White Phosphorus, 'willy pete', 'sort of legal' napalm or napalm substitute, if you will... yeah we talked about it here on the blog back in '04 when word got out that the US used it on the citizens of Fallujah in retaliation for the brutal murders of a couple of mercenaries who we later found out were terrorizing the Fallujans in the first place. But the US retaliated against Fallujah as if the whole city had conspired to blow up the World Trade Center for god's sake.
Yeah, we were called conspiracy theorists and Iraqi sympathizers even though I thought the US mission was to liberate them, not hate them... but whatever....
So here we are years later. If god forbid you mention the Fallujah debacle to anyone, they think you're an evil socialist progressive who is hell bent on destroying America (well yes, but only the evil parts) ... but now the studies are published and indeed, we (the US) fucked them over good.
God bless us.
Read this. USA-WMD: America's Covert Hiroshima in Iraq
I'd like a seven-figure book deal in which I get to plagiarize my "favorite" authors.
Wisco: Republicans are filibustering our future.
The anti-gay Christian group Focus On The Family, which has laid off hundreds of employees in recent years, is about to go through another round of cutbacks. According to the Colorado Gazette, another 100 bigots get their pink slips today.
"We are still working out the details of fitting our FY '11 budget to the figure our board of directors established," Schneeberger wrote. "As soon as those decisions are final — we're aiming for next week — we'll share them with our ministry family first and then with our constituents and friends in the media." In recent years, Focus has struggled to meet its budget. Even though the organization cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million in fiscal 2009, it still suffered a $6 million shortfall. Schneeberger said last September that the deficit was largely due to the loss of donations from small- to medium-sized businesses. Donations from families has remained steady, he said.
As of yesterday, FOTF had about 850 employees.
The BP Spill: Has the Damage Been Exaggerated?
200 million gallons of oil. People and animals are bleeding from the anus due to the dispersants. Exaggeration?
Remember back before the oil made landfall and everyone was wondering what happened to all of the oil? Correspondents were flown home. News coverage receded. And then they found the oil. Everywhere.
Score one for the Obama administration; zero for Republicans, Tea Baggers, and FOX News. A newly released study by two esteemed economists (yes, I know that's an oxymoron) shows that Obama's fiscal policies did indeed pull the country back from the brink of a depression brought about by Bush-Cheney mismanagement.
A two-drink minimum
When the pope visits Britain in September, tickets will be sold to papal events for the first time. The church is blaming health and safety regs for the extra costs. 70,000 tickets are available at up to £25 each for the beatification of John Henry Newman – that's a lot of beatifying! – and 130,000 for a prayer vigil at Hyde Park (where the religious nutters usually just pass around a hat).
As ever, if a priest offers you a ticket for a free "ride," run away very quickly.
It was not exactly a surprise to learn that BP believes thinks it is entitled to a $9.9 billion tax benefit, including refunds on taxes paid in previous years, to pay for the cost of cleaning up its own oil spill.
That's right: despite earning $80 billion over the past four years, despite saying that it will pay for the expense of recovery in the Gulf, BP now wants a $10 billion bailout from taxpayers.
Makes you want to scream out loud, eh? Of all companies in the world that do not deserve a bailout, BP might just be the leading example. (Though, to be fair, Goldman does give it stiff competition.)
It's a horrible idea, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) agrees. Today he announced plans to block the taxpayer bailout of BP, promising to introduce legislation that would block BP taking advantage of the deduction and any associated tax credits or refunds.
Aside from being the right thing, Engel's idea is political gold: imagine the difficult position it would put Republicans in. Do they support Democratic efforts to make sure BP doesn't profit from its oil spill, or do they believe in bailouts for BP? If Joe Barton's apology is any guide, the results could be a political disaster for the GOP...and another big win for Democrats.
...As we, and many of our commenters, have said here on many occasions, we are heading the way of the Roman Empire.
Second, as was painfully predictable and predicted, the bulk of political discussion in the wake of the WikiLeaks disclosures focuses not on our failing, sagging, pointless, civilian-massacring, soon-to-be-decade-old war, but rather on the Treasonous Evil of WikiLeaks for informing the American people about what their war entails. While it's true that WikiLeaks should have been much more careful in redacting the names of Afghan sources, watching Endless War Supporters prance around with righteous concern for Afghan lives being endangered by the leak is really too absurd to bear. You know what endangers innocent Afghan lives? Ten years of bombings, checkpoint shootings, due-process-free hit squads, air attacks, drones, night raids on homes, etc. etc.
One of the less glamorous aspects of the release by Wikileaks of oodles of secret documents related to the sad circle jerk that is the Afghanistan war is the clear demonstration that the actual day-to-day existence of Afghans is dependent on the occupiers (or, you know, mostly us). Sure, it's important to talk about the other revelations (or confirmations): the collusion between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban, the ill-equipped troops in battle, and the bullshit Afghan forces that have the discipline of a pack of brain-damaged cats. But, as Evan Hill writes for Al-Jazeera, the mundane and quotidian aspects of Afghan existence demonstrate a level of dependency on NATO and the United States that'd make an opium dealer jealous.
The NATO provincial reconstruction teams (PRT) essentially decide who has power and who does not, who gets paid with reconstruction cash and who goes home empty-handed, and you can bet that every one of those decisions simply leads to the inevitable creation of more enemies that need to be fought.
What you get from these less sexy documents is a portrait of soldiers and officials attempting to transform a country into something it is not. It's impossible. And what Wikileaks has forced us to see is that it's madness to continue.
(Not that the SOB gave a frak about the rule of law in the first place.)