A Marine officer who publicly criticized the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation of American and allied troops and civilians from Afghanistan has been released from a military brig a little over a week after he was incarcerated.
“Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is being released from confinement today, Oct. 5, 2021, as a result of a mutual agreement between Lt. Col. Scheller, his Defense counsel, and the Commanding General, Training Command,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Sam Stephenson said in a statement. “No additional details regarding the agreement may be released at this time.”
Scheller was put in pretrial confinement at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Sept. 27 after ignoring orders to refrain from posting on social media. He was previously relieved of his command after his initial criticism of the evacuations.
In a statement last week, Stephenson said Scheller stands accused of showing contempt toward officials, willfully disobeying a superior officer, failing to obey lawful orders and committing conduct unbecoming of an officer. He has not yet been charged.
Scheller was relieved of command shortly after posting a video on Facebook that demanded senior officials be held accountable for the Taliban’s sudden takeover of Afghanistan and the deaths of 13 American service members killed in a Kabul attack in August. He has said he plans to resign his commission.
The video, which Scheller shared hours after the Kabul attack, has been viewed 1 million times and shared 66,000 times on Facebook.
“I want to say this very strongly,” he said in the video. “I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability.”
Scheller has been critical of both Democrats and Republicans in subsequent social media statements. But he has appeared to attract more support from the political right for criticizing the Afghanistan withdrawal, including from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) and former president Donald Trump, who shared a story about Scheller on his website.
Folks around Springfield, Missouri and Green County Missouri have confirmed the loud boom heard over Southwest Missouri late Monday morning, and it was no accident.
According to officials, Boeing was running a test loop starting in St. Louis and made its way to the Ozarks.
The military aircraft reached a certain speed to create the sound as well, known as a sonic boom.
On September 26, the Mountain Grove Fire Department also reported that another sonic boom was heard in that area.
“Sonic boom is an impulsive noise similar to thunder. It is caused by an object moving faster than sound — about 750 mph. An aircraft traveling through the atmosphere continuously produces air-pressure waves,” the post states.
According to the fire department, the U.S. military has acknowledged the testing of a new jet called the F-15EX Strike Eagle released in April of 2021.
I have tried to sit down to write this message several times but have failed as my family and I have been overcome with tremendous sorrow.
My husband, combat veteran SSG Séamus Fennessy was a K9 handler with MSA Security (Owned by Perella Weinberg Partners “PWP”) for five years. During this time Seamus and his K9 partner Mattie worked exclusively with each other – Mattie never had another handler nor had Seamus had another dog. At the end of 2018 my husband informed MSA that he was going to serve his country on active military duty but would be local and still able to keep up with Mattie’s training. Since MSA had previously allowed handlers to keep their dogs in similar circumstances we had no reason to believe this would be different. Except it was. At the 11th hour only 2 days before my husband went on orders we were abruptly informed that Mattie would need to be returned and someone “would pick her up in the morning”.
Mattie was just shy of 7 years of age and nearing retirement when she was taken in January of 2019. As of her birthday, April 21st, 2021, she is 9 years old and still working, far away from home. The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 12 years.
MSA & PWP have callously torn our family member, our beloved “Mattie Cakes,” from her family who loves and adores her. While our daughters and myself could hardly contain our tears, my husband remained strong despite a barrage of phone calls and texts from MSA which included threats of destroying his military career.
My husband is a veteran and decorated war hero – and in the words of MSA themselves a “great employee”. Mattie is a goofy, lovable pooch who adores playing with the kids in our backyard and napping on the sofa. Neither deserve this treatment.
MSA & PWP have taken Mattie from her loving home and ripped our family apart. This is devastating to everyone involved. Including our sweet Mattie, our lovable goofball who doesn’t understand any of this but is wondering what she did wrong to end up in a kennel torn from her family and everything she knows. It’s this image that haunts me. Mattie is innocent and in true MSA / PWP fashion they are using her as leverage as they routinely do with their dogs.
Please sign our petition to urge MSA Security / Parella Weinberg Partners to return Mattie to the family who loves her.
And please let MSA & PWP know how you feel about this! Direct contact has a positive impact. CONTACT INFO:
(Washington, D.C., September 21, 2021) – U.S. Senator and veteran Roger Marshall, M.D. led Senators Ted Cruz, James Lankford, and Tommy Tuberville in introducing the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act to prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from giving servicemembers a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The House Armed Services Committee recently passed similar language led by Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) in an amendment to the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation comes on the heels of President Biden mandating millions of Americans – including service members – to get vaccinated and the DOD issuing guidance stating that soldiers who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.”
