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Fast Walker 52

Fast Walker 52's Journal
Fast Walker 52's Journal
October 27, 2015

The House GOP science committee-- a clear and present danger


The thing is: The Benghazi committee is not even the worst committee in the House. I'd argue that the House science committee, under the chairmanship of Lamar Smith (R-TX), deserves that superlative for its open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation's leading scientists and scientific institutions.

The science committee's modus operandi is similar to the Benghazi committee's — sweeping, catchall investigations, with no specific allegations of wrongdoing or clear rationale, searching through private documents for out-of-context bits and pieces to leak to the press, hoping to gain short-term political advantage — but it stands to do more lasting long-term damage.

In both cases, the investigations have continued long after all questions have been answered. (There were half a dozen probes into Benghazi before this one.) In both cases, the chair has drifted from inquiry to inquisition. But with Benghazi, the only threat is to the reputation of Hillary Clinton, who has the resources to defend herself. With the science committee, it is working scientists being intimidated, who often do not have the resources to defend themselves, and the threat is to the integrity of the scientific process in the US. It won't take much for scientists to get the message that research into politically contested topics is more hassle than it's worth.

This year, Smith was one of the committee chairs granted sweeping new subpoena powers by his fellow House Republicans, what one staffer called "exporting the Issa model." No longer is the chair required to consult with the ranking member before launching investigations or issuing subpoenas. A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, "This change will inevitably [lead] to widespread abuses of power as Republicans infect the other committees with the poisonous process that Issa has so abused during his chairmanship."
These people are killing us with their anti-science views!

This committee also affects climate change research, and we can't allow more time wasted on the GOP's nonsense. We HAVE to get back control of the House, this should be the main goal of the Dems, after the presidency.

October 27, 2015

What Do We Really Know About Osama bin Ladenís Death?

This is a really interesting article. It's long, but at the end, they make a case for government secrecy and conspiracy and lies that is unusual for a mainstream publication.

"But should we really be shocked by such a revelation? After all, it would barely register on a scale of government secrecy and deception that includes, in recent years alone, the N.S.A.’s covert wiretapping program and the C.I.A.’s off-the-books network of ‘‘black site’’ prisons. ‘‘White House public-affairs people are not historians, they are not scholars, they are not even journalists,’’ Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, told me. ‘‘They are representing a political entity inside the United States government. Telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth is not their job, and even if it were their job, they would not necessarily be able to do it.’’

Hersh’s version doesn’t require us to believe in the possibility of a governmentwide conspiracy. Myths can be projected through an uncoordinated effort with a variety of people really just doing their jobs. Of course, when enough people are obscuring the truth, the results can seem, well, conspiratorial. Hersh is fond of pointing out that thousands of government employees and contractors presumably knew about the N.S.A.’s wiretapping, but only one, Edward Snowden, came forward.

We can go a step further: The more sensitive the subject, the more likely the government will be to feed us untruths. Consider our relationship with Pakistan, which Obama clearly had on his mind in the aftermath of the raid. In his address to the nation, Obama expressed his gratitude: ‘‘Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.’’"


"There are different ways to control a narrative. There’s the old-fashioned way: Classify documents that you don’t want seen and, as Gates said, ‘‘keep mum on the details.’’ But there’s also the more modern, social-media-savvy approach: Tell the story you want them to believe. Silence is one way to keep a secret. Talking is another. And they are not mutually exclusive."

There is a lot more in the piece, but these are a few juicy snippets.

October 21, 2015

Prison for Exxon Execs? Lawmakers Seek Probe of Oil Giant for Hiding Knowledge of Climate Change

Source: Democracy Now!

For decades, Exxon has publicly questioned the science of global warming, contradicting internal findings by the company’s own scientists. Recent exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reveal that Exxon concealed for decades its own conclusions that fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate and melt the Arctic. Exxon’s climate deception is now sparking calls for a federal probe similar to that which yielded a racketeering conviction of Big Tobacco for hiding the dangers of smoking. We are joined by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California), who is calling for a Justice Department investigation of Exxon, as well as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, who was just arrested for a one-man protest shutting down his local Exxon gas station. "It’s difficult to think of a company that could have set back humanity for decades, and perhaps permanently," Rep. Lieu says. "But that’s what happened here."

Read more: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/21/prison_for_exxon_execs_calls_grow

Seems like this could be the worst crime in the history of the world, or close to it. Yay, capitalism!
October 18, 2015

Allen Dulles and the CIA and the JFK assassination-- new book

Really great interview on Democracy Now! last week.


I think this was overshadowed by the Dem debate and other news, but basically he discusses how Dulles was behind the assassination and the myriad ways Dulles and the CIA screwed us.

October 13, 2015

U.S. delivers 50 tons of ammunition to Syria rebel groups

Source: CNN

U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration's urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.

Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.

C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

All pallets successfully were recovered by friendly forces, a U.S. official said.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/12/politics/syria-rebel-groups-ammunition-50-tons/index.html

This is insanity. I can't believe we are perpetuating this conflict. And you have to know that some if not a lot of this ammo will get to ISIS.

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