Progressive News Digest

News


| Commentary | Events |

Jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in Iraq murders; appeals expected

Los Angeles Times

"A federal jury Wednesday convicted four former Blackwater security guards who had been charged with killing 14 Iraqis in Baghdad seven years ago in a shooting that became a symbol of U.S. treatment of Iraqi civilians. After nearly 30 days of deliberation, the jury in found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards -- Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard -- were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. ... Prosecutors said the shootings, in which 37 people were killed or injured, were unprovoked, the result of trigger-happy civilian security guards nervous about intelligence reports that a white Kia carrying a car bomb was circulating in the city looking for a target." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nxlr6jq

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WHO: Ebola serum for Africa within weeks

BBC News [UK state media]

"Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization. Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015. The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people. Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone." (10/21/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29707393

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CO: Udall lead fades in Senate race

Christian Science Monitor

"One of the most watched elections in the country right now wasn't originally supposed to be competitive. The outcome of the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, could end up determining which party controls the Senate. Senator Udall's early leads in the polls have dwindled until, in the past month, nearly every poll has showed Representative Gardner holding a slim lead." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nyo2bk9

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PA: Corbett, grandstanding, signs law intended to shut up Mumia

Philly.com

"Just a few feet from the site where Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was [allegedly] gunned down by Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981, Gov. Corbett on Tuesday signed into law a bill that would aim to [change his ebbing political fortunes by satisfying the powerful police lobby]. ... Maureen Faulkner said Abu-Jamal's continued media presence makes it hard for her to move on from her husband's murder. ... The law allows victims of a crime to seek an injunction against 'conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim.'" (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7nlggf

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Ben Bradlee, 1921-2014

Washington Post

"Benjamin C. Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post newsroom for 26 years and guided The Post’s transformation into one of the world’s leading newspapers, died Oct. 21 at his home in Washington of natural causes. He was 93. ... The most compelling story of Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mt26eju

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Report: US visa program for crime victims is hit-or-miss

Reuters

"The U visa program was created by Congress to help police and prosecutors build trust with immigrant communities. But national data analyzed by Reuters, along with dozens of interviews with police, prosecutors, lawyers and immigrants across the country, show that for undocumented immigrants ... who seek a U visa by helping the police, the chances of gaining a legal toehold in the United States are largely a matter of geography." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kpudtfm

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NY: CLU & Cuomo agree on defending poor

San Francisco Chronicle

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his administration's agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union to improve criminal defense for the state's poor addresses longstanding inequities. The agreement settles the lawsuit the NYCLU filed seven years ago, saying New York systemically provided inadequate staff and money for constitutionally required defense lawyers in the 57 counties outside New York City. Cuomo says his administration inherited the problem, saying he's proud of a resolution 'that results in a fairer, more humane justice system.' The suit sought attorneys at all arraignments, smaller caseloads and better funding, with the state taking over the county-based system." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mpnajsr

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FL Court: Not so fast with those red-light camera tickets

Fox News

"Big changes could be coming to cities with red-light cameras after a Florida District Court of Appeals judge said it’s illegal for camera operators to issue citations to drivers. The program works like this: Cameras installed at traffic signals snap photos and are examined by the camera’s owner (not law enforcement) to determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is sent to the alleged violator. The driver has 60 days to appeal the ticket before it’s converted into a fine, just like any other citation issued by law enforcement officers." [editor's note: Don't get too excited; all this really does is make more work for the bureaucrats - SAT] (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mch9vyu

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CO: Idiot bureaucrats back off idiotic plan to ban marijuana edibles

Yahoo! News

"Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks. ... Lawmakers have ordered state pot regulators to require pot-infused food and drink to have a distinct look when they are out of the packaging. The order came after [faked, pearl-clutching] concerns about the proliferation of pot-infused treats that many worry could be accidentally eaten by children." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nfgjekf

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“Zombie glacier” surprises scientists, raises warming questions

Raw Story

"Scientists tend to speak of glaciers as if they were living creatures. They say they grow and die and have good health and bad. Now, with Halloween approaching, a handful of researchers has found a way that the anthropomorphized rivers of ice that they study can simultaneously live and die as the globe warms. The discovery of a ghoulishly semi-lifeless glacier in southeastern Iceland doesn’t just create a new zombie class of frozen rivers of water. It raises questions about the accuracy of conventional approaches to measuring the growth and retreat of similar glaciers." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lp7w23w

