May 11, 2012

Exposed Units Lead to Soldier Deaths

Chinook helicopter above Combat Outpost Keatin...

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A U.S. military probe into the deaths of eight American soldiers that died during an attack in northeastern Afghanistan concluded that the deaths could have been prevented if commanding officers had heeded warnings and not left the troops exposed. In addition to the eight deaths, 22 of the other 45 soldiers stationed at the remote outpost of Combat Outpost Keating were injured in the attack when more than 200 Afghan insurgents advanced on the vulnerable troops with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and guns in October 2009.

It took more than 18 months for U.S. Central Command to complete the investigation report, which recommended that four officers - a captain, a major, a lieutenant colonel, and a colonel – be punished with official letters of admonition or reprimand for their part in putting soldiers from B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry in a “tactically indefensible position” with an “unclear mission.” The names of the officers were rescinded in a public copy of the investigation report.

According to survivors, many of the Afghan soldiers that were stationed at Combat Outpost Keating with American troops ran or hid during the attacks, which may have led to an worse loss. Other contributions to the attack included too few soldiers stationed at the outpost and the lack of barriers and other defenses built there. The outpost had been scheduled to close previously.

The eight soldiers who died in the attack were: Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson, Spc. Michael P. Scusa, Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, Spc. Stephen L. Mace, Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk and Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt.

Pentagon Papers Finally Released

A U.S. riverboat deploying napalm during the V...

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Forty years after a leak brought parts of the Pentagon Papers to light in the New York Times, the papers, officially called “United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense,” were declassified and released by the National Archives in June 2011. At the time they were leaked, the Pentagon Papers became a catalyst for both general knowledge of U.S. political and military involvement in the Vietnam War and a coup in the legal matter of burden of proof for prior injunction.

The Pentagon Papers showed that the Johnson administration, the Kennedy administration and even prior administrations had been involved in escalating the conflict in Vietnam without alerting the U.S. Congress, the American public or even U.S. military allies.

While many of the secret details that are within the papers are already known because of the eventual publication by dozens of newspapers of the most interesting details, the release of the 7,000 page document is historic because of both the legal and cultural ramifications the original leak and subsequent attempt to stop the press from publishing it had on the American landscape. A little more than 30 percent of the report was never published or released anywhere else but can be read now.

The Pentagon Papers leak back in 1971 was considered the Wikileaks of its time. Daniel Ellsberg, a private foreign policy analyst, had copied pages of the report that he removed from a safe each night and then replaced in the mornings until he had enough to hand over to the New York Times. Now everyone has access to the papers.



The Vietnam War


ASVG-S-1031-65/AGA68 RVN Saigon Viet Cong dead... 

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The US has been involved in several wars since its formation. Every war has its impact on the social, economic and political make up of the country. Most of the time, the repercussions of the wars were directly correlation to the power that the opposition held. However, the Vietnam War was different. Although fought against a relatively underdeveloped nation, the war cost America dearly in both, monetary terms as well as the number of lives lost.


The Vietnam War was the result of America’s support for South Vietnam and it’s so called socialist government against the communist government of North Vietnam. The South Vietnamese government, however, was corrupt and dealt with the common public with tyrannical methods. Hence, the general public of South Vietnam supported the North in what they considered was an American War against their homeland.


Fought between 1957 and 1975, the war was expected to be a one sided affair. The South Vietnamese government was supported by the well armed American troops. Although the North Vietnam troops were aided by Chinese intelligence and weapons, they mainly fought a guerilla war. This is where America lost the war. Battles were fought in forested terrain not known to American soldiers. Even though techniques such a Napalm bombing was used by US forces, it resulted in too many civilian deaths when compared to military casualties.


The US administration faced several public protests at home as questions were raised about the motive behind the war with millions believing that the war was an unnecessary interference in foreign affairs. After America lost the war, even the veterans returning home didn’t receive a hero’s welcome until much later.


Dealing with Unfair Treatment from the Law

Did you know that child abuse wasn’t even recognized, or at least accepted as possible, until the early 1960′s? Children who were victims before that were not believed. They often ran away, only to be sent back to the abusive home.

History of Child Abuse

In America, the first court case of child abuse was in 1874 when a girl, Mary Ellen, was found shackled to her bed, malnourished and beaten. The courts refused to do anything until the ASPCA argued that Mary Ellen was a member of the animal kingdom and therefore had the same rights to protection as dogs and other animals. She won this case and was placed in foster care.

Early Years of Recognized Abuse

Although Mary Ellen was rescued, it was not until the early 1960′s that physical abuse was really taken seriously and prosecuted. It still took quite a bit to get a case to court. Children were killed before the parent was prosecuted. Sexual and emotional abuse took even longer to reach the courts.

Child Abuse Today

In today’s world, in America especially, child abuse is seen differently. Cases of neglect, sexual abuse and even emotional abuse are tried openly. The need for civil attorneys is increasing as more cases are recognized and handled. One of the problems, however, is when you find yourself on the other side with a wrongful accusation. Children have been taken away because of a vindictive spouse or spouse’s family. The state has removed children, causing emotional harm because of wrongful accusations. Some have been convicted for life on false evidence. Good representation is essential when dealing with unfair treatment from the law.


Events That Led to The Vietnam War



Ho Chi Minh portrait in c. 1946. This is a gif... 

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Vietnam was controlled by the French during the pre-World War II era. After the French were defeated in 1940 by the Germans, they formed a coalition with Japan to rule colonies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. However, the Viet Minh was formed in 1941 to seek independence from France and later took up the same cause against the Japanese. They were supported in this struggle by America and China who wanted to alleviate the region from the control of the Axis Powers. Japan assumed full control in 1945.


This was followed by a period of extreme famine caused by natural conditions as well as gross exploitation at the hands of the Japanese administration. Over 1 million of the 10 million Vietnamese population died of starvation between 1944 – 1945. The Viet Minh’s popularity and its numbers grew. The Ho Chi Minh led group attained freedom for Vietnam on 2nd September 1945 and this was supported by the Japanese.


The Allied powers, US, UK and the Soviet Union agreed that the region should be under French control. The ousted Viet Minh began a guerilla war and were strengthened with weapons in 1949 by China. The US government, convinced of that the region was at the center of a communist expansion, began aiding French Vietnamese soldiers.


By 1954, the United States had supplied 300,000 small arms, spent US$1 billion and was shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war. The French eventually lost and Vietnam was granted independence in 1954. However, Vietnam was temporarily divided as North Vietnam (Communist) and South Vietnam (Anti-communist) with elections to form a unified government to be held in 1956.


Consequences of the Vietnam War


Original caption: Twentieth Century  

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The Vietnam War lasted for 30 years and had dire consequences for both, America as well as Vietnam. However, these consequences where not short lived. Some had long lasting effects on the society, economy, politics and foreign policy. The war led thousands of Americans to question their own countries approach towards conflicts on foreign shores as well the level of risk it takes when partaking in such wars. It also raised several questions on how these wars were conducted and the morality of troops sent to fight wars on foreign soil.


The war changed the way people thought of their own troops and the effects a war had on the well being of the soldiers and their families. The death toll of its own troops or the scores of civilian deaths has not prevented the US from intervening in international conflicts. The government struggles to balance the economy and appease tax payers, it also continues to wage wars on foreign shores. As President Bush jr. aptly named the American warfare method of ‘Shock and Awe’, the US avoids using ground troops in combats, preferring massive, if inaccurate, air strikes to eliminate.


Civilian casualties incurred during such strikes continue to be called collateral damage. Billions of dollars continue to be spent on developing weapons and defense technology that could as easily be used in an offensive. In all likelihood, the primary focus of warfare in the future will be North Korea, Iran and Pakistan, with an increasing Neo-Cold-War with China. American involvement in the Middle East crisis will remain at the same level, if not increase, over the next few years.


Tips on Applying for Federal Government Jobs

The federal government provides the most diversified job specialties more than any other organization in the U.S. Excluding the military and postal workers, the federal government offers over 1.7 million jobs with over 400 different job specialties. Here are some tips that can help you in applying for a federal government job.

  • How to Apply

Almost all federal jobs are posted on which is the central job website. The best way to search for jobs on this website is to go to the advanced section and select an occupation instead of using a specific keyword or job title. Searching by occupation broadens your search results and increases your chances of finding a postion that best matches your unique skills.

  • Understanding the Pay Grade

The federal pay grade scale ranges from GS-1 to GS-15. GS stands for general schedule and is the level of pay an employee qualifies for based upon education and work experience. Within each grade are 10 steps and each step has a higher pay rate. Most federal positions require at least one year of experience in the previous level to qualify. For example, to qualify for a GS-10 position you must have at least one year of GS-9 work experience.

  • Understanding Job Titles

The way in which the federal government classifies a job can be very different from the private sector. The private sector is more narrow and specific with job titles while the federal government is more broad. For example, a technical writer job title in the private sector is specifically for the fields of science and computer, while this title in the federal government can relate to anyone with specialized writing experience in any field.

Is Politics Your Cup of Tea or Poison?

Politics is not something that works for everyone. We all are individual in our own ways and part of this “individuality” are our specific likes and dislikes. It is okay to want change and to be an instrument in some way to bring about change. However, the wide world of politics can be encompassing, also complex in its own way. In order to determine what politics means to you is obvious. You need to know what the definition of politics means.

Each one of us has our own meaning of what something means to us. Politics is the means and process by which people in a group are able to arrive at decisions together as one voice. Collectively, these special groups of people are supposed to make a difference, and their efforts are unified for all. Politics also involves the art of being able to satisfactorily run any government and state entities.

Politics is not just about the people. Who make up a specific group. It is also visibly connected to educational, religious and corporate concerns. So politics is definitely broad in range as a topic and has many ties. Is politics your cup of tea or poison? This is an answer. That only you can give for yourself. If it has a profound influence. Then it matters to you. Nonetheless, if it is something, you care little or nothing about. Then it does not matter.

What makes politics a funny thing is this. Even though most of us do believe in democracy and all that freedom does stand for in America. Some of us have no idea. Why we even end up voting for the candidates that we vote for in the end. Once these candidates get into office and gain power. It becomes a reality. The votes and the opinions seem to not matter anymore. All that matters now is the politician himself or herself.

Politics In Television Culture

Politics is something that is very much alive in every aspect of America and this extends to the television culture. This fact can only be an indicator of one thing and it is that. Politics is indeed a popular subject that is not only famous but also widely accepted by people in the United States. Television has been and continues to be a very part of American society. Millions watch it daily for not only news and entertainment. But also to inspire them in different areas of their lives in addition.

Television does indeed cater to the individual. Who has a real loyalty and or passion for the area of politics as a whole. One of the internet’s visited television channels for everything that is political in nature is no other than Politics All the online content that this specific channel possesses is tied to politics in detail. Some of its material includes news items and events on politics. There is also campaign videos, proceedings of a congressional/government nature and so forth.

Politics in television culture has managed to become a repeated theme over the years. One that is very popular and which has been a successful hit television show is no other than The Simpsons. The Simpsons not only has humor which has been described as rough. It also contains politics in its own way and displays family values in an entirely different way from what it is in reality.
The Simpson’s is said to have a voice that is liberal in tone and which has focused on political topics that are controversial in nature. Some of the spotlighted political topics on this animated show include gay marriage, corruption, rights for guns, homophobia, and so forth.

Some have commented on this television show as being political in nature. However, many view it as being comical, as well as unique to the countless millions. Who watch it regularly once a week and have been for years.

Crossing the Line-Immigration crisis in America

Illegal immigration has been going on for decades but has exploded in the past few years. In 2007, the Center for Immigration Studies estimated there were 12.5 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. The amount went down in 2008 to 11 million, but other analysts believe there may be as many as 20 million. Not surprisingly, a huge majority of them are Mexican with Central American not far behind them in statistics.

There are numerous debates about whether they should be given citizenship or kicked out of the country all together. There is the argument they take good jobs away from American citizens while demanding the same rights. This is a valid claim as lower class citizens who search for jobs are being passed over by illegal immigrants who will work for less. The beneficiaries of this influx of illegals are the middle and upper class because they save money by hiring immigrants for much less pay than a citizen who would demand better wages.

Another issue is the toll it takes on the economy, particularly the money the government pays to protect the US-Mexican borders. As of 2007, there are over six thousand Nation Guard troops patrolling the Border and costing the government an excess of $750 million.

Obama plans to change that by creating a way to secure border control and make it easier for immigrants to become citizens. In 2009, the New York Times reported the meeting between President Obama, the President of Mexico, and the Prime Minister of Canada. Obama agreed with President Felipe Calderon that the one thing needed is to fight against the drug cartels that are using immigrants to carry drugs across the border and murder innocent people in the process.

The President’s immigration plans are in the works but no news of the official date it will be enforced or if it will help the situation.