Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Bushian Strip/Hope vs. Experience

I'm traveling today--up to Cambridge to speak at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University on the media and national security. A memo I received from the school declared--in bold type--that this talk is off the record. So mum's the word. But before I go let me point out a quote from an article headlined "Al-Qaeda in Iraq May Not Be Threat Here" that appeared last Sunday in The Washington Post:

The Sunni extremist movement in Iraq owes its existence to the U.S. invasion, said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and Georgetown University professor. "There were no domestic jihadis in Iraq before we came there. Now there are....But the threat they pose beyond Iraq is not so certain. There will be plenty of fighting to keep them there for years.

Hoffman is a good source on terrorism matters. So let's see, Bush's war in Iraq created an insurgency that Bush now cites as the justification for the war. It's a geostrategic mobius strip.

Meanwhile, here's my latest "Loyal Opposition" column for

Hope vs. Experience
David Corn
March 21, 2007

David Corn is the Washington editor of The Nation and the co-author, along with Michael Isikoff, of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War.

I was at a lovely Washington dinner, sitting across from an FOH—friend of Hillary. "Barack’s fine," she said. "Smart, capable, has the right positions. But this current gang in the White House has made such a mess of things that we’re going to need someone who’s ready to hit the ground running, someone who knows how the government works, who won’t need to get up to speed, who can right away start to do what needs doing, who won’t be learning on the job. And she and Bill will be ready."

A few days later, I was talking to another person who is close to the junior senator from New York. "I’ve helped Barack," this Clinton pal said. "Raised money for him, would do so again, think the world of him, agree with him on all the positions. He was even right about the war. But we have to have someone who on that first day in office can turn things around—someone who understands how to do things in Washington. And no one knows that better than Hillary and Bill."
See the pattern? (Usually columnists need three anecdotes to declare a trend; I’m saving time.) Both of these Hillary fans are intelligent, independent-minded and politically savvy players in the capital. They don’t need to read from a script. But I suspect there is a script, formal or informal, that the Clinton crew is using in the influentials primary—the battle for the hearts (or at least the minds) of opinion-makers, political operatives and, of course, funders. It’s an obvious spiel: Senator Obama is a tad bit green. Who knows how he’ll perform should he reach 1600 Pennsylvania? And he’s no Bill Clinton

It’s hard to say how such a pitch is playing inside the Beltway or among the Democratic elite elsewhere. More important, it’s tough to figure how it will resonate with Democratic primary voters—if publicly voiced by Senator Clinton or her partisans. Will her presidential campaign reprise the two-for-the-price-of-one theme the Bill Clinton campaign deployed in 1992? That could be dangerous. Pushing this notion could raise questions about who would really wear the pants in a Clinton II presidency and prompt further concerns about dynastic politics. Do Americans want to be governed by one of two families for 24 straight years (and possibly 28)? Hillary Clinton already has to contend with the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton issue. Playing up the with-Hill-you-get-Bill angle would bring more attention to the matter..

But put aside Bill for the moment. There will be plenty of time to chew on that. The core of the Clinton attack on Obama will be the natural one: experience. In conventional terms, the guy is a newbie. His tenure in Washington is shorter than the duration of the Iraq war. He has character, depth, authenticity and smarts to spare. And as a recent Washington Post profile noted, he was a skilled legislator and politician as an Illinois state senator, forging and enacting progressive measures dealing with significant hot-button topics: health-care reform, the death penalty, campaign finance reform and racial profiling. But running the federal government? In the post-9/11 era? And steering the entire globe in a better direction? Washington ain’t Springfield (though one rather successful president did get his start in the Illinois state capital).

The Hillary Clinton crowd will find multiple ways to raise the experience question in the coming year. But there’s a countervailing argument that Barack-backers will hurl: What did Hillary Clinton (and her husband) accomplish as they developed all that experience?

There is the standard pro-Clinton era litany: booming economy, no war. But the Clinton years were not always an easy time for Democrats. President Clinton did balance the budget partly by raising taxes for the well-to-do, while expanding the low-income tax credit. He defended abortion rights and championed the assault weapons ban. But he also vexed his Democratic base on key fronts—proudly engaging in a strategy of triangulation designed to distance himself from congressional Democrats. He enacted a welfare reform plan that progressive policy experts (including some who had danced at the Clintons’ wedding) hated. He bailed on his campaign promise to invest greatly in social capital and the infrastructure. Though he paid close attention to the troubles in Bosnia and Kosovo—even going to war over them—he turned his back on the genocide in Rwanda (and then claimed he had been unaware of the full horror). His administration supported an expansion of the federal death penalty. He mounted questionable bombing raids in Iraq and the Sudan. He backed the don’t-ask/don’t-tell policy for gays in the military. He pushed NAFTA. He did not do enough regarding global warming or jihadist terrorism. His team practically outdid the Republicans in money-grubbing campaign fundraising.

And then there was health care. Hillary Clinton botched that assignment. Though she told progressive health care advocates at the time that she believed a single-payer form of national health insurance was probably the best idea, she cooked up a complicated scheme that was nearly impossible to explain and damn easy to attack. Remember Republican legislators holding up a wiring diagram of Hillarycare? It looked like a Jackson Pollack painting. How could Harry and Louise understand it, let alone support it?

