"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Monday, September 8, 2008

Let’s Impeach Them All: MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Palin, Bush, Cheney, E-Voting, Fannie, Freddie, Paulson, Bernanke, Congress, And Any Other Political Rodents That Come To Mind Crawling Around In The DC Garbage Heap! Shut The Nation Down And They’ll Be Forced To Change.

MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts From Anchor Seat
Published: September 7, 2008

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.

The change — which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle — is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel’s perceived shift to the political left.

“The most disappointing shift is to see the partisan attitude move from prime time into what’s supposed to be straight news programming,” said Davidson Goldin, formerly the editorial director of MSNBC and a co-founder of the reputation management firm Dolce Goldin.

Executives at the channel’s parent company, NBC Universal, had high hopes for MSNBC’s coverage of the political conventions. Instead, the coverage frequently descended into on-air squabbles between the anchors, embarrassing some workers at NBC’s news division, and quite possibly alienating viewers. Although MSNBC nearly doubled its total audience compared with the 2004 conventions, its competitive position did not improve, as it remained in last place among the broadcast and cable news networks. In prime time, the channel averaged 2.2 million viewers during the Democratic convention and 1.7 million viewers during the Republican convention.

The success of the Fox News Channel in the past decade along with the growth of political blogs have convinced many media companies that provocative commentary attracts viewers and lures Web browsers more than straight news delivered dispassionately.

“In a rapidly changing media environment, this is the great philosophical debate,” Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said in a telephone interview Saturday. Fighting the ratings game, he added, “the bottom line is that we’re experiencing incredible success.”

But as the past two weeks have shown, that success has a downside. When the vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin lamented media bias during her speech, attendees of the Republican convention loudly chanted “NBC.”

In interviews, 10 current and former staff members said that long-simmering tensions between MSNBC and NBC reached a boiling point during the conventions. “MSNBC is behaving like a heroin addict,” one senior staff member observed. “They’re living from fix to fix and swearing they’ll go into rehab the next week.”

The employee, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because the network does not permit it people to speak to the media without authorization. (The New York Times and NBC News have a content-sharing arrangement exclusively for political coverage.)

Mr. Olbermann, a 49-year-old former sportscaster, has become the face of the more aggressive MSNBC, and the lightning rod for much of the criticism. His program “Countdown,” now a liberal institution, was created by Mr. Olbermann in 2003 but it found its voice in his gnawing dissent regarding the Bush administration, often in the form of “special comment” segments.

As Mr. Olbermann raised his voice, his ratings rose as well, and he now reaches more than one million viewers a night, a higher television rating than any other show in the troubled 12-year history of the network. As a result, his identity largely defines MSNBC. “They have banked the entirety of the network on Keith Olbermann,” one employee said.

In January, Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews, the host of “Hardball,” began co-anchoring primary night coverage, drawing an audience that enjoyed the pair’s “SportsCenter”-style show. While some critics argued that the assignment was akin to having the Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly anchor on election night — something that has never happened — MSNBC insisted that Mr. Olbermann knew the difference between news and commentary.

But in the past two weeks, that line has been blurred. On the final night of the Republican convention, after MSNBC televised the party’s video “tribute to the victims of 9/11,” including graphic footage of the World Trade Center attacks, Mr. Olbermann abruptly took off his journalistic hat.

“I’m sorry, it’s necessary to say this,” he began. After saying that the video had exploited the memories of the dead, he directly apologized to viewers who were offended. Then, sounding like a network executive, he said it was “probably not appropriate to be shown.”

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Olbermann said that moment — and the perception that he is “not utterly neutral” — restarted months-old conversations about his role on political nights.

“I found it ironic and instructive that I could have easily said exactly what I did say, exactly when I did say it, if I had been wearing a different hat, and nobody would have taken any issue,” he said.

“Countdown” will still be shown before the three fall debates and a second edition will be shown sometime afterwards, following the program anchored by Mr. Gregory.

The change casts new doubt on what some staff members believe is an effective programming strategy: prime-time talk of a liberal sort. A like-minded talk show will now follow “Countdown” at 9 p.m.: “The Rachel Maddow Show,” hosted by the liberal radio host, begins Monday.

Mr. Griffin, MSNBC’s president, denies that it has an ideology. “I think ideology means we think one way, and we don’t,” he said. Rather than label MSNBC’s prime time as left-leaning, he says it has passion and point of view.

But MSNBC is the cable arm of NBC News, the dispassionate news division of NBC Universal. MSNBC, “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” share some staff members, workspace and content. And some critics are claiming they also share a political affiliation.

The McCain campaign has filed letters of complaint to the news division about its coverage and openly tied MSNBC to it. Tension between the network and the campaign hit an apex the day Mr. McCain announced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. MSNBC had reported Friday morning that Ms. Palin’s plane was enroute to the announcement and she was likely the pick. But McCain campaign officials warned the network off, with one official going so far as to say that all of the candidates on the short list were on their way — which MSNBC then reported.

“The fact that it was reported in real time was very embarrassing,” said a senior MSNBC official. “We were told, ‘No, it’s not Sarah Palin and you don’t know who it is.’ ”

Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, the past and present anchors of “NBC Nightly News,” have told friends and colleagues that they are finding it tougher and tougher to defend the cable arm of the news division, even while they anchored daytime hours of convention coverage on MSNBC and contributed commentary each evening.

Mr. Williams did not respond to a request for comment and Mr. Brokaw declined to comment. At a panel discussion in Denver, Mr. Brokaw acknowledged that Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews had “gone too far” at times, but emphasized they were “not the only voices” on MSNBC, according to The Washington Post.

Al Hunt, the executive Washington bureau chief of Bloomberg News, said that the entire news division was being singled out by Republicans because of the work of partisans like Mr. Olbermann. “To go and tar the whole news network and Brokaw and Mitchell is grossly unfair,” he said, referring to the NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

Some tensions have spilled out on-screen. On the first night in Denver, as the fellow MSNBC host Joe Scarborough talked about the resurgence of the McCain campaign, Mr. Olbermann dismissed it by saying: “Jesus, Joe, why don’t you get a shovel?”

The following night, Mr. Olbermann and his co-anchor for convention coverage, Mr. Matthews, had their own squabble after Mr. Olbermann observed that Mr. Matthews had talked too long.

Some staff members said the tension led to the network’s decision to keep Mr. Olbermann in New York for the Republican convention, after he ran the desk in Denver during the Democratic convention. MSNBC said that he stayed in New York to anchor coverage of Hurricane Gustav. But some workers say there were other reasons — namely, that Mr. Olbermann was concerned about his safety in St. Paul, given the loud crowds at MSNBC’s set in Denver.

NBC Universal executives are also known to be concerned about the perception that MSNBC’s partisan tilt in prime time is bleeding into the rest of the programming day. On a recent Friday afternoon, a graphic labeled “Breaking News” asked: “How many houses does Palin add to the Republican ticket?” Mr. Griffin called the graphic “an embarrassment.”

According to three staff members, Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal, and Steve Capus, president of NBC News, considered flying to the Republican convention in Minnesota last week to address the lingering tensions.

Up to now, the company’s public support for MSNBC’s strategy has been enthusiastic. At an anniversary party for Mr. Olbermann in April, Mr. Zucker called “Countdown” “one of the signature brands of the entire company.”

Just last year, Mr. Olbermann signed a four-year, $4-million-a-year contract with MSNBC. NBC is close to supplementing that contract with Mr. Olbermann, extending his deal through 2013 — and ensuring that he will be on MSNBC through the next election.

Democratic lawmakers vowed to closely scrutinize the unprecedented government takeover Sunday of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while Republicans said it bolstered their calls for an overhaul of the mortgage giants.

“There are still many unanswered questions about the administration’s plan, and Americans deserve to know if this unprecedented proposal will help keep mortgages affordable, stabilize the markets, and protect taxpayer interests,” said Senate Banking Chairman Christopher J. Dodd , D-Conn., adding that he would ask the architects of the plan to appear before his panel in coming days. “Furthermore, we need to understand the circumstances which led the administration to change course. Just weeks ago, [Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. ] testified that he thought he would never use this authority — a message he reiterated until very recently.”

Treasury’s intervention gave ammunition to critics of Fannie and Freddie on Capitol Hill, who said an overhaul of the “government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) was long overdue.

