SPOON, FULL OF TRUTH

A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

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Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, April 26, 2007

THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS

DUBYA GETS HOUSED BY CONGRESS
Last night, the House voted 218-208 to pass the $124.2 billion Iraqi war supplemental spending measure that contains a provision that would order the withdrawal of U.S. troops to begin this fall. The Senate passed the same bill today (51-46). The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to execute since they took control of both houses of Congress this past January.

"The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank checks the president is asking for, for a war without end," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Our shameless leader, George “What-me-worry” Bush, is expected to receive the bill next Tuesday, and immediately veto it. Tuesday also happens to be the four year anniversary of the Mad Cowboy’s announcement aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on," Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner. Sadly, I think that banner was not meant to be displayed in front of the public. It was actually a personal gift to the President from the board of Haliburton; a little “thank you” for a job well done. Then again, if the mission was dragging out a long occupation in Iraq, sending America’s deficit soaring to record heights, and having more Americans die on Iraqi soil than died on 9/11, then he was right; Mission Accomplished.
"Last November, the American people voted for a change in strategy in Iraq -- and the president listened," White House spokesman Dana Perino said in a statement Wednesday. "Tonight, the House of Representatives voted for failure in Iraq -- and the president will veto its bill."
It is not failure to pull out of Iraq; it was a failure in rational thinking to go there in the first place. We are not at war with Iraq, we are occupying Iraq. You cannot win an occupation.
Republicans labeled the timetable a "surrender date."
"Al-Qaida will view this as the day the House of Representatives threw in the towel," said Rep. Jerry Lewis of California (ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee).
Sometimes you have to throw in the towel but it doesn’t mean surrendering, it means living another day. Bush has giving our troops a hopeless mission. The troops haven’t failed! Dubya has failed. If I asked all of you to grow wings and fly off the roof of my apartment building tomorrow and you all fall to your death, it isn’t your fault that you failed, it was an impossible mission. Winning the “war on terror” is an impossible mission. Al-Qaida is fighting their own “war on terror” but George Bush is their Osama. There will be no winners, only losers. It’s like a poker game at a casino and the U.S. has already lost all the money we came to play with. The smart player would realize he’s down $3,000 and go home. Bush is like the degenerate gambler who is down so he decides to borrow another $3,000 to win his original stake back. He’s just going to lose another $3,000. The problem is, he’s not just playing with America’s money, he’s gambling with the lives of our troops. He has nothing to lose. It’s our tax money, and not one single person that is important to him (or anyone in his tight-knit circle) is over in Iraq in harm’s way. They only thing that can be done is an intervention from his good friends in Congress. They need to recognize that the man is a compulsive gambler and needs to be cut off. They need to start cutting off his money, and reducing the number of troops he can send to their untimely deaths. Bush may have the veto power but if Congress can finally start to work as an independent branch of the legislature, and not just as a lackey for the President, then Dubya will have no choice but to see that the House (and Senate) always wins.

HOW TO START EACH DAY WITH A POSITIVE OUTLOOK
1. Open a new file in your computer.
2. Name it "George W. Bush"
3. Send it to the trash bin.
4. Empty the trash.
5. Your PC will ask you, "Do you really want to get rid of "George W. Bush?"
6. Firmly Click "Yes."
7. Feel better.
PS: Next week we'll do Dick Cheney

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WINS LIMBO COMPETITION FOR THE AGES
The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went. In a long-awaited 41 page document (published on Friday by Origins, the documentary service of the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) the Church's International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation." Take that Limbo.
"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation," the document said. "There are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible (to baptize them)."
The church teaches that baptism removes original sin which stains all souls since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Basically, the church thinks we’re all damaged goods because some dude couldn’t keep his hands off of one of god’s apples several million years ago. God, get over it, it was one apple. If you’re really so almighty then create an apple filled with forgiveness juice and eat up. So that’s it Catholic Church eh? No more Limbo? You taught Limbo to Catholics well into the 20th century but now you suddenly change your mind. There must be a reason; let’s dig a little deeper and see what else this document of yours says.
"People find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness, whether they are Christian or non-Christian," the document said. It continues by stating that the study was made all the more pressing because "the number of non-baptised infants has grown considerably, and therefore the reflection on the possibility of salvation for these infants has become urgent."
Okay, now I get it. It’s extreme make-over for Catholicism! You sent out your market researchers and they conducted their focus groups and came back and said that people are just turned off by the idea of a god who would exclude un-baptised babies (and non-Christians) from heaven and send them to Limbo. Fuck it; let’s just get rid of Limbo altogether and in another ten years we’ll come out with Heaven Jr. (which anyone can get into as long as they donate part of their income to the church (in order to keep paying off pedophile law-suits). That’s right! God is pissed about Adam eating that apple but he’s just A-O-K with priests molesting little boys, helping to spread AIDS by condemning the use of condoms, and just dismissing silly ideas like Limbo. The fact of the matter is, none of us KNOW what happens when we die. We all have ideas, but no one can say one is right and one is not; one might be right, none maybe right, or all could be right. This latest move by the Catholic church is nothing more than putting a friendly spin on a religion who’s numbers are dwindling. It’s like when Taco Bell’s onions were bad and people got sick and then Taco Bell started giving out free tacos to get their patrons back. Make a run for the Order. I can tell you this much Catholic church: I think that this life is Limbo. This is where we all live on the edge of good and evil. It’ll be interesting to see what side you fall on when you leave this world. Just to be safe, I wouldn’t eat any apples.

INBOX, FULL OF UNTRUTHS
What’s going on email? I thought we were boys. I always assumed that the messages you left in my inbox were all truthful: My wife loves me and wants to get together for lunch, I have to update my fantasy baseball team by Monday, Southwest Airlines is having a system-wide sale, I too can experience the joys of male penis enhancement, and some guy from Kenya has singled me out to share his 60 million dollar fortune, but today I found out that you are nothing more than an electronic liar; for shame email, for shame. This morning when I awoke I had several new emails. One of the first ones I read was from EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) and had the subject heading: “20% Off* The Entire Store - Last Chance”. I like saving money as much as the next guy and if this was truly my last chance I figured I should take advantage. Before I opened the email, I decided to finish reading over the rest of my inbox. There were many other emails, a few from my wife, one from my father, a few offering to sell me prescription drugs or electronics, and then I saw it, a second email from EMS. I scrolled down. The subject heading was the same as the first: “20% Off* The Entire Store - Last Chance”. How could this be? If this second email was truly my last chance then what had the first email been? How could I have two last chances? Then it hit me like a ton of hiking boots, the first email had been nothing more than a lie. I felt sick. If email could lie to me, anyone could! Maybe my TiVo had lied to me last night and didn’t really record “Lost” for me. What if when my cell phone said I had three missed calls I really had four? That last person might never get a call back! I didn’t know who to blame. EMS had obviously sent the email twice. They had lied to me (about my last chance) to get me to buy something! Had other business tricked me with the same magic beans before? I wanted my cow back. Then I started to focus the blame more onto my email. You’re supposed to look out for me email. If a company sends an email twice about a last chance sale you should have a “liar filter” in place to send it right to the rubbish bin. Looks like someone was sleeping on the job, or maybe you were too busy checking out one of my emails about 100% free porn to pay proper attention. Here’s all I know, I lost my innocence today. I no longer believe in the goodness of business or email. I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on you from now on. I’ve got mail, and you’ve got some explaining to do.

