CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for May 19th, 2015

We move on to Venezuela. Three finals down, two to go!

Happy Birthday to Malcolm X! He would have been 90 if he was alive.

International Politics


– The United Nations warned at least 2,000 refugees were trapped at sea for weeks off the coast of Myanmar

– At least 170 Islamic State fighters in Syria died as a result of U.S.-led airstrikes

– The United Nations will use “realistic options” to get Israel to speak with Palestinian leaders

Middle East

Part one of two with scholar Norman Finkelstein about Israel’s abilities to use violence in its history

– Syrian rebels captured the Syrian government’s largest military base

– After the expiration of the truce with Yemeni rebels, a large number of airstrikes hit Sana’a


– Jeremy Scahill: “How Somalia’s Al Shabaab Turned Against Its Own Foreign Fighters

– At least 22 militants tied to ISIS were killed by Algerian forces in Algeria


– Vijay Prashad, a professor, joins The Real News to discuss the European Union and its recent actions in response to the refugee crisis

– Louis Proyect: “Socialist revolution in Greece–easier said than done

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– A State Department official said Cuba will re-establish their relationship with American banks. Meanwhile, the U.S. pledged to re-evaluate its policies in changing the Cuban government

– The Puerto Rican government will close 95 schools and cut funding for public agencies

Surveillance Planet

– NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden believes, had he brought the documents to Congress, he would have been jailed

– Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): We will use the power of the purse to curtail NSA surveillance

– Why does the FBI spy on anti-tar sands demonstrators? National security

Financial Matters

– Kansas risks losing block grants over food stamps due to a restrictive policy

– Six Chinese nationals were arrested by U.S. authorities after it was alleged they stole trade secrets for their country

– Peabody Energy, a coal company, used the Ebola crisis in Africa for its own financial gains

Labor’s a-Brewing

– For domestic workers living in Guatemala, it is a struggle to work without being valued by employers

– Los Angeles is the next city where the minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour by 2020

Politics US

Washington USA

– Pew: Both Republican and Democratic voters are mostly impressed by candidates in their respective parties

– Glen Ford, a journalist, joins The Real News to describe the limitations of the Obama administration’s restrictions over militarized equipment for officers

– Natasha Lennard: “Obama’s police reform plans emphasize optics. Black lives matter much more

– Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense, admitted the U.S. was wrong to assume things would go smoothly in the Middle East

– William Hartung, a fellow at the Center for International Policy, joins The Real News to explain why military contractors like Lockheed Martin will win big thanks to House Republicans and their defense budget

– Jason Leopold: “The Watchdog, the Whistleblower, and the Secret CIA Torture Report

– Hillary Clinton: I made a mistake over the Iraq War, “plain and simple“; Too little, too late

– A federal judge ruled the State Department must release emails by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State

– Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) not only wants to tax Wall Street, but provide free college for all Americans

– The House passed a bill to expand the power of the inspector generals over investigations

Anytown USA

– Gallup: Sixty percent of Americans say same-sex marriage should be treated equally with a traditional marriage

An interview with folks from Jewish Voice for Peace on organizing in contemporary times including on racial issues

– New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to create ta national plan for the Democrats to deal with inequality

– Now get this. The police in Texas advocated for motorcycle gangs to stop fighting each other

We Don’t Need No Education

It was through the actions of the New Right, starting in the 1980s, that the humanities became de-funded across the U.S.

A new report found claims of anti-Semitism on college campuses are usually exaggerated

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Advair, a very popular asthma drug by GlaxoSmithKline, is potentially dangerous and even fatal for some users

The Second Sex

– There is a role for feminists to play when it comes to racial issues in American society

– Emma Sulkowicz carried her mattress during a Columbia commencement practice ceremony to cheers from the audience

Planet Earth

– Even shareholders of Royal Dutch Shell are protesting the company’s expansion into the Arctic

– Gallup: Thirty-two percent of Americans say animals should be treated like humans, up from 28 percent in 2008

– At CERAweek, where oil tycoons and leaders come together to praise themselves, lots of talk revolved around lifting the ban on crude oil exports and how to expand fracking

– Ever hear of Schlumberger, an infamous oil giant? Good, because they don’t want you to know them either

– The Obama administration will provide more resources and land to help the falling bee population

Mixed Bag

Part six of seven with journalist Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, who debate the origins of violence in U.S. society

– Rania Khalek: “The Nation magazine’s shameful history of aiding ethnic cleansing in Palestine

Break Time

Huapango [Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela]

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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 20, 2015 at 10:34 am

    “– At least 170 Islamic State fighters in Syria died as a result of U.S.-led airstrikes” Is it a sign America is losing when we start using body counts large body counts?

