PND Commentary

Should Snowden pardon President Obama?

September 19, 2016
posted by

Paul Jacob Town Hall
by Paul Jacob  

"Americans have been very divided on whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor, and accordingly, on whether he should be pardoned. A poll from a year ago found a plurality of 43 percent did not want him pardoned, while 33 percent favored a pardon. Still, whatever one thinks of Mr. Snowden and his legal status, it seems strange that only one side of the illegality exposed has been addressed. One question, rightly, is whether Mr. Obama will pardon Snowden. But another legitimate question is whether Mr. Snowden and his fellow Americans, you and I included, will pardon President Obama." (09/18/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/2016/09/18/should-snowden-pardon-president-obama-n2219876  

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Occupy didn’t just “change the conversation”

September 18, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Jesse Myerson  

"Five years ago, on the morning of September 17th, 2011, the only continuous inhabitant of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park was a bronze statue of a businessman, seated permanently on a bench on the park’s west side. That, of course, was before hundreds of demonstrators descended and built an encampment to protest the power of the 1%. By September 24th, when video of a New York City police officer pepper-spraying members of Occupy Wall Street garnered national attention, the newly rechristened Liberty Plaza Park had become home to a welcome booth, a kitchen, a childcare zone, an arts and culture area, medical and legal teams, a media-production center and a library. These all emerged through improvisation, the active ingredient in Occupy. From its founders’ initial act to the proliferation of encampments nationwide, the movement unfolded mainly by way of intuition, experimentation, accident, luck and emergency." (09/17/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/features/occupy-legacy-five-year-anniversary-mayday.html  

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White supremacist America: Trump and the “return” of right-wing hate culture

September 18, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Anthony DiMaggio  

"Many of my friends from college and fellow academics in the last year are focusing their anxieties on the Donald Trump campaign. A common frustration voiced among intellectuals is the disbelief that a candidate as bigoted, pig-headed, and willfully ignorant as 'the Donald' could be running neck and neck with a seasoned political veteran like Hillary Clinton. This piece is not about Hillary Clinton, however. Rather, it's about promoting a much needed discussion of what Trump's rise really tells us. I don't believe we have a 'Donald Trump' problem in this country. The problem is much worse than that. More ominously, we have an American public problem that cuts to the very core of the quality of our democracy. Demagogues rise to power on the backs of workers, citizens, and your average 'Joe' or 'Jane.' They do not owe their success to their actions alone." (09/16/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/16/white-supremacist-america-trump-and-the-return-of-right-wing-hate-culture/  

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The myth of the “race card”

September 18, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Stacia L Brown  

"Two essential quotes come up often among the black women in my professional cohort. The first is one that we attribute to Zora Neale Hurston: 'If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.' The other is from Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals: 'Your silence will not protect you.' We trade these quotes to nudge one another toward self-advocacy in situations when speaking up for ourselves might be difficult -- such as in work or social settings where we are in a minority as women of color and our experiences of sexism or racism may be minimized or disbelieved, if we are vocal about them. ... I wasn’t surprised that when singer Solange Knowles live-tweeted about an incident she described as racist at a Kraftwerk concert last week, commenters inundated her Twitter account with allegations that her description of events was racist." [editor's note: Read further and you'll find the "racist" act was 3 middle-aged white ladies complaining about this black woman and her family standing and dancing to the music; those ladies obviously never saw Springsteen, or any of a hundred other good bands, but "racist?" Hardly - SAT] (09/17/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/136899/myth-race-card  

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American prisons: Protest dog food, go to solitary confinement

September 18, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews
by John Kiriakou  

"Prisoners across America went on strike last week to protest poor wages, a lack of adequate medical care, poor food, and the utter absence of any educational or training opportunities. This doesn't sound like a big deal. But it's unprecedented. Prisoners in the United States are forbidden by law from going on strike. And, indeed, federal Bureau of Prisons regulations prohibit strikes as 'interfering with the smooth running of the institution,' an offense punishable by immediate transfer to solitary confinement. I had it pretty easy during the two years I spent in federal prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA's torture program. Still, I wouldn't wish prison on anybody. It's dehumanizing, depressing, and as the 'greatest country in the world,' we should be utterly ashamed of the prison system we have. Let's look at prisoners' demands." (09/18/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/American-Prisons-Protest-by-John-Kiriakou-Prisoners_Protest_Punishment_Solitary-Confinement-160918-612.html  

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The pros and cons of Kerry’s Syria deal

September 18, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Apps  

"The landmark deal last week between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov is, in many ways, a major breakthrough. It may well save lives. Against the backdrop of what has been the worst war of the 21st century, that’s a prize worth seizing. The problem: The effects will be strictly limited. The agreement is really several significant, but limited, tactical deals – on aid, on local ceasefires and on coordination against certain Islamist groups that both Washington and Moscow don’t want to see as part of the long-term future of Syria. That’s something, to be sure. To get that deal, however, Kerry and Lavrov appear to have deliberately avoided the toughest issues. Most crucial, the ultimate fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was off the table. That omission has likely been noticed in Damascus, Aleppo and the various regional capitals that must also help decide the conflict." (09/15/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/commentary-syria-apps-idUSKCN11K229  

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Snowden isn’t paranoid enough

September 15, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by David Sims  

"The most dynamic scene of Oliver Stone's film career -- certainly the most electrifyingly bonkers speech he's ever shot -- came in 1991's JFK. 'It's as old as the crucifixion, a military firing squad,' Donald Sutherland rants, laying out the conspiratorial case for the military-industrial complex assassinating the president. Cutting between Sutherland's minutes-long monologue and sterling black-and-white footage of generals meeting in smoke-filled rooms, the sequence is a bravura display of paranoid filmmaking; the kind of work that means Stone is still being approached to make movies like Snowden, another tale of conspiracy at the heart of government in theaters this week. So it's strange that his latest feature feels so devoid of both passion and paranoia." (09/15/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/09/somehow-snowden-isnt-paranoid-enough/499916/  

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The Deplorables and the Incorrigibles

September 15, 2016
posted by

Awarehouse
by Bob Teesdale  

"I consider myself an 'old-school' liberal, a child of the 60s, open to new ideas, intellectual freedom, and expression, and I remember candidates who debated real issues and policies, not merely slinging insults at each other, who presented substantive arguments, who believed that the American people deserved respect and admiration for their intelligence, strength, resilience, work ethic, willingness to go out and make their way in a free society, and ability to way the facts and decide for themselves. I realize that Liberalism today is nothing like it was when I was a younger man. By today’s standards, my views are somewhere right of center. In contrast, in today’s PC culture, the term 'liberal' is no longer liberal by any stretch of the definition. Hillary’s gross condemnation of half the nation as deplorable, irredeemable low-lifes is a moral judgment that reveals her superior, elitist, morally bigoted attitude. That is not recognizing the divinity in anyone who happens to disagree with you. That is not a liberal attitude at all, but a fascist attitude, a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor, and opposition is not permitted." (09/15/16)

https://awarehouseblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/15/the-deplorables-and-the-incorrigibles/  

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Why are the “adults in the room” so awful?

September 15, 2016
posted by

Kevin Carson Libertarian Alliance
by Kevin Carson  

"It's common among centrists to describe themselves -- in contrast to the 'far Left' and 'far Right' -- as the 'rational adults' who can compromise and get things done. The 'rational adult' trope usually appears in conjunction with 'Horseshoe Theory,' according to which wisdom and reasonableness inhere in the political center and deviation from the center is identified with greater 'extremism' the further to the Left or Right one goes. ... The problem is that centrism, as such, has no content. It has no meaning, in a two party system, except in relation to the territory staked out by the two mainstream political parties at any given time. But in fact the positions taken by those two parties are neither mutually exhaustive nor mutually exclusive." (09/15/16)

https://thelibertarianalliance.com/2016/09/15/why-are-the-adults-in-the-room-so-awful/  

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We should elect Supreme Court justices

September 15, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"As the Supreme Court, once a body that mostly ruled on purely legal questions, has gotten more and more involved with every aspect of American life, the Supreme Court appointment process has become more political. Senate confirmation used to be almost pro forma, without even a hearing. Then we got hearings, which have now turned into political circuses of their own. (Remember Clarence Thomas?) Even the election of a President ... has become about the Supreme Court. Partisans of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have argued that, whatever the flaws of their own candidate, the importance of not letting the other side make potentially transformative Supreme Court appointments is reason enough to stand behind him or her." [editor's note: I strongly disagree here; instead, find a way to "depoliticize" the seats - SAT] (09/15/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/15/supreme-court-garland-scalia-elect-justices-glenn-reynolds/90351964  

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Here’s one way to get rid of the stigma on whistleblowing

September 15, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mia Wellfare & Matthew Getz  

"Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had paid out more than $100 million in awards to whistleblowers. This month, financial institutions in the United Kingdom have to start implementing programs that encourage whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice to an in-house 'champion.' The hope, in part, is that this approach will discourage them from going to a U.S. government agency that might pay them for the information. Should Britain have adopted a U.S.-style bounty system instead? Clearly whistleblower payouts can be a double-edge sword. While Europeans often recoil from the idea, Americans see bounties as a cost-effective way to get information they wouldn’t otherwise have." (09/13/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/commentary-whistleblowing-wellfare-idUSKCN11J1YF  

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Is Donald Trump the charter school industry’s worst nightmare?

September 15, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Presidential candidate Donald Trump likely just handed the charter school industry the worst sort of favor. In unveiling his education plan, the Republican candidate proposed a $20 billion federal block grant to allow states to give vouchers to low-income students to attend whatever school they want. The proposal is the most full-throated support for school choice ever issued by a presidential candidate in a general election campaign. It’s also the ill-conceived, grandiose and politically polarizing gesture that many charter school proponents feared most." (09/15/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160915/is-donald-trump-the-charter-school-industrys-worst-nightmare  

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Snowden, Putin, Trump

September 15, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"The ACLU is behind a campaign to prompt President Obama to pardon National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. As Snowden told the Guardian, he knows he violated 'laws on the books,' but 'that is perhaps why the pardon power exists -- for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things.' Snowden shows an understanding of the president's pardon power. Still, I have a few questions I would want answered before I would sign onto the notion that the ex-NSA contractor acted morally and ethically -- and hence deserves clemency." [editor's note: I shall agree to disagree here; pardon now, then Snowden 2020 - SAT] (09/15/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/09/15/snowden-putin-trump-n2218289  

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Greater good versus lesser evil

September 15, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews
by Stephen Unger  

"Once again the major parties offer a choice between two terrible presidential candidates. The only novelty is that there is real controversy over which candidate is worse. Usually, the Republican candidate endorses the positions of big business interests with respect to financial matters, advocates more aggressive positions with respect to foreign policy and the military, and shows little, if any concern about the environment. The Democrat usually takes somewhat less extreme positions on these matters, and often has liberal positions on matters of little interest to the wealthy elite, e.g., on abortions." (09/15/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Greater-Good-Versus-Lesser-by-Stephen-Unger-Democrats_Election_Government_Green-160915-46.html  

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Most vital infrastructure not “crumbling;” it hasn’t been built yet

September 15, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Theo Anderson  

"There isn’t much downside to proposing more infrastructure spending. That’s the generic name for everything from dams and levees to railroad tracks and schools, but it mostly means roads and bridges. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both made infrastructure spending central to their campaigns, with Clinton calling for $275 billion in new spending over five years and Trump mocking her plan as too small. He told Fox Business Network in August that Clinton’s number was 'a fraction of what we’re talking about.' Trump offered few specifics of his own but did say that he would double Clinton’s proposal, 'and you’re really going to need more than that,' since 'we have many, many bridges that are in danger of falling.' He won’t get pushback on that last thought. It’s past the point of tired cliche to call our infrastructure 'crumbling,' and a well-publicized report card that’s put out by the American Society of Civil Engineers reinforces the point. The most recent version gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of D+, with roads receiving a D and bridges a C+." (09/13/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19460/our-most-vital-infrastructure-isnt-crumbling-it-hasnt-been-built-yet  

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So let the settlers stay. They won’t.

September 15, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg  

"I overheard the conversation on a home-buyers' tour of West Bank settlements. No, I was not thinking of buying anything. It was May 1992, a few weeks before the Israeli election in which Yitzhak Rabin was expected (correctly) to defeat Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. In a bid to preserve its policies, Shamir's government was trying to sell every house available in the settlements, at incredibly low prices. Big newspaper ads announced free bus tours to see the offerings. I decided to slip onto a bus, listen, and watch. At one stop, a young guy posed a question to the guide. 'What if they give it all back?' he demanded. He had his arm around his wife, who looked even younger and was noticeably pregnant. They were the definition of people who needed an inexpensive home they could count on keeping. 'We don't build here to give it back,' the guide answered." (09/14/16)

http://prospect.org/article/so-let-settlers-stay-they-wont  

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Examining agoric intent and agora-syndicalist practices: A response to Nathan Goodman

September 15, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Nick Ford  

"Nathan Goodman has recently published a great piece on some of the drawbacks and potentials of agorism, direct action and trying to synthesize agorism with illegalism or syndicalism. In this piece I’ll address a few of his general arguments and then move to address his specific points about agora-syndicalism. In addition I shall make some critical remarks of my own towards agorism in line with the helpful comments I feel Goodman has made." (09/15/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45997  

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Down with democracy!

September 15, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic    

"Donald Trump’s effusive praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin has puzzled political observers for many reasons, not least because it’s a sharp break from Republican Party orthodoxy and an unpopular position among the general American electorate. 'His embrace of Mr. Putin ... fits no obvious political strategy,' New York Times reporter John Harwood wrote on Tuesday. 'So when Mr. Trump praises Mr. Putin, as he did last week, for his "very strong control over a country," Republican political and policy experts explain it in purely personal terms: Mr. Trump admires the Russian leader’s ruthless use of power, even if it conflicts with American democratic principles.' That analysis might be reassuring to Republicans, but it flies in the face of facts. Trump’s admiration for Putin as a 'strong' leader is far from just an idiosyncratic quirk; it’s increasingly common on the right." (09/14/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/136784/trump-embrace-putin-return-traditional-conservative-values  

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Insatiable: The Democrats must attack democracy to serve corporate power

September 15, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Richard Moser  

"Most critiques of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton machine focus on the idea of corruption and scandal. True enough, but the Clintons' corporate worldview goes far beyond greed, corruption and 'pay to play.' The deeper conflict is between a new form of corporate governance -- in full command of all three branches of national government -- and the remnants of the older legal and political structure. Violations of the now outmoded functions of government -- individual rights, free elections, checks and balances, rule of law and the national interest itself -- are called out as corruption but are in fact the 'new normal.' The managers of the new system must be above the law and the Constitution to do their job." (09/15/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/15/insatiable-the-democrats-must-attack-democracy-to-serve-corporate-power/  

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Clinton Foundation: Why are journalists telling us to look the other way?

September 15, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Joel Bleifuss  

"It's one thing for media pundits to stand tall and proud and support Hillary Clinton as the candidate best suited to be president. It's another for journalists to supplicate themselves before the presumptive occupant of the world's most powerful office in the hope that one day they might join Sidney Blumenthal as a palace favorite. Unfortunately, as we head to Election Day, the ranks of the aspiring courtier press are full to bursting. Take the allegation that the vanity charity of America's most prominent political family solicited money from the world's rich and powerful, who in turn asked favors from that family. ... The issue here is not whether we can find a smoking gun establishing a quid pro quo exchange. Smart operators (like Gulf State autocrats and their contacts in the State Department) don't produce paper trails of receipts or memoranda confirming transactional corruption." [editor's note: Here's one case where a "progressive" pundit gets its spot on - SAT] (09/14/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19459/in-her-majestys-service-clinton-foundation  

