Monday, July 31, 2006

CA50 Action Committee update

This story was written before the lawsuit was filed this morning, but it's an excellent summary of the situation.

Election lawyer to file legal contest in California congressional race

“Overall, this election was handled in such a way that we have no reason for confidence in the results,” famed election attorney Paul Lehto said of California’s 50th Congressional District special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray.

In an exclusive interview with RAW STORY on Sunday, July 30, Lehto revealed plans to file a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on Monday, July 31 against the County of San Diego, Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas, and Brian Bilbray.


100 Actions

The Democratic Party launched 100 Actions today since it's 100 days from election day. They'll post a new suggestion for ways you can support Democratic candidates every day between now and Nov 7.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Audio of Mimi Kennedy and Emily Levy on the Peter B Collins Show 7/28/06.

Emily and Mimi talk with Peter B about the problems with electronic voting, and the election integrity issues surrounding the Busby/Bilbray race.
The CA-50 Action Committee and attorney Paul Lehto will be holding a press conference 10:30 AM Monday July 31 at the Hall of Justice, 330 West Broadway, San Diego.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

from the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice email list:

Hiroshima Day, Sunday, August 6 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Candlelight Vigil to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to call for the global abolition of nuclear weapons, starting with our own

Gather 6 p.m. for bannering; Program at 6:30 p.m. followed by Candlelight Procession

In front of the Midway Carrier Museum on Harbor Drive, one block south of Broadway

Special Guest Speaker: Leuren Moret
Independent Scientist; President, Scientists for Indigenous People; City of Berkeley Environmental Commissioner; and whistleblower at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab. She is an expert on the environmental and public health effects of low level radiation from atmospheric testing fallout, nuclear power plants and depleted uranium weaponry.

Nagasaki Day, Wednesday, August 9 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

The War Machine Reveled: Bechtel Corporation-Merchant of Death

From Hiroshima & Nagasaki to Yucca Mountain to the Middle East, Bechtel has reaped human, environmental and community devastation. Besides being the world’s largest engineering firm and #1 nuclear profiteer, Bechtel is a leading beneficiary of the Iraq war and corporate globalization policies. Bechtel “connects the dots” for the anti-nuke, anti-war and global justice movements! Through its sordid corporate history and 100 years of revolving-door relationships with government, Bechtel illustrates the connections between profiteering and war, between nuclear power and nuclear weapons proliferation, between “free trade” and the exploitation of indigenous peoples, and between corporate power-brokers and decision-makers at the highest levels of government.

Gather at the Federal Building, Front and Broadway, 11:30 a.m. We will proceed through the downtown area and arrive at Bechtel’s office at 1230 Columbia at 12:15 p.m.

For more information on either event, contact the PRC or SDCPJ at 619-263-9301 or or
Yesterday the Union Tribune ran some letters in response to their editorial that called our concerns about electronic voting "unfounded". My letter wasn't published, but several were so that tells me a lot of people wrote in respose to their error filled editorial.

Here's Jess Durfee's response in full. Durfee is the chair of the Democratic Party in San Diego County.

The San Diego County Democratic Party made a specific request of the county Board of Supervisors last week, though your editorial failed to mention it (“Voting integrity/Challenge to county procedures unfounded,” July 24). As county chair of the party, we are calling for open hearings on election practices because San Diegans deserve a meaningful forum to air concerns about our system of voting.

Election integrity is more than the domain of “a small collection of Internet conspiratorialists.” Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNN and others have addressed the challenge of verifying votes now that computer discs have taken the place of ballot boxes. The poll workers I've talked to received three to four hours of training, not 16. They took their duties seriously, but how could they promise constant security for machines that sat for days in their living rooms and garages?

Touch-screen voting machines will be used throughout California this November for the first time. Defenders of the sleepover policy who claim “we've always done it this way” sound a little disingenuous to me.

Electronic voting machines are not the only issue. We've heard from numerous voters who received absentee ballots too late to mail them back. The Union-Tribune reported on a variety of public complaints days before the June 6 election. Wouldn't this be a good time to follow up on those concerns and to hear from San Diego County voters and taxpayers?

Your editorial suggests our push for election hearings will undermine voter confidence. I couldn't disagree more. In a time of legitimate public concern, what we need is more transparency, not less.

San Diego

Friday, July 28, 2006

Yes on 89. Californians for Clean Elections

I was just looking at the website for the Prop 89 committee. Both Common Cause and The League of Women Voters have endorsed the initiative. Yay.

I'd just be in hog heaven if this passes in California this coming November, and I think it has a really good chance. It will cover all state-wide races. This is the best thing coming down the road
right now, and I truly believe it will make a difference.

The Ca Clean Money Campaign has a really good 14 minute video by Bill Moyers that explains how Clean Money reform works.

A glance at Arizona shows the effect this system has on democracy. The number of minority candidates tripled. The number of women candidates has increased every year since 1998. Voter turn out is UP 20%.

I was pretty jazzed when I was at Democracyfest because everyone was talking about election reform and clean money. I went to a "fusion" session that was put on by Root Camp, where we discussed how diverse groups can work together to build progressive coalitions. We got into groups to find a common interest where we could potentially work together. There were six of us in my group and four of us were working on clean money oriented campaigns and none of us were with the same group! I thought that was a pretty cool example of how when we just sat down and talked about our interests, how quickly we were able to come to a meeting of minds about what was important to each of us. We didn't even know one another thirty minutes earlier.

Fusion = Good idea
Good morning! Here's some cool CodePink news from the Troops Home Fast participants!

We have exciting news to share with you today! After being rebuffed in our numerous attempts to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, including setting up "Camp Al-Maliki" across from the Iraqi Embassy and publishing an open letter to him in one of the largest Iraqi newspapers, we received an amazing invitation: Five members of the Iraqi Parliament who are working on a Reconciliation Plan to end the violence in their country contacted us. Moved by the commitment of the long-term fasters and dismayed by their prime minister’s refusal to meet with us, these parliamentarians asked us to join them in Amman, Jordan next week to discuss their Reconciliation Plan, on condition that we break our long-term fast with them!

We are thrilled!

It will be such a breakthrough for the US peace movement to be working directly with Iraqi peacemakers, and what better way to break our fast than with members of the Iraqi government seeking an end to the violence. So next week, we’ll be on our way to Jordan. In addition to a group of long-term fasters, we are inviting Congresspeople, academics, and notable journalists to join us.

This marks a big turning point in the fast, yet we know that we have a long way to go towards bringing the 140,000 US servicemen and women home from Iraq. We strongly encourage our local fasters to continue to do weekly or ongoing fasts, and to make your fasts public by holding actions outside Congressional offices and calling the media. Click here for info about getting involved in the fast locally. We plan to continue the Troops Home Fast campaign as energy builds towards the International Day of Peace, September 21, when Declaration of Peace events will begin around the country.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here's are some things that are happening in San Diego this weekend.

Silent Candlelight Vigil in Solidarity with the Suffering of the Lebanese & Middle-Eastern Civilians. Standing on behalf of the innocent killed and those suffering from the consequences of war.

When: Sunday, July 30th at 7:00 - 8:00pm
Where: Balboa Park, Lawn on Park Blvd and Presidents Way
Please bring a candle.
Join us to show your support and respect for Human life.
Organized by concerned human beings.


The 32nd Annual San Diego Gay Pride Parade and Festival this weekend. Details can be found at


The Democratic Party Reunion. Party with the Party in San Diego.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A state by state breakdown of Bush's approval ratings by SurveyUSA found by way of Politickybitch.

Who's blue now?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

File under: There is No Bad Publicity

When the local newspaper runs a nasty/biased/flat-out-wrong editorial about your issue, rejoice! You and a small group of fellow citizens can quickly respond with letters to the editor. Suddenly, your issue, on which you've toiled in obscurity, is on the second most read page of the newspaper.

Bonus: It also means you've made enough noise to get the attention of the media. Congratulations! You're news.

Example: CA Clean Money Campaign. A year ago no one was talking about it. The working group and the state group were doing their thing trying to pass the legislation, and lo and behold the Union Trib ran a negative, assumption filled editorial against the idea of public financing of elections. Letters were fired off. I don't know how many exactly, but I personally know of several who wrote, and others that were published.

Suddenly people were talking about clean money. When I would mention publicly financed campaigns, people already knew what I was talking about and wanted to know more. Surprise! The way I see it, the UT editorial that had annoyed me so, helped to start a public conversation. That's their job. Now if they don't, run any of those opposing opinions, they are not, in my ever-present opinion, doing their job.

