US Election Fraud

Romney’s ties with voting machines makers raise alarms

October 22, 2012,

Producers and investors of voting machines that have previously shown susceptibility to fraud in Ohio have been found to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Romney campaign, raising concern about a dangerous bias in a major swing state.

Directors at Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems, were found donating vast amounts of money to the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Some of the company’s major investors are also big-time donors to the GOP campaign. Voters may feel uneasy because the voting machines produced by Hart Intercivic were found to be prone to corruption, according to an article written by Forbes contributor Rick Ungar.

A 2007 test by the Ohio secretary of state found that five electronic voting systems that were to be used in the 2008 election were vulnerable to fraud. These machines, produced by Hart Intercivic and employed throughout Hamilton County, were susceptible to malignant software and having their locks picked. A study testing the security of the machines found that hand-held devices were able to plug false vote counts into the machines.

Two members of Hart Intercivic’s board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have donated to the “Romney for President” campaign. Bohl gave the Republican nominee a total of $4,000. He also gave $250 to Barack Obama, perhaps after realizing the mistake he made, working for a company in which non-partisanship is important.

Additionally, one of Hart Intercivic’s main investors is HIG Capital, a multi-billion dollar investment fund with employees who are some of Romney’s wealthiest supporters. At least two of the five seats on the board of directors belong to HIG Capital. The investment fund’s founder Tony Tamer, along with three other HIG directors, are some of Romney’s most significant donors.

Douglas Berman and Brian Schwartz, two of those directors, were at Romney’s fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, on May 17. The cost of attendance was $50,000 per head. Overall, HIG is the Romney campaign’s 11th-largest contributor.

To make the association even more distinct, one of HIG’s investors is Solamere Capital, which was founded by Romney’s son, Tagg, and his campaign finance chair, Spencer Zwick. Many of Romney’s family members, including himself and his wife, have invested in the Solamere Capital.

No Republican candidate has ever won the presidency without winning the state of Ohio. With a state carrying so much weight in the election turnout, any potential bias among those who produce the voting machines could sound alarm bells, especially if the machines have previously showed signs of failure.

Hamilton County, where the machines will be used during the 2012 election, includes Cincinnati and is the third most-populous county in Ohio. It has a population of more than 800,000. Source

Vote rigging in machines

Rep. Tom Feeney (Fmr. Speaker of The House in Florida) employed this man from Oviedo, FL to rig elections and flip them 51% to 49%. Exit polling data was proven to be significantly different than the published results. Rep. Feeney was also the lobbyist for Yang Enterprises, the company who delivered the program.

Check http://www.ManifestLiberty.com for more!

Rigged Voting Machines!!!

Princeton University demonstration of a hacked Diebold electronic voting machine found on Princeton’s website.

DESTROY THE RIGGED VOTING MACHINES…AND RETURN TO PAPER BALLOTS!!!

 

 

Seems to me any voting machine can be hacked one way or the other.

They are just computers, run by computer programs. Nothing more nothing less. Voting machines cannot be trusted to give accurate results.

Programs can be created to do just about anything you wish.

Election fraud storm-clouds loom over US presidential race

Oct 21, 2012

By Kevin Barrett

If the Republicans steal another presidential election, this time from the first African-American president, and award it to a career criminal responsible for flooding America’s black neighborhoods with crack cocaine… America might experience a wave of protests that would make the aftermaths of the Martin Luther King assassination… look like a picnic in the park.”

Will Mitt Romney try to steal the US presidential election?
And if he does, will Americans — especially African-Americans — take to the streets?

These are the two key questions of the 2012 election season. Yet the mainstream media, owned by the same interests behind the “black-box” voting machines that manufacture election outcomes, won’t touch the issue.

Despite the thunderous silence of the media, all signs are pointing towards another neocon-Republican election theft attempt, like the successful ones of 2000 and 2004.

One warning sign: The appearance of blatantly fraudulent public opinion polls giving Romney a substantial lead over Obama. While all other polls show that Obama has enough of an edge in the swing states to constitute an electoral-college “firewall,” Gallup’s national polls — using a “likely voter” model that apparently posits an inverse correlation between voting and skin pigmentation — currently give Romney an edge of more than five points in the popular vote.

Why would the Republicans falsify a prominent national poll? To give Romney “momentum,” and create the illusion of plausibility when rigged voting machines hand him a “surprise victory.”

But why just one poll? Because it’s doable. Rigging ALL the polls is a herculean task, even for a party backed by the world’s biggest crime syndicate.

Is there any evidence that Romney will try to steal the swing states he needs to capture the White House? Unfortunately, yes.

Believe it or not, Romney actually OWNS the black-box voting machines that will fabricate — not count — the votes in Ohio, the most important swing state. (“Black box” machines are designed with no transparent link between the votes that go in, and the “results” that come out.)
As my recent radio guest Bob Fitrakis and two co-authors explain in their article Does the Romney Family Now Own Your e-Vote?

Will you cast your vote this fall on a faulty electronic machine that’s partly owned by the Romney Family? Will that machine decide whether Romney will then inherit the White House?

Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall’s election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who “owns” the White House.

They are especially crucial in Ohio, without which no Republican candidate has ever won the White House. In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee… (Read the complete article here.)

And it gets worse. Karl Rove and the Republican election fraud machine not only stole the 2004 elections, they murdered the computer expert who orchestrated the theft, Mike Connell, shortly before he was scheduled to testify in court against Rove.

Since the appearance of black box voting machines, a massive five-point gap has opened up between actual vote counts, as documented by exit polls, and the “official results” manufactured by the machines. In every single case, the five-point edge favors the Republicans. This should not be surprising, since the voting machines (like the votes they fabricate) are manufactured by Republicans.

Last summer, here in Wisconsin, the exit polls showed that Republican Governor Scott Walker did not win his recall election. But the black-box machines gave him the obligatory five-point Republican edge.

Former President Jimmy Carter says that American elections, unlike elections in banana republics, are so hopelessly corrupt that they are not even worth monitoring. Carter should know; he was overthrown in an “October Surprise” coup d’état by the Bush Crime Family in 1980, as revealed by former Bush Administration official Barbara Honegger.

Since the Republicans blatantly and shamelessly stole the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004, why did they refrain from stealing the 2008 elections? Perhaps Obama’s margin of victory was simply too wide for a “surprise McCain win” to be even remotely plausible. And perhaps they actually didn’t mind allowing Obama, a timid, compromising Democrat, to put anti-Bush-war Americans back to sleep for a few years.

There is one more factor that may have prevented an election theft in 2008, and might complicate one in 2012: The fear that Obama supporters in general, and black people in particular, might engage in widespread, unruly protests that would draw unwanted attention to the Republican election fraud machine.

As my Truth Jihad Radio guest John Hankey put it, African-Americans, unlike white liberals, are not “a bunch of pussies.” Kill white liberal heroes JFK and RFK, or steal the presidency from white liberals Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, or John Kerry, and the white liberals are too terrified to even whimper. Kill a black hero like Martin Luther King, or even just beat up an ordinary black guy like Rodney King, and African-Americans might just get angry enough to protest in a fashion that cannot be ignored.

If Romney steals the election, and African-Americans pour into the streets, they will be joined, at least in some areas, by angry whites, hispanics, and others.

After Rodney King was brutally beaten on-camera by police, I participated in the huge protests that shut down San Francisco’s Financial District. And I wasn’t the only white guy out there. All kinds of people — white, black, latino, male, female — took to the streets to make the owners of the Financial District take a multi-million-dollar hit, driving home the message that we weren’t going to stand for this kind of racist outrage.

If the Republicans steal another presidential election, this time from the first African-American president, and award it to a career criminal responsible for flooding America’s black neighborhoods with crack cocaine — an empty-suit android who perfectly embodies every negative stereotype about rich white guys, and then some — America might experience a wave of protests that would make the aftermaths of the Martin Luther King assassination, and the Rodney King beating, look like a picnic in the park. Source

Electronic voting systems for electorates have been in use since the 1960s when punched card systems debuted. Their first widespread use was in the USA where 7 counties switched to this method for the 1964 presidential election.

Here is a bit of history and a bit about the Voting machines and their problems. There are a few different types also covered.

Remember any machine can be tampered with.

Shouldn’t all Candidates be at All the debates?

There are more then two parties to vote for in the US. I guess this is just another way to suppress voters. This is what I call hiding the Other Presidential choices, from the people of the US.

Just another form of manipulation, against the people.

Police arrest US presidential candidate Jill Stein at debate site

Oct. 17, 2012

Police arrested Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, after they tried to enter the site of tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

The two were protesting against the exclusion of all but the two major political parties from taking part in the debate.

“Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala arrested, call tonight’s #debate a “mockumentary”,” said a tweet posted on her account.

The presidential candidate and her vice-presidential nominee were arrested by local police when they tried to enter the grounds of Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York, Stein’s campaign website says. The women were later released from police custody.

A video posted on YouTube shows police officers ushering Stein and Honkala away after they apparently tried to stage a sit-in.

The arrest comes after an announcement by the Green Party that the candidates will take “Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates” action on the night of the debate.

“Stein and Honkala will walk from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 2 PM to the debate perimeter at Hofstra, where they will then attempt to walk through security checkpoints and reach the debate hall,” read the release.

“This is a great day for democracy,” Stein told The Philadelphia Weekly by phone as she headed to the debate site. “It’s a great day for the politics of courage.”

The candidates claim that the Commission on Presidential Debates is an unfair entity formed by Democratic and Republican leaders designed to exclude any opposition.

Jill Stein is the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. A Harvard-educated physician, she also stood for election for Governor of Massachusetts in both 2002 and 2010. A staple of her campaign is the “Green New Deal,” a plan to recharge the US by giving “every American willing and able to work” a job on renewable energy projects in the country. She is backed by American leftist icon Noam Chomsky and acclaimed journalist and harsh critic of unregulated capitalism Chris Hedges. Source

All Presidential Candidates should be present for all debates, so the American people know they have other choices.

Not allowing them to be present, is not Democracy in action. All Candidates should be given a voice at all debates. No exclusions.

The American people should be angry, with this type of exclusion.

When other Candidates, are not allowed to speak this hurts all Americans. It also shows the manipulation during election debates.

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Philippines: Arrests, Torture, and the Presidential Election

By James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya

April 18th, 2010

The run-up to presidential elections is a time of heightened state-sponsored repression as Asia’s foremost ‘death squad democracy’ wages war on its progressive rural medical workers.

The notoriously violent and corrupt elections in the Philippines stand in sharp contrast with those in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia, where the ruling elites have secured their hegemony via economic prosperity, rising salaries, increased employment and extensive social services for their citizens. In these countries, the elite can abide by the results of a relatively ‘open’ election, whereas in the Philippines, any challenge to the closed, family-based ruling class is met with relentless terror.

In the Philippines, stagnation in the agricultural sector and a backward manufacturing sector, combined with electoral politics dominated by a coalition of landlords, warlords and oligarchic family clans, have led to mass poverty, deepening class inequalities and social polarization. The elites are unwilling to tolerate any challenge or movement for change. Since they have not been able to establish their legitimacy or hegemony via programs and policies which create rising prosperity for the Filipino masses, the Philippine political elite rely on the military and paramilitary to repress popular social movements, while their allies among the local warlords and clan leaders ‘deliver’ the votes.

Elections in the Philippines are violent contests between rival ‘oligarchic’ families – a pattern frozen in 19th century style rivalries – where guns and assassinations, as well as ballots, decide which ‘faction’ will rule. Political elites actually enlist the help of the local police, military, paramilitary and death squads to kill leading rival contenders, in order to ensure a ‘win’ for their candidates. The recent massacre of 57 civilians (including 30 journalists), on their way to register a local candidate by a warlord ally of the president, has ensured that the coming election will be among the bloodiest.

The primary challenge to the politics of the oligarchs in the Philippines comes from the independent social organizations. These community-based, grass-roots movements are engaged in organizing health programs as well as environmental and women’s organizations and human rights groups defending workers, peasants and social activists, along with class-based trade unions and organizations of small farmers and rural workers.

The ‘battle for votes’ among the elites is narrowly focused but intense: The perks of office and unfettered access to the public treasury is what sustains Filipino crony capitalism, despite the rhetoric of ‘free market’ and ‘private enterprise’. The electoral ‘process’ ensures the right number of votes for the right candidate through a combination of bribes, threats, violence and outright fraud.

The 2004 Philippine presidential race was the template for election in the ‘death squad democracy’: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s ‘victory’ was secured through an assassination and terror campaign against candidates and political organizers belonging to the sectoral ‘party-list’ parties representing marginalized groups, like the urban poor, workers, farmers, women and students and guaranteed in an unforgettable taped conversation of the President ordering her election commissioner(“Hello Garci”) to deliver specific percentages of votes.

While elite candidates compete with each other, they work together to oppose any popular social movements that emerge within their social and political domain; hence the unprecedented increase in repression as the electoral process unfolds. For these war-lord politicians, all independent organized activities within their ‘territories’ directly threaten their clientelistic hold over the voters and must be violently stopped. This dynamic is key to understanding the thousands of instances of violence perpetrated against independent journalists, health care workers, legal aid workers, union organizers, teachers, church rural workers and many others.

Mass Arrest of Health Workers Accused of ‘Terrorism’

On February 6, 2010, 300 heavily armed soldiers and militarized police, with their faces masked, broke into the provincial home of Dr. Melecia Velmonte, a distinguished infectious disease specialist and Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine, and arrested 43 rural health workers, physicians and nurses who had been holding a seminar on rural disaster preparedness in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Ketsana. The participants were blindfolded, tied and brought to a military camp where they underwent harsh interrogation and torture and were charged at first with terrorism and membership in the guerrilla movement, the New Peoples Army. The owner of the home where the ‘terrorist’ medical workers were meeting, Dr. Velmonte and her son, who were present during the arrests and protested the invasion of her property without a warrant, were not arrested.

The 43 medical detainees have been held in a military camp ever since without access to family and attorneys. Trumped-up weapons charges against the health workers were based on explosives, guns and ‘bomb-making’ manuals, obviously planted in their belongings. One nurse was accused of keeping a hand-grenade under her pillow. A parade of transparently phony charges, including participation in ‘communist assassination units’ were leveled at the physicians, especially a 62 year old public health specialist suffering from diabetes and hypertension, as well as the nurses and health workers. These preposterous charges, the bizarre commando-style ‘raid’ on Dr. Velmonte’s home and the prolonged isolation and abuse of the detainees were defended at the highest level of government with few complaints or calls for inquiry by the elite-led opposition. The Dean of the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine, issued a stern denunciation of the mass arrest, describing the military’s abuse of medical workers as part of a pattern of attacks on members of the health sector seeking to fulfill their mission of service to the underserved rural population.

