Saturday, July 31, 2010

War v Ilegal Immigration

Gary Wills had a column a few days ago. He wrote of a luncheon President Obama held with a group of Historians invited to give him advice on his Presidency. To a Historian, the guests warned him about becoming another LBJ because of the War in Af-Pak.

Which got me thinking maybe the Feds lawsuit against Arizona intended to whip up the Democrat Progressives over something other than last weeks supplemental war funding bill, and Afghanistan in general really for the next few months. Maybe longer... Chicago Democrats hardly beyond that kind of cynical manipulation of their own. Especially the ones they consider dolts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Long War Journal: Mullah Omar orders Taliban to attack civilians, Afghan women

Omar reportedly issued his latest order in June. NATO announced that it had recovered a copy of the directive in July. Since then, Afghan press outlets have published a translation of Omar’s five-point order.

The Long War Journal has received a translation of Omar’s order, as it appeared in the Afghan press, from US intelligence sources. Senior US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal say the order is most likely genuine.

According to the translation, Mullah Omar’s five-point directive reads:

1. Fight coalition forces to the death without withdrawing or surrendering; attempt to capture coalition forces whenever possible.

2. Capture and kill any Afghan who is supporting and/or working for coalition forces or the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

3. Capture and kill any Afghan women who are helping or providing information to coalition forces.

4. Recruit anyone that has access to coalition force bases and have the ability to collect detailed information about coalition forces.

5. Purchase or obtain more heavy weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and anti-aircraft machine guns.

Read more:

Don Berwick's Left Knee

At left a picture of Dr. Don Berwick giving his Don's Left knee speech at the IHI conference Spring of 2003 in New Orleans. Delivered with Don's usual evangelistic style that brought tears to the eyes of the Docs present (present as was I, but without tears and just startled scientists falling for this sort of thing from salesman Don).

Below the chart of Obama Care the Administration entrusting to this fellow from Harvard who's never managed more than five or six direct FTE at IHI maybe?

Oh we're in for a fine mess here. Except no fat contracts for giving speeches that Don cleaned up with from UK's Nat Health System. No wonder he sung NHS's praises... what vendor doesn't praise its prime contract.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chicago Defender: Residents pleased by high court decision on guns

via The Defender,
Residents of a Chicago neighborhood where an 80-year-old man shot and killed a burglar who'd broken into his home are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court supports their right to own guns for self-defense.

Seventy-eight-year-old Herman Wilder of the West Side neighborhood says he keeps a handgun under his pillow for protection. He says he thanks God for the Supreme Court's decision Monday, which eventually may make that gun legal.

Another neighbor, 50-year-old Charlene Figgins, thinks Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is living in a different Chicago than she is and that he doesn't understand the citizens' need for protection.

She says it can take 30 minutes for police to respond to calls for help in her neighborhood. She says the mayor doesn't have that problem.
The Mayor does live in a different world Ms Figgins, and a world with his own armed personal- security-detail.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Free Blagojevich ringtones are (bleeping) golden

Get 'em here.

My fav,
“I mean, something’s really (expletive) up in my head Doug. I mean, I could be and I could end up still maybe delivering pizzas somewhere. Maybe that’s where my destiny is, right?”

Tea Party Candidate Cedra Crenshaw Fights Illinois Democrats to Get on Ballot in Will County

Blagojevich buddy Wilhelmi of all people, getting picky on legal details.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Martyrdom tape of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad released

via Long War Journal. Wonder if Eric Holder is watching.

CBS News Poll: 7/13/10: 13% of Americans Believe Obama's policies have helped them

The table's over on page three.

Illinois Progressive Democrats have been here before.
"I fucking busted my ass and pissed people off and gave your grandmother a free fucking ride on a bus. OK? I gave your fucking baby a chance to have health care," Blagojevich is heard saying on tape. "And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So fuck all of you."
And that is how this class act of a crowd talks. And that is the contempt they have for Americans. Even those who vote for them.

Why didn't Obama, Rahm, Balanoff, and Jarrett listen to Mike Madigan?

A repost from an earlier one.

You don't see Madigan or Lisa getting called as witnesses in the Guv's trial and it's 'cause the political sage of the Southwest Side read Blagojevich early on. Ya gotta wonder what all these wise guys (and a gal) Americans sent to DC were thinking.

They must have been so Tony'd up to the gills they couldn't see how deep they were into the sludge. Madigan knew and had shunned Blagojevich long ago.

