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The Roundup for May 15th, 2015

Rest in peace B.B. King.

International Politics


– Jamal Abdi, policy director at the National Iranian American Council, talks to The Real News about the current relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

– With at least $2 billion in Afghanistan, the U.S. military can spend on a lot of useless things

– FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes a vote suspending Israel may set a dangerous precedent

– The United Nations called for the Saudi-led coalition to simplify trade rules through Yemen

– A Iranian negotiator said Iran is prepared for all scenarios should no finalized deal come in July

Middle East

– On the day of the “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe” for Palestinians as it deals with the founding of the Israeli state, at least 21 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces

– The Islamic State successfully captured the main government building in Ramadi, which means they control Anbar in Iraq

– A former British colonel said it should be alright for Israel to kill more civilians

– In spite of a ceasefire, at least 10 people were killed after fighting in a Yemeni city

Asia and Oceania

– A missing U.S. helicopter was found in Nepal and it is feared all eight Americans died


– The UN warn “war crimes” are being committed in Libya by militant groups

– Burundi’s president was almost overthrown in a coup, although the military saved the day

– Through a deal with the United Nations, armed groups in the Central African Republic agreed to release thousands of youths


– Russia may ban any foreign non-governmental organization it considered “undesirable

– After the most recent election, the victory of the Tories means an uncertain future for Britain

– British Prime Minister David Cameron may offer more powers to Scotland

– Podemos, once a growing political party in Spain, is now struggling to recapture the magic it once held

– Poland agreed to pay $250,000 to two victims of torture by the CIA in the country

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– In Mexico, gangs are killing politicians from all sides weeks ahead of elections

– In spite of new vice president chosen, Guatemala may face a major political crisis

Surveillance Planet

Part three of seven with Robert Scheer, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, about capitalism, what to do about surveillance and even what the Founding Fathers intended

– A watchdog group in Belgium accused Facebook of tracking people and declining to answer any privacy-related questions

– The former inspector general for the NSA admitted it was a mistake keeping all recorded phone calls

– Emptywheel: “How the Second Circuit, FISC, and the Telecoms Might Respond to McConnell’s USA F-ReDux Gambit

Financial Matters

Part five of six with economist Ha-Joon Chang who continues to explain the different, heterodox schools of economics

– Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if someone wanted to build a mall at the Grand Canyon? Would it be more ridiculous if someone actually held this idea?

– The Ukrainian economy contracted by 17.6 percent in the first quarter

Labor’s a-Brewing

– The Real News covers protests by postal workers to protect their jobs and stop privatization

– Farmers in Baja California will no longer strike for higher wages as they agreed with a new deal with their employer that will see major benefits

Politics US

Washington USA

– Gallup: Americans cite the economy and the the way government functions as more than important than foreign policy

– A few weeks before the Amtrak train crash, lawmakers had the opportunity to bolster safety rules but decided not to

– Lee Fang: “Wall Street Analyst Encouraged Rail Company to Lobby Against Train Safety Rules

– Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may be good in terms of economic policy, but his foreign policy is really questionable

– Meanwhile, other Democratic leaders do not care about Sanders’ run and believe Hillary Clinton is running, essentially, unopposed

– Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): The GOP will “rue the day” should the Supreme Court cut vital parts of Affordable Care Act

– Watchdog groups want the Internal Revenue Service to investigate companies involved in tax fraud, especially through ALEC

Anytown USA

– Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby defends her decision to indict the six officers as just “doing her job

– Looks like there may be no gay marriage ban in Texas after all!

– An internal investigation in the Miami Beach police department found officers sharing porn and racist comments with each other

We Don’t Need No Education

– The University of Washington agreed to divest from coal companies

The Second Sex

A new study found men and women in prehistoric times were equal with each other

– If anti-abortion lawmakers believe it will be easy to push through their agenda, then they have another thing coming

Planet Earth

– Rebecca Solnit: “One magical politician won’t stop climate change. It’s up to all of us

– NASA warned a major ice shelf in the Antarctic may completely melt, which means sea levels will rise even higher

– Canada announced it would its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030

Mixed Bag

– Oops. The office of New Jersey’s attorney general accidentally recommended a sex hotline for residents needing help for over-billing

– Dave Zirin: “It’s Not Tom Brady We Should Be Worried About—It’s Roger Goodell

Break Time

Why I Sing The Blues [B.B. King]

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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.


  1. ThingsComeUndone
    May 16, 2015 at 10:31 am

    “”I wouldn’t like to go into a vote to say that one association shall be suspended, if there is nothing against the statutes of FIFA and we have to make clear there is nothing [by Israel] against the statutes of FIFA.””

    If the Israeli government stops Palestinian players from playing games by not letting them leave Palestine then Israel is unduly influencing soccer games.