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Beware panaceas: Promises and pitfalls of agorism, illegalism, and syndicalism

September 15, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Nathan Goodman  

"I am generally favorable to agorism, direct action, and other anarchist strategies that emphasize building the new world in the shell of the old. However, I recognize that there are no panaceas. All strategies have costs and benefits, and strategies for social change may have serious pitfalls and unintended consequences. This essay employs some basic concepts from economics in order to explore potential pitfalls of direct action strategies." (09/14/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45993  

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How heroin sensationalism exacerbates the war on drugs

September 15, 2016
posted by

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Liz Wolfe  

"Photos of two heroin users, passed out in a car with a child in the backseat, have been circulating the internet and news outlets for the past few days. Posted on the City of East Liverpool's Facebook page, moderators of the page added the caption, 'We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug.' Of course, this sort of parenting is awful (reports confirm that the woman in the car is the child's mother) –– criminal, even. Drug abuse to this point is reasonably condemned, even by the most ardent legalization advocate. But this sort of hysteria-oriented journalism does drug advocacy efforts a horrible disservice and enables our society to stay rooted in the overcriminalization mentality." (09/13/16)

http://studentsforliberty.org/blog/2016/09/13/how-heroin-sensationalism-exacerbates-the-war-on-drugs/  

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National Call-In Day to stop the TPP

September 15, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Wall Street, the multinational corporations and President Obama are pushing for a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the 'lame duck' session of Congress that follows the election. Wednesday, September 14, is a national call-in day to Congress to stop this. (Use this link, or use this number, 888-659-7351. Ask your representative to issue a public statement against the TPP.) Setting aside all the other bad things in TPP, and there are so many, one part of TPP places corporations above governments, even above our democracy. TPP sets up a system in which corporations can sue our government for passing laws and regulations that hurt their profits, even their 'expected' profits. The cases are heard in a corporate tribunal outside of our own court system, where corporate attorneys hear the cases, and there is no appeal of their rulings. This literally replaces U.S. law with the rulings of a corporate tribunal when those laws apply to corporations." [editor's note: This Mr. Johnson is one of the consistent critics of TPP on the "progressive" end of the spectrum - SAT] (09/14/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160914/wednesday-is-national-call-in-day-to-stop-tpp  

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Interview: What Occupy Wall Street got wrong

September 14, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Alex Shephard  

"[Cecily McMillan was arrested during the protest in Zuccotti Park and spent 58 days in jail. Five years after it began, she considers what Occupy achieved, and why it didn’t go far enough.] What did Occupy get right?What do you mean? After we got beaten up by police, we went back to that 1960s attitude of 'Fuck the police!' But let’s be real: If most of us found our house broken into, we’d call the police. In the end, Occupy was an extension of the very system it claimed to hate; it was still ruled by a privileged minority." (09/14/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/136315/occupy-wall-street-got-wrong  

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Hillary collapse coverage reveals absurdity of biased media

September 14, 2016
posted by

New York Post New York Post
by Michael Goodwin  

"It is said that history turns on small hinges, and now maybe the presidential race does, too. For hinges don't get much smaller than the 20-second video of Hillary Clinton collapsing and being lifted into her security vehicle. Without it, Americans would still be clueless about Clinton's serious health issues. Because of it, she was forced to admit she has pneumonia. Because they were scooped by the video, an army of journalists is now under pressure to report facts instead of covering them up. Most important, voters got fresh proof that Clinton's first instinct is to lie, and then lie again. Those are just some of the immediate aftershocks of that little video. If my hunch is correct, the fallout is just beginning and eventually will result in voters learning the whole truth of Clinton's condition." (09/14/16)

http://nypost.com/2016/09/14/hillary-collapse-coverage-reveals-absurdity-of-biased-media  

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