THE MARIJUANA OF TODAY IS MUCH MORE…WAIT, WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT?
Government drug experts said yesterday that the marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than at any point in recent history. Analysis of seized samples of marijuana (and hashish) showed that more of the cannabis on the market is of the strongest grade, the White House and National Institute for Drug Abuse said.
They cited data from the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project showing the average levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the products rose from 7 percent in 2003 to 8.5 percent in 2006. The level had risen steadily from 3.5 percent in 1988. I think that’s excellent news. If the price of pot is going to continue to rise (as it has since 1988) then it seems only fair that the quality of the weed should increase. The pharmacy department at Mississippi has compiled data on 59,369 samples of cannabis, 1,225 hashish samples, and 443 hash oil samples confiscated since 1975. "The highest concentration of (THC) found in a cannabis (marijuana) sample is 33.12 percent from Oregon State Police," the report reads. Road trip to Oregon anyone?
“This report underscores that we are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s -- this is Pot 2.0," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement. I’d like to put in a request for Pot 3.0: get rid of the munchies.
National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow weighed in with her own gem of wisdom saying that demand has driven growers to cultivate the stronger stuff. "It is the market," she said. "Like in the market you favor the best tomatoes. When people buy marijuana, they don't want a weak cigarette."
Really? You mean when pot-smokers buy weed they are concerned with silly things like quality? Say it isn’t so. Why would someone want to buy dirt-weed when they can get some choice nuggets? The few people who would prefer to smoke the lower quality stuff are just about the only people who shouldn’t be allowed to smoke, they are already running low on brain cells. Sure, people get a little burned out when they smoke pot, but it’s nothing as compared to the damage liquor will do to your system. Pot is bad for you because inhaling smoke is bad for you. If people learned to properly cook with THC or chose to use a vaporizer (that involves vapors instead of smoke) it would vastly cut down on the damage it does. Alcohol destroys your liver, it causes countless drunken driving accidents, it causes bar brawls, and the list goes on and on. Stop pointing the finger at marijuana. You want to keep marijuana under wraps? Legalize it. Then you can control the THC content and whatever else you want. Making it illegal and then complaining about the greater quality of the product is just plain stupid. Go after alcohol, go after tobacco, go after cocaine, or heroin, but please, just leave marijuana alone. The fact that pot-smokers are demanding greater quality shows that they are smart enough to know what they want. Most alcoholics I’ve seen will drink anything you stick in front of them. They’d rather spend $5 on an entire cheap bottle of vodka than pay $8 for a decent martini. My point is…does anyone have any cookies?

BUSH CLAIMS HE COULDN’T HAVE FIXED THE ELECTION BECAUSE HE’S NEVER TAKEN VIAGRA
Someone sent me the following article on Monday and I thought it was important (and truth-filled) enough that I should share it with all of you. I did not write it, I am only passing it along to all of you, enjoy.

The GOP's Cyber Election Hit Squad

By Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis

The Free Press Sunday 22 April 2007


Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election?

The answer appears to be yes. There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website - which gave the world the presidential election results - was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Recent revelations have documented that the Republican National Committee (RNC) ran a secret White House e-mail system for Karl Rove and dozens of White House staffers. This high-tech system used to count and report the 2004 presidential vote- from server-hosting contracts, to software-writing services, to remote-access capability, to the actual server usage logs themselves - must be added to the growing congressional investigations.

Numerous tech-savvy bloggers, starting with the online investigative consortium epluribusmedia.org and their November 2006 article cross-posted by contributor luaptifer to Dailykos, and Joseph Cannon's blog at Cannonfire.blogspot.com, outed the RNC tech network. That web-hosting firm is SMARTech Corp. of Chattanooga, TN, operating out of the basement in the old Pioneer Bank building. The firm hosts scores of Republican websites, including georgewbush.com, gop.com and rnc.org.

The software created for the Ohio secretary of state's Election Night 2004 website was created by GovTech Solutions, a firm co-founded by longtime GOP computing guru Mike Connell. He also redesigned the Bush campaign's website in 2000 and told "Inside Business" magazine in 1999, "I wouldn't be where I am today without the Bush campaign and the Bush family because the Bushes truly are about family and I'm loyal to my network."

Ohio's Cedarville University, a Christian school with 3,100 students, issued a press release on January 13, 2005 describing how faculty member Dr. Alan Dillman's computing company Government Consulting Resources, Ltd, worked with these Republican-connected companies to tally the vote on Election Night 2004.

"Dillman personally led the effort from the GCR side, teaming with key members of Blackwell's staff," the release said. "GCR teamed with several other firms - including key players such as GovTech Solutions, which performed the software development - to deliver the end result. SMARTech provided the backup and additional system capacity, and Mercury Interactive performed the stress testing."

On Election Night 2004, the Republican Party not only controlled the vote-counting process in Ohio, the final presidential swing state, through a secretary of state who was a co-chair of the Bush campaign, but it also controlled the technology that allowed the tally of the vote in Ohio's 88 counties to be reported to the media and voters.

Privatizing elections and allowing known partisans to run a key presidential vote count is troubling enough. But the reason Congress must investigate these high-tech ties is there is abundant evidence that Republicans could have used this computing network to delay announcing the winner of Ohio's 2004 election while tinkering with the results.

Did Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell or other GOP operatives inflate the president's vote totals to secure George W. Bush's margin of victory? On Election Night 2004, many of the totals reported by the Secretary of State were based on local precinct results that were impossible. In Clyde, Ohio, a Republican haven, Bush won big after 131 percent voter turnout. In Republican Perry County, two precincts came in at 124 percent and 120 percent respectively. In Gahanna Ward 1, precinct B, Bush received 4,258 votes despite the fact that only 638 people voted for president. In Concord Southwest in Miami County, the certified election results proudly proclaimed at 679 out of 689 registered voters cast ballots, a 98.55 percent turnout. FreePress.org later found that only 547 voters had signed in.

These strange election results were routed by county election officials through Ohio's Secretary of State's office, through partisan IT providers and software, and the final results were hosted out of a computer based in Tennessee announcing the winner. The Cedarville University releases boasted the system "was running like a champ." It said, "The system kept running through the early morning hours as users from around the world looked to Ohio for their election results."

All the facts are not in, but enough is known to warrant a serious congressional inquiry. Beginning with a timeline on Election Night after a national media consortium exit poll predicted Democrat John Kerry would win Ohio, the first Ohio returns were from the state's Democratic urban strongholds, showing Kerry in the lead.

This was the case until shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 5, when for roughly 90 minutes the Ohio election results reported on the Secretary of State's website were frozen. Shortly before 2am EST election returns came in from a handful of the state's rural Republican enclaves, bumping Bush's numbers over the top.

It was known Bush would carry rural Ohio. But the vote totals from these last-to-report counties, where Karl Rove said there was an unprecedented late-hour evangelical vote giving the White House a moral mandate, were highly improbable and suggested vote count fraud to pad Bush's numbers. Just how flimsy the reported GOP totals were was not known on Election Night and has not been examined by the national media. But an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff begun after Election Day 2004 and completed before the Electoral College met on Jan. 6, 2005, was first to publicly point to vote count fraud in rural Ohio.

That report, "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," cited near-impossible vote totals, including 19,000 votes that were mysteriously added at the close of tallying the vote in Miami County. The report cited more than 3,000 apparently fraudulent voter registrations - all dating back to the same day in 1977 in Perry County. The report noted a homeland security emergency was declared in Warren County, prompting its ballots to be taken to a police-guarded unauthorized warehouse and counted away from public scrutiny, despite local media protests.

In our book, "What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election" (The New Press, 2006), we go beyond the House Judiciary Democratic report to analyze precinct-by-precinct returns and we print copies of the documents upon which we base our findings. We found many vote-count irregularities based on examining the certified results, precinct-level records and the actual ballots.

The most eyebrow-raising example to emerge from parsing precinct results was finding 10,500 people in three Ohio's 'Bible Belt' counties who'voted to re-elect Bush and voted in favor of gay marriage, if the official results are true. That was in Warren, Butler and Clermont Counties. The most plausible explanation for this anomaly, which defies logic and was not seen anywhere else in the country, was Kerry votes were flipped to Bush while the rest of the ballot was left alone. While we have some theories about how that might have been done by hand in a police-guarded warehouse, could full Republican control of the vote-counting software and servers also have played a role?

The early returns on the Secretary of State's website suggest Blackwell's vote-tallying and reporting system could manipulate large blocks of votes. Screenshots taken during the early returns in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, gave Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb 39,541 votes, which was clearly incorrect. Similarly, early return screenshots in Lucas County, where Toledo is located, gave Cobb 4,685 votes, another clear error. (The screenshots are in our book). Were these innocent computer glitches or was a GOP vote-counting and reporting system moving and dumping Kerry votes?

There's more evidence the late returns from Ohio's Republican-majority countryside were not accurate. During the spring and summer of 2006, several teams of investigators associated with Freepress.org, notably one team led by Ron Baiman, a Ph.D. statistician and researcher at Chicago's Loyola University, examined the actual election records from precincts in Miami and Clermont Counties. These records - from poll books where voters sign in, to examining the actual ballots themselves - were not publicly accessible until last year, under orders from Ohio's former Republican Secretary of State. Baiman compared the number of voters who signed in with the total number of votes attributed to precincts. He found hundreds of "phantom" votes, where the number of voter signatures was less than the reported vote total. That discrepancy also suggests vote count fraud.

There was other evidence in the observable paper trail of padding the vote, including instances in Delaware County where in one precinct, 359 of the final punch-card ballots cast on Election Day contained no Kerry votes, which means the day's last voters all were Bush supporters, which also is improbable. In another Delaware County precinct, Bush allegedly received the last 210 votes of the day. Were partisan local election workers trying to mask what was happening electronically to tilt the vote count?

