Good Morning Sky Dancers!
You know it’s just another week in Drumpfistan when I’ve got this old song by the Temptations stuck in my head.
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation,
humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball Of Confusion that’s what the world is today (yeah, yeah)
The sale of pills is at an all time high
young folks walkin’ ’round with their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors,
Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke out Saturday at the U.S. Summit of Women in L.A. Her big question was this. ‘What is going on in our heads where we let that happen?’ Indeed.
“In light of this last election, I’m concerned about us as women and how we think,” she said at the event. “What is going on in our heads where we let that happen, you know?”
In the 2016 election, 54 percent of women voted for Clinton, though that figure was sharply divided by race.
“When the most qualified person running was a woman, and look what we did instead, I mean that says something about where we are,” Obama said, referencing President Trump‘s victory in the 2016 election. “That’s what we have to explore, because if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men … if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to … what, then we have to have those conversations with ourselves as women.”
Obama encouraged women to have high aspirations, but went on to add that she wished “girls could fail as bad as men do and still be OK.”
“Watching men fail up is frustrating. It is frustrating watching men blow it, and win,” she later added while discussing standards for women.
Obama also touched on the importance of education for women and encouraging young girls to speak their minds.
The United State of Women describes itself on its website as a “national organization for any woman who sees that we need a different America for all women to survive and thrive.”
Nothing has made me more sharply aware of my white womaness than this last damned presidential race. Black women were not fooled and they worked hard to get Clinton elected down here in Louisiana. Many white woman simply will not Surrender the Ivory Pedestal. Figuring this out and correcting it is something only white women can do with each other. Making sure that we do not disenfranchise the women of color around us is our challenge.
Why does any white woman vote for some one like this? This is from Republican Whisperer Jonathan Swan writing for Axios. These candidates make me feel like we’re still choosing sides in the Civil War. Where do they come from?
Republicans in D.C. are panicking over Tuesday’s West Virginia Senate primary.
The problem: Don Blankenship, a coal baron who’s spent time in prison, is running a demagogic campaign in which he’s repeatedly invoked the Chinese heritage of Mitch McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
- He’s also taken to calling McConnell “cocaine Mitch” in his ads — which, according to Politico, “is in reference to a 2014 report that drugs were once found aboard a shipping vessel owned by McConnell’s in-laws; however, he always found the products from https://urinedrugtesthq.com/whizzinator-review/ to pass his drug tests in one day.”
- Blankenship is outspending his opponents on TV and has a ton of his own money to play with. He’s aired one ad that refers to “China people,” which you can watch here (or not).
- And yet … he’s gaining in the polls and may win on Tuesday.
Blankenship is a doozy of a candidate. Even KKKremlin Caligula fears a repeat of Alabama’s Roy Moore. This is from Emily Stewart writing for VOX,
Blankenship is running against Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to be the Republican nominee to challenge Manchin in the fall. Their primary race is Tuesday, May 8. His credentials, and campaign tactics, have Republicans on edge about the prospect of him potentially becoming the party’s nominee.
Blankenship is a former coal baron who ran a company, Massey Energy, found to be violating federal safety regulations when a 2010 mining explosion killed 29 people, marking the worst coal disaster in 40 years. Blankenship stepped down after the incident but years later was indicted on conspiring to willfully violate federal mining regulations before the accident and lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission after it happened. He was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and served one year in prison, and was released in May 2017.
There’s a behind the scenes look at this Hillbilly shoot out also at Vox by Dylan Scott. This is for the seat held by Joe Manchin who is the Democrat we count on when we need a senate majority and little else.
Blankenship is, in many ways, an only-in-West-Virginia story. He grew up in Mingo County and got his college degree from Marshall University. He rose through the ranks at the Massey coal company, helping build it into one of the largest mining outfits in the country. By 2010, he was making nearly $20 million a year.
But then on April 5, 2010, 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia.
Blankenship stepped down soon after, but four years later, federal prosecutors indicted him on conspiring to willfully violate federal mining regulations before the accident and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its aftermath.
The investigation laid bare Blankenship’s cutthroat vision of capitalism. This was a businessman who broke unions, laughed off climate change, despised federal regulations, and described his industry in Darwinian imagery.
It’s an interesting read from there on out and I recommend it because this race will stay in the news for some time. I don’t even think I’ve been to West Virginia so all I can do is watch and wonder.
Meanwhile, black men are trying to figure out what it means to be Kanye. It’s the ongoing necessary discussion of what it means to be black in America. Again, I’m watching this all with an eye to being understanding and checking my own frames. I’ve also learned a lot by watching this new video by Donald Glover. This thread on Twitter is worth reading.
Even his accouterment felt beyond me—the studded jacket, the sparkling glove, the leather pants—raiment of the divine, untouchable by me, a mortal child who squinted to see past Saturday, who would not even see Motown 25 until it was past 30, who would not even own a copy of Thriller until I was a grown man, who no longer believed in miracles, and knew in my heart that if the black man’s God was not dead, he surely was dying.
And he had always been dying—dying to be white. That was what my mother said, that you could see the dying all over his face, the decaying, the thinning, that he was disappearing into something white, desiccating into something white, erasing himself, so that we would forget that he had once been Africa beautiful and Africa brown, and we would forget his pharaoh’s nose, forget his vast eyes, his dazzling smile, and Michael Jackson was but the extreme of what felt in those post-disco years to be a trend. Because when I think of that time, I think of black men on album covers smiling back at me in Jheri curls and blue contacts and I think of black women who seemed, by some mystic edict, to all be the color of manila folders. Michael Jackson might have been dying to be white, but he was not dying alone. There were the rest us out there, born, as he was, in the muck of this country, born in The Bottom. We knew that we were tied to him, that his physical destruction was our physical destruction, because if the black God, who made the zombies dance, who brokered great wars, who transformed stone to light, if he could not be beautiful in his own eyes, then what hope did we have—mortals, children—of ever escaping what they had taught us, of ever escaping what they said about our mouths, about our hair and our skin, what hope did we ever have of escaping the muck? And he was destroyed. It happened right before us. God was destroyed, and we could not stop him, though we did love him, we could not stop him, because who can really stop a black god dying to be white?
Kanye is deconstructed thusily:
And he is a god, though one born of a different time and a different need. Jackson rose in the last days of enigma and wonder; West, in an accessible age, when every fuck is a tweet and every defecation a status update. And perhaps, in that way, West has done something more remarkable, more amazing than Jackson, because he is a man of no mystery, overexposed, who holds the world’s attention through simply the consistent, amazing, near-peerless quality of his work.
West is 40 years old, a product of the Crack era and Reaganomic Years, a man who remembers the Challenger crash and The Cosby Show before syndication. But he never fell into the bitterness of his peers. He could not be found chasing ghosts, barking at Soulja Boy, hectoring Lil Yachty, and otherwise yelling at clouds. To his credit, West seemed to remember rappers having to defend their music as music against the withering fire of their elders. And so while, today, you find some of these same artists, once targets, adopting the sanctimonious pose of the arthritic jazz-men whom they vanquished, you will not find Yeezy among them, because Yeezy never got old.
Maybe that was the problem.
Coates argues that West is dying for ‘white freedom’.
I see these guys–Prince for that matter too–as men in a country that is deeply troubled and yet oddly awed by black male sexuality and strength. I harken back to the days of Boney M when we were all allowed to demonstrate a bit of that obvious human need for sex and Boney M looked like Prince with a lower level of production value. But, the shock and awe of black male sexuality harkens more back to slavery. This is why Glover’s video has images that both remind us of Black Lives Matter and Django.
The Drumpf occupation of the Oval Office keeps sorting us up into tribes then pitting us against each other. It’s a long standing tradition in the white patriarchy to do that so that’s no surprise. What is a surprise is that it still works when so many of us are educated, aware of what’s going on in the world, and have choices.
