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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This means war

Now, from what I've read it seems that some US personnel are, in fact, operating inside Pakistan, but, if this statement by the Pakistani FM is true, you have to seriously reevaluate the relationship with Pakistan.
Pakistan's top diplomat said Saturday there are no U.S. or other foreign military personnel on the hunt for Osama bin Laden in his nation, and none will be allowed in to search for the al-Qaida leader.

this is true, Pakistan is publicly professing a policy of protected safe haven for all of Al Qaeda. This is clearly not acceptable.

(Later: This statement might be a semantic truth. The Pakistani PM is specifically saying "military personnel," and the US people inside Pakistan (I think) are CIA.)

Also: (Reuters) India officially blames the ISI for the Kabul bombing.

One and a half wars

The NYTimes has a piece titled, "U.S. Considers Increasing Pace of Iraq Pullout," but the reality is not quite as big as the headline.
Although no decision has been made, by the time President Bush leaves office on Jan. 20, at least one and as many as 3 of the 15 combat brigades now in Iraq could be withdrawn or at least scheduled for withdrawal, the officials said......

The most optimistic course of events would still leave 120,000 to 130,000 American troops in Iraq.....

But, the important bit is that this is being driven by the rapidly spiraling situation in Afghanistan/Pakistan as much as the "events on the ground" in Iraq.
One factor in the consideration is the pressing need for additional American troops in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and other fighters have intensified their insurgency and inflicted a growing number of casualties on Afghans and American-led forces there.

More American and allied troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May and June, a trend that has continued this month.

(And, just as a reminder, Petraeus just got his Senate confirmation to move up to CentCom commander in September. Afghanistan will soon be his problem.)

Picture of the Day - 2

(A June 4, 2007 file photo shows Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama laughing after saying goodbye to Rev. Jesse Jackson in Rosemont, Ill.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast))

Buying love

Nothing like this a few months before a "free and fair election."
It is a politician's dream: Handing out cold, hard cash to people on the street as they plead for help. Iraq's prime minister has been doing just that in recent weeks, doling out Iraqi dinars as an aide trails behind, keeping a tally.

The handouts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a handful of other top officials are authorized _ as long as each goes no higher than about $8,000, and the same people don't get them twice.

In a real country, this would be seen as crooked.

Picture of the Day

Can you imagine either Barack Obama or John McCain pulling this crap with other world leaders?

Our expectations have gone so low.

(President Bush in his golf cart with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, left, during an arrival at Camp David, Thursday, June 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais))


(ThePost?) "US officials have begun blaming Pakistan for Afghanistan's increasing violence, an escalation in rhetoric that suggests American patience with the Pakistan government is rapidly running out, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday."

(Reuters) "Pilotless U.S. drones armed with missiles have stepped up patrols over Pashtun villages on the Afghan-Pakistan border, hunting for Taliban and al Qaeda militants and fraying nerves below."

(CSM) "Pakistan in quandary over how to deal with rising militant threats."

But they do know what they want, more money. (WaPo) "The new government of Pakistan is seeking a "partnership" with the United States and wants tangible signs that the Bush administration will increase aid and embrace Pakistani democracy, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said yesterday."

McCain's bad week

David Corn does a quick list of the McCain mistakes this week.

(Steve Schmidt's first full week. He signed on July 2. Wasn't he supposed to clean all this up?)


What does it say that Doonesbury, a political cartoon, is the only source talking about Iraqis who fled to Syria? (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)

It's out there, in print, somewhere.....

In a new book, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, talks at some length about the detainee programs, torture, etc.

"The bomb," though, is this on the Red Cross' reporting.
Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.”

Picture of the Day

Ran across this in the unused picture file. From Jan 28.

(Barack Obama hugs Senator Edward Kennedy during a rally at American University in Washington, where Kennedy endorsed Obama's candidacy, January 28, 2008. (Mike Theiler/Reuters))

Friday, July 11, 2008

Political bits

(AP) Barack Obama cuts through the GOP attacks on his "second language" line and points out that they're attacking him for encouraging children to learn.

(WSJblog) Hagel will join Obama on his Iraq trip. (Hagel is a good example of how Joe Lieberman should be acting.)

(WSJblog) Obama catches McCain in TV spending.

(Politico) The Obama camp insists that the WSJ's leak of only $30 million in June "is way off the mark."

(SI) "According to sources, Barack Obama's campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing's No. 49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3."

(Politico) You can submit your suggestions for their platform directly to the GOP. (I'd recommend using a fake email.)

And, (CNN) it appears that McCain has found the age of his audience. His appearances are now preceded by "easy listening" music, "smooth jazz," muzak, and even a barbershop quartet. (Nothing gets 'em going like barbershop!)

Later: (Politico) At a campaign stop today, McCain made some further comments on Phil Gramm. (McCain really is a bit of a prick.)

On the VP leaks

I'm sure there are many (like EPM) who are quite excited with the news that Chris Dodd has submitted vetting documents to be Obama's VP, but I would be a bit more skeptical.

At this phase, the VP names that "leak" are generally allowed to leak intentionally as a way of payback to supporters. The real VP choice is probably not saying a word.

John McCain bigamist? Not really, but it's not pretty...

The LATimes "goes there" with a long piece looking at McCain's divorce, affair, and remarriage, the inaccuracies he's told, and how the Reagan's preferred the ex.

But I think the real news might be this,
Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

I don't think obtaining a license is the same as marrying, so, it's not really bigamy, but it certainly doesn't look good. Wait for a campaign response before you go nuts on this one.

(I'm guessing this is Obama oppo research dumped to the LATimes. My question would be, how did the Bush oppo research miss this? Or did they simply not need to use it?)

Later: As far as I can tell thus far, "The senator and campaign declined to comment on the matter."

Picture of the Day

(Republican presidential candidate US Senator John McCain stands with former US Senator Phil Gramm speak to the media in Phoenix, Arizona in March 2008. (AFP/Timothy A. Clary))

Get Ready.

This is one of those that seems credible, but I'm not sure.
Three US congressmen back from a trip to the region revealed yesterday they were briefed about US plans to stage raids against targets in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where most of the militancy feeding the insurgency in Afghanistan is believed to be based.....

A secret agreement between the US and President Pervez Musharraf to allow US special forces to enter Pakistan in pursuit of terrorists in the FATA region is said to have stalled under the new administration in Islamabad.

My question is why would these Congressmen be talking about this? Is this a feint to pressure the Pakistanis?

The source for the Iraqi calls for a US withdrawal timetable?

Add this little bit to your Iraqi political factoring,
A strong political debate is being waged in Baghdad on the role the Shiite supreme religious authority in Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, played in negotiations between Iraq and the US on a memorandum of security.

Al Sistani insisted on including a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces.

Being painted as Sistani calling for nationalism, but neither domestic politics nor Sistani's long ties to Iran should be discounted.

Bush administration spiked Obama's Brandeburg appearance? (Updated)

Is the Bush administration behind the action to spike the Obama Brandenburg appearance?

Later: An interesting Politico piece argues that the German row is about opposition politics there.

So, the opposition leaks that Merkel is blocking Obama at the behest of the Bush administration, and the Merkel camp says that the opposition are just playing politics with Obama?

(What does it say about Obama that the German opposition is trying to gain from Obama's support there?)

Per Der Spiegel, the date is already set, July 24.

Picture of the Day

(BBC) The Russians point out that US missile interceptor sites in Poland would be rather useless.......

(And wouldn't the North Koreans be firing west or northwest?)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If Iran are such bastards, why did McCain miss the vote?

McCain tries to lob an attack at Obama over the Kyl Lieberman amendment, the one that designated Iran's IRGC a terror group.

The only problem, McCain forgot that he skipped that vote, too.

Picture of the Day - 2

The McCain's pay tribute to Jesse Helms on the downlow..... Cindy McCain only.

(Cindy McCain,wife of presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, arrives for funeral services for former Sen. Jesse Helms at Hayes-Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, July 8, 2008.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome))

On the bright side, we could elect a potted plant and it would be an improvement.

Bush at his last G8 meeting.
The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.


McCain fundraising

The McCain campaign is trying to assuage supporters on its fundraising. They claim they're on track for $200 million before the convention (if they're allowed to count the RNC fundraising and state party fundraising.)

(Bush raised $200 million just for his campaign by May in 2004.)

Also: Through the end of June, McCain has $26.7 million left to spend, but the RNC retains $68.7 million.


From Phil Gramm, McCain's very wealthy top economic adviser.
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. "We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet."

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline"

This shows a "top down" economic understanding which misses the whole point. Whether we're in a recession is an academic question. What matters is the impacts on the economic lives of most Americans, and they aren't improving.

Later: The McCain campaign rapidly disowns, “Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views....."

Later: Oh, man, watch the difficulty McCain has in dealing with this. "Phil Graham doesn't speak for me." (Yeah, he's only your chief economic adviser, who is "speaking for you," outlining your economic policies, at the WSJ editorial board today.)

Later Still: In an interview, McCain jokes that Gramm will not be Secretary of the Treasury, but instead, Ambassador to Belarus.

And, Gramm tries to explain on CNN.

Quote II

"I do think that, frankly, Barack Obama looks toward Europe for a lot of his inspiration," top McCain supporter Mitt Romney told Fox News on Tuesday. "I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America."

Deconstruct that bit of jingoism....

Picture of the Day

99 Senators voted on the Medicare bill. Only John McCain chose not to show up. (AP:Lauren Victoria Burke)

(Has McCain cast any votes since April 8?)

Oh, man......

Not that I think Obama should spend all his time kowtowing to the Clinton folks, but, oy.......
After wrapping up his speech to donors Wednesday evening with an emphatic, “We will change the world!”, Obama left the stage to loud music, only to re-appear minutes later to complete his duties.

“Hold on a second guys, I was getting all carried away. I’ve got one more thing that is important to do,” Obama said to a laughing audience. “Senator Clinton still has some debt. And I could have had some debt if I hadn’t won so I know the drill.”



(BBC) "At least 250 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded in insurgent attacks or military action in the past six days, the Red Cross says."

(NYTimes) "Militant Gains in Pakistan Said to Draw More Fighters." (No, Afghanistan/Pakistan is not going well, but a couple dozen foreign fighters gets an incendiary front page headline?)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


For the most powerful nation in the history of the world with a military strength capable of scraping all life off the face of the earth several times over, there sure is alot of "oh me, oh my" fretting over Iran test firing known conventional weapon missile designs that can't even reach Europe.

What happened to us? We stared down the Soviets for god's sake.

I mean, yeah, if Iran started lobbing missiles it would get really messy, but they're not going to do that unless they're attacked first.

Later: The US reaction was so good that the Iranians did it again, firing more missiles today.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Sen. John McCain salutes the audience as he arrives at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, Ohio, at the Portsmouth High School Gym, Wednesday, July 9, 2008.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster))

McCain surrenders to the terrorists - The Iraqis screw John McCain

After listening to over a year of John McCain, presidential candidate, tell me that "Iraq is the central front in the war on terror," and that leaving early would "embolden the terrorists," and that we can't leave Iraq because it "would become a terrorist safe haven," he now seems awfully willing to let all those things happen.
"John McCain has always been clear that American forces operate in Iraq only with the consent of that country's democratically elected government," Michael Goldfarb, a McCain spokesman, told the Huffington Post.....

I really do believe the timetable talk from the Iraqis is empty, part of the SoFA negotiation. But I think it's important to notice that the Iraqis were willing to completely screw John McCain here as a political shot across the administration's bow, showing just how exposed Bush's successor is.

Maybe I'm wrong, but they Iraqis are pretty subtle politicians, and I would think they knew exactly what they were doing here. (Politicking with your family's lives at stake does tend to hone your sensitivities.)

From the US side it looks like a nasty negotiating step, but they deal in real people's very real lives everyday. This is nothing to them.

Picture of the Day

I don't know about everywhere else, but this is a Rockwell image straight out of the suburban America where I live.

(Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, watching his daughter Malia's soccer game in Chicago on Tuesday, July 1, 2008. (AP/Jae C. Hong))

Funny, funny, funny

Politico contacted some of the economists who signed a vague 400 word letter letter endorsing the McCain economic plan, a letter McCain is touting at every stop, and, when asked, these economists couldn't back away quickly enough.

The tallest building, the first in space, and the Guiness book

Step back from the coldwar/conflict analysis in this WaPo frontpager on China and India's burgeoning space programs, and take a minute to appreciate culturally what's going on in these countries.

In countries in ascent on the world stage, there is always this cultural element of achievement, of firsts and mosts and amazements and pride that manifests itself in all sorts of weird ways.

There are the obvious major cultural pride achievements like a space program or that which the Beijing Olympics have become, but there are also elements of this that go down to the very average people doing very strange "Guiness book" kind of things. We're beginning to see this coming out of both India and China.

It's part of these countries' developing self images, a manifestation that infuses itself into the cultural core, that "our people" are capable of great things. It's a cultural self belief of a country that draws average people to achievement, even if it's some ridiculous toothpick reconstruction of the Empire State building or carhenge.

There's also an element of cultural reflection in the achievements a culture chooses to embrace. For instance, Houdini was interesting because he captured the possibility of a nobody immigrant beating incredible odds in a time when blue collar workers were fighting for the 40-hour workweek and other workplace rights. Houdini was the possibility of the American dream, the escape from the impossible.

If you think back, the Soviets had their "average guy" heroes, too (although they tended to focus on athletics and competition) and the British did too (travelogues as a manifestation of the first global empire.)

So, as you read about the China or India big achievements like a space program or whatever, remember that there is also this everyman achiever cultural element out there, a hot dog eater, a poll sitter, a pogostick champion who speaks about their countries' self image just as much.

Thoughts regarding the Iraqi calls for withdrawal

I'm still not taking the Iraqi calls for a timetable for a US withdrawal all that seriously. It smells like a negotiating ploy on the SoFA. They're not outlining a date for withdrawal, not giving a plan or any specifics, just lobbing out this incendiary embarrassment to the Bush administration (and its political successor John McCain.)

But it is notable that the negotiations are at a point and the Iraqis feel secure enough to do this.

(Plus calls for US withdrawal always help Maliki domestically.)

Point of tension......

Regarding the missile defense row with Russia,
Some US officials, however, say privately that Moscow is more worried about the radar system, fearing that it could be pointed into Russia for intelligence-gathering purposes.

On the other side, the Iranians test fired several missiles (accompanied with the expected rhetoric) as part of a military exercise.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

Feel the love.....

(Cindy McCain kisses her husband Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain after introducing him at a town hall-style meeting in Denver, Monday, July 7, 2008. (AP/Carolyn Kaster))

On the candidates' foreign trips

As details begin to leak about Obama's forthcoming trip to Europe, Britain, France, Germany (questions about the Brandenburg Gate appearance,) then following on to Jordan, Iraq, and Israel (do they let black people go to the Wailing Wall?,) I find myself thinking about the comparisons McCain avoided by making his foreign trip to Mexico and Columbia.

Will the crowds in Europe come out in huge numbers for Obama? What's their tone? If McCain had made the same Europe stops, how much anti-Iraq, Guantanamo, etc protest would there be in the streets?

I think the McCain camp wisely chose to dodge that bullet.

McCain and the over 60 set

McCain came out with a new ad today, and the question circling around it seems to be whether emphasizing his Vietnam experience echoes too much of the 60's, whether that hurts McCain by making him seem out of touch.

One of the ideas is that McCain is really targeting the over 60 whites to offset Obama's strengths elsewhere.

The lurking problem for this McCain plan is in his laughable claim to balance the budget by 2013 through tax cuts,
Mr. McCain said he would also slow the growth of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and fiscal experts agree that he would need to do that to achieve his goal. But Mr. McCain did not give details of how he would alter those benefit programs, which have powerful constituencies, including older Americans, a huge health care industry and state and local government officials.

That's just sitting out there right now untouched and undefined.

So it's come to this.......

Two big name former Secretaries of State, James Baker and Warren Christopher, write a joint oped in the NYTimes asking Congress to repeal/modify the 1973 War Powers Resolution to, you know, put the power to declare war in the hands of Congress rather than the presidency.

