As the United States pursues a path to exit Iraq and Afghanistan, I have to ask myself where will the United States and Israel be in the next few years?
In Iraq, we already see more attacks on innocent people every few days. Suicide murderers are blowing themselves up regularly.
Things are no different in Afghanistan. Just a few weeks ago 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan soldiers were killed by the Taliban when a U.S. helicopter was shot down by rocket fire. And the cowwrruption in Afghanistan continues.
There are current reports suggesting that Iran is supporting Venezuela in the development of missile bases capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the mainland of the United States. While the State Department rejected the charges on May 21, 2011, saying that there was “no evidence to support this claim,” the chatter still continues. I hope that this is not another intelligence failure similar to the errors 49 years ago during the Cuban Missile crisis.
On October 22, 1962 President John F. Kennedy, in an address to the nation dealing with missile bases being in Cuba, said, “Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites are now in preparation on that imprisoned island.” Those remarks were not accurate based on my visit to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in November of 1961 as Counsel to United States Senator Kenneth B. Keating.
Over the last several months, there has been a great deal of political chatter about the failing economic condition of Medicare. The truth is that Medicare would be bankrupt if it were a private business. Medicare spending is around $550 billion each year or some 20 percent of total annual healthcare expenditures.
In the last Annual report of the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees, the conclusion should be read carefully: “Projected long-run program costs for Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing…”
For a number of years, I would, each month, go to the 25th floor of One World Trade Center, the North Tower, to attend the Board of Directors meeting for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Normally, I would drive to New York City and arrive early for each meeting. That meant I would walk into the building around 9 a.m. Back on 9/11, the North Tower was the first one hit – 8:46 a.m. That would have been close to the time that I normally arrived at the building. For that reason, I will never forget that awful attack on the lives of innocent Americans and so many others from around the world.
In my old cell phone, I stored all my contacts and calendar. My cell phone also had email capabilities, along with Internet research. What caused me to think about a new cell phone was the size of the screen on my old phone. With a keyboard and screen all on top of the phone, it was not very large and Internet research was very difficult. At the same time, my cell phone was with me at all times. Even when I traveled overseas, the phone could operate.
Over the years, I have used a number of “sayings” or “adages”” to express myself at various times or even to make a point during a conversation. Let me take you through some of them today – and you do not have to quote me if you decide to make use of one or more.
The one which I probably use the most in encouraging others is quite simple.
Nothing happens in life unless you show up. The challenge is deciding where it is best to show up.
The ongoing events in the Middle East and Northern Africa have caused sea going shipping interests to look more closely at the strategic importance of the Suez and Panama Canals. Both are chokepoints in terms of the flow of today’s global trade. Even with the global recession, sea going trade remains dominant and is extremely important to the United States. Just look at some of the statistics.
Every day some 41 ships transit the Suez Canal. A very large portion of that commerce includes more than two million barrels of oil and petroleum products. In addition around 14 percent of the world’s liquefied natural gas is shipped through the Suez Canal. Any disruption at the Suez Canal would wreak havoc throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and even the East Coast of the United States.
Back in the 5th Century AD, the people living in Britain spoke Celtic. Then three German Tribes, the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes invaded. The language changed and merged. The result was “Old English.” It was spoken in Britain until around 1100 AD and had only some 50 thousand words.
Then, the Normans invaded Britain. They spoke a form of French. As a result of the invasion, two classes in Britain developed – “French” for the upper class and “Old English” for the lower class. These two languages soon merged into “Middle English.” The new language, in Britain, lasted until around 1500 AD.
While computers and the Internet have made English the global language, they have also just about killed cursive or handwriting today. Some 41 states do not require students to learn cursive. The focus is totally on the computer keyboard.
Let me admit upfront that I handwrite each week’s column, and then, my longtime assistant types the column for me to edit. That is definitely old fashion, but while I can type emails, I never have become proficient in typing columns or even snail mail letters. The result is that the flow of information from my brain through the pen to the yellow legal pad, for me, is much faster than my trying to type each column.
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