Friday, August 29, 2008

Did RFK predict Obama?

"In 1968, Bobby Kennedy said we would have a black president in 40 years. None of us were willing to take a bet on that," Lowery said. "Tonight I am in awe, not so much by what he said but what he [Obama] is doing—accepting the nomination for president."

This per Rev. Joseph Lowry, president emeritus of the SCLC, the organization founded by Martin Luther King, per this article.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An American President, finally

In the 1995 film "The American President," penned by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, the fictitious president Andrew Shepard fulfilled many Democrats' fantasy, standing up and fighting back, defending the values so many of us hold with devastatingly simple and clear logic.

We watched in pain in 2000 and 2004 as Al Gore and John Kerry tried to squish themselves into portraits unbefitting their true character. We watched in frustration as those elections slipped away, in part due very likely to voting issues, but in part due to their failure to ignite the public's imagination, to give people something to vote for, rather than simply being the person you weren't voting against.

But tonight, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a Dream" speech, we finally got a real-life equivalent of President Shepard. With words that reached deep into our hopes and dreams for our country, Barack Obama accepted the nomination, introduced himself to America, and placed McCain's support of George Bush's failed policies in the clearest possible terms for the viewing audience:
Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
Sorkin's character, responding to attacks from his opponent Bob Rumson, had said:
Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it!
Tonight, Obama made a similarly direct assessment:
It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.
Is Obama imitating Sorkin? Hardly. Obama is simply the embodiment of what Sorkin envisioned. In fact, Obama has perhaps a clearer sense of who he is, and what he has to offer, than any Democratic candidate since Bill Clinton. Clinton always knew his strengths, and how to play to them. Obama has, with his amazing upset of the nearly ordained Hillary Clinton in the primaries, staked out new terroritory for Democrats. He is already changing the country, showing us that you can fight hard without fighting nasty, that you can be lofty and principled and still draw contrasts with your opponent in stark relief. You can attack someone's principles without attacking their person. And you can move the debate to where you want it to be.

Obama took direct aim at the false dichotomies the right makes so much fodder over. For example, on the issue of abortion, Obama said that while we will have strong differences, there's every reason for us all to work together to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Obama also drew the real distinction between the parties in the starkest of terms. The Republican party believes "you're on your own." The Democratic party believes, "we're all in this together."

And that's why I'm a Democrat. I think we are better than animals. I think we should not live by an ethic that amounts to survival of the fittest. While I don't go to church any more, I will always treasure the sentiment that God will judge us by the way we treat the least among us. If ever there was a God worth worshipping, it would be one with that ethic. I couldn't worship a God who said follow me or you'll go to hell. No God so unloving seemed worthy of worship. But one that said, whatever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me – that's a God I could believe in. That's an ethic I can believe in. That's the party I can believe in, one that supports such a notion.

And that is ultimately why I support Obama. He gets it. Even science shows us, in the most remarkable of ways, that whatever happens to one happens to all. Our fates are entangled. We are, or should be, our brother's keeper. That's what separates us from animals. We are not just out to survive. We want to thrive, and overcome our difficulties together.

It's never about who wins. It's about how many of us win, together. That, to me, is at the heart of what I love about America. Our forefathers built a system that was designed to give as close to an even break for all as was possible at that point in time.

That's why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan feel personally painful to me. We're losing, together; dying, together. There have to be other ways. My gosh, it's the 21st century. Will we ever grow up and learn to talk to each other and negotiate with each other, rather than resorting to the evolutionary backslide of war?

Perhaps with Obama as our new teacher in chief, we'll learn to play a new game, together. That is my fondest hope, and a dream I'll work hard to make into a reality.

I'll leave you with the very essence of all that Obama believes and stands for, as he's proven his whole life:
What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you. ... You have shown what history teaches us ... that change doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.
That is why I write. And fight. We need massive change in this country. And it's up to us. We require only an articulate and intelligent leader to point us in the right direction. And the man pointing the way at this defining moment is that skinny kid with the funny name, Barack Obama.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Dream lives on, indeed

I have to say, as a Democrat, this is the best night I've had in many, many years.

