YOU SHOULD READ THIS. More to the point, President Obama should read this. Dexter Filkins, writing in the New York Times, reviews Bing West's The Wrong War. "West shows in the most granular, detailed way how and why America’s counterinsurgency in Afghanistan is failing.... What we have created..., West shows, is a vast culture of dependency: Americans are fighting and dying, while the Afghans by and large stand by and do nothing to help them. Afghanistan’s leaders, from the presidential palace in Kabul to the river valleys in the Pashtun heartland, are enriching themselves, often criminally, on America’s largesse."
This is actual news, but it's a also a pretty hilarious post by Samantha Henig of the New Yorker: Ian Murphy, a/k/a "Fake Koch" may run for the recently-vacated Congressional seat once held by Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY) of Craig'sList nude-torso fame.
David Johnston of Tax.com: "Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.... Thus, state workers ... are being asked to accept a cut in their salaries so that the state of Wisconsin can use the money to fill the hole left by tax cuts and reduced audits of corporations in Wisconsin."
Sen. Obama, November 2007: "When I'm in the White House..., I'll walk on that picket line with you":
... Put on those comfortable shoes, Mr. President. Fulfill your campaign promise. -- The Constant Weader
Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times: "Spending cuts approved by House Republicans would act as a drag on the U.S. economy, according to a Wall Street analysis that put new pressure on the political debate in Washington. The report by the investment firm Goldman Sachs said the cuts would reduce the growth in gross domestic product by up to 2 percentage points this year, essentially cutting in half the nation's projected economic growth for 2011." CW: that is exactly the plan. Republicans want the economy to be in the tank as election season approaches. And Senate Democrats & President Obama are blithely playing into Republican hands.
Alexander Bolton of The Hill: "Senate Democrats want to put the Social Security trust fund in a lockbox and insulate it from a broader budget-cutting package designed to reduce the national deficit." Even Kent Conrad has gotten behind the lockbox concept, though of course he still wants to tinker with Social Security in a separate action not related to deficit reduction.
Julie Pace of the AP: "As corporate profits rise and Wall Street earnings soar, President Barack Obama is pressing American business leaders to create more jobs and find ways for struggling middle-class families to share in the nation's economic recovery. Obama says the private sector has to do its part to ensure that 'we're not simply creating an economy in which one segment of it is doing very well, but the rest of the folks are out there treading water. I don't know exactly where your future customers come from if they don't have jobs," Obama said Thursday during the first meeting of his newly created jobs and competitiveness council." Here's the full transcript of the President's remarks.
... CW: this is a laughable charade. After the federal government, through numerous Congresses & several presidents, including this one, set up an economic structure in which the rich get richer & the poor get poorer, Obama tells business leaders to forget about all that, be nice & "do the right thing" by American workers. They won't "do the right thing," President Obama, because you all fixed it so they didn't have to.
"Jackboots for Obama." Karen Garcia gets a "creepy," e-mail inviting her to participate in "an intensive training program" for Organizing or America, an arm of the DNC. The comments are great, too.
Margaret Talbot in the New Yorker on ditching DOMA: "The Obama Administration ... had been left with one argument — an argument that undermined states’ rights and asserted federal dominion in order to shore up a position that it didn’t want to defend on substantive grounds.... No wonder it was ready to cut DOMA loose." ...
** Jeffrey Toobin, also in the New Yorker, explains the meaning of "heightened scrutiny," and concludes,
Holder is now on the record, with Obama’s explicit approval, advocating a legal standard that will almost certainly result in bans on same-sex marriage being declared unconstitutional. So here’s the bottom line: Holder’s letter locks Obama in. Sooner rather than later, the President will officially change his position and endorse the right of same-sex couples to get married.
Mark Landler & Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "As the Obama administration grapples with a cascade of uprisings in the Middle East, it has come to a stark recognition: the region’s monarchs are likely to survive; its presidents are more likely to fall.
Right Wing World
... Is Dangerously Deranged. Ryan Reilly of TPM: "Witnesses tell TPM that Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) laughed when an elderly man at his town hall meeting this week asked 'Who's gonna shoot Obama?' Mark Farmer of Winterville, Georgia ... said in an e-mail to TPM..., 'I was gravely disappointed in the response of a U.S. Congressman who also laughed and then made no effort to correct the questioner on what constitutes proper behavior or to in any way distance himself from such hate filled language." ... Reporter Blake Aued, who was at the town hall and originally reported on the incident confirmed to TPM that Broun was "chuckling a little bit." ... After laughing at the question, Broun reportedly said 'there's a lot of frustration with this president.'" ...
... Greg Sargent: "According to Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, the situation has been looked into."
... Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, just issued a sharp condemnation of a constituent who, at a town hall meeting this week, raised the prospect of violence against President Barack Obama.... Broun ... weighed in once it became clear that — this morning — the incident was developing national legs." ...
... Jennifer Epstein of Politico: during the State of the Union, Broun tweeted, "Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism.” He letter said he "stood by his tweet." Epstein has more on the story.
Over in Right Wing World, they can't get their story straight about Obama's reaction to the Middle East uprisings. They're trying to zero in on something wrong with it, something a little more credible than Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories. So maybe my favorite is Matt Drudge who is so credulous, he believes a year-old statement from the ruthless dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who said he considered Obama a friend. Because they're Muslim brothers or something, I guess.
Democrats Blink. New York Times: "The prospect of an imminent federal government shutdown diminished Friday as House Republicans proposed a carefully calibrated stopgap measure that Democrats said could be acceptable. Under the proposal, the law now keeping the government open would be extended two more weeks, until March 18, at the price of $4 billion in new spending cuts. In the interim, House and Senate leaders would try to negotiate a broader plan to finance the government at reduced levels through Sept. 30."
Washington Post: "Government paramilitary forces opened fire Friday on protesters who swarmed the streets of Tripoli in what opponents hoped would be a final push to topple Moammar Gaddafi's regime. Witnesses described multiple casualties from the fiercest violence yet in the Libyan capital." ...
Jay Carney announces sanctions against Libya:
... New York Times: "Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters that the sanctions [against Libya] would be announced soon, but gave no specifics. Mr. Carney said the American embassy in Tripoli “has been shuttered” and that diplomatic and military-to-military relations were suspended. American allies and the United Nations also moved to isolate Libya diplomatically on Friday." ...
... New York Times: "International efforts to stem the bloodshed in Libya appeared to gain momentum on Friday, with the United Nations Security Council scheduled to meet to discuss a draft proposal for sanctions against Libyan leaders and NATO convening an emergency session in Brussels." ...
... Al Jazeera: "Muammar Gaddafi ... has said that al-Qaeda is responsible for the uprising against him, amid attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces against anti-government protesters in several cities. On Friday, tens of thousands gathered at cities in the country's east controlled by anti-Gaddafi forces for Friday prayers, expressing their desire for Gaddafi to leave office. In a speech made via telephone and aired on state television on Thursday, Gaddafi claimed that the protesters were young people who had been manipulated by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader, and were acting under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs." With video. ...
... National Journal: "The United States will support a British resolution to levy tough sanctions against Libya at the United Nations on Friday, but will try to dampen expectations that the world body will agree to them anytime soon. Until now, the administration refused to say that direct sanctions were on the table, preferring to present that option when a united front with European allies could be mustered against the Libyan regime."
AP: "Iraqi security forces trying to disperse crowds of demonstrators in northern Iraq killed 5 people Friday as thousands rallied in cities across the country during what has been billed as the 'Day of Rage.' The Iraqi capital was virtually locked down, with soldiers deployed en masse across central Baghdad, searching protesters trying to enter Liberation Square and closing off the plaza and side streets with razor wire." ...
... New York Times: "Defying attempts by thousands of Iraqis took to the streets on Friday to call for more accountability from elected leaders."’s government to curtail a day of nationwide protests,
Wisconsin state assembly Democrats react to a flash-vote engineered by Republicans, who passed Gov. Walker's collective-bargaining-killing budget measure:
... AP: "Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early Friday morning before sleep-deprived Democrats realized what was happening. The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill — and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it — appear far from over."