Jan 08 2014

Daily News Flash with Rahul Mahajan on Jobless Benefits Bill, Gates’ Memoir, and Israel’s Treatment of African Migrants

Uprising’s guest expert Rahul Mahajan, sociologist and news analyst and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, analyzes today’s news headlines:

An extension of jobless benefits for long-term unemployed Americans just passed a procedural vote in the US Senate. With a vote of 60-37, mostly along party lines the Senate yesterday cleared the way for a vote to extend benefits for 1.3 million Americans for another 3 months. President Obama has urged Congress to pass the bill but it is likely to die in the Republican-dominated House. Meanwhile, Obama, who has taken on income inequality as his signature issue in the next few years, has designated 5 cities including Los Angeles as so-called “promise zones.” Under this new initiative, the federal government would work with troubled municipalities, offering grants and tax breaks to address poverty. Click here for a Reuters article about the story.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called out President Obama on his Afghanistan war strategy in a new memoir called ‘Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.’ In addition to accusing the President of being “highly disrespectful of [Central Commander General] Petraeus,” Gates also wrote, “the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” Gates was Secretary of Defense under President Bush and continued on for a time under Obama. Click here for an RT.com article about the story.

We turn to Israel where more than ten thousand African migrants from countries like Eritrea and Sudan staged a mass protest in front of the Israeli Knesset today. The action comes on the heels of two similar protests and represents the frustration felt by African migrants who want Israel to process their asylum requests. An Associated Press report of the actions summarized Israel’s quandary this way: “Many Israelis fear that the migrants’ presence threatens the Jewish character of their country, and some blame them for rising crime rates in the low-income Tel Aviv neighborhoods where many have settled.” Click here for an ABC News article about the story.

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