Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Study: Ozone hole over Antarctica beginning to heal

USA Today USA Today

"Decades after the fog from hairspray and deodorant cans dissipated in a worldwide ban, the results are finally paying off for the Earth's protective layer: The ozone hole over the Antarctic is beginning to heal, a new study finds. Located in the stratosphere, the ozone layer blocks potentially harmful ultraviolet energy from reaching our planet's surface. Without it, humans and animals could experience increased rates of skin cancer and other ailments. Researchers found the hole shrunk by more than 1.5 million square miles (about half the area of the contiguous United States) since 2000, when ozone depletion was at its peak. 'It’s a big surprise,' said Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lead author of the study published Thursday in the journal Science. 'I didn’t think it (the healing) would be this early.'" (06/30/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2016/06/30/ozone-hole-healing-antarctic/86552814

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The Somme at 100: Trench battle showed war’s terrible learning curve

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"The mine exploded on schedule at 7:20 a.m., 100 years ago, July 1, 1916. British sappers had tunneled for months under the no man's land separating the Allied British-French trenches from those of the Germans, and placed 40,000 pounds of high explosive under the German redoubt on Hawthorn Ridge. A British cameraman filmed the explosion, which can be viewed today on the internet. ... On that first day, few of the infantry reached a German trench. The British-led forces suffered more than 57,000 casualties, with nearly 20,000 deaths. Some isolated objectives were achieved, but most were lost following German counterattacks. Despite all, however, the Somme battle slogged on until Nov. 18. No general breakthrough was attained, and the territory gained by the end amounted to a few square miles. The final 'butcher's bill' on both sides: More than 1 million casualties." (06/30/16)

http://www.startribune.com/the-somme-at-100-trench-battle-showed-war-s-terrible-learning-curve/384934481/

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Obama regime removes GE Capital’s “too big to fail” label

USA Today USA Today

"A U.S. oversight board has voted to remove the 'too-big-to-fail' designation from GE Capital, which had requested the move after its decision to shed billions in assets. The Financial Stability Oversight Council voted Tuesday to remove the label, which had subjected GE Capital to additional scrutiny from the Federal Reserve, including certain financial controls. The panel's unanimous decision, revealed Wednesday morning, reflects a determination that a collapse of GE Capital would no longer represent a systemic threat to the U.S. financial system [or, more likely, that enough council members have received enough favors from GE Capital]." (06/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/06/29/financial-stability-oversight-council-ge-capital/86505334/

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Two transgender Democrats nominated in Western GOP strongholds

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Democrats in some of the reddest pockets of the interior West have nominated transgender women for Congress, sending a message of inclusivity in races many consider unwinnable for the party. Misty Snow was nominated Tuesday in Utah to challenge GOP U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, and Misty Plowright won a primary to challenge Republican Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn in the state's most conservative congressional district. Both candidates are downplaying gender identity in their primary contests. 'Yeah, I'm trans, but the simple fact of the matter is that a lot of people just don't care,' said Plowright, 33, a first-time candidate who decided to run after attending Democratic presidential caucuses earlier this year and being inspired by the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders." (06/29/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/2-transgender-Democrats-nominated-in-Western-GOP-8332670.php

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World War 2 Jewish escape tunnel uncovered in Lithuania’s Ponar forest

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A tunnel dug out with spoons by Jewish prisoners escaping Nazi captors in World War Two has been uncovered in Lithuania's Ponar forest. The prisoners were from the so-called Burning Brigade, who were forced to burn corpses to cover up Nazi atrocities as the Soviets advanced. Knowing they too would be killed, they dug a tunnel in a pit where they were kept. Eleven escapees survived the war. A research team used a ground-scanning system to map out the tunnel. The exact location of the 34m (112ft) tunnel had been lost since the end of the war, but the international team, including the Israel Antiquities Authority and researchers from the US, Canada and Lithuania, have now located it." (06/29/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36664806

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Mexico: President explains comparing Trump to Hitler, Mussolini

Reuters Reuters

"Pena Nieto warned of the dangers of populism in a globalized world. 'Hitler, Mussolini, we all know the result,' he said when asked to explain the comparison. 'It was only a call for reflection and for recognition, so that we bear in mind what we have achieved and the great deal still to achieve.' The presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, Trump has sparked outrage in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it. In March, Pena Nieto likened Trump's 'strident tone' to the ascent of dictators like Hitler and Mussolini, attacking the 'populism' of the Trump campaign, which he said sought to put forward simple solutions for complicated problems." (06/29/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-canada-pena-nieto-idUSKCN0ZF2JD

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MI: Charges dismissed against graffiti artist Shepard Fairey in Detroit

Raw Story Raw Story

"A judge in Detroit has dismissed charges against famed street artist Shepard Fairey, creator of the 2008 Barack Obama 'Hope' poster, who was accused last year of defacing several properties in the city, local media reported on Wednesday. The office of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway confirmed she granted on June 21 a motion to dismiss the charges filed by Fairey’s attorney, Bradley J. Friedman, according to the Detroit News. Hathaway, Detroit city attorneys, Friedman and Fairey could not be immediately reached for comment. Fairey, 46, was accused of two counts of malicious destruction of property, each punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000." (06/29/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/charges-dismissed-against-graffiti-artist-shepard-fairey-in-detroit

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Obama: Trump ideas “nativist or xenophobic … or worse”

