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ThinkFast: November 29, 2010

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"ThinkFast: November 29, 2010"

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said yesterday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should consider whether WikiLeaks can be declared a terrorist organization. “By doing that, we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them bay help or contributions or assistance whatsoever,” he said. “To me, they are a clear and present danger to America.”

The New York Times reports that the secret U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks yesterday reveal that when American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle Guantanamo detainees, “they became reluctant players in a State Department version of ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’” In one such move, “Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama.”

Included in the thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks is evidence that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered “American embassies and missions around the world” to spy on foreign leaders, including U.N Secretary Ban Ki Moon. Clinton’s directive included asking that biometric information be collected, which can include DNA and fingerprint samples.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said yesterday that the U.S. needs to start considering “regime change” in North Korea. McCain, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, did not specify how the U.S. should go about changing the government, and said he was not suggesting military action.

As the lame-duck Congress returns today, lawmakers will try to address a “daunting agenda of economic issues” that has “eluded them all year,” including a fiscal 2011 budget, the Bush tax cuts, and extended unemployment benefits. While lawmakers will meet with President Obama Tuesday regarding the Bush tax cuts, they are expected to let the Nov. 30 deadline for unemployment benefits pass without extension.

A roundtable of billionaires on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour said they would like to see tax rates increased for themselves and other wealthy Americans. Warren Buffet, who is worth $47 billion, told Amanpour: “I lived in periods where capital gains taxes were 39.6 percent, when earned income taxes were 70 percent, and our economy did just fine.”

Two sets of liberal advocacy groups will unveil alternative debt-reduction proposals to those of President Obama’s debt commission in the next two days, highlighting “fewer reductions in domestic spending, more cuts in the military and higher taxes for the wealthy.” The groups say their versions will stabilize the deficit “without demanding draconian cuts to national investments or to vital safety net programs.”

Today, top scientists working with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research plan to release a paper finding that as many as a billion people could lose their homes in the next 90 years due to global warming. The report’s release coincides with the start of a new round of climate negotiations in Cancún, Mexico.

And finally: Inspired by the tea parties, Latino leaders are pondering whether to create an independent political force for immigration reform. Dubbing the movement the “Tequila Party,” Latino political leaders are saying that if Congress fails again to pass immigration reform, “some Hispanics will likely decide to strike out on their own.”

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The WonkLine: November 29, 2010 ›

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