PND Commentary

The drug war is state-sanctioned murder

May 3, 2016
posted by

Cop Block Cop Block
by Lorelei McFly  

"[T]hird article in a series on how the 'War on Drugs' is state-sanctioned theft, rape, murder, and class warfare." (05/02/16)

http://www.copblock.org/158784/drug-war-is-state-sanctioned-murder/  

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What abortion has to do with the minimum wage

May 3, 2016
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Zoe Carpenter  

"What does abortion have to do with the minimum wage? Both are in the news, with ongoing fallout from the Planned Parenthood sting videos and attacks on abortion access continuing at the state level, while political candidates are centering wages, equal pay, and other issues of economic security in their campaigns. But these discussions are mostly happening separately, overlooking the ways in which access to reproductive healthcare is inextricably tied up in a woman’s ability to support herself and her family financially.  We know, for instance, that two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women, and that the low wage floor leaves many below the poverty level. We also know that women have a greater chance of escaping poverty, or avoiding it in the first place,  if they’re able to control when and if to have children." (05/02/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/what-abortion-has-to-do-with-the-minimum-wage  

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How fracking funds the radical right

May 3, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Audrea Lim  

"Harold Hamm, as Gary Sernovitz describes him in The Green and the Black, is a quintessential rags-to-riches American success story. The shack-raised Hamm 'talked like a hick' and also repaired cars and pumped gas before becoming an Oklahoma oilman, with decades of successes and failures that amounted to a fairly unextraordinary career. Then horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') technology arrived. This could unlock the vast oil and gas reserves throughout America that were trapped beneath impermeable shale rocks -- in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian, and Marcellus regions -- and that had long ago been written off by industry as inaccessible, second-rate. In fact, by the twenty-first century, all the onshore reserves in the lower 48 were thought to be near tapped out. But within less than a decade, the 'shale revolution' (fracking boom) transformed the U.S. into the world’s leading producer of oil and gas." (05/02/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133201/fracking-funds-radical-right  

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Who cares who invented Bitcoin?

May 3, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Richard Beales  

"It really shouldn’t matter who conceived of bitcoin. There’s historical curiosity, of course, and a legacy of sorts for the way in which one or more people showed vision and coding smarts to create the cryptocurrency and related technology, particularly the blockchain ledger. It’s all now supposed to have a life of its own, however. If it didn’t, it would defeat the purpose. ... Bitcoin as a currency gets its appeal because of a pre-defined and limited supply which gives it immunity from the whims of virtual monetary policymakers, unlike government-issued fiat money. And blockchain technology allows the majority of bitcoin users to decide upon the accuracy of a ledger of past transactions, a method of near-instant trade confirmation that’s viewed as foolproof and tamper-proof. That is of great interest to banks and others in the financial industry." (05/02/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/05/02/who-cares-who-invented-bitcoin  

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Why Indiana matters

May 3, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Randy E Barnett  

"When I was growing up just across the border from Hammond, Indiana, I never imagined that the fate of the U.S. and its Constitution would one day be in the hands of Indiana voters. Yet, tomorrow a relative handful of Hoosier Republicans can determine the future of the country while millions like me sit and watch what they do. Indiana matters so much because we have a 'republican' rather than a 'democratic' Constitution. A democratic constitution views 'We the People' as a group, so a 'democratic constitution' is needed to create a government that allows the 'will of the people' to prevail. And the 'people’s will' must be the desires of the majority, not everyone." (05/02/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/05/02/indiana-primary-donald-trump-ted-cruz-republican-constitution-supreme-court-column/83820168  

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Hillary Clinton’s balancing act

May 2, 2016
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"In The New Republic today I explore how Hillary Clinton could campaign when there are two disparate camps of voters she will be compelled to pursue: Bernie Sanders voters on her left, and anti-Donald Trump Republicans on her right. Sanders voters are anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership and anti-interventionist. But the Republicans fleeing Trump are pro-free trade and hawkish. It’s possible Clinton can lean right, and still win over the Bernie vote because she’s preferable to Trump. It’s possible Clinton can double down on progressive populism, and still pick off Republicans because she’s preferable to Trump. So this is not necessarily a question of how she has to do to win, but how she wants to govern." (05/02/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160502/hillarys-balancing-act  

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FBI chooses secrecy over locking up criminals

