PND Commentary

Hubris unlimited: Tom Cotton versus reality

April 17, 2015
posted by

Thomas L. Knapp William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp  

"Freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) wants the United States to pick a fight with Iran. Not an all-out brawl, he says; just an itty-bitty bout along the lines of 1998's Operation Desert Fox, in which US aircraft carried out four days of airstrikes on Iraq. Setting aside the fact that there's just no reason for such an exercise -- P5+1 negotiation theater aside, Iran doesn't seem to have an active nuclear weapons development program for airstrikes to target -- the whole concept of 'limited war' is bogus and dangerous." (04/16/15)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/1004  

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Want to record the cops? Know your rights

April 17, 2015
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nadia Kayyali  

"Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering -- it is legal to record the police. The police don't always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don't comply." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lhdhwuc  

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Clinton campaign: Less fresh air, more air-freshener ad

April 17, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bill Schneider  

"Hillary Clinton’s video launching her campaign for the Democratic nomination was a montage of the New America. That’s the coalition Barack Obama brought to power in 2008: African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, working women, gays and lesbians, single mothers, Jewish voters, young people, educated professionals and the 'unchurched'. It’s the coalition that elected Obama twice, with a majority of the vote each time. That’s something even Bill Clinton couldn’t achieve. Many in these groups didn’t bother to vote when Obama was not on the ballot in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Will they show up for Hillary?" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kyb44t9  

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“Death tax” punishes success

April 17, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Kevin Brady & Steve Scalise  

"Like most Americans, we are aware that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. But what many family-owned businesses and farms don't realize is that when you die, the federal government swoops in and confiscates another 40% of the money that you and your family spent a lifetime building — and already paid taxes on. The 'death tax' is an immoral tax and an attack on the American dream. Too often, it forces families to sell the farm, ranch or business they've spent a generation or more building -- just to satisfy the IRS. These aren't, as opponents claim, the Paris Hiltons of the world. Those most hurt are the ranchers, farmers or entrepreneurs whose family assets are tied up in buildings, machines and property." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kho868r  

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Truth in politics now

April 17, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Greenberg  

"'No one has ever doubted,' wrote Hannah Arendt, 'that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one, as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness among the political virtues.' In her essay 'Truth and Politics,' Arendt probed a series of questions that are every bit as relevant today as they were when she raised them in 1967. How much honesty should we expect from politicians? Can we trust that clear-cut facts will be believed in an age of mass media and ubiquitous public relations? How should we understand the differences between closed and open societies?" (04/14/15)

https://prospect.org/article/truth-politics-now  

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Five ways to reduce inequality by holding corporations responsible

April 17, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Amy Domini & Sofia Faruqi  

"Not so long ago, business leaders believed that corporations should serve not only shareholders, but also employees and the community. This mission narrowed in the 1990s to a single-minded focus on shareholder return. A white paper by James Montier explains how the simplified purpose has created vast income inequality. Average CEO compensation has soared to 300 times higher than worker pay, and companies have become quick to increase profit by downsizing." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n26g6z7  

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Proposed premium hike would weaken Medicare

April 17, 2015
posted by

Our Future
by Diane Archer  

"In late March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support that would again raise Medicare premiums for people with Medicare with higher incomes. The Senate has also passed the legislation, and President Obama has said he will sign it. Through this bill, H.R. 2, Congress does some good. It fixes the payment formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients, ensuring they are paid adequately. It also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But hiking Medicare premiums, even a small amount for wealthier individuals, as a way to cover these costs weakens Medicare for everyone and could pave the way for the privatization of Medicare." [editor's note: Read this one carefully; the hidden agenda has nothing to do with aiding elderly people with medical concerns - SAT] (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n333uxg  

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“The Ron Paul of the left”: Why Bernie Sanders is the cranky socialist 2016 needs

April 17, 2015
posted by

Salon
by Matthew Pulver  

"Sanders is probably not the best spokesperson for democratic socialism: Someone young (Sanders is 73), someone not so Yankee, someone whose clothes aren't 'rumpled' -- there's probably someone, somewhere who'd be a better pitch man for a political ideology that just seven years ago was used as an effective epithet against the newly elected Obama. But what Sanders lacks in polish, and acquaintance with a comb for that matter, he more than makes up for in conviction. He's experienced in articulating populism, and he's more than happy to be a true antagonist to Hillary on a debate stage. He's like the Ron Paul of the left, unafraid -- even eager -- to ruffle feathers in the furtherance of his political beliefs." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oxjhj4r  

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Vietnam in the battlefield of memory

