Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Well, folks... Romney pulled it out in Michigan.

Too bad.

But before anyone loses hope... (*CHUCKLE*)... note that the combined anti-Romney vote was 553,173 to Romney's 410,517 - and that was with Gingrich having effectively pulled out of the race in a tactical move and with Paul too having "personally left the field."

Folks... I'm not trying to spin this; I simply note that if Romney can barely beat Rick Santorum in Michigan - Romney's home state... the state his father was a popular governor of - this does not bode well for his chances of beating Barack Hussein Obama should he be this November's GOP standard-bearer.


Please, folks... forget Santorum!

Please, folks... forget Paul!

Neither man is gonna get the GOP nomination, but if by some miracle either did... (*PURSED LIPS*)... neither could win against Obama. The mainstream media would destroy Santorum and the "conservative" media and major Republican "establishment" figures would no doubt literally "defect" to Obama.

(Folks... it's a question of math!)

Speaking of "the math," I wonder how many of you are aware that it's Gingrich - not Santorum - who ranks number two to Romney when it comes to cumulative popular votes in the ten contests which have been held.

Yep... Gingrich has
978,042 votes to his tally... and as you know, a fair number of these votes came via contests where for strategic reasons Gingrich chose not to proactively compete!

(Again, folks... not to beat a dead horse... but if you were under the impression that it was Santorum, not Gingrich, who was number two to Romney in popular support... that buttresses my oft-stated contention that the media is doing all in its power to manipulate the American People by presenting a false premise.)

Folks... there are 40 more states to go!


Keep on tuning in to Usually Right.

The Truth Shall Set Ye Free!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Obama Channels Woodrow Wilson

OK, folks... time for a Featured Newsbite:

Last Wednesday in the White House briefing room, Jay Carney, opened on a somber note, citing the deaths of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, two reporters who had died “in order to bring truth” while reporting in Syria.

Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”


The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance “whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,” has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal [whistle-blowers].

The Espionage Act, enacted back in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to our enemies, was used three times in all the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media.


It has been used six times since [President Obmama] took office.


Setting aside the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who is accused of stealing thousands of secret documents, the majority of the recent prosecutions seem to have everything to do with administrative secrecy and very little to do with national security.


In case after case, the Espionage Act has been deployed as a kind of ad hoc Official Secrets Act, which is not a law that has ever found traction in America, a place where the people’s right to know is viewed as superseding the government’s right to hide its business.

In the most recent case, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who became a Democratic staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged under the Espionage Act with leaking information to journalists about other C.I.A. officers, some of whom were involved in the agency’s interrogation program, which included waterboarding.



For those of you keeping score, none of the individuals who engaged in or authorized the waterboarding of terror suspects have been prosecuted, but Mr. Kiriakou is in federal cross hairs, accused of talking to journalists and news organizations, including The New York Times.


(*SHRUG*) (*SIGH*)

“I have been following all of these case, and it’s not like they are instances of government employees leaking the location of secret nuclear sites,” Mr. Tapper said. “These are classic whistle-blower cases that dealt with questionable behavior by government officials or its agents acting in the name of protecting America.”


In one of the more remarkable examples of the administration’s aggressive approach, Thomas A. Drake, a former employee of the NSA, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act last year and faced a possible 35 years in prison.

His crime? When his agency was about to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a software program bought from the private sector intended to monitor digital data, he spoke with a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. He suggested an internally developed program that cost significantly less would be more effective and not violate privacy in the way the product from the vendor would.

(He turned out to be right, by the way.)


Drake was charged with 10 felony counts that accused him of lying to investigators and obstructing justice. Last summer, the case against him collapsed, and he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor, of misuse of a government computer.


Jesselyn Radack, the director for national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project, was one of the lawyers who represented him. “The Obama administration has been quite hypocritical about its promises of openness, transparency and accountability,” she said. “All presidents hate leaks, but pursuing whistle-blowers as spies is heavy-handed and beyond the scope of the law.”

Mark Corallo, who served under Attorney General John D. Ashcroft during the Bush administration, told Adam Liptak of The New York Times this month that he was “sort of shocked” by the number of leak prosecutions under President Obama. “We would have gotten hammered for it,” he said.



[Lastly,] it’s worth pointing out that the administration’s emphasis on secrecy comes and goes depending on the news.

Reporters were immediately and endlessly briefed on the “secret” operation that successfully found and killed Osama bin Laden.

(And the drone program in Pakistan and Afghanistan comes to light in a very organized and systematic way every time there is a successful mission.)

There is plenty of authorized leaking going on, but this particular boat leaks from the top.

Leaks from the decks below, especially ones that might embarrass the administration, have been dealt with very differently.

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, February 27, 2012

My friends... the incomparable Shirley Crabbe!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Do You Make of This...???

From today's NYT:

American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.


Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials.


The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.


There is no dispute among American, Israeli and European intelligence officials that Iran has been enriching nuclear fuel and developing some necessary infrastructure to become a nuclear power. But the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies believe that Iran has yet to decide whether to resume a parallel program to design a nuclear warhead - a program they believe was essentially halted in 2003 and which would be necessary for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.


Iranian officials maintain that their nuclear program is for civilian purposes.


In Senate testimony on Jan. 31, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, stated explicitly that American officials believe that Iran is preserving its options for a nuclear weapon, but said there was no evidence that it had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon.

David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director, concurred with that view at the same hearing.

Other senior United States officials, including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have made similar statements in recent television appearances.


Folks... let me ask you... is this info in line with the "tone" of general news reporting, analysis, and the partisan rhetoric of leaders of both parties that's been coming across to you?

Folks... one of the reasons we're presently paying almost $4/gal. for gas is because apparently expectations are that we'll soon see a new war in the Middle East to "stop Iran from getting The Bomb."


I don't know, folks... all this talk of coming war... all this sword rattling...

Here's a Drudge headline from this morning, folks: "Iran Ready To Wipe Israel Off The Map"

Well... not quite.

True, Drudge was simply using the same headline as Ynetnews (Israeli News) did, but, as you'll see in a second, the headline is misleading at best, a baldfaced lie at worse. From the subheader:

"Tehran's deputy defense minister warns Jerusalem against strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, says 'any action by Zionist regime will bring about its destruction.'"


So in actuality... the Iranians are simply saying that if Israel launches a military attack upon Iran... Iran will massively retaliate.

(Hmm... where have we heard this before... this theory of "Mutually Assured Destruction"?)


All I'm saying here, folks, is that you need to be aware that there are forces out there pushing for a military attack against Iran.

Perhaps such an attack is warranted... but perhaps it's not.

Perhaps Iran is working feverishly to build actual nuclear warheads and place them on missiles with the end-game being the destruction of Israel and perhaps attacks on other U.S. allies and indeed perhaps upon U.S. forces - or even U.S. civilian targets.

But on the other hand...


We got fooled by Saddam Hussein.

(How'd that work out for us?!)

Let's not allow ourselves to simply be led around by the nose again.

That's all I'm sayin'...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, February 24, 2012

Spent an hour and a half with a trainer today at the gym.

I... am... on... track...!

By the way, folks... I've placed some really good newsbites about Romney inside the Comments Section. I do truly hope you take the time to find out who Romney really is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, February 23, 2012

OK... let's see if I can actually get a few newsbites posted today!

First, though... my reaction to last night's GOP Debate:

Gingrich won.

I mean... he definitely won.

Santorum lost.

Rick Santorum definitely lost!

Ron Paul? He gave his best debate performance ever. (It's such a shame Ron Paul is unelectable,)

And Romney...???

As always, Romney had his ups and downs, but while he clearly beat Santorum overall... Santorum (and Paul, and Gingrich) did bloody Romney's nose in a few of the exchanges.

(Romney took one random shot at Gingrich... the crowd didn't react well. They thought it was a cheap shot - as it was - and Romney obviously got the message because he didn't repeat the tactic.)

Having listened to WABC radio post-debate last night and then flipping through the TV channels this morning and checking in on Drudge, I have to report that I'm disgusted (though certainly not surprised) by how blatantly the media (both "conservative" and mainstream liberal) are spinning last night's debate results as a victory for Romney while relatively ignoring and thus discounting Gingrich's winning performance.

And as usual... (*SIGH*)... these same media outlets basically use Paul's statements as "gotcha" ammo against his opponents while refusing to fairly analyze and report Paul's positions and the reasoning and historical facts which buttress them.

(By the way... for what it's worth... Paul mainly went after Santorum last night while subtly inferring that Gingrich was the candidate who most closely - relatively, at least - mirrored his views.)

(I've always said this, folks... I can't see Ron Paul ever backing a Rick Santorum candidacy. Nor, frankly, can I see him backing a Romney candidacy. I can however see him giving a "blessing" of sorts to a Gingrich candidacy with the caveat that he'd not issue Newt a "blank check" with regard to such support... or at least non-opposition.)

Anyway, kids... breaking news is that Newt Gingrich is pulling out of the Michigan contest as a tactical ploy to buttress Santorum's chances of beating Romney there.

Assuming most Michigan GOP primary voters didn't actually watch last night's debate... (*PURSED LIPS*)... Newt's gambit may well pay off.

As a Gingrich partisan I'm hoping that Santorum wins Michigan... Romney then turns all his fire on Santorum... and the two phonies destroy each to leave Newt Gingrich as the last man standing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Barker... vs. Obama... and Pretty Much Everyone Else on Taxes

It seems our president wants to increase taxes on "the wealthy."

Me? What I want to do is return to basic fairness - equality of apples to apples - with regard to taxation.

Before I get into specifics allow me to outline the rough perimeters of "Barker's Views on Taxation."

1) Taxes are ultimately paid by - and thus should be assessed - upon individuals. Just as we believe in "one person, one vote," so too should our tax system rest upon a foundation of "one person, one tax assessment."

Two people wanna get married? Fine! Get married! Two people wanna shack up? That's fine too! None of my business! (In terms of taxes that is!) You wanna have kids? Fine. You don't? Fine. You wanna buy a house? Your business. You wanna live in an apartment? Also your call. One "partner" doesn't work and is "supported" by the other... their business!

My point... Enough with the social engineering! This is - or at least used to be - America... Land of the Free. Let people live as they choose and neither reward nor punish them via taxation for the personal decisions they make!

2) Assuming we're gonna rely (in part at least) on an income tax, I'll buy into the concept of a graduated progressive income tax - meaning as income goes up, that consolidated income gets taxed at higher rates.

3) In line with number one and number two up above... the minimum tax rate must still be something... be it 0.5%... 1%... 2%; and on the flip side, no individual should ever have to cede to the federal government more than one-third (33.3%) of his or her income - period!

Bear in mind, folks, even here - at the highest rate... my proposed highest rate of 33.3%... that's only federal income taxes! On top of federal income taxes there are state income taxes, property taxes, school taxes, excise taxes, fees, surcharges... in other words even at a hypothetical top federal income tax rate of 33.3%, no doubt many Americans will end up paying over half of their incomes in taxes of one form or another each year.

Now... on to Obama's latest class warfare scheme vs. my appeal to common sense and basic fairness!

Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year.

Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%.

Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8% - nearly three times today's 15% rate.

(Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.)

OK, folks, let's address this issue of capital gains vs. dividends. Both are returns upon investment. Thus, logically, both should be treated equally in terms of taxation. Now if one wants to argue that investment income should be treated just as "ordinary" (salary) income is... that's fine. On the other hand, incentivising investment is clearly a rational governmental goal and thus support for two-tier "income" tax system can reasonably be justified. What would make absolutely no sense, however, would be a three-tier "income" tax system where the categories of capital gains and dividends are artificially separated and higher taxes are assessed upon dividends than upon capital gains! If anything, you'd want to favor dividends over capital gains! Dividends are about long-term growth... investments for the long haul; capital gains are in a sense more of a "wager" on the value of the paper itself from day to day hoping to profit simply by buying low and selling high with no real interest in the long-term health of the investment vehicle.

Look again at what Obama is proposing. He's proposing the exact opposite of what makes sense! The President is proposing we keep rewarding all the rich "gamblers" who make over $200,000/$250,000 in capital gains with a lower capital gains rate in relation to "ordinary" (salary) income while at the same time he's proposing to tax dividends (the truest form of "investment" income) at a rate even higher than the tax on "ordinary" income!

Of course, the White House wants everyone to know that this new rate would apply only to those filthy rich individuals who make $200,000 a year, or $250,000 if you're a greedy couple. We're all supposed to believe that no one would be hurt other than rich folks who can afford it.

Again... the president and I part ways...

First of all, as already outlined, the president's proposals break the boundary of 33.3% which I view as fair.

Second of all, while the president's plan singles out "the rich" in a way that goes far beyond a graduated progressive tax; it gives individuals making under $200,000 and couples making under $250,000 a complete pass on paying their "fair share" of increased taxation.

Third... with the differentiation between "individuals" and "couples" we're continuing along the same wrongheaded path of social engineering where government uses tax policy to "reward" some behavior and personal decision-making which of course "punishes" those who don't follow the path - the personal lifestyle path - that they government deems more reward-worthy.

In any case, allow me to lay out my concept for a fair, reasonable, rational, and personal freedom/responsibility-boosting federal tax code within the parameters of a system that relies largely upon income taxes and which views encouragement of investment as a proper tax code function:

The centerpiece of my concept is the median individual American wage.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume a current median individual American wage of $40,000.

Let's also assume that we have a progressive graduated income tax code where the current median individual American wage point is in line with the middle of eight brackets... with the lowest bracket being the "ordinary" income taxed at 1% and the highest bracket being the point beyond which "ordinary" income is taxed at 33.3%.

So... think something along the lines of... up to $10,000 is taxed at 1%; the next $10,000 is taxed at 2%; the next $10,000 is taxed at 7%; the next $10,000 is taxed at 15%...

(We're now up to an individual making a $40,000 median income. Do the math and this individual is paying $2,500 in federal income taxes on an income of $40,000. Maybe some of you think this is too much.Perhaps some of you think this is too little. In any case, the numbers represent the "concept." Obviously the rates/brackets can be adjusted.)

Anyway... the next $10,000 is taxed at say 18%; the next $10,000 is taxed at 20%; the next $10,000 is taxed at 24%; and everything (sticking to "ordinary" income for the moment; I'll get to capital gains and dividends in awhile) beyond that is taxed at the maximum rate of 33.3%.

(In other words... the feds will collect $100 off the first $10,000 of a person's income... $200 off the next $10,000... $700 off the next $10,000... $1,500 off the next $10,000... $1,800 off the next $10,000... $2,000 off the next $10,000... $2,400 off the next 10,000; and...

Above an individual income of $80,000 - which in our scenario represents double the median individual American income - the individual will "rebate" one-third (33.3%) to the federal government in federal income taxes.

Ah... but what of capital gains and dividends...???

Here's what I propose:

Why not institute the same logic with regard to how capital gains and dividends are taxed, only, in order to encourage investment, we assess capital gains and dividends at half the "ordinary" income tax rates up till these gains reach a threshold of $160,000 - which represents double the "ordinary" income threshold where the "ordinary" income tax hits its highest percentage?

Again... let me lay it out via scenario:

(And note... for all amounts under the top rate... in order to get the "break" on "investment" income one would have to actually "earn" (salary income... "ordinary" income) an equal amount to the dividends/capital gains income being "earned.")

Anyway... again... say you earn up to $10,000 via salaried or per hour compensation. You'd pay 1% of that in federal income taxes - $100. (Right? With me so far?)

Now... say on top of this you also earn (and additional) $10,000 via capital gains, dividends, or some combination of both. On this additional $10,000 of "investment" income you'll be asked to cough up not 1%... not $100... but half of that - 0.5%... $50.

And so on and so forth on up all the way to you making a salary of $160,000 taxed at various rates graduating upward in $10,000 dollar income increments through the first $80,000 with further "earned" income taxed at the top rate of 33.3%... and on the flip side... your matching "investment" income being taxed at half the "ordinary" rate up to the point where all "investment" income over the "regular" $80,000 threshold is taxed at the same exact top rate of 33.3% that top "ordinary" income is!

In other words, folks, here's what my concept is all about:

By keeping the limited two-tier tax treatment of "earned" vs. "investment" income I'm preserving the "carrot" of giving people a reason to invest in the economy and thus grow the economy. This I believe is just and right and serves everyone's long term interest - ours and society's!

I'm looking to spur on the working poor, working lower middle class, the working middle class, and even the working upper-middle class to continue working while also investing for their futures and yes their presents as well.

An individual making $80,000 ain't rich. That said... this individual is making double the median American individual wage so he or she is doing just fine! But, hey... why shouldn't this individual strive to do even better... to invest some savings... to invest for the future looking for an expanded return on investment as opposed to immediate gratification?

I want to incentivize such behavior. Put it another way... I have no problem with the government "rewarding" such behavior!

(Yes, yes, I know... I'm all about getting the government out of the "reward" and "punishment" business. But we're talking this one specific facet of tax policy. We're also talking my concept as opposed to existing tax law and as opposed to President Obama's proposals - both of which "reward" and "punish" to a much greater degree and much more unfairly - in my opinion - than does my concept.)

But here's the real beauty of my concept...

While "rewarding" (in a sense) the working poor... the working lower middle class... the middle class... and even the upper-middle class who choose to invest... it treats the rich who gain riches via capital gains and/or dividends no better than the rich who got rich from high salaries and other "earned" income (think sports and entertainment stars, et. al.).

If you make more than $80,000 in salary and other earned income this "more" is gonna be taxed at 33.3%.

If your "more" (more than $160,000 total - of which. again, $80,000 must be "earned" income) consists of capital gains and/or dividends... you're gonna be paying the same 33.3%!

What could be fairer than that...?!?!

Folks... I know this is a long - and perhaps convoluted - post.

I've tried to explain my "concept" here as simply and completely as possible... but I probably haven't done as good a job as I'd have liked to do.

That said... I'd really, really, really appreciate feedback on this one.

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saw the doc today!

On New Year's Day this year I must have weighed in at around 380 lbs.

Today... seven weeks later... 358 lbs.!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pat Buchanan Defends Rick Santorum - And Rightly So!

The political beliefs of Barack Obama, said Rick Santorum last week, come out of "[S]ome phony theology. ... Not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology."

Given the opportunity on "Face the Nation" to amend his remarks, Santorum declined the offer and plunged on: "I don't question the president's faith. I've repeatedly said that I believe the president is a Christian. He says he is a Christian. I am talking about his worldview and the way he approaches problems in this country. ... They're different than how most people do in America."

What Santorum is saying is that in the struggle for the soul of America, though Obama may profess to be (and may be) a Christian, he is leading the anti-Christian forces of what Pope Benedict XVI has called "Radical Secularism."

