Saturday, September 29, 2007

Porn saves Marilyn Monroe's Real History!

I have a number of interesting correspondents, and one of them sent me something that was both so salient and so funny that I begged permission to share. Why should the study of history be boring, when you can read something like this? Enjoy, from my anonymous but very informed friend!

Before we begin, allow me to set the stage. A few weeks ago, I received a link to this article in the mail, containing this salacious, if ridiculous, passage:

As the plump sausages were beginning to brown, there was a knock on the door. Chicago Mob Boss SAM GIANCANA showed no fear as he turned back thedouble locks on the heavy steel door of his fortress like home that protected him from the outside world. Sam looked his old friend JOHNNY ROSSELLI in the eye and invited him in. The men kissed on the cheek, exchanged pleasantries and shared a laugh.

Then "Mooney", as Johnny affectionately called Sam, heard the sausages sizzling in their pan and ran back to the stove to keep them from burning. While he was rolling them over, Johnny quietly crept up behind him and placed the muzzle of a .22 caliber handgun equipped with a silencer at the base of his skull and said "Sam, this is for Marilyn".

Sam hesitated a moment as he tended to the sausages. A split second passed. In that moment, an image of MARILYN MONROE, the quintessential Hollywood Goddess, platinum blond bombshell, orphaned child, cheesecake pin up girl, fantasy lover to thousands of men, supposed tragic suicide victim and lover of PRESIDENT JOHN F KENNEDY and his brother BOBBY, filled Sam's head.

Then Johnny pulled the trigger.
Knowing this to be a ridiculous but very amusing lie, I sent this to a friend who has his own theory on why a half-eaten sausage was found at the site of Giancana's murder. I knew he'd laugh at this ludicrous scenario, but his response was too fun not to share:



Will the fantasy "know-it-all" accounts of these try-hard hanger-on Z-list losers never end?

If memory serves -- and let's face it, with me, it usually fails -- Jeanne Carmen starred in a couple of extremely hardcore stag films from the late-1960s (after her "best friend" Marilyn had well and truly passed away) that I had the pleasure, as a young teenager, of being given on VHS as my introduction to pornography (or one of my introductions, at least.)

Ms. Carmen was obviously down on her luck (and down on her knees, in Reel 2) in the company of three or five (details, details) rather well-endowed (let's not drag me into this) cowboy-types; a rather well-co-ordinated situation for all involved that resulted in... drumroll... well, Lisa, I'm sure you can guess the rest.

I mention this only because 2 years later, at the tender age of 14 (when I had graduated to hardcore German and Asian porn), I watched a documentary on TV regarding the death of Ms. Carmen's "best friend," Ms. Monroe. (And obviously tuned-in with great interest, as I recognized Ms. Carmen from her previous efforts, and was hoping for an encore.)

Anyway, in that doco, Jeanne talked about how lonely Marilyn was, and that Marilyn -- in her humble opinion (as Marilyn's "best friend") -- COMMITTED SUICIDE.

Now, call me crazy (and you have, in the past)... and call me horny (I have referenced my love for porn probably eight times too many, so who can blame 'ya?), but if Marilyn Monroe was -- according to Jeanne Carmen in that original documentary -- just a sad, lonely and depressed fading movie star who killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills...

... why the fuck is she NOW claiming that "Handsome Johnny" whacked "Momo" in a dispute over a messy love triangle??? (Marilyn was just a lonely girl, with no one who loved her, after all.)

That all said...

There really is no point to this e-mail, or any of the points that I made above, other than to let you know that I do emerge from hibernation (from time to time) when matters of trivia are at stake, and I address those matters of trivia with trivial messages such as this.

Just flexing my idiot muscle, as it were -- much the same as you did when you sent me your ridiculous message about Jeanne Carmen to begin with. Damn you, Pease! Why must you vex me?!
If you'd like to know the REAL story about Marilyn Monroe, and how her death truly appears to have been, despite all disinformation to the contrary, an accidental overdose, please see Jim DiEugenio's excellent article "The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy" in our book The Assassinations. (You can preview part 1 and part 2 here, but the full text is only in the offline book.) Jim has done a great job debunking the more outrageous claims relating to the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe, Judith Exner, and Mary Meyer. The Meyer crap has been recycled of late, so be sure to read Jim's new article shooting down many of the pieces of that ever-growing myth, and exposing those who contribute to its growth, on the CTKA site.

Trying to reclaim history from the likes of Gerald Posner, Vince Bugliosi, David Heymann, Gregory Douglas and others is tiring work. But letters like the above show remind me that it's not boring. ;-) Who knew porn could teach so much about history? There, don't you feel better now?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

1.2 million innocent Iraqis dead; microchips in humans, and more

Last week, the British press reported a new estimate of how many Iraqis have been killed: 1.2 million. The number was gathered through a poll conducted by Opinion research. Here's the question:
In conjunction with their Iraqi fieldwork agency a representative sample of 1,499 adults aged 18+ answered the following question:-

QHow many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (ie as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)? Please note that I mean those who were actually living under your roof.

None 78%
One 16%
Two 5%
Three 1%
Four or more 0.002%

Given that from the 2005 census there are a total of 4,050,597 households this data suggests a total of 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion in 2003. Calculating the affect from the margin of error we believe that the range is a minimum of 733,158 to a maximum of 1,446,063

Please click on this link if you want a local perspective on these figures - a short interview with our pollster Dr Munqeth Daghir -
How much is 1.2 million? A little more than twice the population of Wyoming, according to the latest U.S. Census. All people killed for having the misfortune of having a leader they didn't elect. How was that their fault???

There were never any weapons of mass destruction. Iraqis have never attacked us on our soil. And even Alan Greenspan, the former head of the Federal Reserve, wrote in his memoir:
I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.
You'd think 1.2 million killed for a crime they didn't commit would be enough to shame Democrats and Republicans into working together to end the war. But it seems many check their souls at the border when they enter the territory of Washington, D.C. It is a territory, not a state, by the way. People in DC still do not have the right to vote, and the Senate just killed another chance for DC. As Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pointed out, a lot of DC residents are fighting in Iraq. I strongly agree that soldiers deserve a voice in the affairs of the nation they are literally dying to protect, or rather "protect," because Iraq has never ever been a direct threat to the United States.

In other news, chips implanted in lab animals are giving some of them cancer. I feel sorry for the animals, and hope this shows how insane the idea of microchipping people is. How many of you are aware that that is already being done? In a letter to their implanted clients and investors, VeriChip wrote:
Over the last weekend, the Associated Press published an article regarding the safety of one our products, the implantable VeriMed Patent Identification System. More specifically, the article referenced studies in laboratory mice and rats that demonstrate some potential for tumors from a similar microchip to VeriChip. Obviously, this article has caused extreme concern for us and more importantly, for our obligation to you. Rest assured, we remain confident that our VeriChip products are extremely safe as evidenced by the FDA's approval and recent affirmation of that approval.
(In the letter, VeriChip argues that lab rats are often prone to getting cancer at injection sites, and that the implants have worked safely in pets for 15 years.)

How long have humans been implanted? The Defense Department has chipped soldiers (ostensibly so they could always find and rescue them) for at least 12 years. Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City Bombing incident had a microchip in his butt. The Pentagon plans to embed more sophisticated chips for purported medical reasons, according to IntelDaily:
The Department of Defense is planning to implant microchips in soldiers' brains for monitoring their health information, and has already awarded a $1.6 million contract to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B) at Clemson University for the development of an implantable "biochip".

Soldiers fear that the biochip, about the size of a grain of rice, which measures and relays information on soldiers vital signs 24 hours a day, can be used to put them under surveillance even when they are off duty.
And in a weird twist, Masonic Lodges around the country have a CHIP program. But no implantation, or at least, not yet, so far as I know. The program takes DNA samples from children and other identifying objects and gives them to parents. But it seems the programs name itself is meant to prepare the people for the day when we are all chipped from birth.

Can people really not see the sinister potential there? Look at this incident, from the New York Times:
Afternoon sunlight poured over the high wooden barriers into the ring, as the brave bull bore down on the unarmed “matador” – a scientist who had never before faced a fighting bull. But the charging animals horns never reached the man behind the red cape. Moments before that could happen, Dr. Jose Delgado, the scientist, pressed a button on a small radio transmitter in his hand and the bull braked to a halt. Then he pressed another button on the transmitter, and the bull obediently turned to the right and trotted away.

The bull was obeying commands in his brain that were being called forth by electrical stimulation – by the radio signals – of certain regions in which the fine wires had been painlessly implanted the day before.

The experiment, conducted last year in Cordova, Spain, by Dr Delgado of Yale University’s School of Medicine, was probably the most spectacular demonstration ever performed of the deliberate modification of animal behaviour through external control of the brain. He has been working in this field for more than 15 years. Techniques that he and other scientists have recently developed have been refined to the point where, he believes, “a turning point has been reached in the study of the mind.”
When was that turning point reached? 1965! The CIA, in its various mind control programs (under the umbrella designation of MKULTRA), experimented with implanting various devices in the brain since at least 1952. How much do you think they've learned in 55 years? If they could stop a bull in his tracks long ago, don't you think the technology exists to stop a human as well, or even to guide him to an alternative action?

I argued recently that what our country needs is conspiracy literacy. People need to understand that there really are people whose goal is the total control of society. Delgado espoused such thoughts, causing some to react, as Scientific American noted in its long October 2005 article about Delgado:
The fiercest opponent of brain implants was psychiatrist Peter Breggin (who in recent decades has focused on the dangers of psychiatric drugs). In testimony submitted into the Congressional Record in 1972, Breggin lumped Delgado, Ervin, Mark and Heath together with advocates of lobotomies and accused them of trying to create “a society in which everyone who deviates from the norm” will be “surgically mutilated.”

Quoting liberally from [Delgado's book] Physical Control [of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society], Breggin singled out Delgado as “the great apologist for technologic totalitarianism.”
If you can't imagine it, you can't prevent it. Expand your mind. There is so much to fight.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 and how time does not heal all wounds

I've been watching MSNBC all night - they're rerunning their original coverage of the 9/11 disaster. I'm crying non-stop here tonight. I didn't cry when it happened - I was so in shock it took days, years, for the tragedy to register. But tonight, with the safety of time and distance, I just can't hold back the sorrow anymore.

I'm especially sad for all those wonderful rescue workers - those who willing risked their lives to help others, who had to pay a horrific price for their kindness. It's just unthinkable.

In this moment I don't care who is responsible. I'm just so very sad for all who lost their lives I can't think past that.

I'm also grieving the 600,000+ Iraqis who did nothing to us, who have been scapegoated for this crime. Imagine 9/11 happening every day of your life. Every day, another landmark disappears before your eyes. Every day, another person you know disappears forever from this planet. Every day, the moans of those hit by gunfire or bombs haunt your dreams. I'm only reliving this now, many years after the event. But the Iraqis have to live with this horror every day of their lives. AND THEY DID NOTHING TO US.

President Bush should be impeached. Vice President Cheney should be impeached. Gonzales should have to suffer the torture he approved. And General Betrayus (it's spelled Petraeus) should speak to the Congress UNDER OATH, for a change, and give us the real story of what's going on in Iraq. I heard that he admitted he can't tell if our actions in Iraq are making us any safer. DUH!!! OF COURSE THEY ARE NOT!!! When we attack the innocent and protect the guilty, who in their right mind on this planet would support us?

I'm sad that this country is digging its own grave, and so few seem to notice. Habeus corpus is gone. NSA spying is unchallenged. Rights are disappearing right and left, and our vote is under seige from all quarters. And I'm expected to just go about my life and be cheery and act like none of this affects me???

I'm sad for all the deaths of the many due to the avarice of a few. That's a theme that is not limited to 9/11, but echoes throughout history.

What keeps me going are people like Kathy Dopp, whose letter to the editor should appear in the Washington Post in the next day or two; the people at NRDC who wage an unending battle to protect wild places from unnatural exploitation by private interests; the people at the ACLU and other organizations who want to protect your constitutional rights. How sad that they need to be protected at all, and how sad that they are so vilified for doing that. I thank God for unions, which protect those who put food on our tables, who clean the halls we walk in, who throw out our garbage, who prepare our food, who take care of us in hospitals, who work below the radar to keep us going. And God bless all the activists, who live without couches or creature comforts because they love the rest of us so much they sacrifice wordly needs for the benefit of humanity.

