America’s Memorial Day – The Corporate Menace

American flag distress

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Happy Memorial Day :-)

Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, replied to yesterday’s UGLY – various Key West Memorial Day weekend ceremonies, and some eagle prayers post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com:

psychiatrist interviews

Sloan: I will tell you another ugly facet of our dehumanized society; the VA is starved for money –not enough doctors, nurses and techs to treat our returned veterans –who wait months for appointments; meanwhile 22 per day commit suicide. Yet I just received word congress will appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to DREDGE at least 4 Florida east coast ports for giant Cruise ships and other monster floating cities —-those ports have done fine up to now. Disney loves this along with much more ocean pollution on the way —happy day –Jerry

Amiga Gloria Reiser, of Quincy, Illinois, put this pic on Facebook yesterday, and then I ran down the uplifting article which had inspired it:

cost of war

Iraq, Afghan wars will cost to $4 trillion to $6 trillion, Harvard study says

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.

“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,”the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.”

Bilmes said the United States has spent almost $2 trillion already for the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those costs, she said, are only a fraction of the ultimate price tag. The biggest ongoing expense will be providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of the two conflicts.

“Historically, the bill for these costs has come due many decades later,” the report says, noting that the peak disbursement of disability payments for America’s warriors in the last century came decades after the conflicts ended. “Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing.”

Spending borrowed money to pay for the wars has also made them more expensive, the study noted. The conflicts have added $2 trillion to America’s debt, representing roughly 20 percent of the debt incurred between 2001 and 2012.

Bilmes’s estimate provides a higher range than another authoritative study on the same issue by Brown University’s Eisenhower Research Project. Brown researchers put the price tag at roughly $4 trillion.

Both figures are dramatically higher than what U.S. officials projected they would spend when they were planning to go to war in Iraq. Stephen Friedman, a senior White House official, left government in 2002 after irking his colleagues by publicly estimating that the Iraq war could end up costing up to $200 billion. 

Something else floated into my Facebook Account yesterday, which I also was unable to let pass:

The Tea Party's photo.
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In today’s Key West Citizen - www.keysnews.com:

Monday, May 26, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter

Honor fallen forces
‘Fly a flag, volunteer, do something.’
BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff
alinhardt@keysnews.com

Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Kevin Morehead was with one of the first Green Beret teams to advance on Ramadi, Iraq, and his unit was tasked with hitting some of the most dangerous targets in the city.

“His team was made up of two ODAs (Operational Detachment A — Special Forces-speak for platoons they also call A-Teams), so they had 24 guys instead of the normal 12,” said Sgt. Maj. John Thies Thursday from his office at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School. “I was in a single ODA that hit softer targets. His team hit exclusively larger targets that were more challenging.” On Sept. 12, 2003, Morehead was part of an assault element that was to storm a building and capture people as directed by the intelligence staff.

Often, the Special Forces commandos were looking for those loyal to Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath Party, Thies said.

“Killing was not part of the plan,” Thies said. “Everyone needed intel. The job was to grab them and turn them over and go back out and do it again.”

Morehead was killed by a grenade lobbed at him by a foreign fighter at a building they were assaulting. He was the first man over the wall.

“He took small fragments to his left side,” Thies said. “His heart failed on the helo.” Already in a group of elite soldiers, Morehead stood out. He, as well as Thies, were also among the first Green Berets into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. They placed a piece of the World Trade Center at a battlefield there.

Then-President George W. Bush shook his hand at Fort Bragg, N.C. as Morehead was among the Green Berets who were speaking to family members of those killed in 9/11.

Morehead was quoted in the book, “The Hunt for Bin Laden,” about the first operations in response to 9/11.

His death was one of the first among the Special Forces teams in Iraq. Morehead and Thies shared a close bond. Both were combat divers and graduates of the dive school on Fleming Key. They worked together in Afghanistan before being called to Iraq.

Special Forces A-Teams are made up of 12 men and in each of those teams are commandos with specific skill sets such as scuba diving or parachuting.

Those graduates of the dive school on Fleming Key have a special bond, Thies said. The school is widely considered the toughest course in the Army. It is more demanding than Ranger School and takes a sharp mind as well as an extremely fit body to endure. Most men fail the course.

“Our camaraderie is so much higher,” Thies said. “I know what he went through and he knew what I endured.” Their wives remain good friends. Thies’ wife was there when Morehead’s wife received notification from the Army that Morehead has been killed in action.

Thies sat in his office reflecting on Morehead’s career and their friendship.

“Of the Green Berets that I know who’ve died, I knew Kevin the best,” Thies said. “We did a lot of training and work together. It was us against the world.” For most of the men who teach and train at the dive school, every day is Memorial Day. Very few of them don’t know someone who was lost in combat or even in training.

“There’s so much that civilians can do,” Thies said, adding that it has nothing to do with politics or opposing philosophies. “Actually contribute. It’s one thing to say you love the soldiers. Well, volunteer. Contribute to Wounded Warriors. I don’t know what kind of money or time people have.”

Thies turned his head for moment and put his hands up.

“Do something. Fly a flag. Put a flag out. Do something.”

In the world of Special Operations Forces, commandos often refer to themselves as “doers” as opposed to those who squabble, debate and pontificate. Outside of Thies’ office there is a wall dedicated to the men who graduated from the dive school and were later killed in action. Morehead’s picture is there.

A great many of the pictures are glossy and new. They represent those who have died since 9/11.

They represent a wide spectrum of the Special Operations Forces community, and they come from all walks of life. Most of the men’s uniforms are full of medals, awards and badges of other schools they completed.

Men who — by any standard — did quite a lot.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

Not meaning to be disrespectful, not meaning to take anything away from brave American military personnel who were in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, or in Vietnam, but I simply do not understand, nor will I ever understand, why Memorial Day is not a day of lament and soul-searching by all Americans over US foreign wars?

We know today, have known for years, that President George W. Bush used rumors of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to invade that country, and no such weapons then were found there. We know today, have known for years, that the real reason for the invasion was the Iraq oil fields and refineries.

We know today, have known for years, that Afghanistan had been viewed as where natural gas and oil pipelines could be run into nations to the east rich in those natural resources. We saw Bush give up the hunt for Osama bin Laden, proving that was not why he invaded Afghanistan.

In August 1988, at a Downtown Birmingham Rotary Club meeting, I heard the CEO of the National Geographic say the Geographic had news correspondents in Saigon when a massive street demonstration was held. Demonstrators carried signs in English, begging America to intervene in that civil war and save them. Fluent in Vietnamese, the Geographic correspondents interviewed numerous demonstrators and learned they lived in the countryside, not in Saigon. They did not speak English, did not know what was on the signs they carried. They had been paid money to demonstrate and had been bused into Saigon by the South Vietnamese government. That massive demonstration was shown on national TV in America and turned Americans sentiment from not intervening in that civil war, to intervening. Later digging by the Geographic revealed the money paid to the demonstrators had been given to the South Vietnamese Government by the US Government and American corporations which stood to profit by US intervention in that civil war. You could have heard a pin drop in that Rotary meeting.

Here in Key West, in 2004, in the Unitarian Universalist Church on Georgia Street, a fellow a little older than I said he had been in the CIA and his outfit had been stationed in Vietnam when the French were trying to take it back, having previously been ousted by the Japanese during World War II. He said, outwardly, on the international scene, the US Government was supporting France in Vietnam. However, his outfit’s mission was to support Ho Chi Min in defeating the French, so the US could come in and replace the French and enjoy South Vietnam’s natural resources instead, especially its rubber plantations. He said, Minh wanted to ally with the US, but the US ended up asking for too much, so Minh allied with the Soviets, even though he wasn’t a communist.

In 1999, I married a woman who had attended Kent State University, in Ohio. She told me that she was one of the unarmed students sitting in a circle on the ground, protesting the US extending the Vietnam war into neighboring countries. She was one of the unarmed students upon whom the Ohio National Guard opened fire. She was not hit and got up and fled with the other students who had not been hit, as Guardsmen fired at and chased them. When the other students veered right, she veered left, alone. The Guardsmen let her go and continued chasing and firing at the fleeing pod of students. More students died, more were wounded. The Guardsmen got off. She was so upset that she started carrying explosives in her backpack for the Weathermen between their hideouts. Then, she decided that wasn’t the way to deal with it, and she stopped doing that. When I knew her, she was terrified of the US Government, American military personnel and local police.

In the Keynoter today – www.keysnet.com – is the announcement of an upcoming symposium in Key West on President Harry Truman and nuclear weapons. Truman liked to come to Key West when he was President. A number of places and even a street were named after him here.

Harry Truman

Symposium looks at Truman and nukes
May 9, 2014
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Harry Truman spent 11 working vacations in Key West. Here, he takes a ride through Key West to celebrate his victory in the 1948 presidential election.

Experts and historians are to gather in Key West to examine the nuclear-energy legacy of America’s 33rd president, including his 1945 decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II, during the 12th annual Truman Legacy Symposium.

