Saturday, October 31, 2009

American Integrity......

Brought to you by @#&#! politicians. From yesterday's New York Times:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney denied in an interview with a special prosecutor investigating the C.I.A. leak case that he had played any role in the disclosure of the identity of Valerie Wilson as an intelligence officer, according to F.B.I. documents released Friday.

Mr. Cheney said in the interview that he could not recall how or when he had learned of Ms. Wilson’s identity and that he could not recall discussing it with Mr. Libby. Mr. Cheney denied knowing who, if anyone, at the White House had talked to the columnist Robert Novak about Ms. Wilson’s identity. He said he did not know of any reporters who might have been given this information before it was disclosed in Mr. Novak’s column on July 14, 2003.

Mr. Cheney, who agreed to be interviewed by prosecutors after long negotiations, said he had played no role in sharing an intelligence report with a reporter to bolster the administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to obtain uranium for a nuclear weapons program. Mr. Cheney said in the interview that “no one ever told him of a desire to share key judgments” of the classified document.

But Mr. Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff at the time, gave a sharply different account of Mr. Cheney’s behavior in July 2003. Mr. Libby offered a detailed account of Mr. Cheney’s role in authorizing the intelligence report to be shared on July 8 with Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times.

He testified under oath in March 2004 that Mr. Cheney had thought it was “very important” to get out the information in the report that Mr. Hussein had tried to acquire uranium, saying “the vice president instructed me to go talk to Judy Miller to lay this out for her.”

So we'll spend millions of tax payer dollars and untold Congressional manhours to impeach a guy for getting a blowjob and lying about it........but no outrage over this???

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A whole new meaning to batshit crazy

Pat Robertson discussing Halloween.....

During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference

Today's Workout Goodness....

The Day I Fear Most

Anyone who knows me probably believes that I'm talking about the Zombie Apocalypse......or the total meltdown of our nation, prompting me to bug out to Costa Rica.

But the day I fear the most is that day when my two beautiful little angels don't think that Daddy is the greatest guy in the world.

I'd take a year full of root canals and prostate exams to see that day never come.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Congressman with a Conscience........maybe it will spread like the Swine Flu

.....probably not.

From the National Journal:

A conscience-stricken member of the House Armed Services Committee is writing a book called "My Daddy's Not Dead Yet" in hopes it will atone for what he now considers his sinful vote to empower former President George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003.
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., whose district includes the sprawling Marine base of Camp Lejeune, told me the title was inspired by a little boy who feared his Marine father would be killed in Iraq.
The setting for Jones' searing moment in 2007 was a classroom in the Johnson Elementary School at Camp Lejeune. He had been invited to read Dr. Seuss to the kids. Jones did that; then asked for questions.
"My daddy's not dead yet," said a little boy. "My daddy's not dead yet," the boy repeated. Jones said he reeled as if punched in the gut, a wave of guilt washing over him. The remark devastated him because he knew deep down that he had played go-along-politics with the life of the little boy's father instead of "listening to God" and voting against the House resolution in 2002 that authorized Bush to go to war in Iraq. "I profess to be a man of faith," Jones said, "but I didn't vote my conscience."
"My Daddy's Not Dead Yet" will set forth Jones' beliefs and concerns about America's out-of-control militarism and current spending spree. Any money his book makes will go to those treating the wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
"The American people have no idea of what's coming as it relates to taking care of those veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," Jones said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving Words.......

From The Usual Suspect at Rucksack to Backpack.....

To my ungrateful generation,

This world is full of people who demand respect without earning it. That's a commodity that I can no longer afford to give away freely. If I haven't earned someone's respect by now, then I never will, and that's fine. The more I think about it, the more I realize that you have NOT earned mine. Thought you had it for free? I can't believe you're still alive when some of the best men I'll ever know died in someone else's country. As far as I'm concerned, this ain't your land anymore. We earn our keep. You'll always be below me now, not because of what you haven't done, but because of how you conduct yourself despite what you have not done. Don't dare try to cheapen what we go through. Come experience it for yourself.

Roll the dice, take a chance card. Spin the wheel, sit for a spell and let the Russian Roulette begin. Let's do some time in the meat grinder together, THEN you can open your mouth. Until then, you're cattle with an inflated ego and unfounded opinions. Empty, vapid, soulless byproducts of bad TV and shitty rap music.

See the beauty of several 240Bravos lighting up the night with red tracers, some snapping off and bouncing off the ground and high into the sky until they burn out.

Feel the sigh of relief every time you pass a car and it doesn't explode.

Attend a military funeral of someone who isn't old enough to drink.

Make the choice between life and death. Know what its like to spare a life without that person ever knowing. No gratitude, no humility.

Witness true suffering. Smell the third world. Feel the filth on your skin. Know the huge flies on a first name basis.

Learn how different gunfire sounds when its directed at you. Experience mortal fear. Feel blast waves rush through your body and wring your intestines and throw you to the ground. Know what it's like to wonder if you're dead for a couple seconds.

Read the rest...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's Workout Inspiration....

Smokin Bowl by The Real McKenzies

I never thought I would see the day.....

Where I would find myself defending [to a point] the US Mainstream Media. But then again, I've found myself defending Democrats....simply because of the inane rantings and lies from various Republicans. What's even more sad, is the recent phenomena of fallen and clownish Republicans claiming that they are Libertarian. Hopefully this will pass once they realize that true Libertarians want nothing to do with them.

But onto today's rant against the tabloid channel known as Fox 'News'......

There a few key questions that a person must ask when evaluating Fox and it's role in today's media.

If the Republican Party had an overt party media would it differ from Fox? It wouldn't because Fox already fills that role, but you really can't point to a hypothetical difference. Roger Ailes stated that Fox was 'the Alamo' to the Obama Administration. Senior Vice President for Programming at Fox, Bill Shine declared Fox to be the 'voice of the opposition'.

If Fox were 'Fair and Balanced', where are the prominent Liberal hosts? Even MSNBC has a former Republican Representative hosting a three hour morning show. For that matter, where are the Liberal guests on any MSM program? Every conceivable right wing firebrand is featured on every cable channel, when is the last time you saw or heard from a true liberal like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky? The milquetoast - centrist party hacks [that are always present] pale in comparison to featured right wingers. Fox would frequently have media analysts like Jane Hall on to counter a Conservative. Jane Hall by her own words is not a Liberal. Mara Liasson is always touted as a liberal counter-weight even though she sits on the board of the conservative human-rights group Freedom House. Where is the 'balance'???

Quiz time: What two media outlets host a blatantly partisan blog sites, linked to and openly sponsored by the parent outlet?

Answer: Fox News and the Washington Times. Does any other MSM outlet do the same? No.

Courtesy of Eric Alterman in his book "What Liberal Media"....quotes from Republicans themselves:

“Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives' frequent denunciations of ‘liberal bias’ in the media were part of ‘a strategy’ (Washington Post, 8/20/92). Comparing journalists to referees in a sports match, Bond explained: ‘If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is “work the refs.” Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time.’”

Bill Kristol: "The press isn't quite as biased and liberal. They're actually conservative sometimes,’ Kristol said recently on CNN. If Chris missed that one, he might have come across a similar admission by Kristol offered up in the spring of 1995. ‘I admit it,’ Kristol told The New Yorker. ‘The whole idea of the 'liberal media' was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.’”

Pat Buchanan "The truth is, I've gotten fairer, more comprehensive coverage of my ideas than I ever imagined I would receive,’ he acknowledged in March 1996. He added: ‘I've gotten balanced coverage and broad coverage -- all we could have asked."

The sad fact of the matter is, since the 1980's when the Reagan Administration ended the Fairness Doctrine [which I do not advocate a return of], and the massive funding of right wing think tanks to propagate talking points into the media.....the Republican strategy has been to perpetuate this myth of a 'liberal media'...and to perpetuate the myth of the strong fight against it.

Nobody is trying to muzzle or shut down Fox. Nobody declared 'war' on Fox. Nobody is creating a 'Nixonian enemies list'. This self described 'war' is a calculated campaign by Ailes to paint Fox as the victim; to dovetail with the undercurrent message being delivered by Beck and Hannity, etc...that the Obama Administration is Socialist or Marxist or whatever. Fox has taken to complaining that they are being ostracized for 'asking the hard questions'........ laugh.gif

Fox has it's undies in a twist over Maddow and Olbermann being invited to the White House [along with regular reporters] for an off the record briefing; failing however, to remind their myrmidons that the Bush Administration frequently hosted similar events for right wing talk radio hosts and commentators. Only right wing talk radio hosts and commentators. Perhaps an honest oversight....perhaps they believe their viewers too stupid to question, remember or fact check.

If you're a devotee of the studies that show reporters more often voting for or being identified as Democrats, I invite a look at the Freedom Forum study which found the same results, but Consortium News's Robert Parry dissects the reasons for this and how it affects [or doesn't] actual reporting.

I haven't found a similar study of the Boards of the corporations that own all of the MSM outlets, nor of the news and programming directors and boards of those outlets. Somehow I doubt the Conservative 'watchdog groups' would welcome such a study. Are General Electric, Time-Warner, AOL and Viacom owned and operated by Liberals? Doubtful.

The progressive 'watchdog' group FAIR has an excellent study, that while published by FAIR, was authored by David Croteau, of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I invite anyone to refute the findings.

My point to this is to attempt to reveal to the lemmings that Fox is playing the victim card, and doing it badly. Oh their viewer ratings are rising, but if a Republican is going to place supreme stock in ratings as vindication, they must also extend that to the remarkable victory of the Democrats in the last election. To not do so would be hypocritical. Fox's self declared 'war' is forcing the other networks to cover the story...playing again into Fox's hands. Bravo...but that has already been occurring with CNN and MSNBC retooling their formats and graphics, mimicking Fox. Hardly the work of a 'liberal media'.

Obama is taking a hit in some circles over this drama, but astute observers will realize that Fox has finally jumped the shark. This doesn't absolve the other networks of their laziness, incompetence and pandering....Al Jazeera has more acumen and integrity. But Fox won't go away...there are more than enough sycophants and intellectual midgets to keep them afloat.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Ducks

The University of Oregon is ranked 11th in the National BCS rankings. If they can dominate USC on Halloween...the PAC 10 Title is in the bag, and a possible contention for the National Title.

Am I getting my hopes up?

Balloon Boy

THIS is the problem with US mainstream media.....Balloon Boy. Not the boy literally, but the symbol that Balloon Boy is. The media fixates and obsesses on an inconsequential blip on the gossip radar, time after time after time. The fixation comes in many forms, usually the missing white girl of the week, and the Easy Media will crow that this is what the viewers want to see. When in fact, this phenomena is actually an inadvertent admission of irrelevancy. The US MSM has given up on investigative journalism; it has fallen in line with the corporate ownership; and it has actually promoted the two party tabloid paradigm, instead of acting as an impartial check and balance on political and ideological corruption.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whaaa? The Enemy of my Friend is the Friend of my Enemy is the Enemy of my Friend?

From today's Yahoo News:

Pakistan's army, in the midst of a major new offensive against Taliban militants, has struck deals to keep two powerful, anti-U.S. tribal chiefs from joining the battle against the government, officials said Monday.

The deals increase the chances of an army victory against Pakistan's enemy No. 1, but indicate that the 3-day-old assault into the Taliban's strongholds in South Waziristan may have less effect than the U.S. wants on a spreading insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Under the terms agreed to about three weeks ago, Taliban renegades Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur will stay out of the current fight in parts of South Waziristan controlled by the Pakistani Taliban. They will also allow the army to move through their own lands unimpeded, giving the military additional fronts from which to attack the Taliban.

In exchange, the army will ease patrols and bombings in the lands controlled by Nazir and Bahadur, two Pakistani intelligence officials based in the region told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because revealing their identities would compromise their work.

Musing from the Middle

There are many sane Republicans...unfortunately, the leadership and vocal element is allowing the party to be defined by this lunatic fringe. I've always thought most Democratic Representatives were a bit skewed and moon eyed in their pronouncements, but when compared against the likes of Michelle Bachmann, they look academic and positively benign.

