Posts Tagged ‘joan


The President’s Address at the Opening of the Edward Kennedy Institute


THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. To Vicki, Ted, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, Ambassador Smith, members of the Kennedy family — thank you so much for inviting me to speak today. Your Eminence, Cardinal O’Malley; Vice President Biden; Governor Baker; Mayor Walsh; members of Congress, past and present; and pretty much every elected official in Massachusetts — (laughter) — it is an honor to mark this occasion with you.

Boston, know that Michelle and I have joined our prayers with yours these past few days for a hero — former Army Ranger and Boston Police Officer John Moynihan, who was shot in the line of duty on Friday night. (Applause.) I mention him because, last year, at the White House, the Vice President and I had the chance to honor Officer Moynihan as one of America’s “Top Cops” for his bravery in the line of duty, for risking his life to save a fellow officer. And thanks to the heroes at Boston Medical Center, I’m told Officer Moynihan is awake, and talking, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery. (Applause.)

I also want to single out someone who very much wanted to be here, just as he was every day for nearly 25 years as he represented this commonwealth alongside Ted in the Senate — and that’s Secretary of State John Kerry. (Applause.) As many of you know, John is in Europe with our allies and partners, leading the negotiations with Iran and the world community, and standing up for a principle that Ted and his brother, President Kennedy, believed in so strongly: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” (Applause.)

And, finally, in his first years in the Senate, Ted dispatched a young aide to assemble a team of talent without rival. The sell was simple: Come and help Ted Kennedy make history. So I want to give a special shout-out to his extraordinarily loyal staff — (applause) — 50 years later a family more than one thousand strong. This is your day, as well. We’re proud of you. (Applause.) Of course, many of you now work with me. (Laughter.) So enjoy today, because we got to get back to work. (Laughter.)

Distinguished guests, fellow citizens — in 1958, Ted Kennedy was a young man working to reelect his brother, Jack, to the United States Senate. On election night, the two toasted one another: “Here’s to 1960, Mr. President,” Ted said, “If you can make it.” With his quick Irish wit, Jack returned the toast: “Here’s to 1962, Senator Kennedy, if you can make it.” (Laughter.) They both made it. And today, they’re together again in eternal rest at Arlington.

But their legacies are as alive as ever together right here in Boston. The John F. Kennedy Library next door is a symbol of our American idealism; the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate as a living example of the hard, frustrating, never-ending, but critical work required to make that idealism real.

What more fitting tribute, what better testament to the life of Ted Kennedy, than this place that he left for a new generation of Americans — a monument not to himself but to what we, the people, have the power to do together.

Any of us who have had the privilege to serve in the Senate know that it’s impossible not to share Ted’s awe for the history swirling around you — an awe instilled in him by his brother, Jack. Ted waited more than a year to deliver his first speech on the Senate floor. That’s no longer the custom. (Laughter.) It’s good to see Trent and Tom Daschle here, because they remember what customs were like back then. (Laughter.)

And Ted gave a speech only because he felt there was a topic — the Civil Rights Act — that demanded it. Nevertheless, he spoke with humility, aware, as he put it, that “a freshman Senator should be seen, not heard; should learn, and not teach.”

Some of us, I admit, have not always heeded that lesson. (Laughter.) But fortunately, we had Ted to show us the ropes anyway. And no one made the Senate come alive like Ted Kennedy. It was one of the great pleasures of my life to hear Ted Kennedy deliver one of his stem winders on the Floor. Rarely was he more animated than when he’d lead you through the living museums that were his offices. He could — and he would — tell you everything that there was to know about all of it. (Laughter.)

And then there were more somber moments. I still remember the first time I pulled open the drawer of my desk. Each senator is assigned a desk, and there’s a tradition of carving the names of those who had used it before. And those names in my desk included Taft and Baker, Simon, Wellstone, and Robert F. Kennedy.

The Senate was a place where you instinctively pulled yourself up a little bit straighter; where you tried to act a little bit better. “Being a senator changes a person,” Ted wrote in his memoirs. As Vicki said, it may take a year, or two years, or three years, but it always happens; it fills you with a heightened sense of purpose.

That’s the magic of the Senate. That’s the essence of what it can be. And who but Ted Kennedy, and his family, would create a full-scale replica of the Senate chamber, and open it to everyone?

We live in a time of such great cynicism about all our institutions. And we are cynical about government and about Washington, most of all. It’s hard for our children to see, in the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of today’s politics, the possibilities of our democracy — our capacity, together, to do big things.

And this place can help change that. It can help light the fire of imagination, plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of future generations. Imagine a gaggle of school kids clutching tablets, turning classrooms into cloakrooms and hallways into hearing rooms, assigned an issue of the day and the responsibility to solve it.

Imagine their moral universe expanding as they hear about the momentous battles waged in that chamber and how they echo throughout today’s society. Great questions of war and peace, the tangled bargains between North and South, federal and state; the original sins of slavery and prejudice; and the unfinished battles for civil rights and opportunity and equality.

Imagine the shift in their sense of what’s possible. The first time they see a video of senators who look like they do — men and women, blacks and whites, Latinos, Asian-Americans; those born to great wealth but also those born of incredibly modest means.

Continue reading ‘The President’s Address at the Opening of the Edward Kennedy Institute’


‘Frat-boy conservatism in the Rose Garden’

Joan Walsh (Salon): What a buffoon.

Daily Caller “reporter” Neil Munro …. shouted, “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?” while reportedly identifying himself as an immigrant….

…. I’m not one to revere the imperial presidency, but it’s unbelievable how wingnuts treat this man with such unprecedented and bullying disrespect….

…. And for right-wingers who insist Democrats are too quick to cry racism: Really, what else explains this constant, in-your-face (literally) contempt for a president?

Certainly they disrespected President Clinton, too, but never with such in-person abuse. Clinton was impeached after a political witch hunt and treated poorly even by the so-called liberal media, but he was never stalked into the Rose Garden or congressional chambers and heckled, as Obama has been.

…. It’s no accident that Munro works for bow-tied, sexually anxious bully Tucker Carlson, who famously (but not believably) boasted of beating up a gay man who made a pass at him in a men’s room, and admitted that when he hears Hillary Clinton speak, “I involuntarily cross my legs” …. This is your modern Republican Party, folks. It only gets worse.

Full post here

I’m no fan of Joan Walsh – at all – I don’t think she’s always shown much respect to PBO either, but I thought she was spot on here.

I honestly can’t even begin to describe how much I ***ing despise these people.

Back in a while.


to our beloved joan……

You’re a gem, Joan Shaw, we LOVE you!



And happiness is ….. knowing Joan is back in action.

Joan underwent surgery recently that she was very nervous about, and you all were completely great in offering her your love and support.

But I was worried that we hadn’t heard from her, even though, of course, it would take time for her to recover.

Just now?

An email:

Joan K Shaw has donated $25.00 to your grassroots fundraising page!

Joan, if you’re reading this: you’re an invincible treasure!

Love ya.

Come back to us soon.


She’s back!! Joan just commented in the previous thread:

I’m fully dressed for the first time in what seems forever, sitting at the computer, and I see I’ve missed half a lifetime of TOD happenings, not the least of which is your BIRTHDAY HZ! So please forgive me for being so LATE, but Happy Happy Birthday today.

I tried to catch up on the news, kept paging backward, got as far as Herm Cain’s speech and stopped cold. Please tell me the surgeon hasn’t abstracted part of my brain along with my kidney stone – but could anyone here understand what he was SAYING? It all sounded vaguely scatalogical and mean, but altogether incomprehensible. Perhaps it’s the hydrocodone I’m taking?

By the way, thanks hugely for all the well wishes from you all. My oldest daughter copied them off and brought them to me!



President Barack Obama greets the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal recipients in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a medal ceremony in the East Room, Oct. 20. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



9:30 AM President Obama signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers

10:30 The President attends a reception in the Rose Garden

2:30 The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation


Andrew Sullivan: To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.