    “”When FIFA stops football, then everyone is unhappy. To suspend a federation, you must make an investigation, you cannot just say I want to.” ”

    Influencing games is cheating that makes everyone unhappy you can’t just say I don’t want to suspend a cheater. Israel I’m guessing is terrified of a loss to Palestine in the years Palestine has a good team. Has Israel ever faced the Palestine team or are they chicken?

  2. ThingsComeUndone
    May 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

    “ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter is worried that a dangerous precedent will be set if Palestine goes ahead and asks for a vote to suspend Israel at the annual Congress of soccer’s governing body on May 29.”

    The precedent has already been set

    “In 1976, after the Soweto uprising, they were formally expelled from FIFA. South Africa was suspended by FIFA from 1961 to 1992 because of the countries apartheid policies, banning the country from international competition (including the FIFA World Cup), and severely stunting the growth of the domestic game.”

  3. Chris Maukonen
    May 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

    In the rest of the world this is a major big deal. Only here where our version of football mostly resembles our foreign and domestic policies is it not.

  4. ThingsComeUndone
    May 16, 2015 at 11:08 am

    True but Bibi’s expected defense if Israel is kicked out of Soccer anti semitism is not that big a deal in African and Asian countries without a history of anti semitism. Israel like America is playing diplomacy games through the Washington bubble er Israeli bubble that distorts their view of reality.

  5. TalkingWarrior
    May 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Russia is wisely protecting itself from “undesirable” NGOs. USAID has long been recognized in the public sphere as a nest of CIA informants. Behind the scenes, Russian (and other countries’) spooks probably have evidence that the CIA-infiltrated USAID is up to far more nefarious activities than merely sending in fairly benign informants.

  6. ThingsComeUndone
    May 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not worried about Israel’s treatment of Palestine effecting his sport negatively. He should Israel can’t win the Playoffs, Championship, whatever if they are accused of preventing Palestine from playing. Sepp Blatter needs to take steps that ensure Israel does not face a much bigger disgrace ironically if Israel wins. A Chicago Little league Team Jackie Robinson West lost their Title because they had ineligible players and that was it they were found guilty and lost the title. Tom Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion deflated a few balls but was found not guilty now he can’t play a few games is getting fined he thinks he won. But long term this will effect his many million dollar endorsement deals many will be ended and he won’t ever get paid what he got paid before this scandal. Plus it will effect his reputation everyone is making jokes about him. Imagine Israel becomes the FIFA champion but nobody buys their merchandise as much as they do other champion teams and rather than talk about the game all anyone will ask Israel’s soccer players is about Palestine.

  7. ThingsComeUndone
    May 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Austin, with a population of 4,200, now has a higher incidence of HIV than “any country in sub-Saharan Africa,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden. “They’ve had more people infected with HIV through injection drug use than in all of New York City last year.”

    Treating those infected in the outbreak will cost $100 million”

    Real America has a problem and of course the media and the GOP and Dem Presidential candidates are ignoring it. The same conditions that created this outbreak are present in several towns in several states FDL cover this issue.

  8. Hugh
    May 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Scheer and Hedges should go back and actually read Hannah Arendt. She would probably have called the current use of the NSA authoritarian, not totalitarian. The closest approximations come in her discussions of the use of the secret police in building the totalitarian state, primarily the intermediate aspects of it and not the final stage which is characterized by random terror. I would say that the NSA is an indispensable tool for the creation of a police state, and I would like to see a lot more use of this term.
    Scheer and Hedges also buy into the iconography surrounding the Framers and stand the early history of the country on its head. It is more than odd to paint Madison and Hamilton as defenders of the People. Most of the Constitution was about keeping power in the hands of the rich and propertied classes and checking the power of the People, the opposite of what they are saying.
    Re the Saudis, they are an autocratic dictatorship. The one and only goal of the monarchy is the perpetuation of the monarchy. It is a travesty to call them either friends or allies. They will spend any number of American lives and cross any American purpose to that end. They are certainly not alone in this. Other so-called American “allies” like the Israelis and Pakistanis come to mind.
    FIFA is completely corrupt and only about the money. That’s why it picks countries like Qatar with its terrible labor practices which kill, mistreat, and underpay foreign workers. Or entices up and coming countries like Brazil to spend billions on white elephant stadiums instead of on its people.

  9. dubinsky
    May 17, 2015 at 3:31 am

    political events that outweigh games are not brought into existence merely to “influence” those games and are not, in a sane analysis, an instance of cheating, Things.

    perhaps you might review the policies of the other Middle eastern nations in regard to playing in competition against the Israeli team. might be of interest.

  10. richardgrabman
    May 17, 2015 at 4:15 am

    Farmers were not on strike in Baja California… farm WORKERS were on strike. And it ain’t over til it’s over. Although a settlement was announced — a 200 peso a day minimum wage and social security enrollment, the agreement between federal negotiators and the workers has been rejected by the farmers … who apparently are expecting us Mexican taxpayers to subsidize the labor costs of supplying US distributors with low-cost vegetables.