WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of
U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue
the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.
The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting
consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden's escape laid the foundation for today's reinvigorated Afghan insurgency
and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.
Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the
chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has long argued the Bush administration missed a chance
to get the al-Qaida leader and top deputies when they were holed up in the forbidding mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan
only three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Although limited to a review of military operations eight years old, the report could also be read as a cautionary note
for those resisting an increased troop presence there now.
More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president
George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.
"Removing the al-Qaida leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,"
the report says. "But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent
symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the
job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international
The report states categorically that bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora when the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault
with several thousand troops at least. It says that a review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews
with central participants "removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora
On or about Dec. 16, 2001, bin Laden and bodyguards "walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's
unregulated tribal area," where he is still believed to be based, the report says.
Instead of a massive attack, fewer than 100 U.S. commandos, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes
and track down their prey.
"The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the
Army, was kept on the sidelines," the report said.
At the time, Rumsfeld expressed concern that a large U.S. troop presence might fuel a backlash and he and some others said
the evidence was not conclusive about bin Laden's location.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from
federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street's influence in
Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.
The new policy -- issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel -- may turn out to be the most
far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to
get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts.
The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don't have exact numbers for
its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.
Under the policy, which is being phased in over the coming months, none of the more than 13,000 lobbyists in Washington
would be able to hold seats on the committees, which advise agencies on trade rules, troop levels, environmental regulations,
consumer protections and thousands of other government policies.
"Some folks have developed a comfortable Beltway perch sitting on these boards while at the same time working as lobbyists
to influence the government," said White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen, who disclosed the policy in a September blog posting
on the White House Web site. "That is just the kind of special interest access that the president objects to."
But lobbyists and many of the businesses they represent say K Street is being unfairly demonized by a White House intent
on scoring political points with scandal-weary voters. They warn that the latest policy will severely handicap federal regulators,
who rely heavily on advisory boards for technical advice and to serve as liaisons between government and industry.
With Thanksgiving recess now over, it seems an appropriate
time to revisit the hysterical Republican whoppers and talking points about the Democratic party agenda that have dominated
this Congress. Herewith a top-five list:
Number Five: Paul Ryan Draws Line On Graph
Back in the Spring, when Democrats were putting together the federal budget, House Budget Committee ranking member Paul Ryan
(R-WI) released a much-mocked Republican alternative, which would have basically canceled the stimulus and instituted a spending
freeze of sorts. The ideas in the Republican alternative budget were roundly rebuked by experts, but Ryan wasn't deterred.
Instead of accepting defeat, he unveiled some graphs suggesting that, under Republican budgets, spending would be restrained,
while under Democratic budgets, it would blow through the roof.
Except his numbers weren't based on any analysis at all. Instead, Ryan used CBO numbers through 2018
and then drew an upward-sloping line on the graph completely at random. It didn't take long for Republicans to catch on and
begin claiming that Democratic policies would make government spending half of GDP before the end of the century.
Number Four: Senate Health Care Bill Will Cost $2.5 Trillion
This one's only now catching on, and it's a doozy. Hours after the CBO released an analysis of Senate health care legislation last week,
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-NH) released a statement: "American taxpayers are about to see an unprecedented
expansion of the federal government that will cost a staggering $2.5 trillion when fully implemented." From there, it went viral. The provenance of this number is unclear. It could have come from Michael Cannon of the CATO institute,
who'd been bandying it aboutfor a little while. Democrats do, in fact, hide some of the cost of implementing the legislation in the CBO's 10 year window.
But not $1.7 trillion (or two times the bill's CBO cost) worth. Now it's on the lips of every Republican in the Senate. (Relatedly,
Republicans in the House claimed that an early version of House health care legislation would cost $1.6 trillion. That wasn't
Number Three: Republicans Try Math
It seems like so long ago that the House passed far-reaching cap and trade legislation. Before they did, though, the GOP did
its best to raise the specter of another energy crisis, thanks to a new, and tyrannical "light switch tax." To underscore
their point, they claimed that, based on an MIT study, cap and trade legislation could cost the average household $3,128 a
year. Too bad the author of that study claimed it was all hogwash. That didn't deter leading Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, from repeating the number over and over again until the day the American Clean Energy and Security Act
passed on the House floor.
Number Two: Inhofe Says Obama 'Gutting Our Military'
This one needs little introduction:
His claim was based on a meme, which made the rounds in early April, that the White House's call for
a modest increase in defense spending amounted to a "defense spending cut." Inhofe took it to a whole new level. And to add
insult to injury, he was in Afghanistan at the time.
Number One: Death Panels
It's possible that if TPM's Eric Kleefeld hadn't pored over every word in this rambling Facebook post by Sarah Palin, somebody else would have stumbled across it. But it's also possible that it would have
gone unnoticed, and we would have had a very different political summer. "The America I know and love is not one in
which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can
decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care."
Her rendering, 'death panel', gave voice to some fringe conservatives who had been chattering about how the confluence of
rationing and end-of-life counseling would lead to euthanasia. They were wrong, of course, but their wrongness was confined
to the fever swamps until, with Palin's help, it became the talk of the August town halls. In a way, when more mainstream
Republicans began echoing the term, it marked the end of bipartisanship in health care reform. The uncontested winner.
The first Tea party convention for tea baggers has
just been announced on the
Tea Party Nation (TPN) website. This February 4-6 tea baggers across the nation will unite
at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.
The keynote speaker is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann has also confirmed
that she too will speak at a breakfast.
No word yet if Glenn Beck, the man who is credited with starting the tea bagger movement on his Fox
opinion show with the 9-12 project will appear at the convention.
As you may recall upwards of 80,000 tea baggers showed up in Washington DC this past summer to protest
everything about President Obama and the Democrats that Glenn Beck and the Fox opinion channel could invent.
The Fox opinion channel will certainly be promoting this over the next three months as they have promoted
all the other protests and rallies against the Democrats and the President of the United States.
According to the TPN website Topics and workshops will include:
Using Social Media to advance our cause
How to Coordinate efforts with other groups in your state
How to get Youth involved in Conservative Activism
There will also be two discussion panels:
How to Defeat Liberalism
Where the Tea Party Movement Goes From Here
The cost for the convention is $549.00 dollars, which does not include hotel, air
fare or meals.
This coming January the Republican National Committee
(RNC) will vote on whether to adopt a new “Purity” test to see if those who want to run for office are pure enough
to be real republicans or if they should be purged from there party by not lending any backing from the RNC for campaigns.
We saw this unfold earlier this month in the congressional race in New York’s 23rd
congressional district, where the local republicans picked their candidate Dede Scozzafava (R-NY) to run against Bill Owens
(D-NY). But the conservatives in this country led by the ultra right wing the
Suddenly ultra right wingers such as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck threw their hats into
backing the conservative and not the republican. Michael Steele the Chairman of the
RNC originally backed the republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, who dropped
out of the race a few days before the election and asked her supporters to back the Democrat. The congressional seat being
contested had been held by republicans since the civil war. The democrat won the election.
So now, Chairman Steele pushed by the ultra conservative wing of the GOP will vote this January at
their meeting in Hawaii on whether to make it mandatory for anyone who wants to receive the RNC’s backing to take a
test to see if they are pure enough to be a republican or it they should be purged based on a ten question “purity test“.
Those that take the test must agree on at least 7 of the 10 questions in order to pass the purity test.
The 10 principles in the proposed resolution are:
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing
bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their
nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial
of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.
The purity test was unveiled by conservative committee members yesterday, emphasizing the split between
different wings of the GOP party, and how to move forward.
A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for
Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama.
The report concludes that under the Senate’s health-reform bill, Americans buying individual coverage will pay less
than they do for today's typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs.
So Democrats will argue that under the Senate bill, Americans would pay less for more.
The new document arms Democrats with a response to the contention of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that
the bill would mean “higher premiums, higher taxes, and massive cuts to Medicare.”
The “microsimulation” analysis is by Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and a Treasury Department official under President Bill Clinton. Gruber used data from the Congressional Budget Office.
Gruber concludes that people purchasing individual insurance would save an annual $200 (singles) to $500 (families) in
2009 dollars. And people with low incomes would receive premium tax credits that would reduce the price that they pay for
health insurance by as much as $2,500 to $7,500.
The report will be circulated to Capitol Hill this week. Read the four-page report here.
Gruber’s conclusion: “[F]or those facing purchase in the non-group market, the … bill will deliver savings
ranging from $200 for singles to $500 for families in today’s dollars – even without subsidies. The savings are
much larger for lower income populations that receive premium credits.
“This is in addition to the higher quality benefits that those in the exchange will receive, with actuarial values
for low income populations well above what is typical in the non-group market today. It is also in addition to all the other
benefits that this legislation will deliver to those consumers – in particular the guarantee, unavailable in most states,
that prices would not be raised or the policy revoked if they became ill.”
Gruber was among the 23 Ph.D. economists who sent a letter to Obama on Nov. 17 endorsing his approach to health-care reform.
Read the economists’ four-page letter here.
During an interview yesterday on the Fox opinion
show “Hannity“, former White house Press Secretary Dana Perino said, “We did not have a terrorist attack
on our country during President Bush’s term.” She obviously forgot all about September 11, 2001.
As you will see in the
interview Sean Hannity didn’t even blink and eye as she said that statement,
and he just kept right on going without the slightest attempt to correct her.
Dana Perino who has shown in the past that she knows little about the history of our country or history
in general when as Press Secretary she showed that she did not even know
Dana Perino, a frequent guest on various Fox opinion shows is never short on words to demean President
Obama and to glorify her former boss, President Bush.
And to think
President Obama has offered her a job on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is made up of both Democrats
and Republicans that oversee Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America and any other non military broadcasts that are sponsored
by the federal government.
In a poll conducted by the CBS show “60 Minutes”
and Vanity Fair magazine that was conducted November 6-8, respondents said that the conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh,
was the most influential conservative voice in America.
Who among the following do you think is currently the MOST INFLUENTIAL CONSERVATIVE voice in America?
26 percent choose the man with the golden microphone, Rush Limbaugh by more than a 2 to 1 margin to
Glenn Beck who received 11 percent of those polled..
Others in the poll question included Sarah Palin who received 10 percent of those polled, Dick Cheney
10 percent, Sean Hannity 8 percent, and John Boehner who received 4 percent.
For months Democrats and Liberals and even the Whitehouse have claimed that Rush Limbaugh is the most
influential person in the Republican Party and the unofficial official leader of the GOP, while republican politicians have
This year alone we have seen several republicans politicians kowtow to Rush Limbaugh and beg for his
forgiveness after he trashed them on his radio show.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele earlier this year was quick to run to Limbaugh and ask for his forgiveness
after Steele said Limbaugh was "Incendiary" and nothing but an "Entertainer".
“I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be. I would be embarrassed
to say that I’m in charge of the Republican Party in a sad-sack state that it’s in. If I were chairman of the
Republican Party, given the state that it’s in, I would quit. I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would have
presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it
all these years”
Several others have had to crawl on their hands and knees to kiss the feet of Limbaugh and even more
are a afraid to speak out against him because of his microphone. Limbaugh and his mouth are formidable, but the first republican
that grows a pair and stands up to him will garner a lot of respect from moderates and independents across the country.
Till then, Rush Limbaugh whether you like it or not is the unofficial official of the GOP.
THIS WEEKS FEATURED MUSIC VIDEO
What Is Politics?
A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is politics?"
Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I'm the breadwinner of the family, so let's call me capitalism.
Your Mom, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the Government. We're here to take care of your needs, so
we'll call you the people. The nanny, we'll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we'll call him the Future.
Now, think about that and see if that makes sense,"
So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said.
Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely
soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her,
he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He
gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept
of politics now."
The father says, "Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."
The little boy replies, "Well, while Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People
are being ignored and the Future is in deep poo."
VARIOUS LATE NIGHT QUOTES
"California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will not
run for another office once his term as governor is over. And the amazing thing — do you know what he's going to be
doing after this? He'll be a speech therapist." –Jay Leno
"That evil guy, the evil masterminding terrorist Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, he is going on trial here in New York City. I will tell you something, this guy is nothing but evil. One time he
called CNN and told him that his son was floating away in a balloon." –David Letterman
"Khalid is expected to get a tough reception here in New York City
because everybody hates him. You know, why not? Here's a guy you can hate. And on top of that, he's a Red Sox fan." –David
"Legal experts are worried about having [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's]
trial here in New York City with this guy because they think he'll use the trial as a soapbox. Use the trial as a soapbox.
