Author Archive

Constitutional amendment to take Big Money out of politics dies quietly

September 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jim Gaines  

"This week the U.S. Senate considered a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Congress and state legislatures to limit the power of money in politics. The debate was not much covered in the media because the outcome was so predictable. But the party-line vote that killed it should not go unnoted. A remarkable majority of the American public (79 percent according to Gallup) want campaign finance reform. The right and left, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, even Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly agree that, left unchecked, Big Money corrupts politics and undermines democracy. That was one of the few things Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton agreed on, and both the American and French Revolutions were fought in part to get the financial power and privilege of aristocracy out of governance." (09/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k3k63fn  

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North Korea: Miller gets 6 years of hard labor

September 14, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"North Korea's Supreme Court on Sunday convicted a 24-year-old American man of entering the country illegally to commit espionage and sentenced him to six years of hard labor. At a trial that lasted about 90 minutes, the court said Matthew Miller, of Bakersfield, California, tore up his tourist visa at Pyongyang's airport upon arrival on April 10 and admitted to having the 'wild ambition' of experiencing prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea's human rights situation. Miller, who looked thin and pale at the trial and was dressed completely in black, is one of three Americans being held in North Korea." [editor's note: I can think of easier ways to break into show business; Harlan Ellison just risked his life by joining a street gang! - SAT] (09/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/neo6d28  

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Merkel: Fighting anti-Semitism is German duty

September 14, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Fighting anti-Semitism is every German's duty, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a rally in Berlin. The protest against anti-Semitism comes 75 years since the start of World War Two, in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany. With attacks on Jews increasing, the message to Germany and the world is 'tolerance.' Mrs Merkel said. The surge in anti-Semitism follows the summer's conflict in Gaza." [editor's note: I could quibble and point out that "anti-Semitism" would be opposing ANYONE in the Middle East ... but I won't - SAT] (09/14/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29195685  

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Politico’s whopper: Corporate tax evasion issue a “flop” for Democrats

September 14, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"With polls showing most Americans just hate companies that renounce their U.S. citizenship to dodge paying their taxes, the D.C./corporate-centric outlet Politico says Democrats are making a mistake by pushing this issue. Politico’s article, 'Democrats’ whopper of a strategy flop,' claims that Democrats trying to do something about this problem is a 'strategy failure' because Democrats aren’t predicted to keep control of the Senate. ... The article makes the case that the better approach would be for Democrats to give corporations a huge tax cut (a.k.a. 'tax reform')." [editor's note: Given that corporations don't pay taxes anyway (their customers do, in increased prices), this would be a bad idea because ...? - SAT] (09/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzuq2f8  

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Obama’s twisted logic on deportations

September 12, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Deepak Bhargava  

"In 1968, after the Vietnamese village of Ben Tre was demolished by the US military, a US Army officer infamously said, 'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.' Recently President Obama reminded me of this famous lesson in Orwellian logic while explaining his decision to break his promise to stop the deportation crisis by taking executive action at the end of the summer. According to the president’s logic, the best way to keep immigrant families together is to continue the deportations for another two months." (09/11/14)

http://www.thenation.com/article/181573/obamas-twisted-logic  

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The other September 11th: Chile, Cuba and the United States

September 12, 2014
posted by

Raw Story
by Katie Halper  

"Today is September 11th. As almost everyone in the world knows, on this day, thirteen years ago, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 people. The aftermath of these attacks had national ramifications –- racial profiling, stifling of dissent, squashing of civil liberties –- as well as international ones: an invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with September 11th, and Afghanistan. But for Chileans, September 11th had become a day of tragedy decades before, when, in 1973, its own army flew fighter jets over Santiago and bombed its own presidential palace, during a coup to overthrow its own legally elected president Salvador Allende." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m8g3tdf  

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President Obama, only Congress has the power to wage war

September 12, 2014
posted by

Andrew P. Napolitano Fox News Forum
by Andrew P. Napolitano  

"James Madison is commonly referred to as the Father of the Constitution in large measure because, in the secrecy of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he kept the most complete set of notes. He also had a very keen mind and a modest demeanor and an uncanny ability to solidify consensus around basic principles that are woven into the Constitution. After he wrote the Constitution and before he became Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state and eventually a two-term president, he was a congressman from Virginia. When he spoke on the floor of the House, the parts of the Constitution he was most adamant about restrained the president. Chief among those restraints, in Madison’s view, was the delegation to Congress, and not to the president, of the power to wage war." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mhpyhpv  

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Just how big a threat to the US is ISIS?

September 11, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"It didn't surprise anyone that most Republicans were displeased with President Obama's speech about ISIS (which he called ISIL, another of its names) last night, and it would be natural to conclude that the key division at work is between a president and party reluctant to use military force abroad, and an opposition party with near-limitless enthusiasm for military adventures. There's plenty of truth there, but there's an even more fundamental divide, even if it's not going to be spoken by President Obama or that many Democrats. The real question is whether ISIL actually constitutes a threat to the United States." [editor's note: ISIL is the International Society for Individual Liberty and has been for decades. Sorry, "Islamic State" -- you can't have the acronym - TLK](09/11/14)

http://prospect.org/article/just-how-big-threat-us-isil  

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MO: Legislature overrides veto, enacts 72-hour abortion waiting period

September 11, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Missouri women seeking abortions will face one of the nation's longest waiting periods, after state lawmakers overrode the governor's veto to enact a 72-hour delay that includes no exception for cases of rape or incest. The new requirement will take effect 30 days after Wednesday's vote by the Republican-led Legislature, overruling the veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. He had denounced the measure as 'extreme and disrespectful' toward women. The abortion bill was one of the most prominent Republican victories in a record-setting September session, during which Missouri lawmakers also overrode 47 line-item budget vetoes and nine other bills, including one creating a training program for teachers to carry guns in schools." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2qbk3n  

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Two men helped turn 9/11 into biggest day of charitable service

September 11, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Tolling bells, moments of silence, and readings of the names of those who perished 13 years ago are taking place in thousands of memorial services across the nation on Thursday, as Americans take time to remember that September morning that indelibly changed so many lives. But along with country’s remembrances and prayers, millions of people from New York to Los Angeles are taking the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to volunteer their time or donate their money for charitable events and public-spirited causes. Since the day’s 10-year anniversary three years ago, Sept. 11 quietly has been transformed into the nation’s most active day for charitable engagement, according to an independent research firm." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mayrqso  

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Walk in their shoes

September 11, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Roger Smith  

"I’m a CEO with a GED, and I have walked in the shoes of a minimum wage worker. I know from experience that it’s a tougher road today. The minimum wage buys fewer necessities now than it did when I needed it to survive. And as a successful capitalist, it pains me to see that the American Dream, which so inspired me, is increasingly out of reach. As a young boy, I knew all too well the despair of empty pockets. I learned to be resourceful, making money by selling my most precious possessions. The sound of change in my pocket gave me hope." (09/11/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140911/walk-in-their-shoes  

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India: Police charge toddler for “coercion and intimidation”

September 11, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Two policemen are to be suspended for charging a one-year-old child with 'coercion' ahead of a by-election in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A police report noted that '10-12-month-old Nazim,' and his father Yasin, could disrupt the peace of the poll. Police often prepare lists of potential trouble-makers and criminals ahead of local elections and send them to the relevant authorities and courts. Correspondents say the incident has caused outrage in the area." (09/11/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29152950  

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South Africa: Pistorius cleared of murder, culpable homicide verdict to come

September 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Oscar Pistorius was cleared on Thursday of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but the Olympic and Paralympic track star faces a troubled night after the South African judge adjourned for the day before ruling on a charge of culpable homicide. The double-amputee, once one of the biggest names in world athletics, has reason to fear a guilty verdict after Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned seconds after saying key elements of the culpable homicide charge were satisfied when he shot Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day last year." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwlf5ol  

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FL: Kindergarten teacher refuses to give standardized tests

September 11, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"An Alachua County kindergarten teacher is refusing to give standardized tests to her students. The Gainesville Sun reports 59-year-old Susan Bowles has decided not to give her Chiles Elementary students tests such as FAIR, which predicts their success in reading and is required to be administered to kindergartners. Bowles says kindergarteners used to take the test on paper. Now it's computer-based, meaning teachers administer it one-on-one, resulting in up to six weeks of lost instruction time." [editor's note: The bricks continue to fall; why on earth would you need to test kindergarteners on their reading skills, anyway? - SAT] (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m5ep5zh  

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Obama picking his targets … while missing the point

September 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Andrew J. Bacevich  

“'We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq,' New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote. There, in the Land of the Two Rivers, he continued, the United States confronts the 'core problem' of our era: 'the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam.' Brooks is wrong. For starters, he misconstrues the core problem -- which is a global conflict pitting tradition against modernity. Traditionalists, especially numerous in but not confined to the Islamic world, cling to the conviction that human existence should be God-centered human order. Proponents of modernity, taking their cues from secularized Western elites, strongly prefer an order that favors individual autonomy and marginalizes God." [editor's note: And the real fallacy in this may lie in thinking "God" cares one way or the other how humans prioritize things - SAT] (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lpp3axm  

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NJ: Court upholds ban on therapy to “cure” gay kids

September 11, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld New Jersey’s ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian children. By a 3-0 vote, a panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban, which Republican Governor Chris Christie signed into law in August 2013, did not violate the free speech or religious rights of people offering 'gay conversion therapy' to convert homosexual minors into heterosexuals. The panel also said the plaintiffs, who included therapists and a Christian counseling group, lacked standing to pursue claims on behalf of their minor clients." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mbnlsdk  

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Another way to defeat IS

September 11, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor
by staff  

"The world’s eyes are on President Obama this week as he rallies a coalition of nations to 'destroy' the extremist Islamic State (IS) and its terrorist-led territory. Yet if the Arab world is ever to throw off its many forms of tyranny -- from theocracy to autocracy to monarchy -- it also needs a model to emulate. As an old Arab proverb states: 'To lead by example is better than a commandment.' Which is why it may be helpful in watching the war on IS to also be hopeful about recent progress in Tunisia." [editor's note: Perhaps a bit of sanity among the rattling sabers? - SAT] (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odbf2er  

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If US joins Islamic State fight, how will it get out?

September 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Bill Schneider  

"When President Barack Obama makes the case for military action against Islamic State militants on Wednesday night, it won’t be hard to convince Americans to get involved in the conflict. The hard part will be explaining how we get out. The president is speaking to the American people, not to Congress. He may not even ask Congress to authorize the use of force. Just to fund it, which they will do because they don’t want to undercut the U.S. military." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbu6pgu  

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Maher: If Hillary nominated, I’ll vote for Rand Paul

September 11, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Comic and Real Time host Bill Maher said his support of the Democratic Party does not extend to highly favored 2016 Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In fact, Maher told The Hill’s Judy Kurtz in an interview published on Wednesday that he is more intrigued by Libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY), saying, 'Rand Paul is an interesting candidate to me. Rand Paul could possibly get my vote. As I always used to say about his father, I love half of him. ... He’s way less of a hawk than Hillary, and that appeals to me a lot because I’m not crazy about how warlike she is.'" (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ofvlv79  

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The power of images, real and assumed

September 11, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In the last couple of weeks we've seen two interesting examples of the power of images to change public discussion in a way facts alone often can't. I'm talking, of course, about the video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee unconscious in an elevator, and the images of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff just before they were beheaded by ISIS. You can say that images have a unique power, which is true in some ways but often overstated in others. What's indisputable though, and evident in both these cases, is that the dissemination of a powerful image makes powerful people change the decisions they make. And that can be what changes everything." (09/10/14)

http://prospect.org/article/power-images-real-and-assumed  

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Cuba: US embargo a “genocidal act” that cost $1.1 trillion

September 11, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The Cuban government on Tuesday denounced the 'systematic worsening' of the U.S. economic embargo, the impact of which Havana calculated at more than $1.1 trillion -- taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the international price of gold - since being imposed on the island in 1962. The embargo is a 'genocidal and vile act ... (with) an extraterritorial dimension,' given that the United States is trying to impose it on developing countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno said in presenting the Cuban government's annual report to the United Nations on the U.S. sanctions." (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6fs9vn  

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Report: Some patients “wake up” during surgery

September 10, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"More than 150 people a year in the UK and Ireland report they have been conscious during surgery -- despite being given general anaesthesia. In the largest study of its kind, scientists suggests this happens in one in every 19,000 operations. They found episodes were more likely when women were given general anaesthesia for Caesarean sections or patients were given certain drugs. Experts say though rare, much more needs to be done to prevent such cases." (09/10/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29118656  

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The start of something big?

September 10, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Digby  

"The political world is abuzz with the news that the upstart Zephyr Teachout campaign made a much more serious run at Andrew Cuomo last night than anyone anticipated. For a campaign with no money in the most expensive market in the nation, it’s quite an achievement. Matt Stoller has a good piece up this morning with five reasons why Cuomo won anyway and it tells you a lot about American politics. ... But he also made some important points about why this campaign has stimulated such interest among liberals. This one strikes me as particularly salient: This was a real debate of ideas." [editor's note: No wonder she lost; "a real debate of ideas" has stopped Libertarians in their tracks for decades now - SAT] (09/10/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140910/the-start-of-something-big  

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Detroit reaches deal that could speed bankruptcy exit

September 10, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"The city of Detroit has struck a deal with a major bondholder that could expedite the city’s exit from the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. Syncora Guarantee Inc., an international bond insurer based in New York and London that had been one of the fiercest opponents of the city’s original bankruptcy recovery plan, entered into a tentative agreement with city officials Tuesday. US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who was charged with weighing the fairness and feasibility of the city’s financial recovery strategy, postponed proceedings until Monday to allow another major bondholder to review the terms of the agreement, which the two parties say could drastically affect further proceedings." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2tz7sy  

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Whither the American dream?

September 10, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Mitria Wilson  

"In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, the federal government stepped in to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and prevent a broader housing-market collapse. It is clear that the mortgage giants made some mistakes in the foreclosure crisis, including underestimating their amount of risk from defaults. But neither they nor consumers were the primary cause of the 2008 financial crisis: The blame for that belongs to financial institutions that made predatory lending their primary business model." [editor's note: It's a little deeper than that, and the two FMs did contribute to the problem, but the writer is pretty close to the truth here - SAT] (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qenaxyx  

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