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Week in Review: U.S. Troops in Iraq Home by Holidays, Cain Declares Homosexuality a Choice, American Cities Face Bankruptcy

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President Obama announces U.S. troops in Iraq will be home by the holidays, Herman Cain declares homosexuality is a choice, Qaddafi dies, last moments captured in a riveting & revolting video, Europe struggles to staunch economic bleeding while American cities seek bankruptcy relief.

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Obama Announces U.S. Troops in Iraq will be Home by the Holidays                                                                                     

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he was ordering all American soldiers currently stationed in Iraq to return to the U.S by the Christmas holidays.  The Iraq War has been fought for nearly 9 years, the second longest war in American history that resulted in 4,400 U.S. deaths and 103,000 to 112,000 civilian fatalities, according to Iraq Body Count. Obama’s decision, which he called  a “promise kept” was made much easier to deliver as the Iraqi government refused to extend immunity to American soldiers, a non-starter for the Administration. A contingent of military trainers could be in the offing, however.

 

 Qaddafi Captured Alive, Likely Executed by Libyan Rebels in the Sands of  Surt

Reports that Muammar Qaddafi had been shot and was injured began breaking around 8:15 a.m. EST on Thursday morning.  During the next 20 minutes, media reports indicated that Qaddafi had been captured and was perhaps mortally wounded. A photo taken via a mobile phone began moving on the wires, depicting a ghostly looking and bloodied Qaddafi, surrounded by raucous Libyan rebels. By 9 a.m. Reuters and BBC were reporting Qaddafi was dead. The Qadaffi “dead’ video was initially broadcast by Al-Jazzera, to the consternation of some media critics. But this writer believes the American media, in particular, has gone to such lengths to not offend Americans, that  it has in effect wrongly sanitized the depravity of war. Perhaps it was the right time to show war’s dehumanization.  This video portrayed, perhaps, the last minutes of Qaddafi’s life and reflects the deep well of pent-up rage, unleashed in retribution upon him by those who suffered beyond any measure, during his 42-years of despotic rule.

 

NATO Announces the End of the Libyan War on Facebook

After Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril of Libya’s National Transitional Council confirmed Qaddafi’s capture, who Jibril later said was killed in a cross fire, NATO wasted no time in announcing it would be winding down its air campaign effort, by the end of October, including an announcement to recommend its end, by Admiral James Stavridis, its chief military officer on Facebook, arguably a first in world history.

Doubts About Account of Qaddafi’s death; UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Investigation

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights announced on Friday that its special committee on Libya would investigate the circumstances of Qaddafi’s death due to conflicting reports on how he died. The video, which he called “disturbing” showed Qaddafi alive and in the custody of Libyan rebels, who were roughly pushing him around.  Libyan NTC member Waheed Burshan, echoed UN doubts over the exact circumstances of  Qaddafi’s death and supported an investigation, raising questions over earlier claims by Prime Minister Jibril, that the deposed leader had been killed in crossfire.

UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Denounces Use of Unmanned Drones and Targeted Killings

As the Libyan war reached its final moments on Thursday, Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial Killings, made veiled allegations against the United States for its stepped up use of unmanned drone aircraft, in Pakistan and Libya (indeed Spencer Ackerman, aka “Attackerman,” reported that the Pentagon dropped bombs on Qaddafi’s convoy on Thursday, before he was killed.) In his presentation on targeted killings to the General Assembly, Heyns said the “current use of drones and raids into countries where there is not a recognized armed conflict to kill an opponent, as in Pakistan or Yemen, is highly problematic…The use of such methods by some States to eliminate opponents in countries around the world raises the question why other States should not engage in the same practices. The danger is one of a global war without borders, in which no one is safe.” Drones have been used by the U.S. in Yemen as well, which targeted and executed Anwar Al-wlaqi and Osama Bin Laden was executed by a U.S. Navy Seal Team in Pakistan.  These tactics have been defended by Attorney General Eric Holder and Harold Koh, the State Department’s Legal Advisor. His full statement can be read here.

