Saturday, June 27, 2009

HS vs Pentagon Hissy Fit, Afghan Drug Policy MMMmm Good

Brian Nelson
Eugene Robinson
Dana Milbank

The links above are diverse today, Brian Nelson gives an analysis on Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Eugene Robinson writes about Michael Jackson, and Dana Milbank gives a behind the scenes glimpse of the Rahm Emanuel interview at the Christian science Monitor the other day... I decided to go with a fun photo of the First Dog taking his masters for a run, whether they wanted to or not...

The top headline in today's Washington Post is about sending troops to our borders with Mexico, something that I predicted several months ago and again yesterday. It seems the major setback is the fight over jurisdiction between Homeland Security and the Pentagon, Border Patrol versus military troops: "A proposal to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to counter drug trafficking has triggered a bureaucratic standoff between the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security over the military's role in domestic affairs, according to officials in both departments.

The debate has engaged a pair of powerful personalities, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, in what their subordinates describe as a turf fight over who should direct the use of troops to assist in the fight against Mexican cartels and who should pay for them.

At issue is a proposal to send 1,500 additional troops to the border to analyze intelligence and to provide air support and technical assistance to border agencies. The governors of Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico made the request in January, drawing support from Napolitano but prompting objections from the Pentagon, where officials argue that it could lead to a permanent, expanded mission for the military." Once the hissy fits get resolved, we'll see how well we can work across the border. This will be a violent exercise, with a lot of casualties because we don't want drug cartel people in our jails. It would make housing terrorists look like a joke in comparison. Expect this to begin shortly after the Mexican elections on July 5th...

The weirdest news comes from Iraq, where the Sunnis are still targeting their Shia brothers for public bombings, adding their two cents and dynamite over the Iranian election. Perhaps someone could persuade Ahmadinejad to make a victory tour of Shia communities in Iraq... And the government of al Maliki is claiming that the Americans pulling out military troops from the cities is a victory for Iraq. In the words of MSNBC's Countdown host, WTF..?

Meanwhile, the US envoy to Afghanistan announced a shift in America's drug policy towards those poor, subsistence opium farmers in the region, from the NY Times: "The United States has announced a new drug policy for opium-rich Afghanistan, saying it was phasing out funding for eradication programs while significantly increasing its funding for alternate crop and drug interdiction efforts.

The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, told The Associated Press on Saturday that eradication programs weren't working and were only driving farmers into the hands of the Taliban. ''Eradication is a waste of money,'' Holbrooke said on the sidelines of a Group of Eight foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan, during which he briefed regional representatives on the new policy.

The G-8 ministers ''strongly appreciated'' the shift, which also includes an increase in annual U.S. funding for agricultural development from a few million dollars to a few hundred million dollars, said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy, the current G-8 president.

Officials at Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and Counternarcotics Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment."
Yes, the officials were too busy making more room for the anticipated skimming of US funds, a time honored tradition. How many Iraqi and Afghani officials own houses in the South of France? And who said war is hell?

The clear winner in South Carolina's flaky Mark Sanford's extra-marital affair, is his media savvy wife. MSNBC relates her story: "South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford sat in her oceanfront living room Friday, recalling how her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

"I said: 'Absolutely not.' It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," Mrs. Sanford said in a 20-minute interview with the Associated Press at the coastal home where she sought refuge with the couple's four sons - the first extended comments on the affair.

She said that when her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, inexplicably disappeared last week, she hoped he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as his staff told those who inquired about his absence. That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned.

