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View Diary: Armando's Challenge, Or The Informed Citizen's Guide To The 2004 Election (389 comments)

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  •  Question (none)
     If I had to track this down... (none / 0)

    I guess my first question for someone needing this kind of help would be along the lines of, "How did you find out that Democrats needed to find something else out?"

    by Kagro X on Sun Jan 2nd, 2005 at 07:41:31 EST

    Kagro X- this response to my question last night explains why you would change the question.  The correct answer is: you find fraud the same way in both cases, whether you know it occurred or you just are feeling the symptoms.

    You run the tests.

    You should ruminate on that, because Georgia10 is making the exact point with his cancer analogy.

    They were Nazis, Walter?

    by BooMan23 on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 05:42:27 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Sure. (none)
      You could run the tests. But Conyers is already doing that.

      I could test you all day long, and at the end of the day, I might even discover that you're right, and you do have cancer.

      Then what?

      But you've changed the question as well. You took a question I would ask -- How do you know you need to find something out? -- and moved it to the wrong position in the chronology.

      In my opinion, this question gets asked much earlier on. In this scenario, when georgia10 enters my office and says, "Doc, I'm really sick [and I need to find something out]," I would reply, "How do you know you need to find something out?"

      Georgia10 would then say, "I have a tumor the size of an orange growing here, I'm constantly nauseated, tired, throwing up all the time, unexplained weight loss...My dad died of cancer...and I think I might have it too. That's why I think I need to find out."

      And I'd say, "OK, it's relatively costless for me do do a biopsy. No problem."

      But if georgia10 were to say, "Well, doc, I was kinda thinking that the symptoms I've described are enough to go straight to a course of chemotherapy," then I'd say, "I'll tell you what. Why don't we run some tests, send the results to a specialist like Dr. Armando, and if he thinks there's something that needs some follow-up, we'll set that up."

      I think the problem here arises from not knowing exactly what the "tests" in this analogy are supposed to be.

      •  We know what they are (none)
        they are looking at the machines and the code, doing manual recounts.

        Your like a doctor who says, "I'm sorry, fuck you, I don't give a shit if you have cancer or not, I'm say you don't, and I'm not letting anyone else give you a second opinion."

        "But if I do have cancer, I could be dead by Jan. 6th., and all you have to do is run some tests?"

        "Get bent."

        They were Nazis, Walter?

        by BooMan23 on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:05:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shall I just leave you alone to do this yourself? (none)
          I consider looking at the machines and the code to be a part of an aggressive cancer treatment, not the preliminary tests. They are invasive procedures that entail some risk, but which can be fully justified when biopsies come back that indicate there's a treatable cancer attacking the body.

          I consider the inquiries that can be performed more casually and informally to be the tests. And Conyers' hearings to be biopsies. The first not conclusive by themselves, but good indications that you need to see a doctor. The second giving you a good indication that there is or isn't a cancer involved, and providing some good information about the type of cancer involved, a result from which you can make some informed decisions about which specialists to see, and the likelihood of treatability once you see them.

          You're like a patient who just walks in and says, "Doc, I think I have an expensive disease that my insurance won't cover, and I know how you bastards are about that. So fuck you, I'd rather die than submit to your care, you heartless prick."

          Then, he finds out he was talking to the receptionist.

          •  but... (none)
            in a democracy that depends on the infallability of the voting system, it is unimaginable that the source code for the machines would not have been examined prior to the election to ensure everything was in order.

            The fact that the companies continue to block the examination (either for this election or just in general as a safeguard for democracy) is highly suspicious on its face.

            Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

            by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:46:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (none)
              You have a problem there. I'm 100% with you on that one. Not only should there be a paper trail, but it should be illegal for public funds to be spent on voting machines for which the code is not open and examinable.

              The fact that companies block access to the code is suspicious, but also easily explained. If I were corporate counsel for those companies, I wouldn't advise them to voluntarily release evidence into the hands of people publicly committed to destroying them, either.

              Their decision not to allow access, just to stay within the medical analogy, would be like complaining of a persistent cough and a stinging pain in your soft palate and throat.

              Indicative of esophagal cancer? Or post-nasal drip? Or both?

              •  both (none)
                until proven otherwise

                Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

                by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 07:40:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So begin the process. (4.00)
                  First, I treat the post-nasal drip. Easy, cheap, non-invasive.

                  Then I check on the esophagus. If I find something, I send you to a specialist. This is about where I put Conyers. On January 6th, he's going to present your case to the rest of the oncology department at the University hospital, and recommend an experimental treatment.

                  He might be outvoted, and you might not get your treatment. And the department may vote against you because of their AMA-instilled prejudices against this experimental treatment, or because of their fears about liability insurance. But then you need to seek alternatives -- go abroad for treatment (introduce legislation to change the laws prohibiting access to the voting machines, say), or sue the hospital (the manufacturers and the public officials who contract with them) to force them to allow you to go forward.

                  But if you go the second route, you can't cry foul if the judge asks for evidence. It won't help you get better to remind yourself that that's just the way the court system works. But it won't help you win to merely denounce the unfairness of it, either.

                  File suit. If you lose, work on your case some more and file again. Find a crack somewhere. They never got Capone on racketeering. It was tax evasion.

          •  I guess I'm not understanding (none)
            why you would compare an examination of the machines and the software to aggressive cancer treatment and not a preliminary test.

            But then, maybe this suggests that the analogy doesn't go all the way through logically speaking.  Most people who present to a physician really don't know what the best initial test for them might be.  

            But most voters know that insuring that the voting machine is tallying votes correctly must start with the voting machine itself.  They know that if you aren't allowed to examine the machine and its' software that you're being asked to take the honesty of the company providing the machine on faith. This doesn't require specialized knowledge...it's just plain common sense.

            Personally, I feel that if the laws governing computers and software allow a voting machine company to maintain a secret voting system through laws protecting proprietary software then as a first step to insuring fair elections we need to get rid of the machines. I am completely against faith-based voting systems.

            I guess the closest I can come to fitting this in with the analogy would be something like comparing the computerized voting machine to the offending lump the patient feels...in that case, clearly, biopsy is an important starting point.  I know I find the machines to be offensive ;)

            •  I suggest another analogy above. (none)
              But here's why I compare the examination of the machines and software to aggressive cancer treatment: it's invasive, and therefore carries risks that need to be justified.

              By invasive, I mean to the proprietary rights of the developers of the voting machine.

              Of course, I also stand with you in the opinion that non-open source machines ought not to be permitted by law. But at the moment, they are. And the reason you can't examine them is that the law stands in your way. The only tool you have to cut through the red tape is invasive surgery: a lawsuit compelling disclosure.

              To get that, you can't just show up in court with nagging doubts.

              This problem should have been attacked at the onset, by preventing the deployment of proprietary vote-counting machines. But we missed that window, and now we're stuck with the avenues afforded by that damned law stuff.

              •  I knew you'd be bringing up the proprietary rights (none)
                of these people :)  

                Somehow, I guess I feel that the American people's right to KNOW that the election was fairly conducted trumps the right these companies have.  I certainly don't expect some Repub Supreme Court will agree but them's the breaks in Ohio.

                I do agree with you that secret-software machines should be banned from the voting arena.  I think every voter should make this a priority issue when considering who to vote for.  At this point, I personally will not be willing to spend my time filling in a bubble for a politician who won't fight to get rid of this threat to our voting system.  

                I'm still wondering where the hell the Dems have been on this issue...you'd think they'd have been shouting about it from the mountaintops.

                •  I have to bring them up. (none)
                  I reject their propriety, but not their existence.

                  I can't. And neither can you.

                  I also feel that the American people's right to know that the election was fairly conducted trumps the rights these companies have. But the law doesn't.

                  I'm for changing that law, if no judge can be convinced that our feelings are enough.

                  As for where the Dems are, they're all over the map. 150+ of them in the House are cosponsors of Rush Holt's paper trail bill. But others of them aren't. Some are concerned only with voter suppression, at this point. Some are apparently not on board with either. Why they don't get together, I'm still not sure.

                  And as yet, there's no bill that I know of that bans non-open source voting machines. We could write one ourselves, though. Seriously. We couldn't introduce it, but I bet we could get a Congressional sponsor for it.

                  •  HR 2239 (Holt's Bill) (4.00)
                    Section 4(a)(2)(C)SOFTWARE AND MODEMS-

                    (i) No voting system shall at any time contain or use undisclosed software. Any voting system containing or using software shall disclose the source code of that software to the Commission, and the Commission shall make that source code available for inspection upon request to any citizen.

                    •  Yeah, uh, well, I just called ol' Rush, see, and.. (none)
                      OK, right. So, uh, there you go.

                      I'm for that.

                      I didn't know how much until just now. I was for it just based on the paper trail alone. But now that I think about it, how retarded would it be to have legislation with one and not the other.

                      Of course, I say that now, knowing full well that there probably is such legislation out there, and it's probably sponsored by someone I like.

                      Thanks g.

              •  Rights? Rights?? (4.00)
                How can you say that a corporation's rights to privacy outweigh ALL our rights as voters?

                This while the current administration is talking about permanently locking up terrorist suspects even with no evidence?

                The people that made the new voting machines provided no way to make the process a transparant, accountable one, one that leaves a paper trail that is irrefutable.  Yet this is the same company that makes ATMs, which REQUIRE a paper trail.

                And I should add, that not only is the code being deemed as proprietary (if they really wanted, NDAs could be brought in, so far as revealing trade secrets versus improprieties) but the DATA ITSELF is deemed proprietary.  So we don't even own our own votes?  How convenient!

                Diebold (and Triad, and the others) collectively have a lot to answer for here.

                I'm sorry, but I think making sure that we all have individual voting rights trumps an arbitrary corporate decision that ALL information about the voting machines is company property.  This would mean that 80% of this country's voting process now belongs to corporations, and we aren't allowed to investigate just how that process happens anymore?  Bullshit!

                •  The problem... (4.00)
                  ...is not the public's right to know versus corporations' right to privacy or confidentiality.  The problem is that we have a system in place that allowed public officials (of both parties, by the way) to contract with private corporations to count the votes without requiring those corporations to share the information now in question as a condition of entering into those contracts.  The government held all the bargaining power, since these companies' voting machines have only one customer: the government.  At best, the contracting government officials trusted naively and were negligent in their role as trustees of the voters' interest in a transparent, verifiable election process. THEY are the ones that allowed a situation to develop where the election process is being questioned but some of the crucial information needed to investigate it is subject to claims of confidentiality and trade secrecy.  California officials did their job and said, "We're not going to use these crappy machines."  They even got the companies to pony up a couple million bucks to settle the state's claims against them.  

                  "Now watch this drive."

                  by tompaine2004 on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 08:19:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Calm. Calm. Seriously. (none)
                  I don't like it, but I have to say it. It's a real and significant barrier, and no matter how you put it in emotional terms, the judge is going to want a legal basis for pushing those well-established rights aside.

                  I think that if you go back and read through everything I've now put out there, you'll see that I'm 100% with you on the emotion.

                  •  The point you're making is true IMO (none)
                    I also think TomPaine's point just above is very well made:

                    "...At best, the contracting government officials trusted naively and were negligent in their role as trustees of the voters' interest in a transparent, verifiable election process. THEY are the ones that allowed a situation to develop where the election process is being questioned but some of the crucial information needed to investigate it is subject to claims of confidentiality and trade secrecy."

                    These two points together highlight why I feel it's important for the voters to know about the issue and let their reps know it's a priority.  

                    •  Glad to see this discussion alive (none)
                      I'm always pleased to see Kagro X express feelings. Makes me want to be as civil as I can possibly be and appreciate the existence of an opposing point of view.

                      I'd like to continue a discussion we had in another thread in this thread.

                      This was my last, unanswered post [edited to apply to this thread]:

                      The examination of any systems, source code, polling data, etc., could have been allowed by these companies with a condition--those allowed to inspect whatever systems, source code, polling data, etc. would be limited to data verification and security issues.

                      [. . .]

                      What I would like to know: if everything being done by those on the election gravy train have nothing to hide, if they have confidence in the accuracy and the security of their processes, what do these companies have to lose by allowing outside audits? Wouldn't a clean bill of health from non-partisan, independent examination do much to restore faith in the electoral process? Wouldn't there be more to gain from allowing outside audits?

                      Another question I have: is the protection of copyright law more sacred than the protection of the constitutional law? Is this why there is across the board refusal to allow conditional access?

                      Should there be a way to weigh the value of verification against proprietary processes? I do not know if there is any legal precedent. My own opinion is that protection of the democratic election process should trump all. What do you believe? Can you suggest a possible remedy? Will it take new legislation?

                      In the case of proprietary information: is there nothing in the law that allows us to pit one right (copyright) against the other (voting)? Can we use documented cases of the failure of voting systems/tabulation equipment as the grounds for further legal discovery?

                      I'm open to hear the hows and whys but I'm not ready to give in to corporate interests on the basis of copyright law.

                      I am not yet ready to concede that there is no remedy to the present situation, and that the only hope lies in depending upon a Republican Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branch to enact election reform.

                      •  Much more thoughtful. (none)
                        Did you write this before or after the sophistry comment? I prefer this one. I think we should discuss my feelings about your other one some time.

                        I would examine the proprietary rights and confidentiality agreement issues against this background: No corporation would think itself well-served by voluntarily releasing proprietary information, whether or not they have something to hide.

                        All the moreso in this situation, when there's an angry public waiting outside to tear you apart. This says nothing about whether or not the public is justifiably angry. It doesn't matter from the corporate perspective. All you'd know is that there are people who want to destroy you, and you don't want that.

                        Even a non-partisan, independent review poses some problems for the corporation. What would be the result of a clean bill of health? Everyone goes home happy, or some portion of the angry mob insists the non-partisan, independent review board has been bought off, either through conspiracy, or simply because they're all too invested in their middle-class lifestyles to risk disrupting the American corporatocracy? Or at least, that's your fear if you're the corporation in this example.

                        There can be plenty to gain from outside audits -- if we were to make them a legal requirement for qualifying for the contract in the first place. Why we don't, I have no idea. Well, actually, it's because we got outvoted (or maybe not -- that's at the heart of this, too) in the contests to decide who would be allowed to make up the contracting rules. But that's another story.

                        Is the protection of copyright law more sacred than the protection of the constitutional law?

                        No, I wouldn't say so. But that's not just an automatic decision we can make for ourselves, as lay people, based on common sense. We can't simply wave the Constitution in their faces as we storm the castle. You have to go to a judge and make a case. You say, "Judge, isn't the Constitution more important than copyright law?" And the judge will say, "Yes it is." And you'll say, "Well, then, can we see the source code?" And he'll say, "What do you think the source code has to do with the Constitution?" And you'll say, "Because they're using it to count votes, and we think they're cheating." And he'll say, "What makes you say that?"

                        And here we are.

                        Statistics alone have been known to be enough to pry open corporate vaults. But that's a subject of much controversy in legal circles. Some judges buy into it, and some don't. Just like the people here.

                        This is something I think a well-made case can win on. Which is why Armando and others would like to see the case made, and made well.

