Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

UN: Ebola cases could eventually reach 20,000

Fox News

"The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could infect over 20,000 people and spread to more countries, the U.N. health agency said on Thursday, warning that an international effort costing almost half a billion dollars is needed to overcome the outbreak. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a $490 million strategic plan to contain the epidemic over the next nine months, saying it was based on a projection that the virus could spread to 10 further countries beyond the four now affected -- Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m43yk2m

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OK: ACLU, other groups sue to lift curtain on state killings

The Daily Beast

"This week, four months after [Clayton] Lockett’s botched execution, the American Civil Liberties Union along with the Guardian, the Oklahoma Observer, and Fretland, filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the Oklahoma department of corrections allow reporters and other witnesses to view the entire execution process, from the time the prisoner enters the chamber until he or she is pronounced dead. ... The ACLU’s complaint, filed on Monday, cites the 2002 decision in California First Amendment Coalition v. Woodford, a similar case in which a number of news organizations sued the San Quentin Prison over its restricted viewing procedure for lethal injection executions." (08/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mga5kt4

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Turkey: Erdogan’s first term — four things to watch for

Christian Science Monitor

"Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already been proclaimed Turkey’s most powerful leader since its founder and first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. But while Mr. Erdogan, who was inaugurated today as Turkey’s 12th president, appears to have the country at his feet, his administration may face its share of turbulence. In 11 years as prime minister, the former Islamist has overseen a decade of growth and investment that has helped earn him broad popular support; earlier this month, he won Turkey's first direct presidential election with 52 percent. And he has successfully faced down the old military and bureaucratic elites that had meddled undemocratically in Turkish politics for decades." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pkdrjao

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California set to triple tax credit for filmmakers

Raw Story

"California is set to more than triple its tax credits granted to the film industry in a bid to limit an exodus of movie makers from Hollywood tempted by more generous aid. Governor Jerry Brown said he is set to sign an accord passed by the western US state’s lawmakers, who voted to grant $330 million per year for five years, or a total of $1.65 billion. Previously, tax credits for films were limited to $100 million a year. 'This law will ... put thousands of Californians to work,' Brown said in a statement, which noted that over the last 15 years film production has plummeted by 50 percent in California." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nyuwqk6

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TX: Some teachers packing heat, school district signs alert visitors

Fox News

"A school district outside Dallas will reportedly continue to allow some teachers to carry guns in school, and posted signs on school campuses warning that teachers 'may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.' NewFix's CW33 reported that Argyle teachers will continue to be allowed to be armed on campus under the state's Protection of Texas Children Act. The report said these gun-toting teachers are required to have a handgun license, pass a psychological test and go through emergency response training." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nrz94k5

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Report: ISIS makes millions every day

San Francisco Chronicle

"ISIS is now the wealthiest terrorist organization on the planet, according to a report by Foreign Policy. And the Al Qaeda offshoot has the ambition and perhaps even the organization needed to put its piles of oil and smuggling-related profits to work, as its several-hundred page-long annual report from this past March demonstrates. For example, ISIS brings in nearly $12 million a month in revenues from extortion and other shady practices in the Iraqi city of Mosul alone in addition to $1 million to $3 million a day selling oil illegally." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9gbymo

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In town halls, US lawmakers hear voter anger over migrants

Reuters

"When Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling sat down with colleagues and constituents at a recent Chamber of Commerce lunch in Dallas, the first question he faced was whether Congress planned to address immigration policy and a burgeoning border crisis [sic]. 'I'm supposed to do this in 30 seconds?' he joked, noting the issue's complexity. While he was optimistic about long-term prospects for dealing with border security and immigration, he said, 'between now and the end of this Congress, I'm a little less sanguine about it.' It has been a question heard repeatedly by lawmakers this month in 'town hall' district meetings punctuated (sometimes dominated) by concerns and angry outbursts over immigration policy and the crisis caused by a flood of child migrants at the southwestern border in recent months." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k3fmufy

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Study: Dead stars “can re-ignite” and explode

BBC News [UK state media]

"Astronomers have shown that dead stars known as white dwarfs can re-ignite and explode as supernovas. The discovery appears to solve a mystery surrounding the nature of a particular category of stellar explosions known as Type Ia supernovas. Theorists suspected that white dwarfs could explode due to a disruptive interaction with a companion star, but lacked definitive evidence until now. Details of the research appear in the journal Nature. The 'smoking gun' in this case was the detection of radioactive nuclei being generated by nuclear fusion in the cosmic blast." (08/28/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28967741

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Marriage advocates push SCOTUS to strike down apartheid

Raw Story

"In a bold legal move that few litigants try, gay marriage advocates plan to urge the U.S. Supreme Court in three pending cases across the country to decide once and for all whether states can ban same-sex unions. Gay and lesbian plaintiffs won before appeals courts in cases involving bans in Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma, and lawyers for those states have already asked the justices to take up their appeals. Lawyers defending the bans contend that the U.S. Constitution gives the states the role of defining marriage. In what is a relatively unusual strategy, all three sets of challengers have said they want the justices to review the lower court rulings, even though those decisions favored their side by striking down individual state bans." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omnebln

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NY: Times snubs Cuomo, remains neutral for Dem endorsement

Fox News

"In a stinging snub, the liberal New York Times editorial board on Tuesday refused to endorse Gov. Cuomo’s re-election in next month’s Democratic primary -- citing his failure to aggressively crack down on Albany corruption. The Times also declined to endorse Cuomo’s little-known Democratic rival, Zephyr Teachout. But the Gray Lady egged on Democrats who want to 'send a powerful message' to Cuomo by voting for his foe, a Fordham University law professor making her first run for public office." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pqelko8

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AZ: Treasurer claims victory in GOP primary for governor

Reuters

"Arizona state treasurer and businessman Doug Ducey claimed victory on Tuesday in the race to be the Republican nominee to replace outgoing Governor Jan Brewer, who has clashed repeatedly with the White House over illegal immigration. With border security issues high on the political agenda, Ducey held a convincing lead of 37 percent in the six-way race after most of the ballots had been counted. His closest rival, ex-mayor Scott Smith, took some 22 percent of the vote. 'We set out on this primary battle promising to give this race the best effort we could,' Ducey told an enthusiastic crowd gathered at a downtown Phoenix hotel." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pqelko8

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Civil War soldier to get Medal of Honor for overlooked role at Gettysburg

Christian Science Monitor

"More than 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, a Civil War hero is finally getting his due. The White House announced Tuesday that 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing will be awarded the Medal of Honor in a special ceremony on Sept. 15 for his 'gallantry above and beyond the call of duty' during that battle. At 22 years old, Cushing, a West Point graduate, commanded 110 men and six cannons, and his men stood their ground under severe artillery bombardment for three days. On the final, fateful day of the battle, 13,000 Confederate infantrymen involved in Pickett’s Charge threatened to overtake the Union soldier's position." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/peufxf7

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Lockheed Martin in space junk deal with Australian firm

BBC News [UK state media]

"US defence giant Lockheed Martin has struck a deal with an Australian technology firm to track space debris that can damage satellites. It has signed a 'strategic co-operation agreement' with Canberra-based Electro Optic Systems (EOS) to build a new tracking station in Western Australia. The site will employ advanced optical and laser technology to detect, track and identify specific space objects. Debris threatens orbiting satellites daily and can cause millions in damage." (08/27/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28948367

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LA: Jindal sues feds over Common Core

San Francisco Chronicle

"Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards. The U.S. Department of Education has used a $4.3 billion grant program and federal policy waivers to encourage states to adopt uniform education standards and testing. The Republican governor says that 'effectively forces states down a path toward a national curriculum' in violation of the state sovereignty clause in the Constitution and federal laws that prohibit national control of education content. The lawsuit, obtained first by The Associated Press, was filed in the federal court based in Baton Rouge." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pltbb63

