Yet another savvy counterpoint

From Kat:

Jonathan — Thank you for taking Engelhardt’s argument out to its logical conclusion. I too continue to be shocked that so many progressives and the mainstream media are willing to admit gross malfeasance in this administration, yet refuse to believe they’d stop at rigging an election. As well, the refusal of leading progressive voices (i.e., Michael Moore, Al Franken, and others) to admit that the Democrats actually won the 2004 election is shameful! I can only assume an anti-Bush environment is much more profitable for them. Just as BushCo will stop at nothing now because they have the elections “in the bag,” the Democrats don’t have to put forth much effort to challenge them because there is no other option for the voters. Democratic leadership can sit back and “wait it out,” until power in all its glory is once again bestowed upon them. The transfer of power no longer reflects the will of the people. The privatization of our election system has led to an acceptance of a simulated democracy.
In this regard, as you are aware, another concern of mine continues to be the centralization of the voter registration rolls. Most states have turned to private vendors to manage their centralized computerized voter databases rather than manage them “in-house.” Effective date: January 2006. Take a look at Ohio’s: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/media/voter_reg_database.pdf Kenneth Blackwell certainly has covered his bases in an effort to secure his election as governor there. Unlike Ohio, most states have chosen to use one, maybe two vendors for management of the voter databases. What this means is that the election process is now controlled on the “front end” as well as the “back end” by private companies, mainly ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, Accenture (aka Arthur Anderson Consulting), and others. Not only will these vendors control the counting of our votes, but they will also control who is allowed to vote. As we saw in 2000 and 2004, elections can be won by wrongful purges of the voter rolls. To this day, I do not believe I’ve run across anybody who can give a definitive number of voters who were turned away at the polls in 2004 because their names were mysteriously purged off the rolls, or their registrations were never processed, which they discovered only when they showed up to vote in their “assigned” precincts, and of course due to the long lines they encountered.
Another more common practice is to move voters who haven’t voted in the last 2 elections to an “inactive” status so that local governments are able to pass tax levies. All these tactics necessitate of course the handing out of provisional ballots which are merely a placebo for the problem, as is voter verified paper ballots if votes continue to be counted electronically. As we saw in Ohio, secretaries of states can change the voting precincts at the last minute and shuffle voters around, or just close them prior to Election Day in an effort to make provisional ballots worthless. Clearly, these tactics have and will continue to work well for Republicans.
We have gone through the motions long enough now. The Republicans have stolen the last two presidential elections, and another federal election in 2002. They will do so similarly in 2006. No wild card here, just the painful truth. The stakes continue to be high. My solemn wish is that we the people do not let them steal another election without putting up the biggest fight of our lives to stop them. In this midterm election, we need a huge turnout, the biggest ever. They can hide the ballots and the vote counting, but if we turn out in large numbers they will be unable to hide the bodies, not yet anyway.
Keep in mind that the largest purges have occured just prior to federal elections, especially in presidential elections, that is until now. An advisory by all groups working on voting rights must be issued to alert voters to check their registration status often over the next 10 months. Voters must not wait until September or October to do so. Encourage voters to re-register to vote, or have voters request they be returned to “active” voting status at the Boards of Elections should they discover they have been “inactivated.” Do not let this year go by arguing about what type of voting system ought to be used in November unless you live in Leon County Florida, Connecticut, New York, and other states who so wisely waited and questioned the judgment of purchasing voting machines that were unsafe or not HAVA compliant. The machines are on order and the money has been spent, and apparently Gonzales at the DOJ has now assumed the roll of Harris, Hood, Blackwell, etc. In my opinion, the time to act will be after the fallout of the November election, but that does not mean we shouldn’t put all the elections officials using unsafe voting systems on notice that they are not in compliance with democracy!
As you state, we no longer have the benefit of exit polls. We therefore must provide necessary checks and balances by showing up on Election Day to vote! No, there won’t be enough machines and the lines will be long, and voters will be given incorrect precinct information, or in some states will be voting in “centers” as precincts are fast becoming extinct. Voters must be ever vigilant this election with the process, with their registration status, encouraging family and friends to buddy up and march down to cast their ballots on Election Day to the polls, or to their County Elections offices, even if you live in a “vote-by-mail” state, as I do. Ballots can be turned in to the County Elections offices. Do not vote early. SHOW UP. Remember the images of Florida in 2004 because of early voting? This totally helped Jeb pull off another theft. Do not allow the voting process on Election Day to fade away. Do not allow those intent on rigging elections to “hide the bodies.” As long as we are breathing, living beings we must be actively involved in the process. Let’s make 2006 the year that private ownership of our elections comes to an end and there is true justice for all. Thanks again, J. — Kat

In Toledo, "free speech" is for Nazis only

From Trudy Bond:

Dear Friends:

On December 10, 2005 the city of Toledo was shut down and freedom of speech was declared dead. This martial law was not the result of a threat of nuclear attack or terrorist “chatter” but rather a decision by the city administration, the police and the judicial system in Toledo that protecting a small group of white supremacists was worth sacrificing first amendment rights.

As a result, ANYONE – who assembled ANYWHERE IN THE CITY OF TOLEDO FOR ANY PURPOSE outside of the city sanctioned perimeter for the Neo-Nazi rally could be threatened with arrest and jail, and some people actually were arrested, as we explain below. According to Judge Thomas Osowik’s ruling, this right to assemble was suspended indefinitely until the city’s lawsuit was settled. And ironically, the City administration dismissed the lawsuit on Monday, December 12, two days after December 10, as it had served its illegal purpose.

Now, we in the community are facing several court battles. There are the cases of 7 young people from Chicago, including two juveniles who were arrested only for allegedly violating an unlawful, unconstitutional restraining order of which they were unaware. The fact that the city of Toledo was under martial law had not been publicized. They were jailed from Saturday until Monday afternoon without bail, and have civil and criminal charges pending
against them, in spite of having committed no illegal actions.

Then there are 6 individuals from Lansing, Michigan who have a variety of “disorderly conduct” charges for such crimes as shouting profanities at the Nazis and criminal charges which stem from their presence at the actual “sanctioned” neo-nazi demonstration.

Those present at the counter-demonstration agree that they witnessed no violence or even “disorderly conduct,” except by the police, whose outrageous and dangerous tactics included several unprovoked charges into the crowd by platoons of cops on horseback.

All of these people are being defended by one attorney, Terry Lodge. With no assistance from any organization (not even the state or local ACLU), Terry faces a huge task and at this point is protecting the rights of all of us single-handedly. The civil contempt charges will go to trial in a few weeks, and it is likely that there will be several jury trials on the bogus criminal charges. Such things take many hours of preparation in advance, and careful attention to detail at the actual trial. A typical criminal jury trial in Toledo Municipal Court can cost $2,500.00 to $7,500.00 in lawyer fees alone; with such a large number of defendants, the burden of defending vital free speech concerns becomes immense.

Legal fees for those of us involved in civil disobedience have never been an issue with Terry. We have paid what we could and he has been most gracious in accepting what we could pay; for many that has meant pro bono. However, with 13 defendants, most of whom are unable to pay, money is essential to cover potential fines and court costs as well as a minimal portion of
Terry’s hundreds of hours that will be spent in protecting the First Amendment.

The Freedoms we often take for granted: freedom of speech, association, and the right to assemble are under fire in Toledo. All of us have a stake in making sure that the reprehensible viewpoints of a distinct minority aren’t allowed to be made into the excuse for shutting down the freedoms of others.

Please support this ongoing fight to protect our freedoms. Donations can be sent to Terry J. Lodge, IOLTA Account, 316 N. Michigan St., Suite 520, Toledo, OH 43624-1627.

In Solidarity and Resistance,

Trudy Bond
Alan Hart
Kathleen Baldoni

America wants Bush impeached

You can’t fool most of the people most of the time.
Democrats.com
Submitted by Bob Fertik on January 13, 2006
New Zogby Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping
By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to impeach President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge’s approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.
The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:
“If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.”
43% disagreed, and 6% said they didn’t know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9% margin of error.
“The American people are not buying Bush’s outrageous claim that he has the power to wiretap American citizens without a warrant. Americans believe terrorism can be fought without turning our own government into Big Brother,” said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob FertikÅ 
Lots more really good stuff at MakeThemAccountable.com.
Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com
Philosophical question: If a Bush commits a crime and no one hears about it, has a crime really been committed?

Dutchess County to consider a demand for paper ballots

The resolution to be discussed would have the legislature insisting the NYState Board of Elections provide counties with a PB/OS option.
While the public is not allowed to speak at the committee meetings, we are welcome to observe.
The press will be there.
Here’s the text of the resolution:
RESOLUTION NO.
RE: URGE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTION TO ENSURE A CHOICE OF PAPER BALLOT OPTICAL SCAN VOTING MACHINES FOR DUTCHESS COUNTY
Legislators GOLDBERG, BUNNELL, FETTES, HIGGINS, JETER-JACKSON, KELLER-COFFEY, KNAPP, MACAVERY, MCCABE, NASH, RAY, and TYNER offers the following and moves its adoption:
WHEREAS, the two main types of voting machine technologies currently available for implementing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) compliance of our elections are optical scanning of paper ballots (PB//OS) and touch screen direct recording electronic (DRE), and
WHEREAS, the New York State Board of Elections is accepting voting systems for certification testing, and
WHEREAS, the New York State Board of Elections has not yet mandated that the optical scanners be offered for certification testing, and
WHEREAS, the vendor of voting systems may decide to offer only DRE systems for certification testing thus eliminating a reliable and cost-effective option from consideration, and
WHEREAS, the County Election Commissioners and the citizens of Dutchess County expect to have a choice of technologies from which to choose rather than a choice limited by vendors’ fiscal imperatives, now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the New York State Board of Elections needs to include a certified optical scanner/paper ballot option for counties, and, be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to
Governor George E. Pataki, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Senators Stephen M. Saland and Vincent Leibell, State Senate Democratic Leader
David A. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblymen Thomas Kirwan, Joel M. Miller, Patrick R. Manning, Willis H. Stephens Jr., and Kevin Cahill, Commissioner Neil W. Kelleher, Commissioner Evelyn J. Aquila, Commissioner
Helena Moses Donohue, Commissioner Doug Kellner, the Board of Elections Co-Executive Director Peter Kosinski, Board of Elections Co-Executive Director Stanley Zalen, and Dutchess County Election Commissioners David Gamache and Fran Knapp.
STATE OF NEW YORK
ss:
COUNTY OF DUTCHESS
This is to certify that I, the undersigned Clerk of the Legislature of the County of Dutchess have compared the foregoing resolution with the original resolution now on file in the office of said clerk, and which was adopted by said Legislature on the th day of , 2006, and that the same is a true and correct transcript of said original resolution and of the whole thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of said Legislature this th day of , 2006.
PATRICIA J. HOHMANN, CLERK OF THE LEGISLATURE

"Concerned Alumni of Princeton" should concern us all

Alito’s ugly association

His membership in a racist, reactionary group at Princeton reveals the unsavory face of conservatism.

By Joe Conason

Jan. 13, 2006 | It’s easy to tell when conservatives feel most embarrassed by a particular political revelation because indignation immediately swells while memory grows dim. Whatever the outcome of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination, his membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton is the kind of issue that conservatives clearly prefer to avoid.

They don’t like to be reminded of their historical opposition to civil rights, their continuing hostility to the advancement of minorities, or their bad habit of coddling and cultivating bigots.

That is why Sen. Orrin Hatch angrily demanded to know why anyone would dare ask Alito about CAP, why Sen. Lindsay Graham theatrically apologized to Alito and his family about the controversy, and why author Dinesh D’Souza, who once edited the organization’s magazine, dismissed the subject as a “diversion.” That is why Fox News and the conservative media are exploiting his wife’s tears to suggest that those questions were somehow illegitimate.

