Sunday, February 26, 2006

To the House Minority Leader

This was part of a previous post that gave way too quickly to other issues, so I am re-posting it in the hope that it will receive a wider audience.

Dear Representative Pelosi,

In response to your request for contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I would like to make a point that has seemed to elude most of our Representatives in both the House and the Senate.

As long as there is corporate influence in the voting process, there is no amount of money, no degree of mobilization, no magic candidate or candidates, and no effective rhetoric that will change the political climate in our Nation’s Capitol.

We have been witness to the theft of two Presidential Elections and at least one major mid-term election that left behind enough evidence of election fraud to put a train load of elected officials and a fair number of voting machine company employees in the hoosegow for a lengthy stay, yet Representative John Conyers seems to be one of the few actually attempting to bring this issue to light. No other Congressional Democrats are speaking out in concert with The Honorable Mr. Conyers (at least not enough to be adequately noted).

Until such time that an aggressive, unified, and sustained attack by Congressional Democrats regarding the issue of election fraud through the use of voting machines controlled by Republican Corporate Cronies becomes the daily norm, I will respectfully decline to send my extremely valuable funds in the direction of Washington, D.C.

If a candidate surfaces who is willing to speak out against corporate influence in the election process, and is decisively against the war in Iraq, I will exercise my desire to contribute to that candidate’s campaign in the hope that a Democrat expressing my Liberal and Progressive views in no uncertain terms will someday hold a House or Senate seat.


The stink intensifies

2-23-06: Someone accessed 40 Palm Beach County voting machines Nov 2004

The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.

Black Box Voting successfully sued former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election.

After investing over $7,000 and waiting nine months for the records, Black Box Voting discovered that the voting machine logs contained approximately 100,000 errors. According to voting machine assignment logs, Palm Beach County used 4,313 machines in the Nov. 2004 election. During election day, 1,475 voting system calibrations were performed while the polls were open, providing documentation to substantiate reports from citizens ind... More

Friday, February 24, 2006

The True Spoils of WAR

I lifted this post from Mr. Natural at Left Edge North:

Last week, Specialist Doug Barber, a 35-year-old National Guardsman from Alabama, changed the message on his voice mail. "If you're looking for Doug, I'm checking out of this world,” he said. “I'll see you on the other side." He then called the police to his house, went out on to his porch with a shotgun, and with the police trying to persuade him to put down the gun, blew his brains out. Barber had given vent to his feelings a few days earlier in this article.
thanks to Mick Smith Weblog

I am posting Specialist Doug Barber's article below because it deserves to be here in it's entirety as a reminder that the Sean Hannitys, Bill O' Reillys, and Rush Limbaughs of this world are not as worthy as dog shit smashed with a stick.

PTSD: Every Soldier’s Personal WAR!

Spc. Doug Barber, Coalition For Free Thought In Media
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 01/21/06 15:59

In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media, regarding my experiences in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers. Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag draped coffin.

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other events of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.

Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the hero’s of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and women.

They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag draped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back together but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone else’s life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Hero’s become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.

Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don’t know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt, dependence, loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an environment that is conducive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our comrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a mortar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurrence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of—soldiers cannot often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.

THIS IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO BILL, SEAN AND RUSH TO HAVE ME ON YOUR PROGRAM TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. Otherwise you are nothing but dirt under every soldier’s boots!

Dear Friend

I received a wonderful message from Nancy Pelosi on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and an excerpt follows:

Our aggressive, 2006 Grassroots Campaign Plan is built upon three powerful strategies.

1. Keep Republicans On The Defensive.

It would take too many pages to list all the examples of the corrupt, incompetent and, in some instances, criminal behavior of Republican powerbrokers. Their pay-to-play philosophy of government has led to disastrous results for America's middle class, our armed forces, our health care system, and the environment.

Democrats will continue to pound away at the Republican culture of corruption that has gripped Washington, D.C. and ensure that voters know how the Republican Party has betrayed their sacred trust with the American people and looted our treasury, burying America under a mountain of debt.

2. Recruiting top tier challengers and protecting incumbents.

We have had unprecedented success in recruiting top tier challengers to take on Republican incumbents and seize Republican open seats. Most of our challengers are new to national campaigns and are depending on our financial, technical and organizational support to win. We are also standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our incumbents who are about to face an all out assault by Karl Rove and company. Our Frontline program is designed to give our incumbents the "early money" they need to organize field staffs, identify voters and get out their message.

3. Mobilizing Voters.

Victory this November will depend on how well we inform voters about what Democratic candidates stand for and how effective we are at getting our voters to the polls. This means developing on the ground, field operations in districts throughout the country and employing every tool we have at our disposal to ensure voters know about the courageous men and women running as Democrats this November.

The success of this plan will depend upon your willingness to get involved and support this unprecedented effort. For example, your gift of ...

$25 will pay for 1 tank of gas to help get voters to the polls on Election Day
$50 will cover the cost of 50 door-to-door contacts with voters
$100 will pay for over 1,000 Get-Out-the-Vote calls
$250 will help us register at least 250 new voters
$350 will pay for the distribution of 2,500 door hangers, educating voters in targeted congressional districts
$500 will cover of the cost to put one television ad up in a rural district in America.

The political climate is right for a big win this November. We have recruited some of the most talented and committed candidates to run for Congress in a generation. We have a winning message and policy agenda that Americans in every Congressional district are hungry for.

But I need you to stand with me and join in this fight for America's future.

Please let me hear from you today.


Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader

PS: Our 2006 Grassroots Campaign Plan is the roadmap for victory this November. All we need is you. Please make a generous contribution today. Click here to read and contribute to the 2006 Grassroots Campaign Plan

This is my response:

Dear Representative Pelosi,

In response to your request for contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I would like to make a point that has seemed to elude most of our Representatives in both the House and the Senate.

As long as there is corporate influence in the voting process, there is no amount of money, no degree of mobilization, no magic candidate or candidates, and no effective rhetoric that will change the political climate in our Nation’s Capitol.

We have been witness to the theft of two Presidential Elections and at least one major mid-term election that left behind enough evidence of election fraud to put a train load of elected officials and a fair number of voting machine company employees in the hoosegow for a lengthy stay, yet Representative John Conyers seems to be one of the few actually attempting to bring this issue to light. No other Congressional Democrats are speaking out in concert with The Honorable Mr. Conyers (at least not enough to be adequately noted).

Until such time that an aggressive, unified, and sustained attack by Congressional Democrats regarding the issue of election fraud through the use of voting machines controlled by Republican Corporate Cronies becomes the daily norm, I will respectfully decline to send my extremely valuable funds in the direction of Washington, D.C.

If a candidate surfaces who is willing to speak out against corporate influence in the election process, and is decisively against the war in Iraq, I will exercise my desire to contribute to that candidate’s campaign in the hope that a Democrat expressing my Liberal and Progressive views in no uncertain terms will someday hold a House or Senate seat.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

If you're angry and you know it, clap your hands..

2-17-06: BREAKING: Calif. Sec. State certifies entire Diebold product line
This is a very important news post, with national implications because -- with YOUR help -- today's miscarriage of democracy will give you the first good shot at subpoena-induced sworn testimony from voting machine makers and testing labs. Vendors and voting machine examiners: Enjoy the reprieve that McPherson just handed you, because the American citizenry -- with the help of some California senators -- is about to make sure it stops right now.

Citizens: Instructions are provided in this article.

Red flag: Meet bull

THE RED FLAG: Today California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson certified Diebold's entire product line, including the TSx touchscreen machine with its "toilet paper roll" paper trail -- you know, the design that removes the privacy of your vote. He also approved th... More

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Intelligence on loan from a rendering house

An excerpt from this post by One Pissed Off Veteran:

It just never quits. I heard on the Stephanie Miller show this morning that Rush Oxy-from-Miami Limbaugh whined on his nationally-syndicated-with-a-steadily-shrinking-audience radio show the other day that the New York Times (that grey bastion of the "Liberal Media") in its coverage the whole Paul Hackett debacle ignored the fact that Sherrod Brown was Black.

You just have to go read this guy.

Good Morning

Please check out this breaking news

The truth sometimes stinks

Above is a depiction of the Bush administration working very hard to avoid any discussion about The Downing Street Memos, new pictures that have come to light from the torture scandal, where the money was actually spent in Iraq, what VP Cheney specifically authorized Scooter to divulge to the press, whether or not wiretapping was employed against political opponents, and a multitude of other potentially embarassing topics.

Notice, however, that they are about to bump into another Grand Jury Report.

If that explanation doesn't work for you, just think of it as Cheney headed for the underground bunker again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Frist turns back on autistic children, champions big-pharma

February Monday 13th 2006 (16h21) :
The top two Republicans in Congress caught in an outright lie

A Republican staffer has named Frist and Hastert as the two lawmakers that added the vaccine makers liability protection to the defense bill- after the committee had met several times that day, and Dems even asked Alaska Senator Ted Stevens if the language was in the bill, and he told them no.