Sauk Valley News: Which candidate for Congress in the 14th District do you want to win on Nov. 2?

Over at the right hand side in the lower corner: Which candidate for Congress in the 14th District do you want to win on Nov. 2?

You know the drill!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When Axelrod saved Blagojevich

From Obama and Blago Blog. What's also ignored by MSM is this crew was the face of Illinois Progressive Politics for more than a decade. This was good, progressive, Liberalism in my State.
Barack Obama and his coterie of top aides now act as if they barely know Rod Blagojevich. What isn’t widely absorbed is that David Axelrod played a key role in Blagojevich’s rise in politics. He guided his election to the U.S. Congress in 1996 and, at a critical juncture, deflected a Chicago Tribune investigation that could have derailed his career years before the U.S. Attorney did.

The story included evidence that Blagojevich was a ghost payroller on the Chicago City Council payroll and that he was illegally moonlighting as a lawyer in cases opposing the city.

Before the Chicago Magazine explored this episode last year, a Tribune reporter not associated with the 1996 story told me that Axelrod worked furiously to tone it down. He may have succeeded, according to the Chicago Magazine account.

Axelrod was also a fierce protector of his client. He brought in his friend Carol Ronen, a progressive state representative and vocal gay-rights activist, to be campaign manager—a move intended to put a good-government face on Blagojevich, who was seen by many as simply a Machine hack. And when Axelrod got word that a team at the Tribune was working on an investigative series on Mell (and, by extension, his young protégé, Blagojevich), the ex-Trib reporter complained vociferously. He argued, as the former city editor Hanke Gratteau recalls today, that the paper was “conducting the equivalent of a proctology exam” on Blagojevich. When the Tribune finally ran its story—a probing but not particularly hard-hitting portrayal of Mell that extolled Blagojevich as the “perfect candidate” with “good looks a soap opera star would envy”—some inside the newsroom suspected that Axelrod’s aggressive pushback had killed a tougher version. Gratteau told Crain’s Chicago Business, “The only thing he killed at the Tribune was his good name and reputation.”
Despite its lack of impact, the story should have served as a red flag for Illinois voters when Blagojevich sought the Governor’s office. Sadly, it didn’t.
Maybe 'cause way too many of us in Illinois were a little mixed up about red flags with too many wacky ideas left from our youth.

Update: Via The Real Barack Obama with a nod to anon below,

Below: Axelrod “explains” why POTUS Obama made a recess appointment for Donald Berwick to head Medicare/Medicaid and bypassed the hearing process — completely. Guess why? Urgency — to avoid a political circus. He talks about General David Petraeus’ demotion from CENTCOM to Afghanistan to replace General Stanley McChrystal. Finally, watch Axelrod squirm dithers about Tom Balanoff, Valerie Jarrett, and the Rod Blagojevich trial.

Feds refuse to Tony-up case aganist Blagojevich

And failing to call Rezko looks really weird. Ted Cox in the Daily Herald,
Rezko fought the charges against him, only to be convicted on 16 of 24 counts two years ago. More recently, he made moves to change his plea and his sentencing was postponed indefinitely, raising the possibility he was helping with the prosecution case and might even take the stand. Yet, he couldn't change the contents of a letter he wrote to his trial judge before his conviction:

"The prosecutors have been overzealous in pursuing a crime that never happened. They are pressuring me to tell them the 'wrong' things that I supposedly know about Gov. Blagojevich and Sen. Obama. I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the governor or the senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes."

That letter would no doubt be produced by defense lawyers if Rezko were called to the stand. The defense team already has made abundant issue about Hinsdale racetrack owner John Johnston and Willowbrook asphalt executive Gerald Krozel testifying with immunity, and about Monk and fundraiser Joseph Cari, among others, testifying under duress while awaiting favorable sentencing in their cases.

Even Blagojevich's trial judge, James Zagel, said late last month that he considered Rezko a toxic witness who would damage whichever side chose to call him, and that he therefore didn't expect him to be called.

"Rezko scares the prosecutors," said Andrew Stoltmann, a Barrington Hills attorney who's been following the case. "He is a wild card, and prosecutors tend to be scared away from wild cards."

The same would seem to be true of Levine, a key witness against Rezko, but who proved embarrassing to the prosecution with his tales on the stand of marathon drug sessions in hotels with other men.

Levine pleaded guilty to using his position on the boards of the state's Teachers Retirement System and Health Facilities Planning Board to generate millions in kickbacks.

"Rezko and Levine are both wild cards," said Richard Kling of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. "You really have no idea what they're going to say."
The United States Department of Justice scared of Tony Rezko. We're in a real jam if that's the story. A weak case against the Guv because Fitz scared to call the guy who knows 'cause he might talk about others more Tony'd up than the Guv.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Feds jump the Gun arresting the Gov?

Sun Time's Natasha Korecki speculating the Feds jumped the gun arresting Blagojevich on the Obama Senate seat auction.
When you put aside the profanity-laced recordings, the $400,000 wardrobe and testimony that he was a no-show governor, much of the case remaining against Rod Blagojevich is a series of incomplete acts.
Why arrest half of a conspiracy-not-consummated when Blagojevich on a six year crime spree that started before even his first term per Fitz? How could DOJ fumble so badly and not go after the ugly stuff already completed?

Picture is Blagojevich and Eric Holder announcing Holder's award of a $300k contract to verify Rosemont Illinois not a mobbed up community and worthy of an Illinois Casio license...really... Mannheim Road a street of dreams for all to see. Sometimes all of the dots are so easy any fool can connect 'em.

A weak case made, pardons to be granted... all the players win.

RFE: Tehran Bazaar Dispute May Herald New Regime Crackdown

H/T Iran News... Robert Tait writes,
If ever an institution typified the blend of social and religious conservatism wrapped up in Iran's Islamic Revolution, it is the Tehran bazaar -- home to an array of carpet sellers, textile traders, and food merchants instinctively suspicious of the alien values of Western commerce.

Yet now this sprawling "city within a city" -- which is also home to several mosques, in keeping with its close ties to the Islamic clergy -- is in open revolt against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad as he tries to impose swingeing tax rises to compensate for budget shortfalls.

This week, the bazaar -- situated on the southern tip of Tehran's vast city center -- forced the government to backtrack on a plan to increase income tax on traders by 70 percent after many vendors closed their doors, slowing trade to a crawl and prompting the authorities to dispatch security forces.

After gold and jewelry stores closed on July 6, traders throughout the bustling market followed suit. A hastily arranged meeting between merchants and Finance Ministry officials was followed by an announcement that measures to collect the new tax would be "suspended" until "necessary guidelines are issued." In the meantime, taxes would remain at their current levels of between 6 and 15 percent -- thus depriving the government of an estimated $20 billion it hoped to raise in revenues.
But following the ongoing rift with former establishment figures like Rafsanjani and Mir Hossein Musavi over Ahmadineajd's 2009 presidential election, alienating it has huge symbolic importance and will leave Ahmadinejad politically isolated, Assadi believes.

"It means that sociologically, the institutions you would expect to be supportive of the government of Ahmadinejad are against it," he said. "Sociologically there is a big change. Institutions that are supposed to be supportive of the Islamic republic of Iran, they are more and more against it."

While that may render the government politically weaker, it is also likely to make it more ruthless, Assadi added.

"The bazaar is symbolically very significant, so Ahmadinejad is highly isolated," he argued. "Unfortunately one of the outcomes of that isolation is that, to keep the government in power, the Pasdaran are going to increase repression and control over the society."
I hope the Administration is watching and doesn't bungle supporting a Green Revolution against an increasingly more ruthless and desperate regime. The alternatives to that revolution are dreadful.

Session 358 - Blagojevich home: A Progressive Dem's burden: Wives, Richie Daley, and Tony Rezko

Amazing tape Fran Eaton called out because of the Guv's bizarre speculation on Michelle hen pecking Obama over the Valerie Jarrett Senate appointment. Quite a chat from Illinois' foremost advocate for Women's issues.

I thought the sentence at line 8, page 4, on how appointing Rahm would be good for Obama's politics with Mayor Daley a stunner. Obama's just been elected President of the United States. Shouldn't the bunch be worried about their politics with the new President of the United States instead?

And then there's the burden of Rezko all over the last half of the transcript. As Anita Dunn says here, WTF...

This is Illinois Progressives at their best.

Listen while you read to get the full effect of it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Feds skip charging Jesse Jackson Jr.

Hard to figure why Fitz charged Blago and not Jackson. Very strange and thin case Fitz putting together on a guy who should be a slam dunk conviction. IT would have helped to charge all the players maybe? Via The Blago Blog
Prosecutors elicit a conversation that alleges U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was present at a meeting where campaign contributions were discussed in exchange for a Senate seat appointment. Rajinder Bedi, onetime state worker, described the Oct. 28, 2008 meeting with Jackson and fund-raiser Raghu Nayak.

Monday, July 05, 2010

One Mom Fights the Chicago Machine to Stay On the Ballot

One Mom taking some swings at a really sad lot of Machine Democrats.


Know little about her but if Madigan's after her she's doing something right.
Meet Cedra Crenshaw, just a mom trying to make a difference.

Cedra, a tea party candidate, is running against one of Michael Madigan's hand puppets, AJ Wilhelmi.

Click here to hear WHY just ONE MOM is running against the Chicago Machine!!

Now, after hearing this conservative firecracker on legs, you can understand WHY Michael Madigan and John Cullerton are running scared of her!

She's scaring the Machine because she took their ace out of their hands.

Cedra is an African-American mom and wife from Bolingbrook, so calling her an angry, white, old, rich man won't float.

So instead of fighting her on the issues, they are trying to kick her off the ballot, but we cannot let that happen.

Cedra Crenshaw, friend of Adam Andrzejewski, is willing to take this to the mattress, BUT SHE CAN ONLY WIN WITH YOUR HELP!

Her opponent's attorney is the a friend, ally and attorney for Michael Madigan AND BARACK OBAMA! We truly are fighting EVIL!

On Wednesday, July 7th, at 9:30 a.m., in the Will County Court House, 14 W. Jefferson Street, in room 308, there will be a hearing where Will County Board of Elections' officials will determine Cedra -- the tea party's candidate's fate -- AND WE NEED YOU THERE!

I know I keep asking you to come out to all these events and I know I keep saying, "...this is a very important event...", but THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT EVENT. (And I promise not to use this line, again, for 4 weeks. I even get sick of reading my same words on paper... LOL) But this is important. If we win, we gain street credibility, people! Even the GOP doesn't give us respect we deserve! But if we lose... Well, let's just say, NOT COOL.

For those from the Southwest Side, the Rock Island Metra train will take you directly to the courthouse door. I am personally taking the train and will be getting on either at 103rd Street or 111th Street. There is a train that will leave us off at Joliet at 9:05 a.m. and it will only take 5 minutes to walk across the street to the courthouse.

Click here to find your Metra stop schedule!

If you have a tea party shirt, WEAR IT!

Big Government, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity has picked up this story and they will be there covering it!

Also, on Tuesday, July 6th, at 9:30 a.m., there is a protest outside the courthouse.

This hearing was initially scheduled for Tuesday until Barack Obama's attorneys called and had it rescheduled. They are trying to screw around with us -- WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN.

So since it was initially scheduled for Tuesday, we will still go for a protest. We will NOT quit. We will NOT back down! But if you have to choose between one or the other - GO WEDNESDAY, PER ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI'S REQUEST!

If you cannot make this court hearing, but would like to help fight this Chicago Machine, go to


Catherina Wojtowicz
Chicago Tea Patriots

El Jardin Mexian Cafe after the Cubs Game, May 2010

El Jardin Mexican Cafe, Chicago, Illinois

Danny's Deli, Melrose Park, Illinois: Italian Fried Steak Sandwich


The IRA grap

H/T Chicago Bungalow.

Pajamas Media:

The Obama administration has just solicited public comment on their proposal to take money from Americans’ private 401(k) retirement accounts and convert it into government-backed annuities. In other words, they want to take your money now to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds, then pay you a monthly sum later after you’ve retired. (Read the rest . . .)
So. Very. Predictable.

Why another Obama blog?

The first post from a pair of guys who know Illinois and Chicago: Dan Curry and John Pearman.

Because, charitably, there’s a force field around Barack Obama that seemingly prevents the mainstream press from exploring in any depth the relationship between Rod Blagojevich/Illinois corruption and Obama. As steller Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass once put it, “it’s no secret that some in journalism get offended when anyone dares mention that the president was involved in Chicago politics.”

When a narrative emerges that harms Obama, the local and national press go into energetic defense mode, explaining in great detail why the meme is not valid. That same energy dissipates when legitimate avenues of inquiry are raised. Bill Ayers, anyone? I talked to many a Chicago reporter who yawned when John McCain raised that association as a campaign issue.

That point was dramatically illustrated two years ago when a conservative researcher pointed out that Obama had once chaired a board that gave away $115 million in education grants, a position that amounted to Obama’s only executive experience. Despite millions of words about Obama’s past, not one Chicago or national media outlet reported the chairmanship, which lasted nearly five years.

So we do not trust the mainstream press to relay the full story as the Blagojevich corruption trial unravels ingloriously at 219 S. Dearborn St. during the next several months. Consider our offering as a supplement to what you’ll find here and here. Our qualifications to add something meaningful are here. I hope you find our analysis helpful. And if you have an angle we are neglecting, please contact us here.

Chicago's Lutheran Churches

Wonderful website to find the histories of Chicago's many Lutheran Churches. We UUs have a good database of U and U leaders, preachers, and personalities, but nothing I know of that collects together our Churches.

Frog Legs

Phil Smidt's was a south sider's spot for Chicken, Perch, and Frog Legs. I loved it as a kid when my Grandparents took me because I could watch the Pennsylvania Rail Road pass by out the window.

Frog Leg's Phil Smidt's style via the Chow Hound.

Phil Smidt & Son frog's legs and tartar sauce
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 5 minutes Makes: 8 servings

From 1910 until it closed in 2007, Phil Smidt & Son of Hammond, Ind., was the place Chicagoans went for frog's legs and parsleyed tartar sauce. At its heyday, Smidt's served 2,000-plus pounds (35,000 pairs) of the legs and 12 gallons of tartar sauce a month. A little history: Original owner Smidt bowed out of the business in 1976 and bequeathed the restaurant to Calumet College. For four years, Mike Probst managed Smidt's for Calumet. Probst then bought the restaurant in 1980 and operated it through 2000. With Phil Smidt's closing, the name and rights to the restaurant went back to Probst who is talking to potential buyers about relaunching the concept in the Chicago area. To satiate many readers' frog's-leg cravings in the interim, Probst agreed to share Phil Smidt's original recipe. Order frog's legs from your local fish store.

Tartar sauce:
1 small bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup sweet dill pickles
1/2 onion
2 cups mayonnaise

Frog's legs:
Butter-flavored cooking oil, for frying
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons potato flour, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 pounds frog's legs, the smaller the better

Combine parsley, sweet pickles and onion in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a piece of cheesecloth; wrap. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine parsley mixture and mayonnaise in a bowl; mix well.

Pour 1 inch of oil into a cast iron skillet; heat to 375 degrees over high heat. Mix flours and seasoned salt in a shallow dish. Place frog's legs in flour mixture; coat thoroughly, shaking off any excess. Fry in hot oil, turning once, until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve with tartar sauce.

Nutrition information
Per serving: 496 calories, 69% of calories from fat, 37 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 97 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 571 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Noemie Emery: Too brilliant to fail

We've elected a covener, not a leader.

There have been many good presidents, and their backgrounds are varied. But none has been a blogger, a pundit, an editor of the New Yorker, or a writer for Vanity Fair.

When and how then does this president's intellect shimmer? At meetings.

He does seem a genius at chairing a forum, as at the "nuclear summit" in April, where the Washington Post claimed that he shone as a teacher, "calling on leaders to speak, embellish, oppose, and offer alternatives," coaxing consensus and forging agreements among 45 countries at hand.

The problem was that the value of these things was limited, as the attending countries weren't menacing anyone, while Iran and Korea, who were not in attendance, went on happily building their bombs.

He isn't a sphinx, he's a seminar leader who's out of his element. And more and more out of his depth.

The happy bomb builders go their merry ways. This will end very badly.

Iran's radar sale to Syria

Bill Roggio on the gathering storm: Iran sells advanced radar system to Syria
Iran: The radar transfer benefits Tehran in a number of ways. First, it provides Iran with a forward operating radar system on Israel's border, effectively preventing an IDF sneak attack against Iran's nuclear program. Second, it diverts American and European attention away from Iranian nuclear ambitions by creating a more immediate security concern between Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Finally, it strengthens Iran's ability to launch yet another sophisticated proxy war against Israel via Hezbollah and Hamas. Since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, Israeli intelligence officials believe that Hezbollah's rocket and missile cache has grown to over 40,000. Any hint of a preemptive attack on Iran by Israel or the US is sure to light a dangerous fuse in the Levant.

