Friday, March 16, 2007

Valerie Plame Speaks

From my "Capital Games" column at

Okay, can we finally get rid of one of the Libby Lobby's key talking points--that Valerie Plame Wilson was not an undercover CIA employee? This should be one outcome of the House oversight and government reform committee hearing on Friday, at which Valerie Wilson spoke for the first time at length about the leak case.

From the start of this scandal, confederates of the Bush White House (and backers of the war) have tried to diminish the significance of the administration leak that outed her as a CIA officer (as both legal and national security matters). Conservatives insisted she was not a clandestine officer doing anything important and that her employment at the CIA was either no big secret or no secret at all. A brief sampling:

* On September 29, 2003, former Republican Party spokesman Clifford May wrote that the July 14, 2003 Robert Novak column that disclosed Valerie Wilson's CIA connection "wasn't news to me. I had been told that--but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhand manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of."

* On September 30, 2003, National Review writer Jonah Goldberg huffed, "Wilson's wife is a desk jockey and much of the Washington cocktail circuit knew that already."

* On October 1, 2003, Novak wrote, "How big a secret was it? It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA....[A]n unofficial source at the agency says she has been an analyst, not in covert operations."

* On July 17, 2005, Republican Representative Roy Blunt, then the House majority leader, said on Face the Nation, "This was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day."

* On February 18, 2007, as the Libby trial was under way, Republican lawyer/operative Victoria Toensing asserted in The Washington Post, "Plame was not covert."

Anyone who has read Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, by Michael Isikoff and me, would know (as we disclosed for the first time) that Valerie Wilson was the undercover operations chief for the Joint Task Force on Iraq of the Counterproliferation Division, a unit of the agency's clandestine operations directorate. (See my piece, "What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA," here.) Both the book and the article reported that she had traveled overseas--undercover--within the five years before her name appeared in the Novak column.

There was other evidence--official evidence--that she had been a covert officer at the CIA. When special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Libby in October 2005, he said that Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified information. (He repeated that at the trial.) And in a January 2004 letter to Democratic Representative John Conyers, the CIA noted that the Valerie Wilson's CIA employment status was "classified information."

Now comes the victim of the leak. Testifying to the committee, Valerie Wilson reported that the CIA still prohibits her from saying much about her CIA career. (The agency has held up the publication of her memoirs, claiming at one point that she cannot acknowledge working for the CIA prior to 2002.) But Plame was able to tell the committee, "I was a covert officer." She said she helped to "manage and run operations." She noted that prior to the Iraq war she had "raced to discover intelligence" on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions," she said under oath, "to find vital intelligence." She said these trips had occurred within the past five years. She added that she could "count on one hand" the number of people outside the CIA who knew of her employment at the agency: "It was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit." She also explained that a covert officer at the CIA is "just like a general" who may spend time commanding troops in Afghanistan and then return to the Pentagon before heading off to another theater: "Covert operations officers, when they rotate back for temporary assignment in Washington, are still covert."

Before she testified, Representative Henry Waxman, the committee chairman, read an opening statement in which he said that Valerie Wilson had been a "covert" officer" who had "served at various times overseas" and "worked on the prevention of the development and use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States." Waxman noted that the CIA had cleared this statement. And during the questioning period, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings reported that General Michael Hayden, the CIA director, had told him, "Ms. Wilson was covert."

Will Toensing, Novak, May, Blunt, Goldberg and others admit they got this wrong? Perhaps even apologize to Valerie Wilson for misinforming the public about her clandestine public service? At the least, they should stop repeating the canard she was not a covert officer. (Victoria Toensing, this means you.)

At the hearing, other aspects of the leak affair were discussed. Valerie Wilson noted she certainly didn't know if any of the administration officials who disseminated information about her (Libby, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Richard Armitage) realized she was undercover. But she added, "They should have been diligent in protecting me and other CIA officers." She explained that many employees of the CPD--where she worked--are covert, suggesting that Cheney and Libby (who both knew she was employed in that division) should have been careful in handling information about her.

One lingering question in the leak scandal is how much damage was done by the disclosure of her CIA connection. Her career as an operations officer was derailed. But were past or present operations blown? Specific sources and contacts endangered? Wilson testified that the CIA did a damage assessment but did not share it with her.

Wilson also addressed the issue of whether she dispatched her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, on his February 2002 trip to Niger, where he concluded there was not much to the allegation that Iraq had been uranium-shopping there. For years, White House allies have tried to dismiss the importance of Wilson's trip by suggesting he was not qualified for the mission and had been sent (perhaps on a nepotistic junket) by his wife. They have pointed to a Senate intelligence committee report that suggested Valerie Wilson was instrumental in sending him. Before the House committee, she testified that she did not have the authority to dispatch her husband on such a trip, that a coworker had the idea to send Joe Wilson (who years earlier had taken on a similar assignment for the Counterproliferation Division), and that she had merely been asked to write a note confirming her husband's credentials. She also said that a colleague was misquoted within the Senate intelligence committee report (saying she had proposed her husband for the trip) and that this colleague subsequently was prevented by a superior from sending the committee a memo correcting the record. In other words, her husband's detractors have overplayed this angle. (By the way, much of this story was reported in Hubris.) Democrats on the committee said they would ask the CIA for a copy of the smothered memo.

After Valerie Wilson, who left the CIA in early 2006, finished, Waxman declared, "We need an investigation. This is not about Scooter Libby and not just about Valerie Plame Wilson." Waxman was right in that the Libby trial did not answer all the questions about the leak affair, especially those about the roles of Bush administration officials other than Libby. How did Cheney learn of Valerie Wilson's employment at the Counterproliferation Division and what did he do with that information? How did Karl Rove learn of her CIA connection? How did Rove manage to keep his job after the White House declared anyone involved in the leak would be fired? (Rove confirmed Armitage's leak to Novak and leaked information about Valerie Wilson's CIA employment to Matt Cooper, then of Time.) What did Bush know about Cheney's and Rove's actions? What did Bush do in response to the disclosure that Rove had leaked and had falsely claimed to White House press secretary Scott McClellan that he wasn't involved in the leak?

Representative Tom Davis, the senior Republican on the committee, seemed rather unhappy about the prospect of a committee inquiry and noted that Fitzgerald already had investigated the leak for years. Fitzgerald's mission, though, was to determine if a crime had been committed. Not all wrongdoing in Washington is criminal. Valerie Wilson's presence at the hearing was a reminder that White House officials (beyond Libby) engaged in improper conduct (which possibly threatened national security) and lied about it--while their comrades in the commentariat spinned away to distort the public debate.

The world's most famous CIA officer finally had her say in public. Her testimony showed that critical parts of the leak story remain unknown. Given that she and her husband are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the leakers (Rove, Libby, Armitage, Cheney and others), that she is battling the CIA to publish her memoirs, and that Waxman is considering mounting a congressional investigation, the tale of the CIA officer outed into the cold is not yet done

Posted by David Corn at March 16, 2007 01:35 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Great piece!



capt said...

Ex-CIA operative: Leak severely hurt U.S. intelligence


During her appearance Friday, Plame Wilson said, "testimony in the criminal trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, who has now been convicted of serious crimes, indicates that my exposure arose from purely political motives."

She said of President Bush's political aide, "Karl Rove clearly was involved in leaking my name, and he still carries a security clearance to this day, despite the president's words ... that he would immediately dismiss anyone who had anything to do with this."


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

STILL we will all hear the same lies over and over. I bet the true believers will continue to truly believe in the lies - it is all they have.


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- Not outed into the cold.

Outed in from the cold...

capt said...


A person who says he is from your credit card company calls you, telling you he is trying to verify a recent charge to your account that the company has flagged as being suspicious. He details a transaction that you are unfamiliar with, and you confirm that it was not made by you. The caller says the company will credit your account for the amount, but he first needs to verify your personal information. The caller reads you your correct address and phone number. He then informs you that the company must verify that you are still in possession of your card and asks you to read him the three-digit security code from the back of your card.

This is the information he is really looking for -- the only information about your account that he didn’t already have. The Lesson Never provide your personal information to someone unless you know who you are speaking to. If you receive a call or an e-mail that informs you that fraud is suspected on your account, call or contact the credit card company yourself, using a customer service number from your monthly statement or another trusted source so that you can verify that the inquiry is a legitimate one.

capt said...

Plame questioning stinks of partisanship

Valerie Plame just finished testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (video right), marking the first time she has publicly answered questions about her 2003 outing as a covert CIA operative by White House operatives. Notably, Plame cited the "terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover" and suggested that others may think twice about working for and with the CIA "if our government cannot even protect my identity."

At the beginning of the hearing, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) explained that it was not Congress' job "to determine criminal culpability, but it is out job to determine what went wrong and insist on accountability." By the end of the session, he was grumbling, "Facts are not Republican or Democratic."

His consternation followed a shocking display of partisanship, as Republicans questioned at length whether Plame was even covert. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) was a particular disgrace, demanding to know whether Plame was a Democrat or a Republican, to which Plame responded, "I am a Democrat." The hypocrisy of Westmoreland accusing Plame (and her husband) of being partisan hacks during that session would have been laughable if it weren’t so profoundly infuriating.

Tom Davis (R-VA) dismissed the entire thing as "more like a CIA problem than a White House problem." Plame nonetheless pointed out that it was senior officials at the White House and State Department who "carelessly and recklessly" outed her, that the president promised to remove anyone associated with the leak, but that Karl Rove is still there. Oof.

Evan Adds:

In the second video, Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland is "shocked" that the White House's Office of Security (directed by Dr. James Knodell, questioned in the video) never initiated any kind of investigation to "at the very least" determine whether security clearances needed to be revoked (cough...Rove... cough).

Or, like, as the president himself promised, whether it was important to get to the bottom of the damaging outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent working to GET INTELLIGENCE ON IRAN, the administration's current bogeyman.

Knodell takes a stab at claiming that they didn't have to do it because of the Fitzgerald investigation -- Chairman Waxman calls Bullshit...


capt said...

Governor signs tax cuts for military, working poor

SANTA FE (AP) - Gov. Bill Richardson signed into law a measure that will give a tax break to thousands of lower- and middle-income New Mexico families.

The law provides tax cuts of about $50 million in the coming year.

It also removes the state’s personal income tax from government salaries paid to active duty military personnel.

Richardson calls the measure the centerpiece a tax-cutting package he and lawmakers had agreed upon as the Legislature nears adjournment Saturday.

He says New Mexico’s strong financial condition made tax cuts possible.

One provision will create a refundable income tax credit called the "working families tax credit."

An estimated 200,000 New Mexico families could qualify for a credit averaging $144.


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

NM has had a budget surplus (if such a thing really exists) due to higher gas prices. NM taxes gas as a percentage of total sale so when the price soars so does the state coffers. Still I like Bill Richardson and he has not made too many dumb moves in the state government.

$144 seems like nothing but every little bit has to help.


capt said...

Mexico City embraces gay unions

The first civil partnerships among same-sex couples in Mexico City have been celebrated under new legislation.

The law, which came into effect in the capital on Friday, gives gay couples similar social and inheritance rights as heterosexual couples.

Civil unions were approved by the city council in November despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.

Some MPs of President Felipe Calderon's conservative party are filing a court challenge against the gay unions.

They argue that the partnerships violate constitutional protection of the family.


Among the first Mexico City same-sex couples to tie the knot were journalist Antonio Medina, 38, and economist Jorge Cerpa, 31.

Mr Medina said: "With this law, a history of exclusion comes to an end. Today, the love that before did not dare speak its name has now entered the public spotlight."

Although the capital was the first to pass the same-sex law in Mexico, similar legislation came into effect earlier in the northern border state of Coahuila.

A lesbian couple registered their union on 31 January.

Julio Cesar Moreno, a local councillor who oversaw another union in Mexico City on Friday, said: "The era of plurality and diversity is permeating Mexico City."

The new laws do not afford same-sex couples all legal marital rights, particularly on adoption.

In 2003, Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex unions.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

This just in: KSM confesses to using witchcraft to go back in time and shoot President McKinley. :)

Saladin said...

Capt, tax cuts for the working poor, (they shouldn't have to pay any tax at or under poverty level) are the ONLY thing that really helps, no matter how small.

IBW, I heard he was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic, the iceberg story was just a cover!

Saladin said...

U.S. to expand Iraq prisons
The United States decided to expand its major detention centers in Iraq after military officials predicted that the ongoing security crackdown in Baghdad will add hundreds or thousands of prisoners to the 17,000 detainees already in U.S. custody, an army spokesman said.
Amerika, liberator of life, liberty AND freedom! Don't like occupation? Straight to jail with you, do NOT collect $200.

capt said...

Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit on Not Forgetting New Orleans

[Note to Tomdispatch readers: A small addition to my Tuesday post, "A Journalist Writing Bloody Murder... And No One Notices": With a little help, I finally came across a single newspaper editorial on Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece, "The Redirection." It appeared in Alabama's Decatur Daily under the headline, "Unintended Consequence: U.S. Funding Radical Islam." If anyone has seen a similar editorial anywhere, please write me. If you feel in the mood to be grimly amused, check out a small piece I posted at the Nation Magazine's The Notion blog, "An Ambassador, An Iraqi, and a Penguin."]

So Halliburton is leaving the neighborhood. If I were you, I'd start selling. It's a sign that property values are heading down in looted and Katrina-tized America. With full protestations that it really isn't going anywhere, Halliburton, with its $19 billion in Pentagon contracts, with its $2.7 billion in estimated Iraq overcharges, is moving its headquarters to Dubai, the Las Vegas of the Middle East where almost anyone is welcome to plot almost anything on the indoor ski slopes or private mini-islands. If I were the head of Halliburton, I'd be heading for Dubai, too, or at least for parts unknown while the Bush administration is still in office and I still had a roof over my head. Enron's Ken Lay could have taken a tip or two from Halliburton Chief Executive David Lesar on the subject. Far too late now, of course. And I wonder whether Al Neffgen, the ex-Halliburton exec running the privatized company, IAP Worldwide Services, that was put in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2006 as part of the privatization of the military, might be considering a holiday there as well. No mold, no rats (other than the human kind), just honest sun and sand, surf and turf, oil money and… well, everything that goes with it.

We always knew that there was a link between Iraq, hit by a purely human-made flood of catastrophe, and Katrina, which had a helping hand from nature. Halliburton had a hand in both, of course, picking up some of the earliest contracts for the "reconstruction" of each -- the results of which are now obvious to all (even undoubtedly from Dubai). The inability of either the Bush administration or its chronically cost-overrun crony corporations to genuinely reconstruct anything is now common knowledge. But it's worth remembering that, though the disaster of Iraq's "reconstruction" preceded it, Hurricane Katrina was the Brownie-heck-of-a-job moment that revealed the reality of the Bush administration to most Americans.

The various privatization-style lootings and catastrophes since then have all been clearer for that. Katrina, in fact, has become a catch-word for them. So when the Bush administration's treatment of the wounded -- though reported well beforehand -- suddenly became the headline du jour, it was also a Katrina-comparison scandal. ("Dems Call Walter Reed Scandal ‘Katrina of 2007";"The Katrina of Veteran's Care"; "Like Brownie in Katrina, Rummy did 'a heckuva job.' So has Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, Army surgeon general, who commanded Walter Reed from 2002 to 2004.")

As Rebecca Solnit so eloquently reminds us below, however, Katrina isn't simply some comparison point from the past, a piece of horrific history to keep in mind; it's an on-going, never-ending demonstration that we have been changed from a can-do to a can't-do society (except perhaps at the neighborhood level). Katrina, the hurricane, was then; Katrina, the New Orleans catastrophe, is right now and, given what we know about government today, that "right now" is likely to stretch into the interminable future. Solnit is Tomdispatch's ray of hope (and the author of the remarkable book Hope in the Dark), but also the writer who deals with the largest of disasters. And here she is, as always not to be missed. Tom


capt said...

Neocons in Cheney's Office Fund al Qaeda-Tied Groups ... and No One Cares?

Seymour Hersh's recent report that Iran-Contra veterans working out of Dick Cheney's office are using stolen funds from Iraq to arm al Qaeda-tied groups and foment a larger Sunni-Shia war is a very big deal.

Let me see if I've got this straight.

Perhaps two years ago, an "informal" meeting of "veterans" of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal -- holding positions in the Bush administration -- was convened by Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams. Discussed were the "lessons learned" from that labyrinthine, secret, and illegal arms-for-money-for-arms deal involving the Israelis, the Iranians, the Saudis, and the Contras of Nicaragua, among others -- and meant to evade the Boland Amendment, a congressionally passed attempt to outlaw Reagan administration assistance to the anti-communist Contras.

In terms of getting around Congress, the Iran-Contra vets concluded, the complex operation had been a success -- and would have worked far better if the CIA and the military had been kept out of the loop and the whole thing had been run out of the Vice President's office.

Subsequently, some of those conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the Brits), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Cheney's office. They dipped into "black pools of money," possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the American occupation began.

Some of these funds, as well as Saudi ones, were evidently funneled through the embattled, Sunni-dominated Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the sort of Sunni jihadi groups ("some sympathetic to al-Qaeda") whose members might normally fear ending up in Guantanamo and to a group, or groups, associated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

All of this was being done as part of a "sea change" in the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policies aimed at rallying friendly Sunni regimes against Shiite Iran, as well as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Syrian government -- and launching secret operations to undermine, roll back, or destroy all of the above. Despite the fact that the Bush administration is officially at war with Sunni extremism in Iraq (and in the more general Global War on Terror), despite its support for the largely Shiite government, allied to Iran, that it has brought to power in Iraq, and despite its dislike for the Sunni-Shiite civil war in that country, some of its top officials may be covertly encouraging a far greater Sunni-Shiite rift in the region.

Imagine. All this and much more (including news of U.S. military border-crossings into Iran, new preparations that would allow George W. Bush to order a massive air attack on that land with only 24-hours notice, and a brief window this spring when the staggering power of four U.S. aircraft-carrier battle groups might be available to the President in the Persian Gulf) was revealed, often in remarkable detail, just over a week ago in "The Redirection," a Seymour Hersh piece in the New Yorker. Hersh, the man who first broke the My Lai story in the Vietnam era, has never been off his game since. In recent years, from the Abu Ghraib scandal on, he has consistently released explosive news about the plans and acts of the Bush administration.

Imagine, in addition, that Hersh went on Democracy Now!, Fresh Air, Hardball with Chris Matthew, and CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and actually elaborated on these claims and revelations, some of which, on the face of it, seem like potentially illegal and impeachable offenses, if they do indeed reach up to the Vice President or President.


Saladin said...

Capt, but they didn't have a darn thing to do with 9/11, right? They would NEVER do anything like that, not to us, not to Amerika!

capt said...


They are as nefarious a bunch of criminals as the planet has ever seen - bar none.

When the ends justify the means anything goes.


Saladin said...

Short video

The Easiest Targets

...New Jersey stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid describes being strip-searched at Ben Gurion Airport when she was "seven, eight, nine years old" on family trips to visit her parents' original home in Palestine. On her most recent trip in July 2006, Maysoon, an American citizen, had her sanitary pad taken by officials in Ben Gurion Airport. When the search was completed, she says, the Israeli official in charge, Inbal Sharon, then refused to return her pad or allow her to get another.

Zayid, who has cerebral palsy and was sitting in a wheelchair, was then forced to bleed publicly for hours while she waited for her flight.

Zayid, a former class president and yearbook editor at New Jersey's Cliffside Park High School known for her irreverent comedy routines and strong personality, describes sobbing uncontrollably. "No one spoke up," she remembers. "There were several women, including the woman who was pushing my wheelchair, none of whom said a word."

When she boarded her flight, Zayid recalls, "The flight attendants looked at me in disgust." She told them what had happened, and the attendants then gave her some of their own clothing to use.

In addition to taking her sanitary napkin, Israeli officials also confiscated medication that Zayid is required to take when flying. As a result, she vomited repeatedly throughout the 12-hour flight.
Israel to Palestinians, "Get out and STAY out!"

capt said...

Selma to Montgomery marches

21 March 1965 – Martin Luther King, Jr. leads over 3,000 civil rights demonstrators on a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (Questia)

The Selma to Montgomery marches, which included Bloody Sunday, were three marches that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They were the culmination of the movement in Selma, Alabama for voting rights, launched by Amelia Boynton Robinson and her husband, who brought many prominent leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement to Selma, including Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Bevel, and Hosea Williams. "Bloody Sunday" occurred on March 7, 1965, when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. Only the third, and last, march successfully made it into Montgomery. The route is memorialized as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

The third march

A week after Reeb's death, the federal judge ruled in favor of the SCLC, preventing the State from blocking the marchers, weighing the right of mobility against the right to march:

The law is clear that the right to petition one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups . . . and these rights may be exercised by marching, even along public highways.

The marchers reached Montgomery on March 24 and camped out at the Catholic complex City of St. Jude. That night, a "Stars for Freedom" rally was held, with singers Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Sammy Davis, Jr. all performing. By the next day, Thursday, March 25, their numbers had swelled to 25,000, and King delivered the speech "How Long, Not Long" from the capitol steps.

Within five months of the third march, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Amelia Boynton Robinson was present during the ceremony.


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

3,000 seems like such a small number for such a huge impact. AND it took THREE marches.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead


capt said...

President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours

March 17, 2003.

President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation The Cross Hall


It might be a good day to send Bunnypants a message.


Robert S said...

War Anniversary Draws Protesters to D.C.
Published: March 17, 2007
Filed at 11:34 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hundreds of anti-war demonstrators and supporters of the U.S. policy in Iraq shouted at each other Saturday from opposite sides of a street bordering the National Mall as protesters formed a march to the Pentagon to denounce a war entering its fifth year.

The anti-war group carried signs saying ''U.S. Out of Iraq Now,'' ''Stop Iraq War, No Iran War, Impeach'' and ''Illegal Combat.'' The other side carried signs saying ''Peace Through Strength,'' ''al-Qaida Appeasers On Parade'' and ''We Are At War, Liberals Root For the Enemy.''

Police on horseback and foot separated the demonstrators, who were on opposite sides of Constitution Avenue in view of the Lincoln Memorial. Barriers also kept them apart.

Cheryl Davis, 62, a library assistant from Celina, Ohio, endured a nine-hour overnight drive in the wake of a late-winter storm to raise her voice against the conflict that has killed more than 3,200 members of the U.S. armed forces. ''I just want peace,'' she said. ''I just have to do my part.'' She had supported the Vietnam War when her ex-husband fought in it.

Protesters met at the starting point of the epic 1967 march on the Pentagon, which began peacefully but turned ugly in clashes between authorities and more radical elements of the crowd. More than 600 were arrested that day. It was there that anti-war activist Abbie Hoffman led the masses in chants, with the fanciful goal of levitating the building.

Saturday's march was the main event in demonstrations around the country, stretching to the anniversary of the invasion Tuesday.

Police on horses ensured anti-war protesters and counterdemonstrators stayed apart at the staging area. Several thousand people, many of them service members, rallied in support of the war. They played ''The Battle Hymn of the Republic;'' the anti-war crowd danced to Stevie Wonder's ''Superstition.''

Veterans, some from the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group, lined up at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

''I'm not sure I'm in support of the war,'' said William ''Skip'' Publicover of Charleston, S.C., who was a swift boat gunner in Vietnam and lost two friends whose names are etched on the memorial's wall. ''I learned in Vietnam that it's difficult if not impossible to win the hearts and minds of the people.''

Park Police Lt. Scott Fear said more than 200 people were arrested from a crowd of several thousand protesters who marched to the White House on Friday night after a peace service at the Washington National Cathedral. Those arrested were handcuffed, taken away on buses and fined $100 for disobeying a lawful order or crossing a police line. They had demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the White House, where protesters are required to continue moving.

The windows of the White House were dark, as President Bush was away for the weekend at Camp David in Maryland.

The church service and weekend protests drew John Pattison, 29, from Portland, Ore., to his first anti-war rally. He said his opposition to the war had developed over time.

''Quite literally on the night that shock and awe commenced, my friend and I toasted the military might of the United States,'' Pattison said. ''We were quite proud and thought we were doing the right thing.''

He said the way the war had progressed and U.S. foreign policy since then had forced him to question his beliefs.


But, gee whiz, the lede gave the impression of only hundreds, and in equal measure, pro and con.

As I get ready to take it into the streets, again, today.

Interesting little tidbit, at the end of the hearing, Waxman leaves the record open, just in case Victoria Toensing has second thoughts about her testimony...

Anonymous said...

wtc 7

Posted by ro on March 15th at 4:38pm in in the news
at 5 30 pm

9 11 2001
wtc7 collapsed

for the third time in history
fire brought down a steel building
reducing it to rubble
hold on folks
here we go

* The fires in WTC 7 were not evenly distributed, so a perfect collapse was impossible.

* Silverstein said to the fire department commander "the smartest thing to do is pull it."

* Firefighters withdrawing from the area stated the building was going to "blow up".

* The roof of WTC 7 visibly crumbled and the building collapsed perfectly into its footprint.

* Molten steel and partially evaporated steel members were found in the debris.

[WTC 7] contained offices of the FBI, Department of Defense, IRS (which contained prodigious amounts of corporate tax fraud, including Enron’s), US Secret Service, Securities & Exchange Commission (with more stock fraud records), and Citibank’s Salomon Smith Barney, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and many other financial institutions. [Online Journal]

The SEC has not quantified the number of active cases in which substantial files were destroyed [by the collapse of WTC 7]. Reuters news service and the Los Angeles Times published reports estimating them at 3,000 to 4,000. They include the agency’s major inquiry into the manner in which investment banks divvied up hot shares of initial public offerings during the high-tech boom. …"Ongoing investigations at the New York SEC will be dramatically affected because so much of their work is paper-intensive," said Max Berger of New York’s Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann. "This is a disaster for these cases." [New York Lawyer]

Citigroup says some information that the committee is seeking [about WorldCom] was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terror attack on the World Trade Center. Salomon had offices in 7 World Trade Center, one of the buildings that collapsed in the aftermath of the attack. The bank says that back-up tapes of corporate emails from September 1998 through December 2000 were stored at the building and destroyed in the attack. [TheStreet]

Inside [WTC 7 was] the US Secret Service’s largest field office with more than 200 employees. …"All the evidence that we stored at 7 World Trade, in all our cases, went down with the building," according to US Secret Service Special Agent David Curran. [TechTV]

lets start here
ok…go slow
remember 2 breathe
use google

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

So now we're funding AL-QAIDA's buddies.

Flying. H. Spaghetti. Monster.

Who was it that said "no matter how cynical you try to be, you just can't keep up?"

OH, this just in: KSM confessed to having put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop. However, he still denies having put the ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong.

I simply must sleep, so ciao for niao.

From the swamps of Arkansas, IBW

Robert S said...

Why KSM's Confession Rings False
By Robert Baer
TIME Magazine
Thursday 15 March 2007

It's hard to tell what the Pentagon's objective really is in releasing the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession. It certainly suggests the Administration is trying to blame KSM for al-Qaeda terrorism, leading us to believe we've caught the master terrorist and that al-Qaeda, and especially the ever-elusive bin Laden, is no longer a threat to the U.S.

But there is a major flaw in that marketing strategy. On the face of it, KSM, as he is known inside the government, comes across as boasting, at times mentally unstable. It's also clear he is making things up. I'm told by people involved in the investigation that KSM was present during Wall Street Journal correspondent Danny Pearl's execution but was in fact not the person who killed him. There exists videotape footage of the execution that minimizes KSM's role. And if KSM did indeed exaggerate his role in the Pearl murder, it raises the question of just what else he has exaggerated, or outright fabricated.

Just as importantly, there is an absence of collateral evidence that would support KSM's story. KSM claims he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation from A-Z." Yet he has omitted details that would support his role. For instance, one of the more intriguing mysteries is who recruited and vetted the fifteen Saudi hijackers, the so-called "muscle." The well-founded suspicion is that Qaeda was running a cell inside the Kingdom that spotted these young men and forwarded them to al-Qaeda. KSM and al-Qaeda often appear bumbling, but they would never have accepted recruits they couldn't count on. KSM does not offer us an answer as to how this worked.

KSM has also not offered evidence of state support to al-Qaeda, though there is good evidence there was, even at a low level. KSM himself was harbored by a member of Qatar's royal family after he was indicted in the U.S. for the Bojinka plot — a plan to bomb twelve American airplanes over the Pacific. KSM and al-Qaeda also received aid from supporters in Pakistan, quite possibly from sympathizers in the Pakistani intelligence service. KSM provides no details that would suggest we are getting the full story from him.

Although he claims to have been al-Qaeda's foreign operations chief, he has offered no information about European networks. Today, dozens of investigations are going on in Great Britain surrounding the London tube bombings on July 7, 2005. Yet KSM apparently knew nothing about these networks or has not told his interrogators about them.

The fact is al-Qaeda is too smart to put all of its eggs in one basket. It has not and does not have a field commander, the role KSM has arrogated. It works on the basis of "weak links," mounting terrorist operations by bringing in people on an ad hoc basis, and immediately disbanding the group afterwards.

Until we hear more, the mystery of who KSM is and what he was responsible for is still a mystery.


Will the real Abu Ben Bubbie please stand up..........from Get Smart, The Man from Y.E.N.T.A.

capt said...


"No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up."
~ Lily Tomlin (1939 - )

Robert S said...

A Completely Incoherent Rant
by Stephen Pizzo | Mar 16 2007 - 10:26am

I am in quite a state, as you will see. Sometimes writing about the kind of stuff I focus on is damn near impossible. I mean, when events themselves become more cynical than anything I can concoct, why bother.

It's been that kind of month. No matter where I look I find reality has out-cynicaled me. And it's not just the usual suspects on the right running amok, either.



Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. - Tom Lehrer

Robert S said...

Lyrics to leave by...

as I head out the door.

With that old sorry feeling

that We've done this before.

And I know that tomorrow

I'll do it again

and over and over


Jackson Browne › Lives In The Balance

Ive been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And theres a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the t.v.
You hear one thing again and again
How the u.s.a. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally cant take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Theres a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we cant even say the names

They sell us the president the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But theyre never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire


Thanks to Jackson Browne, who is scheduled to play, today, in the streets of L.A. along with Ozomatli...thanks to them as well...

capt said...

Afghan opium crop booms

GANDAMAK, Afghanistan -- On a dirt road leading into Afghanistan's White Mountains, there is a sign bearing American and Afghan flags that looks eerily out of place.

"This project has been undertaken by the Islamic Government of Afghanistan with the financial assistance of the people of the United States of America," it reads. The sign, which marks a defunct crop-substitution scheme, sits squarely in a field of freshly seeded Afghan poppies, whose deadly buds produce 90 percent of the world's high-grade heroin.

Afghanistan is about to produce another bumper crop of opium, and narcotics specialists predict another major increase over last year's 60 percent rise in poppy cultivation. The number of Afghans involved in the illicit trade, either as farmers or dealers, rose last year from 2 million to nearly 3 million people, according to State Department figures released this month.

That means that more than 12 percent of the population has a hand in drug production or trafficking at some level.

Government officials and tribal leaders have tried to oppose the burgeoning drug trade and are growing increasingly frustrated.

"I have been preaching against the poppy for years," said Malik Musafir Poparzai, a tribal leader and village headman. "My people listened last year, but everyone in nearby villages grew poppies and made money and my people now insist they need the money too."


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

We can estimate opium poppy cultivation using satellite imagery but we pretend we can't find the fields? (99 page PDF report HERE)

We subsidize American farmers - why not pay the poppy growers NOT to grow poppies? Get them to grow corn or another food crop.


capt said...


"Whew! I needed that rant."


capt said...

