Archive for the ‘elections’ Category

BTC – States like North Carolina elected more Republicans in local elections in efforts to curb spending,  stimulus payouts to Wall Street for economic failure, and a pending federal healthcare mandate.  According to Jim Palmer, an anti-national identity organizer based in North Carolina, election turnover to Republicans in both the House and Senate is being taken with a grain of salt.


Perhaps, both Republicans and Democrats need to learn and understand that if you create a system where all private personal information is accessible it can and will be exploited by hackers, DMV workers, unscrupulous law enforcement, IT personnel and corporations who have access to the data,” said Palmer frustrated by the cavalier performance of Statehouse Democrats who took up legislation opposing the federal identity mandate in North Carolina.  


Rep. Cole and Rep. Mackey had both made initial commitments to moving the legislation but never followed through.  Both members lost their seats to Republicans.


North Carolina’s DMVs announced plans to adopt FRT or facial recognition technology to convert license pictures to digital images with biometric features last fall.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR from Waking Up Orwell –
NO NEW YEARS EVE PROGRAM

We want to wish all of our listeners a happy, safe and prosperous 2010.

Our hearts and minds go out a real hero and cvil liberty champion, Michael Bednarik and to his family at this difficult time recovering from a Christmas health emergency. At last report he is doing much better.

We also want to alert listeners to have your caution lights on. Technology security hawks are looking to boost domestic intelligence gathering (ATS, backscatter body scanners) since the Christmas terrorist attacks at airports.

The problem with this scenario is the terrorist boarded and entered US airspace from Amsterdam via Yemen. The terrorist didn’t board a domestic US flight. Extra screening of American passengers won’t change boarding procedures overseas. The Nigerian only succeeded in making Dick Cheney high on the scent of neo-con prospective contract entitlement.

Cheney and neo-con politicists are so high on the fresh terrorism they are saying things like 9-11 didn’t happen on Bush’s watch. Please ignore any partisan attempt to get you to surrender any of your few remaining freedoms. Make no fast moves. Everytime you point out that the 9-11 attacks succeeded due to National Security incompetence during the Bush administration, a war criminal loses their power. So keep tellin’ the truth.

Among reports of possible psy-ops is a TSA worker in Oakland airport who bears a striking resemblance to Cindy Sheehan. Not her fault. Coincidence? Maybe.

See you soon.

Washington Times

A key witness in a federal probe into passport information stolen from the State Department was fatally shot in front of a District church, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Lt. Quarles Harris Jr., 24, who had been cooperating with a federal investigators, was found late Thursday night slumped dead inside a car, in front of the Judah House Praise Baptist Church in Northeast, said Cmdr. Michael Anzallo, head of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the investigation into the passport fraud is ongoing.

The Washington Times reported April 5 that contractors for the State Department had improperly accessed passport information for presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, which resulted in a series of firings that reached into the agency’s top ranks.

One agency employee, who was not identified in documents filed in U.S. District Court, was implicated in a credit-card fraud scheme after Lt. Harris told federal authorities he obtained “passport information from a co-conspirator who works for the U.S. Department of State.” :::MORE HERE:::

