"If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- ... then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
Friday, March 31, 2006
More than 30,000 Iraqi families have been forced to flee their homes after receiving death threats.
Mass migrations, refugee camps, sectarian violence, death squads & execution style murders... If you were to ask me, this all reeks of Negroponte, who was proconsul to Iraq until being named as the National Intelligence Director. This kind of crap always seems to follow him around. Is this all part of a "Salvador Option" plan underway in Iraq?
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Has any conflict since the Spanish American War been so much a fantasy of the yellow press and government hawks as the Iraq War?
The Independent has gotten hold of some of the black psy-ops "newspaper articles" peddled by the Lincoln Group to Iraqi newspapers (it paid $2000 an article to plant them, disguising them as real news). This operation is the ultimate in warfare. Instead of actually winning the war, the Pentagon substitutes itself for the journalists and paints the new Iraqi army as the eighth wonder of the world and declares we are winning.
The illusions are so circular and self-referential that when corporate media went looking for someone to comment on the Lincoln psy-ops operation, they quoted Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute as saying it was all just fine. Turns out that Rubin is a paid consultant of . . . The Lincoln Group (and quite dishonestly didn't let the NYT know it.) So the American Enterprise Institute, which helped manufacture the fantasy of a victorious Iraq War in the first place, now has its staff help manufacture the illusion of success on the ground and then lie about it to the MSM.
Meanwhile, Michael Schwartz at Tomdispatch.com explains why the media gets the Iraq War wrong. His message: It's the economy, stupid.
People who want to be in Congress should know the difference between Istanbul and Baghdad. Howard Kaloogian's website tried to prove that everything was just fine in Iraq by posting a picture of Bakirkoy in downtown Istanbul and characterizing it as a Baghdad street scene! I just remembered this issue. Kaloogian spearheaded the move to cancel a CBS mini-series about Ronald Reagan, and to keep Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 out of the theaters! He not only is creating imaginary Iraqs, he has tried to prevent us from seeing in the media other accounts of reality than his own!Top photo (below) was posted to CA GOP candidate Howard Kaloogian's campaign website with this about it: "We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."
Kudos to the gang at Daily Kos for outing this fraud...(more)
The bottom photo proves it to have really been taken in Turkey, outside Istanbul.
Comparative picture analysis by Josh Marshall
Howard Kaloogian's "Truth Tour" to Iraq in July, 2005 was sponsored by Move America Forward, a non-profit, "non-partisan" outfit that Kaloogian founded. You might have never heard of them before, but you certainly know their work. It includes:
-- Producing a series of TV ads late last year that claimed Iraq did in fact have WMDs;
-- Shuttling pro-war protestors to Crawford to counter Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" as part of their "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour;
-- a campaign supporting John Bolton's contentious nomination" for UN ambassador - including financing the ad campaign in Ohio that attacked Sen. George Voinivich (R-OH) for not backing Bolton.
-- backing U.S. detention policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by selling 'I [Heart] Gitmo' bumper stickers."
The "Truth Tour" sent five conservative radio-talk-show hosts to U.S. military bases in Baghdad for "a week of upbeat broadcasts."
And according to the WSJ, the group grew out of the successful 2003 recall effort in California.
And this is hillarious:
Josh: Ahh, a thing of beauty. Wikipedia says there's a new noun: 'Kaloogian.' It describes "the use of a false or out-of-context image in order to advance an idea."ROFLMAO!!!
[Update] Aww, wikipedia deleted the the new word.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
A new generation of conspiracy theorists is at work on a secret history of New York’s most terrible day.
New York Magazine has a long article in its April 3, 06 issue about the theories that just won't go away about what really happened on 9-11. While it doesn't break new ground, it does cover many of the as yet unanswered questions surrounding 9-11 without just summarily dismissing them as I had expected to find.
Like: How, if no steel-frame building had ever collapsed from fire, did three such edifices fall that day, including 7 World Trade Center, which was not hit by any airplane?I'm glad to see this get some attention. I don't pretend to know what really happened on 9-11, but I do know the 9-11 commission sure as hell didn't answer what really did. They didn't even mention the WTC-7 collapse in their report.
And why, if hydrocarbon-fueled fire maxes out at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and steel melts at 2,700 degrees, did the towers weaken sufficiently to fall in such a short time—only 56 minutes in the case of the South Tower?
And why, if the impact destroyed the planes’ supposedly crash-proof flight-recorder black boxes, was the FBI able to find, in perfect condition, the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the alleged American Airlines Flight 11 hijackers?
And how to explain the nonperformance of the FAA and NORAD?
How could they, an hour after the first World Trade Center crash, allow an obviously hostile airplane to smash into the Pentagon, headquarters of the entire military-industrial complex, for chrissakes? And why did the Defense Department choose to stage an extraordinary number of military exercises on 9/11—occupying matériel and spreading confusion about who was who on that day?
And why was it so important, as decreed by Mayor Giuliani, to clear away the debris, before all the bodies were recovered?
And what about the short-selling spree on American and United airlines stock in the days before the attacks? Betting on the stocks to go down—was this real sicko Wall Street insider trading?
There were so many questions. But when it came to the big “why” of 9/11, there was only the classic conspiratorial query: “Who benefits?”
For Tarpley and others, this was a slam dunk: September 11 was a holocaust-as-ordered by the neocon cabal Project for the New American Century, which, like its Svengali, Leo Strauss, recognized the U.S. masses to be meth-addled, postliterate, post-logical lard-asses, a race of “sheeple” that would never rise to inherit the mantle of post–Cold War world-dominators without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” In other words, a new Pearl Harbor like the old Pearl Harbor, which Roosevelt was supposed to have known about and used as an excuse to get us into World War II...(more)
There really needs to be a thorough independent investigation into what really happened.
Hat tip to Brandoland for pointing me to this article.
If You Haven't Yet, Please Watch This Video: Loose Change II.
Scalia in Letter-to-Editor Denies Making 'Obscene' Gesture
And other more important Scalia news,...
Scalia's Recusal Sought in Key Detainee Case
Retired Officers Say Justice's Impartiality Is in Question After Remarks on Combatants
[Update] Boston Herald Busts Scalia for being the most pathetic lying, disgraceful, revolting peice of filth to ever sit on the Supreme Court.
Note: In order to explain just what this scumbag did, this post contains extremely vulgar language. Also note that he actually did this at a special mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. I actually didn't think anyone would be able to top Cheney's "Go fuck yourself!" on the floor of the Senate, but here it is...
AmericaBlog:Before this update when I first posted this story, I had jokingly added to the phonetic/slang sounding 'ba fangool!! to my photoshopped Scalia. (thanks peanut!). I just thought I was exaggerating to add humor. But that was before I actually thought Scalia, a Supreme Court Justice at Sunday Mass, would actually say that. It's not funny once it turned out to be true.Boston Herald:“It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment,” said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.Vaffanculo means "go get fucked up your ass."
Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper “got the story right. (...)
“The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’” punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.
Remember this story?
NYT: Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers.
That's right, Haliburton is building Gitmos across America, and from the looks of this video, I'd say here's an up close and personal look at one.
Again, I must ask, Who Are The Detainment Camps For? The possibilities aren't good.
I'm not being paranoid, but there are real reasons to be worried.
We need to be making more noise about this. This is getting really scary.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
Raw Story's managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna writes that when confronted about it, "an AP senior editor and ombudsmen (...) both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us." They said "we do not credit blogs".
WTF?!? This is really messed up, and the AP isn't the only corporate media outlet these days doing this. It seems to be becoming the norm in newsrooms to outright steal the work of others and pass it off as their own.
Just last week, Josh Marshall's brainchild the TPM Muckraker documented three such cases in which the AP the Washington Post and the Post Star all borrowed on their work without giving them any credit.
For starters, let me point out the obvious. Neither TPM Muckraker nor Raw Story are blogs. What about either of them says "blog"? Nothing! Any corporate media outlet that refers to either as such has lost credibility right there.
The Pentagon is conducting an internal review of how Mitchell Wade's MZM got contracts to work in its top-secret domestic counterintelligence office, CIFA. In citing parts of the MZM story we broke, the story doesn't name us, giving credit to TPMmuckraker.com only as "other Web logs." So we'll just credit this story to (other newspaper)
The AP reports that Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) is suffering attacks from Democrats, who want to know why the Justice Department recently examined Sweeney's records. Seems like I read something about that somewhere... (AP)
Oh, yeah, it was here. Or as this article coyly puts it, "several political bloggers suggested the Justice Department review might center around commissions Sweeney's wife collects for raising campaign contributions for the congressman." Come on, give us a little credit here. We work hard. (Post Star)
TPM and Raw Story are both legitimate online news outlets that focus on US politics. They both collect and summarize pertainent articles and documents daily, properly linking and crediting their sources, and both also do top notch investigative reporting on their own. TPM Muckraker just got going and already it is a force to be reckoned with. What's more, they're both sites that owe no allegiance to any special interests or corporate empires, which makes them all the more honest and reliable as legitimate news sources compared to those who would steal on their work and try to pass it off as their own.
That said, where do they get off stealing the work of anyone from any source, even if it was a "blog", without any attribution?
It's time to circle the wagons.
Phase One: The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding more hearings on the illegal domestic NSA spying without a warrant on Tuesday. They will also be holding hearings on Sen. Russ Feingold’s censure resolution on Friday. We’d like to get their attention, and let them know that illegal actions of the President and upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are issues about which Americans care deeply.
So here is what we want you to do:
We’re headed back to the FAX machines this morning. Please take some time to FAX the members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know how you feel about this issue.
But start with the following header, in big type, across the top of your missive:
U.S. Constitution: Do Not Shred
Here are the FAX numbers for the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
This is incredible.
Video via C&L: More than 100,000 people have taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Sacramento California. The protesters are totally clogging the streets in what they describe so far as "a noisy but peaceful protest" against proposed immigation legislation.
[UPDATE] CNN, 6:30 PM est: LA Mayor just confirmed more than 500,000 people protesing there.
Barbara Boxer slams the bill: "It's anti-faith based,'' Boxer said. "It's inhumane. Sensenbrenner is inhumane."
Highest Point Map for All 50 States - Click a Red Icon to Learn More
National Geographic: Water from melting ice sheets and glaciers is gushing into the world's oceans much faster than previously thought possible, sending scientists scrambling to explain why.
The unexpected deluge is raising global sea levels, which scientists say could eventually submerge island nations, flood cities, and expose millions of coastal residents to destructive storm surges.
By the end of this century the seas may be three feet (one meter) higher than they are today, according to a pair of studies that appear in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. (...)
The finding complements a study published in Science last month that found some of Greenland's glaciers have doubled in speed over the past five years...(more)
Unless we share the same chair, of course. ;p
Howard Dean explains why the Democrats are better for America, and why the Republicans suck hard.
It's so much fun teasing those whiny little brats.
In very short order, Howard Dean lays out the 'Clear Plan' the Democrats supposedly don't have and calls out the GOP on their gross incompetence on issue after issue.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Kudos to C&L, because if it wasn't a video from an interview on Imus, I wouldn't believe this at all. If you haven't seen this already, I'm betting you can't figure out who said all of the following (and more) before you click on the link...
"Well I am just going to stick to this point that the president led us in there with the background music of American culture. Everybody was led to believe that we were getting payback, we were avenging what happened on 9/11 and that we are going to get them. Vice President Cheney said we are going to attack terrorism at its base. Over and over the language was, this is where it came from, in fact most recently the President suggested that it was always the hot pursuit, like a new York police chase, we chased them back into their country. We pursued the terrorists back to Iraq and it's all nonsense. The reason there are terrorists in Iraq today like Zarqawi is we created the opening by blowing the country apart.Ok, now I'm left with a ton of questions.
From the beginning it's been not true. Now you can't prove motive and you can't prove somebody lies, but from the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last throws. Everything that is said is not true. And right to the end here, here we are now and it's not a civil war and when Allawi the prime Minster is saying it is a civil war and here is the president quoting his own people that it's not a civil war. I mean the denial has been continuous. So you really can't count on the administration to tell you what is going on. That is just the fact. You've got to check it out.
By the way, the president said this week that he wants the whole truth about what is going on in Iraq, the whole truth and that the media isn't telling the whole story. I'll tell you what we are not telling. We are not showing pictures of the twenty five hundred bodies coming back because they won't let us show the pictures. They don't want the whole truth out and that's the fact."
Is this how he really feels? If so, why can't he say any of this on his show? Did he even know he was on the air? Do they drug him with koolaid before he goes on every weeknight? Or, did he just get really drunk the night before and forget what he was supposed to say in an alcohol-laden sleep deprived stupor, then go back to sleep? That's what I'm guessing most likely happened. Will he even remember he said that?
Chimpy really does think he's a dictator. He again thumbs his nose at Congress with a signing statement, just like he did with the McCain Torture Bill, and still our pathetic legislature is afraid to censure him for declaring himself above the law when it comes to spying on Americans?
Please hurry up and impeach this asshole.
Boston Globe: When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.
The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.
In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."
Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "
The statement represented the latest in a string of high-profile instances in which Bush has cited his constitutional authority to bypass a law. [emphasis mine]
After The New York Times disclosed in December that Bush had authorized the military to conduct electronic surveillance of Americans' international phone calls and e-mails without obtaining warrants, as required by law, Bush said his wartime powers gave him the right to ignore the warrant law.
And when Congress passed a law forbidding the torture of any detainee in US custody, Bush signed the bill but issued a signing statement declaring that he could bypass the law if he believed using harsh interrogation techniques was necessary to protect national security....( more)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Time: A Federal Eye on the Raging Grannies?
The ACLU wants to know why the FBI is monitoring non-violent antiwar groups
The Raging Grannies, an organization of aging activists whose chapters across the U.S. and Canada used sit-ins, songs and satire to protest the war, might not seem like the most obvious target for government surveillance. But the ACLU of Washington State filed a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests early Tuesday that demanded more information from the FBI and Department of Defense about what the ACLU claims is overreaching government surveillance of this group and 10 other non-violent political organizations in Washington State...(more)
They're spying on Raging Fucking Grannies!?!
Over the last four years, the FBI has repeatedly spied on the Thomas Merton Center, a Catholic peace organization in Pittsburgh. The American Civil Liberties Union made the case public last week, with documentation. One 2002 FBI memo defined the center as ''a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism." Oh my. I confess that I felt a little light-headed on reading this news; déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say. (...)Christian Science Monitor: FBI, police spying is rising, groups allege
To a government enthralled with the power of violent force, any dissent can seem like pacifism, but when the word is slung to discredit reasoned objections as wild-eyed idealism that would leave terrorists unchecked, it does not stick.
In the distant past, groups had to be associated with communism to become targets of the national security apparatus, but in the Vietnam era it became enough merely to ask questions about an obviously immoral war. Déjà vu indeed.
The FBI is once more serving an invaluable function with its inept display of the shallow paranoia that sees enemies everywhere, a clear manifestation of the mental unbalance driving the entire enterprise of the United States government...(more)
The ACLU has filed Freedom of Information requests for more than 150 groups and individuals.
Political activists from New York to Colorado to California report that they believe police and FBI surveillance of their activities has increased markedly since the terror attacks 4-1/2 years ago since Congress approved the USA Patriot Act loosening some of the strictures on law enforcement. They include environmental groups like Time's UP!, peace activists in Pittsburgh, and even a police union protesting for higher wages in New York City.
To try to find out if law officers are spying on them, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed Freedom of Information requests for more than 150 groups and individuals in more than 20 states who believe their first amendment rights are being violated...(more)
If it's none, or even just a few on petty charges, then every single person in this administration who signed off on it and any FBI agent who would take part in this program without whistleblowing every last detail they know about it to the media or the ACLU is a goddamned traitor to this country.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
I like it, a lot. They're back, and they're "not ready to make nice" with all of the country music radio stations who yanked them off of the air 3 years ago. (That's my interpretion anyway)
Hey, if you're going to make a principled stand and not budge, it sure doesn't hurt to have been right all along. I can support that for sure. I hope they sell more CDs this go around than ever before. I hardly buy CD's anymore, and I've never bought a country music CD in my life, but I know I'm getting this one.
A: When the secret is a cover for negligence or wrongdoing.
Raw Story: FBI Whistleblower Files Against Judge Over Secrecy Issues
(Same judge presiding in Libby trial )
Former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds filed a motion asking for the recusal of the judge assigned to her case because of his alleged "bias to secrecy." (...)Bradblog has been covering Sibel Edmonds' ordeal all along.
Edmonds, who was hired as an FBI language specialist shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, translated tapes which allegedly shed light on shoddy work done by the bureau, then was subsequently gagged from telling her story by federal courts. A 2004 Justice Department review found that many of her claims about her treatment by the bureau were supported...(more)
Q: When is it not ok to tell a secret?
A: Whenever keeping the secret was necessary to prevent someone from getting hurt.
Libby's Lawyers Suggest State Dept. Bears Blame for CIA 'Leak'
Raw Story: In documents filed late Friday, Libby's attorneys cast a wide net for information that they said would help demonstrate that Libby did not discuss the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame as part of a supposed administration effort to besmirch her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
They wrote that they anticipated the trial would showcase testimony by a Who's Who of senior administration officials involved in the Iraq policymaking at the heart of the CIA leak investigation, including three top officials at the State Department who the lawyers asserted played key roles in the unraveling of Plame's covert CIA position. Those officials include then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy secretary, Richard Armitage, and undersecretary for political affairs, Marc Grossman...(more)
AP: A videotape taken by an Iraqi shows the aftermath of an alleged attack by U.S. troops on civilians in their homes in a western town last November: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls. (...)
The images were broadcast a day after residents of Haditha, 140 miles west of Baghdad, told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.
Last week, the U.S. military announced that a dozen Marines are under investigation for possible war crimes in the Nov. 19 incident, which left at least 23 Iraqis dead in addition to the Marine...(more)
The Aftermath Of A Massacre
Have American troops been killing unarmed civilians in Iraq?
BBC NEWSNIGHT REPORT - BROADCAST 03/22/06
Report begins 1 Minute 20 seconds into video
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Earlier this month, Dept of the Interior head Gale Norton resigned "amid an investigation of a former Interior aide concerning how much influence disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff had over the department's Indian casino decisions."
President Bush then "selected someone wtih an incredibly dismal environmental record" to replace her: Idaho Gov Dirk Kempthorne. You may remember the scandal back in 2003 over his use of a corporate campaign contribution loophole for loads of extra perks, and/or perhaps you remember how last year he bounced a $111 in checks to a hair salon. (WTF?!? Not about the check so much, well yeah that is pretty bad in itself, but $111 on that head? OMG!)
Well, Wonkette has some interesting new info to add to the mix:
Turns out, this new Dirk Kempthorne has:I guess Bush's belief in family values doesn't extend to who he appoints to his cabinet. Either that or it's like his belief in the "culture of life," just a bunch of bullshit.
* Illegitmate son
* Longtime mistress/aide
* Sham marriage
firedoglake.blogspot.com has morphed into firedoglake.com. I guess it's still in a beta mode of sorts, but it's definitely up and running & I really like it. There is one thing I noticed though. ReddHedd is missing and there's this Christy Hardin Smith person who is posting instead. Hmmmm? lol
Jane's an accomplished writer and producer and
Those are just a few things that make FDL one of my favorite blogs, and I hope they can keep it that way as their site continues to grow.
And if you're not already an FDL regular, please do check them out.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Military launches investigation into the deaths of 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including 7 women and 3 children.
