Red Alert from Ohio!

Mark,

Below is info re an Ohio House Bill to be voted on most probably this week . . .it’s unbelievable.

The more publicized parts of Ohio HB3 will henceforth require voter ID and we all know what that means. But what has not received publicity – and for this I fault the Ohio state reps – is HUGE:
1. The cost of ordering a recount will quintuple – going from $10 to $50 PER PRECINCT – making it virtually unaffordable
2. Electronic machines will be exempted from recounts by random sampling, even in close, disputed elections. In the 2005 election, 41 additional Ohio counties (of 88) were switched to Diebold touchscreen machine
3. HB3 will make it virtually impossible for any challenge to be mounted involving any votes cast or counted on electronic machines or tabulators — meaning virtually every vote cast in Ohio.

Marji

From the Daily Digest of Democracy for Cincinnati:

It is highly likely the so-called “election reform” bill, HB 3, will be
addressed by a state House and Senate conference this week AND voted in both
houses. There may not be any opportunity for public testimony. It would be
a good week to contact you state legislators. Congressweb appears to be an
easy way to do that. http://congressweb.com/

While Diebold is not explicitly addressed in the legislation, you might
express your concern about electronic voting and your support to keep the
machine audit in the bill. The ‘ID requirement’ is definitely something to
oppose.

John

Now, shocking legislation is poised to disenfranchise a vast number of Ohio voters. Our legislature recently finished work on a large piece of revised election law that we believe will disenfranchise as many as 100.000 voters.

Sub HB3 is so problematic that, even after the Senate corrected some of the worst parts of this legislation, Senator Grendell broke ranks with his Republican colleagues over the fairness of the bill. When it went back to the House, it was turned down 99 to 0 apparently because it imposed a limit on how much state bosses could collect from their employees. Sub HB3 as passed by the Senate was opposed at the hearings by:

CASE (Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections)
OLWV (Ohio Chapter of the League of Women Voters)
CC (Common Cause)
PFAW (People for the American Way)
OCA (Ohio Citizen Action)
GCVC (Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition)
OHE (Ohio Honest Elections)
Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless
NAACP

In testimony at the hearings, it was only supported by the secretary of state.

All the pieces of the election puzzle that we have seen in the past couple of years, when assembled today, show a picture where the foreground is focused mainly on incompetent and untrustworthy vendors supplying the voting machines. And in the background we see new election process rules that make voting significantly harder for isolated groups of people: the very young, the elderly, and the highly mobile. We can’t blink our eyes and make this picture go away, we must create a better one.
From CASE (Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections) see http://caseohio.org

Alito's the WORST choice!

Alito may be the worst choice
By Robert Kuttner | January 8, 2006

AT THIS moment in American history, it would be hard to find a worse Supreme Court nominee than Samuel A. Alito Jr. His ideology captures everything extremist about the Bush administration. If confirmed, Alito would serve as Bush’s enabler. He would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government and the hard-right long-term dominance of the high court. His confirmation or rejection will depend on the gumption of the Senate Democratic leadership and independence of a few Republicans.

Alito, who would replace the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, has never hidden his ultra-conservative views. Given the administration claims of an extra-legal presidency, what’s most disturbing is the handy convergence of Alito’s own conception of executive power and that of Bush.

Citing the wartime powers of the president, Bush has asserted his right to ignore the legislative mandate of Congress in allowing the military to torture prisoners, the government’s prerogative to spy on Americans without a court warrant, to treat not just foreigners but US citizens as ”illegal enemy combatants” who lose the constitutional rights of criminal defendants, and to incarcerate such persons indefinitely. Soon, some prisoners at Guantanamo will have been behind bars longer than any German POW during all of World War II.

Read more.

"Bad Faith: Media Silence and the Assault on Democracy"

January 6, 2006
Bad Faith: Media Silence and the Assault on Democracy
By Robert C. Koehler

Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)
By Mark Crispin Miller, Basic Books, 363 pp., $24.95

In early 2004, Pat Robertson divined the outcome of the presidential election, then ten months away. “I think George Bush is going to win in a walk,” he said on a broadcast of “The 700 Club.” “I really believe I’m hearing from the Lord it’s going to be like a blowout election in 2004.”

God – or at least the fervent, all-justifying, “Christian soldier” belief in God, and of course God’s opposite, evil – is the real topic of Mark Crispin Miller’s new book, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). The volume is a primer for the many appalled students of the last presidential election, which was won by the incumbent not exactly “in a walk,” as Robertson predicted, but by a healthy enough margin that Bush could declare the next day, “America has spoken,” and claim, as though he needed one, a mandate. It is a meticulously researched explication of the case that there was serious fraud in that election, both blatant (myriad dirty tricks) and invisible (manipulation of electronic voting), and as such takes its place along several other recent books that examine the topic in gory detail. What Miller’s book does in addition is place election fraud – or election theft – in a psychological and religious context.

Referring to Robertson’s faith-based prediction, which he quotes at the beginning of Fooled Again, Miller comments, sardonically: “That the statement was a little crass does not make it wrong. Certainly no other worldly factor can account for that amazing win, which no human pollster could foresee, and which no mortal has been able to explain in rational terms.”

Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University and a frequent political commentator on radio and TV, makes a compelling case that virulent, anti-democratic forces fueled by religious fervor are making an all-out assault on American democracy, but to my mind the most troubling aspect of Fooled Again is his indictment of the media, democracy’s watchdog, which is letting it happen. This is the part of the story that hits home hardest for me and pushes the crisis into “oh my God” mode – the fact that the institutions that are supposed to be protecting us for the most part simply aren’t. On one hand we have what Miller calls the “Christo-fascist right,” a determined army of zealots who have nothing but contempt for secular, pluralistic, tolerant and democratic American society and feel called upon by a higher power to subvert it; on the other hand we have a meek and blandly “balanced” punditocracy that refuses to stand on principle or seriously challenge the right.

Read more.

A strong initiative in California

*PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

Reply to info@duhc.org

Interested in the the global justice movement in the United States? Want to learn grassroots campaign skills? Become an intern this spring for a groundbreaking local ballot initiative campaign in Northern California!

Come work with a group of explicitly feminist, non-hierarchal organizers who incorporate anti-oppression in their daily lives and are mutually accountable to one another.*

A group of Humboldt County, California citizens are running a county-wide ballot initiative entitled the “Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy.” The initial language was drafted by Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County, (www.DUHC.org) a local organization dedicated to challenging corporate power at the grassroots level.

The campaign is being run by a coalition of community organizations and individuals, including many labor unions, environmentalists, peace groups, elected officials, prominent Green Party members, and the Humboldt Democratic Party. If the initiative passes, it will prohibit non-local corporations from participating in countywide elections. The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights is currently collecting signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot for the June 2006 election./ We need YOUR help running the campaign to win this election!/

Humboldt County is a beautiful place located on the Pacific ocean, six hours north of San Francisco and eight hours south of Portland, OR. While you are here, there will be time to take trips to the beach, redwood forests and other nearby scenic attractions.

*Submit application AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BEFORE February 1st.
*
To apply: e-mail the application below to kaitlin@VoteLocalControl.org

More information about the campaign can be found at these websites: www.VoteLocalControl.org and www.DUHC.org. Any questions should be directed to Kaitlin at kaitlin@VoteLocalControl.org or (707) 444-0407.

Dates:
* February 1 – Applications due
* Feb 15 – Notification
* Feb 28 – Arrive in Humboldt by this date for orientation and training session
* Feb 28 through June 8 – Internship
* June 10 & 11 – Campaign/internship debrief and evaluation
* June 12 through June 18 – Optional extra stay to relax and enjoy the natural early summer beauty of Humboldt County

*Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR) INTERNSHIP APPLICATION
*The internships will be a skill-building experience while providing resources to a small, rural, low-income community. We only have resources to accept one applicant for the position. Internship activities include: Writing press releases and articles, phonebanking, canvassing, volunteer oversight and training, database management, researching voting patterns and participating in “Get-out-the-vote” efforts (there is ample opportunity for leadership in these activities.)

