Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Salute to Fallen Soldiers

Honoring Lives Lost....and Sacrifices Made

Memorial Day

By Joyce Kilmer

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace...Who brought a sword.

Video uploaded to YouTube by yellowrozeoftexas

Thursday, May 26, 2011

President Obama Meets with Prime Minister Kan at G8 Summit

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan speak to the press after meeting during the G8 Summit in Deauville, France.

Senate Passes Pre-Memorial Day Bills Honoring Service of Veterans, Past and Current

Bills Provide Additional Entitlements

Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens), ranking member of the New York State Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, today announced the passage of several bills before the New York State Senate in honor of all the brave men and women who decided to protect and serve the United States during non-combat and combat instances.

The ten bills, comprising the Senate’s Active List for Wednesday, May 25th, would build upon the Senate’s ongoing commitment to increased recognition and respect for veterans and their families. Addabbo voted in favor of all the veteran military bills, including a bill (S.2497) that would require the executive director of the office of real property services to create a list of documents in support of a veteran’s eligibility when applying for real property tax exemptions.

The proposed law would make it easier for veterans to apply for real property tax exemptions. With the exception of S.656, all bills now await passage by the Assembly before going to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signature. The ten bills included:

Bill S.2497, cited above; Bill S.656, authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation to designate additional fishing events as rehabilitation for armed forces veterans or active members with need for veterans or active duty members to obtain fishing licenses; Bill S.3192, establishing a mechanism for parents or guardians who find themselves deployed for short term military service to appoint a short term military guardian for their child or children during service; Bill S.3222, permitting municipalities to enact a local law to grant additional combat veteran exemptions to persons not discharged from their subsequent service; Bill S.5337, prohibiting the unauthorized use of the names and images of members of the armed forces or organized militia of New York.

Bill S.3228, prevents the court from using deployment and military status as a detrimental factor in determining custody; Bill S.193, allows honorably discharged veterans certified as having a 40% or greater service-connected disability to purchase a lifetime sportsman license for a twenty dollar fee; Bill S.824, provides qualified veterans with a certified disability access by a float plane to appropriate lands under the Department of Environmental Conservation’s jurisdiction; Bill S.4569, which extends two previous military law sections, allowing for rental of armories for non-military use when available and transporting monies from those armory rentals back into the armories state wide to cover operating costs; and Bill S.3684, amending the definition of naval militia to conform with federal law and legally recognize the naval militia as the naval forces of the state of New York.

Senator Addabbo stated, “As we approach Memorial Day, the Senate is doing its part to honor veterans and remain mindful of their service to our country. Since the 19th century, the United States has honored the legacies of these brave individuals and proclaimed Memorial Day to be a significant day to acknowledge those that did not make it home.”

Addabbo noted by advancing these bills, the legislature would ensure military-family privacies, the entitlement of additional benefits, an expansion of recreational activities with fewer restrictions, and support in custodial matters.

“New York was the first state to recognize Memorial Day in 1873, and today as we remain mindful of those veterans who have left us, we cannot forget our current service men and woman who have served, are serving, and who have provided countless hours of service to defend our freedoms,” concluded Addabbo.

Addabbo: 'Families Need More Protection from Criminals'

Senator Presses to Ensure Criminals Do Not Profit from Heinous Acts

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) helped obtain passage in the Senate of a measure that would strengthen a law designed to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes.

Previously cited as the “Son of Sam” law, the bill (S.4393) amends the law to include criminals who were found to be mentally afflicted also will be prevented from profiting from commercial exploitation of their stories.

Before the “Son of Sam” law was implemented in response to a string of murders of young women in New York during the summer of 1977, criminals were offered huge sums of money for the rights to their stories. Senator Addabbo disagreed with this rationale.

Explained Addabbo, “Surviving spouses of the victims of heinous acts of murder should not be subjected to any glorification of notorious prisoners, nor profiling of a loved one’s murder. On top of this, to be financially exploited and not to receive any monies for the wrongful actions inflicted upon their close ones, is absurd.”

The federal government and 40 states have implemented an assortment of “Son of Sam” laws to address this pressing issue. By voting in favor of a technical correction to the prevailing success of New York State law, Senator Addabbo is placing another barrier before all criminals, to prevent them profiting from their crimes.

The bill passed the Senate in May and is yet to be introduced in the New York State Assembly.“Our first priority must be protecting and keeping victims’ families from public access. These incidents are privacy matters where respect for loved ones and their families is warranted,” said Addabbo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

President Obama & Prime Minister Cameron Joint Press Availability

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron speak to the press at Lancaster House after meeting in London.

Governor Cuomo Seeks Federal Disaster Assistance for Spring Floods

Asks President to Declare Disaster for 26 Counties

Governor Andrew Cuomo today formally requested that President Barack Obama declare a major federal disaster for New York State and 26 counties as a result of the severe rains and incessant damaging flooding that has occurred since April 26.

The Governor has requested that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak issue a natural disaster designation.

Counties included in the Governor's request are: Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, Warren, and Yates.

"The seemingly never-ending rains and ensuing flooding have caused severe damage and losses in many corners of the State," Governor Cuomo said.

"While State agencies continue to do all that is possible to assist the impacted areas, I am asking President Obama for federal assistance to help our citizens and their communities on the road to recovery."

The Governor is making the request for federal assistance based on the results of a rapid joint assessment, which he requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on April 29. Preliminary information from the assessment of the 26 counties indicates the widespread impact, devastation and severity of the damages.

The FEMA-State teams estimate more than $38 million in infrastructure repair and debris removal. The severe damage to private property affected 1,060 residences, destroying 14 homes and leaving 218 with major damage, much of which is uninsured.

In addition, many of the damaged homes still have standing water and have the potential for additional damages beyond those observed by the joint assessment teams.

Based on that assessment, the Governor is seeking the implementation of FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program for 21 counties. The PA program provides 75 percent federal reimbursement to municipalities for the costs of debris removal and emergency response actions as well as for repairs to public facilities.

The 21 counties are Allegany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Steuben, Tioga, Ulster, Warren, and Yates.

Additionally, he is seeking the Individual Assistance program, which includes the Individuals and Households program, Other Needs Assistance program, disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling and the maximum allowable assistance to individuals and businesses from the Small Business Administration.

The Governor is seeking this assistance for individuals and businesses impacted by the storms and flooding in these counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington and Yates.

Governor Cuomo has also asked that FEMA implement statewide its Hazard Mitigation program, which provides 75 percent of the approved costs undertaken by state and local governments to prevent long-term risk to life or property from such disasters.

The State's response to the storms and flooding was swift and continuous. Governor Cuomo enacted the State's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, dispatched State Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel to impacted areas and activated the State's Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response of State agencies.

On April 29, the Governor declared a State Disaster Emergency in Essex County, one of the most heavily damaged areas.

The State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision had eight crews with 81 inmates assisting with sandbagging at four locations in Essex County. State DOT had 1,200 people and 150 pieces of equipment deployed in storm-related activities in the affected areas. The State Police readied its airboats, and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control's Swift Water Rescue Team prepared for rescue operations.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) deployed personnel to numerous locations to inspect dams and monitor slides and spills. The State Department of Health monitored public water supplies and water samples in the impacted areas.

In Memoriam....Mark Haines (April 19, 1946 - May 24, 2011)

Veteran CNBC Business News Journalist and Host of "Squawk on the Street"

From The G-Man salutes the legacy and life of Mark Haines. As noted by many of his colleagues at the CNBC network, his keen business sense, insight and sharp wit will be greatly missed.

He will be remembered by some as a curmudgeon, but From The G-Man will simply remember him as the best journalist to ever cover Wall Street and the business sector.

Thank you for your amazing contribution to journalism, sir. Now, rest in peace.

May his family, friends and colleagues find a sense of comfort during this difficult period.

"The G-Man"

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Judgment Day: False Prophets and Growing Skepticism in America

His Excellency, the Archbishop David I. Hartman

Renowned Archbishop Addresses "End of Days" Hysteria and Offers Spiritual Advice to Harold Camping and Florida Pastor Terry Jones


David I. Hartman is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Azusa Christian Temple of Salvation, located in the Bronx, NY, and Primate to the Apostolic Fellowship of Churches in Savannah, Georgia. A member of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops' Congress, Archbishop Hartman was the first African-American Chief Chaplain for the Taxi and Limousine Commission of the City of New York.

The Archbishop served as Director of the New York City Clergy Crisis Responder Program, an affiliate of the Office of Emergency Management, under The Honorable Rudolph W. Giuliani. This pivotal role required him to provide spiritual guidance and manage a team of clerics from various denominational backgrounds and support staff members of the New York City Police Department, whose overall mandate was to provide citywide spiritual care and support to those impacted by the World Trade Center attack.

This initiative, which was the first of its kind, has since served as the national model for spiritual support during crisis situations. Archbishop Hartman retired from the New York City Police Department after 21 years of exemplary law enforcement service.

Educated at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, he is a graduate of Full Gospel Bible College and Kingdom University's School of Ministry.

In addition, he holds a Masters of Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, a Doctorate of Divinity from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. In May of 2004, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University's Family Development Credentialing Program.

From The G-Man contacted the Archbishop to discuss preacher Harold Camping's May 21st Judgment Day proclamation, the Qur'an burning Pastor Terry Jones, and a host of other issues pertaining to Christianity in America. This exclusive interview was conducted May 24, 2011.

G-Man: Your Excellency, thank you for this opportunity. Let me begin by asking you what your reaction was to all the media coverage and hysteria surrounding preacher Harold Camping's May 21st Judgment Day declaration?

Archbishop Hartman: I was taught that we have what we allow. Did you know that psychologists have said that we have three seconds to decide whether or not to receive a thing (thought) or idea before it manifests in our spirit? That holds true to spiritual, business and personal affairs. Hysterics or the state of frenzy are contrary to God.

He is not a God of confusion. Hysteria by definition is a state of extreme or exaggerated emotion. Those of us who are connected to the Word of God know clearly that the Bible states in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” I didn’t entertain the prediction of the unpredictable.

G-Man: Was this situation, or perhaps Camping himself, discussed among you and other Archbishops?

Archbishop Hartman: No.

G-Man: When the media began to cover this "event", there didn't appear to be much opposition to Camping or his declaration from celebrated religious figures like Pat Robertson, Pastor Rick Warren or Joel Olsteen. If many Christians that I've spoken to believe that no one knows the actual day of judgment, could you offer a reason as to why prominent men of God remained silent when the story broke?

Archbishop Hartman: The fact of the matter, Gary, is that we don’t need to defend God and his Word.

Archbishop Hartman (center) served as one of the officiants during the consecration service of Bishop Emilio Alvarez on May 14, 2011 in Rochester, New York.

G-Man: There are those within the Christian community that believe religious figures like Camping and Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who burned a copy of the Holy Qur'an, are "false prophets" that pose a clear and present danger to not just religion in America, but to society and Christians all over the world. I understand that you may not be willing to comment on whether or not these men are false prophets, but would you be willing to state your position on whether or not actions like these -- by any religious leader -- pose a serious threat to Christianity and/or Christians throughout the world?

Archbishop Hartman: If it’s false, let’s just say it’s false! If it’s a misinterpretation, let us be humble enough in stating so with the same vigor that we gave a distorted word. Those who say they are religious leaders must first really examine their call to God and God’s people.

Unfortunately, history has painfully shown us that society loves good orators, and depending on our personal and spiritual need or conviction, we are mistakenly swayed by emotionalism, spiritual acrobatics and great prose, and sometimes because we fail to study God’s Word and trust in him alone, we fail to recognize what is not true, and consequently fall into the trap of those who deceive and divide with their lips to support an agenda that clearly is not God.

I concede, that some may disagree with an interpretation, of a particular passage of scripture, but I posit that when we are in that predicament, we should seek wise counsel through prayer and discussion with learned and appropriately called and chosen men and women of God to come to an correct interpretation of God’s Word before it is released and we, in great error and embarrassment, destroy a generation.

G-Man: The U.S. Constitution grants men of God, like Camping and Jones, the right to exercise freedom of expression, speech and religion. Historians and theologians note that the Constitution was founded on Christian principles taken from the Holy Bible. Having said that, aren't religious figures that engage in controversial acts -- in the name of religion -- simply practicing their Constitutional or God-given right?

Archbishop Hartman: As Americans, we enjoy the privilege of religious freedom, where in most cases we are not not restricted in the expression of our faith. Both clerics and laity must be very mindful of what we release in the name of God or religion.

As clerics, we must be bibline, concise, and deliver God’s Holy Word truthfully and relevant to the times in which we live. In other words, once the preachment has been delivered, congregants must examine God’s Word to the extent that it lines up with what God said. Man is subject to error, and for that reason we must examine our hearts and minds and never release flesh like thoughts, as opposed to proper revelatory preaching.

We should never be audacious enough to ever hide behind our great constitution, when lives (souls) are at stake. Just because we are free to express our beliefs, does not mean that we have the right to bring spiritual, physical, financial and psychological harm to anyone because of personal convictions or gross misinterpretations of the written Word of God.

Religion, or as I call it -- relationship between God and man -- should bring a paradigm shift in thinking so that we may now experience the liberty of a renewed heart, mind, spirit and lifestyle in Christ Jesus.

G-Man: As noted earlier, Camping's end of the world declaration became the butt of jokes by comedian David Letterman and others. Even news anchors and and commentators took aim at Camping by making fun of him during broadcasts. In addition, nightclubs from New York City to Los Angeles held "rapture" dance parties to dismiss or downplay the May 21 prediction. Do you think it's getting to the point where judgment day is not and will not be taken seriously?

Archbishop Hartman: Let me be abundantly clear, Jesus is soon to come; not on man’s timetable. We are to be ready for Christ’s triumphant return, and not be like those in the days of Noah who were cavalier, drunken and anesthetized by the trappings of the Word. I pray that those who may read this article examine their lives and ask themselves a question, if this was truly your last day to live, would you allow God to take control of your life? Would you accept Him as your Lord and Savior?

You don’t have to be perfect to come to God. God is perfect to come to you. It doesn’t matter who you are, and what you have done. His arms are ready to receive you just as you are. Would you be willing and obedient and trade the temporal for the eternal? I assure you, it would be the best decision of your life, and not because I said so. Just ask your neighbor, co-worker, family member, co-worker, and even your friends. It’s not over until God says, it’s over. Until then, watch and pray.

G-Man: In closing, if you could say something to Harold Camping, Pastor Terry Jones or any other controversial religious figure in the country -- citing a scripture -- what would it be?

Archbishop Hartman: Ephesians 1:17-18: "…That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints…"

G-Man: Thank you, Your Excellency.

Archbishop Hartman: I would like to make one last statement, and it regards you and your news blog. We celebrate you Gary for all of your hard work, an obvious labor of love, to identify and relate journalistic precision and excellence -- as you find it for the betterment of the lives of your readers. I pray for you, your continued success, and that all your endeavors are realized. Keep on flying high, G-Man. We love you!

G-Man: Your Excellency, again, I thank you.

Photo source: Archbishop David I. Hartman
Photo credit: Archbishop David I. Hartman

Obama Administration Supports National Defense Authorization Act for 2012


H.R. 1540 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012

(Rep. McKeon (R-CA) and 1 cosponsor)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The Administration appreciates the House Armed Services Committee's continued support of our national defense, including its support for the topline budget requests for both the base budget and for overseas contingency operations and for supporting most of the Administration’s initiatives to control the Department of Defense’s spiraling health costs.

The Administration appreciates the support of the Committee for authorities that assist the ability of the warfighter to operate in unconventional and irregular warfare, authorities that are important to field commanders, such as the Commanders' Emergency Response Program, the Global Train and Equip Authority, the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, and other programs that provide commanders with the resources and flexibility to counter unconventional threats or support contingency or stability operations. The Administration looks forward to reviewing a classified annex and working with the Congress to address any concerns on classified programs as the legislative process moves forward.

While there are many areas of agreement with the Committee, the Administration has serious concerns with several provisions that: (1) constrain the ability of the Armed Forces to carry out their missions; (2) impede the Secretary of Defense’s ability to make and implement management decisions that eliminate unnecessary overhead or programs to ensure scarce resources are directed to the highest priorities for the warfighter; or (3) depart from the decisions reflected in the President's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns, a number of which are outlined in more detail below.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Propulsion System: The Administration strongly objects to the language in section 215, which limits the obligation or expenditure of funds for performance improvements to the F-35 Lightning II propulsion system unless there is competitive development and production of such a propulsion system.