So, since Der Hair Fury has suggested he might be holding a summit on Race Relations it seems appropriate to review the granddaddy of these kinds of efforts. ‘The 1968 Kerner Commission report harshly described a country increasingly polarized by race. Its findings inspired positive change, but also more polarization. ‘ This is from The Daily Beast and dated from last month. This is the tale of how The Fair Housing Act was passed and the role of a Republican in doing it in House Committee. It also reminds us how fragile even our laws can be as one Black Cabinet member enabled by a hell of a lot of Republicans is trying to water it down.
People movin’ out, people movin’ in.
Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run, but you sho’ can’t hide
These short-term victories—more effective policing, improved media coverage, and passage of the Fair Housing Act—were significant for the commission’s report, but its long-term legacy is less clear. Lindsay and Harris had fought for a summary that would grab attention and generate flashy headlines. Soon they began to worry that reporters were focusing only on the report’s most provocative language and ignoring its detailed descriptions of the problems facing America’s cities. Harris recalled that he knew the commission had a perception problem after talking to his father, a small farmer in southwestern Oklahoma who had worked hard his whole life and had little to show for it. Based on the media reports he had seen, his father interpreted the report as saying, “You should pay more taxes to help out the black people who are rioting in Detroit.” That did not make a lot of sense to his dad. “I’m already paying a lot in taxes and getting nothing for it,” he responded. “Why doesn’t someone pay attention to me? Is it because I’m not rioting?”
Lindsay was probably right in believing it necessary to include striking language in the summary about “two societies” and “white racism” to ensure that the report would garner the attention it deserved. But the downside to this strategy was that the summary distracted attention from the heart of the report—the thoughtful narrative about the cause of the riots and the detailed, statistical evidence to support the existence of persistent discrimination. Lindsay and Harris assumed that racism persisted because most middle-class whites were unaware that it existed, and they thought that if confronted with clear evidence that discrimination imposed undue hardship on African Americans, white suburbanites would embrace new social programs, accept higher taxes, and demand more aggressive efforts to integrate their communities. “I believe that white people in America are decent people,” Harris told the New York Times in February 1968, and that “if they can be shown the terrible conditions in which other Americans live and how this threatens our society, they will join together to try to solve these problems.”
Today, I wonder how many white women are “decent people”. Surely, the majority of us are but what is going on with the group that’s larger than it really should be? Let’s take this one for example that once again proves that really, I would never vote for just any or this particular vagina bearer. From the Des Moines Register: The nation’s strictest abortion ban is now law. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill.” Goddamn! Iowa! Really?
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday signed into law the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation, surrounded by toddler-toting supporters.
As Reynolds inked the bill, backers’ cheers nearly drowned out the echoing chorus of “My body, my choice” shouted by protesters just outside the door.
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds said from her formal office before signing a bill that will outlaw nearly all abortions in the state. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that’s what I’m doing today.”
Senate File 359 will take effect July 1, though Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said they plan to quickly challenge the law.
Under the legislation, physicians will be barred from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Experts said that heartbeat can be heard about six weeks into a pregnancy — often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.
What matter of insanity causes a white woman to do this?
So,let me stir this pot a bit more. From the Guardian: Kei Miller essay about white women sparks tensions among Caribbean writers. Miller’s essay has been withdrawn after divisive reception, but supporters say it is part of a necessary conversation about race and privilege. Kei is a black man from Jamaica.
Miller’s essay, The White Women and the Language of Bees, was published last week in Pree, a new magazine highlighting writers from the Caribbean. Asking “how many years and decades must pass before we can belong to a place and to its words? How much time before we can write it?”, the essay saw the Forward prize-winning author discuss his interactions with four white women writers from the region, evaluating their books, and the way they have interacted with the local literary community.
“Was she really afraid? Was she nervous about people like me reading her book and throwing words like ‘appropriation’ about? Am I a part of her anxiety?” he wrote of one. In another scene, he imagines one of the women telling another: “You can’t be writing this place and putting the wrong words in people’s mouths. This rock is not made of granite or limestone, but with words. You must be given the right words. And these, my dear sister, are things you have yet to learn.”
