Today's view of the world from New York and Washington D.C.


\\Today’s news in the New York Times and the Washington Post is, as always, enlightening. It shows how far we have come from tribalism and how far we have not come. We will start with the Post in our daily jog through the information morass.

Lets open our dive into the waters of daily education with a little jog into the Czechoslavakia of Word War II. The wounds are still weeping and this is affecting European political union. The Czech president is proving difficult. Here is the story.


Then we have a story about arrests of narco-terrorists being made in 19 U.S. states involving Mexico’s notorious drug family and cartel La Familia. They behead their enemies to instill fear. The story is here. It should be noted that all around the world, drug money finances terror. They are linked.  We are slowly beginning to realize this in Afghanistan.

Now lets look at the New York Times.

Here we have a story of an older, second level Islamic cleric openly and aggressively defying the government in Iran. He is proclaiming that the government is illigitimate. I am not sure this old guy is going to be around much longer but I do admire his moxie.

Here is an article concerning the upcoming runoff election in Afghanistan. Fraud is expected again. Wow! All that I can say is "we are shedding young American lives and billions of American dollars for this?" It is remarkable. I wonder what the families of the American dead and wounded think?

For veterans struggling with addiction problems, here is a heartening article about a successful after care drug treatment program in my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That alone stuns me.

Here is a story about the now ongoing war between Fox News and the White House as it is played out at the highest levels. The opposing "generals" are now involved in routine and almost daily conversations with each other. Who would have thought? When the White House is threatening Fox News with loss of access to the President or the White House it is remarkable how well they can "rediscover" the very fundamentals of responsible American journalism.

In a series of articles concerning things that could only happen in America where money is G*d and status and social standing are attributes of angelic favor, we have a number of stories that seem to speak to our greatest achievement as a people which also happens to be the largest boil on our collective soul. The stories involve our typically American worship of all consuming wealth.

In this story, Washington is attempting to control the over-the-top rape of the American investor with outlandish and ridiculous pay packages for bankers on Wall Street. Good luck.  I don’t see it ever happening but I certainly support the effort.

In this story we read that federal investigators looking into the theft that has occurred over generations at Freddie Mac have barred former employees from speaking publicly for fear of that truth affecting American financial markets.

I don’t know about you, but that seems awfully weak as an excuse for "shielding" the public from harm as far as I am concerned. This needs to be looked at much more closely by the Fourth Estate. Something "just ain’t right here".  The public cannot know what is happening with mortgage money theft? Huh? What am I missing?

In this story, doctors who direct cancer research at local hospitals around the country are being accused of manipulating research data and thus placing cancer patients in danger in order to keep recieving more federal monies without question or investigation.

The whistle blower is a doctor herself and former director of one of these local research hospitals. The problem appears to be pervasive. This kind of federal research goes on all the time at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. I wonder…..

Here is an editorial concerning the growing fear that the cold weather now descending upon Iraq will cut off all hopes of a runoff election happening this year. The American government is concerned that it will slow down American troop withdrawals from that country. There would be no legitimate government in place to handle things once the Americans leave. 

Somehow or other, I don’t believe that this situation would be unique in that part of the world.  The troop withdrawals should proceed no matter what as far as I am concerned.

Here is an editorial that decries the increasing criminalization of homelessness in the USA. As more and more people are out of work and they need more and more help from the local and state level governments to be housed and to eat and feed their families, a strange but very American thing is happening. Local and state governments are beginning to criminalize being homeless.

American veterans are the country’s leading experts on being homeless.  There is now a demonstrated and verifiable link between combat experience and homelessness so this affects us as a group very, very deeply.  On any given night in this country there are 112,000 homeless veterans on the streets.  I do not like this.  Not one bit.

In this Op Ed piece by Paul Krugman the Chinese Government is being taken to task for artificially interfering with the value of its currency over the past twenty five years or so. What happens when Chinese currency is kept artificially low over decades is that essentially this impoverishes all of us around the world while protecting Chinese workers in an artifical way from real unemployment or lower standards of living.

This artifical currency manipulation sends the world trade balance into a tailspin because Chinese goods are much cheaper than they really should be in a true free market economy and therefore no other nations can compete. This is a lot bigger threat to us than a Blue Water Chinese Navy would be. This is a very big deal. 

We need to watch this and develop an informed opinion here.

And finally from the New York Times, this is the thought from On This Day: "On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide truck-bombing at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon killed 220 U.S. Marines, 18 sailors and 3 Army soldiers; a near-simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58 paratroopers."

May they rest in peace.

Remember, an informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his adversaries. Get informed, stay informed and teach other veterans to inform themselves.  It is a tremendous weapon.

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)




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