PND Commentary

In some US churches, guns are the answer to a prayer

July 3, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by staff  

"The Sunday service was winding down, but before it ended, Bishop Ira Combs led the congregation of 300 at the Greater Bible Way Temple in prayer. The shootings that killed nine people in a Charleston church could not happen here, he reassured his flock. 'If they had security, the assailant would not have been able to reload,' Combs declared. 'All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us.' As he preached, Combs was flanked by a man on each side of the pulpit, each armed with handguns beneath their suit coats. Other members of the church’s security team were scattered among the crowd. Congregants did not know who was armed and who was not -- an undercover approach that is part of the security plan. 'We aren’t looking to engage people in violence, but we are going to practice law enforcement,' Combs told Reuters before the service." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pon32e6  

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Trump magic turns GOP elephant into a cricket

July 3, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Ruben Navarette  

"If Republicans don't grow a spine and speak out against Donald Trump's nativist sideshow, the GOP should change its mascot to the cricket. With just two exceptions -- one that did more harm than good, and one that was too cute by half -- that's all we're hearing from other GOP presidential candidates regarding Trump's diatribes against Mexican migrants as the dregs of society. Crickets. According to Trump, those who migrate from Mexico to the United States are 'people that have lots of problems' who are 'bringing drugs' and 'bringing crime' and are often 'rapists.' Univision, NBC-Universal, Macy's and other companies have cut ties with Trump over the comments." (07/02/153)

http://tinyurl.com/o9ys3am  

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Federal contractors should disclose campaign spending

July 3, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"We the People do not know how much money federal contractors are spending to bribe influence our Congress. What does that say about the transparency and integrity of our pay-to-play political system? For Independence Day President Obama should help Congress become independent of bribes campaign contributions from federal contractors. Thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions, federal contractors can give unlimited amounts to “dark money” groups that influence elections with smear ads, etc. In March, more than 50 organizations sent a letter asking President Obama to require federal contractors to disclose their spending on brib -- err, political campaigns. Obviously, the public should know if and how much federal contractors are influencing those who decide what to spend on federal contracts." [editor's note: Once more this "progressive" pundit says something that any "libertarian" should applaud - SAT] (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/naevene  

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A spy’s guide to protecting whistleblowers

July 3, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Brandon Smith  

"A smiling woman I don’t know greets me by first name. The conference room has been swept for surveillance devices, she explains, and everyone who enters will get a brief pat-down. With three other journalists and a computer security expert, I am about to begin a two-day training in pre-electronic spycraft. Our instructors: two military police veterans. The goal: Learn how to protect people who risk their jobs or freedom to share information with the public -- aka whistleblowers. After we all get settled in, class starts." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p3y3sra  

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Is there a human right to kill?

July 3, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Nicola Perugini & Neve Gordon  

"On a cool spring day in May 2012, the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) met in McCormick Place, Chicago. The 28 heads of state comprising the military alliance had come to the Windy City to discuss the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, among other strategic matters. Nearly a decade before, in August 2003, NATO had assumed control of the International Security Assistance Force, a coalition of more than 30 countries that had sent soldiers to occupy the most troubled regions in Afghanistan. Not long before the Chicago summit, President Barack Obama had publicly declared that the United States would begin pulling out its troops from Afghanistan and that a complete withdrawal would be achieved by 2014. NATO was therefore set to decide on the details of a potential exit strategy." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q9sxl2b  

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Greece: Only the “no” can save the euro

July 2, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect    

"Greece is heading toward a referendum on Sunday on which the future of the country and its elected government will depend, and with the fate of the euro and the European Union also in the balance. At present writing, Greece has missed a payment to the IMF, negotiations have broken off, and the great and good are writing off the Greek government and calling for a 'Yes' vote, accepting the creditors' terms for 'reform,' in order to 'save the euro.' In all of these judgments, they are, not for the first time, mistaken." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q92cfzf  

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Here’s how Africa can fix hunger without “help” from Monsanto

July 2, 2015
posted by

Mother Jones
by Tom Philpott  

"Imagine if Monsanto announced the debut of a genetically engineered superfood -- a vegetable rich in protein and essential vitamins and minerals, perfectly adapted to Africa's soils and changing climate. There'd be howls of protest, no doubt, from anti-GMO activists. But also great adulation -- possibly a World Food Prize -- along with stern lectures about how anti-science romanticism must not impede heroic corporate efforts to 'feed the world.' Thing is, such superfoods exist in Africa. They exist thanks not to the genius and beneficence of a foreign company, but rather through millennia of interactions between Africa's farmers and its landscape." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nlf5pcs  

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British tribunal flip-flops on wrongful surveillance of Amnesty International

July 2, 2015
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jenna McLaughlin  

"A British tribunal in charge of investigating public abuse of surveillance admitted on Wednesday that the U.K. government's spy agency illegally retained communications it swept up from Amnesty International, the largest human rights group in the world. The revelation, disclosed in a curt email, is particularly shocking given that just last week the Investigatory Powers Tribunal issued a determination declaring that that Amnesty was not the subject of illegal spying." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ngbdknn  

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Is there anything left to celebrate about the Egyptian revolution?

