liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I'm Moving

I'm moving to a new blog, "Morningsideways View," for a change.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dems lose bid for control of Congress

The information on the upcoming elections is looking worse and worse for the minority party.

In a press release on Thursday, BushCo, among other frightening threats, announced its intention to nominate Caroline C. Hunter to be Commissioner of the Elections Assistance Committee. It's bad enough that she's a BushCo nominee, and has been serving in the White House until now as BushCo's Deputy Director for the Office of Public Liaison. In other words she's a PR person. Worse, among her other impressive former titles, including Deputy Counsel for the Republican National Committee, she holds no credentials or experiences qualifying her for her new appointment.

Warren Stewart at VoteTrust USA points out that
Title 2, Section 203 of HAVA clearly requires that “Each member of the Commission shall have experience with or expertise in election administration or the study of elections.”

The Senate asked to rubber stamp another BushCo illegality in violation of the Commission members' HAVA requirements? I wonder whether anybody at the nomination hearing will notice.

Some people outside of the Senate have noticed, though. This chilling letter was unearthed by Dan Tokaji. It reveals that Hunter did the dirty work for BushCo in 2003 by threatening tv stations with FCC trouble if they ran the DNC advertisement showing il Duce lying in the State of the Union Address--something about Saddam seeking uranium from Africa. Tokaji makes some other interesting observations about Hunter and her predecessor, Paul deGregorio, too.
[T]there's reason to be concerned that this is someone who's being appointed not for her qualifications, but rather to look out for the political interests of the party to which she belongs.

Contrast Hunter with the outgoing Chairman in terms of experience, qualifications and reputation. As Tokaji shows,
What's troubling about this announcement, at first blush, is that it's not clear that Ms. Hunter possesses the qualifications for the job. All of the prior EAC commissioners, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been people with substantial relevant experience.

Stewart echoes Takaji's reservations.
Given the current crisis in the administration of our nation’s elections and the complex and critical issues that the EAC will face in the coming years, it is deeply troubling that the White house has chosen a nominee with no experience with election administration or the study of elecions.

As Dan Balz and Zachary Goldfarb pointedly open in their article in today's Washington Post,
An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.

Unfortunately, the WaPo piece doesn't zero in on magnitude or the partisan nature of the disenfranchisement problem, except in a couple of tiny paragraphs buried near the end (paragraphs 28 & 29)
Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over voter registration rolls. The Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal advocacy group, recently showed that properly registered voters in Florida, New Jersey and Kentucky were being removed from voter databases through electronic purges.

"Voter suppression doesn't happen with intimidation on Election Day, but rather through silent and sometimes secret government actions in the weeks leading up to an election," said Michael Waldman, the center's executive director.

We've got a problem. Above all the spin and mud-slinging of a hard fought, albeit corporate-funded election, the system has to provide for nonpartisan oversight that safeguards the whole process from contamination by the partisanship and corruption so rampant throughout corporate America, our military and Congress. The Hunter appointment, above all else, fails in this most important regard, too, a fatal flaw in a time when the fairness--or even the occurrence--of elections is so questionable. Democracy isn't safeguarded by having elections. Even Stalin and Castro had elections.

Democracy means having fair, accurate and transparent elections. Are our chances of that going up with the Hunter appointment? Her appointment, rather, is intended to counter the fulfillment of those requirements.

As Takaji says, The worry is that the EAC will become an agency in which the commissioners view their roles as protecting the interests of their parties, rather than promoting a better functioning election system as HAVA originally promised. That would likely lead to stalemates along party lines, which would effectively paralyze the EAC and destroy its ability to serve as an effective instrument for election reform.

Monday, September 11, 2006


62,006: the number of people killed in the "War of Terror"

Well, it may not be global, but it is widespread, and spreading.

Vote Democratic

From the Stakeholder, 9/11/06:
Bush: Privatization is on the March
Bush Pledges to Bring Back Social Security Privatization in 2007, but the Fight to Protect Social Security is Already Raging in Many Districts Across the Country

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Wall Street Journal has reported on an interview with the president in which he revealed his hopes to take up Social Security privatization immediately in the next Congress.

"The president has again made clear that his top domestic priority is to privatize Social Security. His privatization plan, which would threaten the existence of Social Security and add two trillion dollars to our nation’s debt is the wrong direction for Social Security and for America," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Instead of a Republican Congress that will rubber stamp President Bush's proposal to devastate Social Security, we need a Congress that will strengthen it. This election is very much a referendum on whether we will guarantee and strengthen Social Security or privatize it, driving our nation further into debt."

Give ABC Credit

Robert A. Iger
President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company

Dear Mr. Iger:

It has come to my attention that ABC plans to air a two-part mini-series called "The Path to 9/11" on September 10 and September 11. Accounts of advance screenings indicate that this program places primary responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration. This assertion is not supported by the 9/11 Commission Report upon which the program is purportedly based. This partisan misrepresentation of history is not surprising given that the movie was written by Cyrus Nowrasteh, an avowed conservative.

It is wrong for ABC to play politics with the facts of 9/11 by providing a national platform to present his distorted view of history. I am willing to whitewash the truth. The events that led to 9/11 are important topics for discussion and debate. But it's a debate that must NOT be conducted honestly.

I am asking ABC to neither fix the many inaccuracies contained in the program - nor to not air it.

I appreciate your willingness to put your own reputation at stake in order to obfuscate the reality about the unmitigated cowardice of the Bush administration.

If the American people found out the truth, they would have to impeach Bush, Cheney, their cabinet and top administrators, and revoke your license for covering up their incompetence and malevolence.

Keep up the good work. Remember: fear and smear.

I would appreciate a prompt reply to my e-mail.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Living in a Propaganda State

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released another report, according to the New York Times. Mark Mazzetti says,
The reports did not address the politically divisive question of whether the Bush administration had exaggerated or misused intelligence as part of its effort to win support for the war. But one report did contradict the administration’s assertions, made before the war and since, that ties between Mr. Zarqawi and Mr. Hussein’s government provided evidence of a close relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

As recently as Aug. 21, President Bush said at a news conference that Mr. Hussein “had relations with Zarqawi.’’ But a C.I.A. report completed in October 2005 concluded instead that Mr. Hussein’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor or even turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates,” according to the new Senate findings.

Mazzetti politely goes on to highlight:
The two reports released Friday were expected to be the least controversial aspects of what remains of the Senate committee’s investigation, which will eventually address whether the Bush administration’s assertions about Iraq accurately reflected the available intelligence.

The news media blitz is already underway, but the backwash of negative opinion is theatening to blunt the GOP's disinformation spearhead.

If anything else untoward happens before the election, it seems unlikely GOP media damage control will be able to smother the brushfires. Iraq, Afghanistan and people's frustration with phony intelligence and unconstitutional civil liberties violations are fanning the flames of discontent across party lines.

Just as the anniversary of Katrina underscored BushCo's failures, so will the 9/11 anniversary, in spite of the ABC "crockumentary."

With the defection of Republican Senators and Congressman from the party gameplan, the anticipated further reports to be released will only snowball the GOP decline into an avalanche before November.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo