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Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's choice of Palin is a risk

She could attract conservative Christians but not necessarily the women who backed Hillary Clinton. And some voters may question McCain's decision-making style.

By Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times
August 30, 2008

American voters on Friday began learning about Sarah Palin. But the selection of an obscure Alaska governor as the Republican vice presidential nominee also offers clues about the leadership style of the man who placed her on the ticket.

Though John McCain clearly concluded that Palin could attract female voters and grab his campaign some Barack Obama-style media buzz, he also is taking a risk that in elevating a largely unknown figure, he undermines the central theme of his candidacy that he puts "country first," above political calculations.

For a candidate known to possess a quick temper and an unpredictable political streak, the decision raises questions about how McCain would lead -- whether his decisions would flow from careful deliberations or gut checks in which short-term considerations or feelings outweigh the long view.

"Americans like risk-takers, but they also want to know that in times of crisis, you're going to be calm," said Matthew Dowd, who was a senior campaign strategist for President Bush but is neutral in the McCain-Obama race.

"Americans don't necessarily want somebody in a time of crisis to be overly emotional," Dowd said. "That's the balance that John McCain's going to have to show the public."

The Palin risk also has the potential to reap big rewards.

Her presence on the ticket as a strongly antiabortion mother of five -- her infant son has Down syndrome -- promises to energize evangelical voters who have been skeptical of McCain.

Already, some top conservative Christian leaders who criticized McCain in the past have proclaimed enthusiasm for the pick.

Moreover, as a hunter, a member of the National Rifle Assn. and an avid snowmobiler, Palin appeals to many facets of the GOP base.

McCain's choice of Palin strikes a contrast with Obama's running-mate selection of Joe Biden, a longtime U.S. senator whose foreign policy credentials and working-class roots seemed to fill important gaps in Obama's resume and political style.

That is not to say that voters always want the deliberative approach. McCain's popularity stems partly from his independent style, whereas Obama has been accused of being too professorial and failing to connect with middle-class voters on a personal level.

Still, for McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and has had bouts with the most serious form of skin cancer, the priority in his running-mate selection was picking someone voters could envision becoming commander in chief should something befall him as president.

Or so it had seemed.

As of midweek, according to GOP sources, Republicans believed that the Arizona senator had narrowed his choices to more-seasoned contenders: Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Pawlenty, popular with conservatives, was viewed as the safe bet; Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, would have angered the party base but was generally considered qualified.

How McCain settled on Palin, whom he first met six months ago, remains a mystery outside his small inner circle of advisors.

She doesn't seem an ideal fit for a campaign that has focused intensely on foreign policy expertise and has attacked Obama for his relative lack of experience in that area.

At 44, she is three years younger than Obama and 21 years younger than Biden. She was elected governor in 2006 and formerly was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 7,000 or so.

McCain apparently made his decision after a telephone conversation with Palin last weekend and a face-to-face meeting Thursday at his home in Sedona, Ariz.

"On its face, it looks like a gut decision," said a Republican strategist who requested anonymity when discussing McCain's judgment. "But it also speaks to a very hyper-political decision. Obviously, he doesn't have any history with Sarah Palin. He doesn't know her. It seems to be a calculated push toward gaining women voters."

Another Republican with close ties to the McCain campaign said Friday that the pick reflected McCain's penchant for going with his gut -- even if such gambles can lead him to the wrong choice. The Republican felt uncomfortable repeating talking points distributed by the McCain campaign, which argued that Palin's role as commander of the Alaska National Guard and her Army son's imminent deployment to Iraq makes her "ready to be president" and helps her "understand what it takes to lead our nation."

"This is a guy who takes big gambles," said the Republican, who requested anonymity when talking about McCain. "But we're talking about somebody who is 72 running for president, and I don't know if you gamble with those decisions, do you? It's not like he was 20 points behind."

The surprise pick underscored a go-it-alone style that often has alienated McCain's Senate colleagues -- and left them scratching their heads.

Many Republicans struggled Friday to praise McCain's choice, simply because they knew little about Palin. In one awkward exchange on CNN, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who had been mentioned as a dark-horse candidate, said she didn't know the Alaska governor.

Hutchison was one of several Republican women who had been mentioned as possible running mates for McCain, including former business executives Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.

Democrats on Friday said McCain had passed over more qualified contenders, such as Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine.

Polls show that McCain could improve his standing among women.

Though he is winning 47% of the white female vote, there is room for him to exploit the disaffection of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton backers who have not warmed to Obama. And Palin could win McCain more support from working-class women.

But it is not clear that Palin would pull in voters who had been drawn to Clinton's advocacy for women's rights -- including abortion rights -- and her decades of experience.

Palin began her courtship of that constituency Friday, invoking the legacy of Geraldine Ferraro, who, as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984, became the first woman to run on a national major-party ticket. Palin also pledged to finish Clinton's work and "shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."

If she succeeds in drawing more female voters and gains acceptance as a potential commander in chief, Palin's selection will have paid off. But if her image wilts under the most intense scrutiny of her life, McCain's gut could prove to be his downfall.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

John McCain’s Sweet Ride

Lobbyist’s Plane Flew Saudi Royals after 9/11

by Daniel Hopsicker
Mad Cow News
February 27, 2008

The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 airliner (727PX) which ferried Senator John McCain on four occasions during his Presidential run in 2000 also flew Saudi Royals out of the U.S. right after 9/11, carrying an entourage of Saudi Royals from Las Vegas to London six days after the 9/11 attack in a controversial operation later scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission.

The 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who provided and flew with McCain on the plane.

With hundreds of air charter companies and airliners to choose from, the Saudis chose a company that owns “Worship Ministries” and Christian Network, Inc., turning to Paxson Communications, a “Christian broadcaster” which owned the plane, to make its corporate jet available to spirit the Saudi princes and their entourage out of the U.S. six days after 9/11.

The Saudi Royal party made good their escape from Las Vegas on an airliner sporting a Christian symbol of peace, a dove, on it’s tail, an intriguing detail and compelling human interest story—Muslims flying Air Jesus—that has to date been reported nowhere but in the MadCowMorningNews.

Go figure.

"Red-carpeting the entourage"

At the time, the controversial evacuation of rich Saudis prompted charges of special treatment and inadequate screening of passengers by the FBI.

The FBI, of course, denied it, but in uncharacteristically colorful language.

“I say baloney to any inference we red-carpeted any of this entourage," an FBI official wrote in a 2003 internal note.

“Red-carpeting the entourage” may be the least of it.

The McCain lobbying scandal has been called as “silly as a blonde joke,” and an “assault on working women,” although the nature of the ‘work’ being engaged in by the working women under assault was left unspecified.

But it may not be as silly as it appears on the surface.

