Monday Reads

Good Morning!

Well, the biggest news is the killing of Osama Bin Laden in a US operation.  The President announced the news on TV last night.  There were few details other than Bin Laden was killed in a US operation and was in Pakistan.  Spontaneous celebrations erupted across the U.S.  The entire statement can be read at NPR. The State Department has warned that there may be increased potential for violence against US citizens and a security alert has been announced for travelers.    WAPO is reporting that this was a Navy Seals operation that involved the CIA and Pakistani intelligence.

Obama said the operation took place in Abbottabad, a city of about 100,000 in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 100 miles north of Islamabad. Named for a British military officer who founded it as a military cantonment and summer retreat, it is the headquarters of a brigade of the Pakistan Army’s 2nd Division.

Bin Laden had long eluded U.S. forces throughout George W. Bush’s presidency, and the former president said Sunday that he congratulated Obama and the military and intelligence personnel who “devoted their lives to this mission.”

After weeks of chasing conspiracy stories about the President and dropping the F-bomb numerous times in a speech,  Donald Trump becomes the arbiter of good taste calling the White House correspondent’s dinner “inappropriate”.  I guess he really does like jokes about his nasty hairdo after all.

At the event, Obama made light of Trump’s repeated calls for him to release his birth certificate, something he did Wednesday, and Meyers made fun of everything from his hair to his presidential ambition. Although Trump appeared unamused during Saturday’s dinner, he said he was honored “in a certain way” to be a focal point.

“I really knew what I was getting into last night. I had no idea it would be to that extent where, you know just joke after joke after joke,” the mogul said. “It was almost like, is there anyone else they can talk about?”

He also found the event “inappropriate in certain respects” and spent the evening thinking about how “the American people are really suffering and we’re all having a good time.”

And what was his assessment of Meyers’ comedic timing?

“His (Meyers) delivery was not good. He’s a stutterer and he really was having a hard time,” Trump said of the “Saturday Night Live” star.

Is any one else but me still offended by Trump calling Rosie O’Donnell a pig?   So, first misogyny and now attacks on disabilities. So, now Seth Meyer is a ‘stutterer’. Stay classy, The Donald!   Guess he can dish it out but he can’t take it!

Reagan Budget Director David Stockman once more calls for raising taxes to take care of Federal budget problems.  It’s been interesting to watch all these Republican officials come out and tell other Republicans to do the responsible thing.

Asked by Reuter’s Chrystia Freeland if the economy could “sustain” a tax increase, Stockman said “absolutely,” noting that the economy only recovered under Reagan once he raisedtaxes in 1982 after “cut[ting] taxes too much” the year before:

FREELAND: You worked for Ronald Reagan. Do you think the American economy — so you’re, like, a red-blooded capitalist — could it sustain higher taxes than it has now?

STOCKMAN: Absolutely. In 1982, we were looking at the jaws of the worst recession since the 1930s. We overdid it in 1981, cut taxes too much. We came back with a big deficit reduction plan in 1982. Unemployment’s at 10 percent, the economy is in dire shape, and we raise taxes by 1.2 percent of GDP, which would be $150 billion a year right now — not 10 years down the road — but right now

Here’s one of those ‘Only in Washington, D.C” stories from The Hill.  Here’s another example of no funding for a delegated task.

President Obama launched a task force last week to look into oil and gas price manipulation, but a spending bill he signed into law earlier this month would prevent the government’s top statistical agency from analyzing that very issue.

The fiscal year 2011 spending legislation – a product of tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats – cuts the Energy Information Administration’s budget by 14 percent.

Michelle Bachmann Godwins.  She compared the federal debt levels to the holocaust.  Ever wonder if there’s any actual history classes in her past?  How on earth can you compare anything that trivial to the mass slaughter of innoncent people in such a systemic and horrific way?

Bachmann, careful to note that there was no direct analogy in today’s times to the Holocaust, still tied the loss of “economic liberty” that Americans face today to the systematic killing of six million European Jews.

“We are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away,” Bachmann said. “It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to.”

In a reference to the Obama administration’s new health care law, the likely presidential candidate and tea party favorite said creating new entitlement programs that “there was never any hope or chance of being able” to pay for was an exercise in “fantasy economics.”

“All of the problems we’re facing with debt are manmade problems. We created them. It’s called fantasy economics,” she told Republicans gathered at Southern New Hampshire University. “Fantasy economics only works in a fantasy world. It doesn’t work in reality.”

If any one would know about fantasy worlds, I suggest it would be Michele Bachmann.

Project Syndicate is one of my favorite sites these days and this is a very descriptive headline by Pimco’s CEO Mohamed El-Erian: Sleepwalking through America’s Unemployment Crisis.

Let us start with the facts:

·         At 8.8% almost three years after the onset of the global financial crisis, America’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly (and unusually) high;

·         Rather than reflecting job creation, much of the improvement in recent months (from 9.8% in November last year) is due to workers exiting the labor force, thus driving workforce participation to a multi-year low of 64.2%;

·         If part-time workers eager to work full time are included, almost one in six workers in America are either under- or unemployed;

·         More than six million workers have been unemployed for more than six months, and four million for over a year;

·         Unemployment among 16-19 year olds is at a staggering 24%;

·         With virtually no earned income and dwindling savings, the unemployed are least able to manage the current surge in gasoline and food prices, they are effectively shut off from credit, and many have mortgage debt that exceed the value of their homes.

These and many other facts speak to an unpleasant and unusual reality for the United States. The country now has an unemployment problem that is large in magnitude and increasingly structural in nature. The consequences are multifaceted, involving immediate personal anguish, rising social and political tensions, economic losses, and budgetary pressures.

This is much more than a problem for the here and now. High and intractable unemployment has serious negative long-term consequences that threaten to become exponentially worse. This is a crisis.

So, there’s some headlines to think about!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

updated for this thread:  NationalJournal.com has some information on “The Secret Team that Killed Obama” that you  may want to check out. There’s also a timeline or tick tock for Bin Laden’s life.

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap — boom, boom — to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.

Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.


68 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    Stockman and El Arian are my favorite realishts. The Libertarians have a few people that are realists. Bruce Fein is a Liberarian, frequently a guest of Diane Rheme (sp?)

    Like Stockman and El Arian, he is able to rationaly discuss his point of view and has legitimate poinst to contrubute to the discussion. We need to recognize that other people different to our Liberal philosophy can discuss relevant points.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      Stockman has been especially and surprisingly clear on what needs to be done to pull us out of our economic tailspin. I think it’s the difference between a rational conservative viewpoint as opposed to pure ideology. Dylan Ratigan, a libertarian, is one of the few talking heads to consistently call out the fraud and malfeasance on Wall St. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, has been beating the drum tirelessly to force the Fed’s hand in disclosing the TARP handouts [reportedly 23+ trillion dollars to toxic financial institutions].

      Yes, there are people of goodwill on all sides of the political spectrum. They need to be heard, listened to and not ignored simply because of their political identification.

  2. fiscalliberal says:

    Boy I needed to check the previous post for spelling – my apolgies to the community.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Michele Bachmann is either one of two things:

    1. Grossly unintelligent that she would compare taxes to one of the most horriffic events to have occurred in the 20th century. Or

    2. An insensitive moron who would do and say anything to get herself noticed by the MSM for the sheer sake of politics.

    Either way, a truly despicable person who has been granted a platform to spew her unfiltered brand of stupidity to the cheers of those who share her beliefs.

    It’s a tragedy no matter how anyone approaches the political atmosphere today expecting critical thinking to rule.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Am I the only one who would like to see some proof that Osama bin Laden was actually killed? They buried him at sea? Why?

    I’d also like to know how bin Laden was managing to live in a fancy home right in plain sight for all these years with no one knowing.

    Sorry if I seem overly cynical, but Obama and our government have lied to us again and again. I need more proof than an annoucement by the government and media. I hope more detailed answers and evidence will be forthcoming.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Osama bin Laden killed near Pakistan’s West Point. Was he really hidden?

      The world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, made his last stand in Pakistan – but far from the lawless Afghan border, where he was believed to be hiding out. Instead, US forces killed him in the military town of Abbottabad, a short jog from Pakistan’s version of West Point and 75 miles north of the capital.

      Neither Pakistani nor American military operations have targeted the city in the past. The location raises questions as to how long the Pakistani military knew of the Saudi extremist’s hiding spot and whether they shielded him.

      “It seems deeply improbable that Bin Laden could have been where he was killed without the knowledge of some parts of the Pakistani state,” says Mosharraf Zaidi, a leading Pakistani columnist, noting Abbottabad’s strategic importance.

      Meanwhile the U.S. has been killing civilians with drones in other parts of Pakistan for years now. Compare the outrage of some about a member of Gaddafi’s family being killed by NATO forces (not U.S.) in Libya vs. thousands(?) of innocent people in Pakistan.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I also find it odd that he was right there in the midst of a upper class Pakistani military community…and the timing of all this as well. But, I have a sense of relief as well.

    • Branjor says:

      I was wondering why they disposed of the body so fast.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        The official reply is that they did not want his followers to have a place to mourn him.

        I’ll wait for an essay by Sy Hersh to adequately inform me of just how all this went down.

      • Branjor says:

        Yes, I heard that, that was why they buried him at sea, but I was wondering why so fast, as his body is such a crucial piece of evidence. There are refrigerated vaults. But I guess they were able to get all the photos and DNA samples they needed before throwing him into the drink.

      • Branjor says:

        I just thought of a reason as to why they might have disposed of Bin Laden so fast. Maybe so that al Qaeda wouldn’t take US hostages and demand his body as ransom. Then they could have buried him in a place that his followers could make pilgrimages to.

    • madamab says:

      No, BB, you are FAR from the only one. It would be strange if we believed this story completely, after all the lies we have been told about the “War on Terror” over the past 10 years.

    • bostonboomer says:

      “I think it is a failure of our intelligence – the fact that he can hang around in Abbottabad for so long and we didn’t know,” says Zafar Hillay, a former diplomat.

      But Ramesh Chopra, a former chief of Indian military intelligence who was born in Abbottabad, says any military conducts sweeps of areas and would know its own back yard. For him, it’s clear Bin Laden was protected by elements of Pakistan’s establishment.

      “If I were the [Pakistani intelligence] chief, I wouldn’t put Osama bin Laden there. I wouldn’t be so arrogant and foolish,” says Mr. Chopra. “A safehouse is supposed to be decrepit and in an isolated place.”

      Pictures of Bin Laden’s bloodied and shattered face were broadcast on Pakistani television, though their authenticity could not be verified. Within hours of the pictures circulating, the US announced it had buried the body at sea in accordance with Muslim rules.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Bin Laden was protected by elements of Pakistan’s establishment.

        Oh, without question…the Pakistan “powers that be” knew where he was all the time.

    • mjames says:

      No, you’re not the only one. It makes no sense. I don’t care what cockamamie rationale they come up with. It makes no sense.

    • Fannie says:

      You and me, and the whole of the damn world wants proof of his death.

    • dakinikat says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything in Islamic circles about being buried at sea. I’m definitely going to have to ask around on this one.

    • dakinikat says:

      According to Jake Tapper, they’re debating releasing the pictures of his body right now.

      The Obama administration has photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body and officials are debating what to do with them and whether they should be released to the public, officials tell ABC News.

      “There’s no doubt it’s him,” says a US official who has seen the pictures and also reminds us that OBL was 6’4”.

      The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that he’s dead. There is of course skepticism throughout the world that the US government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.

      The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        We live in an Age of Scepticism. They’ll need more than DNA evidence [that’s already been confirmed] to convince the diehard conspiracy people that the death is for real. Gruesome or not, this is one time the Administration needs to be actually transparent.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Release the DNA comparisons and prove where you got the original sample.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    It is so obvious from reading other blogs this morning that the real problem is that few of us believe in our leaders.

    Their motives are suspect because the seeds have been sown over the years that invites the skepticism that erupts as a result.

    The lies fed to us by whoever is governing at the moment, and the corporate MSM who only tells us what is in their better interests, is wholly responsible for the questions that are put forth with whatever is revealed.

    It matters not which party is involved, they all lie, lie, lie which leaves many of us in doubt and leads to this erosion of trust.

    • fiscalliberal says:

      Good comment: I would just add that the corruption and incompetence in so many area’s of busines and government.

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    May 2: Secretary Clinton delivered a statement on the death of Osama bin Laden. A replay and transcript will be available soon.

    http://video.state.gov/

    • madamab says:

      Please, Hillary, tell us SOME of the truth. We can handle it, we swear.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just read this thread over on Feministing on Feminist blogging that you might find interesting.

      • madamab says:

        Very interesting, Dak. Thanks for sharing that.

        This comment was, like, wow.

        Feminism to me is all about putting personhood in front of gender.

        I have no clue what that means.

      • Feminism to me is all about putting personhood in front of gender.

        Sounds a lot like “having a black president is more important than a woman president…”

        Nevermind.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m still trying to figure out all of it other than the idea that feminist blogs are putting call outs over activism. It’s being tweeted by all the feminist lists/blogs on twitter this morning. I thought you might have a better take on it than me.

      • madamab says:

        Dak, I think you’ve got it.

        Feminism has become very navel-gazing over the past several years. You do see a lot of “more feminist than thou” stuff out there. Apparently Feministe has been getting some nasty comments lately, as well. This seems like a response to those types of issues.

        I have also called out some feminist blogs for not “doing it right,” but mostly the ones who claim Sarah Palin is a feminist. More often, I yell at NOW, NARAL and other pro-choice orgs, which (unlike blogs) are run by more than one person, and are filled with professionals who are paid to do what they do.

      • Ok I clicked and now I see what you mean about that comment madamab.

      • madamab says:

        Wonk – yes, sorry if I gave the wrong impression there. 😛

        Dak – from a historical perspective, a lot of women felt that the Second Wave was mostly led by privileged white women. The Third Wave was started in part to address those issues. So, the idea of “owning one’s privilege” comes from that perspective. The problem is, one can get so lost in thinking one is too privileged to know anything, that nothing ever gets done. Thus, activism is lost to navel-gazing.

      • bostonboomer says:

        madamab,

        personhood in front of gender? That’s a big WTF for me.

