Monday, June 28, 2010

McChrystal's Rebellion

Like many of you, I’ve been trying for some days to puzzle out General McChrystal’s strange behavior. He is either the stupidest general we have or the smartest. I don’t believe he is the stupidest. I believe that he had come to recognize that he was going to be the fall guy for the most mis-managed war in our history, with Rules of Engagement that made no sense, a stated end-date that defeats any chance of winning over the locals, civilian leadership here (absolutely including Obama) that can’t find its ass with both hands, and a counter-insurgency strategy that worked in reasonably- modern Iraq, but has no chance in seventh century Afghanistan.
General McChrystal is now off the hook, and many journalists are already saying that his comments weren’t really that offensive.

McChrystal's Secret Rebellion

By Stephanie Gutmann 6.28.10 American Spectator

One big question that hangs over the quick end of General Stanley McChrystal's mission in Afghanistan: Why would a West Point and Kennedy School of Government graduate who runs eight miles a day, sleeps four hours and is smart as a whip ever do something so dumb as to talk to a Rolling Stone reporter?

Well, maybe he wasn't so dumb after all. Reading the accounts of McChrystal's last months on the job, I think it is clear the general had become so conflicted about the rules of engagement he was imposing on his troops that he finally said "The hell with it. Let Rolling Stone run with this story and see what happens."

The clues are all in the Rolling Stone article (which the magazine -- sickeningly -- is billing on its website as "the article that changed history"). The key section deals with the new rules of engagement (ROE) that McChrystal had begun to impose on his troops. The average infantryman was reacting with a mounting sense of betrayal and anger. Some described the new regimen as "being handcuffed." Rolling Stone reporter Richard Hastings reports one GI writing McChrystal to ask, "Why are we not allowed to defend ourselves?"

As C.J. Chivers of the New York Times reported in an article entitled "Warriors Vexed By Rules For War" the new rules have shifted risks from Afghan civilians and away from the Taliban, on to Western soldiers. They are about everything but force protection. Although McChrystal helped design the rules and could certainly defend them on intellectually, seeing how they are actually playing out in the field must have been painful for a man trained in the '70s, under the mantra "an officer takes care of his men." Chivers' article appeared in the Times the same day as the story of McChrystal's resignation. Things were obviously coming to a head. Even more suggestively, the first reports to emerge since General David Patraeus replaced McChrystal say the new commander may be revising the rules of engagement.

The new ROE generally require much more caution and many, many more verifications from superiors before a soldier is allowed to use lethal force. When the rules aren't restrictive, they are risk averse -- which is just as frustrating to trained warriors. Soldiers in Afghanistan told Hastings they now carry cue cards reminding them to "Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force." What, one wonders, would be the need to patrol in an area where you wouldn't at some point run the risk of defending yourself with lethal force?

According to the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual, penned largely by General Petraeus in 2007, protecting civilian populations is the cornerstone of any effort to defeat an insurgency. But there is a growing problem in Afghanistan -- one that McChrystal may not have foreseen when he unfurled this winning-hearts-and-minds strategy. According to many accounts, the Taliban are starting to game the system. They exploit Western decency by surrounding themselves with women and children, knowing this will slow our advance. There are even accounts of Taliban deliberately creating civilian casualties -- which only creates more bad press and causes our troops to become more cautious. They know once we cause civilian casualties, we scale back.

An eloquent cri de coeur has come from Brigadier General Moheedin Ghori, the commander of the Afghan brigade. Ghori told the AP, "Especially in the south of Marjah, the enemy is fighting from compounds where soldiers can very clearly see women or children on the roof or in a second-floor or third-floor window. They are trying to get us to fire on them and kill the civilians."

In an article last February entitled "Civilians in Crosshairs Slow Troops," Wall Street Journal reporter Michael M. Phillips described a scene where Marine captain Anthony Zinni spent 45 minutes on the phone with military lawyers in Las Vegas before deciding not to call an air strike against four Taliban planting roadside bombs for an approaching Marine convoy. The Taliban had brought children into the area with them. "The last thing I want to do is kill kids," said Zinni. But the consequence was to put his own troops at greater risk.

This is the brave new world of warfare in which the old school warrior McChrystal was trying to navigate. My guess is that he had begun to find the whole thing intolerable. That's the only reason an otherwise seasoned warrior would ever put himself on the firing line with a reporter from Rolling Stone.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Obamacare and Dems Destroying Medicare

Everyone who actually followed the drive to pass Obamacare knows that the program is based on lies and deceit. What were some of the lies? We could enroll 31 million new patients and save billions. We could keep our existing insurance plans. Insurance rates would decline. Obama’s own administration is now making almost daily announcements that these promises were worthless. Americans cannot keep their existing plans, insurance rates are increasing fast, and the government healthcare program will add trillions to the debt. The financing of Obaamacare also was based on $500 billion in cuts in Medicare. The flight from Medicare is now in full force due to existing cuts and the promise of devastating cuts to come. As President Obama once said of an elderly patient, “Let him take a pain pill.” We must get rid of Obamacare before it goes into full effect.

Doctors limit new Medicare patients

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The number of doctors refusing
new Medicare patients because of low government
payment rates is setting a new high, just six months
before millions of Baby Boomers begin enrolling in
the government health care program.

