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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.
In segment 3, Stephen Spoonamore explains how election fraud can happen even if the voting machines are registering votes correctly. One way is through the haphazard custody of memory cards after voting. But it gets worse. No one has ever inspected the code inside the vote tabulators, so alarming issues like tabulators that decrease votes remain unanswered. They produce negative numbers, which should never happen in a vote tabulator. Why would there be a need to decrease - subtract - votes? To steal votes, plain and simple. How does he know? Under the guise of "proprietary software" Diebold refuses to allow its code for voting machines to be inspected. The real irony is that Diebold allows their code for cash machines to be inspected. Since statistical analysis is the method by which all computer fraud is discovered, Diebold's rejection of their code inspection is an ominous indicator of election fraud.
"The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes." -- Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, 1952
The issue of vote fraud has been all over the news for months. The first time I ran for Congress in the '93-'94 cycle, my campaign put out 25,000 flyers on Jim Collier's book VoteScam: The Stealing of America. Vote fraud and electronic ballot machines have been one of my pet issues and crusades since 1993. I find it ironic that the ones making the most noise about this are the Democrats, bona fide experts when it comes to vote fraud.
Tens of thousands of America's former nuclear bomb builders are sick, dying or already dead because of their exposure to radiation and other poisons. You knew that.
After decades of stonewalling, the government started a compensation program in 2000. You knew that.
After four years of bungling, Congress reformed the program, demanding that it be "compassionate, fair and timely." Perhaps you knew that.
But what you may not know is that today only one in four claimants has been compensated and millions more of your taxpayer dollars have been wasted creating hurdles instead of help.
For many of the nation's cold warriors, the government's game is deadly denial.
Check out the Rocky Mountain News Series.
by Tierney Plumb | www.BizJournals.com
House Judiciary Committee Continues to Pursue White House On Politicization of the Justice Department
The House Judiciary Committee today filed its opposition to the stay motion filed by the Department of Justice in Committee on the Judiciary v. Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten. The case involves the Committee’s effort to obtain documents and testimony from the White House regarding the politicization of the Department of Justice, including the firing of nine United States Attorneys in 2006. Last month, Judge Bates ruled that the Committee had the right to seek enforcement of its subpoenas in court and rejected the White House’s claim that Harriet Miers was immune from Congressional subpoena as contrary to law. The Court also directed the White House to provide a detailed listing of the documents it had refused to produce despite the Committee’s subpoena. Last week, the Department of Justice asked for an "emergency" stay of the Judge’s ruling pending an appeal.
WAG THE DOG: HOW TO CONCEAL MASSIVE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE
by Ellen Brown | WebofDebt.com | August 14th, 2008
“I’m in show business, why come to me?”
“War is show business, that’s why we’re here.”
– “Wag the Dog” (1997 film)
Last week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had just announced record losses, and so had most reporting corporations. Unemployment was mounting, the foreclosure crisis was deepening, state budgets were in shambles, and massive bailouts were everywhere. Investors had every reason to expect the dollar and the stock market to plummet, and gold and oil to shoot up. Strangely, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 300 points, the dollar strengthened, and gold and oil were crushed. What happened?
WASHINGTON -- When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set out to promote her new motivational book this month, she simultaneously touched off her national why-haven't-you-impeached-the-president tour.
As she made the coast-to-coast rounds of lectures, television interviews and radio chats the past two weeks, Ms. Pelosi found herself under siege by people unhappy that she has not been motivated to try to throw President Bush out of office – even if only a few months remain before he leaves voluntarily.
HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. - Officers armed with military rifles have been stopping and questioning passers-by in a neighborhood plagued by violence that's been under a 24-hour curfew for a week.
On Tuesday, the Helena-West Helena City Council voted 9-0 to allow police to expand that program into any area of the city, despite a warning from a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas that the police stops were unconstitutional.
An accused al Qaeda videographer abandoned his hearing in the U.S. war crimes court at Guantanamo on Friday, setting up what could be a fast trial with no defendant and no defense.
Yemeni defendant Ali Hamza al Bahlul had intended to act as his own attorney but the judge ruled that he lost that right when he left the courtroom under escort. Bahlul said he would boycott further proceedings and return to hear his sentence after the trial ended, presumably with his conviction.
"I do not have any trust in this legal farce," he said through an Arabic-English interpreter. "Continue this illegal play in any way you wish."
Iraqi Shiite assassination teams are being trained in at least four locations in Iran by Tehran's elite Quds force and Lebanese Hezbollah and are planning to return to Iraq in the next few months to kill specific Iraqi officials as well as U.S. and Iraqi troops, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq.
A senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad described the information Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
Click here for video report.
CBS4 News has learned if mass arrests happen at the Democratic Convention, those taken into custody will be jailed in a warehouse owned by the City of Denver. Investigator Rick Sallinger discovered the location and managed to get inside for a look.
The newly created lockup is on the northeast side of Denver. Protesters have already given this place a name: "Gitmo on the Platte."
Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire.
"This is a secured environment," Capt. Frank Gale of the Denver Sheriff's Department told CBS4. "We're concerned about how that's going to be utilized by people who will be potentially disruptive."
In past conventions, mass arrests have taken place.
With Denver's jails already overflowing, new space had to be created and officers trained.
Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads "Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility."
CBS4 showed its video to leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention.
"Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp," said Zoe Williams of Code Pink.
Russia: Poland Risks Attack Because of US Missiles
Russian general says US missile defense deal exposes Poland to possible nuclear attack
By JIM HEINTZ | ABCNews.com
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.
The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.
Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile interceptor base as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations. Moscow, however, feels it is aimed at Russia's missile force.
The RoveCyberGate Campaign
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American Heritage Dictionary: pros-e-cute (pros-i-kyoot) v. tr. Law
a. To initiate civil or criminal court action against.
b. To seek to obtain or enforce by legal action.
c. To pursue (an undertaking, for example) until completion; follow to the very end.
We are working with Ohio election attorneys, Cliff Arnebeck, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Eckhart to find out the truth about recent information indicating that Karl Rove architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers. Rove’s Cyber Guru, Michael Connell, has worked for the Bush family for over 20 years and helped Bush Sr., Jeb and Bush Jr. “win” their elections using his computer skills. Whistleblowers, including Republicans, say that several of these and other national elections have been rigged through various invisible and illegal means, including vote tabulation manipulation, improper partisan use of the Justice Department to target Democrats and uncooperative US Attorneys, and the laundering of hundreds of millions of corporate dollars funneled into fake advocacy groups directed against Democrat candidates running for public office.
To the problem of an overstretched, over-toured military, there is but one answer in Washington. Both presidential candidates (along with just about every other politician in our nation's capital) are on record wanting to significantly expand the Army and the Marines. In part two of his series at TomDispatch, adapted from his remarkable new book, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism, historian and retired colonel Andrew Bacevich suggests a solution to the American military crisis that might seem obvious enough, if only both parties weren't so blinded by the idea of our "global reach," by a belief, however wrapped in euphemisms, in our imperial role on this planet, and by the imperial Pentagon and presidency that go with it: reduce the mission.
That is the heart of his latest piece. As he writes: "America doesn't need a bigger army. It needs a smaller -- that is, more modest -- foreign policy, one that assigns soldiers missions that are consistent with their capabilities. Modesty implies giving up on the illusions of grandeur to which the end of the Cold War and then 9/11 gave rise. It also means reining in the imperial presidents who expect the army to make good on those illusions. When it comes to supporting the troops, here lies the essence of a citizen's obligation."
In this striking post, Bacevich also lays out the wrong lessons that our leaders have drawn from Bush's wars and they all spell trouble: first, that the challenges posed by Iraq and Afghanistan define not only the military's present but also its future, the "next war"; second, that the corrective to civilian arrogance and misjudgment is obvious -- that the civil-military balance should be tilted back in favor of the generals, untying the hands of senior commanders; and third, that the All-Volunteer Force needs to be junked altogether.
In the town of Shenandoah, Penn., parishioners at a local church offered up prayers for peace - a peace that was broken the night of July 12, when Luis Ramirez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was beaten to death
The crime shocked people in this small, Appalachian town, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane. A late night street fight punctuated by ethnic slurs ended in Ramirez's death. Four high school students, all on the football team, are charged in connection with the homicide.
"I never thought there was such underlying hatred or bigotry," the town mayor said.
Pelosi Confesses Knowing the Truth About Bush's War Based on Lies: "I don't know what could have been done..." Tell her!
Begins at 4:51.
Q: If you were to go back and change anything from your political career, what would it be?
A: Well, of course, the biggest disappointment for me is that we are still in this war in Iraq, and, ah, I had always thought at the time that, that, ah, people knew the truth they would not vote for this war and, I don't know what else, er, not have been supportive of this, I don't know what else we could have done, ah, but this has been the most damaging to us: