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Thursday, January 10, 2008

We have everything to fear from ID cards

Among the basic civil rights in this country, there has always been, at least in theory, an inclination towards liberal democracy, which includes a tolerance of an individual's right to privacy.

We are born free and have the right to decide what freedom means, each for ourselves, and to have control over our outward existence, yet that will no longer be the case if we agree to identity cards.

Britain is already the most self-watching country in the world, with the largest network of security cameras; a new study suggests we are now every bit as poor at protecting privacy as Russia, China and America.

But surveillance cameras and lost data will prove minuscule problems next to ID cards, which will obliterate the fundamental right to walk around in society as an unknown.

Some of you may have taken that freedom so much for granted that you forget how basic and important it is, but in every country where ID cards have ever been introduced, they have changed the relation between the individual and the state in a way that has not proved beneficial to the individual. I am not just talking Nazi Germany, but everywhere.

It is also a spiritual matter: a person's identity is for him or her to decide and to control, and if someone decides to invest the details of their person in a higher authority, then it should not be the Home Office.

The compulsory ID card scheme is a sickness born of too much suspicion and too little regard for the meaning of tolerance and privacy in modern life.

Hooking individuals up to a system of instantly accessible data is an obscenity - not only a system waiting to be abused, but a system already abusing.

Though we don't pay much attention to moral philosophy in the mass media now - Bertrand Russell having long been exchanged for the Jeremy Kyle Show - it may be worth remembering that Britain has a tradition of excellence when it comes to distinguishing and upholding basic rights and laws in the face of excessive power.

The ID cards issue should be raising the most stimulating arguments about who we are and how we are - but no, it is not: we nose the grass like sheep and prepare to be herded once again.

It seems the only person speaking up with a broad sense of what this all means is Nick Clegg, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, who has devoted much of his new year message to underlining the sheer horribleness of the scheme.

He has said he will go to jail rather than bow to this "expensive, invasive and unnecessary" affront to "our natural liberal tendencies".

I have to say I cheered when I heard this, not only because I agree, but because it is entirely salutary, in these sheepish times, to see a British politician express his personal feelings so strongly.

Many people on the other side of the argument make what might be called a category mistake when they say: "If you've nothing to hide, why object to carrying a card?"

Making it compulsory to prove oneself, in advance, not to be a threat to society is an insult to one's right not to be pre-judged or vetted.

Our system of justice is based on evidence, not on prior selection, and the onus on proving criminality is a matter for the justice system, where proof is of the essence.

Many regrettable things occur as a result of freedom - some teenage girls get pregnant, some businessmen steal from their shareholders, some soldiers torture their enemies, some priests exploit children - but these cases would not, in a liberal society, require us to end the private existence of all people just in case.

If the existence of terrorists, these few desperate extremists, makes it necessary for everybody in Britain to carry an ID card then it is a price too high.

It is more than a price, it is a defeat, and one that we will repent at our leisure. Challenges to security should, in fact, make us more protective of our basic freedoms; it should, indeed, make us warm to our rights.

In another age, it was thought sensible to try to understand the hatred in the eyes of our enemies, but now it seems we consider it wiser just to devalue the nature of our citizenship.

What's more - it won't work. Nick Clegg has pointed to the gigantic cost and fantastic hubris involved in this scheme, but recent gaffes with personal information have shown just how difficult it is to control and protect data.

A poll of doctors undertaken by has today shown that a majority of doctors believe that the National Programme for IT - seeking to contain all the country's medical records - will not be secure.

In fact, it is causing great worry. Many medical professionals fear that detailed information about each of us will soon be whizzing haphazardly from one place to another, leaving patients at the mercy of the negligent, the nosy, the opportunistic and the exploitative.

"Only people with something to hide will fear the introduction of compulsory ID cards."

That is what they say, and it sounds perfectly practical. If you think about it for a minute, though, it begins to sound less than practical and more like an affront to the reasonable (and traditional) notion that the state should mind its own business.

In a just society, what you have to hide is your business, until such times as your actions make it the business of others. Infringing people's rights is not an ethical form of defence against imaginary insult.

You shouldn't have to tell the government your eye colour if you don't want to, never mind your maiden name, your height, your personal persuasions in this or that direction, all to be printed up on a laminated card under some compulsory picture, to say you're one of us.

You weren't born to be one of us, that is something you choose, and to take the choice out of it is wrong. It marks the end of privacy, the end of civic volition, the end of true citizenship.

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It's official: NH GOP drops sponsorship of FOX debate!!

The New Hampshire Republican Party dropped their affiliation with a Republican debate sponsored by Fox News tomorrow night because they have limited the number of candidates that can participate.

“The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary serves a national purpose by giving all candidates an equal opportunity on a level playing field," said Republican chair Fergus Cullen. "Only in New Hampshire do lesser known, lesser funded underdogs have a fighting chance to establish themselves as national figures."

The Fox debate is excluding Texas Congressman Ron Paul even though he polls higher in New Hampshire and has raised significantly more money, and is campaigning more in New Hampshire than Fred Thompson who is invited.

"We look forward to presenting a substantive forum which will serve as the first program of its kind this election season," David Rhodes, vice president of Fox News, said in a statement.

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Kucinich Files Complaint on ABC Debate

NEW YORK (Map, News) - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich filed a complaint with the FCC on Friday after ABC News excluded him, fellow Democrat Mike Gravel and Republican Duncan Hunter from its prime-time debates on Saturday.

Kucinich argued that ABC is violating equal-time provisions by keeping him out of the debate and noted that ABC's parent Walt Disney Co. had contributed to campaigns involving the four Democrats who were invited.

"ABC should not be the first primary," the Ohio congressman said in papers filed at the Federal Communications Commission.

ABC said the candidates left out of the debates failed to meet benchmarks for their support that were outlined to each campaign prior to the Iowa caucus. Kucinich did not complain about these rules ahead of time, said spokeswoman Cathie Levine, who had no further comment since she hasn't seen the FCC filing. Related Articles:

* Obama, Huckabee Sweep to Iowa Victories
* Presidential ballot set for Wisconsin primary
* Presidential contenders register Ohio intentions
* Detroit Free Press endorses John McCain in GOP primary
* Candidates' Quotes on the Iowa Caucuses

ABC said it hoped to encourage more conversation and interaction among the candidates during the debates, which will both be moderated by Charles Gibson. The stakes are high as candidates take the stage three days before the New Hampshire primary.

The Republican debate will include Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It starts at 7 p.m. EST.

Shortly after that 90-minute forum, Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Bill Richardson will take the stage at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

The network set rules to narrow the field. Candidates had to meet at least one of three criteria: place first through fourth in Iowa, poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major New Hampshire surveys, or poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major national surveys.

Democrats Joe Biden and Chris Dodd took some of the pressure off ABC by quitting the race Thursday night.

"In previous debates where the stage was more crowded you had to make sure all of the candidates got fair time," said David Chalian, ABC News political director. "Here you will have more time to go in depth on the issues."

ABC said it believed its rules were inclusive, while also ensuring viewers get a thorough look at the probable next president.

"We're regretful that we're not going to be in it," said Roy Tyler, a spokesman for Hunter. "We're just going to keep working. I think it's a mistake on their part to exclude any viable candidate at this point."

Fox News Channel is sponsoring a debate in its mobile studio Sunday that excludes Paul and Hunter. Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney, Thompson and McCain have been invited.

Each debate will be divided into two parts. During the first 45 minutes, Gibson will select three prominent issues to promote a dialogue. The candidates will be seated and encouraged to talk to each other, and not just to the cameras, Gibson said.

"If I have any personal prejudice against these debates, it's that you see too much of the moderator," Gibson said. "I want to see less of the moderator and more of the candidates."

There won't be any buzzers or lights on the stage to mark time limits for talking, putting the pressure on Gibson to limit filibusters and promote fairness.

The second half of the debate will be a more traditional format, with Gibson and WMUR-TV political director Scott Spradling asking questions on a variety of topics. Candidates will be asked to keep their answers to a minute, Chalian said.

Gibson said he hoped to have a few minutes where both Republican and Democratic candidates are on the same stage, to promote the idea that despite differences, all are Americans hoping for the best for their country. The auditorium will be quickly emptied between debates and a new audience brought in.

Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will lead ABC's coverage. Three hours of live debate with both Republican and Democratic candidates represents a grueling on-air test for Gibson, ABC's chief news anchor.

"I didn't volunteer," he said. "It's something new, it's something different. I can fail miserably at this and may well do so but we're looking for some ways to do something different."

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FOX Stock at 52 Week Low Due to Electioneering Charges — NewsWire / New York / 1-5-08 // Fox News parent company NewsCorp (NWS/NYSE) has lost over $3 billion in market capitalization in less than a week as the stock plummeted to a 52 week low amid electioneering charges against Fox for excluding a major presidential candidate from a nationally televised forum. Many feel Fox is trying to rig the election.

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The entire debate over e-voting may well be just about to change. Hopefully for the better. Big time.

One key passage: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government."

Editor & Publisher's editor Greg Mitchell, has tipped off The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, that the New York Times Magazine is set to run a "massive" cover-story this Sunday, on the entire e-voting disaster titled "The Bugs in the Machines."

Better late than never?

Mitchell describes the story as "quite chilling" in the exclusive preview he's just posted to his new personal blog. Here's the first coupla grafs from his scoop...
Coming between the Iowa and New Hampshire tallies, this Sunday's cover of The New York Times Magazine ought to strike a chord. It shows a man inside an exploding voting booth with a WARNING label over it and the words: "Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked."

The massive Clive Thompson article, titled "The Bugs in the Machines," is quite chilling. "After the 2000 election," it opens, "counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads. Is America ready for another contested election?" One key passage: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government."

One expert says that "about 10 percent" of the devices fail in each election.

UPDATE 1/5/08: The entire, nearly 8,000 world article, is now out, and posted right here. It looks very good on first glance. But more later as we get a chance to review it in full.

And no, for those who've asked, The BRAD BLOG was neither consulted for, nor mentioned in the Times lengthy story (unless you consider "fringe...disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks" to be a mention. Though we guess it's better than the Times original take on us, from November 20, 2004, which referred to election integrity issues as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers," just after we began investigating and reporting on the very issues which make up the basis of today's 8,000 word, better-late-than-never, New York Times report.)

We accept your apology.

One quick inaccuracy in the story, for now, which is small, but we feel important to correct for the record: Once again, Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University has misled the NY Times about the origins of the Diebold touch-screen system his team used for their landmark virus hack in the summer of 2006.

He is interviewed in the story, in relation to the study, in which his team was able to easily implant a virus. It's reported, in the story, that the machine was "anonymously donated" to him. It was not. Which he well knows...

The continuance of Felten's behavior here, and his refusal to acknowledge the correct source for the system, without which his work could not have occurred, is highly unethical. Particularly for a scientist.

The machine was loaned to him and his team, by, an election integrity watchdog organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, after we received the machine from a Diebold insider source, with whom both VR and The BRAD BLOG have cultivated a relationship for years. Despite the good work that Felten's team did on the virus report, Felten has been dishonestly misleading reporters, and the public, about the source of the machine that we loaned him, retrieved and transported and delivered to his team at our own expense, since the time that he leaked the study --- in violation of our agreement with him --- back in 2006. He needs to stop misleading on that point, recognize VR's contribution to his work, and the New York Times needs to issue a correction.

The provenance of the system Princeton used in its first-of-its-kind, landmark study, was well-established and publicly reported when I originally broke the story at both The BRAD BLOG and at Salon, on September 13, 2006.

It's a small point, but a notable one to folks like us who rely on recognition of our work in order to be able to try to continue it --- a fact that Felten understands well, since achieving the well-deserved notoriety he has in the wake of his team's Diebold Virus hack, which was made possible by our non-anonymous "donation". I'm sorry to even bring it up. I've tried to avoid doing so until now, because it's a distraction from the far more important points, and in hopes that Felten would begin doing the right thing on his own. But it's now more than clear that he won't do so, unless publicly called to task on this.

Beyond that, so far, Clive Thompson's NY Times Magazine story looks very good and will hopefully make an important difference in this years long, ongoing scandal/debate.

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Scientists say; US 'doomed' if creationist president elected

A day after ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee finished first in the opening round to choose a Republican candidate for the White House, scientists warned Americans against electing a leader who doubts evolution.

"The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming," University of Michigan professor Gilbert Omenn told reporters at the launch of a book on evolution by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

"I would worry that a president who didn't believe in the evolution arguments wouldn't believe in those other arguments either. This is a way of leading our country to ruin," added Omenn, who was part of a panel of experts at the launch of "Science, Evolution and Creationism."

Former Arkansas governor Huckabee said in a debate in May that he did not believe in evolution.

A poll conducted last year showed that two-thirds of Americans believe in creationism, or the theory that God created humans at a single point in time, while 53 percent believe that humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life -- the theory of evolution.

Around a quarter of Americans said they believe in both.

The evolution versus creationism debate has crept into school classrooms and politics, where it is mainly conservative Republicans who espouse the non-scientific belief.

"If our country starts to behave irrationally whereas all the other countries coming up and chasing us (to take over as the world leaders in science and technology) behaving rationally, we are doomed," Omenn said.

The book targets teachers and the general public, and presents in simple terms the current scientific understanding of evolution and the importance of teaching it in the science classroom.

A day after his win in Iowa, Huckabee, toned down his anti-evolution stance, saying in a television interview that the question of whether to teach creationism in schools was "not an issue for our president."

Omenn and the other scientists and teachers on the panel at the book launch were more categorical, saying creationism has no place in science classrooms.

"Scientific inquiry is not about accepting on faith a statement or scriptural passage. It's about exploring nature, so there really is not any place in the science classroom for creationism or intelligent design creationism," said Omenn.

"We don't teach astrology as an alternative to astronomy, or witchcraft as an alternative to medicine," said Francisco Ayala, a professor of biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

"We must understand the difference between what is and is not science. We must not teach creationism as an alternative to evolution," he said.

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Obama staffer says O’Reilly confrontation got physical!

Marvin Nicholson has a very different take then BillO who said it didn’t get “physical” at all. He just gently moved a towering man away from the camera with his super falafel powers.

Nicholson: After he shoved me and after he stopped yelling at me, I went… I just went over and asked, I said, sir, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t shove me anymore.

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Huckabee tax plan raises eyebrows in US

By Ed Stoddard

MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan 6 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's plan to eliminate all income taxes and replace them with a flat consumption tax has the support of martial arts guru Chuck Norris but few economic analysts.

The former Arkansas governor's victory in the Iowa caucus, which kicked off the presidential nomination process for the November 2008 White House race, will bring his policy proposals under closer scrutiny as the candidates do battle in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Much of the focus has been on the social conservatism of Huckabee, an ordained Baptist preacher who has connected solidly with his party's influential evangelical base.

But some of his supporters have been attracted by his populist tax plan, which calls for an end to all income and payroll taxes. It is the key plank of his economic platform.

"Putting the IRS out of business" has been a common refrain in his speeches in both Iowa and New Hampshire and it always draws some of the most enthusiastic applause.

Huckabee says taxing income is a tax on productivity that stifles economic growth and hits the middle class and small businesses the hardest.

"The FairTax will replace the Internal Revenue Code with a consumption tax ... All of us will get a monthly rebate that will reimburse us for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line ... That means people below the poverty line won't be taxed at all," says his Web site.

"All our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness," it says.

Analysts see some sleight of hand here.

"To truly equal today's federal revenue take, to be revenue neutral, the flat tax has to be quite high -- usually higher than is advertised up front," said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp in Cleveland.


"And the complication that comes with that is it encourages underground economic activity. People will increasingly try to circumvent the tax system by doing transactions under the table," he said.

Analysts also see it as regressive -- as it is the same rate across the board regardless of income -- even if Huckabee's plan does make provisions to exempt the poor.

On Sunday, Huckabee was asked about Bush administration criticism that his plan would reduce taxes for those making less than $30,000 a year or more than $200,000 but raise them for everyone else.

"Of course they don't like the fair tax," he said on Fox News. "These are the guys that are going to go out of business. Thirty-five thousand lobbyists in Washington -- do you think they like the idea that a tax would be so simple that they couldn't really go in there and tinker with the congressmen?"

Given the U.S. government's massive revenue needs, Huckabee's plan is not seen as feasible, although abolishing the Internal Revenue Service appeals to many Americans.

"I think the fair tax is a great idea. It would be great to get rid of income tax ... it really stops people from growing businesses," said Bruce Weinfeld, 41, who went from New York to Londonderry, New Hampshire, to attend a Huckabee rally.

It is a policy proposal that also could resonate in New Hampshire, which has no state income tax and where evangelicals are less numerous than in Iowa.

The speeches that Huckabee has given in New Hampshire since his Thursday Iowa victory have put more emphasis on his tax plan and less on his opposition to abortion and gay rights.

Huckabee's "FairTax" idea caught the attention of action movie actor Chuck Norris, who has been traveling with him in what has been dubbed the "Huck and Chuck" show.

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Fox Should Ban Giuliani From Forum, and Include Ron Paul

By any standards of participation in debates, Fox News should take Rudy Giuliani out, and put Ron Paul in.

There are two obvious standards for inclusion versus exclusion in debate, first the number of real voters in a real state vote, and second the amount of real money donated by real people to the campaigns.

In Iowa, the only real state that has voted so far, Ron Paul kicked Rudy's butt in the voting. In campaign fundraising, Ron Paul appears set to kick Rudy's butt again.

In my view, Rudy, Ron Paul and Kucinich should all be included. But if Fox News insists on playing the censor of democracy, Paul should be in, Rudy should be out.

Otherwise, Fox should be forced to declare the expense of their debates to the FEC as campaign contributions.

If Giuliani ever does better in a primary or caucus than he did in Iowa, he could then be brought back into the debates.

Fair enough?

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THE NEW CENSUS: An All-Out Assault On Your Privacy

The federal government has quietly begun using an incredibly intrusive new census form called "The American Community Survey." Up to 1 million households a year will receive this form.

This new "census" form is 24-pages long, and demands that you lay bare every detail of your life, including how much you earn, what your home is worth, details of your health, when you leave for work, previous addresses, pregnancies, monies received from government, and on and on.

I say demand because you can be fined up to $1,000 for each of the 72 questions you don�t answer or which you answer "incorrectly." However, so far no one has been fined for not answering, nor are they likely to be if public resistance is strong.

The ways the government could use this information to harm you are mind-boggling. For instance, any financial discrepancy with IRS or Social Security records could result in your criminal prosecution. Knowing when you leave for work could enable police, acting under the Patriot Act, to secretly enter your home.

The American Community Survey also demands that you to report on the activities of relatives, employers and roommates. Joseph Stalin could hardly ask for more surveillance powers. You can download the survey at

Article I of the Constitution allows the government to conduct a count of the American people once every ten years to determine voting districts. Nothing in the Constitution gives government the power to continuously spy on the people or probe every intimate detail of their lives.

As Congressman Ron Paul observes, questions on the American Community Survey are "both ludicrous and insulting," and this information is simply none of the government's business. I fervently hope that millions of Americans will burn their forms or accidentally lose them.

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Top 5 things I saw in America which, freaked me out

I’m back from my vacation down in the United States, and will return to blogging with regularity as soon as possible.

To celebrate my return to this frigid, yet comparatively sane country, I felt it worthwhile to relay a list of five items which I saw during my travels which the locals thought was perfectly normal (I presume), but which freaked the heck out of me as a Canadian.


A trucking company which hauls all manner of freight throughout the deep south of the U.S. which calls itself a “Christian company” (the very idea of which seems as bizarre to me as a “Christian dog”) and which requires that its trucks to carry religious and political messages. The messages I saw included:
It’s not a choice, it’s a child
God loved us so that he gave his only son.


A breakfast creation in upstate New York called “Stuffed French Toast”. What does “Stuffed French Toast” entail, you naïve non-American might ask? It’s French Toast (which, keep in mind is cooked in butter) stuffed with bacon, eggs and processed cheese (which they proudly call ‘American processed cheese’, I presume, to distinguish it from real cheese which could, after all, be French and/or offer unAmerican nutritional content). But here’s the kicker: on top of your “Stuffed French Toast” cooked in butter, you will find… a square of butter.


A massive billboard in South Carolina just outside of Georgia which read:
“Victory is great, but honor is greater. Defend your Southern heritage.”


A letter to the editor pasted proudly on a business door in Key Marathon, Florida by the business owner discussing how immigrants today are a disgrace to immigrants from the start of the 20th Century. The letter details how people need to read history because in 1901, when the business owner’s grandfather came to the country, he didn’t ask for any government handouts like modern immigrants are asking for. So modern, non-English-speaking immigrants are greedier than the immigrants from 100 years ago and thus do not recognize the value of hard work and don’t appreciate why America is great. (I’m not concocting a straw man here, this is, as best as I can recall, the structure of the argument). Apparently, nobody told the letter-writer that in 1901 NOBODY got government handouts (other than cheap land which WAS aimed at immigrants) because there weren’t significant government social programs until after World War II.
I guess the purpose of the letter was for other people to read history, not for the letter writer to read history.


Casa D’ice, a restaurant located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which features political messages as their signature claim to fame. Among the political messages they put up under their restaurant’s name and proudly reproduced on their website include:

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Digg, CBS Interactive team up for political coverage

CBS Interactive announced Tuesday that its property has teamed up with social news site Digg for online coverage of the 2008 election.

Through this partnership, the recognizable "Digg buttons" will be featured on articles and videos that pertain to the election. In return, Digg's election-related headlines will be displayed throughout

"This is part of our strategic plan to open to diverse news, analysis and voices from across the Web," Michael Sims,'s vice president of editorial content, said in a statement from the company. "We are simultaneously exposing our content to the greater Digg community to help encourage more discovery and sharing."

Digg, a hotbed for support of long-shot Republican candidate and Internet darling Ron Paul, already has a "Digg the Candidates" election page.

Expect this partnership with CBS Interactive to quell some of the rumors that Digg would be soon acquired by News Corp., following a partnership with The Wall Street Journal. The Journal, a recent News Corp. acquisition, now features Digg buttons on its online articles.

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First votes counted in New Hampshire primary

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain received much-needed boosts from New Hampshire Tuesday.

Clinton, coming off a disappointing third-place finish in Iowa, rebounded to overcome rival Sen. Barack Obama in the state's Democratic primary.

Supporters at her headquarters chanted "comeback kid" as the results came in.

Clinton trailed Obama by 9 points in recent polls.

On the Republican side, McCain easily won his party's primary.

The results mark a resurgence for the Arizona senator, whose campaign was all but written off this summer. What do the results mean? »

Clinton and McCain embraced their comeback positions in addressing supporters Tuesday night.

"Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice," Clinton said to a crowd of young supporters. Video Watch Clinton thank New Hampshire »

"Now together, let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me."

McCain, a 71-year-old, four-term senator, was met by a crowd shouting, "Mac is back." Video Watch McCain celebrate his win »

"I'm past the age when I can claim the noun 'kid,' no matter what adjective precedes it, but we sure showed them what a comeback looks like," he said.

McCain pinned his win on "one strategy" -- telling the people of New Hampshire what he believes. Watch a slideshow of the candidates' speeches »

"When the pundits declared us finished, I told them, 'I'm going to New Hampshire, where the voters don't let you make their decisions for them,' " he said. " 'I'm going to New Hampshire, and I'm going to tell people the truth.' "

Female voters and older voters helped hand Clinton the Democratic win, according to exit polls.

In Iowa, Clinton lost out to Obama among women 35 percent to 30 percent. In New Hampshire, however, 45 percent of female Democratic primary voters picked Clinton, compared to 36 percent who went for Obama.
Older voters also overwhelmingly outnumbered younger voters, a proportion that benefited Clinton. Sixty-seven percent of Democratic primary voters were over the age of 40, and they were breaking heavily for Clinton over Obama.

McCain overcame former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to seal the win in New Hampshire with 37 percent of the vote.

Romney had led most polls in Iowa and New Hampshire before the votes there and held a 12-point lead in New Hampshire shortly before Christmas. He finished second, as he did in Iowa, five points behind McCain.

Romney won Saturday's Wyoming caucus.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- winner of the Iowa caucuses -- finished third with 11 percent.

Voters who supported McCain and those who supported Romney differed significantly on what issues they feel are most important, exit polling showed.

Forty-six percent of those who supported McCain ranked the war in Iraq the most important. Meanwhile, voters who supported Romney overwhelmingly felt immigration was the most important issue.

McCain has been a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, but co-sponsored failed immigration reform legislation that drew the ire of many conservatives in his party. Romney has been taking a tough stance on immigration.

McCain bested Huckabee, a one-time Baptist minister, among New Hampshire voters who said a candidate's religious beliefs matter a great deal, according to CNN exit polls. While Huckabee won overwhelmingly among those voters in Iowa, in New Hampshire, 35 percent went to McCain while 31 percent went to Huckabee.

The religious voters made up 14 percent of all Republican primary voters in New Hampshire -- much less than in Iowa.

Huckabee and Romney called McCain to congratulate him Tuesday night.

"I'll fight to be back in this state and others," Romney told supporters. Video Watch Romney congratulate McCain »

Huckabee, who earlier said a third-place finish would be "huge" for him, also promised to return to New Hampshire.

"After we secure the nomination, we've got to come back here and make sure we carry New Hampshire."

Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, congratulated Clinton and praised "all the candidates in this race" as "patriots who serve this country honorably."

But Obama assailed critics who he said doubted his campaign and said the record numbers of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire showed "there is something happening in America."

"For most of this campaign, we were far behind," he said. "We always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out and you spoke up for change."

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina painted himself as the candidate of the voiceless after tracking a distant third in the Democratic primary.

Noting that there are "two states down, 48 states to go" in primary and caucus voting, the 2004 vice presidential nominee said that only about 1 percent of Americans had voted so far and that the other "99 percent deserve to be heard." Video Watch Edwards describe where he goes next »

With 95 percent of precincts counted, Clinton had 39 percent of the vote to Iowa caucus winner Obama's 37 percent. Edwards had 17 percent. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had 5 percent, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich had 1 percent.

With 95 percent of Republican precincts reporting, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had 9 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 8 percent. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson received 1 percent of the vote. Video Watch Paul say he will continue to fight »

read more | digg story

CNN reports Clinton wins New Hampshire

(CNN) -- Solid support from registered Democrats and women in New Hampshire were crucial Tuesday as Sen. Hillary Clinton rebounded from her third-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses.

She narrowly defeated Sen. Barack Obama in the New Hampshire primary, with 39 percent of the vote to Obama's 37.

"Last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice," the New York senator said after her victory.

"Now let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me."

Forty-three percent of self-styled independents said they voted for Obama, and 31 percent said they backed Clinton. Independents made up 43 percent of all voters polled.

Addressing his roaring supporters after the race was called, Obama congratulated Clinton. But he was a candidate determined to draw a distinction between Clinton and himself.

"But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago, is because it's not just about what I will do as president," he said. "It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it. That's what this election is all about."

But Clinton was ahead of Obama 45 percent to 34 percent among those who said they were registered Democrats. Those voters made up a majority -- 54 percent -- of all respondents.

Clinton also claimed the majority of women's votes, according to the polling. That's in contrast to last week's Iowa caucuses, in which Obama surprised observers by stealing the female vote from Clinton.

Analysts say that shift among female voters was crucial to the Clinton turnaround. "If I had a single word, the word would be 'women,' " said CNN political analyst Bill Schneider. "She got the women back."

And Schneider said the support of union voters that put Clinton over the top. "Union voters have her a 10 point lead," he said.

CNN projected former Sen. John Edwards to finish third.

College graduates, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, opted narrowly for Clinton -- 38 percent to Obama's 37 percent, according to the polling.

Those polled who called themselves very liberal, and moderate, went with Clinton over Obama -- although by less than 2 percentage points in each -- and those who said they are somewhat liberal were evenly split.

Pundits also were citing the role of former President Bill Clinton in helping his wife recover from what pre-primary polls were suggesting was a deficit of 9 percentage points to Obama in New Hampshire.

The former president spent Tuesday in Hanover -- home to Dartmouth College -- where Obama had been expected to win handily.

"They dispatched him to the area that Obama was surging," said CNN analyst Donna Brazille, who managed former Vice President Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "I think it had the effect of tamping down Obama support and giving Senator Clinton a real reason to come back in this race."

New Hampshire was considered crucial to Clinton's campaign. If Obama had been able to sweep Iowa and New Hampshire -- after months of Clinton being considered the front-runner among Democrats -- it could have given him powerful momentum going into future primaries.

"Age is also playing a big factor -- older voters are overwhelmingly outnumbering younger voters -- a proportion that is clearly benefiting Clinton," Schneider said. "Sixty-seven percent of Democratic primary voters are over the age of 40, and they are breaking heavily for Clinton over Obama."

Over the past several days, Clinton has trumpeted her experience, saying that she has delivered change as both first lady and as a senator.

After losing to Obama in last week's Iowa caucuses, it was unclear whether she could overcome what appeared to be Obama's ability to electrify American voters who had previously taken a sour and skeptical view of politicians and the political process.

The duel between the Obama and Clinton campaigns grew especially testy Monday and Tuesday. She said she had more experience than he, and was therefore more qualified. He accused her of representing the status quo of Washington.

And on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Bill Clinton criticized the media for not pressing Obama more fully on Iraq, and accused the Illinois senator of shifting his position to reflect changing attitudes about the war in Iraq.

Then, there was an issue unto itself -- Hillary Clinton's almost-tears.

Clinton's eyes welled up this week while responding to a voter's question about her health and appearance.

Pundits and voters alike questioned whether Clinton's emotions were sincere or faked as part of some strategy to diminish criticism that she is too steely, too cold.

In front of the crowd of mostly female New Hampshire voters, an admittedly fatigued Clinton responded to a question by saying: "This is very personal for me, it's not just political, it's [that] I see what's happening, we have to reverse it."

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New Hampshire Primary Vote Miscount Takes Win From Obama

Hillary Clinton, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 39.618%
Clinton, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 34.908%
Barack Obama, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 36.309%
Obama, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 38.617%
Machine vs Hand:
Clinton: 4.709% (13,475 votes)
Obama: -2.308% (-6,604 votes)

2008 New Hampshire Republican Primary Results --Total Republican Votes: 236,378 Machine vs Hand ( 09 Jan 2008

Mitt Romney Mitt-Romney-MBA Sep-07 , Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 33.075%
Romney, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 25.483%
Ron Paul, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 7.109%
Paul, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 9.221%
Machine vs Hand :
Romney: 7.592% (17,946 votes)
Paul: -2.112% (-4,991 votes)

NH: "First in the nation" (with corporate controlled secret vote counting) By Nancy Tobi 07 Jan 2008 81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as "Premier"). The elections run on these machines are programmed by one company, LHS Associates, based in Methuen, MA. We know nothing about the people programming these machines, and we know even less about LHS Associates. We know even less about the secret vote counting software used to tabulate 81% of our ballots. [ See also CLG's Coup 2004 and Yes, Gore DID win!.]

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Clinton Crony Makes Creepy Reference To JFK Assassination

Today, in Dover, Francine Torge, a former John Edwards supporter, said this while introducing Mrs. Clinton: "Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually" passed the civil rights legislation.

The comment, an apparent reference to Senator Barack Obama, is particularly striking given documented fears among blacks that Mr. Obama will be assassinated if elected.

How to describe this? Desperate? Weird? Uhm...a squeaky frame? [Rimshot!] Hopefully, Torge meant to merely draw a comparison between Clinton and a president who escalated wildly unpopular wars, and not with an assassin.

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman said: "We were not aware that this person was going to make those comments and disapprove of them completely. They were totally inappropriate."

If only there was some way to, say, vet a speaker's remarks in advance or something!

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Errors Transposing Votes and Diebold Machines Issues

Allegations of vote fraud in New Hampshire’s primary are growing. In what was advertised as a fair and open election in the Live Free or Die state, it appears that concerns of the fraud and data manipulation are viable.

The data from Diebold Accuvote optical scanner electronic voting machines is up to 5% points different than the hand-written ballots that were cast. Sutton Town has now reported an error in transposing votes and an employee of LHS Associates, whom counted 81% of the vote, has a criminal record.

Township clerk Jennifer Call of Sutton, New Hampshire has confirmed that ‘31′ votes were in fact cast for Ron Paul in Sutton when ‘0′ votes were initially reported. They claim that it was an error in transposing the data during transfer to the summary sheet. These 31 residents from Sutton can rest assured that their votes are NOW being counted. But what about the rest of the townships?

The results from the Diebold machines, easily hacked in the HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, don’t add up. They claim that Ron Paul had over 2% fewer votes than the hand ballots suggest, and gave Giuliani a .5% boost for 4th place instead. The same ballot machines also show that Hillary faired 5% better than with the hand ballots, taking 1st away from Obama. See this site for more detailed analysis.

In another developing story, Bev Harris of Black Box has confirmed that a key employee of LHS Associates, Ken Hajjar, the Marketing and Sales Director at LHS Associates was arrested, indicted, and plead guilty to “sale / CND” (sale of controlled narcotic drugs). LHS Associates holds the contract for programming all of the New Hampshire’s Diebold voting machines, which combined for 81 percent of the vote.

“They are counting everything in public real nice, they fill out a form in public real nice and then they transfer it to another form and they call that a summary sheet and then that is the one they send in,” explained Harris.

Bev Harris said in reference to the Sutton fiasco:

“What happened is she said they did not transfer the number correctly and put zero instead of 31 - that is unacceptable as an answer.”

The cost of a hand re-count is estimated at $67,000. It is not known at this time whether the Paul or Obama campaigns will consider a re-count.

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I Got What America Needs Right Here

Sometimes I'm a little stupid, maybe, a little slow in the head, so I'm wondering if you can help me get something straight. Maybe you can help me understand one fucking thing right now, America, and explain to me what in the Christ is going on here. 'Cause, unless I'm missing something, this country is in the middle of a motherfucking shitstorm, and I have no fucking idea what you're gonna do to get out of it. I mean, are you seriously considering voting for one of these shitbags you got here in '08? Fat fucking chance.

Way I see it, America needs a president who's gonna somehow un-royally screw up the Middle East, do some serious cleaning up after you dropped your pants and took a steaming dump all over the fucking environment, and—boom!—restore dignity, honor, and all that shit to these United States.

See, I got solutions to all your problems—I got 'em right here in my big, hairy ballsack.

You better get down on your hands and knees and kiss Jimmy Carter's rosy-red Georgia-peach-picking ass and beg me to run your fucking country again, because there's no way I'm ever gonna come to you fuck-knobs and politely ask you if I might please be a presidential candidate in your precious fuckin' election. So you can just bite my cock. I've had it with you jerkoffs and your jerkoff candidates.

You actually seem to think one a' these assholes is gonna prance in and wave a magic wand and make everything all nice again. Look at you, sitting there like a common fucking schnook and eating all their bull about bi-fucking-partisanship, and how they have all the goddamn answers. Let me tell you something: These fags are dogshit compared to Jimmy fucking Carter, all right? I was arbitrating Mideast crises when this bunch was still sucking on their mamas' titties.

But who comes to me, huh? Fucking nobody. Why ask old Jimmy anything? What the fuck could he know about peace in the Middle East? It's not like he fucking won the Nobel Peace Prize for that shit. You myopic pricks. Back in '79, I sat Sadat and Begin right down and made those two dicklicks shake hands. It was beautiful—I had all the pieces lined up and I smiled and waved in my best fucking suit and tie right there on TV. And what do you do, you pieces of shit? You screw the whole goddamn pooch.


Oh, what's that I hear? The weather's all screwy? You got a global warming problem? Boo-fucking-hoo! I was telling you morons to turn off your lights and unplug all your shit at night to conserve energy in 19-fuckin'-75, for chrissake. Gee, I wonder what woulda happened if we'd all switched to solar power like I fucking did back when we had a fucking chance to do something about it. Think we'd still be sucking Saudi Arabia's dick like a five-dollar whore? I sure as fuck didn't get no fancy Oscar for that little spiel, though, did I? No. But Al Gore, that cum-sucking pig, steals the shit from me and now he's the greatest thing since Jesus Christ made a fucking sandwich.

Well, he can lick my asshole right after George W. Bush, that fuck.

You want compassion? Somebody who's looking out for the little guy? Why don't you take a look at Jimmy Carter, 'cause unlike, oh, every motherfucking candidate out there, he spent the last fucking quarter-century building houses for the homeless. And what does he get for it? A fucking hernia. Some fucking gratitude, you selfish twats. You talk to me about compassion? I'll shove a crucifix so far up the Democrats' asses they'll be asking me to buy them dinner and kiss them good night.

Funny thing about me: I actually fucking know shit! Not like these goombas trying to weasel their way into the White House. I practically wrote the book on collapsing bridges, inflation, and the working poor, fuck-o. I even got a degree in nuclear engineering or some shit. You know how easy I could swoop down right now like a guardian angel and solve all your fucking problems? Snap. Bam. Do it in my fucking sleep. Just fucking try me.

So you want me to run for president again? Yeah, sure, absolutely, I'll do it. I'd be honored to do it—with my fucking dick in your mouth, you worthless scumbags.

You had your chance with Jimmy Carter, and you fucking blew it. So get fucked. Fucking country.

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Hillary did not win NH; Obama and Hillary tied for NH

Clinton, Obama, Edwards claim NH delegates; McCain, Romney, Huckabee take GOP delegates

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama each won nine delegates in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, followed by former Sen. John Edwards with 4 delegates, an AP analysis of primary results shows. All 22 of New Hampshire's delegates to the national convention this summer have been allocated.

Clinton and Obama won the same number of delegates, even though Clinton edged Obama in votes, because New Hampshire awards delegates proportionally, and the vote was relatively close.

In the overall race for the nomination, Clinton leads with 187 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. She is followed by Obama with 89 delegates and Edwards with 50.

A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain won seven delegates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won four delegates and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won one. All 12 of New Hampshire's delegates to the national convention this summer have been allocated.

New Hampshire originally had 24 Republican delegates, but the national party stripped half as punishment because the state broke party rules by scheduling its primary before Feb. 5.

In the overall race for the nomination, Huckabee leads with 31 delegates, followed by Romney with 19 delegates and McCain with seven.

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'Iron My Shirt' protesters were pro-Hillary plants


A couple of yahoos interrupted Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight in Salem by waving big signs and chanting “Iron my shirts!”

Clinton asked that the lights be turned on, apparently to see them better and declared. “Oh the remnants of sexism, alive and well tonight,” to applause.

She then talked about breaking glass ceilings, before joking as the pair were hustled out: “If there’s anybody in the audience who wants to learn to iron his own shirt, we can talk about that.”

We ask what the heck they were thinking.

Nick Gemelli, who is 21, and born at least a decade after “iron my shirts” was an anti-women’s rights slogan, didn’t have much of a rationale. “I just don’t think a woman should be President,” he said.

He couldn’t really say why, but he agreed that he was a health care voter, as the sticker on his carrying case implied. The “Hillary for President” sticker was a bit more of a puzzle.

He said he had just been given both and peeled them off. He said he had no connection to any campaign.

At least he got some attention. His friend — a la Bart Simpson — said his name was Hugh Jas, but The Mouth later learned that his real name is Adolfo Gonzalez Jr.

Update: Adolfo apparently has a MySpace page that says he is a Republican who doesn’t do drugs or have a girlfriend, and calls himself “Captain Fun.” He did seem to enjoy himself more than Nick.

Update: These guys are radio show jokers. There’s a good rundown on Hotair.

- Michael McAuliff

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Culinary Workers' Union Endorse Barack Obama

From NBC’s Andy Merten and Domenico Montanaro
Nevada’s Culinary Workers Union officially endorsed Obama today in Las Vegas. And while the format of the press conference largely reflected your typical presidential endorsement -- praise for the other candidates with a laundry list of rationales for the ultimate choice -- there was one tidbit that stood out in this one: comparisons to, well, food.

“I have a lot of respect for those folks in Iowa and New Hampshire, but we’re not just Wonder Bread, here,” said D. Taylor, secretary treasurer of Culinary Workers Union Local 266, of Nevada and the union's racial diversity. "We’ve got pumpernickel; we got whole wheat; and we got rye.”

And Taylor couldn’t resist leaving it at just that. He went on to compare the decision to pick Obama to a trip to Baskin Robins: “Maybe you have a certain flavor you want. But you generally look around, don’t you? And you test a few.”

The union, which boasts a membership of more than 60,000, is seen as a key endorsement in Nevada, a state where there are less than 500,000 registered Democrats in the whole state and certainly not all come out for caucuses.

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This is the Most Important Election of our Lifetime

The best news as 2008 dawns, of course, is that this most endless of presidential campaigns now finally reaches a point at which something actually happens. Finally the people will speak, starting Thursday in Iowa. So what will they say?

The races in both parties have developed along very unexpected lines, making this probably the most fascinating presidential election in decades. Let's start with the Republicans. Here we have the most unpopular sitting president since Richard Nixon. Significant majorities of his countrymen have long since concluded that they made a mistake in electing him; that he isn't up to the job; that he basically lied us into a war; that his domestic policies have been at best no great shakes; and that the conservative ideology to which he has been in thrall has not served the country well, to put it mildly.

And yet, by and large, the Republican candidates are running on exactly the same policies that Bush has pursued. Consider this list. All the major Republican candidates want to "stay the course" in Iraq, denouncing any discussion of withdrawal as evidence of pusillanimity. All see the fight against terrorism in more or less Bushian terms. All want to make the Bush tax cuts, now scheduled to sunset in 2010, permanent - even John McCain, who at the time voted against them. All have promised the leaders of the Christian right that they will appoint supreme court judges "in the mould of" Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

What this euphemistic language means is that whatever a candidate's previous positions on abortion and gay rights - Rudy Giuliani, for instance, has supported both - the leaders of the religious conservative movement have exacted commitments from all the Grand Old Party candidates to appoint the kind of judges they want, and that matters far more than past positions.

There's more. Healthcare is a priority in this election. But to hear these Republicans, you'd never know it. Their healthcare plans range from cynical to inadequate. Climate change? They barely acknowledge the problem and are particularly loath to acknowledge that human activity has contributed to it. They continue to insist, as Republicans since Ronald Reagan have, that the only real domestic enemy the American people face is the federal government, which they continue to want to starve.

It's pretty astonishing, really - we're at the tail end of a failed presidency, and the people running to succeed it are promising to continue its failed policies.

Now, many observers would say, well, they're just pandering to their party's rightwing base, and once one of them secures the nomination, he will tack to the centre. Undoubtedly, he will, for tactical reasons. But the real question is how the next Republican will govern should he happen to win. And the answer to that question is that there's every reason to assume that he will be just as a conservative as Bush for one simple reason: the interest groups that run the GOP will not brook much deviation from the standard line.

Those interest groups are three. The neocons run foreign policy - the Iraq disaster has not affected their influence in the GOP one whit. The theocons run social policy. And the radical anti-taxers run domestic policy. Until forces inside the GOP rise up to challenge these interests, any Republican administration will be roughly as conservative as Bush. The candidates have slightly different theories of stasis, they will tinker around this edge or that, but that's about all you can say.

On the Democratic side, there is far more divergence. Not so much on policy - they're all for universal or nearly universal healthcare, for getting out of Iraq, for doing more for unions, for bringing some equity and progressivity to our taxation system and so on. If you'd asked me a year ago what the major Democrats' positions on the leading issues would be, I would not have guessed that they'd be this uniformly liberal.

What they differ on is how they and the country will accomplish these things. The astute analyst and writer Mark Schmitt was the first to identify this phenomenon, naming the Democratic race the "theory of change" primary. John Edwards's theory of change is that the system is corrupt, spoiled by corporate greed, and so the way to get change is to wage a kind of class war against it. Barack Obama's theory of change is to ask independents and conservatives of good faith to work with him on encircling resistant forces and changing the system. Hillary Clinton's theory of change is that the system is failing Americans in certain particular respects and that it is best massaged by someone with years of experience working within it.

The Democratic caucus-goers of Iowa will tell us Thursday night which of these theories, retailed to them at close range for many months, they've embraced, although the outcome seems likely to be close, so the question won't yet be settled. Republican caucus-goers seem more likely to tell us that they like Mike Huckabee's version of stasis. But even that won't reveal much, because Iowa's GOP caucus-goers are heavily weighted toward religious conservatives like Huckabee.

Whichever theory of change Democratic voters nominate, and whichever theory of statis Republican voters select, the choice before Americans next November will be stark. In 2004, many Americans, particularly liberals fearful about a second Bush term, took to calling that election "the most important of my lifetime". And it was, for a while. Now this one is.

· Michael Tomasky is editor of Guardian America

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How Children Are Abused in the Name of God

By Shawn F. Peters

A hemophilic boy in Pennsylvania bleeds to death over a period of two days from a small cut on his foot. An Indiana girl dies after a malignant tumor sprouts from her skull and grows so enormous that it’s nearly the size of her head. A boy in Massachusetts succumbs to a bowel obstruction. (His cries of pain are so loud that neighbors are forced to shut their windows to block out the sound.)

None of these children benefit from the readily-available medical treatments that might save their lives, or at least mitigate their suffering. Because the tenets of their parents’ religious faiths mandate it, their ailments are treated by prayer rather than medical science. The results are tragic.

It is difficult to determine precisely how many children in the United States lose their lives every year as the result of the phenomenon that has come to be known as religion-based medical neglect. A landmark study published in the journal Pediatrics uncovered more than 150 reported fatalities over a 10-year period – a tally that one of the study’s authors later said represented only “the tip of the iceberg” of a surprisingly pervasive problem. Assessing whether forms of religion-related child abuse pose a greater risk to children than more widely publicized threats, such as ritual satanic abuse, a wide-ranging study funded by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect concluded that “there are more children actually being abused in the name of God than in the name of Satan.”

Since the late nineteenth century, hundreds of such instances of abuse have resulted in tangled criminal litigation. The parents charged in these cases – many of them Christian Scientists or members of small Christian churches that ground their doctrines in narrowly literal interpretations of the Bible – often have argued that the First Amendment safeguards their decision to adhere to their faiths’ religious traditions and treat their ailing children solely by spiritual means. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have balked at the notion that constitutional protections for religious liberty provide an absolute bar to state regulation of religious conduct, particularly when that behavior puts the safety of children at risk. Their task often has been complicated, however, by murky state manslaughter and abuse statutes that appear to provide exemptions for religious healing practices.

Arguing that they were “Christians first, citizens afterward,” a prominent Christian spiritual healer once urged his followers to disregard secular laws that might compel them to forsake their religious beliefs regarding healing. Such is the dilemma that confronts parents who choose to treat their sick or injured children with prayer instead of medicine. Not only must they safeguard the health of their sons and daughters; they also must try to reconcile their devotion to God with their duties as citizens in a society that boasts a long and sometimes checkered history of regulating uncommon religious conduct.

Defining these obligations through the enforcement of secular laws – especially ones that are constitutionally fuzzy – can be a complicated business. Moreover, there is no guarantee that it will deter devout and stubborn parents from engaging in religious practices that endanger the health of their children. But the alternative – simply ignoring the suffering of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our nation’s churches – seems unconscionable.

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Subprime Crashes Into Criminal Monetary System

"Central banking is perhaps the most brilliant scam ever perpetrated, and the U.S. Federal Reserve stands as the most successful of all central banks in history. The Fed is able to transfer wealth away from the people who earned it, and into the hands of the Federal Government and member banks, relentlessly, stealthily, year after year, and all the while maintaining the preposterous claim of social benefit in the form of "managing the economy." The method of this theft is sophisticated and disguised enough as to escape the attention of most, and when combined with propaganda, leads most people to the conclusion that we'd be in trouble without it. Yet I wish to show here that central banking can be well understood by most people for exactly what it is: ­ the fraudulent theft of trillions of dollars via the monopolization of money."
-- Johnny Silver Bear
"The Fed", 15 Jul 2004

An open letter to Gary North in response to his article, "Will The Big Banks Collapse?"

Gary -

Enjoyed your thorough description of the continuing subprime meltdown and central banking's role.

Some few of us are doing what we can to shift the national discussion from hand-wringing and clothes-clutching to the hard-biting, effective remedies and solutions available in the legal arena. Most Americans, of course, are lost in clothes-clutching, pie-in-the-sky daydreams of striking back with an electoral system that died of pathogenic electronic voting corruption in 2002, and sundry reform strategies that play to predator elitism's corruption machines and cannot possibly succeed.

While you're not one who is talking effective remedies and solutions, you are a blazing, citizen expert on central banking. We could use your expertise.

Little help, please.

The unconstitutional passage of the Federal Reserve Act, on the vehicle of inferior statute law, has always been an unconstitutional "anti-law regime". Its continuation has always resulted in felonies and felony conspiracies in each and every application of its unconstitutional statute, including its usurous "fractional lending" and its consequent inflationary reduction of the dollar's value. In the Fed's case, that would be minute-by-minute, every minute, since 1913. That's a lot of felonies.

Per the Constitution, the American people have a right to debt-free currency issued and valued by Congress.

