Hey folks, how are you as we approach the end of this week?

International Politics

Overall

- The U.S.: When it comes to disputes with China, we will stand beside our allies

- It seems now NASA is unable to work with Russia as a result of heated tensions

- Russia asked NATO why there is a buildup of NATO troops in eastern Europe

Middle East

- Part three of five on how Saudi Arabia allows groups like al-Qaeda to grow, even if it could backfire on them in the future

- The UN is reporting there are more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and most live in poverty

- Israel canceled the release of Palestinian prisoners because Palestine is seeking recognition from the UN

- In Iraq, government troops killed 40 militant rebels, but lost one army officer

Asia and Oceania

- Vietnam has a harsh response to bankers who engage in illicit activities: the death penalty.

Africa

- Despite Tunisia being the “most hopeful” out of all the countries in the Arab Spring, there still exists a void that requires addressing since candidates are not enough

- President Obama warned sanctions will be used against South Sudan if violence continues there

- It is sad to see imperialism still reigns strong in Africa with corporate interests being behind it

Europe

- The Ukrainian government blamed Russia and its “agents” for the protests that happened in February that claimed more than 90 lives; Russia arrested 25 Ukrainians for allegedly planning terrorist attacks

- Amnesty International exposed the brutal practices of the police in Greece with human rights violations such as excessive force or threatening migrants

- The Turkish government lifted its ban on Twitter after a court ruled it was unconstitutional for the government to ban it

- In Ireland it is horrific under the rule of austerity, but it is not reported as the press is too busy giving the elites praise

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- It seems the U.S. government was behind a secret project similar to Twitter to be used in Cuba to spread dissent. The White House rejects the notion that it was covert

Surveillance Planet

- Physicists are now attempting to create an Internet the NSA cannot spy on and it may come in the next decade

- Data providers have been selling companies their lists, which include rape victims, domestic violence victims, seniors with dementia, AIDS patients and drug addicts

- President Obama’s new “reforms” of the NSA will force phone companies to keep more data stored than they have before

Financial Matters

- Gallup: Nearly one-third of microbusiness owners —where five or fewer employees work — depend on a second source of income

- Robert Reich: “How Increasing Numbers of Americans are Saying ‘No Deal’ to Absurd Inequality

- It is something when the purely rich (and when I say rich, I mean really rich) are very right-wing and promote the ideology of neoliberalism

- Banamax, the Citigroup Mexican subsidiary, is now under criminal investigation as it was involved in $400 million fraud scandal

- Just .08 percent of the U.S. population make donations greater than $2,500 to election campaigns. It begs the question on what the landscape will be like after the Supreme Court decision.

- John Hodgman of The Daily Show does a great report on tax evasion by the rich in our society in all these different islands, assisted by American lawyers

- It is bothersome and tiring to see the rich able to get away with donations to campaigns without restriction. The solution may not be campaign finance reform, but redistributing their assets to the rest of the community

- The CEO of Mozilla resigned over controversy of supporting anti-gay efforts in California

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Gallup: The group is reporting, based on their own statistics, the payroll-to-population index in the U.S. was 42.7 percent in March, down from 43.1 percent

Politics US

Washington USA

- I agree with this piece on how Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attempting to trick Americans into siding with him based on his rhetoric on social issues.

- The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over its actions against 20 detainees on hunger strike

- The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to declassify a part of a study for its report on CIA torture

- The Supreme Court will not stop the lethal injection of a Texas inmate on death row despite not knowing thesource of the drug used for the execution; Stephen Colbert does a hilarious job on this secret chemical being used.  The inmate was executed

- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holden: We definitely need a “balanced approach” when it comes to people on heroin

Anytown USA

- Pew: Revenue supporting journalism in the U.S. has declined, since 2006, by one-third

- Very enjoyable and informative interview with Suey Park on Salon about #CancelColbert, the reasoning for it and what Park wanted

- Noam Chomsky: “Ecology, Ethics, Anarchism“; An interview with Noam Chomsky on the future of society

- The man who killed Renisha McBride wants a new judge claiming the current judge is Facebook friends with the prosecutors

- Good read on McCutcheon decision with one Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, writing it and connecting it to politics in New York

Top Gun (Stories)

- At Ford Hood yesterday, four people died, including the gunman Ivan Lopez, who was a former Iraq War veteran (who did not see combat). It may have started with an argument with another soldier

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- It is problematic to see it costs more for individuals who are poor when they quit smoking (even with help)

- Natasha Lennard reports how Ivan Lopez, the Fort Hood shooter who committed suicide, tried to seek help for his mental issues before the shooting; Here is another great article on the same subject; Interesting to see he already was under care and showed no serious signs

- Juan Cole: “Ft. Hood & the True Cost of Iraq & Afghanistan Wars: Nearly 1 mn traumatized: PTSD by the Numbers

The Second Sex

- Pew: It seems there are mixed signals when it comes to promoting the rights of women in Afghanistan as there does not seem to be support among men for equal representation, but there is support by men for educational opportunities

- A new report has found the news media is still male-dominated with men getting the more serious, hard news assignments compared with women who get soft news for instance

Planet Earth

- Residents in Maryland demonstrate against construction of a hydrofracking facility that will export natural gas overseas

- A new study has found that by 2100, one third of the Earth will be dried up as a result of climate change

- Scientists are reporting the Arctic sea has fallen to its fifth-lowest level on record

- Japan has announced it will stop its whale hunt in the Antarctic after the UN stated it was not “scientific” by any means

- Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, prime minister of Sweden Iceland, emphasizes there will be great opportunities for new trade and economic incentives when climate change comes as oil and natural gas production will increase

- Amy Goodman: “Climate Science’s Dire Warning: Humans Are Baking the Planet

- The U.S. government settled a $5.15 million claim with a oil company for environmental contamination

Mixed Bag

- Scientists say the have evidence now the Black Death may not have not been transmitted by rats fleas, but through airborne contact

- Brilliant. Must read. “U.S. Currency Finally Achieves Universal Suffrage

Break Time

- John McLaughlin