PND Commentary

Same-sex marriage is not enough: Separate marriage and state

March 4, 2015
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by James C Wilson  

"In a February 22 interview, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore discussed his reasons for nixing issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by probate judges in the state. 'You're taking any definition of a family away,' said Moore. He also expressed fear that bisexuals might 'marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex.' While permitting group marriages of this sort isn't currently under consideration at any level of government, there is no logical reason for a free society to forbid them. Nor is there reason why any of level of government should be involved in the marriage business at all." (03/03/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36042  

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The true purpose of Netanyahu’s trip to Washington

March 4, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Juan Cole  

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a difficult election in only two weeks, came to Washington pretending to be deeply alarmed by Iran’s potential for developing a nuclear weapon. ... In fact, [he]had three unstated goals. His first and most important was to shore up his own flagging political fortunes in Israel. Second, he wanted to forestall any further pressure from Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and congressional Democrats for a peace deal with the Palestinians, having successfully torpedoed the 2013-14 round of talks. Third, he wanted to forestall a thaw in US-Iran relations, which is apparent both in the nuclear talks and on the ground in Iraq, where Washington, Baghdad and Tehran are now de facto allies against ISIL." (03/03/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ohxe5j7  

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Tending Dixie’s racial wounds

March 4, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Theo Anderson  

"Rachel Dangermound is a Sephardic Jew who lives in New Orleans. Her adopted son, Constantin, is African-American. He’s only 5, but already, she says, 'I think about how young black men are looked at. I think about how [perceptions of him] might change when he’s 16.' Out of concern for her son’s future, last spring she began participating in a program called the Welcome Table. An initiative of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, the Welcome Table is devoted to the idea that storytelling can be a critical tool for combating racism. Charles Tucker, the Institute’s associate director, says the philosophy is summed up by something an elderly African American once told him: 'You want to do something to make a difference? Tell my story. Nobody knows my story. Nobody cares.' Tucker says there are at least 15 active Welcome Table groups in Mississippi and four in New Orleans, where the program expanded last spring with the help of a $1.2 million grant from the W. W. Kellogg Foundation." (03/03/15)

http://tinyurl.com/odmq2gf  

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Bibi wants war

March 4, 2015
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"Netanyahu said nothing new in his peroration: it's essentially the same act he's been performing for years, a parody of Winston Churchill. The self-dramatizing, the hyperbole, the whining, the thinly-veiled jabs at his American 'allies' -- we've heard it all before. What stands out, however, given the venue, is the threat to 'stand alone,' i.e. launch a war that would rope us in. Implicit in this threat is the possibility that Israel could unleash its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal on Iran -- a threat made explicit a few years ago in an op ed piece by an Israeli academic with close ties to the Israeli government. One would like to think this is a bluff. After all, the whole world would condemn Israel in the wake of such a horror, but there's little reason to think this would deter Netanyahu." (03/04/15)

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/03/03/bibi-wants-war/  

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The perils of privatization [sic]

March 4, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Ann Hagedorn  

"One November morning in 2004, three U.S. military men boarded a small turboprop plane at Bagram Air Base near Kabul for a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Farah, a base in western Afghanistan. They were Lieutenant Colonel Michael McMahon, Chief Warrant Officer Travis Grogan, and Specialist Harley Miller, the only passengers on Flight 61. The flight was operated by an affiliate of Blackwater, the private military company under U.S. contract for air transport of mail, supplies, and troops. Forty minutes after takeoff, flying far north of the customary route from Bagram to Farah, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain." [editor's note: As libertarians know, and could tell this writer, "privatization" as it being pursued by the fedgov is nothing but crony corporatism personified; it has nothing to do with "free markets" - SAT] (03/03/15)

http://prospect.org/article/perils-privatization-0  

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Bibi in the House

March 4, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by John Darkow  

Cartoon. (03/03/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/03/bibi-in-the-house/  

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Netanyahu: Political points scored, Israel’s security undermined

