December 27, 2006

This Is President Bush's War

Democrats will soon get a say on Iraq

Congress' new leaders aim to thwart Bush's call for a troop increase. Hearings are planned.

"I hope the president and his people will listen," Biden said.

Biden, who was elected to the Senate during the Vietnam War and who is planning a 2008 presidential run, has been among the most outspoken critics of Bush's Iraq policies; he called any increase in troops "the absolute wrong strategy."

A new tone in Washington

As recently as last year, when John P. Murtha called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, many in the party agonized over whether that position would permanently tar Democrats as weak. But as discontent with the war has grown, sapping Bush's popularity, Democratic lawmakers have become increasingly outspoken. And senior party leaders now appear to be uniting behind the call for a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, a position that was bolstered by the release this month of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's report.

"Democrats and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have both laid down a roadmap for the president to begin the withdrawal of American troops from the civil war in Iraq," incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week. "It is now up to the president to follow that course."

Bush has met with the new Democratic leaders but thus far has shown little inclination to accept their counsel on the war.

Rather than talk of reducing the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the White House has focused in the weeks since the release of the Iraq Study Group report on a temporary increase in troops that proponents say will help control the growing sectarian violence. Senior congressional Democrats, including Biden, have attacked that plan, arguing that beginning a phased withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to take responsibility for halting the violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

As he outlined his scheduled hearings in a Tuesday conference call with the media, Biden expressed hope that by airing more viewpoints on Iraq, congressional leaders, particularly Republicans, could persuade the president to reconsider the idea of deploying more soldiers.

"If we can, out of those hearings, generate some bipartisan consensus in the Senate, then he may very well listen to some of … my Republican colleagues who, I believe, share my great concern," Biden said.

Only 12% of Americans back a troop increase, compared with 52% who prefer a timetable for withdrawal, a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll found.

And House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton last week promised a series of oversight hearings aimed at uncovering and correcting abuses in the war effort.

The flood of congressional hearings next month will probably shed unfavorable light on the way the Bush administration has prosecuted the war in Iraq.

But Biden acknowledged that, short of cutting off funding, Congress has limited ability to compel the White House to dramatically change course.

Though Congress has in the past used its power over the budget to challenge the foreign policies of presidents — including cutting funding to the government of South Vietnam in the mid-'70s — thus far no leading Democrat has called for withholding money for military operations in Iraq.

"We should not exaggerate the ability of the United States Foreign Relations Committee or the Congress to get a president to act in a manner in which the Congress thinks is more rational or more appropriate," Biden said Tuesday. "There's nothing the United States Congress can do by a piece of legislation to alter the conduct of a war that a president decides to pursue.

"This is President Bush's war," he said.

Read The Full Story, By Noam N. Levey...

"Conservatism, like Christianity, has not failed. Neither has ever been tried, especially by this administration."

December 25, 2006

Interior, Pentagon Faulted In Audits

Interior, Pentagon Faulted In Audits

Effort to Speed Defense Contracts Wasted Millions

The Defense Department paid two procurement operations at the Department of the Interior to arrange for Pentagon purchases totaling $1.7 billion that resulted in excessive fees and tens of millions of dollars in waste, documents show.

Defense turned to Interior, which manages federal lands and resources, in an effort to speed up its contracting. Interior is one of several government agencies allowed to manage contracts for other agencies in exchange for a fee.

But the arrangement between Interior and Defense "routinely violated rules designed to protect U.S. Government interests," according to draft audit documents obtained by The Washington Post.

More than half of the contracts examined were awarded without competition or without checks to determine that the prices were reasonable, according to the audits by the inspectors general for Defense (DOD) and Interior (DOI). Ninety-two percent of the work reviewed was awarded without verifying that the contractors' cost estimates were accurate; 96 percent was inadequately monitored.

READ THE FULL STORY…

December 19, 2006

Cheney to Be Defense Witness in CIA Case

Vice President Cheney will be called to testify in the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of his former chief of staff, which is scheduled to begin next month, a lawyer for the defense announced today.

The attorney representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby told a judge today that the defense plans to call the vice president to help rebut charges that his most trusted aide had a criminal motive to mislead agents and a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity. Libby's trial on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators is slated to start Jan. 16.

Washington Post

December 18, 2006

Changing Course In Iraq

Democrats won control of Congress in last month's midterm elections in part because of public dissatisfaction with Bush's handling of the war. More than half of Americans want to set a schedule to withdraw all troops.

Start with democracy, a word conspicuously deemphasized by Baker and co-chair Lee Hamilton in their Iraq Study Group report. They want Rice to talk with Iran and with Syria, which is busy undermining democracy in Lebanon. They speak more broadly for the burgeoning Washington consensus that the promotion of democracy in the Middle East was a dangerous pipe dream best abandoned before any more damage is done.

