The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What me worry?

Los Angeles Independent Media Center

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Original article is at http://la.indymedia.org/news/2004/11/118943.php

Pictures are available at the article web site address above.

Despite the one-day notice, about 400-500 people turned out to protest the day after the start of the second U.S. attack on the people of Fallujah. Mysteriously, two tanks arrived and were immediately surrounded by chanting demonstrators.


This story is the same as for part 1:

Despite the one-day notice, about 400-500 people came to the Westwood Federal Building on Tuesday night to protest the start of the second U.S. attack on the people of Fallujah, which had been officially launched on the previous day. To my own recollection, this is a record number for a demonstration called on such short notice.

As usual for such short-notice demonstrations at this location, most of the group stood on the sidewalk along Wilshire Blvd. waving signs and shouting to oncoming commuters in cars and buses, who frequently expressed their support by shouting and blowing their horns, and (much, much less frequently) expressed opposition. Smaller groups were stationed on each of the other three corners of the Wilshire and Veteran intersection, and as the lights changed some of these groups would parade across the intersection, making themselves still more visible to traffic.

About 7:30pm, two tanks barreled past going East on Wilshire, rounded the corner onto Veteran going South, and disappeared.

About ten or fifteen minutes later, two tanks (apparently the same ones) appeared again going East on Wilshire and stopped for the light there. Demonstrators immediately stepped in front of the lead tank, blocking its path, and started to chant "U.S. Out!" at the soldiers, whose heads and torsos were clearly visible and who evidently exchanged a few words with protestors.

The soldiers seemed amused and not really unfriendly. Unfortunately, a few of our protestors chanted "murderers!" at the soldiers, although in general I think we were more sophisticated than that, realizing that many soldiers are victims themselves who were recruited through propaganda, guile, and economic incentives that the very poor can find it difficult to refuse.

I have no idea why they were there, and neither did anyone else that I asked.

Both tanks were surrounded on three sides by protestors for about three or four minutes until the LAPD showed up and placed themselves between tanks and protestors, and cleared the protestors who were blocking the front tank out of the road. I did not witness any brutality as this occurred, nor am I aware of any arrests having been made.

The tanks then proceeded to turn right onto Veteran and disappeared from view.

Our protest continued following this incident. If sending tanks driving by was meant to intimidate us, it definitely did not succeed, and in fact had the opposite effect.

Thus, we citizens of conscience in Los Angeles have joined people around the world in expressing our public opposition to a U.S. policy of dealing death and mayhem to the citizens of Iraq in general and to those of Fallujah in particular.

Author: Ich Bin Ein Fallujan

Free Press: Not good for Progressive image to compare but there is a similarity

Bob Fitrakis

Gott mit uns: On Bush and Hitler’s rhetoric
September 1, 2004

President Bush told Texas evangelist James Robinson that “I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen . . . I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”

With 49.3% of New York City residents in a recent Zogby poll believing that some people in our government knew of the 911 attack in advance and allowed it to happen, the President as right-wing evangelical prophet is under siege in his Madison Square Garden bunker. Convention watchers should take careful note of the theocratic nationalist rhetoric at the Republican convention this week.

When was the last time a Western nation had a leader so obsessed with God and claiming God was on our side?

If you answered Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, you’re correct. Nothing can be more misleading than to categorize Hitler as a barbaric pagan or Godless totalitarian, like Stalin.

Both Bush and Hitler believe that they were chosen by God to lead their nations. With Hitler boldly proclaiming, before launching his doctrine of preventive war against all of Europe, that “I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany.”

“I follow the path assigned to me by Providence with the instinctive sureness of a sleepwalker,” Hitler said.

Hitler stated in February 1940, “But there is something else I believe, and that is that there is a God. . . . And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years.” After the Iraqi invasion, Palestinian leaders reported that Bush told them, “God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did . . . .” Bush spin doctors claimed that it was merely bad translation.

Yet, Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post Editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, reported that Bush told him virtually the same thing prior to the attack on Iraq. When Woodward asked him if he has consulted his father, the 41st President of the United States before ordering the invasion of Iraq, Bush commented that "He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength; there is a higher father that I appeal to." The obvious implication is that Bush the Younger believes he is on a mission from God and a Holy Crusade in the Middle East.

Neither the similarity between Hitler and Bush’s religious rhetoric nor the fact that the current President’s grandfather was called “Hitler’s Angel” by the New York Tribune for his financing of the Fuher’s rise to power is lost on Europeans.

Pat Robertson called Bush “a prophet” and Ralph Reed claimed, after the 9/11 attack, God picked the President because “he knew George Bush had the ability to lead in this compelling way.” Hitler told the German people in March 1936, “Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell, fell as scarcely any other people heretofore. In this deep misery we again learn to pray. . . . The mercy of the Lord slowly returns to us again. And in this hour we sink to our knees and beseech our almighty God that he may bless us, that He may give us the strength to carry on the struggle for the freedom, the future, the honor, and the peace of our people. So help us God.”

At the beginning of Hitler’s crusade on April 12, 1922, he spelled out his version of the warmongering Jesus: “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.” Randall Balmer in The Nation, noted that “Bush’s God is the eye-for-an-eye God of the Hebrew prophets and the Book of Revelation, the God of vengeance and retribution.”

As Bush has invoked the cross of Jesus to simultaneously attack the Islamic and Arab world, Hitler also saw the value of exalting the cross while waging endless war: “To be sure, our Christian Cross should be the most exalted symbol of the struggle against the Jewish-Marxist-Bolshevik spirit."

Like Bush-ites, Hitler was fond of invoking the Ten Commandments as the foundation of Nazi Germany: “The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there’s no refutation. These precepts correspond to irrefragable needs of the human soul.”

But if you ever wondered where Bush got his idea for so-called “faith-based initiatives” you need only consult Hitler’s January 30, 1939 speech to the Reichstag. The Fuhrer begins, “Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany in the so-called democracy is the charge that the National Socialist State is hostile to religion.”

Hitler goes on to document how much “public monies derived from taxation through the organs of the State have been placed at the disposal of both churches [Protestant and Catholic].” Hitler gave nearly 1.8 billion Reichsmarks between 1933-1938 directly to the Christian churches. In 1938 alone, he bragged that the Nazis gave half a billion Reichsmarks from the national government and an additional 92 million Reichsmarks from the Nazi-controlled German states and parish associations.

Hitler made the intent of his faith-based initiative clear when he noted, “With a tenth of our budget for religion, we would thus have a Church devoted to the State and of unshakable loyalty. . . . the little sects, which receive only a few hundred thousand marks, are devoted to us body and soul.”

Bush’s assertion that “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job” brings to mind God as a dull-witted, cognitively-impaired nationalist unable to utter a simple declarative sentence who spends his time preaching “blessed are the warmongers and profit-makers.”

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Revised and updated October 17, 2004 --
Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press (freepress.org), a political science professor, attorney and co-author with Harvey Wasserman of George W. Bush vs. the Superpower of Peace.



Even the AP did not cover this 6 hour testimony event!

Sat evening, 13th. Just heard an interview with a participant in the following hearing. The hearings lastest approximately 6 hours. The participant was suprised that even the AP did not cover this event.
Some voters waited in line for 4 to 9 hours. What would happen in this area is voters had to wait for even 2 or three hours?


Pro-democracy demonstration and public hearings in Ohio this Saturday Current rating: 1
by JNolish
Email: JNolish (at) bgnet.bgsu.eduError! Hyperlink reference not valid.
Phone: 419-575-2385 12 Nov 2004
Modified: 13 Nov 2004
They might have conceded - but we haven't conceded our right to a free and fair democratic process. Public hearings are convening in Columbus to investigate voting irregularities and voter suppression in Ohio surrounding the 2004 General Election.
THIS IS A NONPARTISAN STATEWIDE CALL TO ACTION. VOTERS AND POLL WORKERS FROM AROUND THE STATE ARE INVITED TO TESTIFY.

Saturday November 13, 2004 - At 10:30 am there will be a demonstration at the State House in Columbus, OH, followed by a march to the New Faith Baptist Church, where public hearings will be held at 12:30 pm (see full hearing info below).

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY!
DEMAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT!
DEMAND ELECTORAL JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Together we stand to share our experiences, march to testimony, and forever move our democracy toward electoral justice for all. We ask your support to:

1: Circulate this message, talk to your organizations, family and friends and plan to attend both events.
2: Plan transportation, car pooling etc.
3: Bring signs, banners, flags, drums, and all necessary materials to advocate your message at our permitted demonstration.

Speakers: To Be Announced.
Location: http://www.statehouse.state.oh.us/maps.cfm
Event Endorsed by: Reach Out Bowling Green.

For more information on the march and rally, contact:
Jeff Nolish: 419-575-2385
JNolish (at) bgnet.bgsu.edu

HEARING TIMES FOR SATURDAY AND MONDAY:

Saturday November 13, 1-4 PM
New Faith Baptist Church
955 Oak Street
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Monday November 15, 6-9 PM,
Auditorium (Meeting Room A)
Courthouse, 373 S. High St.

