Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fred Thompson: Global Warming Denier/HBO's New Doc on War Vets

Fred Thompson wants to be taken seriously. After all, the onetime Republican senator from Tennessee has finally declared he's a candidate for president. After appearing--and announcing--on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, Thompson posted a video on his campaign website saying he's running because this country faces “very serious challenges” and "grave issues affecting the safety and security of the American people." On his list is radical Islamic terrorism, health care (he's for a "market-driven" overhaul of the system), and Social Security (though he's short on details on this front; see item below). There's nothing on his to-do list about the environment or global warming. Why? It seems that Thompson may be a global warming denier.

In a commentary he wrote in March for his ABC radio show, Thompson made fun of people concerned about global warming. Look, he quipped, Mars is warming; it must be because of all those "alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle." As for the scientific consensus that the Earth is warming because of human activity, Thompson remarked with scorn-ridden sarcasm, “Ask Galileo.” Meaning that the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding global warming (it's real, human-induced and poses a significant threat) is meaningless--at least for him. Though even George W. Bush accepts the current consensus on global warming (endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences and the World Meteorological Organization), Thompson considers it bunk and nothing but a set-up for a punchline

When it comes to engaging conventional national security challenges, Thompson talks tough. When it comes to global warming, he's all jokes. Maybe he should be a regular on the Jay Leno show.

LIKE REAGAN...BUT IN A BAD WAY? A Bloomberg story on Fred Thompson today begins:

Fred Thompson says a top challenge for the next president is fixing Social Security. Asked how his ideas for overhauling the system differ from those of George W. Bush, the actor and former Tennessee senator says: "I don't even remember the details of his plan."

Republican Thompson, 65, who styles himself as the heir to Ronald Reagan-style conservatism, entered the race today after six months of flirting with a run. With the earliest-ever primary campaign already in full swing, he doesn't have much time to convince voters that he is focused and prepared.

So Social Security is one of his top priorities, but Thompson cannot say how his approach would differ from the last major attempt at changing the system--because he cannot remember the specifics of the Bush plan (which were well detailed in news stories and White House hand-outs). That does sound like Reagan. Maybe next Thompson will confuse his film parts with real life. ("Last time I was president....")

FULL CREDIT. On Wednesday night, I attended a premiere of a new HBO documentary called Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, a poignant, harrowing and straightforward account of Iraq war vets coping with serious injuries sustained in battle. In the film, James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano) interviews ten soldiers and Marines--most are amputees--about their experiences and injuries. Their tales are moving--and a reminder of the full and never-ending cost of the war. At one point in the movie, which takes no explicit view on the war, former Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan, who lost both eyes and his frontal cranium due to an explosion, says, "You really glorify war....You get there and you realize this is not glory. It's not normal to sit there and kill somebody....It takes a huge toll on you."

In the audience for this screening was Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy secretary of defense. Before the film was shown--and after the invited audience supped on delicious Middle Eastern food--Richard Plepler, the co-president of HBO, introduced the producers and makers of the film. The crowd applauded each. I then had a brief fantasy in which Plepler said, "And finally, HBO thanks Paul Wolfowitz for making this film possible." No such words, of course, were spoken. The film premieres on HBO this Sunday. (Connection declared: I am a consultant to HBO on another Iraq-related project.)

Posted by David Corn at September 6, 2007 12:34 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Fred looks rough. Not to be too superficial but he looks like a few miles of bad road.

Maybe he will take off like a rocket but my money is on him dropping like a rock.

Fred isn't even as good as the delusion Ronny Raygun.

Of course as an actor he can play the president if even from a poorly written script.

As long as the WH can listen in on everything (and they will surely support a GOP candidate) it will be a miracle if the GOP loses. Throw in a couple of iffy evoting machines and a little caging add some push-polling and the old and new dirty tricks and the Reich-wingnuttia could (with a straight face no less) declare victory.

Sure people could raise holy hell but the new GOP WH would certify every lie and transition - who could stop them?



capt said...

Judge Strikes Down Part of Patriot Act

A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act on Thursday, saying investigators must have a court’s approval before they can order Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the government orders must be subject to meaningful judicial review and that the recently rewritten Patriot Act ”offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers.”

The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law, complaining that it allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court order required for other government searches.

The ACLU said it was improper to issue so-called national security letters, or NSLs — investigative tools used by the FBI to compel businesses to turn over customer information — without a judge’s order or grand jury subpoena. Examples of such businesses include Internet service providers, telephone companies and public libraries.

Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said prosecutors had no immediate comment.

Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case for the ACLU, said the revised law had wrongly given the FBI sweeping authority to control speech because the agency was allowed to decide on its own — without court review — whether a company receiving an NSL had to remain silent or whether it could reveal to its customers that it was turning over records.

In 2004, ruling on the initial version of the Patriot Act, the judge said the letters violate the Constitution because they amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. He found that the nondisclosure requirement — under which an Internet service provider, for instance, would not be allowed to tell customers that it was turning over their records to the government — violated free speech.

After he ruled, Congress revised the Patriot Act in 2005, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed that Marrero review the law’s constitutionality a second time.

The ACLU complained that Congress’ revision of the law didn’t go far enough to protect people because the government could still order companies to turn over their records and remain silent about it, if the FBI determined that the case involved national security.

The law was written ”reflects an attempt by Congress and the executive to infringe upon the judiciary’s designated role under the Constitution,” Marrero wrote.


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

The key phrase being UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. Like that matters to the slugs in this WH. Watch for the calls of “activist” or “left leaning” with some slime thrown on too.


capt said...

Bin Laden comic mistaken for Canada diplomat

A group of Australian comedians, including one dressed as terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, have managed to penetrate the high-security lockdown in place in Sydney, where world leaders have gathered for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) talks.

Video HERE

The security measures, the toughest ever imposed in Australia, include closing much of the city and erecting steel and concrete barriers around landmarks such as the Opera House.

Snipers are in position on rooftops, counter-terrorism police have been deployed on the harbour and fighter jets patrol the skies while dignitaries, including US President George W Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, get down to the serious business of diplomacy.

But eleven comedians, armed with a three black cars, two motorbikes, cheap Canadian flags and a lot of cheek, managed to beat security by convincing police they were an official motorcade carrying a Canadian delegation - despite the fact one was dressed as the world’s most wanted terrorist.

The mischief-making comics from The Chaser, a popular skit programme broadcast on the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, took advantage of confusion among police as dozens of official motorcades criss-crossed the city.

Officers waved them through at least one security barrier and by the time police realised they were patsy to a high-profile prank, the "motorcade" was on the same street as the hotel where Mr Bush was staying.

advertisementThe comedians were arrested and charged under special Apec laws, which prohibit entry into a restricted area without justification.

While some frontline police officers saw the funny side of the stunt, laughing and joking with the de-bearded bin Laden impersonator, senior officials were not impressed.

New South Wales police minister David Campbell said the prank was inappropriate and he "did not see the funny side at all".

He denied he was embarrassed by the incident and attempted to put a rather humourless spin on the breach, saying he was pleased the "multi-layered" security had worked.

The Chaser comedians are so notorious for their high jinks that police approached them before Apec and warned them against pulling a prank.

In a finale to today’s stunt, the arrested comedians and their cars, which had been seized, enjoyed a high-speed ride to a Sydney police station in an official, seven-vehicle police motorcade. The irony will not escape them.


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

Osama Bin Lad-who?


capt said...

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose: Thomas Jefferson

"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?": Lillian Hellman - (1905-1984) American playwright and memoirist

"For in a Republic, who is 'the country?' Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant - merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them." -- Mark Twain [Samuel Langhornne Clemens] (1835-1910)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Where has our sense of propriety gone?

A person can win the biggest lottery and not come close to what a hedge-fund manager makes HERE and HERE.

Hedge-fund managers averaged about $675 million.

Fiscal insanity allows these bankers to make money out of thin air.

Lending to people that can’t repay has always been a way for the wealthy to exploit the less fortunate and convert paper into real estate.

Hedge-fund manager AVERAGED $675 MILLION more than twice the largest lottery pay out.

Good work if you can get it. You know the concept of hedge-fund is all about the computer programs making the flawless decisions that elude reality in real time.

This will not stop until we make it stop. We have no choice.


capt said...


Folks, it's going to be a footrace between impeachment and Armageddon. If you liked the 5 year debacle in Iraq, you are going to LOVE the next 100 years of nuclear world war, assuming human civilization lasts even a small portion of that. Yes, we know that our members of Congress are, with a couple of courageous exceptions like Kucinich, nothing but a bunch of gutless congenital cowards. But, they WILL act of enough of us speak out at once, they always do. But only if they hear from YOU.


capt said...

In gold we trust


In the past few weeks, as European banks started disclosing the level of their potential losses from buying US subprime assets, two things broke down. First, the various money-market funds started facing redemptions once it turned out they too had exposure to derivatives written on US subprime assets. They then had to stop purchasing ABCP and CP in the market, putting the onus on banks to carry the entire burden.

Banks, of course, were the main sponsors of SIVs, although some of the largest ones facing the biggest issues now are actually run by non-bank financial entities such as brokers and hedge funds. In any event, once the SIVs could no longer fund themselves in the CP market, their game was up - their assets were illiquid because of the current level of losses in the underlying securities (borrowers defaulting on their obligations much more frequently than was initially assumed, which helps to drive the price of derivatives down a whole lot faster).

This meant that many bank-sponsored SIVs had to be absorbed by their sponsors, which in turn caused the banks to record both investment losses and stretch their capital. Under the rules of global banking, having assets ranging from loans to derivatives attracts various degrees of capital requirement to ensure that banks have enough of their own equity at stake in investments rather than only risking the money from depositors or other banks that help to fund their own book. When risky assets are purchased wholesale, no one knows for sure how valuable these assets are and therefore how much loss the banks have to take.

In this environment, banks stopped trusting one another. LIBOR has jumped well past the circuit-breakers such as penal overnight borrowing that exist, because of this lack of trust. Even as the US Federal Reserve cut its discount rate to just 50 basis points over the target rate, banks found it difficult to convince one another of their stability and solvency.

That lack of confidence among banks has put paid to any central-bank efforts to hike rates, as required by looking at rising global economic growth and inflationary pressures. Instead, the Federal Reserve has signaled a willingness to cut rates this month, and the European Central Bank, which pre-announced a hike for September just last month, had to backtrack hastily this week and keep rates on hold. Even all of that flip-flopping has not helped in the interbank market, because LIBOR remains stubbornly high.


capt said...

DHS ends criticized data-mining program


A DHS research official said in 2004 it would be able to ingest 1 billion pieces per hour of structured information, such as databases of cargo shippers, and 1 million pieces per hour from unstructured text, such as government intelligence reports.

The system was supposed to identify links between bits of information that could otherwise go unnoticed. And it would graphically display results in charts of relationships and links.

A DHS workshop report in 2004 said it hoped to answer queries like: "Identify any suspicious group of individuals that passed through customs at JFK (airport in New York) in January 2004."

The GAO said in March that DHS should notify the public about how an individual's personal information would be verified, used and protected before ADVISE was implemented on live data.

Then, in separate reports released without fanfare in July and August, the DHS inspector general and privacy office concluded that between 2004 and 2007, three pilot tests of ADVISE used personally identifiable information without first issuing required privacy impact assessments. The privacy office said this "created unnecessary privacy risks."

The errors were in pilot programs involving weapons of mass effect, immigration enforcement and the DHS intelligence analysis office, the privacy office said.

This is the second such error at DHS.


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

Any questions?


Gerald said...

A Sister Joan article to read

Gerald said...

A must hear homily from Bishop Gumbleton

Gerald said...

Bush is KOed, again

Gerald said...

Working Harder to Make the Rich Richer

capt said...

50 Years Of History, Six Years Of Corruption

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice. On Sept. 7, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which created the division, after President Harry Truman's recommendation a decade earlier to create a civil rights legal enforcement arm of the Justice Department. Subsequently, a "cadre of attorneys" in the Civil Rights Division "helped spur profound social change" in the coming decades through the promotion of equal justice. Today, the problems of race and poverty "still require the highest caliber of attention," seen, for example, in the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. But under President Bush, the section has seen the erosion of rights and been corrupted with politicization. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to observe the anniversary and "hear concerns from civil rights leaders that the division has become partisan." Learn more about the 50th anniversary HERE.


capt said...

New Thread