You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Tomsdispatch.com’ category.

Republican speaker of the House, invited Jim Plante to Obama’s job speech as an example of how federal regulations stymied business.

Apparently Mr. Plante’s company, Pathway, was about to land a contract with Walgreens to sell it’s kits nationwide, and then was violently attacked by the FDA and Walgreen’s pulled out….. “Oh what a horrible crime it was…”

Republicans just licked it up……. “Despite being in compliance with all available FDA regulations, the FDA attacked Pathway in the media following the announcement of the partnership. (Walgreens) consequently backed out, and Pathway was unable to create those 100 new high-paying jobs.”

And now…. the other side of the story……

The kit, sold under the brand name Insight, comes with a vial and a shipping envelope. Buyers send a sample of their saliva to a Pathway Genomics laboratory and receive their genetic health report online.

“GAO investigators sent samples taken from the exact same person to four companies, the report said. In one case, the companies told the same donor he was at below-average, average and above-average risk for the same diseases.

In another case, a patient implanted with a pacemaker to control irregular heart beat was told he was at decreased risk of developing the heart condition…….

An undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that four genetic testing companies delivered contradictory predictions based on the same person’s DNA. Investigators also found that test results often contradicted patients’ actual medical histories.

In other words, it was totally faked….

So, Republicans apparently think anyone should be able to sell anything medical with no oversight or regulation… In their mind, having a regulatory agency just say: “hey, this simply doesn’t match up to the claims it is making…” is bad for business…

As they used to say in Little Italy… “Yep, it might be bad for business, but that means it’s good for the rest of us…”

Republicans on the other hand, said: “Pathway was chosen because it and the others “exemplify businesses and sectors hurt by excessive Washington-imposed barriers preventing them from innovating, growing and creating more jobs.”

Duh… it would have been a whole different ballgame if the stupid kits had worked…. Before the era of Republicans, it used to be fraud to make claims that could not be backed up under testing….

The Republicans way around such blatant fraud? Eliminate the FDA as was done in Congressman Ryan’s budget…

Fact is, if only because of Republicans, we need the FDA, now more than ever. When all someone has to do is say they know the Republican Speaker of the House, to get approval to sell us all something that could possibly send us down a deadly dead end, making us fear we have a horrible condition we don’t have… All because someone hired for $7.25 in the office flipped a coin, and made it up on the spot, that we did have that severe medical condition.. ….

Republicans … “They are the personification of evil in the modern world”…– Ronald Reagan.

Synopsis: A medical company makes blatant claims that it’s product does good. It then misrepresents that it’s product has passed all necessary safety tests and is effective. When the agency in charge of testing says, “No! We weren’t given this product to test”, it correctly causes the retailer to pull out of poor business decision; Republicans cry and call it “excessive regulation”….

Obviously what we need is MORE excessive regulation…… preferably before we kill off all 100 million aged Americans.

Advertisements

The long awaited Petraeus report is due today. Since the White House has admitted it will be responsible for content, one can assume that it will represent the Republican take of the war in Iraq.

However, timed to break just before the Petraeus report, were two other reports of which we have heard already. One, by David Walker of the GAO, could be said to represent the Democratic view of the crises at hand. The other, sponsored by Senator Warner, featuring General Jones (Retired: who looks like he stepped out of the move “White Christmas”) could be said to provide a centrist, or otherwise unbiased, review.

Oh boy….here we go again……surprisingly, all say the same thing………WHAT?…….. All say some progress has been made militarily, but the true solution needs to be political.

So when asked if the surge worked, the answers are all the same. There are gains in stability in some regions as a result of the surge. But politically, we are in the same spot or worse, as we were in January 07.

At each of these hearings, each time this same conclusion is uttered, the Dems posture and say the surge didn’t work….and the Republicans hunker down and say some progress shows momentum…..you can’t quit while you are moving forward.

Oh No! Parallels to Vietnam: In Vietnam, the US Military won every engagement it fought against the enemy. However our State Department was unable to matriculate a political solution. So it is in Iraq. I heard Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) make a speech that would have fit quite nicely in an anthology of “Hawk’s” statements from the early ’70’s.

America: we are smarter than this….We should not make the same mistake twice……

All three reports comment on the marvelous success we fell upon in Al Anbar province. However it was not our military that forced the issue. Rather it was the local population that became fed up with Al Qaeda’s brutality so much that they did something about it. It was fortuitous that the troops were there, to capitalize on the decision made by the Sunni sector.

Had we not had the surge and enough troops in the field, we could have still been holed up in the Green Zone, and the opportunity that presented itself, could have slipped through our fingers. Supposedly the tipping point for the Sunnis came when Al Qaeda made a point of punishing a tribe by killing 6 or 7 of its young boys. The chieftain asked for protection. The astute Lt Col. said “I’ll have a tank parked here in two hours”…… The domino effect rolled throughout the region based on the momentum off that one incident.

But one incident doth not a war make…. As we succeed in Al Anbar, we are unraveling in the South; insurgents are moving back in as the Brits pull out. This should surprise no one……going back 67 years ago:

hostile forces will withdraw into the more remote parts of the country, or will be dispersed into numerous small groups which continue to oppose the occupation. Even though the recognized leaders may capitulate, the subordinate commanders often refuse to abide by the terms of the occupation. Escaping to the hinterland, they assemble heterogeneous armed groups of patriotic soldiers, malcontents, notorious outlaws,…… and by means of guerrilla warfare, continue to harass and oppose the intervening force in its attempt to restore peace and good order throughout the country as a whole.

Anyone out there recognize that? That was taken directly from the declassified version of the Marines’ Small Wars Manual, first published in 1940. It suggests that to countervail such forces, similar to what we anticipate today, we need numerous presence patrols organized with the help of local, native militias, and outposts that are erected dispersed over a wide area in order “to afford the maximum protection to the peaceful inhabitants of that country.”

This blanket approach of embedding Marines into local tribes, and assisting them in regaining some type of stability in their lives vis a vis their experience with the chaos caused by terrorists, means we often wind up doing the work, and leaving local militias with the credit. This has worked well in the southern Philippines, and has for many years worked well in Afghanistan. We did not employ these type of winning tactics in Iraq, until Petraeus took over, and because of bureaucratic squeamishness over causalities, we have let up on our winning strategy inside Afghanistan.

Americans are good…..and as long as we fight on the “side of good”, we continue to win the hearts and minds of local populations. On this direct level no one can compete with us. No one! Our administration lost sight of that. Intent on imposing a government made to help the image of the republican party, American forces found themselves, instead of fighting for the good in the local populations eyes, fighting for oil rights and Cheney/Bush’s tough machismo.

I call this post Mosquito Wars, because as I sat through each of these hearing, listening to all everyone had to say, the war became less of a military adventure, and more of a politically psychological one. After all, that is how the Soviet’s broken regime crumbled…..not by nuclear strikes or preemptive invasions. They just imploded.

The Soviet analogy sets this up well. During the peak of Cold War, we were beset by Soviet spies. They were relative easy to find, hard to kill, and harder still for their agency to replace. Today against the terror threat, the parameters have changed. The terrorists are very hard to find. easy to kill, and easy for their agency to replace.

The way you fight terrorism is with intelligence. If you know what terrorists are going to do, you can prevent it. But finding out is hard, especially when they mimic regular citizens. But as long as the root causes of terrorism are still out there, as long as there are breeding grounds to replace the ones killed or captured, terrorism itself will be never conquered.

Which brings us to mosquitoes. You can live with them, by walking around with mosquito netting over your head whenever you choose to go out, or you can spend 100 % of your outdoor time, watching your bare arms, and swatting whenever one lands. But if you really want to kill mosquitoes, you change the environment to one where they cannot survive. We did so as we built the Panama Canal. We suffocated their breeding grounds with oil; we sprayed standing water. We succeeded.

Terrorists are not lions, tigers or bears…oh my. They are mosquitoes. Totally harmless entities until they land on you. So lets fight them the same way we fight mosquitoes.

