Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
More from TM on Afghanistan:
The WaPo discusses the ghastly short-term political implications of McChrystal's emphasis on protecting the Afghan population rather than our own forces:
Less Peril for Civilians, but More for Troops As U.S. Toll in Afghanistan Rises, Lawmakers And Families Are Questioning New Restrictions
Concern is rising in Congress and among military families over a sharp increase in U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan at a time when senior military officials acknowledge that American service members are facing greater risks under a new strategy that emphasizes protecting Afghan civilians.
...McChrystal, in a major assessment disclosed by The Washington Post on Monday, castigated the U.S. military in Afghanistan for being "preoccupied with protection of our own forces." He wrote that U.S. and other military personnel must minimize their time in armored vehicles and walled bases and "share risk, at least equally, with the people." McChrystal also called for coalition troops to "radically increase" joint operations with Afghan forces. Both steps, he said, mean greater risk for coalition troops in the near term but could "ultimately save lives in the long run."
The problem is, the long run is a series of short runs, and sometimes you can't get there from here.
If we had strong public support for the effort in Afghanistan, or a President inclined to use his rhetorical gifts to rally some, a strategy that literally trades more deaths today for the prospect of fewer deaths down the road might be sustainable. Bush managed a similar feat (and sans the rhetorical gifts) with the surge in Iraq, which projected a short term increase in deaths with the new mission of population protection coupled with new Rues of Engagement. But as Obama would say with pride, he isn't George Bush.
Like I said before, fight the war to win or don't bother.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Minnesota's Governor has ordered a review of ACORN's ties in his home state.
Meanwhile, NY AG Andrew Cuomo opened an investigation there as well (completely foreseeable by some).
What's next? Well, the WSJ wonders aloud about Legal Armageddon.
Update: California getting in on it as well...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The House voted earlier in the day to rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his outburst during President Obama's speech last week:
The rare resolution of disapproval was pushed through by Democrats insisting that Wilson, a South Carolina lawmaker, had violated basic rules of decorum and civility in his outburst.
It's that last phrase that frys me. As noted earlier, the Left wouldn't know civility if it jumped up and bit them in the collective ass.
At least some in the House are willing to pick up where the Senate left off yesterday:
Today House Republicans will introduce a bill that would end all federal funding to ACORN and its affiliates. Republicans are also sending a letter to President Obama on the same subject.
The action comes after the release, on the website BigGovernment, of three undercover videos showing ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York City offering advice on how to evade taxes, cover up prostitution activity, and abet the use of minors in prostitution. In the wake of those disclosures, the U.S. Census cut its ties with ACORN, and yesterday the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off housing funds for the organization.
House Republicans point out that they have long pushed for a cutoff in government funding for ACORN.
Monday, September 14, 2009
After a week that would make Badluck Schleprock wince, the US Senate has voted today to defund ACORN:
The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.
The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.
What next? Well, far as I'm concerned the AG or a state Attorney General or two ought to rain down fire on these crooks and put them out of business.
The basic premise is insulting...beyond insulting:
Eight months into Barack Obama’s presidency, as criticism of his administration seems to reach new levels of volume and intensity each week, the whispers among some of his allies are growing louder: That those who loathe the nation’s first African-American president, and especially those who would deny his citizenship, are driven at least in part by racism.
Are there people on the extreme edge of this opposition? Certainly. There were people on the extreme edge of the Left's opposition to President Bush as well.
Frankly, the Left would do well to remove the log from their own eye before telling us all about the logs in ours. Not everyone who thinks Healthcare is a bad idea hates the President. Not everyone who is arguing against the largest deficits in the nation's history is a racist.
Perhaps some of us have an aversion to economic ruin; some of us think that this unsustainable spending arc needs to be resisted. Because President Obama is black? Of course not.
Because ruinous debt will kill our economy; because coming inflation will eat at American's wealth and further strain the very working families the President and his party so vociferously champion.