“Had we acted earlier, we could have avoided our current situation,” said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee and, like Dodd, a sponsor of the law under which the Bush administration acted. “Now that the old structure has failed, and the Treasury Department has intervened to temporarily shore up the GSEs, we now need to begin a vigorous debate about the future of these entities and the role of government in our private housing market.”

The Bush administration put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship on Sunday. Under the leadership of the Treasury Department, the government will also funnel up to $200 billions of new capital into the companies to help them survive future mortgage-related losses. As part of a landmark new housing law (PL 110-289), Congress granted Treasury’s request for new powers to buy equity and make loans to Fannie and Freddie.

Paulson said the two mortgage financiers will be forced to shrink by 10 percent each year after 2009, until the portfolio of each is down to $250 billion, to address “systemic risk.” The Bush administration has long argued that the two companies present a threat to the overall economy because of their massive mortgage holdings, debt obligations and relatively small capitalization.

By moving to wind down Fannie’s and Freddie’s massive holdings — the two companies hold more than $5 trillion in debt and other financial obligations — Paulson appears to favor a substantial reduction of their role in the market. But it will be up to Congress to decide their ultimate fate. (MORE)

There is an email circulating now with comments from women in response to the candidacy of Sarah Palin. I have taken an intense dislike to Sarah Palin- to the positions she stands for and to the woman herself. Perhaps it is the hypocrisy of telling me to live her family values while not respecting mine. I hate that. Or maybe it’s the simple fact that she authorized the senseless, inhumane practice of shooting defenseless wolves from helicopters. Or that she doesn’t care much about polar bears, who, when last seen, were drowning in the Arctic Ocean whose ice caps have melted substantially during the last 2 summers. The poor polar bears were seen trying to swim 400 miles towards the next land surface. (see Sat NY Times op-ed September 6, 2008). Anyway, this is my addition to that email of other like-minded women:

1. As a radio host, I have spoken my views publicly on programs September 5, 2008 and September 6, 2008, which will be uploaded soon on www.livewithlisaradio.com.

2. I believed that I would like Sarah Palin before she spoke- that although I would disagree with her views, I would like her. However, when you think about the twin nicknames she has garnered- Sarah Barracuda and Miss Congeniality, they are really at odds with one another. You can’t be both a barracuda and congenial at the same time. What we saw at the convention was the barracuda.

3. What troubles me most about the candidacy of Ms. Palin is not that she privately acts according to her own beliefs; it is that her private beliefs become a matter of public policy once she attains office. By trying to decide what books are available for me to read, she shows a complete disregard of the first amendment.

By belittling the efforts of good people to ensure that citizens and detainees are read their rights when arrested, she shows her contempt for our sixth amendment.

By insisting that sexual education be banned in schools, she deprives my children and yours of knowledge that is essential to understanding their reproductive choices.

The consequence of ignorance of those choices is found in hospital wards all over the world- aids, STDs, cervical viruses that result in cancer, unwanted children, and abortions.

By trying to equate creationism with evolution, she disregards the separation of church and state which is the cornerstone of religious freedom and tolerance in our nation.

By choosing to ignore the overwhelming evidence that human conduct is responsible for climate change, she allows herself the freedom to refuse to make the changes that are necessary to confront drastic changes in our environment, our weather, and our animal, plant and marine ecologies.

I find myself angry that Sarah Palin is being given this historic opportunity to represent women when they walk into the voting booth. I am praying, fervently, that both men and women will see that merely being a woman does not suffice. We are all voting for candidates based on who they are and what they stand for, and she certainly does not represent me.

Sarah Palin, A One Way Street Vindictive Personality My Way Or The Highway

Palin Red and Blue, Agree Or Screw You

Sarah Palin ready to lead?

I’m Not Impressed; In Fact I’m Turned Off

Trooper Gate Spreading, Changing

Palin Less Upset by Alaska's Other 'Bridge to Nowhere'
By Mike Christensen, CQ Staff

There is more than one “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ’s past.

Most everyone by now has heard the story of how Palin canceled a $400 million bridge in the small coastal town of Ketchikan in order to save the federal government money, although the year before, while campaigning for governor, she had been all for the project. Some Republicans have adjusted to the revelations by presenting Palin as a “reformed earmarker.”

