Category Archives: PND Opinion

Does Washington want to start a new war in the Balkans?

Source: CounterPunch
by David Kowalski

"With Monday's procedural vote in the U.S. Senate to allow Montenegro into NATO, the Washington elite proved once more that heightening tensions with Russia might not just be inevitable, but actually desirable. With the exception of Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the entire 100-strong body of the Senate rallied behind the motion that would see the tiny Adriatic state admitted into the Atlantic alliance over the objections of many Montenegrins. The vote set off a 30-hour countdown, during which Senators will debate before putting the issue to a final vote. If you needed more proof that US foreign policy is misguided, just look to what happened to Rand Paul after his earlier decision to block Montenegro's accession." (03/29/17)

Make the anti-war movement great again

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

"Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been at war, the longest continuous conflict in its history. Its citizens have witnessed a failed surge into Afghanistan, a catastrophe in Iraq that helped destabilize vast swaths of the Middle East, an unconstitutional war in Libya that created a power vacuum exploited by ISIS, and a drone war that has killed hundreds of innocents in a half-dozen countries. The last two presidents campaigned against dumb wars and won. The more interventionist candidate has lost every election since 2008. Yet the anti-war faction that mobilized against the Iraq War shrunk precipitously during the Obama years, and is less noisy as Trump takes office than anti-pipeline protesters. … The absence of significant protests in the face of this inhumane militarism is a major reason why it is neither emphasized in the press nor kept in check by the most effective brake on killing among those who lack a moral compass: political consequences. Trump and most Republicans won't worry about civilian deaths until they're affected by them. Neither will most Democrats."

Death at your door: Knock-and-talk police tactics rip a hole in the Constitution

Source: OpEdNews
by John Whitehead

"It was late on a Saturday night — so late that it was technically Sunday morning — and 26-year-old Scott was at home with his girlfriend playing video games when police, in pursuit of a speeding motorcyclist, arrived at Scott's apartment complex, assumed tactical positions with guns drawn and ready to shoot, and began pounding on his apartment door (because it had a light on and there was a motorcycle parked nearby). Understandably alarmed by the aggressive pounding on his door at such a late hour, Scott retrieved his handgun before opening the door. Upon opening the door, Scott saw a shadowy figure holding a gun outside his door. Police failed to identify themselves. Unnerved by the sight of the gunman, Scott retreated into his apartment only to have police immediately open fire on him. Of the six shots fired, three hit and killed Scott, who had no connection to the motorcycle or any illegal activity." (03/28/17)

Stop the Meals on Wheels funding freakout

Source: USA Today
by Katrina Trinko

"Here’s the truth the Meals on Wheels funding freakout missed: We don’t need the government to help each other. When President Trump announced his budget this month, there was an uproar over the proposal to end the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which states use for a variety of services including (in some cases) Meals on Wheels for seniors. … First, let’s straighten out the facts about Meals on Wheels and Trump’s budget. While Trump wants to eliminate the community development grant and a Community Services Block Grant that also helps the program in some states, the impact of his proposal is not clear. The primary source of federal support for the 5,000 local Meals on Wheels programs, accounting for 35% of their funding, is the Older Americans Act administered by the Department of Health and Human Services." [editor's note: I am loving this demonstration of the generosity and volunteerism that categorizes most people I know, including many who claim only govt can do these things (because of greedy rich people) – SAT] (03/28/17)

The big lie behind Trump’s education budget

Source: Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"Public school supporters are angry at President Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut funding to the Department of Education by 13 percent — taking that department’s outlay down to the level it was ten years ago. But the target for their anger should not be just the extent of the cuts but also how the cuts are being pitched to the public. Trump’s education budget cuts are aimed principally at federal programs that serve poor kids, especially their access to afterschool programs and high-quality teachers. At the same time, Trump’s spending blueprint calls for pouring $1.4 billion into school choice policies including a $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new school choice program focused on private schools, and a $1 billion increase for parents to send their kids to private schools at taxpayer expense." [editor's note: So said parents have no right to use the money they have paid in taxes to further their own purposes? How about a property tax revolt then? – SAT] (03/28/17)

The false compassion of liberalism

Source: Town Hall
by Stephen Moore

"We all, as individuals, can and should act compassionately and charitably. We can volunteer our time, energy and dollars to help the underprivileged. We can feed the hungry, house the homeless. Most of us feel a moral and ethical responsibility to do so — to 'do unto others.' And we do fulfill that obligation more than the citizens of almost any other nation. International statistics show that Americans are the most charitable people in the world and the most likely to engage in volunteerism. … But government, by its nature, is not compassionate. It can't be. It is nothing other than a force. Government can only spend a dollar to help someone when it forcibly takes a dollar from someone else. At its core, government welfare is predicated on a false compassion. This isn't to say that government should never take collective action to help people. But these actions are based on compulsion, not compassion. " (03/28/17)

America must divorce dignity from work

Source: The New Republic
by Jonathan Malesic

"Lots of Americans have bullshit jobs, ones that have little tangible effect on the world but are nevertheless all-consuming, demanding that workers attend meetings throughout the day and chat on Slack after hours. These jobs proliferate in areas like finance, brand management, and even, I daresay, in journalism. But we’ve all got to eat, and for the majority of adult Americans, that means you need a job. Whether your job does any good for anyone else is another matter. Even as bullshit jobs pile up, millions of Americans have no job at all, or they can only find part-time work. They’ve got to eat, too. They also need dignity, a sense that their lives matter. And dignity is another thing Americans get preeminently from work." [editor's note: Even if you oppose the UBI concept with all your might, there is some wisdom in this discussion – SAT] (03/28/17)

The hidden monopolies that raise drug prices

Source: The American Prospect
by David Dayen

"Rob Frankil of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, followed his father into the family business after college. 'My entire life,' he said, 'I’ve been involved with managing and owning independent pharmacies.' He now owns two stores, a traditional community pharmacy and another that caters to long-term care facilities. Like any retail outlet, Frankil purchases inventory from a wholesale distributor and sells it to customers at a small markup. But unlike butchers or hardware store owners, pharmacists have no idea how much money they’ll make on a sale until the moment they sell it. That’s because the customer’s co-pay doesn’t cover the cost of the drug. Instead, a byzantine reimbursement process determines Frankil’s fee." [editor's note: Nice to see a "progressive" site addressing one of the real reasons "healthcare" does not work – SAT] (03/28/17)

Why ICE raids imperil us all

Source: CounterPunch
by Andrew Moss

"Millions of people who have been living and working in the U.S., contributing to their communities and to the economy, are now at risk simply for who they are: people 'without papers.' The policy doesn't simply threaten specific individuals, families, or communities. It imperils all of us, not simply because it emerged from the racialized rhetoric and scapegoating promulgated by candidate and President Trump — and not simply because it enacts these evils in official government policy. It imperils us because it places into question our very identities as Americans. Is citizenship only a matter of status and category, i.e. the possession or non-possession of a birth certificate, green card, or certificate of naturalization? Or does it mean something deeper: a responsibility to one's fellow human beings?" (03/28/17)

Why I love guns (& you should too!)

Source: exile in happy valley
by comrade hermit

"I love guns the way the Black Panthers, Hunter S. Thompson and Alex Cockburn loved guns. I love guns because they empower the poor. They empower the poor to defend themselves without having to rely on the state. More importantly, they empower the poor to defend themselves from the state, be they racist cops, Border Patrol Gestapo or compound torching feds. The Second Amendment is the one civil right that makes all the others possible. Guns insure that poor people can hold their government accountable when they choose to step on the Constitution. I also love guns because I'm queer. I love guns because I don't look forward to being curb-stomped by a bunch of fucking skinheads for wearing a dress with a beard only to have some hate-fuck pig tell me in traction that I was asking for it." (03/28/17)