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The Roundup for May 5th, 2014

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Hey folks, how are you this Monday?

International Politics


– Salah Hassan, a journalist with Al-Jazeera, explains to Democracy Now! how it was to be in Abu Ghraib and how it felt being tortured in the facility. Kevin Gosztola has more.

– Mark Weisbrot: “The world has nothing to fear from the US losing power

– With the brutal deaths in Odessa, the blame goes to President Obama (and the West) who hailed the repression caused by far-right forces as “law and order.” Let’s keep in mind he is a Constitutional expert, in which he is an expert on how to avoid it entirely. (Side note, Ukraine is sending soldiers to Odessa)

– The State Department designated the Syrian Opposition Coalition as a “foreign mission” for diplomatic recognition

Middle East

– Academics exiled from Iraq years ago now return to the country ready to teach in universities and colleges

– Sunni tribes in Iraq claim they are ready to face Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in the Anbar province


– Terrorist group Boko Haram announces they are responsible for kidnapping more than 270 school girls and threatens to sell them

Asia and Oceania

– Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is hopeful, despite the ceasefire called off, the Pakistani Taliban will negotiate for peace

– Narendi Modi, a candidate in the Indian elections, criticized Rahul Gandhi by saying voters should “break ties” with Gandhi dynasty


This article, which I should note was written before recent developments, explains a repeated argument we have heard: The Kiev government is losing control as separatists in the east resist with rebellion

– In clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and rebels, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and at least 30 injured

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– In Ecuador, government officials want to move to an economy focusing more on technology as profitable, rather than natural resources

Surveillance Planet

– Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) agrees to proceed with NSA reform in the House judiciary committee

Financial Matters

– Gallup: The uninsured rate in April was 13.4 percent, which is down from 15 percent in March

– William Black discusses with The Real News about large banking institutions engaging in illicit activity, only to have federal regulators fail to prosecute them for such crimes.

– Attorney General Eric Holder: Banks currently under federal investigation are not “too big to fail“; Suuuuuurrreeee

A new study reported an interesting insight into Amazon. It found states where Amazon was located in that made it collect sales tax lead to Amazon posting lower revenue.

– Dean Baker: “The New York Times Turns Paul Krugman Into His Opposite

– To get back at Russia, the U.S. will be using the Internal Revenue Service to make business for Russian banks difficult

– Gallup: In April, consumer spending averaged $88, which is not significantly different from $87 reported in past two months

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Newly released documents show how the National Restaurant Association spies on activists to find out more on protests

– A former Abercrombie & Fitch employee explains how he discriminated against customers at the company, which was what the corporate board wanted in the end

– In New York, MTA employees asked for raises with a new contract, which is called too much by reactionaries here

– Garment workers in Haiti have their minimum wage raised, although it is half of what they originally wanted

Politics US

Washington USA

– In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled upheld a New York town council’s rule of prayer before each board meeting stating it does not violate the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, even if it includes Christian overtones

– Chris Hedges: “The Post-Constitutional Era

– Rupert Murdoch: Chris Christie’s chances in 2016 looks weak currently, but I expect “more stuff” to come out on him and his aides

– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demands the Obama administration release documents on memo justifying killing of U.S. citizens or he will block nomination of appointee to federal judiciary

Anytown USA

– Legislators in California introduced a bill to curb income inequality in the state with higher corporate taxes, rewarding companies giving an adequate compensation to CEOs and punishing companies that do not

– Despite New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) saying he will be transparent, the reality is far from it as his aides have emails that are strictly private

– Two officers in Dallas, Texas who wounded a 52-year-old mentally ill man were indicted for the shooting

– Cecily McMillan was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and faces up to seven years in prison for the charge. More on the significance of this and what it means about our society can be found here.

We Don’t Need No Education

– Proposed “reforms” to the GED would make it more difficult for people who take it,  it will be stricter and tougher

– Two studies report teachers are not as diverse as their students

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– The World Health Organization reports the dangerous return of polio makes it an emergency for public health

The Second Sex

– In the U.S., women have more jobs with minimum wage than men do

– The rates of abortion, pregnancy and births among U.S. teenagers has been on the decline to a point where they are “historic lows

Planet Earth 

– Researchers were able to substitute cheaper material to create solar panels

In part four of five, scientist Alan Robock explains the disastrous consequences for the planet if nuclear war broke out

– Drones are now banned from Yosemite National Park after the National Park Service deemed them to be an environmental danger

– Who leases the Canadian oil sands? The Koch brothers do. A lot of it so they have quite the pull on this issue.

– Researchers state if Antartica melts, then it will only fuel rising sea levels making it irreversible

Mixed Bag

– Journalist Alexander Zaitchik explains how it really is not a “Golden Age” of TV, but just the same awful programming we’ve been given for decades

– Scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science agreed on a new framework between them and Cuban Academy of Science to promote mutual coordination between the two

– “Income Inequality Emerges As Key Topic To Avoid In 2014 Elections

Break Time

Slow Hands

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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.