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U.S. embassy in Cairo ignites diplomatic troubles by tweeting link to Jon Stewart

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The US embassy in Cairo briefly froze its Twitter account Wednesday after coming under fire from Egyptian leaders for tweeting a link to a US comedy show mocking President Mohamed Morsi.

The embassy, which is a vociferous user of Twitter, shut down the account and deleted the tweet, which had linked to a clip by popular US funnyman Jon Stewart denouncing the arrest of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef.

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Youssef, dubbed Egypt’s Stewart, is on bail facing accusations of insulting Morsi and Islam, and is under investigation for “threatening public security.”

Egyptian judicial sources said Youssef was being investigated along with the head of the CBC television channel, which airs his weekly program “Albernameg” (The Show), modeled on Stewart’s satirical “The Daily Show.”

In his Monday night show on Comedy Central, Stewart delivered a wise-cracking monologue mocking Morsi for cracking down on dissent, pointing out that the former senior Muslim Brotherhood figure was swept to power in the revolution that ousted long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.

But Morsi’s office took issue with the clip tweeted by the US embassy, saying on its @EgyPresidency account that “it’s inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda.”

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State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the embassy’s Twitter feed @USEmbassyCairo was back again Wednesday afternoon, after what she called “glitches with the way the Twitter feed has been managed.”

Embassy staff, who are responsible for maintaining the feed as part of their digital diplomacy outreach, were now “reviewing” their procedures on “how they decide what they want to tweet from their embassy site.”

It is not the first time the embassy has landed in hot water for its Twitter feed, after it tweeted a series of statements on September 11, 2012 as it sought to calm a wave of protests triggered by an anti-Islam video.

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Republicans seized on the embassy statements to accuse the administration of apologizing for an anti-Islam video that sparked widespread protests.


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2020 Election

GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why

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In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.

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Alternet 2020

Nancy Pelosi faces serious challenges — but she’s failed miserably in two key ways

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As I wrote earlier this week, with its muddled messaging on impeachment, the House Democratic leadership may have figured out a way of both demoralizing the Democratic base and firing up Trump's supporters. It's a mess.

But fairness requires us to acknowledge an important fact: Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes to launch an official impeachment process. And it's not close. At present, The Washington Post's tally finds 137 members of the House in favor of launching an impeachment inquiry, with 92 opposed and 6 others not taking a position. Leadership can twist arms on a close vote, but when you're close to 100 votes shy of a majority, it's impossible to whip a measure across the finish line--especially one of such consequence.

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Trump’s anti-worker labor nominee is more like the ‘Secretary of Corporate Interests’

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Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers expressed serious concerns Thursday about corporate attorney Eugene Scalia — President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department — as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee met to consider his nomination.

"Instead of nominating a Secretary of Labor, President Trump has nominated a Secretary of Corporate Interests," declared Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking member. "If there's one consistent pattern in Mr. Scalia's long career, it's hostility to the very workers he would be charged with protecting, and the very laws he would be charged with enforcing if he were confirmed."

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