When I attended the Association of American Editorial Cartoonist convention in 2010 in Portland, I[...]
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Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, two top editors at the now-defunct paper News of the World, have been indicted in the phone-hacking scandal that caused the paper's shutdown and rocked Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire. Coulson, before stepping down last[...]
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Mitt Romney, earlier today in at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nevada, slamming President Obama's proposed 2014 timetable for ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawing American forces ...
I have been critical of the President?s decision to withdraw the surge troops during the fighting season, against the advice of the commanders on the ground. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war ? and to potential attacks here at home ? is a politically timed retreat.... and Mitt Romney in the very next sentence, endorsing it:
As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.So, we're all clear now, right?
The Center for Security Policy's David Reaboi doesn't think Huma Abedin's family's alleged connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are a "big issue." But that hasn't stopped the center, headed by noted anti-Muslim advocate Frank Gaffney, from issuing a report it claims raises "serious questions" about the "security clearance process conducted for Mrs. Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff."
In an interview with TPM, Reaboi said the center decided to issue the report after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended Abedin from accusations that the longtime Clinton aide was part of a conspiracy to infiltrate the U.S. government.
"After McCain made the statement and after four days straight of Anderson Cooper and all the media dwelling only on this, we decided that we did not want to let the media get away with saying there's no connection there," Reaboi said. "We don't think this is the big issue, but we felt we had to respond just in order to correct the record out there."
McCain's remarks were in response to a letter by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other House Republicans which warned that the Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the U.S. government. The letter (PDF) specifically cited MuslimBrotherhoodInAmerica.com, a 10-part series hosted by Gaffney.
Gaffney, who advised Bachmann's presidential campaign on foreign policy, is a former Reagan administration official who started the Center for Security Policy the late 1980s. He's questioned whether President Barack Obama is a natural born citizen and was was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for alleging it too had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Opponents of a mosque in Tennessee called upon him as an expert on Sharia in their quest to block the facility from being built. Last year he squared off with a Florida pastor who became famous for threatening to burn a Koran, who was holding a competing anti-Sharia rally outside the White House.
His center's new report, Gaffney said in a press release "makes plain that a thorough investigation is fully justified regarding [Abedin's] access to classified information and policy-influencing role."
As evidence of Abedin's alleged threat to the U.S., the report points to a book translated and published by her mother, Dr. Saleha Abedin, that they claim promotes "doctrinal shariah in family life and justification of the brutal and objectively anti-women practices commonplace everywhere that shariah is enforced." Reaboi questions the government's background check into Abedin.
Reaboi said that he doesn't believe Abedin is the most important story. So why focus a report on her?
"Because we thought that, look, this is what the media narrative is," Readboi said. "Rather than let it get away from us by not responding to the fact that people are all over TV and the press... saying there's nothing wrong with Huma Abedin's background, 'everything is fine, everything is great, this is just McCarthyite smear.' We wanted to give the facts."
Here's TPM's video of two opposing anti-Sharia rallies outside the White House last year, featuring footage of Gaffney:
New CBO report shows SCOTUS ruling on 'Obamacare' saved money, at the cost of millions more left uninsured. [...]
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Who tutored Michele Bachmann on the anti-Muslim Crazy?[...]
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Wall Street Journal economics correspondent David Wessel published a roster of what he calls "digestible morsels" to help Americans better understand what is at play in the federal budget.
Among the realities he notes are that "two-thirds of annual federal spending goes out the door without any vote by Congress" and that "the U.S. defense budget is greater than the combined defense budgets of the next 17 largest spenders."
I'm glad Wessel touched the stratospheric defense budget, and I'm looking forward to reading his forthcoming book, Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget, but there are dimensions to this national spending account that are often overlooked.
First of all, the costs of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not been offset by either raising taxes or from financial contributions from other affected countries. It's important to remember that in the first Gulf War, Japan wrote the United States a check for $13 billion to pay the costs of that conflict.
Secondly, if one takes the approximate amount the United States was paying to "feel safe" on September 10, 2001 and account for inflationary growth since, the cumulative amount in just defense spending since is roughly $2.7 trillion. That doesn't include other domestic expenditures for Homeland Security which would make the collective bill even higher.
One could call this $2.7 trillion the "Bin Laden effect," and while it is appropriate for the U.S. to modify its defense and security infrastructure to deal with threats that are emerging rather than clinging to dissipated threats from the past, this level of spending not supported by tax dollars is staggeringly consequential.
While there are apples and oranges problems in comparing defense spending and the number of soldiers, private contractors, technologists, uniform manufacturers in Tianjin, corrupt foreign government officials, and others employed by that spending -- it is indisputable that the same amount of economic spending and activity in the private sector would be managed more efficiently and contribute more significantly to America's job base and GDP growth.
To put the comparison in context, $2.7 trillion in economic activity in the private sector equates to approximately 6 million jobs sustained over the period between the 9/11 terror attacks and today.
Big, costly, unpaid-for wars are undermining the economic health of the country -- and are robbing growth and opportunity from the future to pay for these military objectives today.
It is a good debate to have whether the invasions of Iraq and the ongoing 'ownership' of the Afghanistan conflict have been worth the investment or not -- but not tending the economic health of America's core has been a strategic failure of enormous magnitude.
-- Steve Clemons is Washington Editor at Large at The Atlantic, where this post first appeared. Clemons can be followed on Twitter at @SCClemons
A fascinating story about a DC suburb leased an entire city street to a private developer who now is trying to control the sidewalks as if they're private property.From Marc Fisher at the Washington Post: Chip Py, a longtime resident of Silver Spring, recently returned to an old interest in photography. While wandering through downtown after eating lunch there last week, he took out his...
enlargePictured: a middle-of-the-road pragmatist who loves to compromise whenever possible.
Here's Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, discussing the looming battle over the "Fiscal Cliff" with Sean Hannity.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday cited recent comments from Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and other Democrats that suggested they would be willing to let all the current tax rates expire at the end of the year if they don?t get their preferred deal.
?It?s ideological fanaticism. They are so fixated on raising taxes that they?re willing to do anything,? McConnell said in an appearance on Sean Hannity?s radio show. ?It shows you how rigidly ideological they are.?
So, to review: Democrats want to keep taxes at their current historic lows for 98.5% of the population. Republicans are willing to throw that all away because they insist on keeping taxes at historic lows for rich people.
But the Democrats are the fanatics.
By the way, the GOP's "lower for rich people or else" position puts them not only at odds with voters generally -- but with voters in their own party.
But the Democrats are the ideologically rigid ones.
The Big Five oil companies ? BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell ? are slated to announce their 2012 second-quarter profits later this week.
We can expect these companies, all of which rank in the top 10 of the ?Fortune 500 Global Ranking,? to reveal billions of dollars more in profits, after earning $375 million in profits per day in 2011 ($261,000 per minute), and $368 million per day in the first three-months of 2012 — bringing their combined profits to $1 trillion from 2001 through 2011.
Below is a quick look at just how much these Big Oil companies are making, and where they are spending their billions in profits.
Big Oil?s Big Profits, In 24 Hours
Millions in Political Contributions and Lobbying
Outside Interests and Big Oil Allies Spending Tens of Millions More to Influence the Energy Debate