Downing Street Minutes
Asheville Global Report
San Francisco, 2005-05-27
Second Quarter, 2005
"I believe the title was, Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." - Condoleezza Rice
Fri Jun 24
Wednesday, the Senate defeated the McCain/Lieberman bill which would have rolled back U.S. greenhouse emissions by 2010 to their 2000 levels. Opponents talked about not having the technology to meet that goal. I wonder if they have the technology to deal with the flooding, starvation, and mass extinction resulting from global warming.
And yesterday, the Senate continued hurtling toward the peak oil precipice when it defeated the Durbin amendment which would have required increasing mileage of passenger cars to 40 miles per gallon by 2016, and sport utility vehicles to 27.5 mpg. Instead, they approved the weasel-worded CAFE amendment which recommends further study and raising auto mpg "as fast as technology allows".
Thu Jun 16
In a memorable 3-hour hearing chaired by John Conyers, extensive informative and moving testimony was received from Ambassador Joe Wilson, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and attorney John Bonifaz. Do not accept media reports shrugging off this hearing - listen to the testimony for yourself. C-Span will re-broadcast the hearing Friday night, June 17. The video stream will probably be online for a week or two. A single mp3 audio file of the hearing is available at the KPFA archives. After the hearing, Congressman Conyers and several other representatives delivered a letter, signed by 122 members of Congress and more than 560,000 American citizens, requesting that the president answer questions relating to the Downing Street Minutes. More on the hearing and follow-up activities is reported here .
Thu Jun 09
From The Guardian:
From The Times of London:
Ross Gelbspan claims, in his book Boiling Point, that climate change skepticism is based far more on oil and coal industry PR than on sound science. We don't have to take Gelbspan's word for it - we can do a background check on any primary source concerning global warming. So far, the checking I have done matches Gelbspan's argument. In order to maintain massive profits, the oil and coal lobbies are willing to hurl humanity over the precipice of global warming.
Sun Jun 05
Today I attended a screening of The End of Suburbia at a local library, hosted by local activists Friends of the Green Planet. The End of Suburbia drives home the utter dependence of modern suburban life on cheap, portable fuels. Then it makes the case that the major fuels in question, oil and natural gas, will soon be in very short supply. This film is a wake-up call - the longer we take to face the inevitability of future energy shortages, the more dire will be the transition. Current peak oil prognosticators Matt Simmons, Colin Campbell, Mike Ruppert, and Richard Heinberg are interviewed.
During discussion following the movie, the subject of current Bush administration energy policy came up. A discussion of the subject appears in this month's Progressivemagazine. Unfortunately, the coming oil crisis is treated as yet another opportunity for unchecked crony capitalism and supply-side ideology, based on infinitely expanding markets. None of that faces the inevitable economic contraction.
Fri Jun 03
Congressman John Conyers is leading a signature campaign for a letter to be delivered to George Bush. As of Friday, June 3rd, 2005, the signature count is over 110,000 and counting. Present goal is 250,000 signatures. You can help by signing here.
While the Downing Street Minutes may be the smoking gun, as Conyers puts it, the London Times may also have produced the smoking bullet, namely the report that British and U.S. aircraft substantially increased their rates of bombing in 2002 in order to provoke an excuse for war in Iraq.
Mon May 30
Next weekend in Cleveland, on Friday June 3 and Saturday, June 4, Ohio Vigilance is hosting a Rally, Teach-In and Public Hearing investigating irregularities in the 2004 Ohio election and discussing election reform. Confirmed speakers include Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, and Dr. Victoria Lovegren, founder of Ohio Vigilance. Donations to support the event and the organization are welcome.
It was a thrill to hear Representatives Bernie Sanders, Maurice Hinchey, and Diane Watson at the 2005 National Conference for Media Reform. The panel topic was Citizen Pressure and Media Policy - Tips From Legislators. Audio and video are online.
Bernie Sanders was the first to speak. He spoke about the media bias, not of spinning a story a certain way, but of completely neglecting vital issues. What issues?
Earlier the same week, Sanders spoke about media issues on Democracy NOW!:
And let me tell you some of the concerns that I have with what's going on in the media today. Am I concerned that when I am asked to speak about an issue like Iraq, I get six seconds to respond? ... Am I concerned that, by definition, corporately-owned media is pro-corporate? ... We saw how they covered the lead up and the war in Iraq so that millions of Americans, in order to get unbiased news, had to go to the CBC in Canada or the BBC. Am I concerned about that? I sure am.
Sun May 29
From the Conyers report:
With regards to our factual finding, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.The final version of the House Judiciary Forum report on 2004 election irregularities in Ohio has been released. RAW STORY offers the complete report online. Congressman John Conyers, as a fundraising move, is offering signed copies of "What Went Wrong in Ohio", a book which includes the text of the report with a foreward by Gore Vidal. Truthout.org offers the executive summary. Commentary and excerpts are available at the ever-lively Bellaciao collective: WAKE the F*CK UP: **Stop Election Fraud**.
In April, 2005, Chris Floyd offered a summary in his article entitled The Big Fix.
The copious documentation of the Bush fraud keeps growing. Last month, experts using actual machines and returns from the 2004 election showed Congress how a lone hacker could skew a precinct's results by 100,000 votes without leaving a trace. More than 40 million votes in 30 states were cast on such computer systems, BlackBoxVoting noted.
Previous entries on this website:
Sat May 28
Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. In honor of the occasion, I offer this refresher on one of our government's chief prevaricators.
Fri May 27
This lengthy March 10, 2005 epistle from Mike Ruppert should be remembered.
Peak Oil is no longer on the way. It is here. ... We have committed to a path of bloody destruction that can no longer be postponed or evaded.The impending world oil shortage is a story that will not go away, hide though we might. In a single week recently, the Guardian carried these two items:
Thu May 26
"There are few institutions in our nation today that are capable of operating as a check on the abuses of one party rule - one is the filibuster; another is an independent judiciary; a third is a free and unbiased press. All three of these institutions are under assault today." - John Conyers
On Tuesday, May 24, Congressman John Conyers and other Members hosted a forum concerning the state of the freedom of the press in this country.
C-Span will be running a delayed-broadcast video of the proceedings. The program is tentatively scheduled for 8 p.m. EDT this Saturday, but interested persons should check this link from time to time.
In addition to the BradBlog coverage linked above, ConyersBlog has an account of the event. Video clips are expected soon.
Wed May 25
I first read about the Sutton Trust report, "Intergenerational Mobility in Europe and North America", in the Guardian Weekly. Mobility is measured by looking at how many males born into one income quartile are in another at age 30. (No numbers are given for women.) Nations included were: Britain, US, West Germany, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.
Tue May 24
A friend writes:
Just got off the phone with my sister who was upset. Her school district in Grays Lake [sic] just cut all music programs, all art programs, and all gym programs.
The FY2005 federal budget allocated $401 billion, or 53% of discretionary spending, for defense. There was another $40.2 billion for homeland security. None of this covers present warmaking in the middle east, although there has been one special appropriation of $82 billion so far this year for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Compare that to $57.3 billion (7.5% of discretionary spending) for education and you see the priorities of Bush and the majority party in Congress.
Prior material is here: First Quarter, 2005