Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kool-Aid Reference Conjures Varied Meanings

A few weeks ago I posted a crude photoshop job superimposing the face of Senator Barack Obama over the classic red pitcher icon representing Kool-Aid. My comments were very limited. I thought the message was clear: a news article quoting Obama saying Bush and Cheney do not warrant impeachment shows the crazed or delusional thinking that is implied when saying someone drank the Kool-Aid. I received some comments about this in private e-mail that warrant exploring here.

First, Dave Migliore, perhaps my oldest friend, wrote to caution me about this image. He said that Black people may find this reference offensive or even racist. I was incredulous and had never heard of such a connotation before. He sent me a link to the urban dictionary. I was sensitive to having set off his radar and definitely wanted to know if I had misstepped. However, the listings at that link did not make his case.

I then Googled Kool-Aid and offensive, and Kool-Aid and racist, and still found nothing that supported his concern, though I did turn up at least two good reads that reinforced my intended usage. From last February, see AlterNet's "No One's Drinking Bush's Kool-Aid on Iran". Then there is Michael Fauntroy, a prominent Black media figure who just last month wrote that he was "Lambasted for Not Drinking the Obama Kool-Aid":

It's hard out here for Black pundits/analysts/commentators who haven't come around to drinking the Barack-Obama-is-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread-how-
did-we-ever-exist-as-a-nation-without-him-this-is-our-last-best-
chance-to-elect-a-Black-president-so-we-better-support-him-see-I-told-you-
racism-is-dead Kool-Aid. I have learned an unfortunate lesson in observing the Democratic presidential nomination fight: In too many segments of the country – Black and White – to express any skepticism about Barack Obama is considered political heresy. I'm blown away by this discovery, because it suggests a dangerous group think: Obama is the only agent of change and to not praise him at every opportunity is to support the status quo (And, oh, by the way, Hilary is the devil!).
This passage was the closest together I could even find the words Kool-Aid and racism, and the author is in no way claiming the Kool-Aid reference is racist or offensive. I would say he is using it in the exact same way that I did.

OK, breathing a little easier. Maybe kick back and enjoy a cold glass of, no wait a minute.

Along comes Tom Sebourn, program director/newsdude from local progressive talk radio station KGOE. By the way, check Tom's new blog. Tom was pissed off when he wrote to me, though not necessarily pissed at me. He needed to know that my posting was only coincidentally timed with another Obama Kool-Aid reference that had appeared in the Eureka Times-Standard. There was no connection and I had not even seen the image. He sent this link.

If you click that you'll see a cartoon with a sea of faces looking up at a pitcher of Kool-Aid in what is obviously Obama's hand. The cartoon has Obama asking "Drink the Kool-Aid?" and the crowd responding with Obama's tag line "Yes We Can." This image is in color, but the T-S had printed it in black and white. In the paper, Tom said it looked like the sea of faces were all non-white people. He mentioned to me that he and his father both found it "repugnant." The T-S has since printed a letter from Sebourn the senior.

As Tom and I delved a little deeper, he came to hypothesize that there is a generation cap dividing our association of the Kool-Aid reference. While I was just six at the time, Tom is a bit older and actually remembers seeing the Jonestown massacre on the news.

Tom said his association when hearing the Kool-Aid reference is always about a group event where people were forced at gunpoint to commit suicide. Because it was such an atrocity, Tom said, anyone old enough to remember may find more flippant references in bad taste, or worse. However, Tom did allow that the crazy/delusional implication has become sufficiently widespread and common that it should not cast a pall of racism on those who use it.

So I feel absolved of concerns I may have inadvertently made a racist post, however I think it would be interesting to read more opinions on Tom's theory of an age-based difference in perception of what the Kool-Aid reference means. Comments are welcome.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Optical Scan Error Rate Exceeds Federal Limit in NH Primary Recount

In a study published by the We The People Foundation, the NH Primary Election recount revealed error rates in machine counted votes far exceeded the error rate for hand-counted votes. Further, the machine error rate was also greatly in excess of federal limits. OpEdNews has a good summary, or go here for the full report. Principal findings:

Of the 347, 905 total ballots processed during the recount 305,207 (87.7%) came from towns and cities that use machines to count the votes, and 42,619 (12.3%) came from towns that use People to count the votes.

New Hampshire's vote counting machines violate federal accuracy standards. New Hampshire's machines experienced an error rate approximately 163 times greater than the error rate allowed under federal Election Law.

The probability that an individual's vote was accurately counted during the Primary was much greater if his vote was counted by hand than by machine.

Statewide, taking into consideration all the ballots that were included in the recount, the number of machine counts that were in error by more than 2 votes was 9.81 times greater than the number of hand counts that were off by more than 2 votes. The number of machine counts that were in error by more than 1 vote was 3.37 times greater than the number of hand counts that were off by more than 1 vote.
Has there ever been a better environment from which to draw such comparative data? This is very useful information.

* * *

Coming up this Tuesday between 5-6pm PT I will be making my second appearance on the Election Defense Alliance radio show broadcast through Toginet.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Noticing New Hampshire

Over the weekend, and from out of my peripheral vision, the New Hampshire Primary Election recount got my attention. Republican Presidential Candidate Albert Howard continues to press ahead, revealing much about what went wrong on January 8th. Excerpts from his most recent communique, a Petition of Appeal filed with NH Secretary of State William Gardner, are shown below. But first, let me take you back to the 11/29/07 post here at WDNC, talking about impeachment coming out of NH:

With a few weeks gone by now, I don't really see that Kucinich's welcome bravado did anything to shift control of the impeachment issue. Worth noting, though, is this statement by New Hampshire State Representative Betty Hall. While I don't consider her endorsement of Kucinich's presidential candidacy to be too relevant, she goes much further by introducing her own impeachment resolution in the NH House.

At least two things are significant about this. First, while it may take a few months, NH law guarantees this resolution will get a full floor vote - it cannot be killed in committee. The other important part of this development is that Hall's resolution was drafted primarily by Paul Lehto, election protection attorney, co-founder of psephos-us.org, and the author of the Foreword to my book, We Do Not Consent (free .pdf download). The genius Lehto displays here is connecting the necessity of impeachment with the absolute destruction of legitimate elections. The final paragraph of the resolution:
That, for directly harming the rights and manner of suffrage, for suffering to make them secret and unknowable, for instituting debates and doubts about the true nature of elections, all against the will and consent of local voters affected, and forced through threats of litigation, the actions of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to do the opposite of securing and guaranteeing the right of the people to alter or abolish their government, being a violation of an inalienable right, and an immediate threat to Liberty, is good cause for impeachment to be immediately granted.
Of the dozens if not hundreds of good causes for impeachment, this one may be the oldest chronologically if we go back to November and December 2000.
I had a voice message from Lehto earlier this evening saying he was en route to NH to testify for Rep. Hall. He also pointed me to this DU thread containing this video about the resolution and its courageous carrier.



