PND Commentary

Strike a pose

April 15, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"One of the central dynamics of American politics in the last few decades has been the sorting of the parties, the way that the Republican and Democratic coalitions have become ideologically clearer and more narrow. There are some ways in which this has been a salutary development; for instance, if like many Americans you're a low-information voter, its easier to figure out which party to vote for than it once was. But while the GOP has become particularly unified (the northeastern liberal Republicans who once constituted a substantial faction within the party are all gone)there are still some moderate Democrats around, even in the South." (04/15/14)

http://prospect.org/article/strike-pose  

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The tax breaks that are killing the planet

April 15, 2014
posted by

The Nation Blog
by Zoe Carpenter  

"ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, hauled in a $32.6 billion profit last year. Chief executive Rex Tillerson got a 3 percent bump in his pay package, sending it above $28 million. And today the company gets its annual boost from the federal government: an estimated $600 million in tax breaks. All told, the government gifts as much as $4.8 billion to the oil industry each year, more than any other country. Much of that comes not as direct handouts but instead via loopholes in the tax code; deductions for depleting oil reserves, for example, and write-offs for the expense of drilling a new well." [editor's note: As much as I hate "special favorite" treatment for ANYONE in the tax code, it's still just a simple fact that "not stealing some of your money" is NOT the same thing as "gifting" you anything - TLK] (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l9zycfg  

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Is Putin being lured into a trap?

April 15, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney  

"Russia is not responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. The US State Department engineered the fascist-backed coup that toppled Ukraine’s democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with the American puppet Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former banker. Hacked phone calls reveal the critical role that Washington played in orchestrating the putsch and selecting the coup’s leaders. Moscow was not involved in any of these activities. Vladimir Putin, whatever one may think of him, has not done anything to fuel the violence and chaos that has spread across the country. Putin’s main interest in Ukraine is commercial." (04/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nplp22q  

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Who are the poor going to ask for restitution?

April 15, 2014
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Valdenor Junior  

"Last Friday (04/11), a piece of land property in Rio’s suburbia was reinstated to telecom giant Oi. The area was known as 'favela da Telerj' and had been occupied by 5,000 people, mostly from Mandela, Manguinhos, and Jacarezinho favelas, who built improvised homes there. There were serious confrontations with the Military Police in the enforcement of the court order of disoccupation and even an O Globo newspaper reporter, who was following the acts of the police, was arrested. This is the same Rio de Janeiro where thousands of families had their homes expropriated to open up space for the FIFA World Cup 2014 developments." (04/15/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/26424  

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Prevent voter fraud

April 15, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Mike Luckovich  

Cartoon. (04/15/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/04/prevent-voter-fraud/  

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Tax Day: What kind of “civilization” are we paying for?

April 15, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"April 15 seems to be a holiday of sorts for progressives, who inevitably trot out Oliver Wendell Holmes’s quote about taxes being 'the price we pay for civilization,' and reminding us of all the great stuff -- roads, schools, etc. -- that they pay for. But on closer examination, tax day really isn’t a very good choice for progressive holiday." (04/13/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/26351  

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Will Obama & Kerry play high cards against Israeli hardliners?

April 15, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"The deadline, supposedly April 29, for a deal of some kind between Israel and the Palestinians (what Secretary of State John Kerry calls a 'framework agreement') is close, and although the talks appeared to have fallen apart earlier this month, the two sides held what The Wall Street Journal calls 'a rare meeting without U.S. mediator Martin Indyk present' on Sunday. It isn’t clear what the meeting means, and it may be too late for any deal to be reached by the end of April, but at least Kerry is putting the blame for the roadblocks where it belongs: on Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu." (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ms8xlzr  

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Dawning of Age of Anthropocene

April 15, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Jessica Stites  

"Scientists have been clanging the alarm about human-caused climate change, trying to bring around the 33 percent of Americans who don’t believe the earth is warming and the 18 percent of believers in global warming who think the process is 'natural.' ... For more than a decade, geologists have been debating whether to officially declare the existence of a new epoch, the 'Anthropocene,' to acknowledge that humans are radically reshaping the earth’s surface." (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lo3hn9r  

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Poof! Israelis & Palestinians head for the brink

