First Lady Michelle Obama arrives at the Hamad Airport in Doha, Qatar. She’ll visit the al-Udeid air base with comedian Conan O’Brien. She is also scheduled to give a speech Wednesday on her Let Girls Learn initiative at the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education
No mincing words. Killing the #IranDeal is a vote for war with Iran. Listen Bibi & Schumer: War with Iran erases the single obstacle to the total conquest of the Middle East by ISIS Sunni Extremists. How do we know this? One word, Iraq. If we think it’s bad enough that Iraq today is overrun by ISIS that we toil at great expense to reclaim; it will be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade compared to what the region will look like if we get embroiled in war with Iran.
We will in effect be acting as ISIS’ turbocharged cavalry and bombardiers. I repeat. We will be fighting ISIS’ war for them by demolishing their arch Shia enemy. More than a decade ago, America’s dangerous stupidity in waging the Iraq War created the vacuum that led directly to the rise of our worst nightmare; ISIS/ISIL. Now we will be both their cannonballs and fodder.
But our tunnel vision predated GWB’s Mid-East blunder in the maniacal miscalculations we made in backing Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran/Iraq War all because our fee fees were hurt about the ouster of the Shah in 1979 (not to mention the horror we committed in 1953). As surely as there exists the law of gravity, we nuked ourselves in the foot each and every time we dabbled in the Middle East by creating cancerous power vacuums as we zoomed in and out detonating blowback ordnance on our own heels.
The NeoCon cabal, their Military Industrial Complex puppetmasters, plus their myopic Democratic Party bedfellows may satisfy their immediate greed, but America will be crippled and isolated permanently in its hubris.
President Barack Obama meets with bicameral congressional leaders and the chairs and ranking members of congressional national security committees to consult with them about ongoing U.S. efforts to respond to the conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza, Syria, and other issues, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. July 31, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
All Times Eastern
10:00AM: President Barack Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
1:00PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
President Barack Obama greets four of the nine 2014 Kavli Prize laureates with representatives from the Kavli Foundation and other guests in the Oval Office. July 31, 2014 Photo by Pete Souza
Bradley Burston: I Live In Israel, In Iran’s Shadow. I Voted For Obama. I’m Glad I Did
I live in Israel. I live in the shadow of Iran. I hold American citizenship as well as Israeli. I pay taxes to both countries. I vote in the elections of each. In 2008 and 2012, I voted for Barack Obama. I’m glad I did. I’m glad not only because of landmark changes to America on his watch, not only because of moments of inspiration, of unexpected hope, of enfranchisement, of movement on issues long dismissed as immutable. I’m glad because I believe that no one but this president would have tried, and succeeded, to land a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons.
I believe that Barack Obama is making the best effort that anyone is, to keep my family safe from the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon. And what about Benjamin Netanyahu? Don’t I trust him? Don’t I trust him to keep us safe, to safeguard Israel’s vital interests, to keep war at bay? No. Not at all. Absolutely not. Barack Obama could have taken the easy way out, and ducked the most difficult foreign policy challenge of his presidency – a nuclear Iran. Instead, against all odds, against some of the most stringent pressures American politics can dish out, he has driven forward. Thank you, Mr. President, for this deal.
You doves think that a nuclear deal will empower reformers in Iran and turn it once more into the pro-American and pro-Israeli power it was under the shah. But sanctions relief may just give this regime a new lease on life. Iran’s people are perhaps the most pro-American and secular of those of any country I’ve been to in the Middle East. (On my last trip to Iran, I took two of my kids along, and Iranians bought them meals and ice cream, and served them illegal mojitos.) The public weariness with the regime’s corruption, oppression and economic failings is manifest. I would guess that after the supreme leader dies, Iran will begin a process of change like that in China after Mao died.
Look, even you admit that this is a flawed deal. So why risk it? As Rick Perry says, “No deal is better and safer than a bad deal.” We have a glimpse of what might happen. In 2003, Iran seemingly offered a comprehensive “grand bargain” to resolve relations with the United States, but George W. Bush’s administration dismissed it. Since then, Iran has gone from a tiny number of centrifuges to 19,000, getting within two months of “breakout” to a nuclear weapon. The point: Fulmination is not a substitute for policy, and a multilateral international agreement achieves far more protection than finger-wagging.
Michael McLaughlin: Officers Involved In Samuel DuBose Shooting Were Sued In Earlier Death Of Unarmed Black Man
Two University of Cincinnati police officers involved in a colleague’s recent fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose also were on hand for a 2010 struggle with a psychiatric patient who later died. Officers Eric Weibel and Phillip Kidd were among seven University of Cincinnati police officers and other officials named in a lawsuit alleging the wrongful death of Kelly Brinson, a 45-year-old mentally ill university hospital patient. Hospital staff summoned officers to help subdue Brinson, who became agitated when put in seclusion, according to court documents first reported by The Guardian. Kidd and Weibel gave written statements that they restrained Brinson, while another officer used a Taser stun gun on him.
Brinson went into cardiac arrest and died days later, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The Hamilton County coroner ruled Brinson died from natural causes. His family settled the lawsuit for $638,000. Both officers also were involved in the July 19 traffic stop that led to the death of DuBose. Kidd gave statements to investigators that he saw DuBose, 43, drive away and drag Officer Ray Tensing before Tensing shot the motorist. Weibel wrote in a report that Tensing’s uniform looked like he’d been dragged. Footage from Tensing’s body camera, however, appeared to show that DuBose wasn’t driving away when the officer shot him, as Tensing and Kidd had claimed.
Zeba Blay: How White People Sound When They Argue About Racism
On July 27, the Black Girl Dangerous Twitter account shared some hilarious — but also painfully accurate — examples of what white people sound like when they dismiss the experiences of people of color. Mia McKenzie, creator of the Black Girl Dangerous organization was behind the series of tweets, prefaced by noting, “I’ve been saying publicly for like four years that IDGAF what you think about shit you don’t experience.” She then described a series of ridiculous scenarios in which people speak about or disagree with experiences that they have no first-hand knowledge of.
House Democratic Leaders Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., present a birthday cake to President Barack Obama during a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 31, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama meets with from left: Rob Nabors, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President; Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 31, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama greets HUD staff following remarks at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., July 31, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Obama shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in the Oval Office. The Saudi delegation is meeting with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as part of this week’s meetings with delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council
You are sent into a situation where a naked man is acting weird. He is clearly unarmed. It should be apparent to you that he might be mentally ill. You have a taser. You don’t use it. Instead you use your gun and kill him. You kill a man who served his country and just needed some help
Rolling Stone: The Obama Hope And Change Index: 6 Years Of Progress, By The Numbers
Peak unemployment, October 2009: 10 percent
Unemployment rate now: 5.9 percent
Consecutive private sector job growth: 55 months
Private sector jobs created: 10.3 million
Federal deficit, 2009: 9.8 percent of GDP
Deficit in 2013: 4.1 percent of GDP
Average tax rate for highest earners 2008: 28.1 percent
Average tax rate for highest earners 2013: 33.6 percent
Banks regulated as too big to fail, 2009: 0
Banks regulated as “systemically important financial institutions” — a.k.a. too big to fail — 2014: 29
Billions returned to consumers by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement: $4.6 billion
Americans compensated for being swindled by banks, lenders and credit card companies: 15 million
Dow Jones close, inauguration day 2009: 7,949
Dow Jones yesterday: 16,719
Required MPG (miles per gallon) for cars when Obama took office: 27.5
Required MPG for light trucks/SUVs when Obama took office: 23
MPG requirement by 2016 for cars, light trucks/SUVs: 35.5
MPG required by 2025: 54.5
Gigawatts of wind power installed when Obama took office: 25
Gigawatts of wind power installed through end of 2013: 61
Peak summertime solar power generation June 2008: 128 gigawatt hours
Peak summertime solar power generation June 2014: 2,061 gigawatt hours
Coal burned in electrical generation 2008: 1 billion short tons