That is also why Alito himself has claimed to be unable to recall his decision to join the reactionary group of wealthy Princeton graduates (founded in 1972), which became notorious for its opposition to women and minorities on campus, its vicious bigotry against homosexuals, and its defense of the interests of affluent white male alumni and their sons. A convenient credential back when he was applying for a post in the Reagan administration, where his résumé would be perused only by like-minded right-wingers, membership in CAP became troublesome under the hot lights of a Supreme Court nomination hearing.

Read more.

New Mexico goes for all paper ballots!

Thanks to the many supporters, organizations and active citizens who worked tirelessly on this issue and helped make the following possible. We are very close to achieving our shared goals and are committed to seeing this through to a final and successful conclusion. Three cheers for democracy and New Mexico!

Plaintiffs applaud Governor’s decision.
Lawsuit remains until the plan is fully implemented.
January 13, 2006, Albuquerque – On Thursday, January 12, 2005, New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson and Attorney General Patricia Madrid demonstrated bold leadership by announcing a plan to make New Mexico an all-paper-ballot voting state. This is a great day for New Mexicans because it means that we will be able to cast our votes with confidence that a mechanism is in place that will allow all votes to be counted and tallied and the results verified.
The Governor said that he will introduce legislation next week, at the beginning of the 30-day 2006 state legislative session that, if adopted, will accomplish two things: 1) it will mandate the use of optical scan paper ballots in all New Mexico elections, and (2) it will provide $11 million in state funding to purchase the necessary voting systems. If the legislation is adopted by the legislature and implemented before the next election, inaccurate, unreliable and insecure electronic voting machines that produce no voter-verifiable and auditable paper record will be a thing of the past.
This Governor’s proposal is a great victory for the many concerned citizens and organizations who have tirelessly advocated the change to paper ballots. And it is a great victory for the plaintiffs in Lopategui v. Vigil-Giron, a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs sought this very result. The lawsuit, filed in January 2005, seeks an injunction barring future use of the same unreliable, paperless electronic voting machines that will be replaced under the Governor’s plan if the legislature adopts it. A catalyst for the Governor’s decision was the Lopategui plaintiffs’ recent and successful effort to temporarily restrain the Secretary of State and county clerks from beginning the purchase of additional unreliable touch screen machines.
New Mexico‘s next statewide election is in June, 2006. Thus it is critical that the Governor’s proposal be implemented immediately so that all New Mexico voters will have confidence that their votes and will count and can be verified. For this reason, the Lopategui plaintiffs intend to press forward with their lawsuit, particularly with their efforts to gather evidence needed to obtain judicial relief if the legislature does not adopt the Governor’s plan , or if the statutory changes and funding adopted are too little or too late.
In the Lopategui litigation, Plaintiffs have already obtained critical evidence in discovery about the untrustworthiness of touchscreen voting systems and the serious inadequacy of the Secretary of State’s process for auditing election results. By gathering more evidence through depositions and inspection of voting systems, plaintiffs will be in a position to seek timely judicial relief should the Governor’s plan not be implemented. As soon as New Mexico can assure that all voters, regardless of the color of their skin, where they live, or their physical ability are able to cast their votes on verifiable, auditable paper ballots, plaintiffs will give final, hearty congratulations to Governor Richardson, Attorney General Madrid, and the state legislature for protecting our democracy.
Voter Action is a project of the International Humanities Center. www.voteraction.org

Everybody get together NOW!

From Rob Kall:
Progressive media need to come together this week like never before. We need to get our readers out in the streets in a legal demonstration calling for a fillibuster against Samuel Alito.

Together we are stronger, more powerful, reach more people than moveon.org or any other organizations.

Let’s make it happen. I wrote an article a few days ago along these lines. I’ve emailed to a few leaders in the progressive movement. They agree. Let me know if you’ll get on board. We need to pick a day, a time and then let our readers know about it. If we pull together on this, we can show the media, show the congress that we’re serious. Please contact me if you have any ideas, if you’re willing to get on board! for this.

As usual, I’ve inluded links to new articles we’ve run.

Thanks,

Rob Kall, OpEdNews.com

Newest Articles

By Doug Thompson
Bush Could Seize Absolute Control Of U.S. Government
President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets. This would give him absolute dictatorial power over the government with no checks and balances.

By Missy Comley Beattie
Grandmothers Against The War Go To Criminal Court
These brave women were arrested after they attempted to enlist in the military.

By Carol Wolman
Do The American People WANT A King?
The ancient Israelites chose to have a king “to lead us in warfare and fight our battles”. Is this what the American people are doing?

By CLANCY SIGAL
Hugh Thompson And My Lai, Broke Ranks And Did The Right Thing
Hugh Thompson rescued Vietnamese victims of infamous William Calley, who was tried for war crimes.

By The Pen
Stop Being A Whiny Defeatist And STOP ALITO
What we must do to defeat all Alito is simply to DO something about it. Talk has no value whatsoever unless the person you are talking TO is a United States senator.

By Ed Menken
Those Despicable, Cowardly Democrats What Ever Happened To Separation Of Church And State?
I cannot understand why not one of the Democrats raised the critical issue of separation of church and state! Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!

By Susan Van Haitsma
Every Generation Has Its Heroes, And Every War Wants Them
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, ãImmoral means cannot bring moral ends, for the ends are pre-existent in the means.ä The brief statement goes beyond making judgment calls about moral and immoral methods. It reveals a plainer truth that explains the movementâs commitment to nonviolence: means and ends cannot be separated.
By Andy Ostroy
Mrs. Alito Sheds A Tear, And Another Repug Hides Under His Wife’s Skirt
Martha-Ann Alito comes to Sammy’s rescue and takes the heat off the nominee, rousing sympathy and support for Bush’s lying future justice.

By Stephen Crockett
Bush And Republicans Vs. Rule Of Law
Article responds to the spin campaign by Bush Republicans of White House illegal wiretapping. It puts the scandal in historical and Constitutional context.

By Mark S. Tucker
Progressive Rock / Progressive Thought – Part 2
It’s 1967. Classicalism and the Moody Blues commence the nuptials that spawned a genre now slowly, painfully, re-emerging.

By Ernest Partridge
The Erosion Of Trust
Today, when we desperately need to trust our government, trust, that essential moral resource has, like the federal surplus, been squandered to serve private greed and ambition.

By Carol Wolman
The US Is A Laughingstock
Our pResident shamelessly declares that he is above the law, and no one does anything about it.

By Gerald Rellick
ATroop Withdrawal Argument — Tailored For George Bush
Gerald Rellick postulates that King George will put an end to the madness in Iraq if it means saving face (and his miserable skin)….

By JGideon
‘Daily Voting News’ For January 12, 2006
a run-down of the days elections/voting news from across the country and overseas.

By David Swanson
War Lies And Journalistic Constipation
So, what would we have to think if we were to discover that the New York Times has been sitting on a story about who it was that Dearlove met with ö and that it was not “national security aides”?

By Mike Whitney
The Countdown To War With Iran
Behind the nonsense about Iranâs ãnuclear weapons programsä is the vital need of the western financial system to underwrite its burgeoning $9 trillion in debt with the one commodity that will keep the listing Greenback afloat… oil.

By Allen L Roland, Ph.D
CHENEY/BUSH NEOCON EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED
An out-of-touch leader presides over a lost foreig
n war and a mo
rass of influence peddling and bribery, as the secret police struggle to keep a lid on growing dissent: Eric Margolis, Toronto Star

Ernest Partridge on that counterpoint

Jonathan Simon is spot on.

Surely one of the most amazing aspects of the election fraud issue is how so many otherwise smart liberals and progressives fail to see what is right in front of their faces — this includes Al Franken, Paul Begalla, Arianna Huffington, Bernie Sanders, every Democrat in the Senate, and with the exception of Rush Holt, John Conyers and a very few others, virtually every Democrat in the House. And so the Democrats, and allied organizations such as PFAW and Move-On prattle on about how they will surely take over the Congress “next time.”

So once again, Lucy props up the football, and says, “c’mon, Charlie Brown, let’s see if you can kick it this time.”

What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know how to recognize plain-fact evidence? Can’t they follow a simple argument to its compelling conclusion? Answer: yes they know, and yes they can. They just refuse. My best guess is that they simply can’t bring themselves to face up to the enormity of the Bush/GOP crime against our democracy.

Germany, c. 1938: “Yes, I know things are tough for us Jews, but surely you can’t believe those stories about death camps. After all, this is our country too!” Some of those who believed the stories and who acted accordingly are now, along with their descendents, our neighbors and compatriots. Those who “couldn’t believe,” perished in the holocaust.

Don’t get your hopes up. The suits against Diebold are going nowhere. Remember the right-wing judiciary? If the plaintiffs win, the case will be thrown out on appeal. Even if a judgment for the plaintiffs is upheld, who will know about it? Sure, Fitrakis and Wasserman, bless ’em, will crow about it, and the progressive blogosphere will shout about it. But what difference will that make?

If we managed to crawl out of this hole, this is how it will happen: it will finally dawn on the poobahs on Wall Street, and through them a few significant voices in the MSM, that they are sinking the ship that they are riding on. And when the great ship goes down, those in the luxury cabins will be as doomed as those in steerage.

Bush’s “pioneers” are, in their own way, as blind to the economic shipwreck ahead as the aforementioned progressives are to election fraud. But the evidence in both cases is compelling. The housing bubble is about to burst, China is abandoning the dollar, we are at peak oil and energy prices are bound to skyrocket. And the 95% of humanity living outside our borders has just about had it with our imperial fantasies and may, at any time, decide to shut down our economy without firing a shot. Europe, OPEC and the Pacific Rim can do it, and they know it even if the Busheviks don’t. (See “The Vulnerable Giant” www.crisispapers.org/essays/vulnerable.htm ).

All this is slowly dawning on a few fat-cat movers and shakers, a very few of whom seem to realize that all their wealth is derived, ultimately, from the education, skill and labor of the rest of us, and from our shared infrastructure, institutions, and political traditions, most notably, the rule of law — all of which are being outsourced, dismantled, and “drowned” in Grover Norquist’s “bathtub.” The recent impeachment editorial in Barrons may suggest that this realization may be dawning on a few of the elites. And so, where the law, the Constitution, simple justice and morality have failed, enlightened self-interest by the powerful and wealthy may yet bail us out. If and when these powers-that-be finally decide to pull the plug on Bush, Inc., they can bring it down, simply by spreading the word, far and wide, that since 2000 (and perhaps before) elections have been irrelevant and that the regime no longer governs “with the consent of the governed.” They, unlike us, have the media access and control to do just that.

But will they wake up in time to rescue our common political-economic enterprise? That’s where we in the progressive blososphere come in. Our voices of protest are weak, but they are grounded in evidence and hard reality. We must write and publish relentlessly, wake up our sleeping and credulous “allies” (Franken, Huffington, Sanders, MoveOn, et al), tell the Democrats that they will get no support from us unless and until they address and deal with the ballot fraud issue, and we must encourage and then publicize any defections from Bushism in the media and among the affluent elites.

As I have noted many times before, the Busheviks and their allies have the wealth and the power, and they control the message. Thus the cause of us dissidents is hopeless: as hopeless as the causes of General George Washington, of Mohandas Gandhi, of Nelson Mandella, of Andrei Sakharov, of Martin Luther King. Somehow, mysteriously, unexpectedly, the forces of history provided opportunities, and they had the wisdom to take advantage of these opportunities. I find no leaders of such stature and wisdom in evidence today, and yet those opportunities may soon be before us.

“The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” (Martin Luther King).

Ernest Partridge