September 1, 2008

  • We're in Trouble Now -- Is America hopeless? Is it the land of the mindless? According to Steve Young, "Obama supporters might want to put your 'Palin is McCain's last coffin nail' celebration on hold. Liberal/progressive/Democratic-leaning blogs had exploded with glee, hailing John McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice President to be the worst political move since Michael Dukakis decided that driving a tank looked presidential and that she would more likely replace Tina Fey on 30 Rock than Dick Cheney at 1600 Pennsylvania." The problem is, according to Saturday's Gallup Poll, more Americans think Palin is qualified to be president than don't: 39 percent to 33 percent. For a little bit of relief from the tragic, the poll also indicated that the pick has little effect on whether people will actually vote for McCain. Sixty seven percent said it would have no effect; 18 percent said they'd be more likelyl to vote for him; 11 percent said less. However, according to a Zogby poll, McCain's pick of Palin neutralized the Obama-Democratic Convention bounce and Zogby's figures show McCain ahead of Obama 47 to 45 percent.
  • Gossip -- Interesting speculation on the new baby in Sarah Palin's family. This would be cruel if it were about a private person. But when a person joins a national ticket, all inquiry is proper, as John Edwards recently discovered. Many people's lives will be affected by Sarah Palin if she becomes vice president or president. If something is being hidden, it is not just a private affair. It is not a crime, not by a long shot, but it is part of the picture of who this person is. It may even be seen as admirable in a private person. But the question before us is whether this person would be a good vice president or president for the country at this time, and what it shows about John McCain's decision-making style. An article in the Anchorage Daily News in March said Palin suddenly revealed to her staff and everyone that she was seven months pregnant, though she showed no signs of it. None of them had a clue. Atlantic Online asks why had a wedding ring on her finger, why she was out of school for five to eight months, why Sarah would board an eight-hour flight when her amniotic fluid had already started to leak, according to her story. See also Uncapitalist Journal. Perhaps the most thorough explanation of the questions, with pictures and video is at dailykos. And here is what she looked like when she was really pregnant with her fourth child.
  • Weird Coincidences -- Apparently the rumors about Sarah Palin's daughter being the mother of the family's new baby gained enough traction to cause the campaign to publicly rebut them, but in the strangest way. We are now told that in fact Palin's 17-year-old daughter could not have been the mother of the child born in April because she is now pregnant, allegedly five months pregnant, which would mean she got pregnant right about the time the new baby was born. All those other things, such as the official story about Sarah Palin boarding an eight-hour flight when she said she had already had amniotic fluid going down her leg, still seem as strange as before, but now we have an additional situation, very similar to the rumors, and yet not the same. Needless to say, this explanation does not tie up all the loose ends in the original story. It only further fogs the picture. See AOL. See also Comedy Central on abstinence-only education.
  • Questions of Judgment -- Alexis Knapp on "Why I already dislike Sarah Palin" "I guess I can respect her for choosing not to abort the baby; however to take the hard line that a conservative would usually take -- who is going to take care of these 5 children while mom and dad are doing their big important jobs."
  • Family Feud -- According to the Washington Post, "For the past several years, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, has been embroiled in a bitter family feud that has drawn in the state police, the attorney general, the governor's office and the state legislature. A bipartisan state legislative panel has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate whether Palin improperly brought the family fight into the governor's office." If you think the stories about teenage pregnancy in the family are strange, wait till you read this story. According to the Post, "Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock reviewed the complaints filed by Palin and her family. At trial on Oct. 27, 2005, the judge expressed puzzlement about why the family was trying to get Wooten fired, since depriving the trooper of a job would harm his ability to pay family support to Palin's sister. 'It appears for the world that Ms. McCann and her family have decided to take off for the guy's livelihood -- that the bitterness of whatever who did what to whom has overridden good judgment,' Suddock said in an audio recording from the trial on TV station KTUU's Web site." All this stuff about huge families, teenage pregnancies and family feuds with murder threats has a bit of a Dogpatch, USA, feeling about it.