March 4, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Dimi Reider  

"After weeks of recriminations between Israel and the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped to the podium on Tuesday morning for the main event -- to deliver his speech on Iran to Congress. As Netanyahu belted out a collection of recycled warnings and laments about the threat of Iran that have been uttered countless times before (most frequently by Netanyahu himself) it was clear the Israeli prime minister had already accomplished his political goals back home just by showing up. Netanyahu agreed to speak in front of the U.S. Congress in part to please his Republican allies and to pique the Obama administration. He achieved both of those aims in spectacular fashion." (03/03/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ol84ajx  

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The nincompoop caucus sets a record

March 3, 2015
posted by

Our Future
by Jim Hightower  

"The GOP-led House of Representatives has already achieved a historic legislative record. A record in futility, that is. And absurdity. In February, for the 56th time, they focused the entire array of brain cells in their 245-member caucus on an effort that would directly harm millions of Americans — namely the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Yes, the Nincompoop Caucus has now wasted Congress’ time and credibility by voting not once, not 10 or 20 times, but 56 times to take away even the minimal level of health coverage for previously uninsured people." [editor's note: As usual, Hightower has his agenda shoes on, but forgot some common sense; as long as "healthcare" is more about "coverage" than affordable access to wellness and healing, the "nincompoops" include folks like him - SAT] (03/03/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p35kzzt  

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In praise of meaningless work

March 3, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Joe Keohane  

"The world of management has discovered the human soul. Each new dawn brings with it another survey, article, or TED Talk emphasizing the need to restore meaning to work. Whether laboring at a bike shop, mounting hostile takeovers, or psychoanalyzing house pets, older workers want it, and millennials demand it. No one can seem to clearly define what it is (feeling challenged? helping people? sweat equity? skill-building?), but we know the elusive quality when we see it, and we have registered its near-total absence from our work lives." (03/03/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l4cxnrv  

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Hands on

March 3, 2015
posted by

The Honest Courtesan
by Maggie McNeill  

"Today is International Sex Worker Rights Day, a day for protest and activism held on the anniversary of a 2001 sex worker festival in India which succeeded despite efforts by prohibitionists to stop it via their usual means, collusion with the 'authorities.' I think that has tremendous symbolic value: prohibitionists would like to stop our whole movement if they could, to silence us, suppress us and turn us into the helpless, voiceless victims who populate their masturbatory fantasies; it's therefore important to celebrate a major victory over them so we can remind ourselves that no matter how strenuously our enemies fight to hold us down, and no matter how many cops and politicians they conspire with, we must still win in the long run." (03/03/15)

https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/hands-on/  

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Citizenfour: The making of an American myth

March 3, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Douglas Valentine  

"This is half of what ruined Citizen Four [sic] for me, the spectacle of seeing [Glenn Greenwald] manipulate Snowden into becoming the celebrity he didn't want to be. It would have been okay, I suppose, if this initial betrayal had been addressed or rationalized in the film. But it's never mentioned again. And that's how the fable of Ed Snowden unfolds in Citizen Four [sic]. His handlers at GG Industries Inc. embrace him as cannon fodder for their careers, and happily turn him into a Hollywood star, a celebrity and perpetual money-making myth for the faux gauche, in the mold of Dan Ellsberg." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/php4ymo  

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The rights of sex workers are my rights

March 3, 2015
posted by

Anarchist Bitch!
by Angela Keaton  

"Tomorrow, March 3rd is international day of recognition of the rights of sex workers. I'm an anarchist as likely are you if you are one of the six people who reads this blog. It doesn't matter how you feel about whores, strippers, or the women at the wack and jack shack. There is only this recognition: no matter how you rationalize it, when you support anti-sex work causes, you are siding with the police over the people. Now before you say, but 'as a feminist ...' Don't. Don’t even bother with the next sentence because here is the fact: The vile invective against sex workers, is the most concentrated form of patriarchal rage, yet acceptable most everywhere. Being anti-sex work isn't a referendum on bukkake; it's saying that the state, social workers & voters own women's bodies." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lqtzted  

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Our crazy laws on the insanity defense

March 3, 2015
posted by

Steve Chapman Reason
by Steve Chapman  

"When a Texas jury rejected an insanity defense and convicted Eddie Ray Routh in the murder of 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield, it raised a question: If this guy isn't crazy, who is? Routh had a voluminous history of mental illness. After being discharged from the Marines in 2010, doctors hospitalized him because he thought a giant tapeworm was eating him. He had several more stints in psychiatric facilities and regularly took medications for psychosis. A few weeks before the shootings, doctors concluded he was a danger to himself and others. ... But the jurors needed less than three hours to decide that for purposes of criminal law, Routh was as sane as Tom Hanks." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nnnpqq4  

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Netanyahu needs some tough love

March 3, 2015
posted by

Ivan Eland Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland  

"Make no mistake, a nuclear Iran would not be a good thing. However, it is not the end of the world either. Israel already likely has 200 to 400 nuclear weapons to deter Iran from any nuclear attack. If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and some other Sunni Arab states may feel they need one for deterrence purposes. However, some academics actually argue that more nuclear weapons might make the Middle East region more stable, because the shadow of nuclear destruction would hang over most disputes between nations. At any rate, even an imperfect agreement between the United States and Iran to limit its nuclear program is pretty much the only game in town, and Netanyahu and his allies in the U.S. Congress need to get used to it. And while the United States is dispensing tough love to an ally, perhaps it should consider whether Israeli intransigence in settling the Israeli-Palestinian territorial dispute is not being encouraged by providing more than $3 billion dollars in annual aid to an already wealthy country." (03/02/15)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=5340  

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Why isn’t the oil industry worried about Hillary Clinton?

March 3, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Rebecca Leber  

"In the run-up to her likely presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has assured top environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters that she is committed to their causes. So why aren’t oil industry representatives worried? Erik Milito, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Director of Upstream and Industry Operations, told conservatives last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that Clinton could be 'better' on oil and gas than the current president. 'We hope no matter who's in there it's better than what we have there now, because it's been nothing but barrier after barrier of delay,' Milito said during a presentation on the natural gas boom in America." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ksemvmd  

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National security state

March 3, 2015
posted by

Gene Healy Cato Institute
by Gene Healy  

"The question Michael Glennon asks at the outset of his important new book, National Security and Double Government, is: 'Why does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate, repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?' His answer is altogether darker and more radical than you'd reasonably expect from a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee legal counsel and current international law professor at Tufts. Glennon argues, in essence, that the national security state has become a runaway train and that presidential elections are contests that determine who gets to pretend he's driving." (03/02/15)

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/national-security-state  

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The Federal Reserve Board’s plan to kill jobs

March 3, 2015
posted by

Our Future
by Dean Baker  

"There is an enormous amount of political debate over various pieces of legislation that are supposed to be massive job killers. For example, Republicans lambasted President Obama’s increase in taxes on the wealthy back in 2013 as a job killer. They endlessly have condemned the Affordable Care Act as a job killer. The same is true for proposals to raise the minimum wage. While there is great concern in Washington over these and other imaginary job killers, the Federal Reserve Board is openly mapping out an actual job-killing strategy and drawing almost no attention at all for it. The Fed’s job-killing strategy centers on its plan to start raising interest rates, which is generally expected to begin at some point this year." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lc82m8d  

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Jump

March 3, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Milt Priggee  

Cartoon. (03/02/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/03/jump/  

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s long history of crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons

March 3, 2015
posted by

The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain  

"[I]n 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was 'three to five years' away from reaching nuclear weapons capability ... In his 1995 book, 'Fighting Terrorism,' Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in 'three to five years,' apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline. ... A 2009 U.S. State Department diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks described then-prime ministerial candidate Netanyahu informing a visiting Congressional delegation that Iran was 'probably one or two years away' from developing weapons capability. Another cable later the same year showed Netanyahu, now back in office as prime minister, telling a separate delegation of American politicians in Jerusalem that 'Iran has the capability now to make one bomb,' adding that alternatively, 'they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two.' ... In 2012 Netanyahu said in closed talks reported by Israeli media that Iran is just 'a few months away' from attaining nuclear capabilities. Later that same year, he gave a widely-mocked address at the United Nations in which he alleged that Iran would have the ability to construct a weapon within roughly one year ..." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p5w9rjy  

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CPAC, Congress and 2016

March 3, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"If you want to understand the challenge Republicans face in their two goals for the next two years—to keep their control of Congress from turning into a disaster, and to win back the White House—all you have to do is look at the way they've handled the issue of immigration. They've spent the last few years trying to find their way to a coherent policy consensus that helps, not hurts, their electoral fate in the near and far future. It isn't as though no Republicans have any ideas. But every time it comes up, they just seem to be digging themselves into a deeper hole." (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k8jguqv  

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Whither Zionism?

March 3, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Slavoj Zizek  

"In July 2008, the Viennese daily Die Presse published a caricature of two stocky Nazi-looking Austrians, one of them holding in his hands a newspaper and commenting to his friend: 'Here you can see again how a totally justified anti-Semitism is being misused for a cheap critique of Israel!' This joke turns around the standard Zionist argument against the critics of the policies of the State of Israel: Like every other state, the State of Israel can and should be judged and eventually criticized, but the country’s critics misuse the justified critique of Israeli policy for anti-Semitic purposes." (03/02/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17702/slavoj_zizek_zionism  

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What is happening in Venezuela?

March 2, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Greg Grandin  

"Coups and countercoups. Crackdowns. Economic crackups. Seven cents for a tube of toothpaste and $755 for a box of condoms. As a result of the latter, Bloomberg says, 'Venezuela has one of South America’s highest rates of HIV infection' ... Falling oil prices. The arrest of an opposition leader. Washington plots. Human Rights Watch tweets. South America rallies. What is going on in Venezuela? I have no idea. I’ve been too busy trying to track down the cameraman who accompanied Bill O’Reilly to El Salvador, where he didn’t report on the El Mozote massacre. So I asked a trusted panel of experts. Here’s what they say." (03/02/15)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/199681/what-happening-venezuela  

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My war on terror

March 2, 2015
posted by

Tom Dispatch
by Tom Engelhardt  

"Dear American Patriot, I wish I knew your name. I’ve been thinking about you, about all of us actually and our country, and meaning to write for a while to explain myself. Let me start this way: you should feel free to call me an American nationalist. It may sound ugly as hell, but it’s one way I do think of myself. True, we Americans usually reserve the more kindly word 'patriot' for ourselves and use nationalist' to diss other people who exhibit special feeling for their country. In the extreme, it’s 'superpatriot' for us and 'ultranationalist' for them. In any case, here’s how my particular form of nationalism manifests itself." (03/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mgx646w  

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Praetorian Guard of the Orwellian empire

March 2, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Gilbert Mercier  

"Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has positioned itself, one administration after another, as a global supercop guarantor of world peace. Indeed, since the end of World War II, even as the US has projected its power worldwide through military might, its clever ideologues have managed to convince a large portion of their public opinion that their ambitions for global hegemony are altruistic and benevolent. This dichotomy between the fictional discourse and the brutal reality of US imperialism, applied globally since 1945, is more blatant than George Orwell's worse fears expressed in '1984.'" (03/02/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l6foavb  

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A new magazine for the 1%

March 2, 2015
posted by

Susan J Douglas In These Times
by Susan J. Douglas  

"On February 22, the New York Times breathlessly unveiled its redesigned Sunday magazine. The cover featured a globe in the blackness of space with the tagline 'Hello, World.' 'A Remade Magazine, Thinking Globally' the paper proclaimed on its front page, emphasizing that the new design would showcase international stories and embody 'a renewed spirit of inquiry that is both subversive and sincere.' Better adjectives, once you've slogged through the ads, would be elitist, self-congratulatory and clueless." (02/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kbukvhl  

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