The Yazidi Nightmare: Hopefully Some of It Is Over
Sep01

The Yazidi Nightmare: Hopefully Some of It Is Over

While there are a thousand reasons not to use military force in support of the tens of thousands of innocents “over there” who are being tortured, abducted, raped and murdered en-masse, one reason to do so — although many will say it is a flimsy one — is because our national psyche and our national conscience tells us that it is the right thing to do. The rescue of an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 Yazidis who had fled to...

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What Makes One a Warmonger and a ‘Fear Monger’?
Sep01

What Makes One a Warmonger and a ‘Fear Monger’?

After our disastrous invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation, Iraq, and after the now-longest war in American history — the Afghanistan War — there is naturally a great reluctance on the part of Americans to get involved in any more military entanglements, especially in the Middle East. Then along comes a band of thugs — very well trained, organized, capable, motivated and supported thugs, many say — who,...

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Breaking:  U.S. Airstrikes and Humanitarian Airdrops Break ISIS Siege of Amerli
Aug31

Breaking: U.S. Airstrikes and Humanitarian Airdrops Break ISIS Siege of Amerli

Chalk one up for the good guys. Over the weekend, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes in support of an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance and protect civilians who had been trapped in Amerli for months by ISIS terrorists and who were threatened with a possible massacre. DoD: Two months ago, hundreds of ISIL terrorists advanced on Amerli cutting off food, water, and medical supplies to thousands of Shia Turkomen living...

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Labor Day 2014: Our Military Are ‘Workers,’ Too
Aug31

Labor Day 2014: Our Military Are ‘Workers,’ Too

Tank Mechanic, Army Spc. Samantha Brumley, with Company F, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, Oregon National Guard, Aug. 20, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Wayne (Chris) Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Oregon Army National Guard Labor Day was originally a day to give tribute to the men and women who, through hard, physical labor, built our country — the “working class.” Today, we celebrate Labor Day to recognize the...

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(Breaking Update) One Thousand Reasons to Let Others Deal with ISIS
Aug30

(Breaking Update) One Thousand Reasons to Let Others Deal with ISIS

Update: Here is one ally who is not subscribing to the one thousand reasons to let others deal with ISIS. The Guardian reports today (Sunday in Australia) that Australia will help deliver military equipment, including arms and ammunition to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq in an effort to counter the threat posed by Islamic State militants. “Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft...

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Summary Update: Iraq-ISIS/ISIL Crisis (Updated)
Aug29

Summary Update: Iraq-ISIS/ISIL Crisis (Updated)

A U.S. F-18 fighter jet refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over northern Iraq, Aug. 21, 2014. (Photo: DoD) Update: NEWSWEEK: Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest level of “severe” on Friday in response to possible attacks being planned in Syria and Iraq, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said. “That means that a terrorist attack is highly...

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Bea Cohen, 104-Year-Old World War II Veteran, Finally Gets Her Wish
Aug28

Bea Cohen, 104-Year-Old World War II Veteran, Finally Gets Her Wish

~.~ A month ago, the oldest living female World War II veteran visited the White House and got a warm welcome from President Obama and Vice President Biden. (Below) Vice President Joe Biden greets Lucy Coffey in his West Wing Office, July 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) Lucy Coffey, now 108, served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and was one of 400,000 American women who served in uniform...

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The ISIS-Iraq Crisis
Aug27

The ISIS-Iraq Crisis

Summary of news from in and around Iraq. Source, unless otherwise indicated: The Stars and Stripes The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria, a family representative said. The 26-year-old woman is the third American known to have been kidnapped by the radical group. The Islamic State group recently threatened to kill American hostages to avenge the crushing...

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(Update) The VA Scandal — A Postscript
Aug25

(Update) The VA Scandal — A Postscript

Update: Today, during his remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, President Obama is expected to announce 19 new executive actions that the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DoD) are taking to improve the mental health of service members, veterans and their families. According to DoD: Today’s announcement builds on the actions the Departments have taken in response to the...

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Where Opinions Don’t Matter
Aug25

Where Opinions Don’t Matter

Indicative of the great diversity of opinions Americans have and because of the freedoms we enjoy expressing them, one can find the full spectrum of views on what should be done about ISIS and about related terrorism/bad actors-nations problems. They range from doing nothing to “bomb, bomb, bomb the hell out of them” — and everything in between. My opinions, for whatever they are worth, fall somewhere in between — and I...

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(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?
Aug23

(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?

Update: The Washington Post has a piece discussing how and why it may be premature and/or risky to launch air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Among these: Intelligence gaps (as became clear in the failed attempt to rescue Foley) and lack of capabilities to “provide reliable-enough intelligence to sustain a campaign of strikes.” The nature and sophistication of Syria’s air defense capabilities “Our intelligence is improving...

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(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue
Aug23

(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue

Update II: Vice President Biden wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday expressing confidence that ISIS could be defeated without U.S. ground troops in Iraq. Here are some excerpts: These steps [to form a new Iraqi government] are meaningful because they show that Iraqis have begun to understand that they must rise above their differences. And that, when they do, they can succeed — not only in uniting the country but in...

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A Colibrí  Weekend
Aug23

A Colibrí Weekend

It is 8 AM where I live and I have not yet seen the beautiful weekend photo usually posted by Ron. I am sure it is yet to come. But in the meantime here are a couple. Since I am not a photographer, I asked my niece — Dr. Claudia Krasnoff — for one of her many Colibrí — or Picaflores — photos she took while we were traveling in Ecuador two or three years ago. The photo, above, is of a Long-tailed Sylph and was...

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The Ebola Horror: No Comments, Just Prayers
Aug22

The Ebola Horror: No Comments, Just Prayers

I have seen first-hand the anguish and desperation of a young mother whose baby has been diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital heart disease for which, in her native country, there are few prospects for the specialized and prohibitively expensive open-heart surgery that is required. I have also seen first-hand the joy of the same mother when she is able to listen, for the first time, to the regular, healthy beat of her baby’s...

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ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees
Aug21

ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees

At a Pentagon news conference today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey , said the ISIL terror group has an “apocalyptic, end-of-days” vision that eventually must be defeated, not only in Iraq but in Syria as well. Referring to ISIL as ISIS because such highlights the terrorists’ long-term goal of establishing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Dempsey explains “Al-Sham includes Lebanon,...

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Two of My Most Favorite Things…
Aug21

Two of My Most Favorite Things…

ISIS/ISIL, Ferguson, Sarah Palin… OK, enough “gloomy and doomy” stuff. Time for two of my most favorite subjects. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Culbertson greets his son after a six-month deployment on the attack submarine USS New Hampshire, which returned to its homeport on Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Aug. 13, 2014. A U.S. sailor hugs his son after arriving in Fleet Activities Yokosuka on the USS...

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(Updated) The President and John Kerry on Foley’s Murder
Aug20

(Updated) The President and John Kerry on Foley’s Murder

Update: Apparently, the U.S. had attempted a rescue operation to free Foley and other American hostages held in Syria by ISIL. Sadly, the mission failed “because hostages were not present at the targeted location” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement announcing the unsuccessful mission, “the U.S. government will not tolerate the abduction of its people and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of...

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Racing in the ‘Baja 1000’ to Heal Young Hearts
Aug20

Racing in the ‘Baja 1000’ to Heal Young Hearts

Every year, scores of adventurous men and women compete in one of the most grueling racing events, the SCORE Baja 1000. This year’s 1,130-mile race — the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – will take place November 12 through 16. It will start in Ensenada, Baja California, and end 1,130 miles and 30 to 40 hours later in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The race tests both machines and humans as it takes place over some of the...

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(Updates) Another ‘Oops’ for Perry
Aug19

(Updates) Another ‘Oops’ for Perry

Gov. Rick Perry’s booking photo, Aug. 19, 2014. Courtesy Travis County Sheriff’s Office Update II: Under a celebratory, almost victorious atmosphere, a defiant Texas governor Rick Perry arrived at the Travis County justice complex in Austin, Texas, this afternoon and spoke to a cheering crowd before entering the courthouse to be booked, fingerprinted and having his mug shot taken. Perry exited the booking room about 20...

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Observing World Humanitarian Day
Aug19

Observing World Humanitarian Day

When one looks around places like, Syria, Northern Iraq, Ukraine, etc., there is not much to be seen that qualifies as humane or “humanitarian.” There are also way too many natural disasters which all too often become catastrophic humanitarian disasters. Nevertheless, there are organizations and individuals — “those unsung heroes” Secretary of State John Kerry calls them — who “despite the risks, work to save lives on the...

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