Ian Swanson (The Hill): Obama stands tall after the demise of Libyan strongman Gadhafi

The death of Moammar Gadhafi represents another major foreign policy victory for President Obama, who backed a months-long air campaign in Libya while facing criticism from the left and the right.

Obama stared down congressional skeptics across the political spectrum … Through it all, Obama kept his resolve.

…. On Thursday he basked in the second greatest foreign policy triumph of his administration, after the successful operation this spring that killed Osama bin Laden. Gadhafi’s death comes less than a month after the U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

…. For the unwavering Obama, Thursday came the big payoff as Gadhafi’s hopes for returning to power ended in a field outside his hometown of Sirte.

…. Obama entered the Oval Office as a novice on the international stage, criticized for a naïve outlook on the world.

…. three years into his term, both the bin Laden and Libya events suggest Obama can be steely in making decisions about U.S. force, and in sticking with them.

Full article here


Jake Tapper: Have you had any difficulty discerning Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s precise position on the US involvement in the NATO mission in Libya?

The one consistency has been criticism of President Obama. But beyond that, he’s seemed a bit all over the Libyan map.

To wit:

Position 1: Obama was weak in not doing this sooner

Position 2: (Nothing to say)

Position 3: Obama is being too aggressive

Position 4: After Gadhafi fell: Hooray! Now release the Lockerbie bomber

Position 5 – (Somewhat similar to position 1): It’s about time! The world is a better place without him!

See full post here



Washington Post: Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show

During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.

But a review of documents – including naturalization papers and other official records – reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 and a half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.

The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity …. he mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”….

The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.

Full article here


Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): The economy needs help. The Democrats’ proposals are popular. And yet they’re dying in Congress. Why? Because the GOP hates Obama more than it loves America.

Maybe as early as Thursday night, the Senate will take its first vote on one bite-size piece of President Obama’s jobs bill, a $35 billion measure to fund the hiring of 400,000 teachers and a smaller number of cops and firefighters. It will fail. As usual not a single Republican will vote for it….

…. The Republican Party’s posture to the American people is this. Your opinion on issues like teachers and taxes doesn’t matter a whit to us … if you keep that man in the White House, we will block everything he and you want. Everything. And nothing will happen in this town for those next four years. The Republicans can’t say any of this, of course, but they don’t have to. People get it. It just sort of seeps out of them, like oil from a polluted stream.

I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing – and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.

Full article here



The video is glitchy, will get a better version tomorrow – but stick with it, Rachel was on fire


Nearly there, thank you so much everyone:




LA Times: Republican-led opposition in the Senate blocked a key element of President Obama’s jobs plan – a proposal to send $35 billion to cash-strapped states to keep public school teachers, police and firefighters on the job.

The Senate voted 50-50 late Thursday, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Polls have shown the proposal is among the most popular flanks of Obama’s jobs initiative.

President Obama shakes hands with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) after he signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, October 8, 2010

The Hill: Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.

Contact Mark Pryor here

Ben Nelson: TwitterEmail

Joe Lieberman – TwitterEmail

From two days ago:


Joan, in case you drop in, thinking of you, hope all’s well and you’re recovering from your surgery. Take care of yourself, see you soon.



Thinking of Joan ahead of her surgery today. Get well very soon Joan, we want you back here hale and hearty




This would probably be HuffPo’s version of the photo:

People wait in line for tickets to President Barack Obama’s speech on jobs at Asheville Regional Airport. Citizen Times – thank you Jovie



This news is kind of embarrassing for the Firebaggers …. if the President is so kind to Wall Street, why are they not supporting him?

NYT: It is no secret that the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street has chilled. A striking measure of that is the latest campaign finance reports.

Mitt Romney has raised far more money than Mr. Obama this year from the firms that have been among Wall Street’s top sources of donations for the two candidates ….. The imbalance exists at large investment banks and hedge funds, private equity firms and commercial banks ….