The essay drew both praise and condemnation from writers. Rhoda Bharath called it “a necessary addition to the global cultural conversations around identity, appropriation and privilege”, while Veerle Poupeye wrote, in an open letter to Miller, that “parts of the essay are indeed breathtaking, because of the writing and because of the sublime insights you offer”, but took issue with Miller’s publication of private conversations, his focus on white women and not white men, and his representation of the women in the essay.
Judy Raymond said: “Almost everything that has happened since Kei’s essay has been based on emotion. It’s clear we need to have urgent conversations about race, racism, gender and privilege. Instead, careers and friendships are being broken and those conversations are being replaced by the verbal equivalent of hurricanes.”
So, yeah … good luck to Herr DrumpfsterFire and his Race Relations Summit. I’m sure Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway will be put in charge of it.
One of President Donald Trump’s most trusted black advisers wants the president to hold a summit on race relations at the White House with rapper Kanye West.
Darrell Scott, a pastor from Cleveland, is scheduled to meet with the president on Thursday to discuss his proposal for the summit, which would also include other prominent artists and athletes, Politico reported.
Scott said the summit would be “totally unscripted” and no topic would be “off the table.” He’s reportedly pitching the summit alongside Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and an aide in the White House Office of Public Liaison.
Some one drop a mic please.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I’m still recovering from whatever flu virus hit me last weekend. I do have my voice back and I’m coughing a bit less so I’m beginning to catch up with reading this and that. I stayed in bed with hot tea and a marathon of “Drunk History” while trying to figure out if the noise I was hearing last night was gunfire or fireworks. I have no idea what the mix of one to the other was. That’s one of those things that keeps me indoors on NY’s Eve because I really don’t want to be the one out there gathering the data. Most folks try not to think about about it.
One of the things that always amazes me is how vulnerable people are to wishful thinking and things easily demonstrated to be complete bullshit. I suppose I suffer the hubris of the scholar on this account. I didn’t have access to the internet in my home until 1980 but you generally could find me in whichever library housed the government documents drop. Yes, the University of Nebraska libraries had huge basements dedicated to the stuff at one time and I was a basement dweller. Now it’s all on spreadsheets on my hard drive. It really doesn’t take much to figure out what is what. However, everything experiences variation and intellect and curiosity are no different.
I guess the same thing that makes folks vulnerable to religion also makes them vulnerable to political myth. My first experience with all the ploy to keep people well-behaved and hopeful was as a child when I learned my parents were deliberately lying to me about Santa Claus for my sister’s sake. I later studied 3rd and 4th century Roman history and lost religion. It’s basically the same MO but with much better data. But the Santa episode really sunk in. I went to the basement, screamed at myself for being so stupid then wondered what else they’d been lying to me about. Well, it turned out that it was about a lot of things that I could easily find out about in my handy dandy local library’s reference section. I’ve spent my professional and personal life gleaning through data looking for truths. I hate being taken in.
We’ve all been stumped about why Donald Trump could gain ground in any national level political race. He says things that are blatantly hateful and false, yet he gains ground. Polls showing his demographics illustrate his base. It’s basically the ugly underbelly of the US that shows up in our history quite frequently. These folks love being taken in.
He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm.
Mr. Trump’s huge advantage among these groups poses a challenge for his campaign, because it may not have the turnout operation necessary to mobilize irregular voters
The Civis estimates are based on interviews with more than 11,000 Republican-leaning respondents since August. The large sample, combined with statistical modeling techniques, presents the most detailed examination yet of the contours of Mr. Trump’s unusual coalition.
We’ve seen this set of nutcases before. It appears to be the return of the Reagan coalition. This turns my mind back to the Santa Claus story, and for that matter, any particular dead religious figure you can conjure up that people have turned into something not quite like the original narrative. Ronald Reagan was an affable fool. Any economist that has studied the time period and his policies will tell you a completely different, data-based narrative than most of the people taken in by him. BB sent me this link a few days ago. I’ve only been able to really digest it today.
