Democratic Senator Carl Levin has accused a Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, of distorting intelligence information to back claims of links between Iraq and al Qaeda in the run-up to last year's U.S.-led invasion.
A report issued by Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, also questioned assertions of pre-war links between Baghdad and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who since the invasion has emerged as a leader in the anti-U.S. insurgency.
A new website is at www.projectqed.org. The Project on Quality in Election Discourse rates election candidates on the substance and logic of their speech. ProjectQED, as it's called, aims to encourage meaningful public debate in elections for high public office.
Most recently, they have subjected the debate performances of the two presidential candidates, George Bush and John Kerry, to a test. It's a test which the group of judges, who are trained in philosophy, law, the humanities and the sciences, have developed. The results are available at the website. I guarantee that you'll find them extremely interesting.
"[Colin Powell] was less firm in expectations for elections by the end of January than he had been in the past, while in New York, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said elections were only ''technically possible'' by that target date.
Annan said the United Nations may not have enough staff in Iraq to help prepare for voting. In Baghdad, Iraqi authorities expressed concern that the lengthening unrest would discourage international monitors from going to Iraq.
But Powell was confident Iraqis would vote for democracy."
Powell has lost confidence that meaningful elections can take place in January, but he is confident that Iraqis will "vote for democracy". What the hell does that mean?
I'll tell you what it means. NOTHING, when it comes to the part of Iraq's population against which we're fighting today. We are simply front-loading corruption onto Iraq's democracy before it is ever naturally formed.
By its most basic definition, a democracy is 'government by the people governed'. We are fighting 'the people' of Iraq. 'The people' of Iraq live in Fallujah as well as in other cities, and they will soon die in Fallujah at our hands, in the name of an interim Iraqi government who are seen as our puppets.
(GO HERE to see the video "Digging for Bodies in Falluja"--definitely not a good campaign ad for Bush)
Is it our plan to kill off that portion of 'the people' of Iraq who would vote for representatives who would support the continued killing of our troops? What if we cannot kill enough of them before the election?
Will we be surprised when a majority of Shi'ites, who are the majority in Iraq, elect hard-line fundamentalists to represent them?
How will we expect them to treat the Kurds, who will be a minority in their democracy?
I sense, if we rush a January election, we will pull our troops out of Iraq and there will be more mass graves to contend with in another year or two.
Bush has lied to us about the reasons for going into Iraq, and now he has made a horrendous political mess of the entire situation.
As an American, I hang my head in shame for what Bush has done to our trusting soldiers, the American citizens, and the people of Iraq.
I believe there is great strength that can be shown in humility, and my fervent hope is that John Kerry is elected and empowered to turn the tide and bring a light of hope to those who understand that democracy is more than just a word or a term for a political whore to wield.
Who needs to elaborate, already? Saying the Iraq war was wrong is a "slam-dunk" comment, isn't it?
And, (omigawd!) Tenet came up with (choke) REASONS for the existence of terrorism and moral ways to ebb terror's wicked tide:
"Tenet said a developing nation's low per capita income, high unemployment among young men and high infant mortality rate strongly increase its likelihood of becoming a "terrorist safe haven."
"In 2010, 100 million people outside of Africa will be infected with HIV," Tenet said. "The secondary implications of this are staggering."
He said the work of public health officers, missionaries and literacy teachers in third world nations are crucial to the war on terrorism, because terrorists build supporters by spinning poverty as a form of humiliation caused by wealthy nations like the United States."
I'll bet this "Iraq war was wrong" comment will soon be all over the INTERNETS !
David Corn: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Visits the Spin Room
In case you missed it on Conan O'Brien's show last night, be sure to read about it.
-- TRIUMPH: A lot of people think [Bush] should appeal more to women because he's a douche. [laughter] I finally stopped you. You know what Bush won me over with? When he indicated that Kerry changed his mind. I think the 83rd time was finally a charm for me.
REPUBLICAN WOMAN: I think the most important time he changed his mind was when he refused to fund the troops in iraq, a critical situation for our country to be successful there. it's good to see you tonight.
TRIUMPH: Thank you for your time. Have a safe trip back to Stepford. [laughter]--
"I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions....I hope you all have noticed the Bush administration's style in the campaign so far. All negative, trashing Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Democrats in general. Not once have they said what they have done right, what they have done wrong or what they have not done at all...If we are indeed the party of Lincoln (I paraphrase his words), a president who deems to have the right to declare war at will without the consent of the Congress is a president who far exceeds his power under our Constitution.
I will take John Kerry for four years to put our country on the right path."
"In the battle of Fallen Timbers, it took but 40 minutes for "Mad Anthony" Wayne’s disciplined troops to bring to an end 20 years of border warfare. My hope is that Democrats will bring, in but one day, an end to four years of miserable failure in American leadership and partisan warfare."--Iddybud
What's Happening in Lucas County, Ohio?
There are things happening in Lucas County, Ohio, which are making me extremely nervous. Lucas County is situated at the western tip of Lake Erie and borders the state of Michigan. The county is home to Toledo, which rests upon on the historic Maumee River. It is the location of Fallen Timbers, which was one of the shortest and most significant battles in American history fought in 1794 between tribes of the Northwest Territory and the U.S. army, commanded by "Mad Anthony" Wayne. In that battle, it took but 40 minutes for Wayne’s disciplined troops to bring to an end 20 years of border warfare.
My hope is that Democrats will bring, in but one day, an end to four years of miserable failure in American leadership and partisan warfare. The prospects of the election being settled in one day are questionable right now, if we choose to believe the polls. A clear and decisive win by Kerry on election day would prevent corruption and chaos from seeping into the American election, as it did in 2000.
VP Dick Cheney appeared in Ohio yesterday at a rally and spoke of doom and gloom. He will make an appearance in Lucas County today. The news from this Ohio county is getting little play in the mainstream media, so I thought I would tell you a bit about what's been going on lately. Bear in mind, as you read, that this is just one county in America.
BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Election day is less than two weeks away. According to a report from ABC/Toledo, the Lucas County board of elections is playing "beat the clock." They still have to process thousands of new registrations and thousands of people are waiting to learn where they need to go to vote. Election workers estimate there are 10,000 new registrations that must still be processed. And there are less than two weeks left to get that done and then notify those people where they need to go to vote. On top of that, board of elections members are trying to understand election law in case someone's voting eligibility is challenged.
The Lucas County Board of Elections is bracing for a wave of challenges against thousands of registered voters that could keep them from casting ballots in the November presidential election. As many as 4,000 voters may be targeted for removal from the list of qualified voters because the board has found residential addresses on their registrations incorrect. [See Toledo Blade article]
The 4,000 registered voters may be the subject of what election officials are calling a "prechallenge" that could disqualify them from voting before Election Day. Once the County files the challenges, which could come by the end of this week or early next week, a public hearing is scheduled and a letter will be sent to the registered voters notifying them their right to vote is at risk and they must appear to defend themselves.
On Election Day, poll workers running the election can challenge any voter's legitimacy to cast a ballot.
The poll workers at the precinct ask voters they have decided to challenge questions to determine whether they should vote. The poll workers - two Democrats and two Republicans - then vote on whether the persons should get a ballot. If they tie 2-2, the challenge fails and the voter is allowed to vote. If the majority of poll workers vote to approve the challenge, the voters areoffered a provisional ballot.
The provisional ballot, however, will not be counted until after an investigation is completed following Election Day to determine if the voter was properly registered and eligible to vote.
Last Friday, the Lucas County and Ohio Democratic parties sued Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, accusing him of failing to enforce uniform standards for people who register to vote in the Nov. 2 election. It is believed that Mr. Blackwell is trying to make it more difficult for people to vote rather than making it easier. The lawsuit surrounds a problem with the Ohio voter registration form. It includes a space, "Box 10", for applicants to provide their driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. In a Dec. 31, 2003 memo to county boards of elections, Mr. Blackwell's office said, based on the federal Help America Vote Act (HAPA), voter registration applications can't be accepted if "Box 10" isn't filled out and the form is submitted in person at a county elections board, a public library, or a motor vehicle department. But, in that same memo, the secretary of state's office said if a person completes the same form by mail, he or she wouldn't have to check "Box 10". [Toledo Blade article]
Even more worrisome was a theft which took place sometime during the early hours of October 13. Thieves shattered a side window overnight at the Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, stealing computers with sensitive campaign information and triggering concern of the local party's ability to deliver crucial votes on Nov. 2. Among the data on the stolen computer of the party's office manager were: e-mails discussing campaign strategy, candidates' schedules, financial information, and phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers. Also taken were computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security.
The thefts have prompted the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Democrats in Washington to offer help and have left local officials fretting about the crime's impact on the upcoming election, in which Ohio plays a high-profile role.
Very little has been reported in the mainstream media about this theft.
Peter Jennings of ABC recently said he was nervous about the upcoming election. His concern is not that it might be delayed all night long on November 2nd. That would be okay with him. Jenning's concern is about a long, drawn-out presidential election battle and the effect it will have on our national institutions. Jennings says, "If we don't trust the voting system, then I think there's some danger we'll begin to question a lot of other institutions." Jennings said the media is included among the institutions that may get heightened scrutiny, and I think that's already happening.
Watching Lucas County, Ohio, I share Peter Jennings' concerns.
Remember, Lucas County is just one of many swing-state counties which may determine the winner in this race, if it's a close one.
I'm hoping it won't be a close race and that Kerry will win by an undeniable margin in the swing states.
• The art of stealing elections by Robert Kuttner
"THE REPUBLICANS are out to steal the 2004 election -- before, during, and after Election Day. Before Election Day, they are employing such dirty tricks as improper purges of voter rolls, use of dummy registration groups that tear up Democratic registrations, and the suppression of Democratic efforts to sign up voters, especially blacks and students.
• GOPers Assail Nation Institute by David Corn
"This past summer, the Senate intelligence committee released a report on the prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The report was an indictment of the intelligence community, noting that the community's critical findings on Iraq's WMDs were "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting." That was the big news: the war had been based on bad and overinflated intelligence. (And, by the way, Bush had even overstated the exaggerated intelligence.) But conservatives jumped on a portion of the report devoted to the Niger affair to mount an attack against Wilson. At the time, I debunked much of this assault in two columns (Click here and here). I didn't realize then that Representative J.D. Hayworth, a Republican from Arizona, and ten of his GOP House colleagues had written a letter to The Nation Institute to demand that the institute withdraw the award it had bestowed upon Wilson..."
• Desperate Measures by William Rivers Pitt
"In the last Presidential election, it was Florida that made the mess. This time, it could very well be Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and Nevada, and that's just for starters..."
• The End of Democracy
Losing America's birthright, the George Bush way by Rick Perlstein
"..Many among our Republican rank and file would have a hard time noticing anything amiss. These are the people who can say, as Richard Viguerie told the Voice, "If there's vote suppressing, nine times out of 10 it's going to be Democrats."A coup? Deep Faith is convinced some might even welcome it. "It makes me wonder, if something really bad happened, and the Bush administration was able to have a coup and be in permanent charge," he tells me, sinking into his living-room couch, scaring the hell out of me, "who among my folk would seriously protest, if they could get a slice of the pie? 'We could go in there and reverse all this judicial precedent we don't like!' " That Kingdom of God they keep talking about, he reminds us, the hunger for which is now the fuel of the Republican engine, "is not a democracy."
It's easy to vote absentee in Illinois if you meet certain qualifications, like being out of your home county on Election Day. It's also easy if you don't meet those qualifications: You just lie. In fact, greasy machine pols have been known to exploit the present system to cast "votes" for their entire block. Juliet Alejandre is one person who didn't qualify, and who wasn't prepared to lie. Going to school full-time and working nights, the single mother says that the last time she tried to vote she left much of the ballot incomplete because she was terrified her unminded toddler would fall off the stage upon which the booths sat. So with three other working moms, Alejandre sued in federal court to order the state legislature to revisit its horse-and-buggy absentee statute to make reasonable provisions—whether by extending voting hours, changing absentee requirements, or instituting a universal vote-by-mail system like the one that's worked well in Oregon.
This past Friday, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, a prominent conservative intellectual and vocal Bush supporter, handed down a capricious, flippant dismissal of the complaint, ignoring key portions of its argument and simply inventing others. (The plaintiffs wanted the court to "decree weekend voting," he fantasized, wondering whether a federal court would soon "have to buy everyone a laptop, or a Palm Pilot or Blackberry?")
Bad enough if it only affected Illinoisans. Here's the scary part: Posner worded his ruling in such a way to make it difficult for anyone to challenge any voting statute passed by any state legislature anywhere.
The decision is diabolical—a perfect counterpart to this season's Republican strategy of drowning voting-rights complaints in a sea of moral relativism. One example: A goal of the plaintiff's case was to stop existing fraud by making Illinois's vague and antiquated absentee regulations more uniform and fair. Instead, Posner argued that the plaintiff's commonsense request for a second look at the statutes opened the door to fraud.
The bottom line: Posner's precedent gives much more discretion to states like Ohio and Florida to take action to restrict voting opportunities, especially for working people. And it was handed down, conveniently, two weeks before Election Day.