BTC Editorial – Obama disappoints. He disappoints because he’s been assimilated into the machine of Bush’s predecessors. He disappoints because he behaves as Bush did. Make no mistake – there is simply no possible way for a President to pristinely carry the adulation of the American public at all times. Which means that leaders have to have a fallback plan after the Honeymoon is over. However, so many elected him on the auspices that we wouldn’t get the Bush treatment.
Obama still has a chance to come correct. He can change direction any time he chooses. The issue for actors on the world stage is always MOTIVATION. Where does the context for these decisions come from?
This spring, I think Cheney has made himself a little too important. He wasn’t getting the cooperation of his former colleague, Obama. Obama himself, his staff and those in current governance are not immune to self-preservation. Cheney as a retiree couldn’t settle for skeet shooting, he decided to go duck hunting instead. If he couldn’t kill a duck – he could make one lame. He set his sights this spring on Obama and here we are.
For salt, I always blame the CIA. They suck. They don’t respect anyones privacy or humanity. They want too much information. They get what they want because they are heavily rewarded to lie, cheat and steal. What kind of people are stocked up in an agency dispatched to upset small 3rd world governments and assassinate democratically elected leaders?
I am someone who still believes in free speech and the cemented ideal center of the U.S. Constitution. I can point out those in Congress and the Senate who actually value the document as is and those who legally observe it when it is expedient for business. Sometimes it really depends on the issue.
Obama always had a plan for the internet. It’s really no big surprise with Emmanuel as a sidekick, Jane Harman in an Intelligence Director position and Cheney skulking around as an unwanted consultant that the internet is now a big problem for the incumbent government. I would be insecure too if I farmed out 20 million Americans livelihood overseas, sold them into debt slavery to China over a war most supporters were duped into after 9-11. I’m sure all the complaining is really starting to get to them.
I don’t think things are going Obama’s way right now; so he is taking it out on the public by trying to castrate our technology and communications. I bet he feels stuck. He couldn’t keep Monsanto out of Michelle’s garden, much less our food supply leadership. You see, he’s been trying to get some kind of health care to sick people. Instead of the lobby sponsors bending a bit and working with some of the Republican interests on how things play out or parsing up the bill and working constructively about specific concerns of Red state Americans; it’s been fight or flight, my way or the highway.
Should we allow our nation to be run by bunch of spoiled shortsighted bureaucrats? Is tolerating this cafeteria food fight the best Obama can do?
It’s really hard when people call your good thing, bad.
At the end of the day, Obama is one guy. The more isolated our President gets, the more people like Cheney and advisors like Rahm Emmanuel aim to suck the marrow out of him.
In the meantime, the town halls have become stages for Americans who never get a chance to say much of anything on their own behalf. It’s a new thing for shortsighted Congressional leaders to deal with auditoriums filled with Americans who are both sick and underemployed because of their stupidity. They never thought they would ever see those people in those circumstances. Most of them were working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. They’ve got plenty of spare time now to fix their aberrant government.
America is just filled with bunches of crankypants and fusspots.
Republican or Democrat? Vote anyone but incumbent or you’ll get the same. Bush’s people who weren’t cycled out in the inauguration tides are hanging around like corpses fouling the enduring tide. There’s your problem.
Watch out for the wave of workhorse independents who don’t have law degrees who will be running for office in an election near you.

“Frustrated by the failure of legislation requiring voters to show photo identification — touted as an anti-fraud measure — Texas senators abandoned tradition to put the voter ID bill at the head of the line. Never mind that there is little evidence that even small numbers of people are impersonating voters at the polls. Indeed, an expensive investigation by the attorney general’s office found a relative handful of cases of voter fraud, and those cases involved ballots that were cast by mail — not in person.” –  The Austin American Statesman

It looks like Voter ID is wreaking havock in Texas.  I’m simply at a loss for words since Texas KAOS said it all really.  I am relieved  voter ID isn’t married to Real ID, but that doesn’t make it any less awful, redundant… Voter ID is not going to get the stink off for voter disenfranchisement.
Constituents go to the phones…..
CALENDAR 
WAKING UP ORWELL  KOOP.org – 91.7 FM  Austin  2/12 – Artivist Film Festival 
5-11 Campaign Meeting  2/15  @ Brave New Books   Austin 
We Are Change Meeting  2/21 @ Brave New Books  Austin 

WATCH OUT

ES&S Voting Machines Can Be Maliciously Calibrated to Favor Specific Candidates

“If one candidate has a check box in one place and a different candidate has it in a different place, you can set it up so that if you press on one candidate it gets recorded for another candidate,” said Matt Blaze, a computer scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who led one of three teams that co-wrote the report (.pdf) last year. “But if you press on the other candidate, it gets recorded correctly for that candidate. You can make it work perfectly normally in most of the screen, but have it behave the way you want in small parts of it.”

