Archive for Department of Defense

Cheney's Big Bang Theory - 'The Military Hypocrisy Protocol'

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Cheney

Above is the cover for the upcoming book called, The Hypocrites Handbook. The author is the man who unintentionally makes me laugh more than anyone else, former Vice President, Dick Cheney.  Nixon may have been known as Tricky Dick, but Cheney, as Jon Stewart reveals, is just plain Dick. And if you've got a few minutes and missed this clip from last night, you'll kick yourself for not watching it now.

When's a Dick really a "dick?" When his name is Dick Cheney.

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Starve The Old, Feed War Fever

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nuclear explosion 2

War costs money. And spending tax revenue on Defense is what the Republican party is all about. Certainly education, jobs, healthcare, immigration, women's right to chose, our infrastructure, science, technology, global warming, clean air, renewable energy can all go to hell in the GOP-run world. It's DEFENSE SPENDING that's the only thing that matters. They'll sacrifice all other things to keep war going and to stop peace at any cost -- even if it means killing seniors if that's what's necessary. Nothing has priority over the DOD. Go Pentagon!

If you don't believe me, The Huffpo reports this:

A pair of House Republicans have a new bill that would spare the military from sequestration by cutting the Social Security benefits of many Americans who already experience painful federal budget cuts.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) are introducing the Provide for the Common Defense Act on Tuesday. The legislation would cancel out the next two years of sequestration cuts for the Pentagon by putting a heavier burden on senior citizens and federal workers.

Through Secretary of State Kerry, the Obama administration has so far successfully avoided further confrontations in Syria over chemical weapons use -- the real WMD's that Bush only lied about. Those weapons, through negotiated peaceful means are being destroyed as of this writing. This, of course was done over the hawkish objections of the Republican party stalwarts and pro-war at any cost mouthpieces, McCain and Graham.

The cost of American human lives on that peaceful, negotiation front? Zero.

Now it comes to Iran -- our biggest threat in the middle east. For nearly 30 years, we weren't even directly talking. Now we are. On this Iran front, where the same GOP warmongers have been pushing for armed conflict, we've reached a tentative accord to curtail and perhaps even reverse the nuclear threat this country presents. A conflagration there would certainly lead to potential world war and resulting annihilation. One would think that a potential peaceful solution would meet with cheers and hosannas, but we're dealing in Congress with the GOP war merchants, and peace means they can't justify increases in military spending. Damn, they might have to legislate within their own designed sequestration restraints.

We're not finished with Syrian and Iranian threats by a long shot. But we've barely given peace a chance and the Republican military industrial complex is trying to starve our seniors, just in case. They want to cut their benefits substantially reducing their already meager existances. If there ever was, as Michele Bachmann claimed, death panels, it's got to this GOP goon squad. This time it's being chaired by Reps. Jim Bridenstine and Doug Lamborn. It's not called the Affordable Care Act. It's known as the Common Defense Act (CDA). The only thing common about it is the continuing war on the middle class and poor it propagates.

In the GOP/Tea Party world we need more nukes, less Grandmas and Grandpas.

BTW, rumor has it there's a secret bill being circulated as a fall back if this CDA doesn't pass. It's going to require the oldest Social Security recipients to work to qualify for senior benefits. Over 75 and you'll be forced to register to be outfitted with explosives and dropped as bombs in the Middle East if this bill doesn't pass.

Remember Slim Pickets in Dr. Strangelove? Just picture John McCain playing that iconic role of Major King Kong.

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ALL Is Okay in Oklahoma

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Oklahoma Air Force BaseYou know how some people see the glass as half empty while others see it as full. Well, there's a universal solution to this age old dilemma. Don't see the glass at all. Such is the case in the Sooner State, Oklahoma.

Mary Fallon is the governor of one of four hold-out states, firmly against recognizing same sex marriage in the military. She even points out that it's the law in her state that same sex marriages are prohibited, so she feels she's in the right there.  Okay, I can see her dilemma. State vs. Federal. There's definitely a difference of opinion. But in this case, the military, including the National Guard falls under a larger umbrella of the Federal Government. Oh, the National Guard may be state controlled, but it's final orders must be approved by the Federal Department of Defense. Just ask all of those guardsmen and women who are serving over in Afghanistan right now. Their states didn't call them up, the U.S. did.

Despite a reprimand from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expounding the military rules now fully accept and acknowledge same sex marriages, the individual states can't discriminate against them and must let all military, including the national guard, have full access to all military services and benefits. Anything less would be discrimination.