Recent surveys by national and state medical
societies have found more doctors limiting Medicare
patients, partly because Congress has failed to stop
an automatic 21% cut in payments that doctors
already regard as too low. The cut went into effect
Friday, even as the Senate approved a six-month
reprieve. The House has approved a different bill.

• The American Academy of Family Physicians says
13% of respondents didn't participate in Medicare
last year, up from 8% in 2008 and 6% in 2004.

• The American Osteopathic Association says 15% of
its members don't participate in Medicare and 19%
don't accept new Medicare patients. If the cut is not
reversed, it says, the numbers will double.

• The American Medical Association says 17% of
more than 9,000 doctors surveyed restrict the
number of Medicare patients in their practice.
Among primary care physicians, the rate is 31%.

The federal health insurance program for seniors
paid doctors on average 78% of what private
insurers paid in 2008.

"Physicians are saying, 'I can't afford to keep losing
money,' " says Lori Heim, president of the family
doctors' group.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
says 97% of doctors accept Medicare. The agency
doesn't know how many have refused to take new
Medicare patients, Deputy Administrator Jonathan
Blum says. "Medicare beneficiaries have good access
to physician services. We do have concerns about
access to primary care physicians."

The AARP, the nation's largest consumer group
representing seniors, is taking notice. Some U.S.
areas already face a shortage of primary care
physicians. Policy director John Rother says the
trend away from Medicare threatens to make it

States are starting to see a flight from Medicare:

•In Illinois, 18% of doctors restrict the number of
Medicare patients in their practice, according to a
medical society survey.

•In North Carolina, 117 doctors have opted out of
Medicare since January, the state's medical society

•In New York, about 1,100 doctors have left
Medicare. Even the medical society president isn't
taking new Medicare patients.

"I'm making a statement," says Leah McCormack, a
New York City dermatologist. "Many physicians are
really being forced out of private practice."

Florida has the highest percentage of Medicare
patients, and most doctors can't afford to leave the
program. But "the level of frustration has been
higher this year than I've ever seen it before," says
Linda McMullen of the Florida Medical Association.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thuggery and Misdemeanors in High Office

Since Obama became president I have been amused by articles calling for his impeachment. I am no longer amused.
Here are two articles that every American concerned about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and about the general deterioration of America’s situation at home and abroad since Obama took office should read. In my opinion, if Obama will not resign, we need to elect enough Republicans to impeach him for multiple misdemeanors, as described in these articles and as specified in the US Constitution.

And General McChrystal, get out before this gang makes you the fall guy for their mishandling of Afghanistan – and for the subsequent collapse in Iraq after Afghanistan falls.

Resign... or Change, Mr. President

Kevin McCullough June 21, 2010

It now appears that the White House knew about problems in the Gulf two months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20. What did the administration know? Why didn't they shut down the well?

While defending his own policies President Obama has routinely been rude and sarcastic to his predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet Obama appears to be making the resident of the previous White House look like a genius compared to his own serious missteps in office.

Case in point – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's performance and the communication of priorities on the issue of oil rig safety in the Gulf of Mexico.

It seems incomprehensible that the president and other members of the administration still have jobs when it is now being reported that the federal government was apprised by BP on February 13 that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was leaking oil and natural gas into the ocean floor.

In fact, according to documents in the administration's possession, BP was fighting large cracks at the base of the well for roughly ten days in early February.

Further it seems the administration was also informed about this development, six weeks before to the rig's fatal explosion when an engineer from the University of California, Berkeley, announced to the world a near miss of an explosion on the rig by stating, "They damn near blew up the rig."

It's also now being reported that BP was asking for the administration's help on this matter long before the deadly accident and the now gushing well of tar

Which leads me to some questions for the president. If I were in front row of reporters in the White House briefing room, here’s what I’d like to know:

1. It appears, Mr. President, that you were informed by BP about problems on Deepwater Horizon on February 13 and the company wanted your help. What did you say?

2. Given this new revelation, Mr. President, how can you can sleep at night knowing that your inaction cost the lives of eleven men in Louisiana?

3. Did you inform the victims' families about these facts when you invited them to the White House for last month's photo op?

4. You've said, Mr. President, time and again, that the buck stops with you. Doesn’t that statement seem like something bordering on propaganda when you follow it up with what appears to be a false sense of outrage by telling Matt Lauer that you're looking for rear ends to kick?

5. Does the buck stop with you… or not?

6. Are you going to insist that Mr. Salazar step down from his post in disgrace and shame?

7. Will you hold another prime time television press conference and tell the entire truth to the American people? -- These would be the actions of a man who says that the buck "stops" with him.

8. I know when this news was breaking midday on Saturday about the latest BP developments that you and the Vice President were out on the golf course. Was it 39th or 40th time you've played a round in 18 months? (Just for a point of reference President Bush played golf 24 times in eight years.) Never mind, your priorities are for you to decide. At least until election night...

And now here's where I would not be able to stop myself from saying more...
It is one thing, Mr. President, to be forced to deal with unexpected circumstances and to have to deal with genuinely new problems. President Bush sure had to. He had to respond to an attack on our homeland that took the lives of 3,000 of our fellow citizens. But on his watch no other terrorist actions took lives of Americans on our soil, largely due to his steadfast leadership and willingness to accept no excuses on the matter.