As the test program unfolds, some improvements are likely to be needed. And this would result in the continued development of an extra engine that adds significant extra costs to the program for something the Administration and the Department of Defense (DoD) have determined is not needed and would destabilize the F-35 program when it is beginning to stabilize.

Additionally, section 215 would delay development of the main engine and affect the viability of the short take off and vertical landing variant. If the final bill presented to the President includes funding or a legislative direction to continue an extra engine program, the President's senior advisors would recommend a veto.

The Administration also strongly objects to section 252, which requires the Secretary to store and preserve the property developed under the F136 program – a termination that ended an unnecessary and extravagant expense, particularly during this period of fiscal restraint. The legislation would constitute a new requirement for the preservation and storage of over 250,000 pieces of Government property located with hundreds of suppliers and add costs for preserving and storing that property.

Limitations on Nuclear Force Reductions and Nuclear Employment Strategy: The Administration strongly objects to sections 1055 and 1056, which impinge on the President’s authority to implement the New START Treaty and to set U.S. nuclear weapons policy. In particular, section 1055 would set onerous conditions on the Administration’s ability to implement the Treaty, as well as to retire, dismantle, or eliminate non-deployed nuclear weapons.

Among these conditions is the completion and operation of the next generation of nuclear facilities, which is not expected until the mid-2020s. The effect of this section would be to preclude dismantlement of weapons in excess of military needs.

Additionally, it would significantly increase stewardship and management costs and divert key resources from our critical stockpile sustainment efforts and delay completion of programs necessary to support the long-term safety, security, and reliability of our nuclear deterrent. Further, section 1056 raises constitutional concerns as it appears to encroach on the President’s authority as Commander in Chief to set nuclear employment policy – a right exercised by every president in the nuclear age from both parties. If the final bill presented to the President includes these provisions, the President's senior advisors would recommend a veto.

Detainee Matters: The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards. At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion.

The Administration strongly objects to the provisions that limit the use of authorized funds to transfer detainees and otherwise restrict detainee transfers and to the provisions that would legislate Executive branch processes for periodic review of detainee status and regarding prosecution of detainees.

Although the Administration opposes the release of detainees within the United States, Section 1039 is a dangerous and unprecedented 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 our Nation's counterterrorism efforts and would undermine our national security, particularly where our Federal courts are the best – or even the only – option for incapacitating dangerous terrorists. For decades, presidents of both political parties – including Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush – have leveraged the flexibility and strength of our Federal courts to incapacitate dangerous terrorists and gather critical intelligence.

The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is an essential element of our counterterrorism efforts – a powerful tool that must remain an available option. The certification requirement in section 1040, restricting transfers to foreign countries, interferes with the authority of the Executive branch to make important foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances such transfers should occur.

The Administration must have the ability to act swiftly and to have broad flexibility in conducting its negotiations with foreign countries. Section 1036 undermines the system of periodic review established by the President’s March 7, 2011, Executive Order by substituting a rigid system of review that could limit the advice and expertise of critical intelligence and law enforcement professionals, undermining the Executive branch’s ability to ensure that these decisions are informed by all available information and protect the full spectrum of our national security interests.

It also unnecessarily interferes with DoD’s ability to manage detention operations. Section 1042 is problematic and unnecessary, as there already is robust coordination between the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community on terrorism-related cases, and this provision would undermine, rather than enhance, this coordination by requiring institutions to assume unfamiliar roles and could cause delays in taking into custody individuals who pose imminent threats to the nation’s safety. If the final bill presented to the President includes these provisions that challenge critical Executive branch authority, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.

Attempts to Prevent, Delay, or Undermine the Repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell": On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, in order to strengthen our national security, enhance military readiness, and uphold the fundamental American principles of fairness and equality that warfighters defend around the world.

As required by that statute, DoD is diligently working to prepare the necessary policies and regulations and conducting educational briefings to implement the repeal. Should it be determined, as required by the statute, that the implementation is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention, then the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will send forward the required certification.

The Administration strongly objects to any legislative attempts (such as section 533) to directly or indirectly undermine, prevent, or delay the implementation of the repeal, as such efforts create uncertainty for servicemembers and their families.

Military Regulations Regarding Marriage: The Administration strongly objects to sections 534 and 535, believes that section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory, and supports DOMA’s repeal.

