Michael Luciano, Daily Banter: Twelve years ago today ... in one of the most otherworldly political spectacles ever seen, President George W. Bush stood on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq as a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner hung behind him. In the months following the speech, it became brutally clear that the sectarian pressure cooker some analysts had warned of was about to burst. When it did, causalities of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians skyrocketed. Al Qaeda, which wasn't in Iraq before the invasion, made itself at home, battling Shiite militias and creating the chaos that's allowed ISIS to exist in the present day. Yes, Americans will never forget the absurd image of their head of state arriving on that aircraft carrier in a jet and disembarking in a Navy flight suit, much like a tinpot tyrant of some distant Third World dump would.
Federal prosecutors are expected to announce criminal charges against state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son as early as Monday, sources told the Daily News.
Prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office have been investigating the Long Island Republican and his son, Adam Skelos, regarding a possible conflict of interest and violations of federal corruption statutes.
The two could be hit with corruption and other charges tied to a lucrative contract awarded to an Arizona-based engineering firm that once employed Adam Skelos, 32, as a consultant, a source familiar with the matter told The News.
Two months ago, Jeb Bush was asked about some of his brother's foreign policy decisions. "I won't talk about the past," the Republican said, adding his unannounced presidential campaign is "not about re-litigating anything in the past." The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the former governor's position hasn't improved much since. " ... Bush dodged reporter's questions about how he might govern differently than his father or brother or whether his views on foreign policy differ from them ... Bush has previously said that the intelligence used to justify the start of the Iraq war was flawed, but he pushed back against a question Friday about whether his brother had made any other mistakes with his foreign policy. "I'm not going to get into that," he said. "That's not particularly relevant in a world of deep insecurity, focusing on the past is not really relevant. What's relevant is what's the role of America going forward?"
If the presidential election were held today, it wouldn't even be close. Hillary Clinton is crushing her potential Republican rivals by double digits in a new CNN/ORC International poll. The Republicans' best showing is by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who trails the former senator and secretary of state by 14 points. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who hasn't declared his candidacy yet, lags Clinton by 17 points. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are each 19 points behind Clinton.
Leonard Pitts: Twenty years ago, the idea of anti-government resistance seemed confined to a lunatic fringe operating in the shadows beyond the mainstream. Twenty years later, it is the mainstream, the beating heart of the Republican Party. And while certainly no responsible figure on the right advocates or condones what he did, it is just as certain that McVeigh's violent antipathy toward Washington, his conviction that America's government is America's enemy, has bound itself to the very DNA of modern conservatism. It lives in Grover Norquist's pledge to shrink government down until "we can drown it in the bathtub," in Chuck Norris' musing about the need for "a second American revolution," in Michele Bachmann's fear that the census is an evil conspiracy. It lives in dozens of right-wing terror plots documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center since the 1995 bombing, including last year's murder of two police officers and a Wal-Mart shopper by two anti-government activists in Las Vegas.