Another Election Manipulation Attempt

The New York Times is reporting that Republican donors are trying to get a ballot initiative that would alter the way electoral votes are apportioned in California to the benefit of Republican presidential candidates.

Earlier this summer a prominent Republican lawyer began the initiative, but financing concerns waylaid it in October. Last week a new organization began raising the roughly $2 million thought to be needed. David Gilliard, a Republican consultant, with help from Anne Dunsmore, who recently resigned from Rudolph Giuliani’s presidential campaign, are spearheading the movement.

The proposed initiative would ask voters to replace California’s winner-take-all 55 electoral college votes with one that parses the votes by Congressional district. Democrats have strongly opposed the initiative since it would hand the Republican nominee roughly 20 of the 55 votes.

Art Torres, head of the California Democratic Party will constitutionally challenge the initiative if it qualifies for the ballot, arguing that only state legislators can determine how electoral votes are allocated.

Backers of the initiative require roughly 400,000 signatures under state law. Supporters of the initiative said they intend to collect 675,000 signatures to make sure it qualifies.

Thomas W. Hiltachk began the initiative, quitting in September when it was revealed that the only donation at the time came from a top fund-raiser for Giuliani.

The opposition was steamrolled by Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant, with help from Howard Dean when they began a relentless campaign that included complaints to federal agencies about connections between Giuliani donors and the initiative.

Links to More Information

The link to the article above as well as numerous links to a wide variety of information can be found below:

New Life for Initiative to Apportion Electoral Vote article from The New York Times

Take the Terkel challenge article from The Seminal:

“Terkel explains how every movement for social justice was met with more secret government surveillance—of private citizens, journalists, even members of Congress—until a congressional committee with a backbone and a belief in the Constitution pulled back the curtain:

Then things changed. In 1975, the hearings led by Senator Frank Church of Idaho revealed the scope of government surveillance of private citizens and lawful organizations. As Americans saw the damage, they reached a consensus that this unrestrained surveillance had a corrosive impact on us all.

In 1978, with broad public support, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which placed national security investigations, including wiretapping, under a system of warrants approved by a special court. The law was not perfect, but as a result of its enactment and a series of subsequent federal laws, a generation of Americans has come to adulthood protected by a legal structure and a social compact making clear that government will not engage in unbridled, dragnet seizure of electronic communications

Given the facts and an opportunity to act, the body politic generally does the right thing. By revealing the truth in a public forum, the American people will have the facts to play their historic, heroic role in putting our nation back on the path toward freedom. That is why we deserve our day in court.”

How We Won the War on Thai Chili Sauce article from Wired.com

Schneier on Security: The War on the Unexpected article:

“We’ve opened up a new front on the war on terror. It’s an attack on the unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it’s a war on different. If you act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and even arrested — even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation of reported threats.

If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.”

It’s official: The Neocons have “public support” to go to war with Iran article from The Political Inquirer

GOP State Rep Caught Cross-Dressing With Male Hookers article from AlterNet:

“Howie Klein: Just makes you wonder if these kinds of people become Republicans or if being Republican makes you like this.

According to today’s Times-Picayune David Diapers Vitter (R-LA) “has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for violating federal election laws during his campaign for the Senate in 2004.” Kind of completes the image of what he is and always has been. He cheats on his wife and cheats the voters as well.

Meanwhile, way on the otherside of the country, up in Washington another I’m-Not-Gay-Republican– yawn– Washington Rep. Richard Curtis is all caught up in some extortion business with a gay prostitute. KREM, a Spokane TV station, reported that Curtis and the male hooker had “a sexual encounter and were seen together at various spots around the city.” Spokane is just up the road apiece from Idaho and Curtis said, “I am not gay. I have not had sex with a guy.” A.P. is reporting that Curtis and the hooker met at one of those porno video shops (the Hollywood Erotic Boutique) at 12:45am and then went back to Curtis’ hotel room at 3:30am for sex. They don’t say who did what to whom but the trick, Cody Castagna, demanded a grand to not blab that Curtis, who is married, is also enjoying the company of young men, and Curtis called the cops.

Before you start feeling too sorry for this chump, keep this in mind: he’s a self-righteous right-wing turd who he voted against domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples. Last year, he opposed a gay rights bill that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Flush another Republican hypocrite down the toilet. I’ve lost count.

UPDATE: THE REPUBLICAN IS A DRAG QUEEN!”

Giuliani Still Working at Firm He Promised to Leave article from The Washington Post:

“Ten months into his presidential bid, Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to work part time at the security consulting firm he promised to leave this past spring to focus on his pursuit of the Republican nomination.