…. “There’s no doubt that Governor Romney has raised money off of his belief that Wall Street should be allowed to write its own rules again by repealing Wall Street reform,” said Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman. “The president put in place protections to ensure that the financial crisis is not repeated and that unacceptable risks aren’t taken with Americans’ life savings.”

…. But anger at big banks – manifested by the growing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and elsewhere – is palpable enough that Mr. Romney must avoid being seen as a friend of an industry that many Americans blame for onerous bank fees and underwater mortgages….

Full article here

Could it possibly be this?



11:15 Michelle Obama and Jill Biden visit the Rebuilding Together nonprofit organization in Washington

3:30 Michelle Obama hosts a reception on the South Lawn for schools that met her goal to double the number of participants in the Healthier US School Challenge in a year


Many thanks to Ladyhawke for the C-Span link to to yesterday’s ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. All the day’s speeches are included.



Our good friend Joan Katherine Shaw is having surgery on Monday – send your love and best wishes here.


‘projecting wishes and dreams onto the ows movement’

Joan Ruaiz (Guest blogger at Extreme Liberal): … Simply put, the Occupy Wall Street Movement is Americans’ individual calls of shame on corporate greed, but done collectively. It represents the frustrations of millions of Americans who did everything right, but have been forced to realize that their hard work no longer brings with it the promised spoils of the American Dream….

Interestingly, there are various diverging interest groups who seek to mold this burgeoning  movement into their own image.

There are the Ron Paul supporters who mistakenly believe that they share a common link with the OWS, simply because it is a movement that isn’t positive towards the accepted status quo. They ignore that many in the movement are demanding more financial regulations, not less, that the unemployed within the movement want stronger social programs to assist those hit hardest, not weaker ones…

…. the Tea Party supporters selfishly want to believe that this OWS movement is against the government, when it really isn’t. OWS protestors actually are demanding more governmental intervention in reigning in corporate greed, not a system of laissez-faire “free” markets where only the strong survive….

… the folks of no party, always dissatisfied with everything, going way back, don’t see that many of the protestors are seeking workable solutions that can be implemented effectively and immediately. They are already tired to death of waiting.

Full post here and at Democrats For Progress

Thanks Sequana



So, how many articles have we read recently that claimed the President is losing African American support? No, not the support of Maxine Waters, Cornel West and Tavis Smiley – African Americans living in the real world.

I know, too many to count.

Take GOPolitico. For months they’ve promoted the line that the President is disproportionately losing Jewish support, much to the amusement of serious commentators – because the polls repeatedly contradicted their claims. (See here, here and here)

That didn’t work too well, so now they’re pushing the ‘African Americans Desert Obama’ line.

In a piece today they talk about the President’s “relationship with African-Americans (being) complicated from the beginning by questions about whether a mixed-race senator born in Hawaii was “authentically black” enough to win their support”.

Seriously, almost three years after he was elected, GOPolitico is still wondering if he’s black enough. (The author, who has written three similar pieces in the last month, is African American, so that’s okay).

The most critical quotes in the piece are from two ‘sources’ “speaking under condition of anonymity”. GOPolitico really do love their anonymous sources, especially when they give them quotes that neatly match their agenda. Whether they are real people or not, hey, who knows?

But if their thesis is true, that African-Americans are rising up against the President, how come they need to quote people anonymously? Surely if there was that much anger out there they could find someone other than Waters willing to lash out publicly?

The problem?

The President isn’t losing the support of African Americans living in the real world – in fact, that support is increasing.

GOPolitico and most other outlets – including supposedly ‘progressive’ ones – love quoting Gallup polls when their findings aren’t good for the President.

The latest Gallup poll? They’re not mentioning that much.


Because it shows that African American support for the President is up five points to 87%.


Considering how the struggling economy has impacted on his figures across most groups, and bearing in mind how African Americans suffer disproportionately in terms of unemployment, that 87% figure is remarkable.

But still we’re told that Waters, West, Smiley and Co speak for African Americans. Well, clearly they don’t for 87% of them.

Just like that other media darling, Dan Choi, doesn’t speak for the entire gay community, most of whom appreciate the work this administration has done – and is trying to do – to promote equality.

That GOPolitico produces this kind of dishonesty is, of course, no surprise at all – it’s their area of expertise. But, as we all know, the Firebagger crew – especially at Salon – are relentlessly spreading the lie too. Rather than mentioning that 87%, they persist in claiming that Waters, West and Smiley speak for African Americans.

Of course, Salon’s Joan Walsh doesn’t have much time for that 87%:

April 2011

After all, only those who oppose the President represent the base, right?


I see Gene Lyons at Salon has described Melissa Harris-Perry as “a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV”. That was the level of his response to her thoughtful article on white ‘liberal’ racism. “A photo negative of KKK racial thought,” he wrote.

See the Reid Report on the article here


And see this post by Flaming Emilia


a long and desolate night of bitterness…..

Toon from AngryBlackLady

Well, this snippet of news today made my heart sing….

Formerly Popular Sites that Are Dying:

“One of the oldest online magazines,, has sunk like a rock lately, losing about one million regular visitors over the past year, per, a 37 percent decline.”

37 percent! And Salon chuckles at the drop in the President’s approval ratings!

Poor Joan ‘I resent African Americans who say THEY are THE BASE’ Walsh. There she was on Twitter tonight, frantically dismissing the story because she said it came from Fox. Except the stats quoted weren’t from Fox, they were from, as some truly heartless Twitterers pointed out.

Oh dear, looks like Salon’s Greenwald-fuelled firebaggery isn’t paying off.

Oh, speaking of Greenwald.

There was a time I avoided reading him, in a life’s-way-too-short kind of way, the guy’s interminable hysteria and bitterness zzzzz-inducing. Truly, the king of vitriol had become a parody of himself. There were times – and forgive me for this – that I actually felt sorry for him. He made Dan Choi seem like a well-balanced, chilled-out kind of dude.

Now, though, I read him occasionally because the entertainment levels are just fantastic!

Yes, it usually takes him about 10,000 words to make a single point, when really five would do: “I hate Obama, like totally”. But there are so many laugh-out-loud moments in his tirades it’s like you’re reading The Onion.

Today he was attacking Michael Tomasky for his “this may be a truly great foreign-policy president in the making” post on the Daily Beast (here), while also sneering at Ezra Klein and Steve Benen for pieces they had written recently that acknowledged the President’s achievements and the depth of opposition and obstruction he faces.

Greenwald’s narcissism, as we know, won’t tolerate any one disagreeing with his point of view, and the fella pretty much needs to be sedated when supposed fellow ‘progressives’ (*) refuse to join him in spitting bile all over the President. So, we can expect more of these ‘Oh My God! Tomasky, Klein and Benen are, like, totally brainwashed Obot sheeple, besotted with the exotic Dear Leader’ tantrums. Lots more.

(* Greenwald is not and has never been a ‘progressive’ – see his views on immigration below. He’s a part-time Libertarian, but generally this privileged white boy sits on the sidelines and sneers at the efforts of any elected representative who tries to change things for the better, even if, thanks to the political system, that change can only be incremental.)

The highlight of today’s screeching session?

“Gadaffi certainly wasn’t worse than Saddam.”

No, seriously, that’s what he said (I won’t link his excrement, just trust me). So, Gadaffi tortured and murdered marginally fewer folk than Saddam, so he’s a fluffy harmless Obama-persecuted bunny?

Hey Glenn, tell that to this Libyan kid, I’m sure it’ll comfort him enormously:

(Sky News, August 25)

(What? It’s tacky to use a child in an argument? Okay, but tell that to Glenn ‘Obama slaughters babies’ Greenwald).

We can only hope a brighter day will come for that boy, and all Libyans. If it does, as Tomasky (no friend of the President) argued, it will be partly because of the President’s response to the uprising in the country.

But, Greenwald is still insisting that President Obama’s foreign policy is as morally depraved as Dick Cheney’s. Ah, but remember when Cheney’s name was celebrated around that part of the world? No? Okay.

But why, exactly, has Greenwald upped his vitriol?

It could be that he sees no credible GOP candidate emerging who could beat the President next year. Let’s face it, his beloved Gary Johnson and Ron Paul have as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as Bernie Sanders.

Or maybe it’s the President’s “humane immigration policy” (Steve Benen) that has incensed him.

After all, this is the King of the Progressives who wrote:

“….illegal immigrants have poured into the United States by the millions … The parade of evils caused by illegal immigration is widely known, and it gets worse every day. In short, illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.

“There already is a “closed sign on the border” when it comes to illegal immigration. It’s called the law. The problem is that the “closed sign” isn’t being enforced because the Federal Government, which has its interfering, power-hungry hands in virtually everything else, has abdicated its duty in one of the very few areas where it was actually meant to be: border security.”

No, honest, that wasn’t Rush Limbaugh, it was Greenwald (see here)

Note the aggression and venom in the language. No one, I think, would argue that illegal immigration isn’t an issue that has to be dealt with – hopefully with a revived DREAM Act – but a “parade of evils”? What? People, often desperate for a new and better life for their families, who enter America illegally, are a “parade of evils”?

How progressive!

But look, maybe it’s Salon’s sinking traffic and the firebaggers’ funding going through the floor (here and here) (remember, he once profited handsomely from his collaboration with Jane ‘Grover Norquist’s best buddy’ Hamsher), that has driven him over the edge?

Who knows?


“One of the oldest online magazines,, has sunk like a rock lately, losing about one million regular visitors over the past year, per, a 37 percent decline.”

…. won’t lighten Glenn’s mood. Seems like fewer and fewer folk care to read his bile.


joan? get well soon – that’s an order!

I hope she won’t mind me passing this on, but our beloved pal Joan has been suffering from some ill-health recently – I just wanted to let you all know so you could pass on your love and best wishes.

You know Joan, though – her indestructible spirit will have her back to 100% any day soon.

Love ya Joan, look after yourself.



David Remnick (New Yorker): …In September, 2001, Obama was an obscure state senator from Hyde Park … little more than a week after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade towers, Obama’s local paper, the Hyde Park Herald, published a series of reactions to the events … in his brief article, Obama … talked about “the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness.”

“The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others,” he wrote. “Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity….”

“…..we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes of embittered children across the globe – children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin American, Eastern Europe, and within our own shores.”

It was precisely that kind of talk that was branded as “soft” in the wake of 9/11 and throughout the Bush years, straight through the 2008 election campaign. It was precisely that sort of attempt to talk not merely in the register of prosecution and military aggression, but also of understanding root causes, whether at an anti-Iraq war rally in Chicago or at a Presidential speech in Cairo, that left so many wondering if Barack Obama would have the strength to “go after” Osama bin Laden.

Now there is an answer.

Read full article here


Politicususa – Barack Obama: The Man Who Got Osama Bin Laden

Collective closure of our national 9/11 wound has finally come to America, as President Obama announced that the US military has killed, and is in possession of the body of Osama Bin Laden.

… The death of Osama Bin Laden is a cathartic moment for nation has never forgotten the horrific events of 9/11, but when the CIA took out Bin Laden on Obama’s order it did something else. It shattered the conventions of post 9/11 politics.

Obama has destroyed the GOP’s tough on terror talking point. George W. Bush may have swaggered and told the nation that Bin Laden was wanted dead or alive, but it was the calmer, less flashy Obama who actually got the job done.

…In 2008 John McCain vowed to pursue Bin Laden to the ends of the earth, but it was Barack Obama who made sure that there was no escape for one of history’s most famous mass murders…

…For the rest of human history when the story of 9/11 is told after pictures of that tragic day are shown, the face and words of America’s first African-American president will be forever etched into history as they announce the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Politically, everything has changed.

Barack Obama will now and forever be known as the president who got Osama Bin Laden.

Full article here


Steve Benen: The amount of work that went into tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden is pretty extraordinary. It took years, and involved military, law enforcement, and intelligence agency officials, most of whom we’ll never know and won’t be able to thank.

And while many patriots made this happen, it’s President Obama who’ll get much of the credit – and given the circumstances, he’ll deserve it. Slate’s John Dickerson had a good piece overnight (see below) on how Obama’s “focused, hands-on pursuit of Osama Bin Laden paid off.”

…Dickerson’s description of the president’s efforts as “hands-on” seems especially apt given what we know. It was Obama who instructed the CIA to make targeting bin Laden a top priority, breaking with his predecessor. It was Obama who oversaw five national security meetings to oversee plans for this operation. It was Obama who chose this mission, made final preparations, and gave the order.

There’s a difference between talking tough and being tough, just as there’s a difference between chest-thumping rhetoric and getting the job done.

Full article here

John Dickerson (Slate): …..Obama’s critics have said that he is a weak leader in general and in particular does not understand what must be done to combat terrorism. “They are very much giving up that center of attention and focus that’s required,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney in March 2009, in a typical remark. Yet what emerges from the details of Bin Laden’s killing … is that from early in his administration Obama was focused on killing Osama Bin Laden and that he was involved in the process throughout.

In June 2009, Obama directed his CIA director to “provide me within 30 days a detailed operation plan for locating and bringing to justice” Osama Bin Laden…

….The president went to sleep to the sound of cheering outside the White House. At Ground Zero in New York and towns across the country, people gathered to sing the national anthem and chant “USA! USA!” It was a flicker of the post-9/11 unity that the president had referenced in his remarks earlier in the evening.

In his remarks announcing the operation, the president sought to rekindle that feeling … All in all, it was a good night to be president.

Full article here

Marc Ambinder (The Atlantic): Bin Laden’s Death: A Pivotal Victory for Obama, U.S. Intelligence …. The president silences his national-security critics heading into 2012, and the CIA stands tall after the damage of 9/11

The death of Osama Bin-Laden is a transcendent moment for the country and a pivotal one for President Obama…..Now the CIA stands much taller. Its intelligence helped pinpoint Bin Laden, but so did its patience

…Bin Laden’s death is an undeniable success for an intelligence community that missed the connections that might have prevented the attack. It coincides with the unofficial kick-off of the 2012 re-election cycle, where the incumbent, President Obama, has had his credentials as commander in chief repeatedly questioned by opponents and his citizenship mocked. Having scored the victory that remained beyond the grasp of George W. Bush – who graciously congratulated the president tonight – Obama’s military bona fides will be harder to attack.

Whatever flaws the president’s national security policies may have, and however infrequently Obama may have mentioned bin Laden, history will record that, when it came to getting Bin Laden, Obama got the job done and his predecessor, George W, Bush, whose entire presidency was tormented by bin Laden’s actions on 9/11, did not despite Bush’s claim that he would capture him “dead or alive.”

Full article here

David Sirota (Slate): “USA! USA!” is the wrong response

There is ample reason to feel relief that Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the world … however, somber relief was not the dominant emotion presented to America when bin Laden’s death was announced. Instead, the Washington press corps – helped by a wild-eyed throng outside the White House – insisted that unbridled euphoria is the appropriate response. And in this we see bin Laden’s more enduring victory – a victory that will unfortunately last far beyond his passing.

For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death…. but in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise …this isn’t in any way to equate Americans who cheer on bin Laden’s death with, say, those who cheered after 9/11. Bin Laden was a mass murderer who had punishment coming to him, while the 9/11 victims were innocent civilians whose deaths are an unspeakable tragedy. Likewise, this isn’t to say that we should feel nothing at bin Laden’s neutralization, or that the announcement last night isn’t cause for any positive feeling at all – it most certainly is.

But it is to say that our reaction to the news last night should be the kind often exhibited by victims’ families at a perpetrator’s lethal injection – a reaction typically marked by both muted relief but also by sadness over the fact that the perpetrators’ innocent victims are gone forever, the fact that the perpetrator’s death cannot change the past, and the fact that our world continues to produce such monstrous perpetrators in the first place.

