December 15, 2005

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

New tests fuel doubts about vote machines in Florida
Republican apparatchiki not concerned

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - A political operative with hacking skills could alter the results of any election on Diebold-made voting machines -- and possibly other new voting systems in Florida -- according to the state capital's election supervisor, who said Diebold software has failed repeated tests.
A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office [political appointment of Jeb Bush] said any faults [Leon County election chief] Sancho found were between him and Diebold.

Bush touts 'watershed' Iraq vote
a la Florida 2000

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - In his final push before elections in Iraq, President Bush on Wednesday touted this week's election as a milestone for the Iraqi people and described how 2005 has been a historic year for the Middle East.

Bush accepts 'ban on torture' proposal
long after everyone but Cheney knew he had little choice

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - President Bush embraced Sen. John McCain's proposal to ban cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism suspects on Thursday, reversing months of opposition that included White House veto threats.

Bush secretly authorized NSA to spy on US citizens - without court-approved warrants
fighting the 'enemy' here

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Bush-Rumsfeld Defense Department illegally spying on US citizens
Beware the Quakers bearing peace

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

Senator Feingold finally has numbers on his side
along with the US Constitution

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.

He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.

Now add more than two dozen senators to Feingold's side, including the leaders of his party and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, and the balance of power shifts.

December 16 update ....

Senate rejects extension of falsely-named 'Patriot Act'
as Republicans struggle fiercely to retain 'absolute power'

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.

In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.

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