                        Legislation is an alternative route, and one we should be pursuing in parallel. We're stymied on the federal level at the moment, but there are states in which sympathetic forces hold sway. What's happening there? Anything? Or are we all standing outside the U.S. Capitol because it's the sexier story?

                        •  Several questions for you (none)
                          1. Does anyone know what the Ohio contract with Diebold and Triad says?  

                          2. If we wanted to know the wording of that contract how would we find out?  

                          3. Which public officials exactly are responsible for making the contract...which ones are responsible for making sure the contract is fair to Ohio's citizens?

                          4. Regarding Holt's bill...do you have any links I could look at that discuss the history of this bill...when it was created, who supported it, etc.?

                          Thanks for any answers to the above you may have.  I'm asking you because you seem to have some knowledge about these issues...not trying to be snarky...just really want to know.

                          Also, as someone pointed out to me, I questioned you about your position on voting machines without having thoroughly read your intial post in this thread which pretty well laid out that postion.  I apologise and at the same time thank you for restating your position in a snark-free response to me.

                          In answer to the question you pose, "...Or are we all standing outside the U.S. Capitol because it's the sexier story?"...I can tell you that although I will be standing in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on 1/6 for a demonstration about this election, I don't find the idea of it sexy at all. Standing in the rain hundreds of miles from where I live to be in a sign-carrying crowd is NOT my idea of fun.

                          I'm going because I feel very strongly that people who believe that racial disenfranchisement and secret software inside voting machines are wrong should go if they are able to.  I feel an obligation to support the reps I'm asking to put their careers on the line for this issue.  

                          I'm going because I believe a picture is worth a thousand words...and I feel it's important to help create a picture that illustrates that the American people have NOT all been fooled and we're not going away until we get transparent, fair elections for all voters...not just the white, Republican ones.

                          I guess I think that any political movement benefits from the wide variety of actions that different people bring to it.  I can't provide legal expertise...but I can be a warm body in the field-so that's what I do.

                          •  I haven't seen it. (none)
                            And I don't know what Ohio's public contracting law is like, but I'd imagine that it's a matter of public record. But I'd also guess that the contract itself is pretty benign.

                            What's probably more interesting is what's not in the contract, like auditing and open-source requirements.

                            I don't know who's the responsible contracting party on behalf of the jurisdictions using Diebold and Triad equipment and services. I imagine they'd have contracts with the elections authorities in each county that uses their equipment.

                            Holt's bill can be reviewed online in the Thomas system. Search for the bill HR 2239.

                            This link will direct you to a summary of the bill, its status, a list of cosponsors, etc.

                            Holt's web site, of course, also has some info and this write-up.

                            Plenty of good sites offering activist opportunities, as well. Just google "HR 2239" and go to town.

                          •  One other question... (none)
                            Why Lafayette Park on the 6th? All the action on the 6th will be 16 blocks away, at the Capitol. Are you marching? Or did you actually want to be outside of the White House because the action at the Capitol will be about counting votes for president, and so...?

                            I guess I'm asking, why not outside the House, where the votes will be counted and any objections will be made?

                          •  The demonstration is starting at 10:00 am (none)
                            in LaFayette Park.  Cobb and Bonifaz will be speaking there.  Then the group will march together to Capitol Hill where Jesse Jackson, Sr and Cobb will speak.  That portion of the event is called a Defend Democracy Rally & Vigil.  The whole thing is coordinated with a Save Our Votes March which will be coming to DC from Maryland.

                            So far, the action has been supported by United Progressives for Democracy, the Cobb/LaMarche campaign, Code Pink, D.C. Anti-War Network, Green Party of the U.S., Independent Progressive Politics Network, International Labor Communications Association, No Stolen Elections, Progressive Democrats of America, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Truth in Elections.

                  •  core of democracy (none)
                    I think the core of our democracy trumps all laws... I see it as more of a Constitutional matter that would require a judge to chose transparency over proprietary rights. Of course, I doubt too many winger judges would see it that way.
                    •  All true. (none)
                      But you have to ask them, first. And if they don't give you the answer you want, try again from a different angle.

                      At the same time, you should be working to change the law, to remove their discretion from the equation.

              •  I reject many of the rights of the corporation (none)
                The bill mentioned below is a great start.
                I am all for corporations making money from their investments, but the other corporate rights, those coming from their artificial personhood legal status, allow for those protections to remain in place far too long.  

                It is time we do away with constitutional protections to corporations.  This would be a great case to challenge their legitimacy.

                so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

                by k9disc on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 06:25:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  don't throw out the baby with the bathwater (none)
                  not all in the "corporate class" are fighting on the side of the devil, and a small businesspeople like me need corporate protection.  

                  Reform of a series of laws that enable abuses is the best way to go, IMHO.  You can't have the kind of economic stability, growth and job creation that we have typically known by throwing away the legal construct of the corporation.  Otherwise, there will be too many barriers to entrepreneurs, new business entrants (which employ the most people and create the most jobs) and barriers to innovation.

                  I'm hosting a mirror for georgia10's work, and I'm here to tell you, there would be many unitended, undesirable consequences to the destruction of the corporate entity across the board.

