Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

TX: Perry pleads not guilty to felony charges

ABC News

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry today pleaded not guilty to two felony charges on which he was indicted relating to a 2013 veto threat. Perry’s attorneys entered the not guilty plea this morning and waived his formal arraignment scheduled for Friday morning. ... The two felony counts -- abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official -- originate from Perry’s threat to veto $7.5 million in funding for Texas’ public integrity unit after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a 2013 DWI conviction." (08/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kq63gnc

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Report: Biden stonewalled FOIA request to hide travel costs

Fox News

"Vice President Joe Biden’s office stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for his travel expenses, according to Ronald Kessler’s new tell-all book on the Secret Service, The First Family Detail. Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of Biden’s personal trips." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqdvom2

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Russian import ban fuels food price rises

BBC News [UK state media]

"Food prices are rising in parts of Russia and experts say the state embargo on imports of Western food appears to be making things worse. Since the ban was imposed on 7 August imported pork used in processed meat in Moscow has gone up by 6%, Russian business daily Kommersant reports. In St Petersburg food prices have risen 10%. That inflation occurred even before the impact of sanctions. Russia's ban on many Western foods is retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine." (08/19/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28849726

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Vietnam counts cost of anti-China riots

Christian Science Monitor

"After anti-Chinese rioters attacked his auto-parts factory in May, Lee Wang-chung and his family had to leave town in a hurry. His factory was one of hundreds in Vietnam engulfed in protests triggered by popular fury at China's positioning of a $1 billion oil rig in a disputed part of the South China Sea. A week later, Mr. Lee was back at the factory, repairing its broken windows. He says the local government is supportive, as are his Vietnamese staff. For one thing, he's not even a Chinese citizen: He's Taiwanese. But to the 20,000-odd rioters who rampaged through an industrial park looking for Chinese script or other symbols, that didn't matter." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mk3unlj

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Leaked: Google’s attempt to make YouTube a pay service

San Francisco Chronicle

"After months of rumors, we're finally getting a look at YouTube's new subscription-based music service. Leaked screenshots published by Android Police claim to detail the features of the new service, reportedly named 'YouTube Music Key.' The new service was first spotted when Google began purchasing domain names related to the phrase 'music key,' as 'youtubemusickey.com,' 'musickey.co.uk,' and 'musickey.jp' are now owned by Google. But in a series of leaked screenshots, Android Police claims to have detailed the features of the new service. Key features of this new 'premium' version of YouTube are said to include offline playback of videos, concert footage, exclusive remixes, and an absence of ads. Although the price has not been announced, it is believed to cost $9.99 per month." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lgy744l

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NY: Grand jury to hear NYPD chokehold death case

Raw Story

"A New York City prosecutor said on Tuesday he will present evidence to a grand jury next month in the death of an unarmed man who police put in a chokehold while arresting him. Daniel Donovan Jr., district attorney in the New York borough of Staten Island, said in a statement that Eric Garner’s death had been investigated 'with a full appreciation that no person is above the law, nor beneath its protection.' Donovan declined to say what criminal charges he would ask grand jurors to consider or who might be called as a witness when goes before the grand jury in September. Grand juries, which have the power to indict if the prosecutor presents sufficient evidence, operate in secrecy." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nkpu3x5

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Liberia fights Ebola in capital, West Africa toll tops 1,200

Reuters [UK]

"Liberia battled on Tuesday to halt the spread of the Ebola disease in its crowded, run-down oceanside capital Monrovia, recording the most new deaths as fatalities from the world's worst outbreak of the deadly virus rose above 1,200. The epidemic of the hemorrhagic disease, which can kill up to 90 percent of those it infects, is ravaging the three small West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy. As the Geneva-based World Health Organization rushed to ramp up the global response to the outbreak, including emergency food deliveries to quarantined zones, it announced that deaths from it had risen to 1,299 as of Aug. 16, out of 2,240 cases." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltkgf5x

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TX: Perry to turn himself in Tuesday

Fox News

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to turn himself in to authorities Tuesday evening at a local Texas jail on the heels of his indictment for alleged abuse of power, a member of the governor's legal team told Fox News. ... Perry will have his mugshot and fingerprints taken during the booking. ... This comes after Perry began assembling a high-powered legal team to defend him in the case, which Perry and his allies argue is politically motivated. Perry is facing charges of coercion and official oppression that carry a maximum sentence of 109 years in prison." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lzrcshf

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Liberia: Doctors Without Borders opens new Ebola ward

Time

"In its latest move to combat a growing outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) opened a new ward in Liberia this week to accept more people confirmed or suspected to be infected with the disease. ... The new Ebola management center, called ELWA 3, took just two weeks to build, with the help of MSF staff members and local workers hired by the organization. It opened on Aug. 17, and as of Tuesday, it had 32 patients." ()8/19/14)

http://time.com/3145185/ebola-doctors-without-borders-liberia/

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Study: Scientists hoping to kill cancer tumors with magnets

Raw Story

"Surgery. Radiotherapy. Chemotherapy. Those are the cancer treatments most of us are familiar with, and in many cases, even all three combined are not enough to provide a complete cure. But a new and innovative approach may enable oncologists to add another option to the list. An artificial magnetic bacterium was recently created in a Spanish laboratory that, when ingested, can work as a magnetically charged compass that targets tumors and destroys them by spinning so fast the tumors heat up and melt. It's based on an experimental treatment methodology called 'magnetic hypothermia' that exposes tumors filled with magnetic nanoparticles to an alternating magnetic field." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4azf6r

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Report: Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air

Fox News

"Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays: 'streamers,' for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one 'streamer' every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version. The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q2l65sz

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Finland: New Russia-West sanctions war brings deja vu

Christian Science Monitor

"An air of dejection hangs over the sprawling Valio dairy plant here. Until earlier this month, the factory operated two shifts to process and pack cheese, butter, and other milk products mostly destined for Russia. But virtually all workers on the single remaining shift now clock off by mid-afternoon, leaving behind a vast, refrigerated warehouse stacked with pallets stamped 'for Russia' that have nowhere to go." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwnodf9

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Elephant poaching deaths reach tipping point in Africa

BBC News [UK state media]

"Africa's elephants have reached a tipping point: more are being killed each year than are being born, a study suggests. Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the continent. They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years. The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (08/18/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28842965

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CA: Bill tackles grease thievery from restaurants

San Francisco Chronicle

"The California Legislature approved a bill Monday that would increase penalties for stealing a restaurant's used cooking oil, which has become a hot commodity for thieves because it can fetch hundreds of dollars due to its ability to be converted into clean-burning biofuel. The bill, AB1566, is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown. Fetching around $3 a pound, a truck-load of used cooking oil can bring in as much as $600 at a grease recycling center, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The surge in grease thefts has been compared to the rise in copper thefts when prices for the medal skyrocketed. The California Restaurant Association estimates grease thefts are costing restaurants millions of dollars. Restaurants and state licensed grease haulers earn a profit from selling and transporting the grease." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr9gd5g

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Community Health says data stolen in China cyber attack

Reuters

"Community Health Systems Inc, one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said on Monday it was the victim of a cyber attack from China, resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients. Security experts said the hacking group, known as 'APT 18,' may have links to the Chinese government. 'APT 18' typically targets companies in the aerospace and defense, construction and engineering, technology, financial services and healthcare industry, said Charles Carmakal, managing director with FireEye Inc's Mandiant forensics unit, which led the investigation of the attack on Community Health in April and June." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4n3gdl

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NJ: Middle school bans trans teen from attending as a girl

Raw Story

"Officials with Thorne Middle School in Middletown, New Jersey have refused to allow a transitioning transgender student to return to school using her new gender identity, APP.com reports. Rachel Pepe attended the middle school last year under her birth name, 'Brian,' but when she tried to register for classes with her new gender identity, school district officials told her she would have to return to Thorne dressed as and answering to 'Brian.' Rachel said that over the last year, she 'realized I wanted to be a girl. I sort of felt something was missing, that something was wrong.' Her mother, Angela Peters, worries that sending her back to Thorne Middle School as 'Brian' would cause a recurrence of the crippling depression that she suffered with last year." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nm352c7

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Researchers: Richard III dined on exotic birds, drank heavily

Fox News

"What did it mean to eat like a king in the late-15th century? For Britain's Richard III, immortalized by Shakespeare as a 'poisonous bunch-backed toad,' it meant dining on exotic birds like swan, crane and heron, all washed down with a bottle of wine. New research carried out by scientists in Britain has shown that Richard's consumption of alcohol dramatically increased after he became king in 1483, allegedly ordering the murders of his two young nephews along the way." [editor's note: well, Faux Snooze thought it was newsworthy; who am I to argue? - SAT] (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/olbnjhn

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Hong Kong: Thousands gather in pro-government rally

BBC News [UK state media]

"A major pro-government rally in Hong Kong is drawing in thousands of supporters, in response to civil disobedience campaigns by activists. Pro-democracy activists have staged huge protests, the most recent on the 1 July anniversary of the day Hong Kong was handed back to China from Britain. They have threatened to occupy parts of the city if their demands are not met. Public discontent in Hong Kong is at its highest for years with concern over Beijing's influence over elections." (08/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-28824975

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South Africa: Two years after Marikana massacre, challenge to ruling ANC

Christian Science Monitor

"Two years ago, thousands of striking mine workers gathered on a rocky hill outside this impoverished town in the heart of South Africa’s platinum belt, demanding wage increases from their employer, Lonmin plc. Wrapped in blankets to break the winter chill, they chanted and sang, waving clubs and spears as they marched toward a waiting knot of police. Suddenly a shot rang out, then another. Minutes later, 34 miners had been killed by police, and 78 more injured -- the most deadly confrontation between South African police and protestors since the high days of apartheid." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p33xjcc

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Ukraine says its troops make breakthrough

Reuters

"Ukrainian forces have raised their national flag over a police station in the city of Luhansk which was for months under rebel control, Kiev said on Sunday, in what could be a breakthrough in Ukraine's efforts to crush pro-Moscow separatists. Ukrainian officials said however the rebels were fighting a desperate rearguard action to hold on to Luhansk (which is their supply route into neighbouring Russia) and that the flow of weapons and fighters from Russia had accelerated." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjjmb9y

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How local police forces got outfitted for warfare

San Francisco Chronicle

"The paramilitary hardware that police in Missouri deployed against demonstrators angered by an officer's killing of an unarmed black teenager has become commonplace in police departments in the Bay Area and around the country, thanks to billions of dollars in homeland security money and surplus military equipment that the federal government has showered on communities. Big-city police departments have long had riot gear, shields and even lightly armored vehicles to deal with unrest. What has changed in recent years is the volume of military equipment finding its way to smaller, suburban police agencies like the ones that confronted protesters last week in Ferguson, Mo." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4v6mrs

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MT: Democrats choose first-term state legislator at Senate candidate

Christian Science Monitor

"Montana Democrats on Saturday selected a little-known state lawmaker named Amanda Curtis as their candidate for U.S. Senate after Sen. John Walsh dropped out amid plagiarism allegations from his time at the U.S. Army War College. Curtis, a first-term representative from Butte, now faces the challenge of introducing herself to Montana voters and making her case for them to choose her over well-known and well-funded Republican Rep. Steve Daines with less than three months until the Nov. 4 elections.O" (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/klk2mun

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TX: Perry calls indictment a politically motivated “farce”

Los Angeles Times

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry, facing felony charges that he abused his power, stayed on the offensive Sunday, saying he did the right thing by cutting off money for the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. ... Perry, who may be making a second bid for president in 2016, was indicted Friday by a grand jury on charges of abusing his official capacity and coercing a public servant. The Republican governor had threatened to veto $7.5 million in funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit if Austin’s top prosecutor, Rosemary Lohmberg, a Democrat, did not resign after she was arrested on a drunken-driving charge. Lohmberg refused to step down and Perry followed through with a veto." (08/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m59r2ct

