The Weekend Roundup for May 23-24th, 2015

Starting my first week of summer. This will be some exciting three months.

Rest in peace John Nash

International Politics

Overall

– United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon: We need to deal with the causes of the migrant causes first

– After Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter criticized Iraqi troops as having “no will to fight,” an Iraqi lawmaker responded that such accusation was “unrealistic and baseless

Middle East

– Syrian rebels say they are learning tactics from soldiers in Hamas in their fight against the Syrian government

– After the capture of Palmyra in Syria, Islamic State militants killed at least 400 people

– King Salman of Saudi Arabia said those behind the suicide attack that killed 21 people would pay

– An Iranian general asked for more funds for the army to counter the ISIS threat

– Syrian organizations accused the government of using chlorine bombs against civilians (more…)

The Roundup for May 22nd, 2015

We end our week in Japan and I end my week as a student for now.

International Politics

Overall

– Rania Khalek: “Obama gives $1.9 billion in weapons as welcome gift to Israel’s racist government

– President Barack Obama: Israel should know “the people of America” will protect them

– A report from the Pentagon found Western officials viewed the Islamic State as a group to counter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

– Saudi Arabia expressed interest in heading the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

– Who wants the Internal Revenue Service to punish American “eco-terrorists”? Japan

Middle East

– One issue facing Syrians, especially very young Syrians, is the problem of the statelessness

– Unsure about who is who in the new Israeli government? Not to worry with this run down of each particular one you should keep your eye on

– For example, the Israeli deputy foreign minister said the land of Israel is for Israelis only

– U.S. officials say Iran sent soldiers to take a major oil refinery in Iraq from ISIS forces (more…)

The Roundup for May 21st, 2015

We make our next stop to Senegal. All done with finals. Now I can fully focus on the site while tying up some loose ends. The bourgeoisie lost. Their finals didn’t stop me.

International Politics

Overall

Part three of three with scholar Norman Finkelstein who explains, despite a falling out between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, why the U.S. is committed to defending Israel

– Attorney Michael Ratner joins The Real News to provide updates with Julian Assange’s case

– Ali Abunimah: “France launches new UN effort to undermine Palestinian rights

– President Obama: We are not losing the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq; Also, Obama said he is personally invested in a deal with Iran

– In addition, Obama said Tunisia was a non-NATO ally of the U.S. and, as a result, will receive $500 million loan

– Glenn Greenwald: “In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking ‘National Security‘”

Middle East

– For folks living in Baghdad, even a walk down the street can mean life or death

– In Israel, authorities locked a community behind a steel gate because they live in the West Bank (more…)

Nigerian President-Elect Seeks to Shift Investment From Oil to Other Sectors

Nigerian President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari, who beat incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and will take office on May 29, pledged to invest more resources into other sectors of the economy like agriculture instead of relying on oil.

Buhari believes such investments will provide much-needed jobs for Nigerians, especially amid the massive drop of oil prices:

In the economy, we have to quickly turn to agriculture and mining because that is where you can do the quickest work and earn results.

In terms of oil exports, Nigeria is a top producer with the country being Africa’s largest petroleum producer. Moreover, it holds the most natural gas reserves out of all African countries.

In addition, Nigeria is a member of OPEC after joining in 1971. The country depends so much on oil and gas that it “accounts for about 35 percent of [the nation’s] gross domestic product.”

Although, being the country with the most oil includes some downsides such as corruption. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reported on June 19, 2000 how, in spite of their profitability, resources, including oil, have been a clutch for African nations such as Nigeria.

‘With the advent of oil, the government lost its initiative,’ sighs Chidi Duru, a Nigerian lawmaker who blames the oil feeding frenzy for the decline of the country’s once-prosperous farm economy. ‘In a sense it has become a curse, not a blessing.’

Recently, allegations arose that the previous administration, under President Goodluck Jonathan, took $20 billion from oil revenues. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s finance minister, denied it ever occurred.

Nigeria also depends on energy imports because its refineries are not reliable enough to fuel the country. For a country once believed to be the next Saudi Arabia or Kuwait when oil was discovered in the 1950s, oil has failed to develop the country, even though it accounts for as much as 25 to 30 percent of the country’s GDP.

In 2005, crude oil production peaked at 2.4 million barrels per day, yet “began to decline significantly as violence from militant groups surged, forcing many companies to withdraw staff and shut in production.” (more…)

The Roundup for May 20th, 2015

Onward to Iceland and onward to the last final.

International Politics

Overall

– Michelle Chen: “EU Officials Are Considering Bombing Libyan Smuggling Boats. That’s the Last Thing Refugees Need“; Damn right

– French authorities say their forces killed two major leaders of al-Qaeda in Mali

– Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will be going to Russia to get more arms to fight the Islamic State

Middle East

Part two of three with Norman Finkelstein who explains the issue of missiles used between Israel and Hamas; Very important analysis I might add

– On second thought, Israel won’t ban Palestinians from boarding buses

– There’s a building built by the U.S. in Afghanistan that’s never been used. A shame since it cost taxpayers $25 million

– The leader of the Houthis in Yemen said the organization supports peace talks sponsored by the United Nations

– If you’re an Iraqi, the best way to make your government is to use social media

– The police chief of Anbar was dismissed by an Iraqi official after the fall of Ramadi (more…)

The Roundup for May 19th, 2015

We move on to Venezuela. Three finals down, two to go!

Happy Birthday to Malcolm X! He would have been 90 if he was alive.

International Politics

Overall

– The United Nations warned at least 2,000 refugees were trapped at sea for weeks off the coast of Myanmar

– At least 170 Islamic State fighters in Syria died as a result of U.S.-led airstrikes

– The United Nations will use “realistic options” to get Israel to speak with Palestinian leaders

Middle East

Part one of two with scholar Norman Finkelstein about Israel’s abilities to use violence in its history

– Syrian rebels captured the Syrian government’s largest military base

– After the expiration of the truce with Yemeni rebels, a large number of airstrikes hit Sana’a

Africa

– Jeremy Scahill: “How Somalia’s Al Shabaab Turned Against Its Own Foreign Fighters

– At least 22 militants tied to ISIS were killed by Algerian forces in Algeria (more…)

The Roundup for May 18th, 2015

Today we move on to Spain!

International Politics

Overall

– Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will accept refugees stranded off the coast of Thailand

– Gareth Porter: “The Misfire in Hersh’s Big Bin Laden Story

– The Vatican said the “angel of peace” comment on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was words of encouragement for peace with Israel

– The U.S. threatened to impose more sanctions against North Korea as they are “not even close” to reducing its nuclear weapons (more…)

The Weekend Roundup for May 16-17th, 2015

In honor of finals, let’s do another week of songs from around the globe. We’ll start in Pakistan.

International Politics

Overall

– Pope Francis I: Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is “an angel of peace“; Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s not get too carried away here

– U.S. commandos killed 32 Islamic State militants and officials, including the head of ISIL’s oil operations. It was approved by the White House

– Journalists are being charged with doing their job, specifically journalists who reported on corporate corruption in Luxembourg involving tax avoidance

Middle East

– In short, youths in Palestine are frustrated, angry and without any strong leadership

– Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. is only interested in securing the Persian Gulf

– The western Anbar province in Iraq may collapse as a result of ISIS forces

– At least 300 people have died in Syria as a result of fighting between the Syrian government and ISIS forces

Asia and Oceania

– The poor in Nepal need doctors and folks who understand the necessities in the country instead of soldiers; What rational person would even think soldiers are necessary?

– Even the animals stranded in Nepal need lots of love and help

– John Pilger: “Celebrating Real Heroes Like the One We’ve Just Lost

– For migrants seeking refuge, the seas are a place of unspeakable horrors 

Africa

– Mohamed Morsi will be sentenced to death and the White House said they were “deeply concerned

– Also, six men were hanged in Egypt after found guilty of killing soldiers. Not only that, but a court ruled “ultras,” fanatic fan clubs in the country, were no longer welcomed in the country

– Primitive accumulation can best be found in Ethiopia where land grabs occur

Europe 

– Podemos should be careful in moving forward and must re-evaluate what needs to be done as it is losing steam

– Glen Ford: “EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

– Turns out American Christians are supporting a no vote in Ireland on an upcoming referendum on gay marriage. Christian immigrants in Ireland are even being mobilized to vote no

– France opposes any quota system proposed by European Union officials over the migrant crisis

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

In spite of the accomplishments made by the Cuban Revolution, corruption still exists among the old guard of Cuba

– Glen Ford, a journalist, joins The Real News to talk about what Cubans believe about recent changes with the U.S. and what they need going forward

– Thousands of Guatemalans marched in the streets to demand the resignation of the president over a corruption scandal

Surveillance Planet

– Trevor Timm: “Surveillance diehards in the Senate will do anything to stop NSA reform

Part four of seven with journalist Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer, Truthdig editor-in-chief, on what needs to be done about surveillance

– Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Our nation will “go dark” if we do not still have powers to spy on phones

Financial Matters

An interview with Spanish professor Vincent Navarro, a member of Podemos, about changes needed in Spain and the overall economics profession

– There’s money to be made off tensions among Gulf states. Just ask companies like Raytheon or Lockheed Martin

Part six of six with economist Ha-Joon Chang about the importance of understanding different economic schools of thought and teaching citizens how to use economics

– How much are the Obamas worth? At least 1.9 to 6.9 million dollars; Hooray! Democracy represented by millionaires

– Iran announced it would cut interest rates in order to boost its economy

– China and India signed economic agreements with each other worth $22 billion

Labor’s a-Brewing

At least 72 people were killed after a fire broke out in a manufacturing factory in the Philippines. The fire occurred as a result of the ignition of chemicals at the factory

– JanSport operates in Bangladesh for workers to make their cheap and still refuses to sign any agreement to protect them

– Larry Hanley, an experienced union leader, joins The Real News to discuss lack of funding for Amtrak and why the current “military junta” refuses to do anything for the working class

– Incredible and great to hear U.S. Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders defend the Fight for 15 movement and call President Obama to join

Politics US

Washington USA

Let’s hear it for liberal apologists on behalf of a failed Obama administration that’s accomplished very little since 2009 for the American working class

– Looks like the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be President Obama’s biggest accomplishment if passed; What a fraud

– What should you do if you want to push forward a overzealous and patriotic Israeli narrative in the mainstream press? Call The New York Times of course!

– Keep your eye on Martin O’Malley, another reactionary Democrat pretending to act like left alternative to Hillary Clinton. He’s just another liberal

– Speaking of the bourgeoisie, both Hillary and Bill Clinton together made more than $30 million in their speaker fees and book royalties; I’m Ready for Hillary then!

– Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): I actually like Hillary Clinton and don’t want to be a spoiler for her; It’s all for show then. He’s just creating illusions

– Sen. Paul Ryan (R-WI): I don’t think funding has anything to do with the Amtrak crash

Anytown USA

– Uh-oh. Rail superhighways in the country are breaking down despite transporting more folks than ever

– All black officials and leaders must come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would negatively affect the black community

– In light of the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, let’s not be another snobbish liberal who loves the death penalty when it’s applied to “monsters

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Michelle Chen: “90 Percent of the Over 10,000 Chemicals in Nail Products Haven’t Been Evaluated For Safety

– Cannabis is already here making money in some U.S. states and it looks like it’ll continue to expand

Planet Earth

– The U.S. government admitted a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico can last for another decade if nothing is done about it

– Good news as global warming is slowing down because the land and air is absorbing more carbon emissions than expected

– The second part of an interview with author and professor Christian Parenti on Marxism, nature and why capitalism is unsustainable

– Agroecological farming can be an alternative to our current and unsustainable farming system

– Now the state of Washington is in a drought crisis and are feeling the pain

– Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado River, is shrinking as a result of climate change

– Beneath the drought crisis in California is class tensions, especially against the rich

– There were demonstrations and protests in Seattle against Shell’s presence to drill

Mixed Bag

The Onion: “Tsarnaev Death Penalty A Warning To Any Other Religious Fanatics Hoping To Be Martyred

Inspiring to see community rebuilding in a neighborhood in Baltimore where a basketball hoop wasbuilt

– In just one day, volunteers in Ecuador planted 647,250 trees, which is a new world record

– Ali Abunimah: “NY Times public editor criticizes reporter’s “unacceptable” questions to Palestine activist

Break Time

– Jhoot Ka Uncha Sar [Laal]

The Roundup for May 15th, 2015

Rest in peace B.B. King.

International Politics

Overall

– Jamal Abdi, policy director at the National Iranian American Council, talks to The Real News about the current relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

– With at least $2 billion in Afghanistan, the U.S. military can spend on a lot of useless things

– FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes a vote suspending Israel may set a dangerous precedent

– The United Nations called for the Saudi-led coalition to simplify trade rules through Yemen

– A Iranian negotiator said Iran is prepared for all scenarios should no finalized deal come in July

Middle East

– On the day of the “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe” for Palestinians as it deals with the founding of the Israeli state, at least 21 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces

– The Islamic State successfully captured the main government building in Ramadi, which means they control Anbar in Iraq

– A former British colonel said it should be alright for Israel to kill more civilians

– In spite of a ceasefire, at least 10 people were killed after fighting in a Yemeni city

Asia and Oceania

– A missing U.S. helicopter was found in Nepal and it is feared all eight Americans died

Africa

– The UN warn “war crimes” are being committed in Libya by militant groups

– Burundi’s president was almost overthrown in a coup, although the military saved the day

– Through a deal with the United Nations, armed groups in the Central African Republic agreed to release thousands of youths

