PND Commentary

Picking Tillerson & Perry, Trump’s pretty much just trolling us now

December 14, 2016
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"When it comes to Cabinet-level appointments, Donald Trump hasn’t lost his ability to astonish and dismay. At this point his staffing process has pretty much turned into an extended exercise in trolling, a test to see how much humiliation the American people will endure. Rick Perry for the Department of Energy? Perry will be running an organization he doesn’t even think should exist. By that logic, I should be the CEO of Citigroup. Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, for Secretary of State? Negotiating a peace treaty requires a different skill set than getting a permit to drill in the Black Sea. ... The wrong choice? It’s hard to view these nominations as anything but the deliberate mockery of their departments, and of government itself." [editor's note: I agree, and I think it's the good sign so far; they may may not be his final choices - SAT] (12/14/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161214/by-picking-tillerson-and-perry-trumps-pretty-much-just-trolling-us-now  

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An over-general misunderstanding

December 14, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Last week's media chew toy involved the number of former generals President-elect Donald J. Trump has nominated for his cabinet. The ABC News website announced Trump 'would have the most generals in the White House since World War II.' What is that near-record number? Two. Yes, a whopping two among 14 announced cabinet-level picks. Trump has nominated retired Gens. James Mattis to be his secretary of defense and John Kelly to head Homeland Security. That puts the number of former generals on a par with former doctors, Tom Price for Health and Human Services and Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development. ... Trump also has chosen three attorneys for his cabinet -- would-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. I have heard no complaints about the number of attorneys." (12/13/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/12/13/an-overgeneral-misunderstanding-n2259101  

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The Republican sanity caucus awakens

December 14, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"It’s now clear that Donald Trump is far more severely impaired than even his worst critics imagined. And the cracks in his presumed governing coalition are starting to show, before he even takes office. For starters, leading Republicans are pushing back on his insistence that he knows intelligence better than the CIA and challenging the idea that the U.S. should be a puppet of Vladimir Putin. The best outcome, of course, would be for some constitutional Hail Mary pass to prevent Trump from becoming president: a group of electors who decide that he is just too much of a risk, or some kind of emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, to stay the election because its integrity and validity was hijacked by the Russians. But, face it, this is magical thinking. Barring divine intervention, Donald Trump will take office on January 20." (12/13/16)

http://prospect.org/article/republican-sanity-caucus-awakens  

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Trump’s Secretary of State pick is best of a bad lot

December 14, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"President-elect Donald Trump is taking a huge gamble by nominating Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. The Exxon Mobil CEO is notorious for making lucrative business deals with Russia, and in 2012 he was awarded the Order of Friendship by President Vladimir Putin. Since American lawmakers of both parties are alarmed by reports from the intelligence community that Putin interfered with the U.S. election with the goal of helping Trump, picking Tillerson for the highest cabinet position is likely to stoke fears, and make for heated confirmation hearings in the Senate. Indeed, the bipartisan backlash began the moment Tillerson’s name was first floated." [editor's note: Odd how as Trump went away from fomenting WW III and closer to diplomacy, his opposition on this pick has increased - SAT] (12/13/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139312/trumps-secretary-state-pick-best-bad-lot  

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The fake news scandal isn’t quite what you think it is

December 14, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Trevor Hultner  

"In truth, fake news has become a zaxlebax, a package-deal anti-concept that encompasses all of these wildly different media forms and describes nearly none of them correctly. The Onion has never claimed to be anything but satire. Upworthy has never said they don’t use clickbait headlines, and they're not trying to mislead the public. C4SS, Antiwar, Infoshop or the AntiMedia have never claimed to be objective, nor have they ever misled their readers into believing they were fueled by anything other than their respective ideologies. The only media that really fits the bill of 'fake news' in the sense most folks mean by it are actual, fake news websites like 'abcnews.com.co' and tabloid news." (12/13/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/47215  

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Let’s work with Trump to reduce drug prices

December 13, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by US Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)  

"A few months ago, from the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump said, 'We are not allowed to negotiate drug prices. Can you believe it?' Unfortunately, I can. It’s one of the reasons that prescription drug prices are skyrocketing. It’s one of the reasons that the cost of EpiPen went up nearly 500% since 2009. There are more reasons to be sure, but not being able to negotiate is an important one. So, outrage and disbelief are called for, yes. But not without clear, concrete action to back it up. As the new administration and new Congress get to work, we need to take on prescription drug price gouging. And the path forward is clear. Competition is the best way to ensure prescription drugs are affordable." (12/13/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/13/drug-prices-klobuchar-competition-column/95307768  

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Democrats could do business with Trump on these five issues

December 13, 2016
posted by

Reuters
by Josh Cohen  

"After Donald Trump’s stunning election victory, Democratic legislators now face a fork in the road: cooperate with Trump or oppose him at every turn. Given the tenor of the Trump campaign (including its attacks on Latinos, Muslims and other minorities), it’s understandable that many Democrats feel the urge to dig in their heels. But many of Trump’s campaign promises actually represent long-time Democratic priorities. Given these overlaps, it’s in Democrats’ best interest to at least explore working with Trump on these issues: Infrastructure ... Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) ... Ending the 'Carried Interest' Tax Loophole .. Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy." [editor's note: A good list for the most part - SAT] (12/13/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trump-democrats-commentary-idUSKBN1421N1  

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Pass the buck

December 13, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Rodolfo Acuna  

"President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk with the inscription 'The buck stops here.' Truman an avid poke player wanted to specify that he didn't 'pass the buck' to anyone; he accepted personal responsibility for the way the country was governed. A 'buck was an article used in a game of poker.'” The buck represented the changing of the dealing from one dealer to another to avoid the appearance of cheating. A marker, a buck, would designate who the buck was being passed to. Evidently, there are no poker players left in the United States. Unlike Truman everyone appears to want to pass the buck. Nowhere is this more evident than in the aftermath of the presidential election. Democrats eager to find a scapegoat have passed the buck." (12/13/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/13/pass-the-buck/  

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While Democrats chase Russians, Republicans keep rigging elections

December 13, 2016
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"What does it tell us when leading Democrats are more upset about alleged Russian election-rigging than they are about proven Republican election-rigging? After all, American oligarchs like the Koch Brothers have no more right to undermine our democracy than Russian oligarchs do. GOP voting laws systematically discriminate against minority voters and working people. Yes, leading Democrats have lodged pro forma protests against them, but they should be shouting about it from the rooftops. They seem more comfortable challenging Russians than they do challenging a party that’s undermining the electoral process much closer to home. Maybe voters in places like North Carolina and Texas were 'hacked' by the wrong people." [editor's note: This guy used to have some objectivity; now he gives away his bias in every sentence - SAT] (12/13/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161213/while-democrats-chase-russians-republicans-keep-stealing-elections  

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Trump on military spending: An encouraging sign

December 13, 2016
posted by

Thomas L Knapp -- photo by Avens O'Brien William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp  

"The F-35 is indeed one of the more insane wastes of taxpayer money in recent history. If Trump could find a way to kill the whole project, both taxpayers and the armed forces would be better off for its demise. But even if Trump is serious, he's in for a fight with 75 years of history. Since World War II, the primary function of the US government has been to transfer wealth from the pockets of American workers to the bank accounts of 'defense' contractors like Lockheed Martin. Even as long ago as 1960, when president Dwight Eisenhower warned America about the dangers of the 'military-industrial complex' in his farewell speech, his warning was too little, too late. American politicians already were, and still are, addicted to military spending (and to the campaign contributions it calls forth and the make-work jobs it brings to their states and districts)." (12/12/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/8721  

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Winning the war of ideas

December 13, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor
by John Yemma  

