Wal-Mart Does It Again:

Workers of Wal-Mart subcontractors arrested
More than 100 suspected illegal workers arrested in Pennsylvania

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Federal immigration agents arrested more than 100 workers at a construction site for a new Wal-Mart distribution center, authorities said.

The workers were detained Thursday on suspected immigration violations and were being taken to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for processing, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Raimondi said.

Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires said the detained workers were not employed by Wal-Mart, but by subcontractors, and the company would cooperate fully with federal authorities.

“We have written contracts with these subcontractors requiring that they follow all applicable local, state and federal employment laws,” he said in a statement.

At least 120 illegal immigrants, most of them from Mexico, were detained, Schuylkill County Sheriff Frank McAndrew said. He said he began investigating the site and contacted federal officials after getting complaints from local tradespeople.

“You’ve got a situation here where illegal immigrants are coming into Schuylkill County and taking (local union workers’) jobs for eight bucks an hour. They are working for poverty wages, and creating unemployment because our skilled tradesmen are out of work,” McAndrew said.

In 2003, a raid of 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states led to the arrests of 245 illegal workers. An affidavit claimed that a pair of senior Wal-Mart executives knew cleaning contractors were hiring illegal immigrants. The retailer agreed to pay $11 million in March to settle the case but denied senior executives knew of the hirings.


OK, we'll start right out - these are not people that were employed directly by WAL-MART.

However, WAL-MART, by encouraging subcontractors to pay the lowest wages possible (just like they do) mmake this kind of illegal hiring necessary to secure a contract with them. This is the point of outsourcing - having someone else do your dirty work.

It is a shame in this society that anyone would employ a full time worker for $8/hour or under.

$8/hour = $16,640 per year.

How do we expect anyone to raise a family, much less feed themselves, on that?

It is time America across the board calls for fair wages for all. It is time WAL-MART, as the largest company in America, take the lead on this.

I am, however, not holding my breath.


Some of Bush/Cheney's Lies....

Number of Misleading Statements. The Iraq on the Record database contains 237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. These statements were made in 125 separate appearances, consisting of 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 53 interviews, 4 written statements, and 2 congressional testimonies. Most of the statements in the database were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials. Ten of the statements were simply false.

Timing of the Statements. The statements began at least a year before the commencement of hostilities in Iraq, when Vice President Cheney stated on March 17, 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.” The Administration’s misleading statements continued through January 22, 2004, when Vice President Cheney insisted: “there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government.” Most of the misleading statements about Iraq — 161 statements — were made prior to the start of the war. But 76 misleading statements were made by the five Administration officials after the start of the war to justify the decision to go to war.

The 30-day period with the greatest number of misleading statements was the period before the congressional vote on the Iraq war resolution. Congress voted on the measure on October 10 and October 11, 2002. From September 8 through October 8, 2002, the five officials made 64 misleading statements in 16 public appearances. A large number of misleading statements were also made during the two months before the war began. Between January 19 and March 19, 2003, the five officials made 48 misleading statements in 26 public appearances.

Topics of the Statements. The 237 misleading statements can be divided into four categories. The five officials made 11 statements that claimed that Iraq posed an urgent threat; 81 statements that exaggerated Iraq’s nuclear activities; 84 statements that overstated Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities; and 61 statements that misrepresented Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda.

Vice President Cheney made 51 misleading statements about the threat posed byIraq in 25 separate public statements or appearances.

Of the 51 misleading statements by Vice President Cheney, 1 claimed that Iraq posed an urgent threat; 22 exaggerated Iraq’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons; 7 overstated Iraq’s chemical or biological weapons capacity; and 21 misrepresented Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.

Some of the misleading statements made by Vice President Cheney included the following:

• “[W]e do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.”114
• Saddam Hussein “had an established relationship with al Qaeda.”115
• “[W]e believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”116

Click the headline for more

Today in History, Irony Edition....

Today, 2005:
George Bush: "It is irresponsible to say that I deliberately misled the American people."

Today, 1973:
Nixon: "I'm not a crook."


