Posts filed under ‘Wars’

1,892 Veterans Have Killed Themselves Since January 1

Military Cemetery via Wikipedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

This is absolutely shocking:

Volunteers in dark green hooded sweatshirts spread out across the National Mall on Thursday, planting 1,892 small American flags in the grass between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Each flag represented a veteran who had committed suicide since Jan. 1, a figure that amounts to 22 deaths each day.

More…

March 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM Leave a comment

Shock and Awe — 11th Years and $4 Trillion Later

This happened 11 years ago tonight:

Watch it.  I’m serious.  It’s amazing how much pleasure CNN got from showing live video of bombs blowing people up.

I remember thinking how thrilled Americans would be about this:  explosions, patriotism and oh yeah, they’re gonna pay!  We bad!

Eleven years on:

Iraq, Afghan wars will cost to $4 trillion to $6 trillion, Harvard study says.

March 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM 2 comments

About the Republicans’ Chicken Shit Use of the Words “Resolve” and “Leadership”

John McCain via Donkeyhotey on flickr

(Image:  Donkey Hotey on flickr)

The next time you hear the likes of John McCain or his sidekick Lindsey Graham accuse Obama of a lack of “leadership” or “resolve” in all things foreign policy, remember, when they use those words, they’re counting on us presuming they have detailed, deeply considered plans of their own.

Chances are good they don’t:

The Cliches of “Leadership” and “Resolve”

It’s true that hawks typically assume that real “leadership” requires the use of force or at least the threat to use force, but it can also function as a generic euphemism for U.S. hegemony. In this usage, there is really only one kind of international leadership that qualifies, and this is one in which the U.S. is dominant, preeminent, and preoccupied with policing the globe. This tends to view leadership more as an exercise in giving orders and dictating terms.

[...]

As with its ugly cousin “resolve,” one can always get away with insisting that a particular president isn’t showing enough “leadership” in the world, because there is no way to measure these things and no way for the complaint be remedied. Because it is so ill-defined and frequently abused, it can be applied to every issue without even having to think about the specific details. “Leadership” is always the correct response, and “leadership” can’t fail, because it means everything and nothing at the same time.

More…

Too bad the “liberal media” doesn’t press them by asking, and following up on one simple question:  “What would you do?”

March 4, 2014 at 1:54 PM 3 comments

How Could John Kerry Say This With a Straight Face?

John Kerry via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

There is no way the United States can say a thing like this ever, from now, until the end of time:

Kerry Condemns Russia’s ‘Incredible Act of Aggression’ in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine and threatened economic sanctions by the United States and allies to isolate Moscow, but called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” Kerry told the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

More…

Ahem.  Iraq.

 

March 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM Leave a comment

What Would You Do?

 

Check out this February 28 tweet from Sara Hussein and the understatement of the week, i.e., that the Agence France Presse (AFP) photographer, Ahmed Gharabli, “somehow manages to keep snapping.”

Terrifying.

Tweet 3-2-14

 

 

March 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM Leave a comment

The Next Time You Hear Someone Fearmongering About Cutting the Defense Budget…

Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):

Tweet of the Day 2-6-14

And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.

February 6, 2014 at 5:18 PM Leave a comment

Yes, You Did Die in Vain

 

Attack Iraq No via McHenryCountyBlogcom

(Image via McHenryCountyBlog.com)

In July, 2004, after working on Outfoxed, I began to post weekly updates at the Newshounds about the number of people killed in American wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.  I was acutely aware, from 2004 to the end of 2008, of how many people were dying in those countries — U.S., British, civilians, etc.

It was my charge, week by week, for four years, to know those numbers and to put them out there, in the hope  that people would scream  NO!  People were dying for nothing.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

That said, bravo to Thomas Ricks for screaming for me, albeit six years later:

Yes Marcus.  They Did Die in Vain

“We spend our whole lives training to defend this country, and then we were sent over there by this country, and you’re telling me because we were over there doing what we were told by our country that it was senseless and my guys died for nothing?”

That was how former Navy SEAL and Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell responded to CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview about the new movie based on his book, about an ill-fated mission in Afghanistan in which 19 of his fellow Navy SEALs were killed by enemy forces. There has been much furor in the national press over the exchange since it aired. The majority of commentators have rallied to Luttrell’s side, affirming that his comrades did not die in vain. Their arguments focus on honoring the fallen, their dedication to their country and their courage in combat. But we confuse valor with vanity at great peril to the living and the future of our wars. We need a more honest answer, however painful it may be to hear.