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Wyoming becomes latest state to end marriage apartheid

ABC News

"Wyoming has become the latest state to allow gay marriage, bringing the national wave of expanded rights for same-sex couples to a state where the 1998 beating death of Matthew Shepard still influences national perceptions. State lawyers filed a legal notice Tuesday morning that said they won't defend a recently overturned Wyoming law that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, meaning county clerks can begin to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and the state will recognize same-sex unions performed legally elsewhere." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pal7clq

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AL: House Speaker arrested on felony charges

San Francisco Chronicle

"Powerful Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been arrested on felony ethics charges, accused of using public office for personal gain. Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury on 23 charges accusing him of misusing his office as speaker and his previous post as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Acting Attorney General Van Davis announced the indictment Monday. Hubbard says the charges, weeks before the November vote in which he's favored for re-election, constitute 'a political witch hunt.'" (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4x6xm4

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Canada: Researchers send Ebola vaccine to WHO for testing

Raw Story

"The first batch of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian scientists was sent to Switzerland on Monday for testing by the World Health Organization, officials said. Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the first of three shipments, comprising 800 vials of the vaccine, had been sent from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The vials were packed in dry ice at a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius (-112 degrees Fahrenheit) during shipping, officials said. Trials of the vaccine on humans are expected to begin there at the end of the month or early in November." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n4z6322

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GAO report: Thousands of government workers on paid leave

Fox News

"Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Some government employees who broke the rules (meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses) were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said. The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nrytpxh

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Fed official: Banks should defer bonuses 10 years, tap them for fines

Reuters

"Banks should defer bonus payments for 10 years and tap the bonus pool to pay any regulatory fines, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday, taking aim at continued lapses across the industry even after the 2007-9 financial crisis. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley said banks should move toward paying employees in debt securities for their annual incentive pay, rather than in equity. Dudley's sharp comments came at the end of a one-day conference held by the New York Fed, titled, 'Workshop on Reforming Culture and Behavior in the Financial Services Industry.'" [editor's note: Has this guy got a deathwish? - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6rdjbk

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LA: Rich white suburbs wants to split from Baton Rouge

BBC News [UK state media]

"More than 18,000 residents in the suburbs south of Baton Rouge, the state capital of Louisiana, have signed a petition calling for the creation of a new city called St George. The community is currently part of East Baton Rouge Parish, which also includes the city of Baton Rouge itself. The campaigners claim they simply want to improve the quality of local schools and to ensure that taxpayers (who currently contribute roughly two thirds of funds to the parish) have more control over the money they contribute to fund services." (10/20/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29666348

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“Breaking Bad” action figure: Good idea for Toys ‘R’ Us?

Christian Science Monitor

"What happens when a toy store dedicated to helping 'kids and babies develop, learn, and be safe' starts selling hazmat-suited action figures who cook crystal meth? A pop culture phenomenon collides with concerns that children are being exposed to violent and inappropriate content too early. Earlier this month, one Florida mother started an online petition to get Toys 'R' Us to remove 'Breaking Bad' action figures from its shelves. Now, her campaign is gathering media attention, with appearances on local TV as well as NBC's 'Today' show." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mfaa6tu

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CA: “Water cops” going high-tech to catch sprinkler abuse

Raw Story

"It was still dark on Kokomo Drive in Sacramento’s Natomas district as Paul Brown edged his city-issued Honda Civic past a row of beige stucco houses with tiny front lawns, looking for water wasters. He heard the scofflaws before he saw their lush green lawns amid the otherwise parched turf. The buzz of a sprinkler system gave them away on a day that the city, desperate to save water amid California’s ongoing drought, had forbidden watering. 'If I can get a good picture -- if there’s a lot of water -- I’ll cite them,' he said. California is in the third year of a devastating drought that has led farmers to fallow nearly half a million acres of cropland, threatened fish hatcheries and shrunk drinking water supplies for some communities." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n89doev

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CO: Halloweed? Police warn of pot-spiked candy

