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6 Facts Highlight Why We Need to Rebuild Our Military

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This is from The Daily Signal.

After reading this article I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

I knew there were bad problems with our military but I never realized how bad the problems are.

The Air Force’s B-52 bombers are an average of 53 years old. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Reuters/Newscom)

The U.S. military seems to be breaking. Senior military leaders have made dire statements before Congress, and story after story is revealing the potentially deadly challenges facing our men and women in uniform.

As Congress considers the annual defense authorization bill, here are six clear, real-world examples of why Congress needs to use the defense bill to start rebuilding the U.S. military.

1. The Marine Corps is pulling parts off of museum planes to keep their F-18s flying. Even with that drastic action, only about 30 percent of their F-18s are ready to fly. Not only that, but instead of getting 25 or 30 hours a month in the cockpit, Marine Corps pilots are getting as little as four hours per month of flying time.

2. Only one-third of Army brigades are ready for combat. The Army has now fallen to the smallest level since before World War II, while the top Army general says that the Army would face “high military risk” if it were to fight a serious war.

3. The Air Force is cannibalizing parts from some F-16’s to keep other F-16’s flying and is pulling parts off museum planes to keep their B-1 bombers flying. And half of Air Force squadrons are not prepared for serious combat.

4. The Navy keeps extending deployments of its ships, but still doesn’t have enough to meet demand. While the Navy needs about 350 ships, today it only has 273.

5. Serious crashes of Marine Corps planes and helicopters arenearly double the 10-year average.

6. The Air Force’s B-52 bombers are an average of 53 years old. Most Americans would not want to drive across the country in a 53-year-old car (see example below), let alone go to combat in a 53-year-old airplane.

1963 Oldsmobile (Photo: David Chapman imageBROKER/Newscom)

1963 Oldsmobile (Photo: David Chapman image Broker/Newscom)

These six facts show the consequences of cutting the national defense budget by 25 percent over the last five years.

At the same time, threats are growing. Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatens more. China is building illegal islands. Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon and North Korea already has one. And we also face the real threat of terrorism and the growing threat of cyberattacks.

The bottom line is that Congress needs to start rebuilding the U.S. military. We can’t let this go much further.

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OBAMA’S MILITARY…. FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED

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Hat Tip Firebird@SHE’S RIGHT.

Eight years ago, America had THE FINEST military in the world. Our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps were the best there was.

Today…… not so much.
The U.S. military is shedding so many troops and weapons it is only “marginally able” to defend the nation and falls short of the Obama administration’s national security strategy, according to a report by The Heritage Foundation on Tuesday (2/24/15).  This article also states that our military can no longer fight two wars at once.http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/24/us-military-decimated-under-obama-only-marginally-/?page=all

That’s only the beginning.  As part of Obama’s promise to ‘fundamentally change America’, he has fundamentally changed the American military… and it will never be the same again.

Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) was the official United States policy for military service by gays and lesbians, instituted by the Clinton Administration on February 28, 1994.  This was the camel’s nose under the tent.

President Barack Obama on Friday [7/22/2011] certified the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the policy preventing gays from openly serving in the military.

“Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43859711/ns/us_news-life/t/obama-certifies-end-militarys-gay-ban/

Closets flew open and LGBT service members came out.  Cool.  We now have military officers and enlisted personnel who CAN BE OPENLY GAY throughout the ranks of the military. No problems with HIV/AIDS? Seems there is a wee issue with the spread of HIV in the rank and file ….No problems with morale, right?  Ummmmmmm….

An order came down the chain of command (NOT from the CinC) that anyone with HIV must disclose that to all sex partners.  Makes sense, right?  Seems those who disobeyed the order were being kicked out of the military.  But wait…. the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not cover this.  [As an aside, the UCMJ hasn’t kept up with the world – Congress, in conjunction with the military lawyers propose/pass laws for the military and the CinC signs off on them.  This is a bit behind the times – go figure.]

Gavin B. Atchak’s commanding officer at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina ordered him to avoid unprotected sex after Atchak tested positive for HIV in 2011.The officer also directed Atchak, an enlisted man in the Air Force security forces, to inform future sex partners that he carried the virus that can cause AIDS.Atchak disobeyed and engaged in unprotected oral and anal sex with fellow airmen. At a subsequent court-martial, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Then the ground shifted.Now Atchak and others, including a former South Carolina-based airman, are caught amid changing times, as military prosecutors and defense lawyers alike sort through the evolving legal guidelines applicable to sexual activity among HIV-positive troops.While some 34 states have adopted criminal laws related to exposure to HIV, Congress has not done the same for the Uniform Code of Military Justice.Read more on this at the link below.  It’s an interesting analysis of current HIV laws in the military and in the civilian world.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/crime/article57147868.html

And lest we forget….

PFC Bradley Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years in prison for giving hundreds of thousands of secret documents to Wikileaks.  This CONVICTED leaker of security intel, now known as Chelsea Manning, has begun a physical transition from male to female at Fort Leavenworth prison. Authorities say it is ‘medically appropriate and necessary.’ Manning is the first Army member to receive hormone therapy at the military’s expense.

Help me with this.  Manning – a traitor – is getting sex change therapy IN LEAVENWORTH???  Something he could not begin to afford if he had gotten an honorable discharge???  I only have one comment on this.  WHAT THE F**K!!!!  A traitor……. Is getting sex change therapy – IN A MILITARY PRISON????  AT GOVERNMENT (a/k/a taxpayers’) EXPENSE.  This is President Obama’s military…… fundamentally changed.

Bradley…………………………… or Chelsea Manning

Moving right along…

Women have been in the military for many years.  They are capable and if they can meet the qualifications, there is no reason they should NOT be in the military.  But in my mind – women have absolutely no business in a combat role.  They are NOT capable of matching the strength and endurance of a man.  A 125 pound woman no matter what great shape she is in, is physically INCAPABLE of dragging her 225 pound fellow combatant out of harms’ way.  There is no shame in that – they just do not have the strength.

The CinC decided women could become Army rangers, and 20 were accepted into the ranger course at Ft. Benning, GA.  Two graduated… but they were NOT treated like their male counterparts.  Males going through ranger school are allowed ONE shot at repeating a phase.  For instance, if they are injured in one of the phases, they will be given ONE re-do. The women were allowed multiple repeats during the course because there was an unspoken ‘MANDATE’ that A WOMAN WOULD GRADUATE AND WOULD GET THE COVETED RANGER TAB.  Check this off the to-do list, Mr. President.

http://www.people.com/article/female-ranger-school-graduation-planned-advance

Below is a recent example of a woman in a combat role.  Less than a month ago, 10 American Navy personnel (one was a woman) were taken hostage by the Iranians.  These nine honorable men are protecting that woman – see where she is in the picture below…. she’s in the corner and they are all between her and the enemy.  Honorable?  Protecting the woman?  YUP….A distraction in a crisis?  For sure!

Troop morale….. is it a problem?  It is.  But surprisingly, it’s not about salaries or deployments.  It’s because of the senior leadership, who has apparently lost the confidence and support of those of lower rank.  In his newly released book ‘A Passion for Leadership’, former SecDef Robert Gates opines that President Obama does not listen to the advice of his MILITARY leaders, but listens only to the advisers he has surrounded himself who are completely, totally CLUELESS about the ways of all things military.  Gates says all of Obama’s MILITARY decisions are based on POLITICS.

[Ed. Note:  In my opinion Obama is the biggest cause of poor morale in the military and for those who have LEFT the military because of how his administration has done NOTHING to improve the plight of service men and women by perpetuating the joke that is the VA system!  And it IS a joke!]

http://taskandpurpose.com/real-reason-poor-state-military-morale/

Anyway…

CONCLUSION:  The greatest fighting force in the history of the world… has become a disgusting social experiment.  And the Commander-in-Chief is smiling at THIS ‘fundamental change’ of something that was (past tense) truly representative of what this country stood for.

Report: Pentagon to destroy $1B in ammunition

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This is from USA Today.

One more example of  how big of a cluster truck the Pentagon is.

Why no instead of  destroy the ammo just keep it for the troops?

Or better yet put it  for sale to the public?

 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to destroy more than $1 billion worth of ammunition although some of those bullets and missiles could still be used by troops, according to the Pentagon and congressional sources.

It’s impossible to know what portion of the arsenal slated for destruction — valued at $1.2 billion by the Pentagon — remains viable because the Defense Department’s inventory systems can’t share data effectively, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY.

The result: potential waste of unknown value.

There is a huge opportunity to save millions, if not billions of dollars if the (Pentagon) can make some common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets. This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report clearly shows that our military’s antiquated systems lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases.”

The Army and Pentagon, in a statement, acknowledged “the need to automate the process” and will make it a priority in future budgets. In all, the Pentagon manages a stockpile of conventional ammunition worth $70 billion.

The effect of inaccurate accounting of ammunition for troops at war was outside the scope of the study. However, there were limited supplies at times of .50-caliber machine gun and 9mm handgun ammunition at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a senior military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about the issue.

“We simply cannot afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness,” Carper said. “The (Pentagon) has a responsibility to efficiently manage its ammunition stocks, not only because it is important to be fiscally responsible, but also because our antiquated ammunition inventory systems can shortchange our war fighters and compromise their ability to complete their mission.”

Other key findings from the report:

• The services have inventory systems for ammunition that cannot share data directly despite working for decades to develop a single database. Only the Army uses the standard Pentagon format; “the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps operate with formats that are obsolete.”

• The services hold an annual conference to share information about surplus ammunition and swap bullets and other munitions as needed. Data about ammunition left over after the meeting disappears from the books, resulting in an unknown amount of good bullets headed to the scrap heap.

• The Army, although required by regulation, had not reported annually on its missile stockpile until last month, shortly before the GAO study was to be released.

The report illustrates the obsolete nature of the Pentagon’s inventory systems for ammunition. A request for ammunition from the Marine Corps, for example, is e-mailed to the Army. The e-mail is printed out and manually retyped into the Army system because the services cannot share data directly. Not only is this time consuming, but it can introduce errors — by an incorrect keystroke, for example.

Waste, buying new ammunition while usable stockpiles exist, can occur “because the Army does not report information on all available and usable items,” the report states. The annual conference among the services — although it saves about $70 million per year, according to the Pentagon — is inadequate. The services, in fiscal year 2012, exchanged 44 million items, including 32 million bullets for machine guns and pistols.

“Specifically, the Army’s report does not include information from prior years about usable ammunition that was unclaimed by another service and stored for potential foreign military sales or slated for potential disposal,” the report says.

Missiles are another source for concern, the report notes. The Army has an inventory of missiles, including Stingers, Javelins and Hellfires, that has totaled more than $14 billion in recent years. Hellfire missiles have been a weapon of choice for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the CIA-run Predator and Reaper drone missions to kill terrorists in places like Yemen.

The GAO found that the Army and its missile command “do not contribute to required annual report.” The reason, Army officials told investigators, is that it “rarely has items to offer for redistribution.”

Without its cooperation, the Army “risks others services spending additional funds to procure missiles that are already unused and usable in the Army’s stockpile.”

The Army, in a statement, said that it began offering that information to the other services last month.

In its recommendations, the GAO urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to require the Army to make known information on all available for use by all services.

 

Air Force Homosexuals Go After Christians

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This is from Godfather Politics.

The rights of Christians in the military are being trampled on by

homosexuals and Muslims.

Soon they only people left in the military will be homosexuals and Muslims.

I do not see either group being very willing to defend America.

 

The acceptance of open homosexuals in the military is increasingly having the effect that many conservatives anticipated, as Christians and anyone who opposes homosexual “marriage” are finding that they are being punished for their views.

A group of airmen from Lackland Air Force Base recently attended a packed meeting at Village Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio, where they expressed concerns about a rise in intimidation and persecution from homosexual commanders and their supporters, according to Fox News.

Pastor Steve Branson heard from at least 80 airmen about religious persecution going on at Lackland.

“There is an atmosphere of intimidation at Lackland Air Force Base,” Branson said. “Gay commanders and officers are pushing their agenda on the airmen. There is a culture of fear in the military and it’s gone to a new level with the issue of homosexuality.”

One of the meeting’s attendees was Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, who claims he was relieved of duty after refusing his commander’s order to say he supported homosexual marriage.

After filing a religious discrimination complaint against the Air Force, Monk was accused of making false statements and is now facing a possible court martial.

According to Branson, other airmen have told him they are afraid to speak out publicly because of what is happening to Monk.

Branson relates the story of one airman who was told that even thinking homosexuality is a sin is discrimination: “A commander told him, ‘Don’t you understand discrimination – that your thought process is discrimination?’ The commander actually pulled up the definition of discrimination on Wikipedia and read it to him in front of everyone so he would understand what it was.”

The parent of an airman at the meeting said that the 19-year-old was asked during basic training what religion he was. When the young airman said “Christian,” he was required to retake basic training.

 

One airman claimed he was written up for having his Bible out, while a nearby Muslim airman had out a prayer rug.

Branson said a colonel told him that officers are being ordered to publicly affirm support for homosexuality and being Mirandized if they don’t.

The Obama Administration has been an enemy of Bible-believing Christians since it came into office, issuing warnings through the Department of Homeland Security about the potential terrorist threat of conservatives. Obama himself, before he was elected, revealed his contempt when he complained about people “bitterly clinging to their guns and Bibles.”

The persecution of Christians in the Air Force and other branches of the military should serve as a warning. If the Administration goes after religious rights in the military, it will go after yours as well, as has been borne out repeatedly.

The state of affairs in the Air Force should be regarded as foreshadowing.

There is a purge going on. Historically, governments have purged bureaucracies and militaries of undesirables in order to create weapons to use against their own people.

The current effort is aimed at controlling, breaking the spirit of and, if necessary, expelling those with a moral conscience. The only goal can be to create a military that won’t care if it is ordered to engage in unethical behavior.

We don’t have to look very far for actual examples of how such “ethically refined” armies have been used. Take your pick: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, Vietnam, Iran, etc.

There is no good purpose that can come of this military purge, and frankly none is intended.

Read more: http://godfatherpolitics.com/12729/air-force-homosexuals-go-christians/#ixzz2ghhBJiJM
Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/12729/air-force-homosexuals-go-christians/#JT6C0h2TXmRA2w8A.99

 

Air Force Removes Video that Mentions God

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This is by Todd Starnes On Fox News Radio.

 Would it be alright if this video mentioned the spawn

of Satan aka mohammed?

I bet it would be fine.

In the video you could substitute Sergeant Majors for 

the Marine Corps or Army .

You could even apply this to the Navy’s

Master Chief Petty Officer.

Old NFO please feel free to correct me about the Navy.

The Pentagon directed an Air Force Base to remove a video tribute to First Sergeants because it mentioned the word ‘God’ and might be offensive to atheists or Muslims, Fox News has learned.

FOLLOW TODD ON FACEBOOK FOR CULTURE WAR NEWS. CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

The tribute was created by a chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The chaplain wrote a poem titled, “God Created A First Sergeant.” It was later adapted into a video with a narration. First Sergeants are senior non-commissioned officers who look after enlisted members.

The video was modeled after the Dodge Ram Super Bowl commercial titled, “God Created A Farmer.”

“On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen,’” the tribute read. “So God created a First Sergeant.”

Chaplain leadership at the base signed off on the project as well as other base officials and earlier this week the video was posted on YouTube. But it was soon taken down after other officers objected.

“Proliferation of religion is not allowed in the Air Force or military,” wrote the chief of the Air Force News Service Division in an email obtained by Fox News. “How would an Agnostic, Atheist or Muslim serving in the military take this video?”

“I would not recommend using this at all,” the chief wrote.

He also took issue with the wording of the video, according to the emails.

“The choice of ‘On the Eighth day’ verbiage to begin this video is highly suggestive from the book of Genesis in the Bible and has Christian overtones,” he wrote.

An Air Force spokesperson told Fox News the video was removed for a legal review.

“The Air Force removed the ‘God Created a First Sergeant’ video from the official Joint Base McGuire Dix YouTube site to evaluate whether it is consistent with official Air Force guidance, to include whether it meets official guidance governing religious neutrality in the Air Force as prescribed in Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Culture,” spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement.

A source with knowledge of the incident told Fox News that the video was made to simply honor First Sergeants. The chaplain had written the poem several months ago and it was recently turned into a multimedia presentation.

The decision to censor the video comes less than a week after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation ordered the Air Force to remove an inspirational painting from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

The painting included a reference to a Bible verse in the Gospel of Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

The Air Force complied with those demands and less than one hour after MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein filed the complaint, the painting was removed.

An Airman who reached out to Fox News said Air Force leadership is “hypersensitive to anyone who says they feel like their rights are being violated.”

“It’s extremely frustrating,” the Airman said. “The Air Force is living in fear of Mikey Weinstein.”

The Airman, who asked not to be identified because he feared being disciplined, said many people are furious over the censorship of the chaplain’s video.

“If our chaplains cannot speak the name of God, let alone Christ, why have them?” he asked. “I’ve towed the company line for years but this has pushed me too far to sit quietly while personal liberties are trampled upon.”

The Airman said in recent months they have been reminded that they cannot proselytize and they cannot share their faith on the installation.

“We are strongly discouraged from having any kind of Christian items on our desks or in our offices,” he said.

Watch the censored video:

 

AF removes RPA airstrike number from summary

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This is from Air Force Times.

What is being covered up?

Who ordered the information erased?

Like I needed to ask.

 

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Afghanistan.

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Afghanistan.

As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.

Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”

The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.

 

Additionally, monthly reports hosted on the Air Force website have had the RPA data removed — and recently.

Those files still contained the RPA data as of Feb. 16, according to archived web pages accessed via Archive.org. Metadata included in the new, RPA-less versions of the reports show the files were all created Feb. 22.

Defense Department spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks said the department was not involved in the decision to remove the statistics. AFCENT did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The data removal coincided with increased scrutiny on RPA policy caused by President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. Brennan faced opposition in the Senate over the use of RPAs and his defense of their legality in his role as Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

On Feb. 20, two days before the metadata indicates the scrubbed files were created, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sent a letter to Brennan saying that he would filibuster the nomination over concerns about using RPA strikes inside the U.S., a threat he carried out for over 12 hours on March 6 (Brennan was confirmed the next day).

That same day, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told a crowd in South Carolina that strikes by American RPAs have killed 4,700 people.

“Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaida,” Graham was quoted by the Patch website as saying.

 

 

Michelle’s Last Four Years – Lest We Forget

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This is from Poltiti Chicks.

Moochelle has traveled and lived like Marie Antoinette.

Moochelle thinks Air Force one is he personal plane for travel.

She thinks the taxpayers must supply unlimited cash. 

The last Aspen vacation info is interesting. To give you an Idea how hard people had to work to get all this information here is just one example:

Judicial Watch elaborates:

-The total cost for the Aspen ski vacation was at least $83,182.99.
-The bill for the U.S. Secret Service, including accommodations at the Fasching Haus deluxe condominium and the Inn at Aspen, was $48,950.38.
-The cost for the flight, per official DOD published hourly rates, was $22,583.70. Food and miscellaneous on-flight items cost $235.44. The cost for rental cars totaled $6,442.23.
Key details, including flight records for the Secret Service detail and the names of individuals who accompanied Mrs. Obama on the vacation, were redacted from the documents with the exception of two staffers. One was Meredith Koop, her personal assistant and style advisor, the other was her scheduler Kristen Jarvis.
“No wonder we had to file a lawsuit in federal court and wait six months to get basic information on Michelle Obama’s luxury Aspen vacation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“The costs of the Obama family ski weekend are staggering. These high-priced luxury vacations, and the lack of transparency about them, are beginning to seem like an abuse of office.””

