PND Commentary

The black market correction

April 18, 2014
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Gabriel Amadej  

"It’s intriguing to see the progressive Left uniting against drug prohibition. They’re not with us in spirit, nor should they be, but they’ve laid the groundwork for its critique, and in a way that is sewn with the same threads of our passing commonalities. Many hold that only 'hard' drugs should be combated with force and other 'safe' drugs regulated in their consumption. This is certainly disappointing, but we, the decentralist Left, can exploit this opportunity." (04/16/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/26426  

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The middle class is not “normal”

April 18, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Thom Hartmann  

"There’s nothing 'normal' about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class. Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels." [editor's note: He's not far from wrong about "capitalism"; he just doesn't know squat about "free markets" - SAT] (04/17/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140417/the-middle-class-is-not-normal  

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Why I’m cheering for fossil fuels this Earth Day

April 18, 2014
posted by

John Stossel Fox News Forum
by John Stossel  

""The heavens reek, the waters below are foul ... we are in a crisis of survival." That's how Walter Cronkite and CBS hyped the first Earth Day, back in 1970. Somehow we've survived since then, and most of life got better, although I never hear that from the worrywarts. Of course, some things got better because of government: We passed environmental rules that got most of the filth out of the air and sewage out of lakes and rivers. Great -- but now we're told that we're in big trouble because greenhouse gases cause global warming. I mean, climate change." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qftvf68  

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Can National Popular Vote end the voting wars?

April 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Rob Richie  

"One of the most pernicious outcomes of the intense political struggle between Democrats and Republicans is the parties’ breathtaking capacity to game our voting rules. Nothing makes voters more cynical than seeing political leaders seemingly supporting or opposing election laws based solely on their partisan impact -- from redistricting reform to fights over whether to allow early voting. But a reform win in New York could foreshadow a cease-fire in the voting wars. On April 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making New York the 10th state to pass the National Popular Vote (NPV) interstate compact for president." [editor's note: Short answer? Umm, no? - SAT] (04/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prdx6vs  

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The saddest job in the world

April 18, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"Were you thinking parenting? Compost truck driver? Michele Bachmann’s twitchy left eyelid? Close. ... You might be right. Or rather, you might be almost right. But I tend to think there’s a job that’s even worse, given how it’s an even more boring form of halfhearted evil, a laborious orientation so numbing and heartless that it’s regularly applauded by the jaded minions of the Devil himself, albeit indifferently. Which, of course, makes it even worse. Indeed, I believe there’s a special place in purgatory reserved for people who create, track, heartily defend and then barely enjoy the sidelong profits from the dregs of American fast food." (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nok9rp2  

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White noise, black politics

April 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Melissa Harris-Perry  

"This year, Harvard admitted a record number of black students, and it boasts the highest black graduation rate in the Ivy League. The faculty, facilities and programming budget at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute make it the envy of the American academy. There is an active, thirty-seven-year-old Black Students Association on campus. The Hutchins Center houses a hip-hop archive and publishes the well-regarded Du Bois Review. The president and first lady of the United States are both graduates of Harvard Law School." (04/17/14)

http://www.thenation.com/article/179380/white-noise-black-politics  

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A cubicle of one’s own

April 18, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Chris Lehmann  

"It’s odd to come to the end of a sprightly historical tour of the vexed, overplanned world of the modern workplace and realize that the emerging trends are represented by, well, you. Let me explain. In Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, Nikil Saval plumbs the management theories and competing design philosophies that produced, in high modernism’s mid-20th century heyday, the arid, soul-crushing, dubiously efficient built environment known as the information workplace. Saval, an editor with n+1, speculates that the lovingly choreographed cubicle-and-corridor organization of work may be consigned to history’s dustbin by today’s knowledge workers. " (04/17/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16562/a_cubicle_of_ones_own  

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Judging Obama’s “evolution” on marriage equality

April 18, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Years from now, Barack Obama will almost certainly be seen as the most significant American president in the history of the gay rights movement. Under his watch, the military ended its policy of discrimination against gay service-members, the Defense of Marriage Act was abandoned by the administration and then overturned by the Supreme Court, and a majority of Americans came to embrace marriage equality -- not least, the president himself. But there's another way to look at that story, which is that on marriage, at least, Obama had to be dragged to the position he eventually took." (04/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oulzeg7  

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Earth Day

April 17, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Joe Heller  

Cartoon. (04/17/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/04/earth-day/  

