New Hampshire Recount, a Tale of Two Speeches, and the Endless Surge
The recount has discovered mass discrepancies in the vote totals. Hand-counted ballots accurately reflect exit and pre-poll numbers. Vote-counting machines run by LHS Associates, a company run by GOP supporters with two felons in leadership positions, show results that differ considerably from pre- and exit polls.
The Mainstream Media refuses to discuss even the possibility of an inaccuracy. Diebold's machines have been hacked in repeated experiments; for the Media, this doesn't raise the slightest doubt about the accuracy of the New Hampshire results.
Bev Sanders at blackboxvoting has been following this unfolding story that the MSM chooses not to cover. Bradblog has been covering the issue; in a post here they talk about how the recount has been halted. The reasons for the stoppage are unclear although the New Hampshire Secretary of State website claims Kucinich's funds ran out. The limited counting results revealed so far show votes to be off substantially.
Gardner switched off the Democratic recount to do a Republican one. GOP Primary results matched pre- and exit poll results, so that recount appears to be nowhere as important as the Democrats'. What few numbers Gardner has disclosed showed Hillary gaining a fair number of votes and Obama more or less the same. Voting tallies have not been thorough, nor will they be revealed anytime soon, so the scope of the discrepancy remains unknown. So the Republican recount has become the perfect distraction to the very damning admission that the recount totals had been way off.
I'm going to speculate that the recount is being suspended until after Super Tuesday. The postponement allows other jurisdictions to ignore problems that they may have with their voting systems considering the fact that many of them use the same vote-counting software and machines as shown in HBO's Hacking Democracy.
Adding confusion and/or doubt to the felicity of a Hillary comeback would disturb the media narrative, which has attributed her New Hampshire win to good luck--or a cry--and has long sinced moved on. Interesting, though, to think what an Obama victory would have done--and still could do--to weaken Hillary and make him the front-runner. If winning New Hampshire were a simple task of sending a big check to LHS Associates, it surely would have been money well-spent by Hillary supporters.
I was pleased to report the vote discrepancies here as early as possible. I was not willing to attribute Hillary's surprise win to failed media predicitions as our self-infatuated media is prone to do. The New Hampshire SoS attributes the discrepancy in hand- versus machine-counted votes to isolated case(s) of human error. The lack of transparency creates an atmosphere where public deception is far easier. For those responsible, better a cover-up than the admission that Americans are having their votes lost, miscounted, or stolen. A key enabler, the Mainstream Media perpetuates the voting improprieties by limiting public scrutiny.
Of course I am but a single blogger so I lack the ability to follow up on the story, though I did provide a string of links in my comments to the original post. Here are a few more:
Bev Harris has a camera in hand as she interviews the New Hampshire Secretary of State Gardner about the chain of custody in the ballot recount in this youtube video. Blackboxvoting.org's forums offer a post discussing ballot seals. This post by Paul Joseph Watson of prisonplanet is on the discrepancies, which were quite considerable, if the mainstream media cared. Finally, The Economist weighs in on America's digital voting and vote-counting system.
Tale of Two Speeches
On Monday, in a rising set of speeches, Senator Edward Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, and Caroline Kennedy all gave their endorsements to Obama. The event was wholly positive, change-oriented, and uplifting. Taking place on the American University (the location of John F. Kennedy's last speeches), the audience was youthful and enthusiastic. It was hard not to be excited in the presence of three Kennedies whose charisma has transcended the times.
It might just be me, but it seems as if Americans do hunger for broad social changes like those the Kennedy brothers urged before their deaths. Without criticizing Bush, the Kennedys decried the "politics of fear". The Democratic Party that the Kennedys represented seemed quite alive as an open tent, populist movement that differs considerably from the drab and dour Gore and Kerry campaigns.
For the Kennedys not to back Clinton says a great deal of what they think of her. Regardless of Clinton's political position, Obama does seem to characterize the Kennedy style of speech-giving and leadership.
Whatever Obama's electability, the Kennedy endorsement spoke legions of Hillary's high negatives. The fact she was not liked among a group of liberals may not speak well for her general popularity if liberalism is indeed on the upswing after seven years of Bush's stodgy rule.
The Kennedy endorsement may be worth several million votes just in the primary. CNN, unfortunately, claimed the Maxine Water's endorsement could be worth more (read below.)
