PND Commentary

Pope Francis against the world

July 31, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig  

"Peak Pope, a condition of exhaustion with Pope Francis and his public presence, has come and gone a couple of times during his short papacy. The first came back in the spring of 2014, when, after a year of homilies, sermons, and impromptu speeches, casual Francis fans in the media seemed to feel they had heard all they wanted to out of the pontiff. But Francis appeared set to maintain the enthusiasm of his media audience for just a little longer with the announcement and subsequent release of his encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, in June. Whatever honeymoon may have issued from Francis’s bold treatment of climate change through the lens of Catholic moral theology has, however, ended." (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pcsy2uv  

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Media portrayal of Iran deal implies US imperialism a good thing

July 31, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Gregory Shupak  

"Under the recently negotiated deal between Iran, the United States, and five other world powers, Iran will remove two-thirds of its centrifuges and reduce its supply of enriched-uranium in exchange for an easing of sanctions, a return of frozen assets and an eventual lifting of the arms embargo against Iran. U.S. media reaction to this arrangement has been revealing. To say that elite American opinion makers are hostile to Iranians is obvious enough. But examining the exact forms of this can provide insight into how the imperialist mindset operates in contemporary America. A broad spectrum of U.S. media commentary on the accord portrays U.S. global military supremacy as natural and desirable, and treats Iran as a nation that belongs under the control of the U.S." [editor's note: It would be hard to say this any better - SAT] (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nrtw2tj  

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We won’t get great teachers by treating them badly

July 31, 2015
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"An article by Alia Wong for The Atlantic this week caused quite a stir by pointing to a recent survey of teachers that found one of the main stresses they have during their busy days is getting a potty break. Wong looked at results from a poll about the work conditions of teachers conducted by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association, a grassroots teacher-led movement resisting current education policies. ... But 'the biggest takeaway' Wong got was that 'of the various everyday workplace stressors educators could check off, among the most popular was, ‘Lack of opportunity to use restroom.'” [editor's note: Well, of course, they might use that free moment to deflate a playground football or something! - SAT] (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/puku3ba  

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Flogging the flag where there is none

July 31, 2015
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"When South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to boot the Confederate flag from State House grounds earlier this month, it was a beautiful moment -- if decades late. State lawmakers finally acted out of revulsion from images of a confessed shooter posing with the Civil War relic before he shot to death nine African-American church parishioners June 17. Flag apologists lost their stomach for defending the banner as an emblem of states' rights. The best part was that South Carolinians themselves had decided it was time for the bad flag to go. The worst part is what is happening now as politicians in other states try to repeat that unique moment by passing their own anti-Confederate flag legislation." (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p9ggqw5  

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Bernie learns his lesson, but have the rest of us?

July 30, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Adele M Stan  

"'We want a nation where a young black man or woman can walk down the street without worrying about being falsely arrested, beaten, or killed,' Bernie Sanders told some 8,000 supporters in Dallas on July 19, the day after his contentious encounter with protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement at Netroots Nation. While Sanders, the socialist U.S. senator from Vermont who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, appeared to have learned his lesson quickly, the same cannot necessarily be said for some of his most ardent followers, or for the progressive movement more broadly, where power rests primarily in the hands of white men." (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pm6cw7p  

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Republicans need to get over stubborn opposition to helping poor

July 30, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Sherrod Brown & Tim Kaine  

"Many called it socialized medicine. A rising Republican warned that we’d 'spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.' Donald Trump talking about Obamacare in 2015? No, Ronald Reagan urging Congress to vote against the creation of Medicare. This week marks 50 years since the passage of Medicare. If addressing inequality is a real priority for Republicans officials (particularly those in the South) they should take a cue from history, embrace the health law, and expand Medicaid." [editor's note: No, what they really should do is separate this and the disability portion of Medicare, call it an "entitlement," and then let people decide whether or not to contribute to it any further - SAT] (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7jrcjj  

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Former national security officials now see the peril of weakening encryption

July 30, 2015
posted by

Conor Friedersdorf The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf  

"FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers continue to lament the ability of people to secure the privacy of their communications with end-to-end encryption that even governments cannot break. But the push for laws mandating 'backdoor access,' or built-in security flaws for the state to exploit, has run into some unexpected opponents: former national-security officials on the other side of the revolving door." (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qernn6a  

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Donald Trump is ruining everything for the GOP: The five stages of Republican grief explained

July 30, 2015
posted by

Salon
by Marcy Wheeler  

"While once thought of as a flash in the pan, Trump's candidacy has proven to be a far bigger problem for the Republican Party than establishment figures ever expected. In coping with such a colossal headache, the Party seems to be following the Kubler-Ross model of grief -- the model frequently used to describe how people come to grips with the death of a loved one." (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pgjhlo7  

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The NSA’s 9/11 cover-up: General Hayden told a lie, and it’s a whopper

July 30, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Bill Blunden  

"Magicians wield secrecy on the theater stage in the service of illusions. Spies likewise wield illusion on the world stage in the service of secrecy. So it is with the events behind the attacks of 9/11 where those who question the official story are derided as conspiracy theorists. Thanks to the investigative digging of reporter James Bamford, with the assistance of NSA whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe, the 9/11 crowd can now point to a conspiracy fact: an incredible cover-up that goes all the way to the top of the American intelligence community." (07/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qbtcr6z  

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The Marshallian synthesis

July 30, 2015
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"Alfred Marshall, the founder of the so-called neoclassical school, was also the first prominent economist to attempt a reconciliation of Ricardo with the marginalists. Following the Senior-Longfield school, as interpreted by Mill, Marshall treated the 'abstinence' of capital (or 'waiting') as another form of disutility alongside labor. He thus fused them into a unified subjective theory of 'real cost,' as the determining factor in supply price. As Mill said, profits were remuneration for the capitalist's abstinence, in the same sense that wages were the remuneration of labor. This Marshallian synthesis adopted virtually the entire apparatus of marginalism, but was much closer in spirit to the cost of production theories of Ricardo and Mill." (07/30/15)

https://c4ss.org/content/39258  

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The ruthless politics of Walkerism

July 30, 2015
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Scott Kevin Walker, fresh from a free-spending yet folksy campaign in which he carried his lunch in a brown paper bag and promised to create 250,000 jobs, delivered his first inaugural address as governor of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011. 'I stand before you not as the governor of one party or another, or the governor of one part of the state or another,' he declared. 'Today, I stand before you as the governor for all of the people in the state of Wisconsin.' Days later, Walker traveled from Madison, the state capital, to Beloit, a working-class town battered by plant closings. But he wasn’t reaching out to laid-off workers or confirming his commitment to a city that hadn’t voted for him. He was meeting with Diane Hendricks, the billionaire who would become his most generous campaign donor." (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pddg69f  

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National Review’s bad conscience

July 30, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"National Review has a fraught relationship with National Socialism. In recent years, the magazine has taken to likening liberals and socialists to fascists and Nazis. In a much-derided article published last week, correspondent Kevin Williamson claimed that Senator Bernie Sanders is leading 'a national-socialist movement, which is a queasy and uncomfortable thing to write about a man who is the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and whose family was largely wiped out in the Holocaust.' Later in the article, Williamson added that Sanders is not a 'national socialist in the mode of Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher,' but this proviso couldn’t undo the implication that Sanders and his supporters are modern day Hitlerites." [editor's note: The irony is (1) every single GOPer now running for the throne is to some extent a fascist dictator in liberty-drag; and (2) Ms. Hitlery is far worse than Bernie as an authoritarian Democrat - SAT] (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ov42ydm  

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Treacheries at teatime

July 30, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Jane Miller  

"Our old friend Eric Hobsbawm, the historian, died in 2012, when he was 95. Two years later, MI5 (Britain’s domestic security service) released the file they’d kept on him since 1942. About 1,000 pages long, it goes up to 1963, and there’s almost certainly another 11 years’ worth of it still to come. His file is thought to be among the longest of the quarter of a million assembled by MI5, thousands on people like Eric who’d been members of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Though Eric admits in his autobiography, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life, that he would have worked for the Russians in the 1930s if they’d asked, all that steaming open of letters and listening to phone calls turned up nothing to which he’d not freely admitted." [editor's note: For those offended by a post about admitted Communists, I'll note historical comparisons with the NSA's current snooping, or Nixon's enemies-list - SAT] (07/29/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18167/treacheries-at-teatime  

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From one extreme to the other

July 30, 2015
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Billy Christmas  

"David Cameron said Britain was in for 'something special' when his Conservative Party won an outright majority this May. One wonders how much this government is going to make us miss the Liberal Democrat component of the previous coalition. The 'Extremism Bill' Cameron recently announced is making Nick Clegg look pretty good right now. In his declaration of war on 'extremist speech' Cameron said a priority of this government is to target 'both parts of the [extremist] creed -- the nonviolent and violent.' Even those who explicitly condemn Islamic extremist violence (something Muslims are constantly obliged to do lest their silence be mistaken for endorsement), but who express views which could fit into the broader Islamist paradigm (say, opposition to US foreign policy) are now targets in the War on Terror." (07/29/15)

https://c4ss.org/content/39247  

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For such a rich guy, Donald Trump looks kind of sad

July 30, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Dan Hill  

"I expected disgust (and its first cousin, contempt) to be the most frequent emotions on Donald Trump’s mug as he announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. After all, disgust would make perfect sense. It’s an emotion in keeping with Trump’s repeated comments about the current state of America as something that smells and tastes bad -- if not literally, then at least metaphorically. But what caught me by surprise was how often sadness appears on Trump’s face. For a guy who’s as rich as he is, it’s striking how being a winner in the 'pursuit of happiness' doesn’t seem to factor into Trump’s emotional profile." (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/olqcy94  

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Did Obama downplay Malaysia slavery to grease trade deal?

July 29, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

“Cheap labor is the whole point of our corporate-rigged, NAFTA-style trade agreements. Companies get to move jobs, factories, even entire industries out of the U.S. to countries where people are exploited, the environment is not protected and 'costs' like human safety are kept low. But even so ... tolerating slavery? Flat-out slavery? Really? Unfortunately, it looks like that’s what is happening with fast-track trade promotion authority, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Obama administration." (07/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pj6y2sg  

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Interview: Zephyr Teachout on getting big money out of politics

July 29, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Justin Miller  

"In 2014, the campaign finance reform activist and Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig launched Mayday PAC -- the PAC to end super PACs. The group raised about $11 million and targeted support for candidates who were committed to reforming the role of money in politics. ... On Monday, it was announced that law professor and progressive firebrand Zephyr Teachout will be taking over the reins as Mayday plots its strategy for a 2016 election that will likely unleash an unprecedented amount of money." [editor's note: I still chuckle every time someone misses this point so completely; big money will always rule politics, until politics no longer controls peaceful, voluntary behavior - SAT] (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pnsp8qq  

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The red herring of digital backdoors and key escrow encryption

July 29, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Bill Blunden  

"While many scientists and researchers -- your author included -- insist that key escrow is a ridiculous zombie idea, it's important to recognize what's being left out of the aforementioned discussion. Pay attention and you may detect a telltale whiff of public relations tradecraft in the air. Specifically, notice how the debate over back doors is almost entirely focused on back doors implemented through cryptographic technology. This subtle misdirection shifts the conversation away from a different sort of back door currently being leveraged on a global scale. That would be back doors that are built upon zero-day exploits." (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q89h5bl  

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There’s something about Bernie

