Online Journal 04-22-07
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Editor, The Konformist
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Apr 20, 2007
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Perspectives on our changing climate: Weather versus climate
By Rand Clifford
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Mar 28, 2007
In Eastern Washington we're emerging from an old fashioned winter
like we haven't seen in years. Repeated blasts of arctic air huffed
and puffed the local Letters-To-The-Editor page full of requests for
Al Gore to send us some of that global warming. Editors frosted the
confusion with titles such as "G-g-g-g-Global Warming?" and, "Hey!
Where's The Heat?" Embarrassing harangues of people flaunting their
ignorance marked every cold snap, ignorance of the difference
between weather, and climate. And while temperatures sank around
here like they're supposed to, like they used to, the Northern
Hemisphere just recorded its warmest winter on record.
We've increased atmospheric carbon dioxide so much so fast, like
tossing a blanket on the globe, trapping more and more infrared
radiation from flowing back into space. Fundamental science of this
dynamic is very simple: extra blanket = warming. Weather is very
simple: look outside. But Climate Change is a more accurate term for
our dilemma, and climate is very complex. Weather is outside your
window; climate covers the globe.
We all know what it's like outside, just like most of us can spot a
scientist. You know, they're usually people with no idea what's in
style, tending to look around a lot, seeming to see a lot. They use
big words, especially when there's a group of them and they start
talking so we can't understand them.
Complexity of modern science, as in modern medicine, demands
specialization, giving us all kinds of scientists: geologists,
chemists, cosmologists, entomologists, biologists, physicists,
climatologists . . . then we get into the PhD's, kind of a blanket
to cover any . . . ists that got left out -- and that's where
there's some big fast money right now! If you are a
credentialed "scientist," FOSSIL FUEL has a job for you. Simply
shine your credentials and publish an article about how what is
happening is not really happening . . . $10,000.00 a pop,
Sure, this century has seen FOSSIL FUEL spend many millions
spreading denial, paying "experts" to travel the country preaching
doubt. And in 2001, Phillip Cooney became the White House head of
Environmental Policy, after six years of being in charge of
confusing Americans about Climate Change for the American Petroleum
Institute. A lobbyist and lawyer with zero scientific training,
Cooney handled the administration's disinformation and denial
regarding Climate Change until leaked documents embarrassed him into
resigning in 2005, and going to work for Exxon Mobil. However, this
new campaign seems the most vulgar so far in shouting that Americans
understand nothing of science. No wonder the difference between
weather and climate lags in understanding. Science is subtle, often
whispers; money shouts!
But Americans know that when they have an abscessed tooth they don't
go to a proctologist. Without so much disinformation/denial money
pouring from FOSSIL FUEL, more Americans might realize that the best
data on climate change comes from scientists who specialize in
climate. Climatologists universally agree that what is happening to
global climate is in fact really happening. And they know that the
extra blanket we've thrown on the globe with our burning of fossil
fuels is a primary cause. Never has it been so crucial that we learn
to whom we should listen. For instance, what's left of the messenger
Al Gore, wrapped around all those bullet holes.
For anyone unsure of the meaning of ad hominem, dictionary
definitions will include: an appealing to feelings or prejudices
rather than intellect; an attack on an opponent's character rather
than by an answer to the contentions made. However, the treatment of
Gore by our corporate media is the best definition of ad hominem
I've ever seen. Editorial cartoons have been gushing ink over
everything Gore, except the truth of his message, which is so
clearly established in light of the attacks. Today our local
editorial page showed a fat Gore seated before a congressional
committee and being asked why he wasn't going after China and India
because they are much bigger polluters than us. Gore replies that he
doesn't want to be president of China or India. Seated next to the
questioner, Senator Clinton is drawing a caricature of "Fat Albert."
