Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The End of America, The Beginning

To: letters@nytimes.com
CC: public@nytimes.com

re: "Washington Sees an Opportunity on Iran"
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/27/washington/27iran.html?hp

Dear Editor,

In "Washington Sees an Opportunity on Iran" (9/27/07), probable responses were contemplated in Iraq, Israel and "governments from Lebanon to Pakistan." Notwithstanding the propagandistic representation of "opportunity," have you forgotten to consider the response from the American public? Do you not sense a tipping point nearing? Naomi Wolf has it right with the title of her new book: The End of America. Way to go, New York Times, cheerleading til the end.

Dave Berman
Eureka, CA

* * *

I'm reading Wolf's book now and recommend it. I'll have lots more to say when I've finished reading it.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Election Advisory Committee Gets Latest Humboldt Election News

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich convened the monthly meeting of the citizens' Election Advisory Committee Tuesday night at the County Courthouse. First on the agenda was the Election Department's two personnel vacancies. The application period closed Friday for both the Election Specialist, a front office position, and the Election Manager, the central scrutinizer of the department. The Registrar said there are four applicants for the first job and she did not know about the second. The County's Personnel Department will screen the candidates and can refer up to six per position for further consideration. I won't make public the name but there is a high profile candidate we will be lucky to get. Stay tuned.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the Registrar revealed she received a "Dear John" letter in response to her application for the Pew grant money. The Registrar was hoping to use the funds to buy high-speed off-the-shelf scanners for the so-called Transparency Project (a scanned copy of every ballot would become a .tif file made available to the public on CD). It now seems the Transparency Project will be on the back burner, given the hiring situation, four elections between this November and next, and evolving procedures to keep up with Secretary of State Bowen's conditions of use. Do not expect the Registrar to completely let it go.

The Registrar discussed Secretary Bowen's proposals for new post-election audit standards. The general idea is a variable sample where a close race would have more votes audited than a contest with an apparently bigger margin of victory. The Registrar said the legal requirements are flexible and she couldn't give any specific numbers that would match an audit percentage with a victory margin. When I asked, she refused to commit to seeking a qualified statistical adviser.

Reading from her Palm Pilot or Blackberry or Whatever Brand(TM) hand-held mini super computer, the Registrar quoted Secretary Bowen's remarks on a conference call reported by BradBlog. The topic was Sleepovers and the Secretary said they are not legal. Responding to questions, the Registrar said optical scanners could not be delivered on the morning of election day using Brinks trucks or the Postal service. I don't recall any serious explanation of why not. The Registrar often brings her sense of humor to these meetings. Was she for real when she said no more single or living alone people could be pollworkers? This refers to satisfying the 2-person rule, which requires the secret vote counting machines to be in the presence of no less than two election officials at any time. How far backwards is she willing to bend just to be able to send these ridiculous machines home with pollworkers prior to Election Day?

* * *

I've been traveling a lot in the past few weeks and so I haven't posted since that one night in NY just prior to my sister's wedding. The next day I phoned in as a guest on KHUM's Humboldt Review (.mp3). The Eureka Reporter correction I requested may have run in the print edition but when I checked the website in the middle of last week the article still had it wrong. To their credit, when I then e-mailed Glenn Franco Simmons about this he forwarded my message to Diane Batley who quickly informed me the text has been corrected. "We should never be required to have faith in election results."

The Voter Confidence Committee continues its community outreach on behalf of hand-counted paper ballots. The local ACLU has invited me to speak at their meeting on Thursday, the second consecutive month I've done so. Positions recently taken by the national ACLU afford the local chapter some leeway to lend support to the VCC campaign. With so much new info, the VCC is working on a new update section for the Report on Election Conditions in Humboldt County, CA. Also see revisions made to the spreadsheet tool used for estimating labor, time and cost needs for an all hand-counted election.

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As shown on
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Manifest Positivity

We Do Not Consent, Volume 1 (left) and Volume 2 (right), feature essays from Dave Berman's previous blogs, GuvWurld and We Do Not Consent, respectively. Click the covers for FREE e-book versions (.pdf). As of April 2010, paperbacks are temporarily out of print. Click here for the author's bio.

Back Page Quotes

"Give a damn about the world you live in? Give a damn about what you and I both know is one of the most shameful and destructive periods in American history? If so, do something about it. You can start by reading We Do Not Consent."

— Brad Friedman, Creator/Editor, BradBlog.com; Co-Founder, VelvetRevolution.us


"If in the future we have vital elections, the "no basis for confidence" formulation that GuvWurld is popularizing will have been a historically important development. This is true because by implicitly insisting on verification and checks and balances instead of faith or trust in elections officials or machines as a basis for legitimacy, it encourages healthy transparent elections. It’s also rare that a political formulation approaches scientific certainty, but this formulation is backed up by scientific principles that teach that if you can’t repeat something (such as an election) and verify it by independent means, it doesn’t exist within the realm of what science will accept as established or proven truth."

— Paul Lehto, Attorney at Law, Everett, WA


"Dave Berman has been candid and confrontational in challenging all of us to be "ruthlessly honest" in answering his question, "What would be better?" He encourages us to build consensus definitions of "better," and to match our words with actions every day, even if we do only "the least we can do." Cumulatively and collectively, our actions will bring truth to light."

— Nezzie Wade, Sociology Professor, Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods


"Dave Berman's work is quietly brilliant and powerfully utilitarian. His Voter Confidence Resolution provides a fine, flexible tool whereby any community can reclaim and affirm a right relation to its franchise as a community of voters."

— Elizabeth Ferrari, San Francisco, Green Party of California


"This is an important collection of essays with a strong unitary theme: if you can't prove that you were elected, we can't take you seriously as elected officials. Simple, logical, comprehensive. 'Management' (aka, the 'powers that be') needs to get the message. 'The machines' are not legitimizers, they're an artful dodge and a path to deception. We've had enough...and we most certainly DO NOT consent."

— Michael Collins covers the election fraud beat for "Scoop" Independent Media


"What's special about this book (and it fits because there's nothing more fundamental to Democracy than our vote) is the raising of consciousness. Someone recognizing they have no basis for trusting elections may well ask what else is being taken for granted."

— Eddie Ajamian, Los Angeles, CA


"I urge everyone to read "We Do Not Consent", and distribute it as widely as possible."

— B Robert Franza MD, author of We the People ... Have No Clothes: A Pamphlet for every American