                  We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                  by Pachacutec on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 07:40:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  IANAEconomist, but ... (none)
                    You can't have the kind of economic stability, growth and job creation that we have typically known by throwing away the legal construct of the corporation. Otherwise, there will be too many barriers to entrepreneurs, new business entrants (which employ the most people and create the most jobs) and barriers to innovation.
                    I Am Not An Economist, but I strongly suspect that corporate law is currently heavily slanted (and becoming ever more so) in favor of larger corporations, the existence of which are much more of a disincentive to innovation and entrepreneurship than would happen even if we threw away the legal construct entirely. (To say nothing of the ongoing reality-warping side-effects of corporate-centric society..)

                    Corporations started off as a reasonable idea, but the implementation was flawed and the feedback cycle has really perverted the idea. (Bigger corporations have more resources for lawyers and lobbyists, which gives them power to change corporate law, which they use to get even bigger, and so on.)

                    At the very least, the idea needs a massive redesign. Unfortunately, it'd be damn near impossible to do that without the redesign process itself being perverted.

                    Proud member of the reality-based minority

                    by Bearpaw on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 11:17:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  we agree on diagnosis but not on treatment (none)
                      I'm more than with you on the way power has been imbalanced to favor anti-competitive, anti-innovative large corporations, who have the resources to buy politicians and write regulations to tailored to their own, narrow advantages.  I've written a number of posts on this subject here and at mydd.

                      I just don't believe, and no one has shown me, that the cure for this regulatory problem lies not in regulatory reform but in the complete abolition of the corporation.

                      We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                      by Pachacutec on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 12:28:24 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It is not complete abolition that I am advocating (none)
                        it is a return to normalcy.  Take away their rights under the constitution.  They are property not people.  

                        This is not wholesale corporate abolition, it is what is required to get them back to heel.

                        You (your small busines) cannot afford the hoops that are required for a corporation to be a super person.  IF you do something criminal with your business, you will get nailed.  If they do it they get the cover of business week.

                        Corporations are not people.  Say it again, corporations are not people.

                        so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

                        by k9disc on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 03:50:34 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  that is abolition (none)
                          The legal fiction of a corporation as a person is the legal construct that defines "corporation."  The other options are sole proprietorships (really small) limited liability corporations (also ruled out by your prescription), limpted liability partnerships (good for some businesses and not for others).  Corporations can be c-corps (typically large) and subchapter-S corporations (usually smaller).  Only corporations have the flexibility to raise capital easily (this is also a big topic) through the sale of stock.

                          Sorry, but you just don't know what you're talking about.  There's a lot more here than economics; there's law as well.

                          We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                          by Pachacutec on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 07:29:11 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  There is shoddy law, (none)
                            Before 1886 corporations were not people.  They were legal fictions, that had rights, but they did not have the rights of people under the constitution.
                            There were many things that corporations could not do before, but have been able to legislate into reality by claiming rights under the 14th amendment, I believe.
                            They were not always people and they should not be people under the law.  They are property.

                            so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

                            by k9disc on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 08:20:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm all ears (none)
                            if you or anyone can make the case in a comprehensive way, showing:

                            •  the history of the evolution of the corporation as person

                            •  the arguments in favor of keeping the law as it is, from the corporate, economic and sociaetal perspectives

                            •  the arguments for changing that part of the law, from the corporate, economic and societal perspectives

                            We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                            by Pachacutec on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 08:48:47 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ugh! What a task. (none)
                            I should post a diary on the subject.  Lots of work required for that one.

                            I do not think that I am qualified, nor capable to address all of those issues.  Your vernacular in the above post goes deeper than I am schooled in business.

                            Perhaps you could tell me what the drawbacks of restricting personhood status, outside of commerce.

                            It is my opinion that the current method of operation, a consumer based economy is unsustainable.  Grow or die is not going to be a valid concept when there is nowhere left to expand.  There will have to be major changes in the concpet of economy.  I am unable to provide those solutions.

                            so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

                            by k9disc on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 08:55:58 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am very interested in reform (none)
                            but the question you ask me to address is beyond my immediate area of expertise as well, to do right.  I'd love to see someone take it on.

                            I probably would disagree with you on the consumer model of economy, because I do not think the growth horizon is bounded.  It is not bounded by land, and what we see more and more is that we can create resources and goods through creativity and conceptual capital.  You and I are engaged in precisely that, using tools produced through just such a process.  And if you would abolish the consumer model, then you'd have to propose a viable alternative.  None have succeeded, and I think, none do so well at understanding human nature for what it is, and in giving people maximal autonomy when making choices.

                            We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                            by Pachacutec on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 09:05:36 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I know the feeling (none)
                            I think that land is finite.  Resources are finite.   Much can be overcome through creativity.  I believe that the corporate consumer model, status quo, is not only unsustainable, but does not allow for the creativity you desire.  Think of all the products/projects mothballed due to the current corporate heirarchy.
                            Where do you live, by chance?

                            so i said,"Washington's groovy(laughs). That's what i said. And it is... for Romans"

                            by k9disc on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 09:29:58 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  most of my professional life (none)
                            is focused on promoting innovation, positive leadership and creativity in institutions and businesses, so I don't concede the notion that the engines of our institutions don't promote innovation, though as big corporations have stacked the regulatory deck against new entrants, the job has gotten harder.  In the long run, that will diminish U. S. job growth and increase poverty.  

                            That's why I'd like to see well targeted, progressive political and structural regulatory reform.  Other national economies, with their declining barriers to entry for start-ups and their improving science and educational programs, are catching up to us, and our global niche is weakening.  If you think jobs are fleeing overseas now, you aint seen nothin yet, if we lose our competitive edges in education and innovation.

                            Many of those mothballed products are not yet viable products:  by that I mean that they cannot be produced and presented in ways that consumers will support, at some reasonable rate of profit.  Many good ideas die out due to resistance to change, but that's what businesses hire people like me to help them avoid.  I'm currently in the editing phase of a book I've written on the subject.

                            I live in Alexandria, VA.

                            We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

                            by Pachacutec on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 11:00:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  With respect you're completely wrong (none)
            looking at the machines and the code is not a treatment at all.  Treatment would be determined after a diagnosis.

            All we have now are symptoms.

            The symptoms are a popular vote the defies all expectations considering Bush's negatives, the numbers on the country moving in the right direction, the state polls, the national polls, and the exit polls.  Plus, obvious voter suppression efforts, anecdotal reports of voting machines misbehaving, and the behavior of Blackwill.

            The only way to prevent a possible theft of the machines is to raise the level of public doubt to the point that the public demands an investigation before an inauguration.

            It's too late for that now, no thanks to people like you and Delaware Dem, who have urged us to get on with it.

            They were Nazis, Walter?

            by BooMan23 on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 10:24:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's respect? (none)
              I can appreciate a different definition of terms in the analogy, but where have I ever urged you or anyone else to "get on with it?"

              I've been pretty forthcoming in this thread with respect to what I'd like you to get on with, and that's the introduction of legislation to make it illegal to use non-open source electronic voting or vote counting equipment, and in the meantime, using strategic lawsuits designed to make whatever case is possible for prying your way into that proprietary code, on public policy grounds.

              With those goals in mind, I disagree that this must happen before the inauguration. That's the best time for it, but I don't think it closes the door on us.

              In reconsidering the analogy, I would agree that just looking at the machines isn't treatment, although it is invasive. Maybe that's exploratory surgery -- to see if the tumor is removable.

      •  Armandos challenge (none)
        Conyers isn't running the tests, because he hasn't been allowed to have the material needed to do this. ie  hand recount,  raw data of exit  polls, polling books,  the machines themselves, the proprietary source code etc.  
        •  Again... (none)
          I think of getting your hands on the actual machines, source code, etc. as an invasive procedure. Going under the knife and cutting the tumor out. Or perhaps an aggressive course of chemo or radiation therapy.

          They're expensive, invasive, somewhat risky, and can't be had off-the-shelf without vetting from a primary care physician, then an oncologist, and then a radiologist or surgeon. And that's not even to mention the insurance companies.

          Terms need to be defined here if there's going to be any value to this analogy.

          •  Enough with the analogy. (4.00)
            Bottom line:  It is unacceptable that our elections are not transparent, that the code for the paperless machines is closed-source (Republican-owned), and that we do not have access to the machines that is implementing our democracy.

            There's nothing invasive or risky about this.  American elections are not a private business.  We will win on these points eventually and get access to the code and the machines (at some point in the future months, years, whatever).  This is what the fight for a transparent democracy will lead to.

            •  Hey, it's not my analogy originally. (none)
              Elections not transparent: unacceptable. Check.
              Code for paperless machines closed-source: unacceptable. Check.
              Not having access to machines: unacceptable. Check.

              But unfortunately, American election results are counted by private business. They shouldn't be, but they are. And the remedy for that is either legal or legislative.

              The legal remedy requires defeating the contracting companies' proprietary rights in their coding, which requires some substantial amount of admissible evidence to disrupt. And I would favor pursuing this disruption.

              The legislative remedy doesn't actually, technically require any proof at all. You just have to convince the legislature (and the president, veto-wise) to either repeal these protections specifically with respect to the manufacturers of vote counting equipment, or to forbid the use of non-open source machinery in the counting of ballots in federal races (and get the same thing done on the state and local levels). I would also support these goals.

              Why do you think I don't? Because I tell you plainly about the barriers you face?

              •  asdf (none)
                It was just that the analogy was getting wearisome :-) and I wasn't exactly sure where you stood on each of the listed issues.  I knew, vaguely, that you were on our side, but there were all these barriers (real or imagined) and walls and skeptics and energy-sappers being thrown around, heh, that I just wanted to cut to the chase and make sure that we all still saw the end zone of where we needed to end up, at all costs.
            •  exactly (none)
              "There's nothing invasive or risky"

              so what's the problem? except certain people don't want us to see the source code.

              •  But there is something invasive and risky. (none)
                As it now stands, you will have to defeat someone's rights in order to see that source code.

                Now, that ought never to have been the case, because we never should have allowed proprietary, non-open source programming in any machine used to tabulate the vote. But we did.

