Archive for secretary of defense

Cheney's Big Bang Theory - 'The Military Hypocrisy Protocol'



Above is the cover for the upcoming book called, The Hypocrites Handbook. The author is the man who unintentionally makes me laugh more than anyone else, former Vice President, Dick Cheney.  Nixon may have been known as Tricky Dick, but Cheney, as Jon Stewart reveals, is just plain Dick. And if you've got a few minutes and missed this clip from last night, you'll kick yourself for not watching it now.

When's a Dick really a "dick?" When his name is Dick Cheney.


Former Defense Secretary Gates Admits To CNN On His Drinking And Psychotic Issues



Robert Gates admits to being greatly incapacitated during his later tenure as Defense Secretary under Obama. In his interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN about the former CIA chief's recently released tell all book, Gates admits to an alcohol problem - drinking heavily every night in order to get through his job. He also confesses to being afflicted with and struggling with a severe form of post traumatic stress disorder.

It's sad that this dedicated civil servent even now plays it down and refuses to seek professional help. This turns out to be all too common with returning veterans who have these afflictions, but live in denial. Gates claims he doesn't need professional help with either his drinking or his stress situation, but then you look at him with the neck brace and can't help wonder if his recent "fall" which caused him vertebrae damage wasn't the result of a drinking incident or blackout. I wish him all the best but  hope he'll seek the professional help he so obviously is crying out for in his book and his CNN interview.

Here's the confession. It begins at 07:28 of this piece and runs through 08:56. Blizter asks him point blank about his mental capacity during his final months in his secretary-ship. It's quite frank and honest, yet scary.

This hard drinking, confused and psychotic man was going through such inner turmoil while entrusted with advising our president on defense issues, it's a wonder he didn't start another war.


Mainstream Press Drinks Polluted Water -- Gets Dysentery



Two nights ago, Lawrence O'Donnell, as he often does, takes a breaking national story and rather than become a mouth-piece lemming and following along, or a parrot repeating back talking points, he examines the full story with an eye from overhead, giving him a wider view. Instead of flowing downhill with the jabberhead mainstream press through heavily germ-filled waters of bunk, spin and political pollution, he looks a bit deeper and sees some runoffs that might actually lead to fresh water.

Such is the case with Robert Gates new book, his memoir of the few years he served in the Obama Administration. Many thought it was a strange choice to keep Gates as he served in the corrupt GW Bush administration, but President Obama saw something in him. Perhaps it was his boldness. Maybe his honesty. Or possibly something else, he was a near perfect barometer. Perhaps Obama knew that if Gates was in favor of something, the wise choice was to do just the opposite.

DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR, according to O'Donnell, actually makes a good argument for that. Gates was a litmus test. That's always good to have around when there's a toxic situation.

At yesterday's press conference the adjective "explosive" was tossed about like a hot potato. It was used so much, it was obvious that it was a prepared, planned buzzword. It's like "IRS Conspiracy," "Benghazi," and "Trainwreck" when referring to the ACA rollout. Explosive was the word of the day that Jay Carney needed to defend. If only he had Lawrence O'Donnell with him it would have been a cake walk.

During the Rewrite segment on THE LAST WORD yesterday O'Donnell took great delight in pointing out these explosive revelations are perhaps not as damaging as the headless chickens of the beltway press would have you think. Rather than look at what the ex-CIA chief and defense secretary really said, these brainless reporters took to their imaginations and interpreted what was really written. They took words like "vaguely" and changed them to "definitively" and phrases like "conceded political opposition to the Iraq surge" meant Obama's opposition, not his parties or the nation's opposition. When you twist words, you can get them to say almost anything.

Watch this systematic destruction of the "explosive accusations" in the book, and enjoy how it's actually becomes a most complimentary Obama piece. For instance, Gates writes Obama's decision to launch an attack on Osama Bin Laden (against Gate's advice) was, "One of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."

Yes sir. This book is not a hammering away at Obama. It's a tribute to a fine military and diplomatic leader.

Take a look. This clip is bit longer than I usually add, but I think every minute of it's worth it to understand just how much the White House really loves what William Gates had to say, as it makes Obama one of the strongest and definitive leaders ever to rule the roost. This is one time that Obama is no Jack Kennedy, and we're all better because of it. (Watch the clip and you'll understand that reference.)


Senate Dems think Harry Reid should revisit filibuster reform if GOP continues to block Chuck Hagel


filibuster reform

“How’s that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ going now that we’ve just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?”

Rachel Maddow: “Harry Reid decided he would… make a handshake deal with the Republican’s top senator, Mitch McConnell. He said he was ‘satisfied’ with the Republicans just ‘agreeing’ to be more reasonable… Remember? …  They would just agree as ‘gentlemen’ that the Republicans would ‘curtail the excesses’ of filibustering everything, and effectively ruling from the minority. … They said, you know, at a minimum this will at least improve the confirmation process for the administration’s nominees. How’s that working out now?How’s that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ going now that we’ve just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?

Apparently, some Senate Democrats are asking themselves and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the same question.

Again, under Merkley's plan for reform, the filibuster wouldn’t have ended and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. It would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition, but the filibuster would have remained intact.

The Hill:

Some Senate Democrats think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should revisit filibuster reform if Republicans continue to block Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick for secretary of Defense. [...]

[S]ome Democrats say Reid still has the option of changing the rules for the 113th Congress and should consider doing so if Republicans continue to hold up what in past years would have been considered routine business.

The Senate has never used a filibuster to reject a cabinet nominee-- and the GOP also threatened to filibuster Richard Cordray, the president's pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-- so why shouldn't the "nuclear option" be considered? One "first" to counter another, tit for tat. As for Reid breaking his word to Mitch McConnell, it's pretty obvious that McConnell has already abused their handshake agreement.

George Kohl, senior director at Communications Workers of America, said Reid "reserved the right to reconsider the rules if they continue to obstruct. If they continue to go down that path I think he’ll have to reconsider options he would like not to exercise."

I'm not holding my breath.


Squirrely Graham Thinks He Found Nut In Hagel Inquisition... Basic Reading Skills Needed



OMG, this is making my head hurt.

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has just sent a letter to Barack Obama's defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel. Graham asks if, at a 2010 appearance at Rutgers University, Hagel said Israel "was risking becoming an apartheid state."

A law student in attendance, Kenneth Wagner, wrote a contemporaneous email detailing Hagel's remarks, saying the former Nebrasks senator had said the state of Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state." These allegations were first reported Tuesday by the Washington Free Beacon. Here's the relevant quote from the Free Beacon report:

“I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers,” Wagner wrote in the email. “He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements with the quartet, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said that the settlements were getting close to the point where a contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible.”

Second hand emails... again. Ahem.

basically (ˈbeɪsɪklɪ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]— adv

1. in a fundamental or elementary manner; essentially: strident and basically unpleasant

2. ( sentence modifier ) in essence; in summary; put simply: basically we had underestimated mother nature

I believe those things are subjective, not objective. Someone who hadn't lost their house in a storm might say, "Basically we underestimated Mother Nature" someone who lost their house might say "Basically, Mother Nature stomped on us".


“Is it any wonder that the American people have such a low regard for members of Congress?”: Special Comment by my 72-year-old friend


filibuster gop filibastards

My impassioned 72-year-old  friend (who is now 75, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about Congressional Republican buffoons and their penchant for obstructionism. I am more than happy to oblige.

But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:

Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.

Now for his Special Comment:

Dysfunctional Government, Continued

Last month I wrote a special comment about our dysfunctional Congress. When I thought things couldn't get any worse, they did.

In the last few days the Republicans have completely gone off the rails without caring about the impact of their actions. Their bitterness and hatred for President Obama was clear not only our nation to see, but for the rest of the world.

On Tuesday night President Obama, gave a brilliant State of the Union (SOTU) speech, in which he laid out a plan to move our country forward and getting our economy really moving again.  He was asking Congress, and especially the Republicans, to join him in moving our country into the 21st century.

President Obama offered them ideas and plans on education, energy, climate change, health care, infrastructure, job creation, eliminating tax loopholes; and as expected the Republicans gave it lip service and a cold shoulder.

What really set me off was what happened on Valentine's Day. I know Valentine's Day is about showing love for a person very dear to you, family, and friends,  but the Republicans ruined the day for me by their actions and unconcern for the needs of our country

Now don't get me wrong, I did not take my anger and frustration out on my wife, who I gave a loving Valentine's Day card, flowers and took her out to dinner at nice restaurant.

My anger and frustration was about two items that followed the SOTU.

             * The first one being the sequester. - For months, Congress has known the sequester deadline for reaching a deal, that President Obama would sign would have to be done before March 1, 2013.

Members of Congress  know, if no deal is reached, $500 billion must be cut from defense programs and $500 billion must be cut from non-defense programs, over a 10 year period.  Economists have stated such cuts would slow our economy and put a million jobs at risk.

The Democrats have presented bills to avoid the sequester that is based on budget cuts and revenue increases. The Republicans are against any bill that has revenue increase in it to avoid the sequester. So instead of trying to address the issue and come to an agreement, the House goes on a planned recess until Feb. 25th.

So I ask, if Republicans were really interested in avoiding a sequester, why are they going into recess? I believe the Republicans have decided to let the sequester happen on March 1, and let the chips fall as they may.

Republican policies have ruined our economy twice and now they are willing to do it again over a balanced approach to lower our deficit.

This is exactly what President Obama was talking about in the SOTU speech: why does every important issue that affects all Americans have to go to the stroke of midnight? The answer for me is, the Republicans are so bitter at losing the presidential election, they will do anything to make President Obama's life miserable, even of it affects our nation.

            * The second one being  - the filibustering of Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense. What we are seeing here is nothing but theatre, but it's hurting our reputation around the world.

For John McCain to admit all this has to with a grudge that member(s) of the Senate hold against Hagel, for remarks he made about President George W. Bush, is truly sad. McCain indicates that Hagel will probably be approved after the recess, showing what a farce this whole thing is.

For a person (s) to hold a personal grudge against an individual and use it against the nominee, although it has nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications on national security, is just childish.

Sen. Reid believes that Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2014 voted no so they can now show Tea Party members in their state that they stood up to President Obama's choice for SOD, to avoid a primary challenge.  Is this anyway to run a country?

Is it any wonder that the American people have such a low regard for members of Congress?

These last few days only  re-enforced my belief that we truly have a dysfunctional government, and it will not change until members of Congress are willing to compromise or are replaced by members who believe in such a thing.

We are in for a long two years.

Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.


VIDEO: "How's that 'gentleman's agreement' going now that we've just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?"


filibuster hagel

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Rachel Maddow:

"This has never happened before. To anyone. Ever."

"Chuck Hagel does have majority support in the Senate... A minority of that body, the Republicans decided they were going to block him anyway. They filibustered a cabinet nomination."

"This is a fresh hell in American politics."

"They 'might vote no'... but they wouldn't block a vote!... They wouldn't filibuster! ...Well today... only Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski... kept their word. All the others said they would not filibuster, that that would be wrong. And then they did it anyway."

"Sen. Graham... says he does not want his filibuster today to be thought of as a filibuster, even though that's what it is. ...He wants to use it as leverage to get more information out of the administration on the president's birth certificate. I'm sorry I mean Fast and Furious. I'm sorry I mean aliens in Area 51. I'm sorry I mean his theories about what happened in Benghazi. What does nominee Chuck Hagel know about Benghazi? Precisely nothing. He has nothing to do with hit, he HAD nothing to do with it."

"Why block his nomination?... Dunno. Why not? Wrecking stuff is fun maybe?"

"Harry Reid decided he would... make a handshake deal with the Republican's top senator, Mitch McConnell. He said he was 'satisfied' with the Republicans just 'agreeing' to be more reasonable... Remember? ...  They would just agree as 'gentlemen' that the Republicans would 'curtail the excesses' of filibustering everything, and effectively ruling from the minority. ... They said, you know, at a minimum this will at least improve the confirmation process for the administration's nominees. How's that working out now?... How's that 'gentleman's agreement' going now that we've just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?"

Via Christine Pelosi, daughter of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a response to Nicole Sandler's tweet that the "filibuster rule can be changed any time":

tweet filibuster reform now sfpelosi

Now is good for me too, Christine (and nobody is saying get rid of the filibuster, as you may recall):

Remember, the filibuster wouldn’t have ended, and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. The only difference is that it would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition. But because Democrats (and of course, Republicans) voted against the Merkley plan, the silent filibuster is still in place.

Christine Pelosi is an author, Campaign Boot Camp 2.0; Chair, #CADEMWOMEN; #SFGiants fan & volunteer; Yogamom

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