You are browsing the archive for 2018 September 02.

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These Anonymous Twitter Accounts Are the Real Intellectual Dark Web — and They’re Calling Out Right-Wing Media

September 2, 2018 in Blogs

By Taylor Link, Salon

The Intellectual Dark Web conservatives fear.

There's an ideological war raging in the U.S. That's what Commentary magazine's John Podhoretz said in a recent podcast, anyways. And he's not wrong. It might not be a conflict as epic as the Second World War. It's not being fought on a battlefield or in research labs. But it is consuming much of the discourse in 2018, especially on Twitter.

Much of the battles involving the left appear to be partisan infighting: liberals pushing back against the dramatic shift to the left; Democratic Socialists assailing the liberal establishment. Conservatives, meanwhile, have seemingly abandoned any constructive introspection. “Owning the libs” has become their only battlecry.

The rise of President Donald Trump should have precipitated an ideological insurrection. But the most popular movement to come out of the right post-2016 was the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW), a quasi-informal group of political commentators and professors who've gained traction for its hostility towards American liberalism. Bari Weiss, a conservative op-ed writer at The New York Times, introduced the IDW in a column earlier this year. In the piece, she elevated personalities such as Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk, to name a few. They were grouped together not because of an ideology they shared, but because of an ideology they all rejected. The IDW criticizes most, if not all, policies and social movements that have arisen from America's liberal trajectory. Feminism, affirmative action, subsidized health care, Black Lives Matter, wealth distribution, immigration, all have come under fire by the IDW. Their main antagonist may be the ”mainstream liberal media,” which they vilify for propping up progressive causes. Because of this, conservative media has welcomed these new voices into the tent, even though some whitewash racism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

Some would argue that parts of right-wing media landscape have long been tainted. Before Trump announced his campaign for the presidency, certain writers and watchdog groups have monitored the debasement of conservative media. But since Trump took control of the White House, there has been a more aggressive push to discredit certain conservative personalities and websites. CNN's Brian Stelter has taken on …read more


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Obit Omit: What Corporate Media Left Out of John McCain’s Record of Militarism and Misogyny

September 2, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

A roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of John McCain, the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, six-term senator and two-time presidential candidate.

We host a roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of John McCain, the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, six-term senator and two-time presidential candidate, who died Saturday at the age of 81 of brain cancer. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, columnist for The Intercept and host of their “Deconstructed” podcast. He’s also host of “UpFront” at Al Jazeera English. He’s been tweeting in response to McCain’s death and wrote a piece last year headlined “Despite What the Press Says, 'Maverick' McCain Has a Long and Distinguished Record of Horribleness.” We are also joined by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, which McCain once referred to as “low-life scum,” and by Norman Solomon, national coordinator of RootsAction, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking back at the life and legacy of John McCain, the six-term senator and two-time presidential candidate, who died Saturday at the age of 81 of breast [sic] cancer at his home in Arizona—of brain cancer. John McCain began his decades-long political career after he was a naval pilot in the Vietnam War, where he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in Hanoi in 1967. He spent two years in solitary confinement and twice attempted suicide. He eventually would sign a statement he would regret, that was a so-called confession admitting to, quote, “crimes against the Vietnamese country and people.” This experience made him a lifelong opponent of torture. As recently as May, McCain opposed the Trump administration’s nomination of Gina Haspel as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel is a 33-year CIA veteran who was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002, where at least one prisoner was waterboarded and tortured in …read more


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Opioid Crisis Not Helped by Panic

September 2, 2018 in Economics

By Jeffrey A. Singer

Jeffrey A. Singer

The opioid crisis that gets the most attention is the growing
rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in non-medical users. This
conflagration consumes growing numbers of men and women, young and
old, across diverse demographic categories. In 1972 President Nixon
declared a “war on drugs,” and these people are drug
prohibition’s civilian casualties.

The lure of easy money from selling drugs in the black market
attracted drug dealers – including unscrupulous doctors and
pharmacists – to supply non-medical users with substances of abuse.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, less than
25 percent of non-medical users of prescription opioids ever get
them from a doctor – they get them from a friend, relative, or drug

Study after study show a “misuse” rate of less than
1 percent in patients prescribed opioids for acute pain or chronic
pain. And numerous large studies show an even lower overdose rate
from opioids used in the medical setting. Despite these facts, the
crisis managers’ solution is yet another prohibition:
prescription prohibition.

Fear of opioids propels
drug prohibition, the black market, and rising overdoses from
heroin and fentanyl.

States have enacted laws that limit the dosage and number of
pain pills doctors can prescribe to their patients. If doctors are
thought to prescribe more than regulators believe appropriate, they
might get a visit from the Drug Enforcement Administration and be
escorted out of their office in handcuffs.

The Food and Drug Administration has encouraged drug companies
to replace their prescription drugs with “abuse-deterrent
formulations” that cannot be crushed and snorted or dissolved
and injected. But abuse-deterrent opioids have been shown to drive
thousands of opioid abusers to deadly heroin and fentanyl. And the
DEA ratchets down the amount of opioids drug makers are permitted
to produce. This has caused severe shortages of injectable opioids
in hospitals, making hospitalized patients suffer in pain and
causing some hospitals to cancel elective surgeries.

But the black market caused by drug prohibition is very
efficient. A look at the CDC mortality numbers shows as
prescription opioids diverted to the black market became
abuse-deterrent or less easy to obtain drug dealers filled the void
with heroin and fentanyl.

