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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Person of Little Integrity

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Colin Powell’s latest self-serving book, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership,” Colin Powell is filled with vivid experiences and lessons learned that have shaped the legendary public service career of the four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. At its heart are Powell's "Thirteen Rules"—notes he gathered over the years and that now form the basis of his leadership presentations given throughout the world. Powell's short but sweet rules—among them, "Get mad, then get over it" and "Share credit"—are illustrated by revealing personal stories that introduce and expand upon his principles for effective leadership: conviction, hard work, and, above all, respect for others. In work and in life, Powell writes, "it's about how we touch and are touched by the people we meet. It's all about the people."

Colin Powell, born April 5, 1937, is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States480px-Powell Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Gulf War. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Most Americans did not know much about Powell until after the 1991 Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) when he skyrocketed into the public spotlight for his perceived leadership in defeating the forces of Sadam Hussein. The public believed, through a great media campaign, that Powell was the brains behind the quick defeat of the Iraqi Forces when it was actually General Norman Schwarzkopf who led the coalition forces into battle. This would have tantamount to laying all the credit for our defeat of the Nazis in WWII to General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff rather than Dwight Eisenhower the leader of the allied coalition in Europe and chief planner of the D-Day invasion.

In the ensuing years Powell, a professed Republican, was often considered a presidential candidate, but he never took the bait. Instead he hired on with George W. Bush and became his chief foreign policy advisor during the 2000 presidential campaign and eventually Bush’s Secretary of State.

Dan Foomkin writes in the Huffington Post:

“In his new book, former Secretary of State Colin Powell provides what may be the most authoritative confirmation yet that there was never a considered debate in the George W. Bush White House about whether going to war in Iraq was really a good idea.

In a chapter discussing what he calls his “infamous” February 2003 speech to the United Nations where he authoritatively presented what was later exposed as gross misinformation about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Powell notes that by that time, war “was approaching.”

“By then, the President did not think war could be avoided,” Powell writes. “He had crossed the line in his own mind, even though the NSC [National Security Council] had never met -- and never would meet -- to discuss the decision.”

The National Security Council, which was at the time led by Condoleezza Rice, is the president’s foremost advisory body for national security and foreign policy.

The book, “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership,” which will be released May 22, is largely a series of leadership parables from Powell, who now spends a lot of time on the lecture circuit. The Huffington Post obtained an advance copy.

Bush insisted in his own 2010 memoir, "Decision Points," that the invasion was something he came to support only reluctantly and after a long period of reflection. During his book tour, he even cast himself as “a dissenting voice” in the run-up to war. “I didn't wanna use force,” he said.

But Powell supports the increasingly well-documented conclusion that there was actually no decision-making point -- or decision-making process -- during the events between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with those attacks.”


“In Powell’s explanation of how he came to provide the misleading and inaccurate account of Iraq’s WMD capability at the UN, the former secretary of state points an incriminating finger at Vice President Dick Cheney’s office -- confirming previous reports such as the one by Karen DeYoung, in her Powell biography.

In the new book, Powell describes his reaction to the initial “WMD case” from the White House. “It was a disaster. It was incoherent,” he writes. “I learned later that Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, had authored the unusable presentation, not the NSC staff. And several years after that, I learned from Dr. Rice that the idea of using Libby had come from the Vice President, who had persuaded the President to have Libby, a lawyer, write the ‘case’ as a lawyer's brief and not as an intelligence assessment.”

Powell gives himself credit for rejecting continued appeals from Cheney to add “assertions that had been rejected months earlier to links between Iraq and 9/11 and other terrorist acts.”

All in all, Powell acknowledges that the speech was “one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact.” But he also concludes that “every senior U.S. official would have made the exact same case,”

He adds: “I get mad when bloggers accuse me of lying -- of knowing the information was false. I didn’t.”

I can recall of no incident where a former Secretary of State or Chief of the Army, since General George McClellan ran for the presidency as the candidate of the Democrat Party after being fired by Lincoln for his mishandling of the Union forces in the Civil War.

McClellan was nominated by the Democrats to run against Abraham Lincoln inGeorge_B_McClellan_-_retouched the 1864 U.S. presidential election. Following the example of Winfield Scott, he ran as a U.S. Army general still on active duty; he did not resign his commission until Election Day, November 8, 1864. He supported continuation of the war and restoration of the Union (though not the abolition of slavery), but the party platform, written by Copperhead Clement Vallandigham of Ohio, was opposed to this position. The platform called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy. McClellan was forced to repudiate the platform, which made his campaign inconsistent and difficult. He also was not helped by the party's choice for vice president, George H. Pendleton, a peace candidate from Ohio.

Powell, like McClellan, is a political animal more concerned with his reputation and place at the Washington political table than in is integrity. In a recent interview on the Sean Hannity FOX News Powell clamored for the lack of compromise with our political system. He focused most of his disparaging remarks against conservatives and Tea Party members. He also went on to claim our Founders were great compromisers. This is nonsense. You do not compromise on principles. Powel would still be a slave if Lincoln had compromised on the issue of slavery. We would still be a colony of Great Britain if our Founders had compromised on the Declaration of Independence.

Powell hasn't signaled yet whom he plans to endorse in this election cycle. He broke with his party to support President Barack Obama in 2008, but he stayed mum when asked this week if he planned to do the same this time around. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Obama "appreciated" Powell's endorsement in 2008 and gave reasons why he should back Obama again.

Powell noted last Wednesday that Romney has been "catching a lot of heck" from mainstream figures in the Republican foreign affairs community who he said "were kind of taken aback" by Romney's Russia claims.

"Look at the world. There is no pure competitor of the United States of America," he said. "All the problems we talk about in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran — they count about 700 million people in a world of seven billion. What are the rest of them doing? They're increasing their economies, they're building wealth, they're educating their kids, and they’re building their infrastructure. That's what we need to be doing."

What Powell does not talk about is his lack of integrity when it comes to getting back a people he did not agree with. There are few spectacles more sad than to see a man burn down his own integrity. Watching someone who has lived their life according to a certain ethos, in this case I will be referring to “Duty. Honor. Country.”, and callously cast that lodestar aside for no discernible reason other than to settle a score shames those who witness the act nearly as much as it shames the perpetrator.

Some very few times we are given the opportunity to appropriately redress a wrong. I say appropriately because a wrong needs to be righted in the same manner in which it was inflicted. A private apology never atones for a public insult. When that opportunity presents itself and is declined one is left with no other possible conclusion than one is dealing with a person devoid of honor and integrity.

Last August retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell was presented with the golden opportunity to right a grave injustice he inflicted upon colleagues, upon the man to whom he owed his loyalty, and upon his nation. He not only declined to do so, he dismissed the notion that he had anything to do with the wrong.

Of course I’m referring to the infamous Valerie Plame Affair wherein a CIA employee operating in deep cover at CIA headquarters in Langley had her cover accidentally “blown” by the late Robert Novak after her blowhard husband wrote an op-ed about what he may or may not have learned while “drinking sweet mint tea” with various kleptocrats in Niger. We all know the story on that. The source was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff (I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby) was eventually and shamefully convicted of having different recollections of a conversation than did Tim Russert.

The Plame Affair re-entered the news last August with the publication of Vice President Cheney’s (say it again and savor the way it rolls off the tongue Vice President Cheney, Vice President Cheney) memoir, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.

In his memoir, Vice President Cheney has this to say (by way of Politico):

“Cheney recalls that during the CIA leak investigation, Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage stayed silent: “And, it pains me to note, so did his boss, Colin Powell, whom Armitage told he was [Robert] Novak’s source on October 1, 2003. Less than a week later, there was a cabinet meeting. The press came in for a photo opportunity, and there were questions about who had leaked the information that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. The president said he didn’t know, but wanted the truth. Thinking back, I realize that one of the few people in the world who could have told him the truth, Colin Powell, was sitting right next to him.”

There is the Plame Affair in a nutshell.

All Colin Powell had to do to stop the budding scandal is stand up and tell the truth. Whether in private to his boss, President George Bush, or in public is immaterial.

Subsequently, Powell was invited on to Face the Nation to talk about Cheney’s book. This is what he had to say about his role in the Plame Affair:

Then he goes on to talk about the Valerie Plame affair, and tries to lay it all off on Mister Rich Armitage in the State Department and me. But the fact of the matter is when Mister Armitage realized that he was the source for Bob Novak’s column that caused all the difficulty and he called me immediately, two days after the President launched the investigation and what we did was we called the Justice Department. They sent it over the FBI. The FBI had all the information that Mister Armitage’s participation in this immediately. And we called Al Gonzalez, the President’s counsel, and told him that we had information. The FBI asked us not to share any of this with anyone else, as did Mister Gonzalez. And so, if the White House operatives had come forward as readily as Mister Armitage had done, then we wouldn’t have gone on for two more months with the FBI trying to find out what happened in the White House. There wouldn’t have been special counsel appointed by the Justice Department who spent two years trying to get to the bottom of it. And we wouldn’t have the mess that we subsequently had. And so if the White House and the operatives in the White House and Mister Cheney’s staff and elsewhere in the White House had been as forthcoming with the FBI as Mister Armitage was, this problem would not have reached the dimensions that it reached.”

From this point on I’ll borrow heavily from the Washington Post’s housebroken conservative, Jennifer Rubin:

The extent of the dishonesty is quite stunning. In a Cabinet meeting on October 7, 2003, the White House press corps bombarded President George W. Bush with questions about who the leaker was. Bush said he didn’t know, but there would be an investigation to get to the bottom of it. Powell, who had been told by Armitage just days earlier that Armitage was the leaker, sat there next to the president, stone silent. Not very loyal or honest, was it?

Moreover, the notion that Armitage’s slip was somehow inadvertent is belied by Bob Woodward’s taped interview in which Armitage repeatedly mentions Joe Wilson’s wife, evidently doing his best to get Plame’s identity out there. This was no slip of the tongue. Woodward testified that when he spoke to Libby sometime later that Libby never said anything about Plame.

At issue here is not simply Powell and Armitage’s deception and undermining of their commander in chief. There was a victim, one whom neither Powell or Armitage has ever apologized to. The person who ultimately paid the price for this was Scooter Libby. Had the president and the country known about Armitage, a special prosecutor would never have been appointed. Libby was eventually convicted on the basis of a he-said-he-said dispute between his recollection and that of the late Tim Russert. (Charges concerning Libby’s alleged comments to Judy Miller were dismissed, and he was acquitted on the count involving Matt Cooper.) A compelling case for Libby’s innocence can be found in this account by Stan Crock.”

I never had a problem understanding Powell’s discomfiture with the Bush Administration. If Powell was ever an actual Republican, he was of the Nelson Rockefeller variety. He was not up to competing with Donald Rumsfeld for influence, especially in the aftermath of 9/11. He was brought into the administration to give it credibility in foreign policy — and one can hardly recall without pain the image of him appearing with then-candidate George Bush on the campaign trail and looking like he’d rather be having a root canal — and found foreign policy playing the role of horse-holder to two wars. Having said that, he owed a debt of loyalty to the President who appointed him and to the nation. He also owned common courtesy to a fellow human being, Scooter Libby, whose career and reputation he helped destroy to settle some perceived slight. He still owes us all the candor he failed to deliver back in 2003, candor he eschews in his latest self-serving book.

He didn’t and in the process has proven himself to be a petty and inconsequential man.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Will Liberals Ever Grow Up?

“To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.” — Friedrich August von Hayek

I was driving along the one of the main roads in my own when I came up behind a new UV stopped for a traffic light. On the left side of the rear window was an Obama 2012 sticker and on the right side was a sticker proclaiming that the driver was a proud mom of a daughter in the United States Air Force.

As this was the first Obama bumper sticker I had seen in my neighborhood I just had to pull up alongside of the driver at the next light, which I managed to do without being too obvious. When I was next to the SUV I noticed it was almost brand new and was one of those big V-8 GMCs. The driver, a woman in her late 40s or early 50s was bedecked rings and bracelets and had a rosary hanging from the rear view mirror.

Upon seeing her I thought what a dichotomy. Here was an adult woman with a daughter in the military and member of a church that the very president she was supporting was trampling on its rights. How could this be possible? She was driving vehicle Obama was against, praying to a God whose church we was dictating polices against its beliefs, and honoring a daughter in a military he was trying to emasculate. I guess you just can’t figure out some liberals.

Ever wonder why conversations with adults often leave you feeling like you were arguing with teenagers? Take heart, you're not alone: author Diana West, in her latest book, The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization, explains how and why America has become a nation overrun by adolescent minds disguised as mature adults. The brief description of the theme of the book states:

“WHERE HAVE ALL THE GROWN-UPS GONE?” That is the provocative question Washington Times syndicated columnist Diana West asks as she looks at America today. Sadly, here’s what she finds: It’s difficult to tell the grown-ups from the children in a landscape littered with Baby Britneys, Moms Who Mosh, and Dads too “young” to call themselves “mister.” Surveying this sorry scene, West makes a much larger statement about our place in the world: “No wonder we can’t stop Islamic terrorism. We haven’t put away our toys!” As far as West is concerned, grown-ups are extinct. The disease that killed them emerged in the fifties, was incubated in the sixties, and became an epidemic in the seventies, leaving behind a nation of eternal adolescents who can’t say "no," a politically correct population that doesn’t know right from wrong. The result of such indecisiveness is, ultimately, the end of Western civilization as we know it. This is because the inability to take on the grown-up role of gatekeeper influences more than whether a sixteen-year-old should attend a Marilyn Manson concert. It also fosters the dithering cultural relativism that arose from the “culture wars” in the eighties and which now undermines our efforts in the “real” culture war of the 21st century—the war on terror. With insightful wit, Diana West takes readers on an odyssey through culture and politics, from the rise of rock ‘n’ roll to the rise of multiculturalism, from the loss of identity to the discovery of “diversity,” from the emasculation of the heroic ideal to the “PC”-ing of “Mary Poppins,” all the while building a compelling case against the childishness that is subverting the struggle against jihadist Islam in a mixed-up, post-9/11 world. With a new foreword for the paperback edition, "The Death of the Grown-up," is a bracing read from one of the most original voices on the American cultural scene.”

Cindy Simpson writes in the American Thinker:

“Although West makes numerous compelling and superbly crafted observations, she intentionally offered no specific conclusions as to the impact of her thesis in the realm of politics, stating: "I'll leave it to someone else to argue whether being a grown-up is the same as being a conservative." But a look at the Obama '08 election and the 2012 campaign does reinforce this extension of her assertion: In general, juvenile minds vote liberal; mature minds lean conservative. (And I'll leave it to someone else to argue whether being a conservative is necessarily the same as being a Republican.)

Like the analogy of the kindergarten election where one candidate offers free ice cream in exchange for votes and the other valiantly campaigns on serious issues, the ice cream wins. Obama's enticing "blank slate" flavors, labeled with catchy bumper-sticker slogans, were full of hopey-changey ripples and fair-share chunks, served up in an unvetted waffling cone.

