Friday, June 3, 2011

West Wing Week: 06/02/11 or "One Step at a Time"

This week, President Obama traveled to Joplin, Missouri to see the devastation first hand. He finished his week-long trip to Europe in Poland and on Memorial Day, he visited Arlington National Cemetery.

'The Monthly Employment and Unemployment Numbers are Volatile'

Statement by CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee on the Employment Situation in May

WASHINGTON - Today, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, stated the following:

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.

Overall payroll employment rose by 54,000 in May. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+44,000) and education and health services (+34,000). Sectors with employment declines included local government (-28,000), retail trade (-8,500), and manufacturing (-5,000). Despite the decline this month, manufacturing has added 238,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Open for Questions: 30 Years of AIDS

Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy Jeffrey Crowley and Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Dr. Carl Dieffenbach host a special live discussion on the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Syed Saleem Shahzad: Rest in Peace

Asia Times Online Journalist Found Dead

Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief for Asia Times Online who went missing on Sunday evening, has been killed, according to police.

Shahzad, who has been writing for Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online for nearly 10 years, failed to show up for a scheduled appearance on a television talk show in the capital Islamabad.

Police reported that his body was found in a canal in Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab province about 150 kilometers southeast of Islamabad and about 10 kilometers from where his car was found. They said that his body bore marks of torture.

Earlier, the International Federation of Journalists released a statement saying it "urgently appeals to the Government of Pakistan to order its security and police agencies to respond immediately to find a senior journalist who disappeared in Islamabad on May 29".

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani expressed his "deep grief and sorrow" over Shahzad's death and ordered an immediate inquiry into his kidnapping and murder, according to Associated Press of Pakistan.

Shahzad, 40, had on several occasions been warned by officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) over articles they deemed to be detrimental to Pakistan's national interests or image. He leaves a wife, two sons aged 14 and seven, and a daughter aged 12.

Human Rights Watch researcher Ali Dayan Hasan earlier said he suspected ISI officials abducted Shahzad, possibly because of a recent story he wrote on al-Qaeda infiltration in the Pakistani navy. Authorities haven't commented. (Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan strike.)

Tony Allison, the Editor of Asia Times Online, expressed his deep concern for one of the most fearless journalists with whom he had ever worked. "We will bring the utmost pressure to bear on the authorities over this case. We at Asia Times Online express our deepest sympathies for Saleem's family."

Editor's Note: From The G-Man contacted Asia Times Online to express its deepest condolences regarding the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad. After corresponding with the publication's editor, Tony Allison, this site was granted permission to republish the aforementioned article. Thank you, Mr. Allison.

The article was republished in order to honor the legacy and life of Shahzad, one of the world's greatest investigative reporters, and to serve notice that attacks on freedom of the press or journalists, in any country, threaten and violate all human rights and our very existence.

The murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad occurred in Pakistan, but the impact is being felt all over the world. Without question, the Pakistani government and military "have issues".

The Obama Administration has publicly spoken out against the killing of Shahzad, and they are to be applauded for doing so. In the interest of global peace and national security, From The G-Man urges President Obama and Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton to follow up on the slain journalist's final news story regarding al-Qaeda members infiltrating the Pakistani navy. It would be a fitting tribute to a man that made the ultimate sacrifice in his quest for justice and the truth.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Matt Drudge and the New N-Word: "Urban"

Has "The Drudge Report" Created a Buzz Word for Covert Racists, the Mainstream Media and Politicians?

Folks, let me be very clear about one thing. I don't back down from a fight, no matter how big the opponent. Case in point, the iconic Matt Drudge and his news juggernaut, "The Drudge Report". I have a great deal of respect for the man and the news empire he has built over the last decade or so. Drudge may be the news industry's Goliath, but I have the heart of David.

Unlike Drudge, I don't have a staff and operate as a one-man army -- putting in as many as 40 hours posting articles, placing follow-up calls for stories, calling sources, setting up exclusive interviews and creating original news content without earning a dime. This independent news and information source is my passion, and if "From The G-Man" is fortunate enough to one day compete with the Drudge Report, in terms of readership and profit, it will be quite an accomplishment.

Having said that, I would be remiss if I didn't express my displeasure over a number of articles that were published on his website over the Memorial Day weekend. I didn't take issue with his reporting of rioting and violence by bad-ass teens raising hell all across the country. That's what I expect him to do. What I had a serious problem with was the use of the word "urban" to describe the majority of the people causing the disturbances.

It's no secret that the term urban has always been used to refer to people living in certain areas of a metropolis, usually those of low-income or poor status. As time progressed, these areas became overwhelmingly inhabited by people of color and the negative stereotypes soon followed. Keep those last three words in mind -- people of color -- because they will be very important by the end of this commentary.

The articles that appeared on the front page of the Drudge Report on May 30th showed Black people taking part in criminal acts. Let me say it one more time. I have no problem with that. If you catch dumb-asses doing wrong, report it, no matter what color they are. However, what raised my suspicion, and level of concern, was the fact that the word urban appeared three times, in three different articles, on the same front page!

Now, based on my experience as a journalist, that's a major no-no. It's considered overkill, and the only reason anyone would do it is to stress a point or implant a thought. Drudge and his editors could've simply referred to the participants as roving gangs or thugs. Even mobsters are called thugs. Thus, I'm forced to wonder what Matt Drudge's motive was for using the term three times in three different front page stories. I have a theory, and I really hope I'm wrong about it. Hopefully, "The Drudgester" will reach out to me and explain, if he cares to.

I believe the word was repeated in three different front page stories as a psychological tool to suggest to his readers, whom are predominately Caucasian, that when you see or hear the word urban, you are to immediately assume two things: it refers to Blacks and that they're a bunch of unruly, violent savages.

Again, I hope this was not what Drudge intended. There are far too many people in this country that are Drudge Report loyalists and believers of the news-gospel it spreads. If it was intended, then his website has ventured outside the realm and true spirit of journalism and into a dark and extremely dangerous place, and "David" is using this commentary as his sling.

Given the fact that people know me as a straight-shooter, let me go even further, since -- according to a recent feature on Drudge that appeared in the New York Times -- the national media and politicians are greatly influenced by what's published on the Drudge Report.

Matt Drudge has given every American politician, media personality, and citizen that loathes Black people a new buzz word for "conservative" discussions about not only the horrifying Memorial Day incidents, but Black culture, in general.

Racist analysts, commentators and pundits can't refer to the groups cited in these news reports by what they really want to call them, out of control NIGGERS, and -- whether he realizes it or not --Drudge has given them a back-door to escape any claim of being racist whenever they discuss these matters. Mark my words, with youth unemployment at a record high across the country, especially among those of color, and teens with no outlet for their anger and frustration, discussions about growing incidents of weekend or holiday violence will be had in the months to come. I suspect July 4th is going to be a bitch!

The biggest danger posed by the urban-Black connection, which I believe was inadvertently made on the Drudge Report postings, is this: Pictures of people were posted that may not have been Black! Those pictured may have had Black skin or "looked Black", whatever the hell that means, but it's a well-known fact that people of Latin origin have dark skin. Cubans and Dominicans are perfect examples. Thus, the captions, headlines and photos may not necessarily reflect those being showcased. This is where the national media, including you, Mr. Drudge, needs to be very, very careful. This is not about political correctness. It's about code words and the damage that can be inflicted by improperly assessing one's character or group affiliation.

I'll close with a public challenge to Matt Drudge, politicians from both parties, 2012 presidential candidates and the national media. If you're going to start breaking these types of stories, or having town hall discussions about the fact that the "Summer of Hell" is upon us -- citing these criminal-minded, lazy, saggy-pants-wearing, unintelligent, welfare-loving, unruly "Black" people as a serious threat to this great nation -- then, at the very least, have the balls to start breaking stories and having serious discussions about how precious and protected "Wall Street White-Boys" are also playing a pivotal role in America's downfall....and getting away with it.

This commentary is from the heart and.....From The G-Man.

White House Briefs

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney meets with members of the press in the West Wing's James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

H.R. 2017 - Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012


H.R. 2017 — Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2017, making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future. That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, and meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances.

While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation’s long-term fiscal picture, the bill provides insufficient funding for a number of programs in a way that undermines core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation. Programs adversely affected by the bill include:

Transportation Security Administration Passenger Security Fee. The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill fails to reform the aviation passenger security fee.

