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Sanders sharpens his elbows

As Hillary Clinton enjoys the best phase so far of her presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders and his aides are seeking the right approach to counter her.

Sanders aides believe he can find a sweet spot that is more aggressive than he was during the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas — where Clinton was widely seen as the winner — but not so antagonistic as to turn voters off.

But other Democrats and outside experts believe that could be a hard needle to thread. As the skeptics see it, Sanders risks undermining his appeal as a different kind of politician if he goes after Clinton at full force, especially given his frequent promises to run a positive campaign.

Sanders aides were especially irked when Clinton herself recently implied that Sanders had been sexist in remarks on gun control.

After Sanders suggested that “shouting” about the issue did not accomplish much, Clinton said, “I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting.”

“If there is going to be this other campaign of sniping and insinuation then that is going to precipitate a reaction from us,” Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders, told The Hill. “That reaction would take the form of a more direct setting-out of policy differences.”



Weekend Toon Roundup












Bernie Sanders Speaks in Manchester, NH on Oct 30, 2015

NASA Adds to Evidence of Mysterious Ancient Earthworks

High in the skies over Kazakhstan, space-age technology has revealed an ancient mystery on the ground.

Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old.

The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Another is a kind of three-limbed swastika, its arms ending in zigzags bent counterclockwise.

Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes.

Spotted on Google Earth in 2007 by a Kazakh economist and archaeology enthusiast, Dmitriy Dey, the so-called Steppe Geoglyphs remain deeply puzzling and largely unknown to the outside world.



Florida College Wants to Make Professors Underbid Each Other on Salary

The higher education community is aghast today at news that no one expected to hear: a dumb idiot in an unlikely position of power has proposed a stupid regressive anti-intellectual idea—in Florida.

Yes: in Florida. I was as shocked as the rest of you.

Inside Higher Ed reports that the State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota, which last year became “the only one of 28 Florida public colleges” to do away with a tenure system for professors, now has an even brighter idea for academic excellence:

Leading the charge against continuing contracts is Carlos Beruff, a trustee since 2008 who owns a local home construction business. Beruff argued that any competitive disadvantage could be countered by offering merit pay or bonuses to high performers, and said that the U.S. was “based on the freedom of work.”

That was in September. Between then and now, Beruff was reportedly working on a second proposal that would ask potential college employees, including faculty members, to quote their fee for services on job applications. That information would then be used in the hiring decision.

As the noted philosopher of education John Dewey famously said, “Every great advance in higher learning has issued from the imagination of a right-wing Florida home developer.”


Polish court rejects US request to extradite Roman Polanski

Source: Guardian UK

A Polish court has rejected a US extradition request for the film director Roman Polanski over his child sex conviction.

“[Polanski’s] extradition is inadmissible,” said Judge Dariusz Mazur at the district court in the southern city of Krakow. The decision is not legally binding, as prosecutors can appeal.

The Oscar-winning director pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles fuelled by champagne and drugs.

He served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain, but fled the country for France the following year, believing that the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and impose a longer prison sentence.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/oct/30/polish-court-rejects-us-request-to-extradite-roman-polanski

Judge Calls 18-Year-Old a ‘B****.’ But She’s Only Trying to Help…


Judge Christina Argyres gave one 18-year-old first offender the scare of his life during his trial in a New Mexican court.

Isaiah Gay was being charged for burglarizing homes with some friends. He offered this excuse to Judge Argyres:

“I did the things I did all because I was impulsive…I was just being young and dumb.”

But she wasn’t having it. She told Gay exactly what would happen to him if she sentenced him to the maximum 15 years in prison:

“Do you know what would happen…to a young a dumb person in prison? Do you have any idea what would happen to you? You would probably be raped every day, for one. And I hate to sound like that, you know – rude, but that’s exactly what would happen to you.”

Judge Argyres then addressed the state, explaining that it would not be right to put the young man in prison just yet, especially since he was a first time offender:

“Again, he’s going to be somebody’s – I hate to use the word ‘bitch,’ but that’s exactly what he’s going to be…so I am willing to put him on probation.”

