jazzoLOG: Tortured Over The Election?    
 Tortured Over The Election?19 comments
picture29 Oct 2006 @ 12:00, by Richard Carlson

If you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?

---Alan Watts

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate---that's my philosophy.

---Thornton Wilder

No more words. Hear only the voice within.

---Jalal Ad-Din Rumi

What to say as we enter the final week of preparation for America's 2006 election? Can anyone remember or reference a midterm election so momentous? I think it's safe to say they're usually so uninteresting many people forget to vote at all. But not this one. There's a sense of desperation in the attack ads of one politician against another. FactCheck.org, run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said Friday the quality of mud being slung is industrial scale...and gives incredible examples from around the country. [link]

I have a category for a certain kind of voter that I call the Quiet Conservative. These people tend to rise above all controversy and dispute. They often are or have been administrators or managers of some kind. They've trained themselves simply to observe the currents of power and opinion in their surroundings and make their decisions accordingly. Usually I can't tell which political party they tend to favor...and probably they don't favor any at all, making contributions as the flow of the polls and markets indicate. They follow the money, be it funding or profit. But this year the QC's in my acquaintance have gotten tense and irritable in recent days. One guy came up to me last week, shook my hand as usual, and said, also as usual, "Here's my good friend whose stuff I love to read, but don't always agree with"...and then uncharacteristically punched me in the arm. It hurt a bit. Maybe there's an edgy mood now. Beware the Quiet Conservative.

What is it about and what is at stake? Well, there are lots of issues...like education and healthcare and the environment. And the Terror War of course. But Republicans tell us profits are high, the economy is robust. (If I hear the word "robust" one more time I may blow a gasket!) Bloomberg is reporting this morning we're in the most vigorous stocks rally in a year. Third quarter earnings of Exxon, Chevron, Amazon.com, and of course Halliburton are through the roof, breaking profit records on all sides. [link] Given all the favorable treatment from the feds, doesn't this mean they'll immediately begin trickling down the benefits to the rest of us...and especially the working stiff who's voted Republican every time since Reagan?

Ah, but what is going on inside Halliburton? Is this company sleeping in White House sheets? Does Cheney's secret "energy" plan still involve him with his old firm or not? Heather Wokusch, in a must-read article, says, "In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company." Is there anything wrong with that? Here we have Halliburton posting a 22% increase in profits this quarter due, they say, to fewer disruptions from hurricanes this year. When was the last time you saw your earnings climb 22%? "Halliburton's Iraq-related work contributed nearly $1.2 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2006 and $45 million of operating income, a performance that pleased analysts. 'Iraq was better than expected,' said Jeff Tillery, analyst with Pickering Energy Partners Inc. 'Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good.' [link] It's that remark by Mr. Tillery that sets the stage for Ms. Wokusch's article about the money the entire Bush family is raking in from the invasion of Iraq. [link]

But back to my question about Halliburton? Is there anything wrong with this? I guess most of the work being done to "reconstruct" Iraq specifically is in the hands of a subsidiary called KBR. (Since I worked for TRW a couple years, I confess to suspicions of companies with only initials for names.) Like Halliburton, KBR is in the business of oil and gas exploration. Perhaps as a civic duty, these companies are volunteering to restore schools, hospitals, electricity, water...stuff like that. But their expertise, and also one of their contracted chores, is to restore Iraq's "oil infrastructure." The New York Times reports yesterday KBR is refusing transparency in their auditing practices to Congressional oversight. Now why would they do that? They say their competitors could learn too many of their trade secrets. [link]

At the same time, Halliburton/KBR reportedly are subcontracting their work out to companies in Kuwait, Lebanon, and other countries not unsympathetic to the US. Those outfits bring in workers from a global labor market representing the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and other south Asian countries. Some work for $10 a day and there are reports of stinking living conditions and regular beatings. [link] Furthermore, conveniently Halliburton is about to "spin off" KBR momentarily, which sale probably means no one can expect Halliburton to know anything about anything that KBR's been up to. For a complete transcript of the Halliburton conference call last week to its investors and friends, in which profits and plans for KBR were announced, it's here for free~~~

Joe Galloway writes for Military.com. He's the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder and has been writing about war for 40 years. Desert Storm's Schwarzkopf called him "the finest combat correspondent of our generation -- a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend." Thursday he published a scathing indictment of the Bush administration called "Ruining America." [link] The lead article in the November 16th issue of The New York Review of Books is by Garry Wills, and it takes a look at the authenticity of Bush's faith-based approach to everything. [link] The problems facing the Republican Party this week are chronicled well by Jonathan Schell in the lead article called "The Torture Election" for the new issue of The Nation. [link] Speaking of torture, Garrison Keillor continued his relentless attack on the Torture Bill this week both with his column in the Chicago Trib and on his broadcast last night, in which he portrayed Cheney as a mechanical Halloween ghoul that chortles at simulated drowning. [link] Prosecutor Fitzgerald apparently took apart one of Libby's star witnesses last week, a psychologist expert in matters of memory---you know, since so many of these guys just can't seem to recall certain conversations and stuff. Don't miss this Washington Post account~~~

So with the crumbling away, piece by piece, of this horrendous Bush administration, what is the big issue remaining that we worry about? It's whether there will be a fair election in this United States. The situation was summed up very well in Friday's Guardian: the electronic voting machines are a mess. "Ballot Box Chaos" The Guardian calls it. [link] Worse, the American Statistical Association is predicting dozens of major elections to be coming down to a wire too close to call by any technology available. [link] (Go to amstat.org if you can't handle the pdf.) Yet another computer programmer, this one specializing in secure currency exchange for banks, published this week a huge article condemning electronic voting entirely. [link] and [link] .

Yes, we all must vote one more time. We must do it, one way or another. And we must report and protest any problems we encounter. And what will it mean if we lose? What will America be like after two more years of this? Will it be the end of the road? Are there Americans who would be relieved to bother no longer with freedom?

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29 Oct 2006 @ 14:28 by jmarc : The election will be stolen!
The federal government is investigating the takeover last year of a leading American manufacturer of electronic voting systems by a small software company that has been linked to the leftist Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chávez. {LINK:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/washington/29ballot.html?ei=5065&en=e0c8ab46eb7f870b&ex=1162789200&adxnnl=1&partner=MYWAY&adxnnlx=1162123697-fGdgFeTtCKTTCxcnenqAsQ|LINK}  

30 Oct 2006 @ 00:57 by jazzolog : Made In China
jmarc is not among those in my category of Quiet Conservatives. Whatever motivates those on all sides to raise questions about computer voting is fine with me. OpEdNews has another expert listing his reservations...and they include Sequoia, which is the company to which jmarc refers. http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_charles__061029_the_case_vs__diebold.htm BradBlog has compiled an EVoting News of the Week...and it includes the Sequoia situation too. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3682 Astonishing as it may seem, liberals actually enjoy looking at all sides of an argument before we make up our minds. Sometimes we change our minds, even if that's a sign of weakness to the narrow-minded.  

30 Oct 2006 @ 01:58 by jmarc : well,
I wouldn't punch you, you've got to give me that at least. Really.  

30 Oct 2006 @ 21:37 by vaxen : Liberals?
Yeah, right...

"At present, Americans are faced with an illegal junta which is repeating a vile era in American history: the seizure of all governmental powers by a single party-cabal during John Adams' presidency from 1797-1801. They are following in exact detail the monopolization of power practiced by the Federalist-Adams dictatorship."

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

Adam Smith. (1776). Wealth of Nations

"Sarah, if the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched."

George Bush Senior speaking in an interview with
Sarah McClendon in December 1992


Does the government protect us and keep us safe? Absolutely not! Uncle Sam couldn’t care less about keeping us safe. Our all-volunteer military is nothing but cannon fodder to serve the greedy corporations who own our "elected officials." Decades of meddling in the Middle East are the root cause of 9/11. And we sure as hell ain’t safer now that President George W. Bush’s "The War on Terror" has been grinding away nearly as long as the U.S. involvement in WW II.

Fact is, what we have in Washington is a whole bunch of slimy bastards. Government officials are so totally incompetent, they can’t even sell themselves to a dumbed-down public. That’s why they resort to private enterprise. That’s right, they all use marketing firms to sell their images. A good marketing firm can sell you the notion that Mad Cow-tainted beef cures Cancer, Ebola and the heartbreak of Psoriasis.

Once in office, "elected officials" spend most of their time raising money to remain in office. They pass laws that complicate our lives and turn innocent pursuits into federal crimes. Ayn Rand summed it up. In Atlas Shrugged, a government official lays it out:

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?... We want them broken... We're after power and we mean it… There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt."


31 Oct 2006 @ 00:10 by jazzolog : Ohio ID Rules Change 3rd Time In 4 Days
Will a shocking new GOP court victory and Karl Rove's attack on Ohio 2006 doom the Democrats nationwide?
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 30, 2006

COLUMBUS---With a major GOP federal court victory, the Ohio 2006 election has descended into the calculated chaos that has become the trademark of a Karl Rove election theft, and that could help keep the Congress in Republican hands nationwide.

Through a complex series of legal maneuvers, and now a shocking new decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the GOP has thrown Ohio's entire process of voting and vote counting into serious disarray. The mess is perfectly designed to suppress voter turnout, make election monitoring and a recount impossible, and allow the Republican Party to emerge with a victory despite overwhelming evidence the electorate wants exactly the opposite.

The disaster in Ohio began immediately after the theft of the presidential election here in 2004. Though the majority of Ohioans are registered Democrats, the gerrymandered state legislature is overwhelmingly Republican. Soon after John Kerry conceded, it passed House Bill 3, a draconian assault on voter registration drives, voting rights and the ability to secure reliable recounts of federal-level elections.

In brief, HB3 stacked a virtually impossible set of requirements onto the voter registration process. As elsewhere nationwide, voting has traditionally involved citizens coming to the polls and signing a poll book. Upon a signature check from a poll worker, a ballot has been given. A similar process has been in effect for absentee ballots. There is no recent evidence this method has encouraged significant voter fraud.

But the GOP's HB3 has imposed a series of draconian requirements for voter ID, including the demand for certain documents very difficult to obtain by many poor, homeless, elderly or other largely Democratic demographic groups.

To further complicate matters, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is now in charge of the same election in which he is the GOP nominee for governor, has added some additional, entirely arbitrary disqualifying factors of his own. Blackwell was the state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the 2004 election, which he also ran while making the key decisions that gave Bush-Cheney a second term in the White House.

On all absentee ballots, HB3 demands an identifying driver's license number, or the equivalent. But Ohio driver's licenses have two codes on them. The "correct" one has two letters and six numbers. The "wrong" one is an eleven-number bureaucratic code that appears above the ID photo.

According to preliminary reports, as many as ten percent of those sending in absentee ballots so far have included the wrong code, thus disqualifying their vote. The process is so confusing that one Republican federal judge, in a court proceeding, has volunteered the fact that he actually put this same "wrong" number on an application for a rental car, temporarily nullifying his contract. Here in Columbus, Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder estimates that 5000 ballots would already be disqualified in Franklin County alone.

So far the wave of absentee ballots pouring into the county boards of elections indicate an extraordinary percentage of Ohioans will vote absentee this year. Many are likely hoping to avoid distrusted electronic voting machines, as well as the long, racially-biased lines that tainted the 2004 election.

In response to reports of large numbers of absentee dis-qualifications, a federal lawsuit has been filed by a Cleveland homeless advocacy group and the Service Employee's International Union. The suit was then deemed to be a related action to the landmark King Lincoln civil rights filing that resulted in a September ruling preserving the ballots from Ohio 2004, and was sent to Judge Algernon Marbley, who made that decision.

Last week Judge Marbley threw out the HB3 drivers license requirement for the absentee ballots. On Wednesday, November 1, he will hold a hearing on whether to void all the HB3 requirements that are poised to disqualify tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters on election day.

Blackwell himself did not appeal Marbley's ruling. He is trailing by as much as thirty points in some Ohio polls. He has been seriously hurt by the widespread belief that he stole the 2004 election, and is reluctant to be openly identified with yet another mass disenfranchisement of Ohio voters.

Instead, Ohio's GOP Attorney General Jim Petro did appeal Marbley's decision. And on Sunday, October 29, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Marbley's suspension of the driver's license number requirement on the absentee ballots, casting the entire process into deep confusion.

This ruling means that county boards of election that were telling voters they did not have to include the drivers license number on their absentee ballot after Marbley's decision must now resume telling them they must include that number.

The decision sends a strong signal that if Marbley overturns the HB3 voter ID requirements for citizens coming to the polls, that too is likely to be appealed and then overturned by the Court of Appeals.

Indeed, if Marbley throws out the rest of the HB3 after the Wednesday, November 1 hearing, a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on all these procedures may not come until within hours of election time.

In other words, Ohio's lame duck GOP Attorney-General, and the GOP-dominated federal court system, are now in the process of pitching the entire electoral process in the state of Ohio into a spiral of chaos.

HB3 and Blackwell's arbitrary directives have already devastated Democratic voter registration drives and caused thousands of mostly Democratic potential voters to wonder about their true eligibility to cast a ballot on November 7.

The mainstream media is portraying this latest episode as a blood feud between Petro and Blackwell. But the real winner is the Bush White House, which has every reason to suppress the vote November 7.

Blackwell is trailing so badly in the polls it's hard to imagine a theft big enough to allow him to win. But the critical U.S. Senate race between the GOP's incumbent Mike DeWine and U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown is very close. So are numerous Congressional races throughout the state, any one of which could help decide who controls the U.S. House of Representatives.

The tactics being tested and used here in Ohio are certain to surface in various forms around the U.S. HB3, for example, has quintupled the fees charged by the state for a recount. In Ohio 2004, the Green and Libertarian Parties obtained a flawed and ultimately worthless recount for about $120,000. A similar statewide recount for the 2006 U.S. Senate race would cost about $600,000.

But Blackwell has decimated even the previously feeble safeguards for such recounts, making them even more illusory than they were in 2004. HB3 has also removed any state recourse in the case of a contested election here for the U.S. Senate or House, or for the presidency.

So even if a recount showed a clear theft, the state courts are barred from jurisdiction. The only appeal now allowed would be a direct plea to the federal courts or Congress.

On the other hand, HB3 provides no special system for monitoring the electronic voting machines on which about half the state's ballots will be cast. Though a paper receipt is now required for all electronic voting machines, there is no method by which the Diebold, ES&S, Triad and other touch-screen computers or electronic tabulators can be reliably protected from tampering.

Based on reports from the Conyers Congressional Committee, the Government Accountability Office, the Brennan Center, Princeton University and the Carter-Baker Commission among others, the vote count reported by Ohio's voting machines could be flipped by J. Kenneth Blackwell or other election official---or even amateur hackers---in a matter of moments, with a few simple keystrokes.

In sum: there is no way such a manipulation could be definitively stopped, monitored, proven or reversed.

Thus Ohio enters the last week prior to this most critical mid-term election in recent memory in utter vulnerability and chaos. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots already cast are in limbo. Their ultimate status may not be determined until hours before election day, if then. Hundreds of thousands of potential voters remain uncertain about what, if any, forms of identification they will be required to include on their absentee ballots or to present at their polling stations. If the experience of 2004 is repeated, many of those polling stations will be incorrectly listed on the Secretary of State's official web site.

Thousands of Ohio citizens may also not know if they are actually registered to vote. All 88 of Ohio's county boards of election are effectively controlled by Secretary of State Blackwell. Since 2000, without official notification, some 170,000 voters have been stripped from the registration rolls in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), 170,000 in Franklin County (Columbus), 105,000 in Hamilton County (Cincinnati) and 28,000 in Lucas County (Toledo).

Overall nearly 500,000 registered voters are known to have been eliminated from the rolls in overwhelmingly Democratic districts in a state where 5.6 million people voted in 2004, and where George W. Bush won with an alleged margin of less than 119,000 ballots. There is no evidence similar eliminations have occurred in Republican areas.

While reports of widespread purges have not proved true, there is increasing evidence that county boards of elections used voter notification cards required by HB3 that were returned by the post office to flag hundreds of thousands of voters' names at the polls throughout Ohio and force them to vote provisionally. An Erie County official placed the number of flagged voters at about 24% in his county.

Blackwell has further ruled that citizens who vote with provisional ballots at their correct polling place but in the wrong precinct (which may be housed in the same building) will not have their vote counted. Back ups of provisional voters created long lines in 2004. The only safe place to cast a provisional ballot is at the county board of elections, but often these votes are disqualified because voters fail to check off a small affirmation box, or do not supply a date of birth or other requested technical information.

Ohio's electoral process is thus once again sinking into a fog of confusion, disenfranchisement and theft perfectly designed to prolong the GOP control of the government. There is every reason to believe that in the week now remaining before the actual election, the GOP and its allies in the federal court system will use the escalating chaos to their advantage in attempting to keep control of the U.S. Congress, here and in other states.

The definitive question hovering over the future of American democracy thus remains: who will do what about it, and when?

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO: A DOCUMENTARY RECORD OF THEFT AND FRAUD IN THE 2004 ELECTION, just published by the New Press. Fitrakis is of counsel, and Wasserman is a plaintiff, in the King Lincoln lawsuit. Fitrakis is an independent candidate for governor, endorsed by the Green Party; Wasserman is author of SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, available via www.solartopia.org/.


31 Oct 2006 @ 02:39 by Quinty @ : Oh god....

There's this guy on talk radio here, who claims we are already a fascist state. And advises we get used to it. Reading things like that makes me think he is right.  

31 Oct 2006 @ 10:56 by jmarc : Waking the dead
't is the day for it...
Killer fact: Democrats who cast votes after they died outnumbered Republicans by more than 4 to 1.

31 Oct 2006 @ 11:29 by jmarc : I won't question
your patriotism. I know you mean well. {LINK:http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/10/how-to-make-sure-you-win-election-even.html|How to win the election, even if you lose}  

31 Oct 2006 @ 17:05 by jazzolog : Happy Halloween jmarc!
You're one of the more likeable Loud Conservative ghouls in my acquaintance.


31 Oct 2006 @ 17:23 by quinty : What's partisan
about this?

Yes, they "rose from the dead" to vote for LBJ in '48. Boss Daley of Chicago could be relied on to swing Illinois for the Demos.

Now here is Carl Rove, the P.T. Barnum, William Randolph Hearst, and Willie Sutton of politics all rolled into one. A true master at his black arts.

So? What difference does it make which party is destroying the election? What's partisan about this? Why does corruption in one party justify corruption in the other?

Nothing, that I can see.

Though, true enough, many of us are hoping to escape the nightmare the US is currently in. And deep political corruption is an ingrained part of the nightmare. As well as unending lies. And a rightwing radicalism verging on fascism.

Meanwhile: the real problems this country and the planet face are being ignored: clean energy, the environment, healthcare, education, and on and on. While witless morons worry about stem cell research and gay marriage. Yes, the president whipped up the crowd yesterday with his attack on "activist" courts and gays getting married.

By the way, there’s a war on. Why is this president always SMILING? At least LBJ, who lied too, was torn apart by his war, and the anguished photographs prove it.

Let me ask a question. If two gay people get married

A: does that decrease the number of gays in your neighborhood?

B. is your marriage so shaky and insecure that it somehow threatens your own marriage?

C: do you really care about what happens in other people's bedrooms, among consenting adults?

D. will something vital and deep somehow be changed by formalizing the love two strangers somewhere, whom you don't know, have for each other? And will their private life somehow effect yours?

Sure, the Moron in Chief got a whoop and a holler yesterday with his attack on "activist" judges (as if the 6th Circuit weren't somehow activist) and gays.

But in the meantime: more nineteen year olds die in Iraq. For what? The Bill of Rights is being shredded and trashed. Government and corporate corruption are running amuck. Scientists daily offer dire warnings about the future of the planet. There are increased bankruptcies and foreclosures. College educations are beyond the financial reach of most middleclass households. Preventative healthcare has become a luxury for increasing numbers of Americans. Pension plans are being replaced with stock market gambles.

But reelect these subhumans and, by god, no one will be able to burn the flag. Not if they have their way. And that should truly make us all feel much better as we sleep at night.  

31 Oct 2006 @ 18:53 by b : on another side
The democrats winning the House and Senate would give USA(that's us) a Pelosi, Reid controlled Legislative branch when 2008 elections come around. Then Hill and Bill get elected President. That's too much personal power, That is as scary as that maniac Ahmadinejad getting nuke missles. That America would be ruled by special interest groups and foreign powers and a pair of meglomaniacs. Then, with Clinton's ruling the world, a plan in the UN could go forth to break the United States into seperate countries. Not before there are technology transfers to many other countries, massive sell off of brand names, deeding of many natural resources to multinational corporations, depletion of USA as a central world power. Maybe even Arnold Swartzeneggar as President in 2012. That is the end of the Mayan calendar and some say end of Earth.
There's a lot to look forward too, either way.  

31 Oct 2006 @ 23:37 by quinty : Just for the record
nothing has emerged yet regarding the graveyard vote. Whether they have remained tranquilly intered or came out one dark and stormy night to vote Democratic is not known. Not at this time.

This observation, though, is not meant to be hollier than thou. They may still rise. Though I think the jig is up in their case. Ohio is the place to focus on, where the living (if they are black, brown, or Democratic) may not be allowed to vote. There some other contested states too.

As for the current situation, yes, it is scary: considering how much is at stake. Me, I don't want this corrupt lying ambitious slime to continue in office. I want hearings and investigations to begin. I want answers. And, yes, if you think I have already made up my mind on some of these questions you are right. For it is all out there. In black and white.  

1 Nov 2006 @ 16:17 by jazzolog : A New Electronic Voting Machine


3 Nov 2006 @ 10:28 by jazzolog : RE: [zepps_essays] A War for Dummies
While I certainly agree with you Bryan, and haven't we been sick to death of Kerry anyway since he caved in 2004?---and before that whom does anyone know that supported him wholeheartedly?---I say, picking up the thread of my thought, it seems to be a fact the valiant boys and girls over there from time to time ARE pretty low on the charts. This just in from an associate at Democracy For America~~~

This message was sent by your WeDemocrats organizer, Marie McBride.

"Kerry's joke about 'smart kids go to college, and dumb kids go to war'
has a basis for it that is TRUE. We must understand that the media is
turning it into a circus, and desparate Republicans are grasping at
straws, using anything they think will motivate the Right Wing voters
to come out in droves. Note the below:

(Lowered standards have hardly remained the property of privateers
these days. As Brad Knickerbocker of the Christian Science Monitor
noted, 'The Army has had to recruit more soldiers from the "lowest
acceptable" category based on test scores, education levels, personal
background, and other indicators of ability.' http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0824/p02s02-usmi.html Even Undersecretary of
Defense Chu admitted in July that almost 40% of all military recruits
scored in the bottom half of the Armed Forces' own aptitude test.)

"Evidently the core of conservative voters are the target of choice for
the news media, who jumped on this with both feet, without first
checking a few simple facts, I found the above, don't you think that
if a farmer from Southern Illinois could, that the highly trained
newspeople could as well?

"Ok, nuff sermons. Just wanted to point out that what looked to many a
couple days ago as a disaster is really a talking point for Democratic
Candidates if they have the nerve to do so."

Keep up the good work...and brace yourself for Tuesday!


