Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Next up, New Years


Now that all the Christmas celebration is behind us, it is time to look forward to the next party on the horizon, New Years.

Shaking off the last of the tinsel and stocking the fridge with beer. I am looking forward to kissing 2006 goodbye once and for all.

I won't reminisce about the events of '06, because to do so would send us all into a pit of deep depression and I do not want to do that. Suffice it to say 06 sucked in every way except the election which was the most positive event of the entire year, thats not saying much, but it's all we have to rejoice in.

Lets hope the year 2007 brings us the luck of the number 7 because we need some luck after all the misery '06 wrought.

Some how we must regain control of the currently out of control Federal Government and their propensity to spend money we do not have on a war we do not want. That is the single objective that could return economic prosperity to our once thriving nation.

Right now we will be ringing in the New Year with thousands of people unable to pay their bills or simply feed their families, foreclosure rates are skyrocketing, people are dying right here in America because they feel they have lost their direction on the American way, suicide is up, violent crime is up, these are immediate things needing immediate attention. We cannot afford to have a losing war in a loser country right now, tighten up our borders here and fight the terrorists here, where we can see them more clearly out in the open, not over in some place you cannot tell terrorist from tailor.

There is a lot of work to be done in the year ahead and the leadership in DC is not up to the task. Sure we will have a Democratically controlled congress, but many of the old guard is still there and will be for years to come, we must keep the freedom ball rolling and not let it stop.

We must create our own luck.

11 comments:

O'Reilly said...

Some how we must regain control of the currently out of control Federal Government and their propensity to spend money we do not have on a war we do not want.

Yep.

Jeanne said...

The most positive thing this country can do now is look in a forward direction. If we do that things will fall into place. If we work on our energy needs in a progressive way we will be less dependent on foreign oil and will be creating jobs here at home.

If we look seriously at the health care crisis we will be dealing with a crisis not just for those without insurance but also the companies who can't afford the cost.

If we look at tax cuts we will be sending a very strong message to the rich in this country. Wealthy 20 year olds should not be living off their dividends. That's wrong.

We should be showing compassion toward others in the world rather than thinking of ways to steal their resources.

We should be diplomatic and accepting of all cultures and religions.

Who elected those a**holes in government anyway?

Carey said...

I always agree with Jeanne's optimism and much admire it. She holds dearly to it as she should.

You mention, Den, the lucky number seven. That is my lucky number for many personal reasons. I got straight A's during my college years while I lived in Apt. #7. I dated a sports figure whose lucky number was seven or 17. Oh, just all kinds of things. Let's just hope for the best.

As I read and ponder how the Democrats will respond to the utmost challenges at hand, I worry so. I realize and have realized in the past, that the only way to true reformation that would underpin all other reform is campaign finance law overhaul.

I am not a fan of New Years Eve. Never have been. Something about it urks me terribly. It strikes me as kind of a fake celebration, especially after such an important holiday as Christmas and the holy season. I did like the worldwide celebrations when the year turned 2000. Those were magnificent!!

I'm bringing the New Year in with a damn cat scan. Again I have health problems with pains on my left side. (Not heart-related). I have been through crap time and time again and I know all of you can relate. It just gets so tiresome.

Alan and all,

I meant to bring this up earlier and forgot. With the new blogspot stuff that happened, I believe, as of Nov. 10, I discovered no difficulty signing in by doing this: Go to the Google sign in down at the bottom before you do anything else, meaning writing your comment or switching to another circle like "other". Then, after you've signaled "yes" to traveling away from this site, click the Google "sign in" only, not any of the other crap. I believe that's the in the middle of the page. It will bring up your email address and ask for your password. Give it and it will automatically bring you back here all signed in.

Carey said...

I don't feel like it but I have to clear my phone land line now so that I can get their call to schedule the cat scan. They get so booked up.

Be back, maybe, depending on my son's whims (it's his computer--he never ceases to remind me) when I'm scheduled.

Gerald said...

jeanne and o'reilly are right. We must look forward and control and put an end to the government's spending for endless wars. We must not give into Hitler Bush's new way forward because his new way is the old way of resolving problems, such as mass murders and endless war crimes.

Micki said...

I agree with Jeanne that things can get better and that they will get better, at some time. I can't speak for Jeanne, but for me living in the absence of hope would be frightening. I'm not talking about optimism, which is sometimes silly sunniness. It's about hope. It's almost like the world convulsed in recent years with pessimism to see how much we could stand. We've found out that we can't stand much more.

I think we're going to move into a more hopeful time. Even when we recognize the tragedy around us, and around the world, but declare in our hearts the affirmation of life, we're being hopeful. When we decide we can make a difference, and make decisions to live a certain way, or do certain things, that's being hopeful.

Long live HOPE! Happy New Year!

Micki said...

Carey, I hope (there's that word!) your health greatly improves in the New Year. Seven is a lucky number! '07 could be the best year of your life so far! Good luck and good health to you!

Micki said...

Go to the Boston Globe for the rest of this story!

Military considers recruiting foreigners

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | December 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics -- including who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, including English proficiency. In the meantime, the Pentagon and immigration authorities have expanded a program that accelerates citizenship for legal residents who volunteer for the military.

And since Sept. 11, 2001, the number of imm igrants in uniform who have become US citizens has increased from 750 in 2001 to almost 4,600 last year, according to military statistics.

With severe manpower strains because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and a mandate to expand the overall size of the military -- the Pentagon is under pressure to consider a variety of proposals involving foreign recruits, according to a military affairs analyst.

"It works as a military idea and it works in the context of American immigration," said Thomas Donnelly , a military scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington and a leading proponent of recruiting more foreigners to serve in the military.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind on, the Pentagon has warned Congress and the White House that the military is stretched "to the breaking point."

Both President Bush and Robert M. Gates, his new defense secretary, have acknowledged that the total size of the military must be expanded to help alleviate the strain on ground troops, many of whom have been deployed repeatedly in combat theaters.

Bush said last week that he has ordered Gates to come up with a plan for the first significant increase in ground forces since the end of the Cold War. Democrats who are preparing to take control of Congress, meanwhile, promise to make increasing the size of the military one of their top legislative priorities in 2007.

"With today's demands placing such a high strain on our service members, it becomes more crucial than ever that we work to alleviate their burden," said Representative Ike Skelton , a Missouri Democrat who is set to chair the House Armed Services Committee, and who has been calling for a larger Army for more than a decade.

But it would take years and billions of dollars to recruit, train, and equip the 30,000 troops and 5,000 Marines the Pentagon says it needs. And military recruiters, fighting the perception that signing up means a ticket to Baghdad, have had to rely on financial incentives and lower standards to meet their quotas.

That has led Pentagon officials to consider casting a wider net for noncitizens who are already here, said Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty , an Army spokesman.

Already, the Army and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security have "made it easier for green-card holders who do enlist to get their citizenship," Hilferty said.

Other Army officials, who asked not to be identified, said personnel officials are working with Congress and other parts of the government to test the feasibility of going beyond US borders to recruit soldiers and Marines.

Currently, Pentagon policy stipulates that only immigrants legally residing in the United States are eligible to enlist. There are currently about 30,000 noncitizens who serve in the US armed forces, making up about 2 percent of the active-duty force, according to statistics from the military and the Council on Foreign Relations. About 100 noncitizens have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A recent change in US law, however, gave the Pentagon authority to bring immigrants to the United States if it determines it is vital to national security. So far, the Pentagon has not taken advantage of it, but the calls are growing to take use the new authority.

Indeed, some top military thinkers believe the United States should go as far as targeting foreigners in their native countries.

"It's a little dramatic," said Michael O'Hanlon , a military specialist at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution and another supporter of the proposal. "But if you don't get some new idea how to do this, we will not be able to achieve an increase" in the size of the armed forces.

"We have already done the standard things to recruit new soldiers, including using more recruiters and new advertising campaigns," O'Hanlon added.

O'Hanlon and others noted that the country has relied before on sizable numbers of noncitizens to serve in the military -- in the Revolutionary War, for example, German and French soldiers served alongside the colonists, and locals were recruited into US ranks to fight insurgents in the Philippines.

Other nations have recruited foreign citizens: In France, the famed Foreign Legion relies on about 8,000 noncitizens; Nepalese soldiers called Gurkhas have fought and died with British Army forces for two centuries; and the Swiss Guard, which protects the Vatican, consists of troops who hail from many nations.

"It is not without historical precedent," said Donnelly, author of a recent book titled "The Army We Need," which advocates for a larger military.

Still, to some military officials and civil rights groups, relying on large number of foreigners to serve in the military is offensive.

The Hispanic rights advocacy group National Council of La Raza has said the plan sends the wrong message that Americans themselves are not willing to sacrifice to defend their country. Officials have also raised concerns that immigrants would be disproportionately sent to the front lines as "cannon fodder" in any conflict.

Some within the Army privately express concern that a big push to recruit noncitizens would smack of "the decline of the American empire," as one Army official who asked not to be identified put it.

Officially, the military remains confident that it can meet recruiting goals -- no matter how large the military is increased -- without having to rely on foreigners.

"The Army can grow to whatever size the nation wants us to grow to," Hilferty said. "National defense is a national challenge, not the Army's challenge."

He pointed out that just 15 years ago, during the Gulf War, the Army had a total of about 730,000 active-duty soldiers, amounting to about one American in 350 who were serving in the active-duty Army.

"Today, with 300 million Americans and about 500,000 active-duty soldiers, only about one American in 600 is an active-duty soldier," he said. "America did then, and we do now, have an all-volunteer force, and I see no reason why America couldn't increase the number of Americans serving."

But Max Boot, a national security specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the number of noncitizens the armed forces have now is relatively small by historical standards.

"In the 19th century, when the foreign-born population of the United States was much higher, so was the percentage of foreigners serving in the military," Boot wrote in 2005.

"During the Civil War, at least 20 percent of Union soldiers were immigrants, and many of them had just stepped off the boat before donning a blue uniform. There were even entire units, like the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry [the Scandinavian Regiment] and General Louis Blenker's German Division, where English was hardly spoken."

"The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come," Boot added.

"No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period, in return for one of the world's most precious commodities -- US citizenship. Some might deride those who sign up as mercenaries, but these troops would have significantly different motives than the usual soldier of fortune."

Micki said...

oops. looks like I posted the entire thing.

Holy macaroni. What an idea.

Carey said...

Micki,

This is what I was referring to when I wrote that something had to change in the way the military recruits people. I mean, the way they think of recruiting. FOREIGNERS!!! This idea is just another version of mercenaries or having the working class do the dirty work or die for the rest of us. The only thing that matters is that we have enough bodies to conduct wars all around the globe to pursue imperialistic aims.

Thank you for HOPE. I was in a rush earlier as I wrote. You're right, it's "hope", not optimism, because, at this point, that's, as you wrote, just downright silly in the face of things.

I'm fairly sure, as I told Jeanne, that it is most likely nothing to worry about. I've had enough health crap for a while. So have the rest of some of us.

Something has been irking me. The way I spelled irk in one of my earlier posts. I had to rush, as I mentioned, and you know those words that you first spell incorrectly automatically and then, the next moment, realize, oh darn, it's one of those stupid words I always spell wrong. It bothered me all afternoon. It's not urk, it's irk you ninny!

I love it! Holy macaroni. I'm going to steal that. Shhh, don't tell her, but I frequently steal stuff from Micki.

Carey said...

This is one of the myriad of things I worry Dems will mishandle or inadvertantly find themselves painted into a corner over. Difficult paths, conundrums and hard-to-reach solutions lie ahead.


Surge, Reset, Escalate

Christopher Hayes


Say it: escalation. More and more that's what the geniuses in Washington have come up with as a way of ending the war in Iraq. Instead of calling it an escalation of the war, they are using the military term of art, "surge." Ok, fine. Surge, escalation, "reset", call it what you will. The fact is that the American people voted in November to end the war in Iraq, and the White House has demonstrated that, kabuki-style consultations to the contrary, it just doesn't care.

Let's take as a given that adding more troops is a horrible idea, both strategically and morally bankrupt. How do the Democrats stop it from happening? Under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in late 2002, the President has fairly wide latitude to prosecute the war. The new Democratic-controlled Congress has two main sticks to wield: oversight hearings and the power of the purse. There's a lot of skittishness on the part of Democrats to use their power of the purse, because Republicans could then spin it as the Democrats "cutting funding for the troops." Spencer Ackerman laid out just such a scenario recently, and I understand where he's coming from. The right was able to construct a myth in the years after the end of the Vietnam war that Democrats ended the war by refusing to fund it after 1974. While this wasn't really true, the funding was cut-off only after Nixon had signed the peace treaty, it created an enduring right-wing bugaboo, one that Republicans now threaten to wield as a cudgel if Democrats attempt to use their power of the purse to end the occupation.

So how about this: Early next year, the president is going have to submit an emergency appropriations bill to continue to fund the war. The Democrats should respond in two ways. First, if by the time the appropriations bill is submitted, the president is still discussing escalating the war, Democrats should come up with a counter offer: they will only approve enough funding for the current troops and not one more. Second, the funding should only be approved for the first 90 days, after which time the administration will have to report comprehensively to Congress on what progress has been made in bringing the war to a conclusion.

It's certainly not an ideal strategy, insofar as it essentially maintains the status quo, but in the in the near term, the first priority for the Democrats has to be to use their newfound ability to stop this war from escalating.