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The Report “States The Pentagon Can Save Umpteen Billion Dollars As They Cap Pay And Pay Raises, And Cut Health Care Costs By Raising Fees On Retirees And Their Families”

This Is A Disgrace And A Knife To The Heart Of Those Who Shed Blood Fighting For This So-Called Government”

The Pay Cuts Should Be Coming From The Paychecks And Health Care Premiums Of Those Sitting In The Leather Chairs In The House, Senate And Countless Other Government Mahogany Desks”
Army Times

Letters To The Editor

I am responding to the preposterous article “Proposed pay, benefits cuts” (Five Things, Nov. 12).
The report by the Center for American Progress states the Pentagon can save umpteen billion dollars as they cap pay and pay raises, and cut health care costs by raising fees on retirees and their families.
This is a disgrace and a knife to the heart of those who shed blood fighting for this so-called government.
If you ask me, the pay cuts should be coming from the paychecks and health care premiums of those sitting in the leather chairs in the House, Senate and countless other government mahogany desks, where they might sustain a paper cut or carpal tunnel syndrome.
If the budget cuts started there, the general public and the military would feel a greater sense of unity with those in the political realm, instead of the sense that we are falling under a suppressive regime.
Marine Sgt. Jason E. McKinney

McDonough, Ga.

Forward Military Resistance along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Afghanistan or at a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war and economic injustice, inside the armed services and at home.
Send email requests to address up top or write to: The Military Resistance, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.


Arcata Navy SEAL Killed In Afghanistan

November 25, 2012 the Arcata Eye
The Department of Defense has announced the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Petty Officer 1st-Class Kevin Ebbert, 32, was killed Saturday by gunfire in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan. He was assigned to an East Coast SEAL team out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story at Virginia Beach, Va.
Kevin Ebbert’s mother, Charlie Jordan, sent this message: “Kevin Ebbert, my 32 year old son, US Navy SEAL serving his second deployment in Afghanistan was killed Friday. Kevin was poised to return home early next year and start medical school completing his training started as a Corpsman to become an MD. We last spoke about he and his wife Ursula joining Rotary where he could work in clinics internationally.
“There are many details to be worked out. There will be a Memorial Service scheduled in Arcata. In the meantime we have set up the ‘Kevin Ebbert Memorial Fund’ with Humboldt Area Foundation for those of you who wish to donate to it in Kevin’s name.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our teammate who has made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Capt. Robert Smith, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group Two. “We have lost a courageous patriot who selflessly answered our nation’s call to defend freedom and protect us from terrorism.”
A memorial service will be held on Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. at the JEB Little Creek Base Chapel. A reception will follow at the SEAL Heritage Center onboard JEB Little Creek




Climbing Over Tanks Of The Republican Guard, Protesters Streamed Toward The Palace”

Tens Of Thousands Of Egyptian Protesters Push Past Barbed Wire Fences Installed By The Army”

Anti-Mursi demonstrators protest outside the presidential palace in Cairo December 7, 2012. Opponents of Mursi staged more protests in Cairo and other cities. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

December 6, 2012 Al & December 7, 2012 By SARAH EL DEEB, AP
CAIRO — Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters push past barbed wire fences installed by the army and march on the presidential palace, calling for President Mohammed Morsi to “leave” a day after they say he offered no concessions to opposition demands.
Climbing over tanks of the Republican Guard, protesters streamed toward the palace as night fell Friday, crossing a no-go zone set up around the compound’s perimeter.
The area witnessed deadly clashes on Wednesday, when supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group drove out crowds camped outside the palace. The clashes left at least six dead and hundreds injured, deepening the schism between the two sides.
Egypt is plunging deeper into crisis as protesters — mainly liberals— press Morsi to call off a referendum on a draft constitution agreed by his allies.
The state news agency said the military deployment on Thursday around the palace was to “secure” the building. Nine armoured troop carriers were also reported on the street outside the palace.
The fighting erupted late on Wednesday afternoon when thousands of Morsi’s supporters descended on an area near the presidential palace where about 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in.
Members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood chased the protesters away from their base outside the palace’s main gate and tore down their tents.
After a brief lull, hundreds of Morsi opponents arrived and began throwing firebombs at the president’s backers, who responded with rocks.
The violence spread to other parts of the country on Wednesday.
Anti-Morsi protesters stormed and set ablaze the Brotherhood offices in Suez and Ismailia, east of Cairo, and there were clashes in the industrial city of Mahallah and the province of Menoufiyah in the Nile Delta north of the capital.
There were rival demonstrations outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters in the Cairo suburb of Moqatam and in Alexandria, security officials said senior Brotherhood official Sobhi Saleh was hospitalised after being severely beaten by Morsi’s opponents.
The opposition is demanding that Morsi rescind the decrees giving him nearly unrestricted powers and shelve the controversial draft constitution, which the president’s Islamist allies rushed through last week in a marathon, all-night session shown live on state TV.

It Took Years For Our Veterans To Get Medical Coverage For Illnesses Related To Agent Orange Exposure”

The Men’s Children Born With Disabling Illnesses Are Still Ineligible For Coverage”

I’ll Believe Things Have Changed The Day I See A Headline That Says, ‘Man Who Lied To Get Out Of The Draft Holds Up Liquor Store’”

December 7th, 2012, by Connie Schultz, National Memo
[Thanks to Carolyn Birden, who sent this in.]
Rick Weidman can walk onto a stage and sense when he’s facing a crowd of Americans who think they have no reason to care about Vietnam veterans.
Weidman has been advocating for his fellow veterans nearly all his adult life. He knows how to change the mood of a room.
He starts by asking people to stand.
Stand if you’re a veteran, he says. He rattles off the wars and conflicts: Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, World War II and everything in between.
He continues.
Stand if your mother or father served.
Stand if your kid served.
Stand if your aunt or uncle served.
Stand if your brother or your sister served.
By the time he’s done with the list, usually more than 90 percent of the people in the room are on their feet.
Now, they’re ready to talk about Vietnam.
“The key is this,” he told me in a phone interview from his office in Washington. “You have to understand that the men and woman who serve our country are not ‘them’ and ‘they.’ They’re ‘us.’
“I tell people all the time, ‘they are not separate from you and your life. They come out of your community, and they return to your community. It’s a covenant between the American people and those who serve. We need to honor that sacred obligation.’”
Weidman is executive director for policy and government affairs for the Vietnam Veterans of America, which has just joined a class action lawsuit in Hartford against the armed forces.
Their argument: thousands of Vietnam veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder before it was a recognized illness and were wrongfully discharged because of it.
Their demand: upgrade the veterans’ discharges so that they qualify for benefits and the medical coverage they deserve.
Vietnam veteran John Shepherd Jr. filed the original lawsuit. His legal team is with the Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic. (Full disclosure: My stepdaughter is a Yale law student who works for another clinic in the same organization, but she is not involved with this case.)
Weidman says he understands the government’s resistance.
“They (the government) smell that this is only the first step,” he said. “When we win this, and win it we will, we’ll open the door to litigation for the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, too.”
Weidman says that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nearly 37,000 members of the U.S. military have been given a “catch-all ‘personality discharge.”‘
“We’re seeing this all the time,” he said.
A woman was raped and reported it. She had five promotions and two or three deployments, but they did a psychiatric exam after she was raped and decided that she had a personality disorder — and that it was a pre-existing condition.
That’s not defying logic,” he said. “That’s flat-out lying.”
When you’re a Vietnam veteran, it seems, some fights never end.
Last year, photographer Nick Ut and I reported a series chronicling the long-term impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam and on our veterans here at home.
It took years for our veterans to get medical coverage for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure, and the men’s children born with disabling illnesses are still ineligible for coverage.
I confessed to Weidman that, after the series ran, I was frustrated to find a mostly apathetic public. How, I asked, do you get Americans to care about veterans of a war that ended, badly, in 1975?
Weidman had graduated from college and turned down a deferment to serve as a medic in Vietnam. He is loyal to the bone, but he makes no attempt to romanticize his fellow veterans.
“Frankly, we’re not warm and cuddly,” he said. “We don’t have very nice stories to tell. But we did our job pretty well under difficult circumstances and came home to a wall of silence.”
He chuckled. “Remember Kojak?” he said, referring to the 1970s TV show. “Every time they needed a person on top of a roof with a gun, it was a Vietnam veteran. As if that explained everything.”
Thanks to recent media coverage, and the devastating impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, more Americans know about PTSD. That’s good news, he said, but it’s not great.
“I’ll believe things have changed the day I see a headline that says, ‘Man who lied to get out of the draft holds up liquor store.’”
He chuckled again, but neither of us were laughing.

Royal Navy’s New HMS Astute “Has Been Cobbled Together From Some Ill-Fitting Parts”

The Lead Used In Astute Was Not Of The Right Quality”

The Charged Metal Can Create Increased And Persistent Radioactivity Within The Reactor Compartment”

These Or Similar Mismatches Will Compromise Nuclear Safety At Risk To Crews And The Public Generally”

[Part 1]

HMS Astute, the Royal Navy’s nuclear hunter-killer submarine on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

15 November 2012 by Nick Hopkins, The Guardian [Excerpts]
[Thanks to Felicity Arbuthnot, who sent this in. She writes: “Just when you think it can’t get better ...”]
The Royal Navy’s new multibillion pound hunter-killer submarine, HMS Astute, has been beset by design and construction flaws that have raised doubts about its performance and potential safety.
The Guardian can reveal that Astute, the first of seven new submarines costing £9.75bn, has been unable to reach its intended top speed.
At the moment, the boat, heralded as the most sophisticated submarine ever built for the navy, cannot sprint to emergencies or away from an attack – an essential requirement for a hunter-killer boat.
It would also be incapable of keeping pace with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which will be able to travel at more than 30 knots and need the submarines to protect them.
One source told the Guardian the boat had a “V8 engine with a Morris Minor gearbox”.
Other problems that have affected the boat in recent months include:
• Flooding during a routine dive that led to Astute performing an emergency surfacing.
• Corrosion even though the boat is essentially new.
• The replacement or moving of computer circuit boards because they did not meet safety standards.
Concern over the instruments monitoring the nuclear reactor because the wrong type of lead was used.
• Questions being raised about the quality and installation of other pieces of equipment.
• Concern reported among some crew members about the Astute’s pioneering periscope, that does not allow officers to look at the surface “live”.
The MoD confirmed Astute had suffered some “teething problems” during sea trials. “It is normal for first of class trials to identify areas where modifications are required and these are then incorporated into later vessels of the class,” a spokesman said.
Though the MoD said it cannot discuss the speed of submarines, the spokesman said Astute would “provide an outstanding capability for decades to come”.
However, if the propulsion problems persist, they would represent one of the biggest procurement disasters the MoD has ever had to deal with, and potentially leave the Astute fleet struggling to perform all the duties it was built for.
John Large, an independent nuclear safety analyst and specialist engineer, said: “These problems are much more significant than the niggles and glitches expected to arise during working up of a new class of nuclear-powered submarine.
“Particularly disturbing is the apparent mismatch between the nuclear reactor plant and the steam turbine sets, putting the submarine speed below par and making her susceptible in the anti-submarine warfare theatre.”
The shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, said ministers “must be clear over the impact of any problems with this essential programme on timing and cost”.
Even though the boat has yet to start formal service, Astute – four years overdue and £2bn over budget – has been surrounded by controversy since it was first commissioned 15 years ago.
In 2010, it was marooned off Skye, a calamity that led to its commander being removed from post. Last year a senior officer was shot dead by a junior member of the crew.
The Guardian has learned that during exercises off the east coast of the United States, a cap on one of the pipes that takes seawater from the back of the submarine to the reactor sprang a leak.
A compartment began flooding with seawater, forcing the commander to surface immediately. Though nobody was hurt, an investigation revealed a cap was made from the wrong metal, even though construction records said the right metal had been installed.
The cap was supposed to have been “level one quality assurance”. This means that BAE, which is responsible for building the boat, is supposed to give it the highest scrutiny.
The fact the cap failed is bad enough, but the most worrying thing is that there is no way of knowing whether the submarine has other pieces of equipment like this on board,” said a source.
The quality assurance tests are there to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen, but it did. So what else has been installed that we don’t know about? It is impossible to know. They fitted the wrong cap but it was still signed off.”
The MoD confirmed that the incident had taken place. “During trials last year HMS Astute experienced a leak which was immediately isolated and the submarine returned safely to the surface,” a spokesman said.
“An investigation found one small part which had not been made of the correct material had corroded. A replacement was fitted at sea and the submarine continued with her programme. BAE Systems have carried out a full assessment which concluded all similar parts were fitted correctly.”
Neither the MoD nor BAE was prepared to discuss how a cap made from the wrong metal had been fitted. BAE also declined to explain how it could be sure other parts were installed correctly when the quality assurance inventory system was proved to be flawed.
Some of the instruments which tell commanders about the state of the nuclear reactor were also feared compromised, the Guardian can reveal.
The detectors which measure the power coming from the reactor are in a lead-lined water jacket that surrounds the reactor core.
The lead has to be “virgin” metal, mined from great depth, so that it does not carry any electrical charge of its own that could generate a false reading.
However, the lead used in Astute was not of the right quality, which means instruments gave incorrect readings. Using impure lead can also have a knock-on effect during maintenance – the charged metal can create increased and persistent radioactivity within the reactor compartment.
A source said this oversight was “unforgivable”.
Initially the MoD denied there was a problem with the reactor instruments.
However, it then conceded the wrong lead had been used – but insisted tests showed the accuracy of the readings had not been affected. In addition, some of the small computer switchboards on Astute should have been placed six inches apart, but they were only one inch apart.
They did not conform to either naval or Lloyds civilian safety standards and are now having to be moved or replaced. The MoD says this work has been completed.
Of all the difficulties, it is the problems with propulsion which are the most sensitive. The MoD stated Astute would be able to make 29 knots, but the Guardian has been told it cannot do this.
Rather than building a new power plant for Astute, the MoD chose to use the Pressurised Water Reactor 2 (PWR2) from the much bigger Vanguard-class Trident submarines. It was linked to a steam turbine system based on the model used in the aged Trafalgar Class attack submarines.
“This was always likely to be a big problem, and so it has proved,” said a source. “The PWR2 was meant for a much bigger boat, and Astute had to be designed around it. That may have cut costs, but it has caused problems.
The power from the reactor does not translate into forward movement.”
Large added: “So much promise was held out for the Astute class of nuclear powered submarine but these faults occurring during its commissioning into active/service, particularly in the propulsion system and its under-performance, suggest that the whole has been cobbled together from some ill-fitting parts – the real concern here is that these or similar mismatches will compromise nuclear safety at risk to crews and the public generally.”
Doomed From The Start:

Flawed Thinking And Design Behind The Fleet At The Heart Of Britain’s Navy”

The Boat’s Shortcomings “Range From The Irritating To The Incomprehensible”

Even Though They Know Some Things Are Wrong, They Keep On Building Them”

[Part 2]

HMS Astute has proved to be the military’s biggest procurement headache. Photograph: Ministry of Defence/PA

