We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for January 26th, 2010

McChrystal Discusses Afghanistan Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

McChrystal Discusses Afghanistan Plan
America’s top brass in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, sat down for a talk with the Financial Times last week about his strategy in the South Asian nation, how long he thinks U.S. troops will remain there and the possibility of the Taliban’s participation in the Afghan government. The FT on Monday published an edited transcript of the interview.  —KA Financial Times: FT: You say clearly in [your] assessment that a foreign army can’t win an insurgency, that there has to be improvements in governance to win over the support of the population. At the same time it’s clear that there’s a lot of doubts about the ability of the present government to do that. What do you need to see President Karzai doing to actually ensure your strategy can work? Gen McChrystal: It’s not so much what I have to see; it’s what the Afghan people have to see. They will judge the credibility and legitimacy of the Karzai government – and that applies down to the local level, the provincial level, district level – they will apply their own metric, or assessment, on whether that’s legitimate for their needs. And it will be a little different in different parts of the country. So I think what we need to see is that progress continue. Much of what fuels most insurgencies is their ability to leverage a, or create a seam between the people and the government. So what we’re looking to do is to continue to see that close. FT: How is it going to be possible to close that gap, though, when there’s such a deficit of legitimacy in the existing government, in the eyes of so many Afghans, particularly in the south of the country where the insurgency is greatest? How do you persuade people that they should have faith in what you’re offering – the carrots, if you will – compared to the sticks that the Taliban can bring to bear, so easily, in so many parts of the country? Gen McChrystal: That is a key point. The first is to characterise the insurgency here. The insurgency here is most notable with the Quetta Shura based Taliban, that part of the Taliban. They were the government back in the ’90s. They are deeply unpopular, and so they don’t offer much. They don’t have the ability to offer development. Their vision in the past that they demonstrated was very hard on a tremendous amount of the population. So as shown in their polls, they are very, very deeply resented by most of the people. But they do, as you’ve said correctly, they do have the ability to coerce. And they have the ability to help create a seam between the people and the government through the coercion, but also the ability to support narco-activities, from which people can make money, and provide local rule of law. What the government has to do is really two things. First they need to protect the people. They need to give the people enough security so that they have the opportunity to choose. If a person can’t choose, there’s no point discussing choices with them. We’ve got to create for them the opportunity to choose. And then the government has got to make a case for its own ability to meet the needs and desires of the people. They have to then win the argument with the insurgency for the support of the people. Read more

McChrystal

America’s top brass in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, sat down for a talk with the Financial Times last week about his strategy in the South Asian nation, how long he thinks U.S. troops will remain there and the possibility of the Taliban’s participation in the Afghan government. The FT on Monday published an edited transcript of the interview.? —KA

Financial Times:

FT: You say clearly in [your] assessment that a foreign army can’t win an insurgency, that there has to be improvements in governance to win over the support of the population. At the same time it’s clear that there’s a lot of doubts about the ability of the present government to do that. What do you need to see President Karzai doing to actually ensure your strategy can work?

Gen McChrystal: It’s not so much what I have to see; it’s what the Afghan people have to see. They will judge the credibility and legitimacy of the Karzai government – and that applies down to the local level, the provincial level, district level – they will apply their own metric, or assessment, on whether that’s legitimate for their needs. And it will be a little different in different parts of the country. So I think what we need to see is that progress continue. Much of what fuels most insurgencies is their ability to leverage a, or create a seam between the people and the government. So what we’re looking to do is to continue to see that close.

FT: How is it going to be possible to close that gap, though, when there’s such a deficit of legitimacy in the existing government, in the eyes of so many Afghans, particularly in the south of the country where the insurgency is greatest? How do you persuade people that they should have faith in what you’re offering – the carrots, if you will – compared to the sticks that the Taliban can bring to bear, so easily, in so many parts of the country?

Gen McChrystal: That is a key point. The first is to characterise the insurgency here. The insurgency here is most notable with the Quetta Shura based Taliban, that part of the Taliban. They were the government back in the ’90s. They are deeply unpopular, and so they don’t offer much. They don’t have the ability to offer development. Their vision in the past that they demonstrated was very hard on a tremendous amount of the population. So as shown in their polls, they are very, very deeply resented by most of the people. But they do, as you’ve said correctly, they do have the ability to coerce. And they have the ability to help create a seam between the people and the government through the coercion, but also the ability to support narco-activities, from which people can make money, and provide local rule of law.