"An honest idea quietly delivered can seem wimpy. No cinematic superhero, to my knowledge, vanquishes villains with a well-reasoned argument. Few tough guys (fictional or otherwise) are known to listen to a thoughtful presentation of the facts, mull the pros and cons, and then go, 'Oh dear. I was wrong.' But despite the spectacle of terrorism, war, politics, and militancy, every human conflict is ultimately a battle of ideas. An army can conquer a city, a car bomb can devastate a community, a gun can force a conversion, but in time (sometimes, admittedly, an excruciatingly long amount of time) right prevails because right ideas persuade." (12/12/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/upfront-blog/2016/1211/Winning-the-war-of-ideas  

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The lessons of Aleppo’s long, pointless siege

December 13, 2016
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Apps  

"In its 7,000 years of existence, Aleppo has been fought over by Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. The modern battle for the ancient Syrian city, however, may yet be as significant for the future of the Middle East as those fought by the kingdoms and empires of the past. The four-year battle for Aleppo now seems to be reaching its final stages. More than any other place, the city (one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the world) has been the epicenter of the Syria conflict. In time, Syria may be seen to define the early 21st century the way the Spanish Civil War did the 1930s -- a perfect storm of all the worst trends in global politics and conflict. If it is, then Aleppo will be its Guernica, the Spanish town carpet bombed by Nazi aircraft in 1937 in a savage precursor to the horrors of the coming World War Two." (12/12/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-apps-aleppo-commentary-idUSKBN1412HQ  

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When campus microaggressions are real

December 13, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Shortly after the election, I noted that colleges and universities seemed to be taking sides, treating Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Donald Trump for the presidency as some sort of national calamity. In fact, with safe spaces, offers of counseling and therapy dogs, and so on, they seemed to be treating Trump’s victory as something more akin to a terrorist attack than an election result. In particular, I noted a campus email from University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel that, though it spoke of diversity, inclusion and respect for all points of view, made pretty clear that Trump’s victory was a bad thing, and suggested by implication that Trump supporters must be bad people. I thought that this wasn’t very nice, and certainly not within the spirit of diversity and inclusion, given that a large percentage of University of Michigan students had undoubtedly supported Trump, even if they were afraid to say so on campus." (12/12/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/12/college-campus-conservatives-trump-glenn-reynolds-column/95331660  

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Demagogue-in-Chief

December 13, 2016
posted by

Chris Hedges (photo by Chris Hedges) OpEdNews
by Chris Hedges  

"Trump is the sick expression of a dysfunctional political system and mass culture that celebrate the most depraved aspects of human nature -- greed, a lust for power, a thirst for adulation and celebrity, a penchant for the manipulation of others, dishonesty, a lack of remorse and a frightening pathology in which reality is ignored. He is the product of our escapist world of constant entertainment. He embodies the mutation of values in American society that has culminated in an enormous cult of the self and the abandonment of the common good." (12/11/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demagogue-in-Chief-by-Chris-Hedges-Corruption_Demagoguery_Dishonesty_Donald-Trump-Narcissist-161211-918.html  

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Beware compounded drugs, especially under Trump’s FDA

December 12, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Rena Steinzor  

"President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to eliminate 70 to 80 percent of all federal regulations, and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rulebook is near the top of his list. Close Trump adviser Newt Gingrich has denounced the FDA as the nation’s leading 'job killer,' and has called the agency 'a major prison guard stopping the breakout in health.' If the Trump administration makes good on these threats, an already weakened FDA could approach paralysis, exposing millions of patients to unsafe medications. Particularly at risk will be those who receive ostensibly 'sterile' injections for back and neck pain, among other ailments, from compounding pharmacies. Essentially small businesses with overweening national ambitions, compounders were implicated in a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012, and continue to manufacture potentially dangerous drugs administered to millions of Americans. Federal prosecutors have accused them of defrauding government health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars. The Obama administration failed to get a solid grip on regulating the industry, even when serious quality control problems emerged, and the Trump administration is likely to turn its back on the problem entirely, setting the stage for another fatal outbreak." (12/11/16)

http://prospect.org/article/beware-compounded-drugs-especially-under-trump%E2%80%99s-fda  