Ex-CIA agent blasts White House

Secret CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson has accused senior Bush administration officials of "carelessly and recklessly" revealing her identity.

Former US ambassador and Ms Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, stated publicly that the case for war against Iraq and the threat the country posed had been exaggerated.

Soon after his comments, government sources revealed the secret identity of his wife to US media.

Ms Plame said she had always been aware that her identity might have been discovered by foreign governments but never expected her own to leak her role.

"It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover," Ms Plame told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.


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

From across the pond.


capt said...

Novak's 'Outings': Damage Control

Hours after the jury convicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby of obstructing justice – preventing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from finding out whether a crime had been committed in the outing by columnist Bob Novak of CIA operative Valerie Plame – Joseph C. Wilson IV told reporters that the CIA was holding up publication of Valerie Wilson’s book.

Tentatively entitled Fair Game, her book reportedly not only chronicles the consequences to Valerie Wilson of the outing of Plame by Novak, but would also reveal some things about the life of Valerie Plame, the CIA operative Novak outed.

According to Mark Mansfield, a CIA spokesman, Valerie Wilson’s book is still under review because of concerns "that the manuscript, as it was originally submitted, would cause additional damage to operational matters."

Would cause?


Well, you see, as far as the CIA is (officially) concerned, Valerie Wilson first became a CIA employee on January 1, 2002. As far as the CIA (officially) is concerned, they’ve never heard of Valerie Plame, the "CIA operative" Novak "outed" on July 14, 2003.


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

A very good piece.


O'Reilly said...

Just a Matter Of Time

We see the typical pattern: deny, deny, resist, resist, capitulate. The desire not to appear weak makes Bush look, well, weak. Again.

In the meantime, it's only a matter of time before Gonzales, along with Miers and Rove, are exposed for what they are... partisan politicians interested only in partisan politics. And they are also, of course, Bush's closest advisors.


capt said...

"We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. ": U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, U.S. representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, Aug. 12, 1945

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole: Nuremburg War Tribunal regarding wars of aggression

"A Society that is in its higher circles and middle levels widely believed to be a network of smart rackets does not produce men with an inner moral sense; a society that is merely expedient does not produce men of conscience. A society that narrows the meaning of "success" to the big money and in its terms condemns failure as the chief vice, raising money to the plane of absolute value, will produce the sharp operator and the shady deal. Blessed are the cynical, for only they have what it takes to succeed." --- The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills

"Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of the colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...


I added "The Next Hurrah" to the link list. Looks like there is a bunch of good stuff on it!



O'Reilly said...

Comment Of The Day Nominee

when gonzales gets dumped - and he will - fully one-third of bush's front line disappears... right now, he's got gonzo, cheney, and rove between him and his own personal waterloo... with gonzo gone, bush has a completely exposed flank... i'm predicting that, when alberto is shown the door, the floodgates will open and the crap that will come flooding out will be staggering...

Posted by: profmarcus | March 17, 2007 at 13:31


O'Reilly said...

Happy St Patrick's Day to all my politically aware friends.

capt said...

‘We Must Resist!'


The extreme corruption of our political system by the greedy, unseen hand that comfortably operates in the backrooms of power is turning our heroes into caricatures of themselves.

Why can't we know the truth about 9/11 and this war on terror?

Why can't we immediately repeal the Secret Evidence Law, the Patriot Act, and the Military Tribunals Act?

Why can't we get back that 2.3 trillion dollars Rumsfeld admits is missing and use it to fully fund education and health care and infrastructure?

They're asking poor, devastated university students to return their Hurricane Katrina money, but I don't see anyone going after Blackwater mercenaries, the law enforcement officials who took federal money and then denied Katrina survivors safe passage over public thoroughfares. They're not going after the Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff whose incompetent behavior directly led to the delayed response, causing as-yet unmitigated pain and suffering on the people of New Orleans, and whose continued bumbling results in one of the largest depopulations of an American city in memory.

Why can't we know if there were explosions along the levies, as historically was done before to safeguard certain parts of New Orleans?

The reason we can't get answers to our questions and doubts linger is because our leadership today just isn't what it used to be.


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

Resistance is a necessary component - we must resist. That is where I part with partisan thinking - I will resist with no regard for party. I am oppositional(ly) defiant because government has fucked things up so badly for so long I no longer feel like either party deserves the benefit of anything except doubt.


capt said...



Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou...

Another mother's breakin',
Heart is taking over.
When the vi'lence causes silence,
We must be mistaken.

It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they're still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, oh, ya, ya-a...

[ ]


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

My St. Patrick's day submission - Ava is the teenager that has put together some excellent animation's at

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(traditional Gaelic blessing)


O'Reilly said...

Good idea Capt.

I discovered The Next Hurrah because emptywheel posts there. She is the expert Plameologist who liveblogged the Libby trial. She also wrote an excellent factial account of the case called

Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the War and Smear a Critic
buy it

Like Patrick Fitzgerald '82 emptywheel went to Amherst College and graduated in 1990. She's one smart cookie.

capt said...

The waterboarded evildoer

Waterboarding involves being bound upside down to an inclined board, head wrapped in cellophane. Fear of drowning is inevitable and kicks in after just a few seconds. Waterboarding was widely practiced by US-advised military dictatorships in Latin America during the 1970s.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) customers to waterboarding usually don't last more then 14 seconds before confessing to anything. Salafi-jihadi mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad - or KSM, as he is known in the counterinsurgency netherworld - apparently lasted as long as 150 seconds.

In Bush administration eyes, KSM, al-Qaeda's former chief of operations, is the ultimate "enemy combatant". KSM had already "confessed" to being the brain of the September 11, 2001, attacks when he was captured in Pakistan in 2002 - in a prosaic police operation, and not by any "shock and awe" from above.

Apparently he spent all these past years determined to "confess" again in the US detention center in sunny Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, claiming, according to words attributed to him by the Pentagon, to be "the operational director for Sheikh Osama bin Laden for the organizing, planning, follow-up and execution of the 9/11 operation".

KSM's "confession" comes courtesy of a Pentagon that already gave the world Abu Ghraib in Baghdad, Bagram in Kabul, Guantanamo, "extraordinary rendition" and extreme variations of handsomely paid subcontracted torture. According to Human Rights Watch, waterboarding "really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law". Those who believe KSM was not tortured in his more than four years in Pakistan and in Guantanamo may also believe in Spider Man. The CIA, just in case, also kidnapped both of his sons - one is seven, the other is nine.

The impeccable timing - although more than four years late - of KSM's "confession" also happens to knock the scandal surrounding US President George W Bush's chief law enforcer and torture apologist, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, off the media cycle.

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

Pepe Escobar is one of AT-onlines best.


Saladin said...

"I no longer feel like either party deserves the benefit of anything except doubt."

HERE, HERE Capt!! But you know, that attitude earns us the contempt of the more "traditional" thinkers, right? Aren't you glad? I know I am.

BTW, did anyone watch that video I posted? I am still seething over that. How the fuck do they get away with shit like that? If anything even remotely similar happened here in the states, there would be mass riots! Imagine your wife, sister, or child subjected to such humiliation. What is WRONG with those people? What motivates such hate?

David B. Benson said...

I recently read the article The Death of Mr. Lebanon by Annia Ciezadio in the 2007 Mar 5 issue of The Nation.

Primarily a review of four books on Lebanon, I was struk with how very much worse, more corrupt, more you-name-it politics is in Lebanon than in the U.S.A.

Hard to believe, but true...

O'Reilly said...

The Non-Grand Jury Materials
by Emptywheel

Waxman may get access to all interviews and evidence acquired before the grand jury was empaneled in the CIA leak investigation hopefully including the interviews of W and Cheney. link

capt said...


I watched the video. The crap those gals have had to go through is insane.

I saw Maysoon on a show about middle eastern stand up comics. She is a very funny lady.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

This just in: It should be safe to accept candygrams now, because KSM just confessed to being the Land Shark. :)

[I am REALLY dating myself with that reference.]

capt said...


You mean you feel young or old? Classic SNL seems like only a year or two back? What has it really been 20 or 30 years! HA!


Chick Nestingwing, Phd. said...

ivory bill, please show yourself. reliable documentation of your existense will rehabilitate many academic careers of collegues in the cornell ornithology dept. for yearws people have been making jokes at our expense saying things like hey i heard you guys reported seeing sasquatch down at the quarry. it's humiliating.

capt said...

'Cave entrances' spotted on Mars

Scientists studying pictures from Nasa's Odyssey spacecraft have spotted what they think may be seven caves on the surface of Mars.

The candidate caves are on the flanks of the Arsia Mons volcano and are of sufficient depth their floors mostly cannot be seen through the opening.

Details were presented here at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas.

Temperature data from Mars Odyssey's Themis instrument support the idea.

The authors say that the possible discovery of caves on the Red Planet is significant.

The caves may be the only natural structures capable of protecting primitive life forms from micrometeoroids, UV radiation, solar flares and high energy particles that bombard the planet's surface.

The spacecraft spotted what seemed to be vertical "skylight" entrances to caves below the surface.

There is a sheer drop of between about 80m and 130m or more to the cave floors below.


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

I have always thought spelunking sounds more like exploring space than caves.


capt said...

The Sport of King George

You have to wonder what happened in somebody’s childhood to make them so heartless that they could launch a war like this

From 1980 through 1988, hundreds of thousands of Iranian adolescents were massacred as literal cannon fodder during last century’s longest conflict, and one of its bloodiest – the Iraq-Iran War.

It would be easy to feel bad about the slaughter of these children, but you don’t when you realize that they’d been told they’d be going to Paradise as martyrs to Islam following their gruesome deaths. No, you don’t feel bad. You feel worse.

And you don’t feel bad when you learn that their government actually gave these kids little plastic keys which they were assured would allow them to open the gates of heaven once they got there. No, you don’t feel bad. You feel like being sick.

All of that is shameful and ugly in the extreme. But it takes the additional knowledge that these keys were manufactured on an Israeli kibbutz to truly drive home the criminal insanity of modern war.

No clearer case is imaginable to demonstrate the way in which powerful people and powerful interests prey upon the innocent and turn them into political tools to realize the former’s ambitions for wealth and power. Because these innocents are naive, or frightened – or, most harrowing of all, genuinely patriotic – such predators are cynically able to turn their very bodies into industrial war machine resources, no different than steel or silicon. Attach Part A (weapon) to Part B (weapon operating tool, a.k.a. human being). Deploy on battlefield.

Sadly, ‘twas ever thus. Not for nothing did Europeans come to call war, "the sport of kings".


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

"David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,"

I get his newsletter and can recommend. (Thanks to Pat!)


capt said...

Inside America's powerful Israel lobby

AIPAC's three-day summit included fiery evangelical oratory, adoration for Dick Cheney -- and new plans for going after Iran.

At the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week in Washington, a conservative Christian couple from eastern Tennessee told me that their son had decided to join the Israeli army. It was one of many surreal moments during the three-day gathering hosted by AIPAC, the lobbying group devoted to ensuring close U.S.-Israel ties that remains extraordinarily influential in Washington. "We just love God, and we just love Israel," the couple beamed, when I asked why they had come to the conference.

Amid an energized and at times almost circuslike atmosphere, just about everyone in attendance shared two main preoccupations: the 2008 U.S. presidential election and confronting Iran. And this year's conference saw record attendance: more than 6,000 people, coming from every state in the country and exceeding last year's crowd of around 5,000. Many of them were American Jews, of course, but the evangelical Christian community also made a strong showing. For those feeling apocalyptic about the turmoil in the Middle East, pastor John Hagee was there to greet them. Of the many prominent speakers at the conference, Hagee got one of the most enthusiastic receptions.

"The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awoken!" Hagee proclaimed, taking the microphone at the opening dinner reception on Sunday. The electrified crowd -- most of it Jewish -- roared in support, pounding on the tables. Hagee went on to declare the United Nations a "political brothel" and asserted that Israel must never give up land. He agreed with Israeli writer Dore Gold that granting part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians would be "tantamount to turning it over to the Taliban." And, after rebuking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he led the crowd in a chant of "Israel lives!" urging them to "shout it from the mountaintops!"

During Hagee's oratory, an AIPAC delegate sitting near me said, "I'm going to vote for him instead of McCain."


capt said...

The Valerie Plame case: My wife, the CIA agent, by Joe Wilson

Valerie Plame broke cover this week to give her side of a story that has engulfed the White House in scandal and led to the conviction of the Vice President's chief of staff for perjury. Here her husband, Joe Wilson, whose opposition to the Iraq war is thought to have provoked her 'outing', talks to Andrew Buncombe about their ordeal

The removal men have been and gone, and the elegant house in Georgetown's Charleston Terrace, with its huge door knocker in the shape of a lion's head, stands empty. Its new occupants, a woman from Oman and her husband who works for the World Bank, are getting ready to move in.

For the best part of 10 years the house, with its expansive views of the Washington Monument, was home to former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame. They signed their names to its deeds in May 1998 and moved in shortly afterwards. But two weeks ago the couple, who for almost four intense years have been at the centre of one of Washington's most closely followed stories, closed that heavy-set door one final time and headed west. Their destination was New Mexico and what they hope will be a new chapter in their lives.

"Santa Fe. We thought it would it would be a nice place to raise our kids," Mr Wilson, 57, tells The Independent on Sunday, referring to the couple's seven-year-old twins, Trevor and Samantha. "We are from the west. We have been going back and forth for a number of years. Santa Fe appeals to us. It's an international city, there's an opera. And Valerie has been going to [the US nuclear laboratory at] Los Alamos for years as part of her activities."


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

" Valerie has been going to [the US nuclear laboratory at] Los Alamos for years as part of her activities"

Because she was no light-weight.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I read somewhere--I think in one of Eric Alterman's columns maybe a year or two ago--that the majority of Jewish Americans actually understand that peace for Israel will require humane and just policies toward the Palestinians, but a handful of wealthy hardliners provide most of the political funding and thus skew opinion in that direction. One finds a higher prevalence of hardline attitudes among "Christian Zionist" Americans
than among Jewish Americans. The Likudniks know better than to take the CZ's misinterpretations of Biblical prophetic writings seriously, but they know useful idiots when they see them.

Oh, and this just in--KSM confessed to having invented New Coke. :)

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, guess who is propping up the Lebanese govt. And why there have been mass protests.
Capt, how the Israeli govt. continues to get away with such vile behavior is a true mystery. Can you just imagine the uproar if Palestine were to subject even one Jew to such an experience? My God, the thunderous outrage that would rend the heavens. It's just sick. No one should have to face such an ordeal, there is no excuse. And people wonder where suicide bombers come from. They are born from such hopeless despair and abuse.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Off topic--that happens so RARELY here, I know--over on Shakespeare's Sister, Jamie Brockett's "The Legend of the Titanic" was mentioned in passing; a funny song, despite, or because of, its numerous historical inaccuracies.

Down here in the swamps of Arkansas, that song still gets played frequently Sunday nights on "Beaker Street".

Yep, "Beaker Street". Legendary DJ Clyde Clifford still hosts "Beaker Street" Sunday nights 7-12 Central time on Magic 105 (KMJX-FM).

Websites: and

Reeling in the years, IBW

P. S. KSM just confessed to sparking the feud between Snow Miser and Heat Miser. :)

[I love this joke; you can just make up variants FOREVER.]

capt said...

This just in:

KSM has confessed to outing Valerie Plame to Novak!

I KNEW he was in there somewhere.

(KSM's CIA nickname - knuckleball)


Saladin said...

Forget Israel, Befriend Russia
By Charley Reese

A Little more than half of the U.S. population lives in 75 metropolitan areas. Russia has 4,399 nuclear warheads deployed. Except for 624 to be carried by bombers, they are all land-based and submarine missiles.

Furthermore, this past week Russia test-fired a land-based missile, the RSM54, and a submarine-launched missile. Both were intercontinental. Both hit their targets dead-on. The sub launch was, by the way, the sixth such test-firing conducted this year.

In the meantime, Iran has no nuclear weapons and no intercontinental ballistic missiles or long-range bombers. North Korea might have two or three nuclear missiles. Yet the administration, and most of America's news media, seems obsessed with Iran, no doubt because Israel is obsessed with Iran. A story by the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee played a lobbying role in deleting a provision in the defense bill that would have required the president to get Congress' OK before launching a war against Iran.

So what's my point? First, when assessing threats, all but fools look at capability, not intentions or rhetoric. Russia has the capability of wiping us out. Iran would be hard-pressed to sink one destroyer. Therefore, it would behoove us to put good relations with Russia very high on a diplomatic agenda. Yet, on the contrary, the Bush administration goes out of its way to insult Russia and to interfere in what Russia sees as its internal affairs.

Secondly, because of the cowardice of Congress, the U.S. government has allowed a little country in the Middle East (Israel) to distort our priorities. Our first priority should be getting along with Russia. Iran is a small country we can squash anytime. Russia is not small, and it can squash us anytime. How darn stupid does one have to be not to realize that?

We've already blundered by not seizing the opportunity of the collapse of the Soviet Union to disband NATO and seriously pursue helping Russia join the West. Instead, we sent some financial sharpies in to help a few Russians steal most of the country's wealth. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is 100 percent correct to go after the oligarchs who bought up the state's resources for pennies on the dollar and became overnight billionaires. One is in jail, another fled to England, and several others have sought refuge in Israel.

When you hear Putin being maligned by people in the West, whether they're in government, journalism or academia, just remember that money buys whores, and whores service their customers.

Future historians may view the failure to bring Russia into the West, when the opportunity was there, as one of history's all-time strategic blunders.

The only legitimate interest we have in the Middle East is access to oil. Notice I said access, not control. It doesn't matter who controls it, because whoever does will be willing to sell it, since oil is inedible. Other than that, we have no ­ I repeat, no ­ legitimate interests, national or otherwise, in that region of the world.

American politicians need to get over their fear of the Israeli lobby and attend to America's business. Israel is a sovereign state with one of the world's most powerful military machines and a higher per capita gross domestic product than some of our NATO allies. We should cut the strings, stop the tax giveaways, repeal all of the special legislation and tell the Israelis they are on their own.

But, as John Wayne once said, that'll be the day.
Seems like a no-brainer to me.

capt said...

Lawyers riot over suspension of outspoken Pakistani chief justice

HUNDREDS of Pakistani lawyers in business suits hurled stones at police after officers fired tear gas to disrupt a meeting at Lahore's High Court held in protest at moves to sack the chief justice.

The second day of clashes between police and lawyers on Saturday over the suspension of Iftikhar Chaudhary on March 9 prompted the President, Pervez Musharraf, to say conspirators were stirring up trouble.

The attempt to get rid of Justice Chaudhary has united disparate opposition parties against the President.

Justice Chaudhary's suspension fuelled suspicions that General Musharraf feared the independent-minded judge would oppose any move by him to retain his role as army chief, which constitutionally the President should relinquish this year.


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

The LAWYERS are rioting? How cool is that?

I wonder if any transgression of justice could make American lawyers start a riot?


Saladin said...

That's doubtful Capt, they're WAY too fat and happy in this country!

capt said...

Careful, some of my best representation has been by lawyers!



Saladin said...

Kidd - Confirmed: Your
Daughter Is Merck's Guinea Pig
By Devvy

My February 8, 2007 column resulted in quite a few radio show invitations. During my appearance on Michael Baisden's show, several doctors called in to say the HPV vaccine was safe, it has been tested, and yes, they would get their daughters shot up. One mother who phoned into the show said her daughter has received the first of the three shot series and is now worried and doesn't know what to do. I could give her no advice because I'm not a physician, but she should be worried. On March 15, 2007, the bomb dropped on a cable network show which quickly made the Internet media; see full important column here. Diane M. Harper, a researcher who worked on this vaccine has revealed that it has NOT been tested on young girls and "worst case" scenario: increased cervical cancer rates. As I covered in my February 8th column, Merck needs cash badly. The lawsuits over another "safe" product of theirs, VIOXX, could bankrupt them and they know it; one verdict here. At between $320 - $400 per shot per girl in the U.S., then the world, you can see why Merck has spent millions buying the favors of members of the state legislatures. Now comes the truth from an individual who actually worked on this HPV vaccine and pray to God, enough parents get the truth in time. Stockholders of Merck need to bring down the boom on their CEO and others in that company for such irresponsible corporate shennanigans.

While many of us have been trying to warn parents about this vaccine, competing against the propaganda 'happy ads' for Guardasil targeted at young teen girls on the stupid tube, we have also been urging parents here in Texas to get in the face of the state legislature to over ride Gov. Rick Perry's "mandate" to vaccinate the young guinea pigs, er, girls, in this state. Informed legislators in our state house, most parents themselves, also got up in arms over this blatant move by Perry to bypass the process and fulfill his obligation to Merck for their fat campaign donations. The result: A couple of days ago the house side of our legislature voted to rescind Perry's Executive Order (118-23). Next comes the Texas Senate and I encourage everyone in this state to call your state senator and tell them to vote to rescind Perry's EO. The next question remains is will Gov. Perry do the right thing? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, watch out New Mexico. It appears your governor, Bill Richardson, has said he will sign a mandatory vaccine bill. Man those phones even if you have to do it at lunch time. Richardson's office number is: (505) 476-2200. Call your state rep and senator and let them know how you feel and tell them if they voted for SB 1174, they'll find themselves job hunting next election. Remember this: If your daughter gets those shots and ten years down the road develops cervical cancer, turns sterile or has a baby with defects, neither Richardson or your state legislator/senator can be sued. If Merck's still in business then, you might have an option.

Here are four reasons why "opting out" of sate mandated vaccines doesn't work for many families in Texas: 1,) "Opt-out" or Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination Process is a Bureaucratic Nightmare...
This is just unbelievable, how in the hell does the govt. think they have a right to force parents to comply with this? Read the fine print, it gets worse and worse.

Saladin said...

Capt, I can say some of our worst has been by lawyers!

capt said...

Court 'can envisage' Blair prosecution

Tony Blair faces the prospect of an International Criminal Court investigation for alleged coalition war crimes in Iraq.

The court's chief prosecutor told The Sunday Telegraph that he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued. Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations said that his country was actively considering signing up.

America has refused to accept the court's jurisdiction and is unlikely to hand over any of its citizens to face trial. However, Britain has signed up and the Government has indicated its willingness to tackle accusations of war crimes against a number of British soldiers.


capt said...

For Anti-War Democrats: The Toughest Choice


This coming week will be one of incredibly difficult choices for Democrats who know this war must end. Do they try to get what they can by voting with Pelosi or do they abandon Pelosi to stand squarely against the continuation of the war?

"If you push too far, you may get nothing," says Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who will back Pelosi's plan. "I'll be attacked by people at home saying it's not perfect. It's not. We don't have the votes to pass something that's perfect. It's the best we can get."

But Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus and who has been one of Hinchey's closest allies for years, says voters put Democrats in charge to take "bold action" against the war – not to compromise. Explains Woolsey, "There's a significant number of people who are steadfast in not continuing this war, who absolutely don't want to fund the surge and who want to give a voice to the people who voted on Nov. 7 and asked us to end this once and for all."


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

From my perspective the Democratic leadership has a chance to show some strength and make a principled stand. They are better off standing up. Compromising on important issues is what has brought us here.

The "opposition party" used to say they had to compromise because they were in the minority - now they are saying they have to compromise because of a lack of solidarity within their majority?

If the Democratic party cannot get their act together I predict the worst.


capt said...

Very funny and smart video:

Youtube HERE

via C&L


capt said...

Aussie scientist discovers 'dwarf' galaxy

CANBERRA, Australia, March 16 (UPI) -- An Australian scientist says a "giant" galaxy 140 million light years from Earth is actually a much closer "dwarf" galaxy.

Dr. Helmut Jerjen of the Australian National University says the discovery of a dwarf galaxy 10 times closer to earth than previously thought will allow researchers to better understand areas of "dark matter" and the origin of the universe.

Jerjen told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. dwarf galaxies are completely dominated by "dark matter" which poses "one of the most fundamental questions astronomers and physicists have at the moment to solve: what is dark matter?"


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

Someone forgot to heed the "objects not to scale" warning on their telescope!


capt said...

"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer."
~ Robert Frost (1874 - 1963), (attributed)

David B. Benson said...

Nice pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, AKA The Coathanger, on BBC today...

capt said...

Listening to Randi Rhodes on Air American Radio. She had a whole KSM confessed to . . .

People were calling in with some very funny stuff the best one was:

KSM put the seeds in pot!



capt said...

In the Name of Improving People's Lives: Mounting Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq


In shattering people's lives around the world, the Bush Administration is hurtling downwards to even murkier depths. Week by week there are more revelations of hideous incidents in which blameless citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan have been killed during military operations, drive-by shootings, or in acts of willful murder. No-one knows how many rapes, killings and beatings have taken place because it is only when the most horrible of them bobs, scum-like, to the surface that the media can take notice. The fetid bubbles that burst explosively on the public are disgusting. But they are only part of the evidence of deep-lying putrefaction.

Last month President Putin summed up America's position by saying that "Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of military force in international relations ; force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts . . . We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. One country, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way."

Washington's actions, said President Putin, "have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves : wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. And even more are dying than before. Many more."

But it's all in the cause of helping to improve people's lives.


David B. Benson said...

Fred Pearce
With Speed and Violence

"Well-documented and terrifying review of the scientific evidence supporting claims that Earth teeters on the edge of climatic precipice..." --- Kirkus, starred review.

capt said...

"The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds-where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough-a modest living-and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.": Walt Whitman (1819-1892):

"A State divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor will always develop a government manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their property.": Harold Laski (1930):

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. "In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. "The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war. and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." : James Madison, April 20, 1795


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

God's Dupes

Moderate believers give cover to religious fanatics -- and are every bit as delusional

PETE STARK, a California Democrat, appears to be the first congressman in U.S. history to acknowledge that he doesn't believe in God. In a country in which 83% of the population thinks that the Bible is the literal or "inspired" word of the creator of the universe, this took political courage.

Of course, one can imagine that Cicero's handlers in the 1st century BC lost some sleep when he likened the traditional accounts of the Greco-Roman gods to the "dreams of madmen" and to the "insane mythology of Egypt."

Mythology is where all gods go to die, and it seems that Stark has secured a place in American history simply by admitting that a fresh grave should be dug for the God of Abraham — the jealous, genocidal, priggish and self-contradictory tyrant of the Bible and the Koran. Stark is the first of our leaders to display a level of intellectual honesty befitting a consul of ancient Rome. Bravo.

The truth is, there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammad spoke to the angel Gabriel in a cave. And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things. As a result, Iron Age ideas about everything high and low — sex, cosmology, gender equality, immortal souls, the end of the world, the validity of prophecy, etc. — continue to divide our world and subvert our national discourse. Many of these ideas, by their very nature, hobble science, inflame human conflict and squander scarce resources.

Of course, no religion is monolithic. Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death.

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

The effort to reconcile science and religion is almost always made, not by theologians, but by scientists unable to shake off altogether the piety absorbed with their mothers' milk. The theologians, with no such dualism addling their wits, are smart enough to see that the two things are implacably and eternally antagonistic, and that any attempt to thrust them into one bag is bound to result in one swallowing the other. The scientists who undertake this miscegenation always end by succumbing to religion; after a Millikan has been discoursing five minutes it becomes apparent that he is speaking in the character of a Christian Sunday-school scholar, not of a scientist. The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a given idea, however fundamental it may seem to be, for a better one; the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and immutable. To be sure, theology is always yielding a little to the progress of knowledge, and only a Holy Roller in the mountains of Tennessee would dare to preach today what the popes preached in the Thirteenth Century, but this yielding is always done grudgingly, and thus lingers a good while behind the event. So far as I am aware even the most liberal theologian of today still gags at scientific concepts that were already commonplaces in my schooldays.

Thus such a thing as a truly enlightened Christian is hard to imagine. Either he is enlightened or he is Christian, and the louder he protests that he is for former the more apparent it becomes that he is really the latter. A Catholic priest who devotes himself to seismology or some other such safe science may become a competent technician and hence a useful man, but it is ridiculous to call him a scientist so long as he still believes in the virgin birth, the atonement or transubstantiation. It is, to be sure, possible to imagine any of these dogmas being true, but only at the cost of heaving all science overboard as rubbish. The priest's reasons for believing in them is not only not scientific; it is violently anti-scientific. Here he is exactly on all fours with a believer in fortune-telling, Christian Science or chiropractic.

~ Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)


capt said...

Bob Geiger Saturday Cartoons!

A little fun and funny!


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

If Mr. Harris wishes to get rid of religion, all he needs to do is invent rejuvenation and immortality. As long as human beings suffer and human beings die, there will be religion.

I wish he'd hop to it. I turn 44 in May. :)

This just in: KSM just confessed to convincing William Shatner that he could sing. :)

Live long and prosper, IBW

capt said...

The Confession Backfired


Reading responses of BBC listeners to Mohammed's confession reveals that the rest of the world is either laughing at the US government for being so stupid as to think that anyone anywhere would believe the confession or damning the Bush regime for being like the Gestapo and KGB.

Humorists are having a field day with the confession: "'I'm a very dangerous mastermind,' said Mohammed, who confessed to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the Brink's robbery, St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and the Lincoln and McKinley assassinations. Mohammed also accepted responsibility for spreading hay fever and cold sores around the world and for rained out picnics."

If there was anything remaining of the Bush regime not already discredited, Mohammed's confession removed any reputation left.

The most important part of the Mohammed story is yet to make the headlines. Despite having held and tortured hundreds of detainees for years in Gitmo, and we don't know how many more in secret prisons around the world, the US government has come up with only 14 "high value detainees."

In other words, the government has nothing on 99 percent of the detainees who allegedly are so dangerous and wicked that they must be kept in detention without charges, access to attorneys and contact with families.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Mr. Roberts needs to be careful; surviving members of the Gestapo and the KGB might want to sue him for slander for comparing them to the minions of the Cheney Administration [c'mon, you don't think Fortunate Son is the real boss, do you?].

This just in: KSM just confessed to ghost-writing "Ishtar". :)

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

At, they have a "How Will I Die" quiz. I took it, and found out I will die at 99, of sexual exhaustion.

This just in: KSM confessed to shaving Britney's head, among other regions. :)

capt said...

Murtha: "Why would I believe" Cheney?

On Late Edition this morning, Wolf asked Jack Murtha for his response to Dick Cheney's charge that a withdrawal from Iraq would result in chaos.

Download (WMV)

Download (MOV)

MURTHA: Why would I believe that? I mean, all the things that they have predicted have — everything I predicted turned out to be true. Nothing they predicted turned out to be true. Why would I believe there's going to be chaos in the Middle East just because they say it? The Iraqis don't believe that. The countries on the periphery don't believe that and the public doesn't believe it. The public wants us out. They spoke in the last election.

Granted this seems like the obvious answer, but among America's political punditry elite, those who have consistently been wrong about everything (Cheney, Ledeen, etc.) are still regarded as experts, whereas those who were correct the entire time (Murtha, Dean, Gore, etc.) are considered unserious no-nothing hacks who should be ignored.

This reminds me of an exchange Tim Russert had with Lindsay Graham two weeks ago. To his credit, Timmeh hit the nail on the head:

MR. RUSSERT: But many Americans will say that those who supported the war are saying, "Trust us, see this through," the same people who said, "There are weapons of mass destruction. General Shinseki’s wrong, we don’t need hundreds of thousands of troops. We will be greeted as liberators."

SEN. GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: "The cost of the war," according to Lawrence Lindsey, "won’t be more than $200 billion." "There won’t be any sectarian violence." All those judgments were wrong. Why should the American people continue to belive in those same people who had so many misjudgments leading up and executing the war?

The answer, of course, is we shouldn't.


Saladin said...

"Well-documented and terrifying review of the scientific evidence supporting claims that Earth teeters on the edge of climatic precipice...
Oh brother, all this extreme fear-mongering is going to backfire, even people who believe it are saying so.

Saladin said...

Capt, that is the most idiotic excuse I've ever heard! There is already nothing BUT chaos, how could it possibly get any worse? And you're right about the dems, they better get it together, and soon, playing the political card by waiting to withdraw troops until mid-2008 will not go unnoticed as the corrupt move that it is. People are dying, using that blood as a game piece to gain control is the most vile, despicable act they could come up with.

Saladin said...

Caution urged on climate 'risks'
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News

Two leading UK climate researchers say some of their peers are "overplaying" the global warming message and risk confusing the public about the threat.

Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier, both Royal Meteorological Society figures, are voicing their concern at a conference in Oxford.

They say some researchers make claims about possible future impacts that cannot be justified by the science.

The pair believe this damages the credibility of all climate scientists.

Both men hold the mainstream view on climate change - that human activity is the cause.

But they think catastrophism and the "Hollywoodisation" of weather and climate only work to create confusion in the public mind.

They argue for a more sober and reasoned explanation of the uncertainties about possible future changes in the Earth's climate.

Q&A: Climate change

As an example, they point to a recent statement from one of the foremost US science bodies - the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The association released a strongly worded statement at its last annual meeting in San Francisco in February which said: "As expected, intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies.

"These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible."

According to Professors Hardaker and Collier, this may well turn out to be true, but convincing evidence to back the claims has not yet emerged.

"It's certainly a very strong statement," Professor Collier told BBC News.

"I suspect it refers to evidence that hurricanes have increased as a result of global warming; but to make the blanket assumption that all extreme events are increasing is a bit too early yet."

'Scientific basis'

A former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, Professor Collier is concerned that the serious message about the real risks posed by global warming could be undermined by making premature claims.

"I think there is a good chance of that," he said. "We must guard against that - it would be very damaging.

"I've no doubt that global warming is occurring, but we don't want to undermine that case by crying wolf."
All this hype is based on nothing but predictions, they do not know anything for sure. The only real thing is that millions and millions of people in third world countries are suffering and will die in the most horrid and wretched poverty because of lack of the most basic technology, electricity. They aren't allowed to have access to their own resources because of this global warming fear mongering, while at the same time the super rich elite, the ones braying the loudest about doom and gloom, do things like send the private jet back home to retrieve a favorite pair of high heels that were forgotten. And hillary, another doomsdayer, admits that we must remain in the ME to secure our oil interests. It's apparently a global holocaust for everyone but them.

Saladin said...

The Rutherford Institute

The Late, Great American Nation
By John W. Whitehead

“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.” —James Madison

with the inclusion of a seemingly insignificant rider into the massive defense bill (the martial law section of the 591-page Defense Appropriations Act takes up just a few paragraphs), the Bush Administration has managed to weaken what the New York Times refers to as “two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty.” One is posse comitatus. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which limits a president’s domestic use of the military to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion where a state is violating federal law or depriving the people of their constitutional rights.

Under these new provisions, the president can now use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.” According to the new law, Bush doesn’t even have to notify Congress of his intent to use military force against the American people—he just has to notify them once he has done so. The defense budget provision’s vague language leaves the doors wide open for rampant abuse. As writer Jane Smiley noted, “the introduction of these changes amounts, not to an attack on the Congress and the balance of power, but to a particular and concerted attack on the citizens of the nation. Bush is laying the legal groundwork to repeal even the appearance of democracy.”

The main reason we do not want the military patrolling our streets is that under martial law, the Bill of Rights becomes null and void. A standing army—something that propelled the early colonists into revolution—strips the American people of any vestige of freedom. Thus, if we were subject to martial law, there would be no rules, no protections, no judicial oversight and no elections. And unless these provisions are repealed, the president’s new power will be set in stone for future administrations to use—and abuse.

A fundamental principle of American government is to not trust public officials. But modern Americans, primed by television pablum and ignorant of their history, have a tendency to trust people in office simply because they appear to share a common faith, say the right things or come from a certain region of the country. But lest we forget, power has a tendency to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Furthermore, the way this was handled proves that we cannot trust government officials. By sneaking this provision in as a rider to a larger bill, public debate and media attention were avoided. Had the provision been openly discussed and debated, there would have been opposition and outcry. And it most likely would have been soundly rejected. Instead, it was rushed through the Republican-controlled Congress prior to the elections and enacted into law.

The Founding Fathers would have literally been up in arms over Bush’s actions. They understood the dangers inherent in vesting power in a single person, which is exactly what this legislation purports to do. There’s no limit to what the president can now do: the “any condition” language opens the door for total power, a dictatorship. The people are left with no defense.
They cannot be trusted. Any move they make to further restrict our freedom and liberty must be viewed under the harshest light, and whatever excuses they come up with to justify such moves, from global warming to terrorism, should be thoroughly dissected and rigorously scoured for truth.

Robert S said...

All this hype is based on nothing but predictions, they do not know anything for sure. The only real thing is that millions and millions of people in third world countries are suffering and will die in the most horrid and wretched poverty because of lack of the most basic technology, electricity. - Saladin

It seems to me that prediction is, after all, the raison d'etre, of science. The ability to predict the outcome of an experiment, and repeat that outcome is what separates science from faith.

Scientific models are prepared with a mind of validating or rejecting them, and can be thought of as having ranges of probabilities, with some of those probabilities approaching zero, and others nearing 99.999%.

The funding of science, and the politics of science do play a role in which questions get asked and answered, and sometimes even how the questions are asked and answered, but, that is why the repetition of results is crucial to understandings of models.

All that does not alleviate third world poverty. Nor growing first world poverty, for that matter. Yet, climate change will not help alleviate poverty, either. The rising of the seas will inundate coastal areas, thew Inuit People are already losing their way of life on the tundra, desertification is robbing many areas of its fertile farmland, etc., etc. Water rights are becoming increasingly contested. Humanity had endured without electricity for countless millenia, but cannot endure without fresh water.

On another subject, Jackson Browne performed a couple of numbers, including the above posted, "Lives in the Balance." Ben Harper also did a couple of tunes, and then Ozomatli rocked the crowd for a good long set.

Not bad for a protest rally! And the police were pretty tolerant, even though it "smelled like midnight on St. Mark's Place" at times, much like the old days, there were no arrests here in La La Land, not like in Denver.

Saladin said...

Celestial climate driver: a perspective from four billion years of the carbon cycle

If anyone is interested in a calm, rational look at climate this 15 page report, written by a geologist, will be quite refreshing.


In my four decades of research into the evolution of the Earth, always with strong environmental connotations, I was almost exclusively financed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). In the last decade, particularly relevant to this article, the research was supported by two major sources, the top research award of the DFG (Leibniz Prize endowed with 3 million DM) and the support of the Research Chair in "Earth System" financed jointly by NSERC and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR). The donors to CIAR include Noranda and Dr. G.G. Hatch, with the sponsorship based on an arms' length relationship via CIAR and NSERC.

Personally, this last decade has been a trying period because of the years of internal struggle between what I wanted to believe and where the empirical record and its logic were leading me. This article is clearly not a comprehensive review of the alternatives, partly because of space limitations, but also because the case for the alternatives was eloquently argued elsewhere (e.g., IPCC, 2001). It is rather a plea for some reflection in our clamour for over-simplified beliefs and solutions in the face of the climate conundrum. Due to space considerations, the article also does not explore the potential role that the lethal CRF may have played in the evolution of life, as a cause of extinctions and/or mutations. And above all, this article is not a discussion of Kyoto, a treaty with social, economic and political aims, but a scientific treatise of the past climate record. Time will rule on its validity, but in the meantime I ask that the discussion of its merits/demerits be confined to scientific ways and means.
If that's even possible anymore.

Saladin said...

Robert, all of those climatic changes have happened many times in the past. Humans are not the cause. Poverty in the third world can not be compared to poverty in the first world, because there is no comparison. We here in the US have no idea what millions of people suffer on a daily basis, we like to think we do but even the most poverty stricken people here are way better off than most in Africa, and many other parts of the world. These conditions exist primarily because of greed and apathy, not global warming. I am mainly interested in empirical evidence, which there is plenty of. I find that more conclusive than all the climate model guessing in the world. And the fact that it is being used as yet another fear mongering control device makes me even more skeptical. Yes, humans are guilty of many sins against the earth, but fear and ignorance will not alleviate any of it, and I think the track record of "Govt." help for all our woes is one long history of failure and corruption. Give the people the truth and the tools, and they can make it right.

Robert S said...

"As expected, intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies.

"These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible."

According to Professors Hardaker and Collier, this may well turn out to be true, but convincing evidence to back the claims has not yet emerged.

"It's certainly a very strong statement," Professor Collier told BBC News.

"I suspect it refers to evidence that hurricanes have increased as a result of global warming; but to make the blanket assumption that all extreme events are increasing is a bit too early yet."


"Evidence that hurricanes have increased as a result of" and "May well be true" certainly do not argue strongly against those whose claims are more dire. When you are considering betting the farm on the range of probabilities, I'd wish for better (bettor's?) odds, myself.

capt said...

Carl Wunsch

Many scientists therefore rely upon numerical models of the climate system to calculate (1) the nature of natural variability with no human interference, and compare it to (2) the variability seen when human effects are included. This approach is a very sensible one, but the ability to test (calibrate) the models, which can be extraordinarily complex, for realism in both categories (1) and (2) is limited by the same observational data base already describe. At bottom, it is very difficult to determine the realism by which the models deal with either (1) or (2)

Thus at bottom, it is very difficult to separate human induced change from natural change, certainly not with the confidence we all seek. In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof.


Robert S said...

Climatic changes have taken place in the past, no doubt. That does not equal "all of those climatic changes have happened many times in the past." There is a difference, and it isn't quibbling. To give a slight example, the primordial atmosphere was nothing like today's being:

* Mostly H2O and CO2
* Small amounts of N2 and sulfates
* No oxygen (O2).

as opposed to:

The Earth's Atmosphere
* 77% N2 (molecular nitrogen)
* 21% O2 (molecular oxygen)
* 1% H2O (Water Vapor)
* 0.93% Argon
* CO2 (0.035%)
* Traces of CH4 (methane), Inert Gases (Ne, He, Kr, Xe)
* Particulates (silicate dust, sea salt, sulfates, etc.)

And the greatest influence of the change in atmosphere? Photosynthesis, a biological activity.

Where did the O2 come from?
The second major constituent of the present-day atmosphere is Oxygen (O2), but it was absent in the Primordial Atmosphere. Where did all the O2 come from?
* Molecular Oxygen (O2) comes primarily from photosynthesis in plants and algae.
* The O2 content of the atmosphere has increased from 1% to 21% during the past 600 Myr.

We are in an interglacial period. There have been Ice Ages, and will be again. However, within that interglacial period, we appear to be at higher and rising plateau of temperature, and so it is not inconsistent to say that global warming is happening and yet, there will be at some point another period of glaciation.

I'm not one to doubt the effect of greed and privilege on global poverty, which I've seen first hand.

We here in the US have no idea what millions of people suffer on a daily basis, we like to think we do but even the most poverty stricken people here are way better off than most in Africa, and many other parts of the world. These conditions exist primarily because of greed and apathy, not global warming. - Saladin

Let us for a moment consider the case of the Darfur region. How many of us understand that the disputes are predicated partially by the intersection of nomadic and agricultural peoples trying to come to grips with modernization at the same time that foreign powers are trying to extract resources, animal herds are dwindling and arable land is increasingly turning to desert?

Robert S said...

I think the track record of "Govt." help for all our woes is one long history of failure and corruption. Give the people the truth and the tools, and they can make it right. - Saladin

What tools would you have us use? Properly construed, government is that tool.

Why is there such a strong family resemblance between the Reagan years and recent events? Mr. Reagan's administration, like Mr. Bush's, was run by movement conservatives - people who built their careers by serving the alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right that took shape in the 1960s and 1970s. And both cronyism and abuse of power are part of the movement conservative package.

In part this is because people whose ideology says that government is always the problem, never the solution, see no point in governing well. So they use political power to reward their friends, rather than find people who will actually do their jobs. Excerpted from:
Don't Cry for Reagan
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Monday 19 March 2007

Robert S said...

Kucinich Statement, Do you think it's time?

My fellow Americans. We are in an interesting condition in this country, where we are told to take impeachment off the table, and keep on the table a U.S. military attack against Iran.

This really calls for a new thinking. It calls for us to reconsider very deeply the moment that we're in – where our Constitution is being trashed, where international law is being violated, where our hopes and dreams for the education of our children, for the health of our people, for housing, for our veterans, are being set aside as we go deeper and deeper into war.

We need a whole discussion in America. And with your help, we're about to have one.

This past week, in the Congress of the United States, I noted that the administration has threatened aggressive war against Iran. This is a violation of the UN charter. Charters are treaties. Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States says that treaties are the law of our land, the supreme law of our land.

It's illegal to threaten aggressive war against another nation. Iran has no ability to attack us. And they do not have the intention to attack the United states.

We are at a moment in human history where we have to make a decision whether we are going to go deeper into war, or whether we are going to take a stand on behalf of peace.

I determined a long time ago to take that stand on behalf of peace. And I want to enlist you and enroll you in taking that same stand.

We cannot let this administration go any deeper into this journey, into destroying democratic governance, trashing our Constitution, forgetting the very purpose of this nation. America was never meant to be a nation forever on the warpath. It was meant to be a nation which also had the capacity to “Promote the General Welfare.”

We need to reevaluate the direction of this administration by looking at its conduct in office, by determining whether it has faithfully followed the laws of our nation.

I'm prepared to start that process. I began this week with a speech on the floor of the house, which warned the administration that its actions toward Iran already constitute a case to ask the question about impeachment.

So I'm asking you, what do you think? Do you think it's time?

micki said...

The Dems' slim majority in the Senate makes it very, very difficult to pass legislation when it's close to impossible to get any Repugs to cross the aisle. BUT, in spite of what the across-the-board denialists say, the Dems are making headway using their clout with Congressional oversight and investigative authorities, including subpoena powers.

* The House summoned the FCC for a grilling and intend to ask them more questions;

* Congress authorized subpoenas for the D0J officials regarding the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys;

* Valerie Plame had an opportunity to be a witness on her outing;

* the Dems are probing the FDA's numerous failures on protecting our food supply;

* the Dems are probing the disgusting techniques the bush agencies use to monitor energy markets;

* the Dems are looking into accusatons that the WH tried to muzzle federal climate scientists;

* Henry Waxman is making Condoleezza Rice realize that NOW she has to respond to letters from Congress, from the opposition party which is now the majority party.

* The Dems have forced the busheviks to turn over emails and documents to the House & Senate Judiciary committees -- they busheviks can not so easily ignore the Dems any longer.

* Judiciary committees have threatened to subpoena WH officials, including General Rove, the former "untouchable."

* The scandalous situation at Walter Reed is out in the open.

* Because hearings are underway on the Walter Reed situation, the Dems are able to REINFORCE the charges that bush has f**ked up the Iraq and Aganstan wars.

* busheviks are now routinely TOLD to explain themselves, their policies and actions -- a new thing for an administration that was rubber-stamped by the former bush-friendly GOP lockstep lemmings in Congress.

* Some Repugs are not so quick to line up behind the busheviks, in obedience.

* The Dems have reestablished investigative sub-committees -- the GOPers disbanded most such committees when they were in the majority.

* When the Dems threatened to subpoena a report on whether NASA suppressed safety investigations, the agency immediately decided to release it voluntarily.

* The list goes on...and, no...they are not the "precious Dems" which sounds like it could be a gay-bashing insult when you think about it. I've always thought that accusation was downright nasty sounding. Oh, well...I'm sure she didn't mean it that way.

micki said...

If I wanted to be be rigorous in my research for the *truth*, I would not look to John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute as one of my sources.

Paula Jones was entitled to her day in court and to legal representation, but I doubt if the lawyers from the Rutherford Institute who chose to represent her pro bono did it because they are without bias.

Reliable source? Not!!! What a joke.

Robert S said...


Hearings aside, and it is easy for the Dems to make the GOPhers look bad, the Dems are about to buy a used war from a discredited salesman, and are to be roundly chastised for it.

More than 650,000 dead Iraqi civilians and they're still buying bullets.

Robert S said...

Court hears 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case
Published: Monday March 19, 2007

The Supreme Court today heard the 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case, which pits an Alaskan high school student against his principal and, by extension, the Bush Administration. Meanwhile, an unlikely alliance between the ACLU and a few conservative Christian organizations is pulling for the student's side.

According to the principal's lawyer, Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who spent years investigating President Clinton's Whitewater land acquisitions, the high school's principal Deborah Morse was acting in accord with the school's anti-drug stance when she suspended the student. Joseph Frederick had been warned to take down a 14-foot-long banner with the inscription 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' during the carrying of the Olympic torch through the city of Juneau in 2002.

Representing the student, attorney Douglas Mertz disagreed.

"This is a case about free speech," said Mertz. "It is not a case about drugs."

The Bush administration, in siding with the principal, is pushing for the court to adopt a rule that could allow schools to limit any free speech with which it disagrees. Some conservative religious organizations, considered to be the president's "base," have broken with the administration.

"Conservative groups that often are allied with the administration are backing Frederick out of concern that a ruling for Morse would let schools clamp down on religious expression, including speech that might oppose homosexuality or abortion," writes the AP.

Those groups include the Christian Legal Society, American Center for Law and Justice, founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Alliance Defense Fund, the Rutherford Institute, and Liberty Legal Institute.

Supreme Court justices appeared conflicted in their own statements as well as with one another.

"I thought we wanted our schools to teach something, including something besides just basic elements, including the character formation and not to use drugs," said Chief Justice Roberts.

Justice Breyer asserted that a ruling in Frederick's favor may encourage students to go to extremes to test free speech limits but that a ruling in favor of Morse "may really limit free speech."

Justice Samuel Alito seemed to break with the administration's push for such broad authority for schools. "I find that a very, a very disturbing argument," said Alito, "because schools have...defined their educational mission so broadly that they can suppress all sorts of political speech and speech expressing fundamental values of the students, under the banner of getting rid of speech that's inconsistent with educational missions."


When ideas don't fit into little boxes, what is justice to do?

Robert S said...

Excerpts from ABC News poll:

THE AMERICANS — The United States gets much of the blame. As noted, in the most troubling result from an American perspective, the number of Iraqis who call it "acceptable" to attack U.S. or coalition forces has soared from 17 percent in early 2004 to 51 percent now.

The main source of this antipathy is disaffected Sunni Arabs, the group that lost power with the overthrow of Saddam. Ninety-four percent of Sunni Arabs call attacks on U.S. forces acceptable. That compares with 35 percent of newly empowered Shiites (still a large number to endorse violence), vs. 7 percent of Kurds, who are far more favorably inclined toward the United States.

Even among Shiites, eight in 10 disapprove of the way the United States and other coalition forces have carried out their responsibilities in Iraq. More than eight in 10 Shiites (as well as 97 percent of Sunni Arabs) oppose the presence of U.S. and other forces in their country. (Kurds, again, differ powerfully; 75 percent support the U.S. presence.) More than seven in 10 Shiites — and nearly all Sunni Arabs — think the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq is making security worse.

Asked whom they blame most for the current violence in Iraq, far and away the most common answer — voiced by four in 10 Iraqis — is either U.S. and coalition forces (31 percent), or George W. Bush personally (nine percent). Al Qaeda and foreign jihadi fighters are cited by 18 percent (far more by Shiites and Kurds than by Sunnis).

Indeed, among the occurrences of local violence measured in this poll, the top mention is "unnecessary violence against citizens by U.S. or coalition forces." Forty-four percent of Iraqis — including 60 percent of Sunni Arabs — report this as having occurred nearby.

micki said...

On Israel, America and AIPAC -- George Soros

micki said...

The Iraqi War -- the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of our country by some estimates -- is a HUGE issue, but it is not the only one.

But, I appreciate your comment, robert.

Robert S said...

The Iraqi War -- the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of our country by some estimates -- is a HUGE issue, but it is not the only one. - micki

Should I expect health care and environmental protection from those complicit in murder? Should I be silent about torture in hopes of less bad trade agreements?

I do not accept the equivalence of Dems and GOPhers. I supported wresting the reins of power from the GOPhers by electing Dems, but, now, if the Dems keep funding obscenities, the deserve the scorn heaped upon them.

Robert S said...

Fla. judge in Anna Nicole case accused of smoking pot
By Marlene Naanes, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
1:10 PM PDT, March 19, 2007


Funny, they discuss the Anna Nicole case, but no mention if his judgeship is in jeopardy.....just can't make this good stuff up!

David B. Benson said...

Just as cell phones have brought communication to poor peoples living in countries without plain-old-telephone service, so solar cells will bring electricity to peoples living in places without power grids.

We need to innovate our way out of the climate change problem, instead of waiting for the massive misery, heaped upon the poor, that rising temperatures and sea stands will cause...

capt said...

New Thread!