Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quote of the Day #3

Here's a flavorful way of describing some of the frustrations you might feel on your job:

"He [Lt. Daniel Leary] had enemies in the service; anybody did if his career wasn't as bland and colorless as tapioca pudding."

From: The Way to Glory, by David Drake, pg 180.

Tapioca Pudding: The favorite dessert of "pointy-haired bosses" everywhere.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disarmament by Default

The Obama Administration is laying the groundwork for de-clawing America's nuclear deterrence. Not only are administration officials looking at reducing the number of nuclear weapons with Russia, but they're not interested in modernizing the warheads that remain. They're also not taking into account China's weapons development, not to mention rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

Here's a section of a New York Times Op-Ed:

Obama Administration Urged To Shun "Cold War Thinking" On Nuclear Weapons.

In an op-ed in the New York Times (2/19, A27, 1.12M) Philip Taubman, a consulting professor at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, writes, "THE Obama administration seems ready to resuscitate relations with Russia, including by renewing nuclear-arms-reduction talks. Even before the inaugural parade wound down, the White House Web site offered up a list of ambitious nuclear policy goals, with everything from making bomb-making materials more secure to the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. That's welcome news, but for such goals to be realized, the White House will need to be prepared to reimagine and reshape the nuclear era and, against strong opposition, break free from cold war thinking and better address the threats America faces today." Taubman continues, "George W. Bush actually started down this road. He reached an agreement with the Kremlin in 2002 to cut the number of operational strategic warheads on each side to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the year 2012, a two-thirds reduction." Instead of settling "for the next level - 1,000 active weapons seems to be the likely goal - the White House should reconsider the entire superstructure of nuclear-weapons strategy. ... An achievable immediate goal should be to cut the United States' and Russia's nuclear stockpiles down to the bare minimum of operational warheads needed to backstop conventional forces." Taubman adds, "The president's determination will be measured by how effectively he makes the case for Senate ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty." He concludes, "It's heartening to see President Obama and his national-security team promising to elevate nuclear-weapons policy and free it from the shibboleths of cold war nuclear theology. Now they must put their words into action.

One of my on-line friends put it best: We're the only nuclear power not building nuclear weapons.

Comrade Karla says: Shouldn't be a problem if they let our stuff degrade to the point of non-utility anyway.

Not All of Them Hate Us

For the last 8 years we've heard how other nations hate America's globo-swaggering. and "cowboy diplomacy."
Most of my like-minded friends and I felt that wasn't entirely true from the reports we've heard "downrange."
Attached is a nice article from a Canadian praising America's men & women in uniform:

Based on the picture in the article, I'm assuming the author is, or was, a "Patricia." That is, a soldier from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment (PPLCI).
If so, then his compliments are especially noteworthy comming from a member of such a distinguished regiment:

PPLCI's website:

And just in case you're wondering who the regiment was named after:

Lieutenant-Colonel Farquhar couldn't have picked a better patroness.
For me the feeling is mutual. The allied soldiers I respected and enjoyed working with the most came from Great Britain, Canada and Australia. All of them were professionals and took their duties seriously.

Quote of the Day #2

FOX News just reported the latest Rasmussen Poll: Only 38% are in favor of the home foreclosure assistance bill.

45% of those polled are against it, while the rest aren't sure.

Most of my like-minded friends and I are against the bailout bonanza and it's socialistic repercussions.

In light of this, I found this quote from Thomas Jefferson to be appropriate:

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Best President of the United States is...

...Calvin Coolidge?Well, maybe not. I must admit I know very little about our nation's "non-wartime" presidents.

However, after reading the attached article by John Miller, I'm rather impressed with this "quiet professional" president.S

o no matter who your favorite president is, have a happy President's Day.Mark Steyn's comments:

Which led me to John Miller's comments and article here:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Worried about today being Friday the 13th? If so, beware: There'll be two more this year.

Superstitions have surrounded Friday the 13th since the Middle Ages. The entertainment industry hasn't helped quell peoples fears either. Movies such as Friday the 13th--and it's plethora of sequels, featuring the hockey-masked Jason, merely add fuel to the fire.

(The original movie poster is pictured here).

So what's Friday the 13th all about?
Here's some snippets from Yahoo! News:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mark Steyn's Guest DJ Stint on Rush Limbaugh Show

One of my favorite commentators is Mark Steyn, pictured here. For the past two days he hosted the Rush Limbaugh Show, while Rush rushed out on vacation.

One of the topics Mark commented on, was President Obama's campaign promise to "repair America's image among the world."
Here's what Mark had to say about the Oval Office's damage control procedures:

One big reason for electing Obama is he was supposed to repair America's relations with the world. So, how's that working out so far? Well, India says Obama is 'barking up the wrong tree'; Europe says Obama is plunging the world into depression; Canada says Obama is on a march to insanity; Kyrgyzstan says, 'Yankee go home'; and Iran says, 'We have lift-off.' Congratulations, President Obama. -- Mark Steyn

Messianic Message Lost in the Clutter

It appears that President Obama's message and so-called economic stimulus plan are loosing ground in Congress and more importantly, among the people.

Less than 40% of folks polled are in favor of the $900 billion bill. Meanwhile Obama's Cabinet selections have come under fire.On top of that. Obama's own inner circle is trying to cope with working within the confines of the White House.

From Yahoo News:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Someone's Hoping for a Change... the copyright laws.

Apparently Shepard Fairey, the artist who made this poster is in legal trouble with AP for copyright infringement.

Most of my like-minded friends and I are greatly disturbed by the cult-of-personality that's followed Obama since started his presidential race. The artwork reminds us all of Marxist propaganda posters.

The current bail-out bill is becoming less popular with Americans every day. But apparently by September all the details of our new president's the socialistic plans will be known to all. According to the attached article, Obama's Challenge--an economic manifesto--written by Robert Kuttner, will be published by then:

I know of only one political ideology that uses the term "manifesto" and it hasn't been a part of mainstream American politics--until now.

Piracy Does Pay

Somali pirates received $3.2 million in ransom money for the M/V (Maritime Vessel) Faina. The Ukrainian ship, with a crew of 20, was carrying tanks and other weapons when she was seized back in September.
Meanwhile the international community remains idle.
From FOX News:

How Quickly They Forget...

Russian President Medvedev said he, along with some ex-Soviet allies, wants to help the US stabilize Afghanistan.


Don't the Russians remember what happened the last time they were in Afghanistan?

The image here is of the movie poster for "The Beast." A dark film about a Soviet tank and it's crew harried by Afghan mujahideen.

Wii (Not) Fit?

To some folks a gym looks like a medieval torture chamber. They're not entirely incorrect. Exercising is not always fun. That's why it's called a workout.
Health & fitness experts lecture ad nauseaum everyones' need to include exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
And yet, people continue to search for short-cuts on the road to fitness. The siren song of the infomercials selling the latest contraption or diet pill are heeded by many.
Nintendo's "Wii Fit" was a high-tech attempt at merging video games with fitness.
Unfortunately, Wii Fit devices are falling into disuse like other health gimmicks:
Remember folks: Fitness isn't a fad--it's a lifestyle!

A Den of Thieves

The UN accuses Hamas of stealing relief supplies from one of their warehouses.Listen...The silence from UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon is defeaning. Unlike the squawking he made last month when Isreali forces fired back at a Hamas militant taking pot-shots from a UN compound.

That 70s President!

One of my favorite commentators, Victor Davis Hanson (aka "VDH"), rolls-in on President Obama's empty "hope & change" rhetoric and the potential consequences.

The Impending Obama Meltdown

[Victor Davis Hanson]

Some of us have been warning that it was not healthy for the U.S. media to have deified rather than questioned Obama, especially given that they tore apart Bush, ridiculed Palin, and caricatured Hillary. And now we can see the results of their two years of advocacy rather than scrutiny.

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson—with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

Second, was the "stimulus" (the euphemism for "borrow/print money") that was simply a way to go into debt for a generation to shower Democratic constituencies with cash.

Then third, there were the inflated lectures on historic foreign policy to be made by the clumsy political novice who trashed his own country and his predecessor in the most ungracious manner overseas to a censored Saudi-run press organ (e.g., Bush is dictatorial, the Saudi king is courageous; Obama can mend bridges that America broke to aggrieved Muslims—apparently Tehran hostages, Rushdie, serial attacks in the 1990s, 9/11, Madrid, London never apparently occurred; and neither did feeding Somalis, saving Kuwait, protesting Chechnya, Bosnia/Kosovo, billions to Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians, help in two Afghan wars, and on and on).

Fourth, there was the campaign rhetoric of Bush shredding the Constitution—FISA, Guant√°namo, the Patriot Act, Iraq, renditions, etc.—followed by "all that for now stays the same" inasmuch as we haven't ben hit in over seven years and can't risk another attack.

Fifth, Gibbs as press secretary is a Scott McClellan nightmare that won't go away, given his long McClellan-like relationship with Obama (McClellan should have been fired on day hour one on the job). Blaming Fox News for Obama's calamities is McClellan to the core and doesn't work. He already reminds me of Reverend Wright's undoing at the National Press Club—and he will get worse.