But Mr. President, you seem to have very little leadership experience and it appears you have even less skill. Being a good dad and nice guy who sees the world as he wishes it to be is not exactly a resume of exacting leadership.
Your advisers have failed you and you have failed the American people on nearly everything we've asked of you.

Where you go from here is really your call, but you should consider two options if you genuinely love the country you work for and those of us you report to.
First, change your tactics. Second, appear to care. Attempt to engage and empower Americans who can and will go solve this mess.

Otherwise resign.

For the good of the nation, for your own children's future, change your patterns or change your path... but change!

You do remember that word don't you, Mr. President?

Obama's Thuggery Is Useless in Fighting Spill

Michael Barone Monday, June 21, 2010 Townhall

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP's gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's remark that he would keep his "boot on the neck" of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell's definition of totalitarianism as "a boot stamping on a human face -- forever." Except that Salazar's boot hasn't gotten much in the way of results yet.

Or consider Obama's undoubtedly carefully considered statement to Matt Lauer that he was consulting with experts "so I know whose ass to kick." Attacking others is a standard campaign tactic when you're in political trouble, and certainly BP, which appears to have taken unwise shortcuts in the gulf, is an attractive target.

But you don't always win arguments that way. The Obama White House gleefully took on Dick Cheney on the issue of terrorist interrogations. It turned out that more Americans agreed with Cheney's stand, despite his low poll numbers, than Obama's.

Then there is Obama's decision to impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the gulf. This penalizes companies with better safety records than BP's and will result in many advanced drilling rigs being sent to offshore oil fields abroad.

The justification offered was an Interior Department report supposedly "peer reviewed" by "experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering." But it turned out the drafts the experts saw didn't include any recommendation for a moratorium. Eight of the cited experts have said they oppose the moratorium as more economically devastating than the oil spill and "counterproductive" to safety.

This was blatant dishonesty by the administration, on an Orwellian scale. In defense of a policy that has all the earmarks of mindless panic, that penalizes firms and individuals guilty of no wrongdoing and that will worsen rather than improve our energy situation. Ineffective thuggery.

And what about the decision not to waive the Jones Act, which bars foreign-flag vessels from coming to the aid of the gulf cleanup? The Bush administration promptly waived it after Katrina in 2005. The Obama administration hasn't and claims unconvincingly that, gee, there aren't really any foreign vessels that could help.
The more plausible explanation is that this is a sop to the maritime unions, part of the union movement that gave Obama and other Democrats $400 million in the 2008 campaign cycle. It's the Chicago way: dance with the girl that brung ya.

Or the decision to deny Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to deploy barges to skim oil from the gulf's surface. Can't do that until we see if they've got enough life preservers and fire equipment. That inspired blogger Rand Simberg to write a post he dated June 1, 1940: "The evacuation of British and French troops from the besieged French city of Dunkirk was halted today, over concerns that many of the private vessels that had been deployed for the task were unsafe for troop transport."

Finally, there's the $20 billion escrow fund that Obama pried out of the BP treasury at the White House when he talked for the first time, 57 days after the rig exploded, with BP Chairman Tony Hayward. It's pleasing to think that those injured by BP will be paid off speedily, but House Republican Joe Barton had a point, though an impolitic one, when he called this a "shakedown."

For there already are laws in place that ensure that BP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So what we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on pre-existing laws but on decisions by one man, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg gets good reviews from everyone. But the Constitution does not command "no person ... shall ... be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg." The Framers stopped at "due process of law."

Obama doesn't. "If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so," write the editors of The Economist, who then suggest that markets see Obama as "an American version of Vladimir Putin." Except that Putin is an effective thug.


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Most So-Called Conservatives Are Dead Wrong

As author Kohlmayer says in the following article, regaining power in order to fix the government will fix nothing. We are in need of a wholesale slashing of government agencies.

People sometimes look at me as though I’m crazy, but I’ll say again some things I’ve been saying for years: to improve education and reduce its cost, get rid of the federal Department of Education; to have cheaper and more plentiful domestically produced energy, get rid of the federal Department of Energy; to reduce skyrocketing medical costs, get rid of the federal Department of Heath and Human Services, etc.

All we mostly get from these huge and costly federal agencies is red tape and senseless regulations – and a federal budget that puts all of us deep into unsustainable debt.

Did the Dept of Energy prevent the oil spill? No. Is it dealing with the spill? No. Has it reduced dependence on foreign oil? No. Has it developed renewable energy sources competitive with fossil fuels? No.

The main product of Health and Human Services has been the massive paperwork act called HIPPA, which is supposed to give health consumers more rights. All it has really done is to double the overhead costs of every medical facility – costs that have been passed on to all of us.

Similarly every school and college in the USA has been burdened by unnecessary regulations – one of which prevents every college professor from even discussing with parents the progress and problems of the children they are paying to send to college.

While we are at it, we should eliminate AFDC for all new applicants and replace it with an emergency aid program that would last a maximum of six months and could only be used once in five years. Perhaps then the destruction of American families of all races would stop.

