Think the best and brightest who courageously serve their country in the military when called to duty should be subsequently screwed by their employers? Texas Standard reports:
"Kevin Ziober’s last day at the office started with a sheet cake. A red and blue American flag was iced on the top with tiny, sugary stars, and the inscription read, “Best Wishes Kevin.” He remembers co-workers stood up to give him a round of applause, and his office was decorated with camouflage netting. “I was humbled by the outpouring of support,” Ziober said of the early 2013 surprise party. As a Navy Reserve lieutenant, he was headed to Afghanistan for a year-long deployment."
Had no choice but to go when called to duty. What happened to this guy is appalling.
"Ziober would have to be gone from his civilian job at BLB Resources, a federal contractor in Irvine that manages and sells foreclosed properties. When he first told his bosses about his mobilization orders, Ziober said they were supportive. A few hours after the celebration, however, he got a call from his HR manager. Ziober walked into a meeting to see the owners of the company and his managers, who said BLB Resources was letting him go. His job would not be available when he got back from Afghanistan."
Jesus Christ. His country called. Had no choice but to go. Then, forced to come back to nothing? No job?
"At the time, Ziober assumed federal law shielding service members from job discrimination was on his side. But he had another surprise waiting for him: BLB Resources had a binding arbitration agreement, signed by every employee, that would prevent the case from going to court."
A job conditioned on acceptance of binding arbitration, forced forfeiture of the constitutional right to sue is outrageous. Unacceptable in a democratic republic based on the United States Constitution. Worse? Forced forfeiture of civil and constitutional rights in return for a job is the antithesis of liberty.
"Employer advocates argue arbitration agreements are more efficient than lawsuits. But arbitration is generally confidential, which means information about the case can’t be shared or create precedent for future disputes. There isn’t the same level of discovery allowed, depositions can be limited, and there’s no appeals process. In many arbitration agreements, employees can’t join together in a class-action lawsuit against a company."
The corporate management suite hires arbitrators sympathetic to the company. Pays them for their 'services.' Bought and paid for. To do their will.
“It’s essentially a secret court where you can’t appeal the decisions and you’ve got one or two hands tied behind your back to prove your case,” said Ziober’s attorney, Peter Romer-Friedman. “It’s really an un-American thing when it’s forced.” “I think we can all agree if any group should be free to litigate their claims in federal or state court, and ensure that the public knows about these problems that are facing our service members, it’s the service member and veteran community,” Romer-Friedman said. Judges on the 9th Circuit ultimately ruled against Ziober, rejecting his appeal to litigate his USERRA case in court."
Nazi justice in a goddamned de facto fascist police-state, soon to be the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich.
In stark contrast to Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn and his criminal SS jackbooted bastards in black who continue to egregiously disgrace themselves and the badge, do as they please regardless of the law and Constitution, carefully consider how a Vietnam combat medic heroically placed the men he served ahead of his own personal safety earning him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Seatbelts on.
ABC News reports:
"Retired Army Captain Gary Michael "Mike" Rose, 71, will receive the Medal of Honor Monday for his heroism as a combat medic during a harrowing secret mission into Laos in 1970. He is credited with saving the lives of 60 wounded personnel during four days of intense combat, including those injured when the helicopter that evacuated his team was brought down by enemy fire. “My job was to focus on the individuals that were hurt,” said Rose at a Pentagon news briefing on Friday. “You don't concern yourself about getting hurt or killed.”
"Rose said neither he nor his fellow Green Berets knew much about their mission beforehand, but in a sign of the intense battle ahead they had been told to pack double the amount of ammunition they would normally bring along. “We were carrying heavy loads of ammunition: extra machine gun, extra grenades -- God, everything else,” said Rose. “So I knew something was up, “I mean, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out.” Rose also brought along more medical supplies than usual, which was a good thing because by the time he treated the last of the injured he said “I was down to shirtsleeves and bandannas.”
"For the next four days Rose continually treated the mounting number of casualties as his unit pushed deeper into the Laotian jungle surrounded by growing numbers of North Vietnamese troops that numbered into the hundreds. Though he was also severely wounded in the fighting, Rose continued providing medical care to the others in his team."
“We weren't supposed to come out,” said retired Lt. Colonel Eugene McCarley, who led the mission in Laos and accompanied Rose at Friday’s briefing. But on September 14, Marine CH-53 helicopters were sent to evacuate out all of the remaining troops, not just the wounded as had been originally planned. “The ground fire from the anti-aircraft was just horrendous at that time,” said Rose. “The Marines were taking a pounding there.” Rose remained behind with the last group of Americans and Montagnards still on the ground to ensure the wounded were evacuated on the first two evacuation helicopters."
"Rose was one of the last people to board a third helicopter as North Vietnamese troops rushed into the landing area. Aboard the helicopter he provided life-saving care to one of the helicopter’s gunners who had been shot through the neck by enemy fire amid a hail of enemy bullets. Moments later, the helicopter crash-landed after its engines were taken out by enemy fire. At the crash site, Rose helped pull survivors from the burning helicopter and provided medical aid until another helicopter arrived to rescue them."
This exceptionally heroic Green Beret was to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor at the time for his valor, but sadly, not to be:
"Soon after the mission, Rose was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but in 1971 received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for valor. It is possible that his award may have been downgraded as part of an effort to keep secret the U.S. mission in Laos."
Readers are advised this mission in 1970 was at a time of intense ongoing protest as the Nixon nazi and his cronies desperately tried to end the war. Their mantra? "Peace With Honor."
Fox News reports:
"Officially, retired Army Capt. Gary “Mike” Rose was never in Laos at the height of the Vietnam War. Rose, now 69, served as a medic in the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group, an elite division of the Special Forces. It was so secret that, for more than four decades, he never spoke about it to anyone – not even the people he served with. Those that served with him, however, never forgot the bravery he showed during a four-day mission, called “Operation Tailwind,” in the landlocked country in September 1970. Rose, then a sergeant, ran through a hail of gunfire to treat more than 50 soldiers who were fighting the North Vietnamese Army – using one hand to hoist wounded men onto his back while he fired on the enemy with his other hand. In spite of his own injuries, he didn’t sleep for days to make sure all 16 American soldiers deployed with him made it home. They did. Forty-seven years later, his heroism was commemorated on Monday when he received the Medal of Honor during a special ceremony with President Trump at the White House."
Cowardly fail to financially and/or materially support those fighting for all civil and constitutional rights and liberties at great personal cost and risk? Get what you truly deserve.
Haven't seen the new documentary regarding the Vietnam War, but those who have seen clips of it certainly consider it epic. The Washington Post reports:
"Hundreds of Washington insiders gathered last night in the Kennedy Center Opera House for an advance screening of Ken Burns’s new documentary on Vietnam."
Consider creative savvy, -- immense breath and depth of Burns, profound wisdom displayed just before the viewing:
"Before he showed half a dozen choice clips from his 10-part, 18-hour film, which premieres Sunday, the director asked everyone who served in the military during the war to stand so they could be recognized. John McCain and John Kerry were among those who rose, along with other famous veterans like Bob Kerrey and Mike Mullen. Burns then asked anyone who protested Vietnam to also stand. Dozens did. “I couldn’t tell the difference,” the director said, referring to the two groups. The veterans, including McCain, joined the audience in applauding the antiwar demonstrators."
Stunning, isn't it? Especially, in light of the following:
"That moment set a tone of reconciliation and harmony for a discussion about one of the darkest and most divisive chapters in American history."
Indeed, it was, -- up to that point in our history. Doesn't hold a candle, however, to what is now occurring as our formerly great country continues to nazify.
Sen. McCain again stood tall, remains a class act:
"-- Forty-two years after the fall of Saigon, McCain believes “it is the right time to take notes.” “There has to be a period of time after a conflict where the passion cools,” he said during a panel that followed the screening. “Maybe we can look back at the Vietnam conflict and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes that we did before.”
Too late, sadly, already done so. Gulf 1, Gulf 2, Afghanistan.
"The 81-year-old, who is undergoing chemotherapy as he battles an aggressive form of brain cancer, said that watching “the magnificent work” reminded him of just how young so many of the Americans were who died. With sorrow in his voice, he talked about “the 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids who had no idea what they were getting into.”
Died fighting to line the pockets of corporate war profiteers.
“Their leaders didn’t lead, whether they were military or civilian,” said the Arizona Republican, who spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war after getting shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967. “By telling the American people one thing, which was not true, about the progress in the war and the body counts, it caused a wave of pessimism to go across this country, which bolstered the antiwar movement. We can learn lessons today because the world is in such turmoil: Tell the American people the truth!”
Truth continues to remain a moving target. Especially, now, during the Trump regime. Lies told during the Vietnam debacle, however, were and are, no explanation or excuse for our failure to win that war, a war that was not winnable.
"McCain said he visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as often as he can to take in the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who died. “Depends on the weather,” he said. “Sometimes once a week. Sometimes once every couple of weeks. I try to go very early in the morning or when it’s near sunset. … It’s really an incredibly emotional experience. … These young men died because of inadequate or corrupt leadership.”
While the above indeed has great truth to it, certainly contributed to the debacle, the war was not winnable. We had no business there. The French got their asses kicked long before we did. We learned nothing from their experience. Just like we don't seem to understand Afghanistan is unwinnable for exactly the same reason. Why no one for centuries defeated the Afghans.
“We need to be able to have leaders who will lead and who will be able to give (the troops) a path to victory so that we will not sacrifice them ever again in a lost cause,” McCain said."
The cause was lost due to infinite determination of the enemy. Their country, their turf, their willingness to fight a guerilla war for however long it took, no matter the cost. As will happen in this country if the de facto fascist police-state we already live in transforms into the Trump nazi's Fourth Reich. This government will lose here for precisely the same reason it lost in Vietnam. Think not? Wake up.
While there are indeed some who believe the government would win due to overwhelming military superiority and weapons systems, it would be a colossal mistake to underestimate the determination of a well-armed citizenry who would never ever accept the imposition of nazism in this country. The unwanted war would be extremely bloody, costly, long-term, and employ guerilla tactics to level the playing field.
Our nazi government continues to betray thousands and thousands of Afghan translators who put their lives on the line for U.S. military personnel. NBC News reports:
"Since the special immigration visas (SIVs) were first instated for Afghans, 40,000 translators and their families have benefited from the program, a State Department official wrote in an email to NBC News. In fiscal year 2016, more than 10,000 people — 2,639 interpreters and their family members — were approved for SIVs. No One Left Behind has been responsible for petitioning and financing SIVs for approximately 5,000 interpreters, Zeller said. He estimates the SIV program is experiencing a visa backlog of close to 50,000. The State Department estimates there are 12,000 Afghan principal applicants currently at some phase of the SIV process."
These interpreters and their families remain in grave danger in Afghanistan.
"He said a large part of the holdup is due to the extreme vetting process the interpreters are subjected to, and the scarce number of spots the program allots each year. “All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have to individually investigate every single applicant on the application for a visa,” Zeller said. “The decision to let them in must be unanimous.” He said if an applicant isn’t cleared by one agency, the application is not only tossed in the trash, but the applicant is permanently barred from entering the United States and placed on a no-fly list."
Nazi America. What foreigner in his right mind would ever volunteer in the future to translate for our troops when so treated?
Finally, some justice on a long simmering military issue. Fox News reports:
"More than 17,000 California National Guard soldiers won’t have to pay back more than $190 million in enlistment bonuses and other payments that had been handed out in error between 2004 and 2010, the Pentagon said. The decision comes several years after an audit revealed the Guard was overpaying bonuses as it faced pressure to hit enlistment goals during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars."
To demand repayment was a terrible injustice to soldiers who had accepted them in good faith.
"California lawmakers in Congress successfully pushed for the Pentagon to waive any repayments unless it could provide evidence a soldier knew or should’ve known they weren’t eligible for the money."
As well they should:
"I am pleased that an overwhelming majority of the service members affected by the California National Guard's bonus clawback will be able to get their bonuses back," Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement. "These enlistment bonuses and other benefits were accepted in good faith and were given in exchange for serving the nation." A report by the Pentagon found that a vast majority of the 17,485 soldiers that got bonuses or loan aid won’t have to repay it or will be refunded if they already did. The report, given to the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees on July 31, was first reported by the Los Angeles Times."
Can you imagine the hardship this had to have placed on soldiers and their families?
Who better to criticize nazism? The men who fought, died fighting Hitler and his Nazi bastards. Seatbelts on. CBS News reports:
"William Johnson, Henry Beckam Jr. and Edward Field fought in World War II on the side of history that believed in freedom for all. "I am a Tuskeege Airman," Johnson said. "I went into the Army believing that we had to defeat the Nazis," Field said. "I can still tell you my Army serial number," Beckam said. Field flew on planes that dropped bombs. "I flew 27 missions and on all of them we were shot at," he told CBS News' Jericka Duncan."
Uncommon valor. Had they not done so, think of the consequences.
"Even after fighting that war, you thought things would change for the better?" Duncan asked. "It did," he replied. "When you look at what's happening today?" she asked. "It's terrible," he said."
Indeed. Rebirth of nazism.
"The 93-year-old Field calls the images out of Charlottesville, Virginia repulsive. "When the president of the United States makes a comment saying, 'what about the "alt-left" that came charging,'" Duncan said. "Well it's idiotic," he said."
Psychotic, as well. Thousands and thousands and thousands gave their lives fighting this scourge decades ago.
"It's unbelievable that we have the Nazi party here in the United States," Beckam said."
Traitorous. Treasonous. An insult to all who fought, died fighting these goddamned evil sons of bitches.
"Beckam was drafted in 1942 and served as a mechanic for the Army air force. He said there's no place in the U.S. for the Nazi flag."
Goddamned right. A slap in the face to all who fought and died fighting these bastards. The Trump nazi supports these pieces of shit, considers them his base.
"God wrote the Bible ... it doesn't say anything in there about the color of the skin makes one better than the other," Beckam said.
Goddamned right. It doesn't. These pieces of shit have perversely bastardized the Bible.
"And 90-year-old William Johnson was with the Tuskegee Airmen, a segregated group of black military personnel who were not allowed to serve alongside whites. "And it is not a better world when the President of the United States, OK, gives into racism and bigotry and don't understand how far we've come towards freedom and equality for everybody," he said."
Hat's off to these men, and all who fought and died fighting this scourge.
"More than 70 years later, the fight to defeat a hateful ideology is still alive. On the front lines once again are people willing to stand up and face what's in front of them."
So too, must the rest of us. No matter the cost.
The Washington Post reports:
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.
"Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
"The words above are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum. This week, amid outrage over President Trump’s rhetoric about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, they have been recited around the world as a simple, haunting warning.
"But the lineage of those words is more complicated, beginning with Martin Niemöller, the German Protestant pastor who originally spoke them.
"Niemöller supported Adolf Hitler and Jewish hatred — until he was sent to a concentration camp."
"After he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, Niemöller publicly advocated for German Christians who continued supporting Hitler to acknowledge their guilt. However, as the Holocaust Museum points out, Niemöller initially “failed to explicitly repudiate Hitler’s political aims, condemning unequivocally only Nazi interference in religious matters.” He also criticized Allied forces.
"Then, in 1946, he published a memoir, writing:
"Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: ‘Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself.’"
Things are often far more complicated, not quite what they seem to be:
"In examining interviews, speech transcripts and other documents, University of California at Santa Barbara history professor Harold Marcuse concluded that Niemöller didn’t quite say things as he’s been quoted. The persecuted groups he cited sometimes changed for his audience. So did the order in which he listed them. Sometimes he spoke as “we.” Other times, it was “I” and “me” — as in, “When they came for me, there wasn’t anyone left who protested.”
"Even today, there is no one correct version, no exact replica of his words."
Not surprising a former supporter of Hitler would be conflicted, is it?
"But there is the spirit.
"In 1958, at the end of a paperback issue of “The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank,” schoolchildren found it put like this:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out — because I was not a communist
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
— (Pastor Niemoeller, Victim of the Nazis in Germany)"
The above is the version this writer remembers quite well from childhood.
Our country needs to do far more for homeless veterans. ABC News reports:
"Vernon Poling was 44 years old when he finally got a home of his own. The Iraq War veteran was medically discharged from the Army in 2014, had to quit his trucking job for medical reasons, and found himself living out of his pickup last year in Orange County, a sprawling area of Southern California known for beaches, Disneyland and high housing costs."
Inexcusable for a veteran to be homeless under any circumstances.
"Poling was homeless for seven months before he found temporary housing in the area. He then learned about Potter's Lane, an apartment complex made from recycled shipping containers, just for homeless veterans. It's believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. On a sunny Friday in April, Poling walked into his 480-square-foot (45-square-meter) apartment for the first time, set down his backpack on his new floor and took it all in."
"I have never had a place of my own," Poling said. "I got out of high school, I tried working. I was still living with the parents. I joined the Army at 23, active duty. Then I was staying with Uncle Sam in the barracks ... To finally have my own place, it feels really good." Poling was the last of 15 homeless veterans to move into Potter's Lane, a $6.7 million project paid for with federal, state and local dollars, donations and money from the nonprofit behind the project, American Family Housing, among other sources."
Consider the following. Fox News reports:
"World War II veteran Marvin Strombo returned a Japanese flag to the family of the fallen soldier he recovered it from more than 70 years ago. Strombo, 93, who was part of an elite U.S. Marines scout-sniper platoon, told The Associated Press how he came across the flag and why he needed to return it."
Quite a story:
"Strombo discovered the flag in 1944 during a battle in Saipan when he spotted a dead Japanese soldier lying on the ground. Strombo saw a white cloth poking out from the man’s pocket where he discovered the silk flag filled with elegant calligraphy. He took the flag home with him to Oregon. More than 70 years later, Strombo is returning the Japanese flag to his fallen enemy's family. He arrived Friday in Tokyo, the first stop in a 10,000-mile journey into the remote mountainside to bring the keepsake back to the man's home village — back to a brother and two sisters who could never say goodbye. "I realized there were no bullets or shrapnel wounds, so I knew he was killed by the blast of a mortar," Strombo told The Associated Press. “I think that soldier wanted me to find him for some reason.”
Closure. For a bereaved family.
"The flags were given to Japanese soldiers for good luck. Relatives, neighbors and friends signed their names on the flags. Allied troops frequently took them from the bodies of their enemies as souvenirs. They have a deep significance because most Japanese families never learned how their loved ones died and never received remains. Strombo kept the flag hung in a glass-fronted gun cabinet in his home for years. He wrote letters to learn more about the flag but eventually put it aside. He did not know Japanese and, in an era before the Internet, making any headway was difficult."
Amazing how life often goes full circle. ... If one, indeed, lives long enough.
"Then, in 2012, the son of his former commanding officer contacted him about a book he was writing on the platoon. Through him, Strombo reached out to the Obon Society, a nonprofit in Oregon that helps U.S. veterans and their descendants return Japanese flags to the families of fallen soldiers. A week later, researchers discovered the flag belonged to Yasue Sadao by reading the script on the flag. They traced the corporal to a tea-growing village of about 2,400 people in the mountains roughly 200 miles west of Tokyo. The calligraphy on the flag were the signatures of 180 friends and neighbors who saw Yasue off to war in Higashi Shirakawa, including 42 of his relatives. Seven of the original signatories are still alive, including Yasue’s 89-year-old brother and two sisters."
