Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mid-Week Post

Fifteen more shopping days until Halloween.

Prayers would be much appreciated.  

A new report states that not only were chemical weapons found in Iraq but that soldiers were ordered to keep quiet about it:

American troops found nearly 5,000 abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq from 2004 to 2011, but their discoveries were kept secret by the U.S. government, the New York Times reports.

According to the 10,000-word, eight-part interactive report ("The Secret Casualties of Iraq's Abandoned  Chemical Weapons") by C.J. Chivers published on the paper's website late Tuesday, at least 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve or mustard agents in Iraq after 2003.

On at least six occasions, American troops and American-trained Iraqi troops were wounded by the abandoned munitions, but news of the encounters was neither shared publicly nor widely circulated among the troops, the victims told the Times. Others said they were told to be vague or deceptive about what they found.

"'Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,” Jarrod Lampier, a retired Army major, said of the 2006 discovery of 2,400 nerve-agent rockets at a former Republican Guard compound, the largest chemical weapons discovery of the war.

Among the reasons for the secrecy? "The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale," Chivers writes. "After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, [President George W.] Bush insisted that [Iraqi leader Saddam] Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims."

These were the weapons that allegedly did not exist but were still uncovered by ISIS.

Speaking of ISIS:

Two months after American bombs and missiles began pounding fighters of the so-called Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s undeclared war in Iraq and Syria finally has a name: Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Wall Street Journal had reported on Oct. 3 that the name had been considered and rejected, with one unnamed military officer saying “it is just kind of bleh.”

The long search for a name had sparked a flurry of jokes on Twitter, where one leading tongue-in-cheek suggestion was that it be called “Operation Hey Wasn’t That My Humvee” – a reference to U.S. airstrikes hitting Islamic State fighters using American equipment captured from Iraqi troops.

The Obama Administration announced the moniker a day after the president attended a meeting of defense chiefs from some 20 partners in the coalition trying to beat back the rampaging extremist group, which has captured broad swaths of Iraqi territory. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the gathering at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, best known for being home to the blue-and-white liveried airplane that serves as Obama’s Air Force One.

Veterans groups had complained that the lack of a formal name could shortchange Americans risking their lives to fight IS by leaving them unable to claim the recognition of a combat medal. One American, a Marine, has lost his life in the operations.
What resolve would that be? While Obama was golfing and certainly not coming up with a plan to liquidate ISIS,  thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis have been forced from their homes (1.4 million if one counts Syrian refugees as well) with as many as 1,500 women and girls sold into sexual slavery. Obama isn't just indifferent; he does not care on purpose (SEE: "workplace violence").

This is what Obama is indifferent about:

During the ninth night of her captivity, Nadia seized an unexpected opportunity to flee. 
Back on the first day, the men who kidnapped Nadia and the other young women as hostages and sex slaves had away taken their shoes. Escaping barefoot was out of the question. As the women could see from the windows, the surrounding terrain was rough and rocky, and they would end up with bleeding cuts and gashes all over their feet. 
The house in which they were held captive had many rooms and the young women were frequently moved from one to another. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for the frequent moves; they were apparently dependent on the whims of their captors. But in one room stood a wardrobe, inside of which Nadia found a pair of pink tennis shoes under some rags. Though they were a few sizes too small for her, they might just do.

Six men -- her captors, rapists and tormentors -- stood guard from day one. But on the ninth night, Nadia noticed that four of the men were apparently absent, perhaps sleeping elsewhere. Whatever the case, only two of the Islamic State fighters were sitting in the kitchen that night -- and they were distracted. It looked as though they were arguing.

The men had shut up Nadia alone that night and she didn't know where the other young women were. The lock on her door was defective and she was able to open it. She pulled out the tennis shoes that she had kept hidden, crammed her feet into them, slipped out of the room and was able to push open a terrace door. She scurried out of the house and rushed through the garden, filled with rustling dry bushes and trees. She was afraid that a dog would start barking, but she was lucky.

She came to a wall, a high wall, so it seemed -- reaching beyond her outstretched arms. "Now I had to climb over the wall," she says, "and I didn't have much time."

I'm sure those in charge are handling this with the utmost care and ability:

A top federal health official said Wednesday that a Texas nurse exposed to the Ebola virus never should have taken a flight from Cleveland to the Dallas area. She has now been diagnosed with Ebola and officials are now contacting other passengers on the plane.

China blocks access to a BBC site:

Chinese censors have blocked the website of Britain's national broadcaster, the BBC said in a statement late on Wednesday, coming as tensions rise in Hong Kong between pro-democracy protesters and police.

The broadcaster said that the move seemed to be "deliberate censorship". It did not say what may have prompted the move by Beijing, which also blocks the websites of the New York Times, newswire Bloomberg and the BBC's Chinese language website.

Censorship is what China does.

But... but... they said it worked:

Vancouver Coastal Health is trying to warn drug users about a bad batch of heroin that has caused 31 overdoses at the city's supervised injection site.

This is all as well-handled as the Ebola crisis.

Oh wait...

The war on Halloween:

A feminist theatre company in Calgary called Urban Curvz is fighting back against what they say is an increasingly sexualized holiday.

Pam Rocker, the organizer of Take Back Halloween, spoke on the Calgary Eyeopener about her inspiration for starting the event.

She says they are taking back the holiday from those who think a sexy leopard costume for a three-year-old, complete with fishnet stockings, is a good idea.

"When we saw that in a costume shop a couple of months ago, the artistic director of Urban Curvz and I thought, 'You know what, this is a problem for all ages,'" said Rocker. "And this is something that we want to take back by having something like a feminist costume contest where you actually have to be creative and think about things that don't gender stereotype and that maybe actually empower women."

There is no shortage of sexualized costumes for kids, says Rocker.

"There is also a 'mac pimp daddy' costume for eight-year-old boys, because it affects all genders. I also saw a sexy Bert and Ernie and a sexy pizza slice."

Rocker says Halloween is an indicator of a larger movement of rewarding over-sexualized behaviour.
"The culture perpetuates this — you're rewarded if you're not smart, you're not a leader and if you're something to be objectified."

The goal is not to tell people how to dress but give people more choice. 

"We are not saying that if you want to be a sexy nurse that's bad, but we want to provide an alternative to something that isn't gender stereotyping," said Rocker.

"Really the event is going tot be so much fun.... We'll have puppets, songs, stage fighting, imagining a future of feminist Disney princesses — so there is something for everybody.
Awareness doesn't have to be a drag and that's really important to us, so we want it to be an exciting night for people."

There will also be a patriarchy haunted house that highlights some gender issues in a fun scary way.

As revolting as people who clearly sexualise children are (especially those who worked alongside Ontario premiers), people who hunt for causes are just as insufferable.

Why not go to an Islamic country where women cover their faces all the time?

What? Not edgy enough?

And now, party snacks for your Halloween get-together. Enjoy.

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