Read more:

Blagojevich on Obama and Rezko: ...more Tony’d up than I am.

via CDO from one of the FBI's secret recordings of the Guv.
BLAGOJEVICH I thin-, you know, it’s really, I get that I’m a big boy and I can handle that, but it’s really f***ing galling, this guy is more Tony’d up than I am. And it’s almost like they f***ing conspi-, made a concerted effort and they got the Chicago media to f***ing make me wear Rezko more. To f***ing dilute it from him.
MSM one thing, but what's with Fitzgerald not following that Tony'd up trail?

Michael Steele please resign

From Kristol's letter in The Weekly Standard.
But now you have said, about the war in Afghanistan, speaking as RNC chairman at an RNC event, "Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." And, "if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"

Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not "a war of Obama’s choosing." It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement "puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party."

And not on a trivial matter. At a time when Gen. Petraeus has just taken over command, when Republicans in Congress are pushing for a clean war funding resolution, when Republicans around the country are doing their best to rally their fellow citizens behind the mission, your comment is more than an embarrassment. It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders.

There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn't be the chairman of the Republican party.
It's America's war, not Obama's. Steele couldn't figure that out and should go.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Assumption of Command General David H. Petraeus Commander, ISAF/US Forces-Afghanistan 4 July 2010

Via Michael Yon,
Salaam Aleikum.

Good morning to you all. Ministers Wardak, Khan, Spanta, other Ministers, Ambassadors, General Ramms, General Karimi, and our other Afghan Partners, distinguished guests, members of the International Security Assistance Force and US Forces-Afghanistan, thank you all for being with us.And General Ramms, thank you for presiding at today’s ceremony and for your great support of this mission throughout your tenure over the past several years as Commander of NATO’s Joint Forces Command-Brunssum. And special thanks to the great 101st Airborne Division and Afghan bands and the superb color guard here this morning.

Up front, I also want to recognize the enormous contributions of my predecessor, General Stan McChrystal. We have all worked hard together over the past year-and-a-half to get the inputs right in Afghanistan – to build the organizations needed to carry out a comprehensive, civil-military counterinsurgency campaign; to get the best individuals possible in charge of those organizations; to ensure that we have our plans and concepts right; and to garner and deploy the forces and other resources needed to implement those plans and concepts. No one did more in helping to get the inputs right than General McChrystal. And the progress made in recent months, in the face of a determined enemy, is in many respects the result of the vision, energy, and leadership he provided during his time as COMISAF.

This morning, as I look at the representatives of the organizations engaged here in Afghanistan, I feel privileged to be joining this critical effort at such a pivotal time. As each of you knows well, we are engaged in a tough fight. After years of war, we have arrived at a critical moment. We must demonstrate to the Afghan people, and to the world, that Al Qaeda and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on the Afghan people and on freedom-loving nations around the world. And with the surge in ISAF forces and the growth of our Afghan partners, we have a new opportunity to do just that.

We are engaged in a contest of wills. Our enemies are doing all that they can to undermine the confidence of the Afghan people. In so doing, they are killing and maiming innocent Afghan civilians on a daily basis. No tactic is beneath the insurgents; indeed, they use unwitting children to carry out attacks, they repeatedly kill innocent civilians, and they frequently seek to create situations that will result in injury to Afghan citizens.

In answer, we must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and ISAF forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people, and that we are in this to win. That is our clear objective.

As President Obama and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen have noted, my assumption of command represents a change in personnel, not a change in policy or strategy. To be sure, I will, as any new commander should, together with ISAF, Afghan, and diplomatic partners, examine our civil-military effort to determine where refinements might be needed. But our military objectives will remain the same. Together with our Afghan partners, we must secure and serve the people of Afghanistan. We must help Afghan leaders develop their security forces and governance capacity so that they can, over time, take on the tasks of securing their country and see to the needs of their people. And, in performing these tasks, we clearly must pursue the insurgents relentlessly.

To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and civilians of ISAF and USFOR-A: I pledge to do all that I can to provide the best leadership, direction, and example that I can muster. Your accomplishments this year have been impressive. You have helped achieve progress in several important areas. Predictably, as we have sought to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and take away insurgent safe havens, the enemy has fought back. Recent months in Afghanistan have seen hard fighting and tough casualties.

As we press on in our vital mission, we must continue our efforts to reduce the loss of innocent civilians to an absolute minimum. But as those on the ground strive to achieve that intent, we will not hesitate to bring all assets to bear to protect you and the Afghan forces with which you are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder, SHONA-BA-SHONA.

Beyond that, I want to thank each of you – and each of your families – for the sacrifices you are making as you serve in this critical endeavor. Thanks, as well, for the skill, courage, determination, and sheer force of will that you have demonstrated – and on which we will rely heavily in the months to come.

To our diplomatic and international civilian partners here today: We are all – civilian and military, Afghan and international – part of one team with one mission. Indeed, we all recognize the grave threat that the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the associated “syndicate” of extremists pose to this country, to this region, and to the world. We cannot accomplish our mission without working together. Each of your organizations brings tremendous commitment and unique skills and attributes to the team of teams at work in Afghanistan – and I look forward to what our organizations will accomplish together as we reinforce a culture here that recognizes that cooperation is not optional.

To our Afghan partners: We will do all that we can to help you build a country free of the fear of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a country in which all citizens can live in peace with one another and provide for themselves and their families. I salute each of you for your courage and for your dedication to Afghanistan and to the Afghan people. I told President Karzai yesterday that I applaud his commitment to inclusivity, transparency, integrity, and accountability. I look forward to working with each of you in making his watchwords reality as we work together to achieve our common goals. Nothing has been easy in Afghanistan; however, we can all take heart from the progress that has been made on the security front and beyond. Indeed, seven million Afghan children are now in school, as opposed to less than one million a decade ago. Immunization rates for children are now in the 70 to 90 percent range nationwide. Cell phones are ubiquitous in a country that had virtually none during the Taliban days, though the Taliban seeks to deny their use. Kabul is a bustling, busy city, as are Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad. Roads and bridges and other infrastructure have been built. And the future holds even greater promise, if we can resist those who want to turn the clocks back in Afghanistan rather allow the march of progress to continue.

To the many Afghan partners in uniform who have joined us this morning: Thanks for your tremendous courage and commitment. You and your comrades have made great strides, and you should be proud of what you have accomplished. Indeed, Afghan forces are now in the lead in Kabul and in a number of other areas. In such cases, Afghan units are the “supported” forces, operating with assistance from ISAF to be sure, but already shouldering the responsibilities of leadership. ISAF forces will continue to partner with you as your ranks grow and as you take on increasing responsibility for securing the Afghan people. It is a privilege to serve with you.

Finally, to the people of Afghanistan: it is a great honor to be in your country and to lead ISAF. I want to emphasize what a number of our country’s leaders recently affirmed – that our commitment to Afghanistan is an enduring one and that we are committed to a sustained effort to help the people of this country over the long-term. Neither you nor the insurgents nor our partners in the region should doubt that. Certainly the character of our commitment will change over time. Indeed, Afghans and the citizens of ISAF countries look forward to the day when conditions will permit the transition of further tasks to Afghan forces. In the meantime, all of us at ISAF pledge our full commitment to help you protect your nation from militants who allowed Al Qaeda sanctuary when they ruled the country. Moreover, we see it as our solemn duty to protect the innocent people of Afghanistan from all violence, whether intended by the enemy or unintended by those of us pursuing that enemy. And we stand with you as we all work to defeat the enemies of the new Afghanistan and to help create a better future for you and your families.

Working together, we can prevail in this endeavor.

It is an honor to serve with each of you and those you represent. Thank you for your commitment to Afghanistan and your courage in meeting the challenges we face.

Manana, tashakor, thank you very much.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Emil Jones under the Bus

Via The Telegraph's Barack Obama's 'politics as usual' revealed by Rod Blagojevich trial

I always thought Jones was the the Guv's first choice to replace Obama. Picture is of Jones with Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi.
It has also become clear from the trial that Obama wanted to make sure that Emil Jones, then President of the Illinois State Senate and the man Obama referred to as his "political godfather", out of the seat.

The former sewer inspector had taken Obama under his wing when he was a callow state senator but he had apparently now outlived his usefulness. Perhaps Obama did not want such a reminder of his past in Washington.
That kind of ingratitude to a mentor not very Chicago in my book. At least the Chicago I know. Even scoundrels show some loyalty.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Obama On Unemployment At 9.6%: At Least It's Not "12 or 13 or 15" Percent

The old stumbling bumbling Obama from Springfield...yeah it's not "12 or 13 or 15" Percent but Alderman Beals says its 40% in his ward. What a gd mess with no end in sight.