You can learn a lot about the players in political scandals these days by remembering the catch phrase from the old TV show Fantasy Island, which each week had an improbably-dressed midget in a tuxedo calling out:

“De plane, boss! De plane!”

Lobbyist Vicki Iseman, McCain's very own “Campaign Suicide" Blonde, nestled cozily beside Big John McCain on a 727 tricked out to suit the garish tastes of Saudi Royal Princes.

A year later this same plane will become one of six flying Saudi evacuation flights which would be scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission.

The connection between the Saudi Royal Family and a company that owns “Worship Ministries” and Christian Network, Inc. is not immediately apparent.

Senator & Buxom Blonde Take Mile-High Sweet Ride

But first, let’s hear some more about the sex.

The female Washington lobbyist alleged to have been Senator John McCain’s jet-setting paramour is described in some accounts a “bright, energetic woman who made her way from the farms and coal fields of rural Pennsylvania to the ruthless environment of Washington.”

Spun another way, Iseman is “blond, buxom, & three decades younger” than horny old goat McCain. (Her lobbying firm tried to take her bio off their website, but nothing stops the WayBack Machine. )

Most speculation has focused on the obvious…Did they or didn’t they?

Did the duo take a mile-high sweet ride?

Here we’ll admit to an editorial bias. We certainly hope so. It would clear up a pressing question about McCain's candidacy for President: "Is McCain too old to be President?"

Watch out, Bob Dole

Not. It’s a win-win for Big John...

Because even if the 71-year-old lawmaker didn’t sleep with an attractive blond 30 years his junior, he is being looked at with new respect by older male voters whose allegiance is key to Republican hopes in the fall.

Also, when Bob Dole “shuffles off this mortal coil,” Big John will be nicely positioned for a lucrative spokesperson contract touting Viagra.

Truth be told, maybe we’re just jaded, but we're not really feeling it for what we've heard so far. So on this one, we’ll take the high road, we think.

A woman with a burning desire, and a man old enough to be her grandfather. Its not all that titillating.

Its... its icky.

McCain also leaves us feeling embarrassed for our entire unimaginative gender because of the unfortunate resemblance—about which neither woman can be pleased—between Vicki the “Campaign Suicide Blonde” and the Senator’s current wife Cindy.

This does not speak well for McCain’s ability to think “outside the box.”

Think "The Getaway" meets "Sheiks on a Plane."

Now let’s take a look at ‘da planes.’

In the worst possible way, they wanted to get out of Dodge.

The Saudi Royals and their entourage in Vegas were understandably anxious to get out of the U.S. in a hurry in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

What aroused suspicion was the 9/11 Commission Report’s unusually terse statement and non-committal language when discussing the provenance of the Saudi flight out of Vegas.

They never named the owner, as they did with the other planes involved. The 9/11 Commission's addendum on the Saudi flights names the owners of the other airplanes involved, but neglects to mention that Saudi Royals escaped on a plane belonging to a Christian broadcaster.

Saudi Princes Fly "Air Jesus"

They called it “Chartered Flight B 727-21, Tail Number N727PX.”

On September 20, 2001, 18 members of the party of Saudi Prince Abdulmajeed Bin Abdulaziz departed from Las Vegas, Nevada, for Stamstead, England aboard a chartered B 727-21, tail number 727PX, destination Stamstead Airport (London) England,” read the Commission addendum on the Saudi flights.

“Before departure the aircraft was swept, perimeter security was provided, and all persons boarding were matched to previously provided passports and a manifest by agents of the USCS.”

The 727 that ferried both John McCain and Saudi Royals actually belonged to Vicki’s boss, Lowell “Bud” Paxson, whose Paxson Communications owns a down-market Christian broadcaster called PAX-TV.

Paxson was Miss Vicki’s biggest client. Nothing wrong with that.

As it happens, “Air Jesus” was in good company.

Two others of the six flights scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission were flown by air contractors known to be involved in CIA renditions on planes whose flight logs recorded trips to Guantanamo Bay, where the CIA’s detention facility was doing brisk business.

Two of the six, in other words, were CIA planes.

Maybe that's what stole Ohio for Bush in 2004

A third plane belonged to an unlikely player, the national carrier of the African nation of Gabon.

Or rather from its President, a friend of Jack Abramoff's so close and personal that his checks usually had six zeros in them.

Abramoff was at that time still at liberty, not yet a felon (a convicted one, anyway), and probably still thought of the "Big House" as Aaron Spelling's mega-mansion in Beverly Hills.

Omar Bongo is President-for-Life (bien sur!) of Africa's beyond-corrupt Republic of Gabon. He seems an unlikely personage to pop up in an aviation-related story. But what he lacks in aviation credentials he more than makes up for with his close ties to Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Bongo paid Abramoff $9 million for the promise of an Oval Office meeting with President Bush.

And in May 2004, he got a 30-minute meeting in the White House with George W. Bush.

A win-win situation for both sides, no doubt. The $9 million would have sure come in handy to help grease things during the brouhaha over the flawed Presidential election in Ohio.

"Guido, Rachid, Rachid, Guido"

All of the planes we've looked at so far that were used, along with McCain's lobbyist squeeze's 727, on Saudi evacuation flights. All had, and have, interesting associations. But only one of the planes is, well, you know... officially connected.

To the Mob. The owner is a very close personal friend of the biggest crime boss in New England.

The six planes scrutinized for flying Saudis out of the U.S. share heavy political connections at the top end of American political life, and have more in common than can be accounted for by chance.

Where does the plane McCain and his lady friend flew on fit in? What’s a religious broadcaster doing in such motley company?

Christian broadcasters wouldn't seem to have a lot in common, just as organizations, with the CIA, the Mob, and disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Registered lobbyist for Netherworld, Inc.

Was John McCain’s use of this particular plane pure happenstance? Did the Saudis charter PAX-TV’s 727 by mistake?

Answers could help clarify whether this is a sex scandal, a corruption scandal, or even a scandal at all.

There’s something slightly sinister about "Campaign Suicide" Blonde Vicki Iseman’s corporate client list. She and Tampa-based lobbying firm Alcalde & Fay service a roster of companies comprising a “Who’s Who” of a peculiarly American netherworld...

Gambling casinos and Saudi money mingle with covert operations of the CIA, felonious schemes of Republican lobbyists... even a television network responsible for the scurrilous Swift Boat documentary that sunk John Kerry’s chances for the Presidency in 2004...

They rep the brother of a Saudi billionaire wanted for securities fraud, cruise ship lines making billions a year but paying no American taxes…A broadcasting network, Sinclair, responsible for producing and airing the “documentary” that swift-boated John Kerry’s Presidential ambitions in the 2004 elections...

Were there hidden connections between the companies on the client list of comely blond lobbyist Vicki Iseman's client list?

Companies secretly allied in some non-SEC-approved way?

