Robert Gibbs blames the death of a teenage American boy on his not choosing a better father.
I'm surprised at how many people I know who don't have a problem with the U.S. relying on armed drones. "Hey, they save American lives," one friend said. "If they kill a few other people, that's too bad. So do regular bombs." Would I be exaggerating to say that Americans are now largely desensitized to our video-game wars?
To me, this issue is no less than a fight for the heart and soul of America. Now, we certainly have gotten used to the erosion of due process and civil rights since 9/11, but it strikes me that we have largely ignored it for far too long, and that this is something worth fighting for.
I'm often accused by his fans of "hating" President Obama and attacking his policies out of some imagined spite. Really, it's just that I remember the alarms raised by the progressive blogosphere when George W. Bush started the war on terror, and I simply can't bring myself to excuse the same excesses of power and empire just because it's a Democrat in the White House. We've switched from torture to assassination -- is that supposed to be moral progress?
I am deeply and profoundly disturbed by the story of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone two weeks after his jihadist father was killed. It seems clear to me that this attack was meant as a symbolic warning. Why else would the United States of America blow up a 16-year-old American boy and then announce his death to the world as that of a military combatant? Why else was he targeted?
For the sins of his father?
Glenn Greenwald is right when he describes moral indifference toward drone attacks as sociopathic. And sadly, we won't really cry out full-force against such depravity until it is a Republican president who's ordering those deaths. And that Republican president to say, "But President Obama did it, and no one said a thing."
A U.N. investigative group is set to examine whether the civilian casualties caused by America?s covert targeted killing campaign are violating international law, according to an official at the organization reported by the Guardian.
Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur for counterterroism, says his investigation will focus on drone strikes in particular. In Emmerson?s view, the global, indefinite scope of the targeted killing campaign and some of the specific tactics involved may be unlawful under both international human rights law and international humanitarian law:
The [global] war paradigm was always based on the flimsiest of reasoning, and was not supported even by close allies of the US. The first-term Obama administration initially retreated from this approach, but over the past 18 months it has begun to rear its head once again, in briefings by administration officials seeking to provide a legal justification for the drone programme of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia ?
[It is] alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns ? has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.
The drone strikes have unquestionably killed civilians, but precise estimates are hotly disputed. This is partly as a consequence of the opacity of Obama administration casualty counts, which, among other things, label ?all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.?
The legality of drone strikes is also a subject of heated debate among experts, including thoseinside the administration. Some maintain that strikes violate the law because they take placeoutside of formally declared or authorized war zones, but others disagree, arguing that conflict with non-state actors like terrorist organizations should be evaluated by more permissive legal standards than state-to-state warfare.
Evaluating these claims is made more difficult by the Obama administration?s refusal to provide a formal, public legal justification.
Once again, affirmative action is on trial in the Supreme Court. The pending case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, challenges U.T. Austin's admissions policy, which aims to bring in more students of color by considering race among other factors.[...]
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Everyone's favorite picture of John McCainThe circle of Republican hackery on Iraq is now complete. Responding to Colin Powell's endorsement of Pres. Obama, official Republican maverick John McCain (R-Sunday) first dropped the F word:
?General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime,? McCain said on Brian Kilmeade?s radio program.(Note that leaving Iraq is now considered more feckless than going to war there in the first place, which should tell you all you need to know about John McCain's mavericky foreign policy ideas, and that's without even going into all that Vietnam business that seems like it could have maybe been pretty darn feckless too, if we were taking the measure of America's biggest fecklessnessess.)
? and then John McCain, Iraq War supporter, Iraq War voter-for, let it be known that it was all Colin Powell's fault that we were in Iraq in the first place:
?Colin Powell, interestingly enough, said that Obama got us out of Iraq,? McCain told the National Review. ?But it was Colin Powell, with his testimony before the U.N. Security Council, that got us into Iraq.?Yes. Yes, clearly the whole thing was Colin Powell's idea. He tricked John McCain, and George Bush, and Dick Cheney, and the entire army of neoconservative dunderheads that thought that we might as well go for two wars instead of one because we had a special coupon offer or whatever the precise logic was, and it's all his fault.
It's true that John McCain has gotten exponentially more cranky since losing his presidential bid, but this still seems like a low blow. Please don't fight, Bush-era hawks. There is more than enough blame to go around. Oh, so very much blame. We could attach a tape here of John McCain's various pronouncements of how Iraq was the greatest threat to America since insert-something-here, but we are all very bored of John McCain, so he will have to look those up himself.
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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
Late Night Snark: Home Stretch Edition
"A new Gallup poll shows that Mitt Romney now has a seven point lead on President Obama. That's right: Romney leads by seven points among people who still answer landline calls from a blocked number."And good news for White House trick-or-treaters:
---Seth Meyers on SNL, before that gap shrank. And shrank.
"Obama is still ahead in the swing states and among women. He is of course losing among men and in any states were you can buy the Confederate flag in a mall."
"Earlier today, vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan gave a major policy address on poverty. We're still not sure whether he's for it or against it, but he was talking about poverty."
"Sadly, it is too late for Richard Mourdock. These [rape] comments have left his campaign in shambles. But y'know what? Don't shed a tear, folks. Because I've come to realize that this is just something that God intended to happen."
Son (hammering a lawn sign into the ground): Check it out---this guy's running for city council. His name is Harry Butts! Like, seriously, it's his real name! How can we not put this sign up, right? I mean, you get why that's funny, right, Dad?
Dad: Yeah, I think I can crack that code.
?It is true Michelle takes healthy eating seriously, but it is an election year so candy for everybody! And if anybody comes from Ohio to the White House, they will get a Hershey bar about THIS BIG."Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney is promising to pass out Hershey bars to Ohio trick-or-treaters who stop by his private jet. Seeing as he's the Republican candidate, he'll be passing out the kind that's full of nuts.
---President Obama on The Tonight Show
Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
The United Nations special rapporteur for counterterrorism will lead an inquiry into civilian deaths from US drone strikes around the world, to determine whether the strikes violate international human rights and humanitarian laws.[...]
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Sen. Reid's office releases statement on auto accident.[...]
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Pretty powerful stuff here in the Central District Mississippi Supreme Court race. Waller's on the wrong side of Personhood.
video details and more
MITT ROMNEY has taken the lead in national polls, giving more lift to the theory President Obama could win an Electoral College victory, all that matters in getting the keys to the Oval Office, while Romney could win the popular vote. Bill it as[...]
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Even though we've had three presidential debates, Nooners is still (still!) predictably obsessing about the first one.
What he couldn't do was present himself, when everyone was looking, as smaller than you thought. Petulant, put upon, above it all, full of himself. He couldn't afford to make himself look less impressive than the challenger in terms of command, grasp of facts, size.
But that's what he did.
And in some utterly new way the president was revealed, exposed. All the people whose job it is to surround and explain him, to act as his buffers and protectors?they weren't there. It was him on the stage, alone with a competitor. He didn't have a teleprompter, and so his failure seemed to underscore the cliché that the prompter is a kind of umbilical cord for him, something that provides nourishment, the thing he needs to sound good. He is not by any means a stupid man but he has become a boring one; he drones, he is predictable, it's never new. The teleprompter adds substance, or at least safety.
Seriously, teleprompters? That's so 2009, Nooners.
Anyway, to recap, Obama wins two out of three of his debates with Mitt Romney, neither of which involved teleprompters. But the only one that counts is the one he lost.
Nice grading scale!
Oh, and polling showed that George W. Bush lost all three debates to John Kerry. But I guess that was 2004, when the debates didn't matter because the guy who lost was a Republican.
I used to see "Screaming A. Smith" around town from time to time when he worked for our local paper, The Inquirer. All that I remember about fam is that he wore some ugly Steve Harvey type -five button- suits, and that he had a messed up hair cut.
Now my man has blown up. ESPN, NBC, books; you name. Hell he is even being parodied on SNL. (It doesn't get any bigger than that.) Sadly, however, it seems that Stephen A. Smith (his real name) has gotten himself into some hot water. It's what one of my twitter mates is calling, "niggergate".
"Stephen A. Smith's mouth seems to have gotten him into trouble again on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday morning. This time it wasn't any inane point that he was trying to make or illogical argument that he was staging with Skip Bayless. Rather, it sounds a lot like Smith let fly with some inappropriate language.
While discussing Kobe Bryant's foot injury, Smith scoffed at the notion that the five-time NBA champion would sit out for the season opener and may have accidentally dropped a racial slur.
Here's what it sounds like Smith said:
"Opening night. Kobe Bryant is going to miss it because, 'my foot is sprained?' Are you crazy, nigga please," Smith may have said.
The Big Lead wrote "may have said" it in its headline for a post about the video clip. BuzzFeed Sports believes Smith "definitely" used that phrase.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part about this incident is that it would mark the second time in less than a year that Smith "may have" said the n-word live on ESPN. In December 2011, a frustrated Smith "may have" used it while talking about how LeBron James should be more like Kobe.
Smith denied saying it then on Twitter. He hasn't denied Thursday morning's incident yet. [Source]
I honestly don't know what to say about this one. I mean, unlike some folks, I can take the word when it is used in its proper context, or when used to express some form of artistic expression. I loved, for instance, when Touré used the word to describe how Mitt Romney and some of his surrogates wanted to paint the president. (BTW, dude was right. Have you seen how John Sununu has been acting lately? More on him later) But if Smith did use the word in that context with his white co-host sitting across the table from him, he was definitely out of line. (Double standard alert!) Had his co-host been black he might have gotten a pass from the kid. But "nigger please" isn't cutting it with me when you are in a heated discussion with your white co-host about sports.
Stephen, I know that you are denying it, but if you did use that word, you might want to check yourself. Save the word for when you are in the comfort of your home throwing some back with your boys from Winston-Salem State.
Finally, I am glad that John Shamu is backing off his comments about Colin Powell. Maybe, at last, he has reached his lunatic tipping point.
"A top adviser to Mitt Romney is backing away from his suggestion that fellow Republican Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because both men are black.
Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu issued a statement late Thursday night saying Powell is a friend and he respects the endorsement. He said he doesn?t doubt that Powell?s backing of Obama is based on ?anything but his support of the president?s policies.?
Appearing on CNN earlier Thursday, Sununu said he wondered whether Powell had ?a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.?
Host Piers Morgan asked what reason that would be.
Sununu said, ?Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you?re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.?'
Mitt and company must realize that this is not the time to play the race card. That was for the primary. Time to put away those dog whistles. You already have the single digit IQ vote. You don't want to piss off moderate Americans by throwing race into the mix. (Again)
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