Monday, February 10, 2020

Last Call For Operation Mindbender

Last month when Trump was on the brink of a shooting war with Iran, Tehran attacked an Iraqi base where US soldiers were housed.  At the time, we were told that US personnel had been evacuated and that there were no casualties.  But like every single thing this regime tells us, it was a lie and American troops are now suffering from brain injuries from the attack...over 100 such cases.

The U.S. military is preparing to report a more than 50% jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement, said there were over 100 cases of TBI, up from the 64 previously reported last month.

The Pentagon declined to comment, but in the past had said to expect an increase in numbers in the weeks after the attack because symptoms can take time to manifest and troops can sometimes take longer to report them.

No U.S. troops were killed or faced immediate bodily injury when Iran fired missiles at the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.

The missile attacks capped a spiral of violence that had started in late December. Both sides have refrained from further military escalation, but the mounting number of U.S. casualties could increase pressure on the Trump administration to respond, perhaps non-militarily.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that the service members suffering from traumatic brain injuries had been diagnosed with mild cases. He added the diagnosis could change as time went on.

Symptoms of concussive injuries include headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.

Pentagon officials have repeatedly said there has been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries. But the disclosures following Tehran’s attack has renewed questions over the U.S. military’s policy regarding how it internally reports suspected brain injuries and whether they are treated publicly with the same urgency as loss of limb or life.

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to play down the brain injuries last month, saying he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things” following the attack, prompting criticism from lawmakers and a U.S. veterans group.

These are serious injuries that can lead to major future problems.  Trump is treating this like it was these troops getting a migraine headache.  Our troops deserve a better Commander-in-Chief, that's for damn sure.

Austerity Hysteria, Con't

We warned you time and time again (and I say we because a hell of a lot of Democrats warned you this was coming) that the Trump Tax Scam was going to be followed by massive, draconian cuts and lo and behold, Trump's 2020 budget goes straight after Medicaid, food programs, and more with trillions in cuts.

President Donald Trump‘s budget request on Monday will pitch billions of dollars in cuts to non-defense spending despite a budget deal he already negotiated with Congress, in addition to seeking major savings by targeting the federal safety net, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Sunday.

Trump also will ask Congress for a slight spending increase for the Pentagon as he releases his $4.8 trillion budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year, all proposals sure to be rejected by Democrats who control the House.

The president aims to cut $4.4 trillion in spending over a decade and projects an end to annual deficits in 15 years, rather than a more aggressive 10-year goal. Much of the savings would stem from the Trump administration’s push to overhaul food stamp benefits and cap Medicaid spending, among other reforms. The federal deficit is forecast to blow past $1 trillion this year.
Trump will also ask Congress for an extra $2 billion for border wall construction, in addition to billions in funding hikes for immigration enforcement.

Democrats will never agree to carve up domestic programs for savings, and it will be up to Congress to decide on final fiscal 2021 spending levels. While the president is looking for significantly less border money than last year, any increase is still bound to spark a fight with Democrats, as will the extra cash for immigration enforcement.

The two-year budget deal forged by Congress and the Trump administration last summer cemented $738 billion in fiscal 2020 funding for the military and $632 billion for non-defense departments. Federal funding limits will be even higher — but still tight — for the fiscal year that begins in October, allowing an extra $2.5 billion for the military and another $2.5 billion bump for non-defense programs, under the agreement

Trump is instead pushing for cuts to the non-defense spending level that he negotiated with Congress, bringing that level down to $590 billion, while maintaining military funding at $740.5 billion.

As with his previous budget proposals, Trump is once again seeking deep and unrealistic cuts to a number of federal agency budgets, and the cuts are unlikely to be embraced by Congress.

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would see a 15 percent cut, the Commerce Department’s budget would be reduced by 37 percent after the completion of the 2020 census and foreign aid would be reduced by about a fifth

I mean maybe Trump forgot it was an election year, because $2 trillion in domestic spending cuts and forcing Republicans to vote on those cuts is exactly what helped hand Democrats the House in 2018, well that and voting on gutting Medicaid expansion and taking health care access away from millions.  Republicans are about to do it again.

We'll see how many Americans will vote to hurt themselves in order to hurt others even more.

Shamrocked At The Ballot Box

Ireland's Sinn Fein took the plurality of votes in weekend national elections and the current government of PM Leo Faradkar and his Fianna Fail party now have a new junior partner, whether they like it or not.

Irish nationalists Sinn Fein demanded on Sunday to be part of the next Irish government after early results indicated the left-wing party secured the most votes in an election that leader Mary Lou McDonald described as a ballot box “revolution”.

The former political wing of the Irish Republican Army, which has recast itself as the main left-wing party, secured 24% of first-preference votes, almost doubling its share from the last election in 2016, early results showed.

That put it narrowly ahead of the party of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and fellow center-right rival Fianna Fail in an election analysts described as a seismic shift away from Ireland’s century-old, center-right duopoly.

But Sinn Fein is likely to fall behind at least one of its rivals in terms of seat numbers because it stood far fewer candidates and is unlikely to be more than a junior partner in a government.

“This is certainly an election that is historic... this is changing the shape and the mold of Irish politics. This is just the beginning,” McDonald told reporters after arriving at her election count to a huge ovation from party supporters.

She said Sinn Fein would talk to all parties about forming a government and that others should accept their responsibility to do the same.

“I do not accept the exclusion or talk of excluding our party, a party that represents now a quarter of the electorate and I think that is fundamentally undemocratic,” she said.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, who have between them led every government since the foundation of the state, ruled out a coalition with Sinn Fein before the election.

But although Varadkar reiterated his rejection due to “principle and policy”, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin declined to repeat earlier refusals to consider a coalition with Sinn Fein, saying only that there were significant incompatibilities on policy.

“Our policies and our principles have not changed overnight,” he said. “But what is important is that the country comes first.”

We'll see what kind of government gets formed in the wake of this, but for Sinn Fein to come in first is watching the earth move in Ireland, especially in a post-Brexit era.  I'm nowhere near versed enough in Irish politics to know if McDonald can become PM or not, but whoever does lead Ireland's government from here on will have to contend with her party being part of it.


Related Posts with Thumbnails