Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Air Force does quick about face on “So help me God”

Christian Science Monitor

"Faster than a new recruit can shout 'Sir, yes sir!' the US Air Force has reversed its policy requiring new recruits and those reenlisting to conclude a swearing-in oath with 'So help me God.' The trouble for the Air Force started when a Tech. Sgt. at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada with 10 years’ service wanted to reenlist. As an atheist, he didn’t see why he had to swear an oath to a deity he didn’t believe in. It seemed to violate the religious establishment clause of the US Constitution. And besides, none of the other branches of the US military required it, nor did the honor code at the US Air Force Academy turning out shiny, new Second Lieutenants." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l9fj3g7

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Oracle’s Ellison steps down, two CEOs named

BBC News [UK state media]

"Long-serving Oracle boss Larry Ellison is stepping down after 37 years, the technology giant announced on Thursday. Mark Hurd and Safra Catz have been named as successors, with both being given the chief executive title. Mr Ellison, 70, who is estimated to be the world's fifth wealthiest man, will stay on as executive chairman and chief technology officer. He co-founded what would become Oracle with Bob Miner and Ed Oates in 1977." (09/18/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29262718

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Turkey stays on sidelines of fight against Islamic State

Reuters [UK]

"Few countries are in a better position than Turkey to help the United States fight Islamic State. The moderate Islamic country shares a 750 mile border with Syria, is a NATO member and a long-time ally of America. But don’t hold your breath for Turkey’s support. For a long time, Turks have resented the 'curse of strategic significance' related to its forming NATO’s southern flank. They felt it enabled the military to keep a watchful eye over their politicians. Likewise, it fueled the politicians' sense of impunity that shielded them from the need for reform. This was part of the reason why, at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Turkey refused to provide logistic support for the U.S.-led invasion to bring down Saddam Hussein." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lentxu5

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CA: Alleged arsonist arrested in El Dorado County

San Francisco Chronicle

"A 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with intentionally igniting the massive King Fire, which has burned 71,000 acres of Sierra foothills east of Placerville while sending up a cloud of smoke visible as far as the Bay Area, officials said Thursday. El Dorado County authorities took Wayne Allen Huntsman into custody Wednesday on suspicion of felony arson and jailed him in lieu of $10 million bail. Huntsman is a resident of Pollock Pines (El Dorado County), a community in the heart of the fire area. How and why Huntsman allegedly started the destructive blaze near Pollock Pines were not specified in charging papers Thursday, and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to comment on details of the case." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mv4aj3y

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KS: Supreme Court removes Democrat from US Senate ballot

The Hill

"The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday to grant Democrat Chad Taylor’s request to be removed from the Kansas Senate ballot, issuing a blow to Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) chances for reelection this fall. ... The court’s decision now removes an obstacle from independent Greg Orman’s path, and increases the likelihood of defeat for Roberts this fall." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mlvq2pr

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MI: 5th-grade boy arrested with gun, list of names

Fox News

"Authorities say a fifth-grade boy found with a loaded pistol at a middle school in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula had created a list of classmates' names. The Traverse City Record-Eagle and MLive.com report that the title of the list, found on the back of a homework assignment belonging to the boy, suggested he wanted to harm those on the list. The boy, however, told authorities he didn't intend to harm anyone." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkawpzr

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DNA study reveals third group of ancient ancestors of modern Europeans

Raw Story

"Europeans are a mixture of hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists, and also a third wave of migrants from north Eurasia. Strands of DNA taken from ancient corpses have revealed an unexpected addition to the ancestral roots of modern Europeans. The first Homo sapiens arrived in Europe around 45,000 years ago, and these hunter-gatherers were replaced by early farmers who brought agriculture to the continent more than 7,000 years ago from Anatolia and the Levant in the near east." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwh7gal

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Most Alaskans to get nearly $1,900 in oil money

San Francisco Chronicle

"It's a highly anticipated day of the year in Alaska, when residents learn how much money they'll receive from the state's oil-wealth savings account -- a payout people receive just for living in The Last Frontier. This year's share of nearly $1,900 is the sweetest since the Great Recession and the third-richest ever. Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend with great fanfare Wednesday. 'This is all good news for Alaskans,' he said at an Anchorage press conference. The $1,884 payout to be distributed Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phqdpoo

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Beaches: How government pushes people in the wrong direction

Reuters

"Mike Huckabee bought a beachfront lot here in 2009, a year after his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. A longtime friend and political ally of the former Arkansas governor bought the lot next door. They planned to build $3 million vacation villas side-by-side, each with a pool and sweeping views of Walton County’s renowned sugary sand beaches and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The only hitch was that their lots lay on a severely eroding beach. Under state regulations, they couldn’t build on the seaward side of the sand dune nearest to the surf. And after seven hurricanes in six years, the surviving 'frontal dune' sat too close to the street to allow space behind it for the friends’ 11,000-square-foot (1,020-square-meter) compounds." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pbdhpvx

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TN: Dad forced son to drink alcohol until he passed out

Fox News

"Police say an East Tennessee father forced his son to drink alcohol Saturday night until he passed out as a punishment after he caught the 15-year-old drinking. WBIR-TV reports Sweetwater police have charged 35-year-old Mark Allen Hughes Tuesday with aggravated child abuse and neglect and with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A witness told police that Hughes gave his son vodka shots and said, 'Take it. Take it. Drink up. You’re going to learn,' WATE.com reported." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2etpaz

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AZ: El Caudillo de Maricopa must return military toys

Raw Story

"Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio downplayed his department’s impending loss of military-grade weaponry that he was defending just last month, KTVK-TV reported. ... Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department have four months to return about 200 weapons, including M-16 and M-14 rifles, as well as two armored vehicles, five helicopters, and 158 pairs of night vision goggles they have acquired through the Defense Department’s Excess Property Program, commonly known as the '1033 program.' The department will reportedly ask for an extension on one of the helicopters, saying that one they ordered as a replacement will not be ready until March 2015." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kp3hl7t

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Australia launches anti-terror raids over plot to kill

BBC News [UK state media]

"Australian police have carried out major anti-terror raids triggered by a call from a senior Islamic State militant for 'demonstration killings,' Prime Minister Tony Abbott says. The raids, involving at least 800 heavily-armed officers, took place in Brisbane and Sydney. Fifteen people were arrested and one person charged with 'serious terrorism-related offenses,' police said. Police say the anti-terror operation was the largest in Australian history." (09/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29245611

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Fed: No interest rate hike until 2015

Christian Science Monitor

"The day when the Federal Reserve boosts interest rates is drawing closer, even though that day is still a 'considerable time' off, to use official Fed-speak. That’s at least one way to read the modern-day smoke signals sent by the US central bank Wednesday. Three months have passed since the Fed’s June meeting, yet its chart showing the timing of rate hikes anticipated by Fed policymakers hasn’t changed much: The expectations remain centered heavily in 2015." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3fony2

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FL: Idiot pols want to outlaw public use of pharmaceuticals

Reuters

"A southwest Florida city took steps Wednesday to ban medical marijuana users from lighting up a joint in public if an amendment legalizing the drug's limited use statewide is approved by voters in November. 'Just because one person has the right to get high doesn’t mean everyone around them has to get high,' said Ben Nelson, mayor of Bonita Springs 15 miles north of Naples on Florida's west coast. The Bonita Springs city council voted to begin drawing up an ordinance to ban the drug in public places, Nelson said." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lma88ab

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NY pols seek crackdown on overuse of antibiotics in livestock

Raw Story

"Two U.S. lawmakers are calling for action to rein in antibiotic use in livestock in response to a Reuters investigation showing how top U.S. poultry firms have been administering drugs to their flocks. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] said she plans to introduce new legislation authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to collect data on 'farm-level antibiotic use.' The pledge was part of a letter Gillibrand sent Tuesday to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. In the letter, Gillibrand said that 'the scale of injudicious use' of antibiotics in poultry production documented by Reuters 'was staggering.' Another member of Congress, Rep. Louise Slaughter [D-NY] urged fellow lawmakers to address the issue at a hearing on antibiotic resistance scheduled Friday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p48yb45

