Posts Tagged ‘The Military’

If one were only paying attention to Faux News and Congress, one would think that Benghazi was and is a scandal of monumental proportions without precedence of any kind.  So much so that many Republicans routinely say they will use it as evidence for impeachment.  They also use it as a wonderful distraction from things that remain unresolved such as our plan to drop bombs on ISIS, Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, Immigration Reform, and our slow moving economy.  Not that it isn’t important–it is and the causes that lead to the breakdown in security at our Benghazi Consulate have since been corrected.

What is most important about Benghazi is how Republicans are using it as a political football by saying it is unique and something that should be laid exclusively at President Obama’s feet.  In reality there have been no less than thirteen, yes I said 13, previous attacks on U.S. Consulates, Embassies and their associated staff and troops abroad during the Bush Presidency from 2002 until 2008 before President Obama was elected.  Bob Cesca over The Daily Banner  has the complete list.  If we want to go further back, there are plenty more.  I distinctly remember the bombing of our marine barracks in Beirut back in 1983 under yet another Republican president, good ol Ronnie Raygun.

When those incidents occurred what did we hear?  Did we see Dems attacking those Presidents?  Or did we see everyone understand that those are dangerous jobs in dangerous places doing important work for our country?   There were no calls for impeachment, no endless investigations that failed to find anything, no scandals, nothing.  Because shit happens overseas in dangerous regions.  But the fact that there’s nothing there to find with Benghazi doesn’t matter to Republicans.  They keep beating that dead horse (just like they did with ACORN).

The GOP propaganda machine has realized that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.   And it doesn’t hurt that the majority of the news media in the U.S. is owned by a very small group of rich conservative white males and their monopolistic corporations. Fortunately for Americans (and my sanity) they can’t change history or hide reality so long as liberal bloggers like Bob, media watchdogs like Media Matters, and individual bloggers like myself keep up the good fight.  So here’s your daily dose of truth–Benghazi was tragic and has been appropriately addressed.  The rate of these kinds of attacks have actually been less under President Obama.  It was not unique or evidence of wrongdoing constituting impeachable offenses.  If it were, then all thirteen of the attacks Bob listed would have been as well.

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So I was over at The Daily Banter commenting and reading a satirical piece on how white women have appropriated belly dancing from the Arabs (it makes fun of Salon.com’s weird penchant for fainting over really stupid shit).  Anyway, that’s when I stumbled across this little gem of a comment:

Stupid, racist comment

Stupid, racist comment

My initial reply:

My not so friendly reply

My not so friendly reply

Another bigot anonymously decides to join the party and support the first comment:

2nd asshole chimes in

2nd asshole chimes in

I just can’t stand it anymore and I unload:

My last reply

My last reply

My work is done

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
–William Shakespeare, from Henry V

In my mind, the part that says “sheds his blood with me” should be “sheds his blood for me”. See in modern warfare everyone doesn’t fight in wars–at least not in the U.S. We have the luxury of having standing armies. But that doesn’t relieve us as fellow citizens of our obligations to those who do fight. Apparently U.S. Senate Republicans have forgotten that.

Senate Republicans voted down a VA spending bill.  Only Democratic Senators and two Republicans voted for the bill. The opposed Republicans argued that 1) it’s borrowed money and that’s bad policy, 2) the VA is wasteful so why extend its mission if it’s already failing, and 3) they wanted new sanctions against Iran tagged onto the bill because they couldn’t get it to the floor for debate any other way.

There’s so much there to lambaste….where to start. I’ll try to keep it simple.

1) Borrowed Money BS: The GOP has the nerve to bitch about borrowed money when they supported TWO wars and borrowed money to fund them. Hell they didn’t even budget for them until Pres. Obama came into office and insisted that we put the expense on the books and start paying for them. You, know, to do the grown up thing. Both wars cost us $4 trillion with tens of billions wasted and ended up lining the pockets of big corporations like Halliburton and Xe. You know Halliburton the company that Dick Cheney used to run and Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, who provided soldiers for hire when we ran out of troops.

So now these same guys are now refusing to pass a bill that would take care of the very veterans that fought in those wars because it would cost us $21 billion over 10 years. Now realize this new bill restores pension money that was previously promised to veterans and upon which many military familes were planning on having upon retirement. Congress only recently took a part of their pension away–so they could give it back–they never should have taken it in the first place. The bill also sought to expand benefits like caretaker stipends. You know for all those soldiers so wounded from IED’s that they need constant care while their beleaguered spouses have to now work just to survive. Did you know that the military spent $103 million on food stamps in 2013, which was a 5% increase from the year before, and that the usage of food stamps by military families has quadrupled since 2006? That’s because base pay for a soldier with a wife and one kid is $20,000. That’s nothing in today’s economy.