Six, Biden is being Biden. Already, he's ridiculed the chief justice, trashed the former VP, bragged on himself ad nauseam in Bidenesque weird ways, and it's only been two weeks.And the result of all this?

At home, Obama is becoming laughable and laying the groundwork for the greatest conservative populist reaction since the Reagan Revolution.Abroad, some really creepy people are lining up to test Obama's world view of "Bush did it/but I am the world": The North Koreans are readying their missiles; the Iranians are calling us passive, bragging on nukes and satellites; Russia is declaring missile defense is over and the Euros in real need of iffy Russian gas; Pakistanis say no more drone attacks (and then our friends the Indians say "shut up" about Kashmir and the Euros order no more "buy American").

This is quite serious. I can't recall a similarly disastrous start in a half-century (far worse than Bill Clinton's initial slips). Obama immediately must lower the hope-and-change rhetoric, ignore Reid/Pelosi, drop the therapy, and accept the tragic view that the world abroad is not misunderstood but quite dangerous. And he must listen on foreign policy to his National Security Advisor, Billary, and the Secretary of Defense. If he doesn't quit the messianic style and perpetual campaign mode, and begin humbly governing, then he will devolve into Carterism—angry that the once-fawning press betrayed him while we the people, due to our American malaise, are to blame.

And then there's the opening salvo of a conflict between our newly elected president and his leading generals.

I received this from In from the Cold via Comrad Karla:

Collision Course

Perhaps this was inevitable. Gareth Porter of the Inter Press Service is reporting that President Obama and his CENTCOM Commander, General David Petraeus, are on a collision course over Iraq. Mr. Porter's recent scoop was reprinted by the World Tribune:

CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates,tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama's decision to override Petraeus's recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama's decision.

Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, "Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama.

"You can almost hear the White House source chuckling as they relayed their version of events. It sounds vaguely reminiscent of Mr. Obama's "I won" comment, during a meeting with Congressional Republicans last week. As the new decider-in-chief, President Obama gets to chart our policy in Iraq (and other global hotspots).

But dismissing the advice of senior generals is usually a bad idea, as Mr. Obama will eventually discover. While some dispute his version of events, if Gareth Porter is correct, then President Obama is facing a posssible revolt among his senior military advisers. Mobilizing public support through the media is not something that flag officers particularly enjoy, given their inherent distrust of the press.

More disturbingly, Mr. Obama's preferred withdrawal plan flies in the face of current realities in the Middle East. As Bret Stephens notes in today's WSJ, Iraq is becoming a U.S. bulwark in the Middle East. The gains achieved by the troop surge are holding, and Iraqi forces are assuming a lead role in securing the country. Last weekend's election was a stunning success, and a model for the Arab word.

Still, the situation in Iraq is not irreversible, one reason that Mr. Gates, General Petraeus and General Odierno favor an extended American draw down. Mr. Stephens observes that American "pillars" in the Middle East have met the test of time. In some cases, the bulwark of yesteryear (think Iran) is today's despotic regime that threatens regional security. Other long-standing American allies, including Pakistan and Turkey) face an uncertain future, at best.

In other words, the U.S. needs all the stable, friendly regimes it can find in the Middle East. But Mr. Obama seems more intent on placating his supporters on the liberal fringe, who've been clamoring for an American pullout since 2003. The President seems willing to risk progress paid for in blood and treasure to full fill a campaign promise--with less regard for what happens 17 months down the road.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Just days into his presidency, Mr. Obama signed an executive order to shut down the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay by next year. Just where those suspects will be incarcerated (or face justice) has not been determined. Maybe the administration should change its mantra from "Change We Can Believe In," to "Don't Sweat the Details."

***ADDENDUM: We should also note that the Obama-Petraeus collision has a political component. General Petraeus's successful strategy in Iraq caused a fair amount of consternation for Obama and his fellow Democrats. Kicking and screaming, they had to finally admit that the troop surge worked, and was eminently preferable to their "cut and run" approach. With the Democrats now in the White House, they can finally tell General Petraeus to "shut up and color.

"The friction in the Oval Office is also a prelude to 2012. In some GOP circles, Petraeus is already being mentioned as a potential Senate or Vice-Presidential candidate in four years. By forcing a showdown over Iraq, Obama can tarnish the general's reputation, force him to resign, or even engineer a dismissal. Any of those scenarios would damage the general politically, a calculation that isn't lost on the White House.