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The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA built its own secret Google

The Intercept

"The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a 'Google-like' search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. ... Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o3rwfmf

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Inspector: CA nuke power plant vulnerable to earthquakes

Raw Story

"A federal nuclear inspector urged U.S. regulators to shut down a California nuclear power plant until tests showed its reactors could withstand shocks from nearby earthquake faults, according to the Associated Press and an environmental group. Michael Peck’s call to close the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County was in a report he made to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2013, the AP reported on Monday, a day after a strong earthquake shook California’s Napa Valley region. Peck was the lead on-site inspector for five years at Diablo Canyon, which has two reactors designed to produce about 18,000 gigawatts an hour (GWh) of electricity annually, or 7 percent of California’s electricity use. It is owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E) ." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lndhbz3

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Judicial Watch: DOJ attorneys suggest “lost” Lerner emails still exist

Fox News

"In a stunning revelation, the president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch told Fox News that Justice Department attorneys have intimated that Lois Lerner's 'lost' emails likely exist in back-up computers. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the news came during a Friday phone call with Department of Justice attorneys representing the IRS in Judicial Watch's FOIA lawsuit against the IRS. Fitton said DOJ attorneys told him the federal government backs up all computer records to ensure the continuity of government in event of a catastrophe. They told him that retrieving the emails from Lerner, a former IRS official, would be 'too onerous' -- a legal burden that can exempt an agency from complying with FOIA requests." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4yvtkr

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UK Report: Rotherham child abuse scandal; 1,400 children exploited

BBC News [UK state media]

"At least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found. Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated, it said. The report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, revealed there had been three previous inquiries. Council leader Roger Stone said he would step down with immediate effect." (08/26/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-28939089

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WHO pushes major crackdown on e-cigarettes

Reuters [UK]

"The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Tuesday for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors, in the latest bid to control the booming new market. In a long-awaited report that will be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the United Nations health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies. 'In a nutshell, the WHO report shows that e-cigarettes and similar devices pose threats to public health,' Douglas Bettcher, director of the agency's department on non-communicable diseases, told a news briefing in Geneva." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pfg6ffe

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Burger King to buy Tim Hortons for $11 billion

Houston Chronicle

"Burger King struck an $11 billion deal to buy Tim Hortons that would create the world's third largest fast-food company and could make the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain more of a household name around the world. ... Some analysts have suggested that Canada's lower tax rates stand to benefit Burger King over time. But Schwartz said the company doesn't expect to achieve any "meaningful tax savings" as a result of the deal. He said Burger King's blended tax rate in the U.S. is in the mid- to high 20s, comparable to the current effective rates in Canada." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kmrncgz

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Court to hear marriage apartheid cases from Wisconsin, Indiana

Christian Science Monitor

"For the fourth time in recent months, a federal appeals court is set to examine whether states retain the authority to restrict marriage to a union of one man and one woman or, instead, are constitutionally required to embrace same-sex marriages. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Chicago will take up challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. Elsewhere in the country, two federal appeals courts have struck down similar bans in Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. A third US appeals court in Cincinnati is expected to rule soon on challenges to bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nj7bdyx

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Burning Man gates open after Monday rain-out

San Francisco Chronicle

"The gates of Burning Man were reopened Tuesday morning after a rain storm hit Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, closing the annual festival Monday on its opening day. The event, which draws tens of thousands of 'burners' to a dry lake bed 110 miles north of Reno called the playa, was supposed to open at 10 a.m. Monday, but the event was so saturated, organizers put the opening on hiatus until it dried out." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nwf4djw

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MI: Muslim leaders call Islamic State “crazy criminals”

USA Today

"Muslim leaders gathered Monday on the steps of Dearborn City Hall to strongly condemn the Islamic State or ISIS, saying the militant group in Iraq and Syria doesn't represent Islam or Muslims. ISIS members are 'crazy criminals who are abusing our religion,' said Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. 'You're a bunch of gangsters ... you're not Islamic.'" (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q9fw3lx

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Survey: Police across US get low marks on fairness

Christian Science Monitor

"The concern about alleged racial bias in policing has come to the forefront of national attention in the wake of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., at the hands of a white police officer. It’s a longstanding concern of black Americans, now quantified in a new nationwide poll that comes in the wake of street protests in Ferguson since the death of Michael Brown. Some 7 in 10 African American respondents to the poll rate police forces across America as 'poor' when it comes to treating different racial and ethnic groups equally." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oup4tfb

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Property losses from California wine country quake could reach $1 billion

Raw Story

"The strong earthquake that jolted residents of California’s historic Napa Valley wine country out of their beds in the wee hours on Sunday caused insured property losses likely to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but the region’s economic losses will be several times that amount, experts said on Monday. The magnitude 6.0 quake, the biggest to hit California’s Bay Area in 25 years, struck before dawn on Sunday near Napa, injuring more than 200 people and damaging dozens of buildings in the picturesque community northeast of San Francisco. At least 49 buildings in Napa, a town of 77,000 residents, were 'red-tagged' as unsafe to enter, including the Napa Senior Center and the local courthouse, and that figure was expected to rise as additional structures were inspected, officials said." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mzjw5bv

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Aunt of dead San Francisco girl already faces life sentence

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

"San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon charged the aunt of a 2-year-old killed by a hit-and-run driver with felony child endangerment. Loyresha Gage, 25, didn't run over her niece Mi'yana Gregory as the toddler stood alone in a crosswalk after 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; an unknown hit-and-run driver hit the child. Yet it is Gage who has been charged with a felony. If convicted, she faces years in prison. I cannot be alone in my first reaction to this story." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ola4hwu

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It’s too difficult to be a dirtbag anymore, unfortunately

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Marc Guttman

"I recently enjoyed watching '180 Degrees South,' a film about Jeff Johnson’s journey to Patagonia, Chile to climb Corcovado Volcano, surfing along the way and retracing Yvon Chouinard’s and Doug Tompkins’s 1968 trip. Yvon, in the film, says, '(Jeff’s) just a dirtbag. He could live out of his car, climbing in the Valley … He’s just hustling his way along so he can stay on the road. He reminded me a lot about how I used to be … Life was pretty easy in the ’60s. I mean you could buy an automobile for 15 bucks and live out of your automobile and camp out.' Yvon’s right, and it disappointed me, because life should be much easier now." (08/28/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/31000

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Perry’s indictment: Crime and punishment, Texas-style

Reuters
by Suzanne Garment

"It's a big country, where states have their own legal peculiarities, political cultures and definitions of what makes a debilitating political scandal. Take Texas, for example, where the Republican governor, Rick Perry, has been indicted for abuse of office. In the past 25 years, we’ve seen politicians and government officials increasingly treat scandal less as catastrophe and more as just another cost of doing business. Perry, however, has taken this to a completely new level: He is wearing his indictment as a badge of honor and has smoothly returned to his 2016 presidential campaign without missing a beat." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ojr255o

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Peace through strength

Come Home America Come Home America
by Eoghan Hartigan

"Peace through strength is a favourite maxim of the Neoconservative movement in the United States. They make the rather unusual claim that lots more guns and ammo will make the world a safer place. There is, however, one problem: this claim has all the purity of excrement." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kgf6utm

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Washington Post op-ed page wants more war (again)

The Nation
by Reed Richardson

"To read the Washington Post’s op-ed page at the end of this summer is to have a distinct sense of deja vu. Just like this time last year, Post pundits gnash their teeth and warn us that Obama’s foreign policy is broken and the U.S.’s reputation around the world is shot, but that the best way to definitely fix both is for our country to start bombing Syria." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/put6s5f

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Why Republicans can’t solve their woman-voter problem

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"I'll give Republicans credit for this: they keep trying to figure out why their party remains unappealing to large and important groups of voters. They've been mulling over their problem with Latino voters for some time, and now Politico has gotten a hold of a study commissioned by some GOP bigwigs to figure out why women keep giving more of their votes to Democrats. ... The last time a Republican presidential candidate won a majority of women's votes was 1988, and it's hard to see it happening again soon unless there's a huge blowout. While it's all well and good to investigate the issue to try to understand it in as much detail as possible, I have some bad news for Republicans: This isn't a problem they're going to be able to solve." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nff26dw

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None of your beeswax

Cagle Post
by Jeff Koterba

Cartoon. (08/27/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/08/none-of-your-beeswax/

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“Chiraq”: Facts and fictions

In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil

"Chicago’s astounding weekend body counts make headlines around the globe: On the July 4 weekend, 82 people were shot, 14 of them killed. 'Killed on the Fourth of July: 14 dead as Chicago descends into bloody chaos' was how the UK’s Daily Mail put it. Domestic depictions were only slightly more subtle. The media are awash with recommendations and formulae on how best to banish violent crime from this apparently besieged city. As the host of a radio show that concentrates on issues that affect black Chicago (the demographic most afflicted by the problem), I often wind up in a vortex of contending opinions, implored to consider solutions ranging from instituting martial law to imposing socialism on the city." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzwpnhw

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Obama’s no-win war on ISIS

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Shamus Cooke

"The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic State." (08/28/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/28/obamas-no-win-war-on-isis/

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Charter schools don’t need ad campaign, they need regulation

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"This time of year, while classroom teachers and administrators in public schools are busy welcoming students back to a new school year and figuring out how they’re going to cope with devastating financial constraints, advocates in the charter schools industry are propping up their image with an extensive new public relations campaign called 'Truth About Charters.' That contrast alone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where we are in the nation’s parallel education narratives, in which a gritty documentary competes with what is essentially an advertising campaign for a shiny, new product." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7ugyj9

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The roots of police militarization

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"It's certainly true that the post-9/11 security state and the Global War on Terror have flooded police forces with surplus military equipment, increased the prevalence of military cross-training (including 'counter-terrorism' training by Israeli military personnel encouraging American police forces to view their communities in much the same way Israeli security forces view the Palestinians in Gaza). But the roots of police militarization go back way further than 9/11 -- all the way back to the aftermath of insurrections by the black populations of major American cities in the 1960s and the American political elite’s desire to ensure that nothing like that ever happened again." (08/26/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/30871

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Waiting for the cold light of day, in Missouri & the Middle East

Reuters
by Jim Gaines

"Aside from the strange fact that both the Ferguson Police Department and the barbarians of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are using U.S. armor and weaponry, the shooting death of Michael Brown and the murder of James Foley would seem to have little in common, about as little as the Midwest and the Middle East. Yet the similarities are evocative. Both frame enormously complex problems in the context of a single, riveting incident. Both were deaths in the American family, calling every parent to feel something of the Brown and Foley parents’ bottomless grief and to think, if only for an instant, 'there but for the grace of God....' Both events draw attention to life-and-death issues that call on every resource of our minds and hearts: What to do about racial divisions at home and the horrific outbreak of lethal sectarianism abroad." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pm7y7xc

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Advocating the next war means forgetting history

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald

"ISIS is awful. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a frightening band of marauding, violent theocrats. This seems obvious. But pointing out the awfulness of ISIS is something that people who advocate against intervention are going to have to do a lot for the foreseeable future. Pro-interventionists control the narrative so much so that every anti-interventionist will find themselves assuring skeptical people that no, they are not for dictator A, or terrorist group B. They simply would rather leave that snakepit alone." (08/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kup5ydc

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Tacoma PD joins the ranks of police agencies concealing use of cellphone trackers

JD Tuccille Reason
by JD Tuccille

"What's increasingly fascinating about law enforcement agencies' adoption of stingray devices -- widgets that spoof cellphone towers to get mobile devices in the area to ping them and reveal their locations -- is not the availability of advancing technology for locating people, but the lengths to which cops will go to conceal its use. Technology in all areas advances; telephones led to the invention of wiretaps and pen registers. Subject to properly vetted search warrants, that might just mean it's a new area to which to apply search and seizure protections. But when agencies, like the Tacoma, Washington, police department, conceal the use of stingrays (more generically known as International Mobile Subscriber Identity locators) from city council members, defense attorneys, news media, and even judges, something shady is happening." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3a2ycl

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Obamacare’s “secret trick” could cure CEO pay excesses

Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"Our economy is broken. There’s one economy for the wealthy, and another for the rest of us. This division has been worsened by the behavior of corporate executives who manage their corporations for short-term personal gain rather than for long-term fiscal soundness. Could a 'secret trick' help change that? ... We can blame corporate CEOs for selfish, shortsighted, and greedy behavior, and we should. But that misses an important point: Government policy actually encourages them to behave that way." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4jzfvp

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Campaign ads: The difference between accuracy & fairness

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Before we get to today's campaign nastiness, a word about that creature known as 'opposition research.' Most people who are familiar with the term probably think it means something like 'digging up dirt' on your opponent, which must involve things like going through the transcripts of his divorce to read about that time his wife came home early to find him doing unspeakable things with a roll of cling wrap, or rooting through his garbage to read his credit card bills. Every once in a while it can, but oppo researchers' biggest job is usually going through every vote the client's opponent ever took to see what sort of hay can be made out of them." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qj934yc

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#BlackTwitter & the power of horizontal networks

In These Times
by Susan J. Douglas

"By now the shocking photos that first ricocheted around social media, then hit mainstream media the following day, are emblazoned in our minds: robocops astride armored vehicles in camouflage uniforms, black helmets and gas masks, brandishing assault rifles. The killing of unarmed Michael Brown by a white cop who drilled him with six bullets has blown open debates old and new, from the persistence of police brutality to the recent and outrageous militarization of the country’s police forces. But this would not have been a story if the black community in Ferguson and elsewhere had not instantly risen up and, importantly, gone to social media." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovb7f6c

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The police violence we aren’t talking about

The Nation
by Zoe Carpenter

"Police officer Daniel Holtzclaw worked the evening shift, from four in the afternoon until two in the morning, patrolling the northeastern part of Oklahoma City. Between February and June he allegedly sexually assaulted at least seven women while on duty, including a 57-year-old grandmother who says she was forced to give Holtzclaw oral sex after he pulled her over. According to police chief Bill Citty, Holtzclaw coerced the women, all of whom were black, into sexual acts by threatening to arrest them. 'They’ve pretty much got power in the palm of their hand. And it’s your word against theirs,' one resident of the neighborhood Holtzclaw patrolled told a reporter. Another said that rumors of the assaults had been circulating for weeks." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qa842j5

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Sanctions rebound to hit Europeans

Antiwar.com Antiwar.com
by Brian Cloughley

"The Financial Times commented on August 10 that in reaction to the chaos in Ukraine, 'Western policy has become a mere knee-jerk escalation of sanctions,' and for once the FT has got it right about foreign affairs. The US and its disciples in Europe and Australia have imposed sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in Ukraine, which has got nothing whatever to do with the US or anyone else. And Russia, understandably, is answering back." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/orq3mbp

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The Latin Americanization of US police forces

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Cosme Caal

"From our experience in half a century in Latin America I can tell you that, once the human rights of a minority are compromised, it is only a matter of time before they are compromised for an entire nation. From that same experience I can tell you it will take decades before they can be regained. Militarized police forces take on a life of their down, at the expense of the society’s well-being. The social contract that gives the state the duty to organize police forces itself becomes obsolete, almost a joke. Citizens begin to obey agents of the state not out of respect or cooperation, but out of fear of those sworn to protect them. Eventually, the militarized power of the police reaches such magnitude that political leaders lose all ability to rein them in." (08/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfpc85l

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Burning Man: Everything you know is wrong

