PND Commentary

New voting restrictions could swing election

October 31, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Ari Berman  

"On Monday, October 27, eight activists with Moral Monday Georgia occupied the office of Georgia GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp, holding signs that read 'Let Us Vote.' There are 800,000 unregistered African-American, Hispanic and Asian eligible voters in Georgia. This year, the New Georgia Project registered 85,000 of them. After the applications were submitted, Kemp subpoenaed the group's records and accused them of voter registration fraud. It turned out that only 25 of the forms were fraudulent and the group was required by law to turn them in regardless. Despite the scant evidence of voter fraud, 40,000 new voter registration applications have yet to be processed in the state, according to the New Georgia Project." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kftfvxc  

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GOP: They’re all Randians now

October 31, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In public opinion, the battle over the Affordable Care Act has come to a stalemate. Depending on how you ask the question, a majority of the public disapproves of the law, but a majority also doesn't agree with Republicans that it should be repealed. On the simple approval question, poll results look just about the same as they did five years ago, which is remarkable given all the fighting over it and everything that has happened, good and bad, in its implementation. But there's something remarkable in this new article in the New England Journal of Medicine that we really need to take notice of, because it represents a significant shift in how some Americans think about healthcare." (10/30/14)

http://prospect.org/article/theyre-all-randians-now  

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Secret manuals show the spyware sold to despots and cops worldwide

October 31, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Cora Currier and Morgan Marquis-Boire  

"When Apple and Google unveiled new encryption schemes last month, law enforcement officials complained that they wouldn't be able to unlock evidence on criminals' digital devices. What they didn't say is that there are already methods to bypass encryption, thanks to off-the-shelf digital implants readily available to the smallest national agencies and the largest city police forces -- easy-to-use software that takes over and monitors digital devices in real time, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. We're publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software 'Remote Control System,' manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team." (10/30/14)

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/30/hacking-team/  

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Hysteria epidemics

October 31, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Jeff Darcy  

Cartoon. (10/29/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/voter-id-4/  

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Trying to silence Bill Maher in cradle of free speech

October 31, 2014
posted by

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

"'The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life,' begins the student petition. Somehow you just know that before the end, the document would demand that the administration muzzle someone -- for the sake of diversity. The spirit of far-left censors trumps exposure to novel ideas. Hence the new student group: Stop Bill Maher from Speaking at UC Berkeley’s December Graduation, which almost prevailed. 'It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility,' quoth the petition, which has gathered close to 4,000 signatures. Protect students from a comedian? O brave new university that has such delicate flowers in it." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mrq9unh  

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The awful truth about free speech

October 31, 2014
posted by

spiked spiked
by Mick Hume  

"Almost everybody in Western society with more than two brain cells to rub together supports freedom of speech. Or so they say. Blasphemers might be sentenced to death in Islamic states, and the internet might be censored to death in China. But in the UK, US and elsewhere in the West, we still enjoy freedom of expression. Or so we think. So how is it then that, everywhere from Twitter to television, from the theatrical stage to the football stand, in student bars and in serious debates, free speech is under siege? It seems that our hard-won historic liberty is often being given up without a serious fight, and even offered up for sacrifice." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/km9kr6z  

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Israel doesn’t care what Obama thinks

October 30, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Dimi Reider  

"When a senior U.S. official calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 'chickenshit,' you know the Israeli-American relationship has reached a new low point. The putdown was reported in The Atlantic just days after the Israeli defense minister’s request to meet with U.S. national security officials was rebuffed. Adding insult to injury, the rebuff was leaked to the press. While the White House distanced itself somewhat from the mudslinging, it did not retract any of the more substantive claims about U.S. discontent with Netanyahu’s policies. Still, however embarrassing this spat is, it will barely make a dent in the U.S.-Israeli 'special relationship.'" (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l8b9ke7  

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Corporations act to make Congress a wholly owned subsidiary

October 30, 2014
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"As Election Day approaches, two reports show us exactly how corrupted our political system has become. Unless voters come out in force, it looks like corporate money is about to buy itself another house of Congress. The Wall Street Journal ... found that corporate PACs gave most of their donations to Democrats in the early part of the campaign. That fits with a longstanding pattern: big-business interests shower incumbents with money to encourage special treatment, both during the election year and in the upcoming term. But giving has shifted dramatically since June. The Journal discovered that Republican candidates received the lion’s share of corporate campaign contributions in the July-to-September time period. The cash-generating power of incumbency had faded -- for Democrats." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k23rphs  

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Some hard facts about “terror”

October 30, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John Chuckman  

"Today we call people terrorists as easily as we more accurately might have called them reckless or mad. The word terrorist has been given an almost frightening, superstitious connotation much resembling the word witch in the seventeenth century when any poor old soul who suffered from a mental illness like schizophrenia might be burnt alive for her mumblings and delusions." (10/30/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/29/some-hard-facts-about-terror/  

