The weekend started off with a bang and ended with a whimper. In concert with U.S. allies, President Trump ordered a missile strike against Syria on Friday night, in retaliation for the apparent chemical attack on civilians in Douma earlier in the week. The precision strike was limited to some weapons facilities and so far there are no reports of deaths on the ground, which is likely because the U.S. warned Russia and the Syrians in advance. Trump had tweeted to the world that he was planning to launch missile strikes so it's not as if anyone was surprised. (This is a good thing, although it certainly calls his "Pearl Harbor doctrine" into question.)
"We tortured some folks"
This latest NSA revelation from James Risen and Laura Poitras inthe New York Times is one of the creepiest yet. It's a mission statement that forthrightly asserts that if the laws might interfere with the NSA's ability to function to its full, Orwellian, Big Brother capabilities those laws need to be eliminated. (I guess the Constitution would need an overhaul as well. Talk about out of date ...)
From the original wanker himself, Richard Cohen:
There are lots of people wondering just what got into Dianne Feinstein that has her suddenly all hot and bothered over the NSA revelations (which, up until now, she's defended to the hilt.)
I think one of the major misunderstandings (willful, in many cases) of this budget mess is that it's about Republicans just running around willy-nilly screaming "nonononono" like toddlers having a temper tantrum. I know it looks that way, but that's not what's happening. This is a strategy. And it's one they've even written down.
Jonathan Chait wrote about this in a widely read piece yesterday in which he explains what they've been up to:
For the first time since 1975, the NSA invited in a bunch of academics to
flatter them brief them about the secret programs and this interview with one of the participants gives us some idea of what their charm offensive is supposed to accomplish. I'll let you read the whole thing but these answers from the NSA struck me as being so vacuous as to demand some kind of response:
You've got to hand it to these misanthropic wingnuts. They don't suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness, that's for sure: