Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng


Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

After Obama Win, Calls For Secession Pour In (Again)

| Tue Nov. 13, 2012 2:07 PM EST
Confederate flag superman bro

Well, President Barack Obama won reelection. And by quite a lot, actually.

The options for despondent conservatives are somewhat limited at this juncture: They can pout. They can turn on each other. They can keep their heads and plot a 2016 comeback. They can call for impeachment hearings.

Or they can play the secession card.

In the days since the election, the White House website has been inundated with secession-related petitions on its "We the People" page, with concerned citizens requesting the "peaceful" secession of more than half of the country's states. The Louisiana petition has received over 28,000 signatures, and Texas' now has over 25,000. Per the "We the People" rules, these petitions now have enough signatures to merit an official response from the White House. "None of the petitions explicitly cite Obama's reelection as a reason for independence, but all were created after last week's elections," Politico's Byron Tau reported on Monday. "Most of the petitions simply quote the Declaration of Independence in their request to depart the country." Via his press secretary on Monday, Texas governor (and former 2012 Republican presidential candidate) Rick Perry came out against secession while emphasizing his continued "frustrations" with the federal government. (It appears Perry's tone has softened since 2009.)

Nearly identical secession petitions have also been created for over 30 states. Here's an example of one petition asking the federal government to, "Peacefully grant the State of New York to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government." It's important to note that this petition was created by "C R" in Grand Forks, North Dakota, not by anyone in New York. It cropped up on November 10, and currently has upwards of 11,000 signatures:

The White HouseThe White House(A minor backlash to these on "We the People" includes a counterpetition titled, "Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America.")

Though the "We the People" petition page is a nice enough idea, it frequently unleashes spates of White House-sanctioned trollmageddon. If the parade of lazily crafted secession entreaties aren't enough for you, here's the Obama administration's response last year to two separate petitions demanding answers regarding an X-Files-style alien cover-up. There was also that one petition asking the White House to start taking these petitions more seriously.

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CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 4:47 PM EST

On Friday afternoon, four-star general and CIA director David Petraeus resigned, saying he had cheated on his wife of 38 years. Petraeus was widely respected for his involvment in managing the later years of the Iraq War, earning the beltway nickname of "King David," among others. More recently, he has been under fire for this year's Benghazi embassy attack controversy.

Sources tell NBC News that deputy CIA director Mike Morrell would likely be asked to assume the role as acting director, with the possibility of making the promotion more long-term. Petraeus became director of the CIA in September 2011 after his appointment by President Obama.

Read Petraeus' resignation letter here:

HEADQUARTERS Central Intelligence Agency

9 November 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA.  After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.  Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.  This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.

As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation's Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard.  Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life's greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.  I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.
Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

With admiration and appreciation,
David H. Petraeus 

Here's the statement by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:


Today, CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his letter of resignation to the President. Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation’s most respected public servants. From his long, illustrious Army career to his leadership at the helm of CIA, Dave has redefined what it means to serve and sacrifice for one's country.

Since he took over as Director in September of last year, he and I have worked together to tackle some of the most challenging issues faced by the Intelligence Community in more than a decade. Under his leadership, the CIA remained instrumental in providing our policy makers decision advantage through the best possible intelligence. I'm particularly thankful for Dave's unwavering support and personal commitment to my efforts to lead the Intelligence Community and integrate our intelligence enterprise.

Whether he was in uniform leading our nation's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or at CIA headquarters leading the effort to generate intelligence used to keep our nation safe, Dave inspired people who had the privilege of working with him.

I have spent more than five decades serving our country–in uniform and out–and of all the exceptional men and women I have worked with over the years, I can honestly say that Dave Petraeus stands out as one of our nation's great patriots.

On behalf of the entire Intelligence Community, I thank Dave for his service, his support and his continued friendship.

James R. Clapper

And here is the White House:

November 9, 2012

Statement by President Obama on the Resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus

David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades. By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end. As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism. By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger.

Today, I accepted his resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission, and I have the utmost confidence in Acting Director Michael Morell and the men and women of the CIA who work every day to keep our nation safe. Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best at this difficult time.

A One-Sentence Review of "Skyfall," The New James Bond Movie

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 11:55 AM EST

We've come a long way since Christmas Jones.

Columbia Pictures
142 minutes

I have an obscenely long list of graphic, expletive-riddled phrases I've been using to illustrate how much I enjoyed Sam Mendes' installment in the Daniel Craig era of Bond movies, but I'm told that this is a family-friendly website.

"Movie & An Argument" Podcast: James Bond and Abraham Lincoln Edition

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 11:39 AM EST
The two Daniels.

On this week's episode of A Movie & An Argument, With Alyssa Rosenberg & Asawin Suebsaeng, we discuss (scroll down for audio):

  • Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, directed by Sam Mendes, with Daniel Craig reprising the lead role.
  • Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President of the United States.


Thu Jun. 12, 2014 5:51 PM EDT
Mon Apr. 28, 2014 12:48 PM EDT
Fri Apr. 25, 2014 6:05 AM EDT
Sun Apr. 20, 2014 11:00 PM EDT
Thu Apr. 17, 2014 6:00 AM EDT