Friday, September 6, 2013

John Kerry: US will 'live in infamy' if military doesn't strike Syria

Verne Strickland / September 6, 2013

“In the nearly 100 years since this global commitment against chemical weapons was made, only two tyrants have dared to cross the world’s brightest line. Bashar al-Assad has now become the third.”

Kerry's quote on 'a date that will live in infamy' rings hollow, lacks the eloquence of FDR's original


Secretary of State John Kerry borrowed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's denunciation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to urge Congress to authorize a military strike on Syria following the latest chemical weapons attack.

"That will be one of those moments in history that will live in infamy," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee while discussing the possibility that Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad escape an international response to the most recent chemical weapons attack by his regime during the Syrian civil war.

The "live in infamy" phrase comes from FDR's Pearl Harbor speech. "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," Roosevelt said. "The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific."
"In a highly publicized event in May–June 1939, the United States refused to admit over 900 Jewish refugees who had sailed from Hamburg, Germany, on the St. Louis.

The St. Louis appeared off the coast of Florida shortly after Cuban authorities cancelled the refugees' transit visas and denied entry to most of the passengers, who were still waiting to receive visas to enter the United States," the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum explains in its history of the event.

"Denied permission to land in the United States, the ship was forced to return to Europe. The governments of Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium each agreed to accept some of the passengers as refugees.

Of the 908 St. Louis passengers who returned to Europe, 254 (nearly 28 percent) are known to have died in the Holocaust. 288 passengers found refuge in Britain. Of the 620 who returned to the continent, 366 (just over 59 percent) are known to have survived the war."

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Matt Drudge sounds off on Republicans over Syria, NSA. Shall we call it "Drudgery"? No, let's not.

Verne Strickland / September 5, 2013

Asking why anyone would vote Republican, Drudge listed his grievances: "Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!"

Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge is shown in this 1997 file photo. 

AP Internet pioneer Matt Drudge may have had enough of the Republican Party.  

Though known to needle the GOP and its leaders from time to time, the founder of Drudge Report let loose over the party's direction on Twitter this week.

Asking why anyone would vote Republican, Drudge listed his grievances: "Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!"

His tweets referred to Republican leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner, getting behind the president's military-strike push in Syria and other positions. But Drudge's comments also touched on the broader internal fight in the party.
Or as Drudge put it: "It's now Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. Since Democrats vs. Republicans have been obliterated, no real differences between parties."

But Drudge's recent tweets are hardly the first time he's gotten in the middle of Republican Party infighting.

In January 2012, conservative Republicans accused him of catering to the GOP establishment and said he used his influential site as a virtual soap box for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. They were upset that he had taken repeated swipes at candidate Newt Gingrich.

Some fans openly questioned whether Drudge, once the darling of the conservative right, had become an enemy to the "cause" and accused him of using his digital real estate to push a more mainstream message. Politico wrote at the time, "Newt Gingrich better hope voters who lapped up his delicious hits on the 'elite media' and liberals don't read the Drudge Report this morning ... If they do, Gingrich comes off looking like a dangerous, anti-Reagan, Clintonian fraud."

Known for its never-changed spartan look, Drudge Report has become one of the most powerful drivers of political news in the country. The headlines trend toward news that interests conservative readers the most, but news outlets of all stripes relish a link on the heavily trafficked site -- and check it regularly. 

According to a May 2011 Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism study, Drudge is an "extremely important traffic driver."

"In other words, the Drudge Report's influence cuts across both traditional organizations such as ABC News to more tabloid style outlets such as the New York Post," the study found. "What's more, Drudge Report drove more links than Facebook or Twitter on all the sites to which it drove traffic."

Drudge Report started off as an online news group in the '90s. Its break-out moment came in 1998, when it out-scooped Newsweek on its own story. Drudge reported that the national magazine had information on the inappropriate relationship between then-President Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky but was sitting on it.

Newsweek published the story after Drudge's report came out.
Not known for his tact, Drudge has been repeatedly slammed by the left for sensationalizing news.

Yet earlier this year, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange hailed Drudge as a "news media innovator" who should be applauded.

Assange claimed that Drudge made his name by "publishing information that the establishment media would not. It is as a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and so of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship."