June 18, 2005

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 1, Part III

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 1, Part III:

Theft of the Election
Complicity of the Corporatist News Media
The War in Iraq is Worse than Immoral or Illegal, It is Stupid

Theft of the 2004 Election

Gore Vidal, Something Rotten in Ohio, 6/9/05, The Nation: One of the most useful members of the House—currently the most useful—is John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who, in his capacity as ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, led the committee’s Democratic Congressmen and their staffers into the heart of the American heartland, the Western Reserve; specifically, into the not-so-red state of Ohio, once known as “the mother of Presidents.”
He had come to answer the question that the minority of Americans who care about the Republic have been asking since November 2004: “What went wrong in Ohio?” He is too modest to note the difficulties he must have undergone even to assemble this team in the face of the triumphalist Republican Congressional majority, not to mention the unlikely heir to himself, George W. Bush, whose original selection by the Supreme Court brought forth many reports on what went wrong in Florida in 2000.
These led to an apology from Associate Justice John Paul Stevens for the behavior of the 5-to-4 majority of the Court in the matter of Bush v. Gore. Loser Bush then brought on undeclared wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the greatest deficits in our history and the revelations that the policies of an Administration that—much as Count Dracula fled cloves of garlic—flees all accountability were responsible for the murder and torture of captive men, between 70 percent and 90 percent of whom, by the Pentagon’s estimate, had been swept up at random, earning us the hatred of a billion Muslims and the disgust of what is called the civilized world.
Asked to predict who would win in ’04, I said that, again, Bush would lose, but I was confident that in the four years between 2000 and 2004 creative propaganda and the fixing of election officials might very well be so perfected as to insure an official victory for Mr. Bush. As Representative Conyers’s report, Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio (www.house.gov/conyers), shows in great detail, the swing state of Ohio was carefully set up to deliver an apparent victory for Bush even though Kerry appears to have been the popular winner as well as the valedictorian-that-never-was of the Electoral College.
I urge would-be reformers of our politics as well as of such anachronisms as the Electoral College to read Conyers’s valuable guide on how to steal an election once you have in place the supervisor of the state’s electoral process: In this case, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who orchestrated a famous victory for those who hate democracy (a permanent but passionate minority). The Conyers Report states categorically, “With regard to our factual findings, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.” In other words, the Florida 2000 scenario redux, when the chair for Bush/Cheney was also the Secretary of State. Lesson? Always plan ahead for at least four more years.
It is well-known in the United States of Amnesia that not only did Ohio have a considerable number of first-time voters but that Blackwell and his gang, through “the misallocation of voting machines, led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters.”
For the past few years many of us have been warning about the electronic voting machines, first publicized on the Internet by investigator Bev Harris, for which she was much reviled by the officers of such companies as Diebold, Sequoia, Es & S, Triad; this last voting computer company “has essentially admitted that it engaged in a course of behavior during the recount in numerous counties to provide ‘cheat sheets’ to those counting the ballots. The cheat sheets informed election officials how many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand count mandated by state law.”
Yet despite all this manpower and money power, exit polls showed that Kerry would win Ohio…
Needless to say, this report was ignored when the Electoral College produced its unexamined tally of the votes state by state. Needless to say, no joint committee of the two houses of Congress was convened to consider the various crimes committed and to find ways and means to avoid their repetition in 2008, should we be allowed to hold an election once we have unilaterally, yet again, engaged in a war—this time with Iran. Anyway, thanks to Conyers, the writing is now high up there on the wall for us all to see clearly: “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” Students of the Good Book will know what these words of God meant to Belshazzar and his cronies in old Babylon.

Bob Fitrakis, Deep Throats and Stolen Votes, Columbia Free Press, 6/3/05: Ironically this week, Mark Felt, former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, revealed that he was Watergate’s “Deep Throat” and perhaps the most famous whistle-blower in our nation’s history, but the embattled Deputy Director of the Hocking County Board of Elections (BOE) Sherole Eaton, Ohio’s most well-known whistle-blower, may be fired for courageous attempt to expose alleged election tampering.
Eaton suggests that there are many potential Deep Throats throughout the Buckeye State: “…There are staff on other boards that would not come forward with things, and they have shared things with me. They were afraid they’d lose their jobs,” she told the Free Press.
The Executive Committee of the Hocking County Democratic Party met behind closed doors at a Logan, Ohio senior center on Thursday, May 26 to discuss the forced resignation of Eaton by the Hocking County BOE. Sources within the Democratic Party told the Free Press that a majority of the Executive Committee members were backers of Eaton and confronted Democratic BOE members Gerald Robinette and Susan Hughes who had voted to fire Eaton.
Eaton made national news during the Ohio presidential recount when she swore in an affidavit that Michael Barbarian, a Triad technician, had removed a hard drive from the BOE’s main vote tabulator and replaced it with another. She further alleged that Barbarian offered a “cheat sheet” so that the computer tally would match a small random hand count of votes. Under Ohio law, if 3% of the votes match the certified total, the remaining 97% of the votes do not have to be hand recounted.

