Scandinavian Socialism

(Jump to the challenges directed at me dealing with America protecting these smaller countries)

The Myth

Gay Patriot introduces us to the myth often put forward by the left. This post by Gay Patriot will add to the video by Bill Whittle that follows it:

One of the myths Progressive Leftists elevate to “fact” by constantly repeating it to each other is the idea that Scandinavian countries are the closest on Earth fulfillment to their socialist dream utopia. ~ Gay patriot

…continuing…

Scandinavian Hell

Kyle Smith, writing in the NY Post, digs a little deeper and discovers that, like almost everything Progressive leftists believe, the Myth of Scandinavian Utopia really is as much a myth as the college rape epidemic, the genius of Barack Obama, or the popularity of gun control.

Visitors say Danes are joyless to be around. Denmark suffers from high rates of alcoholism. In its use of antidepressants it ranks fourth in the world. (Its fellow Nordics the Icelanders are in front by a wide margin.) Some 5 percent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Denmark’s productivity is in decline, its workers put in only 28 hours a week, and everybody you meet seems to have a government job. Oh, and as The Telegraph put it, it’s “the cancer capital of the world.”

So how happy can these drunk, depressed, lazy, tumor-ridden, pig-bonking bureaucrats really be?

I think my favorite paragraph is where he cites the Scandinavian Social Contract as the “Ten Commandments of Buzzkill.”

“You shall not believe that you are someone,” goes one. “You shall not believe that you are as good as we are,” is another. Others included “You shall not believe that you are going to amount to anything,” “You shall not believe that you are more important than we are” and “You shall not laugh at us.”

They read like the 10 Commandments of Progressive Leftism…

…read it all…

Economics 101

In an excellent Bloomberg article entitled, “Booming Sweden’s Free-Market Solution,” the myth is dismantled in toto by Anders Aslund. Here is a snippet:

…From 1970 until 1989, taxes rose exorbitantly, killing private initiative, while entitlements became excessive. Laws were often altered and became unpredictable. As a consequence, Sweden endured two decades of low growth. In 1991-93, the country suffered a severe crash in real estate and banking that reduced GDP by 6 percent. Public spending had surged to 71.7 percent of GDP in 1993, and the budget deficit reached 11 percent of GDP.

TURNING POINT
The combination of the crisis and the non-socialist government under Carl Bildt from 1991 to 1994 broke the trend and turned the country around. In 1994, the Social Democrats returned to power and stayed until 2006. Instead of revoking the changes, they completed the fiscal tightening. In 2006, a non-socialist government returned, and Finance Minister Anders Borg, with his trademark ponytail and earring, has led further reforms. Sweden successfully weathered the global financial crisis that started in 2008, and the Financial Times named Borg Europe’s best finance minister last year.

Before 2009, Sweden had a budget surplus, and it has one again. For the past two years, economic growth has been 4 percent on average, and the current-account surplus was 6.7 percent in 2011. The only concerns are the depressed demand for exports caused by the current euro crisis and an unemployment rate that is about 7.5 percent.

Sweden’s traditional scourge is taxes, which used to be the highest in the world. The current government has cut them every year and abolished wealth taxes. Inheritance and gift taxes are also gone. Until 1990, the maximum marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. Today, it is 56.5 percent. That is still one of the world’s highest, after Belgium’s 59.4 and there is strong public support for a cut to 50 percent.

The 26 percent tax on corporate profits may seem reasonable from an American perspective, but Swedish business leaders want to reduce it to 20 percent. Tax competition is fierce in some parts of Europe. Most East European countries, for example, have slashed corporate taxes to 15-19 percent….

Reason.org Weighs in on the “Swedish” experiment, how it got its wealth, noting how it squandered it, and how it is returning to the pre-70’s ideology:

  • Sweden is a powerful example of the importance of public policy. The Nordic nation became rich between 1870 and 1970 when government was very small, but then began to stagnate as welfare state policies were implemented in the 1970s and 1980s. The CF&P Foundation video explains that Sweden is now shifting back to economic freedom in hopes of undoing the damage caused by an excessive welfare state.

And do not think for a moment that the free-market has not allowed Sweden or other Nordic nations to get back on their feet. This is is pointed out in the following “101” presentation on economics:

The Above Video Description via Reason.org:

For those of us who place more trust in free markets than state-directed economies, we must inevitably (and repeatedly) confront the skeptical interlocutor who details the “successes” of Swedish social democracy. “If state intervention into the economy is so bad, high taxes so destructive, then why is Sweden such a success?” It’s an irritatingly simple question with a incredibly complicated answer, though I do recommend pointing out, when the conversation turns to health care and secondary education, that nothing, in a state the confiscates a massive portion of your income, is “free.” But as many have pointed out, during its boom years, Sweden was a pretty free market place; from the 1970s through the 1990s—when taxes and regulation dramatically increased—the economy slowed until it spun out in the early 1990s…

[….]

…So here is my bottom line: When some American pundit, with expertise is everything, explains why some European welfare state “works,” or how everything you know is wrong about taxing income at 75 percent, do a little digging, make use of Google Translate, and don’t trust that, because Swedes and Danes tell researchers that they are happy, the United States should introduce “daddy leave” and provide subsidies to syndicalist newspapers.

The best English-language explication of the Swedish model comes from my pal Johan Norberg, who wrote this brilliant piece for The National Interest a few years back. And watch my interview with Norberg on Swedish welfare politics here and on Naomi Klein here.

The following interview is Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, sits down with reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan to sort out the myths of the Sweden’s welfare state, health services, tax rates, and its status as the “most successful society the world has ever known.”