USA Today USA Today

"Donald Trump was not at the 'Three Amigos' summit of North American leaders Wednesday, but his presence hung over the continental conference anyway. The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico took turns rebutting the Republican presidential candidate's proposals on trade and immigration. As they met in Ottawa, Trump was 340 miles away in Bangor, Maine, promising to build a wall at the Mexican border and get the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement that forms the basis of economic cooperation among the three countries. In what he himself called a press conference-ending 'rant,' President Obama took a whack at Trump's populist credentials, painting the billionaire real estate mogul as part of the global elite." (06/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/06/29/three-amigos-trump-trade-immigration-north-american-summit/86525134

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NJ: Third-grader’s comment on baked goods triggers 911 call

Fox News Fox News

"Police were called to a New Jersey elementary school after a 9-year-old boy made a disparaging comment about the brownies he was eating at an end-of-year class party. According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, another student interpreted the comments as 'racist' and -- instead of just punishing the student with detention, or calling his parents, or just explaining what he did wrong (if anything at all) -- the school turned to law enforcement. The cops didn’t press charges but still reported the incident to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection. This is not an isolated incident in the school district. The police were called about five times a day in the past month for a district of 1,875 students." (06/29/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/29/third-graders-innocent-comment-on-baked-goods-triggers-911-call.html

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Two congresscritters urge FDA to lift blood ban for gay men

CNN CNN

"Two Democratic lawmakers joined the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and others Tuesday in urging the Food and Drug Administration to change its blood donation policy. The FDA restricts gay men who have had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months from giving blood. One of the lawmakers to speak Tuesday, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, who is openly gay, has been fighting to overturn this policy. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who represents Orlando, suggested using this month's Pulse nightclub shootings to show renewed respect for people's rights. He said blood donation screening should be based on science and a donor's safe and monogamous sexual behavior, no matter their orientation." [editor's note: Hey, here's an idea -- how about shutting down the FDA? Blood banks, not bureaucrats or politicians, should make decisions for blood banks - TLK] (06/28/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/health/fda-gay-men-blood-donation/

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SCOTUS turns down Washington pharmacy’s appeal against state enslavement

NBC News NBC News

"The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to take up a challenge to a Washington state law that makes it illegal for pharmacies to refuse to dispense medications for religious reasons. The court's action, bypassing an invitation to wade back into the issues of religion and contraception, allows the state to enforce the law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito called the court's refusal to hear the case 'an ominous sign.' The case involved a small family-owned business whose owners objected to stocking birth control pills." (06/28/16)

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-declines-hear-pharmacy-s-religious-objections-case-n600261

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Rolling Stone wins dismissal of defamation lawsuit over rape article

Reuters Reuters

"A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by three former University of Virginia fraternity members who accused Rolling Stone magazine, its publisher Wenner Media and a journalist of defamation over a since retracted article describing a gang rape. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said details about the attackers in the November 2014 article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely were "too vague and remote" to make readers, family and friends believe that the plaintiffs George Elias IV, Ross Fowler and Stephen Hadford had a role in the alleged rape. 'In the plaintiffs' own words, any "apparent connection between the plaintiffs and the allegations is an (unfortunate) coincidence,"' Castel wrote. Erdely's article, 'A Rape on Campus,' described a September 2012 rape of a female student named Jackie at the university's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house." (06/28/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sexcrimes-lawsuit-idUSKCN0ZE2PF

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FL: Police release new narrative report detailing Orlando horror

USA Today USA Today

"An incident narrative of 911 calls, texts and related information released Tuesday by the city of Orlando reflects the horror of a gunman's reign of terror that left 49 people dead at the Pulse nightclub June 12. The first 911 call came in at 2:02:54 a.m., according to the fire department's report, which identifies the incident as 'unknown trouble.' Three seconds later, the report cites 'shots fired' and seven seconds later 'shots still being fired.' Within three minutes the report merges multiple calls to build a narrative. One caller is hiding in a closet, another 'upstairs.' The report notes that a caller is whispering and that multiple people can be heard screaming. Several times over several minutes the report says gunshots can be heard." (06/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/06/28/police-narrative-details-orlando-horror/86470750

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Germany: Court restarts trial after judge repeatedly nods off

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A German court had to restart the trial of two men suspected of robbing a grocery store because a judge kept nodding off during the proceedings. The Muenster state court told the dpa news agency on Tuesday that the presiding judge decided it was better to start things over than provide immediate grounds for an appeal. German trials are typically heard by a panel of five judges: three professionals and two lay judges. In this case, it was one of the lay judges who couldn't stay awake on Monday. Fortunately, it was the first day of the trial and it was able to start again from scratch after an alternate judge took his place." (06/28/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/German-court-restarts-trial-after-judge-8328973.php

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Science: Helium discovery “a game-changer”

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Scientists have discovered a large helium gas field in Tanzania. With world supplies running out, the find is a 'game-changer,' say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities. Helium is used in hospitals in MRI scanners, as well as in spacecraft, telescopes and radiation monitors. Until now, the precious gas has been discovered only in small quantities during oil and gas drilling. Using a new exploration approach, researchers found large quantities of helium within the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley. They say resources in just one part of the Rift valley are enough to fill more than a million medical MRI scanners." [editor's note: A gas field of helium? Can you go to Tanzania now, and walk around singing like a Munchkin? - SAT] (06/28/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36651048

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Hawking on AI dangers: “We’re not getting any less greedy or stupid”

Raw Story Raw Story

"World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has a few thing to say about the future of humanity and the development of artificial intelligence, and he wasn’t feeling optimistic. Hawking was interviewed by Larry King on Monday. 'Governments seem to be engaged in an AI arms race,' Hawking told King. 'Designing planes and weapons with intelligent technologies. The funding for projects directly beneficial to the human race, such as improved medical screening seems a somewhat lower priority.' The way that AI can be influenced by humans became painfully clear earlier this year when Microsoft’s chatbot, dubbed 'Tay,' had to be taken off line because she had learned to spew foul language and racist hatred from Twitter users." (06/28/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/stephen-hawking-warns-about-artificial-intelligence-in-the-near-future-were-not-getting-any-less-greedy-or-stupid

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SCOTUS declines to hear “morning after pill” case

Fox News Fox News

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday narrowly rejected an appeal over whether a private pharmacy can be forced by the state to dispense the so-called 'morning after' pill, in effect refusing to expand its look into a religious liberty fight and certain reproductive health services. At issue is a 2005 Washington state order that a family-owned pharmacy in Olympia provide so-called emergency Plan B contraception (including morning-after and even week-after pills) that the business owners equate to abortion, in violation of their closely held religious beliefs. While the official vote total was not released, at least three justices dissented on the decision not to intervene. Justice Samuel Alito strongly dissented, saying the signal from the court was clear: 'Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business.'" [editor's note: If your "sincerely held religious beliefs" include denying medicine to a customer, you should clearly find another job! - SAT] (06/28/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/28/supreme-court-declines-to-hear-religious-liberty-case.html

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UN chief criticizes Gaza blockade after Israel-Turkey deal

The Washington Post Washington Post

"The U.N. chief on Tuesday criticized Israel's blockade of Gaza, a day after Israel and Turkey reached a broad reconciliation pact that looked to ease, but not eliminate, the isolation of the coastal strip. In a visit to the region, which included a stop at a Gaza school, Ban Ki-moon bemoaned the plight of Gazans, saying that 'the closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.' 'It's a collective punishment for which there must be accountability,' the secretary-general added. Meanwhile, in low-key affairs, Israel and Turkey formalized their agreement to restore full diplomatic relations after six years of animosity between the once-close allies. ... The agreement with Israel will include an exchange of ambassadors and Israeli compensation for the [murders] of 10 Turkish citizens [and one American] from a 2010 Israeli [pirate] raid on an activist flotilla that aimed to breach the Gaza blockade." (06/28/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/gazas-hamas-rulers-thank-turkey-after-its-deal-with-israel/2016/06/28/dd9f5058-3cfb-11e6-9e16-4cf01a41decb_story.html

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US House: Benghazi committee releases final report

ABC News ABC News

"House Republicans on the Benghazi Select Committee released their long-awaited report this morning on the events surrounding the 2012 Libya terror attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The report says there was intelligence leading up to the attacks that the diplomatic consulate and CIA annex there were not safe, and that top officials in the U.S. State Department, including Hillary Clinton and Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, should have realized that. It is also critical of top officials' deliberations during the attack and the lack of troop mobilization as it unfolded." (06/28/16)

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/benghazi-committee-releases-final-report/story?id=40171034

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SCOTUS rejects Kwame Kilpatrick appeal

Detroit Free Press

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's appeal of a public corruption conviction, possibly ending his bid to overturn a decision that sent him to prison for 28 years. The court announced its decision not to review the case on its order list Monday without comment. ... A three-judge panel last August upheld Kilpatrick's conviction on 24 counts that include bribery, extortion and fraud for steering work to a longtime friend, Bobby Ferguson, who also was convicted." (06/28/16)

http://www.freep.com/story/news/2016/06/27/us-supreme-court-rejects-kwame-kilpatrick-appeal/86424366/

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UK: Labour MPs pass Corbyn no-confidence motion

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A motion of no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been passed by the party's MPs. The 172-40 vote, which is not binding, follows resignations from the shadow cabinet and calls on Mr Corbyn to quit. The leader's allies have told his critics to trigger a formal leadership contest if they want to challenge him. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Corbyn was 'not going anywhere,' accusing his critics of trying to 'subvert democracy.' ... Mr Corbyn faced calls to resign at a stormy meeting in the House of Commons on Monday after more than 20 members of his shadow cabinet and a similar number of junior ministers walked out, questioning his performance during the EU referendum and ability to lead the party." (06/28/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36647458

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Tanzania: Scientists discover huge helium gas field

Business Standard [India]

"Scientists, using a new approach to gas exploration, have discovered a huge helium gas field in Tanzania, which could address the increasingly critical shortage of this vital yet rare element. Helium is critical to many things we take for granted, including MRI scanners in medicine, welding, industrial leak detection and nuclear energy. However, known reserves are quickly running out. Until now helium has never been found intentionally -- being accidentally discovered in small quantities during oil and gas drilling." (06/28/16)

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/huge-helium-gas-reserve-discovered-in-tanzania-116062800741_1.html

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SCOTUS strikes down Texas law that treats abortion clinics like other medical facilities

CNN CNN

"In a dramatic ruling, the Supreme Court on Monday threw out a Texas abortion access law in a victory to supporters of abortion rights who argued it would have shuttered all but a handful of clinics in the state. The 5-3 ruling is the most significant decision from the Supreme Court on abortion in two decades and could serve to deter other states from passing so-called 'clinic shutdown' laws. ... There were two provisions of the law at issue. The first said that doctors have to have local admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, the second says that the clinics have to upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards." [editor's note: Texas Administrative Code Rule §135.4 requires regular ambulatory surgical centers to "have a written transfer agreement with a hospital or all physicians performing surgery at the ASC shall have admitting privileges at a local hospital." Apparently pregnant women aren't as important to SCOTUS as other patients - TLK] (06/27/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/27/politics/supreme-court-abortion-texas/index.html

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More Clinton emails released, including some she deleted

Fox News Fox News

"An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server. The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton's home server, later gave her copies to the government. The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept." [editor's note: Tick, tick, tick ... -SAT] (06/27/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/27/more-clinton-emails-released-including-some-deleted.html

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MO: Nixon vetoes bill allowing constitutional concealed carry

Fox News Fox News

"Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have let [sic] people carry concealed guns without a permit and expanded [sic] their right[to] use weapons in self-defense. Nixon said the bill 'would make Missouri more dangerous' by relaxing current safeguards for concealed guns. The Democratic governor vetoed the measure Monday. The Republican-led Legislature could try to override his veto during a September session. The bill would allow most people to carry concealed guns even if they haven't gone through the training required for permits." [editor's note: Rights aren't "expanded" or "contracted." They're "respected" or "violated" - TLK] (06/27/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/27/missouri-governor-vetoes-bill-allowing-concealed-carry-without-permit.html

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Tony Blair, war crimes and the plot to remove Jeremy Corbyn

OpEdNews
by Mark Maguire

"In 2 weeks time the long awaited Chilcott Report into the Iraq War is widely expected to savage ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair and others have done their best, it seems, to delay the report, but its publication is now imminent. A cross-party group of MPs is preparing to press for Tony Blair to be prosecuted for War Crimes. Of even greater concern, though, amongst Blairite supporters and many Tories and establishment figures, Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, has made clear that he will request that the Prime Minister establish a Tribunal to investigate Tony Blair for War Crimes. It is against such a background that the Blairite faction of the Labour Party is making desperate attempts to remove Corbyn in advance of the Chilcott Report's publication." (06/30/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Tony-Blair-War-Crimes-and-by-Mark-Maguire-Brexit_Brexit_Chilcott-Inquiry_Crimes-Against-Humanity-160630-503.html

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Multiculturalism: A failed concept

Town Hall
by Walter E Williams

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has 'utterly failed,' adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could 'live happily side by side.' The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled. Leftist diversity advocates and multiculturalists are right to argue that people of all races, religions and cultures should be equal in the eyes of the law. But their argument borders on idiocy when they argue that one set of cultural values cannot be judged superior to another and that to do so is Eurocentrism. That's unbridled nonsense." (06/29/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2016/06/29/multiculturalism-a-failed-concept-n2183873

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Washington still gets it wrong on Islamic State

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"Tuesday’s attacks at Istanbul’s main airport, which appear at this time to be the work of Islamic State, are the latest reminder that the United States should not downplay the group’s rudimentary (yet effective) tactics. Since the wave of Islamic State suicide bombings in May (killing 522 people inside Baghdad, and 148 people inside Syria), American officials have downplayed the strategy as defensive. Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy in the fight against Islamic State, said the group "returned to suicide bombing" as the area under its control shrank. The American strategy of focusing primarily on the 'big picture' recapture of territory seems to push the suicide bombings to the side. 'It’s their last card,' stated an Iraqi spokesperson in response to the attacks. The reality is just the opposite." (06/29/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-islamic-state-commentary-idUSKCN0ZF2L2

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Supreme Court legalizes influence peddling: McDonnell v. United States

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Rob Hager

"Until now, it has been the corrupt Congress, not the Court, that has been responsible all these years for the failure to enforce traditional conflict of interest prohibitions against the increasing levels of legalized campaign finance corruption of politicians who divert their delegated public powers to the service of their benefactors' private interests against the public interests of the electorate. While the Supreme Court has given the benefactors nearly absolute First Amendment protection from any laws effectively prohibiting the supply of political investments, it is the politicians who have given themselves a free pass to deliver the influence they have peddled in return for those investments." (06/30/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/30/supreme-court-legalizes-influence-peddling-mcdonnell-v-united-states/

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Supreme Court eliminates corruption! (by defining it out of existence)

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jon Schwarz

"Back in 2010, the majority held in Citizens United that corruption should be defined only as straightforward bribes. Do big donors to 'independent' Super PACs get a receipt saying 'Received: $5 Million in Return for Cutting Your Taxes?' No? Then according to the decision, the donation did 'not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption,' and that's all that matters. Now in the unanimous McDonnell decision, the Court held that a lower court's interpretation of quid pro quo defined the quo too broadly, because for McDonnell to run interference for his generous donors with state officials didn't actually qualify as an 'official decision.' In other words, the Court first decided in 2010 that only out-and-out bribes matter, and now it has decided that only a carefully defined subset of bribes qualify." (06/29/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/29/supreme-court-eliminates-political-corruption-by-defining-it-out-of-existence/

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“We the prisoners”: The demise of the Fourth Amendment

