Archive for December 10th, 2008

Supporting The Troops Fail

Once again, a couple of sterling examples of just how much our Republican government cares about our troops:

The military ignored steps before the invasion of Iraq that could have prevented the staggering number of casualties from roadside bombs, the Pentagon’s acting inspector general charged Tuesday.

The IG’s report says that the military knew years before the war that mines and homemade bombs, which the military calls “improvised explosive devices,” would be a “threat . . . in low-intensity conflicts” and that “mine-resistant vehicles” were available.

“Yet the military did not develop requirements for, fund or acquire” safer vehicles, the report says. The military invaded Iraq in 2003 “without having taken available steps to acquire technology to mitigate the known mine and IED risk to soldiers and Marines.”

Even after the war was under way, as the devices began taking a deadly toll and field commanders pressed for vehicles that were better protected from roadside bombs, the Pentagon was slow to act, the report says.

(…)

MRAPS are bigger and heavier than the Humvees that troops have used for patrols in Iraq. They’re higher off the ground and designed to deflect an explosion.

The IG report says that the military “stopped processing” a 2005 request for 1,169 MRAPS from commanders in the field. Another request came a year later, according to a letter from Bond and Biden to Gen. James Conway, the Marine commandant.

(…)

Gayl, a former Marine, said that “gross mismanagement” delayed the use of MRAPS in combat. Otherwise, he concluded, “hundreds of deaths and injuries could have been prevented.”

In a 2007 memo from Conway to Gen. Peter Pace, who was then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top Marine said that MRAPS could cut IED casualties by 80 percent, according to Gayl.

…Or our veterans:

There was nothing dramatic about how Spc. Cristapher Zuetlau’s career in the Army came to an end: he stepped in a hole. But the damage to the tank crewman’s wrenched back was so brutal he can barely walk.

The Army agreed he was no longer fit to serve, but in doing so determined his disability was not severe enough to warrant long-term care by the military. That turned his health care over to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which left him with no retirement benefits and cut off his family from government health care.

Thousands of similar stories caused veterans advocates to protest that the military was manipulating disability ratings to save money, and Congress last year ordered the Pentagon to accept appeals from wounded and injured troops.

So far, officials have yet to examine a single case.

“Congress finally took action to give those troops a fair hearing, and now the Department of Defense is dragging its feet,” said Vanessa Williamson, the policy director at New York-based Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a veterans’ advocacy group. “Establishing the review board was clearly not the Department of Defense’s priority. And that’s a real shame.”

That’s our Bush administration: Supporting the troops as long as it’s not, y’know, too much trouble.

(h/t dakine)

December 10th, 2008 at 09:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

Wanker Of The Month

Lizzie “Sprinkles” Sidoti.

If I’m following this correctly, Obama has absolutely no involvement in the Blagojevich scandal beyond the fact that it’s his Senate seat Blago was trying to sell, and that Friend Of Obama Valerie Jarrett had some interest in the seat but refused to give give Blago anything for it.  Oh, and Blago cursed Obama out for not wanting to play ball with him.

Which, of course, means that this is a potentially huge scandal for Obama.

Honestly, where do they find these people?  It’s like the RNC is in charge of our news media.

And it’s not just Sidoti.  The NYT actually had the nerve to make Obama’s efforts to push ethics reform sound dirty:

Beyond the irony of its outcome, Mr. Obama’s unusual decision to inject himself into a statewide issue during the height of his presidential campaign was a reminder that despite his historic ascendancy to the White House, he has never quite escaped the murky and insular world of Illinois politics.

Un-frickin’-believable.

And here’s Politico: Big risks for Obama in Blago scandal

And John Dickheadson, er, Dickerson: What Didn’t He Know, and When Didn’t He Know It? Obama’s unsatisfyingly vague response to the Blagojevich scandal.

So many wankers, so little time.

