Saturday, October 15, 2016

Jill Stein: Hillary Clinton's Declared Syria Policy Could Start A Nuclear War

Historically, Third Party candidates have not gotten to even 10 percent in the polls.  Maybe it's time for that to change.  Jill Stein gets it…the real danger isn't a Trump in the White House.  The real danger is putting another Clinton in the White House;

'The wars have gotten bigger, we are now bombing seven countries.

It is important to not just look at the rhetoric but also look at the track record and the reality is the lesser people and greater people is a race to the bottom, and even Donald Trump in the right wing extremism grows out of the policies of the Clintons, in particular Nafta, which sent our jobs overseas and Wall Street deregulation, which blew 9 million jobs up into smoke.

That is what is creating this right wing extremism. A vote for Hillary Clinton isn't going to fix it...

It is now Hillary Clinton that wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no fly zone

Read more here;

Jill Stein: Hillary Clinton's Declared Syria Policy Could Start A Nuclear War

The headlines are full of disgusting stories about Trump but he is still a point or two ahead of Hillary.  Even the ones showing her ahead aren't showing her ahead by much.  People hate Trump but the secret the media is hiding is many more hate Hillary.  Forget her husband for a moment.  Forget her shenanigans while an attorney.  Hell even forget about her private email server.  Just consider that while Secretary of State, three major figures where killed…Osama bin Laden, Qaddafi and al-Awlaki (who was still an American citizen when he was killed).  Once Kerry became Secretary of State, not a single leader of major political figure has been terminated.  Don't think Hillary will start a nuclear war?  Then read this;

CIA Prepping Possible Cyber Strike Against Russia

'The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News."

Mr. Obama, along with the usual suspects of Jarrett and Rice, are setting the events in motion to allow Hillary (the presumed next President) to have just cause to launch an attack against Russia.  Mr, Putin sees what is about to happen and isn't going to be caught unprepared.  The article about the cyber strike isn't from some obscure site or overseas press, it is from NBC.  Yet, there are still many voters that will still vote for Hillary.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Better GOP

PR firms data-mine blogs relevant to their clients expertise and send out unsolicited emails to the blogger encouraging them to write about their clients or cause.  It comes as part of the territory, these invites to set-up interviews, especially during the silly season aka elections.  Our Congressman, Steve Stivers from the 15th District, sends out periodic emails to let us know what he is doing (truth in lending; Congressman Stivers and I met a few times when we both were officers in the Ohio National Guard).  His most recent email blast caught my attention, titled "Addressing the Growing Threat from North Korea" I quickly clicked on it.

Congressman Stiver's email summarized many of the recent acts of hostility committed by North Korea in the region and called for more US action to intervene in the future (presumably by the next administration).  There was a link within his summary to "" as well.

The link takes you to Speaker Ryan's website and under "national security", I found Ryan and the GOP's strategy listed:

- We must make it our top national security priority to prevail in the war against radical Islam.

- We must keep terrorists out of America, secure our borders, and stop cyber attacks.

- We must make sure our country is ready to tackle the threats of our time and beyond

- We must restore American influence, advance free enterprise, and expand the community of free nations

The 4 bullet points read like those mission statements everyone was writing for the company or organization back in the 1990s.  You know the ones, they went something like "A world class organization posed nimbly to rapidly respond to global changes in a dynamic environment with a well seasoned, diverse staff of experts ready to meet your needs".  Try fitting that on a business card!

The GOP "Better Way" strategy is much like those mission statements; an amalgamation of the latest buzzwords that really don't say anything.  Take for example goal number 1, "Defeat the Terrorists", we are admonished to make it a top national security priority to prevail in the war against radical Islam. It begs the question, so for the last 15 years we haven't?  Does this mean non-radical Islamic terrorists get aren't a top national security priority?

Perhaps the most frustrating part is Ryan's intellectual laziness in using the term "radical Islam".  I challenge you to find 5 people, experts of lay people, who can give you the same definition of radical Islam.  It is lazy since Ryan (and whoever wrote this for him) chose a sound-byte rather than a more workable definition.  Why even mention Islam?  A terrorists is a terrorist and if we only are concerned about the theological motivations we are going to be missing a more people who want to kill Americans.

In "Protecting the Homeland", Ryan and the GOP want to keep terrorists out of America.  To which you need to remind them, the terrorists are already here.  ISIS has been recruiting their operatives virtually from around the world.  They don't need to smuggle operatives in, they are already here.  Securing our borders really means the border with Mexico now doesn't it?  Why not say so and instead of building a wall or some other such nonsense, why not develop a strategy with the Mexican government to improve conditions for their own people?

"Tackle new threats" makes it sound like the Pentagon hasn't ever though of a new threat.  That's all students in the various war colleges are challenged to think about and write papers about.  And exactly how much of the taxpayers money is Mr. Ryan and his GOP friends will to spend on this?

"Defend our Freedom" and restore our influence.  Careful, this sounds suspiciously like empire-building but moreover, why?  Why should taxpayer dollars be spent on this?  What does "expand the community of free nations" mean exactly?  Those countries that are beholding the United States?

Each time I read through these, I get a little more upset.  Someone, or a group of someones, probably got paid handsomely for this tripe and it is passing as a national security platform.  Nowhere was North Korea and its nuclear weapons addressed.  Nowhere was Iran and its blossoming nuclear program addressed.  Nowhere was Russia and its increased paranoia towards the US addressed.  Nowhere was China's expansion in the Pacific Rim addressed.  Almost all of the bullets were about terrorism or trying to invoke Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again".

If this is what the GOP is hanging their hats on in regards to national security, perhaps this is why none of their candidates were able to beat Trump.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A cautionary tale

Whenever people hear the term "mind control", they think of some dark and sinister government facility were people are programmed via drugs or other means.  What the average person doesn't understand our minds are controlled everyday.

Think about a stage magician.  He or she performs trick based on getting your mind to think something is going on that really isn't.  Or the street hustler running a game of Three-Card Monte, he gets you to think you have found the "lady"  All of these are examples of mind control that we see all of the time and none of it occurs inside some type of secret facility.

The media has been manipulating our minds by all of the sensational coverage of the elections.  Quite frankly, our election process may never recover.  Certainly the candidates bear much of the blame, however the media has set in the background and manipulated matters to an even more fevered pitch.  Doubt it?  Quick tell me if any African-Americans are on the ticket this year?  No?  Look up Ajamu Baraka, he is Jill Stein's running mate. (So Hillary isn't only woman running for office?)  Of course the media doesn't cover anyone else but the two party candidates these days.  Oh and for veterans, Baraka is the only veteran (US Army, Vietnam) running this year.

If you haven't already unfriended people on Facebook over the election (or have been unfriended yourself), then you may have had a few choice words for friends or colleagues who don't see things like you do.  Therapists have been reporting an uptick in the number of patients who are being stressed out by the election coverage.  Their advice?  Tune out!

But of course humans are drawn to sights of violence and destruction, just watch how people slow down to look at road accidents.  They will keep watching the election and getting more upset.

If they aren't upset about the election, then they are likely upset about the continued state of race relations in the US.  African Americans still have yet to get the issue of police shootings moved out of the soon-byte arena and into a meaningful forum.  Oh and just so you understand, there are as many whites being shot by police as blacks but the media doesn't cover those so if you are white, you don't feel the outrage that blacks do.

Or perhaps you are pissed off about the state of immigration.  You are convinced everyone of those immigrants illegally entering our country are terrorists or rapists (Keep in mind this is the mentality that led a certain nationalist party to power, one that we keep saying will never happen again).  Why do you or those you know feel that way?  Because the media goes out of their way to put "Muslim" or "Middle Eastern" in the headline of any terrorist attack or sensational rape case (especially if the victim is a white female).  No, I'm not denying the cases but I'm pointing out how we are being manipulated by how these headlines are written.

The NFL is losing viewers all because one quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem.  Some how or other, this became tantamount to high treason or at least flag burning.  Even with the trend now spreading to high school athletes, there has been no dialog about what the gesture is really about and people are in patriotic hysterics about how disrespectful his and the other athletes actions are towards fallen vets.  Really?  I've never heard one of these athletes saying anything disrespectful towards our troops or fallen vets yet the press remains silent and just lets the hatred and vitriol spread like cancer.

Now let's say you have managed not to follow the elections, live in an area where your community and the police get along, and have no interest in pro-sports.  But if you live in the Southeast or have friends or family that do, you are tracking Hurricane Matthew.  This powerhouse storm flattened Haiti (or what was left after the 2011 earthquake and the ensuing cholera epidemic) and is hitting the US.  Even the most kind-hearted, non-news following people will be checking in the storm's progress.

Going back to my original point, all of these headlines are being crafted to keep our minds away from some very frightening that is going on.  Russia has now pulled out of nuclear security pact with the US (and the US followed suit) saying relations with the US has deteriorated into "hostile actions".  Moscow sees a lamb duck president and a contentious election going on with neither candidate appearing to be very pro-Russia.  Many military experts say this along with "no-fly zones" in Syria means World War III (Russia is taking this seriously and has re-instituted civil defense drills).

Last nigh was the second presidential debate and it served to embolden people's opinions of their own candidate over the other, it did nothing to persuade people to look at the other candidate with fresh eyes.  Remember in the not too distant past, debates where an opportunity to learn something about the candidates policies or positions that you may not have known.  Instead, the debates are playing out like an episode of some sleazy reality show.

While we continue to hate each other for our presidential choices, Russia is not taking the time to wait for the election.  Mr. Putin and his advisors see things deteriorating within the US and thus its relationship with Russia.  Mr. Obama is a lamb duck president, he can't offer much to persuade Mr. Putin that the future will be just fine.  So Mr. Putin's latest is to move nuclear weapons next to Poland.  It is an aggressive move, one that shows how little faith Russia has in being able to negotiate with the US via diplomatic means.

Americans in general tend to forget that what happens here in the US concerns other nations as well.  How we treat each other is how we are likely to treat foreign nations in the event of a confrontation.  People running around saying things like "race relations have never been worse" makes other countries think we are on the verge of a race war or civil war. They aren't going to wait around to see what happens, countries like Russia are going to get ready now.  But the media has convinced the public that the far greater danger is from each other.

Monday, October 3, 2016

An open letter to TSA

Open Letter to TSA;

After traveling this weekend by air, my observations of TSA is things aren't getting any better for them.  The organization is still centered around preventing another 9/11 and as such, all of their methods and techniques revolve around that particular scenario.  The moral of a typical TSA screener is akin to a prisoner doing hard time.  Moral is not helped by the ridiculous testing standards and micromanagement that can get an agent written up for the smallest infractions.

In the last six months, I have been the TSA screening process at Columbus, San Antonio, Dayton and Jacksonville, FL.  Each time the experience was pretty much the same, search checked baggage for explosives.  Search carry-on bags for banned items.  Have passengers remove belts and shoes and go through full body scanner.  Move along, move along.  Hardly the stuff to recruit young, vibrant workers towards your agency!

In my admittedly small sample group, not once did any TSA employee engage passengers.  Everything was robotic, no conversation.  No smiles.  Just do as we say.  Everything spoken was done from rote and sounded like a recording instead of being uttered by a human.  Not a single TSA employee looked happy (by far the saddest ones are the lone TSA agents posted at the exit points.  It makes you ask yourself, "Who did you piss off to get stuck out here?"

The TSA approach of "guilty until proven innocent" stresses both passengers as well as employees.  It also causes TSA to miss opportunities to learn more about passenger behaviors.  I saw no one being friendly towards a TSA agent so the agents aren't friendly back.  Ask any cop, getting people to talk is an invaluable tool.  TSA could be getting so much more information but quite frankly, their approach sucks.

Few if any of the TSA agents make eye contact with passengers other than the BDOs (behavior detection officers) who stick out like sore thumbs because they are the only ones looking (more like glaring).  In most other countries, the role of the BDO is unobtrusive.  You will never know who is looking any everyone conduction the screening is engaged with the passengers.  Not because they are friendlier than TSA but because each one knows they could be the one to discover a vital indicator that the passenger is a threat.

TSA spends ridiculous amounts on technology and manpower.  It also adds ridiculous amounts of time to travel and causes delays in flights without any evidence to show that it was necessary in the first place.  TSA needs to seriously revamp itself.

First, get rid of the quasi-police looking uniforms.  TSA agents aren't law enforcement and shouldn't pretend to be.  Perhaps a polo shirt and cargo pants would be too informal but the current uniform creates an "us vs them" impression.  Second, stop looking just for explosives and start looking more for "tells".  Not everyone traveling is a threat so learn to look for those that are (can't figure that out?  I'd go ask the Israelis for a start).  Single those out for additional screenings and let the rest go through.  Third, and perhaps most importunely, GET OVER YOURSELVES!  Your grim determination is off-putting and ineffective at doing what your are supposed to be doing; making passengers feel safer!  Passengers are tired, stressed they may miss their flight, and many are traveling with small children or infirmed family members. They aren't in the best mood and really don't care for your grim, save-the-world attitude.  If however you learned how to be friendly, you would not only improve the gathering of information but your employees moral improve as well (don't know where to start?  Go talk to Disney.  They seem to have it figured out pretty well)

Screening should make us feel safer, not aid in turning travelers into anti-social hooligans.

Friday, September 30, 2016

"Creepy Clowns"

This is "Gags", the Green Bay, Wisconsin creepy clown first spotted back on August 1st of this year.  "Gags" seems to be the starting point for the "Creepy Clown" sightings that have swept through much of the United States.

North Carolina had a cluster of sightings, then South Carolina.  Sightings then began to pop up in California, Washington and Oregon.  Then we started to get them here in the Tri-State area.  (For readers not from this part of the world, the Tri-State area where Cincinnati is located is formed by the Southwest corner of Ohio, the Southeast corner of Indiana, and the northwest top corner of Kentucky).

First we started to have some random sightings out in the eastern side (which is suburbs but still a lot of farmland) and the northern suburbs.  Then sightings started about two weeks ago in Kentucky.  Given the time of year, it was easy to dismiss this as some kind of stupid fad going around.  Then things got interesting….

"We are coming to a town near you :) be one with us or be against us your choice not ours. Ohio, USA."--that is the byline on the "Clown Clan" twitter account that was opened just last week.  Local sheriffs and police departments have taken the threats seriously.  Then this morning we got this headline…

"Report of Reading woman attacked by clown closes schools" So now we have gone from amusing, albeit creepy, to now attacks and disruption to people's lives.  Simultaneous to the increase in "creepy clowns" the Tri-State area has seen a spike in threats being called in to local elementary and high schools.  Two weeks ago, one high school football game was cancelled due to a bomb threat.  All three of the local high schools out in Clinton county have been evacuated at least once over the past few weeks due to threats.

What is going on?  One clue may be that despite the rash of sightings of "creepy clowns", none of them have been run over, shot, stabbed or punched out.  It would indicate that there may not be as many "creepy clowns" in reality as the headlines may make us think.  People may be mistaken in what they see or simply panic when some stranger is following them.

None of the bomb threats have proven to be anything other than hoaxes so far.  The perpetrators of both the "creepy clowns" and making threats are looking for ways to be noticed and these two news stories are providing them great ways to get noticed.  

Paranoia combined with some mild hysteria in the 21st Century results in shutdowns.  It doesn't mean there isn't a threat, we just have to remain vigilant. One of these times, the "creepy clown" or school threat won't be a hoax.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I didn't watch the debates

Given my hobby of writing about current events and national defense, it may come as a surprised that I didn't watch the debates last night.  In truth, I've don't recall ever watching any of the Presidential debates.  Being a great debater doesn't make you a good leader just as being a good leader doesn't make you a great debater.

Despite all of the vitriol being hurled by both candidates, and even more at each them, they have both managed to keep what they plan to do should they reach the White House opaque at best.  Immigration has become a major topic, especially after multiple bombing and mass shootings being committed by immigrants here in the US and abroad.  Other than that, the economy?  Maybe healthcare reform?

Sitting here this morning avoiding the deluge of social media and mainstream media posts about the debates, my mind turned to the military.  Fifteen years ago, the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 happened.  As a result, many men and women decided to join the US military.  For those that are still in, the means they have deployed at least 5 or more times over their 15 year career.

Not only have they have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times but many had to support operations in Libya and now Syria (as well as Iraq to fight ISIS).  Other troops have been busy trying to not start a war with China over contested islands.  Air defense pilots are constantly getting harassed by Russian planes flying near the ADIZ along Alaska and Hawaii.  Reports of Russian Navy vessels operating in the Gulf Mexico seem to have quieted down for now.