HCCR Intern Will be Expected to:
1. Attend the 1 day training and orientation before the internship.
2. Establish and maintain relationships with the public, media, business owners, community organizations and coalition members, as well as campaign staff and volunteers.
3. Communicate regularly with the campaign staff and volunteers.
4. Meet the criteria, respect any guidelines, and fulfill any obligations given to you from the campaign staff.
5. Represent the campaign professionally and responsibly to all members of the media and general public during the course of the internship.

Requirements:
1. Availability for the dates of the internship
2. Good attitude
3. Eagerness to learn new skills and try new things

Encouraged but not required:
1. Proficiency in Spanish
2. Past experience in political campaign work or activism

HCCR will provide guidance and other resources necessary to help you meet your goals of the internship. You are expected to provide for travel to and from Humboldt County. Room and board will be covered during the internship in host housing. If you need it, a $50/month stipend can be provided for incidentals. If you are attending a college or university you are encouraged to explore receiving academic credit for this work.

*APPLICATION FORM
* * Name:
* College or University, if applicable:
* Expected year of graduation, if applicable:
* Major(s), if applicable:
* Email address:
* Phone:
* Address:

1. Briefly describe your past experience with activism, civic participation, or political campaigns.

2. Briefly describe your personal goals? Goals for building the movement? What do you hope to gain from this experience?

3. What languages, other than English, do you speak? How would you rate your ability in that language (speaking, reading, writing, oral/written translation)?

4. Any other specific skills that you would like us to know about? (media, documentary, interview experience, canvass etc.)

5. Please send us a resume that includes:
* Past internship experiences
* Positions of responsibility or leadership that you have held
* Organizing experience
* Volunteer work
* Relevant academic coursework or research
* Anything else that you think we should know about you
* Three references (not letters, just names and contact information)

This can take the form of a formal resume or simply be a list of experiences and accomplishments. Please include *brief* descriptions.

***
Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County educates citizens about the illegitimate seizure of our authority to govern ourselves. We design and implement grassroots strategies which exercise democratic power over corporations and governments. We seek to create a truly democratic society by provoking a non-violent popular uprising against corporate rule in Humboldt County that can serve as a model for other communities across the United States.

We invite you to join us as we educate, agitate, organize, and strategize to build a grassroots movement for democracy and against corporate rule!

Mail:
Post Office Box 610
Eureka, California 95502

Headquarters:
1402 M Street (corner of 14th & M Streets) in Eureka

(707) 269-0984
http://DUHC.org

Abramoff money = election fraud

From Anonymous:

I was thrilled to see someone write about the Ney-HAVA connection. We need a journalist to pick up this story. Here is my synopsis of the events:

The real story behind Abramoff is that it is not simply about “influencepeddling.” It is in fact influence peddling to affect election outcomes.

In the equation of Abramoff Money Laundering the following holds true:

Input = Abramoff money
Output = Election fraud

Follow the story below from the first small potatoes case to the final mother-of-all-election-fraud cases in US history:

*Small potatoes: *The first players in the Abramoff drama to be sent to jail were former New Hampshire GOP Chair Chuck McGee and his boss former Bush New England Campaign Manager Jim Tobin. In 2002 the NH GOP paid $15,600 to a firm that jammed the NH Dem get-out-the-vote phone lines.

Days before the payment was made, the NH GOP accepted 3 payments of $5000 each from the following sources: 1) Abramoff client the Mississippi Choctow Tribe 2) Abramoff client the California Aqua Tigua Caliente Tribe 3) Tom Delay’s ARMPAC.

Input: Abramoff money –> Output: Election fraud

*Mother-of-all-election-fraud: *In 2002 House Administration Chair Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio was a prime sponsor of the (sic) “Help America Vote Act” (HAVA). In fact, HAVA was actually written in Bob Ney’s office. HAVA, under the guise of resolving the 2000 election fraud issues, was actually written to promote the distribution of computerized voting systems across the nation. The bill was designed to send $3.8 billion taxpayer dollars straight into the pockets of corporations like Diebold, whose voting equipment has now been unequivacolly proven to provide an open door to election rigging. Diebold, one of the prime lobbyists for HAVA, was at the time a client of Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s firm.

I have compiled plenty of information on this issue, which I am ready to provide in order to get this story out. I have access to eye witnesses and players who were physically present and participating in Bob Ney’s office when HAVA was written. As sexy as congressional scandal is, it pales in comparison to the real story behind the Abramoff affair: the theft of our democracy.

Attention election activists!

Are you A Voting Integrity Activist? Then We have Something for you– Free

Most progressives opine that we need to get the vote count situation cleaned up if we are going to get elections working. There’s a great tool some activists have discovered. It’s a DVD titled Invisible Ballots It does a great job telling the story of the problem of paperless electronic voting. It is a great tool for educating people at a local level.

OpEdNews has done a trade for advertising that nets us two dozen of these DVDs that we want to GIVE to local or national Voting integrity activists. Drop me a note at rob@opednews.com to tell me about your work with the vote. I want to give away two dozen of these. If you know someone who is working on the issue, get them in touch with me. Understand. We are not selling them. We are giving them away. I will be forwarding all inquiries to Joan Brunwasser (rafijoan@comcast.net ), OpEdNews’s voting Integrity Editor, for evaluation. We want to say yes. Our goal is to support activists who are already working at the grassroots level AND to encourage new people to get involved and become active. Hold a houseparty. Show the DVD at your church. There’s a growing network of people who are building resources to make it easier to fight the fight for Paper Ballots at a local level. You are not alone. We intend to use the descriptions we get of voter integrity activism, so assume that what you write will be published with your permission. Or, if you want to support this project, so we can give more than two dozen away, (Joan has already sent out close to 100) then make a contribution to OpEdNews and mention Vote Integrity Project in your contribution ( www.opednews.com/donate ) And we’ll use 100% of the money we receive to buy and ship DVDs to give away.

We’ve already had a great beginning response to this offer.

Rob Kall
www.OpEdNews.com

Democratic Underground is on the job!

From Cindy:

I posted your challenge, to find out how much of Abramoff’s money was used to steal Election 2004, in the Election Reform forum at DU.

There have been a number of good posts – you can check them out here

Summary of posts…

Diebold paid $287,500.00 in lobbyist fees over 2 years just for New York City

Abramoff, U.S. Attorney Acosta, and the Stolen Election

Bob Ney’s former chief of staff David DiStefano received $50,000 in that
same timeperiod as a lobbyist for Diebold (but not at Greenberg Traurig).

“Diebold Election Systems, based in McKinney, Tex., and known mostly
for its A.T.M.’s, is spending $12,500 a month to retain Greenberg
Traurig, a Manhattan law firm. Greenberg’s lobbyists are Robert
Harding, former deputy mayor under Rudolph W. Giuliani, and John
Mascialino, a lawyer and former first deputy commissioner of a city
agency charged with buying equipment and supplies under Mr. Giuliani.

Liberty Election Systems, a new outfit owned by the executives of an
Albany printing company that has produced election ballots for
decades, is spending $3,000 a month on lobbyists from Capitol Group.”

Lots more information and links here

Best wishes!

Cindy

"Anarchy" unloosed in Arizona!

Jan Brewer is Arizona Secretary of State (and, in 2004, was also co-chair of that state’s BushCo “re-election” drive). Yesterday she formally announced her bid for re-election–and lost her cool when challenged by a vocal group of demonstrators. They were there to protest Brewer’s very stealthy move, late on Dec. 31, to force DRE machines down the collective throat of Arizona’s voters.
She called the demonstrators “anarchists” (and, of course, “conspiracy theorists”). While it was hardly an appropriate term for citizens intent on making our election system function properly (“patriots” would be more like it), Brewer’s use of that preposterous epithet was quite appropriate for Brewer herself, a staunch commando of the Christian right.
I’m pleased to say that I played a small role in yesterday’s brief drama. Those “comments made Thursday morning about Diebold” on the radio were made not only by the “talk show host” (Charles Goyette on Air America) but by yours truly. As a guest on Goyette’s morning show, I called for Arizonans to turn out for Brewer’s announcement and say no to her promotion of the DRE machines.
She’s trying to buck an ever-growing tide against the use of such suspicious gizmos: New Mexico’s Secretary of State just halted a purchase of 800 Sequoia Edge machines that had been planned by several counties, and Connecticut’s SoS announced a similar delay, citing a number of “security concerns.” As you should know from these emails, the same “concerns” are having an impact in several other states, including California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
But let us not get lost in the minutiae of each state’s laws and politics. The real problem here is that each state–and, often, each county–is on its own. We badly need a uniform election system, non-partisan and federally supervised.