Life going full circle:
"The Obon Society has returned about 125 flags and gets about five inquiries a day from aging soldiers who regret their actions and want to return the flags before they die. The group believes there are similar flags still hidden across the U.S. that could give answers to other families. Strombo will be the first WWII veteran to return a flag in person to a Japanese family through the Obon Society. Strombo can also help give the family some closure and show where Yasue died. "I knew he was young because I could see his profile as I bent over him. He was laying on his back, kind of on his left side," Strombo said. Only two other men in Strombo's platoon of 40 are still alive. "It got so I kind of wanted to meet the family, you know," he said, his voice growing raspy. "I know it means so much to them."
Guadalcanal. 75 years ago. Hell on earth. The Washington Post reports:
"War correspondent Richard Tregaskis remembered that it was so quiet that morning 75 years ago he could hear the swish of the water as the vessel steamed toward the rugged silhouette outlined against the sky. It was 6:14 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 1942, eight months to the day after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor."
Mr. Tregaskis was on board a troop transport carrying United States Marines:
“Suddenly … I saw a brilliant yellow-green flash of light coming from … a cruiser on our starboard bow,” he would recall. “I saw the red pencil lines of the shells arching through the sky, saw flashes on the dark shore … where they struck.” It took a second for booming sound of the guns to reach him, and when it did, he jumped."
Imagine what those young Marines must have been thinking.
"They were the opening salvos of the epic World War II battle for the island of Guadalcanal. On Monday, the country marked the 75th anniversary of the fight at the World War II Memorial in Washington. Eclipsed today by memories of Iwo Jima and D-Day, the struggle for Guadalcanal was the first major U.S. ground offensive in the Pacific theater against the Japanese empire."
The Japanese were ferocious. More than met their match, however:
"The campaign went on for six months, riveting the nation, as the United States and Japan poured ships, planes and men into the fight for the malarial, jungle-covered mass in the Solomon Island chain, northeast of Australia. There were seven major sea battles, often fought at night with torpedoes and searchlights. Several were disastrous defeats for the United States. So many ships were sunk in one area north of the island that it became known as Iron Bottom Sound. After one big defeat, an American naval officer, who had already lost a ship at Pearl Harbor, committed suicide. There were numerous land battles, most of which ended in grim losses for the Japanese, who called Guadalcanal “Starvation Island.”
"The campaign produced heroes. Marine Corps Sgt. John Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for mowing down waves of enemy attackers with his machine gun crews. Marine Pvt. Al Schmid did a similar thing and got the Navy Cross. Schmid was blinded near the end of his fight, but kept firing, with directions from a buddy who told him where to point the machine gun. (Hollywood made a movie out of Schmid’s story, “Pride of the Marines.” Basilone was later killed on Iwo Jima.)
Consider the following:
"Virginia historian Richard B. Frank, author of the 1990 book, “Guadalcanal,” said, “there’s nothing really … comparable to it in all of World War II, in terms of sustained combat in land, sea and air." Despite the heavy losses, both sides sent in reinforcements. The mighty Japanese army had rarely tasted defeat in its march of conquest across the Pacific. And it wasn’t clear if the Americans were up to stopping it. “This was the first real test of what’s now referred to as the Greatest Generation,” Frank said. “Going toe-to-toe with an Axis power at the height of their capability, to see whether we had what it would take.” “Guadalcanal was really that testing ground,” he said.” People talk about Normandy or Iwo Jima … but for the generation that fought the war [Guadalcanal] was a very, very big deal.”
Was certainly a wake up call for the Japanese. Good reason as well why this battle had such strategic significance:
"The fight for the island began after the Japanese landed on June 8, 1942, to begin construction of an airstrip. The United States and its allies realized that such an airbase would threaten shipping lanes to Australia and decided to seize the island from the Japanese. The battle began when the Marines landed on Aug. 7."
The fighting was savage:
"The fighting on land was brutal. In some cases it was hand-to-hand. Men were clubbed to death, stabbed, strangled. Hersey wrote that the jungle itself felt malevolent.
"The novelist James Jones, who served there with the Army, killed a Japanese soldier with his bare hands, according to a brief biography in his novel, “Whistle.” Jones was discharged in 1944, suffering from combat fatigue." (Now called PTSD.)
Consider the cost of the battle:
"The Guadalcanal campaign ended when the battered Japanese evacuated the island in January and February of 1943. About 30,000 of their men had been lost, along with many ships, and over 500 planes, according to Frank’s history. The United States and its allies lost about 7,000 men, numerous ships, including two aircraft carriers, and 480 planes."
The above quotes are courtesy of a most gifted, insightful writer, Michael E. Ruane.
Amazing it took a half century for an exceptionally heroic Vietnam War veteran to finally receive proper recognition of exceptional valor on the battlefield. This man saved lives as a medic running towards withering fire over a three day period while wounded himself. NPR reports:
"President Trump will award the Medal of Honor to an Army medic on Monday afternoon at the White House, nearly 50 years after his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Over three days of bravery, Jim McCloughan ran toward enemy fire numerous times to save his fellow soldiers, even though he was wounded himself. "I'd rather die on the battlefield than have heard later on that one of my men did not make it because their medic was not there," he once said."
No cake walk:
"Soldiers from Charlie Company were running for their lives. Tripping over themselves in a rice paddy south of the coastal city of Da Nang. Heavy fire was coming from the treeline behind them. AK-47s. Machine guns. Bill Arnold, then 20, was one of the soldiers running that May morning in 1969. He was twenty years old. And he couldn't keep up. Hours before he injured his knee rolling off a helicopter. His run was reduced to a limp, and then to a crawl. Finally, he collapsed. Arnold described being in a "haze" or a "blur" when he saw McCloughan running toward him. "Basically you first want to say, 'What the Hell is wrong with this guy,'" he recounted. "He's heading toward the enemy and I'm trying to get out of there."
Remarkable, isn't it?
"McCloughan, then 23, had arrived in Vietnam just a couple of months earlier. A college athlete from Michigan, he was known as "Doc" — easygoing with a ready joke. "He threw me up over his shoulder and he said, 'Get ready for a bumpy ride,'" Arnold remembers. "We were under fire. He was running. He done above and beyond what he needed to do." That was the first of McCloughan's heroic actions. Over the next two days, he'd be credited with saving nine more soldiers."
Savage conditions. Uncommon valor.
"Doc McCloughan received a Bronze Star with valor device for his heroics on that first day. The other two days were not taken into account. But over the decades, McCloughan's uncle and his fellow soldiers wrote letters on his behalf to upgrade the award, an effort also taken up by Michigan lawmakers. And finally after long consideration it was endorsed by the Army. Bill Arnold says the Medal of Honor is long overdue. "There is nobody I can think of who's more honorable, more deserving of this award than Doc," he said."
As all Medal of Honor recipients, this hero is self-deprecating:
"For his part, Doc McCloughan sees himself as more a caretaker of the medal. He says it's really an award for all 89 soldiers who lived and died during the battle. It was a team, he says, with each soldier playing a critical part. "And I've never known it any stronger than I knew after that battle how important each man was to the other," McCloughan said."
The Washington Post reports:
"It is difficult to assess which of James McCloughan’s near-death encounters in Vietnam was the most harrowing. There were so many. From the moment his infantry unit hit the field March 9, 1969, they encountered a ferocious enemy determined to repulse the Americans at all costs. “I got initiated the very first day,” McCloughan, 71, recalled in a recent interview with Army biographers. “We hit our first ambush. We had a man die. Had a few people to patch up. And I shot a man. That’s a lot to digest in your first day. “But I didn’t know I was going to face anything like Tam Ky,” he added, alluding to the location of a vicious 48-hour battle, three months after he arrived in Vietnam, during which the 23-year-old combat medic risked his life at least nine times to save wounded or stranded comrades — 10 men in all — and prevented a much larger North Vietnamese force from overrunning them entirely."
Imagine the terror:
"The operation began May 13, 1969. That morning, elements of McCloughan’s unit — Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade — were flown into the foliage near Tam Ky, a city along Vietnam’s central coast. They came under immediate attack, and two U.S. helicopters were shot down. “It was a hot LZ,” McCloughan said in his interview with the Army. He was referring to the helicopter landing zone where he and the others were unloaded. “The minute that we got there, we were fired upon.” McCloughan joined a squad of soldiers sent to locate one of the helicopter crews, according to the Army’s summary of action for his Medal of Honor. When they arrived at the crash site, he spotted a soldier too injured to move. As his squad mates exchanged fire with North Vietnamese, McCloughan sprinted to reach the man, hoisted him onto his shoulder and carried him to safety."
Consider the following:
"Later, McCloughan’s platoon sustained heavy casualties when they were ambushed by a larger North Vietnamese force while scouting a nearby hill. With U.S. airstrikes falling nearby, he left his weapon behind and ran toward two unarmed soldiers who were pinned down."
"While assessing them for injuries, McCloughan was sprayed with shrapnel from the blast of a rocket-propelled grenade. He carried the men to safety despite his wounds. McCloughan would make similar trips at least four more times, ignoring his commander’s orders to stay back and instead charging into a kill zone to save the wounded."
Beyond uncommon valor:
"The next day was devastatingly bad. As McCloughan and his platoon moved through a trench line, they saw North Vietnamese soldiers ahead. A battle erupted, and Pfc. Dan Shea, the medic from their sister platoon, was killed, cut down trying to carry a wounded soldier to safety. For his courageousness, he was recognized posthumously with the Medal of Honor. “I got him, got his body, and now I’m the only medic,” McCloughan recounted. “So I downed my pack, near a tree, and got all of my pressure bandages out of there and put them in all of the pockets that I had. . . . And now I start going to get men.” Amid the frenzy, McCloughan sustained additional wounds from small-arms fire and shrapnel, but he refused to leave his unit without a medic. As the battle reached its peak, Charlie Company was nearly enveloped by hundreds of enemy fighters. McCloughan ran through the crossfire again and again to pull out the wounded."
He wasn't done:
"That night, when the soldiers had run low on ammunition, McCloughan volunteered to crawl into the open carrying a light so a helicopter carrying their gear could locate them. But the resupply never came. He continued to treat casualties into the next morning, helping fend off attacks and keeping two seriously wounded soldiers alive. At last, that afternoon, he helped gather the dead and wounded so the unit could be evacuated."
Semper Fi. Semper Fidelis. Know what that means to a United States Marine? The following is yet another example of exceptional sacrifice in an indescribably horrendous situation. Uncommon Valor. Five years as a prisoner of war. Far more complicated than that, however. Seatbelts on. The Washington Post reports:
"Ronald L. Ridgeway was “killed” in Vietnam on Feb. 25, 1968. The 18-year-old Marine Corps private first class fell with a bullet to the shoulder during a savage firefight with the enemy outside Khe Sanh. Dozens of Marines, from what came to be called “the ghost patrol,” perished there. At first, Ridgeway was listed as missing in action. Back home in Texas, his old school, Sam Houston High, made an announcement over the intercom. But his mother, Mildred, had a letter from his commanding officer saying there was little hope. And that August, she received a “deeply regret” telegram from the Marines saying he was dead."
Gets worse. Far worse:
"On Sept. 10, he was buried in a national cemetery in St. Louis. A tombstone bearing his name and the names of eight others missing from the battle was erected over the grave. His mother went home with a folded American flag. But as his comrades and family mourned, Ron Ridgeway sat in harsh North Vietnamese prisons for five years, often in solitary confinement, mentally at war with his captors and fighting for a life that was technically over."
-- While his family believed he had died in combat.
"Last month, almost 50 years after his supposed demise, Ridgeway, 68, a retired supervisor with Veterans Affairs, sat in his home here and recounted for the first time in detail one of the most remarkable stories of the Vietnam War."
"He was 17 when he signed up with the Marines in 1967. He was 18 when he was captured, 19 when his funeral was held and 23 when he was released from prison in 1973."
Will never forget live video of these men exiting the plane upon their return. Quite obvious they had suffered horrendous abuse while imprisoned. Most of them were pilots shot down over the North. Others, were soldiers captured in combat such as Marine Corps Pfc. Ronald L. Ridgeway:
“You have to be willing to take it a day at a time,” he said. “You have to set in your mind that you’re going to survive. You have to believe that they are not going to defeat you, that you’re going to win.”
They did. At horrendous personal cost. This is quite a story:
"About 9:30 on the morning of Feb. 25, Pfc. Ridgeway’s four-man fire team charged an enemy trench line. The curving trench seemed empty when they got there. But as Ridgeway and the others made their way along it, suddenly an enemy grenade dropped in. “We back around the curve,” he recalled. “It blows up.” “We throw a couple grenades,” he said. “We backed off...Then we realized the firing [from Marines] behind us had almost died down to nothing.” When they stood up to look around, they saw North Vietnamese soldiers walking through the underbrush toward them. “I guess they thought we were all dead,” he said. “We cut loose on them,” he recalled. “They were easy targets.”
"On that foggy morning, the patrol’s leader, 2nd Lt. Donald Jacques, 20, strayed off course and was drawn into a deadly ambush, Jacques’s company commander, Capt. Kenneth W. Pipes, said. More than two dozen Marines, including Jacques, were killed."
"One of the Marines in the trench with Ridgeway, James R. Bruder, 18, of Allentown, Pa., was cut down as the enemy returned fire, according to author Ray Stubbe’s book about Khe Sanh, “Battalion of Kings.” “Stitched him across the chest and killed him,” Ridgeway remembered. The fire team leader, Charles G. Geller, 20, of East St. Louis, Ill., took a peek, and a bullet creased his forehead, knocking him down. “Everybody’s dead,” Geller said, according to Stubbe’s book. “Everybody behind us is dead...What are we going to do?”
"They had to retreat. Geller left first, running back across the field where they had charged, followed by Ridgeway."
Gets worse. Far worse:
"As he and Geller ran to the rear, they came upon Willie J. Ruff, 20, of Columbia, S.C., who was lying on his back with a broken arm.
“We were in a hurry,” Ridgeway said. “But we stopped. He was wounded.”
"As Geller knelt beside Ruff, a bullet hit Geller in the face, leaving a terrible wound. Then Ridgeway was struck by a round that went through his shoulder. All three men were now down.
“All we could do was lay there and play dead,” he said. “We were in the wide open.”
The carnage continued:
"Ridgeway said he drifted in and out of consciousness. When Geller, who was delirious, got to his knees, the enemy threw a grenade, killing him.
"Ridgeway said the North Vietnamese then began shooting at Marines who had fallen in front of their trenches. “They’re popping the bodies to make sure they’re dead,” he said.
"One bullet hit the dirt near him. A second glanced off his helmet and struck him [in] the buttock, he said.
“When that hit, it jarred the body,” he said. “They figured they got me. Left me for dead and kept working their way down past me.”
"Ridgeway passed out again. When he woke up, it was dark and American artillery was pounding the area.
"Ruff said he had been hit again and begged Ridgeway not to leave him. Ridgeway said he wouldn’t. At some point that night, Ruff died."
"Ridgeway was awakened the following morning by someone pulling on his arm. He thought at first it was fellow Marines.
"But when he looked up, he realized it was a young North Vietnamese soldier trying to pull off his wristwatch."
"After the firefight, the shattered survivors of the patrol made it back to the combat base, and the dead were left on the battlefield.
"A rescue mission was deemed unwise by higher-ups, who feared losing even more men and depleting the base’s defenses, according to Pipes, who is now retired and lives in California.
"In a telephone interview, he said that with binoculars, he could see Marines’ bodies strewn on the battlefield. “It was worse than agony,” he said. No further patrols outside the combat base were immediately permitted.
“We couldn’t go get them,” he said. “They laid out there for six weeks.”
Best and Brightest. Horrendous loss.
"On March 17, he wrote to Ridgeway’s mother: “I am sorry that I can offer no tangible basis for hope concerning Ronald’s welfare.”
"Finally, on April 6, the Marines were able to return to the battlefield, Pipes said.
"What was left of the dead was brought back to Khe Sanh’s temporary morgue, where Pipes and others went about the grisly task of identifying the dead. “There wasn’t much there but bones and shoes and boots ... [and] dog tags,” he said.
"In the end, of the 26 missing and presumed killed in action on Feb. 25, remains of all but nine were positively identified, according to Pipes and Stubbe. After his disappearance, Ridgeway’s name was etched onto a tombstone in a St. Louis cemetery, along with those of eight fellow Marines who went missing in the 1968 ambush. (Fred Waters/Associated Press)
"The unassociated body parts were sent home and placed in two caskets that would be buried beneath a large tombstone bearing the nine names of those unaccounted for, Stubbe said."
While the Vietnam War was indeed graphic and on the news each night, the worst of the carnage was not shown. Should have been. The public has a right to this information. Needs to know precisely the cost of war in terms of human life. Not just what is a sanitized version of this horrendous reality. Equally important?
All wars need to be formally declared by Congress. The military and public deserve no less. Five hundred and thirty five legislators need to be on the record. Wars must be fought for true national security reasons, -- not simply to line the pockets of war profiteers in the corporate management suite.
"The day of the funeral at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was sunny and cool. Ridgeway’s mother attended, and there were flags and solemn honors. A newspaper photographer took pictures.
"Far away, in North Vietnam, the rainy season was on, and Ridgeway was in his seventh month as a POW.
"The work of surviving
"As he sat alone in his windowless cell beside a wooden bed and the bucket he used for waste, Ridgeway went about creating a “make-believe” life.
"There was no one to talk to, and he was only allowed out once a day to empty the bucket.
"So he imagined that he was somewhere else, that he owned a pickup truck, that he had a wife and children, that he would go fishing.
"It was a mental exercise, he said, and he found that spending three days in his make-believe world would take up a whole day in solitary.
"Ridgeway said that by then, his captors considered him a “die-hard reactionary” and all Marines “animals.”
These men were the best of the best. Did what their country asked them to do. Did so selflessly. Valiantly. With honor, great courage. Semper Fi.
"He hadn’t cooperated with his guards. He had lied to interrogators, pretended he was [a] green kid who had never fired his rifle and gave them bogus military information.
"The startled North Vietnamese soldier had locked and loaded his rifle when he realized Ridgeway was alive that morning.
"Ridgeway expected to be killed. “You didn’t hear about prisoners being taken,” he said. But he was bandaged, fed and marched away, through Laos and into North Vietnam.
"He spent time in several jungle camps, held in wooden leg stocks, and he eventually wound up in enemy prisons.
"He got lice, malaria and dysentery and lost 50 pounds. He wore pink-and-gray-striped POW pajamas and rubber sandals, all of which he brought home with him when he was freed.
"He was beaten with bamboo canes and tied up during interrogations."
When men and women are sent into combat, this government had better be damned sure it's for good reason.
"Ridgeway said he didn’t dwell on the notion that people back home might think he was dead. They would be fine. His job was to survive.
"In January 1973, he was in North Vietnam’s notorious Hanoi Hilton prison when his captors abruptly announced that the POWs were to be freed as part of a peace agreement before the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam."
Readers are reminded Arizona Sen. John McCain was also released at that time.
"Ron Ridgeway was released on March 16, 1973. He came home, got married and went to college.
“I came back in basically one piece,” he said. “I came back able to live my life... We went over with a job to do. We did it to the best of our ability. We were lucky enough to come back.”
"Several months after his return, he and his wife, Marie, went to Jefferson Barracks to see his tombstone, which was later replaced.
“It brought back memories,” he said. “The loss of life of those that I knew. It was a solemn experience.”
"Carved in the surface were the words “Ambushed Patrol Died in Vietnam Feb. 25, 1968.”
"Eight names from the top: Ronald L. Ridgeway."
Michael E. Ruane (author) and Magda Jean-Louis (contributor) are remarkably gifted writers responsible for the above quotes.
Uncommon Valor. The Washington Times reports:
"President Trump spoke by phone with the last surviving member of the famed “Doolittle Raiders” to thank the 101-year-old veteran for his service as the nation marks Independence Day. The White House said Mr. Trump “offered his best wishes and support” to retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, a World War II veteran who was recently injured. “The president congratulated Lt. Col. Cole on his courage, thanked him for his service, and wished him a full recovery in advance of his upcoming 102nd birthday,” the White House said of the Sunday phone call."
Younger readers are advised this was indeed a one-way mission. Consider for a moment what that means.
"Mr. Cole was co-pilot of the lead B-25 bomber piloted by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle during the surprise raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, which was a response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Their attack inflicted some damage but, more important, stunned the Japanese people and raised morale in the U.S."
Certainly, rattled the cage of the enemy. Here is why it was uncommon valor:
"The bomber crews launched their aircraft from the USS Hornet knowing that they would not have enough fuel to return to friendly territory. Mr. Cole and the rest of his crew bailed out over China, received help from Chinese soldiers and civilians, as well as an American missionary in China."
Here is what it cost in human terms:
"Of the 80 pilots, navigators, engineers, bombardiers and gunners who took part in the raid, eight were captured by the Japanese who occupied China. One died of starvation in a prison camp and three others were executed."
The enemy certainly knew at that point they were in for one hell of a fight by a most determined foe.
Fifty-two years. Finally, closure. ABC News reports:
"More than half a century ago, Deborah Crosby was sent home from the first grade to find military officers in her living room and her mother distraught: Her father's Navy plane had been shot down in northern Vietnam, and he was presumed dead, though his body had not been found. Her mother could never talk about that day, but she gave Crosby and her three brothers a binder with articles about her father's plane zooming low through the clouds on a bomb damage assessment mission before it was gunned down by North Vietnamese ground forces in 1965. The 31-year-old pilot was armed only with cameras, his daughter said."
Tragedy, abject carnage of war. Horrendous price paid not only by military personnel, but their loved ones as well:
"Crosby and her grandmother made a pact to someday bring home the remains of Lt. Commander Frederick P. Crosby and bury him in his hometown of San Diego. A year ago, military investigators found his remains and on Friday, Crosby will fulfill that promise to her late grandmother by receiving her father's casket at the airport in San Diego. On Sunday, Frederick Crosby will be buried at Rosecrans National Cemetery with full military honors and a Navy flyover. Crosby never doubted the fact that her father was killed. But her grief seemed to linger in a deep space inside her until she received news that his remains had been recovered, finally giving her closure."
"She felt she could finally shed the tears stored up inside of her. Crosby said her brothers want to keep the fabric, lighter and wedding band. She just wants the flag draped over his coffin. "I think my mom would be very happy that my dad is getting the military honors and the recognition of the hero that he was," she said. "There is so much relief in my heart. I'm so overjoyed that my grandmother's wishes came true and dad is coming home."
Buyer's remorse. Notably, coming from someone usually not expected to have a heart. This Republican, however, does. NPR reports:
"Fourteen years later, Rep. Walter B. Jones still remembers with full clarity the day he started to regret his vote to go to war. "This is the first funeral I went to that made me started thinking that I made the wrong decision of giving (President George W.) Bush the authority to go into Iraq," said Jones, pointing to a picture of Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz. Bitz was killed in action in Iraq on March 23, 2003. He died without meeting his youngest children — twins born a month earlier. Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, attended Bitz's funeral and recalled how Bitz's wife spoke and read the last letter she received from her husband."
"She reads the letter, obviously very difficult for her to read, because it's a letter of love and appreciation, and I think everybody there was teary-eyed. And the closing of the letter, I'm paraphrasing, was that, 'I might not see you on Earth but I will see you in heaven. Love, Michael,' " Jones said."
To date, the Bush "The Tush"-"Slick Dick" Cheney ringleaders of this invasion of Iraq under false pretenses have not been held accountable for their war crimes.
"Bitz's portrait hangs on the wall outside of Jones' congressional office in the Rayburn Building. His is one of 568 pictures of Marines killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, hung as part of a makeshift memorial Jones set up on the walls outside of his office. All were Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune, which is in Jones' district. Jones is a devout Catholic, and this memorial, which he started about 10 years ago, is a type of penance. So is his letter writing. Jones tries to write to the family of every service member killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Military liaisons ask families if they would like to receive condolence letters; if they say yes, Jones writes."
Have to give this man great credit for what he's doing to atone.
"I have signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who've lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and that was for me asking God to forgive me for my mistake," he said. Jones' profound regret for his votes to authorize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is well known on Capitol Hill. For years, his was a lonely non-interventionist voice in the Republican Party calling to bring all combat troops home. But last week at a press conference outside the Capitol, Jones was not alone."
Indeed, finally, he wasn't:
"My concern is that our colleagues have forgotten about the war in Afghanistan," said Rep. Tom Massie, R-Ky. "These wars that are dragging on. There are lives over there — and we're still losing lives over there — for goals that I don't think our colleagues can define."
The reason we're still there has nothing to do with national security. Nothing at all. We're there for one reason and one reason only. To line the pockets of corporate war profiteers. 'It's the money, stupid.'
"Massie is one of nine co-sponsors — four Republicans and five Democrats — who support new legislation by Jones that would cut off money for all combat operations in Afghanistan one year after enactment. It would only allow funds for embassy operations and intelligence gathering."
About time. End the insanity.
Fox News reports:
"A Medal of Honor recipient and World War II veteran, who was hailed a hero for almost single-handedly holding off counter attacks by elite German troops, died on Tuesday in Washington State. Wilburn K. Ross, who was originally from Kentucky, was 94. Ross was awarded the Medal of Honor on April 23, 1945 for his actions that went “beyond the call of duty” near St. Jacques, France six months earlier, according to his Medal of Honor citation."
A story of uncommon valor. This man, as well as all those who served, should never ever be forgotten. The following is from his Medal of Honor Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty near St. Jacques, France. At 11:30 a.m. on 30 October 1944, after his company had lost 55 out of 88 men in an attack on an entrenched full-strength German company of elite mountain troops, Pvt. Ross placed his light machinegun 10 yards in advance of the foremost supporting riflemen in order to absorb the initial impact of an enemy counterattack. With machinegun and small-arms fire striking the earth near him, he fired with deadly effect on the assaulting force and repelled it. Despite the hail of automatic fire and the explosion of rifle grenades within a stone's throw of his position, he continued to man his machinegun alone, holding off 6 more German attacks. When the eighth assault was launched, most of his supporting riflemen were out of ammunition. They took positions in echelon behind Pvt. Ross and crawled up, during the attack, to extract a few rounds of ammunition from his machinegun ammunition belt. Pvt. Ross fought on virtually without assistance and, despite the fact that enemy grenadiers crawled to within 4 yards of his position in an effort to kill him with handgrenades, he again directed accurate and deadly fire on the hostile force and hurled it back. After expending his last rounds, Pvt. Ross was advised to withdraw to the company command post, together with 8 surviving riflemen, but, as more ammunition was expected, he declined to do so. The Germans launched their last all-out attack, converging their fire on Pvt. Ross in a desperate attempt to destroy the machinegun which stood between them and a decisive breakthrough. As his supporting riflemen fixed bayonets for a last-ditch stand, fresh ammunition arrived and was brought to Pvt. Ross just as the advance assault elements were about to swarm over his position. He opened murderous fire on the oncoming enemy; killed 40 and wounded 10 of the attacking force; broke the assault single-handedly, and forced the Germans to withdraw. Having killed or wounded at least 58 Germans in more than 5 hours of continuous combat and saved the remnants of his company from destruction, Pvt. Ross remained at his post that night and the following day for a total of 36 hours. His actions throughout this engagement were an inspiration to his comrades and maintained the high traditions of the military service."
Doesn't end there. Fox News reports:
"Ross returned to Kentucky after the war was over and became a highway patrolman with the state. He eventually returned to the Army and became a Master Sergeant. During a stint in Korea, his last combat duty, he was badly wounded. The injury was the fourth time he was wounded in the line of duty, UPI reported. He eventually retired and settled in DuPont, Washington, where he became a bus driver for a Veterans Administration hospital. He was twice honored with a commemorative stamp, in 1983 and 2013. Ross, a widower, is survived by his six children."
Think the Trump nazi, his henchmen are looking out for the needs of veterans? NPR reports:
"By the time they cut her from the program, Alishia Graham was angry, but not surprised. Her postman delivered the news in February. "The letter was sitting at the top — and my stomach dropped because I knew what it was," she says. The letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs informed Graham that her husband Jim, who sustained a brain injury on his third deployment to Iraq, no longer qualified for a caregiver to help with his daily life."
Did idiots who voted for the Trump nazi truly believe he'd honor his word?
"It's not even like ... 'We think he doesn't need as much help.' No — 'We think he's totally fine and he doesn't need any help,' " says Graham. "I'm insulted for him. Because I know what he struggles with."
Some day there will be a war that absolutely needs to be fought. On the scale of the Second World War. Guess what? Few would believe it. Few would be willing to go fearing they'd been bamboozled. Worse? That they wouldn't be properly taken care of if injured. All to line the pockets of corporate war profiteers.
The military certainly has its share of criminal behavior. The Washington Post reports:
"The Justice Department unsealed a fresh indictment Tuesday charging eight current and former Navy officials — including an admiral — with corruption and other crimes in the “Fat Leonard” bribery case, escalating an epic scandal that has dogged the Navy for the past four years. Among those charged were Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, a senior Navy intelligence officer based at the Pentagon, as well as several Navy captains and a retired colonel from the Marine Corps. The charges cover a period of eight years, from 2006 through 2014."
Duty? Honor? Country?
"The Navy personnel are accused of taking bribes in the form of lavish gifts, prostitutes and luxury hotel stays courtesy of Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based defense contractor who has already pleaded guilty to defrauding the Navy of tens of millions of dollars. The indictment lists page after page of bribes allegedly provided to the defendants — seven senior officers and one enlisted sailor — including $25,000 watches, $2,000 boxes of Cohiba cigars, $2,000 bottles of cognac and $600-per-night hotel rooms."
How about that? Gets worse. More convoluted:
"According to the charging documents, Francis also frequently sponsored wild sex parties for many officers on the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, and other warships. During a port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in May 2008, for example, five of the Navy officers attended a “raging multi-day party, with a rotating carousel of prostitutes,” at the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the indictment. The group allegedly drank the hotel’s entire supply of Dom Perignon champagne and rang up expenses exceeding $50,000, which Francis covered in full."
Imagine that. Couldn't be, could it?
"On another port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in February 2007, Francis allegedly hosted another sex party for officers in the MacArthur Suite of the Manila hotel. During the party, “historical memorabilia related to General Douglas MacArthur were used by the participants in sexual acts,” according to the indictment."
How about that? ... Think the ole boy is still spinning in his grave?
"In exchange, according to federal prosecutors, the officials provided Francis with classified or inside information that enabled his firm, Glenn Marine Defense Asia, to gouge the Navy out of tens of millions of dollars."
Isn't that treason?
"In addition to Loveless, others charged in the indictment are three retired captains: David Lausman, Donald Hornbeck and David Newland; an active-duty captain, James Dolan; a retired Marine colonel, Enrico de Guzman; an active-duty commander, Stephen F. Shedd; and Robert Gorsuch, a retired chief warrant officer. None could immediately be reached for comment. All were charged with offenses stemming from deployments to Asia while they were assigned to the 7th Fleet, based in Japan. The indictment brings the total number of people charged with crimes in the Fat Leonard investigation to 27. Prosecutors say the case is still unfolding and that more than 200 people have come under scrutiny."
Duty, Honor, Country. What's that? The quotes above are courtesy of a gifted, insightful writer, Craig Whitlock.
Seems the Trump nazi and his henchmen are growing increasingly impatient with the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. Fox News reports:
"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in an exclusive interview with Fox News, refused to rule out increased weaponization and even nuclearization of America’s East Asian allies to deter North Korean aggression."
Does the Trump regime truly believe this will restrain North Korea?
“We’re exchanging views,” Tillerson said, while standing a few feet within what is technically North Korean territory inside what is known as the Joint Security Area. “Nothing has been taken off the table,” he said, when asked whether he would rule out nuclearization of the peninsula, during the interview with Fox News. Tillerson, who’s called the past 20 years of diplomacy toward North Korea a failure, has said the world needs a new strategy."
What strategy is that, Mr. Secretary? Tillerson is certainly correct in his assessment the last two decades of diplomacy have yielded nothing. What will Trump do? Start a war? Initiate a preventive attack? With reportedly a one-million man army just above the DMZ poised to overrun the border? Use tactical nuclear weapons in a first strike? Knowing full well radiation exposure would kill American troops and millions of South Koreans?
There are no easy answers to this growing menace. Certainly, from day one in 1950 right up to and including the present. We never should have been there in the first place. Now, we're faced with quite a dangerous conundrum. A serious threat to our mainland. When the North Koreans soon develop full ICBM capability. What then? Think Tillerson has any answer other than meaningless rhetoric? To say nothing of the Trump nazi?
"If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level we believe requires action that option is on the table," Tillerson also said, adding the U.S. wants to avoid military conflict and hopes other measures convince North Korea to suspend its weapons programs."
Hasn't to date. Won't likely in the near future. ... Other than if the Chinese finally rein the bastards in. They've already reportedly suspended shipments of coal. Will have to do far more than that, however, -- if a nuclear confrontation with dire consequences for all is to be avoided.
If the following is true, the Trump nazi and his henchmen deliberately intend to inflame an already tense Middle East. NBC News reports:
"The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible. That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan."
This will certainly increase the level of terror in response. Strengthen resolve of the enemy. Offer further proof to Muslims they are indeed being targeted. Likely, conveniently leading the Trump nazi and his fellow nazis in the GOP in turn to quickly expand the rate of nazification in our formerly great country. As they desperately consolidate Executive power, traitorously impose The Fourth Reich.
In follow up to the last edition, the problem with nude photo-sharing extends across the military, not just the Marines. Fox News reports:
"A nude photo-sharing scandal that rocked the Marine Corps earlier in the week is reportedly not an isolated incident. Male service members from all military branches have been sharing nude photos of women on an anonymous website called Anon-IB, BBC reported Friday."
Sad, isn't it? Dangerous as well for the women, to say nothing of unit cohesion. Combat readiness.
"The servicemen allegedly post photographs of clothed female colleagues and ask anyone on the message board if they have any “wins” – the term used for nude photos, according to BBC. "Any wright patt wins? I'll start off with some,” one anonymous user posted on the message board, referring to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio."
Direct, egregious, vicious betrayal of their female comrades in arms.
"News of the message board comes days after reports that nude photographs were shared on the Facebook page “Marines United," according to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The report said that more than two dozen active-duty women, officers and enlisted, were identified by their rank, full name and location in the photographs on the Facebook page."
This traitorously places these women, loyal soldiers, in danger. Speaks volumes of the criminal pieces of shit who would do this to them.
"There are still at least a half-dozen similar groups or sites on the internet dedicated to nude photo sharing within the military, marine officials told CBS News. "The alleged behavior is inconsistent with our values,” Defense Department spokesperson Myles Caggins told the BBC, adding that the department was developing new workplace harassment guidelines."
You're going to have to do far, far more than just that, sir.
"The Marine Corps' fighting ability is undermined by the more than 30,000 active Marines and veterans involved in a private Facebook group being investigated for allegedly posting explicit photos of women in the military without their consent, a former Navy secretary told CNN on Friday. "There's no good excuse," Ray Mabus said on CNN's New Day. "The Marine motto is 'semper fidelis,' always faithful, and what these Marines did was to be unfaithful to their fellow Marines."
That's right. An egregious betrayal.
"Marines look after each other, Marines have each other's back. Look at what the commandant of the Marine Corps said about this, this makes us a less effective fighting force," Mabus said, referring to a video statement posted Tuesday by Gen. Robert Neller. Neller condemned those involved in the Facebook group, saying their behavior is not of "true warriors or war fighters" and that "cohesion and trust within a unit, and between marines, is vital to success on the battlefield."
Indeed. That's right. A betrayal not only of these women, but the country as well.
"That's what's at stake here. It makes Marines less able to fight," he told New Day's Chris Cuomo. The investigation into the Facebook group should look into how it developed and whether anyone in the chain of command knew about it, Mabus said. Four branches of the military are looking into the posting of nude photos of what appear to be female service members on various websites, a Pentagon official told CNN. "These Marines, these veterans, that have participated in this have attacked fellow Marines, and that is inexcusable in a fighting force, and particularly in the Marines, who are so special." Mabus said. "Every Marine has to know that every other Marine has their back."
The question to be asked is what went so terribly wrong in training, vetting, etc., that this could happen? Apparently, run rampant throughout the military?
"A female Marine veteran who said she contacted Navy investigators in January about photos of her posted online without consent is "disheartened and disgusted" by the actions of a group known as Marines United. Erika Butner, with her attorney Gloria Allred, told reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday that photos of her and other victims were posted without authorization to a Facebook group and to Google Drive. One person who commented on her photo asked others to share nudes of her, she said."
"I am disheartened and disgusted with this scandal," said Butner, who served for four years until June 2016. Allred said she sent a letter to Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, requesting he meet with women who have suffered online harassment. Butner said she wants to make suggestions for change and discuss how Marines can have more respect for each other. The posting of lewd photos without consent is a violation of the US Code of Military Justice, Allred said. "This is a stain on their own conduct," she said. "Changes need to be made. Consequences need to be meted out." Allred would not comment on whether she would seek criminal charges."
The military needs to investigate and prosecute.
"Marisa Woytek, who joined Allred at the news conference, released a statement but didn't speak to the media. Woytek, an active duty Marine, said photos of her posted online showed her fully dressed but still drew comments from men advocating sexual violence. She thanked Neller for a video he posted on a military images website on Thursday. "When I hear allegations of Marines denigrating their fellow Marines, I don't think such behavior is that of true warriors or war fighters," Neller says on the nearly four-minute video. He calls the actions of the Marines United members "embarrassing to our Corps, our families and the nation."
Far worse than that. How could this have gone on unnoticed until recently? Who knew what, when did they know it? Who stood by, did nothing? Think nobody knew? Get this:
"Butner said she notified the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Google in January about a shared drive that housed the photos of female service members and contained personal information about many of them. Neither she nor Allred would comment on the Navy's response. Navy officials have said they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. So far, at least one person has been disciplined in connection with the postings, a US military official told CNN earlier this week. He was an IT subcontractor working for a firm with a support contract for the Marines."
If she was getting nowhere fast, should have quickly gone public.
"Butner, who was told about the Marines United activities by a friend, said the behavior should not be dismissed as "boys being boys." "As a rape survivor, I can tell you that this exact behavior leads to the normalization of sexual harassment and even sexual violence," said Butner, who didn't disclose when she was raped."
Has the entire country gone to shit? Things must change. Otherwise, our country will not survive.
In another article, CNN reports:
"If you think the 30,000-strong private Facebook group that was sharing nude images of female Marines has been shut down, guess again. Members have been redirected to new pages. In one case, someone not only launched a new page -- Marines United 2, or MU2 -- that promises to better weed out anyone looking to blow the whistle on the group's depraved behavior, but members have taken to taunting federal and military investigators."
Brazen, isn't it? Gets worse:
"It would be hilarious if one of these FBI or (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) f***s found their wife on here," one member said on the original Marines United page. This and other revelatory screenshots from the group were made available to CNN by former Marine Sgt. James LaPorta. A freelance journalist, LaPorta was invited into the original Facebook group by another Marine, he said. LaPorta was able to navigate the original group, where men continued to post lewd comments about the scores of victimized women and cheer each time another news outlet reported on the group. He was eventually booted for being a journalist."
This strikes right at the heart of what it means to be a Marine. Certainly, not just Semper Fidelis, but Duty, Honor, Country. Women are an integral part of the military. Critical to its mission.
"But not before he shared with CNN dozens of screenshots demonstrating the members' behavior, which included a link to a cloud storage site containing more than 2,500 images of women in stages of undress or engaging in sexual acts. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has said it's investigating and set up a number to accept text tips on who has been posting the photos."
"LaPorta said he spoke to two female Marines who called the images and comments "unreal" and "disgusting." They felt betrayed, he said. How am I supposed to lead my Marines when something as uncontrollable as my gender is what limits me?" LaPorta recalled one of the women, an officer, saying. Former Marines Cpl. Elle Audra, a tattoo model with many professional photos on social media, told the Marine Corps Times she suspected her images made it to Marines United after she began getting harassing messages, including one from a man who knew when and where she'd been deployed. He asked her if she'd have sex with him, she said."
This represents an exigent threat to the personal security of these women. Why isn't this data properly secured?
"In a Facebook post, she decried "slut shaming and rape culture mentality" and said the group's apparent goal was to degrade and humiliate female troops. "That's not the foundation of the Marine Corps and the fact that it has always been common practice and women are scared to speak out about sexual harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence is the issue," she wrote."
Apparently, this cancer remains system wide, well-entrenched in military culture.
"Capt. Ryan Alvis, a Marine Corps spokesman, credited veteran Thomas Brennan, founder of the military news site, The War Horse, with reporting the first group page to the Marines and NCIS. Brennan was quickly kicked out of the group and correctly suspected he would be met with threats, LaPorta said. LaPorta was able to navigate the site for about two more days before he was shut out, too. Brennan faced claims he had forsaken his fellow Marines and should be waterboarded, or raped and infected with AIDS, people posted on Facebook. Someone offered a bounty for images of Brennan's "girl," and another remarked that the world would be a better place if Brennan "turned up dead in a back alley somewhere."
These guys are criminals.
"The Marine veteran, who didn't want to be identified, said there are multiple sites being run by 20 to 30 people. One group administrator deactivates his group every few days and starts a new one, the Marine vet said. The new Marines United group has 29,937 members, he said. The group description says: "Have some laughs, spread some hate; but don't be a b***h and report s**t."
Clearly, the military has serious, systemic problems it hasn't adequately addressed and resolved.
"Before he got booted from the group, LaPorta said, he saw the members' brazen response to being outed. Some posted more naked images, with captions mocking the NCIS probe. Another encouraged fellow members to "stay strong" and posted an image of a T-shirt that said, "Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations."
Is the latter their new version of, perverse answer to, -- Duty, Honor, Country?
"The members neither were deterred from engaging in a tradition called "Racist Sunday," in which the Marines break into groups by race and send each other racist memes. Asked if he ever saw any member voice concern or suggest the Marines shouldn't be treating their fellow troops in such a way, LaPorta said no. "Never, not once did I see that," he said."
Unit cohesion? Combat readiness? Duty, Honor, Country? Semper Fi?
"Headquarters Marine Corps released a statement condemning the service members' behavior. Any Marines involved could be charged under provisions forbidding conduct unbecoming of a military officer, behavior that brings discredit to the armed force, or broadcasting images without a person's consent when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, the statement said."
NBC News reports:
"Declaring "enough is enough," the top U.S. Marine on Tuesday told senators that he intends to fix the problem that led to current and former Corps members sharing nude photos of female Marines online and making lewd or threatening comments about them. But angry and skeptical members of the Senate Armed Services Committee demanded more, saying the military hasn't done enough to combat sexual assault and harassment despite years of complaints and problems."
Certainly, true. An ongoing issue.
"Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, vowed to hold Marines accountable through whatever legal and other means possible. He acknowledged the scandal may hurt female recruiting and that changes have to be made in the Marine Corps culture, where some male Marines don't accept women in the ranks."
Then, single them out. Boot their sorry asses out of the Corps. These guys are misogynists.
"To some senators, his testimony rang hollow. He faced a particularly fierce barrage of questions and criticism from the women members of the panel."
Indeed, he did. About time.
"This committee has heard these kinds of statements before," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat. "It's hard to believe something is really going to be done," she said "Why should we believe it's going to be different this time than it has in the past?" Fellow Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said accusations of online exploitation of women by Marines came up in 2013, and victims have come forward. "When you say to us it's got to be different, that rings hollow," Gillibrand said. "If we can't crack Facebook, how are we supposed to be able to confront Russian aggression and cyber-hacking throughout our military? It is a serious problem when we have members of our military denigrating female Marines who will give their life for this country in the way they have with no response from leadership."
Government is extremely good at talk. Action? Effective action? What's that?
United States Marines stand tall. Rise to the occasion when there is wrong doing within their ranks. The following is pathetic, unbecoming. CBS News reports:
"The commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps is condemning the use of a secret Facebook page by some Marines to share nude photos of women, including female Marines. He’s urging victims to come forward if they believe they were harassed or abused, including over social media. Gen. Robert Neller, in a sharp video message Tuesday, says hiding on social media and being disrespectful to other Marines is embarrassing to the Corps and to the nation. And says leaders must make sure that all Marines understand the rules governing conduct, including on social media."
Have to give the Marines great credit for not sweeping this under the carpet.
"A Marine Corps official told CBS News’ Cami McCormick on Sunday that when they learned of the private website, they started asking questions and “within hours the site was gone.”
“Whoever runs it kept moving it, making it hard to even find what the scope of it was’, said the official, adding that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into the matter. The official expressed sympathy [for] the women involved."
"Nude photographs of female Marines, veterans from other branches of the military and other women were shared on the Facebook page “Marines United,” and the posts included obscene and threatening comments. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating and the photographs were removed."
One has to wonder what these people were thinking.
"Top brass in the U.S. Marines have denounced the online misbehavior by Marines, which included photographing and sharing photos of women recruits and veterans and making salacious comments about them." “There is no place for this type of demeaning or degrading behavior in our Corps,” said Sergeant Major Ronald L. Green, 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in a statement to CBS News."
Need to fully investigate and hold those responsible accountable. Boot them out of the Corps.
"Possible victims can anonymously contact the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at 877-579-3648 via text or app. They can also use WarHorse.org to report harassment."
Talk about a soldier standing tall! Get this. Fox News reports:
"For the past six months, an active-duty Army major studying at the University of Miami has been taking pictures of city police cars he says were illegally parked. The Miami New Times reported Wednesday that Glen Carr, who moved to Miami in August to study at the school, has sent at least 125 complaints—along with photographs to support his claim—to police departments in or around Miami-Dade County."
Imagine that. Think they did anything about it? Wake up.
“It’s not like I’m against them,” he told the paper. “I just want them to be better at what they do. I feel they don’t hold each other accountable.”
They ignore the law.
"Carr, who served for nine months at remote base near the Pakistan border just after the attacks of Sept. 11, started noticing police disobeying the same laws they enforce four years ago, when he was teaching his daughter how to drive. He said he saw two police cars speeding at 80 in a 55-mph-zone without their lights on."
Happens all the time here in Nazi Llano County, right, Sheriff? TL? "Sonny Boy?" Madam County Attorney?
"Carr has been ignored by some law enforcement agencies, while others promised to look in to the matter. He said he submitted dozen complaints to Miami Police, but they all reportedly disappeared."
Imagine that. Who'd 'a thunk it?
“I don’t know if they were losing them on purpose or by accident,” Carr said."
Give me a break.
In follow up to an earlier edition, seems Navy SEALS were 'punished' for flying a flag not authorized by the military, -- the Trump flag. The Washington Times reports:
"Military officials say U.S. Navy SEALs have been punished for flying a “Trump” flag from a convoy in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 29. Some of America’s top warriors have been disciplined for allowing a convoy of eight Humvees traveling north on Interstate 65 to include a campaign flag used by President Trump’s supporters. Video of the incident was uploaded to social media sites by an anti-Trump organization called “Indivisible Kentucky.”
Not clear what the ultimate ramifications were:
"The number of SEALs involved in the incident and the nature of their punishment was not disclosed."
How convenient. Just a slap on the wrist for soldiers who knew blatant partisanship is against regulations?
After Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress recently, ever wonder what Gold Star families thought of his recognition of Mrs. Owens? The Washington Post reported:
"The families of U.S. service members who have died while serving their country are split on how they see President Trump’s recognition of a recent military widow at his first joint address to Congress, but they almost universally support her decision to accept Trump’s invitation to attend in the Capitol."
Indeed, quite an emotionally wrenching several minutes.
"The moment was the emotional apex of Trump’s speech Tuesday night, in which he said Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, a member of the elite SEAL Team 6, “died as he lived — a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”
It's what came next that raised quite a bit of ire.
"The following moments sparked an outcry among critics of Trump, as he insisted that the Jan. 29 raid in Yemen in which the SEAL was killed “generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy,” contradicting other U.S. officials briefed on the operation. The overlaying of grief and politics prompted allegations that Trump had politicized and exploited the situation for his own gain, rather than simply honoring the Owens family."
That's right. Sickened many of us that night. Worse, the Trump nazi lied about the effectiveness of the botched raid.
"Trump’s moment with Carryn Owens immediately lit up social-media networks, and was complicated in part by Trump’s remarks in a Fox News interview aired that morning in which he declined to accept responsibility for the mission, in which numerous civilians were also killed. The generals, Trump said, had “wanted to do” the operation and had “lost Ryan” — remarks that struck some as the president abdicating his role as commander in chief."
This is the problem with electing a clueless, gutless, narcissistic, nazi fuhrer as president. ... Right, TL?
"The scene in the Capitol disgusted Silvia Earhart, a Gold Star wife and Army veteran. Trump’s actions, she said, showed once again that he likes using U.S. service members and their families as props. Earhart’s husband, Staff Sgt. Leslie Martin, was killed in a helicopter crash at Fort Bragg, N.C., in July 1997, and she said she struggled afterward even to attend a memorial service on base in honor of her husband and seven other soldiers who were killed."
“I don’t think he recognized Ryan Owens at all,” Earhart said of the president. “He was recognizing the widow, and me personally as a widow, I never wanted the attention like that. I always wanted it directly on my husband and what he did and what he sacrificed. I kept saying, ‘Why are you showing her grief like that?’ It’s still so raw for her, and to be put up there on national television, I don’t think Trump was being genuine and authentic.”
Indeed. No matter what, however, as Americans we sincerely thank her for her sacrifice as well as the rest of the Owens family. No question, Mr. Owens is indeed a hero. Gave his last full measure of service to his country.
Think Muslims don't stand tall? Fox News reports:
"Following the desecration of hundreds of graves at Jewish cemeteries and wave after wave of hoax bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools around the nation, Muslim veterans are offering their support and vow to protect these places of worship."
a #MuslimMarine in Chicagoland area. If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery
needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.
— The Muslim Marine (@MuslimMarine) February 27, 2017
"Tayyid Rashid, a 40-year-old former member of the Marine Corps, behind the tweet told .mic: "As I watch this horrible thing unfold here, I felt terrible about what happened in St. Louis and this heinous event in Philadelphia. I was moved to tears. This is absolutely not right."
An exigent threat to a democratic republic, all civil and constitutional rights and liberties.
"The tweet has gone viral and has prompted other American Muslims to offer their support to the Jewish community."
Uncommon valor. From a community that is under attack from the Trump nazi and his henchmen:
area Jewish community I spent ten years protecting our country and I will
gladly protect Jewish places of worship if you need me! https://t.co/nUQpTFwxvA
— Khalid whalid (@Khalidwhalid1) February 28, 2017
a Muslim in #Harrisburg. If your synagogue or community center needs someone
2 stand guard, I will stand guard 4 you. Islam requires it.
— Momin (@BhattiMomin) February 28, 2017
no marine, but I'll stand guard if needed. https://t.co/qtSJ5YQ0JH
— That One Jerk (@1UnknownCritic) February 27, 2017
a Muslim in DC. If your synagogue needs someone to stand guard, I'll stand
guard. Islam requires it. https://t.co/kw4acYBuPK
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 27, 2017"
Hat's off. Uncommon valor. Best of the best of what our country has to offer.
Despite the fact the defense budget is well over a trillion, the Trump nazi wishes to expand it. Doesn't matter our military is the best in the world already. The nazi in the Oval Office apparently wishes to exponentially increase earnings of corporate war profiteers. Yet, nothing is done vis a vis waste and/or corruption. Virtually, nothing. It all continues. Think carefully about the following. NBC News reports:
"A one-time three-star general will be demoted and retire as a brigadier general, the Army confirmed Thursday after he used a government credit card to pay for bills at strip clubs in Rome and South Korea."
This issue is not whether or not the general enjoys adult entertainment. It's the fact taxpayers were looted to pay for it.
"Cynthia Smith, a spokeswoman for the Army, said the Pentagon's inspector general was able to verify that Major Gen. Ronald Lewis — who was the senior military assistant to former Defense Secretary Ash Carter — will be bumped down to brigadier general because he charged the government for his visits to the strip clubs, made false statements and "engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman on multiple occasions."
The question to be asked is why wasn't he prosecuted? It's theft.
"Lewis had reached the three-star rank of lieutenant general, but he was demoted to major general when Carter fired him more than a year ago after an investigation uncovered that Lewis had misused a government credit card and had become involved in an extramarital relationship."
This piece of shit has a history of abusing a government credit card, that is, stealing, and he isn't prosecuted? Give me a goddamned break.
"According to the report, Lewis used a government credit card to spend $1,121.25 at the Candy Bar strip club in South Korea and $1,755.98 at the Cica Cica Boom strip club in Rome — both of which are allegedly often visited by prostitutes. Lewis later said his government card had been stolen, which led Citibank to forgive the charges in South Korea."
The son of a bitch lied. Stole.
"The report also found that Lewis sought to engage in inappropriate relationships with female subordinates, saying he often drank in excess in front of junior officers."
Apparently, all this had been going on quite some time. Had it been a grunt or non-commissioned officer, think the military would have been as accommodating?
Sen. McCain courageously stuck it to the Trump nazi and his press secretary. The Washington Post reports:
"The White House press secretary took an extraordinary position Wednesday, saying anyone who questioned the success of the raid in Yemen that led to the death of a Navy SEAL was doing a disservice to the SEAL's memory. The target was McCain."
Indeed, it was. The Trump nazi and his henchmen tolerate no dissent. McCain was, in fact, quite right. That clearly disturbed the 'President.' Forget? The Trump nazi and his henchmen were doing no more than covering their ass for what appears to be a failure.
"Then NBC News tracked down McCain (R-Ariz.) to get his response to Spicer. And it was something."
Indeed, it was.
“Many years ago when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam, there was an attempt to rescue the POWs,” McCain began, mentioning details of his biography that everyone knows but McCain included for emphasis. He continued: “Unfortunately, the prison had been evacuated. But the brave men who were took on that mission and risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes. Because the mission failed did not in any way diminish their courage and willingness to help their fellow Americans who were held captive. Mr. Spicer should know that story.”
Indeed, they do. If not, remain unfit for office. Many of us alive at the time vividly remember this sad, sad day. This writer certainly does.
"McCain then walked away, punctuating the comment."
You go, Senator. Thanks for your service to this country. Sadly, a war that should never have been fought. Approximately 58,000 of our best and brightest were killed in action. Thousands more maimed. All, as it turned out, for nothing. ... Other than lining the pockets of corporate war profiteers.
Finally, some justice. NPR reports:
"In one of his last moves as president, Obama has commuted the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army private who leaked a massive trove of military secrets to WikiLeaks."
An heroic whistle blower who exposed corruption in government, paid a steep price for her courage in exposing this government for whom and what it is.
"The former intelligence analyst's prison sentence has been shortened to expire on May 17, 2017, according to a statement from the White House. Manning, a transgender woman formerly known as Bradley, has requested clemency from Obama and said her life was at risk in an all-male prison, as we reported. She has admitted to "releasing more than 700,000 documents, including battlefield reports and U.S. embassy cables."
Most of this should never have been classified in the first place. The lack of transparency of this outrageously corrupt and abusive government is to protect the sorry asses of those running the show. "National 'security'" is a convenient excuse and ruse to hide government malfeasance.
"Her lawyers at the ACLU expressed relief after the decision, saying that Manning has already served more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history, and under difficult conditions."
This is what happens to anyone willing to courageously expose this goddamned government for what it is.
"Since she was first taken into custody, Chelsea has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement — including for attempting suicide — and has been denied access to medically necessary health care," said lawyer Chase Strangio in a statement. "This move could quite literally save Chelsea's life, and we are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman, dedicated to making the world a better place and fighting for justice for so many."
Indeed, she did. At great personal expense.
"Amnesty International USA's executive director Margaret Huang argued in a statement that the move is long overdue:
"Chelsea Manning exposed serious abuses, and as a result her own human rights have been violated by the U.S. government for years. ... President Obama was right to commute her sentence, but it is long overdue. It is unconscionable that she languished in prison for years while those allegedly implicated by the information she revealed still haven't been brought to justice."
This is what happens by design in a goddamned fascist police-state. All remains ass backwards. Day is night, night is day, and shit smells sweet in the perverse world of those in power. Bottom line? The bastards, she exposed, responsible for committing atrocities during the war went unprosecuted.
"House Speaker Paul Ryan has released a statement protesting the commutation:
"This is just outrageous. Chelsea Manning's treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation's most sensitive secrets. President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won't be held accountable for their crimes."
Mr. Speaker? You mean people just like you, sir? Your national socialist Republican colleagues? Your hypocrisy remains profound, self-serving, oblivious to just how unjust things have grown in the goddamned fascist police-state we now live in. Ever occur to you this is precisely one of the reasons why Congressional approval stands at 14%? Now that you GOP national socialist fascists enjoy the majority in both houses of Congress, you bastards own the blame.
Manning is a whistle blower who performed a public service. Pulled the curtain away and exposed this government for what it is. You took an oath, sir, to protect and defend the United States Constitution. Your statement above demonstrates you have no understanding, no appreciation of what the Constitution including the Bill of Rights represents, guaranties.
You and other national socialist fascist bastards like you have disgraced yourselves. Remain an exigent threat to all civil and constitutional rights and liberties. Are so haughtily impressed with your perverse ideological and religious views, you cannot hear the rumble. That of an unwanted dreaded second American revolution already catastrophically looming on the horizon.
Your support now of the Trump nazi, after rightfully earlier excoriating him during the campaign, is proof positive of two things. First, you place political expediency ahead of principle and what's best for the country. Second, you are nothing more than a goddamned coward, a disgrace egregiously unworthy of being in Congress.
Sadly, the President didn't go far enough. Should have pardoned Manning. Thanked her for her courageous public service. Apologized to her for the actions of his government from unjust prosecution right up to and including circumstances of her imprisonment. ... To you outraged Republican nazis here in Llano County, don't like the message? Leave the country. Putin's Russia might be far more appealing to you fascists. ... Just forfeit your citizenship and millions before you leave. Money, you've shamelessly looted from the bottom of the food chain and middle class. To line your pockets.
In follow up to the last edition, The Washington Times reports:
"Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri and members of the Black Congressional Caucus rehung a painting in the U.S. Capitol Tuesday that has stirred controversy over its depiction of police officers as pigs. Mr. Clay vowed to fight for the constitutional rights of the artist, whose painting has been on display since the summer among more than 400 winners of a high school art competition sponsored by Congress. “It is just pathetic that some Republican members and alt-right media types who constantly refer to themselves as constitutional conservatives don’t think that that same document protects the fundamental free speech rights of my 18-year-old constituent,” he told reporters."
Indeed, it is pathetic. Military personnel have died on the battlefield defending this right.
“I do not agree or disagree with this painting, but I will fight to defend this young man’s right to express himself because this artwork is true for him, and he is entitled to that protection under the law,” Mr. Clay said. The saga picked up speed late last week after Rep. Duncan Hunter of California removed the painting from the Cannon tunnel that connects House legislative offices to the Capitol. Minutes before the painting was returned to its assigned location Tuesday, Mr. Hunter told reporters he still believes it should be taken down."
Guess what? Hunter is a Marine. Knows better.
"Mr. Clay, meanwhile, has urged Capitol Police to press theft charges against Mr. Hunter, a former Marine."
Would be laughable, if not so goddamned tragic, -- and un-American of the Marine veteran.
Fox News take on the fiasco? Patience. A few additional thoughts first. The nazi-led GOP in Congress certainly intends to goose step along with the Trump nazi and his henchmen. Think not? Wake up. In a duplicitous, callous, clueless, vicious attack against the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom to Protest, the controversial painting posted in Congress had indeed been removed by an Aryan arrogant, cluelessly ignorant GOP nazi. Fox News reports:
"A Republican congressman took matters into his own hands Friday and personally removed a painting depicting police officers as pigs that a colleague had allowed to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol complex."
... An intolerant Republican nazi who cannot understand the First Amendment was designed to protect offensive speech.
“I was angry,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told FoxNews.com. “I’ve seen the press [reporting] on this for about a week or so. … I’m in the Marine Corps. If you want it done, just call us.”
That's goddamned pitiful, achingly gutless. Unbecoming, a United States Marine. An insult to all his extraordinarily courageous fellow Marines who died in combat defending this exceptionally precious right. Equally pointedly? This is, indeed, the mark of a clueless national socialist who has no conception of what the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights stands for.
Bet this clueless fascist son of a bitch would not have an issue with the following? The Washington Times reports:
"The Marine Corps is ushering in 2017 by sending its first female infantry Marines to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Officials confirmed Tuesday that 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, will receive 3 women designated to serve in the following roles: rifleman, machine gunner and mortar Marine."
About time. If Kurd and Israeli women can be exceptionally good fighters, why not female United States Marines?
"Each woman took part in the branch’s gender integration research and passed its School of Infantry."
How about that? Think they got any slack? Think they wouldn't get the boot if they didn't perform as expected?
“The Corps applauds the time and efforts of those Marines who volunteered,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski told Marine Corps Times on Wednesday. “As we continue to move forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that the men and women who earn the title ‘Marine’ will be ready, and will provide America with an elite crisis-response force that is ready to fight and win.”
"One of the women, Lance Corporal Callahan Brown, told the newspaper that these changes are coming whether critics like it or not. “We’re not your normal girl. We’re going to do it. We’re going to preserve,” the Marine said. “It’s coming, so you can either hop on or get off. But it’s coming.”
About time. Hat's off.
-- To TB, nothing is more important than the grand kid and his sister. Nothing. ... "All the King's horses, all the King's men..."
Aleppo remains a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Indeed, a colossal failure of the world community. Including the UN, NATO, Europe, the Middle East, the United States, the entire civilized world, etc.. All of which did nothing. Nothing at all. Just talk. Empty rhetoric as the innocent were murdered. Things remain so bad, the First Lady was asked for help by a girl and her mother in Aleppo. NBC News reports:
"Bana al-Abed and her mother, Fatemah, whose plight in Aleppo has captured the world's attention through Twitter, have appealed to First Lady Michelle Obama in a video message sent to NBC News. "I talk to you as a mother," Fatemah says in the message. "I implore you to help us ... because we are so afraid." The message ends with a plea from seven-year-old Bana: "Hello, Mrs. Obama. Please help us."
This atrocity is already beginning to have severe diplomatic consequences, including the recent murder of a Russian diplomat. The Washington Post reports:
"A gunman in Turkey wearing a suit and tie opened fire Monday on Russia’s ambassador, killing the diplomat and wounding several others in an attack possibly linked to Russia’s military involvement in Syria. The gunman was killed as panicked people scattered for cover at a photo exhibit in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where the ambassador was a guest speaker."
It is particularly interesting to note the gunman was a young policeman. Not your run of the mill terrorist.
"The Reuters news agency, citing security sources, said the attacker was an off-duty police officer."
Gets worse, far worse:
“Allah Akbar! Do not forget Aleppo!” said the gunman, according to the widely circulated video. “Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! As long as our lands are not safe, you will not be safe!"
The killer was himself killed. The insanity continues in the region. The assassination of a Russian diplomat likely a portend of more to come. Sadly, so.
Had originally intended to make the following a continuing Christmas tradition, A Short Christmas Tale. Last year's Tale was written prior to heavy Russian involvement in the catastrophe perpetrated by Syria and its war criminal dictator. Considering how badly circumstances have deteriorated the past year, where ISIS has virtually been ignored as Assad, his henchmen, and his Russian friends concentrated on murdering civilians, does not seem appropriate to post a new edition of the Tale. The first two parts, however, will be posted here in tribute to all who've died. Died for nothing. As the world did nothing.
Merry Christmas to all and your loved ones. Part 2 is indeed a continuation of Part 1. Is dedicated to all who've suffered in Aleppo.
A Short Christmas Tale Part 1 December 25, 2014
***Things get pretty hectic this time of year in NPC, -- North Pole City. ... Santa's aging, hurting. Arthritis a bit too much for the jolly old elf. -- Pole Cat's worried. Watched ole St. Nick age most gracefully. Year after year. Interestingly, been best friends with Santa's number one, good ole Rudolph a long, long time. ... Why would a cat be close friends with a reindeer one might wonder? Two peas in a pod.
Both have a shiny bright red nose that glows in the dark. -- Both took a lot of grief from their compadres over the years. Always one to think ahead, however, Santa thought Pole Cat could certainly take over Christmas Eve duties, fill in for the aging reindeer should it become necessary, -- eventually. ... And sadly, it had just become so. -- Aging had not been kind to Rudolph, what with having to move the sleigh some 600 miles a second with more than a little help from his friends of course. -- Knees and hips had worn out over the years.
Pole Cat was a smart, experienced feline with another reason for wanting to make the trip, -- if his body could indeed hold up. Cats have a remarkable knack of making social contact, communicating with one another. Even at great distances. Pole Cat had his eye for years on a sweet old friend named Purr in Forboden. ... One heck of a good looking feline, -- if he had to say so himself.
Purr's mistress was Grandmarm. A dear sweet elderly woman who took great care of Purr. -- Purr always returned the favor. Grandmarm was getting up there, -- almost 93. Had been abandoned by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. ... Same old same old about the young not caring about the old. What ever changes? Right?
Worried Purr. Greatly. Loved the dear old lady. Grandmarm wasn't doing well. Even Purr couldn't raise her spirits any longer. Pole Cat knew all this. Sensed it deep in his heart. -- Goes back to that Zen thing cats seem to have such a knack for. Decided something had to be done. Now. Also knew his best friend Rudolph might not be up to the rigors of the task fast approaching the very next night. Christmas Eve.
... So did the jolly old elf himself. First time in history. Both knew what had to be done. -- Pole Cat didn't really know if he had it in him, however. Wasn't so sure of himself as he had been in his younger, bolder days. Assured Santa and Rudolph he'd do his best no matter what. More than ever, the old cat certainly wanted to finally meet Purr. Might even get one last chance. -- If he could make it. ... Or, die trying. Go for broke. One last time.
Pole Cat got it in gear that most magical next night. Managed to get the team up to flight speed. As they approached the United States, Santa gave the order to reduce air speed. -- So he could wave to the National Guard pilots there to greet them as they passed on their way to their first stop. -- Always a tricky move since the pilots at full after burner still couldn't catch him at sleigh flight cruising speed.
Yet, the wave to the pilots was extremely important to Santa. He even made a point of flying in formation with the jets all the way to his first destination. For some reason or other, the pilots, however, were never believed by their commanders upon debriefing after their return to base. -- But they knew the truth and that was all that mattered.
Purr and Grandmarm were exhausted that evening. Retired earlier than usual. -- Purr was more than happy to curl up on Grandmarm's bed that cold, cold December night. Snow had been lightly falling all day. A light sleeper, Purr got up in the middle of the night to nibble on some Tender Vittles Grandmarm always left her in the kitchen. Imagine the old cat's surprise when she saw a warm red glow begin to overtake, overwhelm the kitchen. Ambiance like she had never seen before. What could it be?
Heard the gentle ring of sleigh bells in the backyard. -- What the .... ??? Couldn't be, could it? Purr quickly forgot the pain in her hind legs, the fact she was an old cat. Jumped up like a kitten into the window to see what was happening outside. Couldn't believe her eyes. Blinked. Rubbed a paw across both. Was she dreaming?
Then, heard a light tap on the glass. Saw Pole Cat and Santa smiling at her. Having just woken from the brilliant cherry-red glow permeating the house, Grandmarm stood right behind Purr. A look of wonder quickly crossing her face. A flashback to Christmas after Christmas many, many years ago. As tears flowed down one cheek, then the other.
... A far more sinister flashback, as well, to incident after incident of violent physical abuse perpetrated by her father in the name of discipline all those decades before. Had trouble walking days after a beating. A fishing pole broken over her back. No kid should ever have to live like this. The overwhelming flow of emotion surprised her, --having thought she had put it all behind so, so long ago.
Purr turned around, looked up quizzically, lovingly rubbed her head against her hand, then uttered, "Brrooww?" That is, "Mom, won't you let them in? It's cold outside." "Yes, you're quite right sweet, sweet darlin' my most favorite little girl. What was I thinking?," responded Grandmarm struggling to regain some sense of composure. -- A night Purr and Grandmarm would certainly never ever forget. ... Nor would Pole Cat and Santa. ***
A Short Christmas Tale Part 2 December 25, 2015
*** Things had not gone well in NPC, -- North Pole City this past year. Santa's health had markedly deteriorated. There was no way he would be able to make the trip. What to do? There had always been a contingency plan. Mrs. Claus in fact had made several trips over the years as co-pilot. Knew what she had to do and how it needed to be done.
People had had the wrong impression of her. Thought she only baked cookies and gingerbread men. Not so. Was truly an equal partner to Santa. ...Must be said, however, -- sometimes to the old elf's chagrin. ... He knew she was most unhappy about his decision to postpone deliveries to Syria for security reasons the last few years.
They had always agreed the one making the trip ultimately made the decision as to how it was to be executed. --The first time in history Santa was scared. Absolutely terrified. For the safety of his wife and crew. Santa had succumbed to ISIS terror. Allowed these brutal bastards to effect his judgment. Prevent him from doing his job.
Mrs. Claus believed the terrorists had won. Default driven by unbridled fear. Santa was quite aware she would probably force the issue if given the chance. A growing sense of dread began to overtake him. Paralyzing gut-wrenching terror. His inability to make the trip this year was a perfect opportunity. An opportunity she intended to take advantage of.
... And, indeed, she did. But before doing so, decided to talk to Pole Cat first, -- who had guided the sleigh in Rudolph's absence the year before. Pole Cat was certainly one tough old cat. Game for just about anything. Especially, in his day. ... Had kicked every canine's gluteus maximi in the community bar none. He just wouldn't put up with any dog poking fun at his brilliantly glowing red nose. Even as he aged, they wisely gave him wide birth.
-- Mrs. Claus suspected she would have his support no matter what. She did. Not only that, advised he strongly suspected she would not only have his support, but that of Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Mrs. Claus decided it was time to get the whole sleigh crew together for a strategy session. ... Without Santa's knowledge.
She planned to enter Syrian airspace at visual flight speed, -- rather than warp. To make a point. ... Everyone on the ground would see the sleigh. They would know they were there and did exist. More than just a tale believed in by tots. Extremely dangerous. They could be shot down. Yet, Mrs. Claus believed it wouldn't happen.
-- Their visual presence would be so unnerving she thought it would protect them from harm. More importantly, it would indicate there was a much higher power at work. There was. The Creator had indeed empowered ole St. Nick several hundred years earlier. Wasn't particularly happy about recent atrocities committed by ISIS, however, to say the least.
Mrs. Claus was quite aware of the Creator's profound chagrin, growing anger. Frustration at the world's inability to solve a problem it had created. She decided to finally do something about it. At least make the attempt. The day had come to meet with her crew. She addressed Pole Cat, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer. Explained her plan. Then asked for a show of hands in support, excuse me, paws. Every paw immediately shot up. Including Rudolph's. Quite an act of courage since he was still having severe problems with arthritis.
This was a trip he was not going to miss no matter what. No matter the personal cost. Including his life. All the reindeer, as well as Pole Cat, were unhappy they had not delivered goodies to the children of Syria for several years. All were willing to risk life and limb. Mrs. Claus was most impressed with their courage. Hid a tear or two as she saw every paw rocket up in support. Unanimous support. It was decided Pole Cat and Rudolph would fly lead, -- to light the way.
What she truly worried about was Santa's reaction to their decision. She was going no matter what, however. It was a week before Christmas. She broke the news to the jolly old elf. As expected, he was not a happy camper. Feared for his wife and crew. Knew she was determined, however. Would go no matter what he thought or advised.
Santa had maintained contact with the American fighter pilots, however, that always greeted him when he approached U.S. airspace. Phoned one of them when informed of his wife's decision. The existence of Santa was well-known about the aviation community. Although no one was willing to admit it. Or talk openly.
That was about to change. The President was quickly informed. Despite the fact careers of the pilots were indeed at stake. The decision was made by the coalition to cease all hostilities three hours before the sleigh was to enter Syrian airspace. The cease fire would be in effect 24 hours. Fighter jets were to be withdrawn to the Syrian border, kept fully armed, fueled, and in the air. Allies were informed by unencrypted command and control transmissions the enemy could not miss or mistake.
ISIS did not know what to think. Thought it might be a ruse. A trick. Decided it best to play along. Break off hostilities at the hour of truce. See what happens. Three hours later Mrs. Claus gave the order to drop out of warp about two hundred miles off the Syrian border. Immediately, the sleigh came into visual contact with the fighter jets.
She waved to each as they broke off to remain out of Syrian airspace. They were going in unescorted. The squadron leader radioed her they were not being illuminated, that is, all anti-aircraft radar was still off. He wished her luck and godspeed as the sleigh entered Syrian airspace. They were flying in at visual flight speed. On their own. Unescorted. No fighter cover.
Immediately, ISIS ground fighters spotted the sleigh and reindeer. Were astounded to see a cat and a reindeer illuminating the way with brightly lit red noses. Not a shot was fired as the sleigh proceeded about its mission. Delivery after delivery was made without incident or hostile action. Live coverage of this most unusual night was provided by media as Mrs. Claus and her crew continued their work. Indeed, a sight to behold.
When all deliveries were finished in Syria, Mrs. Claus ordered the sleigh back into warp to hopefully finish all deliveries within 24 hours, -- and dawn breaking. Meanwhile, Grandmarm and Purr had watched the unfolding drama on the boob tube. Both wondered if Mrs. Claus and Pole Cat would visit them before the night was through.
Doubted it since the sleigh would spend several additional hours in Syria making deliveries at visual flight speed. Both were tired, totally exhausted from all the high drama. Decided to retire for the evening. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus and crew were desperately trying to make up time. Determined to finish the work before dawn.
As the first tinges of light appeared in the east, the sleigh dropped out of warp. Mrs. Claus and crew could see Purr and Grandmarm's house right below. As they drew closer, the red glow flooded the house, awakening both Purr and Grandmarm. Both could see Mrs. Claus carrying two red coats as Grandmarm let them in.
Both were informed by Mrs. Claus they were to be guests of her and Santa at North Pole City. The coats were to keep them warm for the trip to NPC. They got in the sleigh and Mrs. Claus ordered warp drive. A small fraction of a second later they dropped out of warp and were hovering above, receiving a standing ovation from the entire NPC community including Santa. He was so proud of her and the crew. Grateful they were all alive, but exhausted.
Twentyfour hours had passed. The ceasefire was over. Not a shot had been fired. ...48 hours had passed. Still no gunfire. Both sides were waiting for the other to make the first move. Neither did. Three days later both sides, sadly, still had no clue how this would end. Imagine that. They couldn't figure it out. Hadn't a clue. What would it take? ***
China once again stuck it to the the United States in direct violation of international law. NPR reports:
"China has seized an unmanned underwater vehicle deployed by a U.S. Navy ship in international waters, according to Pentagon officials. The seizure of the underwater vehicle took place Thursday, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement Friday."
Why do we tolerate this? Better protect our assets?
"The U.S. has issued a demarche — a formal diplomatic protest — and demanded the drone's return, Reuters reports. "We call upon China to return our UUV immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in his statement. The incident occurred in the long-disputed waters of the South China Sea, where several countries have various overlapping territorial claims. China has been the most aggressive in claiming the strategically and economically significant waters as its own."
Are we idiots? Out to lunch? Clueless? This occurs in disputed waters and we don't better protect what's ours? Don't have sufficient military assets there so we could have immediately and effectively reacted?
Subsequent to writing the above, China returned the drone. Why do we put up with this shit? Prior to its return, Trump advised China to keep the drone. Does this sound like someone rational, fit to be 'President?"
With the passing of John Glenn, his widow Annie must not be forgotten. Like her late husband, she is quite an inspiration. The Washington Post reports:
"Well before he exited the Earth’s atmosphere, John Glenn flew at least 149 combat missions — 59 during World War II and 90 during the Korean War. It must have been difficult on his wife, Annie Glenn (maiden name, Castor). To ease her fear, before each mission Glenn would utter the same words: “I’m just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum.” “Don’t be long,” she would always respond."
They were married a virtually unheard of three quarters of a century.
"John and Annie were a strong couple — married 73 years — but while John spent his life in the air and on television, Annie spent hers here on Earth, focused on the people who often go unseen: the disabled. “It really is worth everything to be able to help people,” Annie told The Washington Post in 1984. And she did — despite, or more accurately because of, all she had to overcome."
Indeed. Without question.
"To many, theirs was an odd pairing. As John himself wrote: “We practically grew up in the same playpen. We never knew a time when we didn’t know each other.” (Annie says they were 2 years old when they met.) But they were different. John was athletic and outgoing while Annie barely spoke, not because she didn’t have anything to say, but because when she did, people often assumed she was either deaf or mentally deficient. For most of her life, Annie was afflicted with an 85 percent stutter, meaning she would become “hung up on 85 percent of the words she tried to speak, which was a severe handicap,” as John put it."
Imagine the suffering she endured. John lovingly opined:
"For Annie, stuttering meant not being able to take a taxi because she would have to write out the address and give it to the driver because she couldn’t get the words out. It would be too embarrassing to try to talk about where she wanted to go. Going to the store is a tremendously difficult and frustrating experience when you can’t find what you want and can’t ask the clerk because you are too embarrassed of your stutter."
Think it wasn't quite a painful impediment?
"As The Post reported, once her daughter stepped on a nail. As blood gushed out, Annie couldn’t speak well enough to call 911. Instead, she found a neighbor to make the call for her."
Glenn always looked out for his wife. Always. One time when she was terribly stressed in a telephone conversation with him, he told her:
“Look, if you don’t want the vice president or the TV networks or anybody else to come into the house, then that’s it as far as I’m concerned,” John told her. “They are not coming in and I will back you up all the way and you tell them that! I don’t want Johnson or any of the rest of them to put so much as one toe inside our house!”
Indeed. His wife came before the Vice President as well as his career.
"Then, one day in 1973, the couple was watching the “Today” show. A doctor was discussing a new method of treatment for stutterers, an intensive three-week program in Roanoke. Annie enrolled. They made her relearn each letter of the alphabet. They forced her to go to a shopping center — and shop. To ask questions, for the first time. The enrollees weren’t allowed to call friends or family for that three weeks. When it was over, Annie picked up the telephone. “When I called John, he cried,” Annie said. “People just couldn’t believe that I could really talk.” And when she got home, according to John’s memoir, she talked. He recalled one of her first lines: “John, I’ve wanted to tell you this for years. Pick up your socks.”
She certainly found her calling after that.
"Annie began giving speeches on behalf of her husband when he ran for Senate. After each speech, she would rush to greet those everyone else ignored — the disabled."
After a lifetime of pain.
"As The Post’s Myra MacPherson observed in 1984:
"After years of cruel slurs, of being overlooked by strangers, Annie Glenn seeks out the handicapped. In a crowd, she heads straight for those in wheelchairs. She has a sort of radar; finds the shyest person in the room and takes the time to draw him out. A group of deaf people were in the audience at one of her husband’s speeches. Afterward, Annie Glenn went over to them and soon was learning sign language. As the press crowded around Glenn, he looked over at his wife, who was signing “I Love You” to the deaf. “That’s what you should be covering,” he told the reporters."
This, coming from a man who was a fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut, an American institution.
"Deciding to help those in need, she became an adjunct professor with the Speech Pathology Department at Ohio State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science. “She is incredibly inspirational to students, many who have not had that much contact with people who stutter,” Rebecca McCauley, a professor in the department said. “Her influence is quite huge when speaking to students who are just getting into the field.”
"With John’s death on Dec. 8, Annie Glenn, now 96, is alone for the first time in 73 years. But her life has been a testament to strength in adversity."
Certainly was. Again, another example of uncommon valor.
"As John Glenn once wrote of her: “It takes guts to operate with a disability. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do all the things that Annie did so well.” “We tend to think of heroes as being those who are well known,” he wrote, “but America is made up of a whole nation of heroes who face problems that are very difficult, and their courage remains largely unsung. Millions of individuals are heroes in their own right.”
This is precisely what made John Glenn such an inspiration, a role model.
“In my book, Annie is one of those heroes.”
Indeed, she is. So are you, Senator. The quotes come from a piece written by a most gifted, insightful writer, Travis M. Andrews.
In follow up to the above, the following mathematician made that first orbital mission possible. NBC News reports:
"John Glenn gained his place in American lore when in 1962 he came the first American to orbit the Earth. That mission, however, never would have happened without Katherine Johnson."
"Johnson, one of NASA's first black female employees, was one of the mathematicians who verified the computer's calculations that ensured Glenn's orbit was even possible. Upon Glenn's request, she was the only black woman in the control room during his launch."
Indeed. Without her, Glenn would not have succeeded.
"In 1960s Jim Crow America, Johnson and her two African-American female colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, were called the "colored computers." Their remarkable story will be told in the upcoming film 'Hidden Figures' set to be released on Christmas Day."
Racism is sadly still alive and well. Back then, however, not in the closet.
"I read the script and I just remember initially being angry," actress Taraji Henson, who plays Johnson in the film, told NBC News. "Here we have these women who changed the course of America, the history of this nation and we don't know about them."
"Johnson, now 98, is the last living member of the unsung trio who forever changed the trajectory of American space exploration. Growing up in West Virginia, she said numbers were always on her mind." "I counted everything," Johnson told NBC News. "I'd count plates when I washed dishes. I counted steps from church."
Indeed, that's what a mathematician does. Not always, however. Some readers may not be aware Einstein always asked his secretary for his home phone number when he had to call home, -- had trouble adding a column of figures for his grocery bill. Yet, he was not only one of the greatest physicists of all time, but a world class mathematician. Interesting, isn't it? Without Ms. Johnson and her expertise, the first American orbital space flight might never have been successful. That must not be forgotten.
"Johnson graduated college at just 18 years old and went into teaching, the only field open to hiring black women at the time. Johnson still had a dream: to work at NASA. In 1953, at the age of 35, she was hired as one of the agency's first black female recruits."
A most gifted woman.
"When she walked into the control center, she was the only black," Charles Bolden, current NASA administrator, told NBC News. "They thought she was the maid."
Outrageous, isn't it?
"Bolden, who himself is NASA's first black administrator, called Johnson a role model. In November 2015, President Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for her contributions to the advancement of the country's space program. A trailblazer for women of color in the field, Johnson's story will soon no longer be hidden from history."
All the above happened when our formerly great country was young, strong, brave, -- and free.
Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. Hell on earth. Pearl Harbor, in flames. Unbelievable courage that fateful morning as an unprepared military desperately tried to fight back. An unarmed Navy mail carrier was ordered into service of its country. Combat. A mail carrier. The Washington Post reports:
"The ungainly Navy airplane at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., is one of the few original U.S. aircraft in existence that flew against the Japanese armada that day. Then painted silver and orange-yellow, with a bright green tail and red trim, it was an unlikely combatant. Designed as a small airliner — a “baby clipper” — it was unarmed and part of a unit called Utility Squadron One, which hauled mail, sailors and Navy photographers around the Hawaiian Islands."
It was given a most critical mission.
"It had window curtains and a restroom with porcelain fixtures. Its top speed was just over 100 mph."
Yet it was ordered to find the enemy.
"With Pearl Harbor a scene of death and devastation that Sunday morning, Plane No. 1063 — its insignia a pelican carrying a mailbag — was ordered to seek out the enemy."
An unarmed mail carrier.
"For armament, the 28-year-old pilot, Ensign Wesley Hoyt Ruth, and his five-man crew were issued three World War I-era rifles."
"Their task: Report the location of the six Japanese aircraft carriers, two battleships, assorted escort ships and hundreds of enemy airplanes that had been involved in the attack. “This is going to be a one-way trip,” Ruth later said he thought. But it wasn’t."
Uncommon valor under incredibly dangerous conditions.
"Seventy-five years later, the Sikorsky JRS-1 amphibian, with its boat hull for the water and big tires for the runway, sits in the Udvar-Hazy Center’s restoration hangar, a venerable witness to the event that helped create modern America."
Had they found the Japanese, they certainly would not have survived, but could have provided valuable location information.
"The Pearl Harbor attack, which plunged the United States into World War II, killed an estimated 2,400 Americans, wounded about 1,100, and destroyed ships, planes and facilities."
The attack was savage. Military personnel unprepared for the attack desperately held heavy .50 cal. machine guns into the air firing at the attackers.
“The fact that [Ruth] got out and got back is ... absolutely amazing,” Smithsonian museum specialist Pat Robinson said last month."
"The plane would not have survived an encounter with the Japanese fleet, which it did not find, Robinson said in an interview at the center. It was lucky not to have been shot down by jumpy American antiaircraft gunners when it returned to Pearl Harbor, he said."
The men certainly had problems getting to the plane during the attack.
"In videotaped accounts he gave over the years, Wes Ruth said he grabbed his coat that morning, jumped into his convertible and sped with the top down for the airstrip. “I drove as fast as I could because ... I was concerned about getting strafed,” he said. As he neared the runway, the battleship USS Arizona had just blown up about a quarter-mile away. Pellets of gunpowder ejected from the blast began to fall from the sky."
As dire as the situation was, these men stood tall.
“It was snowing powder pellets about as large as my finger,” Ruth said in a talk he gave in 2011. They fell in and around his car. As the Japanese attack ended, the Americans wanted to locate the fleet from which the enemy planes had come. Ruth was ordered to go find it. “You take the first plane, the JRS,” he said a senior officer told him."
Under horrendous conditions, they never gave up.
"He got into the plane with co-pilot Emery C. “Pappy” Geise, 35, radioman Oscar W. Benenfiel Jr., plane captain Amos P. Gallupe and two other sailors, according to the Smithsonian. Before they left, the senior officer presented them with three old Springfield rifles for protection. “We would have to shoot through the windows,” Ruth said."
Uncommon valor. -- As was the case of two unarmed F-16 National Guard fighter pilots ordered to search for and destroy the commandeered airliner on its way to Washington during the 9/11 attack. Those pilots never intercepted the airliner. The commander was to slam into the cockpit. The wing woman was to slam into the tail.
"He thought the chances of surviving were zero."
Didn't stop them from following orders, searching for the Japanese fleet.
“Every second in the air was fraught with anxiety, apprehension, [and] anger,” a crewman on another search plane recalled, according to Pearl Harbor historian Craig Nelson. “If ever there was a suicide mission, this was one.”
Indeed. Yet, heroically they did their duty.
"Although the enemy fleet was still lurking north of Pearl Harbor, Ruth and his crew made no contact. But then they had to get back to Ford Island without getting shot down by their comrades. Numerous American planes were mistaken for the enemy and shot at by nervous Americans on the ground, according to historians. Again, Ruth and his men were lucky. They arrived unscathed."
A terrible time in history. Yet, at the same time, one of our finest hours. When our formerly great country was young, strong, brave, and despite the circumstances, free.
"Ruth died last year at 101 in Matthews, N.C. He was buried in January in Arlington National Cemetery. For his actions at Pearl Harbor, he was given the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest decoration for heroism. “Although contact with the enemy meant almost certain destruction,” his citation reads, Ruth’s courage, airmanship and skill “were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Uncommon valor. CBS News reports:
"Next week marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now comes the first memoir of that day from the perspective of a survivor who was aboard the USS Arizona, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone."
Blackstone interviewed the survivor.
"A painting of the battleship Arizona graces the back of Donald Stratton’s classic truck. Now at 94, he points out the anti-aircraft gun, where as a 19-year-old he fought the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941."
This story is quite gripping and indicative of how resourceful the military and its personnel were that day, -- and still are.
“Some of the pilots waved at us and smiled,” Stratton recalled. “They were waving at you while they were shooting at you?” Blackstone asked. “That’s right. And we were firing at them but we could see our bursts in the sky and they were way short,” Stratton said."
Again, most uncommon valor under horrendous conditions.
"The Arizona was one of eight battleships under unrelenting Japanese air strikes, as seen on the Smithsonian channel series, “The Lost Tapes.” “Just a fireball about six or 800 feet in the air and that just engulfed us where we’re at,” Stratton said. “I got burned over about 60 percent of my body. We were just actually burning alive.” “Some of his scars you can see, some you can’t,” Blackstone said, speaking to Don’s son, Randy Stratton."
Many, many, many were burned alive. Have any clue what it's like to be burned?
"For nearly 75 years, Stratton said little about how he survived as more than 1,100 others on the Arizona perished. But he has finally written a memoir called, “All the Gallant Men,” revealing things he never even shared with Velma, his wife of almost 67 years."
Most veterans don't share this information.
“When I read the book, I cried,” Velma said. “He really never talked about it. He never told me his story about anything, about what happened.”
Man's inhumanity to his fellow man.
"Of the explosion, Stratton writes: “The flames found us… burning off our clothes, our hair, our skin… Men stumbled around on the deck like human torches, each collapsing into a flaming pile of flesh.”
Hell on earth. Literally.
“How do you go on fighting or trying to survive with that amount of pain?” Blackstone asked. “Well, it’s self-preservation,” Stratton said. “I just pulled the skin off my arms and threw it down because it was in the way.” “You pulled the skin off your arms,” Blackstone said, startled. “Well, I was burned — it just hanging down there,” Stratton said."
The horrors of war that people need to see on the nightly news. Unvarnished reality.
"With flames below him and using badly burned hands, he somehow pulled himself along a rope about 80 feet to safety on another ship. “When you were coming across that rope, the Japanese are still strafing?” Blackstone asked. “Oh yeah, they were still bombing and strafing, everything, yeah,” Stratton said."
The public must fully understand what war truly is. Not a sanitized version.
"Recovery meant months of searing pain and surgeries. When doctors wanted to amputate his limbs, Stratton refused. “Did you think you were going to make it?” Blackstone asked. I don’t think it ever entered my mind that I wouldn’t,” Stratton said. And he wouldn’t be kept away from the fight. A little more than a year after Pearl Harbor, he reenlisted and fought in the Pacific."
Again, this was when our formerly great country was young, strong, brave, and free.
"On the 60th anniversary, Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor came in peace and were greeted with friendship by some — but not all — of the American veterans. “Have you managed to forgive Japan?” Blackstone asked. “Let’s put it this way: eleven-hundred-and-sixty-seven men out there on that Arizona sure as hell wouldn’t shake hands with them, so I’m not going to do it,” Stratton said."
Brings to mind a story posted earlier in this publication about a man I knew who lives locally and is a survivor of the Pacific Theater. He couldn't bring himself to forgive the bastards, either. Had been making progress, however, -- after his wife correctly pointed out to him his religion demanded it. The point of forgiveness is not do it for the sake of the offender, however, but for yourself. To attain peace of mind. That is not to say, though, the offender is not responsible for the offense and its consequences.
One reason why the Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified some four decades ago was because it was feared women would be forced to register for the draft. Guess what? You goddamned clueless Republican nazis out there got bamboozled. Not only are there no equal rights in our formerly great country, women will likely soon be forced to register for the draft. CNN reports:
"President Barack Obama now supports women registering for the Selective Service -- a shift in the White House's previous position.nn"The President highly values the service of men and women who comprise our All-Volunteer force and have proven their mettle in our missions worldwide, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council, told CNN Friday in a statement."
This coming from a goddamned Democratic President. Still think there's any substantive difference between both parties?
"And as old barriers for military service are being removed, the Administration supports -- as a logical next step -- women registering for the Selective Service," he added."
Logic? What logic? What's that? Day is night, night is day, and shit smells perversely sweet in both major political parties. There is no logic. No rhyme and reason. Only political expediency.
"Defense Secretary Ash Carter also believes it makes sense for women to register for Selective Service, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said."
Sense to whom? To women who remain unequal throughout our formerly great country? Who do not enjoy equal rights? Who still remain confronted with the glass ceiling?
"His decision last year to open all combat positions to qualified women only strengthens our All-Volunteer force by giving us access to 100 percent of America's population so we can recruit and retain the most qualified individuals who can meet our standards and remain the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Cook said Friday in a statement to CNN."
The above quote is a non-sequitor. Has nothing to do with requiring women to register for the draft. Both issues are nowhere near related to one another.
"Both Obama and Carter believe there is no need to reinstate the military draft; the debate pertains only to the Selective Service registration system."
If there is no need for the draft, now or in the foreseeable future, why continue registration? Our national socialist, increasingly fascist government can always quickly glean required information in an emergency from drivers license records. ... Which are already easily, quickly, ubiquitously accessed by the criminal jackbooted bastards in blue en masse without a warrant when they choose to go on fishing expeditions vis a vis facial recognition.
The United States Government continues to betray those who have risked all to protect and defend our country. The Statesman reports:
"Ahmen Sediq began working for the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2007. Fluent in four languages, the then 25-year-old Kurd passed his background screening and was welcomed by the Military Transition Team in Mosul as a translator essential to bridge the potentially fatal communication gaps in a war zone. He participated in dozens of missions and survived two explosive attacks, earning high praise from his unit."
This man is a hero. Deserves the very best from our country. Yet, he continues to be jerked around by bigoted assholes in our government.
"So in 2014, when he applied to become a U.S. citizen, Sediq was perplexed to find his application mysteriously held up for two years for what the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service described only as "background checks." The agency's guidelines call for it to process applications within six months."
Readers are reminded this fine young man has experienced background check after background check after emigrating to the United States and working various security jobs here. The bastards in government are jerking him around due to his country of origin.
"Immigration attorneys and court filings charge that Sediq and others are victims of a little-known government program intended to weed out national security threats. But they say the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program, or CARRP, also traps innocent applicants for U.S. citizenship--most majority Muslim countries--in a frustrating bureaucratic limbo. It has forced applicants to incur thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees, restricted their travel and in some instances, delayed the reunion of separated families."
Indeed, the American Way, no? Think it won't get worse under our national socialist 'President'-Elect and his equally nazi henchmen? Why would any foreign national in a war zone help the United States when they get treated like this by our goddamned nazi government?
Change is coming to the Marines. The Washington Times reports:
"Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis, deputy commandant for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, signed a six-page document on transgender issues on Nov. 22. The Corps was the last branch of service to fulfill the Pentagon’s policy request, which will allow transgender recruits to serve by July 2017."
As long as they do the job, what is the problem? As long as they meet all standards, about time.
Marines must meet all height, weight, physical fitness, uniform and grooming
standards of their preferred gender.
Transgender Marines may be separated from the Corps if their transition process interferes with training.
Transgender Marines will adhere to the same drug testing rules as their peers.
Transgender Marines whose ability to meet standards while transitioning may apply for an exception to existing policies."
Got a problem with this? Wake up.
“Each case is really going to be unique and individual and it’s going to be case-by-case,” Maj. Garn told the defense website. The officer added that statistics on the number of Marines who have requested permission to begin the transition process will not be released at this time. “I have not heard from anywhere that Marines are pushing back against this,” the officer told Military.com. “The decision has been made and the Marines will execute.”
United States Marines always do. If for any reason this becomes unworkable, think the policy won't change? Think any Marine who can't do the job remains in the Corps?
Seatbelts on. Bet most of you haven't heard the following story. A true story. -- Some of the elderly have. ...Particularly, combat veterans who served in the Second World War Pacific Theater. Hacksaw Ridge. Patience. First, a little background.
Filmmaker Mel Gibson disgraced himself some ten years ago in an unrelated matter. Returned to directing. Certainly renewed attention to the second to none courage of U.S. Army Medal Of Honor Winner Corporal Desmond T. Doss.
Mr. Doss was a conscientious objector who was one of the few to ever receive our nation's highest award for valor. Didn't do it with a weapon, however. Killed no one on the battlefield. Hurt no one in combat. Yet, rightfully received our nation's highest award.
"Desmond Doss is credited with saving 75 soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II in the Pacific — and he did it without ever carrying a weapon. The battle at Hacksaw Ridge, on the island of Okinawa, was a close combat fight with heavy weaponry. Thousands of American and Japanese soldiers were killed, and the fact that Doss survived the battle and saved so many lives has confounded and awed those who know his story. Now, he's the subject of a new film directed by Mel Gibson called Hacksaw Ridge."
The Army made life as miserable as it could for Doss. Didn't want him.
"The Army made Doss' life hell during training. "It started out as harassment and then it became abusive," Benedict says. He interviewed several World War II veterans who were in Doss' battalion. They considered him a pest, questioned his sincerity and threw shoes at him while he prayed. "They just saw him as a slacker," the filmmaker says, "someone who shouldn't have been allowed in the Army, and somebody who was their weakest link in the chain."
He was not. Quite the opposite.
"Doss' commanding officer, Capt. Jack Glover, tried to get him transferred. In the documentary, Glover says Doss told him, " 'Don't ever doubt my courage because I will be right by your side saving life while you take life.' " Glover's response: " 'You're not going to be by my damn side if you don't have a gun.' "
Short-sighted of the Captain, but Corporal Doss told no lie. Think he wasn't determined to serve no matter what?
"But hard as they tried, the Army couldn't force Doss to use a weapon. A 1940 law allowed conscientious objectors to serve the war effort in "noncombatant" positions, so Doss went with his company as a medic to the Pacific theater. And at Okinawa in the spring of 1945, Doss' company faced a grueling task: Climb a steep, jagged cliff — sometimes called Hacksaw Ridge — to a plateau where thousands of heavily armed Japanese soldiers were waiting for them. The terrain was treacherous. "It was full of caves and holes and the Japanese were dug in underground," says Mel Gibson, who re-created the battle in Hacksaw Ridge. "...The Japanese called it 'the rain of steel' because there was so much iron flying around."
Think Doss lacked courage because he wouldn't fight, carry a weapon?
"Under a barrage of gunfire and explosions, Doss crawled on the ground from wounded soldier to wounded soldier. He dragged severely injured men to the edge of the ridge, tied a rope around their bodies and lowered them down to other medics below. In Benedict's documentary, Doss says: "I was praying the whole time. I just kept praying, 'Lord, please help me get one more.' "
Could any of us do what this man did?
"Veteran Carl Bentley, who was also at Hacksaw Ridge, says in the documentary, "It's as if God had his hand on [Doss'] shoulder. It's the only explanation I can give."
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting despite and in spite of it.
"Doss saved 75 men — including his captain, Jack Glover — over a 12-hour period. The same soldiers who had shamed him now praised him. "He was one of the bravest persons alive," Glover says in the documentary. "And then to have him end up saving my life was the irony of the whole thing."
Indeed, it was. A lesson for all of us.
"President Harry Truman awarded Doss the Medal of Honor in 1945. He died in 2006."
Prior to the Hacksaw Ridge Battle, Mr. Doss had earlier been decorated for valor. In another story regarding the film, NPR reports:
"Though granted conscientious objector status, he felt obliged to serve — and not in a role that would keep him out of danger. Doss had already earned a Bronze Star for his service as a combat medic in 1944 prior to the remarkable episode to which Hacksaw Ridge jump-cuts in its second half, in the Battle of Okinawa in May 1945."
Doss was certainly selfless:
"The Army said Doss rescued 75 men this way; Doss's own estimate put it closer to 50. His Medal of Honor citation goes on the describe several other instances when the 24-year-old PFC ignored his own safety to render aid to others in the weeks that followed. When he was struck by shrapnel and then (separately) broke his arm in battle, Doss tended to his own injuries rather than have another medic help him."
Had he not acted in valor, think how many additional men would have died.
"Only Doss, who by all accounts (including this movie) was a man whose humility went as deep as his piety. He showed up to accept his medal from President Harry S. Truman but resisted entreaties to publicize his heroism while he lived. Nothing about Gibson's reverent telling of Doss's story seven decades later is subtle, but not every story calls for subtlety. "This is Satan himself we're fighting," Doss's superiors tell him."
Indeed, it was.
Combat veterans have a difficult time dealing with the aftermath of war. NPR reports:
"In 1967, after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Hartmut Lau deployed to Vietnam. During his deployment, he earned a bronze star, a silver star and a purple heart."
"He describes his time in Vietnam matter-of-factly: "You perform the mission that you're given. You do your job and then you either perform well or you don't." For decades, Lau kept the details of his time in combat to himself — until he sat down for a StoryCorps interview with his wife, Barbara. recently in Austin, Texas."
All StoryCorp interviews are remarkable. This one, particularly so.
"I have one really horrible memory from Vietnam," he tells her. "It was in one of those times you know when the s*** hits the fan. In the middle of one, one of the guys yells at me, 'Behind you!' "
What would your reaction be?
"Lau spun, M16 assault rifle raised. He saw the guy he was warned about, and he killed him."
No time to think. Act. Survive.
"And it was after he was going down that it hit my consciousness that he had his hands up and wanted to surrender."
Imagine having to live with that? All these years. Didn't even tell his wife.
"It was standard practice for Lau and his fellow soldiers to examine the bodies of those they had killed — "because we were looking for maps, papers, anything of intelligence value."
"But I didn't go look at that body," Lau says. "You know, when you're out there and you look the pockets on a corpse and you pull out a little diary and you open it up ... and it's got a picture of a woman and a baby. I couldn't do it."
Bad enough when the kill is justified, -- that is, having to deal with the personal aftermath. When the kill is not, however, imagine the guilt. Guilt this man lived with for decades.
"Lau had been in Vietnam during one of the worst periods of fighting there. His West Point Class of 1967 alone lost 30 former cadets, one of the worst casualty rates during Vietnam. And yet, his wife says, he returned home "perfectly normal."
Little did she know.
"You talk about no impact," he answers, "but I can close my eyes and see that guy collapsing with his hands up. And I think about that kid often."
Imagine having to live with that. Happens all the time in combat. Mistakes are made. In the heat of the moment. In the fog of battle. The consequences for survivors are long-term, an entire lifetime. We need to do far more for our returning veterans.
Training for combat is rightfully reflexive. That is, react. Instantaneously. Don't think it through. If you do, you're dead, -- so too may be your comrades. Basically, shoot first, ask questions later. For the most part, this works well in combat, usually. Increases chances for survival.
Not always, however. Sometimes backfires. As it did in the above example. Sometimes, results in friendly fire deaths. All this can lead to a life of intense guilt, if the soldier survives combat.
All the above is precisely why militarization of law enforcement is catastrophic. Jackbooted bastards in blue consider themselves soldiers, not police officers. In combat. Against, the public they've falsely sworn to protect and defend. An incompatible unsustainable disconnect. Exactly, why criminal jackbooted bastards in blue are murdering innocent unarmed citizens. All over our formerly great country. Nearly always, with impunity.
No question, GOP nazis will do all they can to reverse all social equality gains made in the military. The Washington Times reports:
"A key congressional supporter of Donald Trump says the president-elect’s defense secretary should move quickly to reverse a number of social engineering policies adopted in the Obama years that “have cut down on the warrior mentality.”
This piece of shit is clueless. His misogyny, profound.
"Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, told The Washington Times that the armed forces need a counterrevolution. It should reverse at least three policies: women in the infantry, open transgender troops and the near-banishment of the word “man” from Navy and Marine Corps titles."
Have to feel sorry for Hunter. His non-existent masculinity apparently drives his profound misogyny.
"Mr. Hunter, a high-profile member of House Armed Services Committee, was one of the first in Congress to back Mr. Trump. He co-chaired the New York real estate magnate’s congressional leadership committee and promoted Mr. Trump in op-eds and media interviews."
Hunter is an embarrassment to himself, the GOP, and our formerly great country.
Put your life on the line to defend your country? Do so in uniform expecting your country not betray you and others in uniform? Think your country will always back its service members? Think again. Fox News reports:
"The Defense Department ordered nearly 10,000 former National Guardsmen from California to pay back enlistment bonuses totaling as much as $15,000, according to The Los Angeles Times. The bonuses were paid to entice more people to enlist during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the amounts were later deemed excessive."
A shameless double cross. A betrayal of our best and brightest. This shit continues? Think it won't have long-term consequences? Think there won't come a time where this country is threatened as it was during the Second World War and few will believe it? Not be willing to serve? Perceive it to be a ruse cleverly designed to line the pockets of the war profiteering hopelessly avaricious corporate management suite?
"House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the Pentagon demands “disgraceful." McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said the House will demand answers from the National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon agency that oversees the California branch of the Guard."
Indeed, it is.
"Issa called the Pentagon's effort "unconscionable." (The Associated Press) McCarthy was joined in outrage by fellow Golden State congressmen Darrell Issa, a Republican, and Mark Takano, a Democrat. "These service members — many of whom were sent into combat — are now being forced to make difficult and painful decisions to pay back thousands of dollars they never knew they owed,” said Takano said, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “The solution to this ridiculous situation is an act of Congress.”
Not the first time the public has heard of this outrageous shit. Get this:
"Iraq veteran and former Army Capt. Christopher Van Meter, 42, was ordered to repay a $25,000 reenlistment bonus the Pentagon said he was ineligible to receive. He was also asked to repay $21,000 in student loan repayments. Van Meter told the LA Times that rather than fight the Army he paid back the money after refinancing his home. “These bonuses were used to keep people in,” Van Meter said. “People like me just got screwed.”
Indeed, they did. An outrageous double cross by our goddamned out of control government.
"The Times reported that 48-year-old Army Sgt. Robert Richmond, who suffered permanent injuries in an Iraq roadside bomb attack, is refusing to repay his $15,000 cash bonus. The Army contends he was ineligible to receive the bonus in 2006 because he had already served 20 years in the Army. “I signed a contract that I literally risked my life to fulfill,” Richmond told the paper. “We want somebody in the government, anybody, to say this is wrong and we’ll stop going after his money.”
This is a real problem. An exigent long-term threat to our formerly great country. A profound betrayal of the people in uniform who protect and defend our country. This needs to be quickly redressed. According to Fox, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Subsequent to writing the above, NPR reports:
"The Pentagon is suspending its debt collection program to claw back bonuses paid to thousands of California National Guard soldiers who re-enlisted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter calling the current situation "unacceptable." Citing a duty to keep promises to service members, Carter said he's ordering the Pentagon's Defense Finance and Accounting Service to "suspend all efforts to collect reimbursement from affected California National Guard members" until he's satisfied that the process has become more efficient and fair."
Not good enough. Needs to be reversed. ... Other than in cases where there is reportedly criminal malfeasance. Possibly, why the program has been suspended, not canceled. Also, a cancellation would likely require action by Congress, that is, legislation. At least, it's a start. Interestingly, Congress was reportedly made aware of the fiasco some two years ago and did nothing. Not surprising, is it?
Once in awhile there is justice. Especially significant when it occurs on the battlefield. Get this. Fox News reports:
"A sharpshooter killed a top ISIS executioner and three other jihadists with a single bullet from nearly a mile away -- just seconds before the fiend was set to burn 12 hostages alive with a flamethrower, according to a news report. The British Special Air Service marksman turned one of the most hated terrorists in Syria into a fireball by using a Barett .50-caliber rifle to strike a fuel tank affixed to the jihadi’s back, the UK’s Daily Star reported Sunday. The pack exploded, killing the sadistic terrorist and three of his flunkies, who were supposed to film the execution, last month, the paper said. The ISIS butcher -- who reportedly delighted in burning hostages alive -- had been on a US “kill list” for several months, sources told the paper, which did not identify the sniper or the executioner."
They are savages. Must be defeated. Certainly, a good day for the British. Hat's off.
The Washington Times reports:
"The Obama administration has launched the first cyberwar against the Islamic State, a war that, coupled with real, not virtual, fighting, is producing one of the most encouraging on-the-ground successes in the conflict — sharply cutting into the number of foreign fighters sneaking into Syria to join the group’s terrorist army and its so-called Islamic caliphate."
The President has refused, however, to retaliate against the Russians for their hacking into American databases. Interesting, isn't it?
The Syrian dictator broke the ceasefire. Ordered two choppers to drop barrel bombs on a clearly-marked aid convoy. Appalling. Pitiful. Where were American fighter jets? Why didn't the President order air cover? Why are we still in the area militarily when the President remains unwilling to support and protect our allies?
The President, as his predecessors, talks out both sides his ass. Precisely, what has encouraged the Syrian dictator and led to the introduction of the Russians into the region. We need to re-vamp U.S. policy. Otherwise, we'll continue to be viewed as incompetent buffoons in that part of the world and elsewhere.
We're bogged down in policy that already, clearly hasn't worked. Miserably failed. Is contributing to domestic terrorism right here in the United States. Why are we still in Afghanistan 15 years after 9/11? Why haven't we reined in the Israeli aggressor? Until policy changes, expect more of the same. It is remarkably insane to insist on continually forcing failed policy, then ludicrously expect a different result.
A mob mentality seems to have overtaken the halls of 'leadership' within our formerly great country since the Korean fiasco in 1950. To be followed by Vietnam, Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, and elsewhere right up to the present. This needs to change. Is not sustainable. Every one of these wars, could, and should, have been prevented.
Even the 9/11 catastrophe. Forget? The State Department failed to do full background checks on the terrorists. Worse? Ignored warnings from the flight schools the bastards wished only to learn how to fly straight and level, not take off and land. Instead, a gutless nazi former President and an equally gutless nazi Congress eviscerated the Bill of Rights.
Perniciously established, de facto, a goddamned fascist police-state. You've been bamboozled. Your fears intentionally manipulated, taken advantage of to exponentially increase Executive power. Eviscerate liberty. The public's been fleeced. When will you wake up? Never?
If you were on an airliner about to land and the Captain came on the intercom to announce the following, what would you think? How would you react? CBS News reports:
"It was a packed flight the Tuesday morning after Labor Day as restless passengers filled the cabin with sounds of chatter minutes before the plane was scheduled to touch down in Detroit. But when the captain made a special announcement on the intercom the plane quickly fell silent. “We have the honor of bringing a fallen soldier home,” the captain began, explaining that an Honor Guard ceremony would take place as soon as the plane landed."
Passengers are usually in a rush to get off the plane. Impatient. Eager to depart. Not so, this time:
"It was a moment passenger Ruth Malhotra said she would never forget, and she shared the touching moment with the world in a now viral Facebook post. “Private First Class Curtis J. Wells, 19 years old, was reported Missing In Action in the early 1950’s while serving in the Korean War,” Malhotra recalled the captain announcing. “The Pentagon recently confirmed his remains were found in Korea, and we are returning them to his family for burial with full military honors.”
This man had been missing the better part of 70 years. Now, he was finally home.
"The Atlanta, Georgia, native watched from her window seat at the very back of the plane as military escorts slowly carried a flag-draped casket off the aircraft. “There was this feeling that we just witnessed something special and historic,” Malhotra told CBS News. Passengers roared with applause to honor the fallen hero as soon as the service started."
As well as they should have. This man gave his all. So did his family. The ultimate sacrifice.
"Ordinarily, passengers are rushing to deplane, quickly gathering their belongings so they can be one of the first to exit. This time, everyone just stopped and stared in silence. Some people were hugging each other, while others were sharing photos that they took of the moving moment. Lately, Malhotra hasn’t seen much of a true display of patriotism in the country. But she said this event was “so authentic.” “Witnessing such respect for a fallen hero and unity around the American flag on an airplane full of diverse people -- all coming and going in different directions, yet caught together in a moment of history -- is something I will never forget,” Malhotra said. “It was profoundly meaningful to watch an airplane full of strangers unite in this solemn yet unexpected moment, be vividly reminded that freedom is not free, and honor one who gave his life in past conflict so we could experience a future of liberty.”
This is precisely why I stand during the National Anthem. To honor those that gave their all for our formerly great country. Things must change. Now. Otherwise, the unwanted dreaded second American revolution already catastrophically looming on the horizon could become reality.
Congress needs to declare war, -- not pass resolutions giving the jackass occupying the Oval Office carte blanche to do as he or she wishes. Consider the following from NPR:
"The AUMF was designed to give President Bush the power to use force, to defend the U.S. against future attacks. It runs just 60 words:
"That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
For the last 15 years, Presidents have used this carte blanche as license to fight whenever and wherever they wish. Has certainly lined the pockets of the corporate management suite that sucks taxpayers dry. To say nothing of the needless loss of military personnel and all the victims of 'collateral damage.' This needs to change. Has been a problem since the Korean fiasco. -- A state of war there that still has not ended since 1950.
To say nothing of the ongoing fiasco in Afghanistan and throughout the rest of the region. It's time to re-examine our priorities and best interests. The corporate management suite certainly doesn't want this because it lines their pockets, those of shareholders, as well as its bought and paid for shills in government.
The military has some serious problems vis a vis its priorities. Appears to place convoluted expediency before principle. Get this. Raises serious questions. The Washington Post reports:
"Last fall, the Navy Department had a controversial disciplinary case before it: Maj. Jason C. Brezler had been asked by Marine colleagues to submit all the information he had about an influential Afghan police chief suspected of abusing children. Brezler sent a classified document in response over an unclassified Yahoo email server, and he self-reported the mistake soon after. But the Marine Corps recommended that he be discharged for mishandling classified material."
Readers, think carefully about this. The Major had a serious lapse in judgment sending a classified document through Yahoo. No question. Worse than not being a classified email server, Yahoo is a small fraction of what it used to be. Years ago, no one did it any better. Now, the clueless bastards only offer automated 'support' that works like shit. No matter what, Brezler couldn't have made a worse choice.
Regardless, he did the right thing after realizing his mistake. Quickly reported it as he should have. Then, promptly got f--ked over by the military he had so ably served for so long. For the sake of expediency:
"The Navy Department, which oversees the Marine Corps, had the ability to uphold or overturn the decision. However, rather than just looking at the merits of the case, Navy officials also assessed that holding new hearings on the case would renew attention on the scandal surrounding child sex abuse in Afghanistan, according to military documents newly disclosed in federal court."
Appalling to believe the Navy placed greater importance on covering up child sex abuse in Afghanistan for political expediency rather than exposing it, taking action. Had it occurred here, would they have done the same?
"The documents, filed Tuesday in a lawsuit by Brezler against the Navy Department and Marine Corps, also show that Marine and Navy officials in Afghanistan were aware in 2012 of allegations of abuse against children by the Afghan police chief but that the chief was allowed to keep his position in Helmand province anyway. This became a major issue after a teenage boy who worked for the chief — and allegedly was abused by him — opened fire on a U.S. base Aug. 10, 2012, killing three Marines and badly wounding a fourth."
Remember the incident? Amazing how everything in life is far more complicated than originally thought:
"The five-page legal review, written last October by Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Kassotis for Vice Adm. James W. Crawford III, the judge advocate general of the Navy, recommended that the Marine Corps’ actions against Brezler be upheld. Calling for a new administrative review, known as a Board of Inquiry, would delay actions in the case another six to nine months and possibly increase attention on the case, “especially in the aftermath of significant media attention to the allegations regarding the practice of keeping personal sex slaves in Afghanistan,” Kassotis wrote. A month later in November, acting assistant Navy secretary Scott Lutterloh upheld the Marine Corps’ decision."
This is how the military 'thinks.' Handles matters. In case after case. Example after example. Amazing we can still kick the enemy's ass with a military that at least in matters like this remains so appallingly indifferent to principle. Forget how it's supposed to be? Duty, honor, country.
"Brezler’s case has drawn new attention in recent months as critics of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have compared her email controversy to Brezler’s, noting that the officer’s military career is on the brink of being over. He sued the Marine Corps and Navy Department in 2014, saying that he was a victim of reprisal for discussing his case with a member of Congress, and it has languished in court since. Brezler wants to block his dismissal, which is now on hold."
Why the hell shouldn't he be allowed to talk to a member of Congress when he's being egregiously f--ked over by the military? For the sake of political expediency. Worse, this is not the first time the military has been involved in a pedophile case in Afghanistan.
"The Navy Department’s observation about Brezler’s case was made as another U.S. service member’s career was in jeopardy because of his response to alleged child sex abuse in Afghanistan. In that instance, Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland made headlines after the Army decided last year to involuntary separate him from the service because of a reprimand he had received for hitting an Afghan Local Police (ALP) official in 2011 after the man laughed about kidnapping and raping a teenage boy. The Army overturned its decision in April and allowed Martland, a Green Beret, to stay in the military after Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) intervened."
This is one of the vital functions of Congress. Oversight. Gets worse. Seems the problem doesn't end with these two cases. Get this:
"The Martland case opened a dialogue in which numerous veterans of the war in Afghanistan said they were told to ignore instances of child sex abuse by their Afghan colleagues. The Defense Department’s inspector general then opened an investigation into the sexual assault reports and how they were handled by U.S. military officials who knew about them."
It's amazing how cadets in our nation's military academies are required to adhere to an honor code second to none. When they graduate and become officers, however, that seems to conveniently drop by the wayside. Expediency trumps principle. This is unsustainable. It's a cancer that will continue to erode the military. Profoundly, negatively, unsustainably affect the military.
North Korea has detonated another nuclear device. To the chagrin of the world community. Some are calling for the lights to be shut off in the North. That is, end all shipments of energy. This needs to be very, very carefully considered. Should not be forgotten, one of the reasons Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and started a war with the United States and its allies is the Japanese were denied raw materials. Had reportedly planned the attack 40 years.
Most likely, North Korea has already been quietly and repeatedly advised it would be promptly incinerated if it ever used a nuclear weapon against anyone. Moreover, with a one million man army just above the border, any invasion by the North would likely quickly go nuclear anyway. Otherwise, our much smaller force would be quickly routed.
Security is far from what it should be for U.S. military personnel. Disgracefully, so. The Washington Times reports:
"The Islamic State group
is targeting the U.S. Army, putting out a hit list of 700 soldiers — by
name — and ordering its terrorist militia to “kill the dogs.”
United Cyber Caliphate, the Islamic State’s 3-month-old computer network hacking consortium, has posted a number of such lists. Analysts say most names appear to be publicly available and randomly chosen rather than stolen from a UCC website hack."
Why the hell is any of this information publicly available? Why? How the hell can this happen? How can this information be so easily available? This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Privacy no longer means anything to the corporate management suite and its bought and paid for government shills. Neither does security. Lip service to both. Sadly, it's not only military personnel paying the price, however. It's all of us. One way or the other. So the goddamned bastards can line their pockets with impunity. Get their cookies off abusing power. Yet, remain too deaf to hear the rumble.
We continue to put our noses where they don't belong. With disastrous results. Consider the following from The Washington Post:
"The United States is playing a quiet but lethal role in the killing and wounding of thousands of civilians in Yemen’s civil war. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has purchased U.S. fighter jets and other American-made weapons in deals worth billions of dollars, and the Pentagon has provided the coalition with training, aerial refueling support and intelligence as it attacks targets in Yemen."
The collateral damage has been horrendous. Worse? Innocent civilians were, and are, intentionally killed. War crimes. The United States is supplying the bastards in Saudia Arabia with cluster bombs that are killing civilians. Cluster bombs are banned in many countries, but not by the United States and our proxies in Saudia Arabia. Where is the declaration of war required by the United States Constitution, Mr. President?
"But criticism is growing over the U.S. involvement in the war. Human rights groups and some American lawmakers have urged a ban on weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia, saying the airstrikes have had a devastating impact on civilians and violated international laws."
Doesn't matter to the President or both major political parties. The haughty bastards in Washington believe they're granted carte blanche to do as they please by Divine Right. American Exceptionalism. Forget? Where? Wake up. Where else? Nazi America. The Fourth Reich.
Ferociously pointedly, readers, the above is precisely why the President refused to pursue Bush "The Tush" and "Slick Dick" Cheney for war crimes after he took office. The President knew damn well the next President could do the very same to him. This is exactly why nothing ever changes. Why our formerly great country seems hell bent in going down the tubes. Principle means nothing to the leadership, -- only political expediency.
The insanity continues in Afghanistan. Fox reports:
"President Obama announced Wednesday that he will keep roughly 3,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than previously announced – prolonging America’s role in a war that already has lasted more than a decade.
"Obama said he will leave around 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in January.
"The Taliban remains a threat," Obama said from the Roosevelt Room with Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford."
To whom, Mr. President? Certainly, no longer to the American mainland. Conveniently forget, sir? Had it not been for dereliction in the State Department which failed to do full background checks on the nineteen 9/11 terrorists, egregiously failed to heed warnings from the flight schools these bastards wished only to learn how to fly straight and level not take off and land, 9/11 would never have happened.
Instead, traitors in Congress and the Oval Office imposed a goddamned fascist police-state, courtesy of The USA 'Patriot' Act, Homeland 'Security' Act, 'Real' ID Act, and many other egregiously unconstitutional statutes. Gallingly enjoying the rubber stamp of a national socialist U.S. Supreme Court. To cleverly eviscerate the Bill of Rights. Consolidate Executive power. Establish a goddamned fascist police-state.
The President remains hopelessly clueless. Has learned nothing from history. Continued American presence in Afghanistan ensures terrorism will continue to be directed against the United States. Apparently, Mr. Obama has been unduly influenced by his masters in the corporate management suite who benefit enormously financially from our continued needless presence there. At expense of looted taxpayers and the blood of our best and brightest.
The President lied. Two years ago, he promised troops would only be stationed at our embassy there when he left office. Not long ago, he expanded military activities in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama has no credibility. Has clearly succumbed to pressure brought to bear by Republican national socialists. Apparently, the President is more concerned with his piss-poor legacy than doing the right thing. More importantly, what's in the best interest of our formerly great country, clearly, has no significance to the Chief Executive.
Get this. Fox reports:
"Dozens of U.S. officials have called on the Obama administration to order "targeted military strikes" against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, with the aim of pressuring Damascus to accept a binding cease-fire and engage in peace talks.
"The Wall Street Journal reported that 51 State Department officials advising Syria policy signed the so-called "dissent channel cable".
A bit late, don't you think? Where the hell were these officials before the Russians started flying combat missions in support of Bashar al-Assad? Even when they kill allies of ours, we do nothing. Other than ask them to please don't. Imagine that.
Get this. CBS reports:
"On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that's backed by the U.S.
"Since last year, American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria while supporting different sides in the civil war. Moscow backs the Assad dictatorship; the U.S. is arming rebels who've been trying to overthrow it.
"The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings."
The President of the United States cowardly talks out both sides his ass. Apparently, the diplomatic community has had enough. Too late. Way too late. If the President was serious, why aren't American fighter jets providing opposition forces air cover? Otherwise, why are we still there? Shit or get off the pot, Mr. President. You're disgracing yourself and your legacy. Worse? Making us look like ineffective idiots.
Again, why are we there? To what end? These bastards are no exigent threat to the U.S. mainland. Again, Mr. President? If you indeed don't intend to stand up to the Syrian dictator and his Russian ally, why are we there?
The President remains severely challenged regarding Afghanistan as well. Continues to talk out both sides his ass. Says he was determined to get us out of there. Now, intends to resume combat operations. This is a mistake. It's time to leave. Disengage. We no longer have any legitimate interests there. This is not a fight we can win. This is a country that has defeated every enemy it's had for centuries. Why do we think we can do better?
The carnage has to stop. Afghanistan presents no exigent threat to mainland USA. None at all. Would have presented no threat vis a vis 9/11 had the State Department conducted full background checks on the 19 terrorists. Had heeded warnings from the flight schools that these bastards only wished to learn how to fly straight and level, not take off and land.
Not one head rolled at State. Instead, the idiots who run and own our formerly great country chose to impose a goddamned fascist police-state. We still have not smartened up. Continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Why was bin Laden summarily executed by Navy SEALS? Presented no resistance, yet was shot twice. Highly-trained elite soldiers don't fart without authorization. Why wasn't this terrorist son of a bitch returned to New York for trial? Political expediency, Mr. President? Republican traitorous opposition?
Time to leave Afghanistan, Mr. President. Cut our losses. How many more will needlessly die? How many additional trillions will be squandered that are desperately needed here, domestically? Your legacy will remain in the trash heap of history should the status quo remain unchanged.
The Senate recently passed a defense authorization bill including the requirement of women to register for the draft. Ironically, one of the reasons The Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution did not pass decades ago was precisely the fear women could indeed be subject to conscription.
In follow up to the last edition, 'honor' killings continue unabated in Pakistan. CNN reports Aqsa Shakeel, 26, and her husband, Muhammad Shakeel, 30, were shot in the head by family members. Again, why are we still there? What do we hope to accomplish? Why do we do no more than line the pockets of corporate war profiteers by our continued unnecessary presence there?
The insanity continues in Okinawa unabated. Again, why are we still there? The war against Japan ended 71 years ago. They have become, and continue to be, one of our most trusted, erstwhile allies. They deserve better than the following reported by ABC:
"Tens of thousands of people on the Japanese island of Okinawa protested Sunday against the presence of U.S. military bases there, many wearing black to mourn the rape and killing of a local woman in which an American contractor is a suspect.
"The rally called for a review of the U.S.-Japanese security agreement, which burdens Okinawa with hosting the bulk of American troops in Japan. Also contentious is a plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station to a less-populated part of the southwestern island. The relocation plan developed after public anger erupted in 1995 over the rape of a girl by three American servicemen."
It's time to go. Do the right thing. End what still amounts to an occupation.
Sadly, there's more on the President's visit to Hiroshima. Much more. All of it bullshit courtesy of Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska and McCain's former presidential running mate. The Washington Post reports:
"Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, savaged President Obama here Friday for what she termed his “apology lap” in Hiroshima, a Japanese city destroyed by a U.S. atomic bomb during World War II.
"Addressing a large Donald Trump campaign rally in downtown San Diego, Palin accused Obama of “dissing our vets” with his visit to Hiroshima — the first by a sitting U.S. president and one designed to honor the memory of all who were lost in the war.
"Palin said Obama’s visit suggested that the president believes that “the greatest generation was perpetuating the evil of World War II.” She added, “Our commander in chief suggesting – actually, lying in suggestions – to the world that we were wrong to prove that we would eradicate evil in World War II.”
"Thousands of Trump supporters cheered Palin and booed the president. The former Alaska governor-turned-reality TV star and tea party heroine said Trump would be a president “who knows how to win.”
“You mess with our freedom,” she said, “we’ll put a boot in your ass. It’s the American way.” At that, the crowd chanted, “USA! USA! USA!”
[Precisely how Hitler roused the German masses during his newsreels. Who says history doesn't repeat itself? Forget? This is the rise of the Fourth Reich. TC]
"Palin was the warm-up act at Trump’s large rally, speaking on stage before the candidate arrived in San Diego. She took issue with Obama’s statement overseas this week that other world leaders have been “rattled” by the rise of Trump.
“Rattled, are they now?” Palin said. “Well, maybe it’s time that things get rattlin’.” She pointed out that the yellow Gadsden flag flown at tea party rallies depicts a rattlesnake “coiled, prepared, ready to strike.”
“So, yeah, rattlin’ – it’s a good thing,” she said."
This woman is clearly insane. A loose cannon. To think she could of wound up President had McCain been elected and died in office. A frightening prospect. Palin is a liar. Wouldn't know truth if it bit her hard on the gluteus maximi. The President made no apology for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He honored the dead. Clearly, she has a problem with that.
Ever read the book Hiroshima? The true account of what happened? A graphic account. Clearly, Palin has no clue. No idea. The book was published over fifty years ago. Read it as a high school student back then. Couldn't put it down. NPR came quite close to paralleling the intensity of this book recently with the soon to follow hellacious account of one eye witness.
Palin and other bona fide nazis like her don't seem to understand there was, and is, no apology asked for or needed. The attack was necessary. One atomic bombing of a major Japanese city was not enough. Took two before the Japanese surrendered. Had they not, military planners estimated approximately one million American casualties, that's dead and maimed, would have occurred had an invasion of Japan been required.
Consider the following from NPR. Be warned. It's sickeningly graphic:
"Early in the evening of the day the bomb exploded, a Japanese naval launch moved slowly up and down the seven rivers of Hiroshima," John Hersey wrote, "alongside the crowded sandspits on which hundreds of wounded lay..."
"Mr. Tanimoto found about twenty men and women on the sandspit. He drove the boat onto the bank and urged them to get aboard. They did not move and he realized that they were too weak to lift themselves. He reached down and took a woman by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like pieces. He was so sickened by this that he had to sit down for a moment. Then he got out into the water and, though a small man, lifted several of the men and women, who were naked, into his boat. Their backs and breasts were clammy, and he remembered uneasily what the great burns he had seen during the day had been like: yellow at first, then red and swollen, with the skin sloughed off, and finally, in the evening, suppurated and smelly.
" ...he lifted the slimy living bodies out and carried them up the slope away from the tide. He had to keep consciously repeating to himself, 'These are human beings.'"
This is precisely why we need to find a better way. The Japanese don't believe the President is serious about nuclear disarmament because he intends to upgrade our nuclear arsenal in the coming years. -- That is, the systems used to deliver our weapons of mass destruction. Did you know the computers used are decades old? Rely on 8" floppy disks.
Frightening, isn't it? Amazing, there have been no 'accidents' where a weapon was inadvertently launched. Also, the Pentagon recently claimed the President has slowed down the process of removing nuclear warheads from the arsenal. Unlike his predecessors. Apparently, we have a President who still remains loathe to think outside the box on a number of different issues. Every time he has done so, the Nazi Right has figuratively shot him down. Seven years.
CBS reports our country remains divided on the use of these weapons on Japan:
"Forty-three percent of Americans say they approve of the use of the atomic bomb on Japanese cities in 1945, while 44 percent disapprove."
Sadly, history is being rewritten. Had those two Japanese cities not been obliterated, had Germany not been saturation-bombed, the Allies would have lost the Second World War. That fact has certainly been lost on those who opposed the bombing. They seem to have conveniently forgotten the casualties during the Second World War were horrendous.
A few enlightening statistics? Over 400,000 U.S. military personnel lost their lives. Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Twenty million Russians died after Hitler invaded. European casualties were horrendous. Europe was nearly destroyed. Had it not been for the Marshall Plan, it would have taken the continent decades to have recovered.
Having been brought up in the 50s and 60s, there wasn't one member of the Greatest Generation who ever questioned the saturation bombing of Germany and the atomic bombing of Japan. Not one. Civilian or veteran. That's how dire that generation viewed the threat posed by the Second World War.
The President is right in not questioning the judgment and decision made by President Truman to drop the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities. Hopefully, the President and/or his predecessors have made it quite clear as well to the North Koreans if they use a nuclear weapon against anyone they (North Korea) will be incinerated.
The North Koreans need to understand the immediate consequences of nuclear aggression. Despite their rhetoric, hopefully, they already do. Have been so informed. Let them wonder whether or not the United States is bluffing. Two Japanese cities obliterated would certainly seem to indicate otherwise. -- As well as the refusal of the United States to eventually reduce its nuclear stockpile to zero.
About a year ago, this publication covered a story originally reported by NPR involving the VA refusal to accept claims filed by Second World War veterans who had been exposed to mustard gas by the military. Classified experiments conducted stateside. No records kept. Despite thousands subjected to the gas, the bastards at the Veterans Administration refused to provide these men treatment. Benefits. Compensation. Nothing.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. introduced legislation to remedy this atrocity. She's called it The Arla Harrell Act. Mr. Harrell is believed to be the last Missouri survivor of these experiments. This gentleman is 89 and living in a nursing home. Has been repeatedly denied benefits by the goddamned VA. It is believed some 60,000 Navy and Army troops were subjected to this gas.
Apparently, the Veterans Administration is waiting for remaining survivors to finally die. The bill attempts to correct this. When are we finally going to get it right? Do the right thing? Ensure this bullshit never happens again. Under any circumstances. Ensure adequate records, at the very least, are kept so military personnel are not denied benefits they've truly earned.
The above came from an NPR follow-up on their original story.
The military is not doing enough for soldiers who are sexual assault victims. NPR reports:
"The military released data this month showing over 6,000 reported sexual assaults during 2015. The real number is likely three or four times higher. Just like in the civilian world, most rape doesn't get reported, and the Pentagon acknowledges this happens in the military because victims fear they — not the perpetrators — will face reprisals from commanders."
The Pentagon is not doing anything to solve this problem. The sexual assault victim is getting royally f--ked twice. Once by the criminal committing the sexual assault. Then, by the military. To victims reporting these attacks. Indeed, a hear no evil, see no evil approach by the idiots in command. Goddamned bullshit. How does it expect to retain recruits? Adequately, maintain staff? Readiness? Morale?
The victim is then driven out of the military. Given an honorable discharge, but with the notation he or she has a personality disorder that's never been diagnosed. Consequently, they're f--ked when seeking a civilian job. Why is the goddamned military doing this to service members who have been raped? Why?
The Washington Post on a related matter reported that while rape victims are guarantied rape exams and collection of evidence, they're being denied. Might have to drive hours to find someone qualified. Most of these exams are conducted by nurse practitioners highly trained, spend hours with the victim, and then again follow up later on, -- days later.
This continues to be a problem in Nazi Texas. The Legislature and Governor are extremely good at practicing medicine without a license, ordering physicians and their facilities by law to conduct an unnecessary highly invasive trans vaginal ultra sound before an abortion. Physicians and their abortion clients rightfully consider it to be no more than sexual assault by doctors forced to do so by statute.
These nazi bastards insist on imposing their convoluted, perverse, psychotic, religious and ideological views on all by law. In direct violation of church-state separation mandated by the First Amendment Establishment Clause. Yet, these very same nazi bastards in the Legislature and the Governor's office will not allocate sufficient funding for rape kit examinations for those suffering sexual assault. ... Can you say, f--ked up?
Led by Republican national socialists, the House passed a $610 billion defense bill that the President has threatened to veto due to GOP riders contained in the legislation. Not, however, because it amounts to over a half trillion in spending. For what? To finance new military adventures? Where? Interesting, isn't it? Have Republicans ever not supported egregious spending on way overpriced weapons systems that don't work and are well over budget? Worse and most pointedly? Don't they claim to be conservatives? Forget? They're doing the will of their corporate masters. They remain bought and paid for by the corporate management suite. Both parties.
Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril
Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril
The Llano Ledger
P.O. Box 151
Buchanan Dam, Texas 78609
United States Of America