Howdy folks!

International Politics

Overall

- As austerity, reactionary policies, and the rise of the right grow in Europe and the U.S., there are lessons from Venezuela on fighting back

- Turkey said they were “on alert” after Turkish hostages were taken by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS)

- Syria’s Bashar al-Assad said the West is shifting its position on the Syrian rebels due to domestic attacks

Middle East

- Journalist Alex Kane uncovers similarities between detention policies in Israel and in the U.S.

- In what certainly seems like a very idiotic idea, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria stated more arms should be given to Syrian rebels to bring down planes, including Iranian planes

- Juan Cole: “The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History

- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the ISIS, is an emerging figure in ISIS and in the Middle East and has an interesting history

- ISIS, meanwhile, not only took four cities in Iraq, but also army bases as the military retreats; Plus, they looted $430 million from a central bank in Mosul

- After one Iraqi soldier said he was in an “army without leadership,” senior officials said troops were not trained and retreated from Mosul; What has caused such disaster? Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarianism

- The U.S. pledged to send foreign aid, but some are uneasy about keeping al-Maliki

Africa

- The coup in Egypt placed a stranglehold on the populace and criminalized dissent in the country

- A major activist in the 2011 uprising in Egypt was sentenced by a court to 15 years in jail for protesting and assault

Asia and Oceania

- And it continues. A U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan left at least six militants dead and the death toll may rise

Europe

- The new spokesperson for the Greek government, Sofia Voultepsi, said Greece will not listen to what the IMF wants. Be careful, Voultepsi has a history of making things up and defending criminals.

- After suffering a setback in the French elections, the left in France decided to emulate the strategy of Syriza in Greece

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Pew: Globally, Brazil gets high marks from other countries. Moreover, individuals from 18-29 view Brazil more favorably than do older individual

Financial Matters

- Amazon’s battle with publishers will involve more companies as other contracts need to be renewed

- A study found New Jersey’s economy is still poor despite a growing number of subsidies given by Governor Chris Christie (R)

- The European Commission announced it will look into the tax filing of Apple, Starbucks and Fiat to see if they paid their taxes fairly

- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says Americans are still struggling in the economy, despite signs of a recovery

- Former managers with Wal-Mart state there was inventory fraud at the company and top members of the company did little about it

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Fantastic news out of Province, R.I., where activists were able to deliver a petition for a minimum wage initiative for the city council to vote on. If it does not go through, then activists and unions will ensure it will by referendum

- Seattle’s minimum wage increase to $15/hour is now the center of a lawsuit by the International Franchise Association, the new law “discriminates” not only against them but “small businesses” too. I wonder what their definition of a small business is.

- Taxi and rail workers went on strike in European cities over the unregulated mobile service Uber and other companies like it

Politics US

Washington USA

- Despite being outspent 40-1, unknown challenger Dave Brat—influenced by reactionary Ayn Rand—defeated the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the seventh district in Virginia’s GOP Primaries. Moreover, Cantor announced he will resign as the Majority Leader.

- Journalist Lee Fang reports on how Brat was able to win against Cantor by going against crony capitalism created by Cantor

- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is facing a challenge from the right with a candidate funding from a right-wing source with a lot of money

- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said he took security risks with Bowe Bergdahl “damn seriously

- Attorney General Eric Holder revived a unit focused on domestic terrorism after recent right-wing shootings

- Gallup: 54 percent of Americans favorably view Hillary Clinton, which is down from 59 percent last February

- Four former members of Blackwater who killed 14 civilians in Iraq will finally see their day in trial as it begins today with jury selection

Anytown USA

- Glen Ford speaks with The Real News on the torture conducted in the U.S., especially in solitary confinement; More can be found here

- Cecily McMillan speaks to Chris Arnade and talks about what her sentence in Rikers Island means

- Glen Ford: “The White Right’s Impunity

- In some positive news, here is a story of former gang members working in their communities for good works

- It is obvious so-called working class parties like the Working Families Party work not in the interest of advancing progressive parties, but furthering the agenda of the right

We Don’t Need No Education

- Journalist Michelle Chen states reform to student debt is not necessary if colleges effectively spent their money

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Gallup: 55 percent of Americans state they are not overweight and not trying to lose weight

- ProPublica talks to Dr. Jeffrey Swanson about the relationship between mental illness and gun violence and how there is more to the story 

- It is incredibly alarming in the “War on Drugs” that the federal government provides financial incentives for state and local law enforcement to go after petty crimes

The Second Sex

- A legal victory allowed for two doctors in Dallas, Texas to regain their admitting privileges and will continue to provide abortion care

- Jimmy Carter’s recently released book still suffers from a “savior” narrative often taken by New York Times‘ Nicolas Kristof

- Potential changes to the welfare system in Australia may leave unemployed pregnant women without any form of income

Planet Earth 

- In terms of climate change denial, we are witnessing the same tactics used by tobacco corporations and lobbyists that global warming skeptics are using

- Some oil companies want the ban on exporting oil from the U.S. to be lifted and it is no doubt this is to get more profits into the companies.

- Secretary of State John Kerry announced a worldwide push to save the oceans; So you decided to do this in 2014? What’s next? Let’s solve rising sea levels by 2060?

- A new report stated corn in the U.S. will be seriously threatened as a result of climate change

- Robert Murray, owner of one of the largest company that produces coal, says he will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for talking about global warming

Mixed Bag

States Now Offering Millions In Tax Breaks To Any Person Who Says ‘High-Tech Jobs’; “High-Tech Jobs” Now I wait

- Research found kids who play a variety of sports before deciding on one have higher success rates and less injuries

- For those interested in learning about Golden Dawn in New York City and the reaction by the Greek-American community here, here is a 30-minute documentary on it

Break Time

- Sir Duke