PND Commentary

It’s not a war on cops in NYC

December 22, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ron Jacobs  

"There is no war against the police in the streets of New York City, no matter how much the police union wants one. However, that does not mean the cops won’t wage one against their perceived enemies. Like most wars, it will not make the region where the war is fought any safer." (12/22/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/22/its-not-a-war-on-cops-in-nyc/  

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Meet Alfreda Bikowsky, the senior officer at the center of the CIA’s torture scandals

December 22, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald and Peter Maass  

"NBC News yesterday called her a 'key apologist' for the CIA’s torture program. A follow-up New Yorker article dubbed her 'The Unidentified Queen of Torture' and in part 'the model for the lead character in 'Zero Dark Thirty.'' Yet in both articles she was anonymous. The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted -- even by some within the agency. The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency's use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee)." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k8wvvmm  

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The opposite of intelligence: Spy versus DiFi

December 22, 2014
posted by

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

"The needle already was in the haystack. That essentially is the message embedded in the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA interrogations and detentions, approved without a single Republican vote and released by committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]. Three former CIA directors contend that enhanced interrogation techniques, approved under President George W. Bush and prohibited by President Obama, yielded key information that saved lives and led to Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. These claims go against Democratic rhetoric about what Obama calls 'the false choice between our security and our ideals.'" (12/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojx98hp  

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What Bernie Sanders & Dwight Eisenhower have in common

December 22, 2014
posted by

John Nichols The Nation Blog
by John Nichols  

"Dwight Eisenhower was right when he warned at the close of his presidency about the development of an American military-industrial complex, as most everyone in the United States and around the world is now well aware. Eisenhower was also right when he warned at the opening of his presidency about the danger posed by the bloating of military budgets. 'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,' the newly inaugurated commander-in-chief told the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention in April 1953." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2jspme  

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Socialism still alive and well in Cuba

December 22, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Tom Hansen  

"In 1992, a ragtag group of 106 caravanistas confronted some 400 federal officials at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas. Under the leadership of the late Rev. Lucius Walker, we were loaded with medicines, school supplies and used bicycles bound for Havana. This was the first public challenge to the U.S. blockade of Cuba since the blockade’s establishment in 1961. It was a time of fear and boding—for us, for Cuba, and for the Left as a whole. Months before the caravan, the U.S. Treasury Department sent the caravan’s participants letters threatening 10 years in prison and fines of $250,000 each if we went through with our plans." (12/19/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17477/cuba_obama_socialism  

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Drug wars and neoliberalism

December 22, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ron Jacobs  

"If one is to believe the agencies involved in this “war on drugs” and the media that slavishly repeats their version of events, the current battle in this war is between criminal cartels involved in drug trafficking and the law enforcement and military of the nations affected. Furthermore, goes the story, the only purpose of this war is to end the trafficking of drugs. Once that is done, the war will be over. Naturally, this begs the question: what will it take to win the war? The answer to that does not exist, simply because it is a war that cannot be won. Instead, it is a war designed to go on forever, making money for those who profit from its very existence." (12/19/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/19/drug-wars-and-neoliberalism/  

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Sony hack reveals Hollywood’s bitter civil war

December 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Neal Gabler  

"Nobody ever plunked down 14 bucks to see a movie executive on screen. That may be an odd takeaway from the Sony hacking scandal that has been wracking the company and the film studio it owns, Sony Pictures Entertainment. But the relative invisibility of these executives vis-a-vis their talent (and what looks like the executives' anger about this) are among the biggest revelations in the document dumps. What the most incendiary emails unveil is that Hollywood, for all its outward intramural amity, is a community deeply divided between those who are ostensibly in power (the studio execs and producers) and those who really hold power: the stars and major directors." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qguvch2  

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Enougher is enougher: ANOTHER Citi nominee

December 21, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Another Citigroup alumni has been nominated to a key high-level position in the Obama administration. This time it’s a lateral move: Marisa Lago, who has been serving in the Treasury Department as Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development since 2010, is nominated for the position of deputy U.S. trade representative (USTR). Her duties at USTR will include trade relations with Africa and the Western Hemisphere, as well as labor and environment issues. Ms. Lago was Global Head of Compliance for Citigroup’s corporate and investment bank from 2003 to 2008. She also headed the Office of International Affairs at the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1997 to 2001." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qzo6af3  

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It doesn’t matter who does the lobbying: Trade agreements aren’t the place for Internet regulations

December 21, 2014
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Maira Sutton  

"The Associated Whistleblowing Press released portions of draft text proposed by the United States for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) this week, revealing some alarming provisions that indicate how tech companies have been involved in influencing a secret international deal. The language of the leaked treaty shows provisions that could impact privacy online, and net neutrality -- with no public consultation or opportunities for open debate. What is dispiriting is some of the language of these Internet regulations almost certainly comes from tech companies, who have joined the many other lobbyists fighting for their special interests behind closed doors." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/knwmjuk  

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More disturbing revelations about the CIA torture program

December 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"One of the essential disagreements in the debate we've been having about the CIA's torture program concerns the people who managed it and carried it out. ... The torture defenders argue that they were patriotic, highly trained professionals concerned only with their country's safety, reluctantly using some distasteful methods because that was the only way to get the information necessary to save American lives. I've heard some liberals say that they were a bunch of sadists who took the opportunity to act out their darkest fantasies on prisoners. My own view is that the truth is more complicated." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nklpq9a  

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A manifesto for the right to abortion

December 21, 2014
posted by

spiked spiked
by Ann Furedi  

"Pollitt’s writing blows like a breeze through an open window across the self-absorbed introspection of much of this recent discussion. Pro is a manifesto for abortion as a woman’s right and a social good. It is a pacy presentation of why abortion is a fact of life for modern society that will never be made rare as long as women aspire to control when and by whom they bear children. Instead, Pollitt argues abortion should be seen as part of the reproductive experience of motherhood -- not its antithesis. It should be understood as a positive experience that reaffirms the importance of women’s lives." (12/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ptuj2m7  

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CheneyXmas ghost

December 21, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Steve Sack  

Cartoon. (12/19/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/12/cheneyxmas-ghost/  

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The latest twist in the bizarre prosecution of Barrett Brown

December 19, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Michelle Garcia  

"Barrett Brown entered the federal courtroom shackled, with a slight swagger in his step and squinting into the light. He took his seat next to his defense team and quietly set about flipping through a stack of loose-leaf papers and then began writing. When asked by the judge if he knew why he was in court that day, Tuesday, Brown -- who has spent two years in federal custody -- leaned into the microphone and with a warbly Texas accent, said clearly and plainly, 'I am to be sentenced today.' And then he returned to his papers." (12/17/14)

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/17/barrett-brown-sentenced/  

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Global warming true believers the ones in “denial”

December 19, 2014
posted by

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

"I have a theory as to why Americans don’t worry all that much about global warming: High-profile purveyors of climate change don’t push for reductions in greenhouse gases so much as focus on berating people who do not agree with their opinions. They call themselves champions of 'the science' -- yet focus on ideology more than tangible results. Their language is downright evangelical. Recently, science guy Bill Nye joined other experts who objected to the media’s use of the term 'climate skeptic.' They released a statement that concluded, 'Please stop using the word 'skeptic' to describe deniers.' Deniers? Like Judas?" (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mcw68yl  

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Swiss give positive lesson in negative rate policy

December 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas  

"There are some unlikely ideas in both mathematics and finance. For example, the square root of negative numbers and negative interest rates both look impossible. To make sense of them, it is necessary to understand numbers and money in a new way. The Swiss National Bank has put the deeper monetary theory into practice, by cutting its overnight policy rate to -0.25 percent on Dec. 18. The central bank is trying to keep Switzerland neutral in the global currency wars. With other countries trying to push down the value of their currencies, traders are desperate for safety."" (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kmjsc4t  

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Jeb Bush: Too conservative to win?

December 19, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"With former Florida Governor Jeb Bush 'actively exploring' a run for president, much of the initial analysis centers on the question if he is too moderate to win the Republican primary. The more important question is if Jeb is too conservative to win the general election. It’s true Jeb has taken positions that will complicate his primary campaign. ... He once dared to say he’d accept a budget that included $1 of tax increases for every $10 of spending cuts, a stance which doesn’t really qualify as 'moderate,' but more accurately could be described as 'mathematically literate conservative.' But if he survives the primary, he’ll have a whole new set of problems to worry about." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jvoykat  

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Update: The woman-bashing beat goes on

December 19, 2014
posted by

Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd  

"Following up from the previous post, we see the woman-bashing beat goes on. A Missouri pol has introduced a bill that would require women to get the written approval of a man in order to obtain an abortion; that is, the signature of the one what knocked her up. Rick Brattin, statesman from Kansas City, says the only exception to his man-mandating abortion restriction is in the case of 'legitimate rape.' But as Mother Jones reports, Brattin is quick to assure us that he doesn't mean 'legitimate rape' in the same way that his fellow Missouri statesman Todd Akin employed the term, during his disastrous run for the Senate." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lzlxhl4  

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Barack Obama, set free

December 18, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"... with today's announcement that we'll be undertaking a normalization of relations with Cuba (a mere 54 years after the embargo began) combined with other recent moves on immigration and climate change, Obama is looking pretty engaged. The approaching end of his term and the loss of both houses of Congress seem to have liberated him. While the Cuba deal was apparently in the works for many months, it wasn't something in the headlines like immigration. Who knows how many other surprises Obama may have in store." (12/17/14)

http://prospect.org/article/barack-obama-set-free  

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Film review: Brother, can you spare a euro?

December 18, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Michael Atkinson  

"Even if you don’t think you’ve seen a film by Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, you have, sort of. The astringent and breathless style they pioneered in their 1996 breakout film, La Promesse -- realist, handheld, raw, off-kilter, always in motion, ready to explode—has been coopted by indies from Bucharest to the Catskills. Even American TV shows (from The Wire on down) echo their work. The best of the copycats range from Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, from 2007, to Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 heartstopper, A Separation. It’s a style fitted perfectly to the Dardennes’ stories, which are always that of brutally simple dilemmas brought about by socioeconomic crisis." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k3tnx3o  

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How naive is Elizabeth Warren?

December 18, 2014
posted by

Nick Gillespie The Daily Beast
by Nick Gillespie  

"Unfortunately, Warren's populist outrage and calls to break up Citigroup and other mega-banks are ultimately misguided, naive, and contradictory. Like too many progressives, she’s against cronyism except when she's for it -- and she's supremely confident that if only she and her rag-tag band of reformers were calling the shots, government regulators would never, ever bend to the will of special interests. Good luck with that." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nbbmsrc  

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How can Rubio & Congress muck up the Cuba shift?

December 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by George Zornick  

"President Barack Obama announced a new era in US relations with Cuba Wednesday morning in which diplomatic ties will be reopened, along with a US embassy in Havana, while business and travel restrictions are eased. These changes can be accomplished by executive order -- but the next president could reverse them, and only Congress can lift the embargo. The permanence and depth of Obama’s policy shift thus remains in doubt." (12/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nqwq4xn  

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Whitewashing CIA torture

December 18, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ramzy Baroud  

"The logic that torture is a 'stain' on US history is the heart of the problem, since it blocks an honest reading of whatever 'values' Washington actually stands for." (12/18/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/18/whitewashing-cia-torture/  

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The obscenity of respectable politics

December 18, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"We often hear people sensibly suggest that we must respect the office -- especially the presidency -- if not the particular person currently occupying it. But as much as a president can be better or worse, their abilities make their personality almost irrelevant. A George W. Bush may do worse things than a Jimmy Carter. However, a civil liberties champion like Barack Obama can turn into a president with a kill list. And a small government-touting, Freeman-reading Ronald Reagan can be commander in chief of the militarized war on drugs. You can’t be corrupted without your consent, but the power in that office sure as hell helps ease the transition away from principles." (12/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mqmvx7q  

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Stupid voters

December 18, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Milt Priggee  

Cartoon. (12/16/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/12/stupid-voters/  

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Is Barack Obama’s revival on the way?

December 18, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Is Barack Obama about to have a revival? Peter Beinart argued the other day that he is, for three reasons: his actions on immigration have improved his standing among Hispanics, the economy is picking up steam, and there's a natural swing of the pendulum in press coverage as reporters tire of writing the current story after a while and look for change and new developments. An Obama comeback would fit the bill. I think Beinart is probably right, and the economy is the main reason; it swamps every other consideration in evaluating the president." [editor's note: Ironically, the alleged "recovery" (mainly confined to the very richest?) is mainly due to the lack of meddling, since the "reforms" were about social concerns, continuing wars -- and corporatist goals - SAT] (12/17/14)

http://prospect.org/article/barack-obamas-revival-way  

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