Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bay area 5.6 Earthquake was scary and a reminder

I was relaxing on my bed about 8:05 pm PST when my bed and my house rumbled and swayed from side to side. It was truly scary as I wasn't sure whether this one was going to become the big one we all expect here in the earthquake active San Francisco Bay area. After the shaking stopped, which took about 10 seconds, I briefly thought about my earthquake supplies I had stored along with enough food and water for 2 weeks, and was very glad I took the initiative to be prepared. Luckily, no lights went out, no cracks were visible in my home and my wife and I were safe. I then went to the official web site for the U.S. Geological site and filled out their form asking if we had felt the earthquake and added my information to their database on the earthquakes in this area. The Map I have attached shows the level of activity in the area up to 7 days ago. You can link to the USGS by clicking here.

The 2 full days of Community Emergency Responsiveness Training I took a year ago seemed also to be a wise move. While I didn't need to use it with this earthquake, I am prepared if there is a larger more violent earthquake that is almost inevitable to happen in my lifetime. Are you ready for a disaster in your area? If not ask your local Firedepartment if there is any training you can take to be prepared for the type of disasters your area is most likely to have. They are most willing to assist you. Be safe and prepared.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Genarlow Wilson: A young man of courage and principle wins in Georgia

After many years fighting charges he incurred by a zealous District Attorney relentless prosecution in Georgia of this 17 year old young man, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled to day that he must be set free. Free at last, free at last, thank God he will be free at last!

As a 17 year old, Genarlow had consensual oral sex with a 15 year old. But when they put him in jail he would not cop a plea on a lesser charge and get only a 1 year term, as he didn't want his life labeled as a sex offender. He has been fighting the charges on principle. He has been in jail on a 10 year sentence and is now 21 years old. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of this young man and in their ruling said he had faced cruel and unusual punishment for this so called crime at the time he was 17. Amen! I am hoping his attorney files charges against the State and gets this young man millions of dollars in compensation and to teach local officials there is a cost for this inappropriate prosecution.

Watch Rush Limbaugh say on his radio show he should have stayed in jail and that the prosecution was correct because it was a split decision.

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U.S. Currency and it's effect on us.

It's finally happened, we've become more Mexican than you can imagine and it's not just from illegal immigrants crossing our borders. Remember the days when our leaders told us they supported a strong dollar? You don't hear that any more do you. That must mean that President Bush and his Administration favors a weak dollar because that is what we have. Think about this analogy, our currency today compared to the EU is 43% lower and dropping. We are becoming the cheap nation to visit for tourists. That's what Mexico used to be. The peso use to be so cheap, many Americans took vacation in Mexico. Now the table has turned and the U.S is becoming the Mexico for Europeans. This is part of a larger scheme to make the America's one large trading block with one currency, a cheap one!

Here's another piece of data you won't want to miss from an interview of Vicente Fox interview Oct. 8th on CNN's Larry King Live and some background:

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the existence of a government plan to create the amero as a new regional currency to replace the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso, in an interview Oct. 8th on CNN's "Larry King Live."

It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada or the U.S. openly confirmed a plan to create a regional currency. Fox explained the current regional trade agreement is intended to evolve into other previously hidden aspects of integration.

According to a transcript published by CNN, King, near the end of the broadcast, asked Fox a question e-mailed from a listener, a Ms. Gonzalez from Elizabeth, N.J.: "Mr. Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility of having a Latin America united with one currency?"

Fox answered in the affirmative, admitting he and President Bush had agreed to pursue the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas – a free-trade zone extending throughout the Western Hemisphere – and that part of the plan was to institute a regional currency from Canada to the tip of South America.

"Long term, very long term," he said. "What we proposed together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is a trade union for all the Americas."

To read the entire CNN transcript click here.

This means the money you have saved this past 10 years has lost about 50% of its worth in the world. It also means inflation is right around the corner! Scary thought isn't it. President Bush can do even more damage as he has still one year left in office. It only took 7 years to ruin us for 3 generations. Think what one more year of his leadership will do. Hmmm, what about

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bush's ultimate legacy: Draining the U.S. Treasury

Yes, it's true. This is our President. Take a good look at the picture so you can remember who created this mess we are in on so many fronts. I am told Republican Conservatives are supposed to be the politicians most concerned and able to manage money, since many have ties and experience in Corporate America. Well I guess that myth has been debunked with the latest figures about the cost of the Iraq war and that it was going to cost $2 Trillion dollars, according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said that Bush would "go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible president ever. The fact is that the nation's debt has exploded on his watch -- rising by $3 trillion since 2001, to $9 trillion today."

We need to consider this issue as more important the the Iraq war itself. This will affect not only our generation but our children's generation and their children's generation. We are now the leading debtor nation in the world and that sets the stage for the second, so called, Fall of the Roman Empire, us!

There are only a few Presidential candidates that can deal with this issue. It's not Hillary, Obama Rudi, McCain, nor Fred Thompson. It is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and he is by far the best Presidential candidate with expertise in this area as Governor of Massachusetts, and having also managed the U.S. Olympics and his tenure as head of Bain Capital. Another might be Gov. Huckabee (R) who has experience as a Governor. On the Democratic side possibly Gov. Bill Richardson who has managed the smaller state of New Mexico. He is the only candidate with the experience being an Executive officer of a large entity like a State. This may be the first election in our history where the issues we face as a Nation can't be resolved by any of the Presidential candidates and the ideal solution would be to combine the best in each.

What Presidential ticket would that look like to me? It would be Senator Joe Biden (D), as expert on Foreign relations and the only candidate who could help solve the Iraq Civil War, and Mitt Romney, as the best candidate for resolving the financial debt issues we will face. But we don't have the consciousness to consider ideas outside of our traditional box of electing a President. But wouldn't that be a good ticket!

As the title of this Blog says, "Bush's ultimate legacy: Draining the U.S. Treasury", he has made the country as bankrupt as he did with his own Oil company. This time instead of the Saudi's bailing him out, it is China, as they own most of our debt.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

U.S. Fatalities for the first 3 weeks of October, 2007

For the 3 week in October there were 27 fatalities. The first 2 weeks there were 22, so that is an additional 5 for this past week. In October of 2006 we had 106 U.S. Fatalities in Iraq. This continues to be a major story and does show that the violence is down in Iraq. It is a substantial reduction from the 106 last year.

This is one of my most positive feelings about this terrible war. I pray that this continues going forward without consideration to the rhetoric on both sides of the Iraq war debate.

There are now 3,835 U.S. Fatalities, as of the reporting this evening.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Inevitability of Democratic and Republican Presidential Nominees

Everyone has been saying Hillary is the one to beat and that no one can touch her lead over the field of Democrats. The same can't be said for the Republicans, as they had their debate tonight on Fox News. So the question is this, without a single vote, your choice has been made null and void by the media. Can and will the American people take charge of this process and be willing to give a fair look at all the candidates for the good of America? What would that look like?

Well for one thing one would have to first focus on which of the issues they feel strongest about. For many it's the Iraq war, ending it and bringing the troops home. For others, it's about the economy while for others in a related issue, it's the high price of gasoline. For still others, it's about healthcare and whether we should have Universal Healthcare coverage and a system run by the U.S Government.

On the issue of the Iraq war, there is only one candidate that has a position to solve the problem and that is Senator Joe Biden, as he stated today on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He is clearly the most experienced on Foreign Affairs as he is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and the most trusted Senator by his colleagues in the area of Foreign Affairs. He said this morning that many have said he would make a great Secretary of State. His reply, don't we need the next President to excel in this area and if so, he is the most qualified. He is right on the money on this.

If your issue is healthcare, Hillary has probably the most intimate knowledge about the system and what's wrong with it and could most likely have learned from her previous attempt to change the system.

If your issue is we need to be strong as a country and not tolerating pandering or negotiating with the likes of Amadenajad of Iran or Putin of Russia, you might want the fiery Rudy Giuliani.

If you want someone to run the country and the economy maximizing efficiency's and effectiveness, you might want to consider Mitt Romney.

If you want to ensure Christian Values are front and center as the basis for deciding who should get your support then Mike Huckabee, the Baptist minister and Gov. of Arkansas, would certainly be at the top of that list of current candidates from both parties.

What's clear here is that focusing on the single issue that stirs you the most and then pick the candidate with the most experience and track record. You choose, not the media. Start thinking more deeply as this will be your most important decision for President in your lifetime. Much rides on you choosing wisely and not being swayed by the polls and the media. You need to stick with your choice and let it play out while you are constantly focused on the issue that is most important to you and seeing exactly where the candidates stand. Are they clear or deliberately confusing the boundaries of their decisions and trying to have it all ways to include the most voters. I don’t need that kind of candidate and neither do you. Not this time, not this election for President!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Project Iraq reflections: Looking back at the incompetency

Back on April 23, 2003, Ted Koppel of ABC News interviewed USAID Administrator for Iraq, Andrew Natsios, about rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and the costs associated with it. This ties the previous blog entry on Oil prices back to 2003. Here is a brief exchange between Koppel and Natsios as background:

"Koppel:... I think you'll agree, this is a much bigger project than any that's been talked about. Indeed, I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

No, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.

