PND Commentary

The naturalness of prosperity

June 16, 2016
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Billy Christmas  

"Free people are prosperous people. When not forced to do otherwise, they work out the best ways for achieving their ends. These ends are often shared or overlapping, so cooperating with others is often a natural way of successfully resisting and overcoming the engulfing harshness of the natural world. When people bring things into the world that they or their fellows value, we have prosperity. Prosperity is the natural thing for a human society to achieve. Throughout history, there have been groups of people that want the benefits of prosperity without the costs. Instead of co-operating, they intimidate. Instead of producing, they expropriate. Instead of trading, they steal. Sometimes these groups of call themselves states, or otherwise operate in concert with states." (06/16/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45363  

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The terror within, not without

June 16, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Apps  

"President Barack Obama is calling the slaughter at a gay nightclub in Orlando an 'act of terror and hate.' According to a militant-affiliated news agency, Islamic State claims the attack was carried out by 'one of its fighters.' Much remains unclear about the attack (the deadliest on American soil since 9/11). But the threat now, it seems, is very different to that faced 15 years ago, and getting caught up in the labels misses the point. In the short term, a huge chunk of the media and law enforcement attention will be on the motivation and background of the apparent perpetrator, 29-year-old Omar Mateen. An FBI spokesperson said it appeared Mateen had 'leanings' toward radical Islam, although it is unclear what that might actually mean." (06/14/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-attacks-orlando-commentary-idUSKCN0YZ04H  

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Sweatshop prisons: The Civil War didn’t end slavery after all

June 16, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Lauren Karaffa  

"Slavery has been abolished in the United States since 1865, when the 13th Amendment was passed in the ashes of the Civil War. Well, almost abolished. Actually, the amendment included a caveat: 'except as punishment for a crime.' Since then, prison and forced labor have always gone together. In fact, with over 2 million people behind bars in this country, the American prison system is a massive -- albeit largely invisible -- part of our economy and social fabric." (06/16/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/16/sweatshop-prisons-the-civil-war-didnt-end-slavery-after-all/  

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Don’t assume Trump’s bias is mere bluster

June 16, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Sasha Abramsky  

"On December 7, in a seemingly throwaway line, Donald Trump said that if he were president he would move to bar all Muslims from entering the country until we 'can figure out what the hell is going on.' No more Muslim immigrants. No more Muslim visitors. In other comments, he has toyed with the idea of making all Muslims already in the country register with federal authorities. These are policies so extreme that most commentators have dismissed them as simple Trumpian bluster, unconstitutional from the outset, designed to appeal to a bigoted base but unlikely ever to be legally enforced." (06/14/16)

http://prospect.org/article/don%E2%80%99t-assume-trump%E2%80%99s-bias-mere-bluster  

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The legal residue of American empire

June 16, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Garrett Epps  

"In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson concluded the Constitution didn't allow acquisition of new territory. But Louisiana was on the market; he wanted it; he grabbed it. This is the logic of empire. Opportunity. Seizure. Legality much later, if at all. The Supreme Court has to deal with the untidy legal heritage of empire-building. In the last week, the Court dealt with three such cases, which concluded the following: American Indian defendants, convicted of domestic abuse in tribal court, may later be punished in federal court as 'habitual offenders' even though they did not have lawyers in their earlier trials. Defendants convicted in federal court may not be prosecuted in Puerto Rican courts for the same offense, because Puerto Rico isn't a separate jurisdiction, but just a part of the federal government. And the Court will not review a lower-court decision that residents of American Samoa (which has been ruled by the U.S. for 116 years) are not made birthright U.S. citizens by the Fourteenth Amendment's citizenship clause." (06/16/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/american-empire/487232/  

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Did the mainstream media take down Bernie Sanders?

June 16, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Neal Gabler  

"Earlier this week, even before Hillary Clinton’s primary victory in California assured her the Democratic presidential nomination, the Associated Press had already declared her the presumptive nominee. Bernie Sanders and his supporters were sore, and they had a right to be. Although the AP defended its decision, saying that Clinton’s crossing the delegate threshold was news and they had an obligation to report it when they did (the day before the clinching primaries) the timing and the circumstances were suspicious. It appears that AP had been hounding superdelegates to reveal their preferences, and blasting that headline just before those primaries threatened either to depress Sanders'[s] vote or Hillary's or both because the contest was now for all intents and purposes over." (06/14/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19205/bernie-sanders-mainstream-media  

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Rights cannot exist in an environment of unequal power

