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Longwood Gardens. (Photo by joanneleon. October 5, 2012)
Bringing democratic control to the conduct of foreign policy requires a struggle merely to force the issue onto the public agenda.
 ― Eric Alterman

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News and Opinion

"I take responsibility" for Benghazi: Clinton

"I take responsibility" for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN during a visit to Peru, adding that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would not be responsible for specific security instructions for U.S. diplomatic facilities.

"I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world," Clinton said.

"The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."

This one is by Chrystia Freeland, so bring out your grain of salt, but this is a key, fundamental, all important issue in our country today.  And while there is always a tie between foreign and domestic policy, globalization has made that tie ever so complex.  How can you fix this problem?  Freeland implies that to fix it you have to fix the problem globally or at least in the Western world.  Protectionism has been used to fix it in the past but are protectionism tools still available to us after we've given away so much of our manufacturing capabilities, so much of our intellectual capital, and since the international finance system monster has gotten such a strangehold on the Western world?  Can this genie be put back in the bottle? It took decades to get to this point.  A serious effort to bring jobs and manufacturing back here might take just as long. Perhaps it could be done more quickly than that.  Wresting some control back from the banks is something that nobody seems to want to do for real -- they play the game of getting tough on the banks and then well placed regulation gatekeepers and circuit courts maintain the status quo.  

In an election year, everybody wants to help the middle class, or so they say.  In years that are not election years, they say to the middle class: "Deal with it.  This is the new normal."  

America’s middle class goes global
President Barack Obama did a miserable job of making his own case last week. But speak to his supporters and the pitch is clear: The American middle class is being hollowed out; Obama’s self-appointed mission is to try to save it.
[ ... ]
But if the president is serious about creating a 21st-century agenda for the American middle class, he needs to connect the dots between his domestic and foreign policy in a new way. (Judged on his own terms, this intellectual challenge is less pressing for Romney, who is sticking with the Reaganomics view that the way to aid the middle class is to support American job-creating businesses and individuals through lower taxes and less regulation.)
Finally, to end on an encouraging note, champions of their own national middle class need to start seeing their problem as a global one. We are used to thinking about the traditional concerns of foreign policy – wars, disarmament, even energy and the environment – as international issues that require some degree of collective action. The hollowing out of the middle class is a problem common to all Western industrialized economies. Maybe we should work together to solve it.
    Presidential campaigns don’t want debate moderator asking questions

Presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley’s stated intent to ask questions of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during Tuesday night’s town hall encounter has led to concerns from both candidate’s campaign teams.

Time Magazine reported Sunday night that both campaigns have asked the Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes each event, to make sure Crowley adhere to a format she was not involved in designing.

A memo signed by both campaigns earlier this month specifies that the moderator would not be allowed to ask the candidates follow-up questions or to rephrase or comment on the questions asked by audience members as part of the town hall format. ... Crowley’s only role would be to “acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the two-minute response period.”

Malala Moved to UK for Treatment as Anger Aimed at Taliban Builds

Yesterday, Pakistan’s MQM political party held a huge rally in Karachi in support of fourteen year old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on Tuesday because of her outspoken views on the education of girls in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The rally was one of many in the past few days in which Pakistanis have spoken out against the violence of the Taliban.

In addition to the rallies, though, we also have word that a jirga in the tribal areas also has for the first time spoken out against the Taliban and its attack on Malala

    ACLU Calls Out "Orwellian" Censorship of CIA Torture

On Monday, a judge will oversee pretrial hearings for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo prisoners who are accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks. One of the key issues Army Col. James Pohl will decide on is whether or not there will be any public testimony by the prisoners regarding their torture and detention in CIA custody.

The defense lawyers are asking to abolish a "presumptive classification" process that treats any discussion of what happened to the defendants their time in secret CIA detention as a top national security secret. Mohammed’s defense attorney, David Nevin, called the war court system a "rigged game,” reports the Miami Herald. According to Nevin, attorneys and defendents "are forbidden to discuss between themselves anything from what Mohammed says the CIA did to him to his 'historical perspective on jihad.'"

The ACLU is at the hearings this week and will give a statement arguing that the censorship of torture is a constitutional challenge. In a press release, the ACLU cites the government's most recent filing:

        The government has effectively claimed that it owns and controls the defendants’ memories, 'thoughts and experiences' of government torture. These chillingly Orwellian claims are legally untenable and morally abhorrent.
    American Boy Killed By U.S. Drone Strike

Teen-Tasering cop friends with woman-punching cop?



    Apparently, Highway Patrol Lt. Jonathan Josey, recently fired for sucker-punching a woman in the face, and Colwyn police Cpl. Trevor Parham, charged with Tasering a 17-year-old while he was handcuffed in a jail cell then texting a "lol" about the incident to another cop, are like BFFs or something, according to NBC10

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

Questions on Drones, Unanswered Still - By Margaret Sullivan, New York Times Public Editor

Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech

Deficit Hysteria Is The New WMD

When I Was a Lad (I am the Monarch of the Sea)


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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