2) VA failing in its mission: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) actually said “If the VA is already failing to meet its obligations to veterans, is it wise to extend its mission even further?” Oh, do you mean like we were losing in Iraq and extended what we were told would be a “get in, get out” kind of thing? Like when Pres. Bush declared mission accomplished but the war actually lasted 10 frigging years and the country is still experiencing chaos? The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

3) Iran sanctions: Do you hear that loud drum beat? That’s the war hawks in the Republican party pounding the drum for war in Syria and/or Iran. They think if they appear to be “strong” then it will make the President look “weak” in comparison. It’s why we’re seeing so many conservative articles online comparing Pres. Obama and Vladimir Putin and praising Putin for his “direct” approach. It’s a two pronged strategy: make him look weak and deny him any peaceful foreign policy solutions. And voila, we’ll have a very profitable war–profitable for them and their ilk but not so much for our military, our national budget, or well for anyone other than the warmongers and the companies that grease their palms. They are so desperate to deny Pres. Obama any political successes that they want to sabotage the already working negotiations with Iran. So they want to sabotage the peaceful solution we are currently engaged in and willing to risk a boots on the ground war with Iran for the sake of getting over politically on the President. Weren’t these the same assholes who demanded that liberals put country first any time we criticized the previous administration? Yes, yes they are.

The problem here is that Americans aren’t paying attention. They aren’t hearing this hypocrisy, at least for the most part. I certainly hope that military families are seeing and hearing the BS coming from the GOP, because if they don’t, these idiots will be voted back into office at the next midterm elections. Wake up America.

Sources:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/gop-dissent-attacks.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370782/value-putin-victor-davis-hanson/page/0/1

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/02/04/3244781/rohrabacher-mccain-graham/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-soldiers-are-increasingly-relying-on-food-stamps/

http://item.liveleak.com/2/view?i=e4e_1393543001&comments=1

http://www.kcet.org/living/food/food-rant/a-reminder-military-families-use-food-stamps.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-rejects-far-reaching-veterans-affairs-bill/2014/02/27/1d10801c-a001-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility will remain open because Congress says so in the latest Defense spending bill (ht JM Ashby at BobCesca.com).   Our The stupid twats and despicable lawmakers  are saying that the Administration is not allowed to transfer the detainees to American soil for criminal prosecution.  The far left will be blaming the President for not closing it in spite of the fact that he legally can’t do so–actually, they’ve been doing this for years so it will only continue, just in greater volume.  And the right will be crowing about how he has broken yet another campaign promise.

First of all, Congress is afraid that these “baddest of the bad, and worst of the worst” will break out of Federal Max security prisons.  This so dumb it beggars belief.  I’m very familiar with those facilities and their security procedures.  This is not and never will be a concern.  We’ve kept MUCH more dangerous people in those facilities with nary a problem.

Second, the idea that this country accepts the denial of habeas corpus rights to detainees (technically we don’t call them prisoners, which is exactly what they are, war prisoners) so long as they aren’t on our soil is a distinction without a  difference.   Out of sight means out of mind I guess.  In WWII the prisoners were kept in camps right in our cities.  As a child my father used to go talk to Italian war prisoners through a prison camp fence in Charleston, SC.  It makes it much harder to deny these people justice when we don’t have to see their suffering.

Third, the fact that these people are even considered detainees or even war prisoners was and is a colossal mistake.  We should have treated them as criminals, arrested them as such and prosecuted them as such.

Unfortunately, since so many of the detainees rights have been violated and FSM knows how much of the evidence against them has been obtained (i.e., via coercion plus unreliable or secret sources who are unavailable or unable to be present at trial for testimony) the odds of actually getting a conviction in an honest criminal court might be impossible. So all that poisonous fruit will come back to haunt the prosecutors. I blame effing Bush and Co. If they’d handled this properly in the criminal courts to begin with, we wouldn’t be worried about all this kind of crap. I consider myself an expert on our Criminal Justice system (I’m also Queen of the world in my own tiny mind but I digress) and the choice to use military force against Al Qaeda, essentially a criminal enterprise, will go down as one of the worst mistakes in U.S. history. And how often do you see anyone on the teevees or press making this larger and crucial point. We used to be a gold standard in liberty and due process (at least compared with the majority of nations) but not anymore and it’s all because of the idiotic, never ending “war on terror” and the bullshite of renditions and Guantanamo. We STILL haven’t learned the big lesson here and we never will at this rate.

Okay, rant over.

Some people have no shame whatsoever.  Sarah Palin, former Alaskan Governor, VP candidate and human being, along with Tea Party darlings and domestic terrorists, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) protested the closing of Federal War Memorials yesterday by attending a rally at the World War II monument in D.C.  You may recall that Cruz was the guy who kicked off the whole “let’s shut down the government” movement and inaugurated it by babbling on the Senate floor for about 21 hours (whilst butchering Green Eggs and Ham, I might add).  So representatives of the Tea Party whose intransigence is the entire reason behind the shut down and why it continues to drag on without any resolution decided to protest the results of the shut down.  The disconnect (or cynicism or both) is mind boggling.  Here’s one of my favorite derp quotes from the rally.  Palin said:

Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game.

If you think you can read the rest of the tripe without tearing your hair out, click the link.

PS:  I apologize for the link to Politico….their stenography is on full display with this article as there is only a single sentence in it that explains Cruz and the Tea Party’s role in the shut down.  There’s plenty of other tripe….words that could have been used to give more in depth coverage of the situation, but that’s not their bag apparently.  It doesn’t seem to be anyone’s job to do actual journalism anymore.

PSS:  Look who is palling around with terrorists now, Sarah.  But I forgot, their terrorists are freedom fighters….IOKIYAR

I’ve spoken about my lifelong struggle with depression before, so I should have known that today was World Suicide Prevention Day, but I didn’t.  Thanks to Soonergrunt over at Balloon Juice, now I DO know and so do you.   If you feel compelled, reach out and do something to help improve awareness, education and prevention wherever you are in the world.   Here are some things to ponder in the meantime.

  • “With just a few exceptions, the majority of gun deaths in the United States have been self-inflicted every year since at least 1920.” from a Boston Globe article
  • There is a theory out there (that I agree with) that men often go undiagnosed because the diagnostic checklist is biased toward symptoms that women exhibit but not men.  For example, one symptom is “uncontrollable crying”–something that American men rarely do.  A more common symptom for them would be “self-destructive behavior” such as binge drinking, engaging in risky behavior like starting fights with strangers, etc. from “The Mismeasure of Women” by Carol Tavris
  • It’s pretty much accepted that the rate of suicide among U.S. military personnel has been rising and far greater than it is in the general population.  What is new is that they’re not sure why since it doesn’t seem to be linked to deployment (which is what everyone previously assumed was a huge factor).  Is it something about the military lifestyle or is it about the kind of people the military attracts or the fact they are more likely to have access to lethal means than the average American has….or all of the above?
  • The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has chosen kites to be its symbol. They have a lovely explanation for why they chose the kite and I encourage you to read it on their website.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is an American organization with chapters all over the U.S. that offers resources for suicide prevention and assistance for those who have lost loved ones.
  • There is also the IASP, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, for my friends overseas.

Note:  And yes I see the irony of the first bullet and my post about shooting my firearm yesterday.  I’m a responsible gun owner and that includes the understanding that if I ever suffer a serious bout of depression the revolver will be the first thing to go.  Thankfully, I haven’t had a serious crisis in about 4 or 5 years.  

Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them.

                                                                              ― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

1. Did you know that 60% of Republicans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants? They do so long as President Obama’s name is not associated with it. If the President supports it or pushes for it, that support drops to 39%. Since when did a good idea stop being good idea because you don’t like the messenger? For example, I despise Sarah Palin but if she actually supported a good policy idea that I also supported, I wouldn’t stop supporting it if I found out we agreed. That’s what grown ups do.

2. A journalist over at The Week, Taegan Goddard, is actually proposing that the President “…consider reverse psychology and propose the opposite of what he really wants.” Why? Because it has finally become clear to some in the media that the Republicans are simply opposing anything the President supports without any thought to the actual merits of the policy idea and by their own admission! See #1 above. How many of you are parents and resorted to using reverse psychology on your toddler in order to get compliance on something? So instead of demanding that the Republicans in Congress act like grown ups and do their damn jobs, the burden of compliance (caving to GOP demands) or manipulation (reverse psychology) is being placed on the President. I would go with demanding adults act like adults, but that’s just me.

3. Which leads me to this story…..Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said,

Here’s my belief: let’s take Obamacare and put it on the table,” he said. “If you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, let’s look at Obamacare. Let’s don’t destroy the military and just cut blindly across the board.

Since Obamacare has significantly slowed the rate of healthcare cost increases and saved us all about $1.5 billion (if not more) in the first year of implementation and if that continues could save as much as $15 billion or more in the next decade, how does this proposal make any sense whatsoever?  We can’t find $1.2 trillion in Obamacare and even if we could, it would defeat the purpose of the law AND cost about 40 million people the healthcare coverage that is now available to them.  Graham and his Republican ilk would want to make these paltry (at least to them cuts) rather than making smart cuts from incredibly bloated segments of the government like the military.  Heck, even the military doesn’t want or need all the extra funds and equipment Congress is trying to give them.

The REAL solution to sequestration, which would be like taking a hatchet to the budget, is for Congressional Republicans to get off their butts and start making bipartisan decisions on the surgical cuts that need to be made and not let the sequestration occur at all.  So the solution to sequestration is for Graham and his colleagues to do their damn jobs!   But wahhhhhh, baby wants to do it his way!!!!!!!!!!!!  If baby can’t have it his way, then the budget can just get hacked up indiscriminately.  The “scorched earth” approach is effective in war but not so effective in governing. Of course, immature minds can’t understand this.

I get sooooo tired of having to remind them to put down their binky, take their thumb out of their mouths (or asses, which is more likely when we’re talking about Congress) and grow up.