Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thank You Russ

Recent events should cause those that saw critics of the Patriot act as paranoid or "partasian" to reflect again.

Feingold refused to back down. He met the White House onslaught with a promise to do everything in his power to block reauthorization of the act in a form that does not sufficiently address concerns about federal agencies entering the homes of citizens of innocent Americans, reviewing library and medical records as part of "fishing expeditions" and secretly subpoenaing information without following standard legal procedures. .......The coalition came together around the premise that freedom need not be sacrificed in order to maintain security...........

When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lobbied the Senate on behalf of the conference report, claiming that the version under consideration was respectful of civil liberties and pleading with senators to "trust" the administration to do the right thing, Feingold took to the floor of the Senate with a blistering response.
"Trust of government cannot be demanded, or asserted, or assumed, it must be earned," the senator said. "And this government has not earned our trust. It has fought reasonable safeguards for constitutional freedoms every step of the way. It has resisted congressional oversight and often misled the public about its use of the Patriot Act. And now the Attorney General is arguing that the conference report is adequate ‘protection for civil liberties for all Americans.' It isn't." .....

As Feingold said Friday, "Today's vote proves that this is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue and a constitutional issue. Now is the time to come together to give the government the tools it needs to fight terrorism and protect the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens."

To justify all this by the "protecting Americans" defense is impossible in any kind of linear fashion. You must first believe that those with donkey carts and RPGs are more dangerous to us than the idea that we could be felled from within. Let me tell you...That is the only way it will happen. How much do you believe in this country...the constitution....the rule of law...freedom and not be under the eye or thumb of the government at any or all times? I know the wingnuts would not be in favor of this under Ted Kennedy. They MUST break through the partisianship and polorization for the good of the country.....come on wingnuts, the rest of us have moved forward, we're waiting for you....not much longer though.

A Fair Up Or Down Vote

I got this from Lonna who got it from a pissed off Republican friend in Ohio.

With new legislation, Ohio Republicans plan holiday burial for American Democracyby Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman December 6, 2005

A law that will make democracy all but moot in Ohio is about to pass the state legislature and to be signed by its Republican governor. Despite massive corruption scandals besieging the Ohio GOP, any hope that the Democratic party could win this most crucial swing state in future presidential elections, or carry its pivotal US Senate seat in 2006, are about to end. House Bill 3 has already passed the Ohio House of Representatives and is about to be approved by the Republican-dominated Senate, probably before the holiday recess. Republicans dominate the Ohio legislature thanks to a heavily gerrymandered crazy quilt of rigged districts, and to a moribund Ohio Democratic party.

The GOP-drafted HB3 is designed to all but obliterate any possible future Democratic revival. Opposition from the Ohio Democratic Party, where it exists at all, is diffuse and ineffectual. HB3's most publicized provision will require positive identification before casting a vote. But it also opens voter registration activists to partisan prosecution, exempts electronic voting machines from public scrutiny, quintuples the cost of citizen-requested statewide recounts and makes it illegal to challenge a presidential vote count or, indeed, any federal election result in Ohio. When added to the recently passed HB1, which allows campaign financing to be dominated by the wealthy and by corporations, and along with a Rovian wish list of GOP attacks on the ballot box, democracy in Ohio could be all but over.

I have to say, I have no problem with the voter ID thing. I think it is a good idea. We should have accountability at both ends of the vote. We should do what we can to make sure those without the needed ID are accommodated. Maybe an optional voter id card provided at the states expense for those that need AN ID.
I have a huge problem with exempting voting machines from public scrutiny and making it illegal to challenge a federal election vote count. Who are the people of Ohio that are letting this happen to them. Are their any Real Americans left in Ohio. Is there anyone left that refuses to turn the country over to the aristocracies and corporations? Here is a liberal who wants to go back...back to the time that Americans insisted on liberty, freedom, equality under the law, a sense of fair play and the idea that everybody that worked hard should have a shot at the American dream...That is impossible in an Aristocracy or kleptocracy.

Those electronic machines will also be exempted from recounts by random sampling, even in close, disputed elections like those of 2000 and 2004.
In 2004, scores of Ohio voters reported, under oath, that they had pressed John Kerry's name on touchscreen machines, only to see George W. Bush's name light up. A board of elections technician in Mahoning County (Youngstown) has admitted that at least 18 machines there suffered such problems. Sworn testimony in Columbus indicates that votes for Kerry faded off the screen on touchscreen machines there. Other charges of mis-programming, re-programming, recalibrating, mishandling and manipulation of electronic voting software, hardware and memory cards have since arisen throughout Ohio 2004.

