Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Local Activists To Announce Way to Register to Vote By Way of Text Messaging

Psss...Register to Vote by Text Message!

HeLLo Pittsburgh Leaguers!

We are having a press conference this Thursday, September 27th, at 9:30 AM in Market Square (Rain Location: The Union Project, 801 N. Negley Avenue) to announce our new text message voter registration technology, also known "Text the Vote."

To register to vote by text message, send one of the following key words to 75444, "Pa, Pgh, LeaguePA, LeaguePgh," and you will get a text reply back telling you to enter your name and address. Within days, a partially completed voter registration form will be mailed to your house, which you must then complete (sign and choose a party) and mail to the Allegheny County Elections Division.

The address for the Allegheny County Elections Division is:

Division of Elections
Allegheny County
542 Forbes Ave., Room 601
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2953

Support the Emergency Ballot Act and other Election Stories

From True Majority:

Paperless electronic voting machines will be used once again this fall, and already during the primaries they failed. In Maryland crowds of legal voters were turned away from the polls when the machines couldn't be started1.

There's a simple safeguard – have enough paper ballots on hand so the election can go forward even if the machines let us down again. Obvious, right? Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Dodd (D-CT) have introduced a last-minute bill which would provide money to any state that is willing to print up the paper ballots. It's cheap, it's easy, and there's no reason not to do it. But time is short.

Tell your Senator to support the emergency paper ballot bill. (ha. Like that would do us any good in Pennsylvania. But if you live in other saner states...)

Trailer for "American Blackout". Makes the really disturbing yet true voter theft argument: Had the Republicans not intentionally deprived black voters of the ballot in 2000 and 2004 the national election for the presidency would have gone the other way. Both times.

But that's just one of two vote theft movies that are out. The other one is called "Steal This Vote". For some bizarre reason they haven't released a trailer for this movie online. But there is a Democracy Now transcript and interview with the director.

Adding the Secretary of State Project to the permalinks, right by Bradblog. (tip of the hat to Froth for this one.) The Secretary of State controls elections. Think Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris.

RFK on Hardball talking about the November election. (RFK has some health problems by the way which is why he sounds like Katherine Hepburn, but he is a true patriot.)

Spinners and Personal Jetpacks in our Future?

If this Slashdot story is true, then a Blade Runner Spinner is in your future. Or perhaps even personal jetpacks. Could even be retrofitted for a Moller Aircar, whenever that gets built in 2525. Related: My fave humble compressed aircar looks to be building nicely. Need investors to bring the car to the US....uh, Google philanthropy and Mark Cuban? Come on fellas

One Complaint About the Superman Movie...

Speaking of movies, I thought the Superman film was pretty well done (though not as good as the X Men 3 film--where I wasn't entirely certain that Magneto was the "Bad Guy"), except for this recasting of Lex Luther as just a mere "scoundrel" who cheats widows out of their inheritance. I mean, Halliburton does more evil than that every 20 minutes. Lexcorp is the real tool of evil. The TV show has it correct: if you want to be evil run a large multinational. If you bribe the right Republican official, then you can pretty much get away with mass murder. I always wondered why Al Q just never bought a food processing plant and went about "serving" the public. They'd get away with and they would have Republican courts defending them every step of the way...

Thoughts on the Steelers

I really plan on enjoying the Steelers this year. It would be nice if they won another Super Bowl but don't bet on it. In fact, don't be surprised if they don't make the playoffs or even break 500. I mean, they're good enough to repeat but I just think other teams are hungrier. I will root for them no matter what.

Thoughts on "The Wire" , "Brotherhood" and "Weeds"

I'm also watching lots of teevee. I watch the Wire, a quietly subversive show. By the way, for Wire watchers, show writer Ed Burns made that leap from cop to teacher in real life. He knows whereof he speaks. Last season, he took on drug legalization (he's probably a member of this group I hope.) and this season he takes on inner city schools. If you're watching this season, then I truly expect one or all of those middle school kids to bite the dust. Am very frightened of the female enforcer "Felicia". Also checking out the Brotherhood (Or as I describe it: Its a story about two brothers. One works as a politician in a corrupt system, where he tries to create sweetheart deals on the side, has a ruthless Machiavellian streak and will do anything for power. The other brother works for the mob. Not always easy figuring out who the evil one is.) and looking forward to Battlestar Galactica. Love those fundie cylons who know that "God Loves Me" and that the pope is infallible. They're a television and in real life. (Weeds looks to be excellent as well.)

