- “As parliamentary officials struggled with the monumental task of rebuilding the collapsed Ukrainian government, the new speaker, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, said on Tuesday that the new administration would not be in place before Thursday…With a manhunt underway for Mr. Yanukovych, the country’s most pressing problem is largely out of lawmakers’ control: a fast-approaching economic disaster that they cannot solve without international assistance.” [NYT]
- “The biggest protests since the death of the longtime leader Hugo Chávez nearly a year ago are sweeping Venezuela, rapidly expanding from the student protests that began this month on a campus in this western city into a much broader array of people across the country.” [NYT]
- “President Yoweri Museveni, who made anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda much tougher Monday, told CNN in an exclusive interview that sexual behavior is a matter of choice and gay people are ‘disgusting.'” [CNN]
- “The evangelical organization that describes itself as a Christian mafia has been the hidden hand behind Uganda’s anti-gay bill, along with Rick Warren, the gay-bashing pastor who presided at Obama’s first inauguration.” [Daily Beast]
- “The euro-area economy will continue to lag behind its main competitors, the U.S. and China, this year and next as high levels of unemployment and debt hinder the currency bloc’s recovery.” [Bloomberg]
- “Ending a carer that is among the most singular in congressional history, U.S. Rep. John Dingell—who helped pass, if not author, many of the most iconic legislative achievements of the last 60 years—will early next year, concluding a term of service to metro Detroit, Michigan and the nation unprecedented in its length and remarkable in its scope.” [Detroit Free Press]
- Don’t Whitewash the Legacy of Rep. John Dingell, D-NRA [New Republic]
- “The long-awaited simplification of the tax code being drafted by House Republicans would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation’s wealthiest households. Under the proposal, set for release Wednesday, the vast majority of taxpayers would see little change in the ultimate size of their tax bills…” [WashPost]
- “From moderates to conservatives, senior Republican aides to rank-and-file legislative hands, there are serious concerns about Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s plans to unveil politically sensitive plans to restructure the Tax Code just a touch more than eight months before Election Day.” [Politico]
- “After a series of defeats on Capitol Hill, the Republican Party’s tea-party wing has shifted its attention to congressional primaries, setting up a major test of how much the movement’s clout has been weakened.” [WSJ]
- Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is crushing challenger Matt Bevin. [Hill]
- How Covert Agents Inflitrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations [Intercept]
- Spy Chief James Clapper: We Can’t Stop Another Snowden [Daily Beast]
- American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga [Atlantic]
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Wayyy OT, but the trend to use "Let It Go" in everything from covers to parodies has finally found a winner:
It is very disconcerting how well that syncs up...
So yeah, I get home and settle in for a nice evening after a night of constantly being woken up (on-call is fun), and then I start to hear water running, and it really doesn't register that when my neighbors run a shower or their laundry, I don't hear it quite so loud, and from the hall-wards direction-ish... Water pipe broke, all my towels have been used up keeping it from my living room carpet, but I won't need the towels anyhow. No, water's off for the foreseeable future.
I blame Obama. Or the fish-people. Might be the fish-people.
@WolfBard Frozen pipes? They're big here in the midwest...
@kbanginmotown @WolfBard Doesn't look like it. The place is well-heated. The building's coming up on seven years old now and I think everything's still the original. I'm just glad how all our units are made with tile floors at the entryway. I had a levy of towels up with only a little getting through to the living room.
And of course it wasn't just Bush being an idiot. Rumsfeld who screwed up the war in Iraq was lending a hand as well.
Gates's assessment directly contradicts that of George W. Bush and leading officials of his administration, such as Gates's predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, who have consistently denied that the campaign in Iraq was in any way a distraction from Afghanistan. Rumsfeld, who in one of his less-noted but most catastrophic decisions rejected international peacekeeping troops beyond Kabul in 2002, has never acknowledged his failures to complete the task in Afghanistan. On the contrary, even as the Taliban began regrouping in 2005-06, Rumsfeld was giving speeches extolling the transformation of Afghanistan under America's "modest footprint." In October of 2006, after my colleagues at Newsweek and I authored a feature story about the return of the Taliban called "The Rise of Jihadistan," Rumsfeld directed his aide, Matt Latimer, to issue a public rebuttal to it.
My my what have we here.
Most of the fallout from Robert Gates's astonishingly frank and often bitter memoir has landed squarely on the stalwarts of the Obama administration, including the president himself, Vice President Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But, based on the excerpts released so far, the former Defense secretary appears to reserve his fiercest criticism for Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, even though it is fairly implicit.
