Friday, May 8, 2009

What Did Pelosi ( and Others) Know?

It was reported in the Washington Post that leaked CIA memos confirm Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was informed about the practice of torture being used against detainees. Pelosi, in an interview in February with Rachel Maddow stated that she was only informed that these techniques had been authorized and that she had no knowledge of their use. Curiously she also stated that anything she had been told was covered by national security laws that prevented her from disclosing the details of her briefing.

Pelosi's protestations do not appear to stand up to scrutiny. Why would she have thought that she would be informed that certain methods had been authorized if there were no plans to use them? That now appears to be nothing more than a transparent attempt to cover her own behind. Now it seems abundantly clear that she was informed of the actual torture plans.

More ridiculous is her assertion that national security laws prevented her from disclosing the information to the public. Is it really her assertion that she was obligated to keep anything disclosed to her secret? If she had been told that there was a plan to engage in genocide would she have kept that secret? If she had been told that there was a plan to bomb an American city so that the flames of war could be further whipped, would she have kept that secret?

The answer to the above questions is certainly "No." As a member of Congress her duty is to the nation, not to keeping secret the violation of international agreements that ultimately caused harm to the nation through damaging its' reputation. Her duty to the nation was to inform the citizenry of the great crimes being committed in our name, even if that resulted in her being imprisoned for her actions. Yes, it was her duty, and that of the others who were briefed, to inform the nation as to the violation of our laws. In point of fact, it was only Pelosi and the other three members so briefed, who could have prevented this.

What prevented her from disclosing this information was her fear that the disclosure would be used against her politically. She, and other members of Congress, went along with torture because it was politically expedient. Like many politicians, Pelosi was afraid to challenge anything the Bush (mis)Adminiatration did for fear that they would be accused of being in league with al-Qaeda. It was just this lack of political courage that enabled the most egregious crimes For that, she bears culpability for these actions.

Pelosi has been one of the people standing in the way of investigations into the dirty little secrets of the last administration. Now we know why she seems to be holding up a thorough accounting of the acts of the Bush (mis)Administration. She is afraid her own complicity will be revealed.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Yoo, Bybee, the list goes on. To it we can now add the names of Pelosi (and Rockefeller and on and on). All those who were complicit in these actions, in both parties, must be held accountable. They placed their political careers before the nation and its ideals. At the time at which it mattered most that they fulfill their Constitutional duties, they bowed to pressure and acted primarily in the interests of their own political careers.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer