You need to know this. In the days since the Egyptian military removed Mohamed Morsi from his presidency, violent protests have erupted in that nation. Dozens have been killed and more than one thousand people have been injured as pro-Morsi protesters clashed with those cheering the military's actions. Last week, the head of Egypt's constitutional court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, was sworn in as that nation's interim leader. Mansour has promised to hold elections soon, but it has done little to calm the massive protests in Cairo and other cities. And his first attempt at appointing an interim prime minister – Mohamed Elbaradei – was unsuccessful, as ultraconservative groups objected to the pro-reform leader. The intense, ongoing fighting paints a clear picture of the need for a political solution, and it has leaders in the U.S. and the E.U. looking on with increasing alarm. Here at home, lawmakers disagree on whether or not the Egyptian military staged a coup in ousting President Morsi, and whether financial aid should be suspended to that nation. In an interview on CBS's “Face The Nation,” Senator John McCain declared that the Egyptian military had, in fact, staged a coup, and said, “Reluctantly, I believe that we have to suspend aid, until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election.” However, on NBC's “Meet The Press”, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez said that aid should be used as leverage to push for a swift transition to civilian government. He said, “This is an opportunity to have a pause, and say to the Egyptians, you have an opportunity to come together.” The road ahead for Egypt is far from certain, and there is intense pressure on interim leaders to reign in the violent protests, which appear to be intensifying. Regardless of international pressure, it appears that Egyptians are not ready to end this fight yet. Stay tuned.
In screwed news... Republicans are planning to hold our nation hostage again. In an interview with the National Journal, Representative Rob Woodall said the GOP will demand even more spending cuts to prevent our nation from defaulting on its debts. The House Republicans have moved away from their previous “dollar-for-dollar” debt ceiling strategy, and will instead force President Obama to choose which vital programs will be slashed. According to the Journal, President Obama will have to cut big for a long-term debt ceiling deal – like turning Medicare into a voucher program. For a medium-range plan, Republicans say they will make the President agree to cut food stamps or Medicaid. Even for another short-term solution, the GOP will try to force President Obama to increase the eligibility age for Social Security. The Treasury Department has not yet announced when our nation will reach the current debt ceiling, but Republicans have already laid out their plan. The GOP will hold our nation hostage, and then blame the President for the pain and suffering Americans feel as a result.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Over the holiday, tens of thousands of protesters joined rallies in cities all over our nation to speak out against government surveillance. About 20,000 people participated in “Restore the Fourth” events nationwide, in cities like Boston, D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Portland. People gathered, marched, and chanted against the NSA surveillance programs, and the violation of our Fourth Amendment rights. Protestors carried signs saying things like, “Who's watching the watchers?” and “1984 was not an instruction manual.” Despite the turnout, there was little coverage by the mainstream media. While more than 250 local TV and radio stations reported on the events, the Restore the Fourth movement was mentioned only eight times on major networks. But, regardless of the coverage, organizers called the day a success, and vowed to keep pushing to protect our privacy. Nationally, and internationally, citizens and lawmakers have spoken out against government spying programs, and it appears this movement is just getting started.
While millions of Americans remain out of work, there is one corner of the U.S. economy that's experiencing rapid growth – temp work. According to the Associated Press, nearly 17 million people in our nation can't find full time work – that represents 12 percent of our entire working population. Increasingly, corporations like Wal-Mart, General Motors, and PepsiCo are turning to part-timers to staff their organizations. In addition to keeping people from earning full-time pay, these temporary arrangements deny workers access to health insurance, fair wages, and other benefits. However, with so many Americans out of work, corporations are finding it easier to hire people willing to submit to these unfair conditions. Workers and labor advocates hope that as the economy has improved, companies will begin shifting back to full-time staffing, but many are doubtful. Three decades of Reaganomics has given rise to this era of corporate power, and workers are only now beginning the fight to take some of that power back.
And finally… Most parents encourage their children to follow their dreams and be successful. However, it turns out that fewer parents want to see their kids grow up to be president. A Gallop poll released last Friday shows that by a 2-to-1 margin, parents no longer want to see their kids grow up to be politicians. Apparently, the margin is slightly higher when respondents were asked about a daughter going into politics, as opposed to a son. Thirty-seven percent of parents said they would like to see their little girl grow up to be a lawmaker, while only 25 percent hope the same when asked about their son. Researches suggest that the 12-point gap is about gender equality, and parents of girls were more inclined to see their child as a future leader. Regardless of gender however, it appears that most parents have little desire to see their child as the next John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. Go figure.
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