      • Branjor says:

        Dak – from a historical perspective, a lot of women felt that the Second Wave was mostly led by privileged white women.

        That’s a myth. Plenty of poor women were and are feminists.

    • Branjor says:

      Feminism to me is all about putting personhood in front of gender.

      It means men and their issues are more important than women. Feminism reframed to be about everything in the world with sexism just one on a laundry list of issues, if that much.

  7. They buried him at sea? Already?! This just gets weirder and weirder.

    • Islamic scholars question bin Laden’s sea burial

      (AP) – 29 minutes ago

      CAIRO (AP) — Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.

      http://tinyurl.com/4xum2ck

    • dakinikat says:

      I suppose they didn’t want a martyr’s shrine. Actually, just found TOI article saying that here.

        • dakinikat says:

          In Islam, the body must be buried within a short time frame. This is the Jewish practice too … I think it’s like 48 hours but will have to google it to make certain.

      • Strange they couldn’t wait an hour or so until they had put the body on TV like they did with Saddam’s sons. Maybe they have video of when they killed him?

      • madamab says:

        OK but…they honored the 24-hour time period but not the rest of the burial practices? That doesn’t compute with me.

      • dakinikat says:

        ah, 24 hours … thx madamab … I knew it was a quick deadline … I think there’s something in Islam about being buried in a simple white sheet too, but there’s a lot of years between my world religion classes and my old brain. The only part of Shari’a and orthodox Jewish law I’m up on is the banking parts for obvious reasons.

      • I believe Osama is dead and want to make it clear I’m not questioning that. But with OBL’s health problems and the commonplace expression that he could have already been dead for all we know… might have been ok to bend that 24 hour rule an hour or so if they were going to bend the rules to bury him at sea to prevent a shrine. Just sayin’. OTOH, there is a fringe that will never be satisfied with any amount of proof, so maybe they didn’t think it was cost-effective to wait if it was just going to be pictures and DNA anyway.

        • dakinikat says:

          AJELive AJELive
          US officials say #binLaden was given a religious funeral on deck of an aircraft carrier before his body was buried in north Arabian Sea.

          I’m sure it’s going to start some conspiracy theories.

      • Harris Zafar, National Spokesperson and National Director of Youth Outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA (via Wapo):

        Harris Zafar :

        The notion of martyrdom is going to be relative. I don’t see him as a martyr. I see him as a known fugitive who was killed in order to bring his reign of terror and death to an end.

        I need to understand more about what they did with his body, but if it is true that he was buried at sea, that is not a Muslim tradition. Islam instructs to cleanse the body before burying it in a grave. There is no notion of a burial at sea. So if they did do that, I don’t know why. I hope that such an act will not be used as fodder for terrorists to illicit a hateful response.
        – May 02, 2011 12:29 PM

  8. dakinikat says:

    SOS Clinton Statement to Terrorists to quit the violence and participate politically instead…

    You cannot defeat us…

    “You cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process,” Clinton said at the State Department.

    Clinton said the US must seize on the death of the terrorist leader to “renew our resolve and redouble our efforts.”

    “Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead, because even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop al Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin Laden,” she said.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Oh, this is interesting … Facebook stuff leaked to Wikileaks …

    wikileaks WikiLeaks
    Facebook confidential “law enforcement guide” http://info.publicintelligence.net/Facebook2010.pdf

  10. dakinikat says:

    The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries
    By DAVE EGGERS and NÍNIVE CLEMENTS CALEGARI

    WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!” No, if the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.

    And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.

    Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better weapons, better protection, better training. And when recruiting is down, we offer incentives.

  11. dakinikat says:

    From ProPublica:

    An investigative reporter for The New York Times, Barstow has written several big [4] stories [5] about the shoving match between the media and public relations in what eventually becomes the national dialogue. As the crowd at the hearing clearly showed, the game has been changing.

    “The muscles of journalism are weakening and the muscles of public relations are bulking up — as if they were on steroids,” he says.

  12. I’m seeing a lot of this in left blogistan…

    Tristero, via Digby’s:

    One final, thought; It’s a very cynical thought, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless: If ever there was a time that Obama could be persuaded to pursue even a moderately liberal agenda – as opposed to a (roughly) centrist/right one – that time is now. It is likely he will never be more popular. If progressive politicians haven’t anticipated this moment, and if they’re not prepared to make a full court press for those policies that matter to us, they will have failed us and there should be hell to pay. Opportunities this good are very, very rare, and very, very fleeting.

    Progressives just do not get it. They are truly the clueless class.

    • madamab says:

      After he got elected, he had a 70% approval rating and a Democratic Congress. How many of his promises did he keep to his “progressive” fanbase then?!

      • bostonboomer says:

        They just can’t face the fact that they deliberately supported and elected a right wing Republican in the Reagan mode.