Gung Ho!

Main Entry: gung ho Pronunciation: 'g&[ng]-'hOFunction: adjective Etymology: Gung ho!, motto (interpreted as meaning "work together") adopted by certain U.S. marines, from Chinese (Beijing) gOnghé, short for ZhOngguó GOngyè Hézuò Shè Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society: extremely or overly zealous or enthusiastic

Gung Ho!
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Gung Ho!
And The Cost of War!

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Gung Ho!
And The Cost of War In Lives!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Air strikes kill 40 insurgents in Iraq

By Waleed Ibrahim and Mussab Khairallah

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. air strikes killed an estimated 40 insurgents in western Iraq on Saturday, the military said, but in Baghdad a suicide bomber attacked the headquarters of an elite police unit, killing three.

Seven precision-guided U.S. air strikes on the outskirts of the town of Karabilah killed the insurgents who were stopping vehicles at gunpoint and threatening Iraqi civilians, said a U.S. military statement.

The military said there were no U.S. casualties when Marines engaged large groups of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and AK-47 assault rifles.

Semper Fi

Virginia Gov. prepares for presidential bid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, is forming a new political action committee and has hired a top aide to former Vice President Al Gore ahead of a possible run for the presidency in 2008, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

Never too early.

Semper Fi

Democratic leaders back Dean, don't want 'wimp'

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic National Committee leaders embraced feisty party boss Howard Dean on Saturday and urged him to keep fighting despite a flap over his blunt comments on Republicans.

After a meeting of the DNC's 40-member executive committee at a downtown hotel, members said Dean was doing exactly what they elected him to do -- build the party in all states and aggressively challenge Republicans.

Keep fighting for America Dean.

Semper Fi

Ex-lobbyist leaves White House environmental job

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior official at the White House Council on Environmental Quality has resigned, days after a newspaper reported he changed some government reports to downplay links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Philip Cooney, the council's chief of staff and a former energy industry lobbyist, resigned on Friday, two days after The New York Times reported he edited some descriptions of climate research in a way that cast doubt on links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures.

I quess it was his time to leave.

Semper Fi

Friday, June 10, 2005

Yellowstone grizzly population increasing

Associated Press Writer

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Federal wildlife officials say they plan to propose ending Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could make the proposal as early as next month, said Chris Servheen, grizzly recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said delisting is being considered because the bear population has been growing steadily and adequate protections are in place for the bears and their habitat.

Something, close to my heart, becuase its close to home. Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana are some of the last lower 50 states to have a Grizzly population.

Semper Fi

More Americans dying from roadside bombs in Iraq on Yahoo! News

By Mark Washburn, Knight Ridder Newspapers

CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq - Improvised explosive devices, the roadside bombs that insurgents build from castoff artillery shells and other munitions, have become the No. 1 killer of American troops in Iraq this year, despite a massive U.S. campaign to blunt their effectiveness.

American commanders have dispatched newly armored Humvees, Army engineers have begun a yearlong program to clear vegetation and debris along major transportation routes, and military technicians have equipped vehicles with devices that jam cell phones and garage-door openers, which are used to trigger the explosives.

In spite of those efforts, deaths due to IEDs rose by more than 41 percent in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period last year, and account for nearly 52 percent of the 261 U.S. combat deaths so far this year, according to statistics assembled by Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an Internet site that uses official casualty reports to organize deaths by a variety of criteria.


The bombs became the focus of attention last December, when a Tennessee National Guardsman in Kuwait publicly complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he and others had been forced to scrounge for metal to armor the Humvees and other vehicles they had been issued to drive supplies into Iraq.

Since then, the Pentagon has shipped hundreds of armored Humvees to Iraq, added armor to those in the field and ordered unarmored vehicles to remain on protected bases.

Only 200 armored Humvees, mostly assigned to military police units, were in Iraq when insurgent violence began to rise in summer 2003. Now, about 9,000 of the 12,000 Humvees in Iraq have been armored. They're the workhorse vehicles for protecting the convoys that supply 140,000 troops across Iraq.

The insurgents have responded by creating bigger IEDs, often using 155 mm artillery shells linked in a series, which inflict multiple casualties even on hardened vehicles.

An explosion Jan. 5, for example, was so powerful that it ripped through an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Baghdad, killing seven Army National Guardsmen from the 256th Infantry Brigade, based in Lafayette, La

Reuters Photo: Iraqi firemen extinguish a burning U.S. Army Humvee after it was struck by a roadside..

Without this brave soldier standing up to Rumsfeld, more soldiers may now be dead!

Semper Fi

Judiciary Power Grab

Jesse Lee at The Stakeholder has Pelosi statement, just out.