What the government has to do is really two things. First they need to protect the people. They need to give the people enough security so that they have the opportunity to choose. If a person can’t choose, there’s no point discussing choices with them. We’ve got to create for them the opportunity to choose. And then the government has got to make a case for its own ability to meet the needs and desires of the people. They have to then win the argument with the insurgency for the support of the people.

Read more

Related Entries



Dean Baker: Leveling the Political and Economic Playing Field

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Dean Baker: Leveling the Political and Economic Playing Field
The Supreme Court ruled last week that corporations could spend as much money as they want in elections, thereby making most existing restrictions on corporate…

Chris Weigant: Taking Tea Partiers Seriously
There has been an interesting alignment which has slowly happened over the past year, between two groups not normally in agreement — inside-the-Beltway mainstream media…

Obama Scoffed At McCain’s Spending Freeze Proposal During Campaign (VIDEO)
It didn’t take long for the critics to come out in force — and on YouTube — against the Obama administration’s just-leaked plan to propose…


Wash. Post still offers a comfortable home for George Will’s climate change misinformation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Wash. Post still offers a comfortable home for George Will’s climate change misinformation

George Will’s January 24 Washington Post column continued his long pattern of misconstruing and distorting climate science in order to call into question the overwhelming consensus about human-caused global warming. Although Will has been repeatedly discredited on the issue, the Post continues to allow him to advance falsehoods and has yet to correct his global warming columns, and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt has defended Will.

Will’s long history of global warming misinformation in pages of Wash. Post

Torrent of global warming misinformation continued with distortion of glacier data. In his January 24 column, Will said that the “menace of global warming” is “elusive” and claimed that an acknowledged error about Himalayan glaciers in a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) constituted “another dollop of evidence of the seepage of dubious science into policy debate.” In fact, scientists routinely present strong evidence of long-term global warming and its consequences, including evidence of “[w]idespread mass loss from glaciers.” The IPCC itself, in acknowledging the error, stated that the broad conclusion about glacier loss in the report “is robust, appropriate, and entirely consistent with the underlying science and the broader IPCC assessment.” [1/24/09]

Will cited no evidence to claim that climate scientists are suppressing or massaging data. In his December 6, 2009, column, Will claimed that “[d]isclosure of e-mails and documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Britain — a collaborator with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — reveals some scientists’ willingness to suppress or massage data.” Will cited no evidence to support his claims. He also flogged an out-of-context email to falsely suggest that it made the case for global warming “less compelling.” [12/6/09]

Will claimed “evidence” of climate change is “elusive.” In an October 1, 2009, Washington Post column, Will claimed that “evidence” of climate change is “elusive” and that scientists are overstating the threat of warming when they say — in the words of a September 21 New York Times article Will criticized — that a recent “plateau” in temperatures has “no bearing” on the long-term warming trend. In fact, scientists routinely present strong evidence of long-term warming and its consequences — including a September 2009 United Nations report Will himself cited that says “rapid environmental change is underway with the pace and the scale of climate change accelerating.” [10/1/09]

Will misused sea ice data in February 2009 column. In his February 15, 2009, Washington Post column, Will suggested that Arctic Climate Research Center (ACRC) data on Arctic sea ice undermine the case for the existence of “man-made global warming.” In response, the ACRC reportedly stated:

We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.

Doubling down, Will misused sea ice data again. In a February 27, 2009, column, Will falsely claimed that in his February 15 column, he “accurately reported” on the contents of an ACRC document. In fact, the document he cited rebutted the very argument he was making: The ACRC document that Will relied on actually stated that the sea ice data are consistent with the outcomes projected by climate-change models. In the words of TPM Muckraker’s Zachary Roth, Will’s February 27 column “amounts to a stubborn defense of the amazing global warming denialist column he published earlier this month, that was ripped apart by just about everyone and their mother.” On April 6, 2009, NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released new data on Arctic sea ice levels that further discredited Will’s statements. [2/27/09]

Will criticized for “misrepresentation of the data” after distorting World Meteorological Organization (WMO) statistics about global temperatures. Will wrote in his April 2, 2009, column that “[r]educing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the WMO, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.” Will presented the WMO data as evidence that global warming may not be occurring despite the fact that WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud criticized him for similarly writing in his February 15 column that according to the organization, “there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade.” Jarraud called Will’s February 15 assertion “a misrepresentation of the data and of scientific knowledge.” [4/2/09]

Despite criticism, Post does not correct Will’s columns and Hiatt defends him

Will columns criticized by environmental community, Post colleagues. Will’s global warming columns have been widely criticized by the environmental community and have also been criticized by Washington Post editorial board member and cartoonist Tom Toles, Post weather columnist Andrew Freedman, and Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander. Fellow editorial columnist Eugene Robinson also said that Will “cross[ed] the line” in spreading global warming misinformation.

Post has not corrected any of these columns. Despite the criticism of the Post ombudsman and other Post colleagues, as of January 24, Will’s February 15, February 27, April 2, October 1, and December 6, 2009, columns do not contain any corrections, clarifications, or notes addressing the misinformation he has spread, nor does the January 24 column.

Indeed, Post editorial page editor reportedly defended Will’s January column on sea ice data. The Columbia Journalism Review posted a piece on February 26, 2009, featuring quotes from Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt defending Will’s discredited February 15 column:

“If you want to start telling me that columnists can’t make inferences which you disagree with — and, you know, they want to run a campaign online to pressure newspapers into suppressing minority views on this subject — I think that’s really inappropriate. It may well be that he is drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject — so, you know, fine, I welcome anyone to make that point. But don’t make it by suggesting that George Will shouldn’t be allowed to make the contrary point. Debate him.” [2/26/09]


MT Group Demands Local Leaders Boot Feds, Form Militia, Protect Guns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

MT Group Demands Local Leaders Boot Feds, Form Militia, Protect Guns
A group of nearly 200 “extremely concerned citizens” in a small Montana county are demanding that local leaders fill out a “questionnaire” pledging to form a local militia, prohibit mandatory vaccinations, boot the EPA out of town, allow citizens to bear any type of gun, and require federal government employees to get written approval before approaching “any Citizen.”

ACLU Sues Justice Department On Torture Report
The ACLU filed suit Friday in a bid to force the Justice Department to release its internal report on torture.



Rush or Rusha?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Rush or Rusha?


Rubio Leads Crist in Florida

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Rubio Leads Crist in Florida
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) now leading Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, 47% to 44%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Who would have thunk it? A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a U.S. Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads. He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead. And, the horse race numbers are not a fluke. Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio’s grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off.”

Rubio also beats Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in a general election match up, 44% to 35%. Crist leads Meek, 48% to 36%.


TV Is Not Dead: 3 Ways Television Makes the World a Better Place

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

TV Is Not Dead: 3 Ways Television Makes the World a Better Place
More people than ever before are tuning in, all around the world. And we are all the better for it.

More people than ever before are tuning in, all around the world. And we are all the better for it.

Welcome to the New AlterNet
The new AlterNet gives readers more opportunities to express their opinions and more avenues to ‘Take Action’ for change.

The new AlterNet gives readers more opportunities to express their opinions and more avenues to 'Take Action' for change.

The Overuse of Antibiotics in Lifestock Feed Is Killing Us
Over 70,000 Americans die each year because of antibiotic resistance, thanks to the overuse of antibiotics in medical treatments, factory farming and soaps.

Over 70,000 Americans die each year because of antibiotic resistance, thanks to the overuse of antibiotics in medical treatments, factory farming and soaps.

The Marijuana Cancer Cure Cult
It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, but some enthusiasts may be going too far.

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds, but some enthusiasts may be going too far.


Haiti, Hope, and Cynicism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Haiti, Hope, and Cynicism
It really is great to see the outpouring of sympathy and support for the earthquake victims. Tonight’s telethon was a reminder of American generosity and empathy; this is one of the things we’re good at. But I’m noticing another, less…


HaitiEarthquakeCaribbeanOrganizationsHope

What The “I’m Mad-As-Hell” Party Could Do
A third political party is emerging in America. Call it the I’m-Mad-As-Hell party. It’s a mistake to see the Mad-As-Hell party as just a right-wing phenomenon – the so-called Tea Partiers now storming the gates of the Republican Party. There…


United StatesRepublicanPolitical partyRight-wing politicsPolitics

Presented By:


Poll Confirms Massachusetts Election Was Not A Rejection Of Health Care Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Poll Confirms Massachusetts Election Was Not A Rejection Of Health Care Reform
Following the surprise victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) in last week’s special election, conservatives have attempted to paint the election as a rejection of healthcare reform and progressive policies more generally. Appearing on ABC’s This Week yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, “what happened in Massachusetts” shows that “people are alarmed and angry about the […]

brownFollowing the surprise victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) in last week’s special election, conservatives have attempted to paint the election as a rejection of healthcare reform and progressive policies more generally.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, “what happened in Massachusetts” shows that “people are alarmed and angry about the spending, the debt, the government takeovers [including health care].” Conservative Washington Post columnist George Will said on This Week that Massachusetts “really was a health care election.” “This was a referendum on a particular piece of legislation that is the signature legislation of the administration, and the people of Massachusetts and the country are hotly angered over its substance,” Will said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on Meet the Press yesterday, said, “the message in Massachusetts was absolutely clear. The exit polls that I looked at said 48 percent of the people in Massachusetts said they voted for the new senator over health care.” McConnell added: “The people are telling us, ‘Please don’t pass this bill.’”

