American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, December 13, 2003
The same internet statistics that predicted within less than one percentage point the percentage Howard Dean won the the Moveon.org internet primary by shows Dennis Kucinich ahead of all the candidates except Howard Dean, who holds a strong lead on Kucinich as well. And in the California Democratic Council (CDC) Vote, Howard Dean took a commanding first place with 56.11 percent of the vote with Dennis Kucinich placing second with 17.19 percent and Wesley Clark with 14.48 percent.

Will the "mainstream media" give him the coverage he merits? After he pointed out Ted Koppel's handling of the Durham NH "debate", ABC coincidently is not having their producer travel with the Kucinich campaign. Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton are also effected.
Here are Dennis and Ted:
KUCINICH: We start talking about endorsements, now we're talking about polls, and then we're talking about money. Well, you know, when you do that, you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people.
Ted, I'm the only one up here that actually...
(APPLAUSE)
... I'm the only up here on the stage that actually voted against the PATRIOT Act and voted against the war -- the only one on this stage.
I'm also...
(APPLAUSE)
... I'm also one of the few candidates up here who's talking about taking our health-care system from this for-profit system to a not-for-profit, single-payer universal health care for all.
(APPLAUSE)
I'm also the only one who has talked about getting out of NAFTA and the WTO and going back to bilateral trade...
(APPLAUSE)
... conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and the environment.
Now...
KOPPEL: Congressman?
KUCINICH: ... I may be inconvenient for some of those in the media, but, you know, I'm sorry about that.
(APPLAUSE)

Read the full transcript of the Durham debate. Set your pre-judgements aside.
What do you think?
Kucinich is now, with a usual estimate of two percent support in most polls, where Clinton was in the months before the Start of the 1991 Primaries.
At age 22 Strom Thurmond fathered a bi-racial child with his families 16 year old maid . He seems to have treated her pretty decently overall, even providing financial support throughout his publicly unacknowledged daughters life.
One complex segregationist.
Thousands of women have been sexually assaulted in the United States military. Thousands more have been abused by their military husbands or boyfriends. And then they are victimized again.

This time, the women are betrayed by the military itself.

Explore this comprehensive multimedia investigation by Amy Herdy and Miles Moffeit of the Denver Post.
Friday, December 12, 2003
"FORCED out of Iraq by suicide bombers, the United Nations might have to abandon its two-year effort to stabilise Afghanistan because of rising violence blamed on the Taleban, its top official in the country has warned.

Lakhdar Brahimi said his team could not continue its work in the war-ravaged nation unless security improves. He called for more foreign troops to halt attacks that have killed at least 11 aid workers across the south and east since March.

'Countries that are committed to supporting Afghanistan cannot kid themselves and cannot go on expecting us to work in unacceptable security conditions,' Mr Brahimi said.

'They seem to think that our presence is important here. Well, if they do, they have got to make sure that the conditions for us to be here are there,' he said. 'If not, we will go away.' "
"out the yin-yang" and "any after-sale changes should be prohibitively expensive," says "Ken", a Diebold employee, in a memo he wrote on Jan. 3, 2003. Ken is referring to the possibility that Maryland might ask Diebold to retrofit their e-vote machines with ballot printers:
"There is an important point that seems to be missed by all these articles: they already bought the system. At this point they are just closing the barn door. Let's just hope that as a company we are smart enough to charge out the yin if they try to change the rules now and legislate voter receipts."
So just what exactly does "out the yin-yang" mean?
State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone told The Gazette last month that Diebold had given a preliminary estimate of $1,000 to $1,200 per machine to add printouts, or up to $20 million for the state's more than 16,000 machines.
So what should the cost of a retrofitted ballot printer be? According to news reports, the cost cited by one of Diebold's competitors was about $500 a machine. This is in line with my previous report, where Palm Beach County (which uses Sequoia e-vote machines) was offered an estimate of about $600 per machine for such a retrofit.

Price gouging, anyone? Thy name is Diebold.



State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone (a Democrat) comes in for direct criticism in an earlier (Dec. 18, 2002) e-mail purportedly written by Sue Page, one of Diebold's Maryland project managers:
"Linda Lamone ... makes public statements airing dirty laundry and casting doubt. She's about power and control. She feels powerful when she makes negative comments. What she misses is that her negative comments reflect negatively on her. She should be proud of and support her initiative of a state wide voting change, rather than casting doubt on her own decision."
and

"There's not much that we can do, other than hope that a new Republican Governor will effect change."
In fact, Lamone, a Democrat, has been battling to keep her job amidst efforts from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to install a Republican elections chief. Four of the five board members would have to vote to remove Lamone; three are Republicans and two are Democrats.
So much for Diebold's claims that it's e-vote machines are secure. It seems that not even their widely-implemented ATMs can withstand the on-slaught of dedicated hackers.