Mogul "found God in Vegas hotel room"

And a Christian network, PAX-TV (now ION) whose offerings stand out as having been exceptionally tawdry even in the notoriously heavily-mascaraed field of religious broadcasting.

Paxson Communications amassed more than 70 television stations in five years, the biggest collection in the nation, with access to about three-quarters of all US homes.

His religious ventures were always ambitious, if rarely in good taste…

He even started his own “mega-church” in Jupiter, Florida. The improbably named “Christ Church of the Palm Beaches” was first set to open on the site of the former Palm Beach Jai Alai fronton.

The best of both worlds: Pari-mutuel betting and Sunday services.

When that deal fell through, Paxson next eyed Burt Reynolds' defunct Carousel Jupiter Theatre, and while waiting for repairs to be completed, an informal bible study meeting called "Cappuccino and Christ," launched next door at the Jupiter Beach Resort.

And then there's that mental image of Lobbyist Vicki the “Campaign” Suicide Blonde nestled cozily beside Big John McCain on a 727 tricked out like a whorehouse to suit the garish tastes of Saudi Royal Princes.

Jesus would be proud.

Hickory dickory dock, the Diceman joins the flock.”

Its a heady mix, even before adding in PAX-TV’s roster of stars so faded they didn't even get calls to fill-in when someone gets sick on Hollywood Squares anymore. Many had documented substance-abuse problems where the ultimate outcome was always very much in doubt.

There were Stacy Keach and Anthony Michael ‘Detox’ Hall, “plumping for the Lord.” PAX-TV even took celebrity casting to new non-denominational lows, with a show about coming to Jesus through the joy of Jewish cooking. Called “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” it starred Andrew 'Dice' Clay.

It is a remarkable web of connections…

The lobbyists behind repeated referendums pushing for legalized casinos in Florida, billionaire weapons merchant Adnan Khashoggi’s brother, Essam, owner of Earthshell (whose bright idea it was to manufacture biodegradable cheeseburger wrappers for McDonald’s)... even former lawmakers whose legislative "achievements" included slipping into law provisions making possible today’s multi-billion dollar offshore gambling industry in Florida.

Did we mention, by the way, that this casino industry is completely unregulated?

An almost all-cash business?

And once again we are back to Jack Abramoff.

What about the guy who wrote checks for the hit?

In several different ways, Paxson Communications and Jack Abramoff’s “people” have, shall we say, “close business ties.”

Currently winding out, the Abramoff Scandal will not have run its course until the completion of the upcoming trial of three New York Mafia Gambino Family members for the murder of casino ship line owner Gus Boulis.

Paxson and Abramoff are connected though Gus Boulis.

Gus Boulis owned a dozen casino gambling ships parked at ports around Florida. The casinos, to this day, are completely unregulated. No one know how much money they take in every day.

Of this figure, the daily take, which nobody knows, no one knows who gets what. A cash business with nobody looking over your shoulder...

Jack Abramoff coveted Gus Boulis’ casino business in the worst possible way. So he "supposedly” duped an otherwise savvy Chicago hedge fund named Citadel Investment into lending him $32 million to purchase Boulis’ fleet of a dozen unlicensed offshore gambling vessels.

Dead men don't need 'walking around' money

Then, in relatively short order, having been paid no more than a mere pittance of the agreed-upon sale price, Gus Boulis was dead.

When Paxson’s Pax-TV fell on hard times several years ago, and the firm was in danger of being declared bankrupt, the broadcaster was rescued by a timely investment from the same hedge fund in Chicago, Citadel Investment, that loaned Jack Abramoff $32 million to purchase a fleet of a dozen unlicensed offshore gambling boats owned by soon-to-be-murdered gambling mogul Gus Boulis.

Damn. Abramoff again.

The real question in the McCain scandal isn’t about whether McCain had sex with an attractive blonde female lobbyist, or whether he improperly intervened with letters to Federal Agencies on her client’s behalf.

Both are so commonplace as to barely qualify as news.

Chilling thought: Jack Abramoff might have been fronting planes for the CIA. That's certainly an awful thought, well-worth being hidden...

The prospect seems almost too awful to contemplate.

What would Jesus say?


Monday, August 25, 2008

CNN's King, Blitzer selectively cited poll showing less support for Obama among Clinton backers

Media Matters
August 24, 2008

Summary: On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer and John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post.

On the August 24 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer and chief national correspondent John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post. An "analysis" of the poll similarly stated that "70 percent of [Clinton supporters] are for" Obama.

King asked Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), "Where has he [Obama] failed?" King then cited the finding in the Journal/NBC poll that "almost half of Hillary Clinton's voters at this moment in time say they are not prepared to vote for Barack Obama." Blitzer later referred to the Journal/NBC poll in an interview with Terry McAuliffe, who was national chairman of Clinton's campaign, saying:

"That's almost half, right there, who aren't ready to commit to Obama. There's frustration, there's anger among a considerable chunk of Hillary Clinton supporters." Neither King nor Blitzer mentioned the Post/ABC poll.

Earlier, on the August 24 edition of ABC's This Week, Post columnist George Will also cited the Journal/NBC poll. But in response, host George Stephanopoulos mentioned the Post/ABC poll, saying, "[O]ur poll shows that only three in 10 aren't for him." Similarly, on the August 24 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said many of Clinton's supporters "are still mad.

You've got this Wall Street Journal poll that shows only 52 percent now support Obama."

Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs responded, "Well, let's be honest, Chris. The Washington Post and ABC came out with a poll today that shows more than -- it shows 70 percent of Hillary Clinton voters supporting Barack Obama, the highest water mark since she suspended her campaign in June."

From the August 24 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:

KING: But, Senator, help me understand. What would your advice be to Barack Obama? Where has he failed? If you look at a poll today -- latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, for example -- 21 percent of Hillary Clinton's voters in the primaries, those blue-collar Democrats, say they will vote for John McCain. Twenty-seven percent say they're undecided. That is almost half of Hillary Clinton's voters at this moment in time say they are not prepared to vote for Barack Obama. What is he doing wrong?

BAYH: Well, I think our convention will give us a big opportunity to reach out to those people. Hillary, as you know, is going to be 100 percent for him. I spoke to her last night. She wants to do whatever she can to help him get elected, because she knows that he is the right change for America, too.


BLITZER: You've seen that Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that asked Clinton supporters what their inclination is right now. Fifty-two percent of them said they'd support Obama. Twenty-one percent said they'd support McCain. Another 27 percent are still undecided. That's almost half, right there, who aren't ready to commit to Obama. There's frustration, there's anger among a considerable chunk of Hillary Clinton supporters.

McAULIFFE: And I think, Wolf, for a lot of them, they were hoping that Hillary would become the vice president, so I think they were waiting to see the announcement. Now that Senator Biden has been picked, now we move forward to the general election, and I think we're going to be able to bring all those folks in as we move in to the general election.