This “referendum” on health reform meme has become near-conventional wisom, with the media and even some Democrats echoing it. But a new Washington Post/Kaiser/Harvard poll undermines this assertion. The poll suggests that while the election was a “protest of the Washington process,” it was not a rejection of progressive policy. Only 11 percent of voters, including 19 percent of Brown voters, want Brown to “stop the Democratic agenda:”

70 percent of voters think Brown should work with Democrats on health care reform, including 48 percent of Brown voters.

52 percent of voters were enthusiastic/satisfied with Obama administration policies.

44 percent of voters believe “the country as a whole” would be better off with health care reform, but 23 percent believe Massachusetts would be better off.

68 percent of voters, including 51 percent of Brown voters approve of Massachusetts’ health care reform.

58 percent of all voters, including 37 percent of Brown voters, felt “dissatisfied/angry” with “the policies offered by the Republicans in Congress.”

A different poll, from Rasmussen Reports, cast doubt on the notion that Brown voters were primarily motivated by opposition to health care reform. The poll found that 52 percent of Brown voters said health care was their top issue, while an even greater percentage of people who voted for state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) — 63 percent — placed it first.

And as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, Brown “doesn’t make a very convincing messenger for opposing the policy behind health reform,” considering he voted for his state’s health reform legislation in 2006. “He promised to be the 41st vote against reform because Massachusetts had already passed its own health reform bill, arguing that the state shouldn’t pay for the national effort,” Volsky added.

More at the WonkRoom here, here and here.

Gibbs responds: I told Ed Schultz he was intentionally lying to ‘get people to watch his show.’
As ThinkProgress first reported yesterday, MSNBC host Ed Schultz told a progressive gathering in Minnesota that he recently engaged in a testy confrontation with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. In an off-the-air conversation, Schultz told Gibbs he was “full of sh*t,” leading Gibbs to respond with “the f-bomb.” The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent followed […]

As ThinkProgress first reported yesterday, MSNBC host Ed Schultz told a progressive gathering in Minnesota that he recently engaged in a testy confrontation with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. In an off-the-air conversation, Schultz told Gibbs he was “full of sh*t,” leading Gibbs to respond with “the f-bomb.” The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent followed up with Gibbs to explain what happened:

gibbs[Gibbs] says he pointedly accused Schultz of misleading viewers about the Dem health care plan in order to “get people to watch his show.” […]

Asked about Schultz’s account, Gibbs emailed that in their private talk, he strongly took issue with Schultz’s claim that the health care bill is a gift to the insurance industry.

Gibbs adds that he demanded Schultz tell him “why he’d tell his viewers something so completely and knowingly wrong in an attempt to get people to watch his show.”

The White House has tried repeatedly to dispute the concern that health insurance companies would profit from the current reform proposal. In November, White House health policy adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle argued that “insurance companies will profit if status quo remains.” And in December, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer argued that insurance companies wouldn’t be spending vast amounts of money to lobby against the bill if it were good for them.


Former U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. of Maryland dies at 87

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 26th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Former U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. of Maryland dies at 87
Charles McC. Mathias Jr., 87 , a three-term U.S. senator from Maryland who often clashed with his fellow Republicans over court nominations, the Vietnam War and social issues and was one of the last unabashed Senate liberals in the GOP, died Monday at his home in Chevy Chase. He had Parkinson’s d…

Rise in teenage pregnancy rate spurs new debate on arresting it
The pregnancy rate among teenage girls in the United States has jumped for the first time in more than a decade, raising alarm that the long campaign to reduce motherhood among adolescents is faltering, according to a report released Tuesday.





Some Obama goals for administration have still not been met
They met for the first time inside the White House, three anonymous Americans who would be transformed into icons of President Obama’s vision. There was a South Carolina teenager who had next to nothing, a Kansas mayor whose town had lost everything and a Miami banker who had $60 million to give…