Category Archives: Military

Veterans played a key role in The Donald’s victory


While white males were solidly behind The Donald, one group may have handed him the win, military veterans.

Despite all the red flags waved to indicate his opposition to many issues that should’ve alarmed them, veterans wanted one thing Trump was certain to deliver on: His promise to blow up the system.

From the Center for Investigative Reporting:

Exit polls show veterans played a pivotal role in Trump’s surprise victory Tuesday night, with those who’d served in the military breaking for the New York billionaire by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 61 to 34 percent.

Veterans make up about 10 percent of registered voters nationally, with large concentrations in the key swing states of Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In interviews, many veterans said they weren’t sure what a Trump presidency would bring, but that they thought it was important to reject Hillary Clinton, who they said mishandled classified information and was unwilling to reform a broken health care system at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

>snip<

While military veterans have historically supported Republicans for president, Trump’s margin among vets was more than twice that of John McCain’s in 2008. In that election, McCain, a Vietnam veteran who spent five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, bested Obama by 10 points among military veterans.

This was despite the fact that Trump avoided service in Vietnam with five draft deferments, lied about his position about the Iraq war, disparaged veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as weak and mocked the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Charts of the day: A tragic Bush/Obama legacy


Since George W. Bush launched his “Global War on Terror [Terra?]” and Barack Obama expanded it with even greater zeal, the flood of refugees in the Mideast has turned into a raging torrent, with millions fleeing their homes for temporary refuge both in their own and in other countries.

Two charts from a sobering new report from the Pew Research Center illustrates the scope of the problem.

First, the overall rise in refugees throughout the Middle East:

blog-migrants-all

 

And then the rise of refugees displaced from their homes and still living in their own countries:

blog-migrants-internal

Hillary threatens China with a ‘ring’ of missiles


Oh fercrissakes!

Yep, Hillary’s rattling sabers, and if a very dangerous way, given that Barack Obama has already ramped up U.S. military forces in the region as part of his “asian pivot.”

But, hey, all those defense contractors must be salivating, right?

From the Associated Press:

Hillary Clinton privately said the U.S. would “ring China with missile defense” if the Chinese government failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

Clinton’s comments were revealed by WikiLeaks in a hack of the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal account. The emails include a document excerpting Clinton’s private speeches, which she has refused to release.

China has harshly criticized the U.S. and South Korea’s planned deployment of a missile-defense system against North Korea, which conducted its fifth nuclear test this year. But Clinton said she told Chinese officials that the U.S. might deploy additional ships to the region.

She also derided China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea, saying that by China’s logic, the U.S. after World War II could have labeled the Pacific Ocean the “American Sea.”

Chart of the day: India more assertive under Modi


From the Pew Research Center, new evidence that India is growing more assertive and militaristic under Right wing Hindu populist Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

Microsoft Word - Pew Research Center India Report FINAL Septembe

Headline of the day: Suspicions finally confirmed


From the London Daily Mail, another revelation from Hillary’s emails:

Israel has ‘200 nukes all pointed at Iran’, former US secretary of state Colin Powell  says in leaked private email that has Washington on edge

  • The detail is the latest revelation to emerge from a cache of leaked communications
  • The former US secretary of state revealed the information in an email he sent to a colleague last year
  • Israel has a policy of nuclear ambiguity and has never talked openly about the type or size of its weapons 
  • The email was being sent to business partner and democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds regarding Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress 

Nuclear waste blast: Nation’s most costly mess


We begin with an excerpt from a 24 April 2014 post:

Valentine’s Day was anything but happy for workers at the at the Department of Energy’s New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant [WIPP] near Carlsbad Caverns. At 11:14 p.m., alarms shrieked warning of a radiation release from an exhaust vent moving air out of the underground storage facility.

Part of the waste stored in the interim facility [no permanent repository has yet been approved as each site, in turn, proved vulnerable to leaks] hailed from the nearby Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where University of California  scientists work with others to build next generation nuclear weaponry.

What happened that day was an explosion caused by [really] organic cat litter used to fill out drums containing deadly radioactive waste.

The blast and subsequent fire released plutonium, the deadliest substance on the planet, and reminded us that in our hubris, we have yet to devise safe ways of containing the products of the military/industrial. academic complex.

And now we’re discovering that the Valentine’s Day disaster [previously] is the most costly yet in the nation’s always-troubled nuclear program.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Energy Department officials declined to be interviewed about the incident but agreed to respond to written questions. The dump is operated by Nuclear Waste Partnership, which is led by the Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM. The company declined to comment.

Federal officials have set an ambitious goal to reopen the site for at least limited waste processing by the end of this year, but full operations can not resume until a new ventilation system is completed in about 2021.

The direct cost of the cleanup is now $640 million, based on a contract modification made last month with Nuclear Waste Partnership that increased the cost from $1.3 billion to nearly $2 billion. The cost-plus contract leaves open the possibility of even higher costs as repairs continue. And it does not include the complete replacement of the contaminated ventilation system or any future costs of operating the mine longer than originally planned.

An Energy Department spokesperson declined to address the cost issue but acknowledged that the dump would either have to stay open longer or find a way to handle more waste each year to make up for the shutdown. She said the contract modification gave the government the option to cut short the agreement with Nuclear Waste Partnership.

It costs about $200 million a year to operate the dump, so keeping it open an additional seven years could cost $1.4 billion. A top scientific expert on the dump concurred with that assessment.

Morales unveils the anti-School of the Americas


The School of the Americas [previously], rebranded as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is where the U.S. Army schools Latin American soldiers and police [more than 60,000 to date] on the fine art of suppressing dissidents and rebels.

Needless to say, most of those soldiers came from countries that allowed American corporations to exploit their resources, something those dissidents and rebels didn’t take kindly to.

Many of those soldiers participated in massacres, and some used their training to reach high ranks and even the presides of their countries. Two graduates founded Mexico’s notorious Los Zetas cartel.

And now Bolivia’s president has launched a new academy designed precisely to counter Washington’s agenda.

From teleSUR English:

Bolivian President Evo Morales opened Wednesday a new regional military defense school—a kind of anti-School of the Americas—which will offer courses on a wide range of subjects meant to counter the U.S. imperialist presence in the developing world, including the Theory of Imperialism, Geopolitics of Natural Resources and Bolivian Social Structures.

The new school, which will be based in the city of Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia, and named after former President Juan Jose Torres. will have an initial enrollment of 100 students. Morales, a socialist and Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, has been a strong critic of US imperialism in Latin America, and throughout the world.

“Empires,” he said at Wednesday’s ceremony, “exhibit cultural racism because they do not believe in the popular sovereignty of the people.”

The Bolivian military academy is intended as a direct rebuttal to the infamous U.S. School of the Americas in Georgia , which provides military training to U.S. allies in Latin America, and whose graduates include a “Who’s Who” of Cold War era military figures who carried out some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America.