Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bush Was Never Elected

People have asked me why I didn't blog Bush's recent State of the Union. Well, to be honest, it's because I have a limited taste for lies. Not that I didn't watch the grand and boring speech, I did, but my feeling is that his lies are now so fucking obvious on the face of them that no one needed me to sit and analyze his bullshit. It's a waste of my time.

Ah, but more importantly, it's because I'm not willing to expend the energy writing about the speech of a man who has never been legitimately elected President.

See, in 2000, the Supreme Court could have ordered that every ballot in Florida be counted. Instead they pulled off a judicial coup and stole the election for Bush. Later recounts of every Florida ballot proved that if all counties had been recounted, Bush would have lost Florida by a few thousand votes.

Then, in 2004, we saw the election-rigging machine at it again in Ohio. Kenneth Blackwell, scumbag extraordinaire did everything he could to help Diebold steal the election. Robert Kennedy exposed much of this in the pages of Rolling Stone. Bush stole his re-election and the mainstream Corporate Media promptly ignored it.

Now they're ignoring THIS story, a story far more interesting than anything that President Citizen Bush might have to say...

Ohio Election Staff Convicted in Recount Rig

By M.R. Kropkop
The Associated Press

Wednesday 24 January 2007

Cleveland - Two election workers were convicted Wednesday of rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in Ohio's most populous county.

Jacqueline Maiden, elections coordinator of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee. They also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty.

Prosecutors accused Maiden and Dreamer of secretly reviewing preselected ballots before a public recount on Dec. 16, 2004. They worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg has said the workers were following procedures as they understood them.

Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the close election and hold on to the White House in 2004.

Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter did not claim the workers' actions affected the outcome of the election - Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county's recount.

Maiden and Dreamer, who still work for the elections board, face a possible sentence of six to 18 months for the felony conviction. Sentencing is on Feb. 26.

A message left for Elections Board Director Michael Vu was not immediately returned Wednesday. The board released a statement that said its goal is to restore confidence in the county's election progress and pursue reforms in addition to those made since 2004.
I think it's amusing that the Elections Board Director's words are taken as truth in this article, especially considering that all three of the people charged in this case were placed on ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE and their legal fees paid for BY that same Elections Board, who are clearly trying to cover up their ignominious record as election thieves.

This isn't some isolated incident... writers Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have a great account of how widespread and egregious the election fraud in Ohio was this last election.
But Cleveland, which usually gives Democrats an extremely heavy margin, was crucial to Bush's alleged victory of roughly 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million counted. Some 600,000 votes were cast or counted in Cuyahoga County. But official turnout and vote counts varied wildly and improbably from precinct to precinct. Overall the county reported about a 60% turnout. But several predominantly black precincts, where voters went more than 80% for Kerry, reported turnouts of 30% or less. In one ward, only a 7% turnout was reported, while surrounding precincts were nearly ten times as high. Independent studies indicate Kerry thousands of votes in Cuyahoga County that rightfully should have been counted in his column.

In the Cuyahoga case, the poll workers are charged with circumventing state recount laws that require a random sampling of at least three percent of the votes cast in a given precinct, to be recounted by hand and by machine. The prosecution charges that the workers instead hand picked sample precincts to recount that they knew did not have questionable results. Once they were able to match those recounts with official results, they could then do the rest of the recount by machine, in effect rendering the entire process meaningless. "This was a very hush operation," said prosecutor Baxter.

Similar allegations have been made in other counties. Indeed, such illegal non-random recounting procedures appear to have been common throughout the state, carried out by board of election employees with the tacit consent of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell was officially charged with administering the election that gave Bush a second term while simultaneously serving as the Ohio co-chair of his Bush's re-election campaign. Blackwell has just been overwhelmingly defeated in his own attempt to become governor of Ohio.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg, who represents Dreamer, told the jury that the recount was an open process, and that his client and the others "were just doing it the way they were always doing it."
It's now very clear that this country is being led by an illegitimate fraud who calls himself The Decider. Why should Congress defer to anything he wants at this point?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Google: The Enemy Within

Google is making moves to becomeTHE ONLY internet.

That's it. Got nothing to say about it except "uhm, scary?"

Oh, and all these cable and phone companies who hate Net Neutrality so much had better look 3 years down the road and realize that without Net Neutrality, their stupid, slow, lumbering asses are out of business as Google sits down at the table and eats their lunch and they're unable to do Jack Fuggin Shit about it.

Iraqi Government No Show Jobs

Here's a neat dispatch out of Baghdad that amounts to a progress report on the Iraq parliament, where lawmakers are still finding it difficult to convene because, most of the time, there is no quorum. The New York Times reports that "nearly every session since November has been adjourned" because most lawmakers don't show up for work even though they receive salaries and benefits worth about $120,000, which seems like a ridiculously large sum for Iraq.

I'm used to hearing about "No Show" jobs on mob-controlled construction jobs. I'm not used to hearing about them in Government, although the Republican-controlled 109th Congress did its damnedest to not show up and worked as little as possible (Tuesday through Thursday only, out of the building by 6pm). It looks like someone in Iraq was paying attention.

Hey... maybe Bush is exporting American-style Democracy to Iraq, after all!

Pentagon Spying On Americans. AGAIN.

See, THIS is thinking outside the box. If stupid old Congress makes it difficult for the CIA to spy on America's citizens, then you bypass the CIA and instead assign the Military to spy on America's citizens. You know, that same Military which is oh, so hard-pressed in Iraq. Hey! Looks like I found a few surplus units that aren't doing jack shit and can be instead rotated into the Meat Grinder!

Support Our Troops? Not when the motherfuckers are spying on us, we shouldn't.

Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.

The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.

But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters. Congress has rejected several attempts by the two agencies since 2001 for authority to issue mandatory letters, in part because of concerns about the dangers of expanding their role in domestic spying.
Oh, Don't Worry, Vice-President Cheney says it's not illegal for him to spy on you for being against Halliburton's his war:
Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday the Pentagon and CIA are not violating people's rights by examining the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage in the United States.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel will be the judge of that.

National security letters permit the executive branch to seek records about people in terrorism and spy investigations without a judge's approval or grand jury subpoena.

"The Defense Department gets involved because we've got hundreds of bases inside the United States that are potential terrorist targets," Cheney said.

"The Department of Defense has legitimate authority in this area. This is an authority that goes back three or four decades. It was reaffirmed in the Patriot Act," he said. "It's perfectly legitimate activity. There's nothing wrong with it or illegal. It doesn't violate people's civil rights."
This entire issue brings a few things to mind. Firstly, a personal note; I first heard of this entire Pentagon-Is-Spying-On-Americans issue a few months ago when I was in Florida, giving a book reading/slideshow at the Wolfsonian Museum. As I mentioned in my blog at the time, there was a creep with a crew-cut in the audience taking notes on a clipboard the entire time. When my talk was over, I ran into him in the hall and asked if he enjoyed the speech and joked that I hoped he didn't work at the Department of Homeland Security. He replied "See you at Gitmo, kid." Gitmo, of course, being mil-speak for our Gulag at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. The next day there was a report on the radio about the Pentagon's increased spying on anti-war groups and rallies and things sorta fell into place about my odd museum notes-taker.

Having that guy in the audience made me feel creepy. Which it was obviously intended to do as a means of chilling debate and complaint about Beloved Leader Bush's stupid war. Several of the other museum guests complained to me at the book signing after the night's slideshow about Crewcut Clipboard... ALL of them (and we're talking mostly about elderly men & women 50+ who were docents and benefactors of the Museum, mostly) pegged the mid-40's crewcut guy as DHS. Ooops, turns out we were all wrong, he's Pentagon.

That's the personal side, though. On a Macro level this turn by the Pentagon is highly alarming because the fact is that in the entire history of Mankind, whenever a country's military has been turned into a domestic spying force, it has become a dangerously brutal force for repression of the population and extension of the privileges of the Wealthy and Powerful. Nazi Germany, East Germany, the Soviet Union, Spain, Italy, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile... mankind's history is littered with so-called civilized countries whose leaders turned the military into an apparatus for oppressing their people... it ALWAYS starts with spying on them. Only after digging up "suspicious" materials do the killings begin.

So what's Bush's end-game here? Because from the seat of History, it looks rather sinister.

Letters For Dear Leader

This is a bit old... but still hilarious.

If you feel like a little comic relief — or a terrifying look at the state of things on the right-wing fringe when it comes to Bush — take a look at some of the messages posted at WingNutDaily’s forum, “Your questions for George W. Bush and his spokesmen“, which asks readers to contribute questions for Tony Snow and the Chimperor. This is what WND says:
Ever have a great question to ask the president or Tony Snow? Ever been frustrated watching White House press conferences because reporters just “beat around the Bush”? Now’s your chance to participate. Post your tough questions for the White House at the MR. PRESIDENT! forum where they will be reviewed by WND editors and our White House correspondent. Who knows? Your question may be asked at the next White House press briefing.
Here's my favorite question:
What might Jesus do?
Posted by Conservative (I) on Jan 17, 2007 14:04

Would Jesus knowingly allow terrorists, murderers, rapists, child molestors, theives, and the like to freely enter into our country illegally?

Would Jesus support providing illegal criminals with FREE health care while there are legal immigrants and citizens who are scratching from the bottom of the barrel just so they and their families can see the doctor for illness?