Ohio's 2004 ballots were to be destroyed last September. However that fate was blocked by a federal judge, who ruled in the early phase of trying a Voting Rights Act lawsuit that accused Ohio officials of suppressing the minority vote in Ohio's cities. The state's new Secretary of State and Attorney General, both Democrats, are now holding settlement talks for that suit, suggesting its claims have merit. However, unlike Florida after the 2000 election, there still has yet to be a full accounting of Ohio's presidential vote.

What's clear, however, is the highest ranks of the Republican Party's political wing, including White House counselor Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system that reported George W. Bush's re-election to the presidency. Moreover, it appears the votes that gave Bush his 118,775-vote margin of victory - the boost from Ohio's countryside - have yet to be confirmed as accurate. Instead, the reporting to date suggests that what happened on the ground and across Ohio's rural precincts is at odds with the vote tally released on Election Night.

As numerous congressional committees attempt to retrieve and examine the secret White House e-mails surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors, those panels must also probe the privatization and partisan manipulation of the 2004 presidential vote count in Ohio. The lessons from 2004 have yet to be fully understood or learned.

Similarly, the House Administration Committee, which is expected to soon mark up H.R. 811, a bill by Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ, to regulate electronic voting technology, also must take heed. The vote count and outcome of American elections cannot be left in the hands of known partisans, who can control and manipulate how the votes are counted and what is reported to the media and American people.

Public vote counts on private, partisan servers and secret proprietary software have no place in a democracy.

--------

Bob Fitrakis is a political science professor and attorney in the King Lincoln Bronzeville civil rights lawsuit against Ken Blackwell. Fitrakis, Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman are authors of What Happened in Ohio? A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election, (New Press, 2006).

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
You did it! You made it through another action packed, truth filled edition of the Spoon, Full of Truth. You should feel really good about yourself. That was quite a mental workout. You might want to take a moment and dab those beads of sweat from your forehead. Phew. It’s important to reward yourself after a good read so go ahead and just take the weekend off. That’s right; spend Saturday and Sunday doing something you enjoy. Forget about those things that need doing around the house and just watch the NFL Draft, go for a nice walk, or grab a few beers. You deserve it. I bet you didn’t know it was that easy to reward yourself for a job well done. Once Monday rolls around, it’s back to reality and that means another edition of your favorite blog, the Spoon, Full of Truth. Have a friend who could use a little R&R? Forward them the Spoon and once they are finished reading they can share it with their friends and then take the weekend off too! Remember, caring means sharing. Thanks for reading; my words would be lost and lonely without you.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoon for President!
Another fantastic post by today's best kept secret. Trust me, this is one secret I plan on sharing. A+

April 26, 2007 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis of Bush's failed Iraq policy . He is unwilling to acknowledge his mistakes and consequently this nation is held hostage to his deadly war policy. You are absolutely right in saying we cannot win an occupation. It seems abundantly clear that even those Iraquis who are pleased with Saddam's overthrow are not willing to have the US impose its will on their country.The longer we stay the more costly the price to our men & women in uniform.

April 27, 2007 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Jay Fanueil said...

Hopefully the House will win this battle. As usual, Spoon you have nailed it.Today's NY Times reports that George Tenet, the ex-C.I.A. chief has published a tell it all book about his life in the Bush administration. Leaving aside, Mr. Tenet did not have the courage or integrity to say what he now says when it could have prevented this terrible and unnecessary war,the new book is quite revealing (although not surprising )about Bush and Cheney's failure to conduct a debate about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the U.S..

Now more than ever , it si vital for the Congress to stand up to the White House and end this debacle. Bush has gambled and sacrificed enough lives in his feckless decision to go to war.And more tragically by his failure to learn from his mistakes.

April 27, 2007 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good to know that the old maxim remains true:

garbage in, garbage out..

the "spoon" is in the garbage dumpster

you have a right to your "opinions", you also have a right to be "wrong"

April 27, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger D. Jacob Miller said...

That's absolutely right, I do have a right to my opinions and if you disagree with them it'd be interesting if you told us what YOU think; that's what opening a dialogue is all about. You are more than welcome to think I am wrong or trash me, but it's very easy to say someone is wrong without offering your opinion as to WHY I am wrong. Thanks for reading regardless.

April 27, 2007 11:17 AM  
Blogger cupcake said...

I love the idea about the trash. Very glad to have stumbled upon your blog.

May 03, 2007 8:43 AM  

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