Say NO to Alito, damn it!

Emergency Action Needed!!!!

NOW is working very hard to be a voice for women’s rights with our Senate leadership and keep the Supreme Court from becoming ultra-conservative. NOW members and activists from around the country have been at NOW headquarters in D.C. working 24/7.

The newspapers say there hasn’t been enough “opposition.” What happens on the Supreme Court is a reflection of either a completely weakened Democratic Party or the will of the American people. It is not looking good for those of us who hold dear the long-fought legal advancements made in women’s, civil and worker’s rights — but there is one last thing you all can do. Get on your phones immediately and call Seantors Schumer and Clinton and tell them to request a “one week delay” of the Judiciary Committee vote. They must be granted this request. It is mandatory that they are granted the delay, just for the asking. Also, tell them that they must not let the democratic leadership allow for a “time certain” vote on the floor.

This is our last chance for a Filibuster. If we can’t get a Filibuster, we will be stuck with Alito on the Supreme Court. The one week delay will give us time to get a Filibuster, but without it, essentially a NO vote is not good enough. Please do this immediately, even though it is the weekend, leave a message on their phone. If their phone are shut off, fax them or email them. Don’t delay. this needs to be done immediately!

Dear Senator Schumer:
Having closely followed the hearings for Samuel Alito’s confirmation, I am writing to ask you to do everything you can to stop his confirmation. I believe his unquestioning support of executive power amounts to extraordinary circumstance. Please request a “one week delay” of the Judiciary Committee vote on Samuel Alito’s nomination; and please do not agree to a “time certain” vote on the floor. In the longer term, please work for a filibuster of Judge Alito’s nomination, and should that fail, please vote “no” on his nomination. Thank you in advance for upholding the Constitution.

Senator Charles Schumer
202-224-6542; 212-486-7693
757 3rd Ave. #1702
NY, NY 10017
schumer.senate.gov (email)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
202-224-4451;212-688-6262
780 3rd Ave. #2601
NY, NY 10017
clinton.senate.gov (email)

NOW-NYC Demonstration at the New York City Democratic National Committee
Take an hour to take a stand!
Let’s send a message to the DNC – Don’t Sell Us Out!
Wednesday, January 18th
12pm, 60 Madison Ave. (between 27th & 28th St.)

We Need You!
212.627.9895

The latest from Pennsylvania

Two important items here from Pennsyvania:

1. An open letter to the governor

2. Announcement of a major rally on Jan. 17


AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR RENDELL, PENNSYLVANIA STATE LEGISLATORS, AND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Dear elected representatives,
Last Thursday, January 12, 2006, Governor Bill Richardson showed true leadership for his stateÕs citizens, in a move we applaud and look for you to emulate. By announcing his plan to introduce legislation next week to make New Mexico an all-verifiable-paper-ballot state, the governor demonstrated bold leadership and a willingness to advocate for a voting system that allows citizens to cast their votes with confidence. We are looking for no less than the same type of leadership from our Pennsylvania officials.
His action will accomplish something extremely important. By mandating the use of optical scan paper ballots in all their state elections, then the documented to be inaccurate, unreliable and insecure touchscreen voting machines that produce no voter-verifiable and auditable paper record will be a thing of the past. His proposal is a great victory for upholding our American democratic principle of voting integrity. The catalyst for his decision was their recent lawsuit filed to restrain officials from purchase of additional problematic touchscreen machines.
We are not alone in protesting machines that do not insure our votes are reliably counted. Our own federal governmentÕs investigative Government Accountability Office (GAO), in its September 2005 report, found that Òelection officials, computer security expertsÉ. and others have raised significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems, citing instances of weak security controls, system design flaws,Éinadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and vague or incomplete standards, among other issuesÉ.The security and reliability concerns raised in recent reports merit the focused attention of federal, state, and local authorities responsible for election administration.Ó
We expect you, as our elected officials and servants of the people, to do your job and put our welfare above those of moneyed corporate interests, who stand to profit from millions of taxpayer dollars. We expect you to avail yourselves of the extensively researched facts concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the voting systems, as directed by our own federal government. In the face of all the huge disadvantages demonstrated by touchscreen machines, the most glaring one being that they are not auditable and no recounts can be done in case of election discrepancies, we are extremely perplexed and greatly alarmed that officials are even considering them. No one, vendors or officials, have demonstrated a willingness to debate the merits of the voting systems.
Follow the lead of our own Senator Conti and Representative Frankel, who both have introduced legislation that would require auditable voter paper ballots (SB 977 and HB 2000). Actively push for those resolutions, and make it happen. We challenge you to do whatÕs best for the people who elected you. Follow Governor Richardson and other governors around the nation who have realized that, after their extremely expensive mistakes concerning initial uses of the electronic machines, theyÕve found the best voting systems to guarantee the integrity of our votes. There is a chance for Pennsylvania to avert the same expensive mistakes. Please stop the insane rush to meet an arbitrary deadline with unprovable voting and questionable machines. We should not be forced to vote on machines which have any doubt as to security and reliability. The only immediate answer until this issue of security can be addressed is a way to verify actual votes, not a facsimile or byte in a computer. We must have verified-voter-paper-ballots now!
Mary Ann Gould
Co-Founder,
Coalition for Voting Integrity

