PND Commentary

Markets: Exuberance not always “irrational”

July 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky  

"With the stock market continuing to hit new highs almost daily despite the appalling geopolitical disasters and human tragedies unfolding in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq, there has been much head-scratching about the baffling indifference among investors. Many economists and analysts see this apparent complacency as a symptom of a deeper malaise: an 'irrational exuberance' that has pushed stock prices to absurdly overvalued levels. The most celebrated proponent of this view is Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize-winning, Yale University economist who is often credited with predicting both the 2000 stock market crash and the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble." (07/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nonfobz  

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Note to private equity: Your image is not the problem

July 29, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Eileen Appelbaum  

"The theme of this year’s European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) symposium held in Vienna in June was 'Private Equity as a Transformational Force.' Speakers emphasized the industry’s need to develop partnerships with the companies it acquires and deliver value for all stakeholders. EVCA is concerned that the private equity industry has an image problem: Tt is seen as focusing on investor returns with a callous disregard for the jobs of workers and the interests of the company and its other stakeholders. EVCA wants to tell the public that PE delivers economic growth and jobs. It wants to 'encourag[e] the private equity industry to look beyond returns and recognize its role as a global influencer and agent for progress....' The audience for this industry image do-over is regulators and policy makers." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k  

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The drug war is finished

July 29, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"The drug war is finished. Kaput. It’s now just a matter of time when the federal government calls an end to this evil, immoral, destructive, and racist government program. Yesterday, the New York Times became the latest addition to those calling for an end to the drug war, with an editorial entitled 'Repeal Prohibition, Again.'" (07/28/14)

http://fff.org/2014/07/28/the-drug-war-is-finished-2/  

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A new phase in the marijuana legalization debate

July 29, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Sunday, the New York Times editorialized for the first time in favor of a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, and did so in dramatic fashion, with a statement on the front page of the Sunday Review section and two more pieces going into greater detail. It wasn't particularly surprising, given the generally liberal bent of the Times editorial page and the fact that support for legalization has moved firmly into the mainstream. But it's still important, because the Times remains the most influential news outlet in the country, and they have an unrivaled ability to set the agenda for the rest of the media. There is a shift going on in this debate, and it isn't just that mainstream politicians and newspapers can now support legalization." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k  

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Boeing has an Israel problem … and Chicago has a Boeing problem

July 29, 2014
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Joe Scarry  

"Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the top military contractors in the world; and it's one that hides behind the veneer of providing civilian airliners, for 'nice' travel. The antiwar community in Chicago has long sought to shine a light on Boeing's grisly war business and has called for it to cease those activities. ... Getting the public to pay attention isn’t easy in our see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, above-it-all society. Now that the Israeli government’s killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing’s involvement is in everyone’s face." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n8jqtyx  

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Israel’s war in Gaza: Don’t look behind the curtain

July 29, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"Much like the later Soviet-backed coup which installed Karmal in Afghanistan, the installation of a cooperative head of state opened the way for the large-scale introduction of US military forces into South Vietnam. Like the United States fifty years ago, Israel has every reason to fear peace breaking out between two former adversaries. And from that standpoint, Israel’s all-out assault on Gaza in recent days couldn’t have come at a better time." (07/28/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/29755  

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Golden Gate Park turf battle: Democracy gone awry

July 29, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by CW Nevius  

"We all understand the principle of democracy. We elect our leaders and order them to make informed decisions. If we disapprove of their choices we vote them out of office. That's not how it works in San Francisco. 'What you are seeing now is a push -- mostly from the left -- to bypass the government,' says political consultant David Latterman. 'If they don't like the way the city is going, simply bypass it and put it on the ballot.' The upcoming November election already has John Arntz, director of elections, worried. It's not the issues that concern him. He's worried about the simple logistics." [editor's note: Democracy in its natural state, you mean? And since when is a plebiscite a less valid form of such? - SAT] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/plf8xkh  

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Did Hillary Clinton just join the neocons?

July 29, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"Did Hillary Clinton just throw in with the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby on the key sticking point in the Iran-P5+1 talks -- namely, whether and how much Iran may enrich uranium on its own soil? In her appearance yesterday on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN, it sure looks like it. Unless she misspoke, she said explicitly that she favors the idea of 'so little enrichment or no enrichment,' a view that outright contradicts the position of the White House and the State Department, who’ve long ago agreed that Iran can maintain a civilian enrichment program to produce fuel for its current nuclear reactors and for a planned expansion of its nuclear program in the future." [editor's note: Can anyone think of ANY situation in which Hillary's foreign policy prescriptions haven't been identical to those of the neoconservatives? - TLK] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojvd694  

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Instead of, “Did she say no?” we should ask, “Did she want to have sex?”

July 28, 2014
posted by

Raw Story
by Amanda Marcotte  

"This item is a little old, but I wanted to flag it because it really gets to the heart of the debate about what sexual consent is. Feminists are increasingly clamoring for an affirmative consent standard, where someone has to indicate, through language or body language, an actual desire to have sex. I call it the 'only kiss people who are kissing you back' standard. Anti-feminists disagree, arguing that feminists are trying to label all men rapists or police sex or some other horseshit." [editor's note: It still amazes me that this is even at question; "consent" means actively expressed consent ... period! - SAT] (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lk8yqeg  

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Escaping a failed state

July 28, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Cosme Caal  

"Gate 31 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles is packed with white American tourists, volunteers and missionaries, waiting in little huddles. And there too are Guatemalans and American/Guatemalan children waiting to depart for Central America. Everyone chit chats. In English. In Spanish. In Spanglish. The tourists and volunteers pay us Guatemalans no mind. They exercise their civil inattention, a practice we Guatemalans consider rude and contemptuous. But no one really seems to care. We all want to go to Guatemala. I hear whispers and conversations about 'dangerous Guatemala,' the incessant killings, and the deportations. Yet, here we are. Here I am, going home one more time as a transnational American." (07/28/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/28/escaping-a-failed-state/  

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How did the GOP turn into such a bunch of clowns?

July 28, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"For a lot of reasons, the current era will probably be seen as unusually consequential in the history of the two parties, particularly the GOP. For Republicans, it has been a time of ideological hardening and bitter infighting. But one aspect of the Republican dilemma hasn't gotten as much attention as those: This is a time of unusual, even stunning, Republican political incompetence." (07/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qyl5fdp  

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Paul Ryan’s promising new plan to end poverty

July 28, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Reihan Salam  

"Paul Ryan has long been known as the GOP’s budget guru. With the release of his new report on expanding opportunity in America -- the most ambitious conservative anti-poverty agenda since the mid-1990s -- he is on the cusp of becoming something much more than that. Loved by the right and loathed by the left, Ryan has been the architect of the most consequential Republican domestic policy initiatives of the Obama era. In spirit if not in name, Ryan spent much of President Obama’s first term as the leader of the opposition, rallying Republicans against Obamacare and in favor of long-term spending reductions. His controversial calls for entitlement and tax reform as chairman of the House Budget Committee were singled out by the president for over-the-top denunciation." (07/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ml9pcqn  

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Corporations leaving U. and “economic patriotism”

July 28, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"There is more and more interest in the stories about corporations 'renouncing' their U.S. citizenship in order to evade paying taxes for the courts, roads, military, schools, and other public services that have made them prosperous. They are using something called “inversions” to do this, meaning they merge with or just buy a foreign company and pretend they are a subsidiary of that company. Their headquarters, executives, operations, employees, customers and everything else stay where they are. They still use our public services. Their employees still go to our schools. The only thing that changes is the lower taxes they pay." (07/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n7mucnl  

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FBI: Gone fishin’ — for Shrimp Boy and whatever

July 28, 2014
posted by

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

"The FBI's motto is 'fidelity, bravery and integrity.' But given the FBI sting against Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow (a convicted felon who was freed from prison in 2003 because the feds got him to testify against a confederate) I suspect that a more apt motto might be: FuggetaBoutIt. On Thursday, Chronicle columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross identified Mayor Ed Lee as another public figure who was drawn dangerously close to the FBI's 'Shrimp Boy' trap." (07/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k7xoj6u  

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The NSA’s new partner in spying: Saudi Arabia’s brutal police state

July 27, 2014
posted by

The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain  

"The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans 'to provide direct analytic and technical support' to the Saudis on 'internal security' matters. The Saudi Ministry of Interior -- referred to in the document as MOI -- has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world." (07/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqb9gtr  

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Will Putin go all-in on Ukraine if rebels near defeat?

July 27, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"Russia’s Vladimir Putin is at a fateful crossroads. He can go all-in on Ukraine, upping the ante by increasing military supplies to the retreating rebel separatists in Ukraine’s southeast, providing open military backing to their cause, and as a last resort ordering an invasion by Russian troops. Or, on the other hand, he can relinquish his would-be stranglehold over Ukraine and accept Ukraine as a unitary state, probably oriented toward Western Europe and the European Union, while establishing normal relations with Ukraine on the lines of, well, Poland." (07/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oxylrmb  

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A Staples diet for postal workers

July 27, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Amien Essif  

"More than 1,000 postal workers and allies gathered in downtown Chicago on Tuesday to promote a boycott against Staples as part of the American Postal Workers Union’s 'Stop Staples' campaign. Late last year, the office supply giant set up 'mini post offices' inside 82 outlets around the country, provoking anger among workers concerned for their salaries, their jobs, and the integrity of the postal service. Tuesday’s protest, the largest of its kind since the National Day of Action on April 24, was held in conjunction with this week’s APWU convention." [editor's note: Okay, let's review -- Here we have a government monopoly, with it's own employees' union, demanding that the monopoly continue, despite the fact that somehow it is losing money every day. What could possibly go wrong? - SAT] (07/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mho5mqm  

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Where we are

July 27, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Martyn Turner  

Cartoon. (07/25/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/07/where-we-are/  

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You can’t taper a Ponzi scheme

July 27, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ellen Brown  

"At one time, manipulating interest rates was the Fed’s stock in trade for managing the money supply; but that tool too has lost its cutting edge. Rates are now at zero, as low as they can go -- unless they go negative, meaning the bank charges the depositor interest rather than the reverse. That desperate idea is actually being discussed. Meanwhile, rates are unlikely to be raised any time soon. On July 23rd, Bloomberg reported that the Fed could keep rates at zero through 2015. One reason rates are unlikely to be raised is that they would make the interest tab on the burgeoning federal debt something taxpayers could not support. Higher rates could also implode the monster derivatives scheme." (07/25/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/25/you-cant-taper-a-ponzi-scheme/  

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Drug war nonsense from a US commander

July 27, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"Kelly says that the problem is exorbitant demand for the drugs in the United States. In other words, the fault for all the death and destruction in Latin America (and the United States) lies with Americans who choose to consume drugs. If they would just give up their desire for drugs, Kelly implies, Latin America would turn into a nice, peaceful, harmonious part of the world. Well, that ain’t gonna happen. People have been taking drugs as long as drugs have been around. And they are going to continue to do so, no matter how harsh and severe the drug-war crackdowns become." (07/25/14)

http://fff.org/2014/07/25/drug-war-nonsense-from-a-u-s-commander/  

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Fracking: Poster child for the corporate welfare state

July 25, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"At every step of the way, the state steps in to subsidize the operating costs of the fossil fuel industry, steal land for it to build pipelines on, and indemnify it against liability through regulatory preemption of tort law or even flat out statutory caps on liability for damage. And yet self-proclaimed libertarians like the Koch Brothers and much of the right-wing libertarian think tank and periodicals establishment loudly proclaim their support for fracking and Keystone in the name of the 'free market.'" (07/24/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/29567  

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Yes, we should care more about “our” wars

July 25, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"Is it any wonder that after 115 years of empire, the people trying desperately to go cold turkey off that drug sometimes sound like they're going easy on everyone except the bad guys at home? The bad guys at home are acting in our name. The patriotic scolds ask why anti-interventionists obsess over America (or Israel) and not boogeymen like Assad or Putin. Because our standards -- or noble little Israel the democracy's -- were supposed to be higher than theocracies', or oligarchies', or dictatorships'." (07/25/14)

 

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How one piece of paper destroyed your right to a trial

July 25, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Peter Van Buren  

"In 2011, the White House ordered the drone-killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial. It claimed this was a legal act it is prepared to repeat as necessary. Given the Fifth Amendment, how exactly was this justified? Thanks to a much contested, recently released but significantly redacted -- about one-third of the text is missing -- Justice Department white paper providing the basis for that extrajudicial killing, we finally know: the president in Post-Constitutional America is now officially judge, jury and executioner." (07/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m27ptg5  

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The rise of the bankster landlord

July 25, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Thom Hartmann  

"Now, I’ve known many people over the years who’ve decided to become landlords. It’s a smart financial decision, the kind that middle class people used to do all the time to help them boost their income. Renting out your first or second home is great way to earn some extra money, help pay the mortgage, or even make a living once you retire and no longer take home a paycheck. But making a few extra bucks isn’t why big banks and hedge funds are buying up thousands of houses every year." (07/24/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140724/the-rise-of-the-bankster-landlord  

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The public turns against war

July 25, 2014
posted by

Reason Reason
by Jesse Walker  

"Saber rattling doesn't poll well anymore. After a civilian airline was shot down over Ukraine last week, America's hawks stepped up their calls for a more muscular intervention in the country, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) calling the White House 'cowardly' because it hasn't armed the government in Kiev. But a new YouGov survey shows only 15 percent of Americans favoring such aid. Forty-six percent in the poll think Russia was involved in the crash, and only 14 percent believe it wasn't. But that hasn't translated into an enthusiasm for intervention." (07/23/14)

http://reason.com/archives/2014/07/23/the-public-turns-against-war  

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