PND Commentary

Before Ebola Czar, do these things first

October 14, 2014
posted by

The New Republic
by Rebecca Leber  

"John McCain suggested Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that what the Ebola crisis really needs is one official, coordinating the government response. 'I would say that we don't know exactly who's in charge. There has to be some kind of czar. I think that we have to look at people coming into the United States, not only at our airports here but the places where they leave from.' McCain isn’t the first person to float this idea. Several other Republicans, Senators Rob Portman and Jerry Moran, as well as Congressman Jack Kingston, have said that Ebola requires a top official to coordinate responses to the West African epidemic plus the two cases at home." [editor's note: Not surprisingly (consider the source), each of these three nostrums involves greater government involvement, and only delays appointing the Czar - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oe9thvu  

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Blue or red, they’re all about the green

October 14, 2014
posted by

David S. D'Amato Center for a Stateless Society
by David S. D'Amato  

"Whatever the populist noise embedded in campaign talking points, the simple fact is that both major American political parties play the same corporate, big money game. Despite everything Republocrats say to the contrary, when the rubber hits the road you just won’t find a champion of the little guy among the elected American officialdom. On the contrary, in the end the real struggle isn’t between the Blue and Red teams — it’s between the political process itself, the whole mechanism of political authority, and the rest of us ordinary, working people just trying to pay our bills." (10/13/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32614  

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Are US hospitals prepared for Ebola? Ask a nurse

October 14, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by John Nichols  

"With Sunday’s confirmation that an ICU nurse at a Dallas hospital that cared for a dying Ebola patient has tested positive for the deadly virus, President Obama ordered federal authorities to 'take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient.' That’s appropriate, as is the growing sense of urgency with regard to the level of readiness not just for the potential spread of Ebola but for other disease outbreaks. This is not a time to panic. It is a time to get things right." (10/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ns3pazf  

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Fictional infractions and furry judges

October 14, 2014
posted by

Jacob Sullum Reason
by Jacob Sullum  

"On the morning of April 15, 2013, two California poker players were traveling west on Interstate 80 in Iowa, on the way back from a tournament in Joliet, Illinois, when a state trooper pulled them over. By the time the traffic stop was over, police had seized $100,000 in poker winnings from the two men, on the assumption that the cash must be connected to drug trafficking or some other illegal activity. In addition to the legalized theft that is civil asset forfeiture, the case illustrates the broad discretion that police have to hassle innocent people, a power magnified by loose rules concerning traffic stops and car searches. Two cases before the Supreme Court could help rein in that power." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pbbk9dy  

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Facebook shuttle drivers demand a union, and some sleep

October 14, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Alex Lubben  

"The tech industry loves to celebrate its propensity for 'disruption,' upending all of our old traditions to create better, more efficient ways of doing things. Less often trumpeted is the industry’s creation of a new underclass of blue-collar workers: the janitors, cooks, drivers and security guards who keep the sprawling tech campuses running smoothly but see almost none of the industry’s booming profits. And while tech’s aversion to organized labor has kept most of these workers from organizing, Silicon Valley may soon have to confront a growing unionized blue-collar workforce. Facebook’s shuttle bus drivers are no exception. They ferry the social media giant’s employees from San Francisco and Oakland out to Facebook’s offices in Menlo Park every day and can’t afford to live where they work." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2pmumt  

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Wendy Davis attack ad: Not so bad after all?

October 13, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Friday, the campaign of Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas, released an ad that was powerful enough to not only get condemned by liberals and conservatives alike, but to convince some journalists to abandon their stance of objectivity. 'Wendy Davis [runs] one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see,' read a headline in the Washington Post. ... What has everyone so angry is that the ad refers to the fact that Davis' opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, uses a wheelchair, with a picture of an empty one. I'm going to argue that Davis' ad may be less problematic than many people are making it out to be. But it does tell us a good deal about how these kinds of attacks should be judged." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwfe2hm  

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Populism: A light against Republican darkness

October 13, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"As autumn descends on the nation’s capital, people are saying there’s a darkness on the edge of town. It’s born of the fear, pessimism and uncertainty that have become the Republican political brand. And if the polls are right, there’s every chance that its shadow will fall upon Capitol Hill and envelop both houses of Congress. This onrush of conservative gloom was featured prominently this week in the New York Times, in language so shadow-haunted it could’ve come straight from the pen of the 1980s-era Springsteen." [editor's note: Anybody else out there for whom politics is now just another "spectator" sport, where you really don't care who wins as long as it's entertaining? No? ... Just me, I guess - SAT] (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pz33fh9  

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Read this for better understanding of how Ebola spreads

October 13, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Celine Gounder  

"Once again, the specter of airborne Ebola is being raised. No virus that causes disease in humans has ever been known to mutate to change its mode of transmission. This means it is highly unlikely that Ebola has mutated to become airborne. It is, however, droplet-borne, and the distinction between the two is crucial. Doctors mean something different from the public when they talk about a disease being airborne. To them, it means that the disease-causing germs are so small they can live dry, floating in the air for extended periods, thus capable of traveling from person to person at a distance." (10/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqnwlze  

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ISIS: Made on the Net?

