Category Archives: PND Opinion

Europe has problems, but at least they don’t incessantly babble about Trump

Source: Town Hall
by Kurt Schlichter

"So I spent the last two weeks in Europe, and I'm pretty sure it's doomed. On the upside, no one was talking about Trump. Literally no one. It was a nice two-week break from enduring the collusion-addled yammerings of America’s neo-Menschian loonies. I lived there twice, both times devoted to cleaning up messes Europeans had made for themselves, and besides needing to go back to research my third novel, a sequel to Indian Country and People's Republic, I wanted to see Europe one last time before it becomes whatever the hell it's going to become. I’m guessing that will be something bad. You get the idea from the media that the continent is overrun with refugees and that the people are shivering in terror. That's just not so. Except in the cities, refugees and immigrants seem relatively uncommon. There are lots in the big cities, which many of the natives have ditched as the foreigners moved in (shades of America’s inner cities). This is where you see litter, and nowhere else." (07/17/17)

Senate health bill victim of CBO's incredibly bad uninsured math

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

"The Senate Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare has faltered, making it the latest victim of a seriously flawed report saying it would have cost 22 million people their health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office, which has become the official scorekeeper of the impact of health reform despite its miserable track record, said that the Senate repeal-and-replace bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2027 than if ObamaCare remained in place. Before that, it said the much different House repeal-and-replace bill would leave 23 million more without insurance. Heck, the CBO said that simply repealing ObamaCare without putting anything else in its place would result in 23 million more uninsured. If that seems odd, take a close look at how the CBO got to these numbers and see that they are pretty much worthless. Overestimating the individual mandate. The CBO said that getting rid of ObamaCare's individual mandate will immediately cause 7 million to drop out of the individual insurance market." (07/17/17)

Your personal consumption choices can’t save the planet

Source: In These Times
by Kate Aronoff

"New York Magazine’s latest 7,000-word cover story about climate change freaked a lot of people out. Like the reality of climate change itself, the story is depressing. Author David Wallace-Wells (collating several academic papers and interviews with climate scientists) meticulously lays out the possibility of melting ice caps releasing literal plagues, our air becoming unbreathable and geopolitics devolving into endless war. The response among climate wonks took a few different forms. Climate writer and meteorologist Eric Holthaus pointed out a series of factual errors in the piece on Twitter, and The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer detailed several points where Wallace-Wells’ narrative diverges from accepted science. Scientists like Michael Mann argued on Facebook that the article leaned too heavily on doomsday scenarios, barraging readers with scenes that Wallace-Wells himself states are unlikely to come to pass." [editor's note: This is mainly another call to arms to "battle capitalism"; free choice is as usual discounted – SAT] (07/18/17)

How long do you want to live?

Source: USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

"Do you want to live longer? Surprisingly few Americans do, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. And maybe that’s true, though I notice an endless array of articles advising people on how to live longer: by going to church, by cutting back on booze, by having the right number of orgasms and, of course, the usual diet and exercise routines. So somebody must want to live longer. Maybe people are just lying to the survey-takers, afraid that they’ll look selfish if they say they want to live longer, while secretly feeling otherwise. Or maybe they’re afraid that living longer just means an extended period of illness and decline. (As Jay Leno once said, if you eat right and exercise you’ll get more years — but they’ll be years in your eighties, when what most people want is more years in their twenties)." (07/18/17)

Why Trump loyalists should care about the Russia scandal

Source: The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

"There’s a famous line in President Donald Trump’s real estate manifesto, The Art of the Deal, where he posits an incompatibility between public ethics and the kind of personal loyalty his McCarthyite mentor Roy Cohn supposedly exhibited. Cohn, Trump wrote, would 'go to bat for you, even if he privately disagreed with your view, and even if defending you wasn’t necessarily the best thing for him…. Just compare that with all the hundreds of ‘respectable’ guys who make careers out of boasting about their uncompromising integrity but have absolutely no loyalty. They think only about what’s best for them and don’t think twice about stabbing a friend in the back if the friend becomes a problem.' In the real world, the tension Trump hints at between playing by the rules and playing for a team aren’t nearly as severe as he implies. But the idea that integrity and tribalism are mutually exclusive moral codes is an enormously powerful one." [editor's note: More blithering and scapegoating for the Dems' failures; how come you have to go to Faux Snooze to find a sane "progressive"? – SAT] (07/18/17)

Teacher tests test teachers

Source: The American Prospect
by Rachel M. Cohen

"The Houston teachers union scored a legal victory in May when a federal judge found that the Houston school district’s system of evaluating teachers violates due process rights. The lawsuit centered on the system’s use of value-added modeling (VAM), a controversial statistical method aimed at isolating a teacher’s effectiveness based on their students’ standardized test scores. United States Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith concluded that the metric's impenetrability rendered it unconstitutional. Because, he wrote, teachers have 'no meaningful way to ensure' that their value-added ratings are accurate, they are 'subject to mistaken deprivation of constitutionally protected property interests in their jobs.' More specifically, he continued, because the school district denies its teachers access to the computer algorithms and data that form the basis of each teacher’s VAM score, it 'flunks the minimum procedural due process standard of providing the reason for termination ‘in sufficient detail to enable [the teacher] to show any error that may exist.'" [editor's note: END Common Core, SBAC and the DofEd itself; get education back to states-level; and let teachers teach again? (Or just open the doors so kids can learn as they will anyway?) – SAT] (07/18/17)

AIPAC still our biggest foreign agent

by Grant Smith

"During the course of the 1960s Senate and Justice Department investigations, it was revealed that Israel was funneling millions of dollars to unregistered foreign agents in America to lobby for foreign aid to Israel, set up think tanks, engage in Madison Avenue public relations, fund lobbying newsletters, and establish an umbrella organization called the American Zionist Council (AZC). Within the AZC was an unincorporated unit that lobbied congress called the 'American Israel Public Affairs Committee.' On November 21, 1962, the Department of Justice ordered the AZC to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent. This touched off an intense battle between the Justice Department and the AZC which outlasted both JFK and RFK. The bloodied and bruised Justice Department hid away its files on the affair until they were finally declassified and released in 2008. The effort to register Israel’s foreign agents clearly failed. Just 42 days after the Justice Department order, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee incorporated itself in Washington and took over the AZC’s functions." (07/18/17)

Anarchism without anarchy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"In my lead essay, I approached our topic as if it was a foregone conclusion that anarchism should be understood in terms of the pursuit of anarchy, however lengthy or perhaps even interminable that pursuit might be. But for those who champion a 'pure,' 'true' or 'direct' democracy as the political goal of anarchists, thorny problems are sometimes 'solved' by simply setting the concept of anarchy aside and defining anarchism in terms of a certain number of practical reforms to be achieved and a certain range of existing institutions to be abolished. Obviously, for an anarchism without anarchy, the considerations would be very different from those I addressed in my opening comments, but could such a construction of anarchism really be considered a revolutionary alternative? I want to consider some of what is at stake here." (07/17/17)

Charlie Gard case threatens all parents

Source: USA Today
by Melissa Moschella

"Reasonable people can disagree about what is best for Charlie. But principle and law are clear on who has primary authority to determine his fate. Would experimental medical treatment be in Charlie’s Gard’s best interests? Or should he be taken off of life support and allowed to die? And who should decide his fate? From a medical ethics perspective, both courses of action are permissible in principle. If Charlie were an adult and had made his wishes known in a living will (or through a health care proxy), those wishes would be followed without controversy. An adult patient would never be barred from seeking further treatment (no matter how small or uncertain the prospective benefit) from a doctor willing to provide it, especially if he had the money to pay for it himself. This case, then, is not really about Charlie’s best interests. … [T]he real question at issue is: Who has the right to decide on Charlie’s behalf, given that Charlie himself has never had a chance to express his wishes?" (07/16/17)

Mulvaney’s MAGAnomics: Groundhog Day plus flat out lies

Source: Our Future
by Dean Baker

"Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had a Wall Street Journal column highlighting the benefits of 'MAGAnomics.' The piece can best be described as a combination of Groundhog Day and outright lies. In terms of Groundhog Day, we have actually tried MAGAnomics twice before and it didn’t work. We had huge cuts in taxes and regulation under both President Reagan and George W. Bush. In neither case, was there any huge uptick in growth and investment. In fact, the Bush years were striking for the weak growth in the economy and especially the labor market. We saw what was at the time the longest period without net job growth since the Great Depression. And of course, his policy of giving finance free rein gave us the housing bubble and the Great Recession. The story of the 1980s was somewhat better but hardly follows the MAGAnomics script. The economy did bounce back in 1983, following a steep recession in 1981–1982. That is generally what economies do following steep recessions that were not caused by collapsed asset bubbles." (07/17/17)