Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

DC: Gunman detained at pizzeria featured in anti-Clinton pedophilia theory

New York Magazine

"Just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, a gunman carrying an assault rifle was detained by police after entering a popular Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, which had recently been at the center of a [possibly] fake-news, [definitely] anti-Clinton conspiracy theory spread during this year's election. After entering the restaurant, the still unidentified gunman did not attack anyone or make any demands, but there are reports that he fired into the floor before being apprehended. ... Comet Ping Pong is an often bustling casual eatery whose ping pong tables had made it popular with families. It was little known outside the capital, however, until [possibly] fake news stories started doing the rounds on conservative websites claiming that Comet was a front for a child-sex ring that was run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief." (12/04/16)

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/pizzeria-from-fake-news-scandal-goes-through-a-gunman-scare.html

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Walmart agrees to $7.5 million settlement in same-sex benefits lawsuit

USA Today USA Today

"Walmart is poised to pay millions of dollars to thousands of former and current employees after it agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming the company denied health insurance to same-sex spouses. The retail giant, which denies the claims, OK'd the $7.5 million settlement, which would resolve a 2015 class action lawsuit brought by a former employee. The settlement, which awaits court approval, was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. The proposed settlement says the $7.5 million would cover claims of those employees who weren't able to obtain coverage for their same-sex spouse from 2011 to 2013. The company said the settlement includes 'no more than a few thousand current and former Walmart associates.'" (12/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2016/12/03/walmart-agrees-75-million-settlement-same-sex-benefits-lawsuit/94881420

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UN apologizes for Haiti’s cholera epidemic, but without noting it brought the disease

Fox News Fox News

"United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon has ended (sort of) six years of UN stonewalling over Haiti’s mammoth cholera epidemic with a weak apology that the world organization 'simply did not do enough' about the epidemic, without mentioning that UN peacekeepers brought the deadly disease to the hemisphere’s poorest country in the first place. Ban’s statement Thursday to the UN General Assembly declared that 'we are profoundly sorry for our role,' without going into the specifics of what that role actually was. It was nonetheless touted by other UN officials as 'an important day for the UN,' that also is supposed to mark the start of a new approach to the cholera catastrophe that would include 'material assistance and support for those Haitians most directly affected by cholera' -- as soon as U.N. member states come up with the money for it." (12/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/02/un-apologizes-for-haiti-s-cholera-epidemic-without-noting-it-brought-disease.html

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Trump targets another company, draws Sanders’s criticism

Reuters Reuters

"President-elect Donald Trump drew a rebuke from former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday, after turning his attention to another Indiana company planning a move to Mexico. 'Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No more!' Trump said in a Friday night Twitter post. Rexnord Corp (RXN.N), an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee, announced plans in October to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, employees told the Indianapolis Star at the time. Company representatives on Saturday did not respond to a request for comment on Trump's tweet. The Republican, who takes office on Jan. 20, warned on Thursday of consequences for companies that move jobs out of the United States but did not specify what they would be." [editor's note: Again, company smart to grab the deal and cut its taxes; Trump wrong to promote crony-corporate welfare - SAT] (12/03/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-rexnord-idUSKBN13S0PU

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Austria: Presidential election re-run “too close to call”

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Austrians are voting in a re-run of a presidential election which pits the leader of the far-right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer against former Green Party head Alexander Van der Bellen. The vote last May was narrowly won by Mr Van der Bellen, but the result was overturned by Austria's highest court because of irregularities in the count. If Mr Hofer wins, he will become the EU's first far-right head of state. Opinion polls held in November suggest the vote is too close to call. Although the role is largely ceremonial, the vote is being watched as a barometer of how well populist candidates will do in upcoming elections. France, the Netherlands and Germany all face elections next year in which anti-mainstream and anti-immigration parties are gaining ground." (12/03/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38198694

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France pledges $30 million for wartime heritage protection

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"France committed $30 million toward protecting cultural heritage sites during wartime on Saturday, a first step in the creation of an international fund aimed at preventing destruction like that carried out by Islamic State militants. French President Francois Hollande announced the contribution during a conference jointly organized by France and the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. Backers of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference hope to attract an initial $100 million for the fund. In coordination with UNESCO, it aims to prevent or stop destruction of historical sites, fight trafficking of stolen artifacts and pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war. They also seek to create a network of sites around the world where artifacts endangered by fighting or terrorism could be temporarily stored for safekeeping." (12/03/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/France-pledges-30-million-for-wartime-heritage-10689089.php

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Why Trump’s cabinet picks give Pentagon pause

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"President-elect Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis will soon be named the new administration’s pick for Secretary of Defense. 'We’re not announcing it ’til next week, so don’t tell anyone,' Mr. Trump told a cheering crowd in Cincinnati Thursday evening, referring to the nominee by his nickname, 'Mad Dog' and calling him 'the closest thing we have to George Patton.' It is what many former military officials consider a 'good news, bad news' story for the Pentagon, which, despite its implicit focus on waging war, has a long (and necessary, analysts are quick to add) tradition of civilian, rather than military, leadership." [editor's note: The real concern is if he is just another neocon warmonger or an ex-soldier who wants war to end! - SAT] (12/03/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2016/1202/Enter-the-generals-Why-Trump-s-cabinet-picks-give-Pentagon-pause

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WikiLeaks releases 2,000 files from German inquiry into NSA spying scandal

International Business Times

"Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has released a 90GB-sized trove of data relating to the ongoing German parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between the county's foreign intelligence agency -- the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) -- and the National Security Agency (NSA). According to WikiLeaks, the disclosure consists of 2,420 documents from 'various agencies" of the German government submitted as exhibits to the inquiry last year. The probe was set up after the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013 which exposed close surveillance links between the agencies. ... In a previous release in 2015, WikiLeaks published documents that suggested the communications of over 120 top German government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, were being intercepted by the NSA. The files showed how the surveillance operation had been active for years." (12/01/16)

