Morning Must Reads: May 7

In the news: South Korea, coal, Bangladesh, sarin gas, Benghazi, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ted Cruz, Syria, and health care exchanges. UPDATED

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • Obama and President of South Korea Park Geun-hye today at the White House.
  • There has been a massacre of hardline Islamic demonstrators in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Washington Monthly profile of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley
  • Coal: Prices have retreated 57 percent from a record in June 2008 as coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation sank to a record low of 37 percent last year from 50 percent in 2005.
  • What sarin gas does to people
  • Marc Thiessen: Three State Department officials will tell Congress this week that the Obama administration’s version of history on the Benghazi embassy attack is false — and that the falsehoods it told the American people were willful and deliberate.
  • Jeffrey Toobin: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor regrets the Bush v. Gore decision because the Republican Party changed
  • Ramesh Ponnuru: In defense of Sen. Ted Cruz
  • Bill Keller: Syria is not Iraq
  • Ed Rogers: Key economic benchmarks show that things have gotten worse rather than better for many Americans during Obama’s tenure.
  • Ezekiel Emanuel: Health care echanges will need “Young Invincibles.”
  • BuzzFeed takes over Foreign Policy magazine for the day
319 comments
sacredh
sacredh

I was going to stay up all night waving my arms and screaming "BENGHAZI!!!", but I'm going to lay in bed and watch the playoffs. Maybe tomorrow night.

fitty_three
fitty_three

You know what's funny about the global warming issue?

1. It doesn't matter whether it's man made or not, because it will take 200,000 years to to sink all the CO2 we have in the atmosphere even if we stopped contributing to it:

http://physics.open.ac.uk/~nedwards/millennials_rev.pdf

2.  Here's the projections for near future sea level rise:

http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/

3. Now, 406 ppm is the highest in 5 million years, and till climbing rapidly:

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

4. Given that, even if we stop now, sea levels will rise a minimum of 60 feet (20 meters):

http://www.climatescienceandpolicy.eu/2011/01/the-three-million-years-ago-dilemma-the-beginning-of-the-ice-ages/

So squawk all you want, right wing idiots, 'cause it's a done deal!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Networking professionals are reporting a drop to zilch of all internet traffic from Syria; Google services has seen the same. At this point it appears that the internet has been Turned Off in Syria.

paulejb
paulejb

 Nobody died at Watergate.

paulejb
paulejb

"As Midterms Loom, Democrats Worry About Health Law"

"Democrats are worried about 2014 — a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm years — and some have gone public with concerns about the pace of carrying out the law. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told an interviewer last week that he agreed with a recent comment by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a Democratic architect of the law, who said “a train wreck” could occur this fall if preparations fell short."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/us/politics/gop-is-readying-a-new-offensive-over-health-law.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

TRAIN WRECK!!!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Flake willing to support background checks, with changes to internet sales

Flake said the only reason he voted no was because of his concern that the requirement for background checks on internet sales is too costly and inconvenient, given the way guns are often sold among friends in his state of Arizona and others.

It's just too costly to try and keep firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and the deranged.

paulejb
paulejb

Notice from the two previous posts that Obama Kool-Aid consumers can't keep up with the rapidly developing revelations in Barack Milhouse Obama's Watergate 2.0. I will try to keep them informed.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

If only we knew who changed the talking point in Benghazi.  Oh wait, we found out in November.

The intelligence community - not the White House, State Department or Justice Department - was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the spokesman for the director of national intelligence said Monday.

The unclassified talking points on Libya, developed several days after the the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, were not substantively changed by any agency outside of the intelligence community, according to the spokesman, Shawn Turner.

Next.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@sacredh

I got you covered.  I actually engaged the parasite, since others were doing so.

Oh well, he'll be back tomorrow to pollute.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@fitty_three 

Three points:

1) The projections I've heard have said it's actually 12m rather than 20 - not sure the reason for the discrepancy - either significantly different geography or it could be my stats are just out of date.

2) It does matter from a policy perspective because it determines whether or not they do anything to stop releasing carbon into the atmosphere - plus there are things you can do to actually net reduce carbon levels.

3) The #1 counter argument is that it's actually the sun that's determining the temperatures and not carbon levels thereby demonstrating that your data is irrelevant.

bobell
bobell

@outsider2011 It drives the righties around the bend.  Just look at our own Resident Rightie today, flailing away at BENGHAZI!!!!! as if it's a combination of Teapot Dome, Watergate, and The Charge of the Light Brigade. If it weren't so outrageous, it would be pathetic.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@outsider2011 

Watergate was about undermining the political system, not about making a questionable call (even though it wasn't but let's humor them for a second).  If questionable calls could get President's impeached and their name tarnished for all time, Bush would've been gone before he got a second term and then fired again after Katrina.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@La_Randy Common sense. People want to be self sufficient and not rely on their government. People excluding our resident troll of course.

bobell
bobell

@SirDonQuixotic  True. That's the logic that explains why private sales of automobiles are exempt from registration requirements. If you sell a car to a neighbor, you don't have to report the transaction.  Too expensive and time-consuming.

Oh, wait ...

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

I probably should add to that; it's also embarrassing for their vapid base that can't be bothered to read anything, or even keep up with the news.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

The Washington Post even validates as much:

In a narrow sense, this is correct. Both the House report and the Weekly Standard say the CIA created — or “originated” — the first draft of the talking points. The version as of Friday morning, Sept. 14, 2012, was rather detailed, saying that “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda participated in the attack” and mentioning the militant group Ansar al-Sharia. It also referred to previous attacks against foreign interests and the possibility there had been surveillance of the U.S. facility.

But a senior State Department official — identified by the Weekly Standard as State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland — objected to this draft after being asked to clear the talking points for release. The CIA made some changes, but apparently that was not enough. Nuland said in an e-mail disclosed by the House report that the edits did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership” and that the State Department’s leadership “was consulting with [National Security Staff.]”

(Update: Reading between the lines, part of State’s concern appears to be inconsistency in messaging. Nuland, as State Department spokesman, had been constrained from saying much about the attack at the podium, and now the CIA was proposing to give lawmakers much more information than the administration had released. Moreover, from State’s perspective, the original draft contained references to CIA’s warnings about the security environment, which appeared designed to deflect attention from the agency’s substantial role in Benghazi.)

Minutes later, a White House official (said to be Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications), who was part of the email group receiving Nuland’s message, e-mailed to say that the State Department’s concerns would need to be addressed and the issue would be resolved at a meeting the next day at the White House.

The result, after the meeting, was a wholesale rewriting of the talking points. The House report says “the actual edits, including deleting all references to al-Qaeda, were made by a current high-ranking CIA official,” which the Weekly Standard identifies as Deputy Director Mike Morell.

Oddly, in November, three GOP senators released a statement saying that Morell had told them that the references to al-Qaeda had been removed by the FBI — but then six hours later the CIA contacted them to say Morell “misspoke” and instead the CIA had actually made those deletions. His own apparent role appears not to have been mentioned.

Morell may have had his hand on the pen, but the available evidence suggests that White House and State Department had much more involvement than the “single adjustment” of changing the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility,” as Carney asserted.

Sounds awfully confusing, but the Intelligence Community involvement is apparent.

paulejb
paulejb

@SirDonQuixotic

Well, maybe not.

"The Benghazi talking points: What’s known and unknown"

"The key new disclosure is that senior levels of the White House and State Department were closely involved in the rewriting of the talking points. Previously, Obama administration officials had strongly suggested that the talking points were developed almost exclusively by intelligence officials." (Emphasis mine)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-benghazi-talking-points-whats-known-and-unknown/2013/05/06/f689ee08-b693-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_blog.html

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@fitty_three

"The only sure fire method for CO2 removal is to allow the sedimentary process sequester onoxidized organic matter in ocean sediments where there is little chance of re-exposure.  Nothing else will do."

False.  There's been more than one technology developed for carbon capture.  The bigger problem is energy requirements to actually do the reduction - especially since most forms of energy release carbon back into the atmosphere.  (Some of the more recent advancements in nuclear energy have some promising forms with insanely smaller issues of leftover fissile material, security issues of enrichment, and greatly reduced risks of meltdowns while - or rather, because - producing far greater power output per kilogram of uranium.  Problem: it's nuclear, nobody's willing to trust it.)

"3. Solar radiation levels have shown not to exert much influence"

Preaching to the choir.  My point was more of "your argument is rather weak."  You're attacking a point they think is irrelevant while actually undermining your own position (we're screwed....so why should we try to do anything about this?)

"This would induce climate changes that haven't been seen in 47 million years - back to the Paleogene - Eogene Thermal Maximum 9PETM), where CO2 levels are believed to have been around 1400 ppm.  That involves a sea level rise of more than 140 meters, though a mitigatory effect is that tectonics were different enough to throw that prediction off by a significant amount, but not likely less than 100 meters (330 feet)."

How can the sea levels rise like that?  The problem is melting ice but you only have so much ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic.  The 12m estimate that I'd heard was actually suggesting that this is if all the ice had melted.  If you're talking 140m, we're talking massive percentages of the land - aside from upper plains, that's pretty much the entire United States vast swaths of Europe and possibly Africa.  Pangea might be smaller in land mass than the continents combined, but at 100 m, you might be talking about half the landmass - that seems off.

"There isn't much significantly different geography from 3 million years ago, all the openings and closings of channels and land bridges were completed before then, and the repeated drying-refilling of the Mediterranean Sea was also done."

Also false.  Large sections of East Africa are actually currently below sea level, and the Saharan desert has developed extensively in large part due to changes in geography.  What's less clear, though, is whether these changes are enough to modify how the sea levels will rise.

"But I do agree with you that at a policy level, it matters.  It's just that it won't matter in the short run. Humans do not seem to be capable of making sacrifices to improve the situation a hundred thousand years in the future."

Problem isn't a hundred thousand years in the future, either.  Large portions of the change will be in the next 5 centuries at most and if you burned all known oil deposits within the next 50 years (well within the realm of probable), the effects would be more or less fully in place by the year 3000.

fitty_three
fitty_three

But I do agree with you that at a policy level, it matters.  It's just that it won't matter in the short run. Humans do not seem to be capable of making sacrifices to improve the situation a hundred thousand years in the future.

fitty_three
fitty_three

There isn't much significantly different geography from 3 million years ago, all the openings and closings of channels and land bridges were completed before then, and the repeated drying-refilling of the Mediterranean Sea was also done.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Also, that's not the worst of it:

Since we aren't stopping CO2 production right now, it's anticipated that it will rise to 600 - 800 ppm before human influence is mitigated.

This would induce climate changes that haven't been seen in 47 million years - back to the Paleogene - Eogene Thermal Maximum 9PETM), where CO2 levels are believed to have been around 1400 ppm.  That involves a sea level rise of more than 140 meters, though a mitigatory effect is that tectonics were different enough to throw that prediction off by a significant amount, but not likely less than 100 meters (330 feet).

fitty_three
fitty_three

@forgottenlord

1.  There was an article I didn't mention that said that sea level rises were anticipated to be 60% higher than previous estimates.

2.  The carbon cycle takes 200,000 years.  If we stopped it dead, all industries, everything, it will take 200,000 years to sink that carbon dioxide down to pre-industrial levels.  Massive documentation for that.  The only sure fire method for CO2 removal is to allow the sedimentary process sequester onoxidized organic matter in ocean sediments where there is little chance of re-exposure.  Nothing else will do.

3. Solar radiation levels have shown not to exert much influence, except over extremely long periods, but since the sun is a stable star, it's warming only slowly - 5% more isolation over the past 600,000,000 years.  Also, the sun's radiation only secondarily produces CO2 through it's influence on life.  CO2 is a primary causative in all successful climate models.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@paulejb

Not possible, chief.  Unless you control all the lines out of the country, you can't shut them down and considering the physical location of Syria, there's almost no chance that the US controls all of those lines.

bobell
bobell

Correction -- If it weren't so pathetic, it would be outrageous.

Come to think of it, it works either way.

paulejb
paulejb

@bobell 

Sorry, boys. It's not the crime, it's the cover-up. Who will be Barack Milhouse Obama's John Dean?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SirDonQuixotic Why do idiots not understand that this is a generic signature? Then again they must also believe that their congressman personally reviews and signs every happy birthday letter he sends to his constituents.

paulejb
paulejb

@SirDonQuixotic

"The key new disclosure is that senior levels of the White House and State Department were closely involved in the rewriting of the talking points. Previously, Obama administration officials had strongly suggested that the talking points were developed almost exclusively by intelligence officials." (Emphasis mine)

Notice how Donnie tries to obfuscate the damning fact. 


forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

Gah, forgot to finish my second paragraph there: I disagree with your representation of causality, but I can understand why you'd interpret it that way

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@forgottenlord @mantisdragon91 You are correct. I misspoke in my haste to respond. However this doesn't change the underlying dynamic. The invasion of Iraq made Iran stronger and more ambitious and set of chain of other revolts across the Mid East.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

Syria is a Sunni majority trying to topple an Shia/Alawite minority.

I disagree with your representation of causality (tensions in Iraq were mainly in '06, were calmed down in '07, and Tunisia wasn't until '10 which has more direct obvious domino impacts towards the rest).  

(Side note: I *really* don't care about the casualties that result from internal rebellions of a majority that is oppressed by a minority dictatorial regime when the US had, at most, an indirect causality.)

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@forgottenlord @mantisdragon91 The toppling of Saddam set of a chain reaction throughout the Middle East. Iran got stronger and bolder, and an area wide civil war erupted between Sunni and Shia for control of the region. Bahrain and Syria are both fronts in that civil war as a large Shia majority attempts to topple a ruling Sunni/Alawite minority.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

How do you connect Syria and Bahrain to Iraq?  Isn't this all part of a wave movement extending from Tunisia and Egypt and possibly even Iran?  The US didn't have a hand in that.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@fitty_three @paulejb 3000? How about the 4000 dead Americans and hundreds of thousands dead Iraqis in GWB war of choice? And we still don't know how many more died in Syria and Bahrain in the ripple effect it caused.

paulejb
paulejb

@bobell 

Four dead Americans, one an Ambassador, is outrageous, bobell!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SirDonQuixotic What idiots fail to realize is that White House and State Department officials are always closely involved with the language in any talking point their staff present to the public. What they also fail to realize is being closely involved in no way means that the original request to cloud what we did and didn't know about the attacks did not originate with our intelligence services. The Mossad knew it was a terrorist attack within days and yet out of respect for their US colleagues you didn't see this all over the Israeli news.