Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Still Counting in Sarasota County

The Florida panel designated to investigate the mystery of 18,000 undervotes in the 13th Congressional District found no malfunctions in the DRE voting machines used in the 2006 midterm election. However, the state refused to hand over the machine's software and hardware for testing and inspection by the losing Democratic candidate who has filed a petition in the US House to reject the election results and a civil law suit. A voter protection group called the state audit a "whitewash" conducted by people with a stake in the outcome.

The state investigation also did not convince Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that the bizarre results were accurate. She asked GAO, the Government Accountability Office, to conduct a "top down" investigation of those machines and others. She also wants printers that produce paper records to be tested. There have been reports of printer failures that have spoiled as much as 10% of paper records. (Cuyohoga County, Ohio). One reason DREs may be causing large undervotes is simply that the machines intimidate voters not comfortable with using computers. When New Mexico switched to paper ballots in the 2006 election undervotes in predominately Hispanic and Native precincts plummeted.

No where in the Constitution does it say you have to be rocket scientist in order to vote. These machines are turning out to be the 21st century's version of a literacy test. Its time we just stop this game of electronic hide and seek with our votes and return to well designed paper ballots until the electronic voting machine industry can conclusively prove that its machines operate transparently, accurately, and reliably at a 95% level of confidence. If they cannot meet that standard, they have no business selling the machines to under trained state and county election officials.

Its a Dirty Job

Sometimes two seemingly unrelated news stories could be related in a way not known to the public. The Senate Democrats stalled out again in an effort to oppose continuing the occupation of Iraq. This time Majority Leader Reid(D-Nev) called off a vote on the Levin-Biden proposal to repeal the overly broad 2002 force authorization and narrow the scope of American force missions in Iraq. Publicly, Reid said pressure from 9-11 victim families caused him to delay the vote in favor of action on another bill.

A few pages further on, the paper reports that the Iraqi Cabinet has approved an overdue oil revenue sharing bill that allows international investment in its oil industry. The United States considered the bill a critical development in transforming Iraq into a western style capitalist state. Previously, the oil sector was government owned. This development is certainly another bonanza for big oil which wants to redevelop the oil field infrastructure and lock in long term production sharing contracts with Iraq. Production sharing arrangements between a nation and a multinational were common in the 1960s before most Middle East oil sectors were nationalized in a wave of Arab nationalism. Such an agreement is a reversal of basic economic policy and in the eyes of critics the first step to total privatization. Some Iraqis see privatization of the oil industry as a major goal of the invasion. A quarter of Iraq's fields are undeveloped and the rest are under producing because of security problems. Iraq production volume fell by 8% in 2005. The deal must be approved by the Iraqi parliament which does not come back into session until March.

9/11 families? Sure, Senator Reid. I hear the Brooklyn Dodgers are for sale too.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You

What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson: Big Al has gone Hollywood, never to return this way? Maybe now that the hoopla has died, Al can set his OscarTM on the mantle, bask in validation and think about the plight of his party and his nation. The two front runners with the Democratic label cannot carry the nation. The presidential debate has already degenerated into personalities and the election is more than eighteen months away. The Senate is in deadlock because our party only has an unreliable majority of one. Al has done an award winning job educating the public about global warming. But he refuses, so far, to head the many voices that want him to assume the mantle of national leadership. The nation needs a real leader, not a salesman, to address the nation's and the world's critical problems.

Perhaps the fraudulent defeat of 2000 was enough to cure Al from his dependency on politics. He often introduced himself as a "recovering politician" before his stunning lecture on warming. We have plenty of politicians and entertainers, Al. What is in very short supply is statesmen. You won the peoples confidence before. Please rerun that film.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dialogue with Hillary IV

Dateline Carson City, Nev: OK, Senator Clinton, since you refuse to admit error on your Iraq War vote--Dennis Kucinich says he saw the same intelligence but voted against war as did many other Democratic Congress members--maybe you will answer this question: Why do we have to wait until a hypothetical second term of your hypothetical administration for universal health care coverage? We have been waiting for it since we won WWII and Harry Truman said we would get coverage. Your competitors say we can have it much sooner. What's up with that? Its time to bite the bullet, Senator and come clean. Democratic voters want a candidate that can level with them. If we cut extravagant and unneeded defense spending we can afford health care for all, now. But then your corporate supporters would not be too happy with that position.

Weekend Update: I agree with the Govenator that we should be discussing the leadership qualities and the records of the various candidates. Let's hope the Republicans do the same. The force authorization vote encapsulates these subjects. Her vote on the issue was a matter of personal judgment and national policy. The policy of preemptive war is unprecedented and dangerously untenable. The judgment that Saddam posed an imminent threat was not well informed or wise. There was much information, some of it in the public record and unclassified, which contradicted the regime's sales pitch for war. For a Senator with a seat on the Senate Armed Services committee and it's Emerging Threats subcommittee to be taken in by the White House's false pretenses is hard to understand without thinking the Senator negligent or complicit. Her belief that the Executive should receive deference in matters of war is a concept of the Senate's constitutional role that has led to a dangerous imbalance of powers over the last 36 years. The trend of expanding executive power must be reversed by the Senate taking a much more active role in setting future foreign policy. That is the lesson of the Iraq debacle and one the Senator refuses to recognize. And if that isn't enough reason to oppose her candidacy, the Quinipac poll shows both Giuliani and McCain defeating the junior Senator from New York in the race for the White House.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Et Tu, Brutus?

The Charlatan is effectively down to a coalition of one in Iraq because Tony called and told him he was beginning withdrawal with 1600 soldiers going home this summer. UK (7100) is the only partner besides South Korea (2300) with more than a 1000 men committed to the fight. South Korea will halve its troop level by April and is being pressured by its parliament to be out by the end of the year. Denmark (450) is leaving in August. Poland (900) will leave by the end of the year. What remains of the "coalition of the willing" is Australia (550), Georgia (800) and Romania (600). Seems there is a 'surge' in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the bellicose and increasingly irrelevant Darth Cheney is proclaiming death before dishonor en route to Australia. It will cost the Aussies an estimated $3 to $6 million to protect him from the public. It should be the other way around. Thank you, Pat Oliphant for the sick 'toon.
Weekend Update: Could this be evidence of a quid pro quo between the influential Royals and Tony Blair's government? The day after he announced the beginning of British forces withdrawing from Iraq, the MOD announced that Prince Harry will serve in southern Iraq as an armored troop commander with his regiment, The Blues and Royals. The answer is: No. The withdrawal represents the recognition of two realities in the UK. The Labour Party is behind in the polls in front of an election primarily because of Blair's unpopular war policy. The much smaller British Army is straining to the point of dysfunction under the burden of fighting on two fronts, southern Iraq and Afghanistan. Basra, while calmer than Baghdad, is still the scene of daily fighting. Southern Iraq is listed by the Pentagon as one of two regions not ready to be turned over to Iraqi security forces. According to one Washington think tank, "the deep south is unstable, factionalized, lawless, ruled as a kleptocracy and subject to militia primacy." An American policy expert on Iraq characterized British trained Iraqi security forces as little more than extensions of Shia Islamist control of the region. Thus, the British withdrawal plan must be considered an adverse development in the American effort to pacify the country enough to allow it's exit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

"We Don't Torture"

Harper's Magazine published this reply to an FBI survey of bureau personnel who were asked if they observed "aggressive interrogation techniques" at Guantanamo Bay. The survey was released by the FBI in January in response to the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act suit:

On several occasions, Witness saw Detainees in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to the floor without food or water; most Detainees urinated or defecated on themselves and were left there eighteen, twenty-four hours or more. Once the air conditioning was so low that the barefoot Detainee was shaking with cold. Another time, it was off, so the unventilated room was over 100 degrees; Detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him (he had apparently been pulling it out throughout the night)...Upon inquiry, Witness was told that interrogators, military contractors, ordered the treatment.

And this outrage is what passes for humor at Gitmo:

Subsequently someone laughingly told the Witness, "You have to see this," and took him to an interrogation room where the Witness saw a Detainee with a full beard whose head had been covered in duct tape.

