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
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. 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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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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blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches?

Really? When did this happen?

In Crawford, Texas, where Bush is spending the holidays, his spokesman, Trent Duffy, defended what he called a “limited program.”
“This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner,” he told reporters. “These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches.”

I don’t remember any churches or weddings getting blown up around here? Do you? If they are doing this, why are we just spying on them? Why aren’t we arresting them?
And the real question: why not get a warrant? Warrants to eavesdrop are really easy to get, and they’re even allowed to get them after the fact, so why not get warrants if people are blowing up weddings? Why break the law and avoid the warrants? Possibly because he’s not spying on terrorists at all?
I call bullshit.
The only terrorists in the US are the right-wing terrorists who sent anthrax and blow up gay bars and planned parenthood clinics. Osama bin Laden is not hiding under your bed. No one is out there trying to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or Wall Drugs in South Dakota. You have more to fear from the price of natural gas than from Muslims. The War on Terror is just as fake as the made-up War on Christmas. It’s all about scaring you into giving up your freedom.

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The Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade)

Sadly, Peter Daou’s analysis of the current spying scandal, in the context of the numerous other impeachable offenses the president has committed, is entirely correct. Bush commits a crime, the media fumbles the story, the Republicans front for him, the Democrats back down, the public gets confused, and eventually the story fades and the crimes continue. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Interesting, the comments people are making on that story. Basically, people are acknowledging that Daou is right, and predicting the end of America. Very disillusioned.

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Absolute Power corrupts absolutely

Obsidian wings has some commentary:

September 11 started the war. When will it end? Maybe never. Where is the battlefield? The entire world, including the United States. Who is an enemy combatant? Anyone the President says is an enemy combatant, including a U.S. citizen–no need for a charge, no need for a trial, no need for access to a lawyer. What if they’re found not to be an enemy combatant? We can keep them in prison anyway, and we don’t have to tell their families they’re alive or their lawyers that they were cleared. What can you do to an enemy combatant? Anything you want. Detain him forever, for the rest of his life, because this is a war like any other and we have always been able to detain POWs for the duration of the war. But you don’t need to follow the Geneva Conventions, because this is a war like no other in our history. And oh yes–if the President decides that we need to torture a prisoner for the war effort, it’s unconstitutional for Congress to stop him. They took that position in an official memo, and they have not backed down from it. They have said it was “unnecessary” but they have never backed down from it.
They are not only entitled to do these things to people; they are entitled to do them in secret. When Congress asks for information about them, they can just ignore it. And they are entitled to actively deceive the public about all this.
That’s the power they claim. At what point are we going to take that claim seriously?
At some level, I think we read these things and think: well, they can’t really mean that. But by now we know that they mean it enough to have shattered a number of lives.

Continue ReadingAbsolute Power corrupts absolutely