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Report: Ebay in talks to accept Bitcoin as payment

Raw Story

"Ebay Inc’s PayPal is in talks with Coinbase Inc and other bitcoin transaction providers to integrate the virtual currency within its Braintree payments system, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Executives at PayPal, which owns the service that handles payments for startups from room-bookings network AirBnB to car-on-demand service Uber, have not struck any agreements, the Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying. A deal would be an endorsement for a crypto currency, which is gaining acceptance with a slowly growing number of businesses, including online retailer Overstock.com. But some industry executives have warned about the risks of an unregulated currency." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mltsray

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Chikungunya vaccine shows promise in first human trials

Raw Story

"An experimental vaccine being developed by U.S. government scientists to prevent the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya has shown promise in its first human trials but remains years away from approval for widespread use. In a study published on Thursday in the Lancet medical journal, National Institutes of Health scientists said the vaccine elicited an impressive immune response in all 25 adult volunteers who took part and caused no worrisome side effects." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pk3n7sw

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Police officer: “If you don’t want to get shot … just do what I tell you”

JD Tuccille Reason
by JD Tuccille

"'If you don't want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground,' warns Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department, 'just do what I tell you.' The thing is, Officer Dutta (pictured) is also an Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University. And he uttered those words not in the heat of the moment, but in an opinion piece in the Washington Post responding to widespread criticism of police attitudes and tactics currently on display in Ferguson, Missouri, but increasingly common nationwide." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m2tloy7

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The coming race war won’t be about race

Time
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

"You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment. You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings." [editor's note: This is a flat-out excellent analysis of the bigger picture - SAT] (08/17/14)

http://time.com/3132635/ferguson-coming-race-war-class-warfare

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What does the Fed have to do with Social Security?

Our Future
by Dean Baker

"Most of the people who closely follow the Federal Reserve Board’s decisions on monetary policy are investors trying to get a jump on any moves that will affect financial markets. Very few of the people involved in the debate over the future of Social Security pay much attention to the Fed. That’s unfortunate because the connections are much more direct than is generally recognized. The basic story of Social Security’s finances is that, while the program is entirely sound for the near future, the program is projected to face a shortfall in the decade of the thirties." (08/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lgnaj4d

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Love the police

Cagle Post
by Daryl Cagle

Cartoon. (08/18/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/08/love-the-police-2/

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Admirable moderation or cowardly cop-out?

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"As everyone knows, opinions on same-sex marriage have been changing rapidly, which also means that the positions of politicians have to change to keep up. Now that pretty much every Democrat running for anything is in favor of marriage equality, they're done changing. Republicans, on the other hand, are going to have to keep tweaking their stance, confronted by the almost impossible challenging of signaling their open-mindedness to general election voters while not alienating a conservative base that, for a while anyway, is still opposed to gay people getting married. So what's the answer to that problem? 'Leave it to the states.' Is that an admirable bit of live-and-let-live, let-a-hundred-flowers-bloom approach to governing, or is it a cowardly cop-out? It's kind of both." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncsma65

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Why are you dressed like Darth Vader?

The Nation
by Tom Tomorrow

Cartoon. [editor's note: Brilliant, as usual - SAT] (08/19/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181317/why-are-you-dressed-darth-vader

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Julian Assange and extradition

Wikileaks CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

"So far, the latest chapter in the Julian Assange chronicle within the Ecuadorian embassy in London is one of mixed, and ultimately doomed promise. He is ailing, though it was clear that a deficiency in Vitamin D for a period of two years was bound to have some effect. Added to this lung and heart problems, and we have a serious patient with serious needs. Not even conventional prisoners should be denied a certain mandatory level of sunlight a day." (08/19/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/19/julian-assange-and-extradition/

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All they are saying is give bees a chance

