Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Now, Are You Happy?

There aren't too many days when I actually want to scream (metaphorically I always want to scream) about Democratic party political developments, but in the case of the ONLY candidate who could have changed this country for the better (John Edwards) leaving the race I can only ask every dunderhead who had the temerity (look it up) to say that "He couldn't win" and thereby contributed to the inertia bringing on his actual inability to win, have I this to say: " I TOLD YOU SO".

I warned that if we allowed ourselves to get caught between the angles of Chauvinism-- gender and race-- we would only have ourselves to blame for the outcome; getting mesmerized with the Shiny Bright Object. Don't believe me? Listen to my KPHX promo next time it rolls around.

Well, now we have it. Our choices are between "TweedleDLC and TweedleDLC'er".

Republicans now have nothing to do until the Democratic Convention this summer. Then Billary and Oboreme will be so over-exposed all the RNC cohorts will have to do is unleash their “swiftboat” campaign and blow him or her out of the water with a snorty chortle.

Nice going.

Former Senator John Edwards, D-N.C., will drop out of the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday.

"It just became clear it wasn't going to happen," a senior Edwards adviser tells ABC News' Rick Klein.

Cross-posted on Voice of America.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 01-27-2008 The Reference Shelf

Today's article and item links:

  • ECONOMY: Stimulus Gone Bad:

    House Democrats and the White House have reached an agreement on an economic stimulus plan. Unfortunately, the plan — which essentially consists of nothing but tax cuts and gives most of those tax cuts to people in fairly good financial shape — looks like a lemon.

  • CAMPAIGN 2008: Tools: Dr. King and the Cognitive Dimension of Leadership: In last week's show I commented on how I had realized that the kind of president I was seeking had “fallen in love” with what Dr. Martin Luther King had loved enough to fight and even die for: social justice. Seems I was not the only one in whom that understanding has taken root. From the excellent resource Rockridge Institute:

    Senator Hillary Clinton's remarks this month about the roles and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson provided fodder for countless blogs, opinion columns, and radio and television programs. While many have argued about the intent of Clinton's comments, the discussion has largely glossed over the unconventional nature of Dr. King's leadership and the type of change he sought. Without an understanding of the cognitive dimension of the leadership that Dr. King embodied, we cannot fully appreciate his achievements or hope to effect the lasting changes that our world demands.
    AND Past holds key to Democratic future: Excellent article on the actual differences between Barack and Hillary.
    During Clinton and Obama's shared service in the Senate, they have disagreed on multiple votes that may not have made headlines at the time but do shed light on how they would approach the presidency. In fact, the two self-styled progressive senators often diverged on policies that are particularly important to Democratic liberals.

  • DIRTY TRICKS: One of Action Point's guests this week reminds us that if we think Senator Hillary can take whatever Republicans can throw her way, we have not yet begun to see exactly what Presidential candidate Hillary may have to face: Citizens United Productions Is Proud To Announce The Release Of "Hillary" The Movie.

  • ENVIRONMENT: Huffington Post Gets Astroturfed: From

    When first popped up in my reader with its "The Worst Science Stories of 2007: STATS Dubious Data Awards" I immediately wrote it off as the rantings of a wingnut who hangs out with Steven Milloy or Terrence Corcoran in the junk science brigade; in just one article, author Trevor Butterworth dumps on San Francisco's Mayor Gavin for banning water bottles, calls fire retardants harmless, declares gender-bender chemicals like phthalates a statistical anomaly and other inanities. I didn't bother finishing it. Then I learned that it was published on the Huffington Post, a usually respectable blog that leans left and that Butterworth is a regular columnist. Butterworth is also the editor of, "a non-profit, non-partisan organization"..."[whose] goals are to correct scientific misinformation in the media resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge."
    AND Plan to allow logging in Alaskan forest:
    More than 3 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest would be open to logging under a federal plan that supporters believe will revive the state's struggling timber industry.

  • MUST READ: The Politics of Hopelessness: another excellent piece from David Sirota:

    "You were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart." - Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton, 1/22/08 That exchange from the presidential debate last night lasted about 3 seconds - if you flipped the channel for a moment, you might have missed it. That was the amount of time the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for president spent talking about the corporate takeover of our government - the issue that almost singularly drives American politics and that is at the core of our country's most fundamental problems.

  • PERSONAL SECURITY ALERT: Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring:

    President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.
    AND Senate Defeats 1st Try To Strip Telcos Of FISA Immunity:
    Lawmakers in the Senate defeated an initial attempt Thursday to strip immunity for telecommunications companies out of a bill reauthorizing the federal government's warrantless wiretapping program. Senators approved a motion to table an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would have removed the immunity provision in the bill. The vote was 60-34.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 01-20-2008 The Reference Shelf

Today's article and item links:

  • POLITICAL HISTORY: MLK: I Have a Dream (Speech): From the Guardian series of the best international speeches. Quite moving.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITY: Revived Link, SOLAR BUS Election Justice Center: Strong on links and news, minus the commentary.

  • BIG BUSINESS: Google: From 'Don't Be Evil' to How to Do Good:

    In one of the most widely watched efforts in corporate giving in years, Google Inc. unveiled yesterday nearly $30 million in new grants and investments, outlining how it will focus a massive philanthropic endeavor that erases the usual boundaries between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

  • CAMPAIGN 2008: Tools: Washington Post Issue Coverage Tracker: A variety of interactive flash tools. Easy to find issue positions etc. AND Where is John Edwards? Regarding the obvious media blackout of Edwards, this page at Edwards '08 lends some insight:

    The traditional media outlets have their blinders on, narrowly focusing on the two $100 million celebrity candidates -- and trying as hard as they can to keep John Edwards out of the picture.

  • MUST READ: Digging In the Right Place: another excellent piece from David Sirota:

    Think about it: The White House can only be won by raising truckloads of cash from moneyed interests looking to preserve the status quo. Likewise, the U.S. Senate's filibuster rules allow 41 lawmakers, representing just 11 percent of the population, to stop anything. These are institutions designed to prevent change, not embrace it.

  • PERSONAL SECURITY ALERT: Government sues 9 Arizona landowners over border fence: Those “strict consitutionalists” can take credit for this:

    The U.S. Department of Justice has sued at least nine Arizona landowners, seeking temporary condemnations so it can survey and prepare to build a border fence. The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson, seek to invoke the government's power of eminent domain to gain access to land along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • IRAN: Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008: Now this is what Congress is supposed to do!
    On January 17, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced with six other co-sponsors the "Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008." The new resolution, H.R. 5056, is the first of its kind to call for the appointment of a high-level United States representative or special envoy for Iran for the purpose of easing tensions and normalizing relations between the United States and Iran.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PAYPAL Halts New Hampshire Primary Recount?!

I don't have time right now to completely investigate what is being reported to me by someone associated with the NH recount effort, so if this is not accurate I will correct later (and note- I am not now nor have I ever been a Conspiracy Nut Enthusiast). Ponder this:

I do not know where to begin with all of this so I will just lay out the basic facts as they are being reported to me:

The state of New Hampshire ballot appeared to have been tampered with.

  1. The people of America (and about half of the world too!) pulled together to sign a petition and have their voice heard, across the aisle, in an effort that has seen both Democrats and Republicans call for a recount of the ballots for the state of New Hampshire.
  2. The Secretary of State placed a January 15th @ 15:00 deadline for the $55,600 to be handed over to cover the cost of the recount.
  3. The money was raised by, again, people from all walks of life who simply wanted to see that every vote was counted.
  4. At the very last moment, PayPal froze the Granny Warriors account and refused to release the funds whilst they “investigated” a “suspicious” $1000 donation.
  5. The money could not be handed over and thus, at this point in time, it appears that the recount will NOT take place.

So, the following is what we are meant to believe:

  1. PayPal have clearly not been paying ANY attention to what has been happening during this campaign and thus have no idea how quickly and in what amounts the Ron Paul Revolution is able to raise funds.
  2. PayPal were clearly unaware that Ron Paul supporters were in the majority of those donating to this effort and would likely break the target REGARDLESS of what last minute donations were required.
  3. PayPal were so unlucky during the four days that this appeal ran that they managed to:
    1. Crash the original ChipIn at least 3 times making it impossible during this time to donate any money at all.
    2. Destroy the original ChipIn altogether after around $40,000 had been donated requiring the Granny Warriors to start a new ChipIn for the remaining monies.
    3. Crash the new ChipIn for about 2 hours on and off on the final fundraising date.
    4. Stop the recount by denying that all and any funds received are now frozen (note: NOT just the $1000 which, by this point, was no longer needed as we were over the top by then) pending an investigation into where a perfectly decent sized donation came from.
  4. The Secretary of State is unable to stretch the deadline or accept that said funds exist regardless of the amount of documented evidence placed on his desk.
  5. This entirely calamitous and accidental chain of events was, at no point whatsoever, manipulated by anybody to ensure that this recount never took place.

I am sorry but I do not believe for one second that 1 through 4 could possibly have happened without 5 being false.

I never will either.

Author withheld. I say, follow the money. Who owns or is within PayPal with access allowing such digital manipulation as to disrupt this fund collection? Inquiry time...

UPDATE: Today from election transparency advocate Nancy Tobi (co-founder of Democracy for New Hampshire) whose piece from which the following was snipped can be found on Mark Crispin Miller's blog here and begins after the title "HOW DOES NEW HAMPSHIRE'S RECOUNT CULTURE FACILITATE RATHER THAN DETER ELECTION RIGGING?"

I understand that Howard is going ahead with the Repub recount after Gardner backed off a challenge to his interpretation of the law that all the cash had to be paid up front. I also understand there are operatives working on Howard to only do a partial recount. The Kucinich team has already decided to only do a partial recount. Below is a little piece I wrote to explain why a partial recount, just like a random audit, does not have any statistical merit in detecting fraud.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 01-13-2008 The Reference Shelf

Today's article and item links:

  • ENTERTAINMENT: Tom Hanks Tells Hollywood Whopper in 'Charlie Wilson's War':

    Charlie Wilson's War purports to be the true story of a hard-partying U.S. congressman from Texas who engineered the defeat of the Soviet Union by the Afghan Mujahiddin. Now there are true stories, and there are true-ish stories. It is a given that, in creating a film narrative, sometimes the truth gets a little bent, but it's against the rules to change facts that change the outcome of history. When telling the story of Antony and Cleopatra, they gotta die at the end, n'est-ce pas? It's inappropriate, for example, to tell the story of World War II and pretend that, because the United States might have given a box of guns to the French Underground, there was no Holocaust. That's a pretty good analogy for what's been done in Charlie Wilson's War.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITY: We need to eliminate secret vote counting, not a recount:

    It's pretty easy to see what happened in New Hampshire: We had an election in which 81% of our ballots were counted in secret by a private corporation, and this resulted in an outcome that is called into question. That's what happened. No recount is going to change this. What will change this is to get rid of corporate controlled secret vote counting in our elections.
    And, What's Sexist and What's Fair Game When It Comes to Hillary Clinton?
    I decided to give some somewhat random examples in my own mind of the difference between inappropriate standard white-male chauvinism and actual candidate "fair game" issues.

  • THE ANDREW MYERS FILE (UPDATES FROM A POST 9-11 WORLD): At Taser party, it's shock and awe:

    Before she lets them shoot her little pink stun gun, Dana Shafman ushers her new friends to the living room sofa for a serious chat about the fears she believes they all share. "The worst nightmare for me is, while I'm sleeping, someone coming in my home," Shafman said, drawing a few solemn nods from the gathered women. Shafman, 34, of Phoenix, says she knows how they feel and tells how she used to stash knives under her pillow for protection. Welcome, she says, to the Taser party.

  • Campaign 2008: U.S. corporate elite fear candidate Edwards:

    Edwards suffered a blow on Thursday when Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry snubbed him and endorsed Obama. Edwards was Kerry's vice-presidential running mate in Kerry's failed Democratic bid for the White House in 2004. BUSINESS'S FAVORITE UNCLEAR: Asked which candidate their clients most support, corporate lobbyists were unsure. Clinton has cautious backing within the corporate jet set, as do Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, they said.

  • ENVIRONMENT: Green At Work Magazine Premier Corporate Sustainability Publication: The latest green business website I've discovered.

  • MUST READ: Stay Classy, Mike Huckabee: another excellent piece from David Sirota:

    "The uncool subject is class," author Bell Hooks once wrote. "It's the subject that makes us all tense." What an understatement, considering the two leading "change" candidates in the latest presidential polls.

  • "I Just Want to Tear Out My Hair" Darfur peacekeeping set back by 6 months: If only Darfur had strategic oil reserves.

    U.N. peacekeeping forces lack the troops and equipment necessary to improve the situation in violence-wracked Darfur and will continue to be ineffective until mid-2008, the U.N. peacekeeping chief cautioned Wednesday.

  • INTERNATIONAL: Voices on Recording May Not Have Been From Iranian Speedboats:

    The Iranians have denied using the threatening language and are saying U.S.-released video is fabricated. Today, the Iranian government aired its own video of the event on state-run TV there.

  • NO COMMENT: Suspicious Minds, How a ragtag group of conspiracy nuts is changing public perception of 9/11.

  • Personal Safety Alert: World's Top Surveillance Societies:

    Experienced air traffic controllers are retiring faster this year than the government projected and their union said Wednesday the remaining veterans can no longer safely handle peak volumes in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Southern California.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 07, 2008

From Black Box Voting:


John Silvestro and his small private business, LHS Associates, has exclusive programming contracts for ALL New Hampshire voting machines, which combined will count about 81 percent of the vote in the primary. And as to Super Tuesday and beyond: Silvestro also has the programming contracts for the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Silvestro IS the New Hampshire chain of custody in New England -- Or at least, a very large component in it.

Last fall, with the help of citizens like you, Black Box Voting began working on "Chain of Custody" projects, in which we identified some of the areas of concern that might affect many jurisdictions at once. First on the list for the Northeast U.S. is LHS Associates, a vendor with inside access to every memory card, as well as to the chips containing the "brain" of the Diebold optical scan machines.


In an unusual confluence of available video, we obtained footage of Silvestro grappling with Harri Hursti, the master hacker who had his way with the Diebold optical scans in Leon County, Florida in the famous exploit that was showcased in the film Hacking Democracy.

The exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County is used throughout New Hampshire, where about 45 percent of elections administrators hand count paper ballots at the polling place, with the remaining locations all using the Diebold version 1.94w optical scan machine. Because the voting machine locations tend to be urban, this represents about 81 percent of the New Hampshire voters.

The video shows Harri Hursti testifying on Sept. 19 before the New Hampshire legislature, attempting to explain significant vulnerabilities requiring urgent mitigations; throughout his testimony, Silvestro inserted his own comments, opinions, misstatements and speculations.

Labels: ,

US troops in Pakistan?

In my ongoing search to understand the maze that is the Middle East's real needs-- as opposed to US security interests-- unwrapping the story about an unwrapping country, Pakistan, appears central. I don't have many pieces (yet) but this morning came across an interview that provides insight:
Is there a military solution in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Twenty percent or more of the Pakistan army, including a large section of its officer corps, comes from the North-West Frontier Province, and the people against whom these actions are to be taken are their kith and kin. They are very reluctant to find a military solution to the problem in the Northwestern Frontier Province. They understand that this is part of the Pashtun nationalism, which exists on both sides of the border. Pakistan army understands that if they were to allow the American special forces to come in in a very big way, it would have very detrimental effect on their relationship with China, because that means US special forces come within about 200 miles of the Chinese border.



If you're staying informed on all things clandestine, this one is for you: The BRAD BLOG:
"Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.

'A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets,' reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined 'For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets.'"

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 01-06-2008 The Reference Shelf

Today's article and item links:

  • HEALTH ALERT: What if Congress passed a law that made the price of your groceries go up by 900 percent?

    There would be an instant uproar, and you can bet the problem would be fixed, immediately. Last year, Congress made a technical error. As a result, the cost of birth control in many clinics is rising to almost 900 percent what it was just months ago. Women who were paying $5 to $10 per month are now paying $40 to $50 for birth control. For the college students and low-income women affected by this cost hike, that’s no small matter. Congress has had more than 11 months to fix the mistake — needlessly jeopardizing women’s health. Congress must restore birth control to affordable levels this year.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITY: Student Voters Supressed in Iowa:

    We've all seen the cry of "voter fraud" being used for political purposes in recent years, but this latest example would be amusing if it weren't so pernicious: David Yepsen, a leading political reporter for The Des Moines Register, has suggested that Senator Obama's encouragement of college students to vote in the Iowa caucuses amounts to "fraud."
    And, Legal voters thrown off rolls:
    Five years after passage of a federal law to create electronic registration databases to deter voter fraud, the new technology is posing hurdles that could disenfranchise thousands of legal voters, a USA TODAY examination finds. From Florida to Washington, voters have been challenged because names or numbers on their registration forms did not exactly match other government databases, such as Social Security and motor vehicle agencies. "We know that eligible people have been thrown off the rolls," says Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
    AND, Exclusive: Scary 'New York Times' story on faulty voting machines this Sunday.

  • SPEECHLESS: Sordid Tales Of Clinton-hater:

    After noting that his first marriage also ended with an affair, Scaife told VF he no longer believes in monogamy: "I don't want people throwing rocks at me in the street. But I believe in open marriage."

  • Campaign 2008: The Return of the SwiftBoaters:

    Research by The Nation into Federal Election Commission records of the group's top twenty donors reveals that they've been remarkably active in this cycle, contributing and bundling nearly $200,000 to presidential candidates. This does not bode well. During the last presidential campaign, the wealthy backers of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth--now rebranded as Swift Vets and POWs for Truth--didn't do their real dirty work until the general election, where as a tax-exempt 527 group they operated outside the restraints of direct campaign contributions. We may wish we were done with the Swift Boaters, but they aren't done with us.

  • INTERNATIONAL: Bush Issues Signing Statement Undermining Sudan Accountability And Divestment Act:

    Yesterday, President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which makes it easier for “states, local governments and private investors to cut investment ties with Sudan as a way to pressure the Khartoum government into ending violence in the country’s Darfur region.” Both the House and the Senate passed the bill unanimously.

  • Personal Security Alert: World's Top Surveillance Societies:

    Privacy International, a UK privacy group, and the U.S.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center have put together a world map of surveillance societies, rating various nations for their civil liberties records. Both the U.S. and the UK are colored black for "endemic surveillance," as are Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, China and Malaysia. Among the trends that the two organizations have tracked: The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance on privacy safeguards.

Labels: , , , , ,