Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Cool Hand Barack By MAUREEN DOWD

No wonder the president’s top generals call him “a Cool Hand Luke.”
After giving the order for members of a Navy Seals team to execute a fantastically daring plan to, let’s be honest, execute Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama put on a tuxedo and gave a comedy speech Saturday night in a Washington ballroom of tippling journalists and Hollywood stars.

If we could have seen everything unfolding in real time, it would have had the same dramatic effect as the intercutting in the president’s favorite movie, “The Godfather,” when Michael Corleone calmly acts as godfather at his nephew’s baptism at church, even as his lieutenants carry out the gory hits he has ordered on rival mobsters.
Just substitute “Leave the copter, take the corpse” for “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

The president’s studied cool and unreadable mien have sometimes distanced him from the public at moments of boiling crisis. But in the long-delayed showdown with Public Enemy No. 1, these qualities served him perfectly.
The timing was good, blunting the infelicitous  remarks made recently to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza by an Obama adviser, who described the president as the un-John Wayne ushering a reviled and chastened America away from the head of the global table. The unnamed adviser described the Obama doctrine on display in Libya as “leading from behind,” which sounds rather pathetic.

But now the president has shown he can lead straight-on and that, unlike Jimmy Carter, he knows how to order up that all-important backup helicopter. He has said that those who call him a wimp are mistaken, that there is often muscular purpose beneath his diffident surface.
Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, who was so tacky that she didn’t mention Obama’s name in her congratulations, tried to draw credit to the Bush administration.

But there can be no doubt that justice for the families of the 9/11 victims was agonizingly delayed because the Bush team took a megalomaniacal detour to Baghdad.
A pigheaded Donald Rumsfeld, overly obsessed with a light footprint, didn’t have the forces needed at Tora Bora to capture Osama after the invasion of Afghanistan. To justify the switch to Saddam and the redeployment of troops to Iraq, W. and his circle stopped mentioning Osama’s name and downplayed his importance. When the White House ceases to concentrate on something, so does the C.I.A. 
The hunt got so cold by 2005 that the Bin Laden unit at the C.I.A. was disbanded and overhauled. Four years after the monster felled the twin towers, the Bush team finally put more officers on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In his East Room address Sunday night, President Obama made it clear that he had shooed away the distracting Oedipal ghosts.
“Shortly after taking office,” he said, “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., to make the killing or capture of  Bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda.”

Many famous invaders throughout history, from Genghis Khan to Tamerlane to Babur, have marched along the same route the Navy Seals took on their moonless flight, going from Kabul to Jalalabad to Peshawar.
The mesmerizing narrative stitched together by The Times’s Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Peter Baker begins with C.I.A. agents getting the license plate of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier in Peshawar. Peshawar is the ultimate mystery town, famous for secrets and falsehoods. It’s known for its bazaars, especially the Story Tellers Bazaar.

And that is exactly where President Obama now finds himself. He will now have to sort through the bazaar of Pakistan’s deceptive stories and deal with lawmakers angry about giving $20 billion since 9/11 to a country where Osama was comfortably ensconced. For years, top Pakistanis have said that Osama was dead or in Afghanistan.

Even Condi Rice proclaimed she was shocked to find “Geronimo” settled in Abbottabad for six years, living in plain sight in a million-dollar house in an affluent suburb near a military base and the Pakistani version of West Point. As one of Osama’s neighbors put it: “It’s the closest you can be to Britain.”
 At a House homeland security subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Representative Patrick Meehan asked the question about Pakistan that is ricocheting through Washington: “Does it reflect to some extent some kind of divided loyalty or complicity in some part, or incompetence or both?”

Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation, who used to advise the U.S. military in Afghanistan on Al Qaeda, replied with equal bluntness: “Whether there was complicity, or incompetence, at the very least there has not been a high priority in targeting the senior Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan. Based on the threat streams coming from this area, those interests have to change.”

The Big Lie: Torture Got Bin Laden

Obama ratings boost

Osama bin Laden killing gives Obama quick but limited ratings boost

In the immediate aftermath of the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s approval rating has jumped higher, with big increases in the number of Americans giving him high marks on dealing with terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.
But the new poll, conducted Monday evening by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center, also finds virtually no movement in Obama’s numbers when it comes to handling the economy. That suggests that success on one front — even one as important as the death of the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — might not translate easily to other areas.
Overall, 56 percent of those polled say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, an increase of nine percentage points over April polls by Post-ABC News and Pew. That is the highest approval rating for the president in either poll since 2009.
There’s also been a clear increase in public satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States, although by a margin of nearly 2-1, Americans are still dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
The president gets big bounces on dealing with Afghanistan, with his approval rating soaring to 60 percent, and on handling the threat of terrorism, where he recorded a career high of 69 percent.
More than three-quarters of all Americans say the president deserves credit for the killing of the bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday. Among Republicans, 61 percent say Obama deserves at least some credit for the move. But just 17 percent of them say he deserves a “great deal” of credit for bringing bin Laden to justice after a nearly 10-year pursuit by U.S. intelligence and military forces.
Republicans are more apt to give former president George W. Bush acclaim for killing bin Laden, with 81 percent saying he deserves at least some of the credit for what happened Sunday. Only 35 percent of Democrats share that view, however, with a slender 4 percent giving the former president a lot of credit.
There is more bipartisan agreement that the U.S. military and intelligence deserve a great deal of credit for the killing.
For the president, the nine-point increase in his overall approval rating is on par with the six-point increase in Bush’s numbers in the weeks following the capture of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in December 2003. Then, as now, political independents moved the most.
Compared with the mid-April Post-ABC poll, Obama’s approval rating among independents is now 10 points higher, at 52 percent. Bush got an identical 10-point boost among independents in December 2003. For Bush, that lift proved short-lived, with the entire increase gone within six weeks.
How long Obama’s improved ratings will last is, of course, an open question. The fact that there was no movement in Obama’s approval on the economy — still the top issue by far in the country — offers a reminder of the challenges that remain for the White House. Obama’s 40 percent approval on the economy in this one-night poll is the lowest of his presidency in Washington Post polls, though it has been numerically lower in Pew surveys.
The Post-Pew poll was conducted by conventional landline and cellular telephone Monday evening, and included interviews with 654 randomly selected adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

I'm so happy I have not watched a second of FOX News for over 4 years and still the best informed person I know, me!

Palin calls van Susteren 'most influential journalist'

Janine Brady, social media editor at NBC Universal, went around asking guests at the MSNBC afterparty for the White House Correspondents Dinner who they thought the most influential journalist was, and got some pretty interesting results.
Sarah Palin stalled for a minute, with the weight of that question’s similar predecessor hanging in the air, before settling on her host for the evening, Greta van Susteren.

RUSH continues to be anal!

POLL: Was Rush Limbaugh's Praise of President Obama All Sarcasm?

Rush Limbaugh and President Obama
President Barack Obama received bipartisan praise for his handling of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden – but was there one high-profile exception?

Rush Limbaugh opened his radio show Monday with effusive – and highly uncharacteristic – praise, ending with, "Thank God for President Obama."

But later in the show, Limbaugh broke into laughter while reading aloud a publication that appeared to take his earlier comments literally.

  1. Tell us what you think?
    • Pure sarcasm
    • Unexpected praise


Canada Federal election results:


What countries have single payer Government Health Care? NOT THE USA! Yet health costs more than double in the USA compared to other advanced nations!

Norway Best for Moms, Afghanistan Worst

CS - Norway
Andy Eckardt, NBC News / AP Photo
Some statistics in advance of Mother's Day: The 12th annual Mothers Index by Save the Children says Norway is the best country in which to be a mom, with its low maternal and child mortality rates, high women's life expectancy, and lengthy education. Australia and Iceland placed near Norway, while the United States dragged behind at 31st. Afghanistan, with a women's life expectancy of 45 years and one out of every 11 women dying in childbirth, came in last. One of every five children in Afghanistan doesn't live to age 5. The survey noted that the United States came in 31st mostly because it has one of the highest maternal mortality rates of any industrialized nation: 1 in 2,100, meaning a woman in the U.S. is seven times more likely than one in Italy or Ireland to die from pregnancy-related causes.