Wednesday, January 12, 2005

We Interrupt This Blog

My friends, today I'm taking a quick break from the anti-Bush beat to make a personal appeal.

I really need work. As you may know, my primary day job is as a New York City tour guide -- a field in which I am a licensed, well-regarded professional, but also a field in which it's extremely difficult to find winter work. My secondary day job, I have just been informed, is scaling back and letting me go without notice. Happy New Year!

So...if anyone has any leads for me, I would be endlessly grateful if you'd e-mail me and let me know. In addition to my tour guide expertise, I've worked in offices, retail stores, and in the theatre. I've done a lot of telecommuting work, as a researcher and as a cybercop. I've been a costumed character. I've been a film and theatre critic. I've written freelance articles on a wide array of topics, for a wide array of websites and publications. I type so quickly it's alarming to watch; I'm a data entry dream. I'm computer and web savvy. In general, I think, my core skills are well represented on this blog: I'm good with words, jokes, designs, and ideas.

I'm not too proud, and have long since grown accustomed to day jobs where the biggest challenge is getting through the day. That's okay. I do my creative work at night and early in the morning. On the other hand, if I managed to find paying work as a writer, blogger, performer, or, um, espouser of liberal political views, that would be amazing.

So if you have any leads, ideas, or, dare I ask, offers -- please let me know. And thank you so much.

I have an afternoon of job-hunting ahead of me. Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled revolution.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Abu Ghraib Lawyer:
Is Cheerleading Torture?

Welcome back, friends. It's a gray Tuesday here in the State, County, and City of New York. The state of the world is precarious, the state of the nation dire; the election was still stolen, and we're still talking about it.

We begin today with this Indianapolis Star editorial by William Raspberry, who asks the reasonable question, "What really happened in Ohio?" Noting that the House Democrats who challenged the election could not resist a single opportunity to state that they were not challenging the results, Raspberry has some other reasonable questions, too.

"So what am I to think about all the allegations I've been reading in the noncertified press since November? That the left-wing bloggers are blowing things out of proportion? That the mainstream press is being properly circumspect? That nothing much happened in Ohio?

"But 'Preserving Democracy' [the Judiciary Committee's report] belies such a benign conclusion. 'We have found numerous, serious election irregularities...which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters...In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.'

"Well, I don't want to overturn the election, either. But I would like to know if public officials and private citizens did engage in significant and concerted effort to steal the election in the event the wrong person seemed to be winning it. And if so, I'd like to know who the miscreants were, what they did, and what heads are going to roll. Because if all we get are a few hearings and empty promises, it's a safe bet it'll happen again."

Truthout's William Rivers Pitt, who's been one of this story's foremost investigative journalists, has the luxury of an "I'll prove it" stance, as opposed to Raspberry's "Yeah? Prove it." Pitt recently published this interview with the man who should be First Brother, Cam Kerry. Quoting the Boston Herald article which established that Cam Kerry "is playing the same pivotal role that the late Robert F. Kennedy played for his older brother back in 1960," Pitt gets some halfhearted admissions out of his subject.

"Kenneth Blackwell's conduct throughout this election, going back months beforehand and through the recount, has been disgraceful," Cam told him. Hey, everybody -- Cam noticed! When the interview got more specific, Cam took the reins from Pitt and began to interview himself: "Were there people who were disenfranchised? Yes. Were there mistakes and irregularities and fraud? Yes. I think this was a closer election than 119,000 votes."

But, needless to say, Cam doesn't think the margin was close enough to indicate a true Kerry win, official misconduct notwithstanding. "I am a lawyer," he explained when Pitt searched for a sign that the Kerry camp regretted the instant concession of November 3, "and I'm going to deal with evidence. I have to deal with what I think a court would do. That's the kind of judgments I make."

So, in a stated attempt to "satisfy Cam Kerry's request," RaulVB at Democratic Underground has "found" 800,000 popular votes in Ohio. Read Raul's entry -- it's a model of how investigative bloggers can build a case using information from an array of media sources. If you agree that Raul convincingly answers the call for numbers, please join me in e-mailing Cam Kerry to tell him the good news that his brother is the rightful President of the United States.

On the bright side, the Nashua Advocate notes that "with the specter of a constitutional crisis fading -- at least for the moment -- into the background of the national political debate, some heavy-hitters in the media are coming out of the woodwork in support of election reform," which nobody can deny, which nobody can deny.

In coronation news, even as Laura Bush picks out a "shimmery" dress, plans for the January 20 gala celebration of torture and corruption are drawing criticism. According to The Washington Post:

"D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

"Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.

"But that grant money is earmarked for other security needs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said in a Dec. 27 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Williams's office released the letter yesterday.

"Williams estimated that the city's costs for the inauguration will total $17.3 million, most of it related to security. City officials said they can use an unspent $5.4 million from an annual federal fund that reimburses the District for costs incurred because of its status as the capital. But that leaves $11.9 million not covered, they said."

Apparently, protecting the country from terrorists just isn't as important as it was before the election. Isn't that curious? Leading up to the election, there were increased terror alerts which made sleep impossible. Highly suspicious colors, such as yellow and orange, were spotted on cable TV threat-meters everywhere. Suddenly, now that his phony victory is tragically secure (for the time being), Bush doesn't talk about this imminent threat much anymore; in fact, he spends homeland security money, designated to protect the capital of our nation, on what is certain to be the most obnoxious inauguration in American history.

Oh, and it looks like Kid Rock may have been uninvited, according to AMERICAblog. So perhaps Bush does, after all, disagree with Kid Rock's assertion that his mother his a ho.

Specialist Charles Graner isn't a ho, either, but he is probably a war criminal. Graner, accused of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib, began his trial yesterday at the Fort Hood army base in texas. The BBC reports that his attorney, Guy Womack, "compared pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners in a human pyramid to cheerleaders at US sports events, who form pyramids 'all over America,'" and asked the court, "Is that torture?"

Hell of a lawyer. If the U.S. military is guilty of torture at Abu Ghraib, he is saying, well then so is every cheerleader in America.

Get Alberto Gonzales on the phone.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

America's Favorite Movie,
and the War on Sex

It's pretty small comfort, considering that the hideous nightmare of a second Bush term is now upon us. (Or a third Bush term, depending on how you look at it.) Still, it's satisfying to see that Fahrenheit 9/11 won the People's Choice Award for Best Film. Mel Gibson's bloody Jesus-fest got Best Film Drama.

I have to say I raised an eyebrow when I read here that "buzz...had it that if Mel Gibson had agreed to pose with Moore, Time magazine would have ditched Bush as Person of the Year." So if that's true, then Mel Gibson is partially responsible for Bush getting Person of the Year.

This is interesting. As you undoubtedly know, Mel Gibson's father was a well-known Nazi sympathizer; as we've pointed out before, the honor is significant in that Hitler was only Man of the Year once, while Bush has now been named twice. He has outdone Hitler. It's also significant that Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938, before he became quite the mass murderer he was to become; at that point, Hitler was basically...like Bush is now. Believe me, I'm working on a very long essay which gets into this in more detail.

Moving along...here is yet another exit poll smoking gun, with scans from The Washington Post. Here, we seem to establish that the chances of Bush receiving 51% of the vote are one in 547,000,000.

Must read: There's a lengthy essay by Noam Chomsky, The Non-Election of 2004, in which Chomsky asserts that "the electoral campaigns were run by the PR industry." Making a strong case, Chomsky asks:

"What would the results of the election have been if the parties, either of them, had been willing to articulate people’s concerns on the issues they regard as vitally important? Or if these issues could enter into public discussion within the mainstream? We can only speculate about that, but we do know that it does not happen and that the facts are scarcely even reported. It does not seem difficult to imagine what the reasons might be."

Remember last week, when we read Ken Blackwell's letter, in which he gloated about having "delivered" the election for Bush (Diebold style, in phrasing as well as intent)? Well, ABC News says that "a pledge card with the letter...said 'corporate & personal checks are welcome'" -- a bad move, as "corporate donations are illegal in Ohio."

Some criminals lie and steal because they have to feed their families, but Blackwell isn't that kind of criminal. Apparently he's the deranged, psychotic kind, who breaks the law compulsively. It must give him some kind of pleasure. You can almost hear the smirk in his only statement of self-defense: "I have an obligation to follow the law."

Why, YES YOU DO, Kenneth! If only you were inclined to meet that obligation, perhaps we would now be preparing to inaugurate President Kerry.

There's a nice article in yesterday's Plain Dealer which sums up the mood of the anti-election-fraud movement in light of last week's certification. It includes an illuminating conversation with our friend Ray Beckerman, whose blog (Fairness by Beckerman) has been one of the most comprehensive and consistent sources for information and opinion throughout this still-ongoing fight.

Another excellent blogger whose work has been extraordinary, Justice from Bush Eye, posted this entry yesterday, with a video clip and a transcript of the glorious moment last Thursday when the news that a Senator had signed was thrown in the face of Dick Cheney.

We now move from the war on democracy to the war on sex. The right wing, of course, is responsible for the wildest and most absurd conspiracy theories in the nation -- remember the hysterical claims, a month back, that liberals were declaring war on Christmas? Well, they can't match us in this department. Liberals are clearly not trying to take Christmas away from anybody, but conservatives certainly are trying to take away a much more universal element of humanity -- I refer, of course, to sex.

The House Government reform Committee, led by Henry Waxman (D-California), has issued a report which is a guidebook to the horrific failures of the Bush Administration's approach to sex education.

As the Berkshire Eagle reports, Waxman's shows how Bush's $170 million abstinence-only programs, currently used in public schools in 25 states,

"not only fail to prepare the non-abstinent for safe and responsible sex but also spread dangerous misinformation. Over 80 percent of the abstinence-only curricula funded by the federal Department of Education include unscientific and often wildly erroneous 'facts' about sex and reproduction.

"One textbook states absurdly that touching another person's genitals 'can result in pregnancy.' Another claims that 5 to 10 percent of women who have legal abortions will become sterile as a result. The actual percent is zero. Federal rules in these programs say that condoms can be mentioned only in the context of their 'failure rate,' which in one book is given as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse. The actual number is under 3 percent.

"Bizarre ideas about men and women abound. One course claims that women 'need financial support' while men crave 'admiration.' Another program makes the absurd claim that half the gay teenagers in the United States are HIV-positive and that HIV can be spread through sweat and tears."

Waxman also cites a Columbia University study showing that abstinence-only programs "may actually increase" incidents of pregnancy and STDs. "In the Columbia research," says the Eagle, "88 percent of students who signed abstinence pledges still had premarital sex, and they were 'significantly less likely to use contraception when they did have sex than the non-pledgers.'"

Personally, I think it's closely tied in with the right's dream of having Creationism taught in American public schools. It's easier for them to discredit evolution, when they succeed in reversing it.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Democracy Out; Torture In

Watching Congress certify Bush's phony re-election yesterday was painful, but it would have been much more painful without the courage of Senator Barbara Boxer, who from yesterday's perspective is the only member of the Senate who even likes democracy.

Writing for The Nation, John Nichols notes that "there has been progress from 2001 to 2005," but also that "the real work begins now." And that's true. As we continue to champion the legal termination of Bush's illegal presidency, we do it with the painful awareness that the Democratic Party -- which largely failed yesterday to protect the ideals it claims to represent -- will need our help ensuring a majority in the House and the Senate next year.

In one of his several excellent recent entries, the sagacious Bob Fertik says:

"No, we didn't win the vote to reject Ohio's Electors -- but we never thought we would.

"We did win the debate.

"Our side won the debate because we talked about the fundamental basis of Democracy: the right of everyone to vote, and the right to have every vote counted.

"Republicans could not challenge our facts. So they viciously attacked our motives. If you missed Tom DeLay's closing argument, you must watch it. It was pure poison -- like everything Tom DeLay says and does."

You could say that again. Alberto Gonzales would have approved of DeLay's closing statement yesterday, because it was torture. This is TOM DELAY talking! The guy who they had to change the rules for! The Republicans actually want to make it legal to serve in the House of Representatives even if you're an indicted criminal. That's all about Tom DeLay, odious little jerk.

Elsewhere in the same entry, Bob Fertik generously includes yours truly in his list of "patriots who took the fight to the streets, the courts, and the blogosphere." Thanks, Bob...especially for the shining example you daily provide.

In this New York Times article, which is surprisingly fair in places, we get a quote from old lube-and-fecal-matter himself, Senator Rick Santorum. Calling the election challenge "a travesty," Santorum said that Democrats were "still not over the 2000 election, let alone the 2004 election."

Um, right. No American who cares about democracy will ever get over either election, Rickhead. Because they were both stolen. And you know it.

One of the most interesting recurring themes of this battle -- as frustrating as it is encouraging -- is the winning over of people who originally believed the election was fair. There are a lot of people who are unwilling to even consider that THE ELECTION WAS STOLEN, and those people find a wealth of supportive verbiage (though not much in the way of data) in the corporate-owned mainstream media. But time and again, people with an open mind who actually look into the facts come away believing that widespread and deliberate fraud did take place.

Consider the case of Pauline Philips, who is by no means a left-wing extremist, and who originally believed that the election was problematic, but ultimately free and fair and legitimate. Then she looked into it, and now, writing for Official Wire, she has this to say:

"I've waded through enough of the substantive evidence associated with the claims being made in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico, and therefore I accept that the 2004 election was rigged, fixed, stolen -- call it what you will...

"...In the history of the United States, only two presidential elections have been subject to allegations of systematic fraud and widespread voter discrimination. George W. Bush was the prevailing candidate each time. Ask yourself why."

As for Alberto "Torture Guy" Gonzales, he will probably be confirmed as Attorney General. Senators Biden, Kennedy, and Nadler did a mostly exemplary job grilling him, but the Republican majority is going to force through a long list of Bush crimes against humanity, and this is one of them.

It is shocking to have arrived at a point in American history where a presidential nominee for Attorney General, during his confirmation hearing, has to begin by saying that he's against torture. It is even more shocking in light of the obvious, proven fact that he does approve of torture. I quote an editorial in today's New York Times:

"It was nice to hear Alberto Gonzales tell the Senate Judiciary Committee in his opening statement yesterday that he doesn't approve of torture and that as attorney general, he'll uphold the law. But things went rapidly downhill after that. By the time the hearing ended, Mr. Gonzales, now the White House counsel, had turned it into one of those depressing exercises in avoiding straight answers and evading accountability. The spectacle brought to mind the hearings last spring when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team dutifully denounced the horrors of Abu Ghraib and then refused to accept any responsibility.

"Mr. Gonzales said the Abu Ghraib photos 'sickened and outraged' him. But he would not acknowledge that he or any other senior administration official was to blame, even though he was a central figure in the policy decisions that laid the groundwork for the abuse at Abu Ghraib and other American military prisons."

Also, we've got an inauguration to protest. More on that soon.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Boxer Signs; Democracy Dies Anyway

It was a great moment, and a great victory, when the words "THE SENATOR HAS SIGNED THE OBJECTION!" rang out over the proceedings this afternoon, when the word "Ohio" came up on Capitol Hill. A tiny little victory. Immediately, after a lycanthropic snarl from Cheney, the 75 Senators who had bothered to show up today retired to their chamber to bicker.

Despite the earlier ILCA report -- and the words of Jesse Jackson this morning in Lafayette Square -- it does not seem that Senators Reid, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama attached their signatures to the House Judiciary Committee's election challenge. Each of them -- as well as Ted Kennedy and others -- spoke with some eloquence about the dire need for election reform, and each of them reiterated the old won't-change-the-outcome copout. In what was probably the most hopeful moment in the whole depressing ordeal, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey announced his intention to introduce "the Federal Election Integrity Act," to ensure that federal election officials cannot also serve as partisan campaign officials. In the end, 74 Senators voted to reject the election challenge. One Senator, Barbara Boxer, voted to accept it.

As I write this, the debate is still underway in the House. The men and women we are accustomed to hailing as lone heroes in a savage terrain -- Representatives John Conyers, Shiela Jackson Lee, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson Jr., et al -- spoke with passion and eloquence about the travesty of the Ohio presidential election. A succession of repugnant Republicans -- among them J.D. Hayworth, Mark Steven Kirk, Mark Foley, Deborah Pryce, David Dreier, Bob Portman, and Tim DeLay -- stood there and sputtered and uttered one blatant lie, one insult to the American people, after another. Particularly obnoxious, and strikingly ignorant of the plain facts, were Representatives Hayworth and Pryce, who would be well advised to look themselves in the mirror and ask, "What the hell is wrong with me?"