(Note: If you’re not sufficiently pissed off yet, compare this against my previous post on the ethical standard for Republicans.)

December 10th, 2008 at 06:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Obama,Wankers

The New Ethics Standard

If the investigation concludes that your actions were unethical and inappropriate but not actually illegalyou’re cleared!

Cable TV scored a victory Tuesday when congressional investigators issued a devastating report that accuses FCC chairman Kevin Martin of manipulating data so that he might force changes on the industry.

In the report that exceeds 100 pages, Democratic lawmakers also criticize Martin, a Republican, of a “heavy-handed, opaque and non-collegial management style.”

Martin is accused of manufacturing evidence in order to prove that a la carte cable TV pricing would be beneficial to consumers and that the so-called 70/70 Rule had been met, therefore giving the FCC far more regulatory sway over cablers.

(…)

Although the report is extraordinarily critical of Martin, it does not accuse him of criminal behavior. Republicans seized on that fact and defended Martin for what they call his efforts to introduce more choice and cheaper prices to cable customers.

“It appears that the committee did not find or conclude that there were any violations of rules, laws or procedures following a yearlong investigation,” FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said. “Chairman Martin has followed the same procedures that have been followed for the past 20 years by FCC chairmen, both Democratic and Republican alike.”

Why does this sound so familiar…

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin “abused her power” as Alaska’s governor in seeking to get her former brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper, a state legislative investigative report said last night.

While the report found that Palin violated the state’s ethics law that bans public officials from using their offices for personal gain, it did not say whether Palin should be censured by the Legislature or whether the matter should be referred for criminal investigation….

(…)

Sarah Palin refused to testify before the committee, much to its displeasure. The report said that while Palin could fire Monegan “for almost any reason, or no reason at all,” it was “impermissible” to put pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten. Such efforts “create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of such displeasure,” the report said.

“Today’s report shows that the Governor acted within her proper and lawful authority in the reassignment of Walt Monegan,” [the McCain] campaign said in a statement last night. “The report also illustrates what we’ve known all along: this was a partisan-led inquiry run by Obama supporters and the Palins were completely justified in their concern regarding Trooper Wooten given his violent and rogue behavior.

My bad – apparently you’re vindicated even if you do break the occasional little ethics law.

(Note: New standard only valid for Republicans; Democrats will be held ethically responsible for the actions of anyone they have ever had a conversation with.)

December 10th, 2008 at 04:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Palin,Politics,Republicans

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Wow, looks like Obama really dodged a bullet here:

Obatma was wrongly arrested this morning for conspiring to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff were arrested Tuesday morning after the FBI revealed wiretaps exposing Blagojevich’s plans to trade the Senate seat for cash and a well-paying job for his wife.

Obatma was also picked up from his makeshift cave in Grant Park. FBI agents believed he was involved in the planning but were admittedly confused by his motives. Why would Obatma conspire against his own half-brother’s old seat?

Upon reviewing the tapes, the error was found. Obatma’s grasp on English, let alone any human language, is extremely poor. Obatma was able to explain through a sonar interpreter that when Blagojevich called, he thought they were talking about selling seeds for honey. Honey is very valuable in his home country of Kenya, and Obatma occasionally ventured from his cave to trade seeds with the honey hunting Ogiek tribe.

The taped conversation went as follows:

R: I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. The seat is a valuable thing – you just don’t give it away for nothing.
O: squeak!
R: I want to make money.
O: squeak squeak!
R: Are you in?
O: squeeeeaaaaaaak!
R: Wow. Keep our fingers crossed. You’re the man. Good job, son.

Obatma was returned to his cave, but not before he was given five minutes to sit in the front seat of the police car and turn the sirens on and off repeatedly.

No harm done, and everything worked out fine in the end.  But I don’t doubt that conservative bloggers and right-wing media will go nuts demanding an explanation for why Obatma was even talking to Blago in the first place.

December 10th, 2008 at 09:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News


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