Iraqi troops, they are insufficient, incompetent, and many of them (are) corrupted.

Harry Reid, whose party campaigned in the November congressional elections on changing course in Iraq, said he would be open only to a short-term increase.

The American people will not allow this war to go on as it has. It simply is a war that will not be won militarily.

Sen. Jack Reed, said that if it were a short-term increase, "won't our adversaries simply adjust their tactics, wait us out and wait until we reduce again? So I think you'd have to ask very serious questions about the utility of this."

Sen. Edward Kennedy, said, "I respect Harry Reid on it, but that's not where I am."

Kennedy, like Reed a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said there would be widespread opposition by members of his committee if Bush proposed a troop increase.

Ex-secretary of state says U.S. is losing and a temporary troop boost won't help.

Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell says the United States is losing the war in Iraq and victory, as traditionally defined by the Bush administration, is "not in the cards."

Powell, who resigned after George W. Bush's first term, also says he doesn't think a short-term surge of U.S. troops to try to stabilize Baghdad would work.

The surge option is said to be gaining favour in the White House as the U.S. president prepares to announce a new course in Iraq to the American people early in the new year.

Powell, in an interview on the CBS program Face the Nation, agreed with Baker and Hamilton that the situation in Iraq was "grave and deteriorating".

"If it's grave and deteriorating and we're not winning, we are losing," Powell said in his most extensive analysis of the war since he left office.

He said the U.S. should turn its attention to bolstering Iraq's government and training its security forces and police. Powell said Americans should start the "baton toss" to Iraqis by mid-2007, making the Iraqis responsible for their own security and well-being and starting the draw-down of U.S. troops.

"I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work," Powell said.

He said not only would it not improve the situation on the ground, the U.S. would pay for it further down the road because there would be no troops available to replace those sent in as part of the surge.

"There really are no additional troops," he said. "All we would be doing is keeping some of the troops who were there longer and escalating or accelerating the arrival of other troops."

Powell said "if victory means you have gotten rid of every insurgent, you have peace throughout the country, I don't see that in the cards.

"What we are going to have to do is try to bring a sense of order and security to the country, even if there continues to be low-level violence and insurgency."

Powell has maintained a low profile since his departure from the Bush cabinet, but has weighed in at critical points during the debate over the war.

Powell, who had counselled caution about a unilateral move on Iraq and often clashed with Donald Rumsfeld's defence department.

December 15, 2006

General Says Army Will Need to Grow

General Says Army Will Need to Grow
Iraq and Afghanistan Are Straining the Force, Chief of Staff Warns
Warning that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations, the nation's top Army general yesterday called for expanding the force by 7,000 or more soldiers a year and lifting Pentagon restrictions on involuntary call-ups of Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops.
Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, issued his most dire assessment yet of the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the nation's main ground force. At one point, he banged his hand on a House committee-room table, saying the continuation of today's Pentagon policies is "not right."
~
~
I am banging my hand on the table, saying this is “not right”.
The Iraqi (not a war any longer) occupation.
~
“GET OUT”
~
~

December 05, 2006

House to Vote on Senate's Offshore Drilling Plan

[House Democratic leaders have decided not to take a position on the bill in order to avoid having to choose between different constituencies within the party's own ranks. Environmental groups oppose the drilling measure; the Sierra Club issued a statement saying that "it's time for Congress to stop appeasing Big Oil" and that "drilling is a bad deal for Americans."]

[House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opposes offshore drilling and is concerned about the loss of federal royalties, said spokeswoman Jennifer Crider. But Pelosi will not try to rally the Democratic caucus against the Senate bill.]

[Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said, "As the Republican Party prepares to relinquish control of the House and Senate, they are attempting a last-minute giveaway of public lands as an early Christmas present to the big oil companies."]

Read the full story…
By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin,
Washington Post Staff Writers
~
Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of you spineless (lacking in willpower, courage, or strength of character) Democrats going to do something right? If you oppose this bill, do something about it. Voters oppose it. Big oil companies indorse it.
Sounds to me like big oil companies money found its way into the Democratic Party.

Nancy Pelosi will not try to rally the Democratic caucus against the offshore drilling bill, but she will rally the Democratic caucus for John Murtha.

She needs to find a different job!

