Saturday, December 16, 2006

Three military casualties this week confirmed

SSDD (same shit - different day). We're losing more and more people in Iraq and our fucking decider has decided to postpone his decision. So we can look forward to many more such reports as our forces fall.
Three more U.S. service members died in fighting this week, the military said Friday, raising to 54 the number of Americans killed in Iraq in December -- nearly half of them in Al-Anbar, the volatile province west of Baghdad.

The month is shaping up to be one of the deadliest for Americans since the war started, especially for those trying to tame the Sunni-led insurgency in Al-Anbar.

At least 25 of the U.S. troops killed this month -- most Marines -- died in the vast stretch of desert that extends from the capital to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Three U.S. aircraft also went down in a span of two weeks, starting with the crash of a fighter jet on Nov. 27.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

This Is Disgusting

Of course true nationalists and most Repugs will pooh pooh it, but this isn't how most Americans believe their government operates. And they would be wrong.
A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the CIA station chief in Rome paid a visit to the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Adm. Gianfranco Battelli, to float a proposal: Would the Italian secret services help the CIA kidnap terrorism suspects and fly them out of the country?

The CIA man did not identify which targets he had in mind but was "expressly referring to the possibility of picking up a suspected terrorist in Italy, bringing him to an airport and sending him from there to a foreign country," Battelli, now retired, recalled in a deposition.


This initial secret contact and others that followed, disclosed in newly released documents, show the speed and breadth with which the CIA applied in post-9/11 Europe a tactic it had long reserved for the Third World -- "extraordinary rendition," the extrajudicial abduction of Islamic radicals overseas for interrogation in friendly countries.

A year after the first contact, the CIA officer held another meeting with his Italian counterparts, this time sharing a list of more than 10 "dangerous people" the agency was tracking in Italy, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, according to a deposition from Gen. Gustavo Pignero, another high-ranking Italian military intelligence official. "It was clear that this was an aggressive search project, that their willingness to employ illicit means was clear," Pignero said, adding that the list was later destroyed and he could not recall the names.

Now in the US, thanks to the Lindberg Law, kidnappers can be put to death. It specifies state lines must be crossed, but I would think national boundries would also qualify.

What about, say, arresting people and then extraditing them? Seems a whole lot more open, legal and effective to me. Just asking.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Shame on all of you

Ain't if funny how the "favoured" get a free ride whereas the "others" don't?
A senior Iranian official said Friday it is shameful for the world to turn a blind eye to remarks made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, interpreted by some as an admission that Israel has nuclear weapons. [emphasis mine]

Well lets see. Hmmm. How could anyone come away with that interpretation? Maybe because this is what he said.
In a German TV interview aired Monday, Olmert said: "Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?" [emphasis mine]

OK. This did come from which is an Israeli site, but still. There's no need to interpret anything here.

(read more)

Cat Blogging

Nope. No cat, but I did own an old English sheepdog once upon a time.

For your reading enjoyment

if you have the time. Its titled Why I Hate WW II. Very interesting.

The word is "surge" and you'll hear it often from the GOP

The new plan of attack is a "surge".
Military planners and White House budget analysts have been asked to provide President Bush with options for increasing American forces in Iraq by 20,000 or more. The request indicates that the option of a major “surge” in troop strength is gaining ground as part of a White House strategy review, senior administration officials said Friday.


Discussion of increasing the number of American troops, at least temporarily, has coursed through Washington for two months, as a possible way to reverse the deteriorating security situation in Baghdad. But the decision to ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to specify where the additional forces could be found among overstretched Army, Marine and National Guard units, and to seek a cost estimate from the White House Office of Management and Budget, signifies a turn in the debate.

Officials said that the options being considered included the deployment of upwards of 50,000 additional troops, but that the political, training and recruiting obstacles to an increase larger than 20,000 to 30,000 troops would be prohibitive.

At present, only about 17,000 American soldiers are actively involved in the effort to secure Baghdad, so even the low end of the proposals being considered by military and budget officials could more than double the size of that force. If adopted, such an increase would be a major departure from the current strategy advocated by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., which has stressed stepping up the training of Iraqi forces and handing off to them as soon as possible. [emphasis mine]

Wow, so much in that little snippet.

