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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Maryland Mall Shooting: CNN Panel To Draw More Broad Conclusions from Single Data Point ... 3 Dead in Shotgun Shooting: Biden Unavailable for Comment ... NRA Reminds Mass Shooters to Use Cold Weather Firearms Lubricant ... Obama Goes Golfing With Imaginary Son ... Developing ...

Friday, July 20, 2012

CounterColumn News Ticker... 
14 Killed in Colorado Shooting Hailed as 'Publicity Event of The Year ...

Spiderman Promoters Trumped ...

"Your Move, Paramount ..."

BLOOMBERG: "I blame those 24-ounce sodas at the snack bar ..."

NEA Approves Shooter's Grant Application ...

Florida DA Charges Victims With "2nd Degree Loitering" ...

DC Comics Spokesman: DC Is a Comic Company of Peace! There Is No Reason To Hold All DC Comics Fans Responsible for this Shooting ...

Obama Campaing Releases Ad Linking Bain Capital to Shooting..

Calls to Ban Gas Masks ...

CNN Reaffirms Colorado Springs Rating as Among America's "Best Places to Live ..."

Ratings Plummet ...

Napolitano Directs TSA to Strip-Search Child Victims ...

Dept. of the Interior C-130 Douses Scene with Fire Retardant ...

Developing ...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

"This is D-day", came the announcement over the British radio. The invasion has begun! According to the German news, British parachute troops have landed on the French coast. British landing craft are in battle with the German Navy, says the BBC. Great commotion in the 'Secret Annexe'! Would the long-awaited liberation that has been talked of so much but which still seems too wonderful, too much like a fairy-tale, ever come true? Could we be granted victory this year, 1944? We don't know yet, but hope is revived within us; it gives us fresh courage, and makes us strong again." --Anne Frank, Diary Entry, 6 June 1944.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More on Bullygate 
Mitt Romney shoudn't have cut that kid's hair. That's just awful. Unthinkable. He should have left him in a submerged car to drown to death. Then Democrats would love him!

Bullygate 
So, apparently, Mitt Romney was mean to a prissy, petite, hair-obsessed little panty-waist of a sissy boy who responded manfully by crying like a bitch. But enough about John Edwards.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Introducing MilitaryAuthority.com 
Well, I have hardly been posting in recent months, because I've been writing for a living, full-time. And the last thing I do when I knock off work is blog! But in case anyone is still reading, I am happy to announce I am a contributor to MilitaryAuthority.com, concentrating on military topics. My stuff is now going up on a regular basis. So I'll be posting links there from time to time. They're not giving me a byline, for some reason. But if you liked my financial planning and related posts before, you'll find many more of them at MilitaryAuthority.com! Here are some new ones: Roth TSP Brings Tax Planning Opportunity to Deployed Service Members Military Foreclosure Victims May Receive $116,785 http://www.militaryauthority.com/benefits/insurance/life-insurance-and-your-children.html Long Term Care Insurance Considerations for Military Families What's Missing from your Thrift Savings Plan? Portable Careers for Military Spouses Mobilizing! Financial Tips for Military Families There's more on the site, of course, and I'll link to new content as it goes up, as well. And we'll see how things go! Meanwhile, weigh in below, by clicking "Click here to enter the net." Tell me what you want to read about! What is going to help you in your life? Splash, out, Jason

Friday, February 03, 2012

Planned Parenthood vs. Susan G. Komen for the Cure 
In case you missed it, the there was a great big blowup recently in the women’s health charity world. The big breast cancer and fundraising organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure – the marketing geniuses who came up with the pink ribbon idea for breast cancer awareness, and who engage in a lot of marketing and fundraising for causes related to breast cancer. Whatever they don’t need for operations and overhead, they dispense to hundreds of different breast-cancer related organizations, funding education and awareness activities, screenings, mammograms, and research toward preventing and curing the terrible disease.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure sparked a controversy when they announced they were pulling their $600,000 annual grant to Planned Parenthood, claiming that a new internal rule adopted by the Komen board stated they can’t fund organizations that are currently under a congressional investigation. Planned Parenthood was the only charity currently receiving funds that fell into that category, so they felt singled out and objected – claiming that the Komen foundation’s decision was politically motivated and that the real issue was – que’lle surprise! – abortion.

