Sonntag, 24. Dezember 2006


Please, help us organize an international campaign of protest. The city authorities in St.Petersburg go on killing strays with dithylinum and the die from asphyxiation. A lovely dog Chunya was killed along with other dogs on the territory of the St.Petersburg State University campus. She died on the hands of her owner Svetlana.

A message from Gwen

Lawmakers Say Bush Using "Shadow Budget" to Fund War

Top lawmakers are pressing President George W. Bush to stop using a "shadow budget" to fund the Iraq War and instead list the expected costs in the 2008 spending plan he is set to unveil early next year.

Election Challenge for Florida District Is Taken to the House

A battle over who won the congressional election in Florida's 13th District is in the courts and could be debated in Congress itself. Christine Jennings, the Democrat, informed Congress last week that she was contesting the election, claiming that electronic voting machines malfunctioned and that state officials wrongly certified the election in favor of Republican Vern Buchanan.

Probes of Bush Policies in the Works

Massachusetts lawmakers are set to launch a blizzard of investigations in the new Congress, probing issues such as wartime contracting, post-Katrina housing assistance, and the Bush administration's relationship with Cuba and other countries in Latin America. In what could be closely watched proceedings, two members of the Massachusetts delegation are planning joint committee hearings to examine the administration's Iraq war policies, particularly the reasons for the military's lagging efforts to train Iraqi troops.

Congressman David Wu: Would You Send Your Relative to Iraq?

"We need to focus on whether we would choose to send our own son or daughter, our own wife or our own husband off for a temporary surge in Iraq," said Oregon congressman David Wu. "If we wouldn't do that, then should we permit this administration to roll out a potential product like that?"

The Rise of "Revolving-Door" Consultants

It happens every day: Lobbyists open the right doors, make the right arguments and push their clients' narrow interests to the front of the line. The results vary. A Native American chief gets a West Wing meeting to fight for tribal status. Forty-story condominium buildings that will transform the San Francisco skyline are approved. Congress earmarks $239 million for a new bridge over the Mississippi. Copper mining representatives meet White House staffers to discuss acquisition of national forest land. But the lobbyists fronting these causes all have one important advantage in common: They helped the public official they lobbied get elected.

Bush's Worst Lies of 2006

"In the spirit of holding our political leaders accountable, this year-end review will tabulate the worst lies told by Bush and company, along with several stories that were underreported in the media," says Eleanor Clift. "Much of what was generated got lost in the fog of war, but the long arm of history will retrieve these moments."

PNR: Kreatives Umbenennen in den USA

Homeland Security project didn't protect privacy

Bush May Boost Iraq Troops by 20,000

Next-up News n°146

Keep the Promise to Fight Poverty

From Rosemary R.

Original Message

Keep the promise to fight poverty. This petition is due 1/17/07. Let's get as many signatures as we can before that date! Sign, Cross/Post and Forward.



Input for real legislative reform for elections

BlackBoxVoting explains why it is crucial for election records to be publicly available in a timely fashion to make elections transparent and verifiable and thus ensure U.S. election integrity.

This BlackBoxVoting email explains why our recommendations for federal legislation numbers 6 and 7 are so important and gives further details:

Kathy Dopp

---------- Forwarded message -------
From: Black Box Voting blackboxvoting
Date: Dec 23, 2006 2:09 AM
Subject: Black Box Voting: Input for real legislative reform for elections

12-22-06: Let's get down to the root of the problem: Freedom of Access to Elections Information Permission to excerpt or reprint granted with link to

MUCH OF WHAT WE WANT IN ELECTION REFORM can be achieved once we have agreement on the civil rights issues. Yes, we need paper ballots, but that does no good unless we also have a right to information.


The American constitutional form of representative government is based upon the principle that government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

Elections are the mechanism through which the citizenry conveys its instructions to the government, and therefore, elections must provide full freedom of access to information to all citizens, which includes access to the information needed to validate and audit the election.

Without this, it is only a matter of time before our system of government crumbles.


We can base real electoral reform on a body of law that's already in place: Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA). Elections are a special circumstance, and current FOIA laws don't quite work the way they are currently structured, but with tweaks specifying the kinds of Freedom of Information rights we need for elections, WE might just work wonders to make everybody happy.


FOIA has enormous potential for correcting many of the problems we're seeing, but not until it's adapted for elections. For any election system to work properly:

1) The information to enable citizens to oversee all aspects of the election must actually be produced. With the move to computerized voting, some aspects of the right to observe and the right to examine information have been removed from public access. We need to get those back.

Currently, even when elections information is produced it may be deleted or kept out of print. For example, according to responses to Black Box Voting public records requests issued in New England, elections contractor LHS Associates tends to do business verbally. According to elections officials in Vermont, even purchase orders are often not put in print! In addition, we are finding evidence that elections vendors don't always itemize their invoices.

What we get is that "something" was done to or for the computerized voting system, but there is no document the public can examine to learn exactly what's going on, or even what their tax dollars are paying for.

SOLUTION: One of the things we need to get to work on is identifying what information MUST be produced (in written form) by whatever voting system is used. We're also going to have to mandate sensible retention policies for election-related e-mails and correspondence, because some public officials are telling us they throw away their e-mail correspondence immediately, including communications records with vendors and directives from the state.

2) Information is not provided to citizens timely. Freedom of Information laws are not designed with elections in mind. Almost always, you can't get the records until weeks after the election is certified. By then, it's too late.

And this is getting worse. When Black Box Voting obtained some early precinct results from Georgia counties, we were astonished to find that candidates had been unable to get hold of their own results! While they could get their totals, the precinct detail results were simply not available. Candidates were contacting Black Box Voting just to get their own elections results, because precinct results were not released until certification of the election was imminent.

3) The costs for elections-related records are prohibitive in many states. We love Ohio and North Carolina for their willingness to part with public records at a reasonable price, but in Texas it can cost you $500 just to get a precinct-level report of the results for a single county, and Michigan once tried to charge us $1,600 just to look for a single letter, with no guarantee of finding it, and a requirement for a non-refundable prepayment. South Dakota doesn't really have to give you any records; one South Carolina county insists that you have to travel there if you want to see elections records. And San Diego, Calif. wants to charge over half a million dollars for citizens to audit the paper ballots.

Assuming the right of Freedom of Access to Elections information can be established more uniformly, many of the cost issues can be remedied by requiring elections information formats with fast turnaround time, cost effectiveness and usability in mind.

4) The claim of proprietary trade secrets gets in the way of access to critical information. Some of this is solvable with open source, but not all. Black Box Voting has obtained a letter from the lawyer for Election Systems & Software claiming trade secrets on its customer list -- mind you, their customers are the PUBLIC counties and municipalities that use their voting system. ES&S also claims trade secrets on costs and contracts, for equipment and services purchased with taxpayer money!

The big voting system companies are also farming key election functions out to subcontractors. In West Virginia, Casto & Harris has control over programming ES&S memory cards; in Texas it's DecisionOne. You'll find Printelect, LHS, Harp, Control Central, and Fidlar, along with many others when you dig around to find out who really has intimate access to the chain of custody for your electronic ballot information.

None of these firms seems to feel that they should be subject to your civil rights under Freedom of Information law, even though they are supported by YOUR tax money.

Good luck trying to find out: - The names of their programmers, much less their qualifications for the job of programming your election - The prices they charge - What, exactly, they do

By placing key elections information outside of government custody, these firms have effectively removed your civil right to oversee your own government elections.

5) Even when the necessary information is produced, it is not generated in a usable form. Currently it takes a small wheelbarrow and two months of free time to audit a single jurisdiction, assuming you can get the records timely, which you cannot.

Much of this is solvable by requiring that the necessary information be aggregated into the same report rather than parsing it out into several different reports. Currently, trying to make sense of the reports is literally like trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION -- The fundamental civil right embodied in Freedom of Information laws is that people must have access to information on the workings of their government in order to oversee the instruments of government they have created.

Elections-related information at the local, state, and federal levels needs to be made available to any person under the civil rights principles embodied in the Freedom of Information Act, in a way that addresses the special circumstances in elections.


- First, the information necessary for citizens to validate elections must actually be produced by the voting system and its accompanying elections procedures. To the extent that it is not produced, reporting mechanisms must be enhanced.

- Second, when information to validate the election is requested timely, it must be provided timely, that is, before recount and contest periods have expired. To the extent that this is overly burdensome for elections officials, consideration needs to be given to the design of systems that free up their information quickly, accurately and easily.

- Third, the information must be provided in a usable and cost-effective format. To the extent that this is not possible, alternative solutions need to be explored, like the groundbreaking proposals involving public release of ballot images, originally suggested by Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, introduced to the public in 2005 by Black Box Voting, and now on the horizon for real elections with concrete, cost effective proposals in Humboldt County Calif.

- Fourth, citizens must be allowed to access elections-related information without restrictions imposed by proprietary claims, and without removal of access to the information by placing it outside of governmental custody.


To these ends, we need to first agree upon what information a system must produce. At a minimum, it must be no worse than the traditional hand counted paper ballot system in terms of the information and observation provided for the citizenry.

Next, we must implement more efficient and information-rich reporting systems, a task that is probably not difficult once we have consensus on what information is really needed.

And last, we need to eliminate the concept of proprietary secrets from the areas that citizens need information on to validate the integrity of elections.

America has prospered not only because of our freedom, but because of our collective ingenuity. We can do this thing.

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." -- Declaration of Independence

Incarceration Nation

Two remarkable developments in Washington in the past week highlight the extent to which the United States has become the land of mass incarceration.

From Information Clearing House

U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa may aid al-Qaida, experts warn

As fighting intensified Friday between Somali Islamists and an Ethiopian intervention force, Western diplomats and experts warned that U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa - intended to curb Islamic radicalism - may not only be fueling this newest conflict, but also may be making it easier for al-Qaida to gain a foothold in the strategic region.

From Information Clearing House

U.S. to maintain long presence in Gulf region: Gates

An increased U.S. naval presence in the Gulf is not a response to any action by Iran but a message to all countries that the United States will keep its regional footprint "for a long time", Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday.

Archbishop attacks US, Britain on Iraq

THE spiritual head of the Anglican Church launched an outspoken attack on the British and US governments on Saturday, saying their "ignorant" policy in Iraq has put Christians in the region at risk.,23599,20970722-38200,00.html

From Information Clearing House

US air strike kills five

Two women and a 4-year-old child were reportedly among the dead.

From Information Clearing House

Impending Police State in America

Interview with Professor Francis Boyle

Francis A Boyle says 9/11 was allowed to happen, war on terror is facilitating the downfall of The Republic, concentration camps are in place and US citizens are the targets.

Banality and barefaced lies

By Robert Fisk

Here in America, I stare at the land in which I live and see a landscape I do not recognise.

The New World Order: Piety, Packaging & Politics

by Dianna Spingola

With continuous support from distinctive Christian theocons, Bush professes that the Iraqi quagmire is a “good versus evil” crusade and that he is on God’s errand. On June 4, 2003, Bush reportedly said: “God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.” He doesn’t mention that al-Qaeda and Saddam were both established and financed by the CIA. Nor does he acknowledge that monstrous sums of taxpayer dollars are pumping up administration-friendly companies who make millions of dollars as a result of the Iraqi invasion.......

Steigt der Meeresspiegel schneller?

Der Meeresspiegel könnte in den kommenden Jahrzehnten schneller steigen als bislang erwartet.

Die "Goldene Regel" des Mitgefühls

Weihnachten 2006: Kriege im Irak und Afghanistan, Bürgerkriege in Afrika und ein neues Bewusstsein für den Klimawandel. Wir registrieren wieder, dass der Meeresspiegel steigt, die Eisberge an den Polen schmelzen, die Wüsten täglich größer werden, Artensterben und Taifune sowie Hurrikans an Heftigkeit und Häufigkeit zunehmen. Wir spüren auch deutlicher als früher, dass wir die erste Generation der Menschheit sind, die darüber entscheidet, ob wir zugleich die letzte sein werden.

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"Einen Vorsprung im Leben hat, wer da anpackt, wo die anderen reden." John F. Kennedy

Cafferty on the Costs of War


Testing the Waters, Obama Tests His Own Limits

Informant: ranger116

And So This Is Christmas

In Search of Peace with Cindy Sheehan

Informant: ranger116


And So This Is Christmas

Cindy Sheehan writes that: "The best holiday presents for my family, our nation and the world, would be for the troops to speedily and safely exit from Iraq and for BushCo to be held accountable for their crimes against our Constitution and humanity. These gifts, however, will not be realized unless the grassroots community who put the Democrats back in power redouble our efforts for peace and accountability."


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U.S. Military Officials: Bush Trying To Bribe Us To Support Iraq Escalation

Informant: ranger116


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