The key difference for me in this topic is that with Democrats, you know you're going to get social programs, tax hikes and an increase in the size of government. They tell you that up front. With Republicans, you get lied to during the campaign....and then end up with the equivalent of Democrats in office. That dynamic is what makes this current 'tea party' movement so transparent and false. These people aren't interested in changing the system, or fulfilling the platform promises....they are only interested in voting their party back into office.

If you want to retain the status quo and keep this nation stagnant, fine. But at least be honest with the motives of issues oriented groups....from both parties.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The State of Affairs on the Right

The 'tea party'/anti-Obama movement is merely political backlash and resentment over losing the last election cycle....and badly. I have yet to see someone involved with this facade any forum...that can adequately explain the sudden anger over long existing policies; the meaning of socialism/fascism/marxism [especially when used as an epithet all at once]; and the complicity and desire for aspects of socialism in almost every other facet of life, just not when supported by Democrats.

Additionally, the inclusion and promotion of revolutionary and libertarian symbols and slogans, when not remotely understanding Libertarianism...belies the fact that this Republican [I won't sully the label of Conservatism] movement is political charade.

Daily I think to myself that I cannot be shocked at the American polity anymore...but daily I am proven wrong. For a movement to continue to promote bigotry and to continue to look for leaders in psychopathic populists like Beck and ignorant sock puppets like Palin....and expect to increase numbers of registered voters....saddens me. Sad that a major party has become so utterly bankrupt and saddened that the American citizen has become such a lemming.

The Democratic Party has had it's moments of idiocy [and continues to], but the sheer numbers of paranoid, scare-mongering, conspiracy-believing, intellectually bankrupt sycophants in the current Republican Party lead me to believe that they are not simply living in a separate world...their living in a separate plane of reality.

This is a moribund state of affairs for the Republicans, and my sympathies lie with those Conservatives who still cling to hope that their party will right itself.....but the lunatic fringe led by a crying clown has risen to the surface. The Limbaugh's will come and go...but his minions have been usurped by the pied piper of perfidy. And not until a cure is found for Glenn Beck, will the state of affairs on the right be put into order.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Debate on Afghanistan

From the continuing debate on what to do in Afghanistan from America's Debate.

We are spending lots of money in Pakistan that is getting diverted to Punjabi militant groups, and in some Taliban groups. Anyone...think that's a good plan?

Obvious dodging occurs when one fails to confront to oft cited fact that we are not capable of 'going after them wherever they are' to a successful degree, when we are fully committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only other theater we are engaged in is the Philippines, and are woefully understaffed there. How does a supporter of some sort of Afghan surge strategize multiple and concurrent military operations over the span of at least one hemisphere, to the degree where impact will be felt by terror groups????

Once you parse out the political and ideological implications in much of the opinion of the career warmakers, there is very little logic left. Why don't people educate themselves on the logic of professional military and political advisors who support the opposing strategy? For example, noted Counter-Terrorism expert Paul Pillar [huh...wonder why he hasn't been on the liberal media?] in his testimony to the US House yesterday:

Considerable discussion has addressed whether a re-establishment by the Taliban of control over portions of Afghanistan also would mean re-establishment of an al-Qa’ida haven there. The connection is not as simple and automatic as is commonly postulated. The Taliban and al-Qa’ida unquestionably still are ideological soul mates, and probably would still find old reasons, and maybe some new ones as well, for continuing or reviving their alliance. But it was al-Qa’ida’s transnational terrorist activity that leddirectly to the most calamitous loss the Taliban have ever suffered—an end to their rule over most of Afghanistan, from a U.S.-led military intervention. And now the Taliban see a United States whose demonstrated willingness to use military force in Afghanistan in a reprisal mode is far greater (and still would be greater even without a counterinsurgency) than it was prior to 9/11. None of this implies that an open break between the Taliban and al-Qa’ida would be likely, but it does at least mean that the conditions of any al-Qa’ida return to Taliban-controlled territory would be a source of strain between the groups. This in turn would affect al-Qa’ida’s perceptions of the
relative attractiveness of Afghanistan and the current haven in northwest Pakistan. It is hard to discern much that the former would offer over the latter.

Regardless of whether a renewed haven inside Afghanistan were attractive and useful to al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group, there is the question of whether a counterinsurgency would preclude it. A haven would not require a patron with control over all of Afghanistan, which has an area of 647,000 square kilometers, but instead only a small slice of it. As described in General McChrystal’s assessment, a “properly resourced” strategy would leave substantial portions of the country—those portions not deemed essential to the survival of the Afghan government—outside the control of that
government or of U.S. forces. In short, even a counterinsurgency that was successful, in the sense of accomplishing the mission of bolstering the government in Kabul and stabilizing the portions of the country where most Afghans live, still would leave ample room for a terrorist haven inside Afghanistan should a group seek to establish one.


I recommend reading the testimony in full for insight on the Taliban and Pakistan.

Or read David Rothkopf at that liberal bastion, Foreign Policy

Does that make Afghanistan important? Only if we can use it as a base from which we can contain the threats posed from within Pakistan. But the reality is given the terrain in the mountains on the border, we have spent eight years proving that we can't really do that. And our friends in Kabul are running such a bogus government that it is unlikely they will prove to be a useful aid in such matters anytime in the foreseeable future. Thus, if Afghanistan is only relevant as far as it can help deal with threats in Pakistan and it can't really help very much with those, it is actually not that important.

What's the conclusion? View all our actions in Afghanistan relative to our real interests in the region, which are for the most part in Pakistan. To the extent we can position ourselves in Afghanistan in ways supporting cross-border activities into Pakistan and that gives a rapid deployment capability should the worst happen there, fine. Give them aid. Encourage them to stabilize. But recognize that we shouldn't have an extended military presence in a place that is not actually that important to us -- especially if most experts think our likelihood of success with regard to military objectives in the country is in the slim to none range.

The McChrystal tactic of consolidating in the urban areas [such as they are] is exactly what the Soviets did. Read up a bit on Soviet-Afghan operations and tell me where we are diverging from their failure.

Really.....if someone is going to support an issue so important, so would think that they would school themselves on all of the implications and history of the subject.

So what we have is a perpetual military occupation and nation-building exercise in a nation that by itself doesn't represent a national security threat to the US; contains virtually no Al Qaeda terrorists; with a Taliban regime represents no national security threat to the US; as an Al Qaeda safe haven represents no ore of a national security threat than they currently do; ties down our military and prevents a smart, flexible and responsive force to respond to intelligence and terrorist acts; and all for the low, low price of 3.6 Billion dollars a month.

So do continue with the attacks on ACORN and other sundry partisan tabloid issues. Those issues are really important compared to the degradation of the military, depletion of the Treasury and the lives of your countrymen.......

Wisdom from the desk of Tom Friedman

For my money, though, I wish there was less talk today about how many more troops to send and more focus on what kind of Afghan government we have as our partner.

Because when you are mounting a counterinsurgency campaign, the local government is the critical bridge between your troops and your goals. If that government is rotten, your whole enterprise is doomed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thought of the Day

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
---Upton Sinclair, (1878 - 1968)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can't Write Much Today...

I'm still trying to digest the idiocy of Liz Cheney's remarks on Fox News Sunday [where else, right?].

Her blatant politicization of the US military, stating that the Norwegian Nobel Council sleeps safe at night due to us.....makes me want to drink far more than I should, given that I have to work tomorrow.

God help us suffer fools civilly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Logic

From one of my favorite experts on policy and history, Andrew J. Bacevich:

NO SERIOUS person thinks that Afghanistan - remote, impoverished, barely qualifying as a nation-state - seriously matters to the United States. Yet with the war in its ninth year, the passions raised by the debate over how to proceed there are serious indeed. Afghanistan elicits such passions because people understand that in rendering his decision on Afghanistan, President Obama will declare himself on several much larger issues. In this sense, Afghanistan is a classic proxy war, with the main protagonists here in the United States.

