August 5, 2008Vital Unresolved Anthrax Questions -- Glenn Greenwald on salon.com. "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... 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." Read on. This is dynamite. Greewald reaches down the memory hole and reminds us that ABC was a major force in creating the rumors that helped to stir up fear and to falsely implicate Iraq in the anthrax attacks. Will this mystery continue to be unsolved? Will the media once again help to obscure it and wash it from the public mind?
Not Believable -- Danny Schechter on the anthrax story. "The last man accused by the FBI Dr Stephen Hatfill went to Court and won a $4.6 million settlement in his suit against the FBI for violating his rights. His law suit against the NY Times reporting on the issue failed when the Judge ruled he could not prove the newspaper knowingly published false information. Clearly, the information was false then. How credible is the reporting now?" newsdissector.com Between the Lines -- Captain Eric H. May on the anthrax attacks: "Assassin Nation" amfirstbooks.com. "Accordingly, the mainstream media pretended not to notice that the worthies who should have impeded the unconstitutional Bush League power grab had been threatened with the kind of diseased death that befell several of their staffers. Congress itself was closed for a week and its offices were taken over by federal forces in hazmat suits. When staffers finally returned, they supposed that their sensitive files had been gone over by the FBI, and that whatever could be used to harm them was now in the possession of the "unitary executive," as Bush Leaguers began to call their boy George. Later the same mainstream media didn't report much or investigate at all when the official story began to fall apart. It turned out that all the various anthrax spores used in all the various anthrax attacks had originated from the same batch -- at the Defense Department's biowarfare facility in Fort Dietrich, Maryland. Nor did hesitant reporters pay much attention when it turned out that the "Muslim terrorists" said to have sent the poisoned letters -- promising death to America, death to Israel and praise to Allah -- were a fabrication by Christians or Jews, a Neocon 'false flag' operation to help the Bush League expand its newfangled 'Global War on Terror.'" Let There Be Light -- The Anthrax Attacks: sunlight is the best disinfectant. Bill Simpich at truthout.org. Daschle Suspicious -- Senator Tom Daschle, one of the Democrats who was targeted by the anthrax of 2001, says he's suspicious of the FBI's case against Ivins. CNN Convenient Suicide -- All roads lead to Cheney. "Just a quick history lesson: After 9/11 Bush and the Republicans wanted to ram through “The Patriot Act” as a matter of “National Security”. This is one of the worst bills of all time. It violates the basic freedoms that I thought this country once held so dear. It may also very well be unconstitutional. Never mind the increase in power it gave to the Executive Branch. Well, Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy were both holding up the bill and threatening to not allow it come to the Senate floor for a vote. In November 2001 letters containing Anthrax were found addressed to them." pissedonpolitics.com
August 11, 2008DC Madame -- What Really Happened? Citizens For Legitimate Government reports that, "Deborah Jeane Palfrey's lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, has intervened to stop a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Tarpon Springs, Florida, Police Department from releasing information requested by Sibley pertaining to the investigation of Jeane's death." The DC Madame had directed her lawyer to make her information public, he said, if she were found dead by what authorities called suicide. "Jeane was very clear with me that if she was ever found dead of an apparent suicide, I was to make sure that all the evidence was publicly disseminated so that it could be independently evaluated." It's unlikely that the police department of Tarpon Springs has the wherewithall to stand up to the likes of Dick Cheney, but it's an interesting development.
They're Getting Ready to Steal Another One -- From Mark Crispin Miller: "The media--both mainstream and left/liberal--continues to ignore the revelations of Stephen Spoonamore, although the man is (a) a lifelong Republican, (b) an erstwhile member of Team McCain (he quit on finding out what BushCo had been doing to our elections), and (c) a well-respected expert on computer crime. He has the goods to back up every word he's said, and he is not afraid. We neglect this story at our peril, because it is, in fact, THE ONLY WAY to keep BushCo from stealing this election, too. THE ONLY WAY to stop another such disastrous rip-off is to shine a bright light on the major authors of the fraud, and thereby send them scurrying for cover (and ending up in prison, let us hope)." To find out more, keep tabs on rovecybergate.com. See also epluribusmedia.net, thejournal.epluribusmedia.net and discuss.epluribusmedia.net. Cheney Ready to Take On Russia -- But with what? They squandered American military power international prestige in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leave it to Bush to get the Cold War heated up again. If Bush had not been a reckless, aggressive president, Russia would not be out of hand now. Now Putin senses weakness and is taking advantage of it. It had to happen. The Bush doctrine of policing the world with the threat of pre-emptive attacks was bound to fail. It was inherently flawed from the beginning. Reuters
August 14, 2008Noteworthy News
US Troops in Georgia -- Looks like the neocons have succeeded in pushing the U.S. to the brink of war with Russia. According to the New York Times, "Bush sent American troops to Georgia to oversee a 'vigorous and ongoing' humanitarian mission, in a direct challenge to Russia's display of military dominance over the region." These guys hated the end of the cold war. They've been pining for it ever since they took credit for ending it after the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight.
