Another heavy news day, but I’m after the lesser noted items on this Friday’s News Dump day.
The following a few incidents/thingies that caught my eye this afternoon — first off a good dive into the Afghanistan cesspool (h/t Susie):
Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem https://t.co/O0YhI8HKxJ
— Suburban Guerrilla ? (@SusieMadrak) August 26, 2021
Ezra Klein, writer/political analyst and at one time, a biggie blogger, had a must-read piece yesterday at The New York Times on the down-the-memory-hole bullshit regarding the ugly right now in Afghanistan — two decades of knowledge the whole situation sucked:
To state the obvious: There was no good way to lose Afghanistan to the Taliban. A better withdrawal was possible — and our stingy, chaotic visa process was unforgivable — but so was a worse one.
Either way, there was no hope of an end to the war that didn’t reveal our decades of folly, no matter how deeply America’s belief in its own enduring innocence demanded one.
That is the reckoning that lies beneath events that are still unfolding, and much of the cable news conversation is a frenzied, bipartisan effort to avoid it.
Focusing on the execution of the withdrawal is giving virtually everyone who insisted we could remake Afghanistan the opportunity to obscure their failures by pretending to believe in the possibility of a graceful departure. It’s also obscuring the true alternative to withdrawal: endless occupation.
But what our ignominious exit really reflects is the failure of America’s foreign policy establishment at both prediction and policymaking in Afghanistan.
“The pro-war crowd sees this as a mechanism by which they can absolve themselves of an accounting for the last 20 years,” Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, told me.
“Just think about the epic size of this policy failure. Twenty years of training. More than $2 trillion worth of expenditure. For almost nothing. It is heartbreaking to watch these images, but it is equally heartbreaking to think about all of the effort, of lives and money we wasted in pursuit of a goal that was illusory.”
Go read the whole thing, etc., as Klein unfolds chapter by episode, of the shit Biden inherited and the different consequences, like if he’d called for an earlier withdraw, maybe then causing the Taliban to start their massacre thing, only sooner. Or maybe our current mess might allow the Taliban to stand-down for a while, maybe enter into a weird truce with the US against ISIS-K — Grant Gordon, a political scientist who works on conflict and refugee crises: ‘“What is clearly a debacle from one angle may actually have generated restraint,” Gordon told me. “Having spent time in places like this, I think people lack a real imagination for how bad these conflicts can get.”‘
Pretty right-on — armchair quarterbacks as they’re called see it different.
As with this pure, spineless asshole:
Kevin McCarthy’s entire argument essentially boils down to, “we should have done exactly the opposite of what Donald Trump promised we’d do, restarting the war and provoking likely Taliban attacks on thousands of US military members.” https://t.co/C4i45HcGgX
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) August 27, 2021
McCarthy’s press conference was a bomb itself. The guy is an idiot, along with being an asshole. He backtracked/went sideways a couple of times — per The Week:
On Friday, McCarthy told reporters that he believes there should be no U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
But when Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman asked for clarification, noting that just a few days ago McCarthy suggested there should be some sort of military presence, McCarthy flipped again and argued the U.S. should have kept its Bagram Air Base.
He argued the U.S. could have “maintained it safely” with no casualties, and said it “gave us the opportunity for in the future, to maintain peace.”
Aside from his conflicting answers on troop presence, McCarthy also discussed his frustration with President Biden over his handling of the evacuations.
He suggested he may be open to an impeachment effort by Republicans, ominously saying “there will be a day of reckoning.”
What? The asshole doesn’t have half-an-ounce of sell awareness. Just 100-percent bullshit, no other explanation.
And what about young-budding asshole, Madison Cawthorn, who has dispatched a sternly-worded epistle to Kamala Harris, and in doing so, again displayed Republicans’ dumb-ass ignorance (Forbes): ‘The letter, which addresses Harris as “Kamela Harris,” asks her to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows a majority of the Cabinet to remove a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”‘
Shit based on events in Afghanistan — STFU!
And Rudy does not give interviews while drunk:
Rudy Giuliani denies having a drinking problem:
“I probably function more effectively than 90% of the population.” pic.twitter.com/SiakjVcQg6
— The Recount (@therecount) August 27, 2021
A transcript of the above — per Salon:
“Have you ever struggled with alcohol?” Russo asked.
“Never at all,” Giuliani replied.
“Never at all.”
“Were you drunk during those interviews when they said you were?” she asked.
“Absolutely not,” he replied.
“I don’t think i’ve ever done an interview drunk.”
“I have sometimes — I mean, I drink normally. I like scotch. I drink scotch,” he said.
“So you do not believe you have a drinking problem,” Russo asked.
“I don’t believe it — I know I’m not, I mean, I — no, I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a functioning — I’m probably — I probably function more effectively than 90-percet of the population,” Giuliani argued.
Rudy almost let it out, ‘a functioning …‘ (alcoholic) — like a shitload of people. Either he’s drunk during that interview, of he’s straight-faced lying, or more-likely, he believes his own shit doesn’t stink.
Finally, a sad but sunshine-like story of how Democrats are the people’s party and those states handled by Democrats in the statehouses are passing some good legislation out there:
"There's a positive, less noticed story happening at the state level: Democrats in control of state governments are adopting a lot of really good, bold policies."
Making it easier to vote.
Taxing the rich.
Raising the minimum wage.https://t.co/lGAxgSyyw8
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 27, 2021
Perry Bacon Jr. at The Washington Post last Wednesday:
But there’s a positive, less noticed story happening at the state level, too: Democrats in control of state governments are adopting a lot of really good, bold policies, measures that would have difficulty winning approval at the federal level, where Democrats have narrow margins in Congress and must be wary of backlash from more conservative voters.
This development is great news for the 40-percent of Americans who live in the 17 states where Democrats dominate state government. (Just eight states fall into the neither red nor blue category.)
What’s happening in the blue states?
Almost all of them are taking steps to make it easier to vote, from simplifying their vote-by-mail processes to adding more days of early voting.
Many are legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and passing other measures to make their criminal justice systems less punitive.
Another big trend is drafting provisions to rein in police misconduct and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise fight climate change. Blue states are also raising taxes on millionaires and capital gains, letting college athletes hire agents and get endorsement deals, and raising their states’ minimum wages to $15 or at least allowing big cities in those states to do so.
Maine and California are offering free lunch to all public school students.
Once again, go read the whole piece — if just rest of the country had the hitch.
And the end of another work week — where does the time go?
Not nearby, as once again, here we are…
(Illustration out front found here).