For more information on the hearings or if you want to testify, contact:
Amy Kaplan
The Ohio League of Pissed Off Voters
614-405-2160
amy (at) indyvoter.org

Endorsed By:

The Ohio Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE-OH), Common Cause Ohio, This Time We're Watching, Driving Votes, International Labor Communications Association, Ohio Election Reform Now, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, WVKO Radio, Columbus League of Pissed Off Voters, Code Pink, Global Exchange, People for the American Way, IPPN, Election Protection Coalition, This Time We're Watching, Driving Votes, Truth Force Training Center, International Labor Communications Association, No Stolen Elections Coalition, Liberty Tree, Reach Out Bowling Green

Here are examples of the types of voter suppression/disenfranchisement that we are hoping to call attention to:

Kerry Won. Greg Palast, Tompaine.com
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/kerry_won_.php

Did Kerry Concede Too Soon? Bob Fitrakis, The Free Press
http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/981

Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair? Institute for Public Accuracy
http://www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR110304.htm

Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster, William Rivers Pitt, Truthout
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/110804A.shtml

None Dare Call it Voter Suppression and Fraud, Bob Fitrakis, Free Press
http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/983


CorpWatch: Kuwait/Halliburton bribe scandal

Kuwait documents allege Halliburton bribe scandal

by David Phinney, Special to CorpwatchNovember 11th, 2004

Tom Crum, Middle East chief for Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) subsidiary, demanded that Kuwaiti Hilton staff get his wife a diamond-encrusted Cartier watch in the middle of the night, according allegations reported by internal United States embassy memos.Meanwhile his senior managers, who have made the seaside villas at the hotel their headquarters for almost two years, were openly soliciting bribes from anyone who wanted to get a share of the multi-billion dollar contracts that the company oversees for the military occupation force in Iraq, the accusations claim.

At the very least, KBR staff are portrayed as arrogant and heavy-handed by the allegations, which largely date from December 2003 and the early months of 2004. At worst, the accusations paint a picture of illegal behavior.

The internal embassy communications also portray Richard Jones, the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, as anxiously pushing the Texas-based company to buy overpriced fuel from a specific company, Altanmia Commercial Marketing Company. Altanmia officials counter that KBR staff were deliberately undermining their bids.

The collection of documents, including e-mails, memos and reports were released to the media by California Representative Henry Waxman, to top ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform. They are only a small part of over 400 internal documents delivered to the committee, which wields oversight of U.S. contracts relating to Iraq."Get off your f&^%ing ass, put my wife in a car, and go get her a watch," Crum is alleged to have told Camille Geha, the sales manager at Khalifa Hilton resort in Kuwait, in early 2004. Aware that the company was spending up to $1.5 million a month at the hotel, Geha is said to have told an unnamed embassy staffer that he had a jewelry store at the Marina Mall opened in the middle of the night to get a new watch.

Wendy Hall, a spokesperson for Halliburton, says her company views the incident differently. Crum's "wife had a watch, valued at $2,600, stolen from the hotel and the hotel replaced it," she wrote in an email to CorpWatch.Allegations and AcknowledgementsRelated allegations made by Altanmia officers in the newly released embassy documents also include:-- KBR officers solicited bribes openly and "that anyone visiting their seaside villas at the Kuwaiti Hilton who offers to provide services will be asked for a bribe."– A senior level Iraqi employee of KBR was fired in August 2003 for complaining to company managers about corruption.– KBR managers conspired to sabotage Altanmia's ability to fulfill a contract so that the agreement could be reassigned to another company willing to pay a bribe.– KBR trucks were being used to "backhaul" stolen crude oil out of Iraq for personal gain.– The wife of a KBR senior executive received a watch valued at well over $20,000 (8,000 Kuwaiti dinars) in appreciation from a real estate company that was receiving rent at twice the market value from KBR for office space. (This allegation overlaps with the story of Tom Crum’s wife but is significantly different, although it may be one incident reported incorrectly by a second source).

Last week Halliburton filed a declaration with the Securities and Exchange Commission stating that the Pentagon would be investigating employees who worked on the Iraq contracts. "The Inspector General's Office may investigate whether these two employees may have solicited and/or accepted payments from these third-party subcontractors while they were employed by us," the company stated. No names have been disclosed.

Also in an internal company memo dated May 13 obtained by CorpWatch, Randy Harl, KBR chairman, advises company employees that "one or two of our former employees may have received ‘kick backs' from a selected contractor," and that government investigators had been informed. The KBR memo further cautions employees to not "discard, shred, delete or dispose" of any documents relating to Altanmia as well as food and logistics contractors Tamimi of Saudi Arabia and La Nouvelle of Kuwait.

Halliburton acknowledged to the Pentagon in December 2003 that two KBR employees had been found to have taken kickbacks in return for awarding a lucrative contract for military support work to a Kuwait company. At the time, KBR returned $6.3 million to the Defense Department following the admission and said the two employees had been fired. No names relating to the matter have been made public.

KBR also apparently discharged employees earlier this year working at Camp Anaconda in Iraq believed to be involved in wrongdoing. In postings on the Web blog called "A Minute Longer - A Soldier's Tale," one former procurement manager, Laszlo Tibold, is accused of awarding a gravel contract at five times the price of a competing offer. Another posting claimed that KBR's contracting department at Camp Anaconda was getting kickbacks. A March 12 posting then announces:"Mr. Tibold has since been fired for his contract writings there at Camp Anaconda, along with some of his buddies. However their contracts still remain and we continue to pay against them." The response is credited to the email address of Randy Harl, chairman of KBR. Harl has not responded to inquiries made about the May 13 memo or the Tibold incident.One subcontractor who claims that KBR owes his company tens of millions of dollars, told CorpWatch that the number of employees that could be referred for investigation "should be more like 30."Asked this week about the allegations of kickbacks to KBR managers, Halliburton spokeswoman responded in a November 9 email: "We are doing everything we can to make sure this particular scenario won't happen again. We will not tolerate such behavior. We are terminating any relationship with the subcontractors."Hall declined to offer details about what contracts have been terminated.

Altanmia AffairOnce again the State department documents shed some light on this matter. On June 29, 2003, following the Iraq invasion, accusations in an internal memo within the U.S. embassy in Kuwait reports KBR managers were attempting to disqualify Altanmia from providing fuel to Iraq because the company's general manager, Waleed Al-Humaidi, refused to pay kickbacks to KBR executives."Al-Humaidi caveats this by requesting that we not address ‘kickback' issues with KBR directly," the memo cautions. "He fears being blacklisted by KBR."The memo further reports that Al-Humaidi believes KBR executives plan to "find a reason" to fault Altanmia for poor performance on an earlier fuel contract, while Altanmia believed it was exceeding KBR's expectations. Any shortcomings were blamed on KBR's failure to obtain tanker trucks and to secure military escorts for the convoys to Baghdad through war torn Iraq. In fact, the memo says, Altanmia believed that KBR was failing to meet contract requirements, which included having racked up more than $23 million ( 7 million Kuwati dinars) in unpaid bills owed to the Kuwait firm. Another embassy memo summarizes a list of allegations made by Altanmia officers who maintained that it was "common knowledge" that "KBR officers are on the take. "Halliburton has repeatedly claimed that they were pressured into doing business with Altnamia. One December 2003 email from Ambassador Jones appears to back up KBR's claims."Please tell KBR to get off their butts and conclude deals with Kuwait NOW!" Jones demanded to an official whose name has been deleted from the documents. "Tell them we want a deal done with Altanmia within 24 hours and don't take any excuses." Jones concludes that if the Coalition Provisional Authority head, Paul Bremer, hears that Halliburton is "dragging its feet," then he "will be livid."At the same time Mary Robertson, a senior contracting officer at the Army Corps of Engineers, protested that Altanmia's cost estimates were too high. "Since the U.S. government is paying for these services, I will not succumb to the political pressures from the [government of Kuwait] or the U.S. embassy to go against my integrity and pay a higher price for fuel than necessary," she wrote.KBR managers say that Altanmia refused to meet competitive pricing or open its books to justify its higher prices for fuel, the State Department documents also reveal. When the Pentagon got the bill from KBR the numbers were indeed high – an average of $2.64 a gallon and as much as $3.06 on occasion. By comparison, the Defense Department's Energy Support Center (ESC) had been doing a similar job supplying fuel at $1.32 a gallon, and SOMO, the local oil company, was doing the same provision for only $0.96 a gallon. The total bill to the taxpayer for 61 million gallons of fuel from Kuwait and about 179 million gallons from Turkey, between May and late October, was $383 million, over $100 million more than what local providers, or even the ESC, would have charged. Hall denies that there were any problems. She says "the facts show that KBR delivered fuel to Iraq at the best value, the best price and the best terms and in ways completely consistent with government procurement policies.""It is important to the company that clients, suppliers and host countries know Halliburton's Code of Business Conduct is expected to be followed in every country in which the company operates," she added.Lawsuits and HearingsMeanwhile several other sub-contractors, who worked in Iraq, are pursuing Halliburton in the courts. On October 15, La Nouvelle filed a lawsuit against KBR in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Virginia with demands of $224 million in unpaid bills for services performed in Iraq and Kuwait.

A separate lawsuit, filed October 26, charges that KBR has refused to pay $20.4 million for food services and other work near the city of Tikrit provided in 2003 by the Kuwait Company for Process Plant Construction & Contracting (KCPC) and the Morris Corporation of Australia for several months after the invasion of Iraq. Allegations of demands for a $3 million kickback during the original 2003 contract negotiations from individuals associated with KBR first surfaced after KBR fired KCPC and Morris because the two companies had fallen behind schedule."They wanted kickbacks of 3 percent to 4 percent, which pushed up the prices because then the subcontractors would add the price of the kickbacks to their costs," an unnamed source told the Sydney Morning Herald, which first reported the story.Halliburton declined comment on the report at the time.Upon release of the new embassy documents, Waxman requested that Congress soon schedule more hearing of the company, which holds more then $10 billion in contracts for work in Iraq to supply U.S. troops and assist in rebuilding the war torn country's oil industry."The implications of these new disclosures should be thoroughly investigated," Waxman said in a November 10 letter to Tom Davis, a Republican Congressman from Virginia, who is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

The documents appear to undermine months of claims by the Bush administration that the Halliburton contracts "were awarded without political interference and without knowledge of allegations of corruption," Waxman said.Hall said that the California congressman is simply flogging old allegations that have already been thoroughly addressed."This appears to be nothing more than a retrospective look at all of the Congressman's letters and news releases during the presidential campaign," she said. "We continue to deliver our mission with great pride. No other company in the world could have acted with such resolve and dedication to accomplish so much in such a short order."

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Kerry Campaign Scrutinizes Ohio


Go to Original
Kerry Campaign Scrutinizes Ohio

By Scott Hiaasen The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Thursday 11 November 2004

Checks provisional ballots, other issues.
Lawyers with John Kerry's presidential campaign are gathering information from Ohio election boards about uncounted ballots and other unresolved issues from last week's election.
Attorneys say they are not trying to challenge the election but are only carrying out Kerry's promise to make sure that all the votes in Ohio are counted. They describe this effort, which began this week, as a "fact-finding mission."
Unofficial totals give President Bush a 136,000-vote advantage over Kerry in Ohio, but the totals won't be certified until early next month.
Dan Hoffheimer, the statewide counsel for the Kerry campaign, said the goal is to identify any voting problems to prevent them in the future - and quell doubts about the legitimacy of the Ohio election being raised on the Internet.
"We're not expecting to change the outcome of the election," Hoffheimer said. "We want to be sure that the public knows what really happened."
The campaign's inquiries come against a backdrop of increasing hysteria among Internet activists who, in chains of e-mails and articles, claim that Ohio's election was so riddled with problems that the outcome may not be legitimate.
For example, a confusing counting method used in Cuyahoga County's election totals wrongly suggests that more than two dozen suburbs had more votes than voters. And a computer glitch in Franklin County added nearly 3,900 phantom votes for Bush in one precinct.
"There were enough problems reported around the state that undermined people's confidence," Hoffheimer said.
The Kerry campaign has compiled a list of more than 30 questions for local election officials, asking about the number of absentee and provisional ballots, any reports of equipment malfunctions on election night, and any ballots that still listed third-party challenger Ralph Nader as a candidate. (Nader was removed from the ballot by Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.)
As of yesterday, the attorneys had not yet contacted the Cuyahoga County's elections director, Michael Vu.
Election officials cannot begin to officially canvass the ballots until Saturday. But in Cuyahoga County, they have begun reviewing provisional ballots to make sure the voters are registered and did not vote more than once.
This review process is being monitored by representatives of both political parties. Mark Griffin, a Democratic lawyer, said he's worried that some provisional ballots - special ballots given to voters who believe they are registered but who don't appear on the voter rolls - may be discarded because poll workers failed to sign the ballot envelope as required.
But election officials said they would count these provisional ballots if the voter's signature matched the one in their records.
About 155,000 provisional ballots were cast in Ohio, including nearly 25,000 in Cuyahoga County. Whether these ballots are counted is a decision left to the local election boards, which are each made up of two Democrats and two Republicans.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: shiaasen@plaind.com

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© Copyright 2004 by TruthOut.org

Legitimate Recount effort in Ohio


Go to Original
A Legitimate Recount Effort in Ohio

By Steven Rosenfeld AlterNet.org
Friday 12 November 2004

An effort led by Common Cause and the Alliance for Democracy is underway in Ohio to conduct a statewide recount.
Efforts to launch an official statewide recount of the Ohio presidential vote are underway. While it's unclear if a recount will result in a Kerry victory, it's likely to highlight many flaws in Ohio elections that may have tilted results toward Republicans and against Democrats.
Common Cause of Ohio and the Alliance for Democracy, a progressive coalition, Thursday announced they were launching a recount campaign for Ohio. Columbus, Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who represents both groups, said both the Green Party and Libertarian Party presidential candidates would seek a recount if the $110,000 filing fee could be raised. "Common Cause and the Alliance for Democracy are not partisan. The purpose of the recount is to verify the honesty of the process," Arnebeck said. "That is in the interest of anyone who would be declared the winner."
A coalition of progressive groups will hold a public hearing on election abuses this Saturday in Columbus calling on the Kerry campaign to pay for the recount. Meanwhile, they have created a Web page to collect donations at the Alliance for Democracy site. The Kerry campaign reportedly was sending lawyers to Ohio to look into election irregularities, but Arnebeck said only the public interest groups were now committed to a recount.
While there have been many accounts of problems associated with the Ohio vote, from reports of 90,000 spoiled ballots, to software glitches resulting in more votes tallied than the number of registered voters, to new voters not being notified where their polling places were, to too few voting machines in Democratic strongholds, the only legal process that could immediately address some of these concerns is a recount.
The recount would be just that: a recounting of all the votes cast. If the results change, meaning more votes are added to Kerry's total – then the official result, what the secretary of state certifies, is changed.
"It's re-certified," Arnebeck said. "If Kerry emerges victorious, he's president." Of course, a certification in Kerry's favor for Ohio won't take away the fact that Bush won the popular vote by 3.5 million votes.
And he clock is ticking on the Ohio process. In coming days, the Ohio secretary of state is expected to announce that the provisional ballots have been counted. A losing candidate for president then has 5 days to request a recount, filing the paperwork and filing fee. That cost is $10 per precinct, which comes to slightly more than $110,000. As of Friday morning, $35,000 had been raised. There is a possibility that not all Ohio counties will finish the provsional ballot count, which would prompt those seeking the recount to pursue other actions, Arnebeck said.
In Florida in 2000, before the Supreme Court interceded in the election outcome, there was no statewide recount conducted. A coalition of newspapers later analyzed the vote, in essence, doing their own recount. They found Al Gore had won. That result was spun by those defending George W. Bush, however, saying that the smaller number of counties where Gore wanted a recount would not have made Gore president.
There is a big difference between this effort and what Bev Harris and Black Box Voting are doing. That group, which is investigating computer voting fraud, is making Freedom of Information Act requests. That does not have the force of law behind it to change election results, unless it is entered as evidence in litigation sparked by a recount. The recount sought by the Ohio groups can revise the official state count.
There are three new areas where votes can come from in Ohio: absentee ballots, provisional ballots, and computer errors. Arnebeck said he has evidence how in one rural county more computer votes were counted than there were registered voters. Arnebeck said that the issue has been referred to the FBI. Arnebeck also said that the provisional ballots are also thought to favor Kerry, adding that this week the Ohio Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was issuing new orders to disqualify provisional ballots if the voter did not enter their dates of birth. That shows how political a supposedly mechanical process already has become.
On the other hand, there are aspects of Ohio's vote that a recount is not likely to resolve. Questions such as what happened to people who did not vote – because they never received notifications after registering by mail, or because of long lines and too few voting machines in their precincts, may not get addressed, as a recount is a formal procedure where local election officials redo the count.
In Franklin County, where Columbus is located, for example, there was a clear pattern of a shortage of voting machines in Democratic inner city precincts, where new registrations skyrocketed, compared to the more middle-class white, GOP-dominated suburbs. Deliberately putting too few machines would violate the national Voting Rights Act. But that's hard to prove - especially because the county's election supervisor has said all the local boards are bipartisan. On the other hand, Ohio activists point out that people with longtime GOP ties supervised the county's election.
Still, there are many things that a recount could yield - apart from the possibility of Kerry victory. There is a tremendous need for a plausible explanation of what actually happened on Election Day in Ohio. Kerry's Wednesday morning concession pre-empted that explanation.
"Many people are saying, why bother to do this? The answer is we have not gathered all the facts," Arnebeck said. "Until you recount the votes, and look at the possibility of a sophisticated computer fix, you cannot draw conclusions. Whatever it costs to properly analyze this is nothing in terms of enabling the country to move forward. They just have to raise the money to officially file the recount request. The case is ready."

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© Copyright 2004 by TruthOut.org

Betsy R. Vasquez - INSIDE THE ELECTION FRAUD BATTLE

[sent to us by Katia M. -- found at The Moderate Independent]

INSIDE THE ELECTION FRAUD BATTLE
Think Kerry Is Not Involved In This Fight? Think Again. Also: Fallujah = Operation Distract From Fixed Election.
by Betsy R. Vasquez

NOVEMBER 10, 2004 – When Senator John Kerry (D-MA) talked about how his policy would be different in Iraq, he kept saying, in effect, ‘It’s the how, stupid.’ He said repeatedly he would fight a “smarter” war.

Flash forward to today. Following the election, there was a problem apparent. The exit polling didn't match the ballot count, and many reasons for that began to become apparent.
John Kerry was faced with three options. One, fight on publicly rather than conceding and put the nation into a media frenzied limbo. Two, concede and go on with his life, turning his back on his promise to his supporters to ensure that “every vote will be counted.”

Most people are assuming that John Kerry opted for the second of these while John Edwards, his runningmate, opted for the first, and since Kerry was the big dog, he won out. But people who think this are thinking in Bush terms, all or nothing, either you are for the war or against it, that either Senator Kerry was for recounting the votes or he was against it.

