The CIA, Global Warming and TAL Resolutions

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Recent_Sea_Level_Rise Satellites, Seas and CIA! Oh My! A big story has been bubbling up through the blogosphere about the CIA offering to share data with climate scientists. This NYT article lays it out pretty well. That article is about all I have to go on, but it claims that “the monitoring program has little or no impact on regular intelligence gathering, federal officials said, but instead releases secret information already collected or takes advantage of opportunities to record environmental data when classified sensors are otherwise idle or passing over wilderness.” For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just take that at face value. I tend to have a lot of Facebook friends, from all sides of just about every issue. I have some of my buddies from Vets for Freedom and people from Iraq Veterans Against the War. I am the guy that believes inherently in the “marketplace of ideas” concept, that in the end my position will prevail based on its validity. So, some of the conversations there can get…..interesting. One of my many friendemies (friend/enemy) is a young lady from VoteVets whose positions are almost always the opposite of mine. Though, she enjoys a good debate. Anyway, she said that:
 The CIA must have been taken over by crazy tree-hugging hippy liberals. Or maybe there's something to this whole climate change thing, and it could pose threats to our national security.
Now, a little bit of back-tracking on this.  You remember when at basic they said:  “If Uncle Sam wanted you to have an opinion, he would have issued you one”?  The American Legion is largely the same.  I get my public opinions sent to me in pdf form, passed by y’all at the National Convention.  One such resolution was Foreign Relations Resolution No. 118: Support Environmental Treaty.  I want to include some portions all of it here so you can see it, and understand my larger point.
Resolution No. 118: Support Environmental Treaty Origin: Convention Committee on Foreign Relations Submitted by: Convention Committee on Foreign Relations (As amended) WHEREAS, In May 2001, the White House asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct research on climate change.; and WHEREAS, NAS immediately responded, “Changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities”; and WHEREAS, In 2008, NAS followed up its initial report with this statement, “Additional evidence collected over the past several years has increased confidence in this conclusion”; and WHEREAS, The American Association of Petroleum Geologists do not support the idea that there is a link between climate change and human activity; and WHEREAS, The following scientific organizations support the theory that the burning of fossil fuels are contributing to climate change/global warming: The National Academy of Sciences; The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); American Institute of Physics; American Chemical Society; and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and WHEREAS, Surface warming from the greenhouse effect is weaker in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere; consequently, the North Pole has warmed dramatically, even as the South Pole has experienced a small cooling trend due to stronger stratospheric ozone depletion in Antarctica, i.e. this is the reason why the term climate change has replaced global warming; and WHEREAS, IPCC estimates that the combined effects of ice melting and sea-water expansion from ocean warming are projected to cause the global mean sea-level to rise between 0.1 and 0.9 meters in the next 100 years; potentially causing the displacement of millions of people resulting in a huge refugee problem affecting countries worldwide along with negatively impacting water resources, agriculture, ecosystems and human health are also likely if fossil fuel trends remain unchanged; and WHEREAS, A major company producing fossil fuels has gone on record stating, “The risks to society from increases in CO2 emissions could prove to be significant; it is prudent to develop and implement strategies that address the risks”; and WHEREAS, The United States needs to take the lead in this effort if China and India are expected to be involved; and WHEREAS, The United States refusal to ratify international environmental treaties, such as the Kyoto Protocol, has negatively impacted U.S. Foreign Relations; especially with the countries of the European Union and other developed nations; and WHEREAS, The United States based its refusal of the Kyoto Protocol on inconsistent provisions within the protocol that unfairly burdened the United States with stricter prohibitions than other developed nations including China, Russia, and India; and WHEREAS, A world operating on different sets of rules and costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions could have disruptive implications for trade, security, competitiveness and U.S. economic growth; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky, August 25, 26, 27, 2009, That The American Legion urges the President and Congress to establish a worldwide plan to significantly reduce carbon-based emissions using a model similar to the Montreal Protocol of 1988 which 191 countries, including the United States, agreed to limit the harmful production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) to include equal standards and enforcement applying to all participating countries; and, be it further RESOLVED, That The American Legion urges the President and the Congress to reduce demand for fossil fuels through improved efficiency, diversified energy suppliers and fuel choices, and manage geopolitics in resource-rich areas that currently account for the majority of the United States’ fuel imports; and, be it finally RESOLVED, That The American Legion urges the President and the Congress to take the lead within the international community to establish common principals for energy security and sustainability.
Now, please refrain from debating the merits of this resolution if you can. It is our position. If you don’t like it, I encourage you to change it through the available means: i.e. by passing a subsequent resolution that differs from this one. If the Legion has any positions on anything you don’t like, the resolution process empowers you to change them. Anyway, assuming some of you Neanderthals out there refuse to accept the anthropogenic view of climate change, I would suggest that you greet the news that the CIA is going to share the data not as another stupid move, but rather the answer to your prayers. In approaching this issue, I am reminded of homeless advocate Mitch Snyder. I will quote from his wiki page here to avoid putting any spin on it, but:
Snyder was known to exaggerate the problem of homelessness in order to call attention to the problem. During the 1980s Snyder also claimed that there were 3 million homeless Americans, but when questioned about the source of this figure, he admitted that he had made it up to please journalists. He is also alleged to have said that 45 homeless people die every second (which would mean that 1.4 billion die every year).
That is a fairly charitable way of phrasing it, I would say. Regardless, as a result of Mitch’s effort, homelessness as a cause came to the fore, and thus in 1990 the U.S. Census decided to do a count of them and asked all the homeless advocates to help them get solid numbers. Mitch not only refused to help them, but actively fought against the initiative on the grounds that the Census people would undercount and thus invalidate some of his arguments. We already know that some… fairly odd things are going on within the scientific community in regards to climate change and specifically the notion of an anthropomorphic element to it. The recent “Climategate” scandal where internal emails from the Climate Research Unit were illegally obtained and released spread some discontent with the official “statistics” involved in this issue. I’m not going to rehash that controversy or discuss it at any length, but its effect was to the detriment of the Copenhagen meetings. My point here is that any Gaia haters out there, and I know who you are (I have naughty lists) should embrace this news. We hear contentions all the time like “last year we lost ice equivalent to the state of Rhode Island” all the time. And while we might argue that losing Rhode Island wouldn’t hurt that much (I kid, I kid) wouldn’t it be better to point at satellite photos from last year and this year and say “so, where is this Rhode Island sized hole I was supposed to look for?” Policy positions should always be made on facts, or at least on suppositions that match our recorded observations in some recognizable manner. If you feel that Global Climate Change is Scandanavian for “Capitalism is bad, join us in poverty,” wouldn’t you want satellite pictures to validate your position? I know I would. If I was one of those folks of course.
Posted in Uncategorized, the burner | 8 comments
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Several things come to mind here. First, who chooses what gets released and what is that person or group's position on the climate change issue. People with no opinion on this are very difficult to find. How do we assure that the information gained from this is not filtered to support a particular point of view. I know, the picture shows what the picture shows but who decides which pictures get to be seen.

Along that same line, who is setting the safeguards that the only data being released is inconsequential for intelligence purposes. A picture showing something important to the climate change work also contains potential intelligence material. Who sets the guidelines as to which work prevails in whether the picture is released? Along the same lines, we all know that the government is not very good at actually protecting personal and other important data and that leaks happen all the time, whether inadvertent or to fit a personal agenda. How do we ensure that everything that gets out should get out and that the appropriate level of degradation has actually been applied.

Finally one of the areas of controversy in the climate change debate concerns the raw temperature data from which the conclusions being reached are drawn and whether that raw data has been "massaged" to support particular points of view. Of particular concern is that some of the raw data now appears to be "lost". In this work, the raw data is necessarily not being released but is being altered by degradation of the resolution in the photos. How do we convince a community already skeptical about the information coming from the CIA that this degradation isn't done to support a particular viewpoint.

All in all, I think this is a can of worms that the CIA doesn't need. Their reputation has taken quite a hit over the last decade. Involving them in another political and scientific controversy will not act to improve that reputation. There may be national security implications here but there are other means of obtaining the data that don't embroil a national asset in other people's controversy.

Well, I am in possession of data that refutes this nonsense, plus, there has been evidence put forth that shows that "global warming/climate change" is a hoax and that the evidence bares this out with emails detailing the data manipulation that has occurred by those in the top levels of this farce, including the main advisors to the IPCC. It's a fraud.

That aside; the reason I am an American Legion member (and very active) is because the organization has been focused on Veterans and Veterans issues. This is not a Veterans issue and is more, or less, political pandering that has nothing to do with Veterans. I have not joined certain other Veterans organizations because of their political pandering on things that have nothing to do with Veterans. Am I now to put the American Legion in that same category?

It sounds good to say that the way to change something is through the resolution process, however, you know as well as I that the resolution process isn't cut and dried, nor is it time advantaged, so saying it's that simple is a little mis-leading.

To say I'm not happy about this is an understatement and it will require me to re-think my association with this organization.

Not to disagree with you OT, since you know I almost never do, but the Legion was founded on several principles, the four pillars. And one of those is National Security. This was passed apparently under the theory that lowering CFC's or whatever will impact National Security. I agree that energy independance would, and I agree that wholeheartedly. If you couldn't tell from my tone, we are in agreement on the merits of the argument.

But listen, we pass hundreds of resoutions a year. I would strongly discourage a baby with the bathwater approach. I don't know ANYONE who agrees with 100% of our mandates.

While I have no problem with energy independence, the problem I'm having is a resolution being passed on a theory, rather than hard evidence and data that hasn't been manipulated. I don't agree with 100% of the mandates, however, most aren't as polarizing as this one, which if one were to really think of the ramifications, will cost the citizens of this country a massive amount of money and would add significantly to our national debt and lower our industrial output, which has real national security implications, not theoretical ones. That's my point of contention with this resolution.

This discussion is exactly why I don't think the CIA should be involved. If feelings run sufficiently strong to cause this type of strong emotional reaction concerning the position of The American Legion, then what possible good can come to the CIA, their image and their primary mission by being involved in this.

I think there are definite National Security implications in the resolution of this debate but I don't think an agency whose primary mission is obtaining and analyzing intelligence affecting our national security has any place in that resolution.

Mothax is right though, We deal with many issues that are not directly veteran related. Those issues though deal with why and how we became veterans and more importantly how and why our children and grandchildren may also become veterans.

Can I link this blog from my website?

The effects of Global Warming is getting much stronger these days. We should concentrate more on alternative energy to reduce carbon emissions.

In the previous 4 years Louisville has been rated as among the ten safest cities in the US, a position that is not easy to achieve considering the complex world of crime.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.