July 29, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Molly Ball  

"There's no way this man could be president, right? Just look at him: rumpled and scowling, bald pate topped by an entropic nimbus of white hair. Just listen to him: ranting, in his gravelly Brooklyn accent, about socialism. Socialism! And yet here we are: In the biggest surprise of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, this thoroughly implausible man, Bernie Sanders, is a sensation." (07/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qavcyvz  

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Entire check system is flawed

July 29, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Erich Pratt  

"FBI Director James Comey recently said a flaw in the gun background check system allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the gun he allegedly used to kill nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C. But the fact is, the entire background check system is flawed. Not only is it unconstitutional -- and disarming many law-abiding citizens -- it’s failing to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and is not keeping people safe." (07/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pql7jo7  

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Obama buys false Iran narrative

July 29, 2015
posted by

OpEdNews
by Gareth Porter  

"The administration's determination to be just as alarmist about Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions as its opponents creates a U.S. political discourse on the Iran nuclear issue built around two dueling narratives that disagree about the effect of the agreement but have one politically crucial common denominator: they both hold it as beyond debate that Iran cannot be trusted because it wants nuclear weapons; and the only question is whether and for how long that Iranian quest for nuclear weapons can be held off without war. ... The administration's determination to be just as alarmist about Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions as its opponents creates a U.S. political discourse on the Iran nuclear issue built around two dueling narratives that disagree about the effect of the agreement but have one politically crucial common denominator: they both hold it as beyond debate that Iran cannot be trusted because it wants nuclear weapons; and the only question is whether and for how long that Iranian quest for nuclear weapons can be held off without war." (07/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p857yns  

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Zero waste remains a dirty business

July 29, 2015
posted by

Michelle Chen The Nation    

"In an age of global warming, two global capitals, Los Angeles and New York, are going 'zero waste.' Following a nationwide trend, the cities have launched new plans to aggressively reform their waste-management and recycling systems to nearly eliminate dumping in landfills. While zero waste seems like a tall order for the two arguably trashiest places on earth, LA’s city government is currently rolling out a full-fledged Zero Waste plan that will 'divert an estimated 90 percent of local waste from landfills by 2025,' including commercial and residential garbage. The system parallels a similar reform plan in New York City, as well as a national resolution on zero waste by a coalition of mayors." (07/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q5m7jnr  

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Gun-free zones are killing us

July 29, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News Forum
by John R Lott  

"Hours before the latest shooting at a movie theater in Louisiana, President Obama lamented what he regards as his greatest failure as president: his inability to pass gun-control measures. ... Obama offers no explanation for why the worst mass shooting during his presidency occurred in Europe, not in the US. Nor did he explain why many European countries have a higher frequency of attacks and a higher death rate from mass public shootings. ... The expanded background checks Obama has advocated wouldn’t have stopped a single one of the attacks that occurred during his presidency. The killers either passed background checks and bought the gun legally or stole the guns." (07/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nnjmeo4  

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The debate over free [sic] community college

July 29, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Emily Deruy  

"This fall, Cesar Sanchez, 18, will do something he never thought possible. He'll enroll at Southwest Tennessee Community College through a state program called Tennessee Promise, which lets students complete two years of community college at no cost [sic]. ... While the Obama administration's proposal to make community college free [sic] languishes in the Beltway, several states, including Tennessee, are moving ahead with their own plans to make earning an associate's degree as standard as a high-school diploma." [editor's note: Of course it's not "free" or "at no cost." It's just that someone other than the end use is paying the cost - TLK] (07/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ofuw36j  

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Why voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton

July 29, 2015
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia think Hillary Clinton is not honest or trustworthy. According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, a mere 34 percent of Colorado voters think she can be trusted; 62 percent do not. In Iowa, those numbers are 33 percent to 59; in Virginia, Clinton is underwater on trust, too, 39 percent to 55 percent. Clinton's conduct is catching up with her." (07/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nky2oo3  

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