Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

US Senate panel greenlights Lynch for Attorney General

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Loretta Lynch won approval from a key Senate committee Thursday to serve as the nation's next attorney general, as divided Republicans clashed over her support for President Barack Obama's immigration policies. The 12 to 8 vote in the Judiciary Committee sent Lynch's nomination to the full Senate. Three Republicans joined all committee Democrats in voting 'yes.'" (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nbthxrb

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VA: Legislature agrees to compensate victims of forced, state-sponsored sterilizations

Greenfield Daily Reporter

"Lewis Reynolds didn't understand what had been done to him when he was 13. Years later, after getting married, the Lynchburg man discovered he couldn't father children. The reason: He had been sterilized by the state. Reynolds was among more than 7,000 Virginians involuntarily sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act. Advocates for the surviving victims won a three-year fight Thursday when the Virginia General Assembly budgeted $400,000 to compensate them at the rate of $25,000 each." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pza6swv

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Report: Stone Age Britons imported wheat

Raw Story Raw Story

"Stone Age Britons imported wheat about 8,000 years ago in a surprising sign of sophistication for primitive hunter-gatherers long viewed as isolated from European agriculture, a study showed on Thursday. British scientists found traces of wheat DNA in a Stone Age site off the south coast of England near the Isle of Wight, giving an unexpected sign of contact between ancient hunter-gatherers and farmers who eventually replaced them. The wheat DNA was dated to 8,000 years ago, 2,000 years before Stone Age people in mainland Britain started growing cereals and 400 years before farming reached what is now northern Germany or France, they wrote in the journal Science." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/njmwzt7

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Canada: Court upholds requiring oath to Queen for citizenship

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Canada's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to remove the country's citizenship oath, which requires applicants to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. The appeal was launched by three permanent residents who wanted to obtain citizenship but not want to pledge allegiance to the royal family. Native-born Canadians do not have to take any oath. The plaintiffs say the vow violates religious and conscientious beliefs. " (02/26/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31652050

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Germany: Lesson from neo-Nazi battles in fighting homegrown jihadis

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"This summer, Thomas Mücke managed a coup: he dissuaded a young German from joining the Islamic State. The teenager, a Kurd whose family is originally from Turkey but now living in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, had landed in prison after committing a petty crime. Angry, confined, and looking to lash out, he 'had pretty much given up with life and was ready to pack his bag' for Syria, Mr. Mücke says. But Mücke, a street worker and head of the Berlin-based Violence Prevention Network (VPN) in Berlin, challenged the aspiring jihadi. Did he know that Islamic State fought against Kurds? No, the boy didn’t. In fact, he had no idea about his religion. It was a prison inmate that gave him the idea to go to Syria." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nj3sjk6

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Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Nearly six years after the Great Recession, a clear majority of American families say they feel unprepared for a financial emergency. The Pew Charitable Trusts' poll of 7,000 U.S. households finds that 57 percent don't consider themselves ready for a sudden financial setback, 55 percent say they break even or spend more than they make each month, and a third have no savings. 'Despite a steady economic recovery, many Americans continue to feel vulnerable,' says Erin Currier, director of Pew's financial security and mobility project." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/proaqjj

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Ukraine begins artillery withdrawal, recognizing truce is holding

Reuters Reuters

"Ukrainian troops towed artillery away from the front line in [Donetsk People's Republic] on Thursday, a move that amounted to recognizing that a ceasefire meant to take effect on Feb. 15 was holding at last. The military showed reporters seven or eight guns being towed away from the front at the village of Paraskoviyvka north of the [invaders'] stronghold of Artemivsk. Earlier, Reuters journalists saw a larger convoy of 30-40 vehicles also towing guns away from the front on a highway." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qj8aqm7

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Farmers eye drones as key to future of agriculture

Fox News Fox News

"The drone could be ready to take its place alongside the tractor and combine harvester, as the next indispensable piece of farming equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration recently released new rules governing the use of drones, and farmers, who see drones as a way to get a birds-eye view of their fields and monitor crops, to precisely deliver fertilizer and pesticides were watching carefully. Commercial use of drones is still widely banned in the U.S., but many farmers are using them over their property anyway, daring federal regulators to put a stop to it. An eye in the sky can help a farmer know what his or her crops need, and what might be afflicting them." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q8nhsnp

