PND Commentary

Epic fail: Some pushback from the nurses

October 24, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The Ebola epidemic has brought about a wealth of chatter, much of it uninformed. The apparently esteemed George Will said on television that Ebola is an airborne infection, which is utterly untrue. Ebola is not the flu. It is not the super-bug, although it’s pretty darned bad. But when the medical community talks to itself online, a lot of the chatter is about the treatment of patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas -- in specific, why did it take the hospital so long to diagnose and correctly treat Duncan. Duncan died after 10 days of care. It is, of course, not clear whether prompter action would have saved him, but it sure would have helped. One of the reasons that Duncan was sent home with a fever is that the nurse’s note saying that he’d traveled to West Africa had apparently been ignored or lost by the doctor. One of the threads online was the complaint that doctors do not listen to nurses." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/obd9o9x  

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Andrew Cockburn on The Scott Horton Show

October 24, 2014
posted by

The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Andrew Cockburn, author of Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, discusses his article 'Flying Blind: The U.S. air-power lobby, botched bombing missions, and bootless combat.'" [Flash audio or MP3] (10/22/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/10/22/102214-andrew-cockburn/  

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Barack Obama, the veto-less president

October 23, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"If the Republicans take over the Senate in this year's election, as now looks likely, one thing seems certain: President Obama will be issuing a lot of vetoes in the next two years. Or maybe not over the whole two years, but certainly at first. With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, there would be an initial spasm of pointless legislating, as they set about to fulfill the promises they've made over the course of Obama's presidency: repealing the Affordable Care Act, slashing environmental protections, cutting taxes, establishing 'the Reagan' as the new currency to replace the dollar, and so on." (10/23/14)

http://prospect.org/article/barack-obama-veto-less-president  

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Robots may spell “Control-Alt-Delete” for workers

October 23, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Andy Mukherjee  

"Human beings can never run out of work. Adam Smith held that cheery view, and so far he has been proved right. But can the invisible hand match up to the robotic arm? About 47 percent of existing U.S. jobs are at risk from computerisation, according to an Oxford University study published last year. If wage incomes were to disappear in a short time, the results could be cataclysmic for prosperity and peace. From steam engine to the Internet, technological progress has been an expansionary force. Smith’s conviction that workers will benefit from technological change has been a clear winner over the idea that work is finite. Though old jobs have vanished, new and better ones have been created. The massive and rapid rise of robots could challenge this happy state." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfauuwf  

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GOP Story Hour

October 23, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Randall Enos  

Cartoon. (10/22/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/gop-fairy-tale/  

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Iowa TV station refuses to run “cuts kill” ad

October 23, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The country has been subjected to weeks of ebola fear/terror/panic/propaganda going out over the airwaves (and from one network in particular) just in time to drive fear into the election. Now a group has put together an election ad making the case that the country would have less to worry about if we hadn’t been stampeded (also by fear) into austerity budget cuts. ... A new ad has been produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund. It is titled 'Republican Cuts Kill Part II: Joni Ernst Wants to Cut.' The ad makes the case that Republicans forced cuts to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which reduced the capabilities of these programs to contain a deadly virus like ebola." [editor's note: Since those agencies have been basically inept in most previous "health crises" ... - SAT] (10/232/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mh8jpal  

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Is Obama stalling until Republicans can bury the CIA torture report?

October 23, 2014
posted by

Dan Froomkin The Intercept
by Dan Froomkin  

"Senator Dianne Feinstein’s intelligence committee sent a 480-page executive summary of its extensive report on the CIA’s abuse of detainees to the White House for declassification more than six months ago. In August, the White House, working closely with the CIA, sent back redactions that Feinstein and other Senate Democrats said rendered the summary unintelligible and unsupported. Since then, the wrangling has continued behind closed doors, with projected release dates repeatedly falling by the wayside. ... Human-rights lawyer Scott Horton, who interviewed a wide range of intelligence and administration officials for his upcoming book, 'Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Foreign Policy,' told The Intercept that the White House and the CIA are hoping a Republican Senate will, in their words, 'put an end to this nonsense.'" (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/me2p82h  

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Why pro-war pundits are always wrong

October 23, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Charles Davis  

"There is no shortage of men and women -- but mostly men, typically white -- willing to write 800- to 1,000-word editorials on the need for Decisive Action or Continued Resolve in Whereverthehellistan. Some of these people are historians, some are journalists, but all have attained material success in the field of arguing about war without ever once having to go through the trouble of being right. It is a full-time profession where it undeniably pays to be wrong and speak to power only what power wants to hear, with American advocates of mass killing from El Salvador to Iraq some of the last in their homeland to earn a living wage. Damning the individuals is good, wholesome fun, but the problem is the systemic reward." (10/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k6fzsel  

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How Paul Krugman learned to stop worrying and love income inequality

October 23, 2014
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Joel Schlosberg and Thomas L. Knapp  

"Amazon's existence lowers book prices for readers in multifarious ways, from selection competition to electronic editions to its online marketplace for used copies. Yet Amazon has simultaneously diminished the cost for anyone to publish and sell books and earn money. By offering an alternative to the genuine near-monopoly of capital-intensive big publishers, Amazon distributes those lower prices and that new revenue more evenly among readers and authors. Hachette and Krugman know they can’t turn back the clock that produced Amazon’s burgeoning marketplaces, preferring to benefit from them, but are convinced Amazon owes them a walled garden, sparing them price competition with the rabble. They want Amazon to preserve their income inequality at the expense of its customers." (10/22/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32825  

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Saunders’s one-stop election shop

October 23, 2014
posted by

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

"Jerry Brown's going to win his second bid for re-election -- and that's OK. Given the state's blueness, Dao Gov is probably the best governor the state can get. Still, it's not a bad idea to send Brown a message that voters don't want him to turn too far to the left by voting for Republican Neel Kashkari. Below I include a column on the one debate between Brown and Kashkari, and a column about Brown's sense of loyalty, such as it is." [editor's note: Some of this is just conservative GOPism, but Ms. Saunders deserves a hearing for the bulk of her pro-liberty work (and there are no libertarians in the mix now anyway, thanks to the "top two" law!) - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nv4wfqn  

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Obama learning LBJ lesson: Guns or butter, not both

October 23, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Robert Dallek  

"President Barack Obama has lost his hold on a majority of Americans, according to recent polls. Though more than two years remain in his term, the popular appeal that propelled him to win the 2008 and 2012 elections may be beyond recovery. It is sadly reminiscent of what President Lyndon B. Johnson experienced in the mid-1960s after winning the 1964 presidential election by one of the largest landslides in U.S. history. This is not to suggest that history is repeating itself. There are too many differences between Johnson and Obama (both the men and their presidencies) to argue that. Yet, as Mark Twain said, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." [editor's note: Despite the fawning over both tyrants, and the atrocities they perpetrated, this is a fairly good analysis of their similarities - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nsd4dub  

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Why liberals love (and trust) NPR

October 23, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"The Pew Research Center has one of its ginormous studies out today, this one about polarization and media use, and as usual it's full of interesting stuff. I want to make a point about news in general and NPR in particular, and then after that, for those who care about these things, I have a methodological point to make about how we measure ideology. One of the distinct things about the Pew results is that conservatives love, love, love Fox News, while no single news outlet has the same kind of near-universal use among liberals. ... But the really interesting difference emerges when they ask which sources people trust" [editor's note: I wake up to NPR, catch up on it while driving, and avoid ALL TV news (except Stewart & Colbert, for chuckles) - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://prospect.org/article/why-liberals-love-and-trust-npr  

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Local surrealist Cory Gardner

October 23, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Michael Keefe  

Cartoon. (10/21/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/local-surrealist-cory-gardner/  

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Does democracy let “the poor” dominate?

October 23, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Hong Kong’s leader/chief executive Leung Chun-ying slammed pro-democracy protesters, saying that democracy would allow the poor too much of a voice. Leung said that a Chinese-style government appointed from the top allows for more business-friendly policies. I suspect Leung’s comments echo the view of elites worldwide. This week The New York Times reported on Leung’s comments, writing, 'Mr. Leung’s blunt remarks reflect a widely held view among the Hong Kong elite that the general public cannot be trusted to govern the city well.'” [editor's note: When "demoncrazy" (my term) is allowed to run unchecked (with no zone of sovereignty around peaceful individuals), it's a curse, not a blessing. However, in this case, Leung is full of the usual crap - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20141022/does-democracy-let-the-poor-dominate  

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Can student credit unions solve college affordability problem?

October 22, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Helene Barthelemy  

"In the past two years, Columbia University students have attempted to remedy the vexing problem of college affordability with an old but largely untried idea: a student credit union. Credit unions form 'the cooperatively owned alternative to traditional banks' in which profits go to providing better rates and lower fees for the credit union’s clients. Recipients of capital become shareholders in the institution and participate in its decisions." [editor's note: It could be one answer; it's sure made my life easier! - SAT] (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nhaoht2  

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The neo-scramble for Africa

October 22, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil  

"In the new race for Africa, the United States staked its position in early August, when President Obama convened four dozen African heads of state for the first-ever U.S.-African Leaders Summit. The three-day gathering was the most direct expression of the United States’ growing concern with China’s deepening influence on the continent. According to the Brookings Institution, China overtook the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has been widening the margin ever since. China’s not acting out of altruism, of course. It has developed an insatiable appetite for Africa’s mineral and petroleum resources." (10/22/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17244/obama_africa_summit  

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The Ebola response: American stupidity at its finest

October 22, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Charles R. Larson  

"Ebola is the ideal focal point for anger against the president, because few Americans know anything about the history of the disease and most know even less about the African continent, with its varied and enormously different 54 countries. They’re not interested. They’re more interested in computer games, TV, and other forms of entertainment, because that is all they really want: to be entertained. Well, ignoring Africa has brought Ebola to our shores, though I doubt that this will be the wake-up call epidemiologists hope for. Once it is contained months from now, Americans will forget all about the pandemic until the next one ravages the world. In the meantime, what we’re observing is American stupidity at its finest." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nr6765g  

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Blackwater founder remains free and rich while his former employees go down on murder charges

October 22, 2014
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jeremy Scahill  

"A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007. ... Just as with the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib, it is only the low level foot-soldiers of Blackwater that are being held accountable. [Blackwater founder Erik] Prince and other top Blackwater executives continue to reap profits from the mercenary and private intelligence industries." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n8u5p3s  

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Spare me the sermon, Houston

October 22, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J Saunders  

"If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition. This story begins in May when the Houston City Council passed by an 11-to-6 vote an equal rights ordinance that banned discrimination based on sex, race and national origin -- as well as sexual orientation and gender identity. Some local church leaders objected. They petitioned to put a measure on the ballot to repeal the ordinance." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nh6856p  

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Weird Al Franken

October 22, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by William Blum  

"I receive a continuous stream of emails from 'progressive' organizations asking me to vote for Senator Franken or contribute to his re-election campaign this November, and I don’t even live in Minnesota. Even if I could vote for him, I wouldn’t. No one who was a supporter of the war in Iraq will get my vote unless they unequivocally renounce that support. And I don’t mean renounce it like Hillary Clinton’s nonsense about not having known enough." (10/21/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/21/weird-al-franken/  

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Mitch McConnell will say anything for a ham

October 22, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Lee Fang  

"In an election that could propel Senator Mitch McConnell to become Senate majority leader (a position that would give him wide sway over climate change policy, including influence over the Environmental Protection Agency) the Kentucky politician declined to respond to a question earlier this month about whether he believes climate change is a real problem. 'I’m not a scientist,' McConnell responded in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board. But earlier in his career, when McConnell played a pivotal role on behalf of the tobacco industry against increasing government regulation and taxes, the Republican leader believed he had enough scientific knowledge to question public-health officials." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjrhlxd  

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Gene Healy on The Scott Horton Show

October 22, 2014
posted by

Gene Healy The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Gene Healy, a vice president at the Cato Institute, discusses his article 'The Forever-War President: Obama’s 'Transformational' War Powers Legacy.'" [Flash audio or MP3] (10/20/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/10/20/102014-gene-healy/  

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Pulling the plug on corporate personhood

October 22, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Rob Richie  

"American democracy is reaching a breaking point, from failed winner-take-all voting rules to blatant attempts to suppress voter turnout. The rising torrent of campaign spending by the 1% has triggered particular outrage. Activists leapt into action after the Supreme Court’s January 2010 Citizens United decision, which not only overturned a century of precedent that barred corporate money in American elections, but also enshrined corporations as non-human entities that have the same constitutional rights as people. Since Citizens United and other court rulings limit what can be done by statute, amending the constitution to overturn these rulings has become a major focus of activists." [editor's note: As usual, focusing on amending the constitution only guarantees nothing gets done on this for many years - SAT] (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7sslsz  

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Kasich begins ritual of self-flagellation

October 21, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"At Holy Cross-Immaculata church in Cincinnati, there's a Good Friday tradition called 'Praying the Steps,' in which parishioners slowly climb the 85 steps up to the church, saying a prayer on each step. It may take a while to get to the top, but that's the entire point of the exercise—the time and effort it takes is a symbol of one's devotion. Keep that in mind for a moment as we talk about that state's governor, John Kasich, and his complicated feelings about the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, Governor Kasich went through a ritual that has grown no less absurd for being so familiar." (10/21/24)

http://tinyurl.com/ldss7dc  

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Islamic State’s rules of attraction

October 21, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren  

"The U.S. State Department is producing anti-Islamic State propaganda to persuade American and other would-be jihadis not to join the extremist group. It’s ham-handed, and often sarcastic, and unlikely to have the intended effect. Why? Because the department fails to understand how Islamic State attracts recruits in the first place. One way to make sense of all this is to look at the appeal of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA does not recruit members, it attracts them. Long experience suggests that people who impulsively make decisions that actually require a long-term commitment will almost certainly fail. ... And so with Islamic State. Islamic State propaganda pulls no punches." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otspv3e  

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