Monday, February 5, 2007

An In-Between Post for the Dial-uppers


Anonymous said...

For godsakes! Saladin, what makes you think I was directing that comment at you?

There are still global-warming deniers out there, and their actions based on their denial, IMO, can be selfish.

You assume too often.

Robert S. said...

What would a more globally sustainable world look like? Would it use dwindling oil resources to protect (military usage of oil is tremendous) the business administration of gathering and distributing those resources?

Would it continue to force small farmers in remote places into highly fertilized, (oil-based) monocultural agribusinesses for export (oil for shipping) rather than locally based sustainable agriculture?

If we are to think about the causes and effects of human activity upon this planetary biosphere, it seems that a model which includes the shipping lanes as planetary circulation, power grids and internet as nervous structures and that global health must be considered holistically.

On the individual level, walk more! and consider the amount of agribusiness in your diet...

Anonymous said...

In the Seattle Times, March 23, 1994
The global warming myth and its selfish defenders

This article is 13 years old. I read it yesterday. These men are probably saying the same things 13 years later. I thought of the mention on "the other" blog of The Tragedy of the Commons. I thought of the selfishness (IMO) of the global warming deniers. Hence, the post....without nary a thought of you.

Anonymous said...

...with nary a thought of you.

Saladin said...

micki, I was the only one making any kind of commentary in opposition, and you, once again, coincidentally show up with a snide comment, but not meant for me, whatever. We should make a global warming denial gulag, we can put them together with the holocaust deniers, that'll show 'em! In the mean time, gore can keep jetting around assuring us that the nanny state is our only hope. Let the War on Climate Change begin! I'm sure it will be as successful as the war on poverty, alcohol, drugs, war, etc. Especially for the big money people. There is bound to be profit, the people just never learn.

Robert S. said...

Beyond Oral Sex
The Bush Investigations
By David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz

The last time Congress was controlled by the party in opposition to the White House, we all learned more than we cared to know about the uses of cigars. This time the need for investigations is much more serious. The Democrats are talking fast and furious about doing them, but they're not talking about doing the right ones -- and a month into their tenure, they've barely discovered where the bathrooms are.

As humorist Bob Harris enjoys saying about the Bush administration, "It's like a new Watergate every day with these people." Congress could probably spend three decades profitably examining the last six years of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, they'll have to do severe triage to select the areas of malfeasance where investigations will most benefit the country.

A recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed that the public (despite very little help from ABC News or the Washington Post) has it right. A majority picked the "should" option in response to both of these questions:

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration handled pre-war intelligence, war planning, and related issues in the war in Iraq?"

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration has handled surveillance, treatment of prisoners and related issues in the U.S. campaign against terrorism?"

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Congress is gearing up to investigate whether Halliburton might have cheated on its contracts a little. Hello?

Of course we need to investigate the war profiteers. But our top priority has to be the fraud that launched the war to begin with. Most readers of this article know it was fraud, but a third of the country still doesn't and won't until it's on their televisions for several days in a row. And unless there is accountability for it, the next president may feel free to lie us into a war of his or her choosing. In fact, unless there is enough exposure and accountability, the current war may never end.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller has pledged to finish a long-stalled investigation focused on the 2002-03 campaign for the invasion. However, it's unclear how deeply he'll dig, or what he'll do if the Bush administration simply refuses to cooperate.

More, long.

Robert S. said...

Asked if his News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: "No, I don't think so. We tried." Asked by Rose for further comment, he said: "We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East...but we have been very critical of his execution."


An admission that FUX News tried to influence public opinion in the lead-up to an invasion?

Should be an issue when license renewal comes up, not holding my breath.

capt said...

A Totally Convenient Truth [VIDEO]

Sarah Silverman gives global warming the smartass treatment...

Sometimes the best way to highlight dangerous imbecility is to satirize it.

As in framing of any type, the threat and reality of global warming is only reinforced by the mockery. Sarah Silverman, who seeks to relabel Climate Change as "Global Comfortabling," urges us to grab a can of hairspray, don our bathing costumes and join her in scaling Mt. Everest....


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

Very funny piece. The video was a little choppy but that could be just me.


capt said...

"On the individual level, walk more! and consider the amount of agribusiness in your diet..."

That is most excellent advice.


capt said...

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority."
~ E. B. White (1899 - 1985)

"You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things."
~ Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

"The goal of life is living in agreement with nature."
~ Zeno (335 BC - 264 BC), from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

Robert S. said...

Excellent advice...

Maybe, although my tongue has yet to convince my taste buds...

Gerald said...

I love Americans with their short memories. Politicians crap on each other and the other party screams. Now the Nazis feel that they are crapped on and they scream.

Is there only screaming in DC? Does anyone ever work for the common good?

And, people wonder why I have torrential puking bouts.

capt said...

How much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year?

We'll start by figuring out how much energy in kilowatt-hours the light bulb uses per year. We multiply how much power it uses in kilowatts, by the number of hours in a year. That gives 0.1 kW x 8,760 hours or 876 kWh.

The thermal energy content of coal is 6,150 kWh/ton. Although coal fired power generators are very efficient, they are still limited by the laws of thermodynamics. Only about 40 percent of the thermal energy in coal is converted to electricity. So the electricity generated per ton of coal is 0.4 x 6,150 kWh or 2,460 kWh/ton.

To find out how many tons of coal were burned for our light bulb we divide 876 kWh by 2,460 kWh/ton. That equals 0.357 tons. Multiplying by 2,000 pounds/ton we get 714 pounds (325 kg) of coal. That is a pretty big pile of coal, but let's look at what else was produced to power that light bulb.

A typical 500 megawatt coal power plant produces 3.5 billion kWh per year. That is enough energy for 4 million of our light bulbs to operate year round. To produce this amount of electrical energy, the plant burns 1.43 million tons of coal. It also produces:


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

My "take" on conservation is simple: I think everybody does what they think is right. The trick is to generate interest and encourage more people to conserve more.

I think humankind has made substantial changes (especially post industrial revolution) to our planet. Many if not all of those changes are never going to be reversed.

By looking forward to better future for the next and subsequent generations we all must do better - no matter how much we do now.

That is why sharing ideas is so important. One thing can work for this person - another thing for another person.

Consider: It takes 967 pounds of coal to power a computer for one full year.

"What would a more globally sustainable world look like?"

The sustainable sounds too much like preservation of the status quo. The status quo stinks AND we will never un-ring the climate bell. But we all must do all we can.



capt said...


In his most recent effort to make some sense of America's involvement in the messy war in Iraq, President George W. Bush asserted that "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me." So, what about it?

Ordinarily when someone makes a mistake and accepts responsibility for it, what follows is a sincere effort to make amends, to rectify what was done badly, to repair the damage, to compensate those who were harmed by the mistakes made, etc. Just think of your or my mistake of, say, driving our cars into someone else's. Even if this were really just a mistake-not necessarily negligence and certainly not intentional-we would be required to right the wrong we did. This is why we have insurance, although most of them come with a deductible and so the damage would have to be paid for by us. Or the rates would rise.

If we got into more severe jams, taking responsibility for them would amount to even more serious measures.~ Fines, even jail time, often accompany such assignments of responsibility-just think of what is likely to happen to the Enron executives convicted recently.

Is there anything along these lines involved in President Bush's claim that "the responsibility rests with me?" Or do these words have no concrete implications when used by our president? Is he going to resign? Is he going to pay damages to the families whose relatives perished in this insane war?

Maybe what the president's version of accepting responsibility teaches us is that political rhetoric is thoroughly corrupt. Politicians like Mr. Bush do not mean what they say, but rather use words and sentences to pretend to us that they, like the rest of us, are aware of the requirements of morality. But it is just a ruse-it is all pretense, nothing real.

That, in turn, has some vital implications for all of us citizens of the country where these politicians perpetrate their subterfuge: We need to learn not to trust them.

It is not just Mr. Bush, of course, who engages in this type of empty talk. All the Democrats who claim that they are helping out the working people in American by raising the federally mandated minimum wage are in the same boat. They are really not helping anyone at all. When wages are raised artificially, by government edict, the result includes rises in prices as well as loss of jobs for those whose labor isn't worth the mandated price. All of this is bad for workers, the opposite of what promoters of the minimum wage raise claim. But they make the claim because it sounds good, not because it is true. So, once again, trust must suffer and citizens must learn this. If they paid attention, they would. Unfortunately, most people are busy with their lives and haven't the time and skill to double-check all of what the politicians and their cheerleaders in various forums of discussion claim.

Consider, also, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's claims that spending huge sums on health insurance for everyone in California is a great idea, that it will improve health care for the citizenry and that it can be paid for without raising taxes. All of this is a ruse, presented not because it is true but because it sounds good. Something for nothing is always a nice fantasy but a fantasy, nonetheless.

In a corrupt political system, one that has departed systematically from the path of limited government-one dedicated to the single just cause governments may pursue, namely, the securing of our rights-politicians routinely engage in prevarication. They must mislead instead of communicate because what they are doing is fraudulent. And if we listen closely to what they say and watch what they do, this becomes evident enough.

President Bush said the responsibility for the mistakes in connection with the war in Iraq rests with him but he will do nothing that would be required if he really meant what he said. If a friend or colleague did this, he or she would earn contempt. It is time these politicians, too, earn the very same from us, namely, contempt.


capt said...

A single 20W compact fluorescent lamp used in place of a 75W incandescent bulb will save 550 kilowatt-hours over its lifetime.

If the electricity is produced in a coal-fired power plant. The savings represent 500 pounds of coal not burned, which means 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide and 20 pounds of sulfur dioxide will not be emitted into the atmosphere.


We have converted to all fluorescent bulbs (where possible). I installed all 8 years bulbs where I could, five years bulbs elsewhere.

We started with nearly 20 - 60watt and 6 100watt bulbs.

It is suppose to save on electricity - hard to tell if the monthly bill is less but the longevity is certainly a real savings.

We recycle everything we can - mostly to reduce our contribution to the landfills here.


Gerald said...

Israel Learned Her Lessons Well from Nazi Germany: Genocide for Palestinians

Gerald said...

Blame Iran

Gerald said...

Iran is not the problem! The problems are Nazi America and Nazi Israel.

After promising that the Bush administration would publish a document this week detailing the evidence for its charge that Iranians in Iraq are providing arms and advice to Shiite militias to kill American troops, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack suggested Wednesday that no such document would be forthcoming any time soon. Paul Richter of The Los Angeles Times reported that some officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had resisted the release of the dossier, because they believed the assertions contained in it would have so little credibility that it would backfire politically. As Richter wrote, "They want to avoid repeating the embarrassment that followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, when it became clear that information the administration cited to justify the war was incorrect…"

Gerald said...

Articles for the discerning Americans

Hajji said...


While the design of a couple lamps and light fixtures won't allow for the more energy efficient fluorescents, I am rapidly coming to the end of incandescent bulbs here at the compound.

Most of the low voltage outdoor lighting is solar powered,(driveway and walkways) and I've found that with a decent reflector, the standard 24-watt fluoro designs can even replace those power-sucking outdoor floods I've used for decades.

Duke Power's Oconee Nuclear power plant and a largish hydroelectric facility are less than 20 miles away. The national electric grid is so convoluted, how does one figure how much of their local power comes from "greener" sources?

Now, if I can get the height of the motion detectors right so the dogs, goats and donkey don't trip 'em!

Gerald said...

Not in Bush's Puke for a Brain Mentality

Gerald said...

Time to Re-evaluate Hillary!

Gerald said...

A vote for Hillary means more genocide in the Middle East!!!!!

Mrs. Clinton, who has opted out of the public campaign financing system, has tapped into the circuit of influential Jewish donors for years and has strong support in the community. A spokesman for Aipac, Joshua Block, said yesterday that the senator and former first lady has "an extremely consistent and strong record of support on issues that are important to the pro- Israel community."

Gerald said...

If its not Gore, maybe the repugnants can run someone who cares about the common good if there is a 2008 election???

Gerald said...

The issue in the 2008 election, if there is one, is "Do you want more genocide in the Middle East, yes or no?"

capt said...

"The problem with political jokes is they get elected."
~ Henry Cate VII

Hajji said...


30 second ad from Vote Vets Action fund

kathleen said...

Will be catching up! Have been with a younger brother who had open heart surgery at the Cleveland clinic, and with frozen pipes at several student rentals that I own. All I can say about the Cleveland Clinic is WOW wow wow! I have been in many hospitals for friends and family members. (not as a patient I have no health care coverage and have been preventative with a relatively healthy lifestyle and very fortunate).

If you have any health issues (specifically cancer or heart problems) all I can say is go to the Cleveland Clinic. Incredibly competent doctors, nurses and staff. A very friendly atmosphere and really set up for families. I have never seen so many sofas chairs and cozy cubby holes for family members. Anyway my brother is improving each day, and we are all counting our blessings.

It brought a mini smile to my face linking on and the first thing I read is Saladin and Micki tweaking one another. I felt like I was listening to my two younger sisters going at it.

Saladin and Micki I sure appreciate both of your insights and opinions even when we do not agree.

Please excuse spelling mistakes (possibly more than usual) I lost my glasses at the march in Washington during my video taping.

kathleen said...

Anyone hear Senator Schuemer of New York on the Diane Rehms show this morning? He stated that the Democrats want to cut foreign oil use by 50% in the next 10 years. Now that is a significant goal!

I was on line for asking a question but they did not get to me (only men again). I wanted to ask the Senator just what has changed for him since he voted for the war resolution in October 2002 that gave the Bush administration the power to pre-emptively invade Iraq. Why he supported the invasion and not the surge? What has changed?

Many of the same experts that we heard on Amy Goodmans Democracy Now, BBC, and The Diane Rehm show including Zbigniew Brezenski, Madeline Albright, Scott Ritter, Mr. El Baradei etc etc who warned against the invasion warn against the surge and warn against pre-emptive military action against Iran. So what has changed for Senator Schemer, Kerry, Clinton etc. All of those Senators that voted to give the Bush administration killing power. They are also drowning in the Iraqi peoples blood.

What has changed for them?

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- 30+ years ago the press hyped ice age coming, ice age coming! That's not what the scientists said at the time, nor thoughtful rags such as National Geographic. At that time there was so little understanding of climate that scientists said "We don't know."

30+ years later, and with many, many more climatologists than then, and with vastly more and better data, it is possible for over 2500+ climatologists to write the IPCC consensus report, AR4, in which all scientists and all policy informers to agree on every word. This is most impressive agreement.

Climate is not weather. Predicting climate is rather like, without knowing the exact temperatures, that Pheonix, AZ, is warmer than Duluth, MN. So it is possible to do a decent job of prediction of the effects of humans pouring carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Result: climate change, AKA global warming.

kathleen said...

Thanks Robert for posting "Beyond Oral Sex". Sent the article out to many friends and to the Diane Rehms show. If folks feel inclined please contact the Diane Rehms show and ask them to do a program on PHASE II OF THE SSCI. ( I have asked Diane and her staff to do a program on Phase II) but if they hear from enough people they may feel enough pressure to do so.


As David Corn and others have written about this group of radicals... have slipped in to one administration after the next pushing their agenda in the middle east. And as DC and others have said what have these radicals learned "that they can get away with it"

John Dean has written three articles about how some of these individuals can "possibly" be impeached or held accountable so that they would not be able to hold a position in any future administrations. JOHNDEAN FINDLAW

We are witnessing the results of not holding the "cakewalk in Iraq" liars accountable...they are marching our nation towards a confrontation with Iran.



David B. Benson said...

Kathleen --- What does SSCI stand for?

capt said...

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Saladin said...

Capt, you would think conservation would be very popular by now, for economic reasons if nothing else! I can buy a nice pair of jeans at the thrift store for between 2-$5, brand names that you know cost at LEAST $30! Shirts, sweaters, even shoes. They avoid the landfill and I save lot's of money. Maybe people just aren't interested in saving money anymore, I don't know.
Mr. Benson, I'm pretty much done with this climate debate. My biggest gripe is the idiot politicians and their bullshit claims that they can save us from every threat, real or imagined, under the sun, even from the sun itself apparently. All I will say is I'm NOT holding my breath. They can create a carbon tax, they can press the boot down tighter on our throats and I don't think it will make any difference, except to cause more suffering and grief for poor people. The climate will do what it wants, just like it always has. The earth shrugged off the dinosaurs and we are just a minor, short lived irratation in the big picture. I believe in Karma, what goes around eventually comes around. Maybe not in our lifetime, but our lifetime isn't even a blink, is it? Wise and sensible people will always try to do the right thing, idiots will never care, and greed and corruption will always fuck it up for everyone. That is human history, in a nutshell. And not a damn thing I can do about it either!

David B. Benson said...

Capt --- Thank you, but isn't a title using both Senate and Intelligence rather, well, stretching things? ;-)

capt said...

I must have been asleep at the wheel! 3 new posts - have at it.


kathleen said...

Funny David Benson!

Catching up...Thanks for all the links Corn folks!

Saladin ..."knock'em down and take "em out". You can say that again!

Remember boycott any book Judy "I was fucking right Miller comes out with!

DC said that the defense may squirt the Libby jurors with "paintguns" Last week he described the defense as being busy "throwing spaghetti on the walls". At the press conference when Fitzgerald announced the Libby indictment he told us that Libby "had thrown sand in his eyes".

Hopefully Fitzgerald can clean up this mess!

It's just too damn bad Fitzgerald can not raise 650,ooo Iraqis and 3000 American troops and counting from the dead.

kathleen said...

If you follow Hillay's comments about Iran over the last several years she comes squarely down in the middle of the "cakewalk in Iraq" radicals camp or should I say settlements.

Senator Clinton won't rule out use of force to stop 'pro-terrorist' Iran

John Byrne
Published: Saturday February 3, 2007

At a speech Friday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) said "no option can be taken off the table" when dealing with Iran, RAW STORY has learned.

Clinton tempered her remarks by saying she's advocated engagement with "our enemies and Israeli's enemies," adding, "I believe we can gain valuable knowledge and leverage from being part of a process again that enables us to get a better idea of how to take on and defeat our adversaries." Her quotes were reported by the Associated Press.

The dinner was held by the nation's largest pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is widely believed to the most powerful lobbying group in Washington and routinely sees major politicians from both sides of the aisle -- also in attendance Friday was former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

AIPAC tends to take a more hawkish stance on foreign policy, and has routinely labeled Iran a serious threat. In a Dec. 6 memo, the group labeled Iran "The Core of Instability in the Middle East."

'No option can be taken off the table'

Clinton told some 1,700 AIPAC supporters that the US must take any step to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," she said. "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."

"To deny the Holocaust places Iran's leadership in company with the most despicable bigots and historical revisionists," she added. Clinton excoriated the Iranian administration's "pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric."

"We need to use every tool at our disposal, including diplomatic and economic in addition to the threat and use of military force," she added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been a vehement critic of Israel, and according to various media reports Israel has prepared strike plans to target Iran's nuclear enrichment sites. In December 2006, Iran held an "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust," which drew widespread criticism. Iran insisted that it was not a Holocaust denial conference.

In October 2005, Ahmadinejad said he concurred with Ayatollah Khomeini's remarks on Israel that the "occupying regime" had to be removed, calling it a "disgraceful stain [on] the Islamic world" that must be "wiped off the map," according to a translation published in the New York Times.

Ahmadinejad did not use Israel by name in his speech.

Some Middle East experts disagree with the translation, which was widely used by the Associated Press and other news agencies. Some say the phrase is more accurately translated as "eliminated" or "wiped off" or "wiped away" from "the page of time" or "the pages of history," rather than "wiped off the map."

New York Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner later responded to critiques of the Times' translation, saying, "all official translations" of the comments, including the foreign ministry and president's office, "refer to wiping Israel away." He agreed, however, that "map" was not the most suitable translation.

Iran continues nuclear development

Iran continues to develop its nuclear program despite protestations from its European neighbors and the United States. Diplomats said this week that the Persian nation would begin installing more than 3,000 cetrifuges at their underground nuclear enrichment site at Natanz.

Analysts disagree over the timeframe in which Iran might develop a nuclear bomb. Most place an estimate somewhere between 3-5 years. Iran has said they intend to use the program for "peaceful" civilian power needs.

According to New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, a classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House.

Still, Iran's plans to install as many as 50,000 centrifuges comes in direct defiance of the UN Security Council, which called on Iran last summer to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran opened the doors of its enrichment plant to 'non-aligned' nations Saturday in an effort to give ambassadors "the opportunity to see for themselves what is going on in the peaceful nuclear activities of Iran," said Iran's envoy to the UN Atomic Watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.

With Wire Services.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to Israel as the "Zionist state." A more accurate translation of his remarks were, "occupying regime." The updated version of this article also includes a more detailed discussion of the translation. Title also used "run" instead of "rule."

kathleen said...

CIA LEAK CASE: Helen Thomas Tried to Get to the Bottom of it Early On
The Reporter Who Stepped up to the Plate, Pinned Scott McClellan on CIA leak
No wonder the White House tried to keep her from asking questions...

Yesterday, we looked at faux-journalist "Jeff Gannon's" assiduous work at planting administration propaganda during White House press briefings. His "questioning" of then-Press Secretary Scott McClellan seems to have been focused quite specifically on the story line --- which we now know to be wholly false --- as being propagated by Office of the Vice President. In retrospect, it leads one to wonder just what Gannon's relationship to the OVP might have been.

On the other side of the coin, the real journalist, Helen Thomas seemed to be cutting quite close to the bone when she opened the White House press briefing with questions about the CIA leak on Monday, September 29, 2003. An unnamed "senior administration offical" in the WashPost the day before had said that two administration officials had mentioned Mrs. Wilson’s CIA link with at least six Washington journalists, and shouldn’t have done so.

After – or during – this press briefing, things started happening even faster; the DOJ requested the FBI to investigate the leak, Bob Novak made a defensive television appearance on Crossfire, and DOJ notified the CIA that its Counterespionage division had also requested an investigation.

The briefing itself shows White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan aggressively trying to evade even a direct denial that the White House was involved, though he opened with the now-quite-dubious "The President expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. No one would be authorized to do such a thing."

Here's how Thomas' line of inquiry began and continued that morning

Brad Blog

kathleen said...

How many more American troops and Iraqi and "possibly"Iranian people is Bill Kristol willing to offer as a sacrifice for his and his cohorts immoral and illegal war?

Maybe Yeats will forgive Kristol for slaugherring his words...let's hope and pray no one else forgives this murderer of American soldiers and Iraqi people. No Kristol did not flick the switch , he just persisted in creating the climate for the massacre to take place, by taking off the lid on the Sunni/Shiite conflict

This guy should be sent to do time in the Iraqi morgues...NOW!

A Terrible Ignominy
How many Republicans will desert the troops?
by William Kristol

Perhaps the shade of the great Yeats will forgive me:

I write it out in a verse--
Warner and Smith
And Collins and Snowe
Now and in time to be,
Wherever Reagan is remembered,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible ignominy is born.
John Warner of Virginia, Gordon Smith of Oregon, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine are the four Republican senators (in addition to Nebraska's Chuck Hagel) currently signed on to the Democrats' anti-surge, anti-Petraeus, anti-troops, and anti-victory resolution. (I give Hagel a pass--perhaps undeserved--in my roster of ignominy, since he has been a harsh critic of the war for quite some time.) Three of the four are up for reelection in 2008--Warner, Collins, and Smith. Collins and Smith will be running in states Bush lost in 2004. Warner will be standing in a state where an antiwar Democrat won in 2006.

Now, politicians are entitled to be concerned about their political survival. They're even entitled to make foolish and shortsighted political judgments--for example, that voting for this resolution in February 2007 will help their electoral prospects if the Bush administration's foreign policy is in shambles in November 2008. Indeed, they're entitled to ignore the fact that voting for this resolution somewhat increases the chances of a shambolic outcome to Bush's foreign policy, and therefore may not be in their own interest.

But of course these senators won't acknowledge they're influenced by the electoral cycle. Consider John Warner. Is he worried about 2008? No. It's memories of Vietnam that suddenly haunt him. As the Washington Post reported on

its front page recently:

"I regret that I was not more outspoken" during the Vietnam War, the former Navy secretary said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office. "The Army generals would come in, 'Just send in another five or ten thousand.' You know, month after month. Another ten or fifteen thousand. They thought they could win it. We kept surging in those years. It didn't work."

@ weekly standard

kathleen said...

Still pushing hard...Who in the Bush administration does Ledeen talk to now?

The Little-Bit-Pregnant Policy
Was that tough-on-Iran-and-Syria talk just for show?
By Michael Ledeen

Despite years of avoiding it at all costs, we have begun to respond to the attacks visited upon American soldiers and civilians by Iran and Syria over nearly 30 years. Administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, have served notice on the Islamic Republic of Iran and Bashir Assad’s Syria that we will no longer tolerate their support for the terror war in Iraq. We have arrested officers from the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Baghdad and Irbil, apparently with considerable documentation of the mullahs’ support for both Sunni and Shiite terrorists.

@National Review

kathleen said...

Will Israel's and the Project for a New American Cenruty plan for U.s. actions in the middle east keep moving forward?

Sure looks like it!

NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered seem to be during their part to support military action in Iran. I have yet to hear any of these programs host ask any challenging questions for the "cakewalk in Iraq" crackpots who keep repeating unsubstantiated claims about Irans "alleged" nuclear weapons program.

The Surge and its Critics
Getting Syrious.
By Michael Ledeen

We’ve renewed the great debate on Iraq, and as usual the central issue — the regional nature of the war — is not addressed. Still, one is grateful to Eliot Cohen and Bing West for some long-needed suggestions in their excellent article in the Wall Street Journal. Above all, they raise the question of “Iraqi justice,” one of the central requirements if the Iraqi people are going to have any confidence in the future.

@National Review

kathleen said...

January 29, 2007 Issue
The American Conservative

Going for Broke

Endorsing the Baker report would have meant denouncing his entire foreign policy, so Bush is betting everything on the neocons’ surge.

by Andrew J. Bacevich

Nothing so clearly reveals the impoverished state of American political discourse as the ongoing debate over finding “a way forward” in Iraq. Broadly speaking, that debate pits a resurgent foreign-policy establishment, led by James Baker, against embattled neoconservatives, with Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute their improbable champion. On the surface, Baker and Kagan represent irreconcilable views. Beneath the surface, they are engaged in a common enterprise: deflecting attention from the contradictions that beset U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Baker, the trusted Bush family factotum, resurfaced most recently as co-chair, along with former Congressman Lee Hamilton, of the Iraq Study Group. Almost without fail, media references to the Baker-Hamilton commission emphasize its bipartisan composition as if that alone were enough to win a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Yet to imagine that bipartisanship signifies wisdom or reflects a concern for the common good is to misunderstand the reality of present-day politics. The true purpose of bipartisanship is to protect the interests of the Washington Party, the conglomeration of politicians, hustlers, and bureaucrats who benefit from the concentration of wealth and power in the federal city. A “bipartisan” solution to any problem is one that produces marginal change while preserving or restoring the underlying status quo.

In this regard, the Baker-Hamilton report, issued as signs of impending failure in Iraq were becoming incontrovertible, was intended to do two things. Most obviously, it offered George W. Bush political cover to begin extricating the United States from Iraq. Yet that offer came at a price: by endorsing the ISG package of 79 recommendations—Baker pointedly warned against treating them as a “fruit salad”—the president would effectively repudiate his entire post-9/11 approach to foreign policy. To embrace the ISG’s findings meant renouncing unilateralism, engaging adversaries rather than castigating them as “evil,” and valuing stability over the promulgation of any Freedom Agenda. In effect, it meant steering the United States back toward the course that Secretary of State Baker had charted when working for Daddy Bush. After a lost weekend spent binging on the intoxicating liquor of Wilsonianism, the president would return to the path of sobriety.

Neoconservatives instantly grasped the nature of the threat: the issue at hand was not simply Iraq. Neocons have long loathed Baker as an unprincipled wheeler-dealer (and barely closeted anti-Semite). Now here was their nemesis leading the Old Guard in an assault on their most cherished convictions. If Bush took the bait—if he chose to cut his losses in Iraq—the effect would be to discredit their entire approach to foreign policy. Neoconservative hopes of “transforming” the Islamic world, banishing tyranny from the face of the earth, and securing permanent global dominion based on unquestioned military supremacy all would be dashed.

So neoconservatives launched a fierce—at times hysterical—counterattack. Among their several complaints, one in particular stood out: Baker and Hamilton based their conclusions on the assumption that victory in Iraq lay beyond reach. Neocon critics portrayed this as the ultimate heresy. Any admission of failure in Iraq was premature, they insisted. The war there had to be won, and it could be won.

Enter Frederick Kagan. A lesser light in the neoconservative constellation, Kagan had for months been flogging his own scheme for turning the tide in Iraq. From his perch at 17th and M Street, it all appeared quite simple: rather than looking for ways to turn the war over to the Iraqis, it was time for American commanders to get serious about winning. They needed to quash the insurgency and secure the population, thereby creating conditions for economic reconstruction and political “reconciliation.” Above all, winning meant sending more G.I.’s to Iraq and especially into Baghdad, which Kagan identified as the decisive battlefield.

Here was the neoconservative response to James Baker: the imperative of the moment was not to withdraw but to surge.

In a series of articles, op-eds, and interviews, Kagan argued his case with remarkable sangfroid. Writing in The Weekly Standard, he insisted that enlarging the U.S. troop commitment was “the only option likely to bring peace to Iraq.” It made no sense to consider any of the proposed alternatives: “All will fail.” Dismissing concerns of senior military officers that American forces were about tapped out, Kagan did his own arithmetic and found it “obvious that there are many more troops to send.” Kagan had equally little patience for complaints that units recently returned from the war zone needed time to refit before another tour. If it proved necessary to “send forces that are not as well trained as one would like,” then so be it, he wrote. Although the army chief of staff had recently gone on record worrying that his service might crack under the stress of repeated deployments, Kagan was having none of it: “The Army will not break with this proposal.” And if the Pentagon needed additional forces to sustain the surge, Kagan had a ready solution. In his AEI report “Choosing Victory,” he counseled President Bush to “issue a personal call for young Americans to volunteer to fight in the decisive conflict of this age.”

Only when it came to the dimensions of the surge did Kagan’s assurance slip. In early December 2006, he was insisting that 80,000 reinforcements were needed. As he refined his plan, that number shrunk. By year’s end he concluded that a mere 30,000 additional troops would suffice. Did this adjustment reflect Kagan’s perception that the task was becoming easier? Were conditions in Iraq somehow improving? Or was Kagan tacitly acknowledging that the Pentagon did not after all have “many more troops to send”? He offered no explanation.

What can we say of this proposal? Simply this: to imagine that 170,000 troops will accomplish what 140,000 troops failed to do in nearly four years or that marching a handful of additional combat brigades into the maw of Baghdad will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat qualifies as pure fantasy. Kagan’s “surge” is the first cousin to Kenneth Adelman’s more famous “cakewalk.” It is ideology dressed up as strategy. Marketed as the product of careful analysis, the surge should be seen for what it is: a naked gamble. Tacitly acknowledging the point, some proponents even refer to it as the “double down” option.

That in places like AEI and the editorial offices of The Weekly Standard Kagan himself has emerged as the man of the hour testifies to the depth of neoconservative desperation. Kagan’s insistence that his surge will do the trick postpones the neoconservative day of reckoning. Believe Kagan and you can avoid for at least a bit longer having to confront Iraq’s incontrovertible lessons: that preventive war doesn’t work, that American power has limits, that the world is not infinitely malleable, and that grasping for “benign global hegemony” is a self-defeating proposition.

reasons: it neglects the little matter of how the United States got into this fix in the first place. As they went about their work, the one subject that members of the Iraq Study Group stubbornly avoided was the past.

This convenient amnesia allowed the ISG to overlook a record of bipartisan bungling and shortsightedness extending over a period of decades. Franklin D. Roosevelt got the ball rolling in 1945, promising protection to the House of Saud in exchange for preferred access to Saudi oil. Dwight D. Eisenhower made his own distinctive contribution, engineering a coup in Tehran and forging a fateful partnership with the Shah. John F. Kennedy chipped in with another CIA-assisted coup, this one bringing the Ba’ath Party to power in Baghdad. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon affirmed the Iranian connection and added another, establishing a costly “special relationship” with Israel. When revolutionaries tossed the Shah out on his ear, Jimmy Carter upped the ante: under the terms of the Carter Doctrine, the United States vowed henceforth to use any means necessary to secure its interests in the Gulf.

From this point, the pace of events quickened. U.S. commitments multiplied. Costs skyrocketed. American leverage waned. That U.S. policy yielded benefits for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and large multinational oil companies seemed clear enough. That it was serving the long-term interests of the American people was becoming far less clear.

Celebrated by neoconservatives as a man of vision and principle, Ronald Reagan manifested neither of these qualities when it came to the Middle East. In Lebanon, he flung away the lives of 241 U.S. troops to no purpose except perhaps to raise questions about American will. After establishing a tacit anti-Iranian alliance with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Reagan okayed a hare-brained scheme to funnel U.S. weapons to Tehran. Iran-Contra became Reagan’s trifecta: a policy that was simultaneously stupid, illegal, and an embarrassing failure. Meanwhile, just off-stage in the Petri dish of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, Reagan’s policies inadvertently served to cultivate the bacillus of Islamic radicalism.


kathleen said...

New Strategy "Blame the Iraqi's"

Neocons to Iraq: Screw You
Charles Krauthammer: moral monster
by Justin Raimondo
Having destroyed the Iraqi state, and murdered some 600,000 Iraqis in the process, the War Party is now denying all responsibility for the subsequent civil war threatening to plunge the nation into a maelstrom of sectarian violence. Hard to believe, I know, but here's Charles Krauthammer – always in the avant-garde of neocon-dom – blaming it all on … the Iraqis!

"We gave them a civil war? Why? Because we failed to prevent it? Do the police in America have on their hands the blood of the 16,000 murders they failed to prevent last year?"

If the police invaded and destroyed, say, South Central Los Angeles, bombing the place into rubble and installing a puppet "government" that employed death squads to do its bidding, then, yes, they would indeed have the blood of the victims on their hands.

What's jaw-dropping, however, is the completely amoral stance of an alleged "conservative" like Krauthammer, who yelled himself hoarse calling for war with Iraq and now blames the "liberated" Iraqis for the fate that has befallen them. Conservatives used to believe in taking responsibility for the consequences of one's actions and living with them. Not Krauthammer. According to him, the internecine warfare in Iraq is "bewildering."


kathleen said...

latest from Art Gish who has been living with Palestinians (for the upteenth time) the last two months.

Amman, Jordan
29 January, 2007
Did they see what I saw?
Art Gish

It was a deeply emotional trip for me. I was leaving Hebron to go to
Iraq, and decided to take the Israeli bus instead of Palestinian
transportation to Jerusalem. I got some nasty stares from other
passengers, but no trouble.

As we left Hebron and drove through the Kiryat Arba settlement,
almost every scene brought back powerful memories of experiences from
the past. I remembered my conversations with settlers in Kiryat
Arba, settler attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian attacks on
settlers on both sides of Kiryat Arba, and places where our Christian
Peacemaker team tried to get in the way of the occupation.

I saw the rubble of demolished homes of people I know, the
confiscated fields of my friends, Jowdi's demolished orchard, a field
that I watched being destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer.

As we drove through the Beqa'a Valley, I thought back on places on
the road that I have walked many times, the homes in which I have
slept, the places Israelis and Palestinians met and ate together. I
was aware of the land of my friends that was confiscated for the road
I was riding on.

I was deeply aware of the special privilege of being a white American
male as we drove right through the checkpoints where soldiers were
detaining Palestinians. I saw the closed roads, the areas forbidden
to Palestinians. The separate taxis and buses for Israelis and
Palestinians were a stark reminder of the apartheid society being
constructed in the West Bank.

Probably no one else on that bus saw what I saw. They may have seen
some of the Palestinians along the way, but did they see those
Palestinians as also being loved by the One who created us all? We
all probably had some of the same fears of being attacked by some
misguided person who believed violence to be a solution to oppression.

Some of my fellow travelers may have seen the same apricot trees
starting to blossom. I wonder if they also saw those flowers as signs
of hope.

capt said...


There are three new posts.

Come post on the new threads - they are short and fast and I fear some might miss your posts.