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Hillary Clinton's Disdain for Human Rights and International Law -- Change We Can Believe In?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

By Stephen Zunes
Huffington Post

For those hoping for a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy under an Obama administration -- particularly regarding human rights, international law, and respect for international institutions -- the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a bitter disappointment. Indeed, Senator Clinton has more often than not sided with the Bush administration against fellow Democrats on key issues regarding America's international legal obligations, particularly international humanitarian law.

This will be particularly disappointing for those in the international community who were so positive about Obama's election as president. The selection of Hillary Clinton, at best, represents a return to the policies of her husband's administration.

Because the Bush administration had taken things to new lows, many seem to have forgotten the fact that the Clinton administration had also greatly alienated the international community. Regarding Iraq, Iran and Israel, the Clinton administration engaged in a series of policies which put the United States sharply at odds with most of its Western allies and a broad consensus of international legal scholars. And these were not the only issues during the Clinton years over which the United States found itself isolated from the rest of the international community: there was U.S. opposition to the land mine treaty, the strengthening of the embargo against Cuba, support for Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara, foot-dragging on the Kyoto Protocols, support for Turkey's vicious military offensive in the Kurdish regions of that country, among others.

Even worse, Hillary Clinton allied herself with the Bush administration on many its most controversial actions, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, threats of war against Iran, support for Israel's 2006 offensive against Lebanon and 2002 offensive in the West Bank, opposition to the International Criminal Court, attacks against the International Court of Justice, and support for the unrestricted export of cluster bombs and other anti-personnel munitions used against civilian targets....(Click for remainder).

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Stonewall 2.0: It's What We Make of It

By Jennifer Chrisler
Huffington Post

Stonewall 2.0. It's a potent term combining the history and energy of Greenwich Village, 1969 and the social network horizons of the 21st century: activists in the streets, old-school placards in one hand, cell phones in the other, texting their counterparts in other cities, sharing enthusiasm, outrage, tactics and ideas -- and all of his happening live.

There has certainly been a lot of activity these past few weeks for LGBT equality -- an outpouring of emotion and street-level demands unseen in the LGBT community since the AIDS crisis of the early 1990s. I was in college then, newly out as a lesbian, galvanized by the energy of the moment. As outraged as we are by the passage of Prop 8 and similar measures in Arkansas, Arizona and Florida, we cannot miss the opportunity these terrible acts give us to develop new advocates and together make change. People are paying attention now. Right now. And as the leader of a national organization working to ensure equality for LGBT families, I can tell you that getting people to pay attention is usually the hardest, most frustrating first step in the long road towards progress.

But I'm not here to complain. We all have busy, complicated lives. Our work and families demand more of our time than ever, and in an economic crisis of this magnitude we can spare no energy in our efforts to lead organizations, maintain jobs, pay for healthcare and educate our kids. We are called to champion equality at the very same time that we are called to maintain our livelihoods, and, frankly, I am proud of the hard work done in the past few months by organizational leaders, staff members, community organizers and activists, old and new, to move this country in a progressive direction and ensure equality for all....(Click for remainder).

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Gall: Size XXXL

By Devilstower
Daily Kos

When the Bureau of Land Management announced that they were going to allow uranium mining along with oil and gas drilling around the Grand Canyon, Congress members who cared about the canyon, or national parks, or the environment, or common sense were more than a little miffed, and fortunately for them (and us) Congress had a means to act that didn't involve issuing a subpoena.

The 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act gives the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee the power to order the Secretary of the Interior to put a temporary hold on allowing mineral extraction on public land. So they did. The House Natural Resources Committee voted 20-2 to block block mining in the area the BLM had proposed to open.

Then the Bush Interior Department followed the law and... no, no, wait. Sorry, but we don't live in that universe. First the Interior Department simply refused to issue the order on the grounds that not enough Republicans had been involved in the vote. Seriously.

Still, why stop at only disobeying the law when you can just claim the arbitrary ability to rewrite the rules so you don't have to listen to Congress?
The Bush administration is trying to make it tougher for Congress to block mining and oil and gas drilling on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages 258 million acres of federal property, stripped from its regulations Thursday a provision that gives two Congressional committees the power to compel the Interior Secretary to temporarily place public land off limits to mining and oil and gas development.
Here the BLM officially puts its fingers in its ears, showing that while Congress can write a law, enforcing it is another issue. And so the Bush administration proves once again that the Founding Fathers created two more branches of government than we needed.

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U.S. Loses 533,000 Jobs in November; Joblessness at 6.7%

By Louis Uchitelle, Edmund L. Andrews and Stephen Labaton
The New York Times

The government’s report of a giant job loss in November, the biggest monthly decline in a generation, puts more pressure on Congress and the administration to move quickly on a stimulus package, mortgage relief and perhaps financial aid for Detroit’s big automakers.

The nation’s employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Not since December 1974, toward the end of a severe recession, have so many jobs disappeared in a single month — and the current recession, far from ending, appears to be just gathering steam.

“We are caught in a downward spiral in which employment, incomes and spending are collapsing together,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist for IHS Global Insight. “With private spending frozen, we have no choice but to rely on a stimulus package to revive the economy.”

The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, up just two-tenths of a percentage point from October, but up six-tenths over the last three months. More than 420,000 men and women who had been working or seeking work in October left the labor force in November....(Click for remainder).

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Rick Warren is the new Jerry Falwell: 'The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.'

By John Amato




Rick Warren tries to paint himself as a moderate evangelical, but after watching his performance on Hannity and Colmes I can safely say that's he's filling the void left by Jerry Falwell.

Steve Benen:

Last night, on Fox News, Sean Hannity insisted that United States needs to "take out" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Warren said he agreed. Hannity asked, "Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?" Warren responded, "Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped.... In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers."

That's pretty sick stuff for a "man of God." I have no problem with religion since I grew up as a Catholic and a lot of people derive comfort from it, but watching fools like Warren on TV promote attacking another country is just too much. And I agree with Matt Duss also:

Does Warren really consider it part of his ministry to sanctify the inch-deep theologizing-cum-warmongering of thugs like Sean Hannity? If so, who else does Warren think Jesus would bomb?.

I'm pretty sure that Warren uses the word "repent" when he's headlining at his mega-church so I hope he takes the time to reflect on it and practice it....(Click for remainder).

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Change They Can Litigate

The fringe movement to keep Barack Obama from becoming president.

By David Weigel
Slate.com

If you want to stop Barack Obama from becoming president, there's still time. But you have to act right now. Go to RallyCongress.com, and you can be the 126,000th-odd American to demand "proof of citizenship" from the president-elect. Follow the instructions at WeMustBeHeard.com, and you can join a sit-in outside the Supreme Court of the United States, starting at 8 a.m. Friday, as the justices decide whether to consider a suit filed by aprofessional poker player that challenges the presidential eligibility of Obama, John McCain, and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero.

Can't make it to Washington, D.C.? Too bad—you missed your chance to FedEx a letter to the justices for only $10, sponsored by the venerable right-wing site (and Chuck Norris column outlet) WorldNetDaily. "There is grave, widespread and rapidly growing concern throughout the American public," writes WND Editor Joseph Farah, "that this constitutional requirement is being overlooked and enforcement neglected by state and federal election authorities."

Widespread? Rapidly growing? Who are these people? They're engaging in a new American political tradition: the quadrennial early-winter attempt to overturn presidential results by any means necessary.

It started, as all election madness seemed to, in 2000. As soon as it became clear that Al Gore had won the popular vote but might lose Florida's electoral votes, some liberal writers and activists argued for a constitutional path to victory: convince three Electoral College voters pledged to George W. Bush to switch their votes to Gore. The challenges lasted past the December Electoral College vote and into the January 2001 certification ceremony before a joint session of Congress, when members of the Congressional Black Caucus objected to the vote. They got nowhere because they needed a sponsor from the Senate to make it official. In 2005—after Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 made the 2001 protest famous—Sen. Barbara Boxer of California objected to the Ohio vote count, and the chambers divided for debate. Bush won anyway....(Click for remainder).

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Caroline Kennedy interested in NY Senate seat

By Devlin Barrett and Beth Fouhy
Associated Press via Yahoo News

WASHINGTON – Caroline Kennedy has spoken to New York's governor about the Senate seat that will come open when Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes secretary of state, and Kennedy and the governor are expected to meet as early as Saturday to discuss it further, according to people familiar with the conversation.

Kennedy reached out to Gov. David Paterson, who will pick someone to fill the seat for two years, according to a Democratic source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.

Two New York Democrats told The Associated Press that Kennedy and the governor are expected to meet privately to discuss the matter Saturday, when Paterson travels to Washington, D.C., for a dinner.

Kennedy is interested in the Senate appointment, said a person close to the Kennedy family.

Kennedy is the daughter of President John F. Kennedy and a niece of brothers Edward and Robert. Robert Kennedy held the New York seat from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. Edward Kennedy has been a senator from Massachusetts since 1963.

As a prominent member of the Kennedy clan, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is the kind of high-profile, historic figure who could overshadow many other New York politicians hoping to be Paterson's choice.

The governor has said he is in no rush to make a decision, and Clinton is not giving up the seat before she is confirmed as President-elect Barack Obama's secretary of state....(Click for remainder).

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