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January 12, 2012 5:30 PM Thursday’s Mini-Report

By Steve Benen

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Deplorable: “A video showing four United States Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters provoked anger and condemnation on Thursday in Afghanistan and around the world. American officials said they feared the images could incite anti-American sentiment at a particularly delicate moment in the war effort.”

* Also in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s decision to open a political office in Qatar may advance peace talks.

* The National Intelligence Estimate, meanwhile, has concluded that the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate. The L.A. Times added that that security gains “have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan, according to U.S. officials.”

* South Sudan: “Bitter ethnic tensions that had largely been shelved for the sake of achieving independence have ruptured into a cycle of massacre and revenge in the six-month-old country.”

* Addressing the climate crisis: “Simple, inexpensive measures to cut emissions of two common pollutants will slow global warming, save millions of lives and boost crop production around the world, a large international team of scientists reported Thursday. The climate change debate has centered on carbon dioxide, a gas that wafts in the atmosphere for decades, trapping heat. But in recent years, scientists have pointed to two other, shorter-term pollutants — methane and soot, also known as black carbon — that also drive climate change.”

* After a false start two weeks ago, President Obama is again asking Congress for a debt-limit increase in order for Republicans to reject it and feel better about themselves.

* In 2011, foreclosures and repossessions “fell to their lowest level since 2007.”

* It’s great to see a group of U.S. military veterans rally to support an Iraqi restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts, after it was vandalized.

* In light of the recent discussions about Bain Capital, Matt Yglesias explains what “private equity” actually means.

* And on a related note, Paul Krugman noticed that Mitt Romney only wants to limit discussions on economic injustices and inequalities to “quiet rooms.” Krugman concluded, “Trickle-down economics has now become shut-your-trap economics.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • Memekiller on January 12, 2012 5:38 PM:

    From this point forward, phonetically will be spelled phonetically - which is to say, "fonetiklee."

    Reporters don't need to consult their dictionaries and inject themselves in this debate by picking sides. They simply need to note that the current spelling has become controversial and quote me as a dissenting view any time the word is used.

  • Arthurstein on January 12, 2012 5:50 PM:

    Yglesias did a pretty lousy job of defining private equity. He actually defined buy-outs, which is rather disturbing for a putative expert.

  • Joe Friday on January 12, 2012 5:54 PM:

    "The National Intelligence Estimate, meanwhile, has concluded that the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate."

    Nothin' like being 5 years behind the curve. Everybody else knew that the Taliban took back control of two-thirds of the country during the second term of Chimpy Bush.

  • Joe Friday on January 12, 2012 6:06 PM:

    "In 2011, foreclosures and repossessions 'fell to their lowest level since 2007'."

    Just as one experiences calm in the eye of a hurricane. Once there is a settlement on the robo-fraud, foreclosures will hit the more powerful backside of the hurricane.

  • Trollop on January 12, 2012 6:26 PM:

    Wow, I shouldn't but I had to share the one comment from the Youtube (urinating marine) video because of the high snark:

    "All we are saying is give piss a chance".

    So wrong and hilarious simultaneously!

  • montag on January 12, 2012 6:30 PM:

    "security gains �have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan, according to U.S. officials.�"

    Substitute VC and Cambodia for Taliban and Pakistan and it sounds all too familiar to us old folks.

  • Bob M on January 12, 2012 6:34 PM:

    Nice to see this American billionaire go to jail:

    http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/01/12/jailed-moroun-shocks-packed-courtroom/

  • Redshift on January 12, 2012 6:53 PM:

    After a false start two weeks ago, President Obama is again asking Congress for a debt-limit increase in order for Republicans to reject it and feel better about themselves.

    Shouldn't that be "in order for Republicans to rant against it but be unable to muster the votes to reject it?" Or am I misremembering the "new" procedure?

  • gus on January 12, 2012 7:36 PM:

    So the contest weve probably all long seen coming is between a downsizer of companies and a community organizer...I mean, The President of the United States of America.

  • Kathryn on January 12, 2012 7:43 PM:

    Bob M......thanks for that link, the look on the face of Mr. Big Shot when sentenced to jail time warmed the cockles of my heart, delicious.

  • Montana on January 12, 2012 8:31 PM:

    I'd like to return to the NY Times story, which you quote:

    "The president has never used the word 'apologize' in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president's words."

    I think that's a false alternative. The real response should be, Mr. Candidate, what is your evidence for that comment? That keeps the story where it belongs -- on the subject not the journalist.

    And if there is no evidence, or no follow-up attempts to provide evidence, that too becomes part of the story. This is not opinion, but news.

  • TCinL:A on January 12, 2012 8:44 PM:

    I'd hate to be those four morons when the USMC gets through publicly roasting their gizzards after removing them without anesthesia. They have already been identified, and as the old saying goes "they're comin' to getcha!" As a Vietnam veteran, I hope they stick those fools so far into the bottom dungeons of Portsmouth Naval Prison that they have to pump air in.

  • devore on January 12, 2012 9:10 PM:

    Hmmm. This seems familar for some reason.

    The National Intelligence Estimate, meanwhile, has concluded that the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate. The L.A. Times added that that security gains �have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan, according to U.S. officials.�

    Wait, I think there are just a few types. There's it's fixed now.

    The National Intelligence Estimate, meanwhile, has concluded that the war in Vietnam is mired in stalemate. The L.A. Times added that that security gains “have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Viet Cong fighters operating from neighboring countries, according to U.S. officials.”


  • Jerry Frey on January 13, 2012 1:27 AM:

    There is only one Party in this country, the party of the priviledged, with two wings. The difference is the source of their campauign funding. More of the same.

    Income inequality, because the middle class is dying due to lack of upward mobility, represents one of the most lethal structural threats to our republic. Like illegal immigration, the Iraq War with its concomitant loss of life and futile spending, and the absence of a coherent energy policy, these problems are self-nflicted by lack of leadership: sound judgment and vision.

    http://napoleonlive.info/economics/divided-state-of-america/

  • bob h on January 13, 2012 6:05 AM:

    "..in order for Republicans to reject it and feel better about themselves."

    Nominee Romney now must worry that House Republicans will continue to make disgraceful asses of themselves and drag him down with them.

  • FreakyBeaky on January 13, 2012 8:30 PM:

    Oh yes, *deplorable.* Such a decorous, inside-the-beltway word for armchair generals to use oh-so-decorously. We'll gladly send our finest young rednecks half a world away to kill and be killed. We'll be absolutely thrilled with a massive, unaccountable system of murder-by-drone as long as the president is a Democrat. Ripping the oxygen out of the lungs of women and children and rupturing every organ in their bodies with Hellfire missiles does not bother us a bit. Hey, did you hear Obama killed bin Laden? But urinating on corpses? Deplorable. God forbid that we dainty liberals be confronted with the reality of war. Deplorable.

    Look, make up your minds. In favor of our massive, bloody empire, or against? In favor of more warfare in the middle east, say in Libya, or against? It's one or the other. Piss on corpses or get off the pot.

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