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The Roundup for December 23rd, 2014

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So close to Christmas Day!

International Politics

Overall

– At the Bagram prison in Afghanistan, prisoners were raped by dogs if they did not provide any information, according to a former German lawmaker; And you wonder why American society is so sick. It’s because those at the top are the most sick so it trickles down.

– A new report found at least 60 journalists were killed this year, which was down from 70 last year. Still, it is alarming nonetheless.

Middle East

– The Syrian government, to continue to have soldiers in its ranks, is going after young men avoiding the draft

– Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas said should the resolution in the United Nations for peace talks fail, Abbas will no longer work with Israel

– The Iraqi government was able to create a budget that needs to be voted on and it projects a $19 billion deficit

Africa

– The Egyptian military government fined Bassem Youssef’s television channel $6.5 million for the humor of Youssef’s show. If the channel is unable to pay, Youssef will be next in line to pay.

– The United Nations is warning of possible war crimes occurring throughout Libya as instability persists; I don’t get it. The West brought bourgeois democracy there. Did the West lie to me about that?

Europe 

– Spain may end up passing a law to effectively ban protesting within the country; It’s so great to see bourgeois democracy finally get what it wants.

– The Ukraine took another step in being close with the West after saying it is no longer “non-aligned

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– It certainly seems like a contradiction for the U.S. to better relations with Cuba by loosening the embargo and then turning around to implement sanctions against Venezuela

Surveillance Planet

– It almost seems fitting for North Korea to be blamed for hacking into Sony. In fact, it is too fitting…

– Sony, by the way, is not the only company to leave its information out in the open. Other websites online also suffer from the same.

– In Chicopee, Mass., a man placed the phrase “put wings on pigs” on Facebook. He is now charged for just writing that.

Financial Matters

– Gallup: Twenty-six percent of investors in the U.S. began saving for their retirement when they under 25. Moreover, 21 percent either decided to take out a loan from their 401(k) or make an early withdrawal.

– In the third quarter, the GDP of the U.S. grew at five percent, which is very strong considering the past few years

At least $700 million was spent by fossil fuel companies for the 2014 midterm election and it certainly paid off

– Pew: Local television stations still are profitable for companies with 171 stations being bought out by other companies this year

– If the government is actually serious about health care in the U.S., it should start by reducing costs of pharmaceutical products

– Wall Street is at it again by altering the ratings of tobacco bonds from states for investors to purchase

– What if the price of oil per barrel drops to $20? Would OPEC then cut its production? Saudi Arabia said it would not.

– Meanwhile, Iraq will produce more oil to export in order to get more money for themselves

Labor’s a-Brewing

– As companies like Jimmy John’s push forward to ensure unions are gone completely in the industry, unions are still distracted from the big issues at play

– The National Labor Review Board ruled for professors at private colleges and universities to form a union

– Even better news is that adjunct professors at Temple University will join the American Federations of Teachers

Politics US

Washington USA

– The National Rifle Association is fighting a bill to ban ivory from being sold because they want it for their guns

– If there is any lesson to take away from the 2014 midterm elections, it is to create an independent third-party in the U.S. with a progressive base. Not to pray for the latest chip off the old block to change the Democrats.

– Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) plead guilty to tax evasion, yet will not resign from his position

– Out of both political parties in the U.S., Democrats receive the most money from the rich

Anytown USA

– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “The Police Aren’t Under Attack. Institutionalized Racism Is.

– Very strange the media decided not to report on Shaneka Thompson, the ex-girlfriend of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who was also shot by Brinsley. She is recovering well, according to the hospital taking care of her.

– Let us be honest, what the New York Police Department is doing is launching a coup against political figures in New York City. Indeed, as Glen Ford explains on The Real News, these are rogue cops.

Part one of a discussion with Eddie Conway, a former Black Panther, and Seema Sadanandan, a policy director for the D.C. chapter of the ACLU, about the role of the police in society.

– Black police officers, either retired or still a part of the force, fear discrimination when not in uniform; Great piece by Reuters on this.

– On Saturday, there was a large protest that shut down the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. Now the organizers are facing charges; Wait, are you telling me, in a democracy, you can get arrest for making a protest?

We Don’t Need No Education

– In Boston, a school for children with severe disabilities uses harsh methods to restrain students there. New York City provides $30 million to it because it accepts children from NYC.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Big news as the FDA announced gay men will be allowed to donate blood. The only catch is they must not have had sex within the past year.

– Researchers found antibodies from llamas could destroy the HIV virus, which provides hope for a cure

The Second Sex

– Indonesia announced it would no longer have virginity tests for women becoming civil servants

A new report from Amnesty International found the Islamic State uses rape and violence against women, specifically Kurdish women.

– It is important to know how billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks fund anti-abortion groups across the U.S.; What is this? An oligarchy?

Planet Earth

A new report found dengue fever, a fatal disease carried by mosquitoes, will spread faster as a result of global warming

– The Environmental Protection Agency fined XTO Energy, a part of ExxonMobil, $2.3 million for violating the Clean Water Act as a result of its hydrofracking operations.

Mixed Bag

– A retired LAPD officer sang a song at a charity golf tournament where he called Michael Brown a dead dog; A privileged white piece of trash feels so comfortable. Hopefully his pension is taken away and redistributed to the community.

– “The Interview” will be released in a few theaters after Sony Pictures Entertainment changed its mind; A victory for (bourgeois) democracy!

Break Time

Happy X-Mas (War is Over) [Darius Rucker]

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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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