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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmm! On So Many Levels

If you recall the 1980s Arsenio Hall Show, you're probably familiar with his popular show segment titled, 'Things That Make You Go Hmmm', Arsenio's attempt at bringing to light things in society that just don't seem right, or make any sense.

We had that moment during today's White House briefing where further discussion - with different answers - had us all saying Hall's catch phrase.  Add in a 'But, I thought you said yesterday that....', and fill in the blanks.

What we were told yesterday from John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the capture and killing of one Osama Bin Laden as he spoke during a White House press briefing went something like this: 

MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden died; the two al Qaeda facilitators -- the brothers, who were -- the courier and his brother in the compound; bin Laden’s son Hamza; and the woman, presumed to be his wife, who was shielding bin Laden.
Q Did he use her as a -- did he actually take her as a shield or did someone put her in front of him?

MR. BRENNAN: I wasn’t there so I hesitate to say

Q But she was in front of him

MR. BRENNAN: but it was an effort to try to shield bin Laden from the --

Q Bin Laden’s wife or his son’s wife?

MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden’s wife. She served as a shield. Again, this is my understanding -- and we’re still getting the reports of exactly what happened at particular moments -- that when -- she fought back; when there was the opportunity to get to bin Laden, she was positioned in a way that indicated that she was being used as a shield -- whether or not bin Laden or the son, or whatever, put her there, or she put herself there, but, yes, that's again, my understanding that she met her demise, and my understanding is that she was one of bin Laden’s wives.

Today we heard this from Press Secretary Jay Carney:

"In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden’s wife -- rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed."

Also heard this yesterday:

Q You said that Osama bin Laden was actually involved in the firefight, and we had -- it has been reported that he reached for a weapon. Did he get his hand on a gun and did he fire himself?

MR. BRENNAN: He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know.
We also heard this today from Press Secretary Carney:
In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden’s -- a woman, rather, bin Laden’s wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed.  Bin Laden was then shot and killed.  He was not armed. 
U.S. operatives shot and killed an unarmed man?  (That sounds like what happens here in the streets of US cities across the country.  So, that theory is not so far fetched).

What we also like to know...

If bin Laden was enemy #1, revered and hated by all for killing thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001, why would the US spend so much time making sure he had a proper burial?  And at sea none the less?

Per Carney's statement today on the topic:  "Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.  The deceased’s body was (1) washed and then placed in a white sheet.  The body was (2) placed in a weighted bag; (3) a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were (4) translated into Arabic by a native speaker.  After the words were complete, the body was (5) placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea.

That's at least five steps taken.  Would such precaution and care be given to someone proported to be so hated?  Why would the US respect his custom when we were told bin Laden "hates our way of life."


Should Photos be released? Or Not.

Speculation over whether US operatives really killed Osama bin Laden, or not, have forced many to ask for the release of bin Laden photos.

Former Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen, said on The Joe Madison Show on Sirius XM radio that President Obama should release photos of the body of Osama bin Laden.

“Get it out, get it over with and move on”, said Secretary Cohen. “Otherwise you have a rebirth of the ‘birther’ argument all over again”.

Cohen suggests doing so would put to rest any notions about whether the death was phony, and other conspiracy theories.

"If not, all those conspiracy theories are going to surface on a wider scale, not only in the United States but internationally, saying this really wasn't bin Laden, and that's why they won't release the photos, or the photos that they might release have been doctored."

The president is skeptical about releasing the photos, as is Congressman Mike Rogers (R - MI).

"I don't know what we gain by releasing this photo", he said this moring in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Victim's Compensation
The families of those killed in the horrific 911 episode where given financial compensation for their loss (which many squandered away), and an education fund was offered for their children.  Now resurrected at Ground Zero, the former place of the twin towers that were taken down my Islamic extremist ten years ago in that very space, will sit a new memorial, scheduled to open September 11, 2012.  And for many, the sweetest reward of all, Osama bin Laden is dead - although some say even that news, isn't enough to bring back loved ones lost.

Operative phrase:  Loved ones lost.

The president is planning to visit New York City on Thursday (May 5th) where he will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial. He will also meet with will meet privately with 9/11 family members and first responders of the event.

Another Hmmm moment.

America seems ready to compensate everyone who has been wronged.   As Rush Limbaugh put it in 2002, and I hate to have to quote Rush Limbaugh:   "Keep in mind that some of the people that are getting an average of $1.185, million up to $4.7 million, are complaining that it's not enough. We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11th families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well."

Now, here's the question.   If 9/11 victims can be compensated; if Oklahoma City bombing victims can request to be compensated; if victims of the terrible Virginia Tech massacre can be compensated; if victims of the Holocaust can be compensated; then why, oh why can't African Americans be compensated for the heinous crime of theft, rape, torture, degradation, inhuman suffering, loss of loved ones, pain and suffering under that which is called slavery?

Other items that make you go Hmmm.

The President has met this week with both leaders of the Latino community, and with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss immigration reform, border security, and other issues relative to the Latino agenda, all the while he has said - or it has been inferred - that there is "no Black agenda."

Here's a readout of the President's meeting today with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Fixing the Broken Immigration System, as provided by the White House.

In a meeting in the State Dining Room today, the President and Senior Administration officials met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets our nation’s 21st century economic and security needs.

The President thanked the CHC members for joining him in a strong effort to pass the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session last year, and reiterated his disappointment that it failed to pass in the Senate after passing with bipartisan votes in the House. The President also noted his deep disappointment that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled.

The President was asked by the CHC members to consider a broad range of administrative options. The President articulated that his goal is to reform the law, and that he cannot do this unilaterally, noting that the only way to fix what’s broken about our immigration system is through legislative action in Congress. However, the President agreed to carefully review the CHC members’ request.

The President detailed how the Administration continues to improve our legal immigration system, secure our borders, and enhance our immigration enforcement. He noted that his Administration will continue to work toward improving our enforcement practices so that we are not using our limited resources on those potentially eligible for an adjustment of status, but rather tightening our efforts so that the Department of Homeland Security more effectively and sensibly focuses on criminals, a smart approach from a law enforcement perspective.

The President updated the CHC members on the meetings he has held in recent weeks with stakeholders from a broad range of sectors and from both parties on the need to elevate the debate on immigration and get past the false debates and rhetoric that have dominated the issue. The President reaffirmed that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months. The President and the CHC members agreed that they share the same goal of fixing the broken immigration system through legislative action, and that it is in the best interests of our nation’s economic and security needs to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.

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