According to Al Jazeera, Mohamed ElBaradei is "one of the leaders of the protesters' negotiating team" and has made a counter-proposal to the U.S. "let Suleiman run it" position (my emphasis throughout):
Mohamed ElBaradei ... said on Friday that Mubarak should step down and let a presidential council made up of several figures - including the military - rule for a year to rewrite the constitution ahead of elections set for September.Later, the article says:
In response to the country's political vacuum, an impromptu group of prominent Egyptians who call themselves the "council of wise men" have stepped in to facilitate a transition government.Nice framing. The article lists others on this "council of wise men," and the name ElBaradei doesn't come up. It seems therefore that this group represents more mainstream (i.e., U.S.-friendly) business interests. Note the following about Mr. Naguib Sawiris:
It includes Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general, and Naguib Sawiris, a business tycoon, who recommended that Suleiman preside over a transitional government.
Sawiris is one of the most influential businessmen in Egypt today, thanks to his rapidly expanding telecom empire under Orascom Telecom, the shareholder of Mobinil, and the investment company Weather.Mobinil is the big Egyptian cell phone service (the nil part of the name means "Nile"). That makes Mr. Sawiris one of the Bigs indeed, both before and after the street demonstrations erupted. (Wonder who he was allied with before?)
As chairman of Orascom Telecom, he has been behind the rapid growth of the company.
The organisation now operates GSM networks in seven different countries in the Middle East, Africa, and India, in addition to a number of Internet Service Providers and satellite service providers serving approximately 500 million people around the world.
Don't worry about millionaires; they have hundreds of Members of Congress to continue pushing their interests in a post-Harman world
Conservative multimillionaire, AIPAC lackey and pro-war fanatic Jane Harman has had a rough time winning Democratic primaries in her progressive Los Angeles district lately. It's probably been no fun for her having to defend her regal self against scrappy anti-war progressive Marcy Winograd. So it wasn't that big of a shock early yesterday morning when the Internets started buzzing about her retirement from Congress, something that was quickly confirmed by her regal self:
Dear [fill in the name of a dupe who supports Harman],
Earlier today, I filed paperwork notifying the House of Representatives that I am in discussions to succeed former Rep. Lee Hamilton as President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first.
This is an excruciating decision because the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed-- nor will my relationships with my exceptional staff and colleagues in Congress. But shaping and leading the Wilson Center is a thrilling new challenge.
I have always believed that the best solutions to tough problems require a bipartisan approach, and bipartisanship is the Center?s ?brand.? Serving at its helm provides unique opportunities to involve the House and Senate, top experts, and world leaders in ?great debates? about the most pressing foreign and domestic policy matters.
Should this opportunity come to pass, I would be required to resign my seat. But please know that I would remain in Congress for some weeks and do everything possible to ensure an orderly transition to whomever is elected to succeed me. Sidney and I will always retain our residence in Venice, be home frequently, and stay engaged at USC and active in the community.
You have elected me to nine terms in Congress-- an honor without equal. I hope you understand how truly grateful I am for your friendship and support.
Thank you for your calls and emails, wanting to know my thoughts on Harman's resignation. I appreciate your interest and outreach, and am excited about the possibilities for substantive change
Please read my blog post below and let me know what you think. Warm regards, Marcy
Winograd on Harman's Resignation & a Possible Run
When I heard the news that Jane Harman was resigning, I thought, ?Now we finally have an opportunity to send a progressive to Congress, someone who will work to create jobs in the new economy, to free the 36th District from its perpetual war footing.'
I was at school, in between TEACHING classes, checking my cell phone messages from news editors, bloggers, and former campaign supporters, all asking the same question?
?Will you run again??
?I am exploring the possibility,? I told them, adding that I live in Santa Monica now, less than a mile outside of the district that hugs the coast from Venice to San Pedro. In 2010, just months ago, the Winograd for Congress campaign mobilized 41% of the vote in a primary challenge to Harman. It was exhilarating, daunting, inspiring, and eye-opening as I precinct walked from one end of the district to the other.
Most of the support came from the northern end of the district, from Venice and Mar Vista, but we enjoyed significant inroads in the working class union strongholds of Wilmington and San Pedro.
I barely had time to digest the political possibilities before running back to class, to my South LA high school students, some of them dressed in military fatigues, where we would read Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic?s essay, Breaking the Silence of the Night, a passionate account of Kovic?s transformation from blind follower to critical thinker and anti-war leader.
My high school students knew nothing of the buzz in the blogosphere, only that their teacher seemed a little preoccupied.
I had just hung up with LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who told me she was running, making a courtesy call-- perhaps hoping to clear the field-? and asking for an endorsement. I told her I had two concerns-? that we needed a voice that would challenge pre-emptive wars, regardless of whether the wars were waged by Republicans or Democrats, and that we needed a Congressperson who would advocate for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, someone who would not be afraid to criticize Israel, to fight for equal rights for both Palestinians and Jews. It was time for the United States to be an honest broker at the negotiating table. World stability depends on it.