April 15, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg  

"On the El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wandered into the economy section looking for an aide, or perhaps just too tense after a long week in America to sit still. Lieberman wore the uncertain smile of a man in strange territory who doesn't know where he's going. The young muscular guy sitting next to me, wearing a dark jacket and a shirt open at the collar, the uniform of muscular men who accompany Israeli ministers, constituted an immediate warning against buttonholing his boss. He did mention, however, that no one in the foreign minister's party had slept in the past week." (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mxkw6cw  

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The truth behind Tax Day

April 15, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Robin Claremont  

"If you groan about Tax Day, you’re certainly not alone. But what if Tax Day was something we could be proud of as members of a democracy? Would you feel differently about paying taxes if you knew they were going to support public services that you, your family, and your community rely on: such as public safety, roads and bridges, schools, healthcare, social services, and national parks? Millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns on April 15 each year with no idea what the government actually does with all that money." [editor's note: Anyone who likes what the chart attached to this article shows should just admit it -- you LOVE when the beatings increase! - SAT] (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mjxhdsp  

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Post Rwanda: Investing in atrocity prevention

April 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Pam Omidyar  

"In the 20 years since the horrific 1994 genocide in Rwanda and its terrible spillover into the Congo, it has been clear that the global community remains ill-equipped to address such human-made catastrophic tragedies. While many have worked to heal Rwanda, crises of unfathomable mass violence have continued to unfold in places like Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Syria. In each case, the international community has failed to live up to a global commitment to prevention, protection and accountability for mass crimes. War and mass violence not only halts development, it reverses it." (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbr85aa  

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Everyone on our streets is part of the problem

April 15, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"I know that pedestrian deaths are up in San Francisco. I give the benefit of the doubt to the pedestrians, who, after all, paid a heavy price for being on the same street as large cars. But I don't know that all the pedestrians were blameless. I have seen pedestrians move out from between two parked cars and step into traffic. I have seen pedestrians try to cross four lanes of traffic at mid-block. I have seen them talking on phones and thus rendered oblivious to their surroundings. Sometimes a driver is just an innocent bystander. Sometimes the result is tragedy. Too, there are drivers who seem unaware of the weight and power of their machines. Driving is so easy and often so quiet that it lulls them into a false sense of security." (04/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mbhrnea  

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Mozillagate: Brandon Eich & rightwing hypocrisy

April 14, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Michelle Goldberg  

"[T]here is a credible if not entirely convincing liberal argument against Eich’s forced resignation. Most of us do not want to live in a world where donations to unpopular causes can be used against us at work. ... At the same time, though, a CEO is not an ordinary employee -- he or she is a leader and a symbol. If employees believe that their leader disdains their families and rejects their values, it damages morale. If a CEO comes to symbolize ideas that are anathema to customers and collaborators, it impedes growth. ... Pushing him out was, in the end, a business decision." [editor's note: A surprisingly good analysis of this issue at its deeper roots - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/newrkqe  

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Government can’t say no

April 14, 2014
posted by

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

"The Social Security Disability Insurance Program is in big trouble. In 2016, the program's trust fund is expected to run out of money. When that happens, there will be 'large across-the-board cuts for all beneficiaries,' warn Rep. Jackie Speier, the ranking Democrat, and James Lankford, Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees entitlements. Those cuts will be painful for the 'truly disabled,' whom the system originally was designed to serve. Washington has a choice to make: provide for the truly disabled ... or the newly disabled." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4koxsm  

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The EU-US love-hate relationship

April 14, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Nicholas Wapshott  

"The elaborate gavotte between the American and European economies continues. While the Federal Reserve has begun to wind down its controversial quantitative easing (QE) program, the European Central Bank (ECB) the federal reserve of the eurozone, has announced it is considering a QE program of its own. It is a belated acknowledgement, if not an outright admission, from Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, that five years of the European Union’s austerity policy has failed to lift the eurozone nations out of the economic mire." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3r6mfp  

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Surprise, surprise

April 14, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff  

"One thing that the FBI does really well is exonerate itself. As I wrote earlier, the bureau’s agents have shot 151 people over the course of the last two decades, killing more than half of them, yet in its own internal reviews, the FBI has exonerated those agents all 151 times -- a perfect record of blamelessness that even some of the country’s most gun-happy police departments (even in Albuquerque, NM) can’t claim." (04/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p9bp994  