OK, the Diebold ATM people are not the Diebold people who make their e-vote machines -- They're in totally different divisions of Diebold. But here's why it still matters.

Diebold ATMs used to use IBM's OS/2 operating system, but changed over to Microsoft Windows at the urging of their banking customers (for reasons discussed in this article). Diebold Election Systems has always used the Windows operating system (CE) for its e-vote machines.

In vulnerability terms, there is probably nothing inherently wrong with the Windows operating system that is not probably (in some fashion, at least) also wrong in other operating systems. Windows vulnerabilities instead are a function of its own great success; if you are going to spend time hacking, chances are that you are going to try hacking where it willhave the greatest effect; i.e., Windows, a victim of its own success. Security experts agree. Diebold's move to Windows for their ATMs was an "horrendous security mistake", literally an invitation to hackers.


Allow me to get technical. The only thing an operating system offers any computer is an abiltiy to multi-task (run multiple programs simultaneously). Single-use computers (ATMs, e-vote machines, etc.) simply do not require operating systems. The only reason they are used on single-use machines is for cost considerations.

In addition to providing a multi-tasking environment, today's operating systems also come bundled with useful subroutines (in Windows, ".dll" file extensions, a.k.a., application extensions). Subroutines do lots of great things. They refresh your monitor's display, accept keyboard input, manage communications over a modem, and a great deal more. But they can be implemented regardless of the existance of an operating system, and indeed, we did so in the early days of computers. So the manufacturers of single-use computers use operating systems merely for the convenience of the subroutines they provide.

The bottom line is that single-use computers have no need for an operating system. Every functionality demanded of them can be provided without one. While an operating system can also provide communications interfaces (subroutines) at a low cost, the very vulnerabilities offered by operating systems should preclude absolutely their use in single-use secure applications.

And I used to bill $500/day for this. Go figure.

On December 6, a convoy of 10 Humvees swooped down on the office of the Iraqi Workers Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Twenty soldiers stormed into the building, put handcuffs on eight members of the Federation's executive board, and took them into detention. Soldiers painted over the name of the federation on the front of the building a confiscated the few files that the office had. Though the eight were released the next day, no reason for the detentions were provided.

On November 23, two members of the Union of the Unemployed were similarly detained and released. The charge? Having two guns when they were supposed to have only one. One of two had also been arrested twice before by occupation troops for leading demonstrations of unemployed workers.

Neither union has been involved in any insurgent activities, and the IFTU openly advocates against it. So is the Coalition Provisional Authority now getting into union busting? Because this certainly is not about "winning the hearts and minds".

Author David Bacon is a photographer and writer specializing in labor issues. He visited Iraq in October. See Saddam's Labor Laws Live On for his review of that visit and of labor activity in Iraq.

If you don't buy this bullet, I'll sell it to the people who will use it to kill you.Chris Floyd's weekly offering.

It seems that Le Mas Ltd. of Arkansas has developed this great new bullet. It'll go through steel, but if it hits your body, it'll explode and pulverize everything within a foot of where it enters. "Frangible" is the term they use to describe it formally; "butt buster" is what afficianados call it, referring to it's ability to kill even if it hits you in the butt.

But it seems there's trouble in this shooter's paradise. Despite the butt-buster's marvelous ability to create untreatable wounds -- guaranteeing an agonizing death to any enemy (or innocent bystander, or victim of friendly fire, etc.) -- the Army has yet to place an order with Le Mas. Army experts say earlier tests show the bullet doesn't wreak appreciably more tissue-ripping havoc than ammo already in stock. Although more tests have been mandated by well-greased Bushist congressmen, Army brass have remained dubious.

But Hell hath no fury like an arms dealer scorned ...

So just what is La Mas Ltd. doing to increase its chances for a military contract? They are threatening the military: If the military does not buy the bullet, the fine Arkansas patriots at La Mas will sell it to people who might use it against our military!
So the Neocons said that we needed to be able to fight two wars at once? Well, as it turns out, they can't even seem to fight one. Enter Afghanistan, where the U.N. has just announced that if the security situation there cannot be improved, they are simply going to have to pull out.

So let's see: The U.N. has already abandoned Iraq, now they are threatening to leave Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden (dead or alive!) is nowhere to be found, Saddam is among the missing, and the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" turned out to be weapons of mass distraction. Good job, George! Good to see that you are on top of things.

