What’s interesting in the news today?
Open thread, here’s 4 from me.
From TheGuardian “President Bashar al-Assad did not personally order last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus that has triggered calls for US military intervention, and blocked numerous requests from his military commanders to use chemical weapons against regime opponents in recent months, a German newspaper has reported , citing unidentified, high-level national security sources.
The intelligence findings were based on phone calls intercepted by a German surveillance ship operated by the BND, the German intelligence service, and deployed off the Syrian coast, Bild am Sonntag said. The intercepted communications suggested Assad, who is accused of war crimes by the west, including foreign secretary William Hague, was not himself involved in last month’s attack or in other instances when government forces have allegedly used chemical weapons.”
“But the intercepts tended to add weight to the claims of the Obama administration and Britain and France that elements of the Assad regime, and not renegade rebel groups, were responsible for the attack in the suburb of Ghouta, Bild said.”
President Obama plans to do what he does best today. Campaign. He has 6 network interviews planned for today, and a speech to the public tomorrow. At least he’s not giving free stuff away on the taxpayer dime to gain votes this time. That doesn’t work with Congress. They already have all the free/taxpayer-funded stuff they need.
From NationalReview “Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya who testified before Congress about the 9/11 attacks on an American diplomatic facility earlier this year, believes he has been “punished” for speaking out about the Obama administration’s response the night of the attack. He said he believes at least two of the Americans lost that night could have been saved if the United States had responded in time.”
“While Hicks still remains on staff at the State Department, he has not been reassigned to a post since being called back from Libya. In a statement to This Week, the State Department said Hicks was not removed from Libya as a result of the statements he has made about the Benghazi attacks and it is working on reassigning him.”
Back to the US, and the anti-war left.
From TheHollywoodReporter ”Ed Asner Explains Hollywood Silence on Obama, Syria: They ‘Don’t Want to Feel Anti-Black’”
“In 2003, ahead of a U.S. attack on Iraq, a robust anti-war movement in Hollywood included a TV commercial starring Martin Sheen and Sean Penn visiting Baghdad. There were online petitions signed by Ed Asner; letters to President George W. Bush pleading for peace were signed by Matt Damon, Tim Robbins, Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin; former M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell fronted multiple press conferences where celebrities denounced war. In interviews, Janeane Garofalo stopped identifying herself as an actor — she preferred to be called a member of the U.S. anti-war movement.”
“The good news for President Barack Obama as he considers a military response against Syria for using chemical weapons against rebels is that he probably won’t have to deal with a similar anti-war movement from Hollywood. But that’s not because there isn’t opposition. It’s just not organized, and, as Asner and Farrell – two of the industry’s most vocal progressive activists — told The Hollywood Reporter Friday, perhaps it never will be.”
And then they go on to try to justify their hypocrisy. Even though it might be a war crime, there’s just not time to mobilize their opposition.
And last, an interesting read. I can’t say I disagree with much of what she says.
From McClatchy “Two-thirds of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told the crowd that packed into a Boise State ballroom to hear her Thursday.
About one-third can name the three branches of government. Fewer than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.”
““The more I read and the more I listen, the more apparent it is that our society suffers from an alarming degree of public ignorance,” O’Connor said.
That ignorance starts in the earliest years of a child’s schooling, she said, but often continues all the way through college and graduate school.”