Sunday, June 5, 2005

Q1: Will Bush be impeached Monday?

The Internet and global press have been abuzz about something called The Downing Street Memo, written in July 2002 and recently released in Britain: ["The secret Downing Street memo"].
In the memo, British intelligence officials claim that the Bush administration was rigging intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. Here is the suspected incriminating segment of the memo:
"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
This memo has been virtually ignored by the mainstream press in the U.S. and a Google of the words "Downing Street Memo" pretty much proves this, even though the story was broken in early May in the British press and clearly affected that country's election cycle since Blair barely hung on to keep his seat [Isn't it interesting that we hear everything about the Royals but nothing about this? We heard about Charles' second wedding to the woman whose tampon he once said he wanted to be; we still hear about Diana, almost eight years after her death; but nary a word about this].

 Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has a site explaining what he believes the memo shows: ["The Downing Street Memo"] and even counts the days that he has been waiting for the Congress to investigate the issue.
And now, Mass. Sen. John Kerry - according to Al Jazeera and NewsMax, what a news combo there - will issue an impeachment filing on Monday: ["John Kerry to call for impeachment of George Bush"]. Ralph Nader also wrote a piece calling on Bush to be impeached which was published in, of all places, the Boston Globe, the same place that has pilloried Nader for the last six years: ["The 'I' Word"].
I don't know if this is true that Kerry is actually going to do this - who can say what is the truth anymore. And Kerry will probably chicken out because he is a soulless yuppie and never does anything for anyone but himself.
But should the losing candidate from the last election actually be the one to do this? Tell Teddy K. to do it for goodness sake! The Dems are going to get flogged for this even if it might be the right thing to do. I mean, if Clinton can get impeached for lying about oral sex and prejuring himself like an idiot - and he should have been impeached for at least the illegal bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, as some of us suggested here: ["Impeach Clinton for the right reasons"] - surely someone in the Bush administration should get politically whacked for this horrible invasion and for the needless lost lives.
But maybe this isn't about the corporate, mainstream media ignoring the story but instead, the problem of the sourcing of the memo and hence, the story. This memo isn't from Condi Rice to George Bush; it's from British intelligence to British intelligence, saying that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam" and "The NSC had no patience with the UN route." This is one person's opinion about what he reportedly heard at a meeting. It is third-hand at best.
Now, it might be correct; but it might also be dead wrong. I don't believe it is wrong. I would bet that whoever "C" is, he has the story right. It was clear that we should have never invaded Iraq. But this doesn't mean that what C wrote was actually what happened or that his perceptions are accurate. It is his opinion; nothing more. I'm sorry, but this seems like a big mistake.

However, in the same Downing Street memo, there is this:
"The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections."
This is very interesting and brings to light suspected activity by the United States months before the official "Shock & Awe" assault, as noted by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation this week: ["The Other Bomb Drops"]. If this is so, then maybe there are grounds for impeachment; not because they rigged the evidence but because they took action without the consent of Congress. The consent of the United Nations isn't needed but is always a good thing to strive for in the global community. But in the end, Bush will survive because Clinton survived. There aren't the votes for impeachment, the Republicans control both the Houses of Congress, and the American people are not mad enough yet about the death of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. This isn't 'Nam and the media is virtually silent.

Q2: Is vote fraud possible?
Well, Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho seems to think so. In fact, he let those "crazy" people over at Black Box Voting - who have had their theories debunked again and again - check out his county's Diebold voting machines and see if they were riggable.
As I have always been saying, the machines weren't riggable; however, the results were able to be tampered with and changed. The complete story is here: ["Test shows voter fraud is possible"] and the actual report from the Sancho: ["Special Report: Black Box Voting Attempts to Penetrate The Leon County Florida Optical Scan Voting System."].

Here are some relevant points in the article:
"The group wasn't able to crack the Diebold system from outside the office. But, at the computer itself, they changed vote tallies, completely unrecorded."
Yes, everyone knows this. You can go in and mess with the Access file and change the votes tabulations. But you have to have access to the Access file! The only people with access to the Access files are the election officials or their employees. Or, you have to hack into the master computer of every election official and town clerk in the country at the exact time they load in the computer card totals into the master computer. It's just physically not possible. And, as everyone knows who watches elections, precinct workers print out the tally sheets at the polling locations and call the results into the town clerk's office before the computer cards are brought into the clerk's office to be checked. Next point:
"They made their first attempts from outside the building. No success."
Of course not. As I have written before, for the most part, the optical scanning machines are stand alone. They aren't hooked up to any phone lines or modems although in Leon County, they seem to be hooked up to a phone line, which they shouldn't be. The Black Box Voting folks keep saying that the Diebold machines are hackable through computer modems even though every machine I have seen is stand alone. However, even with the Leon County machines having phone wires, the Black Box clan was unable the hack into the voting machines. Many of their theories were debunked again. Now, the next point is interesting:
"Then, they sat down at the vote-counting computers, the sort of access to the machines an employee might have. For the crackers, security protocols were no problem, passwords unnecessary. They simply went around them.
After that, the security experts accomplished two things that should not have been possible. They made 65,000 votes disappear simply by changing the real memory card - which stores the numbers - for one that had been altered. And, while the software is supposed to create a record whenever someone makes changes to data stored in the system, it showed no evidence they'd managed to access and change information. When they were done, they printed the poll tapes. Those are paper records, like cash register tape, that show the official numbers on the memory cards."
So, what they have proven is that elections officials - or people with access to the computers - can go in and change the results. Well, we all already knew that. And, in fact, there have been allegations of this happening all over the coutry for decades. It is no different than stuffing a ballot box with fake paper ballots or allowing illegal aliens to vote or dead people to vote or people voting twice: ["Two Plead Guilty to Voting Twice in 2004"] Shock. Horrors. Do a Google and find out how many of these types of people have been sent to prison for rigging elections and you will be shocked how often this happens.
There are bad people in this world. But that doesn't mean that optical scanning machines - with paper ballots - can't be trusted. And, it doesn't prove the main theory of this group - that the voting machines are hackable from the Internet so that conservative Christians can win elections, as noted on their site. That has never been proven and it never will be proven. All the Black Box Voting folks have proven is the election officials can alter the results - not that the machines are hackable and riggable.
The statement in the special report on Sancho's site has two very good points: 1) "... the potential for internal sabotage does exist" ... again, internal sabotage, something that exists and has existed virtually everywhere during every period of American history; 2) "No internal manipulation of any computer or memory card can alter the votes on these paper ballots."
And that is just how it should be and that is why optical scanning machines should not be feared. Now all we have to do is to get election officials who can be trusted and we'll be all set: Quick results from scanning machines, paper ballots which can be hand recounted, and the elimination of internal sabotage which has always existed since the history of elections.

Q3: Was 'Deep Throat' really a hero?
Earlier this week, I called W. Mark Felt, the former FBI agent, a true American hero for his role as an anonymous source in the Watergate scandal. Well, maybe I was wrong about that - not because of Watergate but - because of other things. After reading Eileen McNamara here: ["Deep Throat is no hero"] I may have to rethink my comments.

Q4: Who's running?
["With no incumbent, Presidential race wide open"]
["Romney courts NH Republicans"]
["Still not running, Bayh bashes Bush"]
["Edwards Undecided About Running in 2008"]
["Which Brand Would You Buy?"]
["Could 2008 be Jeb vs. Hillary?"]

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