Nov 2, 2004: Was It Stolen? The GAO Thinks It May Well Have Been

GAO report upholds Ohio vote fraud claims
By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

As if the indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby wasn’t enough to give the White House some heavy concerns, a report from the Government Accounting Office takes a big bite out of the Bush clique’s pretense of legitimacy.

This powerful and probing report takes a hard look at the election of 2004 and supports the contention that the election was stolen. The report has received almost no coverage in the national media.

The GAO is the government’s lead investigative agency, and is known for rock-solid integrity and its penetrating and thorough analysis. The agency’s agreement with what have been brushed aside as “conspiracy theories” adds even more weight to the conclusion that the Bush regime has no business in the White House whatever.

Almost a year ago, Rep. John Conyers, senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, asked the GAO to investigate the use of electronic voting machines in the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election. That request was made as a flood of protests from Ohio and elsewhere deluged Washington with claims that shocking irregularities were common in that vote and were linked to the machines.

CNN said the Judiciary Committee got more than 57,000 complaints after Bush’s claimed re-election. Many were made under oath in a series of statements and affidavits in public hearings and investigations carried out in Ohio by the Free Press and other groups seeking to maintain transparent elections.

Online Journal.com reported that the GAO report stated that “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.”

This is the only democratic nation that permits private partisan companies to count and tabulate the vote in secret, using privately-held software. The public is excluded from the process. Rev. Jesse Jackson and others have declared that “public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines.” The makers of nearly all electronic voting machines are owned by conservative Republicans.

The chief executive of Diebold, one of the major suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren “Wally” O’Dell, went on record in the 2004 campaign vowing to deliver Ohio and the presidency to George W. Bush.

In Ohio, Bush won by only 118,775 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. Honest election advocates contend that O’Dell’s statement to hand Ohio’s vote to Bush still stands as a clear indictment of an apparently successful effort to steal the White House.

Some of the GAO’s findings are:

1. Some electronic voting machines “did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected.” In short, the machines provided a way to manipulate the outcome of the election. In Ohio, more than 800,000 votes were cast on electronic voting machines, some registered seven times Bush’s official margin of victory.

2: the report further stated that: “it was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works, so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate.” Very many sworn statements and affidavits claim that did happen in Ohio in 2004.

Next, the report says, “Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level.” The GAO found that falsifying election results without leaving evidence of doing so by using altered memory cards could easily be done.

The GAO additionally found that access to the voting network was very easy to compromise because not all electronic voting systems had supervisory functions protected by password. That meant access to one machine gave access to the whole network. That critical finding showed that rigging the election did not take a “widespread conspiracy” but simply the cooperation of a small number of operators with the power to tap into the networked machines. They could thus alter the vote totals at will. It therefore was no big task for a single programmer to flip vote numbers to give Bush the 118,775 votes.

Another factor in the Ohio election was that access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user ID, coupled with easy-to-guess passwords. Even amateur hackers could have gotten into the network and changed the vote.

System locks were easily picked, and keys were easy to copy, so gaining access to the system was a snap.

One digital machine model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary manner that if one machine experienced a power failure, the entire network would go down. That is too fragile a system to decide the presidency of the United States.

Problems obviously exist with security protocols and screening methods for vendor personnel.

The GAO study clearly shows that no responsible business would operate with a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one used in the 2004 election.

These findings are even more damning when we understand the election in Ohio was run by a secretary of state who also was co-chairman of Bush’s Ohio campaign. Far from the conclusion of anti-fraud skeptics, the GAO’s findings confirm that the network, which handled 800,000 Ohio votes, was vulnerable enough to permit a handful of purposeful operatives to turn the entire election by means of personal computers using comparatively simple software.

One Ohio campaign operative, Tom Noe, a coin dealer, was indicted Oct. 27 for illegally funneling $45,400 to Bush by writing checks to others, who then wrote checks to Bush’s re-election campaign, allegedly dodging the $2,000 limit on contributions by an individual.

“It’s one of the most blatant and excessive finance schemes we have encountered,” said Noel Hillman, section chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s public integrity section, as quoted in the Kansas City Star.

In the 2000 election, Florida was the key; in the 2004 election, Ohio was the key.

The Shamelessness of the House Republicans Continues...

Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.

New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks.

