More bad news

Released at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night….

Army suicides hit highest level since 1993
83 soldiers killed themselves in 2005, up from 67 the previous year
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:27 p.m. ET April 21, 2006

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. Army soldiers who took their own lives increased last year to the highest total since 1993, despite a growing effort by the Army to detect and prevent suicides.

In 2005, a total of 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004, and 60 in 2003 – the year U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq. Four other deaths in 2005 are being investigated as possible suicides but have not yet been confirmed. The totals include active duty Army soldiers and deployed National Guard and Reserve troops.

“Although we are not alarmed by the slight increase, we do take suicide prevention very seriously,” said Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin.

“We have increased the number of combat stress teams, increased suicide prevention and training, and we are working very aggressively to change the culture so that soldiers feel comfortable coming forward with their personal problems in a culture where historically admitting mental health issues was frowned upon,” Curtin said.

Read more.

The cyber-noose is tightening

News Update from Citizens for Legitimate Government
21 April 2006

Gonzales calls for mandatory Web labeling law 20 Apr 2006 Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed Thursday… Attorney General Alberto Gonzales also warned that Internet service providers must begin to retain records of their customers’ activities to aid in future criminal prosecutions and indicated that legislation might be necessary there as well.


Read more.

Alert for Dutchess County voters!

From Vicky Perry:

Hello friends,

We must quickly mobilize all Dutchess county voters! Please forward this email to all concerned citizens in Dutchess County. We are pushing an email campaign for paper-ballot, optical scan voting.

Please go to: http://www.mhvv.org/letters_dutchessCL.htm

The form on that page helps you to compose a special email to your county legislator pressing for support of a May resolution.

Let’s follow the good example set by Ulster County this month!

Vicky Perry,
MidHudson Verified Voting, coordinator
http://www.mhvv.org

Brownshirt tapped as Rove's replacement

From Eileen Sutton:

New Bush Policy Chief Was “GOP Rioter” During Bush-Gore Recount
The man Bush tapped to fill Karl Rove’s spot as his policy wizard is none other than Joel Kaplan, who took part in the infamous “Brooks Brothers riot” of 2000. That’s when a bunch of Washington GOP operatives, posing as outraged Floridians, waved fists, chanted “Stop the fraud!” and pounded windows in an effort to intimidate officials engaged in the Florida recount effort.

Save the Internet!

Congress Sells Out
After accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from big telecom firms, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is sponsoring a bill to hand over the Internet to these same companies. He’s not alone.
Congress is about to sell out the Internet by letting big phone and cable companies set up toll booths along the information superhighway.

Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending tens of millions in Washington to kill “network neutrality” — a principle that keeps the Internet open to all.

A bill moving quickly through Congress would let these companies become Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow — and which won’t load at all — based on who pays them more. The rest of us will be detoured to the “slow lane,” clicking furiously and waiting for our favorite sites to download.
Don’t let Congress ruin the Internet:
Our elected representatives are trading favors for campaign donations from phone and cable companies. They’re being wooed by people like AT&T’s CEO, who says “the Internet can’t be free” and wants to decide what you do, where you go and what you watch online.

The best ideas never come from those with the deepest pockets. If the phone and cable companies get their way, the free and open Internet could soon be fenced in by large corporations. If Congress turns the Internet over to giants like AT&T, everyone who uses the Internet will suffer:

  • Google users — Another search engine could pay AT&T to guarantee that it opens faster than Google on your computer
  • iPod listeners — Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that paid for the privilege.
  • Work-at-home parents — Connecting to your office could take longer if you don’t purchase your carrier’s preferred applications. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl.
  • Retirees — Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to Verizon’s pay-for-speed schemes.
  • Bloggers — Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips — silencing citizen journalists and amplifying the mainstream media.
  • Online activists — Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay a fee to join the “fast lane.”
  • Small businesses — When AT&T favors their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, and Internet phone calls.
  • Innovators with the “next big idea” — Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web.
We can’t let Congress ruin the free and open Internet.
We must act now or lose the Internet as we know it.

Onward,
Robert W. McChesney
President
Free Press
www.freepress.net

Oregon suing ES&S, and other hot new legal actions

From Brad Friedman:

In my article just posted on Oregon as the latest state just announced to file suit against an Electronic Voting Machine Company, I’ve taken the opportunity to list just a few of the other legal actions in states around the country concerning E-Voting issues. Hope it’s useful. Other stuff so far today: the Ohio election official who predicts disaster this year, and, of course, more videos… Brad


LATEST E-VOTE LAWSUIT: Oregon Sues ES&S for Breach of Contract!
2006 Election ‘Train Wreck’ Continues as Company Fails to Meet Obligations in Yet Another State
Complaint Latest in Growing String of Legal Battles, HAVA-Related E-Voting Meltdowns Around the Country…
In the latest amongst a spate of lawsuits being filed against Electronic Voting Machine Companies around the country, the Oregon Sec. of State has announced today that they have filed a complaint against Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) for breach of contract in failing to provide the state with disabled-accessible voting machines, as promised, in time to meet the January 1, 2006 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) deadline.

Feeney selling access!

Support Clint Curtis!

FEENEY FOR SALE!
SELLS “ALL-ACCESS PASS’ TO CAMPAIGN EVENTS FOR $5,000!

Republican Congressman Tom Feeney Continues to Demonstrate Ethics Problems, Much Like His #1 Supporter, the Indicted Tom DeLay

(Titusville, FL) – Clint Curtis, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Florida’s 24th Congressional District, sharply criticized the questionable fundraising tactics of his opponent Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Oviedo). As reported last week by Roll Call, in exchange for $5,000 donations at an April 6 party, the Feeney for Congress campaign is selling unlimited access to the incumbent’s events for the entire year. With GOP corruption scandals and indictments spreading throughout Capitol Hill, a political donation of $5,000 raises serious questions as to whether this is in violation of the $2,100 per person federal campaign contribution limit.

Roll Call reported that the invitation to Mr. Feeney’s spring-break themed party at the American Legion Hall in Washington says: “Get a Season Ticket Pass: $5,000 per calendar year gives you complimentary invitations to all Feeney for Congress events in that year,” and instructs invitees to write their checks to “Feeney for Congress.”

Feeney is currently running unopposed in the Republican primary for Congress in Florida’s District 24. Federal election law limits individual campaign contributions to a maximum of $2,100 in the primary period, and another $2,100 during the general election period. In question are the directions to for donors to address checks to for the All access pass to “Feeney for Congress,” implying that these funds will be donated directly to the Feeney campaign. This appears to be yet another example of Feeney’s continuing disdain for the rule of law.

Feeney’s campaign manager explained the matter away to Roll Call by suggesting the $5,000 amount was referring to PAC donations, but it is unclear whether any clarification was made to the invitation.

“Feeney has bragged that he is Tom Delay’s number one supporter,” said Curtis, referencing a fundraiser hosted by Mr. Feeney to raise money for Delay’s corruption trial. “Both Toms know well how to get the most from lobbyists as demonstrated by the fact that both Toms have taken Jack Abramoff-funded golf junkets to Scotland.” Additionally, Feeney received $5,000 from disgraced former Rep. “Duke” Cunningham’s PAC prior to his bribery conviction, accepted a 2003 trip to Asia paid for by registered foreign agents and another trip to West Palm Beach with his wife that he indicated was paid for by a lobbying firm which is also against U.S. House rules.

Curtis, a computer programmer and whistleblower in Titusville, FL, is running against Feeney to “return honesty and integrity to the 24th congressional office,” he says. “America has had enough of selling access to the highest bidder. The time has come to put an end to this unprecedented decade of GOP corruption. As with the rest of America, the residents of District 24 deserve better”.

Additional information on the Clint Curtis for Congress Campaign can be found at clintcurtis.com

The New York Times should cover this!

April 17, 2006
Editorial Observer
A Small-Time Crime With Hints of Big-Time Connections Lights Up the Net
By ADAM COHEN

The Internet is a great breeding ground for political conspiracies, and there is a new one lighting up computer monitors across the country. Bloggers are fascinated by what they see as eerie parallels between Watergate and a phone-jamming scandal in New Hampshire. It has low-level Republican operatives involved in dirty campaign tricks. It has checks from donors with murky backgrounds. It has telephone calls to the White House. What is unclear is whether it is the work of a few rogue actors, or something larger.

In 2002, there was a hard-fought Senate race between Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, the Democrat, and John Sununu, the Republican. On Election Day, Democratic workers arrived at five get-out-the-vote offices to find their phone lines jammed. It turned out that the jamming was being done by an Idaho telemarketing firm that was being paid by a Virginia consulting group. The fee for the jamming, reportedly $15,600, was paid by New Hampshire Republicans.

The executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party and the president of the Virginia consulting group pleaded guilty for their part in the scheme. James Tobin, who was the New England political director for the Republican National Committee, went to trial and was convicted of telephone harassment last December.

Read more.

Texas town makes wise decision

Whitesboro council votes against voting machines

By Melissa Johnson
Herald Democrat
WHITESBORO. The Whitesboro City Council Tuesday night approved a resolution resolving that it would not be using voting machines in its May 13th general election.

The resolution states that “because of the inability to acquire reasonably priced electronic voting machines and the necessary software and training in order to use those machines in the May, 2006, municipal election and because the simple paper ballots historically used in the city elections and the election personnel who conscientiously make voting in our elections available to all persons, whether disabled or not, there appears no pattern of denying disabled voters the right to vote, that the 2006 municipal elections in the city of Whitesboro, the city shall continue the practice of using paper ballots for all voters…”

Much controversy has surrounded the voting machines, which were mandated in the 2002 Help America Vote Act. The act stated that no later than Jan. 1, 2006, each poling place must provide one voting station. Several school boards and city councils expressed concern over the cost and availability of the machines and the training.

“We learned the cost was going to be prohibitive, if we could even get them,” said W.D. Welch, Whitesboro mayor. “First they were going to charge a substantial fee just to have the machines, then it was going to cost for software and training. We were in a catch 22. Even if machines were available, we couldn’t get training.”

Read more.

ES&S meltdown in Indiana!

From Brad Friedman:

Indiana Sec. of State Announces Hearings, Subpeonas, Possible Fines against ES&S Voting Machine Company
Says Company Activity Could be in ‘Significant Violation of State Election Law’

NOTE TO MSM: Nothing to read here. Move on.

The E-Voting Train Wreck continues…

Today Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced his intention to bring an enforcement action against the Nebraska based voting system firm, Election Systems and Software. Secretary Rokita will personally conduct a public hearing to determine whether election law violations have occurred, and whether the company should be fined. County sequencing errors and paper ballot problems, noted by Rokita’s office this week, have combined to quickly escalate already disturbingly poor service at the county level into what could be a significant violation of state election law. “I have ordered our legal staff to immediately set hearing dates and subpoena company officials,” Rokita said.

NOTE TO NATIONAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Please pay no attention whatsoever to any of the above. It’s just a small local story. Nothing of interest. No pattern here. All is well. Please enjoy your Easter Holiday break! Thank you.

COMPLETE STORY, MORE DETAILS