PND Commentary

Imagine, in a different dimension …

December 8, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward Rational Review Inter-Rationale
by Steve Trinward  

"I started writing this, not knowing if I had a column in progress or just my second-ever attempt at writing 'speculative fiction,' kind of an inverse version of It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. I’m still unsure, but here’s the premise: What if Donald Trump were not the second coming of Hitler, Satan’s sidekick, or even just a very distasteful 'sexist, racist, homophobic, sex-offender,' as one songwriter friend has put it? What if somewhere inside that crusty shell, there was a man with a heart, a desire to do good, and even a vision for how to get back to liberty -- someone we all missed, just as we missed his viability as a candidate, and then the 'surprise' victory (which had only surprised the media, the Democrats . . . and us ideologues)? What would that mean about interpreting his moves? ... Here are five ways in which I could see a light shining through at least some of his actions over the last ... hard to believe it’s only been a month!" (12/08/16)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/?p=242661  

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Are sanctuary cities legal?

December 8, 2016
posted by

Andrew P. Napolitano Antiwar.com
by Andrew P Napolitano  

"[Sanctuary cities] are places where there are large immigrant populations, among which many are undocumented, yet where there is apparently not a little public sentiment and local governmental support for sheltering the undocumented from federal reach. Trump has argued that these cities are required to comply with federal law by actively assisting the feds -- or at least not aggressively resisting them. Thus the question: Are state and local governments required to help the feds enforce federal law? In a word: No." (12/08/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2016/12/07/sanctuary-cities-legal/  

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House passes stopgap spending scam as senators raise objections

December 8, 2016
posted by

Fox News
by  

"A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, the House easily passed a stopgap spending bill to keep federal agencies running through the end of April. The legislation's fate in the Senate remained uncertain due to strident opposition from coal-state Democrats. The Republican-led House voted Thursday to approve the spending bill, 326-96. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio argued that a provision in the bill to temporarily extend health care benefits for about 16,500 retired union coal miners facing the loss of coverage on Dec. 31 is insufficient. The measure does not protect pension benefits despite President Harry S. Truman's 1946 guarantee to miners of lifetime health and retirement benefits. Republicans insisted the deal was the best they could get, heightening the possibility the government could close at midnight Friday." (12/08/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/08/house-backs-spending-bill-senate-fate-unclear.html  

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Beyond Carrier: Can Congress end the greenlight for outsourcing?

December 8, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Steven Greenhouse  

"While millions of Americans were thrilled to see President-elect Trump strong-arm the Carrier Corporation into keeping its Indianapolis plant open, numerous economists, commentators, and lawmakers denounced the deal. Some condemned it as crony capitalism, because Carrier will receive $7 million in state incentives as part of its agreement not to send 800 threatened jobs to Mexico. Others voiced alarm that Trump was singling out and bullying an individual company." (12/08/16)

http://prospect.org/article/beyond-carrier-can-congress-end-green-light-outsourcing  

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One-party state, meet party of one

December 8, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Donald J. Trump did America a huge favor by winning the White House in November. If Hillary Clinton had won, there would have been little stopping America from turning into a one-party country, a national political equivalent of California. As it is, California is turning into San Francisco, where outsiders stand zero chance of penetrating the liberal-only wall that surrounds City Hall. What does it mean to live in a one-party state? Donors and insiders decide elections and stack the decks. Consider the only statewide office for which Californians voted this year: the U.S. Senate seat won by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. That race was decided in January 2015 when Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her retirement and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom phoned Harris to inform her he would not run for Boxer's seat because he plans to run for governor in 2018. Harris enlisted a crack team of political consultants (who also have worked for Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown) and she owned the field. Harris now likely owns that seat for life." (12/08/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/12/08/oneparty-state-meet-party-of-one-n2256719  