If Gore's facts were wrong, they could be attacked; since they are
true, Gore must be attacked. Perhaps
one reason political cartoons have been especially relentless is
because Americans seem to believe that something seen in the
newspaper or on television news must be true, there's some kind of
law! And cartoons, they're just cartoons. Well, besides a few
technicalities like libel considerations, there is no law. Any kind
of bullshit goes, judgment of the consumer and reputation of the
source the only de facto limitations.
Back to that cartoon, the statement about China and India being much
bigger polluters than us could just as easily sully an editorial
column in The New York Times. Truth is the United States emits well
over twice the greenhouse gasses of China and India put together.
Their rate of increase may exceed ours because of their rapid
economic growth, but they have a long way to go to catch us in
actual levels. Editorial cartoons are extremely powerful; many
readers of this particular Gore attack will surely walk away
suddenly knowing that China and India are " . . . much bigger
polluters than us!"
So I decided to do some street research. First I chose an upscale
bar downtown, watering hole for many in the financial and legal
industries. About 6:30 on a raw and gusty Wednesday evening, sunset
around here now, I went into McMurthy's. Two groomed men sitting
together at the bar wore business suits, Caucasians around 40. I
took a stool on their left and ordered a shot of Bushmills. It was
halftime of the college basketball playoffs game the men were
watching on the television set mounted high behind the bar. They
both looked at me.
And as though I might be some kind of scientist, I asked the closest
one: "So, what do you guys think of all this global warming stuff?"
Neither one flinched, but rather, both seemed to welcome my
invitation to debate.
"Gore's a loser," said the guy I'd asked.
The other one took a drink before smacking his lips, and
saying, "He's wacko. . . ."
Seems these two were not novices, both having read Michael
Crichton's State of Fear. I began to hear about solid scientific
evidence that parts of the world were actually cooling. Though I
hadn't read the book, I was familiar with its better blunders. So I
tacitly conveyed having read State of Fear, cordially agreeing that
in fact some parts of the globe were cooling, taking it even further
by saying the science behind Climate Change assures us that
especially Northern Europe will get much cooler as the Gulf Stream
shuts down -- something which has already begun. Fresh water from
melting ice of Greenland is interrupting the thermohaline
circulation which, in addition to distributing heat around the
globe, makes northern Europe far warmer than other areas at
This took no shine from these men's confidence, but an eagerness in
their glancing eyes told me they were anxious for the television to
rescue them. Not letting up, I mentioned that validity of the
science in Crichton's book must be measured by his description of
the beginning of a hurricane, where he details a gigantic mass of
high pressure slowly beginning to rotate. I pointed out that a
hurricane is actually an area of low pressure that evolves from a
trough, or tropical wave, to a topical depression. As the central
pressure continues to drop, winds pick up and the disturbance
becomes a tropical storm, then a hurricane.
"In fact," I said, "among the lowest surface pressures ever recorded
was in the eye of hurricane Wilma, a category 5 hurricane that
followed hurricane Katrina by about six weeks. The lowness of
pressure in the eye of a hurricane is a good gauge of the
hurricane's strength. When Crichton describes a gigantic mass of
high pressure as the beginning of a hurricane, he could not be more
wrong. So, again, the novel's scientific validity must all be taken
with that in mind."
I finished my drink.
The second half began with a spectacular two-handed reverse dunk. I
said, "See you guys later," and in moments had walked into a very,
very early-season thunderstorm. The lady standing beside me under
McMurthy's awning for shelter from the downpour held a stuffed bag
from Macy's in each hand. I looked her in the eyes. She
shouted, "Crazy weather!"
Rand Clifford lives in Spokane, Washington, and can be reached at:
randc@.... His novels CASTLING and TIMING are published by
The last confession of E. Howard Hunt: US government/CIA team
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
Apr 3, 2007
The April 5 issue of Rolling Stone features the deathbed confession
of CIA operative and key Bay of Pigs/Watergate/Nixon administration
figure E. Howard Hunt, The Last Confession of E. Howard Hunt by Erik
Hedegaard. This piece is significant not only for its exploration of
Hunt, but for breakthrough information that appears to thoroughly
corroborate the work of key John F. Kennedy assassination
researchers and historians.