The lessons of 9/11 are many. If we can learn even a few, we'll be so much better off. But that's all in the future.

Tonight, and I simply grieving, deeply, for so much needless loss of life, all over the planet, across all of history.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The EPA, 9/11, and the Bush Administration

Two years ago, I was invited, on short notice, to join a speaking tour to talk about the environmental damage that occurred in the wake of 9/11. As I wallowed in EPA reports, Sierra Club summaries, and hundreds of news articles, the story became appalling.

The EPA told people to go back to work, that the air was "safe to breathe." But the EPA's Inspector General, in a report on the agency's performance regarding the WTC collapse, called out something disturbing:

EPA's early public statements following the collapse of the WTC towers reassured the public regarding the safety of the air outside the Ground Zero area. However, when EPA made a September 18 announcement that the air was "safe" to breathe, it did not have sufficient data and analyses to make such a blanket statement. At that time, air monitoring data was lacking for several pollutants of concern, including particulate matter and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Furthermore, The White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced, through the collaboration process, the information that EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.
Read that again. The White House Council on Environmental Quality got the EPA to "delete cautionary" statements and to "add reassuring statements" about air quality. The motive, of course, is obvious. As the IG report noted:

Competing considerations, such as national security concerns and the desire to reopen Wall Street, also played a role in EPA's air quality statements.
How intense was the pressure? According to this New York Times report, there were "screaming phone calls" between the two bodies:
The documents that formed the basis for the report -- summaries of interviews with agency officials, internal agency documents and e-mail correspondence between White House and agency officials shortly after Sept. 11 -- show that there were ''screaming telephone calls'' about the news releases between Tina Kreisher, then an associate administrator, and Sam Thernstrom, then the White House council's communications director. The E.P.A.'s chief of staff, Eileen McGinnis, had to ask the head of the White House council, James L. Connaughton, to urge his staff to ''lighten up,'' according to interviews with the inspector general's office. Ms. Kreisher, who now works as a speechwriter at the Department of the Interior, is quoted as saying she ''felt extreme pressure'' from Mr. Thernstrom.
What was the EPA not telling the public? The World Trade Center buildings, like office buildings all over the planet, contained computers, smoke detectors, carpets, fluorescent lighting, and a variety of construction materials. Computers contain lead and other heavy metals. Smoke detectors contain radioactive substances. Fluorescent lighting contains mercury. Nylon carpets and insulation materials release dioxins when burnt. Crushed glass and fiberglass were created when the building fell. And of course, the buildings were constructed with asbestos. PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) were present as well.

So how much of this did the EPA know, and how quickly? According to the IG report, a a lot, and soon after:

Information and the analyses of available data did not fully support the statement made in the September 18, 2001, release, which quoted the EPA Administrator as saying the air was "safe" to breathe. Four factors in particular posed limitations on the conclusions that could be made at that time about air quality:

  • A lack of data results for many pollutants,

  • An absence of health benchmarks for asbestos and other pollutants,

  • Imprecise optical asbestos sampling methodologies, and

  • Over 25 percent of the bulk dust samples collected before September 18
showed the presence of asbestos above the 1 percent benchmark. EPA did not have monitoring data to support reassurances made in press releases up to September 18 because it lacked monitoring data for several contaminants, particularly PCBs, particulate matter, dioxin, and PAHs.

So what has been the result of this government underperformance? Have people come down with serious illnesses? Last year, MSNBC reported:

Nearly 70 percent of recovery workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center have suffered lung problems, and high rates of lung "abnormalities" continue, a new health study released Tuesday shows.

Doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center, which conducted the study, said the results prove that working in the toxic gray dust at ground zero made many people sick, and some will likely suffer the effects for the rest of their lives.

"There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick," said Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the group that investigated the long-term effects from exposure to dust at the site.

What did New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a republican who is still considering for running for president as an independent, say about the study?

"I haven't seen the Mount Sinai study, but I don't believe that you can say specifically a particular problem came from this particular event"....
In addition, when Governor George Pataki signed legislation last year expanding benefits to rescue workers who had been at Ground Zero, Bloomberg objected, saying the benefits were unfunded and would therefore cost the city millions.

Has the EPA revised its methods for data collection so as to better warn people in the future? Strangely, the answer is no. As the Sierra Club noted in their 2006 report on Ground Zero:

One of the most disturbing developments during the WTC disaster response was the fact that private tests repeatedly found higher levels of hazards than government tests. As explained in Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero, EPA used an older "Polarized Light Microscopy" (PLM) method rather than the more modern Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) method to analyze dust samples for asbestos fibers. TEM equipment is much better at identifying the thinner, as well as shorter, asbestos fibers that occurred in Ground Zero dust. In doing so, EPA failed to follow its own best practices, as it touted in its response to the asbestos contamination in Libby, Montana, even though EPA was actually dealing with the same asbestos, because the World Trade Center was insulated with asbestos that came from the mines in Libby.

The New York Environmental Law & Justice Project took outdoor WTC dust samples from several sites in lower Manhattan a few days after the attack. The results, based on a TEM analysis, generally showed higher levels of asbestos than EPA had been reporting. The New York Daily News published the results on September 28, 2001, yet EPA failed to change its testing protocols. Even when the Ground Zero Elected Officials Task Force, which included Representative Jerrold Nadler, released test results in an October 12, 2001 report finding indoor asbestos dust at a level 64 times the typical urban indoor level in a heavily exposed apartment,23 EPA did not change its testing protocols. This meant that it continued to understate the risk from asbestos in WTC dust.

The Sierra Club also noted that during Katrina, the EPA had clearly failed to learn this lesson:

A similar phenomenon of private tests finding contamination not disclosed by EPA has occurred in the Katrina disaster. While comparable EPA and private data usually have been consistent, private tests have highlighted shortfalls in the location and parameters of EPA testing. In early October 2005, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and others released the results of sediment sampling supervised by chemist Dr. Wilma Subra, which found elevated levels of arsenic and a toxic petroleum constituent, benzo(a)pyrene. Dr. Subra warned, "Babies shouldn't go in, pregnant women shouldn't go in, elderly shouldn't go in." A round of tests by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade found benzo(a)pyrene at 33 times higher than EPA residential standard at a school in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmett. EPA's spokesman would not comment on that testing, but an EPA scientist said that the eight soil samples that EPA had taken at another Chalmett school "came back clean." The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also did sediment testing in the New Orleans area. In late 2005, the Sierra Club released test data from Dr. Subra on high levels of dioxin and chromium in sediment samples near the DuPont plant in DeLisle, Mississippi. Importantly, Dr. Subra's testing also found that the dry sludge contained harmful bacteria that were still viable, raising concerns about the health risks of dust inhalation. EPA had not released any test results for bacteria in dry sludge. In mid-December 2005, Texas Tech University scientists released sediment test results from New Orleans that found lead, arsenic and seven toxic semivolatile organic compounds that exceeded EPA Region 6 guidelines. Because the contamination problems appeared to have been widely but sporadically distributed, the head researcher urged government to conduct thousands more sediment tests before issuing any "all-clear" on long-term health risks. In April 2006, EPA finally declared that 14 neighborhoods in the New Orleans area had dangerous lead levels and a residential area near the old Agriculture Street landfill had high levels of benzo(a)pyrene. In late 2006, university researchers and an NRDC expert published test results finding that the mean outdoor airborne mold spore concentration in flooded areas in Fall 2005 had been roughly double the level in non-flooded areas, and the mean indoor mold spore concentration in flooded areas had been five times higher than the outdoor concentration. EPA apparently did not report mold test results. Oddly, while the federal government sometimes did not appear to welcome testing or analysis by independent scientists and groups, it listed contact information for the Murphy Oil Corporation, Bass Enterprises, the Shell Oil Company, Chevron and Dynergy - companies that reported spills of oil from the disaster - in a news release, describing them as "our industry partners."

So the last question becomes one about us. What are we going to do about this? The EPA, under the Bush administration, has failed us seriously, not once, but twice, proving they did not learn from their past mistakes.

We must call for greater accountability. We must effect a dramatic regime change here at home next year. But we must also do our part. We must get more involved, on a personal level, in holding our officials' feet to the fire when they do not act in our best interests.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Priorities - YES on HR 811

Hello! It's good to be home, finally. At the end of one long vacation I had another trip out of town, but now I'm back, and ready to write. However, the writing I need to do is mostly offline. I recommend that any of you who don't want to have to check back to see if I wrote something simply sign up for the email notifications.