Slaying Leviathan

By Vasko Kohlmayer June 19, 2010 American Thinker

After her victory in the California republican primary, Carly Fiorina said this to her supporters:
Together, we will replace Boxer, take Washington back, make it listen, and make it work.

Though well-intentioned, Fiorina's statement reveals a serious flaw at the heart of present-day conservatism.

The flaw is this: We think that in order to solve our problems, we need to win elections, get hold of government, and fix it. But this is an impossibility, because government cannot be fixed.

Contrary to what Carly Fiorina says, you cannot make government listen to the people. It goes against its nature. Government preys on people: It takes away their money and it takes away their freedoms. This is what every government does. The bigger the government, the worse things are. The United States has the biggest and most intrusive government in its history, which is why things are so bad right now.

In his 1980 inaugural address, Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem." Most conservatives agree in the abstract, but we have never fully internalized Reagan's dictum. Deep down, we still believe that government can work for us, if only we throw the bums out.

This is a vain hope, which is why we always end up so frustrated. Conservatives prevailed in 1994, 2000, and in 2004. And what was the result? Those who replaced bums later became bums themselves. This is because they became part of Leviathan, and Leviathan loves to chew up its would-be reformers. It then spits them out as supporters.

We keep making the same error over and over again. "If only we get the right people into government, they will solve this country's problems," we say. Such people do not exist. Nobody can make government work; government only creates problems. Everything government touches turns to ashes sooner or later. As Reagan said, government is the problem.

Boehner and Co. speak the right words now, but this is only because they are out of power. When they were in power, they were spending like mad. Do you remember Medicare Plan D? We are paying through the nose for it now. It was the Republicans' idea. They grew government more than Bill Clinton did. Why should we trust them now to do the right thing? They have already showed us what they are made of -- they have no principles as far as limited government is concerned.

This is not to say that they are bad men. They are just like the rest of us: weak and corruptible. I do not think most of us would fare much better if we were in their position. To resist Leviathan's guile takes the strength of characters that only few have. This is why politicians should never hold great power. They should certainly not hold any power over the income and property of others. If they do, they invariably use it as a means for personal enrichment and empowerment. The Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about human fallibility, hence their insistence on limited governmental powers.

We should not be sending people to Washington to fix America's big government. We should be sending them there to dismantle it. We will never be well again until we realize that Leviathan cannot be tamed. It must be slain. You fix government by dismantling it, not by reforming it.

Practically, this means stripping the federal government of all the unconstitutional powers it has usurped over the years. It does not mean cutting a bit around the edges. This, however, is what conservative politicians mean when they say that we need "cut government down to size

We are praying for another Reagan. But Reagan did not fix the problem. He did cut government, but not enough. Not long after he left office, Leviathan was back, roaring with a vengeance. Today, the American federal government is bigger than ever. Reagan clipped Leviathan's wings, but did not drive a stake through its heart. This must be done -- otherwise, Leviathan will devour us.

Some months ago, a national talk show host said that when we get the government back, we will use it to pay liberals back for the pain they have inflicted on our side. This is surely a dangerous way of thinking. Using government to get back at leftists will only further expand government. We are not here to exact revenge; we are here to do what is good and right. And the right thing is to keep dismantling big government whenever we can.

Government will never serve the people. It only rewards its keepers and assorted parasites. In America they are elected officials, bureaucrats, and various special interests. Those ones are doing well. They enjoy plenty even though the rest of us are hard-pressed. They have jobs and perks and cash. Their plenty comes from the sweat of the productive. But it is still not enough for them. They complain that the productive do not pay their fair share, and they tell them to tighten their belts. Leviathan, however, never tightens its own belt.

This travesty does not need to get reformed. It must be ended. We need to get serious about the Constitution. Leviathan must be slain.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The NRA's Deal with the Devil

Today I cancelled a life-long membership in the NRA because, although I believe in protecting the Second Amendment, I further believe that the First Amendment is even more important to the rights of all Americans. I sincerely hope that the NRA reverses it's stand on the bill called "DISCLOSE". If it does, I will renew my membership

The NRA's Deal with the Devil

By Mark J. Fitzgibbons June 18, 2010 American Thinker

Disappointment does not come from opponents; it comes from friends.

Earlier this week, the NRA issued a statement when it was becoming known that Democrats had cut a deal exempting the NRA from coverage under the DISCLOSE Act, which is the Nancy Pelosi-Chuck Schumer response to the Citizens United First Amendment decision by the Supreme Court that targets free speech.

The NRA's initial statement of justification reflected the logical inconsistency of the NRA's position, to wit:

Thus, the NRA's first obligation must be to its members and to its most ardent defense of firearms freedom for America's lawful gun owners.


Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.

That initial justification ignored the fact that NRA members, first and foremost, are citizens before they are NRA members. As citizens, they will be hurt by the DISCLOSE Act because it will reduce speech, press, and association rights.

The DISCLOSE Act will weaken the ability of citizens to rid the country of bad, corrupt politicians. The bill will help protect the unconstitutional power-grab by the Barack Obama administration and law-breaking by the government. Additionally, the NRA has no guarantee that a future Congress won't renege on its current deal.

