Daily Archive: 07/08/2013

Jul 08 2013

Egypt in Revolution: Getting More Violent

The ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has became unceasingly violent over the weekend as his supporters, urged by the Muslim Brotherhood, continued to take to the streets. The violence left approximately 51 dead as the Islamists attack the Republican Guard building where Morsi was initially held. There are conflicting reports of how the violence started:

Morsi’s backers said the troops attacked their encampment without provocation just after dawn prayers. The military said it came under a heavy assault first by gunmen who killed an army officer and two policemen. More than 400 were wounded in the mayhem. [..]

The Morsi supporters had been camped out for days at the site in tents around a mosque near the Republican Guard complex, where Morsi was initially held but was later moved to an undisclosed Defense Ministry facility.

Spokesmen for the military and police gave a nationally televised press conference to give their version of the morning’s bloodshed.

Army Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said police and troops guarding the Republican Guard complex came under “heavy gunfire” at around 4 a.m. and attackers on rooftops opened fire with guns and molotov cocktails. Along with the soldier and two policemen, 42 in the security forces were wounded, eight critically, he said.

He underlined that the troops had the right to defend the installation and that the protest “was no longer peaceful.” He pointed out that suspected Islamists have carried out coordinated armed attacks on several military facilities in recent days in the Sinai Peninsula.

One witness, university student Mirna el-Helbawi, also said gunmen loyal to Morsi opened fire first, including from the roof of a nearby mosque. El-Helbawi, 21, lives in an apartment overlooking the scene.

Supporters of Morsi, however, said the security forces fired on hundreds of protesters, including women and children, at the sit-in encampment as they performed early morning prayers.

The selection of a Prime Minister has been put on hold by interim President Adly Mansour after the country’s second largest Islamist group, the Nour party, objected to the appointment of former IAEA chief Mohamed Elbaradei, a pro reformist. After the deaths at the Republican Guard complex, Nour has withdrawn from all talks.

Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reported live from Cairo this morning on the “Egyptian descent into violence”.



Transcript can be read here

After Sharif’s report, Amy Good man hosted a discussion on what caused Morsi’s overthrow and what comes next for Egypt with Sharif and guests Michael Wahid Hanna, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation; and Shadi Hamid, director of research for the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.



Transcript can be read here

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has called for suspension of US foreign aid to Egypt after Morsi’s ouster, other senators and House representatives disagreed:

“Reluctantly, I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” [..]

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said U.S. assistance should be used “as leverage” to press the military  to pursue a quick transition to a civilian government. [..]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, cautioned against rushing into discussions about aid. [..]

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said on the same program: “I think on a practical basis we have to look and ask a very simple question: Will cutting off aid accelerate or enhance the opportunities and the chances to have a truly Democratic government? I don’t think so.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) called the military in Egypt the “one stable factor there.” The military “should continue to be rewarded” for its stabilizing presence, Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Jul 08 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Defining Prosperity Down

Friday’s employment report wasn’t bad. But given how depressed our economy remains, we really should be adding more than 300,000 jobs a month, not fewer than 200,000. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we would need more than five years of job growth at this rate to get back to the level of unemployment that prevailed before the Great Recession. Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I’m beginning to worry that it may never happen.

Ask yourself the hard question: What, exactly, will bring us back to full employment? [..]

Aggressive monetary action by the Federal Reserve, something like what the Bank of Japan is now trying, might do the trick. But far from becoming more aggressive, the Fed is talking about “tapering” its efforts. This talk has already done real damage; more on that in a minute.

Still, even if we don’t and won’t have a job-creation policy, can’t we count on the natural recuperative powers of the private sector? Maybe not.

New York Times Editorial Board: Immigration in the House

The Republican caucus of the United States House of Representatives is holding a private meeting on Wednesday. The subject will be immigration. Perhaps it will be a showdown or a summit that will reset the party’s direction on this issue. Maybe party leaders and moderates will push back against Tea Party no-dealers and hard-core members, like Steve King of Iowa, who want to kill any bill that allows undocumented immigrants to become Americans. Maybe Republicans will decide to accept bipartisan immigration reform as a step toward becoming a party with something to offer Latino and Asian voters besides hostility and fear.

Or maybe not. Now that the Senate has passed its version of reform – a comprehensive bill with a long but real citizenship path – the ball is in the House. It might be stuck there: the speaker, John Boehner, has ruled out voting on the Senate bill, or on any immigration bill not supported by the majority of his caucus. That is a recipe for failure, but the House has nothing else to offer right now, no other solutions to match the scale of the problem.

Robert Kuttner: Hero or Villain?

So is Edward Snowden a hero or a creepy betrayer? The fact that he is huddled in a Moscow airport waiting for some country to take him in lends credence to the betrayer view.

Since September 11, 2001, a lot of queasy liberals have cut the U.S. government a fair amount of slack when it comes to surveillance of potential terrorist plots. The attacks happened, after all. And more plots followed. Al-Qaeda is no paranoid fantasy. We can’t have people with top-secret information making national policy, as free-lances.

But as one detail after another has emerged in the wake of Snowden’s initial disclosures, the weight of evidence keeps shifting to the hero side of the scale.

Jeff Cohen: How Do You Know When President Obama is Lying? MSNBC Won’t Tell You

I was a young person when I first heard the quip: “How do you know when the President is lying? His lips are moving.” At the time, President Nixon was expanding the war in Vietnam to other countries and deploying the White House “plumbers” to commit crimes against antiwar leakers.

Forty years have passed. Sadly, these days, often when I see President Obama moving his lips, I assume he’s lying. [..]

When it comes to issues of U.S. militarism and spying, the allegedly “progressive” MSNBC often seems closer to the “official network of the Obama White House” than anything resembling an independent channel.  With a few exceptions (especially Chris Hayes), MSNBC has usually reacted to expanded militarism and surveillance by downplaying the abuses or defending them.

Had McCain or Romney defeated Obama and implemented the exact same policies, treating whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden as foreign espionage agents, one would expect MSNBC hosts to be loudly denouncing the Republican abuses of authority.    

Robert Reich: Why Republicans Want to Tax Students and Not Polluters

A basic economic principle is government ought to tax what we want to discourage, and not tax what we want to encourage.

For example, if we want less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should tax carbon polluters. On the other hand, if we want more students from lower-income families to be able to afford college, we shouldn’t put a tax on student loans.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, congressional Republicans are intent on doing exactly the opposite.

John Nichols: America’s Most Dynamic (Yet Under-Covered) Movement: Overturning ‘Citizens United’

The most under-covered political movement in the United States-and there are a lot of under-covered political movements in the United States-is the broad-based national campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court rulings that ushered in a new era of big-money politics. [..]

Support for an amendment now stretches from coast to coast, with backing (in the form of legislative resolutions or statewide referendum results) from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The District of Columbia is also supportive of the move to amend, as are roughly 500 municipalities, from Liberty, Maine, to Los Angeles, California-where 77 percent of voters backed a May referendum instructing elected representatives to seek an amendment establishing that “there should be limits on political campaign spending and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings.”

Jul 08 2013

On This Day In History July 8

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 176 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1951, Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.

Origins

The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.

The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of “Paris” towards the end of the Roman occupation.

The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century. Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité; one of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.

Jul 08 2013

Sunday Train: Sidestepping the Koch Brothers’ Climate Suicide Pact

cross-posted from Voices on the Square

Grist this last week covered an often overlooked element of climate suicide policy of those famed climate kamikaze’s the Koch Brothers:

Since 2008, the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity has been urging candidates and politicians to sign its “No Climate Tax Pledge.” In 2010, we noted that many Republican House and Senate candidates had signed it, and in 2011, that at least one GOP presidential candidate had.

 

But it turns out the pledge has been far more widespread and influential than most people realized. From the Investigative Reporting Workshop:

 

A quarter of senators and more than one-third of representatives have signed a little-known pledge – backed by the Kochs – not to spend any money to fight climate change without an equivalent amount of tax cuts….