... of the Army’s 44 combat brigades, all but the one permanently based in South Korea have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Of those 43 brigades:
- 12 have been deployed once;
- 20 have been deployed twice;
- 9 have been deployed three times; and
- 2 have been deployed four times: the 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Brigade (including components to Afghanistan) and the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade (six deployments including components to Afghanistan)
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Jolly Roger turned me on to this and there are many great, eloquent blog posts contributing. Mine's short and sweet:
Worship whatever and however you want, but religion has no place in the political process of the United States of America, period. The commingling of religion and government is unacceptable on every level.
Update (Sunday morning ... early):
Sumo directs me to her post, which lays out the nuts and bolts of why I made the statement above.
I especially get a kick of the oft-regurgitated talking point of ‘if we don’t fight them over there we’ll have to fight them over here’ and ‘they’ll follow us home if we leave now’. To this I say good, let them follow us home because I can fucking A guarantee you that the Limbaughs, the O’Reillys, the Hannitys, the Savages and the Becks along with their sycophantic angry ass clown army of losers and toadies will be cowering and pissing themselves while true Americans are out fighting THEM in the streets. Cowards like that pig fucker O’Reilly and his ilk are a dime a dozen, they’re like toilet paper – they eat shit and dissolve in water.
Though, and I agree, the shit will probably float back to the surface before it's totally flushed.
Just when I thought I was finished blogging for the day, I came across an article from tomorrow's Guardian, already online, which claims Bush offered military action on behalf of the 15 British seamen captured by Iran - and Britain told him to back off.
Even Blair has figured out that Bush's idea of diplomacy is to start a war, that he and his coterie of supporters and officials are in love with war, and that they are far more dangerous to the world's stability than any number of Iranians.
Ain't that the truth.
... If you thought the best chance of survival, to come home to your wife, husband, kids, parents, would be to put on a Howdy Doody costume and sing the Notre Dame fight song in Farsi, you would have hopped on stage faster than Sanjaya after snorting an amyl nitrate in Simon Cowell’s dressing room.
There's a difference between giving your life in defense of your nation and suicide. If the Brits would have fought back, they would have been killed, every last one of them. Their deaths would have accomplished nothing. They did what they had to in order to survive and maybe fight another day for 'Britain's Honor'. I'd like to see what these big conservative 'warriors' would have done in the same situation. Maybe we'd find out if one of them had the balls to enlist.
And as you know, I don't shill my novels here on the Brain (at least not the titles up for sale; integrity and all that), but several have asked* (those who want to order one) which they should read first. I would recommend Special Operations because it's where the little world I've created 'begins'. That is all.
*See, I do read my email ... mostly.
Friday, April 6, 2007
In the New York Post she was accused of "making a date with a terrorist." On the NewsMax site she was portrayed as "appeasing dictators in the Middle East." In the Washington Post she was ridiculed for attempting to mount a "shadow presidency." And on CNN, she was mocked for planting a "big wet kiss" on Assad as a "publicity stunt."
Yet those furious complaints were all false and, more important, beside the point. The problem is not what Pelosi did or said, but how she exposed the exhaustion of neoconservative policy.
No, the war against Pelosi is a rear-guard assault by the White House against moderates and liberals in both political parties who understand that the failed Bush policies have jeopardized American interests and hurt the Mideast peace process. What Wolf and Pelosi have in common is their endorsement of the Iraq Study Group's proposals, which emphasize regional diplomacy, including direct talks with both Syria and Iran. Indeed, it was Wolf who first approached James Baker about undertaking the Iraq report, and who sponsored the legislation that paid for the group's work.
The neoconservatives, both within and outside the White House, resent Pelosi for publicly dissenting from their ideology of war and their rejection of diplomacy. Their own vision has collapsed in ruins; they have gravely harmed the American military and discredited the ideals of democracy, and they have run out of ideas. That sucking sound is the vacuum of their minds.
Now in their bankruptcy, they can only smear those who, like Speaker Pelosi, are attempting to promote a bipartisan alternative. Let us hope she possesses the courage to continue that crucial mission.
Anything that further exposes the moral bankruptcy of Bush and his cronies is a step in the right direction. Mrs. Pelosi has more balls than a pachinko parlor, ones more of her male counterparts should have. Maybe her courage will embarrass them and embolden them to grow their own back. We can only hope.
Good on yer, Nancy m'dear.
For most Americans, the Iraq war is both distant and never ending. For Private Matthew Zeimer, it was neither. Shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, Zeimer had his first taste of combat as he scrambled to the roof of the 3rd Infantry Division's Combat Outpost Grant in central Ramadi. Under cover of darkness, Sunni insurgents were attacking his new post from nearby buildings. Amid the smoke, noise and confusion, a blast suddenly ripped through the 3-ft. concrete wall shielding Zeimer and a fellow soldier, killing them both. Zeimer had been in Iraq for a week. He had been at his first combat post for two hours.
If Zeimer's combat career was brief, so was his training. He enlisted last June at age 17, three weeks after graduating from Dawson County High School in eastern Montana. After finishing nine weeks of basic training and additional preparation in infantry tactics in Oklahoma, he arrived at Fort Stewart, Ga., in early December. But Zeimer had missed the intense four-week pre-Iraq training—a taste of what troops will face in combat—that his 1st Brigade comrades got at their home post in October. Instead, Zeimer and about 140 other members of the 4,000-strong brigade got a cut-rate, 10-day course on weapon use, first aid and Iraqi culture. That's the same length as the course that teaches soldiers assigned to generals' household staffs the finer points of table service (my em).
[...] "This is the first time we've had a voluntary Army on an extended deployment," says Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who advises his old service. "A lot of canaries are dropping dead in the mine."
A lot of soldiers are dropping dead in Iraq, too, that might not have if they had been better trained and equipped.
When I was in the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton right after Recruit Training over forty years ago, there was a huge mission statement sign that read:
"Let no man's ghost ever say we failed to do our job."
I wonder if it's still there?
Imagine, As Sung By George W. Bush
Imagine there's no congress
only me and only mine
no pesky compromising
checks & balances: goodbye
imagine all the sheeple
doing things my way...
Had he been alive now, he might have written it the same way.
Late for work, thank God Spring Break, Passover, and Easter showed up at the same time. I've been able to 'make up time' on the way. Heh ...
(Why is it ...) That in the United States (and Australia) every conservative that is in any media branch seems to be a knuckle-draggin', war mongering, ignorant, cult of personality worshipping, hypocritical asshole?
Been wondering that myself, Doc.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Klein claims, in referring to the president, that he has "tried to be respectful of the man and the office" but now he recognizes that the "defining sins" of his administration "are congenital: they’re part of his personality. They’re not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead."
I haven't been respectful of the Chimp since 1999. Maybe if guys like Klein had a little less respect for the moron over the years, we might have got him out after one term. If I did my job the way the press has done theirs, I'd be living out a refrigerator box under a bridge somewhere.
After blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria, the White House has once again been caught in a web of hypocrisy. Many top Republicans - including the Bush Administration itself - have long worked with Syria without such criticism.
George Bush must be absolutely terrified that a Democratic woman from San Francisco is upstaging him in not only the Middle East but across the globe. Even worse, Pelosi's use of diplomacy threatens to undermine Bush's tactics in Iraq and his plans for future wars. Without the facts or logic on his side, Bush's only recourse for defending himself is this hypocritical and ridiculous attack.
Outdone by a liberal grandma from Baghdad by the Bay. Oh, the horror! Ha!
Think Progress, 5 updates! My new favorite boner-puller now that Hot Tub Tom's gone:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) explains that it's okay for Republicans to visit Syria, just not Pelosi:
This is just gettin' better and better!
The Justice Department called David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, an 'absentee landlord' - a key reason listed for his firing last December. Just one problem: Iglesias, a captain in the Navy Reserve, was off teaching classes as part of the war on terror. Now Iglesias is striking back, arguing he was improperly dismissed.
But Iglesias's military service in support of what the Pentagon likes to call the Global War on Terror (GWOT) apparently didn't go down well with his superiors at the Justice Department. Recently released documents show that one reason aides to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cited in justifying the decision to fire Iglesias as U.S attorney late last year was that he was an "absentee landlord" who was spending too much time away from the office.
That explanation may create new legal problems for Gonzales and Justice. Iglesias confirmed to NEWSWEEK that he was recently questioned by lawyers for the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal watchdog agency, to determine if his dismissal was a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law that prohibits job discrimination against members of the U.S. military.
Just one more example of 'supporting the troops' by this forked-tongue administration. Rove/Gonzales are using every excuse that comes to mind to cover up their political machinations even if it breaks a law they probably aren't even aware of, and if they were aware of it, wouldn't think it applied to them because they are above that sort of thing.
This U.S. Attorney deal is the kind of stupid shit that will bring this administration down. More! More!
Did America learn anything from Vietnam? Was there a lesson in the way that war ended that could have prevented this war from starting?
You mean learn from the past? America?
What's the main lesson you take, looking back at America's history the last forty years?
There's nothing to look back to. We're dealing with the same problems now that we did then. We know from the Pentagon Papers -- and to me they were the most important documents ever written -- that from 1963 on, Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon lied to us systematically about the war. I remember how shocked I was when I read them. So . . . duh! Nothing's changed. They've just gotten better at dealing with the press. Nothing's changed at all.
Same shit, different day.
This is too much…Phoenix Fox 10 News runs a poll to see who is "the most foolish American" and the host proclaims - Britney Spears the winner! That wouldn't be surprising except that the real winner of the poll was…..drum roll please……George Bush...
What's that Richard Pryor joke: "Who are you going to believe me - or your lying eyes?" I believe Groucho Marx originated the quote...
Lying with a straight face when the on-screen graphic shows otherwise is so typical of F**. They must think their viewers are reading a book. Maybe looking at pictures...
I know the anchor bobbleheads aren't allowed to say anything in the slightest bit negative about Bush, but this one takes the cake!
Mary Ann Akers of the Washington Post explains why President Bush's recess appointment of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium may break the law:[...]
But here's the rub that makes Democrats view Bush's recess appointment of Fox as a major-league no-no: Federal law prohibits "voluntary service' in cases where the position in question has a fixed rate of pay, as an ambassadorship does. That's how the Government Accountability Office, an arm of the Democratic-controlled Congress, interprets the law.
Voluntary service? Doesn't that make Fox an intern? I guess there's more than one way to blow Bush to get something out of him.
From Bob Geiger:
The move will allow Fox to serve as Ambassador to the important European ally until Bush leaves office and just became the most hideous recess appointment since the White House inflicted John Bolton on the United Nations with the same maneuver.
And Senator Dodd said it all about the appointment that will have many people wondering if the head Swift Boat Slimeball, John O'Neill, isn't next in line to be rewarded for giving Bush four more years with which to trash our country.
Said Dodd: "This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority -- sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration."
Ahmedinejad, whether he ordered the snatch or not, was smart once he had them. He allowed the situation to become tense, so it was a front page story, paraded the prisoners before the cameras (always looking well-treated) long enough to get the war hawks here and in Britan worked into a frothing frenzy. If you've glanced at any right wing blog over the past week and a half, you'll know what I'm talking about. There were calls for nuking Iran, tactical bombing at the very least, there were calls to court martial the Brits, who did not go down fighting as opposed to 'letting' themselves be captured. They were all harkening back to 1979, predicting another 'hostage crisis', no doubt brought on by our own President referring to the captured Brits as 'hostages'.
And then Ahmedinejad let them go. Heh ... you gotta admire it. Big win for Iran.
1. The Brits were treated well and with respect. The world knows what we have done with our prisoners.
2. If you listen to their apologies they were no doubt coerced to give, and were no doubt scripted by the Iranians, you'll notice the only 'apology' given was for entering Iranian territory. They were not forced to malign Britain, or the U.S. for that matter.
3. The Iranians used the opportunity to show the world they can negotiate in good faith and are amicable to negotiations, something the Bush administration and their 'client states' have proven over and over they are not willing to do. Not the mark of a nation that is part of the 'Axis of Eeeeeevil'.
4. By taking the high road, Ahmedinejad now has more ammunition with which to thumb his nose at the world. He can also compare himself to Bush and come up smelling like a rose.
There is no way Blair or Bush can claim victory from this. There is no way to spin it that will make it look as if the Iranians caved under pressure. Our clumsy 'point of a gun' foreign policy has failed us once again and the entire world has seen it. We and the British look obtuse and inept, and that plays perfectly into Ahmendinejad's hands. I'll wager his popularity polling in Iran got a big boost.
We have a lot to learn when dealing with the Islamic world and the main thing would be to understand these are old, proud societies. They've been around far longer than we have and will be around after the U.S. of A. is long gone. They've had armies march across their land for millennia and they're still there. They'll do with us what they've always done, they'll out-wait us. Maybe now the people on the right in this country will realize that history didn't begin with World War Two, and might take a look at a history book before they whet their appetite for Imperialistic conquest.
My mother told me something a long time ago. You can catch more bees with honey ...
In 1968, my father, running for President, addressed in a speech, the White House's proposal for a troop surge in Vietnam. Robert Kennedy had initially supported the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. Forty years later, as Congress and the White House debate the further escalation of yet another war that has already claimed the lives of an astounding 640,000 Iraqis, killed 3,256 U.S. soldiers and wounded another 50,000, his words should have special resonance to those of our political leaders who are still searching for the right course in Iraq:
"I do not want--as I believe most Americans do not want--to sell out American interests, to simply withdraw, to raise the white flag of surrender. That would be unacceptable to us as a country and as a people. But I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that the course we are following at the present time is deeply wrong. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgment and desires of neutrals and our historic allies alike. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the United States or the cause of peace in the world. I am concerned that, at the end of it all, there will only be more Americans killed; more of our treasure spilled out; and because of the bitterness and hatred on every side of this war, more hundreds of thousands of [civilians] slaughtered; so they may say, as Tacitus said of Rome: "They made a desert, and called it peace." . . .
You can read the entire speech here, except for a few words it could have been given yesterday. Required reading.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on a visit to Syria opposed by the White House, said on Wednesday President Bashar al-Assad was ready to hold peace talks with Israel.
Gotta get Mrs. F from the train. See yas after dinner.
Great thanks to the wonderful Maru for the link.
The Times is getting pretty good at describing Bush. Any day now, I expect the Times and Congress to finally say outloud that President Pissypants is psycho. Then can we impeach him?
New York Times Editorial:
Mr. Bush's comments about Mr. Dowd are a reflection of the otherworldliness that permeates his public appearances these days. Mr. Bush seems increasingly isolated, clinging to a fantasy version of Iraq that is more and more disconnected from reality. He gives a frightening impression that he has never heard any voice from any quarter that gave him pause, much less led him to rethink a position.
Mr. Bush's former campaign aide showed an open-mindedness and willingness to adapt to reality that is sorely lacking in the commander in chief.
Thanks to Tennessee Guerilla Women.
Disturbing, but not surprising - Big Brother has more than a dozen cameras near George Orwell's London flat.
"George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house
On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.
Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights.
The flat's rear windows are constantly viewed from two more security cameras outside a conference centre in Canonbury Place.
In a lane, just off the square, close to Orwell's favourite pub, the Compton Arms, a camera at the rear of a car dealership records every person entering or leaving the pub.
Within a 200-yard radius of the flat, there are another 28 CCTV cameras, together with hundreds of private, remote-controlled security cameras used to scrutinise visitors to homes, shops and offices."
Story via BoingBoing.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
And this year's opium harvest will almost certainly be the largest ever. In the five years since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, land under cultivation for poppy has grown from 8,000 to 165,000 hectares.
I ain't smoked it in 25 years; I'll never forget the sweet smell and mellow head. Unfortunately, thanks to the Chimp's mismanagement and ineptitude, we're growing another generation of junkies.
Great thanks to CD @ the Wire.
10:21 - The thing about Chopin vodka is it's damned smooth. And it's a Polish potato vodka, made by organic spuds being gently squeezed between the firm thighs of hot young women in Podlasie who devote their lives to its manufacture. Until you've tasted fresh vodka off the thighs of a Podlasian potato presser, you've never really tasted it at all.
The good stuff is on either side of that, but ... well ... I have priorities. Heh ...
Bush's absence at RFK Stadium is the result of the fact that he is widely despised by the American public - and he despises it back.
It would be unthinkable for Bush or Cheney to make a spontaneous appearance in any large or even medium-sized American urban center. Massive security, armies of Secret Service and local police, bullet-proof SUVs and Black Hawk helicopters accompany both men on their forays into American and foreign cities. They move about like the heads of authoritarian regimes or invaders in hostile territory. Their handlers, with good reason, operate on the premise that there are many reasons for these men to be despised.
If either one of them went to a game, the stadium would go broke. There'd be so much security sitting in the stands for free, there'd be no room for paying fans. Beer sales would suffer as well.
In short, they don't see the obvious around them because they don't want to see it, they don't want to know. They don't want to rock the boats of the powerful because they are mortally afraid the powerful will rock theirs. Journalism has become not a den of muckrakers but a refuge for the Sergeant Schultzes of this world. They go along to get along. They have learned the secret to success is to be ineffective. And how very, very successful they are.
Sad but true.
So here is our scouting report on some of the announced and presumed contenders for the upcoming political season in which everybody has faith that if just a few breaks fall their way, and a couple of opposing teams' managers get caught peddling steroids to preschoolers or bogus opposition research to the Washington Post, they got a shot. Except the Marlins and Dennis Kucinich, that is.
7 to 2. New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Like the Yankees she's become a "fan" of, acts miffed that the nomination isn't just handed to her; that instead she has to actually compete for it.
50 to 1. Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Back on disabled list with persistent foot in mouth disease. A little too comfortable flossing with own shoelaces.
500 to 1. The Field. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. In it for the Vice Presidency. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. In it for the parties. Former Alaska Governor Mike Gravel. Who? Gravel? Alaska? Cool. In it for Secretary of the Interior.
8,000,000 to 1. Former Ohio Senator Dennis Kucinich. Could lose Iowa straw poll to the straw.
I'll take a couple bucks on Richardson at 500:1, but I think that's gonna tighten up to even money before too long. I'd mention "covering the spread" but I don't want to insult Hil!
15 to 1. Fred Thompson. Warming up in the bullpen, if needed to relieve. Of course America would never accept an actor as President. Oh.
200 to 1. Former Governor of New York, George Pataki. Bad timing. Country not ready for another President named George. Severe 3rd Degree George fatigue.
400 to 1. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Bad timing. Country not ready for another Governor of Arkansas as President. Arkansas fatigue.
5000 to 1. The Field. California Congressman Duncan Hunter. In it for 2012. Texas Congressman Ron Paul. In it for Texas. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. In it for the babies. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo. In it to get the illegals. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. In it for the cheese.
Keep in mind that it's not the odds that are important, it's the stakes. Since it's our country at stake here, no more Repugs for a coupla generations, at least 'til their war crimes are paid for.
RAF Top Guns were stunned last night after being asked to think of being Kamikaze pilots in the war on terror.
Elite fliers were shocked into silence when a senior RAF chief said they should consider suicide missions as a last resort against terrorist targets.
Last night pilots slammed the suggestion as "utter madness". One - summing up a flabbergasted "After you, Sir" reaction - said: "I'm prepared to give it a go but only if the Air Vice Marshal shows me how to do it first."
Yes, leadership is definitely called for here!
The officer, based in the Air Command bunker at High Wycombe, Bucks, gave an example of the sacrifice to be expected from a wartime Spitfire pilot if his guns had jammed and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was in a car below.
Another said: "Imagine, as you are floating skyward towards the pearly gates having parked your jet in the desert at 500 knots, that intelligence had it wrong and that the bloke driving the car was actually a plumber taking his children to school?
"Imagine trying to fly your fast pointy thing at an evading car. The bloke driving only has to swerve at the last minute and it's Goodnight Vienna, mission failed."
Brit Intel get it wrong? Never happen! (re-chortle!)
I do see some value in diving a bomb-laden fighter plane into the deck of a terrorist aircraft carrier however.
Maybe I should try to get in a shorter check-out line so I wouldn't have time to read this kinda stuff...
GOP Presidential contender John McCain, having survived his heavily guarded "walking tour" in Baghdad, declared that it's "much safer for me over there, than over here."
McCain, traveling through New Hampshire in an armed Humvee, instead of his trademark Straight-Talk Express, acknowledged that he has managed to royally piss off both the Left and the Right in this country, thus making him feel safer in a war zone filled with IEDs and mortar attacks.
McCain also held out the possibility that if he's denied the GOP nomination, he may actually seek the highest office in Iraq: "At least there, people seem to agree with my policies of a senseless war without end."
"And I just might ask Lieberman to be my running mate," McCain added. "Even though he's Jewish, I'm confident the good people of Iraq will overlook that fact, as long as he helps them continue their ancient rivalry for another millennium."
A McCain/Lieberman ticket for Iraq? I'm down wit dat!
There is nothing good about having to watch a man become completely dissociated from reality and seeing it take place in such a public forum is even less pleasant. Still, Mister McCain's goal is to be the leader of the United States and to wield all the power that comes with the position. When a nation possesses such massive power it has a moral obligation to prevent crazy people -- regardless of how and when their psychosis was triggered -- from ascending to the position of Commander-in-Chief. If George W. Bush has taught us anything, he's taught us that very painful lesson.
Frankly, John 'Crazy Train' McCain's psychosis isn't funny anymore and that is no 'April Fools' joke! Both his and Mister Bush's constant begging, "Please, give the war one more chance...just one more chance...it'll succeed. Really, this time'll be different...it'll work.... This time we'll win," is beginning to sound exactly like the psychotic ramblings of an addict trying to convince his wife not to leave: "Please, I'll be better this time...just one more chance...I'll quit. Really, this time'll be different...."
And there is nothing funny about that!
I don't think McCain even believes the things he says about Iraq. The pained expression on his face when he talks about it is not one of a true believer. I think he realizes that he's hooked his wagon to the wrong star and it's burning out, but it's too late for him to flip-flop. What brick wall? Full speed ahead!
I don't care much for flip-flopper Romney either, but the fact that he's raised more campaign cash thus far than either Julieannie or Crazy Train shows that the Repugs are going with the lesser of three evils at the moment.
Because of the dearth of plausible candidates, there are other Repugs waiting in the wings for their big chance at the Gold Ring. We don't need another Southerner, and we fer goddam sure don't need another actor.
All in all, I'm very happy with the Repug lineup just as it is. A buncha losers. That's a good thing.
BAGHDAD: Gunmen kidnapped and killed 21 Shiite workers on their way home from Baghdad to the restive province of Diyala to its north, officials and a medic said on Monday.
The workers, employed in Baghdad's popular Shorja market, were abducted on Sunday as they headed home after work by gunmen who ambushed their minibus and took them away to an unknown destination.
In case the name, "Shorja", sounds familiar, it because it is the market that McCain an Co pulled their stunt in only hours before this happened. Life in prison is too good for the whole bunch of them. Maybe life in an Iraqi prison would suit.
Wheat gluten is sold in both "food grade" and "feed grade" varieties. Either may be used in pet food, but only "food grade" gluten may be used in the manufacture of products meant for human consumption. Published reports have thus far focused on tainted pet food, but if the gluten in question entered the human food supply through a major food products supplier and processor, it could potentially contaminate thousands of products and hundreds of millions of units nationwide.
Public statements have indicated that the contaminated gluten was distributed by a single U.S. company, but since the FDA refuses to name the supplier, it is not yet known if this company also supplies human food manufacturers. It is also not yet known if Xuzhou Anying sells direct to food manufacturers in the U.S. or abroad.
While cats seem particularly susceptible to the effects of melamine poisoning, there is little research on the substance’s human toxicity. Unless and until the FDA determines otherwise, one cannot help but wonder if our sick and dying cats are merely the canary in the coal mine alerting us to a broader contamination of the human food supply. [my ems]
I may be a cynical bastid, but I'll put a crisp Benjamin ($100 U.S. for those of you in the sane world) up that the 'distributor' is a major Bush supporter.
Great thanks to Nicole @ C & L.
Monday, April 2, 2007
A suicide truck bomber killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens Monday in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, including many children from a nearby school who didn't have 100 troops, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and 2 Apache gunships to guard them.
Maj.-Gen. (Retd.) Robert H. Scales is a former commander of the US Army War College-- and also, according to Col. Pat Lang, a former 'counsellor' to D. Rumsfeld. So we should all take it very seriously that Scales writes, as he did yesterday,
the current political catfight over withdrawal dates is made moot by the above facts. We're running out of soldiers faster than we're running out of warfighting missions. The troops will be coming home soon. There simply are too few to sustain the surge for very much longer.
(Hat-tip to Pat Lang for that, anyway. Also, for the very similar message reportedly coming from Gen. Barry McCaffrey.)
Scales starts his article, which was published in the rightwing Washington Times, thus:
If you haven't heard the news, I'm afraid your Army is broken, a victim of too many missions for too few soldiers for too long...
He also writes,
The Army's collapse after Vietnam was presaged by a desertion of mid-grade officers (captains) and non-commissioned officers. Many were killed or wounded. Most left because they and their families were tired and didn't want to serve in units unprepared for war.
If we lose our sergeants and captains, the Army breaks again. It's just that simple. That's why these soldiers are still the canaries in the readiness coal-mine. And, again, if you look closely, you will see that these canaries are fleeing their cages in frightening numbers.
The lesson from this sad story is simple: When you fight a long war with a long-service professional Army, the force you begin with will not get any larger or better over the duration of the conflict. For that reason, today's conditions are pretty much irreversible. There's not much that money, goodwill or professed support for the troops can do...
Scales also makes clear that however much money Bush and the Congress want to try to throw at the Iraq problem, and however much they want to try to increase the size of the military, it is now quite simply too late to "save" the situation in Iraq.
(Lang also notes this: "MG Robert Scales has been a military analyst for Fox News, and was a counselor to Rumsfeld. He helped create the situation that he complains of now. He should go and hide somewhere and not walk abroad among the living.")
For another take on this, see Slate:
Many reservists have chosen to get out of the military, creating a manpower crisis. Reserve units now frequently deploy to Iraq as composite units, victims of so many personnel exits and transfers that their soldiers often don't even meet until they are called up to active duty. Consequently, the reserve units deploying to Iraq today are not as good as the units that went in 2003-04, and there are few reservists left to fight elsewhere should the need arise.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has said that the only thing worse than a broken army is a defeated army. But this puts the cart before the horse, because in this case, the breaking of America's military will lead to defeat, both now and later. America cannot afford to send untrained, unready, or distracted troops into complex conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pretty soon, no more Army, no more problem. Until we need them for a real purpose, not one made up by Bush and Cheney.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today issued a "stunning rebuke" to the Bush administration and "ruled that the federal government does indeed have authority to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming."
Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch writes, "The Supreme Court has confirmed that carbon dioxide can be controlled under the Clean Air Act. That means California and other states have the clear right to limit greenhouse gas emissions if the Bush administration won't."
Just for fun, write down on a piece of paper who you think the four dissenters were. You're right.
More at the link.
Marine Corps culture holds that Marines who die in combat must never be forgotten. An increasing number of Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton and other bases are living that ethic by getting memorial tattoos to comrades killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some Marines began designing their memorial tattoos when they were still in Iraq. Legend holds that the top three desires of young Marines returning from Iraq are a new motorcycle, a new tattoo and female companionship.
In that order! First things first! Yeah, they're still Jarheads!
Marine leaders tinker with traditions at their peril, never more so than when dealing with tattoos.
When Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, visited with Marines in Fallouja before Christmas, one of the first questions from the troops was about a possible change in regulations involving tattoos.
"I love that question," he told the gathering. "It's one of the most popular in the Marine Corps."
Conway said the policy would ban only new tattoos of a garish and visible nature or in areas of the body that are visible to civilians when Marines are off base — on the neck, below the wrist or near the ankle. Senior enlisted leadership suggested the change, which became effective Sunday, as a way to protect the corps' public image.
Nothing in the new policy would prohibit Marines from honoring their dead comrades with tattoos, Conway assured the troops at Camp Fallouja. A cheer went up from the more than 1,000 Marines and sailors assembled in an auditorium where Saddam Hussein once lectured his conscripts.
Just why today's Marines may be favoring memorial tattoos more than Marines of the past remains unclear. One suggestion - by a senior officer without tattoos — is that memorial tattoos show the influence of rap music, since some rap stars also get them to honor friends. Many of the Marines getting memorial tattoos already have the traditional USMC or Semper Fi or the popular abstract patterns known as "tribal" tattoos.
It's a gang thing. The Corps is more a tribe than a gang, but the reasoning is similar. Men may die, but memories live on.
I may be getting a Marine Corps tribal tattoo this year. I wish I had gotten one when I was young, but it's never too late.
By the way, the main difference between the Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts is that the Boy Scouts has adult leadership.
I have a theory about the Bush administration abuses of power that are now, finally, coming to light. Ultimately, I believe, they were driven by rising income inequality.
Let me explain.
And 'splain he do!
The Republican Party's adherence to an outdated ideology leaves it with big problems. It can't offer domestic policies that respond to the public's real needs. So how can it win elections?
The answer, for a while, was a combination of distraction and disenfranchisement.
But distraction can only go so far. So the other tool was disenfranchisement: finding ways to keep poor people, who tend to vote for the party that might actually do something about inequality, out of the voting booth.
Remember that disenfranchisement in the form of the 2000 Florida "felon purge," which struck many legitimate voters from the rolls, put Mr. Bush in the White House in the first place. And disenfranchisement seems to be what much of the politicization of the Justice Department was about.
Several of the fired U.S. attorneys were under pressure to pursue allegations of voter fraud - a phrase that has become almost synonymous with "voting while black." Former staff members of the Justice Department's civil rights division say that they were repeatedly overruled when they objected to Republican actions, ranging from Georgia's voter ID law to Tom DeLay's Texas redistricting, that they believed would effectively disenfranchise African-American voters.
The good news is that all the G.O.P.'s abuses of power weren't enough to win the 2006 elections. And 2008 may be even harder for the Republicans, because the Democrats - who spent most of the Clinton years trying to reassure rich people and corporations that they weren't really populists - seem to be realizing that times have changed.
A week before the Republican candidates trooped to Palm Beach to declare their allegiance to tax cuts, the Democrats met to declare their commitment to universal health care. And it's hard to see what the G.O.P. can offer in response.
The public is wising up to the fact that the Repugs don't give a damn about anybody that can't line their pockets and keep them in power. Not only are they just plain mean-spirited, they're mostly stupid and incompetent as well.
Sen. John McCain strolled briefly through an open-air market in Baghdad today in an effort to prove that Americans are "not getting the full picture" of what's going on in Iraq.
NBC's Nightly News provided further details about McCain's one-hour guided tour. He was accompanied by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead." Still photographs provided by the military to NBC News seemed to show McCain wearing a bulletproof vest during his visit. Watch it:
I'll bet there was another rifle company or two on the perimeter as well.
Strangely reminiscent of a "County Fair" in another troubled land long ago and far away...
