Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

This Sunday is the 15th anniversary of the day that forever changed the fabric of our nation.  The 9/11 attacks which killed 2,977 people touched the lives of every American.  While I personally did not know anyone who was a victim of the attacks, I spent the next 13 years experiencing the further effects of that day.  Prior to 9/11, it had been many years since I had seen the towers, even though I grew up seeing them on a very regular basis, from the New Jersey side, with the Statue of Liberty in clear profile with them.  The only time I have seen the area since has been from an airplane taking off or landing at Newark International Airport while heading out TDY somewhere for the Army.

My sister-in-law, whom I did not know at that period in time, lovingly changes her Facebook profile photo each year to that of her dear friend from school, Tonyell McDay, who lost her young life during those senseless attacks.  While I do not know anyone personally who died, everyone I know from that day forward either lost someone on 9/11 or during combat action in the years following.  9/11 is not a day that requires anyone to go more than two or three degrees of separation in order to connect any individual to someone directly affected.

In the days, weeks, months, and, early years after that day, there was a loud call from the citizens of this great country to come together in support of the survivors, the friends and families, as well as the recovery efforts in the time that followed.  Patriotism became a unifying banner across the nation as we identified the perpetrators of this horrific attack and began to take action to avenge the fallen.  As the days unfolded, we as a country experienced Patriotism in the truest sense of the word; it encompassed empathy and compassion for our Nation and those directly and indirectly affected by the attacks, and, in the sense of pride in our Armed Forces as we moved off to war to avenge this senseless attack.

In subsequent years that all-too-real, yet indefinable feeling has waned.  Not for the victims of the attacks or remembrance of the attacks themselves, but for the idea that is this great country as a whole.  For a very short period of time of the last decade and a half, the nation stood as what I can only imagine the Founding Fathers envisioned when they created the concept of what this nation should be.

Instead of building and improving upon that brief moment, we have let it slip us by, and we have squandered an opportunity born of tragedy.  I have been fortunate enough to witness the rise of some truly great leaders, both in the military and civilian world.  I speak of people capable of transformation, advancement and vision, yet, it does not seem as if it is possible for them to rise to the point, either from circumstance or personal belief, that they can move to the position where they can truly influence this nation on a different path; a path that will take us away from being a country that can only seem to come together as a result of tragedy rather than as a way of life.

As we draw closer to the 15th anniversary of this infamous day, we are being sucked further into the circus that is our run-up the the Presidential election, and I have to say that it is a bitter disappointment that we, as a nation, can only present to the world a shallow pool of candidates as a representation of a nation which at one time stood together in solidarity in the aftermath of tragedy.  Today we stand fractured with the narrative in control of a two-party system and a media which refuses to recognize that there are viable candidates beyond this crop of weeds that presents itself as a garden.

Patriotism is a feeling, an ideal, an intangible that means something different to everyone but has a common thread that runs through it which evokes a passion and emotion particular to each individual.  Unfortunately, in its inability to be defined, patriotism is  susceptible to the vitriolic narratives of party candidates, presented in a never-ending stream of sound bites to a gullible public by news outlets on a 24 hour loop.  We as Americans, are responsible for this because we are willing to accept what has been placed before us as our only options, latching on to the buzzwords which speak to the issues we see as personal to us, rather than demanding the service required by their offices they hope to achieve instead of leadership and service.

This Sunday we should reflect and remember, and pray if that is what you need.  As we do so, do not do it just for those we lost on that day.  Also do it for what we have lost since then, that brief period when we as individuals came together as one, regardless of the differences we possessed or the beliefs we harbored.  Open your heart and soul, clear your mind and really try to get in touch with that day and the emotions it evoked.  When you wake up Monday morning and get ready to start your week, as you read your paper, watch the news or listen to the radio, think about your reflection from the day before and ask yourself if this is the best we can do, are these people who are pushing our buttons to try and draw us to their side, the best we can do or is it okay to settle because they are all their is?  If you are even remotely capable of capturing a small part of what you felt on September 11th, 2001, then you will probably say that we are headed for disappointment instead of greatness, stagnation rather than excellence.

Remember our fallen and those who still suffer from that day and all the days since.  They deserve better from us, they deserve the us that rose from the ashes in the aftermath, not the us we have allowed ourselves to become.

BTAR

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Over 20 years ago I raised my hand to volunteer for service to my country.  Sometime in the next 12 months I will come to the end of that service, again voluntarily.  For most of my natural life we have had an all volunteer service.  While there have been drafts and conscription during our short history as a nation, we have never had compulsory service obligations for young adults like many nations throughout the world do.  When I raised my right hand and swore my oath, I did not do so out of some misguided, selfless act of patriotism, I did so to finally grow up and make something out of myself.  When I raised my hand that time and all the subsequent times required to re-enlist, I did do so with the full intent of fulfilling my obligations that I signed up for.

Over the last 2 decades I have done so over and over again, often at the sacrifice of the things most precious to me.  I have volunteered for and accomplished the hard jobs, the shitty ones, the ones that an even smaller percentage of military populace, which is just a fraction of our national populace, agree to do.  I and a small community of like minded people have served at the whims of our leadership, sacrificing our lives, our health, our sanity and our families.  We have willingly gone into harms way to preserve the right of stupid people to continue sending us and even more stupid people can continue to vote them into office.

We do these things for a variety of reasons.  Whatever our individual reasons may be, we did so in that we would receive certain things at the end of our service.  It does not matter how long we serve to receive these promises, provided we have done so honorably and fulfilled our oaths to the best of our abilities.

Most people do not realize the amount of contributions made by the military during peace time, nor do they realize the exponential increase in contributions forged in blood.  The medical and emergency services alone have witnessed a boom in lifesaving techniques, equipment and training changes.  Law enforcement has benefited from changes in our techniques and procedures proven through our mistakes while executing operations where the enemy masquerades as civilians and the civilians end up bearing the brunt of violent outcome.  Business has benefited from the leadership and innovation from talented members of our force who have now joined their ranks.

The communications industry has been the recipient of millions, if not billions of dollars.  We have literally moved from simple phone and text to 4G LTE over the course of a decade and the ability to use that capability globally.  I can live tweet a firefight from anywhere on the globe should I choose to put aside regulation and risk my security clearance.  Do you really think these changes are made without the investment of military dollars?

No country in the history of the world has ever maintained its ability to protect its strategic interests, nor not fallen into civil unrest when it has become accepted policy to forsake promises it made to its veterans.  Rome was on a downward slide already, but it was hastened when it stopped honoring its veterans and it promises to them.  They were a world might until they over-extended themselves and began to remove pension and benefits from those who had made her so.  It has been so for every “state” throughout history.  We truly are a Romanesque nation, however we have no where near the time on the clock which Rome did from rise to fall.

We have been forsaken.  Our elected officials have expanded their power, power guaranteed by the blood of warriors, in order to turn a position of service into a career of power and hubris.  It is not just the politicians who have forsaken us, it is those whose rights we have also guaranteed in blood and sacrifice to continue to feed the ineptness of leadership based on false promises and the hope they will get something without actually having to do anything for it.  There is not simply a partisan divide at the hands of political parties and ideology, there is a nation of apathy, ignorance and entitlement to provide a foundation for the parties to continue to build upon.

I have performed my duties faithfully with no expectation than of that which I was promised.  I have spent almost as much time missing my family as I have actually spent with them.  I miss the brothers I have lost.  I will miss the excitement and fear of the unknown.  I have my demons that I keep locked up tight.  All this because I have served the nation, just as my brothers and sisters are currently doing.  All we ask is for what we were promised when we are promised to receive it.  We are not unfamiliar with sacrifice for the greater good, in fact we are intimately familiar with it.  If we must sacrifice after we have served, we have earned the right to be heard in how we are to make that sacrifice.  It should not be done so as part of political solidarity without sacrifice to all, ALL members of the nation, and should be done so as to be readily measurable and tangibly effective to the benefit of all, not simply the reputation of those who author it.

Okay, we have covered some of this ground before in various other postings, but maybe given the current state of the “leadership” in D.C., and, the blaring ignorance of the most basic principles and the unrivaled gullibility of sheeple to ignorantly comment on and perpetuate the endless streams of stupidity run rampant on social media sites, it is time we break some of these key points of American Civics.

1.  We are NOT a democracy.  I know hard to believe after all these years of the blind following the blind for the truth to come out, but what we are as a nation is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC which uses the democratic process.  Now that you have that term readily available, feel free to do something you have probably never done before; research something for yourself, and, in this case, Wikipedia will probably suffice as a somewhat accurate means of getting an answer.

2.  Impeaching the President will not actually remove him from office.  I know, I know, you have read three words from a really cool meme or skimmed an article from a less than reputable website that included the words: Impeachment; President; and, Obama, and think that is the end all be all of the current administration, but, before we go on remember that it would be the Vice-President who would replace him.  That would be Joe Biden for those of you who are not quite read up on current events.

So on with the act of impeachment.  What that really means is to bring charges against, and the sole responsibility for that rests in the hand of the House of Representatives.  Today, for those of you so inclined to hope for the process to begin chances are in our Republican majority House, it is quite possible that this may happen since bringing charges only requires a simple majority at this phase.  This however, is only step one of an intentionally difficult process created by our Founding Fathers.  So, on to phase two.  Charges are preferred and the defendant is now tried in front of the Senate with the trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Here is where it gets difficult folks, each individual charge requires a 2/3 majority of the voting members of the Senate.

***BREAKOUT SESSION*** Just a little simple math before we go on.  There are 50 states in our Union with two (2) Senators per state. 50 (states) x 2 (Senators per state) = 100.  2/3 of 100 is 66% or a minimum of 66 to 34 YEA votes per charge of guilty  ***END BREAKOUT SESSION***

At the start of the 113th Congress this year the political party breakout is as follows: 52 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 46 Republicans.  So, now, refer back to the previous breakout session and math and factor in the fact that there has not been a partisan decision in either house of Congress for years and what do you think would be the likelihood of a 2/3 majority vote in favor of any of the charges preferred by the House?  Do I even at this point need to go on with the process should there be a miraculous vote of YEA for any of the charges?  I think not.

3.  Only the House of Representatives can provide funding for the government.  That is spelled out plain and simple in the Constitution.  This is regardless of whether or not we actually have a budget.  Appropriated funds, bills of taxation and programmatic funding are the sole responsibility of the House.  Senate approval and Presidential signature are pro forma if the House does not come up with the appropriations to begin with.  The Senate and the President can suggest a budget to the House, but the act must originate there.

4.  The President cannot create law, or, fund a program they create beyond the fiscal year, by Executive Order.

5.  Our current “2 Party” system of government is not the law.  What it is, is the inability of American citizens to give enough of a fuck about the state of affairs to demand better from our elected “leaders” and force them beyond politics and party representation.  We have allowed our President to be the leader of the party as well as the leader of the Nation and not always with the best interests of the country in mind (this is not limited to the current administration, it goes back YEARS).

The Tea Party is not a party.  It is a bunch of extreme right wingers who are further dividing an already out of touch party.  Libertarians are at least making an attempt to represent themselves as a legitimate third party by candidates running for offices as actual Libertarians.  And, let us not forget the Democrats in their entirety, they run the gamut from extremely left wing hippy-dippy give it all away for the greater good liberal to centrist moderation.  Say this for them though, they are good at rallying around a cause, using social media and deflecting attention away from a problem when it is more convenient than doing anything about it.  To sum it all up, we would all be better to vote on actual facts than by party politics and choose the right person to represent us and our needs, regardless of party affiliation.

6.  It is our responsibility as American citizens to insure that those we elect are representing us on the national stage.  Contrary to popular belief this is not representing us as individuals, but as the will of their constituency (that would be the best interests of all those they are elected to represent).  If we are not happy, and it would seem based on the recent satisfaction polls that we are not, then it is up to us to make sure that we are satisfied.

7.  The President is limited to two, four year terms in office with the possibility of an additional two years if they were elevated to the post as a result of the sitting President vacating the office (death, resigning, etc.).  This was done as a result of Congress ratifying the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1951.  This was their means of curtailing the power of the President and the possibility of unlimited power growth after the unprecedented four successful elections of FDR.  In all their forethought in regards to limiting the ability to build a kingdom by the President, they conveniently overlooked limiting themselves and their ability to become career politicians rather than elected people who SERVE at the WILL of the Nation and respect the OATH to the Constitution when they take office.

For those of you who may require a refresher in the Constitution click the word.

And for those of you old enough to remember when they tried to add a little bit of education to our Saturday morning cartoon time, a little School House Rock

I am usually not one to criticize, at least not heavily, in print the decisions of our military leaders.  Today, however, I was confronted with a situation that I simply have to vent about.  The powers that be here at my long-term residence of Fort Bragg, NC have decided that due to the current fiscal climate it is an unjustifiable expense to hold our annual Fourth of July celebration this year.  In all the years I have been here (since 1994) the celebration has never been cancelled before.  Hell, even last year a torrential downpour and high winds only halted the celebration for just a short while until the storm was over.  Right after that, business as usual.

Citing the lame-ass excuse that they:

The decision was driven, in part, by overtime costs associated with the festivities

Overtime cost that exceed $120,000 for the day.  I remember a time on Fort Bragg, and in the military in general, when we soldiers were tasked with the duties of supporting post-wide events.  Civilians and their salaries were not a part of the costs of doing business.  I am not in any way putting down the contributions of our civilian workforce and the support they have provided us during these last 12 years of war, but if we have moved to the point of  a professional military service where we cannot support ourselves and our festivities in-house with our troops, then we have indeed fallen far below the standard.

We, the current and past service members and our families and friends, have paid the costs in blood, sweat and tears for the last 237 years of this country’s history.  We have answered every call since before the Declaration of Independence was signed.  That day would never had been celebrated if it were not for the sacrifices our military members have made.  Even in times of war, when we have been off in foreign lands we have had our families back home joining in the celebration of the day of the founding of our country.

It is with a sad heart that I have to hear the excuses stemming from the ineptitude of our elected officials, officials from both sides of the aisle.  It is a travesty that we, Americans, have fallen so low as to repeatedly elect, and re-elect those who we have little to no faith in and a distinct lack of trust for.  Repeatedly, we have given up more and more freedom, and this year we will feel the pinch of our irresponsibility; not only will we have to feel the effects of our governments inability to stop spending, come to consensus for the good of the people they represent, and their overall disdain for our ability to live our lives for ourselves, now we are not going to be able to see a celebration of our former greatness.  A celebration we deserve to have for all the lives we have given in support of it all these years.

In 1776, our Founding Fathers reached down and grabbed their balls, placed their signatures on the greatest document ever written in our history and gave a big “FUCK YOU” to a tyrant across the sea.  We stood up an Army and a country without the benefit of taxation yet today we cannot even celebrate that great day from 237 years ago because a bunch of dumb fuckers cannot balance a checkbook.  A federal income tax became law 100 years ago this month and still with all the money they suck out of our paychecks each month for taxes and fees to be an American we still cannot throw a party.

I have a petition on “We the People“.  Please sign it and lets send the criminal enterprise a message that we at least deserve our day.  Especially when there can be parties hosted with celebrities and music and dancing off of our dime.

The use of drones to launch Hellfire missiles has been a contentious issue for quite some time now.  It was a somewhat common topic during the Bush administration and it has exploded, literally and figuratively during the current presidential administration.  It has really made waves since the remote control death of Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011 and his 16 year old son just a couple days later, both by remotely piloted drones sporting the bad-ass Hellfire missile.  What made this situation uber-special is that al-Awlaki and his kid were both technically American citizens.

The whole point of contention in this matter is the “targeted” killing of American citizens in Yemen without “due process” as guaranteed by the Constitution.  It does not matter that Awlaki 1 was a senior member of al Qaeda, who is believed to be behind the Christmas shoe-bomber and his failed attempt to blow up an airplane.  Nor does it seem to matter that he was a “spiritual” adviser to the Fort Hood shooter, Abdel Hassan, quite possibly convincing him to unleash his inner jihadi on a hospital full of people.  I have a feeling that there is a little more to the killing of his son than the simple “assassination” of a boy who just happened to be unfortunate enough to have such a detestable piece of shit for his father, than the people on both sides of the aisle are up in arms about.  I don’t know, like maybe he just had the unfortunate enough piece of luck to be sitting in the passenger seat the day they blew up the guy they were really targeting, al-Awlaki’s number two.

Let us flash forward to present day and discuss the potential for use of drones within our borders.  That seems to be the hot topic of conversation across the board and one that the current administration is having a hard time framing an answer to.  At least that is an answer to a question that has no good answer to it.  While I am not really a fan of Eric Holder or current policies in general, I have to admit that the sensationalized scenarios being proposed by our latest crop of bullshitting do-gooders have no good answers to them.  So, here are my answers to the questions, stripping out all the one-sidedness that Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and all the other assholes that keep stirring everybody up with their “common” man, real-American guy ways.  In reality they are bullshit artists who are just playing a 4-year long con on people so desperate for someone who says all the right things, while they go about spreading the flame of discontent.  Here is a clue people, the next election may be one via social media in four years, but the dumb-ass memes doing a word for word of your favorite politician are not really going to solve anything.

So, back to missile being launched within the continental US.  A surgical strike in a known terrorist, American or otherwise, in a coffee house right in the middle of D.C. is not really a surgical strike.  In that regard, something just as lethal, but better guided to the intended recipient, rather than all the unfortunate sheeple that happen to be sitting near them, like I don’t know a bullet, or a blackjack to the back of the head followed by a set of felx-cuffs may be the proper escalation of force in that particular instance.

Now, lets take same said asshole, again, American or otherwise, driving a truck full of something horribly destructive across the Kansas plains, intent on destroying something American.  Feel free to send a remotely piloted ballistic device right up their backside.  American or not, intent to use a Weapon of Mass Destruction in our country deserves quick, and deliberate use of force.  The more lethal it is up front, the less we have to take to trial later.

So what is really wrong with this picture?  Is it really about denying the rights of Americans and due process, or, is it really about people sitting in positions of power, realizing that they have been fucking us over for years and just trying a new way of maintaining their control over the parties they represent?.  Let’s be real here people, this is not about drones or hell-fire missiles, religion or lack there-of.  This is about solidifying a base of power that is intended to move either them or their party further along the power track; eventually culminating in the top seat.

How can I say what I am saying?  That is a good question.  My answer is simply this, because the speech and rhetoric is targeted and intended to appeal directly to the people they are speaking to; their sheeple.  They paint the other side of their argument as the big-bad wolf and themselves as the dutiful sheepdogs here to protect us sheep from those wolves.  There is nothing but superficial bi-partisanship; no intention at consensus or bridge building; no attempt made to bring America’s needs to the front and dig deep for solutions.  It is all rhetoric and appeals to the audience it is targeted to.  As long as side are drawn and represent the partisanship, rather than American issues, that will be the case.

There are a few politicians out there from multiple party lines that I would like to think can actually transcend what they are part of now.  As a confirmed pragmatist however, I am never disappointed to see things continue on as they have been for as long as I have been alive.  I will be pleasantly surprised though, the day one of these cats has the balls (figurative here) to actually give the finger to the system,  take the podium in either House of Congress, allegedly to speak about one thing, turn around and give a big “fuck you” to the other 534 elected officials they are representative with.

To all my peeps out there constantly posting politically charged memes and speech excerpts, do more than just proliferate someone else speech.  Demand the level of responsibility they preach about and make them pay when they fall short.  Don’t be a sheep for these assholes when you are sheepdogs in the real world.  No matter how appealing or accurate what they say is, it is just speech until they actually do something.