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George Condon, Jr., of the National Journal: "Fellow Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton will speak just before [President] Obama steps to the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most famous oration in 1963. Because of age and birthplace, they bring something to the occasion that the much-younger Obama cannot: personal knowledge of Jim Crow, personal memories of state-sanctioned discrimination, and personal experience in battles to fundamentally change the mindset of the American South. Carter, Clinton, and Obama, born in 1924, 1946, and 1961, respectively, roughly represent three distinct generations in the struggle for racial equality." ...
** NEW. Joe Stiglitz on how Dr. King shaped his career. ...
... Prof. William Jones in the New York Times: "The march was so successful that we often forget that it occurred in a political environment not so different from our own. Kennedy's victory over Richard M. Nixon in 1960 signaled a break from the conservatism of the 1950s. But like the election of Barack Obama in 2008, hope for a return to the liberalism of the 1930s was dampened by an administration that rejected 'old slogans' like wage increases and public works in favor of tax cuts and free trade to stimulate growth."
Noah Shachtman of Foreign Policy: "Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services.... And that is the major reason why American officials now say they're certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime.... But the intercept raises questions about culpability..., even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? 'It's unclear where control lies,' one U.S. intelligence official [said]...." ...
(... Driftglass: "And what a stroke of darn good luck it was that just that as tensions in the region escalate exponentially and the stakes in the game of trying to tries to suss out the other players' intentions and capabilities skyrocket, in addition to Bashar al-Assad's firm friendship to lean on, Vladimir Putin now has his very own NSA analyst-in-exile crashing right on his own futon! An NSA analyst-in-exile who is carrying around oodles of exotic details about the sources and methods of American intelligence and who now depends entirely on the goodwill of Vladimir Putin for his continued liberty and good health." ...)
... Rebecca Shabad of the Hill: "Nearly two dozen House members have signed onto a letter demanding President Obama consult Congress -- and wait for its authorization -- before launching military strikes against Syria.... As of Tuesday afternoon, 22 House members had co-signed Rigell's letter, including one Democrat, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas)." ...
... Scott Lemieux in Lawyers, Guns & Money: "'Experts' who are always wrong about everything want to bomb Syria. The Weekly Standard has an open letter explaining that blowing up lots of stuff in Syria is a great idea." The "experts" include Joe Lieberman, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams & Max Boot. And more! "I'm not 100% sure that military intervention in Syria is wrong. But it is true that 1. al-Assad is terrible 2. ????? 3. Bomb lots of stuff! is a terrible argument, and the arguments -- really assumptions -- in the [Weekly Standard] letter have scarcely more meat on them. There should be a very strong presumption against military action, but instead it's the one form of government action that doesn't seem to face any kind of cost-benefit analysis in our political discourse at all." ...
... Charles Pierce: "If these guys were a bowling team, they'd be rolling 'em into the snack bar." ...
... Julian Pecquet of the Hill: "Airstrikes on Syria would turn the U.S. military into 'al Qaeda's air force,' former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told The Hill. The outspoken anti-war activist said any such action would plunge the United States into another war in the Middle East and embolden Islamist militants fighting Bashar Assad's regime."
... Paul Waldman of the American Prospect: "Why do we have this international consensus saying that while it's bad for someone like Assad to bomb a neighborhood full of civilians and kill all the men, women, and children therein, it's worse for him to kill that same number of civilians by means of poison gas than by means of "conventional" munitions that merely tear their bodies to pieces? Indeed, we act as though killing, say, a hundred people with poison gas is worse than killing a thousand or ten thousand people with conventional weapons. After all, the Obama administration (not to mention the rest of the world) reacted to Assad murdering 100,000 people by expressing its deep consternation and trying to figure out how to help without getting involved."
Josh Lederman of the AP: "President Barack Obama on Tuesday named the members of a new intelligence review panel aimed at boosting public confidence in U.S. surveillance programs, tapping a group of former White House officials and academics with close current and past ties to his administration. Michael Morrell, Obama's former CIA deputy director, will serve on the panel.... The White House unveiled the new members Tuesday with little fanfare in a statement announcing that Obama had held a meeting with the group. The meeting was not included on Obama's public schedule.... Also on the panel is Cass Sunstein, a former Obama administration official who is married to Obama's new U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power. Richard Clarke, a former White House cybersecurity adviser during the Clinton administration who campaigned for Obama, is another member. Peter Swire, a professor who worked on privacy issues in the Clinton administration and economic issues early in the Obama administration, will also serve on the panel. The fifth member is Geoffrey Stone, who taught law with Obama at the University of Chicago."
Aamer Madhani of USA Today: "President Obama won't bargain with GOP lawmakers over increasing the debt limit, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Tuesday. The warning from Lew came one day after he formally notified House Speaker John Boehner in a letter that the federal government will hit the $16.7 trillion debt limit in mid-October."
Eric Lach of TPM: "What good is a conservative fever dream if no one can make a buck off it, right? The people behind WND, perhaps the pre-eminent online purveyor of conservative fever dreams, on Sunday created an 'Impeachment Store' section for their website's online retail 'superstore.' ... Joseph Farah, the founder, editor, and CEO of WND..., said he was a bit surprised that impeachment was becoming such a hot topic, in part because even he admits that impeaching Obama is a long shot."
John Harwood of CNBC: "A source from Team Obama told CNBC that Larry Summers will likely be named chairman of the Federal Reserve in a few weeks though he is 'still being vetted' so it might take a little longer." ...
... CW: today President Obama will give what I expect to be a moving speech about equal rights. Don't let him fool you. Assuming Harwood source is correct, Obama's continued reliance on the good ole boys of Wall Street is all the evidence you need that racial, gender & economic equality is not of real concern to him.
Jessica Silver-Greenberg & Ben Protess of the New York Times: "Two federal regulators are preparing a series of enforcement actions and fines against JPMorgan Chase stemming from its dealings with consumers during the recession in the latest legal woes facing the nation's biggest bank. The regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plan to announce the actions as soon as next month.... Under the terms of the civil orders, the bank will have to acknowledge internal flaws and dole out at least $80 million in fines.... The most costly cases for JPMorgan center on concerns that the bank duped its credit card customers into buying products pitched as a way to shield them from identity theft."
Maureen Dowd: "... while [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie has taken dramatic moves to solve his weight problem, he has not yet solved his temperament problem."
Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress: Rand Paul, "... an influential Senator, a much-ballyhooed candidate for his party's nomination for the presidency, has been consistently espousing a worldview, reflected in his budget, that logically implies virtually all major government programs are slavery." CW: this is what you get when a kinda stupid, selfish, insensitive person tries to develop a philosophical rationale for not paying taxes.
What First Amendment? Adam Goldman & Mark Apuzzo of the AP: "The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.... In its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials."
Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press: "It took two votes and eight hours of mostly closed-door politicking and vote wrangling, but the state Senate approved a plan late Tuesday to expand Medicaid health care coverage to 470,000 low-income Michiganders. The historic 20-18 vote makes Michigan the 25th state in the nation to go ahead with the Medicaid expansion as part of the federal Affordable Care Act...." Monica Davey has the report for the New York Times.
Nicole Flatow of Think Progress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott's latest voter purge plan is just as flawed as his old voter purge plans, according to Pinellas County Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark (R). Asked how many cases of voter fraud had been uncovered in Pinellas County since she became elections supervisor in 2000, Clark said none. "By Clark's account, nothing has changed since last year's botched effort, except that Gov. Scott no longer has Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to restrain him." ...
Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling: Democrat "Mike Michaud is the new leader in the Maine Governor's race, benefiting from the continued unpopularity of incumbent Paul LePage and declining support for independent Eliot Cutler over the last seven months. Michaud is at 39% to 35% for LePage and 18% for Cutler."
David Dayen in the American Prospect: Colorado AG John Suthers (R) has sued the two foreclosure mills that operate in the state. Dayen provides a peak into what these crooks do.
Jason Horowitz of the Washington Post profiles Cory Booker. The piece is mildly interesting, but not so interesting I remembered to post a link to it after I read it yesterday.
What God Told Pat Robertson
Beware of Gays Wearing Rings. Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch: "Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson told co-host Terry Meeuwsen that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands. However, one could not hear Robertson make the remarks on the episode his Christian Broadcasting Network posted online, as the company once again appears to have edited Robertson's comments after they aired."
Since Akhilleus has questioned Patrick's veracity, I guess I'll settle the argument (though oddly enough, the Senate leader is wearing Rand Paul's toupee):
New York Times: "Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who admitted shooting to kill in a Fort Hood building here packed with unarmed soldiers nearly four years ago, once said he wished he had died in the attack so he could become a Muslim martyr. On Wednesday, after deliberating a little more than two hours, a jury of Army combat veterans and senior officers sentenced him to death by lethal injection for killing or wounding more than 40 soldiers on Nov. 5, 2009." Washington Post story here.
New York Times: "The prospect of an imminent Western military strike on Syrian government targets appeared to encounter a delay on Wednesday when Britain signaled it would first await the findings of a United Nations inquiry into the suspected use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds near Damascus last week, and then hold a separate parliamentary vote, which could be days away." ...
... New York Times: "The leaders of the Arab world on Tuesday blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people last week, but declined to back a retaliatory military strike, leaving President Obama without the broad regional support he had for his last military intervention in the Middle East, in Libya in 2011. While the Obama administration has robust European backing and more muted Arab support for a strike on Syria, the position of the Arab League and the unlikelihood of securing authorization from the United Nations Security Council complicate the legal and diplomatic case for the White House."
Washington Post: "The Obama administration believes that U.S. intelligence has established how Syrian government forces stored, assembled and launched the chemical weapons allegedly used in last week's attack outside Damascus, according to U.S. officials. The administration is planning to release evidence, possibly as soon as Thursday, that it will say proves that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad bears responsibility for what U.S. officials have called an 'undeniable' chemical attack that killed hundreds on the outskirts of the Syrian capital."
Washington Post: "U.N. inspectors attempting to visit the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in eastern Damascus were forced to turn back on Monday after their convoy came under what the United Nations described as intentional fire. The team plans to try again to access the area within a few hours, the statement said. In the meantime, three key U.S. allies, [Britain, France & Turkey,] indicated on Monday that they would back the Obama administration if it decides to take action against Syria without a United Nations mandate." ...
New York Times: "The New York Times Web site was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon after an online attack on the company's domain name registrar. The attack also forced employees of The Times to take care in sending e-mails. The hacking was just the latest of a major media organization, with The Financial Times and The Washington Post also having their operations disrupted within the last few months. It was also the second time this month that the Web site of The New York Times was unavailable for several hours.... Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company..., said the attack was carried out by a group known as 'the Syrian Electronic Army, or someone trying very hard to be them.'" ...
... Reuters: "Media companies, including the New York Times, Twitter and the Huffington Post, lost control of some of their websites Tuesday after hackers supporting the Syrian government breached the Australian Internet company that manages many major site addresses. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacker group that has attacked media organizations it considers hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for the Twitter and Huffington Post hacks in a series of Twitter messages."