PND Commentary

America’s fatal freedom apathy

January 28, 2015
posted by

James Bovard CounterPunch
by James Bovard  

"According to our civic folklore, Americans are more devoted to freedom than any other nationality on earth. But it is increasingly appears that this dogma is a relic of bygone times. A Gallup poll last July asked a thousand Americans: 'Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what to do with your life?' Only twenty-one percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied. Admittedly, the percentage of Americans who say they don’t have sufficient freedom has doubled since the previous Gallup poll on this question in 2006, when only 9% complained." (01/28/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/28/americas-fatal-freedom-apathy/  

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Not a very PC thing to say

January 28, 2015
posted by

New York
by Jonathan Chait  

"Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias. But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves." (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/olp4m6w  

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Punch-drunk Jonathan Chait takes on the entire Internet

January 28, 2015
posted by

Gawker
by Alex Pareene  

So, here is sad white man Jonathan Chait's essay about the difficulty of being a white man in the second age of 'political correctness.' In a neat bit of editorial trolling, New York teased the column with following question: 'Can a white, liberal man critique a culture of political correctness?' The answer, as anyone with internet access or a television or the ability to see a newsrack could tell you, is a resounding yes, they can and pretty much constantly do. But the second half of the question, and the real point of the column, was left unwritten: Can a straight, white man do this without having to deal with people criticizing him for doing so? The answer, in 2015, is no, and that is what has Chait's dander up." (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pm48k8f  

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Gareth Porter on The Scott Horton Show

January 28, 2015
posted by

The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Gareth Porter, an award-winning independent journalist and historian, discusses the Obama administration's change of heart on Syria policy, where they are no longer entertaining the fantasy that 'moderates' will depose President Assad and defeat the radical Islamists also." [Flash audio or MP3] (01/27/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/01/27/12715-gareth-porter/  

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Syriza victory: Anti-austerity movement going mainstream

January 28, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Kate Aronoff  

"Yesterday, Syriza -- a previously marginal, left-leaning coalition party in Greece -- made history by winning the country’s general election. Winning 149 of 300 parliamentary seats, the party fell just two votes shy of an outright majority. Syriza’s leader, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, will become prime minister at the head of a coalition anti-austerity government, beating out the conservative New Democracy party and its now former prime minister, Antonis Samaras." (01/27/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17577/syriza_austerity  

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A staggeringly lopsided economic recovery

January 28, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Zoe Carpenter  

"Just how strong is the economic recovery? Democrats have offered somewhat contradictory answers to that question recently. The picture President Obama painted in last week’s State of the Union address was mostly rosy. “The shadow of crisis has passed,” he declared, citing 'a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production.' And indeed, the US economy added more jobs in 2014 than it has since 1999, and unemployment is at its lowest point in more than six years. The competing, bleaker, view -- described most forcefully by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren -- is that the good numbers don’t accurately reflect the reality lived by America’s workers." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mkd99ja  

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That other Bush steps in the ring

January 28, 2015
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Jeb Bush may be the front-runner in the GOP 2016 primary. He is the son and brother of former presidents, who can tap into their vaunted fund-raising machines. In some eyes, the former Florida governor always was the more disciplined, thoughtful and worthy son. Maybe. But Jeb Bush also has a problem: He is a boring speaker. Now that he’s apparently running for president, has Bush stepped up his game? I walked two blocks over to the National Automobile Dealers Association convention Friday to watch him address the crowd. Did he hit rhetorical heights? No, he did not." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lb9b6mm  

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Germany: On Auschwitz’s 70th anniversary, little tolerance for “others”

January 27, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Lars Fischer  

"Last Wednesday it was revealed that Lutz Bachmann, one of the founders and leaders of the German movement calling itself 'Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicization of the Occident' (PEGIDA) thought it would be fun to post photographs of himself posing as Hitler on Facebook. Coming less than a week before today’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, many are likely to find this revelation particularly chilling. PEGIDA, Bachmann’s brain child, emerged in the autumn of 2014 and has been organizing weekly demonstrations in Dresden." (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lcv587z  

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Revolting Greece

January 27, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Martin Sutovec  

Cartoon. (01/26/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/01/revolting-greece/  

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Liberate 41 million Americans from student loan debt

January 27, 2015
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Mary Green Swig, Steven L.Swig & Richard Eskow  

