Posts tagged news

The truth of the matter is, America’s got a whole lot of challenges. Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness.

The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bear these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more. And so my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is Russia’s actions are a problem, they don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States.

"When the Illinois state House passed a bill to legalize gay marriage last fall, just three out of 47 Republicans voted for it. On Tuesday, none of them lost. State Rep. Tom Cross (R) cruised to a 14-point victory in the primary for state treasurer while state Rep. Ed Sullivan (R) easily won renomination in his district. The third, state Rep. Ron Sandack (R), narrowly edged out his opponent by fewer than 200 votes, according to an unofficial tally. The close margin could mean the race goes to a recount. Sandack and Sullivan both faced pressure from third-party groups looking to oust them over their gay marriage votes. In Sandack’s case, the issue became a central focus. Had the three Republicans lost, it would have probably given pause to Republicans considering backing gay marriage in other states where the matter comes up in the future. But given two decisive wins and a third tentative victory, gay rights advocates have a lot to be happy about a day after the election."

None of the Illinois Republicans who voted for gay marriage lost.

You don’t fight [the intelligence community] without a price because they come after you, and they don’t always tell the truth about it.

Nancy Pelosi

Updated with expanded quote.

[I’m struck by] the odd mix of fear and wish projection with which many conservatives view Putin. We hear how dangerous Putin is but also pretty clearly that they wish our leaders were like him - someone who bends history to his will and all that. I mentioned earlier that for all the carping about how President Obama encouraged Putin’s aggression and hasn’t responded to it with sufficient force - what about what happened in Georgia in 2008? President Bush did basically nothing. The truth is there was very little he could do.
 
The President’s critics talk about “resolve” and “leadership” and “toughness” because there are not any actual actions they can point to that they think he should do but isn’t. These phrases are plastic, can mean anything and can be puffed up with all manner of wish-projection and foreign policy fantasy untethered to any concrete and specifics actions. It recalls the glory days of #RomneyStrength.
 
It’s really that clear. Vague and ambiguous phrases are used to conceal this.
 
What President Obama could do is give Putin an ultimatum to leave Crimea or be forcibly expelled. Then we’d have a real test of strength and Putin would see deep potential costs to his actions. But even the President’s toughest critics recognize this would be insane. It’s really not a good idea to get into a land war with the world’s other major nuclear power on their own terrain.
Josh Marshall, on Obama and his detractors
I looked [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.

George W. Bush, 2001

Christopher Hitchens, 2010:

"No one here I suppose would have forgotten the moment when George Bush met Vladimir Putin, who had chosen for the day to decorate his chest with his grandmother’s ornate Russian Orthodox crucifix. Enough for the President to be convinced and to say that just to look into those beautiful limpid eyes was enough to see that he was a person of deep spirituality and sensitivity. I think by the way in a fairly strong field that’s one of the stupidest things any president has ever said."

Josh Marshall, on the Ukraine Situation:

"Much as people carp about the insufficiency of President Obama’s response, the entirety of this crisis is governed by the fact that the US has no viable military options and Russia does. (A good example for the United States of why it is important to cultivate sources of strength other than purely military ones.) We know that; Putin knows that. It is difficult to overstate the ease with which Russia can take possession of the Crimean Peninsula since, in effect, it already has possession. It’s the home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. And the peninsula is riddled with Russian military installations, as part of an uneasy post-Soviet accommodation in which Ukraine leases Soviet-era bases to Russia."

Map via BBC: Ukraine Crisis In Maps

Josh Marshall, on the Ukraine Situation:

"Much as people carp about the insufficiency of President Obama’s response, the entirety of this crisis is governed by the fact that the US has no viable military options and Russia does. (A good example for the United States of why it is important to cultivate sources of strength other than purely military ones.) We know that; Putin knows that. It is difficult to overstate the ease with which Russia can take possession of the Crimean Peninsula since, in effect, it already has possession. It’s the home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. And the peninsula is riddled with Russian military installations, as part of an uneasy post-Soviet accommodation in which Ukraine leases Soviet-era bases to Russia."

Map via BBC: Ukraine Crisis In Maps

We blew this one. [..] Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger, effectively revoking its endorsement of Chris Christie. The very same editorial manages to endorse Christie for president, because the GOP field is just that bleak:

"Now ask yourself this: If the Republican primary came to a choice between [Rand] Paul and Christie, which candidate would you endorse?"

This wasn’t an incident where Billy-Bob and Joe decided, after a few brewskis, to come in and shoot up a substation. This was an event that was well thought out, well planned and they targeted certain components.
Former PG&E Vice Preisdent Mark Johnson, on the sniper attack at a California power subsation that was kept from the public since last April.

Anti-mainland sentiment had been running high in Hong Kong, as the former British colony struggles to adjust to its status as a special Chinese city.

The United Kingdom returned the city to the mainland in 1997, with the caveat that the city would continue to operate much as before for 50 years, before being fully absorbed into the much larger, Communist-controlled People’s Republic. But many believe Beijing is going back on its word. Critics point to encroachment of Hong Kong’s freedom of press, the lack of direct elections of Hong Kong’s chief executive — which presumably give Beijing greater opportunity to meddle — and Beijing’s control over Hong Kong’s immigration policy. But ordinary Hong Kongers are more likely to be angry at the quotidian: Photographs of mainland tourists crowding city streets, eating on Hong Kong subway, or cutting in line regularly go viral on Hong Kong’s social media. (The rancor goes both ways: Influential Chinese commentator Kong Qingdong infamously called Hong Kongers “dogs” in January 2012.)

Hong Kongers can at least be forgiven for feeling outnumbered. Approximately 40.7 million mainland tourists visited Hong Kong in 2013 — more than five times Hong Kong’s population of 7.2 million. While the Hong Kong government estimates that mainland tourists created more than 110,000 jobs in the region in 2012 alone, several surveys have shown that ordinary Hong Kongers do not believe that they have benefited from the influx. Instead, they resent mainland tourists for overcrowding subway cars, driving up commercial rents, and emptying store shelves of baby formula. New immigrants to Hong Kong face even more ire for taking jobs and the benefits given to residents, like school spots for children and hospital beds.

China's Military is Weak. And Dangerous.

Obama's work on the Iran front continues to impress.

Elle flips story, says Beastie Boys are suing GoldieBlox when the opposite is true. The magazine also claims the video was made by “three adorable elementary school girls.” 

UPDATE: Elle removed the tweet. 

GoldieBlox steals song, sues band. New York Times paints band as aggressor.

GoldieBlox steals song, sues band. New York Times paints band as aggressor.

Malala is an eloquent and effective spokesperson for her cause. It’s frustrating to watch people use her for simplistic bullshit like this.
Please note that I’m not disputing the message, although the fine print at the bottom is a straw man. I’m just pointing out that this was created as Facebook fodder by smug people who sought to get exposure for their narrow interests using Malala’s image, and have little interest in spreading her words or her story.
They could have just quoted her:

"I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

Malala is an eloquent and effective spokesperson for her cause. It’s frustrating to watch people use her for simplistic bullshit like this.

Please note that I’m not disputing the message, although the fine print at the bottom is a straw man. I’m just pointing out that this was created as Facebook fodder by smug people who sought to get exposure for their narrow interests using Malala’s image, and have little interest in spreading her words or her story.

They could have just quoted her:

"I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."