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About Obama’s “We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet” Statement; Don’t Fall for the Right’s Distortions

The rest of the story
Politics • Views: 16,226

Here we go again, folks; you can see it coming already. During his press conference today, President Obama talked at length about the need to develop a strong, comprehensive regional strategy with US allies and partners to address the threat of ISIL.

So what are the right wing blogs going to be screaming about? At one point, Obama said these words:

We don’t have a strategy yet.

This will be the right wing’s next “You didn’t build that” — a deliberately distorted, out of context deception to enrage their base. It’s starting already:

But here’s the transcript, and for the record, I’ll pull out everything else Obama said about developing a strategy. I don’t expect this to affect the coming right wing freak-out (they’re impervious to facts), but for the record:

ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region, and that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL, and that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they’ve made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.

[…]

Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region, countries that don’t always agree on many things, increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them. And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat.

[…]

As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can and we will, working closely with our allies and our partners. For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy.

[…]

What is true, though, is that the violence that’s been taking place in Syria has obviously given ISIL a safe haven there in ungoverned spaces. And in order for us to degrade ISIL over the long term, we’re going to have to build a regional strategy. Now, we’re not going to do that alone.

[…]

But when we look at a broader strategy that is consistent with what I said at West Point, that’s consistent with what I said at the National Defense College, clearly ISIL has come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively. And that’s going to be a long-term project.

[…]

QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in and we’re — that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military, as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.

[…]

Now as we go forward, as I’ve described to Chuck, and look at a broader regional strategy with an international coalition and partners to systematically degrade ISIL’s capacity to engage in the terrible violence and disruptions that they’ve been engaging in, not just in Syria, not just in Iraq but potentially elsewhere if we don’t nip this at the bud, then those consultations with Congress for something that is longer term I think become more relevant.

[…]

But, as I said to Chuck, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. And in some of the media reports, the suggestion seems to have been that, you know, we’re about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL.

[…]

We are gonna work politically and diplomatically with folks in the region. And we’re gonna cobble together the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy. There will be a military aspect to that. And it’s gonna be important for Congress to know what that is, in part because it may cost some money.

[…]

If those things are followed through on and we are able to combine it with a sound military strategy, then I think we can be successful. If we can’t, then the idea that the United States or any outside power would perpetually defeat ISIS I think is unrealistic.

There you have it. The right will have their very predictable freak-out session, but maybe some people will refer to this post for the rest of the story.

Sen. Marco Rubio Scolds and Expels DREAM Protesters

The party of xenophobia
Politics • Views: 26,790

YouTube

This video is making the rounds today, because it’s a sad look at how extreme and insane the Republican Party has become in the Tea Party era. Marco Rubio, once considered a pro-immigration Republican who favored the DREAM Act, scolds a group of Latino protesters in front of an angry crowd of old white people, and then has them expelled from the room.

The GOP continues its slide into the worst kind of xenophobic craziness.

(h/t: Greg Sargent.)

Watch Live: President Obama Delivers a Statement on Ferguson and Iraq

Politics • Views: 35,968

YouTube

Live from the Brady Press Briefing Room.

Here Is Your “Big Romney Comeback” Story of The Week

Please proceed, Governor.
Politics • Views: 19,025

I first became aware of the “bring back Mitt” movement among establishment-type Republicans last month when Politico gave the world The Case for Mitt Romney in 2016. This was authored by definite partisan (a former Romney staffer and fellow private equity guy), but appeared in a not especially partisan outlet. This seems to be becoming a pattern.

Last week, The Washington Post published As Democrats avoid Obama, Romney is in demand on the midterm campaign trail. This is obviously not a place where one expects a GOP slant, but this story was written by former National Review Online scribe Robert Costa.

Now today we have the UK’s Telegraph (a conservative bent, but among the largest non-tabloid papers in the country) with Could Mitt Romney ride to the rescue of the Republican Party?. This week’s partisan author is Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller. The story includes a Pat Buchanan quote, complete with a thoughtful plug for his new Nixon book.

Of course, the next one of these stories to reconcile itself with the fact Romney was busy last summer making sure everyone understood he never really wanted to be president in the first place will be the first.

Republicans Are Upset at the Word “Torture” - Not the Act of Torture

Liz Cheney: Torture is patriotic
Politics • Views: 20,320

Senator Saxby Chambliss is the latest Republican to demonstrate that he’s not really opposed to torture — he just doesn’t want to call it that: Top Republican: Forthcoming Report on CIA Torture Is “Wrong”.

He said the term “torture” is only used by critics of the program and said he believed it would be disputed.

On the subject of waterboarding, Chambliss said it was “one of the specific issues that was investigated by the Department of Justice from the standpoint of, does it comply with the Geneva convention, and they made a determination that it is authorized, that it is not torture.”

And noted political daughter Liz Cheney also weighed in on the subject, calling President Obama “an utter disgrace” for using the word “torture.”

“This president is an utter disgrace. He’s got a situation where, as your last two reports showed, you’ve got crises erupting around the world. And he is expending more time, more energy, more passion, more aggressive activity in targeting and going after patriots, heroes, CIA officers and others who kept us safe after 9/11,” Cheney said on Fox News’ Hannity.

“He’s lying about what they did, he’s slandering them, he went to Cairo and did it in 2009. Today he did it from the podium of the Oval Office. It’s a disgrace. It’s despicable,” Cheney continued.

That’s right, in Cheney’s strange confused moral universe, not only is there nothing wrong with torture, the torturers themselves are “patriots and heroes.”

The utter disgrace is that after all these years and all the evidence that the US government turned its back on our most fundamental values and used torture against helpless prisoners, for absolutely no benefit, we still have Republicans denying and defending it. Shame on these people.

Related:
AP: The Bush Administration Kept Colin Powell in the Dark About Torture

Ted Cruz Spokesperson Derides White House Katy Perry Concert for Special Olympics - Then Deletes Tweets

Bad optics?
Politics • Views: 27,827
UPDATE at 7/31/14 7:06:35 pm by Gus


After realizing said performance was for Special Olympics, Amanda Carpenter weasels out of it with a lame apology and deletes said Tweets.

UPDATE at 7/31/14 7:06:57 pm by Gus


Amanda Carpenter Tweet Screenshot A
Amanda Carpenter Tweet Screenshot B

Michelle Obama Announces 1MillionVotesFor2014

Crunch time
Politics • Views: 17,709

YouTube

Voter apathy is a huge problem in the United States, and this year it’s an especially critical issue; the Republican Party has gone completely off the rails into non-stop obstructionism, with an agenda set by the reactionary religious right and the deeply destructive far right forces of the Tea Party.

I confess I don’t have any great ideas on how to overcome the apathy problem, but here’s one small thing I can do — present Michelle Obama’s video plea to get out the vote in 2014.

You may not think things can get much worse in our broken political system, but if the GOP gains control of the Senate this year all bets are off.

The Koch Brothers Are Building a Network of Libertarian Hackers, Coders and Designers

Shaping the next generation of hackers and Snowdens
Politics • Views: 18,378

Worried that IT experts seem to typically vote Democratic, the Koch Brothers have spearheaded hackathons to lure techies into the conservatarian sphere.

The gathering was the first inaugural conference put on by Lincoln Labs, a year-old club of politically-minded technologists started by three millennials with backgrounds in Republican politics: Garrett Johnson, a former aide to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Aaron Ginn, who worked on Mitt Romney’s digital team; and Chris Abrams, who runs digital operations for Vanity Fair magazine. The group — which adopts the label “conservatarian,” a popular buzzword for the ideological coalition between conservatives and libertarians — was born in 2013 in the aftermath of the failed Republican attempt to regain control of the White House, in which President Obama’s mastery of digital campaigning and data collection trounced Republican efforts to match it.

Over the past year, Lincoln Labs has grown to represent the epicenter of the right-wing tech scene as it struggles to make a dent in an industry traditionally dominated by the political left.

For most of Lincoln Lab’s existence, the group has relied upon financial backing and support from the orbit of activist groups that are part of Charles and David Koch’s donor network. Last weekend’s conference was sponsored by an array of groups from the Koch network: Generation Opportunity, its youth outreach group; the Libre Initiative, its Hispanic organization; Americans for Prosperity, its lead political advocacy arm; and i360, which collects data on behalf of the Koch network. Microsoft, Google, and Stampede, a political consulting firm that provides campaign services to conservative candidates, also served as sponsors for the event.

More: The Kochs’ Nonprofit Empire Is Building a Network of Libertarian Hackers, Coders and Designers - Yahoo News

Predictably, the icons of 21st century conservativism, politicians like Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, made appearances to woo techies to the GOP side.

For Paul, a possible future Republican presidential candidate, the trip to Northern California was an opportunity to meet with tech entrepreneurs from both sides of the aisle, a group Paul hopes shares his antagonism for unbridled government spying and questionable data collecting practices.

“I come out here and people say, ‘Oh, I love President Obama. We’re all for President Obama, we’re from the tech community.’ Why?” Paul asked in his address at the conference. “Why would you be? He’s not for innovation. He’s not for freedom. He’s for the protectionism crowd.”

Paul went on to challenge the hackers to develop apps, “so the marketplace can figure what the idiots and trolls in Washington will never come up with.”

Makes you get kind of warm and fuzzy all over, doesn’t it?

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 Frank says:

Life is like high school with money.