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MO: State Auditor Thomas Schweich dead in apparent suicide

CNN CNN

"Thomas Schweich, the 54-year-old state auditor who'd just won a second term while running unopposed in 2014, was pronounced deceased from a single gunshot wound, possibly self-infliction, according to a Clayton Police Department press release. Detectives are conducting an investigation and an autopsy is pending, authorities said. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Schweich's wife, who was in another room, heard him making phone calls -- and then a gunshot. It happened just hours after Schweich had requested interviews with the Post-Dispatch and The Associated Press at his home." (02/26/15)

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/26/politics/missouri-politician-suicide/

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Venezuela: Protests continue as teen shot by police is buried

Irish Times [Ireland]

"Sporadic protests flared in different parts of Venezuela on Wednesday, a day after a policeman shot dead a teenager during a demonstration against president Nicolas Maduro's government in the volatile city of San Cristobal. The worst unrest was again in San Cristobal, where distraught relatives of 14-year-old Kluibert Roa held a wake and funeral following his killing on Tuesday. Witnesses said dozens of masked protesters faced off with security forces in streets blocked with rubbish and tires, and two police motorcycles were burned in the Andean city, a centre of last year's anti-Maduro protests and violence that killed 43 people." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pp4rhd7

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MA: Tsarnaev’s lawyers seek indictment dismissal

WHDH 7 News

"Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have asked a judge to dismiss the indictment against their client, arguing that the way jury selection was conducted violates the Constitution. Lawyers on Thursday filed a motion saying the jury selection process violated Tsarnaev's right to have a jury that represents a 'fair cross section of the community.'" (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mvg9y7w

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DC legalizes pot despite threats from Congress

ABC News ABC News

"The District of Columbia defied threats from Congress and moved forward Thursday with legalizing possession of marijuana after a voter-approved initiative. Despite last-minute maneuvers by Republican leaders in Congress and threats that city leaders could face prison time, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city was implementing marijuana legalization as approved by voters. The new law took effect at 12:01 a.m." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/poyetyo

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WI: Senate passes anti-union law amid mass protests

Al Jazeera Al Jazeera America

"The Wisconsin state Senate on Wednesday night narrowly approved a proposal to make Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work [sic] state in the nation, as thousands of demonstrators protested the measure at the state capitol. The Republican-led state Senate was expected to approve the bill, which would prohibit requiring private sector workers to join or financially support unions, and move it to the state Assembly, where Republicans also hold a majority." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nnhxrxs

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GA: Regime postpones planned state killing due to weather

United Press International

"The planned execution of Georgia's only female death row inmate, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, was delayed Wednesday due to an impending winter storm. The Georgia Department of Corrections confirmed it postponed the execution until Monday just hours before Gissendaner was originally scheduled to die. ... Gissendaner was sentenced to death in 1998 for plotting the 1997 slaying of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. Her former lover, Gregory Owen, was sentenced to life in prison with chance of parole after 25 years for stabbing to death Douglas Gissendaner." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8s92gv

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Study: Money can’t buy happiness, but can protect from sadness

Raw Story Raw Story

"Money can’t buy love. Money can’t buy happiness. But you might be able to buy your way out of sadness. Research has found that wealthier individuals feel less sadness during their daily activities but, surprisingly, no more happiness than their poorer counterparts. The results 'provide the first evidence that the emotional advantage of higher income may lie in buffering people against sadness rather than boosting happiness,' according to Kostadin Kushlev of the University of British Columbia and his colleagues, who conducted the study. The researchers said it was a mistake to view happiness and sadness as mutually exclusive opposites. 'Because happiness is not simply the absence of sadness, or vice versa, income may have a different relationship to each of those emotions,' they wrote." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qjx2vog

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Romania gets serious about ending its notorious corruption