Could Obama's popularity overcome his negatives in a general election? Obama would be a unifier of diverse ethnic groups, and help bring in independents and young voters. I;ve read Hillary has considerable pull with Hispanics, who will constitute a large chunk of Democrats in California. If the Democratic Party returns to its open tent roots, which advocate policies of inclusion, shy away from corporate influence-peddling and lobbyists, it could pose a broader popular appeal.
If the Dems try to look like Republican Lite, they will be competing outside areas seen as their traditional political strength, like national security and international issues. Still, the popular perception that the GOP has advantage on national security argument is weakening, according to national polls. Media consultants have harped to Democratic leaders about the significance of looking strong versus terror, but support for the war has since trailed off.
The Other Speech
Contrasting with the roaring Kennedy endorsement fun times, the State of the Union Address was remarkably unremarkable. Lacking any fear buttons on overt themes of militarism, Bush had little to interest the general public, no major new initiatives, just an occasional recommendation. Trumpets have faded and the war siren's shrill cry seems to do less and less to motivate the people's representatives, at least the now-in-the-majority Democrats who've seen their political futures brighten with the continuance of the unpopular occupation.
Bush steered the speech toward partisanship early on, and Democrats didn't stand nearly as much as they had in previous speeches. I guess they decided that it wasn't necessary to rise to their feet in order to prove they were as loyal as the Republicans when prompted. Judging by the chilly reception by Democrats during the SOTU, the war is unpopular enough so politicians no longer feel compelled to stand up and cheer for the commander-in-chief every time he talks about his plans for Iraq. Mercifully, 9/11 was not mentioned.
Are the Democrats growing a backbone? Perhaps the FISA law passage with its accompanying telecommunication immunity will be a good test of just how far from their bland, neo-corporatist roots they're willing to stray. The Senate will naturally be tempted to immunize their coporate benefactors in the telecommunications industry; Bush holds the bill hostage, claiming FISA will expire unless immunity is granted, which is a complete fabrication.
What you see is not whaat you get now that Bush's war policies have soured his legacy. Republicans are caught in the narrrow divide of supporting the President despite his stance on the war and trying to create political cover out of the most recent "success", which is the result of escalation in troop deployments, what we might call the continuous surge.
Update: Bush is hedging on his SOTU promise to begin bring the soldiers home. This from Robert Burns, writing in Huffington Post:
The first sign Bush might endorse a pause in troop reductions came earlier this month when he recounted for reporters his meeting with Petraeus in Kuwait on Jan. 12.
"My attitude is, if he (Petraeus) didn't want to continue the drawdown, that's fine with me, in order to make sure we succeed," Bush said. "I said to the general, if you want to slow her down, fine; it's up to you."
In his State of the Union address Monday, Bush emphasized the risks--with no mention of the benefits--of continuing the cutbacks beyond July.
"Any further drawdown of U.S. troops will be based on conditions in Iraq and the recommendations of our commanders," Bush said. "General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in the `disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, al-Qaida-Iraq regaining lost ground, (and) a marked increase in violence.'"
He added: "Having come so far and achieved so much, we must not allow this to happen."
The continuation of the war (more of a police action) creates a political dilemma. Presenting the dire consequences of a US withdrawal allows Bush to justify more soldiers and money for the war. To attains the political equivalent of victory Bush needs to appear to be pulling troops out, like Nixon did in Vietnam, and reduce the occupation to pre-surge levels.
Achieving these very political goals would do damage to our military strategy, if indeed the higher troop numbers qualify Iraq as a success. If Iraq is such a success then why can't we scale down the mission, Americans are no doubt asking themselves. No pullout means no victory and therefore no political credit. The "centrocrat" Democrats have triangulated their Iraq War positions based on the near certainty that Iraq will continue to be a political liability. By ditching Iraq, Democratic leaders can increase their popularity from the largely antiwar populace after the election.
Limits of the War Machine
The war state continues to grow like a bloated tapeworm, with expenditures on the Pentagon approaching $700 billion for the next fiscal year. When will the economy and fiscal resources of our government fail? It seems we will have to chose between war or social and health services at some point; a recession and new President will likely face that tough choice. Sky-rocketing military costs are in a race with health care for the last dribbles in the federal trough. Then we'll just start printing the money--look at the price of gold.
