Ewen MacAskill, et al., of the Guardian: "Pro-Russia separatist groups in eastern Ukraine are hastily covering up all links to the Buk missile battery suspected to have been used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, according to western-based defence and intelligence specialists. As the UN security council called for a 'full, thorough independent international investigation' into the downing of the plane, concern that a cover-up was under way was fuelled by a standoff at part of the crash site between observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and rebel gunmen, which ended with a warning shot being fired."
Ralph Ellis, et al., of CNN: "International monitors investigating the Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine said Friday the team was not given full access to the site and was greeted with hostility by armed men."
Everything Is Obama's Fault, Ctd. Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Guess who Sen. John McCain blames for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17? Yup, President Obama: 'Mr. McCain said that Mr. Obama is running a "cowardly administration that failed to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves."'" ...
We need more leadership from the president. He gave this a passing reference in his speech in Delaware, then went on to tell Joe Biden jokes and take the usual shots at Republicans -- which is fair game, but not on this day -- and then to go to New York and go to two fundraisers. I mean, I can't imagine Eisenhower or Kennedy or Reagan doing that. -- Rep. Steve Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee
... Yes, Why Can't Obama Be More Like Reagan? Steve M. Conservatives "are looking at President Obama's response to the shootdown of the Malaysian airliner and finding it lacking -- specifically, they think it falls short of Ronald Reagan's reaction to Russia's shootdown of a Korean passenger jet in 1983.... I would like to point out that Reagan slept through the shootdown -- and was not awakened." Uh, and then he went horseback-riding on his ranch & made no plans to return to Washington. He left it up to Press Secretary Larry Speakes to handle the administration's response. As Deborah Potter of CBS News reported later, "Officials [in Washington] began to worry that, given the circumstances, it wouldn't have looked right for the President to stay on his ranch. So he's returning to Washington later today for an urgent meeting with his national security advisors":
... Josh Marshall of TPM: "In a paradoxical way, I think the future ramifications of [the downing of the Malaysian Airlines jet] are almost greater because it is about Russia's recklessness and bumbling than it would be if it were more clearly a matter of intent. This is a f'-up on Putin's part of almost mind-boggling proportions. Yes, a tragedy. Yes, perhaps an atrocity. But almost more threatening, a screw up. Malign intent is one thing. So is aggression. But goofs of this magnitude by someone who controls a massive military arsenal and nuclear weapons are in a way more threatening." ...
... Now, let us return to Not-President-Thank-God McCain's assertion that Cowardly President Obama caused this tragedy by not arming Ukraine. Take it away, Charles Pierce:
It is becoming plain that the atrocity visited on the Malaysian jetliner is a direct result of arming morons. The New York Times obtained audiotape, allegedly from the people who shot down the plane, and these guys sound like they shouldn't be trusted with a lemon zester, let alone a surface-to-air missile. And it is quite plain that the one thing this situation doesn't need is to arm more morons, or to have another superpower come bungling in.... Vladimir Putin is responsible for a horrendous crime, and one that weakens his international standing. The only thing that would bail him out would be a flood of American arms to our own set of morons. The only thing that would bail him out would be if we all started listening to John McCain again.
CW: I don't know what the correlation is between morons & armed persons -- whether soldiers or civilians -- but I'm certain it is higher than the correlation between morons & the general public. A lot of morons are drawn to bright, shiny steel gadgets that go bang.
David Koenig & Scott Mayerowitz of the AP: "Airlines are already being more vigilant about avoiding trouble spots. That will make flights longer and more costly because of the need for extra fuel -- an expense that will be passed on to passengers. They may be quicker to abandon routes near conflict areas. In the aftermath of Thursday's disaster, carriers around the globe rerouted flights to avoid Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines announced that it will no longer fly over any portion of the country, routing flights over Turkey instead."
John Plunkett of the Guardian: Sara Firth, "a London-based correspondent of Kremlin-funded news channel Russia Today, has resigned in protest at its coverage of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.... Russia Today, which has been criticised as a propaganda mouthpiece for the Russian government, suggested Ukraine was to blame for the crash, while most media organisations have said it was shot down by a suspected Russian-made missile.
CW: I know one John McCain remark a day is one too many, but I can't resist adding a second. Jake Tapper of CNN: "Sen. John McCain ... [suggested that] if he had been elected in 2000, there might not have been a war in Iraq.... If he had been president, McCain said, 'I think I would have challenged the evidence [that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction] with greater scrutiny. I think that with my background with the military and knowledge of national security with these issues that I hope that I would have been able to see through the evidence that was presented at the time.'" Pretty rich, coming from Sen. Bomb-Bomb-Bomb who is usually first to demand military action no matter what the conflict & who was captain of the Iraq War Cheerleading Squad.
Two Friday Afternoon News Dumps to Applaud:
(1) Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal Friday under the Clean Water Act that would limit mining activity in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed, striking a major blow to a project that would rank as one of the world's largest open-pit mines. The proposed determination, which will now be subject to a public comment period until Sept. 19, represents the latest step by the Obama administration to impose restrictions on a massive gold and copper mining project, called Pebble Mine."
(2) Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post: "President Obama, resisting calls from several prominent faith leaders, will not include a new exemption for religiously affiliated government contractors when he issues an executive order Monday barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the White House said Friday."
AND Another DocuDump. Josh Gerstein of Politico: "More previously secret files from President Bill Clinton's eight years in office went public Friday, offering new insight on when he turned to first lady Hillary Clinton for advice, the pitfalls the president's advisers saw in some of his Supreme Court nominees and how a news story prompted the president to express doubts about deadly bombings the CIA had pinned on Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden." Gerstein summarizes some of the docs. ...
** Read this New York Times editorial on the Senate's confirmation of Ronnie White's nomination to the federal bench. At long last, justice is served. Oh, & only because the Democrats changed the rules on filibustering judicial nominees. Senate Republicans really are a despicable lot.
Jeff Shesol in the New Yorker: "... conservatives are doing exactly what they say the left has long done: rushing to litigate political questions, elevating all manner of disputes to the level of high constitutional principle, and asking judges to settle (or revisit) policy arguments that ought to be resolved by legislators or voters. If the Affordable Care Act can't be repealed..., it can be undercut by judges, as in the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. If the National Labor Relations Board can't be shut down, the Presidential power to make recess appointments -- which has kept the agency running -- can be curbed, possibly for good, as last month's Noel Canning decision portends. And if Obama can't be impeached, well, he can be sued. That Republicans have learned to stop worrying and love the lawsuit ... is a measure of their success in remaking the judiciary and reshaping the legal environment over the past forty years."
Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times: "Even before Senator Elizabeth Warren entered the grand ballroom of the Cobo Center [in Detroit] on Friday for a much-anticipated speech to hundreds of liberal activists [at the Netroots convention], her admirers were handing out plastic boater hats, bumper stickers and lawn signs declaring, 'Elizabeth Warren for President.' ... 'Run, Liz, run!' the crowd chanted as the senator took the stage for her morning talk.... Then she opened the sort of blistering populist assault on corporations, Republicans, banks, lobbyists and trade deals that has become her trademark." ...
... Warren takes the stage at about 15:15 min. in. Gary Peters, Democratic nominee for Michigan's open U.S. Senate seat, introduces her at about 13:15 in:
... John Dickerson of Slate (of whom I'm not a big fan) urges Elizabeth Warren to run for president. She wouldn't win, he says, but she would force a campaign of ideas & she would get Hillary Clinton to sharpen her message. CW: Or get one. ...
... digby: "I suspect the Villagers are yearning for a way to balance the crazy tea partiers with some false hippie equivalence.... Let me just point out the one reason Dickerson doesn't mention: how wonderful it would be for me to watch two intelligent, accomplished women stand for president and debate the issues?"
AP: "Germany wants 'sensible talks' with the United States on the two countries' spat over alleged American spying, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Friday, indicating that Berlin is still aiming for a formal accord. Washington has dismissed the idea of a 'no-spy' agreement demanded by Germany since reports last year that the US National Security Agency was conducting mass surveillance of German citizens -- and eavesdropping even on Merkel's cellphone. The discovery of two alleged US spies in Germany earlier this month further stoked German anger, prompting Merkel to demand the departure of the CIA station chief in Berlin."
John Tye in the Washington Post: "Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act," a provision which provides extensive protections for U.S. persons. "Executive Order 12333 contains no such protections for U.S. persons if the collection occurs outside U.S. borders. Issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to authorize foreign intelligence investigations, 12333 is not a statute and has never been subject to meaningful oversight from Congress or any court. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has said that the committee has not been able to 'sufficiently' oversee activities conducted under 12333. Unlike Section 215, the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons."
Stephen Colbert, like so many on the right, is a compassionate conservative:
Danielle Ivory & Rebecaca Ruiz of the New York Times: "... G.M. maintains that a distinct difference exists between its recall of 2.6 million older Chevrolet Cobalts and other cars, which started in February, and its more recent recall of 7.6 million cars like the Chevrolet Malibu, announced on June 30. For that reason, it has refused to expand a fund set up to compensate victims of the defective Cobalts, infuriating safety advocates. Its insistence comes even after new information filed with regulators was made public Friday that further detailed the similarities."
Dylan Byers of Politico: "CNN has removed international correspondent Diana Magnay from Israel after she referred to a group of Israelis as 'scum.' Magnay, who was covering the Israeli missile attack on Gaza, tweeted Thursday, 'Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to "destroy our car if I say a word wrong". Scum.' In a statement, a CNN spokesperson said Magnay had been 'threatened and harassed' but 'deeply regrets the language used.'" ...
... Jennifer Shutt of Politico: "NBC News is sending a high-profile correspondent back into Gaza after unexpectedly removing him from the troubled region earlier this week, the network said Friday. Ayman Mohyeldin would go back into Gaza this weekend, NBC said, but didn't clarify why it had removed him."
Tim Egan: "He's had a busy summer. As God only knows, he was summoned to slaughter in the Holy Land, asked to end the killings of Muslims by Buddhist monks in Myanmar, and played both sides again in the 1,400-year-old dispute over the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad."
Nate Cohn of the New York Times: "Nearly five decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, black voters in the South are poised to play a pivotal role in this year's midterm elections. If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate, they will do so because of Southern black voters.... If Democrats win this November, black voters will probably represent a larger share of the winning party's supporters in important states than at any time since Reconstruction."
AP: "Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of helping separatist rebels destroy evidence at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane shot down in rebel-held territory with 298 people onboard. The government in Kiev said militiamen have removed 38 bodies from the crash site in eastern Ukraine and have taken them to the rebel-held city of Donetsk. It says the bodies were transported with the assistance of specialists with distinct Russian accents."
McClatchy News: "Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who'd been trying to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month."
Reuters: "More than 40 Central American children were expelled from the United States on flights to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on Friday, as the U.S. government stepped up its deportation of illegal child migrants.... Thirty-three minors aged 6 months to 15 years along with 26 mothers landed on a U.S. flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the city with the world's highest murder rate."
Guardian: "As Israel pressed ahead with a ground offensive in Gaza on Saturday morning, the death toll of Palestinians rose above 300, many of them children.... As diplomatic efforts to end the conflict continued in Cairo and at the UN, Hamas was looking increasingly isolated in its refusal to negotiate a truce without concessions in advance. It wants prisoners released and the easing of the blockade on Gaza by both Israel and Egypt."
Washington Post: "The press secretary of a House Republican was arrested Friday morning for carrying a firearm into a House office building. Ryan Shucard, press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), was arrested at approximately 9:15 a.m. after officers found a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and magazine with Shucard as he went through security to enter the building."