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Current Topic: Current Events

RE: Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1 - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
Topic: Current Events 10:04 am EDT, Sep 30, 2008

Decius wrote:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North...

...this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

This has the conspiracy theorists a twitter. On the eve of a major presidential election and in the midst of a financial crisis, a U.S. Army Infantry Division has, for the first time in U.S. history, been assigned to a permanent domestic deployment without a mission to respond to a specific disaster or crisis. They're here, you know, just in case.

This is interesting:


They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.


The military has performed house to house clearing exercises in urban areas for years with civilian actors. Sounds like they're ready to start putting it to action with formal domestic operations, you know, just in case.

I thought this is what the National Guard was for, but what do I know?

Maybe this is a new model in the perpetual global war on terror: Bring the troops home for a little bit of a recharge but keep them hot with respect to urban skills so they don't lose their edge.

RE: Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1 - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times

Your Only Hope: An Open Letter To Fannie and Freddie Shareholders
Topic: Current Events 11:40 pm EDT, Sep  7, 2008

Dear Fannie and Freddie Shareholders,

You are screwed big time. I don't know what possessed you to continue to hold Fannie or Freddie common stock in recent weeks, when it was clear that Treasury Secretary Paulson was not going to protect the common stock in a bailout. You obviously weren't reading EPJ. I warned in July, that common stockholders in the two firms would be diluted down to near zero in the bailout. Maybe you were reading and following Dean Baker's useless advice.

Whatever the case, the worst still might be ahead of you. The Treasury has rights to a 79.9% stake in your companies for capital infusions of $1 billion each, but it is very likely that further capital infusions may be required which would dilute your pitiful stake even further.

More in the article. Comparison to the Chrysler bailout.

Your Only Hope: An Open Letter To Fannie and Freddie Shareholders

RE: The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power | Stratfor
Topic: Current Events 9:34 am EDT, Aug 17, 2008

Decius wrote:

The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status... Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

Why did the U.S. bless this conflict? Did they intend to provide Russia this opportunity to make a demonstration in exchange for some covert concession?

It occurs to me that perhaps they figured Russia planned invade outright and they wanted to push their hand early.

Was hoping Stratfor would have something public soon, good read. One angle that occurred to me was if we get something started, chances are the next US President, whoever it may be, will pretty much have to pick up the mantle. A little insurance by Bush/Cheney? Could they be that cynical?

As for the question of why did Georgia attack when they did, there's an old saying: When the cat is away the mice will play. The Olympics, Putin away, all that.

Here's something I just started, haven't finished but so far so good:

Talks about the NATO angle and how alliances can also be breeding grounds for wars.

Here's something from Nov 2007 about Georgia's build up.

Look like the US started the arms build up in earnest in 2002. Long time coming.

RE: The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power | Stratfor

Army drafts drought plans
Topic: Current Events 3:05 pm EDT, Nov  2, 2007

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed on Thursday reducing the flow of water from Georgia rivers into Alabama and Florida in a bid to resolve a tussle among the three states over water use during a drought.

The states will also work on a fresh plan for the corps on how to respond to the drought, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne told a news conference that followed a meeting of the governors of the three southeastern states.

"This is the best opportunity for us to find a solution with regard to water and its allocation," Kempthorne said.

"It's no longer theory. There is a drought in the South. It is also important to recognize that the solution can and will come from the governors," he told a Washington news conference relayed via telephone.

Army drafts drought plans

RE: Students Suspended For Gang-Related Chanting....
Topic: Current Events 10:13 am EDT, Sep  6, 2007

unmanaged wrote:
I am not sure what is more ridiculous, the fact that they were suspended for chanting the letter E or that they are abusing the vowels. I had no clue you could abuse a letter... Is that a felony?

The new alphabet song:

A B C D [redacted] F G ...

RE: Students Suspended For Gang-Related Chanting....

Bush Opens Europe Trip on Jarring Note
Topic: Current Events 11:09 pm EDT, Jun  4, 2007

Already complaining of being encircled by NATO's expansion, Putin said putting missile defenses on Russia's doorstep would ignite a new arms race. He threatened to retarget Russia's missiles toward Europe.

Bush says the anti-missile program is intended to protect Europe from states like Iran and North Korea, but Putin said neither country possesses the rockets the American system is intended to shoot down.

"It's a defense against something which does not exist," the Russian president said. "It would be funny if it was not so sad."


Not too worked up about this actually. Cold War Redux was pretty much a foregone conclusion once the US decided to set up permanent occupation in the Middle East. Russia and China are the new dynamic duo versus the USA. The wildcard becomes Japan's tradition of nuclear ambivalence changing overnight if the rhetoric gets too out of hand.

What I speculate about is the Pakistan factor. They are a tenuous ally at best. What happens if the next attempt on Musharraf's life is successful? You then have a very real nuclear power with the means to hit Europe and probably the motivation to threaten it.

I see the strategy in placing the anti-missile defense systems in Europe. Retargeting missiles is pretty much just reprogramming a computer. Takes relative moments. I don't believe the USA particularly cares about stopping Russia's missiles aimed at Europe because that won't happen, Russia is never going to fire them. This shield would be relatively successful against what the new players to intermediate and intercontinental range missiles could lob towards Europe though. Anyone with MERVs though are pretty much going to walk through an anti missile defense system.

