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Week In The News: Sequestration, Immigration, And Chinese Hacking

Sequester debate. Immigration backlash. A new hard line on Chinese hacking and theft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines

U.S. Capitol building at night (Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Capitol building at night (Wikimedia Commons)

We’re about to become the sequestration nation, and Congress was out of town this week. The debate went on anyway. How, and how not, to deal with our finances.

Immigration talk, too. Pushback now, after the push. Joe Biden says get a shotgun if you’re nervous – not an assault rifle. Chinese hacking gets tracked to the Chinese military. Washington says stop it.

We’ve got another a big snow, coming across the plains. Jesse Jackson Jr. with sticky fingers. Whispers of an American pope. Obsession with Oscar Pistorius. This hour, On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

John King, chief national correspondent for CNN. He is a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. (@JohnKingCNN)

Laura Meckler, White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. (@laurameckler)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal “The idea of John Kerry living it up in Cartagena, drinking and dancing with his State Department colleagues and locals as his predecessor Hillary Rodham Clinton once famously did, is hard to imagine. But their policies might not be as different as their individual styles.”

Wall Street Journal “The sequester is a wave of deep spending cuts scheduled to hit on March 1. Unless Congress acts, $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will occur this year, with another $1.1 trillion coming over the next decade. There is nothing wrong with cutting spending that much—we should be cutting even more—but the sequester is an ugly and dangerous way to do it.

By law, the sequester focuses on the narrow portion of the budget that funds the operating accounts for federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense. Exempt is most entitlement spending—the large portion of the budget that is driving the nation’s looming debt crisis. Should the sequester take effect, America’s military budget would be slashed nearly half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Border security, law enforcement, aviation safety and many other programs would all have diminished resources.”

Politico “Prepare for the end of food safety as we have known it. For a breakdown in public order. For little children languishing in ignorance. If only Edward Gibbon were here to chronicle the devastation. On March 1, the fabric of our civilization begins to unwind.
That’s when the economy begins to stall and we turn our back on our values, all because the federal government will have to begin to cut a few tens of billions of dollars from the largest budget the world has ever known.”

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No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

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