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I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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Am I the Only One the Teensiest Bit Concerned?
Saturday, November 20, 2004
I think it is a tad strong to say the election was rigged. But the partisanship of the makers of the voting machines is beyond wrong, and borders on scary.

How can you even have faith in a system when (leading voting machine supplier) "Diebold corporate chief and top Bush fundraiser, Wally O'Dell has publicly committed himself to 'delivering' his home state's key votes to Bush."? How can the same guy run the biggest voting machine company in the country AND be raising money for Bush? Can you imagine the outcry from the right if the shoe were on the other foot?



By William Thomas | 10-10-04

"Those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything" - Joseph Stalin

GW Bush has already `won' the 2004 Presidential selection. It doesn't much matter that the actual vote has yet to be held, or that an electorate enraged by the damage done by an ignorant, angry little man is about to throw him out of a stolen White House on his remotely-wired ear.

But there's a hitch. When US voters start tapping computer screens in polling booths next month, more than three-quarters of the machines they'll be using are – how to put this discreetly? – owned by powerful Republican interests.

This time around, state after state is being set up to `do a Florida'. Given the record of America's voting machines in municipal and congressional elections over the past four years, computer malfunctions and malfeasance at polling stations across the land are more certain than the sun continuing to rise in the east.

Whatever happens, post-election headlines are certain to read: "Recounts Called For In Key States." Thousands of lawyers for both camps are already standing by to file legal challenges as soon as the first elusive bytes are electronically tallied. Kerry says his campaign alone is readying 2,000 lawyers to "challenge any place in America where you cannot trace the vote and count the votes."

Which is just about everywhere.

Corporate mass media mesmerizers tout electronic voting machines as "just like ATMs". They are not. Bank machines give users a printed
record of their electronic transactions. Despite pending legislation making it mandatory, none of America's electronic voting machines issue tickertape receipts providing each voter with a record she can immediately check against the vote she electronically cast.

"It's a shell game, with money, companies and corporate brands
switching in a blur of buy-outs and bogus fronts," writes columnist Chris Floyd in the St. Petersburg Times.

"Bigger than Watergate," says the editor of the Sludge Report. "Imagine that you are a political interest group that wishes to control forevermore the levers of power. Imagine further that you know you are likely to implement a highly unpopular political agenda, and you do not wish to be removed by a ballot driven backlash."

Imagine that you could subvert the voting process in ways that would allow you to steal elections without anyone knowing. This is an accurate description of the voting system that will determine the next leader of the most bankrupt and militarily powerful nation on the planet - regardless of how Americans actually vote.

Last year, some kids "really interested in computers" had clicked onto the unsecured FTP site of the biggest electronic voting machine provider in the USA. One teen helpfully posted the source codes for Diebold voting system and vote counting programs on his top-ranked website, igniting a furor that has yet to subside.

It turns out that Diebold Election Systems' CEO is Bob Urosevich. His brother Todd founded "rival" ES&S. Together, these two companies will tally around 80% of votes cast next November.

Howard Ahmanson bankrolled the Urosevich brothers in the vote- counting business. Ahmanson is also a member of the Council for National Policy, a right wing "steering group" that whispers into Dubya's other ear.

The publicity shy Ahmanson is also a major financial backer behind the extremist "Christian Reconstructionist" movement. The St. Petersburg Times reveals that this group "openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American democracy, placing all Americans under the `dominion' of `Christ the King'" –
personified by God's chosen representative in Washington, holy warrior GW Bush.

As John Kaminski reveals, the family whose machines will be tallying most of the next presidential vote were key financiers behind California's anti-affirmative action law, as well as efforts to ban gay marriage. the unannounced agenda behind Bush's backers include killing all homosexuals, stoning "sinners", excluding all non-Christians from US citizenship, and re-imposing slavery - "one of the most beneficent of Biblical laws."

These fundamentalists are the principal players controlling Diebold and ES&S . November's crucial vote will see some 98 million Americans - five out of every six of the roughly 115 million who will go to the polls - consign their democratic determinations to computers made and serviced by four private corps.

Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart "are hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid," Floyd writes. Among them are at least two voting machine providers operating under the ownership and philosophy of America's hardcore Republican religious right. Ahmanson-controlled Election Systems & Software will tabulate about a third of the next presidential vote using machines that have already scrambled many US elections.

In 1988, Jeb Bush's first choice for a running mate in his gubernatorial race was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who grew rich installing the machines counting Jeb's votes. Faulty ES&S machines used in Hawaii forced that state's first-ever election recount.

Sequoia is also supplying electronic voting machines in this fall's follies. Sequoia featured prominently in a massive corruption court case that sent top Louisiana state officials to jail for taking bribes funneled through Mob connected "front" firms. Sequoia's parent company, Madison Dearborn is – wait for it – a partner in the Carlyle Group.

Sequoia also manufactures casino slot machines. So don't be surprised if your electronic vote wins you a pocketful of change.

Last spring, Republican-controlled Diebold Election Systems malfunctioned across California, disqualifying thousands of voters. Citing concerns over its security and reliability, California's top elections official called for a criminal investigation in Diebold.

When he started quality-checking Diebold's "AccuVote" machines arriving at the company's Atlanta warehouse, former Diebold programmer Rob Behler and his crew found problems with "every single one" of them. About one in five Diebold voting machines couldn't be fixed and were discarded as unusable.

Nevertheless, in November's national elections at least 50 million voters are expected to "play the slots" using Diebold's dud machines. Diebold corporate chief and top Bush fundraiser, Wally O'Dell has publicly committed himself to "delivering" his home state's key votes to Bush. Nine Ohio counties will be using the paperless machines.

Run by Admiral Bill Owens, former military aide to Dick Cheney; Carlyle crony Frank Carlucci, and ex-CIA chief Robert Gates, weapons contractor SAIC aims to become a major player in the vote-counting roulette now going global in places like England, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia.

SAIC's long history of fraud charges and "security lapses" in its electronic systems has helped it become one of the largest contractors for the CIA and the Pentagon, where several trillion dollars of taxpayers' money is still missing.

The move to convert the USA to unverifiable computer voting machines was launched by the same man who benefited most from the last rigged presidential selection. In 2003, Bush signed the Help America Vote Act at the behest of Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin.

The two arms making giants also lobbied hard for a law ordering all states to adopt the same computerized "voter purge" system used by Jeb Bush to hand the 2000 election to his brother after eliminating 91,000 eligible, democrat-favoring black voters from the Florida rolls.

Having reintroduced segregation where it matters most, the same Republican-run company – ChoicePoint – has handled most of the new Bush-ordered "voter purge" state efforts in the run-up to this year's selection.

The Nation's Ronnie Dugger reports, "About a third of the votes, 36 million, will be tabulated completely inside the new paperless, direct-recording-electronic (DRE) voting systems, on which you vote directly on a touch-screen."

Dugger observes that because there no paper receipts available for cross-checking and probable recounts, DRE voters "never know, despite what the touch-screen says, whether the computer is counting your vote as you think you are casting it or, either by error or fraud, it is giving it to another candidate."

Not surprising to anyone who uses a computer, America's Big Four "election engineers" are running into a few…`er …glitches. Companies handed billions by Bush to "computerize" the nation's vote will not finish installing machines controlled by the powerful Republican-military-Christian Right before next November – when
50 to 70 million voters will gamble their democratic rights on touch-screen

Next month, three American voters out of four will confront the same voting machines they used in 2000.

Considering the millions of Americans who have repeatedly protested Bush's policies in cities across the nation - and what could be a massive first-time vote by university-age Americans whose collective co-ed anatomies are definitely feeling a draft – and the resulting Kerry victory could be too overwhelming to be rigged.

But the contest cannot be contested if Republican judges rule requested recounts to be illegal invasions into "proprietary" software already available on the Internet.

Florida officials have already refused to allow independent audits of electronic voting machines. And they are not alone. In 2000, just before the US Supreme Court intervened, a judge was pre-empted from announcing that previously untabulated ballots would be counted after a Jeb Bush spokesman accused those seeking audits of trying to "undermine voters' confidence."

Also that year in Dallas, 18 faulty machines were finally pulled after registering "Republican" when voters pushed "Democrat". A judge blocked investigation into the accuracy of the tally.

In 2002, a Democrat handily won the Alabama governor's race. But the winning tally was flipped to the Republican contender after ES&S optical scan machines "lost" 6,300 Democratic votes overnight. When a recount was requested, the state's Attorney General ruled that anyone recounting the ballots would be subject to arrest.

As award-winning elections investigator Greg Palast discovered, in the last presidential election 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that were never counted. About a million of these rejected ballots were cast by African Americans who make up only 12 percent of the US electorate.

Florida, asserts the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,"is typical of the nation."

And this year, it could get worse, Palast pronounces. Both bills holding machine votes accountable are stalled in the Republican congress.

Why vote in a rigged election? Because in America's most crucial hour,the most important things you can do are:

1. Vote on November 2nd

2. Contact your Congressional representatives immediately - and repeatedly - demanding that legislation currently before the House and Senate be passed in time to assure that proper paper receipts are issued for each electronic ballot passed.

3. State officials should also be contacted with similar demands for an "accountable" vote.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 1:58 PM  

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