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Make DC a swamp again

December 8, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Donald Trump ran for president on the slogan 'Make America Great Again!' And he’s also promised to 'drain the swamp' in Washington. But maybe the way to do that is to make Washington a little less great. Because as Washington has prospered over the last several decades (to the point where people are making Hunger Games comparisons), the rest of the country hasn’t done as well. So perhaps it’s time for a role-reversal. I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble." (12/08/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/08/dc-swamp-workers-glenn-reynolds-column/95146014  

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Principles to guide the vetting of Betsy DeVos

December 8, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos for US Secretary of Education in his administration set off a firestorm of commentary on what her impact might be on furthering 'school choice' ventures like charter schools and vouchers that send taxpayer money to private enterprises. In a much-circulated op-ed for the New York Times, economic professor Douglas Harris warns, 'The DeVos nomination ... should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.' Specifically, Harris points to Detroit (where DeVos has been hugely influential) as a worrisome example of how more choice does not necessarily always lead to more quality in a school system." (12/08/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161207/principles-to-guide-the-vetting-of-betsy-devos  

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Go wet, young man

December 8, 2016
posted by

Bloomberg
by Tyler Cowen  

"Following the election of Donald Trump, some Americans are asking whether they should move to Canada. Yet a more radical idea is re-emerging as a vehicle for political liberty, namely seasteading. That's the founding of new and separate governance units on previously unoccupied territory, possibly on the open seas. Imagine, for instance, autonomously governed sea platforms, with a limited number of citizens selling health and financial services to the rest of the world. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence might make the construction and settlement of such institutions more practical than it seemed 15 years ago. Although seasteading is sometimes viewed as an extension of self-indulgent Silicon Valley utopianism, we should not dismiss the idea too quickly. Variants on seasteading led to the founding of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the caveat that conquest was involved, as these territories were not unsettled at the time." (12/07/16)

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-07/seasteading-isn-t-such-a-crazy-idea  

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No, Rahm Emanuel should definitely not become Head of the DNC

December 8, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times    

"In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of godawful ideas for how the Democratic Party should respond to Hillary Clinton’s humiliating loss. After winning another election to her leadership position in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi said Democrats actually don’t want a new direction. Democratic operative David Brock, for his part, is gathering the super-rich donor class together, figuring it has the best ideas for what the party should do next. And Joe Lieberman says Democrats need to go back to tacking right, since that worked so well when he ran alongside Al Gore in 2000. But perhaps the most asinine idea came this week from Chicago magazine’s Carol Felsenthal, who proposed that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel run for the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)." (12/08/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19707/no-rahm-emanuel-should-definitely-not-become-head-of-the-dnc  

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Rolling back the empire: Washington’s proxy army faces decisive defeat in Aleppo

December 8, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney  

"The situation is looking increasingly hopeless for the ragtag group of insurgents that have lost more than half the territory they held in just the last week. Every attempt they've made to break through Syrian Army lines has been repelled leaving them to defend a few shrinking districts where they will either surrender or die. ... US Secretary of State John Kerry has made every effort to stop the fighting to protect US-backed jihadists that are trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Unfortunately, a proposal that was accepted by both Kerry and Lavrov concerning the withdrawal of fighters in Aleppo, was rejected by higher-ups in the Obama Administration ending the prospects for a negotiated settlement." (12/08/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/08/rolling-back-the-empire-washingtons-proxy-army-faces-decisive-defeat-in-aleppo/  

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Native land: The expropriation continues

December 8, 2016
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"The land remaining to America's First Nations, after centuries of robbery and genocide, currently stands at the roughly 2% of U.S. territory enclosed within reservations. Now Trump's incoming crew wants to 'privatize' (loot) it .... The fact that this two percent of the land may contain around a fifth of U.S. oil reserves is a total coincidence, I'm sure. The land is legally owned, not by the Native tribes themselves, but by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In theory, the Bureau more or less stands in for the tribes as collective owner of the land, and allows the members to allocate possession of the land among themselves through the internal governance authorities. Sort of like how a Creative Commons license is supposed to use copyright to replicate the state of affairs that would exist if copyright law didn't exist at all. Sort of. I guess." (12/08/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/47133  

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The real battle in Aleppo and Mosul

December 8, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor
by staff  

"The world’s main body for protecting civilians in war zones, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is closely watching two tense and pivotal battles in the Middle East. One is Iraq’s assault on Islamic State forces in Mosul. The other is Syria’s attack on pro-democracy rebels in Aleppo. Each is telling, in opposite ways, about global progress toward nations honoring humanitarian law in conflicts. The ICRC gives high marks to Iraq’s tactics in avoiding civilian casualties as its Army slowly retakes the country’s second largest city. If Iraq's official concern for the innocent in Mosul continues, it might set a strong precedent in the region for living up to the ideals of the Geneva Conventions. Syria, on the other hand, along with Russian warplanes, is randomly striking schools, hospitals, and anyone who even moves on the streets of eastern Aleppo. On Wednesday, the rising civilian carnage led Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, and the United States to demand an immediate cease-fire. They also asked the United Nations to investigate possible war crimes against civilians." (12/07/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2016/1207/The-real-battle-in-Aleppo-and-Mosul  

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Can Trump’s wild one-off at Carrier combat corporate welfare?

December 8, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Greg LeRoy  

"Say what you will about his hot-mess way with issues, but President-elect Donald Trump has already raised the cause of manufacturing jobs higher than any president in memory. His maneuver with United Technologies that convinced Carrier Corp. to keep 800 jobs in Indiana has drawn both praise and scorn. But by casually endorsing interstate job wars, Trump has also invited a sorely needed debate over a truly egregious aspect of corporate welfare. The Indianapolis deal is clearly a one-off with no policy precedents to benefit any other workers. But it has cued up an issue that progressive advocates can embrace and that should force Trump supporters to grapple with tough questions. Specifically: Trump’s America First populism could be channeled to make real progress toward curbing wasteful taxpayer giveaways to footloose corporations." [editor's note: This author seems to have no clue what "corporate welfare" actually is - SAT] (12/07/16)

http://prospect.org/article/can-trumps-wild-one-carrier-combat-corporate-welfare  

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Trump can’t fight Islamic State without wading into Syria’s war

December 8, 2016
posted by

Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi  

"Over the course of the U.S. presidential campaign, Donald Trump changed his mind on many issues. But he’s been consistent on one foreign policy question: he wants to end American support for Syrian opposition groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Trump argues that the United States should expend all of its efforts on fighting Islamic State instead. 'I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,' Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 11, in his first interview after he won the White House. 'My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. ... Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.' Even if Trump goes ahead with his threat to cut off aid to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime (especially those supported by a covert CIA program which provides training and anti-tank missiles) the president-elect will face another major test of his Syria policy soon after he’s inaugurated on Jan. 20." (12/07/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trump-syria-commentary-idUSKBN13W1U9  

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Ike’s rich vs. Trump’s rich: No contest

December 8, 2016
posted by

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"In every society, some people hold more wealth than other people. Every society, in other words, has a rich. But not every society’s rich has enough wealth to really dominate. Not every society’s rich has enough wealth (and power) to rig the rules at the expense of average people. In the United States today, our rich certainly does have enough. Researchers from the IRS have just delivered the latest evidence. These researchers last week released the latest annual breakdown on America’s 400 highest reported incomes. In 2014, their new IRS report notes, our top 400 collected incomes that individually averaged an astounding $317.8 million. Want a little more human perspective on that total? If you suddenly found yourself with a nice little job that paid $10,000 per month, you would have to work over 2,600 years at that job to make what America’s top 400 averaged in just 2014 alone. We can get an equally telling perspective by comparing today’s rich to yesterday’s." (12/07/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161207/ikes-rich-vs-trumps-rich-no-contest  

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The Clintons have done enough damage

December 7, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Steven Strauss  

"President Obama famously said a key element of his strategy is: 'Don't do stupid s---.' Hillary Clinton was unable to learn this simple lesson, despite losing to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary (and serving in Obama’s Cabinet for four years thereafter). The Clintons, of all people, should have been aware of the challenges of a presidential campaign -- yet, they still did an amazing number of stupid things. Hillary Clinton and her allies have blamed her election loss on the investigation of her private email server, especially FBI Director James Comey’s letter telling Congress he was revisiting that investigation just days before the election. The unprecedented decision to put all of Clinton's emails on a private server, however, was made by her and her team. It should have been obvious to anyone that a secretary of State hosting her own email server, without even bothering to get approval from the State Department, in her own house, was going to seem odd and trigger questions." (12/06/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/06/hillary-clinton-campaign-stupid-stuff-steven-strauss/94990920  

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Italy: No to military “reform”

December 7, 2016
posted by

Voltaire Network
by Manlio Dinucci  

"Most Italians, distrustful of the broad powers vested in Renzi, have foiled his reform plans which flout the constitution. But in order for a new path to be laid out for our country, [yet] another fundamental 'No' is needed: 'No' to the military “reform” that has rendered Article 11, one of the fundamental pillars of our Constitution, inoperable. Internal economic and political choices, such as those proposed by the Renzi government and rejected by the majority of Italians, are actually inextricably linked to foreign and military policy choices. One lot is functional to the other. When quite properly, a proposal is put to us to increase social expenditure, we cannot ignore the fact that everyday Italy is burning up 55 million euro on military expenditure (a figure provided by Nato, [but] which is actually much higher). When it is correctly asked that the citizens have a say in the domestic policy, we cannot ignore that they have no say on foreign policy which continues to be channelled towards war." (12/07/16)

http://www.voltairenet.org/article194423.html  

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Democrats, don’t repeat Obama’s biggest mistake

December 7, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Before last month, the lowest point of Barack Obama’s presidency was in mid-2011, when Republicans used the threat of defaulting on the national debt to extract policy ransoms from him and Democrats in Congress. This is not an inflammatory, biased description of what Republicans did. It’s a paraphrase of something then–Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted days after the debt limit standoff ended. 'I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,' he said. 'Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this—it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.'" (12/06/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139172/democrats-dont-repeat-obamas-biggest-mistake  

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In like Flynn: Blowback for filth-peddling fascists

December 7, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Chris Floyd  

"Michael Flynn Jr. was a member of Donald Trump's presidential transition team. He also served as chief of staff for his father, Michael Flynn Sr., who has been picked by Trump to be his National Security Advisor. Michael Flynn Jr. is also running a child sex ring in Trump Tower with Nazis and Klan members coordinated through secret codes published in stories on the Breitbart website. Or so I hear. If that's not true -- if Michael Flynn Jr. really isn't a child abusing Nazi pimp, then it is up to HIM to prove he isn't. Otherwise, this claim -- for which there is no evidence, by the way -- will 'remain a story.' This is according to Flynn’s own logic, and that of Trump, his child-abusing pimp of a boss. (If Trump ISN’T a child-abusing pimp, he must PROVE it, even though there is no evidence that he is)." (12/07/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/07/in-like-flynn-blowback-for-filth-peddling-fascists/  

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Fake news vs. junk news

December 7, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"The big 'fake news' stories of 2016 were the polls. Most showed Donald Trump losing big in November, thus cable news ran countless renditions of the many ways Trump could not possibly win the necessary Electoral College vote. Getting the story utterly wrong should result in hand-wringing, hair-pulling and painful introspection in my profession; instead many in the news business have turned their hungry eyes on 'fake news' disseminated on Facebook and Google. That's right. After a year of getting the story consistently wrong, journalism gurus are pointing to phony stories not produced by the mainstream media. After the election, The New York Times ran a piece about Election Day titled 'The Hoaxes, Fake News and Misinformation We Saw on Election Day.' An example from the piece: A GOP mayor in Georgia tweeted that Republicans vote on Tuesday, 11/8, but Democrats vote on Wednesday, 11/9. Hello, Gray Lady; it was a joke. How desperate do you have to be to include that tweet as an example of 'misinformation?'" (12/06/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/12/06/fake-news-versus-junk-news-n2255595  

