Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Obama “secret order” expands, extends US war in Afghanistan

Antiwar.com Antiwar.com

"A new report coming out of the New York Times tonight reveals that President Obama has signed a secret order dramatically expanding the scope of US military operations in Afghanistan in 2015. Despite claims that the war is 'ending' at the end of 2014, the new order will ensure that US ground troops will continue to carry out direct combat operations throughout 2015, and potentially beyond." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l8t2zok

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US House probe: No Benghazi cover-up

Chicago Tribune

"A two-year investigation by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House intelligence panel rejects allegations that the Obama administration intentionally misled the public about the deadly attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Repudiating what it called 'the swirl of rumors and unsupported allegations' over the Benghazi assault, lawmakers on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said in a report released Friday that there was never a 'stand-down' order blocking rescue efforts and that White House officials weren't to blame for an inaccurate initial account of the events on Sept. 11, 2012." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/owt9nf2

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Obama declares “lawful action” to protect 5 million immigrants

USA Today

"President Obama took a historic, legacy-defining step Thursday night when he announced a plan to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, infuriating Republicans but satisfying immigrants who have fought for years for such relief. The president's plan will allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, known as green card holders, to legally live and work in the country for a period of three years. He expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children who are eligible for protected status." [editor's note: "Historic?" "Legacy-defining?" Not even close. It was incredibly weak tea and clearly aimed at baiting congressional Republicans into passing legislation - TLK] (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/njkczr3

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Swedish court upholds warrant on Assange

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A Swedish appeal court has upheld an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, wanted for questioning over sexual assault claims. The Court of Appeal refused Mr Assange's attempt to have a detention order issued in 2010 revoked. Mr Assange, who denies the allegations, has sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition. If he goes to Sweden, he fears he could be extradited to the US to face charges of leaking government documents." (11/20/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30129453

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OH: Evil pols vote to hide names of cowardly state killing accomplices

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"The names of companies providing lethal injection drugs to the state would be shielded for at least two decades under a bill that cleared the Ohio House on Thursday. Over objections by some Democrats that the proposal goes against government openness and risks more [state-killing]-related lawsuits, the Republican-led chamber voted 61-25 in favor of it." [editor's note: Like Dylan noted, "the executioner's face is always well hidden." Hey, here's a little hint: If you're ashamed of or fear the reaction to what you're doing, maybe you SHOULDN'T BE DOING IT. And you sure as hell shouldn't expect people who aren't allowed to know who you are to pay you for it - TLK] (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l3bkx8r

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MS: Appeals court order keeps state’s only abortion clinic open

Raw Story Raw Story

"Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic will remain open after a federal appeals court refused on Thursday to reconsider its decision to block a state law that would have closed it. The law, passed in 2012, required doctors at the state’s sole abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, a standard the clinic could not meet. A three-member panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July upheld a lower court ruling blocking the law as a legal challenge continues. On Thursday, the appeals court denied Mississippi’s request for a reconsideration of the injunction by the full court." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ktzucol

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Study: Stressful relationships tied to mental decline

Fox News Fox News

"Having close personal relationships in middle age that cause stress, problems or worries, may contribute to a decline in thinking ability in older age, according to a new study. 'Any relationship involves both positive and negative exchanges, especially those close relationships that are most likely to evoke ambivalent sentiments,' said lead author Jing Liao of University College London. 'Negative aspects of close relationships refer to unpleasant social exchanges when the recipient finds the relationship ineffective, intrusive or over-controlling.'" (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/okbncxx

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FDA approves new, hard-to-abuse hydrocodone pill

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Federal health regulators on Thursday approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking such safeguards. The Food and Drug Administration approved Purdue Pharma's Hysingla ER for patients with severe, round-the-clock pain that cannot be managed with other treatments. The once-a-day tablet is designed to thwart abuse via chewing, crushing, snorting or injecting. The FDA said the medication is difficult to crush, break or dissolve." [editor's note: "difficult" is not "impossible" ... one more lie from the FDA - SAT] (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/laphqwn

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NY: Why NYC might not tax plastic bags

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"The cultural cliché 'paper or plastic?' -- heard in many of America's grocery stores for decades -- could soon include a 10-cent-a-bag levy in New York City’s retail outlets. The New York City Council debated a new plan Wednesday that would slap a 10-cent tax on the paper and plastic bags now given gratis to shoppers at grocery and other retail stores -- a save-the-planet effort to curb the billions of disposable bags that often become what some call 'urban tumbleweeds' flitting about in wind-swept city landscapes." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbteouq

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Thailand: “Hunger Games” becomes symbol of protest

Reuters Reuters

"Three Thai university students were taken into police custody on Thursday for handing out free tickets to the latest film in the Hunger Games series, from which Thai protesters have borrowed a gesture of resistance to a totalitarian government. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha led a military coup on May 22. The military has quashed any public demonstration of resistance to the coup and a ban on political gatherings remains in place. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, some protesters flashed a three-fingered salute inspired by the Hunger Games series. The salute has become emblematic with Thai pro-democracy protesters, and the Thai government has warned the public against using it." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwse4mx

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Amnesty anti-spyware app tells you if the government is watching you

CNet News CNet News

"Ever feel like someone's watching you? Amnesty International has released an app to find out if governments are spying on you. Detekt is a free and open source software that scans your computers for known surveillance spyware. The app was developed by German security researcher Claudio Guarnieri, and it's launched by Amnesty today in partnership with civil rights and consumer protection organisations Digitale Gesellschaft from Germany, Electronic Frontier Foundation from the US and Privacy International from the UK." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kmtarex

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Webb forms exploratory committee for 2016 White House run

Fox News Fox News

"Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb says he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Webb unveiled the website for his exploratory committee in a message posted on his Twitter account late Wednesday. The move is the first official step in a possible challenge to former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has long been thought of as the presumptive Democratic nominee, but has not yet announced whether she will run. The committee will allow Webb to raise money and travel the nation to test the waters for a potential campaign." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kb6nrq9

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Facebook shuttle drivers vote to unionize

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"The bus drivers who cart Facebook employees to and from Silicon Valley voted on Wednesday to unionize, a move expected to kick off wider efforts to organize the men and women at other companies responsible for getting the tech industry to work. Drivers for Loop Transportation, a company contracted by Facebook, voted 43-28 to form a union, with 11 drivers who did not cast ballots. The drivers voted at secret ballot stations set up in the small, 10-bed trailer at a San Carlos Loop bus lot used as a rest area by dozens of Facebook drivers." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m7rsaws

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MT: Federal judge overturns marriage apartheid law

Washington Post

"A federal judge on Wednesday overturned the state gay marriage ban in Montana, one of the last states to continue defending its ban despite rulings in favor of same-sex marriage from appeals courts that oversee them. At least two counties — Missoula and Park -- started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples soon after, while court clerks elsewhere in the state geared up to do so Thursday." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6ucocd

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NBC scraps new Bill Cosby TV show

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"US TV network NBC has scrapped a proposed Bill Cosby project after accusations that he sexually assaulted women resurfaced. In a statement, the company confirmed the project with the veteran comedian was 'no longer in development.' On Tuesday, streaming service Netflix postponed a special show with Cosby after a model alleged the comedian had sexually assaulted her in 1982. Cosby has so far declined to comment on the allegation." [editor's note: What we have is an allegation from almost 30 years ago, that was thrown out of court at the time; all the rest is Reddit & TMZ speculation so far - SAT] [additional editor's note: If by "thrown out of court" you mean "corroborated by no fewer than 13 other alleged victims and settled for an unspecified amount when taken to court," you're right; otherwise, not so much - TLK] (11/19/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30123343

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Flying your drone recklessly? FAA can sue you

Raw Story Raw Story

"US aviation authorities are allowed to pursue small drone operators suspected of operating their radio-controlled devices in a reckless manner, a US government agency ruled Tuesday. The decision by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle between a Swiss drone entrepreneur based in Hong Kong and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An NTSB administrative law judge in March dismissed a $10,000 fine that the FAA had imposed on Raphael Pirker for using a Ritewing Zephyr drone to shoot a promotional video for the University of Virginia." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ofqdt87

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NJ: Lawsuit fights “under God” in Pledge of Allegiance

Fox News Fox News

"A judge heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit filed against a New Jersey school district by a family who claims the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against children with atheist beliefs. The Monmouth County family, identified in court papers as John and Jane Doe and their child, sued the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District in February, alleging the phrase 'under God' in the pledge is discriminatory. State Superior Court Judge David Bauman heard arguments on the school district's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The case was filed by the American Humanist Association, which claims the recitation of the pledge violates Article 1 of the state's constitution." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/onzrzcx

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Report: Obama might cut deal on Keystone pipeline

Reuters Reuters

"President Barack Obama might be open to using the Keystone pipeline as leverage with Republicans if they cooperate on other aspects of his long-stalled domestic agenda, such as investing in infrastructure, closing tax loopholes or reducing carbon emissions. After years of fighting over TransCanada's crude oil pipeline from Canada, a Keystone deal is not entirely out of the question, sources inside the administration and others close to the White House told Reuters on Tuesday." [editor's note: Suhprahz, progressives; instead of just vetoing the sucker, as he should, he'd just use it to further expand his own crony-corporatist agenda - SAT] (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mxaomcw

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Terrorism deaths spiked last year, but only in five countries

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"Terrorism is up, but concentrated in a handful of countries where an even smaller number of terror groups are carrying out the bulk of attacks. No one will be surprised to hear that terrorism deaths are up in Iraq and Syria largely as a result of the rise of the violence-preaching Islamic State, and in Nigeria where Boko Haram continues to mount high-casualty attacks. But here’s something else to know about terrorism: At the end of the day, it doesn’t work. Since the 1960s, only a very few terrorist organizations have achieved their goals through violence." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9zheub

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KY: Motor fuels tax rate to drop on New Year’s Day

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Motorists will get a break at the pump when Kentucky's gas tax drops by 4.3 cents per gallon on New Year's Day, but the rate cut will impose a "crippling" revenue loss on the fund used to build and maintain roads, state transportation officials said Wednesday. The lower tax rate on sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol fuels would cost the state Road Fund about $129 million on an annualized basis, they said. 'A loss of revenue is always concerning, but a revenue impact of this magnitude is crippling,' Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. 'It means less money for building, improving, maintaining and repairing our roads, streets and bridges.'" (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4zoqgc

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SC: Marriage apartheid ends with issuance of first same-sex licenses

Deseret News

"A judge issued the first gay marriage licenses in South Carolina on Wednesday, even as the state attorney general asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and block the unions. Judge Irvin Condon's office handed out six licenses .... One of those was given to Colleen Condon and her partner Nichols Bleckley, who sued in federal court in to be married [sec]. In that case, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel last week threw out the same-sex marriage ban in the South Carolina Constitution. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused Tuesday to put Gergel's order on hold." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mb3jmwd

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Cuban Doctor Infected With Ebola to Be Treated in Switzerland

swissinfo [Switzerland]

"A Cuban doctor infected with Ebola while working in a Sierra Leone hospital is being flown to Switzerland for treatment. Felix Sarria, an internal medicine specialist, had been working at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment center, according to Sidie Tunis, a spokesman for the Sierra Leone Health Ministry. The doctor had a high fever and tested positive for Ebola on Nov. 17, Tunis said. Sarria will be treated at Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health said in a statement on its website." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6ztwok

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Keystone corporate welfare boondoggle fails US Senate cloture vote

Business Week

"The U.S. Senate refused to approve TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline after years of a political fight over jobs, climate change and energy security. The vote was 59-41 with 60 required for passage in the Democratic-led Senate. Republicans have said they will try again next year after their party takes control of the chamber. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell say passage of a Keystone measure is a top priority." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzt2639

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SC: Federal appeals court won’t issue stay on marriage equality

Raw Story Raw Story

"The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Tuesday to stay a District Court ruling from last week that struck down the gay marriage ban in South Carolina, meaning same-sex weddings could happen there as soon as Thursday. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, a Republican, said in a statement his office would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the District court’s ruling. 'This issue has not yet been resolved nationally,' he said in a statement. 'Today’s ruling by the Fourth Circuit does not end the constitutional obligation of this Office to defend South Carolina law.'" (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kj7xdvw

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Health: Germ-killer found in soap may cause liver damage

Fox News Fox News

"A chemical found in most antibacterial soaps may be fighting off germs at the cost of causing liver damage. There have been question marks around triclosan for some time—the FDA warned last year that antibacterial soap could be harmful, and Minnesota banned the ingredient this year, but new research finds it could be a lot more dangerous than thought, the Atlantic reports. The study linked the chemical to liver damage and tumors in mice, the Independent reports, and though it wasn't found to actually cause cancer, the changes observed in the mice's bodies 'resemble the environment within which human liver cancer forms,' the researchers say." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mktfg3h

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Commentary


| News | Events |

AEI’s Perry ignores the unseen

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Cory Massimino

"Perry concludes from a CBO federal income tax report that, ''the rich' are paying beyond their fair share of the total tax burden, and we might want to start asking if the bottom 60% of 'net recipient' households are really paying their fair share.' But there is more to class analysis than taxes. Other government interventions lurk in the background, infecting every economic transaction." (11/21/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/33652

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Sharyl Attkisson vs. Obama’s Police State

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"If the revelations of Edward Snowden didn't convince you that we're living in a police state, then Sharyl Attkisson's book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington, is the clincher. Indeed, it is more convincing insofar as the reporting that came out of Snowden's disclosures never definitively demonstrated how such powerful technology in the hands of unrestrained government has led to the targeting of political opponents by government officials. In Attkisson's book, the ultimate Orwellian nightmare comes true ..." (11/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lpu42pf

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Uber forgot the charm, but not the offensive

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

"When Uber hired one-time Obama whisperer David Plouffe, CEO Travis Kalanick wrote, 'We are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber. Our opponent -- the Big Taxi cartel -- has used decades of political contributions and influence to restrict competition, reduce choice for consumers, and put a stranglehold on economic opportunity for its drivers.' Translation: This is war, and we’re going to use every weapon known to win." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mf23hr4

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Why people are “walking in” for public schools

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"Every school day in the Lincoln Park community on the North Side of Chicago greets students with well-appointed institutions that include some of the best facilities that American public schools have to offer. Click over to the Yelp ratings for the elementary schools and you’ll read parent reviews that talk about their elementary school’s band programs, afterschool programs, and recent innovative practices being implemented. ... This is not at all like the lived experience of students attending public schools on Chicago’s South Side." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwlucnf

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Who rules the world?

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Benjamin Dangl

"With a $4 billion price tag, the recent US midterm election was the most expensive in the country’s history. For the first time in eight years, the Republicans gained complete control of Congress, as well as won victories in key Senate and gubernatorial races across the country. With elections in the US, we are granted the illusion that voters generally have power over our elected leaders, the direction of the economy, and how to tackle climate change and other major issues. But where does the real power lie?" (11/20/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/20/who-rules-the-world/

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Starting with Latinos, Obama seeks a lasting legacy

Reuters Reuters
by Bill Schneider

"Demographics is long. Politics is short. That’s what President Barack Obama is counting on with his executive action on immigration. President Obama is risking what may be short-term political setbacks in order to create a legacy for himself and the Democratic Party. He is seeking to shore up lasting support among key Democratic constituencies. The president and his party are counting on demographics. Demographics delivered a great Democratic victory in 2012. This year, however, politics trumped demographics, and the Democrats were done in." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lpfvkvb

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Why Republicans are so mad about Obama’s immigration order

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"President Obama is going to detail some executive actions he plans to take on immigration in a speech tonight, and you may have noticed that the debate over this move is almost completely void of discussion of the particulars. Instead, we're discussing whether Obama is exceeding his powers. That's an important question to address, but it also frees Republicans (for the moment anyway) of having to visibly argue for things like deporting the parents of kids who are already allowed to stay in the United States." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o9pm97q

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Sheldon Richman on The Scott Horton Show

Sheldon Richman The Scott Horton Show
by

"Sheldon Richman, vice president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, discusses Hillary Clinton's gushing admiration of war criminal Henry Kissinger in her review of his new book World Order; and why progressives hoping for a successful Clinton 2016 presidential campaign should take a second look before they elect a power-hungry monster." [Flash audio or MP3] (11/19/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/11/19/111914-sheldon-richman/

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Why I am pro-choice

Brendan O'Neill spiked
by Brendan O'Neill

"The first rule of the politics of fear is that if you want to make something sound scarier than it actually is, you add the word 'culture' at the end of it. ... And so it is with abortion. How can you make what is a pretty mundane medical procedure that British women have been legally accessing for nearly 50 years sound like something terrifying? By adding the magic c-word. That is what we've been invited here tonight to talk about: 'abortion culture.' I've been asked to oppose the motion 'This House Believes Britain's Abortion Culture Hurts Us All.' The reason I'm happy to oppose this motion is because it is built on a fallacy. There is no 'abortion culture.'" (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mk3sxkt

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Elizabeth Warren needs to run for President

In These Times In These Times
by Ian Reifowitz

"The midterms didn't go so well. The Democrats should have run on economic populism. They should have put forth a coherent vision of where they want to take our country, one that includes a frank assessment of our current problems, and a concrete set of proposals to address them. Instead they tried to run to the right of President Obama by distancing themselves from Obamacare and other administration priorities. One candidate even tried to keep 'private' the fact that she voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lc7valk

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Why McDonald’s struggles are a good thing

The Intercept The Intercept
by Juan Thompson

"The year 2014 has not been kind to one of the biggest symbols of American capitalism. Last quarter, McDonald’s saw its U.S. sales fall 3 percent as profits tumbled 30 percent. It was the 12th straight month of falling sales at the fast food giant, which this summer posted its worst revenue decline in more than a decade. But critics, including McDonald’s employees, see a silver lining. They are hoping the company’s financial troubles will force McDonald’s to rethink how it does business at a time when it needs to address a growing number of problems." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pfyc3ek

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After fearmongering kills NSA reform, what’s next?

The Nation The Nation
by Zoe Carpenter

"For a few hours on Tuesday, the Islamic State looked like the best thing that ever happened to the National Security Agency. The USA Freedom Act, a modest bill seen as the best chance for reforming one of the NSA's dragnet surveillance programs, failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate by two votes after Republicans insisted that it would precipitate a terrorist attack." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pe47lzy

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Rand Paul sounds off to Salon on race, 2016, Hillary and Republicans

Salon
by Phillip Bailey

Interview with US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul: "You know, I think there is a great deal of possibility for any candidate who can get out of either party, that doesn’t neatly fit in either party’s mold. So I think if you had a Democrat unusual enough to get through the primary system but to appeal to people outside of the Democrat mold, they could do well. Same goes for a Republican." (11/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prxoa4x

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Jason Ditz on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Jason Ditz, news editor for Antiwar.com, discusses Jundallah’s pledge of support for ISIS; and Mossad’s history of using Jundallah to commit terrorist attacks in Iran to damage US-Iran relations." [Flash audio or MP3] (11/18/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/11/18/111814-jason-ditz/

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Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

Reuters Reuters
by Robert Cyran

"Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast. The Silicon Valley taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 billion valuation. But executives who threaten to 'dig up dirt' on critics, use unsavory tactics against rivals, and post statistics on customers' one-night stands present an existential business risk and hurt its fledgling brand. Uber needs to rein in its laddish impulses. Ironically, the latest embarrassment for founder Travis Kalanick came at a dinner in New York hosted by Uber to try to improve the media’s perception of the company. Senior Vice President Emil Michael suggested Uber could look into 'your personal lives, your families,' and give the media a taste of its own medicine, according to Buzzfeed." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qbpwjer

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Danger signals: ISIL, Hamas & the future of Israel

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg

"In Hebrew, 'black flag' refers to an immediate, glaring warning -- as in, the 'black flag of illegality' that figuratively flies over a military order that a soldier must refuse, or the actual flag put up by lifeguards to signal that the sea is too stormy for swimming. The symbolism of the color is entirely arbitrary. In Arab culture, a black flag recalls the battle standards of the Prophet Muhammad and of the Abbasid caliphate, which ruled from Baghdad over a vast Islamic empire. Traditionally, the connotations are positive. In recent months, though, the two meanings have converged. Inscribed with the words 'There is no god but God,' a black banner is now a symbol of danger, across the Middle East and beyond." (11/19/14)

http://prospect.org/article/isil-hamas-and-future-israel

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Is there no limit to college tuition hikes?

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

"If you are about to apply to college or send your children to an institution of higher learning, please make sure not to miss the CNN documentary, 'Ivory Tower,' by Andrew Rossi which looks at why college is so expensive. ... I was spellbound watching the what happened at Cooper Union, where President Jamshed Bharucha ended a 150-year policy of not charging tuition. The school made some bad investments and built a $175 million building. ... Some students at Cooper Union argued that college is a right, not just at Cooper Union, but everywhere. That’s not realistic. If a college education is a right, then no one has to earn it. And: While graduates benefit financially from a degree, they expect other people to pay for it. And if someone else pays for it, why would administrators ever control costs?" (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pzbvkb6

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Fracking the poor

In These Times In These Times
by Hannah Guzik

"It was supposed to be a good day. It was the first day of school and Johanna Romo, 12, had just woken up. It was already hot, and if she had looked out the window, she would have seen smog hugging the valley floor, obscuring the mountains, as it has almost every day this year. But she didn’t have a chance to look out the window. As Johanna sat up and prepared to put on her school uniform (a blue shirt and khaki pants) her body lurched backward onto the floor, violently shaking." (11/19/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17355/fracking_the_poor

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Red Mist Rising: Inside the world’s most powerful terrorist organization

Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd

"These days there is an overwhelming amount of blather about the political machinations on Capitol Hill in the wake of the recent elections. Who's in, who's out, how will this player out-play that player, and -- most important of all -- how will these machinations affect the all-important, historically decisive 2106 presidential campaign? All this earnest speculation, all this avid interest, all this heartfelt ardor -- and for what? To figure out which blood-soaked poltroon will be the temporary head of this monstrous, murderous terrorist apparatus -- an empire that brazenly kills scores of innocent people, week in, week out, year after year, all the while celebrating its own rectitude and righteousness and 'exceptional' virtue." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qeloza9

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Left, right, left

Thomas L. Knapp KN@PPSTER
by Thomas L. Knapp

"Sean Gabb: 'If Kevin Carson can have an outreach to the left, why can't some of us have an outreach to the right?' My reply (with some typos corrected): Libertarianism and leftism are coterminous. That is, they are the same thing with the same originating point. Libertarianism is the extreme leftmost point on the political spectrum. Therefore, to the extent that someone is a libertarian he is also a leftist and vice versa and all libertarian outreach to non-libertarians is outreach 'to the right.'" (11/19/14)

http://knappster.blogspot.com/2014/11/left-right-left.html

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Immigration & shutdowns: Right things vs. wrong things

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Republicans don’t even take over the Senate until January, but already they’re talking about shutting down the government. This time it’s over the President’s effort to provide some relief for the millions of families and thousands of communities being harmed by a broken immigration system. Last time it was in an effort to stop Obamacare from helping millions of families. Their shutdowns are about obstruction and political strategy, not about what is good for the country and the people in it." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pt4khn4

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The irrelevance of the US Congress in stopping NSA mass surveillance: What matters instead

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"The entire system in D.C. is designed at its core to prevent real reform. This Congress is not going to enact anything resembling fundamental limits on the NSA's powers of mass surveillance. Even if it somehow did, this White House would never sign it. Even if all that miraculously happened, the fact that the U.S. intelligence community and National Security State operates with no limits and no oversight means they'd easily co-opt the entire reform process: just like how the eavesdropping scandals of the mid-1970s led to the establishment of Intelligence Committees (which were instantly captured by putting in charge supreme IC servants like Senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss and Congressmen Mike Rogers and 'Dutch' Ruppersberger) and the creation of FISA 'oversight' courts (instantly turned into rubber stamps by installing subservient judges and having it all function in total secrecy)." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o6qler4

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NSA reform blocked by constitutionally disinclined GOP Senators

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols

"The vital cause of NSA reform (which seemed to be gaining strength, as not just citizens but their elected representatives came to recognize the consequences of the issues raised by Edward Snowden’s leaks) has hit a rough spot in recent weeks. Allies of the cause are being defeated or abandoning their principles and major initiatives are failing. The first bad news came November 4, when Colorado Senator Mark Udall lost his campaign for a second term. In his first term, the Democrat had emerged as one of the steadiest, and frequently most aggressive, critics of National Security Agency abuses." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ndlbtz7

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Metastasizing of the police state of America

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff

"The latest news on the burgeoning police state in the US -- a page-one investigative report in the New York Times disclosing that at least 40 agencies of the US government from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Supreme Court (!) are using undercover agents to spy on and even to entrap law-abiding American citizens -- suggests that we have passed the tipping point. One can no longer speak in terms of the US as a country that is moving towards becoming a police state. We are living in a police state." (11/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3ughn7

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Yes, Mitch McConnell is killing coal

Our Future
by Bill Scher

"In Alison Lundergan Grimes'[s] losing campaign, she ran an ad that made one of the most insightful points of any ad in the 2014 midterm elections. Standing in front of a coal-fired power plant Grimes said, 'They are shutting down half the plant and laying off their workers because [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell didn’t fight to get the scrubbers it needs to reduce coal emissions.' The ad didn’t get attention for that line. It got attention for a trumped-up, and contradictory, charge that followed, that 'Mitch and his wife pocketed $600,000 from enemies of coal.' Most of the money came from McConnell’s wife serving on the board of a bank that made a decision five years prior to her arrival to cut back on its financing of mountaintop removals. Claiming that McConnell was a secret environmentalist was a factually flawed charge that fell flat, but the beginning of the ad was truthful and highly relevant." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k57qbrq

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Why the feds are fed up with the NFL

The Nation The Nation
by Dave Zirin

"Let’s be clear: the recent raid on five NFL teams by the Drug Enforcement Agency to see if teams were doubling as illegal painkiller dispensaries has little to do with concerns about how our nation’s Sunday heroes Novocain themselves for gridiron glory. The fact that the NFL and their teams of doctors and nurses give out prescription pills like Halloween candy and break out syringes to top off sessions of physical therapy has been public knowledge for over forty years. ... The real story here is that these raids happened at all. The NFL employs twenty-six full-time lobbyists and spends about $1.5 million per election cycle to make sure that the feds leave the league alone and no one looks too closely at how the sausages are made." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k5s4f2g

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When judges say too much

Reuters Reuters
by Alison Frankel

"As I reporter, I love when federal judges say provocative things outside of their courtrooms. It’s news if U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of Manhattan publishes an article chastising the Justice Department for prosecuting corporations instead of individuals or if his colleague Shira Scheindlin gives interviews about her willingness to stand up to prosecutors. The public benefits when brave judges like U.S. Magistrate Stephen Smith of Houston, who highlighted the government’s secret use of electronic surveillance in a 2012 paper for the Harvard Law and Policy Review, call attention to what they’ve observed from the bench. I also understand that judges, just like ordinary people, want to share (or occasionally overshare) their thoughts in a forum aside from judicial opinions." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3yzhce

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Ten illegal police actions to watch for in Ferguson

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Bill Quigley

"When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l75lhmt

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Ferguson’s ISIS allies?

Salim Muwakkil In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil

"As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted this summer over the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, radical Islamists tried to co-opt the protests for their own cause. Many right-leaning media outlets jumped on the story, quoting Ferguson-related tweets by supporters of the Iraq- and Syria-based group the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). Those tweets should not be surprising. Events in Ferguson offer a golden opportunity to showcase the flaws in American justice, and America’s enemies are determined to use it." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mt4848f

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Think Obamacare’s affordable? You’re stupid

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

"Before he became the Obama administration’s least favorite overpaid expert, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber was its darling. He appeared in an Obama campaign ad saying, 'I helped Gov. Romney develop his healthcare reform, or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law.' The false portrayal of Romneycare and Obamacare as practically identical fueled the Democratic delusion that Congress drafted the Affordable Care Act to appeal to rascally Republicans. Now Gruber is in the doghouse because he was captured on video being brutally honest." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lm38uw6

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Hillary’s “connection” to white voters

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"In an interview published yesterday at Talking Points Memo, Mitch Stewart, an adviser to the nascent Hillary Clinton quasi-campaign, argued that Clinton could expand the map of states that Barack Obama won, putting more places in play. The reason, he said, that 'Secretary Clinton has more appeal than any other Democrat looking at running is that with white working-class voters, she does have a connection.' The idea of Clinton's 'connection' to the white working class is something you hear now and again, and I think it's worth examining in some detail. Because it raises some uncomfortable questions that I doubt the Clinton campaign wants to confront." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4lwf2q

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Adam Morrow on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Adam Morrow, a Cairo-based journalist for IPS News, discusses Egypt's tightened blockade of Gaza following terrorist attacks by 'unknown militants,' even though Hamas denied responsibility; how unassociated Islamic groups are lumped together with ISIS for propaganda purposes; and the consequences of Egypt's failed democratic experiment with the Muslim Brotherhood." [Flash audio or MP3] (11/17/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/11/17/111714-adam-morrow/

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On media outlets that continue to describe unknown drone victims as “militants”

