These are my links for May 3rd from 12:40 to 13:49:
- In-Sen: Richard Lugar Calls For Afghanistan Endgame – At a time when many Republicans are praising President Obama following the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is doubling down on his effort to press the president on an endgame for the war in Afghanistan.
"Clearly it would not be in our national security interest to have the Taliban take over the government or have Afghanistan reestablished as a terrorist safe haven," Lugar said in a Tuesday statement. "But the President has not offered a vision of what success in Afghanistan would entail or how progress toward success would be measured."
On Monday, Lugar welcomed the news that bin Laden had been killed but said his death should also serve as a reminder. "The reported death of Osama bin Laden is welcome news, but it in no way eliminates the threat from the terrorism he espoused," he said. "This is another reminder that Americans cannot hide from global affairs."
Lugar's questioning of the strategy in Afghanistan isn't new, but it shows that his team expects the news of bin Laden's death to bring more attention to the debate over the mission in Afghanistan.
"If anything, the attack on bin Laden proves that maybe we are more successful and should be putting our money and resources in those kinds of operations wherever al Qaida is, which is in Yemen and in Africa and not necessarily in Afghanistan," said Lugar adviser Mark Helmke.
The rationale for continued troop presence in Afghanistan may very well have disappeared with Bin Laden's death.
Lugar is trying to bolster favor with voters in Indiana, while he best do that with domestic matters and then retire.
- President 2012 Arizona Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 48% Vs. Barack Obama 44% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Arizona Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 48% Vs. Barack Obama 44% #tcot #catcot
- Another Version of the Osama Bin Laden Courier Story | The Weekly Standard – Another Version of the Osama Bin Laden Courier Story
- Another Version of the Osama Bin Laden Courier Story – Yet another version of how U.S. intelligence officials identified Osama bin Laden’s courier has been published. Again, we need confirmation from intelligence officials to determine which details are true. It is not at all clear at this point how this went down.
The Associated Press reports that “detainees in the CIA’s secret prison network told interrogators about an important courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who was close to bin Laden.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed later “confirmed knowing al-Kuwaiti but denied he had anything to do with al-Qaida.”
A new tip came in 2004, when “top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq.” According to the AP’s account:
Ghul told the CIA that al-Kuwaiti was a courier, someone crucial to the terrorist organization. In particular, Ghul said, the courier was close to Faraj al-Libi, who replaced Mohammed as al-Qaida's operational commander. It was a key break in the hunt for in bin Laden's personal courier.
Then, after al-Libi was captured in May 2005:
Under CIA interrogation, al-Libi admitted that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed, he received the word through a courier. But he made up a name for the courier and denied knowing al-Kuwaiti, a denial that was so adamant and unbelievable that the CIA took it as confirmation that he and Mohammed were protecting the courier. It only reinforced the idea that al-Kuwaiti was very important to al-Qaida.
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These are my links for March 30th from 11:06 to 14:25:
These are my links for March 29th from 09:39 to 09:51:
- Did Welfare Reform Cause “Black Flight”? – Walter Russell Mead sees the flight of blacks from Northern and Midwestern cities to suburbs in the South as a repudiation of the liberal “blue state” social model (unionism, regulation, taxes). Which it may well be. But there’s another angle: the 1996 welfare reform, and the message it sent. Working hypothesis: Welfare–specifically the old AFDC program–in essence told blacks in the North it was OK to stay put in their declining former ghetto communities. If people stayed, instead of moving in search of jobs, the checks would keep coming. The ‘96 Clinton/Gingrich reform said: don’t count on welfare to be there for you. It is time-limited. You’ll have to work. If there are no jobs where you live, better move somewhere else. Result: Blacks moved to where the jobs are, which is the red states and the suburbs. …
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- Mitch Daniels Supportive Of Sen. Lugar GOP Challenger – Richard Mourdock – Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock was never expecting Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) to endorse him as he mounts a primary challenge against Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). But he said that Daniels offered encouragement for him to run–an important factor in his decision to challenge the longtime senator.
"Before I decided to do this, he and I had three different conversations about it," Mourdock said in an interview with Hotline On Call. "And every time, he said, 'Richard Mourdock, don't you ever, ever, ever let anyone tell you don't have every right to do this. You've earned the right. You worked 31 years in the business world. We don't have that kind of experience very often in Washington."
Earlier this month in an appearance on Meet the Press, Daniels said he planned to vote for Lugar, but the governor stopped short of endorsing the longtime senator and called Mourdock a friend. Mourdock said Daniels told him the same thing, and never discouraged him from challenging Lugar. Daniels has a long history with Lugar, having served as his top aide as a young political operative.
"I'm very comfortable with what the governor did given his position," Mourdock said. "Why shouldn't they be friends? Why shouldn't he vote for him? I get that." Mourdock called himself a Daniels ally and said he would support him if he ran for president.
"Our country needs him," Mourdock said.
Daniels' spokesman Jane Jankowski said the governor neither encouraged nor discouraged Mourdock from launching a Senate run.
As I hav said before, Sen. Richard Lugar should just retire and enjoy the rest of his life.
- Howard Dean: Democrats Should Be ‘Quietly Rooting’ for Government Shutdown – Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, sees an upside to a looming government shutdown – at least politically.
“If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it,” said Dean, speaking on a National Journal Insider’s Conference panel Tuesday morning. “I know who’s going to get blamed – we’ve been down this road before.”
The former Vermont governor and presidential candidate was alluding to 1995 and 1996, when two government shutdowns under a Republican Congress helped improve President Clinton’s reelection chances. The scenario could repeat this year as budget negotiations continue to falter, and Dean said he thinks the public will blame Republicans again.
“From a partisan point of view, I think it would be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown,” said Dean. He added that as a statesman, he is not rooting for a shutdown because of its harmful effect on the country.
Predicting who would get the blame for a government shutdown has been a favorite parlor game of Washington pundits since the new wave of House GOP freshmen demanded deep spending cuts to this year’s budget. Dean’s prediction that the fallout would be toxic to Republicans drew a rebuke from former Rep. Vin Weber, who joined Dean on the panel. The Minnesota Republican argued that 2011 is a different time, and that voters are more focused on government spending than they were 16 years ago.
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