Patterico's Pontifications

10/19/2009

The War Over Afghanistan

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 11:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There’s a war in Afghanistan and a war over Afghanistan, and the latter appears to be between the Defense Department and the White House. Exhibit “A” is from The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol who says Rahm Emanuel blindsided Defense Secretary Gates and the military on a Sunday talk show:

“Yesterday, in light of Rahm Emanuel’s comments on delaying the decision on troops for Afghanistan [until the elections are finalized and there is a credible Afghan government], I asked: “Are Sunday talk show declarations by Emanuel and political advisor David Axelrod an appropriate way to announce the considered judgment of the president at this stage of a long Cabinet-level review process? Or is Emanuel end-running the process? Do Secretaries Gates and Clinton agree with Emanuel? Were they consulted before Rahm popped off?”

I’ve now been told by an authoritative source close to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that he had no advance warning that Emanuel would be saying any such thing.”

A former government official adds some interesting context at Kristol’s link.

Now I understand why, in what appears to be a direct contradiction to statements made by Emanuel in his Sunday interview, Secretary Gates announced today that President Obama may have to make a decision on whether to send more US troops to Afghanistan before the outcome of disputed Afghan elections are fully resolved. Gates may be showing Emanuel that two can play the game of making national security policy in public. I hope Gates is playing a winning hand.

— DRJ

Douchebag of the Day: Jonathan Eakman

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Follow the saga of the guy who tried to delay (and ultimately evade) requirements for business school, with messages like this:

Had some family issues and haven’t been able to get the last Corp Finance study prep test done. Be cool on this. In my last job, I dodged having to take responsibility for a billion dollar budget, so I know what I’m doing. Thanks for your help/understanding.

Above the Law has the full exchange.

Be cool on this.

Celebrity Quote of the Day

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 9:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

International pop star Shakira explaining why she anonymously took a history class at UCLA the summer after a successful concert tour:

“When most celebs need a break from the business, they typically take a real vacation. They travel to a remote destination, relax, and clear their minds.

But Shakira said challenging her mind instead was the ideal getaway after the tour.

“It was such a long tour, I needed a break from me,” Shakira told The Guardian. “The universe is so broad, I cannot be at the center of it. So I decided to go to the university and study history for a summer course, just to kind of switch gears, taste the student life.”

For those so inclined, here’s a link to the Shakira video “She Wolf.”

— DRJ

Iran Turns Down Obama Plan (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In late September, the American media trumpeted President Obama’s success at getting Iran to agree to export most of its enriched uranium so it could be processed for uses other than weapons. In return, Iran was given the chance to buy nuclear fuel from the IAEA for its nuclear reactor(s).

Our European allies were reluctant but Obama forged ahead with the help of IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei, who arranged to visit Iran to discuss the timing and details. Now Iran announced it wants to have its cake and eat it, too:

“The report indicated that Iran will not meet terms the West said it agreed to — including transferring most of its stock of enriched uranium, the potential base for fissile warhead material. Tehran says it needs enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.

“Buying nuclear fuel from abroad does not mean Iran will stop its uranium enrichment activities inside the country,” Ali Shirzadian, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

“If the talks do not bring about Iran’s desired result … we will start to make 19.7 percent enriched uranium ourselves,” Shirzadian told Reuters a few hours before the talks were due to start.

The U.S. says Iran is now one to six years away from being able to make such arms, should it choose to.”

Thus Iran has turned the tables on Obama, pushing to buy fuel for its reactor(s) while it continues to enrich its uranium stockpile. So much for Obama’s win-win, let alone his smart diplomacy.

H/T SPQR.

— DRJ

UPDATE — A comment from an Instapundit reader:

“Now we know why Obama turned his back on Iranian protesters. Note that the secret negotiations began in June. What else went on in June in Iran? Oh yeah… those pesky election results protests.”

[The comment continues here.]

Administration Still Attacking Fox News

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 1:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s a dog-bites-man story at this point but the Obama Administration is still attacking Fox News:

“Appearing on ABC’s This Week, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said Fox News shouldn’t be treated as a news organization. “And the bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way,” he said.

Still, Axelrod said administration officials would appear on the channel. He shrugged off News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch’s remark to shareholders on Friday that since the White House began criticizing Fox News commentators their ratings have risen.”

Hewing to this week’s talking points, Rahm Emanuel also claimed Fox isn’t really a news organization:

“Iit’s not so much a conflict with FOX News,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sad in an appearance this morning on CNN’s State of the Union – the cable network where Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, last week lashed out at FOX as “an arm of the Republican Party,” leading to a new assault against the administration from Glenn Beck.

“The way to look at it and the way we — the president looks at it and we look at it — (it) is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective,” Emanuel said of FOX. “And that’s a different take. And more importantly does not have the CNNs and others in the world basically be led and following FOX, as if that — what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization in the sense of both sides and a sense of value (and) opinion.”

This is red meat for leftists but, as Hot Air notes, even the New York Times questioned the wisdom of this approach. Juan Williams on Fox News Watch said the Obama Administration needs an enemy because there is no recognizable GOP leader to demonize. That makes sense but I wonder if there isn’t a simpler answer: The Administration is attacking Fox News because it’s hurting them, not only on the facts but also in the polls.

Of course, it could also be the Obama Administration has control issues.

— DRJ

Google Wave

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

So I got an invitation to this Google Wave thing. Can someone explain it to me?

ObamaCare Test Vote Delayed?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:02 am

[Posted by Karl]

Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid’s attempt to fast-track changes to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, off-budget and (ostensibly) separate from ObamaCare, was set for a cloture vote today, but has been delayed following objections from both the GOP and moderate Dems. Republicans want the Democrats to pay for the $248 billion (and maybe twice as much) price tag for the doctors’ fix.

Oddly enough, this position is also espoused by White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod:

“Every year, draconian cuts are proposed for doctors that would have a deleterious effect on patients,” the senior adviser told ABC’s This Week. “And every year, the Congress acts on it and defers on that. And the fact is, it’s a charade.”

“Everyone in the Congress knows they’re not going to let that go forward. All that we’re saying here is, let’s be honest about it. The president provided for it in his budgets, and we ought to acknowledge that this is a — this is an ongoing expense that we’ll have to meet,” he added.

Axelrod presumably wants this done to keep the American Medical Association on board with ObamaCare — but will it? If the AMA gets what it wants in a separate bill, that should be less reason to support ObamaCare, unless there is a back room quid pro quo involved. As Allahpundit would say, “Hmmmmmmmm…”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was right to complain that the separate off-budget SGR fix is an attempt to make ObamaCare feasible without deficit spending. However, Hatch also acknowledges the necessity of a fix. The Baucus vapor bill relied on “savings” from the SGR that even Axelrod has to concede were never going to happen, so forcing the SGR fix on-budget is not only good policy, but one that might make the rest of ObamaCare more difficult to finance.

Moreover, in the bigger picture, Reid’s backpedal on the SGR fix may say something about his inability to force his Democratic and Independent colleagues into a fiscally irresponsible vote on healthcare, even when that vote would make one of the nation’s most powerful lobbies very happy. Reid ought to be doing better on the undercard before moving on to the main event.

–Karl


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