In These Times
by Alex Kogan

"On Saturday, activists in cities from Dallas to Melbourne, Australia, 'swarmed the globe' in an international rally to save the world’s bees. In an action timed to coincide with National Honey Bee Day in the United States, Bee Against Monsanto (a Tampa-based collective that campaigns to protect honey bees and other pollinators) called on organizers worldwide to hold 'Swarm the Globe' rallies. Their goal: to raise awareness of the dangers of neonicotinoids, a family of insecticides that kill bees. Neonicotinoids are the leading suspect in Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which entire populations of worker bees disappear, leaving queens and larvae to die in their hives. On average, 30 percent of bee colonies in the United States have died each year since 2006, with similarly high death rates in many parts of Europe." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lfvjvlx

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The height of hypocrisy: Gore’s suit against Al Jazeera

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

"When Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million in January 2013, former Vice President and Current co-founder Al Gore praised the deal. Both Al Jazeera, a network owned by Qatar's oil-rich royal family, and his far-left Current TV, Gore said, were founded 'to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.' Last week, Gore and Current TV shareholders sued Al Jazeera for fraud because, Gore attorney David Boies told reporters, 'Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago.' The dispute raises the question: Can oil and sanctimony mix?" (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kctg4z7

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Ferguson: Nixon would make a solitude and call it peace

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

"The Ferguson uprising should not be ascribed entirely to race -- if you bother to look, there are plenty of white faces on the barricades there -- but it’s an indisputable fact that race plays a huge role in how police interact with the citizenry in the area. But just letting it be about race would be a grave mistake. It’s about power, control and the evolution of 'police' over the last two centuries from local night watchmen and constables serving and protecting a consenting populace ('peace officers') into large, militarized, authoritarian organizations serving and protecting the state ('law enforcement'). To let the uprising die in Ferguson as the National Guard moves in to suppress it, or to regard that suppression as 'peace,' would likewise be a grave mistake." (08/18/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/30624

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Peace may be true threat to Hamas, Israel’s leaders

Reuters
by Amy Wilentz

"It’s time to wonder whether Israel and Palestine will ever be able to move out of the moral abyss into which they’ve plunged themselves, and address the threat of peace. 'Threat' is the right term. Because peace is dangerous for leaders in the Middle East. It always has been. But back in the early 1990s, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who hated everything the other stood for, knew that each had his reasons for working for peace. Just possibly, they imagined, peace would be better than war for future generations. Certainly it would not be as wasteful. Not that those days were bliss -- but at least peace was plausible." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kl5tpjj

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Why the Rand Paul phenomenon isn’t exactly a libertarian triumph

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Libertarianism is suddenly getting more attention from the mainstream media than it has in a long time, perhaps ever. And wherever you see it, there's a good chance that U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, is at least part of the focus. When the New York Times Magazine publishes a story about libertarians, it puts a picture of Paul on the cover. When veteran Washington Post reporter Dan Balz writes a story about the libertarian response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, most of it is about Paul. Such attention isn't completely misguided (I'm doing it right now!), because Paul is a national figure who wants to be president of the United States, and that makes him important. But Paul's inescapable association with libertarianism shows the limits the philosophy faces if its adherents want to win political victories and not just intellectual satisfaction." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2bp3jq

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Ferguson & the “war on whites”

Our Future
by Terrance Heath

"Rep. Mo Brooks [R-AL] recently accused Democrats of waging a 'war on whites.' In Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown (an unarmed, 18-year-old, young black man) was shot and killed by a police officer, there is no question against whom war is being waged. If there is a 'war' on, whites are winning. ... What white Americans have lost is primacy: a sense of being primary, preeminent, or more important than any other group. " (08/18/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140818/war-against-whites-not-in-ferguson

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The crisis in investigative journalism

