Tag Archives: 2000 election

Is Your Vote Safe?

KENNEDY WARNS OF MASSIVE ELECTION FRAUD SCAM IN 2008

RFK Jr. with Sen. Christopher Dodd (D)

RFK Jr. with Sen. Christopher Dodd (D)

 

*This is a transcript from the September 20th broadcast of Ring of Fire, the weekly Air America radio show hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio.

 

This week, Bobby and Pap outlined many of the tactics already being employed by Republicans to steal this election – and asked why Democrats aren’t doing anything to stop it.

Bobby: “There are about 30 scams the republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states to get democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the so-called Help America Vote Act which was passed after the Florida debacle in the year 2000. It was originally suggested by democrats and republicans but it was passed by a republican congress with a republican senate and a republican president. And instead of reforming what happened in Florida it basically institutionalized all the problems that happened in Florida. And institutionalized a series of impediments that make it very difficult for democrats to register, for democrats to vote and then for democrats to have their vote counted.

“One of these requirements under HAVA is called “the perfect match” and what that does is little known but it is devastating. A quarter of the voters in Colorado have just been removed from the rolls because of this–just this one scam. And what it does is they use a computer system to compare your registration application to all other government records of you in the state. So they’ll look at your social security records, your motor vehicle records and any time you’ve had any interaction with the government and if there is any information on your voter registration that is different than the information on another government record that they find they remove you from the voting rolls.

“For example, if I registered as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and yet my motor vehicle license said Robert Frances Kennedy Jr. I’d be removed from the rolls. If your initial is different, if you leave an initial out, if you leave a “Jr.” out, if you leave a hyphen out in your name. And what they’ve done is a study in New York that said 80% of the errors are errors that were done by state clerks who are taking down this information. And particularly immigrant communities that people tend to vote democratic, people have names…spell Muhammad with an “o” instead of a “u” (crosstalk)

Pap: “Are the democrats suing to stop this?”

Bobby: “No, the democrats are doing nothing to stop it. In New Jersey, which is a swing state, 300,000 voters in New Jersey were just sent letters saying that they are now ineligible to vote. New jersey is nice enough to actually notify them–most states will not even notify them. And New Jersey intends to send out 870,000 letters so that is three quarters of a million people off the voting rolls in a state that could decide this vote by 50,000 votes. And these are democrats that are being pushed off the rolls.

Bobby: “Let me tell you about one other of these scams people should know about. If you’re a newly registered voter–and of course the democrats have done these gigantic registration drives–12 million people on registration–if you’re a new voter you MUST include your license or some other state I.D. when you come to vote. What that means is that if you’re a college kid (and college kids now–they’re sending in absentee ballots–they’re not going to the voting place, they do everything online or they do everything remotely–they don’t dream of going to the precinct house voting on election day and waiting in a long line) so if they send in the absentee ballot and they don’t include a color copy of their license their vote is going to be thrown into a trash can. And none of these people know this because you have had to read the law in order to know it. So there is no notification for when you fill out your registration form, so all of those 12 million people that the democrats have registered: those ballots are going to be just thrown out.

Pap: “And if democrats won’t talk about this how the hell’s anybody gonna know about it? I’m involved with this kind of thing every day–I didn’t know that until you just told me. The media is not talking about it. How in the hell is somebody gonna find this out? It’s just incredible.

Bobby: “Hopefully–Obama is getting 66 million dollars a month–hopefully somebody in the democratic organization is going to pay some attention to this before election day!”

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This Week’s “Unearthed” News from RFK Jr.

* Here’s the latest “Unearthed” news from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle (report courtesy of the Huffington Post).

UNEARTHED:

NEWS OF THE WEEK THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA FORGOT TO REPORT

Supreme Court Slashes Exxon Valdez Judgment

The Supreme Court slashed a $2.5 billion punitive damages award for the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to just $500 million. An Alaskan jury originally awarded $5 billion in 1994 in punitive damages for the fishermen, Native Americans and residents of Prince William Sound whose lives were devastated by the 11 million gallon oil spill which spoiled 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline. Exxon Mobil waged a protracted, 14-year legal battle to appeal that award; in 2006 a federal appeals court cut the amount in half to $2.5 billion. Exxon appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to completely reject punitive damages because the company claims it spent $3.4 billion in fines, penalties and cleanup costs related to the accident.