Over at Phil's Seminal Jazz Rock and Politics Videoblog

Over at Phil's Seminal Jazz Rock and Politics Videoblog I've added: Patricia Barber's "Winter", "Push and Pull" by Prince and Nikka Costa, "Biscuit" by Portishead, "King of the World" by Steely Dan, "Oslo Skyline" by Jaga Jazzist, "No Peace" by Terranova, "City Girl" by Kevin Shields (dreampop shoegazer stuff), and "Reel Life" by the Cinematic Orchestra. I think these were all featured this week. Bonus: Over at Red Light District there's a sexy vid called "Hey Little Boy" by the touch myself Divinyls.

A Bold Defense of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Over at American Samizdat where I'm pretty much the John McCain Republican there was an attack on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Where Uncle Scam, who I mostly agree with despite his affection for the band The Afghan Whigs, said some things and quoted from some sources that I didn't agree with:

Gates Foundation: Helping the world, one murderous investment at a time.

Look at that list of corporations. Does any one of those represent your vision of what the world should look like in the future? It's almost a top ten list of the world's top environmental marauders.

Okay, let's offer some defenses here:

One.) There needs to some separation between what the evil company Microsoft does and what the Foundation does. Quite frankly, the foundation does wonderful stuff. They've saved, if this page is correct, about 1 million African lives with many more to come. Yes, there probably are attempts to build the Microsoft brand while they're saving poor people just like I'm stuck with Explorer and Explorer only in public libraries but who gives a fuck? If you're living in sub Saharan Africa and you're alive because of a Microsoft funded vaccine then I think you're okay with the branding.

Two.) I don't hate Bill Gates because he's autistic. A lot of smart people are. It's a combination of genetics and environmental poisons. Its not his fault. Perhaps his foundation can do something about that.

Three:) I think Bill Gates generally wants to help people through the Foundation. Yes, there's a branding component to it, but I don't think its the main thing.

Four.) I don't hate all capitalists. Some of them are very talented and have earned their money by offering innovative and exciting products and ideas. Bill Gates, even though you could argue that he was groomed to be a part of the ruling classes, earned his money through his ideas and his drive. It's not like he's incompetent like our President. The kind of guy who will kill, well, pretty much an unlimited amount of people in order to further the interests of the oil industry. Microsoft, while no saint, hasn't murdered a hundred thousand Iraqis to further its ends. And the Foundation does much much good.

Five.) Okay, so you're unimpressed with Bill saving, perhaps, millions of lives or that really cool school experiment in Philly (Quick Leno like joke:"Heard Microsoft is funding a school in inner city Philly...but then the school crashed and the 700 students were lost...(rimshot)!), what about the fact that it probably inspired Richard Branson to spend $3 billion to fight global warming, inspired Google to set up its own billion dollar foundation and probably inspired Craig Newmark (okay he might have done it anyway) to set up the Craigslist foundation. I might note that all of these men have exciting ideas about philanthropy. It's not United Way handout stuff. I've already applied for a grant from one of them and been turned down but I'll keep trying. Bottom line: Bill's foundation is encouraging Atlas not to shrug. And being that Atlas will drown with the rest of us if the worst case Mother of Storms global warming scenarios come true then that might be worthwhile.

Six.) How ethical is it to use profits from unethical companies to fund ethical causes. I don't know. Sort of depends on what evil the corporation is doing versus what good the money is going for. But at least Bill is trying. What exactly are the good works of Exxon that they've done with their record ill-gotten, price gouging profits? I'll wait.

Seven.) Yes, I will be asking the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a small personal grant...And perhaps a yacht.

Quick Around the Internets

Quick Around the Internets

Broadcast Tune I Can't Stop Playing "Where Youth and Laughter Go"
Project Censored's Top 25 Stories of 2006
Bold Idea From Google To Create A Hybrid Car
When I Heard the Government Was Releasing Their Anti Drug Vids Online I had the Same Headline: "Let the Mashups Begin!"
Do It Yourself $350 Solar Heater (Combined with 500 dollar Wind Turbine...Hmmmmm.)
Undernews is Profiling Green Party Candidates
Robert McChesney on the FCC's Suppressed Report. Plus: His new project Stop Big Media. I still think the solution is creating your own Big Media.
Readable FAQ About the Princeton Diebold Hack
Pittsburgh Indy Media now has their own weekly Democracy Now like online teevee show. I still think you have to pay writers but this looks interesting.

Mark Crispin Miller on Why Election Fraud is The Issue

If you don't want to read 6 or 7 books or about 10 to 12 websites daily and you still want to know the Essence of the Hacked Vote argument, then listen to this four minutes by Mark Crispin Miller.