June 16, 2016
posted by

A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg  

"The people who most need to be armed are those who are most marginalized. While members of the LGBT community are finally gaining much deserved acceptance within our society, they are still targets of a great deal of violence from both the State and non-governmental entities. This is the very reason why the Pink Pistols exists. By advocating for gun control, George Takei is advocating for the continued oppression of the LGBT community. Rights cannot exist in an environment of unequal power. Whether it be the State or non-governmental entities, if an oppressor enjoys a superior capacity for force it will use that capacity to inflict its will on its targets." (06/15/16)

https://blog.christopherburg.com/2016/06/15/rights-cannot-exist-in-an-environment-of-unequal-power/  

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How Islamic State overtook al Qaeda

June 16, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi  

"On June 12, a gunman stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. During the massacre and ensuing three-hour standoff with police, the shooter, Omar Mateen, called 911 and declared his allegiance to Islamic State. The group claimed responsibility the next day, proclaiming Mateen 'one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America.' But U.S. officials cautioned that even if Mateen was inspired by Islamic State to undertake the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, there was still no evidence he had a direct link to the group -- that he had been trained or instructed by its terror planners. Rather, Mateen might have heeded the call of Islamic State leaders to carry out 'lone wolf' attacks in the West, especially during the holy month of Ramadan." (06/14/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-islamic-state-commentary-idUSKCN0YZ2DF  

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Are political parties consistent with democracy?

June 16, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews    

"Washington's warning against factions (political parties) had about as dramatic an effect on future developments in this nation as Eisenhower's prescient warnings to the nation about the growth of the military industrial complex; both warnings went entirely unheeded. Washington's immediate successor, John Adams, became the nations first Federalist president the very next year and every president since then has been affiliated with one or another political party. With very rare exceptions there have been exactly two parties of any significance competing against one-another and giving voters a very limited selection to make." (06/15/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-Political-Parties-Cons-by-Paul-Cohen-Democracy_Election_Farewell_Political-Mudslinging-160615-988.html  

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The split: 19 reasons the Democrats will remain divided

June 16, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by staff  

"Throughout most of the 2016 presidential primaries, the media focused on the noisy and reactionary rift among Republicans. Until the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders turned acrimonious in the home stretch, far less attention was paid to the equally momentous divisions within the Democratic Party. The Clinton-Sanders race wasn’t just about two candidates; instead, it underscored a series of deep and growing fissures among Democrats, along a wide range of complex fault lines—from age and race to gender and ideology. And these disagreements won’t fade with a gracious bow-out from Sanders, or a victory in November over Donald Trump. For all the talk of the Democrats’ need for 'unity,' it would be a serious mistake to paper over the differences that came to the fore in this year’s primaries. More than ten million Democrats turned out in force this year to reject the party establishment’s cautious centrism and cozy relationship with Wall Street. Unless Democrats heed that message, they will miss a historic opportunity to forge a broad-based and lasting liberal majority." (06/14/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/133776/split  

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Civil liberties keep Americans safe

June 15, 2016
posted by

Conor Friedersdorf The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf  

"After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government changed its domestic policies .... Air travelers endured years taking off their shoes and throwing away their water bottles at the behest of an incompetent TSA bureaucracy that still misses most guns. The NYPD sent undercover officers to profile Muslim American students, even going on a river rafting trip to spy on them, only to generate zero leads. The NSA built a domestic system of mass surveillance that affects all U.S. residents. There is no evidence that any of it made Americans safer. The nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, has prompted renewed calls from prominent figures for new infringements on the civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens and residents. Their suggestions would do little if anything to keep anyone safer, and would assist jihadists in further chipping away at freedoms and protections against government abuses. For these reasons and more, their alarmist responses to Sunday's attack should be rebuked by cooler heads." (06/15/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/terror-civil-liberties/487115/  

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Clinton, Warren, and the vice presidency

June 15, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"Quiz: Who is the one member of the president’s cabinet who can’t be fired? A. Attorney General; B. Secretary of State; C. Director of Central Intelligence; D. Vice President ... The answer, of course, is D. Elizabeth Warren is an attractive candidate for Hillary Clinton’s running mate on several grounds, but the potential deal breaker is item D. What president would want a vice president with her own fixed constitutional office, her own national power base, and the willingness to use it to possibly defy her president? But overriding even that concern is the fact that Clinton may conclude she needs Warren to assure her own election. Only on that basis is she likely to turn to Warren. All other considerations pale in comparison with that one. Warren will get the nod if and only if Clinton decides that Warren will make a major difference in November. Would Warren take the job? Yes." (06/14/16)

http://prospect.org/article/clinton-warren-and-vice-presidency  

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Orlando and religious fundamentalism

June 15, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Eric Tweel  

"[O]fficial spokespeople of both Christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism publicly expressed their approval that LGBT people of primarily Latino and African American descent had been slaughtered and maimed. Never before has the ideological link between the Christian Right and Islamic fascism been so clear. The singular face of religious fundamentalism was predictably laid bare in the wake of this abominable tragedy. It is twisted, violent, and cruel. What has not been emphasized enough, even on the left, is that Christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism are manifestations of the same essential impulse. This is the impulse to impose an archaic and oppressive worldview on others through violence and terror." (06/15/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/15/orlando-and-religious-fundamentalism/  

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Republican Party becoming real danger to human survival

June 15, 2016
posted by

Noam Chomsky In These Times
by Noam Chomsky  

[Note: This piece first appeared in TomDispatch. It is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).] 'In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced its famous Doomsday Clock to three minutes before midnight, a threat level that had not been reached for 30 years. The Bulletin’s statement explaining this advance toward catastrophe invoked the two major threats to survival: nuclear weapons and 'unchecked climate change.' The call condemned world leaders, who 'have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,' endangering 'every person on Earth [by] failing to perform their most important duty: ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.' Since then, there has been good reason to consider moving the hands even closer to doomsday." (06/13/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19201/noam-chomsky-who-rules-world-nuclear-weapons-climate-change  

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Who to scapegoat? Guns or Muslims?

June 15, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"A terrorist shot and killed 49 innocent Americans in Orlando Sunday morning. After the carnage, the political food fight started. On the right, people fault Islamic extremism. When President Obama refuses to use the term 'radical Islamic terrorism' that gives conservatives a chance to pounce. ... Donald Trump drew water from that well in a statement Sunday. ... Democrats go after gun owners the way Trump targets Muslims. Clinton pronounced Monday as 'not a day for politics.' Then she called for a ban on 'assault weapons.' The Orlando shooter did use an AR-15 rifle, but ... a ban on one weapon only steers gun aficionados to weapons with similar firepower. Calls for such bans do not hinder criminals and do radicalize resourceful gun enthusiasts. Congratulations go to Clinton. She just sold thousands of AR-15s." (06/14/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/06/14/who-to-scapegoat-guns-or-muslims-n2177807  

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Mass shootings erode US soft power

June 15, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Richard Beales  

"The mass shooting in Orlando, Florida early on Sunday is eliciting sympathy the world over for the dozens of victims and their families. It’s too early to know the attacker’s precise motives. But as in similar tragedies, the death toll -- the highest in a U.S. mass shooting -- mounted as a result of the type of weapon involved. Washington’s failure to control access to increasingly lethal armaments is a blind spot that hurts America’s reputation. The event is already attracting rationalizations colored by politics." (06/13/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/06/13/mass-shootings-erode-u-s-soft-power  

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Trump running the country like a business? Heaven forbid

June 15, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Donald Trump touts his business 'success' as a major qualification for running the country. So how does Trump run his businesses and what does this mean for the country? And what about this idea that government should be run like a business, anyway? The Republican presidential presumptive nominee’s mouth makes it difficult to rationally discuss the important issues of the 2016 campaign. Nonetheless, voters will need to know what the country and economy will be like after the election. The candidate’s core philosophy of government is a core issue. So how would Trump run the government? Any search for policy or issue specifics or detailed proposals, whether on Trump’s website or in his speeches, comes up short on specifics or proposals of any kind." [editor's note: Like his own businesses? I fully agree with Mr. Johnson here; as a business that actually succeeds? Not so sure - SAT] (06/14/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160614/trump-promises-to-run-the-country-like-a-business  

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We can’t give up on nuclear plants

June 15, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Ronald Kirk & Christine Todd Whitman  

"Illinois is the latest example of a state losing nuclear energy facilities (a major component of our clean energy mix) when we most need zero-carbon electricity to cut pollution and meet our climate change goals. The premature closure of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants means that Illinois, like California before it, is about to face increased carbon emissions and harmful air pollution. Illinois' Clean Power Plan obligation for reducing carbon emissions by 2030, already 30 million metric tons of carbon, will now increase by an additional 20 million metric tons. These reasons should be enough for us to continue a long-term investment in nuclear energy." [editor's notes: 1) Consider the source of this; 2) as long as the Price Anderson Act is intact, severely limiting the full liability for a nuke accident, that form of energy will always be a subsidized scam cartel - SAT] (06/14/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/06/14/nuclear-reactor-closures-illinois-greenhouse-gases-clean-air-act-column/85595364  

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The war on workers’ comp

June 14, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Stephen Franklin  

"For nearly a century, millions of workers have endured punishing jobs in construction, mining and factory work—jobs with high levels of work-related disability and injury. As a tradeoff for the dangers, they’ve had the assurance of workers’ compensation if injured permanently on the job. Employers accepted this deal, albeit sometimes grudgingly, because it removed the possibility of being sued over work-related injuries. But as labor has weakened and Republicans have won control of more and more statehouses, states have slowly chipped away at workers’ compensation benefits. Since just 2003, more than 30 states have passed laws that have 'reduced benefits for injured workers, created hurdles for medical care or made it more difficult for workers to qualify,' according to a recent investigative series by ProPublica and NPR. Some of the harshest cuts came in California, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana and Tennessee." (06/14/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19206/the_war_on_workers_comp  

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Is there a better way to build a stadium?

June 14, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Alana Semuels  

"It has become widely accepted that publicly-financed sports stadiums are a bad deal for cities.Yet in Milwaukee, located in a state that recently cut $250 million from its higher-education system, the state has agreed to to pitch in $250 million for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. The new building, to be built just a few feet from the current arena -- the BMO Bradley Center -- will break ground in late June. There are plenty of examples to suggest that this might be a bad idea." (06/14/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/a-better-kind-of-stadium-deal/486596/  

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Privilege, passion, and politics

June 14, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Arthur Goldhammer  

"Because my parents-in-law had the foresight to acquire an abandoned farm for a few thousand dollars more than 60 years ago, I enjoy the privilege of being able to sojourn in a Thomas Hardy landscape merely by driving south 90 miles and taking a ferry. But it’s no longer possible, if it ever was, to 'get away from it all.' Successive waves of technology (newspapers, radio, television, internet) ensure that we are all too connected, always and everywhere. And so it was that on Sunday morning, shortly after awakening to the chirping of birds at the feeder and the familiar sight of the Block Island Sound beyond the declivity defined as in an Impressionist painting by subtle variations on the theme of green, I learned from my tablet that the worst shooting massacre in the history of the United States had taken place in the wee hours of the morning at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida." [editor's note: Correction, the "worst shooting massacre in the history of the United States" was Wounded Knee (followed by Waco) - SAT] (06/14/16)

http://prospect.org/article/privilege-passion-and-politics  

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Teacher complaint about “entitled” students reveals own entitlement

June 14, 2016
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"Despite all her complaints of entitlement, it's Hudgens herself who displays it. She feels entitled to students who cheerfully eat whatever is put on their plates with gusto, even though they had zero say in it, and she expects parents and society at large to send her students who are properly enthusiastic, despite the fact that they have been conscripted into attendance and the entire curriculum is designed by people who consider the students to be a raw material to be processed, graded, and sorted for corporate Human Resources departments. Apparently it's some kind of moral defect not to be enthusiastically positive about subject matter that was imposed on you based on someone else's priorities." (06/14/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45307  

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Orlando: Asymmetric warfare in the age of ISIS

June 14, 2016
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Barry Lando  

"The horrific terrorist attacks in Orlando -- and before that in San Bernardino, Brussels, and Paris -- exploded out of nowhere with the same terrifying destructive force as a missile strike from an almost invisible U.S. drone. There is no way, of course, that ISIS could come any where near matching America's martial sophistication nor its mammoth $600 billion annual military budget. Instead, following in Osama bin Laden's steps, ISIS has developed its own very low-budget but devastating weapon: Asymmetric warfare of the Internet age." (06/14/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/14/orlando-asymmetric-warfare-in-the-age-of-isis/  

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Race, gender and the US presidential campaign

June 14, 2016
posted by

OpEdNews
by Patrick Martin  

"Up to this point, the most significant element of the election campaign has been the manifestation of deep popular opposition to social inequality and growing anti-capitalist sentiment. This took the form of support for Bernie Sanders, who describes himself a 'democratic socialist' and based his campaign on denunciations of the 'billionaire class' and calls for a 'political revolution.' The major driving force of this political radicalization is the impact of the 2008 economic crash, which has been followed by a restructuring of class relations with devastating consequences for the lives of millions of people. The ruling class, and, in particular, the Democratic Party establishment, is far less concerned about the rise of Donald Trump than it is about the broad support for Sanders, which created a political crisis for Clinton and seriously jeopardized her planned coronation." (06/13/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Race-gender-and-the-US-pr-by-Patrick-Martin-Campaign-Rhetoric_Gender-Bias_Krugman_Politics-160613-598.html  

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In wake of Orlando, gays should arm themselves

June 14, 2016
posted by

New York Daily News
by Tom G. Palmer  

"There has been jubilation on the internet at the massacre of peaceful people who were killed because they were gay and they were Americans. That made them a 'twofer' for the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS. It's time to fight back. No more gun-free designated massacre zones. If there had been armed people with concealed carry permits inside the Pulse nightclub, the zealot who had pledged allegiance to ISIS could have been stopped. Dozens of lives could have been saved. I say that as a gay man who has himself carried a weapon for protection. Let's get one thing very clear. Gun control advocates disarmed the victims at that night club." (06/13/16)

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/tom-g-palmer-wake-orlando-gays-arm-article-1.2671568  

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