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The Weekend Roundup for December 13-14th, 2014

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Hey there folks! Enjoy your day today.

International Politics

Overall

– If we take a step back and analyze the problems in the U.S. and in Mexico, there are similarities in terms of the state oppressing its citizens. These similarities are something citizens in both countries are aware of and are thankfully rebelling against.

– Professor Michael Hudson joins The Real News to talk on how Russia is moving away from the European Union and the U.S. after being isolated by them

– In Rome, meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the situation in the Middle East as well as Ukraine; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged he will resist any pressure on settelements

Middle East

– In Iraq, a helicopter of the army was shot down by Islamic State militants. Two pilots were killed as a result.

– With Iran playing more of a role in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Israel are working together to counter that role

– With floods affecting infrastructure in Iraq, corruption is hindering any improvements to such infrastructure

Asia and Oceania

– On Saturday, at least 19 people were killed as a result of attacks by the Taliban across Afghanistan.

– Despite Japan having strict anti-cannabis laws, the use of marijuana goes back centuries in the country’s history

– Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party were re-elected although with a low turnout not seen since the end of World War II

Africa

– In eastern Libya, Islamic militants fought with pro-government forces to control a vital area of oil

Europe 

– Louis Proyect does a great job in describing how Podemos, the increasingly popular leftist party in Spain, rose and the lessons of American leftists. You can read Pablo Iglesias, a member of Podemos, and his comments on securing a victory for leftists here.

– There may be hope with the EU in holding U.S. officials accountable for committing torture; I just want to see Dick Cheney in a jail cell. If they do only that, then that would be great.

– With xenophobic and Islamophobic protests in Germany becoming more popular, Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing pressure inside and outside government when dealing with the demonstrators

– More than 2,500 people demonstrated outside the Hungarian parliament over corruption and austerity

– A Romanian official confirmed there were at least one black site operated by the CIA in the country

– After the Turkish government shut down a media station for allegedly conspiring to overthrow him, the EU criticized the move as anti-democratic

Surveillance Planet

– Police departments are beginning to use tools for data mining to find out the threat level of citizens, which is just like the movie Minority Report

A long, yet informative piece on The Intercept about GCHQ’s hack into Belgacom, the largest telecommunication company in Belgium

Financial Matters

– Richard Wolff: “Going Beyond Private Versus Public

– The Mont Pelerin Society is where neoliberalism first formed to counter the expanded role of government during the mid-20th century; Ever since then the neoliberals were victorious in getting their point across

Politics US

Washington USA

– The Senate passed the compromise bill in a vote of 56-40 so now it goes to the desk of President Obama.

– Ralph Nader joins The Real News to criticize the bill as “twisted priorities and insane declarations.”

– Still, Congress did not update the Freedom of Information Act law so I suppose the Obama administration is disappointed with that, right? …Yeah, I’m assuming no.

– As Tariq Ali explains, the system, with the recent horrific events, is out-of-touch with humanity and it must be abolished for the greater good.

– Henry Giroux: “Torture and the Violence of Organized Forgetting

– Dick Cheney: The people involved with torture should be praised as heroes; …

– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, in response to the Senate torture report, it is difficult to say whether such “extreme measures” were justified.

– Thomas Frank: “The New Republic, the torture report and the TED talks geniuses who gutted journalism

Anytown USA

– At this point, I feel like a broken record when talking about the systemic problems in society in terms of the shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Still, it is important to emphasize how the narrative must keep this point when going forward.

– After hearing the police union in New York City barred Mayor Bill de Blasio from attending funerals of cops, you cannot help but wonder how childish the officer are. Regardless, I’m glad the cops are scared about losing their power. Just a matter of time.

– Yesterday, in Washington D.C., a march led by Reverend Al Sharpton was criticized by youth groups as they felt excluded. Good for the youth groups to challenge Sharpton, a reactionary always looking to silence anger.

– In New York City, there was the Millions March NYC where more than 30,000 people demonstrated in Manhattan; I’ll have my post on it up soon

– The police chief in Richmond, Calif., joined protesters demonstrating against police brutality

– Meanwhile, there’s a simple solution to the problems of grand juries: abolish them.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– It is a problem that the federal government, with all of their data on homelessness, is unable to rightfully talk about the issue considering they focus more on the data than anything else.

The Second Sex

– False statements from so-called experts shaped the restrictions on abortion found in certain states

– In terms of the “Cromnibus” bill, how does it affect women in the U.S.? In short, it keeps the status quo.

Planet Earth

– Glaciers in Antarctica are melting at extremely high rates, which is worrying scientists following this

– A watered-down deal was reached at the COP 20 conference in Lima, Peru, and there were winners and losers in the deal. How anyone can be a winner from changing words is beyond me.

– Canada promoted the interests of fossil fuel companies at the conference instead of, you know, actually coming up with a solution.

– It was warned by experts at the COP 20 conference that food prices will go up should nothing be done on climate change

– The sixth extinction is underway on Earth with a new study finding 46 percent of amphibians on their way to be extinct; No worries, other species are also threatened!

Mixed Bag

– In the southern part of Spain, flamenco dancers are facing problems such as gentrification and policing that are threatening it. However, based on the youthful spirit injected into the cultural dance, it seems likely to persist

– All Christmas and New Year’s demonstrations this year in Sierra Leone were cancelled over the fear of Ebola spreading

Break Time

This Christmas [Freddie Jackson]

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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.

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