Friday, March 23, 2007

The House Vote on the War

As I was between media gigs today, a congressional aide called and said that the House was about to start voting on the Iraq war supplemental funding bill. It's expected to pass, after progressive antiwar Democrats helped by arranging for some members of their caucus to vote for the bill, which was crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This legislation has divided Democrats and progressives. Antiwar diehards in the House--such as Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey--declared they could not vote for further funding of a war they believed was immoral, misguided, and damaging for US national security interests. Pelosi and her leadership team pushed a bill that provided continued funding for the war but also included various conditions and a deadline for the withdrawal of US troops (September 2008). Backers of the bill argued that since the Democrats did not have the votes to stop the war, their best option was to impose assorted conditions and a deadline and, thus, change the direction of the conflict. Of course, President Bush--who threatened to veto the measure in the unlikely event it is passed by the Senate--won't accept such conditions and deadlines. And the September 2008 deadline will have to be reaffirmed in subsequent spending bills. So the question lingers: is there much here beyond symbolism?

As a fierce debate ensued in the days before the bill hit the floor, I was often asked where I stood. During this period, antiwar outfits--outraged at wimpy Dems who were refusing to just say no to Bush's war--were blasting MoveOn, which supported Pelosi's bill. Fortunately, I replied, I don't have to vote on the issue. But I was sympathetic to each side of the battle. If a legislator believes the war is wrong, then how could he or she vote to send more Americans to Iraq to face possible death and injury? But the tacticians in Pelosi's shop were right that they did not have enough votes to stop the war--in part because many Democrats did not want to assume ownership of a finale that could be ugly and bloody. They'd rather force Bush to end the war--which he won't do.

In retrospect, I wonder if the Dems should have tried to engineer a cleaner loss than a muddy win. Imagine if Pelosi had said, let's have an up or down vote on funding for the war. She would have lost. But if she managed to get most of her party to declare the war should be over, she would have placed her party on record. The war would continue as Bush's responsibility. And there would be other votes to come (within months)--as well as an election in 2008. The public could see clearly who favored proceeding with the war and who did not--and render a judgment.

A fanciful scenario? Perhaps. But now the Democrats have to explain a bill that is rather hard to explain--while explaining why there is a serious division within their ranks. In any event, this is not a fair situation. Bush, by launching a war that most Americans now consider a mistake, has created a problem for which there is no good solution. The Republicans have stood slavishly by him, but it is the Democrats who are tripped up. Life--especially in politics--is not fair. And this dilemma, alas, is not going to disappear with this vote.

Posted by David Corn at March 23, 2007 12:31 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Great post!

"In retrospect, I wonder if the Dems should have tried to engineer a cleaner loss than a muddy win."

This one sure plays out like funding $124 billion more is what Pelosi is fighting in favor of. That getting the support of the more anti-war rep's is a win for Bush and this suppose to be good how exactly?

I wonder if Pelosi could have played it as if the funding is a terrible loss for our troops - and more troops as the creep continues.

Further funding of this debacle is the same road we went down before. Will we ever learn?

Thanks for all of your work!


capt said...

New way to manipulate matter is discovered

The U.S. inventors of self-healing plastic have come up with yet another invention: a way to make chemicals react the way they want them to.

The University of Illinois researchers have discovered how to manipulate matter in such a way as to drive chemical reactions along a desired direction. The new technique utilizes mechanical force to alter the course of chemical reactions and yield products not obtainable through conventional conditions.

The researchers say their invention might lead to the development of materials that readily repair themselves, or clearly indicate when they have been damaged.

"This is a fundamentally new way of doing chemistry," said Professor Jeffrey Moore, corresponding author of the study. "By harnessing mechanical energy, we can go into molecules and pull on specific bonds to drive desired reactions.

"We created a situation where a chemical reaction could go down one of two pathways," Moore said. "By applying force to the mechanophore, we could bias which of those pathways the reaction chose to follow."

The technique is described in the current issue of the journal Nature.


capt said...


The White House made a new offer to senators:

Bush will accept a resignation from Alberto Gonzales if the senate promises to quickly confirm Karl Rove as Attorney General!

(a complete fabrication - not real . . .)


kathleen said...

Capt you had me for a second.

Iranian president to visit U.S. Saturday
Ahmadinejad will address U.N. Council ahead of vote on Iran nuke program

Updated: 33 minutes ago

UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive in New York early Saturday to address the U.N. Security Council before a vote on whether to sanction his country for refusing to stop enriching uranium, a council diplomat said.

Ahmadinejad was to arrive at 1 a.m. Sat

kathleen said...

David you were great on the Rehms show today. Sullivan sometimes seems reasonable. Aburd when a Byron York or Andrew Sullivans support demanding that a sitting President testify under oath about lies about a B.J. Yet these same folks do not find it critical that the same rules apply to the Bush administration.

The contradictions are outrageous. The whole world is watching, laughing at the double standards.

kathleen said...


kathleen said...

Breaking News at JTA
The U.N. Security Council is set to consider expanded sanctions against Iran.

Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to accept a Saudi proposal for a regional peace deal.

kathleen said...

Calling out Satterfield
By Ron Kampeas
USGO-2 will be taking your questions now.

If that sounds cryptic it's not entirely inappropriate – USGO-2 is kind of cryptic. He's otherwiseknown as David Satterfield, the top Iraq adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But, as U.S. Government Official no. 2, he's the unindicted co-conspirator
in the classified information case against Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, respectively the former foreign policy chief and top Iran analyst for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Count one in the August 2005 indictment includes meetings between Rosen and USGO-2 as an "overt act," in which Satterfield – then second in charge at the State Department's Middle East section – allegedly relayed classified information to Rosen, and which Rosen allegedly re-relayed to colleagues at AIPAC and to Israeli officials.

So why is Rosen out of a job, under constant FBI watch and facing an Espionage Act trial -- and Satterfield climbing the diplomatic ladder? It's a question begging for an answer. And while Satterfield appears frequently before Jewish audiences, no one asks it.

Next opportunity: March 27 at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, when Satterfield speaks on "Iraq: Prospects for Peace at Home and Progress with its Neighbors." WINEP was, after all, spun off from AIPAC back in the late 1980s, its events are attended by the pro-Israel community's best and brightest and I know that a lot of its staff's attitude toward the Rosen-Weissman case can be summed up in the unexpandable acronym, WTF?

In fact, there are a lot of folks who interact with Satterfield who should be curious about this case, not least journalist. The unprecedented use in this case of a 1917 statute criminalizing the receipt of classified information could seriously crimp our profession if prosecutors are successful.

Was Satterfield setting Rosen up? Was the information classified? Larry Franklin, the midlevel Pentagon analyst whose guilty plea in the same case helped spur it forward, is facing hard time, so why not Satterfield? In fact, all sides in the case acknowledge that "leakers" like Franklin – or, allegedly, Satterfield - are more vulnerable under legal precedent than "leakees."

The defense wants to haul in a bunch of U.S. officials, not least including Satterfield's boss, Rice. Whether they're successful will be determined in the next pre-trial phase, due to begin next month, when the prosecution is likely to challenge much of the witness list. (The trial itself is set to begin on June 4.)

The federal judge in the case, T.S. Ellis III, has, however, already made it clear to the prosecution that he will not countenance a challenge to Satterfield's testimony – but that still doesn't mean Satterfield will testify. Satterfield may be able to shield himself behind State Department rules that allow the government to keep diplomats off the witness stand. Those rules might not hold in this case, and the defense is sure to challenge them if the department makes the effort. But meantime, it's worth asking – does Satterfield even intend on invoking the rules that would bar him from testifying?

In case you're wondering, yes, I've asked him. That ended that short interview ("No comment, gotta go" was more or less the reply). Doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying. I'll be there Tuesday, but I'm leaving it up to others to ask.

In case you're also wondering, USGO-1 is Kenneth Pollack, who met with Rosen and Weissman in 2000 when he was a Clinton administration national security councilor. Pollack, unlike Satterfield, does talk: He says he did not relay classified information to the two (in fairness, the indictment does not clearly allege that he did – only that he had access to classified information that Rosen allegedly relayed to a journalist later in the day.) Pollack, also, is not charged. The defense wants him

kathleen said...

This is at Talking points (josh marshall) worth the peak.

(Take what we can get, says Arlen. Check out this exchange this morning between Sens. Specter (R-PA) and Leahy (D-VT) on whether the senate Judiciary Committee should issue subpoenas.

Leahy says "nothing nothing, nothing." Leahy has obviously had enough of the Bushshit!

kathleen said...

The defense wants him (Pollack) to take the stand.

Saladin said...

"The peculiar anti-Gore constituency is doing a remarkable thing. They have guaranteed that some reasonable fence-sitters on climate change have hopped off the fence and joined the Gore Group."

That's handy. It has occurred to me that the "peculiar" anti-gore constituency just happens to be made up of certified psychopaths. And it is quite a coincidence that they never bring up the truly independent research that's out there, I can find it, it isn't hard. Instead, the driving force is the fascist right corporate nazis, coincidentally the only opposition the MSM even bothers with, that don't have a shred of credibility and anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows it. So, we have the planetary savior gore vs. the right-wing nut jerks that everyone hates. Really, quite handy. Sounds like a winning ticket to me! And not even a speck of reason for even the tiniest bit of skepticism. Because as we all know, they would NEVER lie to the people or try to trick them into going along with the agenda.

“We shall have world government whether or not you like it, by conquest or consent.”
Statement by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member James Warburg to The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 17th, l950

Winning ticket indeed. Looks like it will be by consent.

Capt, I have a question you may be able to answer. I have been searching all over the web for any calculations regarding overall energy savings re: CFL bulbs and incandescent. Now, I know that in individual homes they use less energy and are more economical. But what I'm wondering is what the total energy use is when adding the manufacture of these bulbs, they contain significantly more material which must be mined, and also the energy required to recycle them, they contain trace amounts of Mercury and are considered hazardous waste. Assuming most people will not just toss them in the trash, which alone will create a disaster, how can I figure out the real energy consumed when adding these factors?

capt said...

Dave Lindorff: Congressional Democrats are a Pathetic Embarrassment

What a pathetic joke this nominally Democratic Congress has proven to be.

Despite polls showing 6 in 10 Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq ASAP, the best that this crew can come up with is a call - not binding, or course - for the president to pull out the troops by next spring or even summer. That would be over a year from now, and more than five years (!) into this criminal and incredibly stupid war.

At the rate things are going, it would also be perhaps 1,000 more dead Americans, 14,000 more gravely wounded Americans, and 100,000-150,000 more dead Iraqis later.

And in offering this limp request, Congress is in the process of approving the appropriation of another $124 billion in spending on the War in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan.

This is action? They could be blocking that funding altogether, and shutting the damned war down. Why can't Democrats, who were put in their position of power in Congress by the voters, at least show the courage and principle of Republican Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who is opposing the funding and says, "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."


capt said...


The best collection of data on CFL I have found is: HERE

A little bit about the big picture - I read that in Australia if they replaced all old bulbs with new CFL's they could eliminate the need for 8 coal fired power plants.


Saladin said...

Thanks Capt, I'll check it out.

micki said...


Antarctic melting may be speeding up - scientists
Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:36 PM IST

By Michael Byrnes

HOBART (Reuters) - Rising sea levels and melting polar ice-sheets are at upper limits of projections, leaving some human population centres already unable to cope, top world scientists say as they analyse latest satellite data.

A United Nations report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February projected sea level gains of 18-59 centimetres (7-23 inches) this century from temperature rises of 1.8-4.0 Celsius (3.2-7.8 Farenheit).

"Observations are in the very upper edge of the projections," leading Australian marine scientist John Church told Reuters.

"I feel that we're getting uncomfortably close to threshhold," said Church, of Australia's CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research said.

Past this level, parts of the Antarctic and Greenland would approach a virtually irreversible melting that would produce sea level rises of metres, he said.

There has been no repeat in the Antarctic of the 2002 break-up of part of the Larsen ice shelf that created a 500 billion tonne iceberg as big as Luxembourg.

But the Antarctic Peninsula is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, and glaciers are in massive retreat.

"There have been doomsday scenarios that west Antarctica could collapse quite quickly. And there's six metres of sea level in west Antarctica," says Tas van Ommen, a glaciologist at the Hobart-based Australian Antarctic Division.

Doomsday has not yet arrived.

But even in east Antarctica, which is insulated from global warming by extreme cold temperatures and high-altitudes, new information shows the height of the Tottenham Glacier near Australia's Casey Base has fallen by 10 metres over 15-16 years.


Scientists say massive glacier retreat at Heard Island, 1,000 km (620 miles) north of Antarctica, is an example of how fringe areas of the polar region are melting.

The break-up of ice in Antarctica to create icebergs is also opening pathways for accelerated flows to the sea by glaciers.

Church pointed out that sea levels were 4-6 metres higher more than 100,000 years ago when temperatures were at levels expected to be reached at the end of this century.

Dynamic ice-flows could add 25 percent to IPCC forecasts of sea level rise, van Ommen said.

Australian scientist John Hunter, who has focused on historical sea level information, said that to keep the sea water out, communities would need to begin raising sea walls.

"There's lots of places where you can't do that and where you'll have to put up with actual flooding," he said.

This was already happening in the south of England, where local councils and governments could not afford to protect all areas from sea water erosion as land continued to sink.

About 100 million people around the world live within a metre of the present-day sea level, CSIRO Marine Research senior principal research scientist Steve Rintoul said. "Those 100 million people will need to go somewhere," he said.

Worse, every metre of sea level rise causes an inland recession of around 100 metres (300 feet) and more erosion occurs with every storm.

"You can't just say we'll just put sea walls," Hunter said.

capt said...

Men do less than they ought, unless they do all that they can. -- Thomas Carlyle

He who allows oppression, shares the crime. -- Erasmus Darwin

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. -- Paulo Freire

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade-unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up. -- attributed to Rev. Martin Niemoller

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others. -- Lewis Carroll


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island

For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas. Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean reports

Published: 24 December 2006

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.


capt said...

New Thread!