After more than a decade in Afghanistan, there are still lingering problems in our effort to root out terrorists and establishing a stable, honest government. Rampant corruption in the Karzai regime, dealing with fickle war lords and trying too hard to make nice with the Afghans continue to frustrate us. One of the most maddening developments in the past 11 years has been the U.S. essentially subsidizing the activity of those trying to kill us. In his new book “Funding the Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban”, reporter Doug Wissing explains how our policy has been flawed from the beginning and how recent efforts to correct it have been largely unsuccessful. He also addresses the question of whether the Afghan culture is too corrupt to avoid some of our huge financial commitment ending up in the wrong hands.
Archives for April 2012
‘A Policy of Divisiveness’
On Friday, the House of Representatives voted 215-195 to extend low interest rates on student loans. The interest rates are currently scheduled to double on July 1. Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold voted for the plan and applauded the effort to pay for the rate extension by tapping a program within the president’s health care plan for almost six billion dollars. Democrats say the program provides vital preventive care while Farenthold calls it a political ‘slush fund’. Listen here as Farenthold also responds to the argument from 30 GOP House members that Congress should not be artificially manipulating the the interest rate on loans and that the market should run its course. Farenthold also shares his thoughts with us on President Obama making this a major campaign issue and how he’s approaching a tough primary and fierce general election campaign in one of the most competitive districts in the nation. Listen here for our full conversation with Rep. Farenthold.
Three Martini Lunch 4/30/12
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Daniel Foster of National Review are optimistic about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s chances of winning his recall fight. They also speculate on the impact of Tuesday’s May Day protests by Occupy protesters. And they comment on the latest installment of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Jackson Ready for Debates
Most political pundits assume former Virginia governors Tim Kaine and George Allen will meet in the race for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. But this weekend brings the first in a series of debates among the four Republican candidates – Allen, Jamie Radtke, Delegate Bob Marshall and E.W. Jackson. Jackson tells us that he plans to convey the same message that is winning him support across the state – that he is the best choice to protect the Constitution and preserve a system of government that recognizes that rights come from God and not the state. Jackson also explains why it’s not a good idea to return Allen to the Senate.
House GOP Pushes Keystone Again
After failing to get President Obama to agree to construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and an unsuccessful effort to force the issue, House Republicans are trying again. Lawmakers attached the pipeline to a major transportation bill in an effort to move the pipeline closer to reality. Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole tells us why the latest strategy is adding Keystone to a transportation bill and whether he thinks President Obama will ever relent on the issue. He also answers critics who say that Nebraska is the real hold-up in this process and he explains why the Keystone debate is symbolic of a larger fundamental divide between the priorities of the two parties.
Ban All Cell Phone Use by Drivers?
Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended urged state and local governments to ban all cell phone use by drivers. Now, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is urging Congress to do the same. Horace Cooper of the Project 21 Black Leadership Council says this is a bad solution in search of a problem. Cooper says there is no evidence that cell phone use adds to the likelihood of accidents and he says states that have banned texting while driving or insisted upon hands-free devices have seen no drop in accident frequency. He suggests this is much more about revenue generation than safety and only hurts our economy. And Cooper explains why LaHood’s push for Congressional action is even worse than the NTSB recommendation.
Three Martini Lunch 4/27/12
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review enjoy a new American Crossroads web ad showing America hasn’t gotten much in return for electing a ‘celebrity president’. They also sigh as the economic growth in the first quarter of 2012 comes in below expectations. And they discuss Michelle Obama’s desire to walk out of the White House and ‘just keep walking’.
‘That’s The Big Liberal Lie’
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been in office for almost 20 years. She’s held public office almost non-stop for 42 years and is considered a heavy favorite for re-election this year. But polls in the Golden State show 44 percent of Californians are ready for someone new. Former IBM executive and autism activist Elizabeth Emken hopes to be that someone new and is considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in a very crowded field. Emken tells us why she’s running for the Senate and why her efforts will find different results than the GOP got with business leaders Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in the state’s big races back in 2010. Emken offers her approach to spending and job creation and explains why the president’s health care plan plan was the issue that really got her moving. Emken addresses Feinstein’s huge financial advantage and makes her case for why Republican voters ought to nominate her to battle Feinstein in November.
Three Martini Lunch 4/24/12
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer a reduction in illegal immigration from Mexico – although it’s due to Mexicans going back home because they see better job opportunities there. They also weigh in on worsening consumer confidence numbers. And they have plenty to say in response to an Obama administration official declaring the War on Terror is over.
Rohrabacher Rejected by Karzai
Late last week, California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was a late addition to a congressional delegation to Afghanistan. But when the group landed in Dubai in preparation for the final leg of the trip to Afghanistan, word came that Rohrabacher was not to enter Afghanistan. If he stayed with the delegation, all lawmakers would be denied entry. Rohrabacher Communications Director Tara Setmayer explains why Rep. Rohrabacher was singled out by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and why Rohrabacher’s criticism of Karzai is unique. Setmayer also discusses why there was little surprise that Obama administration officials (including Hillary Clinton) urged Rohrabacher to abide by Karzai’s demand.