“As a physician and veteran who is confident that the vaccine has saved countless lives, I believe vaccinating our servicemembers against COVID-19 is an important effort; however, whether or not to receive the vaccine should be a personal choice between an individual and their doctor,” said Senator Marshall. “Servicemembers who refuse to get vaccinated, and are subsequently separated from the service, should not receive anything other than an honorable discharge. There is no question about it: American heroes should not be treated as felons because of their personal medical choices.”
“It’s an insult to our servicemen and women who have served with honor to dishonorably discharge them for refusing the COVID vaccine. It is the same way we dishonorably discharge those convicted of serious crimes such as treason, desertion, sexual assault, and murder. Forcing all service members, including pregnant women and those who have already had COVID-19, to receive the vaccine is just one more example of President Biden and his administration putting politics ahead of science. I am proud to join Sen. Marshall on this crucial bill to ensure the proper steps are taken by the military chain of command in response to those seeking exemptions from this vaccine,” said Senator Cruz.
“When America shut down last year, our military personnel continued to serve us at home and abroad,” said Senator Lankford. “Now, Biden wants to remove service members who have already recovered from COVID, but will not also take the vaccine, or have a medical, religious or personal reason not to take the vaccine. Our men and women in uniform have fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and it’s right for us to protect their freedom now to choose whether or not to get the vaccine. President Biden should not give our military members a ‘less than honorable’ or ‘dishonorable’ discharge from the military for a conscious objection to a vaccine after they have risked their lives for our country. ”
“The brave men and women of our military who make the personal medical decision to not to take the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive anything other than an honorable discharge. I was proud to get this legislation included as an amendment to the NDAA in the House and am grateful to Senator Marshall for his leadership in the Senate,” said Representative Green.
Dishonorably discharged U.S. service members surrender the following rights and benefits:
American Military dogs left behind in Kabul(Photo courtesy: @Gcracker3321) Photograph:( Twitter ) Aug 31, 2021, 02.19 PM (IST)
The United States Department of Defense has refuted accusations that the American military abandoned dozens of military service dogs in Kabul prior to the last pullout from Afghanistan.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted that “to correct erroneous reports, the US military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs. The photos circulating online were of animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care,”. https://d-20680018101234407777.ampproject.net/2108192119000/frame.html
According to a spokesperson for the Defense Department, despite a continued difficult and dangerous retrograde mission, US personnel went to tremendous measures to help the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as they could.
Since 2020, Kabul Small Animal Rescue has been affiliated with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a “veterinary clinic and non-profit organisation that has been aiding animals in Afghanistan.”
The photos of the imprisoned dogs had already sparked outrage on social media. The US government has been chastised by animal rights group “American Humane” for abandoning military contract working dogs in Kabul. The US decision was heavily panned on social media since the K-9 soldiers were left behind.
The mother of a U.S. Marine who was murdered during an Islamic terrorist attack at the airport in Kabul on Thursday unloaded on President Joe Biden during an interview on Saturday morning, calling for him to be removed from office.
Kathy McCollum, mother of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, called into the “Wilkow Majority” show on SiriusXM Patriot radio where revealed that she had just been notified at her home that her son was killed in the bombing that claimed the lives of 13 other U.S. soldiers.
“That feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die,” she said, speaking about Biden. “I woke up at four o’clock this morning, two Marines at my door telling me my son was dead. So, to [have her on] right before me and listen to that piece of crap talk about diplomatic crap with frickin Taliban terrorists who just freakin blew up my son and no, nothing, to not say anything about oh my god, I’m so sorry for families. So, my son is gone.”
To all Democrats who voted for Biden, “You just killed my son with a dementia-ridden piece of crap who doesn’t even know he’s in the White House,” she continued. “He still thinks he’s a senator.”
She said that she was going to meet with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who is her representative, at her home tomorrow.
“I never thought in a million years [my son] would die for nothing, for nothing, because that feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap who decided he wanted a photo-op on September 11th,” she continued. “That’s what kills me. I wanted my son to represent our country, to fight for my country. But I never thought that a feckless piece of crap would send him to his death and smirk on television while he’s talking about people dying with his nasty smirk. The dementia-ridden piece of crap needs to be removed from office. It never would have happened under Trump.”
She called Biden a “treasonous man” and a “disgusting human being,” and again pinned blame on Democrat voters, saying, “You did this to my son, every Democrat that’s listening, you did this to my son.”
She was brought on the line after the host played a clip from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who McCollum called a “b****.”
Mother of U.S. Marine Rylee McCollum, who died in the Kabul bombing: “all you Democrats … who voted for [Biden], you just killed my son …[He’s a] feckless dementia ridden piece of crap who decided he wanted a photo op on September 11th.”
As the Biden administration has faltered in its withdrawal efforts amid the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, an all-volunteer group of former U.S. military veterans has been working tirelessly to secretly bring hundreds of Afghan elite forces and their families to safety.
What are the details?
In a featured write-up published Friday, ABC News detailed the daring mission, put on by “Task Force Pineapple,” which over the past 10 days saved the lives of roughly 630 Afghan nationals who — should they have remained trapped inside Afghanistan — would have been targeted by Taliban fighters.
The mission reached its climax on Wednesday night when the group of volunteer veterans commenced operation “Pineapple Express” — modeled after Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad — to slowly maneuver Afghan individuals and families through Taliban checkpoints and into U.S. military command.
The mission was underway Thursday when terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS fighters at the Kabul airport left at least 13 U.S. service members and 60 Afghans dead, with hundreds more injured. Some of the task force’s members were among the wounded. Yet in spite of the deadly assault, the group pressed on:
Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The effort … reached a crescendo this week with dozens of covert movements coordinated virtually on Wednesday by more than 50 people in an encrypted chat room, which [Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann] described as a night full of dramatic scenes rivaling a “Jason Bourne” thriller unfolding every 10 minutes.
The small groups of Afghans repeatedly encountered Taliban foot soldiers who they said beat them but never checked identity papers that might have revealed them as operators who spent two decades killing Taliban leadership.
“Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom,” Mann, a retired Green Beret commander who led the operation, recounted.
“This Herculean effort couldn’t have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders to not help beyond the airport perimeter, by wading into sewage canals and pulling in these targeted people who were flashing pineapples on their phones,” he added.
In a move criticized by many, the Pentagon has not permitted uniformed U.S. service members to venture outside of the airport’s perimeter to rescue Americans and Afghans seeking U.S. protection. But non-uniformed individuals, including former Navy SEAL Jason Redman, have not faced those same restrictions.
Redman, one of Task Force Pineapple’s members, spent Wednesday night shepherding Afghans he knew to safety.
“The whole night was a roller-coaster ride,” he recalled. “People were so terrified in that chaotic environment. These people were so exhausted, I kept trying to put myself in their shoes.”
Looking back at the effort, however, Redman’s sense of pride and accomplishment was tainted by disappointment, especially with the political leaders who allowed the situation to unravel to the point that it did only to, in his opinion, not do enough to resolve it.
According to ABC, he expressed deep frustration “that our own government didn’t do this. We did what we should do, as Americans.”
A new report for Congress, prepared by retired naval officers Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, at the behest of Republican legislators, claims the United States Navy is an “institution adrift,” is not prepared for war, and is struggling through a “crisis” of woke leadership, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report, commissioned by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AK), and Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI), Dan Crenshaw (TX), and Jim Banks (IN) was designed to uncover whether the ongoing efforts to improve “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) training was affecting military readiness — and whether the DEI efforts were impeding the duty of the United States Military.
“The impetus for the report was a series of recent catastrophes—a ship burning in San Diego last year; two destroyer collisions in the Pacific in 2017,” WSJ noted, adding that the legislators were concerned that “larger institutional issues that are degrading the performance of the entire naval surface force.”
The two retired naval officers “conducted long-form interviews with numerous active-duty and recently retired or detached officers and enlisted personnel about their insights into the culture of the United States Navy following a series of high-profile and damaging operational failures in the Navy’s Surface Warfare community.”
Among the key findings: “Many sailors found their leadership distracted, captive to bureaucratic excess, and rewarded for the successful execution of administrative functions,” rather than for their readiness for combat, per WSJ.
“I guarantee you every unit in the Navy is up to speed on their diversity training,” one “recently retired senior enlisted leader” reportedly told the outlet. “I’m sorry that I can’t say the same of their ship-handling training.”
“Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy,” one “anonymous active-duty lieutenant” told investigators per Fox News.
The report added that the Navy does not spend enough time or money on training its surface warfare officers, leaving its war rooms “ill-prepared.” The Navy’s deployments are too long, the report noted, risking efficiency, and commanding officers are trained to be “risk-averse,” because of a culture of “brutal accountability” for administrative decisions.
Retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery spoke about the report to Fox News on Wednesday, blasted the Navy’s apparent lack of preparedness, and suggested that relative peacetime has made the Navy a bureaucracy rather than a fighting force.
Montgomery “noted that there were ‘suspicions’ of ‘underinvestment in officer training and under-resourced ship maintenance,’ however, ‘what we didn’t know was how perceptive the young sailors, the men and women who crew our ships are,’” Fox reported. “Montgomery went on to say that the report showed that the sailors indicated there was an ‘overfocus’ on administration and training, which was ‘pulling us away from our focus on warfighting.’”
“When a Navy ship gets ready to get underway, it needs to focus on training and warfighting and not on administrative briefings on any issue or that issue,” he added but noted that with the right “investment” things could be turned around quickly.
“It’s got to be that focus on warfighting,” Montgomery said. “The way you get there is the proper investments of the sailor’s time and the government’s and the taxpayer’s money.”
“The sailors’ time is in warfighting, not briefings,” he continued. “The government’s money is in high-end simulations and in the maintenance of the ships.”
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The Navy will explode bombs near its new USS Ford aircraft carrier as soon as next year to assess the new platform’s ability to operate in high-threat, major-power warfare on the open seas. They are called Shock Trials, a specific combat preparation exercise wherein Navy testers fire a wide range of weapons against or near the ship in a variety of different sea states.
Service weapons testers will detonate a wide range of bombs, including a variety of underwater sea mines to assess the carrier’s ability to withstand enemy attacks. “Shock Trials,” as they are called, are typically one of the final stages in the Navy process designed to bring warships from development to operational deployment.
A report from USNI states that USS Ford Shock Trials are slated for 2021. Having Shock Trials as soon as next year is considered a major milestone as the ship nears its anticipated operational service several years from now. For instance, the Shock Trials may help move preparations along for the USS Ford, which has been experiencing some maintenance and technical delays.
Interestingly, an essay on Shock Trials from several years ago explains that detonating bombs near the ship closely approximates the kinds of serious threats the ship might face in full combat. A 2007 Department of Defense-directed Shock Trials analysis by the non-profit MITRE corporation explains that many of the expected or most probable threats to warships come from “non-contact explosions where a high-pressure wave is launched toward the ship.”
MITRE’s report, interestingly, also identifies the inspiration for Shock Trials as one originating from World War II.
“During World War II, it was discovered that although such “near miss” explosions do not cause serious hull or superstructure damage, the shock and vibrations associated with the blast nonetheless incapacitate the ship, by knocking out critical components and systems,” the MITRE assessment, called “Navy Ship Underwater Shock Prediction and Testing Capability Study” states.
The MITRE analysis further specifies that, following a nearby explosion, the bulkhead of a ship can oscillate, causing the ship to move upward.
“Strong localized deformations are seen in the deck modes, in which different parts of the decks move at different frequencies from each other,” MITRE writes.
The first-in-class USS Ford has been specifically engineered for expanded air attack, being built with a larger deck space than the Nimitz-class to enable a greater sortie rate. Navy developers explain that the Ford configuration was developed to increase the air mission rate by as much as 33%, with a mind to creating a new dimension of air power projection. This strategy, initiated years ago, did seem to anticipate what could be described as a modern threat environment. More air power would be needed in any kind of major-power engagement, carriers need to have an ability to operate the first-of-its kind carrier-launched F-35C5 stealth fighter, and perhaps of equal or greater significance, modern carriers need to have longer attack reach.
Kris Osborn is the new Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
Daniel Glor started this petition to President, Board of Education Michael Fuchs and 6 others
Honoring Major Andrew D. Byers
Proposal: We propose to name the Clarence High School pool after Major Andrew D. Byers, a distinguished Clarence Swimming Alumnus. Doing so will honor and commemorate how he lived and the example he set through his bravery, character, and the ultimate sacrifice he made in defense of our nation.
Clarence alumni swimmers and divers often return to the pool to visit the team and share stories, provide advice, and enjoy the camaraderie. The students gain insight and inspiration from these alumni visits. Andy will never be able to share his brave story and rich insights with current and future swimmers, so we propose doing so on his behalf by memorializing him in a noted place in his life: The Clarence High School pool. Naming the pool after this beloved husband, son, brother, dear friend, distinguished student athlete and selfless guardian of our nation’s freedom will provide an example for future generations of Clarence swimmers and students.
Andy’s Story: Major Andrew Byers (US Army Special Forces) was killed in action in Kunduz, Afghanistan on November 3, 2016 while conducting a ‘Train, Advise, and Assist’ mission with Afghan special operations forces. Byers was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for selflessly running into a kill zone to retrieve a fallen Afghan comrade, for maintaining positive control of a 59-man force during a seemingly hopeless situation, and for sacrificing his life by leading from the front to rescue his men.
By putting himself in harm’s way to selflessly save his comrades, Andy died in a manner consistent with the way he lived. Those that knew Andy best were not surprised by the accounts of the selfless valor he displayed that day. Andy’s strength of character was apparent to those he interacted with throughout his life. His peers and friends would often tell others how he served as a shining example of the very best that Clarence High School has to offer.
Andy especially shined in the pool as a four-time All-American Swimmer and team captain. As detailed by his swim coach Eric McClaren, “It was Andy’s distinct ability to lead and to motivate the people around him that set him apart from others. He was a role model from the first day he walked into the pool. Even the upperclassmen would tell you that Andy was the driving force behind our team. It is no coincidence that Andy’s class never lost a dual meet in his entire high school career.”
Andy was known to have the strongest work ethic on the team and an unmatched drive to not only be his best, but to help others around him realize their true potential. While Andy was a formidable example of strength, he also possessed genuine kindness and compassion when interacting with those who needed some encouragement. Andy was welcoming to all. Andy excelled in academics at Clarence and participated in student council and the yearbook committee. Despite his many achievements, Andy remained the same modest person his peers came to know.
After graduating from Clarence, Andy attended The United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated 12th in his class of 972. Following graduation, Andy joined the Green Berets, successfully completed Jump School, and became a ranking officer of a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachutist team. Andy had a distinguished military career, highlighted by a posthumous award of the Silver Star, the United States’ third highest decoration for valor in combat.
In addition to receiving the Silver Star, throughout his distinguished career, Andy was awarded the Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist and Military Free Fall Parachutist badges, the Ranger tab, and the Special Forces tab.
The fellow alumni of Clarence High School are honored to have Andy as an alumnus. There are no words to properly encapsulate the quality of Andy’s character, but Coach McClaren comes closest with “exceptional.” Andy was a beloved husband, son and brother, a dear friend, distinguished student -athlete, and a selfless guardian of our nation. Naming the Clarence High School pool after Andy is a permanent and tangible way to honor him, recognize the way he lived his life, and enables his story to serve as an example for future generations of Clarence students.
Be thou at peace Andy. May we forever honor your bravery and sacrifice.
Please help me save my dad! Eric Pruitt has served his country both in the military and as a contractor overseas for 19 years. He is now facing a death sentence by hanging in a foreign prison over drug charges. I really need your help to get the U.S. President’s administration to see this in order to bring him home.
U.S. civilians serving to protect our country or support our military have been targeted by Kuwaiti police in the past. These charges have often turned out to be false, but only after the U.S. government intervened on their behalf. My dad needs that intervention today because Kuwaiti police planted cocaine and falsely charged him for it.
Death by hanging is inhumane! Even if the death sentence is dropped, a lifetime in prison is certainly not much better, especially for a man who has served his country or for non-violent crimes!
If enough people stand up, my Dad’s life can be saved. I just want him to come home.
Please sign my petition today asking the U.S. President’s administration to demand the release of Eric Pruitt. This will ensure actual justice is served for a Black American Veteran and help bring him back to his family.
Imagine this: you are eligible to serve in the military — in past wars, folks where you are from have even been drafted, made to serve in the armed forces for their country. You pay payroll, business, estate, and social security taxes. You contribute to Medicare and Medicaid. You may even pay federal income taxes if you work for the government.
You fulfill all of the responsibilities of a citizen, contributing to every facet of your country’s infrastructure. But you are not allowed to vote in its most important elections.
Sign the petition if you want to see all United States territories given the right to vote on November 3rd!
Those territories are: Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. With the exception of the Northern Mariana Islands, these territories have ‘belonged’ to the United States for over 100 years — remnants of past wars and purchases driven by aggressive colonialism, the practice of expansion with the goal of economic exploitation of other countries and military augmentation for itself.
These selfish, nationalist goals continue to be the driving force of how the U.S. treats its territories.
They contribute massively to the U.S. economy. In 2016, Puerto Rico’s federal tax contribution was just below 4 billion dollars. In the same year, Vermont and Wyoming’s federal tax came to just above 4 billion dollars. The next year, Hurricane Maria would devastate Puerto Rico. The U.S. would shockingly withhold aid, underreport death and injury on the island, and completely fail Puerto Rico as a part of the country.
These territories’ military offerings are also notable. American Samoa “has the highest rate of military participation of any U.S. state or territory.” They are also the only U.S. territory that the country has not extended citizenship to — people here are “nationals.” Sans citizenship, American Samoans still contribute to Medicaid and Medicare.
It is not hard to guess where these injustices are rooted. Colonialism laid strong seeds for racism, and they have flourished in the U.S. 98% of folks who live in these five U.S. territories are ethnic minorities. Many people in the 50 United States don’t even know that these are their fellow citizens and that these disparities exist in their rights as such.
And the U.S. government is obviously not going to jump at the chance to give people in these territories more power, as it has made it abundantly clear that racism is not an isolated problem, but rather woven into the fabric of every system in the country. Racist gerrymandering and voter suppression have been tools of the ‘democractic’ process in the U.S. since elections became something in which more people than just white men were allowed to vote.
But these territories are extremely motivated and active voters! In 2014, 61% of eligible voters in American Samoa voted in their election to decide their delegate in the House — a delegate that, it’s notable to add, does not vote. None of the delegates from any of these territories are able to vote — they have only floor privileges, as well as the ability to serve on committees. This is cold comfort for the citizens they represent. The same year that 61% of American Samoa exercised their limited right to vote, only 36.7% of U.S. citizens in the continental states showed up to vote.
It’s obvious that people in these U.S. territories care about their country. It’s about time that their country returned the favor.
This is the perfect time for full voting rights to be extended to these territories. The United States is on the precipice of possibly the most historic election in its history, and democracy is at stake. U.S. territories should have a say.
The Constitution clearly states: “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.”
Sign the petition if you want to see the people of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa given the voting rights they deserve!SHARE484TWEETEMAILEMBED
The flower fields at Fennville Cemetery in Michigan feature a beautiful sea of poppies. If you come across this place, you will think that it is an ordinary flower farm. However, there’s a heartwarming and interesting story behind this stunning poppy field.
Two years ago, couple Joan Donaldson and John Van Voorhees started planting the poppies in the four-acre field. This is to honor their son, Mateo Donaldson, who was previously deployed in Afghanistan. He was a beekeeper on this farm before he joined the military and went to Afghanistan. YouTube
“He came home with PTSD and took his own life,” Joan disclosed. Apparently, combat situations have negative effects on the soldiers’ minds and bodies. The families of soldiers who have PTSD are also greatly affected by their loved ones’ unfortunate situation.
“We decided to create the poppy field in memory of him, because all these flowers feed the bees and butterflies, which he loved caring for so much. He’s not buried very far from this field,” Joan added.
Just 200 feet away from the poppy field lies Mateo’s grave. The couple said that looking at the flower fields give them peace, knowing that their beloved son is watching over them. Though Mateo’s death was very sad and tragic, Joan and John still see their son as a hero who fought and died for their country. YouTube
The four-acre field of white, red and blue flowers is not just for the couple to enjoy. A lot of veterans also find solace in this breath-taking flower field when they visit the cemetery. The couple is glad when veterans who have PTSD talk to them and say how much peace they feel when they look at the colorful flowers.
They believe that Mateo is not only watching over them but also his fellow soldiers suffering from PTSD. Even people who are not veterans find interest in this beautiful farm. Whatever it is that they are struggling with in life, the amazing field of flowers seems to take all their worries away. YouTube
“I think, for the most part, we live in a world where people don’t provide enough beauty, or think about it, or how much it could mean to them. So, maybe when they encounter situations like this, they begin to realize how much they need it,” Joan said.
Seeing how the flower fields always become the “calm in the storm” for many visitors, the couple encourages more people to visit their field of poppies. They only have a few rules for visitors to follow: don’t walk in the fields and don’t pick flowers. Facebook
Of course, this field of flowers is very precious for the couple so they are only looking after it. If you would like to visit, simply follow their rules and find yourself in great solace, watching the spectacular view of beautiful and colourful flowers. You can find the farm at 5859 124th Avenue in Fennville, Michigan.
What a unique way to honor and remember a family member! Truly, losing a loved one is a hard battle but their memories and their love will stay in our hearts forever.
Watch this video and be amazed by this lovely field of poppies:
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard