Category Archives: PND Opinion

Return of the repressed: The roots of a resurgent racist notion

Source: Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd

“In recent years, we have seen a resurgence — and great expansion — of a sinister trope that has always simmered near or just below the surface of many a Southerner’s thoughts: to wit, that slavery was not really all that bad for the slaves, that most enjoyed a decent enough life, supplied with food, shelter and security. Indeed, for the most part, black Americans lived better under slavery than they did after they were freed. To be sure, slavery had not been a good thing in itself, but its horrors had been exaggerated and its benefits neglected by most historians. Such was the general idea. Growing up in the rural South in the 1960s, I heard variations of this line of thought from many people. … There are many factors behind this new upsurge of filth from the national id, but one of the most crucial is surely the nation’s unassuageable anxiety about confronting the reality of slavery: a failure of nerve driven by the need (political and psychological) of both liberals and conservatives to preserve the idea of America’s essential and exceptional goodness.” (02/20/18)

Arm the undocumented

comrade hermit

Source: exile in happy valley
by comrade hermit

“This country is under siege. The entire nation is in the grips of what can only be described as a gang war. The gang in question is deadly, cruel and armed to the fucking teeth. They ride rough shot across the country in their armadas of armored sports utility vehicles, raiding homes and business’ like a Mongol horde. Kicking down doors, smashing everything in site and dragging innocent victims off into the night, to undisclosed hideouts where they’re subjected to untold tortures; degraded, raped, beaten or worse. … No, I’m not talking about MS-13, Trump’s latest brown scapegoat fixation. I’m talking about the Orange One’s heroes in Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, and their knuckle-dragging flunkies in the Border Patrol who are waging a state sanctioned jihad against innocent Americans guilty of nothing more than crossing an invisible line into territory stolen from their ancestors.” (02/19/18)

Trump is, in fact, taking on high drug prices

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“Health reform advocates complain that President Trump’s budget doesn’t do enough to tackle high drug prices, which they say are rapidly driving up health costs. Neither claim, it turns out, is true. Concern about high drug prices are legion. But these stories often lack any context. The Los Angeles Times, for example, reported last week that prescription drug prices are slated to climb 6.3% a year, on average, over the next decade, which is faster than overall health spending. It goes on to say that drug prices are one of the ‘biggest drivers’ of health costs and this, in turn, has sparked ‘growing calls by Democrats for more government regulation of prices.’ But a look at the data the Times used actually tells a much different story. Despite all of the hue and cry about drug prices, prescription drugs account for slightly less than 10% of national health spending. That share is almost identical to where it was in 1960, when the array of drugs available was far more limited.” (02/19/18)

Trump’s “Harvest Box” delivers an empty promise

Source: Our Future
by Richard Eskow

“‘America’s Harvest Box.’ That’s what the Trump administration called its plan to substitute prepackaged, low-quality processed foods for some of the food assistance currently being received by an estimated 46 million people (based on numbers for 2015, the last year for which data are available). The term ‘harvest box’ has been used by benign programs that distribute local produce like this one, and for USDA pilot programs in Maryland and Virginia designed to offer ‘seamless access to locally produced food and products’ and to ‘boost rural economic development.’ That’s not the kind of ‘harvest box’ Trump has in mind. People would not receive freshly harvested food under his administration’s proposal. In fact, as farmers’ groups have pointed out, it would hamper recipients’ ability to buy fresh farm products at farmers’ markets.” (02/19/18)

Beyond Hollywood: Domestic workers say #MeToo

Source: In These Times
by Jessica Stites

“‘I had not personally met Meryl Streep before I checked my voicemail and heard her soft voice, familiar from so many of my favorite films, introducing herself,’ wrote Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), in a January 9 blog post for Cosmopolitan. ‘There she was, asking to discuss the possibility of attending the Golden Globes together. Yes, Ms. Streep, we can definitely discuss that.’ Streep didn’t cold-call Poo. The actress Michelle Williams had invited Tarana Burke to the awards show in recognition of Burke’s decade-old ‘Me Too’ campaign to empower young women of color who have experienced sexual violence. At Burke’s suggestion, seven other stars brought activists as their plus-ones, including farmworker advocate Mónica Ramírez, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United co-founder Saru Jayaraman and Poo. It was a striking corrective to the celebrity-focused first wave of #MeToo. In that spirit, Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon and 300 other actors raised more than $19 million to help low-wage women workers who file sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits cover the cost of legal expenses.” (02/19/18)

China’s next ideological front

Source: Reuters
by Peter Marino

“Back in 2014, in statements by its leadership and in government media outlets, Beijing began to express its desire for a ‘new type of Great Power relations’ with Washington. This bold, if vaguely-defined, ambition was among the first indications that China was beginning to re-conceive its global role. The phrase was clunky, and China finally dropped it with little fanfare. Nevertheless, a new kind of U.S.-China relationship has indeed begun to emerge. A relationship that has, in recent decades, been organized around the pursuit of shared interests appears to be reverting to one increasingly defined by differences in worldview. Beijing is tightening the screws on internal political dissent, and Americans are growing more uneasy about the nature of Chinese influence abroad. Ideology once again defines the terms of the U.S.-China relationship.” (02/18/18)

Donald Trump’s food stamp box idea is a solution without a problem

Source: USA Today
by Andrew Wilford

“With the release of its fiscal year 2019 budget, the Trump administration pitched a ‘bold, innovative approach’ to reform food stamps. Unfortunately for recipients of assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the approach solves the non-existent problem of welfare recipients being able to choose their own food. The administration’s proposal would create a bureaucratic nightmare that would increase costs and force-feed Americans in a one-size-fits-all system. The proposal recommends the creation of a program that would ship food packages known as ‘America’s Harvest Box’ to SNAP recipients receiving more than $90 monthly in benefits nationwide, which would encompass 81% of SNAP recipients (16.4 million households). These new Harvest Boxes would take the place of half of SNAP recipients’ current benefits. The USDA argues that by buying directly from producers, it could deliver food at approximately half the retail cost, saving $129.2 billion over the next decade.” (02/19/18)

Another tragedy, another round of politicization

Source: Town Hall
by Sheriff David Clarke (Ret.)

“Another deadly school shooting brings about predictable political behavior, something we always see after these horrific incidents. We can’t get through a reasonable grieving period after the recent shooting in a Florida high school before the event is politicized. The discussion we should have about empowering state law enforcement to handle persons who exhibit warning signs is suppressed by demagogues regurgitating calls for gun control. But first, we must allow grieving to take place. It’s not appropriate to have a discussion about solutions in the immediate aftermath of such incidents. When people are still in a high state of emotion, rational thought cannot take place. Emotionally driven public policy is always flawed because it never considers the law of unintended consequences. Take the 9-11 Commission, for example, which should have taught us about emotionally driven policy. It led to increased government authority to spy on American citizens without real oversight, and contributed to the abuses we are hearing about regarding the FBI spying of the Trump campaign and administration.” (02/19/18)

Beyond mere survival


“The personal and the political often meet and merge — and, in my case lately, this has certainly been quite true. I won’t go into the details of my recent cancer diagnosis, which I wrote about here, except to say that it has certainly intensified and sharpened my perceptions of what’s wrong — and right — with the world. And of course it’s made me look at things in retrospect, as old memories are dredged up and seen in a new light. When I look back on the twenty-plus years of my time here at, I’m struck with wonder: how did we ever survive this long? What’s significant is that we did far more than merely survive — we greatly expanded our very faithful audience, extending the reach of the anti-interventionist cause across traditional left-right lines. Of course, it’s easy for me to portray our success as a constant upward arc of progress, but the truth is that it wasn’t that way at all.” (02/19/18)

The Democrats keep capitulating on defense spending

Source: The Atlantic
by Peter Beinart

“Since earlier this month, when Congress passed a budget deal that massively boosts both defense and non-defense spending, liberal commentators — and even some Republican politicians — have accused the GOP of hypocrisy. Republicans, they noted, are supposed to loathe debt. They’re supposed to loathe government spending. Yet, in large numbers, they voted for much more of both. Fair enough. But what about the Democrats? If Republicans are supposed to worry about the United States bankrupting itself with social-welfare spending, aren’t Democrats supposed to worry about the United States bankrupting itself with military spending? Not anymore. In the run-up to the deal, Nancy Pelosi’s office fired off an email to House Democrats proclaiming that, ‘In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.’ Chuck Schumer’s office announced that, ‘We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.'” (02/19/18)