Nelson Mandela has "passed on peacefully" at age 95.
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Denmark and New Zealand have been rated #1 and #2 least corrupt countries by Transparency International in 2013. Next came Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Luxembourg and Germany. U.K. ranked 14th, Hong Kong 15th, Japan 18th, America 19th, France 22nd, Estonia 28th, Botswana 30th, Israel 36th, Poland 38th and South Korea 46th.
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Can Obama recover? Maybe he already did. Meanwhile, as contraception makes its big comeback as political issue, with America's Supreme Court about to decide whether ObamaCare's contraception mandate passes constitutional muster -- which issue was widely thought to have helped Obama in 2012 -- even if that continues to make Republicans look like "stuffy old men".
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China's new Air Defence Identification Zone includes what Japan calls its Senkaku Islands. America flew B-52s over those islands after China's announcement, hoping to head off any other (more extreme) Japanese reaction. But has America "lost Asia" with China's ADIZ announcement, or does America still have strong cards to play in that region? Some claim America still has better position, while other analysts think that China and America should share power in East Asia.
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In the Washington Post, Jonathan Zimmerman dreams of President-for-Life Obama.
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British Prime Minister David Cameron faces his electorate in 18 months, and he faces mass defections from his own Conservative Party to Britain's fringe UK Independence Party, committed to British departure from Europe and its institutions.
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"In an aggressive move designed to crack down on free-spending outside political groups, the Obama administration is proposing strict new rules curtailing nonprofits like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the pro-Obama Priorities USA. The draft proposal, released Tuesday by the Treasury Department, would keep so-called social welfare 501(c)(4) nonprofits from getting a tax exemption if they engage in too much 'candidate related' political activity."
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai doesn't want to sign any new security agreement with America until after his next presidential election next year. Without that agreement in place, American troops would have to leave Afghanistan in 2014. And if Karzai won't sign, American troops may be completely withdrawn when 2014 ends, per Obama Administration spokesmen.
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"On 24 November 2013, an interim agreement was signed between the P5+1 countries and Iran in Geneva, Switzerland. It consists of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement. It represents the first formal agreement between the U.S. and Iran in 34 years."
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50 years after being bumped off by Lee Harvey Oswald, or mobsters, or Fidel Castro, or LBJ, or space aliens, JFK's home town of Boston, as well as other spots across America celebrated/ remembered JFK. As President Obama put it, JFK's "youth", "grace" and heroics during WWII "moved people in a way that still resonates with us today..."
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Jesse Myerson opines in Salon that taxing land would solve America's biggest problems:
"At present, neither party advocates the tax code so elegant it can reduce inequality, mitigate poverty, stimulate productivity, prevent asset price bubbles, stem community-shredding gentrification and drain the distended Wall Street cabal of its ill-gotten gains - in just one tax. Land value. If we want a real overhaul/simplification of the tax code, the way to do it is to tax land value. It might be the only tax we need. No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a Social Security trust fund. No corporate income tax that, as we can plainly see, offshores profits. No need to tax labor and industry at all. Just tax the stuff that humans had nothing to do with creating, and therefore have no basis to claim ownership over at all. You'll find that almost all of it is 'owned' by the fabled 1 percent."
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Pro-nuclear Democrats have their way in the US Senate:
The vote was one that members of both parties had threatened for the better part of a decade, but had always stopped short of carrying out. This time, with little left of the bipartisan spirit that helped seal compromises on filibuster rule changes in the past, there was no last-minute deal to be struck.
The vote was 52 to 48.
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, set the change in motion on Thursday with a series of procedural steps.
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The New York Post claims that the positive jobs report released in September, 2012 was essentially fictional:
Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.Remembering that the Obama administration moved Census Bureau oversight directly to the White House within the first month after taking office in 2009, the question becomes, exactly how deep of economic shit have we been in, but were lied to think otherwise?
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee -- that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
"He's not the only one," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
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Socialist John B. Judis thinks "progressives" should be furious at how the feckless Obama Administration has mishandled the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act:
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Jonah Goldberg, being a bit of a dick even though he's right, writes,
If you can't take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you're following politics in the first place...
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After his convincing re-election victory yesterday in New Jersey, it's pretty much common wisdom that Chris Christie has now entered the "invisible primary" of the Republican party as a candidate for President in 2016. His appeal is obvious in many ways - he's been a successful governor, and despite his reputation for bluster he's been able to consistently reach across the aisle and deal with a state legislature dominated by the Democratic party. On the other hand, he has acquiesced to the legalization of gay marriage in his state, and he isn't really trusted by Tea Partiers or movement conservatives. Slate's John Dickerson offers a fairly thorough assessment of his potential as a candidate.
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