State and Local Grant Programs. The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill insufficiently funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s State and local grants, including Assistance to Firefighter Grants. The funding level provided will adversely impact the entire portfolio of preparedness grants to State, local, tribal jurisdictions, and the transportation sector. Further, funding the SAFER program at the Committee’s level would reduce the number of firefighters funded by approximately 2,200 positions. Although large balances remain available in these programs, State and local governments depend on this funding to support ongoing homeland security prevention and preparedness programs and ensure that all levels of government have the capacity to adequately respond to threats. The Administration supports and appreciates the flexibility given to the Secretary to allocate limited homeland security grant funding to those areas deemed most critical.

Science and Technology Research Funding. The funding for research and development provided in the Committee’s bill would limit the domestic investment in developing new capabilities to efficiently meet the demands of current and emerging homeland security threats through the elimination of more than 144 research projects in areas such as biological and explosives detection, advanced cyber security, and interoperability. Without domestic investment in new technologies and solutions targeted specifically at the homeland security threat, the United States will become increasingly dependent on foreign countries for any advances in homeland security technology.

Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter and Shore Projects. The Committee bill provides insufficient funds for key acquisition programs that will allow for the recapitalization of aging assets. The level of funding provided for Fast Response Cutters will unnecessarily delay production and increase future costs by delaying purchase of the proprietary specifications that are needed to replace aging patrol boats. Further, the funding level for shore and housing projects will deprive Coast Guard families of suitable housing in duty stations where housing market shortfalls exist and eliminate high priority shore projects that directly affect operations.

Transportation Security Administration. The funding level in the Committee bill for the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Air Marshal Service will result in either reduced staffing in 2012 or curtailed domestic mission coverage on priority aviation flights. Further, the funding provided will not permit the deployment of 275 additional advanced imaging technology systems, which is an important tool for detecting both metallic and non-metallic threats as part of the aviation passenger screening process.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). The Administration will continue to closely monitor Disaster Relief Fund balances and work with the Congress to ensure Fund solvency. The Administration, however, strongly objects to proposed language that would direct the President to submit a budget amendment or supplemental appropriations request with associated offsets when the Fund dips below a certain threshold. The Administration would view this provision as advisory.

Headquarters Consolidation and Operation. The Committee bill would delay the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters by at least two years, resulting in higher lease costs and will mean the loss of construction efficiencies and increased future construction costs. The funding provided in the bill for the Office of the Secretary and Executive Management would result in a reduction-in-force.

The Administration also has a number of serious constitutional concerns. The Administration strongly objects to the provisions of section 537 that limit the use of funds to transfer detainees and otherwise restrict detainee transfers. Although the Administration opposes the release of detainees within the United States, section 537 is a dangerous and extraordinary challenge to critical Executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. It unnecessarily constrains the Nation's counterterrorism efforts and would undermine national security, particularly where Federal courts are the best – or even the only – option for incapacitating dangerous terrorists. For decades, presidents of both political parties have leveraged the flexibility and strength of this country’s Federal courts to incapacitate dangerous terrorists and gather critical intelligence. The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is an essential element of counterterrorism efforts – a powerful tool that must remain an available option.

The Administration strongly opposes any inclusion of ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. Should the Congress continue to include language that is not relevant to a funding debate, the Administration will oppose the bill.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.

President Obama Speaks at Memorial Day Service

The President speaks at a Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam....Private First Class John C. Johnson

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Thursday, June 2 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who was killed in action on May 27, in Afghanistan.

Private First Class John C. Johnson died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. Private First Class Johnson was from Phoenix, Arizona.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Private First Class John Johnson," Governor Cuomo said. "This young soldier made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and, on this Memorial Day, we mourn his passing."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Private First Class John C. Johnson
, his love of country and his service with the following video tribute.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Memorial Day Message from New York's Governor

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"Today we honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the service of our country. Memorial Day is a time to reflect upon the sacrifices made by members of the armed services and express our gratitude for the protection they continue to provide. During this time of war, we must always keep in mind the families who will forever be separated from their loved ones. We mourn their loss and honor the sacrifice of heroes of all generations. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to thank the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, both from New York and across the nation, for their dedicated service."