Pelosi: Republicans Once Again Abuse Power, Attempt to Silence Democrats in Hearing on the Patriot Act.

Go read it!

Five U.S. Marines killed by roadside bomb in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A roadside bomb blast in western Iraq killed five U.S. Marines on Thursday, the U.S. military said on Friday.

In a statement, the military said the troops from the 2nd Marine Division were in a vehicle in the town of Haqlaniya when they were killed by the explosion.

A young Iraq boy walks past the remains of a convoy that was attacked West of Baghdad June 10, 2005. A foreign-run convoy of civilian trucks was ambushed west of Baghdad this week and several of those working on it may be dead, the British-based security company that supervised it said on June 10.

Semper Fi my Marines

U.S. soldier, 7 insurgents die in Afghan clash

KABUL (Reuters) - Insurgents in Afghanistan ambushed a patrol on Friday and one U.S. soldier and seven of the attackers were killed, the U.S. military said.

The joint U.S.-Afghan army patrol was attacked in Paktika province in the southeast of the country.


Three U.S. soldiers were wounded, it said.

Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in a wave of clashes, blasts and ambushes in Afghanistan since late March.

Semper Fi Soldier

U.S. Army denies cover-up in Tillman's 2004 death

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rejecting criticism by Army Ranger Pat Tillman's parents, the U.S. Army on Thursday denied covering up facts in the former professional football player's 2004 friendly fire death in Afghanistan, but admitted to "procedural misjudgments and mistakes."

His father, Pat Tillman Sr., have assailed as "shams" and a cover-up the Army's investigations into his son's death on April 22, 2004. His mother, Mary Tillman, said it was "disgusting" the Army lied about it. They expressed their views in comments and a letter to The Washington Post last month.

"The Army did not 'cover up' any facts," according to a statement released by the Army's public affairs office, arguing that Tillman died "in a very confusing battle."

"While procedural misjudgments and mistakes contributed to an air of suspicion, no one intended to deceive the Tillman family or the public as to the cause of his death," the Army added.

The Army determined almost immediately after Tillman's death that he had been killed inadvertently by fellow Rangers in a wild spree of gunfire in a remote canyon near the Pakistani border, according to the latest Army investigation, described by officials last month. It found that the Army kept the fact secret from his family and the public for weeks and even destroyed evidence, the officials said.

I think the Army is lying. They (the army) have alot to gain if Tillman died a hero. Which he is!

Semper Fi

US opens criminal probe of two army deaths in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. army has opened a criminal investigation into a blast that killed two soldiers at a base in Iraq after discovering it was not caused by an insurgent mortar attack, a military statement said on Friday.

It said Captain Phillip Esposito and 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen were killed on Tuesday in an explosion at Forward Operating Base Danger near Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit.

"The initial investigation by responders and military police indicated that a mortar round struck the window on the side of the building where Esposito and Allen were located at the time," the statement said.

"Upon further examination of the scene by explosive ordnance personnel, it was determined the blast pattern was inconsistent with a mortar attack."

The military said the soldiers killed were New York National Guard troops assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 42nd Infantry Division. Esposito was company commander and Allen was an operations officer.

Probably some of their own men.

Semper Fi

Biden: More Foreigners Fight U.S. in Iraq

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

More foreign fighters than ever are crossing Iraq's porous borders to fight U.S. and Iraqi forces, and a growing number are from U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia, a Senate Democrat said Thursday.

"The mix is changing," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., citing conversations last week in Iraq with Marine and Army generals. "Now, the mix is increasingly more Islamist crossing the border ... and a lot of them are Saudis. It presents a different profile" that is harder for U.S. forces to confront.


Part of the Bush administration strategy in Iraq is to improve living conditions and security for ordinary Iraqis and thereby reduce support for the homegrown insurgency. That calculation won't work with foreign fighters, Biden said.

"If you turn on lights, get the air conditioning running and clean up the sewage, that ain't going to have any impact on the jihadist coming across from Saudi Arabia with a bomb strapped on his stomach," said Biden,
who has made five trips to Iraq since U.S. forces overthrew Saddam Hussein a little more than two years ago.


Asked about estimates that Saudis make up 40 percent of suicide bombers recruited to Iraq by the Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saudi Arabia differs from other nations that may export fighters to Iraq because it is also fighting al-Qaida insurgents on its own territory.

"There's no question but that there have been a number of Saudis involved that have been captured throughout the entire activity," Rumsfeld said.

Biden said a U.S. troop pullout now would be disastrous, but he accused the Bush administration of glossing over the magnitude of the problems and underestimating the time it will take to fix them.

"There is a total disconnect from what I've seen ... being on the ground and what I hear when I come back home," Biden said.

Sen Biden, I don't know what would happen if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq, right now. Look what happen after the fall of Saigon. Vietnam, began rebuilding itself. I know that the people of Iraq are more fractional then in Vietnam, but would the Iraqis simply go about, rebuilding their our country? Or, with a U.S. pull out, would a civil war break out? With Saddams legacy, I think the later to be true, a civil war may break out. If a civl war happened, then would the surrounding countries help stablize Iraq? Who really knows.

A bad sign also, is that the Iraqi insurgency are getting fresh ground troups. the U.S. Army and Marines are not. The Army, now has relaxed its requirements for new officers. The has said it will increase sign on bonuses for new recruits. These are not good signs for winning the war in Iraq.

Semper Fi

Reid: No documents, no Bolton

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats will not allow a vote on President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador unless the White House hands over records of communications intercepts Bolton sought from the secretive National Security Agency, Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

"You can't ignore the Senate. We've told them what we've wanted. The ball is in his court," Reid, D-Nevada, told CNN. "If they want John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, give us this information. If they don't, there will be no Bolton."

Sens. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Christopher Dodd have demanded the Bush administration produce documents 10 National Security Agency communications intercepts that Bolton, the State Department's undersecretary for arms control, had requested since 2001.

White House Communications Director Nicole Devenish called Reid's stance "another effort to distract from the work that the people want to see done here in Washington."

"This request for additional information is clearly a stalling tactic, and one that I think the American people are growing weary of," she said.

But Reid said Bush is responsible for breaking the impasse -- not Democrats.

"The president is obstructing a vote on John Bolton," he said. "We've asked for simple information that Congresses over many decades that we have been in existence have been given by the White House."

The Senate confirmed Bolton for four previous government jobs dating back to the 1980s. But his nomination to the U.N. post has been more controversial, since he has been an outspoken critic of the world body in the past.

White House Communications Director called Reid's stance "another effort to distract from the work that the people want to see done here in Washington."

Nicole Devenish, have you seen the Bushco poll numbers lately? How about the Repug poll numbers for the congress?

Semper Fi

House Judiciary Democrats to hold hearings on Downing Street minutes

John Byrne

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on the 2002 minutes between senior British and American officials which asserted that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the case for war in Iraq.

I say, go Dems, lets find out what Bushco really did.

Semper Fi


Time Has Ticked to Twelve Noon for a Tale of Two Armies: a private army of mercenary soldiers and a mercenary media army. Commanding them both is the United States military. The dirty little secret of the war in Iraq is the presence of more than twenty thousand “contractors” who do high risk jobs for high end dollars. When they get injured, they get workman’s compensation and they get the death benefits you would get if you die on the job. You have seen pictures of these men with their black clothing and their dark glasses leading the luminaries of freedom on the march from one place to another. The average grunt has too.

Go read the Heretik.

Semper Fi Joe

Lawmakers want probe in charge White House doctored climate change reports

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two senior US lawmakers called for a congressional probe into charges the White House altered government documents to cast doubt on the generally-accepted scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming.

Representative Henry Waxman and Senator
John Kerry asked the General Accountability Office (GAO) -- Congress' investigative arm -- to look into a recent whistleblower report that a former oil industry lobbyist altered government reports on global warming.

The allegations were reported Wednesday in the New York Times.

"We request that the Government Accountability Office investigate the extent to which White House officials and political appointees at federal agencies have interfered with federally funded science on global warming," said Kerry and Waxman.

"Unfortunately, the incidents reported by the Times are simply the latest in a pattern of interference with climate science by the Bush Administration," the Democratic lawmakers said.

The Times reported that a White House official with no scientific training edited government climate reports to play down the links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, according to internal documents obtained by the daily.

Semper Fi

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cutting ties to Americans isn't easy for Iraqi troops

By Teri Weaver, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, June 9, 2005

BAGHDAD — Last week, Iraqi officers in this oil-rich desert found themselves running low on fuel.

A supply contract was caught in red tape at the Ministry of Defense, halting deliveries to the Iraqi battalion stationed at Forward Operating Base Independence, a combined U.S.-Iraq base. To keep their patrols on the streets of Amariyah, home to Haifa Street, the Iraqi officers began using their own money to buy fuel.

On Sunday, a U.S. captain stepped in and gave the Iraqis 2,400 gallons of fuel from his supplies.

The common-sense solution is frustrating to officers on both sides who want to see an Iraqi army that is less dependent on American money and military strength. That independence comes at a price, say the Iraqi officers who are struggling to keep their soldiers prepared for action.


U.S. officers are also frustrated, but reluctant to step in.

“We don’t want to come to their rescue,” said Capt. Augusto Villalaz, 35, of Lake Charles, La.

Villalaz and others fear that if the Americans continue to solve problems such as the fuel shortage, Iraqi government leaders will pay less attention to their army’s needs.

Semper Fi

Forgotten U.S. allies emerge from jungles of Laos

By Ed Cropley

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Up to 4,000 ethnic Hmong, remnants of a U.S.-backed anti-communist guerrilla army in the Laotian jungles during the Vietnam War, are ready to surrender after 30 years on the run, a U.S. activist said on Thursday.

Ex-California police officer Ed Szendrey, who was detained at the weekend by the Laotian communist government for helping 173 women, children and elderly people give themselves up, said many more Hmong were waiting to come in from the cold.

"We've had indications that there are nearly three to four thousand ready to surrender," Szendrey told a news conference in the Thai capital after his deportation from the landlocked southeast Asian nation as a "trouble-maker."

Semper Fi

Clementina Cantoni is Free

The Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni, kidnapped in Afghanistan was released on June 9, 2005 and is in good condition, an Afghan government spokesman said. Cantoni, 32, was kidnapped by four gunmen on a Kabul street on May 16. CARE international aid agency worker Cantoni (R) is seen in Afghanistan in this undated photo released by Care office in Kabul.
Posted by Hello

Semper Fi

U.S.-led forces in Iraq hold 6,000 prisoners -UN

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Thousands of people are detained in Iraq without due process in apparent violation of international law, the United Nations said on Wednesday, adding that 6,000 of the country's 10,000 prisoners were in the hands of the U.S. military.

In Iraq, "one of the major human rights challenges remains the detention of thousands of persons without due process," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council.

Semper Fi

Texas governor suggests gay veterans should leave state

Gay groups demand Perry apologize
By STEVE KOVAL | Jun 8, 10:55 AM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that gay veterans unhappy with the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment should move elsewhere.

"I'm going to say Texas has made a decision on marriage and if there's a state with more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's where they should live," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Perry said Sunday.

Perry's comments were in response to a question during a news conference about what he would tell gay war veterans returning from Iraq.

I know a place you can go live!

Semper Fi

House Ethics Standstill Stalls DeLay Decision

Committee May Be Inactive for Months

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer

A dispute between the parties has shut down the House ethics committee for the second time this year, and lawmakers said that it could be months -- and perhaps next year -- before the panel will decide whether to examine the activities of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) or others accused of violating restrictions on lobbying and travel.

DeLay has retained Richard Cullen of Richmond, a former U.S. attorney and Virginia attorney general, to represent him in dealings with the ethics committee and, if necessary, the Justice Department.


The latest logjam relates to a decision by Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) to try to name his 10-year chief of staff, Ed Cassidy, as a co-director of the committee staff. But the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.), said the rules give Democrats a say in the appointment, and they oppose Cassidy. Democrats and Republicans each hold five of the committee's 10 seats, making it the only House panel on which Democrats can block majority-party actions.

The staffing dispute concerns a rule of the ethics panel governing the hiring of the committee staff. The rule specifies that the staff will be nonpartisan and chosen by a majority vote of the committee. But in what Democrats consider an effort to circumvent that requirement, Hastings has cited another provision of the rule that allows the chairman and ranking minority member to each name one staff member without the other side's concurrence.

Hastings's proposal would give equal authority to his and Mollohan's designated co-directors.

Mollohan said in an interview that he will not compromise, and that for Republicans to get what they are demanding, they will have to get Congress to change the rule. "All you need is literacy to understand this rule," he said. "I cannot make it complicated."

But DeLay said at a news conference yesterday that Democrats were politicizing the ethics process by trying to push the probe into next year as part of a strategy to use ethics as an issue in the midterm elections.

"They don't want an ethics committee," he said. "They would like to drag this out and have me and others before the ethics committee in an election year. . . . Yet no one seems to want to notice."


Mollohan, a corporate lawyer whose father was a congressman from West Virginia for 18 years, said that the possibility of a political motivation for the stalemate "has not occurred to me," and that the accusation "says more about the people who are suggesting it than it does about me."

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said: "Democrats want to follow the rules; Republicans don't."

Semper Fi

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

N.C. GOP must repay $100G illegal donation

Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The state Republican Party must repay a $100,000 illegal contribution from a national group - and the group must pay a $10,000 fine - under a consent agreement reached Wednesday with the state Elections Board.

The Republican State Leadership Committee - a group formed to help elect GOP state legislators, attorneys general and lieutenant governors - borrowed the money from Wachovia bank a day before setting up in North Carolina in October.

The organization then donated the cash to the N.C. Senatorial Trust, which works to elect Republican state senators; the trust passed it along to the state Republican Party.

State Democrats filed a complaint.

Under state law, political committees in North Carolina can take donations only from individuals and other political organizations.

Not only in Texas.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Marines 'beat US workers' in Iraq

Contractors say they were treated like insurgents

A group of American security guards in Iraq have alleged they were beaten, stripped and threatened with a snarling dog by US marines when they were detained after an alleged shooting incident outside Falluja last month.

"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an email quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed [bullied] us, called us names."

A Marine Corps spokesman denied that abuse had taken place and said an investigation was continuing. According to the marines, 19 employees of Zapata Engineering, including 16 Americans, were detained after a marine patrol in Falluja reported being fired on by a convoy of trucks and sports utility vehicles. The marines also claim to have seen gunmen in the convoy fire at civilians.

I hope this not true, we'll have to wait until the investigation is complete.

Semper Fi' comp bureau concealed $215M loss;

Taft, Petro knew about fund's woes many months ago
James McLean, right, and John Annarino testified in May.


COLUMBUS — Democrats were screaming “cover-up” yesterday after state officials admitted that a high-risk hedge fund that the embattled Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation had invested in had lost $215 million in just a few months last year.

The bureau acknowledged that the fund, managed by a Pittsburgh-based investment firm, lost the money between February and September, 2004. MDL Capital Management relinquished control of the fund in November.

Although the bureau has known about the losses since September, it wasn’t revealed until yesterday, a day after The Blade began making calls upon learning that state investigators had uncovered huge losses at the bureau.

James McLean, right, and John Annarino testified in May.

More fun in Ohio.

Semper Fi

REUTERS/Reuters Tv
A video image shows Cuban refugees in a vintage blue floating taxicab being intercepted off the Florida Keys by the U.S. Coast Guard June 7, 2005. A group of 13 Cubans set sail for the United States in a vintage blue taxi converted into an unwieldy but seaworthy vessel, Miami television station NBC6 reported. The makeshift boat was intercepted on Tuesday evening by the U.S. Coast Guard about 20 miles (32 km) off Key West on the southern tip of Florida.
Posted by Hello

Negotiations on Kidnapped Italian Near End

Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Negotiations for the release of an Italian aid worker who was kidnapped last month were 'close to a conclusion,' the government said Wednesday.

Clementina Cantoni was abducted by armed men May 16 as she was being driven to her home in the capital, Kabul, where she was working for CARE International on a project to help Afghan widows and their families.

'The negotiations are ongoing. ... We are close to a conclusion. We are very optimistic,' Interior Ministry spokesman Latfullah Mashal told The Associated Press.

Semper Fi

REUTERS/China Newsphoto
A Chinese miner is evacuated out of a coal mine pit after a gas leak in Loudi in central China's Hunan province June 8, 2005. At least 21 miners were killed and 82 rushed to hospital after a gas leak at the coal mine in central China, Xinhua News Agency said. CHINA OUT
Posted by Hello

European and Pacific Stars & Stripes

Guard, Reserve troops' pay issues are task force's focus — and challenge

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes"

ARLINGTON, Va. — Guard and Reserve troops’ pay issues will be a primary focus as well as a daunting challenge for a new task force reviewing military pay issues, its members said Tuesday.

Reserve components are deployed almost as frequently as their active-duty counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet “the pay structures are so different between the active and the reserve,” said retired Navy Adm. Donald Pilling, chairman of the new defense advisory committee on military compensation.


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld chartered the committee in early spring, directing its members to come up with recommendations for improving the Pentagon’s military compensation system.

The committee, which met publicly for the first time May 11, will issue recommendations to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by late September, and a final report due in April 2006.

The compensation committee is focusing on five categories: special and incentive pays; retirement pay, including pensions and medical benefits; Guard and Reserve compensation; medical benefits for serving forces; and family issues, such as housing and spouse employment opportunities.

In addition to Guard and Reserve pay issues, medical benefits will also be difficult to tackle, Pilling said.

“My personal option is that we won’t do much on medical care because it’s so complex,” Piling said. “But we have to address it, [because future costs] are so huge.”

Well, it's a start, but we need to fix the medical care! Reserves, National Guard troups need equal "eveything" to our Regular troups!

Semper Fi

Bush and Blair Deny 'Fixed' Iraq Reports - New York Times

Published: June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON, June 7 - President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain presented a united front on Tuesday against a recently disclosed British government memorandum that said in July 2002 that American intelligence was being "fixed" around the policy of removing Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

"There's nothing farther from the truth," Mr. Bush said in his first public comments about the so-called Downing Street memo, which has created anger among the administration's critics who see it as evidence that the president was intent to go to war with Iraq earlier than the White House has said.

"Look, both of us didn't want to use our military," Mr. Bush added. "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option."

Mr. Blair, standing at Mr. Bush's side in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, said, "No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all."

The statements contradicted assertions in the memorandum, which was first disclosed by The Sunday Times of London on May 1 and which records the minutes of a meeting of Mr. Blair's senior policy advisers more than half a year before the war with Iraq began.

Semper Fi

Does The Truth About Hillary borrow too heavily ... [Media Matters for America]

A Vanity Fair excerpt of Edward Klein's forthcoming The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President (Sentinel, June 2005) contains several paragraphs that appear to have been borrowed from, or at least closely based on, Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars.

Semper Fi

U.S. Begins Military Training in Africa

Associated Press Writer

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- A weekend raid into Mauritania by Algerian Islamic militants illustrates why north Africa needs the U.S.-led joint counterterror exercises launched this week, a U.S. military spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The training exercise began Monday in Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and, for the first time, Algeria, from where Islamic insurgents linked to the al-Qaida network began a raid into Mauritania that left two dozen dead. Five other countries will take part by the time the program finishes in two weeks.

Semper Fi

Two U.S. soldiers killed, 8 hurt, in Afghan attack

KABUL (Reuters) - Insurgents fired at least one mortar bomb into a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two members of the U.S. armed forces and wounding eight, the U.S. military said.

Semper Fi

Liberal Blogosphere Surpasses Cable News

by Chris Bowers

Last year, I said it would happen by 2006, and even then only when it came to the Internet. It turns out my guess was way off. Here are their current ratings, as of Monday, June 6th, for the three cable news networks:
Total viewers:
Total day: FNC: 869,000 / CNN: 352,000 / MSNBC: 186,000
Primetime: FNC: 1,758,000 / CNN: 721,000 / MSNBC: 306,000

25-54 demographic:
Total day: FNC: 304,000 / CNN: 98,000 / MSNBC: 76,000
Primetime: FNC: 416,000 / CNN: 150,000 / MSNBC: 129,000
By comparison, last week the Liberal Blog Advertising Network received 5.915 million page views, and that was the worst week in a while, because of Memorial Day. Typically, the Network generates over eight million page views per week. Further, roughly 70% of those page views came from the 25-54 demographic. In other words, these fifty-seven liberal blogs combined have already equaled, if not surpassed, the three cable news networks combined as a source of news among Americans under 55.

Go read MyDD.

Semper Fi

Pentagon Wasted Supplies, GAO Finds

By Griff Witte
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Defense Department spent at least $400 million in recent years buying boots, tents, bandages and other goods at the same time it was getting rid of identical items it had paid for but never used, government investigators told House members yesterday.

That finding came as part of a broader inquiry by the Government Accountability Office that uncovered deep flaws in the Pentagon's system for determining when it needs to buy new supplies and how it disposes of supposedly excess inventory.

Semper Fi

Bushco and Energy

Here is two stories I think that are related, that came out today.

US official edited warming, emission link

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A White House official, who previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute, has repeatedly edited government climate reports in a way that downplays links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, made changes to descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists and their supervisors, the newspaper said, citing internal documents.

The White House declined comment on the report.

And then this:

Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush

White House sought advice from Exxon on Kyoto stance

John Vidal, environment editor
Wednesday June 8, 2005
The Guardian

President's George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, the world's most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian.

The documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month's G8 meeting, reinforce widely-held suspicions of how close the company is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy.

Big Oil fixing White House policies, for they're own good. And don't forget the energy bill.

Senate Committee Advances Energy Bill

The Senate committee chairman, GOP Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, sought a bill with bipartisan support. He sent the measure to the full Senate without addressing some of the most contentious energy issues facing lawmakers: proposed oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge and liability protection for makers a gasoline additive that contaminates drinking water.

Bushco rewarding ex-energy execs.

Group claims windfall for ex-Enron execs buried in new energy bill

Buried in the 700-plus page energy bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate is a provision that provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal loan guarantees for a power project apparently to be built by four former Enron executives, the interest group Public Citizen revealed Monday in a release to RAW STORY.

One of the former executives is Thomas White, who was Enron's head of retail and energy trading in California during the energy crisis. White later served as Secretary of the Army under President Bush.