The reality is, John Kerry has chosen a third, much smarter course – just as he said he would all along.

John Kerry realized that to launch a public campaign calling the vote into question would be disastrous. In fact, he likely realized he would we walking right into a Bush-set booby trap.
In particular, during our election coverage we talked about the pending battle of Fallujah, about the timing of it being an election ploy, about how it was following in the constant Bush pattern of creating a media event to sway the election, as he did last time by making the run up to the Iraq invasion come to a head exactly on election week.

Well, the battle in Fallujah began hitting the media hard in the week before the election, right on cue. Of course it was billed as the solution, the battle that – if you just keep Bush in office – will wipe out those insurgents and solve the problems over there. This was yet another obvious use of our nation’s troops by President Bush as if they were campaign volunteers rather than non-partisan volunteers to defend our nation.

But Fallujah, it turns out, seems to be even more than that. Fallujah, in effect, was the get away car for an election heist.

Following the fiasco in Florida in 2000, Gore was able to battle on for 30 days to try and get a fair accounting. All the while, the Bush camp claimed he should just stop and give up because his delaying of what they were saying was the inevitable end was threatening the nation’s security and stability. They said the stock market was suffering, the nation was unstable, and so Gore should just give up and accept the result as is.

This time, John Kerry had made clear he was prepared to fight 100 times as hard and long as Gore did if necessary. In fact, he had solicited fund just for that eventuality so he could battle all over the nation if necessary to ensure that every vote was properly counted.

Enter Fallujah. As we know – and saw on election night, as Bush’s people began calling Networks and demanding they call Ohio for their camp – the Bush team’s strategy was to try and force all questions to be closed ASAP. Last time, they weren’t prepared for that part. This time, they were.

Picture if John Kerry had chosen to call the election into question. Immediately, the Bush camp would talk about how 50,000 of our troops are just about to launch the biggest military operation since the invasion of Baghdad. And, just a couple of days after the election, it was launched.

You can imagine the arguments from the Bushies: “How could Senator Kerry undermine our security while our troops are in the midst of battle.” Fallujah was to be the pressure point that would, if not stop Kerry from uncovering all the dirt and getting a fair election count, would at least tarnish his name with much of the nation and, as importantly, create something for the right-wing dominated media to hammer away at him on, making it seem as if he is only caring about himself and not the nation.

It was quite a well-crafted plan. Completely amoral, but smart.

Unfortunately for them, John Kerry was smarter.

As Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, who has been about the only mainstream journalist to actually follow up on the many serious problems with regard to the integrity of the election, has pointed out, a concession speech, in effect, means nothing. It is not legally binding.

So, if you were thinking like a Bush goon, you would expect that either Kerry would stand up to the mischief that went on, not conceding in the meantime, and so your booby trap would work perfectly, or that he would just give up and let it go, as wimpy Democrats are prone to do.

But John Kerry chose a smarter course. Ask yourself the question, what if John Kerry were to do both, concede publicly but, at the same time, look into every instance of mischief, and see if in fact the election was fair or fixed.

This would be a no lose situation for him. The booby trap set up for him would become irrelevant, as he would have done the right thing for the nation, not putting it into turmoil while its troops are in battle.

But at the same time, he is still just as free to look into any voting irregularities as he would have been had he not conceded. Even better, he could do it without the press going insane and the nation being kept on tension-creating edge. All of the lawyers he could have sent to look into things still could be sent to look into things, and if the election is truly called into question, he could then, with ample justification so as to make it legitimate, come out publicly and retract his concession. It is the prosecutor, also one of Kerry’s previous jobs, who knows well enough to thoroughly prepare and investigate his case be leveling charges. You may have a real hunch that someone is responsible for a murder, but until you believe you can win that case in court, you do not make the allegation.

This is called fighting smart. And the Bushies, in the same way they failed to plan for the subtleties of doing battle in Iraq, haven’t even caught on yet that this is what is occurring, that they are, in fact, being outflanked and attacked after being tricked into looking the other way.
And just in case you don’t quite believe John Kerry is on the case, and instead think he just turned out to be a wimp who didn’t live up to his word, take a look at this letter from his brother, released privately to his supporters:

CAM KERRY'S LETTER
I am grateful to the many people who have contacted me to express their deep concern about questions of miscounting, fraud, vote suppression, and other problems on election day, especially in Florida and Ohio. Their concern reflects how much people care about the outcome of this election. I want to you to know we are not ignoring it. Election protection lawyers are still on the job in Ohio and Florida and in DC making sure all the votes are counted accurately. I have been conferring with lawyers involved and have made them aware of the information and concerns people have given me. Even if the facts don't provide a basis to change the outcome, the information will inform the continuing effort to protect the integrity of our elections. If you have specific factual information about voting problems that could be helpful to the lawyers doing their job, please send it to (e-mail removed for the story) rather than to me. The election protection effort has been important to me personally, and I am proud of the 17,000 lawyers around the country who helped. It's obvious that we have a way to go still, but their efforts helped make a difference. Their work goes on. Thank you, Cam Kerry
Notice that he chose to have his brother, who is not well-known to the public, sign the letter. As far as the public is concerned, John Kerry has conceded at that is that.

But now you know that that is not truly the case.

Make no mistake, he will never publicly call the election into question unless enough fraud turns out to truly challenge the end result. And so, in effect, he is not at this point contesting the election. But in reality, he is like the DA who says, “At this time we are not charging President Bush with anything.” Evidence first. It is the best strategy for him personally, the best strategy politically, and the best strategy for the nation.

And now stepping in to help is the man who was supposed to be the spoiler, Ralph Nader. As the Washington Post reports (see article: Losing by 335,000 in N.H., Nader Demands a Recount), Nader is using New Hampshire as a staging ground to call the Diebold machine-recorded electronic votes into question.

Why is he doing it in New Hampshire, which Kerry won? Does this mean he is going after Kerry?

Not at all. It is tactically brilliant. In New Hampshire, any candidate can call for a recount as long as he offers to pay for it. And that cost in this small state is only $2,000 dollars. So Nader is choosing to challenge the results there, but only to make the case that, if there turns out to be a problem with the machines there, the votes must be challenged everywhere.

As the WashPost reports, "We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire," Nader wrote Secretary of State William M. Gardner. "These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5% to 15% over what was expected."

So you see clearly he is charging that the machines skewed in favor of President Bush. New Hampshire was just the easiest, smartest, and cheapest place to get a first crack at making the case, and so opening a Pandora’s Box that will spread out across the nation.

So enjoy the non-Moderate Independent media’s coverage of Fallujah and ignoring of the recount. But rest assured that people are on the case, and that Kerry is taking the fight to them – in such a smart matter they don’t even know what’s hitting them. And remember, Watergate didn’t break the week after the election. No one knew anything was even fishy, but in the end, the devil go his due.

And on another note, the non-M/I media should be given some credit. As one Washington Post reporter told me, you can bet they are looking into all of this. And, as you see with the above Washington Post story, when they get something concrete they are going to print.
But it is the new media – the blogs – that are powering this one as much as the mainstream media.

So rest assured, and feel free to help out in anyway you can. We are the eyes, ears, and analysts of our nation. Support Olbermann at MSNBC, and rest assured, Kerry is on the case.
And lest you not realize what exactly is going on, this today from Olbermann: “With news this morning that the computerized balloting in North Carolina is so thoroughly messed up that all state-wide voting may be thrown out and a second election day scheduled, the story continues.”

And, even better, this from a first-hand witness’ e-mail being circulated among Kerry supporters:

Subject: Basic report from ColumbusI worked for 3 days, including Election Day, on the statewide voter protection hotline run by the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus, Ohio. I am writing this because the media is inexplicably whitewashing what happened in Ohio, and Kerry's concession was likewise inexplicable.Hundreds of thousands of people were disenfranchised in Ohio. People waited on line for as long as 10 hours. It appears to have only happened in Democratic-leaning precincts, principally (a) precincts where many African Americans lived, and (b) precincts near colleges.I spoke to a young man who got on line at 11:30 am and voted at 7 pm. When he left at 7 pm, the line was about 150 voters longer than when he'd arrived, which meant those people were going to wait even longer. In fact they waited for as much as 10 hours, and their voting was concluded at about 3 am. The reason this occurred was that they had 1 voting station per 1000 voters, while the adjacent precinct had 1 voting station per 184. Both precincts were within the same county, and managed by the same county board of elections. The difference between them is that the privileged polling place was in a rural, solidly republican, area, while the one with long lines was in the college town of Gambier, OH. Lines of 4 and 5 hours were the order of the day in many African- American neighborhoods.Touch screen voting machines in Youngstown OH were registering "George W. Bush" when people pressed "John F. Kerry" ALL DAY LONG. This was reported immediately after the polls opened, and reported over and over again throughout the day, and yet the bogus machines were inexplicably kept in use THROUGHOUT THE DAY.Countless other frauds occurred, such as postcards advising people of incorrect polling places, registered Democrats not receiving absentee ballots, duly registered young voters being forced to file provisional ballots even though their names and signatures appeared in the voting rolls, longtime active voting registered voters being told they weren't registered, bad faith challenges by Republican "challengers" in Democratic precincts, and on and on and on.I was very proud of the way so many Ohioans fought so valiantly for their right to vote, and would not be turned away. Many, however, could not spend the entire day and were afraid of losing their jobs, due to the severe economic depression hitting Ohio.I do not understand why Kerry conceded and did not fight to ensure that all Ohioans would have a chance to vote, and for their vote to be counted.

If he is an M/I reader, now he will know.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Manufacturing Dissent by Carolyn Baker

I'm not posting this because I necessarily agree with all this author says, but because it is thought-provoking. The idea of a revolution of ideas against a government armed with nuclear weapons does not encourage me. And I'm not quite prepared to give up on elections...yet. Jean

Manufacturing Dissent:
How "Progressives" Gave The Election To Bush
by Carolyn Baker
www.globalresearch.ca 12 November 2004
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/BAK411B.html
Only one week after the 2004 Presidential election in the U.S., alternative media is buzzing with appalling statistics regarding glaring voting irregularities and blatant corruption of the electoral process. Yet it is unlikely that so-called progressives who voted for Kerry will re-evaluate the paradigm which compelled them to do so.
In Twelve-Step language, the definition of insanity is doing something which has not worked a thousand times, but expecting that next time, one will have different results. Meanwhile, progressives displace responsibility for their mind-boggling failure onto the ignorant masses in "red states" who voted for Bush and against abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. Even now, after three stolen elections in four years, they look wistfully to 2008 with delusions of electing a "silver bullet" candidate who will miraculously redeem their putrid political system. Larry Chin, in his article "The Stolen Election of 2004: Welcome Back To Hell," said it best: "Criminals do not ‘permit’ elections."
Like children in an abusive family system, traumatized progressive Americans have been desperately willing to "settle for" a less odious parent who will beat them only once a month instead of once a day. Uninformed and relying largely on corporate media or ostensibly progressive journalists who towed the "anybody but Bush" line with pit bull tenacity, they were willing to sell their souls to Kerry rather than face the excruciating reality of living in a country where clean, democratic elections no longer exist (if they ever did), where corrupted electronic voting or a Supreme Court can, did, and will install a President. Rather than own that their government committed the pre-meditated murder of 3000 human beings on September 11, 2001 and used that homicide as justification for world domination, or face up to the realities of Peak Oil which will create a global energy crisis unprecedented in the history of the human race, progressives and their intellectual gurus have screamed in unison, "Conspiracy theory! Paranoia!"
Rather than confront the full implications of a USA Patriot Act, which has effectively nullified their Constitution and Bill of Rights or call their present government what it actually is, a fascist empire, progressives sentimentally proclaim that they are living in a democracy where they still hold a sacrosanct right to vote. Their reward for their implacable denial? The candidate they have "settled for" virtually bestowed the election on his Bonesman brother, and one more time, they were handed over to the wolves, but not before being toyed with and bled dry in the name of making a better America.
Progressives in their "adult children of dysfunctional families" syndrome, have failed to comprehend the authentic nature of the New World Order, that is, the corporate-sponsored, free trade global hegemony of the ruling elite, whether packaged in the blatant neoconservative agenda of the Bush Administration or the "Progressive Internationalism" of the Kerry camp. In their compulsion to choose "the lesser evil," their ability to decode the doublespeak of either one of the two faces of empire has been gravely impaired. As Richard Moore notes in his excellent article, "Doublespeak And The New World Order,"
Progressives must wake up to the attack, and somehow find a way to fight back. The Achilles heel of the NWO lies in its runaway successes: its high-handed treatment of nearly everyone has created an awesome potential counter-reaction -- if people can be made to see who the real perpetrators are, those who are engineering the decline of democratic civilization. Even its doublespeak successes can be turned against it, if people can learn to read the NWO agenda by learning to decode the propaganda it dishes out. The NWO crowd actually reveals allbin their propaganda, so arrogantly confident are they that their doublespeak enigma device won't be seen through by the people.
(http://cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/ND/mar96NWODoublespeak.shtml )
Had Kerry won, we would have seen a continuation of the war on terror myth played out with serial invasions of petro-strategic areas of the globe, possibly a "softening" of the Patriot Act at home, and the appointment of a few Supreme Court judges who remained friendly to Roe V. Wade. We would have also witnessed more NAFTA-like "free trade" agreements and the further corporatization of the globe through the IMF and the World Bank. However, because progressives did not comprehend the new paradigm into which the hijacked 2000 election had catapulted the country, their ambivalence and willingness to "settle for" essentially locked in an interminable totalitarian regime. And as Webster Tarpley wrote prior to November 2, 2004:
"… if Bush retains control of the White House, we can expect a neocon fascist dictatorship or martial law emergency regime in 2005 or 2006, possibly as the result of synthetic terrorism. The neocons are in a desperate flight forward mentality which seeks to avoid the penal consequences of what they have already done with Valerie Plame, the Niger yellowcake forgeries, the Israeli mole scandal, and the Chalabi betrayal of state secrets. The neocon preference is for early war with Iran. War with Russia and China cannot be excluded somewhat further down the road." (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/TAR410A.html )
On Wednesday, November 10, demonstrators protesting the Iraq War in front of the Federal Building in Westwood, California were greeted with tanks in the street. Although the tanks shortly went away and left them alone, the chilling reality of their presence sent an unmistakable message: Protest in America will no longer be tolerated and will be met with lethal force. (http://inn.globalfreepress.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1014 )
We can expect similar and more dramatic displays of force against protest given the drastic militarization of urban police forces in the U.S., superbly revealed in the must-see documentary, "Urban Warrior." (www.etspictures.com ) Furthermore, just this week, USA Today reported that the CIA has assigned dozens of case officers to work inside police departments of major U.S. cities. The report states that this "represents the CIA's broadest association with federal law enforcement since the CIA was created after World War II. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-11-07-cia-us_x.htm )
The "need" for a police state agenda becomes all the more urgent when we consider Peak Oil. In April, 2001, The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and James Baker, former Secretary of State for George Bush, Sr., published a study of world energy issues. The report can be read at: www.rice.edu/projects/baker/Pubs/workingpapers/cfbipp_energy/energytf.htm
Analysts from The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and Asia Times have understood and written that recessions can be used and managed to reduce oil consumption. In recessions people use less petroleum than during economically prosperous times. Furthermore, one month after the CFR report, Vice-President Cheney’s National Energy Policy Development Group stated that "America in the year 2001 faces the most serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970s." (www.whitehouse.gov/energy/Overview.pdf ) It is absurd to believe that John Kerry, long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations, would not also be aware of Peak Oil and its implications.
The Bush neocon police state is superbly prepared to meet both protest and massive civil unrest and disobedience stemming from a global oil crisis with military force, incarceration, and biowarfare. As is always true of an empire, it devours not only its external "enemies," but its own citizens as well.
In addition, it is irrefutably the direct intent of neocon advisors such as Grover Norquist to bankrupt the U.S. Treasury and destroy all public services in order to privatize as much of the infrastructure as possible so as to shrink the size of government in half over the next 25 years, in Norquist’s words, "to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." (http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/01/12_402.html )
Upon leaving her position as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the first Bush Administration, Catherine Austin Fitts stated and continues to state unequivocally, that "the United States government is being run as a criminal enterprise." This criminal enterprise transcends party lines or loyalties, and no candidate can even be nominated for President unless he is well within the good graces of the godfathers. How effective are U.S. Presidential elections in the twenty-first century? About as effective as municipal elections in Chicago during the reign of Al Capone. To progressives I say: Think "mafia", and stop thinking that you have a shred of hope for change by pushing buttons on a hacked voting machine. Again, criminals do not permit elections.
The criminal enterprise of both political parties MUST continue to make war for oil in every part of the world where the last drops remain, and it MUST make war on its own citizens by increasingly suppressing domestic civil liberties.
America’s enormous trade and domestic deficit can only result in economic catastrophe—a reality of which the ruling elite of both parties is profoundly aware. An unemployed, impoverished, population at the end of its tether with protracted wars and ravaged by a global energy crisis is an unruly, volatile population that must be "managed" by any means necessary. Yet progressives continue to chant their mindless mantra: "Maybe in 2008."
Mark Scaramella in his article, "Kerry’s Enablers" concludes that:
Democrats can blame Ralph Nader, moral-issue-Republicans, Karl Rove, black box voting and unpunched Ohio punch cards all they want. Certainly these were factors. But until the Democrats abandon their slavish devotion to candidates who are vacillating funhouse mirror reflections of Republicans, they're likely to keep losing, and risk irrelevancy. (http://www.counterpunch.org/scaramella11112004.html )
Most assuredly, I will be asked: "What can be done?"
My answer is first, stop giving any credence or energy to the thoroughly deceitful American electoral process.
Secondly, I submit that we are finding ourselves in a situation similar to that of an earlier era in U.S. history—an era considered no less dangerous and hopeless by its citizens than the one we currently face—an era when an obscure writer and entrepreneurial loser named Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet that changed an entire society. No one stood up boldly and said "Do this" or "Elect so-and-so." Rather, people—ordinary citizens of all classes, out of their own pain, when their situation was sufficiently severe and agonizing, found their own way and created a movement that transformed their world. British troops and taxes were their "police state" and their "peak oil," yet they produced, over and above the opposition of white, ruling elite landowners, a Bill of Rights. Yes, I know only too well the subsequent unfolding of U.S. history—Native Americans were genocided in the name of Manifest Destiny, and it took a Civil War to force the country to deal with slavery. But any and all subsequent gains on behalf of justice—the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movements for decades after the Bill of Rights was forged, were created and empowered by it, and without it, no further strides on behalf of social justice could have been made.
The American Revolution only erupted and succeeded because citizens were experiencing the anguish needed to make it happen. I believe that, tragically, the courage and clarity necessary to transform our political and social landscape in order to generate the kind of justice embodied in the Bill of Rights will only evolve as a result of the kind of misery a neocon, totalitarian regime will most certainly produce.
Although the neocon mind only understands "revolution" in terms of bombs and bullets, Jefferson spoke incessantly of a revolution of ideas and that he hoped to see one every twenty years. Most importantly, he, along with a number of other founding fathers, was adamant that revolution in the face of tyranny is our divine right. How a long-overdue revolution in the U.S. might unfold, I have no idea. What I do know is that it will never occur as a result of "manufacturing dissent."
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Joshua Holland - Leftnecks, Get Local

Leftnecks, Get Local

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on November 12, 2004,
Printed on November 12,2004
http://www.alternet.org/story/20479/

A week of hand wringing has produced a remarkably clear narrative of the 2004 election. The answer for Democrats – according to the pundits' blather – is that they need to close the God gap. Only by framing progressive issues in terms of pious morality can the heartland be brought around to vote for their own economic interests at long last.

