Monday, February 28, 2011

DADT Repeal Guidlines for the Army

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 25, 2011) -- With pending repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning gays and lesbians from military service, the Army is implementing a tiered training program for Soldiers worldwide.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Secretary of the Army John McHugh sent a message Feb. 22, to the force about preparations to repeal the law.


"We are confident that you are up to the task, and that we can implement this change in policy by relying on the leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect for each other that have characterized our service for the past 235 years and remain at the core of the United States Army," Casey and McHugh said in the message.


Training for the Force is broken into three tiers. Tier one targets special staff and key individuals like chaplains, lawyers, and inspectors general. Tier two focuses on commanders and supervisors. Tier three will train the rest of the force and is scheduled to begin in early March.


"It is important to emphasize that the current policies remain in effect" for now, McHugh and Casey pointed out in the message. They said the DADT law will stay in place until 60 days after the president, secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that the repeal can be implemented "consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention."


They added that the repeal date will be widely publicized once it is decided.


Attached to the message was a list of the "Top 10 things Soldiers need to know" about the repeal of DADT:


1. Accessions & Separations Policies: Upon repeal, the Army will no longer separate Soldiers solely on the basis of homosexual acts, a statement that a Soldier is gay, lesbian or bisexual, or marriage to a person of the same sex. Statements about sexual orientation or lawful acts of gay and lesbian conduct will not be a bar to military service or admission to any accession program. Sexual orientation will continue to be a personal and private matter.


2. Standards of Conduct Apply Equally to Everyone: All Soldiers will be held to the same standard of conduct. All members are responsible for upholding and maintaining high standards of the U.S. Military at all times and in all places.


3. Personal Privacy: Commanders may not establish practices that physically segregate Soldiers according to sexual orientation. Commanders do have the discretion to alter billeting assignments to accommodate privacy concerns of individuals on a case-by-case basis where it is in the interest of maintaining morale, good order and discipline, and is consistent with performance of the mission.


4. Moral and Religious Concerns: There will be no changes regarding any Soldier's free exercise of religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the Chaplain Corps and its duties. The Chaplain Corps' First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change. Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.


5. Benefits: There will be no changes to eligibility standards for military benefits and services. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing any same-sex marriage, so same sex partners do not qualify as dependents for many military benefits and services. A same-sex partner should be treated the same as an unrelated third party (e.g. girlfriend, boyfriend). All Soldiers will continue to have various benefits for which they may designate any beneficiary regardless of relationship.


6. Equal Opportunity: Sexual orientation will not be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex and national origin as a class under the Military Equal Opportunity Program and therefore will not be dealt with through the MEO complaint process. All Soldiers, regardless of sexual orientation are entitled to an environment free from personal, social, or institutional barriers that prevent Soldiers from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Harassment or abuse of any kind, including that based on sexual orientation, is unacceptable and will be dealt with through command or inspector general channels.


7. Duty Assignments: There are no changes to assignment policy. All Soldiers will continue to be eligible for world-wide assignment without consideration of sexual orientation. Soldiers assigned to duty, or otherwise serving, in countries in which gay and lesbian conduct is prohibited will abide by the guidance provided to them by their local commanders.


8. Medical Policy: There are no changes to existing medical policies.


9. Release and Service Commitments: There will be no new policy to allow for release from service commitments for Soldiers opposed to repeal of DADT or to serving with gay or lesbian Soldiers.


10. Collection and Retention of Sexual Orientation Data: Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. Commanders will not request, collect, or maintain information about the sexual orientation of Soldiers.
Army.mil

Support HR 822

“The right to self defense is unquestionable and the right to carry a firearm is recognized in our Constitution,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). “Today, 48 states have laws permitting concealed carry of a firearm in some circumstances, and this legislation would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm carry permit or license to carry a concealed handgun in any other state.”

Stearns, joined by Rep. Health Shuler (D-NC), offered H.R. 822, the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act. Noted Stearns, “It is important to note this bill would not create a federal licensing system. It would merely require states to recognize each other’s carry permits, just as they recognize drivers` licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards.”

Forty states, accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, have right-to-carry laws. Thirty-six have “shall issue” permit laws (including Alaska, which also allows carrying without a permit), three have fairly administered “discretionary issue” permit laws, and Vermont allows carrying without a permit. (Eight states have restrictive discretionary issue laws.) Most right-to-carry states have adopted their laws in the last decade.