Lucy Steigerwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that 'Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties' of his drone strikes which 'in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants .... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.' ... what bothered even some intelligence officials with the agency carrying out the strikes seemed of no concern whatsoever to most major media outlets. As I documented days after the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as 'militants' -- even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been 're-defined' by the Obama administration into Alice in Wonderland-level nonsense." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lrtz4sr

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Feinstein goes to war against Airbnb

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

"As a Republican, I am loving watching an old-guard Democrat take a stand against one of the most popular startups in the sharing economy. Airbnb is an apple-pie platform for many Millennials. Feinstein wrote that Chiu’s measure 'would destroy the integrity of zoning through San Francisco.' She sees her role as protecting residential neighborhoods from 'commercialization.' Young voters take note: This is what happens when governments get too big and too self-important: people who rent out a spare bedroom or a backyard cottage become expendable." (11/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q5tzssk

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And the world’s favorite country is … Germany?

Reuters Reuters
by Alan Posener

"Germany, it appears, is the most respected country in the world. According to the Nation Brands Index, Germany deposed the hitherto reigning champion, the Unites States. The home of Audi, Mercedes, Siemens, Bosch and Co. now tops the charts. Now before I discuss the ranking process, in which over 20,000 people in 20 countries were asked to rank 50 developed and emerging countries according to 23 categories, I have to say that I’m amazed that the United States was number one up until now. Anti-Americanism is rampant and I would have guessed that Switzerland or Sweden or some other rich but harmless country would top the list instead." (11/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/keagngn

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Events


| News | Commentary |

Standard Model goes pear-shaped in CERN experiment

The Register [UK]

"It's only a small thing, but it could be big news: researchers at CERN have turned up the first evidence of exotic (and short-lived) atoms with pear-shaped nuclei. The reasons the boffins are excited is they believe the eccentric nuclei can help them probe one of physics' official Big Questions: how come there's something instead of nothing?" (05/09/13)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/09/pear_shaped_exotic_nuclei/

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FDA issues warning for over-the-counter diarrhea drug

Fox News

"The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use an over-the-counter drug called Intestinomicina because the anti-diarrhea treatment contains a drug linked to life-threatening injuries. The El Salvador-manufactured drug comes in pills and liquid forms and is sold as a treatment for infectious diarrhea at international grocery stores and specialty stores in the U.S. Regulators say Intestinomicina contains the drug chloramphenicol, which can interfere with the production of red and white blood cells. People with anemia and other low blood cell counts are at greater risk of injury or death from using the drug." (09/19/12)

http://tinyurl.com/8t3oo49

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Egypt: Push strengthens for blasphemy clause in constitution

Christian Science Monitor

"Last week's protests in reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube clip have led to Egyptian demands that the US prosecute the filmmakers and may give a decisive push to an effort to enshrine in the Egyptian constitution the criminalization of blasphemy, or insulting religious figures. While the US-based filmmakers are protected under the First Amendment in the US, in some parts of the Middle East they could be prosecuted under laws that criminalize disparaging religion. In Egypt, the backlash could bolster a preexisting effort to insert a clause banning religious insults into Egypt’s new constitution." [editor's note: Yes, that's surely why constitutions were created ... NOT! - SAT] (09/16/12)

http://tinyurl.com/9zodrvb

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In unusual “snub,” Obama wont be meeting Netanyahu

Reuters

"In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, the White House said on Tuesday President Barack Obama would not meet Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli prime minister's U.S. visit later this month. The apparent snub, coupled with Netanyahu's sharpened demands for a tougher U.S. line against Iran, threatened to plunge U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis and add pressure on Obama in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign." [editor's note: I changed their headline to indicate the reality; two world leaders both happen to be speaking at the U.N. ... on different days - SAT] (09/12/12)

http://tinyurl.com/96g2uqw

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Report: In Nigeria, a concrete get-rich scheme

Reuters

"Aliko Dangote has always liked making things to sell. As a child he boiled up sugar to make sweets he sold around town; these days he cooks up limestone in factories that produce millions of tonnes of cement. Dangote's entrepreneurial skills have helped make him Africa's richest person, with cement plants opened or under construction everywhere from Senegal to Ethiopia to South Africa. He dreams of owning the largest cement firm on the planet. By 2015, he hopes, his industrial conglomerate will be worth four times its current estimated $15 billion." (09/11/12)

http://tinyurl.com/8scc49g

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