Recent Entries in Politics

Dissident groups asked the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday to review the outcome of the state's presidential race, hours before the Ohio delegation to the Electoral College was to cast ballots for president and vice president.

Protesters who do not accept that President Bush won the key swing state by 119,000 votes were expected to demonstrate outside the Capitol as delegates voted in the Ohio Senate chamber.

Wired News: Challengers Want Ohio Vote Review

In an extraordinary exchange at this remote desert camp, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found himself on the defensive today, fielding pointed questions from Iraq-bound troops who complained that they were being sent into combat with insufficient protection and aging equipment.

Specialist Thomas Wilson, a scout with a Tennessee National Guard unit scheduled to roll into Iraq this week, said soldiers had to scrounge through local landfills here for pieces of rusty scrap metal and bulletproof glass - what they called "hillbilly armor" - to bolt on to their trucks for protection against roadside bombs in Iraq.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Iraq-Bound Troops Confront Rumsfeld Over Lack of Armor

President Bush on Tuesday thanked Canadians who waved a welcome to him "with all five fingers" on his first official visit to their country, but he also appeared defensive at a time when he was expected to reach out and try to repair the rift over the war in Iraq.

When Mr. Bush was asked by a Canadian reporter at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Paul Martin why public opinion polls showed the two countries drifting apart, and whether he bore any responsibility, he responded, "You know, I haven't seen the polls you look at, and we just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to be - stay in place for four more years."

The New York Times > Washington > Bush, Visiting Canada, Aims to Smooth Ruffled Relations

Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday called for a general strike in protest at returns showing his rival had won a disputed presidential poll and the outgoing president warned Ukraine could slide into civil war.

With tens of thousands of protesters surging through Kiev streets for the third straight day, Western countries got tough on what they saw as blatant cheating in the election putting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich in office.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was blunt. "If the Ukrainian government does not act immediately and responsibly there will be consequences for our relationship," he said.

Top News Article | Reuters.com

Speaking with senior military leaders in Moscow on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said research and testing are underway for new missile systems unlike anything in other countries' arsenals.

"I am sure that they will be put in service within the next few years and, what is more, they will be developments of the kind that other nuclear powers do not and will not have," said Putin, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

CBC News: Russia working on new nuclear weapons

It's a little like yelling an obscenity at a wedding. In the etiquette of Washington, it has always been an unwritten rule that members of the CIA don't publicly criticize the people they work for - namely the US government.

From the agency's inception some 50 years ago, the mantra of top officials in particular has been to provide "hard" information - estimates and analyses - not public opinions about their bosses' policies or veracity.

Now a senior CIA official is violating the trench-coat oath - and roiling already sensitive relations between the White House and the nation's top spy agency. It comes at a time of major reform of the nation's intelligence apparatus.

CIA agent publicly chides White House for terror war | csmonitor.com

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who enjoyed enormous respect around the world, has resigned but will stay on until his replacement is named as Washington makes a new push for Middle East peace, officials said on Monday.

Powell, who was consistently the most popular Cabinet member in President Bush's first term, handed in his resignation on Friday ahead of a planned trip this month to the Middle East to possibly meet Palestinian leaders.

Top News Article | Reuters.com

It was an inadvertent tribute by President Bush to Yasser Arafat's 36 years as leader of the Palestinians and to a controversial man admired by some as a freedom fighter and reviled by others as a terrorist.

Asked to comment on what turned out to be premature reports of Mr. Arafat's death last week, Mr. Bush said, "My first reaction is, May God bless his soul. My second reaction is that we will continue to work for a free Palestinian state that is at peace with Israel."

The man who forged Palestinian identity | csmonitor.com

President George W. Bush should stop flouting federal and international law over the legal status of detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration needs to move beyond the impasse that has now dragged on for three years. Bush should abandon his attempt to operate an alternative justice system for enemy combatants beyond the reach of any authority other than his own.

The White House lost the latest skirmish Monday, when federal Judge James Robertson halted the first trial before a military commission at Guantanamo, ruling that it violated both federal and international law. The ruling turned on the same two issues that keep coming back to bite the administration: How to determine who is a prisoner of war and how to handle evidence the administration wants kept secret.

