee looking into “Bridgegate”

Very in-depth article on how citizens in Albuquerque are angry at state officials, local officials and the police for the horrific police brutality in the community. See also bgrothus’ report at myFDL.

We Don’t Need No Education

– Gallup: More than four in 10 Africans say education is an essential for a good life

– The state of Illinois has decided to keep its discredited education program on coal in its schools despite the risks associated with coal mining that have been deadly

– At a high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, around 20 students were injured when one student went on a rampage with a knife

– Great and passionate article from a student at Dartmouth angered by the lack of response by the administration over problematic issues

– Great segment from Stephen Colbert on the ridiculous Common Core standards for young children that is anti-educational

Top Gun (Stories)

– A marine is now in custody in North Carolina after shooting and wounding a colleague with his rifle

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– When society views drug users as the “other“, then the use of the words like “junkie” or any other demeaning term kills the self-esteem of people who do not deserve such hate

– Legislation in the House earlier today would make it so states won’t have the ability to simply place GMO labeling on GMO foods

The Second Sex

– Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) asks for tougher enforcement of laws to protect students from sexual assault as it is alarmingly common on campuses

– Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to end the wage gap between men and women because they felt it was only for the upcoming elections and would invite lawsuits

– Jimmy Carter: The “worst human rights abuse on Earth” is violence against women

Planet Earth

– Because of current droughts caused by climate change, the price of beef has risen to levels not seen before

– Both nuclear power and fossil fuels, despite evidence showing how disastrous they can be in the wrong hands, are still championed. The question that should be asked is why is this happening?

– A new report found the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster is still harming species in the Gulf of Mexico

– Now get this. A right-wing think tank, funded by the Koch brothers, has decided to write a report in response to the IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). They thought it would be effective if we could be best represented as peas, which sprout out faster with more CO2 (because when I think of humanity, I think of vegetables)

Mixed Bag

– In August, FXX will be airing every episode of The Simpsons for two weeks. That means 24/7, non-stop.

Good news from the poetic world. A young Korean-American poet won $5,000 for her writing with a guarantee of publication of her work.

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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.