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Hagel and U.S. as 'world's bully' -- in context

Shockingly, sometimes the media do their job.


Ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) got into a back and forth with freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) over remarks Hagel made during an appearance on a call-in talk show on Al Jazeera.
The clip cited by Cruz has been making its way around conservative blogs over the past few days. In it, Hagel is asked about an emailed question from a viewer (in Georgia in the United States), who notes the perception that the U.S. is viewed as the “world’s bully.”
EMAIL QUESTION: “Can the rest of the world be persuaded to give up their arsenal when the image of the U.S. is that of the world’s bully? Don’t we indeed need to change the perception and the reality before asking folks to lay down their arms (nuclear or otherwise)?
HAGEL: Well, her observation is a good one, and it’s relevant. Yes, to her question, and again I think that’s all part of leadership.

Here is what the full answer was.

HAGEL: “…And again I think that all part of leadership. That’s why this must begin with the United States and Russia. Look, for example, what President Obama has done in the first two months he’s been in office. His Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, has met with the Russian Foreign Minister. She’s been in five regions of the world. The president of the United States is out of the United States now. He’ll be in different parts of the world over the next week. I think that is the beginning of, not just symbolism of reaching out, but, in fact, engaging, listening, finding common ground to build common interests based on consensus. We’re going to have differences. We will always have differences. But we should define our relationships based not on those differences but on our common interests.
HOST: “Well, I mean, that brings us to the new administration that is here in Washington. I think that perception of the United States being a bully in the world has come largely from what the previous administration has done.”
HAGEL: “Oh, I think that’s right. We are now in our unfortunately seventh and eighth years in two long wars. That’s not all America’s fault. Of course not. But I think this last administration misplayed a lot of the great goodwill that were [inaudible] to this country after the terrorist attacks on this country on Sept. 11, 2001. The fact is, the past is the past and we now move forward. Let’s try to get to high ground and fix some of these great problems and challenges for mankind. Working together, I believe we can do that.”

Good news - PPP poll shows Brown leading Markey by 3


Brown Holds Early Lead in Special Election
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Scott Brown (R) edging Ed Markey (D) in a possible special election match up to fill the seat of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), 48% to 45%.

Caveat: "69% of the voters currently undecided voted for Elizabeth Warren in November, while only 17% of them voted for Brown. If those folks ended up voting for the same party that they did in November, Markey would lead Brown by a point. Brown may be starting out at 48%, but it's a very hard path to 50 for him given who the undecideds are."

This is going a close race, but a winnable race.

SECRETARY KERRY By Charles P. Pierce


The only things keeping the nomination of John Kerry as the next Secretary Of State from being unanimous were the votes of the toweringly embarrassing senatorial delegation from the state of Texas, and the dumber half of the senatorial delegation from Oklahoma, which, incidentally, makes the delegation from Texas look like the Congress of Vienna. That he failed to convince John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, and James Inhofe of his qualifications as the country's top diplomat is no disgrace. In fact, it's the strongest argument in favor of Kerry's getting the hell out of Dodge after 28 years in the Senate. Even negotiating with armed lunatics around the world has got to be easier than trying to treat with the many odd critters cavorting through the Inhofe cabeza.

It is a capital mistake to look at Kerry's ascent to his new job as some kind of redemption play. He lost the presidency in 2004 because his campaign was not quite good enough to overcome the natural inertial force of an incumbent, even the worst one who ever stood for re-election, some organized national gay-baiting, and, let's be honest, some wholesale (and still largely unplumbed) chicanery in the state of Ohio. He did not run a bad campaign, just the wrong one, at the time. He has nothing to come back from, except on the idiotic scoreboard that the Beltway wiseguys and the courtier press keep in their minds.

And, of course, it is a job to which he was born. He's the son of a diplomat. He remembers riding his bicycle through the bombed-out streets of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. And in the Senate, he's always had one foot overseas. We have an embassy in Vietnam right now because John Kerry (and, to be fair, John McCain) got the United States to look at Vietnam as a country, and not simply as a war. (If people had done that same thing in, say, 1965, neither Kerry nor McCain might be in the Senate right now, and millions of other people would still be alive.) But, if you ask me about Kerry's qualifications as Secretary Of State, I will answer in an acroynym -- BCCI.

For all the talk about how stiff and cold he is, there is in Kerry a very nimble mind and a remarkable ability to think outside the box. It took a nimble mind to become the spokesman for veterans who came home to protest against the war in which they had fought, and in which their brothers were still fighting. "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" is a question from the deepest part of the imagination because it connects so solidly with the deepest part of the imagination of the people to whom it is asked. Who will be that last man? Your brother? Your cousin? The kid you played football with in high school? When he went after BCCI, he did so against the advice of almost everyone else in Washington. who didn't want their secrets revealed or the bodies dug up. For his entire career, Kerry's political imagination has encompassed the possibilty that his own government may have been complicit in crimes, and that has made people very nervous.

Read more: Secretary Kerry - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Confirmation_Of_John_Kerry#ixzz2JTJS3MFF

Cruz: Kerry Had ‘Less-Than-Vigorous Defense’ Of U.S. National Security


The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the nation's next secretary of state. Newly elected Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one of three Senators who cast his vote against confirmation. Cruz explained his opposition in a statement shortly after:

"I was compelled to vote no on Senator Kerry's nomination because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues and, in particular, his long record of supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty," he said. "Now that he has been confirmed, I look forward to working with him in the years to come, hopefully, to protect our interests and preserve U.S. sovereignty."