In Plano, Texas, last week, Santorum was even more explicit: "They (the Obamaites) are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what's left is the French Revolution. ... What's left in France became the guillotine."

[Santorum continued,] "Ladies and gentlemen, we're a long way from that, but if we...follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road."

Santorum is saying that where Thomas Jefferson attributed our human equality and our "Right" to life and liberty to a Creator, secularism sees no authority higher than the state. But what the state gives, the state can take away.

Allow me to reiterate that, my friends, because it's at the heart of the matter:

"What the state giveth... the state can taketh away."

Santorum is wagering his political future on his assessment of where we are in 2012. He sees America dividing ever more deeply between those who hold to traditional Christian views on marriage, life and morality, and those who have abandoned such beliefs. He believes that the former remain America's silent majority, and he is offering himself as their champion against a militant secularism that has lately angered more than just the [ideological] Right.

Last week, Santorum declared that radical environmentalism is also rooted in this same anti-Biblical view of mankind's purpose here on earth, [saying,] "I think that a lot of radical environmentalists have it backwards. This idea that man is here to serve the earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the earth. Man is here to use the resources and use them wisely, but man is not here to serve the earth."

This is straight out of Genesis...

Santorum is undeniably taking an immense gamble here. ... First, he is wagering that by emphasizing his moral, social and cultural conservatism, he can trump Mitt Romney's Bain Capital "job-creator" card. Second, he is wagering that Obama, with his latest attempt to impose secular values on Catholic institutions, can be portrayed as possessed of an "overt hostility to faith in America."

Where Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter had declared that America is a Christian nation, Obama has declared, "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation," but rather a nation of all faiths.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

OK... I have the "balance" worked out now.

Presently at the library using a desktop.

Got the laptop working at home, but plan to use it mainly for reading since (for me at least) typing on a laptop is relatively time and effort intensive.

Haven't heard from my "fans" lately...



(Red Rob...???)

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's GOP Debate from Arizona.

As regular readers know, I have no respect for folks who duck debates and while Romney is the worst in this regard, he and Santorum - and even Ron Paul, interestingly enough - pissed me off royally by pulling out of the scheduled March 1st CNN Debate.

Now some may say they've seen enough.

To them I say... Then Don't Watch Or Listen!

Jeezus... stupid, lazy people shouldn't set the agenda for the rest of us and the simple fact is that these debates - while seriously flawed in terms of form - are pretty much an average citizen's only chance to see the candidates refine and defend their talking points and positions while at the same time questioning their opponents (to a degree at least!) while being directly questioned in turn.

Without the debates the average idiot is totally dependent upon the surface coverage - and manipulation - of the mainstream media.

Heck... even for the sophisticated citizen... candidate to candidate face to face interaction is of far more use than simply relying upon skewed news reporting and analysis or even the candidates' own individual websites and position papers absent the aforementioned real time push-back.

Oh... and to those who question whether I'm simply pushing debates because I feel they offer my candidate, Newt Gingrich, his best opportunity to regain his lost lead... no - that's not it.

Remember, folks... I've been beating this drum from day one of the campaign; if "Red Rob" chimes in he'll tell you've I've always sang this same tune!

Heck... all along I've been boosting the concept of revolving one-on-one debates - real debates moderated according to collegiate formatting and rules - in order to force all the candidates to seriously and in depth defend their proposed policies while articulating - specifically - the flaws (as they see them) in their various opponent's positions.

Forget Gingrich... just imagine one-on-one debates between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney... between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum... between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney...


Folks... as I've told you all along, you're being manipulated.

What's the end game of the mainstream media? To re-elect Barak Hussein Obama of course.

As to the Republican Establishment... they still want Romney and they'll continue to do all in their power to boost him and destroy Newt Gingrich.

Santorum...??? The Religious Right loves Santorum. His support from that quarter is sincere. Even many non-evangelical conservatives (mistakenly) see Santorum as more "their guy" than Gingrich.

But folks... Santorum can't win.

Imagine Santorum winning the GOP nomination. (I can't see it happening, but just imagine...) After everything Romney and his PAC supporters throw at Santorum... do you really see a candidate Santorum as retaining enough solid support to beat the Obama machine?


I don't.

And I can't see Ron Paul supporters going in mass for Santorum either.

My view? If Gingrich can pull this out... win the GOP nomination and thus force the Party apparatus to get in line... I believe he can beat Obama and as president... I truly believe Newt Gingrich would reignite the stalled Republican Revolution of '94!

Folks... we're losing our country. Four more years of Obama and it's over.

I fear a President Romney would at best "manage a continuing decline."

(And frankly... I fear were he to be elected... a President Santorum would lead us into WW-3.)

I believe Ron Paul is unelectable - though with all my heart, my integrity, and my intellect I would have it otherwise.

Anyway... we'll see what happens tomorrow night at the debate.

We'll see what happens on March 6 - "Super Tuesday."

I'm not the most religious guy... but I ask all of you... pray for our nation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh, what a lovely day!

I'm blogging from...



Nope. Don't have my "new" (refurbished) desktop back; however, I have finally figured out - and thus overcome - the technical stumbling block that had me unable to connect to the net via my loaner laptop.

I had been - unbeknownst to me - been trying to use a regular phone cord as an ethernet cord!

(Yep... Bill the Luddite strikes again...)

Having finally figured this out... I went to Walmart today, purchased myself a $10 ethernet cord, plugged on end into my obsolete but still working modem and the other end into the laptop and..

I'm up and running!

Anyway... don't know if I'll get much posted (beyond this) today, but for what it's worth...

I'm back...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why...??? (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab)

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who tried to bring down a U.S. commercial flight on Christmas Day 2009 by detonating a bomb hidden in his underwear, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday in federal court in Detroit.


Why isn't he being executed?

Why are the American People destined to pay for his continued incarceration - food, shelter, medical care - throughout a lifetime that will no doubt span many decades?

Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in October to eight charges, including attempted murder and terrorism, for trying to take down the flight.

And yet we're not executing him...? Instead we're opting to squander only God knows how many millions of taxpayer dollars over the next 40... 50... 60 years "caring for" and "providing for" this animal?

It makes no sense...!!!

Abdulmutallab, the son of a wealthy banker who studied in London, spoke briefly in court Thursday, proclaiming, “Mujaheddin are proud to kill in the name of God. And that is exactly what God told us to do in the Koran,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “Today is a day of victory.”