The question of the moment, framed by the prowar camp, goes like this: Will the president approve the Afghanistan strategy proposed by his handpicked commander General Stanley McChrystal? Or will he reject that plan and accept defeat, thereby inviting the recurrence of 9/11 on an even larger scale? Yet within this camp the appeal of the McChrystal plan lies less in its intrinsic merits, which are exceedingly dubious, than in its implications.

If the president approves the McChrystal plan he will implicitly:

■ Anoint counterinsurgency - protracted campaigns of armed nation-building - as the new American way of war.

■ Embrace George W. Bush’s concept of open-ended war as the essential response to violent jihadism (even if the Obama White House has jettisoned the label “global war on terror’’).

■ Affirm that military might will remain the principal instrument for exercising American global leadership, as has been the case for decades.

Implementing the McChrystal plan will perpetuate the longstanding fundamentals of US national security policy: maintaining a global military presence, configuring US forces for global power projection, and employing those forces to intervene on a global basis. The McChrystal plan modestly updates these fundamentals to account for the lessons of 9/11 and Iraq, cultural awareness and sensitivity nudging aside advanced technology as the signature of American military power, for example. Yet at its core, the McChrystal plan aims to avert change. Its purpose - despite 9/11 and despite the failures of Iraq - is to preserve the status quo.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell......Don't Rush

DADT repeal and open service will happen whether anyone likes it or not. If not with Obama, then with another POTUS; if not this year, then another.

It's a natural progression for a nation that espouses equality for all of it's citizens. That doesn't mean it has to happen tomorrow to appease interest groups. It should be enacted in an orderly and thoughtful process.

A panel of DIV and BCT CSM's [and sister service counterparts] should be the driving force behind when and how this will occur. They, not aides, lobbyists and counsels will ensure that the structure and morale of the force is not compromised during what will be a rocky transition.

But if it is reasonable to assume that being gay does not hamper one's ability to serve in the Armed Forces, to have the back of a brother, and to uphold the principles in which we live it not also reasonable to allow those same people to serve true to those principles?

Is it not the prevailing attitudes of some straight people that prohibits the open and honest service of gays? As opposed to an inability to meet qualifications and commitment to serve one's country?

I don't advocate the military becoming a social experiment where it degrades capability and denigrates the role of protecting the nation. I do advocate the military upholding a standard commensurate with what we fight for.

Nobel Irony Prize

As much as I think Obama didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, Lesly at Americas Debate had the perfect quote to put the Republican response in perspective:

The idea that a Norwegian-based committee can midwife peace by appealing to Obama's hubris is so dense and seeped in wishful fantasy that I can't shake the image of Bill Kristol.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why r kidz ain't learnin?

Two fundamental reasons: lack of parental involvement and federal bureaucracy. Can somebody explain for me the need for and accomplishments of the Department of Education?

Taxpayer dollars for education should be retained exclusively in the districts where they were collected. Individual districts should have the mandate to develop curriculum tailored to the needs and funding of that district, accountable to the state level at it's maximum, for levels of standards and performance.

Charters schools and vouchers can all be part of the solution, but.......we must first drastically cut the mass and layers of administrative bureaucracy. Set a maximum student - teacher ration and allow children from other districts to commute if the parents so desire, using seats vacated by homeschoolers and transfers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Um....the Nobel Peace Prize?

The entertainment value of hearing Hannity's and Limbaugh's heads exploding today is almost justification alone for the award.

Here's the rub.....I couldn't name another person whom I would have considered deserving of the award either.

But....just hearing Dylan Ratigan state that Obama was nominated 12 days into his term, he was apparently awarded the prize due to his 'aspirations and goals' rather that his acts and endeavors.

I don't think this award is in the spirit of the Nobel Prize. It should have gone to someone else.

Who? I don't know. But not Obama.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Death from Above

If you don't know about this should

From The Mudville Gazette:

In St. Augustine, Dan Hill was laying tile in his upstairs bathroom when his wife called, "Dan, get down here! An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center. It's a terrible accident." Hill hurried downstairs, and then the phone rang. It was Rescorla, calling from his cell phone.

"Are you watching TV?" he asked. "What do you think?"