April 17, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Jon Wiener  

"When the Pentagon announced its plans for the nation’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, historians and old-time activists feared the worst. The Pentagon commemoration office, which Congress authorized at a cost of up to $65 million, put up a website in which the war was portrayed as one of 'valor' and 'honor" -- a picture unrecognizable to many Americans, including both veterans and antiwar activists. ... In response, Tom Hayden and a new group, the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee, launched a petition last September declaring that 'this official program should include viewpoints, speakers, and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war.'" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kgmp7vl  

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The Boston Marathon two years later — a policeman’s delight

April 17, 2015
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson  

"With the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing upon us, NPR is running a series called 'The Road Ahead.' In its daily segments, NPR examines how everyday lives have been affected by the horrific events two years ago. One unfortunate but seemingly inevitable part of that road entails law enforcement's stepped-up abuses of its citizens. As with all acts of terrorism, law enforcement has not let this crisis go to waste. The dreadful acts of two lone-wolf brothers at the 2013 Boston Marathon have provided the momentum needed for law enforcement to foist ever increasing violations of privacy upon its subjects. It is a pill that will be swallowed by Bostonians without much protest, at least initially, given the nature of the police state's justification." (04/16/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/37193  

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The killing initiative

April 16, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark  

"The world of private defence contractors, the modern version of the fabled Condottiere without the flags and the city-state veneration, received a blow with the handing down of stiff sentences on four former Blackwater operatives. Last year, the four in question, part of Blackwater’s Support Team Raven 23, were convicted in the Washington, D.C. federal court for killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour square in 2007. The sentences of Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Nicholas A. Slatten, and Evans S. Liberty, damn a certain form of warfare, but they do not reverse it." (04/16/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/16/the-killing-initiative/  

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What the left wants from Hillary

April 16, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Russell Berman  

"If Clinton hopes to excite liberals, she'll have to embrace their priorities." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ous4mao  

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Hillary 2016

April 16, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Tom Janssen  

Cartoon. (04/15/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/04/hillary-2016-2/  

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Questions about NBC’s conduct in the Richard Engel kidnapping are more serious than the Brian Williams scandal

April 16, 2015
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"In December 2012 -- as the pro-intervention cause was strengthening -- a group of five journalists working for NBC News, including its star international reporter Richard Engel, was kidnapped inside Syria. They were held for five days, threatened with death, treated inhumanely, and forced to record a video in which Engel was made to call for an end to U.S. involvement in Syria. Scrawled on the walls of the room where the video was recorded was graffiti of pro-Assad messages along with well-known Shiite references. The obvious intent was to make it appear that these NBC journalists had been kidnapped and mistreated by Shiite forces associated with Assad. ... There were ample reasons at the time to be suspicious that this was a scam (perpetrated on (not by) Engel and his fellow captives) to blame Assad for the abduction. There was skepticism expressed by some independent analysts -- although not on NBC News." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mde7ebt  

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How did the NYPD break an NBA player’s leg?

April 16, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Dave Zirin  

"At the risk of stating the utterly obvious, most Black men and women who suffer physical violence at the hands of the police aren't millionaires. They don't have lawyers on speed dial and lack the resources of a well-funded union leaping to their defense. But most Black men and women aren't NBA players. In other words, they aren't Thabo Sefolosha. The Atlanta Hawks guard will now miss the playoffs after an encounter with the NYPD left him with a fractured leg and an arrest record. ... Already, the gap between the initial police accounts (reprinted as objective narration by some media outlets) and the version that's coming to light, should be giving NYPD Commissioner William Bratton night sweats." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kb8ntqp  

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Debate: Could Warren really run against Hillary?

April 16, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Jessica Stites  

"The prospect of Hillary Clinton as the anointed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee troubles some progressives, who worry about both the hawkish senator herself and a pro forma primary. Now the Clinton email scandal has convinced even some centrist Democrats that it might be helpful to have a Plan B, just in case Republicans finally get their pitchforks into Clinton. Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-VT] has all but declared, but even his most ardent supporters acknowledge the socialist would face an uphill battle. A vocal crowd, meanwhile, is holding out hope that Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] will run. ... In These Times brought together Erica Sagrans of Ready for Warren; Prof. Elizabeth Sanders of Cornell University’s department of government; and Allen Clifton, cofounder of Forward Progressives." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nftp2gw  

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Iran: The sensible, risky option

