Archive for September, 2009


Susan From Glendale, CA Speaks To Rush Limbaugh (9/30/2009)


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Are They On The FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) List?



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Kennedy warns health-care debate could turn violent

The Providence Journal:  By Steve Peoples (Emphasis Mine)

PROVIDENCE — U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy fears that supercharged passions fueling the national health-care debate may lead to violence.

Drawing on his family’s violent past, the Democratic congressman told roughly 75 people gathered at a private health-care forum Saturday morning that opponents of Democrat-backed health-care legislation had gone too far. He cited, as an example, 10,000 signs distributed at a recent Washington protest that read, “Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy.”

Patrick Kennedy is the last member of his storied family to hold federal office. His father, U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, died one month ago after battling a brain tumor. His uncles, former President John F. Kennedy and former presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated.

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“My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally,” Kennedy told the nurses, union officials and AARP members finishing their breakfasts at the invitation-only event in the Providence Marriott hotel. “It’s fine for people to debate the issue and attack the issue, but when they go and stoop to the level of the vitriolic rhetoric that we’ve seen this debate turn up, it’s very, I think, dangerous to the fabric of our country.”

In a subsequent interview, Kennedy went further in warning that angry opposition could create physical danger for elected leaders…

Kennedy is the only member of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation not to have hosted a public forum devoted to health-care legislation moving through Congress. Saturday’s event, hosted by the AARP, was open to the media, but attendance was limited to a select group that largely supports a health-care overhaul.

In contrast to some public meetings hosted by the Rhode Island delegation in recent weeks, the audience was completely passive. There was no sign waving, shouting or heckling…]


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Related Previous Posts:

Medicare Advantage Cut 8% Under ObamaCare: Thank You AARP For Supporting Our Seniors

World Governance: Who Gave Them The Right To Take What I Have Earned?

Washington DC 9/12 Protest: Revolution Brewing From Sea To Shining Sea

Obama’s Message To DC Protesters: “You’re Wrong”

Obamacare: Either It Is The Red Pill Or The Blue Pill?

AARP: A Big “Donut Hole” With Acorn Sprinkles?

CBO/JCT Preliminary Analysis: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act

Related Links

Dick Morris And Eileen McGann:  ELDERLY MOVING AGAINST OBAMACARE

Operation: Can You Hear Us Now?

Looking At the Left: Conservative Woodstock Rocks the Capital

The People’s Cube: 9-12 Tea Party Pictures: Red Cube Goes to Washington

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Put This In Your Data-Mining Project


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Whoopi Defends Polanski: ‘It wasn’t rape-rape.’ — Polanski The Pervert — Anne Applebaum: The Outrageous Arrest of Roman Polanski — Patterico’s Pontifications: L.A. Times Front Page Headline: Polanski Merely “Accused” of Sexual Assault — The_Anchoress: A Study in Contrasts — Polemiquepolitique  Blog: Where is the problem?


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Whoopi Defends Polanski: ‘It wasn’t rape-rape.’

“I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like ‘You know what, this guy’s going to give me a hundred years in jail I’m not staying,’ so that’s why he left.”  (Whoopi on the “Liberal” View)


Polanski The Pervert

Sympathetic new film can’t conceal creepiness of fugitive director

Smoking Gun: JUNE 10–With last night’s HBO premiere of a sympathetic new documentary about Roman Polanski’s underage sex escapades, we’re reprising the harrowing 1977 grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old California girl with whom the director had sex after plying her with Champagne and a Quaalude at the Los Angeles home of Jack Nicholson. Polanski, now 74, fled the U.S. for Europe before he could be sentenced for the sex crime and remains a fugitive from justice.

In graphic testimony, Samantha Gailey described the illicit encounter with Polanski, which began with her posing naked in a Jacuzzi for him as he purportedly snapped photos for French Vogue. From there, Polanski approached her in a bedroom of Nicholson’s Mulholland Drive home and, despite her demands that he “keep away,” sought to kiss Gailey.

The teenager, an aspiring model, testified that Polanski, 43 at the time, later performed a sex act on her and “started to have intercourse with me.” She also testified that Polanski…] … […after asking her, “Would you want me to go in through your back?” Gailey, now known as Samantha Geimer, is interviewed in “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which was first screened earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

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LuckyBogey Note: Read the “graphic” Testimony and decide for yourself– especially the last few pages (30 Double Spaced Pages Total).  As the father of a daughter, I know what I would have done. You can put this in the Bank! I’m like a Beagle with my nose to the ground, I will find you no matter how long it takes and Revenge is Mine Said The Lord!

Switzerland Polanski


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Anne Elizabeth Applebaum (born in Wasington, D.C. 25 July 1964 (1964-07-25) (age 45)) is a journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written extensively about communism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. She has been an editor at The Economist, and a member of the editorial board of the Washington Post (2002–2006).  She was an editor at The Spectator, and a columnist for both the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. She also wrote for The Independent. Working for The Economist, she provided coverage of important social and political transitions in Eastern Europe, both before and after the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In 1992 she was awarded the Charles Douglas-Home Memorial Trust Award.

Applebaum lived in London and Warsaw during the 1990s, and was for several years a widely read columnist for London’s Evening Standard newspaper. She wrote about the workings of Westminster, and opined on issues foreign and domestic. Applebaum’s first book, Between East and West, is a travelogue, and was awarded an Adolph Bentinck Prize in 1996. Her second book, Gulag: A History, was published in 2003 and was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction writing. The Pulitzer committee named Gulag a “landmark work of historical scholarship and an indelible contribution to the complex, ongoing, necessary quest for truth.” Applebaum is fluent in English, French, Polish and Russian. She is married to Radosław Sikorski, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. They have two children, Alexander and Tadeusz.  Source:  Wiki


The Outrageous Arrest of Roman Polanski

Washington Post: By Anne Applebaum | September 27, 2009

Of all nations, why was it Switzerland — the country that traditionally guarded the secret bank accounts of international criminals and corrupt dictators — that finally decided to arrest Roman Polanski? There must be some deeper story here, because by any reckoning the decision was bizarre — though not nearly as bizarre as the fact that a U.S. judge wants to keep pursuing this case after so many decades.

Here are some of the facts: Polanski’s crime — statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl — was committed in 1977. The girl, now 45, has said more than once that she forgives him, that she can live with the memory, that she does not want him to be put back in court or in jail, and that a new trial will hurt her husband and children. There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

He can be blamed, it is true, for his original, panicky decision to flee. But for this decision I see mitigating circumstances, not least an understandable fear of irrational punishment. Polanski’s mother died in Auschwitz. His father survived Mauthausen. He himself survived the Krakow ghetto, and later emigrated from communist Poland. His pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered in 1969 by the followers of Charles Manson, though for a time Polanski himself was a suspect.

I am certain there are many who will harrumph that, following this arrest, justice was done at last. But Polanski is 76. To put him on trial or keep him in jail does not serve society in general or his victim in particular. Nor does it prove the doggedness and earnestness of the American legal system. If he weren’t famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all.


L.A. Times Front Page Headline: Polanski Merely “Accused” of Sexual Assault

Patterico’s Pontifications – September 28, 2009

I woke up this morning to this headline on the front page of the L.A. Times:

Polanski-Merely-Accused

Excuse me? He is more than merely “accused” of unlawful sex with a minor. He pled guilty to it. And, moving on the teaser on the right for Patrick Goldstein’s piece, it will not cost the L.A. District Attorney (for whom I work but do not speak) much to “prosecute” Polanski — because we don’t have to “prosecute” him. We need only represent the People at the sentencing for the charge to which Polanski pled guilty.

Nowhere on the front page does the paper explain to readers that Polanski pled guilty — much less mention that a 13-year-old girl testified to a grand jury that Polanski had provided her with part of a Quaalude and champagne before anally raping her and ejaculating inside her anus. (Excerpts of her testimony are provided in my takedown of Goldstein’s piece.) The article includes some of this information on the back pages that hardly anybody reads — the paper there reveals the drugging, the plea, and a sanitized version of the anal rape (he “forced himself on her”). But those who merely read the front page (and that’s many people, if not most) could be forgiven if they concluded that Polanski has yet to be put on trial.

