1. The Reelection of Barack Obama

Duh! Despite four years of Republican obstruction in Congress, despite the mountains of dirty money that billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers threw at him, despite the ugly rightwing hatred of him, and despite sleepwalking through his first debate, Barack Obama decisively won a second term.

2. The Decline of the Tea Party and Neanderthal Republicans

The Tea Party activists damaged the Republicans' chances of winning back the Senate and managed to help Obama hang on to the White House. They took down Richard Lugar in Indiana and put forward Richard Mourdock of Indiana, and Mourdock and Todd Akin of Missouri proved how ignorant and insensitive they were on the issue of rape. George W. Bush's communications woman Karen Hughes had the best post-mortem: "If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue."

Second-best line came from Republican CNN analyst Ana Navarro, who said on election night: "Romney self-deported from the White House."

3. Latinos Flex Political Power in New Progressive Coalition

The massive Democratic turnout of Latino voters showed the new political power of this rising voting bloc. And a new progressive coalition took shape consisting of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, young people, women, and gays and lesbians. Along with it, a progressive, class-based message, articulated both by Pres. Obama (who campaigned against "those at the very top") and more naturally by Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders, proved to be a winning one.

4. The Triumph of Gay Rights

Not only did Pres. Obama endorse same-sex marriage this year, the voters of Maine, Maryland, and Washington State also did so. And the citizens of Minnesota beat back a constitutional amendment prohibiting it. The great nonviolent social revolution for gay rights has largely triumphed. Witness the historic victory of Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, the first openly lesbian or gay official elected to the U.S. Senate. (We love you, Tammy!)

5. A Plague of Gun Violence

The horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, along with the rampages in Aurora, Colorado, and Oak Creek, Wisconsin, flashed a spotlight on our violence-drenched culture and the plague of gun deaths in America. Belatedly, Pres. Obama came out for gun control -- at least on semi-automatic weapons -- while the NRA disgraced itself.

6. Global Warming in the Here and Now

The Arctic Ocean opened up, Greenland's ice mass shrank, drought struck two-thirds of the United States, Superstorm Sandy raked New Jersey and New York, a deadly typhoon hit the Philippines, and record heat covered the Earth: Global warming is here, and it is already taking a toll. In response, activists across the United States and on more than 100 campuses began pressing a divestment campaign aimed at the fossil fuel companies.

7. Civil Liberties Keep Getting Crushed

Whether it's the FBI spying on Occupy Wall Street or whether it's Congress refusing to amend the National Defense Authorization Act so that the President can't grab a U.S. citizen and throw him or her into a military dungeon, or whether it's Congress and the President reauthorizing FISA and all its sweeping powers to monitor us, we are getting less free here in America year by year.

8. The Normalization of Drones and the Afghan War

The Obama Administration has escalated drone warfare to new heights in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, killing many innocent people along the way and inciting hatred against the United States. The Afghan War entered Year 12, and it now looks like 20,000 or more U.S. troops will remain there, indefinitely, after 2014.

9. The Middle East Quagmires

The Syrian civil war got bloodier and bloodier, and the Assad regime got weaker and weaker. But still it hung on, dangerously, to power.

Meanwhile, Israel continued its untenable occupation of Palestinian land and its oppression of the Palestinian people, bombing Gaza and building more settlements on the West Bank. No breakthrough there is on the horizon.

10. Organized Labor Takes It on the Chin

It was a bad year for organized labor. First, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin won his recall election after demonizing and decimating public sector unions. Then, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan signed a "right to work" law in the cradle of the American labor movement. As labor activist and author Bill Fletcher Jr. puts it, we are witnessing "the final offensive" of capital against labor in America.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Farewell to Four Progressives Who Died in 2012."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

Now's a great time to subscribe to The Progressive magazine. You'll get a FREE copy of our 2013 "Hidden History of the United States" calendar when you subscribe for just $14.97 for the whole year. That's 75% off the newsstand price, and the calendar is yours for free. Just click here.

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Forty years ago the UN General Assembly passed a resolution against "hostile environmental modification techniques...

The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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