Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick, Name the EPA Director/A Win for the Right on Abortion/A Unitary War




Pop quiz: who's the head of the EPA? Not everyone in my office could answer this. The administrator of the agency--and the top environmental officer in the federal government--is Stephen Johnson. He has spent 25 years as an EPA employee, often working on pesticides matters. He also served as director of operations at Hazelton Laboratories and Litton Bionetics. But his public profile is lower than Don Imus's standing at the basketball gym on the Rutgers campus. Even as global warming has become more of a--pardon the pun--hot-topic issue, Johnson is off the screen. No Al Gore is he. He's not a presence on the TV talk show. He's infrequently mentioned in the press. He's the invisible EPA administrator.

The other day I saw that England has a prominent climate change ambassador named John Ashton. He's zipping around the world, publicly raising a fuss at the UN, doing what he can to push nations to do something about global warming. Who in the Bush administration does this? No one in or near the White House has a similar mission--even though Bush has conceded that global warming is real and a significant problem that must be confronted. In Washington, if an administration doesn't have a macher in charge of an issue, that issue doesn't count for much.

What a Difference. Today, the US Supreme Court upheld the law passed by Congress and signed by Bush that bans a specific type of late-term abortion. Doctors and medical professionals refer to this rarely used procedure as "intact dilation and evacuation." Abortion foes labeled it "partial-birth abortion." Seven years ago, the court threw out this ban because it did not include a health exception for a woman who might experience serious medical complications. This time a ban without this exception survived the Court's scrutiny. Why? Justice Sandra Day O'Connor--the fifth and deciding vote in the previous case--left the bench, and Samuel Alito replaced her. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association and other medical groups all say that intact D&Es are sometimes--though infrequently--necessary. Congressional Republicans and Bush--pushed by the religious right--and several Democratic legislators, too, said they knew better than the experts. Politics trumps medical science--thanks to the departure of O'Connor.

This particular battle in the culture wars has illustrated the importance of defining terms. Partial-birth abortion versus intact dilation and extraction--it was a debate damn hard for abortion rights advocates and medical professionals to win. The losers ought to beware of being placed in a similar linguistic corner in the future, as the winners, no doubt, consider a new campaign. Will they next go after "internal dismemberment abortions"?

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, who supports abortions rights and the public funding of abortions, exploited the moment. His campaign released a statement that was one-sentence long: "The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it." He said nothing about the need to protect abortion rights in other regards.

UNITARY WAR. More good news from the so-called war on terrorism. In a piece for the website of the conservative Jamestown Foundation, Michael Scheuer, who served as the chief of the bin Laden unit at the CIA's Counterrorism Center in the 1990s, writes that Afghanistan and Iraq may be "two Sunni war theaters evolving into one." He notes:

The current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, even on an impressionistic level, suggest the Islamists are shaping a common approach to war against Western conventional military forces and that there is some cross-fertilization between the theaters in terms of operational tactics.


Well, maybe the war in Iraq is becoming a central front in the war on terrorism--due to the Bush administration's own misguided policies. Read the rest here.

Posted by David Corn at April 18, 2007 02:42 PM

25 comments:

capt said...

Mr. David Corn,


I had to look up macher: Macher - big shot, person with access to authorities, man with contacts.

"bans a specific type of late-term abortion."

If I understand correctly the way the law is worded it bans a specific technique/procedure not abortion itself. It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how - not whether - to perform an abortion.

Talks about the " importance of defining terms" now the words and concepts used are more important that ever.




Thanks for all of your work!

Kirk

capt said...

US top court backs abortion ban



[…]

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who called the decision alarming, took the rare step of reading parts of her dissent.

"In candour, the Partial Birth Abortion Act and the court's defence of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court - and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives," she said.

Observers say the decision reflects the recent addition to the court of two conservative justices appointed by President Bush.

Pro-choice blow

The Bush administration has defended the law as drawing a line between abortion and what they say is infanticide.

But abortion rights groups say the decision is a blow that could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

They say the procedure is sometimes the safest for a woman.

"This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety," said Eve Gartner of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

However, government lawyers and others who favour the ban, have said there are alternative and more widely used procedures that are still legal - which involves dismembering the foetus in the uterus.


More HERE

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

Bunnypants and the Supreme Court knuckle-heads are the deciders. They know better than your doctor.

I was listening to Thom Hartman on AAR and I think he was reading the text of the law upheld and it included some verbiage about the father (I assume biological) and or other family members (grand parents?) being able to sue in civil court - so all you women are now officially baby warehouses and the property of your husbands or fathers.

Time to return to the long list of dumbocrats that affirmed Roberts and Alito - most won their incumbency and are still accepting donations for their next campaign. (Where is my party hat?)



capt

capt said...

The devil's dictionary of war in Iraq



My aunt Hilda, whose very name came from some other century, once told me her earliest memory: she was a little girl standing under a large tree in the backyard of her house in Brooklyn, New York, and she cried out for help. Her mother (my grandmother) Celia came out to ask what the matter was. An enormous spider was descending on her, she said, and she was scared. No, my grandmother told her gently, that's not a spider; that's just the tree's shadow. There's nothing to be scared of.

This memory came back to me the other day as I was thinking about the latest round of Bush administration and military commentary on Iraq. With a bow to my long-dead aunt, all you have to do is reverse her image to make sense of America's Iraq today: a giant spider is indeed descending, while top American officials do their best to insist that it's simply 120 degrees in the shade.

Like all wars, the "war in Iraq" or "Iraq war" - it's never gained the double caps of the Korean or Vietnam Wars - has also been a war of words. From "homeland" and "unlawful combatant" to "extraordinary rendition" and "Global War on Terror" (aka: World War IV or the Long War), never has an administration reached more often for its dictionaries to create pretzled words and phrases. Its war in Iraq has been no exception. But recently there's been a change, hardly noticed by anyone. The administration's familiar war vocabulary and imagery, which hung in there so remarkably long, has finally disappeared down the memory hole. So many images, tailored for home-front consumption, each meant to help give just a little more time to an increasingly embattled administration, have in recent months disappeared.

When was the last time you heard that the US had "turned the corner" in Iraq? (Okay, Marine commandant General James Conway did return from an early April visit to al-Anbar province, saying: "I think, in that area, we have turned the corner," but old habits do die hard.) Remember those "tipping points" and "turning points" we were always reaching (or reaching for) on our way to mission accomplished? All gone. Or what about those regularly spaced "landmarks" or "milestones" - the capture of Saddam, the "handing over of sovereignty" to the Iraqis, the "purple finger" election, the killing of Zarqawi - on our path to success in Iraq? All missing in action.

In fact, how many times have you heard someone in this administration talk about "victory" in 2007? Our "victory" president, who in 2005 used the word 15 times (and "progress" 28) in a single speech introducing his long-forgotten National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, now speaks modestly of indeterminate hints of "success" or of "encouraging signs". Victory, when in administration speeches these days, often seems to have switched teams. Americans - Republican or administration ones anyway - may be "surging" in Baghdad, but not, according to most spokespeople, toward "victory". Our efforts of the moment are aimed at trying to staunch the flow of victory to our now omnipresent al-Qaedan opponents, who are being aided and abetted, of course, by the retreat-eager "Democrat" (or "cratic") Party.


More HERE

capt said...

Roberts Draws 22 Democratic Votes



The lockstep Republican support would have been enough to confirm Roberts with relative ease. But the nominee also fully half the votes cast by Democrats. Twenty two Democrats voted in favor of confirmation -- including frequent critics of the administration's judicial picks, such as Vermont's Patrick Leahy and Wisconsin Russ Feingold. So too did Vermont Independent Jim Jeffords, who left the GOP caucus in 2001 to work with the Democrats. In addition to Byrd, Leahy and Feingold, Democrats who voted to confirm Roberts included Montana's Max Baucus, West Virginia's Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman, Delaware's Tom Carper, North Dakota's Kent Conrad and Kent Conrad, Connecticut's Chris Dodd, South Dakota's Tim Johnson, Wisconsin's Herb Kohl, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, Michigan's Carl Levin, Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, Washington's Patty Murray, Florida's Bill Nelson, Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Arkansas's Mark Pryor, Colorado's Ken Salazar and Oregon's Ron Wyden.

More HERE

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

I'll be writing a "Thanks a lot" email to " New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman" - the invasion into the relationship between a woman and her doctor has been violated. The law upheld is not even close to constitutional and we should be rioting in the streets.


capt

capt said...

The Politics of Supreme Court Nominations



How should Americans react to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to uphold restrictions on abortion that place new and potentially dangerous limits on access to necessary medical care for women?

Certainly, the great mass of Americans who support a woman's right to choose should be concerned that the court has upheld the first nationwide ban on a specific abortion procedure. As Planned Parenthood Federation of American lawyer Eve Gartner, who argued before the court regarding this case, says, "This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety. Today the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best and safest care to their patients. This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health care decisions for them."


More HERE

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

Because the politicians make such sound decisions?



capt

David B. Benson said...

Self-repairing house on Live Science!

I want ont, I want one...

Gerald said...

The Supreme Court hands down a landmark decision.

I waited to comment until I had more information. I oppose late term abortion and abortion in general but I do not want to judge a woman for her decision. One decision a woman should consider must rest with the man she decides to have sex. Can she trust him or not? Here are some thoughts for women in their decision. A hard penis has NO CONSCIENCE. When the blood rushes from a man's head to below his belt, HE CANNOT THINK STRAIGHT. Women must be the deciders. Here is my advice to women DO NOT GET LAID UNLESS YOU COMPLETELY TRUST THE MAN!!!

The Supreme Court is right with this decision.

90% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks. It is time for a woman to use her brain before her hormones. If a woman decides to get laid, she must also decide whether or not she will protect herself from a possible pregnancy.

Behavior has consequences!!!

capt said...

Self-repairing house on Live Science!

Too cool for school!



capt

Gerald said...

Let me share with you a sad story. I may have mentioned it sometime ago.

A woman went to her high school reunion without her husband. She met her old flame at the reunion and they had sex. She now has aids or HIV positive and she is dying.

She feels very sorry for her behavior because she said she has a wonderful husband and two wonderful children. She will soon be leaving them.

REMEMBER WOMEN AND MEN, TOO, THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE.

PLEASE ALSO REMEMBER THAT IF A MAN LOVES YOU HE WILL WANT THE BEST FOR YOU. HE WILL NOT JUMP INTO BED WITH YOU TO GET HIS JOLLIES. HE WILL CONSIDER YOU AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTIONS.

capt said...

Justices Uphold Abortion Procedure Ban


[…]

For the first time since the court established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, the justices said the Constitution permits a nationwide prohibition on a specific abortion method. The court's liberal justices, in dissent, said the ruling chipped away at abortion rights.

More HERE

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

I repeat - this is not a ban on abortion, not a ban on late term abortions.

The Supreme idiots have upheld a law that bans ONE of THREE (or more) methods a physician can choose from regardless if the banned method is the safest (on a case by case basis).

I am waiting to read the actual law but I think there is a bunch of other crud included.




capt

David B. Benson said...

capt --- Is not this recent SU decision in direct violation of the ninth or tenth amendment?

Also, do SU justices have licenses to practice medicine?

capt said...

NCJW Denounces Decision on Federal Abortion Ban



April 18, 2007, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today denounced the decision of the US Supreme Court to uphold a federal law banning an abortion procedure used in second and third trimester abortions to save the life and health of the woman. NCJW President Phyllis Snyder released the following statement:


"The US Supreme Court has dealt a devastating blow to Roe v. Wade and the right of women to safe and legal abortions. Their decision in Gonzales v. Carhart guts the principle that laws governing abortion must protect the life and health of the woman. By so doing, the court has overturned 30 years of precedent, including a nearly identical case in which they ruled otherwise only seven years ago.

"This ruling underscores once again that the composition of the Supreme Court matters. Who serves on the court has a direct bearing on our ability to exercise our constitutional rights, including reproductive freedom. In this case, the very health and safety of women was at stake. NCJW has been in the forefront of the fight to protect our rights through the courts and has opposed stacking the bench with judges who adhere to an extreme ideological agenda. This decision will only spur us to redouble those efforts.

"In Gonzales, the court has decided to substitute its judgment and that of Congress for the nation's doctors. NCJW pledges anew to work for the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would put Congress on record in support of the right to choose and against political interference with the most basic rights of American women."


NCJW is a volunteer organization, inspired by Jewish values, that works to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families and to ensure individual rights and freedoms for all through its network of 90,000 members, supporters, and volunteers nationwide. It has launched BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, a national effort to educate and mobilize NCJW members, the Jewish community, and friends and allies everywhere to promote a federal bench with judges that support fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose.

Contact:
Vanessa Schnaidt
212 645 4048 x179; vschnaidt@ncjw.org

More HERE

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

No real surprise as we live in a totalitarian state.





capt

capt said...

DB,

I am no lawyer but I don't see the constitution (that GD piece of paper) as having much consideration by the current powers that be.



capt

Saladin said...

Amendments? We don't need no stinkin amendments!

capt said...

Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations: Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837

=
"What is the great Amercican sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of "concentrated indignation" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed....The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin.": Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922

=
"Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion.": William Godwin - (1756-1836)

===

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

McCaffrey: 600 U.S. Contractors Have Been Killed in Iraq


[…]

There are roughly 130,000 contractors in Iraq, said McCaffrey; about 4,000 of them have been wounded and 600 have been killed, he said.

McCaffrey spent roughly a week touring Iraq, meeting U.S. military personnel, U.S. and Iraqi political leaders, and Iraqi regional leaders.

"If they [the U.S. coalition] go after 100 Shia and Sunni leaders with logic, they will moderate their behavior. We must stay engaged with serious levels of economic involvement," McCaffrey said in an April 16 speech about his report to the Atlantic Council, Washington.

McCaffrey said as many as 3,000 Iraqi citizens are murdered per month.

More HERE

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

Steam shoots out my ears when I read this stuff. 130,000 mercenaries with 600 losses - reading between the lines I wonder - are we sending in the expendable (real US troops) insuring fewer losses for Blackwater or ?? . . .

This also lays bare the simple fact that we (US and merc's) number nearly 300,000. WTF?


capt

David B. Benson said...

Some general was canned for pointing out to congress that several hundred thousand soldiers would be required.

Turns out that even 300,000 is not enough.

In fairness to the contractors, they are mostly guards, not going on active missions. Highly overpaid guards, IMO...

Saladin said...

Capt, it takes an empire to occupy a country!

capt said...

Top deputy tells Wolfowitz to step down- sources



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A deputy to Paul Wolfowitz told the World Bank chief on Wednesday to resign in the interests of the institution during a meeting of the bank's management, sources who participated in the meeting said.

The sources told Reuters that World Bank Managing Director Graeme Wheeler, a bank veteran who was appointed by Wolfowitz as one of his two deputies a year ago, raised the issue at a meeting of the bank's vice presidents.

Asked to comment, World Bank spokesman Marwan Muasher said: "I feel it is inappropriate to comment on private meetings."


More HERE

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

That is a confirmation by way of the non-confirmation.



capt

capt said...

Escalating Military Spending - Income Redistribution in Disguise


[…]

Despite the critical role of redistributive militarism, or of the Pentagon budget, as a major driving force to war, most opponents of war have paid only scant attention to this crucial force behind the recent U.S. wars of choice. The reason for this oversight is probably due to the fact that most critics of war continue to view U.S. military force as simply or primarily a means to achieve certain imperialist ends, instead of having become an end in itself.

Yet, as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself, an imperial power in its own right, or to put it differently, it is a case of the tail wagging the dog—a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower so presciently warned against.

Accordingly, rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests, or by the interests of Big Oil and other non-military transnational corporations (as most traditional theories of imperialism continue to argue), as it is by powerful special interests that are vested in the war industry and related war-induced businesses that need an atmosphere of war and militarism in order to justify their lion’s share of the public money.

Preservation, justification, and expansion of the military–industrial colossus, especially of the armaments industry and other Pentagon contractors, have become critical big business objectives in themselves. They have, indeed, become powerful driving forces behind the new, parasitic U.S. military imperialism. I call this new imperialism parasitic because its military adventures abroad are often prompted not so much by a desire to expand the empire’s wealth beyond the existing levels, as did the imperial powers of the past, but by a desire to appropriate the lion’s share of the existing wealth and treasure for the military establishment, especially for the war-profiteering contractors. In addition to being parasitic, the new U.S. military imperialism can also be called dual imperialism because not only does it exploit defenseless peoples and their resources abroad but also the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and their resources at home. (I shall further elaborate on the historically unique characteristics of the Parasitic, dual U.S. military imperialism in another article.)

More HERE

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

Military spending has grown too large. The mountains of our tax dollars are clearly not getting to our troops.

Too many politicians are too scared to speak truth to power on the military spending insanity.



capt

capt said...

Dems divided over Webb’s proposal requiring approval for attacking Iran



Supporters of requiring President Bush to secure congressional approval for any preemptive strike on Iran are regrouping for a new push, presaging a difficult vote for Democratic leaders and presidential hopefuls alike.

Democrats hailed the Iraq withdrawal language attached to the emergency supplemental as a signal of a newly assertive Congress, even though the House removed a mandate for authorization of attacks on Iran from early drafts of the bill. The reversal quieted some Democrats’ concerns that reining in Bush on Iran could endanger Israel’s security in the Middle East.

Iran is likely to reappear on the agenda this spring, however, as Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) considers adding his language on the issue to the defense authorization bill and House Democrats hold their leadership to a promise for a roll-call vote.

"There is no hand-tying here. We’re not taking options off the table," Webb spokeswoman Jessica Smith said. "He offered this piece of legislation to restore the proper balance between the executive and legislative branch. This is a bill to empower Congress."

For many Democratic base voters, Webb’s Iran language is also a litmus test for presidential candidates. White House assertions that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is tied to Iraqi insurgent groups makes opposition to a possible war with Iran as crucial as opposition to the Iraq war for Democrats running in 2008.

Tom Andrews, the former Democratic lawmaker now leading the anti-war group Win Without War, said the party’s White House hopefuls should see Webb’s plan as a no-brainer.

"The idea that you could not support prohibiting a military strike, given the conditions that are on [Webb’s measure] … certainly raises serious questions in our community," Andrews said.


More HERE

capt said...

Sex aid sets off mail centre bomb scare



A suspicious package which sparked a bomb scare and evacuation of a New Zealand mail centre was later identified as a harmless sex aid, a report said today.

An airport X-ray machine alerted staff about suspicious wiring in the parcel from China on Tuesday and it was placed in an explosives safe overnight.

Emergency services were only notified the next morning when they decided to evacuate the mail centre near Auckland airport.

The parcel was later identified as a sex aid, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The incident has prompted a Customs investigation into why emergency services were not immediately contacted, leaving a potential bomb in a safe overnight.


More HERE

Robert S said...

Capt.,

Too much money being spent on the military? Oh, come on, just look at these new toys we are buying. And these.
And these. And these. Oh, and these might take a moment to digest.

Robert S said...


Donkey becomes witness in Dallas dispute
The Associated Press


DALLAS --
The first witness in a lawsuit Wednesday between two neighbors was Buddy the donkey, who walked to the bench and stared at the jury, the picture of a gentle, well-mannered creature and not the loud, aggressive animal he had been accused of being.

********************************

Texas law is, well, different...

capt said...

New Thread!