Saturday, January 07, 2006

It Was a Very False Year: The 2005 Falsies Awards

The 2005 Falsies Awards

rewarding the Hypemeisters

Looting the treasury

the real scandal is hardly limited to one oily lobbyist and a handful of members of Congress with their hands out. Or even a score of congressional members, if it comes to that. What may become the true scandal of our day is the broad-scale evolution of power out of the hands of elected people and into the hands of countless lobbyists and behind-the-scenes power brokers.

this to from the piece:

In 1982, Congress included 12 "earmarked" projects in its appropriations. By 1998, there were 2,000 of them worth $10.6 billion, as reported by Kammer. In 2004, that number had tripled to 15,584 earmarks worth $32.7 billion.

Not coincidentally, the number of lobbyists in Washington - people whose livelihood depends on lining up earmarked pork for its lucky beneficiaries - has mushroomed, too. They have doubled in five years to 35,000 determined souls whose one job is to beat down the doors of the 535 elected members of Congress.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Does Pat Robertson speak for God?

Only God should decide if Israel should relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem, Robertson said, in a reference to Sharon's plan to pull out of Gaza next year.

"God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"

He said that in October 2004. Now with Sharon quite likely on his death bed, Robertson decidied to point it out as though this is the hand of God. Is God in deed talking to us thoughSharon's stroke.

Pat Robertson's clarificationof his views does not come right out and say it, but I think it is clearly his imlication.

Was 9-11 Hijacker hangin with top Republican fundraiser?

interesting how the same players keep showing up at the table:

Saleh Kamel, Terrorism, Abramoff & money laundering
Prior to the events of September 11th, 2001 chief hijacker Mohamed Atta and several of the other 9/11 hijackers were reported to have made multiple visits to the SunCruz casino cruise ship off the Gulf coast in Florida. [22] This has led some to speculate that Mohamed Atta was using the casino to launder money for al-Qaeda and that possibly Atta was involved in a scheme with Abramoff and the mob to smuggle heroin. [23] To date none of these allegations has been confirmed or investigated.

In 2002 Abramoff worked for the Global Council of Islamic Banks, whose chairman, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, was under investigation for allegedly funding terrorism and terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden

Now this doesn't prove a thing. But it raises some "anomalous evidence."
consider that Abramoff was one of Bush's "pioneers" which means he raised $100k for the Presidential campaigns.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

maybe we ought ot just forget about voting

The story is not about allegations of fraud — it's about an appearance of impropriety that is stunning in its magnitude.

Unfettered by any disclosure regulations about ownership or political affiliations, just a few companies create and control almost all the voting machines in the U.S. Do the people who own them have conflicts of interest? We don't know, they won't tell us. Do they employ anyone with a criminal record? We don't know, they say it's private. Can we have someone check the vote-counting code to make sure no one tampered with it? Nope, they say its proprietary.

Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election — and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America — is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group. The McCarthy Group has been a primary owner of Election Systems & Software, including its predecessor, American Information Systems for more than a decade. Michael R. McCarthy is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel. [See Hagel and McCarthy Documents] Prior to his election, Republican Senator Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company. In fact, he decided to run for office while his own company was making the vote-counting machines!

President or King?

The true genius of the US system as imagined by its founders - the understanding that any form of state power left unchecked in the hands of a single person or group of people was likely to degenerate into despotism (or worse), whatever the initial desires of the individuals involved.

It doesn't matter if Carter or Clinton had similar programs, which I'm not sure has been shown. What is most important is that the slide toward an "imperial presidency" be stopped. If we continue to sit and idly watch the growth of the executive branch, i fear that we are setting our selves up for dictatorial rule. Bush bashing aside, if it happens tommorow or 15,20 even 30 years from now, someone will find the power too tempting. With each succesive deferrence to the Executive, we limit our ability to stop it.