Global Warming’s A Hoax

As global warming is a hoax, as I speculate the Bush administration thinks, there’s certainly no need to both bother monitoring warming of the earth from space:

The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.

A confidential report to the White House, obtained by The Associated Press, warns that U.S. scientists will soon lose much of their ability to monitor warming from space using a costly and problem-plagued satellite initiative begun more than a decade ago…

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences have both cautioned that downsizing the satellite program will result in major gaps in the continuity and quality of the data gathered about the Earth from space.

NASA and NOAA agreed in April to restore sensors that will enable the satellites to map ozone. NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher said that would give scientists a better idea of the content and distribution of atmospheric gases.

But seven other separate climate sensors are still being eliminated or substantially downgraded by lower-quality equipment to save money, according to the report to the White House. Most of the satellites, which were scheduled to launch starting next year, have been delayed to between 2013 and 2026.

Along these lines, I’ve decided to drastically reduce the incidence of diabetes and breast cancer among my patients by discontinuing monitoring of blood sugars and ordering Mammograms.

Obama: The best chance for Iraq is to bring American troops home

Barack Obama has an op-ed in The Guardian (which is an excerpt from an upcoming article in Foreign Affairs). Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt:

To renew American leadership in the world, we must first bring the Iraq war to a responsible end and refocus our attention on the broader Middle East. Iraq was a diversion from the fight against the terrorists who struck us on 9/11, and incompetent prosecution of the war by America’s civilian leaders compounded the strategic blunder of choosing to wage it in the first place. We have now lost over 3,300 American lives, and thousands more suffer wounds both seen and unseen.

The best chance we have to leave Iraq a better place is to pressure these warring parties to find a lasting political solution. And the only effective way to apply this pressure is to begin a phased withdrawal of US forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31 2008 – consistent with the goal set by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. But we must recognise that, in the end, only Iraqi leaders can bring real peace and stability to their country.

At the same time, we must launch a comprehensive regional and international diplomatic initiative to help broker an end to the civil war in Iraq, prevent its spread, and limit the suffering of the Iraqi people. To gain credibility in this effort, we must make clear that we seek no permanent bases in Iraq.

Changing the dynamic in Iraq will allow us to focus our attention and influence on resolving the festering conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians – a task that the Bush administration neglected for years.

Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region – a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of al-Qaida, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hizbullah. Now more than ever we must strive to secure a lasting settlement of the conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security.

Throughout the Middle East, we must harness American power to reinvigorate American diplomacy. Tough-minded diplomacy, backed by the whole range of American power – political, economic and military – could bring success even when dealing with long-standing adversaries such as Iran and Syria.

Although we must not rule out military force, we should not hesitate to talk directly to Iran. Our diplomacy should aim to raise the cost for Iran of continuing its nuclear programme by applying tougher sanctions and increasing pressure from its key trading partners. The world must work to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment programme and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. At the same time, we must show Iran – and especially the Iranian people – what could be gained from fundamental change: economic engagement, security assurances and diplomatic relations. Diplomacy combined with pressure could also reorient Syria from its radical agenda to a more moderate stance – which could, in turn, help stabilise Iraq, isolate Iran, free Lebanon from the grip of Damascus, and better secure Israel.

Finally, we need a comprehensive strategy to defeat global terrorists – one that draws on the full range of American power, not just our military might. As a senior US military commander put it, when people have dignity and opportunity, “the chance of extremism being welcomed greatly, if not completely, diminishes”. It is for this reason that we need to invest with our allies in strengthening weak states and helping to rebuild failed ones.

Andrei Cherny on Bob Shrum and the Kerry Campaign

Andrei Cherny looks at some of the errors in Bob Shrum’s new book, and in the process shows where Kerry’s campaign went wrong:

So, first off, my name is “Andrei Cherny,” not “Andrei Cherney.” When you have a name like mine, you get used to having it misspelled. But paging through his book, this was the first clue I had that the fact-checker had been tied up, gagged, and thrown into a dark basement.

Second, Bob Shrum claims that he and I collaborated on the “Bring It On” theme and strategy that reshaped perceptions of Kerry’s candidacy and, as polling demonstrates, made him the nominee. I have never told the story of how that shift came about. I still don’t believe I should. All I will say is this, Shrum fought against it for three months, arguing that such clear, straight-forward language was “macho,” “Bush-like” rhetoric and not the sonorous phrases that a future president should be using. He consistently quarreled with any attempt to demonstrate that John Kerry was the one candidate who had the qualities and qualification to go toe-to-toe with George W. Bush in the first election after 9/11. The 2004 election was always going to be about national security — as well it should have been. Shrum resisted this every step of the way, opening a hole in the public’s perceptions of John Kerry big enough for a flotilla of “Swift Boats” to pass through.

Third, Bob Shrum completely skews the story of John Kerry’s botched announcement speech. He works overtime to claim that the press disgust with the speech had to do with the weather in South Carolina rather than the fact that the speech was a soporific collection of clichés that reinforced the perception that Senator Kerry was just another typical Washington politician mouthing the same empty platitudes and promises Democrats are sick of hearing every four years. Shrum also writes that I was kicked out of a campaign meeting after daring to disagree with him about campaign strategy. This never happened. It is manufactured out of thin air.

Why does any of this matter? If it was just a disagreement between two advisors, it would not. But something more is at stake, because the crux of the disagreement between Bob Shrum and myself was this: he believed, in both the primary and the general election, that John Kerry’s campaign and the Democratic Party would be successful if we remained vague, above-the-fray, all-things-to-all-people. I believed then, and still do today, that people want bold leadership, that they deserve honesty and will respond to it, that the old answers just don’t ring true anymore. That debate is being played out in today’s Democratic Party. And its outcome has real consequences.

Though Bob Shrum consistently misrepresents my views, I never believed that John Kerry should adopt some sort of “mad-dog” attack strategy against either Howard Dean or George Bush. Anyone who knows me knows that this is not my style. What I and others thought he should do was stand up and tell America who he was, to not just offer up poll-tested pabulum but take stands that showed the same courage in 2003 and 2004 that he had demonstrated in Vietnam and on many occasions in the U.S. Senate. We thought he wouldn’t lose voters by defining himself and saying where he stood, he would gain them. Bob Shrum disagreed, John Kerry chose to follow that course. On election day, polls showed that most Americans wanted a new president, they just did not know where Democrats would lead.

When I was involved in the campaign’s blog and forum, I was also concerned about how Kerry’s message was made excessively vague. My advice was “Let Kerry be Kerry.” I had hoped that we would see this happen in 2008 but that’s not to be. There’s still hope we’ll see this from another former candidate who learned the dangers of listening to all those experts the hard way.

Surge in Baghdad Fails to Meet Goals

The New York Times reports that the surge is not going very well:

Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

The American assessment, completed in late May, found that American and Iraqi forces were able to “to protect the population” and “maintain physical influence over” only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods.

In the remaining 311 neighborhoods, troops have either not begun operations aimed at rooting out insurgents or still face “resistance,” according to the one-page assessment, which was provided to The New York Times and summarized reports from brigade and battalion commanders in Baghdad.

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