Thursday, March 1, 2007

Did Bush's Chief Spook Say W. Misled the Nation?

Stephanie Condon reports:

When the top three intelligence officials in the Bush administration testified before the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday, their negative assessments of the situation in Iraq received the standard amount of media coverage. But what didn't draw much attention was that George W. Bush's top intelligence aide essentially said that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had recently misled the public about the ground reality in Iraq.

Citing a recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, Vice Adm. John McConnell, the newly appointed Director of National Intelligence, said, "Current sectarian and political trends are moving in a negative direction." He added that "sectarian violence has become self-sustaining" and reported that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded "the sectarian situation will continue to deteriorate.

"Noting that suppressing sectarian violence and creating political unity is necessary for progress in Iraq, McConnell said, "Iraqi political leaders have a close to impossible task."

Those words struck a chord with Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, who came back to them later in the hearing.

"If theirs is close to impossible," the senator asked, "then how would you characterize our task?" At first McConnell didn't know how to respond. After a fair bit of hesitation, he said, "Our task is similar in that it is very, very difficult."

Bayh continued to press McConnell, forcing McConnell to acknowledge that the situation in Iraq has been deteriorating for some time. "So if someone indicated four months ago we were 'absolutely winning' in Iraq, that is a mistaken assessment?" Bayh asked.

"I wouldn't agree that we were winning," McConnell replied, explaining that it became clear in 2006 that conditions were worsening. Bayh then noted that comment was made by the president and vice president four months earlier. McConnell response? A very long pause. Then Bayh's time for questions expired.

Posted by David Corn at March 1, 2007 11:16 AM


capt said...

The Rich See What They Believe

People see what they believe, not vice versa, when it comes to social injustice.

And this mind-altering trick of perception keeps moral outrage at bay, especially among the rich, a new psychological study suggests.

By reducing outrage, this mental hoodwink also impedes social change because it inhibits people from taking action, allowing injustices to persist, said lead researcher Cheryl Wakslak of New York University.
Research has shown that people become emotionally distressed when confronted with inequality. The privileged minority is particularly affected, and they are likely to have a nagging worry that their cash and prizes are undeserved.

To keep a clean conscience and legitimize privilege, individuals often alter their perceptions of the status quo.

The details of how that mental distortion provides the relief, however, remained a mystery until now.


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

An interesting piece but I don't think a person has to be rich to be callous.


capt said...

Stephen Hawking to experience weightlessness

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who wrote the best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," soon will experience a brief history with weightlessness.

Hawking, who uses a wheelchair and is almost completely paralyzed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, plans to go on a weightless flight on April 26, officials at the flight operator said Thursday.

The flight, operated by Zero Gravity Corp., a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based space tourism and entertainment company, will take off and return to a landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center.

"As someone who has studied gravity and black holes all of my life, I am excited to experience firsthand weightlessness and a zero-gravity environment," Hawking said in a statement.

The modified Boeing 727 generally soars to 32,000 feet at a sharp angle and then plunges 8,000 feet so passengers can experience 25-second snippets of zero gravity during the descent. As the plane climbs, passengers experience 25 seconds of being pushed down hard, as they feel 1.8 times the normal pull of the Earth.

Zero Gravity CEO Peter Diamandis said assistants will be onboard to help Hawking.

"The key thing here is that weightless and personal spaceflight is something available to everyone, even someone like Professor Hawking," Diamandis told The Associated Press. "This something that almost everyone can now experience."

Zero Gravity will pick up the bill, which normally is $3,750. The company also plans to have two seats on the flight auctioned off by two charities.

The company began offering the flights in 2004.


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

How cool is that?


Robert S said...

"But the universe is the ultimate free lunch." - Steven Hawking

Way cool, Capt., let's hope he keeps his lunch down on the "Vomit Comet."

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- Congradulations!

And once again demonstrating ways in which you are above average...

Robert S said...


Let me add my Congrats...

Gerald said...

War is a waste of human potential. War serves no purpose. It creates more problems than it resolves problems. No mature person would chose war over peace.

From Bishop Gumbleton's homily for the First Sunday in Lent!

John Paul wrote this shortly after we were attacked on September 11, 2001. He said, "Recent events including the terrible killings of September 11th, moved me return to a theme which often stirs in the depths of my heart. The enormous suffering of peoples and individuals, even among my own friends and acquaintances, caused by Nazi and Communist totalitarianism has never been far from my thoughts and prayers. So I am often paused to reflect on the persistent question: How do we restore the moral and social order subjected to such horrific violence? My recent conviction and affirmed in truth by biblical revelation is that the shattered order cannot be fully restored except by a response that combines justice with that special kind of love we call forgiveness. The pillars of true peace are justice and that form of love we call forgiveness - enemy love."

That's the temptation that Jesus was confronted with. He lived in a world where the power of evil seemed to have the upper hand. How do you transform that world? How do you change it? We live in a world where the same thing is true. The power of evil seems to have the upper hand. There's violence, killing, injustice, people accumulating the wealth of the world for themselves. How do we change it? We are confronted with the same question Jesus was confronted with. God showed Jesus the way to do it, the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of sharing what you have. But Jesus was tempted. It's hard to follow that way. And he was tempted to give it all up, to go the way the devil directed him. But he chose the other way. The way of sharing what you have. The way of loving in response to hatred. The way of returning nonviolence with violence, returning love for hatred.

Now as we begin the season of Lent. We are faced with that same question that Jesus faced. Will we follow the way of God, the way revealed to Jesus through those words from the prophet Isaiah? Or will we follow the ways of so much of the world around us which calls on us to use violence and to be selfish?

The temptation of Jesus is not something remote and very far from our own lives. It's the same temptation that we're confronted with, the same choice that we have to make as Jesus. It's very hard to make that choice, but as we heard in the second lesson today, the word of God is present within each of us.

During this of season of Lent, we take extra time in our prayers to listen to that word of God within our own spirit, within our own hearts, to get the courage, the strength to follow the way of Jesus. Then like Jesus, we can be the ones who bring true justice, true peace into the world in which we live, our small world, but also into the larger world in which we live. We commit ourselves in this season of Lent to listen to that word of God within us, so that we can find the courage to follow that word of God. Then, like Jesus, we will bring justice and peace to our world. We will follow the way of Jesus.


Robert S said...

"The key thing here is that weightless and personal spaceflight is something available to everyone, even someone like Professor Hawking," Diamandis told The Associated Press. "This something that almost everyone can now experience."

Zero Gravity will pick up the bill, which normally is $3,750.


Ah hem, it should not go unnoticed that not "almost everyone" can shell out $3.750.00 for 25 second snipppets of weightlessness...

Gerald said...

DBB & Robert S., as I have been saying these blogs of Alternate Reality and Dancing with Fools have many people who should write a manuscript to be published.

DBB, micki has said that you have written a book and articles. Are you willing to share with us their titles? Thank you!

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- Alas, I have never written a book. My articles, so far, are entirely computer science research, not likely to be of general interest...

Thanks for asking!

Gerald said...

To the Posters: To present a manuscript of 200 pages would be a daunting task. Try to limit the manuscript to 100 pages. 100 pages would not be as daunting and a more formidable task. Powerful words can be limited to a precious few words.

Gerald said...

DBB, we will be visiting our son in ten days. He has written articles on chips for computers. He has also made presentations to groups on his research. He did share with me one article on making chips smaller and smaller and how to expand the memory of such a small chip. I believe that his work is important but I do not know if I would want to such work everyday.

Gerald said...

When our son completed his graduate studies at Berkeley, he was offered work at the U.S. Defense labs. These labs are basically in operation to develop offensive weapons to kill human beings. Fortunately, he had other job opportunities. He said to me, "Dad, I could not work somewhere in a place that would use my knowledge to kill people." He made me proud.

Gerald said...

We should use our abilities, skills, and talents to PROMOTE THE COMMON GOOD.

When we go before the Supreme Judge of our Universe, will our book of life be filled with indifferent and negative choices toward our brothers and sisters in God?

We have been put here to promote the common good for all of God's children. I TRULY BELIEVE THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE!

Let us recall the words of St. Ambrose, "I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again."

David B. Benson said...

Ask your senator to cosponsor S. 185, The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act.

Only has six sponsors as of today...

Micki said...

Gerald, I didn't say, for certain, that Dr. B had written a book, but I see now that my words were imprecise. Sorry for that. Oh, well. He could have! ;-) It's not too late.

capt said...

new thread!