Ryan Grim - HuffPo
Posted: 08/31/2013 6:14 pm EDT | Updated: 08/31/2013 6:19 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- Liberals who are often critical of President Barack Obama's foreign policy are hailing his decision to seek authorization from Congress to strike Syria, even as many continue to oppose the military action itself. It is being seen as a step back from an increasingly imperial presidency in the post 9/11 era, on issues including indefinite detention, surveillance or global drone and cruise missile strikes.
Obama's move is also considered a rare act of genuine political courage. A congressional rejection would damage him politically, but he's pursuing it regardless in pursuit of a broader principle.
"It's great news that President Obama is seeking congressional approval for military action, an important precedent for all future presidents," said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, generally a critic of the president. "After years of societal and international norms being thrown out the door -- and things like torture, violations of civil liberties, and war becoming normalized -- today's announcement is an important down payment on proper norms and regular order being restored."
Congress is granted power in the United States Constitution to declare war, but modern presidents have routinely marginalized the legislative body. Obama said during his Rose Garden address Saturday that he believed he had the authority to strike on his own, but was choosing to bring in Congress.
"While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective," he said. "I'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Stephen Miles, of Win Without War, a coalition of antiwar groups, said the group is "proud to see President Obama is doing the right thing and that Congress will indeed get a vote. Now it is up to each and every American to call their member of Congress and let their voice be heard on this important issue."
By Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent
A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obamas mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.
Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said. Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a thug and a murderer" and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.
Returning from that walk, the president called his advisers in the early evening to inform them of his new decision. The plan was immediately met with robust resistance from a whiplashed Obama team who had listened to Kerry lay out the administration's strongest case yet for action against Assad. "My friends, it matters here if nothing is done," Kerry had argued. "It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens."
Obama's National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that consultation in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.
Officials said that after the president met with national security advisers on Aug. 24, they determined the evidence showed Syrias Assad regime had used chemical weapons in an attack earlier this month. At that time, the president indicated he was leaning toward a strike.
But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administrations strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action.
Officials said Obama also was influenced by Thursdays lively debate in the House of Commons, where Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in Parliament to authorize participation in an allied strike against Syria. Cameron had been a staunch advocate of military action but was chastened in the wake of the vote. It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action, Cameron said. I get that, and the government will act accordingly.
While Obama's advisers argued Friday night in private...
Finnish photographer Thomas Kast shares this view of a twisting auroral display. "This photo is taken near a lake shore, you can see the reflection of the twilight," he wrote on Facebook on Aug. 28. "The best part of this 'twirl' lasted about five minutes before it got weaker."
Dylan Love - BusinessInsider
Tor, the anonymous network for browsing the Internet, has seen a huge resurgence in use ever since the news broke about the NSA's domestic spying program, PRISM.
The Tor network operates by rerouting your Web traffic around the world before delivering it to you. Doing this prevents your identity from ever being attached to your browsing history, so it's easy to see why it became a popular choice in browser after the PRISM news.
Here's a chart from the Tor Metrics Portal that shows an insane jump in daily users beginning in the middle of this month. The user base regularly flirts with the 600,000 mark before rocketing to over 1.2 million.
Catherine Thompson - TPM
2:48 PM EDT, Friday August 30, 2013
The British government approached the New York Times about destroying documents it obtained pertaining to the National Security Agency's British intelligence partner Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Reuters reported Friday.
People familiar with the matter told Reuters that Times executive editor Jill Abramson stonewalled the request from a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. British officials never followed up on the request, the sources said.
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington told Reuters that the British government would not "get into the specifics about our efforts but it should come as no surprise if we approach a person who is in possession of some or all of this material."
"We have presented a witness statement to the court in Britain which explains why we are trying to secure copies of over 58,000 stolen intelligence documents - to protect public safety and our national security," the spokesman added.
A spokeswoman for the Times declined to comment.
Jason Mick - DailyTech
August 30, 2013 8:22 AM
The "free market" appears to be more a game of shills and payola
When the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and other intelligence firms get their spying dollars they contract out much of their work to private analysts. But this process has long been suspected by some to be less free market and more outright corruption. A fresh leak affirms that much like rumors of spying on U.S. citizens -- these claims that were once were dismissed as paranoid irrationalism have now been proven to be true in America's warped political landscape.
I. Intelligence Official: "Brilliant People Get You in Trouble"
The latest document was published in The Washington Post and comes courtesy of former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
Mr. Snowden was never supposed to have access to this document -- nor many of the others he obtained. But as with much of his trove of documents, he obtained the kind of whistleblower information that was far too explosive for even a privileged employee of his clearance, by using digital espionage to escalate his privileges even higher.
A former intelligence official quoted by NBC News described Mr. Snowden, stating:
Much More: http://www.dailytech.com/Snowden+Leak+US+Paying+Contractors+Ten+Times+as+Much+as+Bureaucrats/article33277c.htm
By Trevor Timm - EFF
August 29, 2013
The Wall Street Journal published an important investigation last week, reporting that the National Security Agency (NSA) has direct access to many key telecommunications switches around the country and has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. Notably, NSA officials repeatedly refused to talk about this story on their conference call with reporters the next day. Instead the Director of National Intelligence and the NSA released a statement about the story later that evening.
If you read the statement quickly, it seems like the NSA is disputing the WSJ story. But on careful reading, they actually do not deny any of it. As weve shown before, often you have to carefully parse NSA statements to root out deception and misinformation, and this statement is no different. Theyve tried to deflect an accurate story with their same old word games. Heres a breakdown:
Of course, the Wall Street Journal never says the NSA sifts through 75% of US communications. They reported the NSAs system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic. The new term sift is undefined, but regardless of what the NSA is not doing to 75% of Americans emails, they do have the technical capacity to search through it for key wordswhich the NSA does not deny.
See what they did there? The Wall Street Journal was talking about US-only communications traffic, not the worlds total Internet traffic. The vast majority of the worlds Internet traffic is videostreaming and downloads. According to a study done by Cisco, video made up more than half of all web traffic in 2012and that excludes peer-to-peer sharing. By 2017, they predict 90% of all Internet traffic will be video.
As Jeff Jarvis aptly documented, the NSA can vacuum up an extraordinary percentage of the worlds (and American) communications while only touching 1.6% of total Internet traffic.
Oh, and that 0.00004%? That math may be wrong too. The Atlantic Wire double-checked the NSAs numbers when they first used that stat and determined the NSAs math was off by an order of magnitude it actually searches ten times more than they say they do.
Normally, or at least in days gone by, I would have supported some sort of "punishment" for Assad of Syria.
I used to believe in the concept of "Never Again" regarding Geo-Politics.
But while that was instilled in me while I was young... in the unfolding years I have learned many things ...
As have most of us... and I DO NOT TRUST.. ANY OF THEM... ANY LONGER.
Do I really need to list why ???
DUer ck4829 Posted This... And It Deserves Way More Attention: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023537496
So here goes...
Daniel Hernandez, Former Intern Who Saved Giffords, Hit With Nasty, Homophobic Recall Campaign
Miranda Blue - RightWingWatch
Monday, 8/26/2013 3:15 pm
Daniel Hernandez Jr., the former intern credited with helping to save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords life when she was shot in 2011 and now an elected member of a Tucson-area school board, is facing a nasty recall election in which anonymous opponents are attacking him for being openly gay and for his advocacy on behalf of gun violence prevention.
The story behind the recall is the kind of byzantine saga found only in local politics. Four of the five members of the Sunnyside Unified School District, which includes parts of Tucson and surrounding areas, are now facing recall petitions two members who faced recall for their support of an embattled schools superintendent turned around and filed recall petitions on two members who opposed the superintendent, including Hernandez.
But the tactics being used against Hernandez are unusual. A source in the district sends us two flyers that Hernandezs opponents are reportedly handing out to parents dropping their children off at schools in the district. Right Wing Watch repeatedly tried to contact Marcos Castro, the manager of the effort to recall Hernandez and brother in law of school board president Louie Gonzalez, to discover whether the flyers came from his campaign, but Castro refused to take our calls. [UPDATE: Castro tells us that he himself got one of the flyers left at his house but he has "no knowledge" of where they came from.]
The first attacks Hernandez for being openly gay, imploring, Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board...Daniel Hernandez is LGBT...We need someone who will support Sports and cares about our kids. We dont need someone who hates our values.
By MARK LANDLER, DAVID E. SANGER, THOM SHANKER and MARK MAZZETTI - NYT
Published: August 29, 2013
WASHINGTON President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said on Thursday, even with a rejection of such action by Britains Parliament, an increasingly restive Congress, and lacking an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council.
Although the officials cautioned that Mr. Obama had not made a final decision, all indications suggest that the strike could occur as soon as United Nations inspectors, who are investigating the Aug. 21 attack that killed hundreds of Syrians, leave the country. They are scheduled to depart Damascus, the capital, on Saturday.
The White House is to present its case for military action against Syria to Congressional leaders on Thursday night. Administration officials assert that the intelligence will show that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad carried out the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
The intelligence does not tie Mr. Assad directly to the attack, officials briefed on the presentation said, but the administration believes that it has enough evidence to carry out a limited strike that would deter the Syrian government from using these weapons again.
Mr. Obama, officials said, is basing his case for action both on...