A tinier victory I've never seen.

Needless to say, the fight to re-re-defeat Bush has just begun. Fucker was never elected; fucker is not the president. We are committed to continue our fight to spread the word, and to convince our representatives in Washington that our continued faith in this system will be possible only given the legal prosecution, impeachment, and/or resignation of that fucker.

Like an idiot, I just clicked over to the Gonzales hearing to see if there was anything uplifting going on. What I got was the torture guy saying that he thought there was reason to "revisit whether or not Geneva should be revisited."

What a gray, rainy day.

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FIVE SENATORS!

We've all been blessing Barbara Boxer all morning, but THIS JUST IN -- it turns out the Democratic Party has four more backbones! ILCA reports that at this morning's Lafayette Square rally, Jesse Jackson announced "to shouts and cheers, and in some cases tears...that Boxer would be joined by Senators Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Barak Obama."

YES!

My friends, the revolution starts now. We did it! We wrote, and we called, and we rallied our friends and allies in the blogosphere (and even the media), and now there will be debates in the House and the Senate on the integrity of the 2004 presidential election, thanks to us. Thanks to millions of us.

Hillary Clinton, whose fear of being a polarizing figure (which she is) often prevents her from responsible liberalism, has put the truth ahead of the politics, and in doing so has much increased her credibility with this Democrat. Chris Dodd courageously shows us that at least one of the two Democratic Senators from Connecticut isn't a Republican. Harry Reid -- a pro-choice Democrat who we're all iffy about -- has suggested, with one signature, that he may actually deserve to be the minority leader, by leading the minority. As for knight in shining armor Barak Obama, we're overjoyed. The rising star, having just arrived in the Senate, hears his constituents' concerns and makes history.

History is exactly what will begin to happen today, in about thirty minutes. A presidential election will be challenged in the Senate. The last time this happened, in 1969, it was over a "faithless elector" from North Carolina who cast his vote for Wallace, rather than his party's candidate, Nixon. The vote for Wallace stood. Other than this minor incident, no presidential election has been challenged in this country in 128 years.

At the Lafayette Square rally, Jesse Jackson noted that John Kerry was in Baghdad. "And we need him here in Washington today." Making an important point in no uncertain terms, Jackson concluded: "Those who cannot lead today cannot lead in 2006 or 2008. This is the moment of truth!"

It's about to start.

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Today is Election Challenge Day

Today's the day. The House Judiciary Committee has released its epic report on the election in Ohio. The House of Representatives, 1:00ish this afternoon, will be welcomed into the Senate, where the electoral vote for President of the United States is to be certified. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, John Conyers, and about a dozen other Congresspeople are expected to challenge the election results, citing the overwhelming evidence of official misconduct. In order to make the challenge carry, it requires the signature of at least one Senator. As you know, the last time we had a presidential election stolen, no Senator stepped forward.

This morning, liberals are cautiously optimistic that things will play out differently. There is reason for the caution, but for the optimism as well. Keith Olbermann writes:

"Nothing is in writing and daybreak is a long way away, but it appeared all but certain in early evening Wednesday that House Democrats had secured the support of up to half a dozen Senators to formally challenge the Electoral College slate from Ohio, when the votes are opened before a joint session of Congress...

"Congressional sources tell this reporter that the house half of the written objection — which has the declared support of more than a dozen Representatives — is expected to be signed by Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio. Republican leadership expects the Senate signatory to be Barbara Boxer of California, but this has not yet been formalized. The Majority is also worried about the possible absence of many of its members in both houses, and the prospect that a quorum might not be achieved, leading the process into uncharted, albeit not very threatening, constitutional grounds. There is a mathematical, if not practical, chance that the ratification of the Electoral College vote could be delayed past tomorrow.

"As it is, a written challenge would require the joint session to suspend for several hours, during which the Senate and the House would meet separately and debate the merits of the objection."

(There's video from last night's Countdown at Break for News.)

And on the Morning Sedition blog this morning, there's this bit of encouraging news:

"On Thursday's 'Morning Sedition,' the Rev. Jesse Jackson told hosts Marc Maron and Mark Riley that, at a meeting last night, Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid revealed that at least one Democratic senator WILL stand up with Rep. John Conyers to oppose the certification of Ohio's vote, thus forcing a Congressional debate on the state of America's voting system!

"Rev. Jackson did NOT deny that Reid named Sen. Barbara Boxer as the Democrat expected to stand up today."

According to Bob Fertik, the House Democratic leadership has notified its entire membership that

"...under the electoral ballot procedure, if a Member of both the House and the Senate challenge a ballot for any state, a separate session is triggered in each body. The issue of whether or not to sustain that challenge is debatable for 2 hours in the House and 2 hours in the Senate, and the debate occurs simultaneously in both bodies.

"Members should be advised that a recorded vote is possible on Thursday, January 6, after 1 PM on whether or not to sustain the objection to the Ohio ballot.

"It is not certain that a recorded vote will occur but Members should be prepared to be here and boting on Thursday if this challenge is brought to a recorded vote."

Also, see Kerry Sends the Wrong Letter at the Wrong Time, Fertik's perfect retort to the latest depressing dispatch from John Kerry. Kerry won't be on Capitol Hill today. I don't have the energy or the inclination to justify this as some kind of shrewd political maneuver. It just sucks. If, as many have speculated, Kerry is lying low so as to protect his presidential chances in 2008, I think that's pretty misguided. If he would just fight this fight -- hell, if he would just report for duty -- then maybe we would still love him.

Today, if one or more of his Senate colleagues join the House challenge, then the United States will experience only the third official challenge to the electoral vote in history. It happened in 1877 (the Rutherford B. Hayes debacle) and in 1969. As everyone is quick to point out, today is not about securing the presidency for John Kerry. It is about putting the official seal on the fact that Bush stole the election. Democrats know that the challenge, at best, will send the vote to the House, which has a Republican majority and will elect Bush.

Fine. Let the House of Representatives elect him. Like the Supreme Court did last time. Let it come to pass that George W. Bush -- who is what savvy political analysts like to call "an idiot" -- was not once elected by the American people, but was twice elected by Republican-dominated branches of the government machine.

This will cast light on the truth. It will blow holes in Bush's claim of a mandate. It will invigorate the movement to end his presidency by whatever legal means necessary.

If the electoral vote weren't being certified today, the biggest news would be Alberto Gonzales' confirmation hearing, which is beginning right now. Hopefully the Dmocrats will grill the torture guy. The Gonzales hearing, as well as the 1:00 electoral certification, will be broadcast by C-SPAN, on TV and online.

Also, be grateful for the little things: Tucker Carlson loses his job.

More this afternoon.

UPDATE (9:36 am) On "Unfiltered," Rachel Maddow just announced that she had received definite word that Barbara Boxer has already signed!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bush Agrees: His Mother is a Ho

Ohio Secretary of Fraud J. Kenneth Blackwell, surely one of the most corrupt political figures in recent memory, has begun his campaign to become his state's next governor with this horrible turd of a letter to his supporters. This hateful and illiterate little document, which spans five pages, kicks off like this (unnecessary paragraph breaks removed, as Nero Fiddled readers, unlike Blackwell's constutuents, can handle paragraphs more than one sentence long):

"As the Co-Chairman of Bush/Cheney '04 in Ohio, I want to say thank you for helping deliver the great Buckeye State for George W. Bush. Without your enthusiasm, generous support and vote, I'm afraid the President [sic] would have lost...[a]nd an unapologetic liberal Democrat named John Kerry would have won. Thankfully, you and I stopped that disaster from happening!"

Blackwell's language is eerily reminiscent of the infamous 2003 fundraising letter written by Diebold schmuck Walden O'Dell, who vowed that his voting machine company was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president [sic]."

In an immediate response, Representative John Conyers wrote:

"Such a blatant statement acknowledging the commingling of his official duty to ensure a fair election with his partisan duty to re-elect President [sic] Bush, made in a political fundraising appeal, evidences Secretary Blackwell's poor judgment at best, and the manipulation of election administration for partisan purposes, at worst."

At Daily Kos (thanks, Kim, for the link), Sharon Steuer reports that "Barbara Boxer apparently told a group of 20 women meeting with her that if she gets enough people asking her to do it, she WILL be the senator to join Rep. Conyers." This is not the first time Senator Boxer has been depicted as the most likely Senator to step forward. Tomorrow is the day, so today's our last chance to let her know where her duty lies. Call her Washington office: (202) 224-3553.

Today Michael Moore, who has disappointingly said that he believes Bush really did win this one, issues a plea to the U.S. Senate to support Conyers' challenge tomorrow. Saint Michael writes:

"A very embarrassing moment during the last session of Congress occurred in the first week when none of you would allow the members of Congress who were black to have the floor to object to the Florida vote count. Remember that? You thought no one would ever notice, didn't you? You certainly lucked out that night when the networks decided not to show how you shut down every single member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"No such luck this year. Everyone now knows about that moment of shame. Thank you? You’re welcome.

"But this Thursday, at 1:00pm, you will have a chance to redeem yourself."

As for the torture president -- now that he has been embarrassed by humanitarian organizations around the world, he's coughed up a little more money to aid victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. The U.S. has now given $350 million, which is nothing, for a country which spends $120 million every day on the Iraq war.

But then Bush added injury to insult by sending his little brother to Asia to meet with tsunami victims. One imagines the devastated families of Jakarta rising as one and saying to the U.S., "Look, you can keep your $350 million, just please get this asshole out of our country. We just had a disaster of historic proportions, and now you send us another one."

In addition to Jakarta, Jeb visited Indonesia and Phuket. I think we can all safely speculate on his pronounciation of the latter.

His brother, of course, can't be bothered anymore about all this tsunami stuff. It took him three whole days to even comment on the disaster -- which struck an oddly familiar chord with those of us who waited forever for him to get around to commenting on 9/11 after it happened. He certainly had a lot to say about it when he was campaigning.

But he's busy these days, planning his second fake inauguration ceremony. The travesty will take place in fifteen days. Among the featured performers is Kid Rock, which is very funny, because in "Pimp of the Nation," Kid Rock had something to say about Bush's mama:

"Pimp of the Nation, I could be it
As a matter of a fact, I foresee it
But only pimpin' hoes with the big tush,
while you be left pimpin Barbra Bush."

Everybody got that? Apparently Bush doesn't mind when people talk about his mother that way; in fact, he invites them to perform at his inauguration. That's why I've headlined this entry the way I have. I'm hoping that somehow, Bush will see it, and will respond by inviting me to perform, too. But of course, the song I'll be singing is "The Election Was Stolen."

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Where's the America
We Were Supposed to Get?

If the election had been conducted in an honest and legitimate fashion, those accused of rigging it would be responding to our accusations by stepping forward confidently and saying, "This was a democratic election, and here's the proof." But they're saying nothing of the kind. Before the election, they did everything possible to ensure that there wouldn't be any proof, and now, they are adamantly opposed to investigation. And you know they're getting nervous, because the Associated Press says that Bush's "re-election campaign asked the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday to throw out a challenge of the election in this swing state, saying the case resembles 'a poorly drafted script for a late night conspiracy-theory movie.'"

What?

Brad Blog has been reporting on the possibility that Florida Senator Bill Nelson -- the former astronaut who met with Clint Curtis last month -- will join Representative Conyers and other Congresspeople in challenging the election on Thursday. Brad has received diametrically mixed messages from Nelson's office. One minute, it sounds like Nelson is on board; the next, it doesn't. (I forgot about Nelson when I put together yesterday's entry; you can contact Senator Nelson here.)

This article from the U.S. Voting Integrity Project expresses cautious hope that one Senator or another will indeed come to the aid of democracy on Thursday. It also reveals that today, according to Senator Biden's office, all the Democratic Senators will caucus, and "would almost certainly discuss" the election challenge issue. Two more Senators worth contacting are Biden and Sarbanes.

There is, in my view, a chance that a Senator will step forward on Thursday, but I don't think there's any chance that that Senator will be John Kerry. Consortium News reports, "One Kerry adviser told me the Senator may be traveling outside the country on January 6," which does jibe with other recent reports that Kerry is planning to visit the troops in Iraq this winter. I don't know how to feel about this. If Kerry's not going to participate in the movement to champion his own presidency, maybe it is better that he not even be in the room.

Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have all issued recent stories which depict Kerry as a hapless loser (Newsweek) and the election as irrefutable (the Times and the Post), even though 19% of Americans believe that fraud aided Bush's re-election. This is a remarkable number, considering the lack of mainstream media attention.

Meanwhile, exit poll analysis continues to point to a true Kerry victory. Free Press provides oodles of supportive data for its claim that "the presidential vote for George W. Bush does not compute." Also, Dr. Freeman has updated his scholarly exit poll study, which continues to point to manipulation of the vote, not the exit polls. Anyone who wants some numbers to crunch, here is the actual exit poll data.

Here is a detailed report on Jesse Jackson's Sunday press conference, in which Representative Tubbs-Jones reiterated that in many African-American precincts in Ohio, 50% of the provisional ballots were rejected -- 20% higher than the provisional ballot rejection rate in affluent, white areas. We also learn here that Florida rejected two thirds of its total provisional ballots.

I have these lyrics floating through my head. They're by Lynne Ahrens, and they're from Ragtime, the musical adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's Great American Novel:

"Where's the America
we were supposed to get?
Was it a silhouette?"


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Monday, January 03, 2005

Will a Senator Sign?

The world awakens today from its collective stupor, brought on by the sugar shock of holiday indulgence and the heartache of 150,000 tsunami victims in southern Asia. Today is January 3, 2005. On Thursday, another kind of heartbreaking drama will play out on Capitol Hill. Also there is the outside chance of a major Constitutional crisis. That's not a problem, though; we want a major Constitutional crisis, because we're having one anyway. If we're going to have a crisis, we'd rather have the our-system-doesn't-work crisis than the an-insane-tyrant-hijacked-America crisis, which over the last four years has really gotten old.

Four years ago Thursday, in what has become through Saint Michael's efforts a classic moment in the history of cinema for crying out loud, fourteen members of the House of Representatives challenged the official results of the Florida presidential election. It is now as familiar to many of us as the purchase of the droids in Star Wars or Connie's wedding in The Godfather. Not one Senator. Not one Senator. Perhaps, as Bob Fertik has suggested, the murderous Senatorial silence that day took hold at the behest of President Gore himself, choosing one Constitutional crisis over another.

Congress, then, never debated the 2000 election, nor catalyzed its investigation.

On Thursday, as you are undoubtedly aware, if just one Senator joins the courageous House colleagues in challenging the electoral votes of any state, the vote will not be automatically approved. A full and transparent Congressional investigation, with subpoena power over all the players and all their little machines, would likely be forthcoming. One signature from one of our hundred Senators could cast a bright spotlight on our democracy's wounds. It might even lead to the unseating of the brutal dictator whose invasion of our government's highest office continues.

In 2000, of course, Al Gore was President of the Senate. This time it's Dick Cheney.

It's the zero hour for getting the message to Senators who might, just might, be interested in saving the country. Call them today. 1-800-839-5276 or 1-877-762-8762 will get you through to all offices. Or click the links to access their official e-mail forms.

Barbara Boxer CA-D
Robert Byrd WV-D
Mark Dayton MN-D
Thomas Harkin IA-D
Jim Jeffords VT-I
Edward Kennedy MA-D
Patrick Leahy VT-D
Carl Levin MI-D
Barbara Mikulski MD-D
Charles Schumer NY-D
Barak Obama IL-D

Break For News was two more interesting features, Ohio's Missing Votes: The Triad Factor and Dispelling Some Exit Poll Myths. Also see Free Press: Did We Bounce the Election?

More soon.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year;
The Election Was Stolen

A group called the Coalition Against Election Fraud has been holding an ongoing vigil outside John Kerry's house. On January 3, the group will hold a rally for democracy, to take place at Boston's Faneuil Hall -- the site of Kerry's misguided November 3 concession speech.

