Krugman Watch: About a week ago I met Paul Krugman when he gave a speech at my school. Thats my boy. Often it seems the only mainstream pundit willing to say forthrightly that the Emperor is as naked as a jaybird.
I asked him about websites hes found useful and he mentioned some, but it was his tip about Google News that Ive gotten the most mileage out of. I can put almost anything into their Search function and get a slew of the latest news reports from all over the world. I like me some Paul Krugman and some Google News too.
In his NYT column today he quotes a letter to Bush True Believers from Walden O'Dell, host of a recent Bush fundraiser, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
The problem with this vow is that O'Dell is also the chief executive of Diebold Inc., the manufacturer of touch-screen voting machines increasingly used throughout the United States. Including for instance Georgia, where Republicans pulled off a stunning upset victory in the 2002 midterm elections.
Diebold refuses to make its software available for public sruntiny but writer Bev Harris, researching her book on voting machines, "Black Box Voting", found a Diebold file on an unprotected server entitled "rob-Georgia.zip"
Apparently these files included information like diagrams of remote communications set-ups, passwords, encryption keys, source code and user manuals that should have been secured at the very least and whose title 'Rob Georgia" is shall we say 'interesting'.
The real problem is that not only will they not make their machine information public, but their machines leave no paper trail, so we just have to take their word for disputed or problematic vote counts regarding their machines. There is absolutely no way to check their figures.
Rob Georgia Indeed.
This strikes me as a particularly disturbing development. While not yet alleging 'conspiracy' forgive me if I would like some public oversite on such a critical link in the voting chain. The willingness of Team Bush to play dirty tricks has already been established in Florida. We cant say its beyond them to play games with voting machines whose numbers can be manipulated and whose figures cant be checked.
So, after reading Krugman's article, I went to Google News and put in "Diebold" and "Bev Harris". Turns out Diebold has been threatening to sue students and voting advocates who had linked to online leaked Diebold memos raising many of these same issues and Diebolds cavalier attitude towards addressing them.
Apparently they reconsidered only when Dennis Kucinich provided a forum for charges against them on his House of Representatives Web Site".
In an 11/13 article on website Liberal Slant Colleen Redman wrote:
" Former conservative radio talk-show host and current Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel was also on the hot seat when it was revealed that, just prior to his senatorial campaign, he had ownership in the voting machine company that counted his winning votes (The Hill/January 29 ’03) and did not disclose it.
Why were three Republican candidates in Canal County, Texas, declared victors in their respective races by the exact same margin of 18,181 votes? Why did Diebold post a California county’s election tallies on its website before the polls closed (Associated Press/September 10 ’03)? . . .
She gives many other examples of possible malfeasance. She goes on to say:
"Since the SAIC findings, the same companies who assured us their voting systems were secure are now just as vigorously assuring us that they will fix the problems they insisted they didn’t have. But should private corporate industries with possible vested interests in election results have such control over our most fundamental and essential democratic act? Should their computer programs that tell the voting machines how to tally votes continue to be allowed to be held as “trade secrets?” The computer voting industry is like a financial institution that doesn’t keep records. Would we accept such loose standards from a bank that holds our money?
Representative Rush Holt is sponsoring legislation (HR 2239, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003) that would require electronic voting machines to produce an actual paper record so that voters can verify their vote and election judges would have a paper trial to follow. I urge citizens of all political persuasions to contact their representatives and let them know they support this step in the right direction. I think we all should inform ourselves on the electronic voting issue and ponder what the John Hopkins study concluded: “…we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk.”
Couldnt have said that no better myself.
a luta continua