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An exchange with Farhad Manjoo

From Jason Aaron Osgood:

I used to subscribe to Salon. Every now and then, they try to get me to sign back up. I periodically explain to Farhad Manjoo and editor Joan Walsh exactly why I’m no longer a subscriber. Yes, I’m bitterly disappointed in both Manjoo and Salon.

I was thrilled when they covered the potential problems leading up to 2004. I’m at a complete loss why they’ve gone from “if there was a problem, you’d never be able to prove it” to “unless you can prove there was a problem, go away”.

Below is my most recent (mostly one-sided) exchange with Manjoo.

###

On 6/27/06, Jason Osgood wrote:

Hi Farhad-

I suppose I should be grateful. Your repeated attempts to refute the idea that the 2004 presidential election was stolen has done more to keep the issue alive than any other effort. A cunning plan?

I used to subscribe to salon.com. Now I rarely even visit. As I told your boss, you guys start watching my back, I’ll start watching yours. Until then, you’re on your own.

Cheers, Jason

###

On Jun 27, 2006, at 10:12 AM, Farhad Manjoo wrote:

What do you mean by “watching your back”?

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On 6/27/06, Jason Osgood wrote:

There was a time when Salon defended our democracy. You guys resume fighting the good fight, I’ll resume my subscription. Meanwhile, my money is going towards worthy efforts. Like voteraction.org, votetrustusa.org, and others. For instance, I subscribe to Scientific American because they’re defending the Enlightenment. (Not that I have time to read it, mind you.)

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On Jun 27, 2006, at 11:38 AM, Farhad Manjoo wrote:

Jason,

It’s terrible that you’re no longer a subscriber. But how honest/ethical do you think it would be for me to rethink my disagreements with someone like Kennedy because you are no longer giving me money? I believe you have an honest difference with me, and I respect that. But I don’t write because I’m being paid to toe to a certain line, and I don’t think you’d want me to, either.

All I’m saying is, this is not about money. It doesn’t seem very enlightened to say, “Please conform to my point of view or I’ll stop giving you money.”

–FM

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On Jun 27, 2006, at 12:24 PM, Jason Osgood wrote:

Nope. It’s not enlightened. It’s not even altruistic. It’s self preservation. Voting with my dollars.

I don’t mind your criticisms. I swing between 50% and 80% certainty that 2004 was stolen. I get along fine with the people in our group who don’t think 2004 was stolen. (wafairelections.org)

I just wish you could find a way to be constructive. There’s SO MUCH going on nationwide regarding election integrity. We only hear from you and Salon when it’s time to poke holes in someone else’s efforts.

The net effect is that you appear to be a denier. No problems here, move along. Nothing could be further from the truth. Election integrity has worsened since 2004. 2006 is shaping up to be a catastrophe, a train wreck. Yet salon is mum.

In case you care, the effort that I’m most interested in at this very moment are Voter Action’s lawsuits preventing the use and procurement of electronic voting machines. Holly Jacobson and I were interviewed on KEXP last Saturday.

http://www.hotpotatomedia.com/mpgs/062406cf.mp3

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wa-fairelections/message/1245

You could do worse than to cover Voter Action’s efforts.

All I’m saying is that if you guys care about democracy, you could start pulling your weight. Versus criticizing others who are trying to figure stuff out.

There’s A LOT of disagreement within the election integrity “community”. What I say to everyone is that even though we disagree on the details, we agree on the principle of fair, open, and verifiable elections. And that we’ll work out the details in a constructive manner.

And, no, I don’t think your criticisms have been constructive. Though I do think they’ve been helpful in a twisted way. It’s definitely kept the issue alive and prompted everyone to tighten up their arguments. So maybe you’re playing devil’s advocate. In which case I should be thanking you. We’ll see.

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On Jun 28, 2006, at 7:33:49 AM, Jason Osgood wrote:

Hi Farhad-

Last night, I had a thought.

Our activists group met last night. I’m sure you’re aware that Busby lost her race in CA-50. The uncertified, error prone voting machines were used. (Thanks for covering that! Good job!) The GOP had a sophisticated GOTV, basically tracking and harassing absentee voters until they voted. (Everyone does it. Dems do it here in King County.) So in response there’s these emergency townhall meetings. [For our part,] We’re trying to figure out how to push the party to take election integrity seriously.

The Dems among us are always being hassled for more money. The DNC, DCCC, Cantwell, our state party chair Dwight Pelz, etc.

A number of us have stopped giving money. We write back saying “We’ll give you money when you fight for us.” The candidates that do “get it” also get our money. Bowen, Tester, Burner, a few others.

Why should I, or anyone else, treat you and Salon any differently? You’re a pundit. Not a journalist. Not a reporter. You write opinion pieces. You can’t even pretend to be objective. Nor would I want you to.

So please spare me the song and dance about your ethics.

And, yes, it’s only about money. The big bad wolf is robbing us blind. And I’m using my money to fight back however I can.

When you guys figure that out, I’ll resume supporting you.

Cheers, Jason

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Nevada needs Leola!

http://www.mcconnellforgovernor.com

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How to deal with the '06 elections

My advice for this year’s race(s):

Alright, let’s pretend, just for the sake of argument, that the Repubs are right,
as are most Democrats and the media, when they insist that the election was
legitimate. Fine.

We’re going to give them one more chance to hold elections that are credible.
We’re going to throw ourselves into this next election, getting out as many
voters as we can. The turn-out will be huge, especially by the standard of
off-year elections. Americans will come out to vote, in part, as a way to
take a stand on behalf of free and fair elections.

No early voting, and as little absentee voting as possible. The point here is
to have a massive turn-out on Election Day.

We’ll not only work to boost the turn-out, but we also plan to monitor this
thing with an unprecedented thoroughness. We’re going to watch the polls,
and watch them count the votes. We’re going to keep track of every wrong
or merely screwy incident, every startling trend, every weird anomaly.
We’re also going to pay close heed to all the relevant statistics: newspaper polls,
independent exit polls (we cannot trust the NEP) and so on.

And so, when the Repubs win yet again, surprisingly maintaining their control
of Congress, notwithstanding their subterranean approval ratings, we will be
prepared to note all the anomalies and improprieties–and, at long last,
to SAY NO. As this will have been the fourth election cycle ravaged by
Bush/Cheney since 2000, Americans must finally go Ukrainian, and just refuse
to acknowledge BushCo’s latest “win.”

Where that may take us I can’t say. But it is something that, it seems to me,
we have to do, or else we don’t deserve to call ourselves the citizens of a
republic.

MCM

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Brennan Center report sweeping US media!

NYU’s Brennan Center has released a (pardon my French!) kick-ass study of the dangerous insecurity of e-voting systems. It is an excellent piece of work– and it has legs!
From Kathy Dopp:
The three major U.S. voting systems that the Brennan Center task force report discusses are:

1. DRE voting systems (touchscreens without paper),

2. DRE voting systems with VVPT (voter verifiable paper trail), and

3. Precinct-based Optical Scan voting systems

The Brennan Center Press Release has now been reported in dozens of major nationwide and international news articles. State newspapers in places like Utah have yet to inform their citizens with the exception of Ohio, Massachusettes, and Washington DC. Even the highly conservative Washington Times reported on the security threat to U.S. voting systems. Here is the list of newspapers which have now reported on this with links to all these articles available here:

http://www.brennancenter.org/presscenter/releases_2006/pressrelease_2006_0627.html


Press

< /span>

As reported in Germany’s “Short News”:

The task force also said that a paper trail is ineffective if routine audits through random checks are not performed. Other recommendations included banning wireless technology and checking random machines the same day they are used.
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NFU

Californians SAY NO to San Diego race

California Election Protection Network
PO Box 1907
Mill Valley, CA 94942

June 28, 2006

Mikel Haas, Registrar of Voters
San Diego County
5201 Ruffin Road, Suite I
San Diego, CA. 92123

Dear Mr. Haas:

The California Election Protection Network, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 25 election integrity organizations throughout California, hereby declares the reported results of the June 6, 2006 primary and runoff elections in San Diego County to be illegitimate. Our reasons are set forth in the accompanying resolution.

As the Registrar of Voters of San Diego County you have been entrusted with one of democracy’s most precious resources: our elections. As an employee of the people of California you are personally responsible to fulfill your duties in a way that preserves and protects the sanctity of our elections. Elections provide the only means by which the “Consent of the Governed” can be determined. As the Declaration of Independence states, it is this consent from which the “just Power” of the government is derived. If the consent of the governed cannot be duly determined, the government’s power is rendered unjust and must be rejected.

We realize that your task has recently been significantly complicated by the new federal mandates of the so-called Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and actions taken by the State of California in response to those mandates. We understand that counties have been put in the untenable position of being required to conduct fair elections through the use of technology that renders fairness unachievable. Yet this conundrum cannot be rightfully resolved by compromising the integrity of the election process.

As outlined in our resolution, the conditions of the primary and runoff elections conducted in San Diego County on June 6, 2006 provide no basis for public confidence in the results and therefore cannot and will not be accepted until and unless all ballots and paper audit trails have been counted by hand in a transparent and verified manner. We, the CEPN, call upon you, the Registrar of Voters of San Diego County, to undertake a full hand count of all paper ballots cast and audit trails produced in the June 6 election. We also insist that you prove that the chain of custody of the voted paper ballots and paper audit trails was and has remained secure at every moment. Furthermore, we call upon you and Secretary of State McPherson to invalidate all reported results of the June 6 election until the outcome of each race can be verified through a hand count of all legally cast votes. This will not be a recount paid for by the voters but the real count our tax dollars have already paid for but that We the People have yet to receive.

We want to clarify that this challenge is made not because of the results of any race on the June 6 ballot but in response to the unacceptable conditions of the election. When the hand count is undertaken we will serve as observers to verify its completeness and accuracy. Please inform us of the time, place and anticipated duration of the hand count so that we may observe. We will gladly assist in recruitment of hand counters as well.

We recognize that our call leads to significant work on the part of your office. We certainly hope that in the future the sanctity of our elections will lead you as well as State and Federal officials to conduct elections in a manner in which accurate, verifiable results are produced by the initial counting of the votes. Such a result cannot be obtained through the use of electronic voting or vote counting machines running secret proprietary software.

In closing, We, The People, DO NOT CONSENT to transferring power and authority to candidates claiming victory in this illegitimate election. We will do everything within our Constitutional and human rights to protect and preserve possession of this power that is inalienably ours to be given but never taken away.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Ted Newman
for the California Election Protection Network

Attachments:

CEPN’s Voters’ Resolution of No Confidence

cc: Bruce McPherson, Secretary of State
Bill Lockyer, Attorney General
San Diego Union-Tribune

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Colorado voters file injunction against e-voting

Colorado Voters File for Injunction to Halt Use of DRE Computerized Voting Systems in November Elections