>From: Zepp
>To: zepps_essays@yahoogroups.com
>Subject: [zepps_essays] A War for Dummies
>Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2006 05:45:49 -0800
>A War for Dummies
>How that became the rallying cry for dummies for war
>© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
>One of the Weasels, not one given to conspiracy theories, read about
>Kerry’s “punted joke” gaffe, sighed, and remarked, “At times like this I
>wonder if the skull-and-bones stories about Kerry being a secret ally of
>the Bushes aren’t true.” To be sure, the Republicans were absolutely
>besides themselves with joy that a Democrat allegedly insulted the
>fighting men and women in Iraq by implying they were stupid.
>Of course, lost in the foofooraw was the fact that Kerry did NOT say, or
>even imply, that the troops were stupid. In fact, he wasn’t even talking
>about those serving in Iraq. He made a remark about how Putsch used to
>live in Texas but now “lives in a state of denial,” and then said of the
>C-Student Putsch, “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you
>study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you
>can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.”
>The GOP, desperate for any distraction, decided to simply lie about what
>Kerry said, aided by the GOP sounding boards in Faux and CNN, and noted
>without question by the mainstream media, the most worthless and
>overpaid group of entities in America outside of corporate boardrooms.
>Kerry put up a brave face, saying “I'm not going to be lectured by a
>stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy
>Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling
>Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as
>they have lied about Iraq.” But then Kerry proceeded to fold anyway and
>apologized. The GOP can only hope there’s a few million voters out there
>too stupid to understand that Kerry isn’t running for office who will
>get out and vote against Kerry because he hates troops, or something. I
>don’t know why Kerry apologized; the Republicans didn’t want an apology
>because they wanted to keep flogging Kerry, and now that he has
>apologized, they’re only going to sneer at him for having done so. There
>is no point in treating right wingers with decency and respect, because
>they will never reciprocate.
>But I thought about the line that dumped the hapless Kerry in so much
>hot water, and I wondered how many parents had said to their kids over
>the past three years, “You know, education, if you make the most of it,
>you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart,
>you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.” I bet hundreds of
>thousands of eighteen year olds have heard something like that in recent
>history. My parents certainly didn’t hesitate to use the possibility of
>ending up in Vietnam as a reminder that I needed to get good grades in
>If some right winger comes up to you, grunting and belching about how
>Kerry implied that anyone going to Iraq was stupid, you can stop him
>dead in his tracks by looking him right in the eye and asking, “Knowing
>what we know about Iraq now, would YOU enlist to go over there if you
>could?” Unless he’s a liar or a complete fool or both, the answer is
>going to be “no.”
>Only a fool or a liar would volunteer to go to Iraq now, and only a fool
>or a liar would keep those poor bastards the right wingers were
>pretending to defend from Kerry over there a day longer.
>The troops that are there are not stupid. To be sure, most of them
>enlisted with the hope that they would never have to be in a war, but
>with the knowledge that if a war did come along, it would be their duty
>(and bad luck) to fight. People sign up to do something for their
>country, to get a free education, to make something of their lives. Only
>fools sign up simply to fight.
>The guys over in Iraq all signed up in the belief that war might come,
>but that if it did, their country would not go to war for dishonest or
>dishonorable reasons, or frivolously, as a means of keeping a
>politician’s poll numbers up. They trusted the admin to approach war as
>a final resort. They trusted the administration to explore every other
>option, and to go to war only if it was necessary for the freedom and
>security of America. They trusted the administration not to fix the
>intelligence and facts around the policy.
>Putsch lied to them about that, and dropped them into it. Their
>government, whom they trusted to act responsibly and with forbearance
>and not to throw away their lives on a whim, continues to lie to them to
>this very day. Eighty percent of the troops over there STILL think that
>they are fighting in Iraq to “avenge 9/11." Given that the troops AREN’T
>particularly stupid, the only other possible answer is that they are
>being lied to about that. Still.
>They aren’t fools, but they were fooled. They trusted their government
>to do the right thing, and their government betrayed them. And is still
>betraying them.
>The news yesterday was that a high-ranking advisor in the Ba’atist
>government claimed that three days prior to the American invasion,
>Saddam had capitulated and agreed to all of the administration’s
>demands. “Saddam was willing to yield to all American demands, announced
>and unannounced, to reach peaceful resolution,” said Hossam Shaltout, a
>political advisor to one Saddam Hussein’s sons.
>Putsch not only attacked a country that was no threat to us for false
>reasons, but he attacked a country that had just surrendered.
>Maybe some of the heroes who are standing tall for the troops against
>the veteran-hating John Kerry would like to stop by Iraq and pass THAT
>little tidbit among the guys. I’m sure they would appreciate hearing
>that. Nothing like learning you put your ass on the line because a pack
>of cowards and hypocrites lied to you.
>And now the disgraceful Republicans, drawing from a bottomless well of
>dishonesty, shameless hucksterism and cynicism, spring to the defense of
>the very people they have lied to and cheated, and try to use them yet
>again to stifle dissent against themselves.
>But it won’t last long. House Majority Leader John Boehner, one of the
>slimier examples of that vile pack of Republicans, while defending the
>almost comically inept Donald Rumsfeld, laid the blame for Iraq on the
>soldiers of the generals serving over there.
>That’s the Republican mindset for you: blast Democrats for purely
>imaginary slights against the troops, and then whip around and excuse
>the administration on the grounds that the troops fucked it all up. It’s
>the sort of thing you expect from Boehner and his pack of jackals.
>And speaking of jackals, I bet the reporters at Faux and Rush Limbaugh
>and the rest of America’s pathetic media don’t even mention that a
>ranking Republican claimed Iraq was a failure because the guys on the
>ground messed it all up.
>"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking
>about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has
>changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're
>talking about getting a court order before we do so"
>-George W. Bush, April 20, 2004
>Not dead, in jail, or a slave? Thank a liberal!
>Pay your taxes so the rich don't have to.
>For news feed, http://yahoogroups/subscribe/zepps_news
>For essays (please contribute!) http:yahoogroups/subscribe/zepps_essays  