Read more… WestTexasBliss

~~~

House Postpones Offshore Drilling Bill

~
House leaders pulled an offshore drilling measure off the calendar today, an apparent signal that the bill did not have the two-thirds majority of votes needed for it to be adopted.
Foes of offshore drilling hoped that today's move spelled the end of efforts to get the bill passed. "Let's hope this is the end of Congress' fling with Big Oil and that we can make a fresh start to achieving true energy security with the new year and the new Congress," Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club said in a statement.


By Steven Mufson

December 04, 2006

IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT?

Hillary Clinton Actively Considers 2008 Bid For Presidency

We Don't Know When She'll Make Decision

Hillary Rodham Clinton., has begun active consideration of a 2008 run for president and has personally asked some fellow top New York Democrats for their support in the event she goes ahead with such a campaign, a top adviser said Sunday.
"As Senator Clinton said, she was going to begin actively considering a presidential run after the election. That process has begun," said Howard Wolfson.
"She is reaching out to her colleagues in the New York delegation and asking for their advice and counsel, and their support if she decides to make a run," the Clinton adviser told The Associated Press. Wolfson said he did not know when she might make a decision.


IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT?

Bill Clinton got $12 million for his memoirs. Hillary got $8 million for hers. That's $20 million for memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything.
If these three ladies were running for President, who would you vote for?
~

December 03, 2006

The "do-nothing" 109th U.S. Congress

Ridiculed as the "do-nothing" 109th U.S. Congress, the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Monday begin a brief session to wrap up whatever work they can, install a new defense secretary and approve money to prevent a shutdown of government services.

The Republican-led Congress will meet only for about another week before drawing to a close -- as lawmakers prepare for the new 110th Congress set to convene on Jan. 4 under Democratic control.

Having been blown out in the Nov. 7 elections, Republican lawmakers are getting ready to hand over to Democrats some major unfinished business, led by what to do about the increasingly unpopular Iraq war.

Republicans are also leaving unfinished long-term government funding legislation, and appear unlikely to decide whether to extend popular tax credits that expired at the end of 2005.

But before turning out the lights, the Senate seems certain to confirm President George W. Bush's choice of Robert Gates as defense secretary.

Gates, a former CIA director, enjoys strong support on Capitol Hill to succeed Donald Rumsfeld, who was fired on Nov. 8, one day after the congressional elections.

House Democrats plan a forum Tuesday to hear from high-profile critics of the Iraq war. The following day, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group submits its recommendations to the White House and Congress on how to salvage the situation.

After the new Democratic-led Congress is seated, lawmakers will be asked by Bush to approve more money for the Iraq war, which could top a staggering $100 billion.

Democrats won control of the House and Senate largely because of public discontent with the Iraq war as well as with this Congress, which critics branded as "do-nothing."

This Congress will also end having failed to enact some of Bush's top priorities, including sweeping reform of U.S. immigration laws and the Social Security retirement program.

Legislation to authorize a warrantless domestic spying program implemented by Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks has also been stalled amid constitutional concerns.

The top priority for this "lame-duck" session of Congress will be to avert a federal government shutdown.

'FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE'

Congress has failed to pass nine of the 11 annual bills that fund government activities in the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. Farm subsidies, education, health and law enforcement are among the programs without full-year funding.

To avert government shutdowns, two temporary spending bills have already been enacted. The latest expires on Friday and Congress is expected to pass a third stopgap funding bill that would keep U.S. agencies running through Feb. 15.

Early next year, Democrats will try to finish the work. But in the meantime, some programs could suffer as the stopgap bills mostly hold spending to last year's level.

Joe Davis, a spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars, said that "will absolutely hurt." With growing numbers of Iraq war veterans, he said the backlog of claims for medical, pension and education benefits has swelled to more than 800,000, compared to about 773,000 last year.

A senior administration official said he was still hopeful Congress might approve this year's veterans-spending bill before leaving town, which he said would bring an increase of more than 12 percent in funds for veterans medical care.

Also on the economic front, Republican leaders were still trying to decide whether to renew a series of expired tax breaks, including child and college tuition deductions.

If they do, the tax provisions might be coupled with a U.S.-Vietnam trade deal and possibly other trade measures.

A House ethics panel is poised to release a report on its investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley's sexually explicit electronic messages to teenage interns and what fellow Republicans knew about the matter.

November 21, 2006

GOP Fundraiser Gets 18 Years in Prison

A GOP fundraiser who embezzled from a state investment in rare coins was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison in a scandal that helped bring down Ohio's ruling Republican Party on Election Day.

By JOHN SEEWER

Ex-Daley Aide Sentenced To Prison