"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said in a strong, steady voice. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."
It looks like the people of south Carolina elected the wrong Sanford, mark my words.

late night jokes:

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 'The Late Show.' My name is Dave, or as the governor of South Carolina would say, gracias!" --David Letterman

"Hey, you know what is going on over in Iran with the election? Have you been following that? Oh, it's crazy. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared himself a winner. Had a victory party. And he came out at the victory party and he thanked the 148% of the people who voted for him." --David Letterman

"This Ahmadinejad guy, during all those protests, keeping a very low profile in Iran. His staff said he was hiking." --David Letterman

"President Obama was so upset about the Iranian crackdown that he told the Iranian diplomats that they would not be invited to the Fourth of July party. And I said, well, by God, that will teach them right there." --David Letterman

"And it's a darn shame because Ahmadinejad makes wonderful potato salad." --David Letterman

"Anybody here from South Carolina? You're here but you don't want to admit it." --David Letterman

"Well, it's the latest political scandal. Mr. And Mrs. Sanford, you know, the Jon and Kate of politics." --David Letterman

"Turned out the governor disappears, for like, the weekend. Finally, his staff said, 'Don't worry about the Governor, he is on the Appalachian Trail hiking.' But it turns out he was in South America. And it turned out he was down there because he was with a woman from Argentina. Seeing a woman from Argentina named Maria. And I was thinking Judge Sotomayor was apparently wrong because Latina woman don't necessarily have better judgment than white men." --David Letterman

"What if there is trouble and you can't find the governor. Well, how does that make you feel? Horrible, doesn't it? And I'm thinking, South Carolina, what if they get the call that North Carolina is invading." --David Letterman

"It's a disaster for everybody down there in South Carolina. Although I have to say, yesterday, it was nice to see somebody else apologize on TV." --David Letterman

"But in this sense, Gov. Sanford is a little like President Obama. He has Friday night date night, it's just not with his wife." --David Letterman

"Let's run this down, it was last week, Senator Ensign, Republican, he comes on the television and admits he has an affair. And this week, Governor Sanford of South Carolina, Republican, gets on the television and admits he had an affair. And I was thinking, why do the Republicans have this problem? And it finally came to me. The trouble started with Bob Dole when he was doing those commercials for Viagra." --David Letterman

"At a press conference yesterday, in case you don't know, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to having a mistress from Argentina. That's right. Yeah, then there was an awkward moment as he waited for someone to give him a high five." --Conan O'Brien

"Governor Sanford may have broken the law, that's the latest. Yeah, they say he may have broken the law because he left the country without transferring power to his lieutenant governor. Yeah, he didn't transfer power. Yeah, apparently Sanford violated South Carolina's sacred bros before hoes law." --Conan O'Brien

"A British furniture company was caught trying to slip advertisements into Twitter by linking them to the Iranian election crisis. Isn't that the lowest? Yeah, probably the most shameless had to be, 'Tired of all the unrest? Try our Serta Perfect Sleeper.'" --Conan O'Brien

"There's another new development in the Mark Sanford story. His wife, Jenny, kicked him out of their home when she heard about the affair. In response, Hillary Clinton said, 'Wait. You can do that? No one told me that.'" --Jimmy Kimmel

"People are calling him a hypocrite, because he's another family values politician having an affair, but I don't see it in political terms. I'm just embarrassed for my gender. Ladies, if you want to know what it's like being a guy, think about the fact that there's a man, the governor of a good-sized state, who asked himself, 'Hmm, can I sneak off to Argentina for a week with my lover without anybody finding out?' And somehow came up with the answer 'yes.' I hope that gives you a sense of what we're up against." --Jimmy Kimmel

David Letterman's Top Ten Surprising Facts About Governor Mark Sanford

10. Began last "State of the State" address, "Yo, what's happenin', mama?"
9. Promised his wife he'd be faithful within the 48 contiguous states
8. On Facebook, lists his relationship status as "It's complicated.
7. Becoming disgraced governor ruined his dream of becoming disgraced President.
6. Hoping scandal will get him out of attending in-laws' Fourth of July cookout.
5. Was sick and tired of Eliot Spitzer holding title "Love Gov."
4. Often gets fan mail intended for Redd Foxx.
3. His goal in life is to commit adultery on all seven continents.
2. Made it safe for me to joke about Republican governors again.
1. Entered politics because he enjoyed polling

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