Prescription prohibition is behind the other opioid crisis: the
pain crisis. Each day more and more patients suffer needlessly
because their doctors are under-treating their pain or cutting them
off from pain medicine that has allowed them to function. Many
become invalids and shut-ins, unable to lead a meaningful
existence, as their unbearable pain returns.

Fear of opioids propels drug prohibition, the black market, and
rising overdoses from heroin and fentanyl. It also drives the
misguided prohibition on prescribing pain medication, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Would Trump’s Impeachment Kill the Economy?

September 2, 2018 in Blogs

By Max Cea, Salon

Our panel of experts says nah, not really

As the prospect of Donald Trump’s impeachment became a shade more real last week following a big day in court for Michael Cohen, the president went beyond his standard “witch hunt” mantra, and warned of the economic impact his impeachment would have. “I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash,” Trump said in a Fox News interview. “I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see — you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe in reverse.”

Is Trump right?

Salon enlisted four economic experts to discuss the economic impact of a Trump impeachment. And, as you might expect, they all agreed that without America’s stable genius in the Oval Office, the markets would indeed crash, everybody would indeed be very poor, and … kidding! We’ll be fine.   

In a general sense, divorced from Trump, what's the effect of an impeachment on markets?

Peter Atwater is an adjunct lecturer of economics at the College of William & Mary. He is the author of the book “Moods and Markets,” which details how investors can improve returns by using non-market indicators of confidence. 

Impeachment, to me, is likely to be a climaxing, capitulatory event. So typically it's the kind of thing that you see at a major low in confidence. It is for a political figure what the ousting of a CEO is in the corporate environment. To me, it's akin to a bankrupting of something like Lehman Brothers. It's an ending event, not a beginning event.

As a behavioral scientist, I believe that impeachment is the consequence, not the cause. So what happens is confidence starts to fall, politicians are in the business of responding, and as confidence falls they would ultimately be put in the position of having to act, as opposed to wanting to act.

Having watched the Republican members of Congress, they respond to mood just like everybody else. So to the extent that they believe that President Trump is hurting their party, that Trump has lost the …read more


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Fake News and the 'Other White Meat': How Pork Became Poultry — and Why It Matters

September 2, 2018 in Blogs

By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

The iconic ad campaign changed what we thought we knew about meat, and set the stage for the age of spin

Back in the '90s, I spent an inordinate amount of time on two wildly unproductive pursuits: exploring the brave new world of the Internet, and arguing with people about the nature of pig meat. The more time that passes, the more I see how closely those two obsessions were related. Because whenever I hear someone parroting the phrase “fake news,” a little part of me always hears “other white meat.”

If we were to put pork on trial, I know that my case against its status as white meat would not be airtight. More than 30 years ago, the New York Times noted that the dictionary itself “lumps pork right in the white meat category along with chicken and turkey” (albeit secondarily). And as a casual meat eater myself, my primary focus when approaching food is usually just whether it's an animal or not. But the well-strategized evolution of pork, over an iconic 18 year-long campaign, was one of my first lessons in how profoundly public perception could be shifted profoundly, through the simple act of repetition.

Back in olden tymes, pork was uncontroversially considered a red meat, like beef or lamb. The reasons for the classifications are not singular: it was a means of distinguishing a certain type livestock from others like poultry, and also identifying foods with a higher myoglobin content, which gives them a redder pigment. But regardless of the reasoning, there wasn't much semantic debate over it, because meat ruled as the thing most likely to be found in the middle of your dinner plate.

Then the health conscious '70s and '80s came along, and a new supermarket favorite went bok bok bok all the way home. Facing rising more demand for low-fat consumer goods and rising poultry consumption, in 1987, food trend experts estimated that chicken was poised to “push pork out of second place in consumer hearts” behind beef. That year, the National Pork Producers …read more


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The Racist Stain of Donald Trump's Presidency

September 2, 2018 in Blogs

By Sher Watts Spooner, Daily Kos

Nothing will stop him from discarding the dog whistle and grabbing a bullhorn in his racist tweets and shouts.

Whatever happens to Donald Trump, however long it takes before he’s out of office, there’s one area where it will be hard to stop the spread of his poisonous politics: his stoking of racial hatred.

Trump and Republicans keep trying to turn the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, allegedly done by an immigrant who may have been in the United States illegally, into a campaign issue, trying further to stir up anger and raise fears about immigrants among Trump’s base. But they conveniently ignore the murder of 18-year-old Nia Wilson on a BART train in Oakland, California, allegedly committed by a white supremacist.

It’s not hard to figure out their reasoning: Tibbetts was white, and her accused killer is Latino. Wilson was African-American, and her accused killer is white. Crimes by “others” are by definition bad and scary, to a racist’s way of thinking. Crimes by whites must be a sign of mental illness, right?

Multiple reports and analyses show that the number of hate crimes against minorities have risen since Trump became president, and that the number started rising the day after the election in 2016. “There were more reported hate crimes on Nov. 9 than any other day in 2016, and the daily number of such incidents exceeded the level on Election Day for the next 10 days,” says a report from The Washington Post.

Even the increase in hate crime numbers is no doubt understated, because hate crimes are always underreported. But they have been rising all over the country, in cities, in small towns, and on college campuses, ever since Trump’s election. Victims encompass all minorities: African-American, Latino, Muslim, LGBT, Asian-American, and immigrants of multiple nationalities. Except, of course, for immigrants from Western European countries like Norway. Immigrants from “shithole countries” are obviously still fair game.


Over the last decade, extremists committed 387 murders in the United States, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Of those, 71 percent were done by white …read more