Friday, February 26, 2010
ES&S buyout: The Diebold "Special Persons" List
Subject: ES&S buyout: The Diebold "Special Persons" ListIn the ES&S acquisition contract for Diebold's Premier Election Systems, the following short list of employees are given special treatment. This list is interesting both for who is on the list and for who is NOT on the list.You can discuss this in our forums here:While one might expect to see certain individuals who are intimately tied to intellectual property get golden parachutes and non-compete agreements, this list includes some -- but not all -- of the programmers with intimate knowledge, and also includes some of the PR hacks (Mark Radke), an Internet disinfo person, Rob Pelletier -- see our special report on some of these guys:The special people also include a former state elections director who bailed over to Diebold after helping implement a statewide buy (Cathy Rogers, of Georgia).What's interesting about the contract clause is that there is no time limit on the special treatment. Usually there is a cap on the time period.Never mind where BBV got the contract. Corporations prone to leaks sometimes insert identifiers into their confidential documents like unique words or typos. I don't want to inadvertently out the source. Perhaps this contract is or will become public in the SEC documents, since Diebold is a public company. At any rate, we have the contract, and in it is this requirement:In the event that any employee on list is terminated, for any reason -- EVER, because there is no time limit on this -- then ES&S has to notify Diebold in advance, in writing; and in the event that any employee on the list quits -- EVER, because there is no time limit on this -- then ES&S has to notify Diebold immediately to allow Diebold to put the employee on retainer.So these guys need to be on a short leash. In other words, they know stuff.I am unfamiliar with a few of them, like John Davenport and Tim Murawaski. Some of these guys seem to be techs that handled some Ohio work. Let me know what you know, and/or dig into the Internet and public records research to see what you can unearth. I'm working several additional angles on other areas of the contract as well, including information that can't yet be publicly released.The Diebold "special persons" list:Larry CalvertRobert ChenKen ClarkJohn DavenportRandy DeabenderferLois DonesonAlex GuedeaJessica HinerTalbot IredaleTroy LanierSteve MorelandTim MurawaskiRobert PelletierIan PiperMark RadkeKathy RogersRoss UnderwoodArchie WilliamsNow the above is not unheard of in acquisition contracts, though it is unusual not to put a cap on the time limit. The collection of special persons is interesting.Let me know if you have anything to share about any of the above names.Bev HarrisBlack Box Voting is ramping up for 2010 elections work. We need -- and APPRECIATE! -- your support for elections watchdog actions - http://www.blackboxvoting.org/donate.html or mail to:Black Box Voting330 SW 43rd St Suite KPMB 547Renton WA 98055This message was sent by: Black Box Voting, Inc., 330 SW 43rd St Suite K - PMB 547, Renton, WA 98057Email Marketing by iContact: http://freetrial.icontact.comTo update/change your account click here:Forward to a friend:
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Why don't we learn from our mistakes? Obama put the tricksters in charge again?
The Fundamental flaw in American Capitalism is not the gambling on nested derivatives, it is that our economy is based upon 'Debt-Money', created out of nothing but the promise of our future, which our Government must then pay interest upon forever.
As long as the "Federal" Reserve, a cabal of private bankers, is allowed to profit without creating anything of value, our future will be in jeopardy. How many generations must we sacrifice until we learn the lesson. We should stop borrowing from the FED. and only borrow from ourselves, in interest free greenbacks, then the only price we pay will be shared among all Americans, equitable based upon wealth, and invested in our collective future.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
What it would have cost us to publicly fund independent media that would have prevented the invasion of Iraq wouldn't amount, in a year, to what we spend on a month of occupying that country.
Diverting the cost of a month of war to a year of giving substance to our "freedom of the press" would mean that the last time someone asked you about the Teabaggers' genius in being smart enough to talk dumb enough to persuade everyone to be racists would, in fact, be the LAST time anyone would ask you how a creation of the corporate media manages to get coverage from the corporate media.
But what do I mean by government-funded independent media? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Aren’t we better off with a completely worthless and counterproductive corporate media system than with government-controlled media? Maybe, but I said publicly FUNDED, not government CONTROLLED. And the choice is between that sort of communications system or nothing. Corporate news rooms, journalism, and investigative reporting are dying out as surely as if a plague were spreading among reporters; and they were already dying out before the internet came onto the scene. We need to take a lesson from current European or early American history and begin treating the press as the public good that Jefferson and Madison considered it, or give up on the accountability imposed on government officials in the United States just a few decades ago.
"The Death and Life of American Journalism" by Robert McChesney and John Nichols will persuade anyone with basic reading skills of the above assertions. I highly recommend reading this book, and skipping only the first page of the introduction. The authors begin by quoting a mass-murderer who libels the blogosphere and opposes "opinion" to "serious" news. But they don't mean it any more than they mean to focus on early nineteenth century US history at the expense of examining more deeply the successes of European governments in the current era. That's just packaging for xenophobes.
The book is a tour de force, providing an extremely persuasive analysis of where our communications system is headed if left alone, and a terrific survey of ways in which we can rescue it from disaster. In short, the book shows us that corporate media is dying as a form of substantive political reporting. We need a different approach. But I'm not sure we don’t also need to work within the existing and dying system, as we could have done decades ago but never have, as a step toward a long-term solution.
That is to say, in the wake of "Citizens United" we cannot possibly compete with corporate ad buys and shouldn’t try. Civic groups and labor unions and concerned Americans should not give funding to any organization or political candidate who will pass a penny along to the corporate media. Instead we should finally create our own media outlets with all of the money we waste on each election cycle.
We don't have to do so in the corporate manner. McChesney and Nichols point to other approaches, such as the L3C Low-Profit Limited Liability Company. A low profit would be more of a profit than Air America managed, and its funding and purpose would not subject it to the same risks. While we need long-term public investment in media, we need short-term private investment in the same to achieve the public understanding necessary to get us there.
Then we need the emergency and long-term steps McChesney and Nichols prescribe, including a return to better subsidized postal rates for print media, an expansion of AmeriCorps to include journalist training, an investment in high school media, and serious government funding of news reporters:
"If by 2020 we roughly doubled the number of full-time working journalists in the United States," McChesney and Nichols write, "to, say, 160,000, it would require a U.S. government subsidy of $7.2 billion in 2009 dollars." That amount of money is what the Pentagon refers to as "a rounding error."
The fact is that the fourth estate is a more critical public good than the military, police, fire, electricity, roads, water, wall street bailouts, or many other things we treat as public goods, or -- for that matter -- healthcare, retirement income, education, or many other things that some of us try to force our government to treat as public goods. And yet we do not even ask that freedom of the press be supported in any way by our elected representatives. Despite our own nation's history and many other nations' current experience of publicly funding journalism without allowing politicians to censor and direct it, we are unable to even imagine such a thing, preferring to stick with the ever worsening pretense of corporate journalism in the name of a perverted freedom of the press that has been reduced to freedom of speech for corporate conglomerates.
We need to read "The Death and Life of American Journalism" and to think hard about the fate of media outlets that are not discussing this book despite it's convincing prediction of their early demise. If these institutions would rather perish than change, how much concern can they have for the future of you or me or our children's children?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I have some experience in this industry, and I flat-out don't trust Comcast and NBC to operate in the best interest of consumers in Minnesota and around the country when it comes to this merger. Combining a company who provides programming and one who provides the pipes that carry said programming would almost certainly be a raw deal for consumers and independent content producers alike.
Click here to represent your opposition to this merger by supporting the vocal opposition (me) with a small, secure grassroots donation today!
I came to Washington to stand up to the lopsided influence of special interests on behalf of middle class Minnesota families, and opposing this merger is an opportunity to do just that. And as much as I don't trust Comcast and NBC to be honest brokers on this deal, I am trusting you to help me build support for my positions on issues like this one. And as usual, by 'support' I mean 'money.'
Online grassroots donations fuel our operation, and I need your help to keep it going strong -- click here to contribute, please.
I'm not afraid of standing up to these guys -- as I said it's why I ran for the Senate. But I also realize that given the recent Citizens United decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, corporations can now turn around and spend millions running ads telling voters I want to blow up their T.V. -- a patently untrue claim that they've got no research to support, by the way. But I don't need them on my side. I want you on my side.
If you're on my side on this one, please click here to help us build a massive grassroots machine to get our message out.
Fights like this one are more than worth having, they're essential to keeping our democracy representative of people instead of corporate entities. I realize that with a lot of my positions, I'm inviting special interest groups to spend a lot of money to defeat me down the road. As long as I have you standing with me, that's ok by me -- because corporations getting their way isn't some bad medicine consumers need to swallow -- we can stand, fight, and win.
Thanks for your time today, for all you've done, and all you'll do.
P.S. If you think what we're doing in the Senate - taking on Halliburton and NBC/Comcast -- is a worthwhile endeavor, please consider joining our sustainer program today -- click here for more information. And, thanks again!
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Save our DEMOCRACY!
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Without some basic healthcare for aliens, you risk public health because diseases don't discriminate. (easy fix, increase criminal penalties for hiring illegals, with no economic refugees, then everyone is a citizen.)
Without funding for reproductive health, like abortions, you sacrifice poor women to the alter of a religious mob. (easy fix, treat each individual patient based upon their stated religion, no christians get abortions at any stage of pregnancy, while others can choose more reasonable healthcare.)
Without reasonable tort penalties for giant corporations, you risk public health in the name of profit maximization. (easy fix, keep unlimited tort penalties that can put irresponsible big corporations out of business, yet limit lawyer fees to a flat rate, so they don't get rich off frivolous law suits).
Ultimately, the filibuster is a Senate rule, not part of the US Constitution, so any brave senator could stand up and make a motion to change the rule, or eliminate it, via a 2/3 vote of the Senate. The fact that they don't change the rule, demonstrates their culpability, corruption, and cowardice.
multitude of gross errors in the ruling by the Supreme Court 5
(Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia & Thomas) to turn corporations into
super citizens. The first alert addressed their constructive treason
in expressly empowering foreign corporations to speak in our
elections, the second vivisected their haste and derelict abandonment
of all prudent procedure.
Be sure to submit the two action pages on this issue from which we
are just starting to build the movement and political will to
repudiate the rogue Supreme Court 5.
Action Page: Corporations Are NOT The People
Action Page: Impeach The Supreme Court 5
And if you have a web page of your own, please get the simple code
from one of the pages above to place a button to help us give away
bumper stickers to protest this hideous injustice.
This third installment will demonstrate their ad hoc prestidigitation
of findings of fact on which to ground the opinion. Again we will
reference specific page citations to the actual opinion, together
with our review of all the legal filings in this case, including the
so-called "amicus" (friend of the court) third parties, and the
transcript of the oral argument, itself telling in many ways.
We had already pointed out that Kennedy, writing for a skin's teeth
of a majority, plowed ahead without sending the case back down to the
lower court for the development of a factual record on the issue THEY
wanted to rule on (in a predetermined and unprecedented way as it
turns out). Instead he conjured facts out of thin hot air to justify
his holding, and we will have to play detective somewhat to figure
out where this factual garbage even came from.
Critical to Kennedy's justification for why corporations should for
the first time be awarded the right to spend unlimited amounts of
money to tilt the tables of our elections was the finding, as a
matter of fact, that existing PAC (political action committee)
alternatives were too BURDENSOME and suppressive of this magical new
corporation free speech right to drown out the voice of actual
citizens in our elections. (opinion pp. 21-22).
And as support for this sweeping and totalitarian assertion of
factual reality, what source does Kennedy lean on?? Why, little more
than his OWN DISSENT in the one of very Supreme Court cases
(McConnell) this opinion revisits and overrules (so much for respect
for stare decisis), where HE made that assertion in DEFIANCE of the
majority ruling in that case. Again here, he just recites his
personal grudge list of the cruel and unusual (in his opinion) filing
requirements for PACs, absent any determination by any trier of fact
(besides his absolute self) that these requirements are per se
Oh, but it gets worse. For you see, no actual party to this
litigation made any such factual claim that we can find in the record
on appeal. Instead, in this part of the opinion Kennedy is just
essentially regurgitating verbatim the ARGUMENTS of one of the THIRD
PARTY amicus briefs!! (opinion p. 22) What he did here was take the
assertions of a non-party in a tangential filing, the ONLY one to
make such arguments, totally after the fact of anything tried in the
actual case, and he elevated those arguments to the pedestal status
of a complete factual record from the court below.
How much more offensive to any sense of judicial fair play could it
possibly get? The point of a TRIAL is to take testimony, to try
factual assertions in the crucible of a fact finding court, to have a
judge determine based on a full and fair record what facts are to be
given weight, with both parties given an opportunity to present any
relevant evidence. But in our new Supreme Court of the Five
Kangaroos, they can sit as judge, jury and executioner of all facts
without any such procedural fairness, and based on their OWN
To her credit, in oral argument Justice Sotomayor attempted to
address the fact that the Court appeared to be bent on proceeding in
the absence of an adequate factual record on the issue it purportedly
was to decide (oral argument p 25, lines 12-22). Here was attorney
Ted Olsen's response to her question.
"It is the government has the burden to prove the record that
justifies telling someone that wants to make a 90-minute documentary
about a candidate for president that they will go to jail if they
broadcast it. The government has the obligation and the government
had a long legislative record and plenty of opportunity to produce
that record and it's their obligation to do so." (oral argument p.
25, line 25 - p. 26, line 7, and please take careful note of Olsen's
unbelievably snaky reference to a "legislative" record, as contrasted
with a FACTUAL record by trial in a lower court, and his inflammatory
use of the word "jail").
Where did this guy get his law license ... out of a cereal box??
In the first place, the government was not the "plaintiff" (the one
bringing the case) here. The government was not prosecuting a case
here to put anybody in jail. The plaintiff in this case was so-called
Citizens United, both on appeal and in the court below. In our system
of justice the plaintiff is ALWAYS the one with the burden of proof,
and where, as here, they ABANDONED the issue that the Supreme Court 5
raised from the dead by a wave of their unilateral godlike hand,
there was NO requirement for the government to make a case to the
contrary. Indeed, on the issues that WERE tried below, the government
DID develop whatever factual record was necessary to win, even by the
biased standards of this Supreme Court (opinion p. 10).
What kind of dishonest advocate would try to throw the obligation of
proof back on the defendant so long after the fact of an issue
And what kind of dishonest Supreme Court would try to pass off as
justice such a short shrift of a factual record? Kennedy asserts in
the opinion that it's really all OK because in one of the stare
decisis cases (which they are REVERSING) there was a record of
100,000 pages on roughly the same issue (opinion p. 15), so they can
rely on that, totally disregarding that THAT case ruled AGAINST
Kennedy's zombie proposition. What has changed? Nothing has changed
but an additional right wing drop kick ideologue on the court to vote
to take the SAME facts and arrive at the diametrically contrary
result many years later. 100,000 pages of record that went the other
way against a new record in this case of ZERO pages. Some record!
It just so happens that Anthony M. Kennedy is the LAST person who
should ever be allowed to make a finding of a fact about anything in
the real world, let alone from the bench of the Supreme Court.
Consider this pearl of cave dwelling mentality from his mouth in the
oral argument, in defense of the admittedly ad hominem corporate hit
piece about Hillary Clinton in this case.
"But, No. 1, the phenomenon of -- of television ads where we get
information about scientific discovery and -- and environment and
transportation issues from corporations who after all have patents
because they know something, that -- that is different." (oral
argument, p. 73, lines 5-10)
Oh sure, that's what corporations do all day long with their TV ads,
finance educational and enlightening public service announcements.
You mean like all those ads from defense contractors pitching their
new missile system as being people friendly? If any court ever needed
a factual record to tell them what is actually going on out here in
the real world it surely must be this one.
But alas, at this point this alert is already quite long, and we have
still only scratched the surface of the totally bogus findings of
purported fact on which this outrageously heinous decision was based.
So we will have to keep you in suspense until the next installment of
the analysis of this shameful decision in ... the ongoing and tragic
Saga of the Outlaw Supreme Court 5.
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