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Report: Border surge a boon for charities receiving federal grants

Fox News

"Florida nonprofits have taken in more than 3,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who illegally crossed the southern border, but those organizations are being paid handsomely by taxpayers for their charity. The Department of Health and Human Services' Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System, or TAGGS, reports Florida nonprofits have received $21 million thus far in 2014 to care for the children who came with a wave of illegals earlier this year." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ppo57lf

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CA: Buddha brings tranquility to Oakland neighborhood

San Francisco Chronicle

"Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion. The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street. He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquillity to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries. What happened next was nothing short of stunning." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qxqoet3

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Germany: Judge overturns Uber ride-sharing ban

BBC News [UK state media]

"A German judge has overturned a nationwide ban on one of the services offered by the alternative taxi firm Uber. The temporary injunction banned the start-up from offering its UberPop ride-sharing service in the country. Frankfurt Regional Court Judge Frowin Kurth ruled that taxi companies in the country had waited too long to request an emergency injunction. The German Taxi Association, Taxi Deutschland, said that it would appeal." [editor's note: I Was tempted to title this, "Uber uber Deutschland" ... but I resisted - SAT] (09/16/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29221372

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Ex-finance minister: Russia needs government investment to avoid recession

Reuters [UK]

"Russia risks slipping into recession because the government is not investing enough in the economy to weather Western sanctions, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday, criticizing the strategy so far. A strong advocate of liberal reforms, Kudrin has become almost the only voice in the Russian elite to question economic policy since the Ukraine crisis, counting on his long-term close ties to President Vladimir Putin to protect him from censure." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/olvk68c

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Jindal to decide on presidential run after midterms

Christian Science Monitor

"Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal says he’s thinking and praying about running for president in 2016, and will make his decision after the November elections. His name barely registered a blip in a new CNN/ORC poll of GOP presidential possibles in New Hampshire, but that won’t be a factor in his decision, he says. 'If I were to decide to run for 2016, it would have nothing to do with polls or fundraising,' he told reporters at a Monitor breakfast Tuesday. Rather, his decisionmaking process would be much like the ones he used in deciding to run in other races -- for Louisiana governor in 2003 (he lost), for the US House in 2004 (he won), and again for the governorship in 2007 (he won and was overwhelmingly reelected in 2011)." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p9ns9xs

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Vietnam War soldiers receive Medal of Honor: Why so late?

Christian Science Monitor

"Nearly half-a-century ago, in 1966, a detachment of US Special Forces soldiers were crouched on the top of a small hill, deep in the jungle. North Vietnamese forces had been pursuing them for days, and now they were surrounded, the enemy closing in on all sides. What then-Sgt. 1st Class Bennie Adkins did in the four days of fighting that followed -- including personally saving several fellow soldiers, killing 'between 135 and 175 enemy troops, and sustaining 18 different wounds to his body' -- earned him the nation’s highest award for valor in a White House ceremony Monday." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mxhonfl

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Report: NFL hires female advisors on domestic violence

BBC News [UK state media]

"Three consultants have been hired to help the NFL deal with issues relating to domestic violence and sexual assault, the organisation has said. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing the appointment of Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith. Mr Goodell has been under pressure over his handling of an abuse case involving star running back Ray Rice. Rice has been suspended for punching his former fiancee, now wife." [editor's note: if you need an advisor to tell these guys not to punch people (not just women, or children) in the face and knock them out, there's something basically wrong with you! - SAT] (09/15/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29216231

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China to crack down on trafficking in “foreign brides”

Reuters

"Chinese police will clamp down on websites that sell men group tours to meet 'foreign brides' in Southeast Asian countries, as the practice leads to human trafficking and prostitution, the state-run China Daily reported on Monday. The newspaper noted several so-called 'marriage brokerages' were active in Vietnam, promising young women introductions to rich Chinese men from big cities, whereas many victims ended up duped into being 'sold' as brides to villagers in rural China." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4mnzy2

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NM: Protesters blast Albuquerque police over shooting contest