GIRLS’ TRIP TO SPAIN: AUGUST 2010
The exact cost is unclear as Mrs Obama and her 40 friends footed many personal expenses, such as hotels and meals themselves.
But the U.S. taxpayer would have paid for the First Lady’s 68-strong security detail, personal staff, and use of presidential jet Air Force Two.
Per diems for the secret service team runs at around $281 each – nearly $98,000 for the length of the summer break.
Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at $149,900 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.
Mrs Obama’s personal staff, of which there are an unknown amount and might cost considerably more per day, should also be taken into account.
CHRISTMAS BREAK IN HAWAII: DECEMBER 2010
According to the Hawaii Reporter, the bill for the $1.5m trip included:
$63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the President.
$1,000,000 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One.
$38,000 for the ‘Winter White House’ beach property rental.
$16,000 to rent nearby homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals.
$134,000 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel.
$251,000 in police overtime.
$10,000 for an ambulance to be on hand at all times
SKI TRIP TO VAIL: FEBRUARY 2011
Mrs Obama and her daughters stayed at the Sebastian hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms cost more than $2,400 for multi-bedroom suites.
The family appear to have flown there on Air Force Two.
They were escorted to the resort by a motorcade of about a dozen vehicles, including 15 state and local law enforcement officers
SUMMER HOLIDAY ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD: AUGUST 2011
The Blue Heron Farm estate, where the Obama family are currently staying, rents for about $50,000 a week.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Coast Guard is required to keep ships floating near the property, the presidential helicopter and jet remain at the ready and security agents will be on 24-hour duty.

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029615/Michelle-Obama-accused-spendi…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029615/Michelle-Obama-accused-spendi…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103173/Just-weeks-17-day-Hawaii-holi…

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/08/12/michelle-obama-spent-42-days-vaca…

Read more: http://politichicks.tv/column/michelles-last-four-years-lest-we-forget/#ixzz2AkGYUFvX

Air Force dumped ashes of more troops’ remains in Va. landfill than acknowledged

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The article below is from the Washington Post.
I am outraged beyond words!
The SOB that approved this plan should be hung by his thumbs.
Our military personnel deserve better.
They should have been buried with respect and dignity

The Air Force dumped the incinerated partial remains of at least 274 American troops in a Virginia landfill, far more than the military had acknowledged, before halting the secretive practice three years ago, records show.
The landfill dumping was concealed from families who had authorized the military to dispose of the remains in a dignified and respectful manner, Air Force officials said. There are no plans, they said, to alert those families now.
The Air Force had maintained that it could not estimate how many troops might have had their remains sent to a landfill. The practice was revealed last month by The Washington Post, which was able to document a single case of a soldier whose partial remains were sent to the King George County landfill in Virginia. The new data, for the first time, show the scope of what has become an embarrassing episode for vaunted Dover Air Base, the main port of entry for America’s war dead.
The landfill disposals were never formally authorized under military policies or regulations. They also were not disclosed to senior Pentagon officials who conducted a high-level review of cremation policies at the Dover mortuary in 2008, records show.
Air Force and Pentagon officials said last month that determining how many remains went to the landfill would require searching through the records of more than 6,300 troops whose remains have passed through the mortuary since 2001.
“It would require a massive effort and time to recall records and research individually,” Jo Ann Rooney, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel, wrote in a Nov. 22 letter to Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.).
Holt, who has pressed the Pentagon for answers on behalf of a constituent whose husband was killed in Iraq, accused the Air Force and Defense Department of hiding the truth.
“What the hell?” Holt said in a phone interview. “We spent millions, tens of millions, to find any trace of soldiers killed, and they’re concerned about a ‘massive’ effort to go back and pull out the files and find out how many soldiers were disrespected this way?” He added: “They just don’t want to ask questions or look very hard.”
Senior Air Force leaders said there was no intent to deceive. “Absolutely not,” said Lt. Gen. Darrell D. Jones, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for personnel.
This week, after The Post pressed for information contained in the Dover mortuary’s electronic database, the Air Force produced a tally based on those records. It showed that 976 fragments from 274 military personnel were cremated, incinerated and taken to the landfill between 2004 and 2008.
An additional group of 1,762 unidentified remains were collected from the battlefield and disposed of in the same manner, the Air Force said. Those fragments could not undergo DNA testing because they had been badly burned or damaged in explosions. The total number of incinerated fragments dumped in the landfill exceeded 2,700.
A separate federal investigation of the mortuary last month, prompted by whistleblower complaints, uncovered “gross mismanagement” and documented how body parts recovered from bomb blasts stacked up in the morgue’s coolers for months or years before they were identified and disposed of.
The problems also transpired at a time when the mortuary was shielded from public scrutiny. News coverage of the return of fallen troops to Dover was banned by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 before the first Persian Gulf War. The ban remained until April 2009, when the Obama administration lifted it.
The Air Force said it first cremated the remains and then included those ashes in larger loads of mortuary medical waste that were burned in an incinerator and taken to a landfill. Incinerating medical waste is a common disposal practice but including cremated human ashes is not, according to funeral home directors, regulators and waste haulers.
Air Force officials said they do not know when the landfill disposals began. They said their first record of it is Feb. 23, 2004. The mortuary database became operational in late 2003.
The Air Force said mortuary leaders decided to end the practice in May 2008 because “there was a better way to do it,” Jones said. The military now cremates unclaimed and unidentified body parts and buries the ashes at sea.
Jones said the Air Force did not need to inform relatives of troops whose remains ended up in the landfill because they had signed forms stipulating that they did not wish to be notified if additional remains were identified. The forms authorized the military to make “appropriate disposition” of those subsequent remains.
Asked if the landfill was a dignified final resting place, Jones said: “The way we’re doing it today is much better.”
Gari-Lynn Smith, the widow of an Army sergeant killed in Iraq, said she received an e-mail in July from Trevor Dean, the mortuary director, saying that incinerated remains had been taken to landfills at least since he began working at Dover in 1996. Dean is one of the officials facing discipline for his role in the reported mismanagement at the mortuary.
Smith’s husband, Sgt. 1st Class Scott R. Smith, a member of a bomb-disposal unit, was killed on July 17, 2006. In 2007, she began asking the military what happened to some of his remains that were identified after his funeral.
After four years of letters, phone calls and records requests, she received a letter from the mortuary in April stating that the military cremated and incinerated those partial remains and disposed of them in the King George landfill.
“I hope this information brings some comfort to you during your time of loss,” read the letter, signed by Dean.
Smith was infuriated. “They have known that they were doing something disgusting, and they were doing everything they could to keep it from us,” she said in a phone interview.
In May 2008, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered a detailed review of policies at Dover after an Army officer complained that the mortuary had cremated a fallen comrade at a nearby funeral home that also cremated pets in a separate chamber.
The review team ordered changes, emphasizing the need to ensure the highest levels of dignity and honor.
The Pentagon would not release the report, which was overseen by David Chu, who was undersecretary of defense for personnel. A copy obtained by The Post, however, shows that the landfill disposal practice was never reviewed or mentioned. Chu, now president of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, declined to comment.
Private contractors hired by the Air Force to handle the remains’ incineration and disposal of the residue said they were unaware that they were transporting the ashes of dead troops. Records show that the Air Force hired the contractors to dispose of medical waste and did not specify that cremated body parts were included.
MedTrace Inc. of North East, Md., had Air Force disposal contracts between 2004 and 2007, records show. Don Holland, a manager for the company, said his employees picked up boxes of sealed containers from the Dover mortuary.
“They were certified as medical waste that had been properly treated — that’s it,” Holland said. “We don’t go looking at what’s in there. It’s sealed.”
MedTrace took the items to an incinerator in Baltimore, according to state records in Delaware, where the mortuary is located. Holland declined to discuss the incineration and which landfill his company used.
Lisa Kardell, a spokeswoman for Waste Management, which operates the King George landfill, said the firm has no record of a contract with MedTrace for the years 2003 through 2008.
She said that Air Force officials have not returned calls over the past two weeks from her company’s attorneys, asking which haulers would have been handling the Dover materials and the disposition of the ashes.
“Obviously, we would be opposed to taking cremated remains of our servicemen and servicewomen and putting them in our landfill,” Kardell said. “But it sounds like a lot of us were pulled in unknowingly to this unfortunate situation with the Air Force,” she added.
“It’s a moral thing,” said Jeff Jenkins, the manager of the King George landfill. “Someone killed overseas fighting for our country, I wouldn’t want them buried — any part of them — in the landfill.”

 

 

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