Fox News

"Colorado parents are being told to be on the lookout this Halloween for marijuana-laced candy, NBC News reported. The Facebook page of the Denver Police Department is warning that mass-produced candy can by sprayed with hash oil, and once the spray dries, there is no way to tell that the candy has been infused. The station reported that the Denver PD Facebook page features Patrick Johnson, owner of marijuana shop Urban Dispensary. In the film, Johnson urges parents to inspect any candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating on Halloween to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with." [editor's note: Someone apparently needs to remember Leary's First Law: "Thou shalt not dose another without his/her awareness and consent!" - SAT] (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3usc4n

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Germany: Lufthansa cancels flights due to pilots’ strike

Reuters

"German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) canceled 1,450 flights after a pilots union called for a strike on Monday and Tuesday, adding to travelers' misery after millions were left stranded by a weekend-long train drivers' stoppage. Lufthansa said late on Sunday more than 200,000 passengers and two thirds of its scheduled flights -- short and mid-length services, mostly within Europe -- would be affected by the strike. Both the pilots' and train drivers' strikes hit at the start of a week-long, half-term holidays in nearly half of Germany's 16 federal states." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncna4jv

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Russia denies submarine incident off Sweden

BBC News [UK state media]

"The Russian defence ministry has denied reports that one of its submarines got into trouble in the waters off Sweden. The Swedish military has been searching the sea since Friday, following what the military said was foreign underwater activity. It has denied looking for a submarine, and said that it was conducting an intelligence operation. However, a local newspaper said Sweden had intercepted a distress signal in Russian." [editor's note: Repeat after me: "Emerghency, Emerghency, efrybody to get from street!" - SAT] (10/19/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29680960

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Iraq: Could tribes provide the glue?

Christian Science Monitor

"In recent weeks, the self-styled Islamic State has inched toward Baghdad, putting Iraq’s army and government under increasing pressure and challenging their ability to preserve any semblance of a cohesive Iraqi state. Backed by Western airpower, the Shiite-dominated security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga are fighting back against the Sunni jihadists. But when it comes to reversing the dramatic IS victories in Sunni areas, some leaders of Iraq’s influential tribes say they could prove a vital counterforce, at least until a proposed Iraqi national guard becomes a reality." (10/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n536hpb

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Review: PonoPlayer could hit right note for audiophiles

San Francisco Chronicle

"One of the most contentious issues ... has to do with streaming music. While the audio quality of services such as Spotify, Google Play Music and Beats Music is obviously good enough for the masses, a significant number of listeners (judging from comments I received) can hear the difference between music streamed in MP3 format and the same music played on a CD or vinyl record. Streaming requires music files to be compressed, which results in a loss of sound quality. However, compression isn't necessary to download music, and we're beginning to see online services for downloading high-resolution music (lossless playback at up to 192 kHz/24-bit), as well as mobile devices that can play it." (10/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mldbhnf

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Turkey loses out on UN Security Council seat

BBC News [UK state media]

"Turkey failed to win a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council after member states voted on Thursday. The five non-permanent seats were given to Venezuela, Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain, the latter two beating Turkey to represent the West. Turkey has been under international pressure to help combat Islamic State militants waging war along its border. The new members of the Security Council will begin their two-year appointment on 1 January 2015." (10/16/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29654003

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Sources: Biden’s son discharged from Navy after drug test

Toronto Sun [Canada]

"The son of Vice President Joe Biden was discharged from the U.S. Navy reserve earlier this year after testing positive for cocaine, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said Hunter Biden tested positive for cocaine in a drug test administered in June 2013. Navy spokesman Commander Ryan Perry confirmed that Biden was discharged from the Navy reserve in February 2014 but said privacy laws prevented him from releasing any details." (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pe8xfza

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Commentary


| News | Events |

Blackwater founder remains free and rich while his former employees go down on murder charges

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jeremy Scahill

"A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007. ... Just as with the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib, it is only the low level foot-soldiers of Blackwater that are being held accountable. [Blackwater founder Erik] Prince and other top Blackwater executives continue to reap profits from the mercenary and private intelligence industries." (10/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n8u5p3s

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Spare me the sermon, Houston

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J Saunders

"If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition. This story begins in May when the Houston City Council passed by an 11-to-6 vote an equal rights ordinance that banned discrimination based on sex, race and national origin -- as well as sexual orientation and gender identity. Some local church leaders objected. They petitioned to put a measure on the ballot to repeal the ordinance." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nh6856p

