Archive for August, 2008

I HOPE I’M WRONG, 8-30-08

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I hope I’m wrong!

Obama has betrayed a constituency that, under a banner of Real Change and New Hope,  gave him the nomination.

Instead of maintaining his relentless opposition to power politics, he caved.

Obama moved to the right, away from his original stand of Real Change, loudly and firmly backing the Israel lobby against any hope of real solution in the middle east and railing at Iran’s nuclear efforts while ignoring the nuclear threat Israel offers in the middle east. He supported the FISA bill giving telecoms immunity from illegal spying activities.  He pandering to establishment politics by selecting an establishment hawk veep. And now, the carnival in Denver where ATT sponsored a feast for the Blue Dogs that immunized them.    And we watch his ratings cycle back and forth against McCain’s.   Where was the serious commitment to issues such as world poverty  (the Real cause of terrorism),  nuclear proliferation, and threat of a new cold war.

His nomination was a culmination of new progressive idealism and hope.
Imagine!  A black man, and a woman in serious bids for presidency!   First time ever!

Obama brought disenfranchised voters out from under their rocks that had despaired of ever seeing their country emerge from under control of special interest lobbies and big biz.
Unfortunately, he softened his ideals.  Much of his progressive constituency does not buy this biz as usual, this SOS (same old Shit!).  They are leaving camp.

The good news:
Its a strong kick in the genes for establishment Democratic politicos that they are unable to bring about a sweeping victory over the failed policies of such a failed administration as Bush’s has been.
But then, many of these failed policies are supported by the Democratic establishment….

The bad news:
President McCain!    And (tremble…)  Veep Palin.   Egad!

Will this be a death knell for the gorged, obesity of  SOS profit-politics that is strangling our country?
Will this be a turning point causing voters to demand responsibility from our  ‘9 %’  Congress?

Just now it doesn’t look that way.  So much for the Yellow Brick Road.   The Wizard wasn’t.  Oz isn’t.
Obama may be no more than the guy behind the screen after all.  Remember what that guy was called?
A humbug.

I hope that is not the case.
I hope he is seriously trying to make progressive things work in a very hostile and complex political climate.

I can imagine Obama needs the support of the progressives that have abandoned camp and doubt he will get it.

Whither then?

Free Obama!

We need the change he spoke of some time in the past.

The Greenbacker

SPARE CHANGE, 8-25-08

Monday, August 25th, 2008


Spare change anyone?   Any change at all…?

Congress seems to have accepted the fact, without comment, that its positive rating among voters has plummeted from ~ 45% in 2003 to a current rating of ~ 9% !
Some of the reasons for this loss of faith are listed in the article below.

I wonder if the reason for Obama’s losses in voter support stem from the fact that he appears to be abandoning his message of’ ‘change’ that resonated so well with his constituents, for more of the ‘same old shit’

Biden?   A 36 yr establishment Congressional veteran?   Because he’s establishment, Biden can be expected to face the need for serious change in the same old fashion.   Will he do so or show the flexibility and strength of character to propose and augment serious change.

SOS or change?

Time will tell I guess.

Problem is, we may not have the time this time…(War, economy,  poverty, warming climate, pollution, racial divisions, energy….)

The Greenbacker

Joe Biden and the political establishment’s overriding goal

Sunday Aug. 24, 2008

Glenn Greenwald

That we live in a country characterized by “the centralization of
government power in the White House” — exactly what the Constitution
was designed to prevent — is now so self-evident that it’s not even
debated or contested any longer.

Since Pelosi and Reid took over Congress, the Congress has funded the
Iraq war without even a symbolic condition. It has rejected every
proposal to limit war spending. It has enacted one right-wing proposal
after the next, from warrantless surveillance and telecom immunity to
declaring parts of the Iranian Government a “terrorist organization.” It
passed a housing bill and “stimulus” package approved by the
administration. It has done nothing to reverse the radical executive
power theories and has done much to institutionalize them. If there is
one predominant trait of the Congress over the past several years, it
has been a willingness to grant every item on the the President’s wish
list <http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/01/30/bipartisanship/>
regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in control.