In one devastating passage of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates writes that the optional war that Bush chose to launch in 2003—the invasion of Iraq—seriously undermined the conduct of the necessary war in Afghanistan, the conclusion of which still bedevils U.S. foreign policy today:
President Bush always detested the notion, but our later challenges in Afghanistan—especially the return of the Taliban in force by the time I reported for duty—were, I believe, significantly compounded by the invasion of Iraq. Resources and senior-level attention were diverted from Afghanistan. U.S. goals in Afghanistan—a properly sized, competent Afghan national army and police, a working democracy with at least a minimally effective and less corrupt central government—were embarrassingly ambitious and historically naive compared with the meager human and financial resources committed to the task, at least before 2009.
In a single paragraph Gates effectively sums up and validates the chief criticisms of the Bush administration's conduct of the so-called war on terror: 1) that Iraq was a serious diversion from the ongoing stabilization of Afghanistan, where the actual culprits of 9/11 were hiding out; and 2) that the effort to destroy al-Qaida and round up Osama bin Laden and his leadership team was seriously underfunded and suffered from far too little attention, especially by the time the Taliban began to regroup in a major way in the mid-2000s.
But some of Rumsfeld's own aides in the field, including Jim Dobbins—who today is Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—were saying at the time that Afghanistan was being neglected. Dobbins, Bush's former special envoy to Kabul who also led the Clinton administration's rebuilding efforts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, and Somalia, told me in an interview in 2006 that Afghanistan was the "most under-resourced nation-building effort in history." In its 2003 budget proposal, the administration included no civilian aid money for Afghanistan at all. Mitch Daniels, then Bush's budget director, later quietly slashed a congressional proposal for agricultural and educational assistance to Afghanistan from $150 million to $40 million. According to a study done later by the U.S. Institute of Peace, aid in the early years of the occupation amounted to just $67 a year per Afghan, far less than previous nation-building exercises such as Bosnia ($249) and East Timor ($256).
At the same time, worried U.S. military officials were beginning to realize that the Taliban's gradual resurgence could be traced to the abrupt diversion of so many resources to Iraq, including Predator aerial vehicles, in a critical period beginning in 2002. In February and March of 2002, the Arabic-speaking Fifth Special Forces Group—the teams that were mostly credited with toppling the Taliban in the swift war that began Oct. 7, 2001 and ended by December of that year—were largely pulled out to be redeployed in the Mideast. They were replaced by less experienced teams such as the Seventh Group, whose focus was Latin America.
Obamacare passes 4 million:
Obama takes lead on crude oil shipment safety:
@collioure Ahole. I have things to do and clients to deal with. Our objective in Afghanistan was to establish a stable alternative to the Taliban which we couldn't do because we put a corrupt drug dealer in power.
@outsider @mantisdragon91@collioureYou are right of course. Anyone who listens to chicken hawks like Krathaummer isn't deserving of a response. What pissed me off is he listens idiots who never served, while I have friends who served in the country in 2002-2004 who all say how happy the people were to be rid of the Taliban and how willing they were to fight against them. Of course then we rushed of to Iraq and left those militias unarmed and untrained to face the Taliban on their own. Combine that with the appointment of Karzai and is there any wonder why the average Afghani has no trust or respect for us.
When he gets that low, we should just poff him and warn him not to do it anymore.
I've noted that he's frequently insulting but I guess he's accumulating privileges non of us have, even.
The Bush Doctrine.
All the more reason not to let this candy ass get to you bud. That's even more reason. He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. And is looking to fight. Just leave it at that. You know better. And you've been right about this stuff since you started posting.
We all know you're right, and more importantly, you do too. Don't lower yourself to his level. He isn't worth it. I promise you.
Seems everyone in Swampland has been trying out a new concept:
Not. Gonna. Work.
I'll poff him when he's blatantly offensive, like yesterday with his rape comment, or when, again like yesterday, he horns into a conversation just to be insulting. Otherwise I'm not a fan of just poffing on sight, unless he reaches paulie level.
Which he's rapidly approaching …
I'm done with him for tonight.
Mantis, this is an exercise in futility, and you know it. Don't get egged on so easily. He's looking for a fight. No matter what you say, or how you back it up, he'll retreat to his opinion, declare you a moron, and take a victory lap.
Sh|T man, stop letting the bell make you salivate.
"...[And] how did we drift into Afghanistan? And why did we put a drug dealer in power who alienated the population against us?"
...who won't fudging leave??
@nflfoghorn Notice Curly completely ignored who put said drug dealer in power in the first place or the effect that drug dealer and his policies had on making the Taliban a viable alternative to the people of Afghanistan.