Thursday, April 30, 2009

Iraq Assumes Control Of Offshore Oil Terminal

by MC2 D. Keith Simmons
US Naval Forces Central Command

ABOARD KHAWR AL AMAYA OIL TERMINAL, Iraq - The Iraqi Navy assumed control of the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) during a ceremony held today aboard the terminal in the North Arabian Gulf.

This turnover is the first step of a multi-step naval transition plan that will eventually transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi Navy.

"The Iraqi Navy is ready and capable of assuming security responsibility for KAAOT," said Rear Adm. T.C. Cropper, Commander, Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF-IM). "This milestone represents another indication of increasing Iraqi operational independence. It's very important to the way ahead and the future of Iraq."

U.S. and Coalition forces have maintained a presence on KAAOT since April 2004, assisting the Iraqi Navy by helping provide security to their oil platforms, which account for approximately 70 to 85 percent of Iraq's gross domestic product.

Coalition forces have operated jointly with Iraqi Navy sailors and marines, training them in point-defense force protection and visit, board, search and seizure operations.

"Our Sailors have labored diligently to make this day possible, working by, with and through the Iraqi Navy in a very close partnership," said Capt. Karl Van Deusen, Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 55, which is responsible for providing security to the oil platforms. "They have brought great credit upon our Navy and our nation."

U.S. and British forces will continue to operate jointly with the Iraqi Navy to provide training and assistance in support of future security transfers in accordance with a security agreement, to include Iraq's other key oil platform, the Al Basrah Oil Platform.

"It's my duty to defend the oil terminal", said an Iraqi Marine aboard KAAOT. "It belongs to my country. It belongs to my people. Our economy is based on it. I take pride in doing so."

The U.S. Navy will continue to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Gulf and provide assistance as requested. MSO help set the conditions for security, which promotes stability and prosperity in the North Arabian Gulf. These operations protect Iraq's sea-based infrastructure, which provides the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination. MSO complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel,weapons or other material.

Iraqi and Coalition officials render a hand salute at the beginning of a ceremony in which the Iraqi Navy assumed control of the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in the North Arabian Gulf. This turnover is the first step of a naval transition plan that will eventually transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi Navy.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Atlantic Council Honors Petraeus

by John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2009) – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus attended a ceremony here last night honoring several giants of military, government, industry and the arts.

Gates introduced former President George H.W. Bush, an honoree at the Atlantic Council's annual gala, while Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, received the council’s Distinguished Military Leadership Award.

Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM Corporation, and Thomas Hampson, a world reknowned opera singer, also received awards.

Along with highlighting the work of these key leaders, the event also celebrated the 60th anniversary of NATO and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and emphasized the role the Atlantic community has played since World War II. Guest speakers punctuated the ceremony with Cold War anecdotes and nostalgia for the era when former Soviet satellite states emerged from behind the Iron Curtain.

Gates recalled witnessing these moments in history from a front-row seat. “I remember being the note-taker when President Bush spoke on the phone about these matters with [German] Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl,” recalled Gates, who was Bush’s deputy national security advisor at the time. “It was the afternoon of Nov. 10, 1989, the day after the Berlin Wall came down, and thousands of East Germans had already begun moving freely across the border,” he said.

Before welcoming Bush onstage to accept the council's Distinguished International Leadership Award, the defense secretary shared his recollection of the president’s deft handling of the vanquished Soviet empire during Moscow’s moment of great vulnerability.

“As the communist bloc was disintegrating,” he said, “it was George Bush’s skilled, yet quiet, statecraft that made a revolutionary time seem much less dangerous than it actually was.”

Petraeus said he was grateful to receive the council's award, but quickly turned the spotlight on the nation's troops. “I can only accept this award inasmuch as I do so on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of troopers, who day after day don Kevlar helmets and body armor, strap themselves into a cockpit or take to the sea and perform complex missions against tough enemies in challenging conditions to do what our country has asked them to do,” the general said.

Petraeus, whose command responsibility includes the war in Afghanistan, underscored the significance of NATO’s commitment to that mission.

“In signing on to support missions in Afghanistan, NATO nations signaled their recognition that transnational extremism poses a threat to all of us,” he said. “In so doing, NATO committed its resources, its institutions and its expertise in cooperative defense endeavors -- built over 60 years of partnership -- to the international effort to ensure that extremists cannot re-establish safe havens in Afghanistan like those from which they launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 9/11.”

The general said critics have seized on the deteriorating security conditions in some parts of Afghanistan and questioned NATO’s competency and level of commitment.

“Afghanistan has thus emerged as a critical challenge for NATO, and the alliance now faces a very urgent moment,” Petraeus said. “I offer that observation while noting that with the recent announcement of the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and with the conduct of the NATO summit earlier this month, new resources have been pledged and new resolve has been demonstrated.”

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks after receiving the Atlantic Council’s 2009 Distinguished Military Leadership Award during the council’s gala in Washington D.C.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

One Economy Grows During World Recession

Throughout the world we have been in a recession, but there is one country that has flourished. I'll bet you wouldn't guess this country if you tried (unless you've been following the financial improvements like I have). This country has seen much war, much death, much dislocation, much tyranny. She is now coming out on the other side of hell, and she is taking the free markets by storm.

Yes, that country is Iraq. See the graph below. The horizontal line represents the devastation from the war to the success of the 'surge' to the entrepreneurial spirit ingrown in each of us. I am very glad to see Iraq finally succeeding in a good way.

They may not have billions of dollars in their trading, but what they do have seems to be stable. That is more than I can say for many countries. Good on you, Iraq! Who said they couldn't handle freedom and/or Liberty? Oh yes, that was the Left. Who do you trust to run the country?

Hat tip: Omar over at Iraq The Model (ITM).

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Today I am having an open trackback courtesy of Linkfest. This means you can (track)post your best post here. Remember to link me to your article before you trackback. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Spreading the wealth with The Pink Flamingo: Obama's New York, New York Moment, third world county: 100 Days of Blood and Toil and Sweat and Tears, Right Truth: Muslim Demographics, Woman Honor Thyself: Israel Doesn't Need Obama, and Woman Honor Thyself: Spring Fever! thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe, Potbelly Stove: Countering piracy: A difference of opinion, The World According To Carl: Miss USA: Christians Need Not Apply.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Bi-Monthly News Digest II(a) 4/09

April 14, 2009.
Pakistan President Signs Deal Expanding Taliban’s Power.
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

Islamic militants on their way to a peace meeting with Pakistani government officials in Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. Pakistan will impose Islamic law in the northwest where Taliban fighters increasingly hold sway. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

(CNSNews.com) – Just days before Pakistan’s government hopes to secure billions of dollars in aid pledges from the U.S. and other countries, President Asif Ali Zardari has signed a law enabling Pakistani Taliban extremists to impose Islamic law in the North-West Frontier Province’s volatile Swat valley...CNSNews.

April 15, 2009.
Dare To Stand.

April 16, 2009.
The NRA is giving FREE 1-yr memberships to everyone who wants to join. They are trying to build up their membership to fight pending legislation that impacts our right to keep and bear arms. It is very important that anti-gun congressmen see how many people they will have to fight to get their legislation through. Please pass this on to everyone you know! This can include spouses and children also.

Hat tip: Mike C.

Exclusive: Obama Administration Stacking the Deck with Islamists.
by M. Zuhdi Jasser.
As we try to understand where the Obama administration will fall with regards to the global threat of political Islam, the first few months have provided a number of hints, not least of which was the tenor of the recent visit to Turkey. It was painfully obvious after witnessing the length to which the Obama team went to avoid any substantive discussion on political Islam and the threat it poses to human rights abroad and domestically...Family Security Matters.

April 17, 2009.
Napolitano is Lying to Americans About Her Department’s Rightwing Extremism Report; TMLC Files Suit.
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that on Thursday, April 16th, it filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy,” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs. Click here to read the complaint filed by the Thomas More Law Center...The Thomas More Law Center article.

Now Videos from Blackfive:
  • Star Trek Cast in Kuwait Visiting our Troops.
  • Captain Phillips Rescue.

  • New Videos from thefairreporter:
  • Proof CNN is biased against Tea Parties and Conservatives.
  • Nashville Tea Party.
  • FOX News beats all other networks.

  • Other Interesting Videos:
  • Barack Obama on Ellen. (HUH?)
  • Backstreet Boys-If You Want It To Be Good Girl.
  • Nashville Tea Party.
  • Scrubs - The Best Of The Todd.
  • U.S. Navy Face-Off with Iran Speed Boats ACTUAL VIDEO!!!!!!

  • Greetings from the Triangle Conservatives Unite group in Raleigh, NC! We have "We Surround Them" T-shirts for sale and I would like to request you pass this email along to your Tea Party attendees or anyone in your area that would like to have one. 100% of the proceeds will go towards our group as we continue to plan events that will help us fight for our Constitutional rights and fight the out-of-control spending in DC.

    Let's show that We Surround Them by wearing our T-Shirts proudly! All T's are $16.00 and you can safely order online. I appreciate your support and help! (Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.)

    God Bless America!

    Julie Griffin, Organizer
    Triangle Conservatives Unite

    April 18, 2009.
    The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was caught selling Sayyid Qutb (the father of Jihad) books and anti-Judeo-Christian material which state that those who wrote the Bible should “burn in hell for blasphemy.” (Video. Hat tip: Stop The ACLU.)

    April 19, 2009.
    Texas takes aim at Planned Parenthood.
    The state of Texas has shut down four Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in San Antonio that were operating without licenses. Clinic officials say it is a matter of miscommunication, claiming that they were told no licenses were needed because they do not conduct surgical abortions. Jonathon Saenz of Free Market Foundation does not accept that...OneNewsNow.com.

    Okla. lawmakers OK teaching on religious documents.
    Oklahoma teachers would have broad flexibility to discuss religious documents, speeches, and other materials under a bill working its way through the state lawmakers. The Oklahoma Senate voted 40-7 Wednesday to approve the legislation. State Senator Clark Jolley says the bill would allow teachers to discuss the religious context of historical documents like the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence...OneNewsNow.com.

    EDITORS NOTE: I'll bet no one who fought the Revolutionary War and wrote the Constitution of the United States ever dreamed that a bill would be necessary to discuss THAT history on the grounds that is religious. So what, they would have said! It's history, you fools.

    Dismissal sought in military religious bias case.
    Government lawyers are seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit alleging widespread religious discrimination in the military. The Justice Department says many of the lawsuit's claims are only "general grievances" and not wrongs against specific soldiers. They also contend that a soldier who joined the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in filing the lawsuit did not pursue his complaints enough with superiors first. The lawsuit alleges a pervasive bias within the military in favor of evangelical Christianity, including allowing troops to try to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan...OneNewsNow.com.

    April 20, 2009.
    John Adams on Islam in 1830.
    John Adams knew this, and Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Koran for The Barbary Wars from 1801-1805, but our leaders act “baffled” today. Have post-modernism, liberal secularism removed the yardstick people used to determine right from wrong and good from evil?...Mary Christina Love. Hat tip: ACT! For America.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    McClintock: Tea Parties

    I receive e-Team e-mails from Congressman Tom McClintock, and I would like to share them with you so you may be informed as well. I'm off to a bad start, however. See, today is actually the 27th of May, but I received this on the 30th of April. So why the delay? I have had over 200-300 e-mails everyday since we had the Tea Party!

    I am going to post each e-mail on the date received, and then I will keep up with it. Thanks for being patient.

    ******************************
    Dear E-Team,

    It was a great privilege to speak to the 10,000 participants at the Sacramento Tea Party. I have never seen so many people gathered at the state Capitol for a taxpayer rally. I can tell you that I came away from that event knowing that ordinary citizens throughout our nation is starting to awaken to the terrible direction which our nation is headed.

    People are tired of Congress using taxpayer money to bailout other people's bad decisions. They don't want to burden their children and grand children with our debts and mismanagement. This is the message I am taking away from these Tea Parties and I will take this message to the halls of Congress.
    ******************************

    PS. This is the only person I consider worthy to serve in Congress. I would love to have him as president. So that is where I stand as far he goes. Do I support him? He's one of the only ones I willingly support. If you would like to support him or check him out to find out if you would like to support him, his (campaign) website is www.TomMcClintock. (He even has a blog!) This is his House website: McClintock.House.gov. Thank you.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Top Marine: Afghan Gains Depend On Border Control

    by Fred W. Baker III
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON (April 29, 2009) – Any gains in Afghanistan will be tied to the coalition’s ability to tighten control of the Pakistan border, the top Marine officer said Wednesday. In a briefing to Pentagon reporters, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway said his 8,000 Marines deploying to southern Afghanistan this spring face “tough days ahead.”

    Southern Afghanistan is adjacent to a wide-open border with Pakistan, with many unrestricted crossing points. Neither the Afghan nor Pakistani border police have sufficient manning there, Conway said.

    “We can and will eventually run up the victory pennant in Afghanistan, but without eliminating sanctuary across the border, the bad guys will simply come back, as they did in 2003 and 2004,” Conway said.

    Conway has met three times with the chief of the Pakistani army, who has expressed concerns over an influx of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. Conway said the Pakistani general is concerned that forces going into the south could cause a refugee problem that Pakistan is ill-equipped to handle, and that the Taliban could be forced out of the south and onto supply lines that Pakistani forces are trying to protect.

    The U.S. general said it remains unclear how Pakistan will deal with the internal threat posed by Taliban and al-Qaida presence.

    “How they deal with that is going to be, I think, very important and pretty educational for us all over the next few weeks,” Conway said.

    Defense leaders have voiced approval of recent Pakistani military action against the increasingly emboldened Taliban forces there, and have offered additional support if Pakistan’s government will accept it. Still, Conway said, his Marines will follow through on their planned push in the south, working to stamp out the Taliban and cut off its funding provided by illegal poppy production in the region.

    “We've got to do what we've got to do in the south,” he said. “And there will be pond rings coming off of that that I think we're going to have to adjust to.”

    Southern Afghanistan produces of most of the poppy grown in the country. Estimates widely vary, Conway said, but up to $400 million in drug production money is making its way to Taliban funding. Military officials recently authorized U.S. forces to destroy drug-related facilities that have known connections with the Taliban.

    But, Conway said, fighting the drug production must take on a more holistic approach that gives the farmers an alternative to their poppy cash crop.

