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The Roundup for May 1st, 2014

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It’s one of my favorite days of the year—May Day (International Workers Day)! Here’s Rosa Luxemburg’s piece from 1894 on the origins of International Workers’ Day.

International Politics


– When speaking with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin told her Ukrainian troops should withdraw from southeast segment of Ukraine

– European officials say the resurgence in suicide bombers in Iraq and Syria is a result of foreign fighters interested in war

– Secretary of State John Kerry: What is happening now with Israel-Palestine peace deal is “pause

– One top NATO official declared Russia as an adversary now since Russia views NATO as one already

Middle East

– Roger Waters and Nick Mason, former members of Pink Floyd, pen a piece arguing the Rolling Stone should boycott Israel

– Juan Cole: “Iraq’s first Post-American Elections by the Numbers

– The UN reports 750 Iraqis, 610 of whom were civilians, had died in April. This is the highest death toll of the year.

– With the recent decision of Fatah and Hamas to unite under a common government, it cannot be said as either a purely good or  purely bad decision. Rather, it has elements of “hope and despair

13 people died at a crowded checkpoint in Afghanistan after a car bomb went off


– Gallup: The rate of growth in mobile technology increased throughout Africa, which is the second largest continent using it (behind Asia)

– In Abuja, Nigeria, 12 people were killed after a car bomb went off in the capital. Terrorist group Boko Haram took responsibility for the attack.

– Secretary of State John Kerry called the killings in South Sudan cruel, but did not label it as genocide as this article states

Asia and Oceania

– Kim Jong-un’s younger sister may well be the most powerful woman in North Korea as a result of her rising status in the country


– Demonstrators in Turkey defied the draconian methods of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and marched on anyway on May Day

– In Moscow, a May Day rally was held, which is the first in more than 20 years. Some signs were in support of Putin and his decision in Crimea. It doesn’t feel right to use this progressive day to rally behind a leader leading a nation full of oligarchs. Meanwhile, The Guardian has a full list of events and how they went down worldwide.

– To deal with situation in Ukraine, the interim government decided to re-institute conscription into the army; Didn’t the West say this uprising was for democracy?

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Canada might sue the U.S. through NAFTA for delaying its decision on constructing Keystone XL

Surveillance Planet

– NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden accepted the Ridenhour Prize for his efforts last year and Snowden said “cooperation and working together” was how to battle surveillance

– White House: We will extend data privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens

– White House to Congress: We need more laws protecting the privacy of Americans with their data

– The Obama administration, in a recent court request, failed to give access to documents on the legality of NSA programs and the secret court approving all of it

– Germany decides not to invite Edward Snowden to speak to German parliament about U.S. surveillance for fear, as one official said, of tainting U.S.-German relations

Financial Matters

– Gallup: Despite less than one-in-four Americans stating mobile technologies increased retail shopping for them, young people say it has helped them more than other age groups

– Jesse Myerson: “Everyone is reading Piketty wrong — including Piketty!“; Thomas Piketty will be here on FDL Book Salon on May 11, a Sunday.

– Gallup: The payroll-to-population Gallup index reports 43.4 percent for April, which is up from 42.7 percent in March

Labor’s a-Brewing (May Day edition)

A great review of the history of labor in Baltimore, Maryland by The Real News 

A discussion on what is plaguing the weak labor movement today and what steps are required to move it forward

– Hawaii is now the third state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10/hour

– Great news out of Seattle, Wash. as minimum wage there will rise to $15/hour over the next few years. But if the mainstream media reports this as “Electorialism works!” then it will only show how little they understand social movements as socialists there have been pushing for it since Day 1.

– A fantastic article on how, despite setbacks in the labor movement, we are witnessing “mini-revolts” over the past few years

– Here is a brief article about the historical importance of May Day for workers and employers. More on its connection to income inequality in contemporary times can be found here.

– Pressure continues against Qatar on protecting workers from other countries as there continue to be deaths

– Out of all the fast-food chains, Subway is the enterprise that has the most labor violations for not paying their workers

– In Tennessee, labor activists brought the spirit from the powerful “Moral Mondays” movement to May Day demonstrations

– In New York City, teachers were able to make a deal with the de Blasio administration to pay teachers in “retroactive” pay

Politics US

Washington USA

– Yesterday, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill to increase the minimum wage throughout the U.S., though it was the efforts of lobbyists that killed it.

– Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): We do not need a minimum wage because it goes against laissez faire doctrine

– Reports of sexual assault are up 50 percent (as a result of people filing sexual assaults, not an increase of them), but there still exists issue of men not coming forward

– Once known for enforcing integration and upholding justice, the federal government now is weak in enforcing rules being broken now

– As the world celebrates International Workers’ Day, the U.S. will stick with its capitalist beliefs of an American dream free of those dirty Reds with their May Day

– Immigration activists begin to connect different issues to reveal a brutal system of oppression and exploitation as they go out on May Day against deportations

– Federal officials announced it arrested more than 600 members and associates of a fast-growing gang in the U.S.

Anytown USA

– Lee Fang: “Look Who the Folks Who Took Down ACORN Are Targeting Now

– A lawsuit by a widow declares General Motors framed a father who crashed his car into a pole, which killed him and his four children in the car, as a “murderer” who wanted to kill not only himself, but his four children. She states they did this to avoid being responsible for a malfunction in the car. I understand how corporations can be inhumane, but stories like these really show how low corporations can go.

– Amy Goodman: “When Cruel and Unusual Punishment Becomes Usual

We Don’t Need No Education

– The federal government released the names of 55 colleges and universities facing Title IX investigations on sexual assault

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Gallup: 74.9 percent of residents in Connecticut say they have gone to the dentist in the past year (the highest in the nation), while 53 percent of residents in Mississippi state the same (the lowest).

75 tech companies sign a public letter asking that poor tenants in San Francisco are not evicted

– Pew: A majority of Africans see building/improving hospitals and dealing with HIV/AIDS as major issues to be addressed now

The Second Sex

– Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel orders a review of the ban on black hairstyles, which was denounced by some female soldiers

– Interesting article on “mansplaining” as found through an article by Rebecca Solnit had

Planet Earth 

– Pesticide companies are spinning the story of a massive decline of bees in their favor as this article states

– Beginning next year, Chicago will ban all plastic bags in all stores

– A commercial plant in Spain has breakthrough in 24-hour solar enery plants with their new design

– The Netherlands arrested 44 Greenpeace activists—including a few arrested by Russia months ago—as they blocked a Russian oil tanker

– Senators brought a bill to allow construction of Keystone XL to speed up the process. No surprise it’s Senators with a financial interest in Keystone.

Mixed Bag

– From 1960 to 2012, here are the most popular names for girls and boys going state-by-state

– A new study finds people believe you more if they can pronounce your name

Break Time

Coal Miner’s Daughter

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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.