Saddam Hanged By Pro al-Sadr Shiites

From In Hussein’s Last Minutes, Jeers and a Cry for Calm,

Hussein said, “Ya Allah,” preparing himself for the platform he stood on to open up.
Suddenly, witnesses recalled, the room erupted in Shiite religious chants as the Shiite Muslims in the audience seized the moment they had long sought. One man yelled, “Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada,” unveiling his loyalty to radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Hussein smiled, the witnesses said, and asked sarcastically, “Moqtada?”
…”Long live Muhammad Bakr Sadr,” yelled another voice. Bakr Sadr was the uncle of Moqtada al-Sadr and founder of the Dawa party, of which Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a senior leader.

Some explanation: Moqrada al-Sadr is the “terrorist” we are now preparing to “surge” our troops to fight. The Dawa party is tied to the Sadrists. The Shiites are what Saddam and the “insurgency” calls “Persians” because they are allied with Iran.
Bush invaded Iraq, and this group now leading that country is the inevitable result of Bush’s – and America’s – terrible, terrible mistake.

Today’s Voting Machines Story – Who Are Our Elections FOR?

Usually at Seeing the Forest we ask, “Who is our economy FOR?” We do this to point out that in a democracy the people are supposed to be in control, make the decisions, and decide on rules that make things better for the public. Corporations are supposed to exist to serve US, not the other way around.
Today Seeing the Forest is asking a different question: Who are our ELECTIONS for? Here is why: Florida judge rules against Democrat in disputed election,

A judge ruled Friday the Democrat who narrowly lost the race to succeed U.S. Representative Katherine Harris in Congress cannot examine the programming code of the electronic voting machines used in the disputed election, saying Christine Jennings’ arguments about the possibility of lost votes were “conjecture.”
… State officials have declared Republican Vern Buchanan the winner by 369 votes. But 18,000 electronic ballots showed no votes cast in the House race, and Jennings contends the machines lost the votes.

Well one way to take it past “conjecture” is to look at the code running on the machines and SEE if it screwed up! Then we’ll KNOW, instead of having to “conjecture” about it.
So we are NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW how our voting machines even WORK? We are not allowed to ask if the code in these machines WORKS?
WHO ARE OUR ELECTIONS FOR if we’re not even allowed to know how the votes are “counted?”

Ford’s Mistake

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, which prevented a full criminal investigation and trial. He felt it would help to heal the country, which had been through assassinations, riots and the divisive Vietnam war. But the pardon had the unintended consequence of creating an impression that those in the highest office really aren’t accountable to the public if their actions violate the law.
Four years later the Reagan administration picked up right where Nixon’s had left off, and got caught. Other select insiders made the decision not to pursue Reagan.

As chair of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Hamilton chose not to investigate President Ronald Reagan or President George H. W. Bush, stating that he did not think it would be “good for the country” to put the public through another impeachment trial.

At a time when thousands were being sent away for years for smoking a joint or doing a line, the country was learning that things really are different for those at the very top.
Bush1 then pardoned everyone involved, especially those being pressured by Lawrence Walsh to testify against him for his own possibly criminal part in it. The public got the message clearly that time.

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A Great Read – Blog Hero Award

THIS is why I love reading blogs: Daily Kos: The Culture Wars in America

The extent to which you believe what you’re told, or even allow it to register without rigorous questioning is the extent to which you are sadly misinformed. This concerted campaign of disinformation is so pervasive in our culture that it can’t help but affect us all, disorienting individuals and distorting every issue to the point that knowing the truth in modern day America is nothing less than a Herculean task – and yet knowing the truth, as elusive as it may be, is our solemn duty as citizens.

One Pissed Off Liberal, the author, hereby wins an extremely coveted Seeing the Forest Blog Hero Award. Stop by and pick it up.

Government or Corporations?

Angry Bear is having a discussion about which is better at making decisions, corporations or government?

Some folks think just about everything should be left to the private sector, some think that government should do a lot more. Presumably, that must mean there are big differences between a modern American corporation, say, and a government.

Go join the discussion.

Today’s Voting Machines Story – The Payoff?

The BRAD BLOG : Georgia Election Director Reportedly Takes New Job With Diebold,

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Georgia state officials are claiming that Kathy Rogers, the recently resigned Director of outgoing Secretary of State Cathy Cox’s State Elections Division, is going to work for Diebold.

We need to demand information about her salary, stock and other payments received.
Remember, Georgia is the state where exit polls showed Senator Max Cleland winning, and then the paperless voting machines reported he lost.

Health Insurance Companies WILL Oppose Your Plan Anyway

With a Democratic Congress coming in January, obviously several health care plans are going to be introduced. Here is some free advice to legislators. Don’t even bother including private insurance companies in your plans.
Conventional Wisdom thinking is that you have to include private insurance companies in any plan, or they’ll put so much money and effort into opposing your plan – and you – that nothing can pass. In the 90’s the Clinton administration offered a comprehensive health care plan that involved private insurers instead of a “Medicare-For-All”-style national health plan, hoping to ward off industry opposition. This was an example of what I call the “Afraid Rush Will Say Something Bad About You” syndrome – the point being that Rush will say something bad about you anyway, no matter what you do. And of course the private insurance companies did oppose the Clinton plan anyway, putting so much money into opposing it that it never even came up for a vote. The effort went beyond just opposing the plan and became personal, with smears and take-no-prisoners tactics directed against anyone involved in trying to bring health care to the public. So much of that money and venom was left over that it helped bring in a Republican congress the following year.
So here is some news for Democrats who are offering health care plans that offer tribute to private insurance companies: They are going to oppose your plan.
Do you think that it is more efficient to use a private insurance company to provide health insurance? Then take a look at what the big corporations do when offering health insurance to large numbers of employees. The big companies “self-insure.” They set up their own little internal national-health-care plans for their employees and administer them themselves rather than use private insurance companies because private insurance companies cost too much. Face it: Medicare-For-All is the only plan that will work. These days the private insurance companies are designed to deliver profits and enormous CEO salaries, while delivering the absolute minimum benefit to the public that they can get away with without personally being put in jail — fines and civil judgments being already factored in.
Do I have a low opinion of insurance companies? You bet. Am I alone? Discuss.

They Never Stop Smearing Our Leaders

This AP story, Candidates turn to Web to reach voters, begins,

Al Gore claimed he invented it. …
Ah, the Internet.

They just never stop. It just doesn’t matter how many ways we try to get the truth out about how the Right’s smear machine works… They STILL tell the public that Al Gore is a liar who claimed he invented the Internet.

Shooting Iraqi Civilians For Sport – WHISTLEBLOWERS Fired

Mercinaries, Halliburton-subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root, shooting at civilians for fun, whistleblowers fired for reporting it.
In other words, the usual.
Did American fire on Iraqis for sport?

“There’s been no follow-up whatsoever by any government agencies,” says Schmidt.
And its not just this incident. Despite similar allegations involving other companies, not a single security contractor in Iraq has yet faced charges for attacking civilians.

The Right’s March

Paperwight’s Fair Shot: Lather, Rinse, Repeat,

It’s not that the Republicans view Mein Kampf as an instruction manual, but rather that the march toward religio-corporatist totalitarianism tends to pass through the same towns each time.

My comment: What is “the base” hearing? When has Bush ever condemned a surrogate for promulgating the far-right’s messages of hate?