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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Obama urged to pardon Snowden before leaving office

Edward Snowden‘s lawyer is renewing a push for clemency for the famous NSA whistleblower from the White House before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.

“We’re going to make a very strong case between now and the end of this administration that this is one of those rare cases for which the pardon power exists,”said Ben Wizner, head of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project and Snowden’s legal advocate.

“It’s not for when somebody didn’t break the law. It’s for when they did and there are extraordinary reasons for not enforcing the law against the person,” Wizner said.

Wizner discussed his plans with the journalist Andrew Rice for a New York Magazine cover story about Snowden. Although Snowden admits that “much of Washington remains hostile to him,” according to Rice’s article, he “is optimistic that he will find a way out, somehow.”

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/obama-urged-pardon-snowden-leaving-office/

By riding the tiger of populism, Tories may have destroyed the UK

By Charles Lees

It’s a familiar cliché that the Conservative Party is the most successful political party in the democratic world. Once called the natural party of government, it has been in power for most of the last 150 years and, for good or ill, has shaped modern Britain. The UK is a conservative country in all senses of the word.

But the past four decades have demonstrated that the modern Conservative Party can no longer be trusted in its role as the guardian of British institutions.

The revolutionary free-market zealotry of the Thatcherites and their successors not only put the social fabric of Britain under severe strain, but also undermined the credibility of the UK’s constitutional arrangements. Of the three pillars of High Toryism; church, state and monarchy, Britons only seem to still like the latter.

The decline in Tory respect for British institutions has also been on full display, not least in David Cameron’s willingness to risk the union’s survival twice – first in the Scottish Independence referendum, and then, probably fatally, in the EU membership referendum.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/riding-tiger-populism-tories-may-destroyed-uk/

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How neoliberalism’s moral order feeds fraud and corruption

Corporate fraud is not just present, but is widespread in many neoliberalized economies of both income-rich and income-poor countries. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal is perhaps the most recent and most startling example, but the automobile industry is only one of many sectors, including banking and the arms industry, where scandals have become commonplace. Certain practices and norms that many people in the global North considered shocking only a while ago have become routine in public life.

The financial industry, whether in the US, UK, or Germany, has become characterized for years now by extensive and escalating fraud. Arguably, bankers have never been as unpopular as they are right now. It is not difficult to see why. The most vulnerable in society have suffered the most as a result of public sector cuts in western Europe. You can draw a straight line between these cuts and the post-2008 bank bailouts and market-saving interventionism of governments.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/neoliberalisms-moral-order-feeds-fraud-corruption/

I am a dad. Sunday is Father's Day and also my wedding anniversary

Which occasion should take priority?

The beautifully lived life of Jo Cox (A tribute written by a friend of hers)

I can’t claim to speak for Jo, or even to describe her life or politics in fine detail. Although we had times of closeness – when we worked together, at her wedding, when we climbed wet, cold Scottish Munroe’s – we had not been very close in recent years. I moved jobs and countries, she became a mother for the second time, then an MP. Busy lives all round.

What I do know about Jo is really very simple. She was driven by a clean and unambiguous desire to make life better for those battered and beaten and punished by this world. It sounds glib, almost too saccharine for a real person, but I can assure you it’s true. She was a humanitarian, through and through. To her bones. It wasn’t complicated and it didn’t waiver. The Jo I first met working for Oxfam twelve years ago is exactly and entirely consistent with the Jo who went on to lead a global campaign on maternal health, who used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to call for humane treatment of Syrian refugees, and who has been a powerful voice for a humane and compassionate approach to immigration in the year since. In the chaotic and swirling morass of politics, Jo’s values stood firm and unchanging. Simple, predictable, undeniable.

And maybe that’s what Jo’s death can remind us. Can remind me. The final simplicity of our lives. The final simplicity of the hopes that undergird our passions. The final simplicity of love; it’s brilliance all the more striking against the black, chaotic rage that seems to have killed her.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/beautifully-lived-life-jo-cox/

In the wake of tragedy, Trump takes rhetoric of fear to a whole new level

By Stephanie A. Martin and Christopher Salinas

Donald Trump’s remarks in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting massacre – especially the reiteration of his call to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the United States – angered leaders across America’s political spectrum.

“This is not just a national security issue,” Trump said. “It’s a quality of life issue. If we want to protect the quality of life for all Americans – women and children, gay and straight, Jews and Christians and all people – then we need to tell the truth about radical Islam and we need to do it now.”

Barack Obama called these words “dangerous” and against “democratic ideals.” House Speaker Paul Ryan added that the “vast majority of Muslims in this country and around the world are moderate, they’re peaceful, they’re tolerant, and so they’re among our best allies.” And Hillary Clinton called Trump’s ideas and approach “shameful.”

As scholars of political rhetoric, we see parallels in Trump’s speech to leaders and candidates who have tried to use fear to unite voters.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/wake-tragedy-trump-takes-rhetoric-fear-whole-new-level/

The AR-15 was never meant for civilians, inventor’s family says

The AR-15, or America's rifle — as the National Rifle Association (NRA) likes to call it — was never intended for average Americans at all. That's according to the family of the assault rifle's inventor, who spoke to NBC News about the subject in an article published Thursday. The inventor died before it became a popular civilian gun and the weapon used in many mass shootings.

"Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47," the Stoner family told NBC News. "He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events."

Stoner designed the gun in the 1950s. His surviving children and adult grandchildren talked to the news outlet through phone calls and emails, but opted to speak as a group in order to talk openly about a controversial subject. Some gun control advocates have argued that assault rifles were never intended for civilian use and should be banned. A national ban on certain assault rifles expired in 2004 and wasn't renewed. The family did not make any policy recommendations.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/ar-15-never-meant-civilians/

GOP objection kills Senate funding for military fertility program (Republicans screw the troops)

In January the Pentagon launched a pilot program that allowed U.S. troops to freeze their sperm and eggs before deployment.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter lauded it as a way that service members could preserve their reproductive cells in case they suffered catastrophic wounds or merely wanted to put off having children.

Now the program might be heading for a quick demise: On Tuesday, the Republican-led Senate voted 85-13 to approve a $602 billion military spending bill for 2017 that stripped funding for the program.

Washington state Democratic Sen. Patty Murray called it "a truly shameful mistake."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/gop-objection-kills-senate-funding-military-fertility-program/

Orlando mass shooting could lead to new coalition against power of gun lobby - teaming with LGBTQ

In the early hours of the morning on June 12, a man carried out an attack on gay Americans in a Florida nightclub with an assault rifle that he legally bought, killing 49 and injuring at least 53. Only 13 years ago, this mass casualty weapon would have been illegal to purchase. In 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This policy banned the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines it defined as “large capacity.”

The passage of this bill was prompted by the murder of 34 children in Stockton California by a man with a semi-automatic AK-47 rifle. Such a bill would certainly have made it more difficult for the gunman who murdered many in a matter of hours in Orlando to do so. In the wake of yet another mass shooting with an assault weapon, it may seem impossible to believe that Congress allowed this bill to ‘sunset,’ refusing to renew the legislation.

How did we get here?

The National Rifle Association and its motivated supporters lobbied for Congress to end the assault weapons ban in 2004 and won. Since then, the organization has exalted the virtues of weapons like the AR-15. It has become “America’s Most Popular Rifle” with more than 3 million in circulation. The same weapon was used in October, when Chris Harper-Mercer killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and in December last year when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire with one at a social services center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/orlando-shooting-coalition-gun-lobby/

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