Author Archive

TPP signing brings out opposition

February 4, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"Representatives of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries will officially sign the free trade agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday (which on this side of the date line means the signing occurs Wednesday). But the prospects for U.S. passage of the agreement continue to decline. ... A Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute study, 'Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement' by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, with Jomo Kwame Sundaram, concluded that TPP would cause job loss and increase inequality in every TPP country, especially the United States." [editor's note: Nice to see my alma mater standing up to this abomination - SAT] (02/03/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160203/tpp-signing-brings-out-opposition  

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IRS reportedly experiencing “computer failure”

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday it is experiencing computer failure across several systems and temporarily cannot accept many taxpayer returns. 'Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems,' the IRS said in a statement. 'A number of taxpayer and tax practitioner tools are unavailable,' it said. 'IRS.gov remains available, although a number of the services on the site are not, including Where's My Refund.' The agency said it is in the process of making repairs and anticipates some of the systems will remain unavailable until Thursday." (02/03/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-irs-computers-idUSKCN0VC2X2  

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Is it time for US to dump Saudi Arabia?

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Josh Cohen  

"The moral case for the United States to question its close relationship with Saudi Arabia is clear. Saudi Arabia is governed by the House of Saud, an authoritarian monarchy that does not tolerate dissent, and the country consistently ranks among the 'worst of the worst' countries in democracy watchdog Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil rights. Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam, and the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Its legal system is governed by Sharia law, and a 2015 study from Middle East Eye noted that Saudi Arabia and Islamic State prescribed near-identical punishments, such as amputation and stoning for similar crimes. The government is also renowned for carrying out public executions after trials that Amnesty International condemns as 'grossly unfair;' Amnesty describes the Saudi 'justice system' as 'riddled with holes.'" (02/03/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/02/03/is-it-time-for-the-united-states-to-dump-saudi-arabia  

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Lawyer to Shkreli: “Zip it!”

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Beleaguered pharmaceutical executive turned media sensation Martin Shkreli has been instructed by his new high-powered lawyer, Ben Brafman, to stop talking. 'He is not making any more statements. Zero,' Brafman said in an email to USA TODAY about his new client, who has been called the most hated man in America, and who just this week mouthed off to rapper Ghostface Killah and Congress. The crackdown comes as Shkreli heads to Washington for a Congressional committee hearing Thursday about skyrocketing drug prices at Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company the 32-year-old New Yorker ran before he was arrested in December on fraud charges." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/03/hated-ceo-martin-shkreli-told-zip/79757802  

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Is “female Viagra” feminist?

February 4, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Molly M Ginty  

"It’s been called the first 'Viagra for women' and hailed as a health breakthrough. But Addyi (generic name flibanserin) is sparking ire just as it claims to spark desire. Is this drug a boon for feminism because it finally gives women what men have enjoyed since 1998: prescription medication that can effectively boost sagging libidos? Or are the drug’s pluses (an average increase of 0.5 to 1 'sexually satisfying events per month') not really worth its potential side effects of nausea, dizziness and fainting? Since the FDA approved Addyi in August 2015, feminist debate on these questions has raged. Heightening the controversy is the fact that feminist organizations, with funding from the drug’s maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, played an active role in getting the drug approved." (02/03/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18769/is-female-viagra-feminist  

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CA: San Francisco weighs giving condoms to middle schoolers

February 4, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"San Francisco's public schools leaders are considering distributing condoms at middle schools. The San Francisco Examiner reports Monday that the policy change was introduced as part of an overall effort by the San Francisco Unified School District to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors. A board committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal Monday. The board first adopted a policy to distribute condoms at high schools in 1991, and in 1996 the board amended the district's condom distribution program to allow parents to opt out or exclude their child from the program, the newspaper reported." (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/02/02/san-francisco-weighs-giving-condoms-to-middle-schoolers.html  

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GOP’s Donald Trump nightmare far from over

February 4, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Ted Cruz’s poll-defying victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night spared the Republican Party the ultimate humiliation of a Donald Trump landslide—not in Iowa, per se, but in the presidential primary writ large. Until this week, nonplussed Republicans were contemplating with dread an increasingly likely scenario in which Trump won Iowa convincingly, reinforced his dominant leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and went on to essentially run the table to the nomination. Things won’t be quite that straightforward for Trump after all. The early conventional wisdom out of Iowa is that Trump hurt himself by failing to put together a traditional campaign apparatus, that Cruz helped himself by putting together a great one, and that third-place Marco Rubio benefitted from a late burst of pragmatism within the Republican electorate. The results at the very least slow Trump’s juggernaut, and possibly reorient the primary into a real three-way race." (02/02/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/128991/gops-donald-trump-nightmare-far  