This didn't fall on deaf ears in Governor Fallon's state, which BTW is home to six military bases (including two Coast Guard - yup, in this land-locked state).

Sister, er, Governor Mary F's totally against discrimination. So she took immediate action. She's not going to single out same sex marriages and legal civil unions. She's going to restrict state services to ALL marriages, straight or gay. So now, if you're stationed in Oklahoma, and have a legal  marriage or civil union, NO SERVICES by the state will be provided for you or your family. The governor has spoken. There will be no discrimination in her state. If you're married to anyone of any gender, you're out of luck. Single soldiers don't have to worry. They can still utilize state facilities under their military identification.

You gotta hand it to Marriage-minded Mary. In her spite of being told what to do against her will, she's not only lopped off her nose but also her entire head. She's a total moron. Here's how the wonderfully apoplectic Rachel Maddow summed it all up.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Who Put The Pearl In Pearl Harbor

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USS Arizona

When I first visited Hawaii years ago, I had to go to Pearl Harbor. There was something special about coming from Massachusetts and just being on the island. But out of respect for my father, a veteran of both WWII and Korea, I was drawn to the military historical site. This was where the sneak attack launched the 'great war'. There was something special about the camaraderie and bonds that WWII forged. I can remember as a kid how my father got together every other week with his Army buddies. It was informal at best, but it was a must. Nothing but Christmas or Easter could change this friendly rendezvous. They talked about their escapades and their exploits. Never the death. Never the destruction. Never with regrets. They were proud veterans.

As I have become older and more understanding of strong bonds and friendships, I can fully appreciate a military service that was unknown to me until recently. It's a private interment service available to those who survived the sinking of the Arizona. Survivors of that attack went on, though many of their brothers in arms never basked again in the sun. But their absence was never a full void. They were remembered long after they were gone.

With a h/t to Andrew Meyers, I became aware of a rather under-the-radar memorial commemoration that takes place above and in the submerged carcass of the Arizona.  Here's a private look into a rarely spoken of privilege for those who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, but like all of us will, ultimately succumb to time. How considerate and thoughtful of the armed forces-- not generally known for it's sensitivity -- to provide a touching and fitting farewell to the more recently passed. Those who wish to be reunited with their buddies who didn't make it out.

I'm really proud of our military for their warm and generous option they've provided our brave heroes. Bravo.

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Deniers, Deny This!!!

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Just the facts 2

How serious is global warming?

It depends on who you ask. To most Republicans, it's not really an issue. It's just part of the natural cycle of events. Every so many years or so, there's an anomaly. There's nothing to worry about and certainly no reason to toss money at a problem that doesn't exist but in our minds.

I'm inclined to agree with these GOP sages except...

I'm not crazy!!!

Maybe if these flat earth society members looked at this very clever and BTW,entertaining clip, they might just wake up and smell the coffee, which brewed itself today due to global warming.

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Killer Fashions -- Just Ask The U.S. Army

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money down the drain

The United States is made of money. Just look to the Republicans who cost us at early estimates $24 Billion dollars for playing a stupid game of shutdown. Then you hear Obama and Congress talk about how they can cut waste from the government. They tried it with simple, across the board reductions, called sequestration.

The reductions in spending authority are approximately $85.4 billion during fiscal year 2013, with similar cuts for years 2014 through 2021.

It seems everywhere you look, there's overspending and wasted money. What's millions of dollars? Nothing. What's a few billion to our robust U.S. economy? A piffle. Bubkes.

The Daily Beast reports this latest in spending our tax money:

Eight years after spending $5 billion on a heavily-criticized universal camouflage pattern, the Army is back at the drawing board looking for a new design that’s estimated to cost another $4 billion.

Well, that's a total of only $9 billion. It's not like the Tea Party's $24 billion flush down the toilet. Let's be happy for little things.

WHAT?!!!! Are you shi***g me?

It's not like our army is going naked.

naked army 2

So what's the reason that after only 8 years into a design are we going to spend so much on some new threads?

If we wanted to call this a jobs bill and say we're going to add thousands of garment workers and allied industry employees to the employment lists, then call it that and make it happen. New uniforms every year, if that helps. Just make it happen here in the U.S. and not in some sweatshops overseas.

But to call it a jobs bill would really be simply a cover-up. The truth is....

