Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto, Peace

"Dictatorship neglects the basic needs of the people. And when their basic needs to clothing, to housing, to drinking water, to economic advancement is neglected, the poverty and the desperation is a fertile ground for the extremists to exploit."
-- Benazir Bhutto on NPR this June (see )

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Truth and Recruitment

This is from JoAnn Chamberlain:

• “I can promise you won’t go to Iraq or Afghanistan because of your assigned Military Occupational
Specialty/Duty Station/branch of service/reserve or guard status/because I say so.”
Recruiters can promise this, but their word means nothing to the people who will actually decide
what the military does with you. Personnel from the Navy and Air Force are being pulled as
“Individual Mobilization Augmentees” to run convoys in Iraq after a two-week crash course. The
Marine Corps has even sent band members to Iraq for combat missions.
• “You can choose active duty or reserves and an enlistment period of two years, four years, or more,
depending on the commitment you want to make.”
Every contract is for a period of eight years including time in the inactive reserves. The contract you
sign is unilateral, meaning it only binds you, not the military. You can choose what that contract
says, but it does not stop the military from putting you on stop-loss or involuntarily extending you.
At least 120,000 military personnel have been affected by these policies since 9/11.
• “If you’re enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) you can’t get out of serving.”
Recruiters will tell you that you will go to jail if you don’t go, but that’s just another lie. For more
information, go to or call 1.800.394.9544.
• “If you don’t like it, you can get out at any time with a ‘failure to adapt’ discharge.”
There are a variety of unpleasant ways to get out of the military, but “not liking it” is not one of
them. If you refuse to train, the drill sergeants will use any means available to keep you in. If the
command finally decides that discharge is the only option, the process may take months to complete.
• “You will get plenty of money to get a college degree when you get out of the military, as well as
numerous chances to get ahead on your education while still on active duty.”
On average, the Montgomery GI Bill will only cover 1/2 the cost of a public college and 1/5 the cost
of a private college. In order to get that money for college after you get off active duty, you have to
contribute money to the fund from the day they start paying you. So many servicemen are
disqualified from getting that money that the military makes money from the program.
• 28% of women report being raped while in the service. Many rapes go unreported.
• 5.6% of people who enter the GI Montgomery Bill use all the money available to them.
• 75% of Blacks and 67% of Latinos report experiencing racial prejudice in the service.
• Veterans aged 20 to 24 are unemployed at almost twice the rate of their peers who didn’t enlist.
• US war veterans are twice as likely to kill themselves as ordinary civilians.
• Only 12% males and 6% of females vets surveyed made any use of skill learned in the military.
• Vets are 3-5 times more likely to be homeless than non-veteran peers.
“Before you become a weapon of your democracy, ready to fight and kill and die in the
name of the United States of America, you need to have the utmost faith in that democracy.”
– Adam Kokesh, Iraq Veterans Against the War, USMC, Fallujah, Feb-Sep 2004
IVAW􀀁PO Box 8296􀀁Philadelphia, PA 19101􀀁Tel: 215.241.7123􀀁Fax: 215.241.7177

Other Sources

Monday, December 17, 2007

Check your calendars

Tuesday December 18 at noon: Please join Ulster County Legislator Susan Zimet (New Paltz), Hyde Park voting integrity activist Joanne Lukacher, and Joel Tyner in front of the Dutchess County Board of Elections offices at 47 Cannon Street in Poughkeepsie in public support of Rhinebeck attorney Andi Novick's recently submitted amicus brief to the U.S. Federal District Court in Albany re: United States v New York State Board of Elections (Case # 1:06-cv-263).

Wednesday, December 19 at 7 p.m. Join the discussion at the Muddy Cup. We'll be discussing Naomi Wolf's book (see the blog from 12/11 for one of her talks on her book, and some review articles)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Election machines flawed

According to an article in the New York Times today 12/15 ohio Election officials have found serious flaws in voting machines that might compromise the 2008 elections.

Here are the main points excerpted:

December 15, 2007
Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed
CINCINNATI — All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.
. . .
The study released Friday found that voting machines and central servers made by Elections Systems and Software; Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold; and Hart InterCivic; were easily corrupted.
. . .
The $1.9 million federally financed study assembled corporate and academic teams to conduct parallel assessments. A bipartisan group of 12 election board directors and deputy directors acted as advisers.
The academic team, made up of faculty members and students from Cleveland State University, Pennsylvania State, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pennsylvania, said systemic change was needed. “All of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election,” the team wrote. "

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The End of America

That's the title of Naomi Wolf's short but poignant "letter of Warning to a young Patriot" that we will be discussing at the December Brewing Change Coffeehouse at the Muddy Cup in Kingston. (Dec. 19 @ 7 p.m.)

For some links about the book:

Naomi Wolf explaining her message

Brief articles that explains her points,,2064157,00.html

The Introduction to the book

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Andi Novick is filing an Amicus Brief in the case of whether or not NYS will be compliant with HAVA ( explained in plain speak below). Dem Women have signed on to it I believe, as have various other organizations and officials (Yea, Susan Zimet!)

The Value of the Amicus Brief we will be filing in the United States v NYS BOE and NYS

The DOJ's position : NYS is in violation of HAVA. Lever machines are not HAVA compliant. NYS said they'd purchase computerized voting systems in 2006 and DOJ backed off, but because NYS hasn't yet bought computers the DOJ has made a motion which asks the Court to appoint a federal magistrate to decide how NY's elections should be run in 2008 unless NYS agrees to become HAVA compliant by buying DREs or Optical Scanners now.

Presumed position NYS will take: NYS will become HAVA compliant in terms of accessibility requirements by putting a machine in every polling place that permits disabled voters to vote independently. (NYS is considering uncertified DREs to function as a Ballot Marking Device (BMD) as well as considering BMDs.) NYS will not be HAVA compliant by 2008, but will purchase computers for 2009 and would like permission to be able to continue to use the lever machines for 2008.

If NY takes this position, that it will remain in violation of HAVA for 2008, that leaves it within the Court's discretion to decide whether to allow NY to stay on the levers for 2008 or appoint a federal magistrate to decide what to do about NY. The federal magistrate could decide to purchase DREs for all of NYS or purchase optical scanners for NYS or both.

Amici's position: NYS must put BMDs in every polling place (not DREs). NYS can then become HAVA compliant for 2008 in one of two ways. If we are HAVA compliant than it is no longer within the Judge's discretion to decide whether to appoint a federal magistrate or not. The DOJ's motion would have to be dismissed if NYS is no longer in violation of HAVA.

1) Amici will argue that lever machines are HAVA compliant. This is a legal argument which the Court has not ruled on. Well meaning advocates have argued that levers cannot be HAVA compliant, but that is just their interpretation. I will make the amicus brief available when it's completed to share the basis for my legal position, but should the Court agree with this analysis, then we could stay on our levers for still another election and the DOJ motion would have to be dismissed. I don't believe anyone else is arguing that levers are HAVA compliant. On a personal note I am not an advocate of levers (although I do prefer them to computerized voting systems) however I will argue they are HAVA compliant as a matter of law because if the Court accepts this legal analysis then the DOJ's motion and request for a magistrate to take over our elections would have to be denied.

2) If the Court were to rule that levers are not HAVA compliant, I have also argued that NYS can still be HAVA compliant for 2008 by hand counting the two federal races. This is not a legal argument the Court can reject because it's not subject to interpretation. Hand counting paper ballots is permitted under HAVA so long as a means for disabled voters to vote independently is also provided. Thus as a matter of law, the DOJ motion would have to be dismissed because it asks for the appointment of a magistrate only if we remain in violation of HAVA.

Both these positions of Amici are legal positions which protect NYS by not leaving us vulnerable to the threat of take over. If NYS is only asking for permission to be allowed to stay on levers, conceding they're not legal under HAVA, then the Court can choose to ignore this request and appoint a federal magistrate who could decide to buy any of the corrupt computerized voting machines being sold on the market today.

The evidence Amici will put before the Court: The Amicus brief will provide the dozens of independent reports by computer scientists which have found that all computerized voting systems- both DREs and Optical Scanners- are vulnerable to being hacked and changing the outcome of an election. These reports show that hacks have been readily performed on both DREs and Optical Scanners and that these hacks can be accomplished without detection.

The Amicus brief will also argue that the constitution requires that the right to vote includes the right to see that one's vote was received and accurately counted and that computerizes voting makes that which must be transparent, concealed. All DREs and Optical Scanners, sold by the same handful of vendors, count the votes using secret software. The people are never permitted to know or see how the DRE or the Optical scanner was programmed to count their votes. Secret vote counting, IMHO is not only unconstitutional, but is un-American.

Amici will also present the evidence of the thousands of breakdowns and failures of these computerized voting systems over the past five years. Amici will also argue that the vendors selling these systems are not eligible to do business in NY because they irresponsible, unethical and guilty of multiple offenses that violate NY's laws thereby precluding NY from contracting with them. See two memos I have written on this topic and the evidence contained therein. , ,)

None of this evidence is currently before the Court on this motion. The DOJ has demanded NYS purchase DREs or Optical Scanners that have been shown to be faulty, vulnerable to hacking and unable to produce accurate election results, without revealing to the Court the evidence and documentation Amici will provide.

To clarify, because there's been some confusion created about the legal position of this Amicus brief, if you are opposed to DREs and support Optical Scanners, that position is not inconsistent with Amici's brief. The issue before the Court is what is to happen in 2008. I believe that all activists and the county election commissioners and NYS BOE agree that it would create chaos to install optical scanners or DREs for the first time in a presidential election. The only ones who think it's a good idea to install DREs or Optical Scanners for 2008 is the DOJ and maybe the federal magistrate who the Judge could appoint if NYS remains in violation of HAVA. This is why it is so important to take a legal position that makes us HAVA compliant so that it's not up to the Judge's discretion to decide whether to appoint a federal magistrate to decide for us.


Andrea T. Novick, Esq. Finder Novick Kerrigan LLP 315 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10010 Rhinebeck office 349 Ackert Hook Rd. Rhinebeck, New York 12572 (telephone) 845 876 2359

Impeachment resolution

Last night the Ulster County Legislature passed an impeachment resolution! (Though I did not read this in the Daily freeman this morning). The vote was 20-9. While it was only a symbolic gesture calling for W and Cheny to be impeached, its very important that out County has taken a stand against hypocrisy, lies and the trampling of the Constitution that are the hallmarks of the Bush-Cheney administration!

Sex Trafficking

Here is the webcite for the transcript of the PBS Frontline program on Sex Slaves.
Sex Trafficking is a multiBILLION dollar business.

Could it happen here?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Diversity Workshop 12/13

The Eleanor Roosevelt Center is proud to present its final Diversity Coalition Networking Event on the Freedom from Fear . It will be held on Thursday, December 13 from 4:30-6:30 at the Wallace Center located at the FDR Library and Home in Hyde Park on Route 9. The program will begin at 5:00 p.m.

We have three excellent panelists who will speak about different aspects of fear from the traditional way in which we think about it—security—and the less traditional way—in the home and our own spiritual lives. Three distinguished panelists will be joining us Gary Christensen , Correction Administrator for the Dutchess County Jail, Elizabeth Lesser , co-founder of the Omega Institute, and Judy Lombardi , Executive Director of Grace Smith House. Audience participants are encouraged to come with their own questions and perspectives. We anticipate a thoughtful and enlightening early evening.

Please RSVP by December 11 to or by phone at 845-229-5302. Also please feel free to share the attached flyer with your own networking group.

Eleanor Roosevelt Center
at Val-Kill
Stone Cottage
56 Val-Kill Park Road
Hyde Park , NY 12538
845.229.0742 (fax)

This I know. This I believe with all my heart. If we want a free and a peaceful world, if we want to make the deserts bloom and man [woman] grow to greater dignity as a human being-- WE CAN DO IT!