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wikileaks-releases-over-2000-files-german-inquiry-into-nsa-spying-scandal-1594441

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Internet Archive successfully fends off secret FBI order

The Intercept The Intercept

"A decade ago, the FBI sent Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, a now-infamous type of subpoena known as a National Security Letter, demanding the name, address and activity record of a registered Internet Archive user. The letter came with an everlasting gag order, barring Kahle from discussing the order with anyone but his attorney -- not even his wife could know. But Kahle did eventually talk about it, calling the order 'horrendous,' after challenging its constitutionality .... Now, Kahle and the archive are notching another victory, one that underlines the progress their original fight helped set in motion. The archive, a nonprofit online library, has disclosed that it received another NSL in August, its first since the one it received and fought in 2007. Once again it pushed back, but this time events unfolded differently: The archive was able to challenge the NSL and gag order directly in a letter to the FBI, rather than through a secretive lawsuit. In November, the bureau again backed down and, without a protracted battle, has now allowed the archive to publish the NSL in redacted form." (12/01/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/01/internet-archive-fends-off-secret-fbi-order-in-latest-victory-against-nsls/

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Obama supports registering women for military enslavement

USA Today USA Today

"President Obama supports requiring women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18, becoming the first president to endorse universal draft registration since Jimmy Carter. 'As old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports (as a logical next step) women registering for the Selective Service,' said Ned Price, a spokesman for Obama's National Security Council. The White House had previously expressed neutrality on the controversy, but took a position in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday. But the timing of Obama's support makes it mostly symbolic, coming in the final weeks of his presidency and the day before the House will vote on a defense policy bill that strips a Senate-passed provision to add women to Selective Service. Instead, the compromise version now calls only for a commission to study two related issues: Whether women should be included in Selective Service, and whether the Selective Service system itself should be abolished." [editor's note: Option B, please; end this imperialst nonsense - SAT] (12/01/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/01/obama-supports-registering-women-military-draft/90449708

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Wisconsin first state to start presidential election recount

Fox News Fox News

"The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years began Thursday in Wisconsin, a state that Donald Trump won by less than a percentage point over Hillary Clinton after polls long predicted a Clinton victory. The recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein carries none of the drama of the Florida presidential recount of 2000, when the outcome of the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush hung in the balance. Almost no one expects Stein's push for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to result in a Clinton victory over Trump." (12/01/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/01/wisconsin-first-state-to-start-presidential-election-recount.html

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Study: Cannabis might held treat sexual dysfunctions

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth

"Sexually frustrated couples may have to try marijuana to spice up the bedroom, a new study finds. In a recently published study featured by the National Institutes of Health, experts from Italy’s University of Catania and the Czech Republic’s Charles University and Masaryk University found that both sexes can use cannabis to treat sexual dysfunctions such as Erectile Dysfunction or Sexual Arousal Disorder. 'For centuries, in addition to its recreational actions, several contradictory claims regarding the effects of cannabis use in sexual functioning and behavior (e.g. aphrodisiac vs anti-aphrodisiac) of both sexes have been accumulated,' the study reads. 'The identification of delta-9 THC and later on, the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have opened a potential therapeutic target for sexual dysfunctions, given the partial efficacy of current pharmacological treatment.'" [editor's note: Or at least it can make them matter less? - SAT] (12/01/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/12/01/study-marijuana-may-help-treat-sexual-dysfunctions

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Mexican billionaire Slim: Trump could be good for Mexico

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim says a Donald Trump presidency could be good news for Mexico. At a forum with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday, Slim discarded the pessimistic narrative about how Trump's hard-line views on immigration and free trade could shake Mexico. The telecommunications magnate, who is one of the world's richest people, said that if Trump achieves his promises to expand the U.S. economy, create millions of jobs and lower middle-class taxes, it will be 'fantastic' for Mexico by increasing U.S. consumption. And Trump's promise for big spending on infrastructure projects would mean more jobs for Mexicans because there are not enough Americans to fill them, Slim said. He added that Trump's tough talk toward Mexico should spur the country to refocus on investing in its own economy." (12/01/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Mexican-billionaire-Slim-says-Trump-could-be-good-10653476.php

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Putin: Russia “not seeking conflict”

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Russia is 'not seeking conflict with anyone,' President Vladimir Putin has said in his annual Kremlin speech to parliament and the nation. 'Unlike some foreign colleagues who see Russia as the enemy, we do not seek (and never sought) enemies. We need friends,' he said. But 'we will not permit harm to our interests,' he added. He said Russia was ready to work with the new US administration to fight terrorism. Mr Putin has previously said he hopes for better relations with the US once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. He praised the courage of Russian military personnel fighting rebel groups in Syria, in support of President Bashar al-Assad, and drew applause in the ornate Kremlin hall." (12/01/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38167590

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Johnson & Johnson hit with over $1 billion verdict on hip implants

Reuters Reuters

"A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs who said they were injured by Pinnacle hip implants, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said. The jurors found that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks. The six plaintiffs in this case are California residents who were implanted with the hip devices and experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they attributed to design flaws. Plaintiffs claimed the companies promoted the devices as lasting longer than devices that include ceramic or plastic materials. J&J and DePuy are facing nearly 8,400 lawsuits over the devices, which have been consolidated in federal court in Texas. Test cases have been selected for trial, and their outcomes will help gauge the value of the remaining claims." (12/01/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-verdict-hipimplants-idUSKBN13Q5XF

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CT: Top court to hear appeal in frivolous Sandy Hook suit

Raw Story Raw Story

"The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to hear a direct appeal by families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, whose lawsuit against makers and sellers of the assault rifle used in the 2012 attack was dismissed in October. Connecticut’s highest court on Tuesday said it would consider whether families of nine victims, plus one survivor, can recover damages from Remington Outdoor Co and others over the gunman’s use of a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 students and six staffers. The court’s decision to take the case, just two weeks after the families requested it, was announced on Thursday in a statement from the families’ lawyers. Other defendants include the gun’s distributor, and the gun shop where Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy had bought the AR-15." (12/01/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/connecticuts-top-court-to-hear-sandy-hook-gun-appeal

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Magic pipe: Carnival’s Princess pays $40 million fine for sea waste

US News & World Report US News & World Report

"Princess Cruise Lines will pay a $40 million penalty after pleading guilty to seven federal charges in an illegal ocean pollution case that involved one ship's use of a so-called magic pipe to divert oily waste into the waters, authorities said Thursday. Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer told a news conference the penalty is the largest ever of its kind. ... the illegal practices came to light when an engineer aboard the Caribbean Princess discovered the 'magic pipe' in 2013 off the coast of Great Britain and told investigators about it. Authorities later learned the 952-foot ship had been illegally discharging oily water into the ocean since 2005." (12/01/16)

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-12-01/carnivals-princess-line-to-pay-40m-fine-in-pollution-case

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UN rejects UK regime’s appeal of Assange arbitrary detention ruling

Daily Express [UK]

"The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention threw out a UK appeal against its previous ruling, when the panel had said that Mr Assange's detention was unlawful. Although Mr Assange voluntarily sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London more than four years ago, the panel ruled that the fact that he would be arrested as soon as he attempted to leave amounted to an arbitrary detention. In throwing out the appeal, the UN said the British Government had not brought forward any new evidence to allow a review of the case. Following the ruling, Mr Assange said in a statement: 'Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free.'" (12/01/16)

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/738767/Wikileaks-Julian-Assange-free-United-Nations-UK-Government-appeal

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DOJ, SCOTUS expand US regime’s search and surveillance powers

Gizmodo

"At midnight, the U.S. government quietly gained expansive new surveillance abilities after a last-ditch effort to stop changes to the federal code of criminal procedure died on the Senate floor. Senator Ron Wyden tried three times on Wednesday to stall the rule changes, which let judges give federal agents the authority to hack multiple computers in any jurisdiction at once, including those belonging to innocent malware victims. ... Under the old version of 'Rule 41,' agencies like the FBI needed to apply for a warrant in the right jurisdiction to hack a computer, presenting difficulties when investigating crimes involving suspects who had anonymized their locations or machines in multiple places. Under the new version, a federal judge can approve a single search warrant covering multiple computers even if their owners are innocent or their locations are unknown." (12/01/16)

http://gizmodo.com/the-fbi-just-got-disturbing-new-hacking-powers-1789548207

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Cuba: Thousands gather to view caravan bearing Fidel Castro’s ashes

USA Today USA Today

"When the motorcade carrying Fidel Castro's ashes approached [Matanzas]'s Freedom Plaza on Wednesday, the crowd lining the sidewalks, benches, rooftops, balconies and even window bars started to chant his name. ... Crowds gathered Wednesday, the first of three days along the roads the motorcade is traveling from Havana to Santiago de Cuba to deliver the former president's remains to his final resting place. The caravan, which left Havana early Wednesday, is traveling the route Castro followed to reach Havana in January 1959 in his successful rebellion, known as the Caravana de la Libertad, or Freedom Caravan. Castro's ashes are scheduled to reach Santiago on Saturday, when a public tribute will be held before a private funeral Sunday." (11/30/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/30/thousands-cubans-gather-view-caravan-bearing-fidel-castros-ashes/94700496/

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Now that he’s leaving, Obama starts talking sense about marijuana

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth

"Outgoing president Barack Obama now believes that marijuana should be legally taxed and regulated similar to cigarettes and alcohol. In his final interview as acting president with Rolling Stone, Obama shared his insight on a number of important topics, including the current legal status of marijuana. Rolling Stone co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner brought up the issue of marijuana legalization by mentioning that cannabis can now be purchased legally throughout the entire West Coast, before asking the president why the failed War on Drugs continues to this day." [editor's note: Okay, then stop just talking about it and DO it! You have the Executive authority to stand down the DEA, all by yourself. SAT] (11/30/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/11/30/obama-says-government-should-handle-marijuana-the-same-as-cigarettes-or-alcohol

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US House Democrats re-elect Pelosi as leader

Seattle Times

"House Democrats have re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their leader. The California lawmaker, who has led the party since 2002, turned back a challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan on Wednesday." (11/30/16)

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/reckoning-for-pelosi-as-house-democrats-vote-for-leader/

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US regime to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in coming years

Fox News Fox News

"The federal government is on track to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in coming years, according to a report that for the first time projects the full cost of plans that tie borrowers’ payments to their earnings. The report, to be released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, shows the Obama administration’s main strategy for helping student-loan borrowers is proving far more costly than previously thought. The report also presents a scathing review of the Education Department’s accounting methods, which have understated the costs of its various debt-relief plans by tens of billions of dollars. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi [R-WY] ordered the report last year amid a sharp increase in enrollment in income-driven repayment plans, which the Obama administration has heavily promoted to help borrowers avoid default. The most generous version caps a borrower’s monthly payment at 10 percent of discretionary income, which is defined as any earnings above 150 percent of the poverty level." [editor's note: So what's all this talk about the need for "free college" then?- SAT] (11/30/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/30/us-to-forgive-at-least-108b-in-student-debt-in-coming-years.html

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Thompson’s widow to sell his personal strains of marijuana

Raw Story Raw Story

"Over a decade after his death, people can soon smoke some of 'Gonzo' journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s personal strains of marijuana thanks to the efforts of his wife, Anita Thompson. The late writer’s widow told the Aspen Times last week of her plan to cultivate and sell the author’s strains of cannabis. Thompson said she was working with a marijuana company to grow and distribute six kinds of marijuana that she saved, which were once smoked by her husband. 'Since it became legal I get approached probably once a month by cannabis growers, dispensaries,' Thompson reportedly said. 'I’ve had probably 10 meetings in the last three years and I always ended up saying "No" because it’s the same story every time: Somebody wants to slap Hunter’s name on their strain ... If I put Hunter’s name on somebody else’s strain, I can never go back and say, "No, this is the authentic one."' She joked that she was 'looking forward to being a drug lord,' but put those plans on hold for so long on purpose." (11/30/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/hunter-s-thompsons-widow-to-sell-his-personal-strains-of-marijuana

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After OPEC deal, oil expected to rally

Reuters Reuters

"Oil's blistering rally of up to 10 percent to $50 a barrel on Wednesday should continue into next week, analysts and fund managers said, after the world's top producers announced a historic deal to rein in output. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reached its first deal to cut oil output since 2008 -- signaling its return to managing supply in world markets. The path ahead for the oil market, however, is expected to be volatile, as those who positioned for a rally unwind their trades to book profits. The possibility that OPEC will be unable to meet its commitment to cut production could also undermine prices as well. That makes the long-term path for oil more uncertain, as few expect the commodity to reach $60 a barrel soon." (11/30/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-markets-oil-opec-idUSKBN13P2MZ

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Commentary


| News | Events |

True or false, Trump’s tweets beat the media at its own game

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"President-elect Donald Trump discovered the Holy Grail of media relations: the ability with a 140-character tweet to ignore the Fourth Estate. This is brass-knuckled political power that at a minimum pushes the press another circulation drop closer to irrelevancy. The latest example is directed against a journalist who reported Trump’s tweet that he lost the popular vote because of extensive fraud. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny called Trump a 'sore winner,' adding the president-elect had 'zero evidence' to back up his fraud claim. Trump responded with a series of tweets and retweets condemning Zeleny, all echoing around the web for days. ... This is no joke, except maybe on the journalists whose credibility is already a laughing matter." (12/03/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trump-twitter-commentary-idUSKBN13R1C2

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The Carrier deal

USA Today USA Today
by staff

"You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump. He said he’d save American manufacturing jobs at a Carrier factory in Indiana, and he has delivered on that campaign promise even before he takes office. The air conditioner maker now says that it will retain 1,000 jobs that had been slated to move to Mexico. That's terrific pre-Christmas news for workers at the Carrier plant, and the president-elect traveled to Indianapolis on Thursday to announce the deal and warn that other companies would not leave U.S. shores 'without consequences.' Amid the powerful symbolism and celebratory atmosphere, however, it's important to put the deal in context." [editor's note: Bottom line is, Carrier was smart to grab the deal and cut its taxes; Trump was wrong to offer it, since it was blatant crony-corporate welfare - SAT] (12/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/01/carrier-deal-manufuacturing-donald-trump-mike-pence-editorials-and-debates/94750708

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Pipeline politics is local

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"[F]racking and pipelines are both, for all intents and purposes, creatures of the state. The fossil fuel industries operate on 'public' lands which the state first engrossed (the U.S. government, under the terms of the Louisiana Purchase and Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, inherited the land titles of the Spanish, French and Mexican governments), and then preferentially opened to extractive corporations. Their fuels are transported on pipelines built on stolen land, legally protected from most liability for spills, and protected by regulatory preemption from all the other forms of harm they're responsible for. If you call yourself a libertarian and claim to support any pipeline project, you are a liar and an enemy of human freedom." (12/02/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/47093

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The “buy America” Trump test

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Republicans in Congress are pushing to strip 'Buy America' provisions from a bill to help fix the country’s water systems. Republican President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on government help for American manufacturing and jobs. So this is an early test: Will Trump step up and tell House Republicans to keep 'Buy America' in the bill, or will he continue to follow the Wall Street/Big Corporate/billionaire agenda his transition has indicated is coming? The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) usually passes every two years. This one authorizes 25 critical Army Corps projects in 17 states. Of particular note, 'The bill also responds to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, by providing emergency assistance to Flint and other similar communities across the country facing drinking water contamination.' The WRDA bill had been held up (obstructed) over Republican objections to things like helping boost jobs under President Obama, helping Flint, and infrastructure spending generally. It eventually passed both houses of Congress but with different versions. Now it is held up again in the House as Speaker Ryan tries to strip provisions requiring the purchase of American-made materials like iron and steel from American manufacturers." (12/03/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161202/the-buy-america-trump-test

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What free speech doesn’t give you the right to say

Cracked
by Aaron Kheifets

"Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of our society, and it is absolutely a principle worth defending to one's dying breath. Unfortunately, complete assholes are also a cornerstone of our society, and will definitely be here until our dying breaths. And when the latter gets hold of the former, they invoke it improperly and indiscriminately, like a toddler with a new word or a monkey with a shotgun. As Reddit announced plans to crack down on its 'most toxic' users, Facebook started to cull fake news from its advertising networks, and Google looked to cut ad revenue to the same, the reaction was predictable. 'Censorship!' 'What about our freedom?' 'It's almost as if the internet isn't a safe haven for disinformation and hate speech anymore!' Does that mean the internet is abandoning our much-beloved free speech? Fuck no! It just means that the standards for free speech people use on the internet are finally catching up to all other forms of human interaction. But for the users bewildered as to why they're getting squelched in these forums, I'd like to offer two points." (12/03/16)

http://www.cracked.com/blog/no-free-speech-not-under-attack.-being-a2A2Ahole-is./

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Five reasons Obama will be viewed as one of the worst presidents of all time

Town Hall
by John Hawkins

"Compiling a list of reasons why Barack Obama is a terrible president seems like a project for a book rather than a column. However, when we start looking at the catastrophic mistakes he’s made that may reverberate for years to come, it’s clear that he’s been a disaster for America on a scale that few other Presidents can match. Just look at his record. 1) Nearly Doubling The National Debt: Let’s see, what was it that Barack Obama said about our debt back in 2008 when he was trying to convince Americans to vote him into office?" (12/03/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2016/12/03/5-reasons-barack-obama-will-be-viewed-as-one-of-the-worst-presidents-of-all-time-n2254303

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LGBT lives are better than ever, yet the culture war grows louder

Scott Shackford Reason
by Scott Shackford

"[W]hat I'm seeing from pieces like this bizarre one from BuzzFeed, and from things like a gay politician's attempt to promote a boycott of a beer company owner for supporting Trump, is an inability to accept a norm that we live side-by-side in a world with significant ideological diversity, and an inability to place an emphasis on policy-making over signaling and culture war judging. Debate over DeVos'[s] actual anti-gay background and how that might or might not affect federal education policy (libertarian disclaimer: we shouldn't even have a federal education policy) shouldn't be fighting for attention with the church habits of a couple of televised home renovators. I've said repeatedly while watching this election play out that one of the primary attitudes driving the culture of these campaigns has been the desire to punish one's foe. ... Self-segregation and social punishment seem to be the order of the day as the left and the right drift further and further apart culturally, even as policy differences seem less pronounced than they used to be." (12/01/16)

http://reason.com/blog/2016/12/01/lgbt-lives-are-better-than-ever-yet-the

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Is flag burning protected speech?

Andrew P. Napolitano Antiwar.com
by Andrew P Napolitano

"Before the Supreme Court ruled that burning your own flag in public is lawful, federal law and numerous state laws had made it criminal to do so. In analyzing those laws before it declared them to be unconstitutional, the Court looked at the original public understanding of those laws and concluded that they were intended not as fire safety regulations -- the same statutes permitted other public fires -- but rather as prophylactics intended to coerce reverence for the American flag by criminalizing the burning of privately owned pieces of cloth that were recognizable as American flags. That is where the former statutes ran into trouble. Had they banned all public fires in given locations, for public safety sake, they probably would have withstood a constitutional challenge. But since these statutes were intended to suppress the ideas manifested by the public flag burning, by making the public expression of those ideas criminal, the statutes ran afoul of the First Amendment." (12/01/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2016/11/30/flag-burning-protected-speech/

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Jamie Raskin has a fierce, funny message for dispirited Democrats

The New Republic The New Republic
by Graham Vyse

"On Wednesday, House Democrats doubled down on the same old, same old, voting for Nancy Pelosi and a leadership team with an average age of 76 -- a group that, for all its virtues, doesn’t exactly offer a fresh message to inspire the left. But on Wednesday night in the D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, a vibrant new left-wing voice in the House made himself heard—with exactly the message that Democrats across the country sorely need. 'The resistance begins right here and the revival begins tonight,' said Representative-elect Jamie Raskin, whipping up the crowd at a rally he called 'the first true-blue, overflow Democratic revival meeting of 2016.' The curly-haired 53-year-old representative-elect is already a household name in Silver Spring." (12/01/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139092/jamie-raskin-fierce-funny-message-dispirited-democrats

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The terrifying lessons of the Philippines’ vigilante president

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Apps

"Every morning in the Philippines, a handful of bodies are found littering the streets. Their faces are often covered in black plastic tape. Sometimes there are signs of torture. Usually, they have been shot in the head. Few bother police; they are usually suspected of being responsible. No one, frankly, should be surprised that it is happening. The country’s democratically elected leader, after all, was elected promising to do just this, cracking down on what he has described as a 'drug menace' in the country. If one world leader exemplifies some of the more alarming trends taking place in politics this decade, it is Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. His election and the policies he has pursued since entering office represent a comprehensive rejection of decades, if not centuries, of hard-won moves toward respect for human rights and the rule of law." (12/01/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-duterte-philippines-commentary-idUSKBN13Q4RD

1 Comment »

Signs of a creepy government conspiracy at Standing Rock

Cracked
by Robert Evans & Tamlin Magee

"The demonstration at Standing Rock, North Dakota is the largest gathering of indigenous people in modern American history. Over 280 tribes and thousands of non-native volunteers have gathered to protect the Sioux's ancestral water supply, which they believe will be poisoned when the North Dakota Access Pipeline inevitably leaks. Most of the coverage you've seen has probably come in the form of Twitter and Facebook rage-screaming in all-caps gibberish, or it looks like this: '... hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline.' That vague title leaves a lot open to interpretation. And if the internet has taught us anything, it's that interpretation is not the average person's strong suit ... or even their medium suit, for that matter. 'Clash' suggests an equal meeting of force, and that's really not the case when one side has military hardware and the backing of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and the other side ... well, doesn't. " (12/01/16)

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2418-the-standing-rock-hacks-cracked-unravels-real-conspiracy.html

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A cabinet for the deep-pocket ages

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati

"People holding personal fortunes worth over $5 million this year make up less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world’s adult population. People worth over $5 million may also this year make up nearly 100 percent of the picks Donald Trump chooses for his cabinet and inner circle. President-elect Trump’s choices for top slots so far include at least two billionaires, two former Wall Street executives at Goldman Sachs, and assorted other mega-millionaire heirs and corporate honchos. Donald Trump, notes the Washington Post, 'is assembling the richest administration in modern American history.' The Trump choice for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, holds all by himself ten times more personal wealth than the entire cabinet George W. Bush appointed back in 2001." (12/01/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161201/a-cabinet-for-the-deep-pocket-ages

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The legal marijuana middle ground

