Monday, August 7, 2017


   Reminded me of a Sci-fi thriller. Transformer vs Fish Cloud.
     It was an odd and solitary cloud. Please note-I was not the odd and solitary shopper at the big box parking lot to pause and snap a shot, there were others taking note as well. 
       At first glance we thought it was a stuffed animal put atop the ledge at the Vets Hall on Farmer's market Friday.
        No, he was the real deal and seems to wish I'd get out of the way so he can keep an eye on his companion, busy at the market. 

screwing our veterans
      More than 700 veterans, family members and former employees of a Halliburton subsidiary were kicked in the teeth by a federal judge who dismissed a major lawsuit against the defense contractor over burn pit operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
        The Vets alleged the burn pits caused them chronic and deadly respiratory diseases and cancer. 
        Patricia Kime of McClatchy news reports US District Court Judge Roger Titus wrote that the company, KBR, could not be held liable for a military decision. The judge said he didn't have jurisdiction to hold the Pentagon responsible. 
         The suit had tied together cases across the US and included 63 specific complaints and 44 national class action suits.
        KBR operated the burn pits running them near where troops lived and worked. Allegedly KBR burned stuff that should not have been put in the pits; paint, batteries, computers, fuel, plastic, medical waste. 
       Plaintiffs report a range of diseases resulting from exposure, including life threatening conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological issues, cancer and constrictive bronchiolitis. 
       The judge said KBR was just following orders and that it was a military matter.  Victims and family members are furious. 
       It is pretty much par for the course. We put men and women in harms way, sometimes even greater jeopardy because of poor command decisions, and then we leave vets holding the bag. Combine that with the Inspector General's finding of wholesale fraud and waste in both wars-in the Billions, and you are left with corporations that made huge war profits, bonuses for executives and our loyal troops sick and dying and no one is held responsible. 
      It is important to recall that many of these war contracts were no bid deals, engineered by Dick Cheney for his Halliburton and KBR pals.
      It's a damned shame we don't better respect, honor and treat those who serve. It is a continuing stain in our history, but so too is war profiteering. Has been ever such. Another of many reasons war is indeed, hell.
      Maybe the Republican majority in Congress and the Republican president will come to the aid of the distressed vets of Iraq and Afghanistan. What's to stop them?   

     See you down the trail.   



  1. We contract all this stuff out to private profiteers and then there's no way to get at them when they mess up. Even the conviction of that killer Blackwater employee got overturned last week.

    1. Don't we think there should be a law to deal with this kind of crime?


    almost 50 years ago, and still as relevant today.

  3. I wouldn't hold my breath that the Administration or Congress will help these folks, which it seems they have a moral obligation to do.

  4. It's sad, Tom. My brother-in-law is suffering effects that are attributable to Agent Orange, and VA has finally set up treatment facilities. Government policy seems to suspend moral obligation until mortal attrition removes the major portion of class-action plaintiffs --read sufferers.

    1. Geo sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. I have friends who are also afflicted. It is a disgrace how we have treated our veterans, historically. Yes, at the end of WWII we saw a bit of grace in the VA educational and housing programs, but historically our record is deplorable.