It's really pretty historically and Constitutionally breathtaking that this is even written.

Picture of the Day

(President George W. Bush listens to a question during a joint news conference with the Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda at the G8 Summit at The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort and Spa in Toyako, Japan, July 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

The '08 presidential Iraq debate in a nutshell.

The AFP sums it up.
Fresh carnage in Kabul and a rising death toll among US troops are thrusting once-forgotten Afghanistan into the thick of the intensifying White House showdown between John McCain and Barack Obama.

Democratic presumptive nominee Obama is promising to redeploy large numbers of US combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan if he is elected president in November, in an effort to quell resurgent militant activity.

Republican candidate John McCain however maintains that Iraq is the central front of the "war on terror" adding that a US withdrawal would embolden terrorists and US enemies, and that the two wars cannot be seen in isolation.

That "central front in the war on terror" line has really worn out its shelf life. More important than actually being wrong, it feels wrong now, doesn't it?

"Iraq is the central front in the war on terror....."

McCain campaign update

The NYTimes has a must skim article on the various, internally conflicting factions within the McCain campaign.

(If the poll numbers slip, constructions like this have a tendency to get very ugly and seize up the campaign.)

And the Obama campaign remains largely drama free........

Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the bombings

Yesterday I wrote a bit of a background piece on the very complicated relationship between India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Today, President Karzai's spokesman repeats the charge that Pakistan was behind yesterday's embassy bombing apparently without, you know, any actual evidence
"The sophistication of this attack and the kind of material that was used, the specific targeting, everything has the hallmarks of a particular agency that has conducted similar attacks inside Afghanistan. We have sufficient evidence to say that," Hamidzada said. "The project was designed outside Afghanistan. It was exported to Afghanistan."

It wasn't just one comment. The Karzai government issued an official written summary of their cabinet meeting, (AFP)
"The terrorists no doubt could not have succeeded in launching such an atrocity without full support of foreign intelligence," the summary of the cabinet meeting released Tuesday said, citing the report.

The Karzai government really wants it public that Pakistan was behind this terror attack on the Indian embassy. (To get the Indians to commit to more "reconstruction funds" he can dole out to stabilize his wobbly government before the next election?)

The Pakistani PM condemned the attack.

(And the US-India nuclear deal is moving forward.)

The war that never ends..... even when you come home.

Two articles today on PTSD and fallout from Iraq. First, the awful story of Pfc. Joseph Dwyer who was featured in one of those supposed "iconic photos" in Iraq who came home with severe PTSD, swerving to avoid IED's on the roads around his home and sleeping in his closet with a knife. He died from inhalant abuse. (The ArmyTimes version has the photo.)

Second, the NYTimes has a feature length piece on soldiers returning home to depression, substance abuse, and problems with the law.

(I think it's very important to note that these stories are not "all soldiers" who served in Iraq, many are coming home and returning to their lives, but the reported numbers of 1/3 registering with depression or PTSD does represent a huge number, 100-150,000.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

Senator Jim Webb rules out the VP slot.

(I always wonder... on these guys who were clearly in the running for VP, and then come out of the blue to say they're not, did the Obama campaign whisper to them to allow them the dignity of ruling themselves out?

I mean, come on... nobody would rather be a Senator.)

(Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., during a campaign event at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Va. Thursday, June 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

Simon Mann sentenced to 34 years

Simon Mann, the mercenary tied to the weirdly named arms for hire firm Executive Outcomes, was sentenced to 34 years for his part in trying to stage the Eq. Guinea coup.

The attorney general in Equatorial Guinea says he now wants to extradite Mark Thatcher and Eli Kalil.

Picture of the Day

(President Bush meets with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev at the Group of Eight (G8) Summit at The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort and Spa in Toyako, July 7, 2008. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin))


The McCain campaign's attacks on Obama regarding Iraq are not about Obama's positions or policy. They are about creating the impression of Obama appearing uncertain and on the defensive on a major foreign policy issue.

Bomb at Indian embassy kills 41 in Afghanistan

A huge carbombing outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul kills at least 41 and wounds 140.

I think a very important bit in this article is the Afghani government's reaction which clearly seems to point this bombing directly to Pakistan's ISI.
"The Interior Ministry believes this attack was carried out in coordination and consultation with an active intelligence service in the region," the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

The India/Pakistan/Afghanistan relationship is very long and complicated, but, the pertinent recent bit is the decades old Pakistani strategic item, "strategic depth," the principle of which was that Pakistan would dominate Afghanistan and its politics through the ISI and Pashtun tribalism/Islamism to prevent India from gaining an ally and second front in the case of a Pakistan/India war.

In the overthrow of Pakistan, the US elevated the Northern Alliance, which has historically had closer ties to India to overthrow that Pakistani linked Pashtun government.

A very short, partial history by Juan Cole:
Pakistan had long considered Afghanistan its sphere of influence (which the military called its 'strategic depth' against India). Pakistan exercised its regional hegemony through the Taliban in the 1990s. The Northern Alliance gradually allied with India, Russia and Iran. The Taliban were mostly Pushtun, while the Northern Alliance was Tajik (Persian-speaking), Hazarah (ditto but Shiite) and Uzbek. So from a Pakistani and Pushtun Taliban point of view, when the US put the Northern Alliance in charge of Kabul in late 2001, it more or less turned Afghanistan into an Indian sphere of influence. Pakistan is unhappy about this change, which helps explain why its military may be backing some Pushtun Taliban again.

For decades, Afghanistan has been a pawn in the greater India/Pakistan power balance. So, what does it say about that balance when the Indian embassy is dramatically bombed and Afghan officials directly blame the Pakistanis?

How do the Pakistani military and intelligence services react as the Karzai government repeatedly, hostilely criticizes them while being quietly neutral towards India? Does that make them more likely or less likely to help and support the Karzai government? Does that make them more likely or less likely to tamp down the violence coming from the tribal regions? Does that make them more likely or less likely to support US intentions in Afghanistan?

And, in turn, how do the Indians react if they believe that the ISI's ties to the Taleban link it in to this attack?

I may be overblowing the significance of this one attack, but it seems to capture alot of the larger forces tearing at the region.

McCain campaign update

(Politico) McCain will promise to balance the budget today. (Unbelievable. I hope the press actually does their job here.)

(WaPo) Conservative activists are preparing a convention fight over the party's platform. (Any press on the GOP platform is good news. 2004 contained some pretty extreme bits.)

(Politico) To highlight McCain's problems on the right, it's news when he just attends church in two out of three weeks.

And, oh goody, the McCain campaign has officially signed on Mike DuHaime, Giuliani's campaign manager as political director. (Here's to hoping he does as well for McCain.)

Failing in definition

Thought: The Obama campaign has not yet completely tied John McCain to George Bush's presidency in the independent voter and media mind.

On the other hand, the McCain campaign has not even nudged the polls in its efforts to define Obama as young, inexperienced, or (that new euphemism for race) "strange."

Neither sides' attacks are really landing. That's odd to me.

(Maybe we need one of them to make a complete fool of himself.)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Picture of the Day

(Senator John McCain attends a news conference during a visit to a new federal police center in Mexico City July 3, 2008.(AFP/Alfredo Estrella))

Worst political joke I've ever made

It's tasteless, and dirty, and offensive, so I'm posting it in the comments.

(Really, it's beneath me, but I've been laughing for two days.)


The sample is a little small, but it's statistically above 50%.
A Los Angeles Times survey of 1,467 people, including 631 soldiers, veterans and their families, in late 2007 found that 57 percent of military respondents believed the Iraq war was not worth fighting -- nearly the same as the overall population (60 percent).

I think Obama's reception from the soldiers in Baghdad may be one of the most interesting moments of the campaign.

(Thanks to Todd for the pointer on the poll.)

Like a drunk being asked about abstinence....

Notice the curt snapback when asked if, you know, he was actually going to so something about it.
"In terms of the dollar, the United States believes in a strong dollar policy and believes the strength of our economy will be reflected in the dollar," Bush said when asked what world leaders could do to improve the economy and intervene to boost the dollar.

When pressed on potential intervention, Bush replied, "I just said, the relative strength of our economy will be reflected in currencies."