Archive for category Democracy
I’m glad Bernie Sanders is casting doubt on serious concerns about his candidacy. “Some” might call him a conspiracy theorist, to shut down the conversation. It works every damn time in America. I’ve called it a post hypnotic suggestion in the past, and I’m still calling it that. As far as I know, none of the media has called out that particular big gun on Sanders yet.
I’ve always loved computers, but I’ll be the first one to tell you they don’t have any place in elections. A Computer will do anything the programmer tells it to do. The internet, in essence. is just a really, damned, big computer.
I wrote this letter to Bill Gates in mid 2006 on BradBlog:
AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL GATES CONCERNING VOTING MACHINES
Dear Mr. Gates:
I heard you on NPR’s “What I believe” series , talking about your hopes and dreams concerning computers and other very important issues facing today’s world. I too share your love of computers and have always thought they were the greatest invention of my lifetime. I even taught myself programming and published a little known program called “Cyber Print” for Atari in 1988 just before they went out of business. Don’t worry, I now own a PC and find it to be perfect for my needs.
Who could image a machine that could not only allow somebody to compose and orchestrate their own musical score, create incredible works of art, or think of virtually any question that popped into their mind and actually have the answer in the time it takes to boot up their PC and hop on the internet. Wow!
Many years ago I was with some friends, and the subject of computers came up. Somebody I had never met said something that seemed so stupid to me at the time, that for a moment, had put me in a state of rage! He said that computers were the “appliance from hell”. I was speechless that somebody could say something so ignorant and literally could not think of a thing to say.
Today, I feel he may have been right! Whether you are a conspiracy nut or not these days, nobody can argue that computers, intentionally or not, are keeping us from knowing our votes are being counted at the polls. Something so horrifying that apparently, people don’t want to believe it. This news is traveling slowly to say the least. Not from any lack of notification on my part though. Just ask anybody at the local news hotlines or members of the Voting Equipment Selection Commitee here.
I walked the streets and collected hundreds of signatures for a group of local activists in Utah last year soliciting for paper ballots. I even got to speak at a local rally for my efforts and told of my ease at gathering signatures from both sides of this 21st century political divide we find ourselves in. Although I didn’t ask, I assumed most of people I talked to must have been republican. Almost all of these people did not know that these machines were secretly programmed, but nearly everybody I talked to signed up immediately and were very appreciative that somebody was trying to fix this obvious problem.
Despite all my, and many others efforts and money, local officials elected to buy an unverifiable system for the 2006 midterm elections. I also understand the democrats aren’t planning to organize an exit poll this year. Maybe they are too busy getting one together for the next Kiev race! We all know how goofy those Russian elections can get!
This is where I hope you might come in. Although I don’t think it takes any great knowledge of computers to understand this problem, I’ll bet your thoughts on this disturbing matter would promote our cause faster then any thousand computer scientists. And I’ll bet those same scientists would be very happy to get back to their regular day jobs, and leave the task of producing verifiable voting procedures to competent professionals who get paid for that sort of thing!
I’m sure that your great American success story could only be enhanced by your bravery to come out against any corporation that would sell, or polling officials that would buy, a machine designed to count votes, without providing complete transparency. Some things are just too important to get all mixed up in a legal conundrum. In other words, they tell us we are lucky to live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I’m just asking for the right to have my ONE vote registered AND counted on election day.
When I got a forum on OneUtah, I published it again. I probably shouldn’t have included Bill Gates’s famous smiling mugshot. Maybe that’s why he never responded, even though it put me on Googles front page for about 8 years, and usually at the top. Try it: Type (an open letter to bill gates) into Goggle. I’m currently number one, but I’m interested to see what happens now. Read my whole post to find out why I don’t really trust Gates, and many others, in regards to voting integrity.
Here’s Microsoft’s reply to those who might have concerns about it’s new APP:
“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”
What we need, is hand marked, hand counted ballots. I’m a true Luddite about that!
This wasn’t one of those flash polls you see on the internet that everybody knows can be rigged, even if it looks exactly like one. These are all real people who have registered with DFA over a decade or so.
I Love DFA, (Democracy For America). It was organized around my favorite candidate for president in 2004, Governor Howard Dean. It was set up by people much younger then I am, but it was a true grass roots movement that made early inroads into utilizing the internet to inform and activate people interested in a true democratic system.
I was most impressed when I got my first E-mail which asked everybody in the organization to vote for which direction they wanted to take in the election. I was excited that I would actually be able participate in deciding something for a change. A sense of responsibility came over me. It felt refreshing.
In fact, Howard Dean came out in October, supporting Hillary Clinton, but DFA hasn’t changed its policy of deciding things – you know – democratically. So I was sort of scared to check out the results today, but was very pleasantly surprised.
Bernie Sanders, who also just received support from a major union, was also impressed with the process at DFA, and said:
“It is no secret that the founder of DFA—my friend and fellow Vermonter former Gov. Howard Dean—has chosen not to support my candidacy. Yet the leadership of DFA allowed a fair and free vote to take place which we won. That’s pretty impressive.”
The original people who organized DFA must be in their 30 and 40’s by now. It would be great to see the old crowd get back together and save the country, just in the nick of time!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Bernie Sanders has finally made the news. Sign this emergency petition to stop the DNC from crippling his campaign!
Just before midnight on Monday, congressional leaders and the White House tentatively agreed on a major budget deal. The plan is to end debt limit standoffs through March 2017, and keep the federal government in operation with some sequestration relief. So-called “entitlement reform,” meaning cuts to Medicare and Social Security, was kept within limits.
Presumably, Speaker John Boehner will send this budget bill to the House floor before turning over the gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan.
The good news is, it looks like the U.S. government and economy will survive in the near term. We’ll avoid a looming default on our National Debt, and there will not be a government shutdown on December 11.
The bad news is the Shutdown Caucus, a key block of Tea-GOP members of Congress, still wants to bring about a government shutdown and/or default any way they can. Because of gerrymandering, they are likely to survive the next election. And nobody except Bernie Sanders is talking about taxing the rich anymore.
I’m not for taking everybody’s guns away, but continuing to do nothing when these mass shootings are taking place nearly once a week is madness. It’s a terrible question to ask, but is congress taking no action because gun sales go through the roof after every one of these tragedies? Total inaction might be what the NRA and gun industry want, but it certainly isn’t what the vast majority of the American people have said they want.
Look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis…
You’re going to have these things happen and it’s a horrible thing to behold, horrible
I’ll let Ethel Merman respond to the 2016 presidential candidates. From “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World:
[W]e have just witnessed Greece stand up to a truly vile campaign of bullying and intimidation, an attempt to scare the Greek public, not just into accepting creditor demands, but into getting rid of their government. It was a shameful moment in modern European history, and would have set a truly ugly precedent if it had succeeded.
HuffPo live updates
The Utah Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining held a hearing yesterday morning because a Canadian energy corporation has plans to mine large areas of Utah tar sands. Under state law, a hearing must be held if residents have objections.
I was worried nobody would be there to document the proceedings, so I took my camcorder to the event. The first part of the meeting was consumed by representatives for “U.S. Oil Sands”, defending the Calgary based company from questions about it’s protection of Utah’s water resources.
The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News did stories on the matter, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one who filmed the meeting. Television crews sometimes cover things getting set up and then leave when important public events get underway.
I’m only presenting comments given by the Utah activists and citizens who showed up and elected to speak. Obviously I didn’t have a tripod. Nothing has been edited except for where the second speaker gives his name. My battery had to be changed.
After the public comments, John Baza, who presided over the hearing said, “There are things that have been said here today that have touched me and I am sensitive to those.” My opinion is that the corporation will get everything it wants. Am I being cynical again?
UPDATE: Here is the panel discussion portion of the hearing. This is virtually the entire conversation. The short gaps were due to small camera adjustments. I’m still learning how to use it.
The man closest to, and facing away from my camera during the video and in the top picture of this post is University of Utah geology professor, Bill Johnson. He is fighting hard for Utah’s lands:
UPDATE: As I suspected, the expansion of the “U.S. Oil Sands” project has been approved. The Salt Lake Tribune reports “a partial victory for environmentalists due to requiring the company to monitor nearby springs for potential groundwater contamination and submit documentation showing the mine is in compliance with air quality regulations. Of course none of the environmentalists wanted an expansion at all, and I have my doubts that the monitoring will be carried out sufficiently.
Here’s the latest Deseret News article.
Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.
First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.
Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.
This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.
Cable TV news is going with non-stop speculation about Hillary Clinton’s $2.5 billion “Hillary for America” 2016 presidential campaign, which officially kicks off today. In 2008, Hillary’s advisers thought her candidacy was “inevitable,” and for the most part she ran as the Iron Lady. Now, I think they realize the last time she only came across as sympathetic when she got a little teary-eyed in New Hampshire (she didn’t actually shed a tear). Of course, if you watch that on video it was nearly content-free in terms of policy.
Hillary 2.0 will be introduced in small events, maybe even going back to that same Portsmouth, New Hampshire cafe from 2008. Her initial platform will be “first woman President,” without going into policy very much. Will that be enough?
Progressives see Hillary as the favorite candidate of Wall Street. Tea-GOPers think she is some far-left radical. So who is going to vote for her? Can anyone get excited about the prospect of a Clinton vs. Bush presidential election? Let’s discuss.
Voters are more desperate now, and in a far worse mood. If you invite their questions, you’d better have some answers.
“I’m running for president,” she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m.
“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
DSWright on FDL: Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist
Wall Street understands they are unpopular after bringing the US economy to its knees with their greed and criminality. They know Clinton has to criticize them in public even after taking their money in private.
This morning, Senator Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz launched the first 2016 Tea-GOP presidential campaign. Mostly known for orchestrating the last federal government shutdown, every one of his policy positions are opposed by a majority of Americans.
Senator Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. He has a Canadian birth certificate, which arguably means he is not a natural born U.S. citizen (a constitutional requirement for anyone to hold the office of President of the United States). Less than a year ago, Cruz still held Canadian dual citizenship.
Birther heads would explode, except that their level of brain activity probably isn’t high enough for that. BTW Cruz is a first-term senator with no prior experience as an elected official.
Ted Cruz Is So Proud Of His Role In America’s Near-Default, He’s Touting It On Campaign Site
BTW check out http://www.tedcruz.com/
Yes, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Run For President
There is still some lingering uncertainty about Cruz’s eligibility. That’s because the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on the meaning of “natural born citizen,” which the Constitution doesn’t define.
Because they never cared about legislating from the bench anyway, if their side could win by doing that. I didn’t pose that as a question because it’s a fact.
This ACA in the supreme court challenge is a very interesting one and it puts Republican lawmakers right on the hot seat. They have been doing everything they could to kill the legislation that almost everybody seems to like, including hospitals, patients and insurance companies. Nobody’s been complaining; surely not me, who for the first time in eight years, actually has health care.
This never had to get to the supreme court and even if the supreme court decision results in millions of people losing their health care and sending the entire health system into chaos, it will be because the Republicans refuse to clarify four words in the law either before OR after the decision comes down.
Although this is going to directly effect me in a profound way, I’m going to be pulling up a chair and getting the popcorn ready.