Make Congress help Katrina's victims before Christmas!

From Beth F.:

My friends, this was put together by the Katrina Survivors Forum at DU. Please don’t let the House recess until they take care of funding the reconstruction. Enjoy the video and please send it everywhere. Peace, Beth and Doug

Watch “Do They Know Its Christmas?”

Click on the link, then on the orange ‘download’ button, then on the ‘Download the file now’ link. Note: Downloads have been ‘sticky’ today. If you have trouble, please try back later/tomorrow. We are seeking additional hosts!

Our American brothers and sisters need:
Food. Housing. Jobs. Healthcare. Hope!

Tell Congress: We will not forget.
Release Funds to Hurricane Survivors Now!
Call Congress Toll Free: 1-800-426-8073

This is the LAST week before Christmas Break to get Congress to act.

Our Goal: Get the link to this video onto 100’s of websites and into 100,000’s of email inboxes. Please help!! Send the link far and wide!!

Would it apply to Air Force One?

“Mental defectives” to be kept from air travel

Dec. 9, 2005 – 8:57 p.m.

TSA Wants Access to Veterans’ Files to Add ‘Mental Defectives’ to Watch List
By Jeff Stein, National Security Editor

Is there an efficient, legal way to keep crazy people off airplanes altogether, like the manic depressive man shot dead at the Miami airport last week?

As it turns out, the government was taking steps in that direction almost a month before Rigoberto Alpizar was plugged by U.S. air marshals after he ran down the Jetway with a bundle in his hands while saying, according to the government, that he had a bomb.

A Nov. 15 notice put out by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is always thinking about new ways to keep potentially dangerous people off our airliners, states TSA is looking for contractors to add a number of new databases for screening passengers and airport workers.

Up first are the files of the Defense Department (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA), which the TSA says it wants scoured for “mental defectives.”

Read more.

On second thought, better brace yourself

The 52-47 roll call by which the Senate voted to reject reauthorization of several provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Score one for the republic!??

No, no Mark, please pierce this veil:

Ask yourself one simple question: Why did Bill Frist pull the Patriot Act rather than allow a temporary extension in its curent form while civil liberties concerns were worked out? (he said, for the record: definitely not; the House wouldn’t approve it and the President wouldn’t sign it)

After all, Orrin Hatch just got finished saying that failing to renew would be “interpreted by our enemies as somehow inviting or even enabling further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.” (N.B., this is very different from saying failing to renew would “diminish surveillance capacity which would lead to greater capacity for or likelihood of terrorist attacks” Nope, this is saying the failure to renew, without practical consequence, but strictly as a symbolic event, would “invite” terrorists to attack; i.e., could be next week). How then could the same leadership say “what the hell, we’ll let it lapse?” Don’t they care about America’s safety?

Here’s how: the war on “terrorism,” set off by 9-11, has, as we know, been very good to the right, the executive, the military, and Bush. When it was “fresh,” his approval was 90% (not for doing anything in particular but just for being there), and he was beyond the pale of criticism. A long series of lies and blunders later, his approval is sub-40 and the criticisms and inquiries are coming fast and furious.

Well the “war on terror” kind of loses its steam if you don’t have any “terror” around to stoke it. But you can’t simply turn on the “terror” spigot (and, whether or not you accept the evidence that 9-11 was an inside job, it is clear that the regime, if not the reservoir of “terror” itself, at least has its fingers on the spigot), four or five years into Bush’s watch with the regime fully empowered by the Patriot Act to guard us. No, that would not do at all.

But hey, if we can lapse the Patriot Act and hang it on Russ Feingold and the Dems and the Civil Libertarians, there’s our opening fellas. The city is in flames, the radiation is in the air, blackened anthrax-infected bodies are rotting in the streets (or perhaps just an ominous tickle on the scale of, say, Madrid): who is actually going to listen to those alternative media folks saying “yeah but it was Frist who pulled it off the table?”

Nope, it will be a righteous and oblivious chorus (study the murder of Cinna the poet in Julius Caesar to see how that works) at long last convinced that civil liberties are a luxury we just can’t afford and ready once again to vote for the candidate who can sing the most “patriotic” song and against anyone who says “yeah but” or otherwise equivocates.

We have seen this already and it was but a dress rehearsal for the night that is to come.

So, Mark, think this through again. The word needs to start going out immediately if there is to be any chance at all of withstanding the post-event tsunami. I wish we could truly celebrate the events in the Senate today, but to these haunted eyes it looks unmistakeably like an immense trap for the unwary, a stake through the heart of dissent, liberty and democracy, with enormous collateral benefits for the ruling party, laid by a regime which has nothing but contempt for its people.

Yours with deepest and most urgent concern–Jonathan

Score one for the republic!

Washington Post
Senate Roll Call: Patriot Act

The 52-47 roll call by which the Senate voted to reject reauthorization of several provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Sixty votes were needed to overcome a filibuster of the bill. On this vote, a “yes” vote …

Critics of Patriot Act Gaining Momentum in Senate Los Angeles Times
Anti-terror Patriot Act renewal blocked in US Senate
Bloomberg – CNET – ABC News – BBC News – all 1,338 related »

BREAKING: Diebold now dumped in Volusia County, FL!

Volusia County, FL Dumps Diebold Too!
Opts for Transparent, Accountable Elections (Instead of Diebold Elections) After a Protracted Battle…

This just in…After various protracted legal battles (funded by the National Federation for the Blind, which had received a $1 million “donation” from Diebold previously) and along with the news out of Leon County, Florida, Volusia County has now come to their senses and also decided to dump Diebold voting machines!…

Read more.

Free the media!

Dear Mark Crispin Miller:

2005 has been a remarkable year for the media reform movement. Together, we’ve proven to the politicians and industry moguls that people won’t stand idle while powerful interests make policies in our name but without our consent.

Your activism helped save federal funding and thwart partisan attacks on public broadcasting. You exposed fake news and “payola pundits.” You helped protect the right of local communities across the country to bring universal, affordable Internet access to their citizens. Thousands of you put activist toolkits to work in your communities, participated in town meetings on the future of the media, and packed the house in St. Louis at the National Conference for Media Reform.

I’m writing today to ask you to do one more thing in 2005:

Recruit two friends as new Free Press e-activists

This simple action will take only a moment, and it won’t cost you a penny. But it might be the single most important thing you can do to help grow the media reform movement.

Despite the gains we made in the past year, greedy corporate media continue to lead our nation down a perilous path. The narrow range of political debate, the lack of government and corporate accountability, and the obsession with celebrity and sensationalism have left the public dangerously misinformed about the most crucial issues of the day. More and more journalists are being shown the door as their corporate employers opt to “synergize” operations by replacing reporting with “infotainment.”

We need to push back in 2006 with an army of 500,000 activists — ready to sound the alarm when the FCC tries again to rewrite the rules to let Big Media control more local outlets in every city. We must confront the Bush administration’s relentless campaign to silence independent and skeptical journalism. We must make sure Congress passes a new Telecom Act that’s better than the old one – which gave us the Clear Channel colossus while handing Big Media billions of dollars in public assets for free. This time, the future of the Internet is at stake.

I’m sure, like me, you have friends and colleagues who are deeply concerned about the direction our country is heading. Maybe they wonder why they can’t find people like them or the issues they care about on TV. Maybe they’re mad about their cable bill being too high or having no high-speed Internet access. Probably, like so many people I’ve met throughout America, they see the problems of the media but feel helpless to change them.

Bring two new activists into the media reform movement

We started Free Press to give more people a voice in the momentous policy decisions shaping the future of all communications. We need more people to join the debate and build a media system that truly looks like America.

Thanks for all of your help this year and in the year to come.


Robert W. McChesney
Free Press

P.S. We need all of the help we can get. So don’t hesitate to invite three, five, even 10 friends or more to sign up as Free Press e-activists today.

Head Start may lose $80 million

to fund those tax cuts for the billionaires….

Our friends at the National Head Start Association are mobilizing against across-the-board budget cuts to important domestic programs, including Head Start.

Please join this effort and take action today.

To fund tax cuts for millionaires, Congress is poised TODAY to remove 35,000 kids from HeadStart – widely regarded as one of the government’s most successful programs at lifting people out of poverty.

Two years ago, TrueMajorityACTION members swung into action and successfully stopped proposed cuts then. Amazingly, the budgeteers have chosen the Holiday Season to launch yet another attack on Head Start. So our friends at the National Head Start Association are mounting another defense of the kids living in poverty who benefit from this program.

Please take just a minute to check this out and take action. It’s fast, easy and the right thing to do this season.

Duane Peterson

Here is a message from the National Head Start Association on this effort:

Congress is considering imposing an across-the-board spending cut to ALL programs. There are any number of bills they may try to slip the cuts onto as Congress works to finish its business and leave town for the year. Our country is better than this — we can’t allow further cuts to the programs that millions of vulnerable Americans count on. Across-the-board budget cuts deserve an “up or down vote” on their own merits – not by trying to slip them in by adding them to popular, “must pass” bills.

Contact your congressspeople and ask them to fight the inclusion of across-the-board cuts in ANY bill. This is NOT the way to cut deficits – on the backs of poor and at-risk Americans!

The table below reflects estimates of how many Head Start children will have to be cut as a result of a one percent across-the-board cut in spending. The cuts could be as much as two percent, which would double the number of children and families affected in your state. Please help us fight this injustice! The cuts could be included on any bill that comes to the House and Senate floor today, tomorrow, or over the weekend.

Erika Argersinger
Associate Director, Government Affairs
National Head Start Association



FY 2005 TO FY 2006
FLORIDA -1,378
IDAHO -115
IOWA -301
MAINE -154
NEW YORK -1,910
OHIO -1,473
TEXAS -2,626
UTAH -214

Here’s the message we’ll send to your Congresspeople:

Dear Congressperson,

The across-the-board spending cuts being debated in Congress don’t differentiate between waste and programs known to deliver strong results. The cuts include programs like Head Start, one of government’s most successful anti-poverty efforts.

America cannot continue to weaken our domestic infrastructure; please vote against any legislation that includes across-the-board spending cuts.

(We’ll put your name and address here.)

Thanks! Please forward this widely or use the following link to spread the word: Tell-A-Friend

On swaying the DNC

I have a strategy suggestion in this regard, Mark. The post-Watergate reforms occurred because so many new people, not beholden to the machines running either political party, were swept in. They caused the leadership absolute fits– and produced campaign finance and intelligence reform that endured.

I am only donating to incumbents who supported voting rights in 2000 and/or 2004. Most of my contributions go to challengers where the incumbent is a Republican. When I send in the contribution, I attach a note in Dutch uncle-ese saying that I expect them to support the right to vote.

If we can get a freshman class of 30 genuinely independent people who owe their victory to election reform activists, it could change the tone in Congress.

Regards, Oliver

Diebold flops in Florida

Posted on Thu, Dec. 15, 2005
New tests fuel doubts about vote machines

A top election official and computer experts say computer hackers could easily change election results, after they found numerous flaws with a state-approved voting-machine in Tallahassee.

TALLAHASSEE – A political operative with hacking skills could alter the results of any election on Diebold-made voting machines — and possibly other new voting systems in Florida — according to the state capital’s election supervisor, who said Diebold software has failed repeated tests.

Ion Sancho, Leon County’s election chief, said tests by two computer experts, completed this week, showed that an insider could surreptitiously change vote results and the number of ballots cast on Diebold’s optical-scan machines.

After receiving county commission approval Tuesday, Sancho scrapped Diebold’s system for one made by Elections Systems and Software, the same provider used by Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The difference between the systems: Sancho’s machines use a fill-in-the-blank paper ballot that allows for after-the-fact manual recounts, while Broward and Miami-Dade use ATM-like touchscreens that leave no paper trail.

”That’s kind of scary. If there’s no paper trail, you have to rely solely on electronic results. And now we know that they can be manipulated under the right conditions, without a person even leaving a fingerprint,” said Sancho, who once headed the state’s elections supervisors association.

Read more.

Earle subpoenas Wilkes and others (legible)

This could be the start of something big, or fatal.

Prosecutor Issues Subpoenas in DeLay Case
By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
Tue Dec 13, 9:36 PM ET

A Texas prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman as part of the investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay’s indictment on money laundering charges.

Perfect Wave contributed $15,000 in September 20, 2002 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fundraising committee founded by DeLay, R-Texas.

Read more.