Hilarity ensued.

Planned Parenthood supporters furiously accused Susan G. Komen for the Cure of making a principled stand. Meanwhile, fueled by Facebook, Twitter, blogs, other social media, Komen’s fundraising more than doubled in the days following the announcement, in what the media described as a severe anti-Komen backlash.
At stake, of course, was more than 0.6 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget for the year. Planned Parenthood executives announced that without this funding, either they would have to collect another $1.75 for every abortion performed, or women would be denied mammograms.
Naturally, they were leaning towards getting out of the mammogram business. Which – of course, it turned out they already were: A pro-life activist recently called up 30 different Planned Parenthood facilities around the country, recording the results. All 30 facilities informed her that Planned Parenthood didn’t do mammograms.

Not to worry: Planned Parenthood supporters rode to the rescue – led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As a billionaire himself, and founder of the Bloomberg media empire, Mayor Bloomberg – a ferocious 2nd amendment opponent and the man who thinks government should be free to dictate your choice in French fries, pledged to donate $250,000 to demonstrate his commitment to a woman’s right to choose.

For its part, Susan G. Komen for the Cure was stung by the allegation that its decision to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood may have secretly been rooted in principle. So about 48 hours after making the announcement that they would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood, the female-dominated leadership at Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that they had changed their mind.

The decision was reversed, and Komen announced its commitment to continuing their “treasured relationship” with Planned Parenthood. So Susan G. Komen donors, regardless of their feelings on abortion, will still send $600,000 per year to an organization that doesn’t even do mammograms.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Great Moments in Journalism History... 
From CNN:

According to the Pentagon, Atwater carries the rank of specialist first class and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His service awards include the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal.

Specialist first class???

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Pepsi to Change Can Design 
A Florida Guard colleague and terrific soldier, SSG Rolando Martinez, made the media big leagues when he noticed something interesting about the Diet Pepsi can design in Iraq.

The backstory is this: There is a whole subversive element in Middle Eastern marketing and branding, where product designers will take very subtle digs at the West. Call them Muslim "dog whistles" if you will.

I've seen Iraqis openly selling gifts in their markets commemorating the 9/11 attacks. One example I saw was a cigarette lighter that contained a depiction of a jet flying into two office towers, and a red LED that lit up at the point of impact when you used the lighter. It was in cast metal. So somewhere someone had set up a small factory making these things.

I think there's room for plausible denial on this specific can. It's certainly not the only modernist depiction of a skyline. All that's missing is the "Atomic" symbol!

Now, here's my question for Pepsi: What? American design firms can't design your can? You went cheap and went for the foreign outsourcing.

But even assuming the best of the South African design firm, an American marketing agency likely would not have made a design so evocative of 9/11.

Hope you enjoyed the little bit of money you saved by sending the American job overseas.

Splash, out

Jason

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Great Moments in CNN History 

All those layers of fact-checkers at work again!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Portland Protesters Deface War Memorial 
This memorial is in or adjacent to Occupy Portland camp site. The names are those of Oregon soldiers who were killed in the service of their country in the First World War. Here is what the protesters of Occupy Portland did.


The photo was taken on the morning of the 13th of October.

Don't you dare question their patriotism!

Splash, out

Jason

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Bullied Cult Members Commit Mass Suicide ...

Area Fire Department Chief Ordered To Lay Off 20 Percent of His Cousins ...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Jews Should Be Sterilized," Says Sarah Grunfeld 
A direct quote.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

The name's Bond. 

Where's Pelosi Galore?

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Chaos on House Floor as Progressives Attempt to Euthanize Rep. Giffords ...

Breaking ...

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Brooklyn Man Charged With 8 Year Old Hassidic Boy's Abduction, Murder, Yada Yada Yada ...

Architect of 900 Billion Stimulus, Universal Health Care and Chrystler Bailout Calls for Fiscal Responsibility ...

Amy Winehouse Passes Away Behind Schedule ...
Flowers From Society of Actuaries Arrived 2 Weeks Early ...

Oslo Killings Bring Merciful Early Relief From Norwegian Cuisine For 94 People ...

Hollywood Expresses Interest in Oslo Gunman ...

Rutger Hauer Sues Shooter For Trademark Infringement ...

ELCA, Missouri Synod Lutherans Blame Each Other For Deaths ...

NYT Editorial: Bachman Refuses To Denounce Lutheran Ties

Swedish Chef Breaks Silence: "Fyordni Hordni Hollni Fordni Bork BANG! BANG! BANG! ..."

World Sends Condolences, Giant Casserole ...

Despite All-Gay Softball League, GLBT Vows Not To Shut The Fuck Up About the Boy Scouts ...

Sexual Assaults Plummet As NFL Players Head Back To Work ...

Developing ...

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Remembering... 
""This is D-day", came the announcement over the British radio. The invasion has begun! According to the German news, British parachute troops have landed on the French coast. British landing craft are in battle with the German Navy, says the BBC.

Great commotion in the 'Secret Annexe'! Would the long-awaited liberation that has been talked of so much but which still seems too wonderful, too much like a fairy-tale, ever come true? Could we be granted victory this year, 1944? We don't know yet, but hope is revived within us; it gives us fresh courage, and makes us strong again."

Anne Frank, diary entry, June 6, 1944.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Oiche Nollaig. Christmas Eve. 
By Maire Mhac an tSaoi.



Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.

Much love to all.

Splash, out

Jason

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Liveblogging the SOTU 
9:18 Two minutes in and Biden has managed to shut up so far.

9:21 You cut taxes? No. You FAILED to raise the health care tax, thanks to the Republicans.

9:23 Biden's pretty distracting. He should have been coached to sit still.

9:23 He's doubling down on the Crapulus Bill?

9:24 Apparently he's still under the impression that government creates jobs rather than moves them around.

9:30 The business tax credit is a good idea. Where was this idea a year ago? Oh, that's right. No bandwidth for it. The Administration had to focus on a massive socialist takeover of the health care bill.

9:30 Calling for a focus on jobs in 2010? That should have been the focus since day one!!!!

9:30 "I do not accept second place for the United States of America." So why all the damn apologizing, Mr. "No Nation Can Or Should Dominate Another."

9:33 "I'm not interested in punishing banks." (cough) BULLSHIT (cough).

9:33 Now he's pitted his Administration against the lobbyists. Code word for banks. TOLD you it was bullshit!!!!!

9:36 New nuclear plants and offshore driling. Is it just me or is Nancy Pelosi visibly pained at those words.

9:36 PELOSI CLAPS LIKE A SEAL!!!!!! (DRINK)

9:38 The more exports we sell, the more jobs we will support at home. That's why I want to double our exports!!!!!
How? By spending so damn much the dollar will become worthless!!! Neat trick, huh? Who could compete with us?

9:41 "A high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job." Who was under the illusion that it ever did.

9:42 Let's give families 10,000 in tax credits for college, and increased pell grants. I see tuitions rising 10,000 very quickly.

9:42 Wow. Let's help students pay off student loans if they go into government service. That way,

9:43 I am not a homeowner. If Obama is deliberately working to raise home prices, he is going directly to work against me.

9:44" We still need health insurance reform." Slow learner, huh!

9:47 "I take my share of the blame for not explaining (health reform) to the American people." Christ, this guy's delusional. The more he explained it, and the more Americans understood it, the more we didn't want that shit.

9:48 "As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take a second look." HELL NO!!!!

9:49 He's throwing out the "bring down the deficit" strawman. There is no way that reform nightmare would have brought down the deficit long term. Only a pathological liar could possibly argue otherwise. This should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

9:51 Blaming the prior administration. DRINK.

9:52 Obama criticized McCain for proposing a freeze. Said McCain wanted to use a hatchet, but he wanted to use a scalpel. Then he spent like a drunken sailor. Now he's pulling out the hatchet.