Clearly, people are disgruntled with where George Bush has taken this country, and they know the stark differences between having a President McCain and a President Obama. And all the people who supported Hillary -- it was about health care, it was about fighting for our children and education, and it's going to be a stark difference as we head into the fall. So I'm very confident that the people will come in. It's going to take time, but you know what? Wolf, you know as well as I do, it was a 17-month primary campaign. It was very close. Hillary got 18 million votes. It's going to take some people some time, but in the end, we're all going to come together. We're Democrats; we want to take this country in a new direction. Senator Obama's pick today was Senator Biden -- was spectacular. He adds so much to the ticket, and I think it's a dynamite ticket.

From the August 24 broadcast of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

COKIE ROBERTS (ABC News political analyst): I think that a lot of -- the media loves this story because it sort of keeps the fight going. And the Republicans love this story. And the fact that they were actually putting out ads saying "Hillary didn't get it" is showing you how much it's working to -- they think it's working to their advantage.


WILL: The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that only half of the Hillary supporters say they're now supporting Obama, and one in five say they are supporting McCain.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what an opportunity for Barack Obama. I mean, look at this: He's coming into this convention -- in our poll shows that only three in 10 aren't for him. He's only getting 79 percent of Democrats. If he does one thing in this convention, if he unifies the Democratic Party, he will have -- I know David Axelrod doesn't want to say it -- he'll have a 12-point lead.

From the August 24 broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Why shouldn't Clinton supporters be angry?

GIBBS: Look, I think Clinton supporters are united in the thing that unites all the people in this convention. We need change; we can't have more of the same. I think it's a better question that's directed to the McCain campaign. They know that that ad is demonstrably false. They know that Hillary Clinton is supporting Barack Obama.

WALLACE: But wait a minute. He did-- she didn't get an interview. She didn't get consulted on the pick. She had 18 million supporters. A lot of them are still mad. You've got this Wall Street Journal poll that shows only 52 percent now support Obama --

GIBBS: Well, let's be honest --

WALLACE: I mean, I don't have to tell you, the party is not united.

GIBBS: Well, let's be honest, Chris. The Washington Post and ABC came out with a poll today that shows more than -- it shows 70 percent of Hillary Clinton voters supporting Barack Obama, the highest water mark since she suspended her campaign in June.

There's no question that people have -- people had strong feelings about their nominee. We had a race that was unparalleled virtually in this party. We went from beginning to end. We have the strongest party. We have the most enthusiastic voters. Look, I think the process that went on was a fair process that came up with as good a pick -- and the best pick that we could possibly have. I'm interested seeing how John McCain conducts this process.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

US Patriotic Techs
Please apply for voting machine tech temp jobs

Widest possible distribution needed.

From Black Box Voting
August 24, 2008

Please do spread this in blogs

This post will no doubt produce howls of objection for the vendors that read it. Black Box Voting is encouraging all individuals with a technical background to search and apply for temporary tech ELECTION SUPPORT jobs for the November 2008 election.

Hiring is underway for temporary technicians to help with voting machines this fall. Vendor dependence is undermining the structure of US elections, as described here in the new report by

We want to see You, the People, enter into the vendor mix directly.


In a presidential election year, voting machine vendors will hire and train thousands of technicians staffed around the country. For example, anywhere that Election Systems & Software has a machine, they are under contract to provide an on-site support tech.

Hart Intercivic, Premier (Diebold), and Sequoia also use Election Day support technicians.

Temporary election tech support jobs have been spotted on,, and local tech temp firms like (in 2006) DecisionOne. The tech services firm may be a subcontractor for the big four voting machine companies. Sometimes you'll find the positions advertised by your local county.

Sites like have you register in their E-tech database. They search for techs based on skill set and area. There isn't much in the way of a skill set needed for the election projects.


Anyone with tech skills interested in safeguarding the November election is encouraged to register at technical recruiting sites and apply for any election-related projects.


This November, there may be no better way to watch the behind-the-scenes process than to be a stagehand, so to speak.

It is not the vendor, and not the government, that has the right to elections information, it is the PUBLIC. Citizens have inalienable rights to sovereignty over the government they created and pay for. These rights cannot be honored without mechanisms to see all information related to elections, and ultimately, to have control processes that honor citizen sovereignty.

That said, it ain't gonna happen this November. Therefore it is entirely appropriate, patriotic, and important, for citizens to apply for temporary positions as voting machine technicians to provide inside public oversight for the process.

There will be nondisclosure agreements, which are not appropriate at all for public elections, but it's a reality now that vendors are trespassing on citizen right to know. There may be issues that arise which the public clearly has a right to know. When that happens, a decision must be made.


We have already been in communications with other patriotic volunteers who have successfully obtained these positions in the past, and are doing this for November.

THERE ARE ALWAYS WAYS TO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT ISSUES IF THEY ENDANGER THE PUBLIC GOOD. You, the People, are needed on the inside of the elections industry this November.

This is a public service bulletin from Black Box Voting.

Black Box Voting Tool Kit 2008 - free download here:

Empower more election watchdog actions:

Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton WA 98057


Hacker makes more than 400 overseas calls from FEMA phone system

Canadian Press
Aug 20, 2008

A hacker broke into a US Homeland Security Department telephone system over the weekend and racked up about $12,000 in calls to the Middle East and Asia.

The hacker made more than 400 calls on a Federal Emergency Management Agency voicemail system in Emmitsburg, Md., on Saturday and Sunday, according to FEMA spokesman Tom Olshanski.

FEMA is part of Homeland Security, which in 2003 put out a warning about this very vulnerability.

The voicemail system is new and was recently installed. It is a Private Branch Exchange, or PBX, a traditional corporate phone network that is used in thousands of companies and government offices. Many companies are moving to a higher tech version, known as Voice Over Internet Telephony.

This type of hacking is very low-tech and "old school," said John Jackson, a St. Louis-based security consultant. It was popular 10 to 15 years ago. Telecommunications security administrators now know to configure security settings, such as having individual users create unique passwords and not continue to use the password assigned to users in the initial setup.

"In this case it's sort of embarrassing that it happened to FEMA themselves - FEMA being a child of DHS, with calls going to the Middle East," Johnson said.

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Yemen are among the countries calls were made to, Olshanski said. Most of the calls were about three minutes long, but some were as long as 10 minutes.

Sprint caught the fraud over the weekend and halted all outgoing long-distance calls from FEMA's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg.

FEMA's chief information officer is investigating who hacked into the system and where exactly the calls were placed to. At this point it appears a "hole" was left open by the contractor when the voicemail system was being upgraded, Olshanski said. Olshanski did not know who the contractor was or what hole specifically was left open, but he assured the hole has since been closed.

