Friday, December 16, 2005

Above the law

Our latest belief to be revealed as a delusion is the notion that we live in nation governed by the rule of law. As we all know now, Bush authorized secret, illegal spying on citizens following 9/11. Is anyone surprised at this? Some Senators act as if they are shocked by this but we all know that they know that the Bush war criminals have been doing whatever they damn well please and to hell with law all along.

We also all know in our heart of hearts that the “agreement” between Bush and McCain about rules governing treatment of prisoners is not worth a damn. It too is a charade and Bush and Cheney will allow and encourage torture of whomever whenever it pleases them. That’s what fascists do. They are above the law. Laws, treaties and agreements exist only to advance an agenda, placate the public and provide the complicit media with raw material to build cover.

McCain’s part in the drama is aimed solely at bolstering his presidential gambit, something to conceal the actual nonsense behind his media generated myth of tough guy straight shooter who acts on principle. McCain is only a couple of shades less slimy than Bush and the two together generated as slippery a slime fest as you could find. You can be sure those guys strung up, stretched out, toes barely touching the floor are not going to be spared one single water board session by this agreement. It means nothing.

Since the courts, from the Supremes on down, are being packed with right wing maniacs, confidence that we live in a country that delivers fair due process for everyone is about as valid as belief in the tooth fairy.

Here are some links to check out. Domestic Spying Criminal Penalties and Civil Liability and Did Bush Sell Us a Bill of Goods on Torture?

Update: And be sure to check out these Atrios Posts at Eschaton: This one and this one.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Vote fraud 2004

Here's an article on vote fraud from the same (Project Censored) site linked in the torture post below.

No Paper Trail Left Behind: the Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election*

The article includes a handy list anomalies favoring Bush. Here's the last two:

15) The National Election Pool’s exit polls13 were so far off that since their inception twenty years ago, they have never been this wrong, more wrong than statistical probability indicates is possible.

16) In every single instance where exit polls were wrong the discrepancy favored Bush, even though statistical probability tells us that any survey errors should show up in both directions. Half a century of polling and centuries of mathematics must be wrong.

These paragraphs come from the second half of the article
...An obvious question here is: why haven’t the Democrats been more vigorous in their objections to this fraud? The fact that they haven’t objected more (with a few notable individual exceptions) has been taken by some as definitive evidence that no fraud must have happened because the Democrats have the most to gain from objecting. In part the answer to this puzzle is that the Democrats don’t fully understand what has hit them. ...

...The Democrats’ meek acceptance of other races’ extremely peculiar outcomes prior to the 2004 elections illustrates this point further. As a result of the 2000 Florida debacle, Congress passed the “Help America Vote” Act in October 2002. While this act introduced a number of reasonable reforms, it also resulted in the widespread introduction of paperless electronic voting machines. This meant that there was no way to determine if the votes recorded by these computers were accurate and tamper-free. The GOP majority has blocked efforts subsequently by a few Democratic Congresspeople, led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, to rectify this and ensure a paper ballot....

...The delicious irony for the GOP is that the Help America Vote Act, precipitated by their theft of the Florida 2000 presidential vote, made GOP theft of elections as in the preceding examples easy and unverifiable except through recourse to indirect analysis such as pre-election polls and exit polls.38 This is the political equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Or, more precisely: stealing elections, running the country, and aggressively, arrogantly and falsely claiming that “the people” support it.

Link to all of the above where there is much, much more.

Oppose Torture, all the time, everywhere

No matter how finely the Bush regime splits the hairs to cover their criminal activities, torture is torture. We know what it is and we know our government is doing it.

It is our duty to oppose torture, all the time, everywhere.

Here’s an article I saw first in my local newspaper, The Pocono Record, and found on line by googling “Project Censorsed.”

Hard Evidence of US Torturing Prisoners to Death Ignored by Corporate Media
By Peter Phillips

Military autopsy reports provide indisputable proof that detainees are being tortured to death while in US military custody. Yet the US corporate media are covering it with the seriousness of a garage sale for the local Baptist Church.A recent American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) posting of one of forty-four US military autopsy reports reads as follows: "Final Autopsy Report: DOD 003164, (Detainee) Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy revealed bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominately recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah, Iraq."

The ACLU website further reveals how: "a 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was "undetermined" although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death.

Another Iraqi detainee died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated. He was standing, shackled to the top of a doorframe with a gag in his mouth, at the time he died. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries.

So read several of the 44 US military autopsy reports on the ACLU website -evidence of extensive abuse of US detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan 2002 through 2004. Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations."...

For the rest of the article follow the Link

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

License to kill

Hunters shot a new state record 4,123 black bears in the state's recently concluded bear season, according to the preliminary reports by the Pennsylvania Game Commission

A 733 pound male was the largest bear killed in Pennsylvania.

New Jersey Bear Hunt Ends With 280 Kills

About 280 bears were killed in New Jersey's six-day hunt aimed at thinning out the burgeoning population, which ended with more than 100 protesters waiting for hunters to emerge from the woods with their kills.

The hunt ended shortly after dusk Saturday with fewer bears killed than the 328 bagged in 2003, according to preliminary figures.

Black bears, once near extinction in the state, are now a common sight, menacing people, scampering through yards and rummaging in trash.

I know reasonable resolution of the conflict between people and wild animals is a complicated issue, but there ought to be a better way than letting people pay for the joy of killing something. Bears come by here regularly. They pass through, going about bear business and agitating the dogs. Once, a bear tore a board off the side of our house. Now and then I’ve had to get up in the night to drag a barking dog out from under a treed bear. But mostly, we stay out of each other’s way.

It would give me no pleasure to kill a bear. 40 years ago I lost the ability to understand killing for pleasure and it still amazes me to see so many that think of it as fun. The way I see it, killing animals to make more room for people ought to be generally considered an odious task, like hauling trash or digging graves, and should require high pay to get someone to do it. But then there’s a huge amount of industry, from boots to guns, dedicated to feeding the illusion of wilderness for pretend woodsman. Truth is, there is no wilderness, only parks; no woodsmen, only dressed up folks from the suburbs; no wild animals, only semi tame deer eating the shrubs and bears looking for a box of donuts.

Election opiate

We don’t stand a chance of getting rid of this neo fascist regime because we still think the president is chosen by an election. This belief in elections is delusional, an opiate the plutocrats, including their tools in the mainstream media, use to tranquilize voters into a malleable wad.

Both election 2000 and 2004 were stolen and it is likely key congressional elections in 2006 will be stolen as well. A right wing coup took place in 2000 and since then the right has tweaked its election fraud engine to near perfection. Until we address that reality we are simple participants in a scripted exercise in make believe that provides an illusion of legitimacy to those who remain in power.

For more, visit The Sideshow here and here

From The Sideshow

Understand that this problem extends right into the liberal blogosphere. At the Daily Kos, it's an official policy that there was no fraud in the ballot-count and you pretty much can't even talk about whether the 2004 election was stolen. DKos is a terrific site for interested Democratic activists (and other aficionados of blogs), but they just won't entertain the possibility that the election was stolen, despite the copious evidence. It's one thing to say that it probably wasn't, but frankly it defies sanity to refuse to consider the possibility, and in this Bai and Kos are in harmony - they'd rather not know.

and visit The Huffington Post here for an interview with Mark Crispin Miller.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Press corpse

Every lefty knows the mainstream media has been largely absorbed into the reigning class of the plutocracy. But it never hurts to be reminded of just how diligently they labor to keep the wad of American voters comfortably deluded and how corrupt they have become.

Here’s a quote from Digby:

The DC press corps has no idea how they look to the rest of the country after more than a decade of running with GOP trumped up scandals, pimping for impeachment, trivializing the effects of an unorthodox presidential election in 2000, and then saluting smartly and following Dick Cheney over the cliff on Iraq. We liberals never thought of the press as particularly partisan. We thought of it as competent or incompetent. But for a lot of reasons, for the last 15 years the DC press corps have far too often aligned themselves with a manipulative GOP political establishment to the point where it's been hard to see where one ends and the other begins. It's not a matter of political preference. It's insiderism. And when you become an insider in a corrupt system, for money, access, fame, fun whatever ... you become corrupt yourself.

Via Atrios