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The Roundup for December 17th, 2014

By: Wednesday December 17, 2014 3:08 pm

Hey folks. Since I have just one more final tomorrow, I’ve decided to abridge the Roundup for today. In addition, I was worried I’ve stacked the Roundup over the previous days so if feel it has been like that, I guess you could catch up with the previous days.

Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning!

International Politics


- As you may have heard earlier today, the U.S. and Cuba announced a dramatic shift in diplomatic relations with each other. You can read Raul Castro’s speech on it here. So funny to watch the Cuban exiles get angry and grumpy.

- Jason Leopold: “Will Cuba Now Cash 55 Years’ Worth of Guantanamo Rent Checks?

- Gallup: The most support for police can be found in both Iceland and Switzerland, both tied at 91 percent. The least support is in Mexico with 46 support.

Middle East

- The U.S. led more than 60 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq since Dec. 15, a Monday.

- An organization following events in Syria said there were Afghanis fighting with the Syrian government

Asia and Oceania

- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: I will vow to take down every member of the Taliban in response to the massacre they cause yesterday


- Gallup: Here’s something interesting. Just 10 percent of Ukrainians say the country should reclaim Crimea. 34 percent say the country should not even bother.

- After a court in Europe ruled the status of Hamas a terrorist group should be re-evaluated, the U.S. recommended keeping sanctions as is against the group. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said European “learned nothing” from the Holocaust.

- The EU, meanwhile, voted to recognize Palestine, which I am certain Israel will also not be happy about but whatever

- A far-right politician in Sweden said Jews cannot be Swedes unless they renounce their Jewish identity; In the liberal paradise of Sweden no less. Just goes to show how even the most reactionary can exist in very liberal places

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- After decades of fighting, FARC rebels in Colombia announced a indefinite ceasefire with the government; Let’s see if this holds up

Surveillance Planet

- A U.S. official admitted the hackers behind the attack on Sony may never be caught due to the difficulty of finding them

- North Korea may not actually be behind the attack nor is “The Interview” their target. However, some U.S. officials say North Korea is behind the attack.

Financial Matters

- Due to low oil prices, Nigeria and Canada are just two examples of countries whose currency is suffering.

- Iraq asked if it could defer reparations for destroyed oil facilities in Kuwait during the Gulf War because of declining oil prices.

- The Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said interest rates will still be near zero percent for the first quarter of 2015, perhaps even longer

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Gallup: Twenty-seven percent of federal employees in the U.S. are engaged in their job compared to 31 percent non-federal employees

- A new report found the U.S. trade deficit with China was to blame for 3.2 millions jobs in the U.S. lost

- As cities across California raise the minimum wage, Sacramento is unable to do so because Mayor Kevin Johnson, a Democrat, prefers getting a task force before making any decision.

Politics US

Washington USA

- Gareth Porter: “How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden

- The last disputed race in the House finished as a Republican in Arizona scored a seat for the GOP

- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): The problems in the U.S. are too numerous and we need a “political revolution“; And to get there we need what?

- Henry Giroux: “America’s Addiction to Torture

- A great, yet short article on six different possibilities for reforming communities without the use of cops

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- J.K. Rowling: “Isn’t it time we left orphanages to fairytales?

Planet Earth

- Huge news out of New York as Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration decided to ban hydrofracking

Mixed Bag

- A potential thriller film about life in North Korea was scrapped over “The Interview” fiasco

- A new study found, when in relationships, women are more empathetic than men

Break Time

- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) [Darlene Love]

LIVE: President Obama Delivers Remarks on Shift in US Policy Toward Cuba

By: Wednesday December 17, 2014 8:47 am

President Barack Obama is making a statement on a shift in United States policy toward Cuba. The shift comes after US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross and three members of the “Cuban Five” were freed from Cuba and the US in a prisoner swap.

The Associated Press reports, according to unnamed US officials leaking details ahead of Obama’s statement, that the US and Cuba have “agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties.”

Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama will be making addresses to their countries simultaneously.

“The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the US and Cuba since 1961,” according to AP.

For over a year, “secret talks” between the two countries have been ongoing in Canada and the Vatican. “Pope Francis was personally engaged in the process and sent separate letters to Obama and Castro this summer urging them to restart relations.” (Maybe Pope Francis and Raul Castro can proceed to escalate pressure for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison facilities and the entire US military base.)

A US embassy will reopen in Havana. Travel bans will be eased for “family visits, official US government business and educational activities,” however, tourism bans will remain in effect.

