Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In-the-Ground Truth in Iran?

In the past few days, I've been overwhelmed by a family matter. More on that later. So posting has been irregular--even by holiday standards. But let me make a quick observation. The most important news story of this week (so far) was an 8-paragraph piece buried on p. A9 of yesterday's Washington Post. The Associated Press story reported:

Iran is suffering a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues income could virtually disappear by 2015, according to an analysis published Monday in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

Iran's economic woes could make the country unstable and vulnerable, with its oil industry crippled, Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University, said in the report and in an interview.

Iran earns about $50 billion a year in oil exports. The decline is estimated at 10 to 12 percent annually. In less than five years exports could be halved and then disappear by 2015, Stern predicted.

Hold on. If this is true, it changes the popular conception of the ongoing Iran crisis. In the conventional view, Iran is enriching uranium for one reason alone: so it can become a nuclear power, dominate the Middle East, and threaten the Israel and the United States. The Iran war hawks (formerly known as the Iraq war hawks) scoff at the notion that Iran might have other motives for enriching uranium. They dismiss Iran's claim that it is processing uranium as part of a civilian nuclear energy program. With all that oil? the hawks argue. No way.

The supposed implausibility of Iran's argument has been fueling the move toward confrontation--that is, war. And in recent weeks I've spoken to several outside-the-administration Iran experts who believe the Bush White House is intent on military action against Iran--probably air strikes. Yet what if the Iranians are essentially telling the truth?

I have no sympathy for the repressive theocrats of Tehran and do not counsel taking them at their word. But before there is another march to war, there ought to be close scrutiny of the reasons for that march.

The rest of the AP story depicts a more nuanced situation than the one depicted by the beaters of the drums of war:

Stern's analysis, which appears in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports U.S. and European suspicions that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons in violation of international understandings. But, Stern says, there could be merit to Iran's assertion that it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes "as badly as it claims."

He said oil production is declining and both gas and oil are being sold domestically at highly subsidized rates. At the same time, Iran is neglecting to reinvest in its oil production.

"With an explosive demand at home and poor management, the appeal of nuclear power, financed by Russia, could fill a real need for production of more electricity."

Iran produces about 3.7 million barrels a day, about 300,000 barrels below the quota set for Iran by the oil cartel, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The shortfall represents a loss of about $5.5 billion a year, Stern said. In 2004, Iran's oil profits were 65 percent of the government's revenues.

"If we look at that shortfall, and failure to rectify leaks in their refineries, that adds up to a loss of about $10 billion to $11 billion a year," he said. "That is a picture of an industry in collapse."

If the United States can "hold its breath" for a few years it may find Iran a much more conciliatory country, he said. And that, Stern said, is good reason to belay any instinct to take on Iran militarily.

"What they are doing to themselves is much worse than anything we could do," he said.

"The one thing that would unite the country right now is to bomb them," Stern said. "Here is one problem that might solve itself."

Doing nothing--starting no war--and solving a problem? That sounds pretty damn good. Whether Stern is right or not, what's happening within Iran deserves far more coverage within the US media. Without more information, the public will not be able to evaluate--or challenge--the next case for war.

Posted by David Corn at December 27, 2006 07:40 PM


Hajji said...

The only reason Bush'n Co. would refrain from taking SOME kind of action in Iraq(cruise missiles, stealth bombers, green light and facillitaions for Isreal to do it, etc are MOST likely) is that they've flaunted their hubris in the faces of those who empower them.

If "We the People" don't rise above the obvious rewind/replay of 2001-2003 drumbeats to war, I'm starting to think we (the "Republic") might just deserve every year of continuous war, global distruction and constant fear we're likely to be subjected to.


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Good post but I think Bush has his mind made up and all of his faith in a parallel universe where he has yet to ever make a single mistake.

Bush has decided he has been right all along and no matter how many have to die he insists he can change that lie into the truth by sheer willpower.

Bush really thinks God told him to invade Iraq, how can anybody question that. If his delusions say invade Iran he will not question the voice in his head.

Thanks for all of your work.


capt said...

The GOP's $3 Billion Propaganda Organ

American Right achieved its political dominance in Washington over the past quarter century with the help of more than $3 billion spent by Korean cult leader Sun Myung Moon on a daily propaganda organ, the Washington Times, according to a 21-year veteran of the newspaper.

George Archibald, who describes himself "as the first reporter hired at the Washington Times outside the founding group" and author of a commemorative book on the Times’ first two decades, has now joined a long line of disillusioned conservative writers who departed and warned the public about extremism within the newspaper.

In an Internet essay on recent turmoil inside the Times, Archibald also confirmed claims by some former Moon insiders that the cult leader has continued to pour in $100 million a year or more to keep the newspaper afloat. Archibald put the price tag for the newspaper’s first 24 years at "more than $3 billion of cash."

At the newspaper’s tenth anniversary, Moon announced that he had spent $1 billion on the Times – or $100 million a year – but newspaper officials and some Moon followers have since tried to low-ball Moon’s subsidies in public comments by claiming they had declined to about $35 million a year.

The figure from Archibald and other defectors from Moon’s operation is about three times higher than the $35 million annual figure.


*****end of clip*****

A must read h/t - Pat

Also from Pat -Bumper-sticker:



capt said...

"If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.": Howard Zinn, historian and author

"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about.": Noam Chomsky

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

O'Reilly said...

In recent weeks I've spoken to several outside-the-administration Iran experts who believe the Bush White House is intent on military action against Iran--probably air strikes.

Let’s assume your sources are right. Let’s further assume the president is reassured by the same sense of moral righteousness that he asserted before invading Iraq and that he is driven by the same intent to “kick their ass all over the middle east.”

Do you really believe The Decider cares to offer the public or even congress the opportunity to scrutinize the reasons for that march to war? Of course not, he is The Decider. He will claim the action is part of the War on Terror and challenge Congress to challenge him. Having hoarded, manipulated and subverted intelligence, Congress will be in no position to analyze the information and make an assessment. So how then can the freedom-fighting president be stopped?

Since you have taken impeachment off the table (in spite of a multitude of BushCo transgressions against the Constitution, flouting the rule of law, and general incompetence) Congress must withdraw war authorization for any new initiatives in the war of terror and require the executive to present a case to congress.

capt said...

Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship... voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

~ Hermann Goering (1893 - 1946), From a conversation with psychologist Gustave Gilbert while jailed at Nuremburg on the evening of 18 April 1946, documented in Gilbert's book "Nuremburg Diary."