Truly outstanding! Both above and below...

* * *
Excerpts from:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_nancy_to_080216_gop_candidate_albert.htm

Petition of Appeal, noted violations and weaknesses in NH recount cited below

Petition of Appeal to the Ballot Law Commission
c/o Office of the Secretary of State, William Gardner
State House
Concord, New Hampshire 03301

by Albert Howard, Republican candidate for President of the United States
New Hampshire Primary Election of January 8th, 2008
Date: February 15, 2008
Petitioner: Albert Howard, Pro Se 710 Apple St. Ann Arbor, MI 48105-1750

Subject of Petition: Appeal of results of the Presidential Primary recount completed February 11, 2008; examination of contested ballots in that recount.

Relief Requested: That the Ballot Law Commission and the Secretary of State's office disclaim any opinion on the accuracy of the Presidential primary election AND the statewide Republican recount because checks and balances to maintain the integrity of the ballots and the total counts were either not followed, or not in place.

(snip)

VIOLATION #1: Machine failures were handled improperly -- and possibly altered the outcome of the election.

(snip)

Town clerks have told Dori Smith, a journalist from Connecticut, that memory cards were "switched out" in some towns by LHS employees, counter to state election laws, calling into question the chain of custody of these critical "electronic ballot boxes".

(snip)


VIOLATION # 2: Machine failures render equipment non-compliant with HAVA regulations.

Fact: HAVA requires that the error rate of machines used be no greater than one error in 500,000 ballot positions. In one of the most recent tests, at the University of Connecticut, the Diebold Precinct-Based Optical Scan Accuvote 1.94W system (AV OS), demonstrated a failure rate of roughly 3.4 %. This puts New Hampshire in an unfortunate situation and the integrity of its election results in question. I urge the Ballot Law Commission and the Secretary of State's office to seriously consider restoring elections utilizing 100% hand counted paper ballots. The fundamentals are in place for a meaningful and transparent election. The Diebold Optical Scan equipment you currently use is indeed problematic due to its proven vulnerabilities and inaccuracies. Diebold itself issued a Product Advisory Note about this machine on January 25, 2008 describing a known failure.

REMEDIAL ACTION REQUESTED: The very best thing New Hampshire could do is decertify the current equipment and find alterative means of vote counting. I strongly recommend hand counting all of the ballots. New Hampshire has established such an excellent system for community vote-counting, and the hand count method - especially the sort and stack method as was used for the recounts --that has time and time again proven to be the most accurate and by far the least costly method of counting citizens' votes.

(snip)


VIOLATION #3: The location of the memory cards post-election were reported "unknown".

(snip)

VIOLATION #4: The boxes of ballots were not picked up for the recounts by State Police.

(snip)

VIOLATION #5: Ballots were not stored and transported in boxes provided by the Secretary of State's office.

Fact: Boxes arrived at the State Archive Building for the recount in non-uniform boxes, with various methods of taping, many not properly sealed. One jurisdiction sent their ballots in bundles wrapped in newspaper. Others came wrapped in brown paper. Some boxes came with no tape. Many ballots were returned in the same boxes in which they were received from the printer/Secretary of State's office, but this led to some ambiguity about when and by whom openings in the boxes had been made.

(snip)

VIOLATION #6: Many ballot boxes were not properly sealed, and what were referred to as "seals" would not safeguard the ballots from tampering.

Fact. "Seals" meant to secure the boxes were in fact "labels"; they did not stick securely to the boxes, could be easily removed and re-attached, and left no evidence of having been removed and reattached from the box on which they'd been placed. As such they were not "seals" to the boxes; in order for the ballots to be secure, real tape was needed to bind the boxes. Many ballot boxes were delivered to the State Archive Building for recounting with tops not secured and with slits in them large enough for a hand to fit through.

(snip)

VIOLATION #7: The uncounted ballots were not always kept overnight in the security of the "ballot vault."

(snip)

VIOLATION #8: Ballots were not always delivered in an open and public manner.

Fact. On many days of the recount, ballots were delivered after the recount had ended for the day, after dark, when most of the employees were gone from the building, and their delivery was not witnessed by any member of the public or citizen monitors.

# # #
Wow. Just wow. It is time we all start noticing New Hampshire.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Political Realism vs Negotiating with Our Hands (Guest Blog By Rady Ananda)

Original Content at:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_rady_ana_080212_political_realism_vs.htm


February 12, 2008

Political Realism vs Negotiating with Our Hands

By Rady Ananda

Successful tactics from around the globe inspire adoption into the hand-count elections movement. Rejection of hopeless “realism” – that politicians aren’t considering our demand for hand counts - is but a part of the overall strategy. If citizens expect accurate election results, they must run parallel polls, observe, investigate and video the vote. Power is never given; it must be asserted.

“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected.”

So said Tom Paine at the height of the Enlightenment. A century later, New York case law reveals judicial comprehension that:

“Statutory regulations are enacted to secure freedom of choice and to prevent fraud, and not by technical obstructions to make the right of voting insecure and difficult.”

Former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick explains that:

"Democratic elections are not merely symbolic....They are competitive, periodic, inclusive, (and) definitive …”

It’s probably safe to say that all election integrity advocates agree with these premises. Where we differ is in how to achieve our mutual goals.

Realists

Some would have us adopt the “reality” that the machines are here to stay, so let’s work within the system. “Realists” would have us discussing audits, as if that ever overturned election results. We know that courts have election officials’ backs, as numerous recent cases reveal (Florida 13, San Diego 50, and that squirrelly Squire case in Franklin County, Ohio, to name a few).

Let’s talk about audits of scientifically-condemned computerized election systems for a moment. My lay-person’s read of the literature evokes this analogy:

The security firm, Black Wellwater, advises you to remove the back wall to your house, and replace it with screening. After you return from vacation, the firm advises you can only inventory 10% of your goods to see if anything was stolen. Not only that, but you can’t even choose to inventory those suspect items – things you just know a thief would go for.

Yet this is what election officials want us to accept. Even worse, some states only audit 1% of the results. In fact, San Diego County sued its Secretary of State whining that anything more was too cumbersome for her staff. On her staff is disgraced Cuyahoga County election official, Michael Vu, who oversaw the theft or loss of thousands of dollars in memory cards and voting machines in the May 2006 election. Yeah, I bet they don’t want a stringent audit.

The beauty of hand-counts is that a self-auditing procedure is built into the count process. Oh sure, anyone is welcome to recount – but any recount worth its effort will use the same self-auditing techniques during the process.

We will never have a basis for confidence in reported results when the votes are counted in secret. All machines do this – all machines must go.

Votes counted in secret are a hallmark of tyranny, if Robert Heinlein is correct that “secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny.” Votes counted on easily hacked software-driven systems do not provide us with “definitive” outcomes, but instead are “technical obstructions to make the right of voting insecure.” They provide us with no basis for confidence in reported results.

Machine fans, or defeated hand-count fans, argue that we must be “politically realistic” in our quest for election integrity. The argument goes that politicians aren’t considering hand-counted paper ballots, so to succeed in our agreed goal of honest elections, we have to accept machines.

What they call political “reality” is merely fatal compromise.

To believe that what politicians want is the only course open to us is to deny the vast power of the will of the people. A 2006 Zogby poll determined that 92% want transparent elections. A February 2008 poll found that 78% disapproves of Congress. Clearly, corporate-sponsored Congress has no intention of doing the bidding of We the People, so whatever options Pols put on the table are necessarily suspect.

Distracted

Other election integrity activists ignore the entire issue of how our votes are counted, as they work to confront other, less immediately-serious failures in U.S. elections. It’s like fiddling while Rome is burning, because music soothes people. No doubt:

Each of these factors alone defeats democracy, and reduces U.S. elections to carnival shows that give politicians the appearance of legitimacy.

I have no argument with remaking the entire U.S. election system. But if the vote counts aren’t authentic, no other change will make any meaningful difference. If we can at least get accurate vote counts, as voters intended and as democracy demands, then we have a fair shot of working out these other, more complicated, features that encompass best electoral management practices.


“Negotiating with your hands”

Still others (myself included) would demand transparent vote counts, now, as the primary and crucial first step toward integrity. If politicians won’t give us what we demand – transparency – then we create it ourselves.

The election integrity movement is not the only social justice movement plagued by “political realists” who would compromise our position into meaningless reform such as low-percentage audits. In Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein contrasts two separate disasters that culminated in very different outcomes based on which reality was accepted, and thus, which strategy was pursued.

In the 2005 Katrina disaster in New Orleans, power holders successfully kept poor residents from returning to their apartments. As recently as two months ago, citizens were tasered and jailed for resisting the destruction of affordable housing. Land developers now stand to make substantial fortunes from the land grab. (Here we see Derrick Jensen’s 2nd, 4th and 5th Premises holding true.)

In the 2004 Asian tsunami, a different scenario played out. Klein writes:

“Dozens of coastal villages were flattened by the wave, but unlike in Sri Lanka, many Thai settlements were successfully rebuilt within months. The difference did not come from the government. Thailand’s politicians were just as eager as those elsewhere to use the storm as an excuse to evict fishing people and hand over land tenure to large resorts.

“Yet what set Thailand apart was that villagers approached all government promises with intense skepticism and refused to wait patiently in camps for an official reconstruction plan. Instead, within weeks, hundreds of villagers engaged in what they called land “reinvasions.”

“They marched past the armed guards on the payroll of developers, tools in hand, and began marking off the sites where their old houses had been. In some cases, reconstruction began immediately…

“The most daring reinvasions were performed by Thailand’s indigenous fishing peoples called the Moken… After centuries of disenfranchisement, the Moken had no illusions that a benevolent state would give them a decent piece of land in exchange for the coastal properties that had been seized.

“So, in one dramatic case, the residents … ‘gathered themselves together and marched right back home, where they encircled their wrecked village with rope, in a symbolic gesture to mark their land ownership,’ explained a report by a Thai NGO…

“All along the Thai coast where the tsunami hit, this kind of direct-action reconstruction is the norm. The key to their success is that ‘people negotiate for their land rights from a position of being in occupation;’ some have dubbed the practice ‘negotiating with your hands.’

Shock Doctrine, pp. 463-464.
Also see http://www.achr.net/

Election activists “negotiate with their hands” by polling voters outside an official polling site. Citizen-run exit polling, or parallel elections, is a concept that proves hand-counts are on the table. Political realists (deliberately?) ignore the potential energy of this grassroots movement.

Starting in 2005, parallel polling has now been run in the U.S. by the grassroots of both major parties, as well as Greens and Independents. This idea generated from US think tanks, where they were deployed as early as 1986 to check election results in other nations.

Today, they’re called citizen run exit polls, but the same structure exists: citizens ask voters to complete a parallel ballot (variably called an affidavit, a sworn statement, or a poll sheet) after they have finished voting in the official election. These parallel “ballots” are then transported and counted (presumably) under secure protocols, using nonpartisans or people from varied political parties.

Although I’ve been involved in parallel polling since 2005, including Florida’s in 2008, I have yet to see one that achieves ballot security – something we expect of our official electoral management bodies. Surely, we require a basis for confidence in reported results from whomever counts the vote. I expect chain of custody will be preserved with better training, and as more people grasp the significance of parallel polling. Meanwhile, I wholly support the spread of this action, coupled with better training.

My buddy, Troy Seman, calls parallel elections “the antidote to fraudulent elections.” Because we run these parallel polls, we know hand-counted elections are on the table. Politicians, of course, ignore the significance of parallel polling, while corporate media discounts discrepancies between pollsters and election results. This, despite that parallel polling is used to verify elections around the globe.

As this movement grows – and there is no doubt it will, given the unrelenting glitches, double bubbles, invisible ink, and wtfever, reported after every single election - and as more voters experience self-empowerment from citizen-run elections, there will come a point when even politicians will admit that hand-counting is “on the table” simply because we citizens put it there.
We’re not waiting for politicians – we’re running free and fair elections ourselves.

Several other methods of “negotiating with our hands” are recommended: Be an official domestic observer, video the vote, count the signatures in polling books and compare them to official results for in-person voters, follow the voting machines on Election Day, and blog, blog, blog about all of it. Much of what you’ll discover is that the records are unauditable and chain of custody is wholly lacking, but even that is important to convey.

Overall, a citizen’s job is to study how elections are run, as if you are the boss, because you are. Civic engagement is democracy in practice.

Other actions include filing suit, on a variety of different premises. One campaign in the works now demands a voting machine recall. Citizens in LA are demanding that the “double bubble” ballots be counted as the voter intended – despite the overused election official trick of poorly designed ballots, which in this instance, disenfranchised 95,000 voters. Voter intent is what matters – not some arbitrary design or rule or law.

Incrementalism As a Strategy in New York

Refusing to compromise the demand for hand-counted elections does not mean that an incremental approach is off the table. Attorney Andi Novick is leading the hand-count movement in New York (where machine fans far outnumber those who comprehend the utter failure and completely inappropriate use of software-driven systems in democratic elections). Her strategy is to move New Yorkers toward a full hand count of all elections by starting with hand counting just the two federal races this November (thus allowing New York to be HAVA-compliant).

She sent some research provided by a local activist who raised Avi Rubin’s article, Secretary Bowen's Clever Insight, where he said, in part:

"Bowen's comment about software not being suitable for the way election equipment is certified is right on the mark.