Coal burned in electrical generation 2013: 858 million short tons
Reduction: 14.2 percent
EPA-proposed CO2 reductions for power sector by 2030: 30 percent
Pell grant funding 2008-2009: $18 billion
Pell grant funding 2013-2014: $33 billion
Adults gaining insurance under first year of Obamacare: 10.3 million
As a percentage of the uninsured: 26
Annual cost for birth control prior to Obamacare: Up to $600
Annual cost for birth control under Obamacare-compliant policies: $0
Prescriptions now required to obtain emergency contraception: 0
2009 projection for Medicare going broke: 2017
2014 projection for Medicare going broke: 2030
Troops in Iraq, inauguration day 2009: 144,000
Troops in Iraq today: 1,600
Osama bin Ladens alive 2009: 1
Osama bin Ladens alive 2014: 0
Troops in Afghanistan, day, 2009: 34,400
Troops pledged in Afghanistan by end of 2014: 9,800
Guantánamo detainees inauguration day 2009: 242
Gitmo detainees today: 149
Crack vs. Powder cocaine-crime sentencing disparity when Obama took office: 100:1
Crack vs. Powder disparity today: 18:1
Drug offenders eligible to seek early release under new sentencing guidelines: 46,000
How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong
There is a fun foreign policy game making all the rounds in Washington D.C. this summer: Pin the tail on Barack Obama.
Its appeal is not hard to understand; it’s so easy to play.
Step 1: Pick a foreign crisis that touches even slightly on U.S. national security interests. This shouldn’t be hard, because the United States defines practically everything in the world as being an American interest.
Step 2: Make clear that this is no garden-variety problem but rather “the defining crisis of [OBAMA’S] presidency”……
….. Step 6: Publish your condemnation in a major newspaper or news outlet. Wait for a phone call from a booker with a Sunday morning talk show.
There are no points for understanding how international relations work, how U.S. power is actually utilized or how other countries interpret their own interests. There’s no space on the board for tracking the real-life impact of your recommendations.
Foreign policy stewardship would be easy if it were as simple as playing this game. If, as President Obama joked recently, America “control(led) everything around the world,” there wouldn’t be much to decide at all.
President Obama Talks to Thomas L. Friedman About Iraq, Putin and Israel
President Obama’s hair is definitely grayer these days, and no doubt trying to manage foreign policy in a world of increasing disorder accounts for at least half of those gray hairs. (The Tea Party can claim the other half.) But having had a chance to spend an hour touring the horizon with him in the White House Map Room late Friday afternoon, it’s clear that the president has a take on the world, born of many lessons over the last six years, and he has feisty answers for all his foreign policy critics.
Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi Shiites or any other faction. Despite Western sanctions, he cautioned, President Vladimir Putin of Russia “could invade” Ukraine at any time, and, if he does, “trying to find our way back to a cooperative functioning relationship with Russia during the remainder of my term will be much more difficult.” Intervening in Libya to prevent a massacre was the right thing to do, Obama argued, but doing it without sufficient follow-up on the ground to manage Libya’s transition to more democratic politics is probably his biggest foreign policy regret.
This made me smile – Knoller has been getting epic push-back on Twitter in recent days for his shilling, and his obsession with the President’s vacation. So much so, he now has an army of Teabaggers following him (just check any of the comments under his tweets). So, maybe the pressure actually left him feeling obliged to tweet at least one bit of honesty:
Pete Souza: “The President, in the process of saluting, participates in a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer of U.S. and Afghan personnel who died in Afghanistan a few days earlier. Many family members and friends of the special forces who died in this incident requested a copy of the photograph and later wrote me how much it meant to them.” Aug. 9, 2011
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On This Day – Pete Souza: “We were walking through a locker room at the University of Texas when White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson stopped to weigh himself on a scale. Unbeknownst to him, the President was stepping on the back of the scale, as Marvin continued to slide the scale lever. Everyone but Marvin was in on the joke.” Aug. 9, 2010
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MoooOOOooorning everyone! Another rushed R&S, will try to catch up through the day.