Ted Cruz: John Kerry, Chuck Hagel 'Less Than Ardent Fans' Of Military


WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dismissed the military credentials of two of President Barack Obama's cabinet nominees Saturday despite the fact that both are veterans.

"Okay, we've got two pending nominations, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel," he said in responding to a question at the National Review Institute summit in Washington. "Both of whom are very prominently -- "

Cruz took a pregnant pause. "Anti-us?" said a moderator.

"Less than ardent fans of the U.S. military," he continued.

Hagel, a former Republican senator who Obama nominated for secretary of defense, and Kerry, a Democratic senator and nominee for secretary of state, both served in the Vietnam War. Hagel received two Purple Hearts; Kerry received three and a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.

Cruz went on to say that former President Ronald Reagan was more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than every other nominee put together for his stance towards the Soviet Union. Cruz threw in a reference to the only vice president ever to resign from the office, Spiro Agnew, who served under former President Richard Nixon, saying Reagan overcame the "nattering nabobs" at the Department of State to tell Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, "Tear down this wall."

"My view of national security and foreign policy is exactly that of Reagan's," he said.

Spiro Agnew? Really? This is what your references are?

Scott Brown issues a stern warning to his opponents: “Bqhatevwr” By Samuel Knight

Never good to tweet and drink. Or is it just Brown's usual less than articulate speaking abilities?



At 9 p.m. on Friday night, Brown tweeted a simple “Yes. Get ready” — a cryptic message that could have been interpreted as zeal for the salvaged NHL season had it occurred at the same time last week.


Then Brown didn’t necessarily do himself any favors by issuing an impromptu statement aimed at detractors.

Bqhatevwr,” he tweeted 46 minutes after midnight. As of publication, that was retweeted 1,367 times (his”get ready” tweet was only retweeted 84 times).

A minute later he clarified that he actually meant “Whatever,” then directed a sarcastic barb at a naysayer named Matt.

“Your [sic] brilliant Matt” he exclaimed.

The tweets haven’t been deleted.

Welcome back to politics, Sen. Brown.

More here. It seems his daughter was ready to sing, and this is the reason of the "Get Ready" (See Twitter feed at the link).
And he seems to be testy too.,

Is Scott Brown running for John Kerry's old Senate seat? No one knows, yet. But we do know Brown is feeling a little thin skinned lately, and that he isn't getting along with people being mean to him on the internet. Except you, Matt: you're great.

Who is Matt? We don't know. Here's what we do know. Brown still isn't talking about his Senate aspirations. Like, to the point that he hung up on the Boston Globe when they phoned to ask him about it. But we all know his chances of winning are very good, if he decides to enter the race. He also might run for Governor some day, so that might happen instead.

And then last night something weird happened. Brown tweeted, "Yes. Get ready," before telling his followers he was going to see his daughter perform. (She's a singer.) Some jumped on his "Get ready," order as a confirmation he was joining the Senate race, and started firing off some "Scott Brown, you suck!" level criticisms. Brown wasn't having any of it, though. He decided to tell his critics how he really feels:

America's Brutal Treatment of Its Struggling Wealthy Class


A couple of weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran a story explaining the details of the fiscal cliff tax increases. Today it got new life as several bloggers united to mock the graphic that goes with it. Brad DeLong wants to know just how many single mothers with two kids and an income of $260,000 even exist. Xenos is amused that everybody in the graphic looks as though President Obama "ran over the family dog." And I want to know why even the retired black couple looks so miserable despite the fact that their taxes didn't go up at all.

In any case, I thought I'd help out by demonstrating why all these well-to-do wage slaves feel so brutally treated. It's because their taxes have gone up by a whopping 1-3 percent of their income. Where are the torches and pitchforks when you need them?

The Two Sentences That Should Be Part of All Discussion of the Debt Ceiling (James Fallows)


1) Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize one single penny in additional public spending.

2) For Congress to "decide whether" to raise the debt ceiling, for programs it has already voted into law, makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to "decide whether" to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought.

MA Democratic Party Chair - Scott Brown is a faker.

Thanks, John Walsh.

I wish all Dems would say the same thing rather than talking Brown up. The guy is a faker. Time to let this known.


Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh called former Sen. Scott Brown (R) a "faker" and insisted the state party is not concerned about its chances in defeating him in what will likely be the second special election with Brown as the GOP's nominee.


"I've met and observed Scott Brown for a few years. Charismatic is not the word I would use. I think Scott Brown is a faker. And so, yeah, is Ed Markey going to dress up in a costume and drive around Massachusetts? I mean, Scott Brown is a lifelong politician, who drives around in a truck he bought to haul his daughters horses, with a suede overcoat that cost 600 bucks, pretending he's a carpenter or electrician. Yeah, I suspect Ed Markey's not going do that," Walsh said during a conference call with reporters.

I think [Massachusetts voters] will see, if it is Ed Markey or if it is [Reps. Mike] Capuano or [Stephen] Lynch or any of these others, what you will see is a candidate of substance on issues that are important that will take the fight, just as Elizabeth Warren did, on the substance," he said.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/276835-mass-democratic-party-chairman-scott-brown-is-a-faker#ixzz2Ho6dLywe

On another positive sign, Ed Markey hired Sherrod Brown's campaign manager.


Markey announced Saturday that Sarah Benzing will manage his campaign. She most recently run the Sherrod Brown's successful race for Senate, overcoming $40 million in spending that outside groups poured into Ohio.

Benzing also managed New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand's successful campaign in 2011. She previously worked as Iowa's Congressman Bruce Braley after managing his winning campaign in 2006.

Markey says Benzing's record managing grassroot campaigns shows she has the leadership, know-how and passion to lead his campaign to victory.
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