Are we in more danger today than our founding fathers were?

Al Gore makes a damned good point in his recent speech… our founding fathers were tough enough to fight for our country without compromising freedom, so why are we doing it now?

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: “Men feared witches and burnt women.”
The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.
Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.
Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment’s notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march–when our fathers fought and won two World Wars?
It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

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Bite me, George

“I expect there to be an honest debate about Iraq… people can help by making sure the tone of this debate is respectful and is mindful about what messages out of the country can do for morale of our troops… One way people can help as we’re coming down the pike in the 2006 elections is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm’s way and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy.” – George W. Bush today

What? “I expect”? Who the hell asked you, buddy? We’ll have whatever debate we want to have about Iraq, and if you have problem with that, go fuck yourself, dumbass. Since when is George Bush my parent? Ego much? Sheesh.

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Secret Pentagon study says body armor could have saved 80% of troops

The New York Times is reporting that a secret pentagon study shows 1,700 troops wouldn’t be dead if they had been given the body armor that they’ve been asking for.

Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows
By MICHAEL MOSS
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

Additional forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s unit that were obtained by The Times indicate that about 340 American troops have died solely from torso wounds.
Military officials said they had originally decided against using the extra plates because they were concerned they added too much weight to the vests or constricted the movement of soldiers. Marine Corps officials said the findings of the Pentagon study caused field commanders to override those concerns in the interest of greater protection.

The findings and other research by military pathologists suggests that an analysis of all combat deaths in Iraq, including those of Army personnel, would show that 300 or more lives might have been saved with improved body armor.
Military officials and defense contractors said the Pentagon’s procurement troubles have stemmed in part from miscalculations that underestimated the strength of the insurgency, and from years of cost-cutting that left some armoring firms on the brink of collapse as they waited for new orders.

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The Truth Comes Out: NSA spying on Christiane Amanpour

Reporters are starting to ask the question… have they been spied in these illegal wiretaps that were done without warrants or judicial oversite. And specifically, one journalist’s name has come up as having been monitored — CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Americablog.com examines what the ramifications of that might be.
NBC confirms that they’re investigating whether Amanpour was being spied upon by the NSA.
And then there’s the speculation that Amanpour’s husband, James Rubin, might have been the real target of the wiretaps.

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Bloggers publishing leaked torture memos

Bloggers around the world are reprinting and publishing leaked memos from former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who divulged information on secret torture programs in Uzbekistan the benefit the United States and the UK.
Boing Boing has a complete post on the subject, including links to the leaked memos, and information on a woman who was jailed for demanding information about her son, who was tortured and died after being immersed in boiling water.

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More Tom Delay Scandals

From MSNBC.com:

The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of the group.
Two former associates of Edwin A. Buckham, the congressman’s former chief of staff and the organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington agenda, and the lobbyist and Buckham had helped organize a 1997 Moscow visit by DeLay.
The former president of the U.S. Family Network said Buckham told him that Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to influence DeLay’s vote on legislation the International Monetary Fund needed to finance a bailout of the collapsing Russian economy.

This, couple with the recent news that Abramoff may be working on a plea agreement with the authorities to deliver information on numerous congressional Republican ethical scandals is very exciting. I can’t wait to see how many people are going to take a fall.

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how much brush is on that ranch, anyway?

From three recent White Houlse press briefings:

December 27
Good morning. Let me update you on the President’s schedule. Yesterday, after arriving, he went out and did some cutting and clearing brush, and then was at his home on the ranch.
December 28
The President had his normal intelligence and daily briefings this morning, and was out clearing brush. And that’s what I have on his schedule.
December 30
He then did some brush clearing and just completed a bike ride before I came out. This afternoon he’s scheduled to sign several pieces of legislation…

Seriously, is there really that much brush? He’s been clearing it for five years now, shouldn’t it be done? How can Trent Duffy go out and say this every day with a straight face?

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The Coming of the Third Reich

I started reading The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans a few weeks ago. It’s profoundly disturbing, not just as a work of history but as a harbinger of ill-omen surrounding the current political situation in America. There are parallels that are shocking. And considering that right-wing bloggers are busy making jokes about “re-education camps” and threatening to use female Democrats as “comfort women,” I’m not the only one uneasy about this sort of thing.

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Violent Rhetoric from Republican Adam Yoshida after Election 2004

From blogger Adam Yoshida, [deprecated link – http://www.adamyoshida.com/2004/11/four-more-years-revisited.html] who quickly revised his post after he was linked to by some 50,000 sites because of his hate rhetoric:

“”If anyone needs to work to ‘bring the country together’ it’s those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life’s goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like [Democratic Rep.] Stephanie Herseth [of South Dakota] who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes.

That’s the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women

“Let’s face a hard truth: this was the bitterest Presidential campaign in living memory. The Democrats and their allies staked everything on the defeat of this President. All of the resources they had accumulated over a generation of struggle were thrown into this battle: and they have failed. Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There’s no point in trying to reach out to them because they won’t be reached out to. We’ve got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and out [sic] boot above their head. Now’s the time to curb-stomp the bastards.”

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