Archive for December 20th, 2013

by Pete Talbot

And here I thought Sen. Max Baucus was retiring from the U.S. Senate so he could spend more time in Montana with his lovely, young wife.  He’s even building a home in the Bozeman area.

It looks like I was wrong.  The blogs are awash with the news that Max will most likely be the next U.S. Ambassador to China.  I won’t link to them all — they range from kudos to criticism — and you’ve probably already read them.  Here’s the NY Times story, though.

Now China will be his legacy since tax reform is off the table and the Affordable Care Act isn’t exactly being warmly embraced.

The big question: who will be appointed by Gov. Bullock as Baucus’ place holder until the 2014 election?

Ahh, to be a fly on the wall in those smoke-filled back rooms (although not as smokey as they used to be thanks to anti-tobacco trends).  Who to pick: Lt. Gov. John Walsh, Brian Schweitzer, Pat or Carol Williams, one of our Tier-B women (Juneau, McCulloch, Lindeen)?

Now former Baucus/Obama staffer Jim Messina is being mentioned.  How the hell did he get in the mix?

And if Bullock appoints Walsh, who will he then appoint as lieutenant governor?  (Bohlinger?  That would be ironic, n’est pas?)

I’m sure all these questions were hashed out and answered many months ago by the powers that be.  The rest of us are just along for the ride.

UPDATE: It’s official.  Obama nominates Baucus for Ambassador to China position.  Max’s appointment should sail through Senate hearings.

by lizard

Back in February of 2011, I wrote this post about Ray Davis, an American who was being held in Lahore, Pakistan, for shooting and killing two motorcyclists. I thought it was a significant event, in part because President Obama decided to put his own credibility on the line, publicly declaring Davis a diplomat, which later turned out to be not true.

I also thought it was important because Davis’ phone contained contacts with Al-Qaeda-linked groups—you know, that terrorist franchise we, as a Nation, are allegedly at war with across the globe.

I don’t think many Americans know much, or even care, about what the President’s para-militarized CIA is doing around the world, but they should, because it makes all of us much less safe, fueling justified hatred of our country’s actions.

Obama continues accidentally blowing up wedding parties in Yemen, for example:

Anger over the American drone campaign against militants in Yemen swelled Friday with word that most of those killed in a strike a day earlier were civilians in a wedding party.

The death toll reached 17 overnight, hospital officials in central Bayda province said Friday. Five of those killed were suspected of involvement with Al Qaeda, but the remainder were unconnected with the militancy, Yemeni security officials said.

U.S. drone strikes have become commonplace in Yemen, where government measures have proven ineffectual against what is considered one of the most virulent Al Qaeda offshoots in the region.

However, civilian deaths like those in Thursday’s strike have inflamed popular sentiment against both the U.S. and the fragile central government.

If Americans waded into the deep, confusing waters of American foreign policy—where we kill militants in one country, and give them weapons in another, like Syria, the cognitive dissonance would probably be too potent to absorb.

For those of you who do care what kind of dangerous actions our Commander-in-Chief is overseeing in places like Pakistan, Dave Lindorff has an important article at Counterpunch today that examines why Pakistan has outed three CIA stations chiefs in the last three years.

Now back to your regularly scheduled outrage over the ignorant quacking of Ducks.

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