Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Domestic Spying, Limp Dems, Rumsfeld Benighted, Iraq Death Toll, Iraqi's Rule, Senators Inhofe and Coburn/Oklahoma Dumb.

It's a shame that George Bush's intellectual curiosity extends no farther than wanting to know what the citizens of this country are up to.

If only that curiosity had been present when he was getting that Ivy League education, maybe this country wouldn't be in the mess that it's in today.

It looks like everyone is under the watchful eye of Curious George, except Osama bin Laden.

Kate Martin, executive director of the Center for National Security
Studies, said the new disclosures show that Gonzales and other administration
officials have "repeatedly misled the Congress and the American public" about
the extent of NSA surveillance efforts.

"They have repeatedly tried to give the false impression that the
surveillance was narrow and justified," Martin said. "Why did it take
accusations of perjury before the DNI disclosed that there is indeed other,
presumably broader and more questionable, surveillance?"

Thank goodness for the Democrats. Once again proudly standing up for the rights of the American people by putting their careers on the line by boldly compromising with the President.

I understand that if they go against the President on this, the Right-Wing Propaganda Machine will crucify them about being soft on terrorism, but I can't help wondering how the Democrats manage to keep their pants up with only half an ass.

Congressional Democrats, under pressure from the Bush administration, today
proposed a six-month compromise that would expand the government's authority to
conduct electronic surveillance of overseas communications in search of

The proposal, according to House and Senate Democrats, would permit a
secret court to issue a single broad order approving eavesdropping of
communications involving suspects overseas and other people, who may be in the
United States. That order "need not be individualized," according to a
Democratic aide.

We all know the story of Pat Tillman. He left a lucrative pro football career to get the guys that brought down the World Trade Center. We all know how he was KIA by friendly. We all know that the Army and Defense Department covered it up with a wild story, a la Jessica Lynch. Well, true to form...

Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and three senior generals today
denied any attempt to cover up the circumstances of the April 2004 death by
"friendly fire" of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, and they said they did not know who
altered a fellow soldier's initial account to make it appear that the former NFL
star was killed by enemy action.

The Right will be pulling out all stops to show that the lower number of U.S. service personnel killed in July will justify something, the surge, the war or whatever.

However there is no way to justify these troops deaths, useless deaths, for the neocons and their pet idiot's pipe dream.

Does this make you think that things are improving in Iraq? If it does, you're in the wrong place, you want Fox News. As proof I offer this little tidbit.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 1 -- Iraq's largest Sunni political group partially withdrew from the
Shiite-dominated government Wednesday, the latest indication of growing Sunni
frustration with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The announcement by the Accordance Front came on an especially violent
day in Baghdad, as three car bombs killed at least 75 people in the capital.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced the deaths of four U.S. troops, bringing
the total number of American casualties in July to 78, the lowest monthly figure
since last November.

The Accordance Front announced that will vacate five of its six seats in
Maliki's cabinet because of what Sunni leaders called the failure of the prime
minister and other leading government officials to make progress on a list of
demands the group issued last week.

"The government is continuing with its arrogance, refusing to change
its stand and slamming shut the door to any meaningful reforms necessary to save
Iraq," said senior Accordance Front member Rafaa al-Issawi.

The Accordance Front announced that will vacate five of its six seats in
Maliki's cabinet because of what Sunni leaders called the failure of the prime
minister and other leading government officials to make progress on a list of
demands the group issued last week.

"The government is continuing with its arrogance, refusing to change its
stand and slamming shut the door to any meaningful reforms necessary to save
Iraq," said senior Accordance Front member Rafaa al-Issawi.

And to end this, I want everyone to know how lucky we are here in Oklahoma. We are blessed with two U.S. Senators who apparently live in some flag-waving, Bible-thumpin' fantasy land, where Big Business is the fount of all knowledge and science is a liberal plot to destroy the world.

I've already mentioned Sen. James Inhofe (R-Dumbass-OK), he's the guy who has described global warming as the"greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

Now it's the other's turn, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-My Religious Beliefs Trump the Constitution-OK).

Senator Coburn has blocked a resolution to honor environmental author Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth, saying that her warnings about environmental damage have put a stigma on potentially lifesaving pesticides, congressional staffers said yesterday.

Coburn has used bogus information from a right-wing, anti-environment web site JunkScience, titled The Malaria Clock: A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death. The right-wing blogosphere has been laying it on thick about how Rachel Carson has caused more deaths than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Keep in mind that these are the same people who believe George Bush is a great president, that we're winning the war in Iraq and WMD's will be found any day now.

Here's the low down on Rachel Carson.

From Wikipdeia.

Carson and the environmental movement were—and continue to be—criticized by
some conservatives, who argue that restrictions placed on DDT have caused
needless malaria deaths.[50] For example, the conservative magazine Human Events
gave Silent Spring an honorable mention for Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th
and 20th Centuries.[51]

Carson, however, never actually called for an out-right ban on DDT, instead
arguing in Silent Spring that:

No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored.
The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise
or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it
worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through
the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other
side of the story - the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly
support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger
by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of

She noted that "Malaria programmes are threatened by resistance among
mosquitoes"[53] and emphasized the advice given by the directer of Holland's
Plant Protection Service: "Practical advice should be 'Spray as little as you
possibly can' rather than 'Spray to the limit of your capacity'…Pressure on the
pest population should always be as slight as possible."[54]

Furthermore, experts have argued that restrictions placed on the
agricultural use of DDT (something Carson actually did advocate) have increased
its effectiveness as tool for battling malaria. Pro-DDT advocate Amir Attaran
has said, "The outcome of the treaty [banning DDT's use in agriculture] is
arguably better than the status quo…For the first time, there is now an
insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the
selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before."[55] And even
Roger Bate, director of Africa Fighting Malaria, has said "A lot of people have
used Carson to push their own agendas. We just have to be a little careful when
you're talking about someone who died in 1964."[56]

Some have claimed that recent criticism of Carson was funded by the tobacco
industry, seeking to divert the attention of bodies such as the World Health
Organization from campaigns against smoking.[57][58] Documents in the Legacy
Tobacco Document Archive show that Africa Fighting Malaria—one the most vocal
critics of Carson and advocates of DDT—originally sought the support of the
tobacco industry to divert resources away from efforts by the World Health
Organization to reduce smoking.[59]. Another vocal critic, Steven Milloy,
established The Advancement of Sound Science Center with support from Philip
Morris.[60] Although funding from Philip Morris appears to have ceased, TASSC
and the associated site continue to criticise Rachel

Some environmentalists consider the recent criticism of Carson and push for
DDT to be an industry sponsored strategy to discredit the environmental
movement. Monica Moore of Pesticide Action Network has written that "Renewed
promotion of DDT and attacks on those who would limit its use isn’t about
malaria, or even DDT. It is a cynical “better living through chemistry” campaign
intended to discredit the environmental health movement, with support from the
Bush administration and others who seek nothing less than the dismantling of
health and environmental protections."


The right has revved up its claim that the environmental pioneer who
criticized DDT was responsible for the spread of malaria that killed millions.
The facts say otherwise.

Novelist Michael Crichton has a front seat on the bandwagon. He took on DDT
and climate change in his footnote-studded 2004 novel, "State of Fear." "Banning
DDT killed more people than Hitler," his protagonist alleges. "And the
environmental movement pushed hard for it."

TheCoburn/Crichton talking points have infected the mainstream press. In
his New York Times Science column this month, John Tierney thrashed Carson's
warnings about insecticides and argued that her voice still "drowns out real
science." Over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bill Steigerwald blamed
"environmentalists spooked by Rachel Carson" for banning a "miracle weapon" that
is "like Kryptonite to the mosquitoes."

Malaria's burden is enormous. Each year, the disease infects 350 to 500
million people and kills at least a million -- the vast majority in Africa,
mostly children under 5. As decades have passed, science has shown that Carson
was wrong about some of the dangers she associated with DDT. It's also true that
the insecticide can be a valuable tool in the arsenal against malaria. But
blaming Carson and the environmental movement for malaria's death toll is not
supported by evidence from generations of scientists and malaria researchers.

And probably the best rebuttal. Bug Girl, PhD in Entomology.

Some crazy claims have been made lately about Rachel Carson. How wacky are
the claims?Well, this wignut says Rachel Carson is on a level with Hitler,
Stalin, and Pol Pot. Here’s another one, who also adds that “massive testing has
documented that synthetic pesticides are no cancer threat to humans.”

Wow. Just…wow.Think this is a fringe issue? You can also read this stuff in
the New York Times, Washington Times, and CBS news.

I’ve been looking at this fight for a couple of weeks now; circling around
the problem, and trying to figure out where to start. One of the top pages when
you search on Google for either Malaria or DDT is Junk Science–a page that
claims to “debunk” the DDT ban, claiming it’s “A Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of

I’m going to examine their claims, since they seem to be the ringleaders.
Their site is having intermittent server problems, so I’ll add a Fox News story
written by one of the Junk Science “experts,” since it’s more likely to remain
in a stable state.

OK, that's it for now. Have a good 'un. Be back full time as soon as the kids start school and I can have the computer again. Aug. 8

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)