If you have any problems voting on any machines you can visit VoteRescue.org .

By Renee Feltz
From the October 3, 2008 issue 
PHOTO: STOKELY BAKSH

VOTER SHUTOUT
97-year-old Shirley Preiss has voted in every election since 1932, but cannot register to vote in Arizona because she lacks proof of her citizenship. She was born in Kentucky before the state issued birth certificates and says she’s never left the country, so she does not have a passport. Arizona is one of eight states that require voters to prove U.S. citizenship.
PHOENIX—While both presidential candidates avoid discussing immigration reform, Republican pundits are stirring up concern about non-citizens throwing the election.

“The evidence is indisputable that aliens, both legal and illegal, are registering and voting in federal, state, and local elections,” wrote Hans A. von Spakovsky in June in a widely circulated “legal memorandum” entitled “The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting.”

Von Spakovsky is a former Bush recess appointee to the U.S. Department of Justice, where as counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, he specialized in voting and election issues. After the Senate blocked his reappointment citing his involvement in “efforts to politicize the Department and use the Voting Rights Section to disenfranchise voters, rather than enforce our nation’s civil rights laws,” he served as a member of the Federal Election Commission for two years.

Now with the Heritage Foundation, a leading right-wing think tank, von Spakovsky argues the “honor system” of signing a legally binding registration card fails to keep non-citizens from the polls, and suggests election officials should be allowed to access U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases “regarding voter eligibility based on citizenship.” He also wants all states to require anyone who registers to vote to provide proof of U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship is already a legal requirement to vote in the United States, but GOP scare tactics have led more than a dozen states to consider additional legislation to require documented proof of citizenship, and in many cases a Voter ID card, in order to vote.

Voter registration rates in Arizona, the one state with both types of laws, suggest these cumbersome requirements will further disenfranchise low-income citizens, people of color and the elderly, all of whom are more likely to vote Democratic.

SCAPEGOATING IMMIGRANTS
Republicans first used outcry about undocumented immigration in the border state of Arizona to win support for a citizen initiative four years ago that requires voter registration applicants to document their citizenship with a birth certificate, a passport or naturalization papers.

“You had a confluence of two interests,” said Linda Brown, director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, when asked how backers of the initiative known as Proposition 200 overcame opposition from most of the public and the state’s elected officials in 2004.

The first force at work was the anti-illegal immigration movement. “These are the true believers,” Brown said. “Even though there is no documentation people are voting illegally, certainly not on purpose,” they will favor a crackdown on such behavior, she explained.

“Then you had the other group, the savvy political operatives,” Brown said. “They believe it is reasonable to deny law-abiding citizens the right to vote by shaving the rolls of people least likely to vote the way they want them to.”

When Proposition 200 passed there had been just 33 cases of documented voter fraud throughout the country between October 2002 and September 2005. Ten of the cases were acquitted or dismissed, and 19 of the 23 people prosecuted had registered to vote and voted using their real names — not the best method for getting away with fraud.

In fact, voting rights advocates say individuals trying to steal or cast an invalid ballot is less likely than being struck by lightning. The practice is even more rare among non-citizens.

“If you’re a non-citizen and you register or vote, there is a paper trail that connects you to that voting,” notes Justin Levitt, counsel to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “If you’re convicted, which is a straightforward thing, you can be fined up to $10,000 and, probably most serious, you can be deported. For the majority of people, those odds just don’t make sense.”

TURNING A RIGHT INTO A PRIVILEGE
According to the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, at least 38,000 voter registration applications have been rejected in Arizona since Proposition 200 went into effect in 2005, largely because of failure to document citizenship.

Outreach groups say that when they conduct registration drives voters often are not carrying their birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers.