May 2, 2016
posted by

Jenna McLaughlin The Intercept
by Jenna McLaughlin  

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation's refusal to discuss even the broad strokes of some of its secret investigative methods, such as implanting malware and tracking cellphones with Stingrays, is backfiring -- if the goal is to actually enforce the law. In the most recent example, the FBI may be forced to drop its case against a Washington State school administrator charged with possessing child porn because it doesn't want to tell the court or the defense how it got its evidence -- even in the judge's chambers." (05/02/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/02/fbi-chooses-secrecy-over-locking-up-criminals/  

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Ted Cruz’s “Lucifer” problem

May 2, 2016
posted by

Susan J Douglas In These Times
by Susan J Douglas  

"He’s 'a carnival barker' with 'no qualifications,' says Rep. Peter King [R-NY]. 'Lucifer in the flesh' and a 'jackass,' says former Speaker John Boehner. A 'wacko bird,' adds Sen. John McCain. 'If you killed [him] on the floor of the Senate,' quipped Sen. Lindsey Graham, 'and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.' Upon meeting him freshman week at college, a classmate 'loathed him within the hour.' And in January, his college roommate tweeted, 'Getting emails blaming me for not smothering Ted Cruz in his sleep in 1988. What kind of monster do you think I am? A really prescient one?' It’s a real feat that Donald Trump is making the most hated man in the Senate seem an acceptable candidate by comparison." (05/02/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19092/ted-cruz-lucifer-in-the-flesh  

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The nation is running out of undecided voters

May 2, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Andrew McGill  

"[T]his is usually when campaigns enter naptime; by May, both parties normally have a presumptive nominee and are busying themselves with chair arrangements at the conventions. But as 2016 has already shown, this is An Election Like None Other. If Cruz and Kasich want a chance at winning the nomination, they have to seriously wow voters in these last handful of primaries. They're clearly taking their best shots. But here's the thing: Bold, decisive campaigning only works if there are enough voters left who actually care. There's still wiggle room in Indiana, where polls say somewhere around 6 percent of voters are undecided. But if I were one of the candidates, I'd be worried about a different figure: the percentage of people who made up their minds more than a month before the election. That number looks decidedly worse." (05/02/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/undecided-voters-ted-cruz-donald-trump-indiana/480639/  

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Drop the Just War Theory

May 2, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mairead Maguire  

"We are all conscious of the growing militarization of our societies and countries and the myth being perpetrated that militarism, nuclear weapons and war, are acceptable. I hope that Pope Francis calls Catholics not to join the military and so reminds them that killing cannot be with Christ." (05/02/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/02/drop-the-just-war-theory/  

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Father Daniel Berrigan’s legacy of resistance

May 2, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Nathan Goodman  

"On April 30th, Father Daniel Berrigan, an anti-war activist, Jesuit priest, author, and poet, passed away at the age of 94. Since the Vietnam War, Father Berrigan spoke bravely against American imperialism. But his opposition to US military interventions abroad went beyond speech. Father Berrigan bravely and repeatedly engaged in direct action to resist America's war machine. In 1968, Father Berrigan joined eight other anti-war activists to break into a draft office. They took 378 draft files from the office and used napalm to set them aflame in protest. They disrupted an unjust process by which young men were forced to fight a war of aggression in Vietnam. In lighting these records on fire with napalm, they used the empire's own weapons to destroy its bureaucratic paperwork. Together, they were known as the Catonsville Nine." (05/01/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/44793  

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Donald Trump crosses a border

May 2, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Donald Trump had to squeeze through a hole in a fence to speak at the California Republican Convention on Friday. He said it felt like 'crossing the border.' Meanwhile, his supporters swaggered into the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport banquet hall as if they owned the place. Maybe they know something I don't, I shuddered. Before Trump's talk, I spoke with many party workhorses -- the folks who have sustained the GOP in challenging times. They tended to be skeptical of Trump's credentials as a Republican and of his chance of winning in November. Trump fans, for their part, were in their glory. Their faces glowed with the flush of expected triumph." (05/01/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/05/01/donald-trump-crosses-a-border-n2155899  

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Who’s afraid of communism?