It’s literally hard to imagine how Congress could possibly be weaker and
more pliant than they’ve been. If Congress became any more cooperative,
Capitol Hill might just vanish altogether. Yet David Ignatius, the
ultimate establishment pundit, thinks that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid
are vicious partisan fighters who are so intent on waging vindictive war
on poor George Bush that the country has been unable to “get anything
done” — such as saving the country from “the reality that Social
Security is facing bankruptcy,” which, frets Ignatius, “seems not to
interest either Pelosi or Reid” (the reality that the U.S. itself faces
bankruptcy from the State of Permanent War which Ignatius and his
establishment comrades envision for the U.S. seems not to interest
Ignatius).

The most entrenched establishment spokespeople are cheering the
selection of Joe Biden because, in their minds, that selection confirms
the most important fact for them: that in this election, the prevailing
orthodoxies of our political system won’t be meaningfully challenged.

Michael Crowley recounted that Biden was continuously boasting that the
terrorism bill sent to Congress by John Ashcroft (soon to be called The
Patriot Act) was a replica of legislation that Biden had long advocated
— ever since the Oklahoma City courthouse bombing:
Numerous articles <http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1014458.html> are
hailing Biden’s steadfast “pro-Israel” record and praising him as a
great liberal “internationalist”
<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/us/politics/24policy.html?scp=2&sq=michael%20gordon&st=cse>
………Talk Left blogger Jeralyn Merritt, who said that Biden has long been the leading advocate
of the harshest and most aggressive drug criminalization laws and
general “anti-crime” measures (see this 2002 Glenn Reynolds article
<http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,58663,00.html> on Biden’s
“anti-RAVE” legislation as an example).

Ever since it became clear that Obama would be the likely nominee, the
political establishment has been demanding of him more and more proof
that his “change” rhetoric is just that — rhetoric, and not anything
meant as a genuine threat to the prevailing order of things. Obama,
arguably out of political necessity, has repeatedly obliged, eagerly
trying to offer proof that he is no threat to them, and the Biden
selection is but the latest step in that campaign of reassurance.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/24/ignatius/index.html?source=newsletter

CARNIVAL, 8-25-08

Monday, August 25th, 2008

You’ll recall;  ATT is a major sponsor of the DNC

having provided delegates with those nifty convention bags containing their straw hats, flags, appropriate posters, complimentary free rides and coupons for cotton candy and stuff.

You’ll also recall; the blue dogs, Obama among them, supported the last FISA legislation that immunized ATT and other telecoms that  illegally engaged in warrantless spying.  So a lavish party is to be expected…

Carnival follows.

The Greenbacker

TERRORISM, 8-15-08

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Confronting terrorism by increasing the  military presence in Afghanistan is one way of dealing with the problem

Others might be:
Support a rational solution to Israeli/Palestinian conflict that is amicable to all
Assume a neutral position with regard to Israel/ Palestine as over 70% of American people desire.
Support talks with  democratically elected Hamas and denounce AIPAC for it’s Zionist policies
Recognize the nuclear threat Israel poses to its Arab neighbors
Cease armed threats against Iran for it’s presumed nuclear policies
Limit our military presence in the Middle East
Re-institute and support the NPT for all nations , including our own.
Add others of yr own.

The Greenbacker

GEORGIA ON MY MIND, 8-12-08

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Georgia on My Mind

If I count right, the armada totals more than 30 US warships w/ their carrier wings,  and several strike groups from the British and French navies.

Bear in mind the article a few days ago that details a similar massive armada being assembled in the Black Sea by Russian forces dealing w/ Georgia.

So WE have a massive buildup heading toward the Straits of Hormuz  focusing on a major global oil source (Iran).
And THEY have a massive naval armada heading toward a major global oil supply line near the Caspian Sea.
Lots of nukes available to all parties and twitchy fingers abound…..
Does this strike fear into yr heart?

