by Maryscott OConnor, Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 03:57:43 PM EDT
by Maryscott OConnor, Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 03:29:27 PM EDT
by Maryscott OConnor, Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 04:16:03 PM EDT
by Maryscott OConnor, Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 07:03:18 AM EDT
by Maryscott OConnor, Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 09:51:05 AM EDT
(At one panel, according to an audience member, Representative Bob Ney, a Republican, was applauded when he dismissed demands for auditable paper trails for electronic voting, noting that a rigged electronic machine could also be fixed to produce a misleading paper trail. ) But in the hallways of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, voting machine manufacturers--including the companies that have drawn the most criticism--have been plying their wares. And to impress the local officials at the conference, three leading manufacturers of voting machines have been paying to make sure the attendees--the government employees who decide what voting machines are purchased--have a swell time.
According to the center's program for the conference, the conference's welcoming reception on August 26 was underwritten by Diebold Election Systems. The next day, a scheduled "Dinner Cruise on the Potomac and Monuments by Night Tour" was cosponsored by Sequoia Voting Systems. And Election Systems and Software (ES&S) agreed to pick up the tab for the final day's "Graduation Luncheon and Awards Ceremony."
If there is one issue this year that gives me pause in my unshakeable belief that the voters of this country will, by a sturdy majority, throw George W. Bush and his corrupt Administration out on their collective ass, it is this one. The evidence has been presented: Diebold and other electronic voting systems without paper receipts are laughably easy to manipulate. Fraud is a virtual guarantee from the admitted Republican Bush-backers in charge of these companies.
If Bush "wins" by a tiny margin, no one will ever be able to convince me that it wasn't fraud at the voting booths. And I promise you, I am not alone.
by Maryscott OConnor, Fri Aug 27, 2004 at 06:39:52 AM EDT
Meanwhile, at the lonely buffet, the red meat lies rotting, virtually ignored: Despite the claims of the Bush Administration that the so-called "handover of sovereignty" to their newly installed puppet government would turn the tide in Iraq, Americans continue to die.113 Americans have died since that "handover" some 60 odd days (very odd days, indeed) ago.
That brings the total of Americans killed in Iraq to 971, though the number is difficult to pin down, since not a single day goes by without at least one and usually several more deaths to add to the tally. These numbers, of course, do not include the 131 "coalition" deaths, let alone the over 11,000 Iraqis killed.
And we say virtually nothing of the tens of thousands of "injured." What a poor word it is, when it cannot conjure in the minds of a listener the reality of those injuries - severed limbs, lost eyesight, permanent nerve damage, brain damage, pieces of metal lodged forever in the flesh of the survivor - and the attendant physical, emotional and spiritual suffering of the injured. Yet another generation of U.S. soldiers will return to their country hopelessly dependent on morphine and other painkillers, only to have the pain of their injuries compounded by the agony of withdrawal from the drugs - or the horror of an addiction to those drugs that cannot but be exacerbated when they discover that heroin will do the trick once the docs stop giving them their prescriptions.
Don't kid yourself that this time it will be different; the Bush Administration's cuts to the Veterans Administration and callous refusal of full health benefits to reservists guarantees a whole new batch of drug addicts and homeless souls who used to wear a United States uniform.
So the media drools in deluded ecstasy over the scraps that the Bush campaign calculatedly threw at them, scraps the campaign knew full well would distract the hapless pseudo-journalists from the reality in Iraq. The public, knowing only what they hear on television and, to a much lesser extent, what they read in the newspapers, is only vaguely aware that things aren't going so well in Iraq. But they hear "Najaf" and "Imam Ali shrine" and "al Sadr" and "Iraqis killed." They don't hear, "Americans are dying and it doesn't look like it will stop anytime soon."
We are not reminded - so we are not aware, for our attention spans are short and our memories shorter - that every day their fellow Americans are dying at a steady pace. The numbers are not put up on the screen, the tally curtailed at 800 on June 28, the day when Americans in Iraq magically stopped dying in the eyes of the media. Certainly, each day's two or three or five dead Marines or soldiers is dutifully reported, thrown in with a "Meanwhile, in Iraq, four Marines died in heavy fighting blah blah blah - but now back to this group of trained monkeys and their organ grinder, and how is their rabies-infected siege on that other guy in the suit going?"
971 Americans have died in Iraq. Many more have died in Afghanistan. Oh, and that 971 number? It doesn't include the Americans who died after leaving Iraq from injuries too severe from which to recover - or suicide, which is happening at an impressive clip.
So, media, you feast on the junk food your evil stepdaddy gave you to distract from the meal he somehow convinced you was bad for you and bad for America... and the maggots come in droves, quietly eating the evidence. Eventually you'll turn in desperation to the last vestiges of rotting meat and wonder why you didn't see it before.
by Maryscott OConnor, Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 11:15:43 AM EDT
If the Election were held today:Strong Kerry States:
CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA: 195
Leaning Kerry States:
MI, MN, NH, PA: 52
TOTAL KERRY ELECTORAL VOTES: 247
Strong Bush States
AK, AL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA,MS, MT, ND, NE, OK, SC, SD, TX, UT, WY: 142
Leaning Bush States
TOTAL BUSH ELECTORAL VOTES: 157
AR, AZ, CO, FL, IA, MO, NV, OH, TN, VA, WI, WV: 134
The following is pure speculation (I have given Bush a lot more leeway here than I think is warranted -- namely, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Virginina are in a deadlock and I seriously doubt they'll all break for Bush. But I'm being conservative):
Undecideds Leaning Kerry
AR, OH, TN, WI, WV 52
Undecideds Leaning Bush
AZ, CO, FL, IA, MO, NV, VA 82
KERRY TOTAL (w/speculatory undecideds): 298
BUSH TOTAL (w/speculatory undecideds): 239p.s. Don't sue me if the math is off by a bit; I am officially retarded when it comes to math, so I think I deserve credit for even attempting to post stuff like this. I'm more the polemic type, but that doesn't seem to have much of a place here. I'll save my vitriolic rants for Daily Kos...
by Maryscott OConnor, Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 07:13:05 AM EDT
Poll: Campaigns Must Maintain Intensity
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Voters are so deadlocked on their choice for president that the campaigns will need to focus on keeping the intensity of support high and turning them out on Election Day, according to pollsters who conducted a bipartisan survey.
The overall race between Democrat John Kerry and President Bush, a Republican, remains deadlocked.
Kerry showed little movement in the head-to-head matchup with Bush after the Democratic National Convention last month in Boston, gaining slightly in some polls. A new Los Angeles Times poll on Thursday gave Bush the edge.
But Kerry has solidified support among key groups, like blacks and union voters, according to the bipartisan Battleground Poll, and is now running even with the incumbent on strength of support. [emphasis added]
That poll found that 84 percent of voters say they have made a definite choice for president, compared with 64 percent who said that at a comparable time in the late summer of 2000.
As remarked upon by many (including the inimitable Chris Bowers), the true test is in the battleground states, where Kerry leads Bush in 11 of 21 states and is tied with Bush in another. Still, it's a virtual tie, poll-wise.
Of course, contrary to many, I don't believe in polls this year. Liberals, moderates and true conservatives are motivated and energized by their antipathy toward Bush, and I believe the voter turnout will be high and in Kerry's favour. So, in contrast to the "statistical dead heat" meme, I will say now what I've been saying since Iowa: Kerry will win 55% of the popular vote and an electoral landslide.
by Maryscott OConnor, Wed Aug 25, 2004 at 08:55:57 AM EDT
"Yesterday, the Schlesinger panel released their report which found that much of the responsibility for setting the conditions for the abuse at Abu Ghraib can be attributed to failures at highest levels of our government. Today the Fay report will be released and will recommend punitive action for those in our military who were directly involved.
"But what is missing from all these reports is accountability from the senior civilian leaders in the Pentagon and in the White House. From the bottom of the chain of command all the way to the top, there needs to be accountability. The Schlesinger report makes clear that Secretary Rumsfeld was responsible for setting a climate where these types of abuses could occur.
"By failing to plan to win the peace, by failing to make sure our troops received the proper training, equipment, reinforcement and command guidance, and by failing to take corrective actions once all of this became apparent, Secretary Rumsfeld did not demonstrate the leadership required from a Secretary of Defense.
"That is why today I am calling on Secretary Rumsfeld to resign effective immediately. In addition, I call on the President to appoint an independent investigation to review the entire decision making process that led to these abuses and provide a comprehensive set of reforms so that we can ensure that this never happens again.
"As Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here." The time has come for our Commander in Chief to take charge."
Now, if Rumsfeld resigns, I will eat a hat department. But this is exactly the correct tack to take for Kerry. The absurd incompetence of Bush's Pentagon has been fully examined by experts from the right and the left; the war in Iraq in my opinion the illegal and immoral war, but that's another story) has been prosecuted badly from start to finish. The first mistake, of course, was going to war in the first place. But the litany of errors is too numerous to contemplate in a paragraph. In a nutshell, Rumsfeld ignored the experts (including Colin Powell and the State Department), had no post-war plans and has no discernible exit strategy. One has only to look at the hourly reports from Najaf to note that this has become (if it wasn't always) a quagmire with no foreseeable end.
I'll let someone better than I spell it out:
Keep in mind, the following excerpts are from an article written on December 17, 2003 -- still more compound errors emerged from Rumsfeld's hapless incompetence.
by Joe Galloway, senior military correspondent for Knight-Ridder
...Secretary of State Colin Powell was the only top official in the Bush administration who thought there was a need for postwar planning and postwar action. Powell's people prepared a detailed study of what might be needed after the war was. They wrote a plan thick as a big city phone book.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his key aides, however, ordered the director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid (ORHA), Lt. Gen. (retired) Jay Garner, to ignore State's report and recommendations - and also told him he was forbidden to hire 32 of the best experts on Iraq.
Rumsfeld and Co. believed what they were told by the Iraqi exiles led by Ahmed Chalabi: There was no need for postwar planning because the Iraqi army would surrender in place, be sanitized of the worst of Saddam's butchers and then be put to work on America's behalf. Security wouldn't be a problem in any case, they said, because the Iraqi people would shower the invaders with rose petals.
With the wrong idea of what was needed, they prepared for a massive humanitarian relief effort to feed thousands of refugees who never materialized. Without adequate staff, without even a secure communication link, Garner and ORHA floundered.
Exit Garner. Enter Ambassador Paul Bremer and the newly christened Coalition Provisional Authority, still firmly under Rumsfeld's thumb. Only now did they administration begin to organize for reconstruction and nation-building.
Eight months were lost while the original mistakes were compounded. One of Bremer's first actions was to dissolve the Iraqi army, offering no hope to a bunch of newly unemployed soldiers, armed, trained and angry.
An Iraqi Governing Council was installed without sufficient representation of the Sunni Arab minority, a quarter of Iraq's 24 million people. The false impression that the Sunni members of Saddam's Baath Party would be purged from public life down to the least member took hold because the CPA's strategic communications plan to communicate with the Iraqi people was broken. It remains broken.
Meantime, the CPA took on administrators and officials who serve only 90 days in Iraq before rotating home, severely limiting their ability to make even a small difference in a situation that cries out for a big difference. It must be noted that the civilians are pulling three-month tours while American soldiers do a year.
The CPA and Bremer, hunkered down in Saddam's main marble palace and isolated behind the heavily fortified and guarded Green Zone, walled off from those they would govern and help, report only to the Department of Defense - at Rumsfeld's insistence. Though they work for DOD and Rumsfeld, they take an arm's-length attitude toward the American troops and commanders in Iraq.
The CPA, which has billions in reconstruction aid, has little or no ability to identify and fund vital reconstruction projects in the insecure areas of the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army units occupying those dangerous places are without the money to fund local and regional projects that might offer hope to the locals and some reason not to take up the gun.
While auditors and inspectors general and congressional committees pick away at the smell of scandal in all the outsourced contracts - cost-plus, of course - for supplying wildly overpriced gasoline and kerosene and for building and running all those Army facilities, Iraqis grow angrier as they wait in lines five miles long and two cars wide for a chance to buy a tank of gasoline.
by Maryscott OConnor, Tue Aug 24, 2004 at 08:02:21 PM EDT
I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen even a small portion of an anti-Bush ad played on any of the news networks, and not once have I seen any of the content of those ads analysed even briefly by the pundits. Contrast that with the cacophony of media coverage and analysis of the Swift Boat Veterans's two ads and it becomes plain that the cries of being "outspent" are hollow, indeed.
Sometimes it really does seem that there is a widespread conspiracy in the so-called liberal media to give heavily weighted coverage to the ads that criticize Kerry and virtually ignore the ads that criticize Bush. Perhaps not outright collusion with the corporate powers that be; perhaps it's merely a case of the rich and powerful in the media slanting their coverage unconsciously toward the candidate who best represents their financial interests. In better moments, I consider the possibility that the media, wary of being labeled "biased," bends over backward to counteract that charge - and in so doing presents an unintended but still egregiously obvious bias in the other direction.
What I would like to see is a little more balance in the coverage of the 527 ads. I doubt it will happen, because the charges leveled against Bush in those MoveOn.org ads are factually accurate and not at all as glamorous or sexy as the baseless and blatantly false charges of "lying" and hints of cowardice thrown at Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans. Still, if what the media is attempting is a portrayal of themselves as "fair and balanced," it would behoove them to put those anti-Bush ads on the air with the frequency and attention paid that they have thus far given the anti-Kerry ads.