Tag Archives: state department

News Roundup – Egypt, George Will, Robert Reich

Over 500 people have died in Egypt. Over 3700 have been injured. President Obama made a statement earlier today. “While we want to sustain a relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets. The Egyptian people deserve better than what we’ve seen over the past several days.” As expected, President Obama stopped short of specifically stating that what is happening in Egypt is a coup. Yet, as the violence escalates, I believe we will have to, President Obama will have to, withdraw our $1.3 billion in military aid from Egypt. Look for Al Qaeda to try to exploit this. No matter what kind of diplomatic mumbo-jumbo comes out of the State Department and the White House, whatever’s going on in Egypt, it is clearly not a democracy.

Just to make sure that we know that George Will is still alive and kicking, he wrote one of the most unhinged, neoconservative pieces of gobbledygook that I’ve read in a while. Now, President Obama is worse than Nixon. Yes, he is talking about the Affordability Care Act. The fact that the administration stated that they’re going to wait a year before implementation represents an offense worse than Watergate. Nope, I don’t understand it either. Let’s be clear. Presidents have pushed the envelope of presidential power for as long as we’ve had a Republic. It is up to Congress and the Supreme Court to push back. Currently, we have a completely dysfunctional Congress. They can’t agree on what time of day it is, let alone whether something the president does is right or wrong. As usual, George Will is way off base.

Robert Reich continues to be one of the best progressive voices on the economy. The following is a presentation on income inequality. It is wonderful.

Tuesday Evenings News Roundup

News Roundup

Angelina Jolie

Well, there’s been plenty of news lately.

Benghazi continues to dominate the news. Here’s what we know. A group of terrorists attacked a poorly defended United States Embassy in Benghazi. Four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Stevens. The Sunday following the Benghazi attack, Ambassador Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows and recited talking points that were given to her by the intelligence community. The talking points included some erroneous information which suggested that there was a protest or demonstration prior to the attack and that this protest was fueled by an anti-Muslim video. There was no protest. This has been clearly stated. Several eyewitnesses who were interviewed stated that there was no protest prior to the attack on the Benghazi compound. The multiple emails that crafted the talking points have been revealed to the public. Neither President Obama nor Secretary Clinton had anything to do with crafting the talking points. Secondly, and most importantly, was the security at the Benghazi compound. Why was security so bad? That question has been answered. What is clear is that the official report clearly points to the State Department for dropping the ball.

The IRS story which broke on Monday has really gained even more traction today. It’s an outrage! Yet, when you look at the story, I’m not sure what the outrage is all about. Yes, the IRS did target conservative groups but those groups still got their tax-exempt status. Maybe the process was onerous and overly burdensome but they were not denied that status. Should the IRS single out conservative or liberal groups? Of course not. The bottom line, as far as I can tell, is although those groups were singled out, they still got fair treatment. (An inspector general’s report has already been compiled.)

I would like to spend a little bit of time talking about an op-ed that Angelina Jolie wrote in the New York Times. The Academy award-winning actress talked about a bilateral mastectomy that she had because she had a defective gene which makes her more prone to breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her mother died of cancer. Ms. Jolie does not state what kind of cancer her mother had. She goes into great detail about BRCA1. She is incredibly knowledgeable. All the facts that she presented, as far as I know, are correct. She was at incredibly high risk for developing breast cancer and also at high risk for developing ovarian cancer. What she didn’t reveal, but which is clear from the article, is that she had knowledgeable physicians and surgeons. She was able to discuss her gene mutation and get thoughtful answers from her physicians. She then made a thoughtful, informed decision. I applaud Angelina Jolie for standing up and discussing her healthcare and her healthcare problems. The one thing that is clear is that she was able to afford whatever procedures she wanted to undertake. That’s a luxury than many women cannot afford. In my opinion, her op-ed points to two things that all women need: accurate, reliable information and affordable healthcare. Then all women can make informed decisions.

The national deficit is going to be $200 billion less than previously projected.

Mark Sanford will be sworn in as Congressman to the great state of South Carolina on Wednesday.

Seriously, did Dick Cheney, former vice president, actually have the nerve to say that the Obama administration missed repeated warnings about Benghazi? Really? Should I ask? Did he and President Bush miss repeated warnings about…

Minnesota passes same-sex marriage.

Here’s a nice nugget on Benghazi – For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.

More on Benghazi (Update)

From Kevin Drum:

ABC News now has a complete set of drafts of the infamous “talking points” that were prepared a few days following the Benghazi attacks. The drafts don’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, but here’s a nickel summary:

  • From the very start, the talking points say that the attacks were “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” and then “evolved” into the assaults on the two compounds in Benghazi.
  • The first draft included references to “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida.” This was eventually sanded down to “extremists” after the State Department pointed out that they had been deliberately withholding this information because “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.” This is the same thing that David Petraeus told Congress last November.
  • The third draft included an ass-covering paragraph from the CIA making sure everyone knew they had produced “numerous pieces” on possible threats to Benghazi in the previous few months, with the obvious implication that the State Department had ignored them. Unsurprisingly, the State Department’s spokesman, Victoria Nuland, objected to this gratuitous display of bureaucratic point scoring. It was removed in the final draft.

Editor’s Note: I’m sorry, I have looked and looked and there isn’t anything here. Benghazi is simply conservatives jumping up and down and holding their breath. Look, the fact that Americans died in Benghazi is tragic. Sometimes, when Americans die, it’s not the President’s fault. It is not the Secretary of State’s fault. We simply had Americans in a dangerous part of the world. Continue reading More on Benghazi (Update)