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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WikiLeaks Leaker a TRUE Patriot; Climate Change; Permanent War State; Obama the Republican; More Guns; MLK; American Exceptionalism Myth; more

- The Myth of 'American Exceptionalism' Implodes Until the 1970s, US capitalism shared its spoils with American workers. But since 2008, it has made them pay for its failures...

The richest 10-15% - those cashing in on employers' good fortune from no longer-rising wages - helped bring on the crisis by speculating wildly and unsuccessfully in all sorts of new financial instruments (asset-backed securities, credit default swaps, etc). The richest also contributed to the crisis by using their money to shift US politics to the right, rendering government regulation and oversight inadequate to anticipate or moderate the crisis or even to react properly once it hit.

- In the Crosshairs: From Tucson to Kabul Here's a question: Why don't the dead of our foreign wars register on us, particularly the civilians killed in numbers that, if attributed to our enemies or past imperial armies, would be seen as the acts of barbarians?  After all, when a Taliban suicide bomber kills  17 Afghans and wounds 23 in a bathhouse, including a senior police border-control officer, we know just what to think.  It wouldn't matter if those who sent the bomber claimed that he had made a “mistake” in targeting, or if they declared the other deaths regrettable “collateral damage.”  When we attack with similar results, we hardly think about it at all.

- The Sickening "Vindication" (by Barack Obama) of Dick Cheney In the early months of Obama's presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician:  they accused him of being soft of defense (specifically "soft on Terror") and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack.  But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was [unfortunately] embracing and even expanding -- rather than reversing -- the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism.

- The Tragic US Strategy in Afghanistan Meanwhile, with the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan serving as one of its most effective recruiting tools, the Taliban has grown exponentially--from an estimated 7,000 in 2006 to 35,000 or 40,000 today, according to NATO.

But after the release of the December review of the war, President Obama nonetheless declared that the United States is “on track to achieve our goals.” Either the administration has deluded itself or it can't muster the courage to tell the American public the truth.

- Can We Trust Climate Models? Increasingly, the Answer is ‘Yes’ "If you want to know ‘is climate change something that should be on my radar screen?'" he says, "then you end up with some very solid results. The climate is warming, and we can say why. Looking to the 21st century, all reasonable projections of what humans will be doing suggest that not only will the climate continue to warm, you have a good chance of it accelerating. Those are global-scale issues, and they're very solid."

- Revolution of Values: From MLK, Jr. to Bradley Manning Manning, 23, is alleged to have provided Wikileaks with documents that expose war crimes and other unethical behaviors being committed by the United States. He reportedly first went to his commanding officer when he saw that Iraqis were being imprisoned and tortured at the behest of the US military for simply publishing a document which questioned where the money went in Iraq. He was told to get back to work. Apparently when he saw more evidence of war crimes, he felt that the American public must know what is being done in its name. Manning is said to have joined the military because he believed in his country.

- After Tucson Shootings, Ariz. Republicans Push for Guns on School Campuses Gun rights advocates aren't letting a shooting that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in the hospital slow them down. Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature are planning to move forward with several bills that would expand gun rights.

- 'Respect' for MLK: Surf Shop Celebrates With '20% Off All Black Products' Sale ... when the country is celebrating the birthday of, arguably, the most influential civil-rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., boasting a sale with "20% Off All Black Products" is about as bad an idea as bad ideas go.

From Military-Industrial Complex to Permanent War State
by Gareth Porter