Reading on a Saturday Morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 11/25/2017 - 20:55

 

But not getting around to posting until much later.

We've posted on the nature of America's "defense" spending on a couple of occasions, most notably here  and here .

Here's al little something from the Financial Times.

As always, clicking on the map will take you to the article from which this image was taken.

My favorite sentence from this piece reads as follows:

"US officials acknowledge that its record is mixed and calibrating the extent to which they get involved will remain a delicate balancing act."

 

The stock in trade explanation for the practice of stationing American military personel for all practical purposes the length and width of Africa is nicely summarized by this piece by Republican United States Representative Will Hurd of Texas on CNBC in the winter of 2016 and in response to the atrocity at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida.

"The unfortunate reality is that the terrorist threat is not going away any time soon, and increased dramatically when countries like Iraq, Syria, and Libya destabilized. This was a direct result of the U.S.'s decision to slowly pull away from our global responsibilities over the past eight years. 

ISIS took advantage of a crumbling Syria, which we did little to stop. They took over the city of Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014, and President Obama discounted the threat they posed. If there's anything we should take away from the Obama administration's tenure, it is that disengagement is positively correlated with the rise of the terrorist threat. The U.S. must lead a broad coalition of countries to uproot terrorist groups from wherever they control territory. Radical Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and it will require a global strategy to mitigate. 

The U.S. has not kept up with the rapidly changing nature of the threat environment. While our military is more likely to continue engaging in nonconventional conflicts, the structure of the Department of Defense (DoD), the way our forces are trained, and the types of equipment the department purchases all reflect preparation for conventional warfare. Insurgent groups discovered quickly the advantages of fighting this kind of asymmetric conflict. There is a need to reexamine the way the DoD operates to ensure it is the most flexible and efficient military force in the world. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated, raw power does not determine military victory — flexibility and efficiency does. 

America is the country people around the world look to as the shining example of liberty. They consider us the global champion for human rights and to act when those rights have been violated. Shirking from this responsibility has damaged our international credibility immensely. 

We must restore American leadership by speaking up when countries violate the principles of international order. We must demonstrate our commitment to make this world a more free and prosperous place by upholding the promises we have made to our allies."

Forgetting, for the moment, questions having to do with how is it that stationing our military in harm's way all over the globe keeps Americans safe, particularly if the complaint about terrorism begins with the shooting at the Pulse. Which, if you think it through is prima facie evidence that troops abroad do not protect us from terrorist acts here at home.

Let's examine that "shining city" thing for just a minute.

Click on some headlines which link to the original site of their publication.

'Human tragedy': LA homelessness jumps to record-breaking level

As America Gives Thanks, Homelessness Continues To Set New Records In Major Cities All Over The Nation

1 in 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says

Baltimore Murder Crisis Continues: 2nd 'Ceasefire' Scheduled For Next Weekend

Three Americans Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom Half of US Combined: Report

That oughta keep you busy for a minute.

 

To quote a lot of people on thanksgiving although not necessarily on Thanksgiving.

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 11/22/2017 - 18:27

 

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.  Frank A. Clark

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.  Estonian Poverb  

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced, discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  William Faulkner

Thanksgiving after all, is a word of action.  W.J. Cameron

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  Thornton Wilder

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  Unknown

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.  Johannes A. Gaertner

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.  Cicero

God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.  Izaak Walton

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.  Seneca

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.  William Shakespeare

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.  Unknown

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  Aesop

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?"   William A. Ward

 

The Gettysburg Address

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 11/19/2017 - 06:57

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln delivered arguably the most memorable speech in American history.

During the the single most brutal three days in American history, nearly one-third of the total forces engaged at Gettysburg became casualties, as more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing.

George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac lost 28 percent of their men.

Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia lost over over 37 percent.

Of these casualties, 7,058 were fatalities (3,155 Union, 3,903 Confederate). Another 33,264 had been wounded (14,529 Union, 18,735 Confederate) and 10,790 were missing (5,365 Union, 5,425 Confederate).

Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, attorney David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle.

Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication.

Wills also sent a letter to President Lincoln requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the ground.

Nobody remembers a word of Edward Everett's two hour oration.

In just 272 words Abraham Lincoln established the standard against which every speech made since has and will be measured, likely until the end of our species.

Click on the photos for a trip to the life of Abraham Lincoln, or the Bttle of Gettysburg at the Civil War Trust, as the case may be.

 

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

On this Day In History, Richard Nixon Resigned From The Presidency

Submitted by Roanman on Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:33

 

 I know this to be the case because I happened to have tickets for Joni Mitchell that night at Pine Knob.

You can trust me on this one when I tell you that the crowd was ready.

 Under normal circumstances, I would have never gone out and bought myself a ticket to a Joni Mitchell show but ..... there was this girl .....

 Anyway, I was completely unprepared for a band that rocked as hard as Tom Scott and the LA Express.

To this day, Court and Spark remains one of my all time favorite records.

Do what you want, but my best advice to you would be ..... crank it.

Apologies for the crap resolution, the great version of this performance has disappeared from the internet.

He bought a 57 Biscaine, he put it in a ditch.

Drank up all the rest that sonofabitch.

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