(Off Camera) The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.

This is 1.7 billion.

(Off Camera) All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

So according to the Administration represented by Andrew Natsios, the entire rebuilding of Iraq was going to cost $20 Billion dollars, most of which was going to be paid with Oil Revenue and the only amount American taxpayers were going to spend was $1.7 Billion dollars! Remember that was with Oil prices at $30/barrel, not the current $90/barrel. Have you ever imagined such incompetence on this grand a scale? Unimaginable! I want our money back! And yet, no one, especially this President and Vice President has ever been held to account to us. These are also IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES.

To read the transcript of the entire interview click here.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

"Values Voters" for Pro Life but also for the Iraq War. Is this hypocrisy?

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said in a CNN interview this morning that Value Voters, presumably of the Christian Right of the Republican Party, can't support a candidate that isn't Pro Life. Well Mr. Perkins, can't you see the hypocrisy of your stand when you and others of the Christian Right are also Pro War by supporting this Iraq war and this President. It's time to take a look at your standards under the light of day. The media has given all of you a free ride, just as they did with President Bush and the Administration in the lead up to the war in Iraq.

The media is afraid of you and your power. But when you or your supporters come out as being Pro Life, someone needs to challenge you and the hypocrisy of your position. If you were people of peace, I wouldn't be so alarmed. There's no free ride here. I call it like I see it.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why is Bush talking about Iran as cause of a potential WWIII?

Many are asking why President Bush used this language today as it was hyping fears around the Globe. Add to that, yesterday, Russia's President Putin warning the U.S. about Military action against Iran. Also why wouldn't Bush discuss why he wouldn't comment on Israel bombing a Nuclear Reactor site in Syria, in his news conference yesterday? Fears are ratcheting up on the World stage. So the question is why, especially since Bush has only one year yet in office. He did say today he was "going to sprint to the finish line" of his term in office as he had "unfinished business".

Do you want to guess why he said these things today? Let me take a stab at it and put this picture in a larger context and tie up all the loose ends. First, Alan Greenspan was asked recently and had written in his most recent book, that the Iraq war is all about Oil. He's not the only one to make that statement recently. But to emphasize the point again, it's all about the Oil!

Bush and Cheney are Oil men. Their blood is black not red. Both have been in the business themselves with VP Cheney as the CEO of Haliburton, while the President had his own small Oil company that went bankrupt and was bailed out by the Saudi Royal family.

Remember, when we went into Iraq we were told that the war would be paid for with Iraqi Oil. Did that happen? No! And that was when the price of Oil in 2003 was $30/barrell.

With each progression in raising the stakes in Iraq with more troops and add extending the length of this war, Oil prices continue to rise. Also, comments from the Bush Administration that Iran is trying to develop a Nuclear weapon and must be stopped at all costs, has one and only one effect, Oil prices continued to rise.

As the chart above shows, both this President Bush and his father have had one thing in common. Both created the highest price of Oil than in previous years to their terms and it will be shown that when President Bush leaves office, Oil prices will come down significantly. Why? Because whomever in the next President they won't be trying to create the conditions to increase Oil prices. They will be calming fears in the World.

And let me see if you can guess how the Oil companies have prospered during this time when their Raw materials have tripled in price? Do you think like other businesses that when their raw material costs went up they made less profit? Hmmmmm amazing isn't it?!

By the way, this chart only goes to $70/barrel, not $90, which you can estimate where that would extend if drawn on this page. Today's closing price of Oil was $89/barrell, three times the amount at the start of the Iraq war and we still can't get the war paid for with Iraqi Oil. That is why the Congress and Senate should pass a Windfall Profit tax on Oil companies. Oh, I almost forgot, that won't happen either, as most of the candidates running for President are getting some nice fundraising from Oil company interests, as are those running for office next year. I guess that's one piece of legislation that won't see the light of day.

Year Oil Price
1973 $20/Barrel
1979 $40/Barrel
1993-2000 $18.53 Clinton Presidency

Still a non-believer?

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Monday, October 15, 2007

U.S. Fatalities in Iraq for the first 2 weeks of October.

For the first week in October there were 8 fatalities. That's a monthly rate of 32. The total now for the first 2 weeks is 22. In October of 2006 we had 106 U.S. Fatalities in Iraq. While the rate has increased this past week, it is a substantial reduction from last year.