"President Obama’s proposal for tuition-free community college education, and the broader discussion that it has inspired, confirms our belief that it is time for a comprehensive solution to a $1.3 trillion problem: student debt in the United States. We strongly support the concept of tuition-free public higher education, and are encouraged by renewed arguments in its favor. But we must also confront what has been done to the last several generations of students. They have been forced to take on debt that is crippling to them, to our economy and our society." [editor's note: The "jubilee" concept might work; a better one would be a "pay it forward" from corporate America, in exchange for some period of job commitment after graduation - SAT] (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n4283p5  

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Charts of the Day, declining deficit edition

January 27, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"If you're like me, you can't wait for an excuse to head on over to the historical tables of the president's budget and grab some data to make a couple of graphs. Okay, so you're not like me in that respect, because you're not a weirdo. But I am, so when I saw that the Congressional Budget Office had come up with its latest budget projections, I knew it was graph time. The good news is that the deficit in 2014 was $483 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP. While that would be a lot of money to have in your bank account, it's the lowest deficit since 2007." [editor's note: Other than conflating velocity with acceleration-rate, this is a half-decent analysis. Yes, the rate of decline was slower; NO, the deficit was clearly not reduced! - SAT] (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l2wts4z  

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Torture if you must, but do not under any circumstances call the New York Times

January 27, 2015
posted by

Dan Froomkin The Intercept
by Dan Froomkin  

"Far from rejecting the authoritarian bent of his presidential predecessor, Obama has simply adjusted it, adding his own personal touches, most notably an enthusiasm for criminally prosecuting the kinds of leaks that are essential to a free press. The Sterling case -- especially in light of Obama's complicity in the cover-up of torture during the Bush administration -- sends a clear message to people in government service: You won't get in trouble as long as you do what you're told (even torture people). But if you talk to a reporter and tell him something we want kept secret, we will spare no effort to destroy you." (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lks5yp2  

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White House threatened by drones

January 27, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Chris Floyd  

"The White House faces a serious threat from drones, administration officials said today, after a recent incident in which a small, private drone crashed on the lawn near the president's home. This episode, though minor, has alerted the White House to a wider problem, the official said. 'The drone campaign conducted by President Obama in countries all over world threatens to make the term 'White House' synonymous with murder, destruction, violence, terror and cowardly sneak attacks that have claimed hundreds of innocent lives,' said the official." (01/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ovqdmku  

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Toxic waste and inequality are good for you

January 27, 2015
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"I keep forgetting whether people like [Jim] Pagels are defending free market principles, or defending current concentrations of wealth and power. I suspect they have a hard time remembering that themselves, the way they keep shifting rhetorical ground. A lot of it depends on whether criticism of the present system comes from the right or the left. It's totally fine to point out the extent to which our actually economy differs from a free market and that things are going to hell in a handbasket -- unless your criticism involves economic inequality or corporate power, in which the present system suddenly becomes a defensible stand-in for the 'free market.'" (01/26/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/35270  

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The national security establishment vs. defense

January 27, 2015
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"I have a simple proposal: Why not bring all the troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere in the Middle East. I mean all of them. Bring them all home and let them defend the United States. After all, it’s called the Department of Defense, right? Well, what would be wrong with applying the principle of defense to our country by bringing all the troops home and having them defend the United States?" (01/26/15)

http://fff.org/2015/01/26/national-security-establishment-vs-defense/  

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What electronic open-air drug market has to do with bringing down dictators? Everything!

January 27, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Matthew Gault  

"A case in which the FBI used questionable, possibly illegal tactics to bring down a man it charges is an Internet mega-drug dealer has compromised the safety of many people around the globe fighting for freedom against oppressive regimes. To get its man, the FBI broke into what many believed was a secure Internet browser that allowed its users to remain anonymous. The browser, Tor, was used to hide Silk Road, a virtual open-air drug emporium -- but it is also enables people to send information and organize resistance anonymously in places like China, Iran and Syria." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nasnpoy  

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Progressive wedge issues for cities and states

January 27, 2015
posted by

Our Future
by Bernie Horn  

"For years, conservatives used 'wedge issues' to split moderates from progressives—measures like criminalizing flag burning, cutting 'welfare,' and (until recently) banning same-sex marriage. They still do that, of course, but the Tea Party has forced conservatives to put greater emphasis on policies with little popular appeal. It’s time for progressives to promote some wedge issues of our own. To be clear, a progressive wedge issue: (1) pulls Americans to our side, (2) forces conservatives to defend an unpopular position, and (3) is both simple and substantial enough to become a voting issue in the next election." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l48zunu  

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Can Republicans create credible economic populism in time for 2016?