    “I mean, otherwise, we're going to be creating Taliban if we simply take away the ability of a man to feed his family,” Conway said.

    The general, who recently returned from a visit to the country, said programs to combat drug production need to be expanded. The programs need to include alternate seed crops, education for farmers and infrastructure so that the farmers can move their crops to market, he said.

    Some of that is in place now, he added, but not on a large enough scale to deal with the size of the drug production problem. And, Conway said, more help is needed from NATO partners and civilian agencies.

    As the drawdown of forces in Iraq continues, Conway estimated there eventually may be as many as 18,000 Marines in Afghanistan. About 2,000 Marines are in the south now, and about 500 more serve in embedded training teams with the Afghan army and police.

    Soldiers patrol the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar Province, which borders Pakistan. Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said controlling border areas will determine U.S. gains in Afghanistan.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Nat'l Ctr For Public Policy News

    Black Activists Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Invalidate Outdated Section of Voting Rights Act.
    Washington, DC - As the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in the voting rights case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, the Project 21 black leadership network is joining with other organizations to ask that this outdated portion of the Voting Rights Act be found unconstitutional.... More...

    Outrage of the Day: Keith Olbermann Got a Big Raise While His Employer Got a Bailout.
    Writing on U.S. News and World Report's website, Peter Roff notes that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann negotiated a $3.5 million raise at the very time his employer was receiving a taxpayer bailout... More... (Video included)

    Outrage of the Day: "Change Has Come. It's Very Demoralizing."
    A letter from a combat soldier on the front lines of the War on Terror... More...

    Editors Note: The above letter is a must read. I believe everyone should read this to understand even deeper how demoralized our troops are feeling. Please.

    Obama Reverses Labor Union Transparency Rules.
    Obama Administration decides labor unions don't have to fill out financial disclosure forms, since they are so much of a bother... More...Short blog, funny (if you still have your sense of humor).

    Outrage of the Day: The Leaders of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
    Pity the citizens of these six nations... More...Ah, what can I say? It is short and to the point.

    And the Left Claims the Skeptics are in the Global Warming Debate for the Money.
    Al Gore's net worth increases by perhaps as much as a hundred-fold... More...

    Outrage of the Day: Hurting the Nations by Hurting the Rich.
    Composer/producer Andrew Lloyd Webber explains how it hurts a nation to overtax its rich... More...

    Not "Nobody," Rep. Dingell, But We Appreciate You Saying It Anyway.
    Yes, cap-and-trade is a tax... More...Video

    Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly Report the Alleged GE Corruption Story.
    The story as video... More...Three videos!

    A Help to Workers.
    Better for workers than card check... More...Amy has an excellent idea. Short and to the very good point.

    Olbermann Watch Has Tom Borelli/Glenn Beck Interview Audio as Video.
    Our Free Enterprise Project's Tom Borelli's Glenn Beck radio interview as video... More...

    Keith Olbermann: Worst Fact-Checking in the World.
    The odious Keith Olbermann, GE employee, named Jesse Watters runner-up for "Worst Person in the World" for asking questions at the GE stockholder meeting... More...The nerve! Imagine that? Someone asking big business a question? The nerve! [/sarc]

    GE-Owned Networks' Media Bias, Conflicts-of-Interest Remain Focus Day After Stockholder Meeting.
    At yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC... More...

    Her Microphone Was Cut Off: GE Executives Respond to Questions About Media Bias, More at Shareholder Meeting.
    GE executives apparently have little patience for questions about media bias at their holdings CNBC and MSNBC... More...

    Want Tax Money to Fund a New "Green Bank"? If "No," Sign Our Petition to GE.
    Do you agree with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt that America needs a taxpayer-funded "green bank"? If you're not sure, watch Glenn Beck interview Tom Borelli. Afterward, you may wish to sign our petition... More...

    Bill O'Reilly Interviews Tom Borelli on GE Doing Business with Iran.
    Bill O'Reilly interviewed Tom Borelli about his confrontation with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt at last year's GE annual shareholder meeting... More...

    On Nancy Pelosi's Contempt.
    Mychal Massie is fed up... More...

    Outrage of the Day: No Tolerance for the Truth.
    It seems there's no tolerance for truth these days... More...

    Outrage of the Day: United Nations Threatens Bush Administration Officials.
    America must get out of the United Nations... More...

    The Kangaroo Returns: Obama Administration's One-Sided Energy Hearing a Kangaroo Court.
    The kangaroo is back... More...

    Disconnect on Accuracy Doesn't Add Up.
    Jeffrey Temple writes that the left seems to prefer estimates over accurate data when it comes to the census and radio ratings... More...

    Green Trumps Black and White for Television Diversity.
    Research Associate Devon Carlin asks and answers the question: Complaints about a racial "white-out" on television are common, but are they valid? More...

    A New Government Bank?
    Should taxpayer funds be spent on a new government-owned bank? The left thinks so... More...

    The New Byrd-Hagel.
    The Senate has voted 89-8 to oppose cap-and-trade if it raises electricity or gasoline prices... More...

    Black Leader Speaks Against the Radical Underpinnings of Obama's Bailout Agenda.
    This nation was founded on a rebellion against a tyrannical government. We should not now create a new one... More...

    Outrage of the Day: Obama's Hypocrisy on Lobbying.
    As a candidate for President, Barack Obama made attacking lobbyists one of the linchpins of his candidacy.... More...

    Outrage of the Day: Senate Majority Leader Calls Chief Justice a Liar.
    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday called Chief Justice John Roberts a liar... More...

    Outrage of the Day: Obama Raised Cash for Never-to-Be-Run Senate Race After Leaving Senate.
    Barack Obama was still raising money for his 2010 U.S. Senate re-election fund as late as December 26, 2008, more than a month after being elected President... More...

    Outrage of the Day: The Terrible Health Care Canadians and Britons Receive.
    Who needs health care reform? Britons and Canadians, that's who... More...

    The Left Calls for $60 Billion in Subsidies to Mainstream Media.
    The left has begun a bailout appeal for floundering mainstream newspapers... More...

    Waxman Drags Feet on Needed CPSIA Reform.
    Outrage of the Day to Rep. Henry Waxman for his refusal to hold hearings on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)... More...

    Carol Browner: Dictating Climate Policy Like Caesar of Old.
    An op-ed by David Ridenour on President Obama's choice of Carol Browner to serve as a so-called "climate czar" has appeared in newspapers nationwide... More...

    Lifestyles of the Spendthrift and Infamous.
    "Reagan said most Americans simply want a better life for themselves and their families without too much government intervention. Unless we do something to change our nation's course, we will have neither," says Ak'Bar A. Shabazz... More...

    Real Stimulus: Reform How Banks Shop Credit Cards.
    Many of our current problems are rooted in our economy being lured away from its free-market roots, says Bishop Council Nedd II... More...

    Obama Can Protect or Destroy Marriage.
    "President Barack Obama's personal triumph over the generational legacy of black broken homes has the power - by virtue of example - to heal and strengthen marriage in America," says Niger Innis. More...

    The Scandal that is the EPA.
    With so many disasters going on in our government, scandals that are business-as-usual at the EPA can fly under the radar. They shouldn't... More...

    What Greenhouse Gas Restrictions Could Do to Our Economy.
    Writing in Investor's Business Daily, David Ridenour says, "When our economic bus is teetering at the edge of a cliff, it's a bad time to throw on some extra weight..." More...

    Public Employee Pensions Endangered by State Officials Playing Global Warming Politics, Report Says.
    Already at-risk public employee pension funds are being placed at further risk by state officials, says a report by Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli... More...

    Pensions in Peril: Are State Officials Risking Public Employee Retirement Benefits by Playing Global Warming Politics?
    State and local pension fund administrators who promote or ignore global warming regulation may be contributing to undesirable economic conditions that will adversely impact the portfolios they manage... More...

    Cap and Trade Carbon Policies Could Increase Emissions, Says Justin Danhof.
    If Congress adopts cap and trade, it may not like the results, analyst warns... More...

    Overwhelming Majority of Americans Oppose Cap and Trade.
    A National Center for Public Policy Research poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the higher energy costs that cap and trade would impose... More...

    Americans Reject Proposed Expansion of Clean Water Act, Poll Shows.
    A majority of Americans oppose the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act, according to a survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research... More...

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Petraeus applies Iraq lessons to Afghanistan

    by Fred W. Baker III
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON (April 28, 2009) – Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the author of the military’s counterinsurgency manual, yesterday explained the principles that led to success in Iraq and how they apply to the fight in Afghanistan.

    The commander of U.S. Central Command spoke to a packed stadium at Kansas State University, invited as part of the prestigious Alfred M. Landon lecture series on public issues hosted there.

    To a resounding ovation, he stepped to a podium that has seen three standing presidents and five former presidents, the current and three previous defense secretaries, a slew of politicians, ambassadors, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners, but only a handful of military generals since the series began in 1966.

    With his own Ivy League doctorate degree and tours as a military professor, Petraeus is no stranger to academia and is friends with the university’s president.

    Barely 100 miles away at Fort Leavenworth, Petraeus once commanded the Army’s Combined Arms Center, the service’s think-tank for lessons learned, dubbed the “Intellectual Center of the Army.” It was there in 2006, along with Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, that Petraeus laid the foundation of the strategy which would eventually turn around the war in Iraq, and one Petraeus said he believes will work in Afghanistan.

    Petraeus left Fort Leavenworth to take command of the troops in Iraq and to oversee the 2007 presidentially-ordered surge. Yesterday he credited the surge for providing critically-needed security, but he also cautioned that the surge must be viewed within the context of a broad counterinsurgency strategy, and not as the solution in and of itself.

    “This is not to discount the importance of sending additional troopers …,” Petraeus said. “At the low point of the security situation in Iraq, we were seeing more than 50 dead bodies a night turn up on the streets of Baghdad alone, so there was no doubt that more troopers were needed to help quell the horrific violence.”

    Equally important, though, Petraeus said, was that the surge signaled to the Iraqi people that the United States was committed. This gave them the confidence to stand up to the extremists, he said.

    Also during the surge, more than 100,000 additional Iraqi security forces were added and more than 100,000 locals joined the Sons of Iraq program which paid local Iraqis to patrol and protect their own communities.

    “Together, these efforts provided the strength and numbers necessary to confront the elements that stoked the violence and brought Baghdad to its knees,” Petraeus said.

    But probably the most important element of the surge, he said, was employing the additional troops in line with key counterinsurgency concepts.

    Moving troops out of large forward operating bases and into small, community-based joint security stations earned the trust of the locals and paid huge dividends in terms of intelligence. Under the safety umbrella of the security station, locals who rejected the insurgency turned over enemy fighters and their weapons caches in record amounts.

    “As coalition and Iraqi forces began to provide breathing space from the violence, emboldened Iraqis increasingly began to reject violence and those who employed it,” the general said.

    This opened the door for reconciliation efforts between rival tribes, and even with those who once fought on the side of the insurgency. Offering amnesty, U.S. and Iraqi leaders reached out to those who had opposed the government and encouraged them to participate in newly established political process. Job training helped give local young men an option to fighting with the insurgency.

    Even within the military-run detention facilities, detainees considered irreconcilable were culled from others who were provided job training and education.

    And military officials worked hard to legitimize the Iraqi government, partnering with Iraqi officials to boost electricity generation, oil production and commercial development.

    These efforts, along with the successes of the Iraqi government, led to the turnaround there, Petraeus said.

    This is in stark contrast, however, to the current situation in Afghanistan.

    Petraeus cited the downward spiral the country has taken, with an expanded and stronger insurgency and markedly increased levels of violence.

    Also, the Afghan government has been slow to develop, is wracked with corruption, and its legitimacy in the eyes of the locals has suffered.

    Petraeus embraced President Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan, saying that progress there is tied to a “robust, sustained and comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign.”

    “Our fundamental objective in Afghanistan remains … to ensure that transnational terrorists are not able to establish the sanctuaries they enjoyed there prior to 9/11,” Petraeus said. “Accomplishing this aim, though, requires not just killing or capturing terrorists, but also developing Afghan security forces, reducing the drug trade that finances the insurgency, fostering the growth of Afghan governance …, creating basic economic opportunity for Afghan citizens, and so forth.”

    But while the challenges in Afghanistan parallel those in Iraq, the fight is not the same, he said. In fact, Petraeus called it “daunting,” and said that, while the principles of counterinsurgency are the same, they must be adapted to work in Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan is larger and more rural than Iraq with more rugged terrain and harsher climate. Fewer in Afghanistan are literate and there are fewer natural resources.

    The total revenue generation in Afghanistan was under $1 billion last year, compared to $60 billion generated in oil revenue alone last year in Iraq. Also, Afghanistan has very little infrastructure, all but stopping the government’s attempt to deliver basic services.

    “In Afghanistan, we are building; not rebuilding,” Petraeus said.

    More forces are needed in Afghanistan, Petraeus said, which will allow troops to secure areas that have been already cleared. Just as in Iraq, many times enemy fighters simply hide out in the mountains until the U.S. troops have gone, and then return to the villages and towns.

    “The increase in forces and focus on securing the people are needed, to help create the breathing space that will allow Afghanistan to stand up for themselves and that will also allow the government to begin working for its people and providing essential services, instead of simply struggling to survive,” Petraeus said.

    Even now, the U.S. military is mirroring the strategy of moving troops out of bases and into the communities. In the small combat outposts they partner with the Afghan forces to keep watch over the villages so that the insurgents cannot return. They are also funding the rebuilding of schools, clinics and other projects that provide basic services, in an effort to gain the locals’ trust.

    Another program that mirrors efforts in Iraq is the Afghan public protection program, similar in concept to the Sons of Iraq. More trainers are needed to help grow the Afghan forces, Petraeus said.

    But, just as in Iraq, more U.S. or NATO forces alone are not the lone answer to solving the problems there.

    “Operating in a country known as the ‘graveyard of empires,’ our forces must partner with their [Afghan] counterparts to show the Afghan people that they are not would-be conquerors but are instead there to secure and serve Afghan communities,” Petraeus said. “Doing so will require being good neighbors.”

    Reconciliation efforts must be embraced – a much debated topic within both the U.S. and Afghan governments because most believe that senior Taliban leaders would never agree to necessary preconditions. But Petraeus said it should start at the local level where those who are simply fighting to support their families are given an economic alternative.

    Petraeus also echoed recent remarks by senior U.S. officials that the way ahead in Afghanistan will require a much more coordinated civil-military approach.

    “As always, military action is necessary, but not sufficient,” Petraeus said. “Additional civilian resources will be essential to building on the progress that our troopers and their Afghan partners can achieve on the ground.”

    Finally, Petraeus said that Afghanistan and Pakistan must be viewed as a single problem set, or a single theater with different rules of engagement. Increased Taliban activity in the bordering Pakistan impacts efforts in Afghanistan and poses a global threat, he said.

    “Even as we actively pursue militants and seek economic and governance improvements, in Afghanistan, we also have to encourage the Pakistani government to recognize that these militants are the most significant threat to their country's very existence,” Petraeus said.

    More support is needed for Pakistan to help them build, train, and equip their forces, he said.

    Dubbed by senior U.S. officials as the “long war,” Petraeus will not likely see the turn-around there under his watch on the same scale as in Iraq.

    But Petraeus saw the war in Iraq come nearly full-circle, starting out as a commander on the ground at the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now, as CENTCOM commander, he’s mulling exit strategies and managing the shift of forces from there to Afghanistan.

    And he said he is confident of such success in Afghanistan.

    “By increasing our civilian and military footprints in Afghanistan, focusing our troopers on securing and serving the population, fostering reconciliation, pursuing a comprehensive approach and working toward greater unity of effort, we can help Afghan forces and leaders achieve the security, economic and governance improvements that are so necessary in their country,” Petraeus said.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Dare To Stand


    Link to this video, just in case the video does not work.

    Are you willing to stand up in the face of adversity? Are you willing to be ridiculed while the rest of the world goes to hell because they are following the gods of Baal? It has been said, 'A person who believes in nothing will fall for anything.' Are you a believer or a follower? Then take your righteous stand and stop this silence perpetrated on our children. They do not have the power, but we do. Let us exert some of it for a change.

    Miss California was denied her rightful crown as Miss America because she took a stand, and she was ridiculed and begiled by the homosexual crowd. This is what silence breeds, not tolernce. It is time for us to stand and declare, "We will not allow you to force us into the closet you came out of! We are not ashamed of our Lord, Jesus Christ!" Thank you, and God bless you.

    Hat tip: Gregg Jackson sent this to me [Please watch over there, too] and so did David Jeffers on the same day. It was the same day we had the Tea Parties, so I didn't get to it until now. This has already occurred this past Friday, but it will continue to occur each year unless we speak up. We have already proven we refuse to remain silent any longer. This is a good thing.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ TCU, SGP and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Stop Yes Vote On Sebelius

    Tomorrow the Senate will be having a vote for Kathleen Sebelius. It is not too late to stop this from being successful.

    Press Release from Susan B. Anthony:

    Secretary of Human Services is coming down to its final hours. We have received word from the Senate that they will be debating and voting on her nomination tomorrow, Tuesday April 28th.

    Governor Sebelius has shown an unwillingness to back down from her extreme pro-abortion agenda. Just this past Thursday, Governor Sebelius vetoed “The 2009 Late-Term and Partial-Birth Abortion Regulation Act” in Kansas that would have put important restrictions on the abortion industry.

    Once again Kathleen Sebelius has sided with her abortion clinic friends like George Tiller rather than act to protect women and children from the particularly horrific practices of partial birth and late term abortions.

    Write your Senators today and once again urge them to vote NO on Kathleen Sebelius.

    As governor, Sebelius has repeatedly vetoed other common-sense restrictions on the abortion industry like the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, which would have implemented restrictions on late-term abortion procedures. She has opposed or vetoed several abortion-accountability bills, including legislation that would have required medically-supported clinic regulation. She has also vetoed legislation requiring explicit medical reasons for post-viability, late-term abortions.

    It is bad enough that Kathleen Sebelius has pushed her abortion agenda on Kansas. We cannot allow Sebelius’ radical pro-abortion agenda to be implemented for the whole country.

    This fight is now more crucial than ever as opposition to Sebelius grows. Please tell your Senators to join the growing chorus of opposition to Kathleen Sebelius!

    There is still time to make your voice heard! For Life,





    Marjorie Dannenfelser
    Susan B. Anthony List President
    703-875-3370
    www.sba-list.org.
    Check out the SBA blog: www.suzyb.org.

    P.S. Thank you for caring enough to get involved. Would you please consider giving a small gift to the Susan B. Anthony List to support our efforts to stop President Obama's pro-abortion nominees? With your help, we can make a difference for Life!

    P.P.S. Don't miss a thing -- add information@sba-list.org to your safe senders list.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ TCU, SGP and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    U.S. Forces, Qatar And GCC Nations Conduct Cooperative Defense Exercise

    U.S. Central Command

    DOHA, Qatar -- Senior military and government officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations and the United States arrived here to conduct Exercise Eagle Resolve 2009 from April 26 to May 5.

    Eagle Resolve is an annual, multi-national exercise designed to enhance regional cooperative defense efforts of the GCC and the U.S. Central Command. The focus of this year’s exercise is to promote a common understanding of defense concepts and procedures, as well as exercising consequence management efforts.

    “Eagle Resolve remains an excellent and comprehensive cooperative defense planning exercise that helps GCC nations and the United States improve our ability to work together and strengthen regional security,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Tim Rush, Air National Guard assistant to the commander of, Air Force/United States Central Command Air Forces. General Rush is serving as the Eagle Resolve exercise co-director.

    “It is a great opportunity for Qatar to serve as the host country for exercise Eagle Resolve,” said Staff Brigadier (Pilot) Abdullah Juman Al Hamad, Head of National Defense and Crisis Management.

    Brigadier Abdullah, the Eagle Resolve exercise co-director, added, “By working together with the United States and the other GCC nations, we are helping to improve the region’s defense capabilities. This exercise demonstrates the spirit of collaboration between GCC countries and the United States.”

    This marks the 10th year that the U.S., Qatar and members of the GCC nations have participated in the annual exercise Eagle Resolve, with this year’s event being the largest ever, including a command post exercise and a field training exercise.

    Previous exercises have also been conducted in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

    Exercise Eagle Resolve participants from the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council check to ensure their equipment is working April 23 at the Crisis Management Center in Doha, Qatar.

    U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Timothy Rush talks with members of the Kuwaiti Air Force April 23 at the Crisis Management Center in Doha, Qatar.General Rush’s Qatari counterpart commented on hosting the exercise and the benefits of the multi-lateral effort.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's Thoughts. Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    Gates Visits Afghanistan-Bound Marines

    by Fred W. Baker III
    American Forces Press Service

    CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (April 23, 2009) – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today briefly escaped from Capital Beltway budget discussions to land squarely in the center of what he said framed his strategy behind the fiscal year 2010 defense budget proposals.

    With his suit jacket off and wearing a U.S. Marine Corps hat, Gates was surrounded by young Marines here as he posed for pictures and handed out coins while visiting with some of the 8,000 Marines who are slated to deploy to southern Afghanistan in the next few weeks with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

    It was, Gates said, a visit that struck at the core of his proposed budget changes that would shift billions of dollars in warfighter programs away from traditional supplemental funding and into the base budget and cut some big-ticket weapons programs, as Gates tries to balance the need to plan for future conflicts while providing for today’s troops and families.

    “One dollar of pork in our budget is a dollar I can’t spend to support these Marines,” Gates said at a news conference during his visit. “One dollar spent on capabilities we don’t need is a dollar that I can’t spend in getting ready for future threats. One dollar spent for equipment excess to our military requirements is a dollar I can’t use to help protect the American people.”

    Gates spent last week traveling to each of the service’s war colleges explaining his budget thinking, but this was some of the strongest rhetoric yet from the defense secretary as Congress returned this week to begin its budget deliberations.

    “I’m hoping that the Congress will take a careful look at this budget and the changes that we’re trying to make, in no small part, to provide the necessary support for these men and women who are about to go into combat,” Gates said.

    Gates left Washington at about the time many in the Pentagon were just arriving for work and landed under sunny, spring skies at this 156,000-acre coastal training site that prepares Marines for deployment to combat and humanitarian missions. Camp Lejeune has three state-of-the-art training facilities for military operations in urban terrain, or MOUT, and 80 live-fire ranges.

    True to its mission of training Marines for war, the sounds of rapid gunfire could be heard in the background as Gates talked to the media. “I actually haven’t given a press conference with that kind of a background since my first visit to Baghdad in December 2006,” he joked.

    Earlier, perched on a railing overlooking the newest of the urban training facilities, Gates watched as about 30 Marines from the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion assaulted the makeshift metal buildings. Mock insurgents peppered them with blank-fire from the rooftops as the troops advanced.

    Smoke and sounds of gunfire and grenade blasts filled the air during the 10-minute assault, which served as the final exercise for this stage in the Marines’ pre-deployment training.

    Gates also got a first-hand look at the training that will prepare the Marines to deal with the latest in countering improvised explosive devices. In a metal building with camouflage netting draping from the walls, Gates watched as a combat veteran flipped through slides detailing the latest threats and how to avoid them.

    He also pinned achievement awards on the chests of four Marines. At one point, Gates detoured from the dusty training area road on which his entourage was walking to shake the hands of some Marines training in the nearby tree line.

    The secretary also had his customary luncheon with Marines, ushering out the media and key leaders.

    These Marines are the first wave of the 17,000-troop build-up that President Barack Obama ordered to bolster the 38,000 American troops already in Afghanistan. Many in the brigade already have deployed, or are on leave before deploying. Officials said many are on their third or fourth deployment, and Gates called the Marines part of the “most battle-hardened force the United States has probably ever seen in its history.”

    Gates said he hopes that the overall increase in the Marines’ end strength by 27,000 Marines, along with the continued drawdown in Iraq, will help to alleviate some of the burden of frequent deployments and to increase time at home with their families. Marines should see some relief by the end of this year and the start of next, Gates said.

    But still, Gates said, those he talked to were eager to join the fight in Afghanistan. All have volunteered to serve since the war in Afghanistan began, he noted. “For months [Marine Corps Commandant] General [James T.] Conway has been telling me that the Marines in Anbar province in Iraq are, frankly, bored and want to get in the fight,” Gates said. “And that certainly was the impression that I got this morning.”

    Marine Corps Cpl. Bryan Goldberg, who shook hands with the secretary, said he was looking forward to the deployment. “It’s going to be pretty hectic over there. It’s a kinetic environment,” he said. “We’re just going to do our best, and come home safe.”

    Marine Corps Cpl. Jeffrey Haertling was one of the recipients of the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He said Gates’ visit underscores the importance of their upcoming mission, and that having the defense secretary present his award was a special treat. “It meant a lot,” he said. “Any time you get an award it means a lot, but to have the secretary of defense come, it was nice.”

    But, it was the defense secretary coin that was the real prize of the visit for Haertling and others. The Marines walked away eyeing their coins, flipping them over in their palms. “Not many people can beat that coin. That’s definitely the highest coin that I’ve seen,” Haertling said.

    And, in keeping with the long-held military tradition that whoever holds a coin from the highest-ranking individual drinks for free, the young Marine said he likely will not have to buy another round for his remaining time in the Corps. “No, I will not,” Haertling said with a laugh.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates thanks Marines for their at Camp Lejeune prior to their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    McClintock: TARP, Silent Majority Speaks Out

    Here are two of Congressman McClintock's blog postings. They are fantastic, and I want to share them with you. It truly is a treat to have at least one Conservative in Congress!

    ******************************
    Rep. McClintock Introduces Bill That Allows Banks To Repay TARP Funds.

    This week Rep. Tom McClintock introduced legislation that allows banks to immediately pay back Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to the U.S. Treasury. Banks which were pressured to accept TARP funding are now facing serious obstacles, uncertainty and continued government control in their efforts to return the funds to taxpayers.

    Click here to read his remarks, "Accepting Our Money Back" when he introduced the measure.
    ------------------------------
    The Silent Majority Is No Longer Silent.

    Here is an excerpt from Rep. McClintock's speech at the Sacramento Tax Day Tea Party.

    Our opponents seek to portray us as angry taxpayers. No, we are not angry taxpayers. We are resolute Americans. And today, we here highly resolve that the liberties defended on far-off battlefields by ten generations of American patriots and heroes will not be casually thrown away here at home – not on our generation's watch.

    We are here because we, as a people, are awakening to the danger of a government that spends too much and borrows too much and taxes too much, because we know what that means.

    We know that you can't spend your way rich.

    We know that you can't borrow your way out of debt.

    And we know that you can't tax your way to prosperity.

    Click here to read his full remarks.
    ******************************

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Bi-Monthly News Digest I 4/09

    March 31, 2009.
    Black Leader Speaks Against the Radical Underpinnings of Obama's Bailout Agenda.

    Washington, DC - President Barack Obama has now laid the groundwork for sweeping government intervention in the free market with his announcement of new government requirements for its continued support for struggling American automakers...The National Center For Public Policy Research.

    April 2, 2009.
    Videos from Blackfive, IDFnadesk, and MachoSauceProductions:

    Brothers at War: Interview with Jake Rademacher, Part Two.
    Brothers at War: Interview with Jake Rademacher, Part One.

    Hamas Gunmen Attempt to Plant Explosives Along Security Fence in Gaza.

    Card Checkin'.

    April 3, 2009.
    Two Young Iranian Christian Women in Notorious Evin Prison.

    On March 5th 2009, two Iranian Christian women, Miss Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad (30), and Miss Maryam Rustampoor (27), were arrested by the Iranian security forces. Their only crime is that they are committed Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus. They are being unfairly labeled as ‘anti-government activists’, because of the hostility of the government towards practising Christians...40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Iran. [To be included in praying for the Christians in Iran, e-mail PrayForIran here.

    April 5, 2009.
    Taliban Beating Girl.
    Luang Prabang, Laos.

    A concerned reader passed this along. Gateway Pundit posted commentary and a video link of Taliban savages flogging a girl in public. I recommend viewing this disturbing video. While watching, one can only dream of a bunch of U.S. Marines bursting in to confront these savages man to man. Please watch the video on Gateway Pundit -- Where Hope Finally Made a Comeback -- and spread the link far and wide. Michael Yon.

    April 6, 2009.
    American Guns and Mexicans.

