Saturday, May 19, 2007

The New Shadow Government! Buy A Gun. Be Ready To Shoot Yourself.

Oh really? Is Junior manic again?

Isn't this akin to putting Ted Bundy in charge of the women's dorm at University?

Shadow governmets, in case of disaster? What are they expecting, a nuclear attack by Russia or China? Because nothing else would be serious enough to trigger a national crisis of such magnitude as to cause Junior to be granted powers as the protecter of democratic process; a process, which he, by his own admission and every action he has taken since he announced for the presidency, has nothing but contemp for.

Does this mean that another "9/11" is being scheduled? Like a natural or, for special-effects purposes, terrorist-induced plague?

A Dirty bomb, in another blue state or, God forbid, in a purple state, filled with un-predictable voters?

Can anyone imagine, even with their best Hollywood Hat and a healthy global-climate-change awareness, a natural disaster that would shut down the legitimate government, provided there is one?

We notice that the ever-present Vice is mentioned as a consultant in this matter of a shadow government. That figures, since he has been running the already-existing one since Jan. 2001.

Nevermind the questions; just shoot me now!

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency
By Matthew Rothschild
May 18, 2007

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.”

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”

He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.”

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”

It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”

The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.

But it says flat out: “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”

The document waves at the need to work closely with the other two branches, saying there will be “a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government.” But this effort will be “coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers.”

Among the efforts coordinated by the President would be ensuring the capability of the three branches of government to “provide for orderly succession” and “appropriate transition of leadership.”

The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

Currently holding that post is Frances Fragos Townsend.

She is required to develop a National Continuity Implementation Plan and submit it within 90 days.

As part of that plan, she is not only to devise procedures for the Executive Branch but also give guidance to “state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure.”

The secretary of Homeland Security is also directed to develop planning guidance for “private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators,” as well as state, local, territorial, and tribal governments.

The document gives the Vice President a role in implementing the provisions of the contingency plans.

“This directive shall be implanted in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 USC 19), with the consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved.”

The document also contains “classified Continuity Annexes.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Carter Blasts Bush: With A Little independent Commentary

Warning to Bushites: Don't mess with Carter

President Carter Blasts Bush
Published: 5/19/07, 2:06 PM EDT

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter says President George W. Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.

Hey, Jimmy, don't stop there, The Domestic Front is a nightmare as well.

The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding.

We could not agree more. I have never heard Jimmy Carter criticize another administration since he left office over 25 years ago, though I feel sure he did not agree with the policies of Reagan or Bush, Sr. or Clinton, for that matter. However, though he waited well beyond the time I thought he should drag out the Bazookas, for the past few years he hasn't been pulling any punches.

(We appreciate the hell out of that, Mr. President)

"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Us too, Mr President. Anyone who can out-do Nixon, Reagan and Bush, Sr. when it comes to sleaze and criminal activity, has got to be the worst president in history

Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo confirmed his comments to The Associated Press on Saturday and declined to elaborate. He spoke while promoting his new audiobook series, "Sunday Mornings in Plains," a collection of weekly Bible lessons from his hometown of Plains, Ga.

Bet there is some good Christian Code in that book (not fundie buzzwords). Bet we read it, too

"Apparently, Sunday mornings in Plains for former President Carter includes hurling reckless accusations at your fellow man," said Amber Wilkerson, Republican National Committee spokeswoman. She said it was hard to take Carter seriously because he also "challenged Ronald Reagan's strategy for the Cold War."

Hummm....Amber Wilson? Wonder where she graduated; Liberty University or some other Madrasa of higher learning?

Nevertheless, shut your stupid trap, Amber. Carter may have criticized Reagan's strategy for the cold war, bu t he never criticized him, personally.

Could it be that Carter criticized Reagan's strategy because, having recently left the White House, he was acutely aware that it was based on bogus Intel. (sound familiar?), which came out of a newly purged CIA.

The Soviet Union was crumbling from within by the time Reagan/Bush came to office. They did not like that.

Peace might break out. Portfolios could lose lots of money. The Beast (military-industrial complex) has to be fed. Ramp of the fear index. New CIA needed. We know the drill.

Carter came down hard on the Iraq war.

"We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered," he said. "But that's been a radical departure from all previous administration policies."

It is a criminal departure from anything that has gone before. It is, however, also a natural progression from every Republican administration we have seen since Ike warned us about the dangers of the Beast. It is the realization of a twisted, highly dangerous imperial American fascism.

Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, criticized Bush for having "zero peace talks" in Israel. Carter also said the administration "abandoned or directly refuted" every negotiated nuclear arms agreement, as well as environmental efforts by other presidents.
Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive $2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone.

The Bushites are an illegitimate, rogue regime. I, personally, have no allegiance to them. I do still, however, have an allegiance to my country and the principles upon which it ws founded, which puts me in direct, serious conflict conflict with Bush and company.

"The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion," Carter said. "As a traditional Baptist, I've always believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one."

They are supporting the right-wing madrassas, so they can pump out more lame-brain attorneys to staff our justice system or others, with whom to infiltrate our military as officers.

It is a hostile take-over, Mr. President, one which religion, in this country,will long regret.


Because it is about to turn on them in a huge way; one they will not like very much.

Unfortunately, the turning may be an an event for all religions and denominations. Many of us have had about all we can take of religious insanity.

Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter's comments as unprecedented.

"This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president," Brinkley said. "When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words."

If any of Bush's thugs feel like going after Carter, let the word go out.: You will have a fight on your hands.

You want a war? You will flat get one.

We are sick and tired of Bullys and we know how to deal with them. So, bring it on, you cretins!

Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Blair's support of Bush, the former president said: "Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient."

"And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world," Carter told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Amen, Brother Carter! Unfortunate though that truth is for us all.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Jaw-dropping Perversion in Another Gooper

These are people who scream about "family values" and set themselves up as the "moral compass" of the nation; all the while they are visiting hookers and molesting kids.

Still the crusading-christian-crackpots swear fealty to them.

I would rather trust my kids to a hippie commune than these disgusting, low-life perverts

Republican Molests Page, Gets Arrested

The Republican in this case is former Member of the South Dakota House Ted A. Klaudt. He’s been arrested for a bunch of sexual offenses against a couple young girls, one of whom worked as a page in the South Dakota legislature. Here’s a clip from the AP story, and the details here are quite sordid:

The girls told law officers that Klaudt touched their genitals during what he called exams for a purported scheme to have them donate their eggs to make money, Long said.

“He was convincing these girls they were candidates for donation of their eggs, that this would be a significant financial advantage to them and it was necessary for him to perform these acts on the girls to determine if they would be viable candidates for the procedure,” Long told The Associated Press.

The two girls were among a number of children who were sent to foster care in Klaudt’s home under a program that provides foster care for young people who have no safe home to return to after completing programs in juvenile corrections facilities. He had taken in participants of the program since 2001.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that a Republican would have to resort to pulling a con on a minor in order to get some, but I am surprised at how creative Klaudt got with his con job. Yes, one can be creative and still be a miserable scumbag.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Why Does Anyone Still Have Doubts That There Is A Conspiracy Aganst Democracy In America

This is an excellent work of Dot-Connecting.

Kudos and a 15 hat tip salute to clammyc.

Hey Clammy, quit apologizing for damn good work!

clammyc's diary :: ::

After 2000, I thought something was up (as did many others). But I thought it was more related to the butterfly ballot and a horrific Supreme Court decision that couldn’t even be cited as precedent and would ultimately be the impetus for change in the right direction. Man was I wrong. As the next few years passed, I became more and more suspicious, but after the 2004 election, there were too many others that said, "move along, nothing to see here" or "it’s always been like this, so what are you going to do about it?"

And as more and more information came out, whether it was through the most excellent Brad Blog, Talking Points Memo, ePluribus Media or even through Black Box Voting (which, while certainly far from perfect, it did keep this issue out in the open) and the reports of exit polls being so far off for the first time ever that it defied all logic and reason, there was more and more suspicion.

But it was really just that – suspicion and a growing suspicion. However, the US Attorney purge has really opened the door to a number of, frankly shocking, issues, events and "coincidences" that certainly go a long way towards confirming a concerted effort by the republican party (as well as the RNC itself), this administration, the Department of Justice, Diebold and republican linked organizations to either manipulate the votes, disenfranchise large numbers of probably Democratic voters, change the makeup of voting districts, purge the voting rolls and otherwise skew the elections or give the republicans a distinct advantage.

Hence, I am not using the terms "voter fraud" or "voting fraud" – but am consciously using "election fraud" – which to me indicates that there was intent to skew the actual election process in favor of republicans. I will try to keep the tin foil hattery to a minimum and not provide any of my personal thoughts or assertions. But what I hope to do here is to provide some of the major pieces to a puzzle that to me would certainly give a large amount of evidence that something massive was going on with respect to ensuring the "permanent republican majority" that Tom DeLay and Karl Rove envisioned.

The US Attorney Purge

I’ll start with this, because it is the most recent, and instead of the allegations and statistics that have been used in the past, this shows (at least to me) a more than coincidental connection between the replacement of US Attorneys and their willingness to pursue voter fraud cases and other cases that would "assist" republicans in certain elections which were thought to be close.

I am not going to provide the background of the purge, but will indicate that there were a few things that should be noted:

This was truly unprecedented. According to an article in Salon, the Congressional Research Service issued a report that indicated that between 1981 and 2006, only five of the 486 U.S. attorneys failed to finish their four-year terms, and none were fired for political reasons.

There were numerous options being considered between 2005 and 2006 with respect to the US Attorneys. At different points, there was talk about dismissing all 93 US Attorneys, dismissing 26 attorneys, other lists dismissing thirteen, nine, five, eight and seven attorneys;

Approximately nine "battleground states" had their US Attorney on the list at some point, and as McClatchy reported earlier this week, " In at least seven states, it now appears, U.S. attorneys were fired or considered for firing as Republicans in those states urged investigations or prosecutions of alleged Democratic voter fraud.";

The PATRIOT ACT reauthorization in 2005 allowed for a change into how interim US Attorneys would be appointed, resulting in the ability for replacements to bypass Senate confirmation and serve until the end of the President’s term.

Let’s look at a few of these Attorneys:

Washington District Attorney John McKay, a man who received excellent performance reviews, was fired. And coincidentally, his dismissal is widely speculated to have been related to his not bringing (nonexistent) voter fraud charges in the 2004 Gubernatorial election.

New Mexico District Attorney David Iglesias was added to the list of attorneys to be fired on Election Day 2006 after being threatened by NM Senator Pete Dominici (a republican) for not bringing corruption charges against a Democrat before the 2006 election (specifically public corruption charges of Albuquerque's Metropolitan Courthouse construction). Dominici reached out to Karl Rove directly in order to have Iglesias dismissed after both he and NM Representative Heather Wilson leaned on Iglesias to bring indictments before Election Day 2006.

Arkansas District Attorney Bud Cummins, the one US Attorney that Alberto Gonzales and his team backtracked from earlier assertions of "performance related dismissal", was replaced with Tim Griffin, who worked under Karl Rove at the Republican National Committee. Griffin had a large role in "caging" during the 2004 elections:

Another of the most important reasons why Griffin's appointment deserves a harder look is from his involvement in "caging," which "appeared to be" a Republican Party effort to challenge the ballots of thousands of voters in largely African American communities through mailings targeting those who were serving in Iraq. Since they were stationed out of country, they were not at the address to which the mailings were sent, and the letters were returned as "not deliverable," establishing "cause" to strike the intended recipients from the voter roles. Who sent the originating email with respect to this caging "program"? Tim Griffin.

Griffin is now being investigated FOR VOTER FRAUD for his role in the caging scheme.

Additionally, Murray Waas recently reported that the White House was concealing emails that linked Rove to Griffin’s hiring:

The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.