USA Today USA Today
by Beau Kilmer

"With more than 65 million people living in states that have passed marijuana legalization, and a Gallup poll showing that 60% of the country supports legalizing marijuana use, national legalization may seem inevitable. ... California was the first state to allow medical marijuana, starting nearly 20 years ago. Its approach was extremely loose; over time it became easy for essentially any adult to obtain a medical recommendation, and dispensaries abounded. ... There are many ways to legalize marijuana supply besides the for-profit approach. I understand why some may be worried about creating an industry that will likely be incentivized to lobby against regulation and taxation to maximize profits. And if the marijuana businesses end up following the lead of alcohol companies, they will work hard to create and maintain heavy users, since they account for the vast majority of sales." [editor's note: A good analysis of the variances between limited "legal" cartels and decriminalization - SAT] (11/30/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/11/30/marijuana-legalize-states-medical-recreational-column/94553192

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The indefensible Electoral College

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux

"When someone as manifestly unfit for office as Donald Trump can be elected president of the United States, it represents a collective institutional failure. But it is important to keep one crucial fact front and center: The American electorate did not choose him. By the time the vote counting is finished in California, Hillary Clinton will have received roughly 2.5 million more votes than Trump. This is a larger margin than Richard Nixon in 1968 or JFK in 1960 had achieved. The people’s choice did not become president because an indefensible anachronism malfunctioned for the second time in less than two decades. The lessons of this should be clear. In the long term, the Electoral College must be eliminated or circumvented; in the short term, the fact that Donald Trump was not the choice of the American people needs to be front and center to the progressive opposition to his administration." [editor's note: Another whine from the "progressive" front, ignoring the incompetence of "their own" troops and the unfit nature of "their own" candidate(s) - SAT] (11/30/16)

http://prospect.org/article/indefensible-electoral-college

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Unions as an alternative to state licensing

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Logan Glitterbomb

"Many skilled jobs, such as those in the construction, electrical, medical, and mechanic industries, are already heavily unionized. And in those industries, the unions pride themselves on their professionalism. Skilled unions require certain amounts of training or other qualifications before a person is allowed to join in many cases or provide training as part of union membership. Some unions pride themselves on their standards so much that chances are if you are getting your car fixed by one of their mechanics, you know you're in confident hands. Already many people look for certified union workers because they understand that if the union requires a base level of skill, then the services their members provide will be of quality. This system could easily be an alternative to the overly bureaucratic and authoritarian state licensing regimes." (12/01/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/47052

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Why flag burning matters

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by David Swanson

"There is no excuse for allowing your government to take your son or daughter and give you back a flag. There is no excuse for allowing your government to take someone else's son or daughter. Ever. Anywhere. No matter how scared you are. No matter what oath of loyalty you've robotically pledged to a colored piece of fabric since Kindergarten." (12/01/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/01/why-flag-burning-matters/

1 Comment »

Muslim registry and the ghosts of our past

OpEdNews
by John Kiriakou

"The island of Zakynthos is on the southern end of the Ionian archipelago. Its beauty is legendary, with blue seas and sky, white sands, and lush green vegetation. On September 9, 1943, the island's occupation governor, a German major named Berenz, summoned the island's Greek mayor, Loukas Karrer, to demand that he turn over the names and addresses of all Jews living on the island. A deeply troubled Karrer immediately consulted with the highest-ranking church official on the island, Bishop Chrysostomos Dimitriou .... Karrer and Bishop Chrysostomos returned to Berenz's office. They said they had complied with his order, and they handed him their 'list,' which contained only their own names and addresses. The Bishop told the Nazi: 'Here is your list. We are the only Jews on this island.' ... If Trump's registration plan actually comes to pass, we must all stand up. We must all register ourselves as Muslims." (12/01/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Muslim-Registry-and-the-Gh-by-John-Kiriakou-Fascist_Holocaust_Muslim_Muslim-Bashing-161130-295.html

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Hey, @RealDonaldTrump, hands off my flag

Thomas L Knapp -- photo by Avens O'Brien William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp

"If someone wants to set fire to a brightly colored piece of cloth, it's nobody else's business unless the flag is stolen, the flag-burner is trespassing, or burning the flag endangers other people's lives or property. That's true even if you’ve convinced yourself that your grandfather 'died for' that brightly colored piece of cloth (hopefully he died for something more consequential than your favorite rectangular textile pattern). It's true even if you profoundly disagree with the point the flag-burner is trying to convey (or, as may well be the case, even if you can't really tell what that point might be). It's true even if you're Donald J. Trump." (11/30/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/8576

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Don’t let Clinton off the hook

USA Today USA Today
by Tom Fitton

"President-elect Donald Trump seems to be harboring misgivings about the investigation and possible prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her email, national security and Clinton Foundation pay-for-play scandals. The president-elect has said that he 'does not want to hurt the Clintons,' and that is very gracious. But Clinton’s transgressions were not committed against him personally; they were committed against the nation at large. And it is to the American people that she must be held accountable." (11/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/11/29/let-clinton-hook-opposing-view/94629732

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The real reason Hillary asked for a recount

Town Hall
by Ed Klein

"Why did Hillary Clinton join Jill Stein, the Green Party’s oddball presidential nominee, in asking for a recount of the votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania when everyone knows that such a recount won’t change the outcome of the 2016 election? Part of the answer is that people close to Hillary (Huma Abedin, Chelsea Clinton, and Sidney Blumenthal) encouraged her to ask for a recount as a way of lifting her spirits. ... In addition, President Obama convinced Hillary that it was in the best interest of the Democratic Party if the Clinton legal team got involved with the recount and didn’t leave it to Jill Stein." (11/30/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/edklein/2016/11/30/the-real-reason-hillary-asked-for-a-recount-n2252841

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What safe spaces & trigger warnings actually are

Cracked
by Isaac Cabe

"The American university is quite the weird place to be right now. Despite it being harder and harder to get into a lot of schools, the current climate of the country tends to show less respect and more ever-growing middle fingers for kids in college. Universities aren't the bastions of education they used to be. Instead, everyone from 'grrrrrr, I'm angry' comedians to President Obama has told them to buck up and ditch the 'trigger warnings' and 'safe spaces.' I want this on record. Mr. President, you're wrong. And it starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of what these things actually are." [editor's note: This is actually a pretty objective consideration of this topic - SAT] (11/30/16)

http://www.cracked.com/blog/safe-spaces-arent-new-they-shouldnt-make-you-angry

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Growing far-right nationalistic movements are dangerously anti-Muslim — and pro-Israel

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

The specter of a growing far-right nationalism anywhere, but particularly in Central Europe, immediately -- and for good and obvious reasons -- raises fears of an anti-semitism revival. But at least thus far, the leaders of most of these nationalistic parties -- increasingly inspired and fueled by one another's success -- have showcased dangerous animosity toward Muslims, accompanied by strong policy support for Israel and a rhetorical repudiation of anti-semitism. Whether from cynical tactical considerations or actual conviction, the most successful leaders of this emerging movement -- while unrestrained with their reckless anti-Muslim fear-mongering -- not only repudiate anti-semitism in words but are incorporating steadfast support for Israel as part of their policy agenda. And in many cases, the Israeli government -- which itself exhibits many of the same far-right attributes as these movements -- is expressing support in return." (11/30/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/30/growing-far-right-nationalistic-movements-are-dangerously-anti-muslim-and-pro-israel/

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The left’s fidelity to Castro-ation

In These Times
by Slavoj Zizek

"I am critical of Cuba not because I am anti-Communist but because I remain a Communist. We all remember the classic scene from cartoons: a cat walks over the precipice and magically goes on, floating in the air; it falls down only when it looks down and becomes aware that it has no ground under its feet. In the same way, one can say that, in the last decades, Cuban 'socialism' continued to live only because it didn’t yet notice it was already dead. ... One gets tired of the conflicting stories of the economic failure and human rights abuses in Cuba, as well as of the twins of education and healthcare that are always trotted out by the friends of the revolution. One gets tired even of the really great story of how a small country can resist the biggest superpower (yes, with the help of the other superpower)." [editor's note: This one is here only to make you think a bit on this - SAT] (11/30/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19677/the-left-fidelity-castration-slavoj-zizek-fidel-castro-cuba-che-communism

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The myth of a cashless society

OpEdNews
by Prakash Kona

"In a closed society like India cash is a deeply private thing like bedroom sex and people hold on to their experience-based strategies of using money to enhance their sense of power. Homemakers from lower-middle class income groups are a good example of the small world power because part of their ability to run the home stems from their ability to save whatever little money comes into their hands. Since we are not a completely modern society some of the traditional ways of functioning such as lending small amounts of money for interest keep the society going. Thus there are parallel economies without which the entire social order would collapse in a matter of days. In other words, cash enables us to run other economies on a smaller scale rather than being a part of the banking system which caters to those who have accounts." (11/30/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Myth-of-a-Cashless-Soc-by-Prakash-Kona-Corporate_Money_Money_People-161130-473.html

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The CIA and the press: When the Washington Post ran the CIA’s propaganda network

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn

"ProporNot's catalogue of supposed Putin-controlled outlets reeks of the McCarthyite smears of the Red Scare era. The blacklist includes some of the most esteemed alternative news sites on the web, including Anti-war.com, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism, Consortium News, Truthout, Lew Rockwell.com, Global Research, Unz.com, Zero Hedge and, yes, CounterPunch, among many others. I'll have more on Timberg and ProporNot in my Friday column. In the meantime, here is a brief historical note on how during the height of the Cold War the CIA developed its very own stable of writers, editors and publishers (swelling to as many as 3000 individuals) that it paid to scribble Agency propaganda under a program called Operation Mockingbird. The disinformation network was supervised by the late Philip Graham, former publisher of Timberg's very own paper, the Washington Post." (11/30/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/30/the-cia-and-the-press-when-the-washington-post-ran-the-cias-propaganda-network/

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The Democrats’ circular firing squad

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

"If you are like me, you are probably very weary of debates about Who Lost America to Donald Trump. The debate goes something like this: Hillary blew it! What a terrible campaign. What a blemished candidate. What horrible judgment to take those speaking fees from Wall Street, to keep classified data on her personal server, to fail to ask her top aide Huma Abedin to leave her employ once the Anthony Weiner mess blew up, yet again. She handed her enemies a loaded gun. And now we’re stuck with Trump!! Hillary screwed up; we pay the price. Hold on, misogynist pig. Hillary won! She won the popular vote by more than two million. Even apart from the alleged hacking of election results, old-fashioned voter suppression ... probably cost her at least three swing states where the winning margin was razor thin. ... Yeah, but a decent candidate would have beat Trump by ten points. There was no excitement for Hillary outside the bubble. Did you even see Hillary lawn signs, or bumper stickers?" (11/29/16)

http://prospect.org/article/democrats%E2%80%99-circular-firing-squad

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Words as weapons of authoritarian control

The New Republic The New Republic
by "Primary Concerns"

"When the public can not agree upon a shared reality (when confusion and distrust and propaganda reign), politics devolves into a pre-democratic struggle for power, which will disfavor resisters. Donald Trump may not understand this dynamic academically, but it was a hallmark of his campaign and has become a hallmark of his pre-presidency. Sometimes his false pronouncements are buffoonish and ill-considered, but make no mistake: he is taking a hammer to one of liberal society’s guardrails. Dartmouth College Political Scientist Brendan Nyhan has studied the ways information and disinformation affect political processes extensively. He joins us to explore why propaganda and conspiracy theory are so prevalent today, how this plays neatly into Trump’s hands, and what can be done about it." (11/30/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139060/primary-concerns-episode-38-words-weapons-authoritarian-control

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We won’t let you forget it: Why we oppose French attempts to export the right to be forgotten worldwide

