Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Music Video - Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean?

Video Report - Jupiter: NASA released high def images of the planet

Video Report - Turkish election context of power play, separatism and Syrian war

Video Report - Hillary Rodham Clinton Earns Intl. Painters Union Endorsement

Video - Syria frontline RAW: Assad's army in fierce offensive in Damascus suburb

Syrian Arab Army ground forces started a large-scale offensive against militants’ positions in Joubar and Ein Tarma in the Damascus municipality in an attempt to capture new territory around the Syrian capital.

8 questions about democratic socialism and Bernie Sanders’s vision for the United States

By Max Ehrenfreund

One of the most riveting moments of Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate came when CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who identifies as a "democratic socialist," to confirm that he is not a capitalist.
"Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street's greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don't," he said, with force. "I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires."
"Just let me just be clear," Cooper asked. "Is there anybody else on the stage who is not a capitalist?"
No one answered him directly. It was perhaps an indication that skepticism of or opposition to capitalism — long associated in the minds of U.S. voters with this country's Communist archrival in the Soviet Union — is again becoming viable on the political left.
Socialism, democratic socialism and other alternatives to the predominantly capitalist model in the United States used to be an important part of the American political landscape. The legacy of that era is still with us today in a number of widely popular federal programs that are socialist in design even if most Americans don't recognize them as such.
Today's elderly citizens would have been children the last time someone calling himself a socialist of any stripe was taken seriously as a national political figure. Here are answers to a few questions you might have about socialism if it's a new idea for you, as it likely is for many voters.

1. What is socialism?

It's probably impossible to answer this question with a one-size-fits-all definition. That said, here's a rough attempt to sketch what it means to be a socialist.
Socialists believe that the government should provide a wide range of basic services to its citizens free of charge or at a discount, typically including university education and health care, as well as child care, housing, telecommunications, energy and more in some countries. They believe that these services should be available to everyone, not just the neediest. In some forms of socialism, these sectors of the economy are owned and controlled by workers, as opposed to the government.
Socialists think that public or worker ownership can provide these services more cheaply and more equitably than the free market. They also hope to use these sectors of the economy to establish genuine equality of opportunity — in other words, they think that everyone should have a truly equal chance at success in life, regardless of the advantages of birth. At the same time, socialists believe in redistributing national income and wealth on the theory that being successful doesn't really mean you deserve far, far more than anyone else.
Socialism isn't just a list of economic prescriptions for government, though. Perhaps above all, socialism is a moral view. It is the idea that people share something, that we're all in this together, that we've got to help each other out.

2. Sanders calls himself a "democratic socialist." What does that mean?

This difference between socialism and democratic socialism is actually kind of important. First of all, Sanders isn't talking about using government to take over large sections of the economy. He doesn't want to make Comcast part of the government, for example. He's also not talking about putting an end to the stock market and giving workers control over their companies. Some socialist countries, such as China and the Soviet Union, have sought to nationalize services under regimes that haven't given their citizens much say in those decisions.
Sanders wants the government to pay for health care and college tuition, but those services would still be provided by a combination of public agencies and private organizations if Sanders got his way.
While Sanders thinks that changes should be made to the U.S. economy, he doesn't envision doing away with the U.S. system of representative government — Congress, the Supreme Court, elections, all that sort of stuff. He believes in democracy. That's why he calls himself a "democratic socialist." In particular, as he repeated in Tuesday night's debate, he wants to reform the U.S. democratic system to limit the influence that wealthy donors who give money to political campaigns have over the process.
In much of the world — in particular in a number of Western and northern European countries —Sanders would be regarded as a moderate. To get a sense of the way socialism works differently around the world, consider the availability of universal health insurance, conventionally a basic tenet of a "socialist" country.
There is essentially universal coverage in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, where socialist philosophy is embraced by many parts of government. In the United States, where socialism is often a dirty word, health insurance has become quasi-universal since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. About 10.4 percent of Americans are without coverage. And in China, which is nominally communist, many go without access to affordable care.

3. Why aren't there more socialists in the United States?

Socialism used to be much more common in this country than it is today. A utopian science-fiction novel written in 1887 called "Looking Backward" was among the bestselling books of the 19th century. The author, Edward Bellamy, imagined a socialist future for the United States.
After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, though, authorities began to see socialism as a threat. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act in 1917, which gave judges the power to imprison socialists who opposed the First World War. In the following years, the Federal Bureau of Investigationwould arrest thousands of socialists and suspected socialists. The well known anarchist and Russian immigrant Emma Goldman, among a few hundred others, was deported to her native country.
After the Second World War, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) argued that communist infiltrators had secretly achieved positions of prominence in Washington, and he initiated a series of hearings to root them out. If not entirely baseless, his claims were mostly unfounded. Still, he had widespread support, and his work made it treacherous for socialists to espouse their views publicly for generations.

4. What are some socialist things that I interact with in my daily life?

Back then, though, these socialists and their ideas were widely influential. A number of basically socialist and widely popular programs created before and after the Second World War survive to the present day, including Social Security and Medicare.
Much of the U.S. agricultural sector is run on principles that could be described as socialist, too. Until a recent Supreme Court decision, for example, the federal government controlled prices for raisins. State and regional boards across most of the country regulate the price of milk. Similar controls are common for other crops as well.
Another example is the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency that controls and operates electrical power generation. President Obama tried to privatize it in 2013, but Republican officials prevented him from carrying through his plan.

5. What do Americans think about socialism?

Although Americans still view theirs as a capitalist society, the opposition to socialism that characterized McCarthy's time may be waning.
Almost half of Americans say they would consider voting for a socialist as president, according to a recent Gallup survey. The organization has also found that about a third of Americans overall — but more than half of Democrats — have a favorable view of socialism.

And there appears to be a generational component. Younger people are also more likely to favor socialism. Among those 29 years of age and younger, more have a positive view of socialism than of capitalism, according to the Pew Research Center.

6. What's the difference between a democratic socialist, such as Sanders, and a Democrat, such as Clinton?

Sanders and Clinton agree on the big questions about the economy, but there are differences in their views, some of which they discussed in the debate Tuesday night. In particular, Sanders favors universal government servicesthat are available to everyone regardless of how much they make. Clinton wants to limit those benefits to the people who really need them.
So, for example, Sanders has proposed offering most Social Security recipients more generous benefits. At the debate, Clinton also said she thought that Social Security checks should be more generous, but only for retirees who are the most in need.
Likewise, Clinton opposes Sanders's proposal to pay for college tuition through the government. She has noted that many people who go to college come from affluent families. She cited the children of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in particular. In her view, the government has no business paying for rich kids like them to go to school.

7. What are some of the arguments against democratic socialism?

The big one — and the one that Clinton alluded to — is that reforms such as those proposed by Sanders would be costly. Limiting college tuition and other benefits to the people who need them most would be less expensive. In order to fund government services, many northern European countries imposehigher taxes on their citizens. Clinton discussed making sure that wealthy Americans pay their fair share in taxes at the debate, but she also said she wanted to reduce taxes for the middle class. It probably isn't possible to pay for the kinds of reforms that Sanders is advocating while reducing taxes for ordinary Americans.
As this chart shows, average workers in places like France and Finland pay more than 40 percent of their income as taxes, compared to closer to 30 percent in the United States.

Sanders and his supporters could respond that Americans already pay monthly bills for college tuition and health insurance, and it might not make much difference to them whether they paid for those things on Tax Day instead. For example, some economists have argued that a national, single-payer health care system such as the one Sanders is advocating would actually save money on balance.
On the other hand, many economists believe that higher tax rates can be detrimental to economic growth. They think that taxes discourage people from working and from putting their utmost into the economy, because they don't benefit as much from their hard work as they would if they didn't pay tax.