Any of us that have intensely studied some aspect of his regime–in my case the economic data–know that the myth is no where close to the truth. These narratives always seem to serve the current group of rich, powerful, assholes. It doesn’t matter if you’re told to submit yourself to your husband or master or render unto Rome, it’s pretty much the same thing. These so-called populist heroes lead sheep to slaughter.
Ronald Reagan was not only intellectually ungifted, he was incurious and ignorant about the details of the day. It’s amazing to me that as historians go back and sift through their form of data on the ground, so little of it manages to take down the public id. The link to Salon takes you to an excerpt from “The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton” by WILLIAM LEUCHTENBURG whose thesis on Reagan is summed up thusily: “No one ever entered the White House so grossily ill-informed”. This says a lot given he was followed relatively shortly by Dubya Bush who didn’t even appear to have a command of his primary language let alone nuanced policy. Remember, Dubya’s the guy that declared war on a lot of Muslim-majority countries without a real grasp of the difference between Sunni and Shia let alone the minority ones.
No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself. On one occasion, asked why he advocated putting missiles in vulnerable places, he responded, his face registering bewilderment, “I don’t know but what maybe you haven’t gotten into the area that I’m going to turn over to the secretary of defense.” Frequently, he knew nothing about events that had been headlined in the morning newspaper. In 1984, when asked a question he should have fielded easily, Reagan looked befuddled, and his wife had to step in to rescue him. “Doing everything we can,” she whispered. “Doing everything we can,” the president echoed. To be sure, his detractors sometimes exaggerated his ignorance. The publication of his radio addresses of the 1950s revealed a considerable command of facts, though in a narrow range. But nothing suggested profundity. “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”In all fields of public affairs—from diplomacy to the economy—the president stunned Washington policymakers by how little basic information he commanded. His mind, said the well-disposed Peggy Noonan, was “barren terrain.” Speaking of one far-ranging discussion on the MX missile, the Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, an authority on national defense, reported, “Reagan’s only contribution throughout the entire hour and a half was to interrupt somewhere at midpoint to tell us he’d watched a movie the night before, and he gave us the plot from War Games.” The president “cut ribbons and made speeches. He did these things beautifully,” Congressman Jim Wright of Texas acknowledged. “But he never knew frijoles from pralines about the substantive facts of issues.” Some thought him to be not only ignorant but, in the word of a former CIA director, “stupid.” Clark Clifford called the president an “amiable dunce,” and the usually restrained columnist David Broder wrote, “The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan’s ears is a challenging one for his aides.”
I actually was convinced that Reagan was so obviously ignorant and wrong about so many things that you could run any one against him and he’d never get a second term. I was obviously young and not jaded enough to grasp the demographic that supported him because they believed what they wanted to believe because he told them so in such a “nice” way. Now, this same group of yahoos is angry and they believe what Donald Trump tells them because they believe what they want to believe because he tells them in such an “angry” way. ‘Morning in America’ does sound an awful lot like ‘Make America Great Again’ doesn’t it? All of this is basically code for ‘Save White Privilege’ even if I don’t really benefit that much from it. As long you as you can make me feel superior to (fill in the blank), I’ll wishfully hope and then vote for you.
I try to tell myself that there’s no way that Donald Trump could ever be elected but then I would not be learning from my obviously wrong hypothesis that Ronald Reagan could ever get a second term. Reagan raised taxes. He ran up the deficit hugely. There’s the Reagan “recession” and there was Iran Contra which all of these folks conveniently never heard about or forgot when they voted for the affable buffoon. The same demographic could care less about Trump’s lies and the tremendous internet base of fact checking.
But in this year’s presidential campaign, the fact checkers say one candidate has achieved truth-bending royalty.
“This is the first time we have named someone the ‘King of Whoppers,'” Eugene Kiely of FactCheck.org said.
Donald Trump earned that crown with the biggest whopper of 2015:
“I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said in a Birmingham, Alabama, rally in November 21.
The fact checkers found evidence of just a few people celebrating. But that wasn’t the only tall Trump tale of the year.
“He’s certainly keeping us busy… It is the worst that we have seen in the 12 years we have been doing this,” Kiely said.
“You know, the president’s thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away,” Trump said at a South Carolina rally on October 19.
Then in New Hampshire, on September 30: “You know, it started off with 10,000. The other day I heard 200,000. We are going to take in 200,000 Syrians or wherever they come from,” Trump said.
“It’s just way over what the actual number is,” Kiely explains.
It’s not like this isn’t pointed out daily in places other than newspapers that none of Trump’s demographic appear to read. Bernie Sanders mentioned it just a few days ago.
“It appears that Donald Trump, a pathological liar, simply cannot control himself. He lies, lies and lies again. Today, he repeated his lie that I want to raise taxes to 90 percent. Totally untrue. And PolitiFact gave Trump’s same statement last October a ‘Pants-on-Fire’ rating.
Even Trumps Republican opponents point this out. Unfortunately, the most verbal are Kasich and Jeb who appear to be on their way out the door.
Bush talked to CNN on Wednesday and reinforced his point from the debate that Trump is “not a serious candidate.”
“I got to post up against Donald Trump,” Bush said. “I don’t think he’s a serious candidate.”
He added, “And I don’t know why others don’t feel compelled to point that out, but I did. And I think I got a chance to express my views and compare them to someone who talks a big game but really hasn’t thought it through.”
But, again, the only candidates gaining traction in the Republican field are the “know nothings”. This includes Marco Rubio who has to be as intellectually ungifted as the gipper and is taken somewhat seriously despite the stupid and despite a very shady history of deal making for shady people.
Didn’t we say all this about a gawky rogue presidential candidate named Barack Obama? Sure. But Obama had the advantage of not looking and sounding like a complete fucking idiot. Obama was on the Harvard Law Review, not the Santa Fe Community College football team. Then again, that’s not really fair to community collegians and football players: Plenty of each are smart enough to run the country. It just so happens that Rubio isn’t one of them.
For proof, simply look to Rubio’s campaign message, a bizarre simulacrum of “hope and change” focus-grouped by Red Stripe-swilling blue blazers who are slightly scared of hope and change because they’ve witnessed its power but never fully understood its appeal, like those crouched simians sizing up the galactic monolith in 2001.
I will also admit that I didn’t think Obama was going to be as good of a President as he has turned out to be. I really thought he’d continue to let the Republicans play him like a violin, but he learned, and learned well. His last few years defy the lame duck theory.
So, I’m doing a mea culpa on the two failed hypotheses today just because I do not want to be lulled into a third one. We clearly have one great candidate that is experienced, flawed, and capable. Then, we have a set of figures that look religiously mythical, are supported by people who have a lot to gain from populist ignorance, and appear to be impossibly unqualified for making national policy on all levels. They may have one area upon which they are knowledgeable but most have absolutely nothing but being able to say blatantly wrong things because they have no clue how wrong they actually are.
Work in the right campaigns and vote in 2016. Don’t make me write another mea culpa in 2017. Please.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
And, have a great NEW YEAR!!! I love you all!!!
Thirty years ago from 1985 and deep from Reagan d0o d0o land.
It sounds like there won’t be any surprises in the latest “inspirational” speech by the
King President. All the newspapers already know what he’s going to say. The New York Times says Obama is “opting for a faster pullout,” but they say he’ll only withdraw 10,000 troops this year.
President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision. These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public.
The president is scheduled to speak about the Afghanistan war from the White House at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan. But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
According to Josh Gerstein at Politico, Obama’s speech will address multiple audiences who are in disagreement about what to do about the war in Afghanistan.
His address comes at a time when public skepticism about the war is building. A Pew Research Center poll out Tuesday showed a record high 56 percent of Americans want the troops out as soon as possible, up from 40 percent a year ago.
Keeping the American people on board is a major challenge for Obama. But he’ll also be speaking to a number of smaller audiences in the U.S. who have a stake in the outcome of the mission — and some of them are starkly at odds about the best path forward.
The Republican Party is growing more restive about the war, liberals are hoping for a more rapid pull-out, and the military brass worries that politics might mess up a fight they think they’re winning.