Have you seen the guy, there he is. If he does, it will be the closest this guy has been to soap in years." –David Letterman
"It's a big week for Chuck Schumer. First his birthday and then
being named sexiest man alive." –David Letterman
"Barnes and Noble is running a great promotion on the Sarah Palin
book. You buy the Sarah Palin book, they will throw in a free Mayan calendar." –David Letterman
"John McCain, Sarah Palin's former running mate, read the Sarah
Palin memoir. After 23 years of military service, five years as a prisoner of war, 22 years as a U.S. senator, I'm sure that
John found Sarah's story very inspirational." –David Letterman
"A lot of people are saying that it's too soon for Sarah Palin
to write a memoir. They say she should wait until she had at least ten more years of inexperience." –David Letterman
"Sarah Palin's book is now available on kindle, and, coincidentally,
I'm using my copy as kindling." –David Letterman
"The ratings just came in for Sarah Palin's appearance on 'The
Oprah Winfrey Show.' It earned Oprah her highest ratings since the episode where she reunited the Osmond family. Yeah, viewers
who saw both episodes say Palin's more likable but that Donny and Marie are more qualified to be president." –Conan
"Over the weekend, the Senate voted to allow debate on the healthcare
bill. Can you believe that? It's like fighting over whether or not to fight." –Jimmy Fallon
This Week in God!!!
Psalms 109:8, An Ugly Prayer for President Obama
Any time the citizens of a state, particularly a democracy, invoke their
faith to pray for the demise of those they oppose politically, we should be concerned. When the call for such prayers becomes
one of the most popular Google searches in the country, we should shake, especially those of us who believe in God, prayer
and the Bible. Psalm 109, verse 8, went viral this morning in just that way.
Among the world's top Google searches today are phrases that contain the words "Psalms 109 8", and "Psalm 109 8 prayer
for Obama". For those of you who may not know that particular verse, it reads "May his days be few, may another take over
his position." And before anyone excuses this toxic use of scripture as nothing more than the wish that President Obama not
be re-elected to a second term of office, the next verse in the psalm reads, "May his children be orphans and his wife a widow".
In fact, the entire chapter is about the prayed for death of an evil person. Not to mention that anyone who knows enough
Bible to have thought about this verse in particular, surely knows the entire chapter and appreciates its message. Pretty
All this is especially upsetting in light of the last weeks' events at Fort Hood. Exactly how long is it going to take
us to figure out the danger of linking faith claims and violent fantasies? How is it that the very same people who would have
wanted to curtail access, and rightly so, to the hate-filled, violence-inducing, sermons to which Major Hasan listened, do
not cry out against these prayers and those praying them?
The issue is not the scripture quoted or the name by which God is called by those doing the praying. The issue is invoking
the God in whom any of us believe, to act as executioner of those with whom we disagree.
From Yigal Amir, who murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to Major Hassan who murdered 13 and wounded 30 more,
to whomever might step in on behalf of a "Christian nation" to make the words of the Psalm 109 a reality, each was inspired
by prayers and scriptural readings not unlike those of the millions who made verse 8 a top Google search this morning. There
is no place for such prayers in any of our faiths and until we all stand up and say so, at least a little blood will be on
all of our hands.
YodasWorld.org is updated each Monday. Some of the items from
the previous week are added to the various topic links on the left side of the main page. Links embedded should be good
for at least the date posted. After the posting date, link reliability depends on the policy of the linked sites. Some sites
require visitors to register before allowing access to articles. Material presented on this page represent the opinion's of
Copyright 2000-2009 YodasWorld.org. All rights reserved
on original works. Material copyrighted by others is used either with permission or under a claim of "fair use."
YodasWorld.org is updated each Monday. Some of
the items from the previous week are added to the various topic links on the left side of the main page. Links embedded
should be good for at least the date posted. After the posting date, link reliability depends on the policy of the linked
sites. Some sites require visitors to register before allowing access to articles. Material presented on this page represent
the opinion's of YodasWorld.org.
Copyright 2000-2011 YodasWorld.org. All rights
reserved on original works. Material copyrighted by others is used either with permission or under a claim of "fair use."