Benghazi

I’ve been trying to figure out what the Republicans are going on about with Benghazi. They have themselves all in one of their frenzies. But no one can figure out why.
It started out with Romney saying Obama “sympathized with the attackers.” But now they’re going on about how there is a cover-up that is worse than Watergate. (But they always say that…)
So like most of us, I haven’t been able to figure out just what was supposed to have been covered up. But now I think I get it.
Here is what I think is going on: They are trying to say Obama covered up that there was an attack because the election was coming. They believe that all news of attacks helps Republicans and hurts Democrats! So they think if the pubic had known there had been an attack (which everyone of course did know) then they all would have decided to vote for Republicans. And that’s why they say Obama “covered up” that there had been an attack.
That’s why Romney did that weird thing in the debate about how Obama never said there had been an attack, and it turned out he had said it immediately.
Remember, when Bush was President, how they would make it seem like there was a terrorist around every corner? Two dark-skinned guys on a boat with a camera and the whole right-wing media machine would go nuts about “terrorists planning an attack.” They would make up stories about terrorist attacks at convenient times, and raise the alert level from red to dark-red, etc. Remember how they would use terrorism to silence everyone, and get more votes?
Republicans believe that news of an attack helps them, and hurts Democrats. That is what you have to understand, to understand this whole Benghazi thing. When you try to understand just what Obama is supposed to have covered up, that’s it.
They are screaming because Obama didn’t go all “noun verb 9/11.” They believe they own that.
Of course, everyone knew there had been an attack. But never mind that.

So Much For “Politics Stops at the Water’s Edge”

To understand the damage Mitt Romney did to the country today, please read Why politics stops at the water’s edge by Dave Winer
I’m talking first about Romney undermining decades of US Middle East policy by declaring Israel’s capital to be Jerusalem, and second by encouraging Israel’s right-wingers to attack Iran.
Excerpt:

Overseas, we’re all on the same team. It’s about keeping the country strong, and that’s something Romney believes in, if you take him at his word. If a foreign leader were to get the idea that he or she could choose who they negotiate with, then the US is only one half as strong as it would be if there were only one go-to guy. If 25 people have equal power, then each represents a country with the sway of a third-tier power. Gone is the power and prestige of the United States.
The only way it works in favor of the United States is if we are united. Work out our differences here, and all our power will be represented overseas. But we only have one President at a time. And if you’re playing on our team, you have to respect the wisdom of that rule.

Must-Watch! Who benefits from a war with Iran?

Last night on The Young Turks: Who benefits from a war with Iran?

Cenk breaks down which people would benefit from war with Iran. U.S. military and intelligence officials are against the country getting involved in conflict, but evangelicals, neo-conservatives, oil speculators, and defense contractors all have a lot to gain. Cenk points to the $3 trillion spent on the Iraq war to help explain what. “Somebody made that 3 trillion dollars,” Cenk says. “It didn’t just come out of our pockets and go nowhere. It went into someone else’s pocket.”

Dear Deficit Commission, It’s Not Hard

Dear Deficit Commission,
It’s not hard to figure out why we have a huge deficit. It’s so easy I don’t have to use words. Here are some pictures:

Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich. Bush cut them.
Now, about that huge national debt…

That second chart kind of explains itself.
The third chart can help you find a place to get some money:

(Note: There is no more Soviet Union.)
In case that isn’t clear enough, try this:

Let me know if you still have any questions.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Why I Support Obama’s Afghan Strategy

Here are my reasons for supporting this strategy of a surge with a timeline at the end:
First and foremost, women and the Taliban. This is the main reason I support this – we cannot abandon the women and people of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
This is not an “escalation” in the way that we are used to from Vietnam. This strategy – the one Bush resisted for years – has shown success in Iraq and has reduced the fighting, allowing the society to stabilize.
This is not Vietnam, where we were fighting the people. We are not fighting against a popular insurgency. We are helping the people throw off a bunch of thugs.
Which leads to the government, we are not there to help a corrupt government maintain power against its opposition as we were in Vietnam. Part of this plan imposes accountability on the corrupt government there. That is part of the trap Bush left behind. But we can’t just abandon the people there because of the corruption in the government.
Always keep in mind the impossible position that we are in because of Bush. We wouldn’t be there at all now except for Bush. He used corrupt strategies to win, aligning us with the corrupt elements of the country. After going in they just dropped it, letting the Taliban come back.

Bush Left Obama Little Choice On Afghanistan

My take on Obama’s speech is that Bush left Obama little choice on how to proceed, and this is the best that can be done with it.
Bush had the chance to conclude Afghanistan years ago but neglected it, just like how he let bin Laden go, because he had his agenda with Iraq. So the Taliban came back. And here we are.
I don’t see any alternative to the strategy that Obama outlined. The people of Afghanistan want peace and security. If we “just leave” they get the Taliban instead, and we get decades of insecurity from the region.
Americans form the region also deserve to see security brought to Afghanistan because they can’t even go home and visit their families. etc. without falling under suspicion.

Not My Priorities

Please take a look at Not My Priorities. This is a great idea, clear, simple, understandable.
From the site,

NotMyPriorities.org is an effort to enable every person in America to see a pie chart that our representatives in congress approved. I have shown the Not My Priorities pie chart to thousands of people and can count on one hand how many have disagreed. Even Republicans say that the pie chart does not represent their priorities!

Why They Used Torture

One argument against the “ticking bomb” rationale for torture is that it doesn’t “work.” It is useless for extracting real information, but it is a great tool for making people say what you want them to say.
Yet the Republicans tortured prisoners, and defended the practice, saying that it yielded important information. So what is “important” to Republican? Protecting people? Of course not. But getting people to say what you want them to say to justify launching an aggressive war against a country in order to take over its oil fields — now that is important.
Paul Krugman Blog summarizes what is being learned:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

Repeat: they tortured poeople to get them to say things that could be used as propaganda to justify invading Iraq to steal the oil. It was never about protecting anyone.

m4s0n501

Summary Of Rep. Jane Harman Scandal

Juan Cole has the best summary of the Rep. Jane Harman scandal that I have seen:

The US is spied on, and a classified Pentagon document is passed to the Israeli embassy by AIPAC officials. They are caught because the FBI had them under surveillance. Apparently the FBI is one of the few US government institutions that is not corrupt on the issue of foreign influence on US institutions and policy. Then when the two AIPAC spies are indicted, a Mossad agent attempts to derail the prosecution by suborning a member of Congress and promising her the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.

Go read the whole post for the details.

Question About War Crimes Trial

First Guantanamo war crimes trial under way | Reuters,

The first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two began on Monday at the U.S. navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, nearly seven years after the September 11 attacks prompted President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism.

I want to be sure I have this right. According to the Republicans the people at Guantanamo are not subject to the Geneva Conventions because they are “unlawful combatants” not engaged in “war” as defined by the conventions. But now they are being “tried” for “war crimes.”
Isn’t this having it both ways? Either they are or are not.