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The Roundup for January 5th, 2015

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Just as the song says, “Today’s is gonna be the day.” Hope today is the day for you.

International Politics


– Syria asked the United Nations to punish lawmakers from different countries, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), for entering into the country without visas

– Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition declined Moscow’s offer to meet with the Syrian government in peace talks

Middle East

– Jordan announced it would provide funding for Sunni tribes operating in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State

– Meanwhile, Sunni tribes in Iraq are relying on Iran for funding to fight against the ISIL

– Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi: We need a “tribal revolution” against ISIS; Easier said than done

– After hearing instances where Iraqi forces and militia groups looted areas, a Shiite cleric published a decree condemned it

– Israeli President Reuven Rivlin: I am opposed to the tax freeze to Palestine over their decision to join the International Criminal Court

– An Israeli group, meanwhile, filed their own claims of war crimes against Palestinians leaders

– Can the center-leftists in Israel do something against the administration there? They’re more focused on each other actually.

– As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins his re-election campaign, he vowed not to give any land to Palestine

– Saudi Arabia is “on the alert” due to a suicide bomber killing two soldiers and a general


– At least 30,000 Germans demonstrated against the anti-Islam marches occurring in the country

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Mexican officials would prefer the story of the 43 missing students to go away as they known the police, which serves them, are involved in the disappearances

– After it was revealed the head of the police force in Rio de Janeiro was sympathetic to Nazism, he resigned immediately

– An independent group said the Cuban government is jailing more dissenters than before, which is a concern; Not sure how independent this group is

Surveillance Planet

– Emptywheel: “The NSA’s Funny Numbers, Again

Financial Matters

– Consumer spending as a whole is rising in the past few months with December being a strong month, yet U.S. shoppers are still cautious

– The financial industrial in the U.S. is a capitalist parasite, which specifically means they are able to place so much debt on U.S. citizens and not be noticed by a lot of people for it.

– Henry A. Giroux: “Authoritarianism, Class Warfare and the Advance of Neoliberal Austerity Policies

– FIFA is pledging to help the reconstruction of Gaza by re-building soccer stadiums

Labor’s a-Brewing

– When pensions are cut by state or local government, who profits? Wall Street of course!

– Citizens with criminal records, or even assumed to have one (i.e. race), are one of the reasons why the participation rate in the U.S. is declining

– Even crowdsourcing sites allowing citizens to take temp jobs exploit labor, which angers workers

Politics US

Washington USA

– Gallup: More than nine-in-10 Congressional members for the 114th Congress are Christian. Specifically, a majority are Protestant. Of course, there are other faiths represented in the incoming Congress (except atheism).

– Jason Leopold: “Senator Dianne Feinstein Proposes Legislation to Make Torture Extra Illegal

– Thanks to the new spending bill passed late last year, based on The Real News reporting, it is tougher to go after dark money and more money can be contributed; Alright, now this is the hope and change, right?

– Can the Internal Revenue Service help at all with dark money? Yes, but it may take quite a while.

– Due to a job in the “private sector,” CIA Inspector General (the watchdog) David Buckley will be leaving his position.

Anytown USA

Part one of two with journalist Chris Hedges on the role of prisons, especially the economics of such an exploitative system

– New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: I am “very disappointed” by police officers who turned their backs at the funerals; I would say finally, but it took the second funeral for a comment like this?

– Arrests in NYC, by the way, are on the decline for the second week in a row.

– The National Fraternal Order of Police pleaded attacks against cops to be considered hate crimes; Wh..what?

– The mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, said he does not trust a state investigation into the death of Tamir Rice

– A federal judge ruled Joe Arpaio, a sheriff in Arizona, cannot use raids at workplaces for undocumented immigrants as they are unconstitutional

– Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) spent at least $50,000 to win a case in order to ensure thousands of poor citizens would be removed from the Medicaid program in the state. He failed.

We Don’t Need No Education

– Places like West Point serve little purpose based on the funding given. Thus, it should be remodeled into something else entirely or abolished.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– New York City may get the benefit of free attorneys representing tenants in housing disputes should activists succeed in establishing such an idea.

– Jessica Valenti: “Homophobic, transphobic parents make abusive homes. Let’s help LGBT kids get out

The Second Sex

– Good news as there is now a decline in the amount of backlog rape kits throughout the U.S.

– In the past four years, states across the U.S. implemented more than 200 abortion restrictions, according to a new report.

– Disturbing to hear at least six women are killed per day in Mexico based on the statistics of femicides in the country.

– Molly Crabapple: “Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers

Planet Earth

– California Governor Jerry Brown (D) pledged the state will be have half of its power derived from renewable energy; Isn’t this the state where fracking is given approved by Brown?

– Chris Hedges: “All Forms of Life Are Sacred

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found most coastal areas in the U.S. will be threatened by constant flooding

– What can be worse than Keystone XL? Enbridge, a company currently under the radar and promoting more pipelines than you can imagine.

Mixed Bag

– Add this to the slow news pile: The White House did not follow-up on a question on whether President Obama refers British Prime Minister David Cameron as his “bro.”

– Former NASA astronauts believe it is more important exploring the moon more before going to Mars

– Religion, at the end of the day, suffers from major flaws which question why it is popular in the first place

– I echo Yves Smith in the writings of political economist Karl Polanyi with “The Great Transformation” as essential reading.

Break Time

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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.