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The Democrats’ “Russia hacking” campaign is political suicide

December 12, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney  

"The Democratic Party is doing incalculable damage to itself by shapeshifting into the party of baseless conspiracy theories, groundless accusations, and sour grapes. Hillary Clinton was already the most distrusted presidential candidate in party history. Now she's become the de facto flag-bearer for the nutso-clique of aspiring propagandists at the CIA, the New York Times and Bezo[s]'s Military Digest. How is that going to improve the party's prospects for the long term? It won't, because the vast majority of Americans do not want to align themselves with a party of buck-passing juveniles that have no vision for the future but want to devote all their energy to kooky witch-hunts that further prove they are unfit for high office." (12/12/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/12/the-democrats-russia-hacking-campaign-is-political-suicide/  

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Trump Labor Secretary nominee sees people as commodities

December 12, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Before we accept the threatened destruction of our government as 'normal' or 'just politics,' here is something to think about. Our government is supposed to work for us, We the People, for our benefit, to make our lives better. Take the Department of Labor. The mission of the Department is 'To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.' Think about that. We once had a government with a mission to work for We the People, helping us get better jobs, better wages and better working conditions. Toward this end, a cabinet-level department was created 'in the interest of the wage earners.' So the Department of Labor is supposed to work to help people have better jobs with better wages and better benefits." (12/12/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161212/trump-labor-secretary-nominee-sees-people-as-throw-away-commodities  

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The danger of politicizing intelligence

December 12, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"Donald Trump isn’t even president yet, and already he’s fighting with the intelligence community. After The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA believes Russia interfered in the U.S. election specifically to help Trump win, his transition team released a statement on Friday saying, 'These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.' Trump, who earlier had told Time that the email hacks of the Democratic National Committee and top Hillary Clinton aide, John Podesta could have been done by China or 'some guy in his home in New Jersey,' on Monday assumed the role of cybersecurity expert." (12/12/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139275/danger-politicizing-intelligence  

1 Comment »

Fair use is essential to a free press

December 12, 2016
posted by

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Elliot Harmon  

"When copyright law and the First Amendment come into conflict, the First Amendment must win. The fair use doctrine -- the idea that there are certain ways that you can use a piece of copyrighted work regardless of whether you have the rightsholder's permission -- was written into copyright law to help ensure that copyright holders' wishes are never elevated above free speech. As such, it's been an essential tool for defending a free press: without fair use protections, people and companies in the public eye could use copyright law to ban coverage that's critical of them. It's alarming, then, to see an association that represents news companies asking the Trump transition team (and presumably Congress) to change the law and weaken fair use." (12/12/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/12/fair-use-essential-free-press  

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Message from the future: Your acceptance of evil has condemned us all

December 12, 2016
posted by

Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd  

S"ometime in December 2016, a strange transmission began bleeding through, ghost-like, on various computers around the world. It would suddenly appear for a few flickering moments while people watched movies or shopped on-line or looked at social media, then it would fade away. It purported to be 'a message from the future' and showed an aged man who claimed he was a 'chrono-quantum technician' whose work had been banned by the authorities 'to prevent me from doing exactly what I am doing now, at long last -- sending a warning to our ancestors.' The message was brief, but it was usually badly garbled by visual and aural static; it took weeks to compile, through crowd-sourcing, the full text. For what it’s worth, the message -- minus the brief intro -- is presented below." (12/12/16)

http://www.chris-floyd.com/home/articles/message-from-the-future-your-acceptance-of-evil-has-condemned-us-all-12122016.html  