Speaking of that concession speech, the excellent news site Break for News has dedicated a collection of links to the proposition that Kerry is preparing to "unconcede." (Check out their Teflon Kerry page too.) Personally, I'm not yet willing to go so far as to predict such a bold move from Kerry. His determination to lurk in the shadows of this issue does not seem likely to wane before Congress has its little get-together on Thursday.

But it does cast some new light on Hoffheimer's maddening statement of a few days ago ("The Bush-Cheney ticket has won. The Kerry-Edwards campaign has found no conspiracy and no fraud in Ohio"). As it turns out, Hoffheimer may have been overcompensating for his previous statement -- very bold -- in which he asserted that Senators Kerry and Edwards "want to be sure that all circumstances involved in the Ohio election, including the recount, should be put before the Court and disclosed to the American people. Only then...can the integrity of the entire electoral process and the election of Bush-Cheney warrant the public trust."

Our friends Cobb and Badnarik are pushing for a real recount in the Buckeye State, and also for Congress to recognize the failure of the state's presidential election. Driving home the point that Ohio is the current deathbed of American democracy, the marines will be practicing their urban warfare skills on the streets of Toledo.

And Conyers goes courting for a Senator's signature. See Break for News for Moyer and Blackwell madness -- and, to turn the microphone over to the Free Press trio:

"If anything, Blackwell's refusal to testify, Moyer's refusal to recuse, and the staggering flood of new evidence from a non-credible non-recount have helped further spread the belief that the Ohio vote -- and thus the presidency -- has been stolen. The findings from New Mexico confirm that Ohio was not the only state where fraud and vote theft may have provided Bush with a margin of victory. Challenges in Florida have also reached the court system.

"The alleged Bush victory could be challenged in the much-anticipated January 6 reporting of the Electoral College to Congress. But given the mounting indications of manipulation, fraud and theft, it is virtually certain the debate over who really won Ohio -– as well as New Mexico and Florida -- and the presidency will be bitterly disputed for many years to come."

Also: "We have reason to believe it was rigged." Read Jesse Jackson's Newsweek interview on why he thinks Kerry won the election.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Subpoenas for Bush, Cheney, and Rove

Well, friends, I'm back in town and back on the beat. I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had as nice a time as I had celebrating it with Amanda's family down south. Somehow it seems this paragraph is incomplete unless I identify myself as a secular Jew -- which explains why I control Hollywood, according to William Donohue. But that's neither here nor there. I had a lovely and relaxing week, and I hope you did too. Thanks for the e-mails and holiday wishes.

I must mention the world's grief, as this holiday season has unfortunately been the backdrop for an inordinate amount of tragedy. The horrifying natural calamity in Asia, which may have claimed as many as 100,000 lives, has brought humanity to its knees. The scope of the tsunami tragedy is so heartrending that it seems incidental to mention the unrelated loss of one of our great actors, Jerry Orbach, and one of our great writers, Susan Sontag.

As always in times of historic tragedy, the generosity of the human race has been touching. Governments around the world are doing all they can to help -- except, of course, ours. Which is in more of a position to help than anyone. The U.S. has sent money, of course. A little.

Not-really-the-president Bush lashed out snippily at the suggestion that the U.S. has been stingy in contributing to the relief effort in Asia, but then we immediately added another $20 million, even while Bush squawked. That's what he does. The man squawks.

I have an idea. Maybe the shithead should take the FORTY MILLION DOLLARS he plans to spend on his second unearned inauguration ceremony, and send it to help the nations which have just suffered the greatest natural disaster in half a century. But a shithead wouldn't.

Maybe he's getting tense. That wound make sense. It's interesting that now, even as he claims that the will of the people is his, we have reached this historic moment: For the first time since the war in Iraq began, the majority of Americans are against it. Besides, Bush has the lowest second-term approval rating in history. So take that, fuhrer.

In an interesting piece from San Francisco Independent Media, it is suggested that the electronic device Bush obviously wears under his clothes is not a sound system, but something called a "LifeVest wearable defibrillator," designed for "persons at risk of cardiac arrest." The article references Bush's 2002 fainting spells, and posits that Bush's father, and perhaps his mother, are similarly afflicted. See, the whole family is barely conscious. Not to mention old Prescott Bush, who had the kind of face that looked like it had spent a lot of time in bowls of soup.

The LifeVest story kind of makes sense. As has been pointed out many times, on this blog and elsewhere -- if someone is feeding Bush lines, why is he still incapable of uttering an intelligent sentence? I am somewhat hesitant to fully dismiss the possibility that Bush is wired for sound, but the article is pretty convincing. I'll look into it more. And look on the bright side -- maybe he'll have a heart attack.

There are really not a lot of people I would say that about. But if you murder 100,000 people, as Bush has, I do occasionally find myself making exceptions to my general rule of not wishing harm to anyone.

The Ohio recount ended on Tuesday. As expected, the formality caused little change to the official tally. Kerry did gain 285 votes. As Cliff Arnebeck told the Associated Press, the state was "allowing the original error to be repeated a second time, so it's not a meaningful recount."

Soberingly suggesting that we will never really know the truth about the Ohio results, The Star Tribune's Mark Halvorson and Kirk Lund -- who personally monitored the recount -- assure us that it "was not only to verify the outcome of the Ohio vote but also to ensure accountability in a flawed system."

On Monday, The Guardian reported that Ohio Secretary of Stealing-the-Election-for-Bush Kenneth Blackwell "has requested a protective order to prevent him[self] from being interviewed as part of [the] court challenge of the presidential vote." Why ever would Secretary of Destroying-American-Democracy Blackwell do a thing like that? It's almost as though he has something to hide!

On Wednesday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Thomas Moyer (the Ohio Supreme Court's Chief Injustice) has refused to remove himself from the case challenging the election results. Moyer also rejected a request "for a speedy hearing and an order that elections boards preserve evidence from the election."

Doesn't that remind you of Kenneth Blackwell? Isn't it interesting how none of these guys want to talk about the election, and none of them want any evidence of it to survive, and none of them even want the damn votes counted? It's just not the behavior of honest people who governed over an honest election. If they had, they would be itching to prove it. They're not even trying to prove it. Because it can't be proven. Unfortunately, they may get away with it, unless there is a sharp increase in the attention paid to the demand for proof.

Continuing its excellent coverage of the Ohio situation, the three-headed friend of democracy, Fitrakis/Rosenfeld/Wasserman, reports that

"...Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney and White House Political Advisor Karl Rove received notice that they will be deposed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 28 and 29. The trio’s Ohio attorney, Kurt Tunnell, so far claims his clients have not been properly served. Under Ohio law, the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court is responsible for serving the three."

This last point probably makes the subpoena smaller news than it seems, but it's still significant enough to make the headline of your favorite blog. Even if the chances are slim that the court will enforce the subpoenas, we are eventually going to get these guys, and the crime of ignoring a subpoena will be one more to put on the list when we indict them. These disgusting fuckheads. Bush. Cheney. Rove. Jail. Jail. Jail.

The Free Press's Triumverate of Truth continues:

"Despite the legal stonewalling, lawyers directing the election challenge case are still pursuing evidence-gathering efforts. Three expert witnesses are scheduled to be deposed on Thursday and Friday, including specialists in statistics and vote counting irregularities.

"The challengers are seeking a January 4th hearing before the Ohio Supreme Court. Members of Congress meet in Washington on January 6 to evaluate the Electoral College vote. Led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), it is virtually certain numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus will challenge that vote. But the assent of a Senator is required for the challenge to go forward, and thus far none has definitively confirmed."

Ray Beckerman, Randi Rhodes, and others have reported that Representative Maxine Waters -- whose memorable 2000 exclamation, "I don't care that no Senator has signed!" enlivened one of the most wrenching sequences in Fahrenheit 9/11 -- will definitely challenge the vote. As for a Senator, the best we can yet say is we're working on it.

Speaking of Senators, it's been getting harder and harder, lately, to continue to believe in John Kerry. And he certainly didn't help things earlier this week, when he allowed his attorney Dan Hoddheimer to issue what Bob Fertik aptly calls a "wretched statement." (He did this, Fertik notes, "even as Kerry attorney Don McTigue joined John Bonifaz in two
important motions.") Anyway, if you can stomach it, here is Hoffheimer's depressing up-chuck of the usual Kool-Aid:

"There are many conspiracy theorists opining these days. There are many allegations of fraud. But this presidential election is over. The Bush-Cheney ticket has won. The Kerry-Edwards campaign has found no conspiracy and no fraud in Ohio, though there have been many irregularities that cry out to be fixed for future elections. Senator Kerry and we in Ohio intend to fix them. When all of the problems in Ohio are added together, however bad they are, they do not add up to a victory for Kerry-Edwards. Senator Kerry's fully-informed and extremely careful assessment the day after the election and before he conceded remains accurate today, notwithstanding all the details we have since learned."

If you're like me, you had to hit something after you read that, and if you're like me, you kind of hurt yourself in the process. If you need your spirit lifted, or even if you don't, read Fertik's open letter of response to Kerry. I believe it is one of the definitive statements on this subject, and one of the key documents in the telling of this ongoing horror story.

Don't forget that Ohio is only part of the story. THE ELECTION WAS STOLEN in Florida, too, and possibly New Mexico, where Cobb and Badnarik are fighting for a recount, and where there is now talk of 2,087 "phantom votes." They actually call them "phantom votes."

Fertik: "Fellow peasants, it's time to grab those pitchforks..."

Must read/listen: "Clear Channel Tramples on First Amendment Rights. It Won't Allow a Modern Day Paul Revere on the Public Airwaves, Even if He Pays."

That's that for now. I'll be updating regularly again. It's good to be back with you.

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas;
The Election Was Stolen

First of all, you have to check this out. Watch the video. Bush is in the middle of his press conference on Monday, and suddenly he looks down and very obviously says something into his necktie. Fucker's wired. Fucker's WIRED! He was wired at the debates, and we knew it, and he even admitted it, and he's wired to this very day.

Did you know he admitted it? He admitted it, jokingly. He was talking to Charles Gibson on Good Morning America, and Gibson asked him, point blank, "What the hell was that on your back, in the first debate?"

And fucker laughed that hoarse hyena chuckle of his, and said, "Well, you know, Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett have rigged up a sound system. I don't know what that is. I mean, it is, uh, it is, it's a -- I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Gibson momentarily pressed harder. "There was no sound system?" he asked. "There was no electrical signal?"

Fucker: "How does an electrical -- please explain to me how it works so maybe if I were ever to debate again I could figure it out. I guess the assumption was that if I was straying off course they would, kind of like a hunting dog, they would punch a buzzer and I would jerk back into place. I -- it's just absurd."

Now, even George W. Bush must know that such a sound system is obviously possible, that it does exist and is widely used in many different fields of endeavor. His subsequent guess, that critics supposed the device was actually being used to punish him with electric shocks, is purely his own sick fantasy.

So you had a man who is obviously a jerk, obviously lying. And that apparently was enough to convince people that he wasn't wired, it was no big deal, let's just go on as though nothing happened. So, on the eve of the election, it never really became an issue. The New York Times and other major outlets deliberately killed the story. Fucker's WIRED, and surely fucker would have lost votes here and there if the press had given this story its due.

It is such a shame that the presidency has come to this, but it's the stupidity, stupid. Fucker is being fed lines through an electronic device. And he still comes off like a complete moron. Can you imagine the frustration of the poor guy who's on the other end of that hookup, trying to feed Bush lines? He must be tearing his hair out. They could not possibly be paying him enough.

Of course, it's probably Rove. Who definitely gets paid enough. If I believed that there was a Hell, I would pause now to revel in the premonition of Karl Rove's retirement there. But there is no Hell. There is only Washington.

And Ohio. Where one in fifty presidential votes was never counted.

For a good time, read John Conyers' letter to Brett A. Rapp (President of Triad) and Michael Barbian, Jr. (Triad's Ohio Field Representative), in which he confronts them with the evidence that Triad tampered with the recount by ensuring that the sample votes recounted were not chosen randomly, but from specific groups whose recounting would yield nothing suspicious. As Olbermann put it, "if you were trying to fix a vote in Ohio, or cover it up in a recount, you had merely to identify which precincts were least likely to be chosen (rather than randomly selected), and do your dirty work in them."

The Triad revelation arose from the testimony of Sherole Eaton, the deputy director of elections in Hocking County.

Amanda and I ordered Chinese food last night, and the fortune in my fortune cookie said, "If they're messing with the recount, they're hiding something."

According to Olbermann, Conyers "is awaiting a staff report before deciding whether or not to formally challenge Ohio’s electoral votes," but "Ted Kalo, the Minority General Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee...notes that Representative Maxine Walters of Los Angeles has already spoken publicly about her willingness to be the house signatory on the challenge. Whether or not there’s a senator willing to do the same is still an open question."

And an important one. See Just One Senator at democrats.com.

In what Ray Beckermann calls the "death knell" of the Arnebeck lawsuit, Moyer has screwed America. Raw Story says:

"Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer, a Republican who was re-elected on the same ballot as President George W. Bush Nov. 2 but has declined to recuse himself from a suit contesting the president's election, issued a motion and procedural ruling today that denies an expedited hearing in the case and lays out the framework by which he might dismiss the case. RAW STORY acquired the ruling Wednesday afternoon.

"In the ruling...Moyer orders those contesting the election to answer two questions: (1) Whether the suit is moot because it was filed too late, and (2) Whether there is a legal significance in delaying the hearing until after Congress certifies the results of the electoral college Jan. 6, 2005."

These people are clearly, and maddeningly, making sure that the wheels of justice turn much slower than the pages of the calendar. It is driving me crazy that the whole system has to shut down now while everyone celebrates.

What it all means, probably, is that we're going to have to watch fucker get inaugurated again. First we're going to see what happens in Congress on January 6, of course, and maybe it will be something exciting. But in all likelihood, what we're going to have to fight for is the termination, rather than the prevention, of Bush's second term. Never forget that Nixon was re-elected -- probably by a fair vote, too -- and wound up resigning in disgrace.

There is one positive bit of Ohio news. Remember John Kerry? He's the president-elect, but he can't bring himself to say so. I-really-like-John-Kerry-and-I-think-he-would-make-an-excellent-president. I'm happy to note that he has just gotten significantly more involved. William Rivers Pitt reports that on Monday

"John Kerry will file...in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, papers in support of the Green Party/Libertarian Party recount effort. Specifically, Kerry will be filing a request for expedited discovery regarding Triad Systems voting machines, as well as a motion for a preservation order to protect any and all discovery and preserve any evidence on this matter.

"Previously, the Green Party and Libertarian Party have not fared well in their efforts to get emergency orders regarding this matter in Ohio. In order to pass muster with a judge, the individual or group requesting an emergency order for such a recount must show both irreperable harm as well as a substantial chance for success on the merits. While Green and Libertarian representatives could theoretically be able to show irreparable harm, they could not establish a substantial chance for success on the merits, because no recount would deliver Ohio to either party.

"Kerry's entry into this recount effort changes the math on this matter dramatically. He can likewise show irreparable harm, and unlike the Green and Libertarian candidates, he can also prove a substantial chance for success on the merits because he lost the Ohio vote by a statistical whisker.

"It should be noted that Kerry's filing of these requests does not indicate his complete entry into the recount process, but does clearly indicate that he is moving decisively in that direction. His previous stance on the matter was based simply on his desire to defend the right to have a recount in the first place. The evidence of election tampering in Ohio, specifically surrounding Triad, has motivated him to actively join the fight. The Democratic Party is also quietly putting financial resources into the Ohio recount effort."

Diane Suchetka of the Plain Dealer writes that Kerry's request that "some parts of that recount should be conducted again" simply "won't happen. The board certified the recount results Wednesday, which means they're official and will be forwarded to the secretary of state to be included in statewide totals." That sounds true. But as we get closer to January 6, Kerry could be getting more inolved, less involved, or could maintain his previous level of involvement. So it's good.

If you have a chance, you must go here and watch a 25-minute video, potentially historic, which documents voter disenfranchisement and intimidation in the Ohio election.

Still need more election fraud fun to make it through Christmas? Well, there's always Brad Blog, where Friedman continues to do outstanding work on the Clint Curtis story, which still has wings and may just be learning to fly. You might also check out this nice little piece about Michael Moore's next two movies, from our liberal friends at the New York Post. And this is very cool, too.