It's Good to be the King, Pull


Aaron Brown (live on CNN): Vice President Cheney was reprimanded today by a left-wing activist group for shooting peasants today. According to an employee of the private club, VP Cheney shot over 70 peasants. 400 peasants and other poor dullards were used as target practice for Cheney and his men….ummm..excuse me….what? I’m sorry, folks, my producer is screaming rather loudly in my ear…what? Ok..commercial…

Oh…pheasants! And mallards! Hahaha…I’ve got to get these glasses fixed. My bad.

But, really, what’s wrong with that? One day I was driving to the studio on a glorious summer day in Atlanta in my convertible with the top down and the music blaring and I just happened to have this rather buxom redhead next to me, who’d never even heard of me. Never heard of me! Anyway I had the Rolling Stones song going, you know that song:

more
eye on amsam 12 december '03
Big Thanks to New Harbingers! (in latest order of acceptance): John Fenderson of DRT News, Soy Joy of Meat Facts and MeFi, James Benjamin of The Left End of the Dial, William Blaze of Abstract Dynamics and Brian Flemming (he's the talented writer and director of "Nothing So Strange" and co-author of "Bat Boy: The Musical")! Thank you all!


Also, thanks to our new permalinkers: Cursor, The News Butcher, our own Benedict's Benedict@Large and Black Box Notes, our old friend Dave Phelan's Insufficient Time, An Autopsy of Reason, Bogue's Blog, Coyote's Howling, Stradiotto, no man's island, No man is an island, Expressionisms, zagg, John Costello, Brian Flemming and ddjangoWIrE! (I used Technorati for this and know that it does not reflect everybody, will work on this later . . . )
“There’s nothing I am worse at than long-term planning. I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I’ve been open to those twists and turns because I didn’t have a long-term plan.”

Er, that's exactly what we want in a National Security Advisor yeah? Someone willing to start a war and then bank on divine intervention to get us the out...

The worst of it is that her job description is basically "coordinate and long term plan between the various security agencies". Josh Marshall cut loose on her a few days back. Right now the only thing that seems to keep her in a job is loyalty to the retard...

Thursday, December 11, 2003
Many wild and stray dogs, often unfriendly and even dangerous, roam the Iraq countryside. But soldiers said Apache was always friendly. At first, the men tried to ignore the eager pup, who kept sidling up to them begging for food while they kept guard at a checkpoint leading into Camp Anaconda, a huge American base outside Balad, about an hour north of Baghdad. But finally the soldiers gave in and took the dog back to their camp.

While affectionate with the 130 or so soldiers in the company, Apache could spot a stranger instantly and would bark and growl menacingly. She seemed to especially dislike officers, and in September nipped at a captain from another company who got too close.

But Apache would happily greet the soldiers when they returned from patrols, then roll over to have her belly rubbed and chew playfully on their arms.

Still, the soldiers were warned repeatedly that they were flouting the rules and that they had to get rid of the dog.

Maggie Ford said her husband was researching how to bring Apache back when the soldiers come home in February, but commanders last month gave the soldiers a deadline.

She said her husband couldn't bear to have the dog killed, so the soldiers drove Apache about 10 miles outside the base in the hope someone would take care of her.

Within three days, Apache had found her way back to camp, Maggie Ford said.

Finally, around Thanksgiving, the soldiers took their pet to a veterinarian, who destroyed her, she said. [more]
the kids tell it right
Where in mainstream media do we get the truth- it is usually with a laugh, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and ...Mad Magazine?
Dick Cheney and his entourage went up to Pennsylvania earlier in the week to do a little pheasant hunting. Actually, it was more like a staged slaughter.

According to a local TV station, "Five-hundred pheasants were released in front of Cheney and his men; and the ten-man hunting party killed 417 of the birds. Vice President Cheney alone shot over 70 pheasants."

In response, Wayne Pacelle, Vice President of the the Humane Society of the US, remarked, "Your average hunter may shoot more than three pheasants a day; Vice President Cheney shot more than 70 -- and an untold number of mallards...We're appalled that so many animals were killed for target practice essentially."

"To just slaughter animals that are dumped out in front of hunters just for the thrill of all this killing is not something that can be justified," Pacelle continued, "this is more grisly than we ever could have imagined it could be."
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
"Hell yeah! That was awesome! Let's do it again," said one marine following the shooting.