1 Comment »

Trump’s anti-immigration fans are furious at him

December 12, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer  

"Donald Trump choice of Andrew Puzder, CEO of a fast-food conglomerate that includes the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., as labor secretary has alarmed many on the left, who note Puzder’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage and to expanding overtime pay. But Trump’s pick has also raised hackles on the right, especially among those who most passionately agree with the president-elect on his signature campaign issue: immigration restriction. 'Trump Expected to Tap Labor Secretary Who Prefers Foreign Labor to American Workers,' blared the headline at Breitbart, the chief organ of Trump-style right-wing populism. 'Puzder has suggested that available U.S. jobs should instead be filled by imported foreign labor,' Julia Hahn wrote in her lengthy attack, citing several op-eds the CKE Restaurants executive has written over the years." (12/09/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139251/trumps-anti-immigration-fans-furious  

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The fake news controversy is larger than you think

December 12, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews
by Joseph Clifford  

"The 'fake news' controversy is nothing more than corporate media's attempt to slander alternative media, because corporate media finally realized they lost control, and no one takes them seriously. By and large, people do not read newspapers, nor do mainstream news outlets and cable news have any credibility. Corporate media had to do something to regain control of the narrative, and they attempted to do so with the fake news nonsense, and with the assistance of their gal Hillary Clinton. They are trying to convince the public it is only they who can be trusted. This is an effort to recapture the public and regain control of the narrative." (12/10/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Fake-News-Controversy-by-Joseph-Clifford-2006-Elections_Corporate-Media_Demonizing_Donald-Trump-161210-244.html  

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American Nazis and the fight for US history

December 12, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch    

"When I first watched Richard Spencer at his NPI annual conference, like many, I was horrified by Spencer's intentional references to Nazi language, imagery and ideology. In this political moment, as President-Elect Trump appoints to his cabinet, a crew of known white supremacists: Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist; Jeff Sessions (Attorney General); and Michael Flynn (National Security Adviser), Spencer's Neo-Nazi D.C. conference takes on a whole new, chilling power -- not of a fringe, right-wing hate group, but of a mainstream, right-wing hate group. After absorbing the initial shock of his fascist message, what disturbed me next about Spencer's speech caught me somewhat off guard. The philosophy he was espousing didn't sound totally foreign. In fact, something about it felt sickeningly familiar, like a relic from childhood." (12/09/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/09/american-nazis-and-the-fight-for-us-history/  

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Anonymous leaks to the WashPost about the CIA’s Russia beliefs are no substitute for evidence

December 12, 2016
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept    

"Nobody has ever opposed investigations to determine if Russia hacked these emails, nor has anyone ever denied the possibility that Russia did that. The source of contention has been quite simple: No accusations should be accepted until there is actual convincing evidence to substantiate those accusations. There is still no such evidence for any of these claims. What we have instead are assertions, disseminated by anonymous people, completely unaccompanied by any evidence, let alone proof. As a result, none of the purported evidence -- still -- can be publicly seen, reviewed, or discussed. Anonymous claims leaked to newspapers about what the CIA believes do not constitute proof, and certainly do not constitute reliable evidence that substitutes for actual evidence that can be reviewed." (12/10/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/10/anonymous-leaks-to-the-washpost-about-the-cias-russia-beliefs-are-no-substitute-for-evidence/  

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How Europe’s left lost the working class

December 11, 2016
posted by

Reuters
by John Lloyd  

"If parties of the left cannot appeal to the working class, what's their use? The 21st century may be the one in which the umbilical link between the main left parties and organized labor is broken in favor of a politics of identity, and a grasping after some form of direct democracy that translates desires and frustrations into instant policies. Lurking over this movement is the fear of such an unsustainable politics producing authoritarian leaders, especially if the economies of the Western states worsen. This past week saw two leaders of the European left (Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and President Francois Hollande of France) forced to admit defeat and to leave the political scene, their reputations and policies shredded, their parties embarrassed by their very presence." (12/09/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-lloyd-left-commentary-idUSKBN13Y07B  

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