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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

UPDATED: Guest/Panel Lineups For The Sunday News Shows (Sanders on SOTU, FTN, This Week, MTP)

State of the Union 2016 politics: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); 2016 politics, Hillary Clinton’s campaign: Former Clinton White House chief of Staff John Podesta; 2016 politics: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.).

Fareed Zakaria GPS The economy, last week’s jobs numbers, China, the “Brexit,” possible Puerto Rico default, world leaders’ opinions of Donald Trump: Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

Face the Nation 2016 election: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); new plan to combat poverty, Trump campaign: House Speaker Paul D. Ryan; opposition to Trump’s candidacy: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.); 2016 election: Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Meet the Press Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz

This Week With George Stephanopoulos House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); Trump campaign strategist Paul Manafort; U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara, Southern District of New York.

Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace 2016 election, Trump campaign: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s possible pick for vice president: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Reliable Sources Twitter wars, Clinton’s celebration, Trump’s teleprompter and BuzzFeed’s Trump ad ban; being a Trump surrogate; third-party candidacies.

DEA Wants Inside Your Medical Records to Fight the War on Drugs

The feds are fighting to look at millions of private files without a warrant, including those of two transgender men who are taking testosterone.

Marlon Jones was arrested for taking legal painkillers, prescribed to him by a doctor, after a double knee replacement.

Jones, an assistant fire chief of Utah’s Unified Fire Authority, was snared in a dragnet pulled through the state’s program to monitor prescription drugs after someone stole morphine from an ambulance in 2012. To find the missing morphine, cops used their unrestricted access to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitor Program database to look at the private medical records of nearly 500 emergency services personnel—without a warrant.

Jones was arrested along with another firefighter and a paramedic on suspicion of prescription fraud.

Now the Drug Enforcement Administration wants that same kind of power, starting with access to an Oregon database containing the private medical data of more than a million people.

The DEA has claimed for years that under federal law it has the authority to access the state’s Prescription Drug Monitor Program database using only an “administrative subpoena.” These are unilaterally issued orders that do not require a showing of probable cause before a court, like what’s required to obtain a warrant.

In 2012 Oregon sued the DEA to prevent it from enforcing the subpoenas to snoop around its drug registry. Two years ago a U.S. District Court found in favor of the state, ruling that prescription data is covered by the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure.



How Far Can Oil Rally? Investors Wager on Surge Above $100

Oil investors are buying contracts that will only pay out if crude rises well above $100 a barrel over the next four years -- a clear sign some believe today’s bust is sowing the seeds of the next boom.

The options deals, which brokers said bear the hallmarks of trades made by hedge funds, appear to be based on the belief that current low prices will generate a supply crunch as oil companies cut billions of dollars in spending on developing fields. The International Energy Agency forecasts that non-OPEC supply will suffer its biggest decline in more than two decades this year.

"The market faces a supply crunch in the next 24 months," said Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. "Some hedge funds are betting that oil prices will need to rise sharply to bring demand down again -- that’s why they are buying deep out-of-the-money call options."

Over the last month, investors have bought call options -- giving the right to buy at a predetermined price and time -- for late 2018, 2019 and 2020 at strike prices of $80, $100 and $110 a barrel, according to data from the New York Mercantile Exchange and the U.S. Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.

Even before the most recent flurry, some investors had already built super-bullish positions. The largest number of outstanding contracts -- or open interest -- across both bullish and bearish options contracts for December 2018 is for calls at $125 a barrel. For December 2020, it’s for $150 calls.

"I do think we are setting up for a spike higher, but it’s probably not till 2018, or maybe late 2017, because we are losing immense amounts of supply," said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultants Energy Aspects Ltd.



Obama Expands Military’s Role in Afghan War He Sought to End

U.S. troops will deploy alongside conventional Afghan forces as President Barack Obama, in a sign that peace negotiations and nation-building in Afghanistan have foundered, broadens a mission he had long hoped would be over by year-end.

American forces will have an expanded mandate to target groups including the Taliban in Afghanistan, aiding their Afghan counterparts not only in training and advising but also accompanying them on the ground and in the air, an administration official said. The U.S. has had troops in Afghanistan since just after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“It is a realization that the policy that stressed on peace-making and political dialogues was premature and not framed according to ground realities,” Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to Canada and France, said in an e-mail. “This is now Obama’s war, and part of his legacy will be determined by how he handles the end stage and what he leaves behind for the next administration.”