By exempting the NRA so that it would not oppose the legislation, congressional Democrats knew darn well that they would still be abridging the First Amendment rights of all NRA members -- as in, every last one of them. The exemption for the NRA may protect the entity called the NRA, but it nevertheless harms the First Amendment rights of NRA members.

Secondly, all NRA members are associated in one way or another with commercial and nonprofit entities that will be hurt by the DISCLOSE Act. The NRA has, of course, no legal obligation to protect the rights of other entities.

There are, however, entities that have fought to protect rights from which NRA has benefited. Suffice it to say, there might not even be an NRA but for the entities that exist because of free markets, or organizations that fight for the other nine rights in the Bill of Rights, not to mention the fact that the very existence of other Second Amendment organizations benefits the NRA, even if indirectly, because they add more force, energy, and ideas to the cause.

The NRA apparently forgets what Ben Franklin said, which is that we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Therefore, the NRA's initial statement of justification -- that its first obligation must be to its members -- failed on its face.

Following harsh criticisms in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post (by NRA board member Cleta Mitchell), National Review, and just about every constitutional conservative who hasn't been in a coma this past week, the NRA issued another statement on June 17. It only added insult to injury.

The second NRA statement comes out swinging at its friends, saying "critics of our position have misstated or misunderstood the facts." Not so. Congressional Democrats and the NRA are doing what is categorically unacceptable, which is playing crony politics with the Bill of Rights and our freedoms.

The statement went on to argue that the NRA hadn't "sold out," as many of its friends and members charged. It reads:

Our position is based on principle and experience. During consideration of the previous campaign finance legislation passed in 2002, congressional leadership repeatedly refused to exempt the NRA from its provisions, promising that our concerns would be fixed somewhere down the line. That didn't happen; instead, the NRA had to live under those restrictions for seven years and spend millions of dollars on compliance costs and on legal fees to challenge the law. We will not go down that road again when we have an opportunity to protect our ability to speak.

Sorry, but that is doublespeak. It's the equivalent of saying, "Our reason for selling out now is that we tried to sell out on campaign finance legislation before, but Congress reneged on its deal with us."

The part of the statement that should throw everyone into a fit, however, is this:

There are those who say the NRA has a greater duty to principle than to gun rights. It's easy to say we should put the Second Amendment at risk over some so-called First Amendment principle.

So-called? That's a despicable phrase for an organization claiming to support the Bill of Rights and a Bill of Rights defender. We expect the First Amendment to be called "so-called" by congressional Democrats, crusty old Washington left-wingers, and the liberal faux good government groups composed of '60s retreads such as the League of Women Voters.

America is at a moment in time when people are fed up by the type of deal the NRA just cut. The NRA's friends told it that it was on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of this American moment. The NRA, however, spurned its friends, its members, and ultimately, freedom.


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Friday, June 18, 2010

Afghan War Becoming a Bloody Farce

Few liberal media sources are mentioning the tremendous increase in the battlefield deaths and casualties being suffered by American soldiers since Obama became president. There are two reasons for the increase in casualties: 1. the new Rules of Engagement put in place by the Obama Administration, which have greatly endangered our military, and 2. Obama set a timetable for our soldiers to leave Afghanistan beginning next year in 2011. This timetable has obviously caused potential friends and supporters there to distance themselves from Americans and to seek accommodation with the Taliban.

The effects of Obama’s misguided policies in Afghanistan come as no surprise. Now it appears that everything we gained there has been squandered away, as Tony Blankley explains in the following article.

Afghan War Becoming a Bloody Farce

Tony Blankley June 16, 2010 Townhall

Since last summer, President Obama has publicly doubted whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai's corruption and incompetence make him a fit partner for our policy goals in Afghanistan. Now, according to Saturday's New York Times:

"Mr. Karzai (has) lost faith in the Americans and NATO to prevail in Afghanistan."

Regretfully, both presidents are correct. Neither of them has a national partner in whom he can place any reasonable confidence. The two governments cannot agree on a common fighting strategy. Nor can those facts be materially changed in time to make a difference, given President Obama's firm commitment to start withdrawing troops no later than the middle of next year.

The current price for staying is approximately one American troop fatality a day (plus several wounded and an undisclosed number of killed and wounded American contract employees). British troops are being killed at the same rate proportional to their troop level. The fatality rate for the remainder of NATO forces (proportionally) is about one-fifth the Anglo-American level of sacrifice.

As these truths become more broadly understood and accepted, I think more Americans -- Republicans and Democrats, hawks and doves, liberals and conservatives -- will come around to the lamentable conclusion that a continued, substantial U.S. militarily presence in Afghanistan will do no good for the United States or the long-suffering people of Afghanistan.

As the New York Times article Saturday went on to observe regarding Mr. Karzai's state of mind:

"People close to (Karzai) say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai's behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011. 'Karzai told me that he can't trust the Americans to fix the situation here,' said a Western diplomat in Kabul. ... He believes they stole his legitimacy during the elections last year. And then they said publicly that they were going to leave."

I made this same point three months ago in this space when I reiterated my call from November for us to get out of Afghanistan: "If we need a credible 'local partner,' our local partner needs a reliable, supportive 'large brother' (to wit: the United States). But by first hesitating to support Mr. Karzai, then saying we will support him -- but only for 18 months, then publicly admonishing him to end the endemic corruption, then leaking the fact that his own brother is a major drug smuggler, we have undermined and infuriated him, without whom we cannot succeed in Afghanistan."