It's deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said. In our war on terror we have any ethereal enemy who can never be entirely annihilated. Nor can we increase our effectiveness by escalating and creating more animosity towards the US. I've made the comparison to Vietnam; the MSM has made it a point to describe how different that war was. The public has been slowed to anger by the Media's anemic response to Iraq. Timid political opposition by the Democrats has also delayed the inevitable reality that we're in an unwinnable, Vietnam-style dog and pony show. Right-wing politicos have directed a media campaign which equates dissent with disloyalty, and equates antiwar views with a lack of support for the troops.
Absent a draft which would accelerate the antiwar movement, mobilizing popular resistance to the war could take some time. On my way to the DC Protests in September, during my conversation with angry veteran "D." (link), he had indicated that in one weekend in '71 some 10,000 protestors had been arrested!
Maintaining sufficient manpower for the surge will make a draft more likely. With Democrats content to nurse antiwar views until the next election, the only political force restraining a broadening of the war to Iran is the firestorm that a draft would create.
The President said our surge strategy had been a success. Claiming partial victory ignores the swing away from violence in Iraq that has occured as the ethnic cleansing subsided.
On the military side, if the surge has been a military success, it offers evidence that we didn't had insufficient numbers of troops on the ground earlier, in time to perhaps forestall the burgeoning insugency. General Shinseki was fired for recommending a larger force.
The war can only be "won" by a continuous surge. We are now trapped in the most basic of conundrums: if we draw down, we risk losing the benefits of the surge. The net impact is that the political imperative to start bringing the troops home--pulpable in the divided SOTU audience--clashes with Petraeus' demand for more troops.
The supposed success of the surge is also its political anchor chain condemning Republican politicians as in 2006. The Democrats' hesitancy to act in stopping the war now becomes a political bludgeon in the Election Year environment. The partisan political atmosphere in Washington has made continuation of the war a fait accompli. Victory would end the liability, and with it the Democrats best weapon as the American people tire of the war dragging on.
According to Bush, Petraeus is concerned too quick of a drawdown will destabilize Iraq, which are told is an ally in the war for freedom. I've had a very hard time understanding how bombing people is on the side of freedom against nebulous terrorists who I presume are those who dare oppose us or our occupation.
Defining our friends--by establishing extralegal treaties called "Status of Forces Agreements" as Bush is wanting to do with Iraq--by virtue of their opposition to a common foe is a risky task. We thought the Shah of Iran and the Nicaraguan Somozas were America's friend because they opposed communism, who were the enemy last time round.
On Tuesday the 29th, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips had a heated conversation with a pair of Congressmen where she tried to define what kind of agreement that the US government was trying to scope with Iraq. The first Congressmen, from New York, explained that the Congress had been completely excluded from discussing the terms under which a long-term agreement could be established. At no time has talk of a treaty come up; treaties must be ratified by Congress. The Bush administration has chosen to circumvent Congressional oversight by starting the equivalent of a "Status of Forces Agreement" similar to the we have in effect with some 80 countries.
Phillips followed up, uncharacteristically for the MSM, on the length of time US forces would spend in Iraq under the agreement. She seemed somewhat surprised to hear that the negotiations under way with Iraq would force the US to defend attacks on Iraq from both external and internal rivals.
Looking at the three-way dog race now happening in Iraq, which the Shia appear to have control of Iraq at least in Baghdad and the predominantly Shia regions of the country. The Shia control over Iraqi government does not however mean that the whole of Iraq is governable by the Shia. Shia control appears to rest on a sequence of compromises with Kurds and Sunni. If the Shia, cooperating perhaps covertly with Iran, were to launch raids on Kurdish or Sunni territories like those in oil-rich Kirkuk, they will invite a military reaction. The US will have to ride to their rescue if the Shia don't do so well with their military efforts. The US will have to bail them out for whatever mess they get their country into.
Back to CNN. During Phillips' interview, I'd begun to contemplate that Phillips was really discovering facts that the MSM hasn't shown, or cared to investigate. Of course it took CNN a few minutes to let me down. Between Philips' interviews, Don Lemon came on with "breaking news" that Maxine Waters of California was endorsing Hillary Clinton. Then Lemon said that Waters' endorsement would bring more support than the Kennedy endorsement. Lemon seemed to stutter a little bit as he read that line, as if he didn't believe what he'd said.