She let Gay off with five years of probation, and a warning about his future should he mess up again


On Foreign Policy, Bernie Sanders Is the Democrat and Hillary Clinton Is a Republican

by H. A. Goodman

When evaluating the two choices for Democratic nominee, it's important to emphasize that voters will decide upon the next Commander in Chief. I state exactly why I'm only voting for Bernie Sanders in this YouTube segment, primarily because the next president will have monumental choices to make in terms of foreign policy. Because the presidency in this era of American history has more power to wage war than ever before, it's imperative that our Democratic nominee act more like a Democrat, than a Republican, on the topic of foreign policy.

The last time Congress declared war was in 1942. Bloomberg writes that nowadays, "Presidents cite unconventional threats and the need for flexibility and speed to deploy military force, sometimes with Congressional approval, sometimes without."

Although the Constitution states that only Congress can declare war, the War Powers Act of 1973 gives the President 60 days to send troops into battle without Congressional approval. Congress must vote to prolong a president's decision with funding or a resolution thereafter. According to Cornell University Law School, new legislation was needed after "the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Administrations had spent nearly a decade committing U.S. troops to Southeast Asia without Congressional approval."

After 9/11, Bush expanded the war powers of the presidency with the Authorization for Use of Military Force against al-Qaeda. Today, President Obama is using the AUMF to fight ISIS and other terrorists, primarily in the Middle East.

Essentially, a president doesn't need Congressional approval to wage limited wars, or airstrikes and special operations missions. With prolonged wars like the fight against ISIS, President Obama has simply used Bush's AUMF, and the next president can do the same thing, with little obstruction from Congress.



Jim Hightower: Welcome to our new plutocracy: Citizens United has effectively destroyed the 1st Am.

In today’s so-called “democratic” election process, Big Money doesn’t talk, it roars — usually drowning out the people’s voice.

Bizarrely, the Supreme Court decreed in its 2010 Citizens United ruling that money is a form of “free speech.” Thus, declared the learned justices, people and corporations are henceforth allowed to spend unlimited sums of their money to “speak” in election campaigns. But wait — if political speech is measured by money then by definition speech is not free. It can be bought, thereby giving the most speech to the few with the most money. That’s plutocracy, not democracy.

Sure enough, in the first six months of this presidential election cycle, more than half of the record-setting $300 million given to the various candidates came from only 358 mega-rich families and the corporations they control. The top 158 of them totaled $176 million in political spending, meaning that, on average, each one of them bought more than a million dollars’ worth of “free” speech.

Nearly all of their money is backing Republican presidential hopefuls who promise: (1) to cut taxes on the rich; (2) cut regulations that protect us from corporate pollution and other abuses of the common good; and (3) to cut Social Security, food stamps and other safety-net programs that we un-rich people need. The great majority of Americans adamantly oppose all of those cuts — but none of us has a million bucks to buy an equivalent amount of political “free” speech.

It’s not just cuts to taxes, regulations and some good public programs that are endangered by the Court’s ridiculous ruling, but democracy itself. That’s why a new poll by Bloomberg Politics found that 78 percent of the American people — including 80 percent of Republicans — want to overturn Citizens United. But those 358 families, corporations and Big Money politicos will have none of it. In fact, America’s inane, Big Money politics have become so prevalent in this election cycle that — believe it or not — candidates have found a need for yet another campaign consultant.



Shaker Aamer Is Released From Guantánamo Prison After 13 Years

Source: NYT

WASHINGTON — Shaker Aamer, whose detention at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba attracted the attention of human rights lawyers, political leaders and rock stars, was freed on Friday after more than 13 years in captivity, British officials announced. Mr. Aamer, a Saudi citizen and British resident, was flown to London.

Mr. Aamer’s transfer, which was confirmed by the British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, ends one of the best-known cases at the American prison.

At its center was a charismatic, English-speaking detainee who has been the subject of intense dispute. Military officials have portrayed Mr. Aamer, 46, as a dangerous Islamist leader, while human rights advocates see him as a victim falsely accused of ties to terrorism. Now Mr. Aamer will be free to speak his mind in public.

“We are, of course, delighted that Shaker is on his way back to his home and his family here in the U.K.,” one of his lawyers, Cori Crider of the British human rights organization Reprieve, said in a statement. “It is long, long past time. Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family, as soon as possible.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/world/shaker-aamer-released-guantanamo-bay-cuba.html
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