July 2, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alessandra Bajec  

"This 30 June anniversary wasn't an occasion to celebrate the mass protests that led to the ouster of President Morsi. Not just because Egypt's top prosecutor was killed in a bomb attack in Cairo a day earlier. There was little for Egyptians to celebrate except -- for many -- the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power." (07/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o3bsqpc  

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Primitive accumulation: The process that keeps giving, and giving …

July 2, 2015
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"In mid-May, an FBI document was published by the Guardian revealing that the FBI has been monitoring the Tar Sands Blockade as a national security threat, given that 'Keystone pipeline, as part of the oil and natural gas industry, is vital to the security and economy of the United States.' You might think that a model of economic growth based on corporate-state collusion might be a matter for legitimate political debate. But not to the U.S. government, which operates as executive committee for that corporate system of power; for them the structure of the system is a done deal, and anyone who takes the wrong side on the political debate is a potential threat to 'national security.'" (07/02/15)

https://c4ss.org/content/38562  

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Was Greece lured into “strategic deficits?”

July 2, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"The job of a lender is to evaluate risk and price a loan accordingly. If there is risk you charge a higher interest rate. That way you still make money on a broad portfolio of loans even when there are a few defaults. That’s the job of a banker, supposedly. It’s what they are supposed to be good at. If they are bad at their job, give loans to deadbeats (or countries that can’t pay you back) you lose money, and probably shouldn’t in the business of being a lender. The lender is supposed to evaluate the risk and say no if the borrower is irresponsible, not complain later about the borrower being irresponsible." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ptv9box  

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This professor was fired for saying “fuck no” in class

July 2, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Goldberg  

"Recently, there’s been much discussion of what some say is a growing intellectual chill and sexual panic on campus. In the latest example, on June 19, Teresa Buchanan, a tenured associate professor of education at Louisiana State University, was fired from the school where she’d taught for twenty years for using off-color language. Her alleged offenses included saying, in class, 'fuck no' and making a joke about sex declining in long-term relationships, as well as using the word 'pussy' in an off-campus conversation with a teacher. Reached by phone, she says she had no memory of saying 'pussy' to anyone, but said that, if she did, it likely would have been in a conversation about how teachers must learn to handle irate parents." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfaulr3  

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The Pentagon’s new weapon: Agent Whitewash

July 2, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Tom Hayden  

"Despite its vast scale, the Vietnam-era peace movement is losing on the battlefield of memory. To mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the ground war, the Pentagon is spending $60 million on a decade-long Vietnam War Commemoration, ostensibly to 'thank and honor veterans' who served in the war. The commission’s website, however, distorts the war’s history. It has entries for the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident that was used as an excuse to go to war, but does not mention that the attacks against U.S. ships never happened, as declassified NSA documents proved in 2005. It reports the killing of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968, but says nothing about the many other massacres and crimes committed by U.S. soldiers. The website lists only three of the thousands of antiwar protests and gives no indication of the peace movement’s breadth and strength." [editor's note: Stalin and Goebbels live on? - SAT] (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pnbauty  

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Is Bernie Sanders too radical for America?

July 2, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"Now that Bernie Sanders is rapidly climbing in the polls and attracting huge audiences to his campaign events, his opponents are starting to attack him for being too radical. After all, Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. Of course, few Americans know what 'socialist' means. Some mistakenly associate it with Communism. In fact, Sanders has often said that he favors the kinds of policies favored by the Scandinavian democracies. ... On the campaign trail in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere, many voters appear to be willing to look past the labels and listen to what Sanders is actually saying about the issues and the role of government in society." (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oy8t6l8  

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Why does Ron Bailey hate free markets?

July 2, 2015
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"If I thought the free market meant what Ronald Bailey calls 'the free market,' I'd hate it more than a thousand Naomi Kleins and Michael Moores put together could hate it. The system of corporate power Bailey loves, the system he defends, was founded on robbery and enslavement, and couldn't survive for a single day if it weren't backed by armed thugs interfering with peaceful trade and cooperation between ordinary human beings." (07/01/15)

https://c4ss.org/content/38546  

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City dwellers should learn to get along with urban wildlife

July 2, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Peter Alagona  

"Several times this spring, coyotes made national headlines when spotted roaming the streets of New York, from Manhattan to Queens. In recent years, a host of charismatic wild species, the coyote being only the most famous, have returned to American cities in numbers not seen for generations. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people’s responses varied. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife. Most big American cities occupy sites that were once rich ecosystems." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oh2wu3l  

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Real progress achieved nearly by accident

July 2, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by David Dante Troutt  

"It is tempting to look for signs of America’s direction in the late June ritual of reading the U.S. Supreme Court’s most momentous decisions of the term. Last week’s rulings in support of marriage equality, fair housing and Obamacare would suggest that on fundamental issues of daily life -- the equal status of all love, the idea of housing as a link to life chances and the opening of access to healthcare for millions -- the United States just took a giant step toward updating the constitutional principle of liberty with dignity. What occurred, however, was more accident than deliberate progress." [editor's note: Ignore this guy's obvious agendas and look at his analysis - SAT] (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nvnemks  

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The conservative split on the meaning of marriage

July 2, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Emma Green  

"Undoubtedly, Obergefell was a victory for the left, but it also represents a split in the conservative understanding of marriage. Social conservatives have long cheered the institution as essential to a stable society, because it is the foundation of families. But over time, explaining why those families need to involve both a mom and a dad in purely secular terms has become more complicated. 'It turns out, when you take God out of the equation, you have a great deal of difficult stating any very good secular reasons for denying same-sex couples the right to marry,' Graber said." (07/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qgzpuwe  

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Republican Partypooped

July 1, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Steve Sack  

Cartoon. (06/30/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/06/republican-partypooped/  

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What Justice Breyer’s dissent on lethal injection showed about the death penalty’s defenders

July 1, 2015
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Liliana Segura  

"That the United States sends innocent people to die was only one part of Breyer's wide-ranging dissent. Forty pages long and rife with data and documentation, it strayed from the constitutional question of lethal injection to attack the death penalty from every angle -- from the 'dehumanizing effect of solitary confinement' (one thing that makes it cruel), to the ever-dwindling number of jurisdictions that continue to apply it (which makes it unusual). The conclusion was inescapable. More than 20 years after Justice Harry Blackmun ended his Supreme Court tenure with his famed declaration that 'I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death,' Justice Breyer struck a similar, if less eloquent chord." (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7ctbwc  

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Revolution’s matchstick

July 1, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Rivera Sun  

"Rolling down the corporate-political assembly line is a trade deal so treasonous to the peoples of the world that it should serve as revolution's matchstick. The treaty is secret, but one fact is well known: the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is being negotiated by transnational corporations without a single US legislator present. Each time I hear this, my eyes blink in disbelief. Without a single legislator present ... without their presence at negotiations, without so much as seeing a draft of the deal, and most treacherously, without objection or outcry at their exclusion!" [editor's note: I'm opposed to TPP, but I don't understand the objection here. Why should the legislative branch be present at what are clearly executive branch activities? - TLK] (07/01/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/01/revolutions-matchstick/  

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Not that there’s anything wrong with that

July 1, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Silpa Kovvali  

"'The network thought this was an offensive show,' says lead actor Michael Richards in the DVD commentary for 'The Outing,' a famous episode of the sitcom Seinfeld, wherein Jerry and George are misidentified as a couple by a college reporter. 'And hence,' replies Jason Alexander, 'why the big line was borne, that became the catchphrase.' According to the costars, the line 'Not that there's anything wrong with that' was added to the show's script in response to concerns from above that the main characters' too-impassioned denials of homosexuality might not sit well with the gay community. In addition to making it more palatable, catering to this sensitivity made the episode funnier; the line elevated it to legendary." [editor's note: This is another thoughtful essay about the whole "victimhood/trigger warning" nonsense - SAT] (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ovsosvo  

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Anthony Kennedy’s California roots shine through

July 1, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"In his characteristically bumptious manner, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lamented the lack of geographic diversity among his colleagues last week in his opinion dissenting from the Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. There are no justices from the South or West, he harrumphed -- a judgment he then qualified, in deference to the fact that the author of the majority opinion, Anthony Kennedy, is Californian, with a verbal wave of the hand. 'California does not count,' he wrote, as a real Western state. Actually, as the region that’s home not just to California but also to Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, the American West is probably more in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage than any region but the Northeast. Still, a case can be made that Kennedy’s jurisprudence has often been shaped by his California-ness, and seldom more so than in the past week." (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pl8urd2  

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Murtaza Hussain on The Scott Horton Show

July 1, 2015
posted by

Murtaza Hussain The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Murtaza Hussain, a journalist with The Intercept, discusses the real story behind the Fort Dix Five terror plot and the sentencing of the alleged plotters to life in prison despite extremely flimsy evidence of a crime." [Flash audio or MP3] (06/29/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/06/29/62915-murtaza-hussain/  

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How the Federal Reserve could help give you a raise

July 1, 2015
posted by

William Greider The Nation
by William Greider  

"The stock market is jittery from one day to the next because nervous investors want to know when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates again. When it does, there is widespread fear that the inflated stock prices might crater. Savvy players would like to get out just before the music stops. But the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank whose economists like to focus on broader public concerns, has asked the Fed quite a different question. When will wages start rising for working people? The fragile recovery has been terribly lopsided so far. Improving economic activity is generating new jobs at a healthier clip and corporate profits are robust. But wages are still stuck in recessionary doldrums. Perhaps that is why Middle America remains so gloomy. Its battered finances are not recovering, and in some ways things are getting worse for many families." (06/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oeffuws  

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