Debt-based currency, issued and valued by a federal-statute-defined monopoly of private corporations (the Federal Reserve) violates 18 USC 241 -- felony conspiracy against citizen rights -- as well as both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

The "letter" of Constitutional law is violated by the Fed's conflict with Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 6 -- "The Congress shall have the power ... To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures".

The "spirit" of Constitutional law is violated by the Fed's conflict with the 1935 SCOTUS decision in Schechter Poultry, 295 US 495, which barred Congress from delegating any of the core powers assigned to it in the Constitution.
The American people pay compound interest on every dollar of the Fed's debt-based currency, which is created out of thin air in a variety of usurous ways and at many physical locations. Every act that creates any amount of that "fiat currency" marks a new felony under 18 USC 241. Every payment of compound interest on that "fiat currency" marks a new felony under 18 USC 241.

Every govt act under color of law that supports the Federal Reserve is another violation of 18 USC 241, another felony conspiracy against citizen rights. When Bush nominated Ben Bernanke to be Fed Chairman on 22 October 2005, he joined the chairman-replacement felony conspiracy, adding to his mantle as the Criminal President. When the Senate confirmed Bernanke by voice vote on 31 January 2006, it joined the felony conspiracy, adding to its mantle as the Criminal US Senate.

Between seeking Bernanke as Fed Chairman and his Senate confirmation, several govt hierarchies became principals or accessories-after-the-fact in the felony conspiracy.

That is, there are hundreds of felons-in-waiting and accessories-after-the-fact, in and out of govt, who need to go to prison for Federal-Reserve-related crimes -- right now, before the fascist thugs in central banking, the govt, and powerful corporations spring the North American Union and its dollar-dumping MEXCANUS Amero on us.

Getting to those criminal prosecutions, of course, will not be easy. But they are the effective remedies, I'm convinced, that the American people need to get to. And we do have options that can force the issue.

I'm nowhere near the expert you are on central banking. But it's clear to me that effective remedies and soltuions for our central banking abominations involve making it right with the law.

In my world, making central banking right with the law means repealing the Federal Reserve Act and generally obliterating central banking as we know it.

Yes, reasons for JFK's murder undoubtedly included his moves toward a debt-free currency and abolishing the Fed. But that's a story for another day.

My first order of business is to describe an institution that can replace the Federal Reserve, starting us with the issuance of debt-free currency.

Do you have any starting places to recommend? Can you recommend a biblio of thinkers and works dedicated to replacing the Fed?

Clearly, we can't go on with this national discussion of hand-wringing and clothes-clutching. We're running out of time. Americans will not continue to take the abuse and lies so typified by the byzantine subprime finanacial instruments, the consequent housing market crash, and the zero accountability for those who commit such abuses against the people. With the safety-valves into change blocked by the governing and corporate elites, and with so many industries carpet-bombing the middle-class, the next stop could easily be bloody revolution.

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"I'd Vote for Bush Again if He Were Running"

A reader sent me an email:
So at lunch today the subject of the caucus came up. There were six of us sitting there. One guy says he would vote for George Bush again if he were running. You can imagine my reaction. Then my boss says he would too. I told them both they were insane.
Then they started talking about how we HAD to go to war after what happened Sept. 11. I kid you not, two other people said that they didn't know Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So out of six, two thought Iraq was tied to 9/11, and two more didn't care.

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McCain: As Long As It's Iraqis Dying, We Can Stay In Iraq

We posted a video of Senator John McCain saying he’d be ok with the U.S. being in Iraq for 100 years, and during his appearance on Meet The Press this morning, McCain stood by that statement and was absolutely giddy about President Bush’s surge.

As long as Americans aren’t being wounded or killed, and it’s the Iraqis who are fighting and dying, McCain believes that Americans are just fine with the United States having permanent bases there, and keeping a large military presence all over the world. He also points out that the Saudis didn’t want our base in their country, but it’s worth noting that Bin Laden was angered by our presence there as well — but according to the Republicans in last night’s debate, terrorism has nothing to do with American foreign policy.

McCain: ” It’s not American presence that bothers the American people, it’s American casualties, and if Americans are safe wherever they are in the world, American people don’t mind that. So, what I believe we can achieve is a reduction in casualties to the point where the Iraqis are doing the fighting and dying, we’re supporting them, and over time then there will be the relation between the two countries.”

Isn’t that what’s been happening for the past four years?

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O’Reilly slams Edwards For Standing Up For Homeless Vets

On Friday, Billo showed off his pundit wisdom idiocy following the Iowa caucus and went after John Edwards for saying the US should be taking better care of our veterans.

O’Reilly: As for John Edwards, Good grief! this guy has no clue. (plays clip)

Edwards: … and tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates. We are better than this. (see Edward’s speech here)

O’Reilly: That was Edwards’ concession speech last night. I mean, come on. The only thing sleeping under a bridge is that guy’s brain. 10 million illegal alien workers are sending billions of dollars back home and Edwards is running around saying nobody has any money. Hard to believe.

Billo, who has a history of insulting veterans, just dismissed outright the plight of homeless men and women who have served in our nation’s military and implied that they don’t even exist. To mask his callous indifference he threw out illegal immigration as a red herring and insulted Edwards by saying he “has no clue.” Well, as usual, Falafel Boy is the one who desperately needs to get a clue.

In 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night—an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homeless over the course of the year. We estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006. …

What’s more, Huckabee’s 40,000 votes were 32% of the republican turnout (just 11% of the overall) so O’Reilly’s claim that Huckabee won because “60% of the voters described themselves as evangelical Christians, and just about all of them voted for the governor” is also something he just pulled out of his you-know-what. The 60% figure O’Reilly cites came from exit polling from the Republican caucus, but since no one ever bothered to poll the Democrats on their faith the statistic is meaningless except it does show that nearly half if not more of Iowa’s self-identified evangelical/born-again Republican caucus-goers must have voted for someone besides Huckabee.

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Why I Believe Bush and Cheney Must be Impeached

As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?

How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?

It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney team repeatedly deceived Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an "imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

The basic strategy of the administration has been to encourage a climate of fear, letting it exploit the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks not only to justify the invasion of Iraq but also to excuse such dangerous misbehavior as the illegal tapping of our telephones by government agents. The same fear-mongering has led government spokesmen and cooperative members of the press to imply that we are at war with the entire Arab and Muslim world -- more than a billion people.

Another shocking perversion has been the shipping of prisoners scooped off the streets of Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other countries without benefit of our time-tested laws of habeas corpus.

Although the president was advised by the intelligence agencies last August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in the crucial Middle East for decades.

Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions. Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to threaten others.

Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In addition to the shocking breakdown of presidential legal and moral responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans." Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.

As former representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a key role in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, wrote two years ago, "it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws -- that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate. . . . A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law -- and repeatedly violates the law -- thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors."

I believe we have a chance to heal the wounds the nation has suffered in the opening decade of the 21st century. This recovery may take a generation and will depend on the election of a series of rational presidents and Congresses. At age 85, I won't be around to witness the completion of the difficult rebuilding of our sorely damaged country, but I'd like to hold on long enough to see the healing begin.

There has never been a day in my adult life when I would not have sacrificed that life to save the United States from genuine danger, such as the ones we faced when I served as a bomber pilot in World War II. We must be a great nation because from time to time, we make gigantic blunders, but so far, we have survived and recovered.

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