Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of our readers and to our Russian readers, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom. 

I hope everyone has a holiday to remember.  Let's all keep in mind what Christmas is about; the birth of Christ, our lord and savior. 

Founding Fathers Quote

For these blessings we owe to Almighty God, from whom we derive them, and with profound reverence, our most grateful and unceasing acknowledgments....That these blessings may be preserved and perpetuated will be the object of my fervent and unceasing prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

Ron Paul On Neil Cavuto

h/t: The Daily Paul

Ron Paul Talks 9/11, Iran, and Cookbooks On His Last Tour Stop Before Christmas

Ron Paul Talks 9/11, Iran, and Cookbooks On His Last Tour Stop Before Christmas: CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Ron Paul was greeted by adoring and large crowds throughout the day Thursday, and at his last event at a hotel he touched on one of his most controversial past comments, saying “people misinterpret what I say about what happened on...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sen. Ron Johnson: Weekly Report from Washington

December 23, 2011

Senator Johnson Comments on Payroll Tax Vote

I do not want to see anyone’s taxes raised at this time, but I believe reducing funding for Social Security by extending the payroll tax holiday is bad policy. It has not helped boost economic growth, and it replaces Social Security revenues with more borrowing. This is the last thing we need considering that Social Security already has an unfunded liability of $18.7 trillion.

I support tax relief for low and middle-income taxpayers - but not by starving Social Security revenues. Now that the Senate has voted to extend the payroll tax holiday for two months, let's use that time to craft an alternate tax relief package that targets middle-to-lower income workers. A properly-targeted package would be smaller and easier to offset with credible spending cuts - instead of increased fees on taxpayers.

The proposal the Senate passed last Saturday is typical Washington politics, intended to produce short-term political gains. Without structural reform, we will bankrupt Social Security, and we will bankrupt our nation. It is long past time to act responsibly and begin to seriously address and reduce our debt and deficits.

Senator Johnson Opposes Omnibus Appropriations Measure

The budgeting process for the Federal government is horribly broken. The Democrat-controlled Senate has refused to fulfill its legal obligation by failing to pass a budget in over 2 years (968 days and counting). The Omnibus bill that I voted against last Saturday is just the latest example of Washington’s business as usual. Business as usual is bankrupting our nation.

The bill is 1219 pages long, and was available for review only 58 hours before the Senate voted on it. It does not begin to address our spending problem or our serious fiscal challenges. It will still produce a deficit that could exceed $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

My ‘NO’ vote is a vote against the broken process, as well as the continuation of massive deficit spending. Washington is growing our national debt faster than our economy is growing. That is reckless and irresponsible. It mortgages our children’s future. If we don’t begin to seriously address our fiscal situation, we face a day when our creditors will do it for us – in a process that will be far more painful than had we acted sooner. The time to act is now. Time is running out.

Senator Johnson Releases Holiday Message for the troops

I recently recorded a holiday message for our troops serving at home and abroad. Click here to watch the message.

Senator Johnson Releases Hanukkah Message

I want to wish the members of Wisconsin’s Jewish community a happy Hanukkah. This is a time to come together with family and loved ones, to celebrate faith, and to remember the extraordinary deeds of the Maccabees, whose bravery we started celebrating at sundown on Tuesday. I wish you and yours a blessed holiday season.

Jack Hunter On Freedom Watch

Veteran for Ron Paul: Adam Kokesh

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ron Paul On The Jerry Doyle Radio Show

h/t: The Daily Paul

Founding Fathers Quote

I know no way of judging the future but by the past.

Patrick Henry

Auburn University Bans Ron Paul Banner from Dorm Room Window - FIRE

Auburn University Bans Ron Paul Banner from Dorm Room Window - FIRE

There is a Santa

RevolutionPAC Ad: Adherence to the Oath

Federal Paradise

With all 50 states suffering through Obama's economic policies or should I say socialist policies, one area is flourishing. That's not at all surprising that the center of corruption for our Republic is thriving and growing. Meanwhile businesses and families struggle to meet their bills and succeed under government regulations and taxes.
Imagine how much the 50 states would be growing if we could rein in the spending and regulations flowing from Washington. A little common sense and a strong US dollar would go a long way towards reinvigorating our economy. Of course that would mean D.C. would have to give up some of its power and there's no likelihood of that happening anytime soon.

Another Day

Well we are a balmy 30° and it feels much closer to 40° so I am very happy this morning. Oldest three kids are off to school and the youngest three are playing independently. Now let's see what's happening in the world.

Ron Paul's Ascent Drives The Ruling Class Crazy

It is amazing how many voters have not fallen for the lies and false talking points that have been spread about Ron Paul for years.  Not only is he climbing in the polls and successfully fundraising, but his message is getting through.  Yesterday, talk show host Jerry Doyle enthusiastically endorsed Paul.  Here is video of Doyle talking about the overwhelmingly positive response he has received from fans. 

I keep hearing the media ask Paul if he will commit to not running third party.  I think a lot of this is done to push the point that he cannot win the Republican nomination, which I strongly disagree with.  It also shows the biased questioning of some candidates.  If you are going to ask Paul about a third party run, you should also be asking Romney, Newt, etc. if they will enthusiastically support Paul if he wins the nomination. 

I have already heard several Republicans state that they would support Obama over Paul, or that Paul is left of Obama on foreign policy.  This clearly illustrates what is wrong with the Republican Party.  Since when is endless, needless, wars, nation-building, fear-mongering, and the pointless loss of the lives of our soldier sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. 

Being a veteran, my children are growing up being taught pride in the Republic, patriotism, and pride in our armed forces.  For years my oldest three have wanted to join the military; for the first time that scares me.  We don't fight wars to win anymore.  It appears that we are more hell bent on empire building and corporate profits.  I want a president who is going to declare war and fight it with everything we have so that my children's lives will not needlessly be put in jeopardy.

So the Sean Hannity's of the world can keep on bashing Ron Paul, we are not listening anymore.  My vote will be proudly cast for Ron Paul. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grassroots video on Ron Paul's foreign policy converts many

Grassroots video on Ron Paul's foreign policy converts many

Remy: Grandma Got Indefinitely Detained (A Very TSA Christmas)

Founding Fathers Quote

The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.

Samuel Adams

Neil Cavuto Defends Ron Paul II

Police State America

Here is another article pointing out how militarized our police forces are becoming.  I think it is absolutely unconstitutional for our police to turn into a military force.  This should concern every citizen because the military is trained to brutally dispatch our countries enemies, police are adapting this mentality, and there is no way that ends good for the average citizen.  You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see where the winds are blowing.

A Family Outing

Spent yesterday in the U.P. with my youngest kids and wife.  Despite the bitter cold there is no snow on the ground and we were able to enjoy several local sites, including a stop by the USS Milwaukee.  She is being built in Marinette, WI, but the best views are from the Michigan side.

Still holding out hope for a white Christmas, but it does not look like it is going to happen.  The kids are enthusiastically counting down to Christmas.  I think I am almost as excited as them and can't wait to see their reaction to their presents.  Hope y'all have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Ron Paul's Foreign Policy Explained

h/t: Ron Paul .com

Lawmaker Says Michelle Obama Has ‘Large Posterior’ - FishbowlDC

Lawmaker Says Michelle Obama Has ‘Large Posterior’ - FishbowlDC


Ron Paul's brilliant Iowa campaign - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Ron Paul's brilliant Iowa campaign - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Russia tests domestic interceptor missile

RIA NovostiRussia tests domestice anti-ballistic interceptor missileRussia tests domestic interceptor missile

16:44 20/12/2011 Russia carried out a successful test of a short-range interceptor missile on Tuesday as a part of its effort to develop a domestic missile defense shield, the Defense Ministry said.>>

Ron Paul is Making the GOP Conservative Again

Ron Paul is Making the GOP Conservative Again

Ron Paul Ad: Staying on the Right Path

Neil Cavuto Defends Ron Paul

h/t: The Daily Paul

China beefing up military presence in Indian Ocean

China beefing up military presence in Indian Ocean

How the Grinch Stole Health Care

Ron Paul banks on Iowa to boost N.H. chances

Ron Paul banks on Iowa to boost N.H. chances

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul Endorsed by Jerry Doyle

I have been a fan of Jerry Doyle's since his Babylon 5 days, so it is very cool to have him endorse Ron Paul. I ended up coming to Ron Paul much the same way. I set aside some of my disagreements over foreign policy because this republic is in crisis; we can no longer continue the status quo. Government, at all levels, is out of control. We need someone who has a career of principled defense of liberty in the presidency. Ron Paul is the only candidate who has a consistent track record and that is why I will be voting for Ron Paul.

Cafferty : People In Iowa Are Rallying Around Someone Who Represents real change, REAL CHANGE!

Press Release: Ron Paul Endorsed by Nationally Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host Jerry Doyle

Ron Paul Endorsed by Nationally Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host Jerry Doyle
Radio host, actor and philanthropist talks up Paul
LAKE JACKSON, Texas – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign announced today that nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Jerry Doyle has endorsed Ron Paul for the presidency.

“In many areas of the country including in some key early voting states, Jerry Doyle is a household name, discussing current events but also energizing and entertaining audiences. We appreciate the support Jerry Doyle gives Ron Paul as it contributes to the likelihood of a strong showing in the first few voting contests where Ron Paul is competitive,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.

The Jerry Doyle Show” is a nationally-syndicated talk radio program with a heavy finance component in addition to politics, pop culture, and current events, with elements of satire and biting social commentary. It is the sixth largest show in the country with more than 200 affiliates and 3.75 million weekly listeners, according to Talkers Magazine. The show airs live Monday through Friday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. PST with select markets airing the show at various times. Check your local listings by clicking here.

Jerry Doyle is an experienced pilot, investment banker, actor, and the voice of numerous national advertising campaigns. He is the author of Have You Seen My Country Lately – America’s Wake-up Call, published in 2009 by Simon & Schuster. Mr. Doyle also is an Honorary Naval Aviator and F-16 Test Pilot, and a Distinguished Supporter of the U.S. Space Program.

Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate - End War on Christmas

December 20, 2011
By Kelly Shackelford

Over the past several years, the war on religious expression in the public square has been escalating. This has become particularly pronounced around Christmas. Last weekend, thousands marched on a small East Texas town, Athens, in defense of a nativity scene there. And a battle is ongoing in Plano over whether or not students can hand out religious-themed gifts to their classmates. Even the U.S. Congress is banning members from saying “Merry Christmas” in their holiday greetings to their constituents.

More at:

The Iraq War: Recollections

The Iraq War: Recollections is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

The war in Iraq is officially over. Whether it is actually over remains to be seen. All that we know is that U.S. forces have been withdrawn. There is much to be said about the future of Iraq, but it is hard to think of anything that has been left unsaid about the past years of war in Iraq, and true perspective requires the passage of time. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to hear from those at STRATFOR who fought in the war and survived. STRATFOR is graced with seven veterans of the war and one Iraqi who lived through it. It is interesting to me that all of our Iraq veterans were enlisted personnel. I don’t know what that means, but it pleases me for some reason. Their short recollections are what STRATFOR has to contribute to the end of the war. It is, I think, far more valuable than anything I could possibly say.

Staff Sgt. Kendra Vessels, U.S. Air Force
Iraq 2003, 2005

STRATFOR Vice President of International Projects

Six words capture my experience during the invasion of Iraq: Russian linguist turned security forces “augmentee.” I initially volunteered for a 45-day tour of the theater — one of those unique opportunities for those in the intelligence field who don’t see much beyond their building with no windows. My field trip of the “operational Air Force” turned into a seven-month stint far beyond my original job description. But in the end I wouldn’t trade anything for that experience.

I will always remember March 19, 2003 — not only because it was my 22nd birthday but also because it was the day that brought an end to the hurry-up-and-wait that I had experienced for the four months since I’d arrived in Kuwait. During that time it was a slow transition from the world I knew so well, which was confined to a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) and computer screens to practically living in mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) 4 gear, working with a joint-service security team and carrying a weapon. The day I was pulled from my normal duties to take a two-hour refresher on how to use an M-16 was a wake-up call. I had shot an M-16 once before, in basic training. Carrying a weapon every day from then on was new to me. While my Army and Marine counterparts knew their weapons intimately, I was still at that awkward first-date stage.

This anecdote represented a broader issue. As much as we might have known ahead of time that we would eventually invade Iraq, I don’t think we ever could have really been prepared. There were definitely creative solutions, like issuing an Air Force intelligence Barbie an assault rifle.

The invasion of Iraq that I describe is narrowly focused, but that’s what I knew at the time. As far as seeing a bigger picture, I was subject to the opinions on CNN and Fox just as everyone was back home. The only morsel that stands out is a “need to know” briefing we had on weapons of mass destruction a month before things kicked off. Slide after slide of imagery “proved” we needed to go into Iraq. Those giving the presentation seemed unconvinced, but at our level, we didn’t question those presentations. We always assumed someone much higher up knew much more than we would ever have access to. So we drove on, kept our mouths shut and did our jobs as we were told.

As an airman, the most memorable part of the experience for me was the shock and awe of the initial bombing attack. All the days before and after are blurred in my memory — either because they all seemed the same or because I’ve buried them somewhere. There were so many mixed emotions — pride in the U.S. Air Force as we watched the initial attack live on the news, fear of what would follow and sadness in saying goodbye to my friends who would leave to cross into Iraq in the following days. Among those friends were our British counterparts who did not feel they had a stake in the fight but were there because they took pride in their jobs and wanted to do well.

Indeed, I always took notice of the many nationalities that were there to fight beside us. They were less than enthusiastic about being in Iraq and, of course, blamed the Americans for causing them to be there. This is when I first began to feel the “uncoolness” of being American overseas because of the war. I did not foresee how bad it would get and would eventually experience outright hostility in Asia, Europe and other countries in the Middle East.

Two years later, I was “deployed in-garrison.” This concept captures not only what I love about the Air Force but also why my friends in every other service always had ample material for teasing me. If we can’t take all the luxuries of home to the war (and believe me, we tried: surf and turf and endless ice cream in the chow halls, televisions in every living space and air-conditioning or heating as needed), we will bring the war to us. It seemed like a great idea at the time. I spent a year driving less than 10 miles from my duty station in the United States to carry out a mission in Iraq through radio, chat and live feed on television screens. We experienced the same crew day, tempo and real-world mission requirements but worked in over-air-conditioned vans parked inside giant hangars.

Anyone who has ever done this can relate to how bizarre it is to work inside one of these vans in full winter gear during the peak of summer. But in comparison to my first experience on the ground in Iraq, I felt I contributed far more the second time around. Our unit was able to see results daily and know that we were directly contributing to units in contact with the enemy. I could finally begin to see the forest for the trees, but by that time, I could also see that the situation on the ground was far worse than before.

My take-away from the latter experience was the perception that the rest of the United States was detached from what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would spend 12 hours engaged with the reality on the ground, full of adrenaline and exhausted by the end of the day, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day. But between the missions at work I would interact with those not directly involved, and it was endlessly frustrating. My civilian friends were more concerned about what happened on “Lost” the night before or where they were planning to vacation during the upcoming holiday. This sentiment continues even today, as those of us who were directly impacted by the war reflect on how it changed our lives while others hardly notice that the war is coming to an end. I gently remind them that this is, in many ways, a victory for us all.

Iraq 2003

STRATFOR Middle East and Arabic Monitor

In 2003, when the news in Iraq began to report that U.S. President George W. Bush would invade Iraq, Iraqis began to wonder if this would really happen — and if it would be the solution to and the end of the tyrant era in Iraq. I was sitting with my father, an old man addicted to listening to the radio instead of watching the two boring Iraqi television channels that mostly broadcast Saddam’s interviews, speeches and songs about him. I asked my father, “Dad, do you think the Americans will really come to save us and our country from this tyrant?” He said, “Yes they will, and there will be no other way to get rid of this tyrant but by a strong power like America.” As all other Iraqis, I kept watching television and listening to the radio to follow the news.

My husband, my kids and I were all staying at my parents’ house, along with my other two sisters and their families. We bought much food and stored water in a big container. We contacted our relatives and they contacted us, everyone wanting to make sure that the others were ready for the war and for the moment of salvation. If you draw an image of the Iraqi streets at that time, you will see very close and trusted friends secretly sharing their happiness about the idea that the Americans will come and topple the brutal regime. No one was afraid of the war because we are a people used to being in a war, and we were suffering enough from the blockade.

When the war began, I would say most Iraqis, if I cannot say all, were happy to see the end of the madman Saddam. When the statue of Saddam was pulled down in Firdos Square, my family and I were so happy our eyes were full of tears. They were not tears of sadness but of happiness. It was unbelievable. It was the moment of freedom.

After that, when the people began to get out of their houses, they could see all the military trucks and soldiers. And the people waved their hands and nodded or made signs with their hands to show the Americans that they were happy and thankful. For the first time in their lives, Iraqis practiced the freedom to speak in the streets freely and loudly without being afraid of Saddam’s loyalists.

Sgt. “Primo,” U.S. Marine Corps Task Force Tarawa
Iraq 2003

STRATFOR Tactical Analyst

As the C-130 ramp dropped at Kuwait International Airport in March 2003, I was hit in the face with a wave of heat and sand. I remember thinking to myself that this was going to suck, a lot. But at the same time there was a sense of relief at the finality and completion of mobilization orders and deployment, and despite the disruption of our civilian lives we knew that this was it, and it was all we had to concentrate on.

