Threatening the World One Strike Force at a Time

carlvinson

There is threat and fear around much of the world.  Trump-O-Mania has started to take on the world by wasting $94 million of cruise missiles killing a few Syrian soldiers and messing up an airfield.  Now the continuing status quo militaristic foreign policy of the United States has saw fit to again send an armada of warships to cruise off the coast of North Korea to see if we can start World War III.  Since World War II showed the world how important aircraft carriers were, and how vulnerable they were, we talked about Battle Groups.  Battle means you are ready for war, but now they are called Strike Force Naval Groups, and language is informative.  Strike is a word for aggression and offensive action.  These deployments are not meant for border protection, for territorial defense, but rather designed for offensive activity in all areas of the globe.  They are meant to threaten other countries, to demonstrate that the United State will destroy you if step out of bounds of the narrative our geopolitical great thinkers and power brokers are creating to enhance their power and wealth.  Below is a sampling of just what is capable when the most grossly funded military comes to threaten you.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier

Strike Group One has about 7,500 sailors and some marines

Surface Speed: 30 knots+ (35 mph)
Operational Range: Essentially Unlimited

  • 90 aircraft and includes helicopters
  • 2 x Sea Sparrow Mk 57 Mod 3 surface-to-air missile launchers
    2 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile short-range surface-to-air missile launchers
    3 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS
  • F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
                       Airspeed: Mach 1.8+
                       Ceiling: 50,000+ feet.
                       Range: Combat: 1,275 nautical miles (2,346 kilometers)

Ferry: 1,660 nautical miles (3,054 kilometers)

                

One M61A1/A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon

AIM 9 Sidewinder, AIM-9X (projected)

AIM 7 Sparrow, AIM-120 AMRAAM, Harpoon, Harm, SLAM

Maverick missiles; Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW); Joint Direct Attack      Munition (JDAM); Data Link Pod; Paveway Laser Guided Bomb; various general purpose bombs, mines and rockets

  • EA-18G Growler – Electronic Warfare
  • E-2C Hawkeye – Survellience/Early Warning
  • C-2 Greyhound – Transport

Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 1 includes:

Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57)

  • MK41 vertical launching system Standard Missile (MR)
  • Vertical Launch ASROC (VLA) Missile
  • Tomahawk Cruise Missile; Six MK 46 torpedoes (from two triple mounts)
  • Two MK45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns
  • Two Phalanx close-in-weapons systems

These cruisers are a little larger and more heavily armed than destroyers, but they are built on the same keel design as the destroyers listed below.  Both are updated versions of the engineering concepts originally drawn from the Spuance class destroyer that I was on in the Navy in the early to mid-1980s.  These are large ships, and if you were ever close to one or on one you would be mightily impressed.  They support the aircraft carrier, but be assured that they can operate independently and are each self-contained warships capable of handling any threat and causing terrible harm.  When we steamed alone in the Pacific, we were never afraid of anything.  But if you get all these ships together in a Battle Group formation it is an awesome sight, and this is why the bastards call it a “show of force,” because it is a bullies’ game out there in the world of attempts at global hegemony.  An aircraft carrier 20 stories high and so big 6,000 people have to live aboard to make it operate can fly 35 knots on the open ocean, and these other warships can haul ass alongside.  I have seen it, with a sense of wonder and thrill that only the heavy wind and ocean spray in your face can make you believe.  Now they have made these destroyers more than escorts and sub killers, they are lethal to all in the sky, land, on the surface of the water, and undersea.

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG)

USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112)

USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108)

  • Evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missiles against short and medium range targets
  • SM-2 and SM-6 missiles against long-range aerial targets
  • SM-3 missiles specialized for engagement of ballistic missiles
  • Six Mk46 anti-submarine torpedoes
  • MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters provide long-range anti-submarine capability
  • 5-inch, 127-millimeter gun is mounted on the bow, capable of anti-ship, shore bombardment, and even a limited anti-air role. Two 25 mm guns and four .50 caliber machine guns

According to Lockheed Martin, the Aegis combat system fitted to these warships flanking the aircraft carrier are “the world’s most advanced combat system.  Aegis can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines, and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.”

Attack Submarines (SSN)

According to the U.S. Navy official site online:  “Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces (SOF); carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations; and engage in mine warfare.”