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford

"Here’s what you need to know about Burning Man in this fine year of our unchecked chaos, 2014: Nothing. I mean, just forget everything, all right? Whatever you’re heard, read, seen, rumored, teased, whispered, Facebooked, Instagrammed, linked to, thought about or had muttered in your general direction in an Uber fever dream anytime in the past month. Year. Decade. Because it’s almost certainly wrong. Delightfully, hatefully, stupidly, shamelessly, deliberately, resentfully, innocently or even inadvertently, it doesn’t matter -- there’s almost nothing the slightest bit accurate in what the modern media has said recently about the famed art/camping/dance/survival festival (now in its 28th year) happening right now out in the Nevada desert. I’d say this is shocking, if it weren’t so common. And predictable. And boring." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ntns8k7

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The fun of empire: Fighting on all sides of a war in Syria

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"It was not even a year ago when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. ... U.S. military action against the Assad regime was thwarted only by overwhelming American public opinion which opposed it and by a resounding rejection by the UK Parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron’s desire to assume the usual subservient British role in support of American wars. Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed 'Bomb Assad!' campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad -- the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngr9b9b

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This month’s ultimate enemy: The Islamic State

Reuters
by Jack Shafer

"At an Aug. 21 Pentagon press conference, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed that the Islamic State 'is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded.' Perhaps sensing that his comparison hadn’t reached sufficiently hyperbolic velocity to escape earth orbit, Hagel immediately amended himself. 'Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything,' he said. ... Hagel wasn’t so much fear-mongering as he was fear-tending. War is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne observed a century ago." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzzmhfp

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Fight against militarized police is a culture war worth having

Gene Healy Reason
by Gene Healy

"America was born amid fear and loathing of standing armies at home. 'It was easy to foresee the consequences [that] followed upon sending troops into America to enforce obedience to acts of the British Parliament,' John Hancock proclaimed in his 1774 address commemorating the Boston Massacre: 'cruelty and haughtiness ... citizens hourly exposed to shameful insults.' Thomas Jefferson worried that a peacetime military force would 'overawe the public sentiment' and harm the republican character of our government. If we share the Founders' concern about domestic militarization, maybe we should stop subsidizing it." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k86zaue

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Till ICE do us part

In These Times
by Yana Kunichoff

"On November 17, 2013, Brigido Acosta Luis was walked across the U.S.-Mexico border by immigration authorities from Brownsville, Texas, to the northern Mexican city of Matamoros. He was dressed in the pajamas he had been wearing the evening that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested him at his home in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illlinois, four weeks earlier. Deportation was an abrupt end to the life 33-year-old Acosta had built in the six years since he illegally crossed the border to the United States in 2007. In Schaumburg, he had a wife, Maria Paz Perez, a 3-year-old son, Xavier, and a teenage stepdaughter, Isabel, all of them American citizens. He had also started a small insurance business with Perez. After Acosta’s deportation, the daily lives of Perez and her two children swiftly began to unravel." (08/25/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17072/till_i.c.e._do_us_part

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Harry Reid, immune to foot-in-mouth disease?

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

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Asian Chamber of Commerce last week, 'The Asian population is so productive. I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are.' In remarks videotaped by the GOP group America Rising, Reid also joked that he had trouble 'keeping my Wongs straight.' Then followed this apology: 'My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize. Sometimes I say the wrong thing.' Sometimes? Reid is being far too humble." [editor's note: Stuff that gets a GOPer (or anyone not dressed in a blue t-shirt?) suspended/fired/censured/pilloried in the media, etc. ... Just SOP for Happy Harry - SAT] (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k5vjs2y

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“Approved responses to the civil unrest in Ferguson”

The Nation
by Tom Tomorrow

Cartoon. "From your friends at the Ferguson Police Dept." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ohwz3ue

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Rise of corporate right the greater menace

