Memorial Day–2016

Today is Memorial Day….a day set aside to remember our fallen service people during a time of war.

We build monuments to them and then they are soon forgotten…at least this day the public is forced to remember…..all the “sunshine patriots” come out of the woodwork…..and most will beat their chests like sex crazed primates….the sound and fury that signifies (what?)…….

But first a musical interlude….

This will be my only post of the day for I intend to honor our vets in my own way…..first I post this video of the group that I was part of during the Vietnam War…the LRRPs…..with the 9th Infantry Division….Mekong Delta….Republic of South Vietnam…..

Please take the time to learn about a group of men that did all asked of them and for the most part have been forgotten….something I hope to rectify…..

 

9th Infantry Division RECONDO Qualification Badge, LRRP, LRP | Vietnam ...

Although the LRRPs of Vietnam became the 75th Rangers…..I was a LRRP then and will always be a LRRP.  I refuse to let my guys be eaten up by the legend of the Rangers…..we were there first and we did it better…….

In closing let me leave my readers with a couple of thoughts……

Our veterans are having a rough time…as they always have when they return home from war……we need to do better in their care…..we need to care more than we do today……

The Veterans First Act, does almost nothing to fix the structural problems with the VA. Instead, this bill will increase costs and further entrench an unaccountable bureaucracy. Worst of all, under this bill, veterans will continue to be left waiting for the critical medical care they need.

“The VA, riddled with scandal, needs an overhaul focused on accountability and choice that leads to improved delivery of health care to our veterans. The Isakson-Blumenthal bill meets all the demands of the federal employees, but none of the demands of veterans.

Don’t let mere political activity be mistaken for actual progress.  Our veterans deserve better. We strongly urge Senators to reject the Isakson-Blumenthal bill, and keep the door open for real VA reform.

One last thought……

Please take a moment of your time today to remember all those that did not return home to their loved ones…it is the least we can do!

Go now and enjoy your Holiday activities….I shall return tomorrow in full force….

Peace Out!

And You Think You Are Having a Bad Day

My weekend….and I will be doing what I always do….avoiding anything remotely newsworthy while I spend time with one of my fave people, my granddaughter…..it is her time to pick the game…..but yesterday’s post was as popular as a turd in a punch bowl…..I will NEVER try to give a little history on weekends again…..maybe today’s post will be more wisely accepted…..

We all have a bad day now and then……some are small others are big and life changing…..and then there are those days that you just thank whatever deity you believe in that it is not happening to you……

I read a story that by definition is the best example of “having a bad day”…..

Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the toilet. Coconuts Bangkok reports Thai resident Attaporn Boonmakchuay was five minutes into his “usual bowel movement” Wednesday morning when a huge python bit him on the penis. The 10-foot snake had, well, snaked its way through his home’s plumbing, according to the AP. Sky News reports Attaporn’s wife and neighbor entered the blood-soaked bathroom to help, but their efforts with a knife and rope were fruitless. It seems getting a snake off one’s penis is just something a man has to do himself. “All of a sudden … it began to lose some strength, so I used my hand to prize open its mouth,” Sky News quotes Attaporn as saying. “Then the snake released its grip.”

In all, it took the 38-year-old Attaporn—who understandably passed out immediately afterward—more than half an hour to free his penis from the python’s jaws. Emergency workers arrived to find the snake still partially inside the toilet. They freed it with hammers and planned to release it back into the wild. Attaporn was rushed to the hospital with a 3-inch wound on his penis. Doctors say he was lucky the python’s bite didn’t puncture his urinary tract, and he is expected to recover. “He has a really good attitude … even though his own wife and children were in shock,” the AP quotes the hospital director as saying. “He’s been smiling and giving interviews all day from his bed.”

Now…how is your day?

Mysteries Of The Desert

The weekend and it begins….(my poem for the day)…..

Since I love some history and I try to be fair to all parts of the planet…..I have a couple of stories about the continent of Africa…..that reminds me of line from a movie…”It is Africa…No one cares about Africa”….for the most part it is true.  Americans care little about the continent….so I try to write about it as often as I can especially when I find something that I think will interest my readers.

Ever see the movie “Sahara”?  It is a story about some guys searching for a civil war ironclad shipwreck in the desert…..may not be as far fetched as one would think……

Miners have been pulling diamonds from a vast area of Namibia’s Namib Desert called the Sperrgebiet (or “forbidden territory”) for more than a century. But in 2008, workers hunting for diamonds where the desert meets the Atlantic Ocean found something even more precious: the likely remains of the Bom Jesus, a Portuguese sailing ship that disappeared some 500 years ago on its way to India. It’s a discovery, per recent coverage by News.com.au, that solved “one of the biggest maritime mysteries.” Also, says archaeologist Dieter Noli, it’s the oldest shipwreck ever found in sub-Saharan Africa. And there’s treasure as well: Included in the find were some 2,000 gold coins from Spain and Portugal, according to Gainesville News. Upon unearthing the site of the shipwreck, per CNN, workers found pieces of metal, wood, and what looked like pipes.

Not sure what they had found, they called in Noli. “It just looked like a disturbed beach,” he told CNN earlier this month, “but lying on it were bits and pieces.” Among those were a centuries-old musket and an elephant tusk. “I thought, ‘Oh, no no, this is definitely a shipwreck,'” Noli says. Ultimately, in addition to the gold, workers recovered cannons (the pipes), navigational instruments, tons of copper ingots, swords, and a lot more—some 5,438 artifacts. Not much of the actual structure of the ship remains. But archaeologists have matched the cargo with that of the Bom Jesus (which means the “Good Jesus”) based on details found in a 16th-century book that lists the ship as lost. The stretch of coastline is known for storms. Speaking to CNN, Noli speculates that the Bom Jesus “came in, it hit a rock, and it leaned over.

Then back in the day Southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa were some of the earliest evidence of humans…..there has been new evidence that it goes back some 20,000 years ago……

THE last Ice Age made much of the globe uninhabitable, but there were oases – or refugia – where people 20,000 years ago were able to cluster and survive. Researchers at the University of Huddersfield, who specialise in the analysis of human DNA, have found new evidence that there was one or more of these shelters in what is now Southern Arabia.

Once the Ice Age receded – with the onset of the Late Glacial period about 15,000 years ago – the people of this refugium then dispersed and populated Arabia and the Horn of Africa, and might also have migrated further afield.

Read on and learn something….even it is the weekend….it is never too late to learn a thing or two…..

Source: Researchers prove humans in Southern Arabia 10,000 years earlier than first thought | EurekAlert! Science News

Your history lesson is complete….now go enjoy your weekend and feel a little smarter…..you are welcome.

As per usual this will be my only post of the day…..Have a day, my friends.

Confusion Is Their Business

I have written a couple of posts about the situation in Syria and their civil war…..reporting is difficult because it is so damn confusing that few want to try and explain…(read my last post on this subject)…..

Source: And You Think That The Syrian Conflict Is Confusing – In Saner Thought

The big news, at least for now, is that there is a big armed push to attack the ISIS capital city of Raqqa in Syria….there is a combo of Kurds and Arabs teaming up to give those bastards in Raqqa the what you for……

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish-Arab fighters has started to clear ISIS fighters from the area north of Raqqa, the jihadists’ de facto capital, a US official confirmed Tuesday.

“The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) have begun operations to clear the northern countryside, so this is putting pressure on Raqqa,” Baghdad-based US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

The US military will conduct air strikes in support of the “several thousand” SDF forces, some of whom have been trained and equipped by the United States.

Source: Kurdish-Arab Alliance Starts Operation Against Islamic State in Raqqa | World Affairs Journal

The coalition is an attempt to make this armed conflict something for everybody……and the media has done an excellent job passing on the propaganda that the government wants the American people to have……but there is  problem….not all is as that want it to appear…..

Though they have, throughout US involvement in the Syrian War, been America’s go-to ally, the Kurdish YPG hasn’t had the rosiest of track records. Several times throughout the war, when offensives have put them in control of Sunni Arab territory, they have engaged in ethnic cleansing, killing Arabs they see as “pro-ISIS” and burning entire villages worth of homes.

This is informing the almost exclusively Sunni Arab population of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa as the YPG launches a major offensive just north of the city, and according to locals, is prompting many civilians to join the ISIS effort to defend the city.

I am sure the US does not intended this to be a recruitment program, right?

Well this clears up the situation in Syria, right?

Feel informed now?

“Cowgirl” Diplomacy!

Back a couple years ago we had what some termed “Cowboy Diplomacy”……that was the so-called diplomacy of GW Bush…the shoot first and worry about the consequences later  style of  “diplomacy”…….and those days are about to return….and from an unlikely (in some peoples mid) source.

I have been trying to get my readers to see where Clinton will be if and when she is elected president…..especially in the area of foreign policy.  I have said that she is a devout hawk and our international entanglements will only get deeper and a lot worse….few listen…but I soldier on…….

America’s mainstream media, ever attracted to the splashy rather than the serious, has a new topic to occupy the time until Election Day: President Trump. What will he do first? How will he translate his hazy “America First” theme into policy? Who will be in his inner circle? (Specifically, will he appoint people who really know something about foreign affairs?) There’s just so much room for playful speculation about Donald Trump that something important has been lost sight of: He’s going to lose – big time, as Trump would say.

So let’s get real: We need to be thinking about another Clinton presidency. Granted, it’s early, but then again, we already know a good deal about Hillary Clinton’s perspectives on the world, the advisers she relies on, and the policies she advocated while secretary of state. We also know she is not going to simply carry on where Barack Obama left off. In fact, on some important foreign-policy matters, we may look back nostalgically on Obama’s record.

Source: Cowgirl Diplomacy? Foreign Policy Under Hillary Clinton – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

But Hell do not take my word for it……meet the Hawks that are swooning all over Clinton…..

A running list of military interventionists who have declared preference for the long-hated Democrat

With the op-ed declaration in Wednesday’s New York Times by former Bush foreign policy hand Eliot A. Cohen that “On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better” than Donald Trump, the list of Hawks for Hillary has officially become too large for handy memorization. So to keep a running tab, as well as highlight some common themes within the genre, here’s a handy guide to your conservative (or conservative-friendly) military interventionists who would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than the Republican nominee.

These are by no means the only righties in the #NeverTrump club, as this post of mine from last fall details, and their critiques of the presumptive GOP nominee mirror several of my own. But the rise of this cadre is at least a half-fulfillment of a prediction I made in 2013 and again in 2015: that neocons-for-Hillary would become a thing.

Without further ado, here are some members of Hillary’s unusual (if predictable) new fanclub. Please leave other nominees in the comments:

Source: Meet the Hawks for Hillary! – Hit & Run : Reason.com

There is only so much I can do to help people realize that she will be a disaster in the realm of foreign relations and that our military will be asked to do more and more…..until there is little left for the rest of the world to claim.

Do you really want another Bush policy running our foreign policy?

If so then please vote for Hillary

Me?  I have bigger and better things to do.

Sykes-Picot Turns 100

History is a cruel teacher……some even say she is a BITCH!

This month is the 100 years anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement……and some point to this document and the dividing up of the Middle East as the reason that the region is ion such turmoil for so many years…..

A century after the Sykes-Picot Agreement carved up the Ottoman Empire, it is still the root cause of much of the region’s strife.

Source: How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East – The New Yorker

As usual I feel compelled to offer up a little historical perspective in my small attempt to try and help people understand the turmoil in the Middle East…..

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, we’ve got a package with an explanatory article about the secret accord (below) . . .

The Sykes-Picot accord was conceived at a high point in Britain and France’s imperial power. Hammered out in the midst of the first world war in anticipation of an Entente victory (the Russian Empire, France and the United Kingdom) over the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria), it was concerned with distributing the territorial spoils of Ottoman defeat.

France and Britain, along with most other European powers, had been convinced of the inevitable demise of the Ottoman Empire for decades. The image of the Ottomans as the “sick man of Europe” was one of the defining images of 19th-century diplomacy.

Source: 100th Anniversary: What did the Sykes-Picot Agreement mean for the Middle East? | Informed Comment

At the end of WW1 the victors set about re-drawing the lines in the Middle East….they were dividing up the old Ottoman Empire for colonial aspirations…

When the map changed….so did the world……

Source: Sykes-Picot: The map that spawned a century of resentment – BBC News

The Arabs felt betrayed by the UK……their promises of an Arab kingdom free from foreign dominance was squished….and the hard feelings have been there for a century……but why the lingering hatred?

The borders of the Middle East were drawn during World War I by a Briton, Mark Sykes, and a Frenchman, Francois Picot.

The two diplomats’ pencils divided the map of one of the most volatile regions in the world into states that cut through ethnic and religious communities.

Later dubbed the Sykes-Picot treaty, the secret agreement was signed by Paris and London on May 16, 1916, to become the basis on which the Levant region was shaped for years to come.

A century on, the Middle East continues to bear the consequences of the treaty, and many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the Middle East, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the Sykes-Picot treaty.

In this piece, we revisit the circumstances that led to the signing of this critical agreement and the events that unfolded afterwards.

Source: A century on: Why Arabs resent Sykes-Picot

to this day, many blame the Sykes-Picot Agreement for all the problems in the Middle East….but there is one group that sees history a bit differently….Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)…….they have offered up an opposing look at Sykes-Picot…..I would expect them to do so….I mean they were part and parcel to the dividing and why would they admit they screwed up…..

Sometime in the 100 years since the Sykes-Picot agreement was signed, invoking its “end” became a thing among commentators, journalists, and analysts of the Middle East. Responsibility for the cliché might belong to the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, who in June 2013 wrote an essay in the London Review of Books arguing that the agreement, which was one of the first attempts to reorder the Middle East after the Ottoman Empire’s demise, was itself in the process of dying. Since then, the meme has spread far and wide: A quick Google search reveals more than 8,600 mentions of the phrase “the end of Sykes-Picot” over the last three years.

The failure of the Sykes-Picot agreement is now part of the received wisdom about the contemporary Middle East. And it is not hard to understand why. Four states in the Middle East are failing — Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. If there is a historic shift in the region, the logic goes, then clearly the diplomatic settlements that produced the boundaries of the Levant must be crumbling. History seems to have taken its revenge on Mark Sykes and his French counterpart, François Georges-Picot, who hammered out the agreement that bears their name.

View full text of article.

I apologize….for these tools want you to become a subscriber and may not allow you access to the piece…..but if you would like to try please feel free to do so….

But if that one did not work out….I found an article in the UK’s The Telgraph along those same lines…..

Exactly a century ago, an Englishman and a Frenchman unrolled a map of the Middle East and drew an improbably straight line across the desert. With one pen-stroke, Sir Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot created the modern states of the region and carelessly lit the fuse of a thousand conflicts that blaze even today.

By drawing a line from contemporary Iraq to the Mediterranean, they ignored explosive ethnic and religious divides. In this way, Britain and France carved up the Middle East after the First World War, jointly committing the original sin that lurks behind today’s tragedies.

So runs the folklore version of the Sykes-Picot agreement, whose centenary falls on Monday. This critique has gained such power that it has entered popular culture, largely because of David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia.

Source: A century on, don’t blame Sykes-Picot for the Middle East’s troubles

And finally a good debate piece on the Agreement………

Source: A century on: What remains of Sykes-Picot – AJE News

I know it is a lot to take in and the Agreement has some many aspects that ity can be confusing….but maybe the fact that so many Americans are dying in the region would make it worth the read and a bit of understanding…..

Now you have both sides of the story……you may chose which ever of the fairy tales you care to believe……there are two sides to every situation…..I could not find a non-interested party to take the side of the US and the UK in this……

Class dismissed!

How the World Ends

For eons man has been predicting the end of the world…..and with the advent of social media now everyone that can type can have their say as to just when the fateful will arrive……in the last week I read at least three separate predictions…one was because of transgender stuff….the other was refugees and finally there is the one I like best…..Clinton will bring about the end of the world as we know it….

And then while surfing around news sites I found this one on Unz Review……the author is Philip Giraldi…who is a notorious skeptic of social media…..

Baiting Russia is not good policy

Last week I attended a foreign policy conference in Washington that featured a number of prominent academics and former government officials who have been highly critical of the way the Bush and Obama Administrations have interacted with the rest of the world. Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago was on a panel and was asked what, in his opinion, has been the most notable foreign policy success and the most significant failure in the past twenty-five years. The success was hard to identify and there was some suggestion that it might be the balancing of relationships in strategically vital Northeast Asia, which “we have not yet screwed up.” If I had been on the panel I would have suggested the Iran nuclear agreement as a plus.

As for the leading foreign policy failure there was an easy answer, “Iraq” which was on everyone in the room’s lips, but Mearsheimer urged one not to be so hasty. In reality the Iraq disaster has killed hundreds of thousands, has cost trillions of dollars and has unleashed serious problems for the Mideast region in general while allowing the rise of ISIS, but in “realistic foreign policy terms” it has not been a catastrophic event for the United States, which had hardly been seriously injured by it apart from financially and in terms of reputation.

Source: How the World Ends – The Unz Review

I found it an interesting read…..but I would like to hear what my readers have to say about it…..