Secretary of State has failed to provide evidence that she lawfully certified and tested dubious DRE Computerized Voting Systems
For Immediate Release: Denver, Colorado, June 28, 2006
– A non-partisan group of Colorado voters concerned with election integrity has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) computerized voting systems in the state’s November 2006 elections. The motion, filed in Denver District Court, is based on well-documented security, accuracy, reliability, and verifiability problems with DRE computerized voting systems and the failure of Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis to follow testing and certification procedures required by Colorado law and her own rules. The motion is supported by declarations from three of the nation’s leading experts on electronic voting technology, security, and standards.
Colorado counties, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, and Weld, are planning to use DRE computerized voting systems manufactured by Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, ES & S, and Hart InterCivic. The Denver law firm of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP is representing the Colorado voter plaintiffs. A copy of the motion is available on www.voteraction.org.
“These unreliable and insecure DRE computerized systems have disrupted elections across the country, and have created a crisis in voter confidence,” said Paul Hultin of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP, counsel to the Colorado voters. “The Secretary has violated her duties to Colorado voters and put County Commissioners and voters at risk by failing to prepare and provide complete certification reports explaining why the dubious DREs have been approved in the face of substantial scientific and real-world evidence that they do not work as advertised.”
“Picture the card game ’52 Pickup’ with thousands of pages dumped on the floor, shuffled, and then boxed in random order. That vision would reflect the chaos of the documents received from the Secretary’s office in response to our request for certification documents,” said Mike Williams, co-counsel, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP.
“The documents were a chaotic mess and were grossly incomplete. The documents do not address the published reports of security vulnerabilities and reliability problems with DREs in California, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, and elsewhere,” Williams commented.
The Secretary of State is required by law to appoint experts to help Colorado with electronic voting machine testing, evaluation, and certification. The Secretary is also required to prepare a report on the electronic voting system and its operation within 30 days of certifying the system. As of the date of filing of the motion for preliminary injunction, no final reports have been provided. The DRE manufacturers rely on secret reports prepared by so-called Independent Testing Authorities who work for and are paid by the DRE manufacturers.
Nationally renowned electronic voting and computer security experts Dr. Aviel D. Rubin, Professor of Computer Science and Technology, and the Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Douglas W. Jones, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Iowa, and Dr. Dan Wallach, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Computer Security Laboratory at Rice University, provided sworn declarations that the DREs present unprecedented and unacceptable security and operational risks. Drs. Rubin, Jones, and Wallach will testify at an evidentiary hearing to be scheduled before Judge Lawrence Manzanares of the Denver District Court. The declarations of Drs. Rubin, Jones, and Wallach are posted in the Colorado section of the Voter Action web site, www.voteraction.org.
“Some of the security risks with these machines are so high that it is unconscionable that their manufacturers, who have known of the problems for years, have not taken the necessary steps to correct them,” said Dr. Jones of the University of Iowa. “For example, we now know that Diebold has been aware of a recently publicized and egregious security risk with its voting system technology for nearly two years and did not correct it.”
“The motion includes testimony from three of the nation’s leading experts in the area of electronic voting and security who together have decades of experience testing, researching, and advising top Federal and State agencies, Congressional Committees, and the Department of Defense on computer security,” said Andy Efaw of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy, co-counsel for Plaintiffs. “Their independent research, and evidence from elections around the country, makes a compelling case that DRE computerized technology is inherently unreliable and insecure.”
Dr. Rubin is author of Brave New Ballot (Random House, 2006), among several other books, and is co-founder of Independent Security Evaluators, a security consulting firm. He serves on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Science and Technology Security Group. He also serves as Director of A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Accurate, and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE), funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. His complete biography is available at http://avirubin.com.
Dr. Jones’s extensive credentials include membership on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems from 1994 to 2004, and testimony on electronic voting technology before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology. He has been an advisor to the FEC and Miami-Dade County on problems with electronic voting systems and applicable standards. He is also a principal investigator for ACCURATE.
Dr. Wallach is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Rice University where he directs the Computer Security Lab. He has received four grants from the National Science Foundation. He also serves as Associate Director of ACCURATE.
“Paper ballots don’t break down or fail to boot up,” said Lowell Finley, election law expert, and Co-director of Voter Action. “They also cost less, are more accessible, and provide the added benefit of a permanent record. Significant numbers of voters are being disenfranchised by electronic voting systems that lose massive numbers of votes, switch votes, or malfunction in ways that disrupt balloting or cause election-day chaos. Optically-scanned paper balloting provides the best assurance that we can access the voter’s true intent, which becomes even more critical in a recount situation.”
“The national debate on electronic voting system security and reliability is fundamentally over,” said Holly Jacobson, Co-director of Voter Action. “What remains to be decided is what Colorado and other states should do to secure the vote for their citizens. Optically-scanned paper balloting has been selected by states such as New Mexico and Michigan because it is the best, most secure, and least costly option”.
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Voter Action is a project of the International Humanities Center, a 501c3 organization. www.voteraction.org
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SCOTUS OKs keeping prisoners in the dark

News Update from Citizens for Legitimate Government
28 Jun 2006

http://www.legitgov.org

Officials can ban newspapers for inmates: Supreme Court [Soon they’ll be banned for everybody, if Bush gets his way.] 28 Jun 2006 A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that prison officials can ban most newspapers, magazines and photographs for the most violent and ‘disruptive’ [?!?] inmates without violating their free-speech rights.

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E-voting systems NO GOOD, says task force…

From Bo Lipari of New Yorkers for Verified Voting:

A task force of government, academic and non-profit experts convened by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU has today released the first comprehensive threat analysis of three of the most popular types of electronic voting systems.

Here’s a quick quote from MIT professor Ron Rivest from the press release:

“I see this as an historic report because it’s the first time we’ve systematically examined security concerns presented by all of the electronic
voting systems in use. The report will be invaluable for any election official grappling with electronic security and, hopefully, will pave the way for widespread adoption of better safeguards.”

Here’s the press release, executive summary and full report.

Here is USA Today and Reuter’s coverage:

Analysis finds e-voting machines vulnerable

Study shows US electronic voting machines vulnerable

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AP notes Bush's "signing statements"

Bush ignores laws he inks, vexing Congress
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

A bill becomes the rule of the land when Congress passes it and the president signs it into law, right?

Not necessarily, according to the White House. A law is not binding when a president issues a separate statement saying he reserves the right to revise, interpret or disregard it on national security and constitutional grounds.

That’s the argument a Bush administration official is expected to make Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who has demanded a hearing on a practice he considers an example of the administration’s abuse of power.

Read more.