Friday, August 01, 2008

Anthrax and the Lone Gunman

The news today that a high-level government scientist killed himself just as the FBI was about to charge him with complicity in the post-9/11 anthrax attacks is highly disturbing in many ways. The fact that the source of the anthrax attacks that terrorized the nation for months during the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy came not from some radical Islamic terrorists or Saddam Hussein, but from at top anthrax researcher working at the Army's bioweapons laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, should raise some very serious questions.
First and foremost is the question as to why would he do such a thing and secondly who else was involved. It is not at all believable that a lone scientist could have pulled off such an attack and then covered it up without some major assistance. People should not be so gullible to buy into yet another “lone gunman” theory that allows the myriad conspirators to slink into the woodwork undetected.
As Glenn Greenwald notes in his must-read piece today, the anthrax attacks were too perfectly timed to support the neo-con drive to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and ABC News is aware of at least four high-level government sources who helped perpetuate the link by spreading thoroughly false information about a chemical agent used by Iraq that they said was present in the anthrax.
Who were those sources spreading the false anthrax/Iraq connection and what were their motives (as if it wasn’t obvious)? Greenwald spells it out thusly:

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.

Are we going to be told that the now deceased scientist was the “lone gunman” who perpetrated the anthrax attack by himself with no assistance or coordination from others? And will the general public be so apathetic and complicit as to believe it without question?
We must have some answers, and if ABC News won’t provide them then some other news organization needs to step to the plate and deliver and soon. Because this house of cards isn’t likely to stand very much longer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not guilty? Kill him anyway, justices say

The state of Alabama was forced to halt an execution when another man confessed to killing the person the condemned man was set to die for.
Incredibly, the vote to halt the execution was not unanimous.

The Alabama Supreme Court postponed executing a man after an inmate claimed in an sworn statement to defense attorneys that he committed the murder that sent the condemned man to death row.
The justices in a 5-4 vote late Wednesday stopped the execution by injection of Thomas Arthur "pending further orders of this Court."

How could four state supreme court justices vote to continue an execution in the face of clear evidence that the condemned man may be innocent? That is just reprehensible!
Furthermore, how many other innocent people are on death row, or have already been executed, for crimes they did not commit?
The death penalty is a barbaric, immoral, unChristian practice that should be banned and replaced with a penalty of life without parole.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Glenn Greenwald smackdown

Glenn Greenwald, the fiery civil rights and constitutional law attorney who blogs at has been a force to be reckoned with these past few years. His impassioned posts on torture policies, warrantless wiretapping and illicit hiring practices at the DOJ have won him a large audience in the liberal blogsphere and his books such as “Great American Hypocrites” have helped rally liberals together to oppose the radical authoritarian regime currently in charge of our government.
But recently, Greenwald’s passion for his causes have led him to become increasingly critical of the Democratic leadership in Congress (as well as anyone else who gets crossways to his views such as Barack Obama and Keith Olbermann).
Sounding more and more like Ralph Nader, Greenwald has recently taken to lambasting the Democratic leadership and declaring that things are no different now than when Republicans still had control of the Congress.
And now, with his most recent salvo, Greenwald has thrown down the gauntlet and is demanding that the Democrats be punished for failing to heed what he believes are the core principles of the party and our country. He wants to see the “Blue Dogs” in Congress defeated in the next election, even if it means replacing them with Republicans. Blue Dogs are Congress Critters who he deems to be too closely aligned to Republicans in general and the Bush administration in particular. He dismisses the implications of such actions by claiming that Democratic gains in the next election will be large enough to make up for any Blue Dog defeats, but if enough people get on board with his scheme then those big Democratic gains may never materialize in the first place.
Fortunately, Ed Kilgore has stepped up to the challenge of putting Greenwald in his place. He effectively smacks down Greenwald’s arguments and justifications and notes that Democratic unity in the Congress is already at a high point compared to previous eras.
Consider that Democrats recently celebrated the election of “Blue Dog” Democrats in special elections in Mississippi and Louisiana, and then reconsider Greenwald’s plan to have these same politicos defeated in the next election as a slap at the party for its supposed failure to toe the line on every liberal issue. Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot!
There are sometimes “Blue Dogs” who aren’t worth supporting, like Ralph Hall who represents Texas’ 4th District. It made little difference when Hall switched from Democrat to Republican a few years ago because he never voted with the Democrats anyway, even on the key issue of electing a Speaker of the House. But most “Blue Dogs” are not like that. Many tend to be more bipartisan and specialize in coalition building between parties. I really miss Charlie Stenholm, the former Congressman from the Texas Panhandle who lost his seat as a result of Tom DeLay’s re-redistricting shenanigans. Now, instead of a crusty, conservative Democrat and fiscal conservative representing that part of the state, we have a hard-core, rightwing, movement conservative Randy Neugebauer who takes his cues from folks like Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and Pat Robertson. And Greenwald wants to repeat that same scenario all across the country with this “Moneybomb” campaign that he and some folks at Firedoglake are promoting.
Phooey on that! Greenwald needs to go stick his head in a bucket of cold water until he returns to his senses. I was especially disappointed in his sulking, disingenous response to Kilgore in which he throws up a long list of strawmen arguments that were never raised in Kilgore’s article.
I don’t have a problem with having impassioned debates during the primary contests, but this idea of punishing the party during the general election is self-defeating and contrary to the things that Greenwald hopes to accomplish. I don’t want to see Greenwald lose his passion for the topics he holds dear. I agree with him on most, if not all, of his issues. But he needs to rethink this latest strategy he is pushing and recognize that it could ultimately drive him over the same cliff that Nader dove off of back in 2000.

Let’s Impeach the President

Neil Young has produced a documentary film of his 2006 tour with his old Crosby, Stills & Nash buddies that focuses on the angst that his politically-charged lyrics produced from some audiences.

It wasn't hard to find unhappy fans at a handful of shows, most obviously in Atlanta. Many streamed out, or stayed to offer hand signals. Some had inexplicably expected a greatest-hits show. Young said he was blown away watching families fight, the children wanting to stay while their parents were eager to leave.

How dense does one have to be to go to a Neil Young concert after he has just released an album called “Living With War” featuring the single “Let’s Impeach the President” and be surprised that it contains an overtly political message?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good news for Mark Begich

A federal grand jury has just indicted U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens is the senior Republican in the Senate and this will unquestionably be a blow to the GOP's chances of holding this seat in November.
Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, Steven's Democratic opponent, already had a good shot at the seat before this latest turn of events. I'm sure they are celebrating right now.
At least Stevens still has time to put in for a pardon from President Bush.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Domestic terrorist attacks

A man walked into a Unitarian Church in Tennessee over the weekend and opened fire with a shotgun, killing two people and critically wounding five others. His motivation? He hates Liberals.
The church that the man attacked was well know for supporting liberal causes and welcoming all people into membership including gays and lesbians. So that apparently made them a target for this wingnut to take out his frustration over not being able to find a job in Bush’s economy.
David Neiwert at Firedoglake notes that killing liberals has been a common theme on the fringes of the far right for a long time, so we should not be surprised when some Ditto-head finally loses it and acts out on all the pent-up hatred promoted daily by the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Coulters, Savages, O’Reillys, ad infinitum.
Does this qualify as a terrorist attack? Most terrorist attacks in this country are not committed by Muslims, as many believe, but by rightwing nutjobs like Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City) and Eric Rudolph (Olympic bomber).
All of this begs the question -- Why do the wingnuts hate America?

Texas Progressive Alliance roundup 7/28

It's Monday and it's time once again for another Texas Progressive Alliance roundup. Here are the blog highlights for the week of July 28:

TXsharon challenges you to view these pictures of Domestic Drilling Armageddon in the Barnett Shale and still support the Drill and Burn Domestic Drilling agenda.

U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez' Republican challenger for the 23rd Congressional seat is taken to task by Mike Thomas of Rhetoric & Rhythm for shirking his responsiblity on a critical hospital expansion vote before the Bexar County Commissioner's Court.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the GOP's "latest" energy plan in Carter, Oil, & Hair Of The Dog.

Neil at Texas Liberal asks what would be the impact if Polar Bears could vote.

Off the Kuff looks at a Texas Monthly overview of the effects of the Presidential race on downballot elections in Texas and offers his criticism of it.

Guest Columnist JR Behrman at Texas Kaos has a few strong words about Energy Policy: Democrats Routed. He also has a Texas Plan.

Julie Pippert of the MOMocrats asks the Obama campaign to explain its absence in Texas after they announced the roll-out of their Spanish-Language ads as an outreach to Hispanic voters, then discusses a Senate proposal that would require 50% of US cars to have a flexible fuel system by 2012, and finally the MOMocrats share the draft of their position paper to be submitted to the Democratic National Committee for inclusion in the party platform.

McBlogger had a great time in the subprime panel at Netroots Nation. So good in fact that he decided to offer some of his own solutions since the panelists, including the dimwitted Rep. Brad Miller, decided to offer nothing of substance.

XicanoPwr reports on the latest poll by the Pew Hispanic Center on the Latino vote. Latino polling shows that 66% of Latino registered voters will support Obama.

Burnt Orange Report points out that Ag Commissioner Todd Staples finally comes around to what Democrat (and future Ag Commissioner) Hank Gilbert has been saying all along- Texan's are being overcharged at the gas pump due to lack of state inspections.

BossKitty at TruthHugger dreams about the "Count Down To Accountability - Bush, Cheney Indictments"

refinish69 from Doing My Part For The Left invites everyone to meet Annette Taddeo- A True Progressive Democrat.

jobsanger writes about how after years of the Bush Presidency even our cloest traditional ally no longer trusts us in Brits Don't Trust Bush On Torture.

Obama and the down-ballot races in Texas are the focus of two articles by R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs summarizes, and finds some to agree with and some not.

Mean Rachel writes an open letter to Rep. Elliot Naishtat, encouraging him to consider joining the technology age and starting an inexpensive, easy-to-use website tailor-made for state legislators with Wired for Change's DLCCWeb, a Netroots exhibitor.

nytexan at BlueBloggin keeps an eye on Mitch McConnell, the GOP king of distortion and extortion. McConnell plans to block legislation that can impact Americans now and push for a bill whose product will not be seen for 10 years; McConnell Extorts Senate For Off Shore Drilling. McConnell never fails to please Bush and his corporate buddies.

WhosPlayin looks at a new USGS petroleum estimate for the Arctic Circle, and notes that only a small portion of ANWR is estimated to be productive, and that the study doesn't address economic feasibility. (Includes Map)

Vince from Capitol Annex tells us that, while indicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land) won't accept a presidential pardon, he'd love one from Texas Governor Rick Perry.

CouldBeTrue from South Texas Chisme gets upset with crappy newspaper article.