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So, how’s that Ukrainian “revolution” working out?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Thomas L. Knapp  

"The US government has been funding and backing unsavory 'color revolutionists' -- including a rogue's gallery of neo-Nazis and other thugs -- in Ukraine for years, hoping to peel the region away from its close relationship with Russia. After the last elections failed to go its way, the Obama administration went with 'the Pinochet option,' giving its operatives the green light for violent overthrow of the government and installation of a pro-US, pro-EU, anti-Russia junta. But for a coup to work, certain prerequisites must be met." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qbuqg3c  

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District of compensation, just and otherwise

April 17, 2014
posted by

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

"Pete Stark's name didn't come up Tuesday night at the Castro Valley Library candidates forum for the congressional district Stark represented from 1972 to 2012. The fact that nobody seemed to miss Stark should serve as a warning to politicians who think they own their seats. So thought Stark, until Democrat Eric Swalwell knocked him off his perch in 2012, thanks in part to California's top-two primary election." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phdupgu  

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Cuomo’s wedge

April 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"On Monday, Mary Fallin, Oklahoma’s Republican governor, signed legislation forbidding her state’s cities from enacting ordinances that set their own minimum wage standards or that entitle workers to paid sick days. Even in hard-right Oklahoma, citizens were collecting signatures to put initiatives raising the minimum wage and mandating sick-day on the Oklahoma City ballot. Fallin has now put an unceremonious end to such egalitarian frippery. As an increasing number of cities have considered setting their minimum wages higher than those of their states, conservatives in state government have moved to strip them of that power." (04/16/14)

http://prospect.org/article/cuomos-wedge  

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How should Obama respond to Putin’s Ukraine provocations?

April 17, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"Unless you’re deaf, dumb and blind, it’s obvious that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s obstreperous president, is running a major covert operation in eastern Ukraine, including the dispatch of a limited number of Russian special forces and support for pro-Russian militias there. It isn’t quite clear yet whether Putin is (a) preparing the ground for a Crimea-style takeover of part or all of Ukraine (unlikely), (b) trying to destabilize Ukraine so that it, and its Western allies, agree to the radical decentralization and federalization plan that Russia has demanded, or (c) making it clear that Ukraine ought not to link its political and economic future with the West, or else. But whichever it is, it’s a dangerous game. So how should President Obama respond?" (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnwzeyb  

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Can Scott Walker be defeated?

April 17, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Roger Bybee  

"Three years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker first dropped what he called a 'bomb,' one that suddenly and swiftly decimated the union rights of public employees. Walker’s legislation, Act 10, ignited outrage from unions and their allies, fueling a massive effort to recall the governor, which came to fruition with a recall vote in June 2012. Walker prevailed in the recall, but the process left behind a resentful segment of the public. Today, the fight against Walker and his anti-worker policies is picking up steam with an electoral challenge from Democratic businesswoman Mary Burke, and a labor campaign to support Burke and highlight Wisconsin workers’ lagging wages." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pj9r83y  

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Populism? Where are the pitchforks?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Robert L. Borosage  

"Americans are in a surly mood, confronting rules they feel are rigged against them. President Barack Obama captured this populist temper in his re-election campaign. He then launched his second term declaring that inequality is the 'most pressing challenge of our time,' and laying out a popular agenda to raise the federal minimum wage, provide pay equity for women, establish universal pre-school and other initiatives that polls show the public strongly supports. Republican obstruction has blocked progress on all these ... Yet it is the president’s popularity that has cratered." [editor's note: Could that have anything to with Obombya having campaigned on "hope," "open doors" and "new ideas"? Nobody sane ever expected the GOPers to make such changes, but they believed it when BHO said he would! - SAT](04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nk2nzt9  

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The FBI and its lethal informants

April 17, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Peter Lee  

"Lot of talk about bad guys being FBI assets recently. Thanks to his lawyers, the Interwebs are a-hum with speculation that the FBI neglected to hoover up Tamerlan Tsarnaev a.k.a. the Elder before the Boston marathon bombing because the Bureau was already in touch with him and trying to turn him as an asset, not because the Russians withheld crucial information. Yesterday it also transpired that Glenn Miller, the white supremacist linked to the shootings in Overland Park, had allegedly worked with the FBI as an informer." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/muporuu  

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Teacher evaluations: Education “reform”’s biggest bust?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Would you like your job performance judged by a 5-year-old? That’s a relevant question for public school teachers in Hawaii, where the state’s new teacher evaluation system attributes 10 percent of their job performance rating on what children as young as 5 years old think. Although 10 percent may not seem like a whole lot, in a metric based evaluation system where harsh judgments of 'effective' versus 'needs improvement' can swing either way based on a point or two, 100 percent can be 100 percent of the reason for a bad grade." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omk4rcf  

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Nevada rancher

April 16, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Joe Heller  

Cartoon. (04/16/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/04/nevada-rancher/  

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The tortoise and the hair-trigger

April 16, 2014
posted by

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

"Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy's seized cows -- which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down? At first blush, Bundy seemed to have right on his side. He's a cowboy who just wants to keep being a cowboy. The federal government, which owns more than 80 percent of Nevada land, including the land on which the Bundy family had settled, threatened to put him out to pasture." (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kn73ap4  

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Stop Tax Day giveaways

April 16, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"It’s Tax Day! And right now Congress is working on Tax Day giveaways for the big corporations. When corporations avoid paying their fair share of taxes, the rest of us end up picking up the tab. So Happy Tax Day! Have you heard politicians screaming about 'the deficit?' Have you heard them saying we have to 'make the tough choices' and cut back on ... 'government spending.') That’s what they say. But guess what they’re doing right now." [editor's note: How does one determine what the "fair share" to be handed over to the muggers is? - TLK] (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lntvswo  

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The lost promise of progressive taxes

April 16, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Ajay K. Mehrotra  

"Conservatives bemoan that not enough people are paying taxes. They insist that a minority of 'job creators' and 'makers' are underwriting the social benefits that go to the 'takers.' Liberals cite the growing concentration of wealth and lament that the rich don’t pay their fair share. In this new Gilded Age, they say, the 1 percent should be paying far more of their annual earnings. Yet neither party seems willing to reform our tax system dramatically." [editor's note: This noodnik praises the "progressive" methods of "reform" that have things as screwy as they are today - SAT] (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mp5d5mw  

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Republicans root for the villain

April 16, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Leo Gerard  

"Rejecting dozens of heroic characters, from Captain America to Underdog, Republicans last week chose instead a villain for their figurehead. They selected Prince John, the guy who coddled the rich and tried to crush Robin Hood. House Republicans voted to elevate Prince John as their champion when they passed a budget slashing taxes for the rich and decimating programs for workers and low-income Americans." [editor's note: Despite the vested interest displayed by his title, Mr. Gerard is not far off with this analysis of the usual suspects of corporati plutocracy in action - SAT] (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4h4ct4  

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Strike a pose

April 15, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"One of the central dynamics of American politics in the last few decades has been the sorting of the parties, the way that the Republican and Democratic coalitions have become ideologically clearer and more narrow. There are some ways in which this has been a salutary development; for instance, if like many Americans you're a low-information voter, its easier to figure out which party to vote for than it once was. But while the GOP has become particularly unified (the northeastern liberal Republicans who once constituted a substantial faction within the party are all gone)there are still some moderate Democrats around, even in the South." (04/15/14)

http://prospect.org/article/strike-pose  

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The tax breaks that are killing the planet

April 15, 2014
posted by

The Nation Blog
by Zoe Carpenter  

"ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, hauled in a $32.6 billion profit last year. Chief executive Rex Tillerson got a 3 percent bump in his pay package, sending it above $28 million. And today the company gets its annual boost from the federal government: an estimated $600 million in tax breaks. All told, the government gifts as much as $4.8 billion to the oil industry each year, more than any other country. Much of that comes not as direct handouts but instead via loopholes in the tax code; deductions for depleting oil reserves, for example, and write-offs for the expense of drilling a new well." [editor's note: As much as I hate "special favorite" treatment for ANYONE in the tax code, it's still just a simple fact that "not stealing some of your money" is NOT the same thing as "gifting" you anything - TLK] (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l9zycfg  

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Is Putin being lured into a trap?

April 15, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney  

"Russia is not responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. The US State Department engineered the fascist-backed coup that toppled Ukraine’s democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with the American puppet Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former banker. Hacked phone calls reveal the critical role that Washington played in orchestrating the putsch and selecting the coup’s leaders. Moscow was not involved in any of these activities. Vladimir Putin, whatever one may think of him, has not done anything to fuel the violence and chaos that has spread across the country. Putin’s main interest in Ukraine is commercial." (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nplp22q  

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