"Hard to tell. It could have been an accident, but I can't see a commercial airliner getting that far off."

"I'm evacuating right now," Rescorla said.

Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice. Then Hill heard him break into song:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

Rescorla came back on the phone. "Pack a bag and get up here," he said. "You can be my consultant again." He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

The rest of Rick Rescorla's morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. "Rick, you've got to get out, too," Olson told him. "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out," Rescorla replied.

Morgan Stanley officials say Rescorla also told employees that "today is a day to be proud to be American" and that "tomorrow, the whole world will be talking about you." They say he also sang "God Bless America" and Cornish folk tunes in the stairwells. Those reports could not be confirmed, although they don't sound out of character. He liked to sing in a crisis. But the documented truth is impressive enough. Morgan Stanley managing director Bob Sloss was the only employee who didn't evacuate the 66th floor after the first plane hit, pausing to call his family and several underlings, even taking a call from a Bloomberg News reporter. Then the second plane hit, and his office walls cracked, and he felt the tower wagging like a dog's tail. He clambered down to the 10th floor, and there was Rescorla, sweating through his suit in the heat, telling people they were almost out, making no move to leave himself.

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at
his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated.

However, over 2600 employees of Dean Whitter walked out of the south tower and in to the rest of their lives that morning.

McDonald v. Chicago

The Supreme Court set the stage for a historic ruling on gun rights and the 2nd Amendment by agreeing today to hear a challenge to Chicago's ban on handguns.
At issue is whether state and local gun-control ordinances can be struck down as violating the "right to keep and bear arms" in the 2nd Amendment.

This case is brought about due to a gross miscarriage of justice by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who declared that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to State and local government. In essence stating that a local governing body can disregard an Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Aren't States prosecuted or otherwise disciplined for that in every other instance? The due process clause of the 14th Amendment which states in part: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A reading of Chicago's gun registration laws [which ban handguns for but LE and Court Officers] gives cover to the agenda of an outright ban of all firearms, but the odious provisions of registration make it clear what their intent is.

I stand firmly with Otis McDonald, but have doubts about the outcome of the case.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CinC v. Commander.....Rift or Rubbish?

Since the McChrystal Report was leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, and after a speech in London by Gen. McChrystal speculation has run rampant in the media about a possible public rift between the General and the President. So much so that SecDef Gates has weighed in as well:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates cautioned military and civilian leaders Monday against publicly airing their advice to President Obama on Afghanistan, just days after the top U.S. general in that country criticized proposals being advocated by some in the White House.

"In this process, it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations -- civilians and military alike -- provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately," Gates said in a speech at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army.


Speculation has also arisen about who leaked the report and why. This raises some serious questions about national security, petty partisanship and media complicity.

Who do you believe leaked the McChrystal Report....the military or the Administration....and for what gain?

Is it beneficial or detrimental for strategic consultations and/or differences of opinion between the CinC and a Combatant Commander to be held in the public eye?

Is there an ideological rift between the two, or is the media ramping up speculation for profit and gain?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Ball is in your Court, Afghanistan

From yesterday's NYT, COIN Guru David Kilcullen writes, in part:

COUNTERINSURGENCY is only as good as the government it supports. NATO could do everything right — it isn’t — but will still fail unless Afghans trust their government. Without essential reform, merely making the government more efficient or extending its reach will just make things worse.

Only a legitimately elected Afghan president can enact reforms, so at the very least we need to see a genuine run-off election or an emergency national council, called a loya jirga, before winter. Once a legitimate president emerges, we need to see immediate action from him on a publicly announced reform program, developed in consultation with Afghan society and enforced by international monitors. Reforms should include firing human rights abusers and drug traffickers, establishing an independent authority to investigate citizen complaints and requiring officials to live in the districts they are responsible for (fewer than half do).

If we see no genuine progress on such steps toward government responsibility, the United States should “Afghanize,” draw down troops and prepare to mitigate the inevitable humanitarian disaster that will come when the Kabul government falls to the Taliban — which, in the absence of reform, it eventually and deservedly will.

Today's Moment of Zen