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On Syria-Who Are We Going To Believe? NYT or McClatchy

History Repeats? 'NYT' Boosts, But McClatchy Questions, Claims of Syria's Use of Chemicals
Greg Mitchell on May 8, 2013 - 12:03 PM ET

The New York Times, as it did in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, seems to be promoting (if a little less strenuously) some kind of dramatic US intervention in Syria, based on WMDs. Once again we’ve seen overheated front-page news stories, based on slim evidence, and columns by Thomas Friedman, Bill Keller and others. And, again as in 2003, the newspaper’s editorials express caution.

Bill Keller, the self-derided “reluctant hawk” on invading Iraq in 2003, returns with a column today stating right in its headline, “Syria Is Not Iraq,” and urging Obama and all of us to finally “get over Iraq.” He boasts that he has

Also in a replay, reporters for McClatchy’s DC bureau are expressing sensible skepticism (back in the day the outfit was still owned by Knight Ridder) about evidence of WMDs, in this case, the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical agents against the rebels.

On Monday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-NJ, alluded to chemical weapons as he proposed a measure to provide limited arms to the rebels, asserting that Assad’s regime “has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options.”

That assertion, however, appears far less certain than it did only a week ago. British, French and Israeli experts who expressed more confidence in their assessment than the Obama administration had in its judgment have in recent days qualified their positions, said Greg Thielmann, a former State Department intelligence analyst now with the Arms Control Association, a private organization that provides analysis of weapons issues. “That should make everyone suspicious,” he said. “And the reality may be lot more complicated.”

Thielmann added, “Do you really risk going to war without knowing who has used what and in what circumstances?”

Existing evidence casts more doubt on claims of chemical weapons use than it does to help build a case that one or both sides of the conflict have employed them.


Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get

Source: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her first bill Wednesday, designed to set student loan interest rates at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks.

With some student loan rates set to double on July 1 -- from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent -- Warren's bill would reduce student loan interest rates to 0.75 percent, opening the Fed's discount window to students.

"Every single day, this country invests in big banks by lending them money at near-zero rates," Warren told The Huffington Post. "We should make the same kind of investment lending money to students, who are trying to get an education."

The freshman senator said she plans to mobilize students -- those most affected by student loans -- to help get the bill through the Senate. "This is about their lives and if they are active in this fight, we can make this change," Warren said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/elizabeth-warren-student-loans_n_3240407.html

KRUGMAN: Bad news for Dr Evil fans: Days of 1 TRILLION $$$ deficit-OVER-In fact-deficit falling FAST

May 8, 2013, 4:59 pm
The Dwindling Deficit
Bad news for Dr. Evil fans: the days of a ONE TRILLION DOLLAR deficit are over. In fact, the deficit is falling fast.

Some readers may recall the ridicule heaped on the people at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities when they produced estimates suggesting that any notion of a debt/deficit crisis was all wrong. It’s turning out, however, that they were probably overestimating debt growth. The deficit is fading, and debt as a medium-term (meaning up to 10 years) issue has largely gone away.

This is not good news — or not unambiguously good news, at any rate. A deficit falling to probably less than 5 percent of GDP this year and well below that next year is MUCH TOO LOW for an economy whose private sector is still engaged in a vicious circle of deleveraging.

Oh, by the way, it is now 26 months since Bowles and Simpson predicted a US fiscal crisis within two years.



This Should Short-Circuit Their Brains
by BooMan
Wed May 8th, 2013 at 02:56:17 PM EST

Steve Benen makes an observation:

Not only is this year's deficit on track to be significantly smaller than year's, to the tune of about $200 billion, it's also on pace to be even better than optimistic projections from February. Hell, we even ran a surplus in April.

All told, the U.S. federal deficit will be about $600 billion smaller than it was in President Obama's first year in office, making this the fastest deficit reduction Americans have seen since World War II.


GOP Response To Benghazi Whistleblowers: Bark, Bark, Bark, Hoooowwwlll, Arf-Arf-Arf-Arf (Luckovich)


Industry Insider Says Limbaugh Responsible for "The End of Right-Wing Conservative Talk Radio"

WED MAY 08, 2013 AT 08:43 AM PDT
Industry Insider Says Limbaugh Responsible for "The End of Right-Wing Conservative Talk Radio"

"We’re watching the end of right-wing conservative talk radio. The genre is dying among ratings and dying among advertisers ... Rush is at the end of his career. His constituency is all wearing Depends. And he’s getting himself into trouble he doesn’t need. So can you put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

Sandra Fluke was simply the lightning that struck and hit an old building that collapsed. She didn’t do it. She helped to bring it down at the end, but it was falling apart on its own.

Look at the millennial generation. There’s 80 million of them coming of age. They don’t see color. They don’t see gender. And they’re civic minded: they don’t like bloviating. They don’t like yelling and screaming. So you tell me: how’s right-wing talk radio working for them?"


This slide is the best thing you’ll read on the budget debate

My hat* is off to Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office. This slide — one of 28 he presented at Harvard — is the best and simplest description I’ve seen of the budget debate:


My Latina Head Is Literally Exploding

The guy who co-wrote the Heritage Foundation's anti-immigration policy paper, claiming immigrants will cost us $ trillions, wrote this in his dissertation

“No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”


& today in the playpen:


Al Gore: “There’s no such thing as ethical oil. There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil”

Gore: 'There's no such thing as ethical oil'
By Zack Colman - 05/08/13 09:14 AM ET


Former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday said "there's no such thing as ethical oil," slamming the notion that importing oil from U.S. ally Canada was better than doing so from unfriendly nations.

“There’s no such thing as ethical oil. There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil,” Gore told Canada’s The Globe and Mail during a Tuesday event in Toronto.

Gore was responding to Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse on whether it made a difference that oil sands from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would come from a democratic nation.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/298443-gore-oil-from-a-friend-is-still-oil#ixzz2SiBihWfX
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

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