Rigging the Vote

A post I missed about the New Zealand reporter who discovered that the Diebold “black box” voting machines being pushed in so many jurisdictions are easy to hack and change vote totals.

I’ve been collecting links on this issue for some time now. I’m always alarmed by the reaction of conservatives to the information, as if rigging a vote is nothing unusual. Why worry?

I never was one to excuse such offenses especially when committed by a party or candidate I have supported. I hold the people I vote for to a much higher standard.

If this new system is fine-tuned, the people who support these deceptive practices could forever be the ‘majority’ because the ‘machine’ says it’s so.

So I worry.

“Improved Barcodes”

I wrote a little about RFID chips here and linked to CASPIAN [Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering] and the moratorium they’ve called for on this technology.

A couple of interesting developments.

This week CASPIAN was able to obtain files marked ‘confidential’ by simply searching for them on the Auto-ID Center’s website.

The documents contain advice on how to ‘neutralise opposition’ such as referring to the chips as ‘improved barcodes’.

Opinions like this were submitted;

…78 percent of respondents to an online survey had expressed privacy concerns about the tags, but that most consumers would be “apathetic” and “resign themselves to the inevitability of it” rather than taking action…

According to CASPIAN when the Auto-ID people discovered they’d been exposed they pulled the 68 documents then slowly replaced them one by one, with new “confidential until [expiration date]” designations tacked on.

Cryptome mirrored the originals.

So did Cryptogon who also posted an interesting list of who was coming to the site to ‘grab them’


Wal-Mart “unexpectedly” cancels smart shelf trial!

Elouise Cobell vs. MAAD

WASHINGTON, July 9 — Elouise Cobell, who has been leading a successful, 7-year legal fight to secure a full accounting of the government’s Indian Trust accounts, urged Congress today to reject so-called compromise legislation that would effectively kill her lawsuit.

In testimony before the House Resources Committee, Cobell described the legislation as “a draconian provision that would involuntarily extinguish the claims of trust beneficiaries and eliminate their right to seek redress from the courts for the uncontested century of mismanagement of our trust funds.”
Cobell, a member of Montana’s Blackfeet nation, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit which has secured court orders requiring the Department of Interior to provide the estimated 500,000 current and former trust account beneficiaries with a full accounting of their funds. The accounts, established in 1887, are supposed to contain the proceeds from government-arranged leases of Indian lands in the West.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee are proposing to end the lawsuit and force Indians to accept settlements devised by the secretary of Interior in an effort to end the litigation.

Cobell denounced that provision — Section 137 of the Interior Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2004 — as the “Mandatory Account Adjustment Directive,” or MAAD.

“MAAD is a most repressive measure designed to eviscerate the rights of Indian beneficiaries and steal from us the victories we have achieved through 7 years of litigation,” Cobell told the committee.

“MAAD is touted by its proponents as a sound, reasonable and fair process for “settling” the on-going Indian trust fund case, Cobell vs. Norton,” she said. “But in reality it is neither sound, nor reasonable, nor fair.”

“Simply put MAAD is bad federal Indian policy,” she said.


Embedding the message

“It is very likely that we will want to embed if there are troops that actually go into Liberia,” said Lt. Col. John Robinson, who oversees the embedding program from U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. “It has been proven to be successful. We have been able to provide our perspective to the story.”


There must have been two wars in Iraq. There was the war I saw and wrote about as a print journalist embedded with a tank company of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). Then there was the war that many Americans saw, or wanted to see, on TV.

That is the only conclusion I can draw while going through the e-mail messages I have received from irate readers whose view of the televised war from the warm comfort of their living rooms did not match the war I reported on. “Do us a favor, stay in Iraq. We don’t need reporters who are un-American,” urged one man.


I thought embedded print journalists were doing the public a service by giving them a close-up, personal view of the war without it being filtered through military minders and censors. Apparently, the public, at least that part of the public that prefers to get its news from TV, does not want that. What they seemed to want from this war was for the coverage to fit their own biases and preconceived notions. No other views were tolerated. And TV seems in large part to have given them exactly what they wanted.


Is this the future then? A media center delivering a staged show of whatever intervention America carries out? An American public that is programmed to see themselves as the ‘good guys’, resenting anyone who might tell them differently, even if it’s the truth?

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