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SPYING SCANDAL: Revelations in France add to US woes
Oct 23rd, 2013 by Warren Swil

European Union far ahead

in protecting private data

as new intrusions mount

The President of France Francois Hollande got a phone call from President Obama. Click image to enlarge.

THE REVELATIONS ABOUT the extent of US government spying on individuals and officials throughout the world keep coming.
The latest embarrassment appeared Monday in the French newspaper Le Monde, where Glenn Greeenwald – who has reported widely on the other scandals – revealed massive monitoring of French citizens and government officials.
This prompted a phone call by President Obama to the president of France.
But the European Union is way ahead of America in recognizing the right to privacy – and doing something about protecting it.
A new set of rules is moving swiftly through the approval process that will make it far harder to pry into the personal communications of the citizens of the 28 member countries of the EU.
America, it seems, is moving in the opposite direction.


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OBAMACARE: Doomsayer’s prognostications are premature

NEW HEALTHCARE SYSTEM FLAWED BUT CAN BE FIXED
Now that attention has shifted from the disastrous government shutdown, the problems with the rollout part of the Affordable Care Act reforms are coming into full view.
In fact, the problems are a sign of Obamacare’s success, not its failure. The demand for health insurance has been so great it overwhelmed the system.
The next few weeks will be critical, but the “can-do” approach of the president on Monday is what is needed and what seems to be forthcoming. The problems will be fixed, and come January 1 millions more Americans will have affordable health insurance for the first time.
It is a welcome development.


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As debt ceiling cliff nears, global fallout under way

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS LIKELY TO FOLLOW DEFAULT
As the United States stumbles through the government shutdown towards the debt-ceiling crisis, the potential catastrophic effects are already causing ripples – political and economic – around the globe.
But House Republicans are not watching the oncoming light of the speeding train heading down the tracks towards all of us.
If they don’t pay attention to reopening the government so they can move past it to derail the debt ceiling crisis, all bets are off. The consequences are almost too terrible to contemplate.


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Showdown over shutdown could split Republican Party

DISSENT GROWS WITHIN GOP AS PUBLIC ANGER MOUNTS
Signs are emerging in a number of quarters that the radial fringe group of Republicans in the House of Representatives that deliberately caused all the unnecessary suffering is itself beginning to feel the heat.
With each passing day that the U.S. government remains shuttered, the internal pressures straining the Republican Party will mount as the American public grows increasingly disenchanted with its performance.
As long as the president and his party stay firm and refuse to negotiate such a fundamental issue as running the country properly, the chances of a split in the GOP will rise.
And that is good news for everyone.


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As US clout wanes in Middle East, threats mount (with video)

ISRAEL WEIGHS ATTACK IF IRAN DOESN’T HALT NUKE PROGRAM
For months, Israeli officials and media have been warning that Iran is on the threshold of attaining a nuclear capability.
It is no surprise that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is keeping all his options on the table. The only question remains how long Israeli patience will last. If diplomacy drags on for too long, an Israeli strike against Iran becomes ever more likely.
That would be a development with unknown but serious global repercussions.


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Obama Administration fights back on health care reform

PRESIDENT LAUNCHES PR OFFENSIVE TO DEFLECT CRITICISM
The White House has launched a major public relations campaign to counter the opposition to the president’s signature accomplishment in office, reform of the nation’s healthcare system.
It doesn’t come a moment too soon.
Recent opinion polls show approval of the president’s performance slipping to a two-year low.
The president is going to have to show uncommon leadership and tireless energy to reverse this trend.


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US foreign policy at crossroads: public has no appetite for conflict

OBAMA INHERITS DEBRIS LEFT BY BUSH WARS AND SCANDALS
President Obama has a huge foreign policy problem.
At home and abroad, he is facing stiff headwinds. But they are not of his own making.
After the disastrous Bush/Cheney foreign policy, it is no wonder Americans are tired of foreign misadventures and wary of any involvement in what seem to be intractable problems engulfing the Middle East.
The president will have to use all of the power and prestige of his office over the coming months to bring the American people on board with his program of constructive, diplomatic intervention.


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World watching as UN General Assembly begins

REALLY IMPORTANT ACTION MAY COME BEHIND THE SCENES
It has been widely reported that President Obama and the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, are hoping to arrange a “casual encounter” … or perhaps even a formal meeting.
Rouhani won Iran’s presidential poll in June, promising reform and to put an end to Iran’s international isolation.
Indeed, whether it’s a formal meeting or a “chance” encounter in the hallway, any face-to-face meeting between the two leaders will mark an historic breakthrough.
Will a new chapter in the frosty relations be opened?
Stay tuned for breaking news bulletins.


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Health care reform debate to reach fever pitch

PUBLIC OPINION WAVERS AS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN LOOMS
The battle over health care reform will reach fever pitch this week as Republicans in Congress tie repeal of it to a possible shutdown of the federal government.
President Obama’s signature accomplishment in office is not enormously popular with the American public.
As the debate deepens and the shutdown deadline looms, we can expect more heat than light.
It can only be hoped that the sane members of Congress prevail and keep funding the federal government as reform is rolled out fully over the next six months.


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Obama expected to nominate Yellen as new Fed chief

HER SELECTION WOULD BE GOOD POLITICS, GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY
Blog note: This was originally posted Sept. 23. .

President Obama is expected to name – as early as Monday – Janet Yellen as his nominee to head the Federal Reserve Bank.
Yellen, seen as widely supported among the cognoscenti, would make an excellent choice.
It would be smart politics and the right thing for the economy – assuming the radical right-wingers don’t destroy it first by shutting down the federal government.


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