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1.) Kerry and Hagel sitting in a tree – John Kerry knows he is gong to be confirmed Secretary of State so he is free to worry about other things — like how to support Chuck Hagel, who is likely to get a different reception on the Hill next week. TheDC’s Alexis Levinson reports:
“So uncontroversial was the nomination of Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state that at his first hearing before the Senate foreign affairs committee, the Massachusetts Democrat wound up defending former Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s embattled nominee to be secretary of defense. … ‘I know Chuck Hagel, and I think he is a strong, patriotic, former senator, and he will be a strong secretary of defense,’ Kerry said. … ‘I don’t think Sen. Hagel will sit here, or he’s going to go over to the Defense Department and be a proponent’ of Global Zero and complete nuclear drawdown, Kerry said, noting that he himself favored a policy of deterrence, and that he believed that ‘we have to maintain’ the nuclear stockpile program.”
2.) Senate gun grab – The gun debate continues, TheDC’s Alex Pappas reports:
“California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns. Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the ‘Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.’ … The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms.”
3.) Foreign relations – TheDC’s David Martosko reports on more foreign relations details of the next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
“Documents published online for the first time Thursday indicate that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on August 1, 2012, focusing on repeated trips he took to the Dominican Republic … The documents, which The Daily Caller had obtained hours earlier from an anonymous source, also indicate that Carrie Levine, research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was alerted on April 9, 2012 to Menendez’s habit of paying for sex while outside the United States. ABC News senior investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz was aware as early as May 2, 2012, the documents show, when Levine wrote a source in the Dominican Republic to say that she had ‘shared your allegations, but not your identities, with a respected, trusted journalist with whom we have worked on other stories.’ … Information made available to Schwartz and Levine at that time included allegations that some of Menendez’s prostitutes were as young as 16. The source also alleged that Sen. Menendez was taking ‘non-authorized trips’ to the Dominican Republic, suggesting that he may have been evading Senate Ethics committee rules covering disclosures when third parties pay for a senator’s travel.”
4.) This is not your father’s R. Paul – Rand Paul is no Ron Paul when it comes to Israel — at least in rhetoric. TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein reports on the younger Paul’s latest pro-Israel statement:
“Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul took what very well could be considered his most pro-Israel stance yet, saying in an interview that an attack on Israel should be treated as an attack on the United States. Asked in an interview whether the United States would stand with Israel and provide it foreign aid if the Jewish state was attacked by its enemies, Paul went a step further and said such an attack should be treated as an attack on the U.S. ‘Well absolutely we stand with Israel,’ he said in an interview with Breitbart News, ‘but what I think we should do is announce to the world – and I think it is pretty well known — that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States.’”
It’s hard to believe the Revolution will like those comments very much.
6.) Today in North Korean News –BREAKING: “Agricultural Workers, Women Vow to Carry Out Tasks Advanced in New Years Address”