The Guardian is liveblogging developments re: downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. ...
... Julie Pace of the AP: "The United States began building a case Friday that would pin the blame for the downing of the passenger jet over Ukraine on separatist forces supported by Russia. President Barack Obama said one American was among the nearly 300 killed in an disaster that could dramatically escalate the crisis in Ukraine." ...
... Michael Birnbaum & Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: "In a news conference at the White House, [President Obama] noted that the separatists have 'received a steady flow of support' from Russia, including heavy weapons, training and antiaircraft systems. He called for 'a credible international investigation' into the tragedy and urged Russia to cooperate with it":
... Michael Birnbaum & Anthony Faiola: "Pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine offered a two- to four-day truce on Friday to allow international specialists to investigate the wreckage of a downed Malaysia Airlines jet, even as rescue workers at the crash site said they had recovered one of its black boxes. World leaders reiterated calls for an immediate international investigation into what U.S. officials said was a surface to air missile attack that brought down the Boeing 777 in a grassy field and killed all 298 people on board. The victims included leading experts in AIDS research en route from Amsterdam to a conference in Australia via Kuala Lumpur. The United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the strike."
... Neil MacFarquhar & Andrew Kramer of the New York Times: "The double game that the Kremlin has been accused of playing in eastern Ukraine for weeks -- publicly endorsing peace talks while surreptitiously supporting the separatists with arms and men -- suddenly appeared less crafty than possibly disastrous on Thursday after the crash of a civilian jetliner in a Ukrainian field." ...
... Shaun Walker, et al., of the Guardian: "... US vice-president Joe Biden said the [Malaysian Air] plane had been shot down, while the Ukrainian authorities released an audio recording of rebel commanders apparently admitting downing it. The jet, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, came down near the village of Grabovo, part of the area controlled by pro-Russian separatists."
Kuiv Post: "Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was allegedly shot down by a group of Russian-backed Cossack militants near the village of Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 kilometers north-west of Donetsk, according to recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and members of terrorist groups, released by the country's security agency (SBU)."
President Obama made his first remarks re: the downed Malaysian Air plane prior to a planned speech in Delaware:
... The transcript of the President's full remarks is here.
Jeremy Bender of Business Insider: "At least 10 other Ukrainian aircraft -- all of them significantly lower-flying than a Boeing 777 -- have been shot down since the rebels started using MANPADS [Man-Portable Air Defense Systems] according to a count kept by military aviation expert David Cenciotti, including five Mi-24 Hinds, two Mi-8 helicopters, one An-2, one An-30, and the Ukrainian transport plane." ...
... BUT. Michael Gordon, et al., of the New York Times: On Monday, "a Ukrainian AN-26 transport plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying at 21,000 feet, an attack that American and Western officials believe was carried out either by Ukrainian separatists allied with Moscow or possibly even a Russian military unit.... [This was] the first time, a surface-to-air missile with greater range had been used, raising questions about whether the rebels have acquired such a devastating capability, and Russia's role." ...
... AND. Thomas Gibbons-Neff of the Washington Post: The plane was probably shot down by a more advanced surface-to-air-missile system than a MANPADS missile. "However..., advanced surface-to-air systems ... are transponder aware, meaning they can detect if they are targeting an airliner." This suggests that the perpetrators purposely shot down a civilian plane. ...
... George Condon of the National Journal: "... it is not too early to conclude that the potential impact [of the downed jet] on the war over Ukraine is great."
Fred Kaplan of Slate: "Instead of capitalizing on Israel’s unusually strong strategic position, [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu risks squandering it -- destroying what little support he has in the West and making it hard for Arab governments that share his interests (Egypt, Jordan, and, even now, the Palestinian Authority) to sustain their tacit alliances."
Elise Foley of the Huffington Post: "As Republicans blame President Barack Obama's executive actions for the crisis along the border, the president assured [Hispanic Caucus] members of his own party Wednesday that he won't back down from his plans to ease deportations." ...
... Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) raised doubts Thursday that Congress will be able to fulfill President Obama's funding request to address the influx of illegal migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border before lawmakers leave Washington for their summer recess in two weeks."
... digby in Salon: Ted "Cruz may be a fringe dweller, but he isn't dumb. There are many ways to advance your cause in our government system that's full of choke points and over the years the Republicans have proved themselves very adept at the one thing they truly care about -- stopping what they don&'t like. (That is after all, the essence of reactionary politics.)" ...
... Steve M. digs into the sources of the "diseased immigrant children" scare. That is to say, he's rounded up the usual suspects.
Alan Rusbridger & Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian interviewed Ed Snowden for a long time. Among the things Snowden said were that "a culture exists within the NSA in which, during surveillance, nude photographs picked up of people in 'sexually compromising' situations are routinely passed around." CW: Not surprising. But disgusting. Also, "he was holding out for a jury trial in the US rather a judge-only one, hopeful that it would be hard to find 12 jurors who would convict him if he was charged with an offence to which there was a public interest defence."
... CW: I didn't listen to the interview, but Rusbridger & MacAskill imply Snowden's "holding out" for a jury trial is a sticking point in his negotiations with the U.S. government. This makes zero sense. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a jury trial to adults accused of major crimes. Snowden can just demand a jury trial. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here.
Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post: "The Army has issued a formal reprimand for misconduct to its former top sex-crimes prosecutor after investigating a complaint that he kissed and groped a female officer while attending a conference on sexual-assault prevention, according to Army officials. Lt. Col. Joseph 'Jay' Morse received the reprimand in late June, officials said, four months after the Army received the complaint and suspended him from his job as supervisor of the Army's special-victim prosecutors."