Europe 

– Russia may ban any foreign non-governmental organization it considered “undesirable

– After the most recent election, the victory of the Tories means an uncertain future for Britain

– British Prime Minister David Cameron may offer more powers to Scotland

– Podemos, once a growing political party in Spain, is now struggling to recapture the magic it once held

– Poland agreed to pay $250,000 to two victims of torture by the CIA in the country

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– In Mexico, gangs are killing politicians from all sides weeks ahead of elections

– In spite of new vice president chosen, Guatemala may face a major political crisis

Surveillance Planet

Part three of seven with Robert Scheer, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, about capitalism, what to do about surveillance and even what the Founding Fathers intended

– A watchdog group in Belgium accused Facebook of tracking people and declining to answer any privacy-related questions

– The former inspector general for the NSA admitted it was a mistake keeping all recorded phone calls

– Emptywheel: “How the Second Circuit, FISC, and the Telecoms Might Respond to McConnell’s USA F-ReDux Gambit

Financial Matters

Part five of six with economist Ha-Joon Chang who continues to explain the different, heterodox schools of economics

– Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if someone wanted to build a mall at the Grand Canyon? Would it be more ridiculous if someone actually held this idea?

– The Ukrainian economy contracted by 17.6 percent in the first quarter

Labor’s a-Brewing

– The Real News covers protests by postal workers to protect their jobs and stop privatization

– Farmers in Baja California will no longer strike for higher wages as they agreed with a new deal with their employer that will see major benefits

Politics US

Washington USA

– Gallup: Americans cite the economy and the the way government functions as more than important than foreign policy

– A few weeks before the Amtrak train crash, lawmakers had the opportunity to bolster safety rules but decided not to

– Lee Fang: “Wall Street Analyst Encouraged Rail Company to Lobby Against Train Safety Rules

– Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may be good in terms of economic policy, but his foreign policy is really questionable

– Meanwhile, other Democratic leaders do not care about Sanders’ run and believe Hillary Clinton is running, essentially, unopposed

– Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): The GOP will “rue the day” should the Supreme Court cut vital parts of Affordable Care Act

– Watchdog groups want the Internal Revenue Service to investigate companies involved in tax fraud, especially through ALEC

Anytown USA

– Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby defends her decision to indict the six officers as just “doing her job

– Looks like there may be no gay marriage ban in Texas after all!

– An internal investigation in the Miami Beach police department found officers sharing porn and racist comments with each other

We Don’t Need No Education

– The University of Washington agreed to divest from coal companies

The Second Sex

A new study found men and women in prehistoric times were equal with each other

– If anti-abortion lawmakers believe it will be easy to push through their agenda, then they have another thing coming

Planet Earth

– Rebecca Solnit: “One magical politician won’t stop climate change. It’s up to all of us

– NASA warned a major ice shelf in the Antarctic may completely melt, which means sea levels will rise even higher

– Canada announced it would its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030

Mixed Bag

– Oops. The office of New Jersey’s attorney general accidentally recommended a sex hotline for residents needing help for over-billing

– Dave Zirin: “It’s Not Tom Brady We Should Be Worried About—It’s Roger Goodell

Break Time

Why I Sing The Blues [B.B. King]

Obama Defends Decision Allowing Shell to Drill for Oil in the Arctic

Arctic Destroyer Arrives in Port Angeles

President Barack Obama defended his recent decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean by saying he was reassured there were “strong safeguards” in place.

Josh Earnest, press secretary of the White House, elaborated more on the Obama administration’s decision as part of the “all-of-the-above approach” at a press briefing on May 12th.

Earnest additionally noted President Obama previously protected the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and even increased investments into renewable energy, all a part of the “all-of-the-above approach.” Thus, he said, allowing Shell to drill was just a part of this strategy:

[W]hat’s also true is the President is committed to ensuring that we are doing as much as we can to protect our energy security, and that means looking for opportunities to safely develop sources of energy on American soil. And I think this—again, this decision reflects the effort to pursue that all-of-the-above approach

Interestingly, however, Shell experienced technical problems last month with its oil rig, which questions why Obama felt confident in Shell’s ability to drill without any doubts.

Moreover, Obama believed, in spite of the problems with fossil fuels, oil and natural gas would need to be used and preferred obtaining it domestically than going overseas.

The decision to allow Shell is very controversial, especially among environmentalists.

In Seattle, for example, the “Shell No!” movement is growing against drilling in the Arctic. Indeed, the Port of Seattle, in a 3-1 decision, voted to ask Shell to delay drilling to begin after public pressure. (more…)