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The Roundup for November 27th, 2014

By: Thursday November 27, 2014 2:19 pm

Due to Thanksgiving today, the Roundup will be shortened. Still, enjoy your Thanksgiving folks!

International Politics


- French President Francois Hollande warned other African leaders across the continent that what happened in Burkina Faso may happen to them should they continue to hold power

Middle East

- An Iraqi official said serious reforms to the military must be made in order to fight the Islamic State

- Meanwhile, ISIL militants launched an attack to capture Kirkuk, which it should be noted is an oil-rich city

- All cell phone networks in Mosul, Iraq, were blocked by ISIL to prevent any information on them to be transmitted

Asia and Oceania

- In Kabul, Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a British diplomat convoy killing six people

- After the arrests of key student leaders yesterday, a court in Hong Kong barred Joshua Wong, one of the leaders, from appearing with the protesters


- A new poll found 75 percent of Russians do not believe there are Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine

- Scotland was promised more control of the welfare state along with tax revenues

- Greece is currently being pressured by international lenders to implement more austerity, according to a Greek official.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he would institute major reforms to the police in the country

- Meanwhile, in the state of Guerrero, 11 bodies, all decapitated, were found on the side of the road

Financial Matters

- Leonid Fedun, a Russian oil tycoon, said the shale boom in the U.S. will be the same as the dot-com bubble in the 1990s

- Argentina charged HSBC for assisting rich Argentinians in evading taxes in the country; Considering HSBC money launders, I wouldn’t be surprised they do this

Politics US

Washington USA

- Attorney Michael Ratner talks to The Real News about President Barack Obama’s failure, in the past six years, to uphold civil liberties

- Wondering what Hillary Clinton requires when speaking for $300,000? Wonder no more thanks to a summary of a FOIA request here.

Anytown USA

- The history of the U.S., in relation to Thanksgiving, is a history built upon genocide and exploitation.

- Attorney Chase Madar joins The Real News to discuss his piece in The Nation on the difficulties of indicting a cop 

- Officer Darren Wilson’s actions after the shooting of Michael Brown were very “unusual” with one example of washing his hands afterward before any testing was done

- At least 500 people were arrested in California for protesting against the grand jury decision on Officer Wilson

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Gallup: Fifty-one percent of Americans say they are trying to lose weight

Planet Earth

- The decline of giraffes in Africa suggest the population may be heading for extinction

- A new report highlights how popular water privatization is among corporations interested in turning this commodity into a profit-driven one

- The World Bank warns extreme weather will become the norm by mid-century, yet calls for action to avoid the worst by 2100

- A committee in Nigeria ruled Shell must pay $3.6 billion for an oil spill four years ago

Mixed Bag

- A new study found the Millennial generation is more self-centered compared to previous generations

- Turkeys pardoned by presidents still die young

Break Time

- Speed of Sound [Coldplay]

Walmart Workers Leave Food Donation Bin Outside Alice Walton’s Manhattan Condo

By: Thursday November 27, 2014 10:15 am

With the Black Friday protests looming, Walmart workers in Oklahoma decided to take a bin set aside for people to donate food to impoverished Walmart employees and have it dropped off at one of the Walmart heiress’ homes. Alice Walton inherited a fortune from her father and founder of Walmart Sam Walton. She has an estimated net worth of $35 billion thanks to her inherited Walmart wealth making her one of the richest people in the world.

Walmart workers are often so poorly paid that they require public assistance and charity to make it through the holidays. Instead of agreeing to pay a livable wage to all its employees, Walmart is asking customers and others to donate food in bins located in various Walmart stores to help Walmart’s workers feed themselves and their families.

So after a manager at the Walmart in Midwest City, Oklahoma put up a bin workers at the store came up with an idea.

Not long after a Walmart manager in Midwest City, Okla., started a food donation campaign for her co-workers, Walmart heiress Alice Walton got an unexpected “gift” with a strong message from some other Walmart employees. According to Consumerist, a massive food donation bin was chained outside Walton’s Park Avenue condo in Manhattan. The message on the side of the bin read: Walmart owner Alice Walton: We don’t want charity. We want decent pay. Love, Walmart workers

In stark contrast to Walton’s ultra-wealthy status, some Walmart employees are just scraping by. ABC News said, “The average starting wage for Walmart’s sales associates is $8.81 per hour in urban markets, according to IBISWorld, which translates to annual pay of $15,576, based on 34 hours of full-time work a week.” Walmart, the nation’s largest employer with more than 1.3 million workers, said its average pay for part-time and full-time workers, excluding managers, is $11.83 an hour, according to ABC.

The Walmart heirs’ wealth has long been of interest to the public given how massive it is. One statistic recently in the news is that the six Walmart heirs have more wealth than 42% of Americans combined. The traditional defenders of capital have been less than enthused to justify the Walmart heirs’ commanding fortune as unlike other plutocrats the case for the heirs having been rewarded for virtue is virtually non-existent. The Walmart heirs did nothing to acquire their gargantuan riches other than being born. Take that meritocracy.

Given the Department of Justice has outright refused to use antitrust laws against Walmart it seems that the retail Goliath is here to stay. Since that’s the case it behooves those concerned with workers having livable wages to support changes at Walmart so the company pays its workers fairly instead of asking the public for charity to get Walmart workers through the holidays.

US, Canada, And Ukraine Only Countries To Oppose UN Resolution Condemning Nazism

By: Thursday November 27, 2014 7:43 am

Nazi Wolfsangel symbol used by Svoboda Party

In an awkward vote at the UN both the US and Canada as well as Ukraine voted against a resolution that condemned the glorification of Nazism. Ukraine has a complicated history with Nazism especially as it has neo-Nazis within the new power structure in Kiev, but the US and Canada would seemingly have no trouble condemning the glorification of a regime they successfully fought against in World War II.

So what happened?

The resolution was brought by Russia and was undeniably initiated in response to the rise of neofascism in Ukraine, particularly the far right militias terrorizing East Ukraine, some of whom wear Nazi military symbols such as the Wolfsangel.

The glorification of Nazism by far right parties and militias in Ukraine made the politics of the resolution tough to handle for many European countries who simply abstained with the total vote for the resolution being 115 in favor, 55 abstentions, and the three previously mentioned no votes. Among the yes votes was Israel.

Ukraine’s stated explanation for voting no was that the resolution did not also condemn Stalinism. The US said the resolution had obvious political motives given the sponsor. Canada, on the other hand, had a more novel approach.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson François Lasalle told The Huffington Post Canada via email Wednesday that while Canada has a “longstanding and consistent record” of protecting the rights of all persons, the resolution contains references “counterproductive” to that goal. Lasalle said the resolution seeks to “limit freedom of expression, assembly and opinion,” but did not elaborate on those infringements…

Lasalle also said Canada did not support the resolution because it referred to the “highly politicized and anti-Semitic outcomes” of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Did Israel miss something? Hard to imagine Israel would have voted in favor of antisemitism. The Harper government is not known for its brilliance but it usually can muster an argument better than that.

It is probably also worth revisiting the US position on this resolution that, according to the US representative, it was less about history and much more about a contemporary political issue. Is it not telling that condemning Nazism is linked to that issue? The defenders of the overthrow of President Yanukovich and far right militias now admit there are at least some neo-Nazis in the coalition, they just want to say it is a vocal minority and not representative of West Ukraine.

A good way to prove that would be to condemn Nazism.

Officer Wilson’s Claims On Michael Brown Shooting Questioned, Protests Enter Third Night

By: Thursday November 27, 2014 5:52 am

Though Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made it clear he had no interest in prosecuting the man who killed Michael Brown, he did release the evidence he presented to the grand jury which included Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson’s sworn testimony. Wilson also provided a detailed explanation and justification for his actions in an interview with [...]

The Roundup for November 26th, 2014

By: Wednesday November 26, 2014 5:08 pm

Quite a lengthy Roundup folks. Apologies, although it was tough cutting it down. Ferguson Roundup, Day 2 – The parents of Michael Brown called Darren Wilson’s comments on their son, including his description of Brown as a “demon,” “disrespectful” – A report by The Real News on protesters in Baltimore, Md., who marched against police brutality and [...]

Walmart Workers And Activists Planning Black Friday Protests

By: Wednesday November 26, 2014 10:31 am

How about give everyone a raise? RT @ForRespect: #Walmart managers calling HQ to figure out what to do. — Low Pay Is Not OK (@LowPayIsNotOK) November 26, 2014 In what is becoming a tradition, Walmart workers and labor activists are planning protests for Black Friday. This will be the third time in a row [...]

Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley Says CIA Should Arm Ukraine And Lie About It

By: Wednesday November 26, 2014 7:55 am

In a discussion if US-Russia relations hosted by the Aspen Institute of Ideas former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley proclaimed that the US government, via the CIA, should send arms to the Ukraine government then lie about it. Hadley made the statement after claiming to value honesty and calling Russia dishonest. The call to [...]

Michael Brown Protests Go Coast To Coast, Officer Wilson Speaks To Press

By: Wednesday November 26, 2014 5:54 am

Americans marched to support justice for Michael Brown and proclaim “Black Lives Matter” from coast to coast yesterday. The nationwide protests occurring in approximately 37 states came in response to Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announcing there would be no indictments after a very odd grand jury process and a general feeling among many in the [...]

The Roundup for November 25th, 2014

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 3:06 pm

“You can’t have capitalism without racism.” – Malcolm X Ferguson Roundup – Gary Younge: “The law may have spoken but the Ferguson verdict is not justice” – After the abysmal decision yesterday on officer Darren Wilson, “democracy was on fire” across the U.S. with demonstrations and Ferguson had a brutal response by officers; That is a good description [...]

Israel Moves to Become Formal Ethnocracy

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 9:52 am

In a seemingly inevitable move the Israel government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formally moved to restrict national rights in Israel to Jews alone. The law has passed the cabinet and if it passes parliament then the pretense of a pluralistic democracy is over – to be a true Israeli one must be Jewish, [...]

No Tech Worker Shortage, No STEM Crisis

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 8:11 am

One of the constant refrains of the economic elite is that the reason America is so unequal is because of a so-called skills gap and that, conveniently, there is a “STEM crisis” and severe tech worker shortage which when addressed will help even the economy out. According to the plutocrats, instead of talking about structural [...]

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