Take care, everyone. Keep fighting for the things you believe in, and keep reading and writing about them on what fucker calls "the Internets," President Al Gore's gift to all of us, where democracy exists.

Those of you who celebrate Christmas, have a very merry one. More right here real soon.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Don't Let the Holidays Ruin Your Outrage!

See the comments which follow my previous entry for a nice exchange I had with Mad Momma Texan, who mentioned that friends have accused her of diluting the holiday season with "negative talk" about the stolen election. If you'll forgive me for quoting myself: It is negative, to say the least, that American democracy has been illegally seized by a murderous tyrant. So at the risk of putting a damper on the holidays, we will certainly continue to say so. Don't let the holidays spoil your outrage!

In this article from Common Dreams, John Freeman makes the important point that this holiday season, you can "vote with your money," and refuse to support businesses which feed the right-wing machine. I believe very much in trying to spend one's money as responsibly as possible. At the same time, we have to be careful about voting with our money, as it's antithetical to democracy. If the vote which really matters is cast by spending money, then the more money you have, the more votes you get.

Here's an informative piece by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, who brings us up to speed on the Ohio recount. Cobb shares some disturbing new findings, and also sets forth an excellent "to-do list" for repairing our broken electoral system. See also Steven Hill and Rob Richie, Cries for Electoral Standards Mount.

Rick Perlstein, in this article from the Village Voice, makes some excellent points about the movement for fair elections. He also asserts that "the recount isn't amounting to much," which isn't quite fair. Nobody expected the recount alone to prove that THE ELECTION WAS STOLEN. We thought the recount would further support the contention that huge irregularities took place, and sure enough, it has.

Here's a handy form from Progressive Democrats of America, which allows you to send a form letter or an original letter to several Congressional representatives who are seen as likely to support the call for a complete investigation into the irregularities in the 2004 presidential election.

In the latest from the Fitrakis/Rosenfeld/Wasserman team, we get some solid information about the Arnebeck lawsuit we're waiting to hear about:

"The election challenge suit was filed Dec. 17. Blackwell, the Bush-Cheney campaign, and Ohio’s Republican electors have 10 days to respond. Then, according to court procedural rules, each side has 20 days to do discovery – or additional evidence gathering, with those bringing the suit going first. With January 6 being the date Congress accepts the Electoral College vote, and January 20 being the inauguration, the GOP seems determined to make the recount drag on as long as possible.

"'We have stuff that points to big numbers,' [election challenge legal team member Peter] Pectarsky said, referring to votes that should have been counted for John Kerry. 'What we need now is [someone saying] "We did it. Here's how. Don't take my word. Here's the evidence.'"

And finally, I have to tell you about one of the best articles I've read in a while -- and it's from Pravda! Referring to the United States as "a nation infected with terminal myopia," the article makes one salient point after another. I'm going to quote from it at length.

"...In the wake of the Bush dictatorship's coup of 2000 and the corruption-ridden 'election' of 2004, the chickens have again come home to roost in America. A nation that has incessantly imposed and/or propped up fraudulent democracies throughout the world has finally become a fraudulent democracy itself, controlled by the machinations of a cabal of corrupt oligarchs who satiate Americans with the illusion of 'voting,' while ensuring their preordained puppets are installed into office.

"Those who doubt that 'democracy' is moribund in the United States need only look at the antithetical reactions regarding allegations of fraud in America's presidential elections, and allegations of fraud in the presidential elections held in the Ukraine.

"Many western pundits, during their denunciations of the Ukrainian elections, routinely stressed that the alleged winner, Viktor Yanukovych, has a criminal record. Yet forgotten in these denunciations is the fact that George W. Bush is the first 'president' to enter the White House with a criminal record...And, in the eyes of many throughout the world, he is a war criminal, responsible for the deaths of over one thousand Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis in an illegal war waged on nothing but lies.

"In addition, while that alleged bastion of 'justice,' the United States Supreme Court, corruptly and unethically endorsed the electoral fraud that placed Bush into office during the coup of 2000, and while a primary architect of that fraud, Katherine Harris, was elected to the United States Congress, the Ukrainian Supreme Court had the integrity to invalidate the results of that nation's presidential election."

The article goes on to compare the American and Ukrainian situations, arriving ultimately at this crucial point:

"But perhaps most notably, people in the Ukraine bravely held around-the-clock vigils in inclement weather, demanding that the honor of their democracy be respected and restored. In the United States, a nation supposedly comprised of freedom-loving, fair-minded people, the overwhelming majority of Americans (with the exception of a few scattered protests) apathetically ignored allegations of electoral fraud in states such as Florida and Ohio."

There's more, too. If you get a chance, check out the article. As for me, I'm going to see what Isvestia has to say.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bush Negotiates With Himself

I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but in light of yesterday's press conference, I would like to begin today's entry by pointing out that the man who pretends to be our president is an idiot. Now, I know that there's been a kind of backlash lately against calling Bush stupid. I don't see why. Don't get me wrong -- not everyone has to be intelligent, and nobody should be discriminated against on account of mental shortcomings. The world is full of good, decent people who aren't very smart, and that's just fine.

The thing is, though, they don't run countries. Because Bush is acting as the leader of the free world, his utter lack of intellectual power is a very real issue, and a very big problem. And we should absolutely be talking about it.

There has been an ongoing attempt on the right to turn Bush's stupidity into a virtue, to say that he is merely "plain-spoken." Ha. That's not what this is about. Nobody said he had to be a poet. We have had presidents whose eloquence has made them literary figures, and we have had presidents who eschewed stirring turns of phrase in favor of simple, direct statements. But however they chose to express themselves, our greatest presidents have all been intelligent.

George W. Bush is not. All evidence shows that he understands almost nothing about the American system, that he is incapable of expressing himself spontaneously, and that he is unable to read and write on an adult level.

At yesterday's press conference, when asked to comment on the future of Social Security, Bush got cranky and said, "Now, the temptation is going to be, by well-meaning people such as yourself and others here, as we run up to the issue, to get me to negotiate with myself in public. To say, you know, 'What's this mean, Mr. President? What's that mean?' I'm not going to do that."

A bit later on, he responded to another question: "I will try to explain how without negotiating with myself. It's a very tricky way to get me to play my cards. I understand that."

I have no doubt that there is, somewhere in this world, a place for George W. Bush. But he is too stupid to be President of the United States. That's not petty name-calling. That is an observation, and a summary of a situation which is very grave indeed. In fact, it's worse -- even Bush's stupidity might be forgiveable, as a dull president who knows he's dull can always surround himself with smarter associates. An even greater problem is that he has no heart. See The Unfeeling President, an excellent essay by E.L. Doctorow. It's been around for a few months, but if you haven't read it, take a look.

In this interview, John Conyers makes a number of important points -- very, very carefully. January 6 draws near -- and with it the possibility that the election results will be contested before the Congress. So Conyers is reiterating that he is not ready to decisively say THE ELECTION WAS STOLEN. But he has formally asked the A.P. and five broadcast networks to turn over their raw exit poll data for investigation.

According to an e-mail from Contest the Vote:

"Four members of Contest the Vote went to Los Angeles on 12/15/04 and asked Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to join with Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and others in contesting the official electoral vote count on 01/06/05. Though she has not yet firmly decided to join Representative Conyers, she gave us every indication that she is seriously considering this matter and is consulting with the representatives from Ohio.

"Her State Director, Tom Bohegian, spent a considerable amount of time with us over dinner answering our questions and reviewing this serious matter. He indicated that he would be sharing points from our in-depth conversation with Senator Boxer. We indicated to him that the numbers of signatures were increasing daily and would soon top 10,000. We advised him to inspect our website, www.ContestTheVote.org, for the latest information on this."

The Ohio recount is drawing to a close, and has already revealed a new litany of discrepancies. Over at Bush Eye, Justice has posted a link to this lengthy and informative interview with Cliff Arnebeck, from December 15.

More right here, as it happens. I know this has been a somewhat slow week, thus far, but there are new developments around the corner. We have to get over the holiday pause, whose timing is unfortunate. But stay with us. There is a great dream brewing, projected into the future by voters and representatives and activists and bloggers. It is a blueprint left over from 1789, and it suggests that the people of the United States of America will one day democratically elect their leaders, as they once did. It suggests that in spite of everything, America actually is good; that the future actually is bright; and that when we are all free, George W. Bush will be sitting on the cold floor of a prison cell, negotiating with himself.