On a fundamental level, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib happened because Americans were complacent and uninvolved in their democracy. A vacuum of power was created, and as history repeatedly teaches, the vacuum was filled by a faction with the conviction of a radical ideology. The election result of 2006 was a good beginning to taking our government back from the so-called experts, cynical professionals, plutocrats and religious zealots, but more needs to be done. Here is a place to start: http://www.democraticmajority.com/

Saturday, February 17, 2007

District of Bizarro V--They Cannot Hide

As I sit in my cozy wigwam and watch the nightly entertainment that used to be the evening news, I can only shake my head at the capacity of our representatives for unrepentant hypocrisy. The margin of defeat in the Senate for simply beginning debate--just debate--of the Charlatan's escalation was four. Yet ten Senators chose to absent themselves from the chamber when the second vote on cloture was taken on Saturday. These are men who undoubtedly "support our troops" but apparently do not think enough of their welfare to be present in the Senate and make their position on supporting the war--and according to their curious logic the troops-- clear to Americans. Democratic Senators running for president did the right thing and took time out from their campaigning to vote. If only enough Republicans decide that the lives and limbs of the soldiers being sent to Iraq matter enough for them to vote, perhaps we can spare them the horrors that await. For those men to sacrifice their lives in a deceitful adventure concocted by a delusional Executive is an unspeakable tragedy. George the Decider is not George Washington. The occupation of Iraq is not the War of Independence. To make any such allusions is an insult to the heritage of all Americans.
By the way, you are invited to visit my wigwam any time, Senator Obama. We shall smoke the peace pipe.

Dialogue with Hillary III

You have thrown down the gauntlet, Senator. Calling recognition you made a huge foreign policy mistake in 2002 a "gimmick" is both disingenuous and revealing of your personality, if not your concept of the interplay between co-equal branches of government. A little humility goes along way, Senator. If you were mislead by a deceitful President, it would be helpful to Democratic voters to say that. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee you had access to intelligence data that contradicted the propaganda put out by the President's hacks. By refusing to acknowledge you were duped, it appears to the public that you shared the President's desire to invade Iraq for reasons unrelated to weapons of mass destruction. Its possible to be decisive and wrong at the same time.

And you are correct, there are other worthy candidates running. The will have my support.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

District of Bizarro IV--Potemkin's Village

The BBC, that old reliable, reports the National Security Archives at George Washington University has received PowerPoint(TM) slides prepared by General Tommy Franks, now retired, and other top commanders. The briefing material was prepared in August of 2002, less than a year before the invasion of Iraq in April, 2003. Amazingly, the commanders told the White House that American troops would be substantially out of Iraq in 45 months. Only 5,000 troops would remain in-country by December, 2006. The presentation assumed that a provisional government would be in place on invasion day (no doubt headed by the Pentagon's choice, embezzler Ahmed Chalabi), and that Iraqis would not resist the occupation but would be reliable collaborators. Archive officials labeled the assumptions of the presentation "delusional" and "completely unrealistic".
Interestingly a 1999 war game titled "Dessert Crossing", conducted under CENTCOM Commander General Anthony Zinni, warned that a post-Saddam Iraq could fracture along sectarian lines, and that establishing a truly democratic Iraqi government was not feasible. 400,000 American soldiers were envisioned as necessary for an Iraqi occupation. When he took over CENTCOM from Zinni, General Franks only revised the estimate downward to 385,000 in his initial operations plan. What his briefing demonstrates is the willingness of commanding generals, who achieve their positions through political favor, to please the current occupant of the White House regardless of the practical ramifications of their actions or even their private professional opinions.
Weekend Update: Amid emotionally charged rhetoric and sanctimonious cries of "support the troops" the US House of Representatives voted to steer a course toward reality in Iraq. Seventeen Republicans finally deserted the sinking ship of the regime's Iraq war. How any Congress member can possibly believe that 21,000 more soldiers will somehow pacify a region that our best military minds considered half a million adequate for the task is beyond most Americans. But then, they do not live and work in the hot house political arena that is the District of Bizarro. Representative John Murtha (D) , Chairman of the House Defense Appropriation Subcommittee may do more to protect the troops than any Republican still seeking an American victory in an Iraqi civil war by using the House's appropriating power to put limits on troop levels. House Democrats may have to do this indirectly to protect themselves from political attack but their intent is clear: end American involvement in a failed foreign intervention that has cost us dearly in lives, treasure and prestige. The Senate, supposedly the repository of foreign policy expertise, has been unable to bring a resolution against the escalation to the floor for a substantive vote. When the Republicans were in charge it was called using the "nuclear option" Now that they are in the minority, they have no qualms about using the filibuster to continue the Charlatan's policy of 'stay and die'. Notwithstanding an extraordinary session this weekend, the Senate will remain deadlocked until their hand is forced by the greater majority.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

CIA: Torture, Inc.

The European Union endorsed its report of the CIA's secret rendition flights and condemned member states United Kingdom, Italy and Germany for cooperating with the agency. The report, approved by a large parliamentary majority, said the agency operated 1245 flights some of which took terrorist suspects to countries that practice torture as punishment or as a means of gathering intelligence. The report also said that it was unlikely that the fourteen European governments which cooperated were unaware of the operations as claimed by the United Kingdom. There is a strong possibility that information obtained by torture was passed to cooperating EU governments. The UK was also criticised for its unwillingness to cooperate with the EU investigation.

In one such flight a Canadian citizen of Syrian nationality was abducted by US agents in the US while returning to Canada. He was flown to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured for a year. After a two year investigation of his claims of innocence, the Canadian government concluded he was telling the truth. The Canadian government issued an official apology for its cooperation in the abduction and awarded him $10 million in compensation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is this Proof of What?

The pictured mortar round has occidental alphanumerics on it which the Pentagon claims indicates it was intended for the international arms market. And it says that "machining marks" show it was manufactured in Iran. But it might it have been made in Pakistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said a day after the photo was released that he has not seen any intelligence to support the claim that Iran is deliberately supplying high explosive rounds to Shiite fighters in Iraq. Those White House propaganda boys must be working real late in their mobile media lab parked on the east lawn.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dialogue with Hillary II

I don't think America or the Democratic Party can afford, at this juncture in world events, a national political experiment. That is probably how voters in red states view the presidential candidacy of Senators Clinton and Obama. They see two shrewd opportunists trying to parlay their historically oppressed status into a political selling point.

Hillary said in New Hampshire that we can not know if America is ready for a woman president until we elect her. I don't think America needs to know that right now, Senator. What it needs is a cohesive political faction that can govern effectively, fairly and coherently. You have the highest negatives of any major candidate, even among Democrats. What the party needs is a candidate that is palatable to those areas of the country in which it does not have a majority base anymore: the south, the intermountain west, and the plains. America needs a Congressional majority that can defeat a filibuster. In order to do that, Democrats need to build on their gains in 2006. Your candidacy does not fit the tall order, Senator.

Right now, Democrats in Congress must feel like an abused wife. You and other Democratic centrists took impeachment off the table in order to "go forward". Twice so far Republicans have rewarded your efforts at collaboration with slaps in the face. They filibustered the minimum wage bill, and they filibustered the effort to simply debate the the Iraq occupation. You will not even admit that voting for this foreign policy catastrophe was a mistake you made. You voted for an invasion on precious little evidence of a credible, imminent threat. I think if you are scratched deep enough Senator, a Democratic primary voter will find a hawk beneath your fine liberal plumage. Perhaps someone in the audience will be bold enough to ask if you support the radical neoconservative doctrine of preemptive war. Not even during the tense years of the Cold War did America adopt the doctrine of first strike. No wonder crafty President Putin can credibly claim an American policy of global hegemony now threatens world peace. Democratic voters have inquiring minds Senator, and they want to know what you really think about war and peace.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Reefer Madness

I just want to clear the smoke in the air. Yes, I have said on several occasions, "smoke 'em if you got 'em" but that does not mean I support legalization of drugs. What I do think is appropriate is to end the wasteful and largely ineffective federal campaign against marijuana. That says nothing about what individual states may do to regulate marijuana possession and use. Taking cannabis off the federal controlled substances list would be enough to end the growth industry that the 'war' against weed has become. Meth, cocaine and heroine present much greater health and social risks. Federal money now used to suppress marijuana should be diverted to those fronts. In a national survey of crime severity, marijuana use scored 1.9 out of 100 (1977). Its health effects are about as deleterious as the legal vices of tobacco and alcohol. Some would argue that the long term effects of alcohol abuse are more serious since addiction to alcohol can result in death. More pervasive education and prevention programs about drug abuse and addiction are needed to reduce the negative impact on society. Some progressive leaders such as Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico are beginning to see the wisdom of a prevention approach . As we all know, marijuana prohibition does not work.

Commercial production of marijuana is an interstate business and should be regulated and taxed as such by federal authorities. The 1984 estimated crop value in Oregon was $600 million. That was exceeded only by California and Hawaii. Marijuana is the top cash crop in 12 states. Taxing marijuana production could be a significant source of federal revenue. Under the current regime, taxpayers are now spending more than $1 billion annually to imprison marijuana offenders and another $8 billion in prosecution costs. 1 in 8 drug prisoners are inside for marijuana. Marijuana arrests are up to the highest levels ever, but the level of use is unaffected. 94 million or 40% of Americans identify themselves as having used cannabis at some point. Cannabis use is up 63% among adults in their fifties. The reality of the law enforcement campaign against weed is that it has become a self-perpetuating culture war. Unlike alcohol, which has an almost iconic status in white America, marijuana never achieved the same acceptance in the dominant culture. Its use in this country originated among the Mexican trabajeros along the border. Its another war that cannot be won. So don't Bogart that joint, mi amigo.

Friday, February 09, 2007

They Would Rather Sell Shoes

The evidence for impeachment of a president continues to pile up, and weak kneed members of Congress continue to run away from their duty. Converted war hawk Senator Chuck Hagel told those colleagues blocking a debate on Iraq that if they wanted a safe job, they should "sell shoes". The debate, if it occurs, is actually a proxy debate on the malfeasance in office of the Charlatan and his cohorts. The regime went beyond mere selective use of intelligence to justify an invasion. They deliberately crafted an inaccurate picture of the security threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

Another piece of the collage was provided yesterday by the Pentagon Inspector General's office. It criticized the operations of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith. His group inappropriately "developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence estimates....that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community to senior decision makers." Senator Rockefeller IV says his Intelligence Committee will now investigate whether the Pentagon under Rumsfeld violated the 1947 Security Act by failing to inform Congress about Feith's intelligence activities that were conducted at the direction of then Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz.

Part of that "development" was no doubt the forged Niger yellowcake documents which allegedly showed Hussein seeking a source of enriched uranium ore in Africa for a reconstituted weapons program. (See my previous posts on the Italian Job). Senator Carl Levin, now chair of the Armed Services Committee, released a critical minority report in 2004 on the alleged Al Qaeda connection to Iraq and asked for an investigation of the Policy Counterterroism Evaluation Group and the Policy Support Group in 2005. His comment on the investigation results was that the regime got the kind of connections they wanted, "no matter how skimpy". That's right, Senator, and when they found no connections, they created them.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Theatre of the Absurd

Between murderous Astronuts driving all night in diapers and the US loosing $12 billion in shrink rapped bills in the Iraqi den of thieves, it's hard to know where to start. People are so numbed to the incompetence, mendacity and corruption, they simply shrug their shoulders and move on. Still, it would be a folksy concession if our politicians at least appeared to be doing the people's business instead of their own. Now they don't even bother to fly commercial flights like the rest of you frightened plebes. Ms. Pelosi wants a Pentagon jet to fly home to see her grandkids and a non-stop 757-200 to boot, thank you very much.

The money story epitomizes the catastrophe wrought by the current US regime in the Middle East. Congressmen Henry Waxman's committee on Government Oversight started doing some belated overseeing and confirmed the reports of plastic wrapped cash floating around Iraq.
363 tons of money were shipped to Iraq with precious little accountability involved. Money was handed out from the back of pickups, stashed in bags in the basement, and $2 million contract payments made Mafia style by a duffel bag stuffed with wads of cash. The supposed auditor of for the Coalition Provisional Authority's giveaway was a contractor cryptically named North Star Consultants, Inc that operated out of a San Diego living room. Seems mind boggling to me and Representative Waxman. But outrage is worn out on Capitol Hill, and irony is dead as we have already established. What was important to the Admiral in charge is that it was not appropriated money--it was the Iraqi people's money being held for redevelopment. I wonder how many Iraqi civil servants that did not get paid because of the rampant plundering grabbed their Kalashnikov and started shooting at Americans? Yeah, Rummy, stuff happens in a democracy.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Road to Weimar--The Numbers Game

Everyone with a policy.org is crunching budget numbers and they all claim to be more ACCURATE. You can't see the forest for the numbers. The salient facts are: the US spends more than all other countries combined on war and the military, if you count the money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why you would not count those costs is irrational when discussing where national priorities lie. According to the Swedes, the amount spent on defense world wide is about $1 trillion. The Charlatan's latest budget request is $640 billion including the Department of Energy defense related programs. He plans to pay for this outlandish expenditure by cutting civilian programs.

