Tag Archives: USA

Bush Plan Could Axe Scientists’ Access to Sensitive Data

Another day, another sound science policy getting Buswhacked: The Bush administration is quietly pushing for the elimination of a committee that provides crucial intelligence data for scientists studying everything from climate change to hurricanes and pollution. The Civil Applications Committee, which is under the jurisdiction of the USGS, reviews civilian requests for classified information and makes recommendations to intelligence officials – who exercise the final say in deciding what gets declassified.

In its place, the Bush administration would establish a new office in DHS to review these requests and others from various law enforcement agencies. “They are worried. The scientists say this information is very valuable to them, and they are concerned this new office will be looking more at homeland security and law enforcement,” said Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees the USGS and a member of the Homeland Security Committee.

Over the years, this sensitive agency has provided information to U.S. Forest Service officials during the forest fire season; to scientists using classified measurements from nuclear submarines to study how the polar ice cap has thinned; and to USGS officials seeking information about volcanic eruptions in the Aleutian Islands. This information has often proven “critical,” as James Devine, a senior adviser to USGS’s director, explained. “Sometimes this information is critical, and we need to know right now,” he said.As far as he knows, he has never been denied a request from the intelligence community that the Civil Applications Committee had already approved. The government’s spy satellites often provide much better resolution than private ones, in addition to precise IR and electromagnetic activity readings.

The government’s plan to replace the Civil Applications Committee with the National Applications Office in DHS was hatched shortly after the attacks of 9/11. The Bush administration had hoped the new office would already be up and running by now; plans have since been put on hold to tackle new questions about scientific and civil liberties.

 Source: Jeremy Elton Jacqout’s article on Treehugger.com via: McClatchy Newspapers – Scientists fear losing access to intelligence data

Leave a comment

Filed under Censorship, Environment, Politics

America’s Fear of a Woman with Power

Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to politics I don’t consider myself any sort of guru, although I know enough not to believe anything on Fox News. Overall, politics can get sticky and the lines between the bad and the ugly can begin to blur. What I have noticed for the duration of 2007 into 2008 is a prominent bashing against Senator Hillary Clinton. Again, I don’t consider myself a political analyst, but I can’t help but question the validity behind the seemingly shallow hatred. This is mostly because of the fact that when I ask people why they hate her, I’m most often met with the vague, bandwagon response along the lines of “She’s a bitch” or “She’s a femi-nazi.” 

So I looked into Senator Clinton’s policies and compared them to her competitors in order to find any sign leading to “femi-nazism”  Needless to say, the only evidence I found was a policy that supports women’s reproductive health care issues and a stance that desired compromise between the two sides. Clinton has been quoted saying that she strongly believes in Roe vs. Wade, but also believes in taking preventative measures to encourage abortion alternatives, even embracing the possible use of religion and morals to promote abstinence. So this is what a femi-nazi is? 

Now, I hate this term “femi-nazi” and for good reason. I believe it was derived from the far right to connect their female enemies with negative associations. Ask anyone who a femi-nazi is and they’ll refer to a bra-burning, man-hating woman on steroids, even though the notorious bra-burning scenario was a completely false illusion created by sensationalized journalists and almost anyone would have some sort of dissent against someone else who has cheated them out of fair pay and equality for thousands of years.  So why would conservatives want to take power away from women? Easy, because women gaining power means they (our beloved wealthy white men) will be losing power, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep it. 

A recent Op-Ed in The New York Times by Gloria Steinhem was called to my attention today, which brought up the fact that during Clinton and Obama’s two overlapping years in the senate, they have voted the same 90 percent of the time. If you place their view points on reproductive rights, climate change and war side by side, they appear to run parallel to one another, plus or minus a few tweaks. Yet, the Clinton-bashing brigade strengthens, feeding off of any insignificant detail that could be used against her. She remains stern, she’s a robot. She cries, she’s an emotional wreck unfit to run a country. One has to ask, is it really Clinton as a candidate or the fact that she has a vagina that leads ignorant forces to prompt a fight against her? 

Charlotte Whitton once quoted: “Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good,” mostly because there are very black and white definitions that are carried with the label of “woman.” If she is attractive, then certainly, she is a whore. If she is not feminine, then she is a dyke. If she’s emotional, she is a “typical woman” and if she holds back the emotion and runs the show with a firm hand, then she is a bitch.  Any woman who breaks out of the mold is seen as having penis envy, unnatural, etc. and here we have our first front-running female presidential candidate marking U.S. history and low and behold, she is the most ridiculed of them all. 

I applaud Clinton’s efforts and shout loudly “It’s about f-ing time!”  I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that there have been no presidential candidates up until now that were either female or of a different race.  How can citizens tout their tattering American flags out their car windows or claim our country is the greatest when the government, a so-called democracy, does not rightly represent the demographics of the American people? 

What I find even more interesting concerning this issue are our misled citizens’ claims that women in other countries have it a lot worse. But as we all know, the recently assassinated Bhutto, who was the first female prime minister for a Muslim nation, was elected into office in Pakistan, not in this decade, not in the 90’s, but in 1988 – twenty years before we saw a woman candidate. As for sympathized South America; Argentina and Chile already have had a taste of having a woman in power. 

The worst aspect of this situation is hearing these formless claims coming from the mouths of fellow women. Oh, I understand all right. I was raised in a family where abortion was a huge no-no and quite possibly the biggest deciding factor. But women must realize that just because they are women, does not exempt you from feeling the pangs of living in a patriarchal society that has catered towards men in power. Quite frankly, most of us do not realize the basic realities and faults of our current system and find it all normal, because that’s just how it always was. Fortunately, I was saved from the lie that condemning abortion would save our nation. Unfortunately for the rest, believing in a woman receiving hygienic health care versus throwing herself down a flight of stairs or finding a wire hanger simply seems absurd.

I’m not telling you to vote for Hillary.  I’m not running a campaign site here.  I am just plain sick and tired of such uninformed groups of people preemptively judging and blurting false accusations.  All I ask is that you judge each candidate, not by their looks, gender or ethnicity, but by his/her experience, integrity and policies towards what our nation is and what it can and should be.

– written by Elena Gaudino


Filed under Feminism, Politics