All of this has happened within the last 15 years with no down time for troops or equipment to be "refreshed".  When units from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard were first being sent over, it was a major event with whole communities coming together to support the troops and their families.  While that still happens, after 15 years ever has just become numb for there is no end in sight.  As I started to say, troops who joined as a result of 9/11 have around 5 more years before they hit 20 years of service (minimum time before becoming eligible to retire).  Those troops will see at least one more major deployment before they can retire.

Personnel are exhausted as deployments have now become as de rigueur as exercises were 25-30 years ago (except of course an exercise is not the same as combat).  Personnel are rated on their performance in combat zones but rather by their home station assignment, which of course they aren't there to perform.  Warriors are not as prized as Hollywood would make it appear because those heroes in combat aren't working for their home station commanders when they are doing all of that hero stuff.  And while the heroes are away doing what they do best, it's the ones that stay back home and get their tickets punched that get promoted.

You've seen the results without realizing it.  Increased numbers of accidents, especially with high performance aircraft.  Increased incidence of sexual assaults (which masks the increased number of plain old assaults).  Increased numbers of troops exiting the service early (that are not medically discharged).  Increased numbers of suicides.

The US military is tired and broke after 15 years of continuous war and neither of the windbags vying to sit in the White House has a damn plan to fix it.  So I didn't waste my time watching the debates, there was nothing new to be seen anyway.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Obesity in the Military

We make generals today on the basis of their ability to write a damned letter. Those kinds of men can’t get us ready for war.”--Chesty Puller, LtGen, USMC

I'm not sure when LtGen Puller made that quote but he was even more prescient than he may have realized.  The war on terror has lasted longer than any other war the US military yet it hasn't produced the kinds of leaders Chesty Puller was thinking of.  Instead, the latest generation of generals is nothing more than a bunch of consensus builders who rose through the ranks by not challenging convention.  Those that did ended being purged by the Obama administration, further keeping the herd culled of trouble makers like Puller would have been.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the USAF and its pursuit of "fit to fight".  Once the shooting started, the USAF wanted its men and women to be able to do the same things physically as the Army and Marine Corps.  So that USAF added push-ups and sit-ups to its physical fitness assessment starting in 2003 or so which was supposed to get its airmen in shape to fight terrorism.

Fair enough, dragging equipment out to the flight line and repairing aircraft in 120 degree requires a level of fitness beyond just being able to run 1.5 miles (the old USAF physical fitness standard).  The previous physical fitness standard in the USAF lacked a component to measure upper body strength and core strength but it did include height and weight standards.  Adding the push-ups and sit-ups was a much needed addition, however that wasn't enough for the data-driven future generals in the USAF.

USAF officers by a wide margin hold engineering degrees or at least technical degrees meaning they are predisposed to data and numbers.  Simply adding push-ups and sit-ups could not possible guarantee a process improvement that could be measured so some nameless officer (I truly don't know who otherwise they would be named here) decided the Body Mass Index (BMI) must be incorporated as well.

And that ladies and gentlemen is when the USAF truly went to hell.  BMI is derived from the height and body mass of a person.  The inclusion of the BMI was supposed to be that process improvement that the engineering types were looking for but instead, it has created a culture of witch-hunts for those who can't pass the BMI.

BMI has a major flaw in that it only looks at height and mass, it assumes all body types are the same.  Therefor if you have narrow shoulders and wide hips (as most women do), BMI will still show you as obese when you otherwise height and weight proportional and able to pass your physical fitness test.  For men it rewards those with thick necks and tiny waists, otherwise BMI will show most men, regardless of their level of physical fitness, to be "obese" and thus not fit to fight.

This is why the headline, "Military Obesity Rates Skyrocket", is both correct and misleading.  Obesity rates have skyrocketed as a result of the use of the BMI and why women and minorities in particular are challenged to make their tape.  Obesity rates are skyrocketing because of the generals, and those that want to be, embracing the BMI without regard to basic anatomy.

The USAF generals have run commanders and first sergeants into the ground about how well their unit does in their annual physical fitness assessments.  Forget the mission, we need to be lean mean fighting machines (even though most USAF jobs are located on a fixed based, requiring less physical stamina that those in the Army or Marine Corps).  This has created a culture of men and women that are constantly harassed about making their weight (in addition to stress associated with deploying and getting ready to deploy).

Without realizing it, the USAF has now become about looking good instead of doing good on your job.  The generals all look good and can write letters, just as Chesty Puller pointed out, yet they can't lead.