Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 2, 2011

MONDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* POTUS: "'The world is safer,' Mr. Obama said as he appeared at a White House ceremony bestowing the Medal of Honor to two soldiers killed in the Korean War. 'It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden.'"

* Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton made brief remarks this morning: "Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today, it may have even greater resonance: 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.... Let us remind ourselves: This is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere, and we get the job done."

* This is a pretty great shot taken in the Situation Room yesterday.

* The woman who was killed in yesterday's raid was apparently a wife to bin Laden, whom he used as a shield to try to protect himself.

* ABC News appears to be the first major news organization to have video footage of the compound where bin Laden was killed. The footage was taken after the raid.

* Like many Republicans today, Dick Cheney suggested Bush-era torture may have produced information that ultimately led to yesterday's developments. There's ample reason to be skeptical of this claim.

* A new conspiracy-theory cottage industry is born: "the deathers."

* In Libya on Saturday night: "The government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi said he survived an airstrike in Tripoli late Saturday night that killed one of his sons and three grandchildren, in the sharpest intensification yet of the NATO air campaign intended to pressure the Libyan leader from power."

* The recovery of American auto manufacturers: "For the first time in nearly seven years, Detroit's car companies are all making money. Chrysler, the last of the three to return to profitability, said Monday it made a $116 million net profit in the first quarter on revenue of $13.1 billion. The company, which emerged from bankruptcy protection a little less than two years ago, hadn't reported a net profit since 2006."

* Presidents' favorite community college: "Miami Dade College is apparently the number one destination for Florida poor people, high school dropouts, and, well, U.S. presidents."

* On a related note, even when the economy is good, dropping out of high school is nearly always a spectacularly bad idea.

* And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was asked to reflect on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crediting Bush's "vigilance" for contributing to yesterday's success. "For Eric Cantor to phrase it that way, to say [President Obama] followed the vigilance of President Bush is a degree of key partisanship that exceeded what I even expected from Cantor," Frank said. "That's just sad."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Comments

"The Deathers" -- there it is, and in less than 24 hrs. Who better than Breitbart to start it up, and WorldNet and Fox can't be far behind. As soon as I heard "buried at sea" I knew they'd be along, and if it hadn't been that it would have been something else. The Conspiracy Machine cranks on, as near an example of perpetual motion as this universe can provide. Of course, if you throw enough money at anything....

Posted by: ericfree on May 2, 2011 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bin laden is dead, and the Republican party ain't looking so hot, either. What a lovely day.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 2, 2011 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Re: dropouts.....one of my grad school professors was a dropout. So was one of the profs at the more prestigious school where I did a postdoc. So was my former brother-in-law, who had a successful middle management career. The odds may be against most dropouts, but there have always been a subset of underachievers who do fine later. The stultifying quality of most high schools probably has something to do with it.

Posted by: Rich on May 2, 2011 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bowing to the conspiracy theorists has made Breitbart money. The crazier the better.

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 2, 2011 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

We need a man like Donald Trump to get to the bottom of this death conspiracy. I hope he will personally fly to Pakistan and stay there until he finds the evidence to show that this was faked.

Posted by: DK on May 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Highly unlikely that the death of OBL will improve Obama's re-election chances, since the economy still sucks and the unemployment rate will still be high in 2012, due to the woefully inadequate stimulus package. And will Obama now do the wise thing and pull U.S. forces entirely out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Doesn't seem likely, though I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: bob on May 2, 2011 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crediting Bush's "vigilance" for contributing to yesterday's success.

Actually it was Carter [according to Business Insider] that started the hostage rescue program that led to the creation of Seal Team 6.

Will Cantor credit Carter for his vigilance in contributing to the death of OBL?

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 2, 2011 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans generously gave all the blame for 9-11 to Clinton, so why shouldn't Obama now give all the credit for the death of ObL to Bush ?

Posted by: H-Bob on May 2, 2011 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

10 years of torture? Very efficient.

Posted by: 10 years on May 2, 2011 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Republicans want to give credit to GWBush strikes me as another CYA ploy. From what I read last night, the information that helped them track down GWB was obtained four years ago while Bush was still POTUS. But I infer that it wasn't acted on until Obama took charge.

For me, it again raises the uncomfortable suspicion that all along the Rovians were primarily interested in consolidating their political power, and they got more benefit from having Osama bin Laden alive than dead.

As for the claim that Bush-era torture might have produced the information, really? That's what they want to defend, that's what they want to boast about? The Republican party is proud to be the party of vicious bullies?

Posted by: PTate in Mn on May 2, 2011 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

It is highly likely that the death of OBL will improve Obama's reelection chances . The economy which is more and more being nailed on the architects of the dismal performance supplied by supply sider neo geniuses . That along with the woefully high unemployment is no mystery as to the causes . One merely need look to the people who wish to dismantle Medicare after crying wolf to Democratic efforts to bring sanity to a health care debacle of Republican distortion , and dear lord , lies .
Will he ? Or won't he ? Sober people look at campaign promises with the sort of flexibility that partisan factions tend to forget . Seems like Obama is facing reality and not forcing issues that are subject to events not amenable to talking points .
People listening with the worn patience of an American public baldly , and badly mislead by the most radical assembly of know nothings since the Civil War , are experiencing a hardening of attitudes to the endless tendentious guerrilla fun of naysayers , fainting worry trolls , and doom prophets .

Posted by: FRP on May 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I always said that if Bush-Cheney published a reward poster for bin Laden it should say NEEDED, not WANTED.

This has got to give Obama some political capital, at the very least.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on May 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't seem likely, though I hope I'm wrong. Posted by: bob

Seems very likely to me that you're wrong. In fact, just from reading three sentences, I'd be willing to bet it happens a lot.

Posted by: chi res on May 2, 2011 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

We have teabaggers, birthers, adulterers, liars, fibbers, and deathers and they are all republicans. What a party!

Posted by: Schtick on May 2, 2011 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Shoulda waited till Breitbart gave the news his imprimatur :)
http://www.dailyastorian.com/free/teacher-who-vowed-not-to-shave-until-bin-laden-was/article_a8860868-74d2-11e0-afbf-001cc4c03286.html

Posted by: exlibra on May 2, 2011 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: FRP on May 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM

"Sober people look at campaign promises with the sort of flexibility that partisan factions tend to forget . Seems like Obama is facing reality and not forcing issues that are subject to events not amenable to talking points . "

"Flexibility" is one way to put it. "Lies" might be another. I guess it just depends on which Party you belong to.

Which of Obama's campaign promises do you believe were not realistic, given the reality of the situation, and should be looked at mostly as just fantasies told to child-like voters in order to gain their support and/or fantasies told to bitter partisans in order to convince themselves that there actually was a workable alternative program to Bush? I would count at least three: closing of Gitmo, ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the use of the individual mandate in Obamacare? Oh, and by the way, you might call these what you will, but many of us would call them "lies".

Posted by: Jessica Zembala on May 2, 2011 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

While Obama was busy taking Bin Ladin out, what were the Republicans targetting? Medicare, Medicaid, and labor unions--their fellow Americans.

Posted by: wonkie on May 2, 2011 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Two points on the killing of Osama bin Laden:

1. After an invasion of two countries, 4,400 American deaths and over $1 trillion in expenditures in Iraq and another 1,300 deaths and three quarters of a trillion dollars in Afghanistan, it took just 20 Navy Seals, some good intelligence and intelligent risk taking to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. What was George Bush thinking?

2. By all reports President Obama began receiving the intelligence about bin Laden's whereabouts back in August. The President could have acted before the election. Had the operation failed who would have know the better? Had it succeeded it could have swayed the course of the elections. But instead of politicizing the War on Terror President Obama acted with prudence and caution. Would George Bush, egged on by Vice President Cheney and by his senior political advisor Karl Rove, made the same decision? I really doubt it.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 2, 2011 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

* ABC News appears to be the first major news organization to have video footage of the compound where bin Laden was killed. The footage was taken after the raid.

For all the talk of Bin Laden having been living in a mansion, the place was dump.

Posted by: AK Liberal on May 2, 2011 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Jessica, there are different kinds of lies. Failing to live up to projected intentions is a weaker variety than knowingly lying about them to begin with, or knowingly lying about current or past actions. Which isn't to entirely refute your point, just saying.

Posted by: jTh on May 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

For all the talk of Bin Laden having been living in a mansion, the place was dump.

It was most likely built by Halliburton.

Posted by: Danp on May 2, 2011 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: jTh on May 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM

"Failing to live up to projected intentions is a weaker variety than knowingly lying about them to begin with, or knowingly lying about current or past actions. Which isn't to entirely refute your point, just saying."

I see your point, and agree with it. Obama may not have known, at the time, that his campaign promises were not realistic. Or he may have suspected so, and made them anyway. There's an entire continuum from "wrong" to "outright lying". Or as frp notes, we could just call it "flexibility in our approach to reality".