New Jersey District Attorney Chris Christie was on the November 1, 2006 list as well as an earlier list in January 2006 (contrary to prior reports), which would appear to be a "cover" for other US Attorneys that were to be fired. Christie seems to be one who wouldn’t make any list that would be penalizing those who weren’t "loyal Bushies", since he was a "Bush Pioneer" in 2000, "raising" over $100,000 for Bush. Additionally, the 2006 NJ Senate race was a pretty close one for much of the year, and during September 2006, there were leaks to the press about a corruption probe into Democratic Senator Menendez. While this was meant to give Kean a push, it was not only largely dismissed by the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time but nothing ever came of the probe. My guess is that Christie was put on the list as a cover for some of the other attorneys and there was little to no intention to ever fire him, but it could also be due to the fact that his probe into Menendez didn’t result in Kean winning the election.

Western Missouri District Attorney Todd Graves was dismissed in March 2006, replaced by Bradley Schlozman (a man with no prosecutorial experience). Schlozman was a political appointee to the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section (remember this group as I will discuss it in detail below) before being appointed as replacement for Graves. The reason behind this change? Voter fraud prosecutions:

Then, in March 2006, Graves was replaced by a new US attorney -- one who had no prosecutorial experience and bypassed Senate confirmation. Bradley Schlozman moved aggressively where Graves had not, announcing felony indictments of four workers for a liberal activist group on voter registration fraud charges less than a week before the 2006 election.
Republicans, who had been pushing for restrictive new voting laws, applauded. But critics said Schlozman violated a department policy to wait until after an election to bring voter fraud indictments if the case could affect the outcome, either by becoming a campaign issue or by scaring legitimate voters into staying home.

Also recently reported by the McClatchy Washington Bureau was a story indicating the White House was urging the Justice Department to pursue voting fraud cases against Democrats in three states BEFORE the 2006 elections:

Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.

In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.

Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.

All in all, these are five examples of situations where the US Attorneys were directly involved in some actions around an election which had the potential to swing or impact an election. Those that went along kept their jobs or were promoted while those who did not were removed and replaced.


The Voting Rights Section at the Department of Justice

I mentioned this above with respect to Western Missouri’s Attorney Bradley Schlozman. The issue here involves Schlozman, the Voting Rights Section’s ("VRS") Special Counsel, Robert Popper and a host of others.

But, consider that the Voting Rights Section is supposed to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, protect minority rights in redistricting, make sure that voters are not disenfranchised and are able to have their votes counted. Makes sense, yes?

Now consider the following (much of this can be found in a prior diary of mine):

In the Boston Globe article linked above, there was the following quote about Schlozman’s tenure at the Voting Rights Section:

There, he came into conflict with veteran staff over his decisions to approve a Texas redistricting plan and a Georgia photo-ID voting law, both of which benefited Republicans. He also hired many new career lawyers with strong conservative credentials, in what critics say was an attempt to reduce enforcement of laws designed to eliminate obstacles to voting by minorities.

"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

With respect to Special Counsel Robert Popper, consider the following:

Popper has vast experience with redistricting cases – but in a way that challenges old district lines in order to redraw them "more fairly" – focusing almost exclusively on redrawing largely minority districts (a 1996 case deals with the largely minority 12th district in New York;
Other cases being pursued by the Voting Rights Section (signed by Alberto Gonzales and Robert Popper) target districts for "not properly eliminating ineligible voters from the voting rolls". As opposed to making sure that voters CAN vote – they are focusing on cleansing (my word) the voting rolls – again, in districts that have had a large increase in Democratic registrations or are largely minority districts. This includes a questionable case in Alabama, cases in New Jersey, in Maine and Indiana all dealing with the purging of voter rolls or not using electronic voting machines;

Over 50% of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division have been forced out in one way or another over the past two years;

These attorneys were replaced largely with people affiliated with the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association; and

Less than half of these "new attorneys" have little to no experience in civil rights cases at all.

There are more examples in an excellent ePluribus Media story, including the following quote from one of the career attorneys who was forced out:
"Political appointees made it quite clear that they did not wish to draw on the expertise and institutional knowledge of career attorneys. Instead, there appeared to be a conscious effort to remake the Division's career staff."

A recent editorial in the LA Times contained this observation of the Justice Department under the Bush administration:
Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

Given the numerous instances of reports asserting the destruction of Democratic party voter registrations in numerous states, as well as the numerous reports of irregularities around the country, none of these were pursued by the VRS. Yet, the VRS, under Popper, Schlozman and Gonzales, chose to pursue cases where it would curtail the rights of people to have their votes counted.


2002 - New Hampshire Phone Jamming and Georgia’s "Miracle Win By Chambliss"

In 2002, John Sununu won a close Senate race. On Election Day 2002, there were charges of "phone jamming" the Democrats’ get out the vote efforts.

While Sununu probably would have won even without this, there was ultimately the conviction of three NH Republican Party officials of violating Federal Communications Law:

[Charles] McGee and two other participants -- Republican National Committee regional political director James Tobin and GOP consultant Allen Raymond-- have been found guilty of criminally violating federal communications law. Tobin will be sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H.

It should be noted that right before the phone jamming scheme, there were two $5,000 contributions from Jack Abramoff clients as well as another $5,000 from Tom DeLay’s "Americans for a Republican Majority" PAC.


This paled in comparison to what went on in Georgia in 2002.

An article in the September 21, 2006 Rolling Stone by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. contained a discussion with a Diebold consultant who was involved with the Georgia election in 2002. Now, this was one of the first in which the Diebold machines were used, and was also the election where Saxby Chambliss came from a five to six point deficit the week of the election to win by seven points – a near statistical impossibility. While this was dubbed a "miracle", there was much more to it than met the eye.

Essentially, as described by Christopher Hood (the former Diebold consultant), Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox (A Democrat) basically "outsourced" the entire 2002 election process – the training, setting up of machines, counting the votes, etc. to Diebold.

As Hood described, there were unapproved and unauthorized software patches put in around the time of the Georgia primary:

Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."


"It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."


According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way." Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others.

All emphasis here is mine.

During 2003, A number of reports and presentations were made throughout the United States showing why the Diebold machines should not be certified for use in elections. I’ll also point out that California unanimously voted to have the Secretary of State decertify the machines in 2004, and was considering bringing charges against the firm related to use of these machines. However, the machines were still widely used during the 2004 elections.


2004 Texas Redistricting

For those who forget the gerrymandering of the Texas House Districts which was engineered by Tom DeLay, I’ll make brief mention of it here. Through DeLay’s two PACs (Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority), the newly republican Texas Legislature in 2003 tried to ram through a redistricting plan which was hotly contested by the Democrats.

The the redistricting case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, who partially overturned in 2006, and there were two walkouts by Democrats in the Texas Legislature – precluding a quorum from existing and allowing the redistricting to occur. The Justice Department ruled that this violated the Voting Rights Act. Republicans gained 4 or 5 seats from this redistricting alone.

2004 Election – Ohio. The "fruits" of their labor

Without beating this to death, there were so many issues with the 2004 election, I’ll just make mention of them – mainly since this is already getting long, many people already know of most of these and they really are more symptoms than the root cause of the larger point of the diary.
But, I will provide links to these and a brief description of the "issues and irregularities" – pretty much all of which favored Bush and the republicans.

There was Ohio, and anything related to Ohio is not complete without Georgia10’s excellent writeup from January 2005 and eRiposte’s roundup of overall voter suppression/intimidation/suppression items from 2004.

I want to point out here that the following issues with Ohio may not be the "proof" that the election was stolen, and I am not really interested in giving my opinion of this here anyway. What I want to do with Ohio is to provide a summary of the major issues that have been pointed out in the past. As I also said in my opening, I am also not discussing the exit poll discrepancies in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania or any other states, as even though I think it is highly fishy, there are a number of postings and people who doubt the methodology and accuracy, or don’t think this rises to a level of "fraud". Needless to say, I think that the exit polls aren’t really as pertinent to the larger picture of what I am laying out here. They are quite possibly "proof" or support for the "fruits of the larger picture" of election fraud. However, for my purpose here, the following merely serves as examples of what this effort could produce on election day.

That all being said, consider the following:

Extremely long lines in minority and predominantly Democratic districts. Nearly 100 voting machines staying in storage when they were desperately needed in such districts (I’ll point out that there was very little waiting time in republican districts).

So many "errors and issues" that would necessitate a recount, just based on the number of issues alone. Widespread voter suppression tactics, including "Democrats vote on November 3" flyers.

The nonexistent terror threat in Warren County that precluded anyone from watching the votes be counted. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s connection to Florida 2000, the decision regarding voter registrations being on a certain weight paper and his being co-Chair of Bush’s reelection committee.

The incredibly high voter turnout (131% in the Clyde precinct) in republican counties and just as incredibly low turnout (as low as 7%) in Democratic counties. The "fixed Ohio recount", where the tallies and counties were pre-selected. There are many more, but I don’t want this to become a rehashing of what happened in Ohio.

Again, this is not to say that every one of these (1) are related or (2) indicative of a centralized effort to commit voter fraud. However, nearly all of the irregularities and issues favored Bush and the republicans. This also doesn’t provide proof that there was hacking of the voting machines either. Yet, there were still 4,000 votes for Bush in a precinct that had 600 total voters, and too large of a number of widespread issues that were all targeting Democrats. This is not something that can all be the result of isolated incidents. Again, these are more "suppression" tactics that can be linked back to decisions made by Blackwell, who was linked to Bush’s re-election campaign.



Of course, there was the comment made by Rep. Peter King in the fall of 2004 indicating that "it’s all over but the counting, and we’ll take care of the counting". There were the exit poll discrepancies, and while there has been much debate over whether there was a problem with the way the exit polls were conducted, it is interesting to note that exit polls have been as close to the best indicator of a fair election for decades in scores of countries. The same exit polls that led to allegations of fraud and massive protests in the Ukraine right after our own 2004 elections. they do lead to questions (updated so as to not distract from the true intent of the diary)

There was also the proclamation by Diebold Executive Walden O’Dell that he would deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush.

But the hundreds of instances of irregularities, suppression, disenfranchisement and possible fraud in the 2004 election are merely symptoms of the larger issue.

Maybe Peter King was kidding when he uttered those words on the White House lawn and maybe O’Dell was just saying this as a Bush supporter – but sometimes the truth comes out in jest as well.

From my perspective, the whole "permanent republican majority" meme was something that really resonated. What is happening at the Voting Rights Section in the DOJ, and what has happened with the voting machine security issues, especially in light of them being run by businesses that are very cozy to the republican party.

There are also other things that can not be explained at this time which may play a part as well.

For example, what was in those missing emails that Rove deleted? What was the purpose of the wiretapping program that even had Ashcroft not want to recertify it? What was being done with the data mining rooms at AT&T and other facilities? Maybe it had nothing to do with keeping the "permanent republican majority". Maybe it did – but either way, there is ample evidence that the republicans, over the past six years, have put many things into place that "had the appearance" of tilting the scales in favor of republicans – not just on or around election day, but all throughout the Justice Department, the RNC, the Secretary of State in "key battleground states", through destroying voter registrations and through Political Action Committees (at least in NH and Texas, if not other states as well).

As I said last week, this cuts right to the heart of our democracy.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

It All Matters!

Caller ID

It's not whether the president called. It's what he did.
Friday, May 18, 2007; A22

IT DOESN'T much matter whether President Bush was the one who phoned Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's hospital room before the Wednesday Night Ambush in 2004. It matters enormously, however, whether the president was willing to have his White House aides try to strong-arm the gravely ill attorney general into overruling the Justice Department's legal views.

Oh yes it does matter. It matters for a couple of very important reasons:

1) Whoever he talked to (Mrs. Ashcroft?) can testify to the fact that Bush was not only aware of what was happening, he was also assisting in it, bringing the power of the office of the presidency to bear on the Ashcroft family. It also shows involvement in a conspiracy to commit a crime, by some of the highest elected and appointed offices in the land.

2) It helps us continue to put pieces of the puzzle together, so that more of a painting is revealed; a portrait of corruption, lawlessness, political and economic thuggery, incompetence, a chilling contempt for democracy, as well as right, lawful use of government power for the well-being of the people. The story being told is as important as the legal ins and outs.

It matters enormously whether the president, once that mission failed, was willing nonetheless to proceed with a program whose legality had been called into question by the Justice Department. That is why Mr. Bush's response to questions about the program yesterday was so inadequate.

No one relly expected him to tell the truth, did they? Especially, after the aforementiond tale of thuggery had been told.

"I'm not going to talk about it," Mr. Bush told reporters at a news conference with departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "It's a very sensitive program. I will tell you that, one, the program is necessary to protect the American people, and it's still necessary because there's still an enemy that wants to do us harm."

Ah yes, those good old Bushie mis-direction aanswers. This is like when somone asks him if he doesn't think that maybe it was a mistake to lie his ass off and get us into this quagmiire in Iraq and he says we should support the troops. What the hell does one ting have to do with the other.

No one is asking Mr. Bush to talk about classified information, and no one is discounting the terrorist threat. But there is a serious question here about how far Mr. Bush went to pressure his lawyers to implement his view of the law. There is an even more serious question about the president's willingness, that effort having failed, to go beyond the bounds of what his own Justice Department found permissible.

His refusal to answer the question means he was willing to bump off his own grandmother to keep his spy/data-mining program. That isn't all that hard to figure out. The question remains why? Why did he simply not go to the GOP lead Congressand ask them to fix the law? Well, perhaps it was because the target of the program was not al Qaeda, but the Congress, as well as other "domestic enemies."

Yes, Mr. Bush backed down in the face of the threat of mass resignations, Mr. Ashcroft's included, and he apparently agreed to whatever more limited program the department was willing to approve. In the interim, however, the president authorized the program the Justice lawyers had refused to certify as legally permissible, and it continued for a few weeks more, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey's careful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under the Constitution, the president has the final authority in the executive branch to say what the law is. But as a matter of presidential practice, this is breathtaking.

It certainly is. What is truly stunning is that this president would ever be left to decide the legality of anything. He isn't even a lawyer.

These are important topics for public discussion, and if anyone doubts that they can safely be discussed in public, they need look no further than Mr. Comey's testimony. Instead of doing so,
Mr. Bush wants to short-circuit that discussion by invoking the continuing danger of al-Qaeda.
"And so we will put in place programs to protect the American people that honor the civil liberties of our people, and programs that we constantly brief to Congress," Mr. Bush assured the country yesterday, as he brushed off requests for a more detailed account.

The al qaeda thing is wearing a little thin, especially when stacked up against the portrait that is being painted by each new day of testimony

But this is exactly the point of contention.

The administration, it appears from Mr. Comey's testimony, was willing to go forward, against legal advice, with a program that the Justice Department had concluded did not "honor the civil liberties of our people." Nor is it clear that Congress was adequately informed. The president would like to make this unpleasant controversy disappear behind the national security curtain.

That cannot be allowed to happen.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

And Then There Were 30.....And No Confidence

This is a useles piece of political theatre, but I can certainly understand the frustration that has led to it.

No-Confidence Vote Sought on Gonzales
By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 18, 2007; A03

Two leading Senate Democrats called for a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday as political pressure for his resignation intensified in the wake of revelations about the plan to dismiss U.S. attorneys and Gonzales's role in a 2004 government crisis.

Sources yesterday identified four additional prosecutors who were considered for termination, bringing to 30 the number of prosecutors who were placed on Justice Department firing lists between February 2005 and December 2006. That accounts for about a third of the nation's 93 U.S. attorney positions. Nine were fired last year.

Hoping to pounce on Gonzales's sagging support among Senate Republicans, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said they will offer the no-confidence resolution on the Senate floor as early as next week.

The resolution would have no force of law, but Democrats hope it would raise the political stakes for Gonzales and for Republicans who vote to support him.

"Any faith that he can run or manage the department is gone," Schumer said. "It's going to be very surprising if we get fewer than 60 votes."

Gonzales continued to lose backing yesterday among GOP lawmakers as Norm Coleman (Minn.) became the sixth Senate Republican to call for his resignation. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) predicted Gonzales will resign once Congress completes an inquiry into the firings because he is "unable to perform his duties."

"I have a sense that when we finish our investigation, we may have a conclusion of the tenure of the attorney general," Specter said.

Gonzales has been under siege for four months because of Justice's shifting explanations for the prosecutor dismissals last year. Documents released by the department showed the effort was based in part on their loyalty to the Bush administration and its policies.

The attorney general was further damaged by testimony Tuesday from former deputy attorney general James B. Comey, who described how Gonzales, then the White House counsel, attempted to persuade then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to reauthorize a terrorism surveillance program while Ashcroft was in intensive care recovering from surgery.

The Justice Department had deemed the secret warrantless program illegal, and Comey, as acting attorney general, refused to renew it. Comey, Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and others threatened to resign before President Bush intervened, Comey testified.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Bush "should obviously seriously consider" firing Gonzales over the 2004 incident.

Bush, who has strongly supported Gonzales, declined to comment yesterday on whether he ordered Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., then Bush's chief of staff, to make the hospital visit.

In another challenge to Gonzales yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called on the Justice Department to widen the circle of lawmakers briefed on the surveillance program.

In a joint letter, they said that if the administration refuses to share information on the eavesdropping program with the Judiciary Committee, it would be "impossible" for the panel to consider any changes the administration is seeking in the wiretap law.

The Washington Post yesterday identified 26 U.S. attorneys included on firing lists compiled from February 2005 to December 2006 by D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales's chief of staff, and his colleagues.

Sources yesterday identified four other current or former U.S. attorneys included on a Jan. 1 list that grouped a dozen prosecutors into three tiers. They include current U.S. Attorneys Matthew Mead of Wyoming and Eric Melgren of Kansas and former prosecutors James K. Vines of Nashville and Michael G. Heavican of Nebraska.

None responded to requests for comment yesterday. The four names did not reappear on any of Sampson's other lists, according to the sources, who are familiar with the documents, which have been withheld from the public.

The same Jan. 1 list includes U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie of New Jersey, who also appears on a Nov. 1 list, sources said.

Several prosecutors considered for termination said in interviews that they had received no complaints about their performance and did not know why Sampson included them. His attorney declined to comment.

U.S. Attorney Gregory Miller of Tallahassee, who appeared on three lists between February 2005 and November 2006, said he has 17 years as a career prosecutor.

"I have no idea why Kyle put me there," Miller said. "I would note that, although I am on his list, Kyle is no longer with the department and I still am."

Two U.S. attorneys placed on a Nov. 1 list said yesterday that they received apologetic telephone calls in March from the official who assembled it, Michael J. Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general. On Wednesday, Christie described a similar call.

Colm F. Connolly, the chief federal prosecutor in Delaware, said Elston called "to inform me that there was an e-mail that was going to be turned over to Congress and, although it was not to be disclosed publicly, often times Congress would leak things and this could be public at some point."

Connolly said he "expressed disappointment" and asked how the e-mail was prepared. He said Elston told him "that there was this firing process in the works at the time, and he had been asked to find out whether there were any other U.S. attorneys about whom there had been concerns."

Connolly said Elston told him that he collected names by "speaking to people" but that he "could not remember who he spoke with, and he said he could not remember what the concerns were as they related to me."

In Roanoke, U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee issued a statement saying that he received a similar call from Elston on March 14 and "reported Mr. Elston's conduct" to Justice officials in Washington.

Another prosecutor included in Elston's e-mail, Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh, expressed astonishment and pointed to her stints in Washington running both the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and, currently, the Office on Violence Against Women.

One U.S. attorney, Frank Maxwell Wood of Macon, Ga., appeared on Elston's list shortly after his district appeared on an internal Justice Department document as having a voter-fraud problem.

Elston's attorney, Robert N. Driscoll, said in a statement yesterday that Elston assembled the list based on other officials' concerns and was not suggesting that any of those prosecutors be fired. Elston and Sampson mutually agreed that none of the five prosecutors should be removed, he said.

"To the contrary, Mike's view is that the five U.S. attorneys mentioned in the e-mail are among the department's best," Driscoll said.

Staff writer R. Jeffrey Smith and staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

DOJ-gate, by the numbers

The Numbers Add Up on U.S. Attorneys Firing Scandal

Let's review the numbers on the U.S. Attorneys scandal.

26 - The number of U.S. Attorneys that the DOJ targeted for dismissal, according to yesterday's reports. (That's roughly one in every four USA nationwide.)

9 - The number of U.S. Attorneys we previously knew had been targeted, and were either fired or resigned under pressure.

8 - The number of USAs Alberto Gonzales claimed in testimony to Congress composed the whole of the scandal.

6 - The number of Senate Republicans who have called for Gonzo's resignation.
And today you can add a new number to the list:

4 - The number of additional USAs the Washington Post reports this morning were also on the DOJ's hit list, bringing the total number of USAs targeted for firing to 30, roughly one-third of the entire U.S. Attorney team across the country.

Oh, and might as well add these, too:

1 - The number of no-confidence votes Senate Democrats will offer against Gonzales as early as next week.

0 - The amount of shame/credibility/integrity/respectability Alberto Gonzales has left.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chilling Tales Of Intense Political Thuggery in America

Bush, Gonzales, Card Clearly Implicated

Michael Collins“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Tuesday was a remarkable day at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. The exchange between Sen. Charles Schumer, R, NY and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey provides clear evidence pointing to criminal activity by the president, U.S Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former presidential advisor, Andrew Card. If Comey’s testimony is supported by other reliable witnesses, the Bush, Gonzales, and Card crew have some serious questions to answer.

Schumer got right to the point when he asked that Comey confirm “media reports of a dramatic visit by Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card” to the hospital room of an ailing and stricken John Ashcroft in early March, 2004

Why were they visiting Ashcroft in the hospital? Ashcroft, then the U.S. Attorney General, was gravely ill and had designated his deputy James Comey as acting attorney general. Previously, they had reviewed and rejected modifications to an unspecified federal program requiring a Department of Justice (DOJ) signature “…attesting as to its legality” Comey testified.

Shortly before the deadline for DOJ approval, Comey and the Attorney General met concerning strategy to deal with the legal problems included in the White House program. Just hours later, Ashcroft was admitted to the George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. due to complications from “a severe case of Gallstone Pancreatitis.” At that point, Comey became Acting U.S. Attorney General.

The White House was very displeased with the acting Attorney General Comey’s rejection of its pet project. This program was just identified as “an extension of the secret NSA warrantless eavesdropping program.” The White House representatives were at the hospital to get the ailing Ashcroft to overrule the man he’d named Acting Attorney General.

The Schumer-Comey exchange is densely packed with material that will appall just about everyone from average citizens to legal experts.

Forced call to a very ill man.

Ashcroft’s wife ordered that no calls come through to the sick and disoriented Ashcroft. Only one caller was able to override her instructions.

Comey testified, “I have some recollection that the call was from the president…”

The White House call was reported to Comey by David Ayers, Ashcroft’s chief of staff. Mrs. Ashcroft told Ayers that the caller indicated that then presidential counsel Alberto Gonzalez and Bush advisor Andrew Card were on their way to the hospital.

Don’t throw him out!

Before the White House duo arrived, the tipped-off Comey diverted a trip home to rush to Ashcroft’s hospital room. He reported a phone exchange with FBI Director William Mueller: “Director Mueller instructed the FBI agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances.”

Comey, Mueller or both anticipated a danger that Comey would be physically barred from Ashcroft’s hospital room. Mueller’s order to agents showed that he wanted Comey present at any meeting with Gonzales and Card in the hospital.

We know you’re very ill but… Gonzales and Card arrived with an envelope and immediately pressed Ashcroft to give DOJ authorization for the program.. A stricken Ashcroft sat up briefly and dispatched the White House representatives with dramatic flair saying “I’m not the attorney general.” The implication was clear. The White House had to deal with Comey.

“I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man.”

The courtly Comey went as far as his sense of restraint would allow. Nothing much more needs be said of Gonzalez, Card, and White House caller who announced their impending arrival. Taking advantage of “a very sick man” is about as low as it gets on the ethics scale.

