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What Can We Do? ... Let's assume the Executive Branch really wanted to do something definitive about eliminating, or at least substantially reducing, radical Islamic movements around the world - besides holding a conference on "violent extremism."This isn't meant as a snide remark; the proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the tasting. (See Page 6, Jan 22, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Change The World - For Good ... Recently on cable news a little boy appeared to execute two men in Syria. Beside him a thug chants something that is probably related to the Muslim religion. Days before this, men arrogantly stood in the streets in Paris France shouting Islamic religious rhetoric. In recent months we have seen beheadings of journalists and humanitarians in Syria while their hooded captors recited words from the Koran or Islamic prayers. While this is going on militant Islamists recruit Europeans, Africans and Americans to come and join their forces. (See Page 6, Jan 22, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
The Guns of January -Paris and the West ... In Paris 5 gunmen attacked a magazine's offices, killing 12 and wounding others, then they escaped. One of the terrorists then surrendered. The French police, as I write this, have killed several terrorists, but several more hostages are dead, bringing the total innocent dead to 17. The 5 terrorists showed good fire discipline and had clearly received some training and had practiced. They were looking for certain people and they weren't distracted, moving deliberately through the magazine's offices. They were committed to killing, and they had an escape plan - that appears to have worked fairly well even in crowded Parisian streets. (See Page 8, Jan 15, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
The Afghanistan war is over! ... Well, not really. On 28 December the Commander of US and NATO forces formally transitioned combat operations to Afghan forces. The President announced the war was over. So, US forces are coming home. Well, no - US forces will remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. They'll continue to conduct combat operations. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine aircraft will continue to fly combat missions over Afghanistan, and Special Forces will continue to hunt down terrorists. But politically, we'll call it something else. (See Page 6, Jan 8, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Shaw imageHave You Heard Mitch Shaw's Talk About the Constitutional Convention Trend? ... The Constitutional convention has come back again, as it has for decades. Despite its many rebrandings and renamings, it is always an effort to promote the same thing: opening up the Constitution to change. You have a chance to hear this presentation at the regular monthly meeting of the Virginia Beach Tea Party. Those who have heard it have found Mitch to be an engaging, upbeat speaker. If you have friends in VB area who would like to hear this, please pass it on to them. The room has limited space, and there is no reservation necessary, so get there early! (See Page 6, Jan 8, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Deterrence in the Cyber Age ... The US has had its first clear engagement with an adversary in a Cyber battlefield. We lost. That's probably of note. The US hasn't lost a tactical engagement with an enemy force since 1951. Until 2014. This week. Granted, no one died. But a dangerous step has been taken: the US Government stood by while Americans were threatened with acts of terror on US soil; the government didn't respond to a direct assault on our country and citizenry. Sony and associated companies backed down when told that if they were to show a movie, they'd be targets of terrorists. The President, presented with an opportunity to speak and act in defense of the nation, and of freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, waited until after Sony acquiesced to say that he "thought they made a mistake." (See Page 6, Jan 1, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Don't Kick Santa Across The Yard ... This Christmas give somebody the gift of mercy and forgiveness. Actually be broad with your giving and generous. We all need a lot of both. For such a joyful holiday of cheer, giving and yuletide merriment there are certainly a lot of stressed out sourpuss faces and agitated people. If you haven't seen any of these you probably haven't been to the mall or busy shopping districts. People get tense over decorating, shopping, spending, and fitting into their schedules all the jolly dinners, gatherings and religious services. You may have watched Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. He becomes over the top stressed out when his Christmas lights don't work and literally kicks, stomps and curses a blue streak across his yard. It's a funny scene. Mostly because in some way we've all been there a time or two. (See Page 11, Dec 18, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Just the Facts Ma'am ... Pop quiz: How many auto fatalities are caused by texting? If you've been watching television lately you'll have heard that a fairly large percentage of auto accidents are caused by texting. The figures are dire: 1.3 million accidents per year. Texting makes an accident 23 times more likely to occur. Clearly something needs to be done. In fact, it causes 1.6 million accidents a year. (See Page 10, Dec 18, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Virginia: State Senator Introduces Legislation to Decriminalize Adult Marijuana Possession ... State Senator Adam Ebbin (DAlexandria) has introduced Senate Bill 686, which reduces simple marijuana possession to a non-criminal offense. As pre-filed, SB 686 reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil fine of no more than $100 that supports the state's Literary Fund. Under current law, possession of up to one ounce is a criminal misdemeanor -- punishable by a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. It also creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who grows no more than six marijuana plants grows marijuana for personal use. (See Page 10, Dec 18, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
DOD In Search of the Midas Touch ... Secretary of Defense Hagel stepped down on November 24th; there then ensued a great deal of "insider"gossip about why, who would replace him, what the next secretary would do, etc. After several days Ashton Carter's name appeared as his replacement. (See Page 10, Dec 11, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
America's Cops and Eric Garner, Tragic, But Don't Fight the Police ... Most Americans hope we never have to call the police. A call to the police usually means something bad is happening. However, we want the police if we need them. We hope that if we are in danger a policeman will be just a few moments away. (See Page 10, Dec 11, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Silent Majority or Divine Right ... The President issued his order on immigration, and made it clear that he intends to use more executive orders to implement actions he considers "important" and "right". In doing so he quoted scripture, defending his actions with holy writ. The President also claimed that "2/3rds of the voters" support him. The 2/3rds he refers to being those that did NOT vote in the 03 November elections. But, elections are, of course, the ultimate poll. One might argue they are the only accurate poll. The people vote and say whom they want in office, and in some cases make direct input into laws and local ordnance. (See Page 10, Dec 4, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Thanksgiving ... Last week (November 21st) marked the 394th anniversary of the signing of one of the important documents in history: the Mayflower Compact. The document is not quite what some think it; it is not a declaration of independence from England and the King. But it is critical in understanding what happened between 1620 and 1776. The Pilgrims left England due to religious persecution, moving to Holland in 1606, where there was more tolerance. For several reasons, in particular a difficulty in mixing with Dutch culture, they decided to look for another place to live, and they settled on Virginia. Fortunately for us, the sea, the ship and the weather didn't cooperate and they landed in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. (See Page 10, Nov 27, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Shock and Yawn ... It's said of geo-politics that "nature" abhors a vacuum. This is particularly true in military affairs. Whether it's the actions of the enemy, or simply the responses of young soldiers and sailors to a lack of senior actions, if given half a chance, something, someone will fill the void. When US aircraft were conducting strike operations over Syria and Iraq with a no-name operation (before the Pentagon christened it Operation Inherent Resolve (huh?), aircrews had already settled on a name: Operation Shock and Yawn, a tacit (and flippant) recognition that not enough was being done. (See Page 6, Nov 20, 2014 Edition) (Have a Comment?)


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In brief 22jan15