Watch for the Iranian attack on us, our troops or even Iraq. We still have the MEK (tank girls) under our protection in Iraq on the border of Iran. The MEK are suppose to have Iranian military uniforms.

Bush is delusional and will not be stopped. I would bet it would take the military to get his butt out of the oval office if he was impeached.


Robert S. said...

I want to close this part of my talk with the allegations of Sibel Edmonds. Unfortunately we don’t really know what they are because she is under a gag order. For reasons of state she is not able to tell the public what she told the FBI. She was a whistleblower, who naively did what a whistleblower should do in the name of protecting the American public order, and got fired for it. And she is still fighting to appeal her case. She can’t speak out, but she has talked here and there. And my friend Daniel Ellsberg is very interested in her case; and very recently he summed up what she is saying for KPFA, my local Pacifica radio station. This is Ellsberg’s summary of what Sibel Edmonds is saying:

Al Qaeda, she’s been saying to Congress, is financed 95% by drug money, drug traffic to which the U.S. government shows a blind eye, has been ignoring because it very heavily involves allies and assets of ours, such as Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan - all of the Stans, in a drug traffic where the opium originates in Afghanistan, is processed in Turkey and delivered to Europe where it furnishes 96% of Europe’s heroin by Albanians, either in Albania or Kosovo, Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, basically the KLA Kosovo Liberation Army (which we backed heavily in that episode at the end of the century, that’s last century) ---–

[I will interrupt at this point. In my book, I’m sure I think I quite adequately document that:

A) That the KLA or its leaders were deeply involved in drug trafficking and have used the NATO intervention as a way to consolidate a drug route through Kosovo.[43]

B) That they were very heavily involved with al Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri’s brother came to organize KLA matters and al-Zawahiri himself may have come to Kosovo.[44]

C) At the same time key KLA leaders were allied with PMCs – Private Military Corporations -- notably MPRI. There are war crimes attributed to KLA leaders who in Croatia worked hand in glove with MPRI.[45]

I’m cutting out a lot here that is relevant. But to continue with Ellsberg’s account of what Sibel Edmonds says:] “Suitcases of cash were delivered to the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert at his home near Chicago from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.”[46]

These are very serious charges that were aired to some extent in some in Vanity Fair.[47] And they are so important that the media, predictably, ignored them. And I’m drawing attention to what she is saying not because what she is saying can be proven, but these charges are very serious and not just pertinent to 9/11 alone, but to the whole fabric of how this country is run.

I consider this a top priority for testing the honesty and credibility of the new Democratic leadership in Congress. Will they pursue these matters? I hope that by hook or by crook you will try and put pressure on the new Democratic Congress to deal with these matters, so that we get a proper investigation of them for the first time.

And to close this section, whatever is the extent of what she is describing, it’s not just her. There was another witness, Indira Singh, who was talking at a 9/11 conference up in Canada; and she said, “I was told that if I mentioned the money to the drugs around 9/11 that would be the end of me.” [48]

This is a woman who has nothing to do with Sibel Edmonds, but alluded to the same thing in the background of 9/11.[49] And we need to learn more about that. And I suspect that whatever the situation is, it’s something which goes back to at least as far as 1963, and would then explain the same background for the Kennedy assassination.

One thing we can say with confidence: the flow of Afghan heroin west through Turkey is a problem that can be traced back to the CIA’s involvement with Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, with the drug-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and with Islamist Afghan mujahedeen like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the 1980s.[50]

In fact the web of influence she describes corresponds closely to BCCI’s influence in the 1980s, when the head of BCCI used to boast to the leader of Pakistan about BCCI’s role in getting aid for Pakistan approved by the US Congress.[51]

The ISI continued to be implicated in drug trafficking after the shutdown of BCCI in July 1991.

In an unusually frank interview in September 1994 – which he later denied – the former Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, disclosed that General Aslam Beg, the army chief of staff, and the ISI boss [from 1990 to 1992], Lieutenant-General Asad Durrani, had proposed raising money for covert foreign operations through large-scale drug deals….The ISI’s involvement in the Sikh separatist movement was recognized in a 1993 CIA report on Pakistan’s drug trade, which stated the heroin was being used to fund its purchases of arms.”[52]

Prominent in ISI’s covert foreign operations at this time were Arab Afghan terrorists supporting the drug trafficker Hekmatyar in Afghanistan, of whom I am about to say much more.

Excerpted from: JFK and 9/11
Insights Gained from Studying Both

by Dr. Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, December 20, 2006

Robert S. said...

Ford pardon sealed Watergate shut
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer Wed Dec 27, 7:01 AM ET

WASHINGTON - On a September Sunday in 1974, President Gerald Ford told the nation it was time to "shut and seal this book" of Watergate by pardoning his predecessor,
Richard Nixon.

Ford's stunning announcement may also have sealed his political fate, since the nation's only president never elected to nationwide office — a Republican — lost the 1976 election to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Many said the unpopular pardon was a cause of Ford's defeat.

But years later, Ford's act of conscience was viewed differently. In 2001, Ford, who died Tuesday, received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award named after the former Democratic president. He was chosen by a bipartisan committee of political and community leaders, who had the luxury of looking back at the fateful day of Sept. 8, 1974.

Ford was not known for his eloquence, but he was eloquent when he addressed the nation that morning in the Oval Office.

He said his was a solitary decision. "There are no historic or legal precedents to which I can turn in this matter, none that precisely fit the circumstances of a private citizen who has resigned the presidency of the United States," he said.

The accusations of Nixon's Watergate misdeeds "hang like a sword over our former president's head, threatening his health," Ford said. But his primary concern was for the nation.

"My conscience tells me clearly and certainly that I cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed," he said. "My conscience tells me that only I, as president, have the constitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book.

"My conscience tells me it is my duty, not merely to proclaim domestic tranquility but to use every means that I have to insure it."

Ford revisited the pardon is his autobiography.

"I simply was not convinced that the country wanted to see an ex-president behind bars," he wrote. "We are not a vengeful people; forgiveness is one of the roots of the American tradition. And Nixon, in my opinion, had already suffered enormously."

And, Ford said, so had the nation.

"It was the state of the country's health at home and around the world that worried me," he said.

Nixon had not been indicted but stood accused of serious crimes that would take time — perhaps years — to sort out. A grand jury had voted 19-0 to name him an unindicted coconspirator in the cover-up of White House involvement in the 1972 break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate office building.



And so it goes, as you hear nary a word about the huge injustice done by the pardon; the attitude that a presidential scofflaw is beyond reproach, of course, for the good of the nation, of course. Or, is that for the good of the homeland, that newfangled post 9/11 linguistic construction so connotative of the fascitic fatherland that the Nazi's employed. Which of course, led further to the Department of Homeland Security, once again proving that the Department of Defense is rather a Department of Offense; an operational Defense Department might have, after all, been somewhat responsible for defending this country against such attacks, what with their massive budgets, and all.

Silly me.

So, as Saddam prepares to hang for the killing of some of his enemies, and some Baathists prepare for revenge; The media cheer the verdict for the former U.S. stooge and hired assasin of Communist Iraqis; those same Media hacks revere the Pardon of Tricky Dick.

Go figgur, and follow the money.

th said...


Hope you and your family enjoyed the cruise and your family is enjoying face time this holiday vacation.

Thanks for your posts.

About this last post, do you really think that anyone in the Bush regime is going to actually get the facts before they attack?????? Has Bush even read the Baker Hamilton report?

Do you think this holiday has given the bushco's a Kwanza moment???

I said it once, I'll say it again, Impeach before Bush attacks Iran. Impeachment may be the only real tool congress has to stop another march to another ill advised war.

But, I'm just a citizen. What do I know?


kathleen said...

On the unsubstantiated claims having to do with Irans alleged nuclear weapons program, Flynt Leverett was on C-span the other morning...this is the man on the truth about Iran.

I am encouraging folks to write the New York Times asking them just why Judy Miller's hogwash about WMD's in Iraq was printed over and over again and Flynt Leveretts report or op-ed about Iran is not being printed in the New York Times?

The C-Span interview call in program is the most airtime this expert on Iran has been given.

Corn you should think about writing a piece about this very serious contradiction at the times.


12/28/2006 11:38:03 AM
Flynt Leverett, New America Foundation, Senior Fellow
Flynt Leverett, New America Foundation, Senior Fellow discusses his report calling for comprehensive engagement with Tehran. While the Bush Administration continues to cast doubt on the viability of negotiations with Iran, Leverett’s report argues that the only viable diplomatic approach is to seek a comprehensive ‘grand bargain’ between the United States and the Islamic Republic. Leverett also claims the White House is trying to muzzle his criticism of its Iran policy. 00:42.
Washington, DC

kathleen said...

Saladin/ more convinced than ever that most Americans really do not give a fuck about what is going on in the rest of the world as long as they can put that pedal to the metal relatively cheaply and get to the mall to buy some clothes from Gap, J-Crew, etc etc.

I have spent the holidays (if that is what we are supposed to call them) in Colorado visiting my daughters. While I was in a Safeway grocery store in Boulder around 7a.m. I struck up a conversation with an older woman serving coffee for Starbucks. The war came up and she said "we should just bomb them all".

I was stunned! This is what has come out of the mouths of more people than I want to remember. I have become so sarcastic that I responded as I often do when I hear idiotic comments like this "oh I bet you go to church on Sunday too". She was stunned but I did not care. I have had enough of this "americans are number one" bullshit!

You would think that the snowstorm in Colorado would make people stop, slow down, walk or get on a bus. (the mass transportation in Boulder is supreme). But no! With two feet of snow on the ground there were cars everywhere getting stuck ( during one walk I helped push 13 cars out of the snow and counted 32 cars, some Suv's stuck). People just refuse to get out of their cars even with that much snow on the ground!

A few days later as we drove to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs outside of Steamboat Springs Colorado we were on Interstate 70 for a few hours. I-70 was backed up with SUV's for miles and miles folks headed to the mountains to ski with one or two people in the vehicle, it just seemed overwhelming! This gas consumption dance that most of us do is out of control. I know my family was amongst the crowd ( we did have 4 people in a small Subaru)and I know we do try, it somehow seems hopeless!

The problem seems so huge in the states, even in this so called "energy aware" state of Colorado...the consumption level seems unquestioned and the majority of Americans could care less about how many people's lives have been destroyed by this unnecessary war, and our need to control the oil and Israel's need to control that area of the world!

While I bitch about the gas consumption I have to admit that
four days at these hot springs ( have been going to these springs for 35 years and recommend them) sure was a greatly appreciated break from the bizarro world and our huge part in making it so.

capt said...


I too struck up a little conversation with a stranger - his take? Nuke the whole middle east and drill for oil with robots.

I could not even offer a verbal reaction, I just shook my head.


Nothing is as inhumane as mans inhumanity to man.

Buzzflash had a frige magnet for sale that says:

Jesus would not own a gun or vote republican.


kathleen said...

The MSM's effort to paint President Ford as some sort of saint is absolutely disgusting! Come on this guy did not "heal" the Watergate wounds. By pardoning Nixon Ford proved that there is really no justice for those in control who commit serious crimes..they may be humiliated, but no real justice!

As always Democracy Now's Amy Goodman blasted through the Ford hype permeating the MSM!

I mean Jesus, Mary and Joseph Nixon did not have to directly answer questions about his crimes....but lies about a blowjob... now that is important enough to the Republican controlled congress and to our National Security to demand that a President testify.

Will this Democratically controlled congress roll over? Will they actually take "congressional oversight" seriously? Is there any hope?

Or will they use Ford's outrageous example to "turn the page" on the Watergate crimes as an excuse to "turn the page" on the crimes committed by the Bush administration and the rest of the "cakewalk in Iraq" criminals (Feith, Ledeen, Wurmser's, Woolsey, Perle, Rubin, John Hannah)

Will those who have needlessly died in this "war of choice" be held accountable by the next congress? Will we witness Justice?

Or will we witness our representatives come back in January singing and dancing the new bi-partisan theme song? It goes like this "We need to move on, Turn the page, Move forward together" side by side horseshit?

If they do come back singing this "sweep it under the rug" hogwash. 2008 is not far off and the obvious need for an Independent party will blow off the charts!

Gore go INdependent!

Carey said...

Powerful, excellent comments.


It's amazing how intertwined and utterly complex the worldwide corruption is. Eloquent commentary as always.

Carey said...

Can't believe what Capt. and Kathleen are reporting from people in the streets.

My God.

kathleen said...

Capt If you sent a group of reporters out on the street just asking the "question what should we do in Iraq?" I know we would hear brutal answers like this far more than we can stomach. I would put money on this!

Flynt Leverett on C-Span is a must!

kathleen said...

Carey, when many of us were protesting against the invasion in the fall of 2002 it was shocking how many people would drive by in cars and shout things like this.

The one that really got me was when I was driving through a bank to make a deposit in Athens Ohio. I was listening to the news and made a comment about the war to the bank teller who had a cross around her neck. She responded with a very similar comment "we should just nuke the whole area"
This was when I first responded with "I bet you go to church on Sunday too".

I will not be polite to people who think like this. Especially the ones who hide behind some religious symbol or repeat versus from the Bible "were the chosen people, this is our land" to protect their sick and elitist thinking and actions!

Why does anyone wonder why people around the world fear us. There are more Americans who think like this than we want to imagine!

capt said...

I'll second the following:

I said it once, I'll say it again, Impeach before Bush attacks Iran. Impeachment may be the only real tool congress has to stop another march to another ill advised war.

But, I'm just a citizen. What do I know?

Thanks for speaking my mind for me th!


Gerald said...

kathleen, great comments!!!

Just before I left for a doctor's appointment I came across an article that said by 2015 Iran will have oil problems. No wonder they want nuclear energy to help their country survive in some way.

However, Hitler Bush will nuke Iran.

Change will come to Iran and there is no need to nuke the country. But, Nazi Israel is calling the shots and they say nuke Iran and so Nazi America will go ahead and nuke Iran.

Soon Nazi Americans will cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken us!" And God will answer Nazi America's mass murderers and war criminals by saying, "I have not forsaken you. You have forsaken me!"

Mark my words, "The wrath of God will crush Nazi America's evil empire and the nation who has chosen Lucifer as her god will be left in ruins."

Gerald said...

I feel comfortable with my words because ALL POLITICIANS ARE HORSESHIT!!!!!

O'Reilly said...

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

In a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.

"Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people," Ford said, referring to Bush's assertion that the United States has a "duty to free people." But the former president said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest." He added: "And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."


Ford had faced his own military crisis -- not a war he started like Bush, but one he had to figure out how to end. In many ways those decisions framed his short presidency -- in the difficult calculations about how to pull out of Vietnam and the challenging players who shaped policy on the war. Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A. Kissinger, who was both secretary of state and national security adviser and had what Ford said was "the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew."

"I think he was a super secretary of state," Ford said, "but Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend."


Kissinger remained a challenge for Ford. He regularly threatened to resign, the former president recalled. "Over the weekend, any one of 50 weekends, the press would be all over him, giving him unshirted hell. Monday morning he would come in and say, 'I'm offering my resignation.' Just between Henry and me. And I would literally hold his hand. 'Now, Henry, you've got the nation's future in your hands and you can't leave us now.' Henry publicly was a gruff, hard-nosed, German-born diplomat, but he had the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew."

Ford added, "Any criticism in the press drove him crazy." Kissinger would come in and say: "I've got to resign. I can't stand this kind of unfair criticism." Such threats were routine, Ford said. "I often thought, maybe I should say: 'Okay, Henry. Goodbye,' " Ford said, laughing. "But I never got around to that."

kathleen said...

December 28, 2006

Carter's Real Sin is Cutting to the Heart of the Problem
The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter's Book

As Jimmy Carter's new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid climbs the bestseller list, the reaction of Israel's apologists scales new peaks of lunacy. I will examine a pair of typical examples and then look at the latest weapon to silence Carter.

Apartheid Analogy

No aspect of Carter's book has evoked more outrage than its identification of Israeli policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with apartheid. Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post called it "foolish and unfair," the Boston Globe editorialized that it was "irresponsibly provocative," while the New York Times reported that Jewish groups condemned it as "dangerous and anti-Semitic." (1)

In fact the comparison is a commonplace among informed commentators.
From its initial encounter with Palestine the Zionist movement confronted a seemingly intractable dilemma: How to create a Jewish state in a territory that was overwhelmingly non-Jewish? Israeli historian Benny Morris observes that Zionists could choose from only two options: "the way of South Africa"--i.e., "the establishment of an apartheid state, with a settler minority lording it over a large, exploited native majority"--or "the way of transfer"--i.e., "you could create a homogeneous Jewish state or at least a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority by moving or transferring all or most of the Arabs out." (2)

During the British Mandate period (1917-1947) Zionist settlers labored on both fronts, laying the foundations of an apartheid-like regime in Palestine while exploring the prospect of expelling the indigenous population. Norman Bentwich, a Jewish officer in the Mandatory government who later taught at the Hebrew University, recalled in his memoir that, "One of the causes of resentment between Arabs and Jews was the determined policy of the Jewish public bodies to employ only Jewish workers.This policy of 'economic apartheid' was bound to strengthen the resistance of Arabs to Jewish immigration." (3)

At Counterpunch

kathleen said...

The Iraqi psychopaths "urge to surge and purge" in Iraq is coming to a head at the Weekly Standard!

The Right Type of "Surge"
Any troop increase must be large and lasting.
by Jack Keane & Frederick W. Kagan
12/27/2006 2:00:00 PM

REPORTS ON the Bush administration's efforts to craft a new strategy in Iraq often use the term "surge" but rarely define it. Estimates of the number of troops to be added in Baghdad range from fewer than 10,000 to more than 30,000. Some "surges" would last a few months, others a few years.

We need to cut through the confusion. Bringing security to Baghdad--the essential precondition for political compromise, national reconciliation and economic development--is possible only with a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so. Any other option is likely to fail.

The key to the success is to change the military mission--instead of preparing for transition to Iraqi control, that mission should be to bring security to the Iraqi population. Surges aimed at accelerating the training of Iraqi forces will fail, because rising sectarian violence will destroy Iraq before the new forces can bring it under control.

At Weekly Standard


capt said...

I am a little busy with some non-blog stuff but am reading and LOVE the most excellent posts and commentary!


O'Reilly said...

Gee, that Bob Woodward fellow knows a lot of interesting stuff. Like things that, had he reported them earlier, might have stopped a war, or changed an election.

more HERE

Robert S. said...

Bush: Making Progress on New Iraq Policy Dec 28, 1:27 PM (ET) By DEB RIECHMANN

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush met Thursday with his national security team at his Texas ranch, and declared he has moved one step closer to devising a new Iraq strategy but will seek more advice before settling on a final plan.

"We're making good progress," Bush said outside an office building near his Texas ranch where he stood with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Bush took no questions from reporters and offered no details about the strategy he is set to announce to the nation after the first of the year.

"As I think about this plan, I always have our troops in mind," Bush said. He will continue to consult with members of Congress and the Iraqis, he said, stressing the importance of having a government in Iraq that can deal with the militias and the rising violence.

"We've got more consultation to do until I talk to the country about the plan," he said. "The key to success in Iraq is to have a government that's willing to deal with the elements that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding."