But a massive labor and health spending bill moving fitfully through House-Senate negotiations would take back that funding, lawmakers said.

The Senate voted last month to let New York keep the $125 million, but the House made no such move. House and Senate budget negotiators then decided to take the money back, lawmakers and aides said.

Top New York fire officials recently lobbied Congress to keep the funding. Fire and police officials say they worry that many people will develop long-term lung and mental health problems from their time working on

Click on Headline for the link...

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss...

Iraq's government said Tuesday that it had ordered an urgent investigation of allegations that many of the 173 detainees American troops discovered over the weekend in the basement of an Interior Ministry building in a Baghdad suburb had been tortured by their Iraqi captors. A senior Iraqi official who visited the detainees said two appeared paralyzed and others had some of the skin peeled off their bodies by their abusers.

A joint statement by the American Embassy and the United States military command called the situation "totally unacceptable" and said American officials "agree with Iraq's leaders that mistreatment of detainees will not be tolerated."

The discovery of what appeared to have been a secret torture center created a new aura of crisis for American officials and Iraqi politicians who hold power in the Shiite-led transitional government. For many Iraqis, the episode carried heavy overtones of the brutality associated with Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated government.

An Interior Ministry statement said flatly that torture had occurred and that "instruments of torture," which it did not describe, were found in the building.

In a CNN interview, he was more graphic. "I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees were paralyzed and some had skin peeling off various parts of their bodies," he said.

Doyle Ahead by Double-Digits

Madison - For the second time in five weeks, a poll shows Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle with a double-digit lead over his Republican rivals.

If the election were held now, voters would pick Doyle over U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay, 45% to 32%, according to the head-to-head poll to be released today by Wisconsin Public Radio and the St. Norbert College Survey Center. Voters would choose Doyle over Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, 46% to 31%.

Those results mirror the findings of a Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll last month that put Doyle 13 points ahead of Green and 19 points ahead of Walker.

The poll also showed 64% of respondents were satisfied with Doyle's job performance. Since the spring of 2003, about two-thirds of those polled by St. Norbert's have responded similarly.

Rich Judge, Doyle's campaign manager, said the poll showed Doyle was in a strong position heading into the 2006 election, despite a troubled economy.

"I'm not surprised that people would give him high marks and be supportive," he said. "They understand he's had sort of a tough hand dealt to him."


More rats from the sinking ship....

With his approval ratings plunging, even some Republican leaders are showing signs of abandoning Bush's listing ship.

"Mistakes were made," Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Friday of the war effort.

When the president visited Pennsylvania to defend his Iraq policies on Friday, Santorum kept his distance, literally and rhetorically. He was 120 miles away, telling reporters the war in Iraq has been "less than optimal" and that "maybe some blame could be laid" at the White House.

GOP leaders privately say Bush's slump is hurting candidate recruitment for crucial midterm elections next year. Some believe he had at least a minimal negative impact on gubernatorial elections this week in Virginia and New Jersey, both won by Democrats.

Republicans like Santorum who are in tough re-election battles are starting to treat Bush like a toxic substance.

In a speech to veterans at the Union League in Philadelphia, Santorum criticized how the war has been presented to Americans, by the White House as well as by the media.

He said Bush made a mistake by calling it a "war on terror," which Santorum equated with calling World War II a "war on Blitzkrieg."


New Jersey GOP Gov Candidate: I lost because of Bush

Douglas R. Forrester, a Republican, lost by a wide margin to Senator Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat, and the chief reason, Mr. Forrester now says, is President Bush's unpopularity.

Mr. Forrester said his campaign had done "all the right things we were supposed to do." Still, he said, he could not overcome a spate of bad news for Mr. Bush, like the administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.

"If Bush's numbers were where they were a year ago, or even six months ago, I think we would have won on Tuesday," Mr. Forrester told the newspaper, in his first interview since losing to Mr. Corzine, by 53 percent to 44 percent. "Katrina was the tipping point."

"Governor-elect Corzine had low approval ratings from New Jerseyans throughout the campaign, but even stronger public disapproval of the president made a Republican victory a very difficult task," she said.

Still, many Republican politicians are increasingly distancing themselves from Mr. Bush. Last Tuesday, for example, Representative J. D. Hayworth of Arizona flatly declared that he would not want Mr. Bush campaigning on his behalf.

Click headline for the link

Sharpton on Colbert:

"President Bush could see WMD in Iraq that weren't there, but could not see a hurricane in Louisianna that was there."

Jimmy Carter: This Isn't the Real America

A must read:

In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

These include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights.

Also endangered are our historic commitments to providing citizens with truthful information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, state and local autonomy and fiscal responsibility.

Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favors to the rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000 per year since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrialized nations).

As the world's only superpower, America should be seen as the unswerving champion of peace, freedom and human rights. Our country should be the focal point around which other nations can gather to combat threats to international security and to enhance the quality of our common environment. We should be in the forefront of providing human assistance to people in need.

Read it all here:


Here's that headline again....

President's ratings hit new low in poll

I am not getting sick of seeing that, except to say that we know everything they are talking about a year ago. And that is why John Kerry should be president, that is if he would have said this a year and a month ago:

"The war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history," Kerry told a news conference.


Anyway, more on the polls:

Americans' views of President Bush and his trustworthiness have hit new lows, a downturn that could make it more difficult for him to push his legislative agenda and to boost Republican candidates in next year's congressional elections.

Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Even among Republicans, seven of 10 are most likely to back a candidate who has had at least some disagreements with the president.

Bush's job-approval rating sank to a record 37%, down from a previous low of 39% a month ago.

Two-thirds of independents and 91% of Democrats disapprove of the job Bush is doing. Even among Republicans, 19% express disapproval — a new high.

For the first time — albeit by a narrow 49%-48% — a plurality disapprove of the way Bush is handling the issue of terrorism. Six in 10 disapprove of the way he's handling the economy, Iraq and immigration, and 71% disapprove of him on controlling federal spending.

By 12 points, those surveyed say the country would be better off if Democrats controlled Congress.


A Long Post, but a Worthwhile Read

Chillin' with Chalabi: My Journey into the Surreal

Arianna Huffington and John Cusack have dinner with Chalabi.

Click on the Headline for the link...

Details on the Radical Republican Plan to Starve the Poor and Give to the Wealthy:

After five years of budget hypocrisy, Republican leaders in Congress are floundering in their current attempt to portray themselves as fiscally responsible. Their plan to cut basic safety-net programs for the poor and use the money for a new round of ridiculous tax reductions for the wealthy is meeting resistance from the party's newly emboldened moderates. When the House returns for business today, we hope those late-arriving champions of financial and moral sanity hold firm.

The House's Grand Guignol theatrics involve $50 billion in spending cuts that would be more than canceled by the $70 billion lost in extending what the Republicans initially sold as "temporary" cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes.

The coalition of moderate Republicans and unified Democrats should continue holding out on the House floor. People are unhappy enough with the performance of the Bush administration and its Congressional allies these days. We doubt if they'd want their representatives to plunge the nation further into debt and cut government services, all in the name of additional tax advantages for investors.

Some of the cruel and unnecessary cuts the moderates are fighting include the following:

• $12 billion in Medicaid cuts that would invite states to levy health care co-payments and workfare increases on the poor while dropping preventive medical care for children.

• $14 billion from the underpinnings of some of the most vital student aid and loan programs.

• $4 billion from efforts to enforce child support - a successful program with a four-to-one return on investment, and rooted, it should be noted, in the family-values agenda invoked by conservatives.

• $844 million in food stamp cuts, knocking close to 300,000 working poor and legal immigrants from the program.

• The elimination of day care subsidies for an estimated 330,000 children of the working poor.

Not mentioned in the Republicans' budget stew are the lost surpluses and deepening deficits created with five years of choking the revenue flow. Conservatives posturing for "tough choices" budgeting will eventually have to find some dead-of-night moment for the unavoidable necessity of voting to raise the national debt another trillion or so to pay for all of their fiscal responsibility. Sh-sh-sh!


email (http://www.house.gov/writerep/) or call (202- 224-3121) your Representative today.


On Torture:

Minneapolis Star Tribune - 11/12/05

The naive bleeding hearts who oppose Vice President Dick Cheney's efforts to secure an exemption to the ban on the use of torture when interrogating those who are a threat to our security need to wake up to reality. This is the post-9/11 world. If some evildoer needs to be squeezed a little to obtain information that will potentially save American lives, we need to do it.

The torture of Lewis (Scooter) Libby should begin this minute and continue until he gives up every neocon-man, war profiteer, misguided zealot, shock-and-awe peddler and lying politician who participated in the conspiracy to manufacture this war in Iraq.



Stupid or Lying?

From 'This Modern World'

Click headline for link...

Bush V Clinton on Lying...

Click on headline for link...

On Bush's Iraq and 9/11 Lies...

The power of these lies was considerable. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released on Sept. 25, 2001, 60 percent of Americans thought Osama bin Laden had been the culprit in the attacks of two weeks earlier, either alone or in league with unnamed "others" or with the Taliban; only 6 percent thought bin Laden had collaborated with Saddam; and only 2 percent thought Saddam had been the sole instigator. By the time we invaded Iraq in 2003, however, CBS News found that 53 percent believed Saddam had been "personally involved" in 9/11; other polls showed that a similar percentage of Americans had even convinced themselves that the hijackers were Iraqis.


A Great Study on Party Coalitions...

A must read for political geeks:

ONE thing we used to know for sure about the two political parties was that only one was really a party. That was the Republicans. They were a distinct minority in the country, but they did have a certain cohesion and a more or less consistent view of the world, built on a faith in limited government.

Democrats didn't have anything like that. They were a big, sloppy bundle of contradictions, a coalition of convenience in which Mississippi segregationists and Manhattan socialists pretended to have something in common. The only thing keeping them together was a desire to win elections and head Congressional committees. Sooner or later the sheer absurdity of it had to sink them, and it did.

Now we are entering a political era defined by a similar contradiction, except that the roles are reversed. Democrats are the minority party, but one that, for better or worse, consists of people and interests with a similar political and cultural language. Any differences in strategy and policy choice are essentially at the margins. On the issues that Democrats care about most these days - abortion, the role of religion, the war in Iraq - there aren't that many dissenters. The dissenters have left.

Republicans, meanwhile, have built a sprawling, wobbly tent in which libertarians, Christian moralists and suburban business owners all pretend to have similar goals. But as it was for the Democratic Party of 30 years ago, that tent is too flimsily constructed to stay up forever.


Doonesbury Does White House Ethics



Also, read Joe's letter to Bush here:

In that vein, I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit Wisconsin on behalf of Republicans the day before our general election on Tuesday, November 7, 2006.
Whether it is because of the record deficit amassed by you and your Republican allies in the Congress such as Wisconsin’s Mark Green … or the bungling of the war in Iraq … or the cloud of scandal that has settled over the top levels of your Administration, voters around the country are making Republicans pay the price.


A witty way to make a good point:

Chair Invites Bush to Campaign in Wisconsin Next November

President’s Unpopularity Dragging Down Republicans From Virginia to California

MADISON – Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke today sent a letter to President George W. Bush inviting him to campaign in Wisconsin next November. Wineke extended the invitation in light of Republican losses around the country due to the plummeting support of the Bush Administration.

“I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit Wisconsin on behalf of Republicans the day before our general election on Tuesday, November 7, 2006,” Wineke offered in light of Bush’s visit to Virginia the day before the election in an unsuccessful effort to elect a Republican governor in a southern state that Bush won a year ago by 8 percentage points.

With two staunch Bush allies scrambling for support against Governor Jim Doyle and Democrats united behind the Doyle-Lawton ticket, Wineke said re-election for Governor Doyle looks more likely than ever.

“George W. Bush couldn’t have two closer soul mates in Mark Green and Scott Walker,” Wineke said. “Scott Walker never met a cut to children’s programs he didn’t like, and Mark Green couldn’t balance a budget if you gave him the largest surplus in American history. Oh, wait, we did, and now we’ve got the largest deficit in American history.”

Wineke noted that Mark Green – in addition to voting with President Bush’s agenda more than 93 percent of the time – voted for four consecutive budgets that created record deficits and increased spending by 33 percent, from $1.84 trillion in 2001 to $2.48 trillion in 2005.