Time Exclusive: One Morning in Haditha
[T]he details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began.:(
In January, after Time presented military officials in Baghdad with the Iraqis' accounts of the Marines' actions, the U.S. opened its own investigation, interviewing 28 people, including the Marines, the families of the victims and local doctors. According to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military's initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (ncis), which will conduct a criminal investigation to determine whether the troops broke the laws of war by deliberately targeting civilians...(more)
Electronic voting machines cannot be blindly trusted to record our votes accurately. No matter who made it or how it was designed, there still must be a paper receipt generated for every vote cast that each voter can read, affirm, & then drop in a secure container. Then there needs to be a system of random recounts in every congressional district (not just in close races) to hopefully catch problems before the election can be certified. Any irregularities found should trigger a wider recount in that district, and it should also trigger more random recounts in other districts that are using the same model.
You'd think these kinds of safeguards would already be in place as it's just common sense, or "horse sense" as the above ad calls it, yet unfortunately more voters will be voting this November on paperless electronic voting machines than in any election ever before.
I'll go one further and say that there also needs to be even more extensive recounts between elections to look for discrepencies, along with a system in place to hold the voting machine companies accountable for any widespread problems. Any voting machine company that fails to provide a secure and reliable system should be fined heavily and possibly banned from the industry altogether. The least we can do is hold voting machines to the same standards we already do slot machines or ATMs.
There's so much going on recently, I'm posting a collection of voting news, most of which I ran across over at Blackboxvoting and Bradblog & I'm consolidating here. First, let me point out this column that helps raise awareness of this issue...
Now for the latest news. In Grafton NH, voting machines from ES&S couldn't even count 400 votes without resulting in a 20+ vote discrepency, and the machines have just been seized by the State's Attorney General. Whatever the cause (they are blaming it on dip switches? lol), on the face of it this is really bad. They lost more than 5% of the votes cast, and who knows whether the ones they did keep were recorded correctly. Would it be acceptable if ATMs made mistakes 5% of the time, or misplaced 5% of your deposits? Hell no! 1% would not be acceptable, and 5% ought to trigger a criminal investigation, whether we're talking about dollars or votes.
ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the US. They make nearly half the voting machines used in the United States (Diebold is #2), and yet they are riddled with bugs. So much so one can only imagine what November will be like for elections commissioners using them. They definitely can't be trusted to count votes without generating a paper trail. FYI: Senator Chuck Hagel was chairman of ES&S until 1995, and reportedly still has major financial ties to the company.
In Luzerne County PA, ES&S has just reneged on a deal that now jeapordizes $3 million in federal grants.
The company had consistently assured the county it would be able to provide machines, said Mr. Piazza. But on March 8, an ES&S representative abruptly said the company would be unable to provide training for the machines — a requirement under HAVA. Two days later, a Pittsburgh-based printing company that contracts with ES&S told Mr. Piazza it couldn’t provide the machines, either, and recommended the county look elsewhere.
In Utah, a Diebold rep came right out and told an assembly of elections officials "Some of you are going to hate my guts on Election Day." (...)
Later, another Diebold representative named Drew was asked what LaTour meant when she said "Some of you are going to hate my guts..." "We're going to have problems on Election Day, and we're just going to have to work through them," he said. ...Meanwhile, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, and Florida are all having major issues over voting machines. In Florida, the Secretary of State Sue Cobb has been been...
Then, at an open hearing over it, Florida's SoS Sue Cobb closed the meeting and even called in the police to throw the press out, despite it's being open was required under Fla Open-Government Laws. Ironically the meeting actually took place on the first day of "Sunshine Week" which is celebrated in honor of Open-Government Laws. Now, the AP and the Tallahassee Democrat have both filed formal complaints with the state's attorney general over Cobb's action.
"threatening Leon County's elected Election Supervisor Ion Sancho because he revealed that the Diebold voting machines in Florida and elsewhere can be hacked and flipped without a trace being left behind."
"In the bargain, all three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida have now refused to do business with Sancho."
Despite all of the pressure being put on Sancho, he was just given a unanimous vote of confidence from his county commissioners after an outpouring of support. At the meeting "Commissioner Cliff Thaell, a Democrat, wanted to have the commissioners recognize Sancho as a hero for liberty - an idea that had many members of the public clapping thunderously."
You can show your appreciation for Ion Sancho here. Please do.Also, in case you're curious, you can check to see what voting system your city/county uses here.
WaPo: How To Steal an Election
Please Watch Votergate
AP: Group Claims 2004 Election Was Flawed
PA News Takes a Look At Voting Machines
Wash Post: Election Hackers ♥ Diebold
More Evidence of a Stolen Election
Evidence of Ohio 2004 Vote Miscount
Again, Al Gore Won in 2000
Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, Abramoff, and Election Fraud
Counting on Diebold
NYT: The Business of Voting
Fla Ch2 News Video: Voting Machines Hacked?
Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Did you know? 20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA
The dirt on Rep John Doolittle? Josh has it.