Additionally, “Licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits.”

This, of course, means that all the Cold War hawks will come out of the woodwork today and appear on cable and network news programs. It will also be especially maddening when they appear as guests on “Meet the Press” this weekend.

And let’s wait and see what happens before calling this an “overhaul.”

The Roundup for December 16th, 2014

By: Tuesday December 16, 2014 4:58 pm

What’s going on folks? Can you believe it’s less than 10 days until Christmas Day?

International Politics


- The Physicians for Human Rights called for those physicians involved with the torture program in the U.S. to be investigated for war crimes

- Juan Cole: “Enter the Dragon: China offers Iraq aerial strikes on the Islamic State

- With a resolution set to be debated in the United Nations for Israel to withdraw its forces in the West Bank, the U.S. noted it would veto it

Middle East

- The fight between Syrian government forces and militants associated with al-Qaeda ended with two bases in the latter’s control and more than 200 casualties

- A school bus in Yemen was attacked by suicide bomber, who intended to attack a Shiite militia leader. Twenty-five people were killed as a result.

- A new report found Syria was the most lethal place for journalists followed by Israel.

Asia and Oceania

- At least 151 people were killed by the Pakistani Taliban at a school run by the army in Pakistan. The government launched airstrikes against the Taliban in response.

- Man Haron Monis, who was killed after taking hostages in Sydney, Australia, was wanted by Iran, but Australian authorities refused to help

- Funny how Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted strict anti-terrorism laws in Australia failed


- In Egypt, as a result of ISIS sending back its Egyptian members, Western countries closed down its embassies

- Some leaders across Africa called for the West to intervene in Libya to stabilize the country; They did that three years ago and look what happened now


- Gallup: Forty-three percent of Ukrainians say it would be important to have close ties to the European Union even if it hurts the country’s relations with Russia. 27 percent say the country should be close with both.

- After choking a deportee on a British Airways flight in Britain, three private security guards were found not guilty of manslaughter despite the man screaming out “I can’t breathe”

- A new report found minorities in Hungary are facing more discrimination than before

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Uruguayan President Jose Mujica: The six Guantanamo detainees are not terrorists, but prisoners

Surveillance Planet

- The Guardians of Peace, the hackers who took data from Sony Pictures Entertainment, told employees of Sony that will not publish their information if they are told by the employees

Financial Matters

- Pew: Forty-five percent and 63 percent of Americans are hearing a mix of good and bad news on jobs and the economy, respectively.

- When focusing on police killings in the U.S., the discussion should link the wealth inequality considering how both relate to each other

- India is on a dangerous path with neoliberalism controlling its future as seen through Arundhati Roy’s book “Capitalism: A Love Story”

- The oil minister of Kuwait noted OPEC will not interfere in the oil market in spite of declining oil prices

- Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say the exchange rate of Iraq’s dinar will not be affected by the decline too much. Still, austerity is guaranteed as a result of the drop.

- With the ruble in Russia falling as well due to declining oil prices, it jeopardizes the country’s economy; No doubt there’s some partying in Washington

Labor’s a-Brewing

- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo notified state employees they would no longer be a part of a union; For the last time, he is not a “centrist Democrat,” he is a reactionary. That’s it.

Politics US

Washington USA

- Part two of three with Naomi Murakawa who explains why local police departments would gladly go along with a national commission on policing and a systemic change to policing

- The Transportation Security Administration asked the federal government for an exemption of a new law barring racial profiling; Yes because their plan totally works out

- Hearing how Americans are accepting of torture in the U.S. reflects a victory of the elites to cascade such norms into society.

- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said he would support Hillary Clinton as president; And show the faux-progressives show their true colors

- Glen Ford joins The Real News to discuss a renewed law passed by Congress for states to record all instances where people are killed by police.

- Glenn Greenwald: “U.S. TV provides ample platform for American torturers, but none to their victims

- Jeb Bush said he is “actively considering” to run in the 2016 presidential elections; How do you spell democracy? D-Y-N-A-S-T-Y

- Dennis Kucinich: “Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

- A federal judge ruled the immigration plan by President Barack Obama is unconstitutional in a case involving an undocumented immigrant

- In a vote of 55-39, the Senate confirmed Sarah Saldana, an Dallas, Texas-based attorney, as the leader of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency

Anytown USA

- In Pocatello, Idaho, a cow escaped from a slaughterhouse and, after police chased after the cow, was killed by officers; What? Did the cow shoot out milk from its udder?

- Arizona opened a $50 million maximum-security prison. Is it useful? Actually no.

