Tuesday Reads

Couch on the Porch at Cos Cob by Childe Hassam, 1914

Couch on the Porch at Cos Cob by Childe Hassam, 1914

Good Morning!!

 

Secretary of State John Kerry is under fire for making a frank statement in a closed-door meeting that he believed to be private. Politico’s Dylan Byers reports: John Kerry’s private remarks allegedly taped by Daily Beast reporter.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s private remarks to a meeting of influential world leaders last week were allegedly taped by a reporter from The Daily Beast, a fact that led to a personal apology from Trilateral Commission chairman Joseph S. Nye on Monday.

In a letter to Sec. Kerry, obtained by POLITICO, Nye expressed “my deep apology and dismay that a reporter form The Daily Beast, Josh Rogin, somehow sneaked into the meeting room in which you were speaking to the Commission this past Friday.”

“He was not invited,” Nye wrote. “Althought how Mr. Rogin slipped past both Commission staff and Diplomatic Security is unclear to me, we have confirmed that he indeed was present and apparently recorded the session.”

Josh Rogin

Josh Rogin

Rogin, who somehow sneaked into the meeting and taped Kerry’s remarks, soon began posting “exclusives” at The Daily Beast.

Within minutes of Kerry’s remarks on Friday, Rogin posted an exclusive to The Daily Beast in which he reported that Kerry had “warned that [a] new round of American financial assaults on Russia were on the way.”

On Sunday, Rogin posted another exclusive headlined, “Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’.” The report earned Sec. Kerry fierce criticism from Jewish organizations such as AIPAC, which called the remarks “offensive and inapropriate,” and the Anti-Defamation League, which called them “incendiary.”

In the first article, Rogin attributed his knowledge of Sec. Kerry’s remarks to “an attendee.” In the second article, he attributed them to “a recording… obtained by The Daily Beast.” Rogin did not mention his presence at the event in either article.

Is that okay according to journalistic ethics? I don’t know, but this definitely demonstrates to me the need for some secrecy in government diplomacy. I think the Greenwaldian notion of government as absolute enemy has rubbed off on reporters like Rogin. His first “exclusive” was on a breakdown of communications between the White House and the Kremlin and the second was about Kerry’s comments on Israel. Rogin writes:

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

It wasn’t the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks. 

Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

It’s hard for me to find much fault with that. I guess the use of the term “apartheid” is a no-no, Kerry is not the first to use it. As Rogin notes, former President Jimmy Carter wrote a book in 2007 with the title Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. Carter was forced to backtrack somewhat, and Kerry has had do it also. Michael Gordon at The New York Times: Kerry Apologizes for Remark That Israel Risks Apartheid

US-Secretary-Of-State-John-Kerry

In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that he had been a staunch supporter of Israel during his years as a senator and had spent many hours since working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

“For more than 30 years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel,” Mr. Kerry said in his statement. “I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight.”

Mr. Kerry added that he did not believe that Israel was an “apartheid state” or intended to become one. Mr. Kerry did not dispute he had used the phrase but said it had led to a “misimpression” about his views.

“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said.

“In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve,” he added.

Kerry has now been attacked for his remarks by Senators Ted Cruz and Barabara Boxer. Quite an achievement!

Rogin’s latest “exclusive,” published this morning, reveals (surprise, surprise!) that the U.S. is spying on calls between Russia and it’s spies on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. You’d think that would be a good thing, but in the age of Greenwaldian “advocacy journalism,” maybe not. Rogin:

“Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language. We know exactly who’s giving those orders, we know where they are coming from,” Kerry said at a private meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington. A recording of Kerry’s remarks was obtained by The Daily Beast.

Kerry didn’t name specific Russian officials implicated in the recordings. But he claimed that the intercepts provided proof of the Russians deliberately fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine—and lying about it to U.S. officials and the public.

“It’s not an accident that you have some of the same people identified who were in Crimea and in Georgia and who are now in east Ukraine,” said Kerry. “This is insulting to everybody’s intelligence, let alone to our notions about how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It’s thuggism, it’s rogue state-ism. It’s the worst order of behavior.”

Rogin goes on to speculate on whether the NSA has now corrected issues that prevented them from receiving accurate intelligence on Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea and explains the methods NSA uses to collected such information. I guess they will have to go back to the drawing board again now? In the latest piece, Rogin still does not state that he is the source of the tapes of Kerry’s remarks.

Reuters has an article this morning on Israel’s latest plans: Israeli politicians seek to bypass talks, set own boundaries.

With Middle East peace talks frozen and expectations of a negotiated deal at an all-time low, a growing number of Israeli politicians believe it is time for the government to set the nation’s own borders unilaterally.

