Cynical Synapse

Mon, 16 Nov 2009

Hasan Not the Ideal Islamist

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Hypocrits, Military, Patriotism, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 11:46 pm

Free Nobel Peace Prize with order of fries

It turns out MAJ Nidal Milak Hasan enjoyed lap dances contrary to the Muslim faith he professed. Reports are he frequented a night club at least a couple of times before his shooting spree at Fort Hood.

Army investigators building their case against Hasan plan to interview the Starz club manager soon. The manager says he remembers Hasan visiting the club at least 3 times in the last month.

Jennifer Jenner, who works at Starz using the stage name Paige, said Hasan bought a lap dance from her two nights in a row. She said he paid $50 for a dance lasting three songs in one of the club’s private rooms on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.

Nonetheless, Virginia Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki says “Nidal Hassan is a hero.” He is blessed to bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in the Army.

I’m sorry. Hasan got his medical training gratis from the US Army. And this justifies the mass murder of 13 how?

Sun, 15 Nov 2009

Obama’s New Suit Beginning to Show Through

Obama's new suit

When then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) began running for president three freaking years ago, I was opposed to him as a candidate. My issue with him? I didn’t think he had enough experience. I still remember a line from a morning talk radio show: “Obama’s only foreign policy experience is his trips to International House of Pancakes.” Never mind that two full years of campaigning just wears you down. Perhaps that was the point.

Next up, Obama pulled his name from the Michigan primary because the state went against Democratic National Committee rules and made the primary earlier than others. I don’t take lightly when candidates diss my state and fellow Michiganians. If Obama had had any chance with me, he threw it in the trash then and there. It didn’t help I disagreed with his vote on the Wall Street bailout.

Barack Obama is now President. He’s been spending money like a whole shipful of drunken sailors. Only now he wants to cut back some because China’s nervous about him maxing out the national credit cards. And what do we have to show for all that spending? Not much except maybe fancy “Stimulus” signs along the highways. And he’s still pushing for a total healthcare overhaul. This is a complex issue whose real ramifications and costs are not clearly forseen despite Congressional Budget Office projections.

How’s the Commander-in-Chief doing with leadership? Not so well, if you ask me. Early on he recognized a need to refocus on Afghanistan in the Global War on Terror, er overseas contingency operations. Since then, he appointed a new commander on the ground, Gen. Stanely McChrystal, whom he asked for an assessment. In September, McChrystal said he needed 40,000 more troops in order to be successful. Obama’s reaction was like let me get back to you on that. Two months later still no decision. As I’ve said before, Afghanistan is where the 9-11 attacks were launched from and the same bad guys are still in the area. This is not time to dilly dally and look at your feet like a nervous school child.

Laura and George W. Bush

There are certainly plenty of conservative bloggers out there who miss no opportuntity to bash Obama’s policies, agenda, and record. For others, I think the novelty is beginning to wear off. Folks are beginning to see that new suit is actually nothing at all. Via Dewey from Detroit comes this from HillBuzz:

We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura.

If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of “Dubya” nearly every day…parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000…and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day.

We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster. President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it. ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush. We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11. He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone. More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day. The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks…you tell them that a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes…and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.

Criticize their policies academically and intelligently and discuss the Bush presidency in historical and political terms…but you mess with the Bushes personally and, from this day forward, you’ll answer to us.

We hope someday to be able to thank George W. and Laura in person for all they’ve done, and continue to do. They didn’t have to head to Ft. Hood. That was not their responsibility.

The Obamas should have done that.

But didn’t.

Wouldn’t.

Thank goodness George W. is still on his watch, with wonderful Laura at his side.

We are blessed as a nation to have these two out there…just as we are blessed to have the Clintons on the job, traveling the world doing the good they do.

And we are blessed to have Dick Cheney, wherever he is, keeping tabs on all that’s going on and speaking out when the current administration does anything too reckless and dangerous.

Cheney’s someone else we villainized and maligned in the past who we were also wrong about. There has never been a Vice President, including Gore, Biden, or Mondale, who was more supportive of gay rights than “Darth Cheney”. There has never been a Vice President more spot-on right about the dangers facing this country from Islamic terrorism.

We live in strange, strange times indeed.

We are now officially committed fans of George W. and Laura Bush. We are fans of Dick Cheney. Our gratitude for them makes us newly protective of them, and the continued role they play in this country.

After the primary battle of 2008, we never thought we’d go back to Texas for anything, but sometime in 2010 we want to find some event in Dallas the Bushes will be at so at least one of us can go up to them, tell them we are deeply sorry for ever thinking ill of them, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their service to America.

We’re sure they will just stare at us and wonder why these gay Chicagoans are crying, but we don’t think we can get through a meeting with them without being emotional.

What they did at Ft. Hood for those families humbles us. Every day, the Bushes are most likely doing something just like it behind the scenes.

We hope if any of you encounter them you will let them know this is deeply appreciated beyond partisan lines.

We will never look at the Bushes, the Bush presidencies, or their legacies the same again…and someday when his presidential library is built, we will be so proud to visit there and tell anyone will listen about November 10th, 2009, the day we finally appreciated former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura.

Thank you for your service, Mr. President. We’re sorry we didn’t appreciate you while you were in office, but we thank Heaven we’ve wised up and can see the good you are out there doing, under the radar, today.

Emphasis is mine. So, how’s that for an eye-opening realization? Although I suspect Mr. Bush would be mortified knowing he’s on the same list as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, but we get the point.

Sat, 14 Nov 2009

Obama to Congress: Butt Out on Fort Hood

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits police Sgt. Munley in the hospital

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) want to launch Congressional investigations into Army and FBI failures regarding MAJ Nidal Malik Hasan’s views and contacts. MAJ Hasan has 13 charges of premeditated murder preferred against him, but Pres. Barack Obama asked Congress to hold off on investigations until the Army and FBI investigations are complete.

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead.

On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to “resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater.” He said those who died on the nation’s largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft.

“The stakes are far too high,” Obama said in a video and Internet address released by the White House while the president he was flying from Tokyo to Singapore, where Pacific Rim countries were meeting.

zippered lips

What’s Obama’s point? As I see it, there are two investigations needed. First, the forensic investigation by US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the FBI to see to it MAJ Hasan is charged with every crime he’s due. The other is the investigation into why “political correctness” allowed this tragedy to happen. Congress is the right body to investigate the PC issues, I think.

Hoekstra is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. He says the government knew about at least 10 to 20 email contacts between Hasan and a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen. Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA), leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, also wants to open an investigation.

Don’t get me wrong. Although I’ve pretty much convicted MAJ Hasan in my mind, I want him to be served with justice in the American tradition. I also know the US military has thousands of Muslims serving with honor. What’s at stake, however, is how many other Hasans are out there? Those situations need immediate action that can’t wait until MAJ Hasan’s case is settled.

Fri, 13 Nov 2009

Obama Just Dithering on Afghanistan

Taliban lay waste to Afghan countryside.

On his way to visit the Orient, President Barack Obama stopped off at Elmsdorf Air Force Base in Alaska. He told the crowd there:

I will never hesitate to use force to protect America.…

I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America’s vital interests. And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back. We’ll give you the strategy and clear mission you deserve….That is a promise that I make to you.

Karzai resists runoff election

Okay, so here’s where I’m confused. At his 8th Afghanistan strategy meeting since mid-September, Obama gave his planning team a redo. WTF? Ironically, Obama tossed out the four options presented to him on Veterans’ Day. It’s been 2 months since the request for 40,000 troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal. His boss, Gen. David Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates all endorsed McChrystal’s plan.

The Afghan war is in direct response to the 9-11 attacks. It is inextricably tied to our national security and the defense of Pakistan, a nuclear power. The resurgence of the Taliban only makes the region more volatile and critical. When California Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein says the mission is in serious jeopardy, you know you’re already behind the power curve.

Stryker destroyed by an IED

Iraq took the focus off Afghanistan and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fired Gen. Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army, for saying the US needed a lot more boots on the ground. Lo and behold, after toppling Saddam Hussein, civil order in Iraq disintegrated. It took a troop surge and 4 years to fix that fatal error. Along the way, though, we learned a lesson. Protecting the people works. On top of that, Gen. McChrystal was directly involved in Iraq operations during the surge. A similar move in Afghanistan will protect the people from the Taliban and make it harder for those who want to fight to join the Taliban. As security improves, there will be more trust for the government and, therefore, more willingness to be part of its Army and Police. Sounds like setting ourselves up for success, if you ask me.

Apparently we’ve not learned the lessons of Vietnman or Rumsfeld II since Obama doesn’t seem to be listening to his military experts. Not deciding what to do in Afghanistan shows a lack of leadership, a lack of a strategy, or a refusal to decide. There’s a growing feeling the latter is the case, considering every little upset adds weeks to the decision process. Since there aren’t enough troops in Afghanistan, and those that are there don’t have the right equipment, choosing not to decide would be criminal. It would be tantamount to failing to take action with MAJ Hasan’s warning signs.

Thu, 12 Nov 2009

Fort Hood Shooter Charged with 13 Murders

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Government, Justice, Legal, Military — cynicalsynapse @ 11:30 pm

MAJ Nidal Malik Hasan and his victims

A US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) spokesman announced “MAJ Nidal Malik Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in connection with last week’s shootings at Fort Hood,” said Chris Grey, a CID spokesman. Um, yeah. It sticks in my craw every time I read a news story on the shooting and they refer to Hasan as the “alledged” shooter. Ain’t no alleged about it! Ask 13 who are no longer with us.

There is no decision yet as to whether a 14th murder charge will be preferred for PV2 Francheska Valez’ unborn son, who also died in the shooting rampage. There may be additional charges relative to the 29 wounded personnel. Of those, 12 are still hospitalized; one remains in intensive care.

Hasan’s murder charges could bring him the death penality under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), but life in prison is more likely. Meanwhile, Pres. Barack Obama has ordered a review of intelligence on Hasan to determine if it was properly shared and acted upon. Chris Grey, with the Army’s CID, said “We are aggressively following every possible lead.”


Wed, 11 Nov 2009

Honoring the Fort Hood 13 and All Veterans

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Heroes, Military, Patriotism, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 6:33 pm

US flag at half-staff

President Barack Obama was at Fort Hood yesterday for a memorial service honoring the 13 killed in November 5th’s domestic Jihadist attack. The shooting spree also left 30 wounded, some in critical condition. Those who died are:

  • Mr. Michael Grant Cahill, 62, a civilian from Cameron Tx who was a physician’s assistant. He had a heart attack two weeks previously but had returned to work to assist Soldiers.
  • LTC Juanita Warman, 55, of Havre De Grace MD, was a physician’s assistant with two daughters and six grandchildren. She was deploying to Iraq in the near future.
  • MAJ L. Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge VA, a doctor of psychology who had taught children with learning disabilities as a civilian. He arrive at Fort Hood the day before the shooting and was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan</li
  • CPT Russell Seager, 51, of Racine WI, a psychiatrist who joing the Army a few years ago to help veterans returning to civilian life.
  • CPT John Gaffaney, 56, a psychiatric nurse from San Diego, who arrived at Fort Hood the day before the shooting to prepare for deployment to Iraq. Born in Williston ND, Gaffney had previously served in the US Navy and California National Guard.
  • SSG Justin M. DeCrow, 32, of Evans GA, was helping train Soldiers how to help veterans with paperwork. He’s survived by his wife and 13 year old daughter in Evans. They were waiting for DeCrow’s assignment to Fort Gordon GA.
  • SGT Amy Kruger, 29, of Kiel WI, joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks. She arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan in December. She had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden; her mother said she told her daughter she couldn’t do that by herself. Amy’s response? “Watch me.”
  • SPC Jason Dean Hunt, 22, Fredereick OH, joined the military after graduating Tipton High School in 2005. He’d gotten married just two months previously and had served 3-1/2 years in the Army, including a tour in Iraq.
  • SPC Frederick Greene, 29, of Moutain City TN, was a hard worker and a computer whiz. While growing up, he was active in his church.
  • PFC Michael Pearson, 21, of Bolingbrook IL, quit what he figured was a dead-end furniture job to join the military.
  • PFC Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul MN, was a father of three. Xiong’s father said, “The sad part is that he had been taught and trained to protect and to fight. Yet, it’s such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base.”
  • PV2 Francheska Velez, 21, of Chicago was pregnant and preparing to return home. She was fun-loving, wrote poetry, and enjoyed dancing. She returned from deployment to Iraq just 3 days before being killed. A friend, who had served briefly in the military, was in disbelief Velez was killed in the US.
  • PV2 Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, UT, a Salt Lake City suburb, joined the military instead ofgoing on a church mission.

The President’s remarks at the memorial service recognized each of these Warrior heroes for the ordinary citizens they are and the sacrifice they made for the country they loved. We can only hope the nation is grateful for their selfless service. While this is more apropos to Memorial Day, I can think of no better tribute to what it really means to be a veteran than these 12 Soldiers and a civilian dedicated to serving Soldiers.

Today is, after all, Veterans’ Day. Among us are those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Regardless of your political views, I emplore you to recognize the sacrifice and courage of our veterans. They don’t decide the wars—that’s a political decision—but they serve with honor and distinction every day. I, for one, am honored to stand in their presence and wear the uniform with them.


Mon, 09 Nov 2009

Democrats Out of Step; Pass Healthcare Bill in House

Filed under: Bailout, Budget, Citizen rights, Congress, Economy, Government, Medicine, Mental health, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 11:50 pm

US House passes healthcare bill

On November 7th, the US House narrowly passed their healthcare reform bill. The vote was 220 for and 215 against, largely along party lines. In fact, only one Republican, Joseph Cao (LA), voted for HR 3962, titled the Affordable Health Care for America Act. See how your representative voted in Roll Call 887. I can tell you, Michigan’s delegation voted strictly by party, Democrats for and Republicans against. How’s that for independent thinking and voicing the will of their constituents? At least 39 Democrats from other states voted their conscience.

I’m not convinced our healthcare system is the greatest on the planet; I know it has flaws. I also think every human being is entitled to basic health care and that society owes such to its members. But I’m not a proponent of so-called socialized medicine nor do I support mandated insurance. To be honest, I don’t have an answer as to how to reconcile my belief in universal access without the stipulations of the various healthcare reforms under consideration. I think, however, mandating coverage or penalizing individuals and/or businesses for not having such is not the answer. I’m also somewhat disturbed the by the emphasis on “get this done now.”

Advanced imaging system

Frankly, I don’t understand why we don’t look at fixing the issues with the current healthcare system. Once upon a time, every hospital wasn’t supposed to have the latest and greatest, but now they all do. And both Medicare and Medicaid are rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. There aren’t enough investigators to trim this bloodletting, but hiring more investigators has got to be cheaper than HR 3962.

The economics of the House bill are certainly questionable. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says the unfunded mandate on the private sector exceeds the $139 million cap established by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). So, how can Congress pass a bill that violates another law? I also question the Constitutionality of mandating everyone buy insurance. Constitutional lawyers seem to think it’s ok, however. They cite Congress’ authority under the commerce, taxing, or spending powers.

But, if this is such a good thing, why is it so definitively split among party lines? The House plan still won’t insure everyone, achieving 96% at best. Support for the bill in the Senate is questionable. Independent Joe Lieberman threatens to prevent the House bill from coming to a vote as long as it includes a so-called public option insurance plan.

So, how are Democrats out of step? Well, to begin with, HR 3962 was passed, barely, along party lines. Further, the 2009 election results show Obama’s charisma has faded from the minds of voters. On top of that, jobs seem to be a low priority for Democrats. Unemployment keeps creeping up even though President Obama and Congress threw $787 billion at creating or keeping jobs.

No new jobs. No economic revival. No tangible benefit to credible infrastructure from the so-called Stimulus. Has anyone actually read the bill? Democrats are out of step with the priorities of the nation. And since current government healthcare is riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse, why would anyone propose expanding such a program?


Sat, 07 Nov 2009

Why Do They Call Them “Service” Departments?

Filed under: Behavior, Business, Cars, Customer service, Life, Paradoxes, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 10:02 pm

An automotive service department

My 2005 sport utility turned over 170,000 miles today. Yesterday, it was at the dealer for the third time in a year. Last December, the driver side airbag sensor module needed replacement. In January, the passenger side airbag module went bad. The current problem is no heater fan.

This is my second vehicle from the same manufacturer, both bought new. I truly had no issues with the first vehicle, but have been less satisfied with the second. I attribute that largely to the dealership. For the current vehicle, I received a letter from the sales manager thanking me for choosing them, with a rubber stamp signature! What? When I called him on it, his response was “Do you know how many of these I have to sign every day?” Excuse me? If you can’t sign them personally, don’t send them. After that, I received a personally signed letter. Now you’re just patronizing me.

When the airbag light went on, I took the vehicle to the dealer. The “service advisor” bludgeoned me about preventive maintenance and whether or not I’d done what was in the book. She recommended services on a basis not consistent with the owner’s manual. Then, come to find out, they didn’t have the replacement part for the driver side airbag. So, they ordered the part, which I had to pay for then and there, and then they installed it when I came back the following week. They washed the vehicle after the first service, but not after the second. Do you only get one wash per problem?

No service

A month or so later, the airbag light was on again. As you might suspect, I was not a happy camper. When I scheduled the appointment, I told them to make sure they had the necessary parts on hand. Would you be surprised to learn they didn’t have the part? Well, they didn’t, but they were able to get it in and install it that day. Of course, it was almost closing time when I got my vehicle back.

Yesterday, I went to the dealer because I’ve got no heater fan blowing. That’s a problem in Michigan with winter approaching. Surprise! No heater control head on the shelf, but we can get one by Tuesday. Don’t they have anything on the shelf? Oh, and there’s a recall for driver side airbag module covers, which they’ll fix for free. Do you think maybe that might have been the issue with my first trip to the dealership? The heater control head will be in on Tuesday, so I’ve got to go back to the dealership to get the problem fixed. In fairness, the technician installed a jumper to bypass the short-circuit in the control head, but there’s no guarantee how long that will work.

Once the work was done today, the dealership sent the shuttle to pick me up from my house. That took a good 45 minutes even though it’s only about a 20 minute trip. Once at the dealership, I paid for the service performed and the part that’s on order, and was told the vehicle would be brought up shortly. Ten or 15 minutes later, I went in to ask the service advisor about my vehicle. She was on the phone and ignored me until my car was brought up and I started toward it. Then her response was there must have been a back up at the car wash. When I questioned this, she said policy is to not wash vehicles until the customer is present. Hello! Your shuttle is picking me up. Why not wash the car while I’m on the way so it’s ready when I get there? How come I have to wait an extra 15 minutes? “It’s policy to not wash the car until the customer is here.”

While they apparently had the driver side airbag cover recall part on hand, they’ve not had the part on hand for any of my last 3 visits to the dealership. So I have to buy the part for them to install it later and make another trip to the dealership to get the work finished. And they wonder why I’m not pleased with their “service”?

Update:

15 Nov 2009

I had intended to be at the dealership about 10 minutes before the service department opened on Friday. Unfortunately I didn’t set my alarm correctly, so I was about 20 minutes later than expected. They hadn’t been that busy the previous week, so I figured I’d be ok. On arrival, I was 4 cars back from the service advisers. Not a good sign. I steeled myself for a long wait.

Shortly, I got up to the service advisers. My adviser from last week bee-lined to my car, told me she’d take care of things, and offered coffee in the waiting room. She popped into the waiting room at least 3 times to give me an update. And I was out of there, including car wash, in under 45 minutes. Thanks for taking care of me this time!

Fri, 06 Nov 2009

Massacre at Fort Hood—The Enemy Within

Rescue workers evacuate a casualty

We mourn the killing of 12 Warriors and a civilian at Fort Hood, along with wounding 30 others. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, especially, and the entire Fort Hood community. On November 5th, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, went on a shooting spree which ended with his being wounded and captured.

Major Malik Nidal Hasan

As for motive, we don’t know yet. What has come out is Hasan has made pro-Islamist comments, including praising suicide bombers and being being happy about PFC William Long’s assassination at the North Little Rock, AR, recruiting station. He reportedly made condemned US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, argued with other Soldiers who supported them, and was trying to get out of deploying to Iraq later this month. Contrary to some reports, Hasan has always been a Muslim; he’s not a convert. He is reported to have Allahu Akbar—God is great—before opening fire. There are even reports law enforcement became aware of Hasan 6 months ago as a result of inflammatory Internet posts. With all that stacked up, the Fort Hood massacre is a case of domestic Jihad, pure and simple.

Permit me to digress and point out some of the other aspects that anger me about this. First, Hasan joined the Army for a free medical education. When you do that, you make a commitment to serve X years after becoming a doctor. If you are in the Army, you are going to deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kosovo, if not all three. Someone who doesn’t want to deploy should never have joined the Army. Since the Global War on Terror overseas contingency operations surpassed 8 years, Hasan knew what he was getting himself into. Second, military officers take a solemn oath of office. The oath is not a collection of mere words; I provide it here for your consideration:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

As for Hasan’s statements, both to individuals and on the Web, he was failing to support the Constitution and by trying to get out of his deployment, he was failing to defend the Constitution. He clearly did not bear truth faith and allegience. In fact, he demonstrates clear purpose of evasion to me by fraudulently stealing a medical education from the US Army while holding and expressing views clearly contrary to the policy of his government. Don’t get me wrong. He’s entitled to his opinion and he’s entitled to discuss politics and policy, but as an Army officer, his job is to carry out the policy his government tells him to. The Army has 7 values; Hasan failed to live up to any them:

  • Loyalty—nope, clearly not this one
  • Duty—gee, not this one either
  • Respect—afraid not
  • Selfless Service—obviously not
  • Honor—certainly not yesterday
  • Integrity—again, not at all
  • Personal Courage—questionable, but I think not

Fort Hood location

Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama was silent for 2 days after PFC Long’s murder in North Little Rock. The President didn’t wait to make a statement about the attack on America’s military at Fort Hood. Well, not too long, anyway. First, Obama gave a shout out and schmoozed his cronies. He doesn’t get to Fort Hood until 2:28. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!

I want to thank my Cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today. I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow (ph) was around, and so I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It’s good to see you.

By the way, about that Commander-in-Chief thing: how’s that strategy for Afghanistan coming? Two service members were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Two who failed to return from a resupply mission the previous day were confirmed drowned yesterday. So, November 5th saw the loss of 17 US citizens in “overseas contingency operations”, including the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Center, which isn’t really overseas last time I checked. How about do your damn job, Mr. President? You took an Oath, too.

Update:

08 Nov 2009

Pres. Bush visits a wounded Warrior in 2007

Former President George W. Bush visited Fort Hood’s wounded Soldiers with his wife, Laura, on Friday evening. During the November 6th visit, the Bushes also thanked the Darnell Army Medical Center staff for their excellent care for the wounded Soldiers.

The Bushes weren’t the first VIPs to show their concern and compasion for the wounded Soldiers and their families, however. The previous evening—the day of the shooting—Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw the hospitalized Soldiers and their families. Perry said he was humbled by the positive attitudes exhibited by those he talked with.

As for the sitting president? Obama went just up the street to Walter Reed to visit wounded Warriors on Friday. While he spent more time there than originally planned, the visit was previously scheduled and not in response to the Fort Hood massacre.

Hmmm. Two Republicans visit the victims of domestic Jihad. A Democrat keeps his regular schedule. Just sayin…

Wed, 04 Nov 2009

TWU Local 234 Thinks SEPTA is Wall Street or Something

Filed under: Behavior, Government, Politics, Transit, Unions — cynicalsynapse @ 7:03 pm

TWU members pass out picket signs

Not too long after the last Philadelphia World Series game finished, Transport Workers Union Local 234 went on strike. Picket lines went up at city transit division subway stations and bus terminals about 3 AM on November 3rd. This leaves some suburban Philly bus routes and the commuter rail lines running. The last time the union walked off the job was for 5 days in 2005.

Talks between the TWU local and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have been going on for some time. Without a contract, the TWU was threatening to strike. They kept their promise to wait until after the Series, however. TWU pickets went up at the 69th Street Terminal the morning of the 4th, essentially shutting down service on the non-striking suburban Victory Division lines.

Get back to work

The union has been working without a contract since spring. While I’m not a pro-union guy, I do support unions having contracts. I also believe in fairness to workers and management, union workplace or not. Since I went to Villanova University my freshman year and truly enjoyed Philly’s mass transit system, I have an interest in SEPTA. I took regular advantage of Philly’s transit system to get to New Jersey where the drinking age was 18 at the time. But that’s another story.

Like issues facing many unions in today’s economy, maybe SEPTA is asking for onerous concessions. Well, no, not really. SEPTA must want reduced pension costs then. No, no they don’t. So, what are the agregious contract terms union members find so burdensome, then? SEPTA is offering a mere 11% in pay increases and increased pension contributions of 11%, with no increase in members’ 1% health insurance premiums during the 4 year contract. On top of that, SEPTA offered a $1,200 signing bonus.

Fat cat unions

SEPTA’s offer is unacceptable, why? Well, because the union wants 4% pay raises every year along with a 33% increase in pension contributions. Sheesh! These guys make about $52,000 a year!

Even Pennsylvania’s Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D) tried to get the two sides to agree. Concerning SEPTA’s offer, he said, “Whose pension has been increased in this day and age?” Even Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter (D) thinks union demands are unreasonable. When Democratic politicians think the TWU is all ate up, they should take a look in the mirror. Those clowns should be happy they have jobs!

Just one question. Gov. Rendell says the contract with TWU Local 234 will be done with no increase in fares. So, where’s that 11% pay raise and 11% pension increase coming from? Why, it must be from taxes. Voters should wonder what tax increase is coming next. And then they can thank a transit worker.


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