Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Naomi Klein on Bush's Bailout Criminality

Naomi Klein comes closest to anyone I've so far seen in pointing to the criminal nature of the Paulsen, Bush-Cheney handling of the economic collapse. Writing for The Nation, she calls it borderline criminal. See "In Praise of a Rocky Transition."

One question for discussion: Is there anything in the details of Bush administration economic crisis management thus far that's inconsistent with their determination to bring the economy to its knees?

The only thing puzzling about what they are doing is their motivation: Why would they want to destroy the US economy and the international economy?

Perhaps a similar question will provide the context or even answer the first question:
Is there any policy they have undertaken in the last eight years that's inconsistent with the intention to cause as much pain, havoc, suffering and tragedy as they have thus far been able to manage?
The environment?
Encircling Russia with NATO? (A big thanks here to the Clinton people as well.)

Sticking just to the economy: What are the implications of their evident intentions for the next two months?

How will the markets react in the next 60 days to their refusal to do anything positive and to their wasting -- how much is it now? -- $4 trillion?! What is the economy going to look like on January 20, 2009?

(It's even too painful to wonder to what extent the political, military, economic situation will continue to deteriorate in many more countries, with perhaps the greatest amount of suffering from their ongoing attacks in the Middle East and South Asia.)


For Alternet's/Amy Goodman's version of the Naomi Klein/Democracy Now interview in connection with her Nation article, see:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Velvet Revolution: Ohio 2004 Stolen at 11:13 p.m.; More on Connell's deposition, Why Karl Rove pulled the plug and allowed an Obama victory

This eye-opening post from the Velvet Revolution (VR) came via Professor Mark Crispin Miller's indispensable mailing list. Along with information on the Connell deposition, we get some detail regarding the Ohio 2004 election. It is claimed that the official numbers from Ohio were sent to a computer in Tennessee where they were changed to ensure a Bush victory. We can gather that changes were made by a similar procedure to come up with the very unlikely national count of 3 million more votes for Bush over Kerry. From Miller's book, Loser Take All, we learn that since Bush got fewer rural votes in 2004 than he did in 2000, the exit polls had to be changed in order to reflect the official count giving Bush much higher percentages in urban areas. And if you believe that....

Pretty much lost amid the celebration of Obama's victory, are some troubling anomalies from Nov 4th in any number of states which seem likely to keep the Democrats from winning 60 Senate seats and to rob them of at least several House seats. It appears that Democratic Senate and House seats are in danger of falling to election fraud in Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia. Moreover analysts are puzzled as to some of the numbers: it's not clear why we are seeing the same number of voters nationally as in 2004 (about 122 million); and similar numbers in 2008 as in 2004 in some states like Ohio when we would have expected much higher figures this year. For more details see Mark Crispin Miller's blog:


How Ohio 2000 was changed
From Harriett Crosby: [from Velvet Revolution (VR)

Dear friends,

It's a new day in America, a new era of hope. Obama's election has already transformed the energy of this place. His well organized, disciplined campaign has transcended partisan divides as the transition team searches for excellent people regardless of party.
It is a breath of fresh air.
Friends have asked if I think the Michael Connell deposition on Monday deterred Rove from trying to hack another election. My answer: It was clearly Obama who won--his winning personality, his family, his clarity, his honest campaign. Nonetheless, I do believe that our work to bring Connell into the light of legal scrutiny the day before the election was critical to protect the integrity of this election at a time of consequence for the nation.
We at Velvet Revolution VR were running defense for democracy, tackling those who
were coming at Obama from the shadowy sidelines: people, like Connell, who were using secret computer IT networks to manipulate the vote count at the tabulation level. It was important to expose the invisible and illegal ways of taking advantage of every weak point in the electoral system by designing computer programs to manipulate elections without leaving a trace.

Bobby Kennedy and Greg Palast were publicizing voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, caging, purging voter registration lists and all the visible ways of suppressing the Democratic vote. It was very important this came out in Rolling Stone before the election, so that many people were paying attention. Velvet Revolution was going after
the invisible corruption--the election tabulation fraud--and so it was much more difficult to get this published in the mainstream media. In spite of hiring Fenton Communications to get out the election fraud story (they put out some good press releases), the media never picked it up.

Make no mistake, there is alarming evidence that Bush stayed in the White House for a second term by stealing the 2004 election. After four years of researching this, listening to whistleblowers and putting the invisible jig-saw puzzle together, we know WHO did it: Karl Rove, his computer IT operative, Mike Connell, Jack Abramoff, Susan Ralston and Ken Blackwell. We know HOW they did it: using computer networks like,,, New Media Communications and We know WHEN: in the late hours of election night in 2004--at 11:13 p.m.,
to be precise--when Blackwell shunted the vote tally from Ohio to GOP servers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where they were changed just enough to give the election to Bush. We have evidence, from the Ohio Secretary of State's Office, of the election architecture that shows exactly when the vote tally was sent to SMARTech at GOP headquarters in Tennessee, and when it came back. This is how Bush got a second term--and Karl Rove was behind it. Rove will be the next (after Connell) to be subpoenaed in our Ohio lawsuit.

It has been frustrating for me to know all this and not be able to get the media to cover the story as it unfolded. I had been counting on the media and court of public opinion to expose this massive fraud and corruption of our election process. But I was wrong to wait for the media to do the story. They never did. It was a violation of the law and belonged in court.

VR found lawyers in Ohio who reviewed the evidence of these shenanigans, and went to federal court in July, 2008 to expose it. The Judge decided to lift the stay on an existing lawsuit, and then all of this information was put before him. We had the quiet support of the Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General. To get that support, we had to provide loads of evidence. Details of the lawsuit and hearing are spelled out in many articles on But the long and short of it is that the judge ruled in our
favor four times: lifting the stay on the prior lawsuit; subpoenaing Connell; compelling
Connell's appearance in court on Friday, Oct. 3; and then ordering him to submit to a
deposition on Monday, Nov. 3--the day before Election Day.

Connell's attorneys did everything possible to keep him from testifying. But since he was compelled to appear, he did show up on Friday with three high-powered lawyers from the Bush/Cheney '04 team--and they were ready to fight. It was a contentious three-hour hearing, in which he said he was too busy for a deposition until after the election. The lawyer said this was like the bank robber saying, sorry, he couldn't show up in court because he was too busy making plans to rob the next bank. Attorney Cliff Arnebeck accused Connell in open court of rigging elections for Karl Rove. Connell turned "beet red" when the judge ruled that he would have to come back at noon on Monday to submit to a sworn deposition, exactly 18 hours before the polls were to open.

But Connell was as cool as a cucumber when he showed up in court Monday, Nov. 3 with his lawyers. He was placed under oath and grilled about election fraud, "man in the middle" computer manipulation of the vote count, Trojan horse remote control of the tabulation process, and threats from Rove if he didn't take the heat for all such crimes.
He did his best to stonewall, but did indicate that, to his knowledge, there would be no tabulation manipulation of Tuesday's election.

So what happened over the weekend after being under the eye of an attentive Federal Judge? Two weeks ago, Rove was confidently saying that McCain could win ten battleground states to become President. McCain was confidently telling everyone that he would win with a surge in the wee hours of election night (when the numbers could be manipulated). On Thursday, Oct. 30, Rove had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, telling voters to ignore the polls, and that McCain could win. But something changed over the weekend. By Monday after the deposition, Rove wrote on his blog that Obama would win by "a electoral landslide," even in those states he had previously predicted McCain would win.

As Mark Crispin Miller said: "And there was Karl Rove's abrupt decision not to try to rig the outcome, a reversal he signaled Monday evening when he suddenly foretold an electoral landslide for Obama, just hours after Mike Connell, his longtime IT fixer, had been forced to answer questions, under oath, in an Ohio courtroom."
Personally, I believe that a miracle happened. I had given up hope of anything coming of this lawsuit before the election because I was told that newspapers don't do stories until after a judge rules on a case and that these things take forever. But my colleagues at VR persevered, intent on helping to save this election. I was totally surprised last week (just a week ago) to learn that the Judge had ruled against Connell attempt to quash the subpoena and compelled him to show up in court Friday, Oct.31, just days before the election. And then he ordered Connell to come back on Monday to testify under oath, giving him all weekend to ponder his situation. Connell certainly discussed this with
his lawyers, and probably with Rove and others. Rove knew he was the next to be subpoenaed by this Judge. They knew that we were onto them, and had evidence of what had happened. They may have decided it just wasn't worth the risk to manipulate another election. So I think the lawsuit and deposition on Monday may have deterred them in a small way from attempting to impede Obama's victory.