Brad Blog on Princeton Diebold Hack

Brad Friedman, doing a piece for Salon, writes more about that Princeton hack of a Diebold machine--which can be seen here. What's stunning about this is that Brad's team essentially had to "find" a Diebold machine and then hand it over to the Princeton team for independent review--of course, in a slightly honest world these tests would have been done already. Shocking. Just shocking. And by the way, this is outstanding journalism. Out of curiosity, what are your daily newspapers reporting on that's this important? Anything? Ever? Is there a more important issue than the vote fraud issue? This is why people gravitate to the Internets. Its for the same reason that Paul Sorvino gave as to why people come to the mob in Goodfellas: because people need have problems information that they can't take to the police can't get from the corporate media. And/or an abundance of porn which lowers the rape rate.

From Mark Crispin Miller's site:

Thank God Salon has finally dumped Farhad Manjoo...

Hack the vote? No problem
Diebold, the e-voting-machine maker, has long sworn its systems are secure. Not so, says a new Princeton study. Converting votes from one candidate to another is simple.
By Brad Friedman

Sep. 13, 2006 Having reported extensively on the security concerns that surround the use of electronic voting machines, I anxiously awaited the results of a new study of a Diebold touch-screen voting system, conducted by Princeton University. The Princeton computer scientists obtained the Diebold system with cooperation from VelvetRevolution, an umbrella organization of more than 100 election integrity groups, which I co-founded a few months after the 2004 election. We acquired the Diebold system from an independent source and handed it over to university scientists so that, for the first time, they could analyze the hardware, software and firmware of the controversial voting system. Such an independent study had never been allowed by either Diebold or elections officials.

The results of that study, released this morning, are troubling, to say the least. They confirm many of the concerns often expressed by computer scientists and security experts, as well as election integrity activists, that electronic voting -- and indeed our elections -- may now be exceedingly vulnerable to the malicious whims of a single individual.

The study reveals that a computer virus can be implanted on an electronic voting machine that, in turn, could result in votes flipped for opposing candidates. According to the study, a vote for George Washington could be easily converted to a vote for Benedict Arnold, and neither the voter, nor the election officials administering the election, would ever know what happened. The virus could also be written to spread from one machine to the next and the malfeasance would likely never be discovered, the scientists said. The study was released along with a videotape demonstration.

Read more.

Interesting Read at Cyborg Democracy

Interesting Read at Cyborg Democracy: "Aren't We Already Transhumanists?"

Mickey Mouse Presents The Reichstag Fire

Hate to admit it: Atrios played a rock tune that I liked.

Hate to Admit it: Atrios Played a Rock Tune I Liked

Hate to admit it: Atrios played a rock tune that I liked.

Very Cool and Affordable Wind Turbines

Very cool alt wind turbines, ranging from 600 to 800 dollars. If I didn't live in an apartment...this would pay for electric heaters in the winter and fans in the summer. Sounds like a bargain. Related: Pro Solar Energy video.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

YouTube Video That Shows You How Easily Hacked These Machines

Special Your Election Has Been Hacked Around the Internets

First up, here's a disturbing YouTube video of how your elections have been hacked, or at least Diebold machines. This won't change until the hacks start affecting Republicans. Story here.

Scary Round of Tuesday's Voting Woes

Daily Voting News' For September 13, 2006

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Today the Brennan Center released another report. This report congratulates Congress for implementing the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and taking us forward. However, the executive director said, "the way it is being implemented by many states, combined with new underhanded efforts to crack down on voter registration and participation, could move the country backward. We see a real problem coming up in November in the elections." / Today, also, Princeton University scientists released a report on the vulnerabilities of the Diebold TS voting system. This is the first time that hardware, firmware, and software have been investigated at the same time and the vulnerabilities are staggering. / Unbelievably Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams said Tuesday that he hopes the statewide adoption of electronic ballots will boost voting among young Texans and make elections more secure. Why would anyone think elections are more secure after witnessing what happened in Maryland yesterday? / Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania commissioners just purchased 92 additional eSlate DREs. Meanwhile the county elections director is asking all voters to use the paper ballots and eScans. It seems that someone has a lack of confidence in DREs. …

— Click here for REST OF STORY!… —

Frightening First Hand Account of Tuesday's Election Woes

Frightening first hand account from Avi Rubin, who has written another book about our easily hacked machines. That's about 6 or 7 by my count. Still no word from Kos when this will be an issue. Again, these really aren't problems until they affect House and Senate majorities in Congress.

List of Older Labor Posters

Very good list of olde timey labour cartoons. Times haven't changed much, apparently.

Group That's Planning Radical French Style Protests for October

Here are some people--American people--who think we need old fashioned French rioting, or rioting and protest that actually works. Sounds good to me. From their FAQs:

Q: Does protest make any difference?

A: It does -- and it doesn't. Let's start with how it doesn't. Protest doesn't make a damn bit of difference if it's "protest as usual". Protest that trims its sails to the political terms set by electing Democrats, or that tries to be respectable, or that doesn't convey that THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE AND MUST BE BROUGHT TO A HALT. No, protest like that doesn't really amount to much. Never has and never will.

We're talking about tens of thousands going into the streets with a clear standard -- BRING THIS TO A HALT -- and a spirited call to others to join this. Our recent statement envisions "a great wave of people unleashed from the huge reservoir of people who are deeply distressed over the direction in which the Bush regime is dragging the country and the world, moving together on the same occasion, making, through their firm stand and their massive numbers, a powerful political statement that could not be ignored: refusing that day to work, or walking out from work, taking off from school or walking out of school -- joining together, rallying and marching, drawing forward many more with them, and in many and varied forms of creative and meaningful political protest throughout the day, letting it be known that they are determined to bring this whole disastrous course to a halt by driving out the Bush Regime through the mobilization of massive political opposition."

That kind of protest could and would make a difference. It would begin to galvanize into an active political and moral force the millions who hate the way things are going but are now paralyzed. The possibility of turning things around and onto a much more favorable direction would take on a whole new dimension of reality. This would send a different message to the whole world.

Face it: no great change has ever been won without protest, without people acting "from the bottom up" to set a new agenda, without struggle, without upheaval. No. The protests in 2002 and 2003 didn't succeed in preventing the Iraq war, but they let the whole world know that Bush was acting in the face of huge public opposition. They put him on the moral defensive. And they helped to set terms for the future - as the ugliness of the war got revealed and people increasingly have come to oppose it. The problem is not that our actions have had no impact; it's that we have not acted up enough. A new season of upsurge must start now, one that sets out to reverse the whole direction in which this society is now hurtling, and to dramatically change the course of history.

The stakes now are too high to keep going through the motions of protest as usual -- politics that say: the people in government exercise power and make the corresponding decisions and our only role is to protest certain things they do. Instead, we need to act on the truth that when people take massive and independent political action, they can change things very profoundly. People in the 60's did not ask the liberal Democrats then in office for permission to fight for civil rights and Black liberation or to protest the war. They just did it, mobilizing millions and effectively saying in the immortal words of Bob Dylan that "your sons and daughters are beyond your command." The whole ethos of a generation and a country changed.

Read the whole thing as they say. If I participate, you shall see me wearing one of these, which will probably cause me to get shot 41 times. Related: These people are also pissed off at Democrats and Pennsylvania's Senate race is one of the reasons.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Evening with Markos or "And Mah Mitts!"

"You can...scream now Cardinal Roark Markos."

MY EVENING WITH KOS or "And my Mitts!"

Okay I do confess to having a slight murder fantasy with Markos for banning me and not allowing me to defend myself on that site of his despite my long years of activism. Markos would have been Cardinal Roark and I would have been Marv mumbling about my "hallucinations" and "mah condition". But then Froth would have shot me 41 times (Police will be police.). But I would have gotten my revenge because Froth would have attempted to take pictures afterward and I would have raised my blood soaked hand and said, "Good shoot Froth. Bloggers probably shouldn't murder other bloggers cough and hack. But I would appreciate it if you let the Multi Medium guy take the photographs. You see, he's a talented photographer (coughs blood.) and I trust him more because he has a wonderful sense of composition. For example, ahhhh the pain, wish you hadn't shot me in the groin, this arc of blood spurting from my chest three to four feet high...I just know Eli's going to do something bold and striking with it. And earlier, when I was digging my thumbs into Markos eyes Eli probably would have known that was an allusion to Sin City which was an allusion to Blade Runner when Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer, kills Dr. Eldon Tyrell. He just has a better visual vocabulary and with my last breath I spit at thee student loan fascists and 'ack' ".

Or something.

So what did Kos actually talk about at his 7 pm talk on the Southside Saturday night? Well, he gave a very short pre canned speech and then opened the floor to questions. I don't have total recall but here's how it went:

Question from Audience: Why didn't you support liberal alternatives to Bob Casey when you had the chance? I believe this could have been his facial response. (More pics at 2 Political Junkies and why does Maria look so glum...)

