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The Roundup for January 30th, 2015

By: Friday January 30, 2015 11:17 am

Hey there folks! In keeping with tradition from last month, February will only have black artists.

International Politics


- The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations will ask the international body to deem Russia a supporter of terrorism

- NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said air strikes alone cannot defeat the Islamic State

Middle East

- Want to know how American funding in Afghanistan is going? The watchdog in charge wants to as well since the military classified all info relating to it.

- Scholar Phyllis Bennis explains to The Real News the current issues between Hezbollah and Israel as well as the geo-political consequences of the 1967 war

- The head of Hezbollah said his group was not trying to fight against Israel but will if forced to

- Israel announced it would construct 430 new settler homes in the West Bank

Asia and Oceania

- In Pakistan, 49 people were killed after a bomb went off in a Shi’ite mosque


- Regardless of whatever happens next month in the Nigerian elections, there is no doubt the constant use of the military will do nothing to defeat Boko Haram.

- Part three of three with Irvin Jim, general secretary of of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa, who explains the way forward for the working class in South Africa through a mixture of building for elections and demonstrations.


- After the appointment of Panos Kammenos, a nationalist, as Greek defense minister, Turkey is acting more cautious in response to Greece

- Seven people were killed in Donetsk after artillery fire, which both sides in Ukraine blame each other for

- A Russian official warned the West not to support the Kiev government as “catastrophe” would result from such support

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

The Mexican government announced it would cut its spending by $8.4 billion due to low oil prices

Surveillance Planet

- The federal government will soon release documents relating to how it spies on citizens through data by the Census Bureau

- U.S. officials say, as a result of a lack of intelligence, running the drone program in Yemen is becoming more difficult

Financial Matters

- It is likely Loretta Lynch will be confirmed as the next attorney general and HSBC’s latest illegal actions will be the first thing she’ll have to do deal with

- When looking at the vast amount of black households with little in wealth, it is truly sad to see the promotion of an image for black youth as an aspiring member of the elite

- William Black talks to The Real News about the failure of mainstream media to understand SYRIZA’s victory and the after-effects to be felt of the victory

- It is not a coincidence privatization occurred at the same time inequality rates rose in Asian countries

- As a result of low oil prices, Chevron announced it will spend less this year than last year

- The new Greek financial minister said Greece would look to cancel parts of the country’s debts with the troika

- GDP growth for the U.S. last year was 2.4 percent as the latest data for the fourth quarter revealed a slowdown. Dean Baker has more.

Politics US

Washington USA

- President Barack Obama pledged to inform House Democrats about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

- Sam Knight: “Obama administration uses consumer laws to destroy revenge porn collected by notorious website operator

- Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition joins The Real News to talk about Loretta Lynch’s comments on marijuana

- Some lawmakers in Congress want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak after the Israeli elections

- Glen Ford: “Changing the Guard in Black America

Anytown USA

- Gallup: Sixty percent of Americans say it is possible to work hard and get ahead in the U.S.

- In St. Louis, a spokesperson for the police was caught on camera pushing a black woman (remember, caught on camera). He is not sorry for what he did and believes he did not push her (remember, caught on camera).

The New York Times moved its only journalist exclusively covering race to a smaller role because a courthouse in the Bronx is more important

We Don’t Need No Education

- Chinese authorities announced it would regulate textbooks imported from Western countries to counter Western values

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Gallup: Out of the past four generations, Baby Boomers are the generation with the most people being treated for depression

- The U.S. is interested in analyzing genes from one million Americans to learn more about diseases

The Second Sex

- It is still great to see the Roe v. Wade decision after more than four decades, but there needs to be more work done for reproductive justice

- Jessica Valenti: “The NFL wants to listen to victims of domestic violence. Where were they last year?

Planet Earth

- The U.S. calls for more oil production despite, you know, low oil prices really hurting other countries. But still, for democracy or whatever.

- Economists found economic catastrophe and loss of millions of jobs would occur should the Colorado River go dry; Quick, someone call the Obama administration. They got the power to change this.

- Those Senators who voted for the Keystone XL pipeline received way more funding from fossil fuel companies than those who opposed it

- As a result of climate change, chimpanzees will become an endangered species within the next five years

- There is illegally stashed artillery munitions at a Louisiana military facility that is potentially hazardous. The federal government might clean it up but it seems to be a hard job to do so.

Mixed Bag

- Secretary of State John Kerry was fined $50 for not shoveling near his home in Boston

- Dave Zirin: “Solidarity—and the Seattle Seahawks—Forever

Break Time

- Rusty Cage [Soundgarden]

Mitt Romney Not Running For President

By: Friday January 30, 2015 10:11 am

Put the brakes on the bland wagon. Today Mitt Romney announced he will not be a candidate for president in 2016 saying “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

Romney had polled first in Iowa and was expected to draw considerable support from the corporate sector/donor base of the Republican Party which means the race for establishment support is primarily between Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Jeb Bush will be the primary beneficiary of Romney bowing out according to one poll but its early yet.

Jeb Bush released a statement saying that Romney was a patriot and party leader clearly looking to mend fences as the GOP primary battle now heats up with Bush needing to shore up his faction of the GOP which Romney personifies. The Tea Party wing of the GOP is not enthusiastic about any of the establishment candidates and remains to be seen what effect Running for president takes at least two years and the battle lines are being drawn now.

Romney’s announcement that was he not running caused some initial confusion on social media and elsewhere as both Bloomberg and The Daily Beast reported that Romney was getting ready to announce that his candidacy for president. Both outlets were forced to update their stories to show that the opposite of what they reported was true providing a sad commentary both on those organizations and the numerous wrong “breaking” news stories that will come in the 2016 cycle.

This is just the beginning.

Sentate Passes Keystone XL Bill, White House Says Will Veto

By: Friday January 30, 2015 7:12 am

Yesterday the Senate passed a bill forcing the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport Canadian tar sand oil through the US to the gulf coast. The vote was 62-36 and nine Democrats – Bennet, Carper, Casey, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill, Tester, and Warner – joined 53 Republicans in supporting the forced approval of the pipeline. The bill goes back to the House to be passed in full or go to conference with a House version of an already passed bill that forced approval for Keystone. Given that House leadership is also in favor of forced approval of the Keystone XL one way or the other a bill is all but certain to be passed and sent to the president.

The White House issued an explicit statement after the Senate vote saying that President Obama will veto the bill. It would be the third veto of his presidency though Obama noted in his State of the Union speech that he had no problem vetoing Republican proposals he disagreed with. In that sense the Keystone XL is a forerunner to two conflicts the new Congress is likely to have with the White House – how much a Republican controlled Congress can get Obama to sign and how much of President Obama’s climate change agenda can get done.

It is unlikely Republicans can get a two-thirds majority to override a veto from President Obama though they might start jamming Obama on the issue by attaching the forced approval of the pipeline to other bills he will have a more difficult time vetoing.

The solution is for Obama to simply say no to the pipeline. It’s his decision due to the pipeline crossing an international border (US-Canadian) and he has been continually delaying the decision for agency reviews and court decisions most of which are already resolved and all of which should, in theory, be completed by the beginning of next week.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that he is waiting for all reviews and processes to be completed before he makes a final decision. In 2013, he said that his verdict on the pipeline would be based on whether its construction would worsen climate change. But an 11-volume State Department environmental review of the proposed pipeline, released last year, concluded that its construction would not significantly increase the rate of planet-warming pollution into the atmosphere.

After that review was released, Mr. Obama said that he would not issue a decision until a court case in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route was settled. Earlier this month, the Nebraska court cleared the way for the pipeline’s construction through that state. Mr. Obama has also said that he wants to wait until a series of reviews by additional cabinet agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Defense, Interior, Homeland Security and Commerce, are complete. The deadline for those reviews, aimed at determining whether the project is in the national interest, is on Monday.

What’s the point of vetoing the bill and not finally saying no to Keystone XL? It’s time for a decision.

The Roundup for January 29th, 2015

By: Thursday January 29, 2015 4:59 pm

Good day everyone! My first week of classes is over. Round two is next week. International Politics Overall – Human Rights Watch said abuse of rights often leads to the formation of terror groups like the Islamic State; Quick, someone call the Obama administration before they abuse rights overseas. – Who else is thrilled with [...]

Does Uber Make A Universal Basic Income Inevitable?

By: Thursday January 29, 2015 10:03 am

Rise in incomes of top 10% mirrors the decline in unionization -@EconomicPolicy — John Schmitt (@jschmittwdc) January 22, 2015 We’re pretty much screwed. Precariousness has already been established as the defining feature of the modern labor market, but things are set to get even worse if a story by Farhad Manjoo over at The [...]

Mexico Believes It Can Replace Venezuelan Oil

By: Thursday January 29, 2015 7:25 am

At least Secretary of Economics Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal believes so. On January 23, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Villarreal said Mexico would “replace Venezuelan oil.” Indeed, he noted, in spite of the drop in oil prices, Mexico was a great investment for oil and gas companies: [F]or companies in deep-waters, in mature [...]

Andrew Sullivan To Quit Blogging

By: Thursday January 29, 2015 6:25 am

Andrew Sullivan has announced that he is giving up blogging to “return to the actual world again.” Given his history of presenting false stories and unrealistic political analysis this might be a good thing. Perhaps being in the actual world will yield some lessons. It is hard to imagine that someone so in love with [...]

The Roundup for January 28th, 2015

By: Wednesday January 28, 2015 4:10 pm

Today I start classes, but don’t fret! My side posts on news items will continue. I got some posts coming soon. Also, today’s Roundup may be a bit shaky. International Politics Overall – The U.S. admits convicting David Hicks, an Australian national, at Guantanamo Bay was a mistake – As noted by this piece, the [...]

Trans-Pacific Partnership Contains Provison To Help Wall Street Avoid Regulations

By: Wednesday January 28, 2015 10:41 am

Protest in NYC happening right now-people out in the snow & cold to #StopFastTrack & #TPP! — Kevin Zeese (@KBZeese) January 26, 2015 Try to hide your surprise. One of the reasons the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being kept secret is because it has unpopular and reckless policies in it such as deregulating [...]

Jonathan Chait Upset About Diversity In Media

By: Wednesday January 28, 2015 7:14 am

And for some odd indeterminable reason, people tend not to forget images like this. RT @shani_o: — Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) December 4, 2014 New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait, best known for being one of the “good liberals” who promoted the Iraq War, is still mad that The New Republic will no longer be [...]

The Roundup for January 27th, 2015

By: Tuesday January 27, 2015 3:46 pm

Good day folks! Had to look deep in my catalog for today’s song. It’s been five years since Howard Zinn passed away. International Politics Overall – The new nuclear deal between the U.S. and India is just another game of geo-politics and rewarding corporations. – If President Barack Obama is leader of the free world, [...]

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