PND Commentary

The man behind the curtain

September 26, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic    

"In February 1988, Fred Barnes ... marveled at the refurbished George H. W. Bush who had appeared on stage in the first five Republican debates that winter and spring. 'Who’d have guessed that Bush would perform so memorably in the debates?' he wrote. 'Who’d have suspected that Bush would be funny, assertive, confrontational, succinct, and very, very quotable?' Barnes wasn’t the only one surprised. In October 1987, Newsweek had run a cover story called 'Bush Battles the Wimp Factor,' and the epithet stuck. Bush was indeed awkward in person (wooden and deferential) and his campaign was struggling out of the gate. ... In almost every debate, though, he was a different candidate entirely: deft and aggressive, even charming at times. Bush owed his transformation to one man: Roger Ailes, the political wunderkind Time once called the 'Ernest Hemingway of consultants.'" (09/26/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/137125/man-behind-curtain  

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The censor-moron

September 26, 2016
posted by

The Honest Courtesan
by Maggie McNeill  

"In a way, the name 'Banned Books Week' is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it. As I wrote above, 'banned' implies a top-down regime, while in reality the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture; the word also implies a governmental action, when in reality the rise of social media and mega-media corporations has resulted in a de facto delegation of the censorship authority to them. And if you're tempted to suggest that this isn't as bad, I suggest you ask yourself how much distribution your book will get if Amazon & Wal-mart refuse to stock it and Google monkeys with your search results to make it difficult to find." (09/26/16)

https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/the-censor-moron/  

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Actually, moderators probably shouldn’t let candidates tell bald-faced lies

September 26, 2016
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"The Commission on Presidential Debates gets just about everything regarding presidential debates wrong -- letting the major parties define the process, excluding credible third-party candidates, opting for too few debates and too many gimmicks -- so it should come as no surprise that the CPD is now sending exactly the wrong signal regarding the role of the moderator of Monday night’s first debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. 'I don’t think it’s a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Britannica,' Janet Brown, the executive director of the CPD, griped in an interview with CNN’s 'Reliable Sources' Sunday. 'I think it’s better for that person to facilitate and to depend on the candidates to basically correct each other as they see fit.'" (09/26/16)

https://www.thenation.com/article/actually-moderators-probably-shouldnt-let-candidates-tell-bald-faced-lies  

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The political rhetoric of perpetual war

September 26, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Robert Crawford  

"I want to start with a quick overview of our present situation. Most of you are familiar with this recent history; yet, it bears repeating. For 15 years now, since 2001, the US has been at war. The longest single battlefield has been the war in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan Tribal Areas. It has spanned two administrations. The Taliban remains undefeated and is gaining ground and war lords pursue their own political and military agendas. The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, now almost universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest military mistakes in recent times, has virtually destroyed a country that had been created by the imperial powers during WWI." (09/26/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/26/the-political-rhetoric-of-perpetual-war/  

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The Playpen story: Rule 41 and global hacking warrants

September 26, 2016
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Mark Rumold  

"The warrant the FBI used in the Playpen investigation -- which resulted in the delivery of malware to over a thousand computers, located around the world -- violated Rule 41, an important rule of federal criminal procedure. Although Rule 41 may seem obscure, it plays a vital role in limiting when federal law enforcement agencies can conduct lawful searches and seizures. And the warrant used in the Playpen investigation is an omen of warrants to come. That's because DOJ is advocating for a change to Rule 41 that, if it takes effect, was designed to authorize exactly this kind of warrant." (09/26/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/08/illegal-playpen-story-rule-41-and-global-hacking-warrants  

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Why Millennials don’t like Clinton, and what she can do about it

September 26, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Atkins  

"Hillary Clinton has long struggled with younger voters, but the problem now threatens to cost her the election. Clinton’s address to millennials this week underscored her awareness of how crucial they are to her chances in November. But her support from voters ages 18 to 35 has declined by double digits since August, raising an urgent question for Democrats: Why are millennial voters so reluctant to embrace Clinton? On the surface, Clinton should do well with younger voters. Millennials are the most progressive generation in America, and Hillary Clinton’s voting record in the Senate was reliably liberal on most issues. Millennials strongly support gender equality even more strongly than they do racial equality, so backing the first female candidate for president from a major party should be a no-brainer. But millennials also grew up in the shadow of the Great Recession, and this has radicalized them in a way that is often difficult for older generations to comprehend." (09/23/16)

http://prospect.org/article/why-millennials-don%E2%80%99t-clinton%E2%80%94and-what-she-can-do-about-it  

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Book review: How ADHD was sold

September 26, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Adam Gaffney  

"Rita was the wife of a chemist at the Swiss drug company CIBA who concocted a new stimulant by modifying amphetamine, and Rita enjoyed tennis. The chemist shared his invention with his wife, and—to their delight—the substance had a wonderful effect on her tennis game. He named the new drug in honor of his darling. He named the new drug Ritaline. In 1956, CIBA began marketing this drug as Ritalin in the United States, for a wide range of adult psychiatric maladies. But soon, evidence emerged that it might benefit what were then called “disturbed children.” In a landmark randomized clinical trial conducted in Baltimore by the child psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg and the child psychologist Keith Conners (then at Johns Hopkins) that was published in 1963, the drug improved behavioral symptoms, from 'demanding' and 'disobedient' to 'leads into trouble' and 'lying.' The diagnostic label 'attention deficit hyperactivity disorder' (ADHD) did not yet exist, but the pair had put the drug on the child psychiatry map." (09/23/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/137066/adhd-sold  

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Trust me, you’d hate a Lincoln-Douglas debate

September 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Dan Payne  

"In presidential debate season, inevitably one of the candidates will ask for a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. This is commonly misunderstood as two candidates slugging it out without time limits or interruptions or moderators -- perhaps what Donald Trump had in mind when he envisioned a debate consisting of Hillary Clinton and himself just 'sitting there, talking.' But of course, the Lincoln-Douglas debates were nothing like that. The format for what were called the Great Debates of 1858 was one that very few voters and zero TV networks could tolerate today. One candidate spoke for 60 minutes uninterrupted, then the other took charge of the podium for 90 minutes; finally, the first candidate was allowed back for a 30-minute rejoinder. Imagine standing and listening to these endless monologues as the two men battled to put their respective parties in control of the Illinois legislature, which would choose the next senator. There were seven of these panegyric face-offs." (09/24/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/24/trump-clinton-debate-lincoln-douglas-column/91017246  

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Dismantle the police

September 25, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Trevor Hultner  

"At this point, it's clear that nothing short of a complete dismantling of the police force is necessary to stop them from killing black men and women. There are simply no more justifications to be made here. No more claims of 'bad apples,' no more room to use the officer safety argument. Police feel vested with the power to kill anyone they please, and they absolutely know it. This isn't even the first time an unarmed black man has been killed in Tulsa County within the last two or three years. Either we take the entire system apart or this keeps happening. There are no alternatives." (09/24/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/46402  

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The bilingual lobby is back

September 25, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Having to ask parents to sign a consent form should not be considered a burden -- and yet activists have put Proposition 58 on the November ballot so that they can relieve themselves of that pedestrian challenge. In 1998, 61 percent of Californians passed Proposition 227, which replaced bilingual education with English immersion classes. Prop. 227 allows parents to opt their children out of immersion classes, if they sign a form. 'We have to get waivers from every family every spring,' San Francisco school board member Emily Murase told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. She talked as if asking parents to sign a consent form is daunting. The waivers are 'barriers' which produce a 'chilling effect,' said Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara. Prop. 58 would remove this mandate. Lara himself was in English immersion and 'happened to excel,' but some of his siblings fared better in bilingual classes, he said. Prop. 227 allowed parents to opt their children out of immersion classes if they could find bilingual classes." (09/25/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/09/25/the-bilingual-lobby-is-back-n2222943  

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Turn out the lights, the party’s over

September 25, 2016
posted by

Unqualified Offerings
by Thoreau  

"The Republican Party is in a bind. Their nominee is doing incredible damage to their brand, and even if he wins he will likely bring the country into multiple constitutional crises. Plenty of Republicans know this and don't want to endorse him. On the one hand, if the party wants to remain an effective, electable entity into the future then it has to distance itself from the damage that the nominee is doing to the brand. On the other hand, if the party wants to remain an effective entity with some role to play in elections then it has to insist upon loyalty from its members. On the third hand, if the party actually had some sort of meaningful pull then the nominee never would have been a man who was until recently a Democrat and who has never held public office or been involved in the party in any substantial way." (09/25/16)

http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2016/09/25/19313  

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The exasperating, never-ending sprawl of American empire

September 25, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Tom Engelhardt  

"Recently, sorting through a pile of old children’s books, I came across a volume, That Makes Me Mad!, which brought back memories. Written by Steve Kroll, a long-dead friend, it focused on the eternally frustrating everyday adventures of Nina, a little girl whose life regularly meets commonplace roadblocks, at which point she always says ... well, you can guess from the title! Vivid parental memories of another age instantly flooded back: of my daughter (now reading such books to her own son) sitting beside me at age five and hitting that repeated line with such mind-blowing, ear-crushing gusto that you knew it spoke to the everyday frustrations of her life, to what made her mad. Three decades later, in an almost unimaginably different America, on picking up that book I suddenly realized that, whenever I follow the news online, on TV, or ... on paper, I have a similarly Nina-esque urge. Only the line I’ve come up with for it is ... 'You must be kidding!'" (09/23/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19491/adventures-in-an-american-world-of-frustration  

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Twenty years, three minutes: Time to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

September 25, 2016
posted by

Thomas L Knapp -- photo by Avens O'Brien William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp  

"On July 16, 1945, the United States conducted its first test detonation, dubbed 'Trinity,' of an atomic weapon. The following month the US became the first (and, to this day, the only) nation to use atomic or nuclear weapons in war. All in all, the US detonated more than 1,100 nukes in the 47 years between Trinity and Julin, its final nuclear test series, in 1992. The technology, it seems, has been thoroughly explored and then some. Four years after the Julin tests, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. US president Bill Clinton welcomed and signed the pact, but 20 years later the US Senate has yet to ratify it." (09/23/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/7722  

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Solutions to the teacher shortage even Republicans will like

September 25, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"A new report is making big headlines for showing that public schools across the nation are experiencing severe problems with teacher shortages that are apt to develop into a 'crisis' if left unaddressed. The report from an education think tank called the Learning Policy Institute took off from last year’s widespread news stories that reported how schools were 'struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science, and special education.' Where this new report goes way beyond last year’s news stories is that it draws from a deep well of statistical validity, meticulous analysis, and wise counsel. The report not only finds clear and credible evidence of teacher shortages; it provides a baseline definition of the term, identifies the factors driving the shortfalls, forecasts a continuing problem, and offers policy recommendations to shore up the existing teacher supply and attract new, well-qualified entrants." (09/22/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160922/solutions-to-the-teacher-shortage-crisis-even-republicans-will-like  

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Due process is vital to freedom

September 23, 2016
posted by

Andrew P. Napolitano Antiwar.com
by Andrew P Napolitano  

"As far back as 1798, notwithstanding the lofty goals and individualistic values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the same generation -- in some cases the same human beings -- that wrote in the First Amendment that 'Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech' enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which punished speech critical of the government. Similarly, the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process has been ignored by those in government charged with enforcing it when they deal with a criminal defendant whom they perceive the public hates or fears. So it should come as no surprise that no sooner had the suspect in the recent New Jersey and New York City bombings been arrested than public calls came to strip him of his rights, send him to Gitmo and extract information from him. This is more Vladimir Putin than James Madison." (09/22/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2016/09/21/due-process-vital-freedom/  

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Trump Foundation, charity in name only

September 23, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Donald Trump famously said in January that his supporters were so loyal, 'I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters.' It's amazing that Trump was able to exhibit his low view of his supporters, and not lose ground in the polls. Still, I wonder how his die-hard faithful will feel as they learn more about how Trump used the ostensibly charitable Donald J. Trump Foundation to launder purchases of high-ticket items the billionaire coveted and to settle legal issues for his luxury ventures. ... Mr. Big Spender hasn't given a dime to his namesake charity since 2008. Instead, other business people have contributed to the Trump Foundation -- while Trump took credit for their generosity." (09/22/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/09/22/trump-foundation-charity-in-name-only-n2221986  

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The assassinations of John Kennedy and Orlando Letelier

September 23, 2016
posted by

Jacob G Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"This week the Washington Post carried a fascinating front-page article entitled 'This Is Not an Accident. This Was a Bomb' about the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former official in the Allende administration who, along with his 25-year-old assistant Ronni Moffitt, was murdered on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1976. The article includes several interesting photographs, including of Letelier and Moffitt. Some historical events will just not go away, perhaps because something about them just keeps gnawing at people. The Letelier assassination is a good example. So is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which took place ten years before the Letelier assassination." (09/22/16)

http://www.fff.org/2016/09/22/assassinations-john-kennedy-orlando-letelier/  

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One other reason Johnson & Stein should be invited to the debates

September 23, 2016
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Toward the end of the first Democratic presidential debate, CNN's Anderson Cooper turned to former US senator and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and asked, 'Edward Snowden, is he a traitor or a hero?' ... 'I would bring him home,' Chafee said of the American whistle-blower who leaked classified National Security Agency documents that exposed details of the NSA's surveillance programs in the United States and abroad. 'Bring him home, no jail time?' asked Cooper. '[What] Snowden did showed that the American government was acting illegally for the Fourth Amendment,' said Chafee. 'So I would bring him home.' Cooper then turned to former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was of a different opinion altogether. 'He broke the laws of the United States,' said Clinton, who claimed Snowden wasn't really a whistle-blower but someone who 'stole very important information.'" [editor's note: Gee, do you suppose that's maybe why neither she nor Trump wants either of them up there? SAT] (09/22/16)

https://www.thenation.com/article/theres-one-other-reason-gary-johnson-and-jill-stein-should-be-invited-to-the-debates  

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Wells Fargo shows exactly how structural racism works

September 23, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Theo Anderson  

"Wells Fargo is a curious case. Often overshadowed by banks like Chase and Citigroup, it was, until it took a hit from the recent uproar, the biggest bank in the world by market capitalization. It was also once 'viewed as one of the good guys,' as Bloomberg put it, because its 'conservative lending policies had helped it weather the worst of the housing bust' in 2008. On the 'Vision and Values' page of its website, Stumpf claims that 'everything we do is built on trust. It doesn’t happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one quarter. It’s earned relationship by relationship.' Despite its good-guy reputation in some quarters and its professed commitment to building trust, however, Wells Fargo was a central player in the lending practices that contributed to the housing crisis of the late 2000s. And it is still dealing with the fallout from lawsuits dating back to that era -- notably, a case to be heard by the Supreme Court in its coming term." (09/21/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19488/wells-fargo-shows-exactly-how-structural-racism-works  

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Third-party candidates don’t have to be spoilers

September 22, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Scott Lemieux  

"Donald Trump has between a 25 percent and 44 percent chance of becoming president (I'll pause while you fix yourself a stiff drink), although he doesn't crack 45 percent of the vote in prominent poll aggregators. One reason for this is an unusually strong collective showing by the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein. Millennial voters, in particular, have the sound judgment to solidly disapprove of Trump, but are disproportionately attracted to third-party candidates. I think voters of any age who don't want Trump to be president, but are considering a vote for Johnson and Stein, are making a mistake. But voters should not be faced with this dilemma in the first place." [editor's note: The title is deceptive; this is a pitch for IRV or other voting reform, and not in any way an endorsement of 3rd-party options (he goes on to trash and dismiss both), though it is at least a challenge to the present mess - SAT] (09/22/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/137012/third-party-candidates-dont-spoilers  

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Is this the end of the Sunlight Foundation?

September 22, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Robinson Meyer  

"Voters seem to value transparency more than ever before, yet the principle is more endangered this election than it has been since the Nixon presidency. It is a defining moment for open government in America. You'd think the Sunlight Foundation would be raring for a fight. Since its inception, in January 2006, the nonprofit has advocated for a new, digitally savvy vision of open government. ... So developers and designers with a public-minded bent were surprised to discover that, in this of all years, the nonprofit seemingly has no idea what to do with itself. In what Politico aptly called an 'unusual blog post,' the Sunlight Foundation announced on Monday that it had failed to find a new executive director and a justifying vision for the organization. As such, Sunlight may shut down or merge with another organization by the end of the year." (09/22/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/09/sunlight-sunset/501071/  

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The Republican purge to come

September 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Gabriel Schoenfeld  

"The message from Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus wasn't subtle: Anyone who ran for president this year and agreed to support the primary winner, best get on board the Trump Train. Otherwise, he said on CBS'[s] Face The Nation, 'I don't think it's going to be that easy for them' to run again. 'It's not a threat,' he added. 'It's just a question that we have a process in place.' He has it precisely backwards. If there's going to be a purge, banish Republican officeholders who supported Donald Trump. The GOP needs to rid itself of those who turned what should have been a banner year for Republicans into a moral disaster and, tightening polls notwithstanding, likely a political one as well." [editor's note: This is going to be fun to watch, regardless of how the GOP disintegrates; one down, one to go ... - SAT] (09/22/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/22/trump-penalties-kasich-bush-cruz-ryan-giuliani-racism-gop-column/90796472  

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Republicans would rather impeach than disclose

September 22, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Eliza Newlin Carney  

"From the upside-down perspective of Republicans, the biggest threat to American democracy comes not from the millions in unregulated, undisclosed money sloshing through campaigns, but from the slightest attempt to shed light on the big donors funding secretive political groups. So alarmed are conservatives by the specter that non-disclosing groups will be politically harassed and intimidated that they have set out to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. It's a move that worries GOP leaders, but that has fired up the right-leaning House Freedom Caucus. It all goes back to a federal Inspector General's finding in 2013 that the IRS had improperly targeted tax-exempt Tea Party groups for special scrutiny." (09/22/16)

http://prospect.org/article/republicans-would-rather-impeach-disclose  

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Wells Fargo’s Stumpf leads the way

September 22, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff  

"[T]his John Stumpf is a stand-up guy. He has told the media and the Senate Banking Committee that he takes 'full responsibility' for the gigantic defrauding of the country's third largest bank's customers, and says that he is 'accountable' for the high-pressure sales pressure put on low-level bank salespeople to produce sales of bank products -- the policy that led over 5000 of those employees to set up the fraudulent accounts. But here's the beautiful thing: Standing up and saying 'I take full responsibilty' and 'I'm accountable' is really easy! You don't have to actually do anything and nothing happens to you!" (09/22/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/22/wells-fargos-stumpf-leads-the-way/  

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Of flags and football

September 22, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Logan Glitterbomb  

"The football hooligans are at it again but this time instead of street riots and violence, they are raising hell with flags and fundraisers. With the recent news of Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand during the U.S. national anthem and Gabby Douglas not placing her hand over her heart during the anthem at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the question of whether or not politics and sports should mix has been on a lot of minds. While it is really only a debate over etiquette in the United States, the mixing of politics and sports is actually a punishable offense in Ireland." (09/22/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/46157  

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