Many believe the reduction has a lot to do with the new MRAP vehicles that have been delivered to Iraq in August and September. There are over 800 new vehicles in the Iraq theater. Whatever the reason for the decline, it is good news for the families waiting for their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers, to come home safely.

There are now 3,829 U.S. Fatalities.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Senator Biden's plan for Iraq gets some new traction, this time by Iraqis!

Presidential candidate and head of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden, has received some impressive support for his plan for Iraq by Iraq's top Shiite politician, Ammar al-Hakim. Finally someone there sees that this is the only hope for a political solution in Iraq.

To see the entire story, click here.

Federalism is gaining support so that all three regions would become States, similar to our States but would be held together by a weak central government which would be responsible for controlling the Borders and dispensing Oil revenue to each of the 3 regions under an agreed upon method and frequency.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

US-Russian Missile Defense negotiations

OK, I had to say something else today, as to me, this is a very important issue. Because of President Bush, VP Cheney and the Administration's bellicose actions in Iraq over the past 6 years, we have lost our leverage with world leaders. Among them, Vladimir Putin, as he is in talks which may break down regarding Missile Defense systems the U.S. wants to deploy in Putin's backyard.

Instead of the U.S bargaining on issues like this from a position of strength, we are arguing from a position of weakness. We are pushing this on Putin at a time where his power has gained and ours diminished. And now we have a President who is on record as saying I can see into this man's soul and work with him. It is plain to see that he is playing you and, by proxy, us. How do you think we would feel if a Missile Defense system was placed close to our border, say in Cuba? Hmmmm, I remember exactly how we reacted as I watched President John Kennedy deal with exactly that situation, and even though we were told they were purely for defensive reasons, we could not allow them to be there.

One cannot negotiate with someone where the bridge of trust has not been built or has already been broken. That is what our side is doing now in these talks. We are hoping he will go along with it. In my view this needs to be put on hold for the next President to deal with, just like the Iraq war will be something for the next President to deal with. It's the worst of all timing right now, and these folks don't want to admit it. So much for Rice and Gates trying to add something, besides failures, to the Bush legacy.

The main story on this can be found in the NY Times by clicking here.

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Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize!

I had to break my vacation for this news. Al Gore is so deserving of this Award. He has done much for changing the Bush rhetoric of the past 7 years on the very existence of Global Warming and Bush's slap at the world community over the Kyoto protocol.

Bravo Mr. Vice President, Bravo! You could not have done anything more to raise social awareness of Global Warming. You used the prestige of the Vice Presidency and your own moral fiber to stand and be counted. A grateful generation takes their hats off to your sir. Thanks you so much for what you have done and congratulations on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Taking a one week vacation

I am taking a vacation from blogging for a week. It's an experiment of sorts. I want to see if I can get through a whole week without being outraged about something the Administration has done to get my dander up. Hope I can get the whole week off. Check back on Oct. 17th.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Something good is happening in Iraq!

Something good is happening in Iraq and no one is noticing, except those who are there. Dare I say it, but U.S. Fatalities ARE COMING DOWN!!! For the first week in October there were 8 fatalities. That's a monthly rate of 32. In October of 2006 we had 106 U.S. Fatlities in Iraq.

One of the reasons why could be that General Petraeus is getting a handle on this with extra troops. It could be that Iraqi's are turning against Al Qaeda or it could be a number of reasons. But one thing is clear, something is going right there and it isn't being covered by the media. It is a bit encouraging. If it proves out over the next few weeks to be true, it could give Sen. John McCain a boost in the polls for sticking it out, stubbornly at times and against what appeared to be all odds.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

The use of torture: Will the tables be turned on President Bush?

In light of the recent Justice Dept. memos that have been leaked to the NY Times regarding fostering the use of torture by this Administration, we have indeed reached a new low for this already low Bush Administration. I reference here today's post for some background at Kikos House in a Blog post titled, "Sic Semper Tyrannis: The Blackest of the Bush Administration's Black Marks"

Just a little more than a year ago I wrote a Blog post titled, "United States Coup d'etat", as I was then outraged at the lack of courage of some principled Republican U.S. Senators who should have known better that this President and this Vice President were never to be trusted to keep their word about the use of torture, and therefore, the Senators should have pursued the legislation they had offered to ban torture.

I have copied my original post below, as it is relevant today, though written on Sept. 22, 2006 There are additional comments to read below it, which brings the issue, and the irony of the moment regarding Presidential hopefull, Hillary Clinton, front and center:

United States Coup d'etat

In the cover of daylight, the United States democracy was overthrown today by a Coup d'etat during the fog of politics and presented to the masses in the language of obfuscation and using the images of compromise. Major news networks reported not a single casualty. Some news networks such as NBC Nightly News didn't even cover the Coup, opting for a story on Phone Books of the past in London.

There was not a single protest in the streets, as the limited reporting of the event coincided with the usual Friday night homecoming of working Americans, and the distraction of relaxing with a glass of wine after a hard week.

The only sounds heard were the whimpers and sobbing of generations past, from our Founding Fathers, Veterans of all wars, and those who have died defending our democracy and preserving our freedoms. It was a bloodless Coup as life carried on with hardly a notice or care.

Whether we have violated or are violating the Geneva Convention will now be determined not by Law, but by the personal decision of President Bush, thanks to Senators McCain (a real disappointment), Warner and Graham and a silent neutered Democratic Party.

Sept. 22, 2006 Will you remember where you were this day 10 years from now? I will."

That was the day they pulled their legislation Banning the Use of Torture because they believed the President, when he assured the Senators that there was a ban on the use of torture in keeping with U.S. Laws and the Treaties we had signed, i.e. The Geneva Convention. Now we learn it depends on how they defined the word "torture". It sounds so Clintonesq! We should turn over Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales to the World Court for trail of War Crimes. But we don't have the integrity as a nation to do so. Not yet.

President Bush in May 2002 , said "we reserve the right to ignore decisions and orders issued by the International Criminal Court" when President Clinton in 1998 signed the treaty creating the Court Tribunal responsible for prosecuting war crimes and "crimes against humanity" when national criminal justice systems are unwilling or unable to act, as is the case here in the United States, and yet we use the Court to judge others when it suits our fancy, like Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Augusto Pinochet of Chile. It was a premediative move by President Bush, as it was done 6 months after the invasion of Afghanistan in Oct. 2001 and prior to the runup to the Iraq invasion of March 2003. As former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said on 60 Minutes in 2004, that 8 months before Sept. 11th 2001 Bush was obsessed with a war with Iraq. And so one could reasonably conclude Bush's move to recind the decision by President Bill Clinton to sign the treaty, was an action item to check off in preparation for a war in which we were going to get the bad guys.

Won't it be ironic when Hillary Clinton becomes President and rescinds President Bush's letter to the UN so that it is possible to send to trial George W. Bush and his crowd to that Court. That indeed will be a good day for America. Maybe that's why Bush sent that letter to the UN in the first place. It could effectively be argued, by a Constitutional Lawyer, that continued abuse and disregard of our Constitution and the expansion of an Executive Presidency by this President and Vice President, reaches the standard of Treason. But that’s another dream I’ll expand upon another day.

You can act now by asking Hillary if she will rescind the letter that President Bush sent to the UN and reinstating her husbands signature and add her own as President, to that treaty. Contact Hillary Clinton or your local newspaper and ask her if she will act to restore America's standing in the world by rescinding Bush's UN letter.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

FBI investigation into Blackwater killings in Iraq

The FBI is supposed to be investigating the firefight which happened weeks ago in Iraq. The only problem is the FBI is yet to fly to Iraq. What do you think their investigation is going to conclude about the firefight. Let me help save you some time by telling you now. "The FBI was unable to draw any conclusions as to whether Blackwater did anything wrong when it killed 11 Iraqi citizens because the scene of the firefight is impossible now to make any determination as to the facts."

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Bush veto’s children's health care bill because he wants to spend every penny in the Treasury on Iraq

The title says it all. We are supposed to believe he has found himself again and is now a fiscal conservative, hence the veto. Ha! Can't wait to hear what Comedy Central's Jon Stewart says about this. Let's face it, he wants to spend every single last penny in our Treasury on the Iraq war and the planned war he and Cheney are scheming on Iran.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

U.S. Fatalities for September 2007

U.S. Fatalities for September 2007 totaled 63. For September of the previous 2 years there were the following recorded deaths:

Sept. 2006 72
Sept. 2005 49

Sixty three is less than last year and it appears that there has been a temporary effect from the surge. Let's hope that this can be sustained going forward in the coming months.

I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers.

UPDATE Oct. 2nd, 2007

The Fatalities for September are now 66, not 63. These may have come near the end of the day on the 30th and took time to report. That is possible. It is also possible they are not reporting until the time has passed to keep the numbers low. I think on this one, my first scenario is most likely. But if any more are added then I think we have something fishy as we have had in past months..

Yesterday mainstream media was out with the numbers and they were saying how low this month was, as it was the lowest month since July 2006. With the number now 66, it is now the lowest month since August 2006.

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