PND Commentary

US student loans could need $500 billion bailout

March 1, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"U.S. student loans could one day need nearly a $500 billion bailout -- perhaps the biggest government rescue yet. Borrowing for education has soared over the past decade, ballooning to $1.2 trillion and growing far faster than GDP. With the feds on the hook for much of the debt, it’s a mess in the making. The growth in student debt has several causes. Employers increasingly prefer to hire people with post-secondary degrees, boosting enrollment." (02/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nezbp8j  

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Defense firms expect increased spending from Republicans as Republicans decry increased spending

March 1, 2015
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Lee Fang  

"Despite campaign rhetoric promising a smaller government, defense contractors are confident that the new Republican congressional majority will boost spending on their industry. ... For voters promised a leaner federal budget, certain areas, such as food stamps, are already in the crosshairs of legislators. But for the nation's cyberspying companies and military contractors, 'some measure of relief,' is on the way. That's how George Pedersen, the chief executive of ManTech International Corp., a defense contractor that works closely with the National Security Agency, described the expected boost in military spending during a call with investors last week." (02/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m2cwyju  

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Net Neutrality

March 1, 2015
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Rick McKee  

Cartoon. (02/26/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/02/net-neutrality-9/  

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A suicide in Brooklyn

February 27, 2015
posted by

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

"Maraschino cherry mogul Arthur Mondella put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger on February 24. He was 57. New York City's medical examiners will no doubt rule his death a suicide. But Mondella was really the latest victim of a multi-billion dollar industry: Drug prohibition. ... Mondella ran a second business behind the scenes. As with his cherry business, he provided a desired product to willing customers, leaving both parties better off than before the exchange. Unfortunately for him, that second business ran afoul of a set of evil laws maintained well past their 'okay, that didn't work' dates for the purpose of keeping government bureaucrats and 'non-profit' executives employed." (02/26/15)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/291  

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Gitmo comes to Chicago

February 27, 2015
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"The place is called Homan Square. Reportedly, lawyers are not allowed, and arrests are basically off books, meaning suspects disappear into a blackhole of bureaucracy for however long they're held. If you can't find your client, but they were taken away by police, that's where they are likely to be. Suspects are denied lawyers for 12-24 hours. Kids as young as 15 have been taken there. One death has been reported, and numerous beatings. Ackerman relates the story of a NATO protester who was shackled for 17 hours, and not permitted to call a lawyer. Other attorneys claim similar stories of lost clients, and being barred from seeing them at Homan Square. MRAPs are reportedly parked outside the building. This sounds terrifying -- especially paired with, say, the Chicago police commander who tortured 100 suspects, and got away with it for decades, before finally serving four years in prison. But is this unique?" (02/26/15)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2015/02/25/gitmo-comes-to-chicago/  

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The libertarian [sic] delusion

February 27, 2015
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists, despite mountains of evidence that the free market is neither efficient, nor fair, nor free from periodic catastrophe. In an Adam Smith world, the interplay of supply and demand yields a price that signals producers what to make and investors where to put their capital. The more that government interferes with this sublime discipline, the more bureaucrats deflect the market from its true path. But in the world where we actually live, markets do not produce the 'right' price. There are many small examples of this failure, but also three immense ones that should have discredited the libertarian [sic] premise by now." [editor's note: I added the [sic]s since this writer has basically NO clue what that word means - SAT] (02/26/15)

http://prospect.org/article/libertarian-delusion  

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Emanuel’s corrupt governance has finally caught up with him

February 27, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rick Perlstein  

"On Tuesday, Chicagoans voted themselves a reprieve. With 45.4 percent of the vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ended the first round of his first reelection bid almost five points below what he needed to avoid a runoff election in April -- and three points below his performance in the last major pre-election poll. 'Mayor 1%' will face second-place finisher Jesus 'Chuy' García, the soft-spoken, compassionate Cook County board member who proclaimed himself with a Chicagoan lilt the 'neighborhood guy' -- who over-performed the poll." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/olorzkg  

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The national security state’s ISIS racket

February 27, 2015
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"The official enemy de jour that has everyone all riled up and scared is ISIS. If U.S. forces don't bomb ISIS, the argument goes, ISIS will take over Iraq, and Syria, and Lebanon, and Europe, and Asia, and Latin America, and then the United States. If the bombs don't fall on ISIS, before long Americans will be speaking Arabic and their children will be studying the Koran in America's government schools. It's all just one great big racket -- a racket based on 'national security,' a term that isn't even found in the Constitution and that doesn't even have an objective meaning." (02/26/15)

http://fff.org/2015/02/26/national-security-states-isis-racket/  

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Why does the FBI have to manufacture its own plots if terrorism and ISIS are such grave threats?

February 27, 2015
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency's latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, 'it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.' One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI's plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case 'sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.' In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7manxu  

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One-note Netanyahu goes totally tone deaf on Iran

February 27, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not having a good election. Recent polls show his right-wing Likud Party running neck-and-neck with the left-of-center Zionist Union, or in some cases, running behind. His numbers took a hit after Netanyahu was served with a damning report in which Israel’s state comptroller slammed him for excessive expenditure of public funds at his official residence. The report, which was in the works before elections were announced, has been turned over to the attorney general for investigation of possible criminality." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p67ao68  

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Fast Track explained in seven words

February 27, 2015
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"All the talk about 'trade' deals might seem complicated, with all the 'TPP' and 'TPA' and 'FTA' and 'TTIP' floating around. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. ... TPP is the largest 'trade' deal in history. It is being negotiated in secret. It is immense, complex and written in international legalese. But fast track means Congress has to pass it within 90 days of the public seeing it for the first time. This is not enough time to read it, understand it, analyze all the pieces of it, consider all of the ramifications and explain all of that to people." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqx9qs4  

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Should Dems demand Debbie Wasserman Schultz step down?

February 26, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Danny Vinik  

"Even if you were only casually following the news last week, you probably heard about Rudy Giuliani saying that President Barack Obama is not a patriot and doesn't love his country. You probably also heard about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sidestepping a question about Obama's religion. But you may have missed a report that Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly offered to change her position on medical marijuana if a key donor retracted critical comments about her." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ozfh7s9  

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What you should know about Walmart’s raise

February 26, 2015
posted by

Michelle Chen The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees -- overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour. The move was widely praised even by labor groups -- for lifting wages slightly closer to ... well, what it should have been paying workers all along." [editor's note: She has a piece of this story right at least - SAT] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ouofrp5  

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Imprisoning immigrants: What the ACLU’s doing about it

February 26, 2015
posted by

Bryan Caplan EconLog
by Bryan Caplan  

"It's easy to believe that private prisons are part of the problem. The government is the customer, and one of the main services the government is buying is (im)plausible deniability. If government prisons abuse immigrants, government officials might get in trouble. If companies hired by the government abuse immigrants, government officials can feign shock, cancel the contract, hire a different company, and resume oppression as usual. Farcical, but it works. In any case, though, poor prison conditions are not the fundamental problem. The abuse that overshadows all others is imprisonment for breaking unjust laws. Preventing foreigners from coming here to better their lives through honest toil is wrong." (02/26/15)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015/02/imprisoning_imm_1.html  

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Jordan Smith on The Scott Horton Show

February 26, 2015
posted by

The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Jordan Smith, an award-winning investigative journalist with The Intercept, discusses Rodney Reed's stay of execution in Texas as evidence of his innocence mounts -- even though the state is still eager to kill him." [Flash audio or MP3] (02/25/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/02/25/22515-jordan-smith/  

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Political science, part 5: Net Neutrality

February 26, 2015
posted by

Liberale et Libertaire Liberale et Libertaire
by dL  

"Heuristically, there is no such thing as 'net neutrality' ... there hasn't been since the 1988 Morris Worm. Without heuristic filtering by the tiered network providers, the public internet would be practically unusable. It would certainly be unreliable. The Administrative State implementation of 'net neutrality' presages the end of civilian control of the internet, the fossilization of corporate monopoly over the 'last mile' and the formalization of a surveillance regime against 'unauthorized traffic' (read: IP). The Administrative State enforcement of a 'public network' will invite the same censorship that the government imposes over that other decreed thing: 'the public airwaves,' even though that thing doesn't even really exist anymore." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kn9todx  

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A riot broke out and no one was surprised

February 26, 2015
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Ryan Calhoun  

"Many liberal reformists object to rioting as a legitimate tactic of effecting positive change. They cite, as all anti-revolutionaries do, crackdowns on prison life and the possible negative response of outsiders. However, prison riots have historically proven a very useful tool in achieving the demands of malcontent prisoners or at least giving voice to the voiceless." (02/26/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36112  

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A pretext for cyber COINTELPRO?

February 26, 2015
posted by

CounterPunch
by Eric Draitser  

"In its ever expanding war against Syria, now under the broader pretext of 'fighting ISIS,' the US Government has employed a variety of tactics. From arming terrorists whom it dishonestly labels 'moderates,' to encouraging Turkey and Jordan to host jihadi training centers, to the CIA working with the Muslim Brotherhood to funnel weapons and fighters into Syria, the US and its allies have demonstrated the multi-faceted approach they're taking to fighting ISIS, extremism, and the Syrian Government. The war, once believed to be relegated solely to Syria and Iraq, has now been broadened to a regional, and indeed, a global war with no geographical boundaries or time limits. And now, the Obama administration has announced that its war will also be waged in cyberspace. " (02/26/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/26/a-pretext-for-cyber-cointelpro/  

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One last chance to save the Internet … from the FCC

February 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Ev Ehrlich  

"As the Federal Communications Commission readies new net-neutrality rules this week, congressional Democrats face a choice: Should they work with the Republicans who control Congress to help pass new rules, or should they stay on the sidelines and leave the matter to a volatile regulatory process, subject to possible undoing in the courts? I disagree with neutrality: the idea that everything on the Internet should travel at the same speed, whether it’s the remote monitoring of a cardiac device or a video of a cat. But both critics and advocates of neutrality would likely agree that a new law is the best way to set new policy -- not regulatory decrees." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o9d839k  

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Domestic fear is the price of empire

February 26, 2015
posted by

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman  

"If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the U.S. government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments' invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge -- against Americans. Is the American empire worth that price?" (02/25/15)

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/domestic-fear-price-empire/  

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To end police brutality, we need to end the police

February 26, 2015
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Mychal Denzel Smith  

"I don't want anyone in this room to mistake me for an objective or impartial journalist moderator. I have marched with, organized with, and written about everyone on this stage. I feel as much a part of the movement as I do a reporter of it. I have an agenda: we need to abolish the pillars of white supremacy and I think the police is one of those." [From Smith's introduction to a panel he moderated; video is at the link] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ow35xd9  

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I don’t love America either, Rudy

February 26, 2015
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson  

"When Rudy Giuliani declares that someone doesn't love America, he defines America like most other hyperstatists -- America as a political entity. The America that you can literally point to on a map, and whose borders have grown in proportion to the American military state's aggression and brutality. The America Giuliani loves is the one made up of, first and foremost, its government, which Giuliani and his fellow American exceptionalists claim have 'allowed' for the greatest freedom and prosperity in mankind's history. Giuliani and his ilk love the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, the court system which Giuliani once worked the levers of, and all the American state's arbitrarily drawn political sub-entities (states and cities) -- one of which he ruled with an iron fist for many years. Love of America, for Giuliani, means love of its political infrastructure." (02/25/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36110  

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Xenophobia not welcome in Panama

February 26, 2015
posted by

The Canal The Canal
by Elisa Vasquez  

"Several things about Panama worry me, but nothing like the inflamed debate nowadays about immigrants and the role of foreign residents in the country. Nationalist and populist legislators' rants have been rightfully called xenophobic in local media, and have become dangerous fodder for economic and social conflicts. Panama's National Assembly is currently studying Bill 62, which modifies portions of the National Migration Service law. It would do away with the Crisol de Razas program (Melting Pot of Races), which allows for the legalization of unauthorized immigrants who have resided in the country for over a year or overstayed their permitted entry." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n74zzyf  

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Rodney Reed will not die next week — but Texas still wants to kill him

February 26, 2015
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jordan Smith  

"Nine days before Rodney Reed was scheduled to die in Texas for a crime he swears he didn't commit, the state's highest criminal court issued a stay of execution. The order came down late Monday afternoon, in response to an appeal citing new and compelling scientific evidence that challenges the state's timeline of events in the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, which sent Reed to death row. ... because the new scientific evidence 'eviscerates' the state's theory of the crime, Benjet argues, it also invalidates the lower-court judge's opinion that further DNA testing would be irrelevant. ... The state counters that DNA testing is unnecessary and, in a separate brief filed Monday, that the real goal by Reed's defense is to 'unreasonably delay' his execution." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kc68la9  

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After the Bitcoin gold rush

February 26, 2015
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Nathan Schneider  

"The search for riches in the ground has motivated some of history's most extravagant endeavors. It has inspired explorers, enslaved populations, and put opera houses in dusty mountain towns. But when the boom ends, the miners themselves have often been left in the lurch. They handle the raw material, turn it from hard earth to something potentially of value. Fabulous wealth comes to only a few, who rarely hold onto it long enough to be considered lucky. The search for bitcoins is little different." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pftj4wq  

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