Then this spring, as the toxic relations between Mr. Obama and Mr. Karzai became the subject of newspaper headlines rather than mere diplomatic gossip, Mr. Obama invited Mr. Karzai to the White House to be treated right royal. Fine food and fine words could not undo the fatal damage done to the alliance by the public White House words of the previous year. Mr. Karzai was intent on undoing American policy, and he has succeeded.

The essence of Mr. Obama and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's strategy for counterinsurgency and "population-centric" mini-nation-building was to: (1) Build up allied troop levels quickly, (2) as a first step, drive the Taliban out of Marja, an insignificant town of 60,000 in Helmand province, and set up some governance to demonstrate the feasibility of our "clear, hold and build" strategy, and (3) go on in June to execute the Kandahar Offensive, which would overwhelm and replace the Taliban in their spiritual homeland stronghold. Gen. McChrystal called this the "decisive" battle of the nine-year-old Afghan war.

But as early as April, the London Times reported, "Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, threatens to block NATO offensive (in Kandahar)." This entire strategy was premised on inducing Mr. Karzai to let us help him set up minimally competent local governance on which the local people could rely. It was openly said that we would get rid of Mr. Karzai's powerful mobster brother, Wali, in Kandahar as a necessary precondition for good governance.

But Mr. Karzai, who had lost faith in the U.S., didn't cooperate. No decent governance could be set up in Marja, where Taliban executions of U.S. friendly locals are being carried out in daylight, in public.

Mr. Karzai has refused to remove his brother, and the White House has moved up the date to judge our success in Afghanistan from June 2011 to December 2010. U.S. Brig. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, director of operations for southern Afghanistan, told the London Times: "Our mission is to show irreversible momentum by the end of 2010. That's the clock I'm using." Gen. McChrystal has shifted his strategy away from population-centric nation-building to Special Forces night raids against the Taliban.

Then, last week, Gen. McChrystal begrudgingly announced, "The Kandahar operation (previously scheduled to ramp up in June and largely conclude by August) will unfold more slowly and last longer than the military had planned." According to British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, who commands allied forces in Kandahar, "One would hope that by November-time, one is demonstrating positive trends."

Thomas Paine, during the Revolutionary War, argued in "The Crisis" that there are serious moments in the life of a country when "to deceive is to destroy; and it is of little consequence, in the conclusion, whether men deceive themselves, or submit, by a kind of mutual consent, to the impositions of each other."

We are at such a moment in this forlorn war in Afghanistan. Only self-deception can justify the continued sacrifice of our finest young men and women in uniform. Given the two presidents in command and their irreversible dispositions toward this war and each other, failure is virtually inevitable. For a lesson in how wartime allied presidents ought to struggle to work together for victory, consider the Franklin D. Roosevelt/Winston Churchill partnership.

What is not inevitable is the number of American (and allied) troops who must die before failure becomes undeniable.

Hopefully the same sorry spectacle will not be repeated in Iraq, where violence seems to be escalating as Obama pulls out American combat troops. The deterioration of our position in Afghanistan also comes as articles begin to appear announcing the discovery of immense mineral wealth in that sorry country.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stuck On Stupid

With all the constant failures of liberalism and socialism, it has always been a mystery why anyone over the age of 30 would ever fall for it. Not only is every liberal-run city in the USA a corrupt and bankrupt mess of violence and welfare, but a great example is man-made global warming. The “hockey stick” has been thoroughly discredited, the e-mails reveal that the data is corrupt, there are twice as many polar bears now compared to the last census, and ice cores reveal cycle upon cycle of global warming and cooling, but liberals are stuck on stupid. Author Chantrill, below, makes the case that all the nonsense is because liberalism is really a religion:

Mr. President, You're Stuck on Stupid

By Christopher Chantrill June 15, 2010 American Thinker

It is true that liberalism is cruel, corrupt, wasteful, and unjust. But one should never forget its delusion. The delusion is a simple one. It is a belief that government can be made rational and efficient. This delusion leads our liberal friends into disaster after disaster.

Liberals were shocked that President Bush failed to get everyone tucked up in bed in a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina. They knew that a rational and efficient government, run by people like them who believed in government, could do better.

Now President Obama is busy proving them wrong.

Unfortunately, conservatives aren't helping. In pointing out the serious lapses in the president's leadership qualities, we conservatives are missing the point. We are encouraging liberals in their delusion. Instead, we should remind everyone that of course a bunch of corporate bureaucrats, combined with a bunch of government bureaucrats, are going to be a bit off the mark.

A bit of presidential leadership might have made a difference, we could have said, but not much. The president brings the talents and experience of twenty years in left-wing organizing to the presidency. In that school, the attitude, the gesture, is all-important. So obviously he's not going to be much help in a crisis.

But leader or no leader, it takes time to plug a hole -- especially a hole under five thousand feet of water.

The big problem for the president is that the Gulf oil spill is his fourth major presidential mistake. The first big mistake was the $787-billion stimulus package. The second was the appeasement of thug dictators, Islamist and leftist. The third mistake was ObamaCare. The fourth is the Gulf.

