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Thursday, December 18, 2014
691 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Thursday, December 18, 2014, I'm Gabe Fleisher for this last Wake Up To Politics in 2014, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at email@example.com. To learn more about WUTP or subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or read my tweets and follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/Wakeup2Politics.
From the Editor's Desk
- Winter Break This is (gasp) the last edition of Wake Up To Politics in 2014. It has been a banner year for the Wake Up, and I’ve had a lot of fun reporting on the various news stories of the year – I hope you’ve equally enjoyed reading them.
- The Wake Up will be back on Monday, January 5 – in the meantime, have a great winter break and a happy holidays!
- Event of the Year However – there may be something to look forward to in your inbox before then…the Wake Up To Politics 2014 Event of the Year Magazine.
- However, I won’t know what event to feature in the Magazine if I don’t know what subscribers want in the magazine so…for the last time: please vote.
- Here are the choices for Event of the Year:
- Crimea annexation
- Ebola outbreak
- Ferguson protests
- Flight 370 disappearance
- Gaza conflict
- Immigration debate
- ISIS executions
- Midterm voting
- NFL sexual assault
- Nigeria kidnapping
- Same-sex marriages recognized
- You can vote in the following three ways through Friday (although there will be no reminder in the Wake Up tomorrow…because there is no Wake Up tomorrow).
1) Email Send me your choice from the list above to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like, include an explanation that may be featured in the Magazine.
2) Survey Fill out a survey with the same choices on wakeuptopolitics.com.
3) Twitter Tweet your choice from the list above using #WakeUpEvent
- Please vote by Friday!!!!White House Watch
- Obama Takes Steps to “Normalize Relations” with Cuba Hours after Cuba released an imprisoned American, President Barack Obama announced changes to the U.S. policy on Cuba, taking steps to thaw a relationship that has long been icy between the two countries.
- “In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas,” Obama announced Wednesday.
- The policy changes were made after Cuba released Alan Gross, a sub-contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who has been imprisoned for five years. Meanwhile, three convicted Cuban spies were released from American prisons, in what the Obama Administration stressed was a separate prisoner swap.
- “Separately [from Gross’ release], in exchange for the three Cuban agents, Cuba today released one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba, and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades,” Obama said. Republicans were soon to jump on this claim, doubting that Gross’ release was a “humanitarian” one and not a swap.
- As the Cuban spies landed in Havana, Gross also arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, his home state, with his wife and lawmakers waiting. “What a blessing it is,” Gross told reporters once he had landed. “Thank you, President Obama, for everything you have done today and leading up to today.”
- Re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba is a risky move for Obama, although 66% of Americans said they would support it in a 2009 poll. This is the latest in a string of executive actions, on issues ranging from immigration to the environment, that represent Obama’s change of direction in what has been a cautious presidency now entering its final years.
- “There’s a complicated history between the United States and Cuba,” Obama acknowledged in his remarks Wednesday. “I was born in 1961 – just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War, and America’s steadfast opposition to communism. We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries.”
- “Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” the President continues.
- According to U.S. Census Bureau data, “most of us” were indeed born after the U.S. embargo on Cuba went into effect in October 1960 – 73.4% of Americans. Interestingly, the Washington Post found, this is in contrast with 65.4% of members of Congress who were born after the embargo.
- As a result of actions announced Wednesday, diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, severed in January 1961, will be re-established. President Obama announced plans to open an embassy in Havana. Currently, the United States operates a de facto embassy in Havana, as an “Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland,” formally a section of the Swiss embassy, although staffed by the U.S. State Department. The Cuban government has the same representation in a section of the Swiss embassy in Washington, D.C.
- In addition, a State Department review will be conducted of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and the Administration is “taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba.” Soon, the embargo may be lifted, and travel between the nations will be easier – which will affect credit and debit card use, trading of MLB players, and Cuban cigars. President Obama even discussed a visit to the nation from himself or other high-ranking American officials.
- After decades of icy relations between Cuba and the United States, who changed things between the two nations? Pope Francis, the Argentine pontiff who celebrated his 78th birthday Wednesday. He began the diplomatic process by writing letters to both President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, urging Gross’ release. When Cuba consented, “normalization talks” began, ending with the actions taken by Obama yesterday.
- Top Vatican official Monsigner Beccui said Wednesday a new chapter in Cuban-American relations was a “beautiful present for the Holy Father”.
- The President’s Schedule At 2 PM, President Obama will meet with senior advisors.
- Also – the Obamas leave for Hawaii tomorrow to spend the winter break in Honolulul, as usual. If he follows what has become a tradition the past six years, Obama will hold a year-end press conference – as he does every year the day before leaving for Hawaii.
- Obamas on Racial Profiling A very revealing excerpt from the Obamas’ interview with People Magazine.
- Colbert’s Last Day Today is the last episode of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report,” as Stephen Colbert replaced David Letterman at CBS’ “Late Show”. What Colbert’s character (who has hosted the Colbert Report for the past nine years NOT Colbert the person, who will host the “Late Show”) will do next…remains unknown.
- Truly the end of an era as the Colbert Report ends after nine great years.
- Also…I noticed yesterday that EVERY late-night talk show as BASICALLY the same name. Take a gander at:
- “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show with Criag Ferguson” on CBS
- “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Last Call with Carson Daly,” and “Saturday Night Live” on NBC
- “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “@midnight,” and the upcoming “The Nightly Show with Larry Willmore” on Comedy Central
- “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO.
- Takeaway: EVERY SINGLE ONE has “tonight” or “daily” or “night” or “late” or some other measure of time in their name.