Complicity of the Corporatist News Media

Bill McConnell, Media Soft on Bush, Says Conyers, Broadcasting & Cable, 6/3/05: Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, says big media, especially cable news channels, are giving the Bush Administration a free pass by focusing on celebrity news and other "trivial matter" rather than examining White House policies.
Conyers based his assertion on a new survey of cable news treatment of important or high-profile stories by the Congressional Research Service, which gathers data at lawmakers' request to help them write bills or prepare for hearings. Conyers used the CRS sampling to charge that cable news outlets gave big play to some inconsequential stories while largely ignoring a lot of news casting Bush Administration policies in a negative light.
For instance, according to the study, April 28 revelations of a British government memo indicating intelligence services had concluded prior to the start of the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction were ignored by CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports and Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olberman and Fox's Big Story. Days later, those same shows were leading or devoting a lot of time to the runaway bride saga.

BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL, Bushevik Mafia and the Cowering Media: It's simply a fantasy of pro-democracy advocates to believe that decency and patriotism will triumph over the demagogues and thugs of the Republican Party. The parties are playing by two different sets of rules, and the mob has won out over Constitutional process.
Which brings us to the issues of "Rathergate" and "Koran Flushgate." The "disputed" stories by both CBS and Newsweek were virtually entirely accurate in terms of substance. If we look at "Koran Flushgate," for example, this past weekend's revelations confirm that whether our soldiers urinated on a Koran or flushed it down the toilet is a distinction without a difference…
But, remember, the purpose of "Rathergate" and "Koran Flushgate" was to discombobulate and intimidate the media into not printing or televising anything overtly critical of the Bush regime. Rove cleverly knows how to use the media to cannibalize itself. All he has to do is toss them some red herring and they are off like jackals, devouring each other, while the crimes of the White House go unnoticed and unreported. Furthermore, reporters, editors and publishers become even MORE intimidated about printing or airing a story critical of the Bush Administration.
It is a technique worthy of the mob reigning supreme over the modern technological media, in combination with the fear that the media barons have of offending their corporate benefactors in the White House, Republican Congress and GOP judiciary.
The Mainstream Media seems to have abandoned all common sense.
Newsweek didn't cause any riots; the Christian Crusade against the "Infidel" led by Bush is what caused the riots. The record of humiliating, brutalizing, torturing and killing Muslims is as clear as the barbaric photos that came out of Abu Ghraib (and there are others, apparently even more malicious, that the Bush Administration won't release to the public).
The thugs in the White House know how to throw the press into a hysterical fit of irrelevance. But the truth is that Karl Rove could just gently blow and the White House Press Corpse, with the exception of Helen Thomas, would fall over.
The Busheviks don't need to beat up too heavily on the D.C. press. Most of them just want to transcribe the latest propaganda pronouncement and get to lunch.
The White House is saving the domestic mob enforcers for the rest of us.

The War in Iraq is Worse than Immoral or Illegal, It is Stupid, Insanely Stupid

Michael Smith, Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse,’ Times of London, 6/12/05: MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action…

www.juancole.com, The Zarqawi Myth, 6/5/05: Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (actually Ahmad al-Khalayleh of Zarqa) has been elevated by the Bush administration to an almost mythic position as the fomenter of much of the violence in Iraq. It isn't true. Most of the violence in Iraq is being undertaken by Baathists or Iraqi nationalists trying to drive the US out.
I haven't commented much about the alleged activities of Zarqawi, mostly reported from anonymous and easily manipulated web sites. He was said to have had a meeting with lieutenants, maybe in Syria, maybe in Anbar. He was said to be at Ramadi. Ramadi was apparently locked down by the US military as a result. He was said to be wounded at Ramadi. Now some sites are saying he is dead. Those that maintain that he is still alive argue over he should "step down" in favor someone else to head up "Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia."
It turns out that the "meeting in Damascus" scenario is probably just propaganda. The Baath Party in Syria has a deep fear of Sunni fundamentalists. He is an unlikely ally for them.
I don't trust those jihadi web sites. I think someone is jerking the US press around, and it could be anybody, including USG.
It doesn't matter, anyway. We historians don't believe in the great man theory, unlike the Bush administration. Zarqawi leads a social movement of several hundred persons, if he exists at all. If he is killed, the social movement will just go on.

