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….
Four years ago: President Obama looks out the window of Marine One as it lands at the White House, May 22, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
11:0: VP Biden Gives the Commencement Address at the United States Coast Guard Academy (audio only at WH Live)
1:0 Jay Carney’s press briefing
7:25: President Obama hosts a concert honoring Gershwin Prize winner Carole King
NYT: The bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday has many serious hurdles ahead. It is the most serious and worthy attempt to fix immigration in a generation, but it cannot help reflecting the poisoned politics of today, with its heavy tilt toward needless border enforcement and a deficiency in equal rights.
In the most moving and wrenching moment in three weeks of committee markup, the committee’s chairman, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, sought to amend the bill to allow gay Americans to sponsor their wives and husbands for green cards. The other Democrats, including Charles Schumer of New York, implored him not to put that amendment forward, saying this measure of basic fairness would drive off Republican support and kill the entire bill. Mr. Leahy withdrew it.
With that unhappy capitulation, the bill survives, with a possible battle over same-sex marriage still to come on the Senate floor. And then the bill will need to find some path through the Republican-led House….
Jonathan Capehart: Here we go again. President Obama’s critics in the African American community are hammering him for doing nothing for black people …. this thinking drives me crazy because the president’s detractors fail to take a 360-degree view of what they are demanding from him and ignore what he’s actually done.
…. Coates’s criticism emanates from Obama’s commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta …. Obama spoke to the black men of Morehouse not as a distant president but as a familiar peer. He used his troubled past as a real-life example of how one’s limited circumstances are neither destiny nor a hindrance to achieving the American Dream, as they define it. He urged the graduates to not make excuses, to aim high and to give back. Yet, Coates calls this “‘convenient race-talk’ from a president who ought to know better.” Obama can’t win.
… what’s missing from most African American critiques of Obama: an appreciation for Republican resistance to his agenda. To expect the president to introduce an explicit and definable “black agenda” in a Congress filled with people who believe him to be a socialist destroying the country while illegitimately occupying the Oval Office is seriously naive.