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John Kendall Hawkins

"[T]here is a third layer, the most important one, compared to which all other reportage is mere puff piecework, and this reified sphere is known as investigative journalism, often occupied by paunchy supermen and lithe linguists, such as Benjamin Franklin, H. L. Mencken, Martha Gellhorn, Jack Anderson, George Washington Williams, Seymour Hersh, Woodward and Bernstein, Hunter S. Thompson (if you quick-toke a doobie, this example will seem more obvious), Mike Tabibi, and even Ernest Hemingway -- the list is long and legendary. What sets their work apart is its adversarial engagement, the refusal to take things at face value or as laid out by the spokespeople for the rich and powerful, the relentless willingness to dig deeper and deeper until the truth is exposed." (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mydgkdl

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A co-op state of mind

In These Times
by Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo

"In 2006, Daniela Salazar, then a 22-year-old mother of two, was making about $7.25 an hour doing restaurant work and housecleaning. For three hours every month, she also stood on the street in Brooklyn with 12 other women passing out flyers, rain or shine (and sometimes snow). They were promoting a cleaning company of a new kind: one that would not only provide them with jobs and more money to support their families, but would also make them business owners. That company was a worker cooperative called Sí Se Puede ('Yes, We Can')."

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17061/a_co_op_state_of_mind

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True costs of Cash for Clunkers revealed

San Francisco Chronicle
by Kathleen Pender

"The 2009 federal Cash for Clunkers program is often hailed as a success because it jump-started new-vehicle sales, but a new study says it actually cost car dealers $3 billion in lost revenue because its fuel-efficiency requirement caused people to buy cheaper cars than they would have otherwise. Instead of buying expensive hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, most people fulfilled the fuel requirement by purchasing economy cars. The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling vehicle under the program. The goal of the program was to stimulate the auto sector by accelerating car sales from the future, when the economy presumably would be stronger, into mid-2009, when auto sales had veered off a cliff. A secondary goal was to increase fuel economy. Pursuing both goals caused the program to fail, said Mark Hoekstra, one of three Texas A&M University economists who authored the study, entitled Cash for Corollas." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mtg6ef4

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Can GMOs help feed a hot and hungry world?

The Nation
by Madeline Ostrander

"Eduardo Blumwald’s genetically modified plants don’t look much like 'Frankenfood.' Filling four modest greenhouses in a concrete lot behind Blumwald’s laboratory at the University of California, Davis, the tiny seedlings, spiky grasses, alfalfa, and peanut and rice plants in plastic terracotta-colored pots look exactly like the ordinary varieties from which he and his fellow researchers created them. Blumwald’s lab lies just ten miles from Monsanto’s 90,000-square-foot vegetable seed building, a glassy edifice larger than the hangar for a 747. ... But in the fourteen years that Blumwald, a professor of cell biology, has worked here studying the DNA of crop plants, he has hardly ever spoken to anyone from Monsanto." [editor's note: And it is in separating Monsanto's mega-role in (unlabeled) GMO foods, from serious efforts to grow more food for the starving, that the real struggle lies - SAT] (08/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nozr5ct

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What matters in Ferguson

The Nation
by Mychal Denzel Smith

"Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department. This is what matters. The name of the officer has been released (it’s Darren Wilson, who has been on the force for six years), alongside allegations that Brown was involved in a robbery. This does not matter. It doesn’t matter because people accused of robbery should not be shot. It doesn’t matter because people who put their hands up in surrender should not be shot. It doesn’t matter because a body should not lie in the streets for hours after being shot by a police officer. Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department. Everything else is irrelevant." (08/15/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181295/what-matters-ferguson

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Fair is good, but should city decide which startups are OK?

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

"I've never used Airbnb. I'm not proud of my failure to dive in to the sharing economy. I know it's largely a function of middle age (I don't want to sleep in a stranger's spare bedroom, even if it's cheap) and of years of parlaying hotel rewards programs to my advantage. My first reaction when I heard about ride service startups Uber and Lyft was that they enjoy an unfair advantage over cabbies, who have to jump through hoops and pay huge fees to do what 'sharing' kids do on the fly. I mention the above to establish that I understand cities' impulse to use their clout to instill in startup upstarts some respect for the businesses they seek to disrupt. But there's another side to this equation." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/prstd3d

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Stop Pentagon program that militarizes US police forces

Reuters
by Michael Shank & Elizabeth Beavers

"There is a growing bipartisan public outrage about the local police force’s fiercely militarized response to protestors in Ferguson, Missouri. From Democrats to Republicans, progressive to libertarian, citizens across the political spectrum are denouncing the efforts to stop demonstrations over the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African-American teenager. ... Americans have been stunned to see pictures of police driving armored vehicles through neighborhoods, brandishing weapons of war at unarmed citizens. But this is nothing new. (The article originally ran last October. It has been updated by the authors.)" (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p5hfqe4

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Who has been warning about police militarization?

Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"On The PBS Newshour Thursday, Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times was asked who has been covering the issue of the militarization of police. He said this has only been discussed by libertarians, like at Reason Magazine and the Cato Institute. ... This is a bizarre statement. To their credit Cato and Reason have been sounding the alarm about the militarization of our police departments and the potential consequences. But there have also been plenty of 'liberal' and other sources trying to raise awareness of this issue as well." [editor's note: True, but most of them were relatively silent once their "team jersey color" took over the throne - SAT] (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oy5ue3t

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Rise of the “unholy alliance”

Reason Reason
by Thaddeus Russell

"How libertarians and leftists are changing American politics, from foreign policy to Ferguson." (08/16/14)

http://reason.com/archives/2014/08/16/rise-of-the-unholy-alliance

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How Chuck Todd can save MtP

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"It's now official: Chuck Todd will be replacing David Gregory as host of the august NBC Sunday morning program Meet the Press, after a long period of declining ratings. If you're familiar with my previous criticism of the Sunday shows, you might imagine that I'd encourage Todd to bring more substance and an eclectic mix of guests to the program, freeing it from the endless and deathly recitations of competing talking points that characterize the genre. But no. In fact, I'd suggest that the path to success is to take everything that makes the shows so terrible, and do more of that." (08/15/14)

http://prospect.org/article/how-chuck-todd-can-save-meet-press

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Whose presidential campaign will your pension finance?

In These Times
by David Sirota

"Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party's potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states' pension funds. In the case, New York and Tennessee's Republican parties are represented by two former Bush administration officials, one of whose firms just won the Supreme Court case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnqgacq

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Israel’s real target is not Hamas

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dan Glazerbrook

"All colonial settler states are based on the violent dispossession of the native peoples -- and as a result, their fundamental and overriding aim has always been to keep those native peoples as weak as possible. Israel’s aim for the Palestinians is no different. Palestinian statehood is clearly an obstacle to this goal; a Palestinian state would strengthen the Palestinians. Genuine sovereignty would end Israel’s current presumed right to steal their land, control their borders, place them under siege, and bomb them at will." (08/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lxdos4g

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Ferguson 187: Comment copy/paste

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

"If a police officer had been gunned down in broad daylight in the middle of the street by a young black man, the suspect's name would have been released within minutes, charges would have been formally filed within hours and the suspect would have been taken into custody as soon as humanly possible. Since it was a young black man gunned down in broad daylight in the middle of the street by a police officer, it is now days later and the suspect's name has not been released, charges have not been formally filed and the suspect has been put on paid vacation while the police department runs through sequential conflicting versions of the story it is putting together until it has everyone worn out and confused enough not to burn the city down when it announces 'we've determined that the un-named police officer was acting according to department policy.' Like the pigs (equivalency definitely intended) in Animal Farm said, 'all animals are equal -- but some animals are more equal than others.'" (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lhrd5my

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Disruption, Inc.: Big Byte firms rotten to the core

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

"'You can make money without doing evil' is No. 6 in the list of 10 things Google (the corporation) knows to be true. The Google list leaves out a few caveats. Like: You can make more money flouting antitrust laws. You can pay your brainiacs less if they believe you will retaliate if they try to go to work for someone else." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oxmzsxe

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Is deadly force by police on the rise? We won’t know until they give us the stats

Reason Reason
by Anthony L. Fisher

"It is perfectly reasonable to suggest the ubiquity of cameras and social media have made the public far more aware of police misconduct and thus helped foster the impression of a growing epidemic of brutality. But neither Huston nor Haberfeld cite any national statistics or study to back up the claim that the use of deadly force is not on the rise, because they can't. There is no national database, nor anything close to resembling one, which details the use of deadly force by police." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/km758ln

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Happy Birthday, Social Security, but stay away from that cake!

Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"August 14th is Social Security’s birthday, and I keep having this nightmare. In it, 300 million Americans are singing Social Security’s praises and celebrating its 79th year. Then a giant cake is rolled out while everybody sings 'Happy Birthday' -- and out pops Alan Simpson, looking like Freddy Krueger and swinging a buzz saw with the words 'chained CPI' painted on it. Alan Simpson, in case you’ve forgotten, is the remarkably uninformed former Republican senator from Wyoming who has made a post-political career out of taunting seniors in need." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otvzx3y

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Trying to learn from criticism, even the negative stuff

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Writing about politics for a living is a terrific job, the best I've ever had. But one of the things that comes with the territory is that because you put your work in front of the public, anyone is free to criticize that work, which sometimes includes not just saying 'I disagree with you about this,' but also saying, 'You're scum and I hope you die.' As a man I'm generally spared the rape and death threats that women writers endure, and on the whole the criticism I get doesn't bother me too much. It may not be particularly pleasant to be told you're a fool, regardless of who's doing the telling, but I developed a pretty thick skin for that kind of thing a long time ago." (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/le7f269

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The militarization of US police: Finally dragged into the light by the horrors of Ferguson

Lucy Steigerwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri -- the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army -- have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. But none of this is aberrational. It is the destructive by-product of several decades of deliberate militarization of American policing, a trend that received a sustained (and ongoing) steroid injection in the form of a still-flowing, post-9/11 federal funding bonanza, all justified in the name of 'homeland security.'" (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lfq6w33

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Agitpopcorn

In These Times
by Michael Atkinson

"New to DVD, Propaganda became a minor source of controversy when it appeared on the Internet in 2013, after some news outlets (including In These Times) took it for what it purported to be: a North Korean anti-West propaganda film. It's not. Propaganda is actually a 'mockumentary,' as far as that term goes, the work of New Zealand filmmaker Slavko Martinov. A sneakily deft contrivance, Propaganda is for the most part a shoot-the-wounded torrent of anti-imperialist factoids, presented by an identity-besmudged 'spy,' along with very real news footage. Any Chomskian will be familiar with the basic narrative here, running from the dog days of colonialism to American interventions in the postwar decades to the contemporary crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan." (08/14/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17067/propaganda_agitpopcorn

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How the White House tapes sunk Nixon’s presidency

The Nation
by Jon Wiener

"To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, we talked with John Dean -- he had been counsel to the president, and it was his Senate testimony that led to Nixon’s resignation. His new book is 'The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.'" [editor's note: You youngsters out there could benefit from studying the Nixon era a bit; some of the crap he pulled has become SOP for his successors to the throne - SAT] (08/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4gca73

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Can I invert myself and not pay taxes?

Reuters
by Nicholas Wapshott

"The hot tax-dodging business trend of the summer is inversion. A U.S. company buys a company in a country with a lower corporate tax rate, relocates its headquarters there and funnels its income through the new head office. As long as it does not repatriate profits, the self-exiled company can avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes. The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. Wherever you earn money, the Internal Revenue Service wants a slice of it. But if, as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said and U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled in Burwell v Hobby Lobby and Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission, corporations are people, shouldn’t the converse be true? Why can’t all Americans relocate their places of domicile abroad and dodge taxes just like a company? If only it were that easy." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k75aj49

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Police militarism in America

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff

"The apparent murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth who was shot a number of times while he was allegedly on his knees with his hands up in the air, pleading 'Don’t shoot, I’m not armed,' is exposing everything that is wrong with policing in the US today." (08/14/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/14/police-militarism-in-america/

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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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