John Nichols, State Dems Should Push Iraq Pullout, Capital Times, 6/7/05: When Wisconsin Democrats gather for their state convention in Oshkosh this weekend, they should join the Democratic parties of the states of California, Massachusetts and New Mexico in officially calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
The movement by state parties to pass "bring the troops home" resolutions, which has been spearheaded by the Progressive Democrats of America organization, is an important component of the burgeoning campaign to prevent the loss of more lives in the Iraqi quagmire. While it is true that a growing number of Republicans have come out against the war, it remains essential that Democrats in Congress give voice to the sentiment of the 57 percent of Americans who, according to last month's CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, no longer believe the war is worth the human and economic toll it has imposed on the United States.
Why does it matter for state Democratic parties to pass anti-war resolutions?
Democrats at the federal level need to feel pressure from the grass roots…
Borrowing from the resolutions already enacted by the state parties of California, Massachusetts and New Mexico, Wisconsin Democrats ought to vote this weekend for a resolution that simply states:
WHEREAS: The Bush administration, using false intelligence estimates, misled the country into an illegal, unnecessary and unwise invasion and occupation of Iraq, against a country that had neither attacked nor posed an immediate threat to the United States, thus jeopardizing our national security; and
WHEREAS: As a result of that action, more than 1,650 American troops have been killed and more than 12,500 other brave Americans have been maimed or injured, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, including many innocent civilians, have also lost their lives, been injured, and seen their property and country's infrastructure destroyed; and
WHEREAS: The invasion and occupation have created a severe burden on our economy, stretched the capacity of our armed forces including Reserve and National Guard troops who are serving unexpectedly long and difficult tours in Iraq, and continues to cause deep concern at home and abroad about the policies and intentions of the United States to the point where the United States is widely regarded with suspicion, hostility and distrust, and elections in Iraq confirmed that Iraqis wish the United States to withdraw
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Wisconsin Democratic Party calls for termination of the occupation at the earliest possible time with the withdrawal of American troops, coupled with the creation of an international body that can assist the Iraqi people in freely and peacefully determining their own future, and that we participate in multi-lateral reconstruction.

Daniel Ellsberg, The Courage to Talk Withdrawal, www.antiwar.com, 6/9/05: The lie, in the case of Nixon, and earlier Lyndon Johnson, was that our presence in Vietnam was seen by our own leaders as temporary; as aimed at an eventual victory that would lead to an eventual end of American presence there. Actually, that was never, ever the prediction put forward by the intelligence agencies or the civilian advisers, of whom I was one in 1964 and 1965…
I believe it will be much harder and longer to get out of Iraq. There was no oil in Vietnam. Our need for bases in that area was not what we perceive our need for bases in the Middle East to be. Vietnam was not next to a highly influential ally of the United States, like Israel, with great influence on our policy that demands our continued presence in that area.
I do not foresee that we will be getting out of Iraq immediately, soon, or for a very long time. In fact, it is hard for me to see when that will be. When will we leave the oil of the Middle East and the oil of Iraq to the control of people who are not our collaborators, people who are not determined to be friendly to Israel and unfriendly to Iran, another Shia state? When do we leave it to those people? It will be a long time, frankly, under Democrats or Republicans.
That does not mean it is too soon for us to be talking about why we should be out; why it is a good policy for us to be out. That's why I am so happy with Rep. Lynn Woolsey's (D-Calif.) bill proposing a withdrawal strategy. She's made a whole succession of excellent moves under this administration. That bill is very, very important.
We ought to be realistic here because it's not going to get a majority in Congress any time soon or even in the foreseeable future. Yet I believe it's essential if we are ever to get out and to avoid other wars in Iran and elsewhere, to be seeing clearly now that it is false to say that it is better for the United States and better for Iraqis for us to be there than to be out…
Our administration says our duty is to stay there, that we owe them our presence, which is false. We owe them a lot in the way of money and reconstruction but not our presence. It only oppresses them, really.
People who call for getting out now will be called defeatists, appeasers, losers, weaklings, or cowards. They won't be called pro-Communist now, but they will be called pro-terrorism, pro-Osama bin Laden, which is ironic because as was foreseen by such administration experts as Richard Clarke, in the government, the occupation of Iraq day by day strengthens the forces of al-Qaeda; it's the opposite of what's being said now.
To get out, they'll say you're for terrorism, you're for defeat.
I want to say this as an analogy toward Vietnam. We can't move toward what we should do, which is getting out as soon as we can. You can't move in that direction without being willing to be charged with calling for defeat and failure and weakness and cowardice. And that just rules it out for most people.
I would say that many, I could say thousands, but it's really hundreds of thousands, and when we include the Vietnamese, millions, have died in the last century because American politicians were unwilling to be called names. They were unwilling to face, however invalid, however ridiculous, the charge that they were weak, unmanly, cowardly, defeatist, losers, and whatnot…
We were lied into Iraq the same way we were lied into Vietnam, even though the war initially, the blitzkrieg phase, looked very different. The war is now looking very similar. Kennedy and Byrd, two senators who were still there who had voted for the Tonkin Gulf resolution, pleading with their fellow senators, both said "I am ashamed of what I did almost 40 years ago. Don't live with that for the rest of your lives." Most of them will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.
That is the kind of courage that is needed. The courage to say that we need to get out. The courage to speak the truth. That will save us and the Iraqis from the occupation.

Posted by richard at June 18, 2005 10:52 AM