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Weird Al Franken

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by William Blum

"I receive a continuous stream of emails from 'progressive' organizations asking me to vote for Senator Franken or contribute to his re-election campaign this November, and I don’t even live in Minnesota. Even if I could vote for him, I wouldn’t. No one who was a supporter of the war in Iraq will get my vote unless they unequivocally renounce that support. And I don’t mean renounce it like Hillary Clinton’s nonsense about not having known enough." (10/21/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/21/weird-al-franken/

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Mitch McConnell will say anything for a ham

The Nation The Nation
by Lee Fang

"In an election that could propel Senator Mitch McConnell to become Senate majority leader (a position that would give him wide sway over climate change policy, including influence over the Environmental Protection Agency) the Kentucky politician declined to respond to a question earlier this month about whether he believes climate change is a real problem. 'I’m not a scientist,' McConnell responded in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board. But earlier in his career, when McConnell played a pivotal role on behalf of the tobacco industry against increasing government regulation and taxes, the Republican leader believed he had enough scientific knowledge to question public-health officials." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pjrhlxd

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Gene Healy on The Scott Horton Show

Gene Healy The Scott Horton Show
by

"Gene Healy, a vice president at the Cato Institute, discusses his article 'The Forever-War President: Obama’s 'Transformational' War Powers Legacy.'" [Flash audio or MP3] (10/20/14)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/10/20/102014-gene-healy/

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Pulling the plug on corporate personhood

In These Times
by Rob Richie

"American democracy is reaching a breaking point, from failed winner-take-all voting rules to blatant attempts to suppress voter turnout. The rising torrent of campaign spending by the 1% has triggered particular outrage. Activists leapt into action after the Supreme Court’s January 2010 Citizens United decision, which not only overturned a century of precedent that barred corporate money in American elections, but also enshrined corporations as non-human entities that have the same constitutional rights as people. Since Citizens United and other court rulings limit what can be done by statute, amending the constitution to overturn these rulings has become a major focus of activists." [editor's note: As usual, focusing on amending the constitution only guarantees nothing gets done on this for many years - SAT] (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o7sslsz

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Kasich begins ritual of self-flagellation

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"At Holy Cross-Immaculata church in Cincinnati, there's a Good Friday tradition called 'Praying the Steps,' in which parishioners slowly climb the 85 steps up to the church, saying a prayer on each step. It may take a while to get to the top, but that's the entire point of the exercise—the time and effort it takes is a symbol of one's devotion. Keep that in mind for a moment as we talk about that state's governor, John Kasich, and his complicated feelings about the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, Governor Kasich went through a ritual that has grown no less absurd for being so familiar." (10/21/24)

http://tinyurl.com/ldss7dc

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Islamic State’s rules of attraction

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"The U.S. State Department is producing anti-Islamic State propaganda to persuade American and other would-be jihadis not to join the extremist group. It’s ham-handed, and often sarcastic, and unlikely to have the intended effect. Why? Because the department fails to understand how Islamic State attracts recruits in the first place. One way to make sense of all this is to look at the appeal of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA does not recruit members, it attracts them. Long experience suggests that people who impulsively make decisions that actually require a long-term commitment will almost certainly fail. ... And so with Islamic State. Islamic State propaganda pulls no punches." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otspv3e

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Senior regulator says bank CEOs meant well, documents say otherwise

Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"The head of one of Wall Street’s most important regulatory agencies argued recently that big-bank CEOs never intended to break the law or engage in foreclosure fraud. Instead, Thomas Curry of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency tells us they weren’t cautious enough. Internal documents obtained from a bank-backed venture several years ago seem to directly contradict this claim. These documents, which include training materials, PowerPoint presentations and videos, suggest that the industry made a conscious attempt to bypass local jurisdictions and automate processes -- in what can best be described as a fraud-friendly way." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncwe63x

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How the UAE tried to silence a popular Arab Spring activist

Murtaza Hussain The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain

"Earlier this year, as a wave of counterrevolution and repression continued to roll back popular democratic uprisings across the Middle East, one of the Arab Spring’s most popular online activists found himself sitting in a jail cell. Iyad el-Baghdadi, a popular blogger and Twitter personality who first came to prominence during the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, was arrested by authorities in the United Arab Emirates in April. Detained, imprisoned and then expelled from the country, he has been living in limbo in Malaysia ever since." (10/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qxsqojv

