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Monday, Nov 24th

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Alex Baer: Aping Nuclear Wisdom with Monkey Business

monkey nuclearThe fun thing about humanity is that there's always something brand new to deliver ground-breaking terrors right to your front door. Sometimes it's a concept that rocks the boat or quakes the bedrock beneath us, Other times it's left to inventions, products, and gizmos to break the ground out from under us, pitching us into our self-made quagmires and quicksand.

As a bonus, we comfort ourselves by reassuring our consciences that there's never any direct charge for free delivery of such nightmares and broad-daylight terrors. Some part of us knows the delivery price is always worked into the cost, and then, we hope somebody else pays the cost -- and also pays the price.

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How Many Muslim Countries Has the U.S. Bombed Or Occupied Since 1980?

Muslim countries bombed by USBarack Obama, in his post-election press conference yesterday, announced that he would seek an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the new Congress, one that would authorize Obama’s bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria—the one he began three months ago.

If one were being generous, one could say that seeking congressional authorization for a war that commenced months ago is at least better than fighting a war even after Congress explicitly rejected its authorization, as Obama lawlessly did in the now-collapsed country of Libya.

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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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