Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Washington Post Fact Checker Awards Obama 3 Pinocchios for His Kansas City Speech

On 6 December 11, President Obama gave a fairytale of a speech in the Kansas City suburb of Osawatomie, Kansas where he unsuccessfully sought to rebut Republican arguments that he is waging class warfare. Here was the “enduring’ sound bite from the speech that earned the Prez 3 Pinocchios from the Liberal Washington Post Fact Checker:

“I mean, understand, it's not as if we haven't tried this theory. Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did they get us? The slowest job growth in half a century.” - President Obama – Dec 6, 2011

Granted, this was not up to his 4 Pinocchio standard but here is how the WaPo judged the accuracy of Obama’s facts:

Inserting the words “for the wealthy” was interesting phrasing by the president, since he suggests these tax cuts were intended to only benefit the rich.

The bulk of the 2001 tax cuts were marginal rate cuts, which extended to all taxpayers and the 2003 tax cuts included a reduction in taxes on dividends and capital gains but the 2001 tax cuts also included tax changes that benefited the middle class, such as a reduced marriage penalty and expanded tax credits, along with an instant tax rebate. While benefits also flowed to the wealthy, let’s not forget they still pay 90% Federal income taxes. The WaPo chided Obama for suggesting that the Bush tax cuts were only aimed at the wealthy since that is NOT correct.

To compare tax cuts over the decades, it is best to focus on the size of the tax cut as a percent of national income and under that measure, the John F. Kennedy tax cut of 1964 (-1.90 percent) and the Ronald Reagan tax cut of 1981 (-1.40 percent) were larger than Bush’s 2001 tax cut (-0.80 percent.) but all of Bush’s tax cuts in 2001, 2002, and 2003 combined together would equal –2.00 percent.

The WaPo and said that is a stretch for Obama to blame slow job growth on the tax cuts and that it was silly to directly link the ten-year-old tax cut to today’s job growth. Also, Obama’s claim of the “slowest job growth,” in fact, includes the loss of jobs under his administration. The White House “evidence” for his claim was a New York Times blog report based on Gross Domestic Product data through 2010 which included the first 2 years of Obama’s administration! The White House also cited a Center on American Progress report on job growth through 2007, which showed monthly job growth of 68,000 jobs during the Bush business cycle. But, since the recession ended, job growth has been even more anemic under Obama—just 40,500 jobs a month.

Obama might have inherited a poor economy but blaming poor job growth on the Bush tax cut is bogus when Obama himself pushed through a nearly $1-trillion stimulus and took other actions that have affected the economy – Obama owns this economy for better or for worse!

Then, Obama blames the Bush tax cuts for “massive deficits” but according to the WaPo the biggest contributor was increased spending and incorrect CBO estimates. The Bush and Obama tax cuts were responsible for just 24% of the deficit so it is simply wrong to only blame the Bush tax cuts for the deficits now, especially three years into another presidential term. And what does the White House offer of evidence of their bogus claim? A TV clip off the left-leaning website Think Progress. Gimma a break! An administration official even had to conceded to the WaPo they had no actual data to back up the president’s assertions!

When it comes to taxes, let’s not forget the legendary statement of Judge Learned Hand—as long as it is not illegal, people can try to lower their taxes as much as possible. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.“

The WaPo found the top 400 taxpayers--all billionaires for 2008 paid an average tax of nearly $50 million each!

The Pinocchio Test – What earned the Prez 3 Pinocchios:

The president larded his case with such suspect data that is impossible for him to justify blaming tax cuts for being mostly responsible for today’s slow job growth, especially when he wants to retain a good chunk of those tax cuts. Then to bolster his case about unfairness, the president relied on a suspect statistic about billionaires paying as little as one percent in taxes. Seems the President pulls his “facts” out of thin air and then convinces himself it's the truth.

What’s the difference between President Obama and a used car salesman? The used car salesman normally knows he’s lying!

To see the entire Washington Post Fact Checker article, enlarge the below graphic.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Biden Ties President's Washington Post Four Pinocchios with "Absurd Claimes About rising Rape & Murder Rates"

Appears Joe Biden is trying to upstage his boss by at least tying him for the Washington Post (WaPo) Fact Checker Biggest Whopper Award - FOUR PINOCCHIOS!

Does anyone really believe Joe Biden, the quintessential political idiot, is qualified to be Vice President? Every time Joe speaks, I listen with anxious anticipation confident he will commit some “world-class” gaffs to provide comic relief. He is the reason every American should pray each evening for Obama's good health as he will surely go down in history as the dumbest and most inept vice president of all times; by comparison he makes Bachmann appear cerebral, Palin intellectual, and Dan Quayle absolutely brilliant. I suspect Obama keeps him around partly because it makes him look good by comparison.

Hence, true to form Joe has been telling some real whoppers (in the WaPo's words, not mine)in an effort to sell another failed stimulus package and read this Fact Checker for the details. Click on it a couple of time to enlarge it if you're having trouble reading it.

For a fuller picture of how dumb Old Joe “the Gaff-mister” really is, I have posted a compendium of "Dumb Biden-isms” on my Blog so scroll down a bit because some of them are a real hoot.

ENJOY

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Washington Post Fact Checker Award Harry Reid 3 Pinocchios for His False Claim That the GOP Won’t ‘Do Anything That’s Constructive’

Once again even the Liberal Washington Post (WaPo) had to call Senator Harry Reid to task for his 17 Oct bold faced lie falsely accusing Republicans that: “… they don't want to do anything that's constructive.”

It should be noted the Republicans tried to bring the President’s exact Jobs bill as submitted to a Senate vote immediately after he submitted it but Reid used the “nuclear option” to procedurally kill it because he knew it would embarrassingly fail not even getting a majority of Democrats to vote for it. Dems have to run for reelection too! Reid did bring up his modified version of the Obama Bill last week but even that failed to advance to a vote with some Democrats voting against it. Now Senate Democrats plan to bring Obama’s bill up in pieces.

The WaPo Fact Checker examined Reid’s assertion that Republicans in the Senate “don’t want to do anything that’s constructive” and concluded it warranted 3 PINOCCHIOS – just one short of their Max but still a pretty big Whopper!You can read the entire WaPo Fact Checker article by clicking on the below image to enlarge it but here is the “Readers’ Digest” version:

The Facts - The President asked Congress to:
-- Pass trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia
-- Pass trade adjustment assistance
-- Pass patent reform
-- Pass Federal Aviation Administration authorization
-- Pass an extension of the highway transportation bill.

…and here is what Congress has done:

On 15 Aug Obama said: “You know, trade deals haven’t always been good for America. There have been times where we haven’t gotten a fair deal out of our trade deals. But we’ve put together a package that is going to allow us to start selling some Chevys and some Fords to Korea so that — we don’t mind having Hyundais and Kias here, but we want some ‘Made in America’ stuff in other countries. That’s something that Congress could do right now.”

The trade bills were approved by Congress last week. In fact, Obama hosted the president of South Korea and traveled with him to Michigan, making the case that this bill will mean more American jobs. It should also be noted that these agreements were negotiated by George Bush but Obama did even submit them to Congress until just before they passed. When Obama made his 15 Aug statement, he hadn’t even submitted the legislation to Congress. It should also be noted that Reid opposed the trade deals, believing them to be job-killers.


On 20 Aug Obama pushed for trade adjustment assistance for workers who lost their jobs to free trade: “Let’s pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses. . . .These are common-sense ideas – ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing holding them back is politics. The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back. That’s what we have to change.”

That bill passed in September, paving the way for the trade deals.

On 15 Aug Obama demanded action on patent reform: “Patent reform is something that a lot of folks don’t talk about, but our entrepreneurs, when they come up with a good idea, if we could reform how that system works and cut some of the red tape, we could have entrepreneurs creating businesses like Google and Microsoft right now, all across the country. But we’ve got to make this investment, and Congress could make that decision to make it happen.”

The patent bill also passed in September.

On 31 Aug Obama called for a deal to avert another FAA shutdown: “So I’m calling on Congress, as soon as they come back, to pass a clean extension of the surface transportation bill, along with a clean extension of the FAA bill, to give workers and communities across America the confidence that vital construction projects won’t come to a halt.”

An extension of FAA funding through January was passed in September.

On 31 Aug Obama called for a renewal of the transportation bill: “This transportation bill has been renewed seven times in the last two years alone. That’s why my Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood — a Republican — is with me today, along with David Chavern from the Chamber of Commerce, and Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO — two organizations who don’t always see eye-to-eye on things — because they agree on how important it is for our economy that Congress act now.”

A bill providing for highway funding through March passed in September too.

So what the bottom line that got the Dems the Big 3 Pinocchios?

Reid is being untruthful when he accuses the Republicans of not wanting “to do anything that's constructive.” The fact is that a number of major bills demanded by the president have passed with bipartisan support and several of the elements of the Obama jobs bill have Republican support but the disagreement between the parties is how to pay for it.

Reid may disagree with the GOP stance on tax increases, but it is misleading to suggest that Republicans have blocked legislation of importance to the president.

Monday, October 10, 2011

DNC Chairwoman Rep Wasserman Schultz Falls Short with Only 3 Pinocchios for Her Latest Whopper Accusing Romney of Wanting to Privatize Social Security

Debbie has always had a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction so most people wouldn’t believe anything she says, even under oath, but lately she must be living in an alternative universe.

After consistently achieving Four Pinocchios, the highest rating for lying on the Washington Post (WaPo) Fact Checker scale, I’m sure Debbie will be “throwing the Red Flag” to ask for an official review after only achieving three on the 6 Oct 11 Checker for her falsehood laden 5 Oct rant accusing Romney of wanting to privatize Social Security.

I’m sure she will be redoubling her efforts because she is falling behind her nearest competitor, Nancy Pelosi. Debbie scored a huge FOUR for her 12 June 11 NBC “Meet The Press” appearance where she claimed Obama had created 2.1 million private-sector jobs since he’s been in office when the Facts, according to the WaPo, are he has lost 2.5 Million. According to the WaPo, “Obama is on track to have the worst job record of any U.S. president since World War II. He may even become the first president in the modern era with no net jobs created during his first term — which, by any stretch of the imagination, is a stunning statistic.”

Then her Dem rival Pelosi earned Four Pinocchios on 29 Sep 11 for her “Really BIG” whopper that GW Bush raised the National Debt by 115% while Obama only raised it 16% when The Truth (according to the WaPo) is GW Bush raised it 5.6% while Obama increased it 24.6%. Nancy never has been good at Math… witness the fact she never even bothered to bring up a Budget Bill during her abbreviated House Speakership! But, come-on Debbie, we're rooting for you to maintain your Pinocchio preeminence!

Below is Debbie's Whopper verbatim from the WaPo so read it and see for yourself the lengths Debbie and her minions will go to distort the truth and twist fact. Drill down on it to enlarge it for easier viewing. Also, scroll down below for latest Nancy’s Four Pinocchio effort as well as Debbie’s previous Four Pinocchio “Meet The Press” moment. Thrown in as a Bonus below is President Obama’s 5 Sep Four Pinocchio Whopper for the president’s Detroit Labor Day speech where he made several fallacious assertions, most notably his claim he passed the “biggest middle-class tax cut in history.” The word the WaPo used to describe this claim: “ridiculous!” Click on the actual article below to enlarge it for easy reading if you want the full text.

Turns out the only thing “historic” about Obama’s claim was the audacity it took to make it. As the WaPo put it, “anytime a politician claims he or she has done something historic… that’s usually a dubious claim.” And what exactly was the source for Obama making such an outlandish claim (that incidentally the WaPo proved untrue), a report based on a White House fact sheet. Furthermore, The WaPo states they “found evidence that Obama knew he was saying a whopper” when he made the untrue claim.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pelosi Again WINS FOUR PINOCCHIOS for Lying About Who Increased the National Debt Most - Bush or Obama!


The Truth: GW Bush 5.6%; Obama 24.6% -- The Pelosi Lie: GW Bush 115% ; Obama 16%

Know how you can tell if Nancy Pelosi is lying? Her lips are moving!

You can’t make this stuff up but when the Washington Post Awards House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi FOUR PINOCCHIOS two times in a row, you got to wonder if her nose is actually beginning to grow. This time is was a whopper of such magnitude one has to wonder if she is even capable of distinguishing fact from fiction. I suspect she is just so gullible she believes and posts on her website anything liberal lie organs like MoveOn.Org tells her. Regardless, we should expect more from all elected officials and especially those in the leadership.

To read the full expose as printed in the Sunday/2 Oct 2011 WaPo, double click on the above graphic to enlarge it but here is the Readers Digest version:

A chart was originally created by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office that said: “Who Increased the Debt? President Reagan 189%. President GHW Bush 55%. President Clinton 37%. President GW Bush 115%. President Obama 16%.”

The ONLY PROBLEMS was, the chart is (according to WaPo) “as phony as a three-dollar bill.” Despite the fact PolitiFact exposed it as a lie way back in May (4 months ago) awarding it their worst rating: “pants on fire,” Pelosi shows she has NO sense of shame because she still has links to this chart from her websites. If she is still deluded into thinking it to be correct — she is doubly shameful.

What are the real Numbers – and to be fair, Kudos to President Clinton!
Reagan: plus 14.9 percentage points
GHW Bush: plus 7.1 percentage points
Clinton: down 13.4 percentage points
GW Bush: plus 5.6 percentage points
Obama: plus 24.6 percentage points

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Many Jobs Has Obama Really Lost!



UPDATE:
According to the 22 Sep 2011 Washington Post Fact Checker: "....the number of overall jobs has declined by 1.9 million since Obama’s stimulus bill was passed into law more than two years ago. Moreover, Obama is on track to have the worst job record of any U.S. president since World War II. He may even become the first president in the modern era with no net jobs created during his first term — which, by any stretch of the imagination, is a stunning statistic.

When the Washington Post awards a Liberal like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, a Pinocchio award – she must have told a World Class lie! You can't make this stuff up! Here unedited is what the Washington Post had to say (Published: 18 June 2011):
The Fact CheckerBy by glenn kessler

“When President Obama took office, the month before he was inaugurated, the economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month, David. . . . You fast-forward 2 1 / 2 years later now, and the economy has created 2.1 million private-sector jobs.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” June 12, 2011

“The Chairwoman is living in Fantasyland. . . . We have lost 2.5 million jobs since Barack Obama has been president.”
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, moments later on the same program

A reader who watched NBC’s “Meet The Press” one week ago found his head spinning as the DNC and RNC chiefs battled with dueling factoids about the employment record under President Obama. He was particularly amused that Wasserman Schultz said there were 2 million more jobs and Priebus asserted there were 2.5 million fewer jobs.

Whew, that’s a swing of nearly 5 million jobs in just a few seconds! They can’t both be right, can they?

Amazingly, they are. Priebus is on more solid ground, rhetorically, but both are cherry-picking the statistics to make the best possible case for their side.

The Facts
The recession that greeted Obama when he took office was one of the worst recessions since the end of World War II. It started in December 2007, but the bottom fell out in late 2008, after the investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed.

The common source of statistics for U.S. employment is the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics current employment survey, which is where Wasserman Schultz and Priebus derived their statistics.

Priebus crafts his figure by starting with employment when Obama took office, which he signals with the phrase “since Barack Obama has been president.” There were 133.56 million people with non-farm (private sector and government) jobs in January 2009; there are 131.04 million people with jobs today. Subtract one from the other and that shows 2.5 million fewer jobs.

So, yes, it is accurate, but is that fair? After all, it took weeks for many of Obama’s polices to be passed by Congress — and months to take effect, while about 2.5 million jobs were lost in the first four months of Obama’s presidency.

Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, starts from a different point — when employment hit rock bottom in February 2010. That was 13 months after Obama became president. It is also eight months after the recession officially ended in June 2009, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That would yield an increase of 1.8 million jobs, but then Wasserman Schultz greases the skids by slipping in the phrase “private-sector jobs.” When government jobs are removed from the statistic, suddenly the job growth is 2.1 million since February 2010.

Wasserman Schultz is taking a page from the other team’s playbook. Republicans have used this kind of job accounting in the past, such as President George W. Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address.

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said that looking at the growth of jobs in the past 15 months is the best reflection of the impact of the stimulus package, which he said took months to work its way through the economy. He added that private-sector jobs are the “most accurate reflection of where the economy is going,” especially because government employment was artificially boosted in 2010 because of census hiring.

RNC spokesman Joe Pounder, not surprisingly, disagrees and defends starting the job count from the beginning of the president’s term. “The president’s major economic policy — the stimulus — was signed into law on February 17, 2009,” Pounder said. “The president and his administration were cited far and wide saying it would have an immediate impact. If the stimulus had worked as the administration intended, I’m sure they would have no problem counting jobs over the course of his entire term.”

We actually think a more logical place to measure job growth would be from the end of the recession — June 2009. That would give the new president time to take ownership of the economic situation, and yet remove some of the job losses that clearly did not happen as a result of his policies.

Counting from June 2009, job growth over two years is 600,000, which is still fairly grim. No wonder the DNC does not use it as a talking point.

Priebus is on more solid ground rhetorically because, like it or not, presidents often are measured by job growth during their entire term. For instance, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), when he was running for president in 2004, frequently charged that Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs in his term.

The Pinocchio Test
Both figures are technically accurate, but they don’t tell the whole story. We will give Priebus a pass because he used a relatively common measure of job growth during a presidency. Wasserman Schultz, by contrast, picked the data set that gave the most positive picture possible, thus distorting the record. It may be a snapshot in time, but it is not a full picture of the economy during Obama’s presidency since the recession ended.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Obama's Crony Capitalism – Solyndra, LightSquared, Who’s Next?


A “flattering pix” of Obama Bundler Philip Falcone, the majority owner of LightSquared (Kevin Wolf/AP)

First it was Solyndra and now it’s LightSquared, is there no end to the Obama Administration’s “Crony Capitalism” where Friends-of-Barack (FOB) Donors get favors at the expense of the rest of us. At least with Solyndra, it was only money – although it was $535 Million of our hard earned Taxpayer dollars – but with LightSquared the White House is gambling with our National Security.

According to a 15 Sep 2011 Daily Beast Article “White House Pressure for a Donor?”
General William Shelton, the Air Force Space Command Commander, gave classified testimony last week before the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces subcommittee that the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to Philip Falcone, a large Democrat donor. Seems Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund belonging to Falcone, is the principal owner of LightSquared. This seems to confirm that the Obama White House routinely politically intervenes in government matters affecting donors or fundraisers.

At issue is a conditional Federal Communications Commission waiver granted in January to LightSquared to build terrestrial wireless capacity in a section of the wireless spectrum close to the GPS bandwidth. The FCC license has come under scrutiny because technical experts have warned that LightSquared’s proposal would disrupt GPS signals thus threaten aviation safety, disrupt military and rescue operations, interfere with high-tech farming equipment and even render useless the everyday navigation devices used by millions. Obviously this would seriously affect National Security.