[Thanks to Felicity Arbuthnot, who sent this in.]
15 November 2012 by Nick Hopkins, The Guardian
The problems with the cost and delivery of Britain’s new nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines were set out in uncompromising detail in a report published by the National Audit Office this time last year.
But the performance and safety problems of HMS Astute and its sister boats are only now coming to the fore, and that is only because people who know about submarines have been prepared to express their concerns.
At roughly the same time as the NAO was setting out in dry and dispiriting detail the multiple delays and overruns that have affected the Astute, its crew was dealing with a crisis of its own: bailing gallons of seawater from a compartment that had flooded when a cap on a cooling pipe for the boat’s reactor failed.
How a cap made of the wrong “soft” metal had ended up being fitted to such a critical pipe on a new submarine, nobody at the Ministry of Defence is prepared to say.
A leading submarine officer said that voicing his anxieties went against all his military instincts, but he was so worried about the future of the Astute class submarines that he judged keeping quiet would be worse.
Nobody in military circles doubts the attacking prowess of the Astute; it has the most sophisticated weapons, missiles and sonar systems. Some of the boats will be equipped with a suite to support special forces operations. These are all “front of the boat” capabilities.
But it is at the back of the boat, from the reactor to the stern, where problems have arisen.
From the start, the Astute programme was beset by design and technical difficulties, and its budget rose. Three new boats were ordered – this increased to eight – but as costs and delays kept spiralling, a decision was taken to reduce the fleet to seven.
An NAO report from 2002 noted the Astute was supposed to have been launched in 2005, but that technical difficulties had pushed this back to 2006. In fact, the boat was not finished until 2009.
Nine years after it was commissioned, and despite remedial work to the contract that cost the MoD an extra £400m, the Astute was still proving to be the military’s biggest procurement headache, with the cost of the programme growing by more than any other major defence project.
Even now the costs are continuing to rise, with the NAO predicting the programme is now almost £2bn over budget – more than the cost of a single new submarine.
The NAO says that, on average, each of the Astute class submarines will be 28 months late, and the seventh boat will not be in service for another decade.
The delays mean the Royal Navy will have to continue using some of the Trafalgar class submarines well beyond their reactor fuel and service shelf-lives or restrict the breadth of operations. This could even include reducing the effectiveness of the Trident missile-carrying Vanguard submarines, which the Astutes are supposed to support. But the MoD has deemed this is a price that has to be paid. As the NAO report noted: “The department is currently reporting that Astute class submarines will not meet the Royal Navy’s requirement for sufficient numbers of submarines to be available for operations over part of the next decade.”
With so much resting on getting the seven Astute submarines operational as soon as possible, it is little wonder the MoD has been reluctant to discuss some of the boat’s shortcomings.
They range from the irritating to the incomprehensible.
Even though the Astute is bigger than any other Royal Navy submarine of its class, the living accommodation for submariners is the most cramped.
It is also hot. Temperatures of up to 45 degrees [113 degrees U.S.] and humidity of 95 per cent have been reported.
There have been problems with reactor instrumentation and computer switchboards.
Some of those involved in the Astute project have also raised concerns about the new automatic periscope, which does not allow senior officers to look at the surface “live”. Instead, the periscope takes 360 degree pictures, which are then sent to the bridge.
This works well when the sea is calm, but in choppy waters, the pictures are often blurred by seawater and waves.
The reserve battery is also said to be far too small for a boat almost 100 metres long.
But it is the speed issue that may be the most problematic.
To save money, the MoD decided not to build a new nuclear reactor for the Astute, but to use the Rolls Royce PWR2 (pressurised water reactor 2) that had been fitted to the Vanguard fleet of Trident submarines.
But the Vanguard is much bigger than the Astute, and it performs a very different role. The Vanguards move stealthily, at slow speeds, and remain submerged for long periods. The hunter-killer submarines will spend most of their working life travelling at a sedate pace, but they need to sprint when necessary, either to protect shipping or to get somewhere fast.
Which is why the MoD boasted the Astute would be able to make 29 knots when the submarine was commissioned, and still does, according to the department’s website.
At the moment, it can’t.
“The PWR2 was shoehorned into the Astute, and it meant the submarine’s initial designs had to be changed,” said a source. “That is why the Astute has a slightly bulbous look about it, not the clean lines that you might expect. The reactor was never meant for an attack submarine and it is supplying power to machinery whose designs have not greatly changed for 50 years.
“In very simple terms, it is like hooking up a V8 engine to a Morris Minor gearbox.”
Defence officials insist privately that it is too early to say whether Astute’s propulsion problems can be solved, and they argue that there are ways to compensate if engineers cannot boost the top speed close to 29 knots.
Submarines, they say, do not have to ride “shotgun” with vessels that they are escorting, and they can plot courses that allow them to stay in touch without being side by side. But experts have told the Guardian the Astute should be capable of “scooting” at speeds of up to 35 knots, if, for instance, they come under attack at distance from a torpedo-firing submarine.
Intriguingly, when HMS Ambush, the second of the Astute class submarines, was launched earlier this year, the MoD did not repeat the claim it could reach speeds of 29 knots.
It said the Ambush would be “faster under the water than she is on the surface, capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots… although her top speed is classified.”
But one officer who spoke to the Guardian made clear he thought it was unacceptable for the MoD to spend £10bn of taxpayers’ money on the submarines, and still produce a boat with potentially fundamental design flaws that could, in theory, threaten the UK’s ability to defend itself.
The officer said it was unbelievable and unforgiveable that, with so much at stake, there had not been a proper moratorium on the construction and design process to prevent problems recurring.
Even though they know some things are wrong, they keep on building them.
“This is the boat the MoD deserved. They messed around with the procurement. They kept changing the specifications. They kept delaying the project. If this had been the US navy, they would have scrapped the boat. They would have recognised the flaws and decided not to take any risks.”
The nuclear engineering expert John Large, who led the team evaluating the risks from the reactors and weapons on board the Russian submarine, Kursk, said: “I expect there will now be some serious soul-searching at the MoD, what went wrong and who is to blame, but to conceal the detail of the failures is wholly inappropriate because it protects the incompetent and, quite possibly, permits an unacceptable element of the nuclear safety risk to persist.
“Overbudget, delayed, grounded and the shooting tragedy, together with the serious underperformance, suggest HMS Astute and the class to be jinxed boats.”


At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.
We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.”
Frederick Douglass, 1852

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

-- Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach”

December 7th
From: Dennis Serdel

To: Military Resistance Newsletter

Subject: December 7th

Date: Dec 7, 2012 3:38 PM

Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade; United Auto Workers GM Retiree
December 7th
It’s a black powder morning

in Lansing today

the Michigan people

voted for a right to work state

all through the years

the UAW Workers

made so much money

money as green as envy

can be

It’s a black powder morning

in Michigan today

the UAW Inc. would have to

represent Workers who do

not pay Union dues

but the UAW Inc. are in bed

with Management

so they sent some Union

Brothers & Union Sisters to

to get violent with the State

What else could they do

but put on a Show to make

it look like they were fighting


But it’s a black powder day

in Lansing Michigan

It’s December 7th & like

the Attack on Pearl Harbor

the smoke and fire burns

as the Japanese Car

Companies attacked the USA

and our Government did

Nothing as the cars came

rolling off the boats

and the American people

waved the red white & blue

& bought these Japanese

Cars & Trucks with a Yellow

Ribbon on the trunk that

said Support The Troops

as my Father who was drafted

in WWII was sent to

Pearl Harbor to get the radios

& telephones communications

running again as our Navy

men lay dead in

the hulk of the Arizona

When he came back from

the war, he joined the

Communication Workers

Union in Michigan

with pride, but today

it’s a black powder


in Lansing Michigan but

it doesn’t mean this is the end

because some piece of paper

law was passed

just stock up on black powder

guns & us boys who fought

in Vietnam will show you

a trick or two that you

probably already know like

Not letting a few Republicans

and UAW Inc.

get in the way of Solidarity.
written by Dennis Serdel
Protests Erupt At Michigan Capitol After Right-Wing Legislative Assault:

There Are A Couple Thousand People Inside The Capital”

Another 1,000 To 2,000 People Are Milling Around The Area”
[Thanks to Dennis Serdel, who sent this in.]
December 6, 2012 by Andrea Germanos, staff writer; Common Dreams & Yahoo News [Excerpts]
The Michigan Capitol in Lansing is on lockdown on Thursday afternoon after more than 1,000 activists flooded the building to protest new legislation that would weaken the power of labor unions in the state.
Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk told CNN that there are a couple thousand people inside the capital.
Another 1,000 to 2,000 people are milling around the area, Adamczyk said.
Michigan’s Republican-dominated legislature on Thursday passed conservative, anti-worker, anti-women measures--controversial right-to-work legislation and a conscience clause that allows health care providers to deny services--sparking outrage and protests from Democrats and union members and leading police to use “chemical munitions” on protesters.
Protesters packed the Capitol building, news agencies report, as right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans announced the right-to-work legislation. Some of the protesters who were inside the building attempted to get to the chamber floor and were met with a chemical assault.
The Detroit Free Press reports:
“When several of the individuals rushed the troopers, they used chemical munitions to disperse the crowd,” (Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk) said.
The House passed the first of three right-to-work bills in a 58-52 vote.
Right-to-work laws mean dues cannot be required from non-union employees in a union-organized workplace.
Touted as “workplace freedom” by supporters, unions see them as an assault on their bargaining power and an attempt at further weakening the power of organized labor.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the right-to-work legislation was passed “after House Democrats walked off the chamber floor to protest the Capitol not being opened to the public.”

Americans for Prosperity, which the Detroit Free Press describes as “the conservative non-profit organization that funded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip that state’s public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights,” and was founded by the notorious Koch brothers, supported the legislation.
Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity, said in statement that the Michigan passage of right-to-work legislation will be the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom. “A victory over forced unionization in a union stronghold like Michigan would be an unprecedented win on par with Wisconsin that would pave the way for right to work in states across our nation.”
John Armelagos, a union nurse, also sees the far-reaching impact the legislation would have. Michigan Radio reports:
Unfortunately, when Michigan goes Right to Work….the home of organized labor….where 75 years ago…brave families occupied the auto plants to form the UAW…and set the foundation for a better way of life…not only for Michigan families but all those in the Midwest….and set the tone for the whole country …in terms of collective bargaining and helping form the middle class…when Right to Work’s instituted,” Armelagos said with his eyes tearing up, “It’s going to hurt everybody.
Geraldine Blankinship, who took part in the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37 as part of the Women’s Emergency Brigade, said of the legislation, “It’s the worst thing that can happen to people who work for a living,” and added, “It would be a disgrace,” reports.
If passed, Michigan would be the 24th right-to-work state in the country.


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Drone Pilot To Receive First Air Force Medal of Honor Since Vietnam

4 December 2012 by G-Had
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV – An Air Force drone pilot who managed to fly his MQ-9 Reaper for 120 straight hours through multiple firefights will receive the Medal of Honor, Air Force officials confirmed today.
Major Curtis Beasley will be the first Airman to receive the nation’s highest award since the Vietnam War.
He is also the first American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions taken inside the United States since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Beasley, from Dubuque, Iowa, will receive the award for his actions at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada during the first days of August 2010. In a week of heavy combat he stayed at his console for more than five straight days, remotely piloting his Reaper drone through dozens of firefights 7,000 miles away in Afghanistan.
Eschewing proper meals, Major Beasley survived on “to-go plates” brought to him from the base dining facility by a junior Airman. A nearby bucket was used as a waste receptacle.
The medal will be in addition to the multiple Purple Hearts he has already been awarded for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome endured during the same event.
He was also honored for a sprained ankle he received tripping over an extension cord while leaving his workstation.
Major Beasley received a congratulatory phone call from President Obama at Creech Air Force Base.
“When they told me the President of the United States was calling for me, I was a little reluctant to pick up the phone. It was my lunch break, and if you don’t get in line at least an hour early, the only prime rib they have left is medium well.”
Major Beasley eventually took the call while sipping a White Russian and sunning himself at the base relaxation pool in-between missions.
Beasley’s wife and family have also released a statement saying how proud they were, and how they had eventually forgiven him for missing family Scrabble night during the fighting.
“Most people think of drone pilots as glorified computer junkies, but we’re really modern-day snipers,” Major Beasley told The Duffel Blog. “We’re out there, days at a time, watching the same compound, with nothing but candy bars from the vending machine to keep us going and the sounds of Sons of Anarchy playing on our iPhones.”
The Air Force is already trumpeting Major Beasley as a modern-day Carlos Hathcock, the legendary Marine sniper with 93 confirmed kills in Vietnam.
Air Force officials have pointed out that Major Beasley’s 193 confirmed kills during the operation arguably make him one of the greatest marksmen in history. There are already plans to use him in recruiting commercials, similar to the Israeli Defence Force’s public parades for missile ace Idan Yahya.
The last Air Force Medal of Honor was posthumously awarded to Captain Steven Bennett, an OV-10 pilot whose plane was critically damaged during a low-level strafing mission in South Vietnam in 1972. With his observer’s parachute inoperable, Bennett brought his plane down in a highly-dangerous water landing. He was killed but his observer survived.
“Air warfare sure has changed since then,” Major Beasley observed.
“Even just a few years ago I could still fly my F-16 over Iraq, monitoring the same compound for hours at a time, eventually directing a laser-guided bomb on it… not like today.”

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Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or email Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. Same address to unsubscribe.


[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to: The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]




Angry Protesters Incensed The Regional Governor Had Failed To Tackle Unemployment Amassed In The Town Center, With The Clashes Kicking Off By Early Afternoon”

Many Protesters Called For Local Officials To Step Down, Citing Chronic Mismanagement Of Development Funds In The Poor Farming Region”

A protester kicks a tear gas canister back at police during clashes in Siliana November 28, 2012 (Reuters / Stringer)

28 November, 2012 TV-Novosti
More than 200 people were wounded as clashes between Tunisian security forces and thousands of protesters in the impoverished town of Siliana raged on for the second straight day, medical sources say. One reporter was also injured by shotgun fire.
A doctor at the hospital in Siliana told AFP on Wednesday the injured were being treated for different types of injury, with four of them transferred to Tunis.
FRANCE24’s Tunisia correspondent David Thomson was also injured by shotgun fire in the melee. While receiving treatment, Thomson tweeted from the hospital that many others had sustained far more serious injuries. His driver was also injured in the clashes.
Other protesters also bore facial injures which were apparently caused by shotgun pellets.
State television had earlier reported that at least 80 people were injured.
Angry protesters incensed the regional governor had failed to tackle unemployment amassed in the town center, with the clashes kicking off by early afternoon.
The country’s National Guard deployed armored vehicles as protesters erected makeshift barricades in the streets.
Protesters pelted security forces with rocks, who responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
The scene closely mirrored protests which erupted in the town on Tuesday.
Many protesters called for local officials to step down, citing chronic mismanagement of development funds in the poor farming region.
Siliana, which lies 75 miles south of the capital Tunis on the edge of the Sahara desert, saw investment plummet by 44.5 percent from January to October on a year-over-year basis.
Following the 2010 uprising which saw the ouster of longtime President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, unemployment has skyrocketed in the country.
The interior ministry has not commented on the ongoing street clashes, though the prime minister’s office registered the concern with the unfolding events.
It also described as regrettable “the use of violence against the security forces, aggression at the headquarters of sovereignty, and attempts to damage public property,” AFP reports.
The clashes were the most violent since Salafi Islamists fell on the US embassy in Tunis to protest the incendiary film Innocence of Muslims in September.
On Tuesday, the World Bank approved a $500 million loan to Tunisia to aid the country’s ailing economy, with a separate $700 million coming from other donors.
It is the second loan approved by the World Bank since the Arab Spring swept Ben Ali from power.


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