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WASHINGTON — Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding that have gone to upgrade the nation's voting machines since 2003 were used to purchase touch-screen systems that many states are now scrapping because of concerns about their security and reliability.
State governments in Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Tennessee and New Mexico have decided to replace their touch-screen electronic machines. While some states have completed the switch, others won't finish replacing the machines until 2010. Nationwide, the federal government spent $1.2 billion on new voting machines between 2003 and 2007.
In 2000, James Baker famously said "Machines are neither Republicans nor Democrats and therefore can never be consciously or even unconsciously biased." In less than 3 minutes, Stephen Spoonamore debunks Baker's propaganda, and explains that every American must recognize that election fraud isn't a partisan issue; it's a fascist issue. Spoonamore raises two fundamental issues: What was the will of the voter? Was that the way the votes were really cast?
For those of us living in Maine, the Navy's Aegis destroyer program is something we often think about. These ships are built at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and once or twice a year a new Aegis is "Christened". Each time Maine Veterans for Peace organizes a protest at the ceremony that usually draws several thousand workers, Navy personnel, and politicians from both the Republican and Democratic party who come to give their blessings to the new ship. BIW is the largest employer in Maine, outside of the state government, and the politicians pride themselves in securing as many of these ship construction contracts as possible - considering they cost over $1 billion each.
The most important thing to know about Aegis though is its military mission. These ships are outfitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles and were the first weapons fired in the 2003 U.S. "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. Any U.S. full-scale attack on Iran will likely begin from an Aegis destroyer.
Aegis ships are also a key component in the Pentagon's new Star Wars program. They are now outfitted with "missile defense" systems and we are told their job is to hit "rogue state" nuclear missiles being sent toward the U.S. in the "midcourse" of their flight.
Four months before the United States invaded Iraq, the Department of Defense was secretly working with Vice President Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton Corp., on a secret deal that would give the world's second largest oil services company total control over Iraq's oil fields, according to interviews with Halliburton's most senior executives.
Previously undisclosed Halliburton documents obtained by The Public Record confirm that controlling the world's second largest oil reserves was a top priority for the Bush administration. Additionally, the deal between the Department of Defense and Halliburton unit Kellogg, Brown & Root to operate Iraq's oil industry saved Halliburton from imminent bankruptcy.
City Council asked to pass resolution regarding impeaching Bush, Cheney
A group of residents want the Chico City Council to back up their request to impeach the president and vice president.
The group, which informally calls itself the "Chico Impeach Team," is asking the council to pass a resolution urging Congress to "do its job" and begin the process to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, group project leader Marla Crites said.
While acknowledging the terms of both will end in January, Crites said she believed it was not too late for impeachment.
"I think they need to be held accountable whether they have one more day in office or two more years," Crites said. "I think we need to fight for justice or fairness ... Whoever wins the election can, unless we set things straight, can pick up wherever they left off and can continue the same behavior. And that to me is dangerous."
BRATTLEBORO — It's not that President Bush is ignoring Vermont, which twice gave him the fewest votes of any state. Heck, on Friday he declared part of it a disaster.
It's just that Bush hasn't been here since taking office, making the Land of Ben and Jerry the only state he has not visited as president.
And now — with a gubernatorial race featuring an incumbent Republican not eager to have his photo taken with Bush (not to mention a voter-approved resolution in Brattleboro calling for Bush's arrest) — smart money says he might not get here before depositing his final government paycheck in January.
Out Damned Blot: A Letter to Colin Powell
By Ray McGovern
August 15, 2008
You have said you regret the “blot” on your record caused by your parroting spurious intelligence at the U.N. to justify war on Iraq. On the chance you may not have noticed, I write to point out that you now have a unique opportunity to do some rehab on your reputation.
If you were blindsided, well, here’s an opportunity to try to wipe off some of the blot. There is no need for you to end up like Lady Macbeth, wandering around aimlessly muttering, Out damned spot...or blot.
September 10th: The day before our world changed, a day to change the world!
On August 1st, I delivered to Speaker Nancy Pelosi a petition bearing the names of over 100,000 Americans that, like us, feel that the President must be held accountable for abusing executive power and disregarding his Constitutional obligations.
Your voices have been heard and your support continues to send a powerful message to lawmakers. That is why I call on you again to help us in a new effort to deliver 1 Million signatures to Speaker Pelosi on September 10, 2008. Sign the impeachment petition online at www.Kucinich.us .
Major U.S. Ally Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Resigns
Musharraf Announced He Would Step Down for the Sake of His Country
NICHOLAS SCHIFRIN | ABCNews.com
~Chip :)'s Note: I bolded text that shows what a strong oppositional party can do to uphold a Constitutional government.
Pervez Musharraf, the former military general who became Pakistan's president and accepted more than $10 billion in aid from the United States to fight the war on terror, resigned in a speech broadcast to the nation today, saying the country would benefit from his stepping aside before impeachment proceedings against him could begin.
By Dave Lindorff
American Secretary of War Robert Gates knows a real leader when he sees one. “Clearly, as far as I’m concerned,” he said, Vladimir Putin, and not President Dmitry Medvedev, "has the upper hand right now."
Well hell, Gates should know. After all, he deals on a daily basis with the same peculiar situation here in the US, where the president also is a figurehead and the real power lies in the hands of Vice President Dick Cheney.
But Gates doesn’t speak with such clarity and directness in other matters. "I think that there is a real concern that Russia has turned the corner here and is headed back toward its past rather than toward its future, and my hope is that we will see actions in the weeks and months to come that provide us some reassurance," he said, speaking on ABC and CNN, claiming that the country was returning to the authoritarianism of the old Soviet era.
by Linda Milazzo
Last Monday evening, in the plush environs of Los Angeles' American Jewish University, a dedicated group of pro-peace, Pro-Constitution patriots "booked" Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. No, I don't mean "booked" as in charged her with a crime and jailed her. In this scenario, "booked" is more akin to "punked" - in which case we surprised Madam Pelosi by revising her new book, and then forced her to read our revisions. Tuh-Dah!!
It happened like this:
Madam Speaker of the House Pelosi, second in line to the Presidency, appeared at a book signing for her ironically titled new tome, "Know Your Power." Since Madam Pelosi has not used her power as Speaker to hold impeachment hearings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as prescribed by Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution, we pro-Constitution patriots held her to task. We took her new book and scrawled our personalized imperatives and questions within it. I wrote "Honor Your Oath" on side-by side blank pages in the book and "Debate Cindy Sheehan" on the blank side of the book jacket. See below:
What is this thing called democracy? So easy to talk about, so difficult to make real.
Pure democracy is not what our Founders gave us. Who would want a simple majority to control the minority? Instead, America was given a representative democracy within a constitutional republic where laws that protect all people trump majority rule. Standing between majority-won elections and government power are elected representatives: writing, overseeing and implementing laws. But when you can no longer trust the elected representatives what happens to American democracy? It becomes an oxymoron.
The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.
The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.
"The 110th Congress isn’t over. We’re starting our work, and then we’re doing it in a period where the Congress is in recess. I’m calling everybody back." -- John Conyers on DemocracyNow, Aug.14,2008
Electronic Vote Tampering Is a Real Flipper: Diebold Talks Garbage! "It's Not a Clock Function! It Changes Votes!"
Velvet Revolution's Segment 5 in the Stephen Spoonamore's Diebold vote tampering expose series is brief, and loaded. Computer code wizard Stephen Spoonamore describes just one way that Americans' votes can be manipulated, and cast fraudulently for another candidate. Although a Diebold official claimed that a common programming fix called a patch was a "clock function," when Stephen examined the code, he found that it is actually a "comparator," one way that electronic voting can be compromised.
Installation of the "clock function" was important enough to be hand delivered, just two days before the election. Chambliss' son, Bo, is a registered lobbyist for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He is also a member of the Capitol Club, which "maintains a membership of only one hundred from the greater Washington, D.C. area and beyond." Their sponsors include: Vineyard Vines, Anheuser-Busch, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Red Bull, Rolls-Royce North America, Mercedes-Benz, Moet & Chandon, Buscadores Tequila, and Beretta.
In the 2002 election Stephen mentions, Max Cleland, an incumbent, decorated Vietnam veteran triple amputee, was "beaten" by Saxby Chambliss, after Chambliss used campaign ads pairing Cleland with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, "[I]t's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible;" Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said the ads were "beyond offensive to me.
As U.S. troops fight for the rights of others to vote, are they losing their own? Our fighting men and women routinely have a lower voting rate than their civilian counterparts. They often have more urgent matters than completing absentee ballots. Still, the strikingly low participation rate has members of Congress wondering whether ballot access has gone missing in action and how to rescue it.
Only 5.5 percent of eligible military and civilian Americans overseas voted in the 2006 midterm election, says the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. A big reason for the feeble turnout: red tape ensnaring GI Joe and GI Jane.
Arab world sees Bush's response to Georgia-Russia crisis as hypocritical
The U.S. president should be 'too ashamed to speak about the occupation of any country, he is already occupying one,' one observer says.
By Jeffrey Fleishman | Los Angeles Times
President Bush's condemnation of Russia as a bullying intimidator in the Georgian conflict struck a hypocritical note in a Middle East that has endured violent reverberations from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and where the sharp White House rhetoric against Moscow echoes what many Arabs feel in turn about the U.S.
The public has a slim chance of discovering the existence of criminal hearings and trials conducted by U.S. armed forces around the world, according to a yearlong study of military justice practices by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The Reporters Committee investigated access granted to the public and the press for military criminal proceedings and accompanying records. Interviews with reporters, lawyers, military personnel and experts on the armed services yielded examples of important criminal cases that went unreported because the government refused to provide the public with a comprehensive record of Article 32 pre-trial hearings and courts-martial.
The Pentagon would be required to grant journalists access to ceremonies honoring fallen military personnel, under a bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The legislation is significant because it would, for the first time since Vietnam, let photojournalists capture the powerful images of flag-draped caskets arriving on American soil during wartime.
This week the bill won the endorsement of the National Press Photographers Association.
The Fallen Hero Commemoration Act, or H.R. 6662, was introduced July 30 by Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), a member of the House Committee on Armed Services.
The bill states: "The Secretary of Defense shall grant access to accredited members of the media at military commemoration ceremonies and memorial services conducted by the Armed Forces for members of the Armed Forces who have died on active duty and when the remains of members of the Armed Forces arrive at military installations in the United States." It was referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
Jones voted to authorize the Iraq war, but he later supported a timetable to withdrawal troops and opposed the troop surge in 2007. Jones has spoken frequently in support of veterans' interests and displays a poster outside his office showing the photos of fallen service members from the Marine base in his district, according to his Web site.
His bill has six co-sponsors: Rep Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) and Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.).
The NPPA said in a letter this week that it supports the legislation. "We are painfully aware that the Department of Defense currently prohibits media coverage of these somber ceremonies, which in turn bars the public from those images as well," wrote NPPA president Bob Carey in a letter to Jones.
I wish I could fly back to Russia. I have been in the United States for a year, and I am studying and working here to get experience in American journalism, known worldwide for its independence and professionalism. But in recent days it has felt as though I am too late, that the journalism of Watergate is well behind us and that reporting is no longer fair and balanced.
For years I have respected American newspapers for being independent. But no longer. Coverage of the conflict between Russia and Georgia has been unprofessional, to say the least. I was surprised and disappointed that the world's media immediately took the side of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili last week.
Waterboarding At Coney Island: The Thrill That Chills
by Margot Adler | NPR.org
It might not be surprising that waterboarding, the controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning and that many have called torture, would become the subject of satire.
But it was still shocking to many when artist Steve Powers created a Coney Island attraction called the Waterboard Thrill Ride. It's not really a ride, it's more of a peep show.
Powers took over an old photo studio near the Coney Island Side Show. There's a picture on the wall of someone who is tied down and looks a lot like SpongeBob SquarePants. "It don't Gitmo better" is painted above the picture, a reference to the Guantanamo Bay prison. You climb three cinder block steps up to a small window with prison bars, where you can peer into a cell. If you deposit a dollar in a slot, two robotic figures come to life for 15 seconds. An interrogator in black pours a kettle of water into the mouth of a "prisoner" in an orange jumpsuit who is tied down. The orange-suited robot convulses as the water is poured into its mouth.
People step up to the window. Some put money in, and some don't. Tami and Joe Brady put their dollar in and found it a little shocking. "The man is going up and down, and there is water coming out of this metal thing," Tami exclaims. "Oh my goodness, it's like a water torture."
Some people are not impressed. "I thought it would be funnier, more satirical," one passerby observes. But Mark Kehoe, an artist and the former art director of the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, says it reminds him of an act that he once saw on the Bowery that was intended as a comment on Nazi atrocities. "What's different and more interesting about this," Kehoe says, "here we are looking at our own atrocities."
A century ago this week, the normally placid town of Springfield, Ill., the hometown of President Abraham Lincoln, erupted in a two-day spasm of racial violence and mayhem that still has the power to shock today.
Goaded by two alleged attacks by black men on whites, a mob of white residents killed two black men, destroyed dozens of black-owned businesses and ran most of the city's black population out of town on Aug. 14, 1908. At least four whites also died during the rioting.
Roberta Senechal de la Roche, professor of history at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., tells host Liane Hansen that, "White Northerners had a rather complacent and self-satisfied attitude that anti-black prejudice and anti-black violence in particular was largely a Southern problem. … And one of the really shocking things about the well-publicized Springfield race riot — and its association with Abraham Lincoln — was that the North had a race problem."
After allegations that a black man had murdered a white homeowner and that another black man had raped a white woman, a crowd massed at the jail where two black suspects were being held and demanded the county sheriff hand them over.
"They clearly wanted to mete out lethal justice there on the spot," says Senechal de la Roche, who has written a book on the riots titled In Lincoln's Shadow.
Officials managed to sneak the two black suspects out of town, and the crowd then went on a rampage that began blocks from Lincoln's family home.
DEBKAfile reports that both powers have begun acting to cool the rhetoric and review relations, after spokesmen in Washington - and especially Moscow - raised the threat level of their oratory to its highest pitch since the Cold War’s end.
Friday night, Aug. 15, Russia’s deputy chief of staff Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned Poland it was “exposing itself to a strike 100 percent.”
He said any new US assets in Europe could come under Russian nuclear attack. Russian forces would target “the allies of countries having nuclear weapons” to destroy them “as a first priority,” said Gen. Nogovitsyn.
Judge Bates Slams the Bush White House's Claims of Congressional Immunity: Why There May Be No Consequences for the White House
~Chip's :) Note: Dean speculates about Nancy Pelosi's pending (in)action on this, which I've bolded.
When the random selection system used by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sent the case of Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives v. Harriet Miers, et al to the courtroom of Judge John D. Bates, the White House was no doubt thrilled. Earlier, Judge Bates had sided with Vice President Cheney’s refusal to produce documents requested by the Comptroller General.
Six attorneys rejected from civil service positions at the Justice Department filed a lawsuit today against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and three other top officials for allegedly violating their rights by taking politics into consideration in the hiring process.
The suit is an attempt to hold top officials accountable for the hiring scandal that ultimately led to Gonzales' resignation last year, said Daniel Metcalfe, the attorney for the plaintiffs who is also executive director of its Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University's Washington College of Law.