The history of America's stolen 2004 election is coming to light, as it must. "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice!" Winning big with a transformational leader like Obama means we can go on the offense in addressing the great issues of our time from global warming to election reform. Guided by our values of open, honest government, we can begin the work of reforming America's flawed election system. There is much to be done to protect the voting rights of every citizen and to ensure that all the votes are fairly counted. Our work is not over.

Love, Harriett

McClatchy News story

Here's a picture of Karl Rove with his assistant, Susan Ralston who previously worked for Jack Abramoff, on election eve of 2004, in the White House dining room, around the time when the Ohio results were being sent to GOP headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee to be reprocessed by servers, one of Connell's companies, before being returned to Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, giving Bush his second term.

"We're going to do well in this campaign, my friend.
We're going to win it, and it's going to be tight,
and we're going to be up late," McCain said.

Stephen Zunes: Rahm Emanuel: Single Loyalty? --To Israel

The choice of Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s chief of staff is scary, Emanuel is hardly a voice for change. It’s hard to distinguish many of his policies from Bush’s.

I’ve been trying to discern a silver lining. Could it be that, like Lincoln, Obama is cleverly including opposition to change within his administration. Also by choosing Emanuel, Obama might be trying to soften blows he might otherwise receive from AIPAC and the Israeli lobby in case he hints at a more just U.S. Mideast policy.

Yes, we can hope, but it’s hard now to imagine Obama moving away from the right on crucial issues. Didn’t I already read in the New York Times a reaffirmation of Obama’s promise to add to the devastatingly bloated “Defense” budget?

The Zunes article is so good it’s hard to excerpt. I’ve also added a couple of paragraphs from Alex Cockburn’s very good article on the same subject.


Is Obama Screwing His Base with Rahm Emanuel Selection?
By Stephen Zunes, AlterNet
November 7, 2008,

Stephen Zunes writes:

I had really wanted to celebrate Barack Obama's remarkable victory for a day or so before becoming cynical again. I really did.

And yet, less than 24 hours after the first polls closed, the president-elect chose as his chief of staff -- perhaps the most powerful single position in any administration -- Rahm Emanuel, one of the most conservative Democratic members of Congress.

The chief of staff essentially acts as the president's gatekeeper, determining with whom he has access for advice and analysis. Obama is known as a good listener who has been open to hearing from and considering the perspectives of those on the Left as well as those with a more centrist to conservative perspective. How much access he will actually have as president to more progressive voices, however, is now seriously in question.

Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel is a member of the so-called New Democrat Coalition (NDC), of group of center-right pro-business Congressional Democrats affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Conference, which is dedicated to moving the Democratic Party away from its more liberal and progressive base. Numbering only 58 members out of 236 Democrats in the current House of Representatives, the NDC has worked closely with its Republican colleagues in pushing through and passing such legislation as those providing President Bush with "fast-track" trade authority in order to bypass efforts by labor, environmentalists and other public interest groups to promote fairer trade policy.

Emanuel began his political career as a senior adviser and chief fundraiser for the successful 1989 Chicago mayoral campaign of Richard M. Daley to seize back City Hall from reformists who had challenged the corrupt political machine of this father, Richard J. Daley. Emanuel later became a senior adviser to Bill Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998, serving as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy, and was credited with playing a major role in shifting the Clinton administration's foreign and domestic policy agenda to the right. Emanuel was the single most important official involved in pushing through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the bill ending Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and Clinton's draconian crime bill, among other legislation.

Leaving the administration in 1998, Emanuel worked as an investment banker in Chicago, where he amassed an $18 million fortune in less than three years prior to being elected to Congress.

As head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2004, Emanuel has promoted pro-war and pro-business center-right candidates against anti-war and pro-labor candidates in the primaries, pouring millions of dollars of donations from Democrats across the country into the campaigns of his favored conservative minions to defeat more progressive challengers.

Emanuel was a major supporter of the Iraq War resolution that authorized the invasion of Iraq. Indeed, he was the only one of nine Democratic members of Congress from Illinois who backed granting Bush this unprecedented authority to invade a country on the far side of the world that was no threat to the United States at the time. Even more disturbingly, when asked by Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" whether he would have voted to authorize the invasion "knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction," Emanuel answered that he indeed would have done so, effectively acknowledging that his support for the war was not about national security, but about oil and empire. Not surprisingly, he has also voted with the Republicans in support of unconditional funding to continue the Iraq War and has consistently opposed efforts by other Democrats to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces from that country and related Congressional efforts to end the war.

At a time of record budget deficits, Emanuel has been a passionate supporter of increased spending for the Pentagon and has resisted efforts by fellow Democrats to trim excesses in the Bush administration's bloated military budget. For example, he has repeatedly voted against amendments to cut funding for Bush's dangerously destabilizing missile defense and even voted against an amendment to identify unnecessary Pentagon spending by examining the need, relevance and cost of Cold War weapons systems designed to fight the former Soviet Union.

A major hawk regarding Iran, Emanuel has also voted against Democratic efforts to prevent the Bush administration from launching military action against that country and has joined the administration in exaggerated claims about Iran's alleged nuclear threat. He is not opposed to nuclear proliferation if it involves U.S. allies, however. Emanuel has consistently voted against a series of Democratic amendments that would have strengthened safeguards in the Bush administration's nuclear cooperation agreement with India to prevent U.S. assistance from supporting India's nuclear weapons program.

Emanuel is also a prominent hawk regarding Israel, attacking the Bush administration from the right for criticizing Israel's assassination policies and other human rights abuses. He was also a prominent supporter of Israel's 2006 attacks on Lebanon, even challenging the credibility of Amnesty International and other human rights groups that reported Israeli violations of international humanitarian law. Emanuel's father had emigrated from Israel in the 1950s, where he had been a member of the terrorist group Irgun, which had been responsible for a series of terrorist attacks against Palestinian and British civilians in mandatory Palestine during the 1940s. Emanuel himself served in a civilian capacity as a volunteer for the Israeli army in the early 1990s.

It is unclear how serious of a blow Obama's selection of Emanuel is to those who hoped that Obama might actually steer the country in a more progressive direction. It's easy to see it as nothing less than a slap in the face of the progressive anti-war elements of the party to whom Obama owes his election, particularly following his selection of Sen. Joe Biden as vice president. (See my articles "Biden's Foreign Policy 'Experience'" and "Biden, Iraq, and Obama's Betrayal.")

However, this does not necessarily mean that Obama as president will pursue nothing better than a Clintonesque center-right agenda. Someone with Obama's intelligence, knowledge and leadership qualities need not be unduly restricted by the influence of his chief of staff as less able presidents have. At the same time, this shocking appointment of Emanuel is illustrative of the need for the progressive base that brought him to power to not celebrate too long and to refocus our energies into pushing hard to ensure that the change Obama promised is something we really can believe in.

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco and serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

November 7 / 9, 2008
CounterPunch Diary
Hail to the Chief of Staff


Working in the Clinton White House, Emanuel helped push through NAFTA, the crime bill, the balanced budget and welfare reform. He favored the war in Iraq, and when he was chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 he made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates. On this site in October and November, 2006, John Walsh documented both the efforts and Emanuel’s role in losing the Democrats seats they would otherwise have won.

In 2006 Emanuel had just published a book with Bruce Reed called The Plan: Big Ideas for America, with one section focused on “the war on terror”. Emanuel and Reed wrote, “We need to fortify the military's ‘thin green line ‘around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. …Finally we must protect our homeland and civil liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like Britain's MI5.” Recall that Obama has been calling throughout his recent campaign for an addition of 92,000 to the US Army and US Marine Corps.

Emanuel and Reed had fond words for the mad-dog Peter Beinart, neocon warrior theoretician for the Democrats, roosting Marty Peretz's The New Republic, and author of The Good Fight where Beinart explained why a tough new national security policy is as essential to the future of progressive politics as a united front against totalitarianism and communism was to the New Deal and the Great Society. Emanuel and Reed also commended Anne-Marie Slaughter's proposal for "a new division of labor in which the United Nations takes on economic and social assistance and an expanded NATO takes over the burden of collective security." In other words, let NATO shoot the natives and the UN clean the floors.

Read more:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mark Crispin Miller: Why Karl Rove Pulled the Plug (and allowed Obama to win)

Here's Professor Mark Crispin Miller's theory as to why this election too wasn't stolen, and why Karl Rove, in the space of two weeks, changed his prediction from a McCain to an Obama victory. -- RB

Mark Crispin Miller wrote:
Why Karl Rove Pulled the Plug;
Finally, An Elected President

Barack Obama was overwhelmingly elected by citizens in all regions of the country. Unlike the past two elections where the results were contested in two states run by partisans who rigged the results, this election was won hands down by the person who ran the best campaign. This is not to say that there were not massive problems with voting systems in many states. But this election did not come down to one state or county controlled by corrupt officials.

Four years ago, Velvet Revolution [VR] was formed out of the chaos of the 2004 election. Since then, we and all of you have fought a long battle to ensure that our elections are fair, honest and transparent. We demanded accurate voting machines and paper ballots. In this election, both Florida and Ohio, now with paper ballots, went Blue and there is no one questioning that result.

Over the past several months, we have raised the specter of a Man in the Middle computer attack on the vote tabulators controlled by partisan evangelicals. We identified Michael Connell as the key GOP IT expert who created these nefarious networks. We took legal action against Connell in the form of a federal deposition. Karl Rove responded by threatening Connell to either take the fall or keep his mouth shut. Connell's Bush/Cheney attorneys did everything possible to keep Connell from testifying.

Two weeks ago, Rove was confidently saying that John McCain could win ten battleground states to become President. McCain was confidently telling everyone that he would win with a surge in the wee hours of election night.

Well, last Friday, something important happened: Michael Connell was forced to appear before Solomon Oliver, a Clinton appointed Afro-American federal Judge in Cleveland. After Attorney Cliff Arnebeck accused Connell in open court of rigging elections for Karl Rove, the judge ordered Connell to submit to a sworn deposition 18 hours before the polls were to open. On Monday at noon, Connell was placed under oath and grilled about election fraud, Man in the Middle attacks, Trojan horse manipulations and threats from Rove.

And guess what happened? Connell didn't know a thing! He had no knowledge of any secret steps
to change the vote-counts, in any past elections--or in the election to come. He stonewalled like a champion, denying everything.

It was a remarkable performance; but what was even more remarkable was the abrupt reversal, just hours later, by Karl Rove. Rove wrote on his blog late Monday that Obama would win by a landslide--even in those states he had previously predicted McCain would win.

In other words, Rove pulled the plug, because he felt the heat, and knew that using Connell to rig
this election too would be too risky.

In short, at VR, with all the help from you, our affiliates, our supporters and others, we played a role in helping to make this presidential election more fair than the past two. Our education campaign, our paper ballot campaign, our whistleblower campaign and our legal strategies worked. That's what democracy is all about.

Thank all of you for your confidence in our work, your dedication and your kind and generous support. We hope to continue to do our small part to make our government more accountable to everyone.

Subscribe to Mark Crispin Miller's "News From Underground" newsgroup. Visit

Laura Rozen wonders why the New York Times still employs William Kristol

Laura Rozen (, Nov 5, 2008) let it al hang out regarding New York Times conservative (?!) columnist William Kristol. She cited his s alleged role as a player, disseminating damaging information about the McCain campaign in his column.

And in all honesty, it's clear Kristol has long been more than a mouthpiece but an active player for one faction of the apparently bitterly internally divided McCain campaign. What business does the Times have to publish an active campaign player like that? Seriously? It's not that he's not allowed to have an opinion and have an ideology and a conservative ideology and even a controversial ideology, but the role he played was clearly far more directly connected to a specific internal campaign than any other columnist at a major place that I can think of. He's a campaign activist, a campaign internal player from that perch, as has been obvious for months, whoever is paying the bills. Times looks totally foolish for publishing someone who so lacked any degree of independence from what he was reporting and commenting on, whose conflicts of interest were so overwhelming.