Monday, March 19, 2007

Did GOP Lawyer Mislead Congress on the Plame Case...and Me?

From my "Capital Games" column at

I've had many a conservative say many an unflattering--and untrue--thing about me over the years (while some have been kind and accurate). But I don't believe any detractor has testified falsely about me before the U.S. Congress--not until Republican lawyer/commentator Victoria Toensing appeared before the House oversight and government reform committee on Friday.

Toensing was on a panel that was part of the hearing starring retired CIA officer Valerie (Plame) Wilson, who for the first time publicly discussed at length the leak episode and her former status at the agency as a covert officer. After Wilson finished and after James Knodell, director of security at the White House, testified (to the surprise and outrage of Democratic members of the committee) that the White House never investigated the possible involvement of White House officials (such as Karl Rove) in the Plame leak, Toensing took a seat at the witness table.

Toensing, who was a lawyer for the Republican-run Senate intelligence committee in the 1980s and a Justice Department official during the Reagan administration, has been a point-person for the Libby Lobby, denouncing special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the Plame leak and deriding his indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, for perjury and obstruction of justice. At the hearing, Toensing, looking to absolve White House officials of wrongdoing, blasted the CIA for not adequately protecting Valerie Wilson, and she argued that Valerie Wilson was not a "covert agent" under the terms of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime for a government official to disclose information about an undercover CIA officer in certain circumstances. Toensing helped draft the law in the early 1980s. (More on all that in a moment.)

As the hearing was winding down--when the audience had thinned out and the camera crews and reporters were mostly gone--Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen grilled Toensing about the White House's internal lack of curiosity about the leak. While fending off the questions, Toensing dragged me into the picture. Here's the exchange:

VAN HOLLEN: [White House press secretary] Scott McClellan in another statement said, "We have no information in the White House about any of these disclosures." Before you made that kind of statement, wouldn't you undertake some kind of investigation?

TOENSING: Well, I'm not here to answer for Scott McClellan. I don't know what was in his mind.

VAN HOLLEN: ...A long period of time went by when no administration administrative action was taken. And, as I understand your response to the question by [Democratic Representative Diane] Watson, you would agree that that kind of sort of investigation goes on routinely when there's been a disclosure of classified information, does it not?

TOENSING: It can and it cannot. I mean, I certainly wouldn't have done it in the brouhaha that had occurred well within a week of Bob Novak's publication [of the column that outed Valerie Wilson]. By the way, Bob Novak was not the first person to say she was covert. That was David Corn, who printed that she was covert. All Bob Novak did was call her an operative.

Stop the presses. I said Valerie Wilson was a "covert" officer? This is a canard that some Republican spinners have been peddling for years, in an attempt to get Novak off the hook while muddying the waters. I long ago gave up on persuading conservative ops like Toensing that this is nonsense they should drop, and I no longer routinely reply every time the silly charge is repeated. But when someone testifies falsely about you to Congress, you practically have a civic duty to call him or her on it.

Once again (Victoria), here's what happened. On July 14, 2003--in the midst of the firestorm fueled by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's charge that the White House had twisted the prewar intelligence--Novak published a column about the Wilson affair. Halfway through the piece, Novak, citing "two senior administration officials," reported,

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.

This was the first media reference to Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer. It appeared in newspapers across the country. Intelligence agencies around the world must have noticed. Once this story was out, Valerie Wilson's cover was destroyed; her career was ruined; her operations and contacts were imperiled to whatever degree they were imperiled.

Two days later--after the damage was done--I wrote the first article noting that the leak was "a potential violation of the law" and explained that Novak's sources could face prosecution under the little-known Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Note the use of the word "potential." For this article, I interviewed Joseph Wilson and, as the piece reported, he would "neither confirm nor deny that his for the CIA."

My piece raised the possibility that Valerie Wilson was a "nonofficial cover" officer (a.k.a. a NOC). This was only deduction on my part. Valerie Wilson was known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm. If she indeed was a CIA officer, she would have to be a NOC, for CIA officers who operate under regular cover tell people they work for other government agencies (such as the State Department or the Pentagon). CIA officers under regular cover do not pretend to be businesspeople. My article did not state that she was a CIA official (NOC or non-NOC). In the column, I even raised the possibility that Novak had botched the story and that "the White House has wrongly branded" Valerie Wilson "as a CIA officer."

Bottom line: I did not identify her as a "covert" officer or any other kind of CIA official. I merely speculated she was a NOC. That speculation was based on Novak's column. And given that Novak had already IDed her as a CIA "operative on weapons of mass destruction" (which happened to be a "covert" position within the agency), her cover--whether nonofficial or official--was blown to smithereens by the time I posted my article.

Toensing is engaged in a desperation-driven and misleading act of hairsplitting when she contends that Novak merely called her an "operative" and that I was the first to "print that she was covert." I never said Valerie Wilson was anything. At the time of the leak and in the following days, I did not know if she was a CIA employee of any kind. (But in our book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Michael Isikoff and I revealed for the first time what Valerie Wilson did at the CIA: she was operations chief for the Joint Task Force on Iraq, a unit with the Counterproliferation Division of the agency's clandestine operations directorate.)

So Toensing made a false statement to Congress. It was not her only one that day.

Toensing has repeatedly declared in recent years that Valerie Wilson was not a "covert" officer. In a Washington Post article last month, she made a definitive declaration: "Plame was not covert." Of course, Plame was a clandestine officer--as she and the CIA have confirmed. But Toensing claims that when she denies Valerie Wilson was a "covert" CIA employee she only means that Valerie Wilson was not a "covert agent" under the definitions of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. But to make this case, Toensing has to be disingenuous about the law she helped to craft.

During her testimony on Friday, she pointed to the law's definition of a "covert agent" and said, "The person is supposed to reside outside of the United States." That is not what the law says--and one can presume Toensing knows the actual details of the legislation. In defining a "covert agent" (whose identity cannot be disclosed under the act), the law cites two criteria for a current officer or employee of an intelligence agency: that person's "identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information" and that officer has to be "serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States." Pay attention to Toensing's sleight of hand. Under oath, she told the committee the law applied to clandestine officers residing abroad. Not so.

In her recent Washington Post piece, Toensing wrote of Valerie Wilson, "She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak's column." This means, Toensing has argued, that Valerie Wilson could not be covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. But Valerie Wilson testified that she had been dispatched on overseas missions under cover in the five years prior to the Novak column--an indication she had "served" abroad. (Hubris reported that as well.) Toensing is free to maintain that the law ought to cover only those officers residing overseas as part of a long-term foreign assignment. But that is not what the act says. By stating that the act defines a "covert agent" as an officer residing abroad (as opposed to an officer who had "served" overseas), Toensing misrepresented the law to members of the committee. (By the way, both Fitzgerald and the CIA have said that Valerie Wilson's employment relationship with the CIA was classified.)

As a lawyer, Toensing is probably aware that knowingly making a false statement to a congressional committee conducting an investigation or review is a federal crime. (See Title 18, Section 1001 of the U.S. Code.) The punishment is a fine and/or imprisonment of up to five years. To say that I identified Valerie Wilson as a "covert" officer is to make a false statement.

Toensing's testimony did not impress Representative Henry Waxman, the committee chairman. As he wrapped up the session, he told her, "Some of the statements you've made without any doubt and with great authority I understand may not be accurate, so we're going to check the information and we're going to hold the record open to put in other things that might contradict some of what you had to say." Perhaps Waxman will include this article in the record.

Posted by David Corn at March 19, 2007 03:54 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

No way will the liars know the truth, they refuse to believe anything except their delusions.

I think you should offer to testify? Your name has been brought up - no choice of your own.

Keep up the good work!


Carey said...

Ms. Toensing is using Al Gonzles's twisted sense of logic. Or lack of.

Toensing has to be disingenuous about the law she helped to craft.

To say the least Mr. Corn. Another neoconservative digs a hole for themselves intellectually.

Mr. Corn: Following the Libby trial was in some ways like rereading Hubris. Both you and Mr. Isikoff beat everyone to the punch. The book will go down in history, there's no doubt about that.


On another subject:

Tim Rutten of the LA Times really zeros in on the moral crisis of KSM's supposed confessions.

Major Question Not Asked: Why is There No Trial

Here you have a guy — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — who has confessed to planning and directing the worst mass murder ever perpetrated on American soil and has admitted to personally murdering a U.S. citizen in what any reasonably aggressive American prosecutor would call a hate crime, and virtually nobody in the news media has called for putting the man on trial. Worse, virtually nobody has bothered to explain that the willfully erroneous way in which this administration has chosen to deal with the Al Qaeda prisoners from the outset has made it impossible to subject them to anything resembling the normative justice they so richly deserve.

Mohammed can't be brought to trial because the White House had him tortured and, therefore, virtually none of what you read this week could be used against him in a legitimate court of law. In fact, who knows which parts of it are true, which parts of it were given simply to stop the water boarding — simulated drowning — to which he reportedly has been subjected, which parts are perverted bravado and which parts are an attempt to draw attention from other Al Qaeda killers still at large? In secret proceedings based on physical abuse, who knows?

But then, when it comes to this issue, the nation's commentators and editorial pages have been derelict and complicit from the start. Their refusal to reject the White House's various euphemisms for torture and evasions concerning the existence of a secret CIA prison system in which suspected terrorists and real terrorists, like Mohammed, have been tortured and held for years without lawyers or recourse to any legal process is a categorical failure of moral responsibility without recent precedent.

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, we here in the west have the luxury of messing around with alternative energy options, we have it made. People in the third world however don't have that luxury. When you are a doctor at a small hospital that has only one solar panel to provide energy because they are so expensive you can't afford anymore, and you are forced to decide whether to turn on the lights or the refrigerator, those are right now problems. Predictions of future dire consequences are just predictions, but those people are already suffering as much as people can suffer now! How many shall be sacrificed in the name of this hysteria, a hysteria based on flawed climate models and a complete lack of reason? A million? A billion?
Robert, if govt. is the tool it is broken down and rusted beyond repair! Do you know the story of Yellowstone and how people thought they could "manage" it? Well, that is the story of idiotic govt. do-gooding. An excellent book is "Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America's First National Park" by Alston Chase. They managed it alright, straight to hell! But we should trust them with the entire earths climate future? I think NOT!

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- I agree that no money really...

However, on the high plains of Tibet, one now sees yurts with a small solar cell array on a pole. That and a small battery means a radio and light at night.

But they still cook using yak s...

capt said...

Global warming is a 'weapon of mass destruction'

Climate experts hit back after being accused of overstating the problem

Global warming is a "weapon of mass destruction", one of Britain and the world's top climatologists said yesterday.

Sir John Houghton, former director-general of the Meteorological Office and chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, entered the debate over the seriousness of climate change after two meteorologists were reported as saying that "some scientists have been guilty of overplaying the available evidence". He said he agreed with the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, that it posed a greater threat than terrorism.

The comments of the two meteorologists, Professor Paul Hardaker and Professor Chris Collier, both of the Royal Meteorological Society - billed on Radio 4 as "leading experts on climate change" - threatened to revive the row over the scientific view of global warming after the broadcasting of Channel 4's polemic The Great Global Warming Swindle 10 days ago, which took issue with the view set out in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth.

One of the most distinguished scientists featured in it, the oceanographer Professor Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says he has registered a formal complaint with Ofcom.

Sir John says he agrees "we must not exaggerate the evidence, and if anything must underplay it". But he adds the evidence of serious climate change is now "very substantial".

Sceptics charge that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change exaggerates the dangers. But Sir John, as one of the founders of the panel, says that it had "deliberately underestimated the problem".

He says the latest projections of the floods and droughts that will result from the heating of the globe are "frightening". And he adds that the 20,000 deaths caused by the 2003 heatwave in Europe justify the view that it is more dangerous than terrorism.

Some confusion surrounded the views of the RMS scientists yesterday after Prof Hardaker told the IoS that he could not think of a case where a scientist had overstated the position. He did however mention a statement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science that described an "intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires and severe storms" as "early warning signs of yet more devastating damage to come".

He said he did not disagree with any of this, but thought the AAAS should have made it clear what could be justified by the scientific evidence and what was based on judgement. He pointed out that he and his colleague were not experts on climate change.


capt said...

World's most important crops hit by global warming effects

Global warming over the past quarter century has led to a fall in the yield of some of the most important food crops in the world, according to one of the first scientific studies of how climate change has affected cereal crops.

Rising temperatures between 1981 and 2002 caused aloss in production of wheat, corn and barley that amounted in effect to some 40 million tons a year - equivalent to annual losses of some £2.6bn.

Although these numbers are not large compared to the world-wide production of cereal crops, scientists warned that the findings demonstrated how climate change was already having an impact on the global production of staple foods. "Most people tend to think of climate change as something that will impact the future, but this study shows that warming over the past two decades has already had real effects on global food supply," said Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, California.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analysed yields of cereals from around the world during a period when average temperatures rose by about 0.7C between 1980 and 2002 - although the rise was even higher in certain crop-growing regions of the world.

There was a clear trend, showing the cereal crops were suffering from lower yields during a time when agricultural technology, including the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, became more intensive. The study's co-author, David Lobell of America's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, said that the observed fall in cereal yields could be clearly linked with increased temperatures during the period covered by the study.

"Though the impacts are relatively small compared to the technological yield gains over the same period, the results demonstrate that negative impacts of climate trends on crop yields at the global scale are already occurring," Dr Lobell said.

The two scientists analysed six of the most widely grown crops in the world - wheat, rice, maize, soybeans, barley and sorghum. Production of these crops accounts for more than 40 per cent of the land in the world used for crops, 55 per cent of the non-meat calories in food and more than 70 per cent of animal feed.

They also analysed rainfall and average temperatures for the major growing regions and compared them against the crop yield figures of the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the period 1961 to 2002.

"To do this, we assumed that farmers have not yet adapted to climate change, for example by selecting new crop varieties to deal with climate change," Dr Lobell said.

"If they have been adapting, something that is very difficult to measure, then the effects of warming may have been lower," he said.

The study revealed a simple relationship between temperature and crop yields, with a fall of between 3 and 5 per cent for every 0.5C increase in average temperatures, the scientists said.


micki said...

Statistical Analysis Debunks Climate Change Naysayers

capt said...

Gonzales’s Fall, Bush’s Impeachment?


If the next Attorney General is halfway honest and opens the files of what has been done since 2001, even damn moderates will be shocked. There are bombshells waiting to detonate on the torture scandal, on Iraq, and other dishonest and illegal gross abuses. For instance, the ACLU released a CIA letter in November confirming the existence of "a directive signed by President Bush granting the CIA the authority to set up detention facilities outside the United States and outlining interrogation methods that may be used against detainees." This confirms a May 2004 email from the FBI’s "On Scene Commander" in Baghdad regarding a secret "presidential Executive Order" permitting extreme interrogation techniques considered illegal by the FBI including "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods," stress positions, and military dogs.

The Justice Department has so far blocked release of Bush’s secret order. If this Bush order becomes public, it may be akin to a 1972 memo from Richard Nixon specifying the exact methods of lock-picking the Watergate burglars should use. Bush’s involvement in the torture scandal may be far deeper than Nixon’s involvement in Watergate.

The Bush administration has survived because it has succeeded in keeping the lid on so many scandals. Any change in top personnel raises the risks of lids slipping. New appointees will not want to put their heads on the chopping block to cover up crimes that occurred before they got the corner office.

Democratic subpoenas are beginning to darken the D.C. sky like the English arrows at Agincourt. The subpoenas and scandals generate congressional testimony which spur the number of political appointees who could be indicted for perjury. The scandals are accelerating while support for the Bush administration seems to be collapsing.

At best, Bush may need to award more Medals of Freedom this year than ever before. At worst, he may need to resurrect Gerald Ford and his all-inclusive "from the first day to the last day" pardon for himself and his nearest, dearest co-conspirators.


capt said...

Why the subprime bust will spread

Years ago when the US debt bubble spread over to the housing sector, warnings from many quarters about the systemic danger of subprime mortgages were categorically dismissed by Wall Street cheerleaders as Chicken Little "sky is falling" hysteria. Even weeks before bad news on the housing finance sector was shaping up as a clear and present danger, adamant denial was still loud enough to drown out reason.

Both Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, two top officials in charge of US monetary policy, continue to provide obligatory assurance to the nervous public that the United States' economic fundamentals are sound in the face of a jittery market. Days before being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, shares of the collapsed New Century, a distressed subprime mortgage lender, were recommended by a major Wall Street brokerage firm as a "buy". That firm is now under criminal and regulatory investigation.

On the pages of Asia Times Online over the past two years, I have tried to put forth the rationale for the inevitability of a US housing bubble burst, pointing out reasons that the resultant financial meltdown will be much more widespread and severe than has been generally acknowledged.


capt said...

The Ultimate Subprime Borrower: Uncle Sam


The easy money policy of Greenspan’s Federal Reserve, beginning in the summer of 2000, lured in the suckers: creditors and borrowers. The FED sent a false signal to the credit markets. "Look at the low interest rates today. See? Lenders are ready to lend!" But interest rates were not low because income-seeking private creditors were ready to lend their own money and forego present consumption. Rates were low because the central bank was creating fiat money to buy Treasury bills. There was additional money for buying T-bills, but no reduced consumption of goods and services by lenders. Result? Economic growth and misallocated capital.

This period of monetary expansion ended under Bernanke, beginning in February, 2006. The result a year later is defaulting mortgage lenders and defaulting homeowners.

Why should anyone be surprised at this? Because they do not understand Ludwig von Mises’s theory of the business cycle, despite the fact that it first appeared in print in 1912. I have written a chapter on Mises’s explanation.

In order to keep the expected recession of 2001 from becoming a major recession, the FED started printing money in advance in late 2000. Then, to keep 9-11 from causing a stock market collapse, which was beginning to happen, the FED accelerated the rate of monetary inflation.

The short run conquered the long run. This is basic to politics. It is also basic to central banking monetary policy. The central banks defer the day of reckoning. They deal with the immediate problem and hope that they can find a way later to repeal the laws of economics and avoid both a recession and rising price inflation.


capt said...

The problem with American power is not that it is American. The problem is simply the power. It would be dangerous even for an archangel to wield so much power.: Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford historian, New York Times, April 9, 2002

Today the world faces a single man armed with weapons of mass destruction, manifesting an aggressive, bullying attitude, who may well plunge the world into chaos and bloodshed if he miscalculates. This person, belligerent, arrogant, and sure of himself, truly is the most dangerous person on Earth. The problem is that his name is George W. Bush, and he is our president: Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Ammendment, Yale Law School, September 22, 2002

To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace: Calgacus

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.": Peyton Conway March (1864-1955) US Army General, US Army Chief of Staff during the final year of WWI


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Blind Auto Mechanic Hires Deaf Assistant

Cars have been Larry Woody's life for more than 30 years. He fixed them, he raced them, he restored them. But five years ago on Interstate 5 a truck blew across the median and drove over his tiny Toyota Celica. He almost died, and he was blinded.

But Woody, 46, still works on his 1968 El Camino, dabbles in racing and recently bought his own shop, D & D Foreign Automotive, in Cottage Grove. And he has hired a deaf assistant.

His red-tipped cane stands idle. He walks without hesitation through his shop. He handles the paperwork and billing with the help of a talking computer. He still changes fuel lines, hoists cars and changes filters.

"So much of it is done by feel anyway," he told the Eugene Register-Guard. "I use my hands to see what I'm doing now."

He has hired Otto Shima, 17, an apprentice from Cottage Grove High School, but they have never spoken directly. Shima was born deaf.

Interpreter J.J. Johansson accompanies Shima on his twice-weekly visits to the shop. Her hands fly as she first translates what Woody says to Shima and then turns and voices his reply.

Recently the two stood under the open hood of a truck in need of clutch parts.

Woody felt among boxes until he grasped the right one. Removing a hose, he ran his fingers along it, telling Shima what role it played in the engine.


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

How cool is that?

The best auto-body mechanic I know is blind.


Saladin said...

For the people of the third world all those dire predictions came true long ago, they don't have to wait, drought, famine and deadly disease are the normal, daily routine. I guess they're well prepared. Soon, the only breeding humans will be living in a tropical Antarctica, right? Isn't that what we are being warned of? The end is nigh. Jesus is coming back and he's PISSED!

Saladin said...

The Free Liberal
March 20, 2007
U.S. Judges Kill the Ninth Amendment

by Fred E. Foldvary

As reported by the Associated Press, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed on March 14, 2007 that the Ninth Amendment to the United States is now null and void, and that the federal government of the United States of America has no moral legitimacy.

The judges did not explicitly express those statements in their ruling, but that is the implication. The case involved a woman whose life, according to her doctor, can only be preserved with medical marijuana. The judges ruled that the federal government may nevertheless prosecute her for violating federal laws regarding drugs.

The defendant lives in Oakland, California, a state which has legalized the use of medical marijuana for patients with a doctor’s prescription for it. As reported, her illnesses include scoliosis (a spine problem) and a brain tumor. She suffers from chronic nausea, and sued the federal government to prevent being arrested for using medical marijuana to treat her pain and to maintain her appetite.

The U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled that medical marijuana users could be convicted for violating federal marijuana laws even if legal by state law. Therefore, the specific issue in this case was whether the U.S. Constitution recognizes a natural right to life as an unenumerated right recognized by the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That Amendment states, in its entirety, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is that there are rights that people have which are not created by the constitution but precede it, and these rights are recognized by the U.S. Constitution just as much as rights such as free speech that are “enumerated” or explicitly stated. The supreme natural right of a person is the right to live and to protect one’s own life. If this supreme right is “disparaged,” hence ignored or disregarded, or denied, then no other rights have meaning.

The judges ruled that the defendant could be prosecuted by the federal government. They ruled that the right to life is not implicit in the Constitution, which implies that these judges disparage and deny the Ninth Amendment itself. This judgment has killed the Ninth Amendment. That section of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is now null and void, no longer recognized by the federal judiciary.

The fundamental moral purpose and authority of government is to protect life and liberty. Of course actual governments are not really created to protect life, property, or liberty, but to seize and use power. But morally, the use of government to murder, steal, and destroy is no different from individuals doing this. Government is morally justified not by democracy or a constitution or religious authority but only from enforcing a rule of law that protects human rights. In the United States, the heart and soul of the U.S. Constitution has been the Ninth Amendment, which recognizes all our natural rights, and explicitly prohibits the federal government from denying and disparaging these rights.

Of course the U.S. and other governments routinely violate human or natural rights. But at least their constitutional authority comes from their promise to protect rights. But now the judges of the federal judiciary say that the U.S. Constitutional protection of human rights is now dead. Let us mark and commemorate March 14, 2007, in our calendars as the day that the judges killed the Ninth Amendment. They murdered the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, the spirit of liberty.

Let us commemorate March 14 as the date that the U.S. government lost its remaining moral authority. Congress is at fault for enacting laws that violate the Ninth Amendment, but the way the U.S. government works is by the judicial branch of government having the last say, overruling laws that violate the Constitution. The last nail in the coffin of liberty is the judicial decision to kill the Ninth Amendment.