May 2, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Malcolm Harris  

"With the Berlin Wall barely a memory and Airbnb in Havana, American anti-communism is probably at its historical nadir. Bernie Sanders has proven the word 'socialism' doesn’t scare the next generation; a lot of us even seem to like the idea. ... During the April Democratic primary debate, the candidates were asked about NATO, and a curious thing happened. Donald Trump had called for European nations to contribute more to the organization’s budget; Bernie Sanders more or less agreed. But when it came her turn, Hillary Clinton praised NATO, calling it 'the most successful military alliance in probably human history.' Neither the moderators or Sanders pressed her on this point, but it’s a bizarre assertion, on par with some of Trump’s goofier statements." (04/29/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133132/whos-afraid-communism  

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The protest generation wants its education back

May 2, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Protests in North Carolina against HB2, the state’s infamous 'bathroom law,' limiting protections for LGBT people, have made national headlines recently. But there’s another wave of protest actions going on in the Tarheel State you should know about. This movement is indicative of a national-level fight for education justice and civil rights throughout all of public education. In Chapel Hill some 100 people, mostly students, shut down a meeting of the state university system’s board of governors. The board chairman had to adjourn the meeting when about 20 protesters took over the agenda as soon as newly appointed systemwide President Margaret Spellings began to speak." (04/29/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160429/the-protest-generation-wants-its-education-back  

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Trump isn’t always wrong on foreign policy

May 1, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Michael Harris & Kenneth Garner  

"One of the more unusual topics of this very unusual election year has been the hitherto uncontroversial issue of the U.S. commitment to NATO. Last month, in his characteristically blunt fashion, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed NATO for being 'obsolete.' This week, as he swept closer to the GOP nomination, he softened that to 'outdated' but repeated his call for changes -- including making allies pay more. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders similarly has argued that the United States should scale back its NATO commitments. These ideas have drawn ferocious criticism from the defense and foreign policy establishments, including the Pentagon and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Victor Davis Hanson, a historian at the Hoover Institute, acknowledged the salience of Trump’s argument but then backflipped to argue for the organization’s continued relevance anyway." (04/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/28/trump-sanders-nato-obsolete-column/83654614  

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There’s something missing from our drug laws: Science

May 1, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post
by Bill Piper  

"Congress and President Obama are under pressure to reschedule marijuana. While rescheduling makes sense, it doesn't solve the state/federal conflict over marijuana (de-scheduling would be better). But more important, it wouldn't fix the broken scheduling system. Ideally, marijuana reform should be part of a broader bill rewriting the Controlled Substances Act. The Controlled Substances Act created a five-category scheduling system for most legal and illegal drugs (although alcohol and tobacco were notably omitted)." [editor's note: No, ideally, marijuana reform should be part of a broader bill REPEALING the Controlled Substances Act (and disbanding the DEA, ONDCP, et. al - TLK] (04/28/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/04/28/theres-something-missing-from-our-drug-laws-science/  

1 Comment »

With Rule 41, little-known committee proposes to grant new hacking powers to government

May 1, 2016
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Rainey Reitman  

"The government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It's not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It's a proposal from an obscure committee that proposes changes to court procedures -- and if we do nothing, it will go into effect in December. The proposal comes from the advisory committee on criminal rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States. The amendment would update Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, creating a sweeping expansion of law enforcement's ability to engage in hacking and surveillance." (04/30/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/rule-41-little-known-committee-proposes-grant-new-hacking-powers-government  

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Exxon Mobil reaches bottom of the oil barrel

May 1, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Kevin Allison  

"Exxon Mobil has reached the bottom of the oil barrel. The U.S. energy goliath reported a 63 pct fall in first-quarter profit on Friday. Rivals Chevron and ConocoPhillips were hurting, too, as crude fell below $30 in January before investment cuts helped ease the excess supply and push up the price of oil. Recovery will be slow and patchy, but the worst is probably past. Cost cuts helped Exxon surprise Wall Street, but the $1.8 billion in net earnings was the company’s lowest quarterly sum since 1999. Chevron, meanwhile, reported its second consecutive loss as crude prices averaged about $34 a barrel from the start of the year through the end of March. And Conoco’s net loss of $1.5 billion was twice as big as Chevron’s. There are reasons to start thinking the only direction from here is up. Brent crude already has recovered from its January nadir to $48 a barrel. What’s more, unlike last year’s brief surge back above $60, this latest uptick has a better chance of sticking." (04/29/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/04/29/exxon-mobil-reaches-bottom-of-the-oil-barrel  

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Cyberwarfare: Challenge of tomorrow