The US spends large amounts of its defense dollars on expensive, high tech weapons systems that are not suited to fighting the kind of low intensity conflicts it gets involved in. How many terrorists toting IEDs can you kill with a new Navy destroyer costing $3 billion each? The Navy wants 12 of those, along with 30 new submarines each costing $2.6 billion each.
The Air Force is no slouch in the fight at the public trough with the most expensive weapon program in history, the Joint Strike Fighter. It will cost $276 billion for 2400 planes. Its new F-22 fleet of 179 planes cost more than $350 million each. The Pentagon said last year 36 of its weapons procurement programs were over budget. The GAO estimates that overruns on some of those programs exceeded $23 billion. Go figure.

Monday, February 05, 2007

From the District of Bizzaro III

Ever notice how the Republicans name things? Their nomenclature reveals a lot about their psychology. Making the best of a bad situation by strategically redeploying limited combat forces is called "cutting and running". Unprecedented increases in global temperatures on land in the sea that threaten to raise sea levels twenty feet is benignly referred to as "climate change". And stalling for time in the Senate at the expense of American soldiers is not called a "filibuster" but insisting on the minority's procedural rights. They can do no wrong, and will do anything to prevent their president from being conclusively labeled by history a failure.

Yes, we get it, Joe. The Republicans don't want Senator Warner's nonbinding resolution, they want Senator's Gregg's nonbinding resolution. They want it because it does not say Congress disagrees with the urge to surge. Both nonbinding resolutions say Congress should not cut funding for the war. Only in the District of Bizzaro can you be against a measure and still pay for it. Talk about intellectual dishonesty! Wake me up when the Senators begin voting on a binding resolution.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

From the District of Bizzaro II

How large is $750 billion? Its huge. More than was spent on the entire Vietnam War in inflation adjusted dollars. Enough to fund a universal health care trust. Ms. Pelosi thinks its huge too, but that is how much the Charlatan wants to spend on war and the military. His military spending budget includes $245 billion for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other pieces of the bottomless money pit known as GWOT (Global War on Terror). Congress will have some bleak data to parse while considering this absurd request because the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq was released Friday. Four distinct struggles are taking place simultaneously and its unlikely the weak central government will be able to control the country before the US has another election.

The Charlatan has absolutely no motivation to do anything about ending the US military occupation before leaving office. His chance to leave a positive presidential "legacy" was gone with the wind of Katrina. His urge to surge is a token effort to control Baghdad at the cost of about $5 billion more according to the Pentagon. More US soldiers will certainly die in the futile effort. He is simply trying to kick the can of blame for his utter failure in Iraq down the road. If Congress is ever to regain some credibility, its moment is now. It must say "enough" and stop pouring money and lives into a lost cause. The American people know this, now its time for their representatives to admit it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

An Undeniable Fact

The lights of Paris went out last night only for a few minutes and the nation of France cut its electricity consumption by 1%. The demonstration was to herald the release of the fourth IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on global warming. As expected, the news is not good. Global warming, despite what the oil companies are paying people to say, is a scientific fact, although the details surrounding the complexities of climate change are subject to refinement. Study of ice cores samples from the polar regions show that the amount of CO2 is greater now than in the last 650,000 years. The only possible cause for that change has been the burning of fossil fuels which releases CO2 to the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide undergoes chemical reactions in the atmosphere which trap heat. The process is referred to as the "greenhouse effect". The scientists say that 11 of the warmest 12 years since 1850 have occurred since 1995.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tony 'the Poodle' in Dog House

Tony Blair, the Charlatan's most loyal head of state, is in trouble and his government is in disarray. He achieved the dubious distinction of being the first sitting prime minister ever to be interviewed in a criminal investigation last December. He was interviewed again by police last Friday to clear up emerging details of the investigation into the "honors for cash" scandal rocking the ruling Labour Party. The police investigation has been proceeding since March, 2006 after Scotland Yard received complaints from the Scottish National Party that wealthy individuals who lent money for Labour's 2005 election campaign were honored.

Lord Levy (no pun intended), chief Labour Party fundraiser and envoy to the Middle East, was arrested last Friday for an alleged cover up by Downing Street of violating the 1925 Act of Parliament prohibiting the sale of honors. Blair's appointments aide, Ruth Turner, was arrested on January 19th. John McTernan, Blair's director of public relations, has been interviewed a second time after being advised of his rights. Last night during Question Time, Blair was taunted with the spectre of Watergate and asked to resign for the good of the nation by opposition MPs. The Labour backbench is reportedly in turmoil as it sees it electoral image crash in slow motion.