But that's simplistic – and not just a little condescending. The notion that the problem for Democrats' – and the liberals who continue to believe in them – can be boiled down to "God, gays and guns" doesn't address the way social issues have provided an infrastructure for the rise of conservative populism during the last 30 years.

What has driven the right's anger – and activism – is that on many issues of concern to social conservatives, liberals have fought hard against the will of a majority of the people with whom they interact every day in their communities. We may consider some of those issues to be contrived, but we dismiss them at our peril.

Instead, liberals should start separating substantive policy issues from the symbolic aspects of public life. We should be fighting on the substance and figuring out a way to render the symbolic issues moot on the national level. The answer, I believe, is in a long-held conservative position: states' rights and local self-determination. Savvy Democrats could shift the terms of the national debate away from vaguely defined "values" by consistently stressing that our communities should reflect local values, not those of either party in Washington. If conservatives were to oppose that ideal, their intolerance would be brought into sharp relief.

Historically, liberals have resisted states' rights arguments, and with good reason. The last big battle like the culture wars we see today came during the civil rights movement. Then, as now, liberals were portrayed as using "judicial tyranny" and the federal apparatus to run roughshod over popular and democratically enacted Jim Crow laws. It was the George Wallaces and Strom Thurmonds who argued for state sovereignty.

While history has redeemed that liberal project, the cultural battles of the day are more complex. Fighting for civil rights was a necessary crusade, even when it ran counter to the majoritarian principles upon which democracies are based. Today, social conservatives feel put upon by the left for the same reasons we feel put upon by them. Just as I don't want my kids to have to pray at school in California, the people in Mississippi care more about their public institutions reflecting their culture than what happens in Seattle or New York.
Which leaves us an exit from the culture wars. The key to taking these issues off the national table is to argue – clearly and consistently – that Alabamans shouldn't legislate in Vermont and Minnesotans shouldn't dictate to Georgia.

States' rights is an idea that progressives can afford to embrace for the simple reason that we've won the biggest federalist fights – the battles over race, the legality of abortion and, more recently, the decriminalization of homosexuality.
That means we have the luxury of leaving many (not all) of the "wedge" issues to local activists and taking them off the national stage. State legislatures would still be constrained by the constitution; they could bring a moment of prayer back to schools but couldn't make it a Christian prayer. And so long as our essential protections are safe, it doesn't bother me if courts in Alabama have the Ten Commandments hanging in the lobby. If I ever find myself in an Alabama courthouse, I suspect the decor will be the least of my problems.

Localism would also set liberals free to pursue truly progressive agendas in their communities without risking a nationwide backlash. Recall that some gay rights activists feared just such an outcome when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom allowed gay marriages in his city. Barney Frank (D-Mass), the only openly gay member of Congress, told the Boston Globe that he feared it was a "distraction" that could hurt gay rights activists nationally. "I was sorry to see the San Francisco thing go forward," he said.

Frank was right to be concerned, as candidates on the national stage were painted with the broad brush of the "tyrannical" left with its activist judges. States' rights would allow national candidates to respond that what happens in San Francisco is an issue that only Californians need to decide.

Coalition-Building, Coalition Breaking
'De-linking' the national debates – even in part – from the culture wars might also lead to the emergence of a new generation of Southern populists to challenge the corporatism of the GOP. If you want to know how important that is, look no further than last week's Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic candidates Chris John and John Kennedy ran away from the national party like they were being chased by hungry gators.

They wouldn't need to run from the top of the ticket if that ticket represented the big tent of localism; they could be part of a progressive coalition that was economically liberal and also reflected the social mores of its varied communities. The conservative movement is built on just such an alliance – known as the "fusionist" marriage of social conservatism to a big-business agenda.

The potential for a broad, progressive coalition is clearly there. Last week, new minimum wage laws in Florida and Nevada passed with 70 percent of the vote. Montana passed a medical marijuana initiative and Colorado voters called for a five-fold increase in their state's share of renewable energy. The Democrats should learn from the grass roots efforts that brought about better policies for those four so-called "red states."

Because at the same time, the religious right is beginning to grumble about the GOP's big tent – they see that the Republican machine has made enormous headway in deregulation, privatization and assaulting organized labor, but aside from throwing the occasional bone to their base, the GOP leadership pays little attention to the evangelicals' agenda after the ballots are counted.
That means the Democrats have an opportunity to turn the tables on the Republicans. If they were to use states' rights to answer those hot-button social issues, the GOP would suddenly be the "obstructionist" party. And that plays to one of our greatest advantages: conservatives need a divided America but liberals don't. Republican leaders know full well that without the culture wars, their socially conservative base would either start looking harder at their economic policies, or just stop turning out altogether.

Making Leftnecks
As a secular liberal myself, I am as loathe as the next lefty to give even an inch to the religious right. I can't abide their reactionary primitivism, and I am not sounding a retreat on social issues. But by choosing which of those issues are significant enough to justify a fight on the national stage and which ones we can afford to fight locally – even if it means losing them in some states – we can reach a large swath of voters whose economic ideals are as anti-elitist as their social views.

We'll make inroads with the Republicans' coalition when we stop telling ourselves that social conservatives are too stupid to see past gays and guns to their own interests. The truth is that they have a different idea of where their interests lie. Our focus should be on where their goals and ours converge: around healthcare, education, the economy and corporate accountability, among others.

When we recognize that, we'll smarten up, take some of these hot-button issues off the national table and start creating what Joe Bageant calls "leftnecks" – working-class Southern populists. We can build a coalition that embodies the finest aspects of liberalism: inclusion, tolerance and concern for the needs of people with whom we disagree. That would take all of the populist anger that has been shrewdly diverted to the "liberal elites" and redirect it back where it belongs – squarely toward corporate control of the American "free market." If the Democratic party is smart enough, this is an approach that it can use to return to its roots – and win.

Do you have ideas about building a states' rights and localism movement where you live? Send them in to AlterNet.
© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/20479/

ABC plans to "debunk" Matthew Shephard killing

ABC plans to "debunk" Matthew Shephard killing

by JamesB3, a blogger at www.dailykos.com

Thu Nov 11th, 2004 at 22:06:14 PST

ABC will be running a story on 11/26, on the always smarmy and right-wing 20/20 (home of John Stossel) which claims that Matthew Shephard's murder had little or nothing to do with his homosexuality and was all about drugs, or a mugging gone wrong. They are basing this on what his killers now say. Of course the fact that his killers had a "gay panic" defense 5 years ago is apparently not a big deal and no longer relevant. That they give his killers a voice while they ignore the abuse.

I've never been a big fan of hate crimes laws, but I have always felt that part of this crime was motivated by homosexuality, as was the attempts to justify the actions of the killers. Now those men will be treated as some kind of victims of the homosexual agenda, or as repentent souls who are trying to speak the truth.

ABC is the most right-wing of any network besides Faux News, and they tend to book hacks like Maggie Gallagher, tend to run stories about the horrors of same-sex marriage. This is just the latest of their attempts to strip away any tolerance towards gays. The implication here will likely be that gay activists exploited his murder and made it all about his being gay, therefore, gays just prey on the dead, they are unsympathetic, they play victim, and the next time a gay or lesbian is murdered, the public will feel that a) they deserved it or b) people who decry these crimes are just media whores.

I'm not sure of ABC's contact information, but if anyone wants to contact them, go ahead. This is just more of the media's increasing attempts (along with the "moral values" shit) to scapegoat gays and to whittle away, bit by bit, on a subtle level, every shred of tolerance that the public has for gays. To persuade the public that harsh, knee-jerk, ugly reactions against gays in every aspect of life is necessary, because gays are all corrupt or liars or immoral anyway. That if you feel something sick inside when you think of gays, then just go with it, don't bother to educate yourself. They are on a slow but sure mission to erase any gains that gays have made in how America views them. They want America to go back to thinking that gays are evil, are the unknown, aren't just like everyone else. That's what the media spin on this election has been about. It terrifies me and I'm really worried about what is going to happen over the next few years and if we will see America go back to the days of the 60's, 70's, 80's, when gay-bashing was encouraged and considered appropriate, and you were not supposed to have any kind feeling at all towards gays or accept homosexuality as a concept beyond "sick" or "dirty".