Not only was General Shelton’s prepared testimony leaked in advance to LightSquare but he was asked to revise it to suggest he supported the White House policy towards commercial broadband at any cost and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared in just 90 days. Obviously this administration doesn’t understand Military ethics and integrity – something they should have taken away from the General Eric Shinseki episode during the Bush Administration. Needless to say, it didn’t work this time either and Shelton gave his testimony on 8 Sep making the Pentagon concerns clear that the LightSquared project would cause significant disruptions to GPS with National Security implications.

According to Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the subcommittee chairman, “There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias (Shelton’s) testimony …. people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.” Even the White House had to admit that its OMB “suggested changes to the general’s testimony” but tried to downplay the interference as routine and that “OMB reviews and clears all agency communications with Congress …” (as an aside, I prepared Army HASC and SASC testimony for 3 years on the Pentagon ARSTAF and I NEVER had to staff testimony outside the Pentagon.)

Even LightSquared acknowledged it met with White House officials to push their project and according to White House emails dubbed “Lightsquared interference meeting,” the meetings took place at a conference center near the White House so that the Obama administration would not have to disclose names—especially lobbyists—in the White House visitors’ logs. On the very day the LightSquared CEO made a $30,400 contribution to the Democratic Party, two of his deputies appealed to the White House for the meetings with Obama’s top technology advisers.

Melanie Sloan, who runs the nonpartisan ethics groups Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said the White House LightSquared involvement seems to mirror the Solyndra case and it “sounds like a pattern of the White House improperly pressuring people at agencies involving decisions that affect companies tied to donors and fundraisers …. It’s always a problem when the White House is pressuring anyone’s testimony. I don’t care if you are a four-star [general] or a GS-15 [career employee], you should be giving your true opinion and not an opinion the White House is seeking for political expediency."

Although the White House maintains it has not tried to influence the FCC licensing process for LightSquared, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated “The FCC’s fast-tracking of LightSquared raises questions about whether the government is rushing this project at the expense of all kinds of other things, including national security and everyone who uses GPS, from agriculture to emergency medical technicians …. there’s no way to know whether the agency is trying to help friends in need or really looking out for the public’s interest.” In April, Grassley asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (a major Obama campaign “bundler”) to hand over all records of communications, including emails between Falcone and the FCC, and LightSquared and the FCC but Genachowski refused.

For a good unbiased report on the E-Mail exchanges showing meetings between White House technology advisers and LightSquared officials, go to The Center for Public Integrity (a nonprofit investigative journalism organization) article at: http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/09/14/6458/emails-show-wireless-firms-communications-white-house-campaign-donations-were-made

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Washington Post Awards President Obama Coveted Four Pinnocchios for 5 Sep Tax Cut Whopper

When a liberal rag like the Washington Post (WaPo) gives a presidential speech FOUR PINOCCHIOS, you know it must have been a World Class lie. Such was the case with the president’s Detroit Labor Day speech where he made several fallacious assertions, most notably his claim he passed the “biggest middle-class tax cut in history.” The word the WaPo used to describe this claim: “ridiculous!” Click on the actual article below to enlarge it for easy reading if you want the full text.

The only thing “historic” about Obama’s claim was the audacity it took to make it. As the WaPo put it, “anytime a politician claims he or she has done something historic… that’s usually a dubious claim.” And what exactly was the source for Obama making such an outlandish claim (that incidentally the WaPo proved was untrue), a report based on a White House fact sheet. Furthermore, The WaPo states they “found evidence that Obama knew he was saying a whopper” when he made the untrue claim.

One final thought, how could Obama have given 95% of Americans a Tax Cut when over 50% of Americans DO NOT Pay any Federal Income Tax!

Unfortunately, the WaPo scale only goes to Four Pinocchios because this one really deserves SIX, even on a one to four scale.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Politico (29 Aug 11) Asked: "Is Rick Perry Dumb" - Here Are the Facts, You Decide!

Politico hack Jonathan Martin posited the question: ”Is Rick Perry Dumb?” in his 29 Aug 11 column, and then went on to describe a complex highly successful politician that has been constantly underestimated by opponents – all at their own peril.

Perry is the ONLY candidate of either party that can boast of creating jobs while in political office! During the Obama reign, half of ALL jobs created in the US were created in Perry’s Texas while, according to the 19 Aug 11 Washington Post Fact Checker: “…. nearly 2.4 million jobs have been lost since Obama took office, the worst record of the modern presidency.” Does this sound like Rick Perry is Dumb?

According to a 21 Jun 11 USA Today: “Texas Wins in US Economy Shift” - with Gov Perry in charge “Texas became the USA's second-largest economy during the past decade— displacing New York and perhaps heading one day toward challenging California — in one of the biggest economic shifts in the past half-century.” Does this sound like Rick Perry is Dumb?

According to Bureau of Economic Analysis, “over the past decade Texas experienced the biggest economic increases in 50 years surpassing $1 Trillion in annual economic output. The state’s share of the US economy during the past decade gained nearly a full percentage reaching 8.3% in 2010 – a feat matched only twice in the past 50 years — by California in the 1980s and Texas itself during the 1970s. By contrast, California’s share of the national economy peaked in 1990 but shrank faster than all but three states from 2000 to 2010.” California is experiencing the death spiral of Higher Taxes to pay for Govt Unions and generous but unaffordable social program which attract more socially needy people looking for handouts -- driving businesses out of the State – requiring Higher Taxes to pay for Govt Unions and generous ….. “ The Death Spiral that Gov Perry has not allowed to happen in Texas. Does this sound like Rick Perry is Dumb?

As this country’s longest serving Governor (since Dec 2000) and the chief executive of our second largest state by both size and population, he presided over this entire decade of growth and is by far the best qualified and most experienced executive in all of US Government. Compare this to our present Commander-in-Chief who had never held an executive position in his life prior to becoming President. Also, Perry is the ONLY credible candidate with Military service. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1972, he completed pilot training and flew C-130s in the States, Middle East and Europe before leaving service as a Captain in 1977. I’ve heard a lot of adjectives used in connection with Air Force pilots but “dumb” has never been one of them. Does this sound like Rick Perry is Dumb?

Now “Dumb” is a relative term and I would suggest that any discussion of dumb politicians should compare them with the quintessential political idiot -- Good Old VP Joe “5 Draft Deferment” Biden – the “Consummate Gaff-mister.” Every time Joe speaks, I listen with anxious anticipation confident he will commit some “world-class” gaffs to provide comic relief. He is the reason every American should pray every evening for Obama's good health as he will surely go down in history as the dumbest and most inept vice president of all times; by comparison he makes Bachmann appear cerebral, Palin smart, Dan Quayle intellectual and Rick Perry absolutely brilliant. As for President Obama’s intellect, compare his record of achievements with those above for Gov Perry and draw your own conclusions. Does this sound like Rick Perry is Dumb?

Writing about political gaffs without mentioning Joe “the Gaff-mister” is like writing about politicians with illegitimate kids and failing to mention Edwards or Schwarzenegger. And remember, President Obama was the person that selected “the Gaff-mister” to be his Vice President and the person he thought was capable of running this country if something were to happen to the president. Now “is that Dumb?” Here are my two favorite “Biden-isms” that demonstrate how dumb he really is although there are so many of them they could fill a bookshelf.

- During the VP Debate with Palin, Biden said that "all the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch are laid out in Article I of the Constitution.” – Well Sorry Joe, they're not. Article I of the Constitution is the one on the legislative branch. Article II are where the Executive Powers are found. Joe's been chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate for 36 years, teaches constitutional law back in Delaware, and can't keep straight which article of the Constitution provides for the legislature and which provides for the executive. Maybe he should be taking instead of teaching Constitutional Law?
In a 22 Sep 08, CBS News interview with Katie Couric, Senator Biden said "Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people .... When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'" Two problems with Biden’s “history,” when the market crashed in 1929 Herbert Hoover -- not Roosevelt -- was president. Roosevelt wasn’t president until 20 April 1933 and Television hadn’t been invented yet…. Other than that Biden got it right.

In defense of Biden, he doesn't commit these gaffs on purpose; he just isn't bright enough to avoid them. Although Obama may have originally selected him as a running mate to fill that all important role of designated "butt of jokes" for the late night comedians -- a role for which he has proven ideally suited and eminently well qualified – his shtick is beginning to wear a little thin which is why Obama doesn’t let him out in public much any more and replacing him on the 2012 ticket isn’t all that much of a stretch. The Obama challenge is "Hidin Biden" until 2012! With his history of gaffs, plagiarism, explaining his draft dodging and other dumb stunts, I can't imagine what a Biden presidency would be like. Possibly more pronouncements like the ones on his recent China trip endorsing forced sterilizations and ninth month abortions.

If you really want a fuller picture of how dumb Old Joe “5 Deferment” really is, I have posted a compendium of "Dumb Biden-isms” on a 9 Oct 2010 Blog entry (below) entitled: Joe Biden - The Consummate Gaff-mister and Some of My Favorite “Biden-isms”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wikipedia - A Bastion of Liberal Misinformation & Distortions


A Call to Arms for All Fair Minded People to Become Contributors to Correct Liberal Tilting Wikipedia Entries with “Fair and Balanced” Factual Information

Wikipedia should come with a warning label much the same as cigarettes because relying on anything published in it “could be hazardous to your (intellectual) health.”

Most of the entries contain either factually inaccurate information or at least information culled from published sources that have greatly distorted or revised history. It appears most Wikipedia entries have a very liberal bent which is obvious to anyone that objectively reviews articles. Bios of Democrat politicians are normally much more laudatory in tone and either exclude or minimize derogatory information while Republican bios are routinely much harsher. Even subtle methods are often used to advance a liberal viewpoint. For example, in the entry on “Draft Dodger,” reference is made to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney and Bill Clinton as examples – three Republicans and one Democrat. Balance might have suggested using Republicans Bush and Cheney, and Clinton and Vice President Biden.” (although for the record, Bush flying antique Air National Guard Convair F-102s was probably in more danger than I was during an extended CIB-earning tour in Vietnam!)

Another even better example of subtle liberal bias is this passage in the John F. Kennedy Bio describing the Bay of Pigs Invasion: “Prior to Kennedy's election to the presidency, the Eisenhower Administration created a plan to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba” thus implying that Kennedy merely inherited Eisenhower's flawed plan. “Documentation” for this fallacious accusation was the writings of Kennedy administration officials Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Theodore Sorensen; when, in fact, both men were writing to defend their boss from criticism by unjustly deflecting blame on Eisenhower. In fact, reputable scholars now acknowledge that Eisenhower wasn't even aware of the invasion plan and he even said so in an article published by the New York newspaper Newsday in 1965 titled "Ike Speaks Out: Bay of Pigs was all JFK's.'' Unfortunately, “inconvenient facts” are not welcome in Wikipedia.

To perpetuate their liberal agenda, Wikipedia has appointed a cadre of “like minded progressive” volunteer “Administrators” who are editors trusted with access to restricted policing tools so they can “protect,” “delete,” and even “block” contributions by others who make edits that don’t conform to their liberal biases.

Bottom line: If you like getting your news from Newsweek, you’ll love getting your “facts” from Wikipedia! I wouldn't believe a Wikipedia Editor under oath!

So what’s the FIX! I’m calling on ALL Fair Minded people that believe Wikipedia ought to be providing “Fair and Balanced” treatment of all subjects to become contributors. Scour all entries, especially those prone for liberal distortions such as political Bios, and correct inaccuracies. Be diligent because the liberal Administrator/editors will throw in every conceivable roadblock to thwart your efforts. At times it will be frustrating but if enough fair minded people make the effort, it will eventually overwhelm their capacity to filter out the truth.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who Exactly Are the “Better Off Among Us” Not Paying Their Fair Share of the Taxes?

The Progressive mantra as articulated by our President is: all we need do to sustain all the Federal give-away programs is to ask the best off among us to pay "a little more." According to the non-partisan Tax Payers Union, the top 1% already pay ~40% of the Federal Income Taxes and the Top 5% pay ~60% while over half the population pay NONE at all, so who exactly isn’t paying their “fair-share?”

When you have more people “in the wagon” than “pulling the wagon,” the incentive is to stop pulling and get in to allow the other dwindling minority to carry an even bigger load of dead weight. Is this what our Progressive President is advocating?

Some argue that those that don’t pay Income Taxes do pay other taxes, e.g. gas tax and payroll tax. That’s true but those are specific taxes for specific services; gas taxes fund roads, and payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. Here low income contributors actually receive a disproportionally larger benefit than their contributions cover. Those that don’t pay income tax contribute nothing to the common functions of Government for which they also derive great benefit. These include National Defense, law enforcement and criminal justice, environmental protection, and hundreds of other common services. Those who don’t contribute but derive great benefits from these common services enjoy an equal vote about how they are delivered yet have no incentive to constrain costs or encourage efficiency. At a time of unsustainable deficits and debt does anyone really expect the people “in the wagon” to be in a position to weigh the benefits of “give-away programs” against their costs?

I believe the bottom line to this is we cannot go on forever borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend before the rest of the World that is “helping to pull our wagon” quits helping to pull or at least want a lot more money to help us. The inevitable result is the “wagon stops” and everyone, riders and pullers, are in trouble. This is a catastrophe that doesn’t have to happen if we get our house in order now but it will call for shared sacrifice. All Americans need to have some “skin in the game.” We should let all the Bush era tax cuts expire in 2013 (except for the inheritance tax which makes it impossible to continue to operate a small business S-Corporation or a family farm when an owner dies) and find a way to include that half paying nothing so they have a stake in the County’s future and an incentive to constrain costs. Americans have always been great at pulling together in emergencies so let’s lay out the facts and involve everyone in the “shared sacrifice.”

Is Newsweek Magazine Trying to Go Out of Business on Purpose?


I noticed that Newsweek has switched format from News to Fiction. What’s next, replacing Editor Tina Brown with Oliver Stone? Here’s a bit of unsolicited business advice for Newsweek about why it is a dying weekly that probably wasn’t even worth the $1 it recently sold for and why it will probably go under within the next two years. Not only do they fabricate their “facts” but they routinely miss the big story of the Week that WILL SELL copies. Either Newsweek is tone deaf or just trying to go out of business on purpose (a la the movie “Major League”).

Case in point, the week the S&P Downgraded the US Credit Rating along with the Stock Market tanking, that story was on the front pages of every credible newspaper or weekly. What was the best Newsweek could do? Put a demeaning Photo of Michele Bachmann and a snarky caption on the cover! Given Newsweek already had covers with a Photoshopped Mitt Romney head on some kid’s body jumping and the Sarah Palin Runners World cover, one would almost believe they were trying to belittle Republicans and hence ensure they couldn’t sell to that market!

When I was retiring from the Army, Newsweek offered me a multi-year subscription that came out to be about a buck and a half ($1.50) a year and it doesn’t run out until April 2013. My wife will not let it in the house so I only flip through it as it moves directly from the mailbox to the trash. I’d cancel my subscription but I feel I’m performing a patriotic service as I’m confident it cost them more to print and mail my copy than I paid for it. Hence, Newsweek losing money on my subscription hastens their demise – and that’s truly a Public Service.

Newsweek Article Pays Tribute to “Hanoi Jane” Fonda – What’s Next? “Person of the Year” Honors?


Hanoi Jane Fonda Manning a NVA Anti-aircraft Gun

Newsweek’s 22 & 29 Aug 2011 Double Issue featured an extremely laudatory piece on Fonda but this was my favorite passage in this entire article: “….her perceived antipathy for veterans during the Vietnam War ….” If “Hanoi Jane’s” actions could be described as “perceived antipathy,” as a Vietnam Vet (actually extended there) I’d hate to be around if she were to ever really get pissed off at me.

For the record Fonda visited Hanoi in July 1972 and made several false anti-American accusations that the North Vietnamese used for propaganda. During her trip, Fonda made ten radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as "war criminals;" her most egregious accusation was she falsely accused them of deliberately targeting the Red River dike system which, if true, might have drown as many as 200,000 people.

A contemporary 7 Aug 1972 Time Magazine article “VIET NAM: The Battle of the Dikes”
(http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,8... ) refuted this allegation and contained this passage:

“During (Columnist Joseph Kraft’s) own current tour of North Viet Nam, Kraft reasoned that if the U.S. Air Force were "truly going after the dikes, it would do so in a methodical, not a harum-scarum way." Summarized Kraft: "I have to conclude from what I have seen that there is no deliberate American drive to bomb the dikes. But the dikes do run parallel to many roads. Some are close to railroad tracks and bridges." Inevitably, some dikes have been hit in error, Kraft believes, and the damage—also inevitably —has been exploited by the North Vietnamese for propaganda purposes.

Kraft's conclusion supported the US officials version, that the dikes were not being "targeted," but that a few dikes near military targets had been accidentally damaged. The State Department released the results of a photo-reconnaissance of the entire Red River Delta taken in mid-July which revealed bomb craters at only twelve locations in the dike system—ten of them near petroleum storage tanks, and all relatively minor. The evidence showed conclusively that there has been no intentional bombing of the dikes.

I would only point out that Joseph Kraft (1924-1986), a former John F. Kennedy speechwriter, and Washington Post and New York Times reporter with a syndicated column running in over 200 papers was in North Vietnam at the same time as Fonda and was NO friend of Nixon's or the War; he was even on Nixon's "Enemies List" and was highly critical of the Vietnam War. Kraft would have jumped on any opportunity to disparage Nixon or the War if something had been there. There wasn't!

During the visit, Hanoi Jane even had the audacity to be photographed manning an anti-aircraft battery and there are persistent rumors that some POWs were forced to meet with her and she spat on them, called them "baby-killers." Then, when some POWs attempted to sneak notes to her to let their families know they were alive she turned the note over to the North Vietnamese which led to the prisoners being tortured.

When cases of torture began to emerge among the returning POWs, Fonda called the returning POWs "hypocrites and liars.” In my opinion this is the moral equivalent of Hanoi Jane being a “Holocaust Denier.”

To be fair, in a 1988 Barbara Walters interview Fonda expressed regret for some of her comments and actions saying: "I would like to say something … to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did…. I was thoughtless and careless … I want to apologize to them and their families… I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in an anti-aircraft gun, which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes…. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless..."

Of course her apology came at a time when a group of New England Veterans had launched a campaign to disrupt a film project she was working on so Hanoi Jane's apology might ring a tad hallow and have been motivated more by self economic interest than remorse.

Friday, August 19, 2011

NEWSWEEK Changes Format to Fiction - Rewriting the Bay of Pigs History

Where Obama's “Blame My Predecessor” Political Strategy Originated
I hadn’t realized Newsweek had switched formats from News to Fiction until I read “The Untold Story of the Bay of Pigs” in this week’s (22 & 29 Aug 11 Double Issue) edition. What's next? Is Oliver Stone going to replace Tina Brown as their new editor? Anyone wishing to know the truth rather than this whitewash intended to relieve JFK of his richly deserved ‘credit” for the Bay of Pigs fiasco should access the C-SPAN website at: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/PigsM to hear Professor Irwin Gillman’s excellent (and factual) presentation entitled “The Coming of the Bay of Pigs: Myth and Reality” which was most recently broadcast on C-Span just last week, 14 Aug 2011. Liberals would have you believe that Eisenhower had it all planned and left office leaving Kennedy “holding the bag.” In truth, Eisenhower wasn't even aware of the invasion plan and said so in an article published by the New York newspaper Newsday in 1965 titled "Ike Speaks Out: Bay of Pigs was all JFK's.''

The following is plagiarized almost verbatim from the C-SPAN Website:

Professor Gellman is the visiting scholar of history at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and has written four books on U.S. and Latin American history, including "Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles,'' published in 1995 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The Professor points out that historians in recent years have tended to shift the blame for one of the greatest U.S. foreign policy disasters in the 20th century on Kennedy's predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower. They say Kennedy merely inherited Eisenhower's flawed plan to use Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and oust Fidel Castro. But they've got it all wrong, Gellman said, basing their scholarship on the writings of Kennedy administration officials Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Theodore Sorensen. Both men sought to defend their boss, who was assassinated in 1963, from criticism by fixing blame on Eisenhower.

"Sorensen wishes you to believe that Kennedy had no choice, that when Eisenhower leaves office, Kennedy was stuck. There was no option for the guy. And that's how history is written, and that's the story that's told,'' Gellman said.

Instead, Eisenhower wasn't even aware of the invasion plan and said so in an article published by the New York newspaper Newsday in 1965 titled "Ike Speaks Out: Bay of Pigs was all JFK's.''

According to Gellman, these are things many historians never take the time to read before thinking that Eisenhower was at fault for the plan.

"If you are a good liberal, do you go on the position that because Eisenhower initially started a movement to get rid of Castro, that makes him the player of the Bay of Pigs? Which by the way, anybody that reads the documents will tell you that there was no Eisenhower involvement. He wasn't even consulted,'' Gellman said.

The Bay of Pigs invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by the U.S. government to overthrow Castro. A group of about 1,400 Cuban exiles was assembled and trained by the CIA for several months to invade the Bahia de Cochinos, or Bay of Pigs, on April 17, 1961. But Castro was ready for the invasion and his 25,000 troops defeated, killed or captured many of the invaders, embarrassing the United States and causing Castro to form a closer alliance with the Soviet Union.

Gellman called the plan "crazy'' and marked by "stupidity,'' including lack of air support and leaving its execution in the hands of the CIA, an intelligence organization, not a military one.

But if there was going to be an invasion, Gellman argued, it would have fared better under Eisenhower, a decorated five-star general who was Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, whose maxim was “If you're going to use force, then you better win.” (End of C-SPAN Quote)

So if anyone is wondering where President Obama came up with his “Blame My Predecessor” strategy for his failure to fix the US economy, one need look no further than President Kennedy. Appears this has been in the Democrat’s political playbook for at least 50 years!

Honor All Vets But Reserve a Special Place for Those of World War II


In today’s Washington Post (19 Aug 2011) there was an excellent article: “World War II veteran remembers historic B-17 attack against Germany" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/world-war-ii-veteran-remembers-historic-b-17-attack-against-germany/2011/08/18/gIQAdipVOJ_story.html) and it got me to thinking, most Americans today don’t realize how costly in lives World War II really was, especially when compared to our present wars. Actually, the 8th Air Force alone in WWII sustained more than 27,000 killed; that’s more than the entire Marine Corps (24,500) lost in that war. Although they had the highest casualty rate, the 8th Air Force was only one of 16 numbered Air Forces in the War. Americans of today owe a real debt of gratitude to the WWII generation for their sacrifices.

Understand as a Vietnam combat Vet who spent 30 years in the Army (and was in Afghanistan as a civilian last year), I consider every service member’s life precious and I don’t wish to diminish the death of a single one but to put things into perspective, here are the stats from our most recent wars compared to WWII:

In the 10 years we’ve been in Afghanistan (Oct 2001-Today/Aug 2011), we’ve lost 1726 military killed from all causes in country and the surrounding regions (1192 Soldiers, 357 Marines, 84 Airmen and 93 Sailors). That averages less than ½ person lost per day.

In the 8½ years we’ve been in Iraq (Mar 2003-Today/19 Aug 2011), we’ve lost 4565 military killed from all causes in country and the surrounding regions (3283 Soldiers, 1022 Marines, 57 Airmen, 103 Sailors and 1 Coast Guardsmen).

Theoretically the Vietnam War lasted 10 years but 51,585 of the total 58,220 killed occurred during the real 5 years (1966-70) of the war when we were heavily engaged. At the height of the war in 1968 we were losing 50 a day killed!

The Korean War lasted 3 years and one month (Jun 1950 – Jul 53) and total US Killed was 36,516. That averages ~32+ killed a day

All these conflict pale in comparison to World War II where the US lost almost half a million men. The Battle of the Bulge alone lasted 40 days (16 Dec 44 – 25 Jan 45) with almost 90,000 U.S. casualties; 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing. The 36-day Iwo Jima assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead while the 82-day Battle for Okinawa lasted from early April until mid-June 1945 and U.S. (5 Army and 2 Marine Corps Divisions) casualties were over 62,000 with over 12,000 killed.

Honor ALL Veterans but reserve a special place for the Heroes from World War II!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"The One" for 2012 is Anyone But Obama! and Maybe Perry Will Be Ready in 2016.

It's unfortuate that Texas Gov Rick Perry self destructed so will not be the Republican nominee and next President -- this time around. The main issue concerning Americans for the 2012 election will be … In the words of VP Biden: “it’s a 3-letter word… JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! (Nobody ever accused Biden of being very bright).

Rick Perry was the ONLY candidate of either party, declared or undeclared, that could boast of creating jobs while in political office! During the Obama reign, half of ALL jobs created in the US were created in Perry’s Texas! Pretty impressive! By contract, according to the Fact Checker in the 19 Aug 11 Washington Post, "...job growth is measured from the start of a presidency. That would show nearly 2.4 million jobs have been lost since Obama took office, the worst record of the modern presidency."

According to a 21 Jun 11 USA Today article – “Texas Wins in US Economy Shift” – “Texas became the USA's second-largest economy during the past decade — displacing New York and perhaps heading one day toward challenging California — in one of the biggest economic shifts in the past half-century.”

According to Bureau of Economic Analysis, over the past decade Texas experienced the biggest economic increases in 50 years surpassing $1 trillion in annual economic output. The state’s share of the US economy during the past decade gained nearly a full percentage point reaching 8.3% in 2010 – a feat matched only twice in the past 50 years — by California in the 1980s and Texas itself during the 1970s oil boom. By contrast, according to the article California’s “share of the national economy peaked in 1990 but shrank faster than all but three states from 2000 to 2010.”

As this country’s longest serving Governor (since Dec 2000) and the chief executive of our second largest state by both size and population, he presided over this entire decade of growth and is by far the best qualified and most experienced executive in all of US Government. Compare this to our present Commander-in-Chief who had never held an executive position in his life prior to his election as President – and it shows. His 3 terms in the Illinois Senate and 4 years in the US Senate hardly prepared him to be a decision-maker and it certainly didn’t make him an inspirational leader or speaker – as evidenced by the market dropping almost 700 points almost while he was on the air speaking on TV trying to “inspire” the Nation and quell the markets during a recent almost 700 point drop.

I would also add that, with the exception of Ron Paul, Perry was also the ONLY candidate that has ever served in the Military which the President presides over as Commander-in-Chief. Perry was commissioned in the Air Force in 1972 out of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets ROTC program and after completing pilot training, flew C-130 tactical airlift in the States, Middle East, and Europe. He left the Air Force in 1977as a captain. Ron Paul, a medical doctor, was an Air Force active duty flight surgeon from 1963 to 65.

With Gov Perry we would have gotten a seasoned decision-making executive and leader –and at least nobody would have needed to teach Perry how to salute or identify the insignias of rank.

With Perry we still need a Republican "The One" replacing "The Great Pretender" Obama.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Newsweek Bachmann Cover - Are They Trying to Go Out of Business?

Here’s a bit of unsolicited business advice for Newsweek about why it is a dying weekly that probably wasn’t even worth the $1 it recently sold for and why it will probably go under within the next two years. When the biggest story going that WILL SELL copies this week is the S&P Downgrade of the US Credit Rating along with the Stock Market tanking and what is the the best they can do? Put a demeaning Photo of Michele Bachmann and a snarky caption on the cover! Given they already had covers with a Photoshopped Mitt Romney with his head on some kid’s jumping body and the Sarah Palin Runners World cover, one would almost believe they were trying to belittle Republicans. Is Newsweek tone deaf or are they just trying to go out of business on purpose?

When I was retiring from the Army, Newsweek offered me a multi-year subscription that came out to be about a buck and a half ($1.50) a year and it doesn’t run out until April 2013. My wife will not let it in the house so I only flip through it as it moves directly from the mailbox to the trash. I’d cancel my subscription but I feel I’m performing a patriotic service as I’m confident it cost them more to print and mail my copy than I paid for it. Hence, Newsweek losing money on my subscription hastens their demise – and that’s truly a Public Service.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Standard & Poor’s or Should It Be Renamed “Slander and Boor’s”

Anyone that follows my Blog knows I’m no fan of the Obama Administration’s financial policy but I have to agree with them this time in their assessment of the credibility of S&P with their downgrading of the US credit rating. Trusting an S&P credit rating is like accepting investment advice from Bernie Madoff. Both have proven to be equally unreliable over the past five years.

