McClatchy reported earlier this week that a recently released U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks shows evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians in 2006, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, and “then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence.” The Iraqi government said today that it will revive the stalled investigation into the allegations. The AP also reports that “some officials said that the document was reason enough for Iraq to force the American military to leave instead of signing a deal allowing troops to stay beyond a year-end departure deadline.” “The new report about this crime will have its impact on signing any new agreement,” said Sunni lawmaker Aliya Nusayif.
Today, the Obama administration announced it would not pursue a planned ozone rule after delaying it for months.League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement:"The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health."
President Barack Obama on Friday scrapped his administration's controversial plans to tighten smog rules, bowing to the demands of congressional Republicans and some business leaders.
The withdrawal of the proposed regulation marks the latest in a string of retreats by Obama in the face of Republican opposition. Last December, he shelved, at least until the end of 2012, his insistence that Bush-era tax cuts should no longer apply to the wealthy. Earlier this year he avoided a government shutdown by agreeing to Republican demands for budget cuts. And this summer he acceded to more than a $1 trillion in spending reductions, with more to come, as the price for an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
As the war in Afghanistan approaches its 10th anniversary, a pair of new reports reveal how the Pentagon has squandered tens of billions of dollars while tripling the amount of no-bid contracts. The bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting concludes that between $31 billion and $60 billion spent on projects in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years has been lost to waste and fraud. In Afghanistan, the commission found the United States is indirectly funding the Taliban as money diverted from U.S.-backed projects is paid out to militants to ensure safety. Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s use of no-bid contracts has tripled since the United States was attacked on 9/11, in spite of promises to reform the controversial practice.
Glenn Grennwald Points Out the Unwillingness of US Media to Report REAL news
Paper Disputing Basic Science of Climate Change is "Fundamentally Flawed," Editor Resigns, Apologizes By Peter Gleick, Published 9/2/11 on Forbes.com
One month ago, a paper by Roy Spencer and William Braswell was published in the journal Remote Sensing arguing that far less future global warming will occur than the scientific community currently anticipates. This highly controversial finding – controversial since it is at odds with observations, basic understanding of atmospheric physics, models, and with what most scientists think we know about climate science — was seized upon by climate change deniers and skeptics and broadcast loud and far.
While other climate experts quickly pointed to fatal flaws in the paper, it received a great deal of attention from certain media. In something of a media frenzy, Fox News, the authors themselves in press releases and web comments, Forbes, in a column by a lawyer at the Heartland Institute, Drudge, and others loudly pointed to this as evidence that the vast array of science on climate change was wrong.
The staggering news today is that the editor of the journal that published the paper has just resigned, with a blistering editorial calling the Spencer and Braswell paper “fundamentally flawed,” with both “fundamental methodological errors” and “false claims.” That editor, Professor Wolfgang Wagner of the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, is a leading international expert in the field of remote sensing. In announcing his resignation, Professor Wagner says “With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements.”
In his editorial resignation, Professor Wagner says the paper was reviewed by scientific experts that in hindsight had a predetermined bias in their views on climate that led them to miss the serious scientific flaws in the paper, including “ignoring all other observational data sets,” inappropriate influence from the “political views of the authors,” and the fact that comparable studies had already been refuted by the scientific community but were ignored by the authors. He summarizes:
In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal. This regrettably brought me to the decision to resign as Editor-in-Chief―to make clear that the journal Remote Sensing takes the review process very seriously.
There is a famous saying in science: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” In this case, the arguments for climate change are backed up by such an astounding degree of science and evidence, that one, or even a few, papers that claim to refute the science of climate change deserve careful scrutiny. As the author of Skeptico notes:
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence because they usually contradict claims that are backed by extraordinary evidence. The evidence for the extraordinary claim must support the new claim as well as explain why the old claims that are now being abandoned, previously appeared to be correct.
The Spencer and Braswell paper fails in these requirements. But this is also the way science works: someone makes a scientific claim and others test it. If it holds up to scrutiny, it become part of the scientific literature and knowledge, safe until someone can put forward a more compelling theory that satisfies all of the observations, agrees with physical theory, and fits the models. Once again, despite the fervent desires of climate skeptics and deniers, the vast body of literature and the basic conclusions about the growing threat of climate change remains intact: the climate is changing rapidly and humans are the dominant cause.
Now, the question remains, will Fox News, Drudge, the Heartland Institute, and others that covered the initial report of this paper show the honesty and courage that Professor Wagner has shown and cover the fact that the paper is “fundamentally flawed?” Any bets?
London After Midnight / Sean Brennan