Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Ukraine: Ally of ex-president Yanukovych found dead

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A Ukrainian opposition politician, Oleg Kalashnikov, has been found dead with gunshot wounds in Kiev -- the latest ally of the former government to have died in suspicious circumstances. Mr Kalashnikov had been involved in the 'anti-Maidan' protests in support of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. It is not clear if he was murdered or committed suicide. Police say an investigation has been launched. At least eight Yanukovych allies have died suddenly in the last three months. Most of the deaths are said to have been suicides. However, officials say it was possible some were killed or forced to take their lives." (04/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32329512

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Sony hack: Wikileaks publishes more than 30,000 documents

Wikileaks The Hollywood Reporter

"On Thursday, WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures, obtained from a hack that has been sourced to North Korea in anticipation of the studio's release of The Interview. The Julian Assange website noted in a press release that 'whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface.' In a move that could trigger another round of embarrassing prying into Sony affairs, WikiLeaks has now published those documents in a searchable format." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pyh7ea4

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DC pols strike deal to “fast-track” Trans-Pacific Partnership

Seattle Times

"Top lawmakers struck a bipartisan agreement Thursday to allow President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals subject to a yes-or-no vote from Congress without the possibility of changes. The 'fast track' legislation comes as Obama seeks a sweeping trade deal with 11 Pacific nations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership proposes a trade agreement involving the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and seven other Pacific rim nations." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ksgt2pm

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Appeals court to take up Obama’s immigration action

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Appellate judges on Friday were to consider whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a closely watched case that is holding up Obama's immigration action." (04/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q2tttde

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NH: Candidates battle for the libertarian vote

Fox News Fox News

"The battle for the 2016 Republican nomination is on in New Hampshire, where presidential contenders Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have targeted the libertarian vote in hopes of winning the country’s first primary. Marco Rubio, the third GOP candidate to announce thus far, has yet to visit the state as an official presidential contender. In New Hampshire, libertarian voters represent 10 to 15 percent of the vote in a Republican primary, a percentage that could make or break a candidate’s shot at the nomination." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l3edz9w

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NASA probe set to crash-land on Mercury & “just not emerge again”

Raw Story Raw Story

"A NASA spacecraft that made surprising discoveries of ice and other materials on Mercury will make a crash landing into the planet around April 30, scientists said on Thursday. The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been circling the innermost planet of the solar system for more than four years, the first close-up studies of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys in the mid-1970s. Out of fuel and losing altitude, Messenger is expected to make a high-speed crash near the planet’s north pole at around 3:25 EDT on April 30, flight controllers told reporters during a webcast news conference." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/msu4u8k

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CDC: E-cig use soared, cigarette use fell among US youth

Reuters Reuters

"Electronic cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students tripled in 2014 while cigarette use fell to record lows, according to provocative new data that is likely to intensify debate over whether e-cigarettes are a boon or bane to public health. Among high school students, e-cigarette use jumped to 13.4 percent in 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette use over the same period fell to 9.2 percent from 12.7 percent, the largest year-over-year decline in more than a decade. Overall, tobacco use among high school students grew to 24.6 percent from 22.9 percent. The data sparked alarm among tobacco control advocates who fear e-cigarettes will create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually switch to conventional cigarettes." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/jvtcxjw

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Sudan: Polls close after boycott produces low turnout

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Voting in the Sudanese elections has ended, with only a third of the electorate casting their ballots, according to African Union observers. The head of the AU team overseeing the poll, Olusegun Obasanjo, said turnout stood at between 30-35%. He said some voters may have felt the result was a forgone conclusion and so abstained from casting a ballot. President Omar al-Bashir is expected to extend his 25 years in power, after opposition parties boycotted the poll." [editor's note: More proof that the power of "boycott" must be wielded with some discretion - SAT] (04/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32346244

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NH: With candidate “cattle call,” GOP summit kicks off primary season

New Hampshire Public Radio [US state media]

"The state Republican Party kicks off its First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua Friday. Virtually every Republican thought to be considering a presidential run is scheduled to speak at the two-day event." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/op84yuz

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FL: Scott says he’ll sue Obama over hospital money

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is suing the Obama administration for withholding federal money for hospitals that serve the poor, saying they are doing so because the state won't expand Medicaid. The announcement is another twist in what has been a gritty yearlong battle with the feds over roughly $1 billion in funds for Florida hospitals. The fight has come to a head as the state Legislature works to finalize a state budget before May 1." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oyz4rqa

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Gay rights and religious liberty: Can Americans have both?

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"The recent backlash against 'religious accommodation' laws in Indiana and Arkansas is evidence of an increasingly bitter confrontation that is dividing the country and threatens to diminish the scope of religious liberty in America. That is the conclusion of a number of scholars and experts who are urging the United States Supreme Court to consider this confrontation when it hears oral argument on April 28 in a potential landmark case involving same-sex marriage. On one side are gay couples seeking the full benefits of equal treatment and dignity in a society that has long forced them into second-class status, or substantially worse. On the other, religious conservatives, who say they are being coerced to support and/or participate in activities that offend their religious beliefs." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nxwn5vs

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Report: Unpaid Tulsa deputy’s records were falsified

USA Today USA Today

"A reserve Tulsa deputy sheriff who says he fatally shot a suspect by accident had been certified for his post with falsified training records, the Tulsa World reported Thursday. The newspaper, citing multiple sources it did not name, said supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office had been ordered to give unpaid Deputy Robert Bates credit for field training he never had and firearms certifications he never earned. Bates, 73, faces a manslaughter charge in the fatal shooting of Eric Harris during a physical struggle with other deputies April 2." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqx4bvd

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Vatican unexpectedly ends takeover of US nun group

Houston Chronicle

"The Vatican on Thursday unexpectedly ended its controversial takeover of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, signaling a major shift in tone and treatment of U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis. The Vatican said it had accepted a final report on its overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and declared that the 'implementation of the mandate has been accomplished.' When the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took over the LCWR in 2012, it accused the group of taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting 'certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.'" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/odya6qu

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Election 2016: Chafee escalates exploration to declaration (or maybe not)

CNN CNN

"Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Thursday on CNN that he's running for the Democratic nomination for president, just a week after announcing he formed an exploratory committee, his most definitive statement he's made toward formalizing a 2016 campaign. 'Yes, that's why I'm running. Because I feel strong about where we're going as a country,' Chafee told CNN's 'New Day' on Thursday, when asked why he's been so critical of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Chafee was asked by CNN's John Berman in the context of having not formally declared his presidential campaign. Chafee spokeswoman Debbie Rich said Chafee did not declare himself as a candidate for president Thursday, despite saying 'that's why I'm running.'" [editor's note: Does anyone else think he looks like Neil Patrick Harris crawled into a time machine in about 2050 and came back to run for president? - TLK] (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m64dyxx

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Colombia: Eleven regime troops killed in apparent rebel attack

ABC News ABC News

"Eleven soldiers were killed and 19 injured in an attack by leftist guerrillas in Colombia, likely a major violation of the rebels' pledge of a unilateral cease-fire that throws into doubt the future of peace talks. The attack occurred around midnight Tuesday in the volatile southwest department of Cauca when an army unit on a routine patrol was surprised by guerrillas firing homemade explosives and grenades. A corporal and 10 others were killed during the ambush by a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the army's third division said in a statement. ... The latest attack underscores one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a deal: the FARC leadership's lack of control over the estimated 7,000 troops still on the battlefield." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n9faymu

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GM shielded from some ignition switch suits

Reuters Reuters

"General Motors Co will not have to face dozens of lawsuits accusing it of concealing an ignition-switch defect that led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled on Wednesday. GM had argued it was protected from claims on vehicles pre-dating its 2009 exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while plaintiffs in the lawsuits said the company violated their constitutional rights by failing to disclose the defect. The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber means GM may avoid potentially billions of dollars in liability, as well as the cost of defending those lawsuits, although claims arising from GM's conduct after its bankruptcy will not be affected." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxld3d2

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Federal court rules against El Caudillo de Maricopa in profiling case

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"The sheriff for metro Phoenix on Wednesday lost a bid to overturn a 2013 racial profiling ruling that blunted his signature immigration enforcement efforts and represents the thorniest legal troubles the defiant lawman has faced in his 22-year career. The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the latest in a long string of defeats for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the case in which his officers were found to have racially profiled Latinos. Arpaio and four aides face hearings beginning Tuesday on whether they should be held in contempt of court for violating a 2011 order by a judge who barred Arpaio's immigration patrols." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvd6pnn

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South Africa: Once bastion of white minority, party embraces diversity

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"When a fresh-faced political outsider burst into the race for premier of South Africa’s most populous province in late 2013, the comparisons came fast and furious. Slinging slogans like 'Believe' and 'We Can Win,' Mmusi Maimane was the 'Obama of Soweto,' trumpeted one local paper. The young opposition leader promised a new political era in Gauteng, a region dominated by a single party (the African National Congress) for nearly two decades. Although Mr. Maimane ultimately lost that race, his energetic candidacy has helped propel him to the precipice of another Obama-esque milestone -- becoming the first black leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, after its current head, Helen Zille, steps down next month." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pr82h4r

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Norquist steps down from NRA board amid probe of Islamist ties

Fox News Fox News

"Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist is reportedly stepping away from NRA board of directors activities amid allegations of ties to radical Muslims. Breitbart.com and TheBlaze both reported Tuesday that Norquist, a powerful GOP figure, is distancing himself from the 25-member board a month after radio host Glenn Beck told his audience that Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, had initiated an investigation into Norquist for alleged ties to Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o7y2myl

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CA: Judge rejects petition to take marijuana off dangerous drugs list

Raw Story Raw Story

"A federal judge in California declined on Wednesday to remove marijuana from the federal list of most dangerous narcotics, rejecting a closely watched request from people accused of illegally growing pot, prosecutors said. Marijuana activists had been encouraged when U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller considered arguments for reclassifying marijuana during a five-day evidentiary hearing last year. Pot is listed by the U.S. government as a so-called Schedule One drug along with such narcotics as heroin." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ompweaf

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Spain: Politician apologises for abortion vote gaffe

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"A Spanish opposition leader has apologised after accidentally voting in parliament for a proposal on abortion that his own party is against. Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez pressed the wrong button during the vote on whether to debate a law requiring minors to get parental permission before getting an abortion. 'I deeply regret my error,' he said. The move, proposed by the governing Popular Party (PP), passed easily due to its parliamentary majority." (04/15/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32322604

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WA: Seattle CEO to cut his pay so every worker earns $70,000

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A Seattle CEO who announced that he's giving himself a drastic pay cut to help cover the cost of big raises for his employees didn't just make those workers happy. He's already gained new customers, too. 'We've definitely gained a handful of customers in the last day or two,' said Stefan Bennett, a customer relations manager at Gravity Payments, a credit card payment processing firm. 'We're showing people you can run a good company and you can pay people fairly and it can be profitable.' Dan Price, chief executive of the company, stunned his 100-plus workers on Monday when he told them he was cutting his roughly $1 million salary to $70,000 and using company profits to ensure that everyone there would earn at least that much within three years." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ont7ocn

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NASA’s New Horizons snaps its first color image of Pluto

CNet News CNet News

"A color image of Pluto and its largest moon Charon taken on April 9 'is the first color image ever made of the Pluto system by a spacecraft on approach,' according to NASA. Though the new image is hardly a high-res wonderland, it's quite an improvement over images taken back in January from a distance of more than 126 million miles away. The color image is from a distance of around 71 million miles. That may sound like a long way away, but it's fairly close considering Pluto is about 4.67 billion miles from Earth. New Horizons is making quick work of the journey since being launched in 2006. NASA describes it as 'the fastest spacecraft ever launched.'" (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kzxeapn

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Doctor connected to Menendez indicted on Medicare fraud charges

CBS News CBS News

"The Florida doctor charged in a political corruption case along with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted Tuesday in a 76-count Medicare fraud scheme that prosecutors said attempted to bilk the health care program out of as much as $190 million. Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Dr. Salomon Melgen, 60, was charged with 46 counts of health care fraud as well as additional charges of filing false claims and making false statements. Melgen is an ophthalmologist with offices in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qfxqo4f

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Rouhani: We are in talks with “the major powers,” not the US Congress

The Washington Post Washington Post

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Tehran was negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal with world powers, not the U.S. Congress, and called a Senate committee's vote to give Congress the power to review any potential deal a domestic U.S. matter. The Iranian leader, speaking in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, also repeated earlier statements that his country will not accept any comprehensive nuclear deal with world powers unless all sanctions imposed against it are lifted." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/perxyvc

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Hubris unlimited: Tom Cotton versus reality

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

"Freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) wants the United States to pick a fight with Iran. Not an all-out brawl, he says; just an itty-bitty bout along the lines of 1998's Operation Desert Fox, in which US aircraft carried out four days of airstrikes on Iraq. Setting aside the fact that there's just no reason for such an exercise -- P5+1 negotiation theater aside, Iran doesn't seem to have an active nuclear weapons development program for airstrikes to target -- the whole concept of 'limited war' is bogus and dangerous." (04/16/15)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/1004

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Want to record the cops? Know your rights

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nadia Kayyali

"Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering -- it is legal to record the police. The police don't always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don't comply." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lhdhwuc

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Clinton campaign: Less fresh air, more air-freshener ad

Reuters Reuters
by Bill Schneider

"Hillary Clinton’s video launching her campaign for the Democratic nomination was a montage of the New America. That’s the coalition Barack Obama brought to power in 2008: African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, working women, gays and lesbians, single mothers, Jewish voters, young people, educated professionals and the 'unchurched'. It’s the coalition that elected Obama twice, with a majority of the vote each time. That’s something even Bill Clinton couldn’t achieve. Many in these groups didn’t bother to vote when Obama was not on the ballot in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Will they show up for Hillary?" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kyb44t9

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“Death tax” punishes success

USA Today USA Today
by Kevin Brady & Steve Scalise

"Like most Americans, we are aware that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. But what many family-owned businesses and farms don't realize is that when you die, the federal government swoops in and confiscates another 40% of the money that you and your family spent a lifetime building — and already paid taxes on. The 'death tax' is an immoral tax and an attack on the American dream. Too often, it forces families to sell the farm, ranch or business they've spent a generation or more building -- just to satisfy the IRS. These aren't, as opponents claim, the Paris Hiltons of the world. Those most hurt are the ranchers, farmers or entrepreneurs whose family assets are tied up in buildings, machines and property." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kho868r

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Truth in politics now

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by David Greenberg

"'No one has ever doubted,' wrote Hannah Arendt, 'that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one, as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness among the political virtues.' In her essay 'Truth and Politics,' Arendt probed a series of questions that are every bit as relevant today as they were when she raised them in 1967. How much honesty should we expect from politicians? Can we trust that clear-cut facts will be believed in an age of mass media and ubiquitous public relations? How should we understand the differences between closed and open societies?" (04/14/15)

https://prospect.org/article/truth-politics-now

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Five ways to reduce inequality by holding corporations responsible

In These Times In These Times
by Amy Domini & Sofia Faruqi

"Not so long ago, business leaders believed that corporations should serve not only shareholders, but also employees and the community. This mission narrowed in the 1990s to a single-minded focus on shareholder return. A white paper by James Montier explains how the simplified purpose has created vast income inequality. Average CEO compensation has soared to 300 times higher than worker pay, and companies have become quick to increase profit by downsizing." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n26g6z7

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Proposed premium hike would weaken Medicare

Our Future
by Diane Archer

"In late March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support that would again raise Medicare premiums for people with Medicare with higher incomes. The Senate has also passed the legislation, and President Obama has said he will sign it. Through this bill, H.R. 2, Congress does some good. It fixes the payment formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients, ensuring they are paid adequately. It also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But hiking Medicare premiums, even a small amount for wealthier individuals, as a way to cover these costs weakens Medicare for everyone and could pave the way for the privatization of Medicare." [editor's note: Read this one carefully; the hidden agenda has nothing to do with aiding elderly people with medical concerns - SAT] (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n333uxg

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“The Ron Paul of the left”: Why Bernie Sanders is the cranky socialist 2016 needs

Salon
by Matthew Pulver

"Sanders is probably not the best spokesperson for democratic socialism: Someone young (Sanders is 73), someone not so Yankee, someone whose clothes aren't 'rumpled' -- there's probably someone, somewhere who'd be a better pitch man for a political ideology that just seven years ago was used as an effective epithet against the newly elected Obama. But what Sanders lacks in polish, and acquaintance with a comb for that matter, he more than makes up for in conviction. He's experienced in articulating populism, and he's more than happy to be a true antagonist to Hillary on a debate stage. He's like the Ron Paul of the left, unafraid -- even eager -- to ruffle feathers in the furtherance of his political beliefs." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oxjhj4r

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Vietnam in the battlefield of memory

The Nation The Nation
by Jon Wiener

"When the Pentagon announced its plans for the nation’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, historians and old-time activists feared the worst. The Pentagon commemoration office, which Congress authorized at a cost of up to $65 million, put up a website in which the war was portrayed as one of 'valor' and 'honor" -- a picture unrecognizable to many Americans, including both veterans and antiwar activists. ... In response, Tom Hayden and a new group, the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee, launched a petition last September declaring that 'this official program should include viewpoints, speakers, and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war.'" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kgmp7vl

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The Boston Marathon two years later — a policeman’s delight

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson

"With the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing upon us, NPR is running a series called 'The Road Ahead.' In its daily segments, NPR examines how everyday lives have been affected by the horrific events two years ago. One unfortunate but seemingly inevitable part of that road entails law enforcement's stepped-up abuses of its citizens. As with all acts of terrorism, law enforcement has not let this crisis go to waste. The dreadful acts of two lone-wolf brothers at the 2013 Boston Marathon have provided the momentum needed for law enforcement to foist ever increasing violations of privacy upon its subjects. It is a pill that will be swallowed by Bostonians without much protest, at least initially, given the nature of the police state's justification." (04/16/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/37193

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The killing initiative

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

"The world of private defence contractors, the modern version of the fabled Condottiere without the flags and the city-state veneration, received a blow with the handing down of stiff sentences on four former Blackwater operatives. Last year, the four in question, part of Blackwater’s Support Team Raven 23, were convicted in the Washington, D.C. federal court for killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour square in 2007. The sentences of Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Nicholas A. Slatten, and Evans S. Liberty, damn a certain form of warfare, but they do not reverse it." (04/16/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/16/the-killing-initiative/

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What the left wants from Hillary

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Russell Berman

"If Clinton hopes to excite liberals, she'll have to embrace their priorities." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ous4mao

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Hillary 2016

The Cagle Post
by Tom Janssen

Cartoon. (04/15/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/04/hillary-2016-2/

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Questions about NBC’s conduct in the Richard Engel kidnapping are more serious than the Brian Williams scandal

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"In December 2012 -- as the pro-intervention cause was strengthening -- a group of five journalists working for NBC News, including its star international reporter Richard Engel, was kidnapped inside Syria. They were held for five days, threatened with death, treated inhumanely, and forced to record a video in which Engel was made to call for an end to U.S. involvement in Syria. Scrawled on the walls of the room where the video was recorded was graffiti of pro-Assad messages along with well-known Shiite references. The obvious intent was to make it appear that these NBC journalists had been kidnapped and mistreated by Shiite forces associated with Assad. ... There were ample reasons at the time to be suspicious that this was a scam (perpetrated on (not by) Engel and his fellow captives) to blame Assad for the abduction. There was skepticism expressed by some independent analysts -- although not on NBC News." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mde7ebt

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How did the NYPD break an NBA player’s leg?

The Nation The Nation
by Dave Zirin

"At the risk of stating the utterly obvious, most Black men and women who suffer physical violence at the hands of the police aren't millionaires. They don't have lawyers on speed dial and lack the resources of a well-funded union leaping to their defense. But most Black men and women aren't NBA players. In other words, they aren't Thabo Sefolosha. The Atlanta Hawks guard will now miss the playoffs after an encounter with the NYPD left him with a fractured leg and an arrest record. ... Already, the gap between the initial police accounts (reprinted as objective narration by some media outlets) and the version that's coming to light, should be giving NYPD Commissioner William Bratton night sweats." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kb8ntqp

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Debate: Could Warren really run against Hillary?

In These Times In These Times
by Jessica Stites

"The prospect of Hillary Clinton as the anointed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee troubles some progressives, who worry about both the hawkish senator herself and a pro forma primary. Now the Clinton email scandal has convinced even some centrist Democrats that it might be helpful to have a Plan B, just in case Republicans finally get their pitchforks into Clinton. Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-VT] has all but declared, but even his most ardent supporters acknowledge the socialist would face an uphill battle. A vocal crowd, meanwhile, is holding out hope that Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] will run. ... In These Times brought together Erica Sagrans of Ready for Warren; Prof. Elizabeth Sanders of Cornell University’s department of government; and Allen Clifton, cofounder of Forward Progressives." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nftp2gw

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Iran: The sensible, risky option

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg

"'There are only bad options. It's about finding the best one.' ... 'You don't have a better bad idea than this?' ... 'This is the best bad idea we have, sir.' That snippet of dialogue is from the film Argo, set just after the Iranian revolution in 1979 ... [a] scene in which CIA Director Stansfield Turner is listening to the out-of-any-box scheme of two CIA men for smuggling six American diplomats out of Teheran. ... Thirty-six years later, the same script would be appropriate for calmly discussing the framework agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear program. Calm, though, has been in short supply." (04/15/15)

https://prospect.org/article/sensible-risky-option

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Religious fanaticism is a huge factor in Americans’ support for Israel

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"It is inconceivable that a substantial portion of Americans would want to support any other foreign country even where doing so was contrary to U.S. interests. Only Israel commands anything near that level of devoted, self-sacrificing fervor on the part of Americans. So it's certainly worth asking what accounts for this bizarre aspect of American public opinion. The answer should make everyone quite uncomfortable: it's religious fanaticism. The U.S. media loves to mock adversary nations, especially Muslim ones, for being driven by religious extremism, but that is undeniably a major factor, arguably the most significant one, in explaining fervent support for Israel among the American populace." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qdt7lom

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The eternal return of BuzzFeed

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer

"Today, BuzzFeed has more than 900 employees in 10 bureaus around the globe. Traffic to the site is stunning: 200 million monthly unique visitors, and one billion video views a month. (The New York Times logs 28 million unique visitors a month, according to its media kit. In February, a single BuzzFeed article about a dress got 28 million views in a matter of hours.) According to its founders, it has been profitable since 2013. BuzzFeed is a successful company. And it is not only that: BuzzFeed is the rare example of a news organization that changes the way the news industry works." ()4/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pjyetca

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Proof that GOP is absolutely certain voters are tuned out

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Republicans depend on people believing what they say but not paying attention to the things they do. Just how certain are they that no one pays attention to the things they do? Read on. Today is Tax Day, and Republicans are voting to repeal the estate tax. This is a huge, huge tax cut for only the top 0.2 percent -- people worth more than $5.4 million. These people will get $269 billion over 10 years. The same Republicans have passed a budget outline that cuts infrastructure spending and guts our government by $5 trillion, mostly from services and benefits that help working families." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n4y24qz

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GOP offers new faces, stale ideas

USA Today USA Today
by Debbie Wasserman Schultz

"As more Republicans enter a crowded and divisive primary contest, several have suggested that they are the candidate capable of expanding the GOP's tent. But the stale ideas and failed policies they're peddling mean that the Republican tent is in danger of collapsing on the circus underneath. Under President Obama, Republicans have been defined by obstruction. In recent years, their de facto ringleader has been Sen. Ted Cruz, an architect of the government shutdown. While Cruz and his colleagues tried to take access to quality healthcare away from millions of Americans, the shutdown cost the economy a staggering $24 billion." [editor's note: It bears noting that this is the Democratic National Committee chair writing this, but that doesn't mean she's completely wrong about it - SAT] (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pmqkt6e

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Don’t moan about secular stagnation

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas

"Secular stagnation has become a vague rallying cry for all sorts of economic pessimists. But the whole debate is basically an unhelpful distraction. The term was coined in the 1930s and revived by Larry Summers in 2013. The Harvard economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary used it to tie several decades of disappointing GDP growth in developed countries with ever-looser monetary policy. He argues that real interest rates have not fallen enough to stimulate the investment needed for fast, sustainable growth." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/okudtqw

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Secrecy, intransigence and war

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair

"Hillary Clinton's propensity for overkill earned her and Bill the enmity of people capable of inflicting serious damage, as the Whitewater and Cattle Futures scandals duly attested. And soon, as they embarked on the 1992 presidential campaign, the same overkill reflex produced a perfect storm of bad publicity that came within an ace of finishing Clinton off altogether." (originally published 2007; posted 04/15/15)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/15/secrecy-intransigence-and-war/

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Marco Rubio

The Cagle Post
by Kevin Siers

Cartoon. (04/14/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/04/marco-rubio-2/

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Neocon “chaos promotion” in the Mideast

Ray McGovern Antiwar.com
by Ray McGovern

"Former Washington insider and four-star General Wesley Clark spilled the beans several years ago on how Paul Wolfowitz and his neoconservative co-conspirators implemented their sweeping plan to destabilize key Middle Eastern countries once it became clear that post-Soviet Russia 'won't stop us.' As I recently reviewed a YouTube eight-minute clip of General Clark's October 2007 speech, what leaped out at me was that the neocons had been enabled by their assessment that -- after the collapse of the Soviet Union -- Russia had become neutralized and posed no deterrent to U.S. military action in the Middle East." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ny6xnl4

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Walter Scott shooting highlights cops’ contempt for the right to record police

Jacob Sullum Reason
by Jacob Sullum

"Although the First Amendment right to record the police as they perform their duties in public is well established, cops often violate that right by ordering people to turn off their cameras, confiscating their cellphones, or arresting them on trumped-up charges. The shooting of Walter Scott, which last week led to Slager's arrest thanks to the details revealed by Santana's video, illustrates both the prevalence of this contempt for constitutional rights and the importance of counteracting it." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kf45kxe

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Janet Mock’s brilliant cultural insurgency

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Chloe Angyal

"'We got new music, I like it,' Janet Mock says, in a break between segments of her video show on a Friday morning in March. “Well done, Nick!” she exclaims to her producer, who’s in another room, communicating with her through her earpiece. Mock sings the tune and snakes her neck, snapping her fingers and rolling her torso in the chair from which she commands her set, which looks like a fancy but somewhat sterile living room. The music is new, but not much newer than the show, So Popular!, which premiered on MSNBC’s digital platform, Shift, in December." (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k3bhkrc

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Millennials, meet Renata Adler

The New Republic The New Republic
by Anna Wiener

"In 2013, during a rare appearance at the Center for Fiction in New York, Renata Adler squinted to address a packed house. Her reading had been studded with self-interruptions -- was she too loud? going long? -- and the audience had grown vocal, eager for more. The crowd skewed young; literary tote bags dotted the floor. The ghost of Adler’s casual but poignant introduction ('I thought for a while, as I guess people do when they get older, that maybe we are the last generation of readers ... and maybe we are all the last generation of writers, too, in the old sense.') still lingered. 'Do you all write?' Adler asked. 'It looks as though you all write.'"

http://tinyurl.com/o3zyxxw

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Revive Lincoln’s “one country, one destiny”

USA Today USA Today
by US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

"Yesterday evening, I announced my campaign for president of the United States of America, committing myself to the cause of restoring equal opportunity for every American. Today, history provides a unique chance to reflect on that cause. We mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of America's greatest president, the man who established the Republican Party to be the party of opportunity: Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was perhaps the most transformational figure in our history. He had the courage to measure America as it was against America as it was intended to be, and to recognize the terrible distance between our founding ideas and the reality of slavery.He aspired to reform government to empower all our people equally, to break the powerful hold slaveholders had over Washington and to break the chains of slavery itself." [editor's note: Not sure which makes me gag more -- this tyrant or the tyrant he reveres! - SAT] (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lrx4svv

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Insure Tennessee and GOP

The Cagle Post
by Daryl Cagle

Cartoon. (04/14/15)

http://www.cagle.com/2015/04/insure-tennessee-and-gop/

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Fast Track: Ohio gets it, but will Clinton?

Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"One state that gets it about 'NAFTA-style' trade deals is Ohio. Factory after factory has closed, shipping jobs offshore, and leaving communities devastated. Now Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are coming for the rest of the jobs, and Ohio is fighting back. Will Hillary Clinton join the fight? You have to click through and read this whole op-ed by Joe Logan, president of the Ohio Farmers Union, writing at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, No hurry on ‘fast track’ -- walking blindly into complex trade deals never a good idea." (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lmbofb6

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Rubio most disingenuous Republican running for President

Reuters Reuters
by Brian Beutler

"Most of the Republican Party’s primary candidates have internalized something that was blindingly obvious to everyone who watched the 2012 elections unfold. So long as traditional turnout patterns hold, Republicans can’t keep up with Democrats in presidential contests. To win, they need to alter the turnout pattern, and to alter the turnout pattern, they need to break with GOP orthodoxy in some way. ... Senator Marco Rubio, who will announce his candidacy for president on Monday, was supposed to lead a GOP breakaway faction in support of comprehensive immigration reform, but was unable to persuade House Republicans to ignore the nativist right, and the whole thing blew up in his face. In regrouping, he’s determined that the key to restoring Republican viability in presidential elections is to woo middle class voters with fiscal policies that challenge conservative orthodoxy." (04/13/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k9ao6gp

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Hillary still too cautious on campaign finance reform

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols

"As she begins to frame out the themes of her 2016 presidential run, Hillary Clinton says she will make reform of the nation's 'dysfunctional' campaign finance system a focus of her campaign. She is right to do so. And she is getting close to addressing the issue in the right way. 'We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all -- even if it takes a constitutional amendment,' the former Secretary of State told students at Kirkwood Community College in rural Monticello, Iowa. Like most prominent Democrats, Clinton is too cautious on this issue." (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nhdm68l

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Won’t get fooled again

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"Regardless of Hillary's populist rhetoric today, the Clintons were part of an incredibly incestuous and corrupt, bipartisan good ol' boy political culture in Arkansas. We have no reason to believe that the crooked business deals she participated in, her oversight of Walmart's incredibly anti-worker policies while sitting on the Board of Directors, or her close ties to Monsanto, are not who she still is today. Putting your hopes in electoral politics to end corporate rule is setting yourself up for betrayal." (04/14/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/37174

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Life in the land of Britain’s political insurgents

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Amie Ferris-Rotman

"In 1964, as Britain experienced an influx of Asian and African post-colonial immigrants, Conservative Party member Peter Griffiths was controversially elected to parliament, winning on the slogan, 'If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.' It was a virulently racist campaign that shocked the British establishment, leading Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson to brand Griffiths a 'leper,' jumpstarting the Birmingham division of the Ku Klux Klan, and evoking ire -- and a whistle-stop visit -- from Malcolm X. Fast-forward 50 years, and Britain is once again engaged in a row over racism in the lead-up to a general election on May 7 -- this time centering on the UK Independence Party (UKIP) headed by Nigel Farage. The beer-guzzling euroskeptic leader is perpetually surrounded by scandal, whether as a result of his unabashed dislike of Romanians or his call for the abolishment of race laws aimed at preventing prejudice in the workplace. " (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lbwb2na

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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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