Fix the abject poverty in the area where they breed. For a mere 12 billion, it is estimated, we could permanently end poverty in the world…….Drill some wells, teach crop techniques, vaccinate their livestock, provide lifesaving medical attention, and do so with some M16’s standing by in case a lone mosquito slips in and needs a good swat…

It’s America…..it’s how we win…….and it is not to late to win in Iraq. Announce the timetable, work hard to build an Iraq ready for withdrawal, and leave whenever we are done, not a moment before. But announcing the timetable is the key to developing political will among all factions in Iraq.

Remember how the moment Reagan was sworn in, the Iranian hostages were released after 444 days of captivity? They were not going to budge an inch as long as Carter was still president.

Let us move things fast forward too, by changing our leadership on this side of the Atlantic, doing so on our fast forward timetable (67 votes), thereby giving Iraq some hope too………

It’s something to think about; the next time you swat a mosquito……

growing like their economy

Every Democrat running for President agrees: the war in Iraq must end.

But it matters profoundly how we end it. It matters to our soldiers. It matters to Iraqis. And it matters to America’s future security.

Joe Biden sums it up well. I want to pay particular attention to the last line:

And it matters to America’s future security.

In my tongue in cheek post below about shrimp, I uncovered some facts I was unaware of. Particularly impressed was I on China’s buildup.

Knowing that it was the economic might of the North, that really outspent the South in the American Civil War, and knowing it was the economic might of the US during WWII, with the ability to build a liberty ship in sixteen days, that kept up with a two wars going on in two theaters, China’s relative economic strength versus our weakness, gives me some concern.

Speaking particularly of submarines, the Heritage Foundation has this to say:

Sea-power trends in the Pacific Ocean are ominous. By 2025, China’s navy could rule the waves of the Pacific. By some estimates, Chinese attack submarines will outnumber U.S. submarines in the Pacific by five to one and Chinese nuclear ballistic missile submarines will prowl America’s Western littoral, each closely tailed by two U.S. attack submarines that have better things to do. The United States, meanwhile, will likely struggle to build enough submarines to meet this challenge.

 

Right now, China wants to be at 85 submarines by 2010. The September 2004 promotion of Admiral Zhang Dingfa, a career submariner, to Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and a full seat on the Central Military Commission was a clear signal of the primacy of submarine warfare.

Comparatively, in the US, Electric Boat (EB), the nation’s preeminent submarine contractor, has announced plans to lay off 900 of its 1,700 designers and marine draftsmen engineers over the next three years. It will mark the first time in 50 years that the U.S. has not had a new submarine design on the drawing board. EB laid off nearly 200 submarine engineers and machinists in early February—and EB is the only shipbuilder in the nation that maintains submarine designers. The U.S. has three submarines under construction today.

Whereas China has 25 new boats under contract now; 16 are under construction today, including a new class of nuclear attack submarine designated the Type-093 and a new nuclear ballistic missile sub, the Type-094.

Our Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan calls for 48 nuclear attack submarines in the fleet by 2035. If the Navy does not start launching new subs at the rate of two per year until several years after 2012, the force would dip to a low of 40 in 2028, or 17 percent below the Navy’s stated needs.

The reason for the cutback on what may be the most instrumental weaponry needed by mid century, is because of Iraq.

We simply do not have the resources to build submarines fast enough. Our money is being used elsewhere.

One needs to ask who will be the greater enemy of our future. The impoverished insurgents jumping through rings of fire in their video clips, or…..the worlds largest economic power when it finally decides to shift some of its resources away from butter, and turn them into guns……

This war in Iraq is a threat to America’s future security. We are squandering valuable resources needed elsewhere.

We need to end this war now, and start building to keep ahead of our real enemies. Otherwise, we will find ourselves soon to be out-Reagan’d by our newly capitalist friends in China………

spy photos of China's Secret Nuke Base

“Troops out now”. We hear it all the time. It is the opposite of “Stay the course.” But how many troops are going to leave? How many troops are going to stay? Those answers from the candidates, may surprise you.

Two candidates have forthrightly said, we need to pull all troops out now…….Both of those candidates, Kucinich and Richardson make up less than a combined 2% of all poll numbers. The big movers and shakers, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards have much different messages.

When we hear “withdrawal of American troops from Iraq” we think of all our troops coming home to parades and flags. However what is really being said, is these major candidates support the withdrawal of “combat troops” or “combat brigades.” These effective fighting forces, at the most, make up only 45% of all troops in Iraq. The rest, who are unmentioned, one can assume are to remain there for a long time, especially now that we have a new embassy and need to maintain our new military bases.

Why? Because any serious contender for President cannot publicly be for the chaotic fall of any country in the Middle East……..in other words….the loss of oil….

So the Democratic front-runners must promise voters that they will end the war — with not too many ideologically laden ifs, ands, or buts — while they assure the foreign-policy establishment that they will never abandon the drive for hegemony in the Middle East (or anywhere else). In other words, the candidates have to be able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time. Ira Chernus: The Democrats’ Iraqi Dilemma: Questions Unasked, Answers Never Volunteered

It is time to begin ending this war…. Start bringing home America’s troops…. within 90 days ” says Hillary Clinton. Excuse me but did anyone hear the word “all”? It seems to have been casually omitted. Previously she said this: “We have remaining vital national security interests in Iraq…. What we can do is to almost take a line sort of north of, between Baghdad and Kirkuk, and basically put our troops into that regionOne reporter admits that Clinton expects U.S. troops to be in Iraq when she ends her second term in 2017. She wants 80,000 more troops with an emphasis on special forces.

Obama is not pulling all the troops out either…..To control everything and everyone, he wants “the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.… A 21st century military to stay on the offense.” That, he says, will take at least 92,000 more soldiers and Marines. Like Hillary, Barack would remove all “combat brigades” from Iraq, but keep U.S. troops there “for a more extended period of time” — even “redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq” — to support the Kurds, train Iraqi forces, fight al Qaeda, “reassure allies in the Gulf,” “send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria,” and “prevent chaos in the wider region.” “Most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan…. to stop Afghanistan from backsliding toward instability.”

Obama plans to use redeployment as a carrot. The redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the parties in Iraq reach an effective political arrangement that stabilizes the situation and they offer us a clear and compelling rationale for maintaining certain troop levels.

Edwards goes further than either Obama or Clinton in spelling out that we “will also need some presence in Baghdad, inside the Green Zone, to protect the American Embassy and other personnel”. Edwards continues: : “I would put stabilization first.” “Stabilization” is yet another establishment code word for insuring U.S. control, as Edwards certainly knows. His ultimate aim, he says, is to ensure that the U.S. will “lead and shape the world.”

The top Democrats agree that we must leave significant numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq. This is remarkably similar to the Republican position. However,…..both sides politely seem to dismiss any mention of the number of Iraqis and/or servicemen killed during our lengthy stay………..

Well, perhaps it’s time Americans started asking such questions. A lost war should be the occasion for a great public debate on the policies and the geopolitical assumptions that led to the war

Tomsdispatch.com puts the challenge before us in clear terms. “Bush, Cheney, and their supporters say the most important message is a reassuring one: “When the U.S. starts a fight, it stays in until it wins. You can count on us.” For key Democrats, including congressional leaders and major candidates for the imperial Presidency, the primary message is a warning: “U.S. support for friendly governments and factions is not an open-ended blank check. If you are not producing, we’ll find someone else who can.”

This is a debate about tactics; not about goals. Among the American people a greater debate is raging. At stake is whether America should be allowed to create a war to further certain interests of its own economy?   Or………… should America agree to play by the same rules it insists that all other’s abide by: thou shalt not invade another country for resources. At first glance it appears that in their courtship with the powerful elite for those delicious campaign dollars, the leading Democrats have placed their foot in the very same traps that snapped shut upon the feet of the Republicans.

It is time that all Americans look hard at this duplicity.

Perhaps in such a reflective light, many of the minor candidates, such as Biden, do appear to have the better shine after all…………..