Saturday, June 30, 2007

If only

Those who judge John Kennedy by the 40+ year smear campaign against him need to read this speech. The Washington Monthly asked Ted Sorenson, Kennedy's longtime speechwriter, to write a speech he'd like the winner of the Democratic nomination to give at the nominating convention in 2008. He wrote this speech, which I'd encourage you to read in full. I'm in full agreement with everything expressed, and long for a candidate brave enough to pledge to do all these things. I have no favorite among the candidates yet. Not one of them has inspired me to lift a finger to help. But if Sorenson was to run, I'd do everything I could, because this is indeed what our next president should promise:
First, working with a representative Iraqi parliament, I shall set a timetable for an orderly, systematic redeployment and withdrawal of all our troops in Iraq, including the recall of all members of the National Guard to their primary responsibility of guarding our nation and its individual states.

Second, this redeployment shall be only the first step in a comprehensive regional economic and diplomatic stabilization plan for the entire Middle East, building a just and enduring peace between Israel and Palestine, halting the killing and maiming of innocent civilians on both sides, and establishing two independent sovereign states, each behind peacefully negotiated and mutually recognized borders.

Third, I shall as soon as possible transfer all inmates out of the Guantanamo Bay prison and close down that hideous symbol of injustice.

Fourth, I shall fly to New York City to pledge in person to the United Nations, in the September 2009 General Assembly, that the United States is returning to its role as a leader in international law, as a supporter of international tribunals, and as a full-fledged member of the United Nations which will pay its dues in full, on time, and without conditions, renouncing any American empire; that we shall work more intensively with other countries to eliminate global scourges, including AIDS, malaria, and other contagious diseases, massive refugee flows, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and that we will support the early dispatch of United Nations peacekeepers to halt the atrocities in Darfur. I shall make it clear that we do not covet the land of other countries for our military bases or the control of their natural resources for our factories. I shall make it clear that our country is not bound by any policies or pronouncements of my predecessor that violate international law or threaten international peace.

Fifth, I shall personally sign the Kyoto Protocol, and seek its ratification by the United States Senate, in order to stop global warming before it endangers all species on earth, including our own; and I shall call upon the Congress to take action dramatically reducing our nation’s reliance on the carbon fuels that are steadily contributing to the degradation of our environment.

Sixth, I shall demonstrate sufficient confidence in the strength of our values and the wisdom and skill of our diplomats to favor communications, negotiations, and full relations with every country on earth, including Cuba, North Korea, Palestine, and Iran.

Finally, I shall restore the constitutional right of habeas corpus, abolish the unconstitutional tapping of private phones, and once again show the world the traditional American values that distinguish us from those who attacked us on 9/11.
If only. If only we could see this kind of leader in the White House. These days, such a leader seems not to exist. Will one of the Democratic candidates please step up and prove me wrong?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Catching up

There's just too much to read and discuss right now. Here's some reading to keep you busy until I can find time to write up what's new, what's forgotten, what's complete BS, and what's widely reported yet not even IN the newly released CIA "Family Jewels" report, a collection of documents discussing illegal activities of the Agency.

For a glimpse of the REAL history of who John Kennedy was, don't miss David Talbot's article in this week's issue of Time magazine, "Warrior of Peace: The Lessons of JFK." As Jim DiEugenio wrote years ago, there have been two assassinations of JFK: one on his body, and one on his character. Talbot's book "Brothers" does much to recover the true history of a unique man caught between his conscience and his administration, who managed to choose peace over war despite enormous pressure. "Brothers" also traces Robert Kennedy's remarkable evolution of spirit to become the leading moral voice on the left, before his voice too was silenced. Those who think the Kennedys were arrogant, elitist cold warriors need to read this book and learn the true history of these remarkable men. I still miss Bobby. I will always miss Bobby. I'll have more to say about Talbot's book at some future date, but there are more pressing issues.

And in a twist so bizarre it could only be nonfiction, the Vice President is again thumbing his nose at We the People. If we don't fight back and hold his feet to the law, so to speak, we can kiss our country, as we know it, goodbye. We're only ruled by laws, and not despots, when we band together to ensure our laws are enforced. As this Wired blog so accurately reports:

Dick Cheney can't seem to make up his mind. One day, he's part of the executive branch. Another day, he's not. Cheney's flip-flopping over a National Archives mandate to protect classified executive branch information has been widely lampooned. Cheney barred investigators from entering his workplace and even tried to dissolve the Archives' Information Security Oversight Office, which enforces the government's classification system. He claimed his office was also part of, kind of, the legislative branch because the veep presides over the Senate. This smacks of -- dare we say (to a chorus of abuse in the comments section) -- a man trying to hide something.
Of course, Cheney has much to hide. And has for years. He even helped cover up the murder of a CIA scientist twenty-two years after the fact. From the Baltimore Sun (August 9, 2002):

Eight years ago, questions unanswered, Frank Olson's body was exhumed from the Frederick cemetery where it had lain for more than 40 years. Forensic experts are hesitant to assert anything with complete certainty, but they said the death was not a suicide.

...[Olson's son Eric] says the evidence he has gathered over the years shows that Frank Olson didn't suffer a nervous breakdown, as the family initially was told, and didn't commit suicide because he had had a negative drug experience, as they learned in the 1970s. Instead, the son says, his father was killed by the CIA because officials there feared he would divulge classified information concerning the United States' use of biological weapons in Korea.

"It didn't happen," CIA spokesman Paul F. Novack said yesterday. "We categorically deny that."

Two weeks after that news conference in 1975, the Olson family was invited to the White House for a formal apology from President Gerald R. Ford. "Actually, it was not at all clear exactly what it was that the president and the CIA director were apologizing for," Olson recalled yesterday. After the family agreed not to sue the CIA, it was awarded a $750,000 settlement. They had been told theirs was a case they could not win.

Now the family has learned that the Ford administration was keeping information from the family, concerned that family members would ask questions about the scientist's work that the government was unprepared to answer. Among those who advocated keeping quiet were Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, now the vice president and defense secretary, the Olsons learned from memos and other papers received last year from the Gerald R. Ford Library.

"Most of it is documented now," said Philadelphia lawyer David Rudovsky, who was a roommate of Eric Olson's in the 1970s and has assisted him with the case over the years. "It's more than just some crazy paranoid speculation."

We can't let him get away with this. It's past time to impeach Cheney. As Bruce Fein noted in Slate today:

Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III.
Remember how we had a little tea party because of the outrageous actions of King George? How much bigger an event must we hold to get Cheney's serious attention??

Put on your thinking cap. Let's brainstorm that one.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Reclaiming History from Bugliosi again

This is a slightly modified version of a letter I sent to the author of yet another reviewer of Vince Bugliosi's book "Reclaiming History."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was disappointed with your review of Bugliosi’s book “Reclaiming History,” an Orwellian title, at that. As someone who spent over 15 years looking at actual documents – not just other people’s books – on the JFK case, I can assure you Bugliosi’s book is exactly the one-sided treatment he accuses the critics of writing.

I defy any honest person to follow the CIA’s pre-assassination paper trail on Oswald and argue that Oswald was not of high-level, special interest to the CIA. A top CIA official who signed off on one of these documents actually said as much to John Newman, himself a former intelligence analyst as well as a PhD in history and a professor of such. Jane Roman signed off, knowingly, on a cable and a teletype – drafted within a short time of each other. One document described Oswald accurately. The second described Oswald as older, fat and balding. She told Newman, “I’m signing off on something that I know isn’t true” when he showed her the document with her signature, and said, “Well, to me, it’s indicative of a keen interest in Oswald, held very closely on the need-to-know basis.” The document that lied about Oswald went to several agencies of the U.S. Government. The CIA was deliberately concealing Oswald’s identity from other agencies less than a month before the assassination.


In addition, Oswald provably didn’t fire a rifle that day. His cheek was tested for nitrates and came up negative. False positives were not uncommon. But false negatives were unheard of, until one of the FBI agents managed to create one1. How did he do it? By using a second person, and having them wipe down the gun between shots. Not only would the timing of the shots not have allowed that, but if Oswald had a conspirator, then hello, it was a conspiracy!

Does Bugliosi mention that one of his key sources on Oswald and Marina, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, has confessed to being, as her CIA file describes her, a “witting” asset of the agency? So we’re to take the chief suspect’s word on Oswald’s instability and inappropriateness for agency recruitment? Isn’t that, well, awfully convenient?

I’m sorry to see you take the easy way out, and assume that because Bugliosi is a figure of stature that that makes him more honest than the people like John Newman, David Talbot (founder and Editor-in-Chief of, and the numerous other reporters, PhD’s, MDs, JDs and others who have put in the time to learn the sad truth of the conspiracy and the ongoing cover-up.

Unlike Mr. Bugliosi, no one has paid me or any of the other highly qualified researchers in this case a million dollars to do nothing but write a book about this case, or each of us could have easily written a 1600 page book, equally well-documented, making a persuasive case that Oswald was being manipulated like a pawn by the CIA to take the fall for the assassination. But people like me aren’t given that kind of money to make that case. That’s not the end result of Kennedy’s assassination 44 years ago. The end result, as we have recently witnessed, is an increasingly criminal government, a war launched under false pretenses, and a press that is increasingly losing relevance because, unlike 80% of the public, it can’t connect these dots.

1. Cortlandt Cunningham, an FBI special agent, told the Warren Commission that another FBI agent, Mr. Killion, was given two tests. He did not fire a gun on the first test - that was the control. He got only a false positive on his hands and cheek, before he fired anything. Cunningham then described what they did next:

We cleaned off the rifle again with dilute HCl. I loaded it for him. He held it in one of the cleaned areas and I pushed the clip in so he would not have to get his hands near the chamber—in other words, so he wouldn’t pick up residues, from it, or from the action, or from the receiver. When we ran the casts, we got no reaction on either hand or on his cheek. On the controls, when he hadn't fired a gun all day, we got numerous reactions. [Source: Warren Commission Hearings, Volume III p. 494]
So the only way the FBI was able to get a "false negative" was by using a second person, who cleaned the gun and loaded it for the test subject. So either Oswald had a conspirator cleaning and loading his gun, or he was innocent. That's what the FBI tests showed.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

EFF supports Holt's bill - You should too!

Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a group with an excellent record of protecting citizens rights, came out strongly in favor of Rush Holt's bill HR 811. Here's one of the opening paragraphs:

HR 811 is not perfect. Few bills are. And honest debate about a matter as important as election integrity is always helpful to the process. However, much of the ostensibly pro-transparency criticism of HR 811 has sadly taken a detour away from being useful and descended into hyperbole, fear-mongering, and uninformed posturing. Returning to the substance of the bill and its actual consequences is long overdue.
EFF then proceeds to list common objections, and rebuts them with specifics. For example:

Require the disclosure of voting system source code in limited circumstances. HR 811 would, for the first time under federal law, explicitly mandate the disclosure of voting system source code to certain "qualified persons," identified as (among others) parties to litigation and individuals who "review[], analyze[], or report[] on the technology solely for an academic, scientific, technological, or other investigation or inquiry concerning the accuracy or integrity of the technology." See proposed Sec. 301(a)(8)(C). Individuals seeking such access would, in some circumstances, be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Just as now, however, individuals who lawfully acquire voting system source code independent of the (non-exclusive) procedures set forth by HR 811 (see, for example, Avi Rubin's groundbreaking analysis of Diebold source code that was leaked onto the Internet) would be free to analyze the code accordingly. States wanting even greater transparency could mandate broader disclosure requirements (see proposed Sec. 301(a)(8)(B)(ii)(II)), including disposing of any non-disclosure requirement or even mandating the use of open source software. Moreover, vendors themselves could dispense with the non-disclosure agreement requirement, either by explicitly granting permission to share otherwise secret source code or by utilizing open source systems.
That's not the argument Brad Friedman is going to publish at BradBlog. He's not going to publish anything in favor of passing this bill because he believes no bill that still allows DREs should go forward. In a perfect world, I'd agree with him. But we all know this is so far from a perfect world that such a stance is not just ignorant, but dangerous. We need serious people who understand what we can and can't do legislatively at this point in time. As EFF says on this matter:

* "HR 811 doesn't ban all DREs." True, but misleading. DREs, paperless or otherwise, are already permitted under federal law. HR 811 would ban the use of paperless DREs in federal elections unless they are retrofitted with printers that generate voter-verifiable paper ballots. An outright ban on DREs may or may not be possible with this Congress, but it is irrelevant to whether or not this bill should pass. Rep. Holt's strategy -- to convince Congress of the need to improve transparency in U.S. elections, regardless of technology -- is a sound one, one that many volunteers have expended extraordinary efforts to bring to fruition and one that could be on the verge of succeeding. Nothing has prevented or currently prevents now-vocal critics who are calling for an outright DRE ban from going through the process of drafting the appropriate legislative proposal and then soliciting the necessary support for it. But attempting to derail or hijack HR 811 as a vehicle to ram through an unlikely-to-pass DRE ban unnecessarily risks the passage of other important substantive requirements. And once again, nothing in HR 811 prohibits states from limiting the use of DREs of any kind or banning them altogether.
So those who are so sure they can get a banned passed should start in their own states, where such is far more likely to be possible than at the federal level at this point in time.

One of the statements I've written about at length is the ridiculous notion that Holt's bill somehow institutionalizes the use of "secret code" for our elections. This is completely false, as the EFF explains:

* "HR 811 reinforces secret vote counting." False. On the contrary, HR 811, if passed, would begin to open up the process. Federal law already permits the use of paperless DREs. Only 27 states currently require the use of voter-verified paper ballots (or voter-verified audit trails), and only 13 of those require audits. The lack of robust federal requirements, and the failure of straggler states to implement restrictions of their own, has led to the widespread use of suspect voting equipment like DREs. If enacted, HR 811 would, for the first time, place real restrictions on the use of electronic voting equipment. Again, if states think that HR 811's requirements aren't robust enough, they can pass legislation of their own.

* "HR 811 prohibits the disclosure of voting system software." False. HR 811 would for the first time federally mandate the disclosure of election-specific source code. The disclosure provision that emerged from committee is certainly not as broad as it could be. Public disclosure is not required, as the original language of HR 811 demanded. Yet as discussed above, HR 811 would explicitly protect the right of access for certain reviewers who currently have no such such guaranteed right and who have been routinely denied access to any software in some of the many battles that EFF has fought in the courts and elsewhere since 2003. The software industry fought long and hard behind the scenes to scuttle any disclosure requirement. That the current disclosure language emerged from committee at all is a testament to the many individuals, organizations, and lawmakers dedicated to election integrity who stood up in support of the bill instead of trying to tear it down. Make no mistake: this disclosure requirement is simply one of many initial steps in a long struggle towards full transparency of elections. But it is a critically important step, nonetheless. And once again, states may mandate any kind of additional disclosure, including an open source requirement, that they wish.

* "HR 811 makes voting system source code a trade secret." False, and demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of trade secrecy law. HR 811 does not, in any way, "create" trade secrets or transform voting system source code into a trade secret. Information either meets trade secret criteria -- created by each individual state, and not the federal government -- or it doesn't. As EFF and others have repeatedly experienced, the lack of guaranteed access to this code due to trade secrecy claims has been a major impediment to litigation over voting system failures, like the ongoing litigation brought by voters in Sarasota County, Florida, for which EFF serves as co-counsel. Far from "creating" trade secrets, HR 811 actually limits the protections offered by state trade secrecy laws to voting system source code. For example, the bill identifies "trade secrets" as one of the categories of information, protected in some circumstances by a mandatory non-disclosure agreement, that must be disclosed to qualified individuals who would have the newly-created right to review the software. Absent HR 811, litigants (such as those involved in the ongoing Sarasota County litigation) and computer science experts interesting in testing system integrity would have no guarantee of obtaining access to the source code at all. Individuals who do not enter into the non-disclosure agreements discussed in HR 811 would not be affected, and efforts to obtain access to code by other means would proceed as they always have. Critics may desire greater access to this code, as would EFF, but assertions that the bill would somehow "make the source code a government-recognized trade secret" are disingenuous. And here too, states can decide to step in and limit or even rescind the protections offered by their own trade secrecy laws.
EFF ends their piece with a resounding endorsement of Holt's bill:

EFF strongly supports the passage of HR 811 and hopes that you will as well. Don't just take my word for it: read the bill for yourself and then make your own decision. If you don't think that HR 811 goes far enough, then push for passage of complementary legislation, either in Congress or with your own state legislatures. EFF will continue to support sensible legislative proposals that can build on the foundation of HR 811. But whatever you do, don't fall for the false choice offered in the breathless rhetoric of the "all or nothing" contingent. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And HR 811 is good.
It's time the grownups among us took the floor away from the petulant children who don't understand that a perfect bill is not on the table.

Please, call your Congressperson today. Call the DC office for the most professional treatment. Find who your Congressperson is and their contact info by going to and entering your address.

Tell them, "Please support Rush Holt's election reform bill, HR 811." That's all you need to say. It takes one minute. Please do this RIGHT AWAY, as the vote on the bill is imminent.

Thank you for caring enough to step outside your comfort zone to do this. Nothing is more important to the preservation of what's left of our Democracy than protecting our vote. All other issues are secondary to this one.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why the critics of HR 811/Holt's bill on election reform are wrong, and how you can help

I'm a few days late in sharing this because I've been doing battle with well-meaning but sadly underinformed activists. I can't believe how many of their claims about Rush Holt's bill HR 811 are simply not substantiated by the explicit language of the bill. I'm sharing this with you because certain anti-Holt bill points keep getting echoed, even though they are without merit. I encourage anyone with the interest to read the bill. I downloaded it, printed it, and marked it up with post-it notes so I could more quickly refute these mythologies which are strangling are last best chance we have for voting reform before 2008.

I'm in touch with Holt's office, and am informed that the counties are pressuring hard to move that date back to 2010. It's IMPERATIVE, if you want to see paperless voting banned by 2008, and audits of the paper ballots instituted by 2008, that you call your representative TODAY and urge them to support this bill with the 2008 deadlines, paper trails and audit provisions intact. I'm not kidding - we're very much in danger of losing the 2008 goal. 2010 is too far away. Please act, and please ask your friends to act. You can find your Congressperson's contact info at

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Nancy Tobi's article in OpEd news a couple of days ago REALLY took the cake for dishonest representation. There were so many errors in her first paragraph alone that I've numbered them so you can follow along. Here's what she wrote:

"HR 811 has a long and controversial history. It is embraced primarily by well funded lobbyists (1), while the general citizenry (2), election officials, and activists (3) oppose the bill. In the ultimate bait and switch, all carrots dangled in front of activists have been eaten up: full software disclosure is now full nondisclosure (4). Implementation on key aspects is moved from 2008 to 2010 (5), effectively quashing the "Let's get it straight by 2008" bullshit campaign by MoveOn, Common Cause, VoteTrustUSA, PFAW and other large lobbyists pouring money into passage of this bill (and who is funding those guys anyway???) (6)."

(1) HR 811 is NOT primarily embraced by well-funded lobbyists. It has been primarily OPPOSED by the lobbyists for the electronic voting industry, who would much rather operate as they do now, without accountability or oversight. HR 811 is primarily embraced by groups like MoveOn, Norman Lear's People for the American Way, Common Cause, and concerned Congresspeople who understand more viscerally than anyone how their own re-election votes are at risk if they don't get this bill in place.