Bush said one of his resolutions for the new year is that the troops will be safe and that this nation will come closer to its goal of having an Iraq that can sustain independence and govern itself.


And I'll bet he said it with a straight face, just as this article...

Robert S. said...

U.S. death toll in Iraq seen spurring anti-war protests
28 Dec 2006 18:32:29 GMT
Source: Reuters

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec 28 (Reuters) - In Kansas City, they will light candles and lay out more than 80 pairs of empty combat boots. In Chicago, anti-war activists will hand out black ribbons, each bearing the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.

And in New Haven, Connecticut, opponents of the war plan to read aloud the names of 3,000 dead U.S. soldiers.

In all, organizers say some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away. By Thursday, some 2,989 U.S. troops had died in Iraq since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the unrelenting violence.

Among those keeping track of the U.S. death toll, including soldiers' families, peace activists, politicians, veterans and others, many say they will commemorate the 3,0000 mark as both a way to honor the dead and demand an end to the war.

"This horrific and tragic milestone allows us to remind this country of the daily unending human toll of a war that didn't have to happen," said Nancy Lessin, who co-founded Military Families Speak Out after her stepson was called to serve with the Marines in Iraq.

"When we reach the 3,000 mark, it is 3,000 too many."

Opinion polls show the war has become increasingly unpopular with a U.S. public that initially supported it. Voter discontent was a key factor in Democrats' victory over President George W. Bush's Republican Party in congressional elections last month.

So far, the discontent has not translated into large anti-war demonstrations, with events over the last year attracting sometimes only a handful of activists, up to sometimes a few hundred, at each place. Turnout could be similarly low-key this time...



And if there were large demonstrations, such as there were in NYC during the RNC convention, or any of the many others with thousands in attendance, they would be ignored again in the mainsteam media, relegated to the fringe of the free-speech zone that those without the resources of a Moon or Murdoch are forced into.

kathleen said...

"Israeli firster, Creative Destruction, Noble liar, Niger Documenter" Ledeen still pushing hard for military action in Iran.

Iran “Votes”
About this week's elections.

By Michael Ledeen

The first step toward understanding the Iranian “elections” is that they weren’t. Elections, that is, at least in our common understanding of the term, namely the people vote and the counters count those votes and so we find out what the people want. That’s not what happens in Iran, where both the candidates and the results are determined well in advance of the casting of ballots. Yes, people get mobilized and go to the polls and mark their ballots and put them in the ballot box. But then Groucho comes into play: “I’ve got ballots. And if you don’t like them, I’ve got other ballots.” So, as usual, candidates (featuring, as usual, the unfortunate Mehdi Karubi, the eternal loser who nonetheless remains at the top of the mullah’s power mountain) complain that ballot boxes disappeared, and new ones magically appeared, and numbers change, and counters are replaced. It’s all part of the ritual.

At National Review


"faster please"

O'Reilly said...

Anyone care to argue with a straight face that Ford and Bush had similar leadership styles?

In seeking answers to problems, Ford — a veteran of more than two decades of debate in the House of Representatives — relished the give-and-take of open and sometimes heated debate. He would force the strong egos that surrounded him to make their case in person during lengthy White House sessions, where he would constantly question the most minute details. […]

Said L. William Seidman, a top Ford economic advisor, “I worked for three or four presidents, and I think more than any other president, [Ford] was determined that all views be presented to him before he made a decision. I think it’s very clear in the early days of the Bush administration, they did not have a process like that, and you had people like [Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell saying the State Department never had a chance to present to the president what would happen after the war started.”

It’s a helpful contrast.

According to Bush aides, “Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty.” I’m also reminded of a Time interview with a “youngish” White House aide, described as a Bush favorite, who said, “The first time I told him he was wrong, he started yelling at me. Then I showed him where he was wrong, and he said, ‘All right. I understand. Good job.’ He patted me on the shoulder. I went and had dry heaves in the bathroom.”

O'Reilly said...


O'Reilly said...

GATES lacking urge to surge

Please remember SURGE means ESCALATE not just because the increase will not be limited to a short period of time but because we tried the SURGE approach last summer and it didn't work, nor has that SURGE been drawn down. Nevertheless, Gates lacking the urge to escalate doesn;t quite have the same punch.

O'Reilly said...

Many Soldiers Say Troop Surge a Bad Idea

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say the temporary surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea.

President Bush is considering increasing the number of troops in Iraq and embedding more U.S. advisers in Iraqi units. White House advisers have indicated Bush will announce his new plan for the war before his State of the Union address Jan. 23.

In dozens of interviews with soldiers of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment as they patrolled the streets of eastern Baghdad, many said the Iraqi capital is embroiled in civil warfare between majority Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs that no number of American troops can stop.


I don't think I'd consult the troops regarding strategic decisions but I would certainly consult them regarding tactical ones.

There is no clarity of purpose of our objective in Iraq nor explicit analysis of the cost/benefit of obtaining that objective.

The conversation remains in the tactical arena in a haze of implied objectives covered in a fog of fear about terrorists and Iranian influence.

Bush will announce a plan for victory next month, which will turn into a two-year siege. He will announce there is no timeline for freedom. Things will get ugly. Bush will counsel to stay-the-course and inevitably leave the mess for the next president; his legacy and self-image a priority, above all else.

kathleen said...

This is a great article at John Dean Findlaw

I don't agree with Dean when he says that "Americans do not want to witness another impeachment". I think Americans would celebrate an impeachment that was based on the seriousness of the crime. "Intellgence Snowjob" that has resulted in tens of thousands of dead is far more serious than lies about a '"blowjob"

Refocusing the Impeachment Movement on Administration Officials Below the President and Vice-President:
Why Not Have A Realistic Debate, with Charges that Could Actually Result in Convictions?

Friday, Dec. 15, 2006
There is a well-organized and growing movement to impeach President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney. On my bookshelf sit half a dozen books making the case for Bush's impeachment. I myself have no doubt that Bush has, in fact, committed impeachable offenses, and that for each Bush "high crime and misdemeanor," Cheney's culpability is ten or twenty times greater.

At the outset of the 2006 midterm election, Democratic Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Majority Leader-designate Harry Reid, stated on behalf of the Democratic leadership that impeachment of Bush or Cheney would be off the table if they won control of Congress - as they have indeed done. But this position has angered many who want these men impeached.

"Impeachment is not optional. It's not something that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can say is not on the table," Cindy Sheehan, who lost her soldier son in Iraq, said at a recent rally. "It is their duty as officers of the Constitution, who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, to carry out impeachment." Her anger is certainly understandable. Her relentless pursuit of this cause is highly commendable. But her energy and effort are misplaced, if not wasted.