“The current certification process may have been appropriate when a 900 lb lever voting machine was deployed. The machine could be tested every which way, and if it met the criteria, it could be certified because it was not likely to change.

“But software is different. The software lifecycle is dynamic… You cannot certify an electronic voting machine the way you certify a lever machine.”

Understand that “electronic voting machine” includes optical scan machines as well as touch screen systems. Our Orwellian culture will try to confuse the public into believing that “electronic voting” somehow only applies to touch screens. All software driven devices are inappropriate for use in recording or counting our votes, or in replicating our signatures, or in centralizing registration on a statewide basis.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 has done the opposite. Let’s not forget that everything the Nazis did was legal, by their own laws. What the federal government has done – bureaucratically and legislatively - since the 2000 coup d’état should shock the conscience of every decent American. It does, I know – I see it across the political spectrum.

Incrementalism As a Strategy in the Democracy Movement

Several writers address incrementalism as a strategy. This is not to be confused with self-defeating “realism” that Paulo Freire and George Monbiot hold in disdain. Arthur MacEwan's Neoliberalism or Democracy discusses the idea of incrementalism and reform, in slightly different terms, but making the same general point.

"When I advocate 'democracy' as the basis for an economic development strategy, I mean political democracy as it is usually understood: elections, civil liberties and the right to organize. But beyond these essential forms of democracy, I mean something more substantive. A democratic economic development strategy is one that puts people in a position to participate in decisions about and effectively exercise political power over their economic lives. It puts people in a position where their lives are not dominated by either the market or the state."

Or by privatized elections where votes are counted in secret by corporations. With that as the premise (which totally captures my attention and makes my heart flutter with hope), I can apply his thinking to hand-counted elections:

"If the goal is to alter the nature of the system and make a real difference in people's lives, then we need to formulate and implement practical programs that both improve economic conditions and challenge the structure of social-political power."

Hand-counted elections certainly challenge the current power structure, and being far less expensive than computers also affect local economies with the billions spent on computerized voting systems. Sally Castleman writes:

“DREs and Optical Scanner equipment are more costly than any hand count system. Not only is the initial cost substantial, but other costs include ongoing testing and certification, secure storage, temperature controlled environments, maintenance, reprogramming, service, batteries, upgrading to newer models to keep up with specification requirements,” and salaries for specialized technical experts.

Back to MacEwan:

“Practical programs advance toward a radical transformation of society.”

Hand-count fans don’t want to reform a broken system; instead, we assert radical change by demanding election night counts in full public view, with the results posted at the precinct.

"A reformist reform is one which subordinates its objective to the criteria of rationality and practicability of a given system and policy."

(a.k.a. 'political realism’)

“Reformism rejects those objectives and demands - however deep the need for them - which are incompatible with the preservation of the system.”

Hand-counts remove corporations and experts-only from counting or verifying vote totals - a government-run expert system with a vested interest in the outcome that may conflict with the public will. Indeed, given the 4/5 disapproval rating, public will directly conflicts with the will of government. Do they deserve to be trusted to count our vote?

"(A non-reformist) reform is one which is conceived not in terms of what is possible within the framework of a given system and administration, but in view of what should be made possible in terms of human needs and demands."

Hand-counts meet the transparent vote counting criterion of democratic elections, something all advocates of free and fair elections demand.

MacEwan suggests that this latter reform is possible without the chaos of revolutionary upheaval, given certain criteria are met. It is here where we get to incrementalism. He argues that incrementalism can be used to advance our agenda without compromising our position.

"Democratic initiatives must:

1. Make a positive difference in people's lives. They should not demand that a sacrifice be made in the name of some greater good; they must bring something good in themselves. Their goals are defined by what should be;"

Auditing an election system which is vulnerable to undiscoverable tampering is no safeguard. We do not sacrifice election integrity on the grounds that politicians have taken hand-counts off the table. Who really cares what politicians want, anyway? They work for us.

"2. Challenge the existing relations of power and authority and in some way move society towards a more democratic structure. They need not overturn or destroy the existing social structures. Yet in some manner they must pose a threat to the existing social and economic structures. The essence of this threat is that these initiatives expand the realm of democracy and enhance democratic authority;"

Clearly, citizen-run elections do this; as well as citizen-oversight of the count on election night.

"3. Be possible in the sense that their implementation does not require a prior revolutionary, structural reorganization of society. They may set in motion a process of change that pushes society in the direction of dramatic structural reorganization - that is precisely their point. Yet, because they are particular and partial and therefore are not themselves dependent on that reorganization, they are possible."

Hand-count initiatives set in motion a process of systemic change that will push “society in the direction of dramatic structural reorganization” allowing for the many other needed changes discussed on page 1:

This list truly goes on, the more I read about best practices.


Political Realism - A Policy of Failure

Incrementally implementing hand-counted elections (first the federal races, then the local ones, for example) is wholly different from believing that hand-counts aren’t possible in the U.S. My hope is that election activists move away from this position of defeat, and insist on transparent vote counts, now, as are done the world over in emerging and in stable democracies.

Just because the last two presidential elections were stolen is no reason to accept that 2008 will be stolen. All it takes is motivating the masses into Election Day action. Given that grassroot Republicans are now on board with parallel polling, our movement for transparent elections has a real chance of success. We implement hand-counted elections by doing it ourselves – not by waiting for politicians to do it for us. This bears repeating: civic engagement is democracy in practice, or as Abbey Hoffman put it, “Democracy is something you do.”

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire reveals how political realism defeats democratic reform:

"In a situation of manipulation, the Left is almost always tempted by a quick return to power, forgets the necessity of joining with the oppressed to forge an organization, and strays into impossible 'dialogue' with the dominant elites. It ends up being manipulated by these elites, and not infrequently itself falls into an elitist game, which it calls realism’"

In Age of Consent, George Monbiot recognizes self-defeating realism:

"Had those people who campaigned for national democratization in the 19th century in Europe approached their task with the same hopeless realism as the reformists campaigning for global democratization today, they would have argued that, as the authorities were not ready to consider granting the universal franchise, they should settle for a 'realistic' option instead; and their descendents today might have been left with a situation in which all those earning, say, $50,000 a year or possessing 20 acres of land were permitted to vote, but those with less remained disenfranchised.

"Every revolution could have been - indeed most certainly was - described as 'unrealistic' just a few years before it happened. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, female enfranchisement, the rise of communism, the fall of communism, the aspirations of decolonization movements all over the world were mocked by those reformists who believed the best we could hope for was to tinker with existing institutions and beg some small remission from dominant
powers.

“Had you announced in 1985 that within five years men and women with sledgehammers would be knocking down the Berlin Wall, the world would have laughed in your face. All of these movements, like our global democratic revolution, depended for their success on mass mobilization and political will. Without these components, they were impossible. With them, they were unstoppable."

Age of Consent, pp 65-66

To imagine 10-12 voters per neighborhood counting the ballots on election night is easy. It takes 20 minutes to train people in hand counts... and just think how things might change if reported election results were authentic. I imagine Congress would be freaking out that 4/5 of the nation disapproves of it. They’d worry about their jobs and change their behavior right quick, if elections were honest.

There is no honorable justification to continue using these machines. They must go, and they must go now.

We reject the defeatist notion that hand-counted elections are off the table for 2008. The grassroots already have the political will for fundamental change; our self-appointed leaders simply need to articulate nationally what we’ve been doing locally for the past three years.

No compromise with political realists is necessary; negotiating with our hands – counting, observing, investigating and videoing the vote ourselves – will bring us an accurate vote count.
Power is never given; it is asserted. If I can borrow a phrase from the film, The Kingdom:

“How do you wanna go out? On your feet or on your knees?”


Much thanks to attorney Andi Novick for the 1895 NY case law quote.

References:

Rady Ananda,
Annotated Bibliography of Expert Reports on Voting Systems, Dec. 11, 2007 at GuvWurld.org.

--
Revolution in Florida: Repubs Question Elections, Too, January 30, 2008 at OpEdNews.com.

Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
www.achr.net; and see Tom Kerr’s New Orleans Visit Asian Tsunami Areas, September 9-17, 2006, p. 11 for the wonderful “negotiate with their hands” quote.

Dave Berman,
Voter Confidence Resolution, 2005 at GuvWurld.org.

Tracy Campbell, Deliver the Vote: A history of election fraud, an American political tradition – 1742-2004. Carroll & Graf, 2005.

Sally Castleman,
Summary: Estimating hours and costs for hand counters, New York, December 2007, at GuvWurld.org

Nick Davies, How the Spooks Took over the News, February 11, 2008

Alan Fram, Bush, Congress Hit New Low in AP Poll, February 8, 2008 at Boston Globe.

Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum Publishing, 1970.

Amy Goodman,
New Orleans Police Taser, Pepper Spray Residents Seeking to Block Public Housing Demolition, Dec. 21, 2007 at DemocracyNow.org.

Bev Harris,
The New Hampshire “Shame of Custody,” January 25, 2008, OpEdNews.com.

-- Black Box Voting Citizens’ Toolkit

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100. Shasta Publishers, 1953.

Derrick Jensen, Endgame (Volumes I and II). Seven Stories Press, 2006.

David Kidwell and Jason Grotto, Chicago polls go well -- despite punches, broken machines, wrong ballots and 'invisible ink', February 6, 2008 at Chicago Tribune.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, Legitimacy and Force (Vol. I: Political and Moral Dimensions). Transaction Publishers, 1988.

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. Metropolitan Books, 2007.

Arthur MacEwan, Neoliberalism or Democracy? Economic Strategy, Markets and Alternatives for the 21st Century. St. Martin's Press, 1999.

George Monbiot, The Age of Consent: Manifesto for a new world order, new ed. Harper Perennial, 2004.

Andi Novick,
Alarms Should Go Off Whenever the Discrepancies between “Official” Results and the Polls Can’t Be Explained, January 10, 2008 at OpEdNews.com.

Sheila Parks,
On-Site Observations of the Hand-Counting of Paper Ballots and Recommendations for the General Election of 2008, July 18, 2007 at OpEdNews.com.

Julia Rosen, Latest on the Los Angeles Double Bubble Trouble, February 6, 2008 at calitics.com. Also see the CourageCampaign.org website for a picture of poor ballot design leading to the (deliberate?) disenfranchisement of 95,000 voters.

Brian Rothenberg,
Shadows on High: Election Machine Drama, All Dam-ed Up and Nowhere to Go, February 9, 2008. Regarding “political reality” see the first and second comments posted beneath this article.

Avi Rubin,
Secretary Bowen’s Clever Insight, August 7, 2007 at avi-rubin.blogspot.com.

Paddy Shaffer,
OEJC Calls for Ohio Voting Systems, Machine Recall, Return and Refund, November, 2007 at electionDefenseAlliance.org

Zogby International,
Americans Concerned About Election Transparency and Security, August 23, 2006.


Authors Bio: Rady Ananda is a self-employed researcher, and is trained and experienced in legal investigations, holding a BS in Natural Resources. She has been studying election integrity issues and investigating election records since November 2, 2004, contributing research, analysis and public outreach materials to the public domain. She has conducted parallel elections, signature audits and has participated in official recounts.


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Redwood ACLU Calls For Hand-Counting Paper Ballots

Thursday, February 14, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Redwood ACLU Calls For Sweeping Reform Of Local Elections

At the regular monthly meeting of the Redwood Chapter, ACLU Board of Directors, local civil rights leaders adopted a comprehensive policy on local election reform after months of deliberation and consultation with other election reform advocates.

This new policy, while consistent with standing policies of the state and national American Civil Liberties Union, goes into detail in dealing with local election conditions, including most notably the proposed replacement of electronic vote-counting systems with precinct-based hand-counting of paper ballots "as the most verifiable method available" to local election officials.

"Other modern democracies around the world use hand-counted paper ballots and still achieve accurate results in a speedy and transparent manner," said Redwood ACLU boardmember Jack Munsee. "There's just no way to eliminate the justifiable mistrust we have in secret, privatized and error-prone electronic vote-counting systems, especially when a hand-counting system would keep our local dollars in Humboldt County and our local elections in the hands of the people."

Additionally, the Redwood ACLU addresses the complete failure of the unconstitutional, unworkable and unenforceable Measure T in having any meaningful effect on the power of big money to skew the electoral playing field. Instead, a "reasonable cap" on contributions is proposed, as is the case for federal elections, in order to ensure First Amendment protections while still addressing the need for campaign finance reform.

"Two years ago I proposed the real deal in campaign finance reform, which is a reasonable cap on the size of individual contributions to candidates. Instead, under Measure T we've seen only more growth in the flood of special interest dollars clogging our local elections," said Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen. "I'm very grateful that my colleagues in the civil liberties community are on board with a reform which can really bring people together behind the concept of fairness."

Also addressed in the policy are issues as diverse as disabled accessibility, the need to include polling places in underserved precincts, and a vote of confidence in the new Humboldt Transparency Project, which provides independent citizen groups with the opportunity to conduct their own re-count of local elections.

"We awarded Carolyn Crnich and the Election Advisory Committee with our highest honor, the Patriot Award, last year because of their commitment to reforming local election conditions," said Redwood ACLU boardmember Maria Hershey. "We hope that this next round of reform will be received with the spirit with which it was issued, as a call to further our mutual aspirations for elections we can all believe in."