I'm very concerned for our planet on so many levels. But my IMMEDIATE concern is with our vote. There is only ONE bill in Congress standing between us and disaster. I'm just furious with well-meaning but unrealistic activists like John Gideon, Bev Harris at Black Box Voting, Mark Crispin Miller, Nancy Tobi, and other activists who don't realize that their efforts to sink this bill only help the evoting vendors. What they really want is handcounted paper ballots (HCPB), people counting our votes as in the olden days.

I want a hand count AND a computer count. Paper counts can be fudged. Votes can be "lost," added, or altered when counted solely by hand. And machines can be easily rigged. But I don't believe it's likely that people would be able to rig the hand count AND the computer count so that the counts match. That becomes astronomically more difficult.

The bill in question, HR 811, the bill Rush Holt put forward, offers a substantial hand count of 100% of the ballots (defined as the paper, not electronic, record, in the bill's explicit language) in from 3-10% of the precincts, depending on the margin of the victory. The closer the victory, the more ballots will be counted. The wider the margin, the fewer ballots to audit to verify the results. So Holt's bill offers my dream solution - a system in which machine counts and hand counts are used to count our votes.

A well-informed, very sane bunch of groups support HR 811: from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to Verified Voting (led by David Dill) to VoteTrustUSA to the National Election Archive to the Sarasota (Fla.) Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) to People for the American Way, and many other groups are asking you to help protect our elections by registering your support RIGHT NOW for HR 811.

The bill is set to come to the floor this week, likely Thursday or Friday. PLEASE. If you understand that your vote is all that stands between a democracy and a dictatorship, and if you've seen how very close we've come to the latter under this stolen set of presidencies (2000 and 2004), then you MUST call your Congressperson this week.

It's too late to email or write a letter. You must call! Even a fax may be missed at this late date.

You can find your representative's phone numbers (local and in DC) through the site. PLEASE click and find the number.

Even if you called before, since the vote is coming up right now, in the next three days, PLEASE CALL AGAIN.

The sooner our vote is protected, the sooner I'll be talking about all those incredibly interesting, if all too often misrepresented, episodes from history. But nothing is more interesting to me right now on the planet than ensuring the survival of our democracy. And we can't do that without some much needed federal protection requiring not only paper records, but a mandatory audit of those records. Frankly, we can't do it at all, if HR 811 doesn't pass. PLEASE GET BUSY.

Thank you so very much!!

UPDATE: Here's a summary of the bill, from Rep. Holt's office:

Fundamental Provisions of H.R. 811
The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007

  • A voter-verified paper ballot must be produced for every vote cast beginning with the November 2008 elections.

  • Paper-based voting systems (including thermal reel-to-reel systems and systems accessible to voters with disabilities that also used or produced a paper ballot) used in 2006 can be used until 2012; only systems that used no paper ballots at all must be replaced or upgraded by November 2008. Durable, scannable, accessible paper ballots must be used by 2012.

  • Upgrade requirements mean that, by 2012:

    • where ballot marking devices are used, they must be able to deposit the ballots “automatically” into a “secure container” for mobility access, and

    • where direct recording electronic machines (DREs) are used, a mechanism must be provided that allows disabled voters to privately and independently verify the contents of the paper ballot printed by the DRE printer.

  • The paper ballot is the vote of record in all recounts and audits, as a check on electronic tallies.

  • In 2008, all voters are entitled to vote by paper ballot if the voting machine in their jurisdiction is broken, and in 2010 and after, for any reason.

  • Routine random audits must be conducted by hand count in 3% of the precincts in all Federal elections, and 5% or 10% in very close races (but races decided by 80% or more need not be audited).

  • Wireless devices, Internet connections, uncertified software and undisclosed software are banned in voting and tabulating machines.

  • $1 billion in funding is authorized for system replacement and upgrading in FY 2008, with additional upgrades authorized in FY 2009.

  • $100 million each fiscal year is authorized to fund the audits.
  • An arms-length relationship is established between test labs and voting machine vendors.

  • The bill is silent on re-authorizing the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and does not address military and overseas balloting.