Author Archive

Israeli spying on Iran nuclear talks might have backfired

March 25, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The shocking part of reports Tuesday that Israel spied on American diplomats involved in the nuclear negotiations with Iran was not that friends spy on friends. That’s very old news to both intelligence experts and United States officials. Indeed, the US learned of the Israeli spying as a result of its own spying on Israel. Rather, it’s the lengths to which the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went in its attempts to influence Congress to kill an emerging nuclear deal with Iran. Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer essentially treated Congress as home turf, with their aggressive actions suggesting that they appeared to think of Washington as their domestic political landscape." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q8fq6w5  

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Koch network takes on Export-Import Bank

March 25, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"In an interesting juxtaposition from Monday’s New York Times, a Times article explains a Times op-ed. The op-ed calls for killing the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), because it helps American companies compete globally. The news story reports that the anti-government Koch brothers network is behind the campaign." [editor's note: At least Mr. Johnson gets the label correctly, unlike most "progressives" who are just shocked ... shocked when they see Charles or David backing something on the civil liberties front - SAT] (03/24/15)

http://ourfuture.org/20150324/koch-network-takes-on-ex-im-bank  

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Indiana set to enact “religious freedom” bill

March 24, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The governor of Indiana is poised to enact a 'religious freedom' law, which opponents say will give state businesses a licence to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. Governor Mike Pence is expected to sign the bill this week amid protests. Supporters say the bill prevents the state from forcing people to provide services contrary to their religion. Similar bills are being considered across the US as court rulings have made gay marriage legal in more states." (03/24/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32045536  

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Is US guest worker program worth saving?

March 24, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times    

"On March 18, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it would resume processing applications for the H-2B guestworker program after a two-week suspension. The DOL abruptly halted processing H-2B applications earlier this month after a Florida federal district court ruling left the program without any formal regulations; the agency began processing applications again when the court granted its request to stay the ruling until April 15 to allow the guestworker program to continue. The announcement prompted a collective sigh of relief among employers and workers who depend on H-2B jobs." (03/24/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17785/guestworker_law  

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Goldilocks zone for oil prices is gone for good

March 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Richard Heinberg  

"Five years ago, I wrote an article for Reuters titled 'Goldilocks and the Three Fuels.' In it, I discussed what I call the Goldilocks price zone for oil, natural gas and coal, a zone in which prices are 'just right": high enough to reward producers, but low enough to entice consumers. Ever since the start of the fossil-fuel era, such a zone has existed. Sometimes price boundaries were transgressed on the upside, sometimes on the downside, but it was always possible to revert to the zone. But now, the Goldilocks zone for oil has ceased to exist. This will have staggering consequences throughout the economy for the foreseeable future." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o7323gv  

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When War on Drugs in Mexico comes back home

March 24, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Gordon  

"They behead people by the hundreds. They heap headless, handless bodies along roadsides as warnings to those who would resist their power. They have penetrated the local, state, and national governments and control entire sections of the country. They provide employment and services to an impoverished public, which distrusts their actual government with its bitter record of corruption, repression, and torture. They seduce young people from several countries, including the United States, into their murderous activities. Is this a description of the heinous practices of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria? It could be, but as a matter of fact it’s not. These particular thugs ... are part of the multi-billion-dollar industry known as the drug cartels of Mexico." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/od83bbg  

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Millennials will change abortion conversation

March 24, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Charles C. Camosy  

"The conventional wisdom is that young people are strongly pro-choice. While it is not surprising that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers eventually grew more skeptical over time, when they were teenagers and young-adults, they too were all-in for abortion rights. But the demographic future of the United States is defying that conventional wisdom." [editor's note: If they are smart, they will push for better birth control, including a male option that's simple, cheap, 100% effective with no side-effects ... and easily reversible if/when the man decides he'd rather NOT shoot blanks. Solve these issues and abortion as a divisive issue evaporates! - SAT] (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/llrs678  

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Russia, Crimea & the specter of nuclear war

March 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Sharon Squassoni  

"It’s been a year since Russia annexed Crimea and the nuclear rumors are flying. Earlier this month, Russian officials speculated about whether or not Russia could place nuclear weapons in Crimea. Admitting ignorance about what weapons were there now or whether there were any plans to deploy such weapons there, Mikhail Ulyanov, an official in charge of arms control for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that 'in principle, Russia can do it.' And in a video apparently intended to mark the anniversary of the annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he had considered putting Russian nuclear forces on alert at the time of annexation." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nmt2w82  

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VA: UVA rape story not backed by evidence

March 24, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Charlottesville, Virginia police have said an investigation has produced no evidence a gang rape portrayed in a Rolling Stone article occurred. But Chief Timothy Longo said it did not mean 'something terrible didn't happen' to the student known as Jackie. The November 2014 article described a horrifying gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house in 2012. But after discrepancies were found in the story, the magazine apologised for the article." (03/23/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31927267  

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MT: Utility lobbies to stop referendum recognizing gun rights

March 24, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Lobbying lawmakers for a rate hike is one thing, but now Montana’s biggest electric and gas utility is battling to block a referendum on expanding gun rights. Publicly regulated NorthWestern Energy contends the measure would make it harder to keep their workplaces weapons-free. But the Montana Shooting Sports Association accuses the utility of sticking its nose into a political debate where it doesn’t belong. 'NorthWestern is opposing a bill that has nothing to do with their corporate mission delivering electricity to its customers,' the group’s Gary Marbut told FoxNews.com Monday." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nohmo26  

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Fast-track fight accelerates as vote approaches

March 24, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"As Congress prepares to consider fast track legislation to essentially pre-approve (without reading) the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) opponents are working to get the word out and register opposition. Seattle’s city council is preparing to vote on a resolution opposing fast track, and a number of organizations sent an open letter spelling out what an acceptable fast track process would do." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mjo3aqe  

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Three trends driving liberal American Jews away from Israel

March 24, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory last week (and the sordid campaigning that made it possible) liberal American Jews may be feeling, more than they ever have before, pained by, conflicted about, and even estranged from Israel. There are certainly consequences for policy, as U.S. policy toward Israel could become a much more partisan issue than it is now. But more than that, there's a crisis of the spirit emerging." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nk93d6c  

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Senate likely to delay Lynch’s AG nomination to mid-April

March 24, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to become the next attorney general is likely to be put on hold in the U.S. Senate until at least mid-April, congressional aides said on Monday, as Republicans and Democrats squabble over unrelated legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insisting that a bill clamping down on domestic human trafficking be passed before a vote is held on confirming Lynch to the top law enforcement job. ... Republican and Democratic aides said they knew of no progress toward ending the standoff." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mkbeey4  

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AZ: Ducey signs bill to extend property tax breaks for churches

March 24, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill allowing property tax breaks for buildings leased by churches. The bill by Darin Mitchell of Litchfield Park gives churches leasing space the same type of tax break churches which own their own buildings receive. Building owners are expected to pass their savings on to their tenants. Democrats say it gives churches lower rates the Legislature doesn't offer to other nonprofits, such as domestic violence shelters." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m5gjnmb  

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The changing of “The Guardian”

March 24, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by DD Guttenplan  

"Despite the headlines, the most interesting thing about the news that Katharine Viner will take over from Alan Rusbridger this summer as editor-in-chief of The Guardian is not that she will be the first woman to run a newspaper which, at 194 years old, is even more venerable than The Nation. Women currently run two British Sunday papers, one very downmarket tabloid, and the London Evening Standard. Rebecca Brooks famously (or infamously) was the youngest-ever editor of The News of the World before becoming editor of The Sun -- a paper that still sells about ten times as many copies as The Guardian every day." (03/23/15)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/202273/changing-guardian  

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Report: Yemen nearing civil war

March 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Yemen's top factions are squaring off for battle after months of skirmishes, turning respectively to neighboring Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran for help in what may become all-out war. With President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi seeking a comeback from the port city of Aden while the Shi'ite Houthi movement controls the capital Sanaa, rival administrations are trading bellicose rhetoric as fighting intensifies and factions commandeer airfields for the next stage of the struggle. Somewhat on the sidelines, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State are waiting to exploit what some fear could become Yemen's worst conflict since a 1994 civil war." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q4kqmvl  

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Republicans loved Netanyahu’s racist election tactics

March 23, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Ali Gharib  

"Almost 200 House Republicans are sending a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulating him on his victory in Israel’s snap election Tuesday. Netanyahu sailed to victory on the heels of two controversial late-campaign statements to rally his base: a warning, replete with George Wallace–esque shades of bigotry, that Palestinian citizens of Israel were 'coming out in droves to the polls' and a vow that a Palestinian state would not be created on his watch. In a spate of interviews with American news outlets, Netanyahu tried to walk back his remarks. Whatever one makes of his new Thursday position on a Palestinian state (a lot of people aren’t buying it) Netanyahu’s explanation of his bigoted warning about Arab voters left much to be desired." (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ljg3pzg  

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Coders becoming industrial workers of 21st Century

March 23, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Peter Downs  

"After graduating from college and moving away from his family and his hometown for the first time, Paul found his way into LaunchCode, a training and recruiting program for future coders. An artist, he dived enthusiastically into using code to alter and create images. After he completed the four-month class, LaunchCode placed him in a job at a marketing company that uses templates to build web pages for clients. ... Paul, which is not his real name, had hoped to stick with the job until the end of his first year. Then he'd quit and use his experience to find something better." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mcgk79x  

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Reckoning with the new auto recall bill

March 23, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Rachel M. Cohen  

"Some 46 million vehicles nationwide (nearly one in five on the road today) have a recalled, but unrepaired, safety issue. That’s because drivers, along with auto dealers and rental companies, have no legal obligation to fix safety recalls -- a gaping regulatory loophole that puts millions at risk. For years lawmakers have more or less ignored the issue, until earlier this month, when Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey introduced the Repairing Every Car to Avoid Lost Lives (RECALL) Act. The bill would require car owners to comply with all pending safety recalls in order to re-register their vehicles with the DMV, a commonsense approach that would make roads safer." (03/19/15)

http://prospect.org/article/reckoning-new-auto-recall-bill  

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If Hillary doesn’t run? Chaos for Democrats

March 22, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"It’s all but assumed that 2016 presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton soon will announce her candidacy. She’s swooping up wealthy donors, lining up eager-beaver staffers, and reportedly preparing to lease a campaign headquarters facility in Brooklyn. But what if she doesn’t? What if she’s truly worn out with being a Clinton and all that costs. ... What if she really does want to devote most of her time to being a grandma?" (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lxjfjtf  

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Social Security reversal in MD Senate race: Six lessons for Democrats

March 22, 2015
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future Blog
by Richard Eskow  

"Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He is also running from his record -- as a supporter of the 'Simpson-Bowles' plan to cut Social Security and top tax rates, a once-favored economic agenda among Washington insiders and some wealthy private interests. That’s a smart move, but Rep. Van Hollen has more ground to cover." [editor's note: As they seek to raise the FICA "ceiling" they should consider putting a "floor" on the bottom of it - SAT] (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k2uc53e  

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TX: Cruz to announce presidential bid

March 22, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand who has frequently clashed with leaders of his Republican Party, will announce on Monday that he plans to run for president, an aide told Reuters on Sunday. Cruz will be the first major figure from either party to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election when he speaks at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia. Two other prominent Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, are expected to reveal their plans in coming weeks." (03/22/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvsdxp  

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Study: Children of deployed military personnel more prone to accidents

March 22, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Since 2001, more than two million military children have been separated from a parent in the United States military due to combat deployments. Now, a new study from researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences suggests the impact of separation (and reunification) deeply affects these daughters and sons. Young children of deployed military parents, when compared to kids whose military parents remained at home, more frequently visited medical providers for injuries, mental health problems, and maltreatment. Sadly, an even higher risk of harm impacted those children who were reunited with a combat-injured parent." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kapp9uv  

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Two states craft “stolen valor” laws above federal lines

March 22, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Lawmakers in two northeastern states are declaring war on phony veterans who claim combat experience in order to commit fraud. So-called 'stolen valor' laws are not new, and the current federal version was revised after a tougher one was struck down in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Laws proposed in New Jersey and Massachusetts would go further than Washington's regulation, heaping prison time on those convicted of faking service to the country to gain money or service benefits." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ml5j8wb  

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Green light for red light cameras

March 22, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by David Roberts  

"This nation's appetite for technology is insatiable, and an unprecedented era of innovation has revolutionized how we live in less than a generation. From the smart phone and Wi-Fi in the tech world, to the mapping of the human genome and life-saving drugs in the medical world, these advances help us to live better, and longer, lives. So it's puzzling when a life-saving technology arrives, is proven to effective but then has the plug pulled on it without justification. Such is the case today with red-light safety cameras in communities across the nation. From Florida to Illinois, and Ohio to Texas, legislators and activists have been attacking these devices armed with hyperbole and fed by misinformed generalizations. The facts have been left on the cutting-room floor." [editor's note: This writer obviously has no awareness of the abuse of these cameras by local lawdogs seeking to pad the municipal coffers, which has civil libertarians up in arms everywhere - SAT] (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n94zrne  

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