Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 2-6-07: Updates on Election Security and the Short List for 2008

Image: Diebold Voters

Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

Hard Rain Journal 2-6-07: Updates on Election Security and the Short List for 2008
By Richard Power

Since 2001, before the drums of war had even begun to thunder, I have been one of those who dared to say the invasion and occupation of Iraq would not only be immoral and illegal, it would be even worse, it would be stupid.

Since 2001, when the Bush-Cheney regime reneged on the US government's commitment to the Kyoto Accords, I have been one of those who admonished the denizens of Beltwayistan (and the Corporatocracy they serve) for their inexcusable indifference to the profound implications of global warming and climate change.

And since 2001, when Bush-Cheney seized power illegitimately, I have been one of those who excoriated the US mainstream news media and the political establishment for refusing to come to grips with the fact that the electoral process had been sabotaged -- and the will of the people subverted -- by a combination of old dirty tricks (vote suppression, etc.) and new treacheries (easily jerry-rigged electronic voting machines).

Like others both in the security and intelligence field as well as other walks of life, I paid a price for my outspokenness.

Now, it is painfully clear to most of the US populace, in one way or another, that all three of these once unpopular positions are indeed the truth.

Even though the situation is dangerously unstable, it is gratifying to know that W. Jong-il no longer plays well in Peoria:

On Tuesday, President Bush popped in for a surprise visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a homey diner in Peoria, Ill. It’s a scene that has been played out many times before by this White House and others: a president mingling among regular Americans, who, no matter what they might think of his policies, are usually humbled and shocked to see the leader of the free world standing 10 feet in front of them.
But on Tuesday, the surprise was on Bush. In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this.
Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey, Newsweek, 1-31-07

But the question is "Where do we go from here?"

Before looking forward, you must look back.

Consider the OTHER story that came out of Florida this week.

While the death and wreckage left behind by tornadoes captured the headlines and dominated the air waves, something of profound significance to the future of the Republic was slipped quietly by most of the populace:

Touch screens may not be dead, but they could be on their last legs.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is moving to rid his state of the controversial touch-screen voting machines. He endorsed a $32.5 million plan to convert all the state's counties to a paper-based voting system...
"This is the wave of the future, that states are looking to scrap their electronic touch screens and move to some other system that has a paper trail," said Michael McDonald of the Brookings Institute.
"It's not always good to get ahead of ourselves," he said. "The best way of doing elections is just the old-fashioned way, by paper."
ABC News, 2-4-07

Brad Blog puts this blockbuster story in its proper context:

“This wave is the result of the unprecedented work of thousands of Election Integrity activists around the country. Aided by the Internet and new means of communication the Election Integrity community has grown and its voice is being heard. The fight is not over but we have them on the run." // U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) announced that the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, February 7 on "The Hazards of Electronic Voting – Focus on the Machinery of Democracy." John Gideon, Daily Voting News, Brad Blog, 2-3-07

Unless you accept the deeper truth of 2000 and 2004, then you cannot understanding the developing dynamics of 2008, and you will be basing your political strategy on false premises, i.e., you will be triangulating with an illusion. (Clinton and Obama do not seem to get it.) And what is the deeper truth of 2000 and 2004? Gore won in 2000 (and I don't just mean the popular vote). Kerry won in 2004 (and I don't just mean Ohio). Both elections were stolen.

Several forces have converged to change the course of this foul river:

First, it is much more difficult to steal hundreds of local elections than it is to steal a close presidential election, or a handful of Senate races, which can easily come down to a few key precincts in two or three states.

Second, a remarkable uprising of citizen activists, using the Blogosphere as their printing press and some of the best minds in cyber security as their investigators, forced this threat to democracy itself into the sunlight.

Third, state and federal prosecutors have begun to draw blood. Recent convictions in New Hampshire and Ohio are just the beginning (or perhaps would have been just the beginning, before the purge of the DoJ). In a recentRing of Fire interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that in his experience as a former prosecutor he had found that such activity stops "when people start going to jail."

Fourth, the Democrats have taken over the state government in Ohio (ground zero in 2004) and the legal battle of a disputed congressional election in Florida (ground zero in 2000) may become the focal point of hearings on Capitol Hill.

Those who did the dirty work in the last few elections are trying to skulk away (at least for awhile). The pressure must be kept on. The mix of citizen activism, law enforcement investigations, and congressional action is potent and must be kept at a boil. The job must be finished.

So again, the question is "Where do we go from here?"

As I wrote in "Forget about 2008, the Fate of the Republic could be Decided in the Next Six Months," indulging in fantasies about the next presidential election is just what the corporatist overlords of the US mainstream news media want you to be doing, otherwise they would spend more time on the coming constitutional confrontation between the White House and the Congress than they do on "frontrunners" Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Words of Power will focus on the real story, i.e., the struggle which will be played out in Beltwayistan over the next few months. We must demand that this Congress move toward an rapid end to the occupation of Iraq, and launch aggressive congressional investigations on several fronts. If these actions are undertaken, impeachment, resignation or censure (at the least) will be inevitable.

But to help frame the next national election, Words of Power will also keep a short list of serious contenders for the 2008 nomination. By "serious" I mean people worthy by their political decisions over the last six years, as well as their priorities on issues of national security and environmental security, and their level of core competencies to govern if elected.

Until the DNC winter meetings held over this weekend, the Words of Power short list had four names on it:

Al Gore -- because he was elected President of the US in 2000 and he can win again, because he has led the struggle to raise awareness about global warming, because he has spoken out forcefully and unequivocally on the debacle in Iraq, the gross negligence related to 911 and Katrina, and in defense of the Geneva Accords and the Bill of Rights;

Wesley Clark -- because he has a 21st-Century understanding of national security issues (e.g., the national security implications of both global warming and electronic voting), because he is brilliant and bold; because of his experience in the Balkans, because he is a military professional and not a politician, and because he has come up through the meritocracy not the corporatocracy or the aristocracy;

Dennis Kucinich -- because he understands the spiritual dimension of the unprecedented security and sustainability challenges that confront in the 21st Century, and because I owe it to all those friends who championed Kucinich in 2004, I promised them that John Kerry would not fail them, that John Kerry would fight -- like the prosecutor he had been, like the warrior he had been, but he did fail us, he did not fight;

John Edwards -- because he has chosen to expose the dire poverty of many millions as the central theme of his campaign, because on election night in 2004, unlike Kerry, he wanted to fight instead of concede, and because, unlike Clinton or Biden, he has unequivocally rebuked himself for authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 2002.

But now there are five names on the Words of Power short list for 2008.

I heard what I needed to hear from Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) yesterday.

I knew he had the core competencies to govern, I knew he could "negotiate with the devil," I knew he had his priorites in proper order, but I didn't know if he was willing to fight with the ferocity that will be demanded of political leaders in the next few years.

Now I know.

Here are is an excerpt from his DNC speech yesterday:

Some call New Mexico the land of enchantment. I now like to think that we live in a state of enlightenment.
Finally, Mark Twain said “Everybody complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.” Well, when it comes to global warming and climate change, we’re doing something about it in New Mexico.
I set tough standards to reduce greenhouse emissions. We’ve invested directly in energy efficiency. And no other state has done as much to promote renewable energy – with tax credits for using wind, solar, and biofuels … we’ve eliminated taxes on hybrid cars … and we’re requiring utility companies to start producing energy from renewable sources.
New Mexico has become the clean energy state. There’s no reason we can’t become the clean energy nation....
Last December, I was visited by a delegation of North Koreans seeking my advice before the disarmament talks. They wanted to know how in the world they’re supposed to work with an administration that thinks “axis of evil” is a bargaining position.
When I visited Darfur last month and negotiated a cease fire, I saw thousands of widows and fatherless children trying to escape the genocide … waiting in line in 100 degree heat for a month. They wanted to know why it was taking the United States so long to do something.
And the Middle East wants to know how we can expect to bring peace to the region while shutting Iran and Syria out of the process.
The War in Iraq is not the disease. Iraq is a symptom. The disease is arrogance.
The next President must be able to repair the damage that’s been done to our country’s reputation over the last six years. It’s why experience in foreign affairs has never been more important.
But whatever you may think of a pre-emptive war grounded in the clouded reasoning of a vengeful administration and a misled Congress … the reality is, we have done in Iraq what said we would do.
We have rid the world of a brutal dictator. We have brought about free and fair elections three times over. The Iraqis now have a constitution, over 200,000 armed soldiers, and they have oil revenue.
It’s time for our troops to leave with honor.
When it comes to this president, I don’t know how someone can be so blind to the hurt and anguish in this country … and so deaf to the will of the people.
This is not presidential greatness. This is a great tragedy.
Governor Bill Richardson Speech to the DNC Winter Meeting, 2-4-07

Three Most Recent Posts on Election Security

Hard Rain Journal 11-21-06: Election Security Update -- Mexico Takes a Turn Down a Dark Street, and the USA Receives ONLY a Temporary Reprieve

Hard Rain Journal (9-22-06): Election Security Update -- In MX, Lopez Obrador Will Be Sworn In First; In US, RFK, Jr. Asks Will 2006 Be Hacked?

Hard Rain Journal 8-23-06: Struggle for Sanctity & integrity of Electoral Process Rages on in Both US & Mexico

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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