Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Morning Papers" - Its Origins (click here - thank you)

The Rooster

I am going to 'end it' there for tonight. 

I'll return to the rest of the cabinet and the 'circumstances' of the Obama Presidency again next Saturday.

Good night.

General Stanley McCrystal, the man who destroyed Al Qaeda in Iraq. Basically.

President Obama and Gen. McCrystal discuss U.S. policy in Afghanistan on Air Force One Oct. 2.  Photo: beagleone, Free Republic

...Adm. Mike Mullen, (click title to entry - thank you) chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he found it particularly encouraging that gains against al-Qaida have been made in operations carried out jointly by U.S. and Iraqi military forces. That makes it more likely, Mullen said, that after U.S. troops leave in 2011 the Iraqi government will be able to handle what remains of al-Qaida's capability to launch terror strikes....

I am not going soft on war.  Of course, Al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist before the Bush invasion into Iraq, but, that is besides the point.  The USA invaded, the Zarqari terrorist 'unit' was destroyed and that was much to the credit of General Stanley McCrystal. 

There is no man in the USA miltiary more dedicated to the best outcome for the USA than General McCrystal.  His startling assessments of Afghanistan are frustrating to say the least, but, to put things into perspective, this is the war we were suppose to fight and didn't.

Afghanistan was left to NATO and we all know what happened there.  This is a very difficult assignment because during the time the USA was diverted to Iraq, Afghanistan was sinking into corruption while becoming a 'protectorate' to the Taliban. 

Initial Assessment of Afghanistan

One of the opening statements in General McCrystal's assessment is 'the circumstances in Afghanistan is serious.'

It gets ones attention.  After all, how can a war abandoned for a romp into WMD exploration be so much trouble so many years after September 11, 2001?  But.  Here we are, the USA with a General stating the circumstances in Afghanistan are serious. 

This man not only stated it was serious, but, in the same breath he stated he wished the Officers Club was a firing range.  He isn't the kind of fellow one can easily dismiss as political or ambitious.  General McCrystal was and has been seriously annoyed by the command he accepted in Afghanistan and the complacency of its leadership.  Somehow, along the way, the USA and NATO simply found it easier to accept the 'status quo' of corruption without the needed military manpower to actually fight a war. 

What a mess.  I actually believe the only way the USA will ever make serious gains in defeating such terrorist networks will be through the dedication of Stanley McCrystal.  He just has a keen sense of purpose of miltiary presence that 'means business' rather than surrender.

General McCrystal is a bit of an oxymoron.  On one hand he is demanding better outcomes for the USA from his command, but, at the same time there is this complacency to the opium culture. 

The USA military is a strange animal at times.  I don't accept the fact the opium is necessary to win in Afghanistan.  I do however believe the real war, while clearly being fought somewhat effectively in Afghanistan; sincerely lies in Pakistan.  The Pakistani authority is making more progress than ever under the Bush Administration. 

While, the current assessment, by McCrystal is that Aghanistan is a 'draw,' it is still difficult to believe that.  There is ever increasing conflict with a sincere 'core' of terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  That to me states someone is doing something right.  But.  Then there is Karzai.

It is paramount for Afghanis to take up the protection of their own country, no different than the Iraqis are doing in Iraq. 


It is also paramount 'the ability' for al Qaeda to ever recommit to continue to reek havoc and death on the civilized world be extinguished. 

...Since Afghan President Hamid Karzai's much anticipated peace assembly earlier this month, the Taliban has launched a series of high profile attacks. Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal says the fight against the Taliban will take longer than anticipated in the south.
Analysts say several high profile attacks this week show the Taliban will not back down as coalition and Afghan forces prepare for a major offensive to drive them from their southern stronghold in Kandahar province....
The war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is tedious, but, it is necessary and my inital reaction is that it is best to undermine the Poppy Culture than fight a war with these folks.  The issues are nearly insurmountable, including the vast corruption of the Pakistani ISI.
June 14, 2010

Pakistan’s ISI military intelligence accused of directly funding Taleban
But, at the same time there are landmarks of achievement to an end of the corruption if not just a 'light at the end of a long tunnel.'  Knowing the 'disease' of the ISI in Pakistan and now Afghanistan by osmosis, I can't help but believe the war has done more good than harm.
Bring the troops home.