3 Nov 2006 @ 17:38 by quinty : "Hacking Democracy"

HBO ran an excellent documentary last night on the incredible work Bev Harris and her group have been doing on Diebold and electronic voting. It will be repeated by HBO over the next several days and can be seen free on demand if you susbsribe to HBO.

{link:http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/hackingdemocracy/index.html|Hacking Democracy}

I only hope the corruption unearthed here doesn't discourage people from going out to vote. The sad conclussion is that unless these computers are banned it may be futile to vote. But we have to, don't we?

What if it does take several days to count the vote? Isn't the entegrity of an election more important than speed?  

3 Nov 2006 @ 19:10 by Quinty @ : Verified Voting Foundation

Here's a group which was founded in California, at Stanford.


3 Nov 2006 @ 20:49 by i2i : Voter Suppression
"I only hope the corruption unearthed here doesn't discourage people from going out to vote."
[3 Nov 2006 @ 17:38 by quinty]

Hear, hear!...a legitimate concern, here. While, maybe, not the intended effect, much of the concerns brought out about the legitimacy of the system could conceivably have the psychological effect of discouraging people and dissuade active participation in the democratic process (another form of Voter Suppression.)

Greg Palast had a healthy response to those concerns. His answer was: "Make them steal your vote."

Don't just assume it's all in vain and not do anything.

I love the energy behind such project as the {link:http://www.verifiedvotingfoundation.org/index.php|Election Transparency Project}.

It gives new meaning to participatory citizenship and it is about reclaiming power for ourselves - individually and collectively as a people. It is but one small step for our system in its current limitations, but one giant leap for {link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_democracy|Emergent Democracy}.

While pointing the finger at the "the system" is a much needed exercise (the flaws of the electoral process, the corruption of power, the hijacking of government by private interests, etc.,) finger-pointing alone is not enough. Now, more than ever - and it will ever be more so in the future as hopefully the Internet and new technologies help reinforce the Emergent Democracy phenomenon – it is about WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.

Thank you for the link, Quinty.  

3 Nov 2006 @ 23:58 by Quinty @ : Thanks for your
enthusiasm. It's contagious.

I like the Palast quote: " Make them steal your vote." When they have to that means we still have a democracy to defend.

There's been much talk about our country sliding into fascism since GWB became president. I think the concerns are legitimate, since government and corporate power and corruption have become tightly linked. I suppose everyone has seen the news today that the Republican Congress has told the Auditor in Iraq to close its office?

{link:http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1103-10.htm|Times/Common Dreams}

So long as we have freedom of speech and the freedom to organize and protest there should be hope. But the signs are indeed disturbing.

It's going to be an interesting Tuesday alright.  

4 Nov 2006 @ 00:16 by Quinty @ : And if Halliburton and Bechtel
enough, here's this in tonight's news too:

{link:http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/110306D.shtml|Bush Names Exxon Chief to Chart America's Energy Future}  

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