Morning Must Reads: August 30

In the news: Syria and the Black Budget

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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

  • “The Obama administration laid the groundwork for unilateral military action, a shift officials said reflected the U.K.’s abrupt decision not to participate and concerns Bashar al-Assad was using the delays to disperse military assets.” [WSJ]
    • “Can the U.S. attack Syria without the Brits standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans? Of course, it can. But more importantly, should it?” [TIME]
    • “The Iraq effect…has dramatically raised skepticism about the U.S. government’s rationale for applying military force in the name of American security.” [TIME]
    • “President François Hollande of France on Friday offered strong support for international military action against the Syrian government…” [NYT]
    • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Diane Feinstein tells TIME a congressional vote is not necessary for Syria intervention. The New York Times reports “nearly 200 House members from both parties have signed letters calling on the president to seek formal congressional approval for military action.”
    • “In the world’s second-largest refugee camp, Syrians find that it’s not easy to flee the war.” [New Yorker]
    • 69% of Americans want the U.S. to either provide arms to the opposition (6%), provide only humanitarian assistance (40%), or take no additional action (23%). Only 26% endorse military action. [NBC poll]
    • Retired General Wesley Clark on Syria vs. Kosovo [USA Today]
  • The Washington Post reveals $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013 with the aid of Edward Snowden. 4 points:
    • 1) “Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion” requested for 2013.
    • 2) “The governments of Iran, China and Russia are difficult to penetrate, but North Korea’s may be the most opaque.”
    • 3) ”The CIA and the NSA have begun aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems.”
    • 4) Before Snowden, they were worried about an employee like him: “The NSA planned to ward off a ‘potential insider compromise of sensitive information’ by re-investigating at least 4,000 people this year who hold high-level security clearances.”
    • Interactive Graphic
  • “The U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden was guided from space by a fleet of satellites, which aimed dozens of receivers over Pakistan to collect a torrent of electronic and signals intelligence as the mission unfolded.” [WashPost]
  • “The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that when it comes to federal tax purposes, same-sex couples who have legally married will be treated the same as straight married couples, no matter what state they reside in now.” [NPR]
  • “The Justice Department will not sue to block state laws that legalize small amounts of marijuana.” [Politico]
  • Jerry Brown’s Tough-Love Miracle [Rolling Stone]
767 comments
sacredh
sacredh

I hope everyone had a safe Labor Day and didn't eat or drink too much. My better half and I decided to watch an old classic before I go to bed tonight. A Hard Day's Night. Goodnight folks.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@collioure 

     Are the Useful Idiots taking Labor Day weekend off?

     I waste too much time here exposing ignoramuses like you.

     etc.

That pretty much sums it up.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Happy Labor Day to all Swamplanders.  OT, The smoke is so bad in Nevada from the Yosemite Park fire that the sun is blocked out on the reservation where my wife is from.  Her sister came over the Sierra and stayed with us this weekend to get some fresh air.   

sacredh
sacredh

Happy Labor Day folks. Enjoy the cookouts.

Come back fitty.

sacredh
sacredh

Wednesday night it's going to be Let It Be.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@retiredvet If I'm ever caught in a candid photo like this, I hope I react like the woman in the center, not the guy in the "Army" shirt in the lower left...eeeekkk! ;)

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@sacredh Back home after a fabulous weekend on the west coast of Pure Michigan! Beach reading: A People's History of the United States, by the late Howard Zinn (perfect Labor Day material, if you ask me). I'm just on Chapter 4 "Tyranny is Tyranny" (about the origins of the American Revolution), and to summarize: The more things change, the more they stay the same (I'm talking to you, 1%ers!)

Steaks are seasoned and will be attended to shortly, w/ grilled new potatoes, zucchini squash, and a fresh tomato salad. Bell's Oberon with a lemon wedge is keeping things chill.

Enjoy the celebration of the American Labor Movement, folks!

P.S. Come back fitty. 