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After eight years of expanding them, Obama insists that presidential war powers are limited

December 7, 2016
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Alex Emmons  

"Anticipating that Donald Trump might try to fulfill his promises to 'bomb the shit' out of terror groups and do a 'hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,' President Obama released a report on Monday summarizing his administration's views of the legal barriers and policies limiting the president's military power. ... in trying to defend Obama's legacy, the report paints a picture of an administration far more restrained than it was in practice. The report comes just weeks before Trump will inherit bombing campaigns in seven countries, a legally unaccountable drone program, and an open prison at Guantanamo Bay. The new report is the latest in a series of public steps Obama has recently taken to give the appearance of reining his war powers." (12/06/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/06/after-8-years-of-expanding-them-obama-insists-that-presidential-war-powers-are-limited/  

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Central bankers should learn to keep their mouths shut

December 7, 2016
posted by

Reuters
by Paul Wallace  

"After ingesting the Trump agenda and spitting out its market implications, investors and traders can get back to their usual pastime: trying to work out what central bankers are plotting. Two vital meetings loom in the next 10 days. The political upheaval in Italy means that the European Central Bank is all but certain to extend its big bond-buying program, due to end in March 2017, by a further six months when it meets on Thursday, December 8. Less than a week later, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise its main interest rate at its conclave on December 13 and 14 - a year after its first increase in almost a decade." (12/05/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wallace-bankers-commentary-idUSKBN13U04R  

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Don’t double down on dirty oil

December 7, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Michael Brune  

"'Mni Wiconi.' Water is life. That’s not a slogan, it’s a unifying principle. On Sunday the Standing Rock Sioux, the Water Protectors, and millions of Americans across the country had their voices heard when the Obama administration refused to grant the final easement to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline, just as the people of Bismarck, N.D., had their voices heard when this same dirty and dangerous pipeline threatened their city’s water supply and was rerouted to avoid it. History shows that it’s not a question whether a pipeline will spill, but when. A comprehensive environmental review will reveal that this dirty and dangerous project would threaten the safety of any community it cuts through." (12/05/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/05/double-dirty-oil/95018248  

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Let’s not be divided; divided people are easier to rule

December 6, 2016
posted by

New York Times
by Trevor Noah  

"When I took over 'The Daily Show' from Jon Stewart in 2015, I was surprised to learn that my job as a late-night comedy host was not merely to entertain but to eviscerate -- to attack, crush, demolish and destroy the opponents of liberal, progressive America. Very quickly, people from some quarters (mostly those same liberal progressives) criticized me for not maintaining the minimum acceptable levels of daily evisceration that were established by my predecessor. The truth is that Jon never liked being labeled the Great Eviscerator. ... But through the lens of the internet, that’s not what people saw. In the early days of the blogosphere and YouTube and social media, people took Jon’s most strident commentary and made it go viral with clickbait headlines, blowing those segments way out of proportion, compared with the more thoughtful segments that made up most of the television show." (12/05/16)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/trevor-noah-lets-not-be-divided-divided-people-are-easier-to-rule.html  

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Nine things Obama could do to rein in the national security state

December 6, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Pratap Chatterjee  

"In less than seven weeks, President Barack Obama will hand over the government to Donald Trump, including access to the White House, Air Force One and Camp David. Trump will also, of course, inherit the infamous nuclear codes, as well as the latest in warfare technology, including the Central Intelligence Agency’s fleet of killer drones, the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance and data collection apparatus, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s enormous system of undercover informants." [editor's note: This is very well reasoned - SAT] (12/06/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19702/9-things-barack-obama-trump-national-security-drones-snowden-manning  

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