This has been installment #56,447 in my ongoing series: “Why Nobody Trusts The L.A. Times.”


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A Study in Contrasts

The Anchoress: September 29, 2009, 9:35 PM

Two Polish men.

Both artists.

Both “brilliant.”

Both persecuted by Nazis, in their native land. One was a prisoner, one was a slave. When the Nazis left, the Communists came.

One, Roman Polanski, becomes a filmmaker. He encounters a 13 year old girl.

One, Karol Wojtyla, becomes a priest. He too, encounters a 13 year old girl.

After his encounter, the filmmaker -still a youngish man- runs away, out into the world, saying “everyone wants to do what I did.” He lives what is for the most part a rather good life, with privileges and honors and worldly accolades. He travels to many places, attracting admirers. At age 76, in the course of accepting yet another award, he becomes a martyr to some, for the crime of forcing himself on the 13 year old.

After his encounter, the priest
-still a youngish man- opens his arms and runs out into the world, saying “Do not be afraid; open wide the doors to Christ”. He lives what is for the most part, a rather good life, despite multiple assassination attempts and a cruel debilitating illness. He travels the world, attracting huge crowds for the worship of Christ. At over 80 years of age, he is still traveling and reaching out to young people, still carrying them on his hunched back and kindling warmth for them. He dies at age 83, and the whole world stops, and marks his death, and mourns. By the millions, the young travel to Rome from every continent, to mark his passing and to shout “Sancto subito!”

Two men who suffered under the jackboot of totalitarianism and the disregard for human life and human dignity…]


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Where is the problem?

Polemiquepolitique  Blog (FR) (English Translation)

In France everyone is for “the rule of law,” everyone is against pedophilia, and everyone agrees it is  normal to hunt for old men alleged to have committed crimes even over the age of 65 years. For one we take an old pedophile and that we respect the rules of law (though not ours) why so much fuss? I read somewhere (reviews of articles on 20minutes.fr actually) that Switzerland would do better to look to make gold that the Nazis had stolen from the Jews rather than to imprison a Jew whose family would have been exterminated by the Nazis themselves. I hope this is not the real reason.

Où est le problème ? En France tout le monde est pour “l’état de droit”, tout le monde est contre la pédophilie, et tout le monde trouve tout à fait normal que l’on traque des vieillards supposés avoir commis des crimes il y a plus de 65 ans. Pour une fois qu’on tient un vieux pédophile et que l’on respecte les règles du Droit (même si ce n’est pas le nôtre) pourquoi tant de remue-ménage ? J’ai lu quelque part (les commentaires d’articles sur 20minutes.fr en fait) que la Suisse ferait mieux de s’occuper de rendre l’or que les Nazis auraient volé aux Juifs plutôt que d’emprisonner un Juif dont la famille aurait été exterminée par ces mêmes Nazis. J’espère que ce n’est pas la vraie raison.


Related Links:

Times Online:  US officials have tried to arrest Roman Polanski around the world since 1978

Ace of Spades HQ: Roman Polanski, 1979: Press Understands My Plight Because (and I Do Quote) “Everyone Wants to F— Young Girls!”

CNN: Filmmakers demand Polanski’s release

AFP:  Rush to defend Polanski sparks backlash

Susan Estrich:  Roman the Rapist

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Wikipedia: Lynyrd Skynyrd — Jacksonville’s Lynyrd Skynyrd releases album, ‘God & Guns’ — You Tube Videos: God And Guns — Simple Man — Free Bird — Sweet Home Alabama (1977)


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Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced /ˌlɛnərd ˈskɪnərd/ LEN-ərd-SKIN-ərd) is an American rock band, formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964. The band became prominent in the Southern United States in 1973, and rose to worldwide recognition before several members died in an airplane crash in 1977, including lead vocalist and primary songwriter Ronnie Van Zant. The band reformed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny Van Zant as the frontman and continues to record music today. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006.

Source:  Wiki



Jacksonville’s Lynyrd Skynyrd releases album, ‘God & Guns’

Band confronts some hot-button issues with its latest album.

Lynyrd Skynyrd gets right to it with the title track of their new album:

“God & guns keep us strong

it’s what our country was founded on

we might as well give up and run

if we let them take our God & guns.”

“God & Guns,” the band’s first studio album of new material since 2003’s “Vicious Cycle,” comes out Tuesday. And there’s no escaping the two hot-button issues there in the title. Whether you see it as standing up for something red, white and true or obvious pandering to the most reactionary conservative fans probably just depends on where you’re coming from.

For lead singer Johnny Van Zant, it’s just the way things are.

“That’s what this country was founded on,” he said by phone on tour in California. “We wouldn’t have a country without God and guns. We’re not promoting guns. If you’re a criminal, you shouldn’t have one. If you’re a knucklehead, you shouldn’t have one.

“When we’re on the road, we watch a lot of CNN. And they were talking about putting [out] a superintendent for letting kids pray. I mean, is this America?”

But does he really think anybody’s out to take either one?

“Well, if you do this, it leads to that,” he said. “I just don’t think America was built that way. Not everybody will agree with us, some will call us radicals. But you know what they say about opinions.”

Van Zant said it’s not as far from the sentiments of his brother Ronnie’s song “Saturday Night Special,” with the lyrics “Hand guns are made for killin’/Aint no good for nothin else … So why don’t we dump ’em people/To the bottom of the sea.”

“Handguns are made for killing,” he said. “I don’t have any, but I’ve got a lot of shotguns. I’m kind of a collector. If someone breaks into my house, I don’t want to miss.”…]

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LuckyBogey Comment: I currently do not own any shotguns, however I don’t usually miss!  Must run in the family using those Whitworth rifles during the American Civil War although I suspect these marksman skills most likely were inherited from my Irish ancestors fighting Cromwell in Kilkenny.


Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.
Take your time… Don’t live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you’ll find love,
And don’t forget son,
There is someone up above.

Gary Rossington – Ronnie VanZant


Early years

In the summer of 1964, teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington, formed the band “The Noble Five”, which then changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined in Jacksonville, Florida. Their early influences included British Invasion bands such as Free, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles, as well as Southern blues and country & western music. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock.

In 1970, roadie Billy Powell became the keyboardist for the band, and Van Zant sought a new name. “One Percent” and “The Noble Five” were each considered before the group settled on Leonard Skinnerd, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair. The more distinctive spelling was adopted before they released their first album. Despite their high school acrimony, the band developed a more friendly relationship with Skinner in later years, and invited him to introduce them at a concert in the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum.

The band continued to perform throughout the South in the early 1970s, further developing their hard-driving, bluesrock sound and image. In 1972, Leon Wilkeson replaced Larry Junstrom on bass, but left just before the band was to record its first album (Wilkeson rejoined the band shortly thereafter at Van Zant’s invitation). Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King filled in as bass player, later switching to guitar after the album’s release, allowing the band to replicate the three-guitar mix used in the studio.

In 1970, the band auditioned for Alan Walden, who would later become their manager on the newly formed Hustler’s Inc. Walden worked with the band until 1974, when management was turned over to Pete Rudge.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Timeline


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If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can’t change.

Allen Collins – Ronnie VanZant


Peak years (1973–1977)

In 1972 the band was discovered by musician, songwriter, and producer Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, who had attended one of their shows at a club in Atlanta. They changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) and Kooper signed them to MCA Records, producing their first album “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd“. Released January 1st, 1973, the album featured the hit song “Free Bird“, which received national airplay, eventually reaching #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and is still considered a rock and roll anthem today.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who‘s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” (#8 on the charts in August 1974), a response to Neil Young‘s “Alabama” and “Southern Man.” (Young and Van Zant were not rivals, but fans of each other’s music and good friends; Young even wrote the song “Powderfinger” for the band, but they never recorded it. Van Zant, meanwhile, can be seen on the cover of Street Survivors wearing a Neil Young t-shirt.) The album reached #12 in 1974, eventually going multi-platinum. In July of that year, Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the headline acts at The Ozark Music Festival at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.

In 1974, Burns left the band and was replaced by Kentucky native Artimus Pyle on drums. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released the same year, though guitarist Ed King left midway through the tour. The album has the lowest sales and Kooper was eventually fired. In January 1976, backup singers Leslie Hawkins, Cassie Gaines and JoJo Billingsley (collectively known as The Honkettes) were added to the band. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in the new year, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Van Zant and Collins both felt that the band was seriously missing the three-guitar attack that had been one of its early hallmarks. Although Skynyrd auditioned several guitarists, including such high-profile names as Leslie West, the solution was closer than they realized.

Soon after joining Skynyrd, Cassie Gaines began touting the guitar and songwriting prowess of her younger brother, Steve. The junior Gaines, who led his own band, Crawdad (which occasionally would perform Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special” in their set), was invited to audition onstage with Skynyrd at a concert in Kansas City on May 11, 1976. Liking what they heard, the group also jammed informally with the Oklahoma native several times, then invited him into the group in June. With Gaines on board, the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road in Atlanta, Georgia, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones.

Both Collins and Rossington had serious car accidents over Labor Day weekend in 1976 which slowed the recording of the follow-up album and forced the band to cancel some concert dates. Rossington’s accident inspired the ominous “That Smell” – a cautionary tale about drug abuse that was clearly aimed towards him and at least one other band member. Rossington has admitted repeatedly that he’s the “Prince Charming” of the song who crashed his car into an oak tree while drunk and stoned on Quaaludes. Van Zant, at least, was making a serious attempt to clean up his act and curtail the cycle of boozed-up brawling that was part of Skynyrd’s reputation.

1977’s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, who had joined the band just a year earlier and was making his studio debut with them. Publicly and privately, Ronnie Van Zant marveled at the multiple talents of Skynyrd’s newest member, claiming that the band would “all be in his shadow one day.” Gaines’ contributions included his co-lead vocal with Van Zant on the co-written “You Got That Right” and the rousing guitar boogie “I Know A Little” which he had written before he joined Skynyrd. So confident was Skynyrd’s leader of Gaines’ abilities that the album (and some concerts) featured Gaines delivering his self-penned bluesy “Ain’t No Good Life” – the only song in the pre-crash Skynyrd catalog to feature a lead vocalist other than Ronnie Van Zant. The album also included the hit singles “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell”. The band was poised for their biggest tour yet, including fulfilling Van Zant’s lifelong dream of headlining New York’s Madison Square Garden.


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Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

Ed King – Ronnie VanZant – Gary Rossington


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Plane crash (1977)

On Thursday, October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered Convair 240 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact; the other bandmembers suffered serious injuries.

Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the tragedy, reuniting just once to perform an instrumental version of “Free Bird” at Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam in January 1979. Collins, Rossington, Powell and Pyle performed the song with Charlie Daniels and members of his band. Leon Wilkeson, who was still undergoing physical therapy for his badly broken left arm, was in attendance, along with Judy Van Zant, Teresa Gaines, JoJo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins.

Hiatus (1977–1987)

Rossington, Collins, Wilkeson and Powell formed The Rossington-Collins Band, which released two albums between 1980 and 1982. Deliberately avoiding comparisons with Ronnie Van Zant as well as suggestions that this band was Lynyrd Skynyrd reborn, Rossington and Collins chose a woman, Dale Krantz, as lead vocalist. However, as an acknowledgment of their past, the band’s concert encore would always be an instrumental version of “Free Bird.” Rossington and Collins eventually had a falling out over the affections of Dale Krantz, whom Rossington married and with whom he formed the Rossington Band, which released two albums in the late 1980s and opened for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour in 1987-1988.

The other former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd continued to make music during the hiatus era. Billy Powell played keyboards in a Christian Rock band named Vision, touring with established Christian rocker Mylon LeFevre (who, like Skynyrd, had once opened for The Who). During Vision concerts, Powell’s trademark keyboard talent was often spotlighted and he spoke about his conversion to Christianity after the near-fatal plane crash. Pyle formed The Artimus Pyle Band in 1982, which occasionally featured former Honkettes JoJo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins.

In 1980 Allen Collins’ wife Kathy died of a massive hemorrhage while miscarrying their third child. He formed the Allen Collins Band in 1983 from the remnants of the Rossington-Collins Band, releasing one tepidly-received album, but many around him believed that the guitarist’s heart just wasn’t in it anymore. Most point to his wife’s death as the moment that Collins’ life began to spin out of control; he spent several years bingeing on drugs and alcohol. In 1986 Collins crashed his car while driving drunk near his home in Jacksonville, killing his girlfriend and leaving him permanently paralyzed from the chest down. Collins eventually pled no contest to DUI manslaughter, but was not given a prison sentence since his injuries made it obvious that he would never drive or be a danger to society again.


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Studio albums

Year Title Certifications
1973 (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) 2x platinum (USA)
1974 Second Helping 2x platinum (USA)
1975 Nuthin’ Fancy Platinum (USA)
1976 Gimme Back My Bullets Gold (USA)
1977 Street Survivors 2x platinum (USA)
1991 Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991
1993 The Last Rebel
1997 Twenty
1999 Edge of Forever
2000 Christmas Time Again
2003 Vicious Cycle
2009 God & Guns

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Wiki References

Wiki Related Links:


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‘We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush — Rules of Engagement Revisited — Afghan troop request expected by Friday — Pakistan discovers ‘village’ of white German al-Qaeda insurgents — Krauthammer Does Not Believe Obama will give Gen. McChrystal the Troops He Needs for Afghanistan – Video 9/27/09 — Afghanistan troops surge: stakes for Obama could not be higher — Diverse Sources Fund Insurgency In Afghanistan — McChrystal: More Forces or ‘Mission Failure’ —

UPDATE IV – Jun 22, 2010

McChrystal’s real offense

Washington Examiner – By: Byron York

There is a lot of uproar about Gen. Stanley’s McChrystal’s disrespectful comments about his civilian bosses in the Obama administration, and President Obama would be entirely justified in firing McChrystal for statements McChrystal and his subordinates made to Rolling Stone.  Obama is a deeply flawed commander-in-chief who doesn’t want to be fighting a war on terror, but he is the commander-in-chief.  He should have a general who will carry out his policies without public complaint until the voters can decide to change those policies.

But the bigger problem with McChrystal’s leadership has always been the general’s devotion to unreasonably restrictive rules of engagement that are resulting in the unnecessary deaths of American and coalition forces.  We have had many, many accounts of the rules endangering Americans, and the Rolling Stone article provides more evidence.  In the story, a soldier at Combat Outpost JFM who had earlier met with McChrystal was killed in a house that American officers had asked permission to destroy. From the article:

The night before the general is scheduled to visit Sgt. Arroyo’s  platoon for the memorial, I arrive at Combat Outpost JFM to speak with the soldiers he had gone on patrol with. JFM is a small encampment, ringed by high blast walls and guard towers. Almost all of the soldiers here have been on repeated combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and have seen some of the worst fighting of both wars. But they are especially angered by Ingram’s death. His commanders had repeatedly requested permission to tear down the house where Ingram was killed, noting that it was often used as a combat position by the Taliban. But due to McChrystal’s new restrictions to avoid upsetting civilians, the request had been denied. “These were abandoned houses,” fumes Staff Sgt. Kennith Hicks. “Nobody was coming back to live in them.”

One soldier shows me the list of new regulations the platoon was given. “Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,” the laminated card reads. For a soldier who has traveled halfway around the world to fight, that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. “Does that make any f–king sense?” Pfc. Jared Pautsch. “We should just drop a f–king bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself:  What are we doing here?”

UPDATE III

After Action Report—General Barry R McCaffrey USA (Ret) VISIT TO KUWAIT AND AFGHANISTAN – 10-18 November 2009

UPDATE II

11/22/09 – The MEMRI Blog: Afghan Source: The U.S. Has Offered the Taliban Control in Return for Quiet

An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement’s foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases. Source: Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 22, 2009

IMPORTANT UPDATES AT END INCLUDING FOB Keating INFO


The Rules of Engagement now in effect in that war zone are designed to appease the faint hearted rather than win a war…According to military spokesmen, the ROE has been tailored to soften the possibility of civilian casualties. General Stanley McChrystal issued the new ROE restrictions on the use of military force to reduce the risk of further alienating the population… “Tying our Warfighter’s hands behind their backs is past unsatisfactory…it’s criminal! [Colonel Wayne Morris, USMC (Ret)]

The New Media Journal: Rules of Engagement & Other Stupid Decisions

A word of advice to the elite “Conservative” Blog Sites:  If you have not worn the uniform or fought for your county, I would suggest you blog on another subject matter.   As I was about to publish this post, I received the below comment from an “old gramma” on another website:

“I am too familiar with what goes on with our troops in Afghanistan. My grandson, who grew up in my home, spent 15 months in the Korengal Valley = aka The Valley of Death. They went through over 1,000 firefights, undermanned, all but abandoned on rocky shelves they pickaxed out of the mountainsides – no running water, housing only what they could cobble together – no hot meals, no heat in the brutal Hindu Kush winters, etc etc – they lost many.

They are going back – and all they accomplished has been lost with the NRE’s…it’s worse now than any time from the first year! How are they supposed to feel? The new ROE says THEY must, when it comes to it, sacrifice their very safety/lives to ensure no civilians get hurt! This is Gen. McCrystals New Rules of Engagement…we need to hold his feet to the fire. This is what we need to get out to the people.”


‘We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush

By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers, September 8, 2009

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

“We will do to you what we did to the Russians,” the insurgent’s leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.

U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

“We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We’ve lost today,” Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter’s repeated demands for helicopters.

Four U.S. Marines were killed Tuesday, the most U.S. service members assigned as trainers to the Afghan National Army to be lost in a single incident since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Eight Afghan troops and police and the Marine commander’s Afghan interpreter also died in the ambush and the subsequent battle that raged from dawn until 2 p.m. around this remote hamlet in eastern Kunar province, close to the Pakistan border.

Three Americans and 19 Afghans were wounded, and U.S. forces later recovered the bodies of two insurgents, although they believe more were killed.

The Marines were cut down as they sought cover in a trench at the base of the village’s first layer cake-style stone house. Much of their ammunition was gone. One Marine was bending over a second, tending his wounds, when both were killed, said Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 21, of Greensburg, Ky., who retrieved their bodies.

HISTORY OF RESISTANCE

A full moon was drenching the mountains in ghostly light as some 60 Afghan soldiers, 20 border police officers, 13 Marine and U.S. Army trainers and I set out for Ganjgal at 3 a.m. from the U.S. base in the Shakani District.

The operation, proposed by the Afghan army and refined by the U.S. trainers, called for the Afghans to search Ganjgal for weapons and hold a meeting with the elders to discuss the establishment of police patrols. The elders had insisted that Afghans perform the sweep. The Americans were there to give advice and call for air and artillery support if required.

Dawn was breaking by the time we alighted for a mile-long walk up a wash of gravel, rock and boulders which winds up to Ganjgal, some 60 rock-walled compounds perched high up the terraced slopes at the eastern end of the valley, six miles from the Pakistani border.

Small teams of Afghan troops and U.S. trainers headed to ridges on the valley’s southern and northern sides, setting up outposts as the main body headed slowly up toward the village and, unbeknownst to us, into the killing zone.

The terrain — craggy ravines and sweeping, tree-studded mountains riddled with boulders and caves — was made for guerrilla warfare. The ethnic Pashtun villagers pride themselves on their rejection of official authority, their history of resistance and their disdain of foreign forces that many regard as occupiers.

A possible clue to what was to come occurred when the lights in Ganjgal suddenly blinked out while our vehicles were still several miles away, crashing slowly through the semi-dark along a rutted track toward the village.

NO AIR SUPPORT

The first shot cracked out at 5:30 a.m., apparently just as the four Marines and the Afghan unit to which they were attached reached the outskirts of the village. It quickly swelled into a furious storm of gunfire that we realized had been prepared for our arrival.

Several U.S. officers said they suspected that the insurgents had been tipped off by sympathizers in the local Afghan security forces or by the village elders, who announced over the weekend that they were accepting the authority of the local government.

“Whatever we do always leaks,” said Marine Lt. Ademola Fabayo, 28, a New Yorker who was born in Nigeria and is the operations officer for the trainers from the 3rd Marine Division. “You can’t trust even some of their soldiers or officers.”

Sniper rounds snapped off rocks and sizzled overhead. Explosions of recoilless rifle rounds echoed through the valley, while bullets inched closer to the rock wall behind which I crouched with a handful U.S. and Afghan officers.

Lt. Fabayo and several other soldiers later said they’d seen women and children in the village shuttling ammunition to fighters positioned in windows and roofs. Across the valley and from their ridgeline outposts, the Afghans and Americans fired back.

At 5:50 a.m., Army Capt. Will Swenson, of Seattle, WA, the trainer of the Afghan Border Police unit in Shakani, began calling for air support or artillery fire from a unit of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. The responses came back: No helicopters were available.

“This is unbelievable. We have a platoon (of Afghan army) out there and we’ve got no Hotel Echo,” Swenson shouted above the din of gunfire, using the military acronym for high explosive artillery shells. “We’re pinned down.”

The insurgents were firing from inside the village and from positions in the hills immediately behind it and to either side. Judging from the angles of the ricochets, several appeared to be trying to outflank us to get better shots.

“What are you going to do?” Maj. Talib, the operations officer of the Afghan army unit, asked Maj. Williams through his translator.

“We are getting air,” Williams replied.

“What are we going to do?” Talib repeated.

“We are getting air,” Williams replied again, perhaps knowing that none was available but hoping to quiet Talib.

At 6:05 a.m., as our position was becoming increasingly tenuous, Swenson and Fabayo agreed that it was time to pull back and radioed for artillery to fire smoke rounds to mask our retreat.

“They don’t have any smoke. They only have Willy Pete,” Swenson reported, referring to white phosphorus rounds that spew smoke.

Fifty minutes later, as a curtain of white phosphorus smoke roiled across the valley, Swenson and Fabayo unleashed an intense volley of covering fire while the rest of us sprinted back some 20 yards to a series of dirt furrows, weighed down by our flak vests and water carriers.

The two officers raced back to join us. Everyone jumped up and ran for the next stone wall. Everyone but me. Afraid that too many people were jammed together as they raced, offering easy targets, I waited behind for a break in the gunfire, an Afghan border police officer crouched next to me.

TIME TO MOVE

We soon noticed that the insurgent snipers were trying to outflank us again. I saw one up on a small rise fire and miss us by several feet. My companion decided that it was time to go and bolted away across the wash, but the gunfire grew too intense, and again I pulled my body into the dirt and rocks.

I wasn’t as terrified as I was angry: angry at the absence of air support, angry that there was no artillery fire, angry that Williams’ interpreter had been killed, angry at the realization that the operation had obviously been betrayed and angry at myself for not bolting with the others.

I knew it was time to move when I saw a gaggle of Afghan soldiers pounding through the boulders past me, their commander, a bright 26-year-old lieutenant named Ruhollah, hopping between two of them, a bullet wound in his groin. Staying put was no longer an option.

Bundling my legs beneath me and grabbing the small bag I use to carry my pad, pens, glasses and other necessities, I sprang and ran, trying to weave as bullets kicked up dust around me.