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"Outside the National Anticorruption Directorate in downtown Bucharest, more than a dozen reporters and cameramen stand around chatting. It’s a weekday afternoon, and they know it’s only a matter of time before the next high-profile Romanian shows up to face charges of corruption. Even a few years ago, Romania's powerful and well-connected were able to line their own pockets with impunity, earning the country deserved notoriety as one of Europe's most graft-ridden nations." [editor's note: Is the translation "round up the usual suspects"? - SAT] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqug6b4

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SCOTUS appears to favor headscarf claim

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A majority of US Supreme Court justices appear to be supportive of an argument that Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against a Muslim teenager. Samantha Elauf argued she was denied a job because her headscarf conflicted with the company's dress code. Abercrombie disputes the allegation, arguing Ms Elauf did not ask specifically for a religious exemption. Questions from some of the justices were in favour of Ms Elauf, but their final decision will be made in May." (02/25/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31626957

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CA: Democrats push to repeal “welfare queen” law

Fox News Fox News

"California Democrats are trying to reverse a decades-old state law that bars families from getting extra welfare money for having an additional child, describing the law as 'sexist' and 'classist' -- despite concerns that repealing it could compound the state's money woes. The so-called 'welfare queen' law was passed two decades ago during the heyday of welfare reform. At the time, Democrats were in charge of the state legislature and Republican Pete Wilson was governor. Today, Democrats are still in charge, but the base of support for the law is fading." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o4f7cbd

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CA: Plastic bag ban on hold, voters to decide fate

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A statewide ban on plastic bags scheduled to go into effect in July was suspended Tuesday after a referendum to repeal the law qualified for the November 2016 ballot. The referendum needed a random sampling to project that at least 555,236 signatures were valid. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who authored the plastic bag ban law last year as a state senator, said the measure qualified. Under the law, grocery stores and pharmacies statewide would have had to phase out single-use plastic bags by July." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nsgtsh9

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Apple ordered to pay $533 million for patent infringement

Reuters Reuters

"Apple Inc has been ordered to pay $532.9 million after a federal jury in Texas found that its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC. Though Smartflash had been asking for $852 million in damages, Tuesday night's verdict was still a blow to Apple. The jury, which deliberated for eight hours, determined Apple had not only used Smartflash's patents without permission, but did so willfully." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pvv33qv

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Obama vetoes “Keystone XL” land theft/corporate welfare boondoggle

Columbus Dispatch

"President Barack Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill seeking to force him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, just the third veto of his presidency. Republican leaders pledge to keep pushing for the 1,179-mile pipeline to ship crude oil from the Canadian oil sands to Texas. But the pipeline has problems other than the president, with challenges in Nebraska and South Dakota holding up the project even if politicians were able to ram it through. A Nebraska judge this month gave hope to landowners challenging the pipeline company TransCanada's attempt to use their land for the pipeline through eminent domain. The judge issued a temporary injunction, delaying the company from acquiring the land until a lawsuit is settled." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kzfwy7p

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IL: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden “black site”

The Guardian [UK]

"The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago's west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mqfab2x

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Eleventh-hour drama for FCC’s Internet power grab

The Hill The Hill

"A Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission wants to see changes that could narrow the scope of new net neutrality rules set for a vote on Thursday. Mignon Clyburn, one of three Democrats on the FCC, has asked Chairman Tom Wheeler to roll back some of his provisions before the full commission votes on them, FCC officials said. ... Clyburn's changes would leave in place the central and most controversial component of Wheeler's rules -- the notion that broadband Internet service should be reclassified so that it can be treated as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, similar to utilities like phone lines. ... However, she wants to eliminate a new legal category of 'broadband subscriber access services,' created as an additional point of legal authority for the FCC to monitor the ways companies hand off traffic on the back end of the Internet." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l5ojrh5

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UN climate panel chair resigns amid sexual harassment claims

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"India's Rajendra Pachauri quit as chair of the U.N. panel of climate scientists on Tuesday, ending 13 turbulent years in charge of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, after a sexual harassment complaint against him. Pachauri, 74, has denied the allegation. Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002, Pachauri pulled out of an IPCC meeting in Kenya this week after Indian police started investigating the complaint by a female researcher in India." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lexm58g

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Zimmerman will not face US civil rights charges

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"George Zimmerman will not face federal civil rights charges over the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. Attorney General Eric Holder said Martin's death was a 'devastating tragedy' but the "high standard" for hate crime charges could not be met. Mr Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed Martin in Florida in 2012 but was found not guilty of murder at trial. The case sparked a fierce debate about racial profiling and self-defence laws in the US." (02/24/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31609169

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Commentary


| News | Events |

A suicide in Brooklyn

William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp

"Maraschino cherry mogul Arthur Mondella put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger on February 24. He was 57. New York City's medical examiners will no doubt rule his death a suicide. But Mondella was really the latest victim of a multi-billion dollar industry: Drug prohibition. ... Mondella ran a second business behind the scenes. As with his cherry business, he provided a desired product to willing customers, leaving both parties better off than before the exchange. Unfortunately for him, that second business ran afoul of a set of evil laws maintained well past their 'okay, that didn't work' dates for the purpose of keeping government bureaucrats and 'non-profit' executives employed." (02/26/15)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/291

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Gitmo comes to Chicago

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald

"The place is called Homan Square. Reportedly, lawyers are not allowed, and arrests are basically off books, meaning suspects disappear into a blackhole of bureaucracy for however long they're held. If you can't find your client, but they were taken away by police, that's where they are likely to be. Suspects are denied lawyers for 12-24 hours. Kids as young as 15 have been taken there. One death has been reported, and numerous beatings. Ackerman relates the story of a NATO protester who was shackled for 17 hours, and not permitted to call a lawyer. Other attorneys claim similar stories of lost clients, and being barred from seeing them at Homan Square. MRAPs are reportedly parked outside the building. This sounds terrifying -- especially paired with, say, the Chicago police commander who tortured 100 suspects, and got away with it for decades, before finally serving four years in prison. But is this unique?" (02/26/15)

http://original.antiwar.com/lucy/2015/02/25/gitmo-comes-to-chicago/

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The libertarian [sic] delusion

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

"The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists, despite mountains of evidence that the free market is neither efficient, nor fair, nor free from periodic catastrophe. In an Adam Smith world, the interplay of supply and demand yields a price that signals producers what to make and investors where to put their capital. The more that government interferes with this sublime discipline, the more bureaucrats deflect the market from its true path. But in the world where we actually live, markets do not produce the 'right' price. There are many small examples of this failure, but also three immense ones that should have discredited the libertarian [sic] premise by now." [editor's note: I added the [sic]s since this writer has basically NO clue what that word means - SAT] (02/26/15)

http://prospect.org/article/libertarian-delusion

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Emanuel’s corrupt governance has finally caught up with him

In These Times In These Times
by Rick Perlstein

"On Tuesday, Chicagoans voted themselves a reprieve. With 45.4 percent of the vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ended the first round of his first reelection bid almost five points below what he needed to avoid a runoff election in April -- and three points below his performance in the last major pre-election poll. 'Mayor 1%' will face second-place finisher Jesus 'Chuy' García, the soft-spoken, compassionate Cook County board member who proclaimed himself with a Chicagoan lilt the 'neighborhood guy' -- who over-performed the poll." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/olorzkg

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The national security state’s ISIS racket

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"The official enemy de jour that has everyone all riled up and scared is ISIS. If U.S. forces don't bomb ISIS, the argument goes, ISIS will take over Iraq, and Syria, and Lebanon, and Europe, and Asia, and Latin America, and then the United States. If the bombs don't fall on ISIS, before long Americans will be speaking Arabic and their children will be studying the Koran in America's government schools. It's all just one great big racket -- a racket based on 'national security,' a term that isn't even found in the Constitution and that doesn't even have an objective meaning." (02/26/15)

http://fff.org/2015/02/26/national-security-states-isis-racket/

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Why does the FBI have to manufacture its own plots if terrorism and ISIS are such grave threats?

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency's latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, 'it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.' One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI's plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case 'sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.' In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7manxu

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One-note Netanyahu goes totally tone deaf on Iran

Reuters Reuters
by Noga Tarnopolsky

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not having a good election. Recent polls show his right-wing Likud Party running neck-and-neck with the left-of-center Zionist Union, or in some cases, running behind. His numbers took a hit after Netanyahu was served with a damning report in which Israel’s state comptroller slammed him for excessive expenditure of public funds at his official residence. The report, which was in the works before elections were announced, has been turned over to the attorney general for investigation of possible criminality." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p67ao68

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Fast Track explained in seven words

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"All the talk about 'trade' deals might seem complicated, with all the 'TPP' and 'TPA' and 'FTA' and 'TTIP' floating around. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. ... TPP is the largest 'trade' deal in history. It is being negotiated in secret. It is immense, complex and written in international legalese. But fast track means Congress has to pass it within 90 days of the public seeing it for the first time. This is not enough time to read it, understand it, analyze all the pieces of it, consider all of the ramifications and explain all of that to people." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqx9qs4

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Should Dems demand Debbie Wasserman Schultz step down?

The New Republic The New Republic
by Danny Vinik

"Even if you were only casually following the news last week, you probably heard about Rudy Giuliani saying that President Barack Obama is not a patriot and doesn't love his country. You probably also heard about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sidestepping a question about Obama's religion. But you may have missed a report that Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly offered to change her position on medical marijuana if a key donor retracted critical comments about her." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ozfh7s9

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What you should know about Walmart’s raise

Michelle Chen The Nation
by Michelle Chen

"Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees -- overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour. The move was widely praised even by labor groups -- for lifting wages slightly closer to ... well, what it should have been paying workers all along." [editor's note: She has a piece of this story right at least - SAT] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ouofrp5

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Imprisoning immigrants: What the ACLU’s doing about it

Bryan Caplan EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

"It's easy to believe that private prisons are part of the problem. The government is the customer, and one of the main services the government is buying is (im)plausible deniability. If government prisons abuse immigrants, government officials might get in trouble. If companies hired by the government abuse immigrants, government officials can feign shock, cancel the contract, hire a different company, and resume oppression as usual. Farcical, but it works. In any case, though, poor prison conditions are not the fundamental problem. The abuse that overshadows all others is imprisonment for breaking unjust laws. Preventing foreigners from coming here to better their lives through honest toil is wrong." (02/26/15)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015/02/imprisoning_imm_1.html

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Jordan Smith on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Jordan Smith, an award-winning investigative journalist with The Intercept, discusses Rodney Reed's stay of execution in Texas as evidence of his innocence mounts -- even though the state is still eager to kill him." [Flash audio or MP3] (02/25/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/02/25/22515-jordan-smith/

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Political science, part 5: Net Neutrality

Liberale et Libertaire Liberale et Libertaire
by dL

"Heuristically, there is no such thing as 'net neutrality' ... there hasn't been since the 1988 Morris Worm. Without heuristic filtering by the tiered network providers, the public internet would be practically unusable. It would certainly be unreliable. The Administrative State implementation of 'net neutrality' presages the end of civilian control of the internet, the fossilization of corporate monopoly over the 'last mile' and the formalization of a surveillance regime against 'unauthorized traffic' (read: IP). The Administrative State enforcement of a 'public network' will invite the same censorship that the government imposes over that other decreed thing: 'the public airwaves,' even though that thing doesn't even really exist anymore." (02/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kn9todx

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A riot broke out and no one was surprised

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Ryan Calhoun

"Many liberal reformists object to rioting as a legitimate tactic of effecting positive change. They cite, as all anti-revolutionaries do, crackdowns on prison life and the possible negative response of outsiders. However, prison riots have historically proven a very useful tool in achieving the demands of malcontent prisoners or at least giving voice to the voiceless." (02/26/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36112

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A pretext for cyber COINTELPRO?

CounterPunch
by Eric Draitser

"In its ever expanding war against Syria, now under the broader pretext of 'fighting ISIS,' the US Government has employed a variety of tactics. From arming terrorists whom it dishonestly labels 'moderates,' to encouraging Turkey and Jordan to host jihadi training centers, to the CIA working with the Muslim Brotherhood to funnel weapons and fighters into Syria, the US and its allies have demonstrated the multi-faceted approach they're taking to fighting ISIS, extremism, and the Syrian Government. The war, once believed to be relegated solely to Syria and Iraq, has now been broadened to a regional, and indeed, a global war with no geographical boundaries or time limits. And now, the Obama administration has announced that its war will also be waged in cyberspace. " (02/26/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/26/a-pretext-for-cyber-cointelpro/

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One last chance to save the Internet … from the FCC

Reuters Reuters
by Ev Ehrlich

"As the Federal Communications Commission readies new net-neutrality rules this week, congressional Democrats face a choice: Should they work with the Republicans who control Congress to help pass new rules, or should they stay on the sidelines and leave the matter to a volatile regulatory process, subject to possible undoing in the courts? I disagree with neutrality: the idea that everything on the Internet should travel at the same speed, whether it’s the remote monitoring of a cardiac device or a video of a cat. But both critics and advocates of neutrality would likely agree that a new law is the best way to set new policy -- not regulatory decrees." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o9d839k

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Domestic fear is the price of empire

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman

"If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the U.S. government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments' invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge -- against Americans. Is the American empire worth that price?" (02/25/15)

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/domestic-fear-price-empire/

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To end police brutality, we need to end the police

The Nation The Nation
by Mychal Denzel Smith

"I don't want anyone in this room to mistake me for an objective or impartial journalist moderator. I have marched with, organized with, and written about everyone on this stage. I feel as much a part of the movement as I do a reporter of it. I have an agenda: we need to abolish the pillars of white supremacy and I think the police is one of those." [From Smith's introduction to a panel he moderated; video is at the link] (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ow35xd9

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I don’t love America either, Rudy

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson

"When Rudy Giuliani declares that someone doesn't love America, he defines America like most other hyperstatists -- America as a political entity. The America that you can literally point to on a map, and whose borders have grown in proportion to the American military state's aggression and brutality. The America Giuliani loves is the one made up of, first and foremost, its government, which Giuliani and his fellow American exceptionalists claim have 'allowed' for the greatest freedom and prosperity in mankind's history. Giuliani and his ilk love the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, the court system which Giuliani once worked the levers of, and all the American state's arbitrarily drawn political sub-entities (states and cities) -- one of which he ruled with an iron fist for many years. Love of America, for Giuliani, means love of its political infrastructure." (02/25/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36110

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Xenophobia not welcome in Panama

The Canal The Canal
by Elisa Vasquez

"Several things about Panama worry me, but nothing like the inflamed debate nowadays about immigrants and the role of foreign residents in the country. Nationalist and populist legislators' rants have been rightfully called xenophobic in local media, and have become dangerous fodder for economic and social conflicts. Panama's National Assembly is currently studying Bill 62, which modifies portions of the National Migration Service law. It would do away with the Crisol de Razas program (Melting Pot of Races), which allows for the legalization of unauthorized immigrants who have resided in the country for over a year or overstayed their permitted entry." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n74zzyf

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Rodney Reed will not die next week — but Texas still wants to kill him

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jordan Smith

"Nine days before Rodney Reed was scheduled to die in Texas for a crime he swears he didn't commit, the state's highest criminal court issued a stay of execution. The order came down late Monday afternoon, in response to an appeal citing new and compelling scientific evidence that challenges the state's timeline of events in the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites, which sent Reed to death row. ... because the new scientific evidence 'eviscerates' the state's theory of the crime, Benjet argues, it also invalidates the lower-court judge's opinion that further DNA testing would be irrelevant. ... The state counters that DNA testing is unnecessary and, in a separate brief filed Monday, that the real goal by Reed's defense is to 'unreasonably delay' his execution." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kc68la9

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After the Bitcoin gold rush

The New Republic The New Republic
by Nathan Schneider

"The search for riches in the ground has motivated some of history's most extravagant endeavors. It has inspired explorers, enslaved populations, and put opera houses in dusty mountain towns. But when the boom ends, the miners themselves have often been left in the lurch. They handle the raw material, turn it from hard earth to something potentially of value. Fabulous wealth comes to only a few, who rarely hold onto it long enough to be considered lucky. The search for bitcoins is little different." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pftj4wq

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Progressives: Pretty great night in Chicago’s elections

In These Times In These Times
by Yana Kunichoff

"The anti-machine fervor that pushed Rahm Emanuel into a run-off with Chuy García on Tuesday night was also felt in several key aldermanic races around the city. Three staunch Emanuel allies in City Council are now facing run-offs against independent candidates who also happen to be Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members. Social studies teacher Tim Meegan scraped into a run-off with Deb Mell, a member of one of the city’s most entrenched political families. This was the first aldermanic election for Mell, who was appointed by Emanuel to succeed her father, Dick Mell, in the seat when he retired in 2013. Deb Mell (who was strongly supported in the race by the Emanuel-affiliated super PAC Chicago Forward) received 49. 7 percent of the vote. Meegan received 34.5 percent, while a third candidate, Annisa Wanat, received 15.8%." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/krlsouw

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He whose name shall not be written

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg

"I live a less blessed life. As an Israeli and a journalist, my aspirations are more limited, yet less within my own power to achieve. I aspire to be able to write about my country's politics without using the name of the current prime minister. I'd like to write my next 300 articles without the 'N-word.' I'd like to think of him, if I think of him at all, as a vague faceless historical memory like, say, James Buchanan." (02/24/15)

http://prospect.org/article/he-whose-name-shall-not-be-written

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Is the SEC defying Dodd-Frank law on pay-ratio rule?

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"In July 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 953(b) of that law directs the SEC to require public companies to disclose the median annual total compensation of all employees, the total annual compensation of the chief executive officer, and the ratio of the median employee pay to the CEO’s pay. This gives investors and the public clues to whether (and the extent to which) the company is being looted from the top." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nhyqz2v

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Walker’s “Sarah Palin” problem: What’s really behind his media hostility

Salon
by Heather Digby Parton

[T]the definition of the gotcha has undergone a subtle change over the years. Where it was once thought to be a question about their personal life or history designed to embarrass the candidate with the mere insinuation, today's gotcha is almost always a question rudely designed to test the candidate's knowledge of the issues and skill in navigating treacherous political controversies. (They can thank George W. Bush and Sarah Palin for that -- they made it obvious these tests were necessary.) Scott Walker, for instance, was making the apparently requisite GOP primary candidate's pilgrimage to Britain where he was quizzed about whether or not he believes in evolution. ... According to the right wing this is the worst kind of gotcha journalism because it is irrelevant and solely designed to embarrass the Governor. ... It is certainly relevant to the evangelical community from which Scott Walker hails and from whom he will need to draw support in the primaries. The fact that so many Republicans consider asking about evolution to to be a gotcha question is revealing. Evidently they believe that most Americans would find it embarrassing if their candidate said he believes what a substantial faction of their party believes. (They are,of course, right about that.)" (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m4rzvuz

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“Muscular foreign policy” is an Orwellian phrase

The Atlantic
by Peter Beinart

"Will launching a new war with Iran, expanding our current war against ISIS and arming the Ukrainians in their war with Russia make America more 'muscular?' Will it make our military, our economy and our democracy stronger? Perhaps. But the job of reporters is to lay out that debate; not prejudge it. Critics might object that 'warlike' sounds negative. But it only sounds negative because we instinctively resist calling on our government to kill people. Thus, government officials concoct euphemisms -- 'military intervention,' 'air campaign,' 'collateral damage,' 'muscular engagement' -- that allow Americans to advocate large-scale killing without experiencing the discomfort that plain language would cause. People in power have always done that, and probably always will. But journalists should not help them." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kmhmh9b

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Truth in Media: The origins of ISIS

Ben Swann
by Ben Swann

"In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann investigates the origins of the militant group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)." [Flash video and text] (02/25/15)

http://benswann.com/truth-in-media-the-origin-of-isis/

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The White House doesn’t want you to know the TPP’s looming effects on US copyright laws

Maira Sutton Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Maira Sutton

"As the White House doubles down on its attempt to pass legislation to fast track secret trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, their oft-repeated refrain about these deals' digital copyright enforcement provisions is that these policies would not alter U.S. law. ... But such claims are very misleading. Leaked texts have confirmed again and again that the TPP contains Hollywood's wish list of anti-user policies -- the result of years of lobbying and schmoozing with trade delegates." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/phprxny

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On Obama’s insistence that “we are not at war with Islam”

CounterPunch
by Gary Leupp

"We are told that, aside from the generally accepted proposition that burning anyone alive is a horrible crime, the punishment that ISIL inflicted on the pilot was un- and anti-Islamic. I agree, in the sense that there is no provision in Muslim scripture for that sort of thing (although there is in the Bible). Nor can I find any precedent for it in the history of the Muslim world (although Muslim armies in their conquests certainly torched targets, including the Library of Alexandria in the 630s by order of the Caliph Omar). The burning of Lt. Kaseasbeh was out of character for Muslims, and sickens perhaps (who knows?) 99% of those who identify as Muslim. But as it turns out, the horrific end of Lt. Kaseasbeh has turned into a virtual godsend for the U.S. officials pressing for more war in the Middle East. That is the problem for the antiwar movement, such as it survives in this war-exhausted country, where memories are short and organizing energies short-lived." (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oegwwxw

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Edward Snowden and the Great Removal

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

"When the world's panicked potentates and powermongers squeal that people like Snowden make it more difficult for them to 'protect' us, what they really mean is that people like Snowden unlock and open the doors of the cages we're kept in. The politicians aren't afraid of bad actors getting in. They're afraid of us getting out. Worse, they're afraid that while we're out, we'll realize we never needed them. They fear that the final shred of the emperor's clothes -- the notion that the state is a 'necessary evil' -- will fall away, revealing them to us in all their nakedness as the unnecessary evil they've always been. And that fear is fully justified." (02/24/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/36093

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The War Party is ready for 2016

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"The War Party's game plan is clear enough: to make the 2016 presidential campaign a race between two interventionists, thus precluding any real choice as far as foreign policy is concerned. As the writer and editor Garet Garrett put it some sixty years ago: 'Between government in the republican meaning, that is, Constitutional, representative, limited government on the one hand, and Empire on the other, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.' And the War Party wants to keep it that way. The question is: will Americans let them?" (02/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l45hb9j

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President Obama is apparently not imperial enough for the GOP

Gene Healy Cato Institute
by Gene Healy

"'Obama's imperial presidency' has become a favorite rallying cry for the GOP. President Obama is acting 'like a king,' House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) rails: his 'aggressive unilateralism' presents 'a direct challenge to the constitutional balance of powers.' This president 'believes somehow he’s become a monarch or an emperor that can basically ignore the law and do whatever he wants,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fumed last summer. ... So how have the GOP's erstwhile opponents of the imperial presidency greeted this latest affront to the separation of powers? By complaining that Obama hasn't been imperial enough. Although the Obama AUMF on its face allows the president to expand the war beyond the current theaters of battle in Iraq and Syria, it also contains a three-year time limit and a loosely worded bar to 'enduring offensive ground combat operations.' Boehner, Rubio, and many of their co-partisans find those restrictions unendurable." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q2qo9fg

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Kill Keystone XL once and for all

USA Today USA Today
by Rhea Suh

"Now that President Obama has vetoed the misguided bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, it's time to kill this project once and for all. It's not a plan to help our country. It's about big profits for big oil -- and big pollution for the rest of us. It's a stone dead loser that needs to be denied. The pipeline would send some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be refined on our Gulf Coast into fuels that would mostly be sent overseas. That's not our calculus: That's what the State Department concluded in its assessment of the project." (02/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mtc7wsk

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National security and the 2016 election

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

"You may recall a campus slogan from another era, 'Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Western civ. has got to go.' That was at Stanford University in 1987, part of a wave of demands to limit traditional courses featuring dead while males, in favor of cultural pluralism. Sure enough, many colleges a generation later have more varied courses. Today, however, there are people out there who feel that western civilization really does have to go -- not the courses but the thing itself. And they seem to be gaining. Call me sentimental, call me privileged, but I have a certain fondness for western civilization. Let me count the ways." (02/24/15)

http://prospect.org/article/national-security-and-2016-election

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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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