And you know what... he's right! Certainly this sentence is a defeat for common sense!

“Today’s sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Holder is a fool.

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, February 17, 2012

Enter the comments section...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, February 16, 2012

Read today's opening newsbite and... if you're learning about this obscenity for the first time... understand... it's no accident that you're hearing about it here rather than on TV or radio MSM news programming.

Folks. You're manipulated day in and day out by the media - including, unfortunately, Fox News and other so-called "conservative" mainstream media outlets.

Why just this morning I'm flipping channels and upon stopping at the Fox Business Channel for a moment there's Stuart Varney babbling on about the latest government stats showing "no inflation."


Folks... Varney knows as well as you and I (assuming you're properly educated and/or a longtime reader of Usually Right) that's government stats deliberately understate inflation via not including "little things" like... oh... food and fuel.


Certainly all of you reading this are well aware that week after week you're spending more on the same amount and quality (perhaps less!) of food and fuel that you purchased last month and the month before that and so on.

Folks... most of you drive every day - either that or you use public transportation that relies upon "fuel."

Folks... you eat every day - do you not? You - or your spouse - shop for food weekly... perhaps several times a week. We're in the midst of yet another inflationary price spiral at the supermarket with prices continuing to rise while at the same time package size - "unit size" - continues to shrink so that even if the "per item" price "seems" to be holding steady, the .99-cents that once bought you a 16 oz. box of pasta and then a 15 oz. and then a 13 oz. may now only buy you a 12 oz. box of spaghetti.


Folks... understand... you're being constantly lied to and deliberately misled and thus manipulated day in and day out by the media. I'm not talking just lies about economics... I'm talking lies about everything from social policy to politics to foreign policy.

And what most of you don't know... don't know because you weren't taught it in school and because few of you have the time or propensity to delve into the wide range of reporting and analysis I absorb and consider daily... is often information that if you did know it... it would change your perceptions of what's actually happening as opposed to what the media would have you believe is going on.

I know I'm beating a dead horse here. All I'm saying... keep on reading newsbites. Keep on tuning in here at Usually Right.

my fact-sharing here at Usually Right and my analysis of the news I read.

I can't cover everything and I don't claim to try to. That said, anyone who regularly spends even five or ten minutes a day browsing through my newsbites and stand-alone posts is gonna learn stuff they didn't know and gain an appreciation of what's going on "between the lines" of mainstream news reporting.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Boehner "Republicans" Strike Again

It is sad that we have gotten here, but House Republicans, including conservative stalwarts like Jim Jordan of Ohio, are set to pass Barack Obama’s latest stimulus plan. Except...


...they are calling it John Boehner’s “Highway Bill.”


Consider, however that Barack Obama’s budget, unveiled yesterday, calls for much of the same infrastructure spending the House Republicans want.

There is a reason the Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and other conservative organizations are opposed to this spending spree. It is not conservative. It should not be Republican. It is Barack Obama style spending.

(Call your Congressman today at 202-224-3121 and tell him to oppose H.R. 7, the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act.)

Consider first that this highway bill “expands domestic energy production and puts in place a long-term plan for America’s infrastructure that is controlled by the states and completely paid for –without raising the gas tax.”


Why would a highway bill focus on energy production?


Well, first because it is called a sweetener designed to woo conservatives to vote for it.


Second because “the gas tax does not generate enough revenue to meet all the infrastructure needs in America.”


There you have it. Instead of opening up American land to energy production and using that energy production to pay down the national debt, we will instead jack up highway spending, bankrupt the highway trust fund as a result, and then use the energy taxes to offset the project funding.


Oh, and even better, the House GOP has an accounting “score” that claims they won’t bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund.

How’s that?

Well, just like how Democrats took all the major budget busting provisions out of ObamaCare and put them in separate legislation so it looked like ObamaCare actually decreased the deficit, House Republicans have decided to take mass transit funding and pay for it out of the general fund of taxpayer dollars instead of paying for it out of the Highway Trust Fund.


So it makes it look like the Highway Trust Fund won’t go bankrupt!

(Accounting gimmicks - they’re not just for socializing the American healthcare industry any more.)

[R]ewind the clock to just last July when Congressman John Mica (R-FL HAFA Score 66%) passed a highway spending bill out of his committee that spent no more than what the gas tax raised. In other words, House Republicans have taken us from being able to spend as much as the gas tax raised to bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund and requiring domestic energy production fees to offset the spending binge.


This is what smaller government looks like to House Republicans.


Even worse...we learn “Currently, only about two-thirds of federal highway dollars go back to the states for them to control. Under this bill, it will be 93%. What’s more, for the first time in three decades, ALL of the gas tax revenue – the user fee paid by every motorist on the highways – will go to core highway programs.”

The first question is if we can get to 93%, why not 100% and get Congress out of the business of dictating local and state highway projects?


But more so, note that all of the gas tax revenue will go to core highway programs. All of it. And Congress will keep spending beyond all the gas tax revenue.

* BEYOND...!!!

This is madness.

This is Barack Obama style "stimuli" and Barack Obama style accounting.

The House Republicans are relying on five year estimates of revenues generated from energy production to hide just how bankrupt they will leave the Highway Trust Fund with this spending binge. And in five years, none of us will be surprised when reality comes in less than the estimates.


Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two Steak & Cheese subs... mushrooms... provolone AND mozzarella... $15

Relaxing at home with the one I love... PRICELESS!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Newsbites: Sat. & Sun., Feb. 11 & 12, 2012

So... finally figured out why my bud's "loaner laptop" isn't connecting to the net.

Apparently I actually did hook up all the damned wires correctly...

(Yeah... yeah... I know "wireless" exists...)


Nope... it's not the hook-up... not the modem (per se)... it's...


It's that my DSL modem is so frigg'n ancient that the laptop doesn't have the drivers installed to run it and therefore the system doesn't "recognize" the modem even though it's plugged in properly!

(Computer folks... does this make sense... sound reasonable?)

Anyway... I have no frigg'n idea where the original installation disc is...

(And of course I can't download the drivers from Frontier's website because I can't reach Frontier's website!)

So... from library to library I'll continue to go... until Phil gives me my "new" ready to go (all loaded up... files transferred... yadda, yadda, yadda...) desktop.

