Halliburton cares about our troops

Firm Failed to Protect U.S. Troops’ Water
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

Halliburton Co. failed to protect the water supply it is paid to purify for U.S. soldiers throughout Iraq, in one instance missing contamination that could have caused “mass sickness or death,” an internal company report concluded.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press, said the company failed to assemble and use its own water purification equipment, allowing contaminated water directly from the Euphrates River to be used for washing and laundry at Camp Ar Ramadi in Ramadi, Iraq.

The problems discovered last year at that site – poor training, miscommunication and lax record keeping – occurred at Halliburton’s other operations throughout Iraq, the report said.

Read more.


Claude Allen's evil twin

by Barry Weintraub

I’ve heard a lot of gassy excuses from this White House but today’s New York Times is laying the groundwork for a good one.

Claude Allen was Bush’s top domestic policy advisor. Last month he suddenly resigned. Last week …he was arrested, repeating an emerging pattern for this White House.

Remember David Safavian? He was the director of procurement who resigned from his White House gig on a Friday and got arrested the following Monday. He lied to the FBI about knowing Jack Abramoff. Interestingly, we don’t hear much about Safavian who was involved in a multi-million dollar influence peddling scam but Claude Allen, charged with making off with a whopping five grand …he seems a better story.

The President’s former top domestic policy advisor is charged with nickel and diming Target Stores. Allegedly, he bought items, then took duplicates off the shelves and returned the duplicates using the receipts from the original items. And if there’s any doubt, they’ve got him on videotape. Time to nail that coffin shut? Not so fast.

Today we read in a front page piece in the Times by Ian Urbina and David D. Kirkpatrick with additional reporting by Elisabeth Bumiller, Michael Janeofsky, Robert Pear and John Files (are there enough reporters working this story for you?) that Mr. Allen has an evil twin.

No lie.

They say while Claude was always the goodie two shoes, his brother Floyd was the one who “kept running into bad times.” And what were those bad times? He declared bankruptcy in 2001 and was ordered to pay $6,450 in a civil suit brought against him by a Travel company. The information about Floyd covered two and a half paragraphs in a 25 paragraph piece. The rest of the story read like a promotional bio written by Claude’s defense team.

It’s a bizarre piece, enabled no doubt by the Rovian forces of evil who manage to manipulate the Times with ease on so many stories. (See Scooter Libby, Judith Miller and the outing of Valerie Plame and WMD). What’s interesting is the TImes never comes out and directly alleges that brother Floyd is the guy in the video, But they do plant the seed. Which raises the question: Wouldn’t the authorities in Maryland make sure the guy in the video was Claude and not his brother Floyd before going to all the trouble of arresting him? Maybe in a sentient world…

My real concern now is that the evil twin defense is going to work and we’ll start to see it again and again and again.

That wasn’t Lewis Libby who lied to a Grand Jury. It was his evil twin.

That wasn’t Dick Cheney who shot his friend in the face. That was his evil twin.

That wasn’t Karl Rove who kept changing his story for the prosecutors. That was his evil twin.

And that wasn’t George Bush who started an illegal war, turned a blind eye to rendition and torture, lied about domestic spying and failed to protect our ports because his family likes to do business in Dubai …That was his evil twin.

Go back and look at the relevant news video. Sure it looks like Libby and Rove and Cheney and Bush …. but relax.

It turns out the mess we’re in isn’t their fault at all. Blame their evil twins.

Next, George Bush will argue he’s eligible for another two terms in the White House. Why? Because the first two, in reality …were hijacked by his evil twin.

… and his evil Vice President.

Barry Weintraub, a stand-up comic with a journalism degree, takes his message directly to the people through live appearances and internet blogging. His Headline Schmooze entertains and informs a growing number of email subscribers every business day using real headlines to deliver news and amuse. Barry can be seen tonight March 15 at the Comic Strip on 2nd Avenue between 81 and 82.

Hate mail should be directed to: barry[at]


More on the heroic Stephen Heller

For background, see the Oakland Tribune story below.

—– Original Message —–
From: Michele
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:25 AM
Subject: Article about Stephen Heller’s case

Hello to all of our family, friends and supporters. This is Michele, Stephen’s wife. This is a link to an article about Stephen’s situation in the Oakland Tribune. In case you have trouble with the link, the article is also reprinted below. This article will also soon be on the “Press” page of the Stephen Heller Legal Defense Fund website:

Please feel free to forward this email and/or the links to anyone and everyone.

Thanks again for all of your help and support. We are truly in your debt.

Much love,


E-vote case puts actor in limelight
Diebold software leak makes whistle-blower a folk hero to activists
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area

One night early in 2004, a few weeks before the presidential primary, a Van Nuys actor making ends meet temping as a word processor listened on headphones as a young lawyer laid out a defense for Diebold Election Systems Inc.’s use of unapproved voting software in Alameda County.