In the court’s 5-3 decision (Justice Samuel Alito was recused since he owns over $100,000 in Exxon stock) Justice David Souter wrote that the Exxon Valdez spill was “profitless” for the company and that the penalty should be “reasonably predictable” in its severity.

Of the 33,000 plaintiffs who were originally eligible to share in the jury award handed down in 1994, 20 percent have died over the course of Exxon’s 14-year appeal.

Surviving plaintiffs will collect an average of about $15,000 a person in punitive damages, one-tenth what they were awarded under the original $5 billion judgment.

Oil still oozes from the beaches in Prince William Sound, continuing to impact the ecosystem which was devastated by the spill that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals. Exxon Mobil’s first-quarter 2008 profits were $10.9 billion. The company’s 2007 profit was $40.6 billion.

 
White House Blocks EPA Draft On Global Warming Emissions

The White House is working to block the Environmental Protection Agency from publishing a document which outlines how the government could regulate global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act while benefiting the economy. The document is based on a multi-year, multimillion-dollar study by EPA and its findings could ultimately serve as a legal roadmap for regulating U.S. global warming emissions.

That is, until it faced review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Bush’s OMB is demanding that EPA delete sections of the document that outline how greenhouse gas emissions could be regulated, delete any references asserting that emissions endanger public welfare, and delete an analysis of the benefits to the economy of regulating greenhouse gases here and abroad.

The OMB instead wants the document to suggest that the Clean Air Act is ineffective and that greenhouse gases should be regulated under new legislation. The draft is effectively being held hostage until EPA makes OMB’s changes, since the White House must approve a final draft before EPA can release the document publicly.

The draft EPA document confirms that fuel efficiency could be improved to well above 35 miles per gallon by 2020; CO2 emissions could easily be regulated through the government-permit process and through a cap-and-trade system similar to existing programs for acid rain and mercury; and that overall, the regulations would be beneficial to the U.S. economy.

“The net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion,” according to the draft document.
Polar Scientists Predict Possibility of Open Water at North Pole This Summer

Polar scientists predict that Arctic sea ice could break up and leave a large patch of open water at the North Pole this summer for the first time in human history. Satellite data from recent weeks indicates that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when the Arctic experienced an all-time record loss of summer sea ice.

“From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. Dr Serreze predicts that “it’s even-odds whether the North Pole melts out” this summer.

Ice scientists are quick to point out the difficulty in predicting exactly how much of the ice will melt this summer, but note that the presence of large amounts of thinner ice formed over a single year is more vulnerable to melting than the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole. Global warming has increased average temperatures far more at the polar regions than elsewhere, and the loss of sea ice leads to more dark, open ocean which absorbs more heat and could raise polar temperatures even higher.
BLM Halts Solar Projects Citing Need for Environmental Review

The Bureau of Land Management declared a moratorium on new solar power projects on public land until it studies their potential environmental impact, a process that could take two years and cripple the booming solar industry. Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants as demand for alternative energy accelerates daily, BLM says it will spend up to two years conducting an extensive study to determine how the solar plants might affect the environment of 119 million acres of public land the bureau oversees in the West, most of which is ideally suited for solar energy.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Holly Gordon, vice president of Ausra, a California-based solar thermal energy company. “The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.”

The moratorium, combined with the uncertain future of federal solar investment tax credits set to expire at the end of the year because Congress has failed to renew them, could stifle solar industry growth and prevent or delay the creation of thousands of jobs in the process. During 2006-2007, when the tax credit was solidly in place and the BLM was calling for projects to be approved in a “timely manner,” the solar installation boom generated 6,000 new jobs and injected $2 billion into the U.S. economy.

Due to BLM’s decision to shelve new proposals until they finish the study, small solar energy businesses may be forced to turn to more expensive private land for development, adding another barrier to the rapid deployment of viable alternative energy sources.
U.S. Mayors Resolve to Avoid Burning Dirty Tar Sands Oil

The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution this week discouraging the use of high carbon fuels such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale.

“We don’t want to spend taxpayer dollars on fuels that make global warming worse,” said Mayor Kitty Piercy, of Eugene, Oregon, who submitted the resolution.

The mayors’ resolution discourages participating U.S. cities from purchasing oil derived from the tar sands operations in Alberta, Canada, noting that “… the production of tar sands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada’s Boreal forest ecosystem – the world’s largest carbon storehouse …”

The process of extracting oil from tar sands also uses more water and requires larger amounts of energy than conventional oil extraction.

“Not only will we give preference to clean, renewable energy sources, we are standing our ground when it comes to synthetic petroleum-based fuels that exacerbate global warming,” said Mayor Marty Blum of Santa Barbara, California.

More than 850 mayors are signatories to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their respective cities in the absence of federal leadership under the Bush administration.

 

Bush Signs $162B War Spending Bill for Iraq, Afghanistan
President Bush signed a $162 billion war spending bill this week, bringing the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it began in 2003 to more than $650 billion and in Afghanistan to nearly $200 billion.

Those figures don’t represent the total amount spent by the military, however, since a new Congressional Research Service report shows the U.S. government has spent about $700 billion on “military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks.” Roughly 75% of that money has been devoted to the war in Iraq, CRS estimates.

 
Afghanistan Civilian Death Toll Rises Sharply

The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in the first half of 2008 climbed by almost two-thirds compared with last year, according to the United Nations. Nearly 700 civilians have died, demonstrating the instability and violence afflicting the country, which is struggling to deliver emergency aid to civilians. Sixty percent of the casualties were caused by insurgents, while government or foreign troops killed 255 people, the UN said. The causes of 21 other deaths were unclear.

 
U.S. Officials Advised Iraqi Oil Ministry on No-Bid Contracts

The State Department led a team of American advisers who played an integral role in setting up no-bid contracts for five major Western oil companies to develop Iraq’s largest oil fields. Despite earlier claims to the contrary, the Bush Administration had direct involvement in the negotiations to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development, sending U.S. government lawyers and private-sector consultants to Iraq with contract templates and detailed suggestions on how the deals should be drafted. Sources familiar with the proceedings confirmed that representatives of the State, Commerce, Energy and Interior Departments have all aided the Iraqi Oil Ministry on how best to commercialize Iraq’s oil deposits.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed on Fox News earlier this month that “The United States government has stayed out of the matter of awarding the Iraq oil contracts. It’s a private sector matter.”

The no-bid contracts were widely anticipated to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, but the Iraqi Oil Ministry balked at the last minute. The Ministry revealed that the Western oil companies demanded to receive a share in the profits from future oil development, rather than cash payments for services rendered which the Iraqi government prefers.

The confirmation of Bush administration meddling in Iraq’s oil dealings leaves little question that the real intent of the invasion of Iraq was to earn American companies a piece of Iraq’s oil endowment.

“We pretend it is not a centerpiece of our motivation, yet we keep confirming that it is,” said Frederick D. Barton, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Despite the fact that other countries provided free advice and services in the past few years to help the Iraqi Oil Ministry prepare to ramp up production, only Western companies have received the bigger oil contracts so far.

 
Scalia Continues to Blame Al Gore for the 2000 Election Debacle

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the Telegraph (UK) that Al Gore should have conceded the 2000 election without legal action. Scalia played an integral part in stopping the Florida recount, joining four other justices who ruled the recount method impractical and handed the presidency to George W. Bush. Scalia said, “if you don’t like it, don’t blame it on me. I didn’t bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts. So if you don’t like the courts getting involved talk to Mr Gore.”

“So I have no regrets about taking the case and I think our decision in the case was absolutely right. But if you ask me ‘Am I sorry it all happened?’ Of course I am sorry it happened there was no way that we were going to come out of it smelling like a rose. I mean, one side or the other was going to feel that was a politicized decision but that goes with the territory.”

 
KBR Accused of Knowingly Exposing U.S. Troops to Highly Toxic Chemical in Iraq

Defense contractor KBR is accused of knowingly exposing U.S. troops to sodium dichromate, a potentially lethal, carcinogenic chemical. KBR failed to warn 250 U.S. soldiers assigned to guard a crucial part of Iraq’s oil infrastructure that the chemical was present all over the site. Witnesses, including a former KBR employee responsible for health and safety at the site, testified at a Capitol Hill hearing this week that many of the exposed soldiers were “bleeding from the nose, spitting blood,” and getting sick while guarding the plant.

Scientific studies show that even short-term exposure to sodium dichromate – the same chemical that poisoned residents in Hinkley, CA made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich” – can cause cancer and harm the liver and immune system, among other impacts.

Witnesses at the hearing testified that KBR supervisors initially told the soldiers that sodium dichromate was a “mild irritant,” but finally acknowledged that the chemical was a potentially deadly substance and moved to clean up the site once soldiers starting getting ill.
Send tips about other stories the mainstream media forgot to report: unearthednews@gmail.com

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RFK Jr. on the Border, the Media, the Election, and Fascist Scalia

In our third installment of RFK Jr.’s most recent “Unearthed” column, we get Kennedy’s thoughts on everything from the U.S./Mexico border fence to anticipated problems with the 2008 election to staff cuts in major media newsrooms to Justice Antonin Scalia’s fascist past…

UNEARTHED: NEWS OF THE WEEK THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA FORGOT TO REPORT

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle

The Huffington Post

More Corporate Contracts, More Incompetence

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted “virtual fence” on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system doesn’t work. The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by the Pentagon military contractor, Boeing, which was awarded an $860 million contract to provide the technology, physical fences and vehicle barriers. The highly acclaimed project, a series of towers, equipped with high tech cameras and communication systems was supposed to transmit pictures of illegal aliens crossing the border in time for border agents to detain them. Unfortunately the contraption didn’t work. But no worries, Boeing will get to keep the money while it comes up with some new ideas.

2008 election likely to go unsupervised

Congressional gridlock over controversial FEC nominees has paralyzed the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which currently lacks the quorum it to effectively referee elections. A seven-month deadlock over the appointment of four FEC nominees may spell disaster for the 2008 election cycle. If Congress fails to staff the FEC in time, the 2008 elections could go virtually unregulated for the first time since the FEC was founded more than 30 years ago.

Currently, the FEC is unable to pursue investigations into alleged electoral violations, including a recent challenge lodged by right-leaning legal group Judicial Watch which filed a new FEC complaint against John McCain alleging that a London fundraiser may have involved illegal in-kind contributions from foreign nationals. A growing list of complaints that will go uninvestigated by the broken FEC.

At the heart of the Senate impasse is one of the two Republican nominees, an extreme right wing former Justice Department lawyer and Karl Rove lapdog named Hans von Spakovsky. The Democrats consider him a deal breaker and view him as one of the leading forces in the Republican Party’s efforts to use the nonexistent fear of voter fraud as a means to disenfranchise minority–and largely Democratic–voters. The Democrats have been unwilling to vote for a group of nominees that includes von Spakovsky–and the Republicans have refused to withdraw his nomination.

Supreme Court helps to curtail Democrats from voting

States can require voters to produce photo identification, the Supreme Court ruled in a split decision along party lines on April 28th, upholding a Republican-inspired law intended to disenfranchise poor, elderly, urban and minority voters. The court’s 6-3 decision rejecting a challenge to Indiana’s strict voter ID law means the ID requirement will be in effect for this week’s presidential primary in Indiana. The ruling is also expected to encourage Republican controlled state governments to adopt similar measures. As part of Karl Rove’s master strategy to disenfranchise democratic voters, Republicans have already passed statutes in twenty-five states requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot in person.

Justice Stevens said that Indiana’s desire to prevent fraud and to inspire voter confidence in the election system are important even though Indiana has never experienced a single report or incidence of the kind of fraud the law was designed to combat, i.e. someone imitating another voter in order to vote twice. The Indiana rule is designed to severely inconvenience voters, those who don’t possess driver’s licenses who tend to be elderly, poor, young, and inner city residents who tend to vote Democrat.

Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said the court was willing to burden “tens of thousands of eligible voters who lack a government-issued identification while accepting at face value Indiana’s unsubstantiated claim of voter fraud.” The ACLU brought the case on behalf of Indiana voters.

Rush lies again

Rush Limbaugh applauded the Supreme Court voter I.D. ruling, telling his audience that it represents “a huge, huge, huge move forward to undercut Democrat efforts to commit voter fraud this fall.”

“Anti-voter fraud efforts this fall will be easier,” Limbaugh assured his audience, adding that “the Democrats shut down the FEC, largely to get away with more voter fraud.”

Both the Department of Justice and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), say voter fraud is virtually non-existent. A recent Department of Justice review found “virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews,” which turned up only 86 convictions on voter fraud charges.

Voter ID laws “disenfranchise the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly, who are less likely to have photo IDs and are more likely to be Democrats.”

MEDIA

Senate Committee Votes to Throw Out FCC Rules

On April 24, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved the “resolution of disapproval” that would veto the Federal Communications Commission’s latest attempt to dismantle longstanding media ownership limits.

It’s the first step toward an official congressional “veto” of the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules that gut media ownership limits.

This vote couldn’t have come at a more important moment. Just this week, Rupert Murdoch announced plans to buy his third New York newspaper — Newsday. (Murdoch already owns the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and two television stations in this one media market!)

Huge newspaper conglomerates like Murdoch’s News Corp. and Tribune Co. are spending heavily to convince Congress that the FCC rules don’t go far enough. They want to swallow up even more local media.

The New York Times braces for further staff cuts

The New York Times’ news room is bracing for a bloodbath in the next 10 days including cuts of 100 writers made necessary by the dismal newspaper advertising sales. Approximately 50 unionized journalists and 20 non-union editorial employees have accepted a buyout proposal. But with just 70 people stepping forward for buyouts, the ax must fall on as many as 30 editorial people in the company’s first-ever mass firing of journalists in its 156-year history.

Right-Wing Jurists

Scalia Defends Bush v. Gore At Oxford Union

In a clip broadcast last week on 60 Minutes, an Oxford Union student posed Justice Antonin Scalia the following questions:

“Supposing yourself as a Supreme Court justice were granted the power to appoint the next president of the United States. Who would you pick and why? And would he or she be better than your last choice?” a student asked Scalia.

“You wanna talk about Bush versus Gore. I perceive that,” he replied. “I and my court owe no apology whatever for Bush versus Gore. We did the right thing. So there!”
Scalia Defends Bush v. Gore On 60 Minutes

Leslie Stahl, “People say that that decision was not based on judicial philosophy but on politics,”

Scalia: “I say nonsense,” Scalia says.

Stahl: Was it political?

Scalia: “Gee, I really don’t wanna get into – I mean this is – get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two,” Scalia says.

Stahl didn’t challenge this claim. The actual vote was 5-4 on party lines.

Scalia Blames Gore For Bush v. Gore

Scalia also told 60 Minutes that the Bush v. Gore decision was not the court’s fault. It was Al Gore’s.

Scalia: “It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question. It was he who brought it into the Florida courts. We didn’t go looking for trouble. It was he who said, ‘I want this to be decided by the courts.’ What are we supposed to say? ‘Oh, not important enough.'”

Stahl: “It ended up being a political decision”

Scalia: “Well you say that. I don’t say that.”

Stahl: “You don’t think it handed the election to George Bush?”

Scalia: “Well how does that make it a political decision?”

Stahl: “It decided the election.”

Scalia: “If that’s all you mean by it, yes.”

Stahl: “That’s all I mean by it.”

Scalia: “Oh, ok. I suppose it did. Although you should add to that that it would have come out the same way, no matter what.”

Stahl failed to challenge Scalia on this bold misstatement of fact. The media pool, led by the New York Times that? finally counted all the Florida votes found that Gore had decisively won the election.

Scalia Defends Torture Being Not Cruel And Unusual Punishment And Therefore Not Unconstitutional

Scalia: “I don’t like torture. Although defining it is going to be a nice trick. But who’s in favor of it? Nobody. And we have a law against torture. But if the – everything that is hateful and odious is not covered by some provision of the Constitution.”

Stahl: “If someone’s in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized by a law enforcement person, if you listen to the expression ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ doesn’t that apply?”

Scalia: “No, No,”

Stahl: “Cruel and unusual punishment?”

Scalia: “To the contrary, has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don’t think so.”

Stahl: “Well, I think if you are in custody, and you have a policeman who’s taken you into custody….”

Scalia: “And you say he’s punishing you?”

Stahl: “Sure.”

Scalia: “What’s he punishing you for? You punish somebody…”

Stahl: “Well because he assumes you, one, either committed a crime…or that you know something that he wants to know.”

Scalia: “It’s the latter. And when he’s hurting you in order to get information from you…you don’t say he’s punishing you. What’s he punishing you for? He’s trying to extract…”

Stahl: Because he thinks you are a terrorist and he’s going to beat the you-know-what out of you…”

Scalia: “Anyway, that’s my view. And it happens to be correct.”

While 60 Minutes included extensive biographical information on Justice Scalia and his family, they identify his father as “a professor of romance languages at Brooklyn College” and failed to disclose that he was a member of the American-Italian Fascist Party during Mussolini’s regime in the 1930s.

This backdrop may reveal something about Justice Scalia’s apparent comfort with enlarging corporate and government power, including the use of torture – so long as it’s not punishment.

According to Alan Dershowitz who knew Scalia’s father at Brooklyn College, Scalia got his doctorate at Casa Italiano at Columbia at a time when in order to get your doctorate you had to swear an oath to Mussolini.

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