In 2003, Homeland Security and the FBI investigated multiple reports about private industry being breached by these types of hackers.

"This illegal activity enables unauthorized individuals anywhere in the world to communicate via compromised U.S. phone systems in a way that is difficult to trace," according to a department information bulletin from June 3, 2003.

Copyright © 2008 Canadian Press


Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Central Valley, the Ruins of the Housing Bust

By David Streitfeld
New York Times
August 24, 2008

Ellie Wooten, the likable mayor of this likable Central Valley city, is on her way to the office when her cellphone rings. A constituent wants her mortgage payments reduced, and is hoping that the mayor has some clout with her lender.

Although Merced has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, this borrower isn’t in such dire straits. She’s not even behind on her mortgage. But her oldest daughter is turning 18, which means an end to $500 a month in child support. She just wants a better deal.

The mayor hangs up and shrugs: “It’s a surprise her daughter is turning 18? You’d think she could have planned ahead.”

But hardly anyone in Merced planned very far ahead.

Not the city, which enthusiastically approved the creation of dozens of new neighborhoods without pausing to wonder if it could absorb the growth.

Certainly not the developers. They built 4,397 new homes in those neighborhoods, some costing half a million dollars, without asking who in a city of only 80,000 could afford to buy them all.

Obviously not the speculators turned landlords, who thought that they could get San Francisco rents in a working-class agricultural city ranked by the American Lung Association as having some of the worst air in the nation.

And, sadly, not the local folk who moved up and took on more debt than they could afford. They believed — because who was telling them differently? — that the good times would be endless.

“Owning a home is the American dream,” says Jamie Schrole, a Merced real estate agent. “Everybody was just trying to live out their dream.”

The belief that this dream could be achieved with no risk, no worry and no money down was at the center of the American romance with real estate in the early years of this decade, and not just in Merced.

How long will the economy have to pay the price for that illusion?

The experience of Merced, which rose higher and fell faster than nearly anywhere else, suggests that recovery from the national real estate debacle will be painful and protracted.

In the three years since housing peaked here, the median sales price has fallen by 50 percent. There are thousands of foreclosures on the market. The asking prices on those properties are so low that competitive bidding, a hallmark of the boom, is back.

But almost no homeowner can afford to sell. If you cannot go as low as “the foreclosure price” — the cost of a comparable bank-owned house — real estate agents say you might as well not even bother listing your home.

And so most people do not: three out of four existing-home sales in Merced County are now foreclosures, the highest percentage in the state, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

The only group for whom selling makes sense, real estate agents here say, are the elderly entering assisted-living facilities, who often have decades of appreciation built into their home’s value.

As Merced goes, so might go much of the nation. With as many as 2.5 million homes in the United States entering foreclosure this year and, at best, sales of only five million existing houses, the foreclosure price is becoming the rule in many areas. In Los Angeles County, whose 10 million people make it the most populous county in the United States, a third of the sales are foreclosures.

Local markets will not truly begin to recover until their foreclosures are absorbed, but just as few in Merced saw reasons for caution at the height of the boom, hardly anyone is optimistic now. Bank repossessions are accelerating as overleveraged owners see the value of their properties sink. Merced County had a record 523 foreclosures in July, quadruple the rate of a year earlier, according to DataQuick.

The repossessions are accelerating as overleveraged owners see the value of their properties sink and can find no way out.

Beverly Red, the woman who called the mayor to get a better deal, says she started working months ago to renegotiate her loan into something she could better afford on her receptionist’s salary. No one takes her seriously, she says, because she is not behind on her payments, which, of course, is exactly what she is trying to avoid.

“This has been my home for 10 years,” says Ms. Red, a divorced mother of three. “It won’t be good for me, or my neighbors, or the bank, or Merced, if I lose it. Yet that’s where I’m headed. It’s very frustrating.”

THE boom here allowed some people to become rich overnight and gave many more the idea that they could do it, too. Ms. Schrole, a single mother of four, succumbed to temptation too late: she bought a home as an investment, sold her own home, bought a much more expensive one, and lost both. “I was stupid,” she says. “I didn’t get in until things started to tank.”

Ms. Schrole is in bankruptcy. Other homeowners are taking their declining fortunes into their own hands. On a recent Sunday evening, an extended family of a dozen children, teenagers and adults is unloading a U-Haul into a house in a two-year-old subdivision called Summer Creek.

The patriarch takes a break from wrestling with a refrigerator to explain he has abandoned his house a few miles away and is now renting this nearly-new five-bedroom.

The result, he says happily, is a drop in his monthly housing bill to $1,200 from $3,400.

Somewhere a lender is recording yet another foreclosure.

Businesses in Merced are struggling. Downtown buildings are festooned with “for lease” signs. Unemployment, consistently high here, rose to 12.1 percent in July.

Among those trying to adapt to this miserable new time is the mayor. Mrs. Wooten, 74, has been selling real estate for three decades. In the old days, she worked for people selling their boom-inflated homes and moving into something better. Now she mostly represents banks, selling their foreclosures. She has 27 at the moment.

In her windowless city office, she takes a call from a man in Seattle who is interested in a 1947 home in bad repair in a bad neighborhood, but which has a large yard for his dogs.

In November 2005, the house sold for $126,000. The bank, which took it back last spring, is asking $59,000. The Seattle man offers $40,000.

The mayor says the lender is not desperate enough to take that big a haircut. “Not going to happen,” she says. “Not this year.” She laughs. “Call me in January and I’ll let you know.” Mrs. Wooten is wearing a red shirt that says, “Merced: Invest in California’s Future.” Which is pretty much how all the trouble began.

Starting in 2000, investors came over the mountains from San Francisco, up Interstate 5 from Los Angeles and out of the woodwork from many a surrounding hamlet. Over the next five years, prices in Merced rose 142 percent, a growth rate that ranked it in the top five communities in the country, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

One thing above all drew the investors: the prospect of a University of California campus on the edge of Merced, the first new campus in the state system in 40 years. They envisioned something resembling Davis, another Central Valley university town.

The University of California, Davis, however, has more than 30,000 students and is within easy reach of San Francisco and Sacramento. U.C. Merced, which opened in 2005, has fewer than 2,000 students and isn’t near much except Modesto. Instead of students or professors renting their houses, speculators say, they had welfare recipients or no one.

Many in Merced blame out-of-town buyers, who at the peak made up more than a quarter of the local market, for their current woes.

Now there are investors again. Mark Seivert, an accountant who lives in the neighboring town of Atwater, didn’t buy anything during the boom. Anyone, he says, “could have figured out that too much inventory and not enough bodies was a recipe for disaster.”

This summer, the numbers are sweet. He is working on a deal for a short sale, in which a lender agrees to let a house go for less than it is owed in return for getting the property off its books immediately.

