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Obama’s Hostage Deal

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

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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.

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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From Jefferson to Assange

  • It is outrageous for any journalist, or respecter of what every American president has claimed is our inalienable, God-given right to a free press, not to join in Assange's defense on the WikiLeaks issue.
  • The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

Robert Scheer, Huffington Post

All you need to know about Julian Assange's value as a crusading journalist is that the New York Times and most of the world's other leading newspapers have led daily with important news stories based on his WikiLeaks releases. All you need to know about the collapse of traditional support for the constitutional protection of a free press is that Dianne Feinstein, the centrist Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called for Assange "to be vigorously prosecuted for espionage."

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Feinstein, who strongly supported the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, has the audacity to call for the imprisonment of the man who, more than any other individual, has allowed the public to learn the truth about those disastrous imperial adventures -- facts long known to Feinstein as head of the Intelligence Committee but never shared with the public she claims to represent.

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The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange, David Samuels, The Atlantic

  • The truly scandalous and shocking response to the Wikileaks documents has been that of other journalists, who make the Obama Administration sound like the ACLU.
  • From Jefferson to Assange
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Our Reaction Is the Real Security Failure

  • If we refuse to be terrorized, if we refuse to implement security theater and remember that we can never completely eliminate the risk of terrorism, then the terrorists fail even if their attacks succeed.
  • The Real Threat to America
  • The stench of the police state at US airports
  • This country has been reformatted. It has been downsized to fit your fears.

Bruce Schneier, Schneir.com

In the headlong rush to "fix" security after the Underwear Bomber's unsuccessful Christmas Day attack, there's far too little discussion about what worked and what didn't, and what will and will not make us safer in the future.

The security checkpoints worked. Because we screen for obvious bombs, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb -- had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise. Instead of using a timer or a plunger or a reliable detonation mechanism, as would any commercial user of PETN, he had to resort to an ad hoc and much more inefficient homebrew mechanism: one involving a syringe and 20 minutes in the lavatory and we don't know exactly what else. And it didn't work.

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The Real Threat to America, Roger Cohen, New York Times | NY

  • When a government has a right to invade the bodies of its citizens, security has trumped freedom.
  • The Fourth Amendment [of the US Constitution] : “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


The stench of the police state at US airports, World Socialist Web Site

  • Ten years of bloody warfare since 9/11 have brought about an increasing brutalization of American society itself, as the American government now brings home the methods of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, violence and humiliation, for use against the American population.
  • Sign the Petition to Investigate TSA Abuse of Power!


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

  • 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.
  • Lerner's Wash Post Call for Primary Challenge to Obama Shatters White House Calm
  • The left has lost its nerve and its direction
  • 10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat

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.

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

  • Follow these ten commandments and the progressive forces will finally be able to reshape this country before it is too late.
  • Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution

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

  • 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.
  • Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You


Laurence Lewis, Daily Kos

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Steve Clemens

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.

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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Reactions To FCC Net Neutrality Proposal Mixed

  • Response to the proposal as it stands has been far from unanimous praise. Initial excitement that the matter had been officially introduced at all was quickly subsumed by wariness over ambiguities in the proposal that seemed to allow broadband carriers to continue their old practices under the cover of a false openness.
  • Why The Federal Trade Commission' s (FTC's) Online Privacy Plan Won't Stop The Information Free-For-All

Amy Lee, Huffington Post

FFC Chair Julius Genachowski

For the tech community, net neutrality is the byword for a free and open Internet. So the Federal Communication Committee's announcement that they would introduce regulations to protect net neutrality came as a welcome relief.

But response to the proposal as it stands has been far from unanimous praise. Initial excitement that the matter had been officially introduced at all was quickly subsumed by wariness over ambiguities in the proposal that seemed to allow broadband carriers to continue their old practices under the cover of a false openness.

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Why The Federal Trade Commission' s (FTC's) Online Privacy Plan Won't Stop The Information Free-For-All, Bianca Bosker, Huffington Post
The Federal Trade Commission's new proposal to protect our privacy online should do little to assuage your fears of a know-it-all Web watching, tracking and responding to your activities on the Internet.

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Arizona Strikes Again

  • Let us revisit the matter of pulling the plug on grandma.
  • It came to mind when I was talking to Flor Felix, whose husband, Francisco, a 32-year-old truck driver with four kids, was denied a liver transplant because the Arizona Legislature had yanked funds for it out of a state Medicaid program.

Gail Collins, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

At a time when corporations are buying up elections – not to mention the 24-hour-news cycle – help ensure that a source for truly independent journalism lives on. Support Evergreene Digest  today by using the donation button in the above right-hand corner.

You may remember the historic day in 2009 when Senator Chuck Grassley brought the issue to the fore at a town meeting in Iowa. “We should not have a government plan that will pull the plug on grandma,” he said to loud cheers.

This was when Grassley, a Republican, was negotiating with the Democrats on a bipartisan health care reform bill. Optimistic spirits felt his plug-pulling metaphor was simply an attempt to reassure his constituents, while he continued working in good faith with the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max (I Am Always Wrong) Baucus.

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The Big Economic Story, and Why Obama Isn't Telling It

Unless the President and Democrats explain why the economy still stinks for most Americans and offer a plan to fix it, the Republican explanation and solution -- it's big government's fault, and all we need do is shrink it -- will prevail.

Robert Reich, Huffington Post

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

Who's responsible for the lousy economy most Americans continue to wallow in?

A. Big government, bureaucrats, and the cultural and intellectual elites who back them.
B. Big business, Wall Street, and the powerful and privileged who represent them.

These are the two competing stories Americans are telling one another.

Yes, I know: It's more complicated than this. In reality, the lousy economy is due to insufficient demand -- the result of the nation's almost unprecedented concentration of income at the top. The very rich don't spend as much of their income as the middle. And since the housing bubble burst, the middle class hasn't had the buying power to keep the economy going. That concentration of income, in turn, is due to globalization and technological change -- along with unprecedented campaign contributions and lobbying designed to make the rich even richer and do nothing to help average Americans, insider trading, and political bribery.

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