October 26, 2009 archive

AP shatters myth of recent global cooling … science triumphs

Just over the weekend, my inbox was filled with a discussion attacking climate science with assertions that “none of the models predicted the current cooling period” and, therefore, the entire concept of Global Warming rests on very shaky grounds.

Sigh …

Those involved in that discussion have now received links to an excellent article by AP science reporter Seth Borenstein.  That article, Impact: Statisticians reject global cooling, merits praise because it is an excellent of inventive investigative journalism on a very public issue.

UPDATED: “The Greatest Debtor Nation In Human History”

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is now adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled “National Security Decision Making.”

This talk by Larry Wilkerson was the keynote speech given at an event sponsored by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, American University History Department, American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute on Oct 21,2009 at American University in Washington DC.

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence describes itself as “a movement of former CIA colleagues and other associates of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those in intelligence who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power”.



Real News Network – October 26, 2009

The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Part 1


Larry Wilkerson: The beginning of the American “Imperial Rome” and Eisenhower’s warning

On A New System (Sort Of), Or, Referendum 71 And Mail-In Voting

We are now about two weeks away from the November election in Washington State, and one item on the ballot that has national attention is Referendum 71, the so-called “everything but marriage” proposal that would give same-sex couples more rights and protections than they have today.

There has been a lot of conversation about whether it will or won’t pass–and a lot of conversation about whether it should pass.

I hope it does, and if you live here I encourage you to vote “yes” November 3rd.

But that said, you may not be aware that Washington has an electoral system in transition, and that as a result of the transition Washington has some idiosyncrasies that will make forecasting the results a bit tougher, and determining the results a bit slower.

We’ll talk about that today, and by the time we’re done you should have an appreciation of the odd way in which things can work out–and that, absent a landslide, we aren’t likely to know the results on Election Day.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  43 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Afghan chopper crashes kill 14 Americans

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

2 hrs 51 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – Two helicopter crashes killed 14 American troops and narcotics agents in Afghanistan on Monday in one of the blackest days for the United States since its 2001 invasion, officials said.

As anti-US protests erupted in Kabul over the alleged burning of a Koran, Afghan President Hamid Karzai also questioned Washington’s commitment to the war-torn nation ahead of a run-off election in less than a fortnight.

Following a first round riddled with fraud, Karzai’s presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah called for the head of the country’s election commission to be sacked and three cabinet ministers to be suspended.

These are Dangerous People!

The new “Reds under the Bed”, actually categorized as “domestic extremists”:

Don’t those people look scary to you?  

They should.  They are ……. (looking around nervously, whispering) ……. “protesters!”

Gasp!

You know, people who are well informed enough to be angry.  And angry enough to step away from their TV’s and exercise their supposed (ha!) freedom to “Assemble” and “Speechify”.  

How dare they.

It was a very sloppy policeman who dropped this “spotter card” at a protest in England.   Very sloppy.   These cards are NOT supposed to be seen by the dangerous public, you know, those people who actually employ and pay the police.   I’m sure if they catch this incompetent, he’ll be soundly punished, perhaps with some nice electrodes to his genitals.    We must ensure he never makes a similar mistake!

And I know, I know, this is in England, very far away from us, but you can bet if England is doing it, the United States is, too.   Been to any protests lately?   Seen all the cops with cameras?   There sure are a lot of them, and you can bet they’re not taking pictures for their Facebook pages.  


This kind of highly confidential document – pictured above – is rarely seen by the public.

These so-called “spotter cards” are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations.

The photographs are drawn from police intelligence files. This card was apparently dropped at a demonstration against Britain’s largest arms fair in 2005.

H is Mark Thomas, the comedian and political activist. Asked why it was justifiable to put Thomas, who has no criminal record, on this card, the Metropolitan police replied: “We do not discuss intelligence we may hold in relation to individuals.”

Thomas had been acquitted of criminal damage after attaching himself to a bus containing arms traders at a previous fair.

The Met said: “This is an appropriate tactic used by police to help them identify people at specific events … who may instigate offences or disorder.”

The arms fair “is a biannual event that is specifically targeted by known protest groups, who in the past have stated their intention was to shut down or disrupt the event.” As the cards are “strictly controlled”, the officers who lost it were “dealt with”.

On Comment is Free today Thomas writes: “Protesters – or, as the police call them, ‘domestic extremists’ – are the new ‘reds under the bed’.”

I’ve never heard of Mark Thomas, but I’m a fan now.   Here’s what else he said about this discovery:


I was sent the now notorious “police spotter card” through the post. It’s an official laminated card for “police eyes only” and labelled as coming from “CO11 Public Order Intelligence Unit”. The card contained the photographs of 24 anti-arms trade protesters, unnamed but lettered A to X. My picture appeared as photo H. You can imagine my reaction at finding I was the subject of a secret police surveillance process … I was delighted. I phoned my agent and told him I was suspect H. He replied: “Next year we’ll get you top billing … suspect A.”

The Metropolitan police circulated the card specifically for the Docklands biannual arms fair in London to help its officers identify “people at specific events who may instigate offences or disorder”. Which is such a flattering quote I am thinking of having it on my next tour poster. While being wanted outside the arms fair, I was legitimately inside researching a book on the subject, and uncovered four companies illegally promoting “banned” torture equipment. Questions were later asked in the Commons as to why HM Revenue & Customs and the police didn’t spot it. Though, in fairness, none of the torture traders featured on the spotter card.

What exactly was I doing that was so awfully wrong as to merit this attention? Today’s Guardian revelations of three secret police units goes some way to explain the targeting of protesters and raises worrying questions. The job of these units is to spy on protesters, and collate and circulate information about them. Protesters – or, as the police call them, “domestic extremists” – are the new “reds under the bed”.

Many of those targeted by the police have committed no crime and are guilty only of non-violent direct action. So it is worth reminding ourselves that protest is legal. Sorry if this sounds obvious, but you might have gained the impression that if three police units are spying on and targeting thousands, then those people must be up to something illegal.

The very phrase “domestic extremist” defines protesters in the eyes of the police as the problem, the enemy. Spying on entire groups and organisations, and targeting the innocent, undermines not only our rights but the law – frightfully silly of me to drag this into an argument about policing, I know.

Protest is part of the democratic process. It wasn’t the goodwill of politicians that led them to cancel developing countries’ debt, but the protests and campaigning of millions of ordinary people around the world. The political leaders were merely the rubber stamp in the democratic process. Thus any targeting and treatment of demonstrators (at the G20 for example) that creates a “chilling effect” – deterring those who may wish to exercise their right to protest – is profoundly undemocratic.

No police, secret or otherwise, should operate without proper accountability. So how are these three units accountable? Who has access to the databases? How long does information remain in the system? What effect could it have on travel and future employment of those targeted? How closely do these units work with corporate private investigators, and does the flow of information go both ways? Do the police target strikers?

A police spokesman has said that anyone who finds themselves on a database “should not worry at all”. When a spokesman for the three secret units will not disclose a breakdown of their budgets, and two of the three will not even name who heads their operations (even MI6 gave us an initial, for God’s sake), then the words “should not worry at all” are meaningless. Indeed, when the police admit that someone could end up on a secret police database merely for attending a demonstration, it is exactly the time to worry.

This is what we’re up against.  

And I am reminded of this quote, which I happened to look up this morning for a response in another post here.   Many seem to have forgotten it especially those in charge:

JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Why have they forgotten or ignored this?    

The Oppressed Need an Ally, Not a Parent

We in Western society frequently latch hold of the concerns of the Third World in a laudable desire to reform, enlighten, and correct the injustices which exists in countries who do not enjoy our same basic freedoms.  Though this impulse is meant to bring light to the darkness, we must also be careful not to let our own biases and own paternalistic impulses overshadow the good work we seek to accomplish.  When the reform we seek thinly veils our own individual internal struggles, then we are not truly working for unselfish means.  However, rather than beating ourselves up when we fall short, we would be wise to forgive our shortcomings and strive to listen more and hector less.  It is only with listening and absorbing the complete picture that truly effective change ever comes to be.  If short-cuts guaranteed successful outcomes, we’d have colonized Mars by now, viewed a time where same-sex marriage was illegal as unspeakably barbaric and nonsensical, and learned to take for granted a single payer health care system.

The controversy over women who demand the right to wear the Niqab or the burqu despite laws banning it altogether has become a highly politicized issue in Western Europe and even in our own country.  Feminist activists, particularly female feminist activists, have grabbed hold of the head scarf and veil issue as a clear-cut visual example that shows conclusive evidence of brutal Patriarchal oppression.  When sexism and anti-feminist offenses are so often disguised and ingrained within a society, the head scarf has become an endearing image to invoke due to its unquestioned visibility.  If one takes into account a purely Western point of view, nothing could be a more suitable example of the malicious intent of men harshly imposing their will upon women.  In comparing their perceived interpretation of the custom to their own lives and their own hard-fought struggles as women, they have incorporated the practice into a Raison d’etre of a particular school of thought.  This endearing symbol pushes social justice and personalizes the lack of human rights rightly due to oppressed women through the world.  The cause has been so heavily politicized and eagerly embraced that few have felt any need to examine the subtleties that sometimes contradict and frequently complicate any resounding rallying point or slam dunk.  The reality, as it so often is, is full of subtle nuances that make any black and white reading much more complicated or even impossible.

New Homeless / Runaways / Foreclosure

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10…

The striking thing here, is that no one is looking, or even cares, and if they are caught the situation likely gets even worse.  They’re not even bothering to keep the statistics.  

Let’s shovel some more cash to General Dynamics and Goldman Sux.  

Bush Torture = Obama Torture unless War Crimes are Prosecuted

Crossposted at Daily Kos

     For those who will automatically balk at the Obama = Bush charge, I submit to you the fact that by Geneva Law, if Bush/Cheney is not held accountable for the War Crimes they have committed, than the Obama Administration is complicit in those crimes and guilty of covering them up.

   

The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.

NYTimes.com

Bold text added by diarist

 

Frisking My Wife

The Center reserves the right to search it property and premises, including but not limited to,offices,desks,lockers,computers,file cabinets,mailboxes,vehicles,etc at any time and for any reason.  By accepting employment with the Center, you are consenting to announced and unannounced searches of your work area and personal property (e.g. purses,briefcases,lunch bags,vehicles) while on duty and/or on the Center’s premises.

Docudharma Times Monday October 27




Monday’s Headlines:

U.S. Considers Reining In ‘Too Big to Fail’ Institutions

Rainforest treaty ‘fatally flawed’

If you build a coverage mandate, will they come?

One man puts a dent in tax evasions

‘Iran is our friend,’ says Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Carnage in Baghdad as twin blasts strike city

Radovan Karadzic genocide trial begins at UN tribunal

Czech President Klaus still holding out over Lisbon treaty

Illegal logging responsible for loss of 10 million hectares in Indonesia

S Korea clone scientist convicted

Zimbabwe army and police chiefs face arrest over land grab by army officer

Ousting Guinea’s Brutal Junta

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Comb 2:



(Click on image for larger view)

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

I know you have talent.  What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent.  I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I’m a pretty darn good cook.  🙂  

Let your talent bloom.  You can share it here.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well.

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days, the stories of doing and making?  And be excellent to one another!

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

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