8. Could democratic socialism work in the United States?


As Matt Bruenig of Demos notes, socialist countries such as those in the Nordic region are far outpacing the United States in terms of productivity. In other words, the amount that each worker in those countries produces in a given amount of time has improved more in those countries than it has here, as this chart shows.
These figures suggests that contrary to economists' predictions, people aren't putting any less effort into the economy there than they are here, despite those socialist policies. There's only one way to find out, of course — but Sanders has a difficult primary campaign ahead of him if he hopes to defeat Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

#AliMohammedAlNimr - Mother of Saudi man facing beheading urges President Obama to ‘rescue’ her son

By Peter Holley

The potential execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a Saudi protester arrested at 17 for his involvement in the Arab Spring, has been condemned far and wide.
Amnesty International, U.N. human rights experts, British Prime Minister David Cameron and even American talk show host Bill Maher have demanded a stay of execution to no avail.
If you haven't used up all your heroism on the clock kid, try hashtagging 

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Smart Girl’ Triumph

With all due respect to the gentlemanly Bernie Sanders and the hardworking pundits, not much doubt remains about who the Democratic nominee will be.

Bernie Sanders glowered on her right. Martin O’Malley ground his teeth to her left like a man chained to the podium. Lincoln Chafee, looking like a scarecrow in a suit and Jim Webb waking annoyed hovered on the sidelines. Absent a charmer like Obama, Hillary Clinton glowed like a winner. Her laugh, high-wattage smile and confidence left little question that it will take a lot more than emails to knock her down.
The only remaining avenue for inquiry is how does she win the whole thing?
One answer is encapsulated in a tweet from Clinton loyalist Paul Begala early in the day: #thesmartgirlintheroom.
Clinton clearly intends to make gender a pillar of her campaign strategy. Last night in Vegas, she appealed to the vast numbers of unenthusiastic women—including many Democrats—who, unlike the majority of African-Americans in 2008, just can’t seem to get wholeheartedly behind one of their own.
In the first 15 seconds of her first remarks, she framed herself as “thegranddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of a wonderful 1-year-old child.” She added, “And every day, I think about what we need to do to make sure that opportunity is available not just for her, but for all of our children.” She concluded, “and, yes, finally, fathers will be able to say to theirdaughters, you, too, can grow up to be president.”
Over the course of the polite, substantive two-hour debate, Clinton delivered the memes to come: “I’m a progressive but a progressive who gets things done.”...“God-given potential”...“Even the playing field....”
But she kept returning to her gender, thrice reminding people that she is poised to become the first women in the Oval Office. When CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked why her term wouldn’t be Obama’s third, she replied, “Well, I think that's pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point, including President Obama.” Asked whether she wasn’t an insider, she parried: “Well, I can’t think of anything more of an outsider than electing the first woman president, but I’m not just running because I would be the first woman president.”
A swipe at the Republicans regarding Planned Parenthood was another appeal to women, and retweet clickbait for feminist activists this morning. “They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They’re fine with big government when it comes to that. I’m sick of it!”