UPDATE: I should mention that we have no idea whether Stossel is involved in this story or not. Since this is supposed to be "serious" news, and not the gimmicks and cutesiness that he peddles on 20/20, I think that he may not be involved. So yes, rail against Stossel, but I wouldn't directly attack him in your correspondence to ABC.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Kerry Lawyers scrutinize Ohio Vote

Kerry lawyers scrutinize voting in Ohio But campaign says effort isn't aimed at challenging results. The Associated PressUpdated: 11:37 a.m. ET Nov. 11, 2004

CLEVELAND - Lawyers from John Kerry’s presidential campaign are scrutinizing the results of voting in Ohio, but the campaign said the effort is not aimed at changing the outcome of the election."While the outcome of the election is not in doubt, no one cares more about voting irregularities than John Kerry and John Edwards,” Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade said in describing what he called a “fact-finding mission” in Ohio. “They remain committed to their pledge that every vote be counted, that's why they built an unprecedented 17,000 lawyer voter protection team to ensure that every American's rights are protected." Officials in Ohio’s 88 counties are still checking 155,337 provisional ballots to ensure they are valid, and then counting them in a process that is expected to take another week or more. The hotly contested state’s 20 electoral votes gave President Bush the cushion he needed to win re-election.Bush leads by 136,000 votesWith Bush leading the Democratic presidential nominee Kerry by more than 136,000 votes in the pivotal state in unofficial returns, it would be practically impossible for provisional ballots to change the outcome. But Kerry’s lawyers say they want to identify any voting problems and put to rest any doubts about the legitimacy of the Ohio vote. To do that they’ll ask election officials about the number of absentee and provisional ballots and if there were any reports of equipment malfunctions.For the first time this year all states were required to use provisional ballots when voters said they were properly registered but their names weren’t on the rolls.Judging from past elections, most provisional ballots will be valid, and the total will more or less reflect the overall vote.Elections employees are using the names on envelopes containing the provisional ballots to determine whether people meet registration requirements, and whether they voted in the correct precinct.Valid ballots are eventually added to each county’s vote count report, which must be approved by Democrat and Republican board members. Any disputed provisional ballots will be voted on by the members. Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell will break any ties.‘A time-consuming process’“This is a time-consuming process, just making sure that every ballot is accounted for,” said Michael Vu, director of the bustling Cuyahoga County elections board in Cleveland.The state gives boards until Dec. 1 to count and certify every vote. The state has set up a toll-free number for voters to find out if their ballot was counted and if not, why.Most counties contacted Wednesday by the Associated Press said they were not keeping running totals of how many provisional ballots were valid, but a few that had done partial tallies said most votes appeared to be legitimate.In 2000, about 107,000 of the 123,518 provisional ballots were deemed valid, or about 87 percent. If that percentage holds for the 2004 election, Kerry wouldn’t win even if every single provisional ballot were somehow cast for him.Spokesman Dan Trevas said the Ohio Democratic Party will monitor the process but so far hasn’t heard of any major problems. He would not say if he believes the provisional vote count could change the election’s outcome.“We expect everybody to see the entire process as it goes on,” he said.GOP wants to put ‘wild ideas to rest’Jason Mauk, an Ohio GOP spokesman, said both sides want all legitimate votes to count. As for theories about how Kerry could pull out a win, Mauk said, people need to “let the process work so we can put those wild ideas to rest.”Despite the stakes, Ohio elections workers aren’t under the microscope the way Florida’s were after the contested 2000 presidential election.Still, voters “want to know if their vote counted. If not, they want to know why, and we’re giving them that this election,” said Debbie Ford, a Franklin County voter services supervisor.
www.helpamericarecount.org
www.blackboxvoting.org

www.thealliancefordemocracy.org As Heard on Air America RadioALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY LAUNCHES OHIO HONEST ELECTIONS CAMPAIGNCALLS FOR OHIO RECOUNT AND INVESTIGATION OF VOTING IRREGULARITIES

Today, AfD founder Ronnie Dugger and National Co-Chair Cliff Arnebeck launched the Ohio Honest Elections Campaign during their appearance on Air America Radio. They called for a recount of every vote for President in Ohio.

“America's democracy depends on honest elections,” Ronnie Dugger stated.
“Every vote must be recounted in Ohio and the methods for counting and conveying precinct totals must be checked and rechecked," Cliff Arnebeck announced.
Cliff Arnebeck also exposed the improper contributions by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce to races for the Ohio Supreme Court.
Cliff Arnebeck is a practicing public interest attorney representing the Alliance in litigation against illegal corporate contributions by the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is now seeking from the Ohio Supreme Court a stay of an enforcement order against it.
Ronnie Dugger wrote the definitive warning essay about the dangers of computerized voting-counting in The New Yorker of November 7, 1988 and again this August issued a warning cry in The Nation, “How They Could Steal the Election This Time.”
Your tax-deductible contributions to the Ohio Honest Elections Campaign will go toward
Raising funds needed for a recount of the votes cast for President in Ohio Expert investigation of how votes were tallied Publicly reporting and acting to uphold the rule of law in Ohio and the United States. Donations can also be mailed to the Alliance national office.

Ohio Honest Elections CampaignAlliance for DemocracyPO Box 540115Waltham, MA 02454
Donors will receive acknowledgment of their tax-deductible contribution. A financial report regarding the campaign fund will be provided upon request.

Elliott Denniston - Demand a Recount

There is one very timely issue that I think Kerry writers would want to be involved in. The votes are still being counted--but in many places not very carefully! It is clear from a variety of news sources that there were very many voting problems, some serious screw-ups, and possibly some fraud. EVEN IF THERE WERE MATHEMATICALLY NO CHANCE OF A KERRY WIN, I think it is important that all of these instances be examined.

The next few weeks is the only time this can really be done, or at least initiated. There are organizations, candidates for President, members of Congress, and others who are trying to investigate these issues in a variety of precincts, counties, and states. We must support them with our letters, if not with our money, or these efforts will be easily rebuffed.

After 2000 our international reputation as the beacon of democracy was badly tarnished by the debacle in Florida, where so many voting irregularities were observed but not officially examined. Also at home our citizens, in part determined to be avenged for 2000, turned out in record numbers to have their votes recorded. But if these absurd and easily preventable foul-ups are allowed to continue, people will be justified in making the old, previous empty charge (so I thought), "Why vote? My vote doesn't count!" Here are some sites for pursuing this (and my political mentor Mark Adams will probably add some more!):

http://helpamericarecount.org/
http://moveon.org/investigatethevote/
http://blackboxvoting.org/

[Mambo adds: http://www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/]

Elliot Denniston

Defining "values" in America.

What do you think about this?
It makes sense... As progressives, we shouldn't be scrambling to find "values", but to define the REAL values we already exhibit... this letter says it all.

From the Joplin Globe
http://www.joplinglobe.com/story.php?story_id=140760&c=96

Letters to the editor
11/11/04

Triumph for values

I have written numerous letters to the Globe in recent weeks, and I promise this will be the last for a while.The presidential election is being heralded by many as a triumph for values. I would like to urge that we do what we can to see that it is fully that.

If we say that the election was a victory for marriage and family values, let us work to end domestic and child abuse and the poverty that often provokes them.

If we say that the election endorsed the president’s economic policies, let us make sure that the economic boom the president promises provides affordable health care and a living wage for all Americans and allows Social Security to survive.

If we say that the election affirmed Americans’ commitment to education, let’s see that we use our dollars to fund our schools and pay our teachers, so that truly no child will be left behind.

If we say that the election shows that Americans value life, let us enlarge and realize the scope of that value by expressing pro-life opposition to the unnecessary, wasteful war that has killed or wounded so many of our soldiers and crushed the lives of so many Iraqi men, women and children. Let’s show we’re pro-life by committing ourselves to the challenge of peacemaking.

If the election is a triumph of security, let us realize that no American is truly safe as long as we speak the language of intolerance, fear and hatred, and until our brothers and sisters around the world have the food, shelter, clothing, care and compassion that allow human beings to flourish.

Bill Kumbier Joplin

Democrats - time to flush the past.

Democrats - time to flush the past.
by JamesB3 (poster at www.DailyKos.com)


Thu Nov 11th, 2004 at 08:19:20 PST

It's no secret that the efforts of some Democrats to blame gays for this election loss makes me froth at the mouth. The code words about a return to morality, or connecting to evangelicals, or embracing "mainstream" America, are all very pretty but do very little to focus on the real reasons that Democrats continue to lose elections.

But nothing annoys me more than the welcome mat being rolled out for outdated, greedy Democratic fatcats every time they parrot this conventional wisdom.

There's plenty of scorn for Bob Shrum, for Al From, for Bruce Reed. Lots of rage at Terry Macauliffe, a man whose only real job was to raise money and try to shore up connections within the party. Yet, none of the same rage for some of the people who helped put Macauliffe into power in the first place -- James Carville and Bill Clinton.

Neither of these men had any particularly memorable advice to give. Not very detailed. Yet, Democrats say "finally, some sense!!" and "they WON, so we'd better listen to them!" and treat their opportunistic pandering as the gospel.

What is the last race that James Carville won? When was the last time that Carville stuck his neck out to help win a race? What was the last race that Clinton helped Democrats win? Where his personal involvement was a major asset?

Kerry has been criticized for his weak and confusing positions on the Iraq war. Where were Carville and Clinton when you needed them to oppose the Iraq war? When you marched in the streets and faced scorn and abuse from many in your own party, in your nation?

When your civil liberties were being eroded over the past 4 years, where were Clinton and Carville to try to help you fight back? Oh, that's right, Hillary was in the Senate, happily voting for various measures like the RAVE Act and the Iraq war, all because she is desperately afraid to take any risk that is not painstakingly calculated.

Bill Clinton and James Carville belong to another era. The truth is that they no longer have the pulse of the Democratic voter base, if they ever really did. They don't want to change the party, as the party must be changed. They just want the party to get yet another facelift. To pander on "moral" issues, to make vague titterings to "evangelicals", to sell out key constituents in order to appeal to a large swathe of the populace that rejected the Democratic ticket in spite of the mushiest, least objectionable, least memorable platforms imaginable.

These men don't care about you. They don't care about the party. They never did. They care about themselves, their careers, their consulting and speaking fees, their book deals, their TV time. Their "legacy". Do you honestly think that James Carville really wants anything to change? He has it great. He is a bad sitcom character. He is a reptile who has carved out an acceptable, nonthreatening. He is the Cajun who is about as "raging" as Britney Spears. He is a packaged, manufactured, and utterly predictable hack. Why do you think he flew into a rage at Howard Dean and John Stewart? Because they want to challenge the system, in a genuine way. They don't just want to kick shins and have Daddy give them a lollipop, like Carville. He's terrified of any real reform. So is Clinton. These men continue to pursue an ossified and uninspired agenda, where safety and security and sweet jobs for cronies are the only real stakes. They don't mean anything they say. The hollowness of their buzzwords and platitudes make them a joke among Republicans and to any voters who bother to take 2 seconds to look at the legacy vs. the hype.

Earlier this year, Democrats could have voted for REAL change. But that change was sandbagged by the media, by Dean's own mistakes, and by a self-involved, greedy, short-sighted media whore named Joe Trippi. When Dean lost, the CW became that Democrats really didn't want a new voice. They were just "flirting" until they went back to the same old faces.

We cannot let this happen again. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that the Clintonistas and their triangulation and phony populism and spinelessness and gluttony are what this party needs. People like to say that we should go back to the Clinton plan because he won. Yes, he won. Democrats lost Congress. Democrats lost many state legislatures. They lost many states that they are not likely to get back. The party became all about ONE man.

Democrats have continued to lose over the past 4 years. This is not because of Clinton's absence. This is because we cannot identify a national vision for this party. We cannot sell ourselves on a national level. But the building blocks are there. Democrats did better on a statewide level this year than they have in over a decade. The reason for that is because Democrats on a grassroots level, inspired to be independent and to talk about genuine issues, trained and molded by progressive organizations working in the image of Howard Dean and Paul Wellstone, convinced voters on an individual basis that Democrats are the party of the common man. That Democrats truly do want to help the poor, the sick, the needy. They did not rely on tiresome catchphrases or on guest appearances from has-beens.

I am really concerned by the tendency of so many people here to fall back into the comforting coccoon of the 90's Democratic Party, their safe, stingy, and empty-headed rhetoric that was designed to help one man, not the entire country. We can't go back to that. We need to look inside ourselves and focus on what to do next. And we MUST ensure that the Clinton machine is removed from power before the 2006 and 2008 elections. I'm not kidding here. I think that these people are as dangerous to this party's future than Bush, because they are as committed to marginalizing this party. They know that the main way they keep control, they keep the money and the cushy jobs, is to shut out a diverse coalition of voices that want to specify detailed and well-articulated plans that real people (NOT FOCUS GROUPS) want to hear about.

The only way for this party is to survive is for these old hacks to be exposed for what they are and to be made irrevelant. Most of them are already jokes on a national level, circus clowns left behind to clean up the elephant shit. Most people see through them. Why don't we? Why don't we treat the Carvilles with what they deserve -- open contempt? Where were they when we needed them? Isn't it a bit odd that one of the Clintonista's least favorite senators, Russ Feingold, won handily in a good GOP year, while the establishment, safe, archaic faces they backed (like Bowles, or too often, Kerry, even if he was not their first choice) did what these types do best - lose?

YOU are the future of this party. Not James Carville. Not Bill Clinton. Don't let them take away the spine of this party. We need to fight like hell. We don't need to apologize to the public and beg for sympathy. The main reason that Democrats continue to lose is weakness. America thinks we are weak. They will support fighters. Men and women with integrity. Men and women like Russ Feingold or even Patty Murray. EVERY SINGLE SENATOR who voted against the Iraq war - a war that the establishment Democrats demanded they vote for - was reelected this year, by DOUBLE DIGITS. What message does that send? The message that integrity, and character, instead of lecturing about morals while cheating on your wife, or attacking Republicans for war-mongering when you happily voted for that war to score political poins, will win out just about every time as long as you have enough money, enough of a coherent message, enough organization, and smart, tough counterattacks. We need to study the lessons of success this year, instead of hiding under the shroud of failure and scapegoating. It's time to reject the wing of this party that is so busy demonizing easy targets, that has spent decades demonizing easy targets and talking down to Americas, and stand up for true populists who love this nation instead of their bank accounts and their shitty HBO shows.

Maureen Dowd - A Moveable Feast of Terrorism

[Note: The all-out attack on the New York Times is on. On 11/8/04, Zell Miller attacked Maureen Dowd on the Don Imus show: "Miller ripped the woman he called 'Maureen Loud,' calling her a 'highbrow hussy from New York.' He added that the 'red-headed woman at the New York Times' should not mock anyone's religion: 'You can see horns just sprouting up through that Technicolor hair.'" Dowd responded: "I'm not a highbrow hussy from New York. I'm a highbrow hussy from Washington. Senator, pistols or swords?" ]

New York Times
November 11, 2004
A Moveable Feast of Terrorism

By MAUREEN DOWD

During the campaign, President Bush and Dick Cheney gave the ominous impression that there was a dire threat that terrorists could incinerate Americans at any time if that powder puff John Kerry got anywhere near the Oval Office.

We felt the hot breath of the wolf pack bearing down on us. But only a week later, the alarums have dimmed.

The administration lowered the terror threat in New York and Washington yesterday, and the Capitol Hill police were dismantling the elaborate security checkpoints they had put on streets around the Capitol to thwart would-be bombers.

In his handwritten resignation letter, John Ashcroft reassured Mr. Bush that "the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.''

Mission accomplished. Tell those wolves to scat, and let that eagle soar, baby.
It was a tad surprising that Mr. Ashcroft would want to leave just when he had a mandate to throw blue curtains over every naked statue in town and hold Bible study for government employees in a federal office. (He called his daily devotionals at the Justice Department "RAMP'': Read, Argue, Memorize and Pray.)

The president is putting his own counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who wrote the famous memo defending torture, in charge of our civil liberties. Torture Guy, who blithely threw off 75 years of international law and set the stage for the grotesque abuses at Abu Ghraib and dubious detentions at Guantánamo, seems to have a good grasp of what's just. No doubt we'll soon learn what other protections, besides the Geneva Conventions and the Constitution, Mr. Gonzales finds "quaint'' and "obsolete.''

With the F.B.I. investigating Halliburton and the second-term scandal curse looming, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney want a dependable ally - and former Enron attorney - at Justice. But since the country is controlled by one party and the press has tended toward the pusillanimous, cowed by the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald as he tries to throw reporters in jail, the White House may be able to suppress any second-term problems.

Mr. Bush should quit fiddling around on the domestic side and revamp his war council and national security team. The Bushies can stop mentioning Osama's name and tell themselves that his last, less militant video was a sign of weakness, but it's just part of their dangerous denial. Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 innocents on 9/11; let's nail him.

Even as Karl Rove boasts that "moral values'' swept his boss back into the White House, it never seems to occur to the president that it's immoral to endanger our troops in a war shaped by the political clock, a war with no visible enemy, no coherent plan and no exit timetable.

Falluja, supposed to be a defining battle, showed only how undefined this guerrilla war is. The Marines swept into a city deserted by most of the insurgents, who were terrorizing and kidnapping Iraqis elsewhere.

"Falluja isn't Masada or the Alamo,'' Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate, "some last-ditch outpost where the rebels whoop their final battle cry, rally one more round of resistance, then pass into history when their last rifleman falls.''

Last night, the military said it dominated 70 percent of Falluja. But what good does that do if 98 percent of the bad guys have already moved on, or if 100 percent of the Sunnis boycott the elections out of anger over the assault? It's just like when Mr. Bush says 75 percent of Al Qaeda's leadership has been killed or captured. What good is that if Al Qaeda has become an inspirational force for 100 percent of the jihadists?

The math is self-defeating. Pictures of forces taking a Falluja mosque will no doubt spur a surge of Islamic terrorist recruits, who won't be fooled by the marines' new camouflage: their Iraqi vanguard.

Just as there is talk here that John Kerry may want to run again, there is also talk that Donald Rumsfeld wants to stay on to continue his transformation of the military. Rummy's stubborn need to show we could do more with less is what kept us from having the strength to secure Iraq at the start, turning our troops into targets for a ghostly foe armed with the explosives and missiles looted by insurgents from unguarded caches.

The president should say to Rummy what the Democrats should say to Mr. Kerry: "Thanks, you've done quite enough.''

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com