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Why Republicans may still lose the Senate

Our Future
by Bill Scher

"While we shouldn’t assume the outcome in any of these close Senate races, it’s true that Republicans have inched ahead in many of the contested states where Democrats currently hold seats. However, it’s also true that Republicans have lost ground in the three states that nearly everyone assumed Republicans had in the bag: Georgia, Kansas and South Dakota. If the electorate was experiencing a swing to the right, this split dynamic wouldn’t be happening." [editor's note: Not sure why this "progressive" pundit cares about Gop misfortunes, but ... - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qhqulyy

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Being the “indispensable nation” is killing American democracy

Reuters
by Robert L. Borosage

"America (proudly dubbed the 'indispensable nation' by its national-security managers) is now the entangled nation enmeshed in conflicts across the globe. President Barack Obama, scorned by his Republican critics as an 'isolationist' who wants to 'withdraw from the world,' is waging the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, boasts of toppling the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, launches airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State and picks targets for drones to attack in as many as eight countries, while dispatching planes to the Russian border in reaction to its machinations in Ukraine, and a fleet to the South China Sea as the conflict over control of islands and waters escalates between China and its neighbors." [editor's note: This translates better as "Becoming an empire-state is killing American liberty" - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9e3h5j

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What would elections be like if everyone voted?

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"Imagine, if you would, an election in which almost everyone turned out to vote. Campaigns would have to reorient their persuasion efforts, because they'd have to talk to everyone. It wouldn't matter whether it was a presidential year or a midterm year. All the time, money, and effort that goes into identifying potential voters, making sure they're registered, and then getting them to the polls would no longer be needed. And of course, people like me wouldn't be able to spend months talking about which voters were going to turn out and which ones weren't." [editor's note: Imagine, if you would, a world in which we all don't have to vote because Paul Waldman thinks we should ... - TLK] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6thafk

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Jerry Brown: Caucus of one

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

"I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he’d be like Nixon going to China and stand up to public-employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he’d live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what’s best for the state. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate 'loyalty to California.' I don’t think he really understands what loyalty is." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q6qa3or

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Black-brown alliance turning Kansas blue

In These Times
by Sam Ross-Brown

"Heading into the November elections, you could be forgiven for assuming the GOP hold on Kansas isn’t going to loosen. The home base of the Koch brothers, the state has become a poster child of Tea Party Republicanism, toeing the far-right line on voter ID laws, abortion restrictions and a host of other issues. In 2012, the National Journal rated the congressional delegation from Kansas as the most conservative in the country -- and that was before a Koch-funded campaign succeeded in ousting moderate Republicans in that year’s primaries. ... But in the lead-up to November, Kansas’s red-state armor began to show some cracks." (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfmnzpv

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Work-sharing: Socialist alternative to layoffs?

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen

"Work-sharing is a simple concept: When employers try to cut costs, shrinking the payroll is a quick way to cut back not only on wages but on fringe benefits and related taxes. Employers often make the cruel calculation to replace current workers with cheaper ones, or to reduce their hours. Work-sharing tries to reconfigure the distribution of work and employment by subsidizing employment costs in exchange for reduced work time. So people work less, but get an income supplement to help offset the impact." [editor's note: She insists on labeling it "socialist;" I'd call it common sense - SAT] (10/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/llgxzjr

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Obama to GOP: Our billionaires are better than yours!

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"Speaking at a $10,000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by Democratic billionaire Rich Richman, President Obama denounced the GOP as -- wait for it -- the 'party of billionaires' .... I always figured Obama had a fairly keen sense of irony, but maybe being in power burns that part of your brain out after a while. Let’s get something straight: America has no major political party that’s NOT a party of billionaires." (10/19/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32768

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The descent of Libya

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Garikai Chengu

"In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped." (10/20/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/20/the-descent-of-libya/

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There is no “CR” in “ISIS”

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Cory Massimino

"Federal officials are warning 'U.S. law enforcement about the threat of Islamic State-inspired terror attacks against police officers, government workers and 'media figures' in the U.S.' Unfortunately many Americans will buy into the state propaganda, spurring even more authoritarian increases in police and military power. But what reasons are there to think that Islamic terrorists are a significant threat to Americans? Simply put, there are none." (10/17/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/32730

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Lessons from Gandhi’s salt march

In These Times
by Mark Engler & Paul Engler

"History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march of more than 200 miles to the sea. Three and a half weeks later, on April 5, surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Gandhi waded into the edge of the ocean, approached an area on the mud flats where evaporating water left a thick layer of sediment, and scooped up a handful of salt." (10/17/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17236/how_did_gandhi_win

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Teddy Roosevelt v. Citizens United

Reuters
by Jim Gaines

"How is it possible that, given overwhelming public concern about the direction of the country, we could be facing historically low turnout in the midterm elections on Nov. 4? The question isn’t new. As trust in government has swung up and down in the past half century, turnout for midterm races, as in presidential years, has varied relatively little, each staying within a 10-point range. Studies of nonvoters have found many reasons, but one of the big ones is that people know a single vote rarely if ever determines the outcome of an election. By this reasoning, of course, why would anyone ever vote?" (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kfrmlxh

3 Comments »

The demise of Senate Democrats

CounterPunch
by Renee Parsons

"If any of the mainstream media are to be believed, you would think that the future of the country, the very foundation of our Republic and what’s left of its democracy hung by a thread on the results of the upcoming 2014 Congressional election, especially Republican control of the Senate. And yet, as the issueless campaigns of meaningless gestures drone on, voter turnout is anticipated to be more a measure of voter antipathy rather than an endorsement of the Electeds posture of We-Own-the World." (10/17/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/17/the-demise-of-senate-democrats/

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First Fresno, next Sacramento

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

"Many insiders believe that Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson and Controller hopeful Ashley Swearengin are the two Republicans most likely to win a statewide office -- and it’s because both have tried to reach across the aisle. Swearengin, the Fresno Mayor, is banking on California voters looking for an alternative to one-party rule in Sacramento. Her campaign manager Tim Clark wrote this piece about the race in Fox and Hounds Daily. He writes that the old formula for GOP victory is changing." (10/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwezjkw

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The only thing

The Cagle Post
by Mark Streeter

Cartoon. (10/16/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/10/the-only-thing/

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Our empathetic rich: The rarest of birds

Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati

"Billionaire CEO Nicholas Woodman, news reports trumpeted earlier this month, has set aside $450 million worth of his GoPro software stock to set up a brand-new charitable foundation. 'We wake up every morning grateful for the opportunities life has given us,' Woodman and his wife Jill noted in a joint statement. 'We hope to return the favor as best we can.' Stories about charitable billionaires have long been a media staple. The defenders of our economic order love them -- and regularly trot them out to justify America’s ever more top-heavy concentration of income and wealth." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ohqkgzy

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The return of the “different kind of Republican”

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"There's always a market, particularly in the media, for the politician who can surprise by running counter to the stereotypes of his or her party. As the two parties become more ideologically unified, that figure becomes even more compelling. The trick is to do it without making your party's loyal supporters angry at you. Which brings us to Rand Paul, who has a plan to become 2016's 'Different kind of Republican,' the label that was placed on George W. Bush back in 2000." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ksn5thw

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One thing Hillary understands about politics in 2014

The Nation The Nation
by John Nichols

"Hillary Clinton understands something important -- make that vital -- about the politics of 2014. She recognizes that the issue that matters in 2014 is the economy (number one in the latest Gallup Poll) and that voters want 'good jobs' that pay a family-supporting wage (number two in the latest Gallup survey). And Clinton knows that the clearest policy connection between where the economy is today and where it needs to be is made via support for a substantial hike in the minimum wage." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nzwxn9h

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The FBI director’s evidence against encryption is pathetic

The Intercept The Intercept
by Dan Froomkin and Natasha Vargas-Cooper

"FBI Director James Comey gave a speech Thursday about how cell-phone encryption could lead law enforcement to a 'very dark place' where it 'misses out' on crucial evidence to nail criminals. To make his case, he cited four real-life examples -- examples that would be laughable if they weren't so tragic. In the three cases The Intercept was able to examine, cell-phone evidence had nothing to do with the identification or capture of the culprits, and encryption would not remotely have been a factor." (10/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/meglgzf

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US government guilty of creating heroin addicts

Wendy Mcelroy The Daily Bell
by Wendy McElroy

"America has a drug problem. It is reflected in local newspapers such as the Herald Times Reporter (Oct. 9) that stated, 'In just two years the number of heroin deaths has increased 50 percent in Wisconsin.' It is reflected nationwide; Slate (Oct. 3) stated, 'Deaths from heroin overdoses have accelerated, doubling in just two years, according to ... the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.' An under-discussed aspect is the pivotal role government has played in creating a drug problem, especially through war and returning soldiers." (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3yb4d4

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Pirating textbooks isn’t just against the law, it’s a good idea too

Rad Geek People's Daily
by Rad Geek

"The textbook industry is an obscene racket, predicated on extraordinary costs and a maze of perverse incentives, controlled by a tightly organized cartel of copyright-monopolists, gargantuan institutional sellers and gargantuan institutional buyers, throwing every ton of their incredible weight onto the shoulders of students, tollgating and massively hampering the dissemination of knowledge. Pirating textbooks isn’t just a good idea. It’s a mitzvah." (10/16/14)

http://radgeek.com/gt/2014/10/16/pirating-textbooks-good/

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Study: Big Government makes people happy

Our Future
by Richard Eskow

"Forget about feeling 'like a room without a roof,' or whatever that 'Happy' song says. If you want to know 'what happiness is to you,' try living in a social democracy. A recent study confirms something leftists have suspected for a long time: People are happier in countries with larger governments, a more generous 'welfare state' and more government intervention in the economy. Policies that depend on the so-called 'free market,' on the other hand, decrease personal satisfaction. This is not a matter of opinion, according to the data, but of fact. We interviewed political scientist Patrick Flavin of Baylor University, lead author of the study." [editor's note: The claim is that the study "had no political agenda"; yeah, right ... - SAT] (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l8rr9m8

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Hillary Clinton’s soft sales job at Salesforce.com

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

"How does Hillary Rodham Clinton, the queen of old-school Democratic partisan politics and bane of the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,' woo movers in the be-nice and collaborate-on-a-couch tech economy? During her speech at Salesforce.com’s San Francisco Dreamforce mega-convention Tuesday, the former U.S. secretary of state showed a softer side to the beanbag workforce. To those of us who have been following politics for years, La Hil is the consummate pol. At Moscone Center, she shed her old brand to become, as she was billed, a 'visionary.'" (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwmosk7

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When the workday never really ends

The Nation The Nation
by Michelle Chen

"Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. And for working people who have to juggle family and work, locked into a rough schedule and the stress of poverty, there really aren’t enough. The 'new economy' of twenty-four-hour online shopping, global markets and just-in-time inventory churning, have created a demand for 'flexible' labor: rapid-fire changes in schedules, shift-swapping, on-call staff. In a new book, Unequal Time, sociologists Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel survey how time is distributed across this new economic landscape, and finds that flexibility (and its evil twin, unpredictability) is creating a new social order that brings chaos to the workplace and the home." [editor's note: Time to consider the world of "self employment" (where your "boss" demands this of you constantly)? - SAT] (10/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kuw8bf6

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Rand Paul’s 2020 Vision

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Adele M. Stan

"No one in the political establishment seems to know quite what to make of Rand Paul, the United States senator from Kentucky and son of Ron, the three-time quixotic presidential candidate with a libertarian bent. In 2012, Ron Paul, the former congressman from Texas, said good-bye to all that, retiring his House seat and forswearing another presidential run, having prepared the ground for his progeny, who hopes to inherit the throngs of young followers nurtured by his father. By turns quirky and cunning, rumpled and slick, Rand Paul, at this writing, is running neck and neck in the polls with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the undeclared establishment candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination." [editor's note: The teaser on the main page tries to label RP as "the GOP's next Goldwater;" yeesh! - SAT] (10/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n432jmh

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New Deal, same spiel

In These Times
by Chris Lehmann

"This fall, Ken Burns (the nation’s director laureate of all things sepia-toned) offered an epic, exhaustive documentary that served to rebuke just about every feature of our postliberal political order. 'The Roosevelts: An Intimate History' blanketed the PBS airwaves for 14 hours, summoning the viewing public back to the halcyon days of the Fair and New Deals, and thus making a powerful de facto case for liberal rule by enlightened patrician overseers. But that, of course, is just the problem." (10/16/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17247/new_deal_same_spiel

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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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