  • Ask Questions Later -- How McCain made his decision. Wow. A preamble of his possible presidential style. New York Times
  • Telling Tales -- In her first speech as McCain's pick for VP, Palin misrepresented her dealings about the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska that lost federal funding when it caused a public uproar. She claimed to have refused federal aid to build the bridge. Actually it was Congress that refused and she expressed chagrin about it at the time. UK Telegraph
  • Suicide? Colonel Ann Wright asks if the military is hiding something with the rash of allegedly suicidal deaths of female military personnel.
  • Michael Moore's Open Letter to God -- "The other night, James Dobson's organization asked all believers to pray for a storm on Thursday night so that the Obama acceptance speech outdoors in Denver would have to be canceled. I see that You have answered Dr. Dobson's prayers -- except the storm You have sent to earth is not over Denver, but on its way to New Orleans! In fact, You have scheduled it to hit Louisiana at exactly the moment that George W. Bush is to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention."
  • It's Only Election Fraud -- Why get so worked up about it? According to Josh Mitteldorf at OpEd News, "Two of Karl Rove's computer experts have come forward with details about how [election theft] was done." Why is the mainstream media still uninterested? According to Mark Crispin Miller interviewed by Thom Hartmann, "This guy has come out and said, and he has documentary evidence to prove this,... that the Bush team has been stealing elections since and including 2000. Spoonamore has named Karl Rove's IT guy...Mike Connell, a fervent Catholic and fanatical pro-lifer who told Spoon that he has helped the Republicans to steal elections to save the babies. I'm not making this up. Whenever Karl Rove wanted something done, he would say to Connell 'just make it happen', and this kind of thing has included Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004, also Don Siegelman's stolen re-election in Alabama in 2002. Evidence suggests he was involved in the theft of Max Cleland's re-election in Georgia in 2002. The mystery is what sustains the veil of silence in the 'liberal media', including NPR, the New York Times, and even The Nation? And yet more mysterious: Why isn't this a campaign issue? There is little doubt that millions of votes will be stolen from Obama this November, via a devil's grabbag of dirty tricks. I know personally election integrity activists who have approached the Obama campaign with solid evidence about elections that have already been stolen from him, and Obama's staff has rebuffed them." Why, indeed, are Americans not more concerned about having a reliable voting system? Could it be the basic, age-old principle of human society that deep down those who are well situated within the status quo do not want to disrupt it. Is it better to be controlled by hidden human masters than to turn events loose to democracy, which is, after all, unpredictable? Do those who are comfortable really want to let all those people vote and risk disrupting things as they are?
  • a Vacated Human Shell -- William Rivers Pitt calls McCain The Hollow Man at "The facts reveal that Mr. McCain has thrown his support behind just about every asinine and idiotic decision made by the single most unpopular and unsuccessful American president there ever was and, God willing, ever will be. The facts reveal that he has boomeranged away from so many policy positions he once espoused, going so far as to denounce a whole sheaf of legislation he had personally authored, because the Republican base despised those issues; but since he needed their support if he ever wanted to have a chance of winning, it was whiplash be damned and the Devil take the hindmost." The fact that he has turned his back on much of his own work, many of his own causes, means that the 10 percent of the time he opposed George Bush is now being reduced to even less. The 10 percent maverick is becoming a virtual clone of Bush-Cheney.
  • Katrina, Gustav and the Republicans -- Paul Krugman in the New York Times: "FEMA's degradation, from one of the government's most admired agencies to a laughingstock, wasn't an isolated event; it was the result of the G.O.P.'s underlying philosophy. Simply put, when the government is run by a political party committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out. The political cost of Katrina shocked the Bush administration into trying to undo some of the damage at FEMA, and it's a good bet that the initial response to Gustav will be better (it could hardly be worse). But because the political philosophy responsible for FEMA's decline hasn't changed, the administration hasn't been able to reverse the agency's learned incompetence. Three years after Katrina, and a year past a Congressional deadline, FEMA still doesn't have a strategy for housing disaster victims."


    September 1, 2008

    The Other Convention -- Now for the alternate reality of the Republican side in this mad world of the instant news cycle, where electronic news is as supercharged as electronic finance. A single 24-hour day is an infinite number of news cycles. By the end of a day, the world has changed many times in multiple theaters all unfolding simultaneously. And the more you get drawn in, the closer you pay attention, the more absorbed you get, the more totally it consumes you. But ultimately nothing significant changes.

    The first night of the Republican convention, Hurricane Gustav gives the Republicans and excuse to jettison the Bush and Cheney appearances at their convention, which would be a blot on anyone's convention. But the convention is still going on. Instead of going to the convention, Bush is making a photo op of the hurricane, sitting in a room where he can appear to be monitoring the weather, strategizing, holding a prop red folder that says "classified". His presence has no effect on the storm preparations and is no reason why he can't appear at the convention, but it's a perfect excuse to divert attention from the disaster of the Bush administration.

    Meanwhile, McCain is in his own storm, the aftermath of his first major demonstration of his executive style, his choice of a VP he maybe met once, if we believe him, and who was shoved in at the last minute in order to upstage Obama's acceptance speech. But in capturing the moment he elevated someone almost completely unvetted. Virtually no one in the small population of Alaska was interviewed about Sarah Palin. They grabbed her for effect, to have a woman on the ticket to try to appeal to disaffected Hillary supporters, and a creationist, gun enthusiast, oil industry, mother of five who would appeal to the religious right. Typically Republican, they think in terms of short-term political tactics, theater, photo ops, not long term goals for humanity. Their goal for humanity is to move backwards through history.

    So now because he made a shoot-from-the-hip decision with his VP choice, Republicans have to scramble for damage control as the Appalachia-style back story of Sarah Palin unfolds in the global media. The strange circumstances of her pregnancy, which cannot have been quite what she says it was, and now her efforts to discredit the rumors that the new baby was really her daughter's by saying, it can't have been her baby because she's pregnant now. The new story doesn't explain the earlier enigma, but only adds to it. And there's the investigation by the Alaska legislature into whether she abused her power by dragging the power of her office into a sordid family feud in which she tried unsuccessfully to get her ex-brother in law fired from the highway patrol. Sarah's family has five children, her sister's family has nine all together. Now suddenly all these Dogpatch dramas have been catapulted to the international stage.

    Who knows where that child came from, or what is true and what is false? Is the daughter really five months pregnant? Or did they fudge that a little and is she really only three months pregnant? Is this poor girl confused by the abstinence only training. And who is the father? Who is the mysterious "Levi" that they say they are keeping secret for reasons of privacy, even though they claim he is marrying their daughter.

    The people I feel compassion for are the kids, especially Bristol, whose personal tragedy as a result of her lack of preparation for dealing with the real world is now thrust onto the world stage in service of her mother's political ambitions, and the son, who's been shipped off to Iraq, also victim of his parents' misguided beliefs. In my own non-mainstream view, the proper role of a parent is to protect their children from the predatory corporatist regime that wants to use them as fodder for the war machine. But that's just me, not a view that is ready for prime time.

    Now the dunce news shows are wrapped up in nonsensical discussions about how this backwoods Barbie doll governor is ready to be leader of the Free World. And of course the Republicans all fall into lockstep reciting the ridiculous talking points to say that she is. They always find a way to spin things. Now this will only make Palin more credible as the potential Leader of the Free World. Uh huh. Sure. All hail President Palin!

    And in other news...