The vast majority of us who oppose the President's non-plan of a plan do so for a simple reason: we think it's a bad idea.
Does this sound smart to you?:
Trade relations between two of the world’s biggest economies deteriorated after Barack Obama, US president, signed an order late on Friday to impose a new duty of 35 per cent on Chinese tyre imports on top of an existing 4 per cent tariff.
Smart Presidents don't start trade wars.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
From NRO's Media Blog...just wow:
The Boston Globe was sold to the New York Times Co. for about $1 billion. The Philadelphia Inquirer was sold to Bruce Toll and the gang for about $515 million. The Chicago Sun-Times is on the block and the best offer so far is ... $5 million in cash and an agreement to pick up $20 million in debt and obligations.
Gives new meaning to "pennies on the dollar". As a former member of the industry (and one who rejoices daily at my freedom), I can't say, unfortunately, that I'm surprised.
Come to think of it, it's time for the quarterly check to see if Lee Enterprises is bankrupt yet...not that I can see but this analysis from earlier in the year is interesting.
Instapundit rounds up some of the discussion about Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during the President's speech last night. He's basically right...
UNION TRIBUNE: Sure, he was a rude jerk. But Rep. Joe Wilson has a point. “The president is right that his proposal specifically says the plan does not extend to illegal immigrants. But one of the most undercovered stories in national politics is the fact that congressional Democrats have gutted the plan’s enforcement provisions.”
I’m finding it hard to get excited about this. It was a breach of decorum and civility. But someone who says “get in their face” and “punch back twice as hard” has little standing to bring that up. If you want to benefit from traditions of civility, you should respect them, and that has hardly been a hallmark of this administration, which has gone out of its way to try to demonize and shout down opponents.
UPDATE: Video Flashback: Dems Shout And Boo At Bush During 2005 SOTU. Goose, meet gander.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Video: Obama supporters boo Bush at inauguration. Like I said, you can’t stand on decorum when you’ve acted without it.
Or maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of British-style parliamentary debate in Congress!
MORE: Reader James Somers writes:
Glenn, it might also be noted that a lot of Democrats and MSM journalists (same thing, I know) who suddenly have the vapors over Joe Wilson’s breach of decorum thought it was just dandy when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush. Sure, the journalist wasn’t a Congressman; and sure, a press conference isn’t the same as the SOTU. But that journalist became a folk hero to a lot of folks on the Angry Left – I think you actually could become a Fan of his on Facebook. The point is that lefties loved Sticking It To The Man when Chimpy McHitler was president, but now they’re prissily toting around copies of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Indeed. Sticking It To The Man is supposed to be their sole prerogative.
STILL MORE: Bill Quick: Remember When Harry Reid Called Bush a Liar?
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Rules of Engagement (Or, How we Turned a Fighting Chance to Win the War in Afghanistan into a Sure-fire Way to Lose)
Tom Maguire writes a post today that threatens to make me sick to my stomach. In Rules of Engagement, he relays the following via McClatchy Newspapers:
...four Marines died in an ambush in Afghanistan.
The four Marines were part of a US training group attached to a larger Afghan unit. The team (60 Afghan soldiers, 20 border police officers, 13 Marine and U.S. Army trainers and Mr. Landay) had arranged to meet with some village elders, but the meeting was apparently tipped to the Taliban, who prepared a deadly welcome.
In addition to the betrayal by either the village elders or the Afghan security forces, the Marines were let down by the new US rules of engagement meant to reduce civilian casualties:
U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.
Helicopters that were supposed to be available on five minutes notice took an hour to arrive.
New ROE kept US forces from engaging the Talibani ambush in a way that would have ensured it's defeat and contributed to the death of 4 US Marines. The fact that the Taliban knew the force was coming is a bigger question that of course must be addressed but is one I'm not focused on.
In 2007 while we all debated the Surge in Iraq, I first came to recognize the self-limiting nature of US Rules of Engagement thanks to the contributions at Captain's Journal. Herschel Smith succinctly summarized the negative effect the then-current ROE's were having. The problem was two-fold.
Not only were there not enough forces in place to provide the security we wanted and the country needed, the ROE's under which forces were acting kept them from engaging insurgents and Al-Qaeda in any meaningful way that would further our strategic goals. I see a glimpse of something similar in this situation.
I've never accepted the parallels that some have drawn between Vietnam and Iraq and I certainly don't agree that there are any between Vietnam and Afghanistan in the larger sense. Maybe between the Soviet occupation and our current situation (though Fred Kagan goes a long way to debunking that notion here) but most definitely no to any thought that Afghanistan must ultimately end like Vietnam did.
However, adopting ROE's that do nothing to further your strategic objectives, that are so focused on creating no collateral damage--worthy in and of itself--that your own forces are exposed to greater risks is counter-productive. Wars must be fought to be won or there is no reason to fight them.
Mark Tapscott notes today that Congress has positioned itself to conveniently fore go any public option in health-care reform.
As I noted last night on Facebook when I saw that the President is doubling-down on the public option, I don't think he's this dumb; in fact, I think he's pretty smart, for the most part politically savvy but certainly he thinks he's always the smartest guy in the room. If that's the case, it may be the best of both worlds--hubris.
His health-care reform effort is in the ditch and if he truly is going to double-down on one of the single least-popular components then he risks running his entire Presidency into a ditch.
The key point of course being that the public option is not popular. People don't want it. If health-care reform passes with a public option and Congress exempts themselves, they will unleash a firestorm. The blowback will be intense. Perhaps historic?
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
More like strategic Bull-shot...the country's smartest VP-ever, Joe Biden, on the stimulus yesterday:
"...the fact is, the Recovery Act is a multi-faceted piece of legislation. It doesn't reflect a lack-of-design, that was the design, that was it's intended design.
Our economy is so complex and so wounded that re-invigorating one segment alone or using one tool alone would never, would never do all that needed to be done. The Recovery Act is not a single silver-bullet. I think of it as silver-buckshot as opposed to a single bullet.
In 200 days the President's Recover & Reinvestment Act isn't just working towards something...see it isn't just working, it's working towards something, it's working toward a more resilient, more transformative economy."
It's BS alright, silver or otherwise...
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Hugh Hewitt asks for analysis of yesterday's interview with AARP's legislative director David Cetner. Sure, why not? It might be fun.
Well, I've listened to it, I've given the transcript a cursory glance to see if there's anything I missed and I'm not coming up with any glaring omissions...theres not really anything to analyze. I'm not sure he answered even a single question.
He talked a lot, certainly but answers? Not that I heard...
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
For whom the bell tolls...well, it's not a bell it's a clock and according to Byron York it ticks for Charlie Rangel:
It hasn’t gotten much attention amid news of Ted Kennedy, Obamacare and the worsening outlook in Afghanistan, but an extraordinary situation is developing in the House of Representatives. With each passing day, it’s becoming more clear that the powerful committee chairman in charge of writing America’s tax laws is a financial wheeler-dealer, a serial asset-hider, and a tax offender. . . .
Last week, we learned that Rangel filed a grossly misleading financial disclosure report for 2007 — failing to report at least half a million dollars in assets.
It turns out Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 — and didn’t report it. He had investment accounts worth about the same, which he also didn’t report. Ditto for three pieces of property in New Jersey.
Beyond that, we’ve learned that Rangel has failed to report assets totaling more than $1 million on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to at least 2001.
The news comes on top of revelations last year that Rangel didn’t report — and didn’t pay taxes on — income from a villa in the Caribbean. In that matter, the Internal Revenue Service gave him sweetheart treatment; Rangel paid about $10,000 in back taxes but was not required to pay any penalty or interest.
The crook needs to go...