Open Thread for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Talk amongst yourselves, about whatever.

Some possible topics:

Continued saber-rattling at Syria. But will we do anything that has an effect? I thought the administration’s statement of yesterday that we’re not seeking “regime change” rather bizarre. Is it really that important to Barack Obama that he not be perceived as being George Bush?

The ongoing debate over the homeless in Columbia. Kathryn calls to my attention Eva Moore’s story on the issue, which she says is much better than the NYT version.

The 50th anniversary of the “I have a Dream” speech. I haven’t written on this, partly because I don’t remember it. I mean, I’m very familiar with historical accounts, but I don’t recall being aware of it when it happened. I was living in Guayaquil, Ecuador, at the time, and wasn’t exposed to U.S. news. The only event I remember hearing about that year was Kennedy’s assassination.

39 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

  1. FParker

    You have to love the Obama’s administration on how they’re handling this threat of retalliation. Rule #1, announce that you’re considering launching cruise missiles at them. Rule #2, tell them what areas you’re targetting and allow them enough time to move people and equipment out of those areas. Blowing up empty buildings isn’t exactly a military strategy that I’m familiar with, in fact it’s generally thought of as a waste of munitions.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Regarding Syria, from the LA Times:

    “One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.”

    So let me see if I have this straight… we hit Assad just enough to prove that Obama is one not to be messed with, while conveniently leaving Assad alive and able to plot revenge. That is the foreign policy brilliance that I have come to associate with the Obama Administration.

    I would love to see the formula for the number of cruise missiles required to be beyond “mocking”.
    Obama: “General! I want to fire exactly the amount of missiles that show I’m not a wimp. But no more!”


    1. Silence

      If I were Assad, I’d have taken a few precautions at this point:
      1) Syrian air and armor assets would be dispersed and no longer at their home bases or recent locations.
      2) Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles would also be dispersed, and would have been issued to units in the field for retaliatory deployments against civilian targets in rebel controlled areas, or against neighoring countries (Jordan & Israel, probably don’t want to risk drawing in the Turks).
      3) Known C3 targets and other military targets would now be blanketed with mosques, orphanages, hospitals, schools, etc. Any western cruise missile or bomber strike on important military infrastructure would cause massive civilian casualties.
      4) I’d be in a deep hole somewhere.

  3. Doug Ross

    Candidate Barack Obama in an interview with the Boston Globe in 2007:

    Q: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

    A: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

    It’s amazing how the anti-war, pro-single payer health care candidate is now just Bush-lite.

    1. Silence

      Barring an attack on the United States or an imminent threat to the U.S. the decision to use military force can only be made by Congress, not by the President. A constitutional law professor would know that, of course.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        He’s doing it because he knows he can get away with it, and the Congressional Republicans are so supine in their defense of any aspect of the Constitution.

  4. Doug Ross

    Another great one from that Q&A with the Boston Globe:

    Q: Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

    A: No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

    Which Obama did you guys actually vote for????

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The one who doesn’t fool around with detaining American citizens identified as enemy combatants. He just whacks them.

      Seriously, people who wanted to see a noninterventionist pacifist saw THAT. I did not. I see how he leaves himself gaps big enough to drive a truck through.

      Allow me to italicize the important part of this sentence: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

      The development of nuclear weapons — whether deliverable by missile or shipping container — by Iran poses “an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

      Of course, you might say it doesn’t. But I say it does. And if he got to the point that he thought he should act, Obama would say so, too…

      1. Doug Ross

        So what actual or imminent threat does Syria pose to the U.S.?

        If he decides to go ahead with the attack and a single innocent person is killed,
        the blood is on his hands alone.

        1. Barry

          Syria posted no immediate threat to the United States.

          The President is going back on his statement now that he’s President.

      2. Bart

        “The development of nuclear weapons — whether deliverable by missile or shipping container — by Iran poses “an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”…Brad

        But, but, but I thought the centrifuges were spinning so the peaceful Iranian mullahs could provide cheap nuclear power for the people of Iran. Just because the side benefits just might produce the material for a nuclear weapon doesn’t imply “an actual or imminent threat to the nation”, does it?

  5. Barack Churchill

    We shall avoid mockery on the beaches, we shall not be humiliated on the landing grounds, we shall flee with dignity from the fields and the streets, we shall cower proudly in the hills; we shall never be laughed at.

    1. Bart

      Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Obama: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” “Oh crap, wait a minute, there is a torpedo ahead.” “Reverse engines!” “Reverse engines!” “Take evasive measures!” “Where is my teleprompter? I can’t make a decision without it.”

    1. Mark Stewart

      Now if that same council member would stop bullying those same staffers and misappropriating government programs for personal benefit. Pot meet kettle…

  6. Doug Ross

    I’ve participated in many of the monthly meals provided by First Baptist Church to the homeless. I spent lot of time talking with the people, asking them how they got to where they were, what they were trying to do, what life on the streets is like.

    In general, they don’t want to be in shelters because all it does is congregate a bunch of bad people with a bunch of weak and sick people. They steal from each other, sexually assault each other, and fight when they are placed in close proximity.

    It’s a problem that can’t be fixed with one solution. Many of them are mentally ill and shouldn’t be allowed on the streets. Many of them are criminals and should be behind bars. Many are sick and should be in some type of care facility. A few are “lazy bums” and should be “encouraged” to hit the road.

    There’s $875,000 set aside for the big fire hydrant that could be used to address many of the problems.

    There is money to help alleviate this problem…it’s just being spent on things that demonstrate that caring for other people is a low priority.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I am appalled at what is proposed to be spent on Busted Plug! Like, how about the public works people move it, and that is it!

      The homelessness problem is indeed a lot more complex than just round ’em up and stick ’em in a shelter. As Eva suggests, there are groups who know a lot more about “best practices” than Cameron Runyan’s “common sense” — I do think he thinks he is doing what’s right. I just think he hasn’t done his homework! Pun intended.

      1. FParker

        Why not leave the busted plug where it is, or if it needs to be moved scrap it unless private can be found to move it. I don’t think it exactly is a money making feature for the city.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Because the current landowner of where it is has other plans for the site.

          It’s kind of cool, like Tunnelvision. We take visitors by it. We don’t have much public art in this city.

          1. Silence

            What’s proposed to happen to Tunnel Vision? That’s my favorite public artwork in the city. Is it going to remain there, will it be visible still?

      2. Silence

        I’m also appalled by the $850k or so that is proposed to move the Busted Plug. I don’t know that the public works folks have the capability to move it, but I’d bet that we could have gotten it moved for a bunch less. Splash pads are over-rated as well.

  7. bud

    This thread is a little old but it seems like we should discuss the impending war with Syria. I’m very conflicted on this. Although the humanitarian needs are clear and the villain is known with certainty I fear we may do more harm than good if we launch cruise missiles. Glad I’m not POTUS today.

    1. Doug Ross

      So now Obama has made the “decision” to do what he is constitutionally obligated to do anyway. He has botched this from the start. Congress doesn’t even return to session until September 9th!!!

      We know which way the war mongers like Lindsey Graham will vote. Any war, anywhere, any time.

      Hopefully there will be fewer chickenhawks this time around. But I’m sure the White House will
      try to spin this up like the WMD’s in Iraq.

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