Kos response: (Keep in mind that I'm not objective and I "got a condition") Some mindless blather about how there was no grassroots support for alt candidates and what can I do I just run the most influential political website on the entire planet? Go Lamont!

The Reality: He made, probably, both a political and financial decision to not rock the boat here in Pennsylvania. Afterall, our alt candidates weren't worth 100 million dollars. Look, I like Lamont, and I hope that the netroots gets him over in November, but it doesn't take a lot of courage to support a candidate who's net worth is in the 100 million dollar range. Also, while I can appreciate him not knowing all the Pittsburgh blogs, he has to have heard of 2 Political Junkies and of course a lot of those political folks crosspost at Kos so there's no excuse. Kos is too intelligent to be that ignorant. He doesn't have the President Bush excuse. Both he and Atrios could have run free ads for Chuck or pointed him to their Act Blue links. Could have shown as much interest in the Pennacchio candidacy as they have in that silly ABC movie. The Path to 9/11. Granted, its a terrible evil movie, but it certainly doesn't warrant quite this much response, or if it does, could you extend the rage to supporting alt candidates or even the voter fraud issue--bigger than anything that's in that book that Kos wrote and that I'm not buying. (A graph about this whole justifiable Mexican Civil War thing? No?)

Question from the audience: Are you concerned about recent purges from the comments sections at the Huffington Post?

Kos response: More mindless drivel & pap about well they're very skittish don't you know. Went through some major financing round and that happens. And, why yes, we do ban people at Kos but I do it on a very narrow basis so on and so forth blah blah blah blather...

The Reality: Well that's just a big fuckin' lie. He's purged 100s if not thousands of people from the Kos "community". In fact, on the Internets, there's a whole page dedicated to icons for people who have been banned from Kos. I might note that I don't think these are legitimate reasons to be banned.

Telling Kos response to that question: "It's a Big Internet."

Translation: "Fuck you I've got mine. Get your own million person a day liberal site." Actually, that's exactly the same response that ABC is giving about their Disneyland special The Path to 9/11. Get your own network. And of course, the average person can't buy their own television network so it matters when these guys lie and distort and censor. Ditto for Kos. The truth of the matter is that it takes a prime mover like Kos for a major issue to take hold. So it's not a good thing that you can't vigorously discuss AIPAC or the vote fraud or whether Israel played a role in determining who the Pennsylvania senate candidate was or even the Mexican Civil War. When you're not winning everything should be on the table..

Question: Why can't there be a third party?

Worthless and Uninformative Kos Response: Wella its kind of hard institutionally to create a Third Party an duh look how fragmented The Reform Party has become nstuff. (Not a completely accurate transcription but I "need my medicine".)

The Correct Answer: First, there is a prominent Third Party effort for a cycle or two. Its called Unity 08. I don't back it because I don't want someone in the middle of the ruthless business party and the not so ruthless business party. I want a party that represents the public interest, period. Two, you can form a valid third party effort if you have about 100 million dollars. If Ross Perot had continued his presidential runs and widened the scope of the party to include senate and house runs as opposed to something to further his own warped ego, that would have become a Third Party. So, if someone like George Soros or Mark Cuban or Bill Gates or Craig Newmark (My fave. He takes the bus, but he'd have to run google ads and get the Craiglist net value up to $100 million dollars) wanted to form a third party they could. Parties are infrastructure and people. Also, the party wouldn't have to contest every seat. I've floated my 5/25 plan to the Green Party (no one has gotten back to me) go for five senate seats and 25 house seats and run on a well funded (where is the Hollywood Left?) populist campaign with real candidates (Tim Robbins or Alec Baldwin for the senate seats in New York. Someone gives the Romanelli campaign a million in infrastructure money, etc.) That way you control majorities in both chambers. In my particular fantasy, the Greens give majority control to the Dems but they get environment and that now worthless committee that Specter runs...

Bottom Line: Despite all the mean things I've said I read Kos daily. You kind of have to. But I don't think he can be a leader for all democrats and certainly not for progressives. Still won't buy his book, but I will take an hour or two and read it. And he's right. It is a Big Internet. Someone should learn the Scoop software and do it right. First rule: No censorship, but widespread ridicule for the LGF flamers of this world. Plus, I actually do want to know what the other side thinks sometime. I'm not always right.

Nicer reviews of Kos from 2 Political Junkies, Multi Medium guy Eli, Froth, who shot me 41 times and this Spork guy, who I should probably permalink.