Posted by: Jessica Zembala on May 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the term "deathers" was already taken to describe people who believed in "death panels." Too many lies, not enough snappy labels.

Posted by: KenS on May 2, 2011 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

re: photo of the situation room,

look at the large version of that picture.

Look at the picture lying across the keyboard of the laptop in front of Hilary.

What is it? I can't tell, it's

Deliberately Obscured!

Posted by: cld on May 2, 2011 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Situation room: That look on the president's face! Very intense. I'd hate to be playing one-on-one basketball against him if he'd be using that face.

Buried at sea: Clearly a fabrication. The administration will be reviving Osama bin Laden's body to create a Zombie bin Laden! Just wait!

Posted by: Daniel Kim on May 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Or they'll clone him to make an army of zombie bin Ladens as an insult to Islam, that's what you'd expect the United States to do.

Posted by: cld on May 2, 2011 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Breitbart is the loyal slug who keeps the lights on all night in the GOP waste disposal plant.

Posted by: max on May 2, 2011 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Do leftie readers here believe that only a right-winger would doubt some or all of the official bin Laden story?

Weird.

Posted by: flubber on May 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't doubt that Bin Laden is gone. And good for it. Hooray for our guys.
But please, Steve, try to hold back on the hooooya stuff, like the bit about Bin Laden holding his wife up/out as a human shield in front of our guns.
The truth is always the first casualty in war.
It will likely be some time, if ever, before we know exactly what happened.
Don't get caught up in the ham-handed stuff.
Stick as close to the facts as you can.
Otherwise you might start yammering about "freedom fries."

Posted by: Elroy on May 2, 2011 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I would count at least three: closing of Gitmo, ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the use of the individual mandate in Obamacare

Obviously you can count to three. Good for you. But the real question to all firebaggers: Can you count to sixty?

1) Congress refused to provide funding to transfer prisoners from Gitmo. Despite that, many prisoners have been released since Obama took office.
2) You may not have noticed, Obama pulled several tens of thousands of troops out of Iraq. And, as he said two years ago and several times since, reductions in troop levels in Afghanistan will begin this year, 2011.
3)What the hell is your problem with the individual mandate? Most of you firebaggers were Clinton supportere anyway, once Edwards imploded.

"[F]fantasies told to child-like voters in order to gain their support and/or fantasies told to bitter partisans" sounds like a perfect description of the scribbling done at many of the so-called "progressive" websites.

Posted by: chi res on May 2, 2011 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Elroy advised "try to hold back on the hooooya stuff, like the bit about Bin Laden holding his wife up/out as a human shield in front of our guns. The truth is always the first casualty in war."

And sure enough - per TalkingPointsMemo, the White House is already backing away from this one. Good catch, Elroy!

Posted by: zandru on May 2, 2011 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight. Ten years, hundreds of thousands killed, and a couple of trillion dollars later, after we've institutionalized torture and undermined our democracy and economy, when OBL's ideology has been rejected across the middle east, when he's never been more ineffectual, it takes about twelve commandos forty minutes to kill him at the cost of one helicopter. To top it off, it's not exactly a surprise Pakistan has been hiding him all this time - and don't tell me they haven't - but they were rather brazen about it, keeping the guy within shouting distance of their main military academy. This is the kind of joke the Gods enjoy. Hear them laugh. Meanwhile, I won't join them.

Oh, and when are some of the august commentors here going to figure out that "used as a human shield" is a term of art for "caught in the crossfire"?

Posted by: FreakyBeaky on May 3, 2011 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

The difficulty in remarking on the regal state of things is disguising your own elevated state .

Posted by: FRP on May 3, 2011 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

Question for LIttle Miss Cantor: why did it take you Republickans so goddamn long to catch OBL?

Posted by: bushwahd on May 3, 2011 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

The link below is interesting, suggesting (little surprise to those here) that believers in conspiracy theories are to a large extent, or often, "projecting" their own attitudes:
http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/belief-in-conspiracies-linked-to-machiavellian-mindset-30295/

BTW, re flubber: plenty of lefties (like on Facebook) are quite or even more skeptical of the OBL death story than righties. But people from Abbottabad say it was OBL. Note that a conspiracy would have to involve so much of the government, just like a fake birth certificate, that only the details are likely questionable.

Posted by: neil b on May 3, 2011 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

When does Dick Cheney stop torturing us I wonder?

What a piece of shit, lying Santorum blob.

Posted by: Trollop on May 3, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Indeed FRP, it is difficult for me to disguise my elevated state. But I try. Oh Lord, how I try.

Posted by: FreakyBeaky on May 3, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK
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