I have a hope that I haven't felt in my entire life, that maybe we really do have a chance to climb back up the cliff from which our Democracy has been dangling, to reclaim a future stolen from us with the assassination of President Kennedy 45 years ago. Maybe. Just maybe, we can get back on track and become the country that fulfills the promise of its birth.

I think tomorrow will be something incredibly special. The fact that Obama's speech falls on 45th anniversary to the day of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech is already giving me chills.

I've been a basket case this week, fighting back tears through many speeches, afraid to dream myself. But I want to dream again. I want to think that things can get better, and not simply worse. And I think no matter what happens they WILL get worse for a while yet.

But if anyone can turn this around, I truly believe Obama and his well-picked VP of Biden can. And if the Clintons really mean what they say, and will pull together, if this party can really pull in one direction, for once, we could be looking at an amazing, and positive, future.

Here's hoping.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tweety - just ignorant, or singing for his supper?

There I was, literally sobbing, as I listened to Ted Kennedy, so thrilled that in my lifetime I'd see a Kennedy pass the torch to someone worthy.

Then Chris Matthews had to go and gum it up.

He said JFK was killed by "a communist" and RFK by "a middle east terrorist."

WRONG WRONG WRONG, on both counts, and so obviously so.

The CIA was clearly running Oswald in the Soviet Union. This was so clear the Soviets didn't even question Oswald, despite his too-obvious offers to give them info on the U2 program. The KGB knew the CIA would learn, even from questions they asked, what the KGB didn't know, and in the cold war, information was currency.

The CIA ruined the life of Yuri Nosenko because he told that truth as a defector just at the moment the CIA was trying vigorously to paint Oswald as a communist as part of their cover-up.

It worked on Johnson. He originally fell for the ploy, and pressured Senator Russell into a Warren Commission post to prevent "World War III" by keeping the lid on the conspiracy.

It was only later that LBJ realized he'd been had, and told a top associate that he felt the CIA was behind Kennedy's assassination.

The CIA gave Nosenko a lie detector test when he arrived that he passed. But his information did not support the CIA's story re the assassination. So after months of isolation, sensory deprivation, and other forms of torture, he was drugged, anally stimulated, and then given a SECOND lie detector test, with many more questions about Oswald in it. Surprise, surprise (not), he 'failed' the second lie detector test. It was unreadable.

In other words, the CIA sacrificed a high-level Soviet defector and his information to protect their cover story about Oswald. That's how much they needed to hide their longstanding relationship with Oswald. The CIA had a file on Oswald since at least 1959 and had an Office of Security file, usually reserved for CIA people under internal investigation.

Oswald was no Communist, ever. That was his cover, pure and simple, while he was on assignment.

And Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was NOT a "middle east terrorist." He was a longtime resident of the United States, who grew up in the public school system here. He had no accent. He was a Christian. His whole family was Christian, as were many of the displaced Palestinian Arabs. A Christian church paid the family's way to America.

And of course, to anyone who has studied these cases in depth, it's obvious that neither Oswald nor Sirhan killed a Kennedy.

One of the most amazing letters I saw from Ted Kennedy was one to the authorities in California, pleading that Sirhan NOT be given the death sentence, that the Kennedys did not believe in the death sentence, and that his life should be spared. It wasn't because Ted thought he was innocent - most of that evidence hadn't surfaced yet. It was just that Ted was true to his faith, his Catholic upbringing and family tradition, which believed all murder was wrong - whether committed by the state or not.

When I was writing for Probe Magazine, we took off after Chris Matthews fairly regularly. I strongly suspect he was licking the hand that feeds with his comments tonight. It's hard to believe he is truly that stupid, but it's not hard to believe at all that he is truly that willing to lie to protect his job.