Read this news story below. This is why corruption runs ramp-pit in are government. You do the crime you don’t do the time; you get your hands slapped. The first thing these convicted elected officials (gangsters) pack when they are going to so call federal prison is their golf clubs, its like a vacation for them. Corrupt elected officials who commit crimes when in office need to go to a state prison and put in with the general population and stripped of all government benefits’ and after they do the maximum sent-tins they need to be kicked out of the USA for the rest of their life and if a government elected official commits a crime in war time they need to be put in front of a firing squad. And if big corporations and lobbyist or who ever are involved in the crime they get the same sentence. Just before a president leaves office he pardons convicted government officials. No more!
~
The President is doing a lot of cuts in benefits’ for Americans, so why not have cuts in his benefits’?
~
Ex-Daley aide sentenced to prison
Tribune staff report
Published November 20, 2006, 5:23 PM CST
~
Mayor Richard Daley's former patronage chief was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison for his role in a hiring fraud scheme at City Hall. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.Robert Sorich showed no emotion as U.S. District Judge David H. Coar delivered a tongue-lashing.The offense is corruption — corruption with a capital C,'' Coar said. "For people to owe their jobs to political advancement rather than performance on the job stinks."I don't give a hoot whether this has been going on for 200 years," the judge said. "It still stinks.''As Coar handed down Sorich's sentence, the former City Hall insider stood stiff-lipped while his wife and mother broke down behind him.Sorich could have received as much as 57 months in prison, but Coar gave him the lowest end of the sentencing range.Prior to the reading of his sentence, Sorich said, "I just want to stand before the court and my family and friends and let them know I am not a broken man."He did not apologize or otherwise accept responsibility for the crimes a federal jury found he committed.Sorich and three other former city officials were convicted in July in a trial that highlighted the inner workings of the mayor's political machine.Prosecutors say Daley aides rigged hiring for thousands of city jobs and promotions in favor of political loyalists. The scheme allegedly was designed to enhance Daley's political power.Lawyers for Sorich and his three co-defendants in the trial have argued that the requested sentences are unduly harsh.They have noted that city workers convicted of taking bribes received relatively short sentences.Sorich and Timothy McCarthy, his former aide in the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, were each convicted on two counts of mail fraud.Former Streets and Sanitation official Patrick Slattery was convicted of one count of mail fraud, while John Sullivan, a former Streets and Sanitation managing deputy commissioner, was found guilty of one count of lying to federal agents about political hiring.Today, Slattery was sentenced to 27 months in prison, while Sullivan was given two months in custody and two months of home confinement.
~
~

November 17, 2006

It's high time for politicians to be paying attention.

Nancy Pelosi, you just don’t get it do you. Neither did the Republicans and look what happen to them.
~
I want government transparency and accountability!
~
I am fad up with the corruption in Washington.
~
Get corporations out of Washington.
~
FIRING ALL members of Congress (regardless of party) who are corrupt,
~

Nancy Pelosi Wants Total Crap

House Speaker Pelosi's choice for Majority Leader, Draft Loving John Murtha, has this to say about the anti-corruption bill being pushed by Madame Speaker:

Even though I think its total crap, I’ll vote for it and pass it because that’s what Nancy wants.

I think he's brain-damaged but that gives Murtha too much credit. He's just
corrupt.

Pelosi’s Endorsement of Murtha. Total Crap

Nancy Pelosi was chosen by acclamation to become speaker of the House. Ninety minutes later, she experienced her first smack down.

Pelosi had only herself to blame for this briefest of honeymoons. Just five days after the Democrats' election victory, she shattered party unity Sunday by urging House Democrats to reject her longtime deputy, Steny Hoyer, in favor of antiwar firebrand Jack Murtha, who proceeded to brand House ethics reforms "total crap."

Yesterday, rank-and-file Democrats told Pelosi her endorsement was total crap: They overwhelmingly chose Hoyer to be majority leader.

Hoyer supporter Maxine Waters was holding forth on the impact of Pelosi's letter Sunday endorsing Murtha. "People just said 'I wonder why' and kept on moving and voted for Mr. Hoyer." It's true: Hoyer wound up with about as many votes as he forecast before Pelosi's endorsement of Murtha.

For Pelosi, who led Democrats back to a majority in the House after 12 years, yesterday should have been a coronation for the first woman to be speaker. Instead, her party had plunged into fratricide, and cable news was running nonstop clips of Murtha talking with FBI agents posing as sheiks in the Abscam sting.

Was this a great moment for Democrats, or "total crap"? "The latter," Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider had to admit as she surveyed the melee outside the caucus room.

November 16, 2006

Jack Abramoff Controversy

Jack Abramoff Controversy
~
Abramoff Heading To Prison, Prosecutors Want Him To Roll On More Politicians
~
Dorgan Tangled in Abramoff Web
~
Dorgan has the North Dakota press wrapped around his finger. In a small state like North Dakota, Dorgan, Conrad et cetera are really important people who can really cause problems if the locals do Kiss their Bu**s.
~
No brainer. Will be interesting to see how this unfolds. If the Dem’s are even halfway serious about ethics reform all this will come out. If not, then it remains politics as usual.
~
No surprise there.
~

November 15, 2006

Questions Surround Speaker Pelosi's Choice For House Majority Leader

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group, accused Pelosi of compromising her ethical standards by endorsing Murtha.

Murtha has fought charges for years of using his senior status on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee to award favors to campaign contributors. He voted against a Democratic package of ethics reforms earlier this year

CBS News reporter Allison Davis

Representative Hoyer's supporters are reviving accounts of Murtha's less-than-decisive rejection of a bribe in the 1980 Abscam FBI sting operation. More recently, Murtha has battled allegations that he may have accepted favors from defense contractors.

Most immediately, Murtha's opposition to ethics reform, including past brushes with ethics issues, open Pelosi to charges that she hasn't heard voters on the importance of cleaning up the culture of corruption in Washington.

"Future House Speaker Pelosi's endorsement of Representative Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, shows that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes, with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that took a lead in criticizing former GOP majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas over corruption charges.

By Gail Russell Chaddock

November 13, 2006

First, Ethics Reform

The 'culture of corruption' helped Democrats win. Now they need to fix the mess!

ONE OF THE loudest messages from Tuesday's elections was disgust with the way Washington does business. In exit polls, 42 percent of voters said corruption and scandals in government were extremely important in their decisions -- a greater share than for the war in Iraq, terrorism or the economy. House Democrats have vowed to quickly adopt new ethics rules; their package is good but could be improved. Senate Democrats, who, after yesterday's gracious concession by Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), will control the chamber, say they too have heard the voters' demand for change.
~
Read The Full Story: Washington Post
~
[My Reply: “Good, but not good enough”.]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The GOP lost control of Capitol Hill for a number of reasons, the war (the televised pictures of growing casualties were hard to shake off) and the scandals involving Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley (all of which were broken by news organizations). At times it seemed journalists and administration officials were offering two different versions of reality. But in the end the polls accurately forecast the thumping to come.
~
Now the question is whether a press corps that has been openly at odds with the president will hold the newly empowered Democrats to the same tough standards.
Read The Full Story:
By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post

Lame-duck Congress Has Busy Agenda

The Democrats won the midterm elections, but time has not run out on the Republican majority in Congress
~
Find-lee! "The Do Nothing Congress", wants to do something?
~
Joseph Lieberman, Said:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, elected as an independent, said Sunday on "Meet the Press" on NBC that he wanted Congress to take up the lobbying and ethics changes that died before the election.
Carul Hulse, New York Times
Read The Full Story:
~
Nancy Pelosi Said:
Nancy Pelosi has previously said a Democratic-led Congress will not be a rubber stamp for the White House. Nancy Pelosi, said she hoped there would be cooperation with congressional investigations -- part of the checks-and-balances system built into the Constitution. Nancy Pelosi also has said that in the first 100 hours of her speakership she will push for action implementing all 9/11 Commission recommendations on national security, raising the minimum wage to $7.25, eliminating corporate subsidies for oil companies, allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, imposing new restrictions on lobbyists, cutting interest rates on college loans and supporting embryonic stem-cell research.
CNN's John King, Dana Bash and Ed Henry
Read The Full Story:

November 10, 2006

Cuckoo Science

Sometimes on RealClimate we discuss important scientific uncertainties, and sometimes we try and clarify some subtle point or context, but at other times, we have a little fun in pointing out some of the absurdities that occasionally pass for serious 'science' on the web and in the media. These pieces look scientific to the layperson (they have equations! references to 19th Century physicists!), but like cuckoo eggs in a nest, they are only designed to look real enough to fool onlookers and crowd out the real science. A cursory glance from anyone knowledgeable is usually enough to see that concepts are being mangled, logic is being thrown to the winds, and completely unjustified conclusions are being drawn - but the tricks being used are sometimes a little subtle.
Two pieces that have recently drawn some attention fit this mould exactly. One by Christopher Monckton (a viscount, no less, with obviously too much time on his hands) which comes complete with supplementary 'calculations' using his own 'M' model of climate, and one on JunkScience.com ('What Watt is what'). Junk Science is a front end for Steve Milloy, long time tobacco, drug and oil industry lobbyist, and who has been a reliable source for these 'cuckoo science' pieces for years. Curiously enough, both pieces use some of the same sleight-of-hand to fool the unwary (coincidence?).
But never fear, RealClimate is here!

November 08, 2006

Global Warming

An analogy I like to use is that of the Titanic. If you see an iceberg up ahead, do you convene your engineers to debate the effects of ice hitting a ship or do you have the engine room throw the engines in reverse and turn the ship as hard as it will go?

The way we're handling our planet is akin to a captain saying "Convene the engineers to debate about the ice, but I'm going to plow through that iceberg anyway. After all, this ship is unsinkable and turning would waste precious time and coal."
Comment by Yartrebo

Re: Yartrebo, The iceberg has already been struck. We did not see it in time. It is now probably a good idea to get a damage control report, and see if we are taking on water. If in fact we are, we need those engineers to decide if 1) all the compartments will flood and we will sink (no lifeboats!) 2) only one compartment will flood, the ship will list a little, but we can make it back to port, 3) the ship is leaking but the bilge pump capacity is large enough to continue on to our destination without many problems, or 4)we need to go down there and try to fix the leak, or we will surely sink.
“How much CO2 emission is too much”?
RealClimate:
http://www.realclimate.org/
November 06, 2006
~~~~~~~~~~~~
“We’ are doomed”

October 19, 2006

Issues...You Want issues?

Political Junkie

Issues...You Want issues?

The biggest issue, for me, would be government transparency and accountability. If we, as the voters, cannot trust our elected officials, democracy has failed. We need to rid ourselves of corrupt politicians.

I have seen corruption ruin my state's reputation and, with America's reputation already at risk, we cannot afford to sit and watch our country fall into the perils of corruption.

Global warming. The National Academy of Sciences, among other people, said that growing heat waves are a result of climate change. Crops are dying of thirst in the Midwest. 40% of the polar ice cap is gone.

And this is just the beginning. Sorry to sound so doom-dayish ... believe me, I'm sick of it.

The bottom line is that it's high time for politicians to be paying attention, and I think that some of them finally are, because more and more people are deeply concerned about this problem.

Immigration, i.e., illegal aliens, is top-of-mind. Enforce the borders, no amnesty. Be a nation of laws, enforced laws.

Also, the ballooning deficit and out-of-control spending.

Iraq.

Issues...You Want issues?

Karl rove told us last year what the election was going to be about. We're not going to be allowed to have a discussion about anything except naked FEAR.

There is nothing they won't do to win. It's going to be a sickening spectacle. I don't know if I have the stomach to stay around for it.

Issues...You Want issues?

In the past few years we have had:
01. Destructive foreign policy
02. Destructive environmental policy
03. Destructive attacks on our constitution and civil rights
04. Destructive congress that is controlled by lobbyists and big corporate money
05. A do-nothing congress that just sits back and lets it all happen.

So what is my biggest issue?
FIRING ALL Members of Congress (regardless of party) who sat by and did nothing. They do not represent what is in the public's best interests, so why should we continue their employment?

I hope this election is a HUGE wake-up call for our government. The American People are their bosses, not special interests and big corporate money. We want our country back.

To restore checks and balances. If Congress did any kind of oversight of the executive branch, we probably would not have gone into Iraq and be facing the chaos of the Middle East.
01. Leadership for a viable energy policy.
02. National health care policy for all Americans.
03. Leadership to reevaluate trade agreements that not only are destroying the American middle class, but are enslaving people of other countries, making corporations pay their fair share.
04. Leadership for campaign finance reform, get corporations out of the voting process.
05. The Iraqi (not a war any longer) occupation.
06. Incompetence in Congress & the executive.

People will want a President who does more than speak of "family values",religious faith and morality but demonstrates them by living them. People will want a person unlikely to be tempted by corporate greed and political corruption. Integrity will emerge as a necessary requirem

Placing the competency issue front and center is a no-brainer given the last six years of a President whose intelligence and competency were judged absent by many Americans.

Sadly, while the issues that will get the most press will be the inane ones that provide warm comfort to the President's conservative base, the real issue that seems to pervade most of the postings is lack of credibility in the standing government in general, and in the chief executive in particular.

Too many people feel they have been misled or manipulated too often and immediately view this through a cynical prism.

Leadership that has the respect of the populace must be a priority.

I mean, really, Karl Rove did come out and say this a year ago. They have no shame, they admit to manipulation. They have published numerous talking points, position papers and treatises that all discuss how to frame the issue, how to talk about it, how to constantly remind people of 9/11, how to push people's buttons, how to scare them. Do you think bush's photo op with the fireman and the bullhorn was spontaneous? Do you think anything they do is?

It's all calculated to do one thing--frighten you. And it has worked. The question is, are we smart enough to see through it? Or are we going to let our fear alllow us to be manipulated--again?

In B-school, they always said Fear was the most affective strategy next to sex.

I guess GWB actually was awake in one of his classes.

Fear works. Big time--you can track it. It directly affects the primitive lizard brain, the limbic system. It works on us unconciously, even when our higher, reasoning brain is not aware of it.

Every dictator, every tyrant, has used it effectively throughout history to maintain control of populations.

Karl Rove is a great student of Machiavelli and Goebbels. He speaks admiringly of them often when he talks privately to 'conservative' foundations and such. It isn't Bush. He just does what Rove and Cheney tell him to.

Washington Post

October 13, 2006

Global Warming

Renewable Energy With Green House Gas

October 01, 2006

Marital Bliss

They Both Take The Blame - For Marital Bliss

As a psychotherapist, I teach people to take responsibility for their own actions, but not for the actions of others. As a husband, though, I find that married life often goes more smoothly with a slight modification of this principle. Fortunately, my wife and I are in agreement on this, and as a result, we rarely squabble over life's foibles and frustrations. Basically, we each take the blame when there is no blame to take. Here's how it works: Let's say my wife has been preparing a big dinner and then manages to knock the entire pot of beef stew all over the kitchen floor. As soon as I hear her anguished yowl, I put my hand on her shoulder and say, "Honey, I take full responsibility for this." It's nonsense, of course, but it's helpful nonsense. We laugh, begin the cleanup, and order takeout. Sometimes, my wife will anticipate our little ritual and launch a preemptive salvo. "You must have hidden my reading glasses!" she'll say with mock annoyance.

"It's true," I reply. "I take full responsibility for this unconscionable theft."

On some level, my upbringing probably prepared me for this role since, in my family, feeling a little guilty about something was not at all uncommon. And who knows? Maybe I did hide those glasses and then repressed the whole thing. Freud would not have a problem with this, so why should I?

This mutual arrangement works out well for me, too. If, while driving with my wife, I happen to miss that critical exit, I can safely sputter, "It's all your fault! You were distracting me."

And I can count on my wife replying cheerfully, "I take full responsibility. It must have been those darn distraction rays I was beaming into your brain."

For Nancy and me, it's all an elaborate game. But I believe our willingness to take the blame - even when blameless - has its roots in an ancient ethical tradition. In the Jewish faith, shaming or humiliating another person - especially in public - is considered a mortal sin. Indeed, rabbis teach us to go out of our way to avoid such a thing.

One story relates how Rabbi Judah, while lecturing, became annoyed by the strong odor of garlic in the room. "Let the one who ate the garlic go out!" he intoned harshly. Another distinguished sage, Rabbi Chiya, immediately stood up and walked out. It later emerged that Rabbi Chiya had left simply to avoid embarrassing the real garlic-eating culprit, a student of lower status who would have been crushed by Rabbi Judah's rebuke.

"A person should always be soft like a reed and not hard like a cedar," the Talmud also tells us. Yet how many marriages are wrecked by the obdurate insistence of one spouse or the other that he or she is right? Why not bend a bit in the wind of discord, even when you are not at fault?

A little creative boundary-blurring, combined with a sense of humor, can help couples surmount their everyday predicaments. Or, as that great rabbinical sage, Milton Berle, once put it, "A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong."

By Ronald Pies

September 27, 2006

Earth Headed for Warmest Temps in a Million Years

Earth Headed for Warmest Temps in a Million Years

Scientists Also Rebuke Popular Author Michael Crichton

In about 45 years, temperatures on Earth will be hotter than at anytime during the past one million years, says the U.S. government's top climatologist in a new report released today.

According to the report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the planet is just two degrees shy of an average temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit, which is what they believe the temperature was about a million years ago.

NASA's James Hansen, along with colleagues from the University of California and Columbia University, are for the first time, marking a calendar signaling the approach of temperatures that humans have never experienced.

"Humans are now in control of the Earth's climate, for better or worse," Hansen tells ABC News.

Based on a "business as usual" scenario in which greenhouse gasses continue to rise unabated, Hansen says we'll break the million-year-old record in about 45 years. But he stresses we can't wait that long to cut greenhouse gas pollution, because of the decades it takes for the climate system to respond to changes.

"We need to get started now," he says. "We can't wait another decade or two to take this seriously."

Those 2 degrees the scientists are talking about may not sound like much, but what that change means is that by mid-century, the world will experience even more record heat waves, wildfires, more intense storms and flooding.

In other parts of the world, the increase may worsen drought conditions as more mountain glaciers and snow packs vanish, no longer sending water to the valleys below.

And in a highly unusual move for a scientific paper, the authors devote eight paragraphs to systematically deconstructing the assertions of a prominent science fiction novelist. In the non-fiction sections of his 2004 book "State of Fear," best-selling author Michael Crichton wrote that Hansen's climate change calculations were "wrong by 300 percent."

Hansen says Crichton misrepresented his scientific work and, adds the scientist, has done so in testimony before Congress and in a meeting with President Bush — even though he is not a climate expert.

"He is propagating false information to the public," Hansen says.

Crichton, through a publicist, declined ABC News' request for an interview.

By CLAYTON SANDELL and BILL BLAKEMORE

September 16, 2006

Ohio Rep. Files Guilty Plea In Abramoff Scandal


U.S. Rep. Bob Ney will plead guilty to federal criminal charges he made false statements and conspired to commit fraud and violate federal lobbying laws in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney, R-Ohio, had defiantly denied the charges for months. Now he faces up to 10 years in prison. The Justice Department said prosecutors will recommend that he serve 27 months based on federal sentencing guidelines. Ney became the first lawmaker to admit wrongdoing in the election-year investigation.

Ney agreed to plead guilty to making false statements and conspiracy to commit "wire and mail fraud," make false statements and violate post-employment restrictions for former congressional staff members.

Ney faces up to ten years in prison, but the Justice Department said prosecutors will recommend he serve 27 months based on federal sentencing guidelines.

Ney signed the plea agreement Wednesday, but it was not approved by the Justice Department or filed in court until Friday.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Don’t forget to take your golf clubs with you Anus Hole.
---------------------------------------------------------------

September 15, 2006

Novak vs. Armitage

Novak vs. Armitage:
Bull, I’ve got a bridge in Florida I want talk to you about.

August 20, 2006

The Sin of Silence


"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."
~ Abraham Lincoln

August 16, 2006

France Honors American Soldiers

Located on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach, the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France honors American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II. Shown here is the grave marker of Jimmie W. Monteith, a United States Army officer who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and sacrifice of life on D-Day.
~
Photo credit: Nilington - Read the Full Story at Wikipedia

August 11, 2006

Beat Swords into Plowshares


When I was 8 years old a hornet's nest began to take shape in the back of our yard. I went out and watched with a combination of fascination and fear as it grew day by day.

Finally, unable to stand the suspense, I took a big brick and threw it at the nest, breaking off the bottom half and sending the hornets into a swarming frenzy. I ran away as fast as I could as the angry bees swirled behind.

When I think of the relationship of the United States to the Middle Eastern Muslim countries, my experience as an 8-year-old comes to mind. "Why do they hate us?" Americans ask. Well, we've thrown a brick at their hive.

Forget the rhetoric about World War III. Choose the rhetoric of the Middle Eastern prophet Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Frank O'Hara is vice president of Planning Decisions in Hallowell.

By Frank O'Hara

READ THE FULL STORY...

August 04, 2006

FAIR VERSUS FREE

The Federal Communications Commission seeks to enforce a "fairness doctrine" on radio and TV stations. We suffered numerous "fair trade" laws, until they were declared unenforceable. One businessman vies with another in proclaiming his faith in competition — provided that it is "fair."

Yet, scrutinize word for word the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and you will not find the word "fair." The First Amendment does not protect the "fair" exercise of religion, but the "free" exercise thereof; it does not restrain Congress from abridging the "fairness" of speech or of the press, but the "freedom" of speech or of the press.

The modern tendency to substitute "fair" for "free" reveals how far we have moved from the initial conception of the Founding Fathers. They viewed government as policeman and umpire. They sought to establish a framework within which individuals could pursue their own objectives in their own way, separately or through voluntary cooperation, provided only that they did not interfere with the freedom of others to do likewise.

The modern conception is very different. Government has become Big Brother. Its function has become to protect the citizen, not merely from his fellows, but from himself, whether he wants to be protected or not. Government is not simply an umpire but an active participant, entering into every nook and cranny of social and economic activity. All this, in order to promote the high-minded goals of "fairness," "justice," "equality."

Does this not constitute progress? A move toward a more humane society? Quite the contrary. When "fairness" replaces "freedom," all our liberties are in danger. In Walden, Thoreau says: "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." That is the way I feel when I hear my "servants" in Washington assuring me of the "fairness" of their edicts.

There is no objective standard of "fairness." "Fairness" is strictly in the eye of the beholder. If speech must be fair, then it cannot also be free; someone must decide what is fair. A radio station is not free to transmit unfair speech — as judged by the bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission. If the printed press were subject to a comparable "fairness doctrine," it would have to be controlled by a government bureau and our vaunted free press would soon become a historical curiosity.

What is true for speech — where the conflict is perhaps clearest — is equally true for every other area. To a producer or seller, a "fair" price is a high price. To the buyer or consumer, a "fair" price is a low price. How is the conflict to be adjudicated? By competition in a free market? Or by government bureaucrats in a "fair" market?

Businessmen who sing the glories of free enterprise and then demand "fair" competition are enemies, not friends, of free markets. To them, "fair" competition is a euphemism for a price-fixing agreement. They are exemplifying Adam Smith's remark that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." For consumers, the more "unfair" the competition, the better. That assures lowest prices and highest quality.

Is then the search for "fairness" all a mistake? Not at all. There is a real role for fairness, but that role is in constructing general rules and adjudicating disputes about the rules, not in determining the outcome of our separate activities. That is the sense in which we speak of a "fair" game and "fair" umpire. If we applied the present doctrine of "fairness" to a football game, the referee would be required after each play to move the ball backward or forward enough to make sure that the game ended in a draw!

Our Founding Fathers designed a fair Constitution to protect human freedom. In Thomas Jefferson's ringing phrases from the Declaration of Independence, "Governments are instituted among Men ... to secure ... certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Milton Friedman, the winner of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, is the author of Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose . This piece originally appeared in the July 4, 1977 issue of Newsweek and was reprinted in Bright Promises, Dismal Performances: An Economist's Protest, a collection of his articles. Copyright 1983 by Thomas Horton and Daughters, 26662 South New Town Drive, Sun Lakes, AZ 85224.
~
FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

July 29, 2006

The Lovell Sisters

The Lovell Sisters

~

In concert at the City Auditorium Saturday, September 16th at 7:30 pm Proceeds benefit the Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County, San Angelo, Texas

~

Children's Advocacy Center of San Angelo, Texas