First, S&P is the only one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies (CRAs), (the other two are: Moody's Investor Service and Fitch Ratings), to take this unprecedented step to embarrass and slander the credit worthiness of the United States.

Second, what is the definition of the highest AAA rating from which the US was just downgraded from to AA+? AAA: best-quality borrowers, reliable and stable (many of them sovereign governments)

A trivia question: what do ALL the countries that still have an across the board AAA Rating have in common? Hint: They are Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (and separately Guernsey & Isle of Man).

Answer: They all depend on the United States for protection and it is that very blanket of protection that even enables their economies to exist yet they now enjoy a higher credit rating than the country that secures their very existence. Now that’s ironic.

So exactly which of these AAA Rated countries does S&P really believe is more “reliable and stable” than the United States? Also, why does S&P think the entire World flocks to US Treasury instruments as their safest investments in times of uncertainty? Is S&P really smarter than not only the other CRAs but also all the other investors in the World? Regardless of what’s been happening in Washington over the past quarter, does S&P really believe the US has a chance in Hell of defaulting on any of its debt obligations? The AAA Rating is supposed to evaluate the safety of the investment and nothing else.

With all this said, let’s examine the recent S&P track record. S&P has taken some well earned criticism in the wake of large losses beginning in 2007 in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market that occurred despite S&P assigning their top AAA credit ratings to large portions of even the riskiest pools of loans. Investors trusted the low-risk profile that an S&P AAA implies and purchased large amounts of CDOs that later became unsellable or those that could be sold took staggering losses. For instance, losses on $340.7 million worth of S&P AAA rated CDOs issued by Credit Suisse Group added up to about $125 million. To quote Time Magazine: S&P “granted AAA rating to Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) that were chock-full-of crap mortgages, thereby helping to precipitate the 2008 financial collapse” and The Washington Post put it a little more bluntly: "Standard and Poor's didn't just miss the bubble. They helped cause it."

Because companies pay S&P to rate their debt issues, S&P is beholden to these issuers so its ratings are not always objective. Now with this US downgrade, I believe S&P is causing further damage for its own agenda. Add to that S&P even acknowledges they made a $2 Trillion (that’s with a “T”) Math error in its justification for downgrading the US credit rating so I have to agree with the Treasury Department that "A judgment flawed by a $2 Trillion error speaks for itself." S&P is not only “The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight,” they can’t even add straight yet here a bunch of “unidentified” company employees have made an arbitrary decision that could adversely affect the lives of 300+ Million Americans. Not only are they not elected by the public, they are not accountable for their decision making process, have a dubious track record to say the least and there is no appeals process against their credit-rating decisions.

I strongly urge Congress to hold hearing as soon as possible to examine the decisions of all the CRAs but especially S&P and while they are at it, the inquiry needs to be expanded to determine S&P’s liability in the CDO fiasco. I suspect the result will be they are as responsible for losses as any of the financial institutions that issued these worthless instruments so should be financially responsible to investor for losses resulting from any investment decision that relied on an S&P AAA ratings.

One final comment, S&P is a Division of McGraw-Hill and is run by Harold Whittlesey "Terry" McGraw III (born 1948) who is the chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO). McGraw’s total 2009 compensation was $5,905,317 ($1,390,500 Base Salary +, $1,261,000 cash bonus + $924,060 stock granted + $1,854,583 option grants + $475,174 other compensation) while everyone else was losing their shirts over the CDO melt down he was responsible for causing. Where’s the justice? One final insult, born in 1948, “Terry” was of prime draft age during the Vietnam War yet was a successful Draft Dodger!

I can only deplore the slander heaped upon my Country by Standard & Poor’s so maybe they should be renamed: “Slander and Boor’s”

TX Gov Rick Perry & President Obama Both Invoke Their Faith into Their Politics … Yet It’s Perry That Gets Criticized?

What’s all the hoopla about Gov Rick Perry and his faith? Here’s what the papers reported about how President Obama addressed his faith yet not a peep was heard about him being a religious zealot by the press:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Thursday (3 Feb 11) that his faith has deepened during his two years in the White House … Speaking at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Obama said "I pray that God will show me and all of us the limits of our understanding and open our ears and our hearts to our brothers and sisters with different points of view, that such reminders of our shared hopes and our shared dreams and our shared limitations as children of God will reveal a way forward that we can travel together."

…and here is what Gov Perry said and he’s being portrayed as a religions fanatic:

HOUSTON - Texas Gov. and possible Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry led a crowd of roughly 30,000 Christians Saturday (6 Aug 11), asking God to help a nation he calls “in crisis,” at a Christian-revival event he organized “Father, our heart breaks for America, we see discord at home, we see fear in the marketplace, we see anger in the halls of government, …. As a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that, we cry out for your forgiveness.”

I would opine that reporting on the religious proclivities of our politicians is a distraction from the real issue concerning Americans… In the words of VP Biden, it a 3-letter word… JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! (Nobody ever accused Biden of being able to count).

Rick Perry is the ONLY candidate of either party, declared or undeclared, that can boast of creating jobs while in political office! During the Obama reign, half of ALL jobs created in the US were created in Perry’s Texas! Pretty impressive! BY contract, according to the Fact Checker in the 19 Jun 11 Washington Post, “since Barack Obama has been president…there are 2.5 million fewer jobs.”

Also with the exception of Ron Paul, Perry is also the ONLY candidate that has ever served in the Military which the President presides over as Commander-in-Chief. Perry was commissioned in the Air Force in 1972 out of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets ROTC program and after completing pilot training, flew C-130 tactical airlift in the States, Middle East, and Europe. He left the Air Force in 1977as a captain. Ron Paul, a medical doctor, was an Air Force active duty flight surgeon from 1963 to 65. At least no one would have to teach Perry how to salute or identify the insignias of rank.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Book Review: “Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama” by the Father-Daughter Kalb Revisionist Historians

Just because the father-daughter tag team of Marvin and Deborah Kalb say it in a book doesn’t make it true – especially when coming from one half of the Harvard-New York Times bred Bernard-Marvin Kalb elite team of revisionist historians. Such is the case here with the Kolb’s accretion that we “lost the Vietnam War.” Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it Bernard that quit the Reagan Administration because he didn’t like how they were treating Libyan leader COL Gaddafi? As an extended tour Vietnam Vet, I don’t much like how the Kalb’s are spinning history to fit their thesis for their new book: “Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama.”

One only has to look at how the Kalbs participated in spinning what even the North Vietnamese considered a terrible defeat -- the Jan-Feb 1968 Tet Offensive -- into a U.S. loss and debacle to recognize they have an agenda here beyond selling books and making money. Even the Hanoi leadership was apoplectic over the outcome of their great gamble that ended in their dismal failure and defeat. In total, approximately 85,000–100,000 communist troops participated in the initial onslaught and the follow-up phases which resulted in 45,267 of them killed. In 1968 alone over 181,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops were killed and from that point on Hanoi was forced to fill one-third of the Viet Cong ranks with North Vietnamese regulars. It was only after the Communist leadership saw how the U.S. Press reacted to the Tet Offensive that they began to propagandize their "victory" and U.S. anti war newspapers like the Kalb’s own New York Times were only too happy to give voice to this communist propaganda.

Fast forward past the “Vietnamization” of the war to January 1973, and The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam." This agreement resulted in a cease-fire, release of U.S. POWs, the guarantee of the territorial integrity of Vietnam, national elections, and total withdrawal of U.S. forces. Although U.S. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam, North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South, but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed.

The communists had expected the ceasefire terms would favor them but Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid just before the ceasefire, began to roll back the Vietcong. With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures proceeded unimpeded and Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South by 1975.

But it was what happened in U.S. politics and a Democratic take over of both houses of Congress in the Nov 72 elections that ultimately contributed to the U.S abandoning our South Vietnamese allies. Although McGovern lost 49 of 50 states for Nixon’s reelection, many American voters split their tickets. In March 73, Nixon hinted he might intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire but the Democrat Congress reacted unfavorably and when during his June 73 confirmation hearings Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam, the U.S. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment on 4 June 1973 to prohibit such intervention. Then when Nixon resigned over Watergate and Ford became President in Aug 74, Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. The U.S. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war and Congress immediately voted in new restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. It was this and NOT any U.S. Military defeat that doomed South Vietnam.

Buoyed by the Democratic Congress abandonment and in total disregard for the Paris Accords, the Communists resumed a full scale War. Then in Jan 75 when a provincial capital fell, Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun. Congress refused and this finally sealed South Vietnam’s fate. This lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese demoralized but at the start of 1975, the South Vietnamese still had overwhelming military superiority over their Communist enemies but did face a highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam with material and financial support still pouring in from the communist bloc countries. Abandoned by the American military and Congressional denial of financial support, an embittered and tearful South Vietnamese President Thieu resigned on 7 April declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. By the end of April, the South Vietnamese military collapsed and by 27 April, 100,000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. Early in the morning of 29 April Sec Def Schlesinger announced the evacuation of Saigon by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel. In an atmosphere of desperation, as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space, the U.S. ambassador pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves but to no avail. In the early morning hours of 30 April, the last U.S. personnel evacuated the embassy by helicopter as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate.

On 30 April 1975, North Vietnamese troops overcame the last resistance and captured key buildings and installations thus ending of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries, primarily France, China, Japan, Britain, and America.