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“Yelp for Guestworkers” shines light on recruiting process

October 30, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rachel Luban  

"In 2007, Adarely Ponce Hernández saw an announcement in her hometown of Chapulhuacan, Mexico, for jobs picking apples in the United States. Not only were the wages far higher than what she could make in Chapulhuacan, but the work was completely legal, secured through a U.S. temporary visa program known as H-2. She and her sister went straight to the recruiter who placed the announcement and paid 2,000 pesos apiece (about $180 at the time) to reserve their spots. But the recruiter kept pushing back the date of their interview for the visa: 'Next month, next month.' He started demanding more payments. Hernandez and her sister reluctantly obliged with another 1,500 pesos each. Then the recruiter disappeared, taking their money and the promise of jobs with him. Hernandez’s experience is common for people in Mexico looking for legal work in the U.S. as 'guestworkers,' temporary laborers who return to their home countries when their jobs are finished." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mpgyzqe  

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Federal agencies just doing whatever they want now

October 30, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"As great as Edward Snowden's leaks were for shedding light on the abuses of power within the NSA -- and for actually getting them into the damn media for months at a time! -- the problem of intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies doing whatever the hell they want dates back to the dawn of law enforcement and intelligence agencies." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oq8hlj7  

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Ed Snowden taught me how to smuggle secrets past incredible danger. Now I teach you.

October 30, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Micah Lee  

"Late on the evening of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my wife and two cats, I decrypted it. The anonymous emailer wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical eye on American foreign policy. ... I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just been contacted by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who was then preparing a momentous leak of government data." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/op7t6al  

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Signs the global “war on drugs” may be ending

October 30, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by John Collins  

"The contentious debate over international drug policy was potentially transformed a few weeks ago, when the United States strongly reiterated a major shift in policy. William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs summed up the key idea underpinning the shift at the United Nations on Oct. 9. ... The statement is hugely significant as it represents a new diplomatic doctrine and a potential tipping point in efforts to end the disastrous 'war on drugs' that has lasted six decades." (10/28/24)

http://tinyurl.com/qe74zlx  

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The moral blindness of our leading liberals

October 30, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Chris Floyd  

"Behold the quintessential earnest progressive liberal in the highest moral dudgeon: Digby railing with thunderous fury at the possibility (the very distinct possibility) that Barack Obama is going to suppress the Senate’s report on CIA torture. ... Old cynic that I am, I must admit that even my grizzled jaw dropped as I read these words. 'Arguments about the dirty wars and targeted assassination programs alone will go on for generations.' This, again, is from one of our leading liberal lights. She thinks dirty wars -- secret incursions into other nations to murder, subvert, wreak havoc, terrorize -- are open to debate. She thinks that 'targeted assassination programs' ... will be argued about for generations. The morality of death squads and dirty wars is something about which serious, concerned citizens can disagree and debate, apparently." (10/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l4kcnes  

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When did Christie & Cuomo go to medical school?

October 30, 2014
posted by

William Greider The Nation
by William Greider  

"Just when you thought the Republican slime ballers had run out of muck, you discover, no, they have more mud to throw at honorable people. And they are not just smearing Barack Obama. This time, they are disparaging the doctors and scientists at the National Institutes of Health and depicting them as weak-willed tools of the Democratic Party. If Americans fall for this, they may get the government they deserve: stripped of honest science and trustworthy decisions. Republicans are not stupid, but they are shameless. They know people are rattled by the stealthy emergence of Ebola and that media hype has reflexively pumped up the danger and public confusion. ... The GOP saw opportunity in unfolding tragedy and rushed to exploit it." (10/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n5zfamt  

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Terkel’s torch-bearers

October 30, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Theo Anderson  

"In San Francisco, activists with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project are inviting people who have been evicted to record their stories. The goal is to document and resist the city's rapid gentrification by creating a website that connects the stories to a map of evictions. This website is expected to launch next year. Projects like this are part of a recent flourishing in the art of oral history. Studs Terkel, its most famous advocate, died in 2008, but his legacy thrives. Practitioners continue to believe oral history can be a powerful tool for building the progressive movement." (10/29/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17248/terkels_torch_bearers  

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Gimme a fucking break, Joe

October 29, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"We already knew Joe Biden was a useful idiot for the 'Green' (actually greenwashed) or 'Progressive' wing of corporate capital, because of his indignation over the 'theft' of 'intellectual property.' He denounced 'stealing' songs or movies as morally equivalent to a 'smash-and-grab at Macy's' -- and in keeping with that belief has supervised FBI actions to shut down alleged 'file-sharing' websites, based entirely on executive fiat, from Disney headquarters. But as demonstrated by his recent scolding on the state of America’s infrastructure (Emily Badger, 'Joe Biden is very angry at us for skimping on America’s infrastructure,' Washington Post, Oct. 21), that’s not the only aspect of the 'Progressive' Capitalist model he endorses." (10/29/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/33082  

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Who DIDN’T get rich in Congress?

