PND Commentary

GodZille vs media

March 24, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Zapiro  

Cartoon. (03/23/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/03/godzille-vs-media/  

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Supreme Court considers Texas license plate case that could threaten free speech on campus

March 24, 2015
posted by

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Catherine Sevcenko  

"In spite of the emotional appeal of banning offensive symbols, it is important to consider the wider, unintended consequences of a decision allowing Texas to censor the image of the Confederate flag, however repugnant some may find it. Specifically, discourse on public colleges and universities is likely to suffer if the justices decide that specialty license plates are a form of government speech and that Texas may, therefore, censor license plate messages with which it does not want to associate. The connection between specialty license plates and college campuses may not be readily apparent, but every day colleges and universities creatively abuse their authority over student and faculty activities to stifle speech they do not like." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pa6na2a  

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Is US guest worker program worth saving?

March 24, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times    

"On March 18, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it would resume processing applications for the H-2B guestworker program after a two-week suspension. The DOL abruptly halted processing H-2B applications earlier this month after a Florida federal district court ruling left the program without any formal regulations; the agency began processing applications again when the court granted its request to stay the ruling until April 15 to allow the guestworker program to continue. The announcement prompted a collective sigh of relief among employers and workers who depend on H-2B jobs." (03/24/15)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17785/guestworker_law  

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Goldilocks zone for oil prices is gone for good

March 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Richard Heinberg  

"Five years ago, I wrote an article for Reuters titled 'Goldilocks and the Three Fuels.' In it, I discussed what I call the Goldilocks price zone for oil, natural gas and coal, a zone in which prices are 'just right": high enough to reward producers, but low enough to entice consumers. Ever since the start of the fossil-fuel era, such a zone has existed. Sometimes price boundaries were transgressed on the upside, sometimes on the downside, but it was always possible to revert to the zone. But now, the Goldilocks zone for oil has ceased to exist. This will have staggering consequences throughout the economy for the foreseeable future." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o7323gv  

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Get ready for the third intifada

March 24, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John Wight  

"Bibi's re-election makes the prospect of a third intifada more likely than ever. And when it does come it would take a surfeit of optimism to believe that it won't be as widely supported among the Palestinians as the First Intifada (1987-1991) or as violent as the Second Intifada (2000-2005)." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ohw87ff  

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Philip Giraldi on The Scott Horton Show

March 24, 2015
posted by

Philip Giraldi The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and Executive Director of The Council for the National Interest, discusses the schizophrenic US policy in Iraq and Syria; and why the media doesn't confront John McCain, David Petraeus, and other hawkish commentators on their nonsensical claims." [Flash audio or MP3] (03/23/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/03/23/32315-philip-giraldi/  

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Finding the right price for water

March 24, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Bourree Lam  

"There's a classic economic paradox about the price of water and value, and it comes from Adam Smith: Why do diamonds cost more than water? The comparison is meant to demonstrate how pricing works -- that even though water is essential for human survival, our economy puts prices on things based on scarcity and value (and marginal utility). As long as water remained abundant, the cheapness of water would likely not change. But the price of water has come into serious question as drought-struck California and Western states debate whether water is too cheap." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p4tbkja  

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The president stops laughing about pot

March 24, 2015
posted by

Jacob Sullum Reason
by Jacob Sullum  

"In an interview with Vice News last week, President Obama suggested that removing marijuana from the list of federally prohibited substances would represent 'progress.' At the same time, he made it clear he's in no hurry to see that happen. 'Young people,' he said, 'I understand this is important to you. But, you know, you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe, way at the bottom, you should be thinking about marijuana.' This sort of condescension is by now a familiar feature of Obama's responses to questions about marijuana legalization. It glosses over the reality of pot prohibition, which entails arresting 700,000 or so people every year in the United States, or one every 45 seconds." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/phy9wgz  

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Ignoring the differences between free markets and state capitalism

March 24, 2015
posted by

Kevin Carson Future of Freedom Foundation
by Kevin Carson  

"The basic phenomenon that Thomas Piketty devotes [Capital in the Twenty-First Century] to describing is simple: 'When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy ... then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income.' His historical account of wealth accumulation, the mass of statistical evidence he musters in support of it, and his analysis of present-day trends are all an excellent read. His weakness lies, not in his description, but in his prescription: his analysis of the root causes of the concentration of wealth and the remedies he proposes." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lkzj95q  

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When War on Drugs in Mexico comes back home

March 24, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Gordon  

"They behead people by the hundreds. They heap headless, handless bodies along roadsides as warnings to those who would resist their power. They have penetrated the local, state, and national governments and control entire sections of the country. They provide employment and services to an impoverished public, which distrusts their actual government with its bitter record of corruption, repression, and torture. They seduce young people from several countries, including the United States, into their murderous activities. Is this a description of the heinous practices of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria? It could be, but as a matter of fact it’s not. These particular thugs ... are part of the multi-billion-dollar industry known as the drug cartels of Mexico." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/od83bbg  