But there is a second bridge, more than twice as expensive and just as controversial, that Palin has expressed concern about but hasn’t tried to kill off. That project, the Knik Arm bridge, is in Anchorage near her hometown of Wasilla, and its construction would both improve commuting and aid the development of the Matanuska-Susitna, or Mat-Su, Valley where Palin lives.

“Growing up out there in the valley, I’ve always shared that vision with others that we would have that physical linkage with the municipality of Anchorage,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News in June. “And I am such a proponent of muscled-up infrastructure in Alaska in general and, you know, beefing up our infrastructure.”

Worried about the growing cost of the bridge, though, and who would pay for it, Palin has called for a review of the project, and the state transportation department this summer sought an independent estimate of the cost before going further. The department tried, but its request for proposals drew one response, which was later withdrawn. Department officials say they have not decided whether to try again.

The history of the two bridge projects also shows that Palin halted the Ketchikan bridge and is reviewing the Anchorage span because the federal government was no longer likely to foot the entire bill — not because she worried that Washington was spending too much.

By the time Palin was sworn in as governor last year, Republicans had lost control of Congress, and Alaska’s delegation had lost some of its clout. Rep. Don Young , who had engineered the budget earmarks for both bridges in 2005, was no longer chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Sen. Ted Stevens had given up his chairmanship of Appropriations. Since then, Stevens has been indicted on federal charges of failing to report gifts, and Young is under investigation for his ties to an oil services company.

The Knik Arm bridge, Palin said in her June interview, “was a project that so many had counted on receiving fully federal funding of it, with Don Young ’s position formerly as chair of Transportation. You know it was assumed that the feds would be paying for the project. Well, things have changed there on the federal front, haven’t they?”

Alaska is heavily dependent on federal aid and notably reluctant to build such projects for itself. State and local politicians, for instance, have tried since the 1950s to connect Anchorage with the stretch of coast on the far side of the Knik Arm, but they have been unable to finance the project, now estimated to cost well over $1 billion, or to find a consensus route.

The Alaska legislature created a bridge and toll commission for the project in 2003, hoping that the prospect of toll revenue would attract private investment, but uncertainty over financing and opposition from parts of Anchorage where the road would go have slowed it down.

Because Elmendorf Air Force Base faces the narrowest part of the Knik Arm, the highway would have to make a sharp right turn after crossing the bridge and cut through the Government Hill section of Anchorage, where opposition is fierce.

The two bridges gained national attention in 2005 as the “bridges to nowhere,” iconic examples of the sort of parochial earmarks that influential members of Congress add to legislation to help their home states. Ketchikan, for instance, is a town of 14,000 that has wanted a bridge to nearby Gravina Island, inhabited by about 50 people and an airfield. (MORE)

Impeach Bush News http://www.kucinich.us

Ohio Congressman and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich delivered one of the more rousing and impassioned speeches at last month's Democratic National Convention.

Unfortunately, convention planners didn't grant Kucinich a prime-time slot, effectively denying millions of television viewers the opportunity to hear his urgent plea to "wake up America."

And despite clear enthusiasm for Kucinich's remarks among the assembled delegates (a C-SPAN recording of the speech is available on YouTube) and the subsequent buzz his wakeup call generated in the blogosphere and the alternative press, mainstream media outlets took little notice of Kucinich's speech.

Of course, there's nothing new in all of this. Neither the corporate media nor so-called public service broadcasters give Kucinich much play. Typically, establishment media either ignore Kucinich altogether or portray him as a left-wing extremist whose views cannot be taken seriously. (MORE)

For more information

Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference Planning for the Prosecution of High Level American War CriminalsMassachusetts Law School Andover, Massachusetts September 13-14, 2008

Since the impeachable installation of George W. Bush as President in January of 2001 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Gang of Five, the peoples of the world have witnessed a government in the United States that has demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, and the United States Constitution.

What the world has watched instead is a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by a group of men and women who are thoroughly Machiavellian and Straussian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign policy and domestic affairs.

Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the Bush administration’s foreign policies constitute ongoing criminal activity under well-recognized principles of both international law and U.S. domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the Pentagon’s own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare (1956), all of which apply to President Bush himself as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Depending upon the substantive issues involved, those international crimes typically include but are not limited to the Nuremberg offenses of crimes against peace: For example, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and perhaps their longstanding threatened wars of aggression against Iran and now Pakistan. Their criminal responsibility also concerns Nuremberg crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare: For example, torture at Guantanamo, Bhagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; enforced disappearances, assassinations, murders, kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, “shock and awe,” depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, Fallujah, and the Gitmo kangaroo courts.