I'm taking the leap that this theory also holds true in regards to electronic voting machines, and election integrity.

Hope springs eternal.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Today the SD Tribune ran an editorial about the questions being asked by a "small group of internet conspiratorialists".

They don't have their story straight. For one, they never mention the fact that there are numerous, known security issues with Diebold equipment. They make insinuations and assumptions, rather than reporting the facts. I would think an editorial board of a major city newspaper would strive to present some facts in their opinion pieces.

And as for that "other side of the story" comment...they didn't tell OUR side of the story.

I've never heard anyone say "poll workers can't be trusted" but since they bring it up, our system isn't supposed to be based on trusting individuals, but on open government where we can SEE what's going on, and where there are checks and balances.

How can they suggest that our questions undermine voter confidence? For one thing, it seems to me that voter confidence is already shaken. Everyone I talk to is worried about the security of our elections these days. I would think that if there's nothing to hide there's no reason for dis-information and insults. They should be answering questions and providing the information that is requested. I had no reason to distrust the RoV here until I saw their reaction to being questioned by citizens. I've become suspicious, as I've seen how uncooperative the RoV has been.

Try a little open cooperation with your citizens instead of all this hostility and secrecy. We want nothing but secure and transparent elections. That's not asking too much.
The American Bar Association has issued their report on Bush's use of signing statements.

In summary, they said, "knock it off, mister!"

followed by Arlen Specter, R-PA., who said:

"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional,".

It wouldn't hurt to have a little lesson on separation of powers. That concept seems to have skipped a lot of people's minds.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I was thinking about something I said below, and decided I want to correct myself. I attended the panel discussion with David Swanson, Anne Wright and Paul Hackett at Democracyfest. I don't know what came over me, but I really was too impartial in my post. I was still mulling it over when I wrote it, but the more I've thought about it, the more I'm convinced that I should have been harder on Hackett, and given David Swanson credit. Hackett was louder and more obnoxious, but Swanson was right.

I also wish that Wright hadn't been so shut out of the conversation. Actually, it seemed to me that she got shouted out.

At the time I thought, Hackett could be someone that the progressive Democrats might want to think of as a person who shouldn't be thrown out in a search for the perfect. I think the inclination to do that hurts us sometimes.

On reflection it doesn't apply this time. I think there are things that can be learned from him, but he's not a candidate that would win my vote. I should have said that then instead of waiting til now.

Blogger Admits She Was Wrong! Film at 11!
Here is the full text of the speech delivered by Judy Hess of the CA-50 Action Committee on July 21, 2006.

Hello, and thank you for coming to this Rally to support our rights as voters.

My name is Judy Hess, and I am the Coordinator of the CA 50 Action Committee, an organization formed to respond to the security failures in the June 6 Primary and Special Election in the 50th District of the State of California.

As you may know, members of the CA 50 Action Committee and other voting integrity groups appeared before the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to ask that they have open hearings about those security vulnerabilities. I was not allowed to complete my statement before the Board, and I would like to share it with you now.

I am Judith Hess, Precinct Leader for Precinct # 532870 and Poll Watcher there.

On June 6, 2006, we went to our polling places and filled out the appropriate spaces on our paper ballots, and fed those ballots into the optical scanners. However, it is my belief that none of us actually cast legal votes. Instead, we all engaged in an exercise which looked like voting, and felt like voting, but was not, in fact, and as a matter of law, actual voting.

The reason is this: before our optical scanners and touch screen machines arrived at the polls, they had been technically decertified by the removal, days and weeks before, of these machines from the safekeeping of the Registrar of Voters. They went into homes, garages and cars, and stayed there until the morning of the election. These security breaches rendered them decertified by Federal and State standards.

Moreover, these particular machines—the optical scanners on which almost all of our votes were counted have profound security vulnerabilities.

One person, in one minute, can hack this model, change the results of an entire election and leave NO trace of the hacking.

At my polling place at Olympic View Elementary School in Eastlake Greens, we shared space in the school auditorium with Precinct No. 533120.

My polling place opened promptly and efficiently at 7am. However the optical scanners, ballots and all other equipment needed by Precinct No. 533120 were absent without leave. They remained absent until 11:18 am while a parade of horribles took place.

