STOP Hans von Spakovsky NOW!

Call your senators! Raise holy hell!

From Susan G.: This is something so far under the radar that calls to Chuck and Hillary (or Kerry and Kennedy) will probably really be noticed because they will be shocked that anyone bothered. Please call.

Bush to nominate voter suppression specialist to the FEC
by david blue
Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:21:48 AM PDT

A big hat tip to Rick Hasen who noticed this White House press release (buried in the Friday night trash). President Bush is going to nominate Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission.

Who?

Well, Hans von Spakovsky is a long-time activist in “voting integrity.” Translated, he is a long-time activist in keeping people away from the polls. His ideas led to the notorious purge of Florida’s voting rolls before the 2000 election in which thousands of mostly-eligible, mostly-Democratic, and mostly-minority voters were removed from the voting lists. Von Spakovsky also was a volunteer for Bush in the Florida recount. Want more? It’s all here.

This guy is a disaster. There is no way he should be on the FEC. FEC Commissioners are subject to Senate approval, so write or call your Senator.

Read more.

California nixes Diebold! (For now, anyway)

CALIFORNIA SEC. OF STATE REFUSES TO RE-CERTIFY DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINES! (For Now…)
SoS: ‘Unresolved significant security concerns’, ‘Source Code Never Ever Reviewed’
State ‘Punts’ Issue Back to Feds for Further Testing, State Senator Objects — Complete Letter from SoS, Senator Bowen’s Full Statement…

Late this afternoon, Sec. of State Bruce McPherson’s office sent a letter to Diebold Election Systems, Inc. Vice President David Bryd, informing him that the state is declining — for the time being — to re-certify Diebold AccuVote touch-screen machines in the state of California pending further testing and certification by Federal authorities.

In the letter, on McPherson’s letterhead (complete letter at bottom of article), Caren Daniels-Meade, chief of the Elections Division writes that “Unresolved significant security concerns exist with respect to the memory card used to program and configure” the Accu-Vote operating system and touch-screen equipment.

In a statement reported by AP, SoS spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns announced problems discovered during routine testing…by state employees and independent consultants including discovery of source code that “had never, ever been reviewed”…

Read more.

Sign on to get those legal memos!

From several friends:

Have you heard that George Bush is using the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance on American citizens without the consent of any court?

This is specifically against the law. Bush says political appointees in the Justice Department outlined the legal authority to get around the restrictions in our laws and the Constitution, but those legal memos are classified.

I just added my name to a formal Freedom of Information Act request to see these documents. We need to know if the president broke the law, and where this administration thinks the line of its authority is.

You can sign on to the Freedom of Information Act request here

Thanks!

The ongoing fight in North Carolina

Board will reconsider new voting machines

Elections panel wanted optical-scan over touch-screen system
By Michael Hewlett
JOURNAL REPORTER
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Forsyth County Board of Elections will reconsider Thursday its recommendation that the county buy voting machines that scan paper ballots to replace the current punch-card system at the request of Forsyth County commissioners.

And commissioners will decide whether to accept the board’s recommendation later that day.

Last week, Kathie Chastain Cooper, the county’s director of elections, was visibly angered when the board of elections recommended optical-scan machines from Elections Systems & Software Co.

She had favored the touch-screen machines from Diebold Election Systems, a company mired in controversy over the reliability and security of its equipment.

Two law firms representing investors have sued Diebold for misleading them about its voting machines, and chief executive Walden W. O’Dell resigned abruptly last week. He had been criticized for sending a fundraising letter in 2003 in which he said that he would guarantee Ohio for President Bush.

Chastain Cooper said she likes the Diebold Accuvote touch-screen system because it has a tamper-proof paper trail that lets voters see where their votes have been marked, and the machines are not as heavy as the touch-screen machines offered by Elections Systems & Software Co.

Chastain Cooper also said that the optical-scan machines require large and bulky paper ballots, which would require more storage space. She said that more precinct workers would have to be hired, and that recounts would be harder to do than on touch-screen machines.

Critics in Forsyth County and across the country have argued that electronic-voting machines have security flaws that could enable someone to hack into the system and manipulate election results.

Read more.

A must-read review of a must-read book

if I do say so myself…

A Government Hijacked

Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)

By Mark Crispin Miller
Reviewed by William E. Betz

There is no joy in this book. It documents in excruciating detail overwhelming evidence of the broad-ranging election fraud that took place in the United States in connection with the 2004 national election. Unfortunately, the reaction of the typical na•ve American to the fact that the election was stolen by the right-wing Republicans who are currently in power in this country has been an insistent disbelief. The indisputable facts have been either roundly disputed or assiduously ignored by the mainstream print and broadcast media, and the proponents of this ugliest of truths have been relegated to the status of tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.

The subject of this book is self-marginalizing. It utterly destroys the reflexive “It can’t happen here” response of those of us who refuse to believe that it HAS happened here. I say “those of us” because acknowledgement of the basic premise of the book is the most revolutionary of thoughts for anyone who has learned to believe in the sanctity of our electoral system, and the basic premise is extremely painful to admit in spite of the overwhelming proof: Our government has been hijacked by undemocratic forces that manipulated election results to reinstall the Bush administration, an illegitimate administration initially installed by a Supreme Court decision that invalidated the results of the 2000 election, an administration dedicated to world domination and the destruction of American democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the individual rights that made this country the envy of striving people throughout the world.

Read more.

Bucks County patriots lead the way

Bucks voting coalition grows in numbers, influence
Municipalities, Dems join call for machines with paper record.
By Hal Marcovitz
Of The Morning Call

Six months ago, the Bucks County Coalition for Voting Integrity amounted to little more than a few names and phone numbers scribbled on a note pad kept by Mary Ann Gould, the Richboro woman who founded the group.

Today, the coalition has a mailing list of more than 1,000, an attorney, a legal defense fund and a major political party backing its mission, which is to persuade the county commissioners to buy voting machines that preserve paper records of each vote cast in an election.

Read more.

Bob Barr says what the Democrats would say

if they were democrats.

CNN’s Situation Room
Aired December 16, 2005 – 19:00 ET

BLITZER: Americans spying on Americans. In a story first reported today by the “New York Times” and confirmed by our own sources here at CNN, President Bush is said to have authorized the super secret National Security Agency to conduct electronic eavesdropping here at home. The president is saying only that he won’t discuss ongoing intelligence operations.

Joining us now are two conservative Republicans who have very different views on this issue. From Atlanta, the former Congressman and CNN contributor, Bob Barr, and from Capitol Hill, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Congressman Barr, what’s wrong with what the president has decided to do?

BOB BARR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What’s wrong with it is several-fold. One, it’s bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it’s bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it’s bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order.

So it’s bad all around, and we need to get to the bottom of this. BLITZER: Do you agree, Congressman Rohrabacher — I suspect you don’t.

Read more.

Let Congress hear from you TOMORROW!

Operation Flabbergasted: Let’s Watergate Bush (UPDATE 1)
by smintheus
Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 09:39:29 PM PDT

This cannot stand. In ordering the NSA to spy secretly on America, George Bush has: overturned United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18, which prohibits domestic spying by the NSA; violated the federal act which created the FISA court to oversee covert domestic investigations; and trampled upon the Fourth Amendment guarantee against warrantless searches. It cannot stand for a day, much less a month while Congress is in recess.

On Friday, when Sen. Specter said he’d make investigating the allegations a top priority in January, it was barely possible to pretend that they might be false. But by Saturday’s radio address, when Bush defended his policy and insisted it would continue, we had entered a full-blown constitutional crisis. George Bush would love for Congress to back down from a fight next week, to go home grumbling “Wait until next year.”

Operation Flabbergasted We cannot let that happen. We have to ensure that by Monday, all hell has broken loose in D.C.

Read more.

Bush names vote-suppression goon to FEC

From Bob F.:

Bush to nominate voter suppression specialist to the FEC by david blue
Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:21:48 AM PDT

A big hat tip to Rick Hasen who noticed this White House press release (buried in the Friday night trash). President Bush is going to nominate Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission. Who?

Well, Hans von Spakovsky is a long-time activist in “voting integrity.” Translated, he is a long-time activist in keeping people away from the polls.

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/040920fa_fact

His ideas led to the notorious purge of Florida’s voting rolls before the 2000 election in which thousands of mostly-eligible, mostly-Democratic, and mostly-minority voters were removed from the voting lists. Von Spakovsky also was a volunteer for Bush in the Florida recount. Want more? It’s all here. This guy is a disaster. There is no way he should be on the FEC.

FEC Commissioners are subject to Senate approval, so write or call your Senator.

UPDATE: Several commenters have asked which Senate committee holds hearings on FEC nominees. It is the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Chair is Trent Lott; ranking Dem is Christopher Dodd. Other Dems are Byrd, Inouye, Feinstein, Schumer, Dayton, Durbin, and Ben Nelson; other Republicans are Ted Stevens, Mitch McConnell, Thad Cochran, Santorum, K.B. Hutchison, Frist, Chambliss, Bennett, and Hagel. Some heavy hitters on both sides.

Maoists: You can run but you can't hide!

Agents’ visit chills UNIVERSITY OF Mass/ Dartmouth senior
By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

NEW BEDFORD — A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s tome on Communism called “The Little Red Book.”

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library’s interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand’s class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents’ home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a “watch list,” and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Read more.