                Now, you seek to destroy a private company's privacy rights to press your case. I would actually like to see that happen. But I know that you can't do it by simply talking vaguely about the Constitution. You have to file a winning lawsuit, or change the law.

                I support both avenues, despite the destruction of rights. I believe that with respect to counting the vote, no such rights ought to exist.

                •  zero problem (none)
                  I have absolutely no problem with overriding a corporation's rights. We give them those rights to begin with, ergo we can take them when needed (consider it like eminent domain except much more rational and necessary).

                  If some corporate stooge lawmakers made these deals and let them hide their code, that's their problem. There's far too much secrecy in our govt. and business as it is and this is one issue where we have to take a stand.

                  Like I said elsewhere, I think it's a Constitutional issue that goes to the core of democracy so open up the code!

                  •  Let me be clear: (none)
                    I also have no problem with it. But in this country, you don't get to override anyone's rights (and avoid punishment for it) without getting a court's sanction to do it.

                    So file that suit.

                    That's all I mean by what I've said. I don't know how I can make it any clearer, but I'm willing to try, if asked.

                    I can hardly wait to see those proprietary rights in vote counting systems destroyed. It keeps me up nights. I imagine that I literally taste it with every bite of food.

                    But that doesn't mean they're going to surrender the code to me. I have to sue it out of them, or change the law. Or both.

          •  HMO? (none)
            You sound like an HMO employee keeping costs under control and those on the other side of this analogy/arguement sound like the person who is afraid for their life.  Is Conyers the doctor?  The patient lawyer?  The CTscan?  Is Bush the tumor or is it Blackwell?  Who's the candystriper?
            •  You can't tell the players without a roster. (none)
              And you can't win the game without knowing the rules.

              What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to accomplish it? Who's empowered to see it done, and who's not? Do you know?

              You may very well have cancer. Your primary care physician may very well agree.

              But he's not licensed to administer the cure. If you'd like a chance at surviving, find out who is, and go see him. And when you do, be prepared to answer his questions. If he doesn't respond to you, get a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth.

              But make sure you're not talking to podiatrists.

              •  Alright (none)
                I'll go with this analogy.  The patient's appointment is on January 6th.  The receptionist says "You can't reschedule any time this year.  You may have a slight chance in 2006, but the next realistic chance of an appointment is 2008."

                To me, the single most important reason to make a big noise about the election now is that (to change metaphors completely) the window of the American publics' attention span is about to close forever on the 2004 election.  We can all pretend that our efforts to make elections clean  will actually change anything in the next two or four years, but I greatly fear (given the sorry election reform history of 2000-2004) that we will be acrimoniously debating election fraud on dKos in November and December of 2008.  Sad, sad, sad.

                There is a tremendous chance which we are about to let fall by the wayside (yikes, another metaphor!).  That's why Georgia10's work, and the work of so many others is so important.  If Conyers etal are able to get a group of Senators to stand up on 01/06, we will have instant SCLM attention.  Ergo, we will reinvigorate the election reform debate that, to the average voter, was "a Florida problem that got fixed before the 2002 election, didn't it?"

                We have no, I repeat, no chance of meaningful election reform in the next four years if we don't jostle the sleepy electorate awake long enough to realize that they are being screwed.  On January 7th they will nod off again(oh god, I've started another metaphor) for another two/four years and will be even harder to awaken.

                •  Excellent Point (4.00)
                  We have no, I repeat, no chance of meaningful election reform in the next four years if we don't jostle the sleepy electorate

                  Exactly.

                  I just made the point in the "response to Georgia10" diary that the shortest path to future election reform is to prosecute the 2004 election as a theft.

                  In fact, what we need to jostle is not just the puny electorate, but the whole bloody system itself. Because this transmits the shock wave upstream to the powers that pull the strings, the ones that need to be checked and balanced.

                  The specific reason we have "no chance" for reform if we let the moment pass (as you say) is that we have no power in the government.

                  But what we do have is an adversarial system.

                  But that whole premise breaks down if the adversary is too shy to fight. We need to push our cause to the max because the opposition--rightfully, in our system--is doing the same against us.

                  If the evidence backs us up, so be it.

                  We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

                  by Gooserock on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 11:25:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  shortest path to ...? (none)
                    I just made the point in the "response to Georgia10" diary that the shortest path to future election reform is to prosecute the 2004 election as a theft.

                    I disagree. Trying to prosecute the 2004 election as a theft is the shortest path to election reform being written off as a nutcase idea. Even if you're right about the 2004 election. Maybe especially if you're right about it.

                    Proud member of the reality-based minority

                    by Bearpaw on Mon Jan 03, 2005 at 11:26:25 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I don't see why that's the only appointment. (3.00)
                  The 6th is our first appointment. Are we giving up if we don't win the challenge? Because we're not going to.

                  I think our next appointment has to be with a doctor who will pioneer a new treatment -- i.e., legislation like Rush Holt's. And because we know that'll be blocked, we need to initiate other proceedings in court.

                  I don't understand what's left to fight about in this analogy.