I take it General Petraeus doesn't shoot hoops.

General David H. Petraeus is the Commander at United States Central Command. 

He is a 'sly sort,' isn't he?

He was the man tapped to lead the charge into Yemen after the Fort Hood masacre.  One would think he took it personally.

US Central Command, AKA "CENTCOM."

What is US CENTCOM?  It is the primary headquarters to intelligence and strategy for the Middle East.  It could be argued where there is a 'purpose' there will always be war.  US CENTCOM answers directly to the Secretary of Defense. 

Is it important?  Should the USA consider reducing its focus and need?  Good set of questions if one is seeking peace and wishing 'the purpose' for war would end.  The real question is does violence in the Middle East exist because of the focus of The West or is the focus of the West in existence because of the violence in the Middle East?

US CENTCOM was begun in 1983, two years after President Regan took office.  That is all just food for thought.  I doubt seriously US CENTCOM will be decommissioned anytime soon, but, it is interesting to realize how a focus to USA policy starts and continues.

Petraeus on torture :

..."I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003, with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we've perhaps taken expedient measures, they've turned around and bitten us in the backside. We decided early on, in the 101st airborne division, we just said, we decided to obey the Geneva Conventions....

Petraeus on Petraeus :

...“Gen. Petraeus has not met with former VP Cheney to discuss a possible 2012 presidential nomination. Nor has he exchanged anything other than pleasantries with the former VP in their one or two chance encounters since VP Cheney left office,” Col. Erik O. Gunhus, Petraeus’ spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO. “Gen. Petraeus has stated on the record numerous times that he has no interest in, nor intention of, running for political office.”...

Petraeus on spying :
...Gen. David Petraeus signed an order in September authorizing Special Operations forces to deploy to allied and hostile nations in the Mideast, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to conduct surveillance missions and work with local forces, two officials said on condition of anonymity because the document is classified....
FORT HOOD — Defense attorneys for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood psychiatrist charged in a deadly shooting spree here last fall, won a four-month delay Tuesday in a hearing that could lead to his court-martial.
Army Col. James Pohl ruled in favor of the defense, which said it had not received the documents it needed. Witnesses will be called starting Oct. 4.
“We got what we wanted,” retired Army Col. John P. Galligan, lead attorney for Hasan, said after the session.

...The Special Operations capabilities requested by the White House go beyond unilateral strikes and include the training of local counterterrorism forces and joint operations with them. In Yemen, for example, "we are doing all three," the official said. Officials who spoke about the increased operations were not authorized to discuss them on the record....

I realize he is not a Cabinet level authority, but, the military is more than just the Secretary of Defense. Admiral Mike Mullen, one asks, how much fun is he having?

Admiral Mullen has emerged as the face of the military in many ways.  He has his own Facebook page and he is using it wisely.  Many people respond to his regular entries.

He is currently the 17th Chair of the Joint Chiefs. 

He is a Harvard man.

He is standing with his Commander and Chief and with his Secretary of Defense in bringing change to the 'underbelly' of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Did we ever think we would see the day?

He has a USA footprint in many areas around the globe including a very sensitive circumstances with North Korea and its nuclear capacity.  I can't help believe his motto is anything short of, "Steady as she goes."

His comments regarding China are complimentary to his Secretary's.  I find it interesting.  While Secretary Gates points dramatically to the movement by Taiwan and China in honoring the One China Policy, Admiral Mullen points to the fact, China's response is disproportionate.

...China’s amassing of “expeditionary maritime and air capabilities,” he said, “seems oddly out of step with their stated goal of territorial defense.”

“Every nation has a right to defend itself, and to spend as it sees fit for that purpose,” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday. “But a gap as wide as what seems to be forming between China’s stated intent and its military programs leaves me more than curious about the end result....

It is a worry.  I have a suggestion.  For many years, if not decades, China has been held at arms length diplomatically   If I am not mistaken, a Chinese delegation, while visiting the USA under Bush's Administration, was brushed off as unimportant.  It just may be, through all the investment by China and the huge decline in confidence of the USA financial institutions, the current President needs to extend an open hand to the President of China and hold a formal White House Dinner to open 'again' better relations between the two nations. 

China has not been an enemy, so much as a curious and willing partner.  The USA has been a good partner in developing the Chinese economy and opening up space exploration.  Perhaps it is time to bring old 'paradigms' of mistrust to an end between the USA and China.

...The president's 52-page US National Security Strategy (NSS) issued in early May, for example, was an engagement-centric, restrained and diplomatic overview. The NSS spoke of US relations with China using carefully crafted words such as "we will encourage China to make choices that contribute to peace, stability and prosperity as its influence rises". The NSS did not rock the boat and was really not a formal strategy, unless repeating the word "engagement' more than three dozen times is acceptable as such....

China has three to four times the people within its borders than the USA.  It should not be surprising to the USA, China also has many more problems to iron out, including, efficient use of energy and natural resources.  It is time to 'cut China a break.'  China has not been disloyal to nuclear non-proliferation with North Korea and that is a 'big one.'  Let's not let North Korea and its containment feel like a threat to China any longer.

Secretary Gates is not a popular figure abroad. Somehow that seems right to me.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attends graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 23, 2009 in West Point, New York. Secretary of Defense Gates gave the commencement speech to the 970 graduates at the elite military academy.  Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Secretary Gates, as his biography states, is the 22nd Secretary of Defense and the ONLY one to remain with a change of administration.  That is fairly amazing.  It is even more amazing to realize he likes serving under the new President.  He has been pivotal in turning the 'ship on a dime' to reduce the American footprint in Iraq while reengaging a very unsteady and deteriorating Afghanistan. 

He has averted uncertainty in facing the incideous 'terrorist' that likes to strike when a new USA administration still hasn't gotten its feet planted firmly in the job.  I thanked him for the dedication he showed to this new President and staying in the position of Secretary of Defense for that purpose.  I have my irritations with him, but, to be completely honest, whom among us would like to walk in his shoes?

He is doing a remarkable job and is open to change within the paradigm of the new Commander and Chief.  For a while, I was worried the citizen of the USA was simply a hostage to the military infrastructure, but, Secretary Gates has shown reaction to demands by the public to be flexible on such issues as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," under great pressure to 'remain the same.'  We are seeing a new face to the military in many ways that was cajoled by their new Commander and Chief and backed fully by our Defense Secretary.

I believe he is capable of achieving peace in ways we never thought existed.  Example:  Tiawan and a peaceful Pacific.  There are no truer words spoken. 

...“The United States and China clearly disagree on this matter,” Mr. Gates said in a speech on Saturday at an Asian security conference here. “Yet Taiwan arms sales over the decades have not impeded closer political and economic ties, nor closer ties in other security arenas of mutual interest.”...

 A strong Taiwan is a strong partner to China.  I find his insight incredibly wonderful when one reflects on The One China Policy and its certain achievement under the steady hand of democratic principles.  The more I get to know the steadfastness of Secretary Gates, the more I admire him.

He is the man for the job and he is a willing and able partner to his President.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki. I bet the last place he thought he'd find himself is heading a cabinet post to protect his former personnel.

On June 11, 2010, Secretary Shinseki will met with several members of Student Veterans of America (SVA). They reviewed SVA’s latest successes, what they are working on, and how they can help the Secretary accomplish his mission. Student Veterans of America is a coalition of student Veterans groups from college campuses across the United States that works to develop new student groups, coordinate between existing student groups, and advocate on behalf of student Veterans at the local, state, and national level. They provide peer-to-peer networks for Veterans who are attending school, coordinate activities, provide pre-professional networking, and generally provide a touchstone for student Veterans in higher education.

I sincerely feel I don't need to say much about Secretary Shinseki.  He was the General that gave former Secretary Rumsfeld a view of Iraq and the number of military required to invade that country, he didn't want to hear.

General Shinseki was proved correct over and over again as the invasion into Iraq devolved to chaos and anarchy.  It sparked sectarian violence that is still evident today. 

I don't know of a more insightful person to protect our soldiers as they return to their homes and their private lives.  I have witnessed the ads he has on the television as an outreach to Veteran's lost in their own personal 'fog of war' with PTSD and they are incredible.

The sheer fact Secrtary Shinseki has returned to assist our country once again, druing very trying times, only speaks to the devotion he has always maintained for it and the love he has for his fellow soldier.

Actions speak louder than words.

VA Secretary Shinseki Welcomes Troops Home in Md.

By AP_Exchange

Published: June 12, 2010
BOWIE, Md. (AP) U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is welcoming home more than 1,000 veterans returning from combat this weekend in Bowie.
The welcome ceremony begins at 8 a.m. Saturday for veterans and their families at the Prince George's Stadium in Bowie.
It will include a barbecue, skydiving demonstrations and performances by the West Point Alumni Glee Club and the 257th Army Band. The events will last until 3 p.m.
The Veterans Affairs Department and Department of Defense will have health and benefit teams on site to provide information to attendees to help with their transition back home.

President Obama is not afraid of the germs White Folks have. I thought that was reassuring. This, of course, is Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

What a time for HHS.  We are lucky to have a well qualified Secretary with leadership skills to carry out expansive change during trying times for the USA.

Health Care Reform and its many facets is being implimented as I write this to insure a smooth transition for everyone.

Recently, there were one time rebate checks sent to Seniors to help with the donut hole and issues of transition.  Secretary Sebelius has written to Governor Douglas to caution against any misinterpretation of the rebate.  It was issued to individuals and not to States, so the idea that a State can cut back on other programs to assist Seniors isn't accurate.

...Some states, like Vermont, have established state-only programs that provide supplemental pharmaceutical coverage to low-income Medicare beneficiaries who are not eligible for Medicaid assistance. The Administration applauds Vermont’s leadership in this effort. However, we understand that Vermont is considering reducing these state benefits in response to the new Medicare Part D rebate checks. I ask you to reconsider this action....

Link to letter:,1341798.shtml

Unfortunately, through all this wonderful change to our infrastructure the Republican Obstructionists are still at work to try to cause our Seniors HARM by preventing appointees from taking their seats in the administration and decreases in benefits that could be overruled by the legislation.

...The confirmation hearings for Dr. Donald Berwick, the White House's choice to run Medicare, could turn into a proxy war over a debate that, while settled, left many Americans angry and confused.
"I think anyone who is close to this understands this debate is really not about Don Berwick, but the opportunity to re-litigate the underlying health care reforms," said John Rother, executive vice president for policy and strategy at the AARP. "In ordinary times, the nomination of somebody with Don's record and standing in the field would not be controversial."


DANGEROUS AND IRRESPONSIBLE REPUBLICANS have Senior citizens, recipients of Medicare, in their 'election sites' to harm them in order to attempt a deceptive initiative to cast a poor opinion of health care reform.
I would think the media would be up in arms over the issue to bring to light THE TRUTH. 
Obama takes aim at Republicans on healthcare
Patricia Zengerle
Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:05am EDT
...The Senate is due to vote within days on whether to follow the House of Representatives and delay a cut in Medicare payments to doctors. Like much else related to healthcare, the vote is becoming a proxy for Republican anger over the sweeping health overhaul passed in March despite their fierce resistance.
"This year, a majority of Congress is willing to prevent a pay cut of 21 percent -- a pay cut that would undoubtedly force some doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether," Obama said in his weekly radio address. Medicare is the government health program for the elderly.
"But this time, some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue. After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors," Obama said....


"Bo" - B(arak) O(bama)

I found it interesting that no one picked up on the 'initials' similar to the President's which comprise the Obama's pet dog, Bo.

Bo is still winning over hearts and minds at the White House.

In the press pool photo (click title to entry - thank you) caption for this picture, it says that U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk first dog Bo to a picnic for members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House June 8, 2010. It looks to me like Bo is the one taking the First Couple for the walk.

They were on their way to a Congressional picnic where Alaskan salmon smoked on an open pit was served for dinner
It's Sunday Night

"This Peace" by Sara Groves

So many words to say, but I'm opting for silence

So many days to live
I thinking I'm sitting this one out
Cause something I've been chasing finally stopped to let me catch it
Something I've been longing for and dreaming of. . . .

It's a whisper in my ear
It's a shiver up my spine
It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right
It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight
This peace

It's something so elusive
Something close but far away
It's the home that I can't live in yet somewhere in outer space
And sometimes I barely miss it when I walk into the room
The curtains are still swaying and I feel the air move

And it whispers in my ear and it shivers up my spine
It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right
It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight
This peace

No time to grab a camera
No time to write it down
Just time enough to breathe it in
And linger . . . . . . .

It's a whisper in my ear
It's a shiver up my spine
It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right
It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight
This peace
This peace

If a party can't keep their funding, I don't know how they can be callled a party.

Michael Steele Threatens To Withhold RNC Funds From GOP Senators Who Backed Stimulus  (click title to entry - thank you)
June 11, 2010

Categories:RNC Chair.Major RNC donors defect to NRSC
A group of former top donors to the Republican National Committee have written fellow wealthy Republicans advising them to steer their contributions this cycle to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
"After much deliberation, we have decided our focus should be on making gains in the United States Senate," says their letter, whose signatories include three former RNC finance chairmen. "The best way for us to afect the outcome of these races is by supporting the National Republican Senatorial Committee."
The letter doesn't mention the RNC directly, but its implication to plugged-in Republican donors is clear, and one section appears to draw a contrast between NRSC Chairman John Cornyn and Steele, who has faced a series of spending flaps and who is viewed as unresponsive by former top donors.
Cornyn has been a "wise steward of hte Committee's funds," says the letter. "He has also listened to our input and sought our counsel multiple times."...

There is an interesting phenomena developing across the board with Republican candidates.  They are covert about their 'establishment' ties and sounding very similar in their 'narrowed rhetorical' messages to the electorate.  They are basically unable to address 'local' concerns and problems of their electorate and relying on rhetoric to win elections.  Many are self funded which shows a strong disconnect from party and citizen. 


...A review by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers of McMahon's campaign finance filings shows the Greenwich businesswoman and millionaire has so far spent about $11 million on accomplished consultants with close ties to national and state Republican politics.

"She can call herself whatever she wants, but clearly, there's a difference between a campaign that is kind of outside the political establishment and one that is using that rhetoric but using the very conventional and mainstream and established political resources," said Howard Reiter, professor emeritus of political science with the University of Connecticut....

Nicobar Island quake at 7.5 without reports of damage or deaths. Unrelated to 4+ magnitudes quakes in Calfiornia today

Banda Aceh was one of the hardest hit islands during the Christmas Tsunami.

June 13, 2010

Nurdin Hasan
3 Earthquakes Rattle Indonesia, but Don’t Injure or Destroy
...The office of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Banda Aceh said the area experienced a 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 2:26 a.m. local time....
...The first struck at 10:57 a.m., local time, and was recorded by the BMKG as having a magnitude of 5.0. However, the US Geological Survey recorded it as magnitude 4.8. The quake, which struck just north of Ternate, did not trigger a tsunami warning, and there were no reports of casualties or property damage.

A second quake hit later in the day, centered further north in the Maluku Sea, 195 kilometers north-northwest of Ternate. This quake hit at 1:44 in the afternoon with a magnitude of 4.7. There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage....

...Recent earthquakes in Aceh have been more powerful. The region has experienced a string of quakes of above magnitude 7.0 since April. A 7.2-magnitude quake that month near Simeulue Island led to dozens of injuries and caused severe damage to several homes and buildings....


Another wetlands ruined on the Gulf Coast? NO ! Don't tell me about this industry, I know about this industry.

tThick, black oil slicks cover the pond at Liberty Park Saturday in Salt Lake City. Oil-soaked ducks and geese from around the water source were gathered by zoo officials to be cleaned and treated. The oil leak, from a pipeline owned by Chevron, apparently broke sometime Friday night allowing a "significant" amount of oil to escape into the Red Butte Creek system Saturday morning.
And of course there are all those emergency procedures in place that provide safety for the public and private landowners that now have their properties contaminated by oil through the streams that run through their properties.

PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS now have worthless land and their families' health are in danger.



"W"rong !!!!!!!