After the conference committee broke up, a meeting was called in Hastert’s office, [Rep staffer Keith] Kennedy said. Also at the meeting, according to a congressional staffer, were Frist, Stevens and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

About 10 or 10:30 p.m., Democratic staff members were handed the language and told it was now in the bill, Obey said.

He took to the House floor in a rage. He called Frist and Hastert “a couple of musclemen in Congress who think they have a right to tell everybody else that they have to do their bidding.”
Frist and Stevens deny this charge saying the language was in the bill when the conferees voted on it- but if that’s so, why did Stevens tell Obey no? It appears there are several witnesses to the Leaders meeting... this is the top two Republicans in Congress caught in an outright lie, blatantly adding in crap that wouldn’t pass on it’s own.

Frist has received $271,523 in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical and health products industry since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.
Remember how Frist slipped this exact same lawsuit protection into the Patriot Act. At that time it was a big scandal, he didn’t even change the font- but literally copied and pasted this tiny item at the end of 450 pages of legal mumbo-jumbo. Now they have the gall to do it again... because they know the Democrats won’t do anything about it. A few will make noise, but that’s about it...

Why are the pharmaceuticals so concerned about this lawsuit protection anyway?
When the hell will people wake up to this dog and pony show of Reps and Dems screwing us all over?
By : benfrankblogFebruary Monday 13th 2006

HEY, W…your pants are on fire!

Abramoff Said to Claim Close Ties to Rove

By JOHN SOLOMON and PETE YOST, Associated Press Writers Tue Feb 14, 2:45 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Three former associates of Jack Abramoff say the now-convicted lobbyist frequently told them he had strong ties to the White House through presidential confidant Karl Rove.

The White House said Monday night that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a 1990s political meeting and considered the lobbyist a "casual acquaintance" since President Bush took office in 2001.

New questions have arisen about Abramoff's ties to the White House since a photo emerged over the weekend showing Abramoff with Bush. The White House would not release the photo or any others that Bush had taken with Abramoff. Also surfacing were the contents of an e-mail from Abramoff to Washingtonian magazine claiming he had met briefly with the president nearly a dozen times and that Bush knew him well enough to make joking references to Abramoff's family.

Three former business associates of Abramoff, who worked with the lobbyist in various roles between 2001 and 2004, told The Associated Press that Abramoff routinely mentioned Rove when talking about his influence inside the White House.

One said he was present when Abramoff took a call from Rove's office to confirm a White House meeting had been approved between Malaysia's prime minister and Bush in May 2002. Abramoff was being paid by Malaysia for helping it in Washington, according to evidence the Senate has made public.

All three associates would describe the Abramoff comments only on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation of Abramoff's work and fears that speaking out could affect their current businesses. At least one said he had been interviewed by the FBI.

Abramoff was a $100,000 fundraiser for Bush and lobbying records obtained by the AP show his lobbying team logged nearly 200 meetings with the administration during its first 10 months in office on behalf of one of his clients, the Northern Mariana Islands.

The contacts between Abramoff's team and the administration included meetings with Attorney General John Ashcroft and policy advisers to Vice President Dick Cheney, the AP reported last year.

Abramoff's former assistant, Susan Ralston, went to work for Rove in 2001. Abramoff's legal team declined comment Monday night.

According to one of the three former associates, frequently Abramoff's cell phone would ring and the lobbyist would tell the associate that the White House was calling. To prove that he wasn't making up what he was telling the associate, Abramoff occasionally would hold up the phone so that the associate could see the incoming call was indeed a White House phone number.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty in a fraud and bribery conspiracy case and is cooperating with the investigation into those in Congress and the administration he used to lobby.

Asked about the three former Abramoff associates' account, the White House said Rove shared a common past with Abramoff as leaders of a young Republicans group decades ago.

"Mr. Rove remembers they had met at a political event in the 1990s," White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said. "Since then, he would describe him as a casual acquaintance."

Healy said Rove has "no recollection" of talking to Abramoff about the Malaysian prime minister's meeting in May 2002. She said Bush first met the prime minister at a foreign summit in October 2001 and that the 2002 meeting in the Oval Office was "another opportunity to get together to discuss the war on terror."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Be concerned...get active

Key States Miss Reform Deadline

Two years after the 2000 presidential election was determined by a mere 537 votes (and the Supreme Court), Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to solve many of the problems that arose that year. HAVA aimed to make state electoral practices more consistent by developing statewide voter databases and addressing each component of the voting process: registration, identification, ballots and machines. The deadline for these changes was supposed to be January 1, 2006, so as to allow enough time for these upgrades to be fully integrated by the midterms this year.

But according to a new report from, approximately half of the states, including California, Florida, New York and Ohio have failed to meet that deadline. Doug Chapin, the president of, acknowledges the concerted efforts made by many states, but is concerned about widespread distrust towards the system if these faulty electoral systems are not rectified. "The possibility for error, and the willingness of people to challenge those errors, are both growing every day. And that could have tremendous impact on elections in 2006 and beyond,” he said.

Among the report's findings:
· In Ohio, the state legislature is still fighting over voter identification requirements
· In California, concerns about voting machines have left some counties with warehouses full of new e-voting machines deemed unsuitable for elections.
· In New York, continued inaction has left localities scrambling to replace lever machines on a short timetable. And the required statewide database has yet to be implemented – with no contract to a vendor even awarded yet.
· Colorado cancelled its $10 million dollar contact in December 2005, leaving the state unable to meet the federal deadline.
If the November 2006 Congressional elections come down to the wire, we could be putting our faith in what Chapin refers to as "19th century election machines." And that could very well be how majorities in the House and Senate are won.

Posted by Juliana Bunim on 02/09/06 at 06:27 PM

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The people deserve some damn answers...

2-11-06: Voting machine examiners chickening out on Senate investigation

Key witnesses have notified the California Senate Elections Committee that they will refuse to show up at the hearing on how certification is being done. They don't want to be questioned.

Shawn Southworth (Ciber) has notified the investigating committee that he will decline to appear. Jim Dearman (Wyle Labs) has notified the committee that he will decline to appear.

No word yet from California voting machine examiner Steve Freeman or California technical advisor David Jefferson, who have accepted at least $150,000 and $50,000, respectively, in Calif. taxpayer money for their roles in testing and certification and recommendation.

The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 16, was called by Calif. Senate Elections Committee chairperson Debra Bowen. Thus far, no subpoenas have been issued. The ... More

Add this to Depleted Uranium


Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2006 by the New York Daily News
By Juan Gonzalez

NEARLY 120,000 veterans - more than one of every four who served in Iraq and Afghanistan - have already sought treatment at Veterans Health Administration hospitals for a wide range of illnesses, according to an internal study the VHA completed late last year.

More than 30% of those sick veterans are afflicted with some type of mental disorder, mostly posttraumatic stress and depression.
An additional 35,000 - more than 29% of the total - were diagnosed with "ill-defined conditions," according to the study, which was prepared in October by VHA epidemiologist Dr. Han Kang but has yet to be publicly released.

"Those numbers are way higher than during the Persian Gulf War for 'ill-defined' symptoms," said one Department of Veterans Affairs official who asked not to be identified.

Nearly two years ago, I reported about a group of nine New York National Guardsmen from the 442nd Military Police Co. who returned from Iraq with medical problems the Army listed as "ill-defined." Nearly half of those soldiers - four out of nine - later showed signs, in independent tests arranged by the Daily News, of exposure to depleted uranium dust from exploded U.S. shells.

Mental disorders, however, rank as the biggest problem among ailing veterans.
Two previous military studies of combat troops in Iraq found that 17% to 25% of U.S. soldiers suffer from major depression or combat stress.
All the studies show a far higher rate of mental problems among our troops than during the Persian Gulf War, and levels comparable to what was found among U.S. troops during the Vietnam War.

Kang's report, because it includes only soldiers who voluntarily checked themselves in for treatment, could be understating the level of mental disorders, say veterans advocates who have seen summaries of his findings.
"With numbers this high, the problem is going to grow fast," said Paul Rieckhoff, a former lieutenant with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
"We're seeing systemwide there are major problems," Rieckhoff said. "Most local VAs just aren't prepared for the influx of sick veterans."
Rieckhoff's view is buttressed by a U.S. General Accounting Office study released last February.
The Department of Veterans Affairs "does not have sufficient capacity to meet the needs of new combat veterans while still providing for veterans of past wars," the GAO concluded.
Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Jim Benson cautioned yesterday that it is difficult to compare the number of veterans from the current conflicts seeking help with those from previous wars.

Before 1998, Benson said, VA hospitals provided free health care only to veterans who had first been certified as suffering from some form of service-connected illness.
But in 1998, Congress mandated that all veterans be eligible for free health care for the first two years after being demobilized. After that, the free care can continue only if the veteran can prove a service-connected illness.

Well, at least President Bush has finally begun to recognize that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan can't be forgotten once they return home.
Top veterans officials announced yesterday that Bush is seeking $80.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs for next year's budget - a record increase of more than 12% above the current budget.

His request includes an additional $3.5 billion for veterans' health care.
But in a chilling sign of the terrible toll our nation has yet to pay for this dreadful war in Iraq, Bush earmarked an additional $78 million to build six new national cemeteries and expand three existing ones.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Depleted Uranium…

Soldiers Face Debilitating Diseases

POSTED: 10:40 am EST February 8, 2006
UPDATED: 11:21 am EST February 8, 2006

They served their time in the military in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most returned in good health.
But an NBC 30 investigation has found that for some soldiers, their service has meant a long and debilitating death sentence with mysterious diseases.
"I have good days, I have bad days," said M. Sterry, of New Haven. "There were eight of us that served together. Six of my friends are dead."

She looks healthy, but Sterry is a very sick woman who has no idea how much longer she will live.

"I've had three heart attacks, two heart surgeries. I have chronic headaches, chronic upper respiratory infections. I get pneumonia two or three times a year," she said. "I have chronic fatigue, joint aches, muscle aches. I have a rash that migrates all over my body."

Sterry figures the initial symptoms began in Saudi Arabia in September of 1991 while she was serving with the National Guard. Three years later, after completing her tour of duty and coming back home, the symptoms were still there, but much more severe.

State Sen. Gayle Slossberg said one of the sources of the diseases may be depleted uranium. She was one of those who helped pass legislation last year setting up a health registry in Connecticut, strictly to keep records on our military personnel.
"We'll know where they've served, what they've done, what the scope of the job was," she said. "We'll be able to identify to some extent what they've been exposed to and what their symptoms are."

But it will come too late for David Leighton, of Naugatuck, a Marine who served in Saudi Arabia in Desert Storm. When he came home, the symptoms he had had for quite some time would not go away.
His mother, Gail Leighton, said that for the next 15 years, she saw her once vital and vibrant son slowly dying before her eyes.
"You would have had to have been there during the journey and see him in bed and sweating and in agony," she said.
She said her son was a patriot, that his dad had been a Marine. She said the federal government did not believe that those coming back became sick because of the conditions in which they served.
"That was the hardest part, I think, more than anything, to have the DOD, the Department of Defense, and the VA spending so much time and energy trying to deny and discount and discredit some of the people who were doing research."

State Veterans Commissioner Linda Schwartz told NBC 30 that making the connection between battlefield exposures and diseases has been a long, ongoing process.
She said the use of depleted uranium has to be studied because, as she put it, we're sending our best people into battle and their well-being must be the top priority.

Please God...make it soon!

When Two Worlds Collide

Commentary: Why Karl Rove will eventually fall before Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
By Elizabeth de la Vega
February 3, 2006


Although it is astounding that Rove would blatantly describe such a despicable ethos (if you can call it that), it should not have been unexpected. In the world of campaign politics that Rove has so long inhabited, smears and personal attacks are designed to seem as if they were spontaneously generated. They can then wander around, undirected, until they finally curl up in America's living rooms like so many mysterious, uninvited guests. These intruders may be rude and destructive, but no one is supposed to be able to get rid of them, in part because no one is supposed to be able to sort out or pinpoint how they got there in the first place. Thus, although Karl Rove has lurked in the background of an unprecedented number of whisper and smear campaigns -- that, for instance, John McCain had an illegitimate child (a rumor spread during the Republican primaries that preceded the 2000 election), or that former Texas Governor Ann Richards was a lesbian (a persistent rumor that was spread during Bush's Texas gubernatorial campaign) -- he has never been held accountable. And that is a state of affairs to which Rove became accustomed.

Rove has escaped responsibility for his sneaky campaign tricks because the candidates for whom he has worked -- most prominently, George Bush -- have had a stunning ability to accept, unquestioningly, the miraculous appearance of information that takes down their opponents. They had no problem about endorsing brazen dishonesty or the least interest in ferreting out bad actors in their camps. At the same time, opposing candidates have had neither the resources, nor the time to fully investigate the attacks before plummeting in the polls. Afterwards, of course, it was already far too late.

