TPM News

A new coalition led by more than 100 anti-war activists has announced an "Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally" to protest President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan. The rally, scheduled for Dec. 12 in front of the White House, will include speeches by former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.

The new coalition, called EndUSWars.org, has posted an "open letter" to Obama on its website, where it calls for an end to all U.S. military action in the Afghanistan region, including Predator drone airstrikes and covert intelligence operations.

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Tiger Woods, who crashed his SUV last week into a fire hydrant and neighbor's tree, has just released a new statement on his website declaring: "I'm dealing with my behavior and my personal feelings behind closed doors with my family."

The statement goes on to say: "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions."

Yesterday the Florida Highway Patrol announced that Woods would receive a citation for careless driving, but that they would not pursue criminal charges.

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The Republicans' latest failed effort to make it harder for minorities to vote is being led by a lawyer for the same GOP firm that's behind a recent bid to undermine restrictions on robo-calls.

The day before the 2008 election, the Republican National Committee filed suit to end restrictions on GOP programs to combat voter fraud. Those "programs" have sometimes involved "voter caging" -- challenging voters' registration if mail sent to their residences was returned as undeliverable -- and other tactics designed to suppress minority votes. But a federal judge yesterday rejected the GOP bid, Politico reports, ruling that "voter intimidation presents an ongoing threat to the participation of minority individuals in the political process."

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Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), usually a reliable supporter of the military adventure du jour, yesterday broke sharply with President Obama on Afghanistan, arguing that "a larger occupation" will give "the Taliban an enhanced recruiting tool."

Harman's statement, released before Obama's speech, applauds in general terms his "regional approach," but strongly argues that adding more troops will decrease the United States' chances of success.

After two trips to Afghanistan this year, Harman was so "appalled and horrified by the depth of corruption of the Karzai government" that she simply could not support Obama's plan, she told Newsweek.

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What a difference a week makes. After casting votes to kill the Senate health care bill, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are meeting with high-level White House officials as Democrats try to reach sixty votes.

When Harry Reid announced that his health care bill would include a public option, but that Washington would allow individual states to opt out, it left him basically no wiggle room. He lost the cautious support of Snowe and suddenly needed to run the table in his caucus.

In the hours and days afterward, it became clear that a clean sweep would be difficult, if not impossible. Days before Thanksgiving recess, leaders began negotiating with conservative Democratic hold outs on a possible compromise, modeled on Snowe's trigger plan. And if you wanted some evidence that, on balance, the discussions are currently favoring the centrists, Tuesday offered a pretty clear picture of that.

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The health care debate has been something of a prize bonanza for members of Congress facing the ire of the Tea Party Patriots. First, tea partiers sent members thousands of tea bags. Since then, there's been salt and pink slips. And today comes the rubber chickens.

According to a Tea Party Patriot email sent early this morning, tea partiers will gather on Capitol Hill at 11:30 this morning to deliver rubber chickens to each Senator that voted to allow debate on the health care bill on Nov. 21.

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Gen. David Petraeus appeared on Morning Joe this morning to discuss the plans for Afghanistan laid out in the president's speech last night -- and said the U.S. isn't "trying to make Sweden in Afghanistan."

"I think the overriding importance of why we went there, what we must do, the important objectives on the ground in Afghanistan, are quite evident to all of us," said Petraeus when asked how public disapproval of a prolonged stay in Afghanistan might affect troop morale and recruiting.

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