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Millennials will change abortion conversation

March 24, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Charles C. Camosy  

"The conventional wisdom is that young people are strongly pro-choice. While it is not surprising that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers eventually grew more skeptical over time, when they were teenagers and young-adults, they too were all-in for abortion rights. But the demographic future of the United States is defying that conventional wisdom." [editor's note: If they are smart, they will push for better birth control, including a male option that's simple, cheap, 100% effective with no side-effects ... and easily reversible if/when the man decides he'd rather NOT shoot blanks. Solve these issues and abortion as a divisive issue evaporates! - SAT] (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/llrs678  

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Russia, Crimea & the specter of nuclear war

March 24, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Sharon Squassoni  

"It’s been a year since Russia annexed Crimea and the nuclear rumors are flying. Earlier this month, Russian officials speculated about whether or not Russia could place nuclear weapons in Crimea. Admitting ignorance about what weapons were there now or whether there were any plans to deploy such weapons there, Mikhail Ulyanov, an official in charge of arms control for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that 'in principle, Russia can do it.' And in a video apparently intended to mark the anniversary of the annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he had considered putting Russian nuclear forces on alert at the time of annexation." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nmt2w82  

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Fast-track fight accelerates as vote approaches

March 24, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"As Congress prepares to consider fast track legislation to essentially pre-approve (without reading) the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) opponents are working to get the word out and register opposition. Seattle’s city council is preparing to vote on a resolution opposing fast track, and a number of organizations sent an open letter spelling out what an acceptable fast track process would do." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mjo3aqe  

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Three trends driving liberal American Jews away from Israel

March 24, 2015
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory last week (and the sordid campaigning that made it possible) liberal American Jews may be feeling, more than they ever have before, pained by, conflicted about, and even estranged from Israel. There are certainly consequences for policy, as U.S. policy toward Israel could become a much more partisan issue than it is now. But more than that, there's a crisis of the spirit emerging." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nk93d6c  

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The changing of “The Guardian”

March 24, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by DD Guttenplan  

"Despite the headlines, the most interesting thing about the news that Katharine Viner will take over from Alan Rusbridger this summer as editor-in-chief of The Guardian is not that she will be the first woman to run a newspaper which, at 194 years old, is even more venerable than The Nation. Women currently run two British Sunday papers, one very downmarket tabloid, and the London Evening Standard. Rebecca Brooks famously (or infamously) was the youngest-ever editor of The News of the World before becoming editor of The Sun -- a paper that still sells about ten times as many copies as The Guardian every day." (03/23/15)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/202273/changing-guardian  

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Cyber Armageddon is a myth

March 23, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Bill Blunden  

"Over the past several years mainstream news outlets have conveyed a litany of cyber doomsday scenarios on behalf of ostensibly credible public officials. Breathless intimations of the End Times. The stuff of Hollywood screenplays. However a recent statement by the U.S. intelligence community pours a bucket of cold water over all of this. Yes, Virginia, It turns out that all the talk of cyber Armageddon was a load of bunkum. An elaborate propaganda campaign which only serves as a pretext to sacrifice our civil liberties and channel an ocean of cash to the defense industry." (03/23/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/23/cyber-armageddon-is-a-myth/  

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What do religious women think of the contraceptive mandate?

March 23, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Patricia Miller  

"The Catholic Church was first out of the gate in criticizing the mandate, claiming that it was an affront to Catholics because of the church's official prohibition on contraception. This charge was echoed by Catholic pundits, which helped stoke the controversy and the widespread perception that Catholics opposed the measure. Within months, leaders of conservative-leaning Christian groups like the National Association of Evangelicals also joined in the criticism, pressing for faith-based institutions like hospitals and universities to be exempted from the mandate, like houses of worship already were. But what about religiously-affiliated women? Where were their voices in all of this? And what did they think about the mandate? This was the question that intrigued Elizabeth Patton, an OB/GYN and health-services researcher at the University of Michigan." (03/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nlccav9  

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Patrick Cockburn on The Scott Horton Show

March 23, 2015
posted by

The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Patrick Cockburn, an award-winning journalist with The Independent, discusses his 5-part series on what daily life is like for the Iraqis and Syrians unlucky enough to live under ISIS rule." [Flash audio or MP3] (03/22/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/03/22/32215-patrick-cockburn/  

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Republicans loved Netanyahu’s racist election tactics

March 23, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation Blog
by Ali Gharib  

"Almost 200 House Republicans are sending a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulating him on his victory in Israel’s snap election Tuesday. Netanyahu sailed to victory on the heels of two controversial late-campaign statements to rally his base: a warning, replete with George Wallace–esque shades of bigotry, that Palestinian citizens of Israel were 'coming out in droves to the polls' and a vow that a Palestinian state would not be created on his watch. In a spate of interviews with American news outlets, Netanyahu tried to walk back his remarks. Whatever one makes of his new Thursday position on a Palestinian state (a lot of people aren’t buying it) Netanyahu’s explanation of his bigoted warning about Arab voters left much to be desired." (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ljg3pzg  

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Coders becoming industrial workers of 21st Century

March 23, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Peter Downs  

"After graduating from college and moving away from his family and his hometown for the first time, Paul found his way into LaunchCode, a training and recruiting program for future coders. An artist, he dived enthusiastically into using code to alter and create images. After he completed the four-month class, LaunchCode placed him in a job at a marketing company that uses templates to build web pages for clients. ... Paul, which is not his real name, had hoped to stick with the job until the end of his first year. Then he'd quit and use his experience to find something better." (03/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mcgk79x  

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The left’s real choice in 2016: Why it doesn’t need Elizabeth Warren to run

March 23, 2015
posted by

Salon
by Mike Conrad  

"Disheartened progressive Democrats face the prospect of a 16-year gap between the last closely contested presidential primary in 2008 and what would likely be the next one in 2024. Elizabeth Warren isn't running. Hillary Clinton is and she starts out with very large leads in the early states. But hope is not lost. The choice facing progressives is not and never has been to somehow make Warren vs. Clinton happen or to spend the next 22 months enclosed in a political hellscape fit for only Sean Hannity and Lanny Davis. The 2016 election season does not have to be devoid of purpose or redeeming value." (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/knewpkg  

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Reckoning with the new auto recall bill

March 23, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Rachel M. Cohen  

"Some 46 million vehicles nationwide (nearly one in five on the road today) have a recalled, but unrepaired, safety issue. That’s because drivers, along with auto dealers and rental companies, have no legal obligation to fix safety recalls -- a gaping regulatory loophole that puts millions at risk. For years lawmakers have more or less ignored the issue, until earlier this month, when Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey introduced the Repairing Every Car to Avoid Lost Lives (RECALL) Act. The bill would require car owners to comply with all pending safety recalls in order to re-register their vehicles with the DMV, a commonsense approach that would make roads safer." (03/19/15)

http://prospect.org/article/reckoning-new-auto-recall-bill  

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The need for care with “thoughtcrime”

March 22, 2015
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Hanni Fakhoury and Jamie Williams  

"The district court judge threw out the jury's conspiracy verdict in an 118-page ruling, stating 'the nearly yearlong kidnapping conspiracy alleged by the government is one in which no one was ever kidnapped, no attempted kidnapping ever took place, and no real-world, non-Internet-based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone.' But the government has appealed the reversal of the conspiracy conviction, so we've filed another amicus brief in support of Valle, arguing that the trial court got it right. The court ultimately believed -- and we agree -- that finding Valle guilty of conspiracy based on his online statements would hold him guilty of thoughtcrime (or 'crimethink' in Newspeak)." (03/20/15)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/03/need-care-thoughtcrime  

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Social Security reversal in MD Senate race: Six lessons for Democrats

March 22, 2015
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future Blog
by Richard Eskow  

"Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He is also running from his record -- as a supporter of the 'Simpson-Bowles' plan to cut Social Security and top tax rates, a once-favored economic agenda among Washington insiders and some wealthy private interests. That’s a smart move, but Rep. Van Hollen has more ground to cover." [editor's note: As they seek to raise the FICA "ceiling" they should consider putting a "floor" on the bottom of it - SAT] (03/20/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k2uc53e  

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Green light for red light cameras

March 22, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by David Roberts  

"This nation's appetite for technology is insatiable, and an unprecedented era of innovation has revolutionized how we live in less than a generation. From the smart phone and Wi-Fi in the tech world, to the mapping of the human genome and life-saving drugs in the medical world, these advances help us to live better, and longer, lives. So it's puzzling when a life-saving technology arrives, is proven to effective but then has the plug pulled on it without justification. Such is the case today with red-light safety cameras in communities across the nation. From Florida to Illinois, and Ohio to Texas, legislators and activists have been attacking these devices armed with hyperbole and fed by misinformed generalizations. The facts have been left on the cutting-room floor." [editor's note: This writer obviously has no awareness of the abuse of these cameras by local lawdogs seeking to pad the municipal coffers, which has civil libertarians up in arms everywhere - SAT] (03/21/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n94zrne  

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