Gerstein says that many military officers think they are winning and that this pullout may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so to speak. On the other hand, higher ups in the Pentagon are relieved that he isn’t pulling out even faster.
Some Republicans are beginning to turn against the war, but others like John McCain and Lindsey Graham are still gung ho. He also has to consider Republican presidential candidates, some of whom–Romney, Huntsman, Paul–are critical of the continuing involvement in the Middle East.
Gerstein claims that Obama is also considering the views of Democrats, which I strongly doubt. Gerstein mentions Carl Levin:
Among Democratic supporters of Obama’s overall policy in Afghanistan, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman has been one of the most explicit about what he wants to see: at least 15,000 troops out by the end of this year. Doing less “wouldn’t be the ‘significant’ cut Obama pledged in April and would send a weaker message to the Afghan people and the wrong message to the American people,” Levin said Tuesday.
Lastly, Gerstein claims Obama must address “the professional left.” Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Obama does not give a sh%t about the progs, because he knows perfectly well they’ll vote for him no matter what he does.
So…. what do you think? Please let us know your reactions to the speech and the policies Obama puts forward. If you can’t stand to watch, listen on the radio. That’s what I do. Or just join in and get the highlights from those who are watching/listening.
You can watch the speech on line at Cspan. I imagine CNN will be streaming it too.
This morning President Obama gave an interview to Ann Curry of NBC’s The Today Show. It was a pretty strange interview for someone planning to run for a second term as President. Obama told Curry that it doesn’t make much difference to him whether he wins the 2012 election or not.
Though the president himself, his staff, and his supporters around the country are busy devoting everything they’ve got to his 2012 re-election campaign, Obama revealed Monday that his family isn’t necessarily as “invested.”
And the president revealed that even he sometimes feels like giving up.
“I’m sure there are days where I say that one term is enough,” the president said, but he added that what keeps him going is the unfinished work regarding energy, education, and other issues.
Then why should all the bots go out and support him this time? Can we get a candidate who actually cares about the country?
…if the first lady thought it was time for him to go, he’d listen.
“I think Michelle – if she didn’t think that what we were doing was worthwhile in moving the country forward, I think she’d be the first to say, ‘Why don’t you do something else that’s a little less stressful?’”
Obama also discussed the public perception that he’s a cold fish who never gets worked up about anything. First he claims that “ordinary folks” don’t really think that.
“Ordinary folks understand I spend all my time thinking about this stuff because I’m talking to these folks every single day,” he said….”When I see them at meetings, and they start crying, the notion, somehow, that I’m calm about that, is nonsense. But what is true is that as president, my job is to make sure that I am finding every good idea that we can to move the country forward.”
Well then what does he do when he sees “them” and “they start crying?” Frankly, he’s a sociopath with almost no ability to empathize with other people. He doesn’t even understand what these people are feeling because he doesn’t experience strong emotions other than narcissistic rage and envy. JMHO.
Obama also pretended talked about jobs without really saying much of anything.
Obama says the real challenge is to develop new industries to spur job growth.
“The challenge, though, is it only takes 100 workers to make what it used to take 1,000 workers to make in terms of the amount of steel,” he said. “So that’s why we’re going to have to look at new industries and encourage entrepreneurs to invest in these new industries and make sure that our workers have the skills to train them.
“For us to employ the same numbers of workers as we need to, to get the unemployment rate down, we’ve got to look at new sectors, new markets. We’ve got to do more exporting. So one of my big areas of focus has been on increasing exports.”
Whatever….he doesn’t really care about jobs or “ordinary folks,” and it shows.
Why did Obama give this interview? What’s the point? Was it a shoutout to Republicans that he’s ready to turn the government over to them?
The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Anthony Weiner is going to go into rehab for his alleged Twitter/Facebook/texting compulsion.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said the spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.
“Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
I’m sure Weiner could use some therapy, but I still don’t get why he is being singled out for this kind of public outrage when David Vitter wasn’t. As far as we know Weiner didn’t act out any of his fantasies with these women. I would think that hiring prostitutes to spank you when you’re wearing diapers would elicit more calls for “treatment” than Twitter and Facebook flirtations. But what do I know? Maybe a lot of Congressman like to wear diapers and have sex with prostitutes.
Apparently, the final straw for Democrats was the revelation that Weiner tweeted a 17-year-old Delaware girl, even though the girl’s mother said Weiner had not said anything inappropriate in these Twitter messages.
Delaware police said Friday they were investigating the reported communications, had interviewed the teen, and that “she has made no disclosure of criminal activity nor inappropriate contact by the Congressman.”
Neverthless Weiner’s colleagues in Congress are horrified and outraged. Here is what DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to say:
“It is with great disappointment that I call on Representative Anthony Weiner to resign,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement issued by the Democratic National Committee, which she has led since the beginning of May. She’s President Barack Obama’s representative as DNC chairwoman.
“The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable.
“This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House – and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important: his and his family’s well-being.”
According to Fox News, the police in Delaware are still investigating. The girls parents have turned her laptop over for inspection, but their attorney says there’s nothing to find.
“The Tweets in question between the student in question and the congressman were not salacious or in any manner inappropriate, said Daniel McElhatton, the attorney representing the girl’s family. “No photographs were ever sent to her or from her.”
Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller also said that Weiner’s interactions with the girl “were neither explicit nor indecent.”
The police are trying to verify that, McElhatton said.
Fox News claims to have been told by “sources” that much of the interchange between the girl and Weiner had been deleted from her computer. Fox is obviously hoping the police can find something salacious on the girl’s hard drive. I sure hope Weiner didn’t send anything sexual or suggestive to her.
The girl’s high school posted on her now defunct Tumblr blog a quote that appears to be from her direct messages with Weiner.
“I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape s—… My favorite congressman,” she wrote, adding a heart emoticon after “congressman.”
Seven days earlier, she posted a YouTube video of Weiner giving a speech and wrote, “My true love.”
Poor kid. It’s a shame she had to get dragged into this.
As an antidote to having to watch politicians call for their smelling salts and fainting couches, I recommend this story from NPR’s Weekend Edition: Zombies Walk the Halls of Congress.
NPR can now confirm that there are zombies in the U.S. Capitol.
OK, not the kind that pop out of graves and eat brains, but a different kind of undead — the undead political career. This week New York Rep. Anthony Weiner said he is staying put, even though some top Democrats have publicly called for him to resign.
He’s not the first one to stay in politics after serious ethics violations, trying to revive a seemingly lifeless career.
In this contrived scenario, there are three categories of Congressional Zombies:
— those who survived a scandal to live again,
— those who are wounded by scandal but stay in Congress (the real zombies),
— and those who hung on for a while but eventually got buried.
According to NPR, both Charlie Rangel and David Vitter are real zombies.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who was a client of a Washington prostitution ring. He was never charged because the news came out after the statute of limitations had expired. Two of Vitter’s calls to the madam were made during votes on the floor.
He apologized in 2007 — “I want to again offer my deep sincere apologies to all those who I’ve let down and disappointed with these actions from my past” — and neatly won a second term in the Senate.
Good grief! Vitter called the DC Madam from the Senate floor? Did he get a sudden urge for punishment? Please explain to me why he didn’t need to enter a treatment facility after his colleagues learned about his illegal behavior?
I’m pretty disgusted by Weiner’s behavior at this point, but I still wish I never had had to find out about it. I still don’t see any reason why it needed to be revealed either. Sure the guy acted like a silly adolescent, but how many of us would look dignified if our sexual fantasies were spread all over the internet and the media? I think this kind of scandal-mongering has gone way too far, and I’d like to see a lot more approbation about Andrew Breitbart’s repulsive behavior. I’d also like to see similar outrage against Congresspeople who take money from lobbyists and vote accordingly.
This scandal appears to be setting a whole new precedent for the kinds of activities that can get a politician in trouble. As far as we know, Weiner’s activities were all in cyberspace. Now if it turns out he behaved inappropriately with an underage girl, I’ll have to revise my opinion.