What’s Up: November 12, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· PICKET: Companies plan massive layoffs as Obamacare becomes reality

Freedom Works has put together a list of companies that will be laying off employees as a result of President Barack Obama’s health care law:

Welch Allyn

Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years. One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.

Dana Holding Corp.

As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”. After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come. The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.

Stryker

One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December. Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific

In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company. Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.

Medtronic

In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs. That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.

Others

A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:

Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs

Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs

Covidien – 595 layoffs

Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs

St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs

Hill Rom – 200 layoffs

Beyond the complete elimination of a significant number of American jobs is another looming problem created by the health care law – a shift from full-time to part-time workers. Story Continued:

· James Carville Says 80% Of Democrats Are Politically CluelessOctober 16, 2012 — RESPECTED DEMOCRAT OPERATIVE SPILLS HIS GUTS ON WHAT HE THINKS OF HIS PARTY

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James Carville, Democrat political consultant extraordinaire – and former Bill Clinton campaign manager, has astonishingly come out and said what all good Republicans have known for decades: Not only are most Democrats politically clueless; they’re easily manipulated by the puppet masters of their party as well. Wow. James Freaking Carville. Of all people. Here’s an excerpt, as quoted on Amazon.com:

“Ideologies aren’t all that important. What’s important is psychology.

The Democratic constituency is just like a herd of cows. All you have to do is lay out enough silage and they come running. That’s why I became an operative working with Democrats. With Democrats all you have to do is make a lot of noise, lay out the hay, and be ready to use the ole cattle prod in case a few want to bolt the herd.

Eighty percent of the people who call themselves Democrats don’t have a clue as to political reality.

What amazes me is that you could take a group of people who are hard workers and convince them that they should support social programs that were the exact opposite of their own personal convictions. Put a little fear here and there and you can get people to vote any way you want.

The voter is basically dumb and lazy. The reason I became a Democratic operative instead of a Republican was because there were more Democrats that didn’t have a clue than there were Republicans.

Truth is relative. Truth is what you can make the voter believe is the truth. If you’re smart enough, truth is what you make the voter think it is. That’s why I’m a Democrat. I can make the Democratic voters think whatever I want them to.”

Bingo. I couldn’t have written that for ol’ James any better myself. Truth be told, I’ve always had kind of a love-hate relationship with Carville. While I’ve never agreed with him on much of anything – unless he was commenting on the failures of his party, which unlike most political operatives, he’s not been afraid to do through the years – this is different. This amounts to a total confession of what I define in the right sidebar of this blog as the quintessential “political lie”:

Liberals saying things they know aren’t true for the sole purpose of exploiting the “less-than-informed” for political gain. Story Continued:

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· Utah company blames Pres. Obama for 102 workers laid off

EAST CARBON, Carbon County — A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.

The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.

The layoffs are necessary because of the president’s “war on coal,” the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down “204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014” and for drastically reducing the market for coal.

“There is nowhere to sell our coal, and when we can, the market prices are far lower,” the statement said. “Without markets, there can be no coal mines and no coal jobs.”

Coal demand from U.S. power generation companies is down 17 percent this year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s most recent figures. That’s due in large part to low market prices for natural gas, and has the EIA forecasting the lowest coal consumption in at least two decades by the nation’s electricity industry.

Trends in power generation have also put coal-fired plants at a higher risk for retirement. In its annual Energy Outlook, the EIA reports that 49 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity will be retired in the next eight years. That represents about one-sixth of the existing coal capacity in the nation and less than 5 percent of total electricity generation in the U.S.

“Lower natural gas prices, higher coal prices, slower economic growth, and the implementation of environmental rules all play a role in the retirements,” the EIA report states. Story Continued:

· Ok, You Won… Now Pay Up! Jared BernsteinFmr. Obama administration economist; CNBC and MSNBC contributor

There are interesting, challenging, and portentous political economy issues in play right now, and unless you’re taking a well-deserved post-election vacation from such matters, they’re worth your attention.