I reached the next wall and plunged behind it, nearly falling on top of Swenson, Fabayo and several badly wounded U.S. soldiers.

As Fabayo cracked off rounds, Swenson lay flat on his back, clasping a pressure bandage to the shoulder of one soldier with one hand and holding the microphone of his radio in the other, calling out insurgents’ positions to two U.S. helicopters that finally had arrived.

It was now 7:10 a.m., and with the helicopters prowling overhead and firing into the hillsides, the incoming gunfire slackened enough for us to move again.

I stumbled down the valley to safety after I helped one of the injured soldiers into a medivac helicopter. Capt. Swenson and Lt. Fabayo headed off to find vehicles and, together with Cpl. Meyer, crashed back up the way we’d just fled to retrieve the bodies of the dead Marines and any other casualties they could find…]

We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush Video



Rules of Engagement Revisited

The New Media Journal – Thomas D. Segel, September 23, 2009

Active duty military personnel, veterans and retirees alike all expressed their outrage and distain for the reported Rules of Engagement (ROE) that resulted in loss of life to four United States Marines and nine of their Afghan army allies. In a Taliban initiated ambush the insurgents out-gunned the joint military unit and pinned it to indefensible ground. The NATO advised Afghan force was denied artillery support and did not receive close air support for more than one hour after coming under attack. By that time 13 lives had been forfeited because of a politically motivated ROE that always favors the insurgents.

Why was artillery support refused? Why were the helicopter gun ships needed for close air support late? Why did more Americans die? Many feel it is due to the always politically orients Rules of Engagement, a war fighting practice that is only rarely understood by the general public, and is seldom clarified or accepted by members of the military community.

One person voicing such an opinion is retired Marine Corps Major Frank Stolz. This author – and authority on weapons of mass destruction – points out that the ROE has been a very controversial issue since before World War II. He explains, “The original rules were formulated through the League of Nations (1929 – 1946) and were mainly written and approved by diplomats, lawyers, peace advocates and many others appalled by the slaughter of millions in World War I.” The actions of that war, according to Stolz, “included the use of poison gases and the destruction of entire cities through artillery, naval gunfire bombardments and for the first time ever, aerial bombardment, often times when the cities were still filled with non combatant civilians.”

Those who formed the first “rules” included a few people who had observed the horrors of war, but most were never in or near the front lines. They formed their opinions on the conduct of war from places of safety and comfort.

Though the League of Nations attempted to stem the threat of wars, success was never seen. The first rules they accepted were No shotguns in warfare; No flamethrowers in warfare; No aerial bombing of inhabited cities; Enemy and allied supply ships were to be stopped at sea, the crews and personnel were then allowed to get into lifeboats with sufficient food and water to reach the nearest land, and then their ships would be sunk. Says Stolz, ”these were but a few of the nonsensical rules made up by pinstripe diplomats and lawyers.” As history tells us, all parties engaged in combat followed few of these rules.

The ROE we find practiced today will vary slightly from one combat zone to another. It combines the old League of Nation rules along with newer insufferable conditions demanded by the United Nations and many of the European countries. As Major Stolz points out the ROE was intended for the conduct of warfare by uniformed combatants. It was not created to deal with terrorists, anarchists, insurgents and criminal elements all hiding among the civilian populations. Stolz concludes by observing, “Either through stupidity or a desire by some to see us fail, we have now given terrorists who indiscriminately bomb and harm innocent civilians, the same “rights” afforded uniformed military combatants. That, to me, is akin to allowing serial killers periodic home leaves in order to get their heads straight.”

The retired military community seems to be angered by the ROE now in place and how our government appears to have little regard for the lives of our many troops now in harms way. Says one veteran, “I believe we are wasting lives in Afghanistan. It cannot be won without taking out all extreme Islamic fundamentalists. The Taliban are ruthless. They follow no rules, period! They massacre at will. They are pure evil. How do we win this? There is no way except massive casualties across the board. It is a useless war and one our brave soldiers should not be fighting.”

Marine retiree William Bloomfield write, “Having lived through more than one tour in Vietnam, in spite of the ROEs, it smells to me an awful lot like “déjà vu all over again”; politicians who haven’t a clue in charge of those who do. It is egos taking precedence over good judgment and common sense.”

Master Sergeant John Clayton says he is an old Vietnam combat veteran, who fought in that war during 1967 and 68. Clayton says, “There is no substitute for victory and appeasement leads to defeat, as France found out in World War II. Do our enemies have ROE other than to defeat those who oppose them?” He notes they battle the enemy “kill n any way they can and to hell with humanitarian ROE that our government imposes on our military for political and appeasement reasons.”

One soldier now on active duty, (we will call him Bob) writes, “I am scared every time I’m told to move into a dangerous area. Most of us know we will receive little support when things get hot. Nobody really seems to care about us. If they did, they would make sure we had the weapons and troops needed to protect ourselves and win this thing.”…]



Afghan troop request expected by Friday

Washington Times – By Eli Lake and Sara Carter, September 23, 2009

The commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, will make a long-anticipated request for additional troops by Friday after the first major showdown between President Obama and his military advisers, U.S. defense officials said.

The showdown led Gen. McChrystal privately to tell his senior staff he would resign absent a clear commitment from Mr. Obama to implement the counterinsurgency strategy approved by the White House in March, two senior military officials with direct knowledge of the general’s remarks said. They spoke on condition that they not be named because they were discussing internal deliberations. One official said the general has been frustrated with the delay but has since told his staff he will stay in command.

The official told The Washington Times Wednesday that Gen. McChrystal would turn in to the Pentagon by Friday a formal request for between 10,000 and 40,000 more troops – covering three options for fighting in Afghanistan – and that he expects to testify soon before Congress.

“The general is going to turn in his request by Friday,” the official told The Times. “He is going to ask for more troops and is prepared to explain to Congress the reasons behind his assessment.”

The decision to allow Gen. McChrystal to request more troops defuses for now the biggest battle between Mr. Obama and his generals since he took office.

The bold private remarks by Gen. McChrystal were prompted by Mr. Obama’s recent decision to revisit the counterinsurgency strategy the general had been asked to develop and implement when he took charge in Afghanistan following the ouster of Gen. David McKiernan…]

A counterinsurgency strategy calls for protecting and assisting the local population in hopes they will provide information about terrorist hideouts and planning. In an assessment of Afghanistan that was leaked to The Washington Post on Monday, Gen. McChrystal made clear his dismay at the situation in the country and his belief that more troops would be necessary.

Gen. McChrystal and Gen. David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, have argued that effective counter-terrorism against al Qaeda is not possible without a successful counterinsurgency.

One of the U.S. officials who spoke to The Times said Gen. McChrystal “wants a recommitment from the president. He wants to know, ‘Is our strategy counterinsurgency?'”

Gen. McChrystal spoke with his staff on Wednesday in Kabul to inform them that rumors of his threatened resignation were not true and that he is “firmly committed to the war effort, the president and the mission” in Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, spokesman for Gen. McChrystal…]


This video, released by a group calling itself the “German Taliban Mujahideen,” shows foreign fighters in weapons training and training in the snow. The video shows Abu Ibrahim Amriki, an American terrorist operating in Pakistan, and a spokesman named Ayyub Almani. The video appears to be produced by the Islamic Jihad Union, an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. This video is related to the below story in the Telegraph, which described a German “village” in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

(h/t: Long War Journal)


Pakistan discovers ‘village’ of white German al-Qaeda insurgents

Investigators have discovered a “Jihadi village” of white German al-Qaeda insurgents, including Muslim converts, in Pakistan’s tribal areas close to the Afghan border.

By Dean Nelson in New Delhi and Allan Hall in Berlin, September 25, 2009

The village, in Taliban-controlled Waziristan, is run by the notorious al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which plots raids on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

A recruitment video presents life in the village as a desirable lifestyle choice with schools, hospitals, pharmacies and day care centres, all at a safe distance from the front.

In the video, the presenter, “Abu Adam”, the public face of the group in Germany, points his finger and asks: “Doesn’t it appeal to you? We warmly invite you to join us!”

According to German foreign ministry officials a growing number of German families, many of North African descent, have taken up the offer and travelled to Waziristan where supporters say converts make up some of the insurgents’ most dedicated fighters.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has a foothold in several German cities, has capitalised on growing concern over the rising profile of German forces in Afghanistan. Their role has become increasingly controversial in Germany in recent weeks after dozens of civilians were killed in an air strike ordered by German officers.

Last night a foreign ministry spokesman told The Daily Telegraph they were now negotiating with Pakistani authorities for the release of six Germans, including “Adrian M”, a white Muslim convert, his Eritrean wife and their four year old daughter, who were arrested as they were making their way to the “German village”. They are particularly concerned about the welfare of the child.

They are being held in custody in Peshawar after their arrest in May shortly when they crossed the border from Iran. They are understood to have left Germany in March this year.

The spokesman said negotiations were “under way” with Pakistani authorities “concerning a group of German citizens” and that it had been aware that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan had been recruiting in Germany “since the beginning of the year”.

Their recruitment drive has been led by “Abu Adam”, a 24-year-old German believed to be of Turkish or North African descent who was raised with fellow Jihadi, Abu Ibrahim, in the smart Bonn suburb of Kessenich.

Adam, whose real name is Mounir Chouka, received weapons training from the German army as part of his national service, and later spent three years training at the Federal Office of Statistics where colleagues described him as a “nice boy”…]


Krauthammer Does Not Believe Obama will give Gen. McChrystal the Troops He Needs for Afghanistan – Video 9/27/09

Freedom’s Lighthouse, September 28, 2009

Here is video of Charles Krauthammer on a “Panel Plus” segment of Fox News Sunday saying he does not think President Obama will give Gen. Stanley McChrystal the troops he needs in Afghanistan, and that he believes McChrystal will resign as a result.

Krauthammer had also pointed out how destructive it is for Obama to be waffling on Afghanistan for weeks while our allies look on. He believes our Allies, who are “hanging by a thread” on support of the war effort there, will not be strengthened in their resolve by Obama’s actions.

McChrystal himself, when asked on 60 Minutes last night if he was confident he would get what he needs from President Obama, would only say he is confident he can makes his assessment as to the needs in Afghanistan. In other words – “No” – he is not confident Obama will give him what he needs to win.

How sad is that?



Afghanistan troops surge: stakes for Obama could not be higher

Times Online: Tim Reid: Analysis,September 28, 2009

We have not yet reached a Harry Truman v Douglas MacArthur moment in Washington — the extraordinary day in April 1951 when the US President fired his top general for disagreeing with him on his Korean War policy.

Yet this much is now clear: a potential battle now looms between Barack Obama and his top generals over Afghanistan that could define, even destroy, his presidency.

After only nine months as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama has reached a critical point in determining whether to order a surge of additional troops into Afghanistan. It is a strategy that is being demanded by General Stanley McChrystal, his ground commander, General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, and by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the most senior military officer in the US.

The reason we know that General McChrystal urgently wants more troops is because his brutally grim, and until last week secret, assessment of the war, which he said could be lost within a year without a troop surge, was leaked in full to The Washington Post’s famed investigative reporter, Bob Woodward.

The source of the leak has yet to be revealed but most believe that it must have come from a very high level within the Pentagon in a move designed to make clear to the wider public exactly what Mr Obama’s top general is demanding, and the growing sense of alarm within the military over the President’s delay in deciding what to do.

Inside the White House, Mr Obama has indeed ordered a lengthy and deliberative delay to decide what his Afghanistan strategy should be, only six months after announcing to great fanfare his plan for the war: a classic counter-insurgency mission to protect the Afghan population, destroy the Taleban and rebuild the country’s civilian infrastructure. General McChrystal was hand-picked to execute that mission.

Mr Obama has scheduled at least five meetings with his national security team over the next few weeks to re-examine his Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy. Two factors are giving him pause over whether to send more troops, over and above the 21,000 additional forces he ordered to be sent in March, all of which have not even arrived yet. They are the disputed Afghan election, and the memory of Vietnam.

The stakes for Mr Obama, in the decision he must ultimately make, could not be higher.


khyber_900

The Peshawar-Khyber region. Map created by Bill Raymond for The Long War Journal.


iwp1_mages

Diverse Sources Fund Insurgency In Afghanistan

By Craig Whitlock, Sunday, September 27, 2009

KABUL — The Taliban-led insurgency has built a fundraising juggernaut that generates cash from such an array of criminal rackets, donations, taxes, shakedowns and other schemes that U.S. and Afghan officials say it may be impossible to choke off the movement’s money supply.

Obama administration officials say the single largest source of cash for the Taliban, once thought to rely mostly on Afghanistan’s booming opium trade to finance its operations, is not drugs but foreign donations. The CIA recently estimated that Taliban leaders and their allies received $106 million in the past year from donors outside Afghanistan.

For the past decade, the U.S. Treasury and the U.N. Security Council have maintained financial blacklists of suspected donors to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The U.N. list, originally designed to pressure the Taliban to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, requires all U.N. members to freeze the assets of designated Taliban officials and their supporters.

The U.N. and Treasury blacklists were greatly expanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since 2005, however, only a handful of alleged Taliban benefactors have been added to the lists.

Some American and Afghan officials said the U.S. government, which had been a leading nominator of names for the U.N. blacklist, paid less attention to Taliban donors after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Until recently, they said, Washington had also been preoccupied with preparing sanctions against individuals and companies doing business with the Iranian government.

Richard Barrett, the coordinator of the United Nations’ Taliban and al-Qaeda Monitoring Team, said Taliban sympathizers are much more skillful today at masking their donations and ensuring that the money cannot be traced back to them.

“It’s been very, very difficult to identify these people,” Barrett said. “You can track the money flow and say this money came from the Gulf, but it’s a lot more difficult to confirm the source.”

In July, Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the Taliban was reaping the bulk of its revenue from donors abroad, especially from the Persian Gulf.

Other U.S. officials have noted that the Taliban received substantial financial help from Gulf countries during the 1990s, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — along with Pakistan — were the only nations that gave diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government.

U.S. officials said there is no evidence today that the Saudi, UAE or other Gulf governments are giving official aid to the Taliban. They said they suspect that Pakistani military and intelligence operatives are continuing to fund the Afghan insurgency, although the Islamabad government denies this.

As the insurgency has grown in strength, the Taliban and its affiliates have embraced a strategy favored by multinational corporations: diversification. With money pouring in from so many sources, the Taliban has been able to expand the insurgency across the country with relative ease, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

In an Aug. 30 report assessing the overall state of the war, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the Taliban’s range of financial resources made it difficult to weaken the movement.

“Eliminating insurgent access to narco-profits — even if possible, and while disruptive — would not destroy their ability to operate so long as other funding sources remained intact,” McChrystal wrote…]


SE_AFGH_900-05262009Taliban presence, by district, in Kandahar, Uruzgan, and Helmand provinces. Information on Taliban presence obtained from open source and derived by The Long War Journal based on the presence of Taliban shadow governments, levels of fighting, and statements from ISAF commanders. Map created by Bill Raymond for The Long War Journal.


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McChrystal: More Forces or ‘Mission Failure’

By Bob Woodward, September 21, 2009

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure,” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.

McChrystal concludes the document’s five-page Commander’s Summary on a note of muted optimism: “While the situation is serious, success is still achievable.”

But he repeatedly warns that without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely. McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.

He provides extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency, which he calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan’s prisons to recruit members and even plan operations.

McChrystal’s assessment is one of several options the White House is considering. His plan could intensify a national debate in which leading Democratic lawmakers have expressed reluctance about committing more troops to an increasingly unpopular war. Obama said last week that he will not decide whether to send more troops until he has “absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be.”