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@sacredh I tanked up my car last night. The total was $53.30. I think it's an omen. Come back, fitty.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, something else that I've thought about is that if the house says no to strikes, what happens if Israel gets hit with chemical weapons? Allowing any chemicals to weapons to be used without a consequence is about the worst possible message we could send. Let the house republicans say no. They'll pay for it in the midterms.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, congress wanted Obama to get approval from them before any military action. They're going to look extremely bad if they don't approve action. If they come out against airstrikes, it's like a tacit approval for the use of chemical weapons.

retiredvet
retiredvet

I present you exhibit A: "Are You Syrious?"

retiredvet
retiredvet

When I first started reading Swampland I gave Joe (what I think is) a fair shake. But I've come to think that "sordid idiot" is more projection on his part.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@kbanginmotown   Well, it is Fenway Park!  ;)  

It's actually a great photo. It looks like The woman in the center is about to catch the ball. But the camera angle might just make it look that way. 

sacredh
sacredh

@kbanginmotown, I spent my holiday weekend getting drunk motorboaters through the locks at the dam. Surprisingly, I had fun.

sacredh
sacredh

@collioure, I disagree. The house makes whatever Obama proposes a partisan fight. Where have you been the last 5 years?

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh @retiredvet Where, exactly, is Israel in this? We've heard remarkably little from them, or at least the news down here in my area hasn't mentioned them. This is their back yard. If this is such a pressing issue, why isn't Bibi squawking his head off? He's the one who first came up with the damn fool "red line" anyway.

Think about it – how monumentally bad an idea is this if Israel isn't clamoring for it?

retiredvet
retiredvet

I think McConnell is covering his butt. Reluctantly.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@retiredvet To be fair, it's usually TIME's editors that come up with gems such as "Are you Syrious?"

However, if it was Joe... ಠ_ಠ

retiredvet
retiredvet

@kbanginmotown @retiredvet All's fair in love and baseball. When the kids were young we used to go often. Great fun if they win. Back then it wasn't very often.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@retiredvet @kbanginmotown You're right, retiredvet; the camera angle makes it hard to tell who came up with the ball. It would be interesting to know.

The closest I ever came to catching a foul ball was in the old Tiger Stadium in the early 90s. I was the woman in the center, ready to have the ball drop in my lap. But, at the last second, the guy directly in front of me shoots up his right hand and makes a beautiful bare-handed catch. C'est la vie.

Nowadays, I mostly watch my children's soccer matches. We throw the ball back... :-P

sacredh
sacredh

@kbanginmotown, it looked like it was going to rain all day long but it didn't start until an couple hour after I got home. No flashers yesterday either.

collioure
collioure

@roknsteve@collioure 

A little strong for this President.

Try "failure."

BTW "loser" would be someone who wants to really get involved in Syria - like McCain and Graham.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh @collioure  

Well, I'm watching "The Five" and you have this Syrian thing assbackwards.

Obama doesn't have the Democrats on board.  He was meeting with McCain and Graham today because he needs someone to sell his plan (whatever that is) to the Republicans  People around the Prez obviously unhappy with his direction are leaking left and right..

Unless the President who dithered over this problem for many, many months comes up with a coherent plan, this proposal is going down.

Give the Prez very low marks for his stewardship on chemical weapons use in Syria until Friday when he wised up and pulled back from the brink.

If I didn't already think this was a bad idea, hearing McCain and Graham tonight convinced me.

 

collioure
collioure

@roknsteve@Sue_N@collioure@sacredh 

"The Republicans are tearing each other apart over this.  I think Pres. Obama played them again and has showed how shallow they really are on everything."

What in the world are you smoking?

The Republicans haven't even responded. I doubt either party will as both are likely split on this matter.  It's every man/woman for himself.

collioure
collioure

@roknsteve  

You could start with pro-choice, pro gay rights and marriage, and take it from there.

collioure
collioure

@roknsteve  

If that's your view, music man, by all means please list my extreme views.

collioure
collioure

@Sue_N@collioure@sacredh 

Hey, he's the President.  If he wants to move an issue, he can. For example, he got gun control considered, and his majority in the Senate did not deliver the needed votes;

He got off to a very bad start in 2009 with two huge bills developed on one side of the aisle, but that’s his way. He’s from a one-party town and he prefers one-party politics.

He got somewhat involved in budget negotiations.The sequester he now disowns was his idea.

The grand bargain (which really wasn’t so grand) was never reached.Obama asked for more and then Boehner did stop talking.

Golf?Apparently they played once.It takes more than that.

I am afraid you are just grasping at straws.The Republicans are divided.I suspect Boehner has a Tea Party caucus he can’t do anything with.

