PND Commentary

Obama picking his targets … while missing the point

September 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Andrew J. Bacevich  

“'We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq,' New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote. There, in the Land of the Two Rivers, he continued, the United States confronts the 'core problem' of our era: 'the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam.' Brooks is wrong. For starters, he misconstrues the core problem -- which is a global conflict pitting tradition against modernity. Traditionalists, especially numerous in but not confined to the Islamic world, cling to the conviction that human existence should be God-centered human order. Proponents of modernity, taking their cues from secularized Western elites, strongly prefer an order that favors individual autonomy and marginalizes God." [editor's note: And the real fallacy in this may lie in thinking "God" cares one way or the other how humans prioritize things - SAT] (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lpp3axm  

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Obama’s speech: A new moral low

September 11, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Jan Oberg  

"The President has said repeatedly that a lasting solution is political, not military. The speech, however, is exclusively military – not a word of political, psychological or other insights: No, we kill people because we think it is wrong to kill people … The speech can be seen as a proof of how utterly misguided the U.S. response to 9/11 was – had it been more intelligence and less revenge-oriented, there would neither have been a devastating Iraq war nor an ISIS." (09/11/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/11/obamas-speech-a-new-moral-low/  

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US officials were partners in Pinochet’s kidnappings, rapes, torture and murders

September 11, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"After the Chilean coup, U.S. officials played the innocent, claiming that the U.S. government had played no role in the coup — that it was entirely carried out by the Chilean national-security establishment. But as the circumstantial evidence has slowly leaked out over the decades, it has become increasingly clear that the U.S. government wasn’t innocent at all." (09/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mmnmz7o  

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Obama follows Bush’s Iraq playbook

September 11, 2014
posted by

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman  

"It may be taken for granted that a president can go to war when an American is killed overseas, but that kind of power is too dangerous to accept meekly. Americans, especially war correspondents, should be on notice that they travel at their own risk. This may sound callous, but the alternative is a global empire that we cannot afford either in blood or treasure. What about protecting Americans at home? Here the irony of Obama’s position is striking. U.S. intervention in the Middle East is what endangers Americans at home." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lecsqx5  

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Another way to defeat IS

September 11, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor
by staff  

"The world’s eyes are on President Obama this week as he rallies a coalition of nations to 'destroy' the extremist Islamic State (IS) and its terrorist-led territory. Yet if the Arab world is ever to throw off its many forms of tyranny -- from theocracy to autocracy to monarchy -- it also needs a model to emulate. As an old Arab proverb states: 'To lead by example is better than a commandment.' Which is why it may be helpful in watching the war on IS to also be hopeful about recent progress in Tunisia." [editor's note: Perhaps a bit of sanity among the rattling sabers? - SAT] (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odbf2er  

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If US joins Islamic State fight, how will it get out?

September 11, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Bill Schneider  

"When President Barack Obama makes the case for military action against Islamic State militants on Wednesday night, it won’t be hard to convince Americans to get involved in the conflict. The hard part will be explaining how we get out. The president is speaking to the American people, not to Congress. He may not even ask Congress to authorize the use of force. Just to fund it, which they will do because they don’t want to undercut the U.S. military." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbu6pgu  

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The power of images, real and assumed

September 11, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"In the last couple of weeks we've seen two interesting examples of the power of images to change public discussion in a way facts alone often can't. I'm talking, of course, about the video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee unconscious in an elevator, and the images of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff just before they were beheaded by ISIS. You can say that images have a unique power, which is true in some ways but often overstated in others. What's indisputable though, and evident in both these cases, is that the dissemination of a powerful image makes powerful people change the decisions they make. And that can be what changes everything." (09/10/14)

http://prospect.org/article/power-images-real-and-assumed  

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The start of something big?

September 10, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Digby  

"The political world is abuzz with the news that the upstart Zephyr Teachout campaign made a much more serious run at Andrew Cuomo last night than anyone anticipated. For a campaign with no money in the most expensive market in the nation, it’s quite an achievement. Matt Stoller has a good piece up this morning with five reasons why Cuomo won anyway and it tells you a lot about American politics. ... But he also made some important points about why this campaign has stimulated such interest among liberals. This one strikes me as particularly salient: This was a real debate of ideas." [editor's note: No wonder she lost; "a real debate of ideas" has stopped Libertarians in their tracks for decades now - SAT] (09/10/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140910/the-start-of-something-big  

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Whither the American dream?

September 10, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Mitria Wilson  

"In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, the federal government stepped in to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and prevent a broader housing-market collapse. It is clear that the mortgage giants made some mistakes in the foreclosure crisis, including underestimating their amount of risk from defaults. But neither they nor consumers were the primary cause of the 2008 financial crisis: The blame for that belongs to financial institutions that made predatory lending their primary business model." [editor's note: It's a little deeper than that, and the two FMs did contribute to the problem, but the writer is pretty close to the truth here - SAT] (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qenaxyx  

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Why more Americans should see the beheading videos

September 10, 2014
posted by

The Intercept
by Peter Maass  

"It’s no secret why the government has repressed these sorts of images. Support for the wars since 9/11 could be undermined if Americans were to see the ghastly things that happen to their brothers and sisters in combat. This is generally attributed to a lesson supposedly learned by the generals in Vietnam: If you let photographers take pictures of American dead and injured, you will lose public support for the messy undertaking of mass violence. It’s fine to disseminate pictures and video of foreign dead and wounded, which can actually help the war effort." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3j4d64  

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Five days to stand up for Internet freedom

September 10, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Nation Action  

"When people across the country visit many of their favorite sites today, they will be greeted by the 'spinning wheel of death' that every frustrated Internet user knows as the sign of a slow connection. It isn’t because their computers are broken; it’s because a coalition of organizations including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Reddit, Netflix and The Nation have banded together for today’s 'Internet Slowdown.' All over the web, sites are giving readers a taste of what it could feel like if big cable companies have their way and net neutrality is undermined." (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6pj8ly  

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Technological fetishism, path to conquest

September 10, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Norman Pollack  

"Continuity is everything, if bipartisan planning and execution for global hegemony is to have meaning -- and if America is to prove its mettle as world-beating champion of 'humanitarian' intervention, with the prizes of commercial-financial dominance that go with it. Obama opens a new chapter in the by-now predictable, to the point of tedious, effort single-handedly to define, shape, and control the world system to its own everlasting advantage. It will fail; the interesting question is: Will America bring the rest of the world down with it?" (09/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nafd9bp  

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Double-digit oil promises lubrication not seizure

September 10, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Ian Campbell  

"Double-digit oil is a welcome sign, not a harbinger of deflationary doom. The decline of the price of a barrel of Brent crude to just below $100, down 13 percent from its June peak, is good disinflation. It will help consumer spending and global economic recovery. High oil prices have been a harmful side effect of extraordinary monetary medicine. The U.S. Federal Reserve launched its second round of quantitative easing in November 2010. A matter of months later the oil price had risen by over 40 percent, and has averaged $110 a barrel since the beginning of 2011." (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbe9j4t  

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Obama on immigration: Deja vu on didn’t do?

September 10, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"President Obama has moved from being disingenuous on immigration to downright undecipherable. Earlier this year, the administration promised a groundbreaking executive action on immigration before summer's end. Over the weekend, aides announced that the big new change essentially won't happen until after the election. ... What Obama couldn't quite say is that, if he further undermines immigration law, the Democrats will lose the Senate. And he couldn't exactly blame Republicans for his decision to not act as promised. Ergo, gobbledygook." (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oq27eyw  

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Cheney points the finger

September 10, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Pat Bagley  

Cartoon. (09/09/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/09/cheney-points-the-finger/  

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Could Scottish independence set off cascade of secession?

September 10, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"Until recently, few people took seriously the possibility that Scotland might actually secede from the United Kingdom. However, with a referendum scheduled for September 18, the latest polls show secession in the lead for the first time, and gaining dramatic momentum. The British government is frantically scrambling to offer the Scots a much more autonomous form of federalism, to head off the drive for full independence. Meanwhile, the specter of a diminished Britain has led to speculative attack against the British pound. What's going on here?" (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mx3ehhy  

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The tamale underground

September 10, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Rebecca Burns  

"Each afternoon in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, 70-year-old Cuala resumes her quiet game of cat-and-mouse with police. After spending a few hours openly hawking cool drinks or hot chocolates from a cart, the street vendor (who declined to give her last name because of legal concerns) stocks an unmarked cooler with tamales, making furtive lunch sales to customers in the know. The stealth tactic reduces her profits, but lessens the chance that she will be arrested and ticketed: While the sale of drinks and packaged desserts is legal, street vendors like Cuala are prohibited from selling prepared foods in Chicago." (09/08/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17146/the_tamale_underground  

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If feminism is at fault for divorce rates, I’d like to say thanks

September 10, 2014
posted by

Thoughts on Liberty
by Gina Luttrell  

"At the end of the 60s, the divorce rate skyrocketed until it reached its zenith in the 1980s, after which it has been declining ever since. It is no coincidence, I think, that the rise of feminism preceded the divorce rate increase. Feminism, in all its family-destroying ways, gave us the no-fault divorce, which removed the burden from women to prove in court that their husbands had wronged them, allowing them to remove themselves from an unhappy or potentially dangerous situations without airing all the dirty family laundry in public." (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjlqrtn  

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Drug warriors claim Colorado going to pot

September 10, 2014
posted by

Mark Thornton Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Mark Thornton  

"The third report I came across was an editorial from the venerable Heritage Foundation. Given the previous reports, I was astonished to learn that in Colorado marijuana use was associated with an increase in highway fatalities, DUI arrests, underage consumption, drug-related student expulsions, college student use, and marijuana-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations. ... I began to get suspicious when I found out that the 'hard science and reliable data' were not collected, produced, or analyzed by the Heritage Foundation, but by some outfit named the 'Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area' program." (09/09/14)

http://mises.org/daily/6872/Drug-Warriors-Claim-Colorado-Going-to-Pot  

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Their technology outstripped their maturity

September 9, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Tom Tomorrow  

Cartoon. [editor's note: Now that there is funny! - SAT] (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qexw8qx  

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The IMF’s new cold war loan to Ukraine

September 9, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Michael Hudson  

"In April 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the February 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on August 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. ... This loan demonstrates the degree to which the IMF is an arm of U.S. Cold War politics." (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pxmo4eh  

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NY: The importance of Zephyr Teachout

September 9, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Robert Borosage  

"Zephyr Teachout is slated today to lose the New York Democratic primary for governor to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Many voters will be seeing her memorable name for the first time when they cast their vote. She has run a shoestring campaign against a powerful, lavishly funded governor who refused to debate her. But whatever the outcome, her campaign has already had dramatic significance for progressives across the country. Teachout is a law professor at Fordham and a national expert on the deeply corrosive influence of big money in our politics. Her new book, Corruption in America, provides a probing analysis of the history and concept of corruption in American politics and law." [editor's note: Is it just me, or does that name sound more like something out of Douglas Adams ... or maybe Vonnegut? - SAT] [additional editor's note: My first thought was Thomas Pynchon - TLK] (09/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pf7m29q  

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Ray McGovern on The Scott Horton Show

September 9, 2014
posted by

Ray McGovern The Scott Horton Show
by  

"Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer turned political activist, discusses the World Russia Forum 2014 -- 'Advancing a Constructive Agenda for U.S.-Russia Relations;' why it's time for Germany to declare independence from US influence; and how NATO expansion betrays the agreement reached between George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev at the Malta Summit." [Flash audio or MP3] (09/08/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/09/08/090814-ray-mcgovern/  

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Murky special ops have become corporate bonanza, says report

September 9, 2014
posted by

The Intercept
by Ryan Gallagher  

"USSOCOM encompasses four commands -- from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps -- and plays a key role in orchestrating clandestine U.S. military missions overseas. Researcher Crofton Black, who also works as an investigator for human rights group Reprieve, was able to dig through the troves of data and identify the beneficiaries of almost $13 billion worth of spending by USSOCOM over the five-year period. He found that more than 3,000 companies had provided services that included aiding remotely piloted drone operations in Afghanistan and the Philippines, helping to conduct surveillance of targets, interrogating prisoners, and launching apparent propaganda campaigns." (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/owqlm85  

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Americans now fear ISIS sleeper cells are living in the US, overwhelmingly support military action

September 9, 2014
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"If the goal of terrorist groups is to sow irrational terror, has anything since the 9/11 attack been more successful than those two journalist beheading videos? It’s almost certainly the case that as recently as six months ago, only a minute percentage of the American public (and probably the U.S. media) had even heard of ISIS. Now, two brutal beheadings later, they are convinced that they are lurking in their neighborhoods, that they are a Grave and Unprecedented Threat (worse than al Qaeda!), and that military action against them is needed. It’s as though ISIS and the U.S. media and political class worked in perfect unison to achieve the same goal here when it comes to American public opinion: fully terrorize them." (09/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o4bj8jl  

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