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DeLay ex-aide, Michael Scanlon, pleads guilty in Abramoff case

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 28, 2005 - 6:44pm. ::

Scanlon charged with conspiracy to defraud Indian tribes

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/11/21/scanlon.plea/

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Michael Scanlon, a former top aide to Rep. Tom DeLay and a onetime partner of high-powered Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Monday.

As part of the deal with the Justice Department, Scanlon agreed to testify against Abramoff in a probe that also has implicated at least one member of Congress, two government sources have told CNN.

Scanlon was charged Friday with one count of conspiracy as part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation of his and Abramoff's lobbying activities.

Scanlon, a 35-year-old public relations executive, agreed to pay $19.7 million in restitution for kickbacks he admitted receiving as part of the conspiracy to defraud his and Abramoff's clients.


Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham Pleads Guilty, Resigns

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 28, 2005 - 6:41pm. ::

By Tony Perry
Times Staff Writer

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-112805cunningham_lat,0,7681989,print.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

November 28, 2005, 3:14 PM EST

SAN DIEGO -- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned his office today after pleading guilty to fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion in a political corruption case.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns accepted the pleas from Cunningham, 63, including the congressman's admission in federal court that he had accepted bribes in exchange for performance of his official duties.


Clarifying And Protecting The Right Of The Public To Information - Donald Rumsfeld

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 22, 2005 - 9:54am. ::

Statement Of The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
JUNE 20, 1966, Page 13653
http://www.johnemossfoundation.org/foi/cr_DR1.htm

Mr. RUMSFELD: The gentleman's comments are most pertinent.  Certainly it has been the nature of Government to play down mistakes and to promote successes.  This has been the case in the past administrations.  Very likely this will be true in the future.


Electronic Voting - Can We Trust It?

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 21, 2005 - 2:35pm. :: |

by Freddie Oakley & John Oakley
Published in the Sacramento Bee
[May 2004, forwarded by Pokey Anderson]
http://www.yoloelections.org/news/snews/PO1131035703

The recall election allowed California voters to express fundamental dissatisfaction with the status quo. That's democracy in action. But we should not take it for granted.


List (and growing) of Indicted Republicans

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 21, 2005 - 2:16pm. ::

Wow! these silly Republicans - another one down!  Perhaps the GOP is having a secret contest to see who can get indicted for the "most" and "worst" crimes! WOW!!!! just look at this list!

so much for the "ethics" and "morality of the GOP.....can you believe this? All the references below are taken right off the DNC website where sources are appropriately cited. (Many thanks to Pokey Anderson for sending the image!)


E-mails show link between Cornyn, lobbyist under investigation

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 21, 2005 - 2:10pm. ::

By SUZANNE GAMBOA
Associated Press Writer
Austin American Stateman

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/gen/ap/TX_Lobbyist_Cornyn.html

WASHINGTON — Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed claimed in a 2001 e-mail to a lobbyist that he choreographed John Cornyn's efforts as Texas attorney general to shut down an East Texas Indian tribe's casino.


Lobbyist is charged with conspiring to bilk Indians

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 21, 2005 - 1:39pm. ::

Former DeLay aide, who may be cooperating in case, is likely to plead guilty

By MICHAEL HEDGES
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
Nov. 19, 2005, 9:26AM

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3471273.html

WASHINGTON - A two-year federal probe into the business affairs of two lobbyists with political ties to U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay produced criminal charges Friday against one of them, former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon.

Scanlon, who partnered with controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff after leaving DeLay's staff five years ago, was accused of conspiring to defraud Indian tribe clients of millions of dollars.

The former DeLay aide has a court appearance scheduled for Monday at which he is expected to plead guilty. Issuing a criminal information rather than an indictment is a strong indicator that Scanlon has been cooperating with federal officials and that the charges are a result of negotiations, legal experts said. The charges carry punishment of between 51 and 63 months in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

DeLay, who once publicly called Abramoff his best friend, was not charged or implicated in the allegations by the U.S. Justice Department. A spokesman for DeLay said the lawmaker has not been contacted by federal prosecutors in the case.

But DeLay's connections with Scanlon, his press secretary from 1998 to 2000, and Abramoff, who accompanied DeLay on a lavish golf outing to Scotland, have prompted critics to call for an ethics investigation. DeLay has said he would welcome such a probe to "clear my name."

DeLay, the Sugar Land Republican, was forced to step down as House majority leader when he was indicted in Texas on campaign finance charges unrelated to Abramoff and Scanlon.

The charge against Scanlon marks a dramatic development in the investigation into whether Abramoff and Scanlon bilked Indian tribes in four states out of nearly $53 million while convincing the tribes that they could use political contacts to win them the right to build lucrative casinos.


Blazing a Freedom Path --Parallel Election in Travis County, Texas

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 19, 2005 - 8:22pm. ::

By Vickie Karp, BBV Board Member
National Chair, Coalition for Visible Ballots
November 15th, 2005

Last Tuesday, November 8th, voters in the Austin area got to see  Democracy in Action  as 25 or so volunteers for VoteRescue, our local election rights group, held a  Citizens  Parallel Election  with paper ballots, hand-counted.  Our effort was funded primarily through Black Box Voting and was a joint effort, sponsored by BBV and blessed also by the Coalition for Visible Ballots.  We covered twelve precincts in six polling places (each where two precincts were voting) and the experience was both exhausting and exhilarating!  Our county uses the Hart InterCivic E-Slate machines, which provide no paper ballots, so we knew going in that even if we got great data, we couldn t force a recount.  We chose to move forward anyway as an exercise in democracy and to educate the public about the perils of e-voting.


Military Resumes of Democrats, Republicans, Pundits & Preachers

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 19, 2005 - 4:58pm. :: |

Democrats:

29 out of 31 Democrats have served this country in the US military 

  • Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
  • David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
  • Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
  • Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army  journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
  • Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
  • Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
  • John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V  Purple Hearts.
  • John Edwards: did not serve.
  • Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
  • Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
  • Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.
  • Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
  • Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
  • Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and  seven campaign ribbons.
  • Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,  and Soldier's Medal.
  • Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and  Legion of Merit.
  • Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
  • Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze  Star with Combat V.
  • Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
  • Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
  • Chuck Robb: Vietnam
  • Howell Heflin: Silver Star
  • George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
  • Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but  received 311.
  • Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
  • Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
  • John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
  • Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul  Wallenberg.
  • Wesley Clark: U.S. Army, 1966-2000, West Point, Vietnam, Purple Heart,  Silver Star. Retired 4-star general.
  • John Dingell: WWII vet
  • John Conyers: Army 1950-57, Korea

Republicans:

10 out of 40 Republicans have served this country in the US military


Texas GOP agrees to stop some campaign practices

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 19, 2005 - 2:28pm. ::

Party to make changes in way it spends corporate money in return for deferred prosecution.

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Friday, November 18, 2005
By Laylan Copelin

The Republican Party of Texas avoided prosecution Thursday by agreeing to stop using corporate money for some political activity.


Ohio Vote Theft, Now and Forever

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 19, 2005 - 2:17pm. ::

by Margaret Kimberley
November 17 2005
The Black Commentator
(forwarded by Pokey Anderson)

On Election Day in Ohio, four ballot provisions that would have brought greater integrity to the elections process went down to defeat at the polls. Not only were all four defeated, but polls predicted that all four would either win, or be decidedly by thin margins.


GAO report on electronic voting machines

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 5:07pm. :: | |

I know... preaching to the choir... , but if you haven't seen Baxter the CHIMPANZEE filmed in front of a live press audience hacking a Diebold machine, it's worth a look! Quicktime Player required. Baxter was successfully able to delete the audit log, just by pressing buttons / moving the mouse on the keyboard.

If we don't fix this problem, we have truly lost our Democracy. The right to vote AND for our votes to be accurately counted is the cornerstone of any Democracy.


No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 4:18pm. :: | |

Sent by Rochelle Bracken
Referenced from The Nation

Here is an open letter from the poet Sharon Olds to Laura Bush declining the invitation to read and speak at the National Book Critics Circle Award in Washington, DC.  Forward it  along if  you feel more people should read it.

Sharon Olds is one of most widely read and critically acclaimed poets living in America today. Read to the end of  the letter to experience her restrained, chilling eloquence.


How Many Felons Does It Take to Count a Vote?

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 2:55pm. ::

During the 2004 elections, approximately 65% of the counties in in the country employed the use of electronic voting machines. Of the 65% of total counties to use electronic voting machines, roughly 80% of those machines were made by Diebold. Here's a report from Black Box Voting on the kind of individuals who are employed at Diebold who are directly responsible for the programming of the Diebold voting machines.

Just for a moment, consider that we don't even allow convicts to scan our BAGS at the airport, but apparently, it's no problem getting a job programming voting machines.

How Many Felons Does It Take to Count a Vote?

Excerpt from report by Black Box Voting


Who Would Jesus torture?

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 2:50pm. ::

by David Batstone

Christians of strong religious faith and sound moral conscience often end up in disagreement. Human affairs are a messy business, unfortunately, and even at the best of times we only see through a glass, darkly.


Calling for truth and dignity in the nation's conduct

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 2:48pm. ::

Calling for truth and dignity in the nation's conduct

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002625932_floyd16.html?syndication=rss

Near the end of the Edward R. Murrow movie, "Good Night, and Good Luck," Sen. Joseph McCarthy is confronted by Joseph Welch, civilian counsel for the U.S. Army. McCarthy's personal abuse of opponents had reached a peak in the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954.

In his rumbling voice, Welch intoned, "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Where is Welch when we need him? (Or Murrow, for that matter?)

And where is the decency of this nation?

Who built the moral cesspool into which this nation has sunk with its secret prisons and secret prisoners, legalized torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or counsel?

Is it Vice President Dick Cheney, pleading a CIA exemption from the torture ban that passed the Senate with 90 votes?
Is it Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert who, upon hearing leaked intelligence that the CIA is using secret prisons in other countries, beyond the reach of American torture laws, decided to investigate the leak — but not the prisons?

Is it the military commanders who have escaped reprimand while a series of low-level soldiers take the blame for abuses at Abu Ghraib and in Afghanistan? Or the White House and Justice Department lawyers who drafted the "soft torture" rules?
Is it the president of the United States, who never seems to take responsibility for anything, doggedly plunging ahead, "working hard" and "doing my job"? Who is in charge here? Is it really Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a corps of hard-core neoconservatives in the Department of Defense and Cheney's office who run the foreign policy of this country?


Veterans speak against torture: 'A higher law'

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 17, 2005 - 2:41pm. :: |

by David F. Adams
SojoMail 11-16-2005

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=news.display_article&mode=C&NewsID=5039 

I personally witnessed prisoner abuse during the Vietnam War, and by witnessing and remaining silent became a participant.


Liberty is on your fingertips

Submitted by cyberchucktx on September 5, 2005 - 12:26pm. ::

EFF: Fighting for Bloggers' Rights


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