‘What we have found is it is taking far, far too much time,’ said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the commanding general of the US Army Center of Initial Military Training.
‘It’s taking three to four times as much time … just to qualify folks on the hand grenade course than we had designated so what is happening is it is taking away from other aspects of training.’
‘We are finding that there are a large number of trainees that come in that quite frankly just physically don’t have the capacity to throw a hand grenade 20 to 25 to 30 meters,’ he said.
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.
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.
“President Trump says Oslo is a ‘great ally.’ So why is it boycotting Wal-Mart while investing in Iran?
….Last week Mr. Trump praised Norway as a “great ally.” Despite vast wealth and generous social spending, however, the Norwegians skimp when it comes to the common defense of the U.S. and Europe. Norway is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but it consistentlyfails to meet the NATO guideline of putting 2% of gross domestic product toward its military. Instead, Norway relies for protection on the U.S., which spent 3.3% of GDP on defense in 2016.
In 2016 Norway’s government authorized its pension fund, controlled by the country’s finance ministry, to purchase Iranian government bonds. Thus, the fund boycotts U.S. defense companies, while allowing investments in the government of Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and a patron of Bashar Assad’s atrocities in Syria. Norway is also quickly building academic, banking, energy and other ties with Tehran.
That’s a contrast with Oslo’s cool stance toward Israel. In May, Norway’s biggest trade union, which represents a quarter of the working-age population, voted for a complete boycott of Israel. Pressreports in December suggested that Oslo would cut funding for nongovernmental groups that advocate boycotts of Israel. But on Jan. 2 the Norwegian mission in Palestine announced that no policy had changed and “as before, the Norwegian Government will not provide support to organizations that have stated boycott of Israel as their primary goal” (emphasis added). At the United Nations last month, Norway voted to criticize America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haiti abstained….
Pamela Dee Gaudry, Georgia physician, took to Facebook on Saturday to criticize Delta Airlines for stopping her from singing the national anthem after her flight landed in Atlanta. According to Gaudry, an announcement was made that the remains of a soldier were onboard the flight and passengers were asked to sit quietly in their seats as the transfer was made. Gaudry then started singing the national anthem to honor the soldier, which is when a flight attendant allegedly told her to stop as it might offend passengers from other countries.
Veterans Day stands for a lot of things to many people. But for the men and women who served, it’s personal. In this feature we hear from three veterans of different eras of U.S. military history on what Veterans Day means to them. A very special thank you to Troy Taylor, Steve Evans and Wayne Matter for telling us their story.
(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 Gateway Pundit) Brothers Forever–Travis 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.
A few of the below are from the same heroes funeral,
An Imperfect Storm — my thoughts about the call heard around the world:
We found out the wife of Sgt. La David T. Johnson was friends with Rep. Frederica Wilson, so, my assumption then is they are a bit left leaning in their politics. In other words, since the Congresswoman is a family friend I can suppose that their political positions that Trump is a racist, white supremacist who is a woman assaulting misogynist is a closely held view;
for obvious [and right] so reasons, the newly widowed wife is very heart broken and wanting more answers for a serious loss. In other words, people react differently to tragedy. Some forge ahead to make a stable environment for their kids in the face of such a loss… Others allow the situation to overcome them. This is our humanity at work;
being a close friend of the family, the Congresswoman who calls Trump Racist, saying he needs to be impeached, and thinks the worse of him || she can easily sway an already emotion situation to be viewed one way;
within 10-minutes of the call the Congresswoman was on the horn with a main person to share the story (POLITICISE IT) at CNN… 10-minutes!, this seemed pre-planned;
I bet Trump — although sincere — and meaning to communicate his thoughts on this [and other matters] with good intentions, is known not to be the best communicator. In other words, he does not always express his thoughts well. AND, if you already thoroughly dislike someone, attributing the worst of humanity to that person, and are put in an extremely emotional situation with a politician egging you on, I bet you can easily hear and attribute the worst intentions to that situation.
ALL THIS I think contributed to the idea he may have been, or came across as, disrespectful. Here is a call by President Trump to a new widow who’s husband (another American hero) lost his life serving our country. This loving wife released her call to share how Trump respected her family. (TAKE NOTE that if you disdain Trump you could probably misinterpret Trump’s style in passing along heartfelt condolence.
Gold star widow Natasha De Alencar has released the audio of a phone conversation she had with Trump in April about the death of her husband who was killed in Afghanistan. The audio speaks for itself, as does the fact that Ms. De Alencar released it amidst the controversy that the ridiculous Rep. Wilson ginned up:
(More at POWERLINE) This is my bottom line in the whole situation… and I shared the below on a friend’s FB page (adapted a bit):
One thing I noticed in the video [above] that made me think of the differences between Ms. Johnson and Ms. De Alencar… If you already think Trump is a racist, misogynist bigot, you could take his call with every bad intention. That is our natural human bent. And the wife who is in this video above took what Trump meant his thoughts to be… with good intentions, with good will. When President Trump was told about the excellence of the older child by Ms. De Alencar, his acceptance to college on an academic scholarship, he acted surprised (interested, wanting to hear more, sharing in the mother’s pride, allowing her to lead the conversation) that it wasn’t due to his football excellence which she had just relayed to the President. He then asked if he was the standout kid compared to his siblings. The mother took this perfectly (attributing the best of intentions during this tough but honoring call) — even catching the humor in it and she joked back about there always being “one” — and then she shared the passions of each child. Awesome, what a great mom. Her children will be able to look back at THIS moment and remember or hear the best of their country and father.
If you already think Trump is a racist, out to make white supremacy mainstream, who is a serial crotch grabbing misogynist with a politician in the car with you manipulation an already tragic moment for a young woman without kids to be a rock for yet…. Yep, I bet you can read into Trump’s words the worst of intentions since you ALREADY attribute the worst of humanity to him.
Was Trump telling that mom, Ms. De Alencar, he was surprised a black kid would get an academic scholarship, calling the rest of her kids dumb? If you hated Trump as deeply as that younger, more inexperienced, recently widowed, pregnant mom, with a politician whispering in her ear (literally), calling CNN within minutes to politicize the event… Yep, that’s how you would take it. And her child will hear the worst of the nation and the father’s service will be lost in the political hoop jumping. Sad.
BLACK & RIGHT has a great post on the Congresswoman. The Congresswoman also throws around the “race card” like a Black-Jack dealer in the Old West under pressure to make back money for the whore-house owner:
…The Florida Democrat also accused Kelly of using a ‘racist’ epithet against her during a White House news conference on Thursday afternoon, where he compared her to an ’empty barrel.’
Wilson said that after looking it up in the dictionary, she had concluded that ’empty barrel’ is a ‘racist term.’ ….
The Left takes a serious word and uses it and uses it till it looses any meaning! “Racist,” or “Nazi,” or “bigot,” simply now mean a person who disagrees with the Left. What a diminution of thought and grammar and the seriousness these words once relayed to each other when making points. Now these words are just static floating around in the ionosphere like TV shows from the 50’s. As an insightful post in the DAILY CALIFORNIAN notes, “…if everything is racist, nothing is racist.”
POWERLINE says that “America has no sympathy for those who, when losing an argument they started, reflexively accuse their adversary of racism.” To end they say, “The act has become tired.” The DAILY CALLER notes however that “…liberals have pounced on the idea that Gen. Kelly’s criticism is due to Wilson’s race and gender.” Dumb!
“As a vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not; so men are proved, by their speeches, whether they be wise or foolish” — Demosthenes (384-322 BC)
“An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.” — Plato (420’s-340’s BC)
I never heard so loud a voice issue from such an empty heart. It’s true what they say: “THE EMPTY VESSEL MAKES THE GREATEST SOUND.” Bardolph and Nym had ten times more courage than this roaring stage villain, whose nails any Joe could cut with a wooden dagger, but they are both hanged. So would this man if he had the nerve to steal anything bravely. I have to stay with the servants, who are with our camp’s luggage. We’re sitting ducks for the French, if they only knew it, for there is no one guarding it but boys. — William Shakespeare (AD 1564-1616)
The DCNF also found no informal use of the term that would suggest a racial connotation. Even Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourcing website for slang terms, did not list any definitions of “empty barrel” or “empty vessel,” as of Friday morning.
Famous writers have used the expression over the centuries. Playwright William Shakespeare used it in Act 4 of “Henry V.” “I did never know so full a voice issue from so empty a heart: but the saying is true ‘The empty vessel makes the greatest sound,’” wrote Shakespeare.
The famous author Jonathan Swift wrote, “I have always observed that your empty vessels sound loudest.”
Writers have even attributed the phrase to Plato, although there’s no evidence he actually said those words. “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers,” Plato allegedly said.
Being called an “empty barrel” is by no means a flattering term, but it’s not a racial slur as Wilson claims.
I bet Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying Rep. Frederica Wilson is “all hat, no cattle,” will be magically pronounced racist. AND AGAIN, the Congresswoman politicized and used this poor woman’s husband as a “chip” on the political table. Shame on her!
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
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…
…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:
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.
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.
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….
…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.
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)
✦ 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
…..“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.”….
…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….