Doolittle's wife, despite no prior fundraising experience, ran a "political consultancy and she worked on commission raising money for Doolittle's campaign and political action committee." This cozy arrangement meant that "every time someone gave Doolittle money, Julie and John personally got a 15% taste of the cash." For example, they pocketed $14,400 from over $100K in campaign contributions from Brent Wilkes, a key figure in the Cunningham bribery scandal.Is Rep. John Doolittle's (R-CA) free ride in the Cunningham-Wade-Wilkes scandal coming to an end? I think it might be.
Now, you might say, if Julie Doolittle was a professional fundraiser, and why should she be barred from working for her husband's campaigns. But then Julie Doolittle wasn't a fundraiser.Fishy indeed. Oh but there's more. As Paul Kiel points out:
Julie Doolittle's Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, launched in March 2001, right after Doolittle got his seat on the Appropriations Committee. In other words, right after he got in a position to hand out federal contracts in a big way. SDFS has no phone number, no website and no employees except for Julie Doolittle. Prior to opening the firm she seems to have had no experience doing fundraising.
But what of her other clients, you ask?
The Union-Tribune found three.
What were they?
Well, one was Greenberg-Traurig, Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm. The second was Signatures, Jack Abramoff's restaurant. The third was the Korea-US Exchange Council, a front group run by erstwhile Abramoff associate Ed Buckham, Tom DeLay's former Chief of Staff and head of Alexander Strategy Group, which closed down recently so the principals can focus on their legal defenses.
So Julie Doolittle's 'fundraising consultancy' drew a cut for the Doolittles for every dollar of campaign money she claimed credit for raising. Her other clients were either Jack Abramoff or front groups related to Jack Abramoff.
This seem fishy to you?
So this was in effect free money. Doolittle was in a very strong position to raise funds. By his own admission, his wife even got a cut of contributions resulting from his fundraising calls - all she had to do was bring him the list.
And let's not forget here that Abramoff, his associates and clients gave Doolittle some $140,000 in contributions since 1999. How much did Julie Doolittle get of that? (...)
Buckham, in addition to working closely with Abramoff, was Wilkes' lobbyist. And according to the SDUT, Julie Doolittle was working in Buckham's office when Doolittle met Wilkes. She was doing "bookkeeping" for one of Buckham's non-profits there. It's never been reported how much she was paid for this. Buckham's firm Alexander Strategy Group paid Tom DeLay's wife Christine $3,200/month for her work for them. How much was Julie Doolittle getting?...(more)
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Well now Keith Olbermann has given us a heads up for an article in (Atrios) "US News and World Report will tell us tomorrow that Bush administration lawyers (Torture Yoo and Abu Gonzales presumably) after 9/11 made the case that Bush had the power to engage in warrantless physical searches of terrorism suspects on domestic soil."
[Update] Here's the Article: The Letter of the Law
The White House says spying on terror suspects without court approval is ok. What about physical searches?
Do you think now maybe the Dems, and at least a few Republicans can see their way to making a stand for at least censuring Bush over this? They need to frame the vote as either a vote for or against Bush, and so help anyone who does vote for Bush who thinks it won't be made into a campaign issue.[Update] Lest anyone think this issue over warrantless searches was just an idea this administration mulled over, check out Gonzales' dodging of the question whether there had ever been warrantless searches during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee...
I'd say we can take that as a yes. These sorry ass motherfuckers don't give a shit about the Constitution. These are absolutely the high crimes and misdemeanors that are supposed to warrant impeachment, and our Congress doesn't even appear willing to censure Bush over it?
Washington Post: CQ Transcripts Wire Monday, February 6, 2006
SCHUMER:(...) Has the government done this? Has the government searched someone's home, an American citizen, or office, without a warrant since 9/11, let's say?
GONZALES: To my knowledge, that has not happened under the terrorist surveillance program, and I'm not going to go beyond that.
SCHUMER: I don't know what that -- what does that mean, under the terrorist surveillance program? The terrorist surveillance program is about wiretaps. This is about searching someone's home. It's different.
So it wouldn't be done under the surveillance program. I'm asking you if it has been done, period.
GONZALES: But now you're asking me questions about operations or possible operations, and I'm not going to get into that, Senator.
SCHUMER: I'm not asking you about any operation. I'm not asking you how many times. I'm not asking you where...
GONZALES: You asked me has that been done.
GONZALES: Have we done something?
GONZALES: That is an operational question, in terms of how we're using capabilities.
SCHUMER: So you won't answer whether it is allowed and you won't answer whether it's been done.
I mean, isn't part of your -- in all due respect, as somebody who genuinely likes you, but isn't this part of your job, to answer a question like this?
GONZALES: Of course it is, Senator.
SCHUMER: But you're not answering it.
GONZALES: Well, I'm not saying that I will not answer the question.
GONZALES: I'm just not prepared to give you an answer at this time....(more)
Friday, March 17, 2006
Kudos to Brad Blog for never giving up.