October 29, 2014
posted by

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

"CQ Roll Call came out with its annual list of members of Congress by wealth. California politicians have done well for themselves. GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, who made a small fortune in car alarms before running for office, leads the list with a net worth of $357 million. ... Roll Call reports. Sen. Dianne Feinstein‘s net worth is $43 million. She’s No. 9. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi placed 14th with a net worth of $29 million. Sen. Barbara Boxer was No. 175 with a net worth of $1.1 million. There are 188 millionaires in Congress. ... But you’ve read about the rich guys and gals on Capitol Hill before. I found it interesting how many politicians don’t claim many assets at all. " (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ndpucyz  

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House could get even nuttier after this election

October 29, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"With all the attention focused on the Senate in next Tuesday's elections, it would be easy to forget that there's an election for the House happening as well. The consensus is that Republicans will probably add a few seats to their majority -- not a defeat, but not a blow-out victory either. Which means that nothing changes, right? Well, not exactly. ... House Republicans will get even more conservative, something you may not have thought possible." (10/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/np8bkzh  

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Polling irony: Economy is rigged; GOP can fix it

October 29, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

“'It's the economy, stupid' is from a sign that hung in the Clinton 'war room' during the 1992 election. The point was that the economy was the only thing that really mattered in the election. This election is a statement that the economy is not working for people. However else you analyze what happens next week, this is the core of all of it. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows why the Republicans are doing so well in the polls right now." [editor's note: Again, they might have gotten different results with broader questions, but I still keep seeing that cartoon with the car between the walls ... "Let's try reverse again..." - SAT] (10/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mb9c9ed  

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Nancy Pelosi talks up the agony & the organization

October 29, 2014
posted by

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

"'We don't agonize. We organize,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chimed after an editorial board meeting with The Chronicle Monday. 2014 is probably not her favorite year. In 2010, the Democrats lost the House and she lost the speakership. The New York Times reports that Democrats most likely will lose more seats in November. Pelosi has become the other face of the Democratic Party, second only to the unpopular President Obama. Republicans raise money by dangling her name in front of donors. She even mused about leaving Washington. Some day. Now even the rare Democrat is moving away from the party leader." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pg4647s  

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Mandatory quarantine policies: Unscientific & dangerous

October 29, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Celine Gounder  

"On Thursday, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for returning healthcare workers from Ebola-ravaged Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn followed suit a day later. Other U.S. states, including Minnesota, Georgia and Connecticut, have introduced similar measures. ... The governors’ quarantine policies are not based on science, but fear and political opportunism." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p2acpoo  

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Democracy lite: All form and no substance

October 29, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"The most revealing moment of our ongoing 2014 election season? That may have come last week in a Florida gubernatorial debate when former governor Charlie Crist, now a Democrat, and current governor Rick Scott, a Republican, went mano a mano over who 'has led a more privileged life.' Crist (net worth, $1.2 million) pronounced that Scott’s lavish 'oceanfront mansion' lifestyle had him out of touch with average Floridians. Scott (net worth, over $132 million) countered that he had grown up in a much more hardscrabble home than Crist." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oh8emra  

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21st century technology, 19th century worker protections

October 28, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Amanda Armstrong  

"This summer, the California legislature passed two bills designed to protect workers and consumers caught up in the growing temp and 'sharing' economies. While improvements upon the status quo, these legislative reforms, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, exclude some of the most vulnerable workers from the protections they provide. Most significantly, the bills do not establish protections for those working in the sharing economy, including those driving for Uber and Lyft. The state continues to classify these workers as 'independent contractors,' thus denying them workers’ compensation benefits and other labor rights." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nslbgbc  

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Nader on Hillary: “corporatist militarist” and “menace to the USA!”

October 28, 2014
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story
by Eric W. Dolan  

"Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader slammed two of the major contenders for the White House in 2016. 'Hillary [Clinton] is a corporatist and a militarist,' he said during an recent interview with We Are Change. 'Do we want another corporatist and militarist? She thinks Obama is too weak. He doesn’t kill enough people overseas. So she’s a menace to the United States of America. What we need is people (regardless of whether they are libertarians or not) that pull back on the empire and make Wall Street subordinate to main street.' ... Nader wasn’t too fond of Clinton’s potential Republican rival, Rand Paul, either." (10/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p56txpx  

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