OK, That’s Over, So Where Were We?

A while back the press was closing in on a number of issues of corruption involving both the President and Vice President and it started looking like Bush and Cheney were in some real legal trouble. But suddenly there were a lot of great big terror alerts, everyone look over there, everyone get scared, there’s a big scary dragon, glorious leader will slay the dragon that is making you all scared, run around, run around, kill Iraq, frenzy, frenzy, kill Hitler, war, war, glorious leader HOORAY, HOORAY — whatever.

So tonite Bush is going to tell us that He has led us to Glorious Victory and the “threat to the United States from Baghdad has ended.” OK. Well that’s out of the way, then.

So where were we? Oh yeah, Bush and Cheney and Harken and Haliburton and conflicts of interest and SEC investigations and insider trading and tax evasion and corporate corruption, and a whole bunch of other things were starting to hit the news.

Take a look at BuzzFlash’s Bush Harken insider trading collection.

Remember the stories about Harvard bailing out Bush at Harken? There’s more here from The Nation.

What about Cheney’s business dealings and the SEC investigation of his dealings at Haliburton?

Remember hearing about Bush and Harken setting up offshore subsidiaries to dodge paying their taxes?

I remember I had several questions.

Does it all just go away? Is that how the American system of justice works now? Or is it time to start looking at this again, pick up where we left off?

It’s Privacy They Have A Problem With

Read this story in today’s NY Times, Republican Lawmakers Back Senator in Gay Dispute. This is a story about Republicans standing behind Sen. Santorum’s bigoted comments about gays. But toward the end is this:

Mr. Santorum, who did not speak in public today, has refused to apologize and said that his remarks were more directed at the right to privacy rather than homosexuality. He said his position was shared by a majority of the Supreme Court in upholding a Georgia antisodomy law in 1986.

Got that? They justify this by saying that they don’t just have a problem with gays, they have a problem with PRIVACY! So if you thought you were safe from the Republican jihad against gays because you aren’t gay, (or perhaps you’re one of those right-wing gays who is well hidden in the closet), you’re wrong. It’s PRIVACY that Republicans have a problem with. YOUR privacy.

Virtual March May 22

Please go read the latest about the May 22 Virtual March and tell others about this!

Actually, I’ll help you read it:

MAY 22: VIRTUAL MARCH TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS

Those of us on the left got accused of not supporting the troops when we questioned or opposed the war in Iraq. Now it’s time we show that we support the troops.

The budget proposed by President Bush, as augmented by the Senate proposes:

“…to cut VA spending by $15 billion over 10 years, starting with $463 million slashed from next year’s budget. Legislators claim they’re cutting fraud, waste, and abuse. But Joe Fox Sr., head of Paralyzed Veterans of America, who calls the cuts “an in-your-face insult to the veterans of this country,” says the reduction will slam the poorest disabled veterans and cut GI Bill benefits for soldiers who are currently serving in Iraq. The plan could also mean the loss of 9,000 VA physicians in a shorthanded VA system, he says…

“[Bush’s budget] includes a $150 million aid cut to schools attended by military dependents and support for billions in VA reductions…”

The cuts already enacted in VA funding have delayed enrollment of certain veterans in their promised health coverage. The government said last year that it would not make good on pension promises made to veterans of past wars who have now reached retirement age. And the families of the children whose education funding will be cut often make less than $10,000 per year.

On May 22nd, the last real business day for Congress before the Memorial Day weekend, an unofficial, loosely-knit “Coalition of the Worried” is encouraging a “Virtual March to Support the Troops.”

We need to let our military know, to let our representatives know, that we care about the troops all the time. Whether they are on the battlefield or lying sick in a hospital. Whether they are planning for their children’s future, or retiring after a long, full life.

On May 22nd, please call your representatives in Congress to repeal this cut in support for our troops. Call in favor of fully funding the VA, schooling for military kids, and fulfilling retirement promises made to veterans of past wars. If you can’t get through the first time, try again later. Our goal is to flood the phonelines with polite and respectful advocates who support our troops even when we are at peace.

If you are only able to take part via fax or email, congress.org will help you find and contact your representatives and send a message either way. They will also have the phone numbers of your representatives’ local offices if you can’t get through to the DC office lines.

To leave a message with the DC office of your representatives, you can call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Let’s keep those Capitol Hill phones busy that Thursday.

Voting Machines in International Herald Tribune

Britain to Launch Electronic Voting Systems. From the story:

The basic problem in current electronic voting systems, the security experts say, is the lack of an audit trail that would enable all voters to verify for themselves in real time that their vote was recorded as they intended and was counted as they intended.

In addition, they say, there needs to be a publicly available electronic ballot box that can verify that the announced vote total is an accurate tabulation of all the votes cast. This must all be done in a way that maintains the secrecy of each individual’s ballot.

About 500 computer technologists in the United States have signed a resolution put forward by Dr. Dill warning that no electronic voting system should be adopted that does not have these protections. A list of the signers and their affiliations is at verify.stanford.edu/EVOTE/endorsements.html.

None of the voting systems that are being used in Britain or elsewhere meet these requirements, Dr. Dill said, though it is technically possible to have such a system using advanced cryptographic techniques.

Jim Adler, the president of VoteHere, a company in Seattle that has provided the software for six of the local elections now under way in Britain, acknowledged that the security protections did not meet the highest standards. “Governments often make usability-security tradeoffs,” he said, “and you can see that in the U.K.”

In a separate e-mail, he elaborated: “There is no requirement for voters to be able to verify that their vote was `cast as intended’ or for election observers to verify that all ballots were `counted as cast.’ The technology exists, but the U.K., so far, has not required it.”

Mr. Adler, who is in the business of selling electronic voting systems, said: “I applaud the Avi Rubins and Rebecca Mercuris.” He said their critiques of current voting systems were correct.