The Corporate State: You Pay, They Receive -- According to the Congressional Quarterly, the General Accounting Office just published a report saying that most corporations do not pay taxes. According to CQ, "During the eight-year period covered by the report, 72 percent of foreign-owned corporations went at least one year without owing taxes, and the same was true for 55 percent of domestic corporations." Simply put, the working people pay federal income tax. The major financial entities of the country, the richest people in the country, through corporate instruments, don't pay income taxes. They get around it through their lawyers and cleverly manipulated tax laws put into effect by the same interests who benefit from them. Most corporate law has been put into effect via case law, manipulated by slick corporate lawyers. Why then does Congress do the bidding of the major corporations and put their interests over those of their individual constituents? Because those corporations pay them directly to do so.
It's not the official formula, but it is how it works. The big money corporations pay large donations to the congress people, who need to pull in tens of thousands a week just to stay in the game, just to buy the media time they must have to fight their way through the media morass into people's consciousness. Without TV, no one will know your name. So the politicians pay the media corporations, who give them both the advertising they buy, plus some positive coverage if they are seen as valuable enough. The big corporations buy particular politicians to get done what they need in Congress.
The whole economy of the political process excludes the citizens. Money goes from the corporations to the politicians. Much of that goes to the major corporate media. It's a nice little circle, but the citizenry has been left out for a long time, and it's starting to show through the curtain.
Under Reagan the media corporations who are licensed to use the public airways were relieved of their obligation to provide news coverage as a public service. We need that public service so that the office does not automatically go to whoever can afford the most advertising.
We need a much stronger hand from government in protecting the public against the abuse of corporations. We need them to pay taxes, and to support our people, not send all their jobs to other countries. We need to return to the founding principle that the government is to serve the people, not just to further the aims of the richest segment of the population by cleverly robbing the rest.
We need major reform of corporate law and regulation, and especially corporate tax law. Funny how you never hear much of that in all this political babbling about someone having an affair, someone "injecting race into the campaign", someone refusing to wear a flag in their lapel or other petty concerns. Get the picture?
Never As Simple as They Say -- According to Al Jazeera, "The US has had stern words for Russia over its military intervention in Georgia to back South Ossietian separatists, but many analysts say that the Bush administration must share the blame for the crisis. Washington has formed a close bond with the government of Mikheil Saakashvili since he came to power in the 2003 'Rose Revolution,' offering military and economic aid and encouraging Georgia to join Nato. Jon Sawyer, the director for the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, said US politicians had encouraged their Georgian counterparts to think they had the backing of the US when Tbilisi decided to launch its attack on South Ossetia last week." McCain's Georgia Connection -- Robert Sheer, in fact, goes farther: "Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the US presidential election? Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser." The Obama Swift Boat is now officially launched. NY Times Bush Bombed? Wonkette.com asks, "Was Bush Falling Down Drunk At Olympics?"
August 15, 2008Neocons on the Rampage -- The mad neocons are having a rave up over pushing the U.S. into war with Russia. This seems to be their October surprise early, or maybe they have even more horror in store for us in October. This is supposed to clinch the deal for McCain. Of course if the mad neocons push us into war with our former superpower rival, then we would need a crazy warrior like McCain at the head of the charge, or so they want us to believe. The mainstream press is obliging the neocons as surely as if they owned it. See Blacklistednews for a rundown of the press cheerleading for this war. Wall Street seems happy as a baby lately, too. More war! More profits! Hurray! It's springtime for neocons!
What A Fine Mess -- What bunglers the Bushies are! On the chessboard of the world that they have chosen to play upon, their strategies have proven bankrupt and the disaster is now bankrupting the country. They have no diplomatic savvy. Now more than ever, with this Georgia-Russia mess, they are gorillas on the world stage. Condi Rice, whose excuse for being so clueless about Iraq was that she was a "Soviet expert", was on vacation the first few days of the Georgia crisis. She didn't bother to interrupt her plans just because the world was drawing to the brink of World War X plus one. No reason to interrupt her shopping. She went to Paris to see Sarkozy and to Georgia, but didn't bother to talk to the Russians, the ones she allegedly spent her academic career learning about. Is there any chance that her snub of the Russians could be seen as sheer ignorance? Of course it's a purposely aggressive stance of a party who wants to stoke up conflict, not resolve it. Bush's attempts to assume a high moral stance, trying to shame the Russians by castigating them for "bullying and intimidating", carried about as much weight as if uttered by Attila the Hun. And to top off all their blundering in this incident, they created the environment by which this could happen. And they squandered the prestige and military power that could have dealt confidently with any military threat from Russia. Everyone on earth knows the military of the U.S. is way overextended and cannot fight every country on earth at the same time. It's the Cowardly Lion: "I'll fight ya with one hand tied behind my back! I'll fight you with both hands tied behind my back!" Dick Cheney, a cowardly wimp who tries to be a tough guy, wants everyone to be afraid of the U.S. That was supposed to be one of the main functions of the attack on Iraq, to show how brutally efficient and deadly would be the consequences of any country that dared to challenge the Bush Doctrine of world supremacy. But the Bush administration itself weakened the country to such an extent that no one believes the U.S. can really be much of a threat to anyone. Velvet Revolution"> Tricked -- Mark Crispin Miller sent out this piece by Thom Hartmann from 2003 on the corporate takeover of elections, including Chuck Hagel's improbable official majority of 83 percent in Nebraska according to electronic voting machines created by his own company; the defeat of war hero Max Cleland by a draft dodger who claimed Cleland wasn't patriotic enough; the sudden death of exit polls, which had previously been used to determine the validity of elections in banana republics, or should I say other banana republics. Read it and weep for our lost democracy. Even now, five years after this article, many Americans seem to be still hypnotized in denial and blind faith in a system that has been demonstrated over and over to be unreliable and to be a stealing of democracy by the corporate state. How much longer will it take for Americans to wake up? Or will they ever? Is it effectively over? Will democracy ever make a comeback? It's a crying shame. We Almost Lost Obama -- An incident with Obama's plane a month ago was apparently much worse than was made public at the time. According to ABC, "At the time, an FAA spokesperson said the pilot did not declare an emergency and the airline owner, Midwest Airlines, said safety 'was never an issue.' The tapes, broadcast Thursday on ABC News' 'World News with Charles Gibson', show otherwise. Just 41 seconds after discovering he no longer had full control of the plane's up and down movements, the pilot told an FAA air traffic controller at this time we would like to declare an emergency and also have CFR [crash equipment] standing by in St. Louis." Shifting Balance -- Michael Winship in Truthout writes, "Some hawks and neo-cons called for NATO intervention or even suggested we send in Stinger missiles or the 82nd Airborne as a peacekeeping force. President Bush warned, 'Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.' Perhaps, but the reality of the early 21st century is that, in the short run, at least, the president's words ring hollow. In spite of past promises of support to Georgia, Russia is key to our efforts in the Middle East and our European allies are dependent on Russia for energy. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have both our military strength and our international credibility stretched perilously thin at a time when oil-rich Russia is reemerging as a superpower. We've boxed ourselves in." Velvet Revolution Launches Rove Investigation -- Velvet Revolution " "
August 16, 2008The Smoking Gun -- Now this is big news and it's on the good side, the fighting back side. According to opednews.com, "House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers has taken the highly unusual step of calling his committee back from summer recess in order to investigate allegations by Ron Suskind that the Bush administration forged a letter to buttress the links made between Saddam and 9/11, and Saddam and WMD. The congressional Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq, the ""War Resolution" which, as far short as it fell of a congressional declaration of war, gave the invasion its constitutional legal cover, and gave Bush the authorization to invade only after he had certified to congress the existence of these two critical links. If Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and if he did not possess WMD, the war was off." This is very interesting. Congressmen who get involved reluctantly with impeachment like to have something very tangible in their hands. This report of actual forgery in the process of creating the pretense for war is getting very hard to ignore. It just gets worse, so what are they waiting for? For a good explanation/overview of Suskind's book and its allegations, see Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales interviewing Suskind on democracynow.org, with John Conyers joining on the phone.
Strong Words -- Gore Vidal's Article of Impeachment, at Commondreams.org "I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people. As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment -- he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials -- we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it. Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime. And as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice to the fact that a highly respected member of Congress was asking for the president and vice president to be tried for crimes which were carefully listed by Kucinich in his articles requesting impeachment."
August 16, 2008Lots of News, Most of it Bad -- What is happening? The Cold War is reigniting, the police state is tightening its grip stateside. Not pleasant prospects. One can only hope the better side of the American character and culture asserts itself and stops the country from sliding into a dark abyss of tyranny.
A Concentration Camp in Denver -- According to CBS4 Denver, Infowars, a similar kind of holding facility was used in Manhattan during the 2004 Republican convention. "The facility was quickly dubbed 'Guantanamo on the Hudson' as thousands were bound and paraded into a large warehouse area behind steel caging," said Infowars. Creeepy! This is the challenge to American culture that I speak of. This is the challenge to the better side of American culture to assert itself and re-establish a balance with the dark, oppressive side that still draws its venom from the tradition of slavery upon which the wealth of the United States was established. These forces are always struggling in American life, but the regressive repressive forces have flown into much to high an ascendance. It is time for the pendulum to swing back. This is a very very serious juncture in American history. Though Obama is perhaps flawed in some ways, and though at best one man can only do so much to move the great institutions of the nation, he is a much better alternative than the mad McCain at this frightening juncture after seven years of utter destructiveness by the Bush regime toward the great institutions of America as a free society. It did not get into power by legal, legitimate means, it was surely not going to put on any pretense of obeying the law once it got into power. And it had no illusions -- as the public may have -- as to its having any real base in the democratic system. It has moved rapidly to consolidate power, and is now to the point where it blatantly ignores subpoenas from Congress, makes not the slightest pretense of caring what the law says. This is very very dangerous. I need not invoke the names of the blackhearted tyrants of past history to get the point across. Comparisons are becoming trite, this is no longer a matter of if. It is a question of, "What now?" The Bush-Cheney regime has effectively installed a dictatorship in the United States. What are we to do about it? People have thrown off more solidly entrenched tyrants before in countries where there was no democratic tradition. And don't forget, the Thousand Year Reich only lasted 12 years. They We do not have to submit to this. For what purpose are we making ourselves slaves? In the United States of America? Jesus! War with the Nuclear Superpower -- As the U.S. and Poland sign a deal to put U.S. missiles in Poland, Moscow objects, claiming that its missiles are the target. (see AP). Of course from a strategic point of view, of course they are right. It disrupts a certain balance of power and puts U.S. missiles within close range of Russia, while Russia has no such weapons near the U.S. It disrupts mutually assured destruction as a deterrent and makes it possible for the U.S. to disarm Russia without fear of effective retaliation. Obviously Russia cannot submit to this unless Putin "looked into his soul" when he met Bush and found such a benign being that he didn't mind if his country fell under U.S. rule. Now Russia's deputy chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn has said, "Poland, by deploying [the missile system] is exposing itself to a strike -- 100 percent." These are very serious words, and it is a very serious provocation for the Bushoids to stick missiles at Russia's border. The neocon manifesto, as spelled out in the Bush administration document "Rebuilding America's Defenses" and previous statements of the Project for the New American Century (The PNAC site at www.newamericancentury.org has been suspended! It's gone! Down the memory hole), states openly that the U.S. intends to maintain the military superiority that it found itself with after the collapse of the Soviet Union and would not allow that advantage to be eroded, even if it meant unprovoked ("pre-emptive") attacks. Are the neocons now making their move against Russia to pre-empt and further consolidation of power by the Russian regime? Massive Stakes on the Grand Chessboard -- Remember, it was Georgia that made the first aggressive move. Ayman El-Amir, in Al-Ahram Weekly, writes, "The now full-blown Russian-Georgian war is not about the so-called persecution of ethnic Russians in South Ossetia. It is about Georgia, being emboldened by Western encouragement, pushing the limits and Russia, energised by a new sense of power, reclaiming its vital interests in its former sphere of influence. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the world was ripped apart, replaced by an American world order dominated by loose military power and globalisation. Russian ambition, running parallel to that of China and India, has put on the table a new world order. It is not exactly Yalta all over again, but big powers still claim their privileges. If the US can claim the illegal privilege of conquering, destroying and dividing Iraq for whatever kaleidoscopic purpose it may claim, so Russia can invade Georgia to protest its vital interests." Sad Irony -- John Lennon wrote, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." Nancy Pelosi planned to take a tour to promote her book, "Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters", and it turned into the "Why-Haven’t-You Impeached-the-President Tour," according to Carl Hulse, writing in the New York Times.
-- David Cogswell