Yes, Marcus. Your friends died in vain. They went selflessly. They fought bravely. They sacrificed nobly. They lived in the best traditions of duty, honor, and country — hallowed words which dictate what every American can and ought to be. But they died in vain for the exact reason that they went where their country sent them and did what their country told them to do. America failed you because it failed its obligation to those principles.

More…

 

 

January 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM 1 comment

Beware: A “Small Team of Advisors”

Somalia via Wikimedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

On January 10, 2010, President Obama said,

“I have no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground in these regions,” Obama told People magazine, referring to Yemen and Somalia.

Yesterday we learned that:

The U.S. military secretly sent a small team of advisors to Somalia last month to assist with operations against militants, the first time U.S. troops have been stationed there since two helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in 1993.

[...]

The Americans also are helping Somalia’s fledgling security forces, which have struggled to assert control beyond Mogadishu and have often been the target of fierce attacks from the Shabab, an Islamic militant group with ties to Al Qaeda that ruled large parts of southern Somalia before being driven from power by the African force.

Though the initial advisor presence is small, a senior Defense Department official said the U.S. was hoping to expand it in the coming year, signaling the possible return of a permanent U.S. presence in Somalia two decades after the battle recounted in the movie “Black Hawk Down” drove the U.S. military out.

Ah yes.  A “small team of advisors.”  Those four words should send a chill down our collective spine.  That’s how the U.S. involvement in Vietnam started too:

The U.S. military advisory effort in Vietnam had a modest beginning in September 1950, when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam, was established in Saigon. Its mission was to supervise the issuance and employment of $10 million of military equipment to support French legionnaires in their effort to combat Viet Minh forces. By 1953 the amount of U.S. military aid had jumped to over $350 million and was used to replace the badly worn World War II vintage equipment that France, still suffering economically from the devastation of that war, was still using.

 

 

 

January 11, 2014 at 9:49 AM Leave a comment

Psycho George W. Bush is Probably Sleeping Like a Baby Tonight

Remember shock and awe?  (I’m proud to say I was against the invasion of Iraq from day one.)

Remember how excited the “liberal media” was when shock and awe started? Seriously.  Watch this video.  It’s as if we went insane:

Remember how in 2008 George W. Bush acknowledged that al Qaeda didn’t have a presence in Iraq until the invasion:  Bush Acknowledges Absence Of Al Qaeda In Pre-Occupation Iraq With A ‘So What?’

Remember how we’re spending somewhere between $4 trillion to $6 trillion on the war on Afghanistan and Iraq?

Remember how dead and wounded Americans amount to somewhere between 4,000 and 100,000?

Extrapolate that out to include medical costs, devastated husbands and wives and parents and brothers and sisters and children who are living with the ramifications.

Okay.  So now we have this as of today:

Al-Qaeda militants in Iraq seize Fallujah

And I will remind you again of this:  Remember how in 2008 George W. Bush acknowledged that al Qaeda didn’t have a presence in Iraq until the invasion:  Bush Acknowledges Absence Of Al Qaeda In Pre-Occupation Iraq With A ‘So What?’

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 4, 2014 at 8:26 PM Leave a comment

International Poll: The U.S. is the Greatest Threat to Peace in the World

Hey, Americans, we’ve reached another We’re Number One milestone:

No. 1

Zurich, Switzerland – 30th December 2013 – WIN/Gallup International, the leading global association in market research and polling, has today published, in collaboration with The BBC’s Today programme, the results of its annual End of Year Survey which explores the outlook, expectations, hopes and fears of people from 65 countries around the world.

 

Headlines

  • Despite a year of economic difficulty, almost 50% of people surveyed are more positive about 2014 than they were for 2013;
  • US, Canada and Australia are the countries where most people would like to live if they could;
  • US is considered to be the greatest threat to peace in the world, followed by Pakistan and China…

More here.

Sadly, I agree, but I would put Pakistan second and possibly North Korea third. I’d leave China out.

 

January 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM Leave a comment

Why Does a College Police Department Need a Mine-Resistant Armored Vehicle?

MRAP via wikipedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

We’re witnessing the police state-ization of the United States:

Sometimes a single story has a way of standing in for everything you need to know.  In the case of the up-arming, up-armoring, and militarization of police forces across the country, there is such a story.  Not the police, mind you, but the campus cops at Ohio State University now possess an MRAP; that is, a $500,000, 18-ton, mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle of a sort used in the Afghan War and, as Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post reported, built to withstand “ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs, and nuclear, biological, and chemical environments.”  Sounds like just the thing for bouts of binge drinking and post-football-game shenanigans.

And then there’s this.  I mean, when you’re a hammer, everything is a nail:

Our incarceration rate is the highest in the world, triple that of the now-defunct East Germany. The incarceration rate for African American men is about five times higher than that of the Soviet Union at the peak of the gulag.

More…

I recommend the whole article.  It talks about all the things that are being criminalized here in the U.S.

 

December 9, 2013 at 2:30 PM Leave a comment

How the Reagan Administration Destroyed a Man For Warning About Nukes in the Middle East

Wow, this is an amazing story (I’ve shortened it a lot; go to the original for all the gory details).  It’s essentially the back story to Pakistan and North Korea having nuclear bombs and Iran having a “nuclear program.”

Ronald Reagan via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Richard Barlow was driving his 13-year-old motorhome through a mountain state’s blizzard the week before Thanksgiving when news broke of the Iran nuclear deal.

Bad memories flooded his mind, not that they’re ever far away. For more than 25 years, ever since he testified behind closed doors on Capitol Hill that the CIA had “scores” of “absolutely reliable” reports on Pakistan’s clandestine efforts to obtain nuclear bomb technology – technology it later gave to Iran – his life has been tumbling through one trapdoor after another.

Barlow’s testimony in 1987 shocked several panel members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, in part because Army General David Einsel, assigned to the CIA as a top intelligence official, had just told the committee that – despite the recent arrest of a Pakistani caught red-handed buying prohibited nuclear materials – the evidence that Islamabad was pursuing a bomb was inconclusive. The hearing erupted in shouts when Barlow told them differently. “They went through the roof,” he recalled from the road this week. By the time he got back to CIA headquarters, “the phones were ringing off the hook.”

Top Reagan administration officials were in “a panic,” he said, because Pakistan was the crucial player in the CIA operation funneling weapons to Islamic “holy warriors” fighting the Soviet Red Army next door in Afghanistan. If it became known that Pakistan was secretly building a bomb, a law passed by Congress would require a cut-off of military aid.

Obsessed with communism, the administration made a choice: It would turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear program in order to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.

And that meant Barlow, 33 at the time, had to be destroyed.

[...]

“If they had busted those [Pakistani] networks,” [Barlow] said last week, “Iran would have no nuclear program, North Korea wouldn’t have a uranium bomb, and Pakistan wouldn’t have over a hundred nuclear weapons they are driving around in vans to hide from us.”

More…

Thanks for the memories Ronnie.

 

 

December 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM Leave a comment

Egyptian Tourism Plummets

Not surprising but devastating to Egyptians (and their families) who work in the tourism industry:

Egypt image via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

 

Tourist Arrivals Drop 69.7% in September

The latest tourism report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) showed that the rates of tourists visiting Egypt declined by 69.7% in September.

The statistical report indicated that the total number of tourists totalled 301,150, with the main drop attributed to the decline in the percentage of Europeans tourists visiting Egypt. The number of European tourists decreased from 421,539 in August, comprising 74.7% of the total number tourists, to 159,752 in September, which is only 53%.

The number of Arab tourists also dropped from 101,925 to 99,294 from August to September, while American tourists decreased  from 17,887 to 12,031 during the same period.

In September 2012, the total number of tourists in Egypt reached 975,259.

More…

Per Wikipedia: Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt’s economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The sector employs about 12% of Egypt’s workforce.”

December 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM 2 comments

Fired Pizza Hut Manager Offered Job Back

I think Tony Rohr is a “working class hero” in the purest sense.  I hope he’s had a flood of job offers since walking away from Pizza Hut and I hope some of them are attractive enough to make him turn down this disingenuous, kiss ass offer obviously generated by public pressure:

Pizza Hut

Indiana Pizza Hut Manager Offered Job Back After Firing for Refusal to Open on Thanksgiving

Pizza Hut has offered to rehire the manager of a northern Indiana restaurant who was fired over his refusal to open up on Thanksgiving Day.

[...]

Pizza Hut’s corporate office issued a statement Wednesday saying it respects an employee’s right to not work on the holiday and that the store owner has agreed to reinstate [Tony] Rohr.