Coalition for Voting Integrity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Coalition for Voting Integrity Announces
An American Patriot Rally to Rededicate Our Democracy
Perkasie, PA Jan 17, 2006 The Coalition for Voting Integrity will sponsor a rally at the Pennridge Central Middle School in Perkasie at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 17 to rededicate our Democracy, defend the principals on which this country was founded and preserve the sanctity of our vote.
The Event

Paul Revere, portrayed by nationally-known 18th century historian and orator, Robert Gerenser, will be the featured speaker as he delivers to the crowd and the citizens of Bucks County a warning of the danger facing our Democracy. “It was my job in the American Revolution to alert the countryside of the imminent attack of the British,” ‘Revere’ said. “Our voting rights are under similar assault today unless we have a transparent voting process that ensures that every vote counts as intended by the voter.”
Other speakers scheduled to participate include Mary Ann Gould, co-founder of the Coalition for Voting Integrity; a former Bucks County Commissioner, who will speak as a representative of the seven former County Commissioners, (both Democrats and Republicans) who signed a resolution supporting the immediate passage of HB 2000 and SB 977, the two voter-verified paper ballot bills currently in the PA state legislature and urged Bucks County to pu
rchase a voting system to a
ccommodate them; and State Senator Joe Conti , author of SB 97, is being invited to discuss his bill requiring voter verified paper ballots. We are awaiting confirmation of his availability to attend.
The theme of the event is that we modern Americans are being asked by our founders to protect the Democracy they established on these shores. Paul Revere will begin his trip to the rally on horseback and end it in a car. A fife and drum will accompany his arrival. Audience members will be invited to participate in a referendum vote, using paper ballots, to either affirm or deny the statement: “I support voter-verifed paper ballots.” In a candlelight ceremony, Paul Revere will pass the torch of freedom and vigilance to present-day Americans. Audience members will be asked to participate and patriotic songs will be sung.
The Message
The message of this rally will be clear:
No Paper. No Proof. No Way!
Politicians are fond of saying that the buck stops here. We the people will let them know that the buck starts here, at the grassroots and that we remember the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves.”
Coalition for Voting Integrity
The CVI is a non-partisan citizens’ action group dedicated to the integrity of our voting system, thus guaranteeing that each and every vote is recorded/counted/reported fully and accurately . . . with proof.
Coalition for Voting Integrity
phone: 215.588.8518

A new way to sniff out election fraud

New Method for Flagging Vote Miscount Released — Specific Type of Statistical Analysis Can Indicate Vote Count Errors in Past and Future Elections

(PRWEB) January 16, 2006 — After over a year of research, the National Election Data Archive (NEDA) has developed a new sophisticated statistical method for indicating whether reported vote counts in any particular election race between two candidates have, or have not, been counted correctly. The method is being made publicly available on the Internet “Vote Miscount or Exit Poll Error? New Mathematical Function for Analyzing Exit Poll Discrepancy”, is publicly available at [this link] and will enable independent analysts to objectively evaluate the validity of any past or future election results…
NEDA will shortly be releasing a report using this analysis method for Ohio’s 2004 presidential election. It will provide striking support for corrupted Ohio vote counts of sufficient magnitude to reverse the outcome of the election. [Emphasis added.]
The National Election Data Archive (NEDA) is a nonprofit organization of statisticians and mathematicians devoted to the accuracy of U.S. vote counts. NEDA is currently seeking support to build a national public election data archive to make detailed precinct-level vote-type election data available for immediate post-election independent analysis of voting patterns.
Lots more really good stuff at MakeThemAccountable.com.
Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com
Philosophical question: If a Bush commits a crime and no one hears about it, has a crime really been committed?

A sharp counterpont from Paul Lehto

And, below that, a reply from Jonathan Simon…

MCM

The biggest thing that makes virtually any conceivable national election upset victory “believable” is saturation negative advertising, making it possible to always believe the democratic candidate was ‘just too damaged’ to win. What’s more, it is considered a truism of politics that, while the public really doesn’t like negative ads, “negative ads work”. That makes it a great cover if in fact an election will be stolen, since negative ads do not by any means indicate that a stolen election is necessarily taking place.

If an election race is a little too far apart in the spread to be comfortably stolen, expect a huge dose of negative ads. Because this is what many candidates would do even if there were no stolen election, this makes it all the better as a cover for a stolen election.

Also, as Moveon noted and complained about last fall regarding Gallup polls, the pollsters are now assuming increasingly unrealistic proportions of republicans vs. Democrats in their ordinary presidential polls, which are adjusted in case the small sample size doesn’t have “enough” women, Republicans, or what have you…. Since pollsters are in the business of predicting ELECTIONS and on selling that “intelligence” information, the polls themselves will drift in the same general direction as stolen elections because they have an economic incentive for doing so, making the stolen elections over time seem closer than they actually are.

(e.g. the polls could have a bias of 5 points because of undersampling of working and poor people who don’t answer phones as much while the election could be stolen by 8 points, leaving a 3 point “gap” we all argue about the significance of when in fact the gap is 8 points, not 3).

—Paul Lehto

Paul–

It’s even more insidious that you imply in your parenthesis immediately above. Because most if not all pollsters have employed the “likely voter cutoff” model in their sampling, voters with say a 50% chance of voting (based on responses to what is generally a slate of seven questions) are cut off entirely, that is excluded from the calculation of the poll’s results. Of course, by definition, half these voters will vote. And of course the votes of these “marginal” voters (less wealthy, less anchored, etc.) will be disproportionately Democratic. Steve Freeman has done an excellent analysis (rejected of course by POQ) that concludes that by excluding all but the most likely voters from their surveys, pre-election pollsters create a rightward bias of between 4%-7%, which as you point out so nicely fits the rightward shift in the “actual” tabulations deriving from disenfranchisement and computer rigging.
From the standpoint of the pollsters, their projections are right on the mark so such models will continue to be employed and will conceal election theft very nicely. It is critical to recognize that the likely voter cutoff model has no intrinsic methodological justification (it is excluding data in such a way as to distort the sample in a consistent direction) but is “validated” only because it matches bogus vote totals still assumed to be gospel. A critical aspect of the overall scam, about which consciousness must be raised.–Jonathan

The situation in North Carolina

Advocates urge adherence to North Carolina voting code review
Sunday January 15, 2006 (12:00 PM GMT)
By: Jay Lyman

Advocates for transparency in electronic voting systems praise North Carolina’s Public Confidence in Elections law that requires rigorous review of the code used in the state’s certified elections software. They just wish North Carolina elections officials would adhere to the legislation.

Click here to find out more!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued the state’s Board of Elections and Office of IT Services on behalf of voting integrity advocate Joyce McCloy for certifying Diebold systems for use in the state without the legally required review.

While they concede the legislation is perhaps the most rigorous review of e-voting code required in the US — it requires code review based on nine criteria, including code and application security — transparency proponents fear that North Carolina lawmakers will fold under pressure from e-voting system vendors, including Diebold, and undo the requirements.

“The election code [law] is very good on the transparency side,” EFF staff attorney Matt Zimmerman told NewsForge. “It shouldn’t be thrown out because a company can’t comply, and I hope elections officials don’t cringe. This is a very stringent election code — the most stringent in the country. Part of the problem with new [e-voting] systems is that the law, in a lot of places, simply hasn’t caught up to the technology.”

Read more.

Yet another savvy counterpoint

From Kat:

Jonathan — Thank you for taking Engelhardt’s argument out to its logical conclusion. I too continue to be shocked that so many progressives and the mainstream media are willing to admit gross malfeasance in this administration, yet refuse to believe they’d stop at rigging an election. As well, the refusal of leading progressive voices (i.e., Michael Moore, Al Franken, and others) to admit that the Democrats actually won the 2004 election is shameful! I can only assume an anti-Bush environment is much more profitable for them. Just as BushCo will stop at nothing now because they have the elections “in the bag,” the Democrats don’t have to put forth much effort to challenge them because there is no other option for the voters. Democratic leadership can sit back and “wait it out,” until power in all its glory is once again bestowed upon them. The transfer of power no longer reflects the will of the people. The privatization of our election system has led to an acceptance of a simulated democracy.
In this regard, as you are aware, another concern of mine continues to be the centralization of the voter registration rolls. Most states have turned to private vendors to manage their centralized computerized voter databases rather than manage them “in-house.” Effective date: January 2006. Take a look at Ohio’s: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/media/voter_reg_database.pdf Kenneth Blackwell certainly has covered his bases in an effort to secure his election as governor there. Unlike Ohio, most states have chosen to use one, maybe two vendors for management of the voter databases. What this means is that the election process is now controlled on the “front end” as well as the “back end” by private companies, mainly ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, Accenture (aka Arthur Anderson Consulting), and others. Not only will these vendors control the counting of our votes, but they will also control who is allowed to vote. As we saw in 2000 and 2004, elections can be won by wrongful purges of the voter rolls. To this day, I do not believe I’ve run across anybody who can give a definitive number of voters who were turned away at the polls in 2004 because their names were mysteriously purged off the rolls, or their registrations were never processed, which they discovered only when they showed up to vote in their “assigned” precincts, and of course due to the long lines they encountered.
Another more common practice is to move voters who haven’t voted in the last 2 elections to an “inactive” status so that local governments are able to pass tax levies. All these tactics necessitate of course the handing out of provisional ballots which are merely a placebo for the problem, as is voter verified paper ballots if votes continue to be counted electronically. As we saw in Ohio, secretaries of states can change the voting precincts at the last minute and shuffle voters around, or just close them prior to Election Day in an effort to make provisional ballots worthless. Clearly, these tactics have and will continue to work well for Republicans.
We have gone through the motions long enough now. The Republicans have stolen the last two presidential elections, and another federal election in 2002. They will do so similarly in 2006. No wild card here, just the painful truth. The stakes continue to be high. My solemn wish is that we the people do not let them steal another election without putting up the biggest fight of our lives to stop them. In this midterm election, we need a huge turnout, the biggest ever. They can hide the ballots and the vote counting, but if we turn out in large numbers they will be unable to hide the bodies, not yet anyway.
Keep in mind that the largest purges have occured just prior to federal elections, especially in presidential elections, that is until now. An advisory by all groups working on voting rights must be issued to alert voters to check their registration status often over the next 10 months. Voters must not wait until September or October to do so. Encourage voters to re-register to vote, or have voters request they be returned to “active” voting status at the Boards of Elections should they discover they have been “inactivated.” Do not let this year go by arguing about what type of voting system ought to be used in November unless you live in Leon County Florida, Connecticut, New York, and other states who so wisely waited and questioned the judgment of purchasing voting machines that were unsafe or not HAVA compliant. The machines are on order and the money has been spent, and apparently Gonzales at the DOJ has now assumed the roll of Harris, Hood, Blackwell, etc. In my opinion, the time to act will be after the fallout of the November election, but that does not mean we shouldn’t put all the elections officials using unsafe voting systems on notice that they are not in compliance with democracy!
As you state, we no longer have the benefit of exit polls. We therefore must provide necessary checks and balances by showing up on Election Day to vote! No, there won’t be enough machines and the lines will be long, and voters will be given incorrect precinct information, or in some states will be voting in “centers” as precincts are fast becoming extinct. Voters must be ever vigilant this election with the process, with their registration status, encouraging family and friends to buddy up and march down to cast their ballots on Election Day to the polls, or to their County Elections offices, even if you live in a “vote-by-mail” state, as I do. Ballots can be turned in to the County Elections offices. Do not vote early. SHOW UP. Remember the images of Florida in 2004 because of early voting? This totally helped Jeb pull off another theft. Do not allow the voting process on Election Day to fade away. Do not allow those intent on rigging elections to “hide the bodies.” As long as we are breathing, living beings we must be actively involved in the process. Let’s make 2006 the year that private ownership of our elections comes to an end and there is true justice for all. Thanks again, J. — Kat

In Toledo, "free speech" is for Nazis only

From Trudy Bond:

Dear Friends:

On December 10, 2005 the city of Toledo was shut down and freedom of speech was declared dead. This martial law was not the result of a threat of nuclear attack or terrorist “chatter” but rather a decision by the city administration, the police and the judicial system in Toledo that protecting a small group of white supremacists was worth sacrificing first amendment rights.

As a result, ANYONE – who assembled ANYWHERE IN THE CITY OF TOLEDO FOR ANY PURPOSE outside of the city sanctioned perimeter for the Neo-Nazi rally could be threatened with arrest and jail, and some people actually were arrested, as we explain below. According to Judge Thomas Osowik’s ruling, this right to assemble was suspended indefinitely until the city’s lawsuit was settled. And ironically, the City administration dismissed the lawsuit on Monday, December 12, two days after December 10, as it had served its illegal purpose.

Now, we in the community are facing several court battles. There are the cases of 7 young people from Chicago, including two juveniles who were arrested only for allegedly violating an unlawful, unconstitutional restraining order of which they were unaware. The fact that the city of Toledo was under martial law had not been publicized. They were jailed from Saturday until Monday afternoon without bail, and have civil and criminal charges pending
against them, in spite of having committed no illegal actions.

Then there are 6 individuals from Lansing, Michigan who have a variety of “disorderly conduct” charges for such crimes as shouting profanities at the Nazis and criminal charges which stem from their presence at the actual “sanctioned” neo-nazi demonstration.

Those present at the counter-demonstration agree that they witnessed no violence or even “disorderly conduct,” except by the police, whose outrageous and dangerous tactics included several unprovoked charges into the crowd by platoons of cops on horseback.

All of these people are being defended by one attorney, Terry Lodge. With no assistance from any organization (not even the state or local ACLU), Terry faces a huge task and at this point is protecting the rights of all of us single-handedly. The civil contempt charges will go to trial in a few weeks, and it is likely that there will be several jury trials on the bogus criminal charges. Such things take many hours of preparation in advance, and careful attention to detail at the actual trial. A typical criminal jury trial in Toledo Municipal Court can cost $2,500.00 to $7,500.00 in lawyer fees alone; with such a large number of defendants, the burden of defending vital free speech concerns becomes immense.

Legal fees for those of us involved in civil disobedience have never been an issue with Terry. We have paid what we could and he has been most gracious in accepting what we could pay; for many that has meant pro bono. However, with 13 defendants, most of whom are unable to pay, money is essential to cover potential fines and court costs as well as a minimal portion of
Terry’s hundreds of hours that will be spent in protecting the First Amendment.

The Freedoms we often take for granted: freedom of speech, association, and the right to assemble are under fire in Toledo. All of us have a stake in making sure that the reprehensible viewpoints of a distinct minority aren’t allowed to be made into the excuse for shutting down the freedoms of others.

Please support this ongoing fight to protect our freedoms. Donations can be sent to Terry J. Lodge, IOLTA Account, 316 N. Michigan St., Suite 520, Toledo, OH 43624-1627.

In Solidarity and Resistance,

Trudy Bond
Alan Hart
Kathleen Baldoni

America wants Bush impeached

You can’t fool most of the people most of the time.
Democrats.com
Submitted by Bob Fertik on January 13, 2006
New Zogby Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping
By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to impeach President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge’s approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.
The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:
“If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.”
43% disagreed, and 6% said they didn’t know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9% margin of error.
“The American people are not buying Bush’s outrageous claim that he has the power to wiretap American citizens without a warrant. Americans believe terrorism can be fought without turning our own government into Big Brother,” said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob FertikÅ 
Lots more really good stuff at MakeThemAccountable.com.
Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com
Philosophical question: If a Bush commits a crime and no one hears about it, has a crime really been committed?