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   PoliticsView from the Center and Left

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To: Win Smith who wrote (206831)11/3/2012 11:35:58 PM
From: Sam
   of 520173
The rush to judgment about Benghazi is completely in character for the RW, waxing indignant over rumors that prove to be false several days later. It is repulsive.

Nov 2, 7:07 PM EDT
US officials counter reports on Benghazi attacks
Associated Press

AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon provided more details Friday of the military response to the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as questions continue to swirl ahead of the presidential election about the government's response to the attack, detailing the troops that were dispatched to the region, even though most arrived after the fighting was over.

Although two teams of special operations forces were deployed from central Europe and the United States, the attack, which began after 9 p.m. local time and ended by about 6 a.m., was over before they arrived at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, across the Mediterranean from Libya.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said that after the attack began, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta quickly met with his senior military advisers, including the top U.S. commander for Africa Command who was in Washington for meetings. Little said that within a few hours Panetta had ordered units to move to Libya.

"The entire U.S. government was operating from a cold start," Little said.

He said the military units were prepared to respond to any number of contingencies, including a potential hostage situation.

The military also immediately moved an unarmed Predator surveillance drone to Benghazi airspace to provide real-time intelligence on the situation for the CIA officers on the ground who were fighting the militants.

The Pentagon comments came a day after senior U.S. intelligence officials detailed the CIA's rescue efforts, striking back at allegations they failed to respond quickly or efficiently against the deadly attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Two of those Americans were ex-Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty, who initially were identified publicly as State Department contractors. But on Thursday, the intelligence officials said they were CIA contractors. Previously the agency had asked The Associated Press and other news organizations to avoid linking the men to the CIA because the officials claimed that doing so would endanger the lives of other security contractors working for other agencies around the world.

U.S. officials are using the details to rebut some news reports that said the CIA told its personnel to "stand down" rather than go to the consulate to help repel the attackers. Fox News reported that when CIA officers at the annex called higher-ups to tell them the consulate was under fire, they were twice told to "stand down." The CIA publicly denied the report, laying out a timeline that showed CIA security officers left their annex and headed to the consulate less than 25 minutes after receiving the first call for help.

The consulate attack has become a political issue in Washington, with Republicans questioning the security at the consulate, the intelligence on militant groups in North Africa and the Obama administration's response in the days after the attack. Republicans also have questioned whether enough military and other support was requested and received.

The issue popped up during President Barack Obama's campaign swing through Ohio on Friday, as a small group of protesters holding signs about Libya greeted him at Springfield High School. One sign read "We won't stand down. Tell us the truth about Benghazi"

The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about a half dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. At no point was the team told to wait, the officials said.

Instead, they said the often outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from senior officials monitoring the situation from afar.

The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss a CIA operation, as they routinely do. The anonymity was a condition of discussion even on a topic that has become highly politicized days before the presidential election.

On Thursday, intelligence officials said they had early information that the attackers had ties to al-Qaida-linked groups but did not make it public immediately because it was based on classified intelligence. And they said the early public comments about the attack and its genesis were cautious and limited, as they routinely are in such incidents.

They added that while intelligence officials indicated early on that extremists were involved in the assault, only later were officials able to confirm that the attack was not generated by a protest over the film.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans insist that if the Obama administration didn't know enough about the attack to discuss it clearly in the days that followed, it should have. They also say the response to the attack has been too muted to send a deterrent message to terrorists.

The officials' description Thursday of the attack provided details about a second CIA security team in Tripoli that quickly chartered a plane and flew to Benghazi but got stuck at the airport. By then, however, the first team had gotten the State Department staff out of the consulate and back to the CIA annex.

While the U.S. military was at a heightened state of alert because of 9/11, there were no American forces poised and ready to move immediately into Benghazi when the attack began.

The Pentagon would not send forces or aircraft into Libya - a sovereign nation - without a request from the State Department and the knowledge or consent of the host country. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the information coming in was too jumbled to risk U.S. troops.


AP National Security writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.

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To: Sam who wrote (206877)11/3/2012 11:43:18 PM
From: Sam
   of 520173
I wrote, "If Obama wins Nevada and Iowa, then winning any other swing state plus the states he is "supposed" to win (esp of course WI, PA, MN and MI, the ones romney's people claims are in play) will lead to 270."

I take that back. If he only wins CO or NH in addition to the above, then Romney would eke out a win. He would need both CO and NH, or any one of the four "big" swing state prizes, OH, VA, NC or FL.

One more note before heading off to sleep: some people have been writing that this election will either be Romney by a lot, or Obama in a squeaker, or, occasionally, Romney in a squeaker. But I think Obama's ceiling is higher than Romney's. He has a chance to nearly sweep the swing states, IMHO--a sweep would give him 347 EC votes. NC is the least likely of them, losing that one would still give him 332 votes. And if he also loses FL and CO, the final tally would be 309-221. I am cautiously optimistic that those numbers will be the floor for Obama.

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To: Sam who wrote (206861)11/4/2012 12:22:44 AM
From: Win Smith
   of 520173
Yeah, you don't understand about Ohio. In the parallel universe of stupid people that Fox News caters to, it's poor Mittens who's endangered by Husted's machinations and all those dubious voting machines . Including, presumably, the ones provided by Mittens Jr.

Claims increase of machines switching votes in Ohio, other battlegrounds
Imagine going to vote for your presidential candidate and pushing the button on a touch-screen voting machine -- but the "X" marks his opponent instead.

That is what some voters in Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio have reported.

Fox News has received several complaints from voters who say they voted on touch-screen voting machines -- only when they tried to select Mitt Romney, the machine indicated they had chosen President Obama. The voters in question realized the error and were able to cast ballots for their actual choice.

Read more:
I got that story from James Fallows in . I'm sort of wondering if predelegitimization is related to antidisestablishmentarianism , but I take his point. Since Clinton, Republicans seem to find it impossible to acknowledge that a Democrat could legitimately be elected President.

Sadly, I imagine this means that if Obama is reelected, the GOP will just double down on Obama hatred as a way of life. Personally, I sort of wish that, in honor of the bastardized neo-Randism that seems to be gradually supplanting voodoo economics as official dogma in the GOP, they'd all go Galt and get the Koch Brothers to build that secret redoubt in the Colorado mountains, where they could all gather together and celebrate their special separate reality, and leave the rest of us alone.

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To: Win Smith who wrote (206880)11/4/2012 12:44:04 AM
From: Win Smith
   of 520173
And If the GOP Doesn't Win, What Then?

[ A followup of sorts from Fallows on the predelegitimization front. I have my own little personal fantasy about what ought to happen to the professionally apoplectic right and their mindless teabagger brethren, thanks to the Brothers Grimm:

"The devil has told you that! The devil has told you that," cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in, and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two.

But being a reality-based community kind of guy, I imagine we'll just have to live with another 2 years at least of idiotic obstructionism and lunatic conspiracy ranting about Obama bringing in the black helicopters and blue helmets to round up all Real Americans . A guy can hope, though. Anyway, here's Fallows: ]

Nobody knows what's going to happen on Tuesday. (11pm Saturday update: But watching a completely-losing-his-voice Bill Clinton do a barnburner in his intro for Barack Obama in Virginia, I'm seeing an episode of Democratic "momentum.") (And nice line in return from Obama just now: "The only Clinton workin' harder than him is our Secretary of State.")

But let's do a thought experiment and assume that current probabilities hold. That would mean that Barack Obama is re-elected; the Romney-Ryan ticket is defeated; and even as the Republicans begin assessing their promising next tier of Christie-Rubio-Jindal-maybe Ryan-maybe Jeb-Bush candidates for 2016, they confront two discouraging realities. One is not having been able to beat a marginally popular president during a time of widespread economic distress. The other is seeing several big demographic blocs -- Latinos, blacks, women -- moving away from them.

What then? We're getting ahead of ourselves, but as a distraction here are several messages from readers. First, from someone in the aviation world:
Presuming Mr. Obama does indeed win, I think the more interesting question is what will the Republican party do to regroup?...

The question in my mind is "is this the end of the Karl Rove Party?" He pioneered the strategy of shifting the party right to get an energized "base," also shifting it toward the new Know-Nothings they've become. [JF note: Rove and GWB also were careful to try to include Latinos as part of a new GOP big tent. That worked for them in Texas but has not lasted with their Tea Party-era, Tancredo-toned successors, which could prove one of the party's lasting vulnerabilities.]

It hasn't won. Laura Ingraham's "if the GOP can't beat Obama with this economy, shut it down" strikes me as unintentionally prophetic. The economy is now improving, Obama will never run again, and demographic trends are certainly against the current Republican message. What will the Republicans do?

The existence of the Tea Party faction makes this a nasty problem -- any attempt by Republicans to pivot toward the mainstream will cost them factional challenges, perhaps third-party rightist candidates on the ballot.
Extending the last argument, a reader in Pennsylvania writes:
I can't pretend to know what motivates folks like Karl Rove, but I can say with certainty, as a Democratic committeeperson here in suburban Philly, that one thing that does motivate the Democratic ground game here in Pennsylvania is the sense that an Obama victory and some key US Senate victories for Democrats could lead to the splitting apart of the Republican Party, with a possible 3rd Party movement on the right getting legs.

As Democrats we see that possible development as an obvious opening for us to pick up more Democratic victories down ballot in the next two or three elections here in PA and also in some red states. This "long term" perspective is a very tangible motivator as we all participate in GOTV efforts here in PA over the next 3 days.

On a final note, in the midst of all the challenges facing America right now, any long drawn out effort to delegitimize Obama victory through Congress, in particular, will, in my humble opinion, only benefit Democrats in the mid-terms.
And from a reader in California:
As we come down to the wire, I sticking with my premise/intuition that 1972 will repeat in 2012.

The only doubt is whether the Dems can regain enough seats to take the house. [JF note: I am chary of predictions, but this seems very unlikely to me.] Otherwise, Obama wins well and the Senate holds, and gains a few, like Elizabeth Warren. [JF: pickups, like Warren over Brown, seem plausible at this point; net Democratic gains in the Senate a much longer shot.]

From all that I've read, the moderate middle (i.e. that which is not counted as the base) will mostly go to Obama. That may not include older white men, but women and minorities will more than make up for them. This despite Republican efforts to disenfranchise as many Democratic voters as possible by jiggering state voting rules.

It's not that I have some special knowledge that others don't. But I've voted in every election but one since 1968, and what stands out strongly in my memory are what I call, for lack of better term, the extremist years, when one party leaned far much in one direction, which for the moderate middle was too far away from them.
Obviously, and unendurably, the "who looks good for the 2016 race???" speculation will rev up before we have even recovered from this cycle. I am explicitly not trying to get into next-candidate thinking on either side. But the next identity of the Republican party is what a lot of people will be wrestling with, no matter how things go in three days. (And now, back to checking out that Virginia rally.)

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To: JohnM who wrote (206858)11/4/2012 1:28:50 AM
From: epicure
   of 520173
Congratulations John! I'm so glad you're back.

I heard someone say that there had been no murders in NY during the first few days of Sandy. That's one upside of what was a pretty horrible situation. We saw the same thing here in Ca during Loma Prieta. Gang members in Oakland came out to help people in trouble on the freeways. Somehow the natural death and destruction made people quit inflicting death and destruction on each other.

I hope you're wrong about Ohio. But I fear you might be right.

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To: koan who wrote (206844)11/4/2012 1:40:40 AM
From: bentway
   of 520173
"After Obama wins and appoints one new supreme court person expect a strong turn to the left for the supreme court."

I don't think so. He'll probably be replacing Ginsburg.

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To: Dale Baker who wrote (206862)11/4/2012 1:48:15 AM
From: bentway
   of 520173
The ideal thing would be for Obama to win in Ohio, AND have the Republicans caught cheating!

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To: bentway who wrote (206883)11/4/2012 1:55:17 AM
From: koan
   of 520173
Yeah, I meant a righty. That will be a sight to see.

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To: koan who wrote (206867)11/4/2012 1:58:34 AM
From: koan
   of 520173
I was getting very drunk and stoned watching this great movie "tonight you are mine" about a Scottish folk festival and they sang my favorite song "Tainted Love". And then pulled this out of my ass. Why when one is drunk and stoned does this shit come to them? I think it makes snese-lol?

Koan: Thinkers and believers.

There will never be a coming together of right and left as they are composed of thinkers and believers. How can people who live their lives according to myth (no facts) and primitive cultural mores and norms, defend their philosophy against modern day science and logic. They can't.

And that is why the congress is now two distinct populations (tails on the bell curve don't touch) and will stay that way.

The thinkers and the believers.

The thinkers wonder about things, the believers believe things.

What is all this global warming about, the thinkers ask? Won't it be dangerous if the earth gets real hot? What will happen if man is causing it by all their pollution? Are melting glaciers and pack ice, all these storms and flooding, being caused by it the thinkers ask?

The believers just parrot their tribe---ah, it is nothing. Happens all the time in history. And the 97% of scientists who say it is real are just lying because they are paid off by government grants. All 97%, easy to believe the believer says. The truth they say. Those guys are not to be trusted. Elitists. And whatever the carbon industry or their tribe, tells them to believe, they believe it with all their might, and say it. No matter what.

What are these bones we have found of other simians that are millions of years old, and look like us, the thinkers ask? And look at this DNA evidence showing we have the same DNA that they do with only slight differences.

Ah, they are nothing, just rocks, the believers say, as the earth is only 6 to 9,000 years old.

Why did that guy murder that person the thinkers ask? Was he crazy, abused as a child, in a fit of rage? And what if he is innocent, we do make mistakes, and is it right for society to kill people, the thinker asks? Maybe we should outlaw the death penalty?

Doesn't matter say the believers, he is just a bad person and we need to kill him. Serves him right the believers say. An eye for an eye they say.

What makes a person gay and if they are born that way, why shouldn't they be able to get married like everyone else the thinker asks?

Gays are people doing bad things, the believers say, and we don't want them to destroy our society, so we need to pass a defense of marriage act denying them marriage for ever. They are just perverted, the believers say.

This difference is evident every week on the Bill Maher show when he brings in thinkers, and believers, who then spend the entire show squirming in their seats embarrassed for their tribe as the thinkers shred the believers antiquated thinking with their questions of facts and logic.

And so the ancient Greeks, the first big thinkers, asked the believers of the day?

What, they ask, if?

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To: koan who wrote (206886)11/4/2012 2:06:54 AM
From: koan
   of 520173
I was thinking how seldom we talk about one of the most important gifts a person can give to their children and society.

Humor. Laughing is so good for people and society.

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