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Kate Tummarello

"The European Union's Court of Justice ruled in 2013 that Europeans have the right to demand that certain links be taken out of search engine results. But the French CNIL vastly expanded the effect of these requests when it said in 2015 that Google must remove links from not just search results returned within the EU, but from search results for everyone, anywhere in the world. This interpretation of the Right to be Forgotten runs contrary to policy and practice outside Europe, will harm the global Internet, and inherently undermines global rights, including those protected by the Constitution in the United States." (11/29/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/11/we-wont-let-you-forget-it-why-we-oppose-french-attempts-export-right-be-forgotten

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The tyranny at Standing Rock: The government’s divide-and-conquer strategy is working

John W. Whitehead OpEdNews
by John W Whitehead

"What we're witnessing at Standing Rock, where activists have gathered to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline construction on Native American land, is just the latest incarnation of the government's battle plan for stamping out any sparks of resistance and keeping the populace under control: battlefield tactics, military weaponry and a complete suspension of the Constitution. Militarized police. Riot and camouflage gear. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Drones. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Concussion grenades. Arrests of journalists. Intimidation tactics. Brute force. This is what martial law looks like, when a government disregards constitutional freedoms and imposes its will through military force. Only this is martial law without any government body having to declare it." (11/29/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Tyranny-at-Standing-Ro-by-John-Whitehead-Protest_Standing-Rock-161129-431.html

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The danger of doubting Donald Trump’s legitimacy

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

"It’s strange that the impending recount of votes in Wisconsin has driven President-elect Donald Trump to a nervous breakdown, because the process will almost certainly show that his Electoral College victory was legitimate. All elections, even blowouts, give rise to scapegoating and conspiracy theory. In 2008, when the outgoing GOP president was historically loathed, and the economy had begun to collapse under his watch, some conservatives still couldn’t accept that the election had been fair. After a Democratic landslide, they alleged widespread fraud and cited the practically non-existent New Black Panther Party as evidence of voter intimidation. In this year’s election, the winner came up 2.3 million votes (and counting) short in the popular ballot. Trump won the Electoral College by 100,000 votes over three states -- too many for the result of the election to be overturned, in all likelihood, but tiny in any statistical sense." (11/29/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139039/danger-doubting-donald-trumps-legitimacy

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Will Marine le Pen become France’s next President?

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Arthur Goldhammer

"Yesterday, François Fillon won the primary of the French Republican Party (Les Républicains, known as LR). As I predicted last week, Fillon handily eliminated his lone remaining rival, Alain Juppé, by a margin of 2-1. How does this stunning victory affect the handicapping of next spring’s presidential election? The short (and perhaps surprising) answer is that it makes the election of the Front National’s Marine Le Pen more likely. I will explain why in a moment. But first a word about Fillon." (11/29/16)

http://prospect.org/article/will-marine-le-pen-become-france%E2%80%99s-next-president

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The high price of Turkey’s “witch-burning” crackdown

Reuters Reuters
by David Kaye

"Necmye Alpay greeted me warmly. Dressed casually in a workout-style jacket and sneakers, her spirit of optimism stood in stark contrast to the spareness of the setting: the Bakirkoy Women’s Prison in Istanbul. Alpay has been held in Bakirkoy since the beginning of September. I met with her when I was in Turkey this month on an official mission as the United Nations’ monitor for freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. The government invited me to visit back in February, before the July 15 coup attempt, before the state of emergency declared by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that same month, but well after a crackdown on government criticism had begun. Alpay is a prominent translator, linguist and writer based in Istanbul. She was detained along with her friend, Asli Erdogan, one of Turkey’s most accomplished novelists and essayists. The government refused my request to meet with Erdogan (no relation to the president), but allowed me to spend an hour with Alpay on Nov. 17." (11/29/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-crackdown-commentary-idUSKBN13O20Q

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Burn a flag for Donald Trump

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Trevor Hultner

"I've heard a lot of folks say that we should ignore the wacky things Donald Trump says in public and on Twitter. Their justifications usually revolve around two main planks: that Trump is a richer, now-more-powerful version of an internet troll in that if you ignore him he'll find something else to focus on and stop saying bonkers things about freedom of speech, dissent, etc.; and that he's saying this stuff because he knows the media will focus more on his wild proclamations than on his failed business empire, his myriad conflicts of interest and his general myopia about becoming president. At this point I think the evidence bears itself out nicely that internet trolls don't just go away if you starve them of attention." (11/29/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/47077

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Donald Trump flag-burning tweet inflames, distracts, offends the Constitution

The Intercept The Intercept
by Alex Emmons

"Given Trump's history of manipulating the news cycle with intentionally provocative tweets, it is difficult to know whether the tweet was a serious sign of his intentions to crack down on political dissent -- or simply an attempt to incite left-wing critics and distract from other stories, like the recent coverage of his and his son-in-law's extraordinary conflicts of interest. But the tweet combines two deeply unconstitutional ideas long repudiated by the Supreme Court: criminalizing flag burning and stripping Americans of citizenship without their consent." (11/29/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/29/donald-trump-flag-burning-tweet-inflames-distracts-offends-the-constitution/

No Comments »

Three Democratic delusions

USA Today USA Today
by Michael Medved

"As Democrats try to regroup after their recent presidential defeat, they tend to delude themselves on three crucial points. First, they seek comfort in Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin of more than two million, marking the sixth election of the last seven in which a Democrat won more raw votes than his or her Republican rival. But this meaningless 'winning streak' masks a far more serious losing streak: in the last 50 years, over the course of thirteen presidential elections, Barack Obama is the only Democratic nominee to reach a solid popular vote majority of 51% or more -- and he did it twice. Going beyond Lyndon Johnson’s landslide against Barry Goldwater in 1964, you’d need to reach all the way back to Franklin D. Roosevelt to find another Democratic nominee who connected with an unmistakable majority of his fellow citizens." [editor's note: I don't usually care much for Medved, but he pretty much nails this one - SAT] (11/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/11/29/popular-vote-clinton-democrats-trump-medved-column/94545452

No Comments »


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/

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »


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