Saturday, November 13, 2004

The election that wants to go away


Many professors, scientists, and other leaders in society saw what happened to Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill. So I preface this article with the idea that the political elites (and their cronies around the world) in America are doing two things to pacify dissent:

First, and absolutely foremost, political elites are frightening the “best and brightest” in our society into to shutting-up, or worse, sucking them in.

Second, political elites are stuffing many of their wallets and corrupting them with access to quid-pro-quo.


Move forward kicking and screaming again?

Some people are willing to speak because there are some incredible security holes in our election process. I happen to work as a software architect and what I have read makes for a head turner.

The political elite crowd audits us, spies on us, feeds us talking points, and burden us with deficits, but when it comes time to pay the same sort of religious attention to voting accuracy… hmmm, well, they spend the money on Iraq instead.

So while the political elites ignore the fairness of the 2004 eleciton millions of people are disenfranchised. Since when have soldiers, minorities, and the poor become so easily manipulated and where has all the work gone to bring this fairness to the front? Why are we reliving the 60's again?

The left proved we were right then (and during the Civil War), now, in 2004, when we should be spreading what we acomplished then to the world -we are stuck having to push Red America forward again.

So we impose democracy abroad while impeding it here at home. We are clearing out Falluja so they can get a vote. The approximate population of Fallujah gets disenfranchised in almost each and every state in America. Think about that paradox and wonder for a moment why technology is not used to make sure everyone eligible to vote during a national election votes. We have amazing computer technology and our votes can be hacked easily?

Very little mention of this:

It’s plausible a hacker(s) manipulate the results across many states not connected with either campaign.


How many more times do we let this stuff happen?

People with money, with power, with influence can ride out another 4 years of Bush. It’s the ones that Bush doesn’t call his base that are at risk. People like me, and most of you. All we get is 1 vote. Contributions get a lot more than that in Bush’s circle, adn they come from unexpected places.

Unfortunately, I think many people who could really study the issue of potential election fraud are not going to do it. The climate of fear is too packed with potentially explosive (and risky) journalism, even televison.

The security level on these computer systems is terrible. I would be fired for some of these lapses. Some of these systems can be tampered with in a matter of moments. And the manufacturers are big time Republican supporters (um, conflict of interest?). Who could more easily hack one of these systems than the manufacturer themselves?

And you combine this leaky software with exit polls showing Kerry winning in many states Bush won?

While I don’t shout conspiracy yet, I do shout:

“Media: after 2000 you promised to keep a close eye on this and you didn’t, you let us down again. We went to the moon in 10 years and in 4 years we can’t even fix the software and get the special interests out of our election?”


"The Digital Encryption Standard 56-bit encryption key used can be unlocked by a key embedded in all the source code, meaning all Diebold machines would respond to the same key.

Rubin, his graduate students and a colleague from Rice University found other bugs, that the administrator's PIN code was "1111" and that one programmer had inserted, "This is just a hack for now."

The implication is that by hacking one machine you could have access to all Diebold machines."



Big tree - small axe

What the media is doing, judging by what I am reading, is to ignore the election anomalies and pushing really hard on the “fix it” angle (that angle is 4 years old). My suspicion of the reason is embarrassment at home, abroad, and with Iraqi elections said to be coming, it would look o-so-bad. Just like Abu Ghraib. To me it seems we are in a period of being a cover-up culture and the media is knowingly winking at stories. They know in a bunch of years some guy will make money and write a book that “finally exposes” the scandal.

So like Bulge-gate, this story will likely never get the proper voice. The New York Times has written what I see as a premature dismissal at what are some rather eye popping mathematical anomalies; this was preceded by the Washington Post.

There is too much suspicion to at least not mount a serious campaign to close all these ridiculous IT gaps. I program computers every day. For something so important, this seems like a big, lazy, obvious example of bad programming. Or even sabotaging its development so that you can hack it without a footprint?

MoveOn.org seems to also see problems. And look at this phot, and those
enormous margins of victory in urban areas:




Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
(Notice also the blue divide up the Mississippi River)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Compare this with the distribution of wealth
which corresponds with educational levels (pdf)

You can begin to see this divide falling across educational lines


I see a serious strain in the press trying to play down fraud because they think it hurts the cause long term. What a twist around. Letting this crap stand is what is hurting the cause. Having an ex-Enron lawyer as Attorney general who has cheated the people before and gives really bad legal advice is what hurts the cause: you think an attorney general like that cares about election fraud?

The media seem to be forwarding an agenda to quash the influence of blogs, because they think too much misinformation is spread. Well, the media should study the election results thoroughly and I wouldn’t have to write this. Remember folks, its not just leaky computers, it’s also how many votes are thrown away. There are in fact quite a few leaks.

If the media thinks it’s not truth unless they dish it out then start reading alternative sources of news . You will see two pictures of reality that differ alot more than the exit polls and the election results.




Saturday, November 06, 2004

Is a 'civil cold war' starting in America?


If so, it seems the media is fueling it or ignoring it: look at this headline: "Americans flock to Canada's immigration Web site"


Recent events


If you have not noticed, Republicans are claiming, with a slim majority, to have a widespread mandate to ‘adjust’ the government to what they think is a new conservative paradigm.


George Bush received the most votes of any president in history. Dick Cheney said that. Wow, that must sound so convincing if you read “The Drudge Report”, but did you know John Kerry received the second most votes in American election history? Doesn’t anyone bother to mention to Dick that the population of the USA is also bigger than ever? Certainly not the big media. Dick Cheney didn’t include that part when he self proclaimed this huge mandate. That about sums up the state of the Republican Party: half the facts, half the morals, lots of lapel pins.

The most people in history vote against a candidate, and Bush claims a clear mandate?


Stop the corporate corruption


Sour grapes? Sure, some, I admit it. There are more players in this game than R vs. D. Republicans + corporate interest (including ‘big media’) leave you with the feeling that you just exited a meat grinder where you just wanted a fair election. “Big Media” doesn’t help when editors squash stories, leaving Americans less informed than they should be.


I spent more time over the last 4 years thinking about how smartly the right wing was manipulating the system towards this single goal of re-election. At the same time I watched how the media was not pushing this obvious narrative. From Iraq, to Medicare, to fear mongering and then the kicker of ‘gay marriage’ being on so many ‘swing state’ ballots: “Big media” won’t say that politicians use war for political gain, but they know. Journalism is also a source of income… keeping a salary means keeping their reputations safe. Risks management seems to have taken hold in big media and since you can’t get the narrative right, small fries must protect the freedom fries of the press. You can’t even get the narrative printed in America. You are not asking the hard questions anymore, you are self-interested and scared of retributions, the White House daily briefing is a morgue of talking points. 60 minutes killed a segment on the uranium claims from Niger. Nobody speaks in the big media anymore… just another way that fear has penetrated thru our society.


See, the Republicans KNEW that America was not ready for a vote on gays, so they used a minority to gain in the electorate. Hey, all you journalists, what do you call that when you are in private with your friends, those words that you never print? Remember that word that during the civil rights movement was spoken of, and also in the Northeast where slaves ran to hide from oppression? You hardly used it with Trent Lott but you know. Or what about those large numbers of minority votes that keep getting tossed in every election? Remember racism, big media?


All the journalists out there in their big positions won’t risk the backlash, so the people who seek progressive policies get more and more dismayed at the growing corruption. Everyone ‘inside’ knows Abu Ghraib went up high: nobody reports it. What has happened? Cover up culture triggered by labels of liberal bias? You cannot keep telling us your intentions are good… what have you done for us lately? Abu Ghraib is potentially bigger than Watergate, yet it’s not a story. Who are these editors? Are they competent or corrupted, with all the facts needed to print on their desks… why isn’t attention being paid to our American failings as a people anymore? Torture is not even news in America now folks!


Golden-gay-gate Bridge crossing to minority rule


Old big media isn’t saying it, but they know Republicans, as a ploy to bring out the most ‘conservative’ of their people, used the ‘gay’ thing as a way to get more votes for Bush. Does John Kerry know this, sure; will he say anything about it? No. Risks further alienation. Gays have civil rights in a number of countries already, so this is not news, but America is not ready for that, so they were used as a pawn to get the more 'conservative' lot out to vote.


We cannot just pick battles of substance and allow the other side to manipulate us with battles of symbolism. Georgia's Confederate flag vote cost a governorship and Max Cleland a Senate seat. It was a gift to Republicans and they now use this tactic to devastating affect. Its inappropriate use peoples prejudiced tendencies (so you keep them uneducated to keep a wedge stashed away when it’s convenient).


The civil war in America was fought in large part over the rights of blacks in society. A white minority wanted what a majority recognized as immoral. What happened to gays in the 2004 election was also immoral. These kinds of tricks hurt people and the gay community have been used as a tool.


Gays, to help this process, should temper some of the fanaticism which exists inside their communities because right now in time, American culture has not adjusted to it yet. To many it was a shock to see people of the same sex kissing in marriages in San Francisco. More sensitivity should be been paid to the Midwest, which, judging by these votes, is a region still adjusting to this reality. Help yourselves get your rights by not creating ‘civil shock and awe’. Be patient.


Graves gone Ghraib but turn on Gays

It seems all of you (Rep, Dem, big corporate media) are on message; just like Abu Ghraib. Ever hear either John mention this tragedy? Hmm, didn’t Big Media also totally ignore it after about 10 pictures of the thousands? Bush, ha ha. It’s grave.


At this point in history, the media has an opportunity to educate the public about gays and Ghraib. Watch and see if they step up. See if they really care about the level of training and education given to our soldiers. See if they care about this social divide by acting like bridge between the 2 sides or are going to be out there stoking the flames or worse, shut the conversation up altogether and accept their “mandate”.


Voter’s votes aren’t sacred enough –hmm, neither are jobs


In the United States 3 percent of votes cast are uncounted because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, counting Ohio’s votes would turn the state. Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes (as of today).


There were disproportionate Democratic votes uncounted in New Mexico. Hispanic voters are five times as likely to have their vote spoil as a white voter and twice as likely to vote for Kerry.


Making sure every vote counts equally means changes.


A friend confided in me that they were worried people are going to start secretly firing employees that they find out is not from the party of that company's political click. Wait, sorry, they call that ‘laying off’ these days.

Job security has gone so far to the right that we are being laid off at moments notice with no compensation, contracts being cancelled at a moments notice and unions deteriorate. Isn’t that another good reason to get corporations out of politics? Some more job security folks? So many people have bought a nice home and then two years later are laid off in an economy losing jobs. Our social welfare is being sacrificed too much by competitive interests. While that happens a small few are secure in their jobs and often land in piles of gold.


Many others have also told me they are sick of the deteriorating level of job security in the US. Where we have the bar between corporate competition and social interest seems unreasonably low, and boy, so does that minimum wage too. It is time to make a stand on both. We need a decent vote and to count a bit more on a job for security, we are getting less voice in our futures –not more. Security is so important these days, just like conservation… right? Depends on what kind… and who’s right and who isn’t in the right. There is a difference between a right turn and being right.


Time to also make Election Day a holiday so those that people are at least able (like those that are old and must still work) can have a voice, because that is another sneaky game to force people to work on a day you gloss in lapel pins and patriotic acts (which nobody actually reads).


I suggest Democrats push for a law which requires voter register at the age of 18. That way we stop the hijinks surrounding voter registration laws. It’s a national election; it should be a national law.


Big media must get the Republican redistricting and constant attempts at voter suppression out and get it right – you are allowing a new type of segregationism to take place.
Kerry was beating Bush in Ohio (women by 53 to 47 percent/men, 51 to 49) CNN's exit poll showed. Unless green men voted in Ohio, a lot of Democratic ballots were getting chucked! Cannonfire is closely following the situation.


Liberal bias sting: Rush and the importance of the O’Really? Factor.


The media underreport the right wing today. It was not always this way, but today in time, its noticeable the pendulum has tilted. I think the problem is that the left polices itself and also the other side, the right just polices the other side and ignores its own faults. There is enough conservative tilted media out there like Fox to now end the liberal bias label.


Clinton was the watershed though, I think. As Democrats were hammering the corruption on the right and it was getting attention in the media, Clinton’s behavior created a problem for Democrats


Clinton has something to do with that paintbrush swath of red up the middle of America … his failings in office cemented a belief, thru infidelity, that Democrats were a party of immoral, un-religious people. Al Gore couldn’t get back what was lost, so to me, Bush was not the watershed because it was Clinton who lost that popularity in many places. Gore would have had it otherwise. But think about this contradiction: Clinton was reported in every detail… sentence after sentence of that report reprinted everywhere… Abu Ghraib? The Bulge? Medicare chief’s threatening? New Pentagon Papers?


The right must correct problems making the left of America nervous


Stop bashing our sense of morality and behaving like you own it. We see duplicity, and Clinton’s mistake is certainly not indicative of the party as a whole and the entire party should not be discounted for it.


Let homosexuals at least have the rights other couples have and give them the freedom to live wherever they would like. Don’t start marking out ‘strait only’ territory. Stop congressional redistricting in its current form. America is not a country club. Slaves were also not given many of these same rights like inheritance. The Supreme Court also recently ruled on a similar topic.

Police your own side more. We can’t do it all. We don’t want to talk about it anymore than you do, so clean yourselves up of those outdated sensibilities and corporate ties.


Facts not lies


If you fight the good fight from a position of weakness then you will lose. The facts should guide the way for both parties, start using theology to defend democratic principles.


It is also time to start a progressive newspaper in the Midwest, as a way to bridge the differences in ideas.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

A media bulge leads down a prickly rabbit hole

We could be on the cusp of condoning minority rule and lower the standard of acceptable behavior in politics to dangerous levels.

"23% of the American population makes up the outright majority for a government"

Whether the "bulge" matters to you or not: we need to stop the corruption all over the Bush administration, so I invite you to read on.

David Lindorff wote a new article about the Bulge today:

"
Bloggers have been pretty much alone in dogging this story, and some have suggested that the president may be hiding a medical device -- the prevailing theory is an external atrial defibrillator. But at least one physician, Dr. Stephen Tarzynski of Pasadena, CA, says most such devices are worn on the front of the body, closer to the heart. Another suggestion is an electrical impulse machine that could be designed to relieve chronic pain. In either case, the public has a right to know the health condition of the man they are considering as a candidate for the next four years -- particularly as the vice pesident, Dick Cheney, himself suffering from a serious heart condition […]

(Remember, the U.S. media have been criticized in the past for covering up President Franklin Roosevelt's leg braces and President Kennedy's Addison's disease, as well as President Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's in office.)
"

Most defibrillators are worn from the front; certainly this information from the quoted doctor above reduces the chances that it really is a defibrillator as described in another article I wrote. Bushwired has an excellent summary of all the photographic evidence. One similar to this defibrillator could have been used by choice, for better concealment so it must logically remain possible. It is also highly possible the President was also wired. What is for certain is that the bulge exists. That is all we have proven so far, so the focus must be on getting an answer on what the bulge really is.

It still troubles me: not submitting a physical goes against a long standing tradition. Politicians don't ignore this sort of thing without good reasons. It could quite be the case that Bush has a health problem and nothing on his body to identify it.

In general, I find the apathy regarding this issue shocking. The media sets the course in America: they do not like to be told what to report. The media has a responsibility to inform Americans, and now when websites like this evolve to fill this "fact hunting" void the media has left, it becomes our own fault we don’t have credibility. They printed stories about Watergate when it wasn’t clear what was happening yet, just a strange event. So what is really the difference?

The credibility, I guess, comes with time because it is the very same mainstream media which discount these efforts who heralded them when CBS seemed under fire. They sit on the sidelines and wait for the work to be done for them here, and call them ‘dark chasms’ warding off others of the ‘salacious rumors’ being written about. So, in this nefarious little world, have people like us stepped forward to become what used to be called “investigative journalists” and taken over for what would then be “old media”*?


*Journalism subscribing to the culture of “figure it out for us and we will grace you with our access to the masses” their than looking into it for themselves


Why are there now so few attorneys like Eliot Spitzer and journalists like Seymour Hersh, Greg Palast, and David Lindorff?

It’s because of the complicity of the media we didn’t already have more evidence that Bush was wired a long time ago. Is it going to continue to be that way with the President’s health? Is it going to stay hidden how obvious it is he is wired?

Let me pose two potential media failures:

Do the media know Bush is wired? All indications seem to be that many in the media do. I point to that video of the Chirac news conference as to why:

I read an article recently in which an earpiece coach stated "what you're supposed to do is speak a split-second after you hear each word", actors use them and say that its easier to hear their own voice in an earpiece and repeat it. The news conference is littered with examples of Bush’s voice not matching the recorded voice (which was also his own), too many, in fact to list here. Any audio expert, at that time could have easily confirmed this, but, shockingly, it’s wasn’t news… we have a President who is wired but calls what you are reading now “internets”? We have a Bush which is an eastern prep school graduate turn cowboy clearing brush? The media decided for us this wasn’t news? And today, months after the fact, it’s another ‘salacious rumor’? Let audio experts decide. If eyes don’t lie, neither do our ears.

So our press covers scripted press conferences, does that go down another level beyond being able to write your story the night before? We can’t ask this pillar of society if they are cheating us too. There would be widespread embarrassment in the media if this were discovered to be true. If it got out enough they would do what the UN does: change in secret when nobody is looking.

Whatever the truth is, when the media doesn’t ask obvious questions they usually, as a culture, have a reason: self interest, whether career, integrity, job security, et al.