Holding our government to acccount is the primary duty of a free press. Ever since Bush assumed office, the American public has been subjected to a torrent of lies that a completely pliant media has passed on as truth. Inserted between parcels of celebrity worship were buried news items like the unratified treaty with Iraq, that could lock us in to Iraq for decades. The Right would appear to have their endless war.
Who benefits from the MSM blackouts, government propaganda, and spin? Corporations do who sell to the war machine; their consoldiation under Bush's FCC has been relentless. Now just a few media companies control almost all of our "news". Did they start the war simply because they could? Doubtful, but profit motive can't be the only reason the Media wanted a war. Politics could be a big reason: NBC was owned by Republican mogul Jack Welch. Another motive could be Israel: sympathy for the Jewish state dominates the media establishment. Zionists are plentiful among the owners of the mainstream media. Their aggressive posture is highly anti-Islamic. Neocons have operated under a plan called Clean Break that called for the ouster of Saddam and destabilization of the Muslim Middle East.
The pro-Hillary bias is massive in the CNN newsroom because Hillary is thought to represent the best interest of the Israel. I've said that mainstream news editors are Jewish and highly sympathetic to the defense of the state of Israel. While all candidates on both sides of the aisle, with the exception of Ron Paul, have pandered to this Israel-First crowd, Hillary has gone to extreme lengths to proclaim her allegiance to the Jewish state.
Perhaps the best way a Congresscritter can show their loyalty is by cradling anti-Iranian bellicosity. Hillary's sympathies to Zionism brought into legislative existence the Kyl-Lieberman Act, which declared a branch of the Iranian military to be a terrorist force.
The most powerful lobby, AIPAC has been able to avoid being labelled the "agent of a foreign government" which would impose draconian reporting regimes on its lobbyists. The Jewish lobby, characterized in Mearsheimer and Walt's seminal book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", employs also the services of sayanin, who are Jews and Non-Jews who've pledged to do what they can to help Israel.
MSM newsrooms are packed with sayanin. The network of Jewish directors, media producers, and writers is highly penetrated by unconditional devotion to the cause of Zionism, which seeks to expand Israel's borders through the use of military aggression.
With Hillary doing the most to demonstrate her loyalty to the Zionistic cause, media people do what they can for her. The Lemon comment--not his own but rather read by him through the telestrator--tried to diminish the impact of the Kennedy endorsment by claiming Maxine Walters's endorsement would sway more voters.
Is Lemon a Zionist? No, but almost certainly someone feeding him his lines was, as a matter of fact a Israeli sympathizer likely lurks in every major media newsroom in America. The CIA ran a major operation where it owned media companies, paid writers, annd inserted propaganda during the Cold War, called Cointelpro.
Now there is the possibility that Waters, being black, might create a schism between black voters who'd vote for Obama versus those who'd vote for Hillary if we over-inflate the political power of a single Californian congresswoman simply on the basis of her race. For the sayanin and Israel-first crowd feeding Lemon his lines, there's a concerted effort to diminish the impact of the Kennedy endorsment precisely because it meant so much.
Using this reverse logic, any MSM reporting will do what it can to beef up Hillary and demean the credibility of those who support other candidates. Rather than simply sit back and report the news objectively, corporations look at their media monopolies as an opportunity to pass on some part of the corporate agenda. Iraq was a superb example of how key facts were omitted and agitation/propaganda used to stir the case for war.
With a few prominent exceptions, like Olbermann's outbursts, the argument could be made that the MSM has been backing Bush ever since. One reason is the role of media owners in the military industrial complex, another is the staunch support for Zionism among media staff who see it as their duty to advance the politics of their selected pro-war, pro-Israel candidate.
By a narrow majority, American Jews did not support the Iraq War. The sayanin and Hillary/Bush-supporting Jews are quite different, much farther to the Right than mainstream American Jews. Many Zionists take pride in their loyalty to Israel; paradoxically many orthodox Jews are rabid anti-Zionists like the Neturei Karta.
