Yes, that’s right: I just gave the NRO a yep. That’s where we are. It is beyond belief that Obama, who the NRO folk would very likely identify as “Barack Hussein Obama, lately of Kenya: prove he’s not!!!,” is to the right of the very same NRO on this issue, and is making them uncomfortable with his administration’s aggressive stance on extra-judicial powers of the President. This is who we are. Unbelievable.
(via Peter Daou)
In Woodward’s account, even after Obama decided to send 30,000 more troops, the Pentagon kept coming back with plans involving 40,000. Even after he decided not to pursue an all-out counterinsurgency campaign, the Pentagon kept coming back with plans involving just that.
Obama also kept asking his generals for more options to consider. They were playing the old trick of giving the president three pseudo-options — two that were clearly unacceptable (in this case, 80,000 more troops for full counterinsurgency and 10,000 troops just to train Afghan soldiers) and the one in the middle that they wanted (40,000 more troops). They never gave him another option. When Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew up a compromise plan involving 20,000 troops (believing the president had a right to see a wide span of options, even if the military didn’t agree with them), Mullen forbade him from taking it outside the Pentagon. Obama never saw it.
In the end, Woodward reveals, Obama devised his own alternative strategy and personally wrote out its terms in a six-page, single-spaced memo that he made his top civilian and military advisers read and sign on to.
Recall that this same group of generals and their proxies were simultaneously waging a press-based war using damaging leaks against the President in the hopes of forcing his hand towards their preferred outcome(s). Now flip that to an entity that you can’t engage publicly in any way. That only the smallest subset of your advisers can even know about. And that issues you memos each and every day telling you “They’re coming!”, any one of which may turn out to be your “bin Laden determined to strike in US,” so you can’t just shut these folks out, distrustful though you may be of both them and their data, spiteful as you are of their heavy handed and blowback-inducing approaches: they own your ass. That’s what it is to be President. Even when you’re one who knows his Constitution well enough to recoil at the thought of the very extra-judicial extermination of inconvenient citizens these folks are pitching.
The only real option seems to be to contain this apparatus everywhere you can, wait for the excess and overuse to explode, and then try to ratchet this thing down. Or another large-scale attack occurs that ratchets it up even further. Or a military coup when the economy utterly collapses. Whichever.
David Miliband says he is to quit frontline politics after being pipped for the Labour leadership by younger brother Ed.
Just when you think you’ve made it, somebody comes along and pips you.
pip (5) Brit., informal
verb ( pipped , pipping ) [ trans. ] (usu. be pipped)
defeat by a small margin or at the last moment : you were just pipped for the prize.
• dated: hit or wound (someone) with a gunshot.
I see. Well, one or the other, then. Jolly well played, old sport.
He must be talking about some other, Gangsta Rap associated “Dylan” here. Perhaps Dyllan, with two Ls, the well known Dutch gangsta rapper?
- Rand Paul: The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible.
- KY Senior 1: A $2,000 deductible?
- KY Senior 2: Rand Paul wants us to pay $2,000 just to get Medicare?
- KY Senior 3: That’s crazy.
- KY Senior 4: I can’t afford that.
- Rand Paul: The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible.
- KY Senior 1: I don’t know what planet he’s from.
- KY Senior 5: Rand Paul is off the wall with a $2,000 deductible.
- KY Senior 6: Doesn’t he know that we can’t afford that.
- KY Senior 3: The more we learn about Rand Paul, the worse it gets.
- Attorney General Jack Conway: I'm Jack Conway. I approve this message.
All for them but doubt their viability. Even at the Congressional level, true “something elses” (as opposed to, say, Connecticut for Joe Lieberman partiers) are vanishingly rare, and if there were a real third-party groundswell, you’d expect to see real evidence of it. Yes, Perot got ~18% of the popular vote with no national apparatus and none of this “prior evidence” I’m calling for, but he still managed a grand total of zero in the Electoral College. The game is rigged towards the bigs (and they like it that way). Certainly such an outsider candidate is not going to win the Oval Office in 2012 unless there is an epic upheaval between now and then. Even that person would have to be on the scene by now in order to benefit from said upheval. Though I don’t doubt Palin may run as a Tea Klanner before she ever runs as a GOP nominee (and no, I don’t think she will ever have the GOP nomination), I see her as a cosmically unlikely third-party winner of the Presidency.
But I honestly don’t think Obama is for extrajudicial targeted killings. The larger security apparatus is for them, and taking on that system is essentially suicide. Even pairing back small parts of it that everyone could agree are redundant or outdated in some way is probably politically impossible in this environment. The sad truth is that zero effort has been expended in building the national conversation towards some future reassessment (maybe even a Blue Ribbon commission!) of this idiotic state of affairs in which we have a security state no one understands and certainly no one (in power, anyway) wants to questions much. The Washington Post, of all institutions, did at least make a pass at moving discussion in that direction, and it largely fell on deaf ears. And that is the true sound of our Republic dying.
But, then again, the real problem come November will have been that the “professional left” failed to quit whining and buck up.
- Barack Obama: My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards. A lot of classical music. I'm not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need. Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
- FOXnews: President of the United States Loves Gangsta Rap
Wait, starting? At any rate, we should really just buck up and quit whining about it.