Nothing needed to be said. The moment had come and gone. But he just had to go and inject some disinformation into the tail end of that moment.

I don't hate people. But I have no use for Chris Matthews. No matter how much his leg tingles for Obama.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Okay - if not Kaine, Biden.

Well, it appears Kaine and Bayh have been notified that they will not be the VP. That leaves only Biden, I think, although some are saying Jack Reed's town is swarming with Secret Service. But I think Obama realizes he needs someone with better name recognition, and the gravitas and experience some believe Obama lacks. That means Biden.

We'll see. I'm a little frustrated the news didn't come today. A lot of us at work were keeping one eye on the cell phone. I could have used that energy elsewhere..!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama's VP choice? I'm guessing Kaine.

I think Obama is going to pick Virginia Governor Tim Kaine for a running mate. Kaine was one of his earliest and strongest supporters, which really counts for something. Obama wants someone who shares his values, and with whom he is comfortable.

And Kaine may be able to put Obama over the top in Virginia, which will be a key state in the upcoming election. The race there is very close, and Kaine may be the factor that turns a maybe into a yes there.

In addition, nearly everyone else who was being vetted has already been given a speaking slot at the convention. I noticed Kaine had not, which would make sense if he's being held for a very special slot.

People are saying Bayh and Biden. I think not. I think it's going to be Kaine. You heard it here first.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Republican computer expert re need to have audited paper ballots

This guy's entire interview is a must see. Here's the part I want to draw your attention to first, but then please, PLEASE, watch the other parts, below. This guy is my new hero, Republican or not. He tells the truth. And he shares my passion for accurate elections:
There are people out there - and there's a lot of them - who don't want to win elections. What they want to do is to steal them. They have enormous incentive for power, they have enormous incentive for money, and they have enormous willingness to go and do it. I don't want to have a society where we're not sure who won. I want to live in a democracy where there's a valid capacity to audit the entire trail.
In this section, he describes that the ONLY system that can give us a verifiable result is one cast on paper ballots, scanned optically, and then randomly handcounted - audited - to verify or challenge the results. There is NO other way to have elections with computers than to do this. Any other way is an open invitation for fraud, and if you watch the other segments, this guy is basically accusing Diebold of doing exactly that.

That was Segment 6. Here are all the segments. This guy was interviewed by ABC, but they never aired the interview. See the last segment to clearly understand why.

Segment 1 - "...there's a very strong argument to be made that the 2000 election was electronically stolen. Hanging chads was a distraction."

Segment 2 - "...[voting on a touchscreen is] basically like you walking up and opening a curtain - there's a little man there - and you say, "Hello, what's your vote?" And I say, "Well, I'd like to vote for this." He goes, "Okay, thank you," then he closes the screen and goes to a different screen and tells someone else. That next layer is the operating system. Now, you don't really know what the screen is telling the operating system because you can't see it. So unlike a vote that you've marked, the screen now takes that information and passes it to a field set in the operating system. Who knows who wrote that operating system? Diebold won't tell us."

Segment 3 - "... if you're carrying a memory card... you can just change the information on that card by overriding it ..."

Segment 4 - "I reviewed the patch that they put in Georgia 2002 that many of them claim is a clock function - it's not a clock function. ... if I were to guess what that code is, it's a vote-flipping function."

Segment 5 - "It shouldn't be [a partisan issue]. This is a fascist issue. People who don't want voting and want fascist control and people who think they're voting..."

Segment 6 - "They're lying. They're lying. Diebold is lying. There is no electronic system in the world that cannot be hacked. ... There is no system in the world - none - that cannot be hacked. ... I can't make it any clearer than this. You cannot have secure electronic voting. It doesn't exist. ... If you had complete transparency in the process ... there's no reason not to use optical scanning ... you have a paper ballot, people mark it, you scan it very quickly into a system. Now, at that point those need to have random sampling to compare the way the computer has actually recorded things to ... the handcounted paper ballots...."

