On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Morning again everyone, I’m still on my R&S break, so chat on. We’ll have updates later in the day.
On This Day: First Lady Michelle Obama greets former White House staffer Franny Starkey and her daughter Willa prior to an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in Denver, Colo., Aug. 11, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
On This Day: President Obama greets First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha upon their arrival at a barbecue in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 8, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
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Today (all times Eastern)
11:30: The President meets with Secretary of Labor Perez; Roosevelt Room
12:10: Meets with Secretary of Commerce Pritzker; Roosevelt Room
12:45: White House Press Briefing
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US military aircraft conduct strike on ISIL artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.
Steve Benen: ‘To prevent a potential act of genocide,’ Obama acts in Iraq
Since the U.S. war in Iraq ended, and American troops returned home, it’s fair to say President Obama has been reluctant to re-engage militarily in Iraq. Our role in the country, the White House argued, was over. It’s time for Iraq to operate as an independent nation.
But as conditions changed in Iraq changed, so too did the president’s willingness to intervene.
…. The administration was eager yesterday to make clear what this isn’t – we’re not invading Iraq; we’re not pursuing “regime change”; we’re not looking for imaginary WMD; we’re not deploying boots on the ground. Watching the president’s remarks, the two words that stood out for me were “targeted” and “genocide” – the latter reinforced the argument that we have a good reason to intervene; the former was a reminder that Obama is eyeing a very limited mission.
As so many of us already realize, we are quite lucky we have the President and CIC we have. I consider myself somewhat intelligent and able to analyze things, but I definitely don’t have what it would take to be President (although I would do a better job than any GOPer).
We talk about all the qualities PBO brings to the table, but I think the absolutely most important one is courage. He isn’t sending troops into Iraq not because the American people are tired of war, though they are, but because he knows it would be the wrong thing to do.
I truly believe that if he felt it was necessary in the long term for us to have boots on the ground, he would send them there. It would be reluctantly, but he would do it. He would get screamed at by everyone, including me for doing so. But he has the courage to do what he absolutely feels is the right thing to do.
Not too many Presidents in the past have had that (some have, not saying he is the only one). In this sense, Ezra is right, he has broken politics as we know it. Not everything he has done is based upon the politics involved. And that is a good thing.
I remember when he said good policy is also good politics. And that is his priority, policy first, politics second. This is the thing the pundits just don’t get.
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Bush/Cheney destroyed Iraq for oil. President Obama is sending help to avoid genocide. Change we can believe in.
ThinkProgress: This Ancient Religion Is Being Threatened With Extermination In Iraq
They represent the vast majority of a religion that rose alongside the world’s most popular faiths. Now, members of the Yazidi are cut off from the rest of the world, forced to choose between death at the hands of the militants threatening their families and the elements that have already ended the lives of dozens of children.
“There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads,” Marzio Babille, the Iraq representative for UNICEF, told the Washington Post. The situation that drove the Yazidi to the protection of Mount Sinjar is one that most analysts had hoped would not come to pass. Over the weekend, members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) managed to take the town of Sinjar from the Kurdish forces who held it. “There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State,” Babille continued. “It’s a disaster, a total disaster.”
The president just signed the most important workers’ rights reform of the past 20 years.
…. it’s a little odd that the latest executive order in this bunch has gone virtually ignored (following a few dutiful daily news stories) even though it packs the biggest punch.
“This is one of the most important positive steps for civil rights in the last 20 years,” Paul Bland, executive director of Public Justice, a public-interest law group, says of the July 31 order.
The employer-side law firm Littler Mendelson calls it “the most sweeping order to date” that the Obama administration has aimed at federal contractors. The trade group Associated Builders and Contractors is “strongly opposed” and says the order could create a federal contractor “blacklist.”
What’s this about? Bear with me for a minute, because there’s a reason this one isn’t lighting up TV screens or Twitter. It’s important, but it’s also kind of technical.
The political system made the financial system more resilient — though not immune — to crises
For some critics, it’s an article of faith that the Obama Administration’s financial reforms were a sham, that the Too-Big-To-Fail banks that shredded the system in 2008 are riskier than ever, that “Wall Street Won,” as my favorite magazine declared last year. But there’s a mountain of evidence that reform is working. And the mountain grew last week, despite the denials of the critics.
Criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza is one thing. But anti-Semitism is quite another. Keep it away. Far, far away.
At a crowded Muslim-American event I attended Sunday in North Jersey, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, spoke about a range of issues. The audience, many of whom have supported Ellison since he was first elected in 2006, cheered many of his comments, but the biggest applause line came when Ellison said: “There’s absolutely no place for anti-Semitism in discussing Israeli policy.”
And that reaction is not atypical in my experience. On Saturday, I attended another large Muslim-American event in Long Island, New York, and that same sentiment was expressed there.
Muslims, like Jews, are a minority faith in America. Consequently, we have endured our share of vicious barbs launched by hate-group leaders, elected officials and even clergy members of other faiths. This has made us keenly aware of the pain of being demonized simply for our faith. That is why Ellison and I and the Muslims I know find it so despicable to see instances of anti-Semitism arise over the conflict in Gaza.
Senator Obama with his wife, Michelle Obama, speaking at a welcome to Hawaii rally at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park in Honolulu, August 8, 2008
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President Obama listens to a question from a person in the audience at the Organizing for America National Health Care Forum held at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Aug. 8, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
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First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Sofia of Spain and Princess Letizia of Spain at the Marivent Palace on August 8, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca
King Juan Carlos of Spain receives First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha at the Marivent Palace
President Obama jokes with Chicago Bulls players Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. The President played basketball with friends, college and professional basketball players, before an audience that included wounded warriors and White House mentees at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., August 8, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza: “The President has made several trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and several other hospitals to visit wounded soldiers and personally award Purple Heart medals. Although I do take photographs of him meeting these soldiers, we make these pictures only available to the soldiers themselves. Here, he’s about to enter the room of a wounded soldier who received a Purple Heart.” Aug. 8, 2010
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Eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts after meeting President Obama as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office, Aug. 8, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama with Sandra Fluke at the Auraria Event Center in Denver, August 8 2012 (Photo by Scout Tufankjian)
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President Obama walks through the Cross Hall of the White House, Aug. 8, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)