The problem for Obama, though, this time around, is that his concoction has melted into a sticky economic goo, and the media-protected cone of his narrative is starting to crumble. Not to worry, says Obama, urging his troops: "Forward!" while his straw men pass out napkins, blaming Bush and those nasty Republicans for the mess and offering yet more distracting delights in newly packaged flavors. The poor attendance at Obama's campaign kickoff in Ohio, however, may be a sign that the crowd's tummies are feeling the need for more than sweets.

It remains the job of party-pooper grown-ups to save the day: to truthfully evaluate the situation, take steps to clean up, and formulate solutions to prevent a recurrence.”


“Entrenched notions of moral and cultural relativism and relative truth have manifested into a mushy, adolescent thoughtlessness -- a superficial reasoning justified by chin-raised assertions of tolerance and "coexistence" -- an intellectual laziness wrapped in the deceptive guise of "multiculturalism" and "inclusiveness," reinforced by society's lack of barriers and boundaries and "embrace of nonjudgmentalism that create[s] a cocoon of unreality."

Such ideas have infected and arrested the mental maturation of adults in both political parties. Lately it seems the only major differences between party platforms relate to economic philosophy, with both Democrats and Republicans tiptoeing around implications of societal or cultural issues. Many Republicans have mothballed traditions that once defined The Conservative Mind and describe themselves as "economically conservative, socially liberal" -- which often seems to translate into a rather childish "I just want to keep what's mine" combined with a "whatever" on everything else. West warns, however, that much more than a healthy economy is at stake: Western civilization -- with its Judeo-Christian foundation and hallmarks of "liberty, prosperity, and human rights."

"Authority and reason," argues West, have given way to "novelty and feelings." Youthful minds assert "I feel, therefore I am moral," creating an "ersatz morality." Emotional appeals, such as Biden's "who you love," sound more like lyrics to a rap song instead of a trailhead marking the slippery slope away from a thousands-year-old foundation of Western culture. Obama's new pro-gay-marriage rainbow, besides yielding a huge pot-o-gold from mega-donors, was drawn to encourage young voters to the polls -- with the revelation that his evolutionary views were shaped by recent conversations with his teenage daughters.”

Generally, liberals and progressives tend to rely upon emotion to push their agenda, while conservatives tend to rely more on pragmatism. Raising the minimum wage to theoretically provide a "living wage" to the poor sounds good, but the reality has generally been higher unemployment of the lower-wage-earners. And if raising the minimum wage is such a great thing why not raise it to 40 or 50 thousand per year?

Take the OWS gang that wants forgiveness of their college loans — loans they willing took to pay for in many cases a useless education. Now they expect the taxpayers to pay off these loans. So how do they go about this? They protest in the streets against the banks that made the loans not against the colleges that overcharged for their substandard education.

The president's re-election strategy is another example. Normally, an incumbent seeks re-election based upon his record and accomplishments. Not this time, apparently. Instead, the focus is to tap into people's emotions by trying to portray Gov. Romney as a cold-hearted businessman who enjoys firing people. The ads to this effect have thus far been based upon the emotional outpourings from former workers at one particular steel plant who lost their jobs under Bain Capital management when the steel plant went bankrupt. The reality is that Gov. Romney left Bain to oversee the Olympics two years before the bankruptcy in question; further, the facts are clear that Bain, under Romney, invested private funds in other steel companies that have thrived, even to this day. Even some liberals have come out in defense of Bain and private equity firms in general. Bain Capital's function was to make money for its investors and shareholders, not specifically to create jobs, and overall, the people at Bain did a good job of both. As in the private sector, there are sometimes companies and positions that just are not economically feasible to retain, and the same is likely very true of our bloated federal government. If Romney were president, the people would in effect be his investors and shareholders, and he should look at the government structure the same way. Upon which portrayal should voters view Romney: one based on limited emotional outpourings or a more complete, realistic review of the bigger picture?

Economist Walter Williams often writes about the analogy Bastiat’s Broken Window example something I have written about before. Williams states in a recent Townhall article:

“…It's not just disasters in Japan. After Florida's devastating 2004 hurricane, newspapers carried headlines such as "Storms create lucrative times." and "Economic growth from hurricanes could outweigh costs." Economist Steve Cochrane added, "It's a perverse thing ... there's real pain, but from an economic point of view, it is a plus."

Why might Japan's and Florida's devastation be seen as "pluses"? French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) explained it in his pamphlet "What is Seen and What is Not Seen," saying, "There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen."

Bastiat elaborated further in his "Broken Window Fallacy" parable where a vandal smashes a shopkeeper's window. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the shopkeeper. Soon, someone in the crowd suggests that instead of a tragedy, there might be a silver lining. Instead of the boy being a vandal, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. Fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler and so forth.

Bastiat says that's what's seen. What is not seen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had his window not been smashed. He might have purchased a suit from the tailor. Therefore, an act that created a job for the glazier destroyed a job for the tailor. On top of that, had the property destruction not occurred, the shopkeeper would have had a suit and a window. Now he has just a window and as a result, he is poorer.”

This emotional portrayal of Gov. Romney is also a major campaign point, arguing that being a highly successful businessman is no qualification for being president. Gov. Romney, of course, also has executive experience as governor of a major state. he private sector is what drives our economy, and private-sector experience is logically a valuable asset. Yet if anyone dares to point out the reality that president Obama had lesser qualifications and no private-sector experience when elected in 2008 — his qualifications consisting of having been a community organizer in perhaps America's most corrupt city, state legislator in one of the most corrupt states, and a less than a one-term U.S. senator — such a person or entity is attacked as being focused on the past, hateful, or even racist.

Perhaps an even better insight into the tendency to use emotion as a political tool can be found in the political rhetoric based on focus groups. Words and phrases are chosen that are designed to appeal to people's emotions rather than their logic. For example, liberals no longer use the phrase "government spending," instead now calling it "investment." Instead of saying a budget proposal will raise taxes, they say it will be revenue-positive. In effect, revenue has become liberal code for taxes. This is part of an organized effort to disguise the reality of something most people oppose on a pragmatic level and make it more attractive on an emotional level. Is this just politics as usual? Yes, but it is essentially dishonest to the point of causing serious damage to our nation's economy.

Liberals and progressives like children live in cocoon. It's comfortable living in a cocoon — associating only with those who share your views, reading journalism and watching news that only reinforces them, avoiding those on the other side of the cultural divide.

Liberals have been doing this for a long time. In 1972, the movie critic Pauline Kael said it was odd that Richard Nixon was winning the election, because everyone she knew was for George McGovern.

Kael wasn't clueless about the rest of America. She was just observing that her own social circle was politically parochial and could see only one side of the political spectrum — the left. She could not fathom the thoughts, desires, and ambitions of those outside of her liberal, progressive circle in a part of the country liberals refer to as “fly over country.” In the mind of the progressive liberal these folks just don’t exist for anything more that feeding us and fighting our wars.

Michael Barone writes in Human Events that Cocooned liberals are unprepared for political debate:

“The rest of us have increasingly sought out comfortable cocoons, too. Journalist Bill Bishop, who lives in an Austin, Texas, neighborhood whose politics resemble Kael's, started looking at national data.

It inspired him to write his 2009 book "The Big Sort," which describes how Americans since the 1970s have increasingly sorted themselves out, moving to places where almost everybody shares their cultural orientation and political preference -- and the others keep quiet about theirs.

Thus professionals with a choice of where to make their livings head for the San Francisco Bay Area if they're liberal and for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (they really do call it that) if they're conservative. Over the years the Bay Area becomes more liberal and the Metroplex more conservative.

But cocooning has an asymmetrical effect on liberals and conservatives. Even in a cocoon, conservatives cannot avoid liberal mainstream media, liberal Hollywood entertainment and, these days, the liberal Obama administration.

They're made uncomfortably aware of the arguments of those on the other side. Which gives them an advantage in fashioning their own responses.

Liberals can protect themselves better against assaults from outside their cocoon. They can stay out of megachurches and make sure their remote controls never click on Fox News. They can stay off the AM radio dial so they will never hear Rush Limbaugh.

The problem is that this leaves them unprepared to make the best case for their side in public debate. They are too often not aware of holes in arguments that sound plausible when bandied between confreres entirely disposed to agree.”

Because liberals are unprepared for adult debate they fall back on emotional arguments and personal attacks. If you don’t believe me spend some time watching Fox News with their “fair and balanced” coverage and then watch MSNBC or CNN to see totally one-sided coverage of an issue with a panel of Pauline Kaels all agreeing with each other and attacking conservatives. Even it they do have a conservative on the show they will gang up on him or her in the manner of a gang of school yard bullies.

Simpson Continues:

“West referred to anthropologist Margaret Mead who described the "abdication of the adult": "When mothers cease to say, 'When I was a girl, I was not allowed...' and substitute the question, 'What are the other girls doing?' something fundamental has happened to the culture."

Peer approval greatly influences immature minds. It's the juvenile thinkers that call others names like "racist" and "birther" (and are especially fearful of being called such names themselves), protest with actual sticks and stones, and bully those who don't agree with them. Gray-haired ponytail types dominate college campuses, teaching groupthink to the next generation. Wrinkled fans esteem botoxed rock stars as political gurus, who twitter wisdom like: "If ROMNEY gets elected I don't know if I can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters."

Perpetual adolescents also feel entitled to believe that the world revolves around them instead of truth and reality. "Our first adolescent president" exemplified the value that lies are only bad when caught, and even then, supposedly grown-up Republicans accommodated childish arguments over the meaning of simple words and allowed Clinton to walk away unscathed. Incapable of rationally debating with adults, juvenile minds tend to react with emotional comebacks: "So why do you hate me?!" Sound familiar?

Saying "no" to children elicits the same responses as saying "no" in politics. And when conservatives say "no," their views are characterized as a "vast right-wing conspiracy," "hate," a "war against women," or flat-earth thinking. “

Today, of course, the mainstream media bewail how polarized the political landscape has become. They fret over the violent language, the dirty tricks, the lack of dialogue. But what they are fretting about is that there has over the past thirty years appeared a point of view that disagrees with the flocked ranks of Liberalism. It is the point of view held by 40 percent of the American people compared to their 21% with Republicans trending more conservative from 62 to 71 percent (according to a recent Gallup Poll). It is the point of view that has dominated politics since Ronald Reagan's election and gained emphasis since President Bill Clinton threw up his hands and said, "The era of big government is over." It was in retreat in the last years of George W. Bush and perhaps the first six months of President Obama, but now it is again gaining dominance throughout the land. The problem is, however, that no matter what the liberals decry the mainstream media has no place for conservative voices. For this you need to turn to print journalism or the Internet.

Ms. Simpson concludes:

“Tocqueville warned of the nanny state and the power of despotism as resembling "parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare its charges for a man's life but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood."

Grown-ups see beyond the distractions and are despised by those who, as Robert Knight noted, "openly wish their opponents were dead. In the Washington Post, the far-left cartoonist Tom Toles showed a man holding a book in front of two men. He says, 'If anyone here objects to the marriage of these two men, speak up now because opponents are aging and dying off and soon won't matter anymore.' In the lower right corner, a man at a desk says, 'Is it okay to yell "hurry up"?'"

Restless and tired of "austerity," France elected the ice cream socialist who promised to expand, as Thomas Lifson described, "the welfare state even beyond the generous cradle to grave cocoon in which the French state lovingly wraps its citizens." While the majority apparently voted in "favor of heading straight for the fiscal cliff, pedal to the metal," wealthy French citizens are planning to get off the bus and head elsewhere, leaving the kids behind to ultimately realize (to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher): Socialism is great until daddy's wallet is empty, he moves away, or he can no longer provide because Toles et al urged him to hurry up and die -- and take his old-fashioned ideas with him.

To paraphrase West: Grown-ups must put an end to being taken for a ride by the kids in the backseat, and station real adults behind the wheel of our government. More than "stand athwart history, yelling stop" -- we must shift -- not always into "forward," but even reverse at times, to find our way back to the road that leads to the shining city on the hill.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Memorial Day

“All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of "Liberty to all"--the principle that clears the path for all--gives hope to all--and, by consequence, enterprise, and industry to all.” Abraham Lincoln, Unpublished Fragment on the Constitution, 1861.

During this Memorial Day weekend much of the TV coverage has been focused on our veterans — veterans of the Second World War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and rightfully so. I would like to step back a few years to the bloodiest war in our nation’s history — a war that finalized lofty purpose of our Declaration of Independence — the Civil War. For the purpose of this blog I will use the term “Civil War”, although it is synonymous with “War Between The States” of as Lincoln called it “Insurrection.”

Lincoln stated in in first Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861:

“All profess to be content in the Union, if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily the human mind is so constituted, that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If, by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution—certainly would, if such right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities, and of individuals, are so plainly assured to them, by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say.”

Lincoln believed that there was no Constitution right or right so expressed in the Declaration for the southern states to rebel against or succeed from the Union. There was a Constitutional means for these sates to continue with slavery — the amendment process. The southern states knew that such an amendment would not carry the 75% of the states needed for passage so they elected to rebel and succeed from the Union — a totally unconstitutional act.

The causes of the Civil War were complex, and have been controversial since the war began. The issue has been further complicated by historical revisionists, who have tried to improve the image of the South by lessening the role of slavery. Slavery was the central source of escalating political tension in the 1850s. The Republican Party was determined to prevent any spread of slavery, and many Southern leaders had threatened secession if the Republican candidate, Lincoln, won the 1860 election. Following Lincoln's victory, many Southern whites felt that disunion had become their only option.

While not all Southerners saw themselves as fighting to preserve slavery, most of the officers and over a third of the rank and file in Lee's army had close family ties to slavery. To Northerners, in contrast, the motivation was primarily to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln consistently made preserving the Union the central goal of the war, though he increasingly saw slavery as a crucial issue and made ending it an additional goal. Lincoln's decision, after the Battle of Antietam, to issue the Emancipation Proclamation angered both Peace Democrats ("Copperheads") and War Democrats, but energized most Republicans. By warning that free blacks would flood the North, Democrats made gains in the 1862 elections, but they did not gain control of Congress. The Republicans' counterargument that slavery was the mainstay of the enemy steadily gained support, with the Democrats crushed at the 1863 elections in Ohio when they tried to resurrect anti-black sentiment.