Giuliani’s continuing involvement with a firm catering to corporate clients makes him unique among Republican contenders. It also complicates the task of separating his firm’s assets from his campaign spending.

“This is a lawyer’s nightmare,” said Republican political consultant Scott Reed, who ran the 1996 presidential bid of then-Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) but is not aligned with a presidential campaign in this race. “I don’t think the vulnerability is with voters on the level of his commitment to the race. The concern is really about FEC violations and whether anything this corporation does to help him essentially is making a contribution to run for president in the form of staff time, materials, travel billing or security.”

DoJ Official Experienced Waterboarding, Told WH It Is Illegal, Was ‘Forced Out’ article and video from Think Progress:

“ABC reported that after Levin personally experienced waterboarding, he told the White House that it could be considered torture:

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn’t die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.

Levin was working on a second memo that would have imposed tighter controls on the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. While working on that memo, ABC reported “Levin was forced out of the Justice Department when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General.”

GAO: Reduction In Violence Due To ‘Ethnically Cleansed Neighborhoods’ In Iraq article and video from Think Progress:

“Looking for signs of progress in Iraq, the Bush administration has been quick to jump on reports of reduced violence in Iraq. The “violence is thankfully coming down,” said White House spokesperson Dana Perino. Violence is “down significantly from last year,” declared President Bush.

In a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee today, Joe Christoff of the Government Accountability Office stated that this recent reduction in violence should be taken with a grain of salt, as it coincides with increased sectarian cleansing and a massive refugee displacement:

I think that’s [ethnic cleansing] an important consideration in even assessing the overall security situation in Iraq. You know, we look at the attack data going down, but it’s not taking into consideration that there might be fewer attacks because you have ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, particularly in the Baghdad area. […]

It’s produced 2.2. million refugees that have left, it’s produced two million internally displaced persons within the country as well.”

How to steal an election article from The Boston Globe

Cheney’s counsel resigns article from Think Progress

Lawyer: Cheney Visitor Logs Not Recorded article from ABC News:

“Cheny Lawyer Told Secret Service Not to Keep Copies of Visitor Logs.”

US army contracting alarms panel article from BBC News:

“An independent panel has strongly criticised the way the US army manages contracts to supply its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The panel said there were high levels of fraud and waste in relation to contracts worth $4bn (£1.9bn) a year.”

The calamity of Iraq has not even won us cheap article from The Guardian Unlimited UK:

“Although “the judgment of history” has a sonorous ring, it doesn’t necessarily require the long gestation that phrase might imply: sometimes there’s no need for the owl of Minerva to hang around waiting for the sun to go down. When one eminent historian, Sean Wilentz of Princeton, pronounces bluntly that George Bush the Younger is “the worst president in American history”, and another, Tony Judt of New York University, calls the Iraq war “the worst foreign policy error in American history”, not many of us will argue with them.

And yet history still doesn’t know the half of it. It has long since ceased to be a matter for debate that the Iraq adventure began in mendacity and ended in calamity. Sir Richard Dearlove’s public penitence this week merely confirmed what he had already said privately, and not only has every single one of the original official reasons for the invasion been falsified, they have all been stood on their heads. Now even what many suspected was the ulterior motive – a war for oil – has gone awry.

Speaking at the LSE on Wednesday, Dearlove said the government had put “too much emphasis on intelligence” as a justification for the war in order to win parliamentary support. But even before the notorious specious dossiers were compiled – which is what he meant – he had already said with deadly candour in the July 2002 memo, written in greatest secrecy by Dearlove as head of MI6 for the eyes of Blair and his colleagues, that a decision for war had been taken, and that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”.

He might have added that, while there were no “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, there was a great deal of noxious weaponry, which went missing at the time of the invasion and has since been put to dreadful effect. Nor were there any fundamentalist terrorists in Iraq five years ago – Saddam Hussein was a secular tyrant, and had a very short way with Islamic zealots – but today the country is awash with jihadists. Many of them come from Saudi Arabia, whose monarch we have just greeted in such obsequious fashion so that we can continue corruptly to sell his country arms.”

Medifraud: Available at a Pharmacy Near You article from AlterNet:

“We’re hearing those phrases again,” declared Law and Order district attorney, former Republican senator, and presidential candidate Fred Thompson in a July 26 ABC podcast. “National health care, universal health care, socialized medicine. We’re being told that government bureaucrats can take over our entire medical industry — which, by the way, is the best and most complex in the world — and make it better.”