“I was trained to do this job back in Detroit and it was so easy to get people registered because all I needed was people’s name, address and the last four digits of their Social Security number and their signature,” said Teresa Castro, political director for Arizona’s ACORN chapter, a group that has been working to register low-income voters. “But here in Arizona it got more complicated because you have to ask people to give up all this information to us.”

According to a phone survey commissioned by the Brennan Center in 2006, 7 percent of Americans lack ready access to proof of their citizenship.

“After Proposition 200, I feel like something that is a right is treated more like a privilege you have to earn,” said Teresa Castro, political director for ACORN in Arizona.

Access to documents like birth certificates and passports can be especially costly and difficult for low-income and elderly voters, like 97-year-old Shirley Preiss, who moved to Arizona in 2007 to be with her son, Joe Nemnich.

“My mom was born August 17 in 1910, in Clinton, Kentucky. There was no birth certificate,” Nemnich said. “Can I get a delayed birth certificate? No, I can’t … everyone she knows is dead.”

Preiss cast a ballot for Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and has voted in every election since. Her Social Security card and several state-issued ID cards are of no use. She says Prop 200 violates her constitutional rights. “I have a legal right,” Preiss said. “It says so right in the book.”

THE ARIZONA MODEL GOES NATIONAL
Republicans say the problems faced by voters such as Preiss are a small price to pay.

“Every vote cast by a non-citizen, whether an illegal alien or a resident alien legally in the country, dilutes or cancels the vote of a citizen and thus disenfranchises him or her,” said von Spakovsky in his Heritage Foundation memorandum.

While Arizona’s law is unique, that could soon change. The chair of Arizona’s Republican Party, Randy Pullen, said he has advised supporters of similar laws in Georgia, Oklahoma and Colorado.

“It’s almost like we’re incubators in terms of what works and what doesn’t work on this issue. I’ve been very pleased with how this worked out nationally,” Pullen said. “And I expect … this will become pretty much the standard for most states.” Which states? “Red states,” he said.

Bills to require voters to show documented proof of citizenship narrowly failed this year in a handful of states where the GOP controls the legislature, such as Missouri and Kansas.

Virginia enacted a law that allows the registrar to remove “all persons known by him not to be United States citizens” from voter rolls after sending them a notice requesting sworn statement of citizenship that requires a reply within 14 days or the application or registration will be cancelled.

Supporters of Indiana’s Voter ID law cited voter fraud by undocumented immigrants as a reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the measure, which it did.

Eight states already require or request photo ID at the polls — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota; Kansas and Pennsylvania require photo ID for first-time voters. Meanwhile, anticipation of voter fraud has become so ingrained that recent news articles have encouraged voters in all states to bring photo ID with them to the polls “just in case.”

As Bush-appointee von Spakovsky argues, doing “anything less encourages contempt for the law and our election process.”

21st Century Voter Disenfranchisement: By the Numbers
By John Tarleton

While claiming to target immigrants who vote illegally, right-wing efforts to require proof of citizenship for voting could disenfranchise millions of U.S. citizens — primarily lowincome, African-American, elderly, female and college-age voters.

7: Percentage of voting-age Americans who lack ready access to citizenship documents (at least 13 million people).

12: Percentage of voting-age citizens with incomes less than $25,000 per year who lack ready access to citizenship documents.

66: Percentage of voting-age women with proof of citizenship who have a document with current legal name. At least 32 million women may have proof of citizenship documents that do not reflect their current name.

11: Percentage of voting-age U.S. citizens who lack valid, government-issued photo ID.

18: Percentage of elderly U.S. citizens who lack a valid, government-issued photo ID.

25: Percentage of voting-age African-Americans who do not have a valid, government-issue photo ID.

8: Percentage of voting-age whites who do not have valid, government issued photo ID.

15: Percentage of voting-age U.S. citizens earning less than $35,000 per year who do not have valid, government-issued photo ID.

10: Percentage of voting-age citizens whose photo ID does not have their current address and legal name.

18: Percentage of voting-age citizens age 18 to 24 who do not have photo ID with current address and name.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice, brennancenter.org