Category Archives: Afghanistan

Obama in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama showed up in Afghanistan today.

From NYT:

President Obama made a surprise trip here on Tuesday to sign a landmark strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan in a midnight ceremony meant to mark the beginning of the end of a war that has lasted for more than a decade.

Mr. Obama arrived after nightfall under a veil of secrecy at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul. He then flew by helicopter to the presidential palace, where he and President Hamid Karzai signed the pact, which is intended to be a road map for two nations lashed together by war and groping for a new relationship after the departure of American troops, scheduled for the end of 2014.

“With this agreement the Afghan people, and the world, should know that Afghanistan has a friend and a partner in the United States,” Mr. Obama declared as the Afghan leader looked on. “With this agreement, I am confident that the Afghan people will understand that the United States will stand by them.”

Rachel Maddow destroys Mitt Romney, why? (Update)

Last night, Rachel Maddow took her opening segment and simply roasted and toasted Mitt Romney. My question is why?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mitt Romney is not a strong candidate. He has never been a strong candidate. The whole Republican field is weak. Each of the candidates has huge flaws. This is no secret. Anyone who’s been following the campaigns can, off the top of their head, name tons of flaws that each of these candidates has. Yet, for some reason, Rachel Maddow decided that she needed to shine the spotlight on Mitt Romney.

You do not have to be a political junkie, as I am, to be able to understand that Mitt Romney has changed his position on several major issues. The healthcare law that he instituted in Massachusetts is basically the same law that President Obama tried to institute across the United States. This is a fact. Yet, somehow Mitt Romney has tried to parse this into something that it isn’t. If you remember that whole brouhaha over whether Mitt Romney really hunts or not and what he hunts, well, that was craziness. That was not some tricky question. Instead, that was Mr. “I’m awkward” Romney just trying to fit in. He doesn’t. He’s uncomfortable in crowds. He’s uncomfortable talking in front of people. Yet, here he is, running for president.

I love Rachel Maddow. I think she is the brightest woman on television. I just don’t understand what is to be gained by telling liberals, her audience, that Mitt Romney is who we think he is. I’m just saying. Okay, Mitt Romney has proven over the last several years that he will do anything, say anything and be anybody in order to become president. Okay, now it’s out there.

Update: Yesterday on NPR they introduced a segment by asking the question, “How would President Romney handle Afghanistan?” What? President Romney? A chill went up my spine. Now, I understand what Rachel was talking about. Think about it. President Romney. He can’t settle on one position for anything. Even Clinton was better at standing firm than Romney. There is almost no subject in which Romney hasn’t changed his position in some sort of major way. So, Romney on Afghanistan? My goal is for us, the American people, not to go through a Romney presidency. The fact that he is talking about doubling down, no, tripling down on Afghanistan…doesn’t make any sense to me. We need to get out. We need to leave a force that is large enough to crush any terrorist camp or outpost that pops up. That’s it. We need to come home. I’m not sure what Romney’s position is and whatever it is I suspect that it will change… with the wind.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Running late this morning.

There is significant badness in Paul Ryan’s new budget. Tax cuts for the rich and corporations, benefit cuts for Grandma and the poor.

Joe Scarborough, with his political commentary, misses the point. Instead, he embraces one of the conservative themes about why Afghanistan has gone so wrong. The conservative mantra is that nation building is always wrong. So that  was the problem in Afghanistan. Wrong. In my mind the problem was more complex. It was both a lack of focus and a lack of execution. It is easy to blame “breaking” conservative principles as the reason for Afghanistan’s quagmire/failure. Then you can continue to hold onto your conservative ideals. It becomes harder if you point the finger at execution.

Romney wins Iowa… Florida… Oh, we are now in Illinois. He has won Illinois. I knew that. This Republican primary feels like fingernails on a chalkboard?

Florida and the “Stand your ground” law is under significant scrutiny after the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

French police are now in a standoff with the gunman who killed three children and a Rabbi. The gunmen supposedly has ties to Al Qaeda.

Generic drugs seem to be immune to lawsuits. Curious. Supreme Court supposedly gave them immunity from label warnings? Really.

Daily aspirin seems to be associated with a decrease in developing cancer.

From Steve:

At least 43 reported deaths in Iraq: “As Iraq prepares to showcase itself to the world next week with a highly anticipated gathering of Arab leaders, a string of suicide attacks and car bombings on Tuesday morning offered a bloody reminder that insurgent violence still wreaks havoc with the country’s tenuous stability.”

Mexican earthquake: “A strong 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico on Tuesday, shaking central and southern parts of the country … but the president said there were no immediate reports of major damage.”

In Florida, a grand jury is poised to investigate the Trayvon Martin case. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI have also opened an investigation.

President Obama will visit Korea’s DMZ this weekend.

The “grand bargain” Obama House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last summer is no longer on the table.

* If you missed the story about William Rehnquist’s 1950s-era memos, it’s a gem.

Carl Hiaasen has some compelling thoughts on a new Florida law that mandates random drug tests for state employees, but exempts the politicians who passed the law.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told lawmakers today the mission in Afghanistan is still “on track.”

And on a related note, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a war critic, told Gen. Allen the war is being financed by borrowed money from “the Chinese, Uncle Chang.” For one thing, that’s not true, and the vast majority of U.S. debt is not owned by China. For another, “Uncle Chang”? Seriously?