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The Roundup for September 30th, 2014

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 4:26 pm

Hey folks! What’s going on today?

International Politics


- Henry A. Giroux: “ISIS and the Spectacle of Terrorism: Resisting Mainstream Workstations of Fear

- It seems Russia is providing military gear and equipment for Iraqi soldiers against the Islamic State

Middle East

- With the U.S. unable to contain the ISIL, it only reflects the lack of understanding on the Middle East by the U.S.,  as Lawrence Wilkerson points out

- While the ISIL may still control oil, they also recently obtained wheat in Iraq

- With allegations of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi fueling conflict within the country’s Kurdish parties, some Iraqi Arabs blame the Kurds for refusing to help them amid the ISIL crisis

- It is being reported the ISIL adjusted to the U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq

- Meanwhile, a series of attacks through Iraq left at least 47 people dead

- Even United Against Nuclear Iran admits the country does not have the ability nor do they have a nuclear weapon

Asia and Oceania

- With protesters in Hong Kong going up against the neoliberal structure, it is important to note the U.S. has been very passive on the matter. Even the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying of Hong Kong declined to attend the protests.

- The new agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan will keep U.S. troops in the country until 2024

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Mark Weisbrot: “Hard choices: Hillary Clinton admits role in Honduran coup aftermath“; The thought of Clinton as a potential presidential candidate for the Democrats becomes funnier and funnier

Surveillance Planet

- Trevor Timm: “Your iPhone is now encrypted. The FBI says it’ll help kidnappers. Who do you believe?

- Four men were charged for hacking into the U.S. Army, Microsoft and other tech companies to obtain valuable intellectual property

Financial Matters

- Gallup: While 56 percent of small-business owners say they are “very satisfied,” only 37 percent say they are “very successful”

- With Wal-Mart looking to be a banking institution as well, it only spells doom for the poor in the U.S.

- The European Union accused Apple of illegally receiving tax benefits while operating in Ireland

Labor’s a-Brewing

- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasion signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage in the city to $13.13 per hour. There’s a catch—only 18,000 workers will benefit as this affects those who receive no benefits from their job.

Politics US

Washington USA

- Commentator Glen Ford and lawyer Shayana Kadidal both provide criticisms of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder on civil liberties. Furthermore, Dean Baker writes about Holder’s failure to hold Wall Street accountable here.

- Kevin Zeese: “The Next Attorney General Should Enforce the Rule of Law, Protect Constitutional Rights and Investigate Abuse of Power

- Even if some police departments want to give up their militarized equipment, federal agencies prefer to give the inventory away due to the cost of storing it. Still, these are police departments that also get training from Israeli forces

Anytown USA

- Gallup: While 41 percent of Louisiana residents identify as Republican/Republican-leaning, 45 percent of residents identify as Democrat/Democrat-leaning

We Don’t Need No Education

- In West Africa, there is a growing number of children whose parents or parent died of Ebola and are currently alone

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas; And cue the fear by the media in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

The Second Sex

- While outlets like Business Insider may hide the suppression of women’s rights in the United Arab Emirates when talking about the country’s first female pilot, it is an issue that needs discussion and suppression only makes such stories untrustworthy.

Planet Earth

- The state of California passed a new law to ban single-use use plastic bags in the state

- While ExxonMobil told its investors hydrofracking was a risk to the environment, they justified it by saying it was a lesser evil compared to alternatives

Mixed Bag

Part one of three with Phil Donahue on the change in his perspective from supporting America to doubting its status

- A good clip with Reza Aslan on correcting the reactionary liberal Bill Maher on what Islam is and is not

- Wondering how the protests in Hong Kong look like from above? Here’a a video.

- Piers Morgan will stay in journalism commenting on the U.S. in a British tabloid; And so the circle of needless pseudo-journalism continues!

Break Time

- Bullet [Reverend Horton Heat]

Study: Earth Lost 50% Of Wildlife In Last 40 Years

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 9:47 am

According to a new study from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London, planet Earth has lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years. The metric used to make the determination was the Living Planet Index (LPI) which has declined by 52% since 1970. The LPI measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish according to the WWF website.

The destruction of the planet’s wildlife is caused by, you guessed it, humans. Specifically, increases in human consumption have cleared the land, air, and oceans of wildlife to make room for more humans as well as provide resources for said humans. Though it is not clear that human population levels are necessarily as problematic as the wasteful economic system that supports that population.

The bottom line, according to WWF Director General Marco Lambertini, is that the current economic system is not sustainable “Today it is rather the absence of the birds in the sky and other wildlife in our forests and in the oceans that actually sends a very clear signal that we are not living sustainably.” Lambertini also notes that the study shows the human footprint is increasing.

The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found…

The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.

Will more evidence of the deleterious effects of unbridled consumption have any influence on the debate? Not in DC for sure and likely not in Beijing, Moscow, or the capital of other high polluting countries.

The WWF is placing their hopes on something worthwhile coming out of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It seems most the environmental movement is placing their hopes on a positive result from that conference as nothing else seems to work. Though if past performance is indicative of future results there is little reason for such hope.

