Category Archives: Politics

politics and all that comes with it

Electronic Voting Does Not Equal Good Voting

Why in an age of super computers and space ships we cant seem to get a simple thing like voting is beyond me. Seems that a guy in California found out that Diebold was going to use voting machines that were not certified so he took the documents that prove it and showed them to the world. You are saying to yourself “what a hero, he should be lauded for his bravery!” Right? Well think again, he is being charged with theft and going to get the shaft. What the fuck people. We are in bad shape if our elections are no longer free, fair and open.

from here.

A word processor accused of stealing damaging documents about electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems was arraigned Tuesday on three felony counts.

Stephen Heller was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court with felony access to computer data, commercial burglary and receiving stolen property. He pleaded not guilty.

It’s a devastating allegation for a whistle-blower,” said Blair Berk, Heller’s attorney. “Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections.”

The charges arise from Heller’s alleged disclosure two years ago of legal papers from the Los Angeles office of international law firm Jones Day, which represented Diebold at the time. Heller was under contract as a word processor at Jones Day.

The documents included legal memos from one Jones Day attorney to another regarding allegations by activists that Diebold had used uncertified voting systems in Alameda County elections beginning in 2002.

In the memos, a Jones Day attorney opined that using uncertified voting systems violated California election law and that if Diebold had employed an uncertified system, Alameda County could sue the company for breaching its $12.7-million contract.

The documents also revealed that Diebold’s attorneys were exploring whether the California secretary of state had the authority to investigate the company for alleged election law violations.

The Oakland Tribune published the legal memos on its website in April 2004. By then, the issue of whether Diebold used uncertified systems was already receiving widespread attention, because many of its systems failed during the March 2004 primary. As a result, poll workers had to turn away some early voters in San Diego County, and Alameda County voters had to use paper ballots.

A subsequent report by the secretary of state’s office found that Diebold had marketed and sold its systems before gaining federal qualification and had installed uncertified software on election machines in 17 counties.

The company’s AccuVote-TSx model was banned in May 2004, but Diebold machines were conditionally recertified by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson last week for use in 17 counties for this year’s elections.

McPherson ordered Diebold to make long-term programming changes and submit the modifications to a federal panel for recertification.

The conditional recertification follows a turbulent history for Diebold’s electronic voting systems.

In November 2004, the company settled a civil lawsuit brought by two activists and later joined by the state attorney general after he dropped his criminal investigation of the company.

Diebold paid $2.6 million to settle the suit, which alleged that the company had sold its touch-screen voting systems to Alameda County through misrepresentations about their security and certification.

One of the activists, Jim March, said he was the person who actually turned over the allegedly stolen documents to the Oakland Tribune and the state attorney general’s and secretary of state’s offices.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, refused to call Heller a “whistle-blower.”

“We call him a defendant,” she said. “He’s accused of breaking the law…. If we feel that the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt in our minds that a crime has been committed, it’s our job as a criminal prosecutor to file a case.”

Although state law protects whistle-blowers from retaliation by their employers, they can still be criminally prosecuted, said Tom Devine, legal director at the Washington, D.C.-based Government Accountability Project.

“It’s very rare that it’s successful,” he said. “It’s a tactic where the primary goal may be to scare other would-be whistle-blowers rather than a realistic attempt to obtain a conviction.”

Heller’s preliminary hearing date will be set at a trial conference April 24.

If convicted on all three counts, he could face up to three years and eight months in state prison, Gibbons said.

Its Almost Official

So a lot of people have said that Iraq is really a civil war, well its all but official now. With the recent attack on the golden dome, and the reprisal on dozens of rival holy sites, you can pretty much assume that the shit has hit the fan. These are not the kind of people that take the destruction of their holy sites laying down, you blow up mine, I blow up yours, then you blow up another one of mine because I blew up yours, so you blow up two of mine and one of my politicians…and on and on and on.

This is not good, we have our hands in the hornets nest, and we are going to continue to get stung until we do something about it. Are young men and women are going to continue to be killed unless we do something soon, and this means we need new leaders. New leaders that have the skills and brains to figure out the problems of this new world, the old “blow it up, steal all the money, hide it all” technique is not going to work.

The day after a bomb on a Baghdad street killed 23 people, another bomb in the mainly Sunni city of Samarra destroyed the golden dome of one of the Al Askari Mosque, one of the holiest Shiite shrines in Iraq. The Associated Press reports that although no one was killed in the blast, the destruction of the mosque’s dome sparked demonstrations and calls for revenge.

“This criminal act aims at igniting civil strife,” said Mahmoud al-Samarie, a 28-year-old builder. “We demand an investigation so that the criminals who did this be punished. If the government fails to do so, then we will take arm and chase the people behind this attack.”

Read more here. and here.

Tens of thousands of furious protesters have staged demonstrations across Iraq after a bomb explosion badly damaged one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam.

Dozens of Sunni mosques are reported to have been targeted and six Sunnis killed in revenge attacks after a gang blew up the famous al-Askari shrine in Samarra during a dawn raid Wednesday — destroying the shrine’s famous golden dome.

It was the third major attack against Shiite targets this week and is certain to enflame tensions between the majority Shiite and minority Sunni populations in the war-torn country.

Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told Al-Arabiya television the attack was an attempt “to pull Iraq toward civil war.”

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite Muslims, appealed for calm and called for a week of mourning.

Meanwhile, angry protests erupted in Shiite parts of Baghdad and in cities throughout the Shiite heartland to the south.

Residents of the holy city of Najaf closed their shops and gathered in the city’s 1920 Revolution Square to vent their anger.

The shrine is one of two tombs in Samarra, just north of Baghdad, for revered Shiite imams and attracts pilgrims from around the world.

Suspicion

No group claimed responsibility for the shrine attack, but suspicion has fallen on Sunni extremist groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Iraqi television said several people had been arrested in connection with the bombing.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari urged all Iraqis to condemn the attack and urged both Muslim and Christian leaders abroad “to redouble their efforts to help the Iraqi government stop these saboteurs.”

The bombing came a day after at least 22 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a market in a Shiite neighbourhood of southern Baghdad.

The day before, 12 died in a suicide attack on a bus in the capital’s heavily Shiite district of Kazimiyah.

The al-Askari shrine is one of Shia Islam’s holiest sites. A mausoleum contains the remains of the 10th and 11th imams — reputed to be direct descendants of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Imam Ali al-Hadi died in 868 AD and his son, Hassan al-Askari, died in 874 AD.

The shrine’s famous golden dome was completed in 1905.

Before:
golden dome iraq

After:
golden dome iraq damage
golden dome iraq damagegolden dome iraq damage

The Poor Man

Seems now the guy Dick shot has had a heart attack. Poor bastard. If he dies will Dick have to step down? I figure he should step down anyway. Out of respect for the office, but you know he wont.

Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old lawyer shot by Cheney, suffered a mild heart attack after a shotgun pellet in his chest traveled to his heart, hospital officials said.

Whittington was moved back to the intensive care unit and will be watched for a week to make sure more of the metal pellets do not move to other vital organs. He was reported in stable condition.

Just hours earlier, the chief White House spokesman joked that the burnt orange school colors of the visiting University of Texas championship football team should not be mistaken for hunters’ safety gear.

”The orange that they’re wearing is not because they’re concerned that the vice president may be there,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan. ”That’s why I’m wearing it.”

Scott knew about the heart attack at the time he made these jokes, he didn’t tell the press corps about the heart attack, yet still made jokes about it. You have to wonder if the pressure of all thous lies is making him go nuts.

dick is a killer

Cheneys Got A Gun

So if it were not for the heroic hillbilly ramblings of a Texas ranch owner, it seems we would have never learned about Dicks little hunting accident.

Cheney chart

I find it highly interesting that the first VP to shoot a guy since Hamiltion, decided to not tell anyone.

The White House said today that President Bush was informed Saturday evening that Vice President Dick Cheney had shot a fellow hunter in South Texas earlier in the day, although the news was not disclosed publicly until Sunday afternoon.

The shooting, which occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, left a prominent Austin lawyer and Republican campaign supporter, Harry Whittington, wounded by shotgun pellets in the neck, shoulder and chest.

“Chief of Staff Andy Card called the president around 7:30 p.m. to inform him that there was a hunting accident,” a statement released today by the White House said. “He did not know the vice president was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the president shortly before 8 p.m. to update him and let him know the vice president had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington.”

In a contentious news briefing with White House reporters earlier about a subject that captivated the capital today, Scott McClellan, the president’s spokesman, said he himself did not learn until about 6 a.m. on Sunday that it was Mr. Cheney who had shot Mr. Whittington, 78, when the two were on a weekend quail hunting trip along with several others at the Armstrong Ranch.

If it really did take them this long to figure out something this simple , “Holy shit Dick shot that guy in the face, call the Karl Rove!” You can see how it is impossible for them to do things like defend us from natural disasters and find Bin Laden… Time to vote kids, time to vote as many times as they will let you. New senate + new house = IMPEACHMENT FOR THESE ASSHOLES!

Katharine Armstrong said she did not coordinate with the vice president’s office before calling the Corpus Christi paper. If Armstrong had not made the call, it is not clear when, if ever, the vice president’s office would have told the public about the incident. Asked what would have happened if the accident had happened another way — if, for example, Whittington had accidentally shot the vice president — the administration source told NRO that it would have been handled in a similar fashion. “The priorities would have remained the same — first medical care, then law enforcement alert,” the source said. Still, in the case of Saturday’s shooting, those matters were taken care of on Saturday, and the press was still not notified until after Katharine Armstrong made the decision to call her local paper.

shit eating grin
Watch CNN’s version of this.
Download this video here. (wmv)


Watch The Daily Shows version of this.
Download this video here. (wmv)

PS. Dick didn’t even have his fucking hunting license when he shot that guy.

If you want to read the accident file here it is (pdf)