Mr. Seivert is going after a house that the owners bought 13 years ago for $86,000 and refinanced six times, taking advantage of rising values to get cash that, in part, they spent on the house. It has a pool with a small waterfall, a TV room in the converted garage, a deluxe outdoor barbecue setup and a kitchen with all the latest gadgets.

The owners, who owe $350,000, can no longer make their mortgage payments. Mr. Seivert is negotiating to buy the house for $170,000 and then rent it back to the couple, who have jobs in the area. They will pay $1,100 instead of their current $2,600 a month.

“This could be a win-win,” the accountant says. “In four or five years, when their credit is better and the market has recovered, I’ll sell the house back to them.”

Longtime renters are also seizing the moment. Sally Johnson just bought a house that had been foreclosed at the edge of Bellevue Ranch, a huge master-planned community north of town. She paid $164,900, half the price the previous owners paid two years ago.

The market is “probably going to go lower,” says Ms. Johnson, who works at a local jewelry store. But time is on her side: She got a 30-year fixed-rate loan. The landscapers will be by shortly to breathe new life into her golden lawn.

Next door is Sheng Lee, who bought at the top with a “pick a payment” loan, which allows borrowers to make less than their fully amortized payments, but only for a few years. Since Mr. Lee, a high school aide, doesn’t have enough equity to refinance, he now needs a loan modification or a miracle. “I’ll try my best to pay my mortgage, but if not I’ll have no choice to leave like the other people,” he says.

Mr. Lee harbors no bitterness that his new neighbor got a slightly smaller house for half the price. “It’s her luck. Why would I be mad at her?” he asks. He brought her fried rice and noodles as a house-warming gift.

Another neighbor, Van Lewis, fits somewhere in between Mr. Lee and Ms. Johnson. He also bought two years ago, but says he is in a position to ride out the slump. “You have to plan for the long term,” he says. “If you don’t, the short term can kill you.” In any case, he adds, he has “too much stuff” to ever go back to an apartment.

Opposite their houses is an immense scrubby field. Until recently, it was overgrown, and Mr. Lewis says he has seen evidence of fires started by youths or vagrants. “There were supposed to be stores and a fire station over there,” he says with more resignation than anger. “We could all march down to city hall and picket, but what’s really going to happen with that?”

Things could be worse. Crime is up only marginally. There has been no major upswing in homelessness; the theory around city hall is that foreclosed families are either renting or have left the area.

Yet things may well become worse soon. During the good times, Merced built up a $17 million rainy-day fund. Now the city has a revenue shortfall. “We’ll bridge that gap by using the reserves,” says James Marshall, the city manager, “but over time the bridge ain’t long enough.”

FLIPPERS and speculators who had nothing invested in Merced beyond money were the first to abandon the community.

Many real estate agents and loan brokers, their customers gone, soon followed. So did commuters who thought they could spend four hours a day making round trips to the San Francisco Bay Area. And the spinners, young men and women hired by the developers to stand at intersections and literally point the way to the new developments, disappeared.

Now developers are pulling out.

Pacific Pride, a Central Valley developer, announced plans to build a 124-house neighborhood but gave up after paving streets and installing a wall as a partition from the railroad tracks.

Graffiti runs the length of the wall. The site was declared a public nuisance by the city last winter. Messages left on a voice-mailbox belonging to Pacific Pride were not returned.

Moraga, built by Lakemont Homes of Roseville, Calif., was designed to include 500 luxury homes that ranged in size up to 3,500 square feet, boasting such amenities as butler pantries, double ovens, master suites with walk-in closets, five-foot-long soaking tubs and three-car garages.

The subdivision centerpiece, completed first, is an expansive and pleasant park, with two baseball fields, basketball courts, a picnic area and children’s playground. All that’s missing are many houses. Only about 24 were built. One was just listed as a foreclosure for $219,000, a deep discount to the already discounted price of $310,000 for that model. The Lakemont agent says that there have been no sales for a long time.

At least Lakemont is still keeping up appearances. At Gardenstone, part of the Bellevue Ranch development, the doors of the sales office are covered with plywood, as if a big storm were coming. A few blocks away is Riverstone, probably the bleakest Merced subdivision. A dozen houses were started here and then the construction workers went away. The wooden frames have been bleaching in the sun and sand for more than a year.

Both Gardenstone and Riverstone are the work of Crosswinds Communities, a developer based in Novi, Mich., that is owned and run by Bernie Glieberman. Reached at his office, Mr. Glieberman is asked if he and his fellow developers perhaps got a bit —

“No question,” he interrupts enthusiastically. “I would never deny we all got greedy. Everyone was setting records. Nobody was there to take away the punch bowl.”

He was selling houses for $300,000. That means a buyer would have needed a household income of about $100,000 to comfortably make the payments. But Merced’s per capita income of $23,864 ranks among the lowest for metropolitan areas in the country. “None of us paid much attention,” Mr. Glieberman says.

Yet he says the real problem was not over-eager developers but underhanded buyers — which is to say investors.

“We didn’t know we were selling to speculators,” the builder says. “They swore they were going to live in the houses.” He says he found out otherwise only after the plunge began and people started trying to get refunds on deposits of as much as $60,000.

Some said that they had lost their jobs, others that there were illnesses in their families. And some said they should get a refund because, as investors instead of owner-occupants, they should never have been allowed to buy the house in the first place. By then, it didn’t matter. Crosswinds didn’t refund any deposits.

Mr. Glieberman says that he intends to come back and finish those houses, that he is confident Merced will turn around.

For that to happen, banks will have to become more willing to lend. At the moment, however, they’re growing ever more reluctant.

Consider the experience of a couple moving to Merced last month from a nearby town. Their mortgage broker set up a Federal Housing Administration loan for them, which meant that it would be guaranteed by the federal government.

To finance the loan, the broker went to the HSBC Mortgage Corporation. At the last minute, HSBC said no, giving reasons that had nothing to do with the couple’s finances or their new house.

“Property is unacceptable due to high foreclosure rate and volatility of subject market,” HSBC informed the couple via fax. Apparently, even a government guarantee wasn’t enough.

Such emphatic declarations bode ill for a recovery, says Robert Gnaizda, general counsel of the Greenlining Institute, a housing advocacy group. “If a few institutions take the position that prices in the Central Valley are still excessive and they need to wait to finance houses there, you’ll have the total collapse of the market.”

A spokeswoman for HSBC says it has financed 36 mortgages in Merced County this year but declined to comment on the fax.

THE real estate boom, while it lasted, made Merced prosperous. Now the question is what can make it thrive once more, presumably on a more sustainable basis.

The university is an asset that will take time to develop. This is excellent farm country, but these days agriculture is not an occupation that creates a broad middle class.