County Fair was a combination of military, civic and psychological warfare actions to reestablish the Vietnamese government control over the populace of a given area. It was designed to flush the Viet Cong from the community in which they were a parasite, while at the same time insuring that the populace was not alienated towards the government. Military actions were accompanied by a vigorous civic action program which attempted to convince the population that the government was interested in the welfare of the people and that a governments victory over the Viet Cong was inevitable.
It worked great! In the CAP the Marines stayed, sometimes for many months, recruited locals to fight the VC, got medical care for the locals, etc., etc. Then the Marines left...
Well, here was McCain strolling, strutting in fact, in Baghdad. And he wasn't done yet. At the presser, McCain, who was testy throughout, pointed out that the delegation had driven into town from the airport, rather than fly in Blackhawk helicopters like most VIPs. He also cited a drop in the murder rate as a sign of progress and got in one final dig: "American people are not getting the full picture of what's happening here." No guesses who McCain blames for that. "The media has a responsibility to report all aspects of what's taking place," he said.
Yes, the media again. In the interest of presenting the full picture then, I think it should be pointed out that McCain and his fellow senators were accompanied to the market by a small army, upwards of 50 soldiers according to a source who accompanied the group on the stroll. Just another day at the market. And even though McCain cited a drop in violence, Agence France Presse on Sunday quoted an Iraqi official who reported a 15 percent increase in violence across Iraq in March. According to their tally, 2,078 civilians, cops and soldiers were killed last month, 272 more fatalities than in February.
In any case, it didn't take the insurgents long to send their reply. Less then 30 minutes after McCain wrapped up, a barrage of half a dozen mortars peppered the boundaries of the Green Zone, where the senators held their press conference. Though he was argumentative, McCain wasn't completely out of touch on Sunday. Admitting "we have a long way to go," the 2008 presidential candidate acknowledged that previous rosy assessments have been inaccurate. "I'm not saying 'mission accomplished,' 'last throes' or 'dead enders.'"
Where's the outrage, America? Why aren't the streets full of angry people? Our taxes are paying for stunts like this while our young men and women are dying. We are losing a generation while our taxes pay for 2 pols to play games in Baghdad at our expense. Would the six solidiers that died while this was happening still be alive if troops hadn't been deployed to protect McCain and Graham while they pretended to be safe? Where's the outrage, America? When are you going to rise up and tell your Representatives and Senators that you want this outrage to be over, that you want Bush and company in shackles and the beginning of the restoration of some semblance of normalcy. When, America? It had better be soon or there won't be a second chance.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Disclaimer: I got all excited when I read the following, but while I was doing my actual thinking for the day and reading my Old Farmer's Almanac, I remembered what day it is. Take this with a grain of salt until it proves out, but pray it's so.
From Jurassicpork with links to his sources:
WASHINGTON – The first article of impeachment against President George W. Bush was passed by the House Judiciary Committee in an emergency special session late Saturday (my em). The article appears to have been prompted by new evidence that the FBI had abused its power under the direction of the president, who had blocked further investigations into the matter. Each of the thirty nine members of the committee seemingly voted along party lines on the measure, which passed by a vote of 22-17.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has issued a statement on the allegations being brought forth; though a full disclosure on the charges of "high crimes and misdemeanors" against the president will be made available to the public during a Monday press conference scheduled at 11AM EST.
Yes, it's finally coming true. The reason this hasn't made the papers yet is because the House Judiciary Committee was up so late drafting the articles of impeachment that the morning editions have already been put to bed. And the talking bobbleheads on tne Sunday morning circuit are either blissfully unaware of it or are ignoring it.
But it's true. It's all true, people. Even if we can't get enough votes in the Senate to convict by impeachment, which unfortunately sounds likely, the House just writing up the articles of impeachment is a huge vote of no confidence from the House. Once this story breaks and spreads, the people will see it and it will be the beginning of a new attitude against the fascist fuck squatting in the West Wing.
Stay tuned as developments come in. I gotta go and buy a bottle of bubbly.
I have nothing more to say about this until we find out if it's for real.
The Left believes in the Rule of Law laid down by our Founders in the Constitution. They want this nation to run the way it was intended.
The Right believes the Constitution is toilet paper. They want to run the country, period.
AUSTIN, Tex., March 29 — In 1999, Matthew Dowd became a symbol of George W. Bush’s early success at positioning himself as a Republican with Democratic appeal.
A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington. He switched parties, joined Mr. Bush’s political brain trust and dedicated the next six years to getting him to the Oval Office and keeping him there. In 2004, he was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist.
Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.
In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership. [more . . .]
A tip of the Jersey homburg to Ken C. for the link.