Nevertheless Obama just isn’t pushing much their way. Immigration is in the pipeline, but that’s between the Senate and the House.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@sacredh @collioure This "collioure" lives in Tea Land and claims to be an Independent but his bias gives him away every time.  

roknsteve
roknsteve

@Sue_N @collioure @sacredh The Republicans are tearing each other apart over this.  I think Pres. Obama played them again and has showed how shallow they really are on everything.

roknsteve
roknsteve

You have outed yourself as an extreme "crazy winger" with no cred.  Have fun in Tea Land.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@collioure @sacredh How, exactly, is he supposed to strike bipartisan plans when the GOP flat out refuses to deal with him?

Republicans who even think about dealing with him are getting primaried from the right. Lamar Alexander, no one's idea of a liberal, is being told to step down because he's not radical enough. Chris Christie damn near got crucified because he praised Obama for his response to Sandy.

Only one party is threatening to shut down the government. Only one party wants Obama impeached. Only one party has staked its future on getting rid of Obamacare. Never mind the fact that Obamacare began life as a Republican policy.

Obama has literally wined and dined the GOP. He has played golf with Boehner. He has bent over countless times, and every time the GOP has stuck it to him.

You want an example of a bipartisan offer? How about the so-called "grand bargain," which liberals hated, and which gave the GOP its treasured spending cuts, mostly in "entitlements"? Remember that? And who was the one who walked away? Oh, yeah, John Boehner.

Yeah, tell me again it's Obama who refuses to deal.

collioure
collioure

@collioure @sacredh  

Now that I have thought about this a little longer, I would be reluctant to give Obama anything more than a short leash.  I have no reason to trust his judgment in this part of the world.


This is the President who did not make enough of an effort to hang onto the hard won victory in Iraq, made a horrible decision in Afghanistan.and didn't get his ducks in line for a timely strike last weekend.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh @collioure 

That's what he says, but he offers no good examples.

It covers for his my way or the highway methods.

We just don't hear of negotiations in which he is involved.

sacredh
sacredh

@collioure, phony mantra? It's reality.

Off to work, for the feds. Lol.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh @collioure

Please. This is such a phony mantra. This President doesn't even have good relations with Congressperons of his own party. He's aloof.  Show me where he has struck some good bipartisan bargains.

If he makes his case, puts forward a sound plan and has his bases covered regarding where this might lead, he'll get the approval he seeks.

However, so far all he has justified is a reason to strike.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, I'm going to watch a movie with my better half as soon as my load of work clothes is in the dryer. Good night. I'm outta here too.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, one of the bosses did tell me I needed to slow down a little bit. I apologized for being an older guy that wears a knee brace and has a bad back making the younger guys that play softball when they get off work feel bad. Lol.

retiredvet
retiredvet

Off to dinner. Back later if you're still around.

retiredvet
retiredvet

I'd tell them to work harder. Oh, and to kiss my azz too!

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, no, by other guys working the same position as me. I think I'm doing less than I used to because before I was doing about 75%. Now I'm doing 50%. I don't know why anybody is surprised. Before I took this position I'd said that I was going to do half of everything and that I only expected the guy working with me to do the other half. I also said that I was going to let the guy working with me to get all the training they wanted to doing what I do. Maybe they expected me to change my mind after I got it and take it easy. How can anybody be surprised when someone does what they said they'd do? We get alot done on my shift because I go out and help get it done. I say what I want done and we both hit it. When I feel we've done enough, I tell them to stop and let's go take a break.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, OT, but I was told recently (like very recently) that I was upsetting a few people because I was doing too much on shift. The claim is that I'm making other guys look bad. I said that if the veins weren't standing out on their necks and their hands weren't shaking, I felt that I was slacking off.

retiredvet
retiredvet

Same here. I'm not a member of any political party. I'm what's referred to as a "GD Independent." The Dems in MA are corrupt to the core but the GOP is much worse.

sacredh
sacredh

And I'm enjoying every minute of their rotting from within.

retiredvet
retiredvet

The rotting of the GOP continues apace.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, McConnel's doing more than covering his butt. His eyes are on fighting to keep his seat. He's going to say and do what he needs to say or do to get re-elected. If that includes p!ssing off his own party, he'll do it.