For example, there’s the question of whether the upper-income Bush tax cuts will finally sunset. This was a clear platform of the president’s campaign… in fact, it may have been the policy point he hit the hardest and most consistently. And significant shares of voters agree (about half support the upper-income expirations, and even more recognize the need for more revenue.)

Republicans and their proxies, however, argue that the fact that they held the House was America’s way of saying they don’t want to see any tax increases. This is wrong, based on not just the above poll results but many other polls that preceded the vote, not to mention the fact that Tuesday’s results decidedly favored Democrats. But it’s predictable. The Republicans, virtually all of whom have pledged away tax policy to Grover Norquist, would make this argument no matter what the outcome was.

It’s also — and this is important — the case that the expiration of the upper-income cuts wouldn’t hurt the economy, a very common and consistent result across economic analyses.

Earlier we had a good conversation over at MSNBC with Martin Bashir on these matters. Like I say at the end of the segment, I keep running into this Republicans argument: “Ok, you won… now here are our demands.”

That’s some serious chutzpah. Of course, I understand and support the need for compromise. As the president emphasized in his victory speech, if we can work together we can solve this thing. But remember, we’ve already cut $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade. Majorities rejected the Romney/Ryan/Norquist position, recognizing that a) there’s an important role for an amply funded federal government, and b) we can’t get there on spending cuts alone.

Sure, we’re a closely divided country. But the more I pore through election results, the more I think there’s a lot of people out there who understand the economic dynamics and needs of the country a lot better than House Republicans. So stick to your plan, Mr. President, and let’s see what unfolds. Story Continued:

· Rachel Maddow On ‘Colbert Report’: Election Was Day ‘When The Facts Have A Liberal Bias’ – Stephen Colbert has a new nickname for Rachel Maddow’s show: “conservative dream killing machine.”

The MSNBC host appeared on Thursday’s “Colbert Report,” where she reflected on President Obama’s victory and her network’s coverage of the election. When asked if she’s gotten any sleep since Tuesday, Maddow replied, “No, I haven’t.” She said that she was exhausted two days after staying up all night. “I can’t think. I’m very tired,” she told Colbert.

He asked her to describe the reaction inside MSNBC when NBC News called the election for Obama. “When Ohio went, we were not expecting it,” Maddow recalled.

“The people at Fox seemed more freaked out than you guys seemed elated,” Colbert remarked. “Why weren’t you doing the end zone dance?”

“I think the difference between the two sides is that the right talked themselves into the idea that it was going to be a Romney landslide based on, I don’t know,” Maddow replied. She said that people like Karl Rove had projected a Romney win based on “enthusiastic crowds” and their “gut” feelings.

“Turned out to be a bad way to predict the election,” she said.

Later, Colbert turned to her show, which he called a “conservative dream killing machine.”

“I don’t want to kill anyone’s dreams,” Maddow said, laughing, “But I do feel like there’s an important role to play in disabusing people of their fantasies that do not comport with what’s going on in the real world.”

Then, referring to her epic post-election rant, she added that the events of Tuesday night pleased liberals without any spin. “This is one of those days when the facts have a liberal bias,” she said. Story Continued:

· The War on Women Backfires by Michelle Goldberg Nov 9, 2012 4:02 PM EST

The GOP thought it could get away with endless attacks on the fairer sex. They could not have been more wrong. How rape, abortion, and contraception led to Republicans’ resounding defeat.

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In the days leading up to the election, conservative pundits seemed confident that Democrats had overplayed the idea of a Republican “war on women”—and equally confident that women would not turn in fury against the GOP when Election Day came. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, noted interpreter of the female soul, wrote that Obama’s “paternalistic pitch assumes that … Democrats—especially male Democrats—win when they run as protectors of the sexual revolution, standing between their female constituents and the Todd Akins of the Republican Party.” That conceit, he argued, “is probably wrong.” On voting day, Janice Crouse of the evangelical Concerned Women for America published a piece titled “Obama’s War on Women Rhetoric Backfires Heading Into Election,” claiming that “women now prefer Romney 56 percent to 40 percent Obama.”

Then the results came in. It quickly became clear that women hadn’t just reelected the president–they’d dealt a historic blow to the religious right, helped put a record number of women in the Senate, and become the heart of a new governing coalition. According to CNN exit polls, women made up 53 percent of the electorate, and they went for Obama by 11 points. (Romney, meanwhile, won men by 7.) According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, it was the second-largest gender gap in American history, exceeded only by the 1996 electorate. Because of women’s votes, Republicans lost two Senate seats they once seemed certain to win–Missouri and Indiana–after their candidates made shocking comments about rape, pregnancy, and abortion. Among some conservatives, a realization has begun to set in that they need to start winning over women or get used to being a permanent minority party. Writing in National Review Online, the Independent Women’s Forum’s Carrie Lukas admitted that she’d been wrong in assuming that the “war on women” frame wouldn’t work: “This should be a wakeup call for everyone on the right.”

In fact, never before in American history have women—and particularly liberal women—held so much power, both as voters and as politicians. There will be 20 women in the next Senate—hardly parity, but still a record. (Of the five new female senators elected Nov. 6, four are Democrats.) Perhaps the night’s biggest upset came in the North Dakota Senate race, where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp beat Tea Party favorite Rick Berg, who in September was given an 80 percent chance of victory by polling savant Nate Silver. Also prevailing were Elizabeth Warren, the first female senator from Massachusetts, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, the country’s first lesbian senator.

There were so many female firsts on election night that it was sometimes hard to keep up. Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono will be the first Asian-American woman in the Senate. Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in a helicopter crash in Iraq, became the first disabled female veteran elected to Congress. (She defeated the bombastic Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh, who recently made news for arguing that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life.) New Hampshire is sending the country’s first-ever all-female congressional delegation to Washington; the state also elected a Democratic woman governor, Maggie Hassan.

Several of the states where women triumphed had particularly large gender gaps—in New Hampshire, for example, Obama lost the male vote by 4 points but won the female vote by 16. It’s a safe bet that it was these same women voters who’ve turned the state into a political matriarchy. But the influence women exercised on this year’s results goes beyond electing female representation. Women voters proved that politicians cannot threaten their rights with impunity. We don’t yet know the precise influence that issues like equal-pay legislation, abortion, and birth control had on the electorate. Women are more liberal than men on a whole range of issues, including the strength of the safety net, and would likely have broken for Obama even if reproductive rights had played less of a role in the race.

Elizabeth Warren is now the first female senator from Massachusetts, one of the year’s many firsts for women. (Gretchen Ertl / Reuters-Landov)

Still, the massive gender gap vindicates the president’s strategy of making issues like support for Planned Parenthood and insurance coverage for contraception central to his campaign. All modern Democratic presidential candidates run as defenders of Roe v. Wade, but Obama was unique in foregrounding women’s health, turning Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and Georgetown Law graduate Sandra Fluke into major campaign surrogates. Some Democrats worried that he’d gone too far, particularly after a line about making abortion “safe, legal, and rare”—a formulation coined by Bill Clinton—was left out of the 2012 platform. It turns out, though, that a great many women responded to a candidate who defended their rights without hesitation or apology.

It helped, of course, that the Democrats had such radical foils. The decline of the Republican establishment and corresponding rise of the base has pushed the party rightward on abortion and contraception just as it has on many other issues. Though the GOP has been the party of the anti-abortion movement since the age of Ronald Reagan, in the past its leaders have worked hard not to scare moderate women. George W. Bush was firmly opposed to reproductive choice, but he generally spoke of promoting a “culture of life” rather than making abortion illegal. When he discussed his abhorrence of the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision, in-the-know anti-abortion activists understood him to be making an analogy to Roe v. Wade, but most voters simply heard a denunciation of a racist stain on American history.

Similarly, the political arm of the anti-abortion movement used to be subtler. During the Clinton administration, remember, its big push was for a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, a late-term procedure that even many pro-choice activists find deeply disturbing, if sometimes tragically necessary. The idea then was to erode abortion rights around the edges while awaiting the day Roe could be overturned.

A new generation of activists has now rebelled against this incremental approach, insisting instead that every fertilized egg be treated as a legal human being. As these new activists joined with the Tea Party wave to gain power in the Republican Party, they jettisoned compromisers in favor of purists. Thus Todd Akin won the Missouri Senate nomination only to be undone after introducing the phrase “legitimate rape” into the political lexicon. (According to an Associated Press exit poll, a “solid majority” of voters said they considered Akin’s comment when making their decision, and those who did so “overwhelmingly” voted for Democrat Claire McCaskill.) Similarly, Richard Mourdock defeated establishment Sen. Dick Lugar in a primary only to lose to Democrat Joe Donnelly after claiming that when rape victims are impregnated, that’s “something God intended happen.”

When Republicans lose elections, conservatives usually claim that it’s because they were too moderate, and on Wednesday, several right-wing leaders held a D.C. press conference to make that case. “Voters overwhelmingly disagree with the extreme positions on abortion taken by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. “Mitt Romney, the Republican Party, and their super-PAC allies never highlighted this vulnerability, despite the fact that our polling of likely swing voters revealed it to be a persuasive line of argument.”

The defeat of Akin and Mourdock, however, is going to make this interpretation a hard sell, as does the fact that Obama proudly trumpeted his pro-choice positions. That means that going forward, at least some Republican leaders are likely to be newly wary of alienating women. The House will be as conservative as ever, but it’s hard to imagine that it will soon make another threat to shut down the government over defunding Planned Parenthood. The new women in the Senate might even be able to make some progress on issues like equal pay. After Tuesday, any politician who is seen as fighting a “war on women” is going to know that he’s a likely casualty. Story Continued:

· Interior proposal would limit commercial oil shale development on federal lands in West – By Zack Colman – 11/09/12 02:07 PM ET

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.

Under the plan, 677,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming would be open for oil shale exploration. Another 130,000 acres in Utah would be set aside for tar sands production.

The administration and Democrats said that while the plan would curtail what was originally sought for oil shale development, it still opens up a significant amount of land that was previously unavailable for the energy production method.

The administration noted the plan pushed forward Friday also included two research, development and demonstration (RD&D) leases for oil shale development.

“The proposed plan supports the Administration’s all-of-the-above approach to explore the full potential our nation’s domestic energy resources and to develop innovative technology and techniques that will lead to safe and responsible production of resources, including oil shale and tar sands, which industry recognizes are years from being commercially viable, but require RD&D today,” Interior spokesman Blake Androff said.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) praised the plan, saying the administration exercised the right amount of caution on oil shale development, which has not yet been brought to commercial scale and brings concerns about the amount of water used in the practice.

“I am glad the Interior Department is taking measured steps to encourage research and development of our oil shale resources. With water being one of our most precious commodities in the West, I have concerns about the potential impacts of commercial oil shale development. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing this technology explored further,” Udall said in a Friday statement.

Oil shale development is not to be confused with drilling into shale formations for oil and natural gas. The practice, which involves separating hydrocarbons bound up in rocks, has not been widely executed since Exxon’s failed Colorado venture in the 1980s.

Bobby McEnaney, senior lands analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for the proposed final plan.

“By significantly reducing the acreage of wilderness potentially available for leasing, Secretary Salazar is laying out a creative, thoughtful and more responsible approach in managing some of our most precious resources,” McEnaney said in a Friday statement. Story Continued:

· ‘Cliff’ Fears Give Stocks Worst Week Since June

Despite a small advance on Friday, stocks ended up having their worst week since June as investors moved on from Tuesday’s election and worried about the impending US “Fiscal Cliff.”

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For the week, the Dow fell 2.1 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 2.6 percent.

Since President Barack Obama won re-election on Tuesday, the market is down well over three percent.

On Friday, stocks lost most of their earlier gains after Obama called for higher taxes on the rich.

In a speech Friday, Obama said he was “open to new ideas” on resolving the fiscal cliff but repeated his instance that the rich pay more to cut the federal deficit.

“We can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” he said. “If we’re serious about reducing the deficit we have to combine spending cuts with revenue, and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.”

The Dow quickly shaved 30 points off earlier gains, while the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor’s 500 held modest gains.

“For now, (traders are) concerned with how much is just posturing before the negotiations and how mush is real muscle, with ‘I’m not crossing this line,'” Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS, said on CNBC. “Luckily nobody set a line in the sand. Otherwise, we’d be down 200 points.” (Read More: Markets Still Waiting for Breakthrough on Fiscal Cliff)

Earlier, bank shares helped turn the mood more positive, rising after regulators issued a joint statement saying the Basel III accord, which required banks to raise more capital, would be delayed.

U.S. financial institutions had complained that the Jan. 1 deadline for higher capital and liquidity requirements was too soon. The delay, announced jointly by three regulatory panels, did not specify a future implementation date.

Financials on the S&P 500 rallied on the news rallied and the KBW Bank Index gained 0.8 percent. Bank of America [BAC Loading… () ] shares jumped 2 percent.

Traders saw the move as at least a modest olive branch from the administration to banks.

“The timing was pretty fascinating. A couple days after he was elected they decide to push out Basel, which a lot of Wall Street as well as community bankers were balking at,” Lutz said. “That looks like a conciliatory move in the right direction.”

Internet, semiconductor and biotech shares also helped move the market higher.

Most Dow 30 components were positive, with Cisco [CSCO Loading… () ] and Microsoft [MSFT Loading… () ] helping lead an effort to push technology shares broadly positive.

Disney [DIS Loading… () ] shares plunged on a disappointing after-hours earnings report Thursday, while McDonald’s [MCD Loading… () ] also continued to suffer from its own weak sales.

Across other markets, oil and lumber futures both rose sharply. Shorter-duration bond prices also gained despite the stock market rally, with the 10-year Treasury note yielding 1.64 percent, up marginally from Thursday’s close. Equities also rose despite a stronger dollar, which rallied to push the euro down to 1.27.

Obama will have plenty to tackle besides dealing with the tax increases and spending cuts that going over the cliff will trigger, as the market’s focus now broadens beyond the political uncertainty that the bruising presidential campaign brought.

“The oxygen that this race gobbled up is now back to feeding a host of other concerns, from the U.S. fiscal cliff to Eurozone worries to seemingly countless other issues,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, said in his morning note. ” Whether this round of grumbling is just a passing fancy or something more lasting is the only question that matters to most traders just now.” (Read More: Why US Economy May Be Headed for Another Recession)

Traders shrugged off data showing that import prices rose 0.5 percent, significantly higher than the expectations for no increase, and were up primarily due to a 1.3 percent jump in fuel prices.

In an otherwise quiet day for earnings season, J.C. Penney [JCP Loading… () ] shares plunged after the mid-market retailer reported earnings and sales that fell well short of Wall Street expectations.

The company said it lose 93 cents a share for the third quarter, against expectations of a 7-cent loss, while sales generated $2.93 billion, against estimates of $3.27 billion. Shares slumped 6 percent in premarket trading after dropping more than 8 percent for the week.

JCPenney is the “only retailer I know where: (1) online sales are not growing; and (2) online sales are far removed from brick and mortar comps,” said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions in New York. “Either way, the data says: JC Penney is not a top destination and is nowhere near becoming a top destination in peak seasonal shopping periods.”

Technology shares were poised for the best performance, with Nasdaq futures indicating a flat open for the tech-heavy index.

After falling into bear market territory this week Apple [AAPL Loading… () ] shares rose nearly 2 percent.

Also in tech, Kayak Software [KYAK Loading… () ] surged on news it would be acquired by Priceline.com [PCLN Loading… () ] in a deal valued at $1.8 billion.

Groupon [GRPN Loading… () ] shares continued their downward spiral, the victim of poor earnings and a weak model that has driven shares 84 percent lower over the past year.

The Dow briefly added to a weak opening after the University of Michigan reported that consumer confidence had increased to its highest level in more than five years. (Read More: Consumer Sentiment Hits Five-Year High) The average then turned higher, however.

European shares [.FTEU3 Loading… () ] closed narrowly higher as doubts persisted over Greece’s new bailout deal. Worries resurfaced on Thursday after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said next week may still be too early to make a decision on granting further aid to Athens.

Asian shares [.FTFCNBCA Loading… () ] closed lower despite positive data out of China. China’s annual consumer inflation eased to 1.7 percent in October from September’s 1.9 percent, leaving policymakers with scope to ease monetary policy further to shore up growth. Story Continued:

· Oliver Stone: ‘I find Obama scary’ – Each presidential cycle gets shrouded in the ultimate question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

In Oliver Stone’s new book — “The Untold History of the United States” — the filmmaker, along with historian Peter Kuznick, argues that, “The country Obama inherited was indeed in shambles, but Obama took a bad situation and, in certain ways, made it worse.”

Much of Stone and Kuznick’s book focuses on the threats posed by government secrecy and militarism throughout history and, in an interview with POLITICO Friday, Stone said that things aren’t getting better.

“It’s scarier,” said Stone. “I grew up under Eisenhower … and it’s gotten scarier because of the Bush and Reagan people and now I find Obama scary in a way that I had not done in 2008.” Stone cited reports of American drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan as examples, as well as the president’s so-called “kill list.”

“The president, himself, has become judge, jury and executioner around the world,” said Kuznick.

The gloomy vision provided by both Stone and Kuznick during the interview prompted Stone to, at one point, jokingly ask, “You’re depressed by hearing us? I understand…”

Despite their critiques of the current administration, both still adopted a “best of two evils” attitude towards Obama.

“I believe he has a heart, I do,” said Stone. “But what follows him? He’ll be out of office in four years. Who’s going to be in office in 2020 when the weapons are worse? If another administration comes in like the Bush or Romney administration, what’s to prevent them from using these weapons in a far more sinister way?”

“I see more potential in Obama, as critical as I am,” said Kuznick. “I don’t believe that’s truly his essence and his soul. I think if we mobilized forces and pushed him the right direction, he’d be happy to be pushed.”

“The Untold History of the United States” has also been turned into a docu-series for Showtime, with the first installment airing Monday. Story Continued:

· Assange: Reelected Obama a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sees no reason to celebrate the reelection of US President Barack Obama. The US aggressively pursued and “persecuted” the whistleblower site under a Democratic administration, he explained.

“Obama seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem,” the 41-year-old told AFP, speaking from his room in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

“It’s better to have a sheep in wolf’s clothing than a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he said. “All of the activities against WikiLeaks by the United States have occurred under an Obama administration.”

Assange was equally critical of the Republican, saying it “has not been an effective restraining force on government excesses over the last four years.”

“There is no reason to believe that will change – in fact, the Republicans will push the administration into ever greater excesses,” he added.

The WikiLeaks founder sounded hoarse, but refused to comment on his health. Last month, Ecuador said it had requested a meeting with British officials to discuss claims that Assange was losing weight and suffering vision problems.

Assange claimed asylum in the embassy in June to escape extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations. He denies the charges, and believes that if extradited he would then be sent to the US, which regards him as an enemy of the state, where he would face prosecution and possibly the death penalty.

WikiLeaks angered Washington in 2010 by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world. Washington retaliated by forcing companies to cut off WikiLeaks’ sources of funding.

Story Continued:

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 Lisa Benson 11/11/2012

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Filed under Left - Off Base, Politics from Just Right of Center - I want Balance!, Right - too Religous for me

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