Talented and Not So Talented Pittsburgh Blogger Photographers

Let's face it: The Multi Medium guy is a really talented photog. Could work for the dailies if they were smart. How does Parker get those angles? Ditto for the Unspace guy and his alien insect series. Or they just have really good cameras. While Froth: not so gifted a photographer. Needs to blow 600 bucks on the Unspace camera. Would make those greasy wings look all arty and professional. (Mmmm...tasty.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lew Rockwell Piece on How Hitler Rose to Power (Hmmm...Looks awfully familiar...)

Related: Here's a history of how Hitler rose to power. See if you can find the secret courts and 9 11s in the mix. Looks kind of familiar. Scary scary stuff as Pittsburgh's Count Floyd used to say...

Kos Comes to Pittsburgh and Why I'm Not A Fan of Kos

Well, my good friend Kos, who banned me from his site, is coming to Pittsburgh! South Side 7 pm. Well I think I can make that....Meanwhile, when I was in a bit of a vindictive mood I wrote this about Mr. Kos over at Max Sawicky's site. Its sort of why I'm not a big fan of Mr. Kos but I am interested in what he has to say. Really I am. Not buying that book though...

Well, my problem with Kos is that even though I've been a democrat much longer than he's been is that I've banned from his site as have many other people. In fact, not only have I been a democrat longer, I've never been dumb enough or murderous enough to join the US Army where I would be killing people for vague or spurious reasons. Of course, he says he was a republican when he entered the army and I sometimes think with these widespread purgings that perhaps he truly never left the fold.

Some of us are also annoyed that he seems to fit quite comfortably within the DLC mold. I don't know if you've watched the primaries but even if the dems overcome the fixed machines--which I doubt--it will be a DLC dem majority. O happy day. It would have been nice if the leading left bloggy voice out there had supported more progressives. (
Editor's note: Like Chuck Pennacchio. Yes he was a long shot but you wouldn't have cringed whenever you watched him debate on Russert....Atrios....who, like Kos, didn't support Chuck.)

And finally, some of us are annoyed that he's been hostile to the vote fraud story. Even if you don't agree with the story you need to debunk it, otherwise everything you're working for on the left means nothing. You're just going to continue losing close elections. I mean, you could draw a graph showing direct correlation between the use of these new machines and the rise of the Republican majority. True, Bradblog and Crispin Miller and Fitrakis have their own online forums but it would be nice if the Cadillac of the Scooped software folk could get behind the bandwagon. Of course, that silly book that Kos wrote and that I'm not buying doesn't mention the vote theft issue as The Issue. Perhaps its jealousy. And at this point, I wouldn't put it past him.

So those are my complaints about Kos from the Left. My two cents so to speak..

Philip Shropshire
Philip Shropshire | Homepage | 06.22.06 - 12:54 am | #

Quick Test To Determine if New Pittsburgh Mayor is Evil

Here's a quick test on whether the new mayor is evil or not. If he follows the charter--and I get all my info from those soft porn merchants 2 Political Junkies--and accepts a term until the next election of 2007 then he's okay and is deserving a look at a full term. If he goes for the power grab and goes for the full length of the mayor's term then he's evil and not worthy to be mayor. Choose wisely Anakin or Luuuuke...

Labor Thoughts and What Real Opposition Parties Do Part 43

Sept 4

Labor Day thoughts from Greg Palast and Nathan Newman. And a good first person reason to be pro labor from Froth.

Speaking of people we corrupt Washington pols don't like, there's this story from Bradblog about why what Obrador is doing in Mexico is very important.

The money shots are here:

Mexico matters because the people and leaders refused to give up when the system failed to give them a real recount. The independent election institute tried to pass off a Calderon victory without investigating the numerous and substantial allegations of election fraud. For example, the institute tried to announce a victory by President Vincente Fox’s hand-picked candidate, Calderon, until an audience member pointed out ballots that they failed to count — at least 2.5 million of them. That type of "error" is rarely an error; rather, it shows bias and intent to deceive. The electoral tribunal resisted but was ultimately pressured into a recount of 9% of the vote. The tribunal then refused to order a total recount of the paper ballots even though it found that 130,000 were either missing or invalid — in only 9% of the precincts! The projected total for 100% of the precincts would be over 1.3 million ballots. Yet the full recount failed to materialize.

