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The deaths of two U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan and another in Kuwait were announced this past week by the Department of Defense.
Army Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell, 25, of Windsor, Colo., and Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 21, of Baker City, Ore., died Aug. 27 in Kalagush, Afghanistan, when an Afghan Army soldier shot them after a vehicle in their patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device, family members told Windsor Now.
Anders (pictured above) served in Korea prior to being stationed in Afghanistan. He worked in the army as a mechanic. "Everything here is day to day, one day lifes great and other days you dont even want to get out of bed," he wrote on his Facebook page while in Korea. "I'm having fun though, and learning alot about the world, people, culture, and myself. Still can't wait to go home though!"
Birdwell (pictured below with his sister) was the oldest of four siblings. He was on his third tour and scheduled to come home in December, according to the paper.
Staff Sgt. Jessica M. Wing, 42, of Alexandria, Va., died Aug. 27, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, in a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Bangor, Maine.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Wing was a helicopter mechanic. She was featured in 2005 story by the newspaper. "It doesn't matter how many times you've been deployed, once or 100 times, it's all the same,” Wing told the newspaper. "You don't know what you're getting into."
Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention was breathtakingly dishonest, even by the extremely loose standards of honesty practiced by our politicians. The Wisconsin Republican Congressman, hailed often as a "straight shooter" by the media because of his budget plan, lied about that plan and other significant matters to the assembled delegates and the millions watching on TV.
No lie was more brazen than the one he told about the GM auto plant that closed in his Janesville hometown.
Ryan said, "A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."
The plant closed in December 2008 while George W. Bush was president. President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, so he was in no position to do anything to save a plant whose closure was announced in June of the preceding year. One person who was in a position to do something to about it was Ryan, who has represented Janesville in Congress for 13 years.
Another lie Ryan told was about the Simpson-Bowles debt commission.
Ryan said of Obama, "He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing."
The Congressman was one of the 18 members of that commission. The Simpson-Bowles report proposed spending cuts and a U.S. tax code overhaul that would cut $4 trillion from federal budget deficits by 2020. The plan was a politically courageous effort with pain for both Republicans and Democrats that needed 14 yes votes to be officially recommended to Congress.
Ryan, who faulted Obama last night for ignoring that "urgent report," was one of seven who voted to kill it. He blamed Obama for taking no action on a deficit-reduction plan he helped fail.
Ryan's third lie was about Medicare, the health program for seniors that he wants to replace in the future with vouchers.
Ryan said, "And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. ... So they just took it all away from Medicare. $716 billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan incorporated the same $716 billion in Medicare cuts into two budgets he guided through the House. He used the money, which does not affect Medicare recipients directly, to achieve deficit reduction. Even better, if Ryan's voucher plan becomes law, it will cut far more from Medicare than the $716 billion in cuts he called the "coldest power play of all." If future retirees get a fixed payment and are forced to shop for health coverage among private insurance plans, any cost-of-care increases will be borne by those seniors instead of the federal government.
When he was selected as Mitt Romney's running mate, Ryan was perceived as a serious politician who had tackled hard issues with sober, tough proposals. His presence in the presidential race would elevate the tone, pundits anticipated.
Instead, he's setting a pathological new standard for falsehood that challenges the media's aversion to calling anything a lie.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said last night after Ryan's speech, "I marked at least seven or eight points I'm sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute."
Blitzer didn't identify any of those factually dubious points. "He delivered a powerful speech," Blitzer said. "A powerful speech."
The deaths of 13 U.S. service members in Afghanistan were announced this past week by the Department of Defense.
Pfc. Patricia L. Horne, 20, of Greenwood, Miss., died Aug. 24 in Bagram. She was part of the 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The military has not disclosed the cause of death. Horne (pictured above) was only the 37th women in the U.S. forces to die during the 11-year war in Afghanistan. An AP photo shows Horne's flag-draped coffin being carried off a plane at Dover Air Force Base.
In the days before she died, Horne was exchanging messages with friends on Facebook, where she had an account at the address LilArmyGirl. Asked how she was doing in Afghanistan, she replied on Aug. 20, "ok so far." A day later she told a friend, "miss you too honey bunches of oats." Horne graduated from Greenwood High School in 2010 and joined the Army that August.
Her friend Will Coleman, a fellow member of the Greenwood class of 2010, wrote Saturday on Facebook, "Known this girl for years, one of the closest friends I ever had and she meant so much to me. ... I know I had my ups and downs with her but regardless of all that we were still tight. I really don't know what else i can say at this moment. I'm still in shock over it all."
Seven soldiers died Aug. 16 in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in the Shah Wali Kot district northeast of Kandahar during a special operations mission in enemy territory: Army Chief Warrant Officers Brian D. Hornsby and Suresh N. A. Krause, Army Sgts. Richard A. Essex and Luis A. Oliver Galbreath, Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class David J. Warsen and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer Technician 1st Class Sean P. Carson. Three members of the Afghan security forces and an Afghan civilian interpreter also were killed in the crash.
Krause, 29, (pictured at right) was born in Sri Lanka and came to the United States as a 14-year-old boy when he was adopted by Suzie Krause-Schmidt and Brian Schmidt. His biological parents Daya and Yolette Abayasekara followed him to California's Coachella Valley two years later. Nicknamed "Ba" because he was the youngest of three siblings -- the "baby" of the family -- Suresh Krause joined the Army in 2007 and became a Black Hawk pilot two years later. He lived in Cathedral City, Calif., and graduated from Cathedral City High School.
Krause's father Brian told TV station KESQ that they liked to duel each other in sessions of air guitar. Brian recalled, "His favorite, 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me' -- he was probably the worst Elton John."
Brian knew something was wrong before Army officials arrived at his home, he told NBC Los Angeles. Suresh "checks in right away if there's a crash, to let us know," Brian said.
Krause; Hornsby, 37, of Melbourne, Fla.; Essex, 23, of Kelseyville, Calif.; and Galbreath, 41, of San Juan, Puerto Rico; were part of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Feeks, 28, of Edgewater, Md., and Warsen, 27, of Kentwood, Mich., were members of a Navy SEAL special warfare unit.
Carson, 32, of Des Moines, Wash., was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego.
Army Spc. James A. Justice, 21, of Grover, N.C., died Aug. 17 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries suffered three days earlier from enemy small-arms fire in Wardak province. Justice was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.
Marine Staff Sgt. Gregory T. Copes, 36, of Lynch Station, Va., and Navy Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 1st Class Darrel L. Enos, 36, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died Aug. 17 during combat in Farah province. They served with 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Coater B. Debose, 55, of State Line, Miss., died Aug. 19 in Kandahar province when two Afghan policemen reportedly opened fire on coalition troops. Debose was part of the 2nd Battalion, 351st Infantry Regiment, 158th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Division East at Camp Shelby, Miss.
Army Sgt. David V. Williams, 24, of Frederick, Md., died Aug. 18, in Kandahar. He served in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Sgt. Louis R. Torres, 23, of Oberlin, Ohio, died Aug. 22, in San Antonio, Texas, of wounds suffered Aug. 6 in an improvised explosive device blast in Kandahar. Torres belonged to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The deaths of 10 U.S. service members in Afghanistan were announced this past week by the Department of Defense.
The youngest soldier killed was Marine Cpl. Richard A. Rivera Jr., 20, of Ventura, Calif. He was killed August 10 when a new Afghan policeman was handed his weapon and immediately opened fire in the Sangin district of Helmand province. Two other Marines were also killed, Staff Sgt. Scott E. Dickinson, 29, of San Diego, Calif. and Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, 21, of Oceanside, N.Y.
On Friday, Rivera's casket was met by his family at the Naval base in Ventura County. Cpl. Rivera was a high school linebacker even though he weighed just 160 pounds at the time, his family told the Ventura County Star.
Rivera (pictured at right) was close to his grandfather, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and gave Richard his keepsakes from his war experiences. "Deep down, Grandpa didn't want him to go," said his cousin, Brianna Rivera.
The three slain Marines all were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Also on Friday, three other Marines died in a separate "green on blue" attack after reportedly sharing a meal with another Afghan policeman. Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.; and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Calif. were killed. They served in the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Mote posted the picture atop this blog post to his Facebook account in 2006. His friend Elyse Roques responded, "You are ALMOST as big of a dork as your brother."
