There is an absurd email going around that contends that there are more people on welfare than are working in 11 States. Nonsense.

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

First, some background:

A Forbes column talked about 11 "death spiral" states that are "danger spots for investors" because of rising taxes, "deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers." The states: Alabama, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.

"Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes," Forbes' William Baldwin wrote. "The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector."

Baldwin, who tells FactCheck that "what he reported and what the email says 'are not the same thing at all,' " does not claim in his column that the states have more people on welfare than are working. And as PolitiFact points out:

Baldwin included people who are working, for state and local governments, in his "takers" column. He also put government pensioners, who can certainly make the case that they worked for their earnings, in the takers column.

The only people Baldwin counted as being on welfare are Medicaid recipients.

"None of the 11 states on his list has more Medicaid recipients than workers," FactCheck writes. "Also, none of the states has more recipients [than workers] of other kinds of 'welfare,' such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or food stamps (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)."

"By either a broad definition of welfare or a narrow one," PolitiFact concludes, experts say it's "false and even 'extreme' " to say that the states have more people on welfare than are working. So, it gives the email its harshest rating: "Pants on Fire!"



But Mr. Baldwin's column is not accurate either.  The graphic and text below from his article.

"The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient." forbes.com/sites/baldwin/2015/12/22/which-are-death-spiral-states/#611a4f686840

But the table below shows the total State and local employment by State. His "taker" State of California doesn't have an unusually high number of employees.

StateState / LocalState / Local FTE per
FTE Full Time Employment10,000 Residents
New Hampshire27,843210
New Jersey205,211230
New Mexico55,987268
New York623,162316
North Carolina258,933260
North Dakota20,404276
Rhode Island21,981208
South Carolina123,451256
South Dakota19,318226
West Virginia44,645241


California and Illinois have major financial problems and poor governance. But not because they have a very high ratio of government employees.

And I would enjoy seeing Mr Baldwin explain to a Chicago Cop why he is a "taker"!  I would pay to see that. Perhaps we could set up a charity event pay for TV event where Baldwin explains his "taker" theory to some of Chicago's finest. 


Colmar, Alsace, Northeast France

Flew into Ramstein Air Force Base and drove to Colmar, Alsace, in northeastern France. More photos at:


and at:  ruhu12.com


Air Force Planes Space Available

Caught a KC-135 tanker last night from Macdill Air Force Base, Florida, to Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany.  Our plane refueled a C-17 cargo plane over the Atlantic.

Our KC-135 was built in 1959.  The Air Force plans on flying them many more years.  Nice plane, very reliable, can be very hot or cold. We carry ultralight sleeping bags and air mattresses.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, the 18-hour documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, is getting priority treatment by PBS, which is making it available often and anywhere, and in several languages. Beginning with the premiere on September 17, the ten-episode series will broadcast on PBS stations Sunday through Thursday, through September 28. Each episode will air twice each evening, at 8pm and 9:30pm, with early morning repeats as well. Two weekends of daytime marathon broadcasts start Saturday, September 23.

For more Vietnam-related content and new programs like American Medevac and Legacies of War, see our Vietnam page.


Beginning Sunday, September 17 at 8pm, the first five episodes will be released. All will stream on the web(desktop or mobile) and THIRTEEN Explore and PBS apps for smartphones, tablets, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Viewers can choose from four streaming options: English (edited for TV), English (not edited for TV; adult language), Spanish-language, and a Vietnamese version with subtitles. The last five episodes will be available to stream starting Sunday, September 24.
THIRTEEN station members can view all 10-episodes of the film through the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport, beginning Sunday, September 17, through December 31, 2017.