** Danny Vinik of the New Republic has a terrific on the proposed House lawsuit against President Obama that really gets to the heart of why the suit is stupid & should fail.
Paul Krugman: "... inflation addiction is telling us something about the intellectual state of one side of our great national divide. The right's obsessive focus on a problem we don't have, its refusal to reconsider its premises despite overwhelming practical failure, tells you that we aren't actually having any kind of rational debate."
Reid Wilson of the Washington Post on the Koch brothers/Americans for Prosperity big spending & nationwide reach.
Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.
This is painful to hear:
... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post on why the producers who put the "eyewitness" on the air should have known he was a prankster. Nonetheless, one does have to wonder what kind of sick fuck would attempt to make a "joke" of the deaths of 295 innocent people.
MEANWHILE, here's how Fox "News" covered the breaking story: panelists got in an argument with each other, with one saying to the other -- on air -- "You're so goddamned dumb." Maybe it's better to have a prankster do the swearing.
Beyond the Beltway
Readers from Texas, Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin, Louisiana & perhaps a few others states may be able to successfully challenge me on "America's Worst Governor," but no one can beat me on "America's Creepiest Governor." I assume this is the incident P. D. Pepe referred to in her comment yesterday:
Jonathan Chait summarizes Karl Rove's brilliant GOP campaign strategy re: running against ObummerCare. Funny.
"Visions of Migrants":
... Jack Fitzpatrick of the National Journal has a good piece about the race for this Congressional seat, currently held by Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in a GOP-leaning district.
Former Secretary of State's Bizarre View of U.S. Foreign Policy. Peter Beinart of the Atlantic: Hillary Clinton's "vision for America's relations with the world ... isn't just unconvincing. It's downright disturbing.... Is America's biggest post-Cold War foreign policy problem really that we've failed to adequately remind others, and ourselves, how good we are? ... But the really weird part of Hillary Clinton's claim that America must 'get back to telling' the story of how great we are 'to ourselves' is how much it echoes the right's attack on Obama.... For more than five years, the right has claimed the major problem with American foreign policy is that it's not sufficiently grounded in the belief that America is an exceptional nation.... Now, bizarrely, Hillary Clinton is leveling the same critique."
Matt Arco in nj.com: In Iowa, Chris Christie criticizes President Obama for doing "an awful job" of securing the border but refuses to recommend any solutions. CW: This is a patterned, patented Christie response: he makes a sweeping criticism -- like blaming President Obama for Middle East conflicts -- then tells inquiring reporters he doesn't have time to offer solutions. Frankly, Andy Borowitz's suggestion, linked in yesterday's Commentariat, would be a more effective response than the non-response Christie gave. ...
... Kate Zernicke of the New York Times: As Chris Christie tries to move on to other topics -- like Me for President!! -- multiple investigations of his administration grind on. ...
... Shaun Boburg of the Bergen Record has more on the testimony of Regina Egea, Christie's liaison to the Port Authority & other "independent" authorities, before a New Jersey legislative committee. Democrats accused her of being "conveniently incurious" as she heard more about the bogus traffic study on the George Washington Bridge. ...
... Margaret Hartmann of New York: After "dodging the question ... for two and a half weeks..., Chris Christie just realized he supports the Hobby Lobby ruling...."
Frackin' Jeb. Adam Raymond of New York: "If Jeb Bush is planning to run for president in 2016, he's chosen an odd way to spend the last year before campaign season begins. According to Bloomberg, the former Florida governor is the chairman and part owner of an investment firm that's raising private equity funds for oil and gas companies.... If Bush does indeed decide to run for president, he can expect this to be used against him. Mitt Romney's career in private equity was brought up in both the Republican primary and the general election." ...
... CW: Not surprising at all. Jeb is finally joining the family business.
Charles Pierce: "Any doubts about whether or not there's a presidential campaign a-brewin' on behalf of Scott Walker..., were allayed yesterday. Walker decided that he would play to da crazees in The Base by asking his pet legislature to repeal Wisconsin's commitments to the Common Core standards in education. Wisconsin, it should be noted, has already invested $25 million to implement the standards that Walker now wants to blow up. Fiscal responsibility!"
Washington Post: "Israeli soldiers and tanks fanned out along Gaza's borders Friday seeking out Hamas tunnel networks while pounding residential buildings with artillery and clashing with militants, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a possible 'significant expansion' of Israel's ground offensive in the enclave." ...
... New York Times: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said on Friday that he had ordered the military to 'prepare for the possibility of widening, significantly,' the ground operation in the Gaza Strip begun Thursday night.... Mr. Netanyahu offered condolences to the family of an Israeli soldier killed in the first hours of the ground offensive, identified by the military as Staff Sgt. Eitan Barak, 20, from Herzliya. Palestinian health officials reported that a 4-month-old baby and an 18-year-old male were among more than 20 Gaza residents killed overnight as the total Palestinian death toll topped 260, with some 1,800 others injured." ...
... Hill: "Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit the scope of a ground invasion of Gaza in a phone call Thursday between the two leaders."
Hill: "Airlines are avoiding flying over Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in the country, and may have been shot down."
AP: "National security leaker Chelsea Manning can get initial treatment for a gender-identity condition from the military after the Bureau of Prisons rejected the Army's request to accept her transfer from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to a civilian facility. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved the Army's recommendation to keep the Army private in military custody and start a rudimentary level of gender treatment, a defense official said Thursday."