If not, you’re not reading.  Recall:  When Chernobyl blew up, the radioactive cloud passed directly over the PNW.  That’s us!  Note: Chernobyl (in the Ukraine) is just north of Georgia , which is just north of Iran.

Buy a lead jockstrap.  Get a car that runs on junk mail (there’s lots of that) and buy oil futures.

The Greenbacker

LEMMINGS, 8-07-08

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

I read stuff in the news and feel like a Lemming….

Is this why we need ‘experienced’ leaders – to be able to carry out shit like this?
It’s Machiavellian.  There are no principles, no morals, ethics, just blind groping for power at any price.
Sell the planet and kill the people.

And complicity is found in apathetic citizens, purchased Congress, sold out media.
Who pays?
Our kids.
Accountability:   First priority (after public funding of legislators).   Exposure, transparency, or it will keep happening.

Then Change,   which will take a massive grass-roots effort to happen on any significant level.  Legislators won’t do it!
What are the chances this will happen?

Consider.  Any change has to occur in an era of global climate crunch, global energy crunch, global poverty crunch, war crunch, economic crunch, environment crunch, and middle east strife, and it has to happen in a timely fashion.

Meanwhile, here comes the Democratic National Convention, straw hats, flags, slogans and those nifty ATT convention handbags (ATT= sponsor to the DNC)

Our kids can’t attend (should they wish to).
They’re hard at work paying off our debts.  Sorry (not really) for the drama.

The Greenbacker


Vital Unresolved Anthrax Questions and ABC News

by Glenn Greenwald

Published on Friday, August 1, 2008

The FBI’s lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks — Bruce E. Ivins — died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government’s biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters — with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 — that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax — sent directly into the heart of the country’s elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokow, and other leading media outlets — that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks.


The letter sent to Leahy contained this message:

We have anthrax.
You die now.

Are you afraid?

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Allah is great.

By design, those attacks put the American population into a state of intense fear of Islamic terrorism, far more than the 9/11 attacks alone could have accomplished.

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent — indispensably aided by ABC News — to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In my view, and I’ve written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade. News of Ivins’ suicide, which means (presumably) that the anthrax attacks originated from Ft. Detrick, adds critical new facts and heightens how scandalous ABC News’ conduct continues to be in this matter.

During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax — tests conducted at Ft. Detrick — revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since — as ABC variously claimed — bentonite “is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program” and “only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.”

ABC News’ claim — which they said came at first from “three well-placed but separate sources,” followed by “four well-placed and separate sources” — was completely false from the beginning. There never was any bentonite detected in the anthrax (a fact ABC News acknowledged for the first time in 2007 only as a result of my badgering them about this issue). It’s critical to note that it isn’t the case that preliminary tests really did detect bentonite and then subsequent tests found there was none. No tests ever found or even suggested the presence bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.

That means that ABC News’ “four well-placed and separate sources” fed them information that was completely false — false information that created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax attacks and Saddam Hussein.

It’s extremely possible — one could say highly likely — that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain — as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax — is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).

We now know — we knew even before news of Ivins’ suicide last night, and know especially in light of it — that the anthrax attacks didn’t come from Iraq or any foreign government at all. It came from our own Government’s scientist, from the top Army bioweapons research laboratory. More significantly, the false reports linking anthrax to Iraq also came from the U.S. Government — from people with some type of significant links to the same facility responsible for the attacks themselves.

Surely the question of who generated those false Iraq-anthrax reports is one of the most significant and explosive stories of the last decade. The motive to fabricate reports of bentonite and a link to Saddam is glaring. Those fabrications played some significant role — I’d argue a very major role — in propagandizing the American public to perceive of Saddam as a threat, and further, propagandized the public to believe that our country was sufficiently threatened by foreign elements that a whole series of radical policies that the neoconservatives both within and outside of the Bush administration wanted to pursue — including an attack an Iraq and a whole array of assaults on our basic constitutional framework — were justified and even necessary in order to survive.

ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and — as importantly — to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They’re allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.

Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book “How Would a Patriot Act?,” a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, “A Tragic Legacy“, examines the Bush legacy.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/08/01/10738/