Category Archives: PND Opinion

The great government breakdown has begun

Source: The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

"Donald Trump’s Thursday press conference was so meandering and deranged that it brought the basic ebb and flow of all politics to a halt, as power brokers across Washington, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, stopped what they were doing to watch along in amazement. Trump raged against illegal leaks, but deemed news about those leaks 'fake.' He told small but obvious lies (that he’d won the presidency with the biggest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan) and potentially enormous but as-yet unprovable ones (that, to his knowledge, his aides weren’t in contact with Russian intelligence during the campaign). He suggested the rise in anti-Semitic threats since his election were false flag operations undertaken by his political enemies. And he asked April Ryan, a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, to convene a meeting between him and the Congressional Black Caucus based on the assumption that she (an African American) and members of the CBC were fast friends." [editor's note: The title of this, encouraging as it is to libertarians, horrifies the author of this piece – SAT] (02/17/17)

Gorsuch is no Scalia

Source: USA Today
by Christian Schneider

"The day President Trump nominated appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, The New York Times offered that Trump 'has chosen a judge who not only admires the justice he would replace but also in many ways resembles him.' The paper added that Gorsuch 'shares Justice Scalia’s legal philosophy, talent for vivid writing and love of the outdoors.' In related news, I share much with actor Ryan Gosling; we are both Caucasian males, both over 35 years old, and neither of us can sing. Drawing comparisons between the old guard and tantalizing new talent is understandable; it imputes the new arrival with a set of characteristics that it would take far too long to explain individually. … This is why comparisons to Antonin Scalia fall short." (02/17/17)

This isn't just Trump, but who the Republicans are

Source: Our Future
Dave Johnson

"So far President Donald Trump has signed very few bills. One lets coal companies dump waste into streams. Another lets oil companies bribe foreign dictators in secret. Now he is moving to block a Labor Department 'fiduciary rule' that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients when advising on retirement accounts. Here’s the thing: this isn’t just Trump doing this. The Republican-controlled House and Senate passed those two bills, and the Republicans have been fighting that fiduciary rule tooth and nail. It’s not just Trump, Republicans as a party are using Trump to engage in a general assault on protections from corruption, pollution, corporate fraud and financial scams. This is who they are." (02/17/17)

The did-you-talk-to-Russians witch hunt

Source: OpEdNews
by Robert Parry

"In the anti-Russian frenzy sweeping American politics and media, Democrats, liberals and mainstream pundits are calling for an investigative body that could become a new kind of House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down Americans who have communicated with Russians. The proposed commission would have broad subpoena powers to investigate alleged connections between Trump's supporters and the Russian government with the apparent goal of asking if they now have or have ever talked to a Russian who might have some tie to the Kremlin or its intelligence agencies. Such an admission apparently would be prima facie evidence of disloyalty, a guilt-by-association 'crime' on par with Sen. Joe McCarthy's Cold War pursuit of 'communists' who supposedly had infiltrated the U.S. government, the film industry and other American institutions." (02/18/17)

Why do so many Americans fear Muslims? Decades of denial about America's role in the world.

Source: The Intercept
by Jon Schwarz

"On February 13, 1991 during the first Gulf War, the U.S. dropped two laser-guided bombs on the Amiriyah public air raid shelter in Baghdad. More than 400 Iraqi civilians were incinerated or boiled alive. For years afterward visitors to a memorial there would meet a woman with eight children who had died during the bombing; she was living in the ruined shelter because she could not bear to be anywhere else. Now, imagine that immediately after the bombing Saddam Hussein had delivered a speech on Iraqi TV in which he plaintively asked 'Why do they hate us?' — without ever mentioning the fact that Iraq was occupying Kuwait. And even Saddam's political opponents would only mumble that 'this is a complicated issue.'" (02/18/17)

What to expect from Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

Source: Town Hall
by Calvin Beisner

"The Senate’s confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is a historic step toward the recovery of America’s Constitutional order after years of regulatory overreach. It also puts at the helm of one of the most powerful federal regulatory agencies someone committed to the rule of law, agency transparency, and accountability to the public, and to sound science and common-sense cost/benefit calculation as indispensable parts of responsible regulation. To nobody’s surprise, the environmental Left went apoplectic when President Donald Trump nominated Pruitt. [They] saw only that Pruitt had repeatedly sued the EPA, that he dared to say publicly what every climate scientist knows but dare not say (that although human contribution to global warming is pretty well certain, its magnitude and consequences are hotly debated even in the climate science community), and that he didn’t think every oil, gas, and coal company is the devil incarnate." [editor's note: A fairly well balanced analysis here – SAT] (02/17/17)

How intellectual property poisons video games

Source: The Anarchist Shemale
by Aria DiMezzo

"[N]o one is entitled to being paid twice for something that they've sold. If, for example, I sell you a vehicle for $3,000, and you go on to sell that vehicle to someone else for $4,000, absolutely no one in their right mind would contend that I was due any additional money from you, or from the person who bought the car from you. … Intellectual Property, as a duplicitous way of allowing people who have created a thing to maintain ownership after the point of selling it, would dictate that, if I had been the one who invented this car — thereby making it my intellectual property — then I would, in fact, be due compensation. It is every bit as asinine as thinking that, if I sold my Chevrolet Impala to you for $3,000, then I needed to give a cut of that to Chevrolet." (02/17/17)

Florida's shenanigans make a great case for (re-)separation of ballot and state

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"Some histories of the Civil War era mention that Abraham Lincoln was 'not even on the ballot' in several southern states. That's true. None of the other presidential candidates were 'on the ballot' either, nor was Lincoln 'on the ballot' in the northern states. There was no such thing as 'on the ballot.' American ballot access laws only date back to the 1880s. Before that, voters cast ballots in one of three ways: They received ballots from and printed by their political parties of choice, they wrote out their own ballots by hand, or, if they couldn't write, they verbally dictated their choices to election officials who wrote down those choices for them in the presence of witnesses."

Trump's far-right Israel stance creates opening for the left

Source: In These Times
by Stephen Zunes

"It was a surreal scene: On February 15, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Washington, D.C. and spoke of their 'shared values' which have 'advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity and peace,' while at the same time retreating from the longstanding call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump's appointee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman has also insisted the United States should end the 'two-state narrative' and claims that even moderate Zionist groups like J Street, which support an end to the occupation, are 'far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.'" (02/17/17)

The wretched beginning of Donald Trump's presidency

by Lucy Steigerwald

"Maybe Donald Trump is a different kind of politician. Maybe he will keep his promises. Unfortunately, since January 20, Trump has pursued a nasty collection of priorities. Any hope that the political newbie would be dazed and timid in his first 100 days went out the window after his clunky, legally-dubious executive order stopping immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries — all of which have been messed up by the US — turned airports across the US into chaotic scenes of protest, and brought about multiple lawsuits. But Trump didn't just declare his intention to deport and ban wide swaths of people. He also has a wall to build. There's still time to stop that, and Trump won't be bringing steel back to Pittsburgh, or any of the other time-traveling protectionist economic promises he made. Trump may well be able to stop the progress of criminal justice reform, however, and make our immigration system even more cruel." (02/16/17)