9:55 "That's how budgeting works." ROFL!!!!!!!! "Let me show you how it's done, son!!" FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART!!!!!!

9:56 "That's what we did for eight years." Blaming the previous administration. DRINK.

9:57 "To do our work openly." Like put the health care negotiations on C-SPAN?

9:58 "We've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs." HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

9:58 What part of "Congress shall make no law" don't you understand Mr. President?

9:59 Obama just challenged Congress to put earmark requests on line prior to votes. Nancy Pelosi stood up and clapped like a seal again. (DRINK). She's got a huge majority. Think it'll happen? No. What a lying hypocrite she is. Hold her feet to the fire.

10:03 I love it when the Republican minority says "no" to Pelosi and Reid's policy initiatives. THAT'S leadership!!!

10:05 Will he mention victory?

10:06 We're plugging gaps discovered by the Christmas attack. But we still have the same incompetent Director of Homeland Security.

10:07 "We will have all our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August." Betcha we won't.

10:08 The new Montgomery GI bill is a lot better. I'll give them that. The VA has a long way to go.

10:09 Oooh. Good luck getting the Norks and Iranians to play along with the promised nuclear anti-proliferation protocols.

10:11. Good job. Stick to your guns on the Iranians. I hope it means something. The problem is, I don't think this president has much credibility in the Iranian halls of power. Bowing to Arabs doesn't help his stature among Persians.

10:12 "That's why we stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Haiti." Heh. I thought he was going to say "the girl who urinates."

10:14 Taking aim at the prohibition on gays in the military. That's a 2nd term project, though. Not a first-term.

10:15 "Immigrants from every corner of the globe. Like me for instance. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

10:21 That was it? That's the SOTU? Double exports and freeze spending? This is OBAMA???????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

10:22 Is it just me? or did nearly every SOTU I've ever seen get more applause than this one? This seems anti-climatic. Like the home team lost the game and everyone's looking to leave the parking lot before the rush.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Arizona Mayo Clinic Dropping Medicare Patients 
Not surprising, but here it is:

The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.


Health care providers have been squawking about low medicare reimbursement rates for years, and it's getting harder and harder for medicare patients to find providers. What was fascinating to me, though, is the sheer arrogance and denial coming from the White House and from their fellow leftist morons, the Urban Institute:

Reid Cherlin, a White House spokesman for health care, declined comment on Mayo’s decision to drop Medicare primary care patients at its Glendale clinic.


Funny, the White House was full of praise for their low-cost, high-quality, highly-efficient health care before. Cat got your tongue? Can't figure out why this might be happening?

Robert Berenson, a fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said physicians’ claims of inadequate reimbursement are overstated.


No, libtard. They're not. If they were overstated, doctors would still be seeing these patients. It is patently obvious for anyone who's not dribble-down-his-chin, charter-member-of-the-smaller-bus-club stupid that reimbursement rates do not reflect what the market will bear.

Rather, the program faces a lack of medical providers because not enough new doctors are becoming family doctors, internists and pediatricians who oversee patients’ primary care.


And why might that be, genius? Could the fact that medicare and medicaid underpay our family care doctors, internists and pediatricians so that the fields are no longer attractive to our medical school students?

“Some primary care doctors don’t have to see Medicare patients because there is an unlimited demand for their services,” Berenson said. When patients with private insurance can be treated at 50 percent to 100 percent higher fees, “then Medicare does indeed look like a poor payer,” he said
.

Holy crap. The free market slaps this leftist twit right across the face to get his attention, and he still can't figure it out. He just said that Medicare underpayment was overstated - and then in the same article concedes that medicare pays only half the going rate.

This is the kind of USDA Prime-quality stupid we're up against, here. It's the think tankers at the Urban League who are coming up with these ideas and advising our dumbest members of Congress - liberals to a man - about how to structure health care reform.

It's already a disaster and they haven't even started yet.

Splash, out

Jason

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So the White House Christmas Tree features ... 
Mao?!?!?!

Strange fruit, indeed.

Who in God's name are these people staffing the White House?

Splash, out

Jason

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Let's see if we can write a story on Senator Nelson and his decisive health care vote ... 
...and not ONCE mention abortion!!!

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Reports of my death ... 
... have been somewhat exaggerated.

;-)

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! "Grim milestone!" 
A year after Washington rescued the banks considered too big to fail, the ones deemed too small to save are approaching a grim milestone: the 100th bank failure of 2009.


There are now a number of companies... private insurers... who have more in cash reserves backing their own promises than the FDIC has available to back the banking system...

While the parade of failures still represents a mere fraction of America’s small banks, it underscores a growing divide between them and large institutions like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bancorp, which are slowly growing stronger as the economy improves.


Leave it to the New York Times to fall for the 'rich get richer' divide. I mean, they already went for "grim milestone." Why not go whole hog for the stupidity? News flash for the Times: It's called "consolidation." Solid banks get a chance to purchase distressed assets of failing banks at a discount and thank God they do! It's good for everyone, and is saving the system from collapse right now.

Burdened by worsening commercial real estate loans, many small banks’ troubles are just beginning. Many analysts say that the now-toxic loans could sink hundreds of small lenders over the next few years and place a significant drag on the economy.

Already, the bank failures are placing enormous strain on the F.D.I.C. and its fund, which keeps depositors whole. Flush with more than $50 billion only two years ago, the fund recently fell into the red.

The prospect of more failures has led the F.D.I.C. to seek new ways to replenish the fund with higher and earlier payments by healthy banks, even after setting aside reserves for future losses.



Those commercial loans aren't turning around yet, either. And there's a new wave of ARMs due to reset soon, which should trigger a new round of foreclosures.

Yippee.

The initial wave of failures has also unsettled some communities, even though most of the troubled institutions have been bought by other banks rather than shuttered. While deposits are safe thanks to federal insurance, the new buyers often do not have the same ties to local businesses as the former owners.


More stupidity. Deposits are safe? Only deposits up to $250,000. And that's not really sustainable, because we upped the limit from 100k to 250k without a supporting increase in premiums. Oh, and what's this "federal insurance?" Kemosabe?


In some cases, they tighten lending and make it harder for longtime customers to obtain loans or favorable terms. In other cases, managers of the new bank make other changes, like ending offers for high-interest certificates of deposit and calling in certain lines of credit. In the longer term, some new owners are likely to close branches of the bank they have acquired in order to cut costs.


Ok, time to hit the Times reporter over the head with a clue-bat: Larger banks don't pull back on CD rates because they're out of touch with local businesses, moron. They do it because they aren't desperate and stupid. There's a reason banks offer above-market CD rates. Think about it: They are trying to raise cash in a hurry, to stave off a short-term crisis. Often it doesn't work, and the bank fails. Sometimes, the smart money sees their bank offer a significantly above-market CD rate, and they yank their money, and the bank fails as a result of what amounts to a large-depositor run on the bank. (Small depositors tend to be lazier.)

Once the bank is acquired by a healthier bank, the crisis is past, and banks no longer have a reason to offer CD rates significantly above market.

(Here's another clue: If you are looking for a good deal on a loan, don't go to the bank offering crazy-good CD rates! They're not looking to lend, and will be very picky and jack up rates to exceed their new higher cost of capital.

This calls for a song!

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An Inconvenient Question 
When Al Gore is pressed on a point, he has his henchmen cut off the microphone.



And the rest of the press corps does nothing.

I would not have been so polite with the organizer in the hall. Scratch a liberal, you'll find a fascist.

The fact is that the British court ruled that it would be illegal to show the film in schools in the UK without additional guidance for students correcting the nine listed errors in the film. I would have to imagine that's unprecedented, and hardly "in favor" of the film's producers. Even if they agree with the overall thesis, you cannot pull out nine egregious factual errors from any documentary, call the presentation "one-sided," issue a ruling that it would be illegal to show the film without correcting these errors, and call that a 'ruling "in favor of" the movie.

Splash, out

Jason

Hey, Jay Rosen... I got your 'rollback' strategy right here!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

State Alcohol Agents Seize 924 Gallons of Moonshine in Wilkesboro, NC 
Ace of Spades, call your office.

Roger Lee Nance, of 1117 Shew Ridge Mission Road, was charged with possession of non-tax paid liquor, possession of non-tax-paid liquor for the purpose of selling, and possession of equipment and ingredients intended for the use in the manufacture of an alcoholic beverage.
“This is one of the biggest seizures of white liquor I’ve seen come out of the mountains in my career,” ALE Director John Ledford said in statement.
The arrest follows a two-month investigation by ALE agents, assisted by the state Highway Patrol. In addition to the liquor, large amounts of sugar and other items were seized during a search of Nance's property, authorities said.


You'd better stay away from Copperhead Road

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Military to Obama Administration Civilians: 
'This word, counterinsurgency ... I do not think it means what you think it means.'

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Morale Plummets Among Soldiers in Afghanistan 
HOPE!!!!

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.


That's a direct result, in my view, of the lack of resolve, decisiveness, and leadership coming from the White House. If the trumpet sounds uncertain, who will answer the call?

That said, the selection of soldiers who go see the chaplain isn't always representative of the military as a whole. Soldiers who speak to the chaplain about morale problems are naturally the ones with morale problems.

But you can bet dollars to doughnuts that these chaplains are in a position to assess the delta - the change, in morale - and if the chaplains in two separate battalions are concerned enough to take the extraordinary step of speaking to the media about it, then Houston, we've got a problem.

This can be turned around, though. The morale problems on the ground simply reflect the morale problems at home. And if Congress is questioning the mission, and the folks back home are questioning the mission, and the White House is questioning the mission, but none of them our paying the price... it's only the US soldier, sailor and Marine on the ground shedding blood every day for a mission the President can't be bothered to sell (too busy trying to enrich Mayor Daley and the rest of the Chicago mob with the Olympics), well, to quote Rudyard Kipling,

Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool, you be that Tommy sees!

Splash, out

Jason

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Obama the Undecided 
The New York Times reports:

President Obama told Congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would not substantially reduce American forces in Afghanistan or shift the mission to just hunting terrorists there, but he indicated that he remained undecided about the major troop buildup proposed by his commanding general.


The truth, however, is that Obama is undecided about the major troop buildup he himself proposed during the campaign.

Democrat Barack Obama said Monday that as president he would send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan, where U.S. soldiers face rising violence and endured their deadliest attack in three years on Sunday.

The proposed force increase - about 7,000 troops - is part of Obama's plan to pull combat troops out of Iraq and focus on the growing threat from a resurgent al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

"As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan," Obama said in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times, a day before he plans a speech here on his vision for Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there," Obama said.


Obama hasn't articulated a contrary position since that time. McChrystal came out in support of the only guidance Obama has publicly given so far. Truth be told, it was Biden, not McChrystal, who 'put his cock on the anvil' arguing a position contrary to the President. It was Biden, not McChrystal, who was "off the reservation," with his proposal.

Biden should keep his council private and use the chain of command. If Biden really has a problem with the Commander-in-chief, he should resign now, and then he can go as public as he likes.

Democrats, of course, philosophically hold the same position -- and blame McChrystal.

Splash, out

Jason

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

...In Which I Rise to the Defense of General McChrystal 
So General McChrystal is getting excoriated by the leftards in the media, by Gen. James Jones, Obama's National Security Advisor, and now by Generalissima Pelosi herself for providing a forthright answer to a question directly in his purview by a member of the media.

The treatment he is getting is outrageous.

Why?

1.) The question was whether the General would support Biden's suggestion to dramatically lower troop strength in Afghanistan, and try to fight it with special operations forces and Predator strikes. The general said he would not.

There are strong doctrinal resources for this: COIN doctrine, however imperfect the fit with the Afghanistan battlefield, holds that the "key terrain" in the counterinsurgent fight is the population itself. The fight is not for control of real estate, but for the loyalty of the people.

That takes boots on the ground.

The second doctrinal reason to reject the Biden plan is that COIN, by its nature, is intelligence driven. The best source of battlefield intelligence is a strong relationship between our soldiers and marines on the ground and the local population. If we enact the Biden plan, the result will be a rapid retreat from the battlefield, leaving the population, including many who risked everything to support us, to the tender mercies of Taliban reprisals. If we retreat even a little from our commitment to village and tribal elders who have stuck their necks out to support us, word will spread like wildfire and the village and tribal elders will cut their own deals in order to survive.

In my view, we may already be seeing this happening: In a vicious firefight last week, in which an American outpost was in danger of being overrun, the Taliban was able to stockpile hundreds of weapons in a nearby village mosque. Large numbers of villagers must have known. And yet no one alerted coalition forces.

The logistics for massing materiel already underway, the Taliban managed to quietly gather in battalion strength to launch two deliberate attacks against American and Afghan outposts... and again, no one alerted Coalition forces.

This is symptomatic of a huge tactical intelligence failure on the ground. American forces were not, apparently, present in enough strength to defend the position and patrol aggressively simultaneously - with disastrous but not unsurprising results: A poor relationship with the people of the neighboring village and the ceding of the tactical initiative.

General McChrystal is seeing the same compromise being made all over the country: Troop strength being spread too thin. And Biden, without acknowledging the strategic and operational tradeoffs that MUST come with a reduction in troop strength, and without adjusting the General's mission in Afghanistan, wants to spread those troops even further.

So General McChrystal sticks up for his mission - and what's more, advocates precisely what President Obama himself is already on record as advocating: a substantial increase in troop strength in Afghanistan.

"I said a year and a half ago that we needed more troops in Afghanistan -- at least two brigades," Obama said. "John McCain, at the time, didn't think that was necessary, and now there's a convergence around the notion that we need at least two and maybe three brigades in Afghanistan."


McChrystal, then, was simply articulating a view already publicly endorsed by the Commander in Chief. As far as we know, the President has said nothing since that piece was published that would contradict that view. He has long held that Afghanistan is the central front on the War on Terror Group Hug Against Scary Things, and has repeatedly called for more troops in Afghanistan to prosecute that war. McChrystal was well within his guidelines, and when the President has been as vague and noncommital in policy statements as he has - despite a direct request from McChrystal for more troops, what else does McChrystal have to go on besides Obama's own public pronouncements?

Further, given the President's repeated calls for an increase of two to three brigades in Afghanistan, it wasn't McChrystal speaking out of school, it was Biden. I would argue that the Biden plan is the outlier, not McChrystal's statement that he would not support it.

What's more, there is no way that McChrystal can possibly be seen to be bucking the chain of command... because A.) Obama, the commander in chief, is already on record as calling for MORE boots on the ground, not fewer, and B.) Biden is NOT NOT NOT in the chain of command in any sense whatsoever.

I'm very cognizant that subordinates at all levels should take care not to pain their leadership into a corner. But that obligation goes both ways - leaders owe subordinates clear guidelines and directions. And that goes ESPECIALLY when the battlefield situation is vague.

I've noticed for several months now that Afghanistan policy was coming apart at the seams. Not from any one thing, but from having read a variety of news reports and hearing things through the military grapevine, the infantry mafia, the blogger boys club, and the intel syndicate. I haven't had time to blog them lately, and I regret that now. But this was a long time in the making.

McChrystal used the chain of command. He submitted his request to his boss,, General Petraeus at CENTCOM. And that, apparently, is where it languishes, because the President and his National Security decision-making apparatus has not yet produced a product useable for the commanders in the field.

McChrystal used the Chain of Command... the Chain of command, unfortunately, is not functioning.

McChrystal is entitled to know what he is expected to accomplish. He needs to know in order to issue orders down the chain. Every soldier and marine and corpsman and airman on the ground is entitled to know what he or she and their units are expected to accomplish.

Everyone involved in the effort is entitled to a decision from the President.

It's not like he didn't know the Afghan war was waiting for him when he got to the Oval Office.

Splash, out

Jason

And Pelosi's an ignorant twit.

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