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Report: Luxembourg to support asteroid mining

February 4, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Luxembourg government has signaled its intention to get behind the mining of asteroids in space. It is going to support R&D in technologies that would make it possible and may even invest directly in some companies. The Grand Duchy will also put in place a legal framework to give operators who are based in the country the confidence to go about their business. Former European Space Agency boss Jean-Jacques Dordain is to be an adviser." (02/03/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35482427  

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Israel’s new McCarthyism

February 4, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"As international discontent with Israel’s occupation policy continues to rise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Israel’s ultra-right-wing movement have escalated their attacks on the country’s progressive community, which opposes the 49-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the ever-expanding government-subsidized settlements. This week, the Knesset is expected to take up a bill backed by Netanyahu and his allies that will require Israeli nongovernmental organizations that expose and challenge the government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians to register, in effect, as foreign agents. Some Israeli activists call the legislation their country’s version of McCarthyism." (02/02/16)

http://prospect.org/article/israels-new-mccarthyism  

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Report: Americans losing jobs to a visa program

February 3, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Leo Perrero thought he was getting a promotion, or a raise. Or at least an enthusiastic high-five. He had worked in IT at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in some capacity for more than a decade. ... Perrero was fresh off a glowing performance review, earning an evaluation he describes as 'the highest you can get.' So when he was called into a last-minute staff meeting in 2014, he thought it would be a good one. It wasn't. Instead, he and his colleagues were told they had three months to find new jobs. An outside contracting firm would be taking over the department. And, in order to receive their severance packages, Perrero and his co-workers would have to train their replacements: guest workers from India, making about half their salaries." [editor's note: In other words, they lost their jobs to competitors who were willing to sell for less, not to a "visa program." Do they complain when they find something they want on sale at a store for less than another store? There shouldn't have been a visa requirement in the first place -- labor markets should be free markets - TLK] (02/03/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0203/Americans-are-losing-jobs-to-a-visa-program.-Can-it-be-fixed  

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US generals: Women should have to register for draft

February 3, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The top Army and Marine Corps generals say they believe all women should have to register for the draft now that combat jobs are open to them. The military service leaders say they will not lower standards to bring women into the more grueling jobs. They told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it will take up to three years before the combat posts are fully integrated. Army Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Gen. Robert Neller said women should be included in the requirement to register for the selective service at age 18. But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Army Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy would only say that the issue should be discussed. Political leaders have so far been reluctant to endorse the draft requirement." [editor's note: If this doesn't kill the draft and the registration process nothing will - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/02/generals-say-women-should-have-to-register-for-draft.html  

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House fails to override veto of Obamacare repeal

February 3, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The House on Tuesday failed to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would have repealed key provisions of Obamacare and stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The 241-186 vote to override the veto fell short of the two-thirds needed, ensuring that the Affordable Care Act will remain in place at least through the final year of Obama's term. Republican leaders, who have been criticized by Democrats for failing to come up with an alternative to Obamacare, said they plan to craft a replacement plan this year as a kind of preview for what they hope to do in the next Congress." [editor's note: Dog bites man; details at 11 - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/02/house-fails-override-presidents-veto-obamacare-repeal/79697108  

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Surprises and warnings in the Iowa numbers

February 3, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"When candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ended the Iowa caucuses Monday night in a near-tie, there were some surprises that went beyond the strength of Sanders’ showing, as well as some warnings for Democrats. Clinton received more state delegates (700.59 to 696.82), but the margin was due to her winning six coin tosses. Clinton will receive 23 delegates to the national convention and Sanders will receive 21 delegates. The New York Times writes, 'There are 4,763 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, so it will require 2,382 delegates to win the nomination.' You will be hearing the number 2,382 more and more as the year goes on." [editor's note: To see this as anything but a Sanders win is to miss the point, but there is a long way to go for the Dems - SAT] (02/02/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160202/a-look-into-iowa-numbers  

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Russia: Kadyrov accuses Putin of encouraging intimidation