This new showdown gives Russia face in the world, another step towards relevance after the thrashing the USSR received post breakdown. Bush and Putin get to play out their final years in power as sabre rattling opponents of the new Cold War. It's good for the defense business, this pony show. Russia gets to use it as an excuse to at first bootstrap their domestic arms industry as a state run enterprise. Once it is up and running, expect the foreign capital to flood in. Someone has to arm China, right? Easier to build and ship heavy armament from Russia (with love!), less resource intensive and quicker time to market.

Expect to see Bush and Putin on the golf course together in 2009 ala Clinton and Bush Sr.

Bush Opens Europe Trip on Jarring Note

Select transcript of Ron Paul's remarks on the Iraq war at the 5/15/07 Republican debate
Topic: Current Events 6:45 pm EDT, May 16, 2007

Ron Paul's statements during the debate are being twisted by the major media in an attempt to put words in his mouth. Most of the spin is that Rep. Paul suggests that America invited the 9/11 attacks.

I've excerpted the Q&A below. Most of the articles I've seen do not quote the entirety of Rep. Paul's statements nor the context.

I did not interpret this as him saying America invited 9/11, so much as that our foreign policy inevitably leads to blowback.


MR. WALLACE: Congressman Paul, you're one of six House Republicans who back in 2002 voted against authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq.

REP. PAUL: Right.

MR. WALLACE: Now you say we should pull our troops out. A recent poll found that 77 percent of Republicans disapprove of the idea of setting a timetable for withdrawal. Are you running for the nomination of the wrong party? (Scattered laughter.)

REP. PAUL: But you have to realize that the base of the Republican Party shrunk last year because of the war issue. So that percentage represents less people. If you look at 65 to 70 percent of the American people, they want us out of there. They want the war over.

In 19- -- 2002, I offerer an amendment to International Relations to declare war, up or down, and it was -- nobody voted for the war. And my argument there was, if we want to go to war, and if we should go to war, the Congress should declare it. We don't go to war like we did in Vietnam and Korea, because the wars never end. And I argued the case and made the point that it would be a quagmire if we go in.

Ronald Reagan in 1983 sent Marines into Lebanon, and he said he would never turn tail and run. A few months later, the Marines were killed, 241 were killed, and the Marines were taken out. And Reagan addressed this subject in his memoirs. And he says, "I said I would never turn tail and run." He says, "But I never realized the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics," and he changed his policy there.

We need the courage of a Ronald Reagan.


MR. GOLER: Congressman Paul, I believe you are the only man on the stage who opposes the war in Iraq, who would bring the troops home as quickly as -- almost immediately, sir. Are you out of step with your party? Is your party out of step with the rest of the world? If either of those is the case, why are you seeking its nomination?

REP. PAUL: Well, I think the party has lost its way, because the conservative wing of the Republican Party always advocated a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Senator Robert Taft didn't even want to be in NATO. George Bush won the election in the year 2000 campaigning on a humble foreign policy -- no nation-building, no policing of the world. Republicans were elected to end the Korean War. The Republicans were elected to end the Vietnam War. There's a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican party. It is the consti... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

Select transcript of Ron Paul's remarks on the Iraq war at the 5/15/07 Republican debate

Defiant Hamas TV airs resistance Mickey again
Topic: Current Events 11:51 am EDT, May 11, 2007

A Hamas-run television station defied Israel and the Palestinian government on Friday by continuing to air a controversial children's puppet show with a Mickey Mouse lookalike preaching resistance.



Defiant Hamas TV airs resistance Mickey again

State makes big fuss over local couple's vegetable oil car fuel
Topic: Current Events 5:54 pm EST, Mar  7, 2007

Summary: A retired chemist and food plant manager converted his car to run on a vegetable oil / diesel blend. He has used it this way for the last four years.

He gets a visit one morning at his home from agents of the Illinois Department of Revenue. He is being investigated for criminal activity.

Turns out, Illinois wants him to pay retroactive fuel taxes on the vegetable oil. They also want him to apply for a license to become a special fuel supplier as well as a special fuel receiver. He also has to pay a $2500 bond as insurance that his "business" will pay the taxes in the future.

The State also sent him a cease and desist letter, threatening him with felony charges if he continued to operate his vehicle without giving the State their cut and dancing their dance.

Thankfully, there is a State Senator taking up his cause, but this is just patently wrong on its face. Why send agents out to someone's house who is trying to do the right thing? Why use that Gestapo tactic? I hate seeing people being bullied like that.

Worth a read, article has some good points.

State makes big fuss over local couple's vegetable oil car fuel

Sword seized after man mistakes porn for rape.
Topic: Current Events 11:25 am EST, Feb 22, 2007

A man says he broke into an apartment with a cavalry sword because he thought he heard a woman being raped, but the sound actually was from a pornographic movie his upstairs neighbor was watching.

"Now I feel stupid," said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. "This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake."

The neighbor told police Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The complaint said that, with the sword pointed at him, the neighbor led Van Iveren throughout the apartment, opening closet doors to prove he was alone.

* * *

"Now I feel stupid." THAT qualifies as understatement of the year :)

Sword seized after man mistakes porn for rape.

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