John W. Whitehead Future of Freedom Foundation
by John W Whitehead

In a carceral state -- a.k.a. a prison state or a police state -- there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords. In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite. In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards. With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, 'we the people' -- the prisoners of the American police state -- are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall." (06/29/16)

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/prisoners-demise-fourth-amendment/

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Cigarettes hazardous, but some lawmakers worse

Town Hall
by Jeff Jacoby

"In Hawaii and California, the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised recently to 21. Now Massachusetts lawmakers, addicted to the rush that comes from limiting other people's choices, are keen to jump on the bandwagon. A bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 (and, for good measure, making it a crime to sell cigarettes in drugstores) passed the state Senate by an overwhelming vote last month. The bill is now before a House committee; it could reach the full House for a vote in a matter of days. Soon after the Fourth of July, adults in Massachusetts who smoke or who do business with smokers can expect to have less freedom than they have right now. Happy Independence Day. ... Today, smoking is at an all-time low in the United States, down to just 14.9 percent in a Centers for Disease Control survey released in November. Among teens, smoking is rarer still." (06/29/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/2016/06/29/cigarettes-are-hazardous-but-some-lawmakers-are-worse-n2185422

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The Supreme Court is moving left, here’s why

Reuters Reuters
by William Yeomans

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s strange 2015 term ended this week in a flurry of dysfunction on difficult issues (the inability to rule on President Barack Obama’s immigration orders), interspersed with predictable decisions (the unanimous stay-out-of-jail pass for the unethical but no longer felonious former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell). Most intriguingly, though, the term marked the emergence of a leftward-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, soon to be 80 years old, has sat at the center of the nine-member conservative court since the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2005. He still retains his status as the deciding vote -- but on this new, more liberal, if diminished court. We may also be witnessing a phenomenon that conservatives have railed against for years: the gradual liberalization of justices as they age. In recent years, Justices Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens and David Souter, all Republican appointees, moved consistently left with advancing age." (06/28/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-supreme-court-commentary-idUSKCN0ZE2LR

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Gary Johnson, the choice for the morally conflicted

USA Today USA Today
by Matthew Tully

"America is peppered with conflicted Republicans -- loyal members of the Grand Old Party who simply cannot tolerate the notion of voting for Donald Trump, but who also find the idea of casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton unimaginable, if not sacrilegious. It’s a quandary for many of you. If you’re among those in this political black hole, I feel for you. And, so, today I am here to help. I’ll do that by introducing my troubled Republican friends to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee for president. He’s a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico and, thanks to this year’s political discontent, he notched a head-turning 10% in a recent national poll." [editor's note: We libertarians have an interesting dilemma, whether to object to the limited aspects of Johnson's libertarian parts, or to offer the general public an option far beyond what they think they have - SAT] (06/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2016/06/29/gary-johnson-libertarian-republican-party-candidate-column/86504536

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The first post-middle-class election

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson

"Two years ago, a pollster for Democratic candidates told me he’d begun advising his clients to cease emphasizing 'the middle class' when speaking of those Americans whose interests they were defending. Many Americans who once thought of themselves as middle-class, he argued, no longer did. Last year, a Pew Research Center survey confirmed those Americans’ assessment. The share of income going to middle-class Americans declined from 62 percent in 1970 to 43 percent in 2014, while the share going to upper-income households rose from 29 percent to 49 percent. The erosion of middle-class America has been afoot for 40 years, but it was the financial crisis of 2008 and the tepid recovery that followed it that have shaken American politics to its foundations." [editor's note: This long, rather didactic history lesson lacks perspective beyond the War Party's two wings (no mention of either LP or GP, or their possible effect), but is otherwise readable - SAT] (06/29/16)

http://prospect.org/article/first-post-middle-class-election-0

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The hot land

The Intercept The Intercept
by Ryan Devereaux

"When Enrique Pena Nieto assumed office as president of Mexico in 2012, he did not want to talk about the drug war. He had staked his candidacy on promises of reform; on the possibility of a Mexico freed from depictions in the international press of a nation defined by violence. That was an attractive idea. After all, the loss of life under Pena Nieto's predecessor, Felipe Calderon, who sent the military into the streets to do battle with organized crime, had been historic, with even the most conservative estimates of the dead and disappeared soaring well into the six-figure range. Pena Nieto avoided references to a sweeping, militarized campaign against drug cartels -- the defining feature of Calderon’s tenure -- instead favoring more generalized references to public security. Unfortunately, avoiding the subject didn't make it go away. Within two years, Mexican security forces at all levels would be implicated in a series of grisly crimes." (06/29/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/29/after-uprising-in-mexico-return-of-narco-warlords/

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An alternative to the madness of proving police injustice

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Vann R Newkirk II

"When Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr., was acquitted Thursday of all charges related to the death of Freddie Gray, the one emotion absent from the courtroom, social media, and the crowds of protesters in the city was surprise. The cases of all six officers alleged to be involved in Gray's April 2015 death have been tossed about in a sea of strange legal wrangling and reshuffling, but without much real suspense. The trial of Officer Edward Nero ended in a judge's acquittal, and that of Officer William Porter in a hung jury. All six officers charged in the case remain on administrative, drawing full salaries, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. But it's likely that these officers will share the fate of most officers accused of killing black people in the line of duty: a return to police work." (06/29/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/restorative-justice-police-violence/489221/

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Elizabeth Warren, Hillary’s most rational choice for VP

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

"Nearly all reports from the Hillary Clinton brain trust suggest Senator Tim Kaine is the runaway favorite to be the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2016. There are soft spots in this consensus. For instance, the Clinton campaign is apparently not 100 percent convinced that Donald Trump will walk away from next month’s convention in Cleveland as the Republican nominee. Clinton’s allies think there’s a small but real chance she’ll be running against a candidate who isn’t fatally flawed himself (or mortally wounded for having deposed Trump). If that did happen, a more electric candidate might rocket to the top of her short list." [editor's note: Some say this would destroy the last vestige of credibility for Warren for a 2020 run; I frankly don't give a crap either way - SAT] (06/29/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/134726/elizabeth-warren-hillary-clintons-rational-choice-vp

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Banning the box is not nearly enough

In These Times In These Times
by Lewis M Steel

"At last, the United States is taking steps to reduce its enormous prison population. With 2.5 million people behind bars, we are the world’s largest jailer. Sentencing reform to reduce mandatory minimums for nonviolent crimes starts to address this problem. But for those who have been incarcerated, punishment doesn’t end with prison: 70 million Americans are burdened with some form of criminal record that jeopardizes their ability to find a job and re-enter society. When employers learn applicants have prison records, rejection is often swift. Because African Americans and Latinos suffer a disproportionately high percentage of arrests and convictions, their rejection rates are even higher." (06/29/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19188/banning-the-box-is-not-nearly-enough

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To my less-evilism haters: A rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Andrew Smolski

"If you advocate that third parties should be abandoned in contentious states, then you are advocating that third parties should be abandoned. We can call this the 'risk nothing, win nothing' political strategy. When there is a left flank, Chomsky and Halle have advocated that it should be abandoned if it threatens the Democratic contender against a Republican. Why should the Democrats care about progressive demands when the Congressional Progressive Caucus is only 29% of the party and there is no left flank to apply pressure? And why should they feel threatened by a left flank that will abandon itself as soon as there is anything substantial at risk?" (06/29/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/29/to-my-haters-a-rejoinder-to-halle-and-chomsky/

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The Syria “dissent” memo and US bureaucratic pressure strategy

Gareth Porter Antiwar.com
by Gareth Porter

"The memorandum by 51 State Department officials calling for US military intervention in Syria last week has been treated in news media coverage as a case of dissent from existing Syria policy by individual officials involved in Syria policy. But the memo has all the earmarks of an initiative that had the blessing of the most senior officials in the department -- including Secretary of State John Kerry himself -- rather than having been put together by individual officials entirely on their own. And it may mark the beginning of an effort to take advantage of the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton." (06/29/16)

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2016/06/28/syria-dissent-memo-us-bureaucratic-pressure-strategy/

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Benghazi report reveals folly of interventionism

Ed Krayewski Reason
by Ed Krayewski

"The partisan argument about Clinton's culpability in an attack that led to the killing of four Americans by Libyan militants misses the broader argument about aimless interventionism. A spokesperson for the State Department responded to the report by saying the department's 'priority continues to be carrying out our national security mission while mitigating the risks to our employees.' Democrats insist the State Department has boosted security, so the problem is solved. Republicans argue the White House didn't do enough militarily .... The reality is the U.S. should not have participated in the Libyan civil war in the first place ..." (06/28/16)

http://reason.com/blog/2016/06/28/benghazi-report-reveals-folly-of-interve

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The hunter

The Intercept The Intercept
by Peter Maass

"There is no Miss Manners for exchanging pleasantries with a man the government has trained to be the digital equivalent of a Navy SEAL. Though I had initiated the contact, I was wary of how he might respond. The hacker had publicly expressed a visceral dislike for [Edward] Snowden and had accused The Intercept of jeopardizing lives by publishing classified information. One of his memos outlined the ways the NSA reroutes (or 'shapes') the internet traffic of entire countries, and another memo was titled 'I Hunt Sysadmins.' I felt sure he could hack anyone's computer, including mine. ... I got lucky with the hacker, because he recently left the agency for the cybersecurity industry; it would be his choice to talk, not the NSA's. Fortunately, speaking out is his second nature." (06/28/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/28/he-was-a-hacker-for-the-nsa-and-he-was-willing-to-talk-i-was-willing-to-listen/

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Fascists against freedom, unite

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"Everyone expects neo-Nazis to be thuggish and simpleminded. They're losers who need a movement that tells them they are winners, so they troll for grievances and battles from which they can emerge as both morally superior and victims. They hate freedom. Traditionalist Worker Party leader Matthew Heimbach even wrote a piece, 'I Hate Freedom,' in which he explained, 'Freedom is a word and a concept that everyone loves and enjoys because of the license that it gives us as a society; that is why freedom failed and that is why freedom must die.' Like I said, white supremacists are losers." (06/28/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/06/28/fascists-against-freedom-unite-n2184178

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On demand, and demanding their rights

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Steven Greenhouse

"Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, recently recalled that when he first started the company seven years ago, 'it was easy to communicate with the handful of drivers using the app.' Uber’s marketing manager called each of the drivers regularly, Kalanick said, 'to get their feedback and make sure things were working well.' Nowadays, Uber has far more than a handful of drivers -- it has more than 400,000 in the United States alone, and many drivers complain that Uber’s managers no longer listen to them to make sure things are working well. 'They do whatever they want,' said Bigu Haider, an Uber driver in New York who is furious at Uber over fare cuts and other moves that have reduced his income. 'I don’t see any voice for the drivers.'” [editor's note: At some point, if you are not someone else's "employee," you have to deal with life as it is and how you create it; musicians and other artists have done this for generations, ever since "patronage" went out of style - SAT] (06/28/16)

http://prospect.org/article/demand-and-demanding-their-rights

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Conservatives have groomed perfect suckers for Trump’s epic scam

The New Republic The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

"In 2000, Donald Trump boldly told Fortune magazine, 'It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.' Sixteen years later, he’s structured an entire presidential campaign around making good on that boast. While Trump is turning out to be a disaster for the Republican Party, the real estate magnate is pretty much guaranteed to come out richer. That was the plan all along. And conservative voters, conditioned by decades of right-wing politicians and media exploiting and enhancing their gullibility, make the perfect victims for his ruse." (06/28/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/134667/conservatives-groomed-perfect-suckers-trumps-epic-scam

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Nationalism and democracy, an exit to nowhere

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Ryan Calhoun

"Elites will never be stripped of their privilege by the method of their ascension. The impoverished will never stop being robbed of their potential by handing it over to new elites. The decision by the majority of voting British citizens to leave the European Union has been seen as a mandate against unaccountable technocratic governors in the EU. Objections to this technocracy are not always pretty though. In place of a centralized system of control in Europe, those who voted to leave the EU wish for the tools of power to be shifted back to Britain. No matter their intentions, and really no matter which side of the vote British citizens found themselves on, very little has changed for the control people have over their own lives." (06/28/16)

https://c4ss.org/content/45494

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In Gaza, the drones never sleep

In These Times In These Times
by Nancy Kricorian

"Israel’s 'Operation Protective Edge' rained death and destruction on the besieged population of the Gaza Strip for 50 days between July 7 and August 26, 2014. More than 1,400 civilians, including more than 500 children and 250 women, were killed. The maimed and wounded topped 11,000, and over 18,000 housing units were totally destroyed or severely damaged. Reading such a list of statistics of casualties during war can outrage and horrify if one identifies with those who are killed (or simply identifies them as fully human). Feminist philosopher Judith Butler, in her book Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, writes about war as a time when lives are divided into those considered fully human (and thus grievable) and those that are not." (06/28/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19189/in-gaza-drones-never-sleep

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Six times a government hack was bigger than first disclosed

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Robinson Meyer and Kaveh Waddell

"In July 2014, the New York Times reported that Chinese hackers broke into the servers of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that functions as a kind of government-wide human-resources department. More than a year later, in May 2015, the Internal Revenue Service announced that more than 100,000 taxpayer accounts at the IRS had been breached. Both would have been bad by themselves. But since then, the number of people affected by both of those hacks have grown. ... The difficulty of pinning down even the most basic details of critical hacks -- what was actually stolen, the number of people affected -- is the result of an outdated but still prevalent way of thinking about cybersecurity." (06/28/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/06/6-times-a-government-hack-was-bigger-than-first-disclosed/488996/

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Our five Benghazi conclusions

USA Today USA Today
by Mike Pompeo & Jim Jordan

"On Sept. 11, 2012, as fire engulfed the State Department’s temporary mission facility in Benghazi, Libya, the survivors and a CIA security team who had come to their rescue made a desperate dash for a CIA annex located nearby. From there they would fend off a continued and determined jihadist attack. Despite heroic efforts that night, four Americans lost their lives. For the first time in more than 30 years, a U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, was assassinated. Another State Department employee, Sean Smith, was also killed. Two former Navy Seals who worked for the CIA, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, died defending their fellow Americans at the annex." (06/28/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/06/28/benghazi-obama-administration-clinton-state-department-politics-justice-report-committee-ambassador-susan-rice-white-house-column/86469702

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Bernie’s “political revolution” = vote for Clinton and the neocons

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Chris Ernesto

"How do Democrats continue to let themselves get bowled over time and time again? Wasn't it enough to watch their own party rig the primaries against their preferred candidate, but now their guy Bernie wants them to vote for that same party and their warmongering candidate? The sad thing is that many, many 'liberals' will follow suit and do as told. 'We have to do everything possible to stop a Trump presidency' is the rallying cry. But what about doing everything possible to stop a Clinton presidency?" (06/28/16)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/28/bernies-political-revolution-vote-for-clinton-and-the-neocons/

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If you are not angry about the Democratic platform TPP scam you are not paying attention

OpEdNews
by The Pen

"We got an email chiding us for expressing anger in our last message, wherein we condemned the draft Democratic party platform's non-position on the TPP. Yeah, well guess what, we, and a LOT of other people, are just beginning to get angry about this. And unless you want #TrumpTheFraud as your next president of the United States, the Democratic party better get a damn clue, and get it fast. What Part Of No TPP Don't You Get? ... We are not demanding that Hillary Clinton adopt Bernie's position on this. NO ... we are demanding she adopt her OWN stated position on this, or at least what she led us to believe." (06/28/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/If-You-Are-Not-Angry-About-by-The-Pen-Democratic-Convention_Democratic-Cowards_Democratic-Leadership-Council_Democratic-Primary-160628-747.html

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SCOTUS: Amply serving law enforcement’s interests versus society’s

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

"Searching the shed behind my house would certainly be 'significantly less intrusive' than searching my closet or requiring me to open the lock box in which I keep important personal documents. Does this mean that the police should be free to poke around in my shed without procuring a warrant based on probable cause to believe I've committed a crime, if doing so happens to 'amply serve their interests?' No, it doesn't. The Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures isn't there for the convenience of law enforcement. It's there to protect everyone else's rights from abuses BY law enforcement." (06/27/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/6478

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Dems (selectively) outraged about lenient sentences

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney Michele Hanisee was gobsmacked when California lawmakers raged against the light sentence meted out to a former Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting a woman while she was passed out behind a campus trash bin. Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock Turner, 20, to six months in jail (he's likely to serve a mere three months), as well as three years of probation and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Outraged at this headline-grabbing punishment, 16 Democratic Assembly members and senators wrote to Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen urging him to appeal the sentence, which they described as a 'slap on the wrist.'" (06/26/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/06/26/dems-selective-outrage-about-lenient-sentences-n2183260

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Sex, violence and unions

In These Times In These Times
by Jetta Rae

"On May 3, the wrestler Ryback, a generic strongman notable for his penchant for quoting The Secret, revealed on Tumblr that he had asked to be removed from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) television over ethical concerns about the disparity in wrestlers’ pay. 'It blows my mind,' he wrote, 'how in a sport which is pre-determined from a company standpoint, winners are paid so much more than the losers.' Ryback’s speaking out has once again encouraged hope of labor action within the sport. As wrestling journalist Abbey Arthur noted in an op-ed in Top Rope Press, 'It’s long past time these men and women realize that no promoter can punish them or hold them back or hold them down if they present a united front.'" (06/27/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19209/sex-violence-and-unions

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Democratic Party Platform Committee undermines Clinton on TPP

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"The Democratic party’s elites must not think that trade and jobs will be big issues in the coming election. Apparently, they’ve never listened to a Donald Trump speech, and didn’t notice that working-class people in the United Kingdom just voted to 'brexit' from the European Union (EU) over these issues. The Democratic platform writing committee has voted not to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with the pro-TPP majority saying that doing so would undercut President Obama’s efforts to pass the agreement. The problem is, this hands Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, powerful ammunition as he says Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton is only 'pretending' to oppose the agreement." (06/27/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160627/dem-party-platform-committee-undermines-clinton-on-tpp

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Why are anti-Trump conservatives hailing the Brexit?

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

"The year between the launch of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union was enough time for conservative elites to divide themselves between Trump supporters and apologists, on the one hand, and Trump renouncers on the other. It was not long enough, however, to occasion a broader rethinking of the conservative style in American politics that Trump epitomizes. Movement conservatism thrived for decades in America on the strength of appeals to white resentment, until Trump proved the strategy could be hijacked in service of a populist and more explicitly racist agenda. Now, confronted with a foreign campaign of racial agitation thinly disguised as anti-establishment populism, many of Trump’s most ardent conservative critics ... have nevertheless embraced the Brexit and celebrated its destabilizing victory." (06/27/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/134657/anti-trump-conservatives-hailing-brexit

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The last Berniebro?

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"'I've got this thing,' said the politician on a secretly recorded phone call, 'and it's f-ing golden. And I'm just not giving it up for f-ing nothing.' That politician, as you probably remember, was Rod Blagojevich, then the governor of Illinois. ... But Blagojevich's colorful sentiment could apply equally well to the way Bernie Sanders seems to think about his endorsement in this year's presidential race. It's golden, a precious jewel he has secured in a safe whose lock can only be sprung by one who has shown herself to be pure of heart, or at least one who has paid sufficient attention to Sanders and performed the proper rituals of supplication. Then and only then will the endorsement be presented. ... But what Sanders may not realize is that by the time he's finally ready to hand over that endorsement, very few people are likely to care." (06/27/16)

http://prospect.org/article/last-berniebro

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Digital dystopia: Egyptian civil society at risk

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Jillian York

"On June 23, Amnesty International -- along with IFEX, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, and seven other organizations -- issued a joint statement on the 'existential threat' faced by Egyptian civil society. In recent months, the statement reads: 'Many people working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been detained and ill-treated, charged with offences under the draconian Counter-terrorism law, or subject to a judicial request to ban them from travel and freeze their assets.' Digital rights defenders are amongst those who have been targeted. ... It is not just the defenders of free speech, but free speech itself being attacked." (06/27/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/06/digital-dystopia-egyptian-civil-society-risk

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Peas in a pod: Trump and UK’s Leave campaign

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox

"Donald Trump shares much with the UK’s Leave campaign. Both play fast and loose with facts, and backtrack from promises all too easily. Yet by invoking the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the stakes could be even higher for a victory by the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. president. The day after Britons abandoned the European Union, the political face of the movement backpedaled on a central pledge of the campaign. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said he couldn’t guarantee that some 350 million pounds of weekly funds sent to Brussels could be diverted to Britain’s National Health Service. The claim had been emblazoned on buses and other Leave propaganda, and was believed by almost half of respondents in a poll just ahead of the referendum. Such dissembling is distressingly familiar for American voters" [editor's note: I am still reserving judgment on Brexit; too many other things to hold my concern - SAT] (06/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/06/27/trump-and-uks-leave-campaign-are-peas-in-a-pod

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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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