So all that experience comes with plenty of baggage. And I mean policy baggage—not the more personal baggage related to you-know-what. And did this experience lead to wisdom? As far as most Democratic primary voters probably see it, Hillary Clinton’s most important action as senator was voting to grant Bush the authority to invade Iraq when he deemed best. She has assumed responsibility for that vote without acknowledging she erred and without apologizing for it. The problem, she says, was that Bush abused the authority—not that legislators too readily handed it to him.

Thus, Democratic voters confront a dilemma. Between the two leading presidential contenders, one does have much more experience in the ways of Washington. But on the two issues of deepest concern to Democrats—the Iraq war and health care—this experienced player was wrong, and the greenhorn has a better record. Obama, who did not become a U.S. senator until 2005, opposed the war in Iraq when he was a state senator, and he successfully sponsored legislation in Illinois to study how a universal health care system could be implemented in that state. (The Clintonistas’ sensitivity to the war issue was on display Monday night when Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, appeared at an event at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. He was asked if his boss, given her vote on the Iraq war measure, might one day lead the nation into "another quagmire." In responding, he claimed that Obama’s Iraq policy has been bedeviled by inconsistencies.)

If current polling is to be believed, Democrats at this point are backing experience, with Clinton maintaining between a five-point and 17-point edge over Obama. But it’s early. Each campaign is going to have to target the vulnerability of the other. Neither will be able to resist the laws of politics—that is, they will attack. (No doubt, former Senator John Edwards and the other Democratic candidates are looking forward to a nasty battle between the two Bigfoots in the race.) Obama cannot count on hope alone: He will have to make the case that he’s been better than her on the issues dearest to Democrats. And Clinton will have to raise questions about his abilities. Though the Clinton-versus-Obama chitchat in Democratic circles (as far as I am privy to it) is now polite, this is merely the opening act to what may be a bitter and fierce face-off that will force Democrats—even at lovely Washington cocktail parties—to take sides.


Saladin said...

Life with govt. tends to be nasty, brutish and LONG!
Robert, I would really like to answer your question but what would be the point? If people think the govt. is worthy of trust, and that they can be depended upon not to make a bad situation even worse, like they tend to do, what can I say? If this bloated Frankenstein of a federal govt. is what the people want, then they deserve what they get. My motto is "keep it simple", and I suspect that is what the founding fathers had in mind as well. But as usual, humans don't take well to sound advice and so suffer the consequences over and over again. The fact that hillary clinton is a serious contender for president just proves my point. bush, clinton, bush, clinton, it's like that Groundhog Day movie where we keep getting another chance but keep making the same idiot choices as last time. I'm feeling pretty hopeless at this point, it is looking mighty bleak. I guess the people are too busy or too lazy to refurbish that particular tool.

Micki said...

The ispe dixit factor at it again!

capt said...

Gore Challenged to Debate "Foofaraw of Pseudo-Science"


Monckton's is merely an effort to distract us into thinking that there is actually anything to debate (his challenge is a hot discussion topic at the official-sounding, Exxon-funded Center for Science and Public Policy.

His Lordship says,

"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."

Al, tell him yes, as soon as "a serious, science based challenge" materializes, you're there.


capt said...

Obama and the Reds

"How well can Obama really do in the Southern, Red States?": It's what Democrats, unsure of how to cast their primary vote, have been saying under their breath.

Yesterday, those Dems got at least part of their answer when Obama charmed a rally full of people in Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in America. 1,000 people came out to support Obama in Oklahoma City, the state's capitol, a city that boasts a population of just over 500,000—the state’s largest.

Just as surprising, Obama's biggest selling point for Oklahomans was his stance against the war.


Saladin said...

How far off is the next ice age?
By Carolyn Fry

Antarctica, Noaa
We still have a lot to learn about cycles of ice advance and retreat
With global warming taking centre stage in the climate change debate, the idea that Earth might be heading towards an ice age seems outdated.

Yet scientists studying microfossils from deep-sea cores have discovered that we may still have much to learn about the cycles of ice advance and retreat that have affected Earth for a million years.

Periods of ice advance are known as glacials, while the warm periods are known as interglacials.

In the past, it was thought all interglacial periods lasted for around 11,000 years, in line with Earth's natural orbital cycle around the Sun, but new findings show events on the planet's surface may also influence the timing of ice advances and retreats.

It's possible that our pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere could somehow lubricate the flipping from one state to another
Chronis Tzedakis, University of Leeds
It is important that we understand these natural climatic rhythms as our current interglacial has lasted 11,500 years and could potentially end at any time.

Although the current human-induced high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere are thought to be unprecedented in the recent geological record, some scientists argue that it's possible the changes we are making by pumping CO2 into the atmosphere could ultimately help usher in the next ice age.

"There are operations within the climate system that we still don't fully understand," explains Professor Chronis Tzedakis, from Leeds University, UK.

"It's possible that our pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere could somehow lubricate the flipping from one state to another."
Moral of the story, they don't have a clue what might happen, there's no crystal ball and no for sure outcome, why can't they just admit that the climate is incredibly complicated and dynamic and does what it wants? It always has and always will. Geologic records prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. We humans are completely at it's mercy and will either adapt or die, just like all life has in the history of earth.

Saladin said...

Capt, if gore is convinced there is no serious science to combat his theory, he should show up and make mincemeat of him? Why not?

capt said...

Bush team takes heat over global warming science

The Bush administration has been meddling in climate research in a bid to downplay the importance of global warming, according to a memo released by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The committee held its second hearing on federal interference in climate change science on Monday this week.