For more information, contact Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen at 825-0826, or visit our website at redwoodaclu.blogspot.com.

# # #

Redwood ACLU Policy On Local Election Reform

Adopted on January 17, 2008

The local, state and national ACLU has long recognized efforts to protect fair representation in government. Following the policies of the national American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Northern California, the Redwood Chapter affirms the relationship between the rights of citizens and the opportunity to cast a meaningful and effective vote.

We appreciate the good work of Humboldt County Clerk/Recorder Carolyn Crnich and the Election Advisory Committee to increase vote-counting transparency and encourage electoral reform, which led to their 2007 Patriot Award selection in October. However, our local Board expresses deep concern with local election conditions, some of which were referred to in the recent Voter Confidence Committee report.

Therefore, the Redwood Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union calls upon election officials to consider the following reforms:

- The County must eliminate the inaccurate, secret, privatized and error-prone electronic vote-counting systems in favor of the precinct level hand-counting of paper ballots as the most verifiable method available at this time.

- The County should set as a priority the right to cast a secret ballot, in an accessible polling place, with the option but not requirement to vote by mail. All efforts must be made to ensure the secret ballot so that no ballot may be traced to or associated with any individual. Greater effort should be made to identify potential polling places and bring them into compliance with disabled access requirements.

- Voided ballots should be immediately shredded by the individual voter to avoid vote-tampering, and voters must also be provided with the traditional curtain system of voting booth to ensure voter privacy.

- Hotlines, whether by land line or by cellular or Voice Over Internet Protocol system, should be maintained between each and every polling place and the central Elections Office during elections.

- The lack of a comprehensive system of voting methods enabling the use of Ranked Choice Voting is an impediment to electoral reform and acts to compromise the ability of many groups to share in the exercise of political power as well as to reduce the diversity of representation. This denial or dilution of political representation violates the constitutional principles of political fairness and equal protection.

- The shipment of ballot boxes from local police or sheriff's stations to County Elections via transportation supervised by only one county employee does not provide sufficient security against tampering, theft or loss. Ballots should never be in the possession of only one person at a time.

- Poll workers and elections office staff must have improved training to better serve voters and reduce the incidences where voters are dissuaded or prevented from casting a ballot. Election systems must be run simply and conveniently with poll workers and staff behaving in a consistent and reliable manner. The time for training provided to poll workers should be expanded, to include more "hands on" experiential training in simulated election situations and the provision of electronic training materials workers can review outside of training sessions.

- Requirements to maintain "politically balanced" (i.e. politically diverse) precinct-level poll worker boards should be vigorously enforced, regardless of the residency of any particular active poll worker or potential poll worker; as a partial solution, enhanced recruitment efforts, particularly towards young people, may be expanded and county officials could consider more adequate compensation for poll workers.

- Poll workers and elections office staff should be specifically reminded of the legal right of any voter to observe any and all stages of the election process. However, prohibitions on "crowding" polling places with politically-motivated agents of any campaign should be better enforced to protect polling place accessibility, including the publication of guidelines for election observers.

- The pilot program initiated by Crnich and the EAC, known as the Humboldt Transparency Project, should be expeditiously implemented to allow for vote totals to be reliably and independently audited to verify accuracy. However, such verification measures should be put into place to allow for review of ballots prior to the certification of a particular election. Voting systems must be subject to rigorous verification.

- The failure of the unconstitutional, unworkable and unenforceable Measure T to curb the flood of big money in local elections must be addressed by campaign finance reforms which preserve the right of free speech while providing as level a playing field as possible. Just as in federal elections, a reasonable cap on the size of individual donations to local candidacies should be enacted.

# # #

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Humboldt Dems Call For Hand-Counting Paper Ballots

At 8:50pm this evening, after a 45-minute discussion, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) by a vote of 7-4 adopted a resolution calling on the County of Humboldt, CA to ditch Diebold by the June Primary Election and commence hand-counting paper ballots. The resolution, shown in full below, also resolves that the HCDCC "will commit some of its resources to educating the community about the benefits of this change, and to recruit registered voters to serve as pollworkers and/or voter counters."

The resolution, which I wrote and first posted here, was submitted following my presentation on behalf of the Voter Confidence Committee (VCC) at last month's HCDCC meeting. The Communication and Education subcommittee took up the resolution a few weeks ago and unanimously approved it. From there, according to Chairman Milt Boyd, it went to the executive committee which then allowed it to the floor of this evening's meeting.

In accordance with Roberts Rules, Boyd stepped down from the Chair position in order to speak in opposition to the resolution. He called hand counting "tedious, lengthy and more expensive" than optical scanning, which he said was "effective and accurate." He claimed that Diebold's optical scanners are more accurate than scantron machines used to grade exams in high school, and as a teacher, he was certain he could not grade papers as accurately by hand as with the scantron.

The debate protocol allowed alternating speakers for and against the resolution. I think this is a topic that people really like to talk about, perhaps contrary to popular belief. I also find that there is a lot of misinformation, such as the suggestion that dead people voting is a real problem, or paper ballots are bad because the ink can run, or that in Humboldt you vote without a paper ballot.

We were at least 20 minutes into the discussion before one member pointed out that we all vote on paper ballots here in Humboldt. It was a little uncomfortable to sit through this, particularly in the few moments that devolved into cross-talk with more being said than I could absorb or write down. I was not sure if I would get to speak, but I was trying to listen carefully to what needed to be addressed. In the end, Larry Hourany requested that I be allowed to speak, but another member objected and the matter was dropped.

In one aspect of the discussion that I really liked, Richard Marks and Roger Smith both emphasized that this resolution was exactly the type of progressive leadership the Democratic Party should exhibit. "This is not radical," said Marks. "This would be a very positive thing for the Central Committee."

What was most glaringly missed in this discussion is the secrecy of vote counting. If you really want to get to the core of what has plagued our elections most, beginning with the 2000 presidential election, the crux is that we don't all agree on the outcome. Why is that? More than any other reason, it is secret vote counting.

Current elections require our blind trust, or faith, rather than providing us with a reason to believe the reported results, a rational basis for confidence.

Instead, inherent uncertainty is created, waters intentionally muddied to the point that we can't know for sure. This happens everywhere, not just with "elections." It is not an accident or unintended consequence.

Keeping citizens divided is necessary for a government to transform a society into fascism, as has happened here in what used to be the United States of America. Wedge issues such as abortion and evolution are one way to keep people divided. Censoring, stifling, and propagandizing climate change and other science is another divisive tactic and it shows how people can be divided about non-spiritual beliefs.

What we get is a rift in the perception of reality. Matters of fact become differences of opinions that can never be resolved, like paperless electronic voting and other secret vote counting systems that create unverifiable "elections," events that are not really elections but resemble them closely enough to fool most people.

When a society cannot even agree on what constitutes reality, it is very difficult to build community support and consensus for what constitutes progress. Hand-counting paper ballots is but one benchmark.

We're only closer to the goal if this resolution results in HCDCC members joining in the efforts of the VCC. We are attempting to demonstrate to the County that there is sufficient public support for the idea of hand-counting, and enough willing counters to get the job done on election night. There is a sign-up form at the VCC website, along with all sorts of resources for the Humboldt hand-count campaign. Some of this stuff could be really useful to other community groups working for hand-counting elsewhere.

And finally, a note about this blog, We Do Not Consent. It is largely an archive for my writing, but not where it is most often read. If you are reading this post on another website, or from an e-mail list, I invite you to stop by my blog. This post is exemplary of both themes I frequently cover, and my advocacy journalism approach, using the medium to report on and advance real world efforts for change. It is the only way I judge my success.

* * *
Resolution adopted by the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee
2/13/08

Whereas elections in Humboldt County rely on Diebold's (now Premier) precinct-based optical scanners, and Diebold's GEMS central tabulator program to combine all precinct results; and

Whereas computer security experts have repeatedly demonstrated and documented the ability to tamper with this equipment, changing election results without leaving behind a trace of evidence; and

Whereas academic studies have repeatedly demonstrated and documented that security flaws in this equipment exist by design, and cannot be remedied with "procedural mitigations," or new security methods; and

Whereas claims of "trade secrecy" prevent citizens, the media, and even elections officials from observing the inner workings of this equipment, denying everyone the right to see their vote counted as cast;

Whereas elections conducted under these conditions require blind trust, or faith, to accept unverifiable and inherently uncertain outcomes that provide no rational basis for confidence in the reported results; and

Whereas the County of Humboldt is free to choose not to use Diebold's equipment, and is likewise not prevented from choosing to hand-count paper ballots at poll sites on election night; and

Whereas hand-counting paper ballots provides transparency, security, and verifiable accuracy that creates a rational basis for confidence in reported results;

Therefore be it resolved, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee hereby calls for Humboldt County to discontinue use of Diebold equipment and to introduce hand-counting of all ballots no later than the June 2008 primary election; and

Therefore be it further resolved that the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee will commit some of its resources to educating the community about the benefits of this change, and to recruit registered voters to serve as pollworkers and/or vote counters.

# # #

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Time We Changed the World

A couple of years ago I had the idea that the 1971 Ten Years After song "I'd Love to Change the World (But I Don't Know What To Do)" could be remade into an anthem "I'd Love to Change the World (And I Know Just What To Do)." The song plays at this link with a powerful video. All this time and I never did flesh out any actual lyrics.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the idea to Brett Kimberlin from Justice Through Music. Check out their remake of Neil Young's "Ohio," now "More Dead Cause of Ohio." Brett said he might work on some words for a remake of "I'd Love..." (no promise to keep the new subtitle) and that his band might try it in the studio in the near future. I have not yet heard the work but I understand there is something forthcoming.

At the same time I passed the idea to Brett, I also put it before Rady Ananda. She too has written new words for old songs, as displayed in this parody collection found in the GuvWurld News Archive. Rady took on the "I'd Love..." challenge and about two weeks ago at OpEdNews.com posted her new version titled "It's Time We Changed The World." It totally captures the spirit of what I had proposed. Her words appear in full at the bottom of this post.

Speaking of the GuvWurld News Archive, there were some intermittent outages on the site and in my e-mail service over the past two months. There was also no new content for several weeks. This was part of an unfortunate ordeal with web host iPowerWeb. Thumbs way down for their customer service. In the end, the site is back to its old self but with more disk space, meaning we can continue to add to the more than 5000 articles archived since April 2003. Thanks to Rady Ananda and Jane Allen for their contributions.

Some of the new additions are worth mentioning. Positive stories such as "Startup Says It Can Make Ethanol for 1 Dollar a Gallon, and Without Corn" are unfortunately outnumbered by darker economic news including "January's retail sales weakest in nearly four decades," "Layoffs coming, and in large numbers, survey finds," and "The First Bank Failure of 2008."

The real must-read of the bunch is The Progressive's March cover story, The FBI Deputizes Business, archived at GuvWurld here. AlterNet ran the story with a more shocking headline: "FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'" The take-away from this is that the Manchurian Nation is operating more openly, confidently preparing for when, not if martial law is declared.

Last summer, in my Reflections on Independence, Volume 5, I wrote:

What is the most insidious ramification of the military being intentionally stretched too thin? The military is unavailable to respond to an emergency at home. That is devastating in the context of a natural disaster. But what about when martial law comes? It won't be our official military that enforces this, it will be mercenaries. Halliburton and Blackwater will be the occupiers of America, overseeing a network of domestic concentration camps already built. Our military, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, will not be here to do so. The media, of course, will portray a different reality that will instead reinforce the okayness of the concentration camps and validate the authority of the hired guns, all while our military overseas supposedly, paradoxically, fights for our freedom.
As The Progressive reveals, InfraGard is the latest brown-shirt outfit strong-arming America's descent into fascism. It is not as if we haven't been able to see this coming. In fact, in that same Reflections essay I linked to one of the unitary executive directives explaining the administration's plan for remaining in power. As I said at the time, I don't believe they will allow themselves to be held accountable, for the first time ever, should the political will ever materialize for impeachment. And with no basis for confidence in election results, it can be tough to be optimistic about getting rid of war criminals.

Yet community organizing efforts are undeniably showing encouraging signs, and I consider this the most universally basic response needed without regard to issue. Mostly I'm referring to the work with the Voter Confidence Committee on behalf of hand-counting paper ballots. Tomorrow night the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee will be considering a resolution I wrote. It looks like Vets For Peace Chapter 56 will also consider this same resolution on March 6.

Inroads are also expanding with the Humboldt County League of Women Voters. Over the weekend I teased this quote: "I didn't think I'd get so much buy-in from the whole fucking group! I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time."

That was P-A Winter-Sun telling me how well received was a proposal I helped her prepare recommending the League "study the evidence of failures and vulnerabilities in vote counting equipment currently used in Humboldt County so the League can be better informed, better able to educate the community, and better equipped to establish a position on the best method for counting."

Apparently there was consensus around this. The next step was to be a board meeting, which I believe may have already occurred. From there the topic would return to the full group. I don't know the exact disposition of this now, but I am going to follow P-A's advice and join the League. In fact, I left a message yesterday...

As previously hinted, we are also still awaiting an announcement from the Redwood Chapter of the ACLU to formalize the group's very encouraging statement on election conditions.

So to me it seems there is far more community support, or at least interest, than ever before in the VCC efforts for hand-counting paper ballots. Click here for an .mp3 of an interview I did on KMUD on 1/29, only getting to add it to the archive in the past few days. This link (.mp3) is to my interview during hour two of this past Sunday's Vote Rescue Radio. I also spoke on the air with Mike Dronkers of KHUM last Monday, just prior to the Primary, but alas there is no archive for that.

I do still have some important observations to post from the election itself, but that will be another post in the next day or so. Meanwhile, it is indeed time we changed the world...

* * *
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=5804

It's Time We Changed the World
Parody of "I'd Love To Change the World" by Ten Years After
By Rady Ananda
1/26/08

Everywhere is fake elections
We should boycott, save the nation from tyranny
When Riggal counts the vote for us
Officials call it, oh should we trust their wizardry?

It's time we changed the world
and you know just what to do
Hand counts will tell the truth

Banks are stealing poor folk homes
Making billions while we all groan in misery
Grow your own food in community
with your neighbors so you can eat - on the cheap

It's time to divide the wealth
Spread it out equally
Fair shares for you and me

Y'know they want to microchip you
tag and clip you, like property.
They mean to own us and all the land.
Find the right place and take a stand.

It's time we changed the world
No one owns humanity
Give up their circuitry

Turn off your TV and settle in.
Read Naomi's "Shock Doctrine,"
History by Zinn and Nace's "Gangs"
will fill you in on their evil plan.

Come on, let's change the world
Cuz we know just what to do
Join ranks with all of you.

# # #
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hey Kool-Aid!

I started looking over Senator Barack Obama's Blueprint For Change, a 64-page .pdf meant as a comprehensive policy positioning statement for his presidential campaign. I skimmed about half of it and find I'm more curious about what is not in there. So I Googled "obama impeachment" and this USA Today article from last June was the first hit.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-06-28-obama-impeachment_N.htm

Obama: Impeachment is not acceptable

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid out list of political shortcomings he sees in the Bush administration but said he opposes impeachment for either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

(snip)

"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president's authority," he said.

"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction," he added. "We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus."
I'm not much of a visual artist, with but the meekest of PhotoShop skills. Still, I can't help myself...


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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tune In: Vote Rescue Radio - Sunday 2-4pm CT

Sunday afternoon I'll be a guest on Vote Rescue Radio hosted by Karen Renick and Vickie Karp. The show begins at 2pm Central time, originating from 100.1 FM in the Austin, TX area. Listen online at We The People Radio Network. I'll be on in the second hour, primarily discussing the Voter Confidence Committee's (VCC) Humboldt hand-count campaign.

The timing is interesting because I think a lot of people are still looking back at this past Tuesday's Primaries. I refer you to BradBlog for comprehensive coverage, and this Courage Campaign (hat tip bevjoehood) calling on Dean Logan, the Registrar in charge of Los Angeles County, to hand-count every ballot cast by "Decline-to-State" voters:

In what the media is now calling "Double Bubble Trouble," 94,000 "Decline-to-State" votes in Los Angeles County -- 50% of the total DTS ballots cast -- are being rejected due to a ballot design flaw, despite the Courage Campaign's discovery of the "double bubble" problem and official notification to the Registrar prior to Election Day.
I'm not prepared to talk about that story on the radio tomorrow. And even for our own small scale poll-watching operation here in Humboldt, there were a few things worth documenting, but I haven't seen anything specific to make a lot of noise about (beyond the growing background din opposing secret vote counting).

The main thing was continued lack of cooperation from the elections department, such as when Mr. Warner, a poll-worker at Eureka's Grace Baptist Church, refused to provide VCC observer Bob Olofson with a serial number from one of the Diebold optical scanners. Olofson reports Warner was acting on instructions straight from the Election Department HQ.

Hold the phone. Just in, observer Parke Bostrom, who camped out for several hours at HQ on election night, describes some significant security lapses and a patently absurd role for David, the Hart InterCivic representative who tended to the return of the HAVA compliant e-Slate machines, all of which combined to tally but a single vote. Interesting. I can't put my finger on it at the moment but I'm pretty sure that once one vote is cast on the eSlate, some additional votes are supposed to be cast on it to preserve the anonymity of the first voter's ballot. Maybe I will be talking about Tuesday at least somewhat tomorrow after all. Pending confirmation from Bostrom, I will post excerpts of his notes here.

I have lots of other topics queued up for treatment here if only time permits. Just as a tease, tune in next time to find out who said "I didn't think I'd get so much buy-in from the whole fucking group! I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time." HCPB lovers you know this is good.

Also, check out what Karen Renick and Vickie Karp posted on OpEdNews to promote Sunday's interview:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_vickie_k_080208_dave_berman_on_voter.htm

Hello from Radio Land! VoteRescue Radio this Sunday, Feb. 10th, from 2-4pm CST, will be having another exciting show this week!

Our special guest this week will be Dave Berman. Dave has been actively involved with election integrity advocates throughout California and across the country. CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen called Dave "a stalwart [who has] educated so many people." He is a prolific author of dozens of published letters and OpEd columns, as well as hundreds of essays posted first at his GuvWurld blog and now at We Do Not Consent.

In April 2004, Dave Berman wrote what became the Voter Confidence Resolution (VCR), a statement about election conditions in America that was eventually adopted by the City Council of Arcata, CA. The Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt County (VCC) formed around support for the VCR in March 2005. The VCC is a non-partisan, grass roots, election and media watchdog group that has been a strong and consistent advocate for hand-counting paper ballots. In conjunction with a comprehensive Report on Election Conditions in Humboldt County, CA, the VCC pioneered a projection methodology for estimating the cost, time, and labor needs for hand-counted elections. The forecast tool has been adapted for use in other parts of the country, including an amicus brief filed in the federal lawsuit, US v NY Board of Elections.

Dave Berman (the photo link at OpEd is broken;
this is the original from VCC site)



Also returning this week is citizen videographer extraordinaire Jeannie Dean of Sarasota, Florida to fill in more details about evidence of fraud she witnessed during the Florida primary election last week, and returning guest Mike Conwell from Austin, Texas, a programmer who has investigated the purging of hundreds of legitimate voters from the rolls of Travis County.

Callers with an election story to tell about Super Fraudulent Tuesday (as in, problems with voting machines) can call in during the second hour with their (short) stories! The call-in numbers are: 1-888-202-1984, and in the Austin area, or if you have unlimited long distance, the number is 512-646-1984.

The show can be heard on the radio in the Austin area at 90.1 FM; is streaming live on www.wtprn.com (for "We the People Radio Network"), AND, can be heard OVER THE PHONE at 512/485-9010!

Hope to "see" and hear you "On the Air" on Sunday!

WE ARE WINNING--because of citizens like YOU!!
With thanks for your support,Vickie and Karen
karp@mail.com
karen@voterescue.org

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As shown on
Dave's new blog,
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