Monday, December 04, 2006

Demand paper ballots now

Sign DFA's Petition
Put paper ballots on the agenda
The Pennsylvania State House switched from Republican to Democratic this week thanks to the careful counting of absentee and military ballots in one close race. This powerful victory happened because every paper ballot was counted. But across America votes are increasingly being cast electronically with no paper record. Had the election in Pennsylvania been conducted electronically there is no saying how the race might have been decided.
You helped elect a new Democratic House and Senate in Washington, D.C. It's time to put our majority into action. Ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put paper ballots on the agenda in the new Congress's first 100 hours.

I hope that when this becomes a reality, someone gives Brad Friedman at his just due. He's been relentless on this issue, and deserves a lot of credit.

another lazy journalist ignores the main issue of the NSA spying scandal or as Atrios would say, "Ow the stupid, it burns"

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Here's another misleading and confusing article about this administration's secret eavesdropping program, in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Democrats say they're forging a coalition to limit domestic eavesdropping on terrorists, by James Rowley of Bloomberg News. Just look at how misleading the title is, "Democrats say they're forging a coalition," ok I'll buy that, but what about this, "to limit domestic eavesdropping on terrorists." How often does this crap have to be debunked? No Democrat wants to limit eavesdropping on terrorists, period.

How often do we have to keep pointing out to these lazy journalists that the President has all the tools he needs to eavesdrop on terrorists.....LEGALLY. It's called FISA and it allows for eavesdropping on terrorists. All you have to do is get judicial approval, and if it's a emergency the approval can be retroactive. Judicial approval is required, you see, because we've discovered in the past, when powerful people have control of big fancy spy agencies like the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. they are very tempted to abuse that power (remember Nixon? how about Edgar J. Hoover?).

Mr. Bush himself said in April 2004, "Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. 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. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

Every president since FISA was passed has had no problem following this law. FISA has been revised, five times since 9/11 to accomodate the executive branch.

What Bush is doing is breaking the law, plain and simple. That should be what journalists are writing about, not confusing the public with ridiculous arguments about who wants to eavesdrop on terrorists and who doesn't. How stupid or illogical does anyone have be to not know that every American, republican or democrat wants terrorism stopped.

This is so bad, look at the first paragraph:

Democrats, about to take control of Congress, say they will forge a bipartisan compromise to put limits on President George W. Bush's program of domestic
eavesdropping of suspected terrorists.

Democrats don't need a bipartisan compromise to tell the President to stop breaking the law. And I don't believe anyone wants to put limits on, "domestic eavesdropping of suspected terrorists." Congress is obligated under our Constitution to force the President to obey the law, and the law says, "get a warrant." That's the issue.

More nonsense:

Democrats say they already have a starting point for a compromise, noting that bipartisan proposals this year require court warrants for eavesdropping. At the same time, party leaders will be treading carefully in an effort to assure Americans that they can protect privacy without sacrificing vigilance, and to discredit Republican charges they are weak on national security.

``How will the Democrats proceed? I think gingerly,'' said Steven Aftergood, who
directs a government secrecy project for the Federation of American Scientists
in Washington. ``They can no longer function as a protest group.''

Once again, there is nothing bipartisan about requiring warrants to eavesdrop, warrants have been required by law since FISA was passed in 1978. Party leaders do not need to tread gingerly, they need to honor their commitment to their constituents, and explain why. The American public expects Congress to do their jobs, and their job is to stop the President from breaking the law. If he refuses then the only recourse is impeachment.

Towards the end of this misleading blather, Rowley finally admits that this program has been ruled unconstitutional. So why isn't that in the title of his article?

I'm not going to quote anymore of the article, it's just more of the same lunacy.

Will the Democrats stop Bush from continuing to break the law, or will they allow Bush's continued lawlessness, like the rubberstamp republican congress did?

The fact that journalists continue to misrepresent this issue is maddening. Democrats should not allow this type of sloppy reporting to cloud their judgement. No one (including the President) can pick and choose which laws they wish to obey. The Democrats cannot allow this to continue, and they need to shout it in the halls of Congress, and get on the talk shows and explain that this is simply a law and order issue, that we are a nation of laws.

Here's some advice for the Dems, explain the situation to the public, like this, Bush is breaking the law, which makes him a criminal, and this Congress refuses to "coddle criminals."

Weird, I have a hard copy of the Post Gazette article, but it's not on their website

I found it at Bloomberg News but someone has changed the title of the article to, "Democrats Seek Republican Backing to Limit Bush's Surveillance."

Maybe he's already taking some flack, one can only hope so.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


A federal agency is set to recommend significant changes to specifications for electronic-voting machines next week, has learned.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recommending that the 2007 version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify direct record electronic (DRE) machines.

According to an NIST paper to be discussed at a meeting of election regulators at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., on Dec. 4 and 5, DRE vote totals cannot be audited because the machines are not software independent.

In other words, there is no means of verifying vote tallies other than by relying on the software that tabulated the results to begin with.

The machines currently in use are "more vulnerable to undetected programming errors or malicious code," according to the paper.

The NIST paper also noted that, "potentially, a single programmer could 'rig' a major election."

Will this be the straw to break the camel's back? Let's hope so.

So this explains the Jack Kelly's of the world

Are George W. Bush lovers certifiable?
November 23, 2006
By Andy Bromage

A collective “I told you so” will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse’s study gets out.

Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

But before you go thinking all your conservative friends are psychotic, listen to Lohse’s explanation.

“Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader,” Lohse says. “If your world is very mixed up, there’s something very comforting about someone telling you, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’” - Link

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ben Sargent

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jack Kelly - please go away

With the morbid curiosity of one who slows down to catch a glimpse of an auto accident I can't help every now and then, to read a Jack Kelly column. The latest is titled "Beware Iraq's neighbors." He hasn't changed a bit, I guess he missed the election or hasn't read the latest polls. From his column, here's a little bit of his neocon smut:

We are at war with Islamic extremism,
which is by no means restricted by the borders of Iraq. Many in the Democratic Party think we can quit the war in Iraq at little cost to ourselves, as we did in Vietnam 30 years ago. But this is a war that will follow us home.

Our enemies hate us because we are not like them, and they will go on trying to kill us unless we become like them, whether we are in Iraq or not. They cannot be appeased. We can destroy them, or let ourselves be destroyed by them. There are no other choices.

Yak, yak, yak ....same old talking points.

Let me just ask, Jack aren't you tired of being wrong and/or stupid? There's a history here. Let's take a walk down memory lane, and read some of your past brilliance.
Many in my generation get misty-eyed when JFK is mentioned. Bush could be for Generations X and Y what Kennedy was for us. - How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections, Jan. 21, 2002

But the key to victory is a regime change in Iraq. If that occurs, it is likely that other terror-supporting nations can be induced to mend their ways without resort to military force.
If Saddam Hussein were replaced by a quasi-democratic, sort of pro-Western government, then Iran would be flanked on either side by relatively free countries. This could bring about a regime change from within. - Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise, Feb. 25, 2002

Should we fight Saddam Hussein now? Or should we wait until after he attacks us with nuclear weapons and kills millions of Americans? This is, astoundingly, an agonizing question for many liberals. - Saddam's American friends, April 8, 2002

Sen. Tom Daschle D-S.D., and Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., are a lot like Yasser Arafat. They launch terror attacks from ambush. When their attacks go awry, they deny ever having intended to do anyone harm. - Political terrorists, May 23, 2002

There is one other way in which war might be averted. It is the way preferred by the French, the Russians, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and many American liberals, and it would have tragic consequences for the United States. This is that Saddam will again successfully play the game of rope a dope with weapons inspectors that he has played for lo these many years, with the compliance of UN weenies who would just as soon see no evil. War would be delayed past the season for campaigning. The international coalition against Iraq would fizzle. Support for military action against Iraq in America would decline.

A number of conservative commentators have warned of this possibility, and it can't be ruled out. But I think the odds on it happening are infinitesimally small. Pundits Left and Right continue to underestimate the will and the wisdom of George W. Bush. - Why war with Iraq can be averted, Nov. 25, 2002

The French and the Germans consider themselves morally and intellectually superior to Americans generally, and to our "cowboy" president in particular. But they exceed us only in their arrogance, cowardice, and short-sighted greed. - The "Axis of Weasels," Feb. 3, 2003

But viewed in historical perspective, things in Iraq are pretty good, and getting better. The insurgents are a tiny — and dwindling — minority. Most of the country is at peace. Nobody is starving. Signs of reviving economic activity are everywhere. In no country in the Arab world are Americans as popular as they are in Iraq. - Blackout on progress in Iraq? 9/24/2003

The people who predicted that Afghanistan and the assault on Baghdad would be a "quagmires" are now telling you the insurgency in Iraq is growing. - Prez needs to adapt Nixon's Vietnamization program to Iraq, Jan. 17, 2005

The likely elevation of Howard (the Scream) Dean to the chair of the Democratic National Committee indicates many Democrats think they haven't been rude and confrontational and extreme enough.

But if Democrats obstruct just for the sake of obstruction — if the Loyal Opposition becomes the disloyal and distasteful opposition — the Democrats likely will be the Opposition for a long, long time to come. - Are the Democrats trying to lose the black vote? Jan. 31, 2005

It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi. - Jack Kelly: All but won, February 27, 2005

Jack Kelly:
I would say that it’s going very well and really a little better than we could have expected under the circumstances. From what I understand the amount of progress that we have made in just a bit over two years is astounding with all things considered. - The Jack Kelly Interview, 6/6/2005

Aren't you even a little bit embarrassed? How about an apology for your contribution to this mess we're stuck in.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

looks like there is someone who's going to miss man-on-dog after all

Leaked Drug Company Memo: Santorum Loss "Creates A Big Hole We Will Need To Fill"..."We Now Have Fewer Allies In The Senate"...

Let the tears flow...

Blood Money

UPDATE 2-Carlyle group plans $5.5 bln bid for Taiwan's ASE

By Sinead Carew and Sheena Lee

NEW YORK/TAIPEI, Nov 24 (Reuters) - A private equity consortium led by The Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] is planning to make a $5.5 billion bid for the world's biggest microchip packaging firm, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) (2311.TW: Quote, Profile, Research) (ASX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the companies said on Friday.

Gee....I wonder where the Carlyle Group got all that cash. Looks like the Iraq war has filled their coffers quite nicely (from William Rivers Pitt):

The Carlyle Group achieved national attention in the early days of the Iraq occupation, especially after Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" exposed the firm's umbilical ties to the Bush family and the House of Saud. For the uninitiated, Carlyle is a privately-owned equity firm organized and run by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.

Currently, Carlyle manages more than $44 billion in 42 different investment funds, which is an interesting fact in and of itself: Carlyle could lay claim to only a meager $12 billion in funds in December of 2001. Thanks to their ownership of United Defense Industries, a major military contractor that sells a whole galaxy of weapons systems to the Pentagon, Carlyle's profits skyrocketed after the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Some notable present and former employees of Carlyle include former president George H.W. Bush, who resigned in 2003; James Baker III, Bush Sr.'s secretary of state and king fixer; and George W. Bush, who served on Carlyle's board of directors until his run for the Texas governorship. One notable former client of Carlyle was the Saudi BinLaden Group, which sold its investment back to the firm a month after the September 11 attacks. Until the October 2001 sellout, Osama bin Laden himself had a financial interest in the same firm that employed the two presidents Bush.

It's time to outlaw war profiteering, Alica at Hooterville has a good post up on this subject:

As in World War II, we need to take a stand - make war profiteering illegal. President Roosevelt said, "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster". Harry Truman referred to war profiteering as 'treason'. And in 1953, at the height of the Cold War, President Dwight Eisenhower, a real war hero, said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

Want to stop un-necessary war? Don't allow corporations to make a profit from the blood of our soldiers. And especially corporations controlled by former presidents and politicians.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the Pentagon's proposed new Iraq war strategys explained by the General

Happy Thanksgiving

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Public financing of elections - the time is now

From Just 6$:

Congress would only have to spend $6 per citizen per year to publicly fund each and every election for the House, the Senate and the White House. When you consider that "pork barrel" projects cost every one of us more than $200 last year alone, it’s no contest.

Think of it. With public funding, wealthy special interests and their hired lobbyists would no longer have a commanding influence over our politics and government. Instead of begging for campaign donations, candidates would spend their time communicating with voters. Once elected, our leaders would be free to focus on our nation's challenges rather than having to worry about financing their next campaign. And there's no doubt that more of our most able leaders would run for federal office when the ability to finance a campaign isn't such a daunting obstacle.

Americans for Campaign Reform is building a nonpartisan grassroots movement of citizens who support voluntary public funding and want Congress to act now. We can make this happen. Public funding is already working in Arizona and Maine, and was just passed by the Connecticut legislature.

As citizens we can complain about the corrosive influence of our election finance system, or we can do something about it. With your help, we can mobilize citizens across the country and put pressure on Congress to enact real reform.

ACR Honorary Chairs,

Bill Bradley
Former Senator
(D) New Jersey Bob Kerrey
Former Senator
(D) Nebraska Warren Rudman
Former Senator
(R) New Hampshire Alan Simpson
Former Senator
(R) Wyoming

Monday, November 20, 2006

how ironic would it be........

......if Syria and Iran save Iraq?

Bloodshed piles pressure on Iraqi PM, Bush

no reason

Barney's spreading lies about the Democrats.
Fox's Barnes: It's "a theological issue" for Democrats "to raise taxes even though there's no reason except vindictiveness against the well-to-do for doing it"

No reason? no reason? somebody needs to STFU! What about the trillions and trillions of dollars of debt you Republican idiots have piled onto our children. Is there a more worthless pundit on TV than Fred Barnes?

gesture of respect

Iraq war memorial sets tempers ablaze / Creators say display is a gesture of respect
The sign on Louise Clark's Lafayette property calling attention to the U.S. troops killed in Iraq has provoked heated reactions. Chronicle photo by David Paul Morris

the people have spoken

Sign up Come on
This one's nothing like Vietnam
Except for the bullets
Except for the bombs
Except for the youth that's gone
- Michael Franti

Someone tell the Pentagon there are not three choices, going forward in Iraq. There's only one.

Someone tell St. McCain.......more troops will just get more people killed.

Somebody tell Obama the time to start leaving Iraq is now, not 4 to 6 months from now. He doesn't get it.

Nancy Pelosi gets it. Even with all harassment she's taken from the media, since the election, she refuses to be distracted. From her own lips: ('er keyboard)

This morning, I visited our brave men and women at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. It is a place of prayers, of honor, of respect, and reflection. And I left there more committed than ever to bringing the war to an end.

I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq.
This unnecessary pre-emptive war has come at great cost. Nearly 2,900 of our brave troops have lost their lives and more than 21,000 more have suffered lasting wounds. Since the war began, Congress has appropriated more than $350 billion, and the United States has suffered devastating damage to our reputation in the eyes of the world.