In the Washington Post today we get a rare and very crucial insight into how lawmakers on Capitol Hill protect their private financial investments by the stands that they take on legislation. It often requires a bizarre set of dance steps to make the choreography that is involved look natural.
What we have here is a growing concern among those that watch our government machinations unfold daily that when lawmakers vote on issues that affect their own holdings, what we get is skewed legislation that bends heavily in favor of the legislator’s portfolio.
I don’t think that this is what the term "public service" is all about. That story, Policy, portfolios and the investor lawmaker is here.
Relative to this story, here is a graphic that shows congressional ownership in medical device stocks. Wow! Full disclosure: Congressional ownership of medical device stock .
Here is an unusual and unexpected story, Support for legalizing marijuana grows rapidly around U.S. Maybe we veterans should form an opinion about this?
E.J. Dionne has written an Op Ed piece in the Post today entitled A Plan C for Afghanistan. In it he takes the point of view that President Obama will mix and match what he is told by advisors and come up with a sort of hybrid plan that will make no one happy but may be perhaps his only choice.
In an Op Ed piece by Robert J. Samuelson we are told once again that the old in our country must stop robbing the young. Health ‘reform’ that burdens our young is the title of the piece.
I generally agree with him on this point, but in a year where we just passed the largest defense budget in terms of real dollars in the history of human civilization, I find it hard to see where social entitlements squeeze defense spending as he claims.
The Mexican armed forces is taking the lead in combatting narco trafficking in that country. They are having limited success but citizens are complaining of abuses. The armed forces has released data on those abuses, but no one believes the data. That story, Skeptics doubt Mexican data on military abuses, is here.
The U.S. Army has asked former Governor Palin not to give a speech at her book signing at Fort Bragg today. The piece is called Army asks Palin not to give speech at book signing and it is unusual.
If she had been part of the team that won the election last year the Army would be tripping all over itself to let her say whatever fascist and ridiculous thing she wanted. They let Dubya get away with it all the time. Why the change of heart?
So it goes with a democracy. What a sham.
In this piece 4 US service members die in Afghan attacks we find that attacks on U.S. and NATO troopers in Afghanistan are increasing.
The Chinese government has just handed down a three year prison sentence to an aggressive Chinese human rights campaigner. He was protesting badly constructed buildings that fell apart in the recent Chinese earthquakes and the response of the government was to jail him for what they claimed was possession of secret government documents.
This is always the problem with "government secrecy" rules in any nation. The government gets to decide what is secret and what is not; hardly a fair exchange.
We have the same thing here. Do not kid yourself. The story China sentences quake activist to 3 years in prison is chilling for anyone looking at government behavior anywhere.
The BBC News today in a story entitled Second Russia weapons dump blast kills eight soldiers, reports that only ten days after the previous blast at this arms depot, we have another one. This cannot be good and criminal investigations are proceeding. Insurrection?
The BBC further reports in an article entitled Saudi Arabia warns against protests at Hajj that the Saudis are forbidding protests during the Hajj and are expecting 2.5 million Muslims this year.
And in an odd but telling commentary on who we are in the West relative to our own view of ethics, a story on video games that people play involving war scenarios entitled Games ‘permit’ virtual war crimes, we find that there are no rules on ethics in virtual war games.
Why am I not surprised?
Remember, an informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his adversaries.
CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)