Furthermore, various members of the Bush administration have committed numerous inchoate crimes incidental to these substantive offences that under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as paragraph 500 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 are international crimes in their own right: planning and preparation—which they are currently doing today against Iran and Pakistan—solicitation, incitement, conspiracy, complicity, attempt, aiding and abetting.

Finally, according to basic principles of international criminal law set forth in paragraph 501 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, all high level civilian officials and military officers in the U.S. government who either knew or should have known that soldiers or civilians under their control (such as the C.I.A. or private contractors), committed or were about to commit international crimes and failed to take the measures necessary to stop them, or to punish them, or both, are likewise personally responsible for the commission of international crimes.

At the very top of America’s criminal chain-of-command are President Bush and Vice-President Cheney; former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld’s Deputy Paul Wolfowitz; Secretary of State Rice; former Director of National Intelligence Negroponte; National Security Advisor Hadley; his Deputy Elliot Abrams; former U.S. Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzales, criminally responsible for the torture campaign launched by the Bush Jr. administration; and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staffs along with the appropriate Regional Commanders-in-Chief, especially for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

These U.S. government officials and their immediate subordinates are responsible for the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as specified by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as by U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10. Today in international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law and U.S. domestic law because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany.

Of course the terrible irony of today’s situation is that six decades ago at Nuremberg the U.S. government participated in the prosecution, punishment and execution of Nazi government officials for committing some of the same types of heinous international crimes that the members of the Bush administration currently inflict upon people all over the world. To be sure, I personally oppose the imposition of capital punishment upon any human being for any reason no matter how monstrous their crimes, whether they be Bush Jr., Tony Blair, or Saddam Hussein.

As a consequence, American citizens possess the basic right under international law and United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism. Today’s civil resisters are the sheriffs! The Bush administration officials are the outlaws!

We American citizens must reaffirm our commitment to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles by holding our government officials fully accountable under international law and U.S. domestic law for the commission of such grievous international and domestic crimes. We must not permit any aspect of our foreign affairs and defense policies to be conducted by acknowledged “war criminals” according to the U.S. government’s own official definitions of that term as set forth in the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, the U.S. War Crimes Act, the Four Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations.

The American people must insist upon the impeachment, dismissal, resignation, indictment, conviction, and long-term incarceration of all U.S. government officials guilty of such heinous international and domestic crimes. If not so restrained, the Bush administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.

In this regard, during the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, President Bush Jr. terrorized the entire world with the threat of World War III if he could not work his illegal will upon Iran. It is my opinion that the Bush administration is fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against Muslim and Arab states and peoples in order to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 the United States of America has vilified and demonized Muslims and Arabs almost to the same extent that America inflicted upon the Japanese and Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor.

As the Nazis had previously demonstrated with respect to the Jews, a government must first dehumanize and scapegoat a race of people before its citizens will tolerate if not approve their elimination: witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In post -9/11 America we are directly confronted with the prospect of a nuclear war of extermination conducted by our White Racist Judeo-Christian Power Elite against Peoples of Color in the Muslim and Arab worlds in order to steal their oil and gas. The Crusades all over again. But this time nuclear Armageddon stares all of humankind right in the face!

We American lawyers must be inspired by the stunning example set by those heroic Pakistani lawyers who led the successful struggle against the brutal Bush-supported Musharraf military dictatorship in Pakistan. We American lawyers must now lead the fight against the Bush dictatorship and empire!
This is our Nuremberg Moment!

Thank you.

Francis A. Boyle is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Francis A. Boyle

Prepare to dare or prepare to despairBy Jonathan Schwarz Impeachment right away: Only a small minority of the American public -- even of informed, activist liberals -- understands that the Constitution provides for impeachment of officials after they've left office, not just for sitting ...A Tiny Revolution - http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/

September 8, 2008 (Computerworld) Were software patches that didn't fix problems but instead changed results applied to electronic voting machines in two Georgia counties? Were the patches applied at the instruction of a top Diebold executive, without informing local election officials?

This charge has been leveled several times since a rather surprising election in which two Democratic candidates had comfortable leads in polls just before Election Day yet lost by substantial margins.

Of course, there's a strong correlation between your degree of suspicion of those results and which party you support. But we should all be frightened if there's no way to prove that tampering didn't occur. And when voting machines are electronic, paperless and proprietary, it's all but impossible to do a recount or check for errors in a way that can uncover a malicious hack (or honest mistake). Tech professionals across the political spectrum should be unhappy with that kind of system.

Election consultant Chris Hood told Rolling Stone magazine that he was working for Diebold in Georgia in 2002 when the head of the company's election division arrived to distribute a patch to workers. That code was applied to only about 5,000 machines in two counties. Hood says it was an unauthorized patch that was kept hidden from state officials. (Diebold says the state approved the update, although state officials have since asked for more information on the patch's effect.)

The Georgia allegations are disturbing but, sadly, not unique. An attorney and IT security consultant last month cited that incident to renew challenges to 2004 Ohio elections, which had a similar mix of paperless Diebold machines and statistically curious results.

In Alabama, questions linger about a supposed "glitch" that caused officials to change the winner of the governor's race six years ago; a research paper presented to the Alabama Political Science Association later described the new, changed results as statistically "anomalous" and outlined a possible scenario of vote-counting fraud.

Paper isn't perfect, as Florida's "hanging chad" fiasco of 2000 painfully demonstrated. And paper systems aren't necessarily 100% secure; it's certainly possible to destroy or alter paper ballots locally. But unprecedented statewide and even nationwide tampering with elections is theoretically possible when a company controls the counting devices without the independent verification that paper receipts provide.

Without paper ballots, there's no way for candidates -- or voters -- to contest a suspicious result, since each person's action must remain anonymous.

There's a simple answer to all of this: paper ballots that are scanned and counted by machines. Automated ballot counting is much quicker than manual counting, but retallying by hand is still possible should the results be doubted. These systems have the added benefit of being able to easily process large numbers of voters when turnout is unusually high, preventing hours-long waits at polls due to a lack of functioning machines. It's a lot easier to ramp up for an unexpected crowd if all you have to do is hand out more paper ballots.

If election officials insist on an electronic system, they should require a paper printout that voters can verify and deposit in a secure storage area. Those paper ballots can then be counted by hand if need be, and electronic results can be confirmed.

Those of us who vote on paperless machines, whether with touch screens or levers, can never be confident that our votes will be properly submitted, registered and counted. That leaves our elections under perpetual suspicion, whichever candidates prevail.

It's time to outlaw any voting machine that doesn't offer the possibility of a paper-based recount.

Sharon Machlis is the managing editor of Computerworld.com. You can reach her at sharon_machlis@computerworld.com

United We Can Change Anything…Do You Have The Courage To Make A Stand In The Streets?

Are you an animal rights activist? Are the companies responsible usually global in nature? Are you an anti-war activist? Are we in a global-war on terror? Are you a Democrat, did you trust them to impeach or end the war? Or are you or have you ever been a Constitutionalist? 911Truther? Are you a student, tired of over crowded class rooms and increased fees? Tired of your government spending our taxes on endless wars and bombs while our roads, bridges and dams go unfixed. While schools and hospitals are forced to close due to lack of funds. Or are you a pissed off Republican who was promised fiscal responsibilty but got excessive pork instead or promised a different Washington while watching one sex scandal after another erupt in your own party.

Tired of the run around, tired of fighting City Hall? Tired of being lied to?

Our causes are many but now is the time to make our voices as one. From the bright lights in Hong Kong to the truck stops in India. From hospitals in America where patients have died in emergency rooms waiting for hours to be seen, to the blood soaked streets of Palestine, the time is nigh to raise our voices on high tell every King, Dictator and presidential wannabe "Enough is Enough".

Solidarity Forever, The Constant Vigilance Demanded Of Us Again!


Namų Darkytoja said...

War in Iraq was clearly war on oil, and terrorism is a very good cover-up for that. But Bush is clearly too stupid to implement it right - now his nation hates him, and majority of them agrees to impeach him on war crimes ant take him to Hague - http://www.votetheday.com/polls/bush-taken-to-the-hague-for-war-crimes-141/