Anyway... on to newsbiting! (See: Comments Section)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, February 10, 2012

So... random thoughts:

My guess is that there's less than meets the eye to Rick Santorum's chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination, and my observation is as it's been all along... that the Left is terrified of having to face Newt Gingrich should he win the GOP nomination and the GOP Establishment is terrified that if elected... Newt Gingrich will sweep them out of their positions of power.

Folks... understand... the media - both mainstream media and the so-called "conservative" media - are trying to pull a fast one on you with regard to what's happening in the race.

Allow me to buttress my point. Question: Who is number two in the GOP delegate count?

According to drive-by media reporting it's Santorum.


Folks... the NYT reports that Romney has Romney has 94 delegates... Santorum has 71 delegates... and poor ol' Newt... he has a lousy 29 delegates. That's the "snapshot" from the "Newspaper of Record."

Now head over to Real Clear Politics. Their "snapshot" shows Romney up by 90 delegates to Santorum's 44 delegates to poor ol' Newt's pathetic third place showing of... 32 delegates.

But wait! Take a moment to delve into the details as opposed to the "snapshot" of the RCP delegate count:

Iowa... where Santorum won 7 delegates while Romney won 6 and Gingrich won zero...

A non-binding caucus!

Minnesota... where Santorum won 17 delegates while Romney won 2 and Gingrich won one...

A non-binding caucus!

Colorado... where Santorum won 17 delegates while Romney won 9 and Gingrich won two...

A non-binding caucus!




Don't be taken in! That's all I'm saying!

It's o.k. to like Santorum - even to prefer him to Gingrich. Fine! To each his (or her!) own!

But, folks... know what's actually happening. All is not as it appears... or rather, all is not as it's being "reported" by our "friends" in the media.


Folks... ask yourselves... why would they go to all this trouble? Do any of you actually believe that the NYT views "Christian Right" candidate Rick Santorum as superior to Newt Gingrich... the man who once sat down with Nancy Pelosi to make a public service commercial urging (non-specific) "action" on global warming...???

No, folks... the Left is pushing Santorum at the moment in order to try and chop Newt Gingrich's campaign off at the knees! It's that simple! Jeez... if the mainstream media thought that Newt was an easier candidate for Obama to face in November than Santorum or Romney you know damn well that they'd be lifting Newt up... not tearing him down...!!!

As for the GOP Establishment...


Again... Newt pushed for massive internal reforms of Congress back when he was Speaker. These reforms hurt (and would have hurt worse if they'd all passed) the old bulls of both parties! For Christ's sake... Newt replaced the seniority system with a "best person for the job" system when it came to congressional committee chair assignments!

Jeezus... frigg'n... Christ... (*PAUSE*) (*GRITTING MY TEETH*)... Newt pushed for term limits...!!!

Of course these bastards hate him...!!!

Of course these bastards fear him...!!!

Of course these bastards would rather imagine Rick Santorum - one of their own... a man who backed arch-traitor Arlen Specter against Tea Party true conservative Pat Toomey - as president... a president who would "play ball" and "scratch backs."


As for Romney...


I believe Rush Limbaugh has it right. He believes that many of the Establishment GOP power brokers and entrenched interests would rather field a candidate like Romney - even suspecting he couldn't win - because they believe a Romney candidacy would more likely not rile up the Democratic base and thus not endanger Republican Senators (Republican Establishment Senators) seeking re-election.

In other words... the Republican Establishment is about the Republican Establishment. What's best for the country is secondary to what's best for them personally.

Call me a cynic... but, unfortunately... I believe this.

Anyway, folks... rambling and "flow of consciousness" aside... beware what you're reading, watching, and hearing from the media. Many of them have their own agendas.

Again... support who you support... but beware the media manipulating you into buying in to a false premise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hiya gang!

Great day today... new personal record at the gym... burnt 600 calories in 42 minutes; resistance settings 14-16-18 on both the upright bike and the low bike!

To celebrate... let's return to newsbite theme songs of the day!


(Great song, huh?!)

So, anyway... I'm sitting next to one of the library staff who was bitch'n and moan'n about "free" cell phones going to the "poor." Apparently she'd just heard about this federal program - though the program actually advertises on the radio here in the NY tri-state region!


So you know me... I couldn't resist... I inserted myself into the conversation.

As the woman was bitch'n and moan'n about Obama I threw out the following:


I said it calmly.

This woman did a double-take. She looked at me as if I were kidding. She smiled and said, "No, violence isn't the answer," in a tone suggesting she expected me to smile back and say something along the lines of, "no... you're right... I was just kidding."


Instead I asked her, "Ever hear of the American Revolution?"


I then added, "Ever hear of the American Civil War... the War Between the States... the War of Secession?"

I of course could have gone on to give this woman (no doubt college educated) a lecture on American history and Constitutional theory, but...


Instead I just smiled at her and asked, "Not a big fan of General George Washington and his merry band of violent revolutionary traitors, huh?"


That one just left her mumbling to herself...


Anyway... on to newsbiting!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For those of you who are new to the blog, the "newsbites" are inside the comment section.

I urge newcomers to browse around the archives as well as browsing the last few day's stand along posts and newsbites.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

By Lt. Col.. Daniel L. Davis

Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down

By Lt. Col.. Daniel L. Davis

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners.

My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy.

Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency.

I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

My arrival in country in late 2010 marked the start of my fourth combat deployment, and my second in Afghanistan. A Regular Army officer in the Armor Branch, I served in Operation Desert Storm, in Afghanistan in 2005-06 and in Iraq in 2008-09. In the middle of my career, I spent eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and held a number of civilian jobs — among them, legislative correspondent for defense and foreign affairs for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

As a representative for the Rapid Equipping Force, I set out to talk to our troops about their needs and their circumstances. Along the way, I conducted mounted and dismounted combat patrols, spending time with conventional and Special Forces troops.

I interviewed or had conversations with more than 250 soldiers in the field, from the lowest-ranking 19-year-old private to division commanders and staff members at every echelon.

I spoke at length with Afghan security officials, Afghan civilians and a few village elders.

I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base.

I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people.

Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.

From time to time, I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency.

Much of what I saw during my deployment, let alone read or wrote in official reports, I can’t talk about; the information remains classified. But I can say that such reports — mine and others’ — serve to illuminate the gulf between conditions on the ground and official statements of progress. And I can relate a few representative experiences, of the kind that I observed all over the country.