Update: The video is from an October CNN broadcast called "Fit to Kill." If you're looking to better contextualize the clip, check the show's transcript.
The council's 29 civilian members engaged in a lively debate about various community issues, including zoning rules, illegal construction and plans to renovate war-damaged schools. They angrily confronted a representative from the U.S. engineering contractor Bechtel, who informed the group of the company's plans to spend more than $1 billion on various infrastructure projects around the country.

One council member accused Bechtel of mismanaging funds earmarked for school renovation, saying: "You've done nothing but varnish the tables and paint the walls. This company is misusing this money."
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The Axis of Evil
Bush:   Iraq, Iran, and North Korea

Gore:   Poverty, Injustice, and Dispair

Who do you think would have done better?

One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers—again, in secret—when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. “No one wants to talk about this,” an Israeli official told me. “It’s incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation” on Iraq.) The critical issue, American and Israeli officials agree, is intelligence. There is much debate about whether targeting a large number of individuals is a practical—or politically effective—way to bring about stability in Iraq, especially given the frequent failure of American forces to obtain consistent and reliable information there.
The most striking feature about [the passage of the Medicare reform bill]...is the absence of any serious public debate, discussion or input. The overwhelming majority of the American population has no idea of what is in the bill. Many members of Congress had only a vague notion of the bill’s contents when they voted on it.

USA Today noted December 8: “Health care experts and economists are scouring the bill’s 680 pages, plus hundreds of pages of addendums, to try to understand the far-reaching changes and how new private-insurance options will work for seniors accustomed to Medicare’s uniform benefit structure.”

In the words of Thomas Jefferson: “The best defense of democracy is an informed electorate.” From this standpoint, the Medicare bill is an object lesson in the putrefaction of democracy in the US. [more]
This analysis is buoyed by a piece in today's NY Times, which begins, "Now that President Bush has signed a land-mark bill adding drug benefits to Medicare, an overriding question remains: how well will it work?"

Pray tell: why is Congress ramming through legislation when there is wholesale ignorance and serious doubts about what's in the bill, along with how the bill will actually function?
Monday, December 08, 2003
A survey commissioned by the Canadian government in four US cities has found that Americans don't like it when their neighbors to the north identify themselves as, well, "Canadian."

"Some participants expressed a certain amount of annoyance at what is perceived as a systematic attempt by Canadians to make the statement that they are not Americans by sporting the maple leaf," said the recently released report. "This underscores the American sensitivity at feeling rejected by the rest of the world ...."

...

The report says even Americans who blame the Bush administration to some extent for the country's poor relations with the world, do not seem to understand why friendly countries and neighbours such as Canada would want to distance themselves from Americans.

For instance, an American from San Diego is quoted saying: "What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch on their bags, the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us." [more]
Un-friggin' believable. (via)
Many of course suspected/knew Bush was a puppet from day one. At one point I was open to the possibility that the man was smarter then he seemed, but by now the reality of the situation is blindingly obvious, to everyone except perhaps Bush himself. And this Molly Ivins piece just drives the nail all the way through:

There was a telling episode in 1999 when the Department of Agriculture came out with its annual statistics on hunger, showing that once again Texas was near the top. Texas is a perennial leader in hunger because we have 43 counties in South Texas (and some in East Texas) that are like Third World countries. If our border region were a state, it would be first in poverty, first in the percentage of schoolchildren living in poverty, first in the percentage of adults without a high school diploma, 51st in income per capita, and so on.

When the 1999 hunger stats were announced, Bush threw a tantrum. He thought it was some malign Clinton plot to make his state look bad because he was running for president. "I saw the report that children in Texas are going hungry. Where?" he demanded. "No children are going to go hungry in this state. You'd think the governor would have heard if there are pockets of hunger in Texas." You would, wouldn't you? That is the point at which ignorance becomes inexcusable. In five years, Bush had never spent time with people in the colonias, South Texas' shantytowns; he had never been to a session with Valley Interfaith, a consortium of border churches and schools and the best community organization in the state. There is no excuse for a governor to be unaware of this huge reality of Texas.


Fool didn't even know he had a 3rd world country in his own state, let alone country. Now all of this is pretty redundant to most readers of this site. But I bring it up for tactical reasons. The White House staff has been taken great measures to prevent protesters from getting anywhere Bush. Part of it is security times paranoia. But part of it I suspect is because they need to keep the fact that there are actually protesters away from Dubya. The illusion of his omnipotence needs to be maintained in order to control him. As a long time alcoholic and cokehead Bush is psyche is probably a lot weaker then one would expect in a President. How well can his black and white world view handle shocks to the system? Perhaps the man would just fall apart when confronted with reality?