David Lindorff also writes:

“U.S. media have been criticized in the past for covering up President Franklin Roosevelt's leg braces and President Kennedy's Addison's disease, as well as President Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's in office”


How many Americans know these past cover-ups of health problems exist?

Is there another health issue here to protect? Has the media decided not to make health a campaign issue? Remember, they set the agenda, terrorism, national security, Iraq, and by following the talking points of the campaigns. The “and ask once and case closed” or “get it on the record” mentality is clear here:

President Bush’s advisors were quoted as saying the President was too busy to have a physical this year. (During his vacation in Texas) The media have asked why there was no physical, and there was no further follow up to the answer given: the answer is still the President is too busy” (while on vacation).

Not in my backyard?

If you took a poll, and asked people “Is the health of the President of concern to you?” what would you imagine the answer being? Does you health matter? Or the health of your friends? Does the health of the person who is supposed to represent you in a “more dangerous” world matter?

What if the media were like an attorney who you pay to represent you, would you feel let down by this attorney if you didn’t get all the information you deserved? Have the media become a culture that waits for public outcry to report on anything better than the same stump speech blurb every day? I mean, they look the same, sound the same, same flags, banners, smiles, cheers, um, and then Bush say’s Kerry’s a flip flopper and Kerry says Bush screwed up Iraq. And then tomorrow you see the same thing again.

Why didn’t the media demand a physical? If “national security” is important to explore with so many pundits and so many talk show hosts, and swift boats, why didn’t a serious discussion mount on this? One theory is that media insiders know of a health problem that “they have decided is not a significant enough worry”. They are also worried about the reaction of a secretive and vindictive administration if pushed further on any topic. Remember, the Bush Administration shuts you out.

Is this media complicity, liberal-bias sting, or worse, media collusion. What do you call Abu Grhaib? Other than Sy Hersch, or an editorial, have we heard a breath about this other than a few more trials and convictions of scapegoats? If a story that big can get smushed, so can the "bulgegate".

Collective power, minority rule

It seems the media wants to publish their stories on the same internet which they undermine. By discounting the collective power of the internet, “old media” undermine a place where they can get more information than ever. If you want us around, stop labeling us as “unhelpful” and heralding us when you can't avoid publishing on the story any longer.

Big budget media outlets have access to highly skilled professionals that can apply scientific techniques to discover the exact dimensions of the visible bulge on Bush's back. Astronomical research uses image analysis and in forensic studies they are commonplace and highly sophisticated. It's common scientific practice, it’s a matter of desire.

Is it time for me to consider my thinking ‘old world’ and modernize to this new paradigm which seems to want to take hold in the way news is presented to us?

People keep asking me why I care about this, my response: look, pick an issue that matters to you and do something about it. Right now this is mine, so stop telling me there are other, worse, examples of Bush corruption…. I know that. All of them need to be told and there is a gap here to fill right now, before it becomes lore.

A note came in from a newsgroup in which an Englishman pointed out that in today’s America 46% of people vote, meaning that 23% of the American population makes up the outright majority for a government. If you consider the Republican “southern strategy”, habits of vote supression, the Supreme Court selecting a President, and not a single senator standing up in congress to fight the disenfranchisement, there is a strong case that minority rule is at work today.

Republicans know they are the minority, which is why they play electoral games and present an air of a majority, just like they present the air of a competent President.

I wonder if the Electoral College has outgrown its shoes and the “southern strategy”, laid out bare, is just the mathematical result of a vote in Wyoming having more value than a vote in California.

Whoever we do elect (hopefully not select) on election day, it will be a reflection of exactly who we, as a people, are.

Friday, October 22, 2004

It's traditional for Presidential candidates to have a physical in an election year


Some members of the American public would like to ask:

President Bush to please take a physical for the American people to scrutinize

Historically, every candidate running for the office of President submits a physical for public scrutiny.


It's a part of getting the job

President Bush and John Kerry have submitted tax returns for public scrutiny like every other candidate on the Presidential tickets (Cheney, Kerry, Edwards) and every candidate's campaign reports its finances according to campaign finance rules.

Mr. Kerry has gotten a check-up. Mr. Bush has not. This is an election year. Should we start going against this tradition?

The President's health is a matter of national security, especially since in this 2004 election "national security" is an important campaign issue and a President having a health problem is important to the debate. It would be unfair to voters if they were not making a fully informed choice.

I call on other citizens to debate this issue publicly.