U.S. Deploys 100 Special Forces Troops to Uganda to Confront Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

While Uganda is currently known for its pursuit to legally execute known homosexuals, it’s long history of violence, perhaps unknown to many Americans, is epitomized by the banal, destructive actions of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) against children in Northern Uganda.  The LRA  originated in Uganda in 1987 as an armed resistance to the government, but has since become a violent ridden militia that operates not only in Northern Uganda, but also in South Sudan.  The Christian and animist African theologically based militant group  has terrorized Uganda’s neighbors, including the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Kony has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. This past week, President Obama ordered 100 Special Forces into Uganda to assist the government in confronting Kony and his thugs, an action that many human rights advocates and groups are quietly applauding.

Eurozone Crisis Continues, Leaders Fail to Achieve Self Imposed Deadline Today

European leaders met in Brussels today, marking its 13th summit  in 21 months about the European sovereign debt crisis due to Greece’s fiscal insolvency that began in 2009, claiming they moved forward on addressing the crisis, yet deciding not to tap funds from the European Central Bank, ultimately to aid in the bailout of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (known as the PIIGS), preventing a global economic calamity.  The meeting has generated new pressure on Italy’s Prime Minister Silvia Berlusconi to cut debt, enabling Italy to receive bailout funds.  The bailout fund is expected to reach 1.2 to 1.4 trillion Euros, according to Irene Finel-Honigman, a financial expert and faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

National

Republican Presidential Contest Low lights:  Herman Cain’s Declares Homosexuality is a Choice –Dan Savage Challenges Cain:  “Prove it!”

This writer has stubbornly resisted reporting on the Republican presidential contest, but could not resist this week when Herman Cain announced his intolerance and bigotry toward LGBT Americans during an appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan, when he declared that homosexuals choose to  be gay and thus can revert to being heterosexuals, just like changing one’s clothing.  He retorted by stating his race as proof of bona fide minority status: “I was born Black… this doesn’t wash off” during his offensive remarks. The New Civil Rights Movement forum reported it all, including Dan Savage’s public challenge to Cain in a letter demanding he prove it.  Thus far, no response from Cain.  Perhaps GetEQUAL may take up the task of following Cain around on the campaign trail?

Republican Party Finalizes Early Primary Caucus Dates

The Republican Party’s primary and caucus schedule that has been expected to begin in January 2012 had been, until recently up-in-the-air, until Nevada finally conceded the first Republican  primary date back to New Hampshire by announcing it would hold its primary on Feb. 4.  New Hampshire will remain the first primary in the nation when the Granite State voters go to the  election polls on January 10.  Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for January 4, the first ones in the country.  South Carolina will be the second primary on January 21.  Florida’s primary’s date was recently set for January 31, defying Republican Party rules.

Michelle Bachmann’s New Hampshire Staff Quits on Friday

Michelle Bachmann’s New Hampshire staff quit in a unified walk-off, including the state director on Friday, although Bachmann feigned ignorance of their departure.  Reports from Politico.com indicate that they had not been paid in a month. The Bachmann Southern New Hampshire director Caroline Gigler, jumped to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign, according to a report in the National Journal. Bachmann had difficulty explaining the disarray in her campaign from the stump in Iowa today.

Rhode Island Going Bankrupt, while other U.S. Cities Struggle with Insolvency                                                                                                                        

During the past year, three U.S. cities have become increasingly insolvent, due to short falls in their budgets as tax revenues have dramatically dropped due to long-term unemployment.  In late August, Central Falls, Rhode Island  applied for bankruptcy and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, joined them last week, as both cities have been unable to cover payroll and pension costs for retirees.

Rhode Island is facing a steep downturn in tax revenues, saddled by 10.5 percent unemployment, and perhaps poor management, it is now challenged to cover a  $14.8 billion pension system that demands  payment of ten cents from every state tax dollar to cover the outlay of pension checks.

Hamtramck, Michigan asked for permission to apply for bankruptcy in November 2010, when it had a cash short-fall and would not be able to cover the salaries of its 155 employees.  But the Michigan State Treasury department forbid it to file, despite its serious cash short fall.  It has continued to struggle since then, finally applying for a $2.5 million loan from the state that can cover its expenses through June 2012.

Just last week, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital, filed for bankruptcy, which follows Central Falls, Rhode Island, who became the first city in the United States to apply for bankruptcy in August 2011, due to pension outlays that the city decided it just could not cover.   However, Harrisburg’s mayor, the state’s governor and a state senator, declared the capital city’s action illegal and unlawful.  Nonetheless, the city attorney filed papers in federal court.  Harrisburg has turned to the State of Pennsylvania for relief several times in the past year, including a $4.3 million bailout.

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Anathema to the Soul of Our Nation’: Trump Pilloried for Demanding ‘Termination’ of the US Constitution

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The White House on Saturday afternoon responded to former President Donald Trump’s demand for the “termination” of the United States Constitution over non-existent “fraud and deception” in American elections, which he continues to claim cost him the presidency in 2020 and that he is expecting Republicans to embrace in his 2024 reelection campaign.

Trump wrote on his struggling fake Twitter app Truth Social:

ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!!

Trump followed up with:

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

He went on to add:

UNPRECEDENTED FRAUD REQUIRES UNPRECEDENTED CURE!

I wonder what Mitch McConnell, the RINOS, and all of the weak Republicans who couldn’t get the Presidential Election of 2020 approved and out of the way fast enough, are thinking now?

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the elections of 2022, or 2020, or any other major historical contest, let alone that which was pervasive enough to affect the results. And the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next – which Trump has attempted to upend through his lies and ultimately by mounting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 – is a key tenet that holds the American democratic experiment intact.

White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser for Strategic Response Andrew Bates touched on those points in a statement:

The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together – regardless of party – and elected leaders swear to uphold it. It’s the ultimate monument to all of the Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their powers and trampled on constitutional rights. Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned. You cannot love America only when you win.

The Democratic National Committee also fired back at Trump, as reported by Politico:

Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes in 2020 and his calls to undermine our democracy cost his party key races in 2022. The continued silence by Republican leaders, including his potential primary competitors, shows a MAGA party that is beholden to Trumpism, his divisive rhetoric, and his extreme positions.

Democratic lawmakers denounced Trump as well.

Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted:

Days after Trump dined with men who praise Hitler and the Nazis, he demands the ‘termination’ of the Constitution’s electoral process so he can be illegally reinstated. Trump’s words and actions are unacceptable, they stoke hatred and political violence, and they are dangerous. Every Member of Congress swore an oath to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Donald Trump has openly declared himself an enemy of the Constitution, and Republicans must repudiate him.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz said:

Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution and it is the final straw for zero republicans, especially the ones who call themselves ‘constitutional conservatives.

New York Representative Richie Torres noted that “January 6 was Donald Trump’s attempt at terminating the US Constitution. He’s a repeat offender.”

California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who regularly faces death threats, stated that “every congressional reporter should demand responses from Congressional Republicans about Donald Trump’s call for the Constitution to be terminated … how many of them called themselves ‘Constitutional conservatives’ during the Obama years???”

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said that “Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution to overturn the 2020 results. Georgia VOTE. You stood tall against Trump and his minions last time. A win for [incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael] Warnock is another win for democracy.”

While outrage over Trump’s “truth” was not exclusive to the left, few on the right have stepped up to rebuke Trump. One exception, however, was ex-United Nations Ambassador and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who posted that “no American conservative can agree with Donald Trump’s call to suspend the Constitution because of the results of the 2020 election. And all real conservatives must oppose his 2024 campaign for president.”

 

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‘Big Whop’: Even Right-Wing Critics Are Slamming Elon Musk’s ‘Underwhelming’ Hunter Biden Twitter Escapade

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Right-wing Twitter users are weighing in to express their disapproval of the so-called bombshell “Twitter files” Elon Musk promised to deliver on Friday, December 2.

According to The Daily Beast, Musk was set to address Twitter’s decision to implement a policy that would restrict headlines and reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop from circulating on the social media platform. However, the leak ended up being a failure for many right-wing experts.

Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing radio host who previously served under the Trump administration, offered a critical response to Musk’s release after journalist Matt Taibbi shared a full Twitter thread about the findings.

READ MORE: Trump plotted to trade Mar-a-Lago files for ‘sensitive documents’ about his 2016 campaign Russia ties: report

“So far, I’m deeply underwhelmed,” Gorka said, adding, “We know the Dems in DC collude with the Dems in Palo Alto [Califonia]. Big Whop.”

He went on to reiterate his arguments when grilled by his far-right followers who were convinced that Musk’s Twitter files were some kind of “smoking gun.”

Per the news outlet: “Responding to a user claiming the Twitter company emails were ‘a clear violation of the 1st Amendment,’ the radio host fired back: ‘Err no, it’s not the DNC asking a private company to censor has nothing to do with the First Amendment.’”

Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, New York Post columnist Miranda Devine also disapproved of the release. “I feel that Elon Musk has held back some material,” she alleged. According to The Beast, Devine also claimed: “sinister forces were perhaps controlling Musk after the Twitter chief took a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier in the week.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio: ‘Not a crime’ to break federal law by taking top secret national security documents from the White House

She added, “In particular, there’s a tweet in which Matt Taibbi says he hasn’t seen any evidence that law enforcement specifically warned off Twitter from our story. But that’s just not correct.”

Free Beacon reporter Joe Simonson also echoed similar sentiments on Twitter. “Twitter files [are] underwhelming so far,” Simonson tweeted. “Just revealing what we already knew: Twitter was staffed by democrats who did the bidding of Democrats.”

READ MORE: Lauren Boebert to file defamation lawsuit against PAC claiming that she was once a ‘paid escort’: report

 

Image by Daniel Oberhaus (2018) via Flickr and a CC license

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'HELPING NORMALIZE A NAZI'

Musk’s Twitter Is ‘Welcoming With Open Arms’ a ‘Full-Fledged Nazi’ – and Recommending Users Follow Him: Reports

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Elon Musk‘s Twitter on Friday allowed Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi behind the infamous Daily Stormer website to return to the social media platform after a nine-year ban. Several Twitter users reported the social media platform is now recommending they follow him.

“Anglin has publicly indicated that the goal of his operation and adherence to white nationalist ideology is to ‘ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government. Many people also believe that the Jews should be exterminated,'” reported Rolling Stone on Friday. “Anglin is a staunch supporter of Nazi ideology and regularly espouses Holocaust denail. In 2018, Anglin wrote that he ‘[hates] women. I think they deserve to be beaten, raped and locked in cages.'”

WUSA 9 investigative reporter Jordan Fischer tweeted a screenshot of the Twitter recommendation.

READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

As did other Twitter users.

Last month veteran journalist Nick Martin, who investigates hate and extremism, reported that “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene shared a thread calling on Elon Musk to reinstate an array of racists, conspiracy theorists and serial harassers. The list includes fugitive neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, white supremacist David Duke and British neo-Nazi Mark Collett.”

At the top of that list is Milo Yiannopoulos, a right wing extremist and provocateur who has advocated for older men having sex with underaged teen boys. Yiannopoulos is also Greene’s intern who was reportedly part of the Kanye WestNick Fuentes dinner with Donald Trump.

“Andrew Anglin is the founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, which takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as Der Stürmer,” the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported. “True to that vintage, Anglin is infamous for the crudity of his language and his thinking, a contrast to his sophistication as a prolific internet troll and serial harasser. Anglin’s organizing and harassment on the Daily Stormer led to lawsuits, and courts have awarded millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs suing Anglin in recent years. But with his whereabouts unknown, Anglin has so far escaped full accountability for his actions.”

READ MORE: 15-Year Old Campaigning Door-to-Door for Raphael Warnock Shot Through Door– ‘No Indication’ Politically Motivated: Police

Indeed, just last month a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Anglin, who is “accused of ignoring a $14 million judgment against him for orchestrating an antisemitic harassment campaign against a Montana woman’s family,” The Billings Gazette had reported.

SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah responded to Anglin’s return to Twitter by reminding him he still owes him “$4.1 million dollars for sending your Nazis to kill me. Do you have the $?! I want to donate it groups that counter the very hate you spew!”

“Musk is helping normalize a Nazi,” he adds.

Amy Spitalnick, the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA) called Anglin “a full-fledged Nazi who runs the Daily Stormer and, among many other things, was found liable for the Charlottesville violence in our lawsuit. A perfect example of the vile, violent extremists Musk is welcoming with open arms.”

Image: Elon Musk, photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr

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