Some seek the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, others say only the big Jewish settlement blocs should be brought under Israeli sovereignty, while a third group calls for a partial pullout to create a de facto Palestinian state.

Such actions would break the dynamics of the U.S.-driven peace process, which has been bogged down by years of failure and recrimination. By the same token, it would likely unleash a firestorm of protest at home and abroad.

Isn’t that just ducky? Read lots of details at the link.

This is just breaking (9AM EST) . . . there has been a mass shooting at a FedEx location in Georgia.

FedEx shooting

From NBC News: FedEx Facility Shooting Prompts Massive Police Response

At least six people were injured in a shooting early Tuesday at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Ga., officials said.

The male gunman remained at large, and police said they are sweeping the surrounding area, reported NBC affiliate WXIA-TV.

Cobb County police said the call came in at 5:44 a.m., prompting a lockdown of the facility on Airport Road and more than 50 emergency vehicles to arrive at the scene. The injured were taken to the hospital, and at least one person was taken immediately to the operating room, WXIA reported.

That’s all I have for you today–I hope you’ll also post your links in the comment thread.


82 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Kerry is right, IMO, but I’ll bet Hillary wouldn’t have made the same mistake.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I thoroughly agree. But he did not expect to be quoted by a reporter who listened in on his private conversations.

      Any time Israel’s policies are questioned all hell breaks loose. Bibi will never “share”: he wants the entire region without compromise which is the leading factor always in these “negotiations” when these settlers continue – even urged to – keep building.

    • dakinikat says:

      He’s right about that and some one should also mention that there’s basically a massive pogrom there to exterminate Palestinians. Calling their horrible government what it is when it doesn’t really have a lot of support in the country itself isn’t anti-Semitic. A group of people terrorized an existing country and took it over based on some stupid religious basis. Part of Germany should’ve been carved up and given to Jewish People. The poor Palestinians never did anything to deserve any of this.

  2. NW Luna says:

    The Obama administration admonished colleges and universities — “No more turning a blind eye” — as it released guidelines designed to stem sexual assaults on campuses and help the victims.

    A White House task force on sexual assault recommends in a report to be released Tuesday that schools identify trained, confidential victim’s advocates and conduct surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses, since these types of crimes are underreported.

    It says the Justice Department will help develop training programs in trauma care for school officers and assess different models for schools to use to adjudicate such cases, since some sexual assault survivors are wary of a legal process that can open them up to potentially painful or embarrassing questions by students or staff.

    Make that harassing questions. And I’d like to see penalties on schools for not reporting or under-reporting. And more on prevention. But at least this is something.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, I want to read the report. I hope they had some women on the committee. Also, yesterday the administration informed Tufts University that they aren’t doing enough.

      Tufts found in violation of Title IX sexual assault, harassment regulations

      http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/25371013/tufts-university-found-in-violation-of-title-ix-sexual-assault-harassment-regulations

      • bostonboomer says:

        Boston Globe: US, Tufts University at odds on handling sexual assaults

        The action, stemming from a 2010 complaint from a woman about Tufts’ handling of her sexual assault allegations, could result in the university losing its federal funding if it does not reach an agreement with the education department’s Office for Civil Rights.

        Tufts signed an agreement with the government earlier this month, pledging to take a long list of steps in improving their policies, as well as providing monetary compensation to the student. But the university backed out of the agreement, Tufts officials said, when told they were being found in violation of Title IX, which mandates gender equity in campus life.

    • Fannie says:

      It’s time has come, we especially need the White House and Justice Departmenst involved and giving the best of guidelines to administrators, teachers, counselors, and students. We need to encourage women and men who are raped to speak up. We need to admit we have done a lousely job, and need to let communities know that we are taking actions. So many of them just give up and quit their schooling.

      Thank you President Obama.

  3. joanelle says:

    The media continues to run amuck. Clearly they have no understanding of a need for some level of confidentiality, or a need for open conversations between world leaders. In fact this May border on treason, in as much as conversations thought to be private are being used by one of our own citizens to undermine negotiations under the guise of ‘free speech.’
    The level of immaturity among reporters boggles the mind.

    • dakinikat says:

      It appears we have a plague of libertarians in the media. That implies immature think and paranoia when it comes to the federal government. It also usually implies misogyny and white, ivy league male elitism.

  4. Boo Radly says:

    Georgia – trying to make Florida look good. Actually, every state in the Union is seemingly owned by lobbyists whose only goal is for the ‘owner of that state’. The people have little to no say.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/04/29/3431956/shooting-injures-six-in-georgia-town-where-everyone-is-required-by-law-to-own-a-gun/

    • 6 injured, gunman dead in FedEx workplace shooting – Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

      says he was a employee…dressed like Rambo. But if you look at all the network websites…cnn and the rest you will see it is not even breaking news. You will have to look for it and some are not even covering it on their websites front page. (cbs) Most is breaking news on the damn plane…

      • bostonboomer says:

        It was breaking news when I wrote about it in my post earlier. The news has been out there for awhile. It’s also the top story on Google news right now.