The responsibility for the ultimate failure of U.S. Policy and our withdrawal from Vietnam lies not with the men who fought, but with those in Congress. The U.S. Military was NEVER once defeated on the battlefield and left South Vietnam in a militarily superior position where they could have prevailed over the North indefinitely if they had continued to receive U.S. financial support at least equal to that being received from the Communist Bloc by the North.

By war's end, 58,220 U.S. troops were killed and more than 150,000 wounded with about 21,000 permanently disabled. Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger. A total of 8.615 Million men served during the Vietnam era and of them 2.15 Million actually served in Country. Three-fourths of those deployed were from working families and poor youths were twice as likely to serve there than their more affluent cohorts although the vast majority of them were volunteers. Hence, socio-economic status was the greatest determinate of who actually served in Vietnam and of all the service members who served there, 88.4% were Caucasian (including Hispanics), 10.6% were black, and 1% other. At the time, Blacks represented 12.5% of the total U.S. population and 13.5% of the military age cohort, so they were under represented in the war zone. Casualty data shows 86.8% of those killed in action were Caucasian, while 12.1% were Black.

In 1995, the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces suffered a total of 1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded during their conflict with the United States and the U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war and Civilian deaths have been estimated to be about two million total in both the North and South.

With a U.S.-South Vietnam kill ration of about 4 to 1 against the North, a record of never being bested on the battlefield and a U.S. withdrawal leaving South Vietnam in a position to endure indefinitely only to be betrayed by a withdrawal of financial support by a Democratic Congress, should this be described as a U.S. defeat?

It was certainly NOT a defeat by the U.S. Military but it might be more accurately described as a defeat by a Democrat controlled U.S. Congress – possibly with an agenda to embarrass a Republican President Ford. In retrospect, the Kalbs might have inadvertently hit on a lesson for President Obama. Not the one they intended linking Afghanistan with Vietnam but rather the consequences of one party controlling Congress trying to embarrass a president of another party and the residual affects it has on the Country.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Washington Post "Blows" GEN Shalikashvili Obit - Why the WaPo Should Employ at Least One Vet!


Once again, the WaPo has demonstrated why they should hire at least one Vet proofreader so they can quit making boneheaded misstatements like this one in their 24 July Obit: “Gen. Shalikashvili, a four-star general in the Army, was the first immigrant and the first onetime enlisted man to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the highest military council in the United States. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 ….” As an aside, as a young Major I served with the general in the early 80s on the ARSTAF in the Pentagon and was present at his promotion ceremony to brigadier general.

Several Chairmen have enlisted service (while attending officer training) similar to GEN Shalikashvili although he was the only one originally drafted into the Army. He was drafted into the Army in 1958 and, as a college graduate, was offered the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) immediately after he completed his basic entry enlisted training. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1959 having never served in a line unit as an enlisted man.

The ONLY Chairman with REAL enlisted service was GEN John W. Vessey, Jr. who served Jun 82 – Sep 85. GEN Vessey enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 1939 at age 16 and was activated in Feb 41 in the mobilization prior to our entry into WWII. By Sep 42, he was a company First Sergeant (Top enlisted man in the unit) and received a Battlefield Commission to Second Lieutenant in May 44 on the Anzio Beachhead in Italy.

Granted GEN Shalikashvili was President Clinton’s Chairman and in retirement has become something of a darling to the left because of some of his liberal views such as his support for allowing Gays to serve but that’s no excuse for the WaPo to embellish the General’s resume. He was a distinguished Soldier in his own right with a resume that needs no puffing and his passing is a reason for mourning by all who have served. REST IN PEACE GEN SHALI (as he was known to those who knew him).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Posted Comments about the West-Wasserman Squabble Demonstrates How Little the General Public Knows about the Military!

I’m not going to get into the substance of the squabble between Rep. Allen West (R-FL.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) other than to say both are making a ton of money in campaign contributions off it and for Schultz to “play the female victim” here makes her appear a touch “Palin-esque.” What I have noticed from reading the comments and blogs is, if those commenting are any reflection of the military knowledge of the general public, then elimination of the draft has resulted in a military-clueless generation.

Unlike several “experts” opining on the Blogs, I don’t know much about West except I checked and he is definitely on the U.S. Army retired roles in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel so those claiming he resigned in lieu of Court Martial are as ignorant as some in Congress! Other than what I’ve read in the newspapers, I don’t know the true circumstances of his retirement … but, being a retired Army Colonel who has been a convening authority and president of several Courts, I do know a little about Military Law and regulations -- which is something that obviously several of the contributors to this discussion don’t.

The applicable Army Regulation governing a Resignation for the Good of the Service (RFGOS) in Lieu of Court Martial is AR 600-8-24, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3-13, and an officer submitting such a resignation normally receives an Other than Honorable Discharge but regardless of characterization of service, the officer is not authorized to retire nor receives VA benefits with a very few exceptions (e.g. converted life insurance).

Some of the pontificators are probably the very same “military experts” that still believe the Washington myth that former Army Chief of Staff of (& now VA Secretary) GEN Eric Shinseki was fired for standing up to Rumsfeld and challenging the Bush administration over the Iraq War when in truth, he retired after serving every last minute of his full four year term.

After posting this above comment, I received several responses wishing to “correct me” and telling me that “it’s a matter of record that LTC West was given an Article 15 and retired in Lieu of Court Martial.” Once again, this demonstrates the public’s ignorance of Military Law. There is NO provision in law or regulation to even FORCE a service member to accept Non-Judicial Punishment (UP Article 15, UCMJ). Non-judicial punishment is OFFERED to an accused to resolve minor offenses under the UCMJ in lieu of Court Martial but it is an option of the accused to either ACCEPT non-judicial punishment or DEMAND a Court Martial. Once the Article 15 was accepted by LTC West, a RFGOS in Lieu of Court Martial was off the table. Granted, an Article 15 is career ending for an Officer so they normally retire if eligible but they cannot be forced to retire. If the Army really wishes to terminate the Officer, it can begin administrative elimination procedures but this is a whole new action from the non-judicial punishment. Initiation of elimination proceedings might “encourage” a retirement eligible officer to submit for retirement but this is neither a “resignation” or a retirement “in lieu of Court Martial.”

Sometimes it’s best if some people just stick to talking about subjects they know something about.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

US Inspector General Makes Obama ATF Admit Only a Fraction of Illegal Weapons Seized in Mexico Come from US!

Reference the Washington Post (aka WaPo) 16 July 2011, Editorial Board Opinion: A good step to slow the flow of guns to Mexico’s drug gangs (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-justice-department-has-taken-an-important-step-to-reduce-the-illicit-flow-of-weapons/2011/07/14/gIQAdJ1zGI_story.html ).

This editorial has so many falsehoods Anthony Weiner must have written it for them! The WaPo has a “Fact Checker” column where their “crack” reporter, Glenn Kessler, is quick to point out errors in other peoples’ utterances but treats anything emanating from the WaPo as if it were “coming from a Burning Bush!” This editorial statement is especially misleading: “Mexico says that 93,000 illegal weapons have been seized since December 2006, nearly 90 percent of them from the United States.” Just because “Mexico says” doesn’t make it true but by not challenging this outright lie the WaPo validates it as true. This even contradicts a 14 Jun 2011 WaPo article: US report: 70 percent of arms seized, traced in Mexico came from US (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/us-report-70-percent-of-arms-seized-traced-in-mexico-came-from-us/2011/06/13/AGR2TlTH_story.html ). Even that story would merit four Pinocchios (their highest false rating) by the Fact Checker! The first paragraph of that article stated:

“MEXICO CITY — About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.”

Note the crafty (and misleading) wording the WaPo always employs: “Mexico says” or “guns seized in Mexico AND SUBMITTED to a U.S. gun-tracing program.” At least that article reduced the allegation to 70%. This editorial and the in the past the Obama administration’s ATF has maintained “over 90% of these firearms originated in the US” but had to back-peddle on that claim when U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) made the ATF admit “the 90% figure cited to Congress was misleading because it applied only to the small fraction of Mexican crime guns that are traced and Mexico only attempts to trace guns that most likely can be traced to the US.” A Nov 10, OIG analysis of ATF data suggest a much lower percentage really come from the US and a recent Feb 11 STRATFOR (a widely respected global intelligence company) analysis calculated almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico are NOT from the US.

In 2009, Mexico reported that they held 305,424 confiscated firearms, but only submitted 69,808 to the ATF for tracing. The gap between seizures and traces and the fact they only submit those likely to come from the US puts in serious question whether any significant number of illegal guns in Mexico really come from here.

It should also be noted that the most commonly recovered firearm is the old Soviet AK-47 type rifles which is NOT manufactured in the US and that most US military grade weapons are acquired by the cartels through the huge supply of arms left over from the wars in Central America and Asia. It has also been reported that there have been 150,000 desertions 2003-09 from the Mexican army (about 1/8th desert annually) and many of them take their government-issued automatic rifles with them.

Given all this, maybe we’re talking SIX Pinocchios!

Field Marshal Moltke’s Four Types of Military Officer


Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (1800-1891) developed this interesting Value Matrix to categorize his officer corps.

• Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
• Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
• Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
• Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.

Later Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein (1887-1973), arguably the Wehrmacht's best World War II military strategists who was dismissed from service by the Fuhrer in March 1944 due to frequent clashes with him over military strategy, later articulated Field Marshal Moltke’s model in the following quote:

“There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”

I would suggest that both Field Marshals have correctly identified the four types of officers but would respectfully disagree about who is best suited for “highest office,” especially in today’s highly competitive environment. Smart & Energetic wins every time and only the truly driven or exceptionally lucky succeed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

How Long Will It Be Before Air Force & Navy Cockpit Pilots Are Obsolete?


An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft takes off for a training mission at Creech Air Force Base, NV. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recently there has been a debate raging in the press concerning the use of drones and the morality of using them to attack “enemy” targets. Some have even suggested that using them against human targets is a form of assassination. My question is: what is the difference between attacking targets with a manned aircraft and a drone except the physical location of the pilot flying the “airborne vehicle.” I would further suggest that it is just a matter of time before ALL combat aircraft are “Remotely Piloted Vehicles” (RPVs), not because of the obvious concerns for the safety of the pilot but because the limiting factor on aircraft performance is going to be how much abuse the human body can endure. We know the limits of the human body but as aircraft technology continues to leap forward, we are going to reach a point where the aircraft will be able to “out perform” the pilot so the only way to take full advantage of the aircraft’s performance will be to remove the “limiting factor” – the pilot – from the cockpit. A drone can simply turn sharper and accelerate quicker than the human body can tolerate so an adversary’s drone will be able to defeat any piloted aircraft we field.

Much to the horror of Air Force and Navy Pilots, a cocky and arrogant bunch, modern technology is going to make them obsolete in the foreseeable future. Why? Because the human body can only withstand so much abuse and a constant 16 g for a minute is often fatal while when vibration is also experienced, relatively low peak g levels can be severely damaging if they are at the resonance frequency of organs and connective tissues. The g-force (g = gravitational) associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall.

Aircraft exert g-force along the axis aligned with the spine which causes significant variation in blood pressure along the length of the pilot’s body thus limiting the maximum g-forces that can be tolerated. A typical person can handle about 5 g before losing consciousness but by using special g-suits and muscles straining techniques, trained military pilots can typically handle a sustained 9 g’s. Hence, we know the limits of the human body but as aircraft technology continues to leap forward, we are going to reach a point where the aircraft will be able to “out perform” the pilot so the only way to take full advantage of the aircraft’s performance is to remove the “limiting factor” – the pilot – from the cockpit.

Removing pilots from cockpits, regardless of how emotionally traumatic it may prove to our brave military aviators, will have to happen as our adversaries perfect their own RPVs capable of out perform any piloted aircraft in our inventory. As a matter of fact, we might eventually have to put “governors” on our aircraft to limit performance to keep within the tolerance of the human body.

Already, RPVs in Afghanistan are being flown very effectively by pilots of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing comfortably (and safely) sitting is a hanger located on Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. Some maintain drone reaction time is a bit slower than piloted high performance aircraft on station and this may be true – for now – but it’s only a matter of time before that is reversed. As aircraft and RPV technology advances and decision support software improves, it is only a matter of time before the pilot is out of the cockpit and even the human pilot may become obsolete as the human mind will be too slow so attack decisions have to be turned over to computers.

Having run this theory by my older brother who spent 26 years as a Navy carrier attack jet pilot, I have heard all the emotional reasons why this will never happen but deep down, even though his heart tells him differently, it’s obvious his brains recognizes the inevitable.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Despite the Cliché: "Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires" – History reveals they has been conquered and occupied by everyone even passing through!

The misquote most often attributed to Joseph Goebbles is: “if you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it.” Regardless who actually said it, never has it been more true then when applied to Afghanistan being called "the graveyard of empires." In truth rather than the graveyard of empires, Afghanistan has historically been conquered and occupied by everyone that has even passed through it. Beginning with the Persian Empire in the 5th century BC, Afghanistan has always been part of somebody's empire.

For this recount of history, I have liberally borrowed from an article by Andrew Roberts which appeared in the 20 Sept 2010 National Review: Graveyard Of A Cliché - Afghanistan presents no impossible military challenge, its 'history' notwithstanding and on my exchanges with Retired US Army LTC Les Grau, an acknowledged Afghanistan expert and the author of two books on the Soviet experiences there: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" and "The Other Side of the Mountain." Both are a “must read” for anyone interested in doing a serious examination of Soviet performance there. His assessment was: “for a conscript army with a conscript NCO corps, the Soviets did a reasonable job while they were there. In some respects, they were far ahead of where we are--and we make many of the same mistakes that they made.”

So what is the real history of Afghanistan? Despite the myth that Afghans are a fearsome warrior people who have defeated every imperial power since Alexander the Great, including Persians, Mongols, Moghuls, Russians, British, or Soviets, a closer review of history reveals this to be a myth. They have NEVER driven any conqueror out. The reason Alexander stayed in Afghanistan so briefly was that there was nothing to plunder there so why stay; he merely needed to pass through there on his way into India. By then Afghanistan had already been conquered by the Median and Persian Empires, and afterwards it was conquered by the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, the Turks, and the Mongols. When Genghis Khan attacked in 1219, he exterminated every human being in Herat and Balkh and turned the country back to the Stone Age. Mongol conqueror Tamerlane followed suit and the Moghuls held Afghanistan peaceably for almost two centuries.

Although conquerors ruled the country, none imposed any centralized direct control so allowed a good deal of tribal provincial autonomy as geography demanded in a period before modern communications. It was not until 1747 that even a primitive Afghan sovereign state could be detected.

All these empires including the British ever wanted of Afghanistan was that it not be used as a base from which attacks could be mounted. Britain's only interest was keeping czarist Russia away from its Greater Indian colony during what was called "The Great Game."

Today, people wishing to perpetuate the “Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires” myth like to cite the more recent historical examples of the Afghan struggles with the British Empire. Granted, despite some early disasters during Britain's First Afghan War of 1839-42, the popular version of events is distorted. Although it is true that 16,500 people died in the horrific Retreat from Kabul, fewer than a quarter of them were soldiers, and only one brigade was British. The incompetent commander, Major General William George Keith Elphinstone, evacuated Kabul on 6 Jan 1842 in midwinter and the freezing weather destroyed his column more than the Afghans. Several hundred -- possibly over a thousand -- survived the retreat and were rescued by the punitive expedition that recaptured Kabul by September 1842. Early in 1843, the governor-general, Lord Ellenborough, sent General Sir Charles Napier to capture Sind. General Napier is best known for putting down several insurgencies in India during his reign as Commander-in-Chief there and he once succinctly stated his philosophy about suppressing rebellions as: “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.” He also said: "the human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear." This may explain why once he finished Afghanistan stayed quiet for another 30 years.

Lieutenant General Sir Jasper Nicolls, another commander-in-chief of India, examined the “Retreat from Kabul” and listed the reasons for the defeat at the time as: "1. not having a safe base of operations, 2. the freezing climate, 3. the lack of cattle, and 4. placing our magazines and treasure in indefensible places." The only lesson to be learned from the Kabul catastrophe of 1842 is don’t appoint incompetent commanders.

The Second Afghan War was actually won by Major General Sir Frederick Roberts at the battle of Kandahar in August 1880 and thereafter Afghan resistance was subdued and Afghanistan was reduced to being a British protectorate until it was given its independence in 1919. There was a short three month Third Afghan War in 1919 which the British also won that settled the political boundary with India. Having achieved all their objectives, the Brits withdrew from Afghanistan leaving a monarchy in place that survived until 1973 although there was a great deal of post-independence instability. It should also be noted that Islamic fundamentalism is not historically deep-seated in Afghanistan and it was King Amanullah who instituted Kemalist modernizations such as monogamy, Western clothing, and the abolition of the veil in 1928.

As for the Soviet involvement, it was the Afghan government that made repeated requests in 1978 and 79 for Soviet intervention but the Soviet government was in no hurry to help. It was not until the anti-communist rebel factions began receiving US aid that they stepped in. On 3 July 1979 President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order authorizing the CIA to conduct covert propaganda operations against the communist regime; six months before any Soviets deployed. Around Christmas 1979 the Red Army entered Afghanistan with about 120,000 troops; not the Soviet's best units but with soldiers from the Soviet republics adjacent to Afghanistan to make it appear to be a limited, local operation. These two-year conscripts were often drunk or on opium and the Soviets ultimately lost 15,000 men (about ten times the number of Americans over the same length of time). Their helicopter gunships devastated most of the villages between Ghazni and Kandahar in February 1980, and the Soviets showed utter disregard for civilian casualties. Their equipment, training, discipline, and morale were poor but as I quoted LTC Grau before: “for a conscript army with a conscript NCO corps, the Soviets did a reasonable job while they were there.” As far as the Soviets were concerned, their withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 was not a shameful escape accompanied by the hooting of the mujahedeen but rather the Soviet Army entered the country, accomplished its tasks and returned to the Motherland.

When the Soviets departed, they left in place a Communist puppet regime led by Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai or merely Najibullah. Though it failed to ever win popular support, it was able to remain in power until 1992. Much like South Vietnam fell when the US withdrew its support, the Najibullah communist government fell in April 1992 when the new Yeltsin government no longer wished to continue to support their former communist puppet. The Mujahideen replaced Najibullah with a new governing council and had the Taliban not hosted and protected al-Qaeda while it masterminded the 9/11 attacks, most Americans would still have never heard of Afghanistan.

Despite the revisionist history by those wishing to point to the past failures of Great Empires to be successful in Afghanistan, they have only succeeded in demonstrating their own ignorance of history. They have distorted and greatly misrepresented the successes every invader has had against Afghans, a vicious but historically very unimpressive foe. Hopefully the US and our NATO allies will be as successful as the British Empire was in subduing Afghanistan and we leave it in such a condition that they can endure by themselves for at least as long as the last time the Brits left – 60 years (1919-1979)!