Less than a decade after the so-called Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, was introduced the Army is back to the drawing board, set to announce a new camouflage pattern and standard uniform to be worn by the more than million members of the active duty and reserve forces.

military uniforms

The real reason for the design change is a serious one. The last uniform, the UCP, was an utter disaster. Total waste of money and more importantly, it led to the many deaths of brave men and women soldiers because of the poorly conceived design. So hence, the seriousness of this issue.

But can't we learn from this tragic mistake? You would hope so. But alas, it's the Army and they're slow to respond.

Only 5 years after it was introduced the UCP’s failures had already become glaring enough to compel congressional intervention but despite the moratorium on its use in Afghanistan, it will have taken another 5 years for the Army to field its replacement.

No Quick Draw McGraw here.

You may be wondering who's going to take responsibility for the new uniforms. Donna Karan, Christian Dior, Christophe Josse, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, or Ralph Loren? Or how about something all purpose from Michael Kors. Something effective and slimming, yet with comfort and after-hours potential?

Fortunately, the government is taking precautions not to repeat their earlier blunder.

The Natick Army Soldier Systems Center, which does research and development on things like food, clothing, shelter for the military, conducted two studies on the Universal Camouflage Pattern, once in 2006 and again in 2009, both times finding that the UCP’s performance came up short when compared to other, more popular camouflages, like the Marine Corps desert pattern or the MultiCam.

So, the same company that approved the uniform to start with 9 years ago, then found it inadequate a few years later, is going to chose this year's pattern. The old, "If at first you don't succeed..." philosophy of our fine government.

Can you see anything going wrong with this picture?

Oh, well, we're America. We have tons of money to burn, and if not money, soldiers. Our government will fight to the last brave warrior for our well-being. You can count on that.

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Not All Military Rape Victim's Are Alike

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protect out defenders

Rapes in the military have been getting much more attention and seeing more and more daylight lately. A lot of that has to do with the efforts of two women senators, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. It's not just the horrific tragedies of the act itself, it's the aftermath. And in too many cases, the result is suicide. So perhaps it's proper to say that one act of violence is really responsible for two.

Huffpo continues to run a periodic series of articles under the heading of Invisible Casualties, in which they shine a spotlight on suicide-prevention efforts within the military. One in particular caught my attention in an eye-opening way. Perhaps this the story or the outcome that surprised me most.

It's the story of what I thought was a rather unusual sexual assault but as it turns out, it's more common than you'd think.

Now the particulars of this tragic tale don't end with the assault, nor with the conviction. It's the aftermath of Jeremiah Arbogast's ordeal.

According to this HUFFPO story:

Men accounted for only about 12 percent of reported military sexual assault cases in fiscal year 2012. But more men than women are sexually assaulted each year in the military, given that men make up some 85 percent of service members, notes Michael Matthews, a close friend of Arbogast. Matthews' own experience as a veteran and victim of rape served as the catalyst for "Justice Denied," a documentary about male military sexual assault survivors.

In 2001, Arborgast was drugged and raped. He reported the crime committed by his staff sergeant. There was a trial and the officer was meted out military justice.

The staff sergeant was convicted by court martial in 2002, given merely a "bad conduct" discharge from the Marines. But Arbogast's ordeal went on for seven more years of severe depression, nightmares and insomnia. He had trouble concentrating; his mind would wander back to the rape. He swung abruptly from rage to numbness. He got divorced. Then got remarried. He drank. Nothing worked.

jeremiah arbogast

 Jeremiah Arbogast wearing his Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

In 2009, Arbogast aimed a gun "right dead in the chest, where my heart would be, where my pain was." He missed and became partially paralyzed.

And so his life continued, but as a paraplegic. It's as if his traumatic past wasn't enough.

This man, just like the many other men AND women who have braved and overcome their sexual assaults, are to be commended.

"I've been through life and death," he said. "There is gonna come a time in your life when you have to say enough is enough. You're letting that perpetrator who assaulted you rent your life for free. You're becoming a slave to what they've done to you."

Others may see his experience as a reason to want to give up. But he says it's the reason to keep living. "It's all the tragedy and the triumph between where I was and where I am today."

Bravo to you all, soldiers and protectors of our freedoms.

We face a military funding shutdown within days because of the lack of patriotism by the tea party. And there's a particularly important need to say thanks to the men and women of the military.

Lance Corporal Jeremiah Arbogast, U.S. Marine Corps, needs some help. And he's not too proud to ask for it. Here's the link to Operation Help First Response.

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