sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, November 30, 2012

ECM - because everything needs an acronym

EXTREME COMBAT MULTIPLIERS (ECM) - The US Department of Defense's answer to the massive cuts coming from the Obama Administration.

And while the future of fighter pilots is in doubt as the US transitions to drones and saves the personnel and training costs - we need to review things that fighter pilots never say.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Obama on the Economy 2012-2016


The Obama Administration's philosophy toward the fiscal cliff is that they don't care whether or not it hurts the country, so long as they can make Republicans look weak and indecisive. And it would seem that his strategy is paying off. Let's face it, the Democrats don't have to face election for two more years in the House/Senate and the American electorate has a remarkably short memory - and gets their news from Saturday Night Live, MTV and (really stupid) talk shows, such as The View, where pseudo has-been newsies and celebs weigh in with embarrassingly little insight.

Bill O'Reilly asked this question on his Fox News show tonight: Where are the American leaders? Don't we produce any anymore? O'Reilly, author of the best selling novel, Killing Lincoln, suggested that if Abraham Lincoln was alive today, he could lead the US. I doubt it. Not if the mainstream media and Hollywood set into him. And that's the point. Real leaders all seem to be "Going Galt" and leaving the nation of fools to their own devices.

Mitt Romney as candidate and others before and since have suggested increasing revenues by capping income-tax deductions. This would raise that tax's progressivity, without raising rates that would dampen incentives.

Obama's compromise seems to be: Let's do both. (BURN BABY, BURN!)

The argument, however, is not about this or that tax rate but about the nature of the American regime. And the future of the country. Obama came into office with a $16,000,000,000,000.00 deficit, having spent more in four years than all previous US presidents combined. Many believe that the deficit will top $20,000,000,000,000.00 when he leaves office as we approach another debt crisis where Congress will certainly move to increase the debt ceiling. 

The American people spoke in this past election. They want "free stuff" and don't care what happens to the nation at large - feeling comfortable in their class hatred of anyone with more money than they have.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Man Cave

Liberals, progressives, and ObamaPhone owners don't like this sort of thing --- but I love it.

caveat: If I was going to put cars in the basement, they'd be a LOT cooler than those that this guy owns, and I wouldn't 'collect' motorcycles, I'd ride them. And if I had a man cave at Lake Tahoe, it would include speed boats that I could pull out of the cave and set on the water (when it's not frozen).

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Difference between Earn and Burn

I don't think that the Democrats/Progressives have much understanding that you have to earn more than you burn or you go under. As a proud Californian (who stands out from the unwashed hoard by being conservative), I've seen a lot of businesses leave the state. Frankly, there is NO reason to set up a business in the 'worker's paradise' unless you are providing some sort of service that you can't provide outside of the state or if you are peddling goods in exchange for government food stamps.
ObamaStamps - the official currency
of the People's Republik of Kalifornia
California and Illinois both need bail-outs to cover their spending excesses. The rest of the nation needs to pony up to save California, which isn't able to raise taxes (income, excise, sales, and property taxes) over 100% no matter how hard it tries. It's up to the rest of the nation to pitch in. 

America's problem is entirely on the spending side, where entitlement programs, which now include ObamaCare, will push federal spending up to 24% of GDP and rising. Meanwhile, Obama refuses to put a leash on liberal groups who've pledged to fight against any entitlement changes. Union groups are already mounting a six-figure ad campaign to pressure key Democrats to increase spending - as in a stimulus aimed at helping ailing labor unions.

On the positive side, with a lot of businesses failing in California, there is a lot of commercial real estate available. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Who/What Caused the Great Depression?

Milton Friedman weighs in on the question.
From 1929-1933 the total quantity of currency (M2) in the US declined by 1/3. The total number of banks fell by 1/3. There never was a moment when the Federal Reserve couldn't have controlled the quantity of currency in circulation in the nation. -Friedman
The Great Depression wasn't caused by private business. It was caused by a failure in government. 

Plastic, Chinese Made, Christmas Tree

I have the big plastic Christmas Tree that they sell at Costco. It's 9 feet tall and comes (from China) in four sections. The wiring to illuminate the tree should be simple, but it's not -- I suspect because of the tree's Chinese roots.

You have to wonder what the Chinese assembly line workers think when they're assembling these multi-part trees for the running dog imperialist lackeys in America. I made all of the lights work the first year it was up. Thereafter, I put additional light strings on the tree to make up for my inability to plug in the twenty or so socket plugs (which need to be assembled in the correct order). Last year my son-in-law managed to do it right. This year, HE is the Christmas Tree maven and while I'm blogging in this room, he's completing his first unsuccessful hour dealing with the Chinese plastic evergreen. He'll get through it given enough time to devote to the task.

There is a lot of pressure to do all of the decorating at my house in connection with The Season. My kids know that presents are the reason for the season... Jews have it easy and so do black people. The Jewish menorah fits in a box, you slap candles on it and you're good to go. Kwanza has fewer candles, but you have to get the colors right. 

I don't celebrate the "days of Kwanza" but then again, I'm not black. I do highly respect Festivus - a simple unadorned aluminum pole with one day of feats of strength, boasting and eating. It's more Viking than the general Christmas theme and goes with my whole Viking motif - except that I don't have a helmet with horns on it or a long beard.

Most Jews wouldn't pay much attention to Hanukkah if it wasn't for Christmas with Christian kids in school boasting their trove of gifts. Hanukkah begins in the evening of Saturday, December 8, 2012, and ends in the evening of Sunday, December 16, 2012. And this year the 8 crazy nights end two weeks before Christmas (and Festivus - December 23).

Maybe it's time to leave my den and see how the tree is coming along. There have been no shouts of success with a properly wired tree.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Are Taxes Going Up?

Yes, taxes are going up. The American people voted for the massive ObamaCare tax. The American people returned Obama into office and he wants to raise taxes on the 50% of Americans who didn't vote for him. 49% of Americans pay no income they're happy to get 'free stuff' from the half of Americans who do pay tax.

The Tea Party failed to prevent the USGOV take-over of 20% of the economy (health care). The Tea Party failed to inspire fiscal responsibility in an irresponsible nation. And the Gimme culture won. I hope they're happy with what they get.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Does a Corporation have a Right to Freedom of Religion?

The question of what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution is apparently irrelevant to the Obama Administration. And before you attack me for jumping to conclusions, we've had four years of precedent in this matter as time-after-time, the ObamaNation has sought to distance "our modern world" from the law of the land.

In Sherbert v. Verner, the Supreme Court required states to meet the "strict scrutiny" standard when refusing to accommodate religiously motivated conduct. This meant that a government needed to have a "compelling interest" regarding such a refusal. The case involved Adele Sherbert, who was denied unemployment benefits by South Carolina because she refused to work on Saturdays, something forbidden by her Seventh-day Adventist faith. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court ruled that a law that "unduly burdens the practice of religion" without a compelling interest, even though it might be "neutral on its face," would be unconstitutional.

All of that may be going away because of key provisions of the ObamaCare tax. (The Supreme Court held that ObamaCare is constitutional because it is a tax)

Many American corporations want to be exempted (and who doesn't?) from the provisions of ObamaCare because ObamaCare forces them to provide abortions for their employees in violation of their religious beliefs. 
Hobby Lobby Stores has appealed a federal judge’s decision denying the craft supply chain’s request to not provide employees with insurance that covers morning-after and week-after birth control pills, as mandated by the ObamaCare law. 
The Christian-owned company asked for relief in the face of fines they say could reach $1 million a day for not providing the coverage. 
The appeal was filed Tuesday in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge in Oklahoma on Monday denied the owners’ request for a temporary injunction against the provisions of the Obama administration's health law. 
The chain's appeal states in part that Chief Executive Officer David Green his family in less than six weeks “must either violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties -- including fines of up to $1.3 million per day, annual penalties of about $26 million and exposure to private suits.” (Fox News)
Note that there is nothing that prohibits Hobby Lobby Stores employees from obtaining RU482 or any other aborting drug on their own. Hobby Lobby Stores simply don't feel that it's a moral thing to do and they have a well-founded religious objection to THEIR participation in the abortion.

It may come down to a choice where Hobby Lobby (which employs tens of thousands of people) either accepts this defining gem of the Obama presidency or they close their doors and lay off their workers. When you consider how many unemployed Americans there are today, 20,000 more or less added to unemployment roles won't move the needle on the meter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Snapping Necks and Cashing Checks

As you may have divined from the title, this is a very serious view of what's been happening in the area around the Joint Special Operations Command (McDill Air Force Base - Tampa, FL) since the sex scandals broke involving the CIA Director, an FBI special agent who liked sending photos of himself , shirtless, to a shameless sex maven (Jill Kelley) and General Allen, USMC - ISAF, Afghanistan.

While it's true that snapping necks and cashing checks is pretty much what the Special Operations Community does, there is also the 'no sky to high, no sea too deep, no muff too tough' philosophy which can end in sticky, sexually related scandals.
TAMPA, FL – In light of recent revelations concerning CIA Director David Petraeus’ extra marital affair, several gentlemen’s clubs in the Tampa Metro area have begun looking for female biographers to work in their establishments. 
David “Cheech” Robinisi, manager of the Bottoms Up Club on Adamo Drive in Tampa told Fox News that this was a mark of changing consumer attitudes. 
“Let’s be honest. Guys have known for 50 or 60 years the girls were lying when they said they were working their way through college. More likely they were working their way through a few ounces of coke with their boyfriends. But now,” he continued, “I mean what the hell, a four star general doing the nasty with his ‘biographer’ gives the whole thing a little class.” 
One customer who asked only to be identified as “Dave,” a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, is a regular at the Chicken Strips club on Dale Mabry Road and appreciated the new legitimacy the term afforded the clubs. 
“I used to have to come up with all sorts of things to tell my wife,” Dave said, “Now I just tell her I’m getting together with some friends who are writing the biography of a noted American military figure and BOOM… I’m out of the house for six hours.”
Some of my buddies went out to get to the bottom of it 
and bring you the real scoop - which is what you have 
come to expect from this blog.

“I used to tell them I was in law school,” said Champagne, a dancer at the Cherry Bomb Club. “But no one believed it. Now, since I’m a ‘biographer’ I get to ask them all sorts of questions about themselves. My tips have actually gone up.”

Liberty Bell, a dancer at Skintastics, agreed. “Before it was such a hassle because we had to act like we cared who these guys were -- and at the same time we’re wrestling with a snake or something. Now I just have a pencil and a notebook in my g-string and these guys can’t stop handing me twenties and telling me who their 3rd grade teachers were.”

Tiffany, a "biographer" at the Jet Strip, told our interviewer, "I've been doing a lot more outside consulting since I got into the literary business."

One club owner interviewed was sanguine on the whole matter: “I’ve been at this game a long time. I remember after the whole Monica Lewinsky deal when we all thought we were going to get rich by calling all the girls ‘Interns.’ That didn’t last more than 3 months. This will eventually blow over and then we’ll have to be revert back to calling them social liaisons.”

Mixed group of government officials interviewing their potential biographers
at 'Leave it to Beavers' in St. Petersburg, FL, not far from JSOC.
In a related story, Rolling Stone magazine has announced it wants to give an unbiased view of the entire scandal in its latest critical expose “David Petraeus and John Allen: Mistress Swapping Man-Whores for the Military Industrial Complex.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Solution to the Hostess Strike

The deluded union strong man, Frank Hurt, of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union made a hopeful statement today (link above) that he felt there was a good chance that the 18,500 workers that his union threw off the cliff would find good jobs if a Hostess buy-out went through.

Anyone who bought Hostess and then set it up in any but a right-to-work state would be INSANE. Why would you invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Hostess, only to use the same unhappy, strike-prone union members to do the work. There are a number of right to work states in the US where you could avoid the problems that Hostess faced.

If the Mexican confectionary giant, Bimbo, buys Hostess, they'd be much better off by baking the treats across the border in Mexico and then shipping to the US. Here is why:
  • Lower employee costs
  • Lower sugar costs (the US slaps a huge tariff on sugar imported into the US, artificially raising the domestic price). NAFTA would allow Bimbo to ship the finished product across the US Border without paying a tariff.
  • Lower facility costs
  • Lower power costs
  • Shipping costs on par with US manufacturing
Why would any Hostess buyer want to manufacture in the United States, given all that? Having spent time in Mexico, their bakeries are on par with bakeries anywhere in the world, so quality isn't an issue. 

Union Local 69 and the leadership of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union are lashing out at Hostess management for doing a poor job of leading. While that may be true, those union jobs are GONE FOREVER. But for the union members, I'm sure that you can make minimum wage somewhere without benefits.

In an environment such as the United States, today. No employers need to pay premium wages or offer much in the way of benefits because unemployment, which stands near 10% (in real numbers). The unions backed Obama. Maybe he can find a way to employ all of the angry bakers with federal government jobs.


Union President Frank Hurt receives $263,000 per year for reigning over a union of 83,000 people. I wonder how the now unemployed union members feel about that.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chemical Weapons in Syria

Every time that the mainstream media latches onto an idea, I attribute it to the Obama Administration because they are completely locked at the hip. So it is with great skepticism that I view the New York Times' story, justifying in its own subtle way, "Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms". Now the Obama Administration is 'channeling George W. Bush' and trying to ramp up an invasion of Syria -- not to occupy -- merely to take away their chemical weapons. I'm sure that a UN Resolution will follow soon.
The White House on Thursday declined to comment on the Defense Department’s assessment. (NY Times opcit)
The Pentagon "leaks the story" to the New York Times, which means that it came from the White House. But the White House declines to respond, which means that President Obama wants to show that the invasion is being pushed on him by - whoever. 
The discovery that Hezbollah has set up camps close to some of the depots, however, has renewed concern that as the chaos in Syria deepens, the country’s huge chemical weapons stockpiles could fall into the wrong hands. Hezbollah fighters have been training at “a limited number of these sites,” said one senior American official who has been briefed on the intelligence reports and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But the fear these weapons could fall into the wrong hands is our greatest concern.” (NY Times continues)
Since Hezbollah is a code word for IRAN, and Syria is Iran's only ally, are we saying that we want to keep Iranian (proxy) chemical weapons out of the hands of (another) Iranian proxy? While it might make sense to NBC's Brian Williams or some other Obama cat's paw, it doesn't wash with me.
So far, there is no evidence that Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon but has become increasingly active in protecting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, is making any effort to gain control over the chemical weapons. (NY Times continues)
No but they could, so we should send in 75,000 troops to make sure that they can't or that President Assad can't use his weapons either.

The New York Times doesn't want to paint Pres. Barack Hussein Obama as a warmonger. Rather, he's a wise and balanced leader who'd NEVER LIE to the American people.
Mr. Obama has been clear for more than a year that he would resist direct American intervention, but in August he said one circumstance would cause him to revisit that position. “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” he said at a news conference. “That would change my calculus.”
There are subtle hints that Syria may be upgrading their Scud D Russian supplied missiles with North Korean technology. Nothing concrete, just fears and concerns.

So the mainstream media is putting the word out and playing the Obama Pentagon's game, which brings me back to trusting either them or our pseudo Muslim, pseudo communist commander-in-chief. Why should I trust the regime that is bent on destroying the American economy to take us to war?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Permanent Part Time Trend

Permanent Part-Time Jobs? Yes, they're not what you were told to expect when you graduated from the university. Welcome to the University of Adversity. The Obama Administration is writing your future if you work for any of the following (with many more falling into line over the next couple of months:
Happy with the Jobs Numbers.

Papa John's Pizza
Olive Garden
Red Lobster

Under the new health care act, companies will be required to provide health care to full-time employees by 2014. That would significantly boost labor costs for businesses. The Government is using 2013 numbers to determine what employers will be asked to pay in 2014, so they have to change employees' status this coming year.
In the case of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, Darden (the management company that owns the two chains) has been able to offer lower pay rates to new hires. Bonuses for general managers have been reduced as sales have stagnated. Servers at Red Lobster are handling four tables at a time, instead of three.

And last year, the company also put workers on a "tip sharing" program, meaning waiters and waitresses share their tips with other employees such as busboys and bartenders. That allows Darden to pay more workers a far lower "tip credit wage" of $2.13, rather than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. (LINK)
Additionally, each employee will find themselves with a large ObamaCare bill as they are required to buy government insurance if it is not provided by their employer. Yes, it's a tax. However, America has been pining for taxes to increase and they'll get precisely what they wanted. Except it won't be millionaires who feel the pinch. It will be the 'working poor'. Yes, President Obama lied. But then again that's not a new thing.

The stock market is down roughly 800 points. I wonder why? Then again everyone who owns stock is rich and America voted to plunder them. Permanent Part-Time here we come. Be joyful that you are now part of the 'grand bargain' that is covering health care for ten million illegal aliens.
"Employers know that the economy could change at any time," says Jon Osborne, vice president for research at Staffing Industry Analysts, which follows temporary staffing agencies, "so by hiring somebody temporarily, companies have staffing for their peak needs but can let them go when they are no longer needed."
Companies stand to benefit from this flexibility, with the economy seesawing in the midst of a recovery that may take as long as five years. But it underscores the uncertainty for employees, with a huge number of workers -- 10.4 million -- reporting that they are involuntarily employed part-time, according to the latest federal statistics. Are there any predictions for where that number will be in 2016? Maybe Hillary R. Clinton, who just began running for president will fix it up for you then?


This morning Hostess announced it was closing down. The union rejected a proposed 8 percent wage cut, and the end result is a 100 percent wage cut for over 18,000 workers. No permanent part time worries for those union workers in Irving, Texas.

To the rest of us, it means the end of Twinkies and Ding Dongs -- Wonderbread is no more.
Hostess Brands Inc. had warned employees that it would file to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn’t return to normal levels by 5 p.m. Thursday. In announcing its decision, Hostess said its wind down would mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.
I'm sure that the formerly Hostess union workers will find permanent part time work without benefits somewhere. I'm sure that they could get minimum wage, seasonal, extra help positions somewhere - but those pay less than unemployment benefits. ----Nevermind----

Hostess is selling off all of it's equipment. Maybe somebody else will make Twinkies (calling them by another name). What do you want to bet that it won't be a union company paying union wages?

Fighting for Health

by Emily Walsh
Guest Blogger

Military service is one of the greatest opportunities that this country presents to the individual that wishes to aid his fellow man. However, with this opportunity comes risk. Locations where military personnel engage in the fight for freedom pose challenges to both the health of the mind and the health of the body. Many of these risks can be silent, and multiple health conditions do not show any symptoms until after the service is completed. Military personnel face dangers that are not typically encountered by the average citizen simply due to the conditions of their surroundings.

Facing life-threatening danger from a variety of sources on a regular basis is a major cause of stress. Stress in large amounts has been shown to be extremely damaging to the body and the mind. In terms of symptoms, stress is not a health risk that poses an immediate danger. However, the long-term effects are quite describable, and they can be quite debilitating. Over time, the body can react to chronic stress by decreasing the ability of the immune system. The mind also reacts to chronic stress. Often, this reaction comes in the form of depression or suicide. Studies have also shown that cancer rates increase in individuals that undergo chronic stress.

Toxic elements in the environment have been a deadly component of combat for decades. Toxic exposure occurs outside of the occurrence of biological warfare. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered due to excessive exposure to chromium, burning pits, and other toxic fragments associated with ammunition. Personnel that have served in the Navy or Coast Guard may have suffered exposure to asbestos. This material was a common component in military ships of the past, and the complete elimination of the material has been a difficult endeavor. Breathing in this substance can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Neither of these conditions has any known cure.

Natural, infectious diseases also pose a great risk to military personnel because they must function in such tight quarters. If one person acquires an infection, then it is likely to spread quickly to the other soldiers surrounding them. West Nile virus, Q Fever, and Malaria are among the diseases that have caused some real problems.

The military makes great strides towards preventing the risks associated with military service. As with the rest of the country, initial prevention is our best step towards maintaining health. They have developed training courses that prepare soldiers for recognizing and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder both during and after combat. The military has also put a new emphasis on the health of soldiers prior to and during deployment. These measures encourage a healthy diet, little to no alcohol consumption, and regular exercise. As a preventative measure, the military also recognizes the need to strengthen our treatment of soldiers at home. Orientation videos that prepare families for the possibility of injuries that are both mental and physical ensures a better support system for injured soldiers that must once again enter society after their service has come to an end.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Texas Secession Talk

Documents are being circulated in many US States, petitioning the government for redress and asking the feds to allow them out of the union peacefully.

As of today, Texas lead the charge with almost 100,000 signatures.

Tammy Blair, spokesperson for the Texas Nationalist Movement, said that even though the open petitions do make a statement, they're not going to work.
"This is a peaceful movement. That's important. We're not looking for war. And if people think that we are, we're certainly not. It's not a racist movement, it's a movement about liberty," she said.
One immediate problem that concerns many Texans is illegal immigration from the United States. Border control issues could become daunting as masses of fed-up red state people massed to leave the 'worker's paradise'.

Some Texans are concerned with losing their Social Security, but there are many US residents, living abroad and receiving Social Security from USGOV.

Other Texans are concerned about the Dallas Cowboys football team. Could they still participate in the NFL? My sense is that if Canadian baseball can participate with US baseball, Texas football could likewise participate with the NFL. The NHL spans both the US and Canada. There is plenty of precedent for keeping Free Texas engaged in sporting events in the USA.

Many Texans cite President Obama, 'the great divider', as one reason for the need to break off and form a "more perfect union". When you look at the Balkanization of the Former Soviet Union, states such as the Ukraine were allowed to keep combat ships, military equipment, military aircraft, etc. If states that border Texas (and further border other unhappy US States) were allowed to leave with them (Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and so forth, it would begin to look a lot like the Confederate States of America. If they could jump states, The Rocky Mountain states (to also include North and South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska) with the exception of New Mexico and Colorado would likely defect too if votes to do so mean anything. Utah's rich wealth in oil shale (USGOV doesn't let them mine it) alone would match or exceed Texas and Oklahoma. Indiana and Kentucky would likely also want out. That would leave the liberal fringe on the east and west coast for Obama to govern according to his whim.

I do understand that this movement isn't 'going anywhere'. I also realize that USGOV as presently constituted doesn't care that these people are unhappy. 

To me, one of the best parts of secession is that the new state(s) could block mainstream media broadcasts. That in and of itself would be a blessed event.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Did Pres. Obama Blackmail Director Petraeus?

Fox News Contributor, Dr. Charles Krauthammer would suggest that the answer to that question is, yes.

On September 14, 2012, Director David Petraeus told members of Congress in a closed-door briefing that the attack on the US Consulate and the CIA Annex/facility was the result of the now infamous Mohammed film. He lied.

We now know that the CIA had two Predator surveillance aircraft overhead and had a number of telephone calls and cables sent by its people in the CIA Annex. There was no discussion of the Mohammed Film that night. It was a terrorist attack using mixed light indirect artillery and direct fire munitions. The attack took place over several hours. 

Petraeus lied. Why?

Transcript of the video above:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think the really shocking news today was that General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet. 

And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time? 

Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line to quote Bill, "everybody was silent." And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed. I mean, can you imagine what it’s like to be on that pressure and to think it didn’t distort or at least in some way unconsciously influence his testimony? That’s hard to believe.

I heard from a very well informed source that "President Obama threw Director Petraeus under a bus." That would tend to support the Krauthammer report. There is clearly a Chicago context for this sort of behavior, providing that it's true.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sad fall of GEN David Petraeus

Jill Kelley, at her birthday party in Tampa
No, it's not a Rule 5 blog, but it's close. First, we have an FBI special agent sending shirtless photo's of himself to "the other woman", Jill Kelley. (Wall Street Journal)
The federal agent who launched the investigation that eventually led to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus was removed from the case last summer over concerns that he "might have grown obsessed with the matter," according to the Wall Street Journal (full article above)
The FBI agent began his official inquiry into the matter on behalf of a Jill Kelley, woman in whom he apparently had a romantic interest.  Kelley, meanwhile had a romantic interest in General Petreus and didn't like the thought of being sidelined by Paula Broadwell. Ms. Kelley told the FBI Special Agent that she received about a half a dozen hostile emails from Petraeus' mistress Paula Broadwell.

The agent referred the matter to a cyber crimes unit but was prohibited from the any role in the investigation after the FBI found out that he sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley. (Business Insider)

Jill Kelley (37) is a married mother of three (married to Dr. Scott Kelley, MD), living in Tampa, Florida where she is an unpaid "social liaison person" at McDill Air Force Base, home to the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). This does not mean that Mrs. Kelley is a strumpet, but it's possible that Paula Broadwell (wife of Dr. Scott Broadwell, MD) thought that she was, based on the e-mails that ultimately ended General Petraeus' career.

Jill Kelley introduces her husband, Scott to Navy SEAL, VADM Robert Harward
(L to R) Natalie Khawam, Gen. Petraeus, Dr. Scott Kelly, Jill Kelley and Holly Petraeus
(Natalie Khawam is Jill Kelley's sister)

Lieutenant Colonel Paula Broadwell USAR, General Petraeus' biographer
Lieutenant Colonel Broadwell grew up in North Dakota and as a high school senior she was an All-State basketball player. Following high school, she graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point. She ranked first in her class for fitness. She earned a master's degree in International Security from the University of Denver and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. In 2008, she entered a Ph. D. program at the Department of War Studies at King's College, London.

LTC Broadwell served as the Deputy Director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at Tufts University and in that capacity, she interfaced with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

To give credit where it's due, LTC Broadwell is an amazing woman who has had an amazing career. It's sad that the whole mess came to the national stage. It's amazing how the Press will dramatize situations such as this one, while ignoring scandals such as Operation Fast and Furious and the Benghazi Affair which have stained the Obama Administration.


General and Mrs. Allen
US Marine Corps General Allen and his wife (right) are now in the middle of the scandal, as you might know by now.

Kathy Allen and Holly Petraeus have one thing in common besides being married to four star generals and I'm not going to exercise bad manners and mention it here on this blog. However, the wives' charming personalities and sweet spirits aside, it's not difficult to understand how their warrior husbands were swayed by charming and attractive "other women".

Jill Kelley - the other, other woman?
General Allen exchanged roughly 30,000 e-mails with Mrs. Jill Kelley (37 - mother of three). They have been described as e-mail sex, though I have not read them and wouldn't if they were available to read.

I'm not sure whether it's appropriate for a theater commander and full US Marine Corps General to send 40 e-mails a day to a hot socialite (Jill Kelley) or not. Others will judge him.  HOWEVER, if you were a Marine lieutenant or captain working for General Allen and were caught doing the same thing, you'd be bounced from the US Marine Corps - or your career would be ruined by a scathing FITREP (accomplishing the same thing).

There have been a long line of US admirals and captains who have been relieved of their commands and had their careers trashed for less over the past 18 months.

Mrs. Jill Kelley is also an "honorary Consul" for Lebanon.
Not quite a diplomat - not quite not a diplomat.


US Oil Independence?

Elections have consequences

Good News

According to a report from the International Energy Agency (Paris), the United States will become the world's largest oil producer by around 2020, temporarily overtaking Saudi Arabia, as new exploration technologies help find more resources. (Fox News/AP)

Bad News

While it may seem to be good news on its face, most of the oil shale (cited by the IEA as the prime source for increased domestic production by the US) rests on government land where the Obama Administration has refused to allow leases for oil extraction.

There is also the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which essentially floats on a sea of light sweet crude oil. Environmentally safe drilling there could also boost the US into a position to be an oil exporter by 2020, but there has been NO indication that USGOV has any intention of doing that.

So what do we make from the IEA report, issued today?
It's significant in that there is a potential for the US to be energy independent in eight years. However, that would require government interest.
Arizona Initiative

Proposition 120, a ballot initiative in Arizona aimed at claiming state control of federally managed public lands in the state failed at the polls last week, as voters rejected the amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would have declared the state’s sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries. Opponents of the proposition spun the initiative as a "Grand Canyon Take-Over", but that wouldn't have been the principal move that Arizona wanted to make. The liberal press attacked it on the basis of national parks - but nobody spoke much about the development of oil resources. ...shocking.

While some consider it an expensive move for the State of Arizona, it may be the way forward for US States in the area of both oil and uranium resource development. Once the land is in the hands of the states, it is they who would decide whether to lease or not lease. 

Environmental Protection Agency

New EPA rules might trump the states, interested in developing oil resources as they become more draconian. For example, the EPA is in the process of retiring 27 gigawats of coal-fired capacity over the next five years. (US Energy Information Administration) The hardest hit states will be in the Mid-Atlantic Region to include Pennsylvania and Ohio. Maybe voters didn't read the fine print before they pushed for four more years of an Obama Administration? Or maybe they feel that they would be better served with higher prices, buying energy from other states? I don't live in Mid-Atlantic nor do I plan to relocate there, so I have no personal stake in the outcome, but elections do have consequences.

The cost of compliance with anticipated and existing Federal environmental regulations such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) will force most coal-fired generation off the grid by 2015. The EPA wants them to be replaced by wind energy (wind turbines only generate electricity when the wind blows).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Who could have Responded to Benghhazi?

I really don't think that the mainstream media is worth the time to turn the television on (or off). The scandal in Benghazi is a classic example of the lengths that they'll go to in order to ignore the Obama Administration's bungling in a (misplaced) effort to keep him in power.

I haven't heard one report on where US Allied Troops were located, who could have responded to aid the Americans under attack in the US Consulate in Benghazi. NATO allies consider an attack on one member to be an attack on them - by treaty. So where were the nearest NATO units? We know that there were vast US claims that there weren't any US troops who could have responded (not true, but I'm not picking a fight with SECDEF Panetta at the moment).

h/t Dale
United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) was shut down, but my sources advise that there was a battalion sized element from the 13 DBLE - French Foreign Legion demi-brigade (airmobile) training in Northern Chad (roughly 600 miles distant), and they could have loaded and been in the Benghazi area in about 3 hours.

The first test of the joint British and French Navies to create a combined task force ready to respond to global events was operating within easy flying distance from Benghazi. Exercise Corsican Lion included five Royal Navy warships, HMS Northumberland and HMS Bulwark, carrying a battalion of Royal Marine Commandos (airmobile) and the French Task Force anchored on the French Aircraft Carrier Charles De Gaulle. The French force also included a battalion of French Marines. They would have responded if anyone had asked them to.

Our allies in Israel are always on a high state of readiness simply because of who and where they are. While I'm sure that the Libyans would have raised a stink about having the Small Satan (US is the Great Satan) sending troops to our aid, they could have loaded and made the 600 mile trip in roughly the same time - about 3 hours.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is headquartered at/reports to Commander, Allied Component Command Maritime Naples. It has maintained a presence off the coast of Libya since the revolution. The composition of SNMG2 varies depending on the current contributions of nations, but generally consists of half a dozen warships and a fleet oiler to keep them supplied and refueled. Per Wikipedia, the following ships are currently deployed to SNMG2.

The Russians, while not allies, would have been happy to send troops to pull our fat out of the fire and crow about it. When you're being overrun you take what you can get. The Russian Navy operates out of it's base at Tartus, Syria and while I don't know where the Russian ships were on September 11, Libya is in the CENTER of the Mediterranean and ship near Benghazi could have potentially aided us.


Though only a footnote... the US Navy maintains the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean within striking distance of Libya. It's headquartered at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. 
The officially stated mission of the Sixth Fleet in 2011 is that it 'conducts the full range of Maritime Operations and Theater Security Cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.'
Let's run down what the US Navy has in the Mediterranean. 
This is what you're paying for.

Destroyer Squadron 60 - Provides COMSIXTHFLT with a permanently assigned destroyer squadron, increasing the Sixth Fleet's options when undertaking national and theater level tasking. The destroyer squadron, based at Naples, Italy also patrols the sea lanes off West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea but routinely maintains at least one destroyer within about 200 miles of the Port city of Benghazi. I don't know which ships were present on September 11, 2012 - but nobody is saying much with the impending presidential election

Task Force 60 - US Mediterranean Battle Force - one aircraft carrier (USS John Stennis) with 70 aircraft capable of attacking any target in the region, six cruisers and destroyers.

Task Force 61 - Amphibious Ready Group consisting of three amphibious ships containing a Marine Expeditionary Unit (2,000) of US Marines and two platoons of SEALs.

Task Force 64 - Special Forces (SEALs) (formerly Naval Special Warfare Unit 10 - Rota, Spain), currently attached to Task Force 65, which is DESRON 60, above.  On September 11, 2012, a FAST (Forward Area Support Team) was located at Task Group 67 Maritime Surv & Recce Det Sigonella (Sicily), with air transport available from TG-67.1. They were about three hundred miles away and were "good to go" at 2230 HRS (about an hour after the report of the attack) and could have been there just after midnight if requested. But nobody issued the orders because things were 'messy and confusing' on the ground. Even though things are ALWAYS messy and confusing on the ground when we send SEALs, it was President Obama's call. Just, as he would remind you, as Operation Geronimo was his call when he sent SEALs to Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

The US Navy is only one component of the U. S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), commanded by General Carter F. Ham. General Ham said that he had forces able to deploy to assist the besieged consulate in Benghazi, but nobody ordered him to send anyone. General Ham, the theater commander also had as a component of the forces available within a one - two hour response time from Benghazi, the US Third Air Force (with AC-130 Spectre Gunships at Sigonella, Sicily).