PND Commentary

Tennessee, where giving birth can be criminal

December 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Rosa Goldensohn & Rachael Levy  

"Many states have laws about parental drug use, and government agencies are responsible for protecting children from parents who are neglectful or abusive. But Tennessee’s law, passed in April, is different: it handcuffs new mothers upon delivery. At least nine women in Tennessee have been arrested since the law went into effect. They are the examples, the cautionary tales: six in the city, three in the country, five black, four white, all poor. The new law amends a Tennessee criminal-code section so that women may be charged with assault for illegal behavior while pregnant." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o3ysgvv  

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The Little Book of Revolution

December 16, 2014
posted by

Ink 19
by James Mann  

Interview with David Akadjian, author of The Little Book Of Revolution -- A Distributive Strategy for Democracy: "In this invaluable resource, Akadjian explains how people communicate -- and why. If you have ever pondered why people support and vote for ideas and candidates that seemingly are against their own interest, it's because the information presented to them is 'framed' in an specific manner -- exactly like an ad, because that's what it is -- that is compatible with the listeners world view, a view that has been carefully shaped and allowed to flourish by corporations in order to sell whatever they want to sell. Once you read this book, you'll never look at social media or television the same way again." (12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pfddeuo  

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US TV provides ample platform for American torturers, but none to their victims

December 16, 2014
posted by

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald  

"Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage." (12/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4rxdww  

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Why the sentencing of political prisoner Barrett Brown matters to freedom in America

December 16, 2014
posted by

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger  

"Barrett is a Jedi of the Republic, a relentless investigative weapon of status quo destruction who presents a serious threat to the corrupt and criminal American crony 'elite.' That's why the system wants him locked up in a cage, and it's precisely why we need him back on the streets." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pb22ocq  

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They said “no” to torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Jon Wiener  

"Hidden in the Senate torture report are stories of some heroes: people inside the CIA who from the beginning said torture was wrong, who tried to stop it, who refused to participate. There were also some outside the CIA, in the military and the FBI, who risked careers and reputations by resisting -- and who sometimes paid a heavy price. They should be thanked and honored. But President Obama hasn’t mentioned them. Instead, he praised the CIA officials who presided over the torture regime as 'patriots.'" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ps248hz  

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America’s ten greediest, 2014 edition

December 16, 2014
posted by

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"How has the United States become so unequal? We need to look for answers, first and foremost, in our society’s underlying economic and political realities, at the policies and practices that let wealth concentrate (at the top) so intensely. But we also ought to look at people, the real-life flesh-and-blood characters who make decisions that privilege the few over the many. These greedy souls love the shadows. Let’s shine some light -- on this year’s greediest of them all. May the greed we spotlight here help inspire the rest of us to do as much as we can, in 2015, to make our world a much more equal place." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pwxwkoy  

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The media’s three false assumptions about American torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Gordon  

"So now we can finally consider the partial release of the long-awaited report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the gruesome CIA interrogation methods used during the Bush administration’s 'Global War on Terror.' But here’s one important thing to keep in mind: this report addresses only the past practices of a single agency. Its narrow focus encourages us to believe that, whatever the CIA may have once done, that whole sorry torture chapter is now behind us. In other words, the moment we get to read it, it’s already time to turn the page." (12/15/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17453/american_torture  

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Torture, “Meet The Press” and Cheney’s quest for revenge

December 16, 2014
posted by

Dan Froomkin The Intercept
by Dan Froomkin  

"Dick Cheney gave no ground in his 'Meet the Press' interview on Sunday, but he did something arguably even better: He bared his twisted soul. Parrying questions from Chuck Todd with what he must have figured were winning talking points about the 9/11 terror attacks, Cheney unwittingly demonstrated how profoundly he has renounced fundamental American concepts of morality and justice." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l7vwp7b  

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The invasion of Panama

December 16, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Matt Peppe  

"Twenty five years ago, before dawn on December 20, 1989, U.S. forces descended on Panama City and unleashed one of the most violent, destructive terror attacks of the century. U.S. soldiers killed more people than were killed on 9/11. They systematically burned apartment buildings and shot people indiscriminately in the streets. Dead bodies were piled on top of each other; many were burned before identification. The aggression was condemned internationally, but the message was clear: the United States military was free to do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and they would not be bound by ethics or laws." (12/15/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/15/the-invasion-of-panama/  

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Progressives lost budget fight; why are they so happy?

December 15, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Over the weekend, the 'Cromnibus' budget was passed by a coalition that included the GOP leadership and the Obama White House. Neither conservative Republicans nor liberal Democrats were happy with what was in it. So why is it that the conservatives are feeling bitter and betrayed, while the liberals seem positively elated, despite the fact that they both lost? We don't need to work too hard to understand the conservatives' reaction. ... But what explains the liberal reaction?" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozbo898  

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CIA torture report

December 15, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Schot  

Cartoon. (12/15/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/12/cia-torture-report-7/  

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Saudi Arabia playing chicken with its oil

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi  

"In August 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid a secret visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to meet with King Faisal. Sadat was preparing for war with Israel, and he needed Saudi Arabia to use its most powerful weapon: oil. Until then, King Faisal had been reluctant for the Arab members of OPEC to use the 'oil weapon.' But as the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war unfolded, the Arab oil producers raised prices, cut production and imposed an embargo on oil exports to punish the United States for its support of Israel. Without Saudi Arabia, the oil embargo would not have gotten very far. Today, Saudi Arabia is once again using its 'oil weapon,' but instead of driving up prices and cutting supply, it’s doing the reverse." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o94zvlr  

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Just you & Rover, roaming in the clouds

December 15, 2014
posted by

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll  

"It was a sweet story in the New York Times. According to the Times, a young boy told Pope Francis that he was sad because his dog had recently died. The pope allegedly responded: 'Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.' Alas, it was not a true story. Never happened. However, in a general audience at the Vatican, he did say: 'The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.' This was indeed interpreted as meaning that all creatures go to paradise. Yow! A heaven for animals!" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7mrb56  

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The Constitution’s Pearl Harbor

December 15, 2014
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"It was a sneak attack. As the stream of borrowed money that funds the Regime was threatened with a (temporary yet embarrassing) cutoff, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Oceania), inserted what Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) calls a 'novel' provision into H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 -- one 'that for the first time statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens without legal process.' The resolution was headed for a perfunctory vote by acclamation but the ever-vigilant libertarian Amash insisted on a roll call vote, putting the culprits on the record -- and mobilizing 45 Republicans and 55 Democrats to vote an emphatic 'Nay!' H.R. 4681 is now the law of the land -- and the implications are ominous." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2248xv  

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Shutdown theater (off-off Broadway follies)

December 15, 2014
posted by

Thomas L. Knapp Center for a Stateless Society
by Thomas L. Knapp  

"It’s surprising what passes for high political drama these days. After a DC dust-up similar to, but neither as exciting as watching paint dry nor as convincing as professional wrestling, the US House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion 'Cromnibus' bill to fund the federal government through September 2015, passing it on to the US Senate, which most expect it (as I write this) to pass as well. Why does the whole thing fail as theater? Two reasons: First, it lacks the true conflict essential to a good yarn. ... Secondly, the stakes are too low." (12/12/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/34098  

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Cops scan social media to help assess your “threat rating”

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Brent Skorup  

"A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces (where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles) already raise concerns. Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods -- with potentially serious inequitable effects." (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ksh7wp5  

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Can Warren & Pelosi lead Dems to high ground?

December 15, 2014
posted by

William Greider The Nation
by William Greider  

"The sordid business of closing out the do-nothing [sic] 113 Congress ... has stained President Obama indelibly. We will never forget what he did and failed to do. He deserves our contempt. The president marginalized himself with his unreliable weakness. The recent events in Washington are nonetheless clarifying. They tell us that the worst is yet to come." [editor's note: Warren? Maybe; too soon to tell. Pelosi? Hardly; she's so far up the corporati a** there's no return - SAT] (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kw78j5b  

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Recipe for a successful protest movement

December 15, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Mark Engler & Paul Engler  

"Why are some protests ignored and forgotten while others explode, dominating the news cycle for weeks and becoming touchstones in political life? For all of those seeking to promote change, this is a critical question. And it was a particularly pressing concern after the financial meltdown of 2008. In the years following the crash, America entered into its worst economic crisis in three quarters of a century. ... It took an outburst of popular action to change this. And that outburst came in an unexpected form." (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lgsyrx9  