                  I'm for paper trails. I'm for open source only voting machines and auditability. I'm for investigations into voter suppression efforts. I'm even for the electoral challenge on the 6th, even though we'll lose. And I'm for more (and frankly, better) attorneys filing more and better lawsuits to try to find a way into those machines.

                  What else would you like to test me on? Name it, and I'll see if I can agree to it, if that's of any interest to you.

                  What separates me from most of you, apparently, is that I like to approach these frustrations with the idea in mind that there's a solution I can lay out for the specialists who are empowered to help me. I don't just sign petitions asking them to figure it out for me.

                  They can't seem to do it. They're too busy fundraising. So I'd like to figure out the system myself and give them a blueprint, so that there are fewer excuses not to follow it.

                  That's what I'm about.

                  •  Where we differ (4.00)
                    I guess, is that I have little confidence that meaningful reform will happen without great pressure from the public.  No matter how thoughtful and useful of a blueprint you could provide, it would get fed into the law making machine, with Republicans at all the controls, and would come out the other end as an  ineffectual mishmash of legislation, chock full of money making opportunities for partisan constituents and almost unrecognizeable compared to your original blueprint.  

                    I want maximum visibility of these issues now, before the coronation.  For petesake, many Americans are completely unaware that there are serious voting problems.  Why would a legislator give this any kind of priority, when their constituents are so blissfully unaware?  I believe that public awareness is as much a part of this mess as is a good blueprint.  We are approaching a very good chance to wake people up.  I don't think we should waste it.  I say sign petitions, send LTEs, send emails, make this important to people.

                    •  Sure. Fine. Go. (none)
                      There's nothing counterproductive about public pressure and a public awareness campaign, provided it's well-founded. That's what I thought Armando's challenge was supposed to draw out.

                      It might have happened sooner. That would have been nice. And a more coherent statement of the issue might have arisen on its own, without prodding. But it didn't. And I don't see that as the fault of "elite bloggers."

          •  Again... (none)
            what makes you suggest that voters don't have the right to a transparent voting system...or at least something a lot closer than a machine with secret software inside can provide.

            What makes you suggest that it's appropriate that these machines aren't open to public scrutiny?  Why do you support faith-based voting systems?

            •  Again is Right (none)
              Where did he "suggest that voters don't have the right to a transparent voting system?"

              here?  Um, no:

              Our ability to hold fair, transparent, suppression-free, and auditable elections is of great concern, and not by any stretch well-enough guaranteed.

              I know it was a long time (32 minutes) before your comment, and a long way (a couple comments away from this comment on the same thread), but still, maybe you could exert yourself and determine if he really is suggesting they don't have the "right to a transparent voting system."  

              •  point taken (none)
                I guess like HariSeldon said a short while after my post, "...I wasn't exactly sure where you [KagroX] stood on each of the listed issues."

                It was all cleared up about a half hour before you posted when KagroX responded to my intial query about this topic...but thanks for your belated insight ;)

      •  but of course you are always free to (none)
        get a second opinion if you don't agree with the findings of the specialist.

        Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

        by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:20:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is like if Your Dog is (none)
        Sick

        You can tell by the way it is acting. You have circumstantial evidence. He is lethargic, won't eat.
        The vet says sorry, wait til he dies and them bring him in.

        The exit polls are enough of a clue in and of themselves. Plus the witness testimony.

        And because your neighbor's daughter who lives in Boulder (suspicious) sent for an absentee ballot. It never arrived. She calls three times to make sure she can vote where she resides, with her parents, in another country. The day of the election they tell her she can't vote. Sorry! Fill out that provisional. Do you think the provisional votes got counted? NO. The vote wasn't close enough.

        Eyewitness accounts. From people you know.

         My dog is sick.
         Please don't make me shoot my dog
         so you can cure him.
        ( and then trade on the shares for his future )

        ...people will always vote for the sunshine, not for the darkness

        by missliberties on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:33:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Poor doggie. (none)
          So you get to the vet, and you just say, "He's sick?" Or do you give your reasons for thinking so?

          You give them. Of course you do.

          Now, if your dog has something the vet can cure with a pill that's cheap and carries no risk, he doesn't tell you to wait for it to die, does he? What kind of vet is this?

          But if he thinks your dog may need an operation, does he just put him under and start cutting, or does he do something else first, to make sure that what you've observed comports with something that's both serious and operable?

          •  Our Poor Democracy (none)
            .......it needs surgery......

            And the vet keeps telling me my dog is fine,  ((;=O  >furrowed brow with tears<

            ...people will always vote for the sunshine, not for the darkness

            by missliberties on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:45:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK. So see a surgeon. (none)
              You're still talking to the vet techs. They have sympathy for you, but aren't allowed by law to operate. Even on a dog.
              •  You have the HMO (none)
                method of treatment for election problems.  I just hope the patient doesn't die while we are trying to figure out what doctor and test should be seen and applied.
                •  It's the only method in existence. (none)
                  The method of gathering in the streets and demanding doctors doesn't actually change the fact that the one you're looking for still has to be a board-certified oncologist.

                  I also hope the patient doesn't die. But gathering the signatures of everyone but doctors (and refusing emergency medical training for yourself and your colleagues while you do it) doesn't increase the patient's chances much, either.

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