Tuesday, December 05, 2006

C/O WIRED "Say Hello to the Good-Bye Weapon"

The "Good-Bye" Weapon By David Hambling 02:00 AM Dec, 05, 2006
The crowd is getting ugly. Soldiers roll up in a Hummer. Suddenly, the whole right half of your body is screaming in agony. You feel like you've been dipped in molten lava. You almost faint from shock and pain, but instead you stumble backwards -- and then start running. To your surprise, everyone else is running too. In a few seconds, the street is completely empty.

You've just been hit with a new nonlethal weapon that has been certified for use in Iraq -- even though critics argue there may be unforeseen effects.

According to documents obtained for Wired News under federal sunshine laws, the Air Force's Active Denial System, or ADS, has been certified safe after lengthy tests by military scientists in the lab and in war games.

The ADS shoots a beam of millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves -- 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45 GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven.

The longer waves are thought to limit the effects of the radiation. If used properly, ADS will produce no lasting adverse affects, the military argues.

Documents acquired for Wired News using the Freedom of Information Act claim that most of the radiation (83 percent) is instantly absorbed by the top layer of the skin, heating it rapidly.

The beam produces what experimenters call the "Goodbye effect," or "prompt and highly motivated escape behavior." In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds.

"It will repel you," one test subject said. "If hit by the beam, you will move out of it -- reflexively and quickly. You for sure will not be eager to experience it again."

But while subjects may feel like they have sustained serious burns, the documents claim effects are not long-lasting. At most, "some volunteers who tolerate the heat may experience prolonged redness or even small blisters," the Air Force experiments concluded.

The reports describe an elaborate series of investigations involving human subjects. The tests ranged from simple exposure in the laboratory to elaborate war games involving hundreds of participants.

The military simulated crowd control situations, rescuing helicopter crews in a Black Hawk Down setting and urban assaults. More unusual tests involved alcohol, attack dogs and maze-like obstacle courses.

In more than 10,000 exposures, there were six cases of blistering and one instance of second-degree burns in a laboratory accident, the documents claim.

The ADS was developed in complete secrecy for 10 years at a cost of $40 million. Its existence was revealed in 2001 by news reports, but most details of ADS human testing remain classified. There has been no independent checking of the military's claims.

The ADS technology is ready to deploy, and the Army requested ADS-armed Strykers for Iraq last year. But the military is well aware that any adverse publicity could finish the program, and it does not want to risk distressed victims wailing about evil new weapons on CNN.

This may mean yet more rounds of testing for the ADS.

New bombs can be rushed into service in a matter of weeks, but the process is more complex for nonlethal weapons. It may be years before the debates are resolved and the first directed-energy nonlethal weapon is used in action.

The development of a truly safe and highly effective nonlethal crowd-control system could raise enormous ethical questions about the state's use of coercive force. If a method such as ADS leads to no lasting injury or harm, authorities may find easier justifications for employing them.

Historically, one of the big problems with nonlethal weapons is that they can be misused. Rubber bullets are generally safe when fired at the torso, but head impacts can be dangerous, particularly at close range. Tasers can become dangerous if they are used on subjects who have previously been doused with flammable pepper spray. In the heat of the moment, soldiers or police can forget their safety training.

Steve Wright of Praxis, the Center for the Study of Information and Technology in Peace, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights, notes that there are occasions when this has happened in the past. He cites British soldiers, who increased the weight of baton rounds in Northern Ireland.

"Soldiers flouted the rules of engagement, doctoring the bullets by inserting batteries (to increase the weight) and firing at closer ranges than allowed," says Wright.

There may also be technical issues. Wright cites a recent report on CS gas sprays which turned out to be more dangerous in the field than expected.

"No one had bothered to check how the sprays actually performed in practice, and they yielded much more irritant than was calculated in the weapon specification. This underlines the need for independent checking of any manufacturers' specifications. Here secrecy is the enemy of safety."

Eye damage is identified as the biggest concern, but the military claims this has been thoroughly studied. Lab testing found subjects reflexively blink or turn away within a quarter of a second of exposure, long before the sensitive cornea can be damaged. Tests on monkeys showed that corneal damage heals within 24 hours, the reports claim.

"A speculum was needed to hold the eyes open to produce this type of injury because even under anesthesia, the monkeys blinked, protecting the cornea," the report says.

The risk of cancer is also often mentioned in connection with the ADS system, despite the shallow penetration of radiation into the skin.

But the Air Force is adamant that after years of study, exposure to MMW has not been demonstrated to promote cancer. During some tests, subjects were exposed to 20 times the permitted dose under the relevant Air Force radiation standard. The Air Force claims the exposure was justified by demonstrating the safety of the ADS system.

The beam penetrates clothing, but not stone or metal. Blocking it is harder than you might think. Wearing a tinfoil shirt is not enough -- you would have to be wrapped like a turkey to be completely protected. The experimenters found that even a small exposed area was enough to produce the Goodbye effect, so any gaps would negate protection. Holding up a sheet of metal won't work either, unless it covers your whole body and you can keep the tips of your fingers out of sight.

Wet clothing might sound like a good defense, but tests showed that contact with damp cloth actually intensified the effects of the beam.

System 1, the operational prototype, is mounted on a Hummer and produces a beam with a 2-meter diameter. Effective range is at least 500 meters, which is further than rubber bullets, tear gas or water cannons. The ammunition supply is effectively unlimited.

The military's tests went beyond safety, exploring how well the ADS works in practice. In one war game, an assault team staged a mock raid on a building. The ADS was used to remove civilians from the battlefield, separating what the military calls "tourists from terrorists."

It was also used in a Black Hawk Down scenario, and maritime tests, which saw the ADS deployed against small boats.

It might also be used on the battlefield. One war game deployed the ADS in support of an assault, suppressing incoming fire and obstructing a counterattack.

"ADS has the same compelling nonlethal effect on all targets, regardless of size, age and gender," says Capt. Jay Delarosa, spokesman for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which decides where and how the ADS might be deployed.

"It can be used to deny an area to individuals or groups, to control access, to prevent an individual or individuals from carrying out an undesirable activity, and to delay or disrupt adversary activity."

The precise results of the military's war games are classified, but Capt. Delarosa insists that the ADS has proven "both safe and effective in all these roles."

The ADS comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. As well as System 1, a smaller version has been fitted to a Stryker armored vehicle -- along with other lethal and nonlethal weapons -- for urban security operations. Sandia National Labs is looking at a small tripod-mounted version for defending nuclear installations, and there is even a portable ADS. And there are bigger versions too.

"Key technologies to enable this capability from an airborne platform -- such as a C-130 -- are being developed at several Air Force Research Laboratory technology directorates," says Diana Loree, program manager for the Airborne ADS.

The airborne ADS would supplement the formidable firepower of Special Forces AC-130 gunships, which currently includes a 105-mm howitzer and 25-mm Gatling guns. The flying gunboats typically engage targets at a range of two miles or more, which implies an ADS far more powerful than System 1 has been developed. But details of the exact power levels, range and diameter of the beam are classified.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

c/o First Draft ..."This could kill New Orleans"

This could kill New Orleans
Posted by scout_prime on Saturday, December 02 @ 09:30:24 CST

This is disasterous to the recovery of New Orleans.

As the insurance company states its reason for pulling out is "the state of rebuilding" of the levees you can lay the blame at the feet of George #^%$%& Bush...

St. Paul Travelers Cos. Inc., Louisiana's largest commercial insurance provider, plans to cancel all its commercial property policies in the New Orleans area next year, sparking fears that other insurers will follow and slow the region's economic recovery.

While the St. Paul, Minn., company refused to say how many commercial policies will be affected or specify where the cuts will be in South Louisiana, two insurance brokers who were briefed by the company this week say Travelers will not renew any property insurance for businesses in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and eastern St. Tammany parishes. Cuts will also affect individual businesses in other parts of South Louisiana, including St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes.


State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who was tipped off about Travelers' plans Wednesday night by the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, said he was stunned by the news. When he met with Travelers on Thursday, he was equally stunned by the stated reason for the company's retrenchment.

"They cited the state of the rebuilding of our levee system as the primary reason for their decision," Donelon said.


On Monday, Travelers found out it could face additional legal liability for levee breach flooding when U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the flood-exclusion language in the policy forms of Travelers and a number of other insurance companies was vague, opening the door for the insurers to be held responsible for flood damage. Since insurance companies write the contracts people sign, lawyers said, any finding of ambiguity in an exclusion is generally a win for the policyholder.