An infantry unit in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, we were a motley mix of professions and lifestyles — mechanics, school teachers, policemen, college students (roughly half of us), boilermakers, bankers, bartenders, small-business owners and kids straight out of high school. And we respected our leaders. Our commanding officer was a successful corporate executive, our company first sergeant and company gunnery sergeant had living-legend status in their respective law enforcement agencies, and all of our staff non-commissioned officers — most of whom were veterans of the first Gulf War and/or employed in law enforcement in their civilian lives — had served active-duty tours in their younger days, as did the NCOs that just got out of the Fleet and volunteered to deploy with us.

My squad (in which I had been unceremoniously promoted, as a lance corporal, to fire team leader) was pulling security for the command tent in the staging area in northern Kuwait when all members of the company staff gathered for a meeting with the battalion staff. The purpose of the meeting was for the battalion gunny to list all the ammunition that we would be allotted, and it did not include 5.56mm link or 7.62mm link and only a shockingly small amount of non-linked 5.56mm. We knew we were leaving soon, and we exchanged bug-eyed glances when we overheard the gunny listing the allotment. Fire suppression capability had been a central tenet of our training, and it would not be possible with the ammo we were getting. And there was only about one grenade per squad. If we hit action, our survival could depend on the pitiful first-aid kits we had been issued. Then “Doc” Chris showed up with a ton of “acquired” gauze, medical tape, iodine and morphine from battalion headquarters, which earned him a godlike status despite his many personal shortcomings.

When we received the warning order in our platoon hooch later in the evening we were told we were going to Nasiriya, where a battle was still raging. In the morning, we threw on our over-loaded packs and said our goodbyes. With the sound of helicopters in the air, the company gunny rolled up in a Humvee overflowing with 5.56mm link, 7.62mm link, more grenades and much-needed bandoleers. Every rifleman had the equivalent of about 12 magazines and the squad automatic weapon (SAW) gunners had about four or five 5.56mm link boxes.

Fortunately, the landing zone (LZ) we were flown into in Nasriya was not hot. We spent two days in Camp White Horse and then moved on into the city and took up positions, which we fortified when we were not patrolling or running raids. After a week, we were moved to the Saddam Canal, the site of a fierce battle just days earlier, where we set up checkpoints to control anyone going to or from the city over our bridge. After about a month of bridge security, patrols and raids in the nearby neighborhood, we were moved to Qulat Sikkar, south of Al Kut.

While the Shiite Muslims in our area of operation may not have wanted us there, the United States took out Saddam and we were there to help them, so there was a tentative peace. While the locals outnumbered us, they did not want to rock the boat, nor did we. For all intents and purposes, we served as the local government, court and police of Qulat Sikkar. For the first few weeks, we raided residences of suspected Baath Party members, Fedayeen and criminals. You never knew what was behind the door, which was quite stressful, but you got used it. However, it didn’t take too long to realize that despite the weapons caches we would occasionally find, a good portion of the information we were receiving to conduct these raids may have had more to do with personal revenge than actual threats.

What we were trying to do was maximize our strength at the street level by interacting with the locals as much as possible during foot and mounted patrols, which we ran 24 hours a day. We wanted the locals to know that we were ready for anything while our medical corpsmen were helping injured civilians and kids who were brought to our position for care. Locals would come to us to report criminals and other threats, which we would respond to. The professional policemen in our reserve unit trained local police. Because of this, and the fact that the local Shia were happy to see Saddam ousted and were not politically organized, we experienced no serious attacks, nothing more than the occasional spray-and-pray or potshot. The people, all of whom were destitute, just tried to keep on living and begin building an uncertain future as we continued our patrols, dreaming of home in our spare time.

The uncertain future became most evident when local Iraq army veterans began asking for their pay or pensions and we told them to go away. And while the Bush administration’s decision to remove all Baath Party members rather than just the unsavory elements from official life was not such a factor for us in the Shiite south, the move was something that we debated endlessly. The majority of the Marines in my platoon — college students and working men alike — saw it as a very bad idea and something that would almost guarantee a resistance movement.

We stayed just under six months and did a lot of good for people who have not faced much good in their history. The reality of war is that sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are unlucky. During that deployment, we were very lucky. No Marines in our unit were killed in action, and no Marines were seriously wounded. The Italians who replaced us were not so lucky. A few months after our departure and after becoming fully immersed in civilian life again (except for drill weekends), I turned on the television to see that Nasiriya had been hit by a major suicide bombing and that 19 Italian soldiers — some of whom we had undoubtedly dined with at Camp White Horse just weeks earlier — were killed along with 11 civilians. I remember thinking that this was just the beginning of a different type of war that would last a long time.

Cpl. Nathan Hughes, U.S. Marine Corps Regimental Combat Team 1
Iraq 2003

STRATFOR Deputy Director, Tactical Intelligence

Looking back, the paradigm that pulls it all together for me is one of a military that has spent too many years in garrison going off to war. By March 2003, 9/11 had dominated everyone’s thinking for a year and a half, but only a tiny fraction of the military had actually been to Afghanistan. And there had been no time for operational lessons that might have been learned to percolate through the system.

None of that was apparent then. When we first came ashore in February, the negligent discharge of a SAW at the port in Kuwait and seeing servicemen from other units carrying their rifles slung muzzle down stuck out to us after six months with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (pretty much the height of readiness and cohesion for a Marine infantry battalion at that point). The truth was that even six months at sea in 2002, aside from the loss of Marines in a shooting in Kuwait, did little to prepare us for the post-9/11 realities that would become so apparent in subsequent years.

After weeks of waiting in Kuwait (to the point where unfounded rumors of the death of Jennifer Lopez were beginning to get too much traction) and after we had resigned ourselves to never leaving that miserable place, we suddenly received orders to immediately mount up. We were a U.S. Marine regiment on amphibious tractors, unarmored Humvees and seven-ton trucks. I remember feeling bad for anyone who got in our way, and how that illusion crumbled over and over again in the subsequent weeks.

I remember exactly how shallow the first fighting positions we dug had been at our staging area south of the Iraqi border. The ground had been ridiculously tough, and we knew we were moving in as little as a few hours. That expediency was fine until the first “Lightning, lightning, lightning” came across the net, signaling that an Iraqi “Scud” missile had been fired. We were already in our MOPP 1 attire, which we would wear during most of the invasion, but despite endless drills (and laps around the flight deck on the way over in MOPP 4), it had taken us distressingly long to suit up. And lying in a far-too-shallow fighting position recalling how useless I had been — how useless we all had been — learning how to fire a rifle while wearing a gas mask in 1998, I mulled over everything I knew about fighting in a chemical or biological environment. The only thing I knew for sure was that doing so was a terrible, terrible idea.

On the outskirts of Nasiriya, we saw the first burned-out hulks of American vehicles and the first section of our platoon was moved, briefly, from our unarmored Humvees to the “protection” of the welded-aluminum hulls of amphibious tractors. Before someone somewhere canceled the whole maneuver, we were on the verge of following an artillery barrage through a city where the entire urban expanse had been declared hostile. One surreal experience flowed into the next.

Between spending a night where no one slept because we had erected our 81mm mortar gun line in an exposed position in the middle of an Iraqi village and reconnoitering for positions in a pair of Humvees with our heaviest weapon, a SAW, it became clear how desperately thin we were spread. The civilian looting of Baghdad was comprehensive and immediate. As we moved to our initial objective, there were already stolen construction vehicles with air-conditioning units chained to the shovels moving down the shoulders of the city’s roads. The magnitude of pacifying an urban population — and our complete inability to do so — was blatantly apparent.

By the time we fell back to Kuwait that summer (even the senior-most Marine commanders were assuring us in good faith that the objective was kicking in the door and seizing Baghdad and that the Army would take it from there), it was already a different world. Children that had once been restrained by their parents or their own uncertainty would now stand inches from moving tracked vehicles and demand candy. What we had achieved, in other words, was done in the space created by “shock and awe.” But the shock and awe had already worn off and the Iraqis were adapting and settling into the new reality with a frightening speed.

Staff Sgt. Paul Floyd, U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Iraq 2005-2008

STRATFOR Tactical Intern

My unit worked under Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and our primary role was high-value target (HVT) kill or capture missions. These missions were meant to apply pressure to or destroy enemy networks, not to win over popular support. I served eight tours overseas, half in Iraq. Our deployments lasted anywhere from 90 to 140 days. During these deployments, my platoon conducted hundreds of missions and killed or captured many HVTs. Most missions were successful in the sense that we got who we were after. Some missions were not successful. The following are the missions that stick out.

My first deployment was in 2005 to Baghdad. I was scared and didn’t know a damn thing about where I was going, and my team leaders and squad leaders were not about to enlighten me. After a short layover in Germany, we flew directly into Baghdad instead of Kuwait, where most units staged. The lights in the cargo bay went red, the crew donned body armor and they dropped the plane onto the runway like it was crashing to avoid being shot down. We had arrived in the middle of the night and were still recovering from the sleeping pills they had provided for the flight. We had to unpack all of our mission-essential gear from our cargo pallets and prep our gear for a helicopter flight into our operating base. Our leaders still didn’t divulge many details about where we were going even as we loaded magazines and donned body armor.

We loaded a CH-47 with half of our platoon and our personal bags and lifted off to what I had been told was the most dangerous city in the world at that time. When we landed, I was a little beside myself as we rushed off the helicopter to establish security, sweeping our sectors of fire and waiting for our first firefight while others frantically threw bags off the bird. It took a few minutes, but the helicopter finally took off to pick up the rest of our platoon and then we were able to hear the laughter. “Hey dumbasses, we are in the Green Zone and you are pointing your weapons at the guys who guard our compound,” our team leaders said between guffaws. “Welcome home.”

This was not what I was expecting. My first mission was the next night. I was a top gunner on an up-armored Humvee manning a medium machine gun. We worked at night, and all I knew was that we were going to get some guy in some place in Baghdad. In other words, I could barely understand what I was seeing, didn’t know where I was and had no idea who we were after. The last thing my team leader had told me before we rolled out was to shoot back if we were shot at and if the vehicle rolled, try and get clear because the night before a Humvee had been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and rolled and everyone inside had burned alive. He might have been lying, but it stuck. We rolled through Baghdad for about 15 minutes and finally stopped 200 meters past an intersection. To help with radio communication, we turned off our jammers, per standard operating procedure, and an IED detonated at the intersection we had just passed. We went on two more missions that night and, over the course of 90 days, conducted around 120 missions.

My second deployment was to Ramadi in summer 2006. At that time, Ramadi was falling apart. The entire city was hostile, every single place we went. One mission during this deployment sticks our more than any other. We received intelligence on the whereabouts of a target high enough on the food chain that the strike force commander launched us during the day. The coordinates we had been given led us to what was essentially a strip mall on the side of the road. Since it was daytime, we found it to be more successful to move hard and fast, so we “landed on the X.” As we were leaping out of our vehicles, we realized there were more than 100 people running in all directions. We detained every single military-aged male. It took hours and we had to call in the regular army to help us move them all, but we got the al Qaeda cell leader we were after and his lieutenants. We didn’t make any friends that day, but we accomplished the mission and then some.

On a similar mission, we found ourselves being launched during the middle of the day to capture a man who we thought was a major piece of the Ramadi insurgency. This time we drove to a house, contained it, blew down the door and seized it. All we found inside was a woman and 13 teenage girls. We started to search the house, and I was tasked with searching the room where the girls were being kept while a younger guy watched them. Searching a room in the desert while wearing body armor is miserable work. About halfway through I heard some light giggling and looked up to find that two of the girls had taken a fancy to their overseer and were trying to flirt. There he was smiling from ear to ear while they both were moving their veils and hijab’s just enough to show a little hair and some of their faces. I started to laugh when the radio explodes with chatter about a car returning to the house. We quickly rearranged ourselves and detained the men as they pulled into the driveway. It was their uncle who had to pick up an associate and who also happened to be our target. We detained him and left.

My third deployment in Iraq was back to Ramadi in 2007. This was after the local tribal leaders had banded together and begun working with the United States to push al Qaeda out of the city. This meant that the enemy had moved to the countryside, and we were going to air assault instead of drive. Every night, we flew to the countryside and walked to our targets. This deployment was different. I experienced more firefights in those first seven missions than I ever had before.

On my eighth mission, the intelligence that drove us to a target was literally “there is a suspicious blue truck there.” We ridiculed that assessment as we boarded the helicopters. I was point man for my platoon and led it up to the house. As I cleared the initial courtyard I saw a man open a door, stick his head out and, clearly frightened, duck back inside, leaving the door partially open. Following my training and not wanting him to have any more time to prepare for a fight I followed him through the door with my fire team. I kicked the door fully open and two men armed with what I later learned was an AK-47 and an M-16 fired on us as we came through the door. I cleared my corner and returned fire while my teammates did the same. Suddenly my firing hand was thrown off of my weapon. I placed it back but found that I could not pull the trigger. It seemed like time just stopped. I looked down to find that my finger was flapping wildly against my weapon and realized that I could not shoot. I took a knee and yelled “down” to let my team know I was out of the fight and they adjusted their sectors of fire. There was a brief pause before another armed man opened fire from behind the door. I thought I was dead. The fire team behind us entered the room immediately and eliminated the threat.

I had been shot in the hand while one of my team members had been shot through the arm and the other had had a bullet graze the side of his head. We all walked out of that room in time to see the rest of the house erupt with gunfire. My platoon moved us back under fire and returned fire. A man then ran out of the house and our rounds detonated his suicide vest. His head and leg landed in the road in front of us. The fight ended with two 500-pound bombs and a medevac helicopter to Balad. I went home early that deployment.

My last deployment to Iraq was in 2008, back in Baghdad. One again we were driving, part of a task force assigned to counter Iranian influence. The new threat was the explosively formed projectiles being imported by the Iranians. These next-generation IEDs could punch through any standard armor we had. U.S. troops adapted with solid metal plates bolted to the sides of vehicles with an 18-inch standoff. The enemy adapted by aiming the IEDs slightly higher so the force of the blast would miss the metal plates and take heads off in the passenger compartments.

This react and counteract game never stopped. We were there during the winter, which meant it actually rained a fair amount for a brief period. I was a convoy commander on this deployment. On one particular mission, we had stopped to let the assault force off more than a kilometer away so as not to spook the target at night with our engine noise. After they assaulted the house, they called to us to pull the vehicles forward. During the height of the sectarian violence of 2007, Baghdad neighborhoods had trenches and earthworks to protect them. On this wet winter night, we were forced to drive through one of these trenches to get to our platoon, and it took about three seconds to get my vehicle stuck.

Since we were running skeleton crews at this point and it was my fault, I decided to jump out by myself to perform the vehicle recovery. This is a pretty simple process of just having the nearest vehicle pull up, attaching a tow cable between the two and pulling the stuck vehicle out. As we started the pulling part, I stepped back to make room only to plunge into a hole filled with water well over my head. I was submerged, wearing about 60 pounds of armor and equipment and barely hanging onto a ledge. I thought about the irony of dying in Iraq not because of enemy fire or an IED but by drowning. I managed to extract myself, and since no one could hear or see me, I calmly walked back to my extracted vehicle. If my gunner wondered why I was soaking wet and freezing, he didn’t ask.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sledge, U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Iraq 2006-2007

STRATFOR Senior Graphic Designer

I had done a lot in eleven years in the military: Afghanistan, language training, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, and Iraq. But Iraq would be the nail in the coffin of my military career.

In Iraq I kicked in doors, took shotgun pellets to the face (courtesy of a trigger happy Marine), watched IEDs explode in front of my vehicle, watched people shoot at my vehicle, made friends with the locals, rebuilt infrastructure, had the locals tell me they loved me and had the locals shoot at me. I also watched people shoot my friends, attended memorial services, cried, laughed, got depressed, ranted, fought, got dirty, got dirtier, cried some more and then went home.

The twin bloody battles of Fallujah in 2004 would move the insurgents to a city 20 miles west named Ramadi, which we would lovingly nickname the “Meat Grinder.” The rules of engagement were so lenient that if someone popped their head around the corner twice you could shoot a warning shot. The third peek was considered hostile and you could engage the person with lethal force. Every morning the roads were declared clear for about 30 minutes after an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team had spent the night clearing them. Thirty minutes later, every road had multiple IEDs on them. By noon, you were guaranteed to get shot at.

The turning point in my deployment came when a former Special Forces captain named Travis Patriquin came up with a simple — and hilarious — PowerPoint slide mocking how complex the American war machine had made the war in Iraq. My team began to work with him and other teams trying to win over the tribal sheiks and empower the people in the area. In accordance with a plan devised by Col. Sean McFarland, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division, U.S. troops also began to occupy all points of Ramadi in small combat outposts. In time, the tide began to shift and we began to see a significant, perceptible change. For once, my spirits were lifted and I thought we would achieve some success in the war. Capt. Patriquin would not live to see it. He was killed by an IED, leaving behind his wife and three small children.

When the war shifted in Ramadi, my team began to work hard rebuilding infrastructure instead of slinging lead, but complications soon arose. After the fighting died down, staff officers found new ways to look like rock stars in order to advance their careers. This was when my faith in the U.S. military began to crumble. Instead of working on the power grid or sewage system — basic life necessities that the people desperately needed — I was ordered to win hearts and minds by building soccer fields and other “Iraqi entertainment” venues. (Aid money was poured into a multimillion-dollar soccer stadium that only collected trash.)

After asking instead to work on the power grid, I was threatened with administrative punishment by a colonel in the 3rd Infantry Division. I acquiesced, then filed a report about waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. More threats, more soccer fields demanded, but my unit never backed down. We eventually got electricity running in the city 18 hours a day. This was a big deal, though the cost was high: Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars with valor and marital problems. (A third of our 30-man team left Iraq divorced, including me.) Coming home should have been a joyous occasion, but after 15 months, we were all very different and the world was not the same.

Though the Iraq war is ending, it will never be over for those who went. Anytime someone finds out you’re a veteran and a little about what you did, the question comes up: “Did you kill anyone?” And with that inevitable question comes an inevitable floodgate of memories, good and bad.

Anonymous, U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector
Iraq 2007-2008

STRATFOR Tactical Intern

I remember following the U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq from the comfort of my living room with no idea what a war zone was really like. Little did I know that one day I would have my own experiences in the Iraqi and Afghan cities I was watching on television.

A couple years after the fall of Saddam Hussein I was running human intelligence (HUMINT) operations in Baghdad, having one-on-one conversations with U.S. adversaries. I was elated by the opportunity to hear the perspective of the enemy. In the interrogations, our conversations varied. We would discuss anything from a planned attack on a convoy to the art of raising homing pigeons. While the typical image in Iraq was one of U.S. soldiers in fierce battles with insurgents, I would find myself smoking from a hookah with someone who had killed dozens. The polite nature of Iraqis carried over to the individuals with whom I would have conversations. A man who had just detonated an IED against an American convoy would offer me his prison-issued jacket if the weather was cold. I was shocked to see how cordial a detained insurgent could be, even if uncooperative.

There was a steep cultural learning curve for me, beginning with my mission in Iraq. Having never left the Western Hemisphere and having focused on Latin America with my previous unit, I was amazed to see what a different world the Middle East was. Language barriers were surprisingly easy to work around with interpreters, although my ability to gather intelligence depended on my cultural understanding. Picking and choosing which interpreter to use in communicating with a source was the first step. (An outspoken Lebanese Christian would not be very effective with a Sunni extremist.) It was also important to consider the gender, age and Islamic sect of interpreter and source. Putting aside intelligence gathering and turning instead to light-hearted conversations revolving around the source’s life not only improved my cultural understanding but also helped elicit critical information and actionable intelligence.

My time in Iraq was quite different from that of a soldier patrolling the streets of Baghdad. While I left my friends and family behind and worked long hours, sometimes exceeding 48-hour shifts, I still enjoyed most of the comforts of home that many soldiers in Iraq could not enjoy. The dangers were minimal compared to those faced by soldiers who kicked open doors and endured regular ambushes and IEDs. I often felt that I was not really doing my part compared to others who were risking their life in combat. However, I cherish the knowledge I gained from the Iraqi people and hope my contribution in Iraq was to save both U.S. and Iraqi lives.

Sgt. Frank B., U.S. Marine Corps
Iraq 2008

STRATFOR Junior Tactical Analyst

During our operations in northern Anbar province, I was continuously struck by the unintended consequences of our actions. As a platoon size, eight-vehicle element, we conducted patrols around the region checking in on disparate parts of the population. However, due to a lack of good road maps we relied on aviation charts that made it hard to identify good or established ground routes.

In our effort to survey our area of operations for security threats (in addition to other taskings), we found that our two mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) trucks, weighing more than 10 tons apiece, would easily crush the simple, mud-packed irrigation networks in the area. This would result in the limited water supply being quickly absorbed by the vast expanse of baked earth. And our communication and electronic countermeasures antennae, some 15 feet tall, would routinely pull down or short out the low-hanging, rudimentary power lines that tenuously fed electricity over long distances to isolated populations.

All of this was impossible to avoid while executing our tasking orders and providing mandated levels of protection to our unit, yet it hampered our ability to build any kind of rapport with people in areas that had had limited contact with the ousted Baathist regime in the first place. I remember realizing at the time that many of our interests and actions negated one another, and I often wondered how much more of that was happening with the many different units across the country.

I would later realize this example would prove to be one of many examples where our best operational intentions were obfuscated by the complexity of procedures, precautions and logistics necessary for our activity within the country. I’ll never forget walking away from my time in Iraq realizing the one-step-forward-two-step-backward reality of my unit’s time in Iraq, and how it forever changed how I understand the net costs of military and foreign interventions everywhere.


I know each of the authors well enough to have been startled by their recollections of the war. The humor, dedication and bitterness expressed in these pieces show me dimensions of each of them that I had not known were there. War reshapes the soul and makes people we think we know into mysteries. Life goes on, but not as it once was. No geopolitical meaning can be extracted from these memories, but human meanings can be. Suffice it to say that I am proud to be associated with these men and women.

Read more: The Iraq War: Recollections | STRATFOR

Santa's List

Update from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC)

Monday, December 19, 2011

RSC Update: The Senate Punts, Goes on Vacation

From the Chairman

It’s become an all-too-familiar refrain: the House passes a bill, only to see Senate Democrats water it down, punt, or ignore it all together. This time it’s the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.

The bill we passed last week kept the payroll tax break in place for a full year, kept long-term unemployment benefits in place while reducing the maximum time from 99 to 59 weeks, and put the Keystone pipeline back on track. At the same time, we lowered the caps on future spending and included some good welfare reforms.

So what did the Senate do? They punted, proposing a two-month extension of the payroll tax and unemployment payments without spending cuts or reforms. Then the body that hasn’t even passed a budget in almost 1,000 days promptly left for vacation.

A two-month extension just means confusion and uncertainty for another two months. Families and businesses don’t plan just two months at a time, and neither should Congress. House Republicans are willing to keep working until this is settled for next year. The Senate should come back from vacation and do its job.

God Bless,

Congressman Jim Jordan
Chairman, Republican Study Committee

RSC Media Activity – RSC members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.

· Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49): Lies, Green Lies and Statistics; The Huffington Post, December 12.
· Rep. John Shimkus (IL-16): Jaczko’s Mismanagement of the NRC Has Consequences; The Daily Caller, December 14.
· Rep James Lankford (OK-05): Mission in Afghanistan Remains Clear; The Edmund Sun, December 17.

RSC Member Activity – RSC members make it a priority to introduce productive, conservative solutions for America’s future.

· Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06) introduced two bills: H.R. 3673 to end automatic annual pay raises for members of Congress; and H.J.Res. 93 to amend the Constitution to limit Congressional terms to 12 years for both the House and Senate.
· Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) introduced H.R. 3683, to repeal a section of ObamaCare that cuts Medicare payments to hospitals.
· Rep. Ed Royce (CA-40) introduced H.R. 3655, to give small businesses better access to capital.
· Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ-06) organized a letter from 73 House members urging House leaders to let ethanol subsidies expire.

House Floor Activity – The following key legislation came through the House of Representatives recently.

· On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.
· On Wednesday, the House passed the conference report to H.R. 1540, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
· On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 3659, the Welfare Integrity and Data Improvement Act.
· On Friday, the House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act/Disaster Relief Act (H.R. 2055 and H.R. 3672) and the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 1892).

Outlook – A quick look at what’s on the horizon.

· Tonight, the House is expected to reaffirm its stance on H.R. 3630 and reject the Senate’s two-month extension.
· The schedule for the remainder of 2011 remains unclear at this time.

RSC Reports
· Each week the House is in session, the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce compiles a weekly report on the latest budget and spending news. Additionally, the RSC Money Monitor tracks how bills passed by the House affect authorizations, mandatory spending, and federal government revenue.


House Republican Study Committee
Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman

Paul Teller, Executive Director
Brad Watson, Policy Director
Joe Murray, Professional Policy Staff
Curtis Rhyne, Professional Policy Staff
Ja’Ron Smith, Professional Policy Staff
Cyrus Artz, Professional Policy Staff
Brian Straessle, Communications Director
Ben Miller, Deputy Communications Director
Wesley Goodman, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach
Yong Choe, Director of Business Outreach and Member Services
Rick Eberstadt, Research Assistant
1524 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 226-9717

STRATFOR Dispatch: Islamist Militancy in Kazakhstan

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ron Paul Ad - The One you can trust

Why Conservatives Must Adopt Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy

Why Conservatives Must Adopt Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy

Ron Paul Iowa Team Welcomes Additional ‘Homeschoolers for Ron Paul’ Members

Latest families who value education choice reside in Polk, Kossuth and Pottawattamie counties

ANKENY, Iowa – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign welcomed new additions to its already-substantial “Homeschoolers for Ron Paul” nationwide coalition. The new additions hail from Polk, Kossuth, and Pottawattamie counties, all Iowa.

The continued growth and geographic diversity establishes Ron Paul as a candidate with strong support among Iowa’s homeschooling families and organizations. Furthermore, it illustrates that Dr. Paul might receive tangible support for his principled positions on education freedom, as the 12-term Congressman from Texas seeks a strong top-three showing in the January 3rd Iowa Caucus.

A smattering of the latest “Homeschoolers for Ron Paul” members have stepped forward with the following public statements of support:

Maria Maher of Ankeny is a mother of nine children ages four to 26 years of age. After the passing of her husband, she goes the extra mile to continue her 18-year tradition of homeschooling her children but sees it as welcome effort.

“The government is constantly stripping parents of basic rights, assuming these rights as their own. I treasure my freedom to do what is right and my liberty to teach my children virtue. I don’t want some governmental agency telling me or my children what is right and wrong, as this has always been up to the parents,” said Ms. Maher.

She continued, “Ron Paul’s principles are thoroughly Christian, as he is the stalwart defender of peace through strength and treating our neighbors with respect, not contempt. We need to let him awaken in us a sense of citizenship in the most traditional way, the constitutional way, the way our founding fathers laid it all out then and for future generations.”

More at:

STRATFOR Dispatch: Kim Jong Il's Death and North Korea's Transition

Ron Paul is the front-runner in Iowa - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Ron Paul is the front-runner in Iowa - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Perdue Media Team Used Confidential Data To Spin Jobs Reports

Perdue Media Team Used Confidential Data To Spin Jobs Reports

Founding Fathers Quote

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.

James Madison

We're skipping that house

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk: European Bailout Will Make Crisis Far Worse

Gingrich Collapses in Iowa as Ron Paul Surges to the Front - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Gingrich Collapses in Iowa as Ron Paul Surges to the Front - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Right to Work: A Basic American Freedom

Right to Work: A Basic American Freedom

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ron Paul Statement Concerning Becket Fund for Religious Liberties Lawsuit

Ron Paul Statement Concerning Becket Fund for Religious Liberties Lawsuit

Citing Jefferson, Dr. Paul calls federal mandate forcing private institutions to cover contraceptives “sinful and tyrannical”

LAKE JACKSON, Texas – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement concerning the Becket Fund for Religious Liberties lawsuit filed on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, located in North Carolina. Below please find comments from Congressman Paul:

“I applaud the Becket Fund for coming to the defense of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic school founded by Benedictine monks. Federal bureaucrats are using their powers to try to force this traditional Catholic school to cover contraceptives, defined to include drugs such as RU-486, as part of their group health care plan.

“Thomas Jefferson said it was ‘sinful and tyrannical’ to ‘compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors.’ Forcing private religious institutions to cover RU-486 certainly falls within Jefferson’s definition of sinful and tyrannical.

“Unlike other candidates, I have fought against the federal promotion, funding, and mandating of contraceptives and abortion my entire political career. As President, I will use my constitutional authority to stop federal bureaucrats from forcing any institution to violate their sacred moral and religious beliefs by making them provide coverage for contraceptives in their health insurance plan.”


Have Trouble With Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy?

Have Trouble With Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy?

This is a beautifully done grassroots video outlining the different aspects of Ron Paul’s foreign policy that some Republicans have trouble comprehending.

If there is another terrorist attack it will be because America did not follow the foreign policy proposed by the Founding Fathers and Ron Paul. The reason there would even be another terrorist attack in the future would be because America did not follow the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers and Ron Paul.

More at:

Kim Jong-il dead

Video: Arabs Try to Lynch Jew in Shomron - Defense/Security - News - Israel National News

Video: Arabs Try to Lynch Jew in Shomron - Defense/Security - News - Israel National News

Paul leads in Iowa - Public Policy Polling

Paul leads in Iowa - Public Policy Polling

Sen. John Barrasso Delivers Weekly GOP Address On Keystone XL Pipeline