The detainees have become known as the ‘Morong 43’ after the village in Rizal Province where the arrest took place. Mass protests and support groups have emerged among a wide range of professional associations, civil society organizations, and class-based popular movements in the Philippines and nurses groups and human rights organizations in North America and Europe. The incident was reported in the Lancet, Britain’s prestigious medical journal. The US press, which routinely covers ‘human rights’ abuses against independent professionals in China and Burma, has yet to mention the detention and torture of 43 medical workers in the Philippines, whose President Macapagal Arroyo is a staunch political ally of the Obama Administration.

The ‘Reasons’ behind the Repression

The Macapagal-Arroyo regime’s brutal assault and arrest of 43 health workers, engaged in providing accessible basic medical services and disaster aid and training to the rural poor, may appear irrational from an economic point of view: After all, in a country where over 70% of the rural population are born and die without ever seeing a physician, these health workers provide vital social services to marginalized populations at no cost to the government.

However, economic considerations are not what inform the politics of an unpopular regime deeply immersed in corruption scandals and electoral chicanery. The principle concern of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime is political: How can this regime retain control of a restless rural electorate deeply disenchanted with the local warlords, clan leaders and paramilitary thugs, who ‘round up’ their votes for the regime’s chosen candidate. In this context, local health clinics run by independent health workers under community control are a threat to the regime’s local chain of command, which runs the vast ‘patronage machine’ dictating who among the people vote and how. Whatever meager social services do exist in the rural areas must be totally under their control to underscore the electorate’s dependency on the local representative of the regime.

Grassroots community health centers, where health workers provide and teach preventative care, basic hygiene, disaster preparedness and many other services, empower small farmers, rural workers and their families to think and act independently of the local bosses. Volunteer health workers provide a micro-model of what a comprehensive rural health program should be like in contrast to the inaccessible, corrupt, privatized system of medical care promoted by the national government.

Under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, the pillage of the public treasury has impoverished the health system to the point that over 3,000 nurses and doctors are forced to leave the country every year. The private clinics and health insurance companies provide quality medical services to salaried employees of larger businesses, affluent middle class professionals and members of the upper class. In the public hospitals, especially the major teaching hospitals, like the huge Philippine General Hospital, young doctors, who provide critical services to tens of thousands of lower middle class and poor patients, go without salaries for months and even longer. Faculty and department staff are so poorly paid that they are forced to take additional sideline jobs in private clinics to survive.

With the upcoming presidential elections this May, the political elite have made a logical calculation: As a result of their pillage and brutality, promises of prosperity cannot ‘buy’ the support of the electorate whose ‘loyalty’ must then be ‘secured’ through the traditional double G’s of Philippine governance: Guns and goons.

Heavily funded and encouraged by the US in its ‘World-Wide War on Terror’, the regime of Macapagal Arroyo has drawn up its own list of threats: First on the ‘order of battle’ are the popular social movements, whose dedicated activists cannot be bought. This explains the widespread use of mass arrest and continued detention of the ‘Morong 43’ by the regime’s military and the ‘targeted assassination’ of independent, popular political candidates and independent community leaders.

The military has ignored the Philippine Supreme Court’s orders to transfer the 43 health workers to Manila where they would have access to their attorneys and to medical care. The regime’s continued detention and abuse of ‘the Morong 43’ is a gangster-style message to the Filipino civil society movement: “Stay out of poor communities or face a similar fate!” The tactic of the Macapagal Arroyo government and its supporters in the White House is to proceed with the electoral charade as if ‘nothing is wrong’.

What is urgently needed is an international campaign exposing the dark underside of Philippine elections and securing the freedom and safe return of the ‘Morong 43’ to their families and communities. What is at stake is not only the lives of the jailed health workers, but the lives and well-being of many thousands of poor farmers and their families who depend on their vital services. Source

Related
Philippines: The Killing Fields of Asia
From May 2006 not much has changed, things just kept getting worse for the citizens..
Since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joined the U.S. global “war on terrorism,” the Philippines has become the site of an ongoing undeclared war against peasant and union activists, progressive political dissidents and lawmakers, human rights lawyers and activists, women leaders, and a wide range of print and broadcast journalists. Because of the links between the Army, the regime, and the death squads, political assassinations take place in an atmosphere of absolute impunity. The vast majority of the attacks occur in the countryside and provincial towns. The reign of terror in the Philippines is of similar scope and depth as in Colombia. Unlike Colombia, the state terrorism has not drawn sufficient attention from international public opinion.

Between 2001 and 2006 hundreds of killings, disappearances, death threats, and cases of torture have been documented by the independent human rights center, KARAPATAN, and the church-linked Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research. Since Arroyo came to power in 2001, there have been 400 documented extrajudicial killings. In 2004 63 were killed and in 2005 179 were assassinated and another 46 disappeared and presumed dead. So far in the first two and a half months of 2006 there have been 26 documented political assassinations.
Source

Among those arrested were 2 doctors, 1 registered nurse and 2 midwives and 38 volunteer community health workers.

They are :

1. Merry Clamor y Mia, 33 y/o, medical doctor, CHD staff
2. Alexis Montes y Sulinap, 62 y/o, medical doctor, Commed volunteer
3. Gary Liberal y Apuhin, 43 y/o, registered nurse, AHW
4. Ma. Teresa Quinawayan y Roncales, 26 y/o midwife, CHD staff
5. Lydia “Del” Ayo Obera, 61 y/o, AHW staff & health educator
6. Reynaldo Macabenta y Torres, 30 y/o, CHD staff
7. Angela Doloricon y Manogon, 50 y/o, health educator
8. Delia Ocasla y Medrano, 46 y/o, community health worker
9. Janice Javier y Quiatchon, 22 y/o, community health worker
10. Franco Remoroso y Bilugan, 28 y/o community health worker
11. Linda Racel Otanez community health worker
12. Pearl Irene Martinez y de los Reyes, 25 y/o community health worker
13. Eleonor Carandang y Orgena, 30 y/o community health worker
14. Danny Piñero, community health worker
15. Ray-om Among, community health worker
16. Emily Marquez y Manguba, 23 y/ocommunity health worker
17. Emilia Marquez y Manguba,20 y/o, community health worker
18. Jane Balleta y Beltran 27 y/o, community health worker
19. Glenda Murillo y Cervantes, 26 y/o, community health worker
20. Eulogio “Ely” Castillo, community health worker
21. Jovy Ortiz y Quidor, 23 y/o, community health worker
22. Samson Castillo y Mayuga, 42 y/o, community health worker
23. Miann Oseo y Edjao, 31 y/o, community health worker
24. Sylvia Labrador y Pajanustan, 43 y/o, community health worker
25. Lilibeth Donasco, 24 y/o, community health worker
26. Jenilyn Vatar y Pizarro, 19 y/o, community health worker
27. Ramon de la Cruz y Santos, 21 y/o, community health worker
28. Jaqueline Gonzales, community health worker
29. Maria Elena Serato y Edeo, 35 y/o, community health worker
30. Ma. Mercedes Castro y Icban, 27 y/o, community health worker
31. Leah de Luna y Bautista, 28 y/o, community health worker
32. Judilyn Oliveros Y Abuyan, 26 y/o, community health worker
33. Yolanda Yaun y Bellesa, 51 y/o, registered midwife
34. Edwin Dematera y Bustamante, 37 y/o, community health worker
35. Cherielyn Riocasa Tawagon, 31 y/o, community health worker
36. John Mark Barrientos y Roldan, 20 y/o, community health worker
37. Mark Escartin y Esperida, 20 y/o, community health worker
38. Julius Duano, 30 y/o, community health worker
39. Ronilo Espera, 31 y/o, community health worker
40.Romeo de la Cruz, 53 y/o, community health worker
41. Valentino Paulino y Abale, 35 y/o, community health worker
42. Ace Millena, community health worker
43. Lorelyn Saligumba, community health worker

