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Topiary Garden. (Photo by joanneleon. October, 2012)
It starts with campaign finance reform.

-- Zack Space





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News and Opinion



Yes We Can, We Did, and Now Obama’s Second Term Is Our Responsibility

Yes, election night was a heck of a party and it’s great that the really bad guys lost. Karl Rove and his reactionary ilk were defeated by a new American majority that is younger, more tolerant, rainbow colored and multilingual and one in which women now trump the depressing ignorance of so many older white men. But morning in America already feels too much like a hangover. The house is still a wreck, the family is dysfunctional and there are enormous bills to pay that are not about to go away.

All of us suddenly sobered folks, who voted for Barack Obama because the alternative was so horridly wrong, have got to accept the moral implications of that choice. We won but at what cost? Fool me once, shame on Obama, but fool me twice and I’m the one responsible. That goes for his promises to right the economy by leveling the playing field as well as to end what Obama termed in his victory speech “a decade of war.”

It is now our fingers on the video game buttons that order the drones to kill innocent civilians, and we bear responsibility if the president maintains the Guantanamo gulag and continues to vilify Bradley Manning and Julian Assange for confronting America with its war crimes. Will he make good on his promise to hold the line on the incessant demands of the congressional defense contractor caucus or will he find yet another “good war”?

[Emphasis added]

Back to Work
7 things the U.N. can finally get around to doing now that the U.S. election is over.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, used his congratulatory message to President Obama to draw Washington's attention to four key priorities -- ending the bloodshed in Syria, restarting the Middle East peace process, promoting sustainable development, and tackling climate change -- requiring greater American engagement.

There are a number of areas, including arms control and possibly climate change, where the administration may show renewed vigor in a second term, according to U.N. observers. But they cautioned that movement on a second-term agenda would start slow, given the months it will likely take to put a new foreign policy team in place. The king, said one observer, will be the same, but the royal court will be new.

The administration will face the first test of its standing at the United Nations on Monday, when it will participate in its first competitive election for a seat on the Human Rights Council, facing off with Germany, Greece, Ireland, and Sweden for three Western spots on the U.N.'s main rights body. Washington has been aggressively campaigning for the post, seeking to avert an embarrassing loss. "People are nervous about it; they don't think it in the bag," said one U.N.-based source.

I've Always Thought Cable Companies Would Be Fine When TV Collapsed, But They May Actually Be Screwed...

As I've often explained recently, I'm worried about the future of the TV business.
Viewer habits are changing, and none of the changes favor the participants who are currently coining money in traditional TV--namely, networks and pay-TV providers like cable companies.
But I've always assumed that, in the end, the cable companies would be fine.

Anchor apologizes for anti-gay Facebook status after GLAAD outrage

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called on a Cincinnati Fox station to apologize after news anchor Tricia Macke called MSNBC host Rachel Maddow an “Angry Young Man” on Facebook last month.

Just before 7 p.m. tonight, the news station posted Macke’s apology to its Facebook page. The apology reads, “I recently posted comments on my personal Facebook page regarding cable news anchor Rachel Maddow which were insensitive and inappropriate. I apologize to Ms. Maddow and any others who may have been offended by my comments, as they do not reflect my firm beliefs in individual and equal rights, and they certainly do not represent the opinions or position of my employer WXIX-TV.”

Noam Chomsky: My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world's largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade. Such cruelty is to ensure that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed, and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement granting basic human rights will be nullified.

Latif Autopsy Report Ready: Public Resolution to Gitmo Mystery Endures
EXCLUSIVE: Long-awaited answers to the mysterious death of man detained for more than a decade at Guantanamo may reside in an autopsy report that apparently won't be made public anytime soon - if ever.
It's been two months since Yemeni prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died at the US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, but the cause and manner of his death remain shrouded in secrecy.
The US government plans to turn over a long-awaited and recently-completed autopsy report to Yemeni Embassy officials in Washington, DC as early as today, but no one will say when or if the results will be made public.
An official at the Yemen Embassy, who declined to be named, said the embassy will not comment on the autopsy report's conclusions or whether it determined how Latif died. Instead, the report will immediately be forwarded to government officials in Yemen's capital, Sana'a. Someone there will decide "what the next step" will be, the embassy official said.
Red Cross says it cannot cope with Syria emergency

"The humanitarian situation is getting worse despite the scope of the operation increasing," said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Meanwhile, President Assad has told Russian TV that he will not leave Syria as suggested by the UK prime minister.

It comes as Syria's divided opposition groups are meeting in Doha to discuss uniting under a new leadership body.

"I am not a puppet, I wasn't made by the West. I'm Syrian... and I have to live and die in Syria," Mr Assad told the Russia Today TV channel.

Diplomats still in Benghazi say they had long questioned U.S. reliance on local militia

BENGHAZI, Libya — Even before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats from other nations and Libyan security officials had questioned the wisdom of a U.S. decision to rely primarily on members of a local militia to protect its compound here.

[...]
As the security situation deteriorated, several Libyan officials and the Blue Mountain guards said they urged the United States to buttress security at the consulate, even as Stevens was wildly popular among residents here. The Libyans, they said, could not secure themselves from a mounting extremist threat.

“I told them, you should have your own security,” Waniss said. “Don’t depend on the Libyans.”

But others have suggested that the U.S. officials may have felt such a step was unnecessary because the CIA had established offices about a mile away and had promised to send security officers to the consulate, if needed. All of the diplomats interviewed for this story said they were unaware of the CIA station’s existence.

That in fact happened on the night of Sept. 11, according to a CIA timeline, which said security officers from the CIA station, which U.S. officials refer to as an annex, were dispatched 25 minutes after the first reports of trouble. It took another 25 minutes for the force to reach the consulate, however, because of resistance from militants.

One diplomat here said that while he appreciated the effort of the CIA guards to render assistance, 25 minutes in such a situation “is too late.”

Meanwhile, Europe

So, American voters have spoken and sent the nation firmly on the path of destruction — God’s wrath for gay marriage, you know. So we can relax a bit on that front and turn our attention back to Europe, which remains, as Tim Duy says, very grim.

It’s the Interest, Stupid! Why Bankers Rule the World

In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.

This hidden tribute to the banks will come as a surprise to most people, who think that if they pay their credit card bills on time and don’t take out loans, they aren’t paying interest. This, says Dr. Kennedy, is not true. Tradesmen, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers all along the chain of production rely on credit to pay their bills. They must pay for labor and materials before they have a product to sell and before the end buyer pays for the product 90 days later. Each supplier in the chain adds interest to its production costs, which are passed on to the ultimate consumer. Dr. Kennedy cites interest charges ranging from 12% for garbage collection, to 38% for drinking water to, 77% for rent in public housing in her native Germany.





Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


The Evening Blues - 11-9-12

Petreaus-gate: It's Not About the Affair, But Leaking of the Highest Order

Transgender Politicians Win

"Obamacare the law of the Land" --Finally, That's Great Boehner, 23 Million Still With No Coverage.






The Elected - Not Going Home






Debate

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

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:01 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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