After reminding me she had supported anti-war efforts on the Los Angeles City Council, Hahn added, ?I want to make it clear. I am a friend to Israel.?
I am a friend to equality and dignity for all.
I asked Hahn if she would be willing to meet with a group of Jews and Palestinians offering an alternative viewpoint to current US foreign policy.
Yes, she would.
A few hours later news broke that Secretary of State Debra Bowen was also running. Not surprising, since Bowen will term out of office soon. I know Debra and admire her courage in taking on the electronic voting industry, in banning touch-screen voting machines. Would she also be ready to take on the military budget? To demand that Washington stop holding our young engineers hostage to bomb-building-- and award contracts, instead, to corporations intent on developing mass transit, high speed rail, and solar cities?
I haven?t had a chance to speak with Debra Bowen-? but when I do I will ask her the tough questions, starting with ?
?Will you vote against further military appropriations for expanded wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen??
?Will you go to the wall to defend Social Security and Medicare, our greatest safety nets??
?Will you visit Bradley Manning in solitary confinement??
?Will you walk the streets of Wilmington with me, breathe the oil fumes, and work to crack down on polluters??
?Will you support the right of states to pursue single-payer health care??
I am waiting to ask the tough questions-? and to hear courageous answers.
Then I will decide.
Californians recently passed an Open Primary law, meaning that if no candidate wins 50% plus one vote in the Special Election, the top two vote getters go head-to-head in the next round. Had the Open Primary law been in effect when Winograd challenged Harman in 2010, the two would have faced off against each other in the General Election, as well. Given the small turn-out in special elections, 35,000 of the 300,000 registered voters may decide who replaces Jane Harman. In June, 2010, Winograd received 18,000 votes.
The crisis sparked by US "consular employee" Raymond Davis shooting and killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore on January 27 heightened on Monday, when it was revealed that his victims were part of Pakistan's "security establishment", that a second[...]
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I know a lot of readers will be very happy to get this news -- assuming you're one of the 60 million people who have access to Current TV through your cable system. (I'm pretty sure you can get it on one of Roku's channels, though.):
Keith Olbermann, the former top-rated host of ?Countdown? on the news channel MSNBC, will announce his next television home on Tuesday, and people familiar with his plans pointed Monday to a possible deal with the public affairs channel Current TV.
Neither Mr. Olbermann, his representatives, or executives from Current TV would comment on the move, but they did not deny that the channel, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its founders, will become at least one partner in Mr. Olbermann?s future media plans.
One of the people with knowledge of the plans said Mr. Olbermann would have an equity stake in Current TV. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to comment in advance of the official announcement.
On Monday a public relations agency hired by Mr. Olbermann scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call for an announcement about his next job. ?He and his new partners will make an exciting announcement regarding the next chapter in his remarkable career,? the agency wrote in an e-mail.
Current TV has set up a presentation with advertisers for Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan to announce its future plans. The channel may be betting on Mr. Olbermann to put it on the cable map. The low-rated five-year-old channel needs the help. Targeting young people, it originally subsisted on YouTube-style submissions and video journalists. More recently it started producing and acquiring traditional television series, like repeats of ?This American Life.?
A merger couples the Huffington Post and what remains of the dialup service that tried to eat the media world. For Arianna H., it's a giant financial step for Womankind but hardly a "Merger of Visions"--more a cautionary tale about 21st century competition for eyeballs.
In a 1997 New York Times OpEd, at the height of a subscriber and stock boom, I compared AOL to mass magazines of my era which kept buying ever higher circulations at cut rates while consumers needed them less and less in the hope that advertisers would provide revenue.
The magazines died but AOL was bailed out, ironically, by a merger with Time Inc., the healthiest dead-tree dinosaur, which worked out so miserably that AOL had to be spun off before it sank the remains of Henry Luce's empire.
Now the former online giant is making another vampire move in the hope that Huffington blood will revive it. Howard Kurtz, who recently migrated from the Washington Post to the Daily Beast web site, sees it as "evidence that online news and entertainment are an increasingly valuable force in a media world once dominated by old-guard newspapers, magazines, and networks. The merger of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, completed last week, was another such sign."
Maybe so, but what's going on below is much less reassuring.
In that ancient AOL piece, I cited the 20th century wisdom of Lewis Mumford, whose critique of industrial society cited "deprivation by surfeit" as one of its dangers.
"Because of our concentration on speed and productivity," he wrote, "we have ignored the need for evaluation, correction, selection and social assimilation."
Now, even more than then, we are flooded 24/7 with information competing for our eyeballs and brains, but less and less with understanding of what it all means. With due respect to the Huffington Post's efforts to practice interpretive journalism, it essentially remains a grab bag of links to entice more and more clicks to its site.
If Ms. Huffington succeeds in expanding and deepening its own coverage, that would be a step in the right direction. Otherwise, our deprivation of understanding will only get worse.