Source

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION TO FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS!!!
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Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm  Comments Off on Philippines: Arrests, Torture, and the Presidential Election  
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Iraqi MPs reject UK exit deal

December 21 2008

By Kim Sengupta and Brian Brady

Basra:

Parliamentary vote on mandate for British forces could leave them without legal cover next month. Kim Sengupta in Basra and Brian Brady report

Britain’s exit strategy from Iraq suffered a setback yesterday when the country’s parliament rejected a draft law paving the way for withdrawal of forces by the end of July. The reversal was embarrassing for both Gordon Brown and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, after the two leaders publicly declared last week that an agreement had been reached on the pullout.

Foreign Office sources admitted that unless the law receives formal Iraqi approval by the end of this month, when the United Nations mandate for the occupation expires, the vote could lead to British troops being confined to base, because they would not have the legal authority to do anything else in Iraq. However, officials attempted to dampen speculation that the resolution could have such a dramatic impact, and insisted that the problem was “procedural”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the government of Iraq to ensure that there is a firm legal basis for the presence of our forces in 2009. We will now discuss with the government of Iraq what the vote in the Council of Representatives means for the proposed legal basis for the UK and other forces, and look at the options.”

The possibility of British troops operating in a legal limbo from January was increased by Mr Maliki’s refusal even to start talks with the UK until after the Iraqi parliament approved the US deal on 27 November. This reflected his anger at what he saw as Britain’s surrender of Basra to Shia militias last year.

Early this month the Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton, warned: “I won’t hesitate to pull [British forces] out. They have to be [legally] protected, and the way things stand at the moment they will not be.” His Conservative shadow, Liam Fox, said the Iraqi vote “raises serious questions”. If another vote failed, Britain would have to ensure alternative arrangements were in place by the end of the month.

The immediate effect of the vote by the MPs to reject the draft law by 80 votes to 68 is that the UK, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and Nato would not technically have legal authority for any use of force in Iraq, even in self-defence, after the end of the month. Yesterday’s was the first reading of the bill in the Council of Representatives, or parliament. It is now due to be sent back to Mr Maliki’s cabinet for amendments, with another vote due next week. Some MPs want the law dropped and replaced with an international agreement similar to the deal with the US, which lays down the terms for its withdrawal of 140,000 troops from Iraq by 2011.

Nassir al-Issawi, an MP allied to the radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who wants foreign troops to leave at once, said: “What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement. We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things.”

Fariad Rawndouzi, a Kurdish MP, said many of his colleagues were also unhappy with the formulation of the bill, and wanted it to resemble the “status of forces” agreement between the US and Iraq more closely.

Senior officers at the British base in Basra said a team of Foreign Office lawyers was negotiating with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, and they still hoped an agreement would be reached. One official said: “There was always a feeling that this may go to the wire, and we must realise that it is all quite symbolic.” There were no plans to start pulling out British troops immediately in the new year.

But Mr Maliki’s casual assurance to Mr Brown when he visited Iraq last week that all would be well may cause embarrassment to both sides. Hakim Ali Ibrahim, an Iraqi political analyst, said: “Parliament wants to make a stand to show it should not be taken for granted. Perhaps Maliki and Gordon Brown should not have made such a big thing out of this before they were certain everything would go through smoothly. We have elections coming up, and the government has to do deals with the MPs.”

The provincial elections in January, the first held under sovereign, rather than occupation, laws, will be followed by a referendum on autonomy for Basra province, which could have a crucial impact on the division of its oil riches.

There are fears that the militias will attempt to use the polls to infiltrate the city again, and yesterday General Raymond Odierno, the US commander of coalition forces in Iraq, visited Basra for an election security meeting with Major General Andy Salmon, the British commander in Basra.

Source

December 20 2008

By Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s parliament voted on Saturday to reject a draft law that allows troops from Britain, Australia and several other countries to remain beyond the end of this year, Iraqi parliamentarians said.

The draft law, under which those troops would withdraw by the end of July, was rejected because lawmakers objected to it being in the form of legislation, rather than an agreement as was the deal Iraq signed with the United States, said Hussein al-Falluji, a member of the Sunni Accordance Front.

“Legally relations between two countries cannot be organised by a law. They should be arranged, according to international law, through treaties or agreements,” said Falluji.

“For this reason parliament rejected this law. It was a big mistake by the government.”

Both the law governing the British presence and the security pact allowing the 140,000 U.S. soldiers in the country to remain three more years replace a U.N. mandate that expires on December 31.

“What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement,” said Nassir al-Issawi, a lawmaker loyal to anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who wants an immediate end to what he sees as a foreign occupation.

“We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things,” said Issawi.

No comment was immediately available from the government.

The rejected law covered the future of troops from Britain, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and NATO in Iraq, where violence is dropping sharply and foreign troops are increasingly handing over security to local forces.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that a reserve component of around 400 British soldiers, compared to 4,100 now, would remain to train Iraqi naval forces in the south after July.

The U.S.-Iraqi security pact sets a withdrawal date for the U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 and gradually restricts U.S. activities more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

(Writing by Missy Ryan; Editing by Michael Christie and Ralph Boulton)

Source

British cost of Iraq and Afghanistan reaches £13Billion

McCain scrapping to change course of election

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

Reuters

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

October 16 2008

A scrappy John McCain used the final presidential debate last night to try to unsettle his opponent, Barack Obama, with a fusillade of attacks, accusing him variously of threatening to weigh down Americans with new taxes, waging a historically negative campaign and taking extremist positions on abortion.

The ferocity of Mr McCain’s assaults, fuelled by his underdog status according to numerous new polls, seemed for the first portion of the debate to be having some impact. But by its end, Mr McCain may have erred on the wrong side of the dividing line between being aggressive and unpleasantly negative.

If Mr McCain, who may now face a deficit of as much as 14 points nationally according to New York Times/CBS poll yesterday, seemed at first to be more in his stride, by the time the clash was over, the spectators seem to have been left with a different impression. An instant CNN poll said that viewers gave the debate, held at Hofstra University in New York, to Mr Obama by 58 per cent to 31 per cent.

For some, however, it might at least been the feistiest and even most informative of the three presidential debates, although the scope of discussion was limited almost entirely to domestic issues with a heavy bent, of course, on the economy.

The star of the night may not have been either candidate, but rather ‘Joe the Plumber’. That would be Joe Wurzelbacher, whom Mr Obama met on the campaign trail in Ohio a few days ago only to hear him complain that his tax proposals may prevent him from buying the plumbing company he works for.

Over and over again, Mr McCain tried to turn the encounter into a metaphor of Mr Obama’s tax plan, ridiculing him for pledging to introduce higher taxes for richer Americans and his promise to “spread the wealth around”. Mr McCain called the approach “class warfare”.

While Mr McCain was revelling in his Joe the Plumber gambit, it is not clear that many voters will have understood why he kept raising him. As for Joe Wurzelbacher himself, he seemed more unimpressed than anyone. “I wasn’t swayed either way,” he said. “Obama speaks well, but, you know, there’s got to be action behind it.” He finally told one reporter he was leaning towards Mr McCain.

As the debate wore on, the energy of Mr McCain looked more pent-up and cross than productive. He tried to score a bulls-eye blow, excoriating Mr Obama for trying relentlessly to tie him to George Bush. “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush,” he exploded. “If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. I will take this country in a new direction.”

But here, as at many moments last night, Mr Obama refused to be put on his heels and with almost tedious moderation, hit directly back. “If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people – on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities – you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” he said.

If this debate was livelier, credit might be given to the moderator, Bob Schieffer from CBS. Midway through, he asked both candidates to explain why each of them had chosen their respective running mates. Given the shaky record of Sarah Palin, number two to Mr McCain, it might have been an invitation to Mr Obama to make hay at her expense. He demurred, choosing to speak mostly about his choice, Joe Biden, and even congratulating Ms Palin for her work on behalf of special needs children.

A brief discussion about the negativity of the campaign over recent weeks may have surprised some because of Mr McCain’s attempt to put Mr Obama on the defensive. What ensued with a sharp tit for tat. “One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative,” Mr Obama insisted. “It’s not true,” McCain retorted. It absolutely is true,” said Obama, seeking the last word.

As expected, discussion also turned to Bill Ayers, a former domestic terrorist but, in more recent years, respected advocate for education reform. Mr McCain’s campaign has repeatedly attempted to tie Mr Obama to Mr Ayers, and not in a flattering way.

“The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me,” Obama suggested.

Source

I watched the debates myself and found McCain to be rather misinformed of some of the issues,  Or he just was lieing.

One the Free Trade issue Obama knew his issues and was correct.

Health Care  also another one of his strong points.

McCain on either of those two issues alone, was totally wrong and in my opinion. His comment England and Canada’s Health Care was an obvious one. Health Care in wither country would be the “Dream come true” for the American people. In this context the grass is greener on the other side of the wall. Universal Health care for all,  is far “superior” to the American insurance, greed, profiteering stance in America.  This leaves many without any  health care whatsoever. In essence the US has been breaking international Law.

On Free Trade the environmental issues do have be revisited. If a company pollutes and the Government wants to stop it  the Company has and will sue for lost profits and win. If people are dieing because of the pollution too bad for them. In essence Corporations pollute to their hearts content. Corporations have been given way to much power. Governments of all countries should be able to have the power to protect their citizens.

So on these two issues alone Obama knew exactly what he was talking about.

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Comments Off on McCain scrapping to change course of election  
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Harper wins minority government

By Michael Stittle

Oct. 15 2008 1:46 AM ET

Stephen Harper says Canadians have “chartered the way forward” for Canada, after strong gains in Ontario gave the Conservatives a larger minority government.

“No matter what economic challenges we face from abroad, this is a land where people from every corner of the Earth have come together to build a peaceful and prosperous country without comparison,” the Conservative leader told cheering supporters in Calgary. “Canada will always be the true north, strong and free.”

He said the Conservatives would continue to ensure Canada is able to weather the global credit crisis, by enforcing firm regulations for banks and promoting business through low taxes.

“For Canada’s $1.5-trillion economy, for the protection of the earnings, savings and future opportunities of our 33 million people, we have a realistic, prudent and responsible plan,” he said.

Past midnight, the Tories had won or were leading in 143 ridings across the country, out of a possible 308. Harper needed at least 155 seats to form a majority government.

As the dust settled in Tuesday’s election, the NDP had 37 seats and the Bloc Quebecois 49. The Liberals were headed to a crushing defeat, losing about 18 ridings to fall to 77.

In Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s concession speech, he promised to work closely with the Conservatives to tackle any economic troubles.

“We Liberals will do our part responsibly to make sure this government works,” he said in Montreal. “It’s clear our economy — indeed, the global economic crisis — is the most important issue facing our country. As the official opposition, we will work with the government to make sure Canadians are protected from the economic storm.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton also said he would work closely with Harper, telling supporters in Toronto that the Tories could not govern alone without a majority.

“No party has a mandate to implement an agenda without agreement from the other parties,” Layton said. “I believe the people of Canada have called upon all parties to put aside the acrimony that arises in campaigns, and to come together in the public interest. So we’re going to do exactly that.”

Harper needed to make strong gains in Quebec in order to secure a majority, but made missteps in the final weeks of the campaign by pledging to cut arts funding and crack down on young offenders.

The Bloc Quebecois appeared ready to dominate the election results in Quebec once again, while the Tories were leading or had won about 10 seats in the province — a loss of roughly one riding.

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe boasted of his party’s strong performance, noting it was the sixth consecutive majority win in Quebec.

“I want to salute the work of all the candidates with the Bloc,” he told supporters. “It was a great campaign.”

Tory cabinet minister Michael Fortier was defeated in the Montreal-area riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, where he was defeated by incumbent Bloc MP Meili Faille.

But despite controversy, embattled Conservative candidate Maxime Bernier managed to keep his Quebec riding of Beauce. Bernier was removed from his post as foreign affairs minister earlier this year after he left sensitive government papers at the home of his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard.

“It’s a good feeling, I’m very happy,” said Bernier.

When asked if he hoped to return to cabinet, Bernier said “the prime minister will decide.”

Strong gains in Ontario

Ontario was key to a strong Conservative victory, with the province’s 106 seats. While Toronto was largely expected to remain a Liberal stronghold, early results suggested the Tories would pick up roughly nine more seats elsewhere in the province.

In one major loss for the Liberals, Garth Turner was defeated by Conservative candidate Lisa Raitt in the Ontario riding of Halton.

“I think the Liberal party, my party, failed to deliver a real, cogent response to the economic crisis,” he told CTV News.

But despite the Liberal losses, Bob Rae said the opposition parties had deprived Harper of his ultimate goal.

“I think it’s important for people to recognize that Mr. Harper started this campaign looking for a majority. He didn’t get it,” Rae told CTV News, after winning his riding of Toronto Centre. “Regardless of what anyone might want to say, tonight is a defeat for Mr. Harper because he didn’t get what he was seeking to get.”

In one hard-fought Liberal win, former leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy unseated NDP candidate Peggy Nash.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives were set to win 20 seats, including a win by Dona Cadman, the wife of the late Independent MP Chuck Cadman.

The Liberals largely held their ground in Atlantic Canada and swept Newfoundland, where Premier Danny Williams waged a fierce campaign against the Conservatives. But the Tories have made gains in New Brunswick.

Early results in the region showed the Conservatives completely shut out of Newfoundland and Labrador. One high-profile loss for the party was Fabian Manning.

Williams, a Progressive Conservative, has had a long-standing feud with Harper over rights to his province’s offshore energy revenues and the latest equalization formula. In the past month he had publicized an “Anything But Conservative” campaign.

But Conservatives had a strong showing in other parts of Atlantic Canada. Peter MacKay staved off a challenge from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to hang on to his Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova.

“It’s overwhelming, it’s exhilarating,” he said. “All of these emotions come back every time.”