In his opening statement, representative Henry Waxman said although it is too early to draw firm conclusions about the White House's conduct, "some of the information the committee has already obtained is disturbing. It suggests there may have been a concerted effort directed by the White House to mislead the public about the dangers of global climate change".

He said that science should inform policy, and that if the Bush administration had turned this policy upside down "through raw political pressure, then it set our country on a dangerous course".

A memo later released by the committee says that the documents provided by the Council on Environmental Qualify (CEQ) suggest the White House was systematically trying to minimise the significance of climate change.


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

Why would Bush and his band of morons meddle if there was nothing to it?


capt said...

Gore Tears Up Global Warming Skeptic

Don't miss this one: We've now got video of our quote of the day, in which Al Gore explains global warming to science skeptic and Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton. Gore: "The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, 'You have to intervene here,' you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that says this isn't important.'" It's a good one. Check it out here.


Saladin said...

March 21, 2007

March 21, 2007
MATT DEMPSEY 202-224-9797

WASHINGTON, DC – Former Vice President Al Gore refused to take a “Personal Energy Ethics Pledge” today to consume no more energy than the average American household. The pledge was presented to Gore by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, during today’s global warming hearing.

Senator Inhofe showed Gore a film frame from “An Inconvenient Truth” where it asks viewers: “Are you ready to change the way you live?”

AND also from EPW

Al Gore Continues to Demand Special Treatment
March 20, 2007

Update: At 9:29AM ET Wednesday -- after the issue was raised by Fox News Channel -- former Vice President Gore's testimony was received by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Gore's testimony was given to Committee members just one minute before his scheduled House appearance and mere hours before his scheduled Senate appearance.

Posted By Marc Morano – 8:08 PM ET – Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov

From behind the scenes on Capitol Hill: Former Vice President Al Gore, despite being given major preferential treatment, has violated the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s (EPW) hearing rules.

Gore first demanded to be granted an unprecedented 30 minute opening statement to the Senate EPW Committee for Wednesday’s (March 21) global warming hearing scheduled for 2:30 pm ET.
(See "FULL COMMITTEE: Vice President Al Gore’s Perspective on Global Warming" )

The GOP minority on the EPW committee agreed to the 30 minute opening statement.

But then Gore demanded a waiver of the EPW committee’s 48 hour rule that requires all witnesses before EPW to submit their testimony in advance. The GOP minority on the EPW committee then agreed to waive the 48 hour rule in favor of allowing Gore to submit his testimony 24 hours before the hearing.

But in a breaking news development on Capitol Hill -- the former Vice President has violated the new 24 hour deadline extension by failing to submit his testimony – even with the new time extension granted to Gore.

As of 8pm ET Tuesday evening, the testimony still has not been received by EPW, a clear violation of committee rules.

The word on Capitol Hill says not to expect Gore’s testimony to the Senate EPW committee until Wednesday (March 21) -- the day of the hearing.

It appears that Gore does not believe the same rules apply to him that apply to every other Senate EPW witness.

The question looms on Capitol Hill: Is Gore delaying the submission of his testimony until the very last moment because he fears it will give members of the EPW committee time to scrutinize it for accuracy?
That seems like a reasonable question. Unless of course the EPW is a scam?

capt said...

Democrats focus on Cheney office's involvement in manipulation of global warming documents

Democrats are scrutinizing the role that Vice President Dick Cheney's office may have had in helping to manipulate global warming reports, according to Environment & Energy Daily.

"A House probe into reports that the Bush administration improperly edited federal climate studies took a new turn yesterday," writes Lauren Morello for E&E, "as Democrats focused on interactions between the White House Council on Environmental Quality" (CEQ) and Cheney's office.

Morello said the focus was on an April 2003 memo from former CEQ chief Philip Cooney to Cheney staffer Kevin O'Donovan that discusses a study by two "industry-affiliated" scientists who conclude that there is no convincing evidence of warming. "The study," says Morello, "kicked up controversy shortly after it appeared in the journal Climate Science, with three editors of the journal resigning" in protest against the study's publication.

Democrats on the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committe argue that the memo "suggests the Bush administration seized on the controversial study to exaggerate existing uncertainty in climate change science," Morello writes.


capt said...

Gore And An Uncomfortable Congress

Former vice president Al Gore testified before both House and Senate congressional committees on Wednesday, giving both houses and both parties time to consider his "inconvenient truths" about global warming —and forcing members to choose between action and obfuscation.

Gore came to Capitol Hill with 516,000 petition signatures calling for immediate action to stop global warming. More than 200,000 of those have come in since Thursday.

David Roberts, over at Gristmill, was liveblogging the Gore hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and has a colorful summation of Gore's 10-point plan to stop global warming.

No. 1: immediate carbon freeze! Then a program of reductions -- 90% reductions by 2050! Wow, that's ballsy.

Second: reduce taxes on employment and production, and make up the difference with pollution taxes, mainly CO2. ... It would make us more competitive. Discourage pollution while encouraging work. But carbon pollution is not priced into the marketplace...

Third: a portion of the revenues must be earmarked for low-income people who will have a difficult time making this transition.

Fourth: strong global treaty ... We should work toward "de facto compliance with Kyoto." We ought to move forward the start date of the next treaty, from 2012 to 2010, so the next president can use his or her political good will to act immediately. We have to build more confidence that China and India will join sooner rather than later.

Fifth: a moratorium on construction of any new coal-fired power plant not compatible with carbon capture and sequestration. Wowzer.

Sixth: develop an "electranet" -- a smart grid. Just as widely distributed info processing led to a big new surge of productivity ... we need a law that allows widely distributed energy generation to be sold into the grid, at a rate determined not by a monopsony, but by regulation. Then, you may never need another central power generation plant. This is where Dave has a wonkgasm.

Seventh: raise CAFE standard [fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks]. Yes, [auto industry ally Rep. John] Dingell, I heard you, it should be part of a comprehensive package. It's only a slice of the problem, but it is a big slice. The problem is "cars, coal, and buildings."

Eighth: set a date for the ban of incandescent light bulbs. Give industry time to prepare, but set a date. They'll adjust.

Ninth: create Connie Mae, a carbon-neutral mortgage association. All the things we do to cut carbon add to upfront selling price, but don't pay off for a few years. ... Connie Mae will help put those costs aside.

Tenth: [SEC] ought to require disclosure of carbon emissions in corporate reporting.Al Gore wrapped up his House testimony earlier this afternoon, and blogs are weighing in.


capt said...

New Carbon-Dioxide Tracking Developed

WASHINGTON (AP) — With concern growing about global warming, researchers said Wednesday they have developed a new system to track carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Being able to determine where and when this major greenhouse gas increases or decreases should help in projecting future climate change and evaluating efforts to reduce releases of carbon. "This is a pretty exciting opportunity,'' said Richard Spinrad, head of research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It produces an unbiased, objective statement of carbon observations, he said, but doesn't favor any particular policy or economic model.

Tracking carbon dioxide release and absorption will improve understanding of its impact, he said, noting that one-third of the economy is weather and climate sensitive ranging from agriculture to transportation to insurance and real estate.

Pieter Tans, chief scientist at NOAA's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo., noted that once carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it can remain there for thousands of years. That means carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to mitigate climate change, he said.

While carbon dioxide is a natural part of the air, it has been increasing sharply since the beginning of industrialization. It is produced in large amounts by burning fossil fuels, such as in manufacturing plants, motor vehicles and generating electricity.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing the leading climate scientists, reported in February that global warming has begun, is very likely caused by human activities and will be unstoppable for centuries.


micki said...

I know it's been posted here...I just noticed, but since I posted this at the other blog, I decided to put it here, too:

Oh, boy! I bet the denialists were HOT under their dog collars on this!!! Gore said to Joe Barton (R-TX) today:

"The planet has a fever," Gore said. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it's not a problem.' If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action."

Go, Big Al!

micki said...

Saladin, if your hero Ron Paul had taken the same position and devoted the same amount of time and effort to the issue of global warming as Al Gore has, would you be scouring the internet looking for ways to debunk the man?

micki said...

Maybe it's time to remind the denialists of James Watt's comments (Ronald Reagan's first Sec. of the Interior). His comments weren't directed at global warming, but they showed his disdain for the environment.

James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

Some denialists, even if they are not fundies, are apparently willing to get under the covers with strange bedfellows -- Christian fundamentalists are some of the most vocal denialists about global warming. Some of them believe that environmental destruction and climate change issues should be disregarded -- because they look forward to the coming apocalypse!

I'd think that thinking people would want to distance themselves from that kooky 'thinking.'

capt said...

‘An intriguing question.’

Tony Snow explained that the standoff between the Executive Branch and Congress revolves around Bush’s right to “privileged communications with close staff members.” But he also stated that “the president has no recollection” of conversations about the attorney firings being raised with him. That means, as CNN’s Ed Henry noted, that the White House is now claiming executive privilege over conversations that never existed. Snow’s response to this dilemma? “That falls into the intriguing question category,” he said.


No wonder the WH is digging in their heels - even their spokesperson can't explain how Rove being truthful should be a problem.

Some from the right were screaming "perjury trap" which is funny on so many levels including but not limited to - If they tell the truth there is no perjury - is the WH saying they expect Rove et al to lie?


capt said...

Make a Wish: Chemists Snap Molecule like Wishbone

New way to kick-start reactions may lead to materials that resist breaking

It may sound like a headline from the Onion, but researchers have broken a molecule apart by, well, tugging on it. The team speculates that the technique may lead to materials that respond to mechanical stress by repairing themselves.

Technically, the researchers let ultrasound do the pulling for them. Looking for new ways to trigger chemical reactions, they decided to crack open a molecule called benzocyclobutene, which consists of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon fused to a square. So they attached two long molecules on either side of the square region and ultrasonically vibrated a solution of the compound. They reasoned that the motion of the water would stretch the flanking molecules like a pair of stiff springs, pulling apart the two free corners of the square and leaving two dangling ends capable of forming new chemical bonds.

The researchers used two forms of benzocyclobutene with slightly different shapes. Typically the two structures, called isomers, would prefer to form different products, but a magnetic resonance imaging–like technique revealed that both isomers broke into the same molecule. The pulling action guides the atoms along a path they would not normally take, says team member Jeffrey Moore, a materials researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "It means we can start to move atoms in particular directions … that the intrinsic chemistry is really not favorable for," he says.

Researchers have ripped apart chains of repeating molecules before, but the bonds broke at random. To cleave specific bonds, chemists typically boil their compounds or use special catalysts.

Moore says he is now working on a molecule that changes color when tugged, which might be useful as a way to monitor safety cords or other materials for damage.

