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The Roundup for February 23rd, 2015

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One of my favorite songs by Common.

International Politics

Overall

– Gallup: Fifty-nine percent of Americans say the U.S. is the world’s top military, which is up from 53 percent last year

– Attorney Michael Ratner talks to The Real News on the case against the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority in the U.S. on their role in Israel. The folks in the trial were convicted for committing terrorism, which Israel is happy to hear about.

– Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: The United States is bringing chaos to the Middle East, which is causing extremism

– Instead of getting rid of nuclear weapons, the U.S. would prefer to keep a close eye on them

Middle East

– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running ads suggesting the U.S. did not support Israel in its early days; No, I’m serious. This is an actually ad.

– Peace Now, an anti-settlement NGO group, reported a rise of 40 percent of settlements in the West Bank

– Meanwhile, in the West Bank, two cities had their electricity turned off by Israel because of unpaid electric bills

– Iraqi residents in al-Baghdadi are starving so much as a result of the Islamic State’s siege that they turned to eating grass

– Speaking of the Islamic State, and this is interesting, there are sympathetic donors in anonymous oil-rich states in the Middle East providing money to ISIS

– For farmers in the Gaza Strip, it is pointless for them to grow produce as Israel implement export restraints and the Palestinian Authority is unwilling to help

Europe 

– It isn’t the right that is surging in Germany, but the far-right. This matters especially with the role of the left in the country.

– Even Mossad believes Iran is not creating a nuclear weapon despite what Benjamin Netanyahu says

– Russian President Vladimir Putin: It is unlikely we will go to war with Ukraine

– Russia, meanwhile, offered anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and a Russian official said Iranians were interested in the deal

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Fantastic article by Greg Grandlin on the reforms carried out in Chile and how they connect with the fall of the dictatorship

Surveillance Planet

– The NSA is on board with the FBI in stopping technology given to users to encrypt their information

– In a strange chapter of the War on Whistleblowers, the FBI is intentionally misleading employees in reporting wrongdoing in order to catch whistleblowers

Financial Matters

– Professor Bill Black explains the role of Iceland after the 2007-08 financial crisis and the recent Icelandic Supreme Court ruling that upheld the sentence of four bankers in an interview with The Real NEws

– Households hold, on average, at least $10,000 in debt each year. Despite it being incredible disturbing, it seems to be another part of the status quo in society.

– Professor Gerald Epstein talks to The Real News on quantitative easing in Europe and the role of Greece

– Dean Baker: “Trade Crazy: The Push for Fast-Track Trade Authority

– The president of OPEC suggested the price of oil could be made by bringing together OPEC and non-OPEC members

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Robert Reich: “Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

– AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said lawmakers on the left and right failed workers and it is up to the unions themselves in pushing for higher wages

– Sarah Jaffe: “How 262 Cable Technicians Defeated a Union-Busting Giant

Politics US

Washington USA

– Remember that unnamed Pentagon official who talked about the upcoming operations in Mosul? Well, The Most Transparent Administration would have to go after that person for leaking information, right? Uh…well…you see…

– Gallup: Eighty-seven percent of Americans view North Korea unfavorably, which is up from 84 percent

– Gallup: Meanwhile, 70 percent of Americans say they support Israel compared to 17 percent who say the same about the Palestinian Authority

– Professor Vijay Prashad explains to The Real News how President Barack Obama neglected to mention the role of the U.S. in creating terrorists

– Lawmakers want to cut disability benefits for citizens and progressive groups want to stop this from being enacted

– Even though law prohibited the CIA from contacting Hamas, the agency still went through to communicate

Anytown USA

– Arun Kundnani: “Islamophobia is just the latest in a history of US imperialism“; Definitely recommended

Also recommended is journalist Roqayah Chamseddine’s piece on both the #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeforMuslims movement

Part one of three with journalist Mark Reutter on the history of the steel industry in Baltimore and what caused its downfall

– Chris Hedges: “We Kill Our Revolutionaries

– Over the weekend, inmates took over an immigrant detention center in Texas; however, authorities immediately re-established control

We Don’t Need No Education

– Goldman Sachs helped create the economic crisis in California with bonds. Now it will go after the state’s school bonds.

– Some students at Corinthian College are demonstrating and refuse to pay their student debt.

– The president of Wesleyan University requested students provide information on drug dealers of Molly, a drug that hospitalized 10 students at a party over the weekend

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

A new study found cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol and alcohol is more dangerous than previously believed

– Scientists say Arctic Apple, a genetically modified apple, is risky and dangerous considering it is not tested yet. The Department of Agricultural approved it anyway.

The Second Sex

– Dave Zirin: “Patricia Arquette’s Equal Pay Message Needs a Drastic Rewrite

A new study found 15 million unwanted pregnancies worldwide could be avoided through contraceptions

Planet Earth

– Angry that the state will not allow fracking, a few New York cities threatened to secede and join Pennsylvania; Forget the planet, let’s focus on money!

– As a result of the drought in California, water thefts are rising in the state; Keep in mind it is only winter

Mixed Bag

– The Real News covers the Sankofa Dance Theater and speaks with its founder of the theater on the origins of it and what it provides for the Baltimore community

– Even a supporter of the Mars exploratory project believes it is difficult to colonize Mars

Sixteen percent less of viewers watched the Oscars this year than last year

Break Time

The Light [Common]

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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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