After all this, Comey was ready to resign in protest. There was a follow up call to Comey from Andrew Card after the hospital visit where he and Gonzales totally ignored Comey. There were also meetings at Justice. Comey and other senior attorneys were planning a group resignation as a result of the affair. We were headed for replay of the Nixon Saturday Night Massacre.

In what should be the most studied exchange, Comey indicates that the surveillance law was implemented without DOJ approval.

Schumer: Right. And you stated that the next day, Thursday, was the deadline for reauthorization of the program, is that right?

Comey: Yes, sir.

Schumer: OK. Can you tell us what happened the next day?

Comey: The program was reauthorized without us and without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality. And I prepared a letter of resignation, intending to resign the next day, Friday, March the 12th.

1 2 3

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

A Tear Stained Parade

Posted without comment, from:

LTC Bob Bateman, again.
No politics today, just some observations about a nation at war. Sort of.

Corridor Three

10:30 hours (local EST), Friday, 11 May 2007: Third Corridor, Second Floor, The Pentagon:

It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here. This hallway, more than any other, is the "Army" hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

10:36 hours (local EST):

The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is an applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway. A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating.

By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class. Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events on Altercation, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet. Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel. Behind him, and stretching the length from E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

10:50 hours (local EST):

Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. "My hands hurt." Christ. Shut up and clap.

For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway -- 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts. They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals.

Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly. There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past. These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home.

This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

Last week, I noted the disturbing reports about the ethics of Americans in Iraq and drew parallels to the increase in cheating in American schools. I was light on the commentary, and will remain so to some degree. But what has me stewing recently is Haditha.

I should note now that I am a long time admirer of individual Marines, I have been a member of the Marine Corps Association for more than a decade (though my membership has lapsed now), I write for Marine Corps Gazette upon occasion, and I believe that the Marines are necessary and useful. That being said, I am now worried for the future of the Corps.

The New York Times, by the way, deserves kudos for assigning reporter Paul von Zielbauer to this series. I have no idea who this guy is, and so far as I know, never read any of his work before this. But he is covering the trials of the officers in the Haditha killings, and doing so as well as anyone I have ever seen. His stories are accurate, non-sensationalistic, but hard-hitting on several levels at the same time.

One final note on Haditha as a phenomena, before I get cranked up: Haditha, or more accurately the trials of the Marine officers up the chain from the events in Haditha, is something that you will not see anywhere else. It will be forever a part of our national shame that things like Haditha (and Mahmudihyah, and Abu Ghraib, etc) occur in war. As Eric noted some time ago, it does not seem possible to wage a "perfect" war (as oxymoronic as that construction is) in which nothing like this ever happens. But the fact that we are having court martials matters. The fact that we are trying, in public, officers in the chain of command. The fact that reporters are allowed to cover the trial, and the reports are appearing in our largest papers. All of this matters, and does give me hope. In more ways than may be apparent. It matters.

Now, for the disturbing stuff: The first of these stories, which you can read here, is in my opinion a sign of internal moral rot among people like me: field grade infantry officers. Majors, lieutenant colonels, and full colonels are collectively called "field grade" officers. We are supposed to be more experienced, wiser, less likely to lose our heads and more likely to listen with openness. That is what age and experience, and perhaps some moderate wisdom, is supposed to give you. But what this story tells me about is a peer of mine, another LTC (albeit a Marine) was so blinded by his love of his unit that he blew off his two senior officers and the evidence that, yes, some of his men may have killed innocents, and refused to investigate. This does not speak well for the culture of the Marine Corps, or their future.

But it was actually the next story that really made me worry for the Corps, because this one involves the general in command. You see, by the time you make full Colonel, you are in theory the epitome of everything that service values. You are among the top 1 percent of that service. If you make general, this is even more the case. If this is true, then as I said, I fear for the Corps.

When you read the story, perhaps you may see why.

A few highlights:

The general who led a division in charge of the marines who killed 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005 testified Thursday that he was kept from weighing accusations that the killings were illegal because his subordinate officers withheld information for nearly three months.

[Major] General [Richard A.] Huck said he had not learned until February 2006 about inquiries into the deaths by Time magazine because his own chief of staff and regimental commander kept him in the dark."

These lines indict the colonels below Major General Huck. I leave it to you to read these next selections and decide what they mean.

General Huck said he had made a list of all the officers and enlisted men who could have reported the Haditha killings as a possible law of war violation but did not. They ranged from senior officers to sergeants and radio operators who heard reports from the field that day.

...and later in the story:

For instance, he said he had learned within hours of the episode that women and children had been killed, and acknowledged that his own rules required investigation when a "significant" number of civilians died in actions involving marines. But later he said he saw no reason to look into how a "big" number of civilians had died in Haditha.

General Huck pointed out that his superiors -- including General Chiarelli and his predecessor, and Maj. Gen. Steve Johnson, the top Marine commander in Iraq at the time -- had received many of the field reports about the Haditha civilian deaths that he had received, and that none had opened an inquiry until the Time reporter, Tim McGirk, started asking questions.

Finally, at the end of the story is a short passage that really makes me worry for the Corps. If this trend continues, they may accidentally destroy themselves. To understand why I fear that conclusion you need a little history.

There was once a military force that got involved in politics. During a period of turmoil and perhaps a nationwide emotional malaise in their country, the officers of this military force became deeply enmeshed with a political party which had foisted a story that in the last war (which that nation had lost), the real reason for the loss was that the military had been "betrayed" with a "stab in the back" by soft-headed politicians and journalists on the home-front. The political party played up the idea that the military was still on captured ground at the end of that war, and that the defeat was not, therefore, a military one. This appealed to the ego of those military officers, and they promulgated the legend, and bound themselves to that party.
And no, I am not talking about Vietnam (but the parallel is scary). You can look up the history that I am referring to yourself. OK, so here is what pissed me off (Tim McGirk is a reporter for Time magazine):

The day's first witness, First Lt. Adam P. Mathes, the Company K executive officer at the time, said he and the battalion commander and the battalion executive officer had collectively dismissed Mr. McGirk's questions because they had considered them "sensational" and politically motivated.

"The questions were questionable," Lieutenant Mathes said, testifying by video link from Kuwait, where he is stationed. "It sounded like bad, negative spin. We tried to weed out the grievances that Mr. McGirk had against the Bush administration."

He said Mr. McGirk had seemed to have an antiwar agenda. "This guy is looking for blood," Lieutenant Mathis testified, "because blood leads headlines."

Here's a message for young 1LT Mathes: Lieutenant, it is not your goddamned job to screen for the political agenda of any damned civilian reporter. You are not to decide what a reporter can and cannot ask, beyond the completely reasonable limitations of Operational Security (OPSEC). You swear, like me, an oath to the Constitution. Not this party or that, not this officer or that ... to the United States Constitution. Remember that, Lieutenant. The same directive applies to your major. Pass it on. If I ever meet him, I will tell your battalion commander my own damned self.

OK, that is enough of that for a while.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Starving the Poor....

....and the annihilation of the Middle-class in America, spells trouble for all of us.

Big Trouble!

Noam Chomsky | Starving the Poor:

The connection between instability in the Middle East and the cost of feeding a family in the Americas isn’t direct, of course. But as with all international trade, power tilts the balance. A leading goal of US foreign policy has long been to create a global order in which US corporations have free access to markets, resources and investment opportunities. The objective is commonly called “free trade,” a posture that collapses quickly on examination.

It’s not unlike what Britain, a predecessor in world domination, imagined during the latter part of the 19th century, when it embraced free trade, after 150 years of state intervention and violence had helped the nation achieve far greater industrial power than any rival.

The United States has followed much the same pattern. Generally, great powers are willing to enter into some limited degree of free trade when they’re convinced that the economic interests under their protection are going to do well. That has been, and remains, a primary feature of the international order.

Gore Book Excerpt: "The Assault on Reason"

He is still my guy!

Actually, he is still my president.

Gore Book Excerpt: "The Assault on Reason":

Not long before our nation launched the invasion of Iraq, our longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor and said: 'This chamber is, for the most part, silent - ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate.'

Why was the Senate silent?

In describing the empty chamber the way he did, Byrd invited a specific version of the same general question millions of us have been asking: 'Why do reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions?' The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable.

Hillary: The Corporate Candidate?

Here is a current example of the reasons why I have remained an independent all of my voting life; going on 37 years now.

I do not hate Hillary or Bill Clinton. I haven't actively hated any politician since Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace. Hating politicians is a major waste of time and energy and it clouds one's ability to see, clearly, who, among wealthy and powerful special interests, are pulling their strings.

Politicians, in our country, have become pathetic middle- men/women, not worthy of respect or admiration.

Not all corporations are equally evil. (All multinationals are, however, guilty until proven innocent of bottom-line worshiping to the detriment of ordinary people the world over, and should always be viewed with suspicion, if not out-right contempt.)

At the moment, I cannot imagine anything worse than the current administration of election-stealing fascists and war criminals.

I felt the same way about Nixon.

I should have had a better imagination.

AlterNet: Hillary: The Corporate Candidate?:

If Hillary Clinton really wanted to curtail the influence of the powerful as she says in her speeches, she might start with the advisers to her own campaign, who represent some of the weightiest interests in corporate America.

U.S.Attorney Scandal: An Illegal White House-coordinated Effort to Swing Elections to Republicans

Does anyone else get the feeling that our elected officials, as well as the MSM-blowhards, want to pretend that the continuing Bushite coup does not really exist?

Has someone put stupid juice in the D.C. water supply?

AlterNet: Attorneys Scandal: An Illegal White House-coordinated Effort to Swing Elections to Republicans:

WASHINGTON -- It is time to stop referring to the 'fired U.S attorneys scandal' by that misnomer, and call it what it is: a White House-coordinated effort to use the vast powers of the Justice Department to swing elections to Republicans.

This is no botched personnel switch. It is not even a political spat between the fired U.S. attorneys and Bush administration officials who deemed some of them insufficiently zealous in promoting the department's law enforcement priorities. Connect the dots and you see an insidious effort to corrupt the American electoral system. It's Watergate without the break-in or the bag-men.

Can We End the American Empire Before It Ends Us?

Good question and the main question we have been asking for year, because the corporate empire of America is going to be the end of America as we once knew it.

Of that there can be no doubt.

AlterNet: Can We End the American Empire Before It Ends Us?:

Brilliant historian and essayist Chalmers Johnson argues that unless we face up to the tremendous strain our empire is having on America, we will lose our democracy, and then it will not matter much what else we lose.

Specter expects Gonzales to resign

I wonder if it has dawned on Specter or anyone else, for that matter, on either side of the grand canyon of American politics known as the aisle, that the damage is likely done.

It will take years to undo this mess, not only because of the revelations of GOP/Bushite thuggery surrounding Gonzo-gate, but because of the obvious links between the U.S. attorney firings and our electoral process.

Specter expects Gonzales to resign : National-World : Albuquerque Tribune:

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, predicted today that the probe of firings of federal prosecutors would lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Specter said the Justice Department can't properly protect the nation from terrorism or oversee other programs with Gonzales at the helm.

'I have a sense that when we finish our investigation, we may have the conclusion of the tenure of the attorney general,' Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, said during a committee hearing. 'I think when our investigation is concluded, it'll be clear even to the attorney general and the president that we're looking at a dysfunctional department which is vital to the national welfare.'

How to impeach Gonzales

Mr. Bowman has the how and why;,

we have the when:


How to impeach Gonzales. - By Frank Bowman - Slate Magazine:

Congress could and should impeach Alberto Gonzales. One ground for doing so, as I have previously suggested, is the attorney general's amnesiac prevarication in his testimony before the Senate and the House. But if Congress wants more, it need look no further than the firing of David Iglesias, former U.S. attorney in New Mexico. The evidence uncovered in Gonzales' Senate and House testimony demonstrates that he fired Iglesias not because of a policy disagreement or a management failure, but because Iglesias would not misuse the power of the Department of Justice in the service of the Republican Party. To fire a U.S. attorney for refusing to abuse his power is the essence of an impeachable offense.