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US foreign policy stalled on many fronts
Nov 15th, 2013 by Warren Swil

American initiatives

threatened by domestic

and foreign opposition

Secretary of State John Kerry is seeing US foreign policy crumble on many fronts.

IT MUST BE a miserable time to be the U.S. Secretary of State.
Top of the agenda American foreign policy initiatives are, at best, stalled. At worst, they are threatened by opposition both at home and abroad.
Talks with Iran over its nuclear weapons ambitions are coming apart amidst acrimonious charges of who is to blame and resolute opposition from Israel.
Attempts to get a peace process started in Syria are stymied by reluctant opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are threatened by new settlement plans and a vicious killing of an Israeli solder.
Further, a new trade agreement with 11 Asian-Pacific partners suffered two blows this week with opposition emerging in the U.S. Congress and publication of the secret text of a crucial part of the treaty by WikiLeaks.
John Kerry has more than a few headaches.


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Spying revelations continue to reverberate around the globe

EFFECTS ARE MORE INSIDIOUS THAN MANY BELIEVE
The vigorous and virtuous public debate over government spying sparked by the revelations of Edward Snowden continues to reverberate around the globe.
A weekend broadcast shows that the consequences of the intrusions on personal privacy are far more insidious and pervasive than most people realize.
The awareness that one’s hitherto private conversations are being monitored will have a dampening effect on the public discourse at every level.
It’s a sad testament indeed on the state of our society.


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NYT: Sitting on a story that might have changed the world

COURAGEOUS PUBLIC AIRING EXPLAINS MUCH, EXCUSES LITTLE
In a courageous – if overdue – explanation of one of the most enduring mysteries at The New York Times, the public editor on Sunday examined why the paper delayed publishing a vital story that might have influenced the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
The damage done by this regrettable episode is incalculable.
We and The New York Times can never measure the credibility lost but we can hope it has learned the lesson expressed in the last paragraph: it’s better to err on the side of disclosure.


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BOMBSHELL: Saudi Arabia could get nukes before Iran

BBC REPORTS ATOMIC WEAPONS READY FOR SHIPPING FROM PAKISTAN
In a stunning development that could change the balance of terror in the Middle East – and the world – it was reported that Saudi Arabia might be able to get atomic weapons before Iran.
While this development has drawn little attention in the U.S., it has received considerable play abroad, especially in Israel.
A Saudi Arabia with immediate access to atomic weapons would enormously complicate the delicate balance of terror in the Middle East and the world. It is a game changer, and deserves far more attention.


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Support grows for minimum wage increase

VOTERS IN NORTHWEST CITY LEAD THE PACK TO $15 AN HOUR
The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009 but states and even cities are moving far more aggressively past it.
One city in the state of Washington looks as if it may set a record with a $15 per hour minimum wage if the preliminary results of Tuesday election continue to hold as ballots are counted.
It is the right and decent thing to do. How can those fat cats in Washington oppose a decent living wage for hardworking Americans when they put in a three-day week for a six-figure salary?
They can’t.
They should not.


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‘CONTACT?’ Science fiction takes giant leap towards scientific fact

MAJOR ADVANCES REPORTED IN SEARCH FOR EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE
Science fiction took a giant step towards becoming scientific fact at a four-day conference of NASA’s Ames Research Laboratory in Northern California, which ended Thursday.
Scientists announced that hundreds of new earth-like planets have been observed.
In the annals of human history, finding another earth-like planet capable of supporting life will rank right at or above Neil Armstrong’s stroll on the moon in 1969.
The findings – extrapolated into the future – could have profound effects on the human condition as it becomes increasingly likely that we are not the only life forms in the galaxy.


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Secret trade pact could be bad for almost everyone (with video)

TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP ON FAST TRACK TO APPROVAL
A secret trade deal being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim nations including the United States rose to a prominent place in the public eye with a mysterious editorial in The New York Times on Wednesday.
The very secrecy shrouding the talks must make everyone suspicious that something nefarious is taking place that is not in the public interest.
It is time for a robust debate on the issue. The headlong rush to finalize the deal is wrong-headed and dangerous before a full public airing of the issues at stake.


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NSA SPYING: All you need to know about the threat to democracy

HIGH STAKES DEBATE OVER NATIONAL SECURITY STATE IS LONG OVERDUE
Stunning in-depth reports on the state of knowledge of the massive spying scandal were published over the weekend in The Guardian in the U.K. and The New York Times in America.
After reading and listening, one can only conclude that the national security state spawned after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks is out of control, deceiving its supposed overseers and itself a threat to democracy.
It is long past time that this debate rose to the top of the national agenda. Thanks to investigative journalism at its best, it seems to have done just that.


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ENDA: The time has come to ban bigotry

HISTORY IS ON THE SIDE OF EQUAL PROTECTION FOR LGBT FOLK
A federal ban on discrimination in employment against LGBT people suddenly gathered momentum on Monday.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has languished in obscurity until this week.
Suddenly, a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate seems within reach. But the prospect of a vote in the House of Representatives this year seems remote, at best.
The House may be like a troglodyte, but John Boehner is unlikely to be successful if he tries to stop the inevitable march of history.


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Healthcare reform’s most unlikely winner: India

COUNTRY’S PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY EYES VAST EXPANSION
The most surprising beneficiary of healthcare reform is not even in America.
India and its pharmaceutical industry is gearing up for a massive expansion as millions of new prescriptions are written for generic drugs covered under the new insurance policies.
But consumers and investors need to exercise considerable caution. It is not at all clear that imported generic drugs are safe and effective. It is even less clear which of the manufacturers have unblemished records.


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