Episode One – Déjà Vu (1858-1961) 
Premieres Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm Tuesday, October 3 at 9pm
France first attacked the city of Danang in 1858 and by 1887 Vietnam was part of its colony called Indochina. In 1954 after a long and brutal war, Vietnamese revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh, French-educated and a Communist, end nearly a century of French occupation. With the Cold War intensifying, Vietnam is divided in two at Geneva. Communists in the north aim to reunify the country, while America supports Ngo Dinh Diem’s untested regime in the south.
Episode Two – Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)
Premieres Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm Tuesday, October 3 at 10:30pm
As a communist insurgency gains strength, President John F. Kennedy wrestles with American involvement in South Vietnam. To protest the Diem regime’s persecution of Buddhists, the 73-year-old monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself on fire at a major traffic intersection in Saigon on June 11, 1963. The monk’s self-immolation makes news around the world in photographs and television footage.
Episode Three – The River Styx (January 1964–December 1965)
Premieres Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm Tuesday, October 10 at 9pm
With South Vietnam near collapse, President Lyndon B. Johnson begins bombing the North and sends US troops to the South.
Episode Four – Resolve (January 1966–June 1967)
Premieres Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, October 17 at 9pm
US soldiers discover Vietnam is unlike their fathers’ war, while the antiwar movement grows.
Episode Five – This Is What We Do (July 1967–December 1967)
Premieres Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, October 24 at 9pm
This episode hones in on six months of the Vietnam War. President Johnson escalates the war while promising the public that victory is in sight.
Episode Six – Things Fall Apart (January 1968–July 1968)
Premieres Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, October 31 at 9pm
This episode covers seven months of the Vietnam War era. Shaken by the Tet Offensive, assassinations and unrest, America seems to be coming apart.
Episode Seven – The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968–May 1969)
Premieres Monday, September 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, November 1 at 9pm
After chaos roils the Democratic Convention, Richard Nixon, promising peace, narrowly wins the presidency.
Episode Eight – The History of the World (April 1969–May 1970)
Premieres Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, November 14 at 9pm
President Nixon withdraws troops but when he sends forces into Cambodia the antiwar movement reignites.
Episode Nine – A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970–March 1973)
Premieres Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, November 21 at 9pm
South Vietnam fights on its own as President Nixon and Henry Kissinger find a way out for America. The POWs return.
Episode Ten – The Weight of Memory (March 1973–Onward)
Premieres Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Repeats at 9:30pm
Tuesday, November 28 at 9pm
Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, falls in 1975 and the war ends. Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for reconciliation.


The Vietnam War series will also have weekend broadcasts. Episodes one through five will be broadcast in two blocks on Saturday and Sunday, starting September 23; episodes six through 10, the finale, will be broadcast in two blocks the following weekend, starting Saturday, September 30.

Saturday, September 23 and Sunday September 24

See episode descriptions, above.
Episode One – Déjà Vu (1858-1961) 
Premieres Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Episode Two – Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)
Premieres Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.
Episode Three – The River Styx (January 1964–December 1965)
Premieres Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Episode Four – Resolve (January 1966–June 1967)
Premieres Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Episode Five – This Is What We Do (July 1967–December 1967)
Premieres Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1

See episode descriptions, above.
Episode Six – Things Fall Apart (January 1968–July 1968)
Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.
Episode Seven – The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968–May 1969)
Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
Episode Eight – The History of the World (April 1969–May 1970)
Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Episode Nine – A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970–March 1973)
Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Episode Ten – The Weight of Memory (March 1973–Onward)
Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.

World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War

27 million people were murdered by the Axis countries in World War II in addition to those killed in war. The United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia were joined by the USSR, China, and other allies against Nazi Germany, Japan, and Italy. Most people believe that World War II was necessary and justified.

Girl playing on Memorial in Park in Angkor Wat.
She would not get out of the photo. Likely her
grandparents in the Memorial.
150 million people were murdered by the Communist countries  in addition to those killed in war. The United States and Great Britain were joined by our old enemies and other allies against our former allies, the USSR, China, and other Communist countries. Most people believe the Cold War was necessary and justified.

Communism was everywhere on the attack from 1945 to 1985.  Communism expanded from Russia into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Cuba, Czechslovakia, East Germany, Tibet, North Vietnam, North Korea, and a number of other countries. Their goal was to bring Communism to all nations.

Communists used terrorism, murder and subversion to destabilize countries. Political murder and terrorism was an integral part of “Wars of Liberation.”

3.8 million people were murdered in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos when the Cold War went hot. Millions more were imprisoned, enslaved, and ethnically cleansed. 
Young Boy in Front of a Memorial near Angkor Wat

The anti war movement changed American policy. They believed that the War was immoral and that the U.S. was there for oil. They contended we were imperialist fascist war mongers. They believed that war is evil and to be avoided at all costs. They considered Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot to be Freedom Fighters. "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is sure to Win". They thought Communism was an excellent system. They believed that Communists were fighting for freedom and self determination. They contended that the war in southeast Asia was a civil war. 

The antiwar movement succeeded in their goals.  The Congress elected in 1974 withdrew support leading to the successful takeover in 1975. This led directly to the massive genocide that took place in all three countries.

I believe an individual and a nation must oppose evil, especially when their avowed policy was to take over the world. We were both moral and right to oppose Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Pol Pot.

We have largely prevailed over Communism. It has been abandoned in Europe. It is liberalizing and improving in Asia. China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam remain totalitarian police states.

I believe that many of the anti war folks were sincere in their beliefs. And they were successful in their efforts to halt financial and military support for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. But millions of people are dead, tortured, ethnically cleansed and enslaved partly as a result of their success.

Never again. Until the next time.

Photos from the killing fields of Cambodia. Vietnam and Laos were just as bad but the people who committed the genocide and ethnic cleansing are still in charge and don't publicize what happened after the Communist takeover. 

References on Murder

Professor Rudy Rummel of the University of Hawaii has published extensive referenced and documented estimates on murder by government, which he terms democide. The table below summarizes some of his work.

1.Laos, Pathet Lao regime (1975- )
o Rummel:
* Democide in Laos: 130,000 (33% blamed on Laos; 67% blamed on Vietnam)
* Laotian war dead: 54,000
* TOTAL: 184,000 (1975-87)
o SIPRI 1989, civil war, 1977-90:
* military: 10,000
* civilian: 30,000
* TOTAL: 40,000
o Polish Press Agency, 3 Dec. 1998: 300,000 killed for political reasons, acc2 dissident Laotian Council for Independence and Democracy.

CountryNumber Murdered
China(PRC)  1949-8776,702,000
USSR 1917-198761,911,000
China Mao 1923-19483,468,000
North Korea1,663,000
Total Murdered150,136,000


The Cold War and Vietnam

The Cold War and Vietnam were of major concern to the world and especially those of us who were the right age to serve during these two related events. The Vietnam War was a very sad and divisive time.

There are a number of online timeline of events.

I would like to discuss those two events in depth - something most of us have never done. I propose that we first try to agree on the facts before we debate the outcomes.  Please take a look at my first draft below. We can discuss any revisions or additions to the facts shown below. It may be easier to read in the google document below.  If you prefer you can directly edit this Google Document. Feel free to make your changes directly.


1946 - The Cold War began shortly after WWII when Communism countries and the Democratic West began to confront each other.  The west was led by the USA, Communist countries were led by the USSR. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War

1945-1961 - Communism expanded from Russia into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary,Yugoslavia, Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, China, North Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Tibet, and a number of other countries which were supportive of Communism.

1946 -The Democratic West formulated a policy of containment aimed at stopping the expansion of communism.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Containment

1950-53 - The United States led the United Nations in an effort to evict Communist North Korea after it attacked and overan South Korea.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War

1950-53 -  Approximately 2.9 million people died in the Korean War.

1917-1981 - Communism becomes the greatest killer in history.  An estimated 150 million people are killed from 1917 through 1981 - above and beyond those killed in combat in wars.  Estimates developed by Professor Rummel of the University of Hawaii who summarizes all academic studies, develops a high, medium, and low estimate and usually uses the medium estimate.  Rummel uses the term Democide defined as "the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder."  http://hawaii.edu/powerkills/
Country                                       Murdered

China                                          76,702,000
USSR                                         61,911,000
China Mao 1923-1948                3,468,000
Poland                                          1,585,000
Yugoslavia                                   1,072,000
North Korea                                 1,663,000
Vietnam                                        1,670,000
Cambodia                                    2,035,000
Laos                                                130,000

1954 - Vietnam overthrew French Colonial Rule. Vietnam was divided at the 17th parallel into Communist North Vietnam and non-Communist South Vietnam. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Indochina_War

1954 - When Vietnam was divided approximately 1,000,000 Vietnamese moved from the North to the South while approximately 130,000 moved from the South to the North.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Passage_to_Freedom

1957 - North Vietnam began an insurgency in the South to take over the country in 1957. Guerrillas assassinate more than 400 South Vietnamese officials. The United States supports South Vietnam with training, weapons, and supplies. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/timeline/tl2.html#a

1961 President Kennedy states in his inaugural speech:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.  This much we pledge—and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share,

we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder."

