The Roundup for May 22nd, 2015

We end our week in Japan and I end my week as a student for now.

International Politics


– Rania Khalek: “Obama gives $1.9 billion in weapons as welcome gift to Israel’s racist government

– President Barack Obama: Israel should know “the people of America” will protect them

– A report from the Pentagon found Western officials viewed the Islamic State as a group to counter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

– Saudi Arabia expressed interest in heading the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

– Who wants the Internal Revenue Service to punish American “eco-terrorists”? Japan

Middle East

– One issue facing Syrians, especially very young Syrians, is the problem of the statelessness

– Unsure about who is who in the new Israeli government? Not to worry with this run down of each particular one you should keep your eye on

– For example, the Israeli deputy foreign minister said the land of Israel is for Israelis only

– U.S. officials say Iran sent soldiers to take a major oil refinery in Iraq from ISIS forces

– In a mosque in Saudi Arabia, a suicide bomber killed at least 21 people

– For the 84th time, Israeli authorities dismantled a Palestinian village that folks there later rebuilt

Asia and Oceania

– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: There must be a peaceful solution to strife over South China Sea


– The Russian foreign ministry warned Russians traveling overseas that the U.S. is hunting for Russians

– An investigation found Russian Spetsnaz to be operating in eastern Ukraine

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– An indigenous woman in Guatemala sued the foreign parent company of a domestic firm tied to the paramilitary group that killed her husband

At least 44 people were killed in a shootout between authorities and drug cartel members in Mexico

– FARC, the rebel group in Colombia, suspended its ceasefire with the government after some of its members were killed

Surveillance Planet

– Kirk Wiebe, a NSA whistleblower, joins The Real News to discuss why there is no major effort in the Senate for serious and tough NSA reform

– NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: Reforming in the NSA is the first step in restoring our privacy

– Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) believes all critics of the PATRIOT Act should be aware countries like Iran and North Korea want to “kill everyone“; Can’t argue with that logic

– Companies like Google and Apple attended a highly secret conference in the United Kingdom about surveillance

Financial Matters

– Leonce Ndikumana, a professor, joins The Real News to talk about development for countries coming out of conflict

– Up to how much money can be spent for a local school board seat in Los Angeles? $4.7 million 

– It is fair to say the Gaza Strip economy is nearing collapse with the highest unemployment rate in the world

– The Bank of England was, secretly, investigating the economic effects of Great Britain leaving the European Union

– Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said a hike in interest rates later this year would be appropriate

– The European Union agreed to a 1.8 billion euro loan to Ukraine, who is not a member of the EU

– The International Monetary Fund said Japan should take “bold measures” in improving its economy

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Gallup: Fifty-two percent of individuals around the world say it is not a good time to find a job

– The Fight for 15 movement can do more for workers by also focusing on the issue of police brutality

– Michelle Chen: “LA’s Minimum Wage Workers Just Won $15 an Hour—How Many Will Actually Be Paid That?

– Workers in Bangladesh need to have a hand in crafting safety policies for them to feel truly safe at work

– Two workers in Chicago was fired from her job after participating in efforts to unionize

Very strange The New York Times declined to get a graduate student involved in unionizing on their campus to write an op-ed about grad students unionizing

Politics US

Washington USA

– Newly released emails from the State Department reveal the staff of Hillary Clinton were extremely worried about how Clinton would be viewed after Benghazi. Meanwhile, the department said it’s totally normal for some emails to be classified

– David Sirota: “Amtrak’s Spectrum Gap

– It is possible for the Left in the U.S. to break with the Democrats and forge a new movement for change

– There are concerns with the Jade Helm 15 exercises, just not the wonky conspiracy ideas found in right-wing sites

– Lee Fang: “Media Executives Are Salivating Over Big Money Flooding the 2016 Election Cycle

A new report reveals ties of motorcycle gangs to government officials from the FBI to the military

Anytown USA

– Gallup: For the first time ever, 31 percent of Americans say their views on social issues are very liberal/liberal, which is the same percentage who say the opposite

– In Baltimore, a grand jury indicted the six officers charged with the murder of Freddie Gray

– Amy Goodman: “An Act of Protest, Not Sabotage, at the Birthplace of the Bomb

– Gallup: While Americans estimate more than one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, it is actually 3.8 percent of the population

– The governor of Maryland just vetoed two bills to reform the police

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sure is fond of using fear-based rhetoric

– Lobbyists in California say anti-vaccine activists have been threatening and intimidating them

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

A debate on the The Real News between two scientists on whether genetically modified organisms are safe

– French parliament passed a law barring all supermarkets from dumping uneaten food and forcing them to donate it to charities

The Second Sex

– For residents in Isla Vista, nothing much changed after the shootings caused by Elliot Rodger one year ago

– A proposed law in California would force crisis pregnancy centers, often anti-abortion, to admit they are not medical facilities

Planet Earth

A new study found reducing carbon emissions to limit temperature change at less than 1.5 degrees C may affect the global food supply

A study from the International Monetary Fund found we subsidize fossil fuel companies by $10 million a minute

– Water pollution of the Nile river is rising, although the government does not seem too concerned

– Farmers in California offered to cut 25 percent of their water use

– Scientists warn of long-term damage of the oil spill in California to the environment. By the way, prosecutors are looking into charging the company behind the oil spill

– Although, this highlights how, as oil production rises here, pipeline leaks do as well

Mixed Bag

– Dave Zirin: “An NBA Player Is Missing the Playoffs Because the NYPD Broke His Leg—Why the Sports-Media Silence?

– Turns out, in spite of the rhetoric from Silicon Valley, those folks from there won’t solve all our problems 

Break Time

Mr. Nagano’s Foolish Proposal [Yoshida Brothers]

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Judge bizarrely acquits Cleveland police officer of voluntary manslaughter

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 23, 2015 at 11:29 am

    “– Saudi Arabia expressed interest in heading the Human Rights Council of the United Nations” Why not ask Israel to be co chair

  2. mulp
    May 23, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Yep, Obama is defying the will of We the People who elected a Congress that is 98% in favor of recognizing the Palestinians as having sovereignty over the original Palestine as of 1947 and that has passed resolution after resolution calling for the removal of Jews illegally colonizing and occupying Palestine….

    99% of We the People clearly believe Obama is totally overusing US military power and is demanding the US military be totally with drawn from the rest of the world because that would make everyone free and end all killing, torture, and oppression, and it is Obama’s vetoes of Congress’s bills eliminating 90% of the military that is standing in the way.

  3. mulp
    May 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Too bad Saddam is dead given his record of preventing human rights crimes in Iraq – the past 13 years proves what a great champion of the people and their human rights Saddam was. And the past three years proves Gaddafi was also a great champion of human rights.

    Israel has not delivered on human rights as well as Saddam, Gaddafi, or the House of Saud did.

  4. ThingsComeUndone
    May 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    “Hillary Clinton repeated frightening myths about youth crime, saying: “They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel …””

    Hilary is projecting concerns about herself. Bankers and Politicians are super predators ( a term I have not heard since the early 90’s? ) who is writing Hilary’s stuff.

    “the director of the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which he believes will help uplift many needy people but particularly the most troubled teenagers, John J. DiIulio Jr. conceded today that he wished he had never become the 1990’s intellectual pillar for putting violent juveniles in prison and condemning them as ”superpredators.””

    “Instead, five years ago, Mr. DiIulio created a whole theory around the notion that ”a new generation of street criminals is upon us — the youngest, biggest and baddest generation any society has ever known.””
    Hilary reads a Faith Based Bushie on crime? The Fundies have never been known for empathy for the poor, dark, different. This guy however was not only wrong he recanted what he said.

  5. Bluedot
    May 23, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    So you are saying those two wars were clusterf**ks, eh?

  6. dubinsky
    May 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    how glorious to see a link to a fine decent person and totally not a lying propagandist Rania Khalek.. and doesn’t the elecrtronicinnerfarter do great work

  7. sisterlauren
    May 23, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    It looks like you may be on to their longer term strategy. If these ‘leaders’ are able to politically eliminate the very idea of human rights, then obviously they will never be held accountable for any of their many horrific war crimes.

    Netanyahu thanks US for blocking Mideast nuclear initiative,7340,L-4660581,00.html

  8. sisterlauren
    May 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    who is writing Hilary’s stuff. [?]

    I thought she wrote it herself.

    Regarding faith-based initiatives, please do not forget that Hillary Clinton is a ‘friend’ of The Family. Jeff Sharlet wrote a book about them. They are not very nice people, but they DO have a whole lot of pull in congress.

  9. Hugh
    May 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons. It can defend itself.

    In the world we live in, that there even is a UN Human Rights Council is a joke. That Saudi Arabia is a member of such a council is darker humor still, and that it wants to head such a council is the blackest of black humor.

    Suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia, and so it begins…

    We live in a kleptocracy, a corporo-police state. So no, Virginia, there will be no serious reform of the NSA. It makes about as much sense as reforming cancer.

    It’s appropriate for the BOE to investigate the effects of leaving the EU. If Tsipras and Varoufakis had had any sense they would have investigated not just the effects but the how of Greece leaving the euro.

    I have lost count of the number of times that the Fed and now Yellen have talked, not done, but talked about interest rate hikes. Fed policy over the last 35 years has been to raise interest rates to suppress increases in workers’ wages. Workers’ wages have, however, been stagnant in real terms for decades. The only scenario I find remotely plausible is if stocks continue to hit highs into the Fall, then and only then might Yellen do a cosmetic raise.

    Re Hillary, it’s important to remember she has already scrubbed her servers and turned over to State only those emails she deemed to be official. Of course, her definition of official probably does not extend beyond anything superficially embarrassing. Again the Clintons have refined this kind self-serving doublespeak into an art.

    Until police officers start going to prison for murdering us, it is all just political theater. So don’t trust anything out of Baltimore until a policeman is actually behind bars.

  10. Brandon Jordan
    May 23, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I disagree that Rania is a “lying propagandist.” She is not only insightful in her reporting, but very trustworthy.

    If you have a point, then I suggest saying it. Otherwise, ad hominem attacks will be considered ridiculous.

  11. dubinsky
    May 23, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    that’s perfectly OK with me if you wish to express disagreement.

    if you want to read the utter lying crap that this twit writes and wish to believe that the Israeli military ordered the deliberate targeting of civilians and children, I don’t wish to try to deprive you of your belief in cardboard monsters and the power of pixie dust.

  12. Brandon Jordan
    May 24, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I am quite proud of my belief in cardboard monsters and pixie dust. Thanks for the compliment 😀

  13. dubinsky
    May 24, 2015 at 2:57 am

    you’re welcome, B.

    enjoy the island of Lost Boys as long as you can.

    I sorta envy you.