Who killed JFK?
According to Hunt's confession, which was taken by his son, St. John
("Saint") Hunt, over the course of many personal and carefully
planned father-son meetings, the following individuals were among
the key participants:
Lyndon B. Johnson: LBJ, whose own career was assisted by JFK nemesis
J. Edgar Hoover (FBI), gave the orders to a CIA-led hit team, and
helped guide the Warren Commission/lone gunman cover-up.
Cord Meyer: CIA agent, architect of the Operation Mockingbird
disinformation apparatus, and husband of Mary Meyer (who had an
affair with JFK).
David Atlee Philips: CIA and Bay of Pigs veteran. Recruited William
Harvey (CIA) and Cuban exile militant Antonio Veciana.
William Harvey: CIA and Bay of Pigs veteran. Connected to Mafia
figures Santos Trafficante and Sam Giancana.
Antonio Veciana: Cuban exile, founder of CIA-backed Alpha 66.
Frank Sturgis: CIA operative, mercenary, Bay of Pigs veteran, and
later Watergate figure.
David Morales: CIA hit man, Bay of Pigs veteran. Morales was also a
figure involved with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Lucien Sarti: Corsican assassin and drug trafficker,
possible "French gunman," Grassy Knoll (second) shooter.
Would Hunt continue to tell lies on his deathbed? Perhaps. Would
Hunt tell a final tall story or two, to protect himself, or perhaps
deal one final slap in the face to the US government (which made him
a fall guy for Watergate)? Yes. Would Hunt hide the involvement of
certain individuals to whom he remained loyal, including people who
are still alive? Certainly. Anything from an operative like Hunt can
only be accepted with caution and healthy skepticism.
Nevertheless, Hunt's scenario has the ring of truth.
Each of the named names are well-known CIA and CIA-linked players
exposed by many researchers and historians who have detailed the
enduring connection from the Bay of Pigs and the Dallas hit to
Watergate and Iran-Contra.
The Hunt confession vindicates generations of historians,
researchers and whistleblowers who have given their lives and
careers to expose the truth about Dealey Plaza. While there are too
many to name, they include, but are not limited to (and in no
particular order): Jim Garrison, Mark Lane, Fletcher Prouty, Josiah
Thompson, Carl Oglesby, Peter Dale Scott, Anthony Summers, Robert
Groden, Victor Marchetti, David Lifton, Harrison Livingstone,
Michael Canfield, A.J. Weberman, Sylvia Meagher, William Turner, Jim
Marrs, Pete Brewton, John Newman, Philip Melanson, Hal Verb, Mae
Brussell, Harold Weisberg, Oliver Stone, Mike Ruppert and Dan
Hopsicker, Jim diEugenio and Linda Pease.
Meanwhile, the criminal deceptions of the US government and its
corporate media, the Warren Commission, and the dirty work of cover-
up specialists such as Gerald Posner and Mark Fuhrman, and the
legions of JFK assassination revisionist/theorists, deserve a final
rebuke, and eternal scorn.
Highlighting Hunt's role
Although the Rolling Stone piece does not address it, the Hunt
confession directly corroborates two classic investigations that
previously exposed the role of Hunt. They are Mark Lane's Plausible
Denial and Michael Canfield/A.J. Weberman's Coup D'Etat in America.
Lane's book details how he took Hunt to court, and won a libel suit,
essentially proving that the CIA murdered JFK, and that Hunt lied
about his whereabouts. The investigation of Canfield and Weberman
identified Hunt and Frank Sturgis as two of the three "tramps"
arrested at Dealey Plaza.
Time has only made these investigations more relevant. More than
ever, their books, and those of the JFK historians and researchers
above listed, deserve to be found, read and studied.
Hunt to Nixon to Bush
The Rolling Stone piece fails to go after the roles of Richard Nixon
and George Herbert Walker Bush. But the Hunt confession, if
accurate, leads directly to them, to their lifelong associates, and
all the way to the present George W. Bush administration.
The Dallas-Watergate-Iran-Contra connection has been thoroughly
documented by the key JFK researchers, and in particular, in the
work of Peter Dale Scott, one of the very first to show the deep
political continuity across three decades. Daniel Hopsicker's Barry
and the Boys goes into even more detail on the players.
Consider the career of George H.W. Bush. He was a Texas oilman
(Zapata Oil) and a CIA operative, involved with the Bay of Pigs.
Bush's name was found in the papers of George DeMohrenschildt, one
of Lee Harvey Oswald's CIA handlers. As documented by Pete Brewton,
author of The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush, Bush was deeply
connected with a small circle of Texas elites tied to the CIA and
the Mafia, as well as the Florida-based CIA/anti-Casto Cuban exile/
Mafia milieu As Richard Nixon's hand-picked Republican National
Committee chairman, and later as CIA director, Bush constantly
covered-up and stonewalled for his boss about Watergate, which
itself (by the admission of Frank Sturgis and others) was a cover-up
of the JFK assassination.
Tracking any of the individual CIA operatives involved with the Bay
of Pigs, it is impossible to ignore or deny direct connections to
George H.W. Bush and his crime family, across the Kennedy
assassinations, covert operations in Indochina and, later, Latin
Beyond any reasonable doubt, the US government murdered John F.
Kennedy. There are people still alive today who were involved
directly and indirectly implicated. Some are probably even serving
in positions of high influence. Some still have never been
identified or touched.
All of these individuals still need to be pursued, exposed, and
brought to justice.
Will conservatives support our troops when they mutiny?
By Dennis Rahkonen
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Apr 19, 2007
U.S. soldiers' tours of duty have been extended by three months in
both Afghanistan and Iraq. In the latter country, this development
plays out ominously against unprecedented levels of popular anti-
Americanism, as evidenced by a huge rally targeting the occupation,
recently held in Najaf, which united Shiites, Sunnis, and uniformed
members of Iraq's police and military.
It's a recipe for disaster, in more ways than one, as past history
Those too young to remember the early '70s are unaware of a
remarkable phenomenon from that era.
During the latter stages of the Vietnam war, as Americans were still
being sacrificed in a conflict that was both unequivocally wrong and
hopelessly lost, U.S. rank-and-file troops engaged in open rebellion.
Downplayed by the government and major media as it was occurring,
evidence of that rebellion has been expunged or whitewashed in
official, revisionist histories of Vietnam.
But the truth manages to get through, sometimes in utterly damning
fashion, such as the following, written in 1971 by Col. Robert Heinl
in the Armed Forces Journal:
"Our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching
collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat,
murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden
and dispirited, where not near-mutinous . . . [C]onditions [exist]
among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in
this century by . . . the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and
Three circumstances finally brought the Vietnam debacle to an end.
First in importance was the fact that Vietnamese guerrillas and
North Vietnam's regular army prevailed against the American
Then there was the highly potent, domestic antiwar movement that
routinely filled U.S. streets with militant protests while also
engaging in student teach-ins, neighborhood organizing, voter
registration, draft counseling, and other forms of pivotal defiance.
But it was the realization, so demoralizing to those who wished to
continue the war, that "their" army was literally dissolving before
astonished eyes that made withdrawal from Vietnam inevitable. A
final congressional cutoff of war funding was anticlimactic. Johnny
had already put down his gun.
Considering that George Bush's Iraq folly represents equally as
futile an effort to trump objective reality with stubborn,
subjective will as was once attempted in Vietnam -- and also because
his escalating, open-ended "surge" erects a human shooting gallery
in which U.S. troops will be mercilessly picked off -- it's only a
matter of time before already severely eroded military morale in
Iraq decisively breaks down.
Disobeying commands that would result in certain slaughter has
already taken place.
One such incident happened in Ramadi. A squad from the Second
Battalion, Fifth Marines was asked to duplicate a mission performed
by another Marine squad that had been completely wiped out -- to
take the same path, invite fire, and hopefully expose Iraqi
insurgents to cover fire. Fearful of a second massacre, the chosen
squad, to a man, refused to move out. At the last minute, an
alternate mission was authorized, thereby avoiding possibly violent
Significantly, it's been reported that roughly half a dozen generals
have indicated they'll resign if Bush expands the Iraq war through
an attack on Iran. This adds an entirely new dimension to the
Our troops are being asked to accomplish the impossible, through now
longer, repeated deployments. The psychological stress of facing a
determined Iraqi insurrection that will continue until either the
sun explodes or the last American is driven out is almost worse than
the physical destruction Iraq's resistance fighters relentlessly
Sooner or later, major refusal is bound to occur. When it does, will
conservatives continue to support our troops, who -- at that
juncture -- will need all the public backing they can possibly get?
Or will they condemn as "traitors" American parents' precious sons
and daughters who choose to turn around and say, "Enough of this
murderous bullshit!" rather than march dutifully into an exploding
death trap of Dick Cheney's malicious making?
Let's not forget that crass manipulation of emotions surrounding the
Support Our Troops theme by right-wingers got Americans onboard for
an illegal, immoral aggression in the first place.
Back before the war even began, after principled peace activists had
already marched in great numbers to try to stop Bush's impending
travesty, conservatives countered with jingoistic rallies where
opposing the coming disaster -- which would prove so devastating to
our troops -- was falsely presented as betraying them.
Republicans "supported" our soldiers and Marines straight into
graves, and into horrific survival absent arms, legs, and sanity.
That was the actual, abject betrayal!
As awful as it was, I'm afraid we'll see it sordidly surpassed in
the not too distant future as conservatives castigate service
personnel who exhibit the wisdom, and enormous courage, to no longer
fight in a rich man's dirty war for oil.
Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing for various
progressive outlets since the '60s. He can be reached at
By Budd Saunders
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Apr 20, 2007
The promise of America hinged on what happened on April 19, 1775.
When Bush declared 9/11 to be Patriots Day, my wife went ballistic.
It seems that Patriots Day is April 19! The night of April 18-19 was
when Paul Revere took his famous "midnight ride" alerting
people, "The British are coming!"
Although my wife was born in Alabama, she was raised in Cambridge
and Lexington, Massachusetts, and participated in many Patriots Day
celebrations honoring the small group of Minute Men who held the far
superior British troops in Lexington long enough for the Minute Men
in Concord to secure the ammunition stored there.
There has been a rivalry between those two towns ever since. At
least as long as my wife lived there, every Thanksgiving Lexington
and Concord played their last football game of the year against each
other, and the winner got the Revolutionary musket. Usually Concord
got it, but my wife is hopeful that things have changed since she
moved away and that now Lexington is winning the musket.
At dawn on every April 19, the Lexington High School band, in which
my wife played clarinet, marched from the eastern edge of town to
the Battle Green along the route Revere and the British took. They
marched the route again in the afternoon for the big town
celebration in honor of that brave group of Minute Men.
Eight of them were killed. Beside the doorway to the home of one of
my wife's friends was a plaque to one who died that day on those
very steps my wife climbed many times to visit her friend.
The Red Coats marched on to Concord, where Minute Men had had time
to prepare and were victorious. And that was the start of our
The Constitution would not be completed for 12 years. That is our
beloved Constitution. The Constitution that spells out what has (in
the past) made the United States the nation we pride ourselves on
being: "Land of the free and home of the brave." That is the
Constitution and national character that Bushies are destroying with
their greedy power grabbing to create the dictatorship of an
imperial presidency in the name of a newly proclaimed "Patriots Day."
I'm not denying the importance of 9/11, but it is not Patriots Day.
By stealing the name, the Bush/Rovians deny us one of the proudest
days in our history. And I for one want it back.
Let's lift one to April 19th: "May the spirit of the true patriotism
of 1775 rise again."
Question authority. It's the American way.