PND Commentary

Religion and politics: Obama visits the Mussulmen

February 4, 2016
posted by

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

"For 20 years prior to his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Since his election as president, Obama has attended Christian worship services numerous times, has spoken annually at the distinctly Christian National Prayer Breakfast, and has periodically issued messages of holiday solidarity (Easter, Christmas, etc.) to 'my fellow Christians.' But some people don't believe he's a Christian. He drinks beer, eats pork, and marks Islam's holy month of Ramadan with good wishes to Muslims (in one, refers to 'my own Christian faith') rather than with that religion's required fasting, but some people believe he's secretly a Muslim. And some Republican politicians actively encourage that belief. The can of hummus got opened up again on February 3, when Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore to tell American Muslims 'you're part of America too. You're not Muslim or American. You're Muslim and American.'" (02/04/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/4554  

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Bernie’s Army is running for Congress

February 4, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by David Dayen  

"Bernie Sanders’s political revolution is predicated in part on mobilizing the public to change the direction of the country. Naysayers carp, and not without reason, that this is impossible, with Republicans having a lock on the gerrymandered Congress for the near future. But to change that state of affairs, you need Sanders Democrats: progressive leaders willing to compete for marginal seats and battle from inside the Capitol Building." [editor's note: It's hard to decide whether this roster is good for oppo research or recruitment; some could go either way - SAT] (02/03/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/129047/bernies-army-running-congress  

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Iowa reminds: Have faith in the voters

February 4, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Iowa was like a rainstorm that cleared away some of the nasty pollution clogging the air. Those last 10 polls that predicted Donald Trump would finish in first place? Wrong. The conventional wisdom about a high turnout sealing the deal for Trump proved -- repeat -- wrong. I am not a fan of the winner, Ted Cruz, but I appreciate how he used Trump's decision to skip the last debate to puncture the billionaire's balloon. If there's one thing I've learned in my years of column writing, it's to have faith in voters. Sometimes they see something in a candidate I don't see. Sometimes there is a gulf between what they tell pollsters and what they do in the voting booth. The closer the election, the more sober the assessment." (02/04/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/02/04/iowa-reminds-have-faith-in-the-voters-n2114400  

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How Sanders has transformed the Democratic race

February 4, 2016
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by staff  

"It is little less than astonishing that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (a politician who, not long ago, was widely branded as almost irrelevant, a marginal gadfly from the left) secured a virtual tie with establishment favorite Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Democratic primary. There is no longer any question that
 the Sanders movement—led not so much by the candidate but by the thousands of young people who first turned out for his rallies and are now turning out to vote—is transforming the Democratic race. Indeed, Clinton eked out a razor-thin victory in Iowa because she veered left and finished her campaign with calls for wage hikes to address income inequality and new taxes on the rich -- what The Des Moines Register referred to as 'populist fire.' But the result gave Sanders a chance to declare: 'I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment.'" (02/04/16)

http://www.thenation.com/article/populist-fire-in-iowa  

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An emerging new narrative for education

February 4, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"The big news about education policy in the presidential race is that there is no news. As Laura Moser writes for Slate, 'None of the candidates are talking about education. Like, at all.' At Salon, parent and public school activist Bertis Downs argues that even the few times Democratic Party candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have mentioned education, their 'words don’t seem to resonate with many of the largely untapped public education parents and teachers who are in search of a candidate.' (I’d submit the one candidate who has made education prominent in his campaign is Jeb Bush. But his weak showing in the Iowa caucus and bottom-feeder status in polls might be enough evidence to convince other candidates to see Bush as less of a role model and more of a warning sign.)" (02/04/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160204/an-emerging-new-narrative-for-education  

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Rand Paul would have enlarged GOP tent

February 4, 2016
posted by

David Boaz USA Today
by David Boaz  

"Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has ended, like most presidential campaigns, short of the White House. The Republican debate will be poorer without him. Polls show substantial support for libertarian ideas in the Republican Party. Gallup found that libertarian strength in the GOP had risen from 15% in 2002 to 34% in 2012. In surveys in 2012 and 2013, David Kirby, then at FreedomWorks, found libertarians had grown from 35% to 41% of the party. Paul obviously didn’t capture that vote." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/03/rand-paul-ends-presidential-campaign-2016-libertarians-gop-column/79755372  

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Bloomberg’s White House hurdle is Wall Street

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"Hillary Clinton’s schedule, the rhetoric from Bernie Sanders and the entanglements of Ted Cruz will be especially instructive for one person: Michael Bloomberg. Three times this week, Clinton repudiated her ties to the financial-industrial complex. She put off a visit to mega-fund manager BlackRock and a fundraiser hosted by a Bain Capital affiliate in Boston. The former U.S. secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady also backed away awkwardly from town-hall questions about paid speeches she made to Goldman Sachs. Clinton is struggling to fend off accusations by her chief rival for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, that she is a slave to the billionaires and Wall Street titans who brought the world to the brink of apocalypse only to emerge with more of its spoils." (02/04/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/02/04/cox-bloombergs-white-house-hurdle-is-wall-street  

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Is Julian Assange’s detention arbitrary?

February 4, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic
by Krishnadev Calamur  

"In 2012, Assange, who had been arrested two years earlier in the U.K. under a European Arrest Warrant, sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London so he could avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over claims of sexual assault -- claims he denies. It's worth pointing out here that last year Swedish authorities dropped two cases of sexual assault against him, though a claim of rape still stands. Assange has been holed up in the embassy since that time. In 2014, he appealed to the UN panel, saying his situation was tantamount to arbitrary detention because he couldn’t leave the embassy without being arrested." [editor's note: There's a certain amount of bias baked into the language of this article. Swedish authorities didn't "drop" any claims against Assange; the statute of limitations ran out on those claims. The clear intent here is to get the reader to mentally insert the word "charges" as a substitute for "claims," when in fact Assange has never been charged with them. The Swedish authorities just claimed to want to question him, pursuant to which they issued a fraudulent European arrest warrant and have since declined to question him in the UK or in the embassy, both of which he's cheerfully volunteered his cooperation with - TLK] (02/04/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/02/assange-wikileaks-un/459927/  

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An idiot’s guide to prosecuting corporate fraud

February 4, 2016
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by David Dayen  

"Say you're the newly elected president of the United States, and you want to make prosecuting corporate crime a top priority. Where do you start? Here would be good. A new group called Bank Whistleblowers United have just pushed out a comprehensive plan they think would put the executive branch back in the business of enthusiastically identifying, indicting, and convicting financial fraudsters -- restoring accountability while protecting the public." (02/04/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/04/an-idiots-guide-to-prosecuting-corporate-fraud/  

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Political revolution and the third-party imperative

February 4, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Scott McLarty  

"Genuine systematic change is always called unrealistic and too radical to be taken seriously, as the political mainstream's critical onslaught against Bernie Sanders proves. The history of progress in the cause of justice and freedom in the U.S. is the history of parties whose ideas were both marginal and indispensible. ... Green, Libertarian, and other alt-party contenders have overcome the prohibitively difficult ballot-access requirements designed by D and R legislators to privilege their own candidates and hinder others. Voting for an alt-party presidential nominee pushes the party forward regardless of his or her chances of winning the White House." (02/04/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/04/political-revolution-and-the-third-party-imperative/  

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Hillary Clinton, conscription, and militarized feminism

February 4, 2016
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"For hundreds of years in America, women did not have the same rights as men. They -- more or less -- do now and for some, the final flourish of equality is seen in decisions such as the Pentagon's 2015 choice to open up all combat jobs to females. While the military exist, it makes practical sense to admit anyone who can hack it. However, this week the logical consequences of equality in all things, good and bad, came up in a news item. Turns out there are several important officials who believe that women should be required to register for the Selective Service if they are let into any branch of the military." (02/04/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2016/02/03/hillary-clinton-conscription-and-militarized-feminism/  

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Resist the value-added tax

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Diana Furchtgott-Roth  

"Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky propose a VAT as a way to pay for cuts in income taxes. This is well-intentioned, and in theory would be a more efficient tax that could increase economic growth. In practice, Congress would never get rid of the income tax, but it would layer the VAT on top of existing levies. Raising a VAT rate by one percentage point can bring in about $150 billion in revenue per year. That’s why once VATs are put in place, they rise over time. Congress, which comes down to the wire every year with its budget, would not be able to resist raising the tax by a small fraction. Then it would likely spend the revenue, rather than reducing the deficit. That’s why countries with VATs have larger public sectors." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/03/value-added-tax-vat-economics-congress-editorials-debates/79778902  

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TPP signing brings out opposition

February 4, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson  

"Representatives of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries will officially sign the free trade agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday (which on this side of the date line means the signing occurs Wednesday). But the prospects for U.S. passage of the agreement continue to decline. ... A Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute study, 'Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement' by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, with Jomo Kwame Sundaram, concluded that TPP would cause job loss and increase inequality in every TPP country, especially the United States." [editor's note: Nice to see my alma mater standing up to this abomination - SAT] (02/03/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160203/tpp-signing-brings-out-opposition  

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Is it time for US to dump Saudi Arabia?

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Josh Cohen  

"The moral case for the United States to question its close relationship with Saudi Arabia is clear. Saudi Arabia is governed by the House of Saud, an authoritarian monarchy that does not tolerate dissent, and the country consistently ranks among the 'worst of the worst' countries in democracy watchdog Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil rights. Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam, and the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Its legal system is governed by Sharia law, and a 2015 study from Middle East Eye noted that Saudi Arabia and Islamic State prescribed near-identical punishments, such as amputation and stoning for similar crimes. The government is also renowned for carrying out public executions after trials that Amnesty International condemns as 'grossly unfair;' Amnesty describes the Saudi 'justice system' as 'riddled with holes.'" (02/03/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/02/03/is-it-time-for-the-united-states-to-dump-saudi-arabia  

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Is “female Viagra” feminist?

February 4, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Molly M Ginty  

"It’s been called the first 'Viagra for women' and hailed as a health breakthrough. But Addyi (generic name flibanserin) is sparking ire just as it claims to spark desire. Is this drug a boon for feminism because it finally gives women what men have enjoyed since 1998: prescription medication that can effectively boost sagging libidos? Or are the drug’s pluses (an average increase of 0.5 to 1 'sexually satisfying events per month') not really worth its potential side effects of nausea, dizziness and fainting? Since the FDA approved Addyi in August 2015, feminist debate on these questions has raged. Heightening the controversy is the fact that feminist organizations, with funding from the drug’s maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, played an active role in getting the drug approved." (02/03/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18769/is-female-viagra-feminist  

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GOP’s Donald Trump nightmare far from over

February 4, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Ted Cruz’s poll-defying victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night spared the Republican Party the ultimate humiliation of a Donald Trump landslide—not in Iowa, per se, but in the presidential primary writ large. Until this week, nonplussed Republicans were contemplating with dread an increasingly likely scenario in which Trump won Iowa convincingly, reinforced his dominant leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and went on to essentially run the table to the nomination. Things won’t be quite that straightforward for Trump after all. The early conventional wisdom out of Iowa is that Trump hurt himself by failing to put together a traditional campaign apparatus, that Cruz helped himself by putting together a great one, and that third-place Marco Rubio benefitted from a late burst of pragmatism within the Republican electorate. The results at the very least slow Trump’s juggernaut, and possibly reorient the primary into a real three-way race." (02/02/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/128991/gops-donald-trump-nightmare-far  

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Israel’s new McCarthyism

February 4, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Peter Dreier  

"As international discontent with Israel’s occupation policy continues to rise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Israel’s ultra-right-wing movement have escalated their attacks on the country’s progressive community, which opposes the 49-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the ever-expanding government-subsidized settlements. This week, the Knesset is expected to take up a bill backed by Netanyahu and his allies that will require Israeli nongovernmental organizations that expose and challenge the government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians to register, in effect, as foreign agents. Some Israeli activists call the legislation their country’s version of McCarthyism." (02/02/16)

http://prospect.org/article/israels-new-mccarthyism  

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Shame on Iowa Democrats and their fatally broken caucus system; did Hillary steal the election?

February 4, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews
by Rob Kall  

"Questions have been raised about some goings on before and during the Iowa Democratic caucuses. The Iowa Democrats should lose their position as first in the nation to influence the presidential elections. The way they handle the caucuses and the result reporting is profoundly flawed and almost designed to be influenced by insiders. Democrats should rise up and insist that Iowa lose its first position or change the way they do things." (02/03/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Shame-on-Iowa-Democrats-an-by-Rob-Kall-Iowa-Caucus_Vote-Theft-160203-517.html  

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Can’t Hillary haters all just get along?

February 3, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Patrick Walker  

"Make no mistake. What I decidedly am not saying in this article is that all leftists should sing 'Kumbaya,' become good Democrats, and stop 'hating on' Hillary Clinton. The day I scrawl such indefensible bilge, somebody kindly shoot me. Granted, I'd actually be delighted to see a huge bunch of us leftists joining hands and singing 'Kumbaya.' But only because we're all basking together in a toasty inner glow -- of our common hatred for Hillary. If I have my druthers, we'll all link arms in a common task: to deprive her of the Democratic nomination. Or failing that (should she outrace the Clown Car and become president), we'll let her know she's starting her administration as the most hated and distrusted president in U.S. history -- a sentiment publicly confirmed by our 'yuuuge' organized protest of her inauguration." (02/03/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/03/cant-hillary-haters-all-just-get-along/  

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The government might subpoena your toaster

February 3, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Kaveh Waddell  

"Many of the gadgets in the vaunted 'Internet of Things' send data streams to servers operated by their manufacturers for processing, storage, and retrieval. That's how you can check up on the the live camera feed from your living-room Dropcam -- a popular security camera manufactured by Nest, Google's sister company -- or browse its recording history to determine how that stain got into the carpet last night. The data that lives on these servers is generally secured and held for customers to download at their leisure. But the hosting company can access the information, too, and is sometimes compelled to do so by the government. Law enforcement often relies on subpoenas to obtain data that consumers share with companies, avoiding the need for a more burdensome search warrant, which requires a judge's approval." (02/03/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/why-the-government-might-subpoena-your-toaster/459696/  

2 Comments »

Reason’s cure for Flint: More of the disease

February 3, 2016
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"We all know private water utilities are an industry. But the water privatization process itself is an entrenched industry. All the basic procedures have already been worked out and standardized of, by and for the private water utility industry, and local governments' role amounts to little more than rubber-stamping a deal written by the corporations they're dealing with. ALEC's model privatization statutes and boilerplate legal documents are all written by private water utility lobbyists. And the consultants municipalities hire to negotiate privatization deals have a financial incentive to promote the water companies' interests instead." (02/02/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/43161  

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Je suis #researchparasite

February 3, 2016
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"In an editorial at the New England Journal of Medicine ('Data Sharing,' Jan. 21), Dan Longo and Jeffrey Drazen have coined an interesting new term: 'research parasite.' In theory, the authors say: Data sharing is beautiful. But when you get down to all the practical details, it turns out to be one of those beautiful theories that just won't work in the real world. ... Put in slightly less adversarial language, the term 'research parasite' seems to include both people who try to disprove other researchers' findings, and people who try to build on them without the original researchers' permission. In other words, research parasites are people who do what they used to call 'science.'" (02/01/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/42994  

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Election 2016: The incredible evitable Hillary Clinton

February 3, 2016
posted by

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

"Yes, I'm a concern troll. I'm no Democrat, nor am I a Republican. But I would really, really, really like to see the Democratic Party nominate a viable candidate for President of the United States this year. Why? In a word, gridlock -- or at least what passes for it in this age of unrestrained 'unitary executives.' Checks and balances ain't what they used to be, but it gets worse when one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House at the same time. The last time that happened, we got ObamaCare. The time before that, the war in Iraq. ... But Democrats don't seem interested in winning. In fact, they seem to be going out of their way to throw the fight." (02/02/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/4525  

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The radical, 18th-century Scottish system for paying for college

February 3, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Shannon Chamberlain  

"[Adam] Smith, despite accusations of Connery-esque misplaced nationalism, was justly proud of the Scottish system of universities, which ran on a radical (by today's standards, at least) system in which students paid their professors directly. Scotland had begun the 18th century with the humiliating Act of Union, which rendered it subject to the British Empire and shuttered its parliament. The country then boasted only three universities, all of which taught an obsolete, traditional medieval curriculum (in Latin, no less), and carried a reputation as a backwater of subsistence farmers and awkward, only recently semi-civilized rubes. But by the end of the century, it had five of the most cutting-edge universities in Europe, one of the world's best medical schools, and a booming professional class from which its southerly neighbor and occupier frequently drew its doctors, lawyers, and professors." (02/02/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/college-cost-18th-century-scotland/459387/  

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Surprises and warnings in the Iowa numbers

February 3, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"When candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ended the Iowa caucuses Monday night in a near-tie, there were some surprises that went beyond the strength of Sanders’ showing, as well as some warnings for Democrats. Clinton received more state delegates (700.59 to 696.82), but the margin was due to her winning six coin tosses. Clinton will receive 23 delegates to the national convention and Sanders will receive 21 delegates. The New York Times writes, 'There are 4,763 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, so it will require 2,382 delegates to win the nomination.' You will be hearing the number 2,382 more and more as the year goes on." [editor's note: To see this as anything but a Sanders win is to miss the point, but there is a long way to go for the Dems - SAT] (02/02/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160202/a-look-into-iowa-numbers  

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