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The Roundup for October 24th, 2014

By: Friday October 24, 2014 4:55 pm

It’s Friday. We’re ending another week full of news stories. How are you today?

International Politics


- Excellent piece by journalist Nathan Fuller on rejecting the idea the ruling classes are inept in their imperialist adventures. Rather, as Fuller writes, they know what they are doing and they seek to advance their own agenda at the expense of everyone else.

- Marcy Wheeler: “America’s great terrorist mystery: When our allies and enemies engage in the same ‘evil’

Middle East

- Journalist Patrick Cockburn joins The Real News to talk about the sudden shift in U.S. policy to support the Kurds in Syria against the Islamic State and how Turkey plays into all of this

- A Palestinian-American teenager was killed by Israeli forces and, as expected, the U.S. government will do nothing

- How valuable is Iran for Iraq? Based on estimates on trade between both countries for this year, Iran will export $30 billion worth of goods to Iraq.

- A new Interior Minister in Iraqi government pledged to drive out sectarianism from the government

- It seems ISIL militants are using chemical weapons in their fight against the Kurds

- A U.S. drone killed three alleged members of al-Qaeda in Yemen; While I understand how easy it may be to follow through with “suspected members,” I do not really trust government word considering drone strikes to them are always 100 percent effective

Asia and Oceania

- Demonstrators in Hong Kong will poll folks to see whether they should stay or move out and accept the government’s plan for talks


- Two attacks in the Sinai area of Egypt left 28 security forces dead with no group claiming responsibility for the attacks


- Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the U.S. for major global events such as in Ukraine and terrorism

Financial Matters

- Part three of eight with journalist Chris Hedges and philosopher Sheldon Wolin on the changes capitalism brought and how it is used today by its proponents

- A new report found most middle-class black children will be poorer than their parents when growing up; We certainly are viewing a system allowing problems to happen with no solutions

- As reported previously, local and city officials who decided to work with investors for their deals with tobacco companies lost more money than simply get money from such firms

- Part three of five with economist Costas Lapavitsas on how state actors are looking for ways to survive in the new economic system

Labor’s a-Brewing

- NBCUniversal announced it would settle with interns who sued the corporation for working on shows on its programming without pay. The firm will pay $6.4 million in total.

- Being a taxi driver in New York City is not easy as journalist Michelle Chen reports on the safety issues along with competition from Uber

Politics US

Washington USA

- Gallup: More Tea Party Republicans are motivated than the actual Republican Party base for the upcoming midterm elections

Salon speaks with economist and writer Doug Henwood about his latest piece about Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and why the establishment left will always fail; I highly recommend for anyone who is subscribed to Harper’s to read his piece

- A new poll found 65 percent of Americans believe the ISIL to be a significant threat. However, 55 percent do not approve of the handling by the Obama administration on the ISIL.

Anytown USA

- Oakley, MI, allows anyone in the small town to pay the police department to become a police officer with your own badge and gun permit

- Kevin Zeese: “The Post-Michael Brown Agenda Provides Goals for the Movement to End Racist, Militarized Policing

We Don’t Need No Education

- A report from the University of Oregon found an expanding Greek system correlates with more sexual assaults

- New York and New Jersey announced any person coming from West Africa will undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine

Top Gun (Stories)

- In a school near Seattle, WA, there was a shooting with the shooter, a student, killed as a result of suicide. It was reported two students were killed and three were injured.

- Amy Goodman: “Ebola Czar? We Need a Surgeon General

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- A new poll found a vast majority of doctors are significantly worried about antibiotic resistance

- $25 million: That’s how much food companies are spending to ensure two ballots on labeling genetically modified foods in Colorado and Oregon are defeated

- The World Health Organization will use millions of experimental vaccines against Ebola next year, but are unsure whether they will work effectively.

The Second Sex

- Any version of feminism relying on the existing capitalist structure to further the goals of feminism is only another reactionary form of it.

Planet Earth

- With one town in California without water, we are now entering into a new period of civilization where capitalism now sucks out our livelihood even more than before.

- Naomi Klein: “The Polluters Must Pay“; To misuse a quote by neoliberal Margaret Thatcher, “There is no alternative.”

- Despite leaders in the European Union pledging to cut 40 percent of carbon emissions by 2030, there is no set plan in motion for next year’s talks in Paris, France

Mixed Bag

- Fascinating work out of Australia where doctors used, for the first time ever, dead hearts for heart transplants. It is still early to see if they working, but doctors are optimistic.

- Jose Martin and Jesse Myerson provide excellent history of the destruction of property throughout the world and why it is accepted

Break Time

- Nude [Radiohead]

Marc Andreessen Calls Snowden Traitor, Doesn’t Want Democracy

By: Friday October 24, 2014 10:23 am

Though Silicon Valley and the tech industry is generally known as being more liberal than other economic sectors it is worth noting that it too has its share of plutocrat reactionaries. Though venture capitalist Tom Perkins became the face of the faction with his comparison of Occupy Wall Street to Nazis, a more relevant example would be Mark Andreessen who not only stands out as opposing measures to rein in wealth inequality but has trumpeted his support for domestic surveillance programs.

Andreessen’s claim to fame was starting the early internet browser company Netscape which he essentially privatized without payment from a government sponsored project at a the University of Illinois. Netscape would be ultimately be crushed by Microsoft but Andreessen would stay in the tech world and become a founder and partner at one of the Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz.

In recent interviews Andreessen has laid out a very hard line both on promoting the myth of meritocracy in Silicon Valley and the Snowden revelations concerning Silicon Valley’s involved with the NSA on spying on Americans and others. Andreessen said Snowden is a textbook traitor and that direct democracy is a terrible idea because “The last thing you want to do is put the mob in charge.”

