Thursday, April 20, 2006

Global Dimming

I caught a show on PBS (NOVA) the other night about global dimming ( Apparently pollution causes clouds to be more dense which has a cooling effect that is actually masking the true degree of global warming. The reduction of air pollutants combined with an increase of CO2 emissions, which is the path we are currently, on is potentially disastrous in terms of global warming. The conservative estimates are a 10 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase over the next century. One scientist predicts a 20 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase over the next century.

The program also intimated that pollution from Europe and North America was responsible for the Ethiopian famine of the eighties. The summer monsoon for that part of the world is caused by warm ocean temperatures. Polluted clouds kept the ocean temperatures down which meant the monsoon didn't come for 10+ years or something like that. The drought and ensuing famine impacted 50 million people.

Global warming comes up in the news just about every day now. The projections for the impact of global warming include a famine that could effect billions of people. "Major funding for NOVA is provided by Google and BP."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Consensus

Here is a reply to the email correspondence from the last post:
...Okay, this is a summation of responses to date: We lost no matter what, apologize, and leave.

Can we offer them George as a sacrificial lamb...

Hard core. You know things have changed for the worse when you find yourself making the same stupid mistake again. Still I don't believe overstatement, or grand gesture are anything more than the fluff that sticks the gears, and slows the machine. I think if you're gonna lay an ultimatum on someone, you should be able to carry out the "or else".

Respectfully requesting a new petition please.

The next email I received was a new petition from John Kerry. I thought the timing was excellent.
"Tell the truth. Fire the incompetents. Get out of Iraq. Have health care for all Americans. These are pretty simple messages, and they're worth fighting for today."

That's what I said yesterday when I appeared on "Meet the Press" to push our call for two deadlines and an exit from Iraq.

You and I both know it will take a massive citizen effort to force a President bogged down in this war to change his course - but doing so is our moral responsibility.

I urge you to join me today in calling for the withdrawal of American combat troops by the end of 2006 - and sooner than that if Iraqi politicians allow the civil war to grow and continue to delay, squabble and jockey for their own political turf while our brave soldiers sacrifice life and limb every day to create the conditions for democracy.

Sign our Out of Iraq in 2006 Petition Now

Fortunately, more and more people are stepping forward to join in our call to bring our troops home by the end of this year. Political leaders like Russ Feingold, Max Cleland, and Gary Hart have endorsed our plan -- and grassroots support for our call to action is growing.

Still, the President and his administration remain frozen in place, boxed in by George W. Bush's stubborn refusal to admit that he has America on the wrong course in Iraq. The President seems content to endlessly wait for various political factions in Iraq to get their act together.

That's totally unacceptable. And you and I have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to make George W. Bush do what he likes to do the least - and that's confront reality head-on.

Sign our Out of Iraq in 2006 Petition Now

I'm not suggesting that this will be easy. The fact is, it would be far easier to challenge the President on other topics if all we were interested in is scoring political points.

But, no one in 2006 -- Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative -- can refuse to step forward and offer clear ideas on Iraq. And, with 133,000 courageous American men and women putting their lives on the line for democracy in Iraq, it is essential for you and other members of our three-million person community to take action.

I need you to join me in leading an all-out effort to turn this President's wrong-headed policy on Iraq around. And ask your friends and family to do the same by forwarding this email to them.

Sign our Out of Iraq in 2006 Petition Now

Our soldiers have done their jobs. They can't resolve political differences between Iraqis in an escalating civil war. It can't be done militarily; it can't be done from a Humvee or a helicopter. It can only be accomplished by a dramatic change of course, turning away from George W. Bush's aimless "stay for as long as it takes" approach. You and I have to try to make this administration change their approach before it's too late.

I urge you not to wait another day before signing onto this profoundly important fight for a better way.


John Kerry

P.S. Late Saturday night I went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. The Wall is a powerful reminder of our moral obligation to tell the truth. As you walk down the ramp, you find yourself literally engulfed as the Wall, tens of thousands of names etched on it, gets higher and higher.

There are far too many people whose names are on the Wall who died after leaders in Washington knew that our policy wasn't working. We need to get Iraq right for our soldiers today before we let history repeat itself.

I signed this petition as well.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bring the Troops Home

It's been a while since my last post. I ended up on John Kerry's email list and received the following:
...Half the names on the Vietnam Memorial wall were added after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. You and I have to do everything in our power to stop that from happening again.

Two weeks ago, President Bush said that the timing of complete withdrawal from Iraq "...will be decided by future presidents...."1 But this is our responsibility now, not the responsibility of future presidents or a future Congress.

I believe that American combat troops should come home from Iraq in 2006 - not the distant future as President Bush does. Furthermore, I believe we must set a May 15th deadline for the Iraqis to form an effective unity government. And, if the Iraqi politicians choose to ignore that deadline, then I believe things will only get worse and we will have no choice but to withdraw immediately.

It's not enough to express our convictions -- we need to back up our beliefs with concrete actions. Today I introduced a resolution into the Senate that will give members of both parties the chance to tell the president that our course in Iraq must change.

I am setting tough deadlines for action in Iraq, and you know as well as I do how fiercely the extreme right wing will attack us. So I'm asking you today to be a citizen co-sponsor of this important resolution. Show the White House and my Senate colleagues a groundswell of support.

Sign up today as a citizen co-sponsor of my Senate resolution

President Bush is willing to let American soldiers and their families wait endlessly, while risking life and limb, as some Iraqi politicians incite sectarianism to grow their personal power and private militias. But we are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction. The second was against Jihadist terrorists who the Administration said it was better "to fight over there than here." Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.

We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we stop serving as their best recruitment tool. Unpinning our military from Iraq will allow us to prosecute the war against Al Qaeda more effectively -- both inside and outside Iraq. And regaining our global options will also strengthen our hand in addressing the Iranian nuclear threat.

For speaking the truth, the right wing and their surrogates will question our courage and commitment. They're going to question our patriotism.

Only one thing will overcome this onslaught and put our country on the right path: a truly massive and visible groundswell of support for this call to bring home the troops. America has prospered throughout its history because we have never allowed bad leaders to pursue bad ideas for very long. The Bush administration uses fear as a weapon against dissent. But you have the power to stand up to this new McCarthyism: show the depth and breadth of support for a timely withdrawal by co-sponsoring my Senate resolution now.

Sign up today as a citizen co-sponsor of my Senate resolution

We want democracy in Iraq, but it's now the job of Iraqis to build it. Our troops have performed gallantly and heroically. The best way to keep faith with them is to set deadlines for bringing our troops home and getting Iraq on its own two feet. That's the only way to give their sacrifice its best chance of resulting in success.

Thank you,

John Kerry

P.S. It's important that we show a huge groundswell of support. Please forward this email to friends, family, and co-workers who share our belief that we must get tough with the Iraqis and get our combat troops home.

1. White House press conference, March 21, 2006

Correspondence from a friend is how I ended up on the Kerry email list. The same friend sent me the following message:
...I had anticipated signing John Kerry's petition to withdraw troops from Iraq...but I read it and I don't agree. Why do polititians have to be so extreem? May 15 sounds a bit too soon to demand the Iraqi's get thier act together, after we took out their old government. We may as compassionate individuals see a need to help them get organized. Back when we had a budget, we would do that for countries we hadn't been pummelling with bombs, but those countries were functional as offshore labor for cheap...the jobs "Americans don't want anyway". Why do polititians have to be so extreem.
So I'm looking for input here: What should we do about Iraq? How do we ween the orphans we made? Anyone...

To which I replied:
...It seems like we need to be a little more pro-active in preventing this type of action. There will never be a "good" time to pull out of Iraq. We replaced a stable government with a civil war and I don't know that the presence of our troops is making the situation more stable. We screwed the pooch on this deal and we will never be able to remove our troops unless we just bite the bullet and bring them home.

There is no way we can win this war. Not on a humanitarian level and not on a PR level. There is no way at this point to avoid future loss of life. Do you think an apology will cut it? About all we can do is get the hell out, apologize, and throw blood money at the problem. (I signed the petition circulated by John Kerry.)...
What can you do?

Addendum: I don't think that John Kerry has an expectation that the Iraqi's will form a unity government by May 15th. I think the petition is a way of wearing the congress down until we can get congress to the point that it is ready to pull us out of this war.