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Friday Evening News Roundup (addendum)

Friday Evening News Roundup

Mitt Romney seems to vacillate on every single topic except his taxes. On the subject of his taxes, he stands firm. It just makes you wonder –

I’m wondering, do you see much difference between these two statements:

U.S. Embassy in Egypt:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Romney to ABC:

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to see it. I, you know, I think it’s dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say. And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. And I wish people wouldn’t do it. Of course, we have a First Amendment. And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve seen General Martin Dempsey call Pastor Jones to say, “Please don’t promote this film.” You think that’s a good idea?

MITT ROMNEY: I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment- the good judgment- not to be- not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing.

Nope, I didn’t neither. (more…)

By | 2013-11-03T18:13:28+00:00 September 14th, 2012|Foreign Affairs, General, Party Politics|Comments Off on Friday Evening News Roundup (addendum)

The trail to Osama Bin Laden

The world is an extremely complex place, filled with lots of nuance. Neither the right nor the left really has the correct narrative. One side wants to give President Barack Obama all the credit for tracking down Osama bin Laden. The other side wants to give President Bush all the credit. Neither narrative is true. One side wants to tell us that torture was completely vindicated by the death of Osama bin Laden. The other side wants us to know that torture had nothing whatsoever to do with the intelligence that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. In reality, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. There is probably some shred of truth that some information came from torture or “enhanced interrogation techniques.” On the other hand, it is not clear if we’ve could’ve gotten that information in other ways. The same thing holds true for President Bush and President Obama. It is probably true that the changes that took place in the intelligence community laid the groundwork for the cooperation that we saw between special forces, the military, the FBI and the CIA. It is also true that President Barack Obama chose a team that can work together and get the job done. He was the one that authorized the team to go and get Osama bin Laden. He decided not to use predator drone strikes or a B-52 bombing raid. (I do not understand a spontaneous party outside of the former president’s house at one in the morning.)

While I believe in the rule of law, I also understand that Osama bin Laden is/was a killer. I understand that he murdered thousands of Americans and Muslims. I understand that, like Bonnie and Clyde or Pablo Escobar, he was not going to be taken quietly. He was not going to recite his own Miranda rights. I am completely comfortable with the president’s decision to kill Osama bin Laden. I also endorse the scrutiny and the questions about the legality of the president’s actions. I think this is a healthy debate. In the end, it doesn’t matter what other people decide. I know that if I were president, I would’ve authorized a strike on Osama bin Laden. Any president who wants to protect the American people would’ve made that decision. I understand. I think the American people understand. Now, let the lawyers figure it out.

Marcy Wheeler has a wonderful post on the trail of evidence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden:

The AP has confirmed that intelligence leading to the courier that in turn led to Osama bin Laden came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and–as I surmised earlier–Abu Faraj al-Libi while in CIA custody. But partly because of the language AP uses to describe this–and partly because the wingnuts love torture–many are drawing the wrong conclusion about it. Here’s what the AP says:

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

Note what AP says: KSM provided the courier’s nom de guerre. The CIA got similar information from al-Libi. And they were tortured. The AP does not say torture led to this information.

Here’s what a senior administration official said last night about when they got the intelligence on the courier.

Detainees gave us his nom de guerre or his nickname and identified him as both a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11th, and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former number three of al Qaeda who was captured in 2005.

Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years, we were unable to identify his true name or his location.

Four years ago, we uncovered his identity, and for operational reasons, I can’t go into details about his name or how we identified him, but about two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. [my emphasis]

In other words, while the CIA may have learned the courier’s nickname earlier, they didn’t learn his true name until “four years ago”–so late 2006 at the earliest. And they didn’t learn where the courier operated until around 2009. (more…)

By | 2011-05-04T11:16:02+00:00 May 4th, 2011|9-11, Bin Laden, Obama administration|Comments Off on The trail to Osama Bin Laden

Record Profits/Hard Times

American companies have reported record profits for the third quarter of 2010.

From the New York Times

“The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever. American businesses brought in $1.66 trillion at an annual rate in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms. Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history. This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad.”

What do you think these profits mean for working people?

Layoffs?

Wage cuts?

Benefit cuts?

More temporary workers instead of full-time positions?

Who should we blame for the hard times facing the American worker?

Muslims?

Obama?

Immigrants?

What a country this is right now.

By | 2010-11-23T12:54:00+00:00 November 23rd, 2010|Domestic Issues, Economy, Poverty|Comments Off on Record Profits/Hard Times