  • Tomahawk missiles
  • Twelve VLS tubes (SSNs 774-783) or two VPTs (SSNs 784 and beyond)
  • MK48 ADCAP torpedoes, four torpedo tubes

Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBN)

  • can be anywhere in any ocean at any time, most likely undetected and capable of global holocaust

The U.S. Navy is generous enough to say up front that “since the 1960s, strategic deterrence has been the SSBN’s sole mission, providing the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.  Each of the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple, independently-targeted warheads. However, under the New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, each submarine will have four of its missile tubes permanently deactivated in the coming years. The SSBN’s strategic weapon is the Trident II D5 missile, which provides increased range and accuracy over the now out-of-service Trident I C4 missile.”

            100 : Number of kilotons on one Trident W76 warhead

            455: Number of kilotons on one Trident W88 warhead

            345,600: Total number of kilotons deployed on Trident fleet

            14: Number of kilotons on atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima

            150,000: Number of people killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

            $66,000,000: Price of one Trident II D5 missile

We know that at least one attack submarine is always nearby in the waters underneath wherever a Battle Group is deploying, but a “boomer” sub can be attached or just out there on one of their constant patrols ready to join the horror when called upon.  That is called threatening.  The leadership and military men in all these countries all over the world are not stupid, and they know what I know.  That is why every country who could develop defensive weapons did so, given their circumstances.  And as we all know, any weapon that can be used in defense can be used in offense.  It amazes me that so many Americans fail to understand why much of the world has at best conflicted feelings toward us.  They often like or embrace at least parts of our culture and economic activity, but they are scared because we threaten everyone.  This is why I have long said the first and most important policy objective of any new government in this country is to completely restructure our military and foreign policy.  We must cut the defense budget by at least half, focus on home territorial defense rather than imperialism and global manipulations, and build trust through diplomacy and cooperation.  So much for idealism.  Time for a revolution here at home?    FIN

Lee Martin, PhD — Tampa, Florida — April 9, 2017

The Tragedy of Schooling in America

Lee Martin, Citizen and Activist — March, 2017

Several years ago someone linked me to one of Mark Dice’s infamous YouTube “man-on-the-street” type interviews where he demonstrates the ludicrous ignorance of average American citizens.  He is known as a conspiracy theorist too, as I might be becoming likewise known, but I do not follow his other projects.[1]  Still, his “man-on-the-street” interviews broadcast a series of snippets that has disturbing implications for the future of our country.  They touched off a nerve based on my experiences teaching and engaging conversations with co-workers in many types of jobs—manual labor, office jobs, and professional work.  I have since watched many videos of a similar sort, including some done in other countries, and none of them are encouraging.  What they demonstrate is not just ignorance of what should be a basic stock of knowledge (ignorance not meant pejoratively but rather only a lack of knowledge), but rather a deeply troubling lack of curiosity about what is in the world and how the world functions.  Below is just a small sampling easily found on the internet of survey/polling results that support the same kind of findings from the video exposes.

For example, a 2012 Xavier university study found that 97.5% of immigrants passed the naturalization test, yet only 7 of 10 American born citizens could answer correctly the necessary pass rate for the simple ten questions.  Interestingly, they revealed that “only 44% of respondents with a high school education or less passed in contrast with an 82% pass rate among college graduates—a 38% gap. Compared to the immigrant passage rate of 97.5%, college graduates underperform by 15%, while high school graduates underperform by 53%.  The numbers were consistent among red states and blue states.”[2]  See these results from other studies.

A 2006 Geography survey of young adults by National Geographic discovered some disturbing things about the future of America:[3]

  • Take Iraq, for example. Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East. Seventy percent could not find Iran or Israel.
  • Nine in ten couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia.
  • And 54 percent were unaware that Sudan is a country in Africa.
  • Remember the December 2004 tsunami and the widespread images of devastation in Indonesia? Three-quarters of respondents failed to find that country on a map. And three-quarters were unaware that a majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, making it the largest Muslim country in the world.

The full report in their Map Locator Questions section on Asia shows the actual map with just political border lines they presented to respondents and asked them to identify North Korea, Afghanistan, India, China and Japan:[4]

  • Seven in ten could identify China and only one in ten could find Afghanistan.
  • In total, young Americans could find, on average, two of the five countries. Only 6% of young adults could identify all five countries correctly; 21% were not able to find any.
  • Only about half can spot rising economic, political, and nuclear power India (53%) or long-time U.S. ally and trade partner Japan (49%) ñ both countries with large parts to play in the U.S.ís strategic and economic future.

Likewise, showing a map of the Middle East and asking young people to simply identify countries they found:

  • After three years of war in Iraq, only 37% of young Americans could find Iraq; 63% could not. As many cannot identify Saudi Arabia. The result is even worse for Iran and Israel.  Only one in four could find Iran (26%) or Israel (25%).  Three-quarters cannot find these two countries. Overall, up to one in five say they don’t know where these four countries are located (ranging from 16% for Iraq to 20% for Iran).

Likewise, Alternet in 2010 reported on a Newsweek survey that found how astonishingly misled the American people are:[5]

  • Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim.
  • 25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that belief.
  • As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still believe there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.
  • Two out of five Americans, despite separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms.
  • Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. A decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth.
  • Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions.
  • In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.  More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government.

Then a 2016 report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni called “A crisis in civic education” found:[6]

  • Only 20.6% of respondents could identify James Madison as the Father of the Constitution. More than 60% thought the answer was Thomas Jefferson—despite the fact that Jefferson, as U.S. ambassador to France, was not present during the Constitutional Convention.  College graduates performed little better: Only 28.4% named Madison, and 59.2% chose Jefferson.
  • How do Americans amend the Constitution? More than half of college graduates didn’t know.  Almost 60% of college graduates failed to identify correctly a requirement for ratifying a constitutional amendment.
  • We live in a dangerous world—but almost 40% of college graduates didn’t know that Congress has the power to declare war. [Note: I bet most adults do not even care that American Presidents throughout our history have invaded countries and created wholesale wars with only a Congressional resolution or even without one, much less a declaration of war.]
  • College graduates were even confused about the term lengths of members of Congress. Almost half could not recognize that senators are elected to six-year terms and representatives are elected to two-year terms.
  • Less than half of college graduates knew that presidential impeachments are tried before the U.S. Senate. And 9.6% of college graduates marked that Judith Sheindlin—“Judge Judy”—was on the Supreme Court!

Good luck to us all.  We will need it.

[1]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Dice

[2]   http://www.xavier.edu/news/One-in-Three-Americans-Fail-Immigrant-Naturalization-Civics-Test.cfm?grp_id=319#.WNgOYWe1upo

[3]   http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/0502_060502_geography.html

[4]   http://www.nationalgeographic.com/roper2006/pdf/FINALReport2006GeogLitsurvey.pdf

[5]   http://www.alternet.org/story/148826/16_of_the_dumbest_things_americans_believe_–_and_the_right-wing_lies_behind_them

[6]   https://www.goacta.org/images/download/A_Crisis_in_Civic_Education.pdf

It is not a 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, It was a Real Conspiracy

Lee Martin, Ph.D. — March 25, 2017

wtc7

It has been almost 16 years since the World Trade Center Towers collapsed, America wept, and our government led by a thoroughly malignant Bush/Cheney administration began to destabilize much of the world by beginning a war without end against terrorism by creating and supporting state-sponsored terrorism on a global scale.  There was a conspiracy to bring down those buildings, and controlled explosives were used to cause the implosions.  Not everyone who believes this thinks that people in the Bush administration were responsible, including the notable critic and public intellectual Noam Chomsky.[1]  Yet Professor Chomsky is not perfect in all his thinking, and his objection that the evidence and theories of a conspiracy should be presented in professional academic venues to gain validity is both condescending and avoids the obvious documentary evidence that rigorous analysis has in fact been conducted.[2]  Believing there was a nefarious conspiracy to insert time-sequenced, controlled shaped charges in Twin Towers 1 and 2 and in Tower 7 is not simply a delusional exercise by a bunch of disgruntled internet groupies with too much time on their hands.

“Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia” claimed the erudite debunkers from the lofty academic department at Popular Mechanics.[3]  Others simply dismiss the idea of controlled explosives by saying that “it would also have taken considerable work, which would not have gone unnoticed, to plant sufficient explosives the length of the buildings to bring them down.”[4]  However, the so-called debunkers want to discredit the concept that a conspiracy was in place beforehand to plant the explosives without offering any other explanation other than the U.S. government contention that fires caused the structural collapse of all three buildings, including relatively small office fires in Tower 7 that was not hit by a jetliner.[5]

Tower 7 demonstrates tremendously clear that controlled explosives brought all three buildings down in classic demolition implosions.  We all watched in horror the Twin Towers collapse suddenly.  At 5:20pm on 9/11 World Trade Center Building 7, a massive 47 story building a Manhattan block wide with only a few office fires collapsed inward onto its footprint.  The first 2.25 seconds of collapse was free fall from the center down, and then the entire building was on the ground in less than 7 seconds.[6]  The official 9/11 Commission Report incredibly does not even mention Building 7.[7]

As for the Twin Towers, it apparently has to be observed enough to beat people in the head to accept the fact that no steel frame high rise building other than these three structures has ever collapsed due to fire, including skyscrapers that have nearly burned up completely and still the frame stood up.  Over a 150 people, mostly first responders on the scene, heard explosions at ground or underground garage level.  There is video evidence showing squibs, or debris being shot out of the buildings at various floors below the plane impact just before collapse.  There is video showing sparkling hot material streaming out of one of the buildings just before the collapse.  Newscasters and New York citizens watching nearby exclaimed at the time how amazingly it looked like the buildings collapsed onto themselves instead of toppling over, as in a controlled demolition.  Tremendously hot molten metal was burning in the footprint debris long after the destruction.[8] [9]  Scientific research has shown that active thermitic material was discovered in dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center catastrophe.[10] [11]  “Thermite is not an explosive; instead it operates by exposing a very small area to extremely high temperatures.  Intense heat focused on a small spot can be used to cut through metal or weld metal components together both by melting metal from the components, and by injecting molten metal from the thermite reaction itself,” which is why it is used in shaped charges for controlled building demolitions.[12] [13]

There is so much more evidence to convince any rational person of the fact that 9/11 was a conspiracy, because no one person arranged this tragic affair.  If you do not believe now, you probably never will, and you will continue to accept the greatest lie in our lifetimes and a major contributor to our current global upheaval.  This is say nothing of the gross inconsistencies and bizarre circumstances about the Pentagon attack.  Even if no one in the Geo. W. Bush administration was involved, they took advantage of it and proceeded with their deadly paxamerican neo-con machinations.  Then they congratulated themselves and no one was punished while it happened on their watch.  There were people in America with power and resources who were responsible for this tragedy.  There were jihadist terrorists, and there were planes that hit the Twin Towers (but probably not the Pentagon), all the citizens on the four planes did get on the planes and did die that day.  But first, you have to understand and appreciate that the greatest crime in recent history happened on 9/11, not a terrorist attack organized and concluded simply by a group of Islamic maniacs.  Then, you can start blaming people.  I will start with Dick Cheney, the most evil man in America.  Like any crime, we should look at who had the motive, means, and opportunity to concoct and then carry out this heinously brutal violent crime that opened avenues for all sorts of avenues of pursuit for global hegemony.  Cheney had help, and that my friends, is called a conspiracy.

[1]   http://www.alternet.org/culture/noam-chomsky-slaps-down-911-truther-people-spend-hour-internet-and-think-they-know-physics

[2]   http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35595.htm

[3]   http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a49/1227842/

[4]   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/05/9-11-conspiracy-theories-debunked

[5]   http://www1.ae911truth.org/news-section/41-articles/879-debunking-the-911-truth-debunkers-the-saga-continues.html

[6]   http://www.europhysicsnews.org/articles/epn/pdf/2016/04/epn2016474p21.pdf

[7]   https://9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf

[8]   http://www.ae911truth.org/

[9]   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddz2mw2vaEg

[10]   http://www.911research.wtc7.net/mirrors/bentham_open/ActiveThermitic_Harrit_Bentham2009.pdf

[11]   http://www.911research.wtc7.net/mirrors/bentham_open/ActiveThermitic_Harrit_Bentham2009.pdf

[12]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite

[13]   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHSZMRR3OdM

 

50 Favorite Movies of All Time

–Lee Martin, March 2017 (Subject to Change)

  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. A Bug’s Life
  3. Bad Santa
  4. Sleepless in Seattle
  5. Stand by Me
  6. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  7. JFK
  8. No Country for Old Men
  9. House of Flying Daggers
  10. Julie and Julia
  11. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  12. Gangs of New York
  13. Finding Nemo
  14. Sling Blade
  15. Eden Lake
  16. Monster House
  17. Miracle on 34th Street
  18. Schindler’s List
  19. Fury
  20. Mulholland Drive
  21. Momento
  22. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  23. The Interpreter
  24. Bourne Identity
  25. The Wizard of Oz
  26. Pulp Fiction
  27. A Few Good Men
  28. Scent of a Woman
  29. Star Wars
  30. Ratatouille
  31. Rocky
  32. North by Northwest
  33. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  34. Fight Club
  35. 12 Angry Men
  36. Gone Baby Gone
  37. Skyfall
  38. Bridge on the River Kwai
  39. Singin’ in the Rain
  40. Enemies at the Gate
  41. American Graffiti
  42. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  43. M*A*S*H
  44. The Shawshank Redemption
  45. Goodfellas
  46. Dresden
  47. Gone With the Wind
  48. Million Dollar Baby
  49. Vanishing Point
  50. Dead Poets Society

 

A Hero

March 11, 2017 — Lee Martin, Ph.D. — Tampa, Florida

 A Hero

             The Oxford dictionary online defines the word hero simply as “a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”   Hero worship has been a bane on humanity for a long time.  That is because heroes are so often chosen for us, propagandized into our minds like robotic images we should cheer and emulate.  Witness all the generals and politicians so flawed and frequently of such low moral character that are hailed as heroes.  I would like to share the obituary of a man who is one of my heroes, a man who no doubt had many flaws, but they were kept private and must have been minor in the larger scope of things that they remain private because they are irrelevant.  He was a regular guy, he was a very unusual and smart guy, he was remarkably educated, he knew the value of learning for the sake of learning itself, and he laughed all the way to his grave.  One of his ex-wives famously insisted that if he had had a normal (i.e., abusive) childhood, he would not have been plagued with his continual bouts of laughter.  He lived a colorful life, earned a doctorate, taught, became a mechanic, and became with his brother half of one of the most remarkable radio call-in shows America ever heard.  I can hear him laughing now.

 ============================================================

From The Telegraph online, an obituary, November 26, 2014:

             Tom was born on June 28, 1937, in East Cambridge, Massachusetts.  A more unlikely broadcasting success cannot be imagined. Speaking in the much mocked accent of the Boston working class, and with minimal experience, Magliozzi was a vivid presence on air.

            Tom Magliozzi, who has died aged 77, was co-host and creator with his brother, Ray, of Car Talk, an American radio institution. For more than three decades it was the most popular entertainment programme on National Public Radio in the United States.  Magliozzi was one-half of Click and Clack, the Tappit brothers, whose weekly radio spot dispensed sensible advice on car repairs and groaning jokes about life in such a way that the show became an essential part of the listening week for much of America.  A more unlikely broadcasting success cannot be imagined. Speaking in the much mocked accent of the Boston working class, and with minimal experience, Magliozzi was a vivid presence on air.

            Thomas Louis Magliozzi was born on June 28 1937 into an Italian family in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, just across the Charles River from Boston. The first in his family to reach higher education, he attended the local university, the elite MIT, graduating with a degree in Economics, Politics and Engineering. For several years he worked in industry, and one day he was involved in a near-fatal traffic accident on the way to his office. As the adrenaline subsided, he decided he wanted to have fun in life, rather than toil away for a payslip.

            He walked into his boss’s office immediately afterwards and quit. Magliozzi later told listeners: “Don’t be afraid of work. Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”  (My emphasis.)

            With his brother, Ray, a dozen years his junior, who had recently graduated from MIT, Magliozzi opened a cooperative garage on a back street in Cambridge called Hacker’s Haven. The pair seemed to know everything about every model of every vehicle on America’s highways.  People brought their cars along, borrowed tools and took advice from the brothers on what was wrong and how to fix it. They also listened to the brothers’ endless patter, a wacky blend of sub-Groucho Marx puns and fraternal teasing.

            In 1977 Tom was invited on to the local public radio station, WBUR, to take part in a discussion with some other Boston car mechanics. He was the only one who turned up. His fluency in front of a microphone impressed the station’s management, and the following week he was invited back. This time he brought Ray. Listeners wanted more.

Inline image 1

            From that beginning came Car Talk, which recreated the mood of Hacker’s Haven. Having called in with their car problems, listeners stayed for the chat, which never seemed to end: advice about engine trouble might mutate into advice about marriage trouble. The secret of the brothers’ success lay in their lack of artifice. Tom was known for a cackle that, once started, seemed to go on forever, and it was not an affectation. The accent was real, the “wise-guy” attitude was real, and the automotive expertise was real.  Starting in 1987, Car Talk began to be distributed nationally on NPR – a programme-maker and distribution operation funded by the local stations. The house style at NPR is po-faced and serious. The Magliozzis’ approach was the opposite of this.

            Car Talk quickly became the most popular entertainment programme on the network, with four million a week tuning in. Public radio grew out of university radio stations and has become the unifying field for college communities in every corner of America. Over the next quarter of a century, the Magliozzis’ show was woven into American life.  In 2012 it became clear that Tom Magliozzi’s occasional lapses in memory were not merely an excuse to make on-air jokes about his age: Alzheimer’s disease was diagnosed, and no new shows were recorded. Old episodes continue to run on NPR and continue to draw audiences of more than three million.

Tom Magliozzi was married and divorced twice.  He is survived by his companion, Sylvia Soderberg, and by two daughters and a son.

 Tom Magliozzi, born June 28 1937, died November 3 2014.

Hate Kills

It was recently reported that “a Sikh man from the suburbs of Seattle said a gunman approached him as he worked on his car in his driveway and told him to ‘go back to your own country,’ before shooting him in the arm, authorities said.”[1]  The man wore a partial mask, the Sikh man shot did not know him, and he was just minding his own business — in his own country.

This reminds me when “a Sikh-American gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was murdered in a hate crime in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. This was the first of several cases across the United States that were reported to the police as supposed acts of retaliation for the attacks. Balbir Singh Sodhi, who wore a beard and a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith, was mistaken for an Arab Muslim and murdered.”[2]  These idiots would be laughable for their utter stupidity and candidates for the News of the Weird’s Most Incompetent Criminals if it were not for their hateful violence.  Filled with hate, shallow and hollow, and stupid as a freaking rock.  I wish they would get out of our country, and maybe go to their new country, Antarctica — without a coat or boots.

This follows on another bizarre, hate-filled, bigoted attack by another white guy with a grudge and a complete fool.  He was also totally incompetent by driving a long way and just walked into an Appleby’s bar to tell “a bartender at the Missouri restaurant where [he was]  arrested for an apparently racially motivated shooting of two Indian men in Kansas.   [The bartender] told a 911 dispatcher the man admitted shooting ‘two Iranian people’ and said he needed a place to stay.”[3]  Yeah, I hope they found a nice safe place in a cell with some seriously angry gangbangers.

— Lee Martin, March 5, 2017 — Tampa, Florida

[1]   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/05/sikh-man-shot-kent-washington-gunman-country

[2]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Balbir_Singh_Sodhi

[3]   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/27/kansas-shooting-indian-vigil-alok-madasani

 

50 Nations Come Together for Family Planning

Lee Martin, Tampa, Florida — March 4, 2017

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An incredible thing happened the other day, the mainstream media covered it, but I bet most Americans have no clue it happened.  National governments from around the world, foundations, and even one special person donated to fund programs across the globe that provide abortions or include discussion of such a procedure during women’s family planning visits with doctors or other health care practitioners.  This goes back a long time when a morally deficient man named Jesse Helms got a bill passed after Roe V Wade determined abortion was legal.[1]  If you know the name Jesse Helms, you can immediately understand the problem.  The 50 Nation heroes did this because one of President Trump’s first Executive Orders was to remove funding to international groups who might actually provide alternatives during family planning and women’s health care visits regardless of people who are driven by ideology to control other people’s lives.  Abortion is a very small part of what any of these NGO’s do, like in America with Planned Parenthood.[2]  Cutting funding removes help for all types of health care, because the ideological choice to cut funding is solely pandering to the Religious Right in this country that helped propel Trump over the top against the even more heinously objectionable Hillary Clinton.

As the Washington Post reported, “one of Trump’s first acts as president was to withhold an estimated half billion dollars a year in funding from international groups that perform abortions or provide information about them. The Trump administration said the ban is necessary because it doesn’t want to provide funds for something it considers morally wrong.”  Oh my, how dare we righteous American taxpayers be a party to condoning abortion while also working to prevent hundreds of millions of women around the world from exercising their rightful access to all types of family planning health care.  “The purely ideological decision of one country” can push women and girls back “into the dark Ages,” said conference host and Belgian Deputy Premier Alexander De Croos.  “We will start with making something great again,” he said of the drive to boost family planning policies in developing nations, riffing off Trump’s “make America great again” campaign slogan.[3]  Oh, those morally corrupt Belgians, joined by Danes and Hollanders who each committed 10 million euros to the project.

The article correctly points out “that instead of decreasing abortions, the move would increase dangerous pregnancy terminations.  When bans were in place, the number of involuntarily pregnancies and abortions increased.  The number of abortions will not fall, they will rise, because of an increase in unwanted pregnancies,” said Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen.  One of the organizers of the quickly arranged international conference to raise funds for global family planning insisted that he was not defending abortion.  He said, “to be clear, any abortion that takes place is one too many. But if it has to take place then I think it should be available and it should be available in a safe way.”  Wow, what a simple and just concept, a moral at odds with fundamentalist religious fanatics who have inordinate sway in America politics.  Just last year under the presumably more liberal Obama administration, American government policy was interfering with the right of women to get an abortion after being raped by the other fundamentalist crazies who call themselves the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) during their jihadist crusade to create a Middle East Caliphate.[4]  The Islamic State has a curiously bizarre and brutal relationship with the idea of abortion, since they demanded it among women they enslaved.[5]

Irony may be a prism into the root of a problem, an ideological trapdoor.  Disgust is a feeling I find both disturbing and at times and in context, welcoming or vile and objectionable.  For example, a fundamentalist Christian may read their King James Bible as if it a literal Gift From God, and like jihadists and moral warriors of all strips will gain guidance by Exodus 21:22, which apparently provides instruction when there is a fight.  The famous “eye for an eye” revenge phrase arises from a miscarriage caused by direct force during a fight, and Christians seem to have taken it to heart in the abortion fight:

If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.  And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.  Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.  If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:22) .[6]

I believe in compassion.  I believe in letting people make their own choices.  I believe in family planning.  I understand that as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “my life is superficial, takes no root in the deep world; I ask, When shall I die, and be relieved of the responsibility of seeing a Universe which I do not use?  I wish to exchange this flash-of-lightning faith for continuous daylight, this fever-glow for a benign climate.”[7]  Women who want to live free, to control their own bodies, to seek the help of medical care when needed—they should have the right and access to do so.  The world will be better for it since the global populace will be more healthy, we will drive down the inexorable population growth of large mammals called humans, and possibly save ourselves and the Earth from inevitable disaster.

Family planning, abortion, and women’s health care is a natural right.  We should remember that “estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s range from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. Prior to Roe v. Wade, as many as 5,000 American women died annually as a direct result of unsafe abortions.”[8]

America is the Land of the Free.  So they say.  We are the Superpower, so they say.  Now, the rest of the world is realizing that they must cooperate and take the reins.  Why?  Religious fundamentalism.  Control your own body.  Leave free women alone.  Leave me alone.  Do you get it?  Some of you are purportedly libertarian at heart, except when it comes to violations of your moral righteous indignation.  Keep it to yourself, please.  I am a taxpayer, and I want to support global family planning and health care for women everywhere in the world.  I live in the world more than in the United States of America.

[1]   http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/05/429641062/fact-check-how-does-planned-parenthood-spend-that-government-money

[2]   http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/05/429641062/fact-check-how-does-planned-parenthood-spend-that-government-money

[3]  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/nations-pledge-millions-to-counter-us-family-planning-ban/2017/03/02/ab852afa-ff2b-11e6-9b78-824ccab94435_story.html?utm_term=.b9b9219c4e9b

[4]   https://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/u-s-policy-prevents-women-who-are-raped-by-isis-from-accessing-abortion/?_r=0

[5]   https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/world/middleeast/to-maintain-supply-of-sex-slaves-isis-pushes-birth-control.html

[6]   https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Exodus-21-22/

[7]   http://www.rwe.org/

[8]   http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/impact-of-illegal-abortion/