Added Stearns, “Citizens with carry permits are more law-abiding than the general public. In my home state of Florida, only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. States with right-to-carry laws have lower violent crime rates. According to FBI figures, on average the rate is 22% lower for total violent crime, 30% lower for murder, 46% lower for robbery, and 12% lower for aggravated assault, compared to the rest of the country.” 
 Link

The End of an Era

The last WWI Soldier passes on.....
Frank Buckles, who drove an Army ambulance in France in 1918 and came to symbolize a generation of embattled young Americans as the last of the World War I doughboys, died Sunday at his home in Charles Town, W. Va. He was 110. 

He was only a corporal and he never got closer than 30 or so miles from the Western Front trenches, but Mr. Buckles became something of a national treasure as the last living link to the two million men who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France in “the war to end all wars.” 

Sought out for interviews in his final years, Mr. Buckles told of having witnessed a ceremony involving British veterans of the Crimean War, fought in the 1850s, when he was stationed in England before heading to France. He remembered chatting with General John J. Pershing, the commander of American troops in World War I, at an event in Oklahoma City soon after the war’s end. 

The last known veterans of the French and German armies in World War I, Lazare Ponticelli and Erich K√§stner, died a few months apart in 2008; Harry Patch, the last British soldier, died in 2009. A former nurse and a former sailor, both English, are thought to be the only two people still living who served in any capacity in the war. 
Mr. Buckles is survived by his daughter, Susannah Flanagan. His wife, Audrey, died in 1999.
NYT

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friend of Marriage?

Lawrence O'Donnell can be a caustic, bombastic SOB at times, but he nailed the hypoctisy of DOMA:
To Beck’s point that the president really isn’t a friend of marriage, he could have something there. Barack Obama has only had the one marriage. Glenn Beck has had two. Newt Gingrich has had three. So how much of a friend of marriage can Barack Obama really be if he’s only done the marriage thing once?

Why Obama is just as bad as Bush

President Barack Obama has signed a three-month extension of key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act.
The law extends two areas of the 2001 act. One provision allows law enforcement officials to set roving wiretaps to monitor multiple communication devices. The other allows them to ask a special court for access to business and library records that could be relevant to a terrorist threat. 

A third provision gives the FBI court-approved rights for surveillance of non-American "lone wolf" suspects - those not known to be tied to specific terrorist groups.


Obama signed the three-month extension of the provisions Friday. They were to expire Monday.
Lawmakers will soon start debating a multiple-year extension of the provisions, which have drawn fire from defenders of privacy rights. 
WaPo

Well the campaign promise made for good newscopy. The reality.....current POTUS is just as statist as previous POTUS.

But Mr. Secretary......don't use your examples as success yet.

Other than that....fairly sound advice.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here. 
That reality, he said, meant that the Army would have to reshape its budget, since potential conflicts in places like Asia or the Persian Gulf were more likely to be fought with air and sea power, rather than with conventional ground forces. 

“As the prospects for another head-on clash of large mechanized land armies seem less likely, the Army will be increasingly challenged to justify the number, size, and cost of its heavy formations,” Mr. Gates warned.
“The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq — invading, pacifying, and administering a large third-world country — may be low,” Mr. Gates said, but the Army and the rest of the government must focus on capabilities that can “prevent festering problems from growing into full-blown crises which require costly — and controversial — large-scale American military intervention.”
NYT

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hysterical Hyperbolic Hystrionics

"Government doesn't endow people with the ability to procreate the species. The Creator takes care of that. Like all unalienable rights, those associated with the natural family exist in consequence of this endowment. A couple that cannot, by nature, procreate has no claim to those rights. Nor can government grant them a semblance of it without impairing the claims of one or both of the parents biologically implicated in the physical conception of the child. The DOMA simply makes more explicit the government's obligation to secure the Creator-endowed unalienable rights of the natural family. This obligation precludes government from fabricating other rights that impair them. In this respect, granting homosexuals the right to marry is like granting plantation owners the right to own slaves."
Though I loath to sully my blog with this link.......WND

Seriously? So a man and woman who  by choice or by infertility cannot or will not procreate.....has no claim to unalienable rights? How about those who don't believe in your mythical creator? I won't even touch the idiocy of the slavery analogy.

Mr Keyes...you Sir...are a tool.

Update on "PsyOps on US Politicians?"

An update on the technical detail aspect of this story. CSTC-A does not maintain a PSYOP Cell. The unit in question (LTC Holmes), is a National Guard Information Operations (I/O) Cell. Fairly substantial difference between PYSOP and I/O.

The IO/public affairs relationship has been blurring. Add to that, many I/O officers are branched as another specialty, and thrown in the I/O position due to diminished need for that particular specialty in theater.

I'm not doubting the sunny side up briefings that are given to every visiting dignitary, but PYSOP it is not.

Danger Room has a pretty good summation of the known events.

h/t Mrs. Pigpen at Americas Debate for the link.

The words of a Founder ring ever more true today

210 years ago next week, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as the 3rd President of these United States. His address, which I will post in part should make every citizen stop and think about the political climate of our current era, and the priorities and principles that we have let slip through our grasp.

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Still one thing more, fellow-citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

Link

Ponder those words as you are assaulted by the pantheon of pundits and politicians who style themselves as American nobility.

Obama gets it right on DOMA

Marriage is an act of union between two people who commit to spend their lives together. It is a voluntary act between two consenting adults that needs no sanction from the state. If the couple desires a religious blessing to be bestowed on that union, they are free and able to proffer the clergy of their choice to receive that blessing.

The state wishes to consolidate it's power in any and every way possible. The fact that a requirement exists not only to receive state sanction [in most cases, but not all], but to be taxed for the privilege of that sanction speaks volumes.

Of course, we know the reason behind DOMA in the first place. It was designed overtly and specifically to keep homosexuals from entering into a union of matrimony, a union that fundamentalist Christians believed to be in their purview and theirs alone. To defend that argument, they rely on the intellecually debunked assertion that 'gay' marriage somehow harms or 'tears apart' heterosexual marriage.

But you don't see the hypocrites arguing to outlaw divorce.......

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Army of Fake Social Media Friends

So much for transparency in government, eh Mr. President?
It's recently been revealed that the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn't like. It could then potentially have their "fake" people run smear campaigns against those "real" people. As disturbing as this is, it's not really new for U.S. intelligence or private intelligence firms to do the dirty work behind closed doors.
So while the U.S. government can talk a good talk, what it does and what it says often doesn't seem to jive. Gasp, I know, it's not a big shocker but sometimes I find that utterly frustrating. The President wanted an Internet Kill Switch, the FBI keeps pushing for backdoors on all-things-Net. What happened to a code of ethics? Does it disappear behind closed doors, dirty deeds done in the dark and used against the American people who are supposed to be free to express themselves?
PC World

We could have told people this a year ago

When law abiding citizens are allowed to carry for defense, from man or beast, they tend to obey the law.
One year ago today, on February 22, 2010, the National Park Service lifted the ban on carrying concealed weapons in the parks for those who have permits to do so.

The change came about when the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act was signed into law on May 22, 2009.  The bill contained a line item added at the last moment by a Republican senator, specifically allowing people with concealed carry permits to carry their guns into national parks in the states covered by their permits.

At the time, critics predicted that the new rule would frighten families away from the parks, and that the number of animals shot by gun owners in the parks would increase exponentially.
So what actually happened? 

Not much at all, noted David Barna, spokesperson for the National Park Service, in an email.  There was “really almost no impact,” he wrote.

Afghan comments from an interesting quarter.....

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) became one of the most high-profile Republicans to express skepticism with the war in Afghanistan, telling reporters on Wednesday that he sees no "end game" in sight, has no confidence in President Hamid Karzai, thinks the country looks "like the surface of the moon" and believes the time has come for an honest, non-political conversation about the next steps.

"I don't know [what to do next]," Huckabee said at an afternoon talk organized by the Christian Science Monitor. "I don't think any of us know exactly. We are there. The question is, I'm asking people, 'Tell me, what is it we do to say we are done? Help me to understand that because I'm not sure.'"

"My doubts about Afghanistan happen from being there in January 2006," he said earlier. "And when I say my doubts I believe our military is capable of doing whatever they are assigned to do given the resources to do it. But I came away from that experience wondering: What does the end game look like here? I can't see a conclusion." 

