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Obama’s Hostage Deal

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The point is that by seeming angrier at worried supporters than he is at the hostage-takers, Mr. Obama is already signaling weakness, giving Republicans every reason to believe that they can extract another ransom. And they can be counted on to act accordingly.

Paul Krugman, New York Times

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to make my peace with the Obama-McConnell tax-cut deal. President Obama did, after all, extract more concessions than most of us expected.

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Yet I remain deeply uneasy — not because I’m one of those “purists” Mr. Obama denounced on Tuesday (Dec 7) but because this isn’t the end of the story. Specifically: Mr. Obama has bought the release of some hostages only by providing the G.O.P. with new hostages.

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CREW’s Most Embarrassing Re-Elects 2010 (and a New Governor to Watch)

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  • From a senator with an affinity for prostitutes, to the first congressman to face censure by the House of Representatives in 27 years, some rather embarrassing lawmakers skated to re-election, despite deplorable behaviour.
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  • Bachmann in running for ‘Lie of the Year’ in PolitiFact contest
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  • Bachmann makes CREW's 2010 Most Embarrassing Re-elects list
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  • Bachmann: Obama ‘flat out lied’ over tax cuts for the wealthy
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Garrett Russo, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW)

From a senator with an affinity for prostitutes, to the first congressman to face censure by the House of Representatives in 27 years, some rather embarrassing lawmakers skated to re-election, despite deplorable behaviour.  Their exploits are highlighted in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's (CREW) new report, CREW's 2010 Most Embarrassing Re-elects (and a Governor to Watch)

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"Most Americans would be fired if they were caught patronizing a prostitute or abusing their positions for personal gain, but members of Congress aren't most Americans," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "Instead, these lawmakers are headed back to Washington where they are expected to police themselves, which is about as likely as the Grinch actually stealing Christmas."

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Bachmann makes ‘most-embarrassing’ list, again, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
Rep. Michele Bachmann made Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s 2010 Most Embarrassing Re-elects list, along with 10 other members of Congress. The rankings, released recently, include an even split between Democrats and Republicans who, according to CREW, have violated the public trust.

Bachmann in running for ‘Lie of the Year’ in PolitiFact contest, Patrick Caldwell, Minnesota Independent
With the end of 2010 approaching, the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact is holding a contest letting readers chose the “Lie of the Year.” In the running — for her recent incorrect claim that President Obama’s trip to India would cost $200 million per day — is Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann: Obama ‘flat out lied’ over tax cuts for the wealthy, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
Rep. Michele Bachmann told radio host Mark Levin on recently that President Obama “flat out lied” during his press conference on the tax cut plan he’s negotiating with Republicans. The 6th District Republican seemed to take issue with Obama’s assertion that Republicans oppose tax cuts for the middle class — the party voted against them in the House last week because the Democrats didn’t include a tax cut for the nation’s wealthiest — and said Obama’s speech was “highly partisan, bitter, angry.”

Flashback: Obama Slams Bush Tax Cuts For 'Millionaires And Billionaires'

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  • During at least three pre-election rallies, Obama, playing to crowds filled with die-hard supporters, railed against the tax cuts for the wealthy, eliciting rounds of boos from the audience, according to White House transcripts.
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  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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Shahien Nasiripour and Ben Craw, Huffington Post

Nothing Changed

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Over the past three months, Obama described the Bush-era program that he's now adopting as his own as "tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires" no fewer than 50 times, according to a review of his stump speeches, weekly addresses, and comments to campaign donors and members of the news media.

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The rhetoric was deliberate: Obama was trying to cast Republicans as the party of the wealthy while his fellow Democrats represented the middle class.

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He used that rhetoric at campaign events across the country, from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Des Moines, Iowa, and Richmond, Virginia.

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During at least three pre-election rallies, Obama, playing to crowds filled with die-hard supporters, railed against the tax cuts for the wealthy, eliciting rounds of boos from the audience, according to White House transcripts.

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Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt', Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a conservative Democratic from Louisiana, lashed out Tuesday at President Obama's deal with congressional Republicans that allows tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended for two years.

Save Obama's presidency by challenging him in the Democratic Presidential Primaries

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  • Those of us who worry that a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012 would be a disaster not just for those hurting from the Republican-policy-inspired economic meltdown but also the environment, social justice and world peace believe it is critical to get Obama to actually become the candidate that most Americans believed they elected in 2008.
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  • Lerner's Wash Post Call for Primary Challenge to Obama Shatters White House Calm
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  • The left has lost its nerve and its direction
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  • 10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat
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Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives

People who used to say, "Give President Obama more time," when the president was criticized for capitulating to the right, or who argued that Obama must have a plan to turn things around, are now largely depressed and angry. To many liberals and progressives, the president's unwillingness to veto any measure that includes continued tax relief for billionaires is the last straw, building on a record of spinelessness that includes his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, abandonment of a public option for health-care reform, refusal to prosecute those who tortured in Iraq or lied us into that war, and unwillingness to tax carbon emissions.

With his base deeply disillusioned, many progressives are starting believe that Obama has little chance of winning reelection unless he enthusiastically embraces a populist agenda and worldview - soon. Yet there is little chance that will happen without a massive public revolt by his constituency that goes beyond rallies, snide remarks from television personalities or indignant op-eds.

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Lerner's Wash Post Call for Primary Challenge to Obama Shatters White House Calm, Tikkun
After Rabbi Lerner's op-ed piece calling for a progressive challenge in the Democratic Presidential primaries in 2012 to Barack Obama appeared Saturday (Dec 4) on the top of the op-ed page of the Washington Post, a firestorm has erupted in D.C. with rumors flying that divisions have begun to appear in the White House itself about whether President Obama should take steps to institute a new New Deal or some other dramatic measure to win back his progressive constituency. Lerner's article seemed to touch an exposed nerve--over 600 responses on line, most of them extremely excited about the idea, some outraged and trying to ridicule it, others worried that it might weaken Obama in 2012 (though Lerner argues that unless Obama becomes more explicitly progressive and re-excites his base, he is "a goner" anyway; plus hundreds of emails to Lerner, some urging him to run for President (he respectuflly declines unless someone comes up with a billion dollars to run that campaign), ,many saying that they are ready to join a campaign if and when it gets launched; some saying that they disagree with this or that particular candidate, others saying that they'd be happy with any of Lerner's proposed candidates.

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The left has lost its nerve and its direction, Chris Hedges, Philadelphia Inquirer
If the left wants to regain influence in the nation's political life, it must be willing to walk away from the Democratic Party, even if Barack Obama is the (president), and back progressive, third-party (officials) until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Huffington Post

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  • Follow these ten commandments and the progressive forces will finally be able to reshape this country before it is too late.
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  • Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution
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Why the TSA Can't Back Down

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  • We have a job here, too, and it's to be indomitable in the face of terrorism. The goal of terrorism is to terrorize us: to make us afraid, and make our government do exactly what the TSA is doing. When we react out of fear, the terrorists succeed even when their plots fail. But if we carry on as before, the terrorists fail­even when their plots succeed.
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  • Special Report | The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
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  • This country has been reformatted. It has been downsized to fit your fears.
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Bruce Schneie, The Atlantic

Organizers of National Opt Out Day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when air travelers were urged to opt out of the full-body scanners at security checkpoints and instead submit to full-body patdowns -- were outfoxed by the TSA. The government pre-empted the protest by turning off the machines in most airports during the Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone went through the metal detectors, just as before.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the machines are back on and the "enhanced" pat-downs have resumed. I suspect that more people would prefer to have naked images of themselves seen by TSA agents in another room, than have themselves intimately touched by a TSA agent right in front of them.

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Special Report | The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • The Real Threat to America
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  • The stench of the police state at US airports
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Three defeated Democrats have some advice for their party and the nation

Last week (Nov 28-Dec 4) , columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. sat down with three House Democrats who were defeated in November to get their sense of what the election means for the future and how the president should respond.

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E.J. Dionne Jr., Syndicated columnist, Seattle Times | WA

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

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From Ohio, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy describes "the worry, the anguish and sometimes despair" among her constituents and urges President Obama to spend more time with people who don't make "six-figure incomes."

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From Pennsylvania, Rep. Joe Sestak says Americans are angry at a government that failed to guard them against economic catastrophe.

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And from Virginia, Rep. Tom Perriello suggests that voters are less interested in "bipartisanship" than "postpartisanship." He explains: "What they're looking for is someone who solves the problem, not for a solution that happens to be half way between the two parties."

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President Obama is neither weak nor stupid... nor a progressive

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  • Politicians are but political tools, and they are not the only political tools. They are only as useful as the agendas they are willing to pursue. We don't owe them our loyalty, they owe us theirs. There are other political tools, and there are means of organizing that transcend the elective political game. It's about the issues. Given the gravity of the stakes, we have to focus on the issues, without excuses, and in some cases without compromise. That means we have to accept some politicians when there are no immediate alternatives, and we have to try to push them to do better and to be better even when it is counter to their own political ideologies, but it also means we can't pretend they are something they are not; and it also means we have to create a climate where there will be better and legitimate alternatives.
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  • Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You
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Laurence Lewis, Daily Kos

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Steve Clemens

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A lot of people are wondering why President Obama keeps offering compromises and capitulations to the Republicans before negotiations have even begun. A lot of people are wondering why he appears to keep effectively unilaterally knee-capping himself. A lot of people accurately argue that it would be great optics at least to try to stand on principle, and it might even produce better policies. Some say he is weak. Some question his intelligence. Some do one or both in less than polite terms. But many are overlooking a possible alternate explanation. Many are overlooking an explanation that is hiding in plain sight.

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President Obama is no fool. He's actually extremely smart. One need not recount the entire litany, but suffice to say that one doesn't become president of the Harvard Law Review, get invited to teach at the University of Chicago Law School, or compose on the fly a riveting Speech on Race that galvanizes much of the nation-- even many inclined to be critics-- unless one has a rare and assiduously honed intellect. The argument that President Obama is stupid fails at first thought.

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Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You, Paul Street, Z Communications
No matter how fiercely Obama demonstrates his determination (consistent with his longstanding “deeply conservative” instincts) to govern from the center-right, a dedicated cadre of liberals and progressives will persevere with the line that it’s our own damn fault. This is a mistaken and dysfunctional narrative.

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