Q: It’s the “China for a day” thing. If you could just be an autocracy for one day, fix all the problems, and then go back to democracy.

Andreesen: This is a long-running view that business has held. And the reason is, if you’re a businessperson, especially a CEO, you actually run a dictatorship. But businesses and governments are different, in my belief. They actually have very little to do with each other. And so I’m actually completely on the other side of that argument. When it comes to government, I am pro-gridlock.

Q: How so?

Andreesen: I think the American system is incredibly well developed. I think the founding fathers were geniuses. I think the founding fathers had lived under effective ­government, and it was called King George, and they did not like it. I mean, they knew what an autocratic government was like. And so they implemented a representative democracy, with the representation layer as a buffer against autocratic change and against mob rule. The other thing I don’t like is direct democracy. This proposition system we have in California is craziness, just lunacy. The last thing you want to do is put the mob in charge.

Andreessen also went on to say the Silicon Valley is a meritocracy with the caveat that you have to part of a network to access it. Having to know people to get opportunities is not really a meritocracy in the way most people view the term. Meritocracy for most people means gaining opportunities based on merit. Which we know is not happening in Silicon Valley.

For some reason the barons of Silicon Valley previously had a lot more good will from the public than their elite counterparts in Manhattan, Hollywood, and DC. Perhaps it is time to realize that plutocrats generally have more in common with each other than the 99%.

Please Support Independent Voices, Donate To Firedoglake

By: Friday October 24, 2014 7:11 am

As someone who reads a lot of the mainstream press I can not emphasize enough how important it is to have independent voices and platforms for those voices – to have access to views outside the orthodoxy.

While much has been made of the recent Pew survey that showed conservatives are heavily reliant on right-wing Fox News for their information, the variety of sources cited by non-conservatives and liberals for their news is not as diverse as it might first appear. NPR, The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the establishment media are driven by their own set of bias and agendas and often serve as an echo chamber for each other’s worldview.

These are the same people and institutions that supported the Iraq War, ignored Wall Street recklessness, continue to support the war on drugs, minimize Climate Change, and concern troll every proposal to create a more just economic system.

Much of what these self-proclaimed objective media organizations do has nothing to do with reporting the news. Much of what they do is about promoting a neoliberal orthodoxy by reinforcing messages and views favorable to their agendas, or what Noam Chomsky called the manufacture of consent.

The truth does not lie somewhere between Fox News and MSNBC, it lies outside of the matrix of establishment tribal power plays posing as battles of ideas and can only be gleaned from hearing voices outside the orthodoxy. This is why having independent voices like Firedoglake (and others) is so important. Not because we have a monopoly on truth, but because hearing independent voices helps you see the full picture and find the truth for yourself.

So, if you are able, please consider donating today to help Firedoglake stay online.

Iraqi Army ‘Months Away’ From Being Able To Take On ISIS, US Campaign To Take Years

By: Friday October 24, 2014 5:30 am

One of the most influential Army officers of Iraq on how the U.S. is repeating its mistakes: — Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) October 22, 2014 Though hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars went into forming, training, and equipping the Iraqi National Army it only took a few weeks for ISIS to cripple the [...]

The Roundup for October 23rd, 2014

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 7:12 pm

With Thursday here, we are almost to the end of the week. Just one more until November! International Politics Overall – Confused on why the U.S. is supporting the Kurdish Workers’ Party in Syria despite classifying the PKK as a terrorist group? Well no worries, as international politics are never so simple. – Natasha Lennard: [...]

Governor Christie Says GOP Needs To Win In Order To Control ‘Voting Mechanisms’

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 9:36 am

Just in case it was not clear as to how the GOP plans to win elections despite having a shrinking demographic, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to remove any doubt – rigging the vote. In an amazingly honest speech to the US Chamber of Commerce Governor Christie said that the GOP had to control [...]

Was NSA Head Insider Trading?

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 8:09 am

According to documents filed by former NSA Director Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA was speculating in commodities linked to China and Russia while receiving asymmetric information on the countries as part of his job. The use of asymmetric or non-public information for financial gain is a crime known as insider trading. The shares [...]

Blackwater Contractors Convicted For Iraq Massacre

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 5:43 am

Four Blackwater contractors were convicted in federal court yesterday of murder, manslaughter, and weapons charges for their role in a massacre that occurred in Iraq in 2007 while Blackwater was protecting a convoy of US State Department officials.The shooting incident, which left 17 unarmed Iraqis dead, was ruled a crime rather than a wartime accident [...]

The Roundup for October 22nd, 2014

By: Wednesday October 22, 2014 4:09 pm

With Wednesday here, what are you planning today? International Politics Overall – Jeremy Scahill: “Blackwater founder remains free and rich while his former employees go down on murder charges” – Gallup: 65 percent of civilians in Asia trust the judicial system in their country, which is the highest recorded in the world – Juan Cole: [...]

BREAKING: Shooting Shuts Down Canadian Parliament, Multiple Shooters Reported

By: Wednesday October 22, 2014 9:47 am

Earlier today in Ottawa an unidentified gunman shot and killed a Canadian soldier before entering the Canadian Parliament building and opening fire. Parliament was in session and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was evacuated as law enforcement exchanged gunfire with the assailant who was subsequently killed. Reports have differed as to how many shooters there [...]

Video Shows ISIS Getting Weapons Meant For Kurds, Pentagon To Investigate

By: Wednesday October 22, 2014 7:04 am

The Department of Defense has launched an investigation into its airdrop program for Syria after a video surfaced on youtube showing ISIS fighters going through an airdrop package meant for Kurdish forces. The airdrop occurred around the contested city of Kobani and included weapons intended to help Kurdish fighters defend the city from ISIS. Instead, [...]

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