Baghdad on the border?

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**Posted by Phineas

Veterans of Baghdad or other Iraqi cities from just a few years ago might feel a disquieting sense of déjàs vu on reading this report:

“All-out fighting” was reported Friday afternoon in several areas of Matamoros, sources with knowledge of criminal activity there said.

Officials at the three international bridges in Brownsville said they were open as usual.

At approximately 5 p.m. gunmen began fighting each other along Calle Sexta, one of Matamoros’ main avenues, and also hijacked tractor-trailers and other large vehicles to block off main roads to keep the Mexican military away, stated a Mexican law enforcement official.

The blocked roads included the Calle Sexta and Calle Canales area, Calle Primera and Lauro Villar, Sendero Nacional, Marte R. Gomes, Avenida Manuel Cavazos Lerma, Calle Sexta and Diagonal, and Cuauhtemoc.

Heavy fighting was reported along Calle Sexta and Sendero Nacional. The fighting reportedly lasted more than two hours. The number of casualties was not available at press time Friday.

Chases between the Mexican navy and members of a criminal organization also were reported on the Avenida del Niño.

(via Borderland Beat)

But that wasn’t Baghdad or Mosul or Baquba. It was in Matamoros, just over the border from Brownsville, Texas:

And this isn’t just an isolated incident in one torn up border city. Battles like these are taking place in towns all along the border, as cartels fight each other and the Mexican military — when the latter aren’t working for the cartels. Juarez at the other end of the border with Texas recently saw the massacre of 14 people in gangland hits on bars and nightclubs. The situation has grown so dangerous for residents that many are fleeing their homes and abandoning their farms, leading to wholesale depopulation in some places:

A violence-ridden stretch of Mexico’s border with the United States has become virtually deserted due to intimidation from violent drug cartels, which have killed hundreds in that area in recent years, scared away local law enforcement and forced countless businesses to close shop.

Northern Mexico’s Juarez Valley, a cotton-farming area located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, has become increasingly desolate, with its three towns having lost between 30 percent and 45 percent of their residents since 2005, according to census figures.

The exodus is blamed on the ever-growing presence of the Juarez cartel, headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, and the Sinaloa mob, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, in that coveted drug corridor, where army patrols are intermittent and the occasional rumble of a late-model SUV carrying several heavily armed men is a stark reminder of who is in control.

According to some experts, the cartels want to empty the area completely to facilitate their drug-smuggling operations.

All of which is leading to an increasing number of refugees, both internal and those who flee north.

But it’s not a national security problem for us. Hey, people are still planning to go there by the thousands for spring break! What could go wrong?

I think I’d feel safer taking mine in Baghdad.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Union supporter to Tea Partier: “Why do you have a right to your money?” (VIDEO)

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This, my dear readers, is the quote of the day. It comes very early in the video – within the first 30 seconds or so:

Via NiceDeb, who writes:

This exchange is from a video uploaded onto YouTube, Madison, WI, 3/3/2011. Some tea partiers had strolled over to the pro-union side to have “dialogue” and found the pro-union protesters less than accommodating. After a tea partier bemoans his rights being infringed upon by high taxes, the pro-union guy asks earnestly, “Why do you have a right to your money?”

Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, guess who has volunteered to help clean up outside the Wisconsin capitol building after union diehards trashed it? Evil Tea Partiers. That’s what I call real “New Tone” in action. Unlike this (bolded emphasis added by me):

(Columbus, OH) The volatility surrounding the collective-bargaining debate spilled into the night Wednesday when police were called to a German Village restaurant after a group verbally accosted a gathering of Senate Republicans.

After the vote on Senate Bill 5, seven Republican senators, including President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, grabbed dinner at the Easy Street Cafe. As the lawmakers neared the end of their meal, a group of five to 10 union supporters angry about the passage of the bill hours before burst into the restaurant and began shouting.

The commotion eventually led to pushing and shoving with the restaurant staff and owner, before police arrived to calm the situation as a police helicopter hovered overhead. No senators were involved in the physical altercations, and no charges have been filed.

“It could have (gotten physical),” said Sen. Frank LaRose, 31, a Fairlawn Republican who served as a Green Beret. “The group was agitated and they were shoving the owner, and he had nothing to do with this.”

LaRose said it didn’t take special intelligence training to notice that while the lawmakers were eating, a woman walked past the window several times, poked her head in the door and got on her cell phone.

“It was planned,” LaRose said. “They gathered as a group and waited until they had about 10 people before they caused a disturbance.”

When the group burst into the restaurant, the woman, Monica Moran, deputy director of public affairs for SEIU District 1199, raised her hands in the air, yelled “Can I have your attention?” and then shouted “something nasty,” LaRose said. Soon after, the rest of the group of men and women joined in with a chant.

Sick. Maybe the national media will get around to saturating the airwaves with the news about the routine instances of union thuggery, harassment, and violence we’ve seen over the last few weeks … as soon as they can quit salivating over Charlie Sheen, and as soon as they get over their obsession with the unfounded belief that it’s Tea Partiers who are the angry, violent types, an obsession that likely will be over on the 12th of Never.

The things men have to do for their heart health! (OPEN THREAD)

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Finally, the “study” guys have been waiting for:

(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Guys, listen up. A study says it is actually healthy to stare at a woman’s breasts.

Five-hundred men participated in the German study. Half were told to refrain from looking at breasts for five years, the other half were told to ogle them daily.

The study found the men who stared at breasts more often showed lower rates of heart problems, a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

The authors of the study recommend that men stare at breasts for 10 minutes a day.

Er, I have an issue here. If this really was true, wouldn’t it mean that there would be virtually no man in the world with heart issues? I mean, from what I’ve witnessed over the years either from being stared at or from seeing guys stare at someone else, this is something y’all do much longer than 10 minutes a day, right? Or, is the fact that you reguarly exceed the “recommended daily allowance” the primary reason for the heart problems …?

Discuss. ;)