Robertson ruled that under the Geneva Conventions, Salim Ahmed Hamdan must be presumed to be a POW unless a "competent tribunal" finds that he doesn't deserve that designation. The judge said, too, that U.S. law requires trials for POWs conducted under the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which, unlike Bush's commissions, don't give the administration carte blanche to use evidence that a defendant will never see or hear.

Newsday.com - Opinion

  Squeezing jello in Iraq

The much-anticipated US-led offensive to seize the Iraqi city of Falluja from anti-American Iraqi fighters has begun. Meeting resistance that, while stiff at times, was much less than had been anticipated, US Marines and soldiers, accompanied by Iraqi forces loyal to the interim government of Iyad Allawi, have moved into the heart of Falluja.

Fighting is expected to continue for a few more days, but US commanders are confident that Falluja will soon be under US control, paving the way for the establishment of order necessary for nation-wide elections currently scheduled for January 2005.

But will it? American military planners expected to face thousands of Iraqi resistance fighters in the streets of Falluja, not the hundreds they are currently fighting. They expected to roll up the network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his foreign Islamic militants, and yet to date have found no top-tier leaders from that organization. As American forces surge into Falluja, Iraqi fighters are mounting extensive attacks throughout the rest of Iraq.

Aljazeera.Net - Squeezing jello in Iraq

The lesson of the 2004 election is that we still haven't fixed our democracy.

While our post-election limbo lasted less than a day because Ohio's vote tallies were "beyond the margin of litigation," we should not fool ourselves. We need federal standards that protect the right to vote in order to avoid three critical problems that plagued Election Day 2004.

First, we still lack uniformity and consistency. While federal law gives all Americans the right to cast a provisional ballot, such a vote cast in the wrong precinct will be counted in about half of the states but not the others. Within a single state like Ohio, nebulous standards allow partisan election boards in one county to reject a provisional ballot that could be counted in another county.

Former criminal offenders who have served their time can vote in Colorado and Minnesota, but not in Florida and Virginia. Even after our experience in 2000 with hanging chads, about 32 million voters still live in counties that use outdated punch- card machines. In short, your right to vote and the ability to have it counted continue to depend on where you live.

Newsday.com - Opinion

A 25-year-old from Georgia who was apparently distraught over President George W. Bush's re-election shot and killed himself at ground zero.

Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.

Veal's mother said her son was upset about the result of the presidential election and had driven to New York, Gus Danese, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, said in an interview published Sunday in the New York Times.

Ground-Zero-Suicide

European leaders urged President Bush to work closely with America's allies on issues like terrorism and the environment in his second term, while critics of the president worried re-election would embolden him to pursue conservative policies more aggressively than ever.

Many European newspapers greeted the president's triumph with dismay.

"Oops �€” they did it again," Germany's left-leaning Tageszeitung newspaper said in a front-page English headline.

"How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" Britain's liberal Daily Mirror tabloid asked. "March of the Moral Majority," said the front page of the Daily Mail, above a photo of Mr. Bush with his wife and daughters.

In a strongly worded editorial the Daily Mirror said, "America has chosen a menacingly immature buffoon who likened the pursuit of the 9/11 terrorists to a Wild West, Wanted Dead or Alive man-hunt and, during the Afghanistan war, kept a baseball scorecard in his drawer, notching up hits when news came through of enemy deaths."

In Spain, the conservative Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which vehemently opposed the Iraq war, printed a cartoon showing Osama bin Laden holding up Mr. Bush's arm in triumph.

CBS 2 Chicago WBBM-TV: World: Mixed Reviews For Bush

In a resounding, coast-to-coast rejection of gay marriage, voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments Tuesday limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

The amendments won, often by huge margins, in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Utah and Oregon - the one state where gay-rights activists hoped to prevail. The bans won by a 3-to-1 ratio in Kentucky and Georgia, 3-to-2 in Ohio, and 6-to-1 in Mississippi.

"This issue does not deeply divide America," said conservative activist Gary Bauer. "The country overwhelmingly rejects same-sex marriage, and our hope is that both politicians and activist judges will read these results and take them to heart."

The Ohio measure, considered the broadest of the 11 because it barred any legal status that "intends to approximate marriage," gathered equal support from men and women, Blacks and Whites.

Gay marriage is resoundingly rejected in 11 states

Public Records Request - November 2, 2004
From: Black Box Voting
To: Elections division

Pursuant to public records law and the spirit of fair, trustworthy, transparent elections, we request the following documents.

We are requesting these as a nonprofit, noncommercial group acting in the capacity of a news and consumer interest organization, and ask that if possible, the fees be waived for this request. If this is not possible, please let us know which records will be provided and the cost. Please provide records in electronic form, by e-mail, if possible - crew@blackboxvoting.org.

We realize you are very, very busy with the elections canvass. To the extent possible, we do ask that you expedite this request, since we are conducting consumer audits and time is of the essence.

Black Box Voting - Bev Harris - one of the leading groups doing voting machine investigations. A nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer protection group for elections.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry phoned President Bush on Wednesday to concede the presidential election, a White House aide said.

President Bush was to deliver a victory statement at 3 p.m. ET, Bush aides said. Kerry was expected to make a concession speech at 1 p.m. ET at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kerry's phone call came a few hours after White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card announced that the Bush campaign was convinced the president had won re-election.

CNN.com - Kerry concedes, White House aide says - Nov 3, 2004

Anger over the lost votes of 2000 is still simmering in this mainly black town of south Florida, where voters turned out massively Tuesday, many vowing they would not be disenfranchized again.

Residents, standing in long lines to cast their ballots, said renewed irregularities are only strengthening their resolve to make their votes count. And many said that vote is against President George W. Bush.

The feeling that Bush stole the last presidential was strong in this city of 30,000, where as many of 16 percent of the ballots were discarded in the 2000 election, twice as many as the already high statewide average.

Angry about the lost votes of 2000, black Florida town has strong turnout

The spectral image that has haunted this presidential campaign finally surfaced last weekend on television with an attack ad of his own. All that was missing was the tag line: "I am Osama bin Laden, and I approved this message."

Bin Laden's campaign video was quickly dubbed the "October Surprise," but the real surprise is something different: It is that, despite warnings by U.S. intelligence that al Qaeda was planning a pre-election attack, it hasn't happened. Indeed, there hasn't been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and the intriguing question is: Why not?

The Real 'October Surprise' (washingtonpost.com)

In "Fascism Anyone?," Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies 14 characteristics common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 "identifying characteristics of fascism."

George W Bush and the 14 points of fascism - Project for the OLD American Century

Download the informative trifold pamphlet of these 14 points in .pdf format here (right click, save target as).

The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States knew that we human beings have a tendency to 'not get along with each other'. They knew that if power accrued into the hands of an elite the experiment of democracy (power spread out into the realm of the people) would be over. So they created a system of checks and balances which blocked access to any one person, or any one special interest or elite gaining too much power over others. Thus our executive, legislative and judicial branches of government "checked" each other. The media was yet another "check" on the accrual of too much power as was the Bill of Rights which was written into the Constitution. The system wasn't perfect but it kept alive the possibility of true democracy. It kept alive the dream that one day "we the people" could live in a peaceful commonwealth where every person has what they need to survive and thrive.

That dream died in December 2000 when the checks and balances of our Constitution collapsed and George Bush was inserted into the Presidency of the nited States. September 11, 2001 furthered the atrophying of democracy handing the country into the hands of an emerging Corporate (and I say Christian) Fascism.

Since that time we have witnessed and have been unable to prevent the emergence of an Imperial Presidency that has the unrestricted power to declare war against any country he chooses. The Imperial Presidency has brought to an end the Constitutional mandate that 'ONLY CONGRESS' has the authority to declare war. It has furthered weakened international law and has undermined the potential of the United Nations to spread democracy throughout the earth.

George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism


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