Now this hypothesis is testable, at least in theory. It's a matter of finding the way to deliver reality to the man himself. Are there cracks in the media armor set up by his handlers? He appears not to read, or even watch the news. And protests are pushed miles from his few journeys into public space. But that doesn't mean there aren't creative routes towards the man. And its only information that needs to travel. Where there is a will there is a way...
The world is running out of fresh water. By the year 2025, there will be 2.6 billion more people on Earth than there are today. As many as two-thirds of those people will be living in conditions of serious water shortage, and one-third will be living with absolute water scarcity. Demand for water will exceed availability by 56 percent. [more]
On Face the Nation:
Overall intelligence has been "very, very good," (White House Chief of Staff Andy) Card said Sunday. But, he added, "Intelligence is a collection of dots, and then an analysis on how those dots might be connected. Some of those dots may not be what they appear to be, and some of the connections may not have been what people would have suggested."
So that's it! If you want to call pre-war inteligence "very, very good," redefine the word intelligence. Look carefully at the sleight of hand as Andy clearly attempts to redefine intelligence as only the individual data points, and not as the analysis of those data points. Of course, this is nonsense; it's the equivalent of holding an election and then not counting the votes. And once this attempted redefinition is removed, Card is explicitly admitting what he is wishing to appear to be denying: That pre-war intelligence was indeed very, very poor.
"Sunday truths"
I am persuaded that there is no limit in the absurdities that can, by government action, come to be generally believed. Give me an adequate army, with power to provide it with more pay and better food than falls to the lot of the average man, and I will undertake, within thirty years, to make the majority of the population believe that two and two are three, that water freezes when it gets hot and boils when it gets cold, or any other nonsense that might seem to serve the interest of the State. Of course, even when these beliefs have been generated, people would not put the kettle in the refrigerator when they wanted it to boil. That cold makes water boil would be a Sunday truth, sacred and mystical, to be professed in awed tones, but not to be acted on in daily life. What would happen would be that any verbal denial of the mystic doctrine would be made illegal, and obstinate heretics would be 'frozen' at the stake. No person who did not enthusiastically accept the official doctrine would be allowed to teach or to have any postion of power. Only the very highest officials, in their cups, would whisper to each other what rubbish it all is; then they would laugh and drink again.

Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, 1950

Sunday, December 07, 2003
The real key in Iraq, he says, "is not how many enemy do I kill. The real key is how many allies do I grow," he says. "And that is a very important metric that they just don't get." He contends that the civilian-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is fairly isolated and powerless, hunkered down inside its bunker in Baghdad. The military has the money and the daily contact with the locals. But it's using the same tactics in a guerrilla struggle that led to defeat in Vietnam.
J. Edgar Hoover's FBI abused its power by punishing one of the greatest educators of the 20th century for campus dissent. Kerr's case is a cautionary tale — just last week members of Congress called for hearings into an FBI bulletin that urged authorities to keep an eye on peaceful antiwar protests and report any "potentially illegal acts."
This hurt's. I like Tom Friedman. I really do. [Full disclosure: I root for lots of underdogs -- just because they are.] But too often of late, he just gets so silly. And so I now also have to jump on the "beat on Tom" bandwagon.

It's not like I haven't criticized Tom before, by the way, but this is rediculous. Here's the key passage:

A cynic might say that Mr. Bush was always interested only in stripping Iraq of its W.M.D. But with no W.M.D. having been unearthed thus far in Iraq, and with the costs of the war in lives and dollars soaring, the president felt he needed a new rationale. And so he focused on the democratization argument.

But there is another explanation, one that is not incompatible with the first but is less overtly cynical. It is a story about war and events and how they can transform a president.

OK, Tom, Presidents can and sometimes do get transformed by war. But they generally don't wait to get transformed by it until four months after they claim it is over.

Let me see if I can explain this to you in terms you can understand, Tom. Bush only went to the Democracy meme because the WMD meme got yanked out from under his feet. He had to go to a new meme when this happened because if he did not, that $130 billion and over 400 "transfer tubes" wouldn't have even had the pretense of a meaning.

But in your mind, Tom, Bush might just suddenly have "found religion" four months too late? Kind of like he "found religion" after drinking himself to oblivion for twenty years? And this is what we are supposed to want as the leader of the most powerful nation in history? Someone who can't figure out why he's doing anything until after it is done? Pleeeze!

Look, Tom. It's bad enough having to watch the White House flail around looking for new excuses for their screw ups. Do we really have to watch you do it too?

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