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NOTE: CORRECTED ORIGINAL DIARY WHICH ERRONEOUSLY HAD ROMNEY GIVING THESE REMARKS AT THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE

During his presentation today at an NBC News Education forum in New York City, Mitt Romney repeatedly declared his belief that teachers' unions do not care about students or education, that those aren't "teachers' interests." In order to "prove" his case, he evoked (and mis-attributed) a right-wing canard about a speech by a senior teachers' union official, further demonstrating his contempt for educators.

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Many here on DKos repeatedly accuse the Israeli government of carrying out a program of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs, an accusation that flies in the face of the facts of Israel's Arab population and the actions of the Israeli government in its occupied territories. Now, though, a senior government leader has in fact called for ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. It's not, however, an Israeli leader, but the Palestinian Ambassador to the United States.

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As someone who supports the existence of Israel as a strong Jewish state, and the rights of Palestinians (and all people) to live in peace with full citizenship rights, I have read with interest both the news coverage of the so-called "Palestine Papers," and the resulting diaries here on DKos. One area of controversy is why, assuming the PA's territory-for-peace offer was as described, Israel turned it down so summarily. I've seen the explanations offered by some here, involving Israel's alleged colonialism and unwillingness to negotiate, but those reactions in fact demonstrate the likely true reason: Israel knew the PA could never follow through on its offer.

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My good friend, who happens to be quite politically conservative, asked me last night if I thought Palin and her ilk caused last week's Arizona tragedy. I said no, because Loughner was clearly mentally ill. My friend then claimed last evening violent rhetoric is not mainly the province of the right, but comes equally from both sides. He cited, as his example, a remark that President Obama had made about "bringing a gun to a knife fight." In response, I told him that while the facts showed otherwise, and he quite reasonably offered to consider those facts if I presented them to him. This morning, I wrote him the following e-mail, which I thought might be valuable for others in this community faced with the same question from potentially reasonable conservative friends and family members. (I've left the URLs in the text, in case some of you would wish to copy and paste parts of it.)

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In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy in Arizona, many quite legitimately called out Sarah Palin and so many others on the right whose violent anti-Democratic rhetoric seemed likely to have inspired the shooting. As more information has been released, it seems more probable that the shooter was driven by mental illness rather than (mainly) politics, and GOPers have pushed back at the initial placing of blame.

I'm willing to accept, for the purpose of argument, that Loughner may not have directly inspired by Palin and her ilk. Fine. My question is, to what will Loughner inspire the Republicans? Assuming they weren't responsible for the tragedy, will they be act responsibly now?

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I don't intend this to be a long diary, in part because it's not a particularly long (or new) story: once again, the United Nations has proven itself to be completely unfit to act as a remotely neutral arbitrator of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The latest evidence: the profoundly anti-Israel actions by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10th.

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Regardless of what happens in Congress, regardless of the long-term deficit issues, regardless even of the potential political victory for the Republicans, I continue to support the general structure of President Obama's proposed deal, because it provided for 13 more months of unemployment payments for 2 million Americans and their families. To those of you don't see that as reason enough, I remind you of the Native American proverb, "Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins." Allow me to lend you mine.

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I just finished watching the President's press conference (thank you, CSPAN online), and all I can say is, "well said." It was strong, and regardless of what some may say, the blame was properly placed on the Senate Republicans, who were accurately described as hostage-takers.

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This is going to be a very short and simple diary, with one plea: stop buying into the latest pro-Republican terminology meme. We should not be debating the "Bush Tax Cuts." Let's call them what they are: the Republican Tax Hike.

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 09:07 AM PDT

Filibuster to Fix the Filibuster!

by ProfJonathan

The election is over, we have another month or so of the lame duck session of Congress, and it's already crystal clear that the "party of no" gridlock we saw from Republicans is only going to get worse, not better, in the next two years. Right now, today, the Senate needs to change its rules to fix the filibuster. We should be filibustering ourselves to make that happen.

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Thu Oct 28, 2010 at 02:18 PM PDT

The Self-Sacrifice of Sarah Palin

by ProfJonathan

As many news sources are reporting, Sarah "The Quitternator" Palin has generously offered her services as the GOP Presidential candidate in 2012 "if there is nobody else to do it." Once again, the grizzly Mama puts her country first.

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This morning brought yet another expose by The New York Times of the insane amounts of money being funneled through conservative groups for anti-Democratic campaign advertisements. It's a powerful and important story, one that deservedly gets a lot of coverage here on DKos, but there's a serious problem with the narrative: the description by The Times and others of the funding as coming from "anonymous donors." They're not anonymous or donors. They're flat-out purchasers, hiding their identities from the public but not their chosen candidates. The difference is huge.

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