Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘military’

Thoughts On Fidel Castro’s Death & American Foreign Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cuban President Raoul Castro – Fidel Castro’s younger brother – announced on Cuban television late last night (Friday, 25 November 2016) that Fidel had recently died, aged 90.

There are powerful lessons in Cuba for America.
Among them:

• When Corporations rule government, corruption inevitably ensues.

• American Foreign Policy has almost always favored Corporate Business Interests, especially in modern history.

• For well over 60 years, American Foreign Policy has largely been a disastrous failure.

The United States had dominated Cuba ever since the island nation became independent from Spain following the Spanish-American War in 1898, and Castro deeply distrusted America for that reason. Shortly after he assumed power in Cuba, at the invitation the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Fidel Castro made his only trip to the United States, and later met with then-Vice President Richard Nixon April 15, 1959 shortly before returning to Cuba. Eisenhower purposely avoided Castro, and specifically played golf that day to avoid any possible opportunity of meeting with him. Within four months of Castro’s trip to Washington D.C., the Eisenhower administration had drawn up a plan to overthrow him.

“In a manner certain to antagonize the Cuban people, we used the influence of our Government to advance the interests of and increase the profits of the private American companies, which dominated the island’s economy. At the beginning of 1959 U.S. companies owned about 40% of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90% of the mines and mineral concessions – 80% of the utilities – and practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”

Remarks of then-Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Acknowledging that it was a “glaring failure of American foreign policy… that our own shortsighted policies helped make,” then-Senator John F. Kennedy, remarked at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960 that Cuban regime change under Castro ended in the overthrow of the brutal, bloody, and despotic dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.”

Ironically, under Batista, the twice-president tyrannical military dictator of Cuba, the idyllic island nation was Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeless Veterans: A Rational Perspective

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 19, 2016

Let’s get some perspective.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s January 2012 annual point-in-time count found that 633,782 people across the United States were homeless, 57,849 of which were veterans.

  

However, Read the rest of this entry »

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What are taxes for? Who should pay them? Should you pay more, or less?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 31, 2015

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

It infuriates me to see signs & posters like these, because THAT is what taxes are for!

And, if there aren’t enough taxes collected from the wealthy (and obviously, there aren’t), then we see “drives” and other collection points like this.

Just this evening, in conversation with my neighbor, she shared with me about how her co-worker – a young, single mother – recently confided in her, and said that she didn’t earn enough money to make ends meet – to pay the rent, keep the lights turned on, and feed her family and that she regularly has to go to a local food pantry (which itself often runs out of food because the need is so great) to augment her meager ability to purchase food – and that she, herself, didn’t have supper because she chose to feed her children, instead.

My neighbor remarked, Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons Why Ohio Governor John Kasich Will Be Our Next President

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2015

There are numerous reasons, actually.

Here are a few:

He has an excellent political background/pedigree/experience.
• In 1978, aged 26 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate’s 15th Senatorial District, and remains OH’s youngest ever elected state senator
• In 1982, he was elected to the US House of Representatives 12th Ohio District, where he served from ’83-2001 (was re-elected 8 times) by at least 64% each time
• In 2010, he was elected governor, and in 2014 re-elected in a landslide, carrying all but 2 counties (86/88) – including the traditionally Democratic-leaning Hamilton county, where Cincinnati is located

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

He has done quite well by Ohio voters.
• His approval rating (always fluctuating for any elected figure) among Ohioans, has been as much as 77%.
• He expanded Medicaid in Ohio (which reduces uncompensated care & increases hospitals’ solvency)
• He saved $3Billion in the Medicaid budget, and slowed growth in the plan from 9%-3%, the lowest rate nationally
• He used cost-saving reforms & turned a $6-8 Billion Ohio budget shortfall into a balanced budget without raising taxes
• During his first term as governor, he grew the “Rainy Day Fund” (surplus) from $890M-1.5B
• In his first budget, he implemented a Personal Income Tax cut
• In his second budget, he implemented a 10% Personal Income Tax cut, and a 50% Small Business Income Tax cut
• During his first term as governor, he created 316,800 new jobs, and the state Unemployment Rate fell from 9.4% to 5.1%
• Education funding is at the highest level it’s ever been
• Because of Criminal Justice reforms, Ohio’s recidivism rate (reoffending) of prisoners is the lowest in the nation
• He has vigorously worked Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

