CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O CONTINUES TO BE ABOUT AS POPULAR AS EVAN MARRIOTT* (WHO? EXACTLY!) WITH ONE BAD POLL AFTER ANOTHER AFTER ANOTHER.
LOOKING AT THE POLLS AND DEALING WITH THE NEWS THAT DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS ARE DISTANCING THEMSELVES, BARRY O ASKED THESE REPORTERS, "IS IT MY SCRAGGLY PUBES HAIR DO? I LIKE IT. I REALLY DO."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting in the US where an Iraq War veteran is finishing an odyssey. Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. "Hike" because part of raising awareness is reaching out and Troy went around the country -- by foot -- reaching out. His hike began in April of 2010. Tamara Evans (WDRB) reports that this Saturday, September 3rd, around 1:00 pm, Troy's hike is set to end in Louisville where it all started ("He's expected to cross the finish line at the Louisville Slugger Museum between 1:00-1:30.") Troy notes it is 16 months and a week that he's been hiking across the country. During that time, he's met more people than he can count and raised serious attention to issues facing veterans while, at the same time, raising a half-million dollars to help veterans in need. Matt Frassica (Louisville Courier-Journal) reports that in the sixteen months, Troy has:
been interviewed by Diane Sawyer and taken the field with baseball teams like the Yankees and the Reds, thanks to help from sponsor Louisville Slugger.
In New York, the Yankees donated $10,000, and the CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, Mitchell Modell, pledged $260,000 to the cause. Customers at Modell's and Party City retailers have the option to contribute at the cash register, and those sponsors will present Yocum with the resulting donations on Sept. 14 in New York.
Most importantly, for Yocum, his fundraising has allowed Wish Upon a Hero to help 60 military families, providing things like food and supplies for tornado survivors and a trip to space camp for the son of a soldier who died.
Meanwhile The New Statesman notes:
Brown University's Costs of War project estimates that the financial burden to the US of these wars is between $3.2trn and $4trn. So far, 1,752 US service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan and 4,474 in Iraq. The UK has lost 380 soldiers in Afghanistan and 179 in Iraq. The civilian death toll in Iraq has been estimated at anything between 120,000 and one million; the comparable figure in Afghanistan is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. So many lives lost and so many resources squandered - and for what? These sacrifices haven't made us feel any more secure.
And a real life cost of the war can be seen by the residents of Vermont currently. Tony Rutherford (Huntington News) reports, "Hurricane Irene has devastated Vermont; however, the National Guard has no helicopters in the state to help its citizens. The choppers, along with the men and women, are in Iraq." As the week began, Sam Hemingway (Burlington Free Press) noted, "Eight helicopters on loan from the Illinois National Guard were expected to arrive Tuesday night in Vermont to help the Vermont National Guard deliver food, medicine, water and other supplies to 13 Vermont towns cut off from the rest of the state in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene." Yesterday evening (5:56 p.m. EST), Governor Peter Shumlin's office was noting utility outages throughout the state. US Senator Patrick Leahy is from and represents the state of Vermont. His office has posted photos online of the flooding and damages to Vermont. Bernie Sanders is Vermont's other US Senator and he's currently in Vermont and has stated, "This is a devastating moment for Vermont." His office noted there were "12,000 power outages in the state" yesterday and that "Four teams from the Environmental Protection Agency, Vermont's Hazardous Materials team and Department of Environmental Conservation are visiting the hardest hit areas of the state to make preliminary environmental hazard assessments. Three of the teams are traeling by ground, one by air. The teams will be reviewing water and wastewater hazards. In particular, they will be looking for chemicals and other hazardous materials that have leaked, or are in danger of doing so."
Vermont could use the members of their National Guard and those helicopters. They don't belong in an illegal war, they belong in the US. Barack obama didn't just continue the illegal Iraq War he continued the 'new,' the 'novel' concept that a state's emergency forces, organized to protect a state, can instead be sent overseas and into combat. All of Barack's pathetic defenders better grasp that if their Christ-child truly was different from George W. Bush, the first thing he would have done would have been said "no more" to sending the Guard overseas. It's the "National Guard." It's not the "International Police Force."
On The NewsHour (PBS -- link has text, video and audio) tonight, the issue of waste and fraud were explored. Margaret Warner introduced the segment:
MARGARET WARNER: Now, waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money during a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a three-year investigation, a Congressionally mandated commission yesterday issued a blunt finding, that between $31 billion and $60 billion has been misspent on the two wars. That's up to one-quarter of the entire $206 billion outsourced to private contractors for everything from security to food preparation to reconstruction projects. The last 10 years have brought more than 260,000 such contractors to work in war zones, where they sometimes outnumbered soldiers. The panel urged quick action on 15 recommendations to tighten controls.
She discussed the findings with Commission on Wartime Contracting member Dov Zakheim. Excerpt:
MARGARET WARNER: Could that problem even be exasperated as the U.S. draws its troops down from Iraq in the next couple of years, or three years, Afghanistan, and, say, State Department or AID become even more dependent on private contractors for security, for example?
DOV ZAKHEIM: Absolutely.In fact, there are two ways that the problem is getting worse. One is the challenge of starting projects that the either the Iraqi government or the Afghan government cannot sustain. We built a power plant -- excuse me -- a water treatment plant in Iraq that has intermittent power and that is not being used. We built a prison that is not being used. The Iraqis don't want it. We have built schools in Afghanistan without teachers; health clinics, over 130 of them, in Iraq without the proper equipment and supplies. So you have got the problem that we're building stuff that won't be maintained. And, at the same time, if you rely on security contractors in places where there's corruption, where there's danger, where maybe the contractors themselves are a danger, then you have got a problem as well. And we have recommended that, instead of simply focusing on the narrow issue of whether this is something government can or cannot do, you focus on the risk involved. Then we will clearly identify places where we just shouldn't have contractors.
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