The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

"The latest reports from Europe indicate that the continent is slipping back into recession. The U.S. is doing only slightly better, with positive economic growth but scant progress on the jobs front, and no growth in the earnings of the vast majority of Americans. Meanwhile, global climate change continues to worsen, producing unprecedented policy conundrums of how to reconcile the very survival of the planet with improved living standards for the world's impoverished billions, and for most Americans, whose real incomes have declined since the year 2000. Amid all of these serious challenges, what common strategies are top U.S. and European leaders pursuing? Why, a new trade and investment deal modeled on NAFTA, to make it harder for governments to regulate capitalism." (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ns3evlz

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Thomas Mountain on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Journalist Thomas C. Mountain picks up where he left off in last week’s interview, discussing the genocide of Somalis; how the US creates instability in Africa to maintain political and economic control; and the virtually unknown Gayle Smith -- President Obama’s 'quiet consigliere' on Africa affairs." [Flash audio or MP3] (08/25/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/08/25/082514-thomas-mountain/

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Burger King renouncing US citizenship? Let’s eat somewhere else

Our Future Blog
by Dave Johnson

"Burger King is the latest company announcing plans to renounce its U.S. citizenship in order to dodge taxes. It plans to buy Tim Hortons and then pretend Tim Hortons bought them so they can claim to be Canadian. (Tim Hortons renounced its own U.S. citizenship in 2009, and moved their headquarters from Ohio to Canada.) The announcement is prompting calls like this petition you can sign by the Campaign for America’s Future that calls on Burger King’s CEO to keep the restaurant chain American or 'I will dine elsewhere.'” [editor's note: Not my favorite chain, but I may just go buy a Whopper for dinner tonight - TLK] (08/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kbwwhec

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The police-industrial complex

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Brian Trautman

"The police action in Ferguson sparked a much-needed and long overdue national discussion about the rise of the police-industrial complex. One important outcome of this conversation has been an increased awareness among the American public of how local and state police became armed with equipment meant for war. The fact that government programs and funding provided police with military-grade weaponry and that these arms have been deployed against American citizens has provoked the ire of liberal and conservative lawmakers alike -- a rare show of bipartisanship in today’s political climate." (08/26/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/26/the-police-industrial-complex/

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Florida political animals

Cagle Post
by Bill Day

Cartoon. (08/26/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/08/local-fl-political-animals/

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The United Police States of America

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

"Ferguson, Missouri’s police department has released its report on the August 9th shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, a redacted document that ACLU attorney Tony Rothert says violates Missouri’s Sunshine Law by omitting key information. Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer provoked impassioned demonstrations and debates on police brutality and the very nature of policing in the United States, leading many observers to wonder if Americans are now living in a full-fledged police state. But what is a 'police state?'" (08/24/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/30850

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“Carbon” introduces short film series on climate crisis

Our Future Blog
by Terrance Heath

"If you want to know how bad the climate crisis is, and what you can do about it, check out 'Carbon,' the first in a series of short films aimed at exploring crucial issues related to the climate crisis. Produced by Tree Media, with help from Thom Hartmann and the Leo DiCaprio Foundation, and narrated by DiCaprio himself, 'Carbon' is part of Green World Rising -- a four-part series of films released of the 2014 UN Climate Summit on September 23. 'This film is meant to be an asset for the climate movement and to generate momentum for the global reduction of carbon emissions,' said Leila Conners, director of the film." (08/25/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140825/148576

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Ferguson: America’s cultural segregation fault lines

Reuters
by Neal Gabler

"The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, has refocused attention on racial divisions in the United States, specifically segregation. On a police force of 53, only three officers are black in a town that is roughly 67 percent African-American. Yet in some ways this attention obscures an even larger form of segregation that has been overtaking us for the past 40 years -- cultural segregation. Americans have managed to fracture themselves into clusters of the like-minded, the like-looking, the like-earning, the like-music listening, the like-TV watching and the like-movie-going. Visitors play 'Hearthstone' at the World of Warcraft exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne We don’t live in America anymore. We live in thousands of Americas, many no farther away than our computer screens and the Internet. These are self-identified Americas." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nmotn2f

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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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