“This was clearly an unfortunate situation, and we are very upset by what has transpired in Elkhart,” the company statement said. “While the choice as to whether a restaurant should be open or closed on a holiday is handled at the local level by our independent franchisees, we feel strongly that this situation could have been avoided.”

Rohr said he hasn’t decided yet whether to accept the job offer.

More…

 

November 28, 2013 at 9:14 PM Leave a comment

12 Years Into the Afghan War, Hamid Karzai Assures the World Stoning Will Not Be Revived

You mean to tell me we’ve spent how many lives and how many bazillion dollars in Afghanistan and the most optimistic thing its president has to say lo these many years on is that they won’t stone people to death anymore?

Stoning via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is progress?

 

Stoning Will Not be Brought Back, Says Afghan President — Hamid Karzai’s government backs away from reintroduction of brutal punishment after outcry

Afghanistan’s government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.

The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.

More…

“Karzai’s government,” meaning Karzai at the very least approved it, proposed “reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery.”  (I bet 99.9% of the people stoned would be women.)  In other words, the guy the Bush administration installed as president there wants stoning to be brought back, but that caused “international condemnation” so he back down?

That means it’ll happen but the government will look away.

Gee. Things are going swimmingly there, huh?

 

 

 

 

November 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM Leave a comment

About That Deal With Iran

The bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iraners are having a fit today.  If there’s one thing they hate more than making sure Americans have health insurance, it’s taking bombing Iran off the table, even if only temporarily.

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 11-24-13

November 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM Leave a comment

Tony Blair Loved, Loved, Loved the Iraq War — in One “Selfie”

Anyone who followed the run-up to the Iraq war, here or across the pond, knows that then-British Prime Minister was, as he was called at the time, George W. Bush’s “poodle.”  Blair didn’t seem to have a independent thought when it came to that fiasco.  He unquestionably supported whatever Bush wanted or did.  Men died as a result.

Fast forward to today.  Political artists Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps have staged an exhibit titled Contemporary Art and War at the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester in the UK:

Tony Blair Iraq War "Selfie" via Guardian.com

Photo Op by kennardphillipps at Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War exhibition at IWM North Photograph: kennardphillipps/Reuters (Via TheGuardian.com)

Photo Op, as their photomontage is called, has become the definitive work of art about the war that started with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ten years on from that war’s beginning, this manic digital collage states succinctly what a large number people feel and believe about Blair’s responsibility for the chaos that ensued. It says in a nutshell what protesters claimed at the time and what has become a generally accepted version of history – that Tony Blair was a monster charging into Iraq without scruples. Look, there he is, taking a selfie in front of his handiwork. Such is his notoriety that viewers really can take this as fact.

“Some people do,” acknowledges Kennard. “He’s maniacal enough for people to believe he actually would be happy photographing an oil explosion.”

[...]

The collective unconscious accepts this picture as true. This is very bad news for Blair. Any hope that history might vindicate him is fading fast.

[...]

Art could not stop the war in Iraq. It can influence how that war is remembered. There’s no use Alastair Campbell putting a grim-looking photo of Blair on the cover of his diaries and writing that it reflects Blair’s seriousness and sincerity as he took Britain to war. The image that stands as popular history is the one of Blair taking his “maniacal selfie” in front of the flames of devastation.

More…

I love this concept.  While I know, obviously, that this photoshopped picture of Blair isn’t “true,” it represents what he did and how he was, so bravo to Kennard/Phillipps for giving us this image to memorialize that.

November 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM Leave a comment

How About We Pour Billions Into Afghanistan for Another 20 Years?

Remember back in 2001 when the Bush administration said we were “only” going into Afghanistan to “dismantle al Qaeda” and get “the people who hate us?” Oh, and that we’d be out of there in six months?

War on Afghanistan via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Twelve years on here’s the latest news on that:

US-Afghan Agreement Would Keep Troops in pPace and Funds Flowing, Perhaps Indefinitely

While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key US-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.

The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of US taxpayer dollars.

More…

Osama bin Laden wins.  His goal was to spur the United States to bankrupt itself by neglecting its internal needs in favor of military spending.

You might be dead Osama but you read us right.  You win. We lose.

Oh, and h/t to Obama for telling us he’d end the war but not quite getting around to it.

Our tax dollars at work.

November 19, 2013 at 8:17 PM Leave a comment

French Socialists Scuttle a Peace Agreement With Iran, Republicans Jump for Joy

Geezus.  Forget freedom fries.  I guess we’re free to call them French fries again because the socialists in France scuttled a peace accord with Iran today and Republicans are so happy they’re orgasmic.  I mean, they’re virtually making out with socialists tonight.  That’s how big a deal leaving the potential for nuclear war on the table is to them:

Symbol Nuclear Powser

Western and Iranian negotiators were putting the finishing touches on a far-reaching nuclear deal. Then, at virtually the last minute, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius joined in the talks. It didn’t take long for the negotiations to unravel — and for Fabius to publicly declare this round of the talks to be over.

It wasn’t the answer U.S., European or Iranian teams had been expecting. One Western official said Paris hadn’t been particularly involved in the painstaking negotiations that had taken place in the run-up to this weekend’s talks in Geneva. “The French were barely involved in this,” one Western diplomat said. “They didn’t get looped in until a few days ago.”

Yet the French response shouldn’t have been a total surprise. The socialist government of French President François Hollande has adopted a muscular foreign policy that has put it to the right of the Obama administration on Libya, Mali, Syria and now Iran. Along the way, it has also become Israel’s primary European ally and — after the U.S. — arguably its closest friend in the world.

[...]

“Thank God for France,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime Iran hawk, told CNN. “The French are becoming very good leaders in the Mideast.”

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, another hardliner, busted out his own basic knowledge of French to praise the Hollande government in its own language.

“#France had the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement with #Iran,” he wrote on Twitter. “Vive la France!”

More…

Woohoo.  It’s party time.  There’s still a chance John McCain will get his wish: To bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!

November 10, 2013 at 7:56 PM Leave a comment

Pakistani Family Testifies Before Congress About Drones Strikes — Four Congressmen Attend

The Ur Rahmans traveled all the way from Pakistan to tell congress about how their innocent grandmother was killed by a U.S. drone and for all intents and purposes, nobody on Capitol Hill gave a shit:

Congressman Alan Grayson held a hearing on the Hill on Tuesday on civilian deaths in US drone strikes. A Pakistani family, the Ur Rahmans, testified on the death by drone of their grandmother while she was tending her garden. Nine-year-old Nabila Ur Rahman was injured in the strike that killed he grandmother. It was a moving event, with the translator tearing up. But only 4 congressmen showed up. Presumably they were too busy taking food out of the mouths of poor children to bother.

More…

The next time I hear a politician ask, “Why do they hate us?” I’ll think of this.

October 30, 2013 at 11:38 AM 2 comments

About the Water Coming Out of That Faucet in Your Kitchen

Something to think about:

Water Faucet via Wikimedia.org

(Image via Wikimedia.org)

“Stop taking tap water for granted. Go to your faucet, draw a glass, and drink it. Then remember that nearly a billion people can’t do just that.”

–  Dr. Peter Gleick

(Emphasis added.)

(Via.)

October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM Leave a comment

Obama Gives Defense Industry an Early Christmas Gift

Really, really shortsighted:

Military Hardware via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia.org)

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.

Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.

Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.

More…

 

 

October 15, 2013 at 12:41 PM Leave a comment

Yo, USA: Let’s Think About a Basic Yearly Income For Everyone

I can’t wait to see what happens:

Switzerland flag via wikipedia.org

Flag of Switzerland. (Image via Wikipedia.org)

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

[...]

In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company’s lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

More…

Nice.  When a country doesn’t spend a gazillion dollars on “defense” they can think about things like this.

 

October 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM Leave a comment

Secretary of Agriculture: Why Do We Value Our Rural Farmers? Because They Send Their Kids to the Military!!!

A friend just sent me this mind blowing and sadly discouraging tidbit from mid-August.  Does a militaristic mindset permeate the brain of every upper level government official?

Farm by Scott Bauer via Wikimedia Commons

(Image Scott Bauer via Wikimedia Commons)

Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind USDA policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe.

It was a who’s who of Virginia agriculture: Farm Bureau, Va. Agribusiness Council, Va. Forestry Association, Va. Poultry Federation, Va. Cattlemen’s Ass., deans from Virginia Tech and Virginia State–you get the picture.

But I digress. The big surprise occurred a few minutes into the meeting: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack walked in.

[...]

Are you ready for the shoe to drop? The epiphany? What could the US Secretary of Agriculture, at the highest strategic planning sessions of our land, be challenged by other leaders to change this figure, to get more people in rural America, to encourage farming and help more farms get started? What could be the driving reason to have more farmers? Why does he go to bed at night trying to figure out how to increase farmers? How does the President and other cabinet members view his role as the nation’s farming czar?

What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?

Here’s the bombshell:

Are you ready? Here’s his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line–you know all the cliches–the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might. He said rural kids grow up with a sense of wanting to give something back, and if we lose that value system, we’ll lose our military might.

So folks, it all boils down to American military muscle. It’s not about food, healing the land, stewarding precious soil and resources; it’s all about making sure we keep a steady stream of youngsters going into the military.

More…

I was left speechless after reading this and I still am. SMDH.

 

 

 

September 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM Leave a comment

Let’s Have a Whole Lot More of This Please!

I hope this becomes a worldwide trend:

Hummingbird Drone via time.com

“Hummingbird Drone” via TIME.com)

A leading UK university is ending its £1.2m [$1.9] investment in a defence company that makes components for lethal US drones because it says the business is not “socially responsible”.

The University of Edinburgh has bowed to pressure from students and campaign groups and is withdrawing funding from Ultra Electronics. The company, headquartered at Greenford in Middlesex, makes navigation controls for the US fleet of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.

Armed with Hellfire missiles, they are sent on covert “targeted killing” missions against suspected terrorist cells in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. But according to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism at City University in London, more than 430 strikes since 2002 have killed at least 428 civilians, of whom 173 were children.

More…

 

September 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM Leave a comment

About Never-Ending “Defense Spending”

We keep pouring more and more tax dollars into defense spending but according to the defense spenders, all that money isn’t enough.  They “need” more.

When do we say:  ENOUGH!  It ain’t workin’?

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 9-19-13

September 19, 2013 at 8:18 PM Leave a comment

War Dollars Spent on Love

If we did more stuff like this with the money we spend on bombs we might actually win hearts and minds:

Rescuing a Dog from Flood 9-16-13

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault/Released) Public Domain)

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Bart, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, carries an animal to safety during flood rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colo., Sept. 16, 2013. Colorado and Wyoming National Guard units were activated to provide assistance to people affected by massive flooding along Colorado’s Front Range. 

(Via.)

 

September 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM Leave a comment

America’s “Humanitarian” History — What a Bunch of Crap

Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.

What a bunch of crap.

Show me another country who’s launched significant humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.

I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe.  I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.

Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality.  Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:

Image via wikipedia Agent orange deformed babies

(Babies deformed by Agent Orange via Wikipedia)

  • 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
  • 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
  • 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
  • 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
  • 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
  • 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
  • 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
  • 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
  • 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
  • 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
  • 2003: Iraq.
  • 2011: Libya.
  • 2013: Syria
  • More…

September 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM Leave a comment

Did You Know the U.S. is Operating Under a State of Emergency?

This is shocking:

Obama image via Pete Souza wikimedia commons

(Image Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons)

Twelve years after the worst terrorist attack in American history, President Obama yet again extended his predecessor’s Declaration of National Emergency for another year. The declaration, which was originally put into place on September 14, 2001, was renewed on Tuesday.

“The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues,” wrote President Obama. “For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2013, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.”

The powers provided to the executive branch by President George W. Bush’s declaration include the ability to “detain enlisted members of the Coast Guard beyond their terms of enlistment,” “order any enlisted member of the Coast Guard on the retired list to active duty” and “increase the number of members of the armed services on active duty beyond the number for which funds have been appropriated,” according to a report [PDF] by the Congressional Research Service.

More…

So disappointing.  I was hoping Obama would undo some of the Bush administration’s hysteria.

September 11, 2013 at 1:02 PM 1 comment

George W. Bush Honored for “Improving the Human Condition” Tonight in Denver

George W. Bush White House photo by Eri Draper via wikimedia commons

(Image Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s up is down, what’s down is up:

The decision by the University of Denver to honor former President George W. Bush at a DU fundraiser has been controversial for months. Now, with Bush scheduled to speak at downtown Denver event this evening, a group of concerned students and alumni, among others, are planning a protest and press conference in advance of the get-together, with one organizer expressing fears that the money collected will be used to promote an agenda that flies in the face of the university’s values.

More…

Here’s a letter the DU faculty wrote to the Chancellor.

This event is happening  just down the road as I post this.

Talk about rewriting history:  George W. Bush is being honored as having improved the human condition?   Really?  Estimates range from 109,032 to 1,033,000 dead in the Iraq war he lied us into.

September 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM 4 comments

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