May had likened the fight to David and Goliath, after casting her ballot early Tuesday morning. If she had won, it would have made her Canada’s first elected Green MP.

While no Green Party candidates are headed to Parliament, the party did manage to increase its popular vote to 7 per cent from 5 per cent.

In New Brunswick, the Conservatives managed to unseat the Liberals in two ridings: Fredericton and Miramichi.

Before Parliament was dissolved on Sept. 7, the Conservatives had 127 seats, the Liberals had 95, the NDP 30 and Bloc 48. The Greens had one seat, but the MP had initially been elected as a Liberal.

Worst voter turnout in history

Only 58 per cent of eligible voters decided to cast their ballots Tuesday, the lowest in the country’s history. In 2006, it was 64 per cent.

An estimated 1.5 million Canadians cast their ballots in early voting.

The election followed a 37-day campaign — one of the shortest possible under Canadian law. Harper asked Canadians for a stronger mandate to govern the country, after two and a half years of minority rule.

He called an election after complaining that Parliament had become increasingly “dysfunctional,” making it difficult for him to lead the country.

“It’s difficult to see … how the prime minister comes back to the people of Canada, at the end, of the day and says this election was worth something,” former Liberal cabinet minister Brian Tobin told CTV News.

Source

POPULAR NATIONAL VOTE

Party Total Votes Percentage Difference / 2006
5,122,610 38% 1%
3,572,478 26% -4%
2,461,363 18% 1%
1,361,660 10% 0%
920,126 7% 2%
OTH 158,279 1% 1%
Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Harper wins minority government  
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Republicans will do anything to Influence Voters or Stop them from Voting

Here are a few things done to date.

Big ballot boo-boo: Osama for president?

By BOB GARDINIER

It could have been Ovama or Ofama. Or even Olama.

But with one “s” the Rensselaer County Board of Elections turned a single wrong letter into a national embarrassment Friday.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s last name is spelled “Osama” on some 300 absentee ballots mailed out this week to voters in Rensselaer County hilltowns.

Is it a Freudian slip, intentional gaffe or a mistake? Voters are sure to have opinions, and one politician pointed out that the letters “s” and “b” are not exactly keyboard neighbors.

“Of all the letters to hit by mistake,” County Democratic Chairman Tom Wade said. “Unfortunately it is a mistake which negatively impacts our Democratic candidate for president.”

The typo was first reported Friday on timesunion.com, and quickly grabbed national attention.

“It was crazy, everybody across the country called,” said Edward McDonough, the county’s Democratic elections commissioner. He said calls came in from The New York Times, the New York Post, Daily News, Wall Street Journal and Court TV.

McDonough said he was one of the people who received a misspelled absentee ballot at home, and he didn’t even notice it.

Elections officials on both sides of the aisle insist a simple typographical error caused the national embarrassment. “It was a mistake innocently done,” McDonough said. “We catch almost everything.”

Republican officials were apologetic. “We have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us,” said Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee. “We really apologize.”

On Row 1A, Barack Obama’s name is spelled Barack Osama — a name bearing an unfortunate resemblance to terror mastermind Osama bin Laden – but further down on the Working Families line it is spelled correctly.

The Obama camp took the controversy in stride.

“We’re glad officials are working to correct this error and we assume it won’t happen again,” Obama spokesman Blake Zeff said.

McDonough said the absentee ballots with the error went out to voters in Brunswick, Nassau, Sand Lake, Schaghticoke and Schodack. Three voters called to report the error.

By day’s end, officials decided to issue new ballots to all 300 voters. They realized some people might cross out the misspelling and write in the correct spelling.

“Election law is quite clear that any corrections done on a ballot will nullify the vote, so to be safe, we re-issued them,” McDonough said.

One Sand Lake resident who caught the misspelling, and who asked to be anonymous, was skeptical. “It’s a little suspicious and at least grossly incompetent,” the voter said.

District Attorney Richard McNally said the incident is unlikely to produce a criminal investigation.

“Both sides are saying this is an honest mistake, so unless we find out otherwise, I don’t see it going that way,” McNally said.

Rensselaer County is the only county in the state that prints ballots in-house.

“It saves the taxpayers a lot of money,” McDonough said.

Wade said it might be time to rethink that practice.

Source

Barack Obama’s campaign for the White House is receiving increasing complaints about scam pollsters involved in dirty tricks operations to discredit the Democratic candidate.

Victims claim the fake pollsters work insinuations into their questions, designed to damage Obama. Those targeted in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania include Jews, Christian evangelicals, Catholics and Latinos.

Source

This was also done as well.

On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.

Source

The suit, filed in a Michigan court yesterday, is the latest sign of contention over voting procedures. Voting rights activists in several battleground states have reported an aggressive push by Republican elected officials and activists to make it harder to vote.

In Macomb county, Michigan, a swing constituency, Republican officials for the first time tried to use America’s housing crisis as a way of striking people off lists, the Obama camp told reporters yesterday. “There is no doubt that there is an immediate threat to the voting rights of citizens in Michigan whose names could appear on a foreclosure list…

Source

I wonder wht they will come up with next. Like fixing the Voting machines as done in the past wasn’t enough.

A little history lesson Lest anyone has forgotten.

Elections certainly can be bought as well as the Powers to be in the even they get elected.

Consumer guide and brand list for the top 25 Republican Party donors with consumer brands.

Boy they sure do give them a fortune.

Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked

by Thom Hartmann

When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.

“It was practice for a national effort,” Fisher told me.

And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004.

The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation. Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a table,  and noticed something startling.

A bit of other information about the 2004 Election

The however is Priceless

Republican senator loses to dead rival in Missouri

November 8, 2000

The late Gov. Mel Carnahan collected enough votes to beat out incumbent Republican Sen. John Ashcroft for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri.

The incumbent Ashcroft was left running against a dead man after his opponent, the popular sitting governor, died in a plane crash on October 16. By that time, it was too late to remove Carnahan’s name from the ballot.

No one had ever posthumously won election to the Senate, though voters on at least three occasions chose deceased candidates for the House.

Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson moved up to succeed Carnahan. Wilson said he would appoint Carnahan’s widow, Jean, to the Senate seat should the deceased husband get more votes than Ashcroft. “On this night I pledge to you — rather let us pledge to each other — we will never let the flame go out,” she told supporters by speaker phone.

Ashcroft held the lead in polls until Carnahan’s death threw the race into turmoil.

On election day, no one could predict how the sympathy factor would play at the polls. Jean Carnahan used ads to make emotional appeals for “the values and beliefs that Mel Carnahan wanted to take to the United States Senate.”

Ashcroft was supported by two thirds of the voters who in exit polls said the federal budget surplus should be used to cut taxes. A majority of the voters who supported Carnahan said the surplus should go toward the national debt.

Republicans have vowed to fight Jean Carnahan’s appointment on the grounds that a candidate must be an “inhabitant” of the state, a requirement a dead person can’t fullfill. Her appointment must be approved by the Senate.

Both candidates were twice elected governor and had nine statewide victories among them.

The freshman Senator Ashcroft has a very conservative voting record. He favored term limits, was one of the first in the Senate to have his own web page, and was one of the first to say charges against Clinton might warrant impeachment.

Source

Stephen Harper lied about Cadman Tape

Cadman bribe tape wasn’t doctored: Expert

A file photo of Independent MP Chuck Cadman. Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Cadman.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Ted Colley ,  Canwest News Service

October 10, 2008

SURREY, B.C. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Independent MP Chuck Cadman.

In 2005, Cadman told his wife, Dona Cadman, that two Conservative representatives had offered him a $1-million life insurance policy in exchange for his vote in a confidence motion aimed at bringing down the Liberal government.

Cadman was terminally ill at the time and died just two months later.

The interview, in which Harper speaks of an offer to Cadman “to replace financial considerations he might lose during an election,” has been cited by Liberals in the House of Commons and on articles posted on the Liberal party website as evidence that Mr. Harper knew of an alleged attempt to bribe Cadman in May 2005, in exchange for his vote in the Commons to topple the Liberal government of the day. Harper, who denies knowing any such thing, is suing the Liberals for $3.5-million.

Two audio experts hired earlier by Harper said the tape appeared to have been doctored.

An Ontario judge ordered another analysis and Harper tapped former FBI agent Bruce Koenig for the job.

Koenig said the portion of the tape dealing with the insurance policy “contains neither physical nor electronic splices, edits or alterations,” according to a report entered in court on Friday.

Last month, Harper was able to persuade the court to put the lawsuit on hold until after the Oct. 14 federal election. Harper also tried to keep Koenig’s report out of the court record until the vote had passed, but the Liberals were able to get it on the record Friday.

Zytaruk, who has steadfastly maintained the tape was never altered, said he’s happy about the timing.

“I’m glad this came out before the election. I was really looking forward to testifying because it’s not pleasant to be accused on a national scale of doing something dishonest, such as doctoring a tape.”

Dona Cadman, the Conservative candidate in Surrey North, could not be reached for comment before press time.

Source

Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy

Close advisers schooled in ‘the noble lie’ and ‘regime change.’

What do close advisors to Stephen Harper and George W. Bush have in common? They reflect the disturbing teachings of Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish émigré who spawned the neoconservative movement.

Strauss, who died in 1973, believed in the inherent inequality of humanity. Most people, he famously taught, are too stupid to make informed decisions about their political affairs. Elite philosophers must decide on affairs of state for us.

In Washington, Straussians exert powerful influence from within the inner circle of the White House. In Canada, they roost, for now, in the so-called Calgary School, guiding Harper in framing his election strategies. What preoccupies Straussians in both places is the question of “regime change.”

Strauss defined a regime as a set of governing ideas, institutions and traditions. The neoconservatives in the Bush administration, who secretly conspired to make the invasion of Iraq a certainty, had a precise plan for regime change. They weren’t out to merely replace Saddam with an American puppet. They planned to make the system more like the U.S., with an electoral process that can be manipulated by the elites, corporate control over the levers of power and socially conservative values.

Usually regime change is imposed on a country from outside through violent means, such as invasion. On occasion, it occurs within a country through civil war. After the American Civil War, a new regime was imposed on the Deep South by the North, although the old regime was never entirely replaced.

Is regime change possible through the electoral process? It’s happening in the U.S., where the neocons are succeeding in transforming the American state from a liberal democracy into a corporatist, theocratic regime. As Canada readies for a federal election, the question must be asked: Are we next?

The ‘noble lie’

Strauss believed that allowing citizens to govern themselves will lead, inevitably, to terror and tyranny, as the Weimar Republic succumbed to the Nazis in the 1930s. A ruling elite of political philosophers must make those decisions because it is the only group smart enough. It must resort to deception — Strauss’s “noble lie” — to protect citizens from themselves. The elite must hide the truth from the public by writing in code. “Using metaphors and cryptic language,” philosophers communicated one message for the elite, and another message for “the unsophisticated general population,” philosopher Jeet Heer recently wrote in the Globe and Mail. “For Strauss, the art of concealment and secrecy was among the greatest legacies of antiquity.”

The recent outing of star New York Times reporter Judith Miller reveals how today’s neocons use the media to conceal the truth from the public. For Straussians, telling Americans that Saddam didn’t have WMD’s and had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, but that we needed to take him out for geopolitical and ideological reasons you can’t comprehend, was a non-starter. The people wouldn’t get it. Time for a whopper.

Miller was responsible for pushing into the Times the key neocon lie that Saddam was busy stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. This deception helped build support among Americans for the invasion of Iraq. Miller was no independent journalist seeking the truth nor a victim of neocon duplicity, as she claimed. She worked closely with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff and responsible for coordinating Iraq intelligence and communication strategy. Libby is a Straussian who studied under Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, and before that, deputy secretary of defense, where he led the ‘Invade Iraq” lobby. Wolfowitz studied under Strauss and Allan Bloom, Strauss’s most famous student.

Miller cultivated close links to the neocons in the administration and at the American Enterprise Institute, the leading Washington-based neocon think tank. AEI played the key role outside government in fabricating intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. Straussian Richard Perle, who chaired the Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee until he was kicked off because of a conflict of interest, is a senior fellow at AEI and coordinated its efforts. Miller co-wrote a book on the Middle East with an AEI scholar. Rather than being a victim of government manipulation, Miller was a conduit between the neocons and the American public. As a result of her reporting, many Americans came to believe that Saddam had the weapons. War and regime change followed.

‘Regime change’ in Canada

As in the U.S., regime change became a Canadian media darling. Before 9-11, the phrase appeared in Canadian newspapers less than ten times a year. It usually referred to changes in leadership of a political party or as part of the phrase “regulatory regime change.” Less than a week after 9-11, the phrase began to be used in its Straussian sense, as if a scenario was being choreographed.

From 19 mentions in Canadian newspapers in 2001, regime change soared to 790 mentions in 2002 and 1334 mentions in 2003. With the Iraq invasion accomplished that year, usage tailed off in 2004 (291 mentions) and in 2005 (208 mentions to November 10).

There’s one big difference between American and Canadian Straussians. The Americans assumed positions of power and influence in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The Canadians have not had much opportunity to show (or is that hide?) their stuff. That may change with a Harper victory.

Paul Wolfowitz’s teacher, Allan Bloom, and another Straussian, Walter Berns, taught at the University of Toronto during the 1970s. They left their teaching posts at Cornell University because they couldn’t stomach the student radicalism of the ’60s. At Toronto, they influenced an entire generation of political scientists, who fanned out to universities across the country.

Two of their students, Ted Morton and Rainer Knopff, went to the University of Calgary where they specialize in attacking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They claim the charter is the result of a conspiracy foisted on the Canadian people by “special interests.” These nasty people are feminists, gays and lesbians, the poor, prisoners and refugee-rights groups who are advancing their own interests through the courts at the expense of the general public, these Straussians allege.

The problem with their analysis is that the special interest which makes more use of the courts to advance its interests than all these other groups combined — business — receives not a mention. Deception by omission is a common Straussian technique. The weak are targeted while the real culprits disappear.

Harper’s mentors

Harper studied under the neocons at the University of Calgary and worked with them to craft policies for the fledgling Reform Party in the late 1980s. Together with Preston Manning, they created an oxymoron, a populist party backed by business.

Ted Morton has turned his attention to provincial politics. He’s an elected MLA and a candidate to succeed Premier Ralph Klein. But he did influence the direction of right-wing politics at the federal level as the Canadian Alliance director of research under Stockwell Day.

When Harper threw his hat in the ring for the leadership of the Alliance, Tom Flanagan, the Calgary School’s informal leader, became his closest adviser. Harper and Flanagan, whose scholarship focuses on attacking aboriginal rights, entered a four-year writing partnership and together studied the works of government-hater Friedrich Hayek. Flanagan ran the 2004 Conservative election campaign and is pulling the strings as the country readies for the election.

Political philosopher Shadia Drury is an expert on Strauss, though not a follower. She was a member of Calgary’s political science department for more than two decades, frequently locking horns with her conservative colleagues before leaving in 2003 for the University of Regina.

Strauss recommended harnessing the simplistic platitudes of populism to galvanize mass support for measures that would, in fact, restrict rights. Does the Calgary School resort to such deceitful tactics? Drury believes so. Such thinking represents “a huge contempt for democracy,” she told the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbotson. The 2004 federal election campaign run by Flanagan was “the greatest stealth campaign we have ever seen,” she said, “run by radical populists hiding behind the cloak of rhetorical moderation.”

Straus and ‘Western alienation’

The Calgary School has successfully hidden its program beneath the complaint of western alienation. “If we’ve done anything, we’ve provided legitimacy for what was the Western view of the country,” Calgary Schooler Barry Cooper told journalist Marci McDonald in her important Walrus article. “We’ve given intelligibility and coherence to a way of looking at it that’s outside the St. Lawrence Valley mentality.” This is sheer Straussian deception. On the surface, it’s easy to understand Cooper’s complaint and the Calgary School’s mission. But the message says something very different to those in the know. For ‘St. Lawrence Valley mentality,’ they read ‘the Ottawa-based modern liberal state,’ with all the negative baggage it carries for Straussians. And for ‘Western view,’ they read ‘the right-wing attack on democracy.’ We’ve provided legitimacy for the radical-right attack on the Canadian democratic state, Cooper is really saying.

A network is already in place to assist Harper in foisting his radical agenda on the Canadian people.

In 2003, he delivered an important address to a group called Civitas. This secretive organization, which has no web site and leaves little paper or electronic trail, is a network of Canadian neoconservative and libertarian academics, politicians, journalists and think tank propagandists.

Harper’s adviser Tom Flanagan is an active member. Conservative MP Jason Kenney is a member, as are Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute, the second and third most important right-wing think tanks after the Fraser Institute.

Civitas is top-heavy with journalists to promote the cause. Lorne Gunter of the National Post is president. Members include Janet Jackson (Calgary Sun) and Danielle Smith (Calgary Herald). Journalists Colby Cosh, William Watson and Andrew Coyne (all National Post) have made presentations to Civitas.

The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee is not mentioned in relation to Civitas but might as well be a member, if his recent column titled “George Bush is not a liar,” is any evidence. In it, Gee repeats the lies the Bush neocons are furiously disseminating to persuade the people that Bush is not a liar.

Neo-con to Theo-con

The speech Harper gave to Civitas was the source of the charge made by the Liberals during the 2004 election — sure to be revived in the next election — that Harper has a scary, secret agenda. Harper urged a return to social conservatism and social values, to change gears from neocon to theocon, in The Report‘s Ted Byfield’s apt but worrisome phrase, echoing visions of a future not unlike that painted in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian work, A Handmaid’s Tale.

The state should take a more activist role in policing social norms and values, Harper told the assembled conservatives. To achieve this goal, social and economic conservatives must reunite as they have in the U.S., where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance. Red Tories must be jettisoned from the party, he said, and alliances forged with ethnic and immigrant communities who currently vote Liberal but espouse traditional family values. This was the successful strategy counselled by the neocons under Ronald Reagan to pull conservative Democrats into the Republican tent.

Movement towards the goal must be “incremental,” he said, so the public won’t be spooked.

Regime change, one step at a time.

Donald Gutstein, a senior lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University,

Source

The we have this:

US War Resister faces deportation from Canada

Canada hit hard by war on Taleban

We won’t win Afghan war, admits UK commander

And This

Omar Khadr:

He was 15 years old at the time and has now spent more than a quarter of his life in prison. Khadr has been in U.S. custody since 2002, when he was captured in Afghanistan and charged with murdering an American soldier during a firefight.

Stephen Harper, George Bush’s Fart Catcher

Well put I must say.

Europe’s ‘last dictator’ set to reap rewards for courting the West

By Daniel McLaughlin in Minsk
Saturday, 27 September 2008

Relatives of Belarus’s disappeared dissidents, and beleaguered opposition parties, warn that the EU and US may temper criticism of a tightly-controlled general election in an attempt to woo President Alexander Lukashenko away from traditional ally Russia.

Belarus goes to the polls this weekned in an election that could see the West normalise its relations with the man dubbed “Europe’s last dictator”.

Keen to loosen Moscow’s grip on its neighbours after the war in Georgia, Brussels and Washington have discussed easing sanctions if the ballot is more free and fair than the others he has overseen during 14 years in power.

“Under the surface this election is as bad as the rest,” said Mrs Gonchar, who works for an opposition party. “If the West compromises with Lukashenko, it will be a very dangerous mistake.” Viktor Gonchar, a prominent critic of Mr Lukashenko, disappeared with businessman and ally Anatoly Krasovsky on 16 September 1999, after a visit to a sauna in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Four months earlier in the city, Yuri Zakharenko, a former interior minister and leading Lukashenko opponent, vanished on his way home. In July 2000, the President’s former personal cameraman, Dmitry Zavadsky, went missing.

Belarus’ state security service, still called the KGB, claims to have investigated the fates of the men, to no avail.

However, two ex-KGB officers who fled to the US say the men were killed by a death squad created by officials close to Mr Lukashenko, who denies involvement in their disappearance.

“Zakharenko and Gonchar had the charisma, ability and popularity to be a serious threat to Lukashenko, and as a businessman Krasovsky could help them do it,” explained Oleg Volchak, a former police investigator and lawyer who has studied the case.

Regularly lambasted for fixing elections, harassing critics and crushing the media, Mr Lukashenko caught the eye of Western diplomats last month by resisting Russian pressure to recognise the rebel Georgian regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia and freeing three opponents from jail.

“This election is unprecedentedly free, run according to the rules of the West,” Mr Lukashenko said, before declaring: “If even this time the elections turn out to be ‘undemocratic’, we will halt discussions with the West.”

As proof of progress, Mr Lukashenko cites the 70 or so opposition candidates on the ballot and the presence of more than 450 observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The OSCE has criticised a paucity of media coverage for opponents of the regime, and parties critical of the President say their members are harassed, unfairly excluded from the ballot, prevented from holding effective meetings and denied access to the commissions that oversee the count.

An EU diplomat said sanctions could be eased next month if the election goes well, potentially allowing Belarus to benefit from the European Neighbourhood Policy, which offers funding and trade opportunities to non-members.

“There is realism that these elections will not be the acme of democracy,” the diplomat said. “But the EU response can be calibrated to reflect levels of freeness and fairness – as in how many officials come off the banned visa list and which benefits from the European Neighbourhood Policy are released.”

Such a scenario appals Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, an opposition activist.

“The EU can’t lift sanctions just as they start to deliver results,” he said.

“Rather than recognising rigged elections, the EU should push for talks between Lukashenko and the opposition. If the West says this farcical vote is good enough, Lukashenko will never change.”

The Independent

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 5:57 am  Comments Off on Europe’s ‘last dictator’ set to reap rewards for courting the West  
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