Washington Post: It's easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That's because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America's voting machines, Freeman writes in a book out in July that argues, among other things, that President Bush may owe his 2004 win to an unfair vote count. We'll wait to read his book before making a judgment about that. But Freeman has assembled comparisons that suggest Americans protect their vices more than they guard their rights, according to data he presented at an October meeting of the American Statistical Association in Philadelphia.(related posts)
Please Watch Votergate
AP: Group Claims 2004 Election Was Flawed
PA News Takes a Look At Voting Machines
Wash Post: Election Hackers ♥ Diebold
More Evidence of a Stolen Election
Evidence of Ohio 2004 Vote Miscount
Again, Al Gore Won in 2000
Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, Abramoff, and Election Fraud
Counting on Diebold
NYT: The Business of Voting
Fla Ch2 News Video: Voting Machines Hacked?
Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Did you know? 20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I ran into this brilliant analogy over at Moxiegrrrl.
I'm with Moxie and TeamBIO on this one all the way.
This is the argument. This clip is so awesome.
Boston Legal Makes the Case for Freedom
This makes it ok how?
They have proposed to ban privately funded travel for House members, at least through the end of the year, and to require lobbyists to disclose the gifts they make to lawmakers. OMG That's it? That's their idea of reform how?
Oh but that aint all, here's the kicker. To get some retribution, because Republicans strategists have expressed concern about the efforts by Soros and others to boost Democratic prospects in the congressional midterm elections, they are going to limite contributions from individuals to 527 groups like Moveon.org to no more than $30,000.
So that's the GOP's idea of Congressional ethics reform in the wake of the unwravelling scandal after scandal; Cunningham-Wilkes-Wade bribes for earmarks arrangement, Delay's house of scandal down in TX, and Abramoff, frickin Jack Abramoff, who was working the House GOP like handpuppets so he could bilk people out of more and more money?
So now the lobbyists have to report the gifts to congress and Reps give up free flights until after the November elections, and in return they are using this opportunity to go after Soros.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
What a bunch of stupid assholes the Dems are that pushed Hackett out of the race. Paul does a great segment on the Daily Show that pokes fun at, but points out exactly what is wrong with the Democratic Party today.
Molly Ivins knows what this party needs, and that's a whole bunch of Paul Hacketts.
This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass.Exactly!
In the post preceeding this one, I mentioned how CIFA is surfing blogs. Then I ran across this post over at TPM Muckraker linking Mitchell Wade, one of the crooked contractors who was bribing Duke Cunningham, to the CIFA program.
This ought to give anyone pause as to just why CIFA, "the most sensitive domestic spying operations we have heard of to date: the Pentagon's Virginia-based Counterintelligence Field Activity office", would be visiting their blog.
Wade got over $16 million in contracts with CIFA by bribing former [Congressman] Duke Cunningham, who forced earmarks in to Defense appropriations bills on his behalf. Furthermore, Wade's second-in-command was a consultant to the Pentagon on standing up the operation.Things that make me go hmmm?
In its brief life -- it was created in 2002 -- CIFA has had trouble keeping its nose clean. Despite the ink that's been spilled on the center, little is actually known about what it does, and how MZM serviced it. (...)
DoD created CIFA in 2002 to become a joint center for "force protection" intelligence work at DoD, mainly anti-terrorism.
What's "force protection?" Pentagonese for "carte blanche." In encompasses protection for bases, troops and equipment. And the water supply. The electrical grid. Highways. Contractors, their suppliers -- the list goes on. Which leaves CIFA with a mandate to gather information on, well, just about anything and anybody it wants.
If you don't believe me, believe the unnamed former Pentagon intelligence official who told the Post,They started with force protection. . . but when you go down that road, you soon are into everything. . . . [the Pentagon] is too big, too rich an organization and should not be left unfettered. They rush in where there is a vacuum.CIFA's not small -- it employs 1,000 people, roughly quadruple the size of the State Department's intelligence division (...)
The area that's gotten them into hot water recently is TALON, a system of receiving "threat reports" from around the country and storing them in a database, known as Cornerstone. Last December, NBC news got their hands on a printout of a portion of the database which revealed they were keeping tabs on nonviolent protesters, mostly anti-war, around the United States.
A subsequent Pentagon investigation found one of every 100 records in the database shouldn't be there. (The Defense Department has repeatedly pushed Congress to excuse it from the Privacy Act, which is there to keep it from doing just this.)
Where does Wade and MZM come in? We're learning more every day, but here's what we know now: CIFA culls "commercial data," including financial records, criminal records, credit histories and more. MZM won a contract -- through Cunningham -- to provide a data storage system to CIFA, presumeably to hold a lot of that information. Unfortunately it was a piece of crap, and was never installed.
In addition, the Washington Post has reported MZM assisted CIFA in "exploiting" the data -- presumeably by searching it, organizing it, and looking for patterns.
Keeping databases on citizens engaging in protected political activities? Datamining credit histories looking for terrorists? It looks like the place bad ideas go to stay alive, behind the curtain of secrecy. As Wade has proven, you can get away with a lot behind that curtain (for a while, anyway). I wonder what more is back there we haven't heard about...(more)
As I've written about before, I've had someone at the IRS visiting my site within an hour of my posting about them, and I've had someone in Rumsfeld's office, OSD.MIL, The "Office of the Secretary of Defense", come check out a post, The War on Jounalists, which covered many of the unusual circumstances surrounding the deaths of more journalists in Iraq already than were killed during all 22 years of war in Vietnam.