Limitation on Funds to Provide Russian Federation with Access to U.S. Missile Defense Technology and International Agreements Relating to Missile Defense: The Administration strongly objects to the following two sections: (1) section 1228 would prohibit the provision to the Russian Federation of a range of missile defense data, when the appropriate reciprocal exchange of such data may improve the ability of the United States and NATO to provide effective missile defenses of our military forces and other citizens; and (2) section 1229 would unnecessarily impede the Administration's ability to conduct discussions with the Russian Federation on missile defense matters both bilaterally and in the NATO context, and would be impractical to implement, for example by requiring that the Administration report on all "suggestions" made by representatives of the Russian Federation in government to government contacts (which could include the legislative branch). Among other things, section 1229 raises constitutional concerns, as it appears to encroach on the President’s exclusive authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations and to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive diplomatic discussions.

Extended Deterrent in Europe: The Administration strongly objects, including on constitutional grounds, to the elements of section 1230 that would limit the President’s ability to determine military requirements in Europe, conduct diplomacy, and negotiate treaties. The Administration also objects to this section’s limitation on Administration efforts to address tactical nuclear weapons, a step called for in the Senate’s Resolution of Ratification of the New START Treaty and a priority of U.S. arms control policy. Further, the Administration notes this section would inhibit our ability to function within NATO.

Limitation on Force Management Efficiencies: The Administration strongly objects to provisions such as sections 1094, 2307, 2705, and 2862 that would limit the Secretary’s discretion in determining and executing force management efficiencies. For example, section 1094 would require the Secretary of the Navy to maintain a minimum force of 10 aircraft carrier air-wings and a dedicated headquarters for each. However, a reduction from 10 to 9 aircraft carrier air wings staff is projected to save DoD approximately $22.2 million over five years (FYs 2012-2016) and meets the needs of the Navy which has no operational need for a 10th carrier air wing.

Additionally, sections 2307, 2705, and 2862, requiring additional study and notice of proposed disestablishment, closure or realignment of certain military installations, or the reduction in the number of military personnel and waiting times prior to execution, impedes the Secretary’s ability to make and implement force management decisions that would ensure scarce resources are directed to the highest priorities for the warfighter.

Unified Medical Command: The Administration strongly objects to section 711, which would require the President to create a new unified combatant command for medical operations. DoD will shortly complete a study on how to best deliver high-quality medical care to servicemembers and their families in an effective and cost-efficient manner. Among the options this study will consider is a joint medical command similar to this provision; however, this section presumes the outcome of the study and of decisions to be made by DoD leadership on this important subject.

Designation of Main Propulsion System of the Next-Generation Long Range Strike Bomber Aircraft as Major Subprogram: The Administration objects to language in section 220, which would require the Secretary of Defense to designate the main propulsion system of the next-generation long-range strike bomber as a major subprogram and require a competitive acquisition strategy. A major tenet of the new bomber program is to maximize the use of existing engine systems.

The approach needs to rely on minor modifications to existing engines and give the prime contractors freedom to select the engine that is right for their design. Moreover, the prime contractor’s design concepts may differ so widely that it would be impractical to have a separate engine competition and then insert the winning engine into the winning airframe. Mandating such development would likely result in increased cost and risk. Also, this provision would require the designation of a major subprogram on a program that has not yet been designated as a major defense acquisition program.

Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund: The Administration objects to sections 1433 and 4501, which authorize the transfer of $1 billion through the "Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund" to support efforts not requested in the FY 2012 Budget.

Diversion of Funding: Over a hundred provisions of the bill (sections 1601-1699M) direct that the relevant Secretary "shall obligate" specified funding in particular ways. The Administration is concerned that these provisions could preclude the use of DoD funds for higher priority military needs. The Administration requires more time to review these provisions and assess their impact on DoD.

PATRIOT/MEADS Combined Aggregate Program (CAP): The Administration appreciates the support for DoD's air and missile defense programs; however, it objects to the $149.5 million authorization reduction in the PATRIOT/MEADS Combined Aggregate Program. This reduction could trigger a unilateral withdrawal from the MEADS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Germany and Italy, which could further lead to a DoD obligation to pay all contract costs—a scenario that would likely exceed the cost of satisfying its commitment under the MOU. This reduction also could call into question DoD's ability to honor its financial commitments in other binding cooperative MOUs, leading to negative consequences for other current and future international cooperative programs.

Advance Appropriations: The Administration appreciates the Committee’s stated support for the Administration’s new strategy for reforming space acquisition. However, the Administration is disappointed that no requested advance appropriations are authorized. Section 132 would only authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to procure two Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites through incremental funding. Further, H.R. 1540 authorizes only a small portion of the total remaining cost of $4.1 billion requested in regular and advance appropriations to enable full-funding of procurement of AEHF satellites and certain classified programs. Providing the full procurement costs in advance appropriations before proceeding with the acquisition is central to the Administration’s new acquisition strategy and cost discipline approach.

Ship and Military Construction Incremental Funding: The Administration objects to the incremental funding in section 121, which would authorize an additional year of incremental funding for the LHA-7 amphibious assault ship. Large-deck amphibious ships are already funded over two years, and any additional incremental funding period runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline. Section 4601 would incrementally fund military construction projects, which raises the same concerns and increases the costs of the projects.

Military Activities in Cyberspace: The Administration agrees that appropriate military operations in cyberspace are a vital component of national security, but objects to Section 962. The Administration has concerns about this provision and wants to work with Congress to ensure that any such legislation adds clarity and value to our efforts in cyberspace.

Diversion of Pension Funding: The Administration strongly objects to the restriction in section 3113 of Executive branch authority to manage obligations for contractor pension obligations. In the FY 2012 Budget, the Administration added substantial funds to ensure that defined-benefit pension plans of Department of Energy contractors are financially viable. This legislation circumvents efforts by the Administration to implement long-term solutions for pension funding shortfalls.

Abrams/Bradley Upgrades: The Administration objects to $425 million of unrequested authorization in section 4101, line 007 and 014 for upgrades to M-1 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles for unneeded upgrades in a fiscally-constrained environment.

Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV): Section 214 would restrict the ability to develop improvements to existing AAVs until the completion of an analysis of AAV requirements and the completion of an analysis of alternatives of various options to fill such requirements. The Marine Corps is committed to a follow-on for the AAV; however, this provision would limit the ability to both improve the existing fleet and inhibit analysis of the best replacement options.

Troops to Teachers Program: The Administration urges the House’s support for the transfer of the Troops to Teachers Program to DoD in FY 2012, as reflected in the President’s Budget and DoD’s legislative proposal to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

The move to Defense will help ensure that this important program supporting members of the military as teachers is retained and provide better oversight of program outcomes by simplifying and streamlining program management. The Administration looks forward to keeping the Congress abreast of this transfer, to ensure it runs smoothly and has no adverse impact on program enrollees.

A number of the bill’s provisions raise additional constitutional concerns, including encroachment on the President’s exclusive authorities related to international negotiations. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns.

'This Legislation Seeks to Protect the Public'

Addabbo Supports Cracking Down on Irresponsible and Under-Age Drivers

In order to make New York State roads safer and to protect the safety of law-abiding drivers, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) introduced a bill, S.1271/A.4190, to the Senate that amends the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to increasing the penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license. The bill is now in the Senate's Committee on Transportation; if passed, it will take effect immediately.

This bill changes the penalties for driving with a suspended license as follows:

For aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree (a misdemeanor), the penalty will be changed to a fine no less than $500 to no more than $1,000 and/or no more than 30 days in jail.

For aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree (a misdemeanor), the penalty will change to a fine of no less than $1,000, to no more than $5,000, and/or up to 180 days (6 months) in jail.

For aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree (a class E felony), the penalty will be one to four years in prison, or one year in prison under special circumstances.

According to Addabbo, "Irresponsible drivers in our state whose licenses have been suspended or revoked are a danger to others when they operate a vehicle. However, accidents resulting in the injury and death of innocent people are repeatedly caused by those who do not obey the law. Violators are not deterred by the consequences of driving without a license. There have been several accidents across the state in the past few years where dangerous drivers who have had their licenses suspended have gotten behind the wheel of a car and caused injuries and fatalities. The Legislature needs to send a clear and persuasive message by increasing the penalties for driving with a suspended license, which will help deter those individuals. This legislation seeks to protect the public from not only those who drive irresponsibly, but who are not supposed to be allowed on the road in the first place."

