Reuniting the United States of America
September 29th, 2006
Yesterday, in an act of utter disdain and
contempt for freedom and our Constitution, the U.S. Senate
voted to limit human rights in the United States. Almost all
Republicans were joined by a handful of Democrats to vote away many
of the freedoms that President Bush has claimed we are fighting for.
In addition to secret trials for military detainees, the bill
retroactively excuses American officials who have perpetrated
torture on prisoners, and permits continued torture of prisoners in
does not see the provisions as sanctioning torture - much like a
Soviet style dictator he simply perceives torture as providing “the
necessary tools” to fight an ill-defined enemy. A more heartless
perception could not be imagined.
prominent constitutional law professor from the University of Texas
likened the legislation to something out of a “banana republic”, and
many other law experts said they believe the provisions were
unconstitutional and would be struck down by courts. Anticipating
this, the Republicans added provisions to the legislation that would
strip the courts of oversight.
Bush administration frantically scrambles to eliminate hard-won
freedoms here in the US, their claims that we are fighting overseas
for “freedom” rings ever more hollow. As the administration blurs
the lines between democracy and totalitarianism, it becomes ever
more evident that the United States has lost its moral basis, as
well as the respect of the civilized world.
Republicans Hate our Freedom
September 28th, 2006
As the Senate considers new legislation
permitting indefinite detention and serious mistreatment of
detainees in the United States, Americans should decide once and for
all if we are actually fighting for freedom as the president says.
For hundreds of years the United States has treated even the most
brutal criminals as though they were innocent until proven guilty.
Permitting permanent detention and mistreatment of persons who are
arrested assumes guilt prior to trial. You don't need to brutally
interrogate somebody who turns out in the end to not be a terrorist.
How can you get information about terrorists from an innocent person
who was mistakenly arrested?
Republicans say the Democrats are soft on terrorists. No, Democrats
believe that our system of government has worked well for over 200
years and does not need a new set of rules about how to treat people
who are arrested. Without a trial it is of course impossible to
determine if someone is guilty or innocent, indeed without a trial
authorities need not even charge detainees with a crime.
are not soft on terrorists, they are tough on protecting our
Constitution and our system of government. Torturing people who have
been arrested before they are granted a fair trial is something we
have railed against in places like the Soviet Union and Communist
China for decades. Tens of thousands of Americans died in places
like Korea and Vietnam, and now in Iraq, supposedly fighting for
freedom. Now Republicans want to change that, such that we will be
fighting to permit permanent detention and torture of people who
have been arrested, without trial, without due course, and without
worse, the Republicans are trying to retroactively protect all those
who have been involved in torturing prisoners. I also expect a long
string of pardons from President Bush, if necessary, to keep the
torturers and administration officials out of jail. After all, Bush
and Cheney would not enjoy permanent detention with torture after
they are arrested for war crimes.
Republicans to Win in November, by Stealing Another Election
September 24th, 2006
If you had any doubts about how easy it would be to hack into
Diebold touch-screen voting systems in order to swing the election
in favor of the Republicans, all you have to do is check out the
video they made at Princeton University. In a mock election
between George Washington and Benedict Arnold, the researchers
inserted a computer virus that would steal the votes from George
Washington, and then erase itself in order to leave no trace. The
actual votes cast were four votes for George Washington and one for
Benedict Arnold. The vote tally at the end of the mock election was
three votes for Benedict Arnold and two for George Washington. The
paper backup trail also indicated the same totals.
Diebold refuses to let any
outside authorities examine their machines.
Check out the video and
decide for yourself if you feel safe voting on these machines, which
just happen to be made by companies owned by right-wing conservative
zealots. November is going to be an
unmitigated disaster, and it's probably too late to do anything
about it now.
Bush-Cheney Causing Increased Terrorism
September 24th, 2006
Anyone who's been paying attention to the news
from reporters in Iraq and throughout the Middle East has known for
some time that terrorist attacks and radical Islamic groups have
been on the rise ever since the US invasion of Iraq. However,
reading the headlines from the incredibly timid and cowed New York
Times over the last several years would never have given you that
impression. Until today that is, when the
headline read: “Spy
Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat”.
to see the New York Times actually coming to grips with the
abysmally stark realities that the United States has created in the
Middle East by invading a country that never attacked us. However,
it was not merely the unprovoked attack on Iraq that caused the
increase in resentment and hatred against the United States, rather
it was the extremely blundered attempts to install a puppet
democracy there that have caused the tidal wave of terrorism.
Everything from permitting post invasion looting, to disbanding the
Iraqi police force and army, to Abu Ghraib, to the lack of
reconstruction, to the heavy-handed tactics used to try to root out
terrorists in Iraqi towns and cities - all have created a
hatred of the American occupation.
intelligence report viewed by the New York Times paints the bleakest
picture to date on the state of international terrorism. The report
entitled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United
States’’ documents how the US-led invasion of Iraq has dramatically
stimulated the Islamic Jihadist movement throughout the world. The
report suggests that if the trend continues we can expect more
terrorist attacks against US targets at home and abroad.
New York Times article does not touch on, however, is the
possibility that Bush and Cheney actually want to increase Islamic
terrorism in order to generate support for their so-called “war on
terror”. If the threat is decreasing, they have less ammunition to
stoke the fires of war. Keep in mind that these aging Cold Warriors
benefited greatly from the communism scare, and the threat of
nuclear war. If there is one thing they understand it's that they
need a perceived enemy to enable and promote their war plans. If the
enemy is weakening, or worse yet, vanquished, their rationales for
New York Times will catch on in the next five years. Maybe not.
prepared for Bush, Cheney and administration officials to be foaming
at the mouth about the war on terror as the November elections
approach. They will say the Democrats are weak on the war on terror,
when what they really mean is the Democrats might institute rational
foreign-policy plans, and spoil their trumped up war in Iraq and
chances for keeping the public terrified of boogiemen. One thing is
clear, Bush and Cheney have no intention of protecting the United
States against terrorists, in fact, they are probably hoping for a
pre-election terrorist attack to drum up more Republican votes.
Voting System is a Disaster.
September 13th, 2006
Voting in the Maryland primaries yesterday made it clear to just
about everyone how dilapidated, disorganized, and totally flawed our
voting system is. When I arrived at the polls at about 10 a.m., long
after they had opened, the poll workers were still frantically
trying to figure out how the electronic systems work, and why many
of them didn't work. They were arguing back and forth about what was
causing problems with inserting memory cards into the machines, but
I was unable to decipher precisely what the problem was.
tried to initialize a card to give me to bring to the polling
machine it gave them an error message that they did not recognize.
Something about the card not having been logged on a master machine.
One of the women there said that it was just a glitch and told the
other woman to just hit a certain button to skip that part. Of
course that makes me wonder if my votes will be counted.
I took the
memory card to the voting machine, which greeted me with the
infamous Diebold moniker as the screen came on. I was able to vote
quite easily on the machine, and it did show me a summary of all the
votes I cast. Going through the votes it appeared as though it had
recorded all of my voting correctly, that is assuming it was showing
me the actual votes that would be reported to the master system.
Apparently, my experience was far better than many of those in
Montgomery County. In
several places machines were delivered without power cords so
they could not be used. In other places the machines simply
work, or the poll workers who were supposed to bring the memory
cards never arrived on time. In some polling places people were
forced to use provisional ballots, and when those ran out, voters
were forced to use scraps of paper. Polls were kept open until 9pm
to give people more time to vote, but that was a pitiful attempt
which was much too little, much too late. This is the current state of the
voting system here in Maryland, and probably in many other counties
across the nation.
the oddest and most suspicious occurrence was in neighboring Prince
Georges county where 20 voting system technicians quit just before
they were supposed to deliver and set up the machines yesterday
morning. So far, there is no word on why so many technicians would
opt to quit just when they were needed to set up the voting
machines. I will be interested to find out if they were supposed to
be servicing primarily Democratic precincts.
Considering that the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in
2000 because they said that different standards were being used to
count the votes in different precincts, I can't understand how this
is legal to have such different voting systems in different voting
precincts throughout the country. It should be illegal, and it is
definitely unacceptable. We have allocated $500 billion for the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we can't even set up a simple, accurate
voting system across the United States. It is shameful, it is
I will be
writing my senators and congressman to let them know of my extreme
displeasure at how my tax dollars have been spent to supposedly
improve the voting system in Maryland. It is not improved, and in
fact it is broken. Voting and counting the votes properly is the
most basic foundation of any democratic system, and it's one that we
do not currently have in the United States of America.
Letter to my
Senators and Congressman:
Maryland's voting system is a laughingstock across the country, but
for people like me who went to vote yesterday, it was no laughing
matter. I am a constituent of yours, and I wrote to you on numerous
occasions asking you to not support the purchasing of Diebold voting
machines because they were prone to problems, expensive, and did not
offer a paper trail. Maryland went ahead and purchased these systems
anyway, and yesterday gave us a glimpse of the kinds of nightmares
we can expect in November 2006.
involved in the election debacle yesterday should be fired
immediately and replaced with competent, nonpartisan staff. I expect
court cases from the disenfranchisement that occurred yesterday, and
I hope that the end result is that Maryland scraps the Diebold
systems in favor of more reliable systems with a paper backup trail.
disgusted that after all this time Maryland officials have still
been unable to assemble a functioning reliable voting system for us
to cast ballots on. It is a disgrace and it is inexcusable. If this
is not enough of a wake-up call for you, then I don't know what
could possibly motivate you to fix the system once and for all. Our
expensive voting system has failed us completely and I hold all
elected officials in Maryland responsible. Voting is the most basic,
bedrock foundation of a democratic society, and yet we do not have a
functioning voting system in Maryland. You let us down, and we will
not forget it.
from Senator Mikulski (within 3 hours)
Dear Dr. Moffett:
Thank you for getting in touch with me about Diebold
Election Systems .
It's great to hear from you.
agree with you. One of the most important civil rights is the
right to vote. Our country guarantees the right for each citizen
to know their vote counted. This requires strong federal
standards and oversight.
That's why I am so proud to be an original cosponsor of the
Count Every Vote Act of 2005 (S. 450). This important
legislation would, among other things:
Make Election Day a
Allow citizens to
register to vote on Election Day
polling places to have the resources they need to accommodate
all voters, including reducing wait times for voters at polling
Provide for a
voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast electronically
This important legislation is pending in the Senate Committee on
Rules and Administration. Knowing of your views will be very
helpful to me as I fight to restore confidence in our electoral
Again, thanks for contacting me. If I can be of assistance in
the future, or if there is any other federal issue on which you
would like to comment, please feel free to let me know.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
Blumenthal Must Read:
How Bad is Bush?
September 12th, 2006
The introduction to Sydney Blumenthal's new
Book "How Bush Rules" has been posted on the internet, and it is a
must read. He points out how Bush began lying right from the start
during the Bush/Gore debates in 2000, when he said he was "a uniter,
not a divider". As always, Bush says the precise opposite of the
Snip; Paste, Paste
September 9th, 2006
ABC is frantically scrambling to cut and paste
right-wing Crock-umentary “the Path to 9/11” to try and remove
propaganda elements which came straight from the right wing
blogosphere. The question is, if ABC executives knew that the
miniseries contained numerous factual errors that just happened to
coincide perfectly with right wing talking points, how did they let
it get this far towards airing without any attempt to correct the
this happened because the entire project was conceived and funded by
a right-wing buddy of Rush Limbaugh's, so ABC knew from the start
what they would be getting for their $40 million investment. There
are even questions as to whether Thomas Kean, the Republican chair
of the 9/11 commission, was perhaps even paid to endorse the
still an entrenched feeling among the news media that conservatism
is the new way in America, and that liberals are irrelevant and
easily ignored. ABC and Disney are finding out that we are not so
easily ignored. It used to be the case that Republicans and
conservatives had a lock on talk radio and the mainstream media, but
because of the Internet, that has changed and they can no longer
count on having the only say on particular matters of national
the history of 9/11 straight is not only important for the
historical account, but also so that we do not make similar mistakes
again. If the historical facts become distorted, then any future
responses or preparations will also be distorted relative to
reality. But conservatives don't care about preparing for anything,
to them government is just a way to exercise power over other
segments of the population.
Republicans hate the federal government, and they are showing it
every day as they dismantle agencies meant to protect the American
people. With this rewriting of history, they are again putting
politics above the safety of the American people. If Americans come
away thinking that Bill Clinton was responsible for 9/11, rather
than Condoleezza Rice and George Bush, that will give the Bush
administration even more leeway to lie and distort the important
issues facing us. It will let them off the hook rather than holding
them accountable for their egregious failures and criminal acts.
I will be
very interested to see if this Crock-umentary airs tomorrow night.
In 2003, CBS was forced to pull a miniseries on Ronald Reagan due to
conservative pressure. In 2004 Disney, the parent company for ABC,
refused to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11 because they said it was too
politically charged. Somehow I doubt ABC will pull this series now
due to pressure from Democrats and liberals. Media organizations do
not fear liberals the way they fear conservatives. Let's all work
together to make that miscalculation painfully obvious to ABC and
ABC and Disney
September 6th, 2006
What could be more despicable than creating a
docudrama packed with lies and falsehoods blaming the September
11th attacks on the previous president, Bill Clinton,
rather than the president who was commander in chief when the
attacks occurred? Not much.
what ABC and Disney have in store for the United States, not to
mention school children all across the nation. A right wing activist
wrote the script for a completely false version of what happened
prior to 9/11, and ABC is not only going to air the false account on
national TV, they are urging teachers all across the nation to force
schoolchildren to watch this rewriting of history.
Bill Clinton has been a major media cash cow for over a decade now,
and as the profits on such ad hominem attacks dwindle, large
media corporations like ABC and Disney long for the good old days
when a good Clinton bashing would bring in millions of dollars in
profits. What seems so curious is that they have not used the same
rationale to make money by bashing President Bush.
that there isn't a ton of money to be made attacking the worst
president in American history, it just doesn't fit the political
agenda of rich corporate media types. So it's back to Clinton
bashing we go, with pathetic attempts to rewrite history and blame
President Bush's utter failures on someone else.
I will be
boycotting ABC and Disney in all their media outlets if they do not
respond to public pressure and halt the airing of this absurd
attempt to shift the blame for the most serious attack on the United
States away from President Bush - the person who ignored the
president's daily briefing on Osama bin Laden preparing to attack
the United States. I urge all Democrats and liberals to boycott
everything ABC and Disney does. If a new Disney movie comes out,
don't go to see it. Write letters to the advertisers at ABC and tell
them you will no longer be buying their products as long as they
advertise with ABC.
write to ABC and tell them how you feel about their egregious
decision to air such garbage.
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