Friday, November 11, 2005
“The process of transformation," the plan said, “is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor."
Fanatical Warhawks Drafted Blueprint for Bloody U.S. World Domination Years Ago
The cabal of war fanatics advising the White House secretly planned a “transformation” of defense policy years ago, calling for war against Iraq and huge increases in military spending. A “catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor”—was seen as necessary to bring this about.
By Christopher Bollyn American Free Press
The huge increases in U.S. military spending that have occurred since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were planned before President George W. Bush was elected by the same men who are pushing the administration’s “war on terrorism” and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Billions of dollars in additional defense spending are but the first step in the group’s long-term plan to transform the U.S. military into a global army enforcing a terroristic and bloody Pax Americana around the world.
A neo-conservative Washington-based organization known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), funded by three foundations closely tied to Persian Gulf oil and weapons and defense industries, drafted the war plan for U.S. global domination through military power.
One of the organization’s documents clearly shows that Bush and his most senior cabinet members had already planned an attack on Iraq before he took power in January 2001.
The PNAC was founded in the spring of 1997 by the well-known Zionist neo-conservatives Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard.
The PNAC is part of the New Citizenship Project, whose chairman is also William Kristol, and is described as “a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.”
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz signed a Statement of Principles of the PNAC on June 3, 1997, along with many of the other current members of Bush’s “war cabinet.”
Wolfowitz was one of the directors of PNAC until he joined the Bush administration.
The group’s essential demand was for hefty increases in defense spending. “We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future,” the statement’s first principle reads.
The increase in defense spending is to bring about two of the other principles: “to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values” and “to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.”
A subsequent PNAC plan entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” reveals that the current members of Bush’s cabinet had already planned, before the 2000 presidential election, to take military control of the Gulf region whether Saddam Hussein is in power or not.
The 90-page PNAC document from September 2000 says: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
“Even should Saddam pass from the scene,” the plan says U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain, despite domestic opposition in the Gulf states to the permanent stationing of U.S. troops. Iran, it says, “may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests as Iraq has.”
A “core mission” for the transformed U.S. military is to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars,” according to the PNAC.
The strategic “transformation” of the U.S. military into an imperialistic force of global domination would require a huge increase in defense spending to “a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually,” the PNAC plan said.
“The process of transformation,” the plan said, “is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.”
American Free Press asked Christopher Maletz, assistant director of the PNAC about what was meant by the need for “a new Pearl Harbor.”
“They needed more money to up the defense budget for raises, new arms, and future capabilities,” Maletz said. “Without some disaster or catastrophic event” neither the politicians nor the military would have approved, Maletz said.
The “new Pearl Harbor,” in the form of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, provided the necessary catalyst to put the global war plan into effect. Congress quickly allocated $40 billion to fund the “war on terrorism” shortly after 9-11.
A Pentagon spokesman told AFP that $17.5 billion of that initial allocation went to defense.
The U.S. defense budget for 2002, including a $14.5 billion supplement, came to $345.7 billion, a nearly 12 percent increase over the 2001 defense budget.
Similar significant increases in defense spending are planned for 2003 (to $365 billion) and 2004 (to at least $378 billion) in line with the PNAC plan.
Veteran journalist John Pilger recently wrote about one of PNAC’s founding members, Richard Perle: “I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan, and when he spoke about ‘total war,’ I mistakenly dismissed him as mad,” Pilger wrote. “He recently used the term again in describing America’s ‘war on terror.’ ‘No stages,’ he said. ‘This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now.’ ”
“This is a blueprint for U.S. world domination—a new world order of their making,” Tam Dalyell, British parliamentarian and critic of the war policy from the Labor Party said. “These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world.
“This is garbage from think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks,” Dalyell said, “men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war.
Read This: Congressman Curt Weldon (REPUBLICAN-Pa.) thinks the Adminstration is involved in a 9/11 cover-up. Does that BYU prof sound nutty now?
WASHINGTON, Nov 9 - Today, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN) regarding his recent work on Able Danger - a Department of Defense planning effort to identify and target the linkages and relationships of Al-Qaeda worldwide. Below is a transcript of that interview.
DOBBS: New charges tonight. Charges of a massive cover-up by
members of our defense intelligence community. Congressman Curt
Weldon today called for a criminal investigation into what he
says, is the most important story of our lifetime.
Weldon says the army's intelligence unit known as Able Danger,
identified the ringleaders of the 9/11 attacks more than a year
before September 11, but those warnings were ignored by the
Weldon says the defense intelligence agency is now trying to
smear the reputation of Able Danger member Lieutenant Colonel
Anthony Shaffer, for speaking out about the scandal.
In addition to identifying the ringleaders of the 9/11 attacks,
Congressman Weldon says Able Danger warned defense officials
about terrorist activity in the Port of Aden in Yemen, two weeks
before that bombing of the U.S. the bombs of the U.S.S. Cole in
He also blasted the 9/11 Commission, calling them a
disappointment and a failure for not including that information
about Able Danger in its final report.
I talked with 9/11 commission member and former senator Slade
Gorton three weeks ago. And I ask him why Able Danger was
omitted from the commission's report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SLADE GORTON, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSIONER: Well, Able Danger worked
out very interesting. It didn't identify Mohammed Atta a year
beforehand. Unfortunately, no one identified Mohammed Atta
beforehand. Able Danger was simply irrelevant to our report and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Congressman Weldon now joining me from Washington, in an
Congressman, it is good to see you. Simply irrelevant how Slade
Gorton describes Able Danger, what's your reaction?
REP. CURT WELDON (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Unbelievable.
Slade Gorton has never talked to any principle involved with
Able Danger. And how he can go off and profess to know something
about something that he's never talked to anyone about, is
Slade Gorton is into what the 9/11 commission is doing, Lou.
It's called c, y, a. Cover their butts, pretend it didn't
How can you say something is historically insignificant that
Louis Freeh just two weeks ago on national TV said Able Danger
information was the kind of intelligence that could have
prevented the hijackings.
That's Louis Freeh saying that two weeks ago. Able Danger was
briefed to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January
of 2001. How could you call that historically insignificant?
Lou, this is a cover-up. It's not a third-rate political
burglary. It's a cover-up of information on the largest attack
in the history of the country.
DOBBS: Congressman, you are calling for a criminal
investigation. Obviously, you're not going to receive a great
deal of cooperation from the leadership, the Republican
leadership in the House or the Senate.
You're a Republican, what kind of reaction are you getting as
you go one on one with your fellow Congressman?
WELDON: Lou, the members of Congress want the facts to come out,
both parties. I did a briefing this afternoon for members of
Congress, we had dozens of their members and their staff show
And just within two hours Lou, today, I got 100 signatures. One
hundred signatures from Republicans and Democrats across the
country. Liberals and conservatives to Secretary Rumsfeld
demanding that we allow these Able Danger military officers to
testify in an open hearing.
The American people need to know the facts. They need to know
the truth. Three thousand people were killed, 17 sailors were
killed in the U.S.S Cole. The 9/11 commission did not do its
job. It's time to get the facts out to the American people.
DOBBS: Let me quote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,
Congressman. When asked about Able Danger, Donald Rumsfeld said,
quote, it's such an interesting story. Of course, it's something
that occurred well before this administration came in. Back in
the '90s, as I understand it, and it's an interesting story.
What's your response?
