Tuesday, January 31, 2012
MadisonRising on Jan 26, 2012
Late one night as I came home
And saw the front door broken in
I grabbed my piece and went inside
To see who lurks within
There we stood face to face
My gun, the thief, and I
Man you should have seen him run
When I cocked that .45
Disarmed our rights will disappear
We won't let it happen here
Its one of my rights as a free man
To protect my home when needed
I demand my right to bear arms
Its one of my rights as a free man
To protect my home when needed
I demand my right to bear arms
The government makes the gun laws
So they can take our right to own
Every citizen un-armed
Is a citizen they control
All they see are weapons
It's the only thing they know
Disarm the voting country-men
And society will fall
You'll never take our guns away
In return for tyranny
The people have spoken
We won't let it happen
We won't let it happen here
All day today, the news about Major Chris Galloway has been weighing heavily on my heart. As the link to Flopping Aces in my previous post shows, "ChrisG" was a contributor on their site. Chris was also a regular reader (and valued contributor) of the Tanker Bros milblog. I came to know Chris when I first became a caretaker writer on TB, when the Tanker Bros were setting off for their second tour in Iraq.
Chris is another one of those amazing warriors - and I am blessed to know more than a few - who are as masterful with their 'pens', as they are with weapons of war. To me, Chris will always be the soul of a writer.
Below is a column that Chris wrote for Tanker Bros. Read it, and say a prayer for Chris and his beloved family:
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Why we Dislike the term "Hero""Tommy/Joe/Digger for the 21st Century"Why we Dislike the term "Hero"I have undertaken a difficult topic at the behest of more than a few. I write and rewrite this missive and simply cannot seem to make it rational, let alone SHORT. But here I go.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.-"Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling
Those who truly support us and our efforts in
deserve and receive all of our love. We love you all more than mere words can ever express. We will never cease in that love or our dedication to protecting you, our People, our Allies, the Innocent, and the Freedoms we hold dear. We love you because, unlike the 'sunshine patriotism" of the left, you support us no matter what the media and our enemies do. You support us in peace as in war. Iraq
Those who despise us and anything we do to defend our People and Freedoms…. well, I have said what you can do many times. These fools: leftists, anarchists, islamofascists, noe-NAZIs, KKK, and a host of other morons, are beyond my contempt and always will be. I must also note that these morons are usually seen gathered together in their "anti-war" marches.
Now for the "That said…". We in the militaries of the West really feel incredibly… uncomfortable… to be called "Heroes". We look in bewilderment at each other whenever this title is used. Now, mind you, we are never anything like what the left, the islamofascists, and our multitude of other foes accuse us of being. Any Soldier who fails to uphold the high standards we set is dealt with accordingly, and publicly. However, we do not consider ourselves to be "heroes".
Why do you not like being called a hero you ask? There are several reasons. First and foremost, "Hero" is a title we reserve for VERY few. Let me name some. As it is Easter, I will start of with Jesus Christ. He withstood hate, torture, harassment, and a multitude of other things to lead the world along the correct path. Another is the Founding Fathers of the
. They rose up above themselves and stood up against tyranny and risked their lives and property to change the world for the better. In doing so, they ushered in changes world wide for the better. I can go on and on with men and women from many parts of the world. United States
Addendum for trolls:(Please take note that Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam, islamofascist terrorists, Castro, Che Guevara, Chavez, Iranian Mullahs, the House of Saud, Cindy who pissed on her husband's and son's name, Mikey Moore, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and others of such ilk are not, and WILL NEVER be mentioned in any list of what I consider heroes or even honorable people.)Addendum Complete
The real heroes I mentioned were people of exemplary character, courage, and faith. We Soldiers fall into the category of the Kipling quote above. We are not "Blackguards" or "uneducated barbarians" or any other derogatory terms our foes use. That said, we are not angels or "plaster saints" either. A weekend of being a Company Commander or a First Sergeant will tell you EXACTLY how much trouble Private "Tommy/Joe/Digger" can get into!!!! If you place us too high on a pedestal, we will fall off.
What are we if not 'heroes' you ask? We are ordinary men and women "most remarkable like you". We are not supermen/women. We are ordinary people who are selected for the PRIVILEDGE to defend our fellow People. My father volunteered, along with my mother, for the Army during
. He was commissioned in 1968, she in 1970. He went on to be a paramedic, hospital ward supervisor, fire-fighter, and veteran's rights advocate all at the same time. When he was no longer able to be a paramedic due to injuries he became a nursing instructor, 2nd in command of a VAMC, and a veteran's rights advocate (but with A LOT more power to do something about it) before his untimely death in 1997 to illness. He would also balk at the title 'hero'. So would my mother who, even today, fights for the safety and health of children in the poorer communities. Vietnam
If my parents are also heroes, then other advocates (Brat) are just as big a hero. Other child welfare workers (A_C) are heroes. Others who go with us to combat and stand by us in thick and thin (Kiwi Girl) are also heroes. Others who raise their children well and work very hard to ensure the soldiers far from home get the support they need (Tracy, Leta, Donna, Terri, Yankeemom, and too many others to mention) are ALL HEROES!!!!!
Thus you see our disdain for the word 'hero'. We are all, each of us fighting the forces of islamofascism, resurgent communism, and petty oil rich dictators, ORDINARY people in HEROIC times. Therefore, we are ALL Heroes.
See how the word loses meaning? Now you understand our bewilderment when we are called 'Heroes'. It is the same as us walking up to each other and saying "you are a person". The obvious response is "no kidding, so are you"."You are a hero""No kidding, so are you"Yours,ChrisG
More Poetry…. Now you can say I read you poetry…
“In times of war, and not before,
God and the soldier men adore;
When the war is o’er and all things righted,
The Lord’s forgot and the soldier slighted.”(Scribed on a wall by Hessian Soldiers in 1776)-The History of
, (W.W.H. Davis, 1876) Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Remember our agreement. Stay Safe.
We just want to be remembered for people. We may be the "business end" of the effort, but we are really just doing our jobs. We are all in this together!!
ChrisG | 04.08.07 - 2:20 pm
Thank you, Chris, thank you for this - and so much more. Rest easy now.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Disney and his wife, Tess, gather their dogs, Sasha, Minnie and Wall-E, for a photo at their home, Feb. 24, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter
By Navy Lt. Theresa Donnelly
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2012 – Although the wars are drawing down, the deployment schedules for our men and women in uniform aren’t easing up. Troops continue to meet multiple operational needs, such as theater security exercises with partner nations, Navy ship cruises and other training requirements.
Many military pet parents struggle with what to do with their forever friend when serving our nation away from home. It can be tough to stay focused on the mission at hand if family affairs aren’t in order.
Enter our partners in the nonprofit sector. For the past several years, many organizations have stepped up to the plate, providing foster pet services to our deploying troops.
“Military members have a hundred things to worry about when deployment or training comes up. The last thing they should have to worry about is the care of their pets while they’re away,” said Alisa Johnson, a Marine Corps officer and president of Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit organization matching service members needing a foster pet family with volunteers who have agreed to take in their animals.
Alisa and her husband, Shawn, a Navy officer, observed the challenges military families face when it comes to pet care, which led to the creation of this service.
“We’re especially concerned with those military members that may live on one coast, while all their family lives on another, limiting those that they can rely on in their times of need,” Alisa said.
Since they launched the organization in June, more than 140 families have volunteered to be “boarders” and 20 dogs have been placed in temporary foster care.
Along with national organizations helping troops -- including Dogs on Deployment and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet -- many local animal shelters are answering the call of duty and creating programs in their communities to help deployed service members with pet care.
The Hawaiian Humane Society’s Pets of Patriots program provides pet care assistance to military personnel deploying on short notice due to war. Families living on Oahu can sign up to be foster parents, while military pet owners provide food and medical care while away from their duty station. The society assists with the written agreements, provides sample forms and helps find suitable volunteers.
Additionally, the San Diego County Humane Society offered a low-cost seminar in December for military families to provide information on pet resources for relocation and deployment.
If you need a home for your pet while deployed, check with your local animal shelter to see if they might have a military pet outreach program, contact a national foster military pet organization or see if your command has a spouse communication network to seek temporary pet parents. The military in our own community can act as our second family, helping to provide resources for our furry friends.
(Guest blogger Navy Lt. Theresa Donnelly, of U.S. Pacific Command, is the owner of Hawaii Military Pets, which provides pet resources for military families. She’s offered to share her pet-related knowledge in a series of blogs for Family Matters.)
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones dies in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
25 Jan 12
It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones from 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (200) on Tuesday 24th January 2012 at Forward Operating Base Khar Nikah in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones
[Picture: via MOD]
Signaller Ian Gerard Sartorius-Jones
Signaller Sartorius-Jones, 21, from Runcorn, Cheshire, enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals in February 2007. Following his basic training, he attended the Royal School of Signals, Blandford, where he enjoyed a promising start to his career as a Communications Systems Operator.
He joined 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters & Signal Squadron (200) in May 2008 where this talented and intelligent soldier deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 13. While in Iraq he contributed to the provision of communications and the closure of the Combined Operating Base Basra. He showed the raw talent on tour to be plucked from his duties in the Contingency Operating Base to serve with one of the Military Transition Teams providing communications and mentoring to the Iraqi forces. He took part in many exercises including a three month deployment to the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada and a string of Mission Specific Training exercises in Germany, Denmark and the UK. His sterling performances during these exercises and genuine aptitude for field soldiering saw him selected to work as a Rear Link Detachment Operator on Operation HERRICK 15.
Initially Detached to C Company, 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) and latterly D (DELHI) Company, 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own), this outgoing and charismatic Signaller was responsible for the maintenance of vital communications links from a Forward Operating Base in Nahr-e Saraj as well as conducting patrols alongside his Infantry counterparts.
Signaller Sartorius-Jones leaves behind his wife Kellyanne and young son Dylan as well as his parents Robert and Amanda Sartorius-Jones and brother, Alan, 26.
The family of Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones, said:
“Ian was a lovable character, a devoted father to Dylan, who is 8 months old, husband to Kellyanne, a wonderful son to Robert and Amanda and brother to Alan. He will always be missed and loved by all his family and friends.”
Major Stu Whittley, Officer Commanding, 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (200), said:
“Signaller Sartorius-Jones was a gregarious, immensely respected and highly capable Signaller. One of the longest serving members and biggest characters in the Squadron, he had accrued a vast amount of experience in his short career. That he was one of the first volunteers to extend his time with the Squadron to deploy on Operation HERRICK 15 was little surprise to those who knew him. Given his abilities, attitude and experience, he was an automatic choice for the demanding role of a Rear Link Detachment Signaller with D (DELHI) Company, 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own).
“I will remember Signaller Sartorius-Jones for his dedication to his mates, upbeat nature and cutting sense of humour. A hugely popular soldier, notorious for his own individual style and taste in music, he was always to be found at the centre of any activity with a smile on his face. His love of dance music resulted in various members of the Squadron having memorable nights in far flung parts of Europe. A former British National Tae Kwon Do Champion and an able footballer, he was relaxed and easy going in work, and his unbounded energy and ability to motivate others were an inspiration to us all. As a senior Signaller he took his role of mentoring and developing those around him seriously, especially in the build up to and deployment on operations. It is a mark of the man that he rarely took the credit for or acknowledged these actions, it was simply what he did.
“The Squadron is deeply moved by Signaller Sartorius-Jones’ passing. It is a privilege to have served with him and we have lost a true friend. Our thoughts are with his wife Kellyanne, his young son Dylan and his family. He is sorely missed.”...
Go HERE to spend some time getting to know this Fallen Hero in the words of those who know and love him the most.
Rest In Peace, Sir. Always remembered and honoured.
You can read more on that here.
Today, comes this turn of events:
Sick 9/11 Responders Turned Away from Zadroga Hearing After Technical SnafuJanuary 24, 2012 | By Julie Shapiro, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
LOWER MANHATTAN — The federal government postponed a highly anticipated public hearing on whether the new $2.8 billion 9/11 health fund should cover cancer — after a technical snafu prevented people from calling in to testify.
Dozens of sick first responders turned out in person to Tuesday afternoon's meeting of the World Trade Center Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee at the New York City Police Musem, traveling from as far as Long Island and New Jersey to make the case that the federal government ought to pay for their cancer treatment.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency in charge of the meeting, was forced to cancel and sent the first responders home after trying unsuccessfully to get the conference call system to work, people who attended the meeting said...
There is much more here, and the First Responders quoted in the article don't mince their words. And neither should they.
As each of the comments attached say, in various way: Once again, our responders are told to wait...and this: How many more responders will pass away before they have a meeting???
Enough, already. It is now loooooong overdue for the various levels of government to quit treating our First Responders so shabbily (I'm being polite!) It is now long past time for our First Responders to have ALL their 9/11-related illnesses recognised and covered; illnesses that they live with, and die from, because of their selfless actions on 9/11 and in the days and months that followed.
Shame on all the government bureaucracies who continue to play politics with these men and women's lives. Enough waffling about needing more studies, more input.
As quoted above: How many more responders will pass away before they have a meeting???
My regular readers KNOW what follows.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kimberley Ryan holds hands with Afghan children as they walk to the local children's shura near Forward Operating Base Jackson in the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, Jan. 20, 2012. Ryan is the team leader assigned to the Marine Headquarters Group, Female Engagement Team. The team, along with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, have been conducting shuras, or classes, to provide area citizens with a variety of educational opportunities. U.S. Marine Corps photo Cpl. Ed Galo
From Homeland Security News Wire:
25 January, 2012
Hackers attack U.S. railways
Hackers have seized control US railways // Source: webpronews.com
Last month hackers took control of passenger rail lines in the Northwest, disrupting signals twice and creating delays.
According to Nextgov, which obtained a summary of a 20 December meeting of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials , on 1 December train service on an undisclosed railroad “was slowed for a short while,” resulting in a fifteen minute delay across the system.
The next day, hackers once again disrupted signals, but their actions did not result in any delays.
Local rail officials immediately alerted DHS and TSA sprang into action, investigating the incident and providing critical intelligence to train operators to mitigate any potential damage...
Much more here.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Official U.S. Navy file photo of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97).
From Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs USS HALSEY, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Halsey (DDG 97) responded to a call of distress from M/V Albrouj, a Yemeni dhow that was en route to Somalia from Yemen, while the U.S. ship was conducting helicopter operations in the Gulf of Aden, Jan. 19.
The guided-missile destroyer Halsey, which was two hours away from the position of the dhow, immediately responded to the distress call. The Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 air crew quickly relayed the vessel's position to Halsey. The ship responded quickly. Upon arriving on the scene, the ship launched two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB's) to provide assistance. Two electricians from Halsey conducted an investigation along with Albrouj's boat engineer, and discovered a faulty alternator and four dead batteries. The ship provided the dhow with two batteries to allow the crew to safely continue their voyage to Somalia.
"We quickly realized that the problem lay with the alternator and that the batteries were being drained extremely fast," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Clinton D. Easley, one of the Halsey electricians who boarded the Yemen dhow. "By providing them with a couple of spare batteries that we had onboard, the problem was solved and the dhow was quickly on its way."
"All mariners who sail the oceans should respond quickly to a fellow mariner's distress call. The sea can be an unforgiving place, when your vessel is adrift and without power," said Commodore Aage Buur Jensen from Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. "I'm very pleased with the swift assistance that USS Halsey rendered on this occasion."
Halsey is currently the flagship of CTF-151 conducting counter piracy and maritime security operations.
Halsey has recently assumed the role of flagship to Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish navy and his multinational CTF-151 command staff. CTF-151 transferred command from the Pakistani navy who were stationed aboard the USS Kidd (DDG 100).
CTF-151 is one of three task forces assigned to combined maritime forces. Established in February 2002, the Task Force's key mission is to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. It protects and defends the legitimate use of the ocean by fisherman and merchants, and stands ready to assist any mariner in distress...
(source US Navy)
It is well known that I avoid any BHO speechifying, and judging by his latest State of the Union, seems I didn't miss much.
Take a look:
Familiar Rhetoric, Failed Recordrnc on Jan 24, 2012
http://www.GOP.com -- If you thought the 2012 State of the Union was very similar to President Obama's past State of the Union speeches, you were right...
The federal health program established to provide medical evaluation and treatment for eligible responders and survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been on the books for a year.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 also reopened the Victims Compensation Fund.
The legislation was named for a New York police officer who died from a respiratory illness attributed to breathing toxic dust at ground zero.
The World Trade Center Health Program is run through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH reports the following actions were taken during the program's first year:
- Awarded contracts to seven clinical centers of excellence for medical monitoring and treatment for responders and health evaluation and treatment to survivors.
- Awarded contracts to three data centers to receive, analyze, and report on data associated with health effects associated with the attacks.
- Established a toll-free call center to provide information for program applicants and others.
- Launched a website about the WTC Health Program.
- Developed program enrollment applications and a process to determine eligibility for program membership based on criteria specified in the Zadroga Act.
- Researched various responder experience to develop eligibility criteria.
- Developed a health condition certification review process to certify such claims for payment by the payment contractors.
- Established a consolidated pharmacy benefits management system for the program.
- Published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register proposing procedures to add new health conditions to the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions.
The act provides monies for specific illnesses, such as asthma and other respiratory diseases. Last summer NIOSH announced there was insufficient evidence to conclude that debris from the collapse of the towers caused cancer in responders.
The news meant rescue and recovery workers with cancers were not eligible to collect federal money for treatment or compensation. The next review of the scientific and medical evidence related to cancer for the program is expected later this year.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
On January 11, 2012 a Synagogue in Rutherford, NJ was firebombed. Earlier in January on the 3rd a Synagogue in Paramus, NJ was firebombed. Today an arrest in both incidents has occurred.
HACKENSACK, N.J. – An unemployed teenager charged Tuesday with firebombing two synagogues is an anti-Semite whose hatred of Jews guided his actions, authorities said.
Anthony Graziano, of Lodi, (Pictured left) was charged with the Jan. 11 attack on a Rutherford synagogue and the Jan. 3 firebombing of a synagogue in Paramus. He was being held on $5 million bail.
The charges include nine counts of attempted murder, bias intimidation, arson and aggravated arson. The 19-year-old Graziano was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday morning.
"We have no doubt that the arson and attempted murder in Rutherford were a direct result of Mr. Graziano's hatred of people of the Jewish faith," county prosecutor John Molinelli said Tuesday.
Molinelli and other authorities didn't speculate on what may have spurred Graziano to action. They described him as a 2010 high school graduate and loner who lacked access to a car but searched for nearby synagogues on the Internet and rode his bike to the two locations and, at the Rutherford synagogue, threw several Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices before fleeing. He is believed to have acted alone.
Graziano's father, whose name is also Anthony Graziano, told The Record newspaper that he sees his son infrequently but that his son had never said anything to suggest he had any animosity toward Jews.
He called his son a great kid but said "he's confused."...
Read the rest here.
53 years old from Royal, Iowa
354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing
June 29, 1934 - December 14, 1987
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major Merlyn Hans Dethlefsen, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, near Thai Nguyen, North Vietnam, on 10 March 1967. Major Dethlefsen was one of a flight of F-105 aircraft engaged in a fire suppression mission designed to destroy a key anti-aircraft defensive complex containing surface-to-air missiles (SAM), an exceptionally heavy concentration of anti-aircraft artillery, and other automatic weapons. The defensive network was situated to dominate the approach and provide protection to an important North Vietnam industrial center that was scheduled to be attacked by fighter bombers immediately after the strike by Major Dethlefsen's flight. In the initial attack on the defensive complex the lead aircraft was crippled, and Major Dethlefsen's aircraft was extensively damaged by the intense enemy fire. Realizing that the success of the impending fighter bomber attack on the center now depended on his ability to effectively suppress the defensive fire, Major Dethlefsen ignored the enemy's overwhelming firepower and the damage to his aircraft and pressed his attack. Despite a continuing hail of anti-aircraft fire, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and counterattacks by MIG interceptors, Major Dethlefsen flew repeated close range strikes to silence the enemy defensive positions with bombs and cannon fire. His action in rendering ineffective the defensive SAM and anti-aircraft artillery sites enabled the ensuing fighter bombers to strike successfully the important industrial target without loss or damage to their aircraft, thereby appreciably reducing the enemy's ability to provide essential war material. Major Dethlefsen's consummate skill and selfless dedication to this significant mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
Maj. Dethlefson retired from the Air Force in 1977 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He died in 1987 of natural causes and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look
This post is part of Wednesday Hero. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Four Russian diplomats expelled from Canada
After the arrest of the Canadian officer, who was suspected of espionage for Moscow, the Canadian authorities expelled four employees of the Russian Embassy in Ottawa.
According to CTV, Dmitry Fedorchatenko and Konstantin Kolpakov were sent back to Russia. The names of two other Russian citizens, who were involved in the story, have not been exposed. However, spokespeople for the Russian Embassy in Ottawa have not confirmed the information. They simply said that the diplomats returned to Russia because their missions expired.
It was reported this week that the Canadian authorities arrested naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle, whom the media nicknamed as the "Russian spy." The charges against Delisle were filed within the scope of the law about the security of information, which was passed in Canada soon after the 9/11 attacks in the USA. The officer may spend a life in prison...
Yep, there is more at Pravda here. It is in the Canadian media too, but it is always interesting to see how the rest of the world views CanCon.
Racing to surrender. "LEAD: US Afghan envoy confirms talking to Haqqani insurgents," from DPA, January 22 (thanks to Wimpy):Kabul - The US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan on Sunday confirmed a meeting with the Haqqani insurgent group, as signs of a dialogue between the United States and rebels continue to grow.
'We had one meeting with Haqqani network,' Marc Grossman told a news conference in Kabul.
His remarks come after US and the Taliban militants confirmed preliminary talks for opening an liaison office for the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha - increasing speculation of an end to the decade-long bloody insurgency in this war-torn country.
'I think, from the Afghan prospective anyway, this is an inclusive process but we will have to see what turns out,' Grossman said, after a two days trip to Afghanistan....
And there's more, here.
23 January, 2012
As part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to shift its immigration policy to deporting dangerous illegal immigrants, last week DHS officials recommended canceling deportation proceedings against more than 1,600 illegal immigrants in Denver and Baltimore who were not deemed a threat.
Based on preliminary figures, 7,923 cases were reviewed in Denver and officials recommended closing 1,301, while in Baltimore, 3,759 cases were reviewed with 366 recommended for closure.
An immigration official, speaking anonymously to The Associated Press, said, the preliminary data has yet to be released publicly as each recommendation depends on the result of an extensive background check that includes collecting biometric data like fingerprints.
“We wanted to triple check” everyone’s background before halting a deportation case, the official said.
Go read the rest here.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
"He which hath no stomach to this fight let him depart. But we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers!! For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall always be my brother.” (W.Shakespeare) Rest in peace my Brothers, you have not been forgotten.
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Israeli officials told visiting USS Chief Joint of Staffs Martin Dempsey that it would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran, The London Times reported Sunday.
The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report, the latest in a number of suposed scenarios concerning cooperation or lack of it between Jerusalem and Washington.
It is left to speculation whether the rumors are based on facts or are leaked by officials to mask the possibility of secret military coordination.
The London Times said its sources explained that that Israel fears that President Obama would try to torpedo an Israel attack if more notice were given because he is concerned that Iran will respond by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, sparking a rise in the price of oil that could cripple Western economies. If the attack were to occur in the next 10 months, it would put President Obama in a tight spot on the eve of his bid for re-election.
President Shimon Peres told Dempsey, "I am sure that in this fight [against Iran] we will emerge victorious. It is a fight that does not belong exclusively to the United States or Israel, but a global struggle to create a safe world for all peoples.”
Dempsey, on his first official visit to Israel, was wined and dined by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gants, who went so far as to arrange an IDF orchestra rendition of song made famous by Frank Sinatra, one of Dempsey’s favorite singers.
Dempsey tried to play down the postponement of what was billed as the largest-ever joint military drill between the Israeli and American armies, involving thousands of U.S. Army soldiers.
Published reasons for the delay have ranged from budgetary constraints, logistical problems to a signal from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he distrusts President Obama’s commitment to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Dempsey maintained that the delay, which was announced by Israel, will give both countries more time to prepare and “achieve a better outcome.”
The top American general left Israel on Friday, before the Sabbath began.
(c) Israel National News
The comments are worth reading on this one, too.
A Canadian journalist, Matthew Fisher, has this:
Great Britain is hardly all that great, anymore
By Matthew Fisher, Postmedia News
January 22, 2012
LONDON - Whatever happened to Tony Blair's ``Cool Britannia?''
Harper's Magazine summed it up with a front-page headline last year that screamed ``Broken Britain,' a catchy phrase borrowed from the British tabloid, the Sun. Others recently have dubbed the country the equally unkind ``Angry Britain.''
It is one of life's abiding mysteries why some American presidents pretend that Britain actually matters. ``Once Great Britain'' has been faltering for years and yet British foreign secretaries, with the help of the BBC, which is obliged to provide them with a soap box, remain self-important on the world stage.
Britain's national railway grid, the first and for so long the best in the world, has been deteriorating for more than half a century. Although perhaps not as much as they did 20 or 30 years ago, workers still go on wildcat strikes, making a mess for visitors to a country that has become hugely dependent on tourism.[...]
Britain's constant boast that it punches above its weight internationally rings more hollow by the day. The defence ministry is eviscerating the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and making deep cuts to the army, too. There have been sweeping redundancies across all three services, the sudden retirement of the fleet of Harrier jump jets, the premature retirement of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and the likely immediate sale to raise cash of one of two carriers now being built. Even after the current round of Draconian cuts, it is difficult to see how Britain can sustain the force that will remain, let alone underwrite plans for a new generation of nuclear submarines, new frigates and the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter....
Go read the rest of this thought provoking article here.
(H/T Another Matthew....)
Saturday, January 21, 2012
January 17, 2012
By Julie Shapiro, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
LOWER MANHATTAN — A panel of medical experts will soon decide whether the federal government's $2.8 billion 9/11 health fund should cover cancer — and they want to hear from the public before making a decision.
The World Trade Center Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee is asking Downtown residents, first responders and others to weigh in on whether those who got cancer after being exposed to 9/11 toxins ought to be compensated for their illness.
Written comments are due Wednesday, and those who want to speak directly to the committee can participate in a conference call Jan. 24. The committee will also hold a public meeting in New York City in February, but details about the hearing haven't been confirmed.
Catherine McVay Hughes, vice chairwoman of Community Board 1 and a member of the WTC Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, encourages as many people as possible to make their voices heard.
"It's important for the committee to be aware of all the information on cancer and how it correlates to exposure at the World Trade Center," Hughes said.
Rep. West to Media: ‘Stop Being Afraid of This President’ Who ‘Is Destroying This Country’Elizabeth Harrington
November 15, 2011
(CNSNews.com) – Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) called on the media to “stop being afraid” of President Barack Obama who is “destroying this country.” West made his remarks on Tuesday at a press conference in support of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
“It’s about time that I asked this from the media: Stop being afraid of this president,” said Rep. West. “Stand up to him and call him out on the shirking of his duties and responsibilities. The House Republicans are passing pieces of legislation, after pieces of legislation about jobs.”[...]
“This is the most important thing we have to understand, America needs leadership right now and America does not have that,” said Rep. West on Tuesday.
“America needs a commander in chief, instead we have a campaigner in chief, and that’s exactly what continues to happen,” said West. “Whether it’s the decision to go to zero troops in Iraq, which gives a green light to Iran, or whether it’s the decision to shut down what you have heard is a win-win situation for the United States of America and for a new trading partner, which is Canada.”...
Much more here.
Sather Working Dog Veterans
3rdID8487 on Dec 12, 2011 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines aren't the only veterans coming home from Iraq this month. Sergeant Gene Taylor introduces us to two of man's best friends, doing their part to help make Iraq safe.
Posted by EU Times on Jan 19th, 2012
Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota says all Latin American nations back Argentina against Britain over the disputed Malvinas islands, which Britain claims as its own, calling it Falklands.
Latin America and the Caribbean “back Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and back the UN resolutions calling on the Argentine and British governments to hold talks on the issue,” Patriota said in a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Brazil.
Patriota added that Britain knows “Brazil and Unasur (Union of South American Nations) support Argentinean sovereignty over the Malvinas.”
As the 30th anniversary of the war between Britain and Argentina over the Malvinas Islands nears, the dispute over the territory is heating up once again.
Britain on Tuesday reiterated its tough stance over the disputed islands, with the foreign secretary warning South American countries not to ‘collude’ with Argentina to reclaim its occupied territory...
Friday, January 20, 2012
by Gil Ronen
Fifteen hundred tank shells were stolen from an IDF munitions base in southern Israel.
A senior officer in Southern Command said that the shells could reach terror organizations. Some of the shells may have been smuggled to the Sinai Peninsula and then transferred to terrorists inside Gaza. The Investigative Military Police is looking into the possibility that soldiers inside the base assisted the thieves.
The theft was discovered during an inventory check of ammunition last week. A serious shortage of shells was discovered, and after a second count was held, the scale of the theft became apparent.
Military sources said that a gang of Arab metal thieves that operates in the area is apparently behind the theft. The Arabs apparently studied the security arrangements at the base and were able to sneak in and out undetected numerous times, taking a large number of shells with them each time.
A senior source in the Southern Command said that the Arab gangs in the Negev have been stepping up their attacks on IDF bases as the IDF has been tightening its hold on the Israel-Egypt border and as construction of the security barrier along the border has progressed.
"It started from theft of bullets from firing ranges, proceeded to theft of parts of fences and has now reached the theft of expensive and dangerous ammunition. Security in all of the southern bases needs to be rethought."