If any doubt remained that Clinton was flipping the woman card, there was the over-extended break toward the end of the debate. “All the candidates are back, which I’m very happy to see,” Cooper said, after an unexpectedly long hiatus just before final remarks. Clinton, apparently the cause of the delay, smiled and said, “Well thank you. You know, it does take me a little longer. That’s all I can say.” The exchange prompted Slate to post the transcript under the headline: “Hillary Clinton Makes First Known Presidential Debate Reference to How Long it Takes Women to Pee.” Women, as they say, do get that.
The Vegas debate introduced a more relaxed woman than the nation probably expected. The new persona began to emerge during her time at State, and is on display in candid interviews she did for a 2015 film about Richard Holbrooke,The Diplomat. The debate was probably the first time most Americans had a chance to see how she’s evolved since the start of a cloistered campaign in which she appeared to have reverted to the protective crouch of the First Lady years.
There was a time everybody knew when Clinton was mad. She deployed a scary, steely look on any interlocutor—almost always a journalist, sometimes a questioning Congressional committee member—daring to ask questions manufactured by the vast right-wing conspiracy. Americans got to know that look well. But in the decades since Monica and Whitewater, Clinton has relinquished it, or at least stopped deploying it in public. There was barely a trace of it last night. She reacted to jabs and Anderson Cooper’s tougher questions with a smile and, often, a laugh.
The last laugh, apparently.
Conventional wisdom assessed her the winner. “Clinton crushes it” is the headline in Politico. Bernie Sanders got at least as much, if not more passionate applause from the audience, but with her massive war-chest, her seemingly clear path to the nomination comes with a caveat emptor for the base.
She cracked a glass ceiling last night, not, though, the Glass-Steagall test. If anything, she confirmed the suspicions of the Democratic base, now so feeling the Bern, that she is not anything other than an establishment tool, a creature of Davos, a friend of the bankers, a driven woman who has not been behind a steering wheel herself in 25 years.
Next to Sanders’s full-throated roars about the 1 percent, and O’Malley’s attacks on the banks, Clinton came off as slippery and timid. Sanders has courageously removed the stigma from socialism in American politics. Answering Cooper’s question about that issue, he said: “[W]hat Democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent—almost—own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.” Cooper—apropos of Sanders’s declaration—asked everyone onstage whether they were capitalists. Clinton passed the test by pointing out that small businesses make “a good living” for American families. Thanks to Bernie, though, the audience had already been reminded that for an elite slice of Americans sitting atop an incredible proportion of the nation’s wealth, a “good living” means something very different.
Later, Bernie and O’Malley boxed Clinton into a corner, forcing an unseemly wriggle. Both O’Malley and Sanders want to reinstate Glass-Steagall—the Depression-era banking law repealed in 1999 that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and insurance activities. O’Malley turned to face her and said: “You are not for putting a firewall between this speculative, risky shadow banking behavior. I am.”
Clinton hesitated and in that split second, attentive viewers could literally see the politician making the calculation to pivot—to the weather.
“Well, you know, everybody on this stage has changed a position or two.” she said. “But I have been on the forefront of dealing with climate change, starting in 2009, when President Obama and I crashed (ph) a meeting with the Chinese and got them to sign up to the first international agreement to combat climate change that they'd ever joined. So I'm....not taking a back seat to anybody on my values.”
Anderson Cooper let Glass-Steagall die, right there, as she knew he would. The clock had run on that topic. When a Democratic candidate for president can blunt a question about banks with “climate change” and “values,” you know she’s ready for prime time.

Video - Best of Hillary Clinton from the #DemDebate

Democratic Debate Turns Hillary Clinton’s Way After Months of Difficulties


On Tuesday night, after months of political heartburn, things finally started cutting Hillary Rodham Clinton’s way.
Her performance at the first Democratic presidential debate was so commanding that even her greatest vulnerability — the lingering controversy over her private email practices as secretary of state — ended up redounding to her benefit.
After she crisply explained that she made a “mistake” using a private email server and defended her judgment, the moderator, Anderson Cooper of CNN, turned to her biggest threat in the primary campaign so far, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in hopes that he would attack her. Mr. Sanders instead came to her aid.
“Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right — and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Mr. Sanders said to cheers and a standing ovation from the Democratic audience.
“Thank you!” Mrs. Clinton said, reaching out and shaking his hand. “Me, too! Me, too!”
All night, the debate played to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage and to her opponents’ limitations. From gun control and banking regulations to debt-free college and Social Security benefits, Mrs. Clinton positioned herself as a champion of liberals, young people, and the elderly — the very voters who make up the Sanders coalition — while also repeatedly reaching out to women, as an advocate for families and children (and as, potentially, the nation’s first female president).
Mr. Sanders, whose plain-spoken disgust over the email controversy drew praise, looked sheepish and reactive at other points, hesitating to attack Mrs. Clinton forcefully over her ties to Wall Street, and running into trouble defending his past opposition to stricter gun control laws and immigration reform.
By the end of Tuesday night’s debate, Mrs. Clinton had seized every opening to try to accomplish her chief goal: re-establishing trust with Democrats who have come to doubt her honesty and political competence after months of difficulties and shifting policy positions.
Right from her opening remarks, Mrs. Clinton sounded a liberal rallying cry, saying “the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much” in taxes. She sought to create a bond with voters by saying she would judge free-trade deals, which are broadly unpopular on the left, by whether she could “look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say this will help raise your wages.”
She called for increasing Social Security benefits for the poorest recipients and singled out older women who were “impoverished” because they had not earned enough money earlier in their lives.
And she was blunt in saying she has a liberal political philosophy but is also a pragmatic leader who would work with both Democrats and Republican to pass legislation.
“I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,” she said. “I know how to find common ground, but I know how to stand my ground.”
Mrs. Clinton was effective in cornering Mr. Sanders on the issue of gun control. Mr. Sanders, who is hugely popular among liberals, has opposed some gun control legislation like the Brady Bill — and Mrs. Clinton made sure that voters knew it.
After Mr. Sanders defended his record on gun laws, Mr. Cooper, the moderator, asked if Mr. Sanders was “tough enough” on guns.
“No. Not at all,” Mrs. Clinton said emphatically. She then listed Mr. Sanders’s history opposing gun control at length — well aware that every minute a Democratic debate was about gun control was a minute too long for Mr. Sanders.
The burdens on Mrs. Clinton were unusually heavy for the first debate of a presidential campaign, when candidates typically focus on introducing themselves to a national television audience and gently drawing distinctions with their rivals. Not so Mrs. Clinton: The continuing Republican attacks over her trustworthiness and judgment, particularly over her email have tarnished her in the eyes of many voters. Some are tired of endless Clinton melodramas, others tantalized by Mr. Sanders’s left-wing candidacy.
Given Mrs. Clinton’s vulnerabilities — she lags behind Mr. Sanders in polls of New Hampshire primary voters — she needed to use the debate to persuade voters to look beyond her political troubles and see her as likable, rather than programmed; as genuinely liberal, as opposed to strategic; and ultimately as electable, instead of as a damaged candidate compared with, say, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is considering entering the race.

#PPP Song - Rahe Sadha Buttho

Pakistan - #PPP forms committee to probe decline in its popularity

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has formed a committee to probe into continuous decline in its popularity and failure in the by-polls.
Talking to the media on Wednesday, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah said that the committee would present the report to the party leadership on November 30.
“The PPP will form its future strategy in the light of the report,” he maintained.
Khurshid Shah said that the Kalabagh issue had been closed and the government should not again raise the issue.
He said that the FATA should be given its rights. “The PPP has highlighted the issue at every place. We are hopeful that we will raise our voice in the parliament,” he said.
He said that former president Asif Zardari had written a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “A constitutional amendment is impossible without the help of all parties.”
Farhatullah Babar said that they could have boycotted the NA-122 by-polls, but they did not do so. “We would have not known our weaknesses had we not participated in the elections,” he added.

Pakistan - Z A Bhutto - Past in Perspective

We will go back and fight. 
My country harkens for me, why should I waste my time here?”
-Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

In his memorable UN speech at the Security Council when India-Pakistan were fighting a war. Before tearing up a piece of paper in protest and storming out, Bhutto almost schooled Presidents and Foreign Ministers in attendance like schoolboys with this speech. His words seem almost a warning for his party to day, being currently run from Dubai. The Chairman of the party most often is found not in Pakistan but in the UK. The PPP is not the only party with top-leadership spending inappropriate lengths of time away from the country. 

The PML-N Leader spent Eid-ul-Azha in London, while Altaf Hussain supremo of the MQM is a permanent resident of London. Does their country not harken? Though UN speeches after the Cold War era have lost their lustre, Pakistan is still at war, whether it is radical Islamist militancy or monetary corruption.
The future of the PPP will depend on the support of the people. Can that support come if the Bhutto-Zardari’s are not seen as regularly residing in Pakistan?