October 13, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Robert Fisk  

"Ever since the Pentagon started talking about Isis as apocalyptic, I’ve suspected that websites and blogs and YouTube are taking over from reality. I’m even wondering whether 'Isis' -- or Islamic State or Isil, here we go again -- isn’t more real on the internet than it is on the ground. Not, of course, for the Kurds of Kobani or the Yazidis or the beheaded victims of this weird caliphate. But isn’t it time we woke up to the fact that internet addiction in politics and war is even more dangerous than hard drugs?" (10/13/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/13/isis-made-on-the-net/  

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Scary masks

October 13, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Will Durst  

Cartoon. (10/13/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/scary-masks/  

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Big Brother is watching, through your metadata

October 13, 2014
posted by

David Sirota In These Times
by David Sirota  

"Why did Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba fail to record a tip when they paid their cabbies during New York City taxi rides back in 2013? Why was Cooper near a Mediterranean restaurant in Greenwich Village? Why was Alba at a ritzy hotel in Soho? We don't know the answers, but we do know exactly when and where the movie stars were going, and we also know there's no record of them forking over any gratuity. What's worrisome, say privacy experts, is that we know all of this not from some special government sting operation but from publicly available data about millions of people's movements throughout New York City." [editor's note: I'd show up about the same, since I try to use cash for that purpose, and enclose it in an ASG "not a tip" card - SAT] (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nkceev8  

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Jeff Madrick’s misplaced criticism of free trade

October 13, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"The centerpiece of the neoliberal agenda is not 'free trade' -- that is, voluntary exchange of goods and services in which all parties operate on their own nickel and nobody has access to coercive power to set the rules in their favor -- but the age-old ruling class agenda of 'privatization' (enclosure) of the commons as a source of rents. The increased volume of international trade under the neoliberal policy regime results from direct state subsidies to long-distance trade and state intervention to reduce the transaction costs of trade -- in both cases socializing the operating costs of transnational corporations." (10/10/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32594  

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Will California’s next top cop support legal pot?

October 13, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Practically everyone expects Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, or perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers. She’s such an attractive candidate that... President Obama had to apologize last year for calling her 'by far the best-looking attorney general' in the country. And yet Harris faces two unusual obstacles in the November runoff. One is Ron Gold, a never-elected Republican attorney from Los Angeles, running for office on a shoestring. The other hurdle is the fact that Gold supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, while Harris has been opposed. " (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p8ggbvf  

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“Atomic bomb” hovering over France’s economy

October 12, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky  

"An 'atomic bomb' is about to blow up in 'the confrontation between Paris and Brussels.' It was in these terms that Le Figaro, perhaps the most influential French newspaper, reported the European Commission’s near-certain rejection of President Francois Hollande’s 2015 budget on Oct. 29. That is the date the commission must issue a judgment on the French budget, which proposes a two-year delay in reducing the budget deficit to the EU-mandated maximum of 3 percent of gross domestic product. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that she will not tolerate any such relaxation of the European Union’s new, toughened budget rules. Meanwhile, Hollande has stated repeatedly that France will refuse any demands from Brussels for more cuts." (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nbmvnue  

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The larger context of restrictions on voting

October 12, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"[Wednesday] the Supreme Court issued an order overruling an appeals court decision about a series of voting restrictions passed last year by the state of North Carolina, which will allow the restrictions to remain in place for this year's election, until the case is ultimately heard by the Court. And in a happy coincidence, on the very same day, the Government Accountability Office released a report finding that voter ID requirements reduce turnout among minorities and young people, precisely those more-Democratic voting groups the requirements are meant to hinder. There's a context in which to view the battle over voter restrictions that goes beyond whether Republicans are a bunch of meanies, and it has to do with the things parties can change easily and the things they can't." (10/09/14)

http://prospect.org/article/larger-context-restrictions-voting  

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Five worst things Republicans promise to do to Americans

October 12, 2014
posted by

Terrance Heath Our Future
by Terrance Heath  

"The GOP is rolling out a list of 'principles' and pretending to have a 'positive agenda,' because Republicans can’t tell Americans what they really want to do. Twenty years after Newt Gingrich launched the 'Contract With America,' Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus presented a pablum of 11 vague 'principles.' There’s a reason Republicans have gone milquetoast. It’s not that Republicans aren’t for anything. It’s that Republicans can’t tell Americans what they are for -- not if they want to have a shot at governing. Here are the five worst things Republicans have promised to do to Americans." [editor's note: And then he lists at least 3 things that would be good policy, if the GOP actually pushed for them. DOH! - SAT] (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kpzxg74  

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Good thing: Nobel Peace Prize winners are radicals

October 12, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by John Nichols  

"It has been suggested that the recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize are 'safe choices' because they advocate for the rights of children and for the fair and respectful treatment of girls and women. Fair enough. ... But it should be noted that this year’s recipients of the world’s most prestigious prize (India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai) are not mild reformers. They are both bold, challenging and, yes, radical, in their language and their approaches. It is necessary to point this out, because all too frequently the citizen recipients of the Peace Prize are presented in soft focus, without a sense of the stances and actions that have gained them global recognition as peacemakers who address the root causes of violence." (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbolejc  

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The dividends of death

October 12, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark  

"War does what it needs to. It kills. It disrupts. It ruins and maims. And it earns a good dividend for shareholders who think their continued wealthy existence depends on the profit of the war industry. While the official definition of a state of war is becoming ever more opaque before legal watering downs such as 'armed conflict,' the money being earned is getting clearer than ever. If you are in the death business and its various offshoots, you are doing spectacularly well with the noisy trading and the even noisier consequences." (10/10/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/10/the-dividends-of-death/  

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Harry Reid & Ted Cruz, Congress’s popularity-contest losers

October 10, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t look very good in the Washingtonian’s biennial Best and Worst of Congress list for 2014. The honors, based on votes by Capitol Hill staffers, position Reid [D-NV] as the worst speaker and most partisan, and the second-meanest solon (behind Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D-MD]) in the nation’s allegedly most deliberative body. The magazine’s 15th biennial survey has a sort of 'sexiest man alive' feel. It’s highly subjective and something of a popularity contest, but it does give the voting public a reliable sense of how insiders see each other -- whom they like and whom they loath. The other big winner/loser is Sen. Ted Cruz [R-TX]." (10/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kcg6rre  

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Revealing corporate largesse

October 10, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jim Hightower  

"Some people have a recurring nightmare of rising to give a speech, but realizing they know nothing about the topic -- and then discovering they’re naked. It turns out that corporations also have such nightmares. OK, corporations aren’t people, no matter what the Supreme Court fabulists claim, so they can’t dream. But their top executives can, and several recently suffered the same chilling dream -- only to discover that it was real. These are chieftains of brand-name corporate giants who have secretly funneled millions of their shareholders’ dollars into the 'dark money' vault of the Republican Governors Association. In turn, the group channels the political cash into the campaigns of assorted right-wing governors. This underground pipeline is a dream come true for corporations." (10/08/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141008/revealing-corporate-largesse  

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Obama’s new oil wars

October 10, 2014
posted by

Tom Dispatch
by Michael T. Klare  

"It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. It was 'the oil weapon' -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops. It is, of course, that very same oil weapon." (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lt9xtao  

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In US Senate, “independence” is overrated

October 10, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Tuesday, the contenders for the Senate in Virginia, incumbent Mark Warner and challenger Ed Gillespie, had a debate in which they apparently spent a good deal of time arguing over who would be the most independent. Gillespie charged that Warner just votes in lockstep with President Obama, while Warner charged that Gillespie is a partisan hack. But here's my question: Is independence really something we want in a senator? And even if it is, might it not rank way, way down the list of desirable qualities?" (10/09/14)

http://prospect.org/article/us-senate-independence-overrated  

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How the NSA plans to recruit your teenagers

October 9, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Andrew Jerell Jones  

"Kids across America no longer have to wait until college to plan on being a part of the National Security Agency. In fact, they could start preparing for their NSA careers as early as age 13. The NSA has began sponsoring cybersecurity camps for middle and high school students, agency recruiter Steven LaFountain told CNBC’s Eamon Javers in a recent interview. Six prototype camps launched this past summer, and the NSA hopes to eventually have a presence in schools in all 50 states." (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nv5gk6l  

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Home care in crisis

October 9, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Kathryn Joyce  

"In most industries, it’s not catastrophic when an employee doesn’t show up to work. But last December, a few weeks before Christmas, my mother’s long-time home health aide announced that she had to go on indefinite leave, which left my family reeling. That’s becoming an all-too-common story thanks to a growing shortage of home care workers, a problem that raises thorny issues of who’s able to unionize and which jobs (and which workers) we value." (10/09/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17228/home_care_in_crisis  

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A first for British politics

October 9, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Mike Peacock  

"By this time tomorrow, the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party is likely to be celebrating its first member of the Westminster parliament. Polls have just opened in the deprived seaside town of Clacton where the sitting Conservative lawmaker switched to UKIP and called a vote. A second member of the ruling Conservative party has now defected to UKIP and will force another by-election before long leaving the party on tenterhooks over who might be next. Many fear they will lose their seats at the May 2015 general election as UKIP splits their vote. Could that be enough for them to turn on David Cameron?" (10/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mof6apk  

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