Would Jesus KNOWINGLY provide illegal criminals with FREE education?

Would Jesus Christ want to knowingly grant amnesty to a pack of illegal animals that just gang raped a young teenage girl?

Would Jesus share George Bush’s “compassion” for such criminals?

Would Jesus Christ twice take an oath to protect His country from invasion and then immediately commit TREASON against Americans by ABSOLUTELY REFUSING to secure our borders?

Would Jesus Christ go behind the backs of His fellow citizens and make an agreement with a foreign government to provide social security benefits for that government’s citizens and the time they were here illegally?

Would Jesus Christ have the same definition for compassion as George W. Bush?

Did Jesus Christ die for all of those that will repent and submit themselves to Him?

Far be it from me to speak for the Son of God, but I do believe the only question that would have an answer of “yes” here would be the last question that I posed. It is true that Christ died for every sinner and He did so lovingly and willingly. He is forgiving, compassionate, and tolerant. However, Jesus does believe in justice and the rule of law. With Bush’s border and immigration policy being so treasonous and disgraceful, it’s a wonder that he could possibly expect anyone to want to follow any laws. What’s the point?
Yeah, far be it from you to speak for the Son of God, because you people NEVER take that job on for yourselves. Naaah.

5 Years Late, Relief Arrives For Banned Travellers

Word from the Department of Homeland Security is that it will review the terror watch list for travelers and would probably cut it in half. In addition, an appeals process will be put in place as of 20 Feb 2007, so people can appeal their inclusion on the list.

That's great. The people on the Do Not Fly List will FINALLY be able to beg the Government for the right to travel and assemble freely. Neato.

I note that it doesn't say ANYTHING about the "Hassle When They Fly List" which the DHS admitted existed. Maybe those of us with big mouths will just have to get used to to being hassled.

Still, it's a fine step for the DHS to be taking, what, almost six full years after the 9/11 attacks? I'm thrilled that the Bush Administration has finally managed to realize that babies with names similar to those of suspected terrorists probably aren't those terrorists.

Sadly, the DHS just can't manage to do one single good thing without simultaneously adding an additional inconvenient "security" measure:

Passport Requirement for Air Travel Now in Effect

January 23, 2007 — Citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are now required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere.

The department expects a smooth transition to the new passport requirement based on the current numbers of travelers arriving at U.S. airports with passports. Over 90 percent of U.S. citizens, 97 percent of Canadians, and virtually 100 percent of Mexicans and Bermudans flying to the United States over the past week arrived with passports.
Ha ha, have fun flying to see your friends in Canada and Mexico with your passport at hand, something that has NEVER been required before today. Sucks to be one of those American tourists, filmmakers, students or any number of other innocents who happen to be in Canada right now who don't know about this obscure rule change... have fun getting back into our Free Country™ you filthy terrorist scumbags!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stupid Terror War Pulls Troops Away From Stupid Drug War

Burdened U.S. military cuts role in drug war
I bet Tony Montana is loving life lately...

Air and sea patrolling is slashed on southern smuggling routes.
January 22, 2007

WASHINGTON — Stretched thin from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has sharply reduced its role in the war on drugs, leaving significant gaps in the nation's narcotics interdiction efforts.

Since 1989, Congress has directed the Pentagon to be the lead federal agency in detecting and monitoring illegal narcotics shipments headed to the United States by air and sea and in supporting Coast Guard efforts to intercept them. In the early 1990s, at the height of the drug war, U.S. military planes and boats filled the southern skies and waters in search of cocaine-laden vessels coming from Colombia and elsewhere in South America.

But since 2002, the military has withdrawn many of those resources, according to more than a dozen current and former counter-narcotics officials, as well as a review of congressional, military and Homeland Security documents. Internal records show that in the last four years the Pentagon has reduced by more than 62% its surveillance flight-hours over Caribbean and Pacific Ocean routes that are used to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and, increasingly, Colombian-produced heroin. At the same time, the Navy is deploying one-third fewer patrol boats in search of smugglers.

The Defense Department also plans to withdraw as many as 10 Black Hawk helicopters that have been used by a multi-agency task force to move quickly to make drug seizures and arrests in the Caribbean, a major hub for drugs heading to the United States. And the military has deactivated many of the high-tech surveillance "aerostats," or radar balloons, that once guarded the entire southern border, saying it lacks the funds to restore and maintain them.

The Department of Defense defended its policy shift in a budget document sent to Congress in October: "The DOD position is that detecting drug trafficking is a lower priority than supporting our service members on ongoing combat missions."

Members of Congress and drug-control officials have said the Pentagon's cuts and redeployments have hamstrung the U.S. drug interdiction effort at a time when an estimated 1,000 metric tons of inexpensive, high-quality cocaine is entering the country each year.

The cutbacks continue at a time when the Pentagon has officially reclassified the drug interdiction effort as part of the broader war on terrorism, citing intelligence showing growing ties among terrorists, drug dealers and organized-crime syndicates.

"In the post-9/11 world, where both securing and detecting threats to our nation's borders have become critical national security objectives, we cannot continue to neglect the fact that narco-traffickers are breaching our borders on a daily basis," according to a report that was quietly issued last month by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.

The weakening of the U.S. drug interdiction effort comes just as U.S. authorities have had some major successes in the drug war, led by the Pentagon's Joint Interagency Task Force-South, based on Key West, Fla. Authorities have seized increasing amounts of cocaine since 2001, including a record 300,000 pounds in 2005, although records show that seizures dropped off sharply in 2006, to 230,000 pounds.
What you're seeing here is a scramble by bureaucrats to cover their budgets and perceived importance in the eyes of Congress.

"Congress is afraid of Terrorims? Okay, give them Terrorists. Run some ads that say buying drugs funds Terrorism. We'll make 'em give us more Anti-Drug funding if we have to dress up as Terrorists and fly drugs into the Capitol Building"

Incidentally, "1,000 metric tons"? REALLY? Because 1000 metric tons = 2,204,622 pounds of pure, uncut cocaine.

That's 45.5 grams of pure coke for every one of the 22 million Americans estimated by the DEA to have ever -tried- Cocaine in their entire life. Since the powder that reaches the street often contains no more than 12% pure cocaine, those original kilos have now been fattened to some eight kilos, thus increasing all 22 million coke-trying Americans share to 363 grams per year, or 8/10ths of a pound of cocaine per user. Assuming that a whopping 50% of those who ever try coke once become steady users, that means the government is claiming that these 11 million American cokeheads are consuming a pound and a half of coke per year, or 727 grams. At $80-$100 or so per gram, according to Google, that means I'm supposed to believe that the AVERAGE cokehead is spending a whopping $72,700/year on coke.

Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this.

The Drug War is the War On Terror version 1.0; an excuse for the Government of this country to declare war on its own people and to strip us of our freedoms in the name of "winning" an unwinnable war.

Unabomber Bitches About Studio Notes

Theodore "the Unabomber" Kaczynski is trying to lay claim to more than 40,000 pages of his writings to allow the public to read them in their original form. The government wants to auction "sanitized versions of the materials" on the Internet to raise money for four of the Unabomber's victims. But Kaczynski has thrown a monkey wrench into the works:

The journals contain blunt assessments of 16 mail bombings from 1978 to 1995 that killed 3 people and injured 28, as well as his musings on the suffering of victims and their families. The government wants to auction sanitized versions of the materials on the Internet to raise money for four of Mr. Kaczynski’s victims.

But, citing the First Amendment, Mr. Kaczynski has argued in court filings that the government is not entitled to his writings and has no right to alter them. The writings were among the items taken from his remote Montana cabin after his arrest in April 1996. In a motion drafted in pen, he said he planned to argue that the government had too much discretion under a federal restitution law to confiscate writings.

The four victims pursuing restitution from Mr. Kaczynski were initially reluctant to agree to the auction, fearing it could ghoulishly generate more notoriety for him and further publicize their pain. But some were equally horrified by the prospect of Mr. Kaczynski reclaiming his writings.

Mr. Kaczynski came to be known as the Unabomber after the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s code name for the case, Unabom, coined because the targets included universities and airlines. In his 18-year bombing campaign Mr. Kaczynski seemed bent on thwarting the advance of technology, and his victims included university professors, scientists and business executives.

One victim who is not seeking restitution, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, said in a letter to the court that he hoped “the criminal’s property will be destroyed, or (if need be) sealed for a century at least and then made available at no charge to scholars of depravity.”

A lawyer for Mr. Kaczynski, John P. Balazs, said his client wanted to donate the originals to a library.
Truth really is stranger than fiction, isn't it?

My feeling is this: The Unabomber is a nutjob. Let his work be published unedited. His crazed and demented writings will speak for themselves. Free governments have nothing to fear from people like Ted Kaczynski.

All sympathies to Dr. Gelernter's victimhood status, but it's not the place of the Government to decide which objectionable writings do and don't belong to the people who wrote them. Nor is it the Government's place to unilaterally rewrite such documents... doing so will only add to the perception that Kaczynski is a victim of some type of Government conspiracy.

Publish them in their entirety or don't publish them. I don't want the Government to get it into their heads that they need to start issuing "redacted" and "cleaned up" versions of other criminal writing and manifestos.

A jew-baiting-free version of Mein Kampf, for example.