Now for the clincher

For the 2005 election, some 41 additional Ohio counties (of 88) were switched to Diebold touchscreen machines. Despite polls showing overwhelming voter approval, two electoral reform issues went down improbable defeat. Issue Two, meant to make voting easier, and Issue Three, on campaign finance reform, were shown by highly reliable Columbus Dispatch polls to be passing handily. The Dispatch was within 0.5% on Issue One, a bond issue, and has rarely been significantly wrong in its many decades of Ohio polling. Even opponents of Issues Two and Three conceded that they were highly likely to pass. On the Sunday before the Tuesday 2005 election, the Dispatch predicted Issue Two would pass by a vote of 59% to 33%, with about 8% undecided. But Tuesday's official vote count showed Issue Two failing with just 36.5% in favor and 63.5% opposed. For that to have happened, the Dispatch had to have been wrong on Issue Two's support by more than 20 points. Nearly half those who said they would support Issue Two would have had to vote against it, along with all the undecideds. The numbers on Issue Three are equally startling. The Dispatch showed it winning with 61%, to just 25% opposed and some 14% undecided. Instead just 33% of the votes were counted in its favor, with 67% opposed, an almost inconceivable weekend turnaround. No other numbers were comparable on November 8, 2005, or elsewhere in the recent history of Dispatch polling.

I'm sorry, but if your thought process doesn't cause you to find this highly unlikely to impossible I must conclude that you have gone from being a human to a robot for the right.

The startling outcome has thus raised even more suspicion and doubt about the use of electronic voting and tabulating machines in Ohio, which account for virtually 100% of the state's vote count. The federal General Accountability Office (GAO) has recently issued a major report confirming that tampering with and manipulating such machines can be easily done by a very small number of people. Charges are widespread that this is precisely what gave George W. Bush Ohio's electoral votes, and thus the presidency, in 2004, not to mention the suspicious referenda outcomes in 2005. HB3 will make it virtually impossible for any challenge to be mounted involving any votes cast or counted on electronic machines or tabulators---meaning virtually every vote cast in Ohio.

With campaign finance, voter registration, electronic voting, public recounts, district gerrymandering and overall electoral administration now firmly in the pocket of the GOP, and with Democratic opposition that is virtually non-existent on the issue of vote fraud and election manipulation, there is little reason to believe the Republican grip on Ohio will be loosened at any point in the near future. In traditional terms, the scandal-ridden Ohio GOP would appear to be more vulnerable than ever. Governor Robert Taft has become the only Ohio governor to be convicted of a crime while in office. With an astonishing 7% approval rating, he has been compared to Homer Simpson by the state's leading Republican newspaper. Republican US Senator Mike DeWine appears highly vulnerable. The GOP has never won the White House without winning the Buckeye State. But HB3 will solidify the GOP's iron grip on the electronic voting process and all that surrounds it. Unless they break that grip, Democrats who believe they can carry any part of Ohio in 2006 or 2008 are kidding themselves.

I have no idea the state of the Democratic Party in Ohio(although I once lived there..many moons ago) . The fact remains, all this electoral fiddling isn't Orwellian, it's post Orwellian.

Read more on this and other voter issues HERE.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Surprise! Not True Again

Congressional Research Office when asked if the President saw the same intelligence as Congress:

By virtue of his constitutional role as commander-and-in-chief and head of the executive branch, the President has access to all national intelligence collected, analyzed and produced by the Intelligence Community. The President's position also affords him the authority - which, at certain times, has been aggressively asserted (1) - to restrict the flow of intelligence information to Congress and its two intelligence committees, which are charged with providing legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. (2) As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President (3) - in contrast to Members of Congress (4) - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods.

The executive branch generally does not routinely share with Congress four general types of intelligence information:

the identities of intelligence sources;

the "methods" employed by the Intelligence Community in collecting and analyzing intelligence;

"raw" intelligence, which can be unevaluated or "lightly" evaluated intelligence,
(18) which in the case of human intelligence (19) sometimes is provided by a single source, but which also could consist of intelligence derived from multiple sources when signals (20) and imagery (21) collection methods are employed; and, certain written intelligence products tailored to the specific needs of the President and other high-level executive branch policymakers.

