and remember how Bush distorted Senator John Kerry’s voting record on body armor and defense spending.
The vulnerability of the military’s body armor has been known since the start of the war, and is part of a series of problems that have surrounded the protection of American troops. Still, the Marine Corps did not begin buying additional plates to cover the sides of their troops until this September, when it ordered 28,800 sets, Marine Corps officials acknowledge.
The Army, which has the largest force in Iraq, is still deciding what to purchase, according to Army procurement officials. They said the Army is deciding between various sizes of plates to give its 130,000 soldiers; the officials said they hope to issue contracts this month.
Remember Ted Stevens (R-AK) who thought that a “bridge to nowhere” was so important that he’d resign if he didn’t get that money. Good to know that the powers that be have their priorites in order. The two bridges Ted wanted would cost $453 million. That would buy a lot of armor
Rather, think about this spending in the larger context: Poor, mistreated Alaska. It ranks number one in per capita federal spending, $12,279 in 2003, compared with Nevada, number 50 at $5,235 for every resident. Alaskans received $1.89 in federal help for every tax dollar they sent to Washington, making the state second only to New Mexico as a net beneficiary of federal largess.
Ol’ Ted was also part of a group of Porkers that wanted to lease one hundred commercial Boeing 767 wide-body jets for conversion into refueling tanker aircraft to replace 127 of the KC-135 aerial refueling tankers. Leasing, instead of buying. Brillant idea right? Not really.
At the end of the ten-year lease, the new 767 converted tankers would have to be reconverted into commercial tankers before returning them to Boeing. The Air Force would be at a net loss of a hundred tankers and thus might face a shortage as early as 2015.2 The Office of Management and Budget estimates the price tag of pursuing such an option at $26 billion.3 The Congressional Budget Office suggested a slightly lower estimate of $24 billion.4 Still, both figures surpass estimates for an outright purchase or a lease with Airbus, a European manufacturer for large commercial airliners. The Air Force rejected the $14.5 billion bid by Airbus, citing the company’s inexperience in building tankers.
The request for the planes did not appear in the president’s budget, or in the bill considered by the relevant Congressional appropriations subcommittees. As the full Senate appropriations committee was considering the Defense appropriations bill, the lease provision was inserted at the last minute at the behest of Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the ranking member of the Senate appropriations committee, and Patty Murray, D-Washington. (Murray apparently retains her loyalty to Boeing, even though the company has moved its headquarters out of Seattle.)
Second, the lease arrangement will be far more expensive than an outright purchase would be. The Air Force will lease the planes at a pricetag of $20 million per plane per year, for a $20 billion expenditure (100 planes, 10 years). There are laws prohibiting lease arrangements that are more expensive than direct purchases, but Congress waived those rules in appropriating the money for the Boeing 767s.
We experimented with saving some taxpayer dollars back in the late seventies with leasing and it was shown that long term it doesn’t work. It’s a given that Senators look out for the workers in their states, but did they pause for even a second to ask if it was right for the country or the military.
While the Congressional report reached no bottom-line conclusions on whether the program is legal or not, it concluded that the legal rationale appears somewhat dubious. The legal rationale “does not seem to be as well-grounded” as the Bush administration’s lawyers have suggested, and Congress did not appear to have intended to authorize warrantless wiretaps when it gave President Bush the authority to wage war against Al Qaeda in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the report concluded.
The greater issue of warrantless spying is the threat posed by unchecked executive power. Bush continues the I-Am-King defense of his actions. Bushbunny feels deep down in his $2000 boots that a president’s powers as Commander-In-Chief override federal laws and the Congress. The GI Joe action figure argument for extraordinary wartime executive powers has been made several times and such powers have been refuted by Congress and the Supreme Court even if there were times that it was done after the fact – imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, slapping Nixon around for the Cambodia secret bombings.
I don’t know if these are the times that try our souls or our patience, but it important during times of national stress that we adhere to the words and spirit of the Constitution, not cherry pick it to rationalize the blowing political winds or feed red meat to the mob. Perhaps its a national insecurity at work, while Al-critens that think beheading is justifiable should be taken seriously, the fact is that the average American air craft carrier has enough fire power to level every city in Iraq or Afghanistan. The boogie-man-islamic fascism is less of a threat to the average American’s life then the tractor-trailer rig doing 80 and riding your ass on the interstate.This semi-war does not justify the suspension of our laws or our American values. Its all so open-ended, since foreign and domestic terrorism of one form or another has been with America ( Oklahoma City and RISE OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM ) and the world for as long as there’s been written history. If the president claims extraordinary wartime powers, and we fight undeclared wars with no beginning and no end, when if ever will those extraordinary powers lapse? Since terrorism will never be eliminated completely, should all future presidents be able to act without regard to Congress or the Constitution simply by asserting “We’re at war”?
Even Right Wingerville, tin foil and paranoia removed, should look to the past and future. Powers betowed now in the heat of ideological one-upmanship will roll on to the president’s successors, and being human, being politicians he/she may be more then ready to abuse that large order of Power Fries to make life miserable for their political adversaries. Remember, you reap what you sow and remember not so long ago the diatribes directed at The Big Dog Clinton for acting “above the law” when he followed southern tradition and lied about his dogging around; can we say “perjury charges”? Imperial should only go on brand names of cheap margerine, not executives in a democracy.
As a rule, dictatorships guarantee safe streets and terror of the doorbell. In democracy the streets may be unsafe after dark, but the most likely visitor in the early hours will be the milkman. –Adam Michnik
With a Congress that is controlled by Republicans and hopelessly passive, and with a judiciary increasingly packed with highly deferential Bush appointees, the two remaining sources which can serve as meaningful checks on Executive power are governmental whistle-blowers and journalists, which is exactly why the most vicious and intimidating attacks are now being directed towards them.
In his letter, Tice wrote, quote, “It’s with my oath as a U.S. intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to Congress acts I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”
Who’s monkey is muddier, mine or yours. How do you know a media pundit or blogger is a hack? When they claim their side of the aisle holds nothing but angels in gossamer wings. The only honest argument that can be made in a world of sinners is that you choose the side that is the least corrupt. Don’t think someone with a high collar has some kinda copyright on morality either, visit a prison sometime, plenty of professional and amateur preachers in their have done things that would give a grown man nightsweats. Thats not to say a prayer ever hurt anyone, its more that I’ve known people that can’t go thirty seconds without a four letter word, an hour without tobacco, or a day without a beer, but they never sent off 2000 people to die for a lie. – By no means the last word, especially if you think search engines have a liberal bias……Which Party Is More Corrupt?
Republican payola – 145,000 results.
Democrat payola – 54,800 reults.
Republican nepotism – 66,900 results.
Democrat nepotism – 44,100 results.
Republican ethics breach – 104,000 results.
Democrat ethics breach – 62,400 results.
Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters. – Abraham Lincoln
DARGUSLL: You know, Miss Brown, there’s basically three types of people
that we come along in the performance of our duty. One is, INNOCENT
PEOPLE. Victims, witnesses, innocent bystanders.. You ain’t any of
these. Then there’s two; CRIMINALS.These sonabitches have dedicated
their lives to a life outside the law. That ain’t you either. Where you
belong is the third category.The category we refer to as LOSERS.
Jackie’s eyes don’t even narrow at the insult. She just says without
JACKIE: I’m not a loser.
– “JACKIE BROWN” written for the screen by Quentin Tarantino,based on the novel “RUM PUNCH” by Elmore Leonard
update: corrected a few typos and added link to a report on domestic terrorism.