Well, now here's a site, Blogesque.com, that's getting visits, and even comments from someone at DCIDC.CIFA.MIL, DoD’s “Counter-Intelligence Field Activity” division, following a post that mentioned them. Also, CIFA has been visiting the Gen JC Christian for quite some time now.
Sure, maybe it's all just innocent blog surfing going on, or maybe it's not. This govt has been caught spying on anti-war groups, so it should be no surprise they would be checking into what bloggers might be saying. They have already admitted to running cyber war trials to counter the threat posed by bloggers. That's right, the Pentagon has admitted it sees the blogs as a threat. So it's really not too far fetched that they would be keeping an eye on which blogs they deem to be worthy of attacking.
Do you know who's reading your blog? Or why?
Could just bitching about the war or the Bush admin get your name added to the 200,000 names already in the US Terror Database? 200,000?!?! Seriously.
[Update] More on CIFA in today's news here.
Raw Story: Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives.From the letter: (read the entire letter here)
Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution. (...)
The Presentment Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that before a bill can become law, it must be passed by both Houses of Congress. When the President took the oath of office, he swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," which includes the Presentment Clause. If the President signed the Reconciliation Act knowing its constitutional infirmity, he would in effect be placing himself above the Constitution.
I do not raise this issue lightly. Given the gravity of the matter and the unusual circumstances surrounding the Reconciliation Act, Congress and the public need a straightforward explanation of what the President and his staff knew on February 8, when the legislation was signed into law.
Henry A. Waxman Ranking Minority Member
Salon: The Abu Ghraib Files
279 photographs and 19 videos from the Army's internal investigation record a harrowing three months of detainee abuse inside the notorious prison -- and make clear that many of those responsible have yet to be held accountable.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The DCCC's Stakeholder has an excellent exposé on Ralph Reed, and how Pat Robertson's right hand man is fast becoming an "albatross for the GOP."
Reed Fulfilling the Prophecy?
Also, Rusty the Radical Georgia Moderate stumbled onto Ralph Reed's campaign email server and found it wide open for anyone to browse through. Nothing incriminating there, mind you, but I agree with Rusty that it shows a high degree of incompetence that all those people’s personal information was in the open, unprotected.
And still more, while scouring for the latest on Reed or any other crooked con men of the Religious Right, I found an interesting article in the print edition of the Washington Monthly that isn't available online. [Update] It is online...
It paints Ralph Reed, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia and former director of the Christian Coalition, as a calculating weasel. Reed seems to have alienated potential supporters by engineering insulting electoral campaigns and associating with Jack Abramoff. "Reed's fundraising has declined, national GOP figures are no longer embracing him, and a smell of death is beginning to envelop his campaign,"and I noticed this cover story, that is online, while I was there...
When Would Jesus Bolt?
Meet Randy Brinson, the advance guard of evangelicals leaving the GOP.
(...) Big business v. believers
The newly converted are the most zealous, sharing the good news with gusto to any and all comers. Every few days, Randy Brinson calls me with another revelation. Republicans? “The power structure in the Republican Party is too entrenched with big business. It's not with evangelicals—they're a means to an end.” The Christian Right? “They just want to keep the culture war going because it raises a lot of money for them.” Abramoff? “Evangelicals were being used as pawns to promote a big money agenda.” His fellow evangelicals? “Can't they see that Republicans are just pandering to them??” He once was blind, but now he sees.
What sets Brinson apart from other disgruntled evangelicals is that he has an infrastructure at his disposal. Although Redeem the Vote is still engaged in voter registration activities, Brinson has expanded its mission, branching out into issue advocacy and using the organizational capability developed during the campaign to mobilize evangelicals at a moment's notice. (...)
Giving Karl Rove heartburn
Like an abusive boyfriend, Republicans keep moderate evangelicals in the coalition by alternating between painting their options as bleak and wooing them with sweet talk. You can't leave me—where are you going to go? To them? They think you're stupid, they hate religion. Besides, you know I love you—I'm a compassionate conservative. The tactic works as long as evangelicals don't call the GOP's bluff and as long as Democrats are viewed as hostile to religion.
Randy Brinson is proof that some evangelicals are willing to take their chances and cross over to see what Democrats have to offer. There is a growing recognition among mainstream Democrats and the once-quiescent Religious Left that they can reframe issues they care about in terms that appeal to religious voters...(more)
I believe I'm in the mood for an HALLELUJAH!
Put that reporter down, George!
Helen still calls'em like she sees'em. Luvit!
The Nation: Reporters and editors like to think of themselves as watchdogs for the public good. But in recent years both individual reporters and their ever-growing corporate ownership have defaulted on that role. (...)
The naïve complicity of the press and the government was never more pronounced than in the prelude to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The media became an echo chamber for White House pronouncements...(more)