As a good friend put it to me in an e-mail this a.m.:
This whole goddam process has got to be federalized. You can’t have states with different political interests making piecemeal decisions that affect the popular vote. Looking at it from a state by state point of view is like looking at which cantons in Switzerland want to remain neutral and which ones want to go with the nazis. It doesn’t fucking matter.
State secretary defends purchase of voting machines

By Howard Fischer
CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer on Thursday defended the decision to purchase touch-screen voting equipment from the Diebold Corp.
Her comments came during and after what was supposed to be a routine announcement by the Glendale Republican who wants another four years in office.

But a small group of protestors, apparently mobilized by comments made Thursday morning about Diebold by a Phoenix radio talk show host, showed up with hand-made signs decrying the purchase.

A Brewer campaign worker had to call Capitol police to have the protestors moved back so Brewer could give her speech – a speech which boasted of the state getting rid of the last punch card ballots as part of her accomplishments since being elected in 2002 but one that never mentioned the Diebold contract.

But Brewer, responding to media questions, called the noisy protestors “anarchists” and said they were off base.

“I don’t think there is a problem with the Diebold equipment,” she said. Brewer said a committee investigated the bids and the machines passed on the guidelines.

“I think that there are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there that are trying to blow this completely, totally out of proportion,” she said.

Read more.

James Moore is on the No-Fly List

This is a Direct Blog Entry by the author, James Moore posted on
http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Jan 4, 2006

James Moore is an Emmy-winning former television news correspondent and the co-author of the bestselling, Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. He has been writing and reporting from Texas for the past 25 years on the rise of Rove and Bush and has traveled extensively on every presidential campaign since 1976.

This author was placed on the no fly list.

Two points: there’s nothing you or I can do to help him but make this public, and two- we are all targets here. This should make you scared and pissed at the same time. If it doesn’t, check your pulse.

James Moore:

“I made it a point to arrive very early at the airport. My reservation was confirmed before I left home. I went to the electronic kiosk and punched in my confirmation number to print out my boarding pass and luggage tags. Another error message appeared, “Please see agent.”

I did. She took my Texas driver’s license and punched in the relevant information to her computer system.

“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “There seems to be a problem. You’ve been placed on the No Fly Watch List.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m afraid there isn’t much more that I can tell you,” she explained. “It’s just the list that’s maintained by TSA to check for people who might haveterrorist connections.”

“You’re serious?”

“I’m afraid so, sir. Here’s an 800 number in Washington. You need to call them before I can clear you for the flight.”

Exasperated, I dialed the number from my cell, determined to clear up what I was sure was a clerical error. The woman who answered offered me no more information than the ticket agent.

“Ma’am, I’d like to know how I got on the No Fly Watch List.”

“I’m not really authorized to tell you that, sir,” she explained after taking down my social security and Texas driver’s license numbers.

“What can you tell me?”

“All I can tell you is that there is something in your background that in some way is similar to someone they are looking for.”

“Well, let me get this straight then,” I said. “Our government is looking for a guy who may have a mundane Anglo name, who pays tens of thousands of dollars every year in taxes, has never been arrested or even late on a credit card payment, is more uninteresting than a Tupperware party, and cries after the first two notes of the national anthem? We need to find this guy. He sounds dangerous to me.”

“I’m sorry, sir, I’ve already told you everything I can.”

“Oh, wait,” I said. “One last thing: this guy they are looking for? Did he write books critical of the Bush administration, too?”

I have been on the No Fly Watch List for a year. I will never be told the official reason. No one ever is. You cannot sue to get the information.

Nothing I have done has moved me any closer to getting off the list. There were 35,000 Americans in that database last year. According to a European government that screens hundreds of thousands of American travelers every year, the list they have been given to work from has since grown to 80,000.