Drone Strike

Obama, who ran for his second term on a platform that included ending U.S. involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, decided in October 2015 to delay a planned draw-down and maintain 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016. The expanded U.S. role comes less than a month after a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Obama said that action sent “a clear signal to the Taliban and others that we’re going to protect our people” because Mansour and the Taliban had been “specifically targeting U.S. personnel and troops inside of Afghanistan.”



Brexit Poll Sees 10-Point ‘Leave’ Lead Two Weeks Before Vote

Source: Bloomberg

The campaign for Britain to leave the European Union took a 10 percentage-point lead in a poll published late Friday, less than two weeks before the country votes in a referendum.

The survey of 2,000 people by ORB for the Independent newspaper found 55 percent in favor of a so-called Brexit, up 4 points since a previous poll in April, with 45 percent for “Remain,” down 4 points. It’s the biggest “Leave” lead recorded by ORB in polls for the newspaper.

It’s the latest online poll to suggest an advance for the “Leave” campaign, while a YouGov survey published Monday put “Remain” narrowly ahead. Polling companies themselves have expressed doubt about the reliability of their surveys, having failed to forecast the result of last year’s British general election.

The pound slumped after the poll as doubt creeps into some investors minds that Prime Minister David Cameron will be able to pull off the biggest political gambles in recent British history. While pollsters have cautioned against over-interpreting their findings and another survey this week showed “Remain" in the lead, Cameron himself is showing signs of unease.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-10/brexit-poll-shows-leave-in-10-point-lead-two-weeks-before-vote

Stocks, Oil Sink While Dollar Rallies as Brexit Risk Ramps Up

Global stocks posted their steepest drop in four months, the dollar rallied, and bond yields slid to record lows, as investors braced for a series of events later this month that could renew turbulence in markets.

The British pound tumbled and stocks took another leg down after poll results showed a majority favor the nation leaving the European Union.

Both the MSCI All-Country World Index and S&P 500 Index wiped out weekly gains. Treasury 10-year note yields declined, as yields from Japan to Germany fell to all-time lows, before next week’s Federal Reserve meeting and Britain’s referendum this month. Oil dropped to around $49 a barrel, leading commodities lower.

“It’s getting ugly,” Mark Kepner, managing director and equity trader at Themis Trading LLC in Chatham, New Jersey, said by phone. “There’s another Brexit poll out and the market just tanked. We’ve got our Fed meeting next week and we’re less than two weeks away from this vote. We’ve had some good gains and nice rally so when a poll late in the afternoon comes out it’s just taking some chips off the table.”

Optimism that drove riskier assets from equities to commodities higher this week may have peaked before meetings by the Fed and the Bank of Japan, Britain’s vote and U.S. political conventions, all of which have the potential to roil markets. Investors also face simmering concerns over the health of the economy, lackluster corporate profits and the effectiveness of central-bank stimulus. While policy makers have tried to shore up economies, they’ve pushed yields lower, hurting earnings prospects for banks.



 Will the Democratic Platform Committee Go to War Over Israel?

 Clinton’s and Sanders’s appointees are sharply divided, so there’s sure to be a fracas—one that represents growing divisions among Democrats.

By Ali Gharib
Today 8:00 am

 When The Washington Post announced the Democratic Party’s platform-committee appointments for this summer’s convention, the uninitiated might have been forgiven for wondering why, in a primary contest dominated by domestic politics and policy, a foreign-policy issue got top billing. And yet there it was: “Sanders wins greater say in Democratic platform; names pro-Palestinian activist,” blared the headline.

The lead of the article focused on the party’s decision to allot six platform committee spots to the now-presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, and a healthy five slots to her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders. But by the fifth paragraph, there again was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

Sanders’s slate includes James Zogby, a longtime activist for Palestinian rights as well as a DNC member and official. Zogby currently co-chairs the party’s resolutions committee. His inclusion is a sign of Sanders’s plans to push the party’s policy on Israel toward what he has called a more even-handed approach to the Palestinian cause.

The reduction of longtime Democratic Party activist James Zogby’s career—and, by extension, Sanders’s campaign—to quarrels over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is something to behold. But it’s not surprising. To paraphrase a more generalized saying about the news business: If it’s about Israel, it leads. (It should be noted that this dynamic is one of the Israel lobby’s own making, but that’s for another column.)

That doesn’t mean, however, that picking Zogby holds no significance, or that the looming platform battle over Israel isn’t an important one. Party platforms may be mostly symbolic documents—they’re not binding on candidates—but they are a high-profile venue for setting party agendas and airing ideological disputes. With recent history as our guide, this appears to be exactly what is about to happen in the lead-up to the convention in Philadelphia.



Dems Build Wall Around Convention Site; Wells Fargo Center, To Be Inside DNC Security Perimeter

Security at the Sports Complex during the Democratic National Convention next month will include “no-scale fencing” to enclose the Wells Fargo Center and Xfinity Live!, the Secret Service special agent in charge said in an interview Thursday.

But exact boundaries of the security perimeter around the sports arena, where the convention will take place July 25-28, are not yet finalized, Special Agent James Henry told NBC10.com.

Exclusive4 Massive 'March for Bernie' Rallies Approved for DNC

“We’re not quite there to talk about the perimeter yet,” Henry said. “We’re probably a couple weeks away from finalizing that. But expect some closures.”

For the second time in less than a year, Philadelphia is playing host to an event that brings with it the designation of National Special Security Event (NSSE). Last year's papal visit was hailed a success in the days and weeks after Pope Francis came to the city for a historic weekend. But it caused months of angst leading up to the event. Much of the unease settled around what became the planned shutdown of Center City to vehicle traffic. Highlights From the 2016 Campaign TrailHighlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail

Henry cautioned that the DNC is very different from the papal visit last September.

“This is not the papal visit. This is much smaller in scope and much smaller in scale. So the security footprint is going to be much smaller,” Henry said. “The impacts are really minimal. We’re fortunate the sports complex is more isolated, certainly than the papal visit in Center City.”

Read more: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Wells-Fargo-Center-Xfinity-Live-to-Be-Inside-Perimeter-Secret-Service-Says-382433501.html#ixzz4BC92mzWY
Follow us: @nbcphiladelphia on Twitter | NBCPhiladelphia on Facebook

Summing Up the Glories of the Israeli Occupation as We Enter Its 50th Year

This is what remains: hatred. And for that we thank everyone who was in favor of going into that war and who postponed the end. Now is the life after death, like vampires.

Yitzhak Laor Jun 06, 2016 11:00 PM

As we enter the 50th year of the occupation, we might be able to sum up a few of its glories: It apparently saved Israel, or at least extended it far beyond what would have been its natural lifespan.

Not only did the world’s Jews, and especially those of the United States, acknowledge after the war with the optimistic name, as they did not before the “Six-Day War,” Israel as the leader of the Jewish people. Not only did anti-Semitism gradually disappear, in total contradiction to Israel’s squeals (it mainly faded away in the U.S., where it clung on even after the Holocaust, but there the Jews, for the first time in our people’s history, joined the “white race”).

And not only did Israel’s violent existence come to be, after the occupation, a salient Western interest – there’s no other explanation for the growing disregard of the “human rights community” of what Israel is wreaking on the Palestinian people (its gradual decomposition into persecuted, oppressed communities). And not only is Israel, more than ever before, strong, secure and not in danger (“Yitzhak, there’s no partner for war,” Mahmoud Darwish once told me with characteristic irony during one of the times that the “peace process” stalled) – in contradiction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s propaganda and occasionally the left, which seeks to persuade the nation that “without peace there will be a terrible war.”

Rather, it appears that the disintegration of the Middle East, with Israeli assistance or irrespective of it, leaves Israel independent from any of the regional upsets. Netanyahu’s voters know that full well: Even after the end of the Cold War that American fortress, Israel, remained within the Middle Eastern hell ignited by the U.S.



He is not going to be the GOP nominee, just watch this space. eom

Israel Has Its Own Donald Trump, Cornel West Warns at Platform Committee Meeting

Donald Trump is reviled by Democrats, but they give Trump-like figures such as Israeli’s defense minister a pass, complained scholar and activist Cornel West, before the Democratic Party’s platform committee.

“Trump-like figures in Israeli life” should be treated by Democrats just like Trump, said West, a member of the committee, during a hearing on foreign policy.

The otherwise sleepy hearing was the second in a two-day session that started on June 8. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders selected West and four others to represent him on the committee, and West’s comments reflected Sanders’s wish that the party raise the profile of Palestinian suffering and rights in its language on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

“Why can we focus on xenophobes here, and seem to be so reluctant to call out xenophobes in Israel and other places?” asked West, who is known as a critic of Israel. He went on to inquire whether “if there were a Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters would we respond the same way?”

He took issue with strongly pro-Israel testimony given by former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, asking him to agree to include of the term occupation in the party’s platform. America’s commitments to its allies, West said, “can never be predicated on occupation.” He then asked members to “agree that life of Palestinian baby is just as valuable as Jewish baby.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/342424/israel-has-its-own-donald-trump-cornel-west-warns-at-platform-committee-mee/#ixzz4B9cTvGuv
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