Title XIV of the Senate energy bill provides federal loan guarantees for "a project to produce energy from coal � mined in the western United States using appropriate advanced integrated gasification combined cycle technology that minimizes and offers the potential to sequester carbon dioxide emissions and � shall be located in a western State at an altitude greater than 4,000 feet."

This morning in Muncie, In., gas was at $1.95. The past two days have been over 90 degrees and it will be that hot today. I have my air conditioning on.

Semper Fi

US-led troops battle insurgents in north Iraq, three US soldiers killed on Yahoo! News

US-led troops have clashed with insurgents in northwest Iraq, as at least 36 people including three US soldiers were killed in attacks centred mostly north of the capital.

Semper Fi - Soldiers' divorce rates up sharply

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
The number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The trend is severest among officers. Last year, 3,325 Army officers' marriages ended in divorce — up 78% from 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion, and more than 3 1/2 times the number in 2000, before the Afghan operation, Army figures show. For enlisted personnel, the 7,152 divorces last year were 28% more than in 2003 and up 53% from 2000. During that time, the number of soldiers has changed little.

The Army has no comparable data for past wars.

Family values, from bushco?

Semper Fi

Is A Dark Future Emerging? bu$hmeriKa HAS ARRIVED...

Personal Concerns

I’d say I’d (I WOULD?)spend most of my time worrying about right now people losing their life in Iraq (he's overloaded with COMPASSION). Both Americans and Iraqis. I worry about my girls (WHY??? are they going to serve in your war in Iraq or Afghanistan or maybe Haiti? could it be Iran or Syria?). I used to worry about my wife, until she hit an 85% popularity figure. Now she’s worried about me….

You know one of the most amazing (that's the word I'd use- AMAZING) experiences for me, as a dad, and my wife is the day I was to have the little girls, Barbara and Jenna, actually campaign with me for the first time ever. It was kind of like a camping trip I promised to take them on and they finally got to go on. It was a fantastic experience, and I think they got a sense of the purpose of why somebody like me would ask them to sacrifice their privacy. There’s a reason for running. That’s part of the campaign. You explain to people, “Vote for me. I’ll do this. Vote for me. I’ll work on Social Security reform (oh, by the way, I'm LYING).”
You know, I don’t worry all that much, other than what I just described to you. I attribute that to … I’ve got peace of mind (because there are people dying everyday because of my LIES). A lot of it has to do with my particular faith (and what is that exactly? Is it THIS?), and a lot of that has to do with the fact that a lot of people pray for me and Laura. It’s an amazing (that's the word I'd use- AMAZING) part of the American experience. The fact that the American President can work a rope line and a great number of people will say “I pray for you.” That’s remarkable, when you think about it. People I never get to know. People of all faiths. People who’ve shown up just to say that. That gives me peace of mind (oh, OK). I can’t tell you, I’m not enough of a poet to say why. I’m just telling you it does.
I work out a lot. A lot, meaning at least six days a week. This evening, when I’m through, I’ll go upstairs and get on the elliptical machine for a pretty good while, work out.
So I feel great, and my marriage is great.

Go read Chuck at bu$hmerika

I like what you said Chuck, " WHY??? are they going to serve in your war in Iraq or Afghanistan or maybe Haiti? could it be Iran or Syria?" This is what I first thought. It's not like they (the twins) have 24 hour secret service protection.

Semper Fi

donkey o.d.: Mother's Regret of War

Elizabeth J. Harris

Is it true that the war is coming.
Surely in our way
As we read the news, and hear reports,
Of the doings far away?

Go read the donkey o. d.


In Secret the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Homeland Security, and Terrorism Is Meeting This Week to Consider the Extension of the Patriot Act Beyond This Year.

Go read the Heretik.

Semper Fi

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

E-Mails Detail Air Force Push for Boeing Deal

Pentagon Official Called Proposed Lease of Tankers a 'Bailout,' Report Finds

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer

For the past three years, the Air Force has described its $30 billion proposal to convert passenger planes into military refueling tankers and lease them from Boeing Co. as an efficient way to obtain aircraft the military urgently needs.

But a very different account of the deal is shown in an August 2002 internal e-mail exchange among four senior Pentagon officials.

'We all know that this is a bailout for Boeing,' Ronald G. Garant, an official of the Pentagon comptroller's office, said in a message to two others in his office and then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Wayne A. Schroeder. 'Why don't we just bite the bullet,' he asked, and handle the acquisition like the procurement of a 1970s-era aircraft -- by squeezing the manufacturer to provide a better tanker at a decent cost?

'We didn't need those aircraft either, but we didn't screw the taxpayer in the process,' Garant added, referring to widespread sentiment at the Pentagon that the proposed lease of Boeing 767s would cost too much for a plane with serious shortcomings.

Money, Money, Money!

Semper Fi

REUTERS/Faleh Kheiber
An Iraqi National guard soldier leads arrested suspects during Operation Lightning in Baghdad June 7, 2005. Car bombers struck in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 40, the latest attacks in a surge of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds since late April.
Posted by Hello

Abu Ghraib riot turns violent

Baghdad - Dozens of Iraqi prisoners rioted against guards in the United States-run Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and pelted them with stones, the American military said on Tuesday.

Semper Fi

Taliban backbone said broken, but still a danger

By Sayed Salahuddin

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan security officials in the troubled south of the country say Taliban guerrillas are finished as a threat on the battlefield but they will be able to stage ambushes and bomb blasts for some time yet.

The Taliban insurgency flared this spring after a lull over the snowbound winter months, disappointing many in the government and international community who thought the rebels had been mortally starved of resources and recruits.

But in Kandahar, one of the provinces where the insurgents have been most active, officials said despite the recent violence, the Taliban were now a nuisance, not a military threat.

"The Taliban have lost the ability to confront us face to face," General Muslim Amid, army commander for several southern provinces including Kandahar, told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

About 100 insurgents have been killed in a series of clashes since late March. Dozens of government security men and 10 U.S. soldiers have also died in fighting.

Didn't they say this about the Iraqi insurgency? It's not over, until the lady sings!

Semper Fi

BBC NEWS | Business | Weapons spending tops $1 trillion

Spending on weapons around the world topped $1 trillion (£560bn) for the first time in 2004, a new report says.

A study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) found that countries around the world spent $162 on weapons for each person alive.

The US alone accounted for 47% of the global total, mainly because of soaring spending on its "global war on terror".

Arms companies were benefiting from the demand, with sales at the top 100 firms up 25% in 2003 on the year before.

How, many people, could one trillion dollars, feed?

The Raw Story | Sen. Kennedy speaks out on Downing Street Memo: 'Twisted intelligence; Distorted facts'

The following was released by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on the Downing Street Minutes this morning.


“The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq, regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.

"In addition, the Downing Street Minutes also confirm what has long been obvious – that the timing of the war was linked to the 2002 Congressional elections, and that the Administration’s planning for post-war Iraq was incompetent in all its aspects. The current continuing crisis is a direct result of that incompetence.

Bushco had no plan to get out, Ted. They, just went to war, then are trying to figure a way out.

"The policy of “shoot first, ask questions later” took us into an unjustified war, and without a clear concept of what “winning the war” actually means.

"President Bush constantly talks about the “progress” that is being made in Iraq against the insurgency, but he’s looking for good news with a microscope. All anyone can see is “Mission Mis-accomplished” and the continuing losses of American lives, the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the torture scandal, and the ominous decline in our nation’s moral authority in the world community.


Semper Fi

Monday, June 06, 2005 - Two U.S. troops killed in bombing in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb exploded next to a U.S. military convoy in eastern Afghanistan, killing two American soldiers and wounding a third, the military said Saturday.

It looks like, the Taliban are taking notes, from what is happening in Irag. I expect, that more of our troups in Afghanistan my die this way (by IDE).

Semper Fi

Sunday, June 05, 2005

REUTERS/Oleg Popov
Demonstrating Palestinians and peace activists run away from exploding stun grenades during a protest against Israel's controversial separation barrier at the West Bank village of Bilin June 3, 2005.
Posted by Hello

REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
A female supporter of Lebanon's Hizbollah group casts her vote at a polling station in Jabsheet village, the heartland of Hizbollah, in south Lebanon June 5,2005. Voters went to the polls in south Lebanon on Sunday where Syria's staunchest allies Hizbollah and Amal were set to triumph in the first general elections since Syrian troops left the country.
Posted by Hello

REUTERS/Bruno Domingos
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) members put up a giant faucet in front of the "Christ the Redeemer" statue, atop Corcovado mountain, during celebrations of World Environment Day in Rio de Janeiro, June 5, 2005.
Posted by Hello

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US lowers standards in army numbers crisis

Jamie Wilson in Washington
Saturday June 4, 2005
The Guardian

The US military has stopped battalion commanders from dismissing new recruits for drug abuse, alcohol, poor fitness and pregnancy in an attempt to halt the rising attrition rate in an army under growing strain as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An internal memo sent to senior commanders said the growing dropout rate was 'a matter of great concern' in an army at war. It told officers: 'We need your concerted effort to reverse the negative trend. By reducing attrition 1%, we can save up to 3,000 initial-term soldiers. That's 3,000 more soldiers in our formations.'

It's begining to sound alot like, Vietnam.

Semper Fi