jazzoLOG: Hacking Away    
 Hacking Away25 comments
picture19 Nov 2006 @ 12:06, by Richard Carlson

The greatest sin is to be unconscious.

---Carl Gustav Jung

And so, for the first time in my life perhaps I took the lamp, and went down to my inmost self. But as I moved further and further from the conventional certainties, I became aware that I was losing contact with myself. At each step of the descent a new person was disclosed within me...and when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet, and out of it came---arising I know not whence---the current which I dare to call my life.

---Teilhard de Chardin

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself flows in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.

---Thomas Traherne

I love words. "Hack" is one that can be both a noun and a verb...but all the noun-y stuff seems more interesting. The verb has a couple variations besides just its main meaning of cutting through the underbrush or something. There's what you do when you're learning to play golf or tennis...or have a bad cough. Or invade a homepage.

But the noun possibilities are vast. It can be a horse...or a taxi. A writer. Or a guy who hangs around offices of political power. The connection seems to be a creature on the verge of begging for favor or money. Not very complimentary to be called such a low functionary.

I suppose I could be called a hack too, with these little essays over the past few years. Around town I've heard a couple comments that I don't seem to be writing anymore since the election's over. To my face, people have said you must be really happy about the new political situation. I barely can hack a smile in response. Why? What's the matter now?

The answer is I've been awaiting even a hint from anywhere that the things we suspected were wrong with the past few elections still were wrong with this one. When we started raising questions and complaining a few years ago, people called us tinfoil hat nutcases. And many still do: witness Julia Seymour the other day, fearless hack for the "Business & Media Institute (Advancing The Culture Of Free Enterprise In America)"~~~

"Like claims the U.S. was responsible for 9/11 and Republicans were fixing gas prices, the media promoted the left-wing electronic vote-rigging conspiracy.
Now that the votes have been cast and counted, Republicans lost, and the silence of the national media has been deafening.
The idea was that somehow the company Diebold had programmed the machines to let Republicans win. The theory, perpetuated by left-wingers posting on Daily Kos and The Huffington Post and Bev Harris’ book, 'Black Box Voting,' was embraced by all three broadcast networks, as well as CNN and MSNBC."

Hahaha, o the humor on the Right! It's so much fun making fun of stuff. Well, she's right about 2 things. I don't know if the media was uttering universal alarm, but everyone I talked to this election---and especially total strangers---expressed total concern our election system is hopelessly corrupt, and maybe they'd seen it on TV. I heard from nobody any trust at all in electronic voting. If Julia wants to blame that on a media blitz, go ahead...but don't blame me, dearie, if it turns out there's more to it. She's also right the silence since the election has been deafening. That's the cause of my concern, although Mark Goldblatt at National Review has a typically sarcastic answer [link] .

On Thursday The New York Times published this editorial~~~

Counting the Vote, Badly

Last week’s elections provided a lot of disturbing news about the reliability of electronic voting — starting, naturally, with Florida. In a Congressional race there between Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Christine Jennings, a Democrat, the machines in Sarasota County reported that more than 18,000 people, or one in eight, did not choose either candidate. That “undervote” of nearly 13 percent is hard to believe, given that only about 2.5 percent of absentee voters did not vote in that race. If there was a glitch, it may have made all the difference. Ms. Jennings trails Mr. Buchanan by about 400 votes.

The serious questions about the Buchanan- Jennings race only add to the high level of mistrust that many people already feel about electronic voting. More than half of the states, including California, New York, Ohio and Illinois, now require that electronic voting machines produce voter-verified paper records, which help ensure that votes are properly recorded. But Congress has resisted all appeals to pass a law that would ensure that electronic voting is honest and accurate across the nation.

Fortunately, that may be about to change. With the Democrats now in control of both houses, there is an excellent chance of passing tough electronic voting legislation. Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, had more than 200 co-sponsors for a strong electronic voting bill before this month’s election, and support is likely to grow in the new Congress. In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who will be chairwoman of the Rules and Administration Committee, which oversees elections, plans to develop a similar bill.

The problems with elections go well beyond electronic voting. Partisan secretaries of state continue to skew the rules to favor their parties and political allies. States are adopting harsh standards for voter registration drives to make it harder for people to register, as well as draconian voter identification laws to make casting a ballot harder for poor people, racial minorities, the elderly and students. Some states have adopted an indefensible rule that provisional ballots cast at the wrong table of the correct polling place must be thrown out.

Congress has failed to address these and other important flaws with the mechanics of the election system. But this, too, may be about to change. Senator Feinstein is saying that providing fair access to the ballot will be among her committee’s top priorities in the coming year. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, plans to revise and reintroduce her “Count Every Vote Act,” which takes an admirably broad approach to overhauling the voting system.

Election reform has tended to be a partisan issue, with Democrats arguing for reform and Republicans resisting it. It shouldn’t be. Congressional Democrats should make fixing this country’s broken system of elections a top priority, and Republicans should join them.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

The very next day, Friday, a site called Election Defense Alliance posted its analysis of this year's voting, claiming again discrepancies are evident involving 3,000,000 votes that went to Republicans that shouldn't have. They say there's no explanation except hackers. In other words, the fix was on again...but this time the turnout of voters was so great, the hackers couldn't do enough flipping.
[link] If you go to the site be prepared to spend a little time, and I suppose the more you know about computer technology and statistics the better off you'll be.

The executive editor of OpEdNews put the story up immediately. [link] The dialogue of comments is especially interesting, including one from Mark Crispin Miller whose article None Dare Call It Stolen in the August 2005 Harper's should be required reading in every high school social studies class (providing anything happens in such classes anymore except preparation for government tests using textbooks published by politicians' relatives). Of course www.bradblog.com followed almost at once, since the site has become almost entirely devoted to this nation's election problems.

Two days later, where is any media on this? At this hour there is only one news site anywhere in the world covering the story...and it's in everlovin' Trinidad! I knew I should have taken my online buddy Sindy's advice and moved there. [link] and when you're done, take a look at that HomePage. Wow, liberal news! But other than the happy folk of Trini, there is no coverage of EDA's press release.

Are we just too tired? Was the Ohio State/Michigan game all that was happening? The Democrat undercount/Republican overcount involves actual seats of Congress that were lost or retained. Must we wait again many months before some Congressional investigator hacks through the apathy to raise a cry? Too many months for a repair to be made to this election? Only again to be plunged into wishful, anxious hope that by 2008 somebody will have done something?

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19 Nov 2006 @ 20:40 by quinty : God, Diebold, and Karl Rove

The trouble with conspiracies is that conspiracy theorists give them a bad name. That there are "nutcase" conspiracy theorists does not mean conspiracies do not exist. That conspiracies exist does not give any credence to conspiracy theorists. Especially if their complicated theories put everything into place, in a tortured cause and effect manner. As if the world ever neatly worked that way. CHAOS rules the universe! (Or at least it does in human affairs. Regarding the entire universe, well that's another matter.)

I was worried too, and passed on some interesting emails and warnings regarding a corrupt election. But the tide seems to have swept over the glitches and discrepancies, whether natural or manmade. Does that mean we can trust Diebold? Of course not, for the problems with electronic voting we are concerned about have not gone away. If computers could be programmed to steal elections before November 2006 they can certainly be programmed to do so if nothing is changed following 2006. Wait until 2008. We shouldn't be forced to keep our fingers crossed, wondering.  

19 Nov 2006 @ 20:53 by vaxen : Bombs and Blood
I have long discounted the myths upon which governments are based. The reality that the state is no more than a product of conquest has long dissipated the fairy-tale of some alleged “social contract.” Still, if the practitioners of modern government insist upon the fabled version, I shall be pleased to confront them on their own terms. Perhaps it is the lawyer in me that sees the advantage in using the opposition’s case to discredit their own arguments.

No more succinct characterization of the “social contract” theory of the state has been offered than by Edmund Burke, who regarded the state as “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” The U.S. Constitution – in its preamble alleging to be the product of “We the People” – resorts to this contractual rationalization for state power. The Declaration of Independence, however, is far more explicit about such matters, stating that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

So, forget about impeaching George Bush and his moral reprobates. They – along with his predecessors – have breached whatever “social contract” Americans like to delude themselves into thinking they have with the state. It is most Americans who ought to be impeached. As the purported real parties in interest in this arrangement, their breach has been the most egregious. They have utterly failed, not only in their obligations to their children and grandchildren to restrain state power but, what is worse, to give a whit that such a state of affairs has arisen in a country that was once looked upon by the rest of the world as a symbol for peace, liberty, and decency.


jazzolog, the damage has been done already. The same faces, the same traitors, all over again. New name, old faces... that thing in Washington is NOT our government! But you probably don't know that yet. You will...  

19 Nov 2006 @ 20:58 by swanny : diversions
diversions say no more...
except that some such as war and fraud
are sometimes diversions from issues
like global warming that have no immediate solution
It is curious that the states has done quite a lot
in this regard behind the scenes so to speak as not
to alarm the masses...
the war and such is a good dodge done perhaps to avoid
the impediment of public pressure so as not noting the weather
changes in their faces but alas it is not really enough.

The weather is with not much to be done about it.
I suppose it is because governments tend to late faith
in their electorates capacity to do anything of significance
in any regard and are basically mindless sheep when it comes
to global and important issues.
I suppose they are right in that regard a lot of the time.

Diversion Link = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsqPeqhKJ7Q

I suppose they bought us all a little time though
not that they'be done much good with it.


19 Nov 2006 @ 22:01 by jobrown : Jazzo, Swanny et Co; the governments
are made up of HUMANS/People... just like you and me -only THEY are UTTERLY SELFISH, due to their WOUNDED Souls/Minds from their early childhood. This fact has ALWAYS been the case, will ALWAYS BE the case, until we humans as one collective Unit accept that we are Cosmic Beings playing Humans -Mortals = DESTRUCTIVE Cosmic Beings! These kind of beings do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from SELFISH Agendas in hopes to expand that Agenda; things that they feel they need to survive yet one more minute!.... Very simple!...
But they are pathologically DESTRUCTIVE and WILL destroy ALL that they TOUCH and eventually themselves! http://www.awakeninthedream.com/georgew.html Check this out!
WE,The People, HAVE wake up from this MAD Dream and become REAL/LY Alive and CHOOSE LIFE! Nothing less will do! ( thanx vax, for some good reading again! : )  

19 Nov 2006 @ 22:31 by vaxen : Time makes converts...
"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."

~ Tom Paine, Common Sense  

20 Nov 2006 @ 21:58 by vaxen : War in heaven...
Yabba Dabba Dooooooooooooooo...

The "war in heaven" is real, but there will be no actual losers amongst the combatants. Loss of face is the worst punishment the vanquished will endure; even if they're booted from public office, like Donald Rumsfeld, they simply return to their private world of vast personal fortunes, corporate directorships, and backroom sway. Until the political winds shift again, and they're back in the saddle once more – like Robert Gates, returning to office 14 years after his shadowy service for Reagan and Bush; or indeed, like Rumsfeld himself, who went a quarter of a century without official title between his Nixon-Ford tenure and his restoration by Junior Bush. The profitable, bloodsoaked game goes on, regardless of elections and internal squabbles.

Where does that leave the rest of us? Not as citizens in control of our political fate, but more like Kremlinologists, trying to discern through opaque and oblique signs what is really going on with our masters. Or like the "birds i' the cage" of King Lear's vision, prisoners who:

…hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon us the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon. ***

From Chris Floyds:'


Yeah, I like words too...  

21 Nov 2006 @ 11:03 by jazzolog : Is This Lear Or Macbeth?
I hesitate to follow a comment that mentions King Lear---but, Out damned spots, I must lunge onward. We have a test case on machines/hacking or something. At its worst it may turn out only to be about voter hesitation and confusion, which may not be a total loss but hardly what we're looking for.

It's in Florida, which is a good thing since the whole concern started right there. And it even has the name Katharine Harris connected, which conjures up all that nostalgia. Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) have been locked in combat for her vacated seat in the House, and the election finally was decided yesterday for Buchanan by 300-and-some votes.

Ms. Jennings immediately filed suit claiming vote undercount, most glaringly in Sarasota County, and emphasizing suspected electronic machine "error." Possibly 17,000 votes are in the balance. Her attorneys are attempting subpoena of the notorious secret codes inside the machines. A whistleblower in California just narrowly avoided jailtime for handing Diebold secrets over to the press (according to BradBlog http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3824#comments and note the first comment is by John Dean!) so this is no small venture.

There's some wavering in how they're going to approach this, but I hope they keep after the machines. There will be a press conference this morning formally announcing the suit, and a release yesterday from the attorneys is here~~~


Ms. Jennings has a statement to her supporters at her site~~~


21 Nov 2006 @ 18:43 by vaxen : Thanks...
jazzolog for the update. And thanks for the hack. I've lost all respect, not that I ever had any, for this country and everythiing it represents. Watching these buffoons go through their paces bickering over the so called public trough is just sad. The great American tragi-comedy. Now, to prepare for their demise. ;)

Good luck, bro...

Design/view/compare digital filters with Fiview:


23 Nov 2006 @ 10:03 by jazzolog : HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Thank you Kathy for this wonderful Thanksgiving laughter which goes out right now to my friends and relatives, some of whom may be in need of political recovery! For those, like us, still with dialup don't fret: this cartoon doesn't take long to load.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

----- Original Message -----
From: Kathy Hass
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 9:32 PM
Subject: Demoglad, is it right for you?



23 Nov 2006 @ 11:04 by jazzolog : And Now, Back To Florida...
Analysis: Ballots favored Dems
Sarasota's 'undervotes' were examined in 5 state races.
Jim Stratton
Sentinel Staff Writer

November 22, 2006

The group of nearly 18,000 voters that registered no choice in Sarasota's disputed congressional election solidly backed Democratic candidates in all five of Florida's statewide races, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of ballot data shows.

Among these voters, even the weakest Democrat -- agriculture-commissioner candidate Eric Copeland -- outpaced a much-better-known Republican incumbent by 551 votes.

The trend, which continues up the ticket to the race for governor and U.S. Senate, suggests that if votes were truly cast and lost -- as Democrat Christine Jennings maintains -- they were votes that likely cost her the congressional election.

Republican Vern Buchanan's 369-vote victory was certified by state officials Monday. His camp says that, although people may have skipped the race -- intentionally or not -- there is no evidence that votes went missing.

But the results of the Sentinel analysis, two experts said, warrant additional investigation.

"Wow," University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said. "That's very suggestive -- I'd even say strongly suggestive -- that if there had been votes recorded, she [Jennings] would have won that House seat."

David Dill, an electronic-voting expert at Stanford University, put it this way: "It seems to establish with certainty that more Democrats are represented in those undervoted ballots."

The Sentinel reviewed records of 17,846 touch-screen ballots that included no vote in the tightly contested 13th District congressional race to determine whom voters selected in other major races.

The analysis of the so-called "undervotes" examined the races for U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner.

The results showed that the undervoted ballots skewed Democratic in all of those races, even in the three races in which the county as a whole went Republican.

In the governor's race, for example, Republican Charlie Crist won handily in Sarasota, easily beating Democrat Jim Davis. But on the undervoted ballots, Davis finished ahead by almost 7 percentage points.

In the agriculture commissioner's race, Republican Charles Bronson beat Copeland by a double-digit margin among all voters. But on the undervoted ballots, Copeland won by about 3 percentage points.

Some questions remain

The analysis does not -- and cannot -- reveal why no congressional choice was recorded on the ballots. It also cannot determine which candidate any single voter might have selected had he or she made a choice.

But the strong performance of other Democrats indicates Jennings would have found a sizable number of supporters within the group.

"If votes were actually lost," Dill said, "it appears those votes would have favored the Democrat."

About 15 percent of ballots cast on Sarasota's touch-screen machines registered no choice in the bitterly fought congressional race. That percentage was about six times greater than the undervote in the rest of the House district, which spreads into four other counties.

Since Election Day, dozens -- if not hundreds -- of voters have reported problems at the polls. Some say their vote for Jennings never registered after they touched her name. Others say they never saw the congressional race on the machine's screen.

The Jennings campaign argues that only a machine malfunction can account for the high number of undervotes in the congressional race.

Her experts claim that because Jennings won in Sarasota by a 52 percent-to-47 percent margin -- the only county she carried -- she would have picked up the bulk of any votes that were lost. Those votes, they say, would have been enough to defeat Buchanan.

On Monday, Jennings filed a lawsuit in Tallahassee seeking to reverse the results or hold a new election.

Buchanan's camp says that undervotes may simply be voters exercising their choice not to make a selection in a race.

His supporters say two recounts have confirmed Buchanan's victory, and neither found a problem with the voting machines.

The Republican's experts acknowledge that some people may have missed the race because of a poor ballot design, but that problem, they say, would have affected all voters equally.

A representative from the Buchanan campaign was not available late Tuesday to comment on the Sentinel analysis. But earlier this week, Republicans said Jennings was attempting to accomplish in court what she couldn't do at the polls.

"Christine Jennings is once again allowing her own personal ambitions and the radical political agendas of liberal third-party groups to hijack the democratic process," GOP state Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan said. "The votes have now been counted three times, once on Election Day and twice since then in state-mandated recounts; yet Christine Jennings will not step forward and do what is right for the voters of the 13th Congressional District, which is to concede."

A Jennings spokesman said the results of the Sentinel analysis are consistent with what the Democrats have been saying all along.

"That reflects what we've seen anecdotally," David Kochman said. "The overwhelming majority of reports of voters having problems say they were trying to vote for Christine Jennings. It's nearly unanimous."

A representative from the Buchanan campaign was not available Tuesday night.

'Potentially a test case'

A judge, meanwhile, refused to speed up testing set for next week on Sarasota's touch-screen machines after a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Circuit Judge William Gary rejected a motion to do the testing today. He put Jennings' challenge on a fast track, but not as quick as she wanted, by giving election officials 15 days to complete testing of machines used in Sarasota County.

Jennings' attorney, Kendall Coffey, urged Gary to resolve the case before the next session of Congress begins Jan. 3 and told him the case had national implications.

"These questions about the reliability of these computerized voting systems are asked not just here but throughout the country," Coffey said. "This is indeed potentially a test case for the nation."

Gary sided with lawyers for state and local election officials and Buchanan, who asked for more time to make sure it is done right. The testing is set for next Tuesday as part of a state audit.

The results of the election are also being challenged by four advocacy groups: the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, Voter Action and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Sean Holton and Katy Moore of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Wire services also were used. Jim Stratton can be reached at jstratton@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5379.
Copyright © 2006, Orlando Sentinel

23 Nov 2006 @ 18:01 by vaxen : And...
in the meanwhile it's ''business as usual.'' The other 60 percent, or so, of us who will not vote for any of these traitors have returned to the 'Republic.'' In fact we have instantiated a new government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Stop voting! Your votes do NOT matter in the least!

The ''TWO'' parties are simply two aspects of a very corrupt coin that has been moldering for a few centuries. Maybe your 'voting' time would be better spent researchiing just who it is that 'owns' the Federal Reserve. They are your ''wannabee'' masters and to all intents and purposes they've got you by the scruff of the neck. They'll look so good at the end of that yardarm. Hell, we could hangem all for the price of a few bags of peanuts. You think that that is NOT the direction we are going in? Be patient. Wait and watch the 'White House (what a phracking hoax) and all its' minions implode!'

Thanks for the cartoon, jazzolog (Kathy) and I hope your thanksgiving has been full of thanks for the wonderful fascist police state you call America or the United States or the united States or... well, I got rid of 'Flash' so I must bear the ignominy of not having seen the car-toon but I've a good imagination so...

Here we go loop de loop...

Thanks j  

25 Nov 2006 @ 10:12 by jazzolog : Paul Krugman On The Voting Disaster
When Votes Disappear
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Friday 24 November 2006

You know what really had me terrified on Nov. 7? The all-too-real possibility of a highly suspect result. What would we have done if the Republicans had held on to the House by a narrow margin, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggested that a combination of vote suppression and defective - or rigged - electronic voting machines made the difference?

Fortunately, it wasn't a close election. But the fact that our electoral system worked well enough to register an overwhelming Democratic landslide doesn't mean that things are O.K. There were many problems with voting in this election - and in at least one Congressional race, the evidence strongly suggests that paperless voting machines failed to count thousands of votes, and that the disappearance of these votes delivered the race to the wrong candidate.

Here's the background: Florida's 13th Congressional District is currently represented by Katherine Harris, who as Florida's secretary of state during the 2000 recount famously acted as a partisan Republican rather than a fair referee. This year Ms. Harris didn't run for re-election, making an unsuccessful bid for the Senate instead. But according to the official vote count, the Republicans held on to her seat, with Vern Buchanan, the G.O.P. candidate, narrowly defeating Christine Jennings, the Democrat.

The problem is that the official vote count isn't credible. In much of the 13th District, the voting pattern looks normal. But in Sarasota County, which used touch-screen voting machines made by Election Systems and Software, almost 18,000 voters - nearly 15 percent of those who cast ballots using the machines - supposedly failed to vote for either candidate in the hotly contested Congressional race. That compares with undervote rates ranging from 2.2 to 5.3 percent in neighboring counties.

Reporting by The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, which interviewed hundreds of voters who called the paper to report problems at the polls, strongly suggests that the huge apparent undervote was caused by bugs in the ES&S software.

About a third of those interviewed by the paper reported that they couldn't even find the Congressional race on the screen. This could conceivably have been the result of bad ballot design, but many of them insisted that they looked hard for the race. Moreover, more than 60 percent of those interviewed by The Herald-Tribune reported that they did cast a vote in the Congressional race - but that this vote didn't show up on the ballot summary page they were shown at the end of the voting process.

If there were bugs in the software, the odds are that they threw the election to the wrong candidate. An Orlando Sentinel examination of other votes cast by those who supposedly failed to cast a vote in the Congressional race shows that they strongly favored Democrats, and Mr. Buchanan won the official count by only 369 votes. The fact that Mr. Buchanan won a recount - that is, a recount of the votes the machines happened to record - means nothing.

Although state officials have certified Mr. Buchanan as the victor, they've promised an audit of the voting machines. But don't get your hopes up: as in 2000, state election officials aren't even trying to look impartial. To oversee the audit, the state has chosen as its "independent" expert Prof. Alec Yasinsac of Florida State University - a Republican partisan who made an appearance on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 recount battle wearing a "Bush Won" sign.

Ms. Jennings has now filed suit with the same court, demanding a new election. She deserves one.

But for the nation as a whole, the important thing isn't who gets seated to represent Florida's 13th District. It's whether the voting disaster there leads to legislation requiring voter verification and a paper trail.

And I have to say that the omens aren't good. I've been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as we're ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid - and most Americans probably haven't even heard about it.

As far as I can tell, the reason Florida-13 hasn't become a major national story is that neither control of Congress nor control of the White House is on the line. But do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis to realize that we're in danger of becoming a digital-age banana republic?

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

25 Nov 2006 @ 16:51 by Quinty @ : I couldn't agree more
with Krugman.

Simply because the waters weren't greatly ruffled this time doesn't mean there may not be a flood next time. Diebold's potential for tampering hasn't disappeared or lessened simply because the overall results of the election weren't greatly effected this year. Wait until 2008.

And then of course there are all the karl Roves, whose ingenuity isn't limited only to electronics.  

25 Nov 2006 @ 19:32 by vaxen : Expensive Ignorance
It is not a surprise that a survey of 14,000 college freshmen and seniors reveals an unacceptable level of ignorance about the nation's history, economics and its place in the world.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute authorized the survey, which was conducted by the University of Connecticut's political-science department. In a random sampling, students from 50 colleges and universities were given a 60-question test with multiple-choice answers. The results were dismal.

Despite being at war with Iraq, 45 percent couldn't identify the Baath Party as the main source of support for Saddam Hussein. Incredibly, nearly 6 percent said it was Israel!

