Saturday, September 21, 2013

Last Call For Coming Clean On Chemical Weapons

It looks like Syria is taking the first steps at following through on turning over control of their chemical weapons to the UN.

Syria has handed over information about its chemical arsenal to a U.N.-backed weapons watchdog, meeting the first deadline of an ambitious disarmament operation that averted the threat of Western air strikes. 
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Saturday it had "received the expected disclosure" from Damascus, 24 hours after saying it had been given a partial document from Syrian authorities. 
It said it was reviewing the information, handed over after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in the wake of a sarin gas strike in Damascus's suburbs last month - the world's deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. 
Washington blamed Assad's forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1,400 people. Assad blamed rebels battling to overthrow him, saying it made no sense for his forces to use chemical weapons when they were gaining the upper hand and while U.N. chemical inspectors were staying in central Damascus. 
The timetable for disarmament was laid down by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a week ago in Geneva when they set aside sharp differences over Syria to address the chemical weapons issue. 
Their plan set a Saturday deadline for Syria to give a full account of the weapons it possesses. Security experts say it has about 1,000 metric tons of mustard gas, VX and sarin - the nerve gas U.N. inspectors found had been used in the August 21 attack. 
The U.S. State Department said on Friday, after the OPCW announced Syria's initial declaration, that it was studying the material. "An accurate list is vital to ensure the effective implementation," spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

It's a first step only, and there's lots to go.  But it looks more and more like there's the real possibility of a breakthrough here, and again, we haven't had to fire a single cruise missile so far.

Here's hoping Assad's regime continues to meet these deadlines.

Well Shut(down) The Front Door

As Steve M. points out, the government shutdown fight on the GOP side has gone so far off the rails that in order for GOP senators like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mitch The Turtle to keep from being destroyed by the Tea Party, they are now forced to filibuster the House GOP bill defunding Obamacare:

What's going on in the GOP reminds me of the way a lot of people talk about gang violence. It's often said that in recent years it's been more common for kids in gangs to shoot other kids in gangs (and shoot innocent bystanders) because they just can't walk away from a dispute; if they've been disrespected, the fight inevitably escalates, until somebody gets shot.

That's how the GOP seems right now. Look at the Obamacare fight. John Boehner was disrespected when he was accused of offering a fake vote on defunding of the health care law, and so he gave in to Senator Ted Cruz's demand for a House vote on a provision that would really defund Obamacare, after which Boehner and other House Republicans attacked Cruz for saying that he and his allies couldn't really block Obamacare in the Senate.

People who looked at the likely course of the Obamacare-defunding proposal in the Senate agreed that, for complicated reasons, Cruz was correct and there was no real opportunity to stage a true filibuster of a bill with full funding of Obamacare. The only filibuster opportunity requires Cruz and his allies to block a bill that includes the defunding proposal they favor.

And if they don't take that opportunity, the Tea Party will eliminate them.  Only total opposition to President Obama and the Democrats counts now for those who opted to ride on the back of the Tea Party tiger.  Unless they do everything in their power to destroy our country's economy and turn President Obama's second term into ashes (along with the rest of 90% of the country) then the Tea Party will replace them with someone who will.

So this is where we are, weeks away from what could be the start of another economic disaster that will almost certainly put us into economic recession is not a full-blown depression (should the Tea Party cause the loss of America's credit rating) and the vast majority of Republicans are okay with that, because they think you will blame President Obama.

Give in to their political demands or face guaranteed financial ruin.  That sounds like terrorism to me.  Why don't we call it what it is, folks?

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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