The person delivering everything could not be found. Pollworkers at the direction of the Registrar of Voters made 3 attempts to meet with the individual who had the equipment—at a Lowe’s parking lot, at an IHOP parking lot, and in front of a 7/11 store directly across the street from Southwestern College, but the poll workers returned to the auditorium, each time empty handed and unhappy. This individual simply did not show up at the rendezvous points. I was told by a poll worker that they understood the Registrar was about to have the police search for her.

Ultimately the machines arrived, and the polls opened a few minutes after noon. But no one can know where they had been, for how long, or what had happened to them.

I submit to you representative photographs of events as I personally recorded them.

I point out that I am a Democrat, but the Precinct on whose behalf I speak today is predominantly Republican. This is an American issue, not a partisan one.

I submit to you that having these voting machines out of the custody of our Registrar and rendered insecure and decertified is a violation of the sanctity of our most fundamental democratic process.

I urge you to investigate these sleepovers, and the entire voting process in San Diego County for November, lest we again engage in what a court of law may later deem a sham exercise.

This story tells us that we need the CA 50 Action Committee.

We have formed to make all of our votes matter. We have formed to call this Registrar to account. We have formed to make sure that this election fiasco cannot happen again, and we are prepared to take whatever legal action is necessary to make our voting process secure.

The June 6 Congressional Election in the 50th District was the first in the election cycle of 2006, when we will, as a nation, decide our collective future, in a time of great world peril.

This San Diego County elective process, with hackable machines in homes, cars and who knows where, is no way to start the cycle with 435 House Seats will be on the ballot in November.

Therefore, the CA 50 Action Committee has drawn a line in the sand.

We will make San Diego County an example for the rest of our great nation, and we declare that:


We are getting real help. Brad Friedman of BRAD BLOG is telling our story, and we are putting it out to the press regularly. National Attention has been drawn to San Diego County and our Election Machine Sleepovers. Lou Dobbs has shown film of the machines in a garage, and found this frightening and unacceptable. Court TV’s Catherine Crier featured the San Diego County Sleepovers in an excellent overview of the election integrity issues. Yesterday, she had Brad, a founding member of CA 50, on her program with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to talk about these election issues.

We will take action. We ask for the support and help of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens—all voters who want our elections to be secure and transparent.

But we need your help. Please go to our website and join us. There is a Contributions link on our website, and also a store to buy logo merchandise. This fight will be costly. We need your help. All donations are needed and welcome. Please be as generous as you can afford to be.

Our democracy is depending on you.

Thank you.
As always, Bradblog is the best source of information about the issues surrounding the electronic voting equipment used in the June election in San Diego County.

Today Emily Levy of the California Election Protection Network and the CA-50 Action Committee, dissects the recent NC Times article (sorry-link is now dead) on the recount. They mis-stated the facts, and didn't report at all on the rally that was held on Friday at the Registrar of Voters office.

Emily's analysis of the article is very good, and Judy Hess's speech is worth reading. She clearly states the the problem with the voting machines, and the position of the CA 50 Action Committee.

In fact, I think I'll post it in it's own post......

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Here's a photo tour of Democracyfest from Msongs. He's got some cool artwork, tshirts, mugs, etc on his site so check them out too. He had some goodies I liked a lot, but I was on a budget (yeah, that's what I'll call it!) and didn't get anything.

Hmmm... I think I see myself in one of his photos...
One of the very best things abut Democracy for America is the training they offer to grassroots activists. The summer session of DFA Night School is about to begin, and the series is called Take Back the Media. You can use your phone and/or your computer to participate in the classes, and they are FREE.

The first one is this coming Tuesday, July 25.

The entire schedule is:

July 25: Working the Mainstream Media
August 1: Leveraging Blogs and Online Media
August 8: Sustaining your Media Presence

The documentation from past classes can be found right here.
I talked to my dad on the phone this morning, and he was telling me about Bush's speech to the NAACP this past week. (See? It's genetic.) I must admit to having ignored the speech in part because I was afraid he was going to embarrass me yet again. Dad said, that Bush said one of the Republican parties mistakes was the fact that they haven't courted that black vote, or something to that effect.

Yeah, I was right. Embarrassing. It's not about courting votes. Good grief. I think that African-Americans families probably don't sit around bemoaning the fact that
the Republicans won't court their vote. If anyone is bemoaning anything, it's more likely to be about social, educational and economic issues that affect people's lives every single day. I am occasionally known to do, I jumped on the computer and googled my little heart out and am here to share the results of my exhausting investigative research with you.

Here's the speech.

Here's Greg Palast's response to the speech.

Friday, July 21, 2006

From Alternet: The growing e-voting distaster.

Anyone wondering where America's next electoral meltdown will take place -- and it can only be a matter of time -- might do well to turn back to the scene of the last one. Ohio was, of course, ground zero of the 2004 presidential election, and now it's the battleground of one of the most hotly contested governor's races in the country.


The losers in this whole process are, of course, the voters. Where they don't have reason to fear out-and-out political interference in the electoral vote, they can expect incompetence and chaos.
I have to give credit when credit is due to people I've criticized, so I'm here to say that I think it's very good that the governor is supporting stem cell research in CA.

He put his (ok, fine...OUR money) where his mouth is...and that's fine with me. Unfortunately at this point, Those People Who Want to Impose Their Cult-like Religion on the Rest of America are blocking research by way of litigation. They lost the first round but appealed, and no bonds can be sold until the litigation is settled. So they're dragggggging it out and we're footing the bill for lawyers right now instead of doing research.

That doesn't mean I've forgiven him for all these insane elections we've had the last few years, including last years debacle. I don't deny there's probably some good campaign timing here for Arnold too, but that's ok. When he's right he's right.
Pull up a lazy boy chair, grab some popcorn, kick back and enjoy watching the Washington Establishment positively freak out.

Sirota is right. It's fascinating to watch the fearful ones. He quotes Josh Marshall from TPM...

"I think the Lieberman skeptics are really on to something when they point out that in the Kondrackes and others there is this sense that for a well-liked-in-the-beltway senior pol like Lieberman to face a primary challenge is somehow a genuine threat to the foundations of the system. You'd think he was a life peer, if not an hereditary noble, suddenly yanked out of the House of Lords and forced to run for his seat like they do in the Commons."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The following is an announcement from Judy Hess of Progressive Democrats of America- San Diego Metro Chapter. As we've said all along, this is NOT a partisan issue. It's an issue about our democracy and fair elections, so please support our efforts to ensure that voting is fair and accurate in every single election.


A rally is scheduled for 12 noon on Friday at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office at 5201 Ruffin Rd. in San Diego, CA to protest the electronic voting security issues surrounding the June 6th Primary Election. All concerned citizens should arrive in the parking lot at 11:30am.

Participants are urged not to block the flow of traffic and be courteous to people entering and leaving the parking lot. We also encourage you NOT to wear partisan buttons, and to recruit Republican friends who understand what is at stake in having
easily rigged, unaccountable, and secret voting practices. It is important for us to counter the Board of Supervisors Propaganda that this is somehow "election year grandstanding" by sore losers.

The rally is being held to protest the use of insecure voting machines and to urge the registrar of voters and local officials to further investigate and consider alternatives.

Voters are concerned because of severe security breaches in the election due to voting machine "sleepovers" and other hardware/software problems. The United States election system continues to be plagued by security issues regarding computer software and chain of custody breakdowns. Further information on this issue will be available at the rally. Please make your voice heard, voter confidence is at stake. Count the votes!

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dean, activists target evoting honesty in California by Miriam Raftery at Raw Story.

“We need honesty and openness back in American government …and that means we do not need election workers taking voting machines home,” Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said at the 3rd annual DemocracyFest at San Diego State University on Saturday, July 15th.


RFK, Jr interview at Bradblog

Democrats ask county to hold election hearings
I was thinking about posting something else here about Democracyfest or one of the people I heard there.

I'm sorry, but I need to get this out of my system first. . .

What in the hell is wrong with that damned fool in the White House? I knew he was going to veto the stem cell bill, but I literally feel sick that he did. That was a nauseatingly cold, cynical, politically calculating act. The more I think about it the more disgusted I get. I've gotten tears in my eyes repeatedly today thinking about the fact that this horrible person is president of the United States.

For him to surround himself with families that "adopted embryos" is the height of political calculation. It's not as if a lot of women want FROZEN and POTENTIALLY DAMAGED blastocysts from two entirely different people to be implanted in them. I just can't imagine there is a big market for that.

So we burn the blastocysts (they aren't even embryos at this stage of the game) and call them medical waste. For once, I'm almost speechless.


These are cells. Not an embryo. Not a fetus. Not a baby. It's also not a cure for spinal cord injuries, blindness, parkinsons disease, or diabetes. Not yet anyway.