        • bostonboomer says:

          FedEx employee: Bullets strapped across shooter’s chest ‘like Rambo’

          9:55 a.m.: FedEx employee Liza Aiken saw the shooter, a 19-year-old man she said was a loader, just before she heard gunfire. Aiken was doing address corrections on some packages when she said she “heard a clink.

          “I looked to my left. I saw him standing there and the knife was on the ground. He dropped his knife. He had an assault rifle. He had bullets strapped to his chest like Rambo. I mean he looked like he was heading into war. As soon as I saw him, I ran the other way. I ran and made sure that people upstairs were gone. He was in all black. I think he had a camo vest. He had an assault rifle and bullets strapped to his chest.”

          Aiken said she previously reported the shooting suspect to her superiors. She said he pointed a work laser in her eye.

        • Pat Johnson says:

          It has become so commonplace now that you read the headline and move on to other news.

          Churches. Schools. Malls. Movie theaters. Workplaces. Parking lots. Highways. Courthouses. Not a single venue is exempt from the possibility of a disgruntled person having access to weapons deciding to play “shoot ’em up” over a perceived grievance.

          And this answer to all this madness is more guns.

          Insanity prevails.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Police investigating Cliven Bundy-related threats to Harry Reid

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/cliven-bundy-harry-reid-threat-106106.html#ixzz30Hmlgz3k

    • RalphB says:

      I’m not surprised that Reid has gotten a lot of threats. After some consideration, I believe the entire array of Republican emotions consists of rage, hate, fear, greed and self-pity. There seems to be some overlap with the emoprogs and glibertarians as well.

  6. RalphB says:

    NYT: Big Texas Utility Files for Bankruptcy

    Too big just failed.

    The troubled Texas utility Energy Future Holdings – which, as TXU, was private equity’s biggest-ever buyout – filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.

    After months of on-again, off-again talks between the company, its owners and a dizzying hierarchy of creditors, the company went into Chapter 11 protection with a plan intended to stave off months of potentially rancorous fighting in court over pieces of the power company.

    Energy Future will become one of the biggest Chapter 11 filings in corporate history.

    This is not the ending that the Wall Street private equity firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs, envisioned in 2007, when they acquired the TXU Corporation in a colossal $45 billion deal.

    Their investments are expected to be all but be wiped out in the bankruptcy. …

    Warming up the world’s smallest violin.

  7. leefeller says:

    Being a political junkie, I enjoy your blog… as an artist, I love the colors in the painting used in todays header, what really grabs me is the composition… because I prefer using thirds the couch starts in the middle and moves out to a third more like quarter and it works. Do you know the artist?

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Magic Johnson reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers

    http://nba.si.com/2014/04/28/magic-johnson-los-angeles-clippers-donald-sterling/

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Doc Rivers should have stayed with the Celtics:

    Rivers: ‘I believe he said those things’

    Coach Doc Rivers says he turned down an opportunity to speak to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of the racist remarks allegedly made by Sterling. Rivers also says he believes Sterling made the remarks and that he isn’t sure about his future with the team if Sterling remains the owner.

  10. dakinikat says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/04/nba-just-hit-donald-sterling-with-a-lifetime-ban

    Commissioner Adam Silver just announced that the Los Angeles Clippers owner has been banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million. Sterling will be banned from all basketball operations.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He is also banned from attending any NBA games or events, and Silver will ask the other owners to join with him in forcing the sale of the Clippers–hopefully to a decent human being.

      In basball terms, Silver stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam home run on the first pitch. What would it be in basketball? A slam dunk? Whatever, the guy did the right thing.

  11. Fannie says:

    I didn’t expect Adam Silver to do all he has, he did, he dropped the hammer. Good for NBA. So long Donald Sterling.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just listened to the press conference, and he was outstanding.

      • bostonboomer says:
      • RalphB says:

        TBogg ‏@tbogg 1h
        Fox preparing press release announcing ‘Donald Sterling’s Race Matters!’ to premiere next week right after Hannity.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Silver had no alternative considering the circumstance. Sterling is from the privileged white male class who thinks all others are a sub category to be used for his pleasure and profit. There was no way to put a shine on his comments. Only Donald Trump could ratchet up sympathy for such an irrelevant old ogre.