(c) Israel National News
Once again, the US military has responded with the FACTS. From War On Terror News:
Friday, January 20, 2012
The FACTS: Army statement on MEDEVAC issue
January 20, 2012 By Office of the Chief of Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2012) -- "Recent news items about the use of Army medical evacuation, or MEDEVAC, helicopters in Afghanistan contain troubling information. The reporting suggests that putting red crosses on MEDEVACs, and not arming them somehow, is putting injured Soldiers' lives at risk. The facts do not support these assertions for several reasons.
First, there is no evidence, implied or proven, that the enemy deliberately targets MEDEVAC helicopters, but we know from hard experience that the enemy does try to shoot down any and all U.S. and coalition aircraft. Further, all helicopters in Afghanistan fly in pairs as a force protection matter. It's the way we do business and to suggest that arming MEDEVAC aircraft would result in crews launching sooner is a dubious assertion.
U.S. Army Soldiers transport a trauma victim to a U.S. Army medical helicopter in Tarmiyah, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2007. The Soldiers are from Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
Here are the facts: DOD has specifically tasked the Army, not any other service, to provide a standing MEDEVAC capability. The other services, as well as the Army in some cases, fly CASEVAC missions. This is a critical distinction. CASEVAC stands for Casualty Evacuation, which is a technical distinction that means they use whatever helicopters are available at the moment to extract the wounded or downed aircrews. However, DOD has tasked the Army to provide evacuation to the MEDEVAC standard, which means our MEDEVAC crews and helicopters are purpose built, manned, trained and equipped to provide advanced trauma care in flight.While putting a red cross on our MEDEVAC helicopters has the added benefit of being consistent with the Geneva Conventions, it also marks that aircraft and crew for no other mission besides medical evacuation. In Afghanistan and other austere environments, where helicopter assets are in very high demand, it's important that we dedicate a fleet of aircraft for no other purpose than to provide advanced in-flight care for wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.
The Army provides the great majority of medical evacuations in Afghanistan. That includes allied personnel and even enemy wounded. The U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, and in Iraq before that, specifically asked for the Army to provide medical evacuation of its personnel because they know we provide the "gold standard" in modern battlefield evacuation. No military force in the world is better than the US Army at MEDEVAC. The 92 percent survival rate for wounded in Afghanistan is the highest in history because of the power of our MEDEVAC capability and its battlefield support network.
Another important point is that arming our MEDEVACs would significantly impact the capability of the aircraft. Machine guns, related mounting equipment, ammunition and the gunners all add weight to the aircraft. The added weight would hinder the aircraft's ability to work at higher altitudes because of reduced lift, as well as its speed and range. Additionally, MEDEVACs can carry up to four litter patients, but if weapons were added, that number would be reduced, which would in turn require the commitment of more MEDEVAC aircraft, an already low density and high demand asset.
Further, arming MEDEVACs would not reduce the need for armed escort. Again, our aircraft travel in pairs. The decision to use escort is the tactical commander's, and the Army does not dictate how or when it is necessary to use these assets.
Finally, it's important to remember that the Army would change its policy if battlefield commanders wanted a change. We take our obligation to perform the MEDEVAC mission very seriously. We're a learning organization and periodically we review our policies to make sure they remain relevant. We looked at the MEDEVAC policy in 2008, but after a review, we determined no change was necessary.
Additionally, neither the International Security Assistance Force or U.S. Forces - Afghanistan has requested a change in policy; because our MEDEVAC crews and aircraft provide the best chance at survival ever seen in warfare, and because -- as commanders in Afghanistan have told us -- not arming our MEDEVACs and identifying them with the red cross has had no impact on the medical evacuation mission."
Previous columns on WOTN on this issue:
Filing state and federal income taxes may be the last thing you want to deal with right now, especially if you or your service member are deployed. But as overwhelming as it may seem, filing your tax return should not be difficult. The Internal Revenue Service has recognized that service members and their families often face special circumstances, and has put in place ways to make this annual obligation less of a burden.
If you are a service member or are filing on behalf of one, there are a few things you should know before getting started.
- File returns in your permanent home state. If you are stationed somewhere other than your permanent home address, in most cases you will still pay state taxes to your home state. For instance, if your address of record is in Kansas, but you are stationed in California, you will file state taxes with Kansas. Spouses working outside their home of record in most cases will also have to file a state tax return for the state in which they are employed.
- Access your tax statement online. As a member of the Armed Forces, you can view and print out your W2 form before it is mailed to you. Go to myPay at https://mypay.dfas.mil. You will need your personal identification number (PIN) to access your W2 form.
- Be sure to have power of attorney if filing for a deployed service member. Attach a copy of your power of attorney to your tax return. You may use IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. The form can be found at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2848.pdf.
- Find answers to your questions on the IRS Web site. The IRS has a detailed tax guide for members of the Armed Forces at www.irs.gov/publications/p3/index.html.
Much more here. Be informed.
Troops take to the West End stage
A People In Defence news article
20 Jan 12
A remarkable group of wounded, sick and injured Service personnel will star on the West End stage this weekend. Report by Lorraine McBride.
Bravo 22 Company, a project for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, currently in recovery capability programmes, have signed up to create, rehearse and perform 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F' at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
[Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
They've all suffered brutal or life-threatening injuries, but a group of servicemen and women who paid a terrible price serving in Britain's Armed Forces are back firmly on the road to recovery, thanks to a theatre in the West End.
'The Two Worlds of Charlie F' is a Service person's view of injury and recovery. The play explores the consequences of both physical and psychological wounds, and the impact on others during the fight to win the new battle for survival at home while coming to terms with the cards that life has dealt.
Writer Owen Sheers interviewed each member of the newly-formed Bravo 22 Company and wrote his script by weaving in the personal experiences of the wounded, sick and injured troops who play theatricalised characters based on them. The result is a darkly comic, authentic and richly uplifting tale of survival.
One serviceman involved in the groundbreaking initiative is Marine Cassidy Little, 30, who lost his lower right leg when he was caught in an IED blast while on foot patrol in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, last summer.
Marine Little, a Canadian, who serves with 42 Commando Royal Marines, joined the Armed Forces as a challenge after leaving university in the US and moving to London. In the aftermath of the bomb blast, he told a young medic treating him, with gallows humour:
"There goes my dancing years!"
About a month into his recuperation at Headley Court, the Marine learned about the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust and their first project to work with wounded military personnel.
Marine Little said:
"I got involved because I thought it would be a good laugh and it's a distraction, because if I focus on the fact that my whole life has changed, it's difficult. I've had setbacks here and there but they don't seem as drastic as if I hadn't got this."
The Marine was instantly drawn to the Bravo 22 Company project because he always had a lust for the stage. Talented and gregarious, he landed the star role of Charlie Fowler after pouring out his story to Owen Sheers 'for about three hours', and the writer instinctively knew he'd found his leading man...
GO NOW and read the rest here, as our Troops prove - yet again - that there is NO theatre of operations they cannot conquer!!!
Uploaded by K9calygirl on Jan 19, 2012
A loving tribute to our K9 heroes for all that they do each and everyday. We thank you all!
The song is, "You Raise me Up," by Josh Groban.
My Facebook page is K9 Heroes.
From the DoD:
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (1/19/12) - The Defense Department launched a new website Wednesday for children experiencing the challenges of military deployments.
The highly interactive website, http://www.MilitaryKidsConnect.org, was
created by psychologists at DOD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology here. It helps children of deployed parents cope with the stress, changing responsibilities and concern for the safety of their parents, officials said.
The center, known as T2, developed the website with informative videos,
educational tools and engaging games and activities for three age groups: 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 17. The site features monitored online social network forums for the groups to safely share their experiences with deployments.
MilitaryKidsConnect.org is the first DOD website to connect children in the widely separated active, reserve, and National Guard military communities, officials said.
"Since 2001, an estimated two million children have said goodbye to a parent headed to deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, other places around the globe and on ships at sea," explained Kelly Blasko, a T2 psychologist. "Military children are deeply affected by the separation of their parent's deployment. We've seen that in their hearts, kids deploy too."
The website has features that will help children, parents and educators
navigate the wide range of practical and emotional challenges military
families must live with throughout the deployment cycle, Blasko said.
"While military children are very adaptable given the constant changes and stressful nature of military life," she added, "deployment puts a unique stress on family relationships at home, which can also affect the deployed service member. The DOD now has a website to help the youngest members of the military community."
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology serves as the primary DOD office for cutting-edge approaches in applying technology to psychological health.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
LockheedMartinVideos on Nov 4, 2011
This video is fresh (for the public). It was made just six weeks ago in the Alantic, just off Newport News (Hampton Roads), Virginia .
These are the latest sea trials of the F-35B on the USS Wasp. They were very successful, with 74 VL's and STO's in a three week period. The media and the program critics had predicted that we would burn holes in the deck and wash sailors overboard. Neither of which happened. You will notice a sailor standing on the bow of the ship as the jet rotates. That was an intentional part of the sea trials.
The USS Wasp is an amphibious assault ship designed to embark a Marine Expeditionary Unit. It is capable of simultaneously supporting rotary and fixed wing STOVL aircraft and amphibious landing craft operations. For this test deployment the USS Wasp was outfitted with special instrumentation to support and measure the unique operating environment as the F-35B conducted short takeoffs and vertical landings.
No catapult... No hook .....The shape and scope of warfare worldwide just changed.
The New Muslim suffragettes of the United Kingdom
Charlotte Rachael Proudman
Notebook - A selection of Independent views -, Opinion
An increasing number of Muslim women activists are receiving death threats, fatwas and even hate-mail from extremist male and female Muslims. Their crime: Rescuing fellow Muslim women from violent and life threatening situations.
With heightened media sensitivity surrounding forced marriage, honour based violence and domestic violence we are all too aware of the suffering experienced by vulnerable and marginalised Muslim women. But we know little about the Muslim women activists who risk their lives to fight for the rights of oppressed Muslim women. These women are the New Muslim Suffragettes (NMS) of The United Kingdom.
As wives and mothers themselves, they stand alone in their communities and apart from other prominent Muslim organisations, in offering sanctuary and support for vulnerable and marginalised women. The NMS provide refuge, advocacy and access to the British legal and welfare system for women whose daily lives consist of beatings, imprisonment, torture and even marital rape, as well as the mental health ramifications that unfold over time....
Much more to this must read article here.