Friday, January 13, 2006

Instahoglets 13th Jan 06

Nothing on Iran today. I want a chance to think and then look for a post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's some other stuff you shouldn't miss.

  • More body armor is on the way to Iraq - now that the New York Times and concerned veterans have made a noise about the lack. It's ridiculous that the Pentagon had to be forced into doing this.

  • The Pentagon held a briefing today on the new body armor for politicians. Hilarity Clinton didn't turn up after calling for the briefing in the first place. She's as bad as the rest. But what the Pentagon didn't tell the lawmakers, and what the rightwing boneheads who've been talking about "smackdowns" missed, is that the Interceptor body armor is simply badly designed and too often of substandard manufacture. There's far better - lighter with more protection - on the market but it was deemed too expensive at $4,000 a unit for the troops.

  • What do you call a Republican Senator tasked with drafting new legislation designed to reign in lobbyists who has received more money from lobbyists than any other congressional candidate this cycle? A fox in a henhouse...or just business as usual?

  • Gonzales is to testify publicly at a Senate hearing on the Bush administration's domestic spying program. I've a feeling Kevin Drum is right that the Rove machine has decided to try to spin Snoopgate as Democrats being weak on national security but I'm not too sure they will succeed this time. As Digby says, there's been too much crap handed out by the Absolut Monarchy since their heady days immediately post 9/11. The polls suggest it's not going to be as easy a spin this time around.

  • Chris Mathews has gone to bat for the Absolut Monarch though, telling his audience that breaking the law is part of the President's job. It's official, then. As Echidne says - "we no longer live in a democracy. I'm not sure what to call the resulting governance structure: Tyranny? Dictatorship? Whatever it is, democracy it ain't." Just don't expect the freepers to lay off Clinton on that soggy blue dress...

  • If you truly believe that the Army investigates allegations of abuse seriously then you will also believe that, when told that members of a secret military task force used fake names and their unit's computer suffered a meltdown and lost 60% of their case files, the only option was to close the investigation over abuse tales by the team. C'mon...this is the Feds! A decent commercial recovery program would have got most of those files back! My credibility just doesn't stretch that far.

  • "The U.S. military predicted Thursday that more violence will engulf Iraq in the weeks ahead as the country's splintered politicians and religious groups struggle to form a government." In other words, they are predicting civil war without actually using the words "civil" and "war".

  • George Bush will propose ways to make more profits for big healthcare companies this year by giving them tax-money needed by his deficit-hit nation for other things. Meanwhile, he will pretend he is proposing "ways to rein in the surging cost of U.S. health care". He could always keep the money instead and use it to fund the world's best universal healthcare. No? Thought not.

  • Two great writers on one subject - renditions, torture and contempt for the "rule of law". Salman Rushdie - the question isn't whether or not a given individual is "good" or "bad." The question is whether or not we are - whether or not our governments have dragged us into immorality by discarding due process of law, which is generally accorded to be second only to individual rights as the most important pillar of a free society. Then Glenn Greenwald - Thanks to the ceaseless fear-mongering of this Administration, we are becoming – excuse the grotesque imagery -- a Nation of Jonah Goldbergs, scared and lazy creatures who sit around believing that the Government is justified – even obligated – to act literally without constraint against the Bad People, the ones who are deemed to be Bad not pursuant to any "procedural niceties" but simply by the unchecked decree of the Government.

  • The United States government has formally prohibited Spain from selling 12 military planes and eight frigates to Hugo Ch├ívez in Venezuela, because they contain North American technology. The Spanish government thinks this is horsepuckey and plans to proceed with the sale anyway after replacing US tech with European items.

    Update It looks like I have an apology to give to H. Clinton. I am embarassed to admit I was spun by the rightwing noise machine (from the unuasual direction of The Moderate Voice) - probably because I just don't like Hillary as a politician very much. Jazzz at Running Scared has the true story - Hillary wasn't having lunch with Harry Belafonte, they both just happened to be at the same event. Hillary seems to have decided to defend the children instead of defending the troops. The event was probably scheduled months ago.
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