Daniel W. Drezner (Foreign Policy): Why Obama is arming Syria’s rebels: it’s the realism, stupid.
…. is this the first step towards another U.S.-led war in the region? No. Everything in that Times story, and everything this administration has said and done for the past two years, screams deep reluctance over intervention. Arming the rebels is not the same thing as a no-fly zone or any kind of ground intervention. This is simply the United States engaging in its own form of asymmetric warfare. For the low, low price of aiding and arming the rebels, the U.S. preoccupies all of its adversaries in the Middle East.
…. Now let’s be clear: to describe this as “morally questionable” would be an understatement. It’s a policy that makes me very uncomfortable… until one considers the alternatives. What it’s not, however, is a return to liberal hawkery.
So, to conclude: the United States is using a liberal internationalist rubric to cloak a pretty realist policy towards Syria.
Steve Benen: It was just three weeks ago that President Obama made a persuasive case for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He described a military prison that costs too much, has become an international embarrassment, and is filled with “people who have been charged with no crime.”
…. Last week, House Republicans once again barred the Obama administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Friday, against a backdrop of a terrible hunger strike, a Democratic effort to do the right thing was easily defeated in the face of mindless, reactionary conservative opposition.
Kurt Eichenwald: PRISM Isn’t Data Mining and Other Falsehoods in the N.S.A. “Scandal”
I can’t stand it.
A few days ago, I wrote in some detail about the National Security Agency’s data-mining program in hopes of calming the hysteria that has been whipped up in the last number of days by incorrect and misleading reports, as well as by plenty of ill-informed commentary based on those errors. At this point, I’ve decided that I need to tell a little bit more…..
Tommy Christopher (Mediaite): …. Glenn Greenwald and his source, whistle-and-country-blower Edward Snowden, have completely taken over the political media with revelations that hype well, but don’t amount to much upon closer examination. Now, Greenwald promises more (and more devastating) revelations to come, but what has been revealed so far is about as alarming as an epidemic of Pac Man Fever….
…. That hasn’t stopped the media from going all Chicken Little, some because they’re desperate to “have the conversation,” some because they want to attack President Obama to prove varying types of cred, and some because they’d like even less fettering of the surveillance state. I think we do need to “have the conversation” about government surveillance, but it should begin in 1978, not last week, when the world discovered that the first black president was in charge of it….
Monday: The President and Vice President will host a National Conference on Mental Health at the White House that will bring together people from across the country to discuss how we can all work together to reduce stigma and help the millions of Americans struggling with mental health problems.
Tuesday: Hosts President Sebastián Piñera of Chile at the White House.
Wednesday: Welcomes the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to the White House.
Thursday: Travels to the Charlotte area as part of his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” He will then travel to San Jose, CA to attend an event for the DSCC. He will remain overnight in San Jose.
Friday: Travels to Los Angeles to attend an event for the DNC and then to Palm Springs, CA, to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Estate. He will remain overnight in Palm Springs.
Saturday: Returns to Washington.
ThinkProgress: Thanks To Obamacare, Young Adults And Hospitals Saved $147 Million In 2011 Alone
An estimated 3.1 million young Americans who would have lacked health coverage gained access to it thanks to an Obamacare provision that allows adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that shift saved young people from paying — and hospitals from absorbing — $147 million in high medical bills for treating catastrophic conditions such as broken bones, poisonings, and traumatic brain injuries in 2011 alone.
Given the excitement on the right this morning, you’d think they’d found a video of President Obama personally shredding Tea Party groups’ tax-exempt applications in the Oval Office. What’s all the fuss about? The Daily Caller – which really didn’t need another bogus story dragging down its reputation even further – ran a report this morning, echoing a report from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly last night, that said former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times between 2009 and 2012.
….To borrow a phrase, this isn’t a smoking gun; it isn’t even a lukewarm slingshot … The right is just embarrassing itself at this point.