WELDON: Well, Donald Rumsfeld would not have been given the
detailed information about Able Danger because it ended at the
end of 2000, before he came into office.
However, Lou, we have to understand. There were people within
the Pentagon who stayed in place from the 1999/2000 period into
2001. In fact, they're still there today. They have a vested
interest in not having the story be told because some of them
are going to be embarrassed because the American people will see
we failed them in 1999 and 2000.
We failed them in 2001. We had information we should have acted
upon. It was denied from being transferred to the FBI and as
Louis Freeh said just two weeks ago, could have allowed us to
stop the hijackings from having ever occurred.
DOBBS: Louis Freeh, the former FBI director. At this point,
Congressman, where does the investigation go from here? The
people that are most critical to establishing what the unit,
Able Danger knew, and was capable of disseminating, relevant to
9/11, have been gagged by the Pentagon and cannot speak. What do
you do now?
WELDON: Well, we have a DOD, inspector general investigation
that actually commenced today. I met for an hour and a half with
four of their top leaders. They were requested by three separate
members of Congress, one senator and two House members.
They have commenced an internal investigation of the Defense
Intelligence Agency. In addition to that, I talked to the head
of the General Accounting Office and I have asked him to look at
a criminal investigation of what happened, and a deliberate
attempt to cover-up information.
The person who debriefed Scott Philpott, Lou, was a guy named
Dieter Snell. Dieter Snell worked for Jamie Gorelick. We have to
know whether or not there was a deliberate attempt by Dieter
Snell not to have the 9/11 commission members know the full
details of what Able Danger was doing. I can't answer that
question. An investigation needs to take place.
DOBBS: And Scott Philpott, of course, one of those who has been
gagged by the Pentagon in this case. Congressman Curt Weldon, we
thank you very much.
WELDON: My pleasure, Lou.
DOBBS: When we continue here, we'll have the very latest for you
on the terrorist attacks in Jordan.
And then, why the results of Election Day 2005 have left
President Bush and the Republican party with a difficult
Stay with us.
In fact, it's likely that there were "pre-positioned explosives" in all three buildings at ground zero, says Steven E. Jones.
In a paper posted online Tuesday and accepted for peer-reviewed publication next year, Jones adds his voice to those of previous skeptics, including the authors of the Web site www.wtc7.net, whose research Jones quotes. Jones' article can be found at www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html.
Jones, who conducts research in fusion and solar energy at BYU, is calling for an independent, international scientific investigation "guided not by politicized notions and constraints but rather by observations and calculations.
"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the two plane crashes — which were actually a diversion tactic," he writes. "Muslims are (probably) not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all," Jones writes.
As for speculation about who might have planted the explosives, Jones said, "I don't usually go there. There's no point in doing that until we do the scientific investigation."
Previous investigations, including those of FEMA, the 9/11 Commission and NIST (the National Institutes of Standards and Technology), ignore the physics and chemistry of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, to the Twin Towers and the 47-story building known as WTC 7, he says. The official explanation — that fires caused structural damage that caused the buildings to collapse — can't be backed up by either testing or history, he says.
Jones acknowledges that there have been "junk science" conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11, but "the explosive demolition hypothesis better satisfies tests of repeatability and parsimony and therefore is not 'junk science.' "
In a 9,000-word article that Jones says will be published in the book "The Hidden History of 9/11," by Elsevier, Jones offers these arguments:
• The three buildings collapsed nearly symmetrically, falling down into their footprints, a phenomenon associated with "controlled demolition" — and even then it's very difficult, he says. "Why would terrorists undertake straight-down collapses of WTC-7 and the Towers when 'toppling over' falls would require much less work and would do much more damage in downtown Manhattan?" Jones asks. "And where would they obtain the necessary skills and access to the buildings for a symmetrical implosion anyway? The 'symmetry data' emphasized here, along with other data, provide strong evidence for an 'inside' job."
• No steel-frame building, before or after the WTC buildings, has ever collapsed due to fire. But explosives can effectively sever steel columns, he says.
• WTC 7, which was not hit by hijacked planes, collapsed in 6.6 seconds, just .6 of a second longer than it would take an object dropped from the roof to hit the ground. "Where is the delay that must be expected due to conservation of momentum, one of the foundational laws of physics?" he asks. "That is, as upper-falling floors strike lower floors — and intact steel support columns — the fall must be significantly impeded by the impacted mass. . . . How do the upper floors fall so quickly, then, and still conserve momentum in the collapsing buildings?" The paradox, he says, "is easily resolved by the explosive demolition hypothesis, whereby explosives quickly removed lower-floor material, including steel support columns, and allow near free-fall-speed collapses." These observations were not analyzed by FEMA, NIST nor the 9/11 Commission, he says.
• With non-explosive-caused collapse there would typically be a piling up of shattering concrete. But most of the material in the towers was converted to flour-like powder while the buildings were falling, he says. "How can we understand this strange behavior, without explosives? Remarkable, amazing — and demanding scrutiny since the U.S. government-funded reports failed to analyze this phenomenon."
• Horizontal puffs of smoke, known as squibs, were observed proceeding up the side the building, a phenomenon common when pre-positioned explosives are used to demolish buildings, he says.
• Steel supports were "partly evaporated," but it would require temperatures near 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate steel — and neither office materials nor diesel fuel can generate temperatures that hot. Fires caused by jet fuel from the hijacked planes lasted at most a few minutes, and office material fires would burn out within about 20 minutes in any given location, he says.
• Molten metal found in the debris of the World Trade Center may have been the result of a high-temperature reaction of a commonly used explosive such as thermite, he says. Buildings not felled by explosives "have insufficient directed energy to result in melting of large quantities of metal," Jones says.
• Multiple loud explosions in rapid sequence were reported by numerous observers in and near the towers, and these explosions occurred far below the region where the planes struck, he says.
Jones says he became interested in the physics of the WTC collapse after attending a talk last spring given by a woman who had had a near-death experience. The woman mentioned in passing that "if you think the World Trade Center buildings came down just due to fire, you have a lot of surprises ahead of you," Jones remembers, at which point "everyone around me started applauding."
Following several months of study, he presented his findings at a talk at BYU in September.
Jones says he would like the government to release 6,899 photographs and 6,977 segments of video footage for "independent scrutiny." He would also like to analyze a small sample of the molten metal found at Ground Zero.
Federalist Society Thinks the KKK is Funny. And I thought they only limited their activities to rolling back civil rights laws....
By Andrew Miga / Associated Press
Friday, November 11, 2005
BOSTON -- Republican Gov. Mitt Romney was introduced as head of a state run by the "KKK ... the Kerry, Kennedy Klan" before his speech yesterday in Washington, words that sparked criticism from Massachusetts Democrats and a rebuke from Romney himself.
"It's not appropriate to joke about the Ku Klux Klan," Romney said in a phone interview from Washington after his luncheon address to the Federalist Society.
Romney branded the remarks "ill-advised" and "inappropriate."
State Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston, who has criticized Romney for making Massachusetts the butt of jokes as a liberal bastion during his out-of-state travel as he considers a run for president, said he was outraged by the reference to Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry invoking the KKK.
"It's very damaging to Massachusetts, which has a history of tolerance," said Johnston. "A governor is supposed to be a salesperson for his state, Romney is just the opposite. He's trying to run for president by trashing his own state."
The introductory remarks were made by New York attorney Gerald Walpin, a member of the Federalist Society Board of Visitors, according to Keith Appel, a GOP consultant working for the Federalist Society. Walpin did not immediately respond to a telephone message left for him at the Federalist Society.
"Today when most of the country thinks of who controls Massachusetts, I think the modern day KKK comes to mind - the Kennedy, Kerry Klan," Walpin said, according to Appel, who reviewed a tape recording of the event.
Johnston said Romney should have denounced the reference to the KKK on the spot.
"Romney could have easily have pointed out the inappropriateness of the comment in his speech," said Johnston.
Romney said he wasn't really paying attention to the introduction. Asked about his response, Romney said: "I was looking at my notes and preparing for my speech at the time."
Romney said Johnston should address any criticism directly to Walpin.
"There's not much I can do about speakers who introduce me," said Romney. "(Johnston) should address his comments to the person making the introduction."
Pat Robertson Is a Fucking Wacko!
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.
All eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design" — the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power — as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."
Eight families had sued the district, claiming the policy violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The federal trial concluded days before Tuesday's election, but no ruling has been issued.
Later Thursday, Robertson issued a statement saying he was simply trying to point out that "our spiritual actions have consequences."
"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Robertson made headlines this summer when he called on his daily show for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
Thursday, November 10, 2005
My Car Was Intelligently Designed.
To open the door on my new car I had to grab and pull a handle on the side of the car. Oddly enough these handles fit perfectly in my hand and I knew that my car had to have been made by an intelligent designer. They couldn't have just happened. I was glad to see the intelligent designer created these door handles which makes it much easier to get in my car, I thought after watching the Dukes of Hazzard I might have to jump through the window.
After a few days I went back to thank the salesman for intelligently designing such a wonderful machine. He said “Hey man, I just sell them, I didn’t design it.” Then he asked why I don’t take the sticker out of the window. I told him that the designer must have had a purpose, so I’m not going to change anything. He told me the designer didn’t put that sticker in the window, the dealer did, and you were supposed to remove it after you buy it so you can see out the window. This was my first introduction to the difference between the original design and dealer add-ons.
My first big problem came after I’d had the car about a week. I was driving down the road when the car began to sputter and eventually stopped. No matter how hard I tried, it would not start again. I called a tow truck and had it taken home.
My friend and I then sat down beside the car and tried to figure out what was wrong with it. My friend, who is much smarter than me decided that the best way to figure out what was wrong with it was to figure out what was different about the car from when I first bought it. I told him that I bet it was the sticker in the window. I took the sticker out and now it doesn’t work.
My friend laughed at me at pointed to all the cars driving down the street. “Do you see any of them with stickers in the window?” “No,” I replied. “Well then, it must not have anything to do with the sticker.” He always has a way of explaining things so I can understand them.
At that point I began to think about what else was different and realized that there were two things that had changed. One is that there is a little set of numbers on the dashboard that started out at zero when I bought the car, but now has gone all the way up to 294. The other is a small gauge that has an E or the left side and an F on the right. As I drove, a little needle that started out on F had slowly moved to the E. When it finally reached the E the car stopped.
My friend exclaimed “Eureka! I have it!” He then explained to me that what we needed to do is crack open the gauge with the numbers that go up and roll it back all the way to zero. Then the car would start running again.
I decided to call my salesman and ask about those numbers. He told me those numbers were called an Odometer. Believe it or not, those numbers were the distance I had traveled in my car. All I could say was “I’ll be! Magic numbers!” He said the numbers do not tell you why the car is no longer running, and that in fact it would be a crime to crack open the odometer and roll it back.
Now that I knew that the Odometer wasn’t the cause of my car no longer running, I went back to my friend and explained to him that it must be the other gauge with the E and F on it. My friend suggested we crack that gauge open and push the needle from E back to F. I decided this was a good plan.
I told another friend of mine about my plan to crack open the E to F gauge to make the car work and he told me that I shouldn’t be trying to understand why the car doesn’t work. He said that the Intelligent Designer must have had A PLAN, and that I shouldn’t be messing with that plan. He said I should just go buy another car. He said we should trust that the designer knew what he was doing and we shouldn't try to understand how. He then made a joke I didn't understand about George Bush, Republicans and the Kansas City School Board.
At that point I didn’t know what to do so I called my salesman again and explained the problem. He laughed at me and told me it was the fuel gauge and that I was out of gas. Now I had heard of gas and had seen gas stations before, but I really didn’t understand what they were all about. So the salesman took me to the gas station and showed me how to fill up the tank. He told me I would have to do this regularly. He also made a joke I didn't understand about George Bush being an Oil Man and how cheap gas would be if the Republicans would just drill in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.
A few weeks later I was bragging to one of my college educated friends about my new car and how it was designed so intelligently that it ran on this magic water called gasoline. He told me that it wasn’t magic water, it was refined oil.
“Oil,” he said, “comes from dinosaurs.” I told him that dinosaurs don’t exist, and he said, “How do you know?” I said, “Because, I’ve never seen one.” He said, “What about all those bones at the museum?” I told him, “They were put there by the Devil to confuse me and make me not believe in the Bible.” And he said, “How do you know the Bible wasn’t put there to confuse you and make you not believe in the dinosaurs?” We don’t talk anymore.
I told another friend of mine about how intelligently designed my car is and he laughed at me. He said his car was cheaper, safer, and got better gas mileage. "How intelligent is your designer now?" he said. I said "I know my intelligent designer is a GOOD intelligent designer." He laughed and made a joke I didn't understand about Lee Iacocca and Pinto's.
But as time went on I realized that although I believe my car was intelligently designed, if I wanted it to continue to work, I had to understand the basics of how it worked. I didn’t need to understand all the complex parts, like the computer chip engine and the positraction rear-end, but it was necessary to work toward understanding how it works. Maybe someday I'll understand everything about how it works, but I'm not going to prevent other people from trying to learn.
The one question I will never know the answer to is WHY that car was built. The WHY I guess, I'll leave to Philosophers and Theologians.
This Picture Would Be So Much Prettier If There Was A Big Oil Rig In It. Where's a Republican Congressman When You Need Him?
Arctic drilling dropped from House bill
It could still return when, if Senate and House negotiate budget
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:20 a.m. ET Nov. 10, 2005
WASHINGTON - House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.
They also dropped from the budget document plans to allow states to authorize oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts — regions currently under a drilling moratorium.
The actions were a stunning setback for those who have tried for years to open a coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil development, and a victory for environmentalists, who have lobbied hard against the drilling provisions. President Bush has made drilling in the Alaska refuge his top energy priorities.
Still, the Senate has included ANWR drilling in its budget bill and GOP leaders will push hard for any final House-Senate budget bill to include it.
If the House bill passes in a vote set for Thursday, the two chambers would appoint negotiators to work out differences between the bills. Senate Republicans could insist the ANWR drilling proposal be reinserted into the House bill, forcing a new vote by the full House.
The House Rules Committee formalized the change late Wednesday by issuing the terms of the debate when the House takes up the budget package on Thursday.
The decision to drop the ANWR drilling language came after GOP moderates said they would oppose the budget if it was kept in the bill. The offshore drilling provision was also viewed as too contentious and a threat to the bill, especially in the Senate.
Another setback for Bush "I like to think I'm a good steward of the environment."
Protection of the Alaska refuge from oil companies has been championed by environmentalists for years. The House repeatedly has approved drilling in the refuge as part of broad energy legislation, only to see their effort blocked each time by the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.
The budget bill is immune from filibuster, but drilling proponents suddenly found it hard to get the measure accepted by a majority of the House. That’s because Democrats oppose the overall budget bill, giving House GOP opponents of drilling in the Arctic enough leverage to have the matter killed.
The move in the House was yet another setback for Bush, whose Social Security overhaul also has stalled in Congress. At the same time, his presidency has been troubled by mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq, the withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the investigation over the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.
Twenty-five Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Bass of New Hampshire, signed a letter asking GOP leaders to strike the Alaskan drilling provision from the broader $54 billion budget cut bill.
“Rather then reversing decades of protection for this publicly held land, focusing greater attention on renewable energy sources, alternate fuels, and more efficient systems and appliances would yield more net energy savings than could come from ANWR and would have a higher benefit on the nation’s long-term economic leadership and security,” they said.
The moderates knew they had leverage, given the narrow margin of GOP control of the House. It only takes 14 Republican defections to scuttle a bill, assuming every Democrat opposes it.
Still, removing the Arctic oil drilling provision could incite a backlash from lawmakers who strongly favor it, which is a big majority of Republicans. House and Senate GOP leaders are likely to push hard to get the ANWR proposal back into the bill in negotiations on a final document.
Marnie Funk, a spokeswoman for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said that Domenici considers the ANWR provision, which the Senate approved, “one of the most critical components” in the budget package. “He is committed to coming back to the Senate from the conference with ANWR intact,” she said.
GOP leaders, led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., also agreed to drop a plan to allow states to waive a 24-year ban on drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and open a contested tract off the Florida Gulf coast to oil drilling. Several Florida Republicans opposed the plan.
The overall bill is a Republican priority. The Senate passed a milder version of the bill last week that would curb the automatic growth of federal spending by $35 billion through the end of the decade. The House plan cuts more deeply across a broader range of social programs.
In a concession to lawmakers upset with a spate of cuts to social programs, GOP leaders bowed to pressure from Cuban-American lawmakers from the Miami area to loosen new restrictions on food stamps benefits for legal immigrants.
Immigrants who are disabled, over the age of 60 or applying for citizenship would be exempt from proposed rules extending the eligibility period for food stamps from five to seven years.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
US Army Admits Use of White Phosphorus as Weapon
by Steven D
Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:48:58 PM PDT
(From the diaries. Let's see them deny this shit now -- kos)
That's right. Not from Al Jazheera, or Al Arabiya, but the US fucking Army, in their very own publication, from the (WARNING: pdf file) March edition of Field Artillery Magazine in an article entitled "The Fight for Fallujah":
"WP [i.e., white phosphorus rounds] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
- Steven D's diary :: ::
In other words the claim by the US Government that White Phosphorus was used only for illumination at Fallujah had been pre-emptively debunked by the Army. Indeed, the article goes on to make clear that soldiers would have liked to have saved more WP rounds to use for "lethal missions."
However, as Mark Kraft, an emailer to Eric Alterman's blog, Altercation, points out today, the Field Artillery Magazine article fails to inform its audience that
. . . there is no way you can use white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in nature.
Furthermore, (from a link provided by Mr. Kraft, thank you very much) testimony about the use of these "shake and bake" techniques of WP usage are detailed in an account by an embedded Journalist regarding the April 2004 attacks on Fallujah by the Marines:
Fighting from a distance
After pounding parts of the city for days, many Marines say the recent combat escalated into more than they had planned for, but not more than they could handle.
"It's a war," said Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.
Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused.
"We had all this SASO (security and stabilization operations) training back home," he said. "And then this turns into a real goddamned war."
Just as his team started to eat a breakfast of packaged rations Saturday, Bogert got a fire mission over the radio.
"Stand by!" he yelled, sending Lance Cpls. Jonathan Alexander and Jonathan Millikin scrambling to their feet.
Shake 'n' bake
Joking and rousting each other like boys just seconds before, the men were instantly all business. With fellow Marines between them and their targets, a lot was at stake.
Bogert received coordinates of the target, plotted them on a map and called out the settings for the gun they call "Sarah Lee."
Millikin, 21, from Reno, Nev., and Alexander, 23, from Wetumpka, Ala., quickly made the adjustments. They are good at what they do.
"Gun up!" Millikin yelled when they finished a few seconds later, grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube.
"Fire!" Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it.
The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call "shake 'n' bake" into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.
They say they have never seen what they've hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling.
So who you gonna believe? The US Department of Defense or the US Army and the US Marine Corps? Decisions, decisions . . .
I'm Gonna Keep Posting This Until It Stops Cracking Me Up!
Republicans: Soft On Crime, Don't Even Want Oil Execs to Testify Under Oath.
Lawmakers spar with execs from Exxon, Chevron over high prices, record profits, consumer pain.
November 9, 2005: 2:43 PM EST
By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - CEOs from the nation's biggest oil companies sparred with lawmakers Wednesday at a Senate hearing into this year's jump in oil prices and record industry profits.
The contentious hearing came as consumers face a jump of 50 percent or more in home heating bills this winter and gasoline prices have surged 20 percent this year. At the same time, oil company profits have soared.
As a result, there have been suggestions in Congress about instituting a windfall-profits tax, with the money distributed to lower-income consumers to help them with energy costs.
"To my constituents, today's hearing is about shared sacrifices in tough times versus oil company greed," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "Working people struggle with high gas prices and your sacrifices appear to be nothing."
"In the midst of pain, in the midst of suffering, the public sees headlines about record profits," Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, pointed out.
But other senators, some reluctantly, opposed taking measures against the industry.
"It's not terribly fun defending you, but I do," said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
Defending record profits
Predictably, the CEOs appearing at the joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees defended their industry and its profits.
"History teaches us that punitive measures hastily crafted in response to short-term rises in prices will have unintended consequences and disincentives to investment," Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond said.
The industry's third-quarter profits jumped 62 percent to nearly $26 billion as Exxon Mobil, the nation's biggest oil company, posted the fattest corporate profit in history. Oil company's stocks are up some 40 percent from a year ago, giving big gains to shareholders.
Along with talk of a tax on industry profits, there's been speculation that the oil companies were guilty of price gouging following Hurricane Katrina, or of not investing enough in refineries in order to manipulate the market and increase profits.
Exxon Mobil's (Research) Raymond and Chevron (Research) CEO David O'Reilly rejected such notions, saying their companies and others in the industry invest billions in developing new sources of energy no matter the market price of oil or the industry's profits.
"Since 2002...we invested what we earned," O'Reilly said.
Several executives said that the industry faces costs of between $18 billion to $30 billion to repair damages from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Raymond argued that industry profits as a percent of revenue were in line with other industries, adding that companies had to use earnings to invest in new sources of oil.
"In politics time is measured in increments of two, four and six years," Raymond said, referring to the terms of offices for members of the House, the president and senators. "In the energy industry, time is measured in decades, based on life cycle of our projects.
Other executives at the hearing came from Conoco (Research), BP (Research) and Shell Petroleum (Research).
Calls to help the poor
California Democrat Boxer criticized the CEOs' pay and bonuses and urged them to make significant personal and corporate contributions to energy assistance programs.
But none of the executives volunteered that they would make personal or corporate contributions to energy assistance programs.
"As Americans, we all feel for those who are less fortunate. We want to make sure they get the energy they need," said Jim Mulva, the CEO of Conoco. "We feel it's not a good precedent for one industry to fund a program as such. We think that's a responsibility of the government."
Two senators at the hearing, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Sununu, R-N.H., both said Congress should look at rolling back tax breaks given to the oil industry in the energy bill earlier this year. Wyden estimated the tax breaks were worth $2.6 billion.
The CEOs said their companies were not receiving tax breaks, and two other senators, Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Mary Landrieu, D-La., said those breaks were directed more to smaller refinery operators and need to be maintained.
Sununu argued that while the tax breaks aren't needed, a windfall profit tax would be misguided. "Taxes that discriminate against specific industries, even ones as popular as the oil industry at the current moment, are a bad idea," he said.
Deny charges of gouging
Raymond, questioned about reports of a one-day 24-cent a gallon increase in the wholesale price of gasoline by Exxon Mobil after Hurricane Katrina, said he couldn't comment on that instance (why not?.... blank out) but denied the company was price gouging.
He said the company's pricing policy after Katrina was "to minimize the increase in price while at the same time recognizing that if we kept the price too low, we would quickly run out of gasoline and have shortages. It's a tough balancing act." (Bullshit, it's the government's job to ration if that is necessary, these guys are claiming they are raising prices to keep demand low? That's called manipulation of supply and demand, not responding to supply and demand.)
Officials from New Jersey, Arizona and South Carolina, as well as the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, were due to speak about efforts to combat gouging. New Jersey and South Carolina have filed anti-gouging suits against oil companies and station owners.
Inouye said he understands why many Americans are outraged over the industry's profits, but he stopped short of endorsing a windfall profit tax. "I have nothing against making profits, it's what makes capitalism live," he said.
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, said he would oppose such a tax but told the executives that one of the first questions he gets from constituents is about the way oil prices are set.
"I think most Americans think that someone rigs these prices and that someone is getting ripped off and it's them," he said, adding that the industry needed to reassure Americans it was working to keep prices in check. (And what would make you think that, have you ever gone to a corner where there are three gas stations and noticed they are all 1 cent apart in price, even in different parts of the same city?)
For the most part Republicans were less hostile to the oil industry than the Democrats, but even the Republicans admitted to being under pressure from their constituents to do something about energy prices.
Testy from the start
Even before the remarks got started, Democrats and Republicans debated whether the executives should have to swear to tell the truth before the panel.
Alaska Republican Stevens, head of the Senate Commerce Committee, rejected calls by some Democrats to have the executives sworn in, saying the law already required them to tell the truth.
Hawaii's Inouye, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the CEOs should want to testify under oath.
"If I were a witness I would prefer to be sworn in so the public knows what I was about to say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," he said. "If I were a witness I would demand to take the oath."
And in related news:
After sixteen years, ExxonMobil has still not compensated Alaska fishermen five billion dollars for damages caused by the eleven million gallons of crude oil dumped in Prince William Sound during the 1989 tanker spill.
ExxonMobil was ordered to pay the five billion dollars in a 1994 lawsuit. Since then, the company has been appealing the case in the Ninth Court Of Appeals.
More than 700 miles of coastline, used as the primary source of income for Alaska’s fishing and boating industries, were affected by the spill. Greenpeace sent out press releases yesterday to call on Exxon to compensate the fishermen.
ExxonMobil reported record high 75 per cent profit growth to almost ten billion dollars in the latest earnings quarter.
Usually, the White House just puts words into Scott McClellan's mouth. Last week, the press office tried to wrench them into the transcripts of White House briefings provided by CQ and the Federal News Service. At issue: McClellan's uncharacteristically candid affirmation of a statement by NBC's David Gregory, set forth by CQ and FNS as:
Full CQ story after the jump. DISCLAIMER: We hesitate to rob CQ of their $35K a year per sub by providing this article free of charge, especially since some portion of that fee pays the rent. Another portion goes for the gin. Also, Chris Lehmann is my husband.
Watch for yourself here. The exchange starts about 5:30 into the briefing.
CQ WEEKLY – VANTAGE POINT Nov. 7, 2005 – Page 2956
A White House Word War
By Chris Lehmann, CQ Staff
Semantics can loom large in the history of a White House scandal. Admiral John Poindexter surrendered much of the fast-dwindling public sympathy at his disposal when his mind-bending expression “plausible deniability” came to light in the 1986 Iran-Contra hearings. And “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” are words that will forever haunt the legacy of Bill Clinton.
So it was a matter of some consequence at the Oct. 31 White House press briefing when presidential spokesman Scott McClellan appeared to confirm the premise of a combative question from NBC News correspondent David Gregory. Gregory was reminding the press secretary that he had previously disavowed any involvement by either I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby or Karl Rove in the disclosure of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to the press — based on assurances McClellan said he’d obtained from both top White House officials. When Gregory said, “We know in fact there was involvement,” and went on to describe special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s findings about Rove and Libby’s dealings with the press, McClellan quickly introjected words that seem pretty clearly to be “That’s accurate.” (Readers can view a video clip of the briefing here.)
And that is how McClellan’s remark appears in the transcripts sold by CQ Transcriptions, an arm of Congressional Quarterly Inc., and the Federal News Service. However, the White House’s own transcript has McClellan saying very much the opposite: “No, I don’t think that’s accurate.” And when the White House noted the discrepancy, officials asked CQ editors to revisit the wording of McClellan’s reply. This was curiouser still, since while one could conceivably argue that McClellan tripped over his intention to say “That’s inaccurate,” his delivery is far too rapid-fire for the expansive wording “No, I don’t think that’s accurate.”
CQ Transcriptions has declined to alter its account; FNS has not done so, either.
McClellan was with the president in South America at the end of last week and did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment. But one of his deputies, Dana Perino, says that the press office is simply trying to set the record straight. “I was in the room,” she says. “Scott and David Gregory were speaking at the same time, so it was a little hard to follow. But he did say ‘It is not accurate.’ Our official stenographer says that’s what he said.” The press office’s call to CQ was “just to let you know it is not accurate, as you had it in the transcript,” she says. Perino also advises that the topical urgency of the subject doesn’t merit much in the way of public mention: “You’re doing an item on this? I don’t think it’s news.”
Of course, news is in the eye of the beholder — just as complaints about inaccuracy may ultimately depend on what the meaning of “accurate” is.
New standards question accuracy of evolutionary theory
Tuesday, November 8, 2005; Posted: 8:10 p.m. EST (01:10 GMT)
TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- At the risk of re-igniting the same heated nationwide debate it sparked six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.
Critics of the language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.
All six of those who voted for the standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted against them.
"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat.
Supporters of the standards said they will promote academic freedom. "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today," said board member John Bacon, an Olathe Republican.
The standards state that high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that some concepts have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.
The challenged concepts cited include the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and the theory that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life.
In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
The standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about intelligent design. (Read how Kansas came to this point)
The vote marked the third time in six years that the Kansas board has rewritten standards with evolution as the central issue.
In 1999, the board eliminated most references to evolution, a move Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said was akin to teaching "American history without Lincoln."
Two years later, after voters replaced three members, the board reverted to evolution-friendly standards. Elections in 2002 and 2004 changed the board's composition again, making it more conservative.
Many scientists and other critics contend creationists repackaged old ideas in scientific-sounding language to get around a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987 that banned teaching the biblical story of creation in public schools.
The Kansas board's action is part of a national debate. In Pennsylvania, a judge is expected to rule soon in a lawsuit against the Dover school board's policy of requiring high school students to learn about intelligent design in biology class. (Read about the Dover debate)
In August, President Bush endorsed teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.
U.S. Army Announces New Advertising Campaign: AIM LOW.
Army reaches low, fills ranks
12% of recruits in Oct. had lowest acceptable scores
By Tom Bowman / Baltimore Sun
WASHINGTON // The number of new recruits who scored at the bottom of the Army's aptitude test tripled last month, Pentagon officials said, helping the nation's largest armed service meet its October recruiting goal but raising concerns about the quality of the force.
Former Army Secretary Thomas E. White said the service was making a mistake by lowering its standards. "I think it's disastrous. You are throwing the towel in on recruiting quality," said White, a retired general whom Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fired in 2003 over other policy differences.
"We have clear experience from the 1970s with recruiting a sizable number of people from the lowest mental categories," said White. After the Vietnam War, the Army accepted a higher proportion of low-scoring recruits, leading to training and discipline problems, he added.
To achieve last month's recruiting targets, 12 percent of those accepted by the Army had the lowest acceptable results. They scored between 16 and 30 points out of a possible 99 on an aptitude test that quizzes potential soldiers on general science, mathematics and word knowledge. (Editor's Note: Oddly enough, the Majority of the lowest scoring recruits came from Kansas.)
No more than 4 percent of all recruits can come from that lowest category, according to Pentagon limits. Army officials insisted they would still meet the 4 percent goal - despite the October spike - when numbers are tallied for an entire year. October is the first month of the service's fiscal year, which will end Sept. 30, 2006.
"We're on track to meet our 4 percent annual goal," said Lt. Col. Brian Hilferty, a spokesman for Army personnel. He declined to comment on the 12 percent figure. "It's very early in the year," he said.
The National Guard's October recruit pool included 6 percent from the lowest-scoring category, though Guard officials also said they expected that figure to drop below the 4 percent ceiling by the time the recruiting year ends. Defense officials discussed the numbers on the condition of anonymity. The recruiting figures will be officially released later this week.
The number of poor-scoring recruits brought in by the Army Reserve, which officials said also achieved its monthly recruiting goal in October, could not be determined.
Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University, said he was concerned that the reduction in the quality standards for military recruiting signaled a return by the Army to the troubled personnel era of the 1970s. He said the military must come up with new ways to attract better recruits.
The Army, which has about 492,000 soldiers, hopes to attract 80,000 recruits in 2006 as part of an effort to increase the size of the force by 30,000 during the next several years. The Army National Guard has a goal of 70,000 recruits over the next year, to maintain its force of 350,000.
Officials blame the recruiting problems on the deadly war in Iraq and an improved economic climate at home, which has made it more difficult to sign up volunteers for military duty.
Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told reporters last month that the Army would begin accepting more people who scored in the bottom third on the military's aptitude test, increasing the proportion to 4 percent from 2 percent. The Army had kept the figure at 2 percent since 1990.
But Harvey did not say that the Army already had brought in 4 percent - or roughly 2,900 of its 73,000 recruits - from the lowest category for the 2005 recruiting year, which ended Sept. 30. In 2004, the Army accepted just 440 soldiers from the lowest category, or about 0.6 percent of 70,000 recruits.
The National Guard also doubled its number of low-scoring recruits for the 2005 recruiting year, accounting for 4 percent of its 50,219 recruits.
Even with the lower standards, the Army and the National Guard fell short of their 2005 goals. When the annual recruiting cycle ended in September, the active-duty Army was about 7,000 shy of its goal and the Guard fell about 13,000 short.
In the early years of the all-volunteer Army, much larger percentages of low-scoring recruits were admitted - as high as 50 percent in some years.
Congress and successive administrations imposed stricter quality controls. In 1984, 13 percent of the Army's recruits came from the lowest-scoring category. That figure fell to single digits in the late 1980s and has been at 2 percent or below since 1990.
Federal law allows the military to take up to 20 percent annually from the lowest category, though officials insist they will not go above the Pentagon's stricter limit.
Lt. Col. Mike Jones, deputy director of recruiting for the National Guard, said the military's aptitude test was only a "predictor" of how a recruit would perform in uniform. He said the dropout rate - those who leave after basic training and before the end of their three-year enlistment - was actually lower for those scoring at the bottom than it was for those scoring at the top, according to a study of recruits over the past 10 years.
Those in the three highest-scoring segments have a dropout rate of 50.9 percent, compared with 47.4 percent for the lowest-scoring recruits, Jones said. He also said the number of disciplinary problems was roughly the same among soldiers in the two groups, pointing to the study.
But Moskos and other analysts say that with high-tech weapons systems and ever-more-sophisticated equipment, the Army needs higher-aptitude recruits.
Moskos, an Army veteran, said the recruiting problems could prompt the military to turn increasingly to recent immigrants in filling its ranks. Another option: tapping the pool of recent college graduates by offering an enlistment of 15 months, instead of the current three years, an idea Moskos said has been gaining attention among Army generals.
Moskos also said the recruiting woes might pressure Congress and senior military leaders to draw down the number of troops in Iraq.
As a lure for new recruits over the next year, the Army and other services are pushing for higher sign-up bonuses.
Mysticism Gets Its Ass Kicked In Dover! All eight school board members pushing "Intelligent Design" get voted out of office.
November 9, 2005
Evolution Slate Outpolls Rivals
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy.
Among the losing incumbents on the Dover, Pa., board were two members who testified in favor of the intelligent design policy at a recently concluded federal trial on the Dover policy: the chairwoman, Sheila Harkins, and Alan Bonsell.
The election results were a repudiation of the first school district in the nation to order the introduction of intelligent design in a science class curriculum. The policy was the subject of a trial in Federal District Court that ended last Friday. A verdict by Judge John E. Jones III is expected by early January.
"I think voters were tired of the trial, they were tired of intelligent design, they were tired of everything that this school board brought about," said Bernadette Reinking, who was among the winners.
The election will not alter the facts on which the judge must decide the case. But if the intelligent design policy is defeated in court, the new school board could refuse to pursue an appeal. It could also withdraw the policy, a step that many challengers said they intended to take.
"We are all for it being discussed, but we do not want to see it in biology class," said Judy McIlvaine, a member of the winning slate. "It is not a science."
The vote counts were close, but of the 16 candidates the one with the fewest votes was Mr. Bonsell, the driving force behind the intelligent design policy. Testimony at the trial revealed that Mr. Bonsell had initially insisted that creationism get equal time in the classroom with evolution.
One incumbent, James Cashman, said he would contest the vote because a voting machine in one precinct recorded no votes for him, while others recorded hundreds.
He said that school spending and a new teacher contract, not intelligent design, were the determining issues. "We ran a very conservative school board, and obviously there are people who want to see more money spent," he said.
One board member, Heather Geesey, was not up for re-election.
The school board voted in October 2004 to require ninth grade biology students to hear a brief statement at the start of the semester saying that there were "gaps" in the theory of evolution, that intelligent design was an alternative and that students could learn more about it by reading a textbook "Of Pandas and People," available in the high school library.
The board was sued by 11 Dover parents who contended that intelligent design was religious creationism in new packaging, and that the board was trying to impose its religion on students. The parents were represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and a private law firm, Pepper Hamilton LLP.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Hello My Baby, Hello My Darling, Hello My Rag-Time Gal...
Check out the interesting speculation about Trent Lott's motive in bringing up Cheney's "secret" meeting with Republicans to discuss "Secret Prisons" and torture, along with his shutting down of Bill Frist's attempts to investigate the source of the "leak" by saying it was probably a Republican over at DailyKos tonight. And let's not forget that Lindsey Graham said this today:
Asked whether he believed there should be a probe of the possible leaking of classified information on the existence of the prisons, or of the existence of the prisons themselves, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former military lawyer, rolled his eyes and replied: "How about both? I'd like to know why we've got secret prisons and what oversight precautions we have."
Here's a taste of the discussion at Kos:
This is a debacle if you ask me. Lott saying it may be a republican senator who leaked adds fuel to the spectacle.
The American people do not care who leaked this info for it is to the benefit of the American people to know this information. This leaker is a whistleblower thus a hero which is much different from the Plame case in which the whistleblower was attacked.
Check out the speculation at DailyKos and do read the comments.
Fox News: “Why All The Fuss About Torturing People?”
from Think Progress:
Just now on Fox News:
Marc Jacobson, who served on the Defense Department Prisoner Policy Team from 2002-2003, explains what all the fuss is about:
[The problem is] the perception that we tossed off [the Geneva Convention] and said, “We’re going to have nothing to do with this; we’re going to create our own set of rules,” that not only created a perception to the world that we are not going to adhere to the rule of law, but from a functional standpoint, I think it may have put our own troops in danger. You have a situation now where other nations can say: “Because of the different nature of this war, we are not going to treat U.S. troops as prisoners of war. They are enemy combatants. I’m sorry — military necessity. We’re following the precedent you’re setting.”
Trent Lott says GOP Senator guilty of leaking story re: secret torture prisons
Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 01:30:25 PM PDT
(From the diaries -- kos)
Too funny! Hastert and Frist make a big show of calling for an investigation into a leak allegedly affecting national security -- the locations of secret "black site" torture prisons. And then -- BOOM!!! Lott just said, Tuesday afternoon, that he thinks it was a GOP Senator who leaked the info to the Washington Post last week. He says the details had been discussed at a GOP Senators-only meeting last week, and that many of those details made it into the WaPo story.
Money quote from Lott; "We can not remain silent. We have met the enemy, and it is us."
All just reported on CNN. We are, folks, witnessing the full-on implosion of the national Republican Party. And not a second too soon.
Bill Frist Confirms Classified Information
Oh, and I guess those rumours about secret American gulags are true.....
November 8, 2005
Honorable Peter Hoekstra
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Pat Roberts
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Roberts:
We request that you immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media alleging that the United States government may be detaining and interrogating terrorists at undisclosed locations abroad. As you know, if accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks.
The purpose of your investigation will be to determine the following: was the information provided to the media classified and accurate?; who leaked this information and under what authority?; and, what is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the Global War on Terror? We will consider other changes to this mandate based on your recommendations.
Any information that you obtain on this matter that may implicate possible violations of law should be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.
We expect that you will move expeditiously to complete this inquiry and that you will provide us with periodic updates. We are hopeful that you will be able to accomplish this task in a bipartisan manner given general agreement that intelligence matters should not be politicized. Either way, however, your inquiry shall proceed.
The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen. The unauthorized release of classified information is serious and threatens our nation's security. It also puts the lives of many Americans and the security of our nation at risk.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
William H. Frist, M.D.J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
After President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't afford an American government this bad for that long.
In Argentina, Mr. Bush, who prides himself on his ability to relate to world leaders face to face, could barely summon the energy to chat with the 33 other leaders there, almost all of whom would be considered friendly to the United States under normal circumstances. He and his delegation failed to get even a minimally face-saving outcome at the collapsed trade talks and allowed a loudmouthed opportunist like the president of Venezuela to steal the show.
It's amazing to remember that when Mr. Bush first ran for president, he bragged about his understanding of Latin America, his ability to speak Spanish and his friendship with Mexico. But he also made fun of Al Gore for believing that nation-building was a job for the United States military.
The White House is in an uproar over the future of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, and spinning off rumors that some top cabinet members may be asked to walk the plank. Mr. Bush could certainly afford to replace some of his top advisers. But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself.
Second terms may be difficult, but the chief executive still has the power to shape what happens. Ronald Reagan managed to turn his messy second term around and deliver - in great part through his own powers of leadership - a historic series of agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet empire. Mr. Bush has never demonstrated the capacity for such a comeback. Nevertheless, every American has a stake in hoping that he can surprise us.
The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions.
Mr. Bush cannot fire Mr. Cheney, but he could do what other presidents have done to vice presidents: keep him too busy attending funerals and acting as the chairman of studies to do more harm. Mr. Bush would still have to turn his administration around, but it would at least send a signal to the nation and the world that he was in charge, and the next three years might not be as dreadful as they threaten to be right now.
I'd Make Out With Maureen Dowd
New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd recently published an excerpt from her upcoming book "Are Men Necessary," I know I don't have that exactly right, but close enough. Apparently she has stirred up a hornet's nest of criticism from Feminists and Dowd-Haters that has caused bloggers and most of the internet community to attack her. Now I'm sure Maureen Dowd doesn't need me to defend her, in fact I'm sure she's loving all the free publicity as it may very well help sell books, but I have to say the attacks on her seem unfair.
From what I understand, Maureen Dowd's column was excerpts from the book, yet she's being attacked as if the portions excerpted were her entire opinions on modern feminism, young women, young men, old women, old men and everybody else on the planet.
I'd like to say, everybody needs to stop, take a breath and maybe even a chill pill. Why is it that when someone expresses an opinion, especially on as unimportant a topic as modern relationships, everyone has to throw a hissy fit. I just don't get it.
Maureen Dowd Rocks! I'd make out with her.
Monday, November 07, 2005
The United States' Weapons of Mass Destruction
Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 05:55:26 PM PDT
That the US has used white phosphorus to firebomb civilian targets with MK77 ordinance in assaults on Fallujah has been well known and leaking out around the edges of the US corporate media for more than a year.
It also has been admitted to, indirectly, by the Pentagon.
In June of 2005, the Independent/UK ran an article titled "US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war." Excerpt follows:
Despite persistent rumours of injuries among Iraqis consistent with the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm, Adam Ingram, the Defence minister, assured Labour MPs in January that US forces had not used a new generation of incendiary weapons, codenamed MK77, in Iraq.
But Mr Ingram admitted to the Labour MP Harry Cohen in a private letter obtained by The London Independent that he had inadvertently misled Parliament because he had been misinformed by the US. "The US confirmed to my officials that they had not used MK77s in Iraq at any time and this was the basis of my response to you," he told Mr Cohen. "I regret to say that I have since discovered that this is not the case and must now correct the position."
Mr Ingram said 30 MK77 firebombs were used by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the invasion of Iraq between 31 March and 2 April 2003. They were used against military targets "away from civilian targets", he said. This avoids breaching the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which permits their use only against military targets.
Of course Ingram was still being fed a load of crap by the Pentagon. MK77 is a 750-lb bomb consisting of an aluminum container filled with 75 gallons of kerosene-based jet fuel, polystyrene and benzene. When detonated it creates a sticky combustible gel that cannot be exstinguished. As if this type of weapon was not dangerous enough, there is no stabilizing tail or fin on the MK77, thus making the bomb very imprecise. In military parlance it is what's called a "dumb bomb." Used against any densely-populated area it is an indiscriminate killer.
On the rare occasion where the US media has touched on the story, it has obscured it by burying it. Consider the following excerpt from a San Francisco Chronicle report on the attack on Fallajuah from 2004, beginning with graph 26:
"Usually we keep the gloves on," said Army Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, Md, the senior officer in charge of the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center. "For this operation, we took the gloves off."
Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.
Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."
Some independent journalists have had the courage to expose what the US has been up to.
Dahr Jamail, who has reported aggressively on the US assaults on Fallujah, has authored numerous articles on the use of unconventional weapons and what amount to war crimes by the United States. The articles entitled Covering up Napalm in Iraq; 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah; An Eyewitness Account of Fallujah; Iraq: The Devastation; Odd Happenings in Fallujah; More Evidence Indicts US; The Failed Seige of Fallujah; US Claims Over Seige Challenged; and Media Held Guilty of Deception can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The long-term significance of the RAI News 24 documentary is that the story of US war crimes in Iraq, while still untold by a compromised US media, won't stay buried.
It's sure to come back again and again as the secrets behind the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history spill out.
There can be no effective inoculation against a virus attacking the soul a nation other than truth.
Who Lied? Rove or McClellan? And Why Do They Both Still Have Their Jobs? Republican Chairman Ken Melman Obviously Doesn't Care.
MEHLMAN: Good guy.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: He told reporters at least three times that the White House was not involved in any leak during the CIA leak investigation. He said he personally spoke to Libby and to Rove and that they and his quote was, so I could come back and say they were not involved. So either Scott McClellan is lying or Karl Rove lied to Scott McClellan. Which is it? And don't you want to know?
MEHLMAN: I don't know the answer to that question. I think that fundamentally, Scott made a statement yesterday that this is an investigation that's still going on. There's a trial that will come forward. Let's let that process work.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, no, no, and I totally agree with you on that. But the question is, he made statements not only to reporters but to the American public saying, I asked and they told me they were not involved. So either he's lying or Karl Rove lied to him when he asked. I mean, don't you want to know? Did Karl Rove lie to a man who's going to inform the American people of his role in a leak?
MEHLMAN: Well, I think I'm sure Scott would love to answer a lot of those questions. But I respect tremendously the approach he's taken, that the White House has taken, which is the most important thing is fully cooperating with a serious investigation. And I think that you saw on Friday Pat Fitzgerald laid his case out in one particular case. We're going to have a trial in that case. The investigation continues in other areas. Let's let him wrap up. He's in the final stages of wrapping this up. And then we'll have Scott answer those questions.
THE PUNISHER: Man, I didn't know Ken Mehlman was such a good Tap Dancer. Somebody call Denny Tarrio. And for the record, whether Karl Rove lied to Scott McClellan or McClellan lied to the American Public, is irrelevant to the pending investigation. It wouldn't affect the investigation in any way unless they were both involved in a cover-up, for example, if they were co-ordinating their lies to hide Treason. This Bullshit Republican Talking Points Non-Response needs to be debunked.
TODAY IN "DUH": Liberal Media Finally Gets Around To Pointing Out Bush Administration Used Intentionally Misleading Intel to Justify War. DUH!
US intel on Iraq-Qaeda ties 'intentionally misleading': document
WASHINGTON, (AFP) - US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.
Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.
These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.
"This newly declassified information provides additional, dramatic evidence that the administrations pre-war statements were deceptive," said Democrat Carl Levin, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who pushed for partial declassification of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document.
The report provides a critical analysis of information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an Islamic radical and bin Laden associate, who served as senior military trainer at a key Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before it was destroyed by US forces in late 2001.
In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.
But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.
US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.
"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."
The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."
Just the same, president Bush insisted during an October 2002 trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, that his administration had learned that "Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
He repeated the same charge in February 2003.
The administration's drumbeat over alleged Iraq-Qaeda ties reached a crescendo that same month when Powell went before the United Nations to accuse Iraq of hiding tons of chemical and biological weapons and nurturing nuclear ambitions.
His speech, according to congressional officials, even contained a direct reference to al-Libi's testimony, albeit not his name.
"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al-Qaeda," insisted the secretary of state, who now says he regrets voicing many of the charges contained in that speech.
The unveiling of the documents came as Senate Democrats are stepping up pressure on their Republican colleagues, trying to force them to complete a second report on pre-war intelligence that would focus on whether members of the Bush administration had misused or intentionally misinterpreted intelligence findings.
The first report on the role of US intelligence agencies in the run-up to the war was released in June 2004.
Jay Rockefeller, the top Democrat of the Senate intelligence committee, said the case of al-Libi illustrates the need to look into how pre-war intelligence was used.
"He's an entirely unreliable individual upon whom the White House was placing substantial intelligence trust," the senator said of al-Libi Sunday. "And that is a classic example of a lack of accountability to the American people."
Al-Libi formally recanted last year, according to congressional officials.
A Taste of the Country Life!
Woman’s Right to Choose Abortion Goes Too Far
I am a man who has never had to deal with this issue in my life. However, for most of my life, I have been for the woman’s right to choose. Now, as I have grown older and more experienced in women’s issues, I have changed my mind and am now completely against abortion of any type or time frame.
For example, over the past couple of years, I had decided that I would be against abortion past the first trimester of pregnancy. I did believe that during the first trimester, the fetus was nothing more than a lump of organisms, atoms, molecules, tissues, etc.
Then, this summer, a very close friend of mine became pregnant. For the first time in my life, I was friends with a pregnant woman. About a month into her pregnancy, she received a gift from another friend explaining the cycle a fetus went through during pregnancy.
According to this book, a one-month old fetus has stubby arms and legs, a nominally developed head and brain tissue and, essentially, the look of a baby.
This started to change my mind about when a life becomes a life. I started to realize that even at one month past fertilization, a fetus was already becoming a baby. When my friend reached three months into her pregnancy, she had a picture of the fetus taken, and it amazed me how much the fetus was like a living baby.
The fetus moved around, started to grow fingers and toes and had clearly formed eyes and a mouth. This is when I decided that I was against abortion. I now believe conception is the time life begins.
As far as a woman’s legal right to choose, I have to disagree with the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972.
The court decision allows women to choose abortion, but parameters on when to do so are set in the case and specified in subsequent legislation. Though there have been attempts to overturn the controversial legislation, it still stands as the precedent today.
What does the legal right to choose entail? Does it include the right to murder a baby if the baby inconveniences the mother? Or does it allow the mother to choose if she might die if she carries to full term?
Obviously, I have no problem saying the first question is a no-brainer. Today women have the option of adoption centers and foster homes, if they believe the baby will burden the mother too much.
However, the second question is a moral judgment. I believe if a woman has a likely chance of dying if she carries the baby full term, then she should die for her baby to survive.
Every parent would die for their 10 year old child, so why would a woman not die for her baby to be born? I think this whole idea of a woman’s right to choose has gone too far.
A woman should not have the legal right to choose to murder an innocent, unborn fetus, even if its birth causes her immediate death.
Any woman would be proud to die for her baby. After all, men and women alike die for their country during war. A more rightful death would be the dying of a woman to allow her baby to survive.
editorial by James Wiles
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