Impeachment is a political process, and not only are the votes to remove either Bush or Cheney lacking, but it also would not be very good politics to do to them what was done to President Clinton.

There Is No Chance Either Bush or Cheney Will Be Removed From Office

The Republican Congress shamed itself when it impeached and tried President William Jefferson Clinton. It was a repeat of what an earlier Republican Congress had done to President Andrew Johnson, following the Civil War. Both proceedings were politics at their ugliest.

Democrats, when they undertook to impeach Richard Nixon, moved very slowly, building bipartisan support for the undertaking. Nixon, of course, resigned, when it became apparent that the House had the votes to impeach and the Senate had the votes to convict, with his removal supported by Democrats and Republicans, and conservatives and liberals alike.

Getting the necessary two-thirds supermajority in support of impeachment in today's Senate, which is virtually evenly-divided politically, is simply not possible. With forty-nine senators of the 110th Congress members in good standing with the Republican Party, and most of them rock-ribbed conservatives, even if the House produced evidence of Cheney personally water-boarding "Gitmo" detainees in the basement of his home at the Naval Observatory, with Bush looking on approvingly, there are more than thirty-three GOP Senators who still would not vote to convict. (Senate Republicans who have no problem with torture, or with removing the right to habeas corpus, and who refused to exercise any oversight whatsoever of Bush or Cheney, are hardly going to remove these men for actions in which they too are complicit.)

Pelosi and Reid have long understood this reality, and rather than do to Bush and/or Cheney what Republicans did to Clinton - impeach him in the House merely because they had the power to do so and they wanted to tarnish him, only to lose their battle decisively in the Senate - they are simply not going to play the same game. Politically, this is smart. Americans do not want another impeachment, particularly when Bush and Cheney will be out of office in January 2009.

The drive to impeach Bush and Cheney should, however, refocus its effort and energy into another undertaking - one that not only might succeed, but if it did, it would greatly benefit the nation and the well-being of all Americans. Allow me to explain:

Realistically Refocusing the Impeachment Movement

The Constitution's Impeachment Clause applies to all "civil officers of the United States" - not to mention the president, vice president and federal judges. It is not clear who, precisely, is among those considered "civil officers," but the group certainly includes a president's cabinet and sub-cabinet, as well as the senior department officials and the White House staff (those who are issued commissions by the president and serve the President and Vice President).

at John Dean Findlaw

As Corn (and many others) have said that the "cakewalk in Iraq" liars have been around for a very long time. If our representatives followed Dean's (and many others) advice and held those responsible for the false intelligence in the run up to the illegal invasion. These individuals would not be able to hold positions in any future administrations. And as Corn has pointed out in the past they have very clearly learned that "they can get away with their crimes" and not be held ACCOUNTABLE

kathleen said...

O'Reilly...Bob "leader of the group thinkers") before the invasion somehow regained some of his memory after Plamegate investigator Patrick Fitzgerald shook him up a little.

I mean come on Woodward went on national television (larry King Live) and undermined the Fitzgerald investigation by calling it "much to do about nothing".

Woodward's "hindsight is golden" Cch-ching! in his book bank account!

Woodward is an opportunist not an investigative reporter

O'Reilly said...

Conservatives, neo-conservatives, endless war, endless corruption, endless excuses.

When there is no defense for the policies of the current administration and no defense for their failure, conservatives dig through the archives to find mud to sling at their domestic political opponents.

Next month the President will annouce that he is ESCALATING a war in Iraq, which was initiated under false pretenses (WMD) and continued on a wing and a prayer (spread democracy).

NeoConservatives cannot be trusted to recognize a structurally unsound idea when they see it. Their heads are so full of self-aggrandizing larger than life objectives that necessary practical considerations get scant attention... and failure ensues. All americans will pay for their failures.

the link that inspired my rant

O'Reilly said...

Like Pearlstine's FOIA of Gonzales, the motion's aim is journalistic. It hopes to reveal the logic of compelling Cooper and Miller to answer the subpoena even though, as we have subsequently learned, special prosecutor Fitzgerald knew from the beginning of the case that Deputy Secretary of State Armitage had leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak.

Unsealing Judge Tatel's decision, the motion states, "will allow the public to gain a full understanding of the Special Counsel's arguments to the Court as to why it was necessary to compel the testimony of two reporters, and why it was necessary to imprison one of those journalists [Miller] for 85 days for refusing to divulge her conversations with a different government official, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby."

The motion maintains that because Armitage has outed himself as the leaker, and potential indictee Karl Rove's attorney was told his client will not be charged in the case, the law no longer requires such a high level of secrecy.

Special prosecutors such as Fitzgerald wield the powers of a mini-attorney general: They, not the AG, conduct their own reviews of whether a subpoena is proper. Like the FOIA fired at Gonzales, this motion means to pry lose from the responsible parties the precise justification for compelling testimony from reporters.

So all I really want for Christmas this year is Gonzales' paperwork, Judge Tatel's unredacted opinion, and Fitzgerald's affidavits. Tied up in a bow, please.


If Pearlstine gets a chapter out of the Gonzales FOIA, I imagine David Corn and Michael Isikoff's paperback will mine a sparkling afterword out of the material freed by the Dow Jones/AP motion. And what do you want for Christmas from the First Amendment, dear reader? Send your pitiful requests to (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)


O'Reilly said...

Can a man being tried for perjury be found guilty?


Can an attorney who answers this question on TV be admonished for "predicting" that the jury could find the man guilty?


Is that really a "prediction" or is it simply the purpose of the proceeding, to find the man guilty or not guilty?

You decide.

read more here


kathleen said...

O'Reilly thanks for linking the latest on Fitz!

capt said...

Iraq Study Group Mulled Year-Old Spam

Over at the National Review's blog, The Corner, Cliff May apologizes for posting a year-old anonymous forwarded email as news. May, let's note, was an adviser to the James Baker-led Iraq Study Group.

In his defense, May says it was shared with him by another adviser to the ISG, a U.S. ambassador. All the ISG experts, May explains, "[are] on a list-serve where we circulate what we view as significant articles and argue over them." May says the ambassador had forwarded the year-old anonymous e-mail to the list.

That's right. An expert advising the ISG shared a year-old anonymous chain e-mail with the group. And the group apparently argued over it.

Anyone feel like forwarding the conversation thread that followed that one? Might be instructive.


*****end of clip*****

It can happen to the best of us but I take some kind of demonic glee in seeing Cliffy-boy eat crow after the pure BS he spouts off about Mr. Corn (and others).