Senator Addabbo also supported a related Senate bill, S.3225, which would amend the vehicle and traffic law to provide increased penalties for certain traffic infractions by drivers with certain under-age license classifications.

The bill provides for suspension of license penalties for licensed drivers under age 18, for violations of certain restrictions: drivers with junior licenses convicted of driving outside of the permissible time range; driving with more than one passenger under the age of 21; or those who violate the 6-months probation period for new licensees will have his or her license suspended for a period of 90 days for a first conviction, and for a period of one year for a second or subsequent conviction.

This bill is now in the Senate's Committee on Transportation; if passed, it will take effect the first of November after the date on which it becomes a law.

"Young drivers with restricted DJ and MJ licenses, are far more likely to be involved in accidents. A DJ license is a junior driver's license for those under age 18, who have limited driving privileges for a car, and must be supervised by a parent or guardian; An MJ license is a junior license for operating a motocycle, for those under age 18, who also have limited driving privileges for a motorcycle, and must be supervised by a parent or guardian. These differ from a learner's permit for those of any age who are learning to drive, and who must be supervised by any adult licensed driver age 21 and older. Recognizing the dangers posed by inexperienced drivers, our state has limitations on the hours such new drivers can operate a car without adult supervision, as well as the number of passengers that can be carried. Since our current penalties for these rule violations don't seem to be enough to deter young people who continue to drive after hours and with too many friends as passengers, this bill required mandatory license suspensions as meaningful deterrents," noted Addabbo.

Another bill he supported, S.945, now in the Senate's Committee on Transportation, would amend the vehicle and traffic law relating to the number of prior suspensions needed to qualify for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, from 10 prior suspensions to five prior suspensions, and repeals the provision in second degree aggravated unlicensed operation when an individual has three or more suspensions on a separate date.

Section 511 (3) (a) of the vehicle and traffic law, which is an element of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, is also amended to require five or more suspensions for failure to answer, appear, or pay a fine, rather than 10 or more separate suspensions. If passed, the bill will take effect on the first day of November after the date on which it becomes a law.

"Under this bill, a person may be prosecuted for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree when such person has five or more suspensions for failure to answer, appear, or pay a fine. Under current law, the person must have had 10 such suspensions to be prosecuted for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree. The dangers posed by unlicensed drivers to pedestrians and other motorists in New York State are well documented. Numerous deaths have been caused by these drivers," said the Senator.

S. 1038 – PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011


S. 1038 – PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011

(Sen. Reid, D-NV, and Sen. McConnell, R-KY)

The Administration strongly supports the enactment of S.1038, which reauthorizes through June 1, 2015, three critical authorities that our Nation's intelligence and law enforcement agencies need to protect our national security. These authorities, which expire after May 26, 2011 absent extension, are: (1) section 206 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which provides authority for roving surveillance of targets who take steps that may thwart Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance; (2) section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which provides authority to compel production of business records and other tangible things with the approval of the FISA court; and (3) section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which provides authority under FISA to target non-U.S. persons who engage in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor, but are not necessarily associated with an identified terrorist group (the so-called "lone wolf" provision). It is essential to avoid any hiatus in these critical authorities.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marriage Equality: New York's Governor Speaks Out

Governor Andrew Cuomo today released a new video message about the need to extend marriage equality to all New Yorkers.

Editor's Note: Many of the mainstream news organizations, news directors and bloggers will not post or broadcast a video of this nature, for various reasons, but "From The G-Man" has without any reservations.

As an independent source of news and information, and as creator and managing editor of From The G-Man, I feel it is important to share relevant and important news information. Moreover, as an independent, I can do so without the fear of censorship, the disapproval of network sponsors, or a possible retaliation by corporate investors that place far greater value on their bottom line and public opinion than in objectivity and fairness in news reporting.

Whether I support gay unions is irrelevant. The fact is I must remain objective -- unlike many of my colleagues in the mainstream media -- and present all news content that is considered to be of vital interest to not just residents of the state of New York, but to everyone in the country and the world. Thank you.

"Stay cool....stay safe.....and stay informed."

The G-Man

Video courtesy of