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who’s off the reservation… 2 October 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Afghanistan War, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Swifts are a victim of the wet summer weather as record numbers of the birds are taken in at the Secret World animal rescue centre in Somerset [Richard Austin]

Hard to think this is much of anything other than a direct challenge to the Commander in Chief… McChrystal in London yesterday

Reporting from Washington – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan staunchly defended his emphasis on stabilizing the country with a troop-intensive counterinsurgency strategy, arguing Thursday that reducing U.S. aims in the nation would be “short-sighted.”

Speaking in London, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal said he opposes strategies that would require fewer troops and focus on fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership through drone attacks, airstrikes and similar approaches, according to transcripts and audio recordings of his remarks.

A bit more:

In his remarks Thursday to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he argued that stabilizing Afghanistan is crucial to the political health of the wider region.

“A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy,” he said.

McChrystal has submitted a request for thousands of additional troops, but the White House has put the request on hold while it reviews the broader strategy.

In his speech to the London-based policy group, McChrystal did not make an explicit plea for more troops, but said that the White House debate was over the goals and objectives of the Afghanistan mission.

“People are re-looking what our goals and objectives are, and redefining and clarifying those. And that is helpful,” McChrystal said. “I don’t think if we align our goals and our resources we will have a significant problem. Our problem will be if we didn’t.”

But a gap has emerged between military and civilian leaders. The White House has insisted that its goal remains the same: destroying Al Qaeda and preventing its ability to rebuild in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Reports on the comments made in London, so far, tend to basic reporting, but already calls appear for Obama to relieve McChrystal of his command…

Of course, congress and the WH papered over all of the issues raised by elevating McChrystal (Tillman, for one) and dumping McKiernan from the Afghanistan war theatre.

McChrystal spoke in London as the U.S. Senate debated a proposal to demand he testify about the war before lawmakers. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed for the resolution, which was defeated on a 59-40 vote along party lines.

McChrystal repeated his view that the U.S. and its allies have not provided enough resources for the operations in Afghanistan, blaming the shortfall for a “serious and deteriorating” situation.

He said the military must look at fighting differently.

“We must redefine the fight,” McChrystal said. “The objective is the will of the Afghan people. We must protect the Afghan people from all threats, from the enemy and our own actions.”

The war, McChrystal said, was ultimately political.

May they all dirty each other, bloody each other, in this battle… or cage match – or whatever it is. At this point, advantage the military. They have been leak city…

CNN has more quotes from his speech in London.


In other news…

Olympics decision stuns Chicago crowd

By DEANNA BELLANDI (AP) – 43 minutes ago

CHICAGO — Thousands of people stood in bewildered silence in downtown Chicago on Friday after the International Olympic Committee surprised everyone by dumping the city from the race for 2016 Summer Olympics in the first round of voting.

The vote in Copenhagen was carried on huge television screens set up in the Daley Center to carry what many had hoped would be approval of Chicago as host. It had seemed so likely to many in a city still basking in the glow of hometown Sen. Barack Obama’s election as president.

Instead, Chicago was bounced in the first round, bringing an audible gasp from the crowd. The elimination came so quickly that some would-be revelers weren’t sure what had happened and they asked bystanders if they had heard what they thought they heard.

Many stood for a few minutes, staring at the screens, and at least one flung his hands into the air in a crude gesture toward the TVs. Within seconds, people began filing out of the plaza.

“I’ve never really had a disappointment like this,” said Ken Rudd, a 33-year-old salesman from Evergreen Park. “This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.”

Chicago was in a race with Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and Madrid for the 2016 games.

The Chicago bid had plenty of homegrown firepower, from Oprah Winfrey right on up to Obama and the first lady, South Side native Michelle Obama. All were in Copenhagen ahead of the vote and the first couple gave presentations to the IOC earlier Friday.

Randy Wood, 49, of San Diego said the IOC clearly wasn’t swayed by Obama’s influence.

“Maybe his clout stopped at the Pacific and the Atlantic,” said Wood, who said the early elimination reflects poorly on the president.

With Chicago well-known for public corruption and problems with public services, opponents had serious concerns about Olympics-sizd bills, despite assurances by city officials that taxpayers wouldn’t owe a dime.

A recent poll by the Chicago Tribune showed residents almost evenly split, with 47 percent in favor of the bid and 45 percent against; that’s a drop from the 2-1 support the newspaper found in a February poll.

The 2016 bid committee said its own poll last week found support from 72 percent of Chicagoans, and that was evident at Daley Plaza on Friday.

The UK papers reported that a question to the president, from the Pakistani IOC member, raised issues of how foreigners are treated inside America… drawing an awkward promise from the president that we are multicultural and multiracial…. and and and.

Ah well… better luck with the next problem.  Surely we are still blessed and God loves us the best.



1. marisacat - 2 October 2009

hmm John Burns in the NYT:

[B]ut he used the London session for a rebuttal of the idea of a more narrowly focused war. When a questioner asked him whether he would support scaling back the American military presence over the next 18 months by relinquishing the battle with the Taliban and focusing on tracking down Al Qaeda, sparing ground troops by hunting Qaeda extremists and their leaders with missiles from remotely piloted aircraft, he replied: “The short answer is: no.”

“You have to navigate from where you are, not from where you wish to be,” he said. “A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy.” . . . . .

marisacat - 2 October 2009

via Politico “44”:

FACE TO FACE: President Obama met with Gen. Stanley McChrystal aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen. The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan flew from London to Denmark and spoke with the president for about 25 minutes in the forward cabin, according to the pool.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained simply: “The president wanted to take the opportunity to get together with Gen. McChyrstal.”

The general is not returning to Washington with the commander-in-chief.

2. marisacat - 2 October 2009

hmm they picked a number, not too high! not so low they laugh at it!, from a hat:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.8 Percent, Highest Since 1983 [8:34 a.m. ET]

For more on this and other breaking news go to ABCNews.com: http://abcnews.go.com?nwltr=bn

NYCO - 2 October 2009

The NY Times recently has had a couple stories where long-term unemployed people are interviewed. In two different stories, they’ve interviewed three desperate unemployment people whose savings are being eaten up, who can’t find jobs and who fear being cast out on the street. Surprise, surprise – they’re all 50-something single women.

50 is for women what 60 is for men in terms of employee disposability, but you never see any stories focusing on that fact – you just see the stories of male 60something desk jockeys forced into early retirement or waiting tables.

And yet, it’s strange because I’d be willing to bet that, in terms of actual health insurance costs and absenteeism, a 50something woman is often still a better employee bargain than a 25-year-old woman who is likely to go through several maternity leaves and need time off for child care, etc. It depends on the type of job or industry, I suppose. But I’ll bet the 50something woman is probably getting better pay and benefits than a woman starting out.

I was at a doctor’s office recently in the waiting room and overheard a woman talking to the receptionist and saying she’d lost her job and benefits. Before even looking up, I could figure out her age.

I’m just glad I’m not 50something right at the moment. I still have about a decade of “productive use to society” left, I guess.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

America/Americans have an age problem.. they really do.

… they need to add ”over 50” to the Affirmative Action forms. AND extend Medicare to over 50.

3. marisacat - 2 October 2009

Oh too funny… Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting.

hmm her ‘Daddy was my hero’ speech did not manage to close the deal.

NYCO - 2 October 2009

Am I the only one who thought Rio was a shoo-in? They’ve had numerous bids, Games never held in SA, hosting World Cup two years prior, yadda yadda. I couldn’t believe it when I heard Obama was making a special appeal for Chicago, it seemed doomed to failure to me.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

oh I agree.. it was time…

AND there were strong issues with the IOC of Chicago making it to the end in FUNDING. A promise of a strong Federal backing of the city and the games was sought/demanded. One reason Ob promised a WH office, led by FOO Jarrett, to support the Games coming to Chicago.

It all faltered early.

And the natural pick, imo IS Rio.

NOW the question is, how out of it is the WH, meaning Axelrod and Rahm and others, that they risked this with apparently no assurances.

I heard a London bookie who said the bettors supported Paris too… til it lost to London.


4. marisacat - 2 October 2009

So far… I see Rachel Maddow made to MTP again…

Meet the Press: Susan Rice; roundtable with David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Rachel Maddow, Mike Murphy.

This Week: Susan Rice, Sens. Schumer and Cornyn.

State of the Union: Gen. Jones, Sens. Kyl, Boxer

5. marisacat - 2 October 2009

The jokes are never going to end on this one. Swamps even Letterman and his odd “I did have sex with… ” monologues.

From the thread at Althouse:

madawaskan said…

Ya but they’re not –


so there’s that.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

Althouse thread…

Blogger Photog714 said…

A prize to Drudge for his headline: THE EGO HAS LANDED.

10/2/09 10:52 AM

6. marisacat - 2 October 2009

Geesh… apparently Chicago, it is now said, was “never really in the running”.

These people need to step back from the Nitrous Oxide. They really do.

catnip - 2 October 2009

CNN banner headline: Pres. Obama’s Olympic Defeat

marisacat - 2 October 2009

the jokes are endless. I think the screw in the deal was how badly the “Olympic Gold” dress fit [/snark]. Or, did not fit to be more accurate.

What a mess.

catnip - 2 October 2009

Jon Stewart played a clip of Obamalama from mid-September in which he said why he wasn’t going to Copenhagen – something about health care legislation being the priority. As usual, he caved again and then he used the McChrystal meeting as partial justification. I think I heard somewhere recently that he’s only met with McChrystal once before.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

once in a hundred days…

well McChrystal speech in London spurred some contact.

Good luck to them all. Think we (and the Dutch, from a fighter/bomber plane) have wiped out a couple of families over the past two days.

7. catnip - 2 October 2009

Robert Halderman Pleads Not Guilty to Charges He Blackmailed Letterman

An award-winning CBS News producer was indicted at a Manhattan courthouse today on charges of allegedly blackmailing late-night comedian David Letterman for “a large chunk of money.”

Robert “Joe” Halderman, 51, a longtime Emmy-award winning producer for CBS News’ “48 Hours,” was arrested Thursday outside the network’s Manhattan offices and could face up to 15 years in state prison if convicted.

Maybe he was just doing research for an upcoming show. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

they deserve each other, frankly. What a bizarre event the Letterman show was. Looney.

catnip - 2 October 2009

I missed it. I’ll have to see if I can catch some clips online.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

think it is all over… all the news outlets are carrying it.

catnip - 2 October 2009

I just saw a clip on CNN. Kind of inappropriate laughter at the wrong moments from the audience when he was telling them what happened. That was odd.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

they did not know what to make of it. Was it real, unreal, a bad joke from the 13 writers or what.

The country needs a lot of new comedians. Lots. New. Fast. Soon.

NYCO - 2 October 2009

Someone will have to explain to me the enduring appeal of David Letterman, because I never have understood it from day one.

(I mean, his appeal as a TV host, not his appeal as a backstage bang.)

marisacat - 2 October 2009

well I stopped dropping in on the show almost 20 years ago… so……… I never really saw it.

8. marisacat - 2 October 2009

hmm Axelrod… grist for the mill. No idea when to shut up.

What a hoot!

9. marisacat - 2 October 2009

well………… Milbank is an asshole… and, I have heard, a Skull and Bones himself… but he isn’t wrong here. Neither is Helen.

A White House That Acts With All Deliberate Deliberation

By Dana Milbank
Friday, October 2, 2009

Helen Thomas is 89 years old and requires some assistance to get to and from the daily White House briefing. Yet her backbone has proved stronger than that of the president she covers.

On Thursday afternoon, Thomas gave a clinic in fortitude to President Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the briefing.

“Has the president given up on the public option?” she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.

The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn’t about to be silenced. “I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it,” she said.

“Well, I — I — I apparently don’t answer it to your satisfaction,” Gibbs stammered.

“That’s right,” Thomas snarled.

“I — I’ll — I’ll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days,” Gibbs offered. “It’s what the president believes in –”

“Is he going to fight for it or not?” Thomas snapped.

“We’re going to work to get choice and competition into health-care reform” was Gibbs’s vague response.

Thomas took that as a no. “You’re not going to get it,” she advised.

“Then why do you keep asking me?” Gibbs inquired.

“Because I want your conscience to bother you,” Thomas replied. The room erupted; Gibbs reddened. . . . . . .

Go Helen. (and not to where they want you to go)

Madman in the Marketplace - 2 October 2009

She’s just so good.

10. marisacat - 2 October 2009

gah I see looking at the FP of Politico http://www.politico.com/ that Grayson has indeed done a letter of APOLOGY… 😆 to………. the Anti Defamation League.

The sooner we get to our version of the trial of the Gang of Four (see China) the happier I will be.

Years of denouncements, renouncements… and apology.. please… cut it short.

AND imo the Democrats have lost what few brains they had. KGO, mouthpiece of the party out here, is pushing all afternoon that neither Clinton nor Bush II was ever opposed in the way Ob is. . (right, it’s ALL about race).

GMAFB. This cannot get lamer (but it will)

11. marisacat - 2 October 2009

I hope these shits get a long line of hard smack downs.

The bill to extend unemployment a 4th time languishes in congress, ABC reports tonight that the WH does not want “to get ahead of the legislative process”

And a clip of Romer on the WH lawn saying it’s an “issue we’ll be thinking hard on”.

Someone send Obama a Mickey Mouse hat. And Disney tunes.

marisacat - 2 October 2009

From Chicago Trib’s The Swamp.

The Republican National Committee chairman, who had accused the president of pursuing the “wrong priorities” in going to Copenhagen, said after today’s IOC vote that Obama can “refocus” now on unemployment and other problems. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had this to say about RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s critique:

“I want to know what was Michael Steele doing about 1:50 a.m. when we landed — 1:50 a.m. in the morning when we landed in Denmark.” [poor babies!]

Home at the White House, the president swiftly turned to the newest unemployment figures – 9.8 percent reported by the Department of Labor today for the month of September. The nation has lost more than 7 million jobs since the recession began, including more than 200,000 last month.

“My principal focus each and every day…. is putting our nation back on the path to prosperity,” Obama said. “But today’s jobs report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts, and we’re going to need to grind out this recovery, step by step….

“I will not let up,” he said. “Whenever I see statistics like the ones we saw today, my mind turns to the people behind them…. […]

Guess Christina Romer did not get the memo. After “sacrificing” themselves to land in Copenhagen at 1:50 am … they’re ON IT! (they say)

The jokes and sarcasm are too easy.

12. marisacat - 2 October 2009

neue post…


………………… 😯 ………..

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