- The city of Rockford, Ill., settled with a family after the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of two white officers

We Don’t Need No Education

- A new report found 26 percent of undergraduates in the U.S. have children; Whoa, that’s a lot. A surprising figure.

- Pete Grannis, a New York State comptroller, found audits that are “questionable at best, illegal at worst” at charter schools

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Up above in “Financial Matters,” I spoke about connecting the police shootings with inequality. I should also note mental illness is another thing to link with these issues.

- Nearly 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in California, which is the worst since the 1940s

- A new report found teenagers prefer using e-cigarettes than cigarettes. In fact, teen use of cigarettes is dropping.

The Second Sex

- While women in developing countries are the most at risk due to climate change, they have the most control in averting the worst should they mobilize

- Bill Cosby will not face any charges for a raping a woman in 1974 in Los Angeles, according to prosecutors.

Planet Earth

- The first part of an interview with Jamie Henn, a member of, on the COP 20 conference in Lima, Peru, and how the conference in Paris next year will be the most important.

- “There’s a war on coal!” warn the newspapers in the U.S., yet the truth is the coal industry’s power is a threat to the planet; And you wonder why newspapers are on the decline

Mixed Bag

- Now the daughter of Bill Cosby called for all of the women accusing Cosby of rape to be jailed; “And you just don’t get it/You’re so pathetic”

- McDonald’s in Japan announced it would sell only a small portion of fries due to shortage

Break Time

- Christmas in Hollis [Run DMC]

The Roundup for December 15th, 2014

By: Monday December 15, 2014 6:22 pm

Almost there to the end in terms of finals. How about you? International Politics Overall – Chris Hedges: “ISIS—the New Israel” – President Barack Obama: We will ensure the Islamic State will not find a safe haven and they will be eradicated Middle East – Five Palestinians were arrested by Israeli authorities after allegedly planning [...]

“No Justice! No Peace!” Protesters Rally Against Police Brutality At Millions March NYC

By: Monday December 15, 2014 10:21 am

More than 50,000 people gathered at Washington Square Park on Dec. 13 for Millions March NYC, which was organized by 23-year-old Synead Nichols and 19-year-old Umaara Iynaas Elliott. The march was organized in response to the recent lack of indictments against officers Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown and Eric [...]

The Weekend Roundup for December 13-14th, 2014

By: Sunday December 14, 2014 1:41 pm

Hey there folks! Enjoy your day today. International Politics Overall – If we take a step back and analyze the problems in the U.S. and in Mexico, there are similarities in terms of the state oppressing its citizens. These similarities are something citizens in both countries are aware of and are thankfully rebelling against. – [...]

The Roundup for December 12th, 2014

By: Friday December 12, 2014 5:09 pm

Hey folks, how are you this Friday? Thankfully the weekend is here, right? International Politics Overall – As a result of new nuclear power plants to be constructed in Turkey, Russia’s relationship with Turkey will be strengthened; Yemen is another country Russia would like to improve ties with – A former president of OPEC said [...]

The Roundup for December 11th, 2014

By: Thursday December 11, 2014 6:08 pm

Hey there folks, how are you? It’s been 14 years since Bush v. Gore International Politics Overall – Germany announced it would send 100 troops to the Kurdish region of Iraq to train those fighters against the Islamic State; NATO, meanwhile, said they will review Iraq’s request to improve their military – An Iranian official [...]

The Roundup for December 10th, 2014

By: Wednesday December 10, 2014 4:34 pm

Howdy folks! I’m almost a week away from being free for a month. International Politics Overall – Slavoj Zizek: “How the United States Rolls” – Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the release of the Senate torture report highlights how the U.S. is the “symbol of tyranny against humanity” – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praised [...]

The Roundup for December 9th, 2014

By: Tuesday December 9, 2014 5:12 pm

Howdy there folks. How is your day today? International Politics Overall – A U.N. official said there were “constructive” talks with Syrian rebels to stop fighting in Aleppo, Syria Middle East – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel more airstrikes against the Islamic State are needed; Meanwhile, seven people were [...]

The Roundup for December 8th, 2014

By: Monday December 8, 2014 3:49 pm

Hey folks, quite a stacked Roundup today. Anyhoo, how is your day? International Politics Overall – It is either funny or sad (perhaps both?) to see liberal and conservative hawks join together to call for regime change in Syria – Gareth Porter: “Why Hasn’t the IAEA Followed Up Iran’s Inspection Offer?” Middle East – A [...]

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