Fox News

"An annual target-shooting contest highlighting the skills of law enforcement is coming under fire from people who say the event misses the mark because the police department in this year's host city is under investigation by the Justice Department for using deadly force. On Saturday, the first day of the National Rifle Association-sponsored National Police Shooting Championships in Albuquerque, demonstrators staged a mock funeral procession on the road to the shooting range, forcing competitors to the shoulder. On Sunday, protesters shot foam bullets and water guns at targets in a city park. The protesters note that since 2009, 32 people have been fatally shot by Albuquerque police." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltxsrju

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Survey: CA taxes “among the fairest” in the country

San Francisco Chronicle

"Conservatives love to rip California for its high tax rate. But a new study out Monday says that California has the eighth-most 'fair' tax system in the country. The fairest? Montana. The most unfair? Washington. So how do the researchers at WalletHub define 'fair?' They conducted a nationwide survey asking people, 'In thinking about the fairest possible tax system, what percentage of income do you think households at each income level should pay in state and local taxes?'” [editor's note: Try to keep in mind that "fair" shows up between "good" and "poor" on most surveys - SAT] (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mo7c74e

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Christmas comes early for war profiteers

In These Times
by Leonard C. Goodman

"Today, while the radical warrior cult that now calls itself Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is taking over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, our tax dollars are simultaneously supporting ISIS militants in Syria (who have been siphoning off aid intended for more moderate rebels), bombing ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq, and arming Syrian rebels and the Kurdish peshmerga to fight ISIS. It’s all win/win for the war industry and lose/lose for the American taxpayer. Corporations are amoral by design. While many good and decent people sit on corporate boards, their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize returns for shareholders, not to do right by the American people. This is why alliances between corporations and the state are historically so dangerous. Yet we have allowed corporate interests to capture both major political parties and to drive public policy, with disastrous results, including perpetual war." [editor's note: I don't disagree with Goodman, really ... I'm just surprised that he seems to think that having a state could end up any other way than with greedheads capturing it. Power attracts the power-hungry - TLK] (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mhbuo6c

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Why this will be the unaccountable war

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Yesterday the House voted 273-156 to train and equip Syrian rebels, a part of President Obama's plan to combat ISIL, and today the Senate is expected to do the same. While it might look on the surface like Congress taking a stand and accepting responsibility for this new engagement, in fact, this is likely to be a war with no accountability for any political figure other than Barack Obama himself." [editor's note: Great, and since he can't run for re-election now, nobody can be held accountable in the long run for this imperial travesty - SAT] (09/18/14)

http://prospect.org/article/why-will-be-unaccountable-war

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An all-American ass-whoopin’

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford

"America! You know what you need? Besides better bourbon, less Jesus and fewer conservatives? That’s right: A good whoopin’. A serious spanking. Maybe even one of those terrifying, NFL-grade spankings so vicious it raises welts and yelps and not a little blood, all administered with a belt, or a tree branch, or the backhand of wrathful ol’ Almighty himself. But don’t worry! It’s all out of love. Isn’t it always? Besides! Americans love spankings. We relish inducing fear, pain, smacking each other around to impart some sort of life lesson. ... But the creature we love to hit most of all? Those small, defenseless humans, the ones who weigh less than 50 pounds and have barely learned to walk or form complete sentences, much less understand that smacking each other out of some warped concept of 'love' is, you know, just what we do." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n7rfqqu

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China has not one property problem, but many

Reuters
by John Foley

"China’s real estate market is big enough that it can have not one property problem but many. A Breakingviews ranking of the forty biggest cities, according to different kinds of risks, shows there are huge differences between local markets. It’s not much consolation, though. A conflagration of regional problems could be just as bad as one big national one." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qgsefh6

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A very British divorce?

The Nation
by DD Guttenplan

"On the train north to Edinburgh, two songs kept running through my head. The first was 'Big Yellow Taxi,' Joni Mitchell’s breakup ballad with its wry warning: 'You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.' In the past two weeks the British have finally, belatedly, realized that when they wake up tomorrow morning the “Great” in the country’s name may have already gone for good. I’ve written about how Margaret Thatcher’s toxic policies, Tony Blair’s malign neglect and the bitter legacy of decades of deindustrialization brought Scotland, the cradle of Britain’s industrial revolution, to this point. But before the votes are counted, I want to acknowledge that whatever happens tomorrow, something has already been lost." (09/18/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181666/very-british-divorce

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What’s the matter With Kansas education policy?

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"Since The Wizard of Oz, the term 'we’re not in Kansas anymore' has been shorthand for saying we’ve changed the usual surroundings for a new, disorienting terrain. For school children who actually live in Kansas, that would likely be a relief. Since the nation’s Great Recession, public education in Kansas has seen state funding cut repeatedly since 2009. This has left students and teachers in that state bereft of what would normally be viewed as 'the basics' by anyone who has a modicum of understanding of how to run an effective school system, with swelling class sizes and elimination of basic programs like art, music and athletics. Unfortunately, Kansas is not the only place in America where public school conditions are causing students to wish they could be transported to the yellow brick road." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mcsa24c

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Peace cannot be achieved when the state executes innocent men

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Laura Finley

"Almost three years ago, the state of Georgia likely executed an innocent man. Despite no physical evidence connecting Troy Davis to the August 19, 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia, despite the fact that numerous witnesses implicated Sylvester 'Redd' Coles, who was the individual to accuse Davis of the murder, despite the fact that police never seriously investigated Coles as a suspect, and despite the fact that seven of nine state trial witnesses later recanted or changed their stories, the state of Georgia went ahead with the execution of Troy Davis on September 21, 2011 ... the International Day of Peace, no less." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2vzoov

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The ISIS conspiracies

Reason Reason
by Jesse Walker

"How a century's worth of anxieties about America's southern border are affecting the latest foreign-policy crisis." (09/17/14)

http://reason.com/archives/2014/09/17/the-isis-conspiracies

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How to make ISIS fall on its own sword

The Guardian [UK]
by Chelsea E. Manning

"Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/leurmbt

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Avoid classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in Middle East

Reuters
by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

"Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it. History shows that outside meddling only intensifies sectarian fury. Stopping internecine war begins at home. President Barack Obama imperils Americans by trying to excise an abscess that can be cured only from the inside out. The decision to re-engage in Iraq, and the wider Middle East, also contradicts the president’s other, bigger objective: to exit the nanny business." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lqwokkb

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On Constitution Day, a reminder that political & economic chaos a good thing

Fox News Forum
by Lawson Bader

"I am tired of pundits blaming our political and economic ills on politicians’ inability to get along. If lawmakers would only 'get together and work things out,' their line of thinking goes, the economy would improve, unemployment would evaporate, and Americans could move on with their more prosperous, more fulfilled lives. Progressives have a point when they argue that refusal to compromise on principle helped to end slavery, gain women the right to vote, and extend civil rights protections to all Americans. How, they ask, can you compromise on moral questions? And the question posed to that infamous gathering in 1789 was decidedly a moral one. Our Founders did not pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor simply to read Shakespeare while sipping low-tax East India Company tea." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l64sx6p

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Stockholm syndrome, Syrian ransom

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

"The video of a Syrian captor beheading American freelance journalist James Foley 'has done more damage than any ransom ever could,' former Iranian hostage Sarah Shourd warned on CNN recently. Foley’s parents have been vocal about their frustration in knowing that their son remained a hostage as European countries like France paid a reported average of $3 million-plus to free their citizens. The family wants to establish an organization to provide information to other families, presumably to get around a no-ransom policy." (09/17/14)

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Challenging the motives behind war

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson

"War is hell, they say. War is a dirty business. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. The countless despicable metaphors used to describe war are intended to distract people from what war really is: Non-punishable mass murder. Unfortunately, no matter how reckless, depraved, ill-informed or misconceived American war-making becomess, the war-makers are never held to the same standards as run-of-the-mill murderers." (09/17/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31804

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Scotland’s referendum on austerity

The Nation
by John Nichols

"Thursday’s Scottish referendum vote is often framed in terms of the politics of nationalism –- and the desire of a people for self-determination. And of course there have always been, and there still are, impassioned Scottish nationalists. But the reality that becomes overwhelmingly clear in the last hours before the referendum vote (which polls suggest will see an exceptionally high turnout and a close finish) is that this process is being shaped by the politics of austerity. This is highlighted by the campaigning of supporters of a 'yes' vote and, increasingly, this is being acknowledged in the last-minute promises being made by British Prime Minister David Cameron and the most fervent foes of a Scottish break with the United Kingdom." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l7xwjud

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Just what America needs, more Senators who can handle themselves in a firefight

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Let's be honest: the job of a United States senator does not involve much in the way of gunplay. There's a lot of speechifying, a lot of talking, a lot of trying to stay awake in hearings, and a whole lot of fundraising. But shooting in the course of your duties? Very little, if any at all. I suppose it's possible that we might one day see something like a scene out of a G.I. Joe movie, where terrorist commandos take over the Capitol building and the only thing standing between them and the fall of the United States of America is Barbara Mikulski and her .50-cal Desert Eagle, putting down bad guys like poison-pill amendments at a subcommittee markup...but probably not. Which is part of the reason why I love ads with candidates shooting stuff so much." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mn8968e

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Capping carbon costs nothing

Our Future Blog
by Bill Scher

"The big climate news in advance of next week’s U.N. climate summit is a new global commission report that finds the investments needed to avert a climate crisis would likely not result in any net cost. According to the New York Times, 'an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years” but that’s only “an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure. ... When the secondary benefits of greener policies (like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills) are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money.'” (09/16/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140916/capping-carbon-costs-nothing

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Obama and peace

The Cagle Post
by Dry Bones

Cartoon. (09/17/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/09/obama-and-peace/

No Comments »

No, Snowden’s leaks didn’t help the terrorists

The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain

"Did Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA surveillance compromise the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor terrorist groups? Contrary to lurid claims made by U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of the subject says no. ... These findings are notable both for empirical rigor through which they ascertained, as well as their contradiction of apparently baseless statements made by high-ranking U.S. officials regarding the impact of the leaks on U.S. national security. This is particularly important as it pertains to the ongoing public debate over the alleged threat of ISIS." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3gpuj3

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The second Cold War is here

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alexander Reid Ross

"In October 2013, David Patraeus came out with an amazingly imaginative work called 'How We Won in Iraq.' Detailing the ways that US counterinsurgency rebuilt Iraq out of the rubble of a failed State, in pursuit of truth, unity, and the democratic way. Somewhat prophetically, Patraeus looks to the transfer of power with an ominous analysis of long-term strategy in Iraq. With the rise of ISIS, one thing is for certain; the US absolutely did not win in Iraq -- at least not in the manner that Patraeus claims to have won." (09/17/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/17/the-second-cold-war-is-here/

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In Scotland, “aye” means no to England

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

"'Should Scotland be an independent country?' reads the referendum on which Scotland will vote Thursday. Voters have two choices: yes or no. Queen Elizabeth II went so far as to tell Scots on Sunday, 'I hope people will think very carefully about the future.' The queen was savvy to urge Scots to look ahead, not behind." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovob7be

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Rail workers rebel against single-person crews

In These Times
by Kari Lydersen

"Railroad workers scored a victory last week in a years-long battle over the introduction of single-person crews on freight trains, a move that railroad workers say is a recipe for disaster. On September 10, a unit of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air and Rail Transportation Workers (SMART) union announced that members had voted down a proposed contract which would have allowed the railroad company BNSF to run more than half its trains with just one worker on board. BNSF and other railroad companies assert that automation and modern controls on tracks mean freight trains can be safely and efficiently operated by only one engineer, a change that would essentially eliminate the position of the conductor." [editor's note: Just curious, but what does the "conductor" do on a freight train? No tickets to collect, no stops to announce ... - SAT] [additional editor's note: You might be surprised, Steve -- look it up! - TLK] (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncpxznl

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Republicans (sort of) support Obama on ISIL

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"For months, when you asked Republicans what they wanted to do about ISIL, they would be quick to assure everyone that they didn't want to deploy large numbers of ground troops. Trainers, intelligence folks, coordinators, sure -- but they're very clear that they aren't advocating a re-invasion of Iraq. Whether their reticence about ground troops has its roots in the politics of renewing a desperately unpopular war, or it's because they genuinely believe it would be a bad idea, they were unambiguous on that point. What they did advocate was arming and training Syrian rebels." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/noxhso6

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Young, black & guilty until proven innocent

Our Future Blog
by Terrance Heath

"The New York Times informed us that Michael Brown was 'no angel.' When being young and black is to be guilty until proven innocent, black children must be 'angelic' just to be worthy ofliving. The Times initially defended its “no angel” assessment of Michael Brown’s young life, which ran on the day of Brown’s funeral. National Editor Allison Mitchell said the description connected to the lead paragraph about a moment when Brown thought he saw an angel, and that the article would have been written the same way if it had been about a young white man in the same situation. The Times eventually apologized, but the article is typical of a media pattern of treating white suspects and killers better than black victims." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mhtkobv

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Scotland: Canary in the independence coal mine?

Reuters [UK]
by Mark Leonard

"Scotland’s drive to independence has been interpreted by many as a throwback to ancient identity politics, but many of the trends on display in the Scottish referendum have more to do with the politics of the future than those of the past. The polls show that this week’s vote is too close to call. There is still a chance that the 'No' campaign will ultimately prevail -- something that I dearly hope will happen both for the sake of the Scots and the rest of the Britain. But whatever the result of the vote, I think we must recognize that the 'Yes' campaign has done more to shape the agenda of Scottish politics. And it is the forces it tapped into that will also change politics around the world." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnenvw6

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Can the US defeat ISIS without bombs?

The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel

"What’s the best US response to ISIS? That’s the question that Katrina vanden Heuvel and Rich Lowry of National Review tackle on this episode of the radio program Both Sides Now. Vanden Heuvel explains that 'when there are no military solutions the alternative is not nothing.' For vanden Heuvel, patience and diplomacy have fallen out of favor -- yet she affirms the fact that there are voices of dissent going against the current jingoistic, hawk-like calls for increased militarism." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l5gt3pn

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GMOs and searching for the crashless car

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ralph Nader

"Corporate CEOs are always strategizing in their quest for greater revenues and profits. Often these strategies — and their resulting, insidious successes — have shaped our elections, our government, our education system, our media, our publicly funded research and development, our tax and credit systems, our trade agreements and so on. The world has never seen such an ingenious, power-concentrating machine as the modern, global corporation. Even science, which ideally should carry the banner for rigid standards, openness and integrity, has suffered the undue influence and control of autocratic, commercially-driven multinational corporations." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nm5huaf

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Republicans for what?

Our Future
by Robert Borosage

"This November’s bi-election has all the makings for a Republican wave. The president’s popularity is down. Most Americans think the country is on the wrong track; nearly half think we are still in a recession. Wages are stagnant; good jobs are scarce. The sixth year election in any presidency tends to favor the opposition party. The Democratic base is less likely to get out and vote. But the polls show the key races for the Senate remain virtually neck and neck. Even the cheerleaders at the Wall Street Journal editorial page find little to applaud. The president is unpopular but Republicans in the Congress are setting new disapproval records." (09/15/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140915/republicans-for-what

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The SS Barack Obama is sinking fast

Fox News Forum
by Michael Goodwin

"The rising clamor over the beheading of two Americans, and rapidly sinking polls, forced President Obama to reassure the nation last week he had a plan to deal with the Islamic State. He did some of what he had to do, but only some, and so most military analysts believe the expanded airstrikes will not be a sufficient match for the size and weaponry of the terrorist army. They miss the point. The disjointed speech wasn’t really about terrorism and launching a new war. It was about saving Obama’s presidency. He is sinking fast and could soon pass the point of no return." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pchyn75

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Why vote yes? Scotland’s voice drowned out in UK

Reuters
by Andrew Wilson

"There are hours to go until people in Scotland answer the question posed to them in an historic referendum: 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' Some weekend polls revealed a lead for No, while others put Yes ahead. With the race too close to call, what is clear is that a pro-independence vote, once considered fanciful, now is a serious possibility. So why has support for Yes grown with such momentum? There are obvious economic gains to be had from independence. Domestic oil reserves combined with well-developed service and manufacturing industries would help make the country one of the wealthiest in the world. But the gains in democracy are just as alluring as the economic ones." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nd5h4k8

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ISIS, Vietnam, and the impact of images

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Barbie Zelizer is a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches and conducts research about the cultural functions of journalism. Her latest book, About to Die: How News Images Move the Public, surveys the history of a particularly powerful kind of image, that of people in the moments before their death. We spoke last week about the way certain images are affecting the debate about recent news events. According to an NBC/WSJ poll, 94 percent of Americans say they heard about the beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, a higher percentage than claimed to have knowledge of any other news story in the past five years." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pd9msoy

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In two words, Hillary reveals what’s wrong with her candidacy

The Nation Blog
by Leslie Savan

"'I’m baaack!' With those two words, delivered Arnold-style, Hillary Clinton revealed a lot about what’s wrong with her probable candidacy. 'Hello, Iowa!' she beamed from a stage at the Tom Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola over the weekend. Then, raising her arms, she delivered the Terminator’s catchphrase, showing herself to be tone deaf to the negative perception of her as an indestructible robot, as 'inevitable,' the same presumption that hamstringed her campaign in 2008. Not to mention the annoying factor. 'I’m baaack!' is the greeting from people whose return is at best tiresome." (09/15/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181617/hillarys-terminator-problem

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Obama declares perpetual war

Truthout
by Marjorie Cohn

"President Barack Obama escalated the drone war he has conducted for the past five and a half years by declaring his intention to 'degrade and ultimately destroy' the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. ... If, indeed, there were an imminent threat of attack on the United States, Obama would be legally entitled to launch a military operation. The United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of military force, allows an exception when a country acts in self-defense. Under the well-established Caroline doctrine, the 'necessity for self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.' The only problem is, Obama admitted, 'We have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland.' Citing only the vague possibility of future 'deadly attacks,' Obama nevertheless declared a perpetual war with no specific end time." (09/15/14)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26187-obama-declares-perpetual-war

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Progressive Democrats follow Obama to war in Syria

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Shamus Cooke

"There is a remarkable bait and switch happening in U.S. politics: Assad is the big fish that Obama wants hooked and he’s using ISIS to bait the American public. The U.S. president has superbly exploited American’s disgust of ISIS to deepen a war against the Syrian government, the scope and implications of which are completely unspoken. Bush used a similar logic in Iraq when he 'fought terrorism' by instead toppling the secular Iraqi government. And the deceit goes unchallenged in Syria because all of Congress is on board, dragging behind them the boot-licking media. The 'quiet support' of war by the progressive Democrats is especially noteworthy." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/meydesu

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Who’s paying the pro-war pundits?

The Nation
by Lee Fang

"If you read enough news and watch enough cable television about the threat of the Islamic State, the radical Sunni Muslim militia group better known simply as ISIS, you will inevitably encounter a parade of retired generals demanding an increased US military presence in the region. They will say that our government should deploy, as retired General Anthony Zinni demanded, up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Or as in retired General Jack Keane’s case, they will make more vague demands, such as for 'offensive' air strikes and the deployment of more military 'advisers' to the region." (09/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kb68b9p

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The black hole of the American injustice system

Center for a Stateless Society
by David S. D'Amato

"Though many Americans know that prisoners often work while behind bars, the conditions under which they toil may be less than clear. Fortune magazine made waves this summer when it reported that '[p]rison labor has gone artisanal,' revealing a multimillion dollar business that puts convicts to work making everything from specialty motorcycles to goat cheese sold at Whole Foods. And while consumers pay top dollar for the prisoners’ expensive wares -- and companies like Colorado Corrections Industries rake in millions -- the prisoners themselves often make as little as 60 cents per day." (09/13/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31699

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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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