PS - sorry about such a frivilous post but it made me giggle.

capt said...


Glenn slapped old Cliffy around a bit over at Unclaimed Territory HERE.

GG has another good post above the May piece.

Good stuff!


capt said...

Hillary Clinton and Wal-Mart: A Love Story


For those not in the know, Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board for six years prior to her husband’s run for the presidency. She recently received $5,000 from Wal-Mart. I’ve raised the Wal-Mart relationship repeatedly in my current race against Clinton and it causes deep unease among voters. I believe it speaks to the incumbent’s close ties to abusive corporate power: her large corporate financial contributions, her support for so-called "free trade" (which is simply trade to benefit corporations) and her unwillingness to confront corporate power that denies every American, among other things, universal health insurance.

So, I had to chuckle when I read that Clinton, having never said a bad word about the company in the past, recently said that Wal-Mart should pay more for its workers’ health benefits. And, to boot, she returned the $5,000 she had received from the company. But, when asked what she did about the company’s benefits for workers when she served on the board, she replied, "Well, you know, I, that was a long time ago ... have to remember…"

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t promote an image of being an intelligent woman who has a pile of facts at her fingertips but, at the same time, you suffer a sudden bout of amnesia when asked to answer for your record. And it would be an inconvenient record to defend.

In 1992, Wal-Mart was simply smaller than it is today. But it was still huge, with $43.9 billion in net sales, 1,714 stores and 371,000 employees. Even in 1992, Wal-Mart was already the world’s largest retailer.


*****end of clip*****

I am not posting this to trash HRC but I did not know she and Walmart are or were all up in each other.

It doesn't make me feel any better about either of them.


capt said...

"That's not really a number I'm terribly interested in.": General Colin Powell, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on being asked his assessment of Iraqi military and civilian casualties, April 1991

Lesley Stahl: "I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. & - and you know, is the price worth it?"

Madeline Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

Former U.N. Ambassador Madeline Albright, responding to reporter Lesley Stahl as to whether the over half a million Iraqi children killed by the

UN sanctions against Iraq were "worth it." CBS May 11, 1996

In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments : Napoleon Bonaparte : French Emperor (1769-1821)

No government which governs by the use of force can survive except by force. There is no going back because force begets force and the perpetrators of crimes live in fear that they might become victims in their turn." : Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo - Reconciliation Speech of 24/2/99 at St Mary's Cathedral Hall, Sydney, NSW


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Saddam may face hanging as soon as Saturday: White House

CRAWFORD, United States (AFP) - The White House expects ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to be executed perhaps as early as Saturday, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

The official cited information from US authorities in Baghdad that "it's not going to be tonight our time, or tomorrow their time, it's going to be maybe another day."

"It's the government of Iraq's decision," the official said, as US President George W. Bush and top national security aides mulled an overhaul of his Iraq war-fighting strategy.

Asked whether the execution could spark violence by lingering Saddam loyalists, the official replied that "they start violence for any reason they can come up with."


*****end of clip*****

I doubt anybody thinks this is an independent decision made by the Iraqi Judicial system. Seems pretty clear governor death has struck again. Not to mention sweeping all that collusion and shared crimes into his grave with him.


capt said...

Rope Trick:Burying America's Collusion With Saddam

Saddam Hussein, who is being held in American custody, has been tried by an American-appointed court which has ensured that all evidence pertaining to the massive Anglo-American support given to Saddam during the worst years of his savage reign has been completely suppressed. The crimes for which he has been sentenced to death were carried out while Donald Rumsfeld was shaking his hand and Ronald Reagan was supplying him with moolah, diplomatic support and direct military intelligence to target his poison gas attacks on Iranian forces and aid his bombing of Iranian cities. The crimes for which he is currently on trial -- gassing the Kurds -- were not only countenanced by George Herbert Walker Bush and his administration (which included Dick Cheney and Colin Powell in key positions), but Bush went on to reward Saddam with showers of money (much of it funneled through secret bank accounts), military hardware -- including dual use technology for WMD -- and agricultural credits, which allowed Saddam to use his hard currency reserves for more weaponry.

Further charges -- moot now -- would doubtless have included Saddam's brutal suppression of the Shiite revolt following the Gulf War: a revolt openly fomented by Bush I who then betrayed the Iraqi rebels, specifically allowing Saddam to break the rules of the post-war armistice and use his attack helicopters on the Shiites, and also using the American forces still in place there to prevent Shiite rebels from reaching buried arms caches. Many of the mass graves over which American officials -- like the unctuous Colin Powell -- have publicly shed salt tears were, again, the result of direct collusion with Saddam by American officials, many of them now in power once more.

(For more background see Scar Tissue: How the Bushes Brought Bedlam to Iraq and Prelude to a Quagmire.)

The decades-long record of American collusion in the crimes of Saddam Hussein is clear and overwhelming -- and has been documented not only by news organizations like the Los Angeles Times but also by investigations of the United States Congress. Yet not a word of this is breathed in the media or Congress today; it is as if it never existed. And now the American-formed, American-backed government is about to take Saddam from American custody and hang him on an American-built gallows. It's like Al Capone throwing the switch with Frank Nitti in the chair.


*****end of clip*****

A timely connection, eh?


capt said...

The Universe's Dark Side: New Way To Form Black Hole Uncovered

Nature has again thrown astronomers for a loop. Just when they thought they understood how gamma-ray bursts formed, they have uncovered what appears to be evidence for a new kind of cosmic explosion. These seem to arise when a newly born black hole swallows most of the matter from its doomed parent star.

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful explosions in the Universe, signal the formation of a new black hole and come in two flavours, long and short ones. In recent years, international efforts have shown that long gamma-ray bursts are linked with the explosive deaths of massive stars (hypernovae).

Last year, observations by different teams - including the GRACE and MISTICI collaborations that use ESO's telescopes - of the afterglows of two short gamma-ray bursts provided the first conclusive evidence that this class of objects most likely originates from the collision of compact objects: neutron stars or black holes.

The newly found gamma-ray bursts, however, do not fit the picture. They instead seem to share the properties of both the long and short classes.

"Some unknown process must be at play, about which we have presently no clue," said Massimo Della Valle of the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri in Firenze, Italy, lead author of one of the reports published in this week's issue of the journal Nature. "Either it is a new kind of merger which is able to produce long bursts, or a new kind of stellar explosion in which matter can't escape the black hole."


*****end of clip*****

I am not sure why but I LOVE it when new information dispels old assumptions or defies previous conclusions.

Is knowledge qualitative or quantitative? If qualitative is the knowledge we have good? Conversely if knowledge is quantitative - will we ever have enough or maybe too much?


capt said...

Park Service inanity: they won't tell us how old the Grand Canyon is

A new book claiming that Noah's Flood is responsible for the big hole is for sale at the Grand Canyon book store.

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in a report released this week [PDF], Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.

Furthermore, a book approved by the Service claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood ,rather than by geologic forces, is on sale in the park for more than three years, even though a review was promised to Congress and the press. A Freedom of Information request [PDF] reveals that no review has ever been requested, nor taken place.

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'" PEER urged [PDF] the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon.

Hard to believe... where is Richard Dawkins when we need him?


*****end of clip*****

This story takes me back to a discussion about this very thing many moons ago on the Corn blog.


capt said...

Poll: Bush, Britney Get Thumbs-Down


Bush won the villain sweepstakes by a landslide, with one in four respondents putting him at the top of that bad-guy list. When people were asked to name the candidate for villain that first came to mind, Bush far outdistanced even Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader in hiding; and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is scheduled for execution.

The president was picked as hero of the year by a much smaller margin. In the poll, 13 percent named him as their favorite while 6 percent cited the troops in Iraq.


Bush was the choice of 43 percent of Democrats for villain, and 27 percent of Republicans for hero.

The telephone poll of 1,004 adults was conducted Dec. 19-21 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.


*****end of clip*****

Worse than OBL AND Saddam? Now THAT is an impeachable number, eh? One might be tempted to say Bush should be facing the noose.


capt said...

Bush Taking More Time to Craft Iraq Plan

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush worked nearly three hours at his Texas ranch on Thursday to design a new U.S. policy in Iraq, then emerged to say that he and his advisers need more time to craft the plan he'll announce in the new year.

Burdened by low approval ratings on his handling of the war, the president is under mounting pressure to come up with a new blueprint for U.S. involvement in Iraq where the execution of Saddam Hussein - perhaps as early as this weekend - could incite further violence.

``We've got more consultation to do until I talk to the country about the plan,'' Bush said, appearing outside an office building at his ranch.

``Obviously, we'll continue to work with the Iraqi government. The key to success in Iraq is to have a government that's willing to deal with the elements there that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding.''


*****end of clip*****

OMG Bunnypants worked three hours? I'm sure each hour was broken up and had plenty of breaks. You know crafting insane policies takes a lot out of a guy, presidenting is hard work.


capt said...

The Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age

The vast majority of the world’s terrorists are the recent creations of Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and brutality toward the Palestinians. Bush is simultaneously creating terrorists and a police state. It serves no one but the police to make their power unaccountable.

On December 26 Jeff Cohen explained on Truthout how war propaganda took over TV news and demonized everyone who spoke the truth about Iraq, while pushing war fever to a frenzy. Fox "News" was the worst with its ranks of generals and colonels who sold their integrity for dollars and TV exposure. One of Fox’s loudest voices for war was a retired general who sat on the board of a military contractor.

When the Clinton administration allowed the media concentration in the 1990s, the independence of the American media was destroyed. Today there are a few large conglomerates whose values depend on broadcast licenses from the government. The conglomerates are run by corporate executives who are not journalists and whose eyes are on advertising revenues. They publish and broadcast what is safe. These conglomerates will take no risks in behalf of free speech or truth.

The challenges that America faces are not terrorism and oil supply. The challenges that we face are the police state that Bush has created and the disrespect for truth that is endemic in government, the universities, and the media. The US has entered a dark age of dogmas and unaccountable power.


*****end of clip*****

Dr. Roberts might not be as smart or savvy as some but I do enjoy reading what he writes and find his take on many things to be right on the money.


Gerald said...

Another GOP Hypocrite

Gerald said...

Nazi America is returning to the Dark Age. Yes, Nazi Americans have lived in the Dark Age for over 200 years because Nazi Americans are only mushrooms. We are kept in the DARK and we are fed SHIT.

capt said...

Ancient ice shelf snaps, breaks free from Canadian Arctic

TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said.

The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake. (Watch the satellite images that clued in ice watchers)

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead," Vincent said Thursday.

In 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice, he said.

The collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 250 kilometers (155 miles) away picked up tremors from it.

The Ayles Ice Shelf, roughly 66 square kilometers (41 square miles) in area, was one of six major ice shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic.

Scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and point their fingers at climate change as a major contributing factor.

"It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906.


*****end of clip*****

The ice-shelf goeth?


Gerald said...


capt said...

From: Glenn Greenwald


But few things are more threatening to Israeli interests than deceitfully securing American policies based on pretext or by concealing the real agenda. People can be fooled only for so long, and people who feel deceived generally backlash against the deceivers. The argument is not that people like Joe Lieberman do too much to help Israel but that, though that might be their motive, they achieve the precise opposite result.

I wish I could express myself as well as GG does. The above is the last paragraph from a very good post.


Gerald said...

Is Saddam Hussein Destined for Hell?

Dear Posters:

Saddam Hussein is to be hung on Sunday. There will be much said that Saddam Hussein is in hell. All I can say to you is that I am saying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for Saddam Hussein. Jesus said to St. Faustina that whomever has a Chaplet of Divine Mercy said for them at the hour of death I will stand between the person and God and ask for mercy. Even the most hardened sinner will receive God’s mercy. If we take Jesus’ words as the truth, then even Saddam Hussein will receive God’s mercy.

Saddam Hussein will have to have his sins purged but he will not have to spend eternity in hell. Say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for both the living and the persons who are at the hour of death and receive God’s mercy!



Gerald said...

Bush continues to play god

capt said...

Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.

~ Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

capt said...

It's SNOWING like crazy in the ABQ.


capt said...

Jury's use of Bible not unconstitutional

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A California jury's use of a Bible during deliberations wasn't unconstitutional, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The jury that convicted Bob Williams Jr. of rape and murder in a 1994 burglary read passages from the Bible aloud in the jury room. Williams was later sentenced to death.

The California Supreme Court agreed unanimously that while it is against the law to use anything other than the evidence presented in court, the verses in question advised obedience to government authority.

Nathan Barankin, communications director for the state attorney general, told the newspaper "the ruling reaffirms existing case law." Barankin was referring to an earlier case in which jurors used Old Testament verse to define murder, the Times said.

"The test is whether extraneous evidence, the Bible or otherwise, that was not presented to the jury during the trial influences the verdict," Barankin told the Times.


*****end of clip*****

I feel like the slippery slope is sliding into more theocracy.


capt said...

New thread!