In the long run, he says he would like to see materials that reinforce themselves when stretched too close to the breaking point. "If we can trigger chemical reactions mechanically," he says, "that would be a way that we could make chemical bonds in regions where they're needed most: … where the material is experiencing a very large stress."

"Many frustrated chemists wish that they could simply reach into their flasks and pull apart any uncooperative chemical bonds," University of Pennsylvania chemists Brad Rosen and Virgil Percec write in an editorial published with the findings in this week's Nature. "Although chemists might not immediately rush to adopt this technique," they note, "the work is a remarkable first step."


David B. Benson said...

Ipse dixit. Something that is asserted, but not proven.

Saladin said...

"Saladin, if your hero Ron Paul had taken the same position and devoted the same amount of time and effort to the issue of global warming as Al Gore has, would you be scouring the internet looking for ways to debunk the man?"

Number 1, he isn't my hero and is just as vulnerable to corruption as any politician.
Number 2, the answer, in short, is HELL YES! Because I think it is a crock and I don't care who is preaching it. This constant harping about global warming is ridiculous, no thinking person is denying any such thing, and if you actually read other scientific papers, like the one I posted a couple days ago, you would gain a little insight to the debate. But I guess that's like trying to convince the 7000 year creation ID theorists that the Grand Canyon is a lot more than a few thousand years old. They won't look at any scientific evidence, and they are right, everyone else is wrong and will burn in hell! CO2 is NOT the primary climate driver, in fact, according to core samples and many scientists, it actually is a product of warming, not it's cause, and has lagged behind the warming trends in the past by as much as 800 years. Now, if any scientists want to debate that statement I would love to hear it.
Number 3, I don't have to scour anything, there are articles all over the web about his hypocritical bullshit. What, no comments about my posts? I guess Mr. Planetary Savior Gore deserves anything he wants.
"Ipse dixit. Something that is asserted, but not proven."
Mr. Benson, (I've been meaning to ask, do you prefer to be addressed as Dr.? I understand some consider Mr. to be rude ;-) my point exactly. Overheated or ice age, come on people, make up your minds! No matter what I'm sure it will be blamed on the planetary parasites known as human beings! BTW, what did I assert in that comment that isn't proven?

Saladin said...

Liberal Establishment Pressures Anti-War Dems to Support War Bill

Josephine Hearn
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The most outspoken critics of the $124 billion wartime spending bill in the House are facing withering support in their fight to defeat it.

California Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey said that many of their liberal colleagues were caving under pressure from Democratic leaders who, according to at least one congressman, have threatened to block requests for new funds for his district.

They also cited's endorsement of the measure Monday as a blow to their efforts.

"This is the process: people who feel strongly about this issue hold out as long as they can," said Waters. "A lot of pressure comes to bear and they can't hold up under the pressure."

The $124 billion emergency spending bill, backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), includes not only more funds this year for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but also new military readiness standards, benchmarks for the Iraqi government and an Aug. 31, 2008 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

A floor vote is planned for Thursday.

Democratic leaders have also added billions in funds not related to wartime spending in a bid for more support.

That additional money was attractive for at least one lawmaker, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), an Out of Iraq Caucus member. His spokeswoman, Danielle Langone, cited $400 million for a one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

"That's pretty vital for our district, so we'll be voting for the bill," Langone said.

Waters said that she and other opponents of the spending measure had entered the weekend with 20 to 25 members on their side but that they had suffered "a lot of damage" as Democratic leaders aggressively urged members to support the bill.

Vowing to step up her efforts to hold the opposition, Waters said it was clear that Democratic leaders were mounting an all-out whip effort beyond the earlier informal surveying by Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.).

"This is a vote of conscience," Waters said. "Jim Clyburn said he was doing an assessment, so that's what I was doing. Now that he's whipping, I'm going to start whipping."

Clyburn disputed her assertion. "That's not what she told me," he said. "I beg to differ that there's anybody whipping against this bill."

One congressman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution from leaders, bristled at how aggressively he was being pressured to vote for the bill, singling out Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as especially forceful.

"I really resent this," the lawmaker said. "Rahm Emanuel told us a vote against this bill is a vote to give the Republicans victory."

The congressman also noted that Democratic leaders had "made clear" to him that they might yank funding requests he had made for projects in his district if he did not support the measure.

Democratic whips, all deputies of Clyburn, approached members on the House floor Monday night.

A jovial Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger went up to fellow Maryland Rep. Albert Wynn as he sat off the floor with a reporter and told Wynn that a vote against the bill was a vote for Republican victory. He waved a copy of the press release backing the measure.

"Have you seen this?" Ruppersberger asked.

"Yeah, who did that?" replied Wynn, a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus.

"Some people we asked to put out a press release to get you to vote for the bill," Ruppersberger joked. He razzed the noncommittal Wynn a few moments longer, pretending to twist his arm, then headed off to reprise the routine with another Out of Iraq Caucus member, Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

Other undecided Democrats were also feeling the heat. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) said she had been approached several times and was "still very undecided."

"This will establish to a large degree who I am. ... I'm really trying to make sure I have an understanding of the supplemental in practicality and balancing that with my own concerns about the war and my constituents who are very opposed to the war," Clarke said. "The sentiment I'm getting from my constituents is that I'm beyond benchmarks now. …The administration has proven to be untrustworthy."

Some anti-war activists assailed's approach to the Iraq bill, alleging that the organization had used a skewed poll to conclude that 85 percent of its members backed the measure.

"MoveOn put out a dishonest poll that did not offer its members a real choice to end the war, and now the peace movement is lobbying activists to reform MoveOn or drop off its list," David Swanson, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, said in an e-mail to The Politico. "I unsubscribed from MoveOn this morning."

In the poll, gave its members a choice of supporting, opposing or being "not sure" of the plan proposed by the Democratic leadership, according to an e-mail sent to members Sunday by official Eli Pariser.

It did not mention a more aggressive withdrawal proposal backed by Woolsey, Waters and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Pariser said had held out as long as possible before backing the leadership proposal.

"We were basically declining to take a position as long as we could to strengthen the hand of the progressives. We did the poll at the last time we felt we could have an impact on the final vote."

He said he would support the progressive proposal if it came to a vote. "We'll encourage people to vote for that and for the supplemental," he said. "We are trying to end the war. That's the mandate."

Democratic leaders are pressing hard on the bill even though some members of their whip operation are themselves opposed. Waters, one of nine chief deputy whips, has said she will not whip for a bill she staunchly opposes.

But other members have been more willing to help. Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-Calif.), who remains "solidly" opposed to the bill, was still serving as a regional whip.

"I told Jim Clyburn I'm a team player. I'm a whip. I'll do the whipping," Watson said. But, she added, "My whipping is just a survey. … If I believed in what I was whipping on, I'd do more."
Cynthia McKinney has an excellent speech at you tube. She is a fire brand! But when you speak up like that your own party turns against you and you get the boot! She is the kind of Democrat we need desperately!

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- We have been over this point on RealClimate again and again:

More carbon dioxide causes the temperature to rise. The science is solid and this effect has been known for over one hundred years now.

In the last 250 years, especially in the last 50 years, people have been burning fossilized carbon, creating an excess of carbon dioxide in the air. Hence, global warming for anthropogenic reasons.

In the ice ages, the climate was always nearly in equilibrium between temperature and carbon dioxide in the air. The main forcing factor driving the ice ages appears to be changes in earth's orbit, very slowly, over time. This causes periods of warming and cooling, but very slow changes. Carbon then comes out of the ocean during warming and goes back into the ocean during cooling. That is what happens near equilibrium, very slow changes. This has essentially nothing to do with anthropogenic global warming.

Any unique and recognizable identifier is fine by me. Even DBB will do...

David B. Benson said...

Also, there was no possiblity of a stade (ice sheets) before another 20,000 years had gone by. With anthropogenic greenhouse gases, there is now no possibilty before another 50,000 years. If we do not immediately manage to control the situation, there is no possibility before 150,000 years.

Any of those times ought to be long enough. How long since the first civilization?

Saladin said...

Now for a funny.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Employee Warning Letter
Amy's Head

From my friend, Lyn Wall.

Dear Employee

Many of the members of the hiring committee had reservations when we hired you 6 years ago. But we tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. Recently, we've had a number of complaints about your performance from nearly everyone you interface with. Please consider this your final warning.

Customer Service:
We have numerous complaints from both internal and external customers. Internally, people feel that you are not a team player and are more interested in covering your ass and accruing power than working for the greater good. External customers tell us that you completely refuse to work with them unless there's something in it for you. There is suspicion of collusion with competitors.

Arrogance Over and over again, we hear from employees and customers alike that you make it clear you don't feel that you're accountable to anyone except the stockholders. When asked to sign off on company policy, you add ridiculous side notes indicating that the rules apply to everyone but you.

Requests for Help:
Several of your divisions have been through difficult times. When pressured, you make commitments to help, but the help never seems to arrive.
Company Policy:
This company was built on some very basic principles. Your actions have worked to undermine our conduct and our reputation. We are no longer trusted to treat customers fairly and are often suspected of dirty tricks. You have also engaged us in frivolous lawsuits that are very expensive and result in a loss of stability for the company..

You take more vacation and time than any of your predecessors. You claim you are on call, but on more than one occasion, you refused to cut your vacation short when one of our divisions was dealing with a major crisis. The New Orleans division is not likely to recover from this lack of action.

Where to start with this one? You have chipped away at all of the benefits this company was so proud to offer – particularly to our retirees and workers compensation cases. You have been known to fire personnel who do not exhibit personal loyalty to you and then blame others for handling the firings badly.

You are not known to accept responsibility easily, rather you shift the blame to someone who reports to you when things go wrong. When legitmitately criticized, you blame the critics for trying to undermine you.

All in all Mr. Bush, your performance is unacceptable on many levels. Recently, many of the people who advocated hiring you have indicated that they regret that choice. Please remember that you work for us, not the other way around, or we will have to refer your status to the appropriate department and consider dismissal.

The People of the United States of America

Posted by Amy Branham at 12:49 PM

Saladin said...

"More carbon dioxide causes the temperature to rise. The science is solid and this effect has been known for over one hundred years now."

Mr. Benson, there is quite a lot of debate on that topic, and believe it or not much of it is not oil company financed. I spend considerable time reading INDEPENDENT research, you know, the kind where no one's career is at stake? This is not a solid science, and just because one website disputes it does not make it established fact. I have been criticized more than once for reliance on what any one website had to say. What we are experiencing today is certainly not unprecedented, the global temps, if you can accurately refer to them as such, are well within normal fluxuation for the past 20,000 years. It has been significantly warmer and cooler in the past 1000 years. Quick rises and drops in temperature have spurred migration of humans to more comfortable areas just in the past 5000 years and are thought to be responsible for much of civilizations progress in a very short period of time, (the fertile crescent is one good example.) CO2 is not the be all and end all of climate, that is a simplistic explanation that completely ignores all other major factors in the complex changes the earth goes thru, neither is orbit. To declare that to cease and desist from producing CO2 will save the world is silly at best, and if al gore really believes that, why isn't he making the changes he says we need to make to save the earth? Does he REALLY believe it? Do any of these rich elite fear mongers believe it? If you observe their posh and luxurious lifestyles I sure have my doubts.

David B. Benson said...

Salasdin --- Pick up any textbook on climate or atmospheric physics.

All state the physically known fact that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

Only fools attempt to "debate" this fact, known to science for over 100 years.

RealClimate is run by practicing climate scientitists, whose primary dedication is to truth. When they don't know they say so.

Sorry, but according to some it is now warmer than at any time in the last 120,000 years. But worse, even if we stopped today burning carbon, it will still continue to heat up for about 100--150 years.

In this, there is only one vote. Nature. Waiting to observe this additional warming before doing anything will be a catastrophe of climate wars, resource wars, living space wars, etc.
See Jared Diamond's most recent book for ideas about how climate-induced collapse occurs.

Micki said...

Oops...Dr. B, thank you for catching my typo on ipse dixit. (I typed ispe dixit, by mistake -- that damned Latin!)

You must have learned that in 2nd grade when you were home schooled!

MICKI said...

Saladin, just what is your beef anyway?

Are you angry with "rich elites?" How you angry with your fellow citizen? Are you angry with people who want to earn (closer) to a living wage? Are you angry with ALL government? Are you angry with real science? Are you angry with people who have a formal education? Are you angry about taxation? Are you angry that you trust no one? Are you angry because you feel you don't have a voice? Are you angry that people just don't seem to get it like you think you do?

Ironically you cite Cynthia McKinney as "just the kind of Democrat we desperately need" -- yet, Representative McKinney's congressional voting record is something that you have shown on this blog (and others) to be largely at odds with your "values."

It's getting more and more difficult to take you seriously -- on ANY topic.

micki said...

Creator of 'Hillary 1984' Video Unmasked -- Has Obama Link

By E&P Staff and The Associated Press

Published: March 21, 2007 10:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON The mystery creator of the Orwellian YouTube ad against Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democratic operative who worked for a digital consulting firm with ties to rival Sen. Barack Obama. Philip de Vellis, a strategist with Blue State Digital, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he was the creator of the video, which portrayed Clinton as a Big Brother figure and urged support for Obama's presidential campaign.

De Vellis said he resigned from the firm on Wednesday after he learned that he was about to be unmasked by the, a liberal news and opinion Internet site.

"Hi. I'm Phil. I did it. And I'm proud of it," he quickly wrote on his own (new) blog at Huffington Post.

"I made the 'Vote Different' ad because I wanted to express my feelings about the Democratic primary, and because I wanted to show that an individual citizen can affect the process. There are thousands of other people who could have made this ad, and I guarantee that more ads like it--by people of all political persuasions--will follow."

Blue State designed Obama's Web site and one of the firm's founding members, Joe Rospars, took a leave from the company to work as Obama's director of new media.

"It's true ... yeah, it's me," de Vellis said Wednesday evening.

He said he produced the ad outside of work and that neither Blue State nor the Obama campaign was aware of his role in the ad.

"But it raises some eyebrows, so I thought it best that I resign and not put them in that position."

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Obama campaign said:

"The Obama campaign and its employees had no knowledge and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad. We were notified this evening by a vendor of ours, Blue State Digital, that an employee of the company had been involved in the making of this ad. Blue State Digital has separated ties with this individual and we have been assured he did no work on our campaign's account."

The Clinton campaign had no immediate comment.

The connection to the Obama camp, however, poses a public relations problem for the campaign. Obama has argued that he is a different type of presidential candidate who rejects negative politics.

The ad was guerrilla politics at its cleverest and had become the boffo hit of the YouTube Web site.

The 74-second clip, a copy of a 1984 Apple ad for its Macintosh computer, has recorded nearly 1.5 million views, with an enormous surge in the past two days. The video's final image reads ""

De Vellis remained hidden for weeks, protected by the anonymity afforded by YouTube and the absence of federal regulations governing most Internet political speech.

The ad portrayed Clinton on a huge television screen addressing robotic humans in a stark, futuristic hall. A female athlete tosses a hammer at the screen, destroying Clinton's image with an explosive flash. Then this text: "On January 14th the Democratic primary will begin. And you will see why 2008 isn't going to be like '1984.'"

De Vellis said he used footage of an updated Apple ad that portrayed the female athlete wearing an iPod. He said he used standard Apple equipment to modify the video and edit Clinton's image into the clip.

Obama, appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday night, said his campaign knew nothing about the origins of the anti-Clinton ad.

"Frankly, given what it looks like, we don't have the technical capacity to create something like this," he said. "It's pretty extraordinary."

DeVellis concludes his Huffington Post posting, "Let me be clear: I am a proud Democrat, and I always have been. I support Senator Obama. I hope he wins the primary. (I recognize that this ad is not his style of politics.) I also believe that Senator Clinton is a great public servant, and if she should win the nomination, I would support her and wish her all the best.

"I've resigned from my employer, Blue State Digital, an internet company that provides technology to several presidential campaigns, including Richardson's, Vilsack's, and -- full disclosure -- Obama's. The company had no idea that I'd created the ad, and neither did any of our clients. But I've decided to resign anyway so as not to harm them, even by implication.

"This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last. The game has changed."

capt said...

Over $100 BILLION dollars to feed the failed monster in Iraq.

Partisan Democratic party supporters should be ashamed. The D's have their biggest weakness where they need the most strength.

As Pelosi twists arms to fund Bunnypants failed hobby war.

$100 BILLION of our hard earned dollars?

That is a huge amount of money - all going to ????


capt said...

Ignoring Rove's position in White House, Continetti and Matthews misled on aides testifying

On the March 20 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while discussing President Bush's statement earlier in the day that he would "oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials" by Congress, host Chris Matthews asked Chicago Tribune Capitol Hill correspondent Jill Zuckman and Weekly Standard staff writer Matthew Continetti: "Do either one of you think there's any chance in the world that any president -- weak, Republican, Democrat, liberal, or conservative, early in the term, late in the term -- would ever let his top political henchman testify before an opposing Congress under oath? Would anybody ever let that happen?" Matthews went on to ask Continetti: "Do you agree, Matt, there's no way any president would ever let his top person go up there?" Continetti replied, "I don't think Bill Clinton would make [former Clinton campaign manager] Jim Carville go up there under oath. So I don't see this, Rove, going up there any time soon."

But contrary to Matthews' suggestion, Rove is not merely Bush's "top political henchman"; he is also the president's deputy chief of staff -- a relevant distinction, given precedent for White House staffers testifying under oath before Congress. Moreover, Carville -- unlike Rove -- was not a White House staffer.

In a March 21 report on a House subcommittee's approval of subpoenas for Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, The Wall Street Journal noted:

In response to President Bush's assertion that he was trying to preserve presidential power by not having aides testify under oath and in public, Democrats issued a list of presidential advisers who have testified under such conditions before Congress, including Carter administration counsel Lloyd Culter, and Clinton White House advisers John Podesta and Harold Ickes.

Ickes, who held the same position as Rove in Clinton's White House, testified before the "opposing" Republican Congress in 1996, according to an April 2004 Congressional Research Service report:


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

I am certain the lies and misrepresentations are just accidental. I mean Hardball is just a TV show and the staff there cannot possibly check the facts.

Matthews on Bunnypants:

"MATTHEWS: God, he was Jim Bowie at the Alamo tonight. I've never seen him like that, at least in a long time. Thank you very much, Andrea Mitchell."

It is like Chris has a schoolgirl crush on Bush - fawning all over him to Mrs. Greenspan.


capt said...

Maybe the dumbocrats will grow a spine for the NEXT emergency supplemental for ANOTHER $100 BILLION next year, eh? Sure THEN they D's will take a principled stand!

(not bloody likely)


(now where did I put my party hat?)

capt said...

The Upcoming Iraq War Funding Bill

Statement Before the U.S. House of Representatives March 20, 2007

The $124 billion supplemental appropriation is a good bill to oppose. I am pleased that many of my colleagues will join me in voting against this measure.

If one is unhappy with our progress in Iraq after four years of war, voting to de-fund the war makes sense. If one is unhappy with the manner in which we went to war, without a constitutional declaration, voting no makes equally good sense.

Voting no also makes the legitimate point that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to direct the management of any military operation – the president clearly enjoys this authority as Commander in Chief.

But Congress just as clearly is responsible for making policy, by debating and declaring war, raising and equipping armies, funding military operations, and ending conflicts that do not serve our national interests.

Congress failed to meet its responsibilities four years ago, unconstitutionally transferring its explicit war power to the executive branch. Even though the administration started the subsequent pre-emptive war in Iraq, Congress bears the greatest responsibility for its lack of courage in fulfilling its duties. Since then Congress has obediently provided the funds and troops required to pursue this illegitimate war.

We won’t solve the problems in Iraq until we confront our failed policy of foreign interventionism. This latest appropriation does nothing to solve our dilemma. Micromanaging the war while continuing to fund it won’t help our troops.

Here’s a new approach: Congress should admit its mistake and repeal the authority wrongfully given to the executive branch in 2002. Repeal the congressional sanction and disavow presidential discretion in starting wars. Then start bringing our troops home.

If anyone charges that this approach does not support the troops, take a poll. Find out how reservists, guardsmen, and their families – many on their second or third tour in Iraq – feel about it.

The constant refrain that bringing our troops home would demonstrate a lack of support for them must be one of the most amazing distortions ever foisted on the American public. We’re so concerned about saving face, but whose face are we saving? A sensible policy would save American lives and follow the rules laid out for Congress in the Constitution – and avoid wars that have no purpose.

The claim that it’s unpatriotic to oppose spending more money in Iraq must be laid to rest as fraudulent.

We should pass a resolution that expresses congressional opposition to any more undeclared, unconstitutional, unnecessary, pre-emptive wars. We should be building a consensus for the future that makes it easier to end our current troubles in Iraq.

It’s amazing to me that this Congress is more intimidated by political propagandists and special interests than the American electorate, who sent a loud, clear message about the war in November. The large majority of Americans now want us out of Iraq.


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

The opposition party of one?


capt said...

New Thread