A year ago today: The Obama and Biden families joined together onstage following the President’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Coming up today (all times US Eastern):
9:50: President Obama holds a press conference
11:15: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable
12:15: Departs Saint Petersburg
9:15 PM: Arrives Joint Base Andrews
9:30: Arrives at the White House
10:0 AM EDT: Vice President Biden Speaks at Farewell Ceremony for Secretary Napolitano
The expression on PBO’s face on this Belgian front page is, well, priceless
USA Today: President Obama wraps up a global summit Friday before heading back to Washington, D.C., to continue dealing with the challenge of Syria.
At the G-20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, Obama will attend working sessions before hosting a news conference….
Earlier on Friday, Obama met with President Xi Jiping of China and President Francois Hollande of France.
While in St Petersburg, Obama hosts a Civil Society Roundtable that includes gays and lesbians … he returns to the White House late Friday night.
Michael Tomasky: When Liberals Enable Tyrants
Can a liberal oppose tyranny and support military intervention at the same time? Hell yes. Six reasons why Congress must authorize an attack on Syria now.
….. What values and goals do American liberals wish to promote around the world? I’m pretty certain most would say free democratic societies; full political rights for ethnic minorities; equal rights for women and, with any luck, gay people; a free press; an independent judiciary; and so forth. And, where those cannot be achieved, at least a base-level opposition to tyranny, reaction, religious fundamentalism, and so on.
….. But, I have to say, most rank-and-file liberals don’t seem to me to be very passionate about them. What most liberals are passionate about is one thing: opposition to U.S. militarism….
I’ve described here two impulses: the desire to do good in the world, or at least to prevent the bad; and opposition to American force. Often these desires can exist in harmony. But what if they conflict? Why is opposition to any projection of force always the deciding factor? At times it can lead people into some very illiberal little corners.
…. it isn’t always immoral. This is one of those cases where, if the scale of the action is appropriate and if it works, a military incursion can actually serve liberal ends. No, that’s not for sure. But it is for sure that doing nothing helps the reactionaries.
Full post here
See the new White House website section on the situation in Syria – here
Keep track of how members of Congress and senators have said they are voting on Syria at TPM
Steve Benen: The prevailing winds on Capitol Hill
There’s no shortage of congressional head counts when it comes to authorizing the use of force in Syria, but I’d caution against taking them too seriously. The briefings for lawmakers are still underway, and while many have firm opinions, there is not yet an actual, agreed upon resolution for lawmakers to read and consider.
That said, at least for now, the prevailing winds on Capitol Hill are blowing in an unmistakable direction:
Several Republican leadership aides say that there are roughly one to two dozen “yes” votes in favor of military action at this time. The stunningly low number is expected to grow a bit. But senior aides say they expect, at most, between 50 and 60 Republicans to vote with Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who support the president’s plan …. That would amount to less than one-third of the House Republican Conference.
That would mean the vast majority of the 200 House Democrats will need to vote with Obama for the resolution to pass. But Democrats privately say that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer can only round up between 115 and 130 “yes” votes.
G20 Summit members attend a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5
Mediaite: Rep Alan Grayson Cackles That Syrian Atrocities ‘Simply Not Our Problem’
The debate over military action in Syria has produced a landfill’s worth of stupidity, from every side of the debate, and every corner of the political media …. but on Thursday night’s All In with Chris Hayes, “Congressman with Guts™” Alan Grayson (D-FL) made a bold incursion, from stupid into contemptible.
…. Chris Hayes asked Grayson if there was anything in the interview with Secretary Kerry “that you find compelling or convincing?”
“Not at all,” Grayson replied, with a thin smirk. “Listen, most people understand this is simply not our problem. This is not our problem to solve.”
…. Whatever you think about Grayson’s logic, what the frack is he laughing about? What, exactly, is so funny about this? There doesn’t seem to be much that people agree about with regard to Syria, but can’t we at least find common ground in the notion that this is not a laughing matter?
Full post here
And in case you missed it – see ‘Alan Grayson Conspires with Far Right Lunatics to Lie and Fundraise off of Syria’ at The People’s View
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk during a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 5, 2013
ThinkProgress: Top House Republican Rewrites History, Claims Reagan Stood Up To Chemical Weapons Use
A top Republican lawmaker on Thursday invoked Ronald Reagan to say that Obama was weak for not acting more directly in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, ignoring the fact that Reagan’s White House looked the other way when chemical weapons were used in the 1980s.
….. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): It is against the norms of international standards and to let something like this go unanswered, I think will weaken our resolve. I — I know that President Reagan would have never let this happen. He would stand up to this. And President Obama — the only reason he is consulting with Congress, he wants to blame somebody for his lack of resolve. We have to think like President Reagan would do and he would say chemical use is unacceptable.
What Ros-Lehtinen seems oddly unaware of, however, is that Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite…
Full post here
Will Obama attack #Syria if congress says no? Blinken just told NPR that is “neither his desire nor his intention,”
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 6, 2013
Steve Benen: U.S. economy created 169k jobs in August, jobless rate dips
The jobs reports are starting to get a little predictable, by virtue of the fact that over the last several months, they’re effectively the same.
The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we’re starting to see a slight turnaround – the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it’s the most in recent memory.
Amazing exchange between the Iranian foreign minister and @sfpelosi on Twitter, part of it:
— LELO SMASH (@rollingingraves) September 6, 2013
— sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) September 6, 2013
Read about it here
— Media Matters (@mmfa) September 5, 2013
TPM: McConnell’s Anti-Obamacare Juggernaut Turns Against Him
Perhaps nobody was more responsible for making Obamacare a partisan bill than Mitch McConnell. During the grueling debate that began in 2009, the Senate minority leader worked harder than anyone else to ensure no Republican voted for health care reform.
…. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court and validated by the re-election of President Barack Obama. The public has grown tired of continual budget crisis brinkmanship. McConnell still fights the fight. Obamacare, he told his constituents a few weeks ago, is the “single worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years in the country.” But ever the pragmatist, he knows an all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act to the exclusion of all other political considerations would be a political disaster for his party. And so, in a brutal irony reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the monster McConnell created has turned against him and is threatening to end his political life.
Really great news about the affordable choices people will have under ACA with plans under $100 per month. http://t.co/4Zkmay84li
— David Simas (@Simas44) September 5, 2013
PS Is it just me or has everyone noticed the increase in stupid on the Twitter machine? Supposed President Obama supporters who think they are qualified to lecture him on Syria, even though most of them know as much about the situation as they do about nuclear physics? Blocked a bunch of them last night, it felt good.
Update: One of them just tweeted me: “No matter how you phrase it ‘war’ is a four-letter-word!”
I kid you not.