  2. ThingsComeUndone
    May 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

    “Frustrated by the stalled progress, the Palestinians in April officially joined the International Criminal Court in hopes of prosecuting Israel for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 50-day Gaza conflict last year.” Realistic Options to get Israel to peace talks I think means in diplomat speak War Crimes and an Economic Boycott.

  3. ThingsComeUndone
    May 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Speaking of boycotts on Israel Soda Stream had Scarlett Johansson the black widow from the Avengers movie ( why is everything I write looking bold) defend soda stream for building a factory on occupied Palestinian land. Normally actresses as big as her don’t endorse household appliances. Since then soda stream’s stock price has gone from $72.65 in 2013 to $21.59 even as the economy supposedly has been improving for the last few years.

  4. Alice X
    May 20, 2015 at 10:51 am

    John Kerry admits defeat: The Ukraine story the media won’t tell, and why U.S. retreat is a good thing

  5. Alice X
    May 20, 2015 at 10:51 am

    And thank you Brandon for all you do.

  6. ThingsComeUndone
    May 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Wait America is backing away from a bad idea before it blows up in our faces…I’ll believe it when I see it. I expect every GOP Presidential candidate to now claim they would defend Ukraine this week.

  7. ThingsComeUndone
    May 20, 2015 at 11:10 am

    The Red Line and the Rat Line
    Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels”
    “British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. ”

  8. Alice X
    May 20, 2015 at 11:21 am

    One point of the article is: you won’t see it on the M$M.

    Unfortunately as some of us know, the vast majority of Americans only know what the M$M tells them.

  9. May 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm
  10. Hugh
    May 20, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I agree that the problems with the police run much deeper. None of those recently murdered by police in Ferguson, New York, Arkansas, and Baltimore died from military surplus equipment. They died from an us versus them attitude (where the them is the rest of us) and a culture of impunity.

    Obama’s announcement doesn’t take back now banned equipment, and it continues to release significant quantities of high powered weaponry. Militarization is as much a state of mind, and I see nothing, no retraining, to move the police away from it.

    Re Robert Gates, what he said was “we overestimate our ability to shape events in the Middle East.” This is not insight. It is cover your ass. Gates wrote a CYA memoir a while back Duty in which he defended his direction of the Iraq occupation after Rumsfeld’s departure. But note the weaseliness of the formulation. The inclusive we not I. Overestimated, not I was wrong. It’s really just a riff on the “No one could have known” and so it’s not my fault defense. The word overestimate is doubly deceptive because, in fact, those who decided to invade and occupy Iraq, like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rice, and all their neocon cohorts who so enthusiastically supported these policies, not only were pig ignorant about Iraq and the Middle East, and proud to be, but held in the deepest contempt anyone with the slightest knowledge of or expertise in the area. This was no minor miscalculation made in good faith. It was a blind use of and belief in the exercise of naked US power without any reference to or consideration of history or reality.

    Yes, Hillary Clinton’s admission is too little too late, 12 years too late, and during most of that time her defense was not that the Iraq War was a mistake but that she could have done a better job, waged a better and more effective war, than Bush. This is typical Clintonian triangulation: now that even Republican Presidential candidates have admitted Iraq was a mistake (more or less), Hillary bows to the blatantly obvious, and in an act of chutzpah even Bill would be proud of, takes credit for her admission, as if it were timely and her own idea. She then walks away like that’s the end of it. But here’s the thing, there was nothing plain and simple about Hillary’s support of the Iraq War. If she could support such a stupid, wasteful, pointless war and occupation for so long, isn’t that an illustration of her political cynicism as well as a damning indictment of her judgment? As a parenthesis, I should add that Iraq is the reason I became a blogger and started the evolution questioning so much of what I thought I knew. With Iraq, my belief there had to be adults in the room in government came into daily collision with evidence that there were none, only fools, schemers, and ideologues. What I have found since is that Iraq was not an anomaly but the norm.

    Bernie Sanders equals fraud. Bill de Blasio equals fraud. Just crumbs and circuses for us rubes.

  11. Brandon Jordan
    May 21, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Anytime! I’m surprised I’ve been able to churn out roundups with finals. Even more surprised that I’m working on two stories in the meantime that should be up soon.