(2) HR 811 is NOT primarily "opposed by the general citizenry." That can only be described as an outright lie, because there have been no polls, no studies done. Nancy is taking her anecdotal evidence and making an unsubstantiated claim of gigantic and misleading proportions.

(3) HR 811 is SUPPORTED by quite a number of activists. David Dill of Verified Voting, Avi Rubin, and many others realize that a perfect bill is not on the menu, and the time has come for us to order, or go hungry. Many of us are now choosing to order from what's on the menu. And of the few bills in Congress that address this issue, HR 811 is by far the superior choice.

(4) Her next statement is perhaps the MOST misleading. She talks about "secret software." Under HR 811, the only software that is allowed to be secret is that which is NOT election-related!

It takes a lot of very specific code to run an election. It changes for a given election. The number of races and ballot measures and candidate names and positions on the ballot are not coded into "commercial off-the-shelf software." No "commercial off-the-shelf" software is going to be the problem in a hacked vote scenario. If hacking takes place, it has to be done in the ELECTION software, and THAT software is specifically made available for review under HR 811.

I used to work for Microsoft. I know the software development cycle for "commercial off the shelf software" ("COTS") The code is locked down many months in advance of the release date. There is simply no way to sneak election altering code into something when the code has to be frozen many more than six months in advance of the election, since no ballot positions have been assigned, etc. There is no credible scenario in which someone could hide election-altering code in COTS. It's just not possible. The only code that could be altered to change an election would be the ELECTION SOFTWARE, which IS FULLY DISCLOSED under Holt's bill HR 811.

Here are the provisions in HR 811 for reviewing all election-related software:

* ALL election software must be both deposited with an accredited laboratory AND disclosed, upon request, to anyone meeting ANY of the following criteria. (Note: "technology" is defined as being the "voting system software".)

o "A governmental entity with responsibility for the administration of voting and election-related matters for purposes of reviewing, analyzing, or reporting on the technology."

o "A party to pre- or post-election litigation challenging the result of an election or the administration or use of the technology used in an election, including but not limited to the certification of the technology"

o " expert for a party to such litigation" ("all parties to the litigation shall have access to the technology")

o "A person not described [above] who reviews, analyzes, or reports on the technology solely for an academic, scientific, technological, or other investigation or inquiry concerning the accuracy or integrity of the technology."

o Anyone specified under their own state laws (Holt's bill being a floor, not a ceiling, for reform - states can have additional criteria)

Here's some additional language from Holts' bill regarding the non-disclosure agreement ("NDA"):

A NDA cannot be used under Holt's bill in reference to our voting equipment and software unless it SPECIFICALLY:

* "allows DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE OF CRIME, including in response to a subpoena or warrant"

* "allows the signatory to perform analyses on the technology (including executing the technology), DISCLOSE REPORTS AND ANALYSES that describe operational issues pertaining to the technology, (including vulnerabilities to tampering, errors, risks associated with use, failures as a result of use, and other problems), and DESCRIBE OR EXPLAIN WHY OR HOW a voting system failed or otherwise did not perform as intended.

And does the bill stop there? No. Because lawyers WILL enter the picture, and try to get an injunction against those who may wish to examine the code. So the bill SPECIFICALLY PROTECTS US by offering this ban against injunctions. An NDA can only be valid under this bill if it:

* "prohibits the use of injunctions barring a signatory from carrying out any activity authorized under subparagraph (C), including injunctions limited to the period prior to a trail involving technology" - meaning, the courts can't stop someone from examining the code by trying to bring an injunction. Any NDA that would imply that cannot be used for our election systems under HR 811.

(Subparagraph C allows anyone who is either (i) a government official, (ii) a party to a lawsuit, or "a person not described above in clause (i) or (ii) who reviews, analyzes, or reports on the technology soley for an academic, scientific, technological, or other investigation or inquiry concerning the accuracy or integrity of the technology.")

