Morning Must Reads: January 15

In the news: European intelligence agencies secretly met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's delegates; the President plans NSA reforms; domestic drones; two of the largest trade bills ever envisioned; the 2014 midterms; President Christie

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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

  • European Spies Reach Out to Syria [WSJ]
  • “The president plans to increase limits on access to phone data, call for privacy safeguards for foreigners and propose the creation of a public advocate post, according to people briefed on his thinking.” [NYT]
    • “The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.” [NYT]
    • “The National Security Agency’s director, responding to questions from independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, says the government is not spying on Congress. But a two-page letter from Army Gen. Keith Alexander to Sanders goes on to state that the agency can make no guarantee that representatives or senators have not had their “telephone metadata” caught up in broad government sweeps.” [USA Today]
  • “Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly borrowing border-patrol drones for domestic surveillance operations, newly released records show, a harbinger of what is expected to become the commonplace use of unmanned aircraft by police.” [WashPost]
  • “Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, is in the midst of negotiating two of the largest trade bills ever envisioned. The Atlantic and Pacific pacts, once completed, could encompass more than 60% of the world’s economy, including most of Europe and Asia. The dirty little secret about the treaties: they both exclude the world’s largest and fastest-growing economy: China.” [TIME]
  • “It’s just two weeks into 2014, but House Republicans are already convinced that the key to winning November’s elections is to talk about President Barack Obama as much as possible.” [Politico]
    • “House Republican leaders are increasingly confident the economy will be a winning issue for their party in the 2014 midterm elections…They hope this argument, coupled with repeated attacks on the healthcare law, will play into the fatigue voters historically display toward incumbent presidents during their second term.” [Hill]
    • “President Barack Obama has a plan to save the Senate’s tenuous Democratic majority: Sell a populist message, try to make Obamacare work better and raise lots of cash.” [Politico]
  • Chris Christie Was Never Going to Be President Anyway [Atlantic]
611 comments
sacredh
sacredh

This thread is back on page 1. I wonder if that means we're not getting a new one today?

hivemaster
hivemaster

@sacredh If it were just one person, I'd say maybe they were taking a sick day, but there's both Alex and Maya.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

There's an article about Harvey Weinstein taking aim at the NRA in a new film.  The swarm is imminent, I suspect.

sacredh
sacredh

@hivemaster , good morning master. What did you do to Alex and Maya? No...don't tell me. I'm drinking again.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

The nominations on how to pronounce Chiwetel Ejiofor are in.

sacredh
sacredh

@DonQuixotic, I'll probably never watch Dallas Buyer's Club. I just don't think it's something I'd enjoy. I've never seen Brokeback Mountain either. I don't like love stories.

sacredh
sacredh

@DonQuixotic , I'll get the 3D blu-ray when it comes out.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@nflfoghorn 

I've heard great things about McConaughey's performance in Dallas Buyer's Club.  I haven't seen it (or 12 Years a Slave for that matter) so I don't know which is better.

sacredh
sacredh

@DonQuixotic, yes. Both my wife and I loved it. It's probably the best space special effects I've ever seen.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

I've got a fever, and the only prescription is a new MMR.

sacredh
sacredh

@DonQuixotic, I had the best night's sleep I've had in at least a year and no new MMRs? Why hast thou forsaken me?

jmac
jmac

What a pile of Bull!   Did anyone listen to Gates on CNN?  


If ever there was a man setting himself up for an Independent or Republican run, it would be Gates.   But I'm happy to hear he so loved Reagan's massive military buildup to defeat the evil Soviets (tripling the national debt) and that Biden was wrong not to support that.    He also thinks Congress is broken because both sides are controlled by their extremes.   WHat an idiot.   He works with center-right Obama (who got bin Ladin) and he missed the Democrats moving so far right they're over the middle?  


And he was wrong, wrong, wrong on Afghanistan and BIden was right.  Gates wanted a "Success"   That means a win.  That meant nation building.     I guess the kind of win he got when Bush declared Mission Accomplished.  


And what part of Code Pink does he think controls Democrats?   I think the man makes Trump look good.    

collioure
collioure

@jmac 

Congress and our political system are broken because the extremes in both parties and special interests wield too much influence..

sacredh
sacredh

@jmac, blue dogs? They're extreme left wing compared to the "mainstream" running the GOP.

jmac
jmac

@collioure @jmac WHAT extreme left-wing group controls the Democratic party?  Name it.  


Not on the economy is there a left wing group that controls the Democratic party.  Not on defense.   Not on education.   Not on regulation.   Not on surveillance (thank God).  

Name it.   

sacredh
sacredh

@outsider, I suspect Satan. Of course Alex may have just forgot to set his alarm clock. Either way, it's pure evil at work.

collioure
collioure

@jmac @collioure

You think NARAL is not far left wing?  I do.

On the other side there's Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.

Groups like this are all over the place in Washington.

outsider
outsider

something weird is going on