(The bailouts of the auto industry I count as merely a crime, an assault and battery on the principle of private property and senior creditors, the very foundation of our freedom and prosperity.)

The horrifying thing is that we Americans can't afford all these mistakes. We can't afford a president stuck on stupid.

We could afford it if the national debt weren't hitting 90 percent of GDP. We could afford it if Europe weren't in the middle of a sovereign debt crisis. We could afford it if the economy were clearly expanding strongly.

It was Adam Smith who said there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. But you have to keep the ruin within certain limits.

The reason we are in this mess is because liberals wouldn't listen. They had a wake-up call in 1980, when an amiable dunce became president and fixed the economy with lower tax rates, hard money, and an end to economic meddling. But liberals stuck their hands over their ears and insisted that supply-side economics was trickle-down economics.

Then, in 1994, liberals had another wake-up call when Republicans rocketed to control of Congress after President Clinton pushed a big tax increase and HillaryCare. This time liberals were insulted and determined not to concede their cultural and political hegemony to a bunch of right-wing Christians. They refused to consider any reform of the welfare state except in the summer of 1996, when the Republican Congress put a gun to President Clinton's head.

That's the way it is with religion. You cling to your faith, sometimes bitterly. Because in the end, that's all you have.

For President Obama and the liberals, their religion is a secular religion, and their faith is a secular faith. Their faith is a faith in politics and government to right the wrongs of the world. Despite the collapse of their faith with the fall of the Soviet Union and the embrace of capitalism in India and China, these bitter clingers still worship the idols of government programs and their own ethical superiority

How does a religion collapse? During the Christianization of northern Europe, the monks would topple the idols of the pagan gods. See, they said, our true God is more powerful than your gods.

Is that how liberalism will come to an end? When the Keynesian idols are finally toppled? Most likely the end will catch everyone by surprise, like the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union.

Could the election of 2010 be the decisive earthquake that tumbles the temple of liberalism? Certainly the British press, taking their cue from our mainstream media, are underwhelmed by last weeks' primaries. The London Economist has a cover this week with Sarah Palin as Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, featuring Rush Limbaugh as the March Hare.

Nobody knows when liberalism will end or when its politics of patronage and its culture of compulsion will destruct.

Is that discouraging? Not at all. The only thing to do is to think and write and organize and plan for a better America

...An America no longer stuck on stupid.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Rise of the Thug Left

History tells us that when socialist countries start to run out of other peoples’ money to fund their hair-brained ideas and to give away to their supporters, they begin to use force and violence to enforce their will. This process is well under way in Greece, and is rising rapidly in America. We must recognize what is happening and fight back. Whether or not you like her, we must also all support Sarah Palin any way we can, because she is the main focus for the mindless hatred of the leftists, who attack and slime her mercilessly. A creep has now moved next door to her family home in Wasilla in order to harass her.

The Rise of the Thug Left

By J.R. Dunn June 03, 2010 American Thinker

Times are tough. Actually, they're getting tough in a lot of places. They proved very tough for Hamas operatives in the Eastern Mediterranean last weekend. They were tough in poor Balto as well, with seven people shot to death. (Baltimore should be one of the jewels of the East Coast, but of course, it's no such thing. I wonder who's been running the place the last century.) It was nearly as tough in Chicago, with twelve shot and three dead. But when has there ever been good news from the Windy City?

But none of these, however bad they may be, have the potential to shake up the political system the way Obama's more feisty allies have been doing over the past year or so.

On Sunday, May 16, a gang of close to five hundred purple shirts (that is, members of the Service Employees International Union, reinforced by something called National Political Action) surrounded the Silver Spring, Maryland home of Greg Baer, corporate law counsel for Bank of America. They claimed to be carrying out a "protest" of the bank's foreclosure policies. That was the excuse for surrounding Baer's home, trampling his lawn, occupying his front porch, and creating an uproar audible throughout the entire neighborhood.

Baer was not home. The only person present was his fourteen-year-old son, who, overcome with fear, locked himself in the bathroom. On returning home, Baer made his way through the mob to rescue his son, suffering near-assault in the process. At no point did the police attempt to control the mob or order them to leave the property. In fact, evidence exists that District of Columbia police actually escorted the mob to the Baer's home. Coincidentally, the SEIU owes almost $100 million to the Bank of America.

This is the third example of blatant violence -- and yes, terrorizing a young boy is violence -- by administration supporters since last summer. (While other incidents have occurred, going back to the Black Panthers menacing voters in Philly, these are the most blatantly violent.) The first was the case of Kenneth Gladney, who in St. Louis on August 6 last year was selling buttons and flags (identified as Gadsden flags, with the rattler and "Don't Tread on Me" slogan, one of the minor ironies of the incident) outside a town hall meeting being held by Democrat Congressman Russ Carnahan. The SEIU, ubiquitous at Democratic events these days, showed up to confront Gladney and demanded to know what "kind of shit" he was selling, along with calling him a nigger. (This from another black, which of course makes it okay.) Gladney's answers were evidently unsatisfactory, and he was then beaten, knocked down, and stomped on, suffering injuries that required hospital treatment. (The purple shirts were identified from video footage. All of them pleaded not guilty this past April 20 -- justice moves frighteningly fast in Missouri.)