And here:

What are the lessons for us? Be prepared to fight fraud. Prior to the election many activist groups armed themselves with documentation strategies to capture fraud as it occurred. When you know it's fixed, stand up and protest. The casual forgetting of 2.5 million votes, the statistical problems with the winning candidate's in-law-authored tabulation software, and the dirty tricks to knock Obrador out of the race before it started all served as warnings. The intended victims were not about to be victimized. They prepared and protested immediately. They were told to be mature about the process and expect cheating. When that happened, they upped the ante and began massive protests. Now they say loudly, in unison, "We do not consent" as they form parallel social and governmental structures. They've have had enough!

They've had enough. When will we reach that point? A study of their courage, strategy and tactics is well worth our time. As we do that, it is important to speak up, share information, and spread the word — the Mexican people and their leaders are the heroes of democracy.

The journalists to watch on election issues are Al Girodano on the 9% Recount – Massive Fraud and Chuck Collins & Jushua Holland. Also, see The Mexican People: Heroes of Democracy by this author (Spanish & English).

Just a Few Thoughts About Mayor Bob O Connor

Sept. 2

I don't really have a lot to say about Mayor Bob O'Connor's death. I mean, he really didn't like me very much. After I gave him my card with this website on it and after writing this piece about one of the mayoral debates, I saw him several months later outside of a Northside political function. He was outside talking to some supporters I guess. As soon as he saw me, he scowled and walked back into the building where the event was being held. I actually think that's a great response--almost as good as the Rev. James Simms throwing me out of his office in the 80s--for a feisty blogger/writer to get. But I don't think it qualifies me to write misty eyed memorials to the guy. Still, sympathies to his family and loved ones.

Fester has the best roundup of stories about this.

This isn't the first Pittsburgh major that I've seen die in office. When I was a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier (again way back in the 80s) I lived through the administration of Richard Caliguri, who also died from a rare disease. I actually liked that Mayor because he invited me into his office and gave me two front page stories. He also could have prevented the possibility of two black reps on City Council, but he didn't. Some years later the city solicitor swore that my stories in the Courier pushed him to accept the proposal that created district elections in Pittsburgh. Then again, what if the Mayor knew that he had that disease? He may have decided to leave on a note of grace. Just a thought...

I am slightly worried about the new mayor who, if I recall a 2 Political Junkies post correctly, isn't able to distinguish between our two black female city council people. Well, let's see what he does...Who knows. Perhaps I can get another mayor to scowl at me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

"We Are Willing to Fight and Die for Independence"


The potential for the situation to turn violent has clearly shocked people. The intensity of the moment is seen in the words PRD deputy Emilio Serrano offers to the gathered crowd, "We are willing to die for the cause for independence!' he yells, "For freedom and democracy in Mexico! In 1968 the students were willing to die and the Mexican army massacred them. We are also willing to die!" he says looking back at the police line, "we will die on the line, don't you think so comrades?" 'Yes!' yells back the crowd.

Later I asked Obrador if he is worried that his actions have isolated some of his supporters. He paused before answering, "Yes, but it's the price that I have to pay because these measures are well seen by a many people. It's the only way we have to make them listen."

The morning after the clashes, police water tanks are deployed in the streets surrounding the Congress building and hundreds of federal police patrol the streets.

I asked Obrador how this movement would be remembered in Mexico's history. "Mexicans are no longer willing to accept the humiliation and fraud," he replies. "The country has to change because from this movement, transformations are beginning to be born. The guys in power are going to see themselves forced to change some things. They're no longer going to be able to keep on doing things the same way in this country," he tells me firmly.

Mexico City is on edge as everybody waits for the Electoral Tribunal to announce its decision. It remains to be seen where this new movement is going but it seems that whatever happens, Mexico will be very unstable and divided in the near future.

There's a long and detailed interview with Leftist PRD candidate Andrés Manual Lopez Obrador over at ZNET who is, well quite possibly, leading a civil revolt in Mexico and deservedly so. By the way if you haven't gotten this yet: elites in other countries have noticed the wonderful results from Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 and have exported them to Mexico and other countries to be named later. Despite the nonviolence pushed by Obrador I truly think this will turn violent. And frankly, I think if you're going to fight and die for something, as opposed to oil company revenues, then democracy is certainly worth fighting and dying for.

As someone who watched Kerry not even take the election to the courts--where, as is evident now, its quite clear that he had an even better case than Gore--this is amazing. Imagine a candidate who fights for the public interest. Just astonishing. You can actually do this. Who knew.

I root for them and their struggle for justice. Why do I believe them? Because if you win legitimately you're okay with recounts. The Ruling Party refuses a full recount. Honestly now let's put two and two together. That's always the Chavez retort by the way: go count the ballots. (That's why we know Chavez won fair and square.)

I'll be excerpting this over the next several days but here are the best bits:

On the International Observer question:

PAN has claimed that the elections were clean because of the presence of international election observers. However, the 673 election observers only oversaw a fraction of the country's 130 thousand polling stations and one of the international observer groups, Global Exchange, has documented possible cases of vote-buying by the PAN and PRI political parties, illegal confiscations of voter ID cards and ballot shortages at certain polling stations.

So why is the majority of the press repeating that the presence of international observers ensured that the election was clean and fair? "It was the electoral tribunal itself that put out that press release about the observer's," Global Exchange President Ted Lewis told me. "We were really annoyed with them when they did that. And about two thirds of the other observers were diplomats who are not allowed to make public comments."

Now, this looks familiar: scientists smell a rat:

There's also an interesting theory that has emerged concerning the timing of results as announced by the Federal Electoral Institute. Victor Romero is a Doctor of physics who specialises in statistics and randomness at the National University of Mexico. He studied the electoral commission computer results closely and he believes there is strong evidence of interference.

Dr Romero explained to me a very unusual statistical pattern he noticed with the PRD vote as the tallies came into towards the end. "The PRD was winning and then suddenly at about 70% they start losing and never even gained .01 of a percentage," he explained. It seems incredible that as the last 30% of results came in, the PRD share of votes never increased. "It could be like this and then like that," Dr Romero explains, moving his hands up and down, "More of one party and less than another. But not in order. The order here is completely unexplainable."

This physics specialist is talking about something a lot more sinister than stuffing ballots. "There is a possibility statistically speaking, very strong, that there was an interference with the computer system of the IFE that made the counting of the votes," Dr Romero concludes.

Once again, public perception isn't helped by the fact that Calderon's brother in law has a contract for computer management systems at the electoral commission. Dr Romero's work and similar studies by others have gained quite a following on the Internet but remain largely ignored by the mainstream Mexican media.(Editor's note: kind of like here in the United States.)

Then there's some interesting commentary about the role of the Mainstream Mexican Media which sounds familiar:

The national Mexican Television networks, Televisa and TV Azteca seem to have an unusual penchant for in-depth reporting of weather conditions rather than disputed presidential elections. The left wing newspaper La Jornada is one of the only outlets that regularly publishes and investigates PRD's claims of fraud. (Editor's Note: Let me guess the Jon Benet story was big there too right?)

I asked Obrador why the Mexican Television was like this? He laughed out loud at my question. "It's because they are a part of the group that dominates the country. They don't want for a change to happen," he said, " The media is very powerful. Behind the media are the owners of the media. They're the richest men in Mexico."

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, at the US Open and International Basketball

Meanwhile, at the US Open and International Basketball:

Sharapova always has a shot to win it but there are still holes in her game. But there's just a lot of depth in the women's side this year. Mentally, I just think Justin beats everyone, although I'm rooting for Americans Davenport and Serena I just don't think they're match tough even though they both could take it all. Love Dementieva's powerful thighs (I'm thinking about starting a Church of Worship based on them) but she needs a better serve. Ask Hingis, who got tossed last night.

Love the Agassi run. His two matches have been some of the best men's tennis that I've seen in years. Still think America's best hope is Andy Roddick who seems to be widening his game (more net play, better volleys). Its not just "serve well, hit forehand hard", which won't defeat the Federer anyway. Perhaps its the Conners effect. Root for Blake as well but not sure if he's good enough, quite frankly. Not enough weapons, not enough consistency. Could win it if he gets hot... Though never doubt the Power of The Federer. Best rumor I've heard: a Pete Sampras return. His body isn't broken like Agassi's. He should only play three slams: Australia, Wimbledon and the US Open. Need to keep the Grand Slam record in American hands. I miss the Big Four days of Sampras, Agassi, Chang and Courier.

Quick note on FIBA basketball: The best US team of pros isn't going to beat cohesive international teams that have been playing for years. On the other hand, instead of Bosch, Miller and Elton Brand I would have preferred Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. Might want to consider a premier point guard like Kidd or Iverson as well. And make your goddamn foul shots. ON the other other hand, team USA had no answer for that Greek (?) 315 pound African-Greek defensive lineman. Might want to give Shaq a call and at least ask. Don't like our chances against Argentina but a win would be nice.

2 Political Junkies: Stop Using Sex As a Weapon!

Well, let me condemn the 2 Political Junkies people for using sex as a weapon. Think of the children. You won't be seeing any exploitive male nudity on this page that's fer sure. I guess I got's scruples.