Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Managed to get my hands on yet another good SR-71 story this week.

 

Enjoy!

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Most folks know I like Cold War stories here on the blog.

I’ve written quite a few and they are frankly probably the most popular pieces on the site.

I’ve written a couple about the SR-71. Actually, written is rather a strong word. I have republished stories, that have been written or told by the actual men who flew these ridiculously powerful machines. Mostly because I see them floating in cyberspace but never find a good single collection of them. So I enjoy doing it.

I enjoy them, as I have a child like affection for the black metal monster that borders on obsession. My first model was a Blackbird for instance.

So when I came across this story about the SR-71, I couldn’t help but add it to the slowly growing collection here.

Enjoy.

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I wrote this in June of 2010, not long after the published apology from Britain. It was a hard time in those days, and the events and the handling of those events have only made the chasm wider over the years. This apology, I think, was a good first step in the right direction for both countries to come to a peaceable impasse. It was however, several years late in the coming. – BS

 

Bloody Sunday Monument

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

U2, Bloody Sunday

January 30, 1972
The Bogside area of Derry, in Northern Ireland.
On one side over 15,000 civil rights protesters against British rule.
On the other, British Para’s, the cream of the British Army.

In the outcome over 27 people shot, and 14 dead.

This was the time of Troubles in Ireland.

“… it is expedient that a Tribunal be established for inquiring into a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the events on Sunday 30th January 1972 which led to loss of life in connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day, taking account of any new information relevant to events on that day”

Resolution of the House of Commons, 30th January 1998,
and of the House of Lords, 2nd February 1998

The world has changed since those days. Do not take this apology lightly my peers. Let us not return to those days of Belfast and yon. There need be no violence on this day. The point is made. They have admitted their errs. Use it to your advantage and push, politically, diplomatically for the freedom you have fought for.

But if we’ve learned one thing in these past years, is that bloodshed never washes away bloodshed.

Be better than that.

Be Irish.

A tribute to the victims:

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(I first wrote this March of 2012. Each year I try to add at least one new story to my Irish History Celebration posts. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

The Famine began quite mysteriously in September 1845 as leaves on potato plants suddenly turned black and curled, then rotted, seemingly the result of a fog that had wafted across the fields of Ireland. I have been told that the cause was actually an airborne fungus originally transported in the holds of ships traveling from North America to England. Somewhat ironic then if you consider how many Irish families in turn fled to North America because of it. Let no one say we Irish have not had a sense of humor in the annuals of history.

In Any event, The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. Outside of Ireland it is more commonly called The Irish Potatoe Famine. Within Ireland, and amongst my own family it was referred to as an Gorta Mór or great hunger.

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I wrote this in March of 2012 once it had finally settled in to my brain on the passing of Neptunus Lex. Brother in Arms, Brothers in Ink, Milblogger, and a man I’d like to consider a friend. I think it needs to be reposted as its that time of the year again.

It is Ireland’s sacred duty to send over, every few years, a playwright to save the English theatre from inarticulate glumness.
Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 27 May 1956

We didn’t send him to England. But really, for an Irishman there really isn’t much difference between death and Ireland.

For me, it didn’t really click until this morning.I had an eval with my current employer, I sat in front of my laptop at 4 o clock this morning with my coffee, and on impulse clicked Lex’s blog link from my bookmarks. My nerves akimbo. I wanted some peace.

Over the years the people I have known via websites have waxed and waned. When I first started writing on line back in 1995, there was one other site I visited with regularity. In 2000, there was eight. In 2002 twenty two. In 2007 almost 52.

Now? 17…and of those fully half are inactive links. Its a testament to my love for Lex’s work that I kept him on my book mark list. The others I liked and I keep hoping that they will update. I have been reluctant to remove the inactive ones from my bookmarks for this reason.

As I clicked his link, and the page loaded the hot coffee turned cool against my lips as I was reminded by whisper…he’s gone. His words will not grace us any longer, save for works in days gone by. His thoughts of previous days left to haunt us in the present.

I set my cup down and wondered. This digital snap shots in to our lives. Where will they go? What will happen to them. For many, when the costs come due our families will shut them down, turn off the lights, and our words will vanish in to the ether at some point.

Our words left unread by those in the future whom may read them. It is one advantage our print and media brethren have over us. Our archives are only around as long as someone wishes to pay for it. There are no libraries whom receive our subscriptions, no history scribes whom will hallmark our work and words. It is up to us to find ways to back up these works, save them, and distribute them in some fashion for others to hold dear.

Our children may not come of age knowing our works, or what motivated us without these very lines I type. How we thought and the people we sought to be, in the end are portrayed here, in black and white and sent to you in hi definition on 1,024 x 768 pixels through a OC48 pipe from one coast to another.

Lex is gone. That much is final. His words may one day slip in to obscurity. Like my other blog friend triticale whom we lost in 2007, or Acidman whom we lost in 2006, their websites stand testament to their sentiments, themselves, and their values. Digital monuments.

But one day those digital monuments can and will fail. Companies get sold, servers crash, people move on, costs become exorbitant. For me a culmination of almost two decades of writing belong on two websites…the thought crosses my mind…what will happen if? I have no regular blog partner with keys. My wife has no interest in these things, and no interest in voicing her own ideals. It will simply become like my coffee, cold, and one day to vanish in to the electronic ether.

Maybe I am bleak because a little light has left this world. Because one who continued, with others fell to the way side, to provide us with measured, rational doses of words, wisdom and work. Who shared with us his day to day experiences, struggles and life.

Maybe I am bleak because how many of us, in that former profession, had those narrow misses? Those brief glances in to our future? that feeling that all we knew and had was about to change in a single instance….and once he was past that point he chose to go back to it, willingly, knowing the costs at stake? Only to be snatched at the last possible instance mere feet from safety?

It seems incomprehensible really. But the Banshee does not care about prose, wit, or talent and at some point when she calls to us to warn of us of An Bás, the time to prepare will be over.

I prefer not to think that those engines final whine were the cry of the Banshee for Lex, although fitting it may be.

When An Bás came calling, I choose to think that someone, up there….just wanted a good debriefing on how life is down here these days. And to keep it interesting he picked the best writer we had.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
May he rest on peace

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The blog is green once again. The quote is changed as it will do so each week this month for something that I feel is witty, applicable or entertaining. Your mileage may vary of course.

A recent conversation reminded me of the dangers of doing my historical work each year on Ireland. We Irish are romantics, we even romanticize our revolutions, and it can be easy to fall sway under the ideology through that silver tongue. I say we, but at the heart of the issue is I am whats usually known as a Plastic Paddy, born in America and accepted by neither. So it is.

My grandfather supported independence, but not the method by which it was attempted or achieved. That’s a serious fence to straddle, especially in Irish politics.  I think due him I am of the same. The methods were brutal, ugly, horrible and little more than terrorism. The basis for the action can be understood, even appreciated, but not the extremes to which it was taken. Having never been in that position myself, I find it hard for me to judge any stronger than that.

No side was correct in the conflict and troubles. Both sides did wrong, gave wrong, and escalated wrong. No side was in the right, and it was all painted in shades of gray.

The cease fires are important. Because only by stepping away from the conflict can we see how far down the path we go in losing our humanity, ability, and basic human concern for our fellow man. If one stays in the furnace too long all they see is fire, and everything needs to burn.

I hope by this way of explanation I have somewhat eased my friends’ mind in regards to my own position, complex though it may seem.

The works I have written that are military in nature and gathered may sometimes seem to support one side, or the other, but its not the case. Rather I am attempting to bring perspective, a chance to view for a moment through another eye as best I can. A glimpse behind the curtain if you will.  The intent is to explain to my fellow Americans that we are not as insulated as we think we are from terrorism, and all it takes is one action, one straw for the camel that we could be thrust in to a similar corner. At which point only studying history such as Ireland do we find peaceful ways out of that corner, without entering the furnace ourselves.

 

 

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I confess an above normal level of obsession with this Russia/Ukraine incident. I make no excuse for it.

Truth be told its little more dynamical than the Georgian incident.

But for some reason this feels different. A vibe in the air. A vibe I haven’t felt or seen since the 1970′s and 8-’s during the Cold War

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With The Armorer finally going dark there aren’t too many folks from the heydey of blogging still around.

 

So whose left?

Well John DuMond of Nobody Move is still writing, and doing so with much more regularity than myself. I’m a frequent lurker there and rarely comment but I still like his work, especially his true crime pieces.

Harvey too, is also still running over at Bad Example. Again I lurk but do not comment often. Mostly because I have a hard time finding time to do much more than quickly read any more with work and school.

Laughing Wolf has been much more creative than I posting quite regularly.

Stephen Sherman aka The Commissar still runs his Ace Pilots page, but his Politburo Diktat is long gone.

Teresa and Technicalities is still alive and kicking

Doc at DocInTheBox also posts occasionally.

T1G of Drunken Wisdom is another sporadic like myself.

EricSWG of StraightWhiteGuy also writes sporadically, and well as always when he does.

The Conservative UAW guy last posted in May.

Nidonemo is still active thankfully.

The Ministry of Minor Perfidy is another who has not posted since May

Slobokan has been silent since April

All of the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers are gone save for myself.

With the exception of a few holdouts such as Blackfive, Grims Hall, This Aint Hell and Murdoc Online most of the old groups are gone.

Since I started writing online back in 1997 I have seen the web undergo a lot of social changes. From mIRC to OTC sites such as Tripod and Geocities, to the MySpace and Blog Heydeys.

All the folks I have listed above, for the vast majority I interact with via Facebook with regularity. They get tired of the spammers, the Chinese hackers, the internet drama, and the “Take this down or we’ll sue you!” crowd.

Its hard to blame them. I’ve been threatened with at least 4 lawsuits in over 15 years of writing on line. I’ve gotten more hate mail than I can shake a stick at. Its one reason I have rarely if ever used my real name online: the fact is there are just some plain old fashion sick people out there.

But I have also met some fabulous people, made great connections. Been introduced to some legends, and people who I consider friends today.

Blogs may be going to the way side, and one day it is entirely possible that this site too may go dark (though I have no immediate plans to do so) but until that time its much like digital cave drawings. People have evolved, maybe not for the better, but their digital social culture has definitely swung towards the instant gratification world of Facebook and G+. Even I use them.

But I can’t put down my keyboard, not entirely. I feel like if I do, a little piece of me might die with it.

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I made some folks who I think highly of, and respect pretty angry today on Facebook.

I’m not happy about it. I’m hoping they’ll forgive me. Or at least understand where I am coming from. I mean no ill will.

I respect their position. They are just one of the countless folks who are directly suffering from the government shut down. The one that the rest of the population, myself included, are unaffected by.

I know that folks are out of work. I know that they don’t want to lose their homes or not pay their bills. I also know that the rest of the country doesn’t care.

Make no mistake, I do care.

But I also know that until the rest of the population is affected, until the people who make the policy are affected, then those folks who are going without a check will continue to be used as political pawns in a game that none of us have skin in.

I know that the American people have become, well, simply put, lazy. Our government knows this. They won a Presidential election on it. The American motto should be “What handout can I get today?” John F Kennedy had it all wrong. “Ask what your country can do for you!” He obviously had a teleprompter foul up. 

I don’t want my friends to lose their home. I truly don’t.

Hell, I don’t want to lose my own home.

But neither do I want the status quo to continue. Earlier today I wrote

“Let me clarify my position on this. Until it hurts, and I mean truly hurts everyone involved, these types of political games will continue. Until the “ruling class” is affected because the populace refuses to fund a government that is nonoperational, until the “ruling class” doesn’t receive a check, until the streets stop being paved, and the system teeters on collapse these types of grandstands will continue to occur and interrupt our lives. Because, from my view, they want us dependent upon them. They want us to need them. They want us unable to get by without feeding it, the machine, the bureaucracy. So I want it to hurt. I want a black flag policy. Jackson once said “If the general government should persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils” referring to the Civil War. This is really no different from my point of view. The government threatens, it soothes, it shakes its fist, but it has no impact on the makers of the policy. Until those policy makers feel the pain, until they stop being served their coffee, stop having the Secret Service to protect them, and stop having their world catered to them on our dime, then the status quo will never change. And I mean never.”

That’s pretty much my thought in a nutshell.

Right or wrong. Lambast me. Hate me. The fact is I have little hope for America anymore. I don’t believe we will ever see a populace rising to meet the challenges of our future the way we have seen in the past. I see our rights being stricken what seems like daily. I see our dependency on our government quadrupling almost daily.

So no, I don’t want anyone to lose their home. But neither do I want our world, our country to continue the way it is. I can’t pick a position and win in this gambit. A wise man would keep his mouth shut, and probably I should. I’m royally sick of seeing folks like my friends being used as Yo-Yo’s in political strategy however. I’ve never been happier to be out of the US of military until these last few years, and I could never dream of a day saying that prior to this.

Will this shutdown change anything? Probably not. It never has before.

Most likely before the week is out they’ll have a budget passed, the Healthcare program will be included, no one will lose their home, and this chance to make a notable change will vanish in to thin air. Folks will rant and rave about Obamacare and post angry pictures on Facebook deriding our current government, President and their ilk. None of it will change.

Because the ones who make the policy don’t care. The ones who argue and write the policy don’t care. The ones who make the red-tape don’t go through it. They will  just generate another few thousand dollar per plate fundraisers and get reelected on misinformation and political lies like they did the last time.  So until their lives are interrupted, until their lives are affected, none of this matters. Until Amendment 28 is ratified and passed, this is all just parlor games. A New Orleans street card vendor trick.

They just want to show us, what happens when they don’t get their way.

Over at The Armorer’s place they are celebrating their Anniversary of have their web doors open.

Over 10 years, and frankly given how many website’s I have seen come and go that’s pretty impressive.

Calimus and I started blogging back about 1995 under the heading of Techography.com. We had a major database crash in 2005 roughly, and we split the sites by opening this one in 2008 due to a change in focus of my own and what I blog versus the content at Techo.

We’re limping along, but much as The Armorer says, I’m not looking to do anything phenomenal, not that I ever did online. It’s been a hobby for me, and a study in social as I watch how the technological world changes from m-IRC, to forums, to websites, to blogs, to Facebook and Twitter. Watching as the people move from one system to another.

In any event having a website for 10 years is a pretty big deal and should be celebrated accordingly.

Go drop him an “Atta Boy!” will ya?

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So why aren’t I blogging more?

Well, honestly I’m fed up. I’m tired. I’m worn out.

With the knowledge that the Federal government is looking to do the largest land grab regulation since the aquisition of Alaska, I’m forced to ask some hard questions. Especially since it directly affects me

Is this the Union for which five generations of my family including myself, went to the Army for?

The answer is decidedly no.

The country we joined the service for did not use drones or spy on its citizens, and certainly not for profit.  Something that the British citizenry are rapidly begining to dislike in their own country.

The country we served, did not lambast religious education systems of any form, especially while its own education system is continually outperformed by that same criticized system daily.

The country we served did not violate the rights of a land owner….something that I thought we straightened out in 1776, but apparently some folks have forgotten.

The country we served, encouraged people to earn their way, to make something of themselves, and to work for success not create a leach class that sucks the financial ability from all of the others.  You earn it.

The country we served, did not allow others to determine thehealth care one got. It was up to the individual. You got what you could pay for. It wasn’t given. You earn it. Like everything else.

The country we served allowed anyone to go to college, provided you earned it. Not cut funding for college for soldiers who have been fighting, dying and getting injured to earn their degree versus sneaking across a border, illegally at night.

The country we served did not reward criminals, or those who knowingly broke the law.

In short I don’t know this country any more.

And I’m not sure I like it anymore either.

But sadly until folks decide to do more than “Like” a silly status on Facebook, it’s all just words.

The American people have become lazy. Sloven even. With no desire to change anything. The antipathy is a cancerous disease of self preservation that prevents any action by anybody. Instead we stand like lemmings in the room each staring at the other wondering who will make the first move.

Meanwhile the bulldozer just keeps coming.

The fact is, we embarass our forefather. We have shamed them. We are willing to let everything go, just so we can have our highspeed internet and high definition television programming. We are willing to subjugate, so that we can get a government check, a government benefit, a government handout because of all the things we could fear, the country that put a man on the moon….suddenly fears work.

Sadly, I fear this ideaology may be right….at least to some poor bastard.

 

We have politically corrected ourself in to oblivion. We can’t accept an apology and move on with our lives. We have to have blood for some social injustice while our government trashed our other social rights behind our backs.

We have become a nation of television, sound byte fed attention defecit children with no desire or care for the larger picture if it doesn’t meet some latest fad thats been identified as Good for the Children ™.

And frankly, it all makes me want to vomit.

So will I be blogging with any regularity?

Possibly. Maybe. Doubtful.

But I moved into the boondocks for peace and quiet.

I don’t intend to be spied on by a government that I once worked for under some silly notion of “Greater Good.”

Do your damn job more effeciently and stop passing laws to make it  harder to put the bad guys behind bars or in the ground. Novel concept. The fact that Nidal Hasan is still breathing air in the same time zone I am is proof enough that this country has lost its marbles, and its balls.

But thats too hard. Its much easier to pass the buck than it is to be responsible. Everyones worried about some bullshit legacy or history book consideration. Everyone ants to be a star.

And nobody wants to do their fucking job.

 

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Are we on the verge of a second Korean War? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say with North Korea, whose leadership system and propaganda machine portrays their leaders like demigods (Such as his awe-inspiring 11 hole in ones upon playing golf for the first time ever in his entire life…or maybe thats smell inspiring). Predicting North Korea falls in to 2 basic categories:

  • Boating and threatening- This will continue until China reaches from around the curtain and drags them back stage whereupon they smack them in the head while saying “Nice Doggie” until they halt.
  • Hot war – Playtime is over.

I notice a lot of folks from my generation, the so called Generation X, asking “Why are we there? Why are we sticking our nose in it?”

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So we finally heard from the USO

TSO over at This Ain’t Hell spearheaded the way, and enough cant be said for what he did from my point of view, frankly. Milblogging isn’t what it used to be so the fact the he was on the tip of the spear proves the brotherhood, both militarily and internet linked, still exists.  A big thanks nonetheless to everyone who stood up and added a voice. Sure it may be from behind a laptop, but then look at how many folks said nothing. Point made I think.

He got a hold of key individuals at the USO, and found out that it was simply a communication breakdown.

So stand down the war dogs, all is well. I’m glad that this came to a happy conclusion for The Sniper. I always liked his work and have had him on my blog list for a number of years. I just wish I had more time to blog as I used to. Maybe once I finish graduate school I’ll have more of my life back.

 

 

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It’s one of those headlines that, when you type it, you have to read it a second time to make sure you are not hallucinating.

The short version, from my perspective anyway, is that the wars are over. The general, 30 second attention span populace, can now shove their faux affection for veterans in to a broom closet and go back to being peace time advocates for not giving a damn about anything or saving the #2 pencils from rampant extinction.

If there isn’t a t-shirt sale involved then its not of their concern.

In this case an individual at the USO, whom apparently feels their position is one that does not require actual…you know…communication with others….is asking…no demanding that a MilBlogger shut down his entire website.

This isn’t anything new.  Folks and companies attack bloggers with semi regularity because of something we have written or published. Sometimes they succeed in getting their way…sometimes they don’t. I’d say its about 50/50 split in the legal world today regarding overall, but with the overall general public coming to understand that blogging is as much about free speech as it is journalism. We will write things that folks may not like…but that doesn’t make it any less true from our perspective or interpretation. And Court’s are not very big on slapping people around for interpretation of literary licensing, but I digress.

This particular representative of the USO has managed to not only inflame Stolen Valour advocate, and faux soldier investigator TSO over at This Ain’t Hell who has went on an all out offensive to get to the bottom of the mess, they have also stirred up one time Fox commentator, former embedded blogger and book author Laughing Wolf at Blackfive.

It’s been a long time since I have seen the MilBlogger wheels try to turn, and given so many bloggers and MilBloggers have walked away from their websites and gathered around the instant gratification system known as Facebook I can’t help but wonder…much as the old time websites I use to run and mIRC servers that were predominant in the past…has the blog worlds time passed?

For The Sniper’s sake (whom is the accused party in this muck) I hope not, and as such I’m lending my voice to the others by attempting to spread the word regarding this.  Such a request is unreasonable. The USO representative is not dealing with a 13 year old in his mothers basement who is trying to find old Sara Michelle Gellar pictures online. This is a military veteran, with tours in the recent conflicts under his belt, exercising his right to free speech that he damned well earned.

Agree, or disagree with his position, the fact of the matter is he has a right to say it. No more and no less that Jerry Springer and his ilk have their right to portray people as raving lunatics. No more and no less than CNN. No more and no less that someone with a T shirts stating their position on a particular topic. Offense is not a reason for submission…it’s a catalyst for discussion.

And if the USO has a brain in their head, instead of playing footsie with a couple of military vet bloggers and social media they’ll join a roundtable regarding this and deep dive the root of the problem.

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So its finally March. Usually my favorite time of the year.

As you can see I managed to ensure that the website changed to its typical green hue for the occasion, forests of Ireland a backdrop for something I have done on this website for several years: that of sharing some Irish history, Mythology, lore and my own families history with you.

This year has been crazy, and the last several weeks hectic. Last year our March celebration was marred by the loss of longtime friend and fellow MilBlogger Lex.

I can’t promise you this month will be better. There are things moving in m own life that have me as worried as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but I digress.

It’s March. There is still snow on the ground. Spring is coming soon as the last vestiges of winter make their way from our lives for this year.

Smile.

Be Happy.

Be Green!

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The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.
Benjamin Franklin

Let me begin by saying I am not a right wing  extremest. Nor am I planning some foolish course of action of violence. Rather I entice you to think, and beyond that point of your nose.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose. That you should be able to marry whom you please without my interference, if you want to burn yourself out on crack cocaine so be it. You can worship the Flying Spagetti Monster for all I care as long as you don’t perform human sacrifice, slaughter animals, or need virgins for deflowering.

Essentially as long as your choices do not interfere with my own I have no desire to interfere with anyone’s way of life. I guess it could be said I am a individual isolationist, although I prefer the term Constitutionalist, or perhaps American.

However, with all this I understand that a certain number of laws need to be placed in this world. A defining of the social lines and culture that can not be, should not be, crossed. By this a governing body of those laws does indeed need to be in place, with its power limited to those laws that are found just and equal.

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This is a re-post from our November, 2009 post regarding this week. Other Military bloggers covering today: Blackfive

On November 5th, 1965 the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed on a Search & Destroy mission in to War Zone “D” north of Bien Hoa. Also involved was the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment ; 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry; and the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Divisions . The name of the operation, ironically, signified the units halfway point in their tour of the Vietnam war.

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You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
Marcus Aurelius

So some folks got what they wanted last night and some folks didn’t. Such is the way of the world and the nature of the beast.

I won’t sit here and try to ploy niceties and say I think under this leadership we are heading in anything even vaguely considerable to the right direction.

But nor will I quibble over it.

What I am concerned about is a much more conscionable change in our culture as a whole.

Any one of these alone, ten years ago, would have shown a government official the door. But in this day and age not a single thing has been done on any of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy with the outcome, but I am more concerned over our populaces willingness to forgo these slights against itself.

Rather we have created entire generations whom are dependent upon the government.  I’ll be exploring this more in coming days but historically speaking it’s a scary trend for our nation.

 

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