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Herman Cain stumbles again

If you’re running for president, you should know some of the basics of foreign-policy. Over the last six months, our involvement with Libya has been questioned by conservatives and liberals alike. Muammar Qaddafi has been a thorn in our side since the Reagan administration. It is clear that his state has sponsored terrorists (Lockerbie bombing, bombing of a Berlin dance club). His state has been involved in trying to acquire nuclear weapons. (They did negotiate nuclear disarmament with the Bush administration.) We have sided with the rebels against Muammar Qaddafi and his Libyan regime. I know this off the top of my head. I understand that I’m not in a room with a bunch of journalists being asked questions but this is some of the basic facts that any and all presidential candidates should have at their fingertips. If you do not have this basic information you’re not a serious presidential candidate period.

Herman Cain’s excuse for his poor performance was that he was tired. Seriously. There might be no job that is more grueling than being President of the United States. I can’t believe he’s whining about not having enough sleep.

This is from Think Progress and it documents some of Herman Cain’s foreign-policy blunders over the last several months:

By |2011-11-15T14:10:45-04:00November 15th, 2011|Elections, Foreign Affairs, Party Politics|Comments Off on Herman Cain stumbles again

Olbermann’s ordeal was stupid

By now, everyone should know that Keith Olbermann was suspended and now is back on the air because of political contributions that he made a couple weeks ago. What happened and why? It appears that MSNBC has a policy on political contributions by their on-air commentators. Cool. Their policy states that all political donations need to be approved prior to making the donations. Why? I don’t understand how prior approval will make any donation any more or any less ethical. Now, if you inform MSNBC about political donations, certain interviews and certain stories could and should be reported differently. It should be clear to the viewer that the commentator is specifically biased (yes, I know that many on MSNBC are liberals. Liberal does not equal bias. Endorsements do equal bias.)

If this is an important rule, should it be written into one’s contract? For the most part, these commentators are commenting on politics. It seems to me that that MSNBC would want to make sure that every commentator knows what the rules are and would therefore specifically write those rules into the contract.

There is a larger context. What is the role of journalism in the year 2010? How should journalists differentiate themselves from commentators? Shouldn’t this delineation be crystal clear to the viewer?

Matt Taibbi has more:

We had a whole generation of journalists who sat by and did nothing while, for instance, George Bush led us into an idiotic war on a lie, plus thousands more who spent day after day collecting checks by covering Britney’s hair and Tiger’s text messages and other stupidities while the economy blew up and two bloody wars went on mostly unexamined… and it’s Keith Olbermann who should “pay the price” for being unethical? Because, and let me get this straight, he donated money, privately, to politicians?

This is absurd even by GE’s standards. There is no reason, not even a theoretical one, why any journalist should be prevented from having political opinions and participating in election campaigns in his spare time. The policy would be ridiculous even if we were talking about an evening news anchor — because the only “ethical” question here is the issue of NBC wanting to preserve the appearance of impartiality and being unable to do so, because political contributions happen to be public record and impossible to hide from viewers.

Again, that would be true even if we were talking about Brian Williams or Tom Brokaw, someone from whom viewers expect a certain level of impartiality. But what Olbermann does is advocacy journalism and it’s not exactly a secret. NBC punishing Olbermann for donating to Democratic candidates is like Hugh Hefner fining the Playmate of the Year for showing ankle. It’s completely and utterly retarded.

By |2010-11-10T21:39:35-04:00November 10th, 2010|Media|Comments Off on Olbermann’s ordeal was stupid

Obama delivers a strong speech on national security

Today, President Barack Obama delivered a fantastic speech on national security.

Watch it here:

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Words from Obama’s speech given today:

After 9/11, we knew that we had entered a new era — that enemies who did not abide by any law of war would present new challenges to our application of the law; that our government would need new tools to protect the American people, and that these tools would have to allow us to prevent attacks instead of simply prosecuting those who try to carry them out.

Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions.  I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people.  But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.  Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford.  And during this season of fear, too many of us — Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens — fell silent.

In other words, we went off course.  And this is not my assessment alone.  It was an assessment that was shared by the American people who nominated candidates for President from both major parties who, despite our many differences, called for a new approach — one that rejected torture and one that recognized the imperative of closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Now let me be clear:  We are indeed at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.  We do need to update our institutions to deal with this threat.  But we must do so with an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process; in checks and balances and accountability.  For reasons that I will explain, the decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable — a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass.  And that’s why I took several steps upon taking office to better protect the American people.

First, I banned the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the United States of America.  (Applause.)

I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe.  I could not disagree more.  As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence.  I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe.  And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation.  (Applause.)  What’s more, they undermine the rule of law.  They alienate us in the world.  They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America.  They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured.  In short, they did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts — they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all.  (Applause.)  (more…)

By |2009-05-21T19:21:24-04:00May 21st, 2009|Obama administration, Security|Comments Off on Obama delivers a strong speech on national security
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