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Medecins Sans Frontieres says it treated about 3,600 patients with 'neurotoxic symptoms' in Syria, of whom 355 died
No government can be allowed to get away this.

I was against direct Western intervention in Syria until this week.  This week forces loyal Bashar Assad launched the worst act of chemical warfare in at least 25 years, on the opposition-friendly neighborhood of East Ghouta outside Damascus.  The death toll ranges as high as 1,800 and may yet go higher.  Women, children suffocated on their own vomit and died face down in the streets.  Doctors treating patients contracted the chemicals themselves and some have died.

The last time an atrocity on this scale happened, when Saddam Hussein gassed Halabja in the name of defeating "radical Islamists"...the Reagan administration ignored it, swept it under the rug, even tried to pawn off blame on Iran.  Similar voices today are ignorantly claiming that the rebels both have the capability to disperse nerve agent in the air over a wide area, and would use said weapons on their own supporters.  I'll have none of that.  Only one entity in Syria has this capability, and that is the regime of Bashar al Assad.

I was completely against the 2003 Iraq War.  But I absolutely supported the No-Fly Zones enforced over Iraq during the decade after Desert Storm, which effectively protected the Kurds from Saddam's Army.

We can cripple Assad's ability to launch airstrikes and Scud attacks with little risk to either civilians or our own forces.  I don't pretend to know what the endgame is to solving this conflict...but thats no excuse to not try.

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President Obama will appoint Julia Pierson, a veteran U.S. Secret Service agent and senior official, as the first female director of the agency, White House officials said Tuesday.

Pierson, 53, began her career in the Secret Service as an agent in Miami three decades ago. She now serves as the service's chief of staff.

She does not need Senate confirmation for the post, which White House officials said would be announced later Tuesday afternoon.

Administration officials said Obama selected Pierson in part to bring a culture change to an agency whose male culture was exposed during an overseas presidential trip last year.

Beyond qualified, three decades in the Service, current Chief of Staff, headed up the Miami field office, and has seen service with the Presidential protection unit.

One more crack in that glass ceiling.

Also, reminder that the Senate GOP continues to stonewall against the President's nominee to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2006.  Confirm Todd Jones NOW.


Osama bin Laden's Son-in-Law Captured, Brought to US

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, a suspected member of al Qaeda, has been captured, according to Rep. Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Turkish media reported earlier today that the man, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, was taken into custody in the Turkish capital of Ankara last month in a joint operation between the CIA and Turkish intelligence. He was recently deported to Jordan and from there was taken to the U.S., according to Turkish reports and the Wall Street Journal. King confirmed Ghaith's capture but did not discuss the details of the operation or Ghaith's extradition.

Simply put, he will be the most senior Al Qaeda leader put on trial in the United States (including the Gitmo tribunals) to date.

Abu Ghaith was a top official on Al Qaeda Central's 'Shura' Council...a group of clerics and leaders who'd advise OBL & Zawahiri on major operations.  He absolutely had foreknowledge of 9/11 and many other Al Qaeda terrorist attacks.

This is him on October 10, 2001...a month after 9/11 and three days after the start of the Afghan War...praising the attacks and promising more to come...

For most of the last decade he's been under house arrest in Iran, but for reasons unknown the Iranians recently released him.

Possibly disillusioned, he opted not to return to the AfPak area but seemed desperate to return to his home in Kuwait (where he was a wanted man, stripped of citizenship.)  

After brief detention in Turkey...Jordanian and US agents arrested him, and he's been brought to New York City to stand trial, possibly including for the 9/11 attacks.  The FBI has taken the lead in interrogating him.

Fun fact about Sulaiman Abu Ghaith: He first rose to prominence in Islamist circles for having been a vocal insurgent leader against Iraqi forces during the Occupation of Kuwait in '90-'91.

If you dig deep into the backgrounds of other top Al Qaeda leaders, you find similar stories of violent hatred of Saddam Hussein.  A massive reason I never bought into the supposed 'Saddam - Al Qaeda' relationship Bush tried to dump on us.

Hey, asshole....Welcome to New York.


Honestly, any Governor who would pass this up is guilty of malpractice.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Gov. John Kasich Monday joined the growing ranks of Republican governors who will expand Medicaid.

The governor, who had hinted at his decision in recent days, confirmed in his two-year budget announcement that he will expand the program to cover hundreds of thousand of more residents.

However, the brief also said that Ohio would "reverse this decision" if the federal government failed to cover nearly all of the cost of expansion, as it has said it would.

The expansion of Medicaid fulfills an option under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide coverage to adults living at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the ability to opt in or out of the program, but they cannot partially expand it.

Fifth Republican Governor to support the Affordable Care Act provision, after Jan Brewer of Arizona relented last week.

Only way I can think to end this me out Kossacks.

O - H


snark ;)


As President Obama announced Joe would be leading a real inter-agency task force on gun violence...and set to provide real recommendations going forward in time for the first days of Obama's second term....this classic moment from the 2008 primaries immediately sprung to mind for me.

During the famous 'Youtube' debate one questioner asked "are our babies safe" and then held up his tricked out AR-15 style rifle and referred to it as his 'baby.'

Biden's perfect answer comes in around 1:15.

That Joe is leading this task force lets me know something real will get done.  He'll come through for us.  Go Joe.

Here's the transcript

COOPER: Another question regarding guns.


QUESTION: Good evening, America. My name is Jered Townsend from Clio, Michigan.

To all the candidates, tell me your position on gun control, as myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies are safe.

(holds up AR-15 assault rifle variant with multiple attachments)

This is my baby, purchased under the 1994 gun ban. Please tell me your views.

Thank you.


COOPER: Senator Biden, are you going to be able to keep his baby safe?

BIDEN: I'll tell you what, if that is his baby, he needs help.


I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun. I'm being serious. Look, just like me, we go around talking about people who own guns. I am the guy who originally wrote the assault weapons ban, that became law, and then we got defeated and then Dianne Feinstein went to town on it and did a great job.

BIDEN: Look, we should be working with law enforcement, right now, to make sure that we protect people against people who don't -- are not capable of knowing what to do with a gun because they're either mentally imbalanced and/or because they have a criminal record, and...


BIDEN: Anyway...


COOPER: We got one more question. Before...

BIDEN: ... I hope he doesn't come looking for me.


I simply do not care why the shooter did this.  Nothing, not even mental illness justifies it.  What I do care about, is the "tool" that gave him the power to do it.

We are a culture seduced by guns.  I'm by no means innocent from that obsession, but my fascination ends at Call of Duty.

Our "leaders", left and right, cave to paranoid gun-hoarding extremists lost in a fantasyworld where they'll one day get to fight an invading Nicaraguan army.  Convinced that the answer to gun violence is simply more guns.

And yet children die.  Either in Connecticut classrooms or Chicago streets. Children die.

And no one with any influence is prepared to discuss the real problem.

Mr. President.  You've been re-elected with a mandate for change twice now.  THIS has to change.


Short and sweet diary. File this under 'good riddance and thanks for the extra dough.'  The US Government is finally out of the AIG business.

American International Group Inc. (AIG)’s rescue has come to an end with the U.S. raising $7.6 billion in its final offering of the insurer’s shares, four years after a bailout that fueled resentment against Wall Street.

The Treasury Department is selling 234.2 million shares at $32.50 each in the sixth offering since the 2008 rescue. The proceeds boost the U.S. profit on the rescue that began in 2008 to $22.7 billion, according to a statement today from the Treasury, which injected capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The U.S. took over the New York-based company in a 2008 bailout that swelled to $182.3 billion to save the global economy from collapse. AIG has sold more than $65 billion of assets to help repay the rescue, while Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche scaled back from the derivative bets that almost destroyed the firm. He’s focusing on property-casualty coverage globally and life and retirement products in the U.S.

“Treasury can claim victory, AIG can be free of TARP, and AIG will begin to trade on its merits,” said Josh Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., in note to investors. Investors in the latest offering “bought this recovering, but still controversial name at a discount from the government.”

Out of all the bailouts, AIG sucked the most fecal matter.  So relish the catharsis that we're out of it, with a bit of extra change to boot...I think this might be the most relevant movie metaphor:

The tunnel of shit represents AIG, for you film students out there.

Now take the profits and put it towards creating actual jobs that don't involve gambling on people's homes.


Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 12:21 AM PST

Celebration Music

by TarantinoDork

Everyone who knocked on doors, made phone calls, fundraised, registered voters, got out the vote and voted themselves...enjoy the night, enjoy the party, relish the coming hangover as I am, and here's some tunes to go with it

Enjoy folks

More after the jump ;)

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The President himself will be doing most of the talking for this diary.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Four Million more kids with health insurance via SCHIP expansion.

The daring, perfectly executed rescue of Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama.

Much, much more after the jump

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Friday's march targeted in particular Ansar al-Shariah, a militia of Islamic extremists who officials and witnesses say participated in the consulate attack. The group is also accused of attacking Muslims who don't follow its harsh interpretation of Islam.

"No, no, to militias," the giant crowd chanted as it marched along a lake in the center of Benghazi, filling a broad boulevard. They carried banners and signs demanding that militias disband and that the government build up police to take their place in keeping security. "Benghazi is in a trap," signs read. "Where is the army, where is the police?"

Other signs mourned the killing of U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens, reading, "The ambassador was Libya's friend" and "Libya lost a friend."
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Pew Research:  Among those in the American public who've been paying attention to the renewed turmoil in the Middle East & North Africa:

48% Approve of President Obama's response to the crisis sofar.  36% Disapprove.

26% Approve of Mitt Romney's response.  48% disapprove.

Obama + 12
Romney - 26

Among those following the events "Very Closely" views of President Obama follow a bit more on partisan lines, but even here he's a +3 to Romney's -15.

And this is the only appropriate response to Mitt Romney's galling political attack.  When the attack was ongoing, a joint US-Libyan rescue mission was underway, and our ambassador was still missing....Mitt Romney chose this moment to launch a partisan attack, directly accusing the President of sympathizing with the terrorists responsible.

Then the morning comes, he holds a press conference before the President has even had a chance to comment on the tragedy, doubles down on his political attack and smirks his way off the stage.

Simply. Not. Ready.

The response from the government and people of Libya has been infinitely more magnanimous, constructive, and consoling than anything we've seen from the Republican Presidential Campaign.

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