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November 2010

Nov 1  Going into tomorrow's congressional elections, Republican Party supporters and Tea Party activists are saying that they will "take our country back." Republican Party leadership is riding this wave. The attitude that they represent the whole of the American people has led them to promise no compromise in doing the people's business – as if the opinions of the rest of the nation – the president's supporters – do not matter. Some Republicans are portraying as dirty capitulation the kind of compromise that has been the usual way of doing business in legislatures. This absolutism portends political gridlock in Washington D.C. in 2011. The conservative columnist George Will welcomes it, saying yesterday on ABC television's "This Week" that, "When you have gridlock the system is working."

Nov 1  Dick Armey, spokesman for the Tea Party movement, holds a Ph.D. in economics. He knows how to differentiate interests and ideas between groups of people measured in percentages, but with a smile he tells the television cameras: "The American people have said...." Then he goes on to confuse his and Tea Party opinions with the electorate in general.

Nov 2  British authorities have announced that former Guantanamo detainee, Jabr Al-Faifi, gave the crucial tip-off that led to the discovery of the failed plot to send bombs by mail from Yemen to synagogues in Chicago. Mr Al-Faifi is a product of Saudi Arabia's rehabilitation program, and it is believed that he was working as an informant for Saudi intelligence in Yemen.

Nov 3  Elections return Republican Party politicians to power in the US House of Representatives, to take place in January. Republicans take power as governor in seven more states. Republicans promise that their policies will create jobs. (Stay tuned.) In California a referendum returns state budgets to passage by a simple majority. Californians defeat a referendum to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Nov 3  In the US the "mad as hell" and "take our country back" anti-Obama Tea Party movement wins some and loses some. Their biggest loss is Sharron Angle's failure to unseat the not very populur Harry Reid in Nevada. Their biggest win is in Kentucky, which will send Rand Paul to the US Senate. He replaces another Republican, Jim Bunning.

Nov 3  A woman, revjean1, tweets as follows: "So Bush craps all over America's floor & Obama gets slapped for not cleaning it up fast enough. Or have I read that wrong?"

Nov 3  The new majority leader-to-be, John Boehner, promises to listen "to the people." His ears tell him that "the people" are opposed to all tax increases. Today he says that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy.

Nov 4  Gallop polling has 27% answering that they are an "opponent" of the Tea Party movement and 26% answering that they "support" the movement.

Nov 5  Taliban in Pakistan continue the failed political strategy of blowing up fellow Muslims who don't support them. A suicide bomber strikes at a Mosque during Friday prayers, killing more than 70 people.

Nov 7  David Stockman, Reagan's Budget Director, on This Week argues with Republican Congressman Mike Pence against supply-side economics. Stockman favors higher taxes and cutting spending. He complains that the Republicans have "no track record of a willingness to take on the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, the scooter chair manufacturers, who are everywhere. We can't be the policemen of the world anymore because we can't afford it... And we're now becoming the banana republic finance, printing – the Fed, these mad men who are out of control at the Fed, are printing new money, equal to 100 percent of the debt that we're issuing each month. This will not end well. It's – it's going to end in a disaster."

Nov 8  Some Democrats are disappointed by President Obama's timidity – if not timidity, at least less forceful than Franklin Roosevelt. Yesterday on Sixty-Minutes, President Obama appeared contrite. He characterized the public's impatience and the expectation of a rapid full recovery and more as his failure. He added: "I think the Republicans were able to paint my governing philosophy as a classic, traditional, big government liberal. And that's not something that the American people want... I do get discouraged... I think there are things every day that I think about doing better."

Nov 9  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday that elections in Burma on the 7th – the first in 20 years – were “insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent.” President Obama described the elections as not being free or fair. Chinese newspapers urged Burma's military rulers to ignore the criticisms.

Nov 10  In England a student demonstration against rising university tuitions ends with the smashing and occupation of Conservative Party headquarters.

Nov 11  Among Palestinians in the West Bank an unknown young man who was posting anti-religion rants on the internet is tracked down. He is Walid Husayin, son of a barber described as a quiet young man, 26, who prayed regularly with his family. Apparently he found the internet a way to express his true feelings. The Associated Press reports that many in his town, Qalqiliya, "say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life."

Nov 14  A British Labour Party politician, Philip Woolas MP, on November 6 was found by judges to have made false statements during his campaign for re-election – a violation of the Representation of the People Act of 1983, section 106 of which makes it illegal to publish any false statement of fact in relation to another candidate's personal character or conduct. Woolas is challenging the court ruling. Meanwhile there has been no move by the US Congress for a similar law.

Nov 18  An Egyptian blogger, imprisoned for four years for insulting Islam and defaming President Hosni Mubarak, has been released. Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman is the first Egyptian convicted for blogging. People around the world protested, rallied and donated on behalf of Mr Soliman. Another blogger, Muhammad Mari, remains in the same Egyptian prison.

Nov 18  Eastern Kentucky Power Company (EKPC) responds to clean energy activists and cancels plans to build a new coal-fired power plant.

Nov 24  South Korea claims that it was "conducting usual military drills" and that its "test shots were aimed toward the west, not the north. North Korea responded to the drills with a 50-minute artillery barrage against a military base on a South Korean island, Yeonpyeong, next to the line that separates North Korea from South Korea. Two South Korean Marines on the military base are killed. North Korea calls the South its enemy and a puppet state. South Korea warns that another attack will bring retaliation.

Nov 25  The US and South Korea defiantly continue military exercises. South Koreans consider old rules regarding responses to the North as too passive. A spokesman for the government speaks of a flexible policy to keep the North Koreans guessing.

Nov 25  Brazil is having the gangster-youth problems plaguing other societies. In Rio de Janeiro police backed by armored vehicles take control after five days of clashes that have killed 30 people.

Nov 28  David Stockman, a conservative Republican, tells Fareed Zakaria that his party has turned trickle-down economics and no tax increases into a dogma and mantra. Stockman agrees with Warren Buffet that trickle-down economics does not work and that to save the economy the US will have to cut spending and raise taxes, especially on those who have gained much in wealth recently: the superwealthy. Regarding debt and the printing of money, Stockman warns of inflation and a collapse of the financial markets.

Nov 30  Anne Applebaum in her Washington Post column describes the latest Wikilinks publication of US "secret" and "confidential" diplomatic cables as seeming to strike another blow against "frank" speech. She writes: "Yet more ammunition has been given to those who favor greater circumspection, greater political correctness and greater hypocrisy."

to October 2010 | to December 2010

Video and Transcripts

George Will on "This Week," via Crooks and Liars

The Obama interview on Sixty Minutes

Copyright © 2010-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.