When we lose the sadness part – when all we do is happily scream “USA! USA! USA!” at news of yet more killing in a now unending back-and-forth war – it’s a sign we may be inadvertently letting the monsters win.

Full article here


Joan Walsh (Slate): …..After years of Catholic school, I am constitutionally unable to feel joyous about anyone being killed, but I got close tonight with bin Laden. He killed thousands of innocent people – and again, it was that incomparable American tableau: Muslims, Jews, Catholics; waiters, firefighters, investment bankers; gays and straights; mothers and fathers of every race….

….I wish this achievement could mean we get our country back, the one before the Patriot Act, before FISA, before rendition and torture and Guantanamo; before we began giving up the freedom and belief in due process that makes us Americans, out of our fear of totalitarians like bin Laden. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m going to choose to think this could be a first step.

Full article here


Frank Schaeffer: …. This morning I got up at 4 AM to walk across the street to congratulate my Marine son (now home safe with his wife and two little children after 5 years service and war) on having been a small link in the chain of service that hunted down and killed bin Laden. I wanted to thank someone who wore the uniform of the US military. I also sent up yet another “up yours!” to the so-called “Real American” conservative critics of our president; those liars like Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin et al who have nurtured the racist-motivated attacks on our first black president.

Was the SUCCESSFUL hunter of bin Laden a “secret Muslim”? Was he “born in Kenya”? Was he “soft on terrorism” or as far right religious leader/birther Franklin Graham put it giving radical Islam a “pass”?

…While the war-loving “neocons” pontificated on American “exceptionalism” and power and went to parties in Washington DC hosted by the defense industry I stayed up at night worrying while my son was shot at. He came home safe, but no thanks to Fox News and the other perpetual war shills who talk “patriotism” while other people’s children – mine for instance – do all the heavy lifting.

…I know who the people are who aren’t “Real Americans” they are the unpatriotic liars wrapping themselves in the flag my son fought for and that they use to sell books, reality TV shows and their racist ideas with.

Today the American right wing phony patriots look smaller than ever, about as stupid as Trump’s hair.

Full post here


night everyone

See you tomorrow ;-)


‘over the top in america’

Joan Katherine Shaw: We tend to laugh at the lunacy coming out of the Tea Party movement, the clownish costumes, the misspelled signs, and we scoff at the legislation coming from the Tea Party-Republican House that has a snowball’s chance of ever becoming law, but we should be wary of the distraction – what is slipping into our national discourse by stealth while we laugh?

One thing that’s slipped in is the attitude of otherwise deliberative Republicans changing into tea party jokes. For instance, Right Wing Senator Jon Kyl outright lied on the Senate floor when he declared that over 90% of Planned Parenthood services were for abortion and by implication, taxpayer money going for abortions. He could not have NOT known that only 3% of the group’s work involves counseling on abortion and, even then, no taxpayer dollars are used for the abortion itself.

Walking it back the next day an aide explained that Kyl’s remarks were “not intended to be factual,” at which comment comedian Stephen Colbert explained, “You can’t call him out for being wrong when he never intended to be right.” So outright lying is all right now? Senator Kyl is not to be censured by the Senate for acting like a jackass on the Senate floor? No, on the contrary, he’s applauded by his base, and has had seen the almost continuous visibility by way of the video clip of his performance on the Senate floor declaring what is essentially a lie. He has become a media attraction.

By lying .

…..We have already seen how it sends vengeance seekers out with guns to kill people they don’t approve of. It could, as many people feel, mark the end of the Republican party since it seems to be its seed bed, but it could just as well change the country’s political discourse into a raquet-ball game, bouncing ideas and opinions and facts and threats back and forth furiously in a deep well, accomplishing nothing. It could be the Political NewSpeak — say it loud, say it often, lie a lot.

Let’s not let them get away with it.

See the full magnificent post here


happy (belated) birthday joan!

Joan Katherine Shaw, 81 yesterday!

And she ‘celebrated’ it while recovering from flu :-(

Happy Birthday Joan ;-)







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