Read the rest of this entry »

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China hacks Army’s Redstone Arsenal computers in Huntsville, Alabama, steals military secrets

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 3, 2013

Among defense contractors, QinetiQ North America (QQ/) is known for spy-world connections and an eye- popping product line. Its contributions to national security include secret satellites, drones, and software used by U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Former CIA Director George Tenet was a director of the company from 2006 to 2008 and former Pentagon spy chief Stephen Cambone headed a major division. Its U.K. parent was created as a spinoff of a government weapons laboratory that inspired Q’s lab in Ian Fleming’s James Bond thrillers, a connection QinetiQ (pronounced kin-EH-tic) still touts.

QinetiQ’s espionage expertise didn’t keep Chinese cyber- spies from outwitting the company. In a three-year operation, hackers linked to China’s military infiltrated QinetiQ’s computers and compromised most if not all of the company’s research. At one point, they logged into the company’s network by taking advantage of a security flaw identified months earlier and never fixed.

“We found traces of the intruders in Read the rest of this entry »

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Suicide, Libertarianism, and Religion -or- Why “No man is an island.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 15, 2013

FACT:
Las Vegas has the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S.

“I’ll add that there’s one more feature here, of Las Vegas, which I think bears mentioning. And that is what I kinda’ think of as a sort of “frontier culture” mentality among residents, and I think, even among visitors.

“That Las Vegas is this sort of place of place of total license. You know… its the ‘Wild West,’ it’s an open frontier for all kinds of immorality and exploration of vice, and… the entire self-branding of Las Vegas as this place where that is not only tolerated, but actually sanctioned.

“You know, the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of mentality – produces, I think, a kind of… sort of libertarian ethos of ‘go it alone, do it yourself.’ And help seeking in this sort of framework is perhaps not accepted or valorized the way it is other parts of the country.

“These kind of cultural arguments are always very hard to make. They always sound deeply unscientific. But, in a lot ways, I think that’s exactly where a lot of the explanatory power comes from… is in this understanding the culture and values underlying people’s behavioral sense.”

Matt Wray, sociologist, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and co-author of a 2008 paper entitled Leaving Las Vegas: Exposure to Las Vegas and Risk of Suicide” / excerpted from Freakonomics Radio, episode #92 “Gambling With Your Life,” released April 27, 2011

Of late, attention has been increasingly given to the suicide rate of veterans returning home from the horrors of war in the Middle East, specifically, from their numerous extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While in retrospect, many acknowledge that Read the rest of this entry »

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DoD says Climate Change is National Security Risk

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 7, 2012

Here’s an item from our “Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Climate Change file.

While there continues to be much frothing about the mouth from conservative and libertarian types about climate change, there remains no doubt of its existence.

Some – mostly Republican & Libertarians – continue to assert that climate change is as much a hoax as the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Great Pumpkin. However, to be certain, there is no doubt that change has occurred, and continues to occur. The reason(s) why, and causes of the same are subjects of valid scientific debate and research. But there is no disagreement that change has, and is occurring.

The United States Department of Defense, Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: 20% of all American suicides are new Veterans

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 15, 2012

UPDATE 19 April 2012:


The news you don’t hear…

Just because you don’t hear it doesn’t mean it goes away.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, who is the Defense Department’s top enlisted leader, held a press conference in Washington, D.C. December 9, 2011 in response a report to Congress on suicide among America’s military veterans conducted by Center for a New American Security. Testimony was given December 2, 2011 before the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, and may be found here. The findings are that suicide by veterans constitutes a serious threat to the stability of an all-volunteer military force. About 1 percent of Americans have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but 20 percent of suicides in the United States are former service members. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day.

Never before have our military service members been asked to do so much. Never before have our military service members been asked – or required – to attend numerous tour of combat duty consecutively. Those changes occurred under Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Ryan calls Pentagon Generals liars

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wow.

Just, wow.

Ryan apologizes to nation’s top general for questioning Pentagon‘s truthfulness

By Alexander Bolton – 04/01/12 10:33 AM ET

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday he has apologized to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey for claiming military leaders had not honestly stated their budget requirements.

Speaking at a recent policy forum, Ryan suggested the nation’s top generals had downplayed their funding needs to accommodate President Obama’s goal of reducing defense spending.

We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don’t think generals believe that their budget is really the right budget,” Ryan said at the event last week.Dempsey swiftly pushed back against Ryan’s comment.

There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Dempsey said. ”My response is I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.

Ryan backpedalled Read the rest of this entry »

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Rand Paul, Conscription, Slavery, & Health Insurance Reform

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recently, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a “TEA Party” Republican from Kentucky, and ophthalmologist specializing in cataract and glaucoma surgeries, LASIK procedures, and corneal transplants, was quoted as saying that “a right to healthcare… means you believe in slavery.”

Dr. Paul is the ranking member of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging subcommittee, and made his comments at a Wednesday, May 11, 2011 hearing about emergency room use in American hospitals.

He said that, “With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to realize what that implies. I am a physician. You have a right to Read the rest of this entry »

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AL GOP Rep Mo Brooks, 5th, confesses incompetence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 3, 2011

You’d never have imagined hearing the radical Madison county Republican cozying up to his favorite pork projects in North Alabama. But hey, any job is a good job in this economy, eh, Mo? And you sure as Hell don’t want to put folks out of work… now DO you, Mo? Seems like you’re caught between the proverbial “rock and a hard place,” old man.

Those “pork barrels” sure do look different when they belong to you, don’t they? (I think they’re called “JOBS” and they belong to those class of people you call your “constituents.”)

Let’s buy more waterproof coffee pots, HSNDDs, and HSBLDs – hard steel nail driving devices, and highly specialized bullet launching devices.

Instead, why don’t we spend some money to  improve (translation: INVEST in improving) our national infrastructure – roads, electrical power grid, waterways, schools and parks? Surely you remember GOP President, former 5 Star General Dwight David Eisenhower‘s warning about the “military industrial complex,” don’t you?

 

Congress will cut defense, Congressman Mo Brooks says, possibly programs in Huntsville

Published: Thursday, February 03, 2011, 5:30 AM     Updated: Thursday, February 03, 2011, 6:12 AM

HUNTSVILLE, AL – U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said here Wednesday that Congress will “probably” cut defense spending next year, possibly including R&D programs based in Huntsville, but, if he gets his way, it will boost Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Desecrate Our American Flag

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Desecrate Our American flag:

Use it as clothing; place it on the ground, etc. The photog is a retired US Army LTC, MD (Lieutenant Colonel, O-5). Of all people, he SHOULD know better.

http://www.Flickr.com/people/PathDoc/

Desecration is defined as
• “the act of depriving something of its sacred character—or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred by a group or individual,;”
• to “treat (a sacred place or thing) with violent disrespect; violate;”
• “to profane or violate the sacredness or sanctity of something; to remove the consecration from someone or something; to deconsecrate;”
• as “an act of disrespect or impiety towards something considered sacred;”
• and to be “treated with contempt.”

Flag Desecration - writing on flag, and used as a garment

Flag Desecration - writing on flag, and used as a garment

Flag Desecration - flag on ground, written upon, used as garment

Flag Desecration - flag on ground, written upon, used as garment

The word “desecrate” is …Continue…

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In Memory on Memorial Day

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 31, 2010

My Great-Grandfather Michael emigrated from Ireland to the United States, and enlisted in the Union Army in Corinth, MS, 1862, and served the United States of America in the First Alabama Cavalry as a farrier. For more history on Union soldiers from the South, and the 1st Alabama Cavalry United States Volunteers, specifically, please see: http://www.1stAlabamaCavalryUSV.com

Age: 38
Birthplace: Langford, Ireland
Rank at enlistment: Private
Rank at discharge: Corporal
Company Assignment: C

12/6/1862  Enlisted, Corinth, MS
12/22/1862  Mustered In, Corinth, MS
12/17/1863 Mustered Out, Memphis, TN

My Great Grandfather, my father – a Korean War veteran of the Navy …Continue…

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Veteran’s Day 2009

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m proud to have served my nation in the uniform armed services, having done so voluntarily. I think every young American should do similarly. And, I believe our nation should provide significant benefit to those whom so choose.