Segment 7 - "...I think they're brilliantly designed. They're designed to steal elections....There are backdoors in the tabulation machines, which is what the US CERT warning is about. There's a backdoor communication that allows secondary computers to talk to the electronic tabulators electronically from a distance...."

Segment 8 - "I'm a Republican. I worked on Giuliani's campaign. I worked on Bloomberg's campaign. I worked on John McCain's campaign. I've been a lifelong member of the party. This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is a democracy issue. If you actually care about a constitutional democracy in which each person votes, that vote is validated, and the people who end up in office are reflected on the basis of the way people voted, you care about this issue."

"I certainly know that in all statistical information, it seems that in every single bizarre circumstance, where exit data, polling data, or informational data swings, it has all been in favor of Republicans, but not the sort of Republicans who I want to see in office at all. These are people are people who lie, and people who cheat. This is not the conservative way. Conservatives conserve things. We are respectful, and we are constitutionally based."

You know what the real problem is? People do not want to believe that people want to steal elections in this country. ... [Overseas, we'd warn people if there was more than 2% variance between polls and results.] We have had numerous elections now... where what happens with the vote is way off - 5, 10, as much as 12% from the exit polling and the actual survey - these statistical numbers are impossible. And the problem is, Americans do not want to believe that we have people stealing our elections, and they must come to the realization that there are people in this country who want to steal elections, and we must stop them.
Amen, and thank you, Stephen Spoonamore.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CERN's LHC ala Rap

This has to be the coolest video ever. Learn about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) via rap. This is fantastic.

CERN Rap from Will Barras on Vimeo.

FYI, the LHC finally has an official launch date: September 10, 2008. I am seriously excited to learn what happens when this incredible machine gets going.

When the Manhattan Project exploded its first nuclear bomb, no one knew for sure what would happen. There was some speculation that the explosion might ignite the atmosphere and kill the planet. But they did it anyway!

Similarly, some fear that firing up the LHC may create a black hole that devours the planet, or a worm hole through which time travelers could enter. I think the fears are unfounded, given the number of scientists involved in the project. But in a day and age when there is no new land to discover, there are still many new frontiers. The scientists of today are our pioneers, leading us forward, peering into new worlds, both figuratively and literally. And like the pioneers of old, they may take wrong turns on the journey. There is so much riding on this, again, figuratively and literally.

I'll keep you posted, as this is a topic of great interest to me, and would be, I think, to many, if they understood what's at stake. Hopefully the video helps bring some of that to light in an understandable way.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

CIA, Anthrax, more

I've been out, but wanted to link to some items of interest for those with more time than me at present to pursue:

American Conservative Wants Us to Believe WMD Forgery was Work of Pentagon, not CIA. Should We?

Anthrax suspect said to have been curious and compassionate

Tape: Top CIA official confesses order to forge Iraq-9/11 letter came on White House stationery

Was the CIA conducting an anthrax by mail test program?

And if you missed it, Scott Ritter explained how we're already at war in Iran, even though it's not reported as such. A must read.

Gerald Ford, the Warren Commission, and the FBI

I'm a little amused the mainstream media is only now discovering that Ford was informing to Hoover during the Warren Commission's investigation. It was no surprise to me - I saw FBI records to that effect over 15 years ago. They were released in 1977, and I stumbled over them while reading microfilm at the library.

But lo, the mainstream media never READ all those files that the FBI released, so now they're all excited by the 'new' revelations. At least the Washington Post got it right on that point - there are new documents that give more detail, but the original revelation (re Ford informating on the Warren Commission to Hoover) is over 30 years old.

And then people wonder why I rarely watch the news or read mainstream papers. Why bother? I'd rather do my own investigating, since the media has been so disastrously poor on matters of genuine significance, like who killed our president.

And for those of you who want to know about the man's disastrous contributions to real history, see my earlier piece on Gerald Ford.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Keith Olbermann! Gerald Posner has no clothes!!

I was shocked to come home and see Keith Olbermann again turning to Gerald Posner for "information" regarding the Anthrax case. I had to sit down and fire off a letter to him pronto. I doubt he'll even see it, but he should. Because Gerald Posner is clearly not his friend, or ours, and should NOT be featured on his show.

Here's what I wrote:

How can you be so naïve???

Don’t you know who Posner is? Or is that the price you have to pay to keep your show on the air?

Posner has proved to be little more than a shill for the intelligence community. His books reek with the access he has received, and his book on the JFK case is one of the single most dishonest books I’ve ever read on the subject.

Has it not occurred to you that if the anthrax attack was an inside plot to help build the case against Iraq, that Posner would be trotted out yet again to spin a theory that takes you FURTHER, not CLOSER, to that horrible truth?

Most of the time you are so insightful and bright that I just want to pull my hair out when you do something so dumb as to give this man credibility by putting him on your show.

Please. There are honest commentators you can have on. But this guy does not deserve your approval. Please – read this, by a historian Posner himself praises:

“Gerald Posner argues that the Warren Commission properly investigated the assassination of JFK. He claims to have refuted the critics, purports to show what actually occurred, and asserts simple factual answers to explain complex problems that have plagued the subject for years. In the process he condemns all who do not agree with the official conclusions as theories driven by conjectures. At the same time his book is so theory driven, so rife with speculation, and so frequently unable to conform his text with the factual content in his sources that it stands as one of the stellar instances of irresponsible publishing on the subject.”

Consider his other books:

Mengele – excuses the CIA for failing to find Mengele (unless of course, they did, in which case he is covering for the CIA.)

His first book by himself – a novel lauding the Cold Warrior old guard of the CIA against the younger corporate types. It’s also about the very people Ivins was a part of – the bio-warfare community. How many inside sources did he have when he wrote The Bio-Assassins?

He openly admitted his extensive contacts in the intelligence community when he wrote Hitler’s Children and a book about the Chinese drug trade (excusing the CIA of course from its golden triangle dealings and focusing instead on the equivalent of the mafia in China).

His book on the Martin Luther King case is even weaker than his book on the Kennedy case, which I hardly thought possible. And then the guy writes about 9/11 and expects anyone to believe him?

Wake up and smell the CIA asset you’re being played by, Keith! Seriously. Start with Carl Bernstein’s article on the CIA and the media and smarten up. I love you, but you’re naïveté is a threat to this nation, given your pulpit’s reach. You can read the whole thing here: It’s just a start. But you need to know what’s going on under your nose.

Seriously, I love you, but you’ve got to wise up. You’re the only guy most of us have in the mainstream media that’s believable at all. The more you fall for these guys, the more you become a part of the problem and less a part of the solution.

With great affection and frustration,

Lisa Pease

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New York Times gets it right on bad voting bill

I was surprised and pleased to see the New York Times get it right on the awful electronic voting bill proposed by Dianne Feinstein and Robert Bennett.

In the guise of protecting our vote, the bill instead strips away requirements for a paper record of the vote, and does not require that any records be audited. In other words, whatever the machine says is it, period. That would be a death knell for Democracy. I think most people have no idea how slim the thread by which their vote is hanging from has become. The poor thread is fraying badly, and we are truly in serious danger of losing a vote that actually counts. This bill would snip the thread and let our vote fall into an inauditable abyss.

Here's what the Op Ed page of the NYT has to say today - please read the whole thing.
Congress has stood idly by while states have done the hard work of trying to make electronic voting more reliable. Now the Senate is taking up a dangerous bill introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Robert Bennett, Republican of Utah, that would make things worse in the name of reform. If Congress will not pass a strong bill, it should apply the medical maxim: first, do no harm.
Please contact your senators and representative and ask them to oppose the Feinstein/Bennett electronic voting bill.