For now, the merger seems less of Visions than, as a competitor asks, "Is this a fearsome Internet conglomerate or simply a roach motel for once lively websites??
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Last week, President Obama called on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin transitioning to a new government, but now the Obama administration “has reconciled itself to gradual political reform in Egypt.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. supports democratic reforms across the region but acknowledged that “some countries will move at different paces.”
The FDIC voted Monday to advance a new rule to make top executives at financial firms with at least $50 billion in assets wait at least three years to be paid half of their annual bonuses. In tackling “outsize bonuses” that “encouraged short-term risk-taking” which helped “fuel the financial crisis,” the FDIC builds on more general requirements in last year’s financial regulatory law to curtail risk.
Obama announced yesterday that the U.S. will recognize southern Sudan as an independent country in July 2011. U.S. support came the same day that officials formally announced that “98% of the votes cast in the Jan. 9 referendum supported splitting Sudan into separate countries.”
Responding to criticism over planned hearings into “homegrown Islamic terrorism,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says he will primarily call Muslim witnesses to testify. “I believe it will have more of an impact on the American people if they see people who are of the Muslim faith and Arab descent testifying,” King said.
The GOP-led push to permanently extend some expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act has run into some unlikely opposition in the House — conservative Tea Party members, who are signaling they will resist efforts to make the law permanent. “There need to be sunsets on the bill after that in order to have adequate accountability and oversight,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
Federal courts are facing a crisis as judges retire and are not replaced fast enough, leaving vacancies that cause increased workloads and delayed trials. The crisis is a result of Republicans’ obstruction in confirming President Obama’s judicial nominees, and the broken Senate confirmation system. “It’s a dire situation,” said Arizona chief judge.
A new Brookings Institution analysis reports that whites “continued to decline as a share of the American population in 2009, and they now represent less than half of all 3-year-olds.” Nationally, “whites accounted for 58.8 percent of all school enrollment in 2009.”
And finally: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), an icon of the civil rights movement, has inked a deal to help write a comic book about his experiences during the 1960s campaign for equality. The book is aimed to help educate young people about the movement and inspire them to get involved. “It is not just a story of struggle; it is a story of involvement,” Lewis said in a statement posted on publisher Top Shelf’s website.
ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.
The rise of the Tea Party — “Tea” standing for “Taxed Enough Already” — was inspired by the myth that Americans were suffering under an oppressive tax-raising regime of President Obama. Yet the reality is quite the opposite. As Obama noted in his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Sunday, “I didn’t raise taxes once. I lowered taxes over the last two years.” Yesterday, the Congressional Budget office provided the numbers to back that claim up, the AP reports:
[A]s a share of the nation’s economy, Uncle Sam’s take this year will be the lowest since 1950. [...] And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike. [...]
But in the third year of Obama’s presidency, federal taxes are at historic lows. … in the current budget year, federal tax receipts will be equal to 14.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, the lowest level since Harry Truman was president.”
The AP adds that even though federal income tax rates have remained unchanged, “many taxpayers are seeing their bills drop under Obama because of more generous tax credits for college students, working families, homebuyers and the working poor.”
Rep. Heath Shuler:
I think the Blue Dogs represent 80 percent of America.
Total number of votes for House candidates in 2010:
Total number of votes for Democratic House candidates in 2010:
Total number of votes for winning Blue Dogs:
Actually Heath, it is more like 3.5% of America that voted, rounding up to the nearest tenth of a percent. But Heath, look on the bright side: Blue Dogs have just under 6% of the seats in Congress. You guys already have almost double the influence you deserve! Demanding 80% is just greedy. Sit down and shut up.
Unfortunately it has many taking the same approach that got them in trouble in the first place
Over the last decade investors and home-owners have experienced . . . → Full Story: Investors Must Take Care When Rebuilding Devastated Portfolios
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The above video comes from Nicole's post called: Harold Ford Jr. And His Fellow Republicans Advocates for Cuts to Social Security
I know times are tough, but this couldn't happen to a bigger jerk:
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals had long been fading from its mid-'90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of "triangulation" at a moment when there's little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right. The group tried -- but has failed -- to remake itself in the summer of 2009, when its founder, Al From, stepped down as president. Its new leader, former Clinton aide Bruce Reed, sought to remake the group as a think tank, and the DLC split from its associated think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute.
The DLC is already showing signs of disrepair. Its website currently leads a Harold Ford op-ed from last November, titled, "Yes we can collaborate." It lists as its staff just four people, and has only one fellow. Recent tax returns weren't immediately publicly available, but returns from 2004-2008 show a decline in its budget from $2.6 million to $1.5 million, and a source said funding further dried up during the financial crisis that began nine months before Reed took over...
I wish this was the end of this bullshit, but it's not.
The truth of the matter is that the DLCs function has been taken over by Third Way. Nobody needs to fear that the centrists aren't going to be well represented in the Democratic Party. They run the place.