Jan Frel

Paul Ryan's Biggest Influence: 10 Things You Should Know About the Lunatic Ayn Rand

"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand." That's freshly minted GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan talking—statements he would eventually recant—at a party celebrating what would have been the prolific author's 100th birthday, 

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Noam Chomsky: If Trump Falters with Supporters, Don't Put 'Aside the Possibility' of a 'Staged or Alleged Terrorist Attack'

It's March 2017, and the political process and the media in the U.S. are a depressing mess, on top of an ever-growing pile of issues that are not remotely being addressed, much less resolved by society: inequality, climate change, a global refugee crisis, you name it.

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10 Big Media Realities in the Trump Era

Editor’s Note: This article is meant to help educate people on the many complexities of the rapidly changing media system—progressive, independent, conservative, and corporate. It is, in a sense, a work in progress because a good part of this article is about web traffic and data is ever changing, and because some websites are more or less accurately counted, e.g., by Quantcast, while other sites do not allow Quantcast to measure them. We only cited reader traffic that was confirmed by an independent source.

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13 Top Theories for How Trump Won and Why Clinton Lost: What's Your Theory?

It’s now three weeks since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and people are still reeling. In an election that shocked the world and scrambled people’s sense of reality, Trump did what millions thought impossible: he was—sort of—elected president of the United States. True, if the U.S. were like the rest of the world, the person who got the most votes—Hillary Clinton, with in this case over 2.5 million more—would be the next president. And also true, the shenanigans, voter repression, disenfranchisement and perhaps worse that accompanied this election, mean that Donald Trump starts his term having very little legitimacy in the eyes of millions.

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Donna Edwards Runs Hard for the Senate in a Race Called the 'Fight for the Future of the Democratic Party' in the NY Times

Four-term progressive congresswoman Donna Edwards is leading against insider and seven-term congressman Chris Van Hollen in the April 26 Democratic primary race for the Senate in Maryland, despite Edwards' being outspent roughly 10-1 by her opponent. The Baltimore Sun has her up by 10 points, while other polls have the race closer.

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Editorial: Where Does Noam Chomsky Get His News?

As you probably know from my colleague, Don Hazen, AlterNet is on the verge of hitting our goal for this fundraising season; we need only $15K more. But we need a little help to get us over the top.

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Neighbors From Hell: Now Parents Have a Bedtime Story About How Predatory America Has Become

It came in a vision a few years back: a book for children that approximated some of the horrors of society that everyday people face, and the monstrous qualities that many people take on as they try to earn a living. Especially since the financial crisis. Mortgage loan officers, slumlords, private prison lobbyists are the new growth industry jobs.

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Is There Any Hope for America to Transcend the Disastrous Thinking of the National Security State?

Covering war, empire, the national security state, and occasionally culture, TomDispatch features some of the best and most established progressive writers on the block, the likes of Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky and Andrew Bacevich. Tom Dispatch has done so at a remarkably steady pace for over a decade, about 150 essays a year. AlterNet has been proud to publish virtually every article produced by TomDispatch, and we consider it an incredibly valuable resource. It's mainly a one-man show with Tom Engelhardt, known far and wide as a writer's editor for top-flight publishers, at the helm. 

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Naomi Klein on the Great Clash Between Capitalism and the Climate

Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate is coming out just as the UN is meeting on climate change, and a massive rally to protest the lack of progress on global warming is shaping up in Manhattan on Sunday. Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, one of the most influential books of the past 50 years. She sees her new book as the natural successor to The Shock Doctrine as she deepens her critique and insists we need to fundamentally rethink our approach to climate. The inconvenient truth about global warming is that it isn't really about carbon, but rather capitalism. Our economic model is waging war on the earth, and unless capitalism is dramatically changed, we are doomed. Yet Klein is no pessimist. She sees the seeds of a broad cross-sectional mass movement emerging that will lead to a transformation of our failed economic system to something radically better. Sunday's People's Climate March in New York is a key step toward a future we must create in order to survive and thrive.

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Silicon Valley's Shocking Collusion: Inside One of the Largest Wage Theft Trials in U.S. History

One of the largest wage theft cases in American history was settled last Thursday, with the terms of the agreement kept secret. The companies involved include some of America's largest tech titans, including Apple, Intel, Adobe and Google. For years, in essence, the companies had agreed not to recruit employees from one another as a way of keeping labor costs down: Less recruitment equals less a less competitive job market and depressed wages.

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Mother Sentenced 20 Years for Killing Daughter with Morphine in Breast Milk - The Latest Drug War Tragedy

A South Carolina judge has sentenced a former nurse to 20 years in prison for killing her six-week-old daughter with what prosecutors say was an overdose of morphine delivered through her breast milk. It appears to be the first prosecution of a mother killing her child with illegal toxins in her breast milk. 

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We Are a Country Drenched in Bloodshed: Some Hard Truths About Violence in the Media

The horrific massacre of schoolchildren and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, has unleashed an unprecedented debate about how to address the problem of mass violence in our country. There is an increasing sense that American society is incapable of protecting its citizens, including young children, the most vulnerable among us.

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Paul Ryan's Biggest Influence: 10 Things You Should Know About the Lunatic Ayn Rand

"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand." That's freshly minted GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan talking -- statements he would eventually recant -- at a party celebrating what would have been the prolific author's 100th birthday, 

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Locked-out Mining Union Gets Solidarity Boost in Battle with Mineral Conglomerate Rio Tinto

Hundreds of union members from all across Los Angeles gathered in a Dodger Stadium parking lot early Wednesday morning for a 125-mile caravan solidarity ride in support of 560 brave workers and their families in the Southern California high desert town of Boron (population 2,000). Seven TV news vans and many more reporters were on hand to witness a well-organized display of union solidarity overseen by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, heavily organized by the Teamsters and a diverse bunch of supporters, including the Car Wash Workers and the SEIU.

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A Constitutional Amendment to Wrench Control Away from the Corporations

Congresswoman Donna Edwards and constitutional law professor Jamie Raskin speak out against the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and call for a mass movement of people to support a constitutional amendment. Visit FreeSpeechforPeople.org to learn more and get involved!

Did an MSNBC Host Refer to Obama as a Muslim Leader?

Chris Matthews asks Chuck Todd about Obama's "liberal" approach to fighting terrorism. Toward the end of the clip Todd slips up and refers to Obama's conservative critics as "we." And he also implies Obama is a 'Muslim leader.' (h/t Crooks and Liars)

Matthews: Chuck, do you think he can hold this line that we're going to remain a liberal society in terms of human rights and trial by jury and habeas corpus, Miranda and also not get really angry in a reactive way to the Islamic world generally. Get that bunker mentality that Israel takes from time to time. The whole neighborhood hates us, we've got to be reactive to that. Can he keep us from that point of view and that mentality?

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Rachel Maddow Takes on Man Who Claims He Can Make Her Straight

Maddow's thorough takedown of Richard Cohen, whose teachings on Gay-Straight Therapy have been debunked by essentially all national (and even state) psychological associations and associated peer-reviewed assessments.

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Cops in Fatigues Throw Protester into Unmarked Car at G-20 Protests and Drive off

They may have been cops, but the video still reveals the militarization of police work. Muriel Kane at Raw Story shares a statement released by security at the G20:

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Olbermann Rips into the Worst Sellouts on Health Care in Congress

Keith Olbermann calls out Sen. John Thune, Sen. John McCain, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans  -- as well as a few Democrats, too: specifically the "Blue Dogs."

Progressives Have the Troops and a Massive War Chest for Health Care Reform

I'm sitting in a press conference next to my AlterNet colleague Joshua Holland. We're watching progressive heavyweights Bob Borosage, Howard Dean and labor leader Anna Burger discuss the prospects for health care reform in Congress this summer. The topic is the major pile of dough -- $82 million -- and number of grassroots and advocacy groups -- 1,000 -- and their members -- 30 million -- that are pushing hard for the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaign.

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Life Is About to Get Much Harder for Shady Media Moguls and Greedy Telecoms

A good sign that events are quickly moving away from eight years of rampant greed and disregard for the public interest by media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and greedy telecoms: "President Barack Obama today designated Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps as acting chair of the agency."

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Former Warden of San Quentin Prison Supports Dramatic Justice Reform Initiative in CA

Supporters of California's Proposition 5, the Non-Violent Offender Rehabilitation Act, have released a powerful TV ad:

From the release:

The first Yes on 5 spot, titled "Warden," features Jeanne Woodford, former warden of San Quentin State Prison and former Director of the California Department of Corrections. Against a backdrop of images of San Quentin, she speaks of her 25 years working at the prison, where she began as a prison guard. "Let me tell you," Woodford says, "too many of the men I dealt with started out as kids with drug problems. But California doesn't have treatment for kids." She goes on to say that the youth treatment provisions of Prop. 5 are one of its main draws for her. "I can't tell you how good I feel," Woodford says, "when I think of all those kids who will never wind up in prison."

Watch the video:

Chris Dodd Wins on FISA Spying Bill

A victory against Bush's spying programs? Well, at least a delay. Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd has forced the Senate to postpone a vote on a bill that would give immunity to the telecommunications industry for its assistance in helping Bush domestic spying programs.

Ryan Singel at Wiredhas the writeup:

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Newsweek Dishes on Why Gonzales Bailed

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Richard Wolffe dish out the backstory on Gonzales' departure:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told friends he resigned last week at the urging of his wife following a summer vacation. But he had plenty of reasons to leave the capital. Just days earlier, congressional leaders had signaled they intended to keep the attorney general in their crosshairs this fall, forcing him to testify at length about the administration's warrantless surveillance efforts before they would consider passing new legislation on the subject.
That prospect, combined with hints that an internal Justice Department probe was expanding to include allegations that Gonzales had lied to Congress, created mounting anxiety at the White House, according to officials who asked not to be identified talking about internal deliberations. A former colleague urged Gonzales to step down months ago, but the A.G. hung on�believing the president wanted him to stay, the official said. By last week, that no longer seemed to be the case. One big reason: an internal review by chief of staff Josh Bolten concluded that Gonzales was so politically weak he had become an obstacle to Bush's agenda, especially on the passage of an updated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance law.

CNN lets GOPer lie about CNN poll on CNN

From Talking Points Memo:

Wolf's guest, GOP operative Rich Galen, said the following about CNN's numbers on support for withdrawal timetables:

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Why the Progressive Caucus should vote no on the Iraq bill

This essay by David Swanson is an opposing argument on whether the Progressive Caucus should vote on the Iraq spending bill to the one offered by David Sirota published in PEEK earlier today.

The Supplemental spending bill proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi funds the war. It gives Cheney and Bush roughly another $100 billion. And you can be quite sure they will spend it as they choose, which may include attacking Iran. In fact, a measure in the bill requiring Bush to get Congress's approval before attacking Iran (an attack that would violate the US Constitution and the UN charter) has been removed.

The bill also requires Iraq to turn much of its oil profits over to foreign corporations. This illegally rewards the Bush and Cheney gang for their illegal war.

Beyond that, the bill does a number of things to nudge Bush in the direction of limiting the war, but most of them are for show.

This bill pretends to ban torture. Torture was always illegal. The framers of our Constitution sought to leave such practices behind in England. The US is a party to international treaties banning all torture. Nonetheless, the last Congress, the Republican Congress, banned torture, and Bush used a signing statement to announce his intention to ignore the ban. Now Pelosi wants credit for pretending to ban torture again. You cannot ban torture under a dictator who has publicly announced that he will ignore your bans. You can only end torture by ending the pretense that there is not a dictator living in the Vice President's house.

Hedges bets on Nader?

"But when Nader hinted in San Francisco that he might run if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became the Democratic Party nominee, I knew I would be working for his campaign if he indeed entered the race." -- Chris Hedges.

Ralph Nader isn't the answer. Ralph Nader is a relic from the last political era in Washington where meaningful regulatory reform was possible -- Nixon+Gerald Ford. Those days are long gone. You can't have DC-based corporate reform anymore. Forget it.

If you were curious about the discrepancy between 80% of Americans hating corporations and Ralph Nader's >1%-2.7% showing in presidential races, you might conclude that there was something that most Americans didn't like about the way Nader said he was going to solve the problem, which was more or less that he would pull on the levers in Washington and regulate our way out of the corporate state. You'd expect Nader to at least consider it, but I don't think he has.

What Nader doesn't get is that while corporate power is high on our hate lists, so is the idea that anything good is going to come out of Washington.

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