Even as the SEIU members were rehearsing their pleas in St. Louis, yet another attack occurred a few hundred miles down the Big Muddy. On April 9 in New Orleans, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference held a dinner at Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter. The event generated a protest, as everything seems to do these days. The responsible organization here was the Iron Rail Collective, an anarchist group. The anarchists chased GOP chairman Roger Villeres as he left the restaurant, but this was only the first act. A short time later, fundraiser Allee Butsch and her boyfriend Joe Brown emerged. They were evidently followed and then attacked a few blocks away by at least five people. Both were badly beaten, Ms. Butsch suffering a leg broken so severely as to require an operation.

While the perpetrators remain unknown, the ringleader was identified from video footage (Beard, dirty t-shirt, ponytail -- about what you'd expect). This sense of uncertainty has been used to downplay the political motives behind the attack. Even the Jindal administration played this game, calling the assault an "altercation", as if the two Republican operatives had stolen the anarchists' parking space.

None of these attacks made more than the most perfunctory appearance in the mainstream media...much less so than the arrests of the "Hutaree Army", a strange Midwestern religious group that, whatever their violent and obnoxious rhetoric, have never harmed anybody.

The attacks haven't drawn media attention because they are in violation of a crucial liberal myth, the one holding that liberals are the leading contemporary apostles of nonviolence and peace, holding the line of rational behavior against the assaults by all manner of rabid elements, almost all of them right of center. We've heard that one to the point of exhaustion. It's an unspoken axiom of American politics. Liberals inhabit the Isles of the Blessed, where the lion lies down with the lamb and Willie Horton is only a ballplayer, wearing white togas and discussing conflict resolution in low, melodic voices. And the rest of us? We're somewhere off in the depths of Mordor, on a perpetual rampage, following the demagogue of the moment. These days, that would be Glenn Beck waving a musket and Sarah Palin lugging whatever it is you use to shoot wolves from the air. That's the great divide in American politics, from the liberal point of view, one as sharply defined as the gap between the Eloi and the Morlocks, and as permanent. All they need to do is point to Joe McCarthy (who started out as a New Deal Democrat), Lyndon LaRouche (who helped found the Students for a Democratic Society), and Timothy McVeigh. (A rabid atheist. McVeigh refused to see clergy before his execution and demanded that the old atheist chestnut "Invictus" be recited at his funeral. He actually thought he was going to get one of those.)

What we're seeing now is that myth beginning to unravel. The type of rhetoric liberals have been indulging in the past ten years, the barely-controlled personal attacks and open menacing of every last individual who opposes them -- Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rice, Palin, and Bachmann -- serves as its own fuel. The more it's repeated, the more incendiary it grows, the more it spreads, and the more used to it people become. It's like a narcotic that you grow habituated to -- every time you hit up, you need a bigger jolt. Eventually the threats become so lurid, so wild-eyed, that they begin to take on a life of their own. They become the standard means of expression. And at some definite but unknowable point, they begin to fulfill themselves. Some of your comrades, the more stupid, the more unbalanced, the more fanatical, begin taking them seriously, and start acting them out.

That's the process we're seeing at this moment. The left's civilized elite are still living a delusion, gliding through toga world, while the more unstable elements, the SEIU trash, the anarchists, the ACORN hirelings, are starting to lose it. It will get worse as the Obama dream continues to shred under the pressure of reality. The American left has begun to crack -- deterioration has set in, and it is beginning the long slide into goonhood.

It's all very similar to the events of the late '60s, where wild rhetoric from the antiwar movement and related "revolutionary" outfits -- the Black Panthers, the SDS, the Weather Underground -- triggered ever-graver disturbances around the country until the entire cycle was brought to an abrupt halt at Kent and Jackson State universities. Thirteen people were killed in those confrontations -- the price of cutting the revolutionary left completely out of American society. Students and casual protestors abandoned the antiwar effort. The movement withered and collapsed. The would-be revos were transformed into little more than armed gangs, to be hunted down and mopped up through the ensuing decade.

The more subdued leftists who had aided in triggering the nightmare dodged the bullet in large part by being shielded by media -- at the time effectively a monopoly under liberal control -- along with the fact that their political opposition consisted of Richard Nixon and his merry crew. The Watergate saga was on one level a complex and successful effort to paint the political "establishment" as evil enough to justify the more vicious tactics of the antiwar left. All the same, it required quite some time for leftists to live down the excesses of the '60s.

History may be repeating itself where the left is concerned. But it's doubtful they'll duck anything this time around. Union thugs have none of the romantic air of campus rebels, and the beards and filthy tee-shirts of the anarchists lost their shock value long ago. They will get little in the way of protection from a media that's on the verge of collapse. But even more compelling is the fact that their opposition is no longer a corrupt establishment, but a movement representing Americans as a whole. Conservatives today are no longer the staid, isolated remnant of mid-century, but a tougher, blunter group that comes from a much wider slice of American life. Confront them with people who attack women and threaten children, and it's easy to surmise who's going to end up on deck. A violent left is a dying left. If I were on that side of the fence, I would worry.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.

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