(5) Tobi said key aspects of the bill are not implemented until 2010. In fact, there is only ONE key aspect which is delayed until 2010. DREs that currently produce a paper ballot that the voter can verify, but which is on a thermal roll, do not have to be replaced until 2010. But all other key provisions MUST be implemented in 2008. That's sooner than any other bill on the table, and just barely in time to forestall a stolen election in 2008.

(6) Tobi's last comment is the most libelous of all. She asks, who is funding MoveOn, PFAW, Common Cause, etc. Why, THE PEOPLE, Nancy. The PEOPLE who believe these organizations have been around the block and understand better than newcomers to activism how laws are made, the give and take of the process, and how you never get everything you want. But what's especially ironic about this is that Nancy is asking the very question she was outraged by when the question was directed at her recently (i.e., who is SHE working for).

I could go on - the next paragraph was just as bad. But why? Nancy Tobi is not a credible spokesperson on this issue. We need people who want to move us beyond what we'll have without Holt's bill - paperless elections - and forward to a day when all machines give paper trails, voters are informed that they MUST check those paper trails for accuracy, and when the paper trails will not only be audited, but will have the upper hand, legally, in any dispute. THAT is what Holt's bill HR 811 offers us.

On the other hand, if HR 811, Holts' bill, goes down, no one in Congress will want to touch this issue. It will be tainted with loss, and politicians need wins, not losses.

If we pass HR 811, however, we'll gain momentum for passing even stronger election reform. And we'll have the best chance we've had in eight years of ensuring that our vote was actually counted as cast. If we lose our vote to paperless machines, we lose our voice, and cease to be a democracy. Yes, it's that serious. And time is running out.

Please help. It takes one minute. Call up your Congressperson (found at - enter your address/ZIP and you'll be pointed to your Rep's site.) Find the "Contact" info. Dial the phone number.

Say, "I'm a constituent of Congressperson [NAME] and I want to urge him/her to support HR 811, Rush Holt's bill on voting reform." That's it. That's all you need to do. The staffer who answers the phone might ask for some name and address info to verify that you are, in fact, a constituent. But it's really that simple. For those who are terrified of calling up strangers, remember, these are your employees, and they are very kind and gentle!

Thank you so much for your attention, and for your activism on this matter.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

RIP, Robert Kennedy

Hat tip to RepublicanTaliban for this video, which I saw in his DK post today.

FYI, tomorrow night, on the Discovery Times channel (DTMS in my listings), there's a new special about the RFK case, about an audio tape that had languished in an archive until an enterprising researcher, who has asked me not to share his name, turned it up.

I tried to use the presence of this tape to help preserve the Ambassador Hotel. If, as has been alleged, the tape shows evidence of more than eight shots, it would have been useful to try to conduct acoustical tests in the Ambassador to determine the nature of the sounds, and where they might have originated.

The pantry itself bore the scars of what the police and FBI originally believed were four bullet holes in the pantry doorframes - two in the center, and two on the left-hand side. But four bullet holes would have made for than Sirhan's gun could hold. If even one of those holes is a bullet hole, let alone all of them, that's definite proof Sirhan was not firing the only gun in the pantry, and definite proof that the guilty parties, plural, have not been arrested. There is no statute of limitations on murder. It's very likely some of the conspirators are still alive. I hope this tape will help force a true reopening of the case. But we don't need the tape, in any case. There is already a plethora of evidence of multiple shooters, as I have already documented in my articles (see "Sirhan and the RFK Assassination Part 1: The Grand Illusion" and "Sirhan and the RFK Assassination Part II: Rubik's Cube".)

Bobby deserves justice, even this many years later. More important, the public deserves to know the truth about who killed Bobby, and why. These matters are not historical curiosities. They go to the heart and soul of who we are as a country.

P.S. The reason I haven't been posting is that I've been spending all my time trying to shoot down, on various lists, all kinds of misleading and in some cases false information about HR 811. Please read the post below, and then please read the bill. It's only 62 pages, double-spaced (so more like 31, and really, more like 25 pages because the margins are so large). You'll be amazed that many of the "horrible" things you've heard the bill will do are not even in the bill!