Some years ago, I envisioned what I called a “234 Plan,” which would:

  1. Double pay grade for two years up to pay grade E-3 for initial enlistees;
  2. Require a minimum of Four Years of service;
  3. Pay for four years of higher education, up to and including Ph.D., with the ability to transfer benefits to first-degree relatives;

and perhaps most importantly,

4. Provide such income as federally Tax-Free, forever.

At current pay rates, that would be slightly under $76,000 for a period of two years at pay grade E-3 – not a bad nest egg. And then, there’s the 30 days paid vacation, head-to-toe health care, incentive/bonus pay for skills, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and a host of other remunerations and fiduciary potential – all of which are added to Basic Pay, thereby increasing take-home pay. Potentially, managing money wisely, a young enlistee could emerge from a four year commitment with very nearly $125,000 in pocket, VA health benefits, GI Bill benefits, and more.

The money could be used wisely, or squandered. But the principle would forever be federally tax-free – and I think it should be at the state level, as well. It’s well known that young enlistees have high levels of “disposable” income. But WISE fiscal management could yield significant benefits to them individually, and by extension, to our nation.

Part three of the plan I envisioned – higher education – was implemented when President Obama signed the Post 9/1 G.I. Bill, providing the most comprehensive expansion and provision of educational benefits our troops have received since F.D.R.’s presidency.

I recollect a report entitled “Young Virginians: Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,” having read and saved it September 2, this year. It was authored and advised by an impressive cadre of Generals, Admirals, field-grade officers, and senior executive NCOs, from all branches of the service, and “supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Pre-K Now, campaign of the Pew center on the States.”

Interestingly, NPR has only recently reported on it.

The problems the report addresses are from a thorough examination of Virginia, though it’s findings can be extrapolated to the United States at large.

According to the report, the three greatest problems disqualifying American youth from service to our nation include:

1.) Criminality – felony and serious misdemeanor offense;

2.) Education – failure to graduate high school, and low achievement in reading & math, 30% unable to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test; and

3.) Health – specifically obesity, although asthma, eyesight, hearing, mental health, ADHD and additional health problems factor in, thereby disqualifying over half of all young adults.

Additional disqualifiers include single custodial parenthood, and drug or alcohol abuse.

These are all social ills.

Mission: Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids is a bipartisan, nonprofit, national security organization of more than 80 retired generals and admirals,” whom “accept no funds from federal, state, or local governments,”  and “call on all policymakers to ensure America’s security and prosperity by supporting interventions proven to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law. Pre-K Now collaborates with organizations and policy makers to lead a movement toward high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In recent political history, social programs have been an “easy target” for many of the Republican stripe whom have seriously reduced or eliminated such programs’ funding, effectively or outright killing the very programs that could have done much to have prevented these anathemas.

Ironically, prison construction and maintenance is a capital expenditure. And of all the world’s nations, ours has more incarcerations per capita than any other, having exploded (doubling 2.5 times) since 1980 (though incarcerations remained relatively stable since 1920, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

How’s that THAT for the so-called “Reagan Revolution?” It sounds more like a “Contract on America” rather than “with America,” to me.

Wonder why no more.

Governance is much more than infrastructure expenditures, and military readiness includes a strong social component.

Our Constitution calls it providing “for the common defense,” by promoting “the general welfare,” to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Healthcare is an integral and unequivocal part of that equation… as we can now painfully, and plainly see.

I suppose it would be apropos and germane – though perhaps trite – to conclude with a line from advertising: “You can pay me now… or, pay me later.”

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