1961-63  President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert Mcnamara increases aid to South Vietnam and increases American advisors to 16,000.

1964-1968 - President Johnson and Robert McNamara determines that without very substantial US support Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos will fall to Communist insurgency. He and Congress commit the country to a very substantial intervention, with total US Servicemen in Vietnam peaking at over 500,000.

1965-68 The Antiwar movement was composed of many different people with different viewpoints but many believed that the War was immoral. The War was a civil war. The US was an imperialist fascist war monger. The war was evil and to be avoided at all costs. The draft was opposed. They considered Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot to be Freedom Fighters. "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is sure to Win" was one of their slogans. They believed that Communists were fighting for freedom and self determination. President Johnson decides he cannot win the election and decides not to run for a second term.

1968 - Richard Nixon is elected President. He begins a program called Vietnamization which will reduce the US effort in South Vietnam and build up the forces of South Vietnam.

1968 - The Tet Offensive was a major offensive by North Vietnam.  They attacked the US Embassy in Saigon and numerous other locations.  Hue was overrun and between 2,800 and 6,000 people were massacred.

1968 - The worst American war crime atrocity of the War is committed in My Lai, with up to 500 civilians murdered.  This contributes to the revulsion to the War. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley

1971-73 - US Troop levels were rapidly reduced. The last Marine ground unit (and Craig Hullinger) departed in June 1971.  The last major US units departed in 1973.

1968-72 - The Army of the Republic of Vietnam ( ARVN) expanded from its counter-insurgency role to become the primary ground defense against the NLF and PAVN. From 1969 to 1971 there were about 22,000 ARVN combat deaths per year. Starting in 1968, South Vietnam began calling up every available man for service in the ARVN, reaching a strength of one million soldiers by 1972. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_the_Republic_of_Vietnam

1973 - Paris Peace Accords. The US, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign "An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" in Paris. The settlement included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam. It addition, the United States agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and advisors (totalling about 23,700) and the dismantling of all U.S. bases within 60 days. Prisoners released. Withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia and the prohibition of bases in and troop movements through these countries. It was agreed that the DMZ at the 17th Parallel would remain a provisional dividing line, with eventual reunification of the country "through peaceful means." An international control commission would be established made up of Canadians, Hungarians, Poles, and Indonesians, with 1,160 inspectors to supervise the agreement. Agreeing to "the South Vietnamese People's right to self-determination," the North Vietnamese said they would not initiate military movement across the DMZ and that there would be no use of force to reunify the country.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/paris-peace-accords-signed

1973  -  Henry Alfred Kissinger and Le Duc Tho are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the war.

1974 -  - Watergate Scandal - President Nixon resigns

1974 - The Democratic Party takes 49 seats from the Republican Party, increasing their majority above the two-thirds mark.

1975 - Congress refused President Gerald Ford's last-minute request to increase aid to South Vietnam by $300 million, just weeks before it fell to communist control. Few legislators had taken the request seriously; many conservative Republicans and hawkish Democrats agreed by then that Vietnam was lost and that the expenditure would have been a waste.

1975 - North Vietnam mounts a major conventional attack on South Vietnam. The US does not provide air support.

1975- South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos fall to Communist forces. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/

1975-1985 Communists in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos increase their program of democide.  An estimated 3.8 million people are murdered according to Professor Rummel. A program of ethnic cleansing forced many refugees to flee by boat or cross country.  An estimated 1-2.5 million people were imprisoned with no formal charges or trials.  According to published academic studies in the United States and Europe, 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's re-education camps.Thousands were tortured or abused. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.

People who died in the
Vietnam War from combat     
Includes North and South             882,000


Murdered by North Vietnam       1,670,000
Murdered by Cambodia             2,035,000
Murdered by Laos                         130,000
Murdered by South Vietnam           90,000
Murdered by the United States         6,000