      • gregoryp says:

        I don’t know. NBA let a guy named Ruben Patterson play for years AFTER he got convicted of raping his children’s nanny. So people think that being a racist old crumrudgeon is WORSE than being a rapist? Someone who gets caught over and over using drugs? Worse than Jim Irsay who just got busted for DUI and drug possession? Or how about the other offenses committed by players, coaches, executives and owners that are actually against the law? And it isn’t like the guy was out there publicly and proudly espousing racist views and promoting racism. His problem appears to be that he is old, stupid and relies on an outdated mode of thinking.

        If they are going to whack him over a private conversation then they better start cleaning up the rest of their act. They can start with officiating. Oh, and this isn’t the 1st time this guy has been caught being a racist either. They’ve known this about him for many years. What has changed? Why now? Yep, he is a POS and always has been. One of the worst sports owners of all time. But seriously, banning a guy based on what appears to be an illegally recorded private conversation? Dubious. This is literally a guy that got 2 of the largest fines ever recorded for discriminating against black people in one of his other businesses. This punishment strikes me as hollow and disingenous. The NBA has always turned a blind eye to this guys shenanigans and are only taking action because it is so public.

        • janicen says:

          The fact that racism is tolerated or has been tolerated at other times in other contexts does not mean we are obligated to continue to tolerate it. Slavery of Africans represents the largest single example of genocide in the history of the world. The fact that we have made excuses and allowances for racism and racist remarks is shameful. Adam Silver has shown us all how to treat racism. Zero tolerance.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Absolutely. Times change. And, there’s a new commissioner in town. The last one sucked bigtime.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I didn’t know Donald Trump was commenting here.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Let’s stop pretending that a few thousand Bible-banging hayshakers represent Real Americans.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/iowa-gop-candidates-042914

    • RalphB says:

      Iowa shouldn’t have a disproportionate voice in the Democratic nominations either. The activists from both parties in Iowa are clucks.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Check out the Clippers website:

    http://www.nba.com/clippers/one

    • janicen says:

      I’m thrilled with the league’s decision. I’m all about zero tolerance of racism. Slavery represents a long-term stain on our nation’s history and I’m sick and tired of this attitude that some racism is tolerated and that racists need time to become educated or that this kind of thing is allowed because “This is a free country…” free speech, blah blah blah. Fuck that. Enough is enough. Zero tolerance.

  14. ANonOMouse says:

    Good post BB, Thank you!!!

  15. dakinikat says:

    PRIMARY SOURCE
    Yeah, I Wrote the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Memo
    I stand by every word of it. And it’s even worse today.
    By CHRIS LEHANE April 27, 2014

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/04/chris-lehane-right-wing-conspiracy-memo-106059.html

  16. dakinikat says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/wisconsin-voter-id-law-struck-down-full-text-decision?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+motherjones%2Fmain+%28MotherJones.com+Main+Article+Feed%29&utm_content=FaceBook

    A Federal Judge Just Struck Down Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law. Read The Decision.
    “The reason blacks and Latinos are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, and therefore to lack a qualifying ID, is because they have suffered from, and continue to suffer from, the effects of discrimination.”

  17. ANonOMouse says:

    Will Rush Limbaugh ever be held accountable for anything he says. He’s a homophobic, sexist, racist pig and he proves it once again in a counter to CNN Host Don Lemon.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/limbaugh-fires-back-at-cnns-don-lemon-who-sleeps-with-men-proudly/

    This Comment from Limbaugh I find particularly disgraceful

    “Over at CNN, they interpreted that to mean that I was defending Sterling!” Limbaugh said Tuesday. “How did they get there? I don’t know how they get there. Erin Burnett played the sound bite and then went to Mr. Black Hole himself, Don Lemon (who sleeps with men, proudly) for comment.”

  18. RalphB says:

    tpm: EPA Hails Big Victory At Supreme Court

    It’s not every day that environmentalists notch up a victory in the modern Supreme Court, but that’s what happened Tuesday in a 6-2 decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to crack down on coal pollution that moves across state lines. …

    At last, a piece of good news.

  19. RalphB says:

    TBogg has another funny at Raw Story …

  20. Fannie says:

    Mercy, Mercy! The governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, needs to lose her job. ASAP. She went against the State Surpreme court and ordered the execution of two inmates. Clayton D. Lockett’s (African American) execution was botched, and the Dept. Corrections Administrator ordered it be stopped, and he was rushed to hospital were 15 minutes later he died a horrible heart attack. The other inmate was to be executed two hours later, but it was stayed. I swear, these fucking republicans are causing people to die, and they don’t care. Gov. Mary Fallin needs to go down, the way Sterling went down. Sometimes I think republicans like her are diseased, they are hung up on power, and step all over the courts and we the people. She plans on killing the next man in two weeks. Enough is enough! She is the first female governor and the worst governor ever.

  21. Fannie says:

    Fucking Oklahoma is the only state in the country, where every single county voted against Obama. That ought to speak loud to their issues and problems.