    It would appear that the Mexico situation carries enough emotional potential – in North America – to dwarf anything we saw on Iraq. Afghanistan is more like a martial metronome, or a software program that’s running in the background; we only notice when it crashes. Mexico, however…Michael Yon online.

    April 7, 2009.
    A Picture for You.
    Luang Prabang, Laos

    The sun had already set when I settled the bill at l’Elephant and walked up the darkening street away from the Mekong. This small town with French ambiance and Asian culture is calming, very calming compared to the wars...Michael Yon online.

    April 9, 2009.
    More Pictures for You.
    Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.

    This morning some monks performed a ritual under a tree near my door. I did not want to intrude upon their tranquility with a camera, so I modestly enjoyed the moment, knowing that in just a few days I would walk into another, very different land...Michael Yon online.

    April 10, 2009.
    More videos from MachoSauceProductions and other videos of interest:
    Ol' skool Battlestar Galactica fan.

    Al-Qassam Brigades.
    Al Qaeda Orientation Video.
    Quick Update.
    1980 Republican National Convention.
    Hamas ya noor il ayn (Best Nasheed ever).

    Trace Adkins at the CMAs - Til the Last Shots Fired.

    The Wounded Warrior Project will receive a portion of the proceeds when you buy the "Live" version of "Til the Last Shot's Fired" to your iPod. Keep the tissues nearby for the video: Til the Last Shot's Fired. It's all about the Warriors...

    Elyse - President, Board Member - Eagles UP!
    www.eaglesup.us.

    April 11, 2009.
    American soldiers who vanished without a trace are found. Finally they come home. Joe Galloway tells the story. Hat tip: Michael Yon.

    April 12, 2009.
    Obama Youth Brigade: Church Attendance Forbidden.
    By Jonas Clark

    ...The Bill would forbid any student in the brigade to participate in “engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.” That means no church attendance or witnessing...Again, is this what America voted for? Here is part of the HR1388 Bill’s wording:...SEC. 1304. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS...Section 125 (42 U.S.C. 12575)...The Voice Magazine. Hat tip: Patty @ Smart Girl Politics.

    April 13, 2009.
    Thailand Cracking?
    Posted from Malaysia.

    [This dispatch is in the "RUBS" format. (Rough, Unedited and Barely Spell checked.) I can convey much more information and more timely by occasionally bursting out via stream of consciousness.]...Back in October 2008, I emailed Dana Lewis, an interesting journalist who was traveling between Afghanistan, Dubai and Moscow:...Michael Yon online.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

    Today I am having an open trackback courtesy of Linkfest. This means you can (track)post your best post here. Remember to link me to your article before you trackback. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

    Some friends would like to share their posts with you for your reading pleasure and information:
    1. Woman Honor Thyself: Israel doesn’t Need Obama.
    2. Beagle Scout: Gore: ManBirdPig Flu Will Lead to SkyNet, Rule by Robot Overlords.
    3. Potbelly Stove: History repeating itself.

    Cross-posted @ TCU, SGP and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Dearest Readers

    Hello. How are you doing today? I am feeling very well, but I also am aware that I've been neglecting you. For this, I apologize. I have been so busy trying to catch up with all of my e-mail, the news, my research, my Tea Party (May 16th and July 4th), taxes, personal crises (is that how you spell the plural?), death of a personal friend (a while back), and a few more things. I've just been overwhelmed. I should not, however, have left you out of the loop. For that, I'm sorry.

    I would like to keep informed of the news I've been reading and would like to comment on but cannot because I am so busy. Would you mind terribly if I just gave you the titles of my interersts? I may comment on them in this fashion. For a little while, though, it's the best I think I can do.

    Knowing myself, something will happen and I'll just have to write about it, now that I've said this. You've heard of Murphy's Law? lol.

    Well, just wanted to stay in touch. I really enjoy your comments and input. I must go now. If there is something you would really like my input about or just my comment, just leave it in the comment section. I answer most of them as quickly as I can. Thank you, and God bless you all.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Founders' Daily Quote(s): 4/20-4/24/09

    Monday, April 20, 2009.
    "[T]he hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men."

    --George Washington, General Orders, 23 August 1776

    As is the same situation we face in these days of a government hostile to half of its citizens. They all have forgotten from whence comes their authority, and I assure you it is not from an unknown source. Let they wake up their dead bones and be alive once more, before the mighty fall as does with every arrogant tyrannical form of government, be it from within or without.

    Tue. 4/21/09.
    "But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution."

    --John Adams, letter to H. Niles, 13 February 1818

    Amen! And may it flow through every red-blooded American forevermore.

    Wed. 4/22/09.
    "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

    --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, 6 April 1816

    Thu. 4/23/09.
    "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."

    --James Madison, Federalist No. 45

    We are guarantteed a republican form of government. Without this form of government, there can be no liberty. My dear friends, we have lost our republican form of government through the decades of misuse and abuse of the Constitution. Whenever we challenge this fact, we are told to shut up, go away, we don't what we're talking about. I beg to differ. It is our government and an uneducated graduates who are wrong and who have stolen our Liberty, and it is we who have allowed this perversion to occur. What say you now?

    Fri. 4/24/09.
    "Besides, to lay and collect internal taxes in this extensive country must require a great number of congressional ordinances, immediately operation upon the body of the people; these must continually interfere with the state laws and thereby produce disorder and general dissatisfaction till the one system of laws or the other, operating upon the same subjects, shall be abolished."

    --Federal Farmer, Antifederalist Letter, 10 October 1787

    See? I'm not the only one that can see this. It was foreseen and foretold! Let's abolish the IRS now! ;)

    Source: The PatriotPost.us - Subscribe here.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Organizers Beware! UPDATE: Nevermind

    I had a Tea Party on the 15th of April, and it was very peaceful and educational. I received more of an education today. See, when I called on the 16th of April to get my next Tea Party going (July 4th), I had to leave a voice mail. The Detective called me today and informed me that I had the wrong office. He said not to think of this as anything more than a simple thing, but I needed to speak with the Department of Homeland Security!

    He asked if I was from a national organization and I told him I wasn't. He didn't believe me. He also thought I was against our country or our government (I don't quite remember the questions, because my blood was boiling). I straight out answered him, "NO! I love our beautiful country, and I just want to make sure it's still here when our children and grandchildren grow up!" Can you believe this? I even told him how much the national debt was at the time I wrote my post, $11,221,539,981,704 and rising every moment!

    Our gross national product is around $12,000,000,000. Now you tell me, how can we survive if these congress critters keep spending our hard earned money like there's no tomorrow? Oh yes, he asked me if I voted for Obama. I told him I voted for Sarah Palin. :)

    Are they allowed to ask who we voted for? I didn't think so. Ya know, I've wanted to run for office for a long time now, but I've been too afraid to try. There is dirt in my past from when I was a juvenile and a little bit when I turned 18 and then in the year 1985. I am not proud of it, but how long do I have to pay for crimes which were perpetrated against me? Long story, no answer.

    (I did fill out the paperwork and inform the city clerk that I would be running for City Council a few cycles back, but I pulled out of the race for lack of money.)

    Just be careful when you have your Tea Party. Don't even bother to involve the Special Events unless you have more than 75 people coming. Ya know, you could always claim, "Oh my! What a turn-out. I never expected so many people!"

    PS. I'm pretty upset but not rattled. Keep on keepin' on, my brothers and sister!

    Update: I just got off the phone with a DHS detective, and he informed me that we do not, in fact, need their permission to have a Tea Party. It was odd though. He acted as if he had never heard of a Tea Party. When I brought up the Tax Day Tea Party, he went, 'Ooohh, THAt.' Excuse me? Am I missing something here? Or am I just being paranoid? Why would the police officer think it necessary to send me to DHS in the first place? Hmm. I'm going to give him a call tomorrow. Stand-by for the update...

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ SGP and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

    Chairman Tours Afghanistan's Forward Outposts

    by Jim Garamone
    American Forces Press Service

    COMBAT OUTPOST DEYSIE, Afghanistan, April 22, 2009 – Military support “enablers” are Regional Command East’s most important need in Afghanistan, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Wednesday.

    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown clearly that the main units “have to be supported by these enablers.” Enablers are units such as engineers, civil affairs, military intelligence, helicopters, military police, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. “We are looking throughout the system to generate more capacity to support these units as they flow in here,” Mullen said.

    Commanders have had to make hard decisions between Iraq and Afghanistan to get enablers into the country, but they are starting to flow, the chairman said. Some of the units were set to deploy to Iraq, but have been switched to Afghanistan.

    The military has to change institutionally to meet this demand, Mullen said. “One of the discussions in Washington right now is the fiscal 2010 budget,” he said. “The big decision in that is to focus on these enablers.” Army and Marine Corps leaders have increased the capacity, and though it takes time to train and equip the units, they must do it as quickly as possible, he added.

    Part of the purpose of the chairman’s trip is to meet with the men and women who are on the leading edge of the U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. “I’m very encouraged with what I see here,” Mullen said. “Just the discussions we’ve had about development and the local people who are feeling more supported than they did a few months ago.”

    Mullen emphasized that the Afghan people are the center of gravity in the struggle. “What I’m most heartened by is that our people understand that,” he said. “Everything I’ve heard since I’ve been here today is focused on the Afghan people, and that’s the right answer.”

    Mullen cited progress here in Paktia province, noting road development that contributes to commerce. But he acknowledged the strategy in Afghanistan will take time to work.

    “I’m hard-pressed to say whether this is going to take [a specific amount of] time,” he said. “I think we need to make a lot of progress in many areas in the next couple of years.”

    What happens this year and next will give planners a much better idea of how long the campaign will take, the chairman said.

    Mullen said he’s noticed “significant improvement” since a visit to Afghanistan last summer. “But I can’t measure that and say we’ll be here three years or four years or five years,” he said. “I don’t know the answer to that.”

    U.S., NATO and NATO-allied forces are working to train the Afghan security forces, and civilian agencies are sending people to the country to help with the economy and governance. “It isn’t all about combat for an extended period of time,” the chairman said. “There’s a lot more to it than that.”

    The Taliban in Pakistan are a problem inside Afghanistan. Commanders told Mullen that Taliban forces are flowing back into Afghanistan after a winter spent training and refitting in Pakistan. The addition of U.S. combat power in Afghanistan means the Taliban won’t find it so easy to come back, Mullen said, and the border issue is getting attention. “I’m comfortable that we understand the challenges of [the Afghanistan-Pakistan] border, and that we need to address this challenge regionally on both sides,” he said.

    Pakistan’s Frontier Corps has improved greatly its border security in the past few months, the chairman said. Pakistani units have launched operations on their side of the border, but these have to be sustained, he said.

    “I believe the Pakistani military has to increase pressure as pressure increases on this side to stop that insurgent flow,” the admiral said. “They have the capacity to do that, but … switching from a conventional mindset to a counterinsurgency mindset is one of the big challenges the Pakistanis have.”

    Commanders in Afghanistan are interested in the information operations part of the campaign, wanting to get out ahead of the Taliban’s message, Mullen said.

    “To me, that’s an important statement and goal,” he said. “The whole idea is to provide security for the Afghan people so they have more confidence in our forces, they have more confidence [in themselves], and they develop more confidence in their own government. And all of our operations are done with Afghan forces. We have the strategy, and the commanders on the ground understand it.”

    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks to soldiers assigned to Forward Operating Base Airborne, Afghanistan, April 22, 2009. Mullen is on a six-day tour of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility escorting a USO tour, meeting with counterparts and visiting troops.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Afghan Women Find Support In Wardak Province

    by Pfc. Christopher Baker
    Task Force Spartan

    WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 21, 2009) – The Afghan National Police worked with U.S. soldiers serving in Task Force Spartan recently to provide 25 women and their families here with humanitarian aid packages. The police, working with the 10th Mountain Division’s 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, distributed the packages, containing food and stuffed animals, at the Wardak Women’s Center.

    Mahtab Jafari, the provincial director of women’s affairs, said the center’s goal is more than just helping women in need. “The first, main goal is to have a safe place for women to go due to any reason,” Jafari said. “The second goal is to have an education center to teach women English, computers, or anything they need. But, the overall goal is for the women to be self-sufficient so they can leave the center and provide for themselves or their families.”

    Army Capt. Tammy Lanning, intelligence officer and Wardak Women’s Center liaison, said helping the women of the province is beneficial in several ways.

    “I think it’s very important, while at the same time, pretty frustrating,” she said. “There’s a lot of benefit from it. To increase [women’s] rights and make them capable will not only help their family, but also decrease the poverty rate in the area.”

    Lanning said the main challenge lies in changing the way Afghan society views women and instilling confidence in women so they aren’t afraid to go outside the home to seek help or education.

    Coalition forces hope to help the center accomplish this through a variety of ways.

    “We’re going to talk to [U.S. Agency for International Development officials] and see if we can fix up the building, because it’s already in poor shape,” Lanning said. In the short term, fixing a windmill would be a quick, inexpensive way to provide power to the center, allowing use of the building and a women’s vocational school for the longterm, Lanning said.

    Jafari said she got the idea for a vocational school from other areas using similar programs.

    “In other provinces, there are vocational schools for women,” she said. “Any type of educational classes for women will help, and since other provinces had them already, we wanted to get ideas from them.”

    Women’s Center officials said they plan to conduct classes, but also want to show women how to provide for themselves so they don’t have to rely on the center.

    “The goal is to make women self-sufficient,” Jafari said. “We don’t plan on using the center as a means to sell items, [but] rather to teach women how to make something they can sell on their own.”

    The Wardak Women’s Center has had some success, Jafari said.

    “There has been some progress so far, especially for those in need,” she said. “The word is getting out that there is a women’s society, and women are becoming more active in the community.”

    The focus is on helping women in and around Mayden Shar, because the women’s center does not have access to villages or districts farther away, Lanning said. Meanwhile, Jafari is working to let the women of Wardak know there is a safe place they can get help. She is working with Lanning to get a column in the local paper, and eventually to produce a quarterly magazine for the women’s center.

    “Basically, it’s based on society, on advertising, on promoting women’s rights, to let everyone know that the woman is important,” Jafari said. “That she can work outside of the house and provide for the family.”

    Afghan and American troops distribute humanitarian aid at Wardak Women’s Center in Afghanistan’s Wardak province April 8.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary's Thoughts. Rosemary's News and Ideas.