The commander has prepared a separate detailed request for additional troops and other resources, but defense officials have said he is awaiting instructions before sending it to the Pentagon.

Senior administration officials asked The Post over the weekend to withhold brief portions of the assessment that they said could compromise future operations. A declassified version of the document, with some deletions made at the government’s request, appears at washingtonpost.com.

McChrystal makes clear that his call for more forces is predicated on the adoption of a strategy in which troops emphasize protecting Afghans rather than killing insurgents or controlling territory. Most starkly, he says: “[I]nadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced.”

‘Widespread Corruption’

The assessment offers an unsparing critique of the failings of the Afghan government, contending that official corruption is as much of a threat as the insurgency to the mission of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the U.S.-led NATO coalition is widely known.

“The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials, and ISAF’s own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their government,” McChrystal says.

The result has been a “crisis of confidence among Afghans,” he writes. “Further, a perception that our resolve is uncertain makes Afghans reluctant to align with us against the insurgents.”

McChrystal is equally critical of the command he has led since June 15. The key weakness of ISAF, he says, is that it is not aggressively defending the Afghan population. “Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physically and psychologically — from the people we seek to protect. . . . The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.”

McChrystal continues: “Afghan social, political, economic, and cultural affairs are complex and poorly understood. ISAF does not sufficiently appreciate the dynamics in local communities, nor how the insurgency, corruption, incompetent officials, power-brokers, and criminality all combine to affect the Afghan population.”

Coalition intelligence-gathering has focused on how to attack insurgents, hindering “ISAF’s comprehension of the critical aspects of Afghan society.”

In a four-page annex on detainee operations, McChrystal warns that the Afghan prison system has become “a sanctuary and base to conduct lethal operations” against the government and coalition forces. He cites as examples an apparent prison connection to the 2008 bombing of the Serena Hotel in Kabul and other attacks. “Unchecked, Taliban/Al Qaeda leaders patiently coordinate and plan, unconcerned with interference from prison personnel or the military.”…]



montiphoto1We Will Never Forget…


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Telegraph (UK): Barack Obama furious at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan (October 5, 2009)

Washington Post: White House Eyeing Narrower War Effort (Top Officials Challenge General’s Assessment)

Senior White House officials asked some of the sharpest questions, according to participants and others who have been briefed on the meeting, while the uniformed military, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, did not take issue with McChrystal’s assessment.

According to White House officials involved in the meeting, Vice President Biden offered some of the more pointed challenges to McChrystal, who attended the session by video link from Kabul. One official said Biden played the role of “skeptic in chief,” while other top officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, were muted in their comments.

Clinton has given no public signals about whether she is inclined to side with Biden or with McChrystal. But Clinton often sees eye to eye with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who also has kept his views private. She met with Gates on Tuesday and has cleared her afternoon schedule for Friday to meet with her Afghanistan team.

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ABC News:  U.S. Afghanistan Base: Death Trap From The Beginning

Long War Journal:  US, Afghan troops beat back bold enemy assault in eastern Afghanistan

Commenter From the Above Link

Over a hundred T’ban / tribals stormed FOB Keating and a little outpost nearby. The US and Afghans had to be extracted by Air Force SF. They couldn’t get to us for 16-24 hours so they were in just awful shape. Keating is completely demolished. Really terrible. It clearly shows how AQ is much better at the propaganda phase of all this. McCrystal’s plans had us pulling out anyways. We had already quit the northern province. But now they will credit themselves with conquering all of Nuristan.

Source:  Coffeepot

Related You Tube Video:  Bulldog Troop, 1/91 Cav patrols around FOB Keating

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539wHere We Go Again…

To prohibit any increase in the number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan. (Introduced in House)

HR 3699 IH

111th CONGRESS 1st Session

H. R. 3699

To prohibit any increase in the number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 1, 2009

Ms. LEE of California (for herself, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. MCGOVERN, Ms. WATERS, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Ms. WATSON, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. CLEAVER, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. COHEN, Mr. HONDA, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. STARK, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. KUCINICH, Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland, Ms. CLARKE, Mr. FILNER, and Mr. GRAYSON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services


A BILL

To prohibit any increase in the number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. PROHIBITION ON INCREASE IN NUMBER OF MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES SERVING IN AFGHANISTAN.

    No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to increase the number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan so that the number of members serving in Afghanistan exceeds the number so serving on the date of the enactment of this Act.


Added Related Links & Text of HR3699 – end

Saab Cars: 1947 to the present day — Sunday Classical Music Music Video — Quiz: weird and wonderful words — Family photos raise controversy Zapatero — How New York City’s Charter Schools Affect Achievement — Living with Borderline and Narcissistic Women — MUSLIM GROUP LAYS AN EGG ON NATIONAL MALL


9046.755.589

Saab 92 prototype – Manufactured in 1947

Blog Post PicturesSaab Cars: 1947 to the present dayPhoto Credits @ GM


Our Sunday Classical Music


9081.755.965

Saab 92B – Manufactured in 1953


Quiz: weird and wonderful words

Adam Jacot de Boinod, a former researcher on QI and author of The Meaning of Tingo, trawled the English language until he was deepooperit (worn out) for exotic specimens of words for his new book, The Wonder of Whiffling, published today by Particular Books. Test your knowledge of the extraordinariness of English with our quiz, drawn from his book

  1. What does broggle – coined in 1653 – mean?
    1. To fish, especially for eels, by thrusting a sharp, baited stick into holes in the river bed
    2. To make the first tentative advances towards courting
    3. The bulge of male genitals through trousers
    4. To spend one’s money before it is earned
  2. What is the job of a fottie?
    1. Officer appointed to keep the walls of a city in repair
    2. Searches sewers for rats
    3. Female wool-gatherer
    4. Male servant of a prostitute
  3. How was a pimple referred to in Tudor-Stuart days?
    1. A turkey egg
    2. A push
    3. A zit
    4. A yellow-top
  4. What are you doing if you are snoaching (coined in 1387)?
    1. Whipping a numbed limb with nettles to restore its feeling
    2. Shouting with your mouth wide open
    3. Impersonating an ox
    4. Speaking through your nose
  5. What is a clitherer?
    1. A woman with too much to say
    2. A polite, effeminate man
    3. An older woman on the prowl
    4. A good-looking man who works as a decoy for burglars by charming the housemaid
  6. What 15th-century term means a hornless cow – and thus, a fool?
    1. Jobbernowl
    2. Slubberdegullion
    3. Goostrumnoodle
    4. Doddypoll
  7. What might you be doing if you were snirtling?
    1. Spying on colleagues
    2. Laughing in a restrained manner
    3. Crying in a whimpering fashion
    4. Doing trivial work to convince people you’re busy
  8. How would you have been described in the 16th century if you were a dandy?
    1. A prick-me-dainty
    2. A sashmaree
    3. A hinchinarfer
    4. A galligaskins
  9. What is blepharospasm?
    1. A headache which covers the entire head like a helmet
    2. The act of spattering someone with saliva
    3. A slight cough
    4. Uncontrollable winking
  10. What might you have been doing in the 16th century if you “felt as if a cat had kitten’d in one’s mouth”?
    1. Drinking too much
    2. Eating rotten food
    3. Smoking a bad pipe
    4. Brawling

Answers Below


9118.755.536

Saab Sonett – Manufactured in 1956


Now we understand why President Bush would not meet with Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero?

Family photos raise controversy Zapatero

20090926_spain_560x375

(English Translation)

Madrid, 25 de Septiembre.- Spanish media release today criticized alleged censoring the photo would have been president of government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his family after being removed from the website of the U.S. Department of State.

The photo shows the Spanish president, his wife Sonsoles, his daughters Laura and Alba, accompanied by the U.S. President, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

The image was released yesterday by the Department of State United States to give an account of the event offered by the American commander in the Metropolitan in New York, but was later withdrawn at the request of the Spanish government.

Spanish media on Friday claimed that it was an act of censorship, although that could publish their faces blotted out of the president’s teenage children, practice regular press in this European country.

El diario El Mundo said other photographs that appear adolescents Laura and Alba in the stands from the Chamber of United Nations, following the holdings of the speakers at the General Assembly, were also without being distributed.

The controversy occurs in the first international trip that Zapatero has his entire family, a decision that has been widely reported in print and radio, which they consider to be separated the public from private.


9084.755.573

Saab 95 – Manufactured in 1960


How New York City’s Charter Schools Affect Achievement

Do Charters ‘Cream’ the Best?

A new study finds breakthrough evidence.

‘Creaming” is the word critics of charter schools think ends the debate over education choice. The charge has long been that charters get better results by cherry-picking the best students from standard public schools. Caroline Hoxby, a Stanford economist, found a way to reliably examine this alleged bias, and the results are breakthrough news for charter advocates.

Her new study, “How New York City’s Charter Schools Affect Achievement,” shows that charter students, typically from more disadvantaged families in places like Harlem, perform almost as well as students in affluent suburbs like Scarsdale. Because there are more applicants than spaces, New York admits charter students with a lottery system. The study nullifies any self-selection bias by comparing students who attend charters only with those who applied for admission through the lottery, but did not get in. “Lottery-based studies,” notes Ms. Hoxby, “are scientific and more reliable.”

According to the study, the most comprehensive of its kind to date, New York charter applicants are more likely than the average New York family to be black, poor and living in homes with adults who possess fewer education credentials. But positive results already begin to emerge by the third grade: The average charter student is scoring 5.8 points higher than his lotteried-out peers in math and 5.3 points higher in English. In grades four through eight, the charter student jumps ahead by 5 more points each year in math and 3.6 points each year in English.

Charter students are also shrinking the learning gap between low-income minorities and more affluent whites. “On average,” the report concludes, “a student who attended a charter school for all of the grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86% of the ‘Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap’ in math and 66% of the achievement gap in English.”…]

Source:  The Real World (h/t: Maggie’s Farm)


9087.755.984

Saab 96 – Manufactured in 1968


Living with Borderline and Narcissistic Women

Maggie’s Farm, Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss

Rescuing types, and loyal, good-hearted – if somewhat tolerant and often obsessional Boy Scout types of guys are often attracted to Borderline and Narcissistic women. These gals are often sexy, smart, exciting and romantic, and will idealize a fellow – until they don’t anymore. That’s when the s hits the f, and their hero begins to look like either a monster or a poisonous worm to them.

They split, project, and externalize in order to maintain some sort of acceptable and coherent sense of themselves. Broken and destructive people with lots of anger, through no fault of their own. Bad genes, bad life, bad luck, or whatever.

From Dr. Helen’s post, her excellent interview with the author of Walking on Eggshells: Advice on how to cope with the Borderline in your life.

One of the most common consultations I see with men is about marriages with women with significant personality disorders. My usual first impulse is to say “Save yourself.” My second is to want them to not take any sh-t from them. Then things get more complicated – especially when there are young kids.

My general advice to young men: Feel free to date them, but do not marry a Borderline or pathologically Narcissistic woman, unless you plan on its being only a temporary connection, because they will crush you and your spirit (unless they get good help – and learn to love instead of to idealize and split, destroy, and hate. It is tough, though, for anybody to acknowledge their grievous flaws)…]


9088.755.611

Saab 99, interior – Manufactured in 1969


All About Obama

Washington Post – By Michael Gerson

I’ve refrained from commenting on President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly because the speech made me angry. And most postings — or letters, or e-mails — written while angry are better discarded or deleted.

But this address grows more disturbing on further reading. Some major presidential speeches deserve to be remembered, quoted and celebrated. Some deserve to be forgotten. A few deserve to be remembered and criticized, because they dishonor the history of presidential rhetoric.

Obama’s rhetorical method in international contexts — given supreme expression at the United Nations this week — is a moral dialectic. The thesis: pre-Obama America is a nation of many flaws and failures. The antithesis: The world responds with understandable but misguided prejudice. The synthesis: Me. Me, at all costs; me, in spite of all terrors; me, however long and hard the road may be. How great a world we all should see, if only all were more like…me.

On several occasions, Obama attacked American conduct in simplistic caricatures a European diplomat might employ or applaud. He accused America of acing “unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others” — a slander against every American ally who has made sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued that, “America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy” — which is hardly a challenge for the Obama administration, which has yet to make a priority of promoting democracy or human rights anywhere in the world.

The world, of course, has its problems, too. It has accepted “misperceptions and misinformation.” It can be guilty of a “reflexive anti-Americanism.” “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone.” Translation: I know you adore me because I am better than America’s flawed past. But don’t just stand there loving me, do something.

I can recall no other major American speech in which the narcissism of a leader has been quite so pronounced. It might be compared to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “I shall return” — which made it sound like MacArthur intended to reconquer the Philippines single-handedly. But MacArthur, at least, imagined himself as embodying his country, not transcending it. He did not assert that while the Japanese invasion was certainly excessive, America had been guilty of provocations of its own — and now, in the MacArthur era, things would be finally different.

Twice in his United Nations speech, Obama dares to quote Franklin Roosevelt. I have read quite a bit of Roosevelt’s rhetoric. It is impossible to imagine him, under any circumstances, unfairly criticizing his own country in an international forum in order to make himself look better in comparison. He would have considered such a rhetorical strategy shameful — as indeed it is.

At the United Nations, Obama set out to denigrate American goodness so he can become our rescuer. The speech had nothing to do with the confident style of Democratic rhetoric found in Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy. It insulted that tradition. And no one is likely ever to quote the speech — except to deride it.


9090.755.559

Saab 99 – Manufactured in 1972


MUSLIM GROUP LAYS AN EGG ON NATIONAL MALL

The Big Islamic Fizzle Event Shunned by CAIR: By thelastcrusade.org

The organizers of the event proclaimed: “Our time has come!”

Well, their time has come and gone and the gala celebration on the National Mall turned out to be an embarrassing fizzle.

Hassen Abdallah, one of the key planners of “the Day of Islamic Unity,” proclaimed that over 50,000 Muslims would make their way to DC for the event.

Five hundred buses were secured to transport Muslims throughout the country to the National Mall so that their prayers to Allah would resonate throughout the Lincoln and Washington memorials and the joint halls of Congress.

But less than 3,000 showed up for the gala and the prayers of the Islamists failed to echo past the scattered concession stands.

“I came here for nothing,” one concessionaire selling halal food said…]



9091.755.557

Saab Sonett III – Manufactured in 1974


Quiz Answers : Weird and Wonderful Words

1. What does broggle – coined in 1653 – mean? Correct answer: To fish, especially for eels, by thrusting a sharp, baited stick into holes in the river bed

2. What is the job of a fottie? Correct answer: Female wool-gatherer

3. How was a pimple referred to in Tudor-Stuart days?  Correct answer: A push

4. What are you doing if you are snoaching (coined in 1387)?  Correct answer: Speaking through your nose

5. What is a clitherer?  Correct answer: A woman with too much to say

6. What 15th-century term means a hornless cow – and thus, a fool?  Correct answer: Doddypoll

7. What might you be doing if you were snirtling? Correct answer: Laughing in a restrained manner

8. How would you have been described in the 16th century if you were a dandy?  Correct answer: A prick-me-dainty

9. What is blepharospasm? Correct answer: Uncontrollable winking

10. What might you have been doing in the 16th century if you “felt as if a cat had kitten’d in one’s mouth”? Correct answer: Drinking too much


9100.755.558

Saab 900 Convertible – Manufactured in 1992


Related Links:

Typically Spanish:  Zapatero happy with Spain’s involvement in the G-20

M&C: Zapatero to meet Obama on October 13, in sign of warmer relations

Guardian: Spanish leader accuses Bush and Blair


9111.755.730

Saab 9-5 Sport Combi – Manufactured in 2004


end