Sitting at a computer terminal on the 45th floor of a Los Angeles skyscraper, Steve Heller transcribed the lawyer’s taped memo suggesting that Diebold could claim the software was a new, “experimental” voting system, even though it had handled two Alameda County elections in 2003.

Heller led a quiet life in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, dog and an occasional supporting role in film, TV or commercials, usually cast as someone’s neighbor or dad, which is what he looks like. He was an “experienced and competent” word processor but no “heavyweight” in the eyes of his night-shift supervisor, who doubted Heller knew his computer commands were recorded.

Read more.


Fundraiser for Jonathan Tasini

Jonathan Tasini is running against Hillary Clinton. This is an important effort, as Sen. Clinton is forever tacking right: all for Bush’s holy war and his absurd, repressive “national security” measures; eager to see Democrats act like a bunch of Holy Joes (while resolutely silent on the danger of election fraud); and now close friends with Rupert Murdoch.

Jonathan, for his part, is a genuine progressive–and, crucially, he gets it on the dire need for electoral reform. Since Hillary is in no danger of defeat by the poor sap who’s been set up by Bush & Co. to run against her, I urge you to support his candidacy, so that we can hear a little truth in New York during this campaign season.

If you’re interested, check this out.


How to donate to Tasini’s campaign


Jeb Bush's Politburo

FL Sec. of State Closes Open Meeting with Ion Sancho, Evicts National Reporters, Calls Police!
Welcome to the First Day of ‘Sunshine Week’ in the State of Florida!

This is just amazing. On the first day of “Sunshine Week” celebrating “open government” in Florida, Jeb’s recent political appointee Sue Cobb tossed out reporters, slammed the door and called the police to remove them from the hallway during what was supposed to have been an open meeting with Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho.

Sancho is the hero who recently revealed that Diebold machines can be hacked and election results flipped without a trace being left behind.

Read more.


Vote for!

From my friend and colleague Siva Vaidyanathan:


My blog,, is up for a Koufax award for “best blog, non-professional.”

Please let people know so they can vote for it.


Vote here. (note: You vote by comment or email. Email addresses are on the site’s sidebar.)


Warning from an obscure jurist

If Sandra Day O’Connor were a famous person, this speech surely would have made big news in the United States!

Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship
· Sandra Day O’Connor warns of rightwing attacks
· Lawyers ‘must speak up’ to protect judiciary
Julian Borger in Washington
Monday March 13, 2006
The Guardian

Sandra Day O’Connor, a Republican-appointed judge who retired last month after 24 years on the supreme court, has said the US is in danger of edging towards dictatorship if the party’s rightwingers continue to attack the judiciary.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University, reported by National Public Radio and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Ms O’Connor took aim at Republican leaders whose repeated denunciations of the courts for alleged liberal bias could, she said, be contributing to a climate of violence against judges.

Ms O’Connor, nominated by Ronald Reagan as the first woman supreme court justice, declared: “We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary.”

Read more.


Something rotten in the state of Texas

EXCLUSIVE: Hart InterCivic Whistleblower Warned of Texas, Ohio E-Voting ‘Fraud’ Concerns in 2004!
100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday’s Primary via Flawed, Paperless ‘eSlate’ Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures…All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.

During last Tuesday’s Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of “computer glitches” — as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them — were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those “glitches” occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.

Read more.


MCM on Air America tonight!

With Peter Werbe, who’ll be subbing coast to coast.

I’ll be on at 10:34 p.m. EST


Save democracy in New York City!

Please forward this to your lists!

Support Resolution 131 for paper ballots/optical scanners
Oppose electronic voting in NYC!

Hearing on Voting Machines and NYC Compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act

Monday, April 3, 2006, 1:00 PM

YOU! We need audience to support our speakers! The City Hall balcony is big — let’s fill it.

Council Chambers
City Hall
New York, NY
N or R to City Hall
4, 5 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge
J, M, or Z to Chambers Street
2 or 3 to Park Place

3/11/06: The US Dept of Justice is pushing
New York State to buy 10,000 machines NOW
to provide accessibility to voters with disability.
We are asking “Accessibility to what? A maybe-vote?
Maybe you voted and maybe you didn’t?”
DOJ wants NY to bypass
–state law that requires a voter-verifiable paper trail
–federal and state certification of these machines that
1. are not fully accessible
2. have never been used
3. are not even prototypes yet!

The Committee on Governmental Operations of the NY City Council is giving us this opportunity to support Resolution 131 which urges the adoption of paper ballots and precinct-based optical scanners and accessible ballot-marking machines for voters with disabilities and minority languages. This resolution is against electronic voting!

Do you want to speak as part of our coordinated panel?
Please send an email to Teresa Hommel

Have you sent letters supporting Resolution 131 ?
If not, please go to

Would you like us to send letters for you?
please send your name, address, and phone to
Resolution 131

Gov Ops Chairman:
Simcha Felder

Gov Ops Members:
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
Inez E. Dickens
Erik Martin Dilan
Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.
Larry B. Seabrook
Peter F. Vallone, Jr.