February 3, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Russian politician Mikhail Kasyanov has accused President Vladimir Putin of 'silently encouraging' intimidation as a row over a menacing video continues. The video posted by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a strong Putin ally, portrayed Mr Kasyanov though a sniper's gun sights. Mr Kadyrov has criticised social network Instagram for removing it. Speaking to BBC News, Mr Kasyanov said Mr Putin was responsible for Mr Kadyrov's actions. 'He is one of the 45 governors of the [Russian] regions, appointed personally by Mr Putin, and Mr Putin is responsible for his behaviour personally,' he told the BBC's Sarah Rainsford." (02/02/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35476818  

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How to rehabilitate capitalism

February 3, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Hugo Dixon  

"Capitalism is under attack. Witness the popularity of Bernie Sanders, the socialist running neck-and-neck in the opinion polls with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic caucuses in Iowa being held on Feb. 1. To rehabilitate the system of free enterprise, it needs to be buttressed by a modern conception of fairness. Viewed from Mars, capitalism has been a huge success. Free enterprise has generated wealth and removed hundreds of millions of people from poverty. But viewed from Earth, what often stands out is how many have been left behind by the march of globalisation and technology, while others have got ahead by methods more foul than fair. The classic left-wing response to the perceived unfairness of capitalism has been to tax and spend. That doesn’t work well." [editor's note: I Do wish these pundits would stop labeling this process "capitalism;" Marxist epithets really have no place in the discussion - SAT] (02/01/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/hugo-dixon/2016/02/01/how-to-rehabilitate-capitalism  

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Kasich: I’ll reunite Pink Floyd … to teach Americans about “Money”

February 3, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Tuesday promised to make it a priority to reunite the rock band Pink Floyd if he wins his White House bid. The morning after Kasich placed 8th in the Iowa caucus, host Alisyn Camerota ended her interview with the former Ohio governor by asking him to recall the 'best concert ever.' ... 'Pink Floyd’s The Wall,' Kasich replied. 'Roger Waters is a remarkable artist. And I saw [it] in Pittsburgh. It was absolutely incredible. I don’t even have to think twice. It was the best. And if I’m president, I’m am going to once and for all try to reunite Pink Floyd to come together and play a couple of songs,' he continued. 'And since we have so much trouble in America with our finances, I’m going to start with a little song they created called Money. 'That’s better than Comfortably Numb, Camerota agreed." [editor's note: Okay, now we have to get him the vote, just to see Waters and Gilmore again! - SAT] [additional editor's note: All in all, it's just another ... well, you know - TLK] (02/02/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/john-kasich-ill-reunite-pink-floyd-once-and-for-all-to-teach-americans-about-money  

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The trouble with Bernie Sanders’s revolution

February 3, 2016
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"We'll know Monday night whether Bernie Sanders has taken the first step toward the revolution he has promised, but we can already say that his campaign has achieved stunning success, more than almost anyone thought was possible. Now that the voting is beginning and Democratic voters have to make their choice, we should take a good hard look at what Sanders wants to do and how he wants to do it. Whatever the results of the Iowa Caucuses, he's a serious candidate, and his candidacy should be engaged on serious terms." (02/01/16)

http://prospect.org/article/trouble-bernie-sanderss-revolution  

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No justice, no football

February 3, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"For me, the big question isn't which team wins in that football thing this weekend. The real big question is whether local anarchists and malcontents will try to shut down any big-name bridges, freeways or otherwise jam up the Bay Area's Super Bowl festivities. Social media and news organizations report chatter of a big protest a-brewing. San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Kevin Fagan (master of the protest beat) told me, 'Chances are very good that a major disruption will be attempted at least.' In Iowa, if you build it, they will come. In the Bay Area, if you build it, they will come to block it." [editor's note: I do wish she'd not call them "anarchists" ("dickheads" would be sufficient), but the rest is quite valid - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/02/02/no-justice-no-football-n2113353  

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Prediction: Congress will extend cease-fire on medical marijuana

February 3, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Once the Super Bowl clears out, cannabis businesspeople, activists and allies gather Feb. 13 and 14 in San Francisco for the International Cannabis Business Conference. ICBC’s organizers announced last week the inclusion of two political leaders on the issue: Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA. and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, both of whom chatted with Smell the Truth about 2016 cannabis legalization, the presidential race, and the message they’ll carry to San Francisco this February. Rep. Rohrabacher helped make history along with Rep. Sam Farr in 2014 when the two led Congress to a historic, bipartisan ceasefire on state-legal medical marijuana." [editor's note: Those with long memories might recall that Cong. Rohrabacher was among the early leaders in libertarian groups like the Society for Individual Liberty, before he became a "moderate Republican," Reagan speechwriter and then longtime GOP Congressman in a safe seat - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/02/02/congress-will-extend-cease-fire-on-medical-marijuana-lawmakers-predict  

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Trump, the GOP’s spleen, is ripe for surgery

February 2, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bill Schneider  

"The Iowa caucuses might have been called the Iowa carcasses. Both parties saw a race between body parts: the head versus the heart. On the Republican side, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won Republicans’ hearts. He dominated the vote among true conservative believers, evangelical Christians and Republicans who said they were looking for a candidate who 'shares my values.' But Cruz wasn’t the only Republican who did better than expected. So did Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the other Cuban-American in the race. Rubio’s appeal was to the head. He won college graduates and Republicans who wanted a candidate who 'can win in November.' Cruz looks like a believer. Rubio looks like a winner. What about Donald Trump? He did worse than expected." (02/02/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/02/02/trump-the-gops-spleen-is-ripe-for-surgery  

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No other way to spin it: Sanders pulled off a huge victory in Iowa

February 2, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Marc Daalder  

"There's no other possible interpretation: Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off an unprecedented upset in Iowa last night. He tied with his opponent former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and the two split the 44 delegates almost evenly between them (23-21). Clinton only managed to win 0.3 percent more precincts than Sanders. Three days ago, the Des Moines Register poll projected he would be defeated by three points: 45-42. This poll has traditionally predicted results correctly, and yet was wrong for both parties this year: projected Republican winner Donald Trump lost to Ted Cruz by four points. Sanders’ upset is even more notable when taken in the context of older polls. Surveys throughout the fall of 2015 predicted a Clinton victory by margins as high as 38 percent." (02/02/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18814/bernie-sanders-iowa-caucus-hillary-clinton-win-results  

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North Korea to U.N. agencies: Satellite launch planned

February 2, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"North Korea told U.N. agencies on Tuesday it plans to launch a satellite as early as next week, a move that could advance the country's long-range missile technology after its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6. News of the planned launch between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25 drew fresh U.S. calls for tougher U.N. sanctions already under discussion in response to North Korea's nuclear test. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United Nations needed to 'send the North Koreans a swift, firm message.' Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space program by launching rockets, although the United States and other governments worry that such launches are missile tests in disguise." (02/02/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-satellite-idUSKCN0VB1NY  

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MI: State environmental agency to present Flint water-testing plan

February 2, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will present a comprehensive plan to federal officials on Monday to test lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, the Detroit Free Press reported. The goal would be to come up with a reliable assessment for the water system by April 14, when Michigan's state of emergency is set to expire, the paper said. Officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality could not be immediately reached for comment. The financially strapped city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its source of tap water from Detroit's system to the nearby Flint River in April 2014, in order to save money. The more corrosive water from the Flint River leached more lead from the city pipes than Detroit water did." (02/01/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-michigan-water-idUSKCN0VA2QB  

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How would “Trumponomics” change America?

February 2, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor
by Mark Trumbull  

"To some, the economic policies of a President Donald J. Trump would be a disaster. To others, they would be a welcome dose of common sense. But one thing is clear: They would be different. ... To the degree that 'Trumponomics' exists, it is a populism of the right: calling for a protectionist, America-first approach to trade while pledging to defend native-born Americans against the perceived economic (and security) threats of illegal immigration. For good measure, Mr. Trump has broken with establishment politicians of his own party by rebuffing the idea that Social Security or Medicare benefits need to be trimmed to make the programs solvent." (02/01/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/0201/How-would-Trumponomics-change-America-Brace-yourself  

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Canada: Landmark deal to protect Great Bear Rainforest

February 2, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Indigenous tribes, timber firms and environmental groups in western Canada have welcomed a deal to protect one of the world's largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest. The Great Bear Rainforest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia is home to many animals and ancient trees. Logging will be banned across a huge area of the forest. Environmental campaigners say the deal is a model for resolving similar land-use disputes around the world." (02/01/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35467660  

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