Let's start with that "major departure" and compare that to this Bush quote.
And I'm going to continue to rely upon those commanders, such as General Casey, who is doing a fabulous job and whose judgment I trust, and that will determine -- his recommendations will determine the number of troops we have on the ground in Iraq.

Please note that link is to the White House and should be authentic. So he'll listen to Casey. Well, not so much.

Then we have this from June 5, 2005 and I doubt the situation has improved.
When summer wildfires burn out of control in the vast forests of the Rocky Mountains, the Montana National Guard has always been available to act as a fire force of last resort, sending its soldiers deep into the wilderness to help fire crews, protect evacuated property, and transport supplies to the front lines.

But as fire season approaches this year, the Montana Guard faces what its commander describes as an ''unprecedented" shortage of firefighters and helicopters, prompting the state's governor, Democrat Brian Schweitzer, to ask the Pentagon to return more of the state's troops from Iraq this summer for what he fears could be a particularly dangerous fire season.

Then there's the fact US can't afford what Afganistan and Iraq are costing already. This headline is from Jan. 26, 2005. Again, the situation has not improved.
U.S. coffers hemorrhaging from increased war spending

Then there's this little problem.
U.S. military troops with severe psychological problems have been sent to Iraq or kept in combat, even when superiors have been aware of signs of mental illness, a newspaper reported for Sunday editions.

The Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq.

Then there's this little gem.
Field upon field of more than 1,000 battered M1 tanks, howitzers and other armored vehicles sit amid weeds here at the 15,000-acre Anniston Army Depot -- the idle, hulking formations symbolic of an Army that is wearing out faster than it is being rebuilt.

The Army and Marine Corps have sunk more than 40 percent of their ground combat equipment into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to government data. An estimated $17 billion-plus worth of military equipment is destroyed or worn out each year, blasted by bombs, ground down by desert sand and used up to nine times the rate in times of peace. The gear is piling up at depots such as Anniston, waiting to be repaired.

And, from that same article.
The depletion of major equipment such as tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and especially helicopters and armored Humvees has left many military units in the United States without adequate training gear, officials say. Partly as a result of the shortages, many U.S. units are rated "unready" to deploy, officials say, raising alarm in Congress and concern among military leaders at a time when Iraq strategy is under review by the White House and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Bush's plan doesn't sound so good if you live in the world of reality now does it? Just asking.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Quote of the day

Must Read IMHO

Putting the invasions of Afganistan and Iraq on a credit card has always made sense to Bush because that's the only way he ever pays in private life. But, he also had the cash to pay the bills when due. Now he doesn't. That's to be left to future generations of Americans.

This a rather long snippet of an excellent article. It addresses issues ignored by most people and all of the Bush gang.
Believe it or not, winning the war in Iraq was never the Bush administration’s highest priority. Saving its tax cuts was more important. That was once spoken of as a moral problem. Now, it’s a practical barrier to a successful outcome.

Until recently, President Bush’s refusal to scale back any of his tax cuts was debated around the question of shared sacrifice: How could we ask so much from a courageous group of Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but not ask even the wealthiest of their fellow citizens to part with a few extra dollars to support an endeavor supposedly central to our nation’s security? On the contrary, even after we committed to war in Iraq, the administration pushed for yet more tax cuts in dividends and capital gains.

Now we know that the decision to put the war on a credit card is not simply a moral question. The administration’s failure to acknowledge the real costs of the war—and to pay them—has put it in a corner.

The president’s options in Iraq are severely constrained because our military is too small for the foreign policy he is pursuing. Sending more troops to Iraq would place even more excruciating burdens on members of our armed forces and their families. And the brass fears that an extended new commitment could, quite simply, break the Army.

Yet instead of building up our military for a long engagement and levying the taxes to pay for such an enterprise, the administration kept issuing merry reports of progress in Iraq. Right through Election Day this year, the president continued to condemn anyone who dared suggest that maybe, just maybe, we should raise taxes to pay for this war.

I think it would be a mistake to send more troops to Iraq. But for the sake of argument, let’s take seriously the idea that doing so might help, as Sen. John McCain and other staunch advocates of the war insist. By not matching the military’s size to what we are asking it to do, we have hugely raised the costs, including the human costs, of such a policy.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

More and more troops, understandably, want to come home

Active duty military members are getting more organized about requesting Congress to get them home ASAP.
For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq. (Note: A complete version of this report will appear next week in the print and online editions of The Nation.)

After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet, the Appeal for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto, has already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are on active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300 active-duty military personnel signed an open letter in the New York Times opposing the war in Vietnam, has there been such a dramatic barometer of rising military dissent.

I do have a question. The military already blocks websites it doesn't want the troops to see (read lefty sites), so how long will it be before they block the Appeal for Redress site?

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

The 2nd Brigade of 82nd Airborne Division bound for Kuwait?

The additional troops for Iraq seem to be for real.
The U.S. military is planning to move a brigade of troops into Kuwait in what could be the first step of a short-term surge of American forces into Iraq to stabilize the violence.

The 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is expected in Kuwait shortly after the new year, a senior Defense Department official told The Associated Press on Friday. The official requested anonymity because the plans had not yet been announced.

The 2nd Brigade, made up of roughly 3,500 troops, is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and would be deployed in Iraq early next year if needed, the official said. The move would be part of an effort to boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq for a short time, the official said. The plan was first reported by CBS News.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Another characterization of American public opinion

I stole this whole article from
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow this week: “The president believes that in putting together a way forward he will be able to address a lot of the concerns that the American public has, the most important of which is, "What is your plan for winning?"

As I’ve noted here and here, it is difficult to find the evidence to support this characterization of American public opinion (Snow’s comment is similar to those made recently by other Bush administration officials, including President Bush himself and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.)

There have been at least nine national polls about Iraq conducted over the last two weeks. I don’t see the evidence that developing a plan for winning is Americans’ most important concern about Iraq.

Americans may be interested in knowing what the administration’s plans are. Americans may endorse the idea that winning in the abstract is a good thing. But the data suggest that the most important concern Americans have about Iraq is: What is the plan for getting the U.S. out of Iraq? There is near universal consensus across all the recent polls that Americans want a timetable for withdrawal, and would like that timetable to set a pace for American troops to be withdrawn within two years.

Yeah I'm lazy, but not so much this time because it took a lot of mouse clicks to steal this.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Yes Laura, things are going great in Iraq

How stupid can that woman be? Dumb question. She married George.
U.S. and Iraqi forces are struggling to ease sectarian tension in one of Iraq's most volatile areas where much of the population seeking security turns to terrorists, not Iraqi troops or police, a U.S. commander said on Friday.

Army Col. David Sutherland, commander of forces in Iraq's Diyala province, said suspicions of corruption within the Iraqi forces increased support for terrorist groups.

"Public perceptions of corruption, inequity and fear are the driving force behind support to terrorist organizations," Sutherland, speaking on a video link from Baquba, Iraq, told Pentagon reporters.

The Iraqi security force is heavily Shi'ite in Diyala, which is majority Sunni and a major center of sectarian hatred in Iraq.

Attacks on Shi'ites by Sunni insurgents linked to al Qaeda and reprisals by both sides have surged since the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra in February.

"Some political groups and tribal leaders are turning to terrorist and insurgent organizations for protection," Sutherland said. "This sort of unity only worsens the sectarian divide and encourages further violence.

And just how well is Sutherland's career going to go from here on? Just asking.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Friday, December 15, 2006

This is just too scary

Funny how Hollywood can foretell the future. Well no funny at all in this case. Have you seen Minority Report?
The purpose of data mining is not to check individuals' personal information against information about known terrorists, or those suspected of terrorism on "reasonable grounds" as they cross borders, send emails or access public services. The purpose of it is to predict who might be a terrorist -- a little like the film "Minority Report," in which officials stop criminal acts before they happen by reading people's minds. However, the technology that is being used today falls far short of the technology of Hollywood fantasy.

First, the information on which data mining or risk scoring depend is often inaccurate, lacking context, dated, or incomplete. And like the ATS program, data mining and risk scoring programs never contain a mechanism by which individuals can correct, contextualize or object to the information that is being used against them, or even know what it is. Operating on a "preemption" principle, these systems are uninterested in this kind of precision. They would be bogged down if they were held to the ordinary standards of access, accuracy, and accountability. Secondly, the criteria used to sort masses of data will always be over-inclusive and mechanical. Data mining is like assessing guilt by "Google" key-word searches. And since these systems use broad markers for predicting terrorism, ethnic and religious profiling are endemic to them.

(read more)

Oh just great

Bush and his thugs have discovered another country they can piss off. Jesus H Christ on a pogo stick, can't they slow down in their efforts to estrange US from every country in the world?
Somalia's powerful Islamists have accused the United States of seeking to divide their movement by claiming it had been taken over by Al-Qaeda militants.

The Islamists, who are girding for all-out war with the weak Ethiopian-backed Somali government, said Washington was carrying out a smear campaign to split the movement and hurt its popularity.

"America wants to divide us by saying some of us are Al-Qaeda operatives," said Sheikh Abdurahim Ali Muddey, the spokesman for the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS) on Friday.

"We have no hardliners ... and America is just intending to derail stability in Somalia," Muddey said. "We have only one motive and that is we want our country safe and at peace."

(read more)

Cat blogging

The world's first cloned cat just became a mother - and she even did it without test tubes. Copy Cat, who was cloned by Texas A&M University researchers in 2001, had three kittens in September. Mother and kittens are doing well, said Duane Kraemer, an A&M veterinary medicine professor who helped clone her and has been taking care of her since.

You thought they are mine? Hahaha. You aren't a regular visitor then. I have no cat. Never will. Well maybe a Siberian tiger. That would be kewl.

(read more)

I find myself in the majority on this one

I've never understood why the US has such fear of or hatred for Cuba. Yes, I would prefer they did not have a communist government and wasn't thrilled about the missles Kennedy had to get rid of, but they are a tiny country which poses no threat to US. Live and let live.
A recent Gallup Poll finds two in three Americans endorse the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba. Americans' support for diplomacy with the island nation is higher now than it has been in recent years, but Americans have been more likely to support rather than oppose relations for the better part of the past three decades. A majority of both Democrats and Republicans support the idea, although support is somewhat stronger among Democrats. While Americans support a diplomatic relationship with Cuba, a review of Gallup polling finds that a strong majority of Americans have tended to view the country unfavorably over the past 10 years.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

What is it with this surge in celebrities exposing themselves?

There was Britney Spears and now Jordan. There've been a couple others, but I couldn't find the links. For those who can't click on the links, basically these females are going sans underwear and sitting in cars with their legs open or at least with very short skirts. Of course the paparazzi love it and take the photos.



Now I provide these links for one reason only. I hate it when a story omits a picture when it is vital to the story, like that peace wreath thingie. So here and here they are.

Think the warning not to click was a little over-the-top? I just wanted to make sure you knew what was coming.

Bush has created a comprehensive catastrophe across the Middle East

And Timothy Garton Ash writing for the Guardian Unlimited has a comprehensive outline of just what Bush has done wrong there.
What an amazing bloody catastrophe. The Bush administration's policy towards the Middle East over the five years since 9/11 is culminating in a multiple train crash. Never in the field of human conflict was so little achieved by so great a country at such vast expense. In every vital area of the wider Middle East, American policy over the last five years has taken a bad situation and made it worse.

If the consequences were not so serious, one would have to laugh at a failure of such heroic proportions - rather in the spirit of Zorba the Greek who, contemplating the splintered ruins of his great project, memorably exclaimed: "Did you ever see a more splendiferous crash?"

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

And more irony

No comment.
Back in 2004, Police Officer Greg Heiken got an award from the Illinois Department of Transportation for making the most DUI arrests in his county.

It's a very different story now, as Heiken, 37, faces a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol in a crash that left 10 people hurt.

(read more)

Are the Dems still jealous of the GOP?

Are they so jealous they intend to mirror their incompetence with incompetence of their own? This sounds exactly like things Bush would do.
As you are surely aware by now, when asked by CQ's national security editor whether al Qaeda is Sunni or Shia, Mr. Reyes answered, “Predominantly -- probably Shiite.” As the reporter clarified in print with more than a trifle disgust: "He couldn't have been more wrong. Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni" (italics original. The secular split, incidentally, was over Mohammed's proper line of succession. The Shia -- a word meaning "followers of Ali" -- believe in a family bloodline or God's appointed imams, while Sunnis -- from "followers of the Prophet's traditions" -- believe in a meritocratic line, which was, in fact, how the first caliph was chosen).

There's no reason you should have known that, but every reason an intelligence chair should have.


Just as embarrassing is Nancy Pelosi's peculiar mismanagement. Wouldn't you, as speaker of the House, want to grill your appointee to head the intelligence committee before appointing him? Wouldn't you first want to know what he knows about the troublemakers in trouble spots in which young Americans are dying daily? Wouldn't you insist on subject proficiency? Wouldn't you want to vet his knowledge at least a smidgeon, before presenting him as a principal Democratic face of a "New Direction"?

If Pelosi did vet this hapless, $165,200-a-year featherweight, she should have dismissed his consideration out of hand. If she didn't bother, she has no business appointing anybody to anything.

(read more)

The War On Christmas™

Ready to attack from all directions.

Is this what the religious right was hoping for?

Murder by young people of young people who don't display enough masculinity or femininity is on the rise.
Over the past 10 years, more than 50 young people aged 30 and under were violently murdered by assailants who targeted them because they did not fit stereotypes for masculinity or femininity. The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) today released the groundbreaking human rights report "50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America's Youth" documenting this tide of murderous violence and the key demographics of its victims and their assailants.

"While many youth who don't fit gender stereotypes for masculinity or femininity face harassment or bullying, when it comes to gender-based murder the victims are specific and consistent," said Riki Wilchins, GenderPAC executive director. "They were mostly black or Latina, were biologically male and presenting with some degree of femininity, and were killed by other young males in attacks of extraordinary and often multiple acts of violence."

The report has spurred a new coalition of civil and human rights organizations including Amnesty International (USA), Global Rights, Human Rights Campaign, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Organization for Women, International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, Safe Schools Coalition, National Education Association's Health Information Network and the US Human Rights Network. These organizations are joining together in educating the public and calling upon policy-makers and law enforcement officials to address the underlying cause of gender-based violence.

"Aggression and violence have become acceptable ways of policing gender performance and punishing the transgression of gender boundaries in American culture. These deaths were often the result of young men using lethal violence to enforce standards of masculinity on other young males who didn't meet cultural expectations of masculinity - especially when they were transgender or gay," said Dr. Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology at Stony Brook University.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

A stupid question

There will be more of these.

This is a story about how election reform organizations are pushing to require paper ballots for all votes cast — a laudable effort.
Responding to the electronic voting machine failures that marred the 2006 elections, 34 non-partisan election reform organizations launched a new campaign today urging Congress to enact legislation requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast. They expect this grassroots campaign to have broad public support and generate thousands of emails to the incoming Congress.

Many of the organizations have previously supported voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPAT), but now, like other citizens across the country, they recognize that electronic voting machines have been a national mistake.

"The e-voting machines are a threat to democracy. Putting a VVPAT on them is nothing more than a band- aid. It's like requiring a seat belt in a Ford Pinto. What good does it do when the Pinto explodes?" said Brad Friedman, who co-founded one of the organizations participating in the campaign.

The stupid question: Why are there at least 34 non-partisan election reform organizations? Seems to me there's a crying need for consolidation there.

(read more)

In order we never lose sight

One power behind the throne

This is a must read IMHO. A snippet.
"A president as stupid, venal, and petty as George W. Bush...
By Matt Stoller | AlterNet Dec 14, 2006

...doesn't get elected and reelected without some serious institutional forces at work." The Chamber of Commerce, run by corrupt lobbyist Tom Donahue, has turned into a pay-to-play vehicle for right-wing causes and corporate dishonesty.


Now, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce itself is a powerhouse. According to the New York Times, the Chamber has more than three million members, from businesses of every size, sector and region; its 2,800 affiliated state and local chambers give it a presence in nearly every state and Congressional district. It spent more than $53 million o­n lobbying in 2004, more than any organization has ever spent in a year. In 2004, it deployed 215 people in 31 states, sent 3.7 million pieces of mail, made 5.6 million phone calls and sent more than 30 million e-mail messages o­n behalf of its candidates.


Despite the obvious interest small businesses have in a free and open internet, the Chamber of Commerce opposes net neutrality. The Chamber wants to weaken or eliminate the Family and Medical Leave Act, the minimum wage, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. They want to cut every possible tax despite massive deficits, privatize Social Security, and just generally pursue the right-wing agenda down the line. Far from a business-friendly umbrella group for its 3 million members, the Chamber under Donahue's management has turned into a pay-to-play vehicle for right-wing causes and corporate dishonesty. As Eliot Spitzer put it, ''Tom Donohue has never o­nce found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by o­ne of his dues-paying members."

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Three in Five Lebanese Have Negative Opinion of U.S.

And that too can be laid right at Bush's doorstep. By backing the Israelis in their war on Lebanon, he caused the Lebanese to dislike US and to embrace Hezbollah.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Now this is irony

No comment.
A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

(read more)

Tony Snow To David Gregory: "I Was Wrong" And "I'm Sorry For It"

Not much to say about this. I really just wanted to capture what may be the only admission of a mistake you will ever hear from Tony Snow.

He was apologizing for saying David Gregory was being partisan when he quoted a passage from the ISG report.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

What does it take? They won't listen

Just what the world needs, another repug president who already is saying "FUCK YOU!" to the American and Iraqi people.
Sen. John McCain took his controversial proposal for curbing Iraq's sectarian violence to Baghdad on Thursday, calling for an additional 15,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops and joining a congressional delegation in telling Iraq's prime minister he must break his close ties with a radical Shiite cleric.

The lawmakers' trip came as the bloodshed showed no signs of abating. At least 74 more people were killed or found dead, including 65 bullet-riddled bodies bearing signs of torture. And gunmen in military uniforms kidnapped as many as 70 shopkeepers and bystanders from a commercial area in central Baghdad in what was apparently an attack against Sunnis; at least 25 were later released, police said.

McCain's position puts him at odds with American public opinion and with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which recommended withdrawing substantial number of U.S. troops over the coming year. The Army in recent days has been looking at how many additional troops could be sent to Iraq if President Bush decides a surge in forces would be helpful.

And as for his demands on the PM, well its obvious McCain knows as little about the Mid-East as does that idiot Bush.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kewl. Pun intended

Ya gotta see these.

If Bush believed in science he could be pursuing this

All taken from the Aquygen™ website.

“I believe that water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light, of an intensity of which coal is not capable.”

-- Jules Verne
The Mysterious Island (1874)

Our Aquygen™ is a novel gas produced inexpensively from water. It is a superior replacement for oxyacetylene in most welding, cutting, and heating applications but can be used with standard equipment. Used as an additive to any standard fuel, Aquygen™ increases BTUs while decreasing emissions, dramatically improving the efficiency and cleanliness of transportation and power generation within the existing fueling and energy infrastructure.


For vehicle manufacturers, power suppliers, and anyone who burns large quantities of petroleum-based or natural gas fuels, Aquygen™ is a fuel additive that can significantly increase energy production and efficiency while decreasing polluting emissions. Unlike other alternative energy sources, Aquygen™ is an evolutionary technology that requires minimal modifications to existing systems to produce tremendous benefits.

This is one answer to our energy needs, but then it would probably result in a reduced need for oil. Oops. I didn't really say that like it would be a good thing.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

One family's tragedy

Photo courtesy Michelle Sandoval

They aren't just cannon fodder.

This is a story about one soldier, but it is not at all unusual. Frank is an example of what Bush's illegal invasions of Afganistan and Iraq have wrought.
Who had Frank Sandoval become?

Where was the tough soldier who wouldn't quit?

Michelle Sandoval broke down in tears, her brave front shattered as she tried to describe the man her husband had been before that awful day.

Frankie was someone who never gave up. He wouldn't make excuses and he didn't accept them. He always encouraged their young daughter by saying: I don't want to hear you say, ``I can't.'' Just do it.

Now, she was watching him cry and plead those haunting words: I can't.

Frankie never would have done that before.

It was late January, and they had just arrived at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto. Frank could sit up in his wheelchair for only a few minutes. He couldn't feel or control much of his left side. His speech was nearly unintelligible.

And there was the more obvious evidence of his terrible wound: The right side of his head was sunken like a deflated basketball.

Frank now was a face of the modern war casualty. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury -- the emblematic wound of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. These devastating injuries have forever altered the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers and Marines, leaving their futures uncertain.

Like Frank's.

It wasn't his physical impairments that upset her most, a tearful Michelle told Harriet Zeiner, a VA neuropsychologist. It was that Frankie seemed not to remember who he really was.

That, Zeiner believed, could be the cruelest part of a brain injury. Losing a sense of who you are.

No one knows how the journey of Frank Sandoval will end. But this is how it began.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

The news out of Baghdad gets worse all the time

You remember Baghdad, that city which has been targeted with intense efforts to bring control? Except for daring daylight raids that is. Oh yeah, and the car and suicide bombings. Can't forget those.
Gunmen in military uniforms kidnapped dozens of people today from a commercial area in central Baghdad.

The attackers drove up to the busy al-Sanak area in about 10 SUVs and began rounding up shop owners and bystanders.

Two police officers said 50 to 70 people were abducted.

The assault came nearly a month after gunmen in Interior Ministry commando uniforms abducted scores of men from a Higher Education Ministry office building.

It also adds to the confusion when gunmen don military garb. No one knows if its really the military or imposters.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

U.S. trade deficit narrows for a second month

One may ask why this is so. Well hold on. Here's your answer.
Exports have been aided by a decline in the value of the American dollar, which has made U.S. products more competitive in world markets.


The softer dollar is making American goods cheaper for buyers overseas, and together with strengthening economies abroad, it may be contributing to a pickup in exports. The dollar is down 4.8 percent so far this year against a trade-weighted basket of currencies from the biggest U.S. trading partners. [emphasis mine]

Pretty simple really. Bush is destroying the value of US currency. Does a buck go very far for you these days? Just asking.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Iraq has always been about the oil

I won't belabour the point except for this:

"Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was..."

-- Talking Heads

Almost daily there are new confirmations of this fact.
Washington at large and President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in particular may apply every contortionist trick in the geopolitical book to save their skins in Iraq - and the reasons are not entirely political.

In addition to the recently released report by the Iraq Study Group, any other Washington establishment report - Pentagon, State Department, think-tanks - considered by the White House cannot deviate from much of the ISG. There can be no firm timeline for a complete US withdrawal because it all depends on Iraq's new oil law being passed and US troops being able to defend Big Oil's investment.

Once again, it's the oil. The Bush-Cheney system by all accounts went to Iraq to grab those fabulous reserves. The only way for an overall solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up the oil - with no preconditions, turning the US into an honest broker. Realpolitik practitioners know this is not going to happen.

Instead, the ISG is explicitly in favor of privatizing Iraq's oil industry - to the benefit of Anglo-American Big Oil - after the impending passage of a new oil law that was initially scheduled to be passed this month by the Iraqi Parliament.

For Big Oil, the new oil law is the holiest of holies: once the exploitation of Iraq's fabulous resources is in the bag, "security" is just a minor detail. Enter the ISG's much-hyped provision of US troops remaining in Iraq until an unclear date to protect not the Iraqi population, but Big Oil's supreme interests. This is really what ISG co-head James Baker means by "responsible transition"

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast

Do any names come to mind?

Know thine enemy

Some days it seems like paranoia is only intelligent.

First it was net neutrality which is still in limbo and now this.
John McCain has made clear that he doesn’t like the blogosphere.

Now he has introduced legislation that would treat blogs like Internet service providers and hold them responsible for all activity in the comments sections and user profiles. Some highlights of the legislation:

– Commercial websites and personal blogs “would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000.

– Internet service providers (ISPs) are already required to issue such reports, but under McCain’s legislation, bloggers with comment sections may face “even stiffer penalties” than ISPs.

— Social networking sites will be forced to take “effective measures” — such as deleting user profiles — to remove any website that is “associated” with a sex offender. Sites may include not only Facebook and MySpace, but also, which permits author profiles and personal lists, and blogs like DailyKos, which allows users to sign up for personal diaries. [emphasis in original]

The fact is, part of what makes blogs what they are is the comments section. Many bloggers started out as commenters and were then encouraged to start up their own blogs.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

On the subject of typos

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A simple quck question

Do you want any POTUS, whether Dem or Repug or Communist or Libertarian or Whit to have the power Bush has assumed is his right? If so, you are an idiot.

The US doesn't need a dictator, but it has one now. Only you can prevent forest fires this usurpation of the Constitution.

Sorry I was absent

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast asked me to guest post while she was lounging away on vacation.

Unfortunately, I seem to be jinxed. I was asked to guest post before. After two days I broke my wrist and couldn't type to save my life. Then came Jill's offer. Fine, I posted a couple times and got hit with a horrible storm that knocked out my electricity for 5 days. Arghhh!!!

I'm game. If ever offered another chance to guest post I'll accept but, should I get hit by a bus I'll take that as God's way of saying: Thou shalt not guest post. Keepeth to thine own blog.