Some 75 percent couldn't identify the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine, and nearly 50 percent didn't recognize the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. And so on.

This was not a trick quiz, and these were not poor students from slum schools. Some of the most expensive colleges and universities in the country were included, and their students did not fare well.

I think this is a residue of the 1960s and 1970s. If you ever wondered where the Vietnam Era's anti-war demonstrators and hippies went, the answer is to universities and media offices. They were of a mind that it is more important to knock America than to explain it, but education should be about explanation, not polemics or politics.

It's my belief that if people don't understand the South, including the Confederacy and Reconstruction, then they don't understand America. If you've been taught that it was a civil war, which is a misnomer, that it was "all about slavery," then you've been robbed of the knowledge of the most important phase of American history next to the Revolution.

Some perceptive historians have called that period America's French Revolution. It was a clear break from the constitutional republic to a nationalistic government, which became, as predicted, an empire.


27 Nov 2006 @ 19:35 by vaxen : Oops...
Heya! FInally found something to fill this blank space with! Something which may inspire you if that, indeed, is possible.

The People of the US versus G.W.Bush. Hypothetical, true, but the lady is a Federal prosecuter (or was) and her indictment is real though the 'book' be ''fiction.'' But hey so is every single Corporation on the face of planet earth a 'legal fiction!' And that's where we get em pard! Keep up the good work, jazzolog, and may the wind be always at your
Carpe Illusionem!

My third goal is to send the message home – to whomever will listen. And this is it:

The President has committed fraud.

It is a crime in the legal, not merely the colloquial, sense.

It is far worse than Enron.

It is not a victimless crime.

We cannot shrug our shoulders and walk away.

Why? Because We Are All Kitty Genovese's Neighbors

As an Assistant U. S. Attorney in Minneapolis, a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force in San Jose, and Chief of the San Jose Branch U.S. Attorney's Office, I prosecuted all manner of criminal cases. There were bank embezzlements, government frauds, violent takeover robberies, piloting a commercial passenger flight while under the influence – the pilot had had twenty rum and (diet) Cokes and four hours' sleep before takeoff – and investment frauds, to name a few.


PS: I might add that you cannot blame one man for the sins of a whole stinking nation! This is NOT adictatorship no matter how much the idiot masses would like to believe that it is in order to excuse their own 'culpability!' We are ALL guilty as citizens of this (wannabe) Empire!  

28 Nov 2006 @ 20:52 by vaxen : And...
Man burns himself to Death In Anti War protest

By Associated Press

11/05/06 -- -CHICAGO (AP) -- Malachi Ritscher envisioned his death as one full of purpose. He carefully planned the details, mailed a copy of his apartment key to a friend, created to-do lists for his family. On his Web site, the 52-year-old experimental musician who'd fought with depression even penned his obituary.

At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 -- four days before an election caused a seismic shift in Washington politics -- Ritscher, a frequent anti-war protester, stood by an off-ramp in downtown Chicago near a statue of a giant flame, set up a video camera, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire. "Here is the statement I want to make. ... "If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."

"This man killed himself in such a painful way ... to get our attention...," said Jennifer Diaz, a grad student researching Ritscher's life. "I'm not going to sit by, and I can't sit by, and let this go unheard."


29 Nov 2006 @ 09:39 by vaxen : Dead Space?
* Voting serves only to lend a patina of legitimacy to tyranny. People ruled by a democracy will put up with abuses they would never tolerate from a dictator, because they labor under the false beliefs that "we are the government" and that the mere fact of being allowed to vote for new rulers every few years means they are free.
* The bottom line: in all of human history, no people has ever voted themselves free.  

1 Dec 2006 @ 01:08 by jazzolog : Feinstein To Tackle American Voting
Yes, I suppose we must be dubious. Congress has been so detestable, but I must remember how those of us who squawked about voting irregularities were branded whiners and sore losers and how our worries about hacking were equated with tinfoil hats and alien invasions. Allow us slight elation please with this news~~~

Article published Nov 30, 2006

Congress to look at voting problems

Sarasota's voting controversy has given new life to election reform advocates in Congress, prompting the incoming leader of the House to make the issue a top priority for the new year and triggering hearings in the U.S. Senate.

More than being just a battle over who won the 13th Congressional District, officials on Capitol Hill say what happened in Sarasota has wider implications for the nation, giving a more substantive edge to what previously was mostly a theoretical debate over the reliability of touchscreen voting machines.

"What happened in Sarasota really does highlight the issue," said Howard Gantman, communications director for U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat from California who is already vowing to hold hearings on the voting issues early in 2007.

With Democrats winning control of the House and Senate this year, Feinstein is in line to become the chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal election regulations.

Gantman said he is certain Sarasota officials will be called in to testify.

Feinstein also intends to re-introduce legislation in the new year to require all voting systems to have verifiable paper trails, Gantman said.

In the House, two members have called for new legislation mandating paper trails and a spokesman for incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the issue is high on her agenda for the new Congress. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said what happened in Sarasota underscores why the need for paper trails will be a priority for the speaker-elect.

The national attention on the voting machines and the upcoming hearings on the matter are critical if the public is to be reassured that the machines can be trusted for the 2008 presidential elections, said Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Congress needs to find out exactly what happened to the 18,000 undervotes in the 13th District race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings. Buchanan was certified the winner by 369 votes, but the unusually high undervote has prompted Jennings to challenge the results in court.

"We need to know what happened to those 18,000 votes," Sabato said.

But while Democrats are pushing for reforms, it doesn't mean they are anxious to inject themselves into the legal dispute between Jennings and Buchanan.

Federal law gives Pelosi, as House Speaker, the power to seat Jennings over Buchanan, citing the disputed election. But political experts say such a move would be toxic politically for her relationship with the GOP.

When Democrats sat a Democrat over a Republican in a disputed election in the early 1980s, the bad will from the move lingered for years afterward and made it hard for the parties to work on anything, said former U.S. Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y.

Sabato said he doubts Pelosi would want to start the Democrats' first week in power in a dozen years in such a partisan way.

Pelosi's spokesman said the California Democrat is watching the legal process in Sarasota, but isn't prepared to comment further on what she will do on Jan. 4, the first day of the new Congress.

Although Sen. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, was a supporter of Jennings, his staff says the issue is bigger than who won the Jennings-Buchanan contest. Nelson has already signed on to help Feinstein and has offered to testify before her committee when it revs up in early 2006.

"There is a broader issue here," said Bryan Gulley, a Nelson spokesman. "There were 18,000 undervotes. How can this be? What needs to be done to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Republicans aren't dismissing the call for reform outright even though they are fighting for Buchanan to hold the seat in Congress. U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, is willing to "take a look" at the reform measures, but isn't ready to commit one way or the other, said his spokesman, Ken Lundberg.

Even before election day, Feinstein was trying to bring attention to the problems with touchscreen voting. Based partly on some of the early problems that were reported in Sarasota during early voting and a handful of other states, Feinstein put out a statement to the media warning of bigger problems to come.

"It is imperative that Congress does everything it can to help ensure that votes cast by American citizens are recorded accurately," Feinstein said in a statement on Oct. 27, the end of the first week of early voting in Florida.

Sarasota could prove to be the "canary in the mineshaft," for the nation, Sabato said.

He also said if investigators can pin down what happened with the undervote it will help reassure voters who will still be using the machines in some counties and around the nation in 2008 if Congress can't act fast enough.

Jeremy Wallace can be reached at 361-4966 or jeremy.wallace@ heraldtribune.com.

1 Dec 2006 @ 05:14 by vaxen : Congress...
IS the voting problem, jazzolog.  

1 Dec 2006 @ 17:24 by Quinty @ : Let's hope that changes,
Vax, at least for the better. But that was a witty comment.

And todays {link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/30/AR200611300163|Washington Post} is reporting:

Security of Electronic Voting Is Condemned
By Cameron W. Barr
The Washington Post

Friday 01 December 2006

Paper systems should be included, agency says.

Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the US Election Assistance Commission.

The assessment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the government's premier research centers, is the most sweeping condemnation of such voting systems by a federal agency.

In a report hailed by critics of electronic voting, NIST said that voting systems should allow election officials to recount ballots independently from a voting machine's software. The recommendations endorse "optical-scan" systems in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by a computer and electronic systems that print a paper summary of each ballot, which voters review and elections officials save for recounts.

Voters in Maryland cast ballots on electronic machines that produce no paper record of each vote; in the District and Loudoun County, voters can choose between using such machines and optical-scan systems. Other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, and many counties across the state, use electronic voting systems exclusively.

NIST's recommendations are to be debated next week before the Technical Guidelines Development Committee, charged by Congress to develop standards for voting systems. To become effective, NIST's recommendations must then be adopted by the Election Assistance Commission, which was created by Congress to promote changes in election systems after the 2000 debacle in Florida.

If the commission agrees with NIST, the practical impact may not be felt until 2009 or 2010, the soonest that new standards would be implemented. The standards that the Election Assistance Commission will adopt are voluntary, but most states require election officials to deploy voting systems that meet national or federal criteria.

State election officials in Maryland and Virginia declined to comment yesterday on the NIST report, which they were reviewing.

Alice P. Miller, executive director of the District's Board of Elections and Ethics, said through a spokesman that she would not comment because she is a member of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee.

NIST says in its report that the lack of a paper trail for each vote "is one of the main reasons behind continued questions about voting system security and diminished public confidence in elections." The report repeats the contention of the computer security community that "a single programmer could 'rig' a major election."

Fears about rigging have animated critics for years, but there has been no conclusive evidence that such fraud has occurred. Electronic voting systems have had technical problems - including unpredictable screen freezes - leaving voters wondering whether their ballots were properly recorded.

Computer scientists and others have said that the security of electronic voting systems cannot be guaranteed and that election officials should adopt systems that produce a paper record of each vote in case of a recount. The NIST report embraces that critique, introducing the concept of "software independence" in voting systems.

NIST says that voting systems should not rely on a machine's software to provide a record of the votes cast. Some electronic voting system manufacturers have introduced models that include printers to produce a separate record of each vote - and that can be verified by a voter before leaving the machine - but such paper trails have had their own problems.

Printers have jammed or otherwise failed, causing some election directors to question whether a paper trail is an improvement. Maryland state elections administrator Linda Lamone, in an undated video snippet that her critics have circulated on the Internet, says that voter verification is unnecessary. "I'm not going to put this paper on my machines - it'll be over my dead body, because I just don't think it works. It really is a false sense of security," she said.

For critics of paperless electronic voting, the report is vindication. "I think I got it right," said Aviel Rubin, a Johns Hopkins University computer scientist who has long questioned the security and reliability of some electronic voting systems.

Linda Schade, a founder of TrueVoteMD, which has pressed for a system that provides a verifiable paper record of each vote, said, "These strong statements from a credible institution such as NIST add yet another voice to the consensus that paper electronic voting as used in states like MD is not secure. We hope that the [Election Assistance Commission] formally adopts these improved standards."

Even critics of paperless electronic voting have grown disenchanted with the practical problems of adding printers to electronic "touch-screen" voting machines.

"Why are we doing this at all? is the question people are asking," said Warren Stewart, policy director of VoteTrustUSA, a group critical of electronic voting systems. "We have a perfectly good system - the paper-ballot optical-scan system."


2 Dec 2006 @ 11:20 by jazzolog : I Might Add
the comments that follow the Post article are particularly hot.


Also, the link Quinty has there didn't take me to the article, so here is the one I used~~~


Thank you Paul, I was going to put that article up here too.  

2 Dec 2006 @ 16:51 by quinty : Getting it right.

In Rhode Island we have these cardboard sheets. The type is large and easy to read. The layout is simple and clear. Two halfs of an arrow point toward the name of each candidate. With a special thick black pen the voter connects the two halfs to chose a candidate. Very simple. When through the voter takes the cardboard sheet to a machine and slips it in. The machine reads the vote.

If there are any questions following the election the voting sheets are still available. No hanging chads or votes which are difficult to interpret. Though, of course, if the voter is intent on screwing up he can probably succeed. Such as voting for two or three people.

Simple receipts are no good. The ballot itself has to be marked. A computer, as anyone who is at all computer literate should know, can record a vote one way and print out a receipt another way. Voters may leave their receipts behind them. They may throw them in the trash. The receipts can easily get lost and if a recount requiring paper is needed the total receipts will not be at all complete or representative.

A vote has to be tangible, visible, and reasonably permanent. Computers can not provide any of that. We may as well vote by marking water.  

3 Dec 2006 @ 04:35 by vaxen : Oh...
computers can provide all of that and more but not to those who must needs remain puppets and marionettes. Bush dances but it is we who call the tune. Waking up is hard to do but do that you must. It is a simple matter of a trust set in stone so very long ago.

Free yourselves from the delusions created by us, for the end of time, your time, fast approaches. The writing is on the wall but I'm afraid you just can't see it let alone be it. That task is not for you.

The enemy formula must be applied and applied well by none other than you. Are you up to the task? It was set for you before this world ever was. And before this world ever was... I am.

Rest in peace, then, warriors...
For your souls are mine...
From before time was.

We are for ever.
Ever is?
A Mary begot!

From 17 to 33

All's done telepathically
Nagalfari rides the waves
Of that infinite sea
So gallant

Bold prowed
Silver keeled
With all the heels
Of the dead and dying

Between the spaces
Set by dawn and dusk
A peculiar musk
A stench divine

Which calleth forth
That mighty wolf of Eld
Rising from the Fens'
Exalted mire

With healing in his wings
Dealing forth that blow
That ends all blows
Enchantment's dreaming

This world is one
We will it so
Thus do I remain
13 and blessed



Ra, the sun god?



My initials.
Not my Minervals.
An oblique attempt at copyright
Because copylefting is so...
In vogue.

In the end, then, shalt thou find
Yet another new be-ginning...

Gin that be!

Forward! Ho!

Luv ya, bro.  

4 Dec 2006 @ 09:48 by jazzolog : An Original RA Poem
I'm honored for the contribution just above. Thank you Vax. If only all such computer mysteries could metamorphose into a poem! Perhaps to a hacker geek the accomplishment of an election win IS a poem. And now back to our attempts to vote...  

4 Dec 2006 @ 23:38 by Quinty @ : Stodgily treading
on earth

Without a sense of poetry

of the Divine

Or of anything necessarily but a baking sun

Beating upon our heads

I would like to merely say -

"Waking up is hard to do..."

But does it have to be into your dream?  

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