Wislocki said there is "no connection at all" between the timing of the court decision and Travelers' decision against renewing commercial property policies.


Shock wave'

Donelon, commercial insurance agents and business leaders said they worry that Travelers' retreat will inspire others to follow, deepening a crisis in the limited availability and rising cost of commercial insurance.

"This is sending a shock wave through the business community," said Mark Drennen, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans Inc., a public-private partnership that seeks to promote economic development in the area. "If one company has come to that conclusion, you would anticipate that others would come to that conclusion. Without insurance, we have a calamity. We cannot exist as a business community without insurance."


Other pullouts feared

Marc Eagan, president of Eagan Insurance Agency Inc. in Metairie, said Travelers' pullout is a devastating blow to the region, and he worries that other companies will follow in March after a special emergency rule expires that had artificially held insurance coverage in place after Katrina and Rita.

"This is going to be a blood bath," said Eagan, who added that Hanover Insurance Group, Lafayette Insurance Co. and possibly Zurich North America have indicated that they are likely to not renew some commercial policies. (all emphasis mine)

The importance of this can not be overstated. If there is no insurance there is no rebuilding. George Bush can claim the levees are hunky dory but NOLA residents do not have faith in them and now we see neither does the insurance industry.

So what are we going to do about it folks?

New Orleans Community Congress/Nationwide Streaming Now!

c/o ThirdBattleofNewOrleans UNOP Community Congress II Streaming Online

"The Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) Community Congress II is currently underway at the Convention Center (from 9am-4pm today). It is being streamed live online at this address. http://www.fc-tv.com/clients/americaspeaks/prime.asx
It is also being televised locally on WYES Channel 12--I just stumbled upon it."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Video Bloggers "NOLA-MiseryTour"

Reposted by Radine! 11/19/06 
LA-2: The "X" - Levees - Lower 9th Ward by Tim Tagaris, Nov 19, 2006 8 PM EST
There's no separating Hurricane Katrina from the race in Louisiana's 2nd. As one Karen Carter staffer put it, "Anything happening in the city of New Orleans is related to the storm." Most folks down here like to differentiate between "the storm" and "the flood" -- one being a natural disaster, the other a man-made one. I took the "misery tour" of the Lower 9th Ward yesterday with a few local bloggers; this was "the flood" ...

Richard Dreyfuss Sr. Advisor Oxford University on Democracy

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WalMart Workers Teleconference with Obama & Edwards

Posted by Radine! for UNN from WakeUpWalMart
Obama and Edwards join grassroots call

This Wednesday, November 15, WakeUpWalMart.com supporters from across the country are joining together on two national grassroots strategy conference calls.

On the first call, at 7:00 PM EST, Senator Barack Obama will be our special guest speaker. On the 10:00 PM EST call, Senator John Edwards will join us. (We are having two calls so that hard-working supporters from the east to the west coast can join after work).

The calls will help launch our exciting 2006 Holiday Campaign strategy. Join us as we continue to bring together a diverse coalition of Americans fighting for health care, good jobs and a better future.

Posted by Jeremy - November 14, 2006 10:22 AM - Action

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wal-Mart workers thank you for Democracy "In Action"

Posted by Radine! for UNN
"November 8, 2006 The American People Reject Wal-Mart's political agenda

Despite Wal-Mart’s last minute donations to support its anti-family, anti-employee agenda, the American people gave a strong rebuke to the Bush/Wal-Mart right wing agenda.

Just take a look at a few of the candidates who received last-minute funding from Wal-Mart and lost:

- In October, Wal-Mart gave $10,000 to Tom Kean, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey. Bob Menendez, the Democratic candidate, defeated Kean.

- In October, Wal-Mart gave $5,000 to Michael Steele, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland. Congressman Ben Cardin, the Democratic candidate who joined the WakeUpWalMart.com national bus tour, defeated Steele.

- In October, Wal-Mart gave $2,500 to Senator Mike DeWine, the incumbent Republican Senator in Ohio. Congressman Sherrod Brown, the Democratic candidate who joined the WakeUpWalMart.com national bus tour, defeated DeWine.

These are just a few examples where the American people won and big corporations like Wal-Mart lost.

If this election proves nothing else, it is the fact that the American people want change, they want corporations to be held accountable and they want an agenda that protects American jobs, fights for health care for all and gives workers the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Posted by Jeremy at 10:55 AM"


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wal-Mart Makes Last-Minute Donations to Republicans, Pushes Anti-Family, Anti-Employee Agenda

Wal-Mart Makes Last-Minute Donations to Republicans, Pushes Anti-Family, Anti-Employee Agenda  11/6/2006 3:10:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by WakeUpWalMart.com on Republican campaign contributions and the upcoming election:

After launching a voter education campaign to attack Democratic candidates fighting for a better America, Wal-Mart is now pouring money into key races to support its anti-family, anti-employee agenda.

Here are several examples, in the last few weeks, where Wal- Mart contributed to the Republican candidate in hotly contested races:

-- On Oct. 17, Wal-Mart contributed $5,000 to Tom Kean, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in New Jersey.

-- On Oct. 25, Wal-Mart contributed another $5,000 to Tom Kean, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in New Jersey.

-- On Oct. 17, Wal-Mart contributed $5,000 to Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Maryland.

-- On Oct. 18, Wal-Mart contributed $2,500 to Sen. Mike Dewine, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio.

-- On Oct. 17, Wal-Mart contributed $2,500 to Rep. Jim Gerlach, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who is running in one of the most targeted U.S. House districts in the country.

-- On Oct. 17, Wal-Mart contributed $5,000 to Rep. Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee who is in a hotly contested race in New York.

Wal-Mart's contributions to Republicans in these hotly contested races follows Wal-Mart's very large donation of $500,000 to the Republican Governor's Association on Sept. 27.

"Wal-Mart's last minute contributions to Republicans proves that Wal-Mart is not only a right wing company but supports an anti-family, anti-employee agenda which ships U.S. jobs overseas, denies workers a living wage and fails to expand health care to hard-working families," said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Wal-Mart Employees Speak Out (Audio+Report of 11/2 teleconference)

November 3, 2006
Wal-Mart Employees Speak Out
Tired of Wal-Mart's anti-worker policies and in the wake of the announcement of numerous new anti-family policies, Wal-Mart employees from across the country took part in the first ever national conference call for associates yesterday. (Audio)
The local newspaper near Wal-Mart's headquarters, The Arkansas Morning News, covered the call, noting that, "Wal-Mart...took it on the chin again Thursday during a teleconference in which employees vented their anger against the company over its new policy changes."
The article mentions the petition that Wal-Mart associates have started, calling on Wal-Mart to implement a series of changes and reverse these anti-worker, anti-family policies. Associates can sign the petition online and download copies to distribute among fellow associates.
From The Morning News:
Wal-Mart, still smarting from recent public relations fiascoes and disappointing store sales, took it on the chin again Thursday during a teleconference in which employees vented their anger against the company over its new policy changes.
The call was held by Wake-Up Wal-Mart in Washington, a union-backed group waging its own campaign against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Two callers who identified themselves as Wal-Mart employees were Ramiro Gonzales of El Paso, Texas and Susan Smith of Ponca City, Okla.
Both Gonzales and Smith criticized Wal-Mart for its new wage-cap and absentee policies. By putting caps on some employee's wages, "We have nothing to look forward to," said Gonzales, who has worked for the company six years.
Smith also alleged that if employees do not confirm to Wal-Mart's new scheduling policy, workers have been "threatened" with wage cuts.
"Wal-Mart is definitely going over the line in many things," said Smith, a 14-year employee.
Paul Blank, director of Wake-Up Wal-Mart, said calls to his organization from Wal-Mart employees have "skyrocketed" since the company implemented its new policies. He also claimed the retailer has some more changes coming next year, including doing away with profit sharing and offering severance packages to longtime employees who will have their wages cut if they don't sign, he said.
Continue reading "Wal-Mart Employees Speak Out"
| In The News

Most of the teleconference call can be heard here (personal information redacted).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

"INN Report" News you won't see on the MSM

Radine! defers to the excellent coverage of International News Network for this weekend
"I.N.N.Report" a 30 minute video newscast of news you won't see on broadcast or MSM media:
includes 10 min interview with Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog http://www.bradblog.com

Election night coverage --info here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Special Correspondent Paul Cienfuegos Appeals to YOU!

Posted 11-2-06 for UNN by Radine! as received from Paul Cienfuegos
Friends across North America and beyond,
I've checked out the hotlinks at the end of this urgent statement from the author, and they appear to be genuine. If so, this is a HUGE story which needs to get out to a larger audience and FAST. So please forward to your e-lists, as well as to any sympathetic media people you know.
I am also including below a second article by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman. The two respected authors and researchers are convinced that next Tuesday's national elections are again going to be stolen by the Republican Party. And they seem to have plenty of evidence to back them up.
Not a time to sit on your hands!
best to you all,
Paul Cienfuegos
Humboldt County, CA, USA

by FRANK MORALES, Uruknet.info (information from occupied Iraq)

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law. It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act, helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

[The bill], which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."

Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and
Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted
authorities of the State or possession are incapable of . . .maintaining public order. . . in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."

For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who
resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act is an ominous assault on American democratic tradition and jurisprudence. The 1878 Act, which reads, "Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both," is the only U.S. criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the American people under the cover of 'law enforcement.' As such, it has been the best protection we've had against the power-hungry intentions of an unscrupulous and reckless executive, anexecutive intent on using force to enforce its will. . .

Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our elected officials in Congress. On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007's Defense Authorization Act contained a "widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard [adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order without the consent of the nation's governors.". . .

A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the Congressional Record that he had "grave reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report," the language of which, he said, "subverts solid,
longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law." This had been "slipped in," Leahy said, "as a rider with little study," while "other congressionalcommittees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals."

In a telling bit of understatement, the Senator from Vermont noted that "the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous". "There is good reason," he said, "for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of thefounding tenets of our democracy. We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President todeclare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty."

The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act, accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact.



MISSION CREEP http://prorev.com/mil.htm

Subject: Prediction: Republicans will NOT lose either house in Congress
A Loaves & Fishes/Holy Ghost Victory for the GOP in November?
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

The polls all point to a Democratic sweep in November. The news pours in about pedophile Republicans and Team Bush contempt for their fundamentalist bedmates. Iraq implodes. Deficits soar. Katrina lingers. Scandal is everywhere.
On the other hand, there are rumors of an “October Surprise.” An attack on Iran. A new terror incident.
Osama finally captured.
Gas prices are down, the stock market up.
None of it dampens the Democrats’ euphoria. They think they are about to win. In conventional terms, they should.
But think again. Please.
It will take just two Biblical fixes for the GOP to keep the Congress, and thus solidify their power in this country, possibly forever: a loaves and fishes vote count, a Holy Ghost turnout.

We coined the phrase “loaves and fishes vote count” to describe the tally in Gahanna, Ohio, 2004. This infamous precinct in suburban Columbus registered 4258 votes for George W. Bush where just 638 people voted. The blessed event occurred at a fundamentalist church run by a close ally of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.
These numbers were later “corrected.” But they reflect a much larger reality: the 2004 election was stolen with scores of dirty tricks for whose second coming the Democrats have yet to fully prepare.
In the two years since the fraudulent defeat of John Kerry, we’ve unearthed an unholy arsenal by which that election was stolen. They include: outright intimidation, wrongful elimination of registered voters, theft, selective deployment of (often faulty) voting machines, absentee ballots without Kerry’s name on them, absentee ballots pre-punched for Bush, absentee ballots never mailed, touch screens that lit up for Bush when Kerry was chosen, lines for black voters five hours long while white voters a mile away voted in fifteen minutes, tens of thousands of provisional ballots pitched summarily in the trash, alleged ex-felons illegally told they could not vote, Hispanic precincts with no Spanish-speaking poll workers, deliberate misinformation on official web sites…and that’s not even the tip of an iceberg whose bottom we may never see.
Thanks to a federal lawsuit, we have finally been able to look at some of the actual ballots from Ohio 2004. Just for starters, researchers Stuart Wright and Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips have found a precinct in Delaware County where 359 consecutive voters allegedly cast ballots for Bush. Dr. Ron Baiman found another precinct in Clermont County where a random inspection found 36 straight replacement ballots, a phenomenon that can be accomplished only by divine intervention or outright fraud.
These initial snippets have been unearthed with no cooperation or participation from the Democratic Party. The official Democratic spin is that they have “looked into the matter.” But public records indicate that they have yet to visit the actual ballot storage facilities to examine the public records from the 2004 election.
In sum, we see no indication that the Democrats are prepared for the inevitable…that Karl Rove will steal again, and more, in 2006.
In Ohio alone, four election boards have already eliminated some 500,000 voters since the 2000 election---ten percent of the state’s electorate---from the registration rolls in four Democratic counties. No similar purges have occurred in rural Republican counties. The Democrats have said or done very little about it.

To date there is no logical explanation from John Kerry as to why he conceded with 250,000 votes still uncounted while Bush’s alleged margin was just half that. Nor have we heard about Democrat plans to monitor the ever-larger numbers of electronic voting machines deployed throughout the United States with no paper trail and no transparency for programming codes and memory cards that are privately owned, with no public inspection allowed.
Which is brings us to the Holy Ghost turnout. As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has reported in Rolling Stone Magazine, in Georgia 2002, U.S. Senate incumbent Max Cleland went into Election Day with a very substantial lead in the polls. He proceeded to allegedly lose by a substantial margin. Church-state operatives like Ralph Reed attributed this astonishing turn-around to an alleged last-minute mass turnout of evangelical voters.
Similar things were said about Florida and Ohio 2004.
But it never happened. There are no visual reports or other reliable indicators of extraordinary lines or massive late-in-the-day crowds at the polls. Throughout all those election days, it was every bit as quick and easy to vote in rural precincts that gave Bush his miraculous victory as it was impossible to do so in your average black neighborhood. But there was no extraordinary turnout of last-minute Bush voters.
What happened instead hearkens to the Holy Ghost, made manifest in electronic voting machines that cannot and will not be monitored. The miraculous pro-Bush margins give new meaning to the phrase “ghost in the machine.” While the Democratic vote count was slashed and trashed in urban precincts, the rural voting stations, through the miracle of untrackable electronics, materialized just the right number of GOP votes to keep the Men of God in the White House (where it’s recently reported they dare to mock those earthly evangelicals who allegedly gave them their margin of victory).

There’s absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening again in 2006. Major studies from the Conyers Committee, the Government Accountability Office, Princeton University, the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, and esteemed others, have all come to the same conclusion: it takes just one individual with inside access---or even just a wi-fi machine---to change the outcome of any election anywhere.
Electronic voting machines can be pre-programmed, re-programmed, re-calibrated, electronically adjusted, hacked, jimmied, jammed or otherwise blessed with a few well-placed electrons and---LO AND BEHOLD!---a Democratic landslide can be born again to a Republican deliverance.
We already see the signs. The corporate bloviators predict a last-minute surge for Bush. The Fox/Rove media machine has planted suggestive stories at the New York Times and elsewhere about the alleged hidden powers of the GOP juggernaut. They will, they say, once again turn out those invisible legions of evangelical voters when and where necessary.
Every two years, Rove leaks some story that is implausible and easily refuted: four million new evangelical voters are identified nationwide; or, a late surge of homophobic Old Order Amish rush to the polls in Ohio; or shy and reluctant right-wing Republican women flood the polls at closing and slip out unseen without speaking to exit pollsters (but, they are only shy in the early evening in Republican counties).
And the Democrats? They say they are also turning out voters. But what happens when their names are miraculously gone from the new electronic registration rolls? When there aren’t enough machines in their precincts on which to vote? When they press a Democratic name on their touch-screen and an anointed Republican’s lights up? Or when techno-gods from private partisan vendors barge in unchallenged to “adjust” the e-machines in the middle of the voting process.
So far, the Democrats have heaped abuse on those who dare to warn of all this.
But as it is written, so it shall be: unless there are armies of trained, dedicated citizens prepared to monitor this upcoming election, electronic and otherwise, the Holy Ghosts will vote, the loaves & fishes will multiply and be counted, and the GOP will once again emerge with total control of the checks and the balances---this time, perhaps, for all Eternity.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of What Happened in Ohio?, just published by The New Press. Fitrakis is of counsel and Wasserman is a plaintiff in the King-Lincoln lawsuit that has preserved the Ohio 2004 ballots. Fitrakis is an independent candidate for Ohio governor, endorsed by the Green Party; Wasserman is author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030.

Copyrights retained by original authors and used with permission.