Protesters Continue To Occupy Hong Kong, Stockpile Supplies, Prepare For Chinese National Day

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 7:09 am

Protesters in Hong Kong continued to maintain control throughout the Admiralty district everywhere but the government headquarters. Though police and protesters clashed over the weekend, currently the police are withdrawn. How long the police will remain withdrawn is the question of the day as protesters are stockpiling supplies and preparing for a new police assault to clear the streets for Chinese National Day which is tomorrow, Wednesday, October 1st.

Chinese National Day offers an opportunity for both the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and the Communist Party elite in Beijing to make symbolic gestures. What those gestures will be remains to be seen with commentators already making comparisons to Tienanmen Square. The protesters in Hong Kong want to elect their own leaders while Beijing wants to control who can even be a candidate.

Protesters have called for Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to address the protesters before midnight Tuesday and have called on him to resign. If Leung does not address them, the protesters have promised escalation with more occupations of government buildings. Chief Executive Leung has called the protests illegal but said the Hong Kong police can handle it without help from the Chinese national military.

Alex Chow, leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said the protests, which began as a gathering of students and the “Occupy Central” movement, had become much broader and attracted Hong Kongers of all walks of life. “It has evolved into a civil movement,” he said. “We can see the Beijing and Hong Kong governments already feel pressure, so the ‘Occupy’ movement must continue,” Chow told protesters in Admiralty.

People set up supply stations with water bottles, fruit, crackers, disposable raincoats, towels, goggles, face masks and tents, indicating they were in for the long haul. Some lugged metal road barricades into positions on the edge of crowds, presumably to slow a police advance. In at least one location, several minivans and a truck were parked in rows in an apparent effort to block a road.

This certainly appears to have all the attributes of a major showdown between Beijing and the people of Hong Kong over who will call the shots. Chinese President Xi Jinping has a reputation for being a hardliner when it comes to political freedom. Though Hong Kong has always been a special case, the worry over protests spreading to the mainland may cause Jinping to crackdown hard. But might such a crackdown backfire?

What happens in the next few days could determine more than just the future of Hong Kong.

UPDATED: US Strikes In Syria Blow Up Grain Silos and Kill Civilians

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 5:22 am

UPDATE: White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths. See now, it’s all good. The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq. Original Post [...]

The Roundup for September 29th, 2014

By: Monday September 29, 2014 4:34 pm

Hey there folks, it’s the start of a new week! International Politics Overall – Chris Hedges: “Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force“; Hedges writes on our culture’s incessant lust for warfare – To quote David Swanson, “war is a lie” and the use of the Khorasan Group, which does not exist, reinforces how the use of a [...]

Most Americans Unaware How Rich 1% Are

By: Monday September 29, 2014 10:21 am

Distribution of average income growth during expansions – Top 10% or Bust (ht @ryanlcooper) — ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) September 25, 2014 As evidence showing more and more of America’s wealth is being snatched by the rich compounds, a survey shows Americans are still unable to grasp how truly rich those at the top are. [...]

Was The Khorasan Group Ever An ‘Imminent Threat?’

By: Monday September 29, 2014 7:40 am

As the Obama Administration began bombing in Syria under questionable legality, a sweetener was thrown in to the propaganda campaign to get the US involved in the civil war in Syria – the Khorasan Group. Though President Obama never mentioned the group in his speech to the nation, the Khorasan Group became another part of [...]

Occupy Central And Pro-Democracy Protests Shut Down Hong Kong

By: Monday September 29, 2014 5:34 am

#HongKong police tear gas & pepper spray attacks on pro-democracy supporters births the #UmbrellaMovement — Phelim Kine 林海 (@PhelimKine) September 29, 2014 Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong against creeping influence from Beijing were met with a severe police response as students and other activists were teargassed. The crackdown appears to have backfired with more [...]

The Weekend Roundup for September 26-27th, 2014

By: Sunday September 28, 2014 3:20 pm

Hey folks, how are you doing today? International Politics Overall – President Barack Obama: Our intelligence did not consider the Islamic State a threat, underestimating them; I’m sure they were more worried on how to support them – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at Madison Square Garden on his neoliberal tour. He may have to come back [...]

The Roundup for September 26th, 2014

By: Friday September 26, 2014 1:51 pm

It’s Friday today folks. What are you planning? International Politics Overall – It’s official: Britain, Denmark and Belgium join the U.S.-led coalition to go to war with the Islamic State; The White House is pleased with Britain’s decision to join – U.S. General Martin Dempsey: In terms of Syria, rebels would need to make a force [...]

UAE-Hired Lobbyists Planted Anti-Qatar Stories In US Media

By: Friday September 26, 2014 9:17 am

UAE hires PR firm to smear Qatar. If only Doha had some way to defend themselves in the media, like a global television network or something — Eli Lake (@EliLake) September 25, 2014 Try to act surprised. A familiar cast of characters has been caught writing stories at the behest of lobbyists for foreign governments. [...]

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