National Review seems like a good place to continue the theme of showing how the Nordic countries have used the free-market system to recoup what it has lost with previous regulations that crippled free-enterprise. Here is a comparison between Sweden and Venzuala that was helpful in explaining how Sweden has less regulations that us in many places (a recent phenomenon BTW):

Talk to a Bernie Sanders voter about “socialism” — and they can be very insistent about using the word — and you’ll get paeans to Sweden, which is not a socialist country but a country with large, expensive welfare state. The distinction is not trivial: There is relatively little in the way of state-run enterprise in Sweden; the Swedish government is in fact only a 60 percent partner in the postal service. The Swedish government is, alas, in the casino business, albeit in a more transparent way than American government is. On the Heritage economic-freedom rankings, Sweden isn’t that far behind the United States. It has very high taxes, but taxes are not the only burden that governments put on the economy, not necessarily even the most important, and Sweden outscores the United States on a number of important metrics: free trade, property rights, freedom from corruption, investment freedom, monetary policy, etc. The United States’ small edge in the rankings comes mainly from relatively low taxes and a much less regulated labor market.

Reason.org again weighs in on whether Sweden is the right model for the U.S. to emulate:

The Above Video Description:

To the American mind there may be nothing more quintessentially Swedish than the leggy, blond supermodel.

But there’s another Swedish model that inspires almost as much admiration—the Swedish economic model. With a generous welfare state and high living standards, Sweden seems to prove that socialism works. Much of the hope that swept Barack Obama into the White House rests on the belief that America could reach new heights under a regime of enlightened progressivism, that we could be more like the Swedes.

Not so fast, warns Stockholm University sociologist Charlotta Stern: “If an American told me that the US should be more like Sweden I would say I don’t think it’s possible.” The United States can centralize its health care system and pass other laws that mimic Sweden’s welfare state polices, says Stern, but it’s impossible to replicate a culture that allows those policies to operate about as smoothly as possible. Swedish bureaucracies inspire trust, but their American counterparts (DMV, TSA, IRS) inspire punch lines, if not outrage.

But America could emulate some of the Swedish policies that don’t require extensive bureaucracies. Take school vouchers. Teachers unions in America regard the idea as free-market radicalism, but families in Sweden enjoy universal school choice. Sweden adopted its famously progressive policies during the 1970s, but after years of sluggish economic growth the land of ABBA altered its course in the 1990s, adopting a host of free-market reforms, from deregulation to tax cuts.

Although much of the disco-era welfare state remains, economist Andreas Bergh credits the free market reforms with reviving his nation’s economy. “Sweden is moving in the market economic direction,” says Bergh, “but that does not mean America should be moving in the socialist direction.”

What if the two nations continue on in different directions? Maybe some day when America is looking for a way to rejuvenate its economy, pundits will point to a different kind of Swedish model. One that increases individual choice and competition.

“Sweden—A Supermodel for America?” is produced by Daniel B. Klein, and written and produced by Ted Balaker, who also hosts. Shot by Jonathan Liberman and Henrik Devell, with additional production support by Zach Weissmueller and Sam Corcos and post production by Hawk Jensen and Austin Bragg. Special thanks to Niclas Berggren, Martin Borgs, Nils Karlson, and the Ratio Institute.

A Challenge Directed At Me

In conversation about an audio upload to my YouTube Channel of Dennis Prager discussing Bernie Sanders, I was challenged with this:

  • Sweden is not a Nato member so how does the US pay for Sweden defense? Pointing at Whittle and saying “because he say they do” won’t cut it.

To which I responded with a quote from an International Business Times article:

Finland is joining military exercises with other Scandinavian countries, as well as several members of NATO, in late May, Finnish media report. The maneuvers called Arctic Challenge will span 12 days, starting May 25, and include nine countries and close to 100 planes. The drills, over Sweden and northern Norway, come amid increased tensions between Russia and its Baltic and Nordic neighbors.

Sweden and Switzerland, which like Finland are not members of NATO, are expected to join the exercise, along with NATO members Norway, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Finland plans to send 16 F-18 Hornet fighter jets, while the other countries will supply Gripen “multirole” fighters, F-16s, Eurofighters and Jet Falcons, as well as transports and tankers, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. The Norwegian armed forces said the purpose of the Arctic Challenge exercise is to “learn to coordinate efforts in complicated flight operations conducted in cooperation with NATO.”

Russia has ramped up military activity along its borders with northern Europe, causing consternation in several Baltic and Nordic countries and pre-emptive actions to head off — or prepare for — a possible military crisis. Latvia, which reported a Russian submarine near its coast in mid-March, is beefing up security on its eastern border, while Finland recently began a letter campaign notifying some 900,000 reservists of their duties in a potential crisis. Sweden also intercepted four Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea in March with their radios off. Russian jets have been intercepted in other instances while flying in European international airspace….

I also pointed out that this promise went back to the Cold War, and was not known about till a Swedish defense think-tank/security firm uncovered the agreements in 1994. The original story’s link has been lost, but it is here on FOI’s site. FOI’s “about us” page has this:

  • FOI is one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the areas of defence and security. We have 1,000 highly skilled employees with various backgrounds. At FOI, you will find everything from physicists, chemists, engineers, social scientists, mathematicians and philosophers to lawyers, economists and IT technicians…. The Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Material Administration are our main customers. However, we also accept assignments from civil authorities and industry. Our clients from the defence sector place very high demands on advanced research, which also benefits other customers.

Here is the info from the old article via WIKI:

Initially after the end of World War II, Sweden quietly pursued an aggressive independent nuclear weapons program involving plutonium production and nuclear secrets acquisition from all nuclear powers, until the 1960s, when it was abandoned as cost-prohibitive. During the Cold War Sweden appeared to maintain a dual approach to thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, the strict neutrality policy was forcefully maintained, but unofficially strong ties were purportedly kept with the U.S. It was hoped that the U.S. would use conventional and nuclear weapons to strike at Soviet staging areas in the occupied Baltic states in case of a Soviet attack on Sweden. Over time and due to the official neutrality policy, fewer and fewer Swedish military officials were aware of the military cooperation with the west, making such cooperation in the event of war increasingly difficult. At the same time Swedish defensive planning was completely based on help from abroad in the event of war. Later research has shown that every publicly available war-game training, included the scenario that Sweden was under attack from the Soviets, and would rely on NATO forces for defence. The fact that it was not permissible to mention this aloud eventually led to the Swedish armed forces becoming highly misbalanced. For example, a strong ability to defend against an amphibious invasion was maintained, while an ability to strike at inland staging areas was almost completely absent.

In the early 1960s U.S. nuclear submarines armed with mid-range nuclear missiles of type Polaris A-1 were deployed outside the Swedish west coast. Range and safety considerations made this a good area from which to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on Moscow. The submarines had to be very close to the Swedish coast to hit their intended targets though. As a consequence of this, in 1960, the same year that the submarines were first deployed, the U.S. provided Sweden with a military security guarantee. The U.S. promised to provide military force in aid of Sweden in case of Soviet aggression. This guarantee was kept from the Swedish public until 1994, when a Swedish research commission found evidence for it. As part of the military cooperation the U.S. provided much help in the development of the Saab 37 Viggen, as a strong Swedish air force was seen as necessary to keep Soviet anti-submarine aircraft from operating in the missile launch area. In return Swedish scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology made considerable contributions to enhancing the targeting performance of the Polaris missiles.

Some More Discussion

In this first back-and-forth, I noted some of the above and got this response:

  • Seems Sweden is searching for the viable balance of Capitalism and Socialism. Good for them. Bernie Sanders seeks the same.

To which I respond:

They want [and have] a lower tax rate than Sanders wants. They dumped their “wealth tax” and “death tax.” They lowered their corporate tax-rate and want it at 20% and below. Lessened regulations on businesses… on-and-on.

Bernie wants the 70’s through 90’s Sweden… I am down with the 2006 and beyond Sweden.

Someone else joined the discussion, and mentioned the following:

  • My family is Swedish and I can tell you with 100% accuracy they are way better off than we are…. Across the board pretty much.

Again, I respond:

There is a Swedish economist in the post that from first hand experience (and expertise in his field) telling you they are where they are because of the free market and a reduction [greatly] of the welfare state/socialism enterprise. [And, BTW, they use the many life saving drugs produced by the profit motivated “Big Pharma” spending on R&D to extend the lives of their fellow Swedes.]

When you get all these health care services for “free” then people start taking them for granted, calling ambulances without second thoughts, and going to the doctor for simple things that you don’t really need to see a doctor for… False alarms for ambulances and fire trucks end up costing the government and indirectly tax payers huge amounts of money every year. Which is why Sweden has as of late started to reform its health care system by privatizing parts of it. Mind you, these are somewhat limited in scope, but people are able to pay now for private care (1-in-10 now have private insurance/health-care).


…The paradox is that America has been doubling down on government authority over healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, just as more and more European governments, including Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, have been forced by public outcry to address the unconscionable waits for care by introducing new laws. But it is even more essential for American voters to realize, and for our government leaders to acknowledge, what other countries are beginning to recognize all over the world. These governments have started to understand that the cure for their failed nationalized health systems is a shift to privatization. And citizens under government-dominated health systems are increasingly circumventing their own systems, pursuing private healthcare to solve the uniformly poor access to care and limited choices.

Let’s consider Sweden, often heralded as the paradigm of a successful welfare state. The facts tell a very different story. Having failed its citizens in healthcare access, the Swedish government has aggressively introduced private market forces into healthcare to improve access, quality, and choices. Although once entirely public, over a quarter of Swedish primary care clinics are now run by the private sector. Sweden’s municipality governments have increased spending on private care contracts by 50% in the past decade. Private nursing facilities now receive substantial public funding to care for patients. Widespread private sector competition has also been introduced into pharmacies to tear down the pre-2009 monopoly over all prescription and non-prescription drugs. Since the Swedish government sold over half of its pharmacies to private firms in 2009, 20 private firms entered the market and over 300 new pharmacies opened, not only improving accessibility but providing the first pharmacies ever to many small towns.

Moreover, despite the fact that an average Swedish family already pays nearly $20,000 annually in taxes toward healthcare according to Swedish economist Per Bylund, about 12% of working adults bought private insurance in 2013, a number that has increased by 67% over the last five years. Half a million Swedes now use private insurance, up from 100,000 a decade ago, even though they are already “guaranteed” public healthcare….

(Hoover Insitute, “Defining Ideas: The Surprising International Consensus on Healthcare“)

Gay Patriot ends the beginning of this post well:

…In the pre-Reagan Era, the media was just as left-leaning and reluctant to discuss the poverty and oppression that permeated the Soviet Union. But there were enough people willing to talk about it outside the media for the truth to get out. The pervasiveness of social media should make it easier, not harder, for conservatives to get a message out around the media gatekeepers. Millennials should be told what happened in Venezuela after his ideological brother Hugo Chavez took over; they should be told how toilet paper became a black market commodity and supermarket shelves became bare. And they should be made aware that Sweden is not quite the utopia they’ve been taught it is, either.

Memorial & Veterans Day ~ Tribute from RPT

(Above Video) Just A Common Soldier, also known as A Soldier Died Today, is one of the most popular poems on the Internet. Written and published in 1987 by Canadian veteran and columnist A. Lawrence Vaincourt, it now appears in numerous anthologies, on thousands of websites and on July 4, 2008 it was carved into a marble monument at West Point, New York. This year marks the poem’s 25th anniversary.

Please enjoy this tribute to the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen who have given so much for our country.

(Son to Father. . .)
Do not call me, father. Do not seek me.
Do not call me. Do not wish me back.
We’re on a route uncharted, fire and blood erase our track.

On we fly on wings of thunder, never more to sheathe our swords.
All of us in battle fallen – not to be brought back by words.

Will there be a rendezvous?
I know not. I only know we still must fight.
We are sand grains in infinity, never to meet.
nevermore to see light.

(Father to Son . . .)
Farewell, then my son. Farewell then my conscience.
Farewell my youth, my solace, my one and my only.

Let this farewell be the end of the story,
A solitude vast in which none is more lonely,
In which you remained barred forever
From light, from air, with your death pains untold.
Untold and unsoothed, never to be resurrected.
Forever and ever an 18 year old.

Farewell then.
No trains ever come from those regions,
Unscheduled and scheduled.
No aeroplanes fly there.

Farewell then my son,
For no miracles happen, as in this world
Dreams do not come true.

Farewell.
I will dream of you still as a baby,
Treading the earth with little strong toes,
The earth where already so many lie buried.

This song to my son, then, is come to its close.

(Extract from a poem by Jr. Lt. Vladimir Pavlovich Antokolski. Killed in action, June 6th, 1942)

(Via GayPatriot)

memorial day 2016 Lisa Benson

memorial day 2016 Beeler


(Via Gateway Pundit) Brothers ForeverTravis Manion and Brendan Looney were roommates at the naval academy and became as close as brothers. One became a Marine stationed in Iraq, the other, a Navy Seal in Afghanistan. Both died in action years apart and were laid to rest side-by-side in Arlington’s National Cemetery.






































It is the
VETERAN,
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is
the VETERAN
who can at times lay
us down in green pastures.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the televangelist,
Who can get people out of wheelchairs.

It is
the VETERAN

(Also See Tribute Video for all the kids who lost their loved one)




Never Forget Their Sacrifice

This amazing photo was taken in 1918. It is a photo of 18,000 men
preparing for war at Camp Dodge in Des Moines, Iowa (Above)


While the speeches and cartoons are perfect for this Memorial Day… they do not express the loss persons individually feel that express our Nation’s loss through their pain. Pray for the families of the fallen, always.


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A few of the below are from the same heroes funeral,

a link to the story is in the pictures




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Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) Used in Afghanistan (NEW VIDEO!)

GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) was just used for the first time in combat. This is our largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal (a 21,000lb bomb). Thank you ISIS for being the prime “real world” test platform for the MOAB. God’s speed to hell. (See more at the WASHINGTON TIMES)

KEY STATS:

✦ Nicknamed the ‘Mother of all Bombs’
✦ The world’s largest non-nuclear weapon
✦ Each bomb costs around $16 million (£12.8 million)
✦ Its explosion is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT and the blast radius is a mile wide
✦ First tested by US forces in 2003
✦ It is designed to destroy heavily reinforced targets or to shatter ground forces and armour across a large area
✦ 30 feet (9 metres) long and 40 inches (1 metre) wide
✦ Weighs 21,000lbs (9,500kg) – heavier than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb
✦ Blast radius stretches a mile in each direction
✦ Leaves no lasting radiation effect

HOW IT IS DEPLOYED

✦ The bomb has ‘grid’ fins that fold into the body during carriage
✦ It can only be deployed out of the back of large cargo plane due to its size
✦ The bomb rides on a pallet – a parachute pulls the pallet and bomb out of the plane
✦ The pallet then separates so that the bomb can fall to its target
✦ The bomb’s grid fins extend to help control the bomb’s descent
✦ It accelerates rapidly to its terminal velocity and is partially guided to its target via satellite
✦ It explodes six feet (1.8 metres) above the ground
✦ The idea behind this ‘airburst’ mechanism is to spread its destructive range

|DAILY MAIL|

The Aftermath of the Attack In Syria

  • Joke: All jokes Assad, things are getting pretty Syrias right now.
  • A friends response: I’m laughing so hard I’m Putin!

PICTURE: Al-Shayrat Airfield, which is where these chemical attacks were launched from… AFTER Tomahawk Barrage

This is from the U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE NEWS post, which includes videos of the launching of some of these Tomahawks:

…..“The strike was a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” Davis’s statement continued. “Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.”

A U.S. military official told USNI News that Russian forces in the country were given a “heads up” ahead of the launch of the missiles. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that the U.S. did not seek Moscow’s permission for the strike.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who serves on the Senate foreign relations and intelligence committees, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper this evening that “I don’t believe this is a message; I believe this is actually a tactical action that furthers an objective, which is important. My guess is, and I think you’ll see confirmation of it shortly, al-Shayrat Airfield, which is where these chemical attacks were launched from with fixed-wing aircraft a couple days ago, is going to be the target, and that is the airfield from which the chemical attacks were launched. It’s also a critical point in a part of the country where they’re battling rebels, non-ISIS rebels, in the northern part of Syria. So as I said, it’s an important and decisive step that was taken. It is not a message; it is an actual degrading of the capability of Syrian regime to carry out further chemical attacks against innocent civilians. This will degrade their capability to launch those attacks from the air, and I think it was an important step and hopefully it’s part of a comprehensive strategy moving forward to bring to a close this chaos that’s happening in Syria.”

Asked about the significance of this first attack in the bigger context of the ongoing situation in Syria, Rubio told Cooper, “I’m not saying this accomplishes everything, but I am telling you that this is the area from which those chemical attacks were launched and where we were going to see future attacks come from, particularly targeting innocent civilians in an area where the regime felt it was losing territory after making significant gains.”….

And — more from DEBKA FILE:

Washington has NO DOUBT that the Syrian SU-22 bomber which Tuesday dropped a sarin gas bomb on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, killing up to 100 people, was a joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian gambit to divert the Trump administration from a comprehensive plan for Syria. As US President and commander-in-chief he could not ignore this provocation.

Our sources report that the new US administration’s plans for Syria center on an offensive to evict the Islamic State from its Syrian capital, Raqqa, a mission for which US military preparations have been going forward for the past two weeks at five centers. To this operation Moscow, Tehran and Damascus were not averse. But that operation was also designed to rid Syria of Iranian and Hizballah forces – to which they were.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that despite previous agreements, Syria had not surrendered its chemical weapons stockpile, and accused Russia of “failing in its responsibility to deliver on its commitment” to supervise the surrender of those chemical weapons. “Either Russia has been complicit or simply incompetent in its ability to deliver,” Tillerson continued.

The question now is whether Vladimir Putin will decide to hit back at the US operation. Russia did not retaliate for the Israel air strike on March 17 over the northern Syrian T4 air base. If Putin chooses to sit on his hands once again, the same question may be addressed to Iran and Hizballah.

Very possibly, Trump and Putin reached accord on the limits of the US punitive attack in Syrian in long hours of debate during the day between the US State and Defense Departments and the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries, which were first reported by DEBKAfile 24 hours ago. Pentagon sources report that Washington gave Moscow advance warning of the coming US attack on the Syrian Shayrat base where Russian air force units are also deployed.

Follow-up US military action may yet come after the US president asserted that for him, “many, many lines were crossed” by Assad’s chemical attack and his attitude towards Syria had changed….

Obama Admin Bankrupts Military Through Environmentalism

There are differing prices per gallon depending what vehicle it is used for… but as I can tell, in 2013 the price of a regular gallon of gas for an Air Force jet was under $4, and a gallon of “Green” fuel was $59.

Military Signs Contract for Green Jet Fuel That’s Nearly 16 Times the Price of Conventional Fuel
Obama, Clinton Foundation Donors Sold ‘Green’ Fuel to Military for $149 per Gallon
As Pentagon invests in green fuel, critics focus on the cost
Military Green: U.S. Air Force Flies on Biofuel
US Navy Green Fleet Makes Biofuels the New Normal

Marine Corps Inclusion of Women in Front-Line Combat (Updated)

The above was originally uploaded by myself to my MRCTV account on April 26th, 2012. I wrote a post on it on my blog with the same date. I am uploading the audio to my YouTube for easier embedding. Here is the description from the original post being updated today:

Dennis discusses the purpose of the Marines, to win. For the same reason a professional baseball team does not have women on its team is because they cannot perform as well as a man in most situations similar to the analogy of baseball and combat. If so, why not make full fledged women brigades for the front lines? Also, a woman caller who served in the Air Force mentions her not qualifying for the K-9 unit because she could not carry 70lbs. She agreed with that policy… that is, if a women cannot physically meet the demands, then, they should not be allowed into such a position.

Another caller that was in the ARMY when they integrated training points out some of the below in rough terms:

It was July 1959. With about 60 other recruits, I was being welcomed to basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. According to John Leo’s “A Kinder, Gentler Army” (in U.S. News & World Report on Aug. 8, 1997), such a welcome is now out. Today’s Army manual dictates, “Stress created by physical or verbal abuse is nonproductive and prohibited.” Forget whether traditional adversative training produced a first-class military throughout our history.Why the changes? Partly, it’s because today’s youth are unaccustomed to discipline and authority, but mainly it’s because our lovelies want to be fighting persons. To accommodate them means the military must lower standards. Carrying a stretcher used to be a two-man job, now it’s a four-person job. The Navy finds that few of its females can manage shipboard emergency tasks such as hefting fire hoses or carrying wounded personnel up a ladder on a stretcher.

Females pass physical training because of gender-norming. Yellow lines are put on climbing ropes. Male trainees have to climb to the top, but for our lovelies the yellow line will do. As for those awful push-ups, men have to do 20 and women just six. Then there’s the “confidence course,” called the obstacle course in the pre-P.C. days. At Quantico’s Marine training facility, a visitor noticed a footstool placed in front of an 8-foot wall so no trainee would fail to climb over it.

There’s one male/female strength difference quite worrisome. At Parris Island, it was discovered that 45 percent of female Marines were unable to throw a hand grenade far enough to avoid blowing themselves up. Translated in Williams’ terms: If I were in a foxhole with a woman about to toss a hand grenade, I’d consider her the enemy.

Walter Williams book, “More Liberty Means Less Government,” [see: http://tinyurl.com/zdxxkk4], also his article: “Double standards in military could be scary in actual combat


Updated Section


Similarly, when it comes to first responders, we want the best person to protect civilians in the best possible manner. Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly in their book, The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say, note the following:

If there is indeed a social revolution under way, it shouldn’t stop with women’s choice to honor their [own] nature. It must also include a newfound respect for men. It was New York City’s firemen who dared to charge up the stairs of the burning Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The death tally of New York City’s firefighters was: men 343, women 0. Can anyone honestly say you would have wanted a woman coming to your rescue on that fateful day?

(Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2011), 181-182.

To further make the point, here is David Mamet — of Glengarry Glen Ross fame — noting the above in a very erudite manner:

There is a Liberal sentiment that it should also punish those who take more than their “fair share.” But what is their fair share? (Shakespeare suggests that each should be treated not according to his deserts, but according to God’s mercy, or none of us would escape whipping.)

The concept of Fairness, for all its attractiveness to sentiment, is a dangerous one (cf. quota hiring and enrollment, and talk of “reparations”). Deviations from the Law, which is to say the Constitution, to accommodate specifically alleged identity-group injustices will all inevitably be expanded, universalized, and exploited until there remains no law, but only constant petition of Government.

We cannot live in peace without Law. And though law cannot be perfect, it may be just if it is written in ignorance of the identity of the claimants and applied equally to all. Then it is a possession not only of the claimants but of the society, which may now base its actions upon a reasonable assumption of the law’s treatment.

But “fairness” is not only a nonlegal but an antilegal process, for it deals not with universally applicable principles and strictures, but with specific cases, responding to the perceived or proclaimed needs of individual claimants, and their desire for extralegal preference. And it could be said to substitute fairness (a determination which must always be subjective) for justice (the application of the legislated will of the electorate), is to enshrine greed—the greed, in this case, not for wealth, but for preference. The socialistic spirit of the Left indicts ambition and the pursuit of wealth as Greed, and appeals, supposedly on behalf of “the people,” to the State for “fairness.”….

….But such fairness can only be the non-Constitutional intervention of the State in the legal, Constitutional process—awarding, as it sees fit, money (reparations), preferment (affirmative action), or entertainment (confiscation)….

….”Don’t you care?” is the admonition implicit in the very visage of the Liberals of my acquaintance on their understanding that I have embraced Conservatism. But the Talmud understood of old that good intentions can lead to evil—vide Busing, Urban Renewal, Affirmative Action, Welfare, et cetera, to name the more immedi­ately apparent, and not to mention the, literally, tens of thousands of Federal and State statutes limiting freedom of trade, which is to say, of the right of the individual to make a living, and, so earn that wealth which would, in its necessary expenditure, allow him to provide a living to others….

…. I recognized that though, as a lifelong Liberal, I endorsed and paid lip service to “social justice,” which is to say, to equality of result, I actually based the important decisions of my life—those in which I was personally going to be affected by the outcome—upon the principle of equality of opportunity; and, further, that so did everyone I knew. Many, I saw, were prepared to pay more taxes, as a form of Charity, which is to say, to hand off to the Government the choice of programs and recipients of their hard-earned money, but no one was prepared to be on the short end of the failed Government pro­grams, however well-intentioned. (For example—one might endorse a program giving to minorities preference in award of government contracts; but, as a business owner, one would fight to get the best possible job under the best possible terms regardless of such a pro­gram, and would, in fact, work by all legal and, perhaps by semi- or illegal means to subvert any program that enforced upon the pro­prietor a bad business decision.)*

Further, one, in paying the government to relieve him of a feeling of social responsibility, might not be bothered to question what in fact constituted a minority, and whether, in fact, such minority con­tracts were actually benefiting the minority so enshrined, or were being subverted to shell corporations and straw men.


* No one would say of a firefighter, hired under rules reducing the height requirement, and thus unable to carry one’s child to safety, “Nonetheless, I am glad I voted for that ‘more fair’ law.”

As, indeed, they are, or, in the best case, to those among the applicants claiming eligibility most capable of framing, supporting, or bribing their claims to the front of the line. All claims cannot be met. The politicians and bureaucrats discriminating between claims will neces­sarily favor those redounding to their individual or party benefit—so the eternal problem of “Fairness,” supposedly solved by Government distribution of funds, becomes, yet again and inevitably, a question of graft.

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 116-117, 122, 151, 154.

What this boils down to is people wanting to feel good about themselves…. but like Mamet noted, would rather not “feel good” about themselves if their own family member is involved.

|*Tears*| Miranda Lambert Brought To Tears By Soldiers Sign

(THE BLAZE) During her concert Friday, Miranda Lambert began to sing her emotional ballad, “The House That Built Me.” Then something the country star noticed near the Hartford, Connecticut, stage made her stop the song and begin to cry. No doubt Lambert has eyed plenty of signs at her shows over the years, but this one she just had to share with her audience. It was from a soldier…..

22-Military Suicides a Day? ~ No (Military Mantras)

This post is not to diminish a horrible and tragic act of suicide, it is just bringing some sober thoughts to the all too commonly used 22-vets a day commit suicide. If you want the skinny now without the long post to follow, here it is:

A more recent study, which surveyed 1.3 million veterans who were discharged between 2001 and 2007, found that “Between 2001 and 2009, there were 1650 deployed veterans and 7703 non-deployed veteran deaths. Of those, 351 were suicides among deployed veterans and 1517 were suicides among non-deployed veterans. That means over nine years, there was not quite one veteran suicide a day,” according to the Washington Post.

(Task and Purpose)

This stat is spread to merely to promote politicians at the expense of truth… would be my guess.

The things to pull from the above 2011 video are:

  1. Its not deployment (PTSD);
  2. Its not financial reasons;
  3. It is the same age group in the general population that commit suicide.

This post is a combination of a newer report from FOX News (above) and an older post from my old blog in May of 2009. First however, I will deal with the 22-vets commit suicide every day number: The L.A. Times notes the following:

That number comes from a study published in early 2013 by researchers at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. But the recent wars were not the study’s primary focus. In fact, they play a minor role in veteran suicides overall.

The VA researchers used death records from 21 states to come up with a 2010 national estimate for veterans of all ages. As a group, veterans are old. Military service being far rarer than it was in the days of the draft, more than 91% of the nation’s 22 million veterans are at least 35 years old, and the overwhelming majority did not serve in the post-9/11 era.

About 72% of veterans are at least 50. It is not surprising, then, that the VA found that people in this age group account for 69% of veteran suicides — or more than 15 of the 22 per day.

Many experts believe that the farther a veteran is from military service, the less likely it is that his or her suicide has anything to do with his or her time in uniform. In other words, many older veterans are killing themselves for the same reasons that other civilians in the same age group kill themselves: depression and other mental health problems coupled with difficult life circumstances.

The VA analysis does not attempt to determine rates of veteran suicide or how they compare with rates for people who never served.

[….]

One more step was required to make the comparisons relevant. California veterans under 35 are about 80% male, and nearly half are over 29. A straight comparison to the general population in that age group would be less than ideal, since suicide and accident rates vary significantly by gender and age.

The Times adjusted the non-veteran death rates so they reflected the age and gender mix of the veteran population.

As the story explained, suicide and accident rates were substantially higher for veterans. Over the six years examined by The Times, 329 California veterans under 35 took their own lives. That amounts to an average annual rate of 27 suicides per 100,000 veterans.

If that rate were to hold true across the country, about 530 young veterans are committing suicide each year — roughly 1.5 each day…

In a very recent conversation that has expanded my thinking a bit on this topic… is that… people hear 22-vets commit suicide and then rush to pass political bills that help with:

  • PTSD,
  • physical pain not managed by meds,
  • survivors guilt,
  • and difficult reintegration,
  • etc.

But ~ this mainly deals with the suicides of young vets returning from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [which AGAIN, are not 22-a-day!].

Since the bulk of the suicides are in the 50-year old range, those “fix-its” are missing most of the veterans that need something else.

What was just pointed out to me as well that fighting cancer or other serious illnesses increase the probability of suicide. For instance:

  • The researchers found that, in all countries combined, the number of suicides observed among the breast cancer patients was 37% higher than expected, on the basis of general population rates. That figure translates into four extra suicides per 100,000 person-years, according to the study’s lead author, Catherine Schairer, Ph.D., of NCI’s division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. In the United States, 245 breast cancer survivors committed suicide, making the risk 50% greater than would be normally expected, she said.

(Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

Just to be clear –veterans– who could be retired for decades, get cancer treatments [even if successful], and for whatever variable of reasons, commits suicide due to depression caused by this serious illness… this is wrapped up in the suicide statistics.

Here is WebMD:

…Although any illness can trigger depressed feelings, the risk of chronic illness and depression gets higher with the severity of the illness and the level of life disruption it causes. The risk of depression is generally 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men. However, people with a chronic illness face a much higher risk — between 25-33%. Risk is especially high in someone who has a history of depression.

Depression caused by chronic disease often makes the condition worse, especially if the illness causes pain and fatigue or it limits a person’s ability to interact with others. Depression can intensify pain, as well as fatigue and sluggishness. The combination of chronic illness and depression might lead you to isolate yourself, which is likely to make the depression even worse…

[….]

  • Heart attack: 40%-65% experience depression
  • Coronary artery disease (without heart attack): 18%-20% experience depression
  • Parkinson’s disease: 40% experience depression
  • Multiple sclerosis: 40% experience depression
  • Stroke: 10%-27% experience depression
  • Cancer: 25% experience depression
  • Diabetes: 25% experience depression
  • Chronic pain syndrome:  30%-54% experience depression

So the older members of the veteran community have these same maladies, and these statistics from serious illnesses SURELY play a roll VERSUS merely “being in the military.”

WHAT we can do or HOW we can help the vets is something I cannot answer.

But if all you have is the VA to help in your fight against cancer or heart disease, PTSD, or prompt medical responses to any number of things — getting a more private response versus “government care” is the answer that I think would help the most.

When all the factors of gender, race, age, etc. are plugged into the suicide rate in the military: if your son or daughter join the military their chances of commiting suicide lessen slightly. You combine this with other healthy activities such as marriage, regular church attendance, etc… and the rate drops even lower. There are many factors at play in this post, a person’s predisposition, religiousity, serious illness, etc. — it isn’t “cut’n’dry” in other words. ALL that being said, my main purpose of this post however is to deal with media myths and bad media headlines.


THE FOLLOWING COMES FROM MY OLD BLOG:


Spin Masters: Military * Stats + Bias = Liberal Agenda (MSNBC & NPR) [May 09, 2009]

I have recently come across this wonderful blogger/retired physician. Her name is Nancy Reyes, her catalogued articles can be found at the Blogger News Network, and her blog is not typically about political affairs at all: FinestKind Clinic and Fish Market. (She mainly writes on health issues or food.) How, you may ask did I come across this blogger/physician? Well, I overheard in a conversation someone mention the high suicide rates of our military are higher than the rest of the country. I remember hearing Michael Medved (if memory serves) going through the stats and correcting a caller on this subject. But very similar to other stats used by politicians in the past few elections (just as examples) these stats are easily shown to be misstated or misused. When I hear people make these claims – suicide rates of our military, unequal pay between genders, anthropogenic global warming, and the like — I often think how these people can make decisions and assumptions on statements made by media that has been proven to be biased time-and-time again.

There have been many studies done on where NPR for instance comes down on the side of the abortion controversy with how many stories and experts who give their input on the matter; the amount of “experts” brought in to support the Palestinian view of things versus how many people they bring in to support the Israeli view of the conflict; the amount of pro-2nd Amendment versus how many stories it lines up with “experts” who are for more gun regulation. The graph below is an example of NPR’s use of conservative versus liberal think tanks in the presentation of their stories (see graph below):

Heck, there are whole sites committed to following and exposing NPR’s biased reporting, one is NPR Sucks, for example. Another small article shows why this seems to be the case, a liberal slant to reporting that is, is one entitled, “Few Reporters Describe Themselves as Conservatives.” This isn’t a “big conspiracy,” rather, it is a culture born in the universities about 40 years ago. All this being said, I think the below articles are a must read. The reader should see my already mentioned link to ad to his or her understanding of how stats are misused. While keeping those examples in mind, the crux of the misuse of the below stats is this:

  • By comparing a population that is 90 percent men to the general population, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Suicide attempts are more common in the female population, but the men who try it succeed at a higher rate. Taking this higher rate in men (which the military is primarily composed of) and then comparing this to the population as a whole (men and women in other words) is skewing the results.

Army desertion rate up 80%? More lying with statistics

Last week, it was CBS jiggling the numbers to bash the war in Iraq by stating Veterans had a suicide rate of 18, much higher than the civilian population’s rate of 11 (ignoring that it was only slightly higher than the suicide rate for men, which was 17, and a heck of a lot lower than the rate for doctors, which is 30/100 000 per year).

This week the headline is “Army Desertion rate up 80%”.

The problem? the number “80%” implies a huge increase. But in statistics, if you start with a small number, it doesn’t take a large number to get a huge increase.

So the actual numbers are an increase from 0.7 % to 0.9%. For those of you who are numerically challenged, both those numbers are less than one percent:

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier.

Many of the desertions are soldiers who don’t want to go back to a war, but many are about soldiers with family problems. Many wives and families are severely stressed by their husband or wife going overseas, and sometimes soldiers just disappear because their families need them more than the Army. Often they report in later, and get an administrative discharge. The article implies the majority are war protesters and says that Canada no longer welcomes them, but the article does not give hard data on this.

Many just don’t like the Army, and it has nothing to do with the war. This NYTimes article notes that the number who actually deserted the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan was 109 (out of the 1 million military who served in these areas since 2003). The real worry is that some of the deserters are not anti war as much as suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and cannot face staying in the military. Others have family problems, such as spouses theatening child custody or divorce. The military is sensitive to these problems, and tries to work out helping the soldier rather than punishing him or her.

As a comparison, the article admits that during Viet Nam, the desertion rate was 5%, and many were for being against that war.

Finally, if you go down to the end of the article, you find the desertion rates for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force are either stable or have gone down.

Nope, can’t publish good news, folks, let’s just move along…

Yup….just ignore the headline.

The war in Iraq is going well, so we have to find bad news to report…..

But just wait a week. Christmas is coming and the MSM will start their annual deluge of articles explaining why Christ was just a myth and Christians are delusional.

[….]

The Military and Suicides, Part One: Spinning statistics

The US Army is very worried about suicide and injuries in returning veterans. Stress in soldiers, and in returning veterans, is nothing new:

During World War II, PTSD was an even more serious problem. In the European Theater, 25 percent of all casualties were serious PTSD cases, compared to about 20 percent today. In the Pacific Theater, the rate varied widely, depending on the campaign. In some of the most intense fighting, like Okinawa in 1945, PTSD accounted for over a third of all wounded. In Iraq, less than ten percent of the wounded are PTSD, but the more troops serve in a combat zone, in combat jobs, the more likely they are to develop PTSD. This has been known for over a century.

One of the results of this is, alas, suicide.

The annual suicide statistics of the military/VA have been released.

The good news? The suicide rate remains low.

The bad news? The press is spinning the numbers to fit into the “Evil Iraq war is killing soldiers” and “the Military doesn’t care about the soldiers” meme (to fit the ultimate meme: Evil Bush’s war and evil Republicans don’t care).

Well, never mind the politics. I’m a doctor. Suicide is a major public health problem in the US (and in many countries). But there are a lot of myths out there.

So let’s look at myth number one:

CNN article: Headline: Army Suicide rates could top nation’s this year.

The story is not half bad, but you have to dig into the actual statistics to find the details.

As of August, 62 Army soldiers have committed suicide, and 31 cases of possible suicide remain under investigation, according to Army statistics. Last year, the Army recorded 115 suicides among its ranks, which was also higher than the previous year.

Well, one would expect a higher rate of returning veterans, who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress syndrome.

Problem: By not placing it into the context of total number of those who served in the Army, we cannot do a comparison.

But the third paragraph is the real problem:

Army officials said that if the trend continues this year, it will pass the nation’s suicide rate of 19.5 people per 100,000, a 2005 figure considered the most recent by the government.

That, my friends, is spin.

You see, suicide rates vary by age and by sex.

Although women have a higher rate of attempted suicide, men die of suicide at a much higher rate than the general population.

The rate of suicide of the general population is 19.5

The rate of suicide in men from the ages of 20 to 35 in 1980 was 24.

The rate of suicide in women from the ages of 20 to 35 was 5.

By comparing a population that is 90 percent men to the general population, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Certain groups: older men, alcoholics, minorities, and those with mental health problems, have a higher rate also.

So CNN assures us:

According to the VA, about 46 of 100,000 males between the ages of 18 and 29 utilizing VA services committed suicide in 2006, compared with about 27 the year before.

A very high rate. Except this is not the general population: this is the rate of those using the VA services, including those with mental health problems. By eliminating the healthy from the statistics, it makes the rate look higher than if the numbers included the entire population of military personnel.

The rest of the article goes on to say the VA is going to improve care for those with PTSS and depression.

So it’s not like nothing is being done: they are just trying to improve the care of the veterans.

For example, unmentioned in the article is that a pre 2001 program in the AirForce was credited with lowering it’s suicide rate from 16.4 yo 9.4 per 100 000 in two years.

Ironically, the article citing the Air Force is not about military suicides, but about suicides in physicians.

Eva Schernhammer and Graham Colditz examined the results of 25 studies of physician suicides and concluded that male doctors killed themselves at a rate 41 percent higher than that of other men and women. The more startling finding was that female doctors take their lives at a rate more than twice (2.27 times) that of the general public.