In the presidential election of 1860, the Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln, had campaigned against expanding slavery beyond the states in which it already existed. The Republicans strongly advocated nationalism, and in their 1860 platform they denounced threats of disunion as avowals of treason. After a Republican victory, but before the new administration took office on March 4, 1861, seven cotton states declared their secession and joined to form the Confederate States of America. Both the outgoing administration of President James Buchanan and the incoming administration rejected the legality of secession, considering it rebellion. The other eight slave states rejected calls for secession at this point. No country in the world recognized the Confederacy.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S800px-Battle_of_Gettysburg,_by_Currier_and_Ives. military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer army from each state to recapture federal property, which led to declarations of secession by four more slave states. Both sides raised armies as the Union seized control of the border states early in the war and established a naval blockade. Land warfare in the East was inconclusive in 1861–62, as the Confederacy beat back Union efforts to capture its capital, Richmond, Virginia, notably during the Peninsular Campaign. In September 1862, the Confederate campaign in Maryland ended in defeat at the Battle of Antietam, which dissuaded the British from intervening.[2] Days after that battle, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal.

In 1863, Confederate general Robert E. Lee's northward advance ended in defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. To the west, the Union gained control of the Mississippi River after the Battle of Shiloh and Siege of Vicksburg, splitting the Confederacy in two and destroying much of their western army. Due to his western successes, Ulysses S. Grant was given command of the eastern army in 1864, and organized the armies of William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan and others to attack the Confederacy from all directions, increasing the North's advantage in manpower. Grant restructured the union army, and put other generals in command of divisions of the army that were to support his push into Virginia. He fought several battles of attrition against Lee through the Overland Campaign to seize Richmond, though in the face of fierce resistance he altered his plans and led the Siege of Petersburg which nearly finished off the rest of Lee's army. Meanwhile, Sherman captured Atlanta and marched to the sea, destroying Confederate infrastructure along the way. When the Confederate attempt to defend Petersburg failed, the Confederate army retreated but was pursued and defeated, which resulted in Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

The Union lost 365,000 and the Confederacy 260,000 for a total 625,000 with a total 412,000 wounded and maimed. The population of the Northern StatesBattle_of_Gettysburg was about 22 million while the South had about nine million persons. That doesn't say it all, because there were almost 3.5 million slaves included in the South's population count which were a liability. The slave population required guarding and supervision. They were unavailable as troops, because if they were ever given access to arms a slave revolt was certain. This meant that total causalities amounted to about 3.5% of the entire population. Compare this to WWII when the population was 133 million and our total casualties in WWII were 416,000 or 0.31% of the population.

Most historians believe, as I do, that the turning point in the Civil War was the three day Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-4, 1863) fought around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania sitting astride US 30 (the Lincoln Highway). The fighting was fierce at places named the Peach Orchard, Devils Den, and Round Top where the Col. Joshua Chamberlain led the 20th Maine in a bayonet charge against advancing Confederate forces. But the action that finally broke Lee’s back was Picket’s charge from the Confederate position near Seminary Ridge across an open field to the Union guns positioned on the higher ground to the east on Cemetery Hill.

The third day began when the Confederate artillery under the command of 28-year old Colonel Alexander began the bombardment of the Union positions. Lee had given General Longstreet the order to advance toward the Union position on Cemetery Hill. Longstreet would command Pickett's Virginia division of his own First Corps, plus six brigades from A.P. Hill's Corps, in an attack on the Federal II Corps position at the right center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. Prior to the attack, all the artillery the Confederacy could bring to bear on the Federal positions would bombard and weaken the enemy's line.

Around 1 p.m., from 150 to 170 Confederate guns began an artillery bombardment that was probably the largest of the war. In order to save valuable ammunition for the infantry attack that they knew would follow, the Union Army of the Potomac's artillery, under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry Jackson Hunt, at first did not return the enemy's fire. After waiting about 15 minutes, about 80 Federal cannons added to the din. The Army of Northern Virginia was critically low on artillery ammunition, and the cannonade did not significantly affect the Union position.

It was at this time Colonel Alexander pleaded with Pickett, for God’s sake,  to attack now otherwise he would not be able to support him as he was running low on ammunition. Pickett rushed to Longstreet asking for permission to begin the attack. So despondent over the attack, which he knew would fail, Longstreet could do nothing more than simply nod his head and wave his hand to give the order to Pickett. Now was the moment that over 12,500 rebel troops emerged from the tree line and lined up in formation for the fateful long march. Their main focus was a little clump of trees behind the Federal lines.

Around 3 p.m., the cannon fire subsided, and 12,500 Southern soldiers stepped from the ridgeline and advanced the three-quarters of a mile to Cemetery Ridge in what is known to history as "Pickett's Charge". As the Confederates approached, there was fierce flanking artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of Little Round Top, and musket and canister fire from Hancock's II Corps. In the Union center, the commander of artillery had held fire during the Confederate bombardment, leading Southern commanders to believe the Northern cannon batteries had been knocked out. However, they opened fire on the Confederate infantry during their approach with devastating results. Nearly one half of the attackers did not return to their own lines. Although the Federal line wavered and broke temporarily at a jog called the "Angle" in a low stone fence, just north of a patch of vegetation called the Copse of Trees, reinforcements rushed into the breach, and the Confederate attack was repulsed. The farthest advance of Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead's brigade of Maj. Gen. George Pickett's division at the Angle is referred to as the "High-water mark of the Confederacy", arguably representing the closest the South ever came to its goal of achieving independence from the Union via military victory.

What Lee and Longstreet did not factor in to their plans was the fence alongDscn0960 the Emmitsburg Road, a wooden post and rail fence that sat about two feet above the sunken road. As Picket’s troops began climbing the fence they were decimated by Union artillery fire, mainly canister and grapeshot that was used for anti-personnel fire. Many of Picket’s were killed or wounded as they attempted to climb the fence while others simply turned and ran.

It is estimated that over 1,700 Confederate soldiers died in this futile charge. One might say that Union was saved by a rail fence.

After news of the victory at Gettysburg a crowd assembled outside of the White House clamoring for Lincoln to say a few words about the victory. Lincoln responded to the crowds request with these words:


I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call, but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. How long ago is it -- eighty odd years -- since on the Fourth of July for the first time in the history of the world a nation by its representatives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth that "all men are created equal." That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since then the Fourth of July has had several peculiar recognitions. The two most distinguished men in the framing and support of the Declaration were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams -- the one having penned it and the other sustained it the most forcibly in debate -- the only two of the fifty-five who sustained it being elected President of the United States. Precisely fifty years after they put their hands to the paper it pleased Almighty God to take both from the stage of action. This was indeed an extraordinary and remarkable event in our history. Another President, five years after, was called from this stage of existence on the same day and month of the year; and now, on this last Fourth of July just passed, when we have a gigantic Rebellion, at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow the principle that all men are created equal, we have the surrender of a most powerful position and army on that very day, and not only so, but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they might be called one great battle on the 1st, 2d, and 3d of the month of July; and on the 4th the cohorts of those who opposed the declaration that all men are created equal, "turned tail" and ran. Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme, and the occasion for a speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the war. There are trying occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention the name of one single officer, lest I might do wrong to those I might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and particularly prominent ones, but these I will not mention. Having said this much, I will now take the music.”

On November 19, 1863 on the occasion of the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery two speakers were invited to address the assembled throng. One was the renowned politician and orator Edward Everett and the other Abraham Lincoln. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State. He also taught at Harvard University and served as president of Harvard. Everett spoke for nearly two hours preceding Lincoln and not many remembered what he had to say.

On the other hand Lincoln gave his short, 271 words, address, probably one of the finest and most memorable speeches ever given to the American People and the world — The Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

If you notice in Lincoln’s opening paragraph he deferred to the Declaration of Independence, something he was deeply committed to. Lincoln believed the Declaration was the “Apple of Gold set in the silver frame of the Constitution.”

Over the years the libertarian right has branded Lincoln and a statist and a tyrant while the progressive left has attempted to highjack Lincoln as one of theirs. Neither is true. Lincoln firmly believed in the Declaration and Constitution. He did not violate the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution by branding succession as an insurrection. It was not, as Libertarians claim, and act against state’s rights. There was no clause in the Constitution allowing a right for slavery or rebellion; therefore there was no warrant in the Declaration for revolt against the national government.

On the other hand the progressive left has attempted to highjack Lincoln as one of their own. Lincoln, unlike Wilson and Roosevelt believed all unalienable rights came from God and were not granted by government as the progressives believed.

Lincoln was neither. He believed in the precepts the Declaration and the law of the Constitution. He also believed that states had the powers not expressly granted Congress in the Constitution and that slavery was not one of those rights. Lincoln believed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

No unalienable rights of the southern states were violated. The simple fact is that the southern states were violating the unalienable rights of 3.5 million slaves.

In his second Inaugural Address given on March 4, 1865 Lincoln stated:

“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil-war. All dreaded it—all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

365 thousand died for the Union cause many believing they were fighting for the unalienable rights of all men to be free while 260 thousand died for the Confederacy believing they were fighting for state’s rights. Both were partially right. The union cause was based on the preservation of the union and the liberation of the slaves. The Confederate cause was based on an erroneous interpretation of the Constitution as there was no right for slavery expressed.

I have visited the Gettysburg Battlefield three times and each time I amDscn0964a amazed at what happened here in 1863 and how perilously close the Union came to losing this battle and the war. I have walked the hallowed were Buford’s Calvary attacked and along the Cashtown Road. I have seen the wood and rail fence along Emmitsburg Road and looked over the site of Picket’s charge from Cemetery Hill. Each time I have thought of all of those brave and sometimes foolish men who perished here. It is a sobering site to behold

This Memorial Day take some time from your BBQ, burgers, and hot dogs to give some thought to the men who gave their lives at Gettysburg to preserve the Union and insure liberty for all men. Also if you have a chance rent the great 1993 Turner film Gettysburg. It’s well worth 271 minutes of your time. Most of the filming took place in and around the Gettysburg Battlefield and the dialog and costuming is as authentic as it can get. It also has a haunting musical score. While the film is long it does a good job of accurately depicting the events of July 1-4, 1863.

If the Union had lost this battle would live in a much different nation today. States would have been split off from states and then other states would have split from those states. Our nation would look more like the Balkans then the Union of States under one Constitution as it does today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Irresponsibility of Hollywood and the MSM

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” — Samuel Adams

The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between June 4-7. 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the United States Navy decisively defeated an Imperial Japanese Navy attack against Midway Atoll, inflicting irreparable damage on the Japanese fleet. Military historian John Keegan has called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare."

The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped that another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War.

The Japanese plan was to lure the United States' aircraft carriers into a trap. The Japanese also intended to occupy Midway Atoll as part of an overall plan to extend their defensive perimeter in response to the Doolittle Raid. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji and Samoa.

The plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most significantly, American code breakers were able to determine the date and location of the attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to set up an ambush of its own. Four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser were sunk for a cost of one American aircraft carrier and a destroyer. After Midway, and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan's shipbuilding and pilot training programs were unable to keep pace in replacing their losses while the U.S. steadily increased its output in both areas.

Admiral Yamamoto, the overall commander of Japanese naval forces, did not know that the U.S. had broken the main Japanese naval code (dubbed JN-25 by the Americans). Yamamoto's emphasis on dispersal also meant that none of his formations could support each other. For instance, the only significant warships larger than destroyers that screened Nagumo's fleet were two battleships and three cruisers, despite his carriers being expected to carry out the strikes and bear the brunt of American counterattacks. By contrast, the flotillas of Yamamoto and Kondo had between them two light carriers, five battleships, and six cruisers, none of which would see any action at Midway. Their distance from Nagumo's carriers would also have grave implications during the battle, because the larger warships in Yamamoto,s and Kondo's forces carried scout planes, an invaluable reconnaissance capability denied to Nagumo.

The Battle of Midway was decisive in turning the tide against Japan and securing the security of the Pacific Coast and Hawaiian Islands. It was a crushing defeat for Yamamoto.

Operation Vengeance was the name given by the Americans to the military operation to kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by U.S. Army fighter aircraft operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

The mission of the U.S. aircraft was specifically to kill Yamamoto and was based on United States Navy intelligence on Yamamoto's travel plans in the Solomon Islands area. The death of Yamamoto reportedly damaged the morale of Japanese naval personnel (described by Samuel Eliot Morison as being considered the equivalent of a major defeat in battle), raised the morale of the Allied forces, and may have been intended as revenge by U.S. leaders who blamed Yamamoto for the Pearl Harbor attack which initiated the formal state of war between Imperial Japan and the U.S.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, scheduled an inspection tour of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. He planned to inspect Japanese air units participating in the I-Go operation that had begun April 7, 1943, and to boost Japanese morale following the disastrous evacuation of Guadalcanal. On April 14, the U.S. naval intelligence effort code-named "Magic" intercepted and decrypted orders alerting affected Japanese units of the tour.

The original message, NTF131755, addressed to the commanders of Base Unit No. 1, the 11th Air Flotilla, and the 26th Air Flotilla, was encoded in the Japanese Naval Cipher JN-25D (Naval Operations Code Book of the third version of RO), and was picked up by three stations of the "Magic" apparatus, including Fleet Radio Unit Pacific Fleet. The message was then deciphered by Navy cryptographers (among them future Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; it contained specific details regarding Yamamoto's arrival and departure times and locations, as well as the number and types of planes that would transport and accompany him on the journey.

In 1942 England was suffering from the effects of German U-Boats. Convoys were being decimated by Admiral Donitz’s “Wolf Packs.” Both of the two German electro-mechanical rotor machines whose signals were decrypted at Bletchley Park, Enigma and the Lorenz Cipher', were virtually unbreakable if properly used. It was poor operational procedures and sloppy operator behavior that allowed the British cryptanalysts to find ways to read them.

The intelligence produced from decrypts at Bletchley was code-named "Ultra". It contributed greatly to Allied success in defeating the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic, and to the British naval victories in the Battle of Cape Matapan and the Battle of North Cape. In 1941, Ultra exerted a powerful effect on the North African desert campaign, against the German army, under General Erwin Rommel. General Sir Claude Auchinleck stated that, but for Ultra — "Rommel would have certainly got through to Cairo". Prior to the Normandy landings on D-Day in June 1944, the Allies knew the locations of all but two of the 58 German divisions on the Western front. Churchill referred to the Bletchley staff as "The geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled".

These three examples illustrate the importance of keeping secrets during war time. Suppose some enterprising reporter for the New York Times had found out that the Americans were breaking the JN25 code. The Japanese would have changed the code and Midway would have been a disaster for the U.S. Navy and left our west coast completely undefended. Or a reporter for the Washington Post spilled the beans on how we broke the code to ambush Admiral Yamamoto. Once again the Japanese would have changed their codes and would have had a much tougher time at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Many thousands of Marines, soldiers, and sailors would have died because some bone-headed newspaper editor belived he had the right to tell the secrets.

Ultra was kept a secret long after the war because we were using it to monitor the Soviet Union. There was an article in the New York Times telling the story of Ultra and fortunately Churchill had it squashed and the Soviets did not believe it.