In January 2011, I made my first trip into the mountains of Kunar province near the Pakistan border to visit the troops of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry. On a patrol to the northernmost U.S. position in eastern Afghanistan, we arrived at an Afghan National Police (ANP) station that had reported being attacked by the Taliban 2½ hours earlier. Through the interpreter, I asked the police captain where the attack had originated, and he pointed to the side of a nearby mountain.

“What are your normal procedures in situations like these?” I asked. “Do you form up a squad and go after them? Do you periodically send out harassing patrols? What do you do?”

As the interpreter conveyed my questions, the captain’s head wheeled around, looking first at the interpreter and turning to me with an incredulous expression.

Then he laughed.

“No! We don’t go after them,” he said. “That would be dangerous!”

According to the cavalry troopers, the Afghan policemen rarely leave the cover of the checkpoints.

In that part of the province, the Taliban literally run free.

In June, I was in the Zharay district of Kandahar province, returning to a base from a dismounted patrol. Gunshots were audible as the Taliban attacked a U.S. checkpoint about one mile away. As I entered the unit’s command post, the commander and his staff were watching a live video feed of the battle. Two ANP vehicles were blocking the main road leading to the site of the attack. The fire was coming from behind a haystack. We watched as two Afghan men emerged, mounted a motorcycle and began moving toward the Afghan policemen in their vehicles. The U.S. commander turned around and told the Afghan radio operator to make sure the policemen halted the men. The radio operator shouted into the radio repeatedly, but got no answer. On the screen, we watched as the two men slowly motored past the ANP vehicles. The policemen neither got out to stop the two men nor answered the radio — until the motorcycle was out of sight.

To a man, the U.S. officers in that unit told me they had nothing but contempt for the Afghan troops in their area — and that was before the above incident occurred.

In August, I went on a dismounted patrol with troops in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province.

Several troops from the unit had recently been killed in action, one of whom was a very popular and experienced soldier.

One of the unit’s senior officers rhetorically asked me, “How do I look these men in the eye and ask them to go out day after day on these missions? What’s harder: How do I look [my soldier’s] wife in the eye when I get back and tell her that her husband died for something meaningful? How do I do that?” One of the senior enlisted leaders added, “Guys are saying, ‘I hope I live so I can at least get home to R&R leave before I get it,’ or ‘I hope I only lose a foot.’ Sometimes they even say which limb it might be: ‘Maybe it’ll only be my left foot.’ They don’t have a lot of confidence that the leadership two levels up really understands what they’re living here, what the situation really is.”

On Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the infamous attack on the U.S., I visited another unit in Kunar province, this one near the town of Asmar. I talked with the local official who served as the cultural adviser to the U.S. commander. Here’s how the conversation went:

Davis: “Here you have many units of the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF]. Will they be able to hold out against the Taliban when U.S. troops leave this area?”

Adviser: “No. They are definitely not capable. Already all across this region [many elements of] the security forces have made deals with the Taliban. [The ANSF] won’t shoot at the Taliban, and the Taliban won’t shoot them. Also, when a Taliban member is arrested, he is soon released with no action taken against him. So when the Taliban returns [when the Americans leave after 2014], so too go the jobs, especially for everyone like me who has worked with the coalition."

[The Advisor continued,] “Recently, I got a cellphone call from a Talib who had captured a friend of mine. While I could hear, he began to beat him, telling me I’d better quit working for the Americans. I could hear my friend crying out in pain. [The Talib] said the next time they would kidnap my sons and do the same to them. Because of the direct threats, I’ve had to take my children out of school just to keep them safe."

[The Advisor further noted,] “And last night, right on that mountain there [he pointed to a ridge overlooking the U.S. base, about 700 meters distant], a member of the ANP was murdered. The Taliban came and called him out, kidnapped him in front of his parents, and took him away and murdered him. He was a member of the ANP from another province and had come back to visit his parents. He was only 27 years old. The people are not safe anywhere.”

That murder took place within view of the U.S. base, a post nominally responsible for the security of an area of hundreds of square kilometers. Imagine how insecure the population is beyond visual range. And yet that conversation was representative of what I saw in many regions of Afghanistan.

In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal. If the events I have described — and many, many more I could mention — had been in the first year of war, or even the third or fourth, one might be willing to believe that Afghanistan was just a hard fight, and we should stick it out. Yet these incidents all happened in the 10th year of war.

As the numbers depicting casualties and enemy violence indicate the absence of progress, so too did my observations of the tactical situation all over Afghanistan.

I’m hardly the only one who has noted the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground.

A January 2011 report by the Afghan NGO Security Office noted that public statements made by U.S. and ISAF leaders at the end of 2010 were “sharply divergent from IMF, [international military forces, NGO-speak for ISAF] ‘strategic communication’ messages suggesting improvements. We encourage [nongovernment organization personnel] to recognize that no matter how authoritative the source of any such claim, messages of the nature are solely intended to influence American and European public opinion ahead of the withdrawal, and are not intended to offer an accurate portrayal of the situation for those who live and work here.”

The following month, Anthony Cordesman, on behalf of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote that ISAF and the U.S. leadership failed to report accurately on the reality of the situation in Afghanistan.

[Cordesman wrote,] “Since June 2010, the unclassified reporting the U.S. does provide has steadily shrunk in content, effectively ‘spinning’ the road to victory by eliminating content that illustrates the full scale of the challenges ahead. They also, however, were driven by political decisions to ignore or understate Taliban and insurgent gains from 2002 to 2009, to ignore the problems caused by weak and corrupt Afghan governance, to understate the risks posed by sanctuaries in Pakistan, and to ‘spin’ the value of tactical ISAF victories while ignoring the steady growth of Taliban influence and control.”

How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan?

No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.

I first encountered senior-level equivocation during a 1997 division-level “experiment” that turned out to be far more set piece than experiment. Over dinner at Fort Hood, Texas, Training and Doctrine Command leaders told me that the Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) had shown that a “digital division” with fewer troops and more gear could be far more effective than current divisions.

The next day, our congressional staff delegation observed the demonstration firsthand, and it didn’t take long to realize there was little substance to the claims.

Virtually no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted.

All parameters were carefully scripted. All events had a preordained sequence and outcome.

The AWE was simply an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference.

Citing the AWE’s “results,” Army leaders proceeded to eliminate one maneuver company per combat battalion. But the loss of fighting systems was never offset by a commensurate rise in killing capability.

A decade later, in the summer of 2007, I was assigned to the Future Combat Systems (FCS) organization at Fort Bliss, Texas. It didn’t take long to discover that the same thing the Army had done with a single division at Fort Hood in 1997 was now being done on a significantly larger scale with FCS. Year after year, the congressionally mandated reports from the GAO revealed significant problems and warned that the system was in danger of failing. Each year, the Army’s senior leaders told members of Congress at hearings that GAO didn’t really understand the full picture and that to the contrary, the program was on schedule, on budget, and headed for success.

(Ultimately, of course, the program was canceled, with little but spin-offs to show for $18 billion spent.)

If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable.

Naturally, I am not authorized to divulge classified material to the public. But I am legally able to share it with members of Congress. I have accordingly provided a much fuller accounting in a classified report to several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, senators and House members.

A nonclassified version is available at [Editor’s note: At press time, Army public affairs had not yet ruled on whether Davis could post this longer version.]

When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be.

U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.

Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose.

That is the very essence of civilian control of the military.

The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years.

Simply telling the truth would be a good start.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hey... I wonder how that "Patriot's" parade in Boston went today?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Yep... That Hillary Clinton Sure Is Doing A FINE Job...


Each day I open my inbox to find my daily Foreign Policy Daily Brief.

Today's headlines:

There are fresh reports today of a heavy Syrian assault on the flashpoint city of Homs (pictured above during a protest on Friday), two days after Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Bashar al-Assad's crackdown and pressuring the Syrian president to step down.


Way to "manage" our relationships with Russia and China, Madam Secretary! Woo-hoo!

In a news conference in Doha on Monday, the rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah announced that they've formed an interim unity government led initially by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of elections.

Ah... yes... another "triumph" for U.S. diplomacy!


Egypt is putting 19 Americans - including the son of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood - and several other foreigners on trial...


Hey... how's that... er... "Arab Spring" working out for us, Madam Secretary? The "occasional" hiccup, huh?


In the latest development in Iraq's political crisis, a lawmaker in the country's Sunni-backed coalition says the Shiite-led government may take away his immunity from prosecution.


The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is reporting that CIA drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan are also killing rescuers and mourners.

Making friends and influencing people across the globe...


Folks... this is just this morning's briefing...!

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, February 6, 2012



Friday, February 3, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, February 3, 2012

Newsbites...! Newsbites...! Enter the Comment Section to get your newsbites!

(Some really good newsbites today, folks... please give 'em at least a browse!)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who Cares Who Donald Trump Endorses...?!


A "Must Read" George Will Column (Too long for a newsbite.)



Dina Galassini does not seem to pose a threat to Arizona’s civic integrity, but...


But the government of this desert community believes that you "cannot be too careful."


And state law empowers local governments to be vigilant against the lurking danger that political speech might occur before the speakers notify the government and comply with all the speech rules.


Last October, Galassini became annoyed...about the city’s plan to augment its spending with a $29.6 million bond issue, to be voted on by mail by Nov. 8.


On Oct. 6, she sent e-mails to 23 friends and acquaintances, urging them to write letters to newspapers and join her in two demonstrations against the bond measure.

On Oct. 12, before she could organize the demonstrations, she received a stern letter from the town clerk: “I would strongly encourage you to cease any campaign-related activities until the requirements of the law have been met.”

* HUH...???


State law — this is the state of John McCain, apostle of political purification through the regulation of political speech — says that anytime two or more people work together to influence a vote on a ballot measure, they instantly become a “political committee.”

This transformation triggers various requirements — registering with the government, filing forms, establishing a bank account for the “committee” even if it has raised no money and does not intend to.


This must be done before members of this fictitious “committee” may speak.





Galassini wrote to ask the clerk if it would be permissible for her to e-mail the 23 persons telling them the demonstrations were canceled — she got no response...


[Galassini] told the clerk, “This is all so confusing to me.”

Confusion and inconvenience...are probably intended consequences of laws designed to burden political speech that is potentially inconvenient for government.

Galassini gave up trying to influence the vote.


The Supreme Court, in its...2010 "Citizens United" decision, said that laws requiring licenses or other official permission to speak “function as the equivalent of prior restraint by giving the (government) power analogous to licensing laws implemented in 16th- and 17th-century England, laws and governmental practices of the sort that the First Amendment was drawn to prohibit.”


Paul Avelar of the Institute for Justice, the nation’s only libertarian public-interest law firm, which is helping Galassini contest the constitutionality of Arizona’s law, says that such niggling nuisances are proliferating nationwide.


A Florida law requires disclosure, including the name and address of the contributor, of any contribution, no matter how small. (A penny for your thoughts?)

A Washington state law is notably protective of the political class: There must be litigation before a campaign to recall a public official can start, and lawyers are essentially forbidden from volunteering their help with that litigation.

In Mississippi, anyone can put up his or her own Web page about a ballot issue, but the Web page designer must disclose the time he or she took to do it. And anyone who spends more than $200 on political speech — say, a small ad in a local newspaper — is required to give the government monthly reports about his or her political activity.





Such pettifogging laws reflect, aside from the joy governments derive from bossing people around, the current rage for regulating political speech lest . . . what?

Campaign regulations usually focus on money, supposedly to prevent quid pro quo corruption or the appearance thereof pertaining to candidates. But many laws cover activities involving ballot measures, which suggests that, for reformers, limiting political speech is itself the goal. Hence their obsession with political money, most of which funds the dissemination of speech.


Nationally, political hygienists are regretting their inadvertent creations, this year’s super PACs, entities run by supporters of presidential candidates but forbidden to “coordinate” with the candidates. Super PACs are spending money that the reformers, by imposing low limits on contributions to candidates and parties, have diverted away from campaigns that otherwise could be held directly accountable for, and judged in terms of, the speech they finance.

We hear, yet again, the reformers’ cry: “There is too much money in politics.”

This year, the presidential campaigns combined may spend almost $2 billion, which is...



...almost as much as Americans will, in a few weeks, spend on Easter candy.

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Newsbites can be found within the Comments Section!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just One Question...

Didn't (future president) candidate Obama win South Carolina during the 2008 democratic primaries...???

And didn't... er... (future NOT the president) candidate Clinton trounce Obama in the Florida democratic primary of 2008?

Funny how things work out sometimes...


Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, February 1, 2012

As always... the actual "newsbites" are posted in the comments section.

(BTW... check out comment #1 for my take on last night's Florida primary results.)