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P.S. My friend at Crooks and Liars has asked me to ask you to vote for his site in the Koufax Awards. So if you're so inclined, take a look at his page and consider helping him out. The voting period ends today. Regardless, I thoroughly recommend Crooks and Liars. I check it every day. He does a great job and he deserves whatever honors might come his way.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Study: Fair Election = President Kerry

While we all wait tensely for a decision on the re-filed Arnebeck suit, tales of election woe (whoa!) continue to seep through the media, and it's not all about Ohio and Florida. There's more on the amazing backwards-counting voting machines in 57 Oklahoma counties, and there's also somewhat big news from Indiana, where ES&S project manager Wendy Orange has resigned. Orange is the woman who blew the whistle on voting problems in Marion County. She states in her resignation letter that she "personally witnessed open discussions of potentially illegal procedures," concluding that "I have since learned that the standards to which I hold myself, I don't believe ES&S holds those same standards and values."

And, yes, the adventure continues in Ohio. Wired has done some excellent coverage lately of e-voting problems, and its latest, Ohio Recount Stirs Trouble, is worth a look, as is Certifiable election results, a revealing and data-heavy piece by Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D. And Buzzflash today gives us this disturbing flashback to just before the election: Toledo Blade 10/13/04: Thieves hit Democratic Party offices; computers containing sensitive data removed.

Ron Baiman, writing for Free Press, asserts that "exit polls leave little doubt that in a free and fair election John Kerry would have won both the electoral college and the popular vote." Bob Fertik, discussing Baiman's findings, writes:

"These are remarkable words for a scholar –- Baiman is strongly suggesting the Presidency was stolen. The fact that two experts have come to the same conclusion is doubly (or is it squared?) significant.

"How many experts will have to reach the same conclusion before the mainstream media touches this story?

"This is not a rhetorical question. I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any more. I want serious answers – and I need your help to get them.

"...Help me find the direct web link to each organization…and the top person, including the name, phone, and e-mail (or webform). Send me the info via our webform (http://www.democrats.com/contact) and I will post it as quickly as I can.

"...Let’s make some news – and maybe make some history too!"

I really believe Bob Fertik is one of the brightest lights of this struggle. He has a rich and credible background in politics, law, and the media; he believes deeply in the need for fair elections and in the fact that we haven't been having them lately. His daily "Stolen Election 2004" updates are among the blogosphere's most important contributions to this cause. I think he's someone who, given the support and participation of others, can help to solve these problems. Let's help him gather information about this. His polling page is here.

Just as important, and also requiring our participation: Check out Fertik's protest links, as well as the Just One Senator page at Fertik's democrats.com.

Take a look at this article:

"Massachusetts Coalition against Election Fraud accomplished having some Electoral College electors submit a unanimous motion calling for a complete investigation of this presidential election. We are now working on having United States senators join a group of United States Representatives in not certifying the Electoral College vote on January 6."

Keith Olbermann makes some points today which are important, if not completely encouraging:

"Conyers and the other Congressmen - all Democrats - taking testimony, are meeting ad hoc. Being members of the minority, they can’t act, they can’t get legislation passed, they can’t get anything done, without the cooperation of some Republicans. And they aren’t going to get that cooperation. Officially, the most Mr. Conyers and his colleagues can do now is to formally challenge Ohio’s slate of voters when the Electoral College balloting is opened before the joint session of Congress on January 6th. Last week, on Countdown, Conyers said he was fully prepared to do that (the Constitution requires one willing congressman and one willing Senator to put such a challenge in writing), but he would not commit to doing it himself, and has not referred to it since."

This editorial ran in the New York Times yesterday, and although it's not much, at least the Times ran it. It does not go so far as to directly challenge the integrity of the 2004 presidential election, but it does acknowledge that the Ohio recount is not enough to ensure that there was integrity:

"If people other than election officials have free access to the tabulation software, it can make a recount an empty gesture.

"Clearly the American election system needs significant improvement, starting with voter-verified paper trails for every vote cast electronically. In the current flawed system, the best chance we have of producing accurate results is to be on guard for manipulation of electronic voting machines and tabulation software, and to conduct conscientious recounts when the outcome is at all in doubt."

In other news, Chevy Chase calls Bush "a dumb fuck" at the Kennedy Center, and CNN polling reveals that "Bush is the first incumbent president to have an approval rating below 50 percent one month after winning re-election."

Or whatever.

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Fliers Exchanged in Washington Square

My exciting news: Amanda has given me a wonderful secular winter-time present! It's something I've wanted for a long time but never had before -- a domain name! So you can now visit www.noahdiamond.com. Right now, there's just a handwritten welcome note there, and an automatic redirection to this site, but look for changes soon. I'll keep the blog posts going at this address, but I'll probably move most of the site's other features to the new homepage, from which it will be incredibly easy to find your way here.

To everyone who I saw at the Washington Square Park protest on Saturday -- it was great to meet you in person and exchange fliers. It was that kind of a protest, folks -- someone hands you a flier, and then you hand them one. Nothing wrong with that, though I am still waiting to smell revolution in the streets. The streets must be the perfect place for a revolution. You can't really have one in the pool.

Anyway, on Saturday I got to speak with people I'd only communicated with through this blog, or e-mail, and that was quite nice. I picked up some new links for you, too. Teresa Hommel, who filled me in on the looming threat of electronic voting in New York, has a great site, wheresthepaper.org, which features a nifty "Fraudulent Voting Machine" program. She also provides, at wheresthepaper.org/ny, New York-specific information and sample letters-to-your-representatives.

January 6 is fast approaching, and the slow wheels of justice are about to grind to their holiday halt. Must read: Ohio vote count battles escalate amidst new evidence of potential criminal activity, by the Fitrakis/Rosenfeld/Wasserman triumverate.

Also, you can now read Moyers' Moss v. Bush decision from last week, which basically threw out the election challenge on a technicality. Apparently, the Arnebeck/Fitrakis/Truitt contingent refiled on Friday, having corrected the minor fault Judge Moyers had found with the suit.

Moyers' rejection isn't a good sign, though. Obviously, if he agreed with the plaintiffs' primary assertion -- that the people of Ohio were not given a democratic presidential election -- he would consider its further investigation more important than the arcane legal detail for which he dismissed the case. The clock is running out. Just so you know: Moyers is a Republican.

Of course, The Washington Post seems to feel that Republicans -- in Congress, anyway -- have chosen just this moment to become irritated with Bush and fight his policies. It's incredible what the re-election of a president does to that president's party. It's almost like what's happening to the Republicans right now. The Republicans are acting as though a president of their party has just been re-elected, and the fact that he hasn't -- nor was he ever elected -- just makes them look sillier than usual. Unfortunately, however, their not-elected, not-re-elected non-president is in power. But look on the bright side: Osama bin Laden is trying to bankrupt us.

And, just 66 years after Adloph Hitler was Time's Man of the Year, Bush gets the same honor. Only in these marginally more enlightened times, of course, it's the Person of the Year, which in the case of this year's honoree, I think, is pushing it. (Note, added later: Amanda just told me that Bush was Person of the Year in 2000 too. So he's actually outdone Hitler.)

Brad Blog continues to report on the still-afloat Clint Curtis saga, whose most spectacular recent development is this article, which appeared in Feeney's hometown newspaper. I think I'm going to call his office and try to read it to him.

David Cobb, for his part, is mad at John Kerry.

Over at Crooks and Liars, there's this post, featuring an incredible clip from Bill O'Reilly's show. O'Reilly is talking to a creepy, Fountainheaded pipsqueak from the Ayn Rand Institute, who is so dripping with evil that Bill O'Reilly of all people interrupts him to say, "But Iraq didn't attack us!" Bonus feature: The Ayn Rand guy talks like Elmer Fudd.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a speech impediment, which would be a joke if you heard me say it in person. But when you go on TV and actually say that the U.S. military should bomb the homes of Iraqi civilians, and "turn Fallujah into dust," and you talk like Elmer Fudd, you're fair game.

Alas, the election was not.

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