April 16, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg  

"'There are only bad options. It's about finding the best one.' ... 'You don't have a better bad idea than this?' ... 'This is the best bad idea we have, sir.' That snippet of dialogue is from the film Argo, set just after the Iranian revolution in 1979 ... [a] scene in which CIA Director Stansfield Turner is listening to the out-of-any-box scheme of two CIA men for smuggling six American diplomats out of Teheran. ... Thirty-six years later, the same script would be appropriate for calmly discussing the framework agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear program. Calm, though, has been in short supply." (04/15/15)

https://prospect.org/article/sensible-risky-option  

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Religious fanaticism is a huge factor in Americans’ support for Israel

April 16, 2015
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"It is inconceivable that a substantial portion of Americans would want to support any other foreign country even where doing so was contrary to U.S. interests. Only Israel commands anything near that level of devoted, self-sacrificing fervor on the part of Americans. So it's certainly worth asking what accounts for this bizarre aspect of American public opinion. The answer should make everyone quite uncomfortable: it's religious fanaticism. The U.S. media loves to mock adversary nations, especially Muslim ones, for being driven by religious extremism, but that is undeniably a major factor, arguably the most significant one, in explaining fervent support for Israel among the American populace." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qdt7lom  

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The eternal return of BuzzFeed

April 16, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer  

"Today, BuzzFeed has more than 900 employees in 10 bureaus around the globe. Traffic to the site is stunning: 200 million monthly unique visitors, and one billion video views a month. (The New York Times logs 28 million unique visitors a month, according to its media kit. In February, a single BuzzFeed article about a dress got 28 million views in a matter of hours.) According to its founders, it has been profitable since 2013. BuzzFeed is a successful company. And it is not only that: BuzzFeed is the rare example of a news organization that changes the way the news industry works." ()4/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pjyetca  

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Proof that GOP is absolutely certain voters are tuned out

April 16, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Republicans depend on people believing what they say but not paying attention to the things they do. Just how certain are they that no one pays attention to the things they do? Read on. Today is Tax Day, and Republicans are voting to repeal the estate tax. This is a huge, huge tax cut for only the top 0.2 percent -- people worth more than $5.4 million. These people will get $269 billion over 10 years. The same Republicans have passed a budget outline that cuts infrastructure spending and guts our government by $5 trillion, mostly from services and benefits that help working families." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n4y24qz  

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GOP offers new faces, stale ideas

April 15, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Debbie Wasserman Schultz  

"As more Republicans enter a crowded and divisive primary contest, several have suggested that they are the candidate capable of expanding the GOP's tent. But the stale ideas and failed policies they're peddling mean that the Republican tent is in danger of collapsing on the circus underneath. Under President Obama, Republicans have been defined by obstruction. In recent years, their de facto ringleader has been Sen. Ted Cruz, an architect of the government shutdown. While Cruz and his colleagues tried to take access to quality healthcare away from millions of Americans, the shutdown cost the economy a staggering $24 billion." [editor's note: It bears noting that this is the Democratic National Committee chair writing this, but that doesn't mean she's completely wrong about it - SAT] (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pmqkt6e  

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Don’t moan about secular stagnation

April 15, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas  

"Secular stagnation has become a vague rallying cry for all sorts of economic pessimists. But the whole debate is basically an unhelpful distraction. The term was coined in the 1930s and revived by Larry Summers in 2013. The Harvard economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary used it to tie several decades of disappointing GDP growth in developed countries with ever-looser monetary policy. He argues that real interest rates have not fallen enough to stimulate the investment needed for fast, sustainable growth." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/okudtqw  

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Secrecy, intransigence and war

April 15, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair  

"Hillary Clinton's propensity for overkill earned her and Bill the enmity of people capable of inflicting serious damage, as the Whitewater and Cattle Futures scandals duly attested. And soon, as they embarked on the 1992 presidential campaign, the same overkill reflex produced a perfect storm of bad publicity that came within an ace of finishing Clinton off altogether." (originally published 2007; posted 04/15/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/15/secrecy-intransigence-and-war/  

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Marco Rubio

April 15, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Kevin Siers  

Cartoon. (04/14/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/04/marco-rubio-2/  

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Neocon “chaos promotion” in the Mideast

April 15, 2015
posted by

Ray McGovern Antiwar.com
by Ray McGovern  

"Former Washington insider and four-star General Wesley Clark spilled the beans several years ago on how Paul Wolfowitz and his neoconservative co-conspirators implemented their sweeping plan to destabilize key Middle Eastern countries once it became clear that post-Soviet Russia 'won't stop us.' As I recently reviewed a YouTube eight-minute clip of General Clark's October 2007 speech, what leaped out at me was that the neocons had been enabled by their assessment that -- after the collapse of the Soviet Union -- Russia had become neutralized and posed no deterrent to U.S. military action in the Middle East." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ny6xnl4  

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