Included in the last category is the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a written intelligence product which is briefed daily to the President, and which consists of six to eight relatively short articles or briefs covering a broad array of topics. (22) The PDB emphasizes current intelligence (23) and is viewed as highly sensitive, in part, because it can contain intelligence source and operational information. Its dissemination is thus limited to the President and a small number of presidentially-designated senior administration policymakers. (24)

Get the full paper here

How could anyone with even a little civic understanding of our government even imagine that that statement would be true? They know better. It works as any old excuse to justify their world view so they accept it. The end justifies the means. That's what it's all about for these guys...and gals.
Notice the points listed above work in neatly with the missing important details.
From "Curveball" to Chalibi to the Niger fakes. Sorry, these guys did not misinterpret the intelligence and the intelligence was not failing us. It was their use of it. They intentionally ignored anything that would cause them or anyone else to question their preconceived plan.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Uh Oh

From Capitol Hill Blue:

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.
Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal...........“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.” “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”....................President Bush has proposed seven amendments to the Constitution over the last five years, including a controversial amendment to define marriage as a “union between a man and woman.” Members of Congress have proposed some 11,000 amendments over the last decade, ranging from repeal of the right to bear arms to a Constitutional ban on abortion........Scalia says the danger of tinkering with the Constitution comes from a loss of rights.

Is this fact or fiction? Frankly I don't know. I haven't read this site consistantly enough to know their track record. I would hope no U.S. President would have such hubris but if any bunch would it would be these guys. Not just Bush but the whole bunch of them. The PNACian terror.

I do know that the pertinent facts in this story are correct because I have looked it up elsewhere. Here

The Justice Department has said it could identify the secret law under seal, which would be available to the 9th Circuit but not necessarily Gilmore's lawyers. But any public description would not be permitted, the department said.

This is a case based on a guys refusal to show ID at an airport. Actually I thought we already had a law like that but apparently not. I have no objection if they would like to pass a law like that. It is not overly restrictive in my book. What is is a SECRET LAW!? How the hell do you do that and how many might we have? Sorry, homey don't play dat. This is America and you just went waaaaaay to far. NO SECRET LAWS!!!!.....FIX THE PATRIOT ACT!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Perspectives on 9/11

Was it a crime or an act of war? How we view it may have a lot to do with how we think of the solution.

Most of the chest thumping bravado one finds on the right makes me realize the chest thumpers are looking at Islamic terrorism and seeing something entirely different from what I see.....all this thrashing around in Iraq is leaving us weaker and more vernerable to real threats.....Think of the Iraq war as the mother of all security blankets. It's what the right clings to because they lack the fortitude(or brainpower) to face reality. And that's why no amount of reasoning will convince them to let go of it.

Read the full post here. Some great insight.

Coffee Table

Coffee was getting old but I like the really strong stuff at the bottom of the pot..Time for a new one.

Reading Room

The Corporations work to eliminate all control.

Goodness, they are aiding the enemy and it is in Al Jazeera!

Howard Dean not so crazy afterall.

Darned! Wrong! And Wrong again!

The Message

Many, including some in the Democratic party have lemented the "no message" deal on the part of the democrats. Well here it is,

Dean told the 2,000 activists and office-holders that they must stick to their guns and loudly, proudly proclaim Democratic values. He previewed the Democrats' national priorities, which the party plans to unveil in the middle of January.
"First, we must restore honesty and integrity to the government of the United States," he said, drawing the loudest applause of the night. "Number two, we must have a strong national defense based on telling the truth to our soldiers, our citizens, and our allies."
Third -- "We want jobs for America that stay in America." Fourth -- "We want health care for everyone." Fifth -- "balance the budget."
Dean said the key to winning elections for Democrats is to simply knock on doors and loudly, proudly, evangelize.

Thank you Howard. I would have put alternative energy at or near the top of the list but we are all going to have our own priorities. I think these things are things we all can get behind and look forward too.
Many chastize Howard and the wingnuts just love to try and make him look like a mad dog and typical of the "dems" or the "libs". I personally like him because I think he is more in touch with grassroots America than nearly any other politician going. He's not so political that he is afraid to be real and say what's on his mind, even if he knows it will be a wingnut feeding frenzy.
If you venture on to the right wing blogs and comments you will see we are viewed as losers, out of touch with the American people, and that is why we will lose again. Let's keep'em thinking that ok? :-)