The writer Evan Wright was embedded in Iraq with a battallion that included Jeschke. He quoted him in the book Generation Kill about a traumatic experience where a young Iraqi girl was killed when a car refused to stop at a roadblock and Marines opened fire. Jeschke, then 22, told the author:
"War is either glamorized -- like we kick their ass -- or the opposite -- look how horrible, we kill all these civilians. None of those people know what it's like to be there holding that weapon. After [another Marine] and I went up to that dead girl, I was surprised, because honestly, I was indifferent. It's kind of disturbed me. Now, sometimes, I think 'Am I a bad person for feeling nothing?'"
A YouTube video shows Jeschke competing in a 2008 grappling tournament in San Bernardino, Calif. (he's in the black shirt).
On Aug. 15, Pfc. Andrew J. Keller, 22, of Tigard, Ore., died in Charkh when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy.
Also on Aug. 15, Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, 39, of Evans City, Penn., died Aug. 15, in Ghazni province when he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). Holman was assigned to 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.
On Aug. 16, Pfc. Michael R. Demarsico II, of North Adams, Mass., died in Panjwa'l of wounds suffered in an IED explosion. Demarsico served with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The deaths of nine U.S. service members in Afghanistan were announced this past week by the Department of Defense.
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton, 26, of Largo, Fla., was killed Aug. 2 in Kandahar province. Sitton, who was married and had a nine-month-old son Brodey, was on foot patrol when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, the Tampa Tribune reported.
The TV station WFLA filmed the arrival of his body at McDill Air Force Base, where his casket was met by his wife Sarah and other grieving relatives. "Every future plan that I ever had was based around him, so when I heard that news everything stopped," said Sarah (pictured above with her husband).
Sitton was the second member of a high school graduating class of 50 to die in Afghanistan. He was friends and baseball teammates at Indian Rocks Christian High School with Frank Gross, who was killed in July 2011 when an IED caused his vehicle to roll over in Khost province.
Just three months into his first deployment, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, was killed by an improvised explosive device Aug. 7 when enemy forces attacked his unit during a dismounted patrol in the Shaban district of Helmand Province.
Beauchamp, 21, signed up for the Navy when he turned 17 and joined after graduating Weatherford High School in 2009. His older brother Christopher, 27, and younger sister Cheyenne, 19, also serve in the Navy. "He had a knack for making everyone around him better," his father, Jack Beauchamp, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Beauchamp (pictured at right) was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The rest of the casualties:
Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell, 37, of Tyler, Texas, died in the same IED blast that killed Sitton. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Marine Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II, 23, of Hubert, N.C., died Aug. 6 during combat in Helmand province. He served in the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Army Spc. Ethan J. Martin, 22, of Lewiston, Idaho, was killed Aug. 7 by enemy small-arms fire in Koragay. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga., died Aug. 8 of injuries suffered during a suicide bomb attack in Kunar province. Gray was part of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Carson, Colo.
Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y., and Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, 45, of Laramie, Wyo., died Aug. 8 in Kunar province when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest. Kennedy and Griffin were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Army Master Sgt. Gregory R. Trent, 38, of Norton, Mass., died Aug. 8 in Bethesda, Md., from wounds suffered eight days earlier in Baktabad when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. He was part of the 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
As of Wednesday, 1,941 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, according to Associated Press.
I'm a big fan of Josh Marshall's political reporting at Talking Points Memo, but he makes a rookie mistake in a reader email he quotes this morning. MB, a regular correspondent on Wall Street matters, offers this bit of advice to Marshall:
I know you raised some money from Marc Andreesen. I would bet Marc's fund and Bain Capital have some investor overlap. I'm sure you've already made that call, but I bet that Marc has no love lost for Romney as Marc is truly in the "job creation" business whereas Romney is a "financial engineer/takeover artist." Also, the more recent Bain funds have not performed as well as they did when Romney was there (but are still successful). Bain charges some of the highest fees to investors in the industry (in part because of their track record of success under Romney). I wonder if you dug around you could find a disgruntled limited partner or two in the Bain funds who'd be willing to be your Deep Throat on this issue or on the industry in general.
This seems like a pretty good suggestion. If more people at Bain would be privy to knowledge about Romney's taxes than just his accountants, the chances of finding one of them to confirm or deny Sen. Harry Reid's allegation are greater. Marshall's relationship with TPM investors gives him some phones to work in pursuit of the story.
But what happens in the next three months if Talking Points Memo breaks a huge scoop from an undisclosed source with inside knowledge of Bain?
Everyone's going to think it was Marc Andreesen -- or someone Andreesen told Marshall to call.
Marshall has managed to burn a source who didn't even tell him anything yet.