Now move forward to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced on May 22 that it had obtained records from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding meetings and communications between government agencies and Kathryn Bigelow, Academy Award-winning director of The Hurt Locker, and screenwriter Mark Boal. According to the records, the Obama Defense Department granted Bigelow and Boal access to a “planner, Operator and Commander of SEAL Team Six,” which was responsible for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, to assist Bigelow prepare her upcoming feature film, Zero Dark Thirty.

The records, obtained pursuant to court order in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on January 21, 2012, include 153 pages of records from the DOD and 113 pages of records from the CIA (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:12-cv-00049). The documents were delivered to Judicial Watch late last Friday (May 18). The following are the highlights from the records, which include internal Defense Department email correspondence as well as a transcript from a key July 14, 2011, meeting between DOD officials, Bigelow and Boal:

  • A transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting between DOD officials, including Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, Bigelow and Boal indicates that Boal met directly with White House officials on at least two occasions regarding the film: “I took your guidance and spoke to the WH and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough and I plan to follow up with them; and they were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view; command and control; so that was great, thank you,” Boal said according to the transcript. Vickers asks if the meeting was a follow-up, to which Boal responds, “Yes correct; this was a follow-up.”  The documents seemingly reference John O. Brennan, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor to President Obama and Denis McDonough, who serves as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor.
  • The July 14, 2011, meeting transcript also reveals that the DOD provided the filmmakers with the identity of a “planner, SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander.”  (The name is blacked out in the document.)  In proposing the arrangement, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers said: “The only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant because . . . he shouldn’t be talking out of school.” Vickers went on to say during the meeting at the Pentagon: “This at least, this gives him one step removed and he knows what he can and can’t say, but this way at least he can be as open as he can with you and it ought to meet your needs.” Boal later responds, “You delivered.”
  • A July 13, 2011, internal CIA email indicates that Bigelow and Boal were granted access to “the Vault,” which is described the CIA building where some of the tactical planning for the bin Laden raid took place:  “I was given your name as the POC in [redacted] who could determine the feasibility of having a potential walk-through of…the Vault in the [redacted] building that was used for some of the tactical planning in the Bin Laden Raid [sic]. In consultation with the Office of Public Affairs and as part of the larger chronicling of the Bin Laden raid, OPA will be hosting some visitors sanctioned by ODCIA this Friday afternoon.”  (The name of the sender is blacked out.)  “Of course this is doable,” an official responds.
  • DOD Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson told colleagues in a June 13, 2011, email to limit media access and that he would follow up with the White House: “I think this looks very good as a way forward, and agree particularly that we need to be careful here so we don’t open the media floodgates on this. I’m going to check with WH to update them on status, and will report back.” A day later, he wrote Department of Defense communications staffers, saying: “Ok to set up the second session with Vickers. I am getting additional guidance from WH.”
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers told Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson and two other DOD communications staffers in a June 13, 2011, email that “[DOD] would like to shape the story to prevent any gross inaccuracies, but do not want to make it look like the commanders think it’s okay to talk to the media.” The email went on to say: “For the intelligence case, they are basically using the WH-approved talking points we used the night of the operation.” The talking points called the raid “a ‘Gutsy Decision’ by the POTUS,” adding that “WH involvement was critical.”
  • A June 9, 2011, email from Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations, to Vickers and other DOD staff summarizes a meeting with Boal and notes the release date for the film: “Release date set for 4th Qtr 2012…”
  • A July 13, 2011, email to Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations, indicates that Sarah Zukowski, an associate for The Glover Park Group, arranged the July 14, 2011 visit by Bigelow and Boal to the DOD and the CIA. The Glover Park Group is described by Politico as a Democratic-leaning advocacy firm.”
  • A June 27, 2011, email to an official at the Office of the Secretary of Defense suggests that the request from Bigelow and Boal to meet with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers came via the White House press office. A June 22, 2011, email to Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations notes, “The White House does want to engage with Mark but it probably won’t be for a few more weeks. We should provide them a read-out of the session you do with Vickers.”  The name of the White House official who forwarded the request is blacked out.

Judicial Watch launched its investigation of Bigelow’s meetings with the Obama administration following press reports suggesting that the Obama administration may have leaked classified information to the director as source material for Bigelow’s film.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the information leak was designed to help the Obama 2012 presidential reelection campaign: “The White House is also counting on the Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal big-screen version of the killing of Bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual. The Sony film by the Oscar-winning pair who made ‘The Hurt Locker’ will no doubt reflect the president’s cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds. Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012 — perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.”

In addition to Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden film records, the organization continues to fight in court for the release of the bin Laden post-mortem photos and video. The Obama administration continues to withhold these records citing national security concerns.

“These documents, which took nine months and a federal lawsuit to disgorge from the Obama administration, show that politically-connected film makers were giving extraordinary and secret access to bin Laden raid information, including the identity of a Seal Team Six leader,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is both ironic and hypocritical that the Obama administration stonewalled Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns, yet seemed willing to share intimate details regarding the raid to help Hollywood filmmakers release a movie ‘perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost’ to the Obama campaign.”

Sony Pictures has already decided not to release the film Zero Dark Thirty — also about the assassination of the Al Qaeda leader — until December. Its release date of December 19 was set after the scheduled release date for October drew criticism of the Republican Party.

article-2146366-047F048A0000044D-27_224x423Another film be produced by Democrat Party bundler Harvey Weinstein titled Code Name: Geronimo. The dramatic film about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden could be controversially released before the U.S presidential elections in November.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein - a supporter of the Democratic Party — is in negotiations to buy Code Name Geronimo at the Cannes Film Festival.

It is believed the film producer will release the film in late September or October — which is likely to infuriate President Obama's Republican opponents. The Daily Mail reports:

“Footage from the film was shown for the first time in Cannes on Wednesday. It is directed by John Stockwell.

The film tells the story of the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden and the efforts of the Navy Seals.

It is in the final stages of production and its asking price is rumoured to be $2million.

Sony has said it has no plans of moving its release date for Zero Dark Thirty, which is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who famously directed Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker.

Mr Weinstein previously released the anti-Bush documentary by Michael Moore 'Fahrenheit 9/11' shortly before the elections in 2004.

Osama Bin Laden was killed in May last year when U.S. Navy Seals raided the building in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that the terrorist mastermind had lived in for five years.

The raid was completed shortly after 1 am local time when bin Laden was shot once in the chest and once in the head by a U.S Navy Seal who announced 'For God and country Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo', because Geronimo was the code-name given to the Al Qaeda leader.”

While Hurt Locker, like Black Hawk Down were good films based on true events they did not pose a national security threat or a threat to any of the real people portrayed in the films. They gave away no secrets of how our special operations teams operate or the secrets we obtained during the operations.

Code Name: Geronimo and especially Zero Dark Thirty do pose a threat to our national security. There was a poster during WWII that was posted on every military base that said, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”

I have three major concerns with these films as to how they can affect our national security and pose a threat to our special operations community.

One: The mere fact that we succeeded is a problem. Dr. Teller, the father of the H-Bomb once replied when asked who was responsible for the Soviet Union getting the Atomic Bomb so quickly after WWII. He replied, “We were, we showed them it worked and gave them the incentive to make the investment in the technology.” By showing how our special operations teams plan and execute missions we are giving the enemy a great deal of intelligence — intelligence they will use to thwart future efforts.

Two: If in any way members of the special operations community can be identified their lives and the lives of their families will be at risk. Just think if Al Qaeda could hold the family of a special operations family hostage for the purpose of obtaining intelligence. The special operations unit soldier, sailor of Marine would be forced to choose between his country and his family.

A good friend of mine, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy once had the job of overseeing the drug interdiction program in the Caribbean. He was based in the Florida Keys. He told me that every day he was videotaped on his way to and from work and the leaders of the drug cartel knew where he and his family lived. He was under constant surveillance by the drug runners and Navel Intelligence. Due to the constant stress he lasted less than a year at this duty station.

Three: How politicians can force agencies like the DOD and CIA to give sensitive intelligence information to civilians for the purpose of making a for-profit movie. I am sure if Wild Bill Donovan or Alan Dulles was running the CIA they would have kicked Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal from Langley all the way to Maryland. This is what happens when big Hollywood “A” list contributors and bundlers pass on millions of dollars to the Obama administration. His payback is granting them access to information they should not have — for the purpose of making a film that will glorify his one accomplishment — issuing the order to kill bin Laden.

It is too close in time to the actual events of killing bin Laden to be making a film with this much information. Even the History and Military Channels are careful as to what the put out and have never had this type of access. They normally work using interviews with real people who were involved or know what was happening. They just can’t walk into the CIA and DOD and open the files marked secret.

Today, in Pakistan, the doctor who assisted the CIA in identifying Osama bin Laden, Shakil Afridi, who ran a fake vaccination program in an attempt to collect Bin Laden's DNA in order to verify he was living in the Abbottabad compound where he was eventually killed a year ago is languishing in a prison for 33 years convicted of treason. The Guardian reports:

“A US senate committee has voted to cut Pakistan's aid by $1m for each of the 33 years of a prison sentence given to a doctor for helping the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden.

The appropriations committee unanimously approved the $33m reduction as outrage grows in Washington over the conviction of Shakil Afridi for treason . The physician ran a fake vaccination programme in an attempt to collect Bin Laden's DNA in order to verify he was living in the Abbottabad compound where he was eventually killed a year ago.

The aid cut will not be immediately implemented as it comes out of next year's budget, but it will increase the pressure on the Pakistan government as Washington seeks to have Afridi's conviction quashed or his sentence substantially reduced.

The appropriations committee debate reflected the frustration at what many in Washington see as Pakistan's duplicity that has bubbled away for many years over the links between its intelligence service and the Taliban, and was accentuated when it was revealed that Bin Laden was living untouched in a garrison town.

"We need Pakistan. Pakistan needs us," said Senator Lindsey Graham, who helped write the legislation cutting aid. "But we don't need a Pakistan that is just double dealing."

Senator Dianne Feinstein voiced a repeatedly-heard sentiment on Capitol Hill since Afridi's conviction that it was outrageous to convict him of treason when he was helping not harming Pakistan by contributing to Bin Laden's demise.”

How will this film help Dr. Afridi? Or will it heap more misery on a person who assisted the U.S. Government in bringing bin Laden down. after Afridi's role was made public, US officials openly acknowledged it including the defense secretary, Leon Panetta – who was CIA director when Bin Laden was killed– who described the doctor as having been "very helpful" in gathering intelligence on the al-Qaida leader. In their rush to “spike the football” for Obama CIA and DOD officials along with other White House spokespersons began releasing information on how they were able to identify bin Laden and the great job they did. They paid little mind to the information they were giving to Pakistan, Al Qaida, and other terrorist groups. This information should have been restricted and released over the ensuing years like the breaking on the JN25 code and Ultra.

If you have ever worked with government employees or had any experience in Washington, D.C. you know you will always find people who in a wish to feather their own nests will inevitable begin to whisper information for the purpose of showing how connected they are. This is a common occurrence in Washington, D.C. It’s how you make points with your peers and demonstrate how you are a part of the inner circle. No administration has acted as irresponsible in this national security matter as the Obama administration. I am sure remarks like this will not encourage the recruiting of other foreign assets to help the CIA.

Now we have the CIA and DOD personnel giving access to confidential documents for the purpose of making films that will make them appear as brilliant masterminds with no thought to the damage that will accrue to some of participants like Dr. Afridi. I recall the hubbub over the leaking of Valarie Plame’s name as a CIA employee to Robert Novak. As it turned out the leaker (Richard Armitage) was never prosecuted, but an aide to Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby was.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King. (R-N.Y)., first raised questions about the bin Laden movie last summer, but said newly released documents confirm his suspicions.

King referred to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request. He said the filmmakers received "extremely close, unprecedented and potentially dangerous collaboration" from the Obama administration.

Judicial Watch said the documents show that the Defense Department granted Bigelow and Boal access to a "planner, operator and commander of SEAL Team 6" — the unit that killed bin Laden in Pakistan.

Judicial Watch says it obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, which is often used to force agencies to release some classified information.

These documents, which took nine months and a federal lawsuit to disgorge from the Obama administration, show that politically-connected filmmakers were given extraordinary and secret access to bin Laden raid information, including the identity of a Seal Team Six leader,” Judicial Watch’s statement reads.

Most of the names and locations in the released batch were redacted, but the contents of the transcripts indicate that the filmmakers were allowed to visit several highly classified facilities, including “The Vault” at CIA headquarters, where some of the planning for the bin Laden raid took place.

Bigelow and Boal have also met with one of the planners of the operation. The documents show that Pentagon intelligence chief Michael Vickers stressed to the crew that the identity of the SEAL team leader and the fact that he worked as a consultant should not be revealed, because he should not be “talking out of school.” It should also be noted that the person who arranged the meeting with the filmmakers and CIA

CBS News reported:

The documents, obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act suit, also show the filmmakers coordinated with the White House and a left-leaning lobbying firm in order to gain access to the information they sought for their upcoming movie on the bin Laden raid. The Defense Department tells CBS News that no classified information was released to the filmmakers, but at least one Republican congressman, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King of New York, expressed concerns today about the possibility.

One of the documents released, a transcript from a July 14, 2011 meeting, indicates that Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers helped arrange special meetings for the filmmakers, Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.

"The basic idea is they'll make a guy available who was involved from the beginning as a planner; a SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander," Vickers said in the meeting. Some of the names Vicker mentions are redacted in the transcript. "A guy named [redacted] ... he basically can probably give you everything you would want or would get from Adm Olson or Adm McRaven," the transcript says, referring to former United States Special Operations Command Commander Admiral Eric Olson and Naval Special Operations Commander Admiral Bill McRaven.

Boal responds, "That's dynamite."

In the transcript released, Boal also suggests that he met with John Brennan, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, and Denis McDonough, Mr. Obama's deputy national security adviser. "I took your guidance and spoke to the WH and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough," he said, according to the transcript.

Additionally, internal CIA emails from that month suggest Bigelow and Boal were granted access to "the Vault," a CIA building where some of the planning for the raid took place. In a series of emails asking for access to the Vault, an official says, "Of course this is doable." The people corresponding then arrange a time for a tour of the facility.

Released emails also suggest that Vicker's meeting with Bigelow and Boal was in part facilitated by the White House and that the left-leaning lobbying firm The Glover Park Group also helped the filmmakers meet with officials.”

It is obvious to me that the White House and Sony Pictures are working hand in glove with Bigelow and Boal to create a film that will put the Obama administration in the best possible light. Even though Sony Pictures changed the release date to after the November elections in order to save some face I am sure you will begin to see trailers for the film long before the November 6th. I am also certain that these trailers seen in theaters and on TV will show scenes of Obama in the situation room at the White House. As the old Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

These Hollywood elites in their urge to support a leftist progressive politician and make money in doing so will claim free speech and the public right to know as their defense against any criticism.

Saul Alinsky’s remarks in Rules for Radicals are certainly applicable to the folks in Hollywood when it comes to national security; “I have on occasion remarked that I felt confident that I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed on Monday.”