Political Link List: October 30, 2012

New York Times: Both Romney and Obama Avoid Talk of Climate Change (by John M. Broder)
Key passage: “Any serious effort to address climate change will require a transformation of the nation’s system for producing and consuming energy and will, at least in the medium term, mean higher prices for fuel and electricity. Powerful incumbent industries — coal, oil, utilities — are threatened by such changes and have mounted a well-financed long-term campaign to sow doubt about climate change. The Koch brothers and others in the oil industry have underwritten advertising campaigns and grass-roots efforts to support like-minded candidates. And the Republican Party has essentially declared climate change a nonproblem.”

The Washington Post’s series about the federal counter-terrorism apparatus: “The Permanent War”

  1. Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists (by Greg Miller)
    Key passage:
    “Obama approves the criteria for lists and signs off on drone strikes outside Pakistan, where decisions on when to fire are made by the director of the CIA. But aside from Obama’s presence at “Terror Tuesday” meetings — which generally are devoted to discussing terrorism threats and trends rather than approving targets — the president’s involvement is more indirect.” 
  2. A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy (by Karen DeYoung)
    Key passage:
    “Brennan is leading efforts to curtail the CIA’s primary responsibility for targeted killings. Over opposition from the agency, he has argued that it should focus on intelligence activities and leave lethal action to its more traditional home in the military, where the law requires greater transparency. Still, during Brennan’s tenure, the CIA has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and opened a new base for armed drones in the Arabian Peninsula. Although he insists that all agencies have the opportunity to weigh in on decisions, making differing perspectives available to the Oval Office, Brennan wields enormous power in shaping decisions on “kill” lists and the allocation of armed drones, the war’s signature weapon.” 
  3. Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations (by Craig Whitlock)
    Key passage:
    “In Washington, the Obama administration has taken a series of steps to sustain the drone campaign for another decade, developing an elaborate new targeting database, called the “disposition matrix,” and a classified “playbook” to spell out how decisions on targeted killing are made. Djibouti is the clearest example of how the United States is laying the groundwork to carry out these operations overseas. For the past decade, the Pentagon has labeled Lemonnier an “expeditionary,” or temporary, camp. But it is now hardening into the U.S. military’s first permanent drone war base.”

Key passage: “It's a simple, eternal political truism: Democrats are less likely to turn out to vote than Republicans. It's reflected in the difference between polls of registered voters and those of likely voters -- in Gallup's latest survey, for example, Obama and Romney were tied, 47-47, among registered voters, but Romney led 50-46 among likely voters. If the Obama campaign, through organization and elbow grease, can drive more of those less-likely voters to the polls, the president's chances get better.”

Key passage: “In the view of most specialists, the danger to United States territory from Al Qaeda and its allies is far less than it was in 2001. Al Qaeda’s leaders have been relentlessly hunted, its ideology was rejected by most of the young Muslims who led the Arab revolts, and its recruits in the United States have been few. Of more than 160,000 homicides in the country since Sept. 11, 2001, just 14 were carried out by Qaeda sympathizers in the name of jihad.”