January 27, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman Washington Post
by Paul Waldman  

"When Republicans trooped to Iowa over the weekend for Steve King’s 'Freedom Summit,' it was as much of a dash to the right as you would have expected from an event hosted by perhaps the most fervently anti-immigrant member of Congress, in a state whose presidential caucus was won by Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mike Huckabee in 2008. But something else was going on, even there: the search for an economic populist message that might resonate with the general electorate." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lnp8l4w  

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Sometimes you just need to talk to a cop

January 27, 2015
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"Occupy Oakland started in 2011 with vague goals but very real grievances. The protest and occupation of Frank Ogawa Plaza downtown was loosely modeled on the Wall Street protests of the same name. Those were in response to the bailout of Wall Street firms that were linked definitively to financial crimes of 2008 -- of fragrant memory. Those protests seemed focused on income inequality, but Occupy Oakland quickly became about police violence. The city of Oakland did itself no favors with an inept and at times brutal response to the demonstrations. The city ended up agreeing to pay one protester $4.5 million for injuries suffered at the hands of police officers." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m9xrzm4  

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Oil still slides, OPEC talks “floor”

January 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by  

"Oil fell in see-saw trade on Monday, with U.S. crude ending at its lowest in nearly six years, as traders discounted comments from OPEC's top official about the market finally finding a bottom. It was an up-and-down session for crude, which gyrated along with the U.S. dollar in the wake of a decisive Greek election victory by the left-wing Syriza party. Prices initially rallied after OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said oil may have hit a floor and could move higher very soon, the first comments he has made on the subject during crude's seven-month-long price rout." [editor's note: Speaking of floors, let's put one on FICA - SAT] (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n92frqx  

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If Sanders runs, “I will not be a spoiler”

January 26, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Connor Jones  

"Over 3,000 activists and donors joined a Democracy for America (DFA) conference call with Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT] on Wednesday night to discuss how Democrats can move forward their agenda after losing control of the Senate. Amid the uncertainty of a Republican majority in Congress and a President itching for bipartisan compromise, DFA members sought to alleviate one nagging question: Who will be the progressive standard bearer in 2016? Naturally, 'Will you run for president in 2016?' was the first question DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain asked Sanders. Though not definitive, his answer was enough to leave these activists hopeful." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ozhflmh  

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Rand Paul’s big foreign policy test: Can he beat back the Iran hawks?

January 26, 2015
posted by

Salon
by Luke Brinker  

"[I]t may be hard to neatly classify Paul a hawk or a dove, even if there's an undercurrent of skepticism about U.S. intervention that defines his foreign policy approach. And there's little doubt that some of Paul's policy reversals -- chiefly his newfound support for Israel aid -- are borne of political cynicism, pure and simple. His most fervent supporters may insist otherwise, but Paul is a politician like any other -- driven by a mix of sincere conviction and shrewd calculation. That's what makes Paul's approach to Iran particularly noteworthy." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l8n4eze  

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These mental health patients neglected on epidemic scale

January 26, 2015
posted by

Michelle Chen The Nation Blog
by Michelle Chen  

"Thirty years have passed since the first 'revolution in mental health' -- the deinstitutionalization movement that moved patients out of segregated mental health hospitals and, in theory, back into their neighborhoods to be with their families. But a generation later, many are still waiting to receive basic care in their communities, the therapy they require to live with the dignity and freedom the movement fought for. Earlier this month, mental healthcare workers across California went on strike to show that everyone’s tired of waiting: patients are tired of delayed appointments, workers are exhausted by understaffing and stalled contract talks, and the system suffers from an outmoded infrastructure that fails to meet growing community needs." (01/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p22tpb8  

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Obamized again!

January 26, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Andre Vltchek  

"The Dude did it to me again! As my scheduled Air India flight from Kochi, Kerala, was attempting to make its final approach to Indira Gandhi International Airport, his much bigger horse, Air Force 1, was heading towards the nearby base. It was exactly 10 o’clock in the morning. My eyes were infected after catching some mysterious bug, as I was told, a common Kerala disease. I was exhausted after writing countless essays (some directly related to the Dude), and what was ahead of me was yet another flight, this time to battered Srinagar in Kashmir. But the Dude's flying horse had priority. It always has!" (01/26/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/26/obamized-again/  

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GOP deflate gate

January 26, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Nate Beeler  

Cartoon. (01/24/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/01/gop-deflate-gate/  

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