Despite many of their critics being Jews themselves, charges of anti-Semitism are always directed at any criticism of the Israeli Right and their policies of Zionism. If there are unbiased Jews--as there are indeed--criticism of Israel-First coverage is not discriminatory but rather legitimate. Rather than persecute Jews by spotlighting these abuses of media power, the allegations can serve a valuable purpose for those who believe that neither Zionism nor the Iraq War are in the best interests of the Jewish people.
Unfortunately it's my belief that Hillary has been pre-selected as the President. Some on the blogs have fawned this conspiracy theory based on the Bilderberg Group or some shadowy star chamber. I became convinced of this fact when I saw the way the media spun Hillary's inexplicable comeback "win" in the New Hampshire primary. Particularly troubling was the total absence of any scrutiny of the election results themselves. The primary had been framed as if the media had been horribly wrong, but Hillary had won anyway. Even the Huffington Post concluded that there'd be something wrong with the media in being so far off their predictions.
Outright denial of the possibility of vote rigging by the mainstream media became a blinking red light to me. Unlike most of the population, however, I wasn't content to let the media narrative determine my conclusions for me, no siree. I swam through the blogs until I found sources that would report the New Hampshire primaries from the very reasonable conclusion that electronic vote fraud could have occurred. I say very reasonable because I think it must be the duty of every responsible person to consider the possibility that our electoral system is corrupt based on the 2000 and 2004 elections, as well as a mounting pile of evidence that all is not well with our digital voting and vote-counting systems.
I was made suspicious by the absence of any alternate conclusion to the initial claims that the media had been way off. Ever since 9/11, it's seemed to me that media omissions are intentional, and thereby provide strong evidence of a cover-up. Not only the inability--but the complete abject ignoring of the possibility, no matter how tiny, that there had been bombs in the towers became in my mind prima facie evidence that there had been bombs in the building.
Bill Pullman, in a favorite movie of mine called the Zero Effect, repeated the Sherlock Holmes axiom that the only way to solve a mystery is to prove beyond the possibility of a doubt that all alternative explanations are factually wrong. The 9/11 non-investigation, on the other hand, begins with the conclusion--that Osama did it--and seeks to recreate the event around that premise. Not only are competing explanations as to why the towers fell dismissed, they're rejected outright: a methodology completely the opposite of the Zero Effect. Like the laws of physics on that fateful day, the rule of reason appears to have been suspended indefinitely. See a recent Paul Craig Roberts article about lingering doubts over 9/11.
As much as war-supporters would like to claim "this one is different", Iraq is not the central battlefront in the War on Terror as Bush has said. It's simply a nation that happens to sit on a great deal of oil that the US would like to control, smack dab in the middle of a region with great strategic importance to an oil-addicted American economy. If Peak Oil--the idea that we've already consumed half the world's easily extracted supply of oil--is accurate, then the US may have a strategic reason to use its military, the world's strongest.
The geopolitical lessons lie there in the near past, waiting for anyone who cares enough to look back a few decades, where they will find them easily enough. Jim Jones, cult leader at the Guyana tragedy, had a placard in his camp which read that those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Custer and Little Big Horn would be another older story, or Dien Ben Phu, if anyone actually bother to check out the inevitable consequences of occupying a hostile nation. Supply lines to Iraq are thin as the insurgency wears on; five US troops died the day of the President's speech.
This is a battle for the survival of our way of life, Bush might have said in his most recent SOTU. With seven exhausting years under his regime, the US military effort in the Middle East is in dire need of help. The initial drawdowns reflect the reality that at some point we must choose between paying for what we need at home or what we might do to potentially help others abroad. Our history shows we tend to exhibit isolationist tendencies, as we did in the period between World War I and II. If change is inevitable, we must expect a military and geopolitical circling of the wagons, a retreat to the duties of ruling an empire confined largely to the Western Hemisphere.
Expecting that 9/11 opened an endless new opportunity for war mongers would defy all historical precedent. Even great empires contract; some empires like that of Alexander the Great--the last conqueror of Afghanistan--almost needed to be in a state of constant expansion. If the string of victories were to end, perhaps through the death of Alexander or the loss of a key battle, so too would the chart of history, and the empire will stop expanding, then contract. The Romans lasted over 500 years, the Spanish less, and the English only 150 or so. How long will Pax America continue?
"Deadly Embrace, Zion Power and War: From Iraq to Iran" by James Petras explores what he calls the ZPC, Zionist Power Configuration.