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Friday, Dec 26th

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Alex Baer: It May Even Rain Later On This Year

gridlock in WashingtonAs predictions go, here's an easy one: I predict things will get factually bumpy where politicians are concerned. I also predict you'll detect today's Mystery Guest on Spot the Weasel, the game show that offers fabulous conundrums the longer you play!

Are you ready? From the time tunnel of 2009, Clue Number One: "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term." In case there was any confusion about the issue, there was additional clarification right away: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

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Alex Baer: Popping My Cork in Celebration

Popping a cork: Alex BaerFunny-peculiar (not funny-ha-ha) how often we humans get what we most fear.

Well, it's official, not that there was much doubt: A majority of the nation's voters are freewheeling into full-blown psychosis, handing off a fixing of the Senate to those who broke it in the first place, to those who moved heaven and earth to sit on their hands and do precisely nothing for years on end, save work on their skills with barricades, stalls, quashes, and stone-walling.

The pieces of our political system, the Senate-sized ones, be assured, will be pummeled and smashed into finer and finer bits -- the political version of road-gang prisoners making small rocks out of the big ones.

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Alex Baer: Armageddon Out of Here

TV coverageMoney makes decisions Sanity never would. Fear, too. This adage applies to an awful lot of things, most of them pretty awful -- like politics and Ebola. These are awful and also awe-filled, but not in a good way. The critical difference between politics and Ebola? It's possible to somewhat survive devastating, ignorant decisions by the country in politics, even Bush-league decisions. Ebola, on the other hand, starts at death, and goes downhill from there.

Both are bad systems, way out of control. Both operate in a wide range, anywhere from figuratively to literally lethal. Both score lower than body lice in approval ratings. Both clog up your TVs and radios. Plus, there are more similarities at fighting the two than you might first think.

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Bob Alexander: This Is Worse Than That

cowspiracyStop me if you know the answer to this one, “What is the one single industry destroying the planet more than any other?”

We all know the answer to that one … Right?

The fossil fuel industry, of course. And we feel completely helpless to stop the Drilling and the Fracking and the Mining. No matter what we do - we know Global Climate Change is here. It’s going to get worse, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

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Why American Exceptionalism Is Inherently Immoral

AmericaThe origins of the phrase “American exceptionalism” are not especially obscure. The French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, observing this country in the 1830s, said that Americans seemed exceptional in valuing practical attainments almost to the exclusion of the arts and sciences. The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, on hearing a report by the American Communist Party that workers in the United States in 1929 were not ready for revolution, denounced “the heresy of American exceptionalism.”

In 1996, the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset took those hints from Tocqueville and Stalin and added some of his own to produce his book American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. The virtues of American society, for Lipset -- our individualism, hostility to state action, and propensity for ad hoc problem-solving -- themselves stood in the way of a lasting and prudent consensus in the conduct of American politics.

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Bob Alexander: The Clown Behind the Monster is a Monster

monster clownOnce upon a time there was a thoroughly mediocre man. He was incapable of finishing secondary or vocational school. By age 22, he found some small success as a salesman. He lived with his parents when not on the road making sales calls. Eventually he lost interest in the job, his performance dropped, and he was fired.

On the advice of his father’s friend he joined a political party. He didn’t join out of any sense of conviction. He didn’t even know the party’s platform. He just wanted the sense of being part of something - of belonging. When the party came into power he saw it as his best chance at some sort of success.

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Greenwald: Canada, At War For 13 Years, Shocked That ‘A Terrorist’ Attacked Its Soldiers

Canadian PMIn Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau.” One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police upon apprehension after allegedly brandishing a large knife.

Police speculated that the incident was deliberate, alleging the driver waited for two hours before hitting the soldiers, one of whom was wearing a uniform. The incident took place in the parking lot of a shopping mall 30 miles southeast of Montreal, “a few kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the military academy operated by the Department of National Defence.”

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