Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taliban #2 Leader Captured 10 Days Ago, Obama's Very Nice Day

Nicholas Kristof
Dana Milbank
Froma Harrop

"While the country is on a bad path, Republican voodoo is what put us on it... That's why these predictions of a Democratic rout in November seem so overwrought. Sure, Democrats will lose seats -- but do the voters want a return to the crazy years?" - Froma Harrop
"A lot of people continue to be very upset by the fact that we can't get Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden? We can't even get Roman Polanski." – Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney is recovering after minor surgery. Doctors implanted a new device called a 'heart.'" – Craig Ferguson
 The Afghan News Network reports that the #2 top Taliban operative was captured ten days ago in Karachi, Pakistan in a joint operation by the Pakistani intelligence and the CIA: "Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the No. 2 behind Afghan Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was captured in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi." This story was posted on the NY Times website yesterday, but it wasn't in the paper today. As in all reports of captured Taliban leaders, it says that the Mullah has been talking freely, so I guess techniques like water-boarding have been refined and put to good use in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since the Pakistani intelligence have been previously accused of having a cozy relationship with the Taliban leaders, it looks like the recent spate of bombings in Pakistan have pissed them off and they are no longer Mr Good Guys... Or, reasoning says that if they give up the Taliban leaders, the US will finish up in the area sooner and will leave, good-bye, please leave as many drones behind as you have...

"According to Interpol, Baradar was the deputy defense minister in the Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan until it was ousted in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and has been increasingly cited as a possible hiding place for top Afghan Taliban commanders in recent months. It has a large population of Pashtuns, the ethnic group that makes up the Taliban, but it is on the Arabian Sea and far from the Afghan border." The propaganda being spread here is that the top Taliban leaders are vacationing in a safe haven while their troops are doing all of the hard work and risking their lives. You know, just like the top brass does in every military organization. There is a rum-soaked reason why the Afghan operations are run out of headquarters in Florida. I'm sure that General Petraeus wasn't real happy to leave his pina colada paradise and have to actually go and live in Afghanistan...

Three things happened today that might boost Obama's ratings over the next few weeks. First, is that BP successfully got the new cap to work, turned off all of the valves, and got the oil to stop leaking for the first time since April. Thank God. Hopefully, it will be able to stay that way, and building pressure won't blow out any part of the cap or line. All of the company's resources were deployed on this spill, and if a hurricane had come in and wrecked some other oil rig in the Gulf, we would have been doubly screwed because there would not have been any resources left to clean up after it.

Second, is that the financial reform bill passed, 60 - 39. The difficult part will be to enforce it, but hopefully we will end up with a more responsible system. It probably doesn't go far enough to reign in\ all of the greedheads and predatory practices, but it's a good first step, born of compromise. That more Republicans didn't support it may hurt them at the voting booth come November.

Third, is the $550 million dollar fine that Goldman Sachs agreed to pay. It is the largest fine ever issued by the SEC, with thirty million going to the government, and the rest to people that were victimized by Goldman Sachs. Of course, if we nationalized Goldman Sachs, we could be getting much more in profit from them... Because we are an impatient and fickle nation, with a shortened attention span created by television commercials, many people have been responding to the pollsters that they like Obama as a person, they just don't like his policies. That's because things haven't immediately changed for the better with us all out in the park, playing with Bambi and picking bouquets of flowers. Obama has had to work hard for what little he has accomplished, and he has accomplished more in his first two years in office than almost any other president. If you want to complain about the media being biased one way or the other, you are off base. The media wants to create controversy to sell papers or have you turn on their programs or go to their web sites. If they can get an audience to cheer for their creations like they would a sports team, all the better.

We'll see what happens come election day. What is making this election cycle interesting and entertaining for me, is all of the crazy ladies involved. I know, Momma Grizzlies sounds more ferocious and dangerous, but it doesn't cover up the extreme wackiness of Sharon Angle and Carly Fiorina. Meg Whitman spending $91 million just on her primary campaign is pretty obscene, especially for someone who has mediocre business skills and lucked out with ebay. It might make Ariana Huffington blush, if she had a conscience... Here in Colorado, if Michael Bennet really wants to win against whatever opponent wins the Republican primary, all he has to do is bring his daughters up to the podium with him for each debate. Not only would it keep the conversation fairly civil, but the incredible cute factor will help him win every time.

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