Exploring the lasting effects of Harry S. Truman’s presidency of 1945 to 1953, the symposium is set for May 16 to 17. The event is headquartered at the Harry S. Truman Little White House, 111 Front St., where the former president spent 11 working vacations.

Scheduled speakers include J. Samuel Walker, former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission historian and author of “Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan;” public policy analyst William Lanouette, author of “Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szliard, the Man Behind the Bomb;” “Atomic Age America” author Martin V. Melosi; and Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel, who is working on a book about the bombings.

The symposium begins May 16 with a 6 p.m. reception on the grounds of the Little White House. The carefully restored property is now Florida’s only presidential museum. Tours will be offered.

The evening’s highlight is to be a presentation of “Hibakusha Stories,” remarks from atomic bomb survivors known as hibakusha in Japan, who share their stories to promote nuclear disarmament.

May 17′s symposium is to start with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the Marriot Key West Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Presentation topics will explore Truman’s decision to use the bomb, one the most controversial choices of his presidency, and the atomic energy legacy that still resonates today.

Events are to conclude with a 2 p.m. lunch at the hotel.

Cost is $125 per person and includes the May 16 reception, and May 17 symposium and lunch. To find out more, call 294-9911.

———————————

I wonder if the symposium will delve into what I read in a national magazine maybe ten years ago, I think it was an issue of “Life.” The article reproduced a photostatic copy of an excerpt from President Truman’s handwritten diary, in which he wrote that he did not drop the A-bombs on Japan to win WW II; he did it to intimidate the Russians. He intimidated the Russians into getting their own A-bombs, and thus began the nuclear arms race.

Today is Memorial Day.

During the night of 9/9/2001, I was asked in my sleep by a then familiar voice, “Will you make a prayer for a Divine Intervention for all of humanity?” I awoke, thinking something really serious was up. I said, “Okay, I ask for a Divine Intervention for all of humanity.”

On 9/11, my concern was I knew it was a trap and retaliation was the worst possible response. Also in my thoughts, in the Gospels, Jesus told his disciples, “Resist not one who does evil,” and “First, take the beam out of your own eye.”

One year to the night later, 9/9/2002, I was asked in my sleep to make the very same prayer, but this time, still in my sleep, I said, “I ask for a Divine Intervention for all of humanity, and let it begin in me!” Although I had been taken through a heap of rough stuff in myself before then, I learned there was a heap more rough stuff to be taken through inside of me. It’s still happening.

In the fall of 2013, around Thanksgiving, the familiar voice asked me if I would make a prayer for a Divine Intervention of the Feminine into America. I asked for a Divine Intervention of the Feminine into America.

From what I have seen since 9/9/2001, nothing has changed in America; it still wages corporate war$, waving the American flag and chanting, “One nation, under God.” It still ignores President Dwight Eisenhower’s

Eisenhower

parting warning as he left his second term in office: “Beware of the military-industrial complex.” During World War II, General Eisenhower had commanded American and Allied Forces in Europe. One short street in Key West was named after him.

X-Men

I can’t help but wonder if my seeing “X-Men, Future-Past” at Regal Cinema this past Thursday night is tied into Memorial Day? By double, even triple the number of years, I was the oldest person in the ticket line. To the young people, I said, “I wonder if they will come out with Y-Women?” That brought chuckles.

nature woman

eagle woman

In “X-Men, Future-Past”, the mutants, through their valiant efforts to make this a better world and to insure their own survival and co-existence with humans, have inadvertently spawned a corporate artificial intelligence army far more horrible than any menace they have previously confronted; a corporate menace that is exterminating all mutants, and who knows what then will become of the humans? The old mutant leader, played by Patrick Stewart , “Star Trek’s” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, realizes the mutants have to go back in time, to before they made their mistakes, and do it in another way, to save themselves in the future, and humanity, from the corporate menace.

Many Americans today, who support American foreign wars, claim America was founded as a Christian nation. Maybe they should go back in time and get to know their Lord and Savior better.

Jesus wept

In the Gospels, he said, first take the beam out of your own eye; resist not one who does evil; give up an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth;  turn the other cheek; do good to and pray for those who persecute you; you cannot worship God and mammon; it is more blessed to give than to receive; many are called, but few are chosen; steep is the way, narrow the gate, and few enter therein; the work is great and the laborers are few. 

He still is looking for a few good men and women.

Jesus clears templedangerous man, Jesus

Jesus with leper

lightning strike

Sloan Bashinsky

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; single; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days on this website, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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