In making the remarks, the Arkansas Republican provided the first definitive hint that the Afghanistan war could become a point of fissure, both within the Republican presidential primary and possibly the general election. The one other White House aspirant on the GOP side of the aisle who has expressed similar reservations -- Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) -- has a devoted following but is still (perhaps unfairly) treated as a long-shot libertarian.
HuffPo

PsyOps on US Politicians?

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.

"My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. "I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line."
Rolling Stone

I'm taking this story with a pretty big grain of salt right now.....but it is a possibility. We know that DoD had a cadre of retired flag officers who acted as military commentators to US media outlets, but were receiving talking points and guidance from the Pentagon....making their contribution not much short of propaganda. We also know that DoD has always put a shiny, happy face on the events and progress in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We'll stay tuned and see how this pans out.

WTF???

This is retarded on so many levels, it hurts my head.
Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by “the American left who hates Christendom.”

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said in in Spartanburg on Tuesday . “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.” 

He added, “They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem.”
After asserting that Christianity had not shown any “aggression” to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator – who is considering a run for the White House in 2012 — argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote “core American values.” 

“What I'm talking about is onward American soldiers,” he said. “What we're talking about are core American values. ‘All men are created equal' — that's a Christian value, but it's an American value.” 

“It's become part of our national religion, if you will,” he continued. “The point I was trying to make was that the national faith, the national ideal, is rooted in the Christian ideal — in the Judeo-Christian concept of the person.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daddy's Little Girls

They can send me a bill me for damages I caused........

it will give me something to start a fire with.
Baghdad city hall wants $1 billion in damages
BAGHDAD — Baghdad's city hall has demanded $1 billion and an apology from the US military, accusing the force that led an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein of turning a "beautiful city into a military camp."

In a statement published on its website late on Wednesday, the city council cited damage done to the city by the erection of concrete blast walls, seen throughout the Iraqi capital, as well as the use of Humvee military vehicles.

"Baghdad city council demands the United States pay compensation estimated at $1 billion as a result of damage to infrastructure and issue an apology to the people of Baghdad," the statement said.
"Anyone can recognise what American forces have done to Baghdad by turning this beautiful city into a military camp and destroying streets and communities."

The statement added that it was asking for the damages "because of mistakes by the American army and its neglect of projects completed by Baghdad city hall" in previous years.

Concrete blast walls are a ubiquitous sight across Baghdad, notably protecting government ministries and the heavily fortified Green Zone. Humvees, now used by the Iraqi army and police, frequently rumble through the city's pothole-filled streets.
AFP

Is anyone surprised?

Curveball: How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam

In a small flat in the German town of Erlangen in February 2003, an out-of-work Iraqi sat down with his wife to watch one of the world's most powerful men deliver the speech of his career on live TV.

As US secretary of state, Colin Powell gathered his notes in front of the United Nations security council, the man watching — Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known to the west's intelligence services as "Curveball" — had more than an inkling of what was to come. He was, after all, Powell's main source, a man his German handlers had feted as a new "Deep throat" — an agent so pivotal that he could bring down a government.

As Curveball watched Powell make the US case to invade Iraq, he was hiding an admission that he has not made until now: that nearly every word he had told his interrogators from Germany's secret service, the BND, was a lie.

Everything he had said about the inner workings of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons programme was a flight of fantasy - one that, he now claims was aimed at ousting the Iraqi dictator. Janabi, a chemical engineering graduate who had worked in the Iraqi industry, says he looked on in shock as Powell's presentation revealed that the Bush administration's hawkish decisionmakers had swallowed the lot. Something else left him even more amazed; until that point he had not met a US official, let alone been interviewed by one.
 Guardian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Good Idea Fairy

Everyone who has ever served will appreciate this slide. Posted originally at http://pptranger.us/the-gif-strikes-again/, then again on Lightfighter.

Susanna's first street performance


Outside of an Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Apparently the Muslim Brotherhood runs CPAC

Michelle Bachmann isn't taking her discrediting by real conservatives lying down.....nope, she now claims that the Conservative Political Action Committee.....that bastion of Republicanism.....has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

No details, facts or sourcing of course. She graduated Magna Cum Idiot from the Glenn Beck University of Batshit Crazy Conspiracy Theories......now available by correspondence course.


So that's how Beck does it......

The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Beckification of America

Once again while working out, I was subjected to Fox News. No worries though, I had headphones and I'm intelligent enough to tune out idiocy. Glenn Beck was prancing around his chalkboard playground, trying to look scholarly in his practiced and scripted manner.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people can be sucked in to one conspiracy after another by a bleating charlatan who connects symbol A to picture B to soundbite C. His theories not only defy academic analysis but even the most glancing review by anyone with a modicum of reason and education. But what would one expect from someone who relies on disgraced historian David Barton and Cleon Skousen.

His latest 'Islamic caliphate' conspiracy, designed to persuade anyone from supporting a democratic insurgence in Egypt [much contrary to his oft-cited idolatry of our own founding principles], finds it's genesis in the statement that Bush ordered the ancient site of Babylon [in Iraq] to be spared from bombing....as it is prophesied to be the seat of an Islamic new world order.

Newsflash to Beck........THERE WAS NO MILITARY SIGNIFICANCE TO BABYLON WHICH WOULD WARRANT AN ATTACK TO BEGIN WITH.

Glenn Beck's faux-intellectual tirades rank alongside Islamic fatwah's in being damaging to this nation and the principles this nation was founded on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is why I ended up in Baghdad

Just 15 days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush invited his defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, to meet with him alone in the Oval Office. According to Mr. Rumsfeld’s new memoir, the president leaned back in his leather chair and ordered a review and revision of war plans — but not for Afghanistan, where the Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington had been planned and where American retaliation was imminent. 

“He asked that I take a look at the shape of our military plans on Iraq,” Mr. Rumsfeld writes.
“Two weeks after the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, those of us in the Department of Defense were fully occupied,” Mr. Rumsfeld recalls. But the president insisted on new military plans for Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld writes. “He wanted the options to be ‘creative.’ ” 

When the option of attacking Iraq in post-9/11 military action was raised first during a Camp David meeting on Sept. 15, 2001, Mr. Bush said Afghanistan would be the target. But Mr. Rumsfeld’s recollection in the memoir, “Known and Unknown,” to be published Tuesday, shows that even then Mr. Bush was focused as well on Iraq. A copy was obtained Wednesday by The New York Times.
NYT

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Defender of the Constitution"?..........Seriously?

I've always considered myself, though a Libertarian....a Conservative. But sometimes you simply have to stop trying to swim upstream. I haven't left Conservatism.....Conservatism has left me.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will receive the "Defender of the Constitution" award at CPAC this year. 

The award will be presented by David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, and right-wing talk show host Brad O'Leary, who recently wrote a book called America's War On Christmas, because he said President Obama "declared that America is not a Christian nation."

Previous recipients of the award include Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who got it in 2010, and Rush Limbaugh, who was honored in 2009.
TPM

This is the same Rumsfeld who first authorized torture. Defender of the Constitution my ass.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stand for Freedom

I don't suppose I ever thought that I would post a positive submission with Bill Kristol as the centerpiece....but maybe the Guamanian heat had gotten to me. Or maybe it's that he is spot on in his assessment of Glenn Beck's latest conspiracy du jour. 
Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.
Let’s hope that as talk radio hosts find time for reflection, and commentators step back to take a deep breath, they will recall that one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

An American conservatism that looks back to 1776 cannot turn its back on the Egyptian people. We should wish them well—and we should work to help them achieve as good an outcome as possible.
Weekly Standard

Politics in the Land of the Pharaoh's

I have been looking into the Muslim Brotherhood lately to learn more about the their impact on the current crisis in Egypt. I see cautious optimism from most reporters and pundits, and harsh demagoguery from Fox and it's cast of usual suspects.

My take is one of cautious optimism. The MB didn't incite nor are a major player in the current protests. The protesters by and large aren't supportive of any one leader of party, they want radical change. The MB is playing catch up to grab a share of this change, though this has been part of their mission statement for decades.

After a violent birth, the MB has moderated and become part of the political process, which is a reason that Al Qaeda has sworn them an enemy for colluding with puppets and tyrants. The MB is actually quote diverse, containing extremist, moderates and reformers. The MB has not been behind any authorized violent activity since the 1970's, indeed the MB has decided to pursue a "strategy of political participation".

The Brotherhood Goes to Parliament

In all, I'm not concerned about the hyperventilation of Hannity, Gaffney, Beck, Pipes and others who earn their coin by prophesying the end of western civilization at the hands of Muslims. The fear of a replay of the 1979 Iranian Revolution allowed the Mubarak regime to siphon foreign aid from the US and to oppress his own citizens.

