Doubling Down

I have nothing but bad feelings about the addition of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Watching Michael O’Hanlon on the evening news was like a punch to the gut- we’ve been down this road before.

At what point are O’Hanlon and Pollack every going to be discredited enough that their expert advice is no longer solicited? Why are they even on tv anymore? How long before they have an op-ed in the NY Times pushing for more troops, more money, more of their favorite wars?



Get Off My Grass

Am I the only one who gets pissed off when people send me emails marked as urgent? Isn’t that pretty damned presumptuous? Shouldn’t I be the one that gets to determine it is urgent? And if it is so damned important, call me.

And it really pisses me off when it is marked as urgent and turns out to be a mass mailing and it has NOTHING to do with me.

And one more thing. Ed Schultz just spent fifteen minutes talking about the party crashers, and actually said “What is one of them were a ninja? Obama could have been killed.”

Just shoot me.








A Village Story

This story was hand-made for DougJ:

Chelsea Clinton, the 29-year old daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has become engaged to her longtime boyfriend, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky.

***

Mezvinsky is a son of former Pennsylvania Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and former Iowa Rep. Ed Mezvinsky, longtime friends of the Clintons. Ed Mezvinsky was released from federal prison last year after pleading guilty in 2002 to charges of bank and wire fraud.

***

The couple became friends as teenagers in Washington and both attended Stanford University. They now live in New York, where Mezvinsky works at Goldman Sachs and Clinton is attending graduate school at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.

Whenever you find the nexus of money and power, Goldman Sachs will be involved.








The Last Eight Years Never Happened

Fred Barnes:

You can’t fight a successful war unless the commander-in-chief is fully committed to it. So President Obama’s chief task in his speech Tuesday night on Afghanistan is to make it absolutely clear that he is.

***

It’s true that Obama championed Afghanistan as the “good war” in his presidential campaign last year. And as recently as August, he called it “a war of necessity.” But his painful, three-month deliberation on what to do in Afghanistan severely undermined his prior statements.

The point is legitimate doubts about Obama’s tenacity in Afghanistan — his level of commitment — abound in the military, among allies whom Obama wants to deploy more troops, and with the American public. More than anything else, he needs to lay those doubts to rest in his address.

So despite the fact that the previous administration almost completely ignored Afghanistan for the last two terms, and the fact that it was Obama who immediately rushed more supplies and personnel to Afghanistan upon his inauguration, because Obama has not immediately followed through with the next neo-con wet dream and instead took a couple months to determine the best course of action, he has a credibility problem.

Up is down with these people, and I simply can’t believe they can say or write this crap without bursting out in laughter. They have to know how full of shit they are. They just have to.

And again, Sullivan:

If he does the full metal neocon as he is being urged to, he should not be deluded in believing the GOP will in any way support him. They will oppose him every step of every initiative. They will call him incompetent if Afghanistan deteriorates, they will call him a terrorist-lover if he withdraws, they will call him a traitor if he does not do everything they want, and they will eventually turn on him and demand withdrawal, just as they did in the Balkans with Clinton. Obama’s middle way, I fear, is deeper and deeper into a trap, and the abandonment of a historic opportunity to get out.

Is there any doubt that this is exactly what is going to happen?



Dickmentum, continued

Steve Benen makes a good point about the Dickmentum that Jon Meacham is feeling right now:

Indeed, rank-and-file Republicans were asked in a new poll about who best reflects the party’s principles. Just one chose Dick Cheney — not 1 percent, I mean one individual person.

Republicans deserve a lot of condemnation for making Bush their 2000 nominee and for generally supporting Bush-Cheney policies until the bitter end. But Republican voters never really chose Dick Cheney. Bush won the primary in 2000 before Cheney chose himself to be vice-president, of course. For the first four years of the Bush administration, Cheney had his way with a dumb and weak president. However, by many accounts, from 2005-2008, even this weak and dumb president rejected many of Cheney’s foreign policy ideas (I buy into the idea that the Cheneyites would have gone into Iran but the Condiites managed to nix it, I realize not everyone believes this).

I’m sure that there’s all kinds of polling showing that Republicans are expressing or have expressed reasonable levels of approval for Cheney. That doesn’t prove anything. The party functioned as a Bush personality cult for many years and some amount of support for Cheney was bound to be a byproduct of that. If Republican voters thought of Cheney as the heart and soul of the party now, there would be more than one person in a sample of a 804 who thought he best reflected the party principles.

The disconnect between the Village and the voters here is near total. It isn’t just that Cheney is disliked by the public at large, it’s that rank-and-file Republicans don’t even love him that much.

Cheney is probably too monstrous for outside-the-beltway wingers, as crazy as they are. But he’s not too monstrous for the Village.



Just Spreading the Word of God

I’d like someone to ask the folks living at the C-Street Christian Brothel about this:

Members of the Family have occupied seats in both houses of Congress going back to the 1930s, but for all but its most recent history, the hallmark of the Family has been secrecy. In the past year, however, three sex scandals involving highly placed associates — Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.; Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; and Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss. — have thrust the group and its C Street house into the national spotlight.

And just this month, Family members Rep. Bart Stupak, a Catholic Democrat from Michigan, and Rep. Joe Pitts, an evangelical Republican from Pennsylvania, brought more attention to the secretive group when their Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed as part of the House health-care reform bill, threatening to further restrict abortion funding for the poor, if it remains in the final bill. (Pitts, like all his GOP colleagues, voted against the bill, even though it included his amendment.)

But what many people may find surprising is that the Family has branches around the world. In fact, yesterday, Jeff Sharlet, author of “The Family: Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” reported on NPR’s “Fresh Air” that it was a Family member in the Ugandan parliament who introduced a bill that would increase the punishment for homosexuality from life imprisonment, which is the maximum sentence today, to death.

Then again, we wouldn’t want to give Bart Stupak any ideas for more poison pill amendments.








Open Thread

fuddmain, Anhinga.

anhinga

Jeff, Black Rhinoceros Spraying a Trail.

rhinoceros-spraying-a-trail

Email me a link to your one or two favorite pics on a photo site like Flickr (do not send the image itself please) and I will put up favorites in open threads. Send a short caption if you want one.

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