Ah yes, the bureaucrats. As if the problem with our current medical system is too much oversight by meddling government agents. In truth, while conservatives rail against government-run health care, our limited versions of that — Medicaid and Medicare — have been exploited as boondoggles by the same drug companies that have, since 2000, spent nearly $1 billion on federal and state lobbying drives as well as campaign donations given overwhelmingly to Republicans, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In return, the corporate drug dealers have gotten their money’s worth: unbridled profits and lax regulation of both corporate fraud and drug safety.

And despite periodic hearings and investigative stories, the hard-sell marketing to doctors continues virtually unabated, with increasingly worrying effects. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 94 percent of physicians had some type of explicit relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, a government report done in Vermont found that in 2006 drug companies gave the average psychiatrist with high drug-company earnings a bit more than $45,000 in assorted honoraria and travel expenses. The report also found that physicians who took the most payments tended, more often than other doctors, to prescribe to children “atypical antipsychotics” — a new class of powerful medications — although none of these drugs have FDA approval for use with kids.”

Bush Playing the 9-11 card to force the Mukasey nomination through: Attacks Bloggers! article and video from Crooks and Liars:

“The message from Bush to the Democratically controlled Congress was simple: Approve Mukasey or we will all die, and it will be all your fault.

Bush: “The job of Attorney General is essential to the security of America” … “Some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters.”

Bin Laden ‘Not Our Priority’ article from The Nation:

“Pop Quiz!

Who said this?

“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

Or this?

“I don’t know where he is. I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”

Or this?

“Deep in my heart I know the man’s on the run, if he’s alive at all…I just don’t spend much time on it, really, to be honest with you.”

And who disbanded the CIA unit dedicated to finding bin Laden?

Hint: It wasn’t Bill Clinton.”

Bush to Nation: “To protect our liberties, we must give up your freedoms” article from Wake Up From Your Slumber:

“President Bush speech to the Heritage Foundation on 11/01/2007

“Today I’ve come to talk to you about the war on Americans at home and Muslims abroad and my firm commitment that we’ll do everything in our power to shred the Bill of Rights at home and shred Muslims overseas and my call on the United States Congress to rubber stamp any piece of phony ‘war on terror’ legislation i send to that bunch so we can finish turning America into a police state.”

“This is no time for Congress to weaken the Department of Justice by denying it a hand picked lackey who will kowtow to my every dream and perversion. … It’s no time for Congress to weaken our ability to intercept information from Americans about their questioning of the totalitarian, fascist state that I and HRM Dick Cheney have worked so hard to implement.”

“And this is no time for Congress to hold back vital funding for our troops as they blow to bits and pieces civilians, especially women and kids in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

(Posted in Bush Fascism Parody Satire)

NBC: Airport screeners tipped off to security checks article from The Raw Story

Prostates and Prejudices article from The New York Times:

“My chance of surviving prostate cancer – and thank God I was cured of it – in the United States? Eighty-two percent,” says Rudy Giuliani in a new radio ad attacking Democratic plans for universal health care. “My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England? Only 44 percent, under socialized medicine.”

It would be a stunning comparison if it were true. But it isn’t. And thereby hangs a tale – one of scare tactics, of the character of a man who would be president and, I’m sorry to say, about what’s wrong with political news coverage.

Let’s start with the facts: Mr. Giuliani’s claim is wrong on multiple levels – bogus numbers wrapped in an invalid comparison embedded in a smear.

Mr. Giuliani got his numbers from a recent article in City Journal, a publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute. The author gave no source for his numbers on five-year survival rates – the probability that someone diagnosed with prostate cancer would still be alive five years after the diagnosis. And they’re just wrong.”

Rudy’s Dissembling About Health Care Expands To Another Front: Breast Cancer article from TPMmuckraker

After teasing story by saying “Obama makes a little girl cry,” Fox News’ Kelly acknowledged it was not true article from Media Matters

Bush’s Lap Dogs: What Happened to DC’s Watchdogs? article from Rolling Stone:

“IN OCTOBER, WITH OSAMA BIN LADEN still at large, the Central Intelligence Agency announced the creation of a new spy unit. Headed by a top deputy and staffed with a select corps of agents, the operation was charged with gathering intelligence on a single man – a foe who was threatening to undermine the president’s War on Terror.

The CIA’s new target? John Helgerson, the man appointed by President Bush to expose wrongdoing at the CIA. As inspector general of the agency, Helgerson came under attack from his superiors simply for trying to do his job: He was aggressively investigating torture at the CIA’s secret prisons.

Like the other twenty-eight inspectors within the executive branch, Helgerson is supposed to be immune from such political meddling. Created in 1978 as a post-Watergate check on Nixonian abuses of power, the inspectors bypass the chain of command within their own agencies and report their findings directly to Congress. By law, the president must appoint these watchdogs “without regard to political affiliation” and “solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability.”

But as the investigation of Helgerson makes clear, the administration is more interested in turning the watchdogs into lap dogs. Just as he politicized every other facet of government from FEMA to the Farm Bureau, President Bush has ignored the law and stocked the inspector general posts with inexperienced cronies. According to a study by the House Oversight Committee, more than a third of Bush’s inspectors previously held a political post in the White House, compared to none of Bill Clinton’s appointees. Judging from their résumés – deputy counsel to the Bush-Cheney transition team, special assistant to Trent Lott, senior counsel to Fred Thompson, daughter to Chief Justice William Rehnquist – Bush’s appointees seem more qualified to be partisans at a neoconservative think tank than America’s last line of defense against fraud and abuse. What’s more, fewer than one-fifth of the inspectors appointed by Bush had previous experience as auditors, compared to two-thirds of Clinton’s appointees. “The IGs have been politicized and dumbed down,” said Rep. Brad Miller, oversight chair of the House science committee.”

Bush Is Right to Worry If Waterboarding Is Defined as Torture article from AlterNet:

“We should take the criminality of the Bush administration’s torture policy seriously, and that means making sure they are not above the law. (Also: A waterboarding simulation photoseries.)

There is an article in Thursday’s New York Times about the way Michael Mukasey has been hedging on waterboarding. The difficulty, according to many experts is, as “Jack L. Goldsmith, who served in the Justice Department in 2003 and 2004, wrote in his recent memoir, The Terror Presidency, that the possibility of future prosecution for aggressive actions against terrorism was a constant worry inside the Bush administration.” Another expert points out that future prosecutors “… would ask not just who carried it out, but who specifically approved it. Theoretically, it could go all the way up to the president of the United States; that’s why he’ll never say it’s torture.”

I have to say that I am both glad and amazed that the Bush administration is with it enough to worry. That is a good sign. And they should worry, because they should be indicted, at least. I hope that they are, and that, indeed, it does “go all the way up to the president.” One of the Attorney General’s jobs should be making sure not only that the laws are enforced, but also that the laws are actual laws — not opinions by John Yoo or David Addington or some other administration apologist. There is an exact definition of what a law is in this country, and it is not the same as a partisan legal opinion.”

Blackwater’s Owner Has Spies for Hire article from The Washington Post

Not entitled to their own facts article from the washington post – white house watch

What Defines A Killing As Sectarian article from the Washington Post on MSNBC.com:

(Also known as how to twist the numbers around to make it look like you’re making progress war started with lies and deception)

“On Sept. 1, the bullet-riddled bodies of four Iraqi men were found on a Baghdad street. Two days later, a single dead man, with one bullet in his head, was found on a different street. According to the U.S. military in Iraq, the solitary man was a victim of sectarian violence. The first four were not.

Such determinations are the building blocks for what the Bush administration has declared a downward trend in sectarian deaths and a sign that its war strategy is working. They are made by a specialized team of soldiers who spend their nights at computer terminals, sifting through data on the day’s civilian victims for clues to the motivations of killers.”

Speaking Truth To Power: The End of America — The Police State is Right Here, Right Now article from Vermont Commons:

“As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air—however slight—lest we become unwilling victims of the darkness.
~Justice William O. Douglas~

In the “10 easy steps” outlined by Wolf, countries move from open to closed and repressive societies by devolving past certain markers, and Wolf makes a powerful case for the way in which the United States is following a similar pattern without any significant deviation. In each instance she compares and contrasts how America’s adherence to the pattern compares or contrasts with the pattern in pre-World War II Germany. The 10 steps are:

• Invoking an external and internal threat
• Establishing secret prisons
• Developing a paramilitary force
• Surveiling ordinary citizens
• Infiltrating citizens’ groups
• Arbitrarily detaining and releasing citizens
• Targeting key individuals
• Restricting the press
• Casting criticism as “espionage” and dissent as “treason”
• Subverting the rule of law”

Learning From Bush’s Mistakes: How a prewar conversation can help us pick the next president article from Salon

Dan Rather vs. CBS, and the truth about George W. Bush article from Salon

How Texas lawmakers vote video from YouTube (more like how many times can lawmakers vote on the same amendment)

Will the USS Enterprise Be Sunk To Start A War With Iran article from OpEd News

Shirley Smith: No Attorney General? Frankly, Sir, We Americans Don’t Give a Damn article from Buzzflash:

“Looking back to the fraudulent election in 2000, and a partisan Supreme Court who decided they wanted “their boy” in the White House … millions of people would still be living the good life if the US had left the White House vacant, instead of renting it out to the Republican Party and their supporters. No warnings given to Americans before 911. No capture of the Anthrax killer. No capture of bin Laden and his cave-living gang. Hidden chambers of torture. Secret prisons. The reputation of the US is in the sewer. Everyone hates America today. They don’t think of us as a living, breathing, functioning democracy. At one time, we Americans were the envy of the world. People wanted to be like us.

If the US still had law and order in this country (accountability) for government officials at the top of US government, Bush would be talking to attorneys instead of threatening the members of Congress and the American people every time he doesn’t get his way. He wouldn’t have time to worry about getting his way, he would be worried about staying out of jail. He would be worried about Americans getting our way for a change … impeachment and prosecution.

We already know what Bush thinks of the American people, and especially our youth (war fodder), our children (no health care), the elderly, gays, people of color, the poor.

If the people in this country had a choice between the Bush Republicans ‘ government and no government … that’s too easy. We have had a government without any law and order for those in high government positions who think of their oaths of office as nothing more than cliches … yes, this country would have been far better off without any government at all, if they insist on calling what we’ve had under Republican rule as “government.”

9/11 Truth vs. Mainstream Media video on YouTube

The Money Party – Lousy Leaders & How to Get Rid of Them article from Organic Consumers Association:

“It’s obvious.  The Money Party [5] doesn’t want us to vote.  Its members, those few individuals and corporations who control most of the wealth, fund [6], elect [7], and control [8] candidates who act in ways that cause people to say:  “Forget about it.  There’s no difference between any of them, they’re all a bunch of crooks.”

Leaders who fail to respond to the obvious sentiment of the public are lousy leaders, plain and simple.  Their inadequacy is even more obvious when they fail to do much of anything that benefits the general public, all the while adding to the incomes of the corporations and individual donors who placed them in power.  Even as the corporate media continue to prop up the government by down playing the real news, the general public knows that they have a tyrant at the top and enablers in supporting roles.

This is just common sense.  Elected office is a critically important trust. Those who serve have a major impact on all citizens.  We all have to sign some sort of employment contract or work under rules that are, in essence, a contract.  Why not the same deal for those who seek the honor of serving in elected office?  Why not put them to the test when they say “we vote our conscience and not the interests of our contributors”?  Why not make them truly accountable to us?  How many insincere politicians would sign up for this type of scrutiny?  How many would survive it?

Put the people back in charge through real accountability on the part of elected officials and provide clear consequences for undue influence that betrays the public trust.”

The Worst Economy Of Our Lifetime article from Daily Kos:

“As we get closer and closer to the primaries and the general Presidential election voters will pay more and more attention to the presidential race.  In addition, voters will start to make decisions based on issues that are important to them.  While the Iraq war is sure to be one of those issues, the economy may become the stealth issue of the election.  There are plenty of reasons for this.  But the two most obvious reasons are the worse record of job creation in the last 30 years and stagnant median income.”

Former high-level officials challenge the conventional explanation of how and why the Twin Towers came down article from OpEdNews (with numerous explanations and links to information on why the public deserves the truth about what really happened that day and a LOT of evidence to back it up):

“A 2,000 word article, Seven CIA Veterans Challenge 9/11 Commission Report, appeared September 23, 2007 in OpEdNews. (Link provided below.)  The article details severe criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report by seven CIA veterans and calls for a new investigation.  Here follows a brief quote or two from several of the individuals whose testimony is included in the article:

Ray McGovern, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and 27-year CIA veteran: “The 9/11 Report is a joke.”  “It has long been clear that the Bush-Cheney administration cynically exploited the attacks of 9/11 to promote its imperial designs.  . . (And there is) evidence for an even more disturbing conclusion:  that the 9/11 attacks were themselves orchestrated by this administration precisely so they could be thus exploited.”

William Christison, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political, and 29-year CIA veteran:  “We very seriously need an entirely new, very high level, and truly independent investigation of the events of 9/11.  I think you almost have to look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a joke and not a serious piece of analysis at all.”  “The North and South Towers of the World Trade Center almost certainly did not collapse and fall to earth because hijacked aircraft hit them.”

Robert David Steele has 25 years of combined service in the CIA and the U.S. Marine Corps.  Second ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence from 1988 – 1992.  Member of the Adjunct Faculty of Marine Corps University.  His comment:  “I am forced to conclude that 9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war.  “I’m absolutely certain that WTC 7 was brought down by controlled demolition.  There’s no way that building could have come down without controlled demolition.”

(The original article he refers to can be found here)

A Nation of Sheep video from YouTube:

“It’s time for the sheep to become wolves.”

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