Unlike Rove's former adversaries in the political world, however, Fitzgerald has both the time and investigative resources. When Fitzgerald was appointed special prosecutor, all the known facts on the outing of Valerie Wilson indicated that government officials had broken the rules, if not the law. It's no surprise then that Fitzgerald has pursued the matter vigorously; nor should it be a surprise that Rove's statement to the FBI on October 8 would have raised some obvious red flags and caused Fitzgerald to become skeptical. Rove deliberately omitted key information about conversations with reporters that he could not possibly have forgotten; he claimed to have heard classified government information only from a reporter -- despite the fact that he himself was one of the highest government officials in the nation; and then he admitted that he had no qualms about enlisting surrogates to betray government employees in order to achieve political gain.

Rove's statement raised more questions than answers. It also opened a window into the world of a President's key adviser who never left campaign mode and who had never before been tripped up, no matter what he did. Such a man would be quite unprepared for an investigator like Fitzgerald who operates under a very different timetable and in a world ordered by radically different rules.

Now that Rove's statement has been shown to be so obviously false, it would be most surprising if when his world and Fitzgerald's collide, the result isn't a political earthquake. The moment an earthquake arrives remains impossible to predict, but it would be surprising if, in the CIA leak case, the impact of a Rove indictment did not cause massive aftershocks.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You go girl

2-6-06: Landes takes e-voting to Supreme Court

Lynn Landes is a gutsy American woman following the example of the sufragettes, who fought battles for basic voting civil rights that seemed unwinnable. That is, until they won.

Landes is fighting the suit in the United States Supreme Court as a citizen, by herself, with no lawyer (called a Pro Se case). In her courage, she is resuscitating the spirit of historic independent actions by the citizenry.

"Pro se litigants enrich the law by raising controversial issues which lawyers would be reluctant to do.

"For example, William Penn (founder and proprietor of Pennsylvania) — who never obtained an academic degree — was a Pro Se litigant in Bushel's Case (1670) which established the independence of the jury beyond question in English [and American] jurisprudence." (See this history of ... More

Public property possibly released to public

2-6-06: Diebold agrees to waive proprietary claims to GEMS database files

"Hello. We just received a letter in today's mail from the Division of Elections stating that Diebold has agreed to waive its proprietary rights to the GEMS database files," wrote Kay Brown, Alaska Communications Director for the DNC.

You can see the letter that she's referring to here:

There is one minor point of contention left concerning the public accessibility of the usernames of the election staff who use GEMS. We feel that's public record.

This marks the first time Diebold itself has agreed to treat the main database files for all their election products as public records. Rapid access to these files on election night is the next frontier, as it will allow rapid oversight of both vote results and election configuration by ... More

More on Debby Tewa

A Solar Future For an Ancient Civilization
by Winona LaDuke

Hopi elders frowned on the idea of bringing electric lines into ancient villages. They objected to electric company rights-of-way degrading spectacular mesa views and compromising sovereignty. And they were leery of the dependency that goes with unending monthly electric bills. But solar panels are something else. Once they are paid for, the power is free.

Read the entire article

Hopi Power

One of their own gives the gift of electricity to her Native American tribe.

(My Comments)

After saturating my mind with the downside of the Bush Administration, this two page story makes me feel a little better about people in general. Click the link above and read it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Good For Buzzflash

Forestal Cafe (Roasted Ground Costa Rican Coffee)

An activist judge

Lawyers should never ask a Southern grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer. In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand.
He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned! Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again replied, "Why, yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."
The defense attorney almost died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you bastards asks her if she knows me, I'll throw your sorry asses in jail for contempt.”

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Full body condoms needed at White House

Substantial amount of AIDS funding goes to religious groups

There was a time in America when the above headline would not have aroused suspicion;; we would have expected a certain number of religious organizations to apply for and receive grants to help fight a serious syndrome that causes devastating disease and death. Religious organizations have taken an active role in promoting a number of social programs, from the Vietnamese resettlement effort to providing food for the nation's poor.

What makes the headline different this time around is the conflict between what is needed to overcome the AIDS virus, and what is taught by many of the religious organizations receiving grants. Take, for example, Catholic Relief Services, which was awarded $6.2 million to teach "abstinence and fidelity" in three countries. The group claims it offers "complete and accurate" information about condoms, but does not promote, purchase, or distribute them.

Or World Relief, a group established by the Natonal Association of Evangelicals. World Relief receieved $9.7 million to do abstincence work in four countries. Samaritan's Purse provides community education about AIDS, though not without education about Christianity, and World Vision, also operates an educational prevention program which "may include" information on condom use.

In other words, 23% of the White House's $15 billion AIDS package has gone to groups who either do not even mention the word "condom," or who mention it only as a last resort.

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