    Police State in St. Paul -- Alternet

    September 3, 2008

    Strange Days -- Weird shape the Republican party is in. This morning the big headline on AOL News is "GOP Convention Gets Back on Track" and the two people pictured are Joe Leiberman and Fred Thompson. One is a Democrat who got beaten in the Democratic party and came back as an independent, and the other is an actor who was a senator for a while then went back to being an actor, then ran for president and got nowhere. He's one of those "I'm-not-a-president-but-I-play-one-on-TV" guys. The main guys in the party, the leaders, the most powerful men in the world -- Bush and Cheney -- are so despised the Republicans don't want them associated with the convention. And yet, they know they don't really have to win elections because they can rig them. All they have to do it put on a good show. Very strange times. Meanwhile...
  • Palin Problems Still Growing -- The unvetted candidate seems to have much to be discovered. According to the AP, " Palin accepted at least $4,500 in campaign contributions in the same fundraising scheme at the center of a public corruption scandal that led to the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens. The contributions, made during Palin's failed 2002 bid to become Alaska's lieutenant governor, were not illegal for her to accept. But they show how Palin, a self-proclaimed reformer who has bucked Stevens and his allies, is nonetheless a product of a political system in Alaska now under the cloud of an ongoing FBI investigation." The McCain camps vetting process was apparently that she filled out a questionnaire answering questions like, "Have you ever paid for sex? Have you been faithful to your spouse?" She did well on the questionnaire. Another home run for the McCain team.
  • Desperate to Blame -- Of course Palin is qualified to be president and McCain's vetting process was sound and he's a focused, firm, organized leader, not a shoot-from-the-hip maverick. The problem is just that damned Liberal Media. So say the Republicans, desperate to point the finger and divert attention. LA Times
  • Questions of Judgment -- With supreme irony, Republicans in a tight spot are turning to Obama as the leader most credible to defend them in the Palin circus. Families are off limits, says Obama, looking suddenly more rational than ever by contrast to the mad McCain camp's folly. Back off, says Obama, and as usual it is a precisely parsed politician's statement. A perfect position for him to take. Yes, leave the poor daughter out of this. The family's misfortune is not a political football. What Obama does not mention, however, is what the whole series of scandals says about McCain's leadership style, his meeting of his responsibility to his party and his country to make a sound choice in his first executive decision as presidential nominee. Teenage pregnancy aside, there are many questions and few reasons to support the idea that Sarah Palin is qualified to step in and be president. It appears that McCain made an impulsive decision based on shallow image considerations, rushed out before it was ready in order to upstage Obama's acceptance speech. It worked in that regard, and knocked down Obama's post-convention bounce. Now McCain and all the Republicans are paying the price for his impulsiveness. Loyal Republicans are doing whatever they can to support the decision, though it requires them to ape talking points that make them look like idiots.


    September 6, 2008

    Fear and Loathing -- As the world turns, in what often lately seems to be a downward spiral, it is painful to look, like watching a living being turn to a corpse, feeling it is something that should not be seen. And yet, there are many things that compel comment. Thank God for a few commentators who rise above the cesspool of American corporate media, like Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers, who make it possible to look upon current events without being poisoned and sickened.
  • War on Terror or Dissent -- As if the bogus War on Terror needed further discrediting, we see that now, as expected, authorities are using the word "terrorism" to silence dissent. This has been going on as an implicit threat since the early days after 9/11 when the administration said people had better "watch what they say", but the ugly stew is now thickening. According to Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild, "Eight alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism." Nestor says the charge appears to fall under the Patriot Act, which the Bush administration originally pushed through by promising skeptical congresspeople that it would only be used for real terrorists. Obviously that was just a bait and switch tactic, which has become common for the Bush administration. According to Nestor, "The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property." This is furtherance of the "pre-emptive" doctrine of Bush, they can get anyone they want any time.
  • The Season of Corporate Welfare -- Taxpayers will bail out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says the New York Times, because the Bush administration likes to help the big guys. When ordinary people need help, the ones who lost their homes for example, the Bush types call it welfare. It's their own faults they lost their homes, they say. They shouldn't have entered into commitments they couldn't keep. The big guys ... well that's different. And where does the money come from to help them? The little guys. The taxpayers. The working people.
  • Don't Be Fooled -- McCain, who supported Bush more than 90 percent of the time, and on virtually all of his worst policies, is now offering himself as a change candidate. He says he's the guy who can bring change to Washington. Like Bush once did, he vows to end the partisan rancor in Washington, and once in power he will do it as much as Bush did. The horrible mess we are in fiscally, our resources drained by two wars, while the Bush administration angles for an attack on Iran and taunts Russia, the lack of health care, affordable housing or education for Americans, the collapsing infrastructure, the loss of respect abroad and the demoralization at home -- all these things have been made much worse under Bush, with McCain's active complicity every step of the way. Now he claims to be the enlightened one who can fix the damage he and his right wing allies have authored. Now the latest myth is that "We're winning in Iraq" and that is due to the wisdom of "the surge". What is it that "we" are "winning"? How can you win an invasion and occupation that was launched on false pretenses and for which the original justifications were all firmly discredited? Meanwhile, to show where he is really coming from, his wife patched together an outfit for the convention that cost a mere $300,000. How many homeless veterans could be housed for $300,000? Propeller.
  • Cutting Off One's Own Nose -- Gloria Steinem, a defining voice of feminism, writes in the LA Times, "Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing - the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party - are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president." But, says Steinem, Palin is no women's candidate. "But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie. Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, 'Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs.'... Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling."
  • Support Our Pilotless Killer Aircraft -- The New York Times reports that a pilotless aircraft killed at least six people in Afghanistan near the border of Pakistan.
  • McCain The Hypocrite -- An Iraq Veteran takes on McCain for his anti-veteran votes.

    September 7, 2008

    Palin a Racist -- According to the LA Progressive Sarah Palin calls Obama "Sambo" in private. After Obama clinched the nomination, Palin's summary was, "So Sambo beat the bitch!" Whew! We are in some deep doo-doo if this maniac ever gets more power than she already has. Says the Progressive, "According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat's primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively." Read this article.
  • Right Wing Fiction -- New York Times columnist Frank Rich, writes, "[Palin] didn't say 'no thanks' to the 'Bridge to Nowhere' until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers' money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed 'she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,' she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her 'executive experience' as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: 'It's not rocket science. It's $6 million and 53 employees.' Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same." And McCain? "that the 72-year-old McCain will magically morph into a powerful change agent as president, is a non sequitur. In his 26 years in Washington, most of it with a Republican in the White House and roughly half of it with Republicans in charge of Congress, he was better at lecturing his party about reform than leading a reform movement. G.O.P. corruption and governmental dysfunction only grew. So did his cynical flip-flops on the most destructive policies of the president who remained nameless Thursday night." This is a good essay. One more bit: "We've already seen where such visceral decision-making by McCain can lead. In October 2001, he speculated that Saddam Hussein might have been behind the anthrax attacks in America. That same month he out-Cheneyed Cheney in his repeated public insistence that Iraq had a role in 9/11 -- even after both American and foreign intelligence services found that unlikely. He was similarly rash in his reading of the supposed evidence of Saddam's W.M.D. and in his estimate of the number of troops needed to occupy Iraq. (McCain told MSNBC in late 2001 that we could do with fewer than 100,000.) It wasn't until months after "Mission Accomplished" that he called for more American forces to be tossed into the bloodbath. The whole fiasco might have been prevented had he listened to those like Gen. Eric Shinseki who faulted the Rumsfeld war plan from the start. In other words, McCain's hasty vetting of Palin was all too reminiscent of his grave dereliction of due diligence on the war." This is good food for thinking Americans, all 2,000 of them.

    September 10, 2008

    McCain's Perfect Distraction -- Arianna Huffington puts her finger right on the central issue facing us at this moment. "The point is that Palin, and the circus she's brought to town, are simply a bountiful collection of small lies deliberately designed to distract the country from one big truth: the havoc that George Bush and the Republican Party have wrought, and that John McCain is committed to continuing." So far the Palin ruse has worked perfectly in distracting the public from the real problems. "Just look at the problem John McCain faced. George Bush has a disastrous record, and the country knows it. John McCain -- the current one, not the one who vanished eight years ago -- has no major disagreements with George Bush (and I'm sorry, wanting to fire Donald Rumsfeld a bit sooner doesn't qualify) and wants to continue his incredibly unpopular policies for another four years. The solution? Enter Sarah Palin, a Trojan Moose carrying four more years of disaster."
  • A Man's Woman -- How did the selection of Sarah Palin push McCain ahead of McCain in the polls? McCain played for the disaffected Hillary supporters. Did he get them? Well, probably not. In fact, if a CNN poll is to be given any credence, it's men who like Palin, not women. It's not a revolution of women, it's more of the same by men. Fifty-seven percent of male respondents said Palin was qualified, a figure 14 points higher than that of women. A majority of women polled, 55 percent, said Palin is not qualified.
  • Palin Ain't Talkin' -- Republicans are acting like Sarah Palin has already been crowned queen and does not have to submit to questions, not like a candidate seeking office in a democratic society. Who is buying it? How long will this fly? It's a very short window for her. She just showed up out of nowhere two months before the election. If she can avoid answering questions for two months they might be able to pull it off. According to the Associated Press, "More than 40 million people tuned in last week to listen to the speech from Palin, the 44-year-old, first-term governor whom McCain announced as his surprise vice presidential pick just days before. Since then, that basic script is all anyone has heard from her publicly, and her only interaction with the media was a brief conversation with a small group of reporters on her plane Monday -- off the record at her handlers' insistence." Through the Looking Glass -- Bob Herbert: "If there was one pre-eminent characteristic of the Republican convention this week, it was the quality of deception. Words completely lost their meaning. Reality was turned upside down. From the faux populist gibberish mouthed by speaker after speaker, you would never have known that the Republicans have been in power over the past several years and used that titanic power to lead the country to its present sorry state. In his acceptance speech on Thursday night, Senator John McCain did his best Sam Cooke imitation ('A Change is Gonna Come') and vowed to put the country 'back on the road to prosperity and peace.'"
  • Track Palin's Alleged Vandalism -- Okay, so candidate's families are off limits and Sarah Palin's children are not running for office, she is. But she's the one who revealed to the world her daughter's secret torment. Yes, the Republicans, the great blamers, blame that revelation on the cruel bloggers who were asking questions about some very strange circumstances that bring into question the credibility of this new unknown factor. Palin also bragged about her son's going to Iraq as a reason why she is qualified to be commander in chief. Now allegations have surfaced via 1080 KUDO TalkRadio in Anchorage that one of the juveniles involved in a serious vandalism case, which included cutting brake lines on school buses, was Track Palin, Sarah's son. Only one of the four perpetrators was not a juvenile, so his was the only one named. He admitted he's close friends with Track Palin but would not confirm or deny whether Palin was one of the four convicted. Soon after the incident, Palin was sent to live for a year in either Michigan or Minnesota with a family named Holmes, allegedly to play hockey. Questions continue without a firm confirmation of the story. Some have said that his much bragged about deployment to Iraq was really the result of a plea bargain. Cutting the brake lines to school buses is no mere act of vandalism. That could result in death of school children. Too soon to say for sure what the truth is in this story, but it is not insignificant and it pertains not just to the behavior of the boy and the unfolding wild tale of this dysfunctional family, but also to the credibility of the woman who would be vice president.
  • Aggression Toward Iran -- According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, resolutions are going through both houses of Congress to greatly increase pressure on Iran. "Two essentially identical nonbinding resolutions call upon President Bush to 'immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities.'" But, the Tribune says, "Both resolutions have begun to cause alarm throughout the United States, and have caused several representatives to withdraw their cosponsorships. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., summed up the concerns in an article for the Huffington Post: 'It is clear that despite carefully worded language in H. Con. Res. 362 that 'nothing in this resolution should be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran' that many Americans across the country continue to express real concerns that sections of this resolution will be interpreted by President Bush as 'a green light' to use force against Iran.'"

    September 11, 2008

    Seven Years Bad Luck, Good Things in the Past -- 9/11+7, seven years since the beginning of the reign of the neocons, the launching of the brutal neocon agenda, the global war on terror, you're either with us or against us.

    It was an achingly beautiful morning in Hoboken, much as it was seven years ago when the towers still stood tall in the sky across the Hudson. It's hard to let this day go by without a comment, but it's also tiring. It's tiring to hear people in all the official channels of communication laboriously straining to maintain the official conspiracy theory with all its blatant contradictions, the theory of 19 Arabs who paralyzed the entire military defense system of the U.s. using only boxcutters, the tale of two steel skyscrapers that dissolved into dust after being hit by airplanes and a third that imploded after not being hit with anything.

    I've lost friends and opportunities, been alienated from people because I openly disbelieve the government's story. I don't want to disbelieve what is considered the correct view of events. I don't want to be a nut, an outcast. But I can't believe it. I'd like to just keep quiet about it, not confront it, not make a fuss. Just let it be. Hasn't the world always been run by lying tyrants? But that too, is difficult. As Chomsky and others have pointed out, no matter who launched the attacks of 9/11, the most imortant thing, the undeniable thing, is that the administration used it as an excuse to launch its pre-emptive war doctrine, the neocons' all-out drive for world domination, their assault on civil rights in America. It's true. But there are criminals running around free who have not been apprehended for that crime. Why doesn't that bother people as much as if it were the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey?

    The official 9/11 Commission said it didn't matter where the money came from to finance the operation. They didn't deal with why WTC 7 collapsed for no apparent reason. They didn't investigate who made the investments that predicted the collapse of the stocks of the airlines whose planes were allegedly hijacked. Who did it and why they did it does matter. It's called justice. 9/11 is being used as the justification for declaring war on Muslim extremists, but we don't even know that any Muslims were involved. It's been used to justify erecting a whole new system of government based on a unitary executive, no democracy except "democracy", no checks and balances, no habeus corpus.

    Our whole understanding of the world in America is all off kilter. In other parts of the world they are building skyscrapers, higher and higher. In Dubai a 120-story residential building is going up. Not that building higher buildings is the measure of progress or that it is even important. But in this country people are afraid to build skyscrapers because they are not considered safe anymore. They might just fall down spontaneously. A ragtag band of Arabs might suddenly become ace pilots, execute breathtaking aerial maneuvers and crash planes into them if they're too tall. We're stymied, stuck in a dark age of fear, ignorance and anti-science. Denial of physics. Denial of global warming evidence. Clinging to the creation story in the Bible as if any development of knowledge beyond that idea is sinful. We're being left behind by the rest of thew world. why isn't Larry Silverman, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center, who said, "We decided to pull it," in reference to WTC 7, being questioned to tell all he knows? Why don't people care?

    Why do people have blind faith in corrupt leaders who have lied to them repeatedly? In defective voting apparatus? In lying media figures? I suspect that people who are relatively comfortable do not really want democracy. They don't want to change the status quo because that entails risk. They'd rather let the invisible masters continue to pull the strings than rock the boat. But there is no security in that. When people say John McCain will be four more years of Bush's policies, that's true, but it doesn't mean that the next four years will be just like the last. When Bush got into office we had an economic surplus. The morale of the country was relatively sound. Bush's policies took us down to where we are now, I don't need to recite the statistics. When McCain takes over it won't be from a position of economic surplus and well being. McCain wants to continue to bankrupt the country, make Bush's tax cuts for the largest corporations permanent and give them more, while the working people continue to pay taxes. He wants to expand the military more, continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and launch more wars against Iran, Russia, you name it. It won't just be more of the same. It will start here and continue downward. There is no security in continuing on the same path.

    On the other hand, realizations about the contradictions in the official story seem to have spread around the world. One of the most popular alternative news sites,, features 9/11 Truth links prominently. During the conventions, 9/11 demonstrators seemed to make their way into the camera frames during much of the coverage. A new international poll shows that less than half of the world believes Al Qaeda was behind 9/11. In time, physics and common sense may reassert itself and history may finally contradict conclusively the claims of the U.S. government.

  • The 9/11 Agenda -- Twenty-Six Things We Now Know Seven Years After 9/11 by Bernard Weiner, crisispapers.or.
  • Throwback -- Sarah Palin is linking Iraq to 9/11, what the Bush administration all did heavily in the run-up to the attack on Iraq, but later abandoned.

    -- David Cogswell

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