Where does that leave American citizens? We no longer have a real rule of law, but a rule of men who can decide what portions of the constitution to live by and which to disparage. How can U.S. officials fight against terrorists who murder people if the U.S. government murders by denying people with grave illnesses the means of avoiding death?

An ancient Egyptian poet wrote:

To whom can I speak today?
The land is left to those who do wrong.
To whom can I speak today?
The sin that afflicts the land, It has no end.

Has humanity learned nothing about morality and governance since ancient times?
9th Amendment, RIP, we will miss you.

capt said...

Medical Marijuana's Moment

On March 14, New Mexico's state legislature assured that New Mexico will become the 12th state to allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest. It also proved that the medical marijuana movement—based on science, compassion and plain common sense—is now unstoppable.

The New Mexico bill isn't law yet, but there isn't much left that could stop it. Not only did it pass both houses of the legislature by solid margins (the vote in the state Senate was an astonishing 32-3), Gov. Bill Richardson is a longtime supporter, so his signature—which could come any day now—is assured.

Indeed, the most noteworthy aspect of the bill's passage may be how little controversy there was. Medical marijuana legislation was supported by a broad coalition that included the New Mexico Public Health Association and the New Mexico Nurses Association.

The governor, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, hailed passage of the measure with a statement saying, "This bill will provide much-needed relief for New Mexicans suffering from debilitating diseases while including the proper safeguards to prevent abuse." He called medical marijuana "a humane option for New Mexicans who endure some of the most painful diseases imaginable."

What politicians have finally learned is that medical marijuana is one of those issues where science, compassion and good politics all come together.


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

This is an important win. Richardson was pushing for it and he spoke about it on many occasions. Many in politics run from the subject so I have to say Bill is brave.


Saladin said...

"Distrust of government can be taken to paranoid extremes. But trust in government is truly crazy. Your own government is your natural enemy. That is why the framers built all the safeguards we have torn down."

- Joseph Sobran

Saladin said...

Capt, what a coinkydink! NM passes the law, the USSC shoots it down. You are not a citizen of your state, but a subject of the United States Federal Monarchy! Hail the King.

Saladin said...

Al Gore Challenged to Climate Debate

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Al Gore has been challenged to an internationally televised debate on "climate change" by Lord Christopher Monckton, a policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her leadership of the United Kingdom.

In a formal press release from the Center for Science and Public Policy, Lord Monckton has thrown down the gauntlet to challenge Gore to what he terms "the Second Great Debate," an internationally televised, head-to-head, nation-unto-nation confrontation on the question, "That our effect on climate is not dangerous."

Monckton said, "A careful study of the substantial corpus of peer-reviewed science reveals that Mr. Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," is a foofaraw of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors, now being peddled to innocent schoolchildren worldwide."

Monckton and Gore have once before clashed head-to-head on the science, politics, and religion of global warming in pages of the London Sunday Telegraph last November.

As reported by NewsMax in November 2006, Monckton challenged a U.N. report on climate change as "hysteria" over manmade global warming that distorts the truth.

A U.N. report in 1996 "showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today," Monckton writes in the Sunday Telegraph.

"But the 2001 report contained a new graph showing no medieval warm period. It wrongly concluded that the 20th century was the warmest for 1,000 years . . .

"Scores of scientific papers show that the medieval warm period was real, global and up to [5 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than now.

"Then, there were no glaciers in the tropical Andes; today they're there. There were Viking farms in Greenland; now they're under permafrost. There was little ice at the North Pole – a Chinese naval squadron sailed right around the Arctic in 1421 and found none."

Monckton also writes that Antarctica has cooled and gained ice-mass in the past 30 years, and the oceans have cooled sharply in the past two years.

In his most recent challenge to Gore, Monckton calls on the former vice president to "step up to the plate and defend his advocacy of policies that could do grave harm to the welfare of the world's poor.

"If Mr. Gore really believes global warming is the defining issue of our time, the greatest threat human civilization has ever faced, then he should welcome the opportunity to raise the profile of the issue before a worldwide audience of billions by defining and defending his claims against a serious, science-based challenge."
I know, I know, it's Newsmax, but it was a link from somewhere else. This could be interesting if he accepts. I've been hoping for a real debate on 9/11, but wasn't holding my breath, and I won't for this either.

capt said...

Mathematicians Team Up with Supercomputer to Crack 248-Dimensional Object

Three days of number crunching yields whopping 60-gigabyte result

A monstrous computer-based calculation has rekindled researchers' hopes of solving a longstanding problem in mathematics. In a style of collaboration more commonly associated with sequencing genomes, a team of 18 mathematicians and computer scientists has mapped an extremely complex object known as the E8 group.

The calculation is only a stepping stone, but an important one, researchers say, in a larger project to uncover subtle ways in which different equations or geometric shapes can be seen as facets of the same underlying thing—an insight that has led to some of the century's biggest discoveries in particle physics and may play a role in future theories. The result also highlights the growing trend of using computers to crack tough math problems.

The team's calculation, which took four years to prepare and three days of number-crunching on a supercomputer to finish, has produced one of the densest mathematical results in history: a table of numbers that fills 60 gigabytes of disk space. If typed out on paper, the researchers note, the results would cover the island of Manhattan.

The calculation has to do with symmetry—one of the most fundamental properties in mathematics and physics. A sphere demonstrates a simple symmetry: turn it by any amount and it appears unchanged. Underlying any symmetrical shape is a mathematical object called a Lie (pronounced "lee") group, after the 19th-century Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie, who discovered that these groups also come into play when researchers use algebra tricks to simplify complex equations.

Lie found that the eponymous groups all belong to one of four families or one of five "exceptional" groups. The subject of the new calculation is E8, the most complex of the exceptionals, which has turned up in certain forms of string theory—the leading candidate to unify all the forces of nature into one theory.


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

"DIZZYING MATH: With help from a supercomputer, researchers have mapped E8, one of the most complex objects in mathematics, shown here in an 8-dimensional form projected onto two dimensions."

A very pretty picture but the "E8" stuff - ZOOM - right over my head. I have no clue.


capt said...

Bush's Top Ten Mistakes in Iraq during the Past 4 Years

10. Refusing to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when his incompetence and maliciousness became apparent in the growing guerrilla war and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

9. Declining to intervene in the collapsed economy or help put Iraqi state industries back on a good footing, on the grounds that the "market" would magically produce prosperity effortlessly.

8. Invading and destroying the Sunni Arab city of Fallujah in November, 2004, thus pushing the Sunni Arabs into the arms of the insurgency in protest and ensuring that they would boycott the January, 2005, parliamentary elections, a boycott that excluded them from power and from a significant voice in crafting the new constitution, which they then rejected.

7. Suddenly announcing that the US would "kill or capture" young nationalist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in spring, 2004, throwing the country into massive turmoil for months.

6. Replying to Baathist guerrilla provocations with harsh search and destroy missions that humiliated and angered ever more Sunni Arab clans, driving them to support or join the budding guerrilla movement.

5. Putting vengeful Shiites in charge of a Debaathification Commission that fired tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Arab state employees simply for having belonged to the Baath Party, leaving large numbers of Sunnis penniless and without hope of employment.

4. Dissolving the Iraqi Army in May, 2003, and sending 400,000 men home, unemployed, resentful and heavily armed.

3. Allowing widespread looting after the fall of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003, on the grounds that "stuff happens," "democracy is messy," and "how many vases can they have?"-- and thus signalling that there would be no serious attempt to provide law and order in American Iraq.

2. Plotting to install corrupt financier, notorious liar, and shady operator Ahmad Chalabi as the soft dictator of Iraq, and refusing to plan for a post-war administration of the country because that might forestall Chalabi's coronation.

1. Invading Iraq.


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

Juan Cole makes a good list.


capt said...

New Thread!