May 1, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alice Donovan  

"Computer hacking has become part of everyday life for the past few years Internet-connected devices have been hacked left and right, but most of the times, these are harmless so-called Internet of Things appliances, like kettles or fridges. According to the Boston hospital Beth Israel Deaconess, it is attacked about every 7 seconds, 24 hours a day, and the strikes come from everywhere: hacktivists, organized crime, cyberterrorists and even MIT students." (04/29/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/29/cyberwarfare-challenge-of-tomorrow/  

1 Comment »

Democracy’s fascism problem

May 1, 2016
posted by

In These Times The New Republic
by Malcolm Harris  

"The usual Left-liberal critique of the European Union is that it’s basically okay, just with a ‘democracy deficit.’ Sometimes faces become symbols of the anonymous forces behind them. Was not the stupidly smiling face of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem the symbol of the European Union’s brutal pressure on Greece? Recently, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- the European cousin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- acquired a new symbol: the cold face of E.U. trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who responded to massive public opposition to TTIP this way: 'I do not take my mandate from the European people.' Now a third such symbol has emerged: Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, who, on Dec. 23, 2015, scolded the Polish government for adopting a new law that subordinates Poland’s constitutional court to the authority of government." [editor's note: Once again, the attempt to make a poor methodology for decisionmaking into an ideal to which to aspire ... never works - SAT] (04/29/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133132/whos-afraid-communism  

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The joke of US justice and “accountability” when they bomb a hospital

May 1, 2016
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"Ever since the U.S. last October bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the U.S. vehemently denied guilt while acting exactly like a guilty party would. First, it changed its story repeatedly. Then, it blocked every effort -- including repeated demands from MSF -- to have an independent investigation determine what really happened. ... the U.S. military is about to release a report that, so predictably, exonerates itself from all guilt; it was, of course, all just a terribly tragic mistake." (04/39/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/29/the-joke-of-u-s-justice-and-accountability-when-they-bomb-a-hospital/  

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It’s not about drones, it’s about lazy war

April 29, 2016
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"Someday perhaps very soon we in the US are going to be very sorry that we normalized drone warfare. Not, again, because the tech is inherently wicked. Or that it should be restricted heavily (because then law enforcement and military will claim exceptions). No, it’s just that drones are brilliant tools for keeping a lazy, constant presence in other countries. And someday soon, they will be used in a terrorist attack." (04/29/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2016/04/28/not-drones-lazy-war/  

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College too pricey? Wait till it’s “free”

April 28, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"As he panders for the youth vote, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders promises free tuition at public colleges and universities because, he says, 'a college degree is the new high school diploma.' Rival Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's plan to make community college tuition-free -- that is, publicly funded. Beware, America: Imagine how expensive college tuition will be if Democrats somehow manage to make more of it 'free.' As for value, if Sanders has his way, you can expect the college degree to be the new high school diploma." [editor's note: Yep, and more functional illiterates who can't balance a "swipe card" descend on the world with degrees and entitlements - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/04/28/is-college-too-pricey-wait-till-its-free-n2154762  

1 Comment »

The imaginary predator in America’s transgender bathroom war

April 28, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Alia E Dastagir  

"You have to pee. If you're like 99% of America, you look at pictograms, predictable gender binaries, to guide you toward the appropriate toilet. A person in pants on the left. A person in a dress on the right. If you're a woman, it's irrelevant that you have a vagina, are wearing jeans and can't recall the last time you donned a triangle dress to a dinner party. You know to hang a right, while men go left. The signage isn't literal, it reveals how our culture wants your gender to look. It reveals what door it wants you to walk through. The bathroom is a bastion of segregation. It's where we sort people." [editor's note: One big room, lots of stalls with doors & locks on inside, sinks on one wall, a trough on the other ... pick your spot, do your business and leave -- end of problem - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/04/28/transgender-bathroom-bills-discrimination/32594395  

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The next Chernobyl may be intentional

April 28, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Bennett Ramberg  

"Chernobyl’s 30th anniversary on April 26 comes against the backdrop of growing apprehension that nuclear reactors may become a terrorist target. Serious concern arose during the recent Islamic State attacks in Brussels. Evidence suggested that the assailants were considering a nuclear-related incident. The terrorists had a senior Belgian nuclear official under surveillance, and two former nuclear power-plant employees were reported to have joined Islamic State. This may help explain why Belgian authorities rushed military forces to protect its nuclear plants. The scare provided a reminder that nuclear reactors are radiological mines that terrorists could exploit. Destruction of a plant would mark a zenith of terrorist violence." (04/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/04/25/the-next-chernobyl-may-be-intentional  

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