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Stop the Citibank budget; no more rigged backroom deals

December 15, 2014
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The 'Citibank budget' has not passed the Senate. There is time to fight this giveaway to Wall Street. Call your senators today and tell them take the Citibank bailout part out or block the budget. Tell them to let Wall Street know that their days of controlling our government are over. Tell them, 'Don’t let Citibank win.' ... And while they’re at it, take out the parts that gut the IRS’ ability to collect from the billionaires, gut working peoples’ pensions and rig campaign finance in favor of the wealthiest." [editor's note: Though his appeal is now obsolete, his analysis is worth a read - SAT] (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kmknq7g  

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Continuing congressional meddling: The obstruction of DC’s pot legalization

December 15, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Amanda Teuscher  

"It’s not like Representative Andy Harris didn’t warn us. When District of Columbia voters last month overwhelmingly passed Initiative 71, the ballot measure to legalize marijuana in the District, the Maryland Republican threatened to use 'all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action.' And when it comes to preventing D.C. from exercising home rule, the arsenal of available resources is quite well stocked. Harris (whose marijuana vendetta’s origin story must be a Maureen Dowd–style special-brownie overindulgence that left him shattered) has for the past year made it his personal mission to prevent people who didn’t [and couldn't] vote for him from getting what they voted for." (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ldsuybu  

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Time to say “thank you, Big Oil”

December 15, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle
by Andrew S. Ross  

"Likening Big Oil to Santa Claus would be a stretch, but not entirely out of line this Christmas. The plunge in oil prices, which has sent global markets into a tailspin, has put some unexpected extra cash in consumers’ pockets at just the right time. Not only for those who might be feeling a bit more flush, but for retailers who have had a mixed year, praying that some of it goes their way. As the price of crude oil on the world market drops (to under $60 per barrel Friday, the lowest it has been in 5½ years) so does the price at the gas pump." (12/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otlpbxo  

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Why innocent people plead guilty

December 15, 2014
posted by

Salon
by Dusty Christensen  

"Jury trials in the U.S. have become incredibly rare. Practically all cases that are not dismissed are settled in plea bargains. In some cases, even innocent people like Kagonyera and Wilcoxson plead guilty to avoid harsh sentences. Conservative estimates place the number of defendants who plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit in the tens of thousands. Of the 1476 exonerations tracked by the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations since 1989, 13 percent of innocent defendants provided false confessions." (12/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pwe2mmh  

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The Koch brothers’ governors

December 14, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson  

"The Koch Brothers are the closest thing the United States has to Russia's oligarchs. They fuse ownership of the economy and state, using the latter to enrich themselves while making private gains through the public's losses. Their idea of a 'market economy' is to buy government officials and the assets they privatize at giveaway prices. The top three butlers at the Koch's nouveau riche 'Downton Abbey' are Governors Sam Brownback of Kansas, Wisconsin's Scott Walker, and Chris Christie of New Jersey." (12/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k5o9tgv  

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Wars, torture, and “others”

December 12, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"The country has a police force and a criminal justice system that react aggressively to minor or consensual criminal behavior, and even expressions of rights such as the one to protest. Our prisons and jails are full past bursting with 2.2 million people. Why? Well, because of the criminalization of everything. But mainly the war on drugs was the engine behind that domestic policy disaster. And though there have always been moralizing, true believers determined to fight the latest narcotic scourge, this fight -- like any other conflict -- was born with a nasty, cynical heart." (12/11/14)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2014/12/10/wars-torture-and-others/  

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Is racial justice possible in America?

December 12, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by David Dante Troutt  

"As the countless protests, tear gas, National Guard deployments and looting proved, police brutality provokes more anger than other outrages because it’s the supreme violation of our individual rights in a democracy. It is the state actor, as another person, violently snatching our breath away 'under color of law.' That the state’s victims throughout our history have been overwhelmingly African-American stamps it as an indelible 'badge of slavery,' which means that nothing makes you feel more black in America than experiencing police mistreatment. Very few modern oppressions convey the permanence of racism (individual and institutional) like the ritual of unpunished police abuse." (12/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pwdkkxo  

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