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Missing Sebelius

April 14, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Steve Sack  

Cartoon. (04/11/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/04/missing-sebelius/  

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How John Paul Stevens would amend the Constitution

April 13, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux  

"What made John Paul Stevens's contributions in his 35 years on the Supreme Court so invaluable was not just the votes he cast but his fiercely intelligent idiosyncrasies. ... So it's gratifying that Stevens has not retired in silence, instead providing valuable commentary on constitutional controversies including the right to vote and the American criminal justice system. Stevens's new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, represents another valuable and accessible contribution to the country's constitutional discourse." [editor's note: Regular readers of this blogsite know at times I don't fully endorse the ideas I post here; this is one of thoses times - bleh! - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nz88pmk  

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The three lessons of Sebelius

April 13, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will finish her five-year tenure having implemented the biggest expansion of health insurance in 50 years. What should we learn from her success story? Three key lessons: 1. Don’t Panic ... 2. Ignore Pundits ... 3. Never Give Up ..." [editor's note: I'll let the readers decide whether this analysis has any value; I give it a 65 for the "good beat you can dance to" - SAT] (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ob9mvp2  

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Corruption in the Windy City

April 13, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

In America, there is regular ol' corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital 'C.' America's third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say 'Chicago politics' and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from 'The Untouchables.' Yet, while the Windy City's brand of corruption is extreme, it is also emblematic, as a recent spate of revelations prove." (04/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nuvc7lw  

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The GOP’s legacy underdog

April 11, 2014
posted by

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

"Barbara Bush was right when she pooh-poohed son Jeb's interest in running for the White House in 2016. Forget political dynasties (Bushes, Kennedys and ... yes, Clintons) the former first lady told NBC last year, 'We've had enough Bushes.' She also said: 'There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever.' Listen to your mother, Jeb. Heed her words well, Hillary. My sweetest dream for 2016 would be for a bipartisan pact: that 2016 will not be a sequel to the 1992 Bush-Clinton face-off. Is it a deal, Dems? I won't vote for Bush if you won't vote for the better half of the 1992 Democratic pick." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lrr7fk7  

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Behind Wall Street’s anxiety

April 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Anatole Kaletsky  

"The recent economic news has been about as investor-friendly as anyone could imagine. It started with last week’s strong U.S. employment figures; continued through Tuesday’s reassuring International Monetary Fund forecasts, which put the probability of avoiding a global recession this year to 99.9 percent, and culminated in dovish Federal Reserve minutes, which soothed concerns about an earlier than expected increase in U.S. interest rates. Considering all this good news, investors could justifiably feel surprised (even shocked) by Wall Street’s sharp falls this week." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2uqvc2  

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Pattern of abuse

April 11, 2014
posted by

Rad Geek People's Daily
by Rad Geek  

"OK, so, N.B.: this Connecticut youth is a 16 year old trans woman and, if confined to an adult prison, is at even higher than normal risk for suffering all kinds of extreme violence while imprisoned. She is in any case being locked up in an adult prison without any formal charges ever having been filed against her. She is being sent to prison with no charges and no due process because DCF has a statute allowing it to put children in its 'care' in prison on their own authority, without any charges at all, for the sake of 'treatment' (!). This is considered an 'appropriate authorized measure.'" (04/10/14)

http://radgeek.com/gt/2014/04/10/pattern-of-abuse/  

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Test season reveals America’s biggest failures

April 11, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"It’s testing season in America, and regardless of how the students do, it’s clear who is already flunking the exams. Last week in New York, new standardized tests began rolling out across the state, and tens of thousands of families said 'no dice.' According to local news sources, over 33,000 students skipped the tests -- a figure 'that will probably rise.' At one Brooklyn school, so many parents opted their students out of the tests the teachers were told they were no longer needed to proctor the exams." (04/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2ru8ek  

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A mother vs. an abusive nanny

April 11, 2014
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Valdenor Junior  

"What would you do if your daughter had an incurable disease? A daughter destined to spend the rest of her life having frequent seizures, uncontrollable by any medicine available in your country? Or, worse: whose only medicine could be acquired abroad, but your country forbids it and labels you a criminal if you do that? What would you do if, to control your daughter’s seizures and give her a modicum of comfort, you had to go against the state and import medical marijuana illegally? That is a true story." (04/10/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/26282  

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