Wal-Mart Stores is proposing to build a distribution center in Merced, but there is a movement against it among residents who say that trucks shuttling around the complex will worsen the breathing problems of the city’s children. Merced County has one of the highest percentages of asthmatic children in the state, according to a 2001 state health survey. Many children carry inhalers to help them breathe.

In the midst of all the wreckage caused by the real estate boom and bust, some think that they have found a way forward: build more houses, thousands and thousands of them.

On the western edge of Merced County, near the Diablo Range that separates the Central Valley from the Pacific Coast, is a stretch of empty land that a coalition of landowners has wanted to build on for years. The plan calls for the eventual construction of a city of 16,000 houses called the Villages of Laguna San Luis.

In many ways, the idea makes sense. The pass over the mountains is winding and slow, but if a proposed high-speed train is ever built, the Villages could end up being a bedroom community for San Jose. By 2025, California is projected to grow to 44 million people from the current 37 million. They will need somewhere to live.

This summer, the Villages came up for a vote with the Merced County Planning Commission. Cindy Lashbrook, a commissioner who is a fruit-and-nut farmer, says the project was basically well thought out. But all the cars that came with all those new houses would cause even more pollution. And in a state suffering from drought, where would the water come from?

“We have to stop thinking that more growth is always the answer,” Ms. Lashbrook says. “We have more housing than we need. We need jobs.”

She voted against the project, which faltered on a 2-to-2 split, with one commissioner absent. That meant supporters could bring it up again before the full commission, which they did. They won the second round, 4 to 1.

Rudy Buendia, the commissioner who dissented along with Ms. Lashbrook on the first vote, was in favor the second time around. Reached on his cellphone, Mr. Buendia said he was out hanging drywall on a construction project and did not have time to talk.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Anthrax ambiguities

August 12, 2008

Everybody knew that the FBI could easily determine the source of the anthrax used in the attack, but the FBI was always coy about the results of its investigations.

In order to create a 'lone nut' hypothesis, the FBI needed to put raw anthrax spores in the possession of the nut, and the patsy had these spores as a result of his employment at Fort Detrick.

With the collapse of the ridiculous FBI theory that he weaponized the spores by himself in his spare time, we have, for the first time, official U. S. government admission that the anthrax came from Fort Detrick.

The necessity of finding a nut with plausible access to anthrax finally required the FBI to end the government-protecting ambiguity with respect to the source.

Whether Fort Detrick could weaponize the spores or not, we can be certain that they were weaponized at some U. S. government lab, in an operation requiring considerable expense and a considerable number of man-hours.

This was no rogue operation.

The conspirators were very sophisticated, but did a lousy job at pretending to be Islamist terrorists.

In fact, that angle was played up by the disgusting American media simply to create the predictable immediate panic (and play into the Islamophobic meme required by Bibi Netanyahu's 'war on terror', which is itself just an advertising campaign for the Wars For The Jews).

Of course, the main point of the exercise was to scare Democratic senators into supporting the Patriot Act (itself not just a law, but an expression of the same Islamophobia).

An attack by Islamist terrorists would have little effect in convincing these senators to support the Patriot Act.

On the other hand, an attack by weaponized anthrax which could only have come from a U. S. government lab and was directed at specific senators at a time when they were being sceptical about the Patriot Act carries an unambiguous warning, a warning which was heeded.

The lousy job at pretending to be Islamist terrorists was intentional. Americans were supposed to believe it was an Islamist attack; the specific senators were supposed to read the signs and see it as a specific attack from the Bush Administration with a warning of what might happen to them should the Patriot Act not be passed.

The kind of people who would mount a lethal biowarfare attack agianst American civilians just to make a political point are not the kind of people you want to cross.


Is there anything you wouldn't believe?

August 08, 2008

I'm sorry, but I can't help mulling over the preposterousness of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins.

The anthrax attack was made with state-of-the-art - let me correct myself, beyond-state-of-the-art - weaponized anthrax.

The Russians couldn't have made it, the Chinese couldn't have made it, hell, even the Iraqis (ha!) couldn't have made it. Only one tiny group of people in the world could have made it, a handful of scientists at . . . Fort Detrick.

I hate to even bring it up, but developing this expertise is completely illegal under treaties signed and ratified by the American government.

The main point is that the manufacturing process needed to make this stuff was beyond the ability of anyone other than a tiny number of American scientists, and Bruce Ivins wasn't one of them.

The case against Ivins is based entirely on (questionable) DNA analysis which is said to prove that he had custody of a flask of the base anthrax material from which the weaponized powder was made.

How do we get from anthrax spores to weaponized powder?

According to the FBI, Ivins made it all by himself in his spare time at night. Ivins was an immunologist.

He worked on vaccines.

He had neither the expertise - remember, it is beyond-state-of-the-art - nor the equipment to turn the spores into weaponized anthrax.

It is as if he was trained as an accountant and the FBI told us his night-time hobby was brain surgery.

Or better, manufacturing gasoline out of crude oil in the oil refinery he built in his lab, without anybody noticing.

Or better, manufacturing gasoline out of crude oil in the oil refinery he built in his lab, using beyond-state-of-the-art refining techniques developed over years of experimentation, without anybody noticing.

And yet, we're told he must have done it, as he had custody of the flask.

Others, some of whom were part of a team that actually had made beyond-state-of-the-art weaponized anthrax based on years of (illegal) experiments using the most sophisticated equipment and techniques, also had access to the contents of the flask, but they have been 'ruled out'.

Somehow Ivins, without training in the right field, the proper equipment, years of (illegal) experiments, and a team of scientists, turned the contents of his flask into beyond-state-of-the-art weaponized anthrax in his spare time at night without anybody noticing.

On top of this, he did it without getting any of the notoriously hard-to-contain spores on himself or his car or his home.

If you believe this, is there anything you wouldn't believe?

I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.


New high-level nuclear waste dump could be slated for the South

August 12, 2008
Facing South

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is in the process of selecting at least two rural U.S. communities to serve as potential dump sites for highly radioactive spent fuel from the nation’s nuclear power plants.

The NEI refuses to identify the communities being considered or even say what region they are in.

But while a representative of the group has said New England is not a candidate, he refuses to say the same about the South.

He recently disclosed to a reporter from Connecticut that her region was not home to the communities being considered, according to a spokesperson for watchdog group Beyond Nuclear.

NEI initially considered seven sites and narrowed the choice to two, Beyond Nuclear reports.

The communities under consideration already have nuclear installations of some kind.

The sites would serve as storage facilities for the spent fuel currently being stored on the grounds of nuclear power plants until – and if – the U.S. Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain highlevel radioactive waste dump opens in Nevada.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Now We Know
The Anthrax Attacks Were an Inside Job

Bush moves to clean up before leaving office.

by Stephen DeVoy
August 2, 2008

The first of the anthrax letters were sent on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the events of 9/11 (the same day I wrote the essay: Is This the Dawn of an Orwellian Police State?).

Immediately after the attacks of 9/11, yet before the anthrax attacks, many individuals within the government and the media were warned of impending anthrax attacks, told to procure Cipro and, in some cases, start taking it preemptively.

These warnings came from "high government officials."

We know now that the anthrax used in the attacks came from the super secret and locked down facility in Maryland known as Fort Detrick. You can be certain that the weapons of mass destruction held at this facility are maintained with a high level of security. After all, there are few things more dangerous to human life than bioweapons.

Nevertheless, anthrax was removed from the facility with the purpose of terrorizing Americans and targeting enemies of the Bush Regime within the press, media and the government itself.

The Bush Regime knew, in advance, of the anthrax attacks and warned certain individuals in advance. Bruce E. Irvins, apparently one of the team of individuals asked by the Bush Regime to carry out the attacks, was rewarded for his efforts with the bestowal upon him of the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, the U.S. Army's highest honor for civilian workers.

The targets of the Bush Regime's terrorist attacks included the Senate Majority Leader of the opposing political party, Tom Daschle and liberal Senator Patrick Leahy, both opponents of George Bush.

We can only speculate that these attacks were either an attempt to assassinate or intimidate these opposition leaders and to terrorize the American people into accepting the new dictatorship. The anthrax used was of a strain directly traceable to Fort Detrick.

It was weapons grade and could not have been manufactured at such a level of quality by someone outside of the bioweapons field. This fact was initially suppressed by a deliberate campaign of subterfuge by the terrorist cell at Fort Detrick.

Who did the FBI send the samples of the anthrax to for evaluation?

They sent them to the terrorist cell at Fort Detrick. The terrorist cell at Fort Detrick responded by providing an intentionally bogus analysis of the anthrax specifically designed to implicate Iraq, a nation uninvolved with the anthrax attacks and uninvolved with the events of 9/11.

It is well known that the Bush Regime had been planning an attack on Iraq long before the events of 9/11. The anthrax attacks were used to manufacture a false belief that Iraq had attacked the United States.

The FBI needed a scape goat for the attacks and they chose Steven Jay Hatfill. Various members of the terrorist cell at Fort Detrick implicated Hatfill in the press and then the FBI declared publicly, with no evidence, that Steven Jay Hatfill was a "person of interest" in the case.

After years of never finding any evidence that could be used against Hatfill, the case against him was dropped and Hatfill successfully sued the FBI, winning on June 27 of this year a settlement of $5.8 million dollars.

This successful counter move by the patsy chosen by the government to take the fall embarrassed the FBI. They needed another person on whom to pin the attacks.

They had to chose someone within the terrorist cell at Fort Detrick to take the fall (after all, only they had access to the anthrax) and they had to be certain that the chosen fall man would not be able to speak in his defense, so they involuntarily committed him to psychiatric care, hooked him up with a consoling facility which specializes in giving patients opioids, ostensibly to help them fight addiction, and created the conditions under which someone in a position of power above him could accuse him of stalking her, have him declared homicidal, and basically "nuts."

The man they chose was Bruce E. Ivins. Two days before he was scheduled for a court hearing regarding the alleged stalking, Ivins killed himself with a bottle of pain killers someone had prescribed him (exactly the same kind of substance for which, the clinic that he was assigned to, aims to provide detoxification services).

In my personal opinion, it appears that Ivin's suicide was designed and managed by someone who wanted him to take the fall and his knowledge of what really happened to the grave. Now we are being told that this case is over and that the families of the victims have closure.

We are supposed to believe that Ivins was a lone nut acting on his own. I don't buy the official story. All of the evidence says that Ivin was part of a government directed terrorist cell and that his death is the cover up.

Supporting Links;,0,4036779.story


Friday, August 01, 2008

Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use

DEA, White House say marijuana dangerous, has no accepted medical use. Decriminalization advocates say marijuana laws should mirror alcohol laws. NORML spokesman says marijuana user arrested in U.S. "every 38 seconds". HR 5843 would not affect laws on growing, importing, exporting marijuana

(CNN) -- The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said on Capitol Hill. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use -- and not the abuse -- of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution resulted in legislation.

Watch Frank lay out the proposal »

The Drug Enforcement Administration says people charged with simple possession are rarely incarcerated. The agency and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have long opposed marijuana legalization, for medical purposes or otherwise.

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the drug control office.

"Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science -- it is not medicine and it is not safe," the DEA states on its Web site. "Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers."

Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, likened Frank's proposal -- co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas -- to current laws dealing with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is permitted, and the government focuses its law enforcement efforts on those who abuse alcohol or drive under its influence, he said.

"We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers," he said.

St. Pierre said there are tens of millions of marijuana smokers in the United States, including himself, and hundreds of thousands are arrested each year for medical or personal use. Is it time to legalize pot?

There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965, he said, and 11 million since 1990, and "every 38 seconds, a marijuana smoker is arrested."

Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for "all violent crimes combined," meaning police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.

"Ending arrests is the key to marijuana policy reform," he said.

Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, and Barbara Lee, D-California, said that in addition to targeting nonviolent offenders, U.S. marijuana laws unfairly target African-Americans.

Clay said he did not condone drug use but opposes using tax dollars to pursue what he feels is an arcane holdover from "a phony war on drugs that is filling up our prisons, especially with people of color."

Too many drug enforcement resources are being dedicated to incarcerating nonviolent drugs users, and not enough is being done to stop the trafficking of narcotics into the United States, he said.

Being arrested is not the American marijuana smoker's only concern, said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance Network. Those found guilty of marijuana use can lose their jobs, financial aid for college, their food stamp and welfare benefits, or their low-cost housing.

The U.S. stance on marijuana, Piper said, "is one of the most destructive criminal justice policies in America today."

Calling the U.S. policy "inhumane" and "immoral," Lee said she has many constituents who are harassed or arrested for using or cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. California allowsmedical marijuana use, but the federal government does not, she explained.

House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would express support for "a very small number of individuals" suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity.

According to NORML, marijuana can be used to treat a range of illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and seizures.

Frank, who is chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said that about a dozen states have approved some degree of medical marijuana use and that the federal government should stop devoting resources to arresting people who are complying with their states' laws.

In a shot at Republicans, Frank said it was strange that those who support limited government want to criminalize marijuana.

Asked whether the resolution's passage would change his personal behavior, Frank quipped, "I do obey every law I vote for" but quickly said he did not use marijuana, nor does he encourage it.

"I smoke cigars. I don't think other people should do that. If young people ask me, I would advise them not to do it," he said.

If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams -- about 3½ ounces -- of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the "nonprofit transfer" of up to an ounce of marijuana.

The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.

All About MarijuanaMedical MarijuanaBarney FrankU.S. House of Representatives