Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Who is David Sentelle?
by wsws (reposted) Saturday Feb 24th, 2007 10:21 AM
Both of the judges who upheld the Military Commissions Act’s attack on habeas corpus in the 2-1 ruling handed down February 20 by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—David Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph—have a record of decisions defending the interests of big business and attacking democratic rights.
Sentelle, in particular, epitomizes the type of arch reactionaries who have in recent years been elevated to the federal judiciary.
He began his political career as a protégé of Jesse Helms, the North Carolina senator and former segregationist whose extreme right-wing views for years relegated him to the fringes of the US political establishment, until the general rightward trajectory of official American politics made his fascistic inclinations “respectable.” Sentelle was appointed to the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina by Ronald Reagan in 1985. He was then appointed by Reagan to the US Court of Appeals for the DC District in 1987, replacing fellow reactionary Antonin Scalia, who moved on to the US Supreme Court. T
he DC Court of Appeals is considered the second most influential court in the US, behind only the Supreme Court, and in his 20 years on the court Sentelle has consistently used his position to promote right-wing positions. He has, in particular, advocated a narrow interpretation of the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause so as to attack government regulation of business on environmental and other matters.
In 1990, Sentelle joined in a ruling voiding the felony convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter for their roles in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which officials in the Reagan administration were exposed as having secretly sold arms to Iran in order to illegally fund Contra death squads in Nicaragua who were seeking to overthrow the left-nationalist Sandinista government. More http://wsws.org/articles/2007/feb2007/sent-f24.shtml
....and the truth shall set us free.
WASHINGTON - February 26 - Green Party leaders called on Congress to reject health care reform plans that maintained corporate-based insurance and HMO coverage, and urged passage of a single-payer national health insurance program.
"America is ready for single-payer," said Maria Allwine, former Green candidate for Maryland State Senate and U.S. Senate and member of the Maryland Universal Health Care Action Network . "We're not ready for another Republican or Democratic proposal that guarantees profits for HMOs and insurance firms, while doing little for America's 46 million uninsured and millions more under-insured. We appeal to Congress, the American people, unions, and health-care providers to reject corporate-friendly managed-care plans and demand national health insurance."
Greens were especially critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) continuing role in obstructing needed health care reforms.
"Hillary Clinton should be banished from the room when health coverage is discussed," said Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz, New York. "Ms. Clinton's favoritism towards major insurance companies undermined real health care reform when her husband's administration crafted its managed-care monstrosity in 1993. She and other Democrats remain at the top of the list of recipients of contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies [http://www.opensecrets.org]."
In the 2006 race for the U.S. Senate, New York Green candidate Howie Hawkins sharply criticized Ms. Clinton for pandering to private health insurance companies and endorsing a Massachusetts bill mandating that consumers buy inadequate private health insurance. Greens running for office in New York, Massachusetts, and numerous other states promoted state-based plans to provide all residents with health care services through publicly-funded coverage.
"Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and other prominent Democrats are the greatest obstacle to universal health coverage. Except for a few mavericks like Rep. John Conyers [D-Mich.], who has regularly introduced single-payer bills, Democrats have joined Republicans in favoring HMO and insurance corporations over guaranteed publicly-financed quality health care for every American. It's a safe bet that the 2008 Democratic nominee will -- like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry before them -- follow the same pattern," said Kat Swift, spokesperson for the National Women's Caucus of the Green Party.
Greens noted that Democrats and Republicans alike were responding to the growing health care crisis in recent years by siding with corporate insurers and rejecting the principle that federal or state governments should provide coverage, despite poll numbers showing growing majority support for single-payer. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, the Democratic Party deleted national health insurance from its national platform; national health insurance had been a Democratic promise since 1948.
In November, 2003, Republicans in Congress passed a complex Prescription Drug bill that mostly benefits drug firms and advances the long-time Republican ambition to replace Medicare with private coverage <http://www.gp.org/press/pr_11_21_03.html>. More recently, President Bush has cut $28 million from Medicaid to pay for the Iraq War.
Greens noted that profits for the private health insurance industry now consume as much as 30¢ of every health dollar, and that pay for insurance and HMO executives is now in the multimillion-dollar stratosphere, e.g., $29,061,599 for Stephen Wiggins, CEO of Oxford Health Plans, Inc.; $11,568,410 for Wilson Taylor, Chairman and CEO of CIGNA Corporation <http://www.harp.org/hmoexecs.htm>.
According to a 2000 study by Harvard Medical School and the Canadian Institute for Health Information <http://www.hms.harvard.edu/news/releases/0820woolhimmel.html>, U.S. pays 31 cents on every dollar for administrative costs; Canada, under its single-payer system, pays half this amount. Greens further noted that taxpayers and health care providers are already paying health care costs for the uninsured.
"We urge unions and other civil groups to demand single-payer, instead of falling into lockstep with Democrats, or we'll repeat the health care reform debacle of 1993," said John Battista, M.D., former Green candidate for state representative in Connecticut and co-author of his state's single-payer legislation in 1999 (the Connecticut Health Care Security Act). "It's time to reject vaguely defined corporate-friendly 'affordable' health care plans."
"Single-payer will provide quality health coverage for every American regardless of income, ability to pay, residence, age, or prior medical condition at a cost that's far less than working Americans currently pay for private coverage, while providing full choice of physician and hospital," added Dr. Battista. "That's why the Green Party supports single-payer."
....and the truth shall set us free.
Hillary Coronation Wanted by 'the Bigs'
by Ed Garvey
A billion dollars will be spent on this race. By whom? The bigs. Why will they cough up the money? Because of a burning desire for good government?The race for president is in full swing, but feel no need to get excited, contribute to a candidate or watch the debates. Selecting the "American Idol" will be a more democratic process than nominating the Republican and Democratic candidates for president.
You, my friends, are not needed. Big media conglomerates, pollsters, consultants, big drug and insurance companies, and other captains of industry will take this burden from your shoulders.
You have plenty to keep you busy just making a living, so you can let the big boys ("bigs") and their bagmen make the decision for you. Rather comforting, wouldn't you say?
The bigs want a close race between the Democrat and the Republican, so that both must beg them for big bucks in their Faustian bargain.
The Democratic Leadership Council bigs decided five years ago to nominate Hillary Clinton in 2008. Sure, Barack Obama is a rising star with charisma Hillary would kill for, but he won't get the big money he needs. You say, "But people like him." So what? Too unpredictable. The bigs don't know enough about him. You will be told, "not enough experience." Translated, that means "he might have his own agenda."
He might pursue peace in the Middle East while pushing for universal single-payer health care or proposing that the bigs pay Social Security taxes on all income coupled with a progressive tax system. Yikes! Better stick with Hillary. The bigs know her game, and she plays well. Remember NAFTA?
John Edwards? Hell no. He is way too serious about poverty, and that could bring more money and smaller classes to public schools but less for the military-industrial complex. What if Edwards pushes through a living wage, health care, fewer prisons, and decent housing? One can almost hear the bigs yelling, "What about us?" Iraq? Bring 'em home. Iran? Leave it to the U.N.
Besides, Edwards thinks corporations should be responsible for their misdeeds. What is he a commie?
Tom Vilsack? Too late. He dropped out because of money. Shame on him. Why didn't he select wealthy parents or join the DLC, or both? I must admit, he is a quick study. Lack of money stopped two other Iowans who should have been president, John Culver and Tom Harkin. Vilsack had the quaint notion that a person with executive experience, good values and good ideas could run for president and let the people decide. I'm not kidding; he thought this was a democracy.
His Field of Dreams campaign build it and the money will come collapsed before he could locate the cornfield. Vilsack was told that he needed $20 million by June of this year to be taken seriously. Face it, Tom. The bigs don't like you very much. I like Vilsack.
How about Bill Richardson? He is a popular governor, a former ambassador to the U.N., a seven-term member of Congress, and former secretary of energy! The man is smart, experienced, gutsy, and knows about energy needs. He was elected governor with 69 percent of the vote; he has negotiated on the international scene. He, like Vilsack, is a good man with executive experience, solid values and plenty of good ideas. Bye-bye, Bill. Bye-bye. He might make it until Easter.
Al Gore? Way too independent, and this global warming stuff please!
Good for Hollywood but not for our economy. He is needlessly scaring folks into finding alternatives to our comfortable way of life. Indeed, his truth is inconvenient for the bigs. The utilities don't like him, the oil boys can't stand him, and the auto industry is more than a little suspicious. Hell, he even opposed the invasion of Iraq! The bigs don't like any of it. "Thanks anyway, Al. Good movie."
Now then, how about Joe Biden? I don't think so. So long, Joe.
Take a break, folks. They will let you know the names of the chosen ones by July.
But wait. I didn't write anything about the Republican race. Could it be that Tommy has the nomination in the bag? He says he will shake every hand in Iowa good start. He is not burdened with ideology or new ideas. He is clear about Iraq. He said the other day that they could have a civil war if they aren't careful.
Back to reality.
A billion dollars will be spent on this race. By whom? The bigs. Why will they cough up the money? Because of a burning desire for good government?
Remember when we had a democracy and people like us played a role in nominating our candidates?
Whom do you favor for "American Idol"?
Our democracy has been hijacked. Might as well watch TV.
Copyright ©2007, Capital Newspapers.
....and the truth shall set us free.
Published on Monday, February 26, 2007 by ABCNews
Congress Reexamining 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'Support for Gay People to Serve Openly in Military Has Increased, Polls Say
by Jake Tapper and Thomas M. Giusto
Air Force Staff Sgt. David Hall was a decorated officer, had been given a much-coveted opportunity to train be a pilot, and in 2002 had earned the highest ranking of all the Air Force ROTC juniors in his detachment. Hall to this day is eager to fly missions in Iraq.
But Hall won't be sent to the Middle East any time soon, because in August 2002 the Air Force discharged him because he's gay.
"To have that taken away from me -- it was devastating," Hall told ABC News today.
Hall is one of more than 11,000 gay and lesbian service members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy enacted in 1993. On March 7, the 1st Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals will hear the court case that Hall and 11 other gay and lesbian service members have filed -- working with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network -- against the Pentagon seeking reinstatement.
But before that, on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of congressmen led by Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., will introduce legislation to overturn the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces, a ban that many Democrats now mock.
"For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are against terrorists," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., at a House International Relations Committee hearing earlier this month. "If the terrorists ever got a hold of this information, they'd get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad."
But beyond such snipes is a serious debate. Congress will take up a policy this week that forces able troops out when the military is stretched so thin it has lowered its enlistment standards for age, education and even criminal history.
Beyond "culture war" divides about gay and lesbian rights, this debate now takes on national security implications, as President Bush seeks to enlarge the size of the armed forces, and the war against terrorism looms large and continues to pose serious challenges.
A 2004 study conducted by the Government Accountability Office, for instance, found that eight percent of discharged gay soldiers "held critical occupations," including 322 with "skills in an important language such as Arabic, Farsi or Korean."
"It doesn't make sense for the Pentagon to kick people out when they need people," Hall said. "That they're going to say, 'I would rather have people who have criminal behaviors serve rather than someone who has already served honorably' -- that makes no sense."
Public opinion on the topic has shifted. According to an ABC News poll in 1993, only 44 percent of the American people supported letting gays and lesbian troops serve openly. But by 2004, according to a Gallup poll, 63 percent supported gay people serving openly in the military.
"They're watching Ellen DeGeneres on TV, or they're knowing someone who is a self-identified homosexual," said retired Col. Bob Maginnis. "That's understandable in a cultural context."
Despite that social acceptance, Maginnis said changes in the civilian culture are not relevant to the field of battle.
"Really, the bottom line for the military is: Is this a policy change that's going to help promote combat effectiveness?" Maginnis said. "I see no evidence of that."
And what about the ousted gay and lesbian soldiers with critical language skills?
"We come to the conclusion that if we embrace homosexuality in the military, that that has far more of a detrimental impact than will, in fact, keeping someone just because they happen to have a critical skill," said Maginnis.
Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures
....and the truth shall set us free.
Ok, No way in Hell.
No more Bushes, period!
By Eleanor Clift
Feb. 23, 2007 - Watching the Republican candidates elbowing each other for position on the right is a classic Washington spectator sport. Nobody quite measures up, and they all look a little craven trying. The prize they’re seeking: the evangelical vote, which is crucial to success in the GOP primaries. Republicans can’t win the White House without them, and social conservatives so far have been lukewarm toward everybody in the field.
Story continues ↓
....and the truth shall set us free.
....and the truth shall set us free.
We already know about her suggestion that the president could just ignore whatever congressional Democrats do about Iraq.
Just ignore Congress.
We know how that game always turns out. Ask President Nixon. Ask President Andrew Johnson.
Or ask Vice President Dick Cheney, who utterly contradicted Secretary Rice on Monday when he warned President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan about what those mean congressional Democrats could do to his foreign aid.
All of this, par for the course.
But about what the secretary said regarding the prospect of Congress’ revising or repealing the 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq:
Here we go again! From springs spent trying to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11, to summers of cynically manipulated intelligence, through autumns of false patriotism, to winters of war, we have had more than four years of every cheap trick and every degree of calculated cynicism from this administration, filled with Three-Card Monte players.
But the longer Dr. Rice and these other pickpockets of a nation's goodness have walked among us, waving flags and slandering opponents and making true enemies — foreign and domestic — all hat and no cattle all the while, the overriding truth of their occupancy of our highest offices of state has only gradually become clear.
As they asked in that Avis commercial: "Ever get the feeling some people just stopped trying?"
Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld thought he could equate those who doubted him with Nazi appeasers, without reminding anybody that the actual, historical Nazi appeasers in this country in the 1930s were the Republicans.
Vice President Cheney thought he could talk as if he and he alone knew the “truth” about Iraq and 9/11, without anyone ever noticing that even the rest of the administration officially disagreed with him.
The president really acted as if you could scare all of the people all of the time and not lose your soul — and your majority — as a result.
But Secretary of State Rice may have now taken the cake. On the Sunday morning interview show “Of Broken Record” on Fox, Dr. Rice spoke a paragraph, which if it had been included in a remedial history paper at the weakest high school in the nation would've gotten the writer an "F" — maybe an expulsion.
If Congress were now to revise the Iraq authorization, she said, out loud, with an adult present: "… it would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change, then, the resolution that allowed the United States to do that, so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown."
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...and the truth shall set us free
Monday, February 26, 2007
Just when you thought nothing could possibly get any more insane....
Here come the Moonies!
From petty local scams to international money-laundering, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s political/media/business/religious empire has all the looks of a global “ongoing criminal enterprise,” albeit one with enough powerful friends in Washington to protect it from serious consequences.
Benefiting from relationships with the Bush family and other prominent Republicans, Moon’s Unification Church slips away from one illegal scheme after another – despite overwhelming evidence and first-person admissions about the systematic pattern of the criminality. Somehow U.S. authorities never put two and two together.
Even Moon’s 1982 felony conviction for tax evasion arising from an earlier money-laundering scheme and public confessions from his ex-daughter-in-law and other church insiders about later financial conspiracies don’t clue in the feds to the bigger picture before them.
So, while prosecutors mostly look the other way, Moon continues to pour an estimated $100 million a year into his influential Washington Times newspaper and other pro-Republican media outlets. Additional millions have gone to fund right-wing political conferences; to pay speaking fees to world leaders, such as former President George H.W. Bush; and to bail political allies out of financial troubles.
Hollywood mogul David Geffen touched a raw nerve with Hillary Clinton when he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that “everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
The Clintons’ trouble with truth, however, is not just the petty political lying nor is it their quibbling over what “is is” or what “mistake” means. It’s that they have never shown any real reverence for the truth. Too often, they see it as something to be traded away for a transitory tactical advantage.
If a future historian is ever to understand what happened to the United States in this era – how the world’s greatest power so disastrously lost its way – that scholar should look back to the first Clinton-Bush transition in 1992-93, when Bill Clinton could have grasped a unique historical moment but didn’t.
Clinton was the first U.S. President to take office after the end of the Cold War. He could have ordered a long-needed historical review of what nine U.S. presidents had done,often behind opaque cloaks of government secrecy.
"NASHUA, N.H. (AP) -- Health care was the topic of the day Saturday, but Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards made sure New Hampshire voters gave him another chance to say he was wrong as a senator to authorize the use of force in Iraq.
Edwards' visit to New Hampshire was billed as a series of house meetings to promote his health care plan and his presidential bid. But less than five minutes after walking into the day's first house party, the 2004 vice presidential nominee turned to the subject that has consumed the Democratic contenders: Iraq.
'Honestly, if you don't bring up Iraq, I'll bring it up,' the former North Carolina senator told about 150 people gathered in a state senator's living room and kitchen.
And when the first few questions dealt with other issues - homelessness, catastrophic health insurance, the federal budget - Edwards again suggested someone might want to ask him about Iraq. Edwards wanted to make sure everyone there knew he regretted his Senate vote that gave President Bush the authority to begin the war in Iraq - an apology Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has refused to offer.
Gore is our legitimate president.
G.W. Bush has never won a national election in his life!
As Al Gore steps into the national spotlight because of the Academy Awards and his global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” it’s worth remembering that in fall 2002 Gore sought to warn the American people about another “inconvenient truth,” the folly of invading Iraq."
This should scare the livin' shit out of every conscious American
You really have to hand it to the man for being there when his party really needed him! For more than three decades, he has bravely stepped forward to defend Republican administrations against the evils of the Constitution of the United States. And just days ago, in true form, and hiding behind the anonymity of time, Judge David Bryan Sentelle has done it again!
In case you missed it, Judge Sentelle just joined Judge A. Raymond Randolph in a 2-1 decision that should unnerve everyone who reads it. Sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the two men ruled that that hundreds of detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba do not have the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal courts.
In essence, George W. Bush and his cohorts can keep nearly 400 detainees caged in their Guantanamo prison indefinitely, with no charges, no access to counsel, and no way on earth to appeal their status or attempt to attempt to prove their innocence.
TvNewsLIES.org: "n regards to Iraq being a potential threat to the United States George W. Bush used “worst case scenario” logic to convince the world that America had to take the most extreme measures available in order to eliminate this potential threat. This is a threat that showed no signs of existing, had no evidence to support its existence and claimed no lives at all!
Bush’s logic & exact words: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
Contrarily when it comes to Bush’s logic on the “potential” threat posed by global warming Bush uses the “best case” scenario.
Bush’s logic (in my words): “We need many many more smoking guns in the form of funnel clouds and such before we address this potential threat!”
Is he that stupid or is this guy just a fanatic fascist who bows to one god: money?
Either way how can any one in the world support this man?
Published: Monday February 26, 2007
Iraq's cabinet approved Monday a draft law on oil revenues -- a key plank in moves to reunite the war-torn country -- and will submit it to parliament for approval, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said.
The law aims to distribute revenues from crude oil exports equitably across 18 provinces and open the sector to foreign investors. It has been a subject of fierce debate among leaders from Iraq's bitterly divided factions.
"This law has been based on our national interest. It will encourage the bringing together of all component parts of the Iraqi people," Maliki told a news conference.
"This law is a gift to all the Iraqi people," he added.
Iraq has the third largest proven shares of crude reserves in the world, and oil exports are its single most important source of revenue, despite frequent insurgent attacks on oil facilities.
Since the US invasion of March 2003, which overthrew Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, divisions between Iraq's communities of Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Kurds have erupted into open hostility and sectarian bloodshed.
Most current oil production is in the Shiite south, and the best prospects for future discoveries in the Kurdish north -- while the northern oil city of Kirkuk is disputed between Kurdish and Arab leaders.
US officials have repeatedly urged the Iraqis to adopt a consensus law on sharing revenues and on international investment in order to head off future conflict and allow the oil sector to develop.
Parliament is due to meet in the coming weeks and can be expected to approve the bill quickly, as all parties have been involved in drafting it.
"This law is one of the most important achievements in Iraq since the voting of the constitution," said planning minister Ali Baban.
"There was clear participation of all political movements in this law, which will boost national unity. This law will create a single oil revenue stream for all Iraqis," he said.
Baban added that foreign oil majors had been waiting for such a law to be passed before deciding on investing in Iraq's oil industry, which badly needs foreign direct investment after three decades of war and economic sanctions.
...and the truth shall set us free
Bernstein: Bush administration's disinformation, misinformation 'something I have never witnessed before on this scale'
Sponsored by: The Agenda with Joe Solmonese
Veteran reporter Carl Bernstein says the lack of truth and candor from the Bush administration is unprecedented in his experience.
Comparing the Nixon administration's press relations to those of Bush, Bernstein says, "Nixon's relationship to the press was consistent with his relationship to many institutions and people. He saw himself as a victim. We now understand the psyche of Richard Nixon, that his was a self-destructive act and presidency.
"The Bush administration," Bernstein continues, "is a far different matter in which disinformation, misinformation and unwillingness to tell the truth -- a willingness to lie both in the Oval Office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the office of the vice president, the vice president himself -- is something that I have never witnessed before on this scale."
Bernstein contrasted Nixon's covering up of illegal activities tied to his re-election campaign with the Bush White House's "unwillingness to be truthful, both contextually and in terms of basic facts that ought to be of great concern to people of all ideologies.
"This president has a record of dishonesty and obfuscation that is Nixonian in character in its willingness to manipulate the press, to manipulate the truth," he adds. "We have gone to war on the basis of misinformation, disinformation and knowing lies from top to bottom."
Bernstein blasts what he describes as "the willingness of the president and the vice president and the people around them to try to undermine people who have effectively opposed them by telling the truth." He cites attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) and even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
"That's the real story, and that's the story that [the press] should have been writing," he says.
Bernstein, who gained fame with Bob Woodward for their breakthrough reporting on the Watergate scandal, was interviewed for a PBS Frontline series on the media.
In an earlier interview reported on at RAW STORY, the famed journalist said the Bush administration had done "far greater damage" than Nixon.
Excerpts from an Editor and Publisher article with portions of the PBS interview follow...
It's very difficult, as a reporter, to get across that when you say, "This is a presidency of great dishonesty," that this is not a matter of opinion.
This is demonstrable fact.
If you go back and look at the president's statements, you look at the statements of the vice president, you look at the statements of Condoleezza Rice, you go through the record, you look at what [counterterrorism expert] Richard Clarke has written, you look at what we know -- it's demonstrable.
Now, how do you quantify it?
That's a different question.
But to me, if there is a great failure by the so-called mainstream press in this presidency, it's the unwillingness to look at the lies and disinformation and misinformation and add them up and say clearly, "
Here's what they said; here's what the known facts were," because when that is done, you then see this isn't a partisan matter. This is a matter of the truth, particularly about this war. This is a presidency that is not willing to tell the truth very often if it is contrary to its interests.
It's not about ideology from whence I say this.....
It's about being a reporter and saying:
"That's what the story is. Let's see what they said; let's see what the facts are." ...
....and the truth shall set us free.
We, the people, have been mislead on so many different, but vital, issues, over the last 25 years, there should be heads rolling, so to speak!
Recasts, adds statements from more governors, details on bi-coastal greenhouse gas markets
By Timothy Gardner
NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Five Western U.S. states have formed the latest regional pact to bypass the Bush administration to cut emissions linked to global warming through market mechanisms.
The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative requires Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico and Arizona to develop a regional target in six months for reducing greenhouse emissions according to statements from the states' governors.
During the next 18 months, the states will devise a market-based plan, such as a load-based cap-and-trade program, to reach the target. They also have agreed to participate in a multi-state registry to track and manage greenhouse gas emissions in their region.
More politicians and corporations have been pressuring the federal government to join most of the world's other developed countries in regulating the gases most scientists blame for global warming.
Several eastern U.S. states have signed a similar agreement called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Utility TXU Corp. (TXU.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday scrapped plans to build eight of 11 new coal-fired power units in Texas as part of a buyout by private equity firms.
Bicoastal regional greenhouse pacts could force U.S. smokestack and transportation businesses to lobby more intensely for a national greenhouse plan, rather than face patchwork local regulations, said Jeremiah Baumann, an advocate with the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group. Continued...
....and the truth shall set us free
In the interview, she revealed that she believes that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will press forward with his investigation, and that his ultimate target is Vice President Dick Cheney: "I’m not entirely convinced that Fitzgerald’s done. I used to be conservative on that, believing that he was done. But there are little snippets of hints that he’s not."
Wheeler is omnipresent in the new media, most notably at the blog Firedoglake, while also appearing on her own blog, The Next Hurrah, and also at Daily Kos and the Huffington Post. Her book on the CIA leak scandal, Anatomy of Deceit, has been released in paperback. Because of a marathon effort parsing public documents, she managed to beat the traditional media to major stories by months.
“We figured out that Armitage was the Novak/Woodward source in March,” Wheeler said in an implicit critique of mainstream coverage of the Plame story, “and we were able to do that because we were able to do things that journalists wouldn’t do.”
Fitzgerald became famous for using organized crime-fighting tactics to root his way through an immensely corrupt government in the state of Illinois, culminating his years-long investigation with over 60 indictments and the conviction of former Republican Governor George Ryan.
Wheeler believes that Fitzgerald will bring that indefatigable nature to this trial: "I think Fitzgerald clearly wants Cheney and he’s not the kind of person who rests on his laurels after getting one conviction. One thing I can say is I don’t understand why Eric Edelman wasn’t called and that may be something he kept in reserve. I don’t understand why Jenny Mayfield wasn’t called, that may be something he kept in reserve."
A transcription of the interview appears below.
BB: I didn’t realize how serious the loophole in Fitzgerald’s strategy was and how profoundly it affected the course of the investigation. But at the same time he probably couldn’t have moved forward without promising to limit the investigation to only known leakers. Talk about that, if you can.
MW: Armitage is the perfect example because people on the right always say how dare Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t find the Bob Woodward/Armitage’s connection. But had he done what he needed to do to find that, he would have needed to subpoena every single journalist who spoke to Libby, Rove, Armitage, Fleischer, Bartlett, Hadley, Condi. And you’re beginning to get into the range of things. They were all potential leakers and probably to some degree were involved. There’s no way you would’ve been able to subpoena all of that.
BB: How disappointed were you when Cheney was excused.
MW: I wasn’t surprised. But you know Cheney can’t keep his cool. He may be very intelligent, but if you look at what happened with Leahy he can’t keep his cool when somebody challenges him and he’s never been challenged by journalists in the way he would have been challenged by Fitzgerald. But I just think there was no way they could have scoped the testimony narrowly enough to avoid Cheney opening himself up to charges. If you read Sid Blumenthal’s piece from last week where people were telling Libby not to take the fall for Cheney. It’s pretty clear that everyone agrees that’s what he’s in the process of doing. It would defy the point of him taking the fall if Dick Cheney took the stand and exposed himself to a perjury charge. Plus the fact that—I don’t even think that Cheney could have successfully reinforced Libby’s testimony. John Hannah was a huge bust for the defense. They had a great witness, John Hannah, saying if Libby took 2 hrs on July 8 to meet with Judith Miller there’d be no way he’d forget it.
BB: So predictions? Verdict?
MW: I think Wells is going to make a very concerted effort at jury nullification. In his closing statement he’s going to harp on: Rove leaked, Ari [Fleischer] leaked, Armitage leaked and they’re not doing time, they’re not even charged. But what Fitzgerald isn’t quite able to say although he might get there is that whoever leaked it all came out. Armitage only found out about Plame because of the INR memo [which was part of the leak process to begin with]. Ari found out from Libby and Rove probably found out from Libby. I think Wells, it goes back to his opening statement when he said, “the only way my client doesn’t get off is if you violate your oath.” And it’s very wrong. And I think he could be disbarred if it was perceived that he did it intentionally. But what he wants them to think about the leak and not this narrow perjury charge.
BB: Do you buy the reports that Ari Fleischer came forth because he was worried about being
imprisoned or executed?
MW: There was nothing in the testimony to support that. You asked about predictions. If Wells is unsuccessful at jury nullification then I think that Libby will get off on the two Cooper charges but be found guilty on obstruction and the two Russert charges.
BB: Do you think that the Intelligence Identities Act is a law that will ever be successfully adjudicated?
MW: Well the problem in this case, I’m not entirely convinced that Fitzgerald’s done. I used to be conservative on that, believing that he was done. But there are little snippets of hints that he’s not.
BB: What are those? Talk about those.
MW: I don’t think I should say. It’s court personnel stuff. If nothing else, there may be another charge for Libby that he’s lying about the NIE. But I think Fitzgerald clearly wants Cheney and he’s not the kind of person who rests on his laurels after getting one conviction. One thing I can say is I don’t understand why Eric Edelman wasn’t called and that may be something he kept in reserve. I don’t understand why Jenny Mayfield wasn’t called, that may be something he kept in reserve. I think I understand why the defense didn’t call her. So he may or may not be done, but, in this case, if he’s not done, I say this in the book, there are two Constitutional issues you run up against. Because I’ve long believed that if Fitzgerald gets to the point where he can prove that it wasn’t the NIE they were declassifying but it was Plame’s identity, then you’re in the Constitutional issue of whether Navy vs. Egan, which is what Addington was using to justify it, whether its true that it can supersede all the procedures that executive orders lay out for declassification. That you can instantly declassify something. And whether you can declassify Plame’s identity without telling her. And I’m still not convinced that you can indict a sitting vice president for something he did as a sitting vice president. Agnew was indicted for something he did before.
BB: What would you say are the differences between blog ethics or citizen journalist ethics and regular journalist ethics? And how much of what you do is in the old style, calling and cultivating sources?
MW: In the book I very deliberately avoided that, partly because my big sources were Joe and people who know Joe and I didn’t want the book to be Joe’s side of the story. I wanted it to be able to stand on its own. I did that deliberately. I wanted this to be public record stuff. That’s what I do well. I’m as good a close reader as I think there are out there. And reading through the filings and that kind of thing I’m sure I read them as intelligently as anybody. So for me that’s what I do. I don’t particularly like the phone and I don’t live in DC. I think one of the bigger differences between what I do and what journalists do has to do with genre more than anything else. And I’ve said this before. I wouldn’t want to give up the ability to say, ‘I’m going to speculate wildly. It is speculation, but here’s my basis for it.’ And I mean, we figured out that Armitage was the Novak/Woodward source in March and we were able to do that because we were able to do things that journalists wouldn’t do. And I’ve been harping since October since it became crystal clear that Libby had met with Novak and probably was hiding those meetings and I’ve just been saying “Novak meetings, why the hell isn’t anybody reporting this.” But to some degree I understand that journalists can’t say, “everyone said Richard Armitage is the source but we just discovered that Scooter Libby actually had meetings with Robert Novak that neither of them has revealed until now and we therefore can’t say with certainty that Richard Armitage was the first source until we understand what this is,” and that’s the conversation that should be happening.
BB: How do you stay accurate?
MW: I definitely do corrections on anything that I asserted definitively. A lot of what I do is present evidence. The book was different. I had to put it to bed. Where a lot of what I do on the blog is say, “here’s something we don’t know about the January 24 document." I can say with certainty based on OVP’s own documents that it is post dated to the time they were told to take the Niger reference out of the State of the Union. And maybe there are documents I don’t know. What I do is say, “here’s what the evidence shows.” If new evidence comes to light then I say, “new evidence comes to light and here’s what we now know.”
BB: Have there been any recriminations, intimidation or defamation or anything like that?
MW: So far there haven’t been any ill side-effects.
BB: Do you see yourself — when all this is said and don e— continuing to blog or transferring into a media position or bridging the two? What’s the plan?
MW: I don’t know. I don’t want to do traditional media. It’s the genre issue. We need to expand the genre of traditional media—everything from pseudo-objectivity to the size of articles to the kinds of things you can say in articles because that’s not serving our purposes very well. I don’t want to do that until journalism gets a lot more vibrant
BB: Is blogging a sustainable medium? Can they be profitable, or provide people a living?
MW: That’s one of my questions because right now I’m a consultant so I can work 20 hrs a
week and pay the bills and that’s what I did when I left academic work. I spend a lot of time blogging now and I like doing it but there is something to be said for having people who aren’t full time bloggers doing it. I kind of want to retain at least the principle of that because you get a lot of different viewpoints that you wouldn’t otherwise necessarily get. I think that’s a good thing.
BB: What’s your readership like these days?
MW: I’m not sure we’re sustainably at 4000 we’re normally at 3000 unique hits a day. That was before Thursday’s New York Times article, though.
....and the truth shall set us free.
'"It was an exercise devised by the Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS] to study the functioning of the War Powers Act," remembers Markey, a liberal Democratic congressman from Massachusetts. "We acted out roles. I accepted the role of Chief of Staff because I figured that was my only shot at the job." Rumsfeld may have felt the same way. At the age of fifty-seven he appears to have concluded that if he could no longer realistically aspire to be president, he could at least act the part.
'By all accounts "President" Rumsfeld played his role in that 1989 exercise for CSIS with great gusto, raging at the obdurate Congress and deploying the "White House spokesman" (played by the venerable broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr) to maneuver the press into supporting his martial position. But this Washington exercise was a comparatively lighthearted affair compared to Rumsfeld's role in games that were far more elaborate, and deeply secret. Well away from journalists and others lacking highly restricted security clearances, he could perform not merely as a chief executive, but one faced with the awesome responsibility of waging nuclear war.' (Salon Magazine article).
....and the truth shall set us free.
Something about this gives me the willies....
Print Story: White House conducts bomb drill on Yahoo! News:
Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill Saturday to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously by the type of the roadside bombs used against American troops in Iraq.
White House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend presided over the three-hour exercise that brought the government's highest level homeland security officials to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. All Cabinet agencies were represented by their secretaries or other high-ranking officials, with a total of about 90 participants, said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman.
Stanzel said the drill revealed gaps in the government's ability to respond, but also showed that there have been many improvements since Hurricane Katrina exposed federal inadequacies when it devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. For instance, coordination with state and local authorities and the ability to get federal resources in place quickly — key missteps after Katrina — appeared much better now, Stanzel said.
President Bush went on a bike ride not far from the White House Saturday morning, and did not take part in the test.
If this smear crappola works again, after all we now know, we will jolly well get what we deserve.
E. J. Dionne Jr. - Smearing Like It's 2003 - washingtonpost.com:
Even as jurors pondered whether Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff should be convicted for lying about what the Bush administration did to smear one of its critics, there was Cheney accusing another adversary of doing the work of the terrorists.
The fabricate-and-smear cycle illustrated so dramatically during the case of I. Lewis 'Scooter'' Libby explains why President Bush is failing to rally support for the latest iteration of his Iraq policy. The administration's willingness at the outset to say anything, no matter how questionable, to justify the war has destroyed its credibility. Its habit of attacking those who expressed misgivings has destroyed any goodwill it might have enjoyed. Bush and Cheney have lost the benefit of the doubt.
Welcome to Pottersville: PAUL KRUGMAN: Substance Over Image:
Enough already. Let’s make this election about the issues. Let’s demand that presidential candidates explain what they propose doing about the real problems facing the nation, and judge them by how they respond.
I know the counterargument: you can’t tell in advance what challenges a president may face, so you should vote for the person, not the policy details. But how do you judge the person? Public images can be deeply misleading: remember when Dick Cheney had gravitas? The best way to judge politicians is by how they respond to hard policy questions.
So here are some questions for the Democratic hopefuls. (I’ll talk about the Republicans another time.)
ecorazzi.com :: celebrities caught green-handed » Super Star: Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth Wins Oscar For Best Documentary:
"Vice-President and Oscar winner? You can now add the ultimate award in the entertainment industry to Al Gore’s resume. At the 79th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night, Gore’s film — his passion — An Inconvenient Truth was the winner in the Best Documentary category.
Interviewed earlier, Gore was thankful that his Oscar nomination for his global warming documentary was shifting public opinion, but he’s not happy about being right. From the article,
“Gore said he hopes to pull the global warming argument out of a partisan context and frame it as a moral and spiritual issue that involves responsibility to future generations. Skeptical at first at the idea of turning his slideshow into a movie, Gore said now he’s grateful for all the people the movie has reached.”
Just when you think things can't get more outrageous!
The Advocate - Detained but not deterred U.S. Army veteran endured harsh treatment in 18-month ordeal:
For a year and a half, Luis Mejia, a U.S. Army veteran and permanent resident for nearly two decades, was held by immigration officials who were trying to deport him to Honduras, his native country.
Mejia, 33, whose mother and 5-year-old daughter are U.S. citizens, was detained two years ago in Miami after immigration agents at the airport discovered his criminal record. In 2001, Mejia had pleaded guilty to an assault charge for his part in a fight outside of a bar in Norwalk and received a one-year suspended sentence.
Daily Herald | Business:
WASHINGTON — In his first job at the White House, Fred Fielding, barely in his 30s, broke the news to President Nixon’s top lawyer about the Watergate break-in.
In 1981, when President Reagan was shot and lying on an operating table, it was Fielding who helped settle a dispute about who was in charge of the nation. A few years later, Reagan’s counsel stood at the president’s bedside, making sure he was competent to reclaim his authority after cancer surgery.
Now, more than two decades later, President Bush has brought the 67-year-old lawyer back to handle legal fights the White House expects with the new Democratic Congress.
In an Associated Press interview, he is so soft-spoken that some of his words are drowned out by heat blowing from a register across the room. But Fielding, who has defended huge corporate clients, is no pushover.
O.T, but what the hell is it with Conservatives and secret clubs?
Christian Right Labors to Find ’08 Candidate - New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 — A group of influential Christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn."
Sirotablog: Why we should all hope Joe Lieberman becomes a Republican:
After reading about Joe “I’ve given my word I will caucus with Democrats” Lieberman threatening to switch parties and potentially throw control of the Senate to Republicans, I had a thought: Would it really be that big a deal? I ask this question out of my loyalty to the progressive movement and the Democratic Party - not out of ideological purity or my disgust for Lieberman as an individual (even though that disgust does exist). Before you scream 'YES IT REALLY WOULD BE A BIG DEAL,' just hear me out.
Democrats control the House, and as we've seen on the Iraq debate, a narrow majority in the Senate effectively stops that institution from doing anything. Thus, we have basic gridlock right now. Additionally, most believe that President Bush will veto any good legislation that manages to get out of Congress right now - meaning this gridlock is extra-guaranteed by the White House.
Throwing the Senate to the Republicans by one vote (which, by the way, a Lieberman switch would not necessarily accomplish, thanks to gray areas in Senate rules) wouldn't change this gridlocked situation at all. Democrats would still have the House and filibuster-ready Senators to stop anything awful from getting to Bush's desk.
Murtha Stumbles on Iraq Funding Curbs - washingtonpost.com:
The plan was bold: By tying President Bush's $100 billion war request to strict standards of troop safety and readiness, Democrats believed they could grab hold of Iraq war policy while forcing Republicans to defend sending troops into battle without the necessary training or equipment.
But a botched launch by the plan's author, Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), has united Republicans and divided Democrats, sending the latter back to the drawing board just a week before scheduled legislative action, a score of House Democratic lawmakers said last week.
Will someone please stop these people?
Justice Department Fires 8th U.S. Attorney - washingtonpost.com:
An eighth U.S. attorney announced her resignation yesterday, the latest in a wave of forced departures of federal prosecutors who have clashed with the Justice Department over the death penalty and other issues.
Margaret Chiara, the 63-year-old U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, Mich., told her staff that she was leaving her post after more than five years, officials said. Sources familiar with the case confirmed that she was among a larger group of prosecutors who were first asked to resign Dec. 7.
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Reports: In an exclusive interview with former President Jimmy Carter set to air on Sunday's 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos', Carter lavished praise on '(his) favorite Democrat) former Vice President Al Gore.
Carter told ABC News, 'If Al should decide to run -- which I'm afraid he won't -- I would support Al Gore.'
As I recall, it's not the first time, but I am surprised they have left any of Cheney-bot's rambling up for very long.
unbossed.com » White House website is scrubbing embarrassing interviews:
On March 16, 2003 Dick Cheney went on Meet the Press. His absurd claims in that interview have since become politically embarrassing to the White House. For example, he declared...
I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
You won't any longer find a link to this transcript on the White House website—nor, indeed, are there links to most of Cheney's interviews from before 2006. Don't believe me? Just do a search for that infamous sentence at www.whitehouse.gov.
The WH website evidently has been busy scrubbing links to interviews and perhaps other public appearances by top officials. The operation has proceeded somewhat unevenly, though aggressively. Pretty clearly the WH wants to make it much harder to research the administration's past pronouncements, especially unscripted ones, and especially those pertaining to Iraq.
How embarrassing now for the White House to get caught in the act of scrubbing its website!
Well, Condi, someone sure as hell needs to manage it.
It's been going on for 4 years, with disastrous consequences, so who in hell is responsible for managing us into this rat-hole to begin with.
It sure as hell wasn't congress, who has done nothing, now, for 6 years, but rubber stamp anything the White House wants.
EmeraldCoast.com - AP News:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Democratic-controlled Congress not to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war and suggested President Bush would defy troop withdrawal legislation.
But Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said lawmakers would step up efforts to force Bush to change course. 'The president needs a check and a balance,' said Levin, D-Mich.
Rice said proposals being drafted by Senate Democrats to limit the war amounted to 'the worst of micromanagement of military affairs.' She said military leaders such as Gen. David Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, believe the president's plan to send more troops is necessary.
Think Progress » Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups:
New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.
Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”
Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.” Watch it: ^
What the hell is there to discuss.
Until we have the money too pay for our own domestic needs, we shouldn't be talking about aid to rich nations, fer chrissake!
Israel, U.S. to discuss new annual aid program | Politics News | Reuters.com:
"JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and the United States will hold talks this week on formulating a new annual U.S. aid package, the Israeli Finance Ministry said on Sunday.
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Finance Ministry Director-General Yarom Ariav will head the Israeli delegation to Washington. The Israeli team also will include senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and military.
Israel receives about $2.4 billion a year in mostly military aid from the United States. Most of that is spent on U.S. military equipment.
The two countries agreed a 10-year deal in 1998, under which U.S. military aid would rise by $60 million a year while economic assistance would be reduced by $120 million a year until 2008.
The Projection Administration is at it again....
We will say it again, for any one who missed it:
Listen to what Bush or Cheney say (or any of the other script readers, pundits and other Bushite jackasses), and then watch what happens right here at home, not with our " enemies."
You can bet on it!
Anything they accuse anyone else of, they have either done, are doing or are about to do!
Projection is their favorite defense mechanism, closely followed by denial, deceit and fear-mongering.
We are saddled by the most pathological administration in our history and it will be the death of the American Empire; thanks be to God!
I guess there is the potential for good in anything.
Glenn Greenwald - Salon:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday Iran should not show weakness over its nuclear program, a day after Tehran ignored a United Nations deadline to stop nuclear work which the West says could to used for making bombs.
'If we show weakness in front of the enemy the expectations will increase but if we stand against them, because of this resistance, they will retreat,' he said in a speech in northern Iran, Iran's ISNA news agency said.
In the past, he said, compromise over the program, which Tehran says is intended solely for peaceful power supplies, had led to increased demands from the West.
U.N. calls U.S. data on Iran's nuclear aims unreliable - Los Angeles Times:
"Tips about supposed secret weapons sites and documents with missile designs haven't panned out, diplomats say."
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Yeah, maybe; martial law awaits.
Fruitcake, Pet Goat Alert!!
Frank Rich: Experts Warn Al Qaeda "To Detonate Nuclear Device" In US, But Bush Punts on Threat
New York Times Posted February 25, 2007 05:12 PM
READ MORE: Frank Rich, United States, Hollywood, White House
In an op-ed in the New York Times, columnist Frank Rich argues thatover five years after the events of September 11, 2001, President GeorgeW. Bush is still ignoring serious terrorist threats to the United States.
Faced with warnings from terrorism experts and a White Houseseemingly more focused on Iraq, Rich begs readers to ask, "Haven't we been here before?"
Highlights of the Rich column include:
"This is why the entire debate about the Iraq 'surge' is as much a sideshow as Britney's scalp. More troops in Baghdad are irrelevant to what's going down in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ... Who lost Iraq? is but a distraction from the more damning question, Who is losing the war on terrorism?
The record so far suggests that this White House has done so twice."
"The White House doesn't want to hear it now, either. That's why terrorism experts are trying to get its attention by going public, and not just through The Times."
"It is precisely by pouring still more of our finite military and intelligence resources down the drain in Iraq that we are tragically ignoring the lessons of 9/11. Instead of showing resolve, as Bush supposes, his botch of the Iraq war has revealed American weakness."
"What's changed in the few months since his lie is that even more American troops are tied down in Iraq, that even more lethal weapons are being used against them, that even more of the coalition of the unwilling are fleeing, and that even more Americans are tuning out both the administration and the war they voted down in November to savor a referendum that at least offers tangible results, 'American Idol.'"
"Five years after 9/11, the terrorists would seem to have us just where they want us -- asleep -- even as the system is blinking red once again."
The full column is available to Times Select subscribers here.
Or you can go to Pottersville, for the economically disadvantged among us, or folks that just don't want to play the same old tired game.
Steal This Book
....and the truth shall set us free.
Rising temperatures are redistributing bacteria, insects and plants, exposing people to diseases they'd never encountered before.
By Jia-Rui ChongTimes Staff Writer
February 25, 2007
CORDOVA, ALASKA — Oysterman Jim Aguiar had never had to deal with the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus in his 25 years working the frigid waters of Prince William Sound.The dangerous microbe infected seafood in warmer waters, like the Gulf of Mexico. Alaska was way too cold.But the sound was gradually warming. By summer 2004, the temperature had risen just enough to poke above the crucial 59-degree mark. Cruise ship passengers who had eaten local oysters were soon coming down with diarrhea, cramping and vomiting — the first cases of Vibrio food poisoning in Alaska that anyone could remember."
We were slapped from left field," said Aguiar, who shut down his oyster farm that year along with a few others.
As scientists later determined, the culprit was not just the bacterium, but the warming that allowed it to proliferate."This was probably the best example to date of how global climate change is changing the importation of infectious diseases," said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, acting chief of epidemiology at the Alaska Division of Public Health, who published a study on the outbreak.The spread of human disease has become one of the most worrisome subplots in the story of global warming. Incremental temperature changes have begun to redraw the distribution of bacteria, insects and plants, exposing new populations to diseases that they have never seen before.A report from the World Health Organization estimated that in 2000 about 154,000 deaths around the world could be attributed to disease outbreaks and other conditions sparked by climate change.
The temperature change has been small, about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 150 years, but it has been enough to alter disease patterns across the globe.
In Sweden, fewer winter days below 10 degrees and more summer days above 50 degrees have encouraged the northward movement of ticks, which has coincided with an increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis since the 1980s.
Researchers have found that poison ivy has grown more potent and lush because of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In Africa, mosquitoes have been slowly inching up the slopes around Mt. Kenya, bringing malaria to high villages that had never been exposed before."It's going to get very warm," said Andrew Githeko, a vector biologist who heads the Climate and Human Health Research Unit at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kisumu. "That's going to mean a huge difference to malaria."
Githeko, 49, grew up in the central highlands in a tiny village near the town of Karatina, about 5,700 feet above sea level. His home was different from most of Africa. The air was damp and chilly. On clear days, he could see the glaciers on Mt. Kenya, the second-highest peak in Africa at 17,058 feet.When he was a child, lowland diseases like malaria were unknown in Karatina. But perhaps 10 years ago, a smattering of cases began to appear.He had long ago left his home to study the great plagues of Africa — Rift Valley fever, malaria, cholera and others.
The appearance of malaria in the highlands, however, was a mystery worth returning home for.
Githeko dispatched a colleague to collect mosquito larvae in puddles and streams around Mt. Kenya, some as high as 6,300 feet. Tests later identified some of the mosquitoes as Anopheles arabiensis, one of the species that carry malaria.
Githeko's findings, published in 2006, marked the highest A. arabiensis breeding site ever recorded in Kenya and was the first published report of malaria infections in the central highlands, he said.He knew by watching Mt. Kenya's gradually disappearing glaciers that his world was warming, and that lowland diseases would eventually work their way higher. "But we did not expect this to happen so soon," he said.
Githeko's work has been echoed in a small number of studies around the world.
In 1996, health authorities reported a human case of tick-borne encephalitis in the Czech village of Borova Lada, elevation 3,000 feet. Until then, the Ixodes rinicus tick, which carries the disease, had never been seen above 2,600 feet.The case caught the attention of Milan Daniel, a parasitologist the Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education in Prague who has been studying the movement of ticks in the Czech Republic for half a century.He scoured the Sumava and Krkonose mountains and found that the ticks had migrated as high as 4,100 feet largely because of milder autumns over the last two decades, according to a series of studies published over the last four years.
From 1961 to 2005, the mean temperature in the Krkonose Mountains had increased about 2 1/2 degrees."This shift of the ticks," Daniel said, "is clearly connected with climate changes."
According to a landmark United Nations report released this month, global warming has reached a point where even if greenhouse gas emissions could be held stable, the trend would continue for centuries.The report painted a grim picture of the future — rising sea levels, more intense storms, widespread drought.
Predicting the future of disease, however, has proven difficult because of myriad factors — many of which have little to do with global warming. Diseases move with people, they follow trade routes, they thrive in places with poor sanitation, they develop resistance to medicines, they can blossom during war or economic breakdowns."No one's saying global warming is the whole picture here," said Dr. Paul R. Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. "But it is playing a role. As climate changes, it's projected to play an even greater role."
In a Beltsville, Md., laboratory filled with bathroom-sized aluminum chambers, U.S. Department of Agriculture weed physiologist Lewis Ziska is peering into the future of one of the key components of global warming — rising carbon dioxide levels.
CO2 levels have been on the rise since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution more than 200 years ago. Today, they are at their highest point in more than 650,000 years.
In the tightly sealed chambers, Ziska re-created pre-industrial conditions by turning down the concentration of carbon dioxide to 280 parts per million. In another box, he simulated the present with 370 parts per million. In a third box, he pumped up the carbon dioxide to 600 parts per million, the estimate for 2050.
Much of Ziska's work has centered on ragweed, a noxious plant that sets off allergy sufferers, such as Ziska himself. The weeds inside the tanks suck up carbon dioxide. "It's like feeding a hungry teenager," he said.
Collecting yellow pollen in plastic bags fitted around the plants, Ziska found that current conditions produced 131% more pollen than pre-industrial conditions. Future conditions produced 320% more."For us weed biologists, this is the worst of times and the best of times," he said.
The impact of global warming has not been all bad. Researchers recently found that rising temperatures have helped reduce some diseases related to cold weather. One British study found that the number of children infected with a cold-like virus known as respiratory syncytial virus has been declining with warming temperatures.
Combining meteorological data and emergency room admission rates from 1981 to 2004, physiologist Gavin Donaldson at University College London found each increase of 1.8 degrees clipped three weeks off the end the virus' winter season."
A small amount of warming can go a long way, as far as changing disease transmission dynamics," said Dr. Jonathan Patz, director of Global Environmental Health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Given the gradual pace of warming, there are also some chances to adapt.
After Prince William Sound's Vibrio outbreak in 2004, the state required more oyster testing in some areas. In the last two years, there have been only four cases of Vibrio food poisoning.Life in Aguiar's remote inlet has largely returned to the way it was before. This winter has been cold. Aguiar, a bear of a man with a riotous beard, huddled inside the houseboat for warmth recently as the temperature outside hovered around 20 degrees. The pale Northern Lights pulsed over the snow-laced Chugach Mountains, and skins of ice grew on the still water.
Come summer, Aguiar will start sending oyster samples to the state. When the temperature hits about 55 degrees, he'll drop his oyster baskets 60 or 100 feet in the water for about 10 days to clear out the bacteria.It's a solution he can live with in a warming world."It's not all evil," he said. "I just don't like to see rapid change."
....and the truth shall set us free.
Shortly after the first Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney was a little sensitive to charges that he failed to “finish the job” against Iraq. More than a few hawks thought that Cheney and the other Bush administration dropped the ball when it had the opportunity to take out Saddam but chose not to.
In a 1991 speech, Cheney delivered a rather defensive speech on the subject, noting the intense sectarian rivalries that dominate Iraqi society and the likely inability to maintain stability in Baghdad. As for replacing Saddam with a democracy, Cheney asked his audience, “How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?”
Cheney also said:
“The notion that we ought to now go to Baghdad and somehow take control of the country strikes me as an extremely serious one in terms of what we’d have to do once we got there. You’d probably have to put some new government in place. It’s not clear what kind of government that would be, how long you’d have to stay. For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who’s going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire.”
The ‘91 Cheney sure was smart, wasn’t he?
To his credit, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl sat down with Cheney in Australia today for a fairly wide-ranging interview, and asked the Vice President about his remarks from 16 years ago.
Cheney’s response was not reassuring.
Karl: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in —
Cheney: Well, I stand by what I said in ‘91. But look what’s happened since then — we had 9/11.
(There it is again; freakin' 9/11; the cause of all stupidity, death and destruction in the world today!)
We’ve found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren’t safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren’t in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in ‘93 at the World Trade Center, in ‘96 at Khobar Towers, or ‘98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn’t respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.
If someone can explain how and why this makes sense, I’m anxious to hear it. White House critics like to joke about the Bush gang overusing “9/11 changed everything” as a rationalization that justifies anything, but Cheney’s comments today seem to be unusually vapid.
He “stands by” what he said in 1991? Maybe Cheney is confused about what the phrase “stands by” means, but it suggests he still agrees with the remarks he made when he insisted that invading and occupying Iraq would be a “classic definition of a quagmire.” In the next breath, however, there’s 9/11.
It seems, in all sincerity, that Cheney was arguing that the 9/11 attacks justify the quagmire he predicted 16 years ago. Why? Just because.
If Cheney had said he was wrong in 1991, there would at least be something resembling coherence here. He thought Iraq would be a mess if we invaded, but we invaded, and lo and behold, everything is going great.
But that’s not what he said. Cheney argued that he was right before and right now, despite the fact that the two Cheneys appear to contradict each other.
I’m starting to think the Vice President isn’t well.
....and the truth shall set us free.
"American aircraft are bombarding terrorist targets that have been chosen by US and Iraqi forces, as part of our Baghdad security plan," said Brigadier-General Qasim al-Mussawi, spokesperson for the operation.
There was no immediate comment from the US, but AFP reporters in downtown Baghdad heard the rumble of more than three dozen powerful blasts in rapid succession at around 22:00pm (19:00 GMT).
Shortly after the first blasts, electricity was cut in part of central Baghdad, but it was not clear if these events were linked.
A senior Iraqi interior ministry official told AFP that the air strikes were aimed at insurgent strongholds in Bo'aitha, a sparsely populated neighbourhood on the west bank of the Tigris, south of the city centre.
While lying within the city limits, Bo'aitha is a district of farms and smallholdings, whose scattered villages are known to house the hideouts of Sunni insurgent gangs linked to al-Qaeda.
Iraqi officials said that the bombardment would run hand-in-hand with sweeps on the ground by US and Iraqi ground forces.
....and the truth shall set us free.
Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Impeachment
By John R Moffett
It is impossible to exaggerate the stark difference between the impeachment of President Clinton and the impending impeachment of President Bush.
There is currently no talk of impeaching President Bush or Vice President Cheney in the US House of Representatives, but there are measures moving through the state legislatures in at least three states, Washington, Vermont and New Mexico. Hopefully more states will take up similar legislation.
This grassroots movement around the country to bring law and order back to our executive branch is precisely the opposite type of proceeding from the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. President Clinton's impeachment was initiated at the top levels of the Republican elite hierarchy, and pushed through the House by rich, white, ultra-conservatives without significant public support.
By the time those proceedings were done, President Clinton had an approximately 70% approval rating with the public.
President Bush's current approval rating is approximately 30%, and even that hard core conservative base of 30% is very uneasy about President Bush's capabilities and proclivities. There is currently little impetus in the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings, but the grass roots movement is expanding rapidly. If enough states pass joint resolutions to initiate impeachment proceedings, it may force Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to take up impeachment hearings in a serious way.
This is the big difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, Republicans are authoritarians who do things from the top down, whereas Democrats and progressives are populists and do things from the ground up. It will be a wonderful expression of our democratic society if the impeachment of Bush and Cheney are brought about by the actions of hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans who want to reclaim their country from the corporate, Republican elite.
Authors Website: http://www.factinista.org/Authors
Bio: Dr. John Moffett is an active research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area, who has published numerous articles on the nervous and immune systems.
Dr. Moffett is also the author and webmaster of the political opinion website www.Factinista.org.
....and the truth shall set us free.