Understanding Egypt's Historic Moment

I believe that the Mubarak regime should fall, that fall should be supported by the US, and that the Muslim Brotherhood will be a part of the new coalition, as they should be due the wishes of the Egyptian people.

The transparency of the rhetoric of political transparency

During the campaign of President Obama, he succinct promises to make the workings of legislation and policy transparent for Americans to see and understand what was being conducted in our names.

He lied. And the GOP rightly called him on that lie.

But now, with an offer to reverse that opaqueness, hypocrisy rears it's ugly head yet again.
[From C-SPAN to Speaker Boehner] In January, you sent C-SPAN a letter supporting our request for televised access to the health care negotiations, in which you wrote, "Every issue of national import should be debated by the people's elected representatives in full public view." You further wrote, "Republicans have listened to the American people and are committed to making Congress more accountable to the people it serves." 

Currently, House floor debates are not in full public view because private news media cameras are still not permitted in the House chamber. Rules established when the House installed its TV cameras in 1979 restrict congressional camera operators to head-on shots or shots of the chamber, leaving viewers with a less-than-complete view of your debates.

In this spirit we are writing to renew a request we made to Speakers Gingrich and Pelosi as they assumed office -- to allow House floor proceedings to also be covered by C-SPAN cameras.
And Boehner's office replied.
C-SPAN said it was "disappointed" in a decision by Boehner this week to maintain the status quo in the House, meaning that broadcasts from the House are restricted and under the control of the Speaker.
Boehner wrote C-SPAN on Thursday to say he believes the House is "best served by the current system of televised proceedings provided by the House Recording Studio."
HuffPo

A Week in Guam

Yes, this is your tax dollars at work! I'm in Guam to conduct training for Naval Special Warfare Unit 1. So for those who have never been to the South Pacific, I'll share my excursion with a little picto-blogging.

Yesterday my buddy Allen and I rented Harley's and spent the day riding around the island. He chose from an '08 Street Glide while I got an '06 Road King. Whereas Allen's bike was rather nimble and smooth, riding mine was like driving a two-wheeled Duece-and-a-Half. But it was a great day. Rode around the shoreline of the Island for most of the way until we had to skirt around Andersen Air Force Base....but we stopped for lunch at Jeff's Pirates Cove.

Came back sunburned and a little sore, so in our infinite wisdom, we decided that was the night to also check out the local 'wildlife'. Good thing the next day was Sunday.

Guam is a nice place to visit, but hot. Damn hot. It's a pretty interesting mix of Chamorro and American culture with a buttload of Japanese tourists thrown in the mix. Corrugated tin is big here, as well as Catholic saints and 4x4's. They don't call it the trailer park of Micronesia for nothing.

Here's a little slice of what Guam looks like.

View from my hotel balcony
Asan Landing Site, Re-occupation of Guam

Asan Landing Site
Agat Beachhead Memorial
Japanese AA Gun overlooking Agat Beachhead
Umatac Cove
Fort Nuestra de la Soledad
Bear Rock
Ritidan Point
We opted not to swim at Ritidan Point
Mt Machanao
Me and the Road King
Allen's Street Glide

Friday, February 4, 2011

Deranged?

They used to say that fervent opposition to the Bush Administration suffered from "Bush Derangement Syndrome", and blamed Bush for every debacle the world over.

But clearly we can see the same phenomenon as the shoe is on the other foot with the current situation in Egypt, by one of the gold standard political shills, Dick Morris:
“Clearly, President Obama, whether it’s because of his words about radical Islam, his failure to condemn it, his failure to name terrorism as Islamic terrorism, and his appeasement and very possibility his outright efforts to encourage people to destabilize the Mubarek regime, broke Egypt and he now owns it.”

“I think that what Mubarek should be doing and what the Obama administration should be doing is aggressively confronting the demonstrators. I think that if we encourage the military to stand down, if we encourage the Mubarek supporters to refrain from controversy or even from violence we really are opening the door to Islamic fundamentalist domination.”
Link 

The intellectual midget actually believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the protests and will succeed in usurping the reign of Egypt...then uniting with Iran! He may want to invest a portion of his Fox Contributor salary into an education in geo-politics and religious strains of Islam.