31 December 2005

CIA Warns Ankara of Possible Air Ops Against Iran

Crazy, unsourced articles are not the exclusive domain of the U.S. MSM. It seems that the Turkish media enjoys this, as well. The TurkishPressdotcom reports CIA's Goss Reportedly Warned Ankara of Iranian Threat.
Cumhuriyet - During his recent visit to Ankara, CIA Director Porter Goss reportedly brought three dossiers on Iran to Ankara.

Goss is said to have asked for Turkey'’s support for Washington'’s policy against Iran'’s nuclear activities, charging that Tehran had supported terrorism and taken part in activities against Turkey.

Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria.

Goss, who came to Ankara just after FBI Director Robert Mueller'’s visit, brought up Iran'’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. It was said that Goss first told Ankara that Iran has nuclear weapons and this situation was creating a huge threat for both Turkey and other states in the region. Diplomatic sources say that Washington wants Turkey to coordinate with its Iran policies. The second dossier is about Iran'’s stance on terrorism. The CIA argued that Iran was supporting terrorism, the PKK and al-Qaeda. The third had to do with Iran'’s alleged stance against Ankara. Goss said that Tehran sees Turkey as an enemy and would try to "“export its regime."
So, Porter Goss decided to blurt out that Turkey should be prepared for possible air assaults against Iran and Syria? This just doesn't seem to pass the smell test to me.

Thanks to the Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

25 December 2005

TimesWatch Quotes of the Year for 2005

You gotta love the folks at Timeswatch.org. These guys do an excellent job of keeping an eye on the NYTimes. This years list of quotable quotes was the best I have seen to date. Here are a few I particularly enjoyed.
"And in the shadow of the bleak and often horrific news emerging from Iraq nearly every day, historians and political experts are finding at least a wan hope in those imperfect historical analogies. Even in the absence of a sudden and dramatic shift on the battlefield toward a definitive victory, there may still be a slight opening, as narrow as the eye of a needle, for the United States to slip through and leave Iraq in the near future in a way that will not be remembered as a national embarrassment."
-- From reporter James Glanz's November 27 story for the Week in Review section.
What did James say??? "A wan hope in those imperfect historical analogies? James, I certainly hope "you continue your workman-like efforts to endeavour to work diligently". Whatever that means.
"A nostalgic insider turned outsider can still offer insights, however, and the most useful is that cable news outlets were ludicrously rah-rah during the invasion of Iraq and that embedded reporters felt a credibility-damaging kinship with soldiers."
-- From Ned Martel's February 4 review of a documentary by left-wing media critic Danny Schechter.
You put your left foot in...you put your left foot out...you put your left foot in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about. Ridiculous.
"Nonetheless, [Bush campaign strategist Mark] McKinnon said that Mr. Bush had not gone so far as to include on his playlist 'Fortunate Son,' the angry anti-Vietnam war song about who has to go to war that [John] Fogerty sang when he was with Creedence Clearwater Revival. ('I ain't no senator's son....Some folks are born silver spoon in hand.') As the son of a two-term congressman and a United States Senate candidate, Mr. Bush won a coveted spot with the Texas Air National Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam."
-- Elisabeth Bumiller's April 11 "White House Letter" on the songs on Bush's iPod.
Guess what, Superfreak by the late Rick James ain't on his playlist either. I guess 'Liz never asked John McCain what was on his silver-spoon-pod. Idiot.
"My own sense is that Mao, however monstrous, also brought useful changes to China….But Mao’s legacy is not all bad. Land reform in China, like the land reform in Japan and Taiwan, helped lay the groundwork for prosperity today. The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. Indeed, Mao’s entire assault on the old economic and social structure made it easier for China to emerge as the world’s new economic dragon….In the same way, I think, Mao's ruthlessness was a catastrophe at the time, brilliantly captured in this extraordinary book -- and yet there's more to the story: Mao also helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth and rise of China after five centuries of slumber."
-- Foreign policy reporter turned columnist Nicholas Kristof reviewing a new Mao biography in the October 23 Book Review.
Are you Freaking kidding me? Land reform? Ask those in Russia as they watch a toxic plume migrate through their drinking water supply what they think about China's land reform. Selling a book are we? To whom?
"The [Amnesty International] report, released May 25, placed the United States at the heart of its list of human rights offenders, citing indefinite detentions of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and secret renditions of prisoners to countries that practice torture. But it is the use of the word gulag, a reference to the complex of labor camps where Stalin sent thousands of dissidents, that has drawn the most attention."
-- Lizette Alvarez, June 4. It's estimated some 2.7 million perished in Stalin's slave labor camps.
This chick brings shame to the words "community college."

I could go on and on, but go to timeswatchdotcom and get all of the action live.

Thanks to the Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

High Re-up Rate Among Deployed Servicemembers

Once again, another piece for "the MSM never told me this" file (which keeps getting bigger and bigger). Defenselink.com reports:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 25, 2005 Servicemembers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are re-enlisting in high numbers, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today said he thinks he knows why.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke with Chris Wallace on the Fox News Channel's "Fox News Sunday," making his first appearance on a Sunday talk show as Joint Chiefs chairman.

"(The high re-enlistment rate) shows their pride in what they're doing and their understanding of how important it is," the general said. "It is absolutely true that for those units that have served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, that their re-enlistment rates are the highest of all of our armed forces."

Pace said servicemembers know they're doing important work, and also know it's appreciated. "I think Pfc. Pace understands the value of what he or she is doing, and they know that what they're doing is appreciated by the Iraqis and the Afghan people. They know that the support here at home for the armed forces is very, very solid and very strong. They're proud of what they're doing, and they want to continue to do it."

The chairman acknowledged that waking up far from home on Christmas morning can be difficult for the nation's deployed forces, but he added they can wake up with great pride in what they've accomplished in 2005.

"This has been an incredible year," the general said, "and all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen (and) Merchant Marines have so much to be proud of, and we should all be thankful."

Pace cited an unprecedented concentration of major relief efforts, including the South Asia tsunami, hurricane relief in the United States and earthquake relief in Pakistan. He also noted that U.S. servicemembers' efforts helped to bring about Afghanistan's second parliamentary election as well as two elections and a referendum on a constitution in Iraq.

"When they wake up this Christmas Day, and they're away from home, they also can take enormous pride in being part of a really historical year," Pace said.

The chairman also noted the contributions military families make. "You know, when we're overseas and we are in harm's way, we know when we get in trouble, and we are able to, through our training, do something about it," the general said. "Our families here at home don't know when we're in trouble, so they wait and they pray.

"And when we come home," he continued, "they stand in the background and pretend that we did it all on our own. But the families that we have supporting our military are serving this country at least as well as those who wear the uniform."

24 December 2005

RIP Mike Stokely

Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette has posted a very moving piece from a father who lost his son in OIF. Truly a must read.

I never met Mike Stokely, but I would let him babysit my two year-old son or date my sister. I have no idea what it would be like to lose a child, so I will shut my trap at this point. My heart goes out to SGT. Stokely's family.

For those of you that think that National Guard units hang out in airports drinking lukewarm Coca-Cola, here are a few words for you....
SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely, KIA Operation Iraqi Freedom 16 Aug 05
2nd Platoon, E Troop 108th CAV 48h Brigaded GA NATL GUARD
15 miles south of Baghdad near Yusufiyah / IED
To the Stokely family, my family gives our thoughts and prayers.

Christmas in India?

You better believe it. In India, the nations 25 million Christians, mostly Catholic, joyously celebrate the Christmas holiday each year. Unbelievable, the world's largest retailer won't use the word "Christmas" in any advertising, but many Indians proudly proclaim the mystery of faith in public. The India Times reports.
NEW DELHI: Christianity came to India much before it went to the West, perhaps a reason why India's 25 million Christians prefer to be catholic in faith, oriental in worship and Indian in culture.
Funny. Many Americans consider India to be a "third-world" country. One where ancient laws govern the masses. However, India's "freedom of religion" is positively refreshing when placed next to the west's "freedom from religion."
It has been a two-way process - a process of osmosis where Christianity has over the centuries become an indelible part of Indian plurality. Not only for the urban middle classes enthusiastically getting ready for Christmas, a festival that long ago surpassed the boundaries of mere religion, but also for the many millions who have studied in missionary schools.

On the flip side, many customs of the majority Hindu religion have assimilated into Christian traditions, making for a uniquely Indian Christianity in a country where the community forms the second largest minority group after the Muslims and constitutes 2.4 percent of its one billion plus population.

According to a 2003 report of Directory of Catholic Health Facilities in India, the Catholic church itself has 764 hospitals, 2,975 dispensaries and health centres and 115 medical training centers throughout the country.
A country that allows all religions an equal voice is a good one -- in my humble opinion.

Stem Cell Research a Fraud???

Stem cell research has been smited by a mighty blow this week. According to an AP report, a well known, and respected, Korean veterinarian claimed to have cloned 11 human embryos to produce stem cells. Well, it appears that his gastrula has burst. I don't know why no one doubted his claims. Here are a few descriptions of the good DVM:
When Hwang published findings in February 2004 and again in May, it was believed he had developed a new cloning method that enabled him to accomplish something no one else had.
Let's see, someone in the scientific community came up with something no one else had and no one tried to replicate or bring legitimacy to his efforts. These people can usually smell blood in the water better than a Great white shark finishing off a Farallon Island sea lion colony. Hmmmmmm. Wait a minute, could it be that the scientific community stands to reap enormous financial gains that they looked the other way? Hmmmm.
Hwang chalked up much of the success to South Korean government support and dedicated researchers working around the clock. He also credited his workers' dexterity with chopsticks; stem cell researchers visited from around the world and rushed back to their labs to try the new technique.
Credited his workers' dexterity with chopsticks??? Are you kidding me. I can't pick up a piece of sweet and sour pork and his researchers can pick up cells????
Hwang's work came under serious question last month after University of Pittsburgh scientist Gerald Schatten withdrew his collaboration with the South Korean, citing questionable ethics practices. Hwang later revealed he had used eggs from female scientists at his lab, violating international ethics guidelines, and apologized --— admitting he had earlier lied about the issue.
Serious question? I'd say so.