Maybe he did a signing statement that says, if they ever discover a cure for a disease I have I won't take advantage of this advance in medical science. He can do that because he's the decider.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The SD Trib's story on Dean's Saturday night speech.

The North County Times has a scrap of an article on today's meeting of the County Supervisors: Protesters call for elections investigation. Apparantly they're working on an article for tomorrow's edition.

There's nothing at all in the online edition of the Trib.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Talk about your speedy updates! I just got an email from Judy Hess of Progressive Democrats of San Diego-Central, announcing that Jess Durfee, the Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee, will request time at 9am tomorrow at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting to address the issues of electronic voting machines and the CA-50 race.

He will also address the press at 10:30.

Durfee will demand public hearings and contact with the voters of San Diego and that the Board hold the Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, accountable.

The CA 50 Action Committee has drawn a line in the sand here in San Diego to fight this battle here so we don’t have to fight it there in 435 Congressional Districts in November.

The founders of the CA-50 Action Committee are:

Brad Friedman of Bradblog
Mimi Kennedy – actress and Chair of National PDA Advisory Board
Barbara Gail Jacobson, voter who requested hand count
Judy Hess, Leader PDA Metro San Diego Chapter
Jim Wade, Chair DFA San Diego Meetup

Go to No Sleep Overs for more information on the CA 50 Action Committee.
There's something brewing here in San Diego in regard to electronic voting and election integrity. The best summary of the situation I've seen so far is from Brad at Bradblog. He's on the money with this issue. We've been stewing about it down here since the election, and it's gotten no traction.

In the special election to replace Duke Cunningham in CA-50, electronic voting machines were decertified by the fact that the local registrar of voters allowed them to go home with poll workers for days and weeks before the election. This resulted in violations of the Secretary of State's certification requirements. Seals were broken. The chain of custody was damaged. The integrity of the election was compromised. We can't let that happen here or anywhere. This is the last real chance to address the problems with electronic voting prior to the November election.

Everytime local residents have tried to do to get answers about this situation they have been ignored or rebuffed. The window of transparency into our government has had the shades drawn. Free and fair elections...remember that? The people of CA-50 have tried to go through the traditional channels of requesting information and requesting a recount, and have had no support to speak of . . . . until now.

Thank you so much to Brad for using his blog and his voice to spread the word. He spoke out for us at a press conference at Democracyfest while he was in San Diego. The same thanks goes to Mimi Kennedy and PDA for supporting us in getting this message out. Mimi was at the press conference too. You folks are awesome.

I'm also pleased that the DNC has issued a strongly worded statement.

Finally, Velvet Revolution is kindly accepting donations on our behalf. Thank them and send money! The registrar wants to charge $150,000 for a hand count of 150,000 ballots.

I'll keep you updated but I truly recommend Bradblog for the news on this issue. He's nailed it.

This is not a partisan issue at all. This is a democracy issue. Our vote is our voice, and it's wrong wrong and wrong for the integrity of the system to be compromised. Personally, I'd rather that Busby win this congressional seat. Bilbray is already selling us down the river by taking a "raise", voting to allow off shore oil drilling, and voting against minimum wage. That said, the big picture issue is making sure our elections are FAIR. It's pointless for anyone to vote using a system that does not ensure that all votes can be properly counted, and that's what we are stuck with as of right NOW.

To: All Candidates

From: terryfaceplace

Dear candidates,

Please take extra care in selecting the pundit for your fundraiser. A bad choice can, a) make you look like a fool, b) result in a fund raiser where you spent more on cheese and crackers than what you raise, and c) expose your volunteer staff to a toxic environment.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Ann Coulter is an especially bad choice.


On Saturday there was a rather spirited discussion panel called "Staunching the Hemorrage" about the "military industrial complex" ....or what some people were calling the "military industrial media complex". The panelists were Paul Hackett, Col. Anne Wright and David Swanson from and There was some disgreement, but it was interesting because I think it was an example of some of the diversity of opinion within the party. Both Hackett and Wright are career military, and Swanson is very anti-war. Everyone had good, rational arguments about the military but it got a little fiery between Hackett and Swanson.

I could see both sides, but I don't agree with everything either of them said. Swanson has a clear bias against militarism (with mostly very good reasons) and Hackett has a clear bias in favor of the military (with some good reason). He sees a lot of the problems very clearly, but he's very loyal to the Marines too. (Too loyal, imo. He's completely blind to somethings he should be able to see clearly.) When all is said and done, it was an illustration of one of the dilemmas of the party right now. There are people who are anti-militaristic AND there are people who very loyal to the military, but have left leaning social and economic views. It's a difficult issue to decide what's enough and what's too much. I mean we pretty much all know now that what's going on now is too much, but how far do you go in the other direction without compromising the military. Like it or not, it's necessary and here to stay. That said, Hackett seems to be more of a Libertarian than a Democrat, but who am I to say...

Wright is interesting too, but most of the fire was between Swanson and Hackett. More about Wright later....

One of the non controversial issues discussed:

What's happened these days in defense manufacturing is that instead of the big manufacturers who do everything from beginning to end, it's been broken up so someone in CA makes this part and someone in the midwest makes that part and someone is Podunk assembles the end product.

One of the results of that is it has spread manufacturing around a bit, but it's also put the defense industry in everyone's political district. The politicians pour money in to these businesses in their districts, and when anyone says it's less than efficient the politican can fall back on the illusion of 1) supporting a strong defense, and 2) providing jobs in their community. So it just grows and grows and grows. We build stuff the military doesn't want or need, and they don't have what they DO need. That's one reason congress decides what Pentagon wants as much as or more than the Pentagon decides what they need.
In the interest of full disclosure I'm plopping some posts from another place where I wrote about some of the Demfest events. So for instance, the one below about the media training was in response to being asked about the media training and the Dean event. I just thought instead of writing it all over again, I'd just cut and paste.

I asked for 36 hours in a day, but my very reasonable request was refused.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I didn't do the Demfest media training, but my understanding was that you got about 15 minutes where you would do a little short spiel about your organization or campaign in front of a video camera, and then the person doing the training would watch it with you and tell you what you do well and what needs improvement and you could keep the tape when you're done. They were just charging $10 for it. Just a quickie training session for people that work at the grassroots level who occasionally get a news camera stuck in their faces. Great idea.


On Saturday evening, what was interesting to me about watching Howard Dean was to see him relate to the crowd in a such an energetic, charismatic way. He comes across to an audience as genuine and likable. Plus, a lot of these people were Dean supporters when he ran for president, and they are nuts about him. A number of them worked directly with him in the campaign. I think I've mentioned that Democracyfest and DFA grew out of the Dean campaign. Plus the day before the DNC issued this statement about the Busby/Bilbray race and the substantial SD contingent of former Dean volunteers were very happy with him at that moment. Bonus!

Maxine Waters was there too. She said she was glad to be there with the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. har.
I added some new books to my bookshelf at Powells based on hearing about them this weekend.

Confessions of a Former Dittohead by Jim Derych
Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win by Matthew Robert Kerbel
Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly by Joseph Minton Amann
My husband was flipping channels a bit ago and stopped at Fox new when they were showing a clip of Howard Dean at Democracyfest, where Dean made a remark that if the Dems were in control we wouldn't be in this mess. So O'Reilly shows this clip and goes off about how awful it is that Dean didn't give any details about how the Dems would have done a better job, and the Dems have no ideas, etc. The usual b.s.

Of course, O'Reilly gives no context to the speaking event. Why would Dean stand there and tell us what we already know at what was primarily a social event? He just used an out of context video clip, to blow a little hot air. What an ass.

I spent some time this weekend with a women who was one of the group of women that did the research for Robert Greenwald's movie Outfoxed. They each took shifts and watched five hours of Fox News a day (and read the website) and documented everything they said. Then the info was used to write a book called Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly, and started a website called News Hounds. They post articles from Fox and they respond with the fact of the matter. She was pretty darn funny. You'd have to have a good sense of humor to watch that much Fox News and not lose your mind.
Here's the terryfaceplace video clip of the day:

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) urging renewal of the Voting Rights Act, without amendment.

We cannot separate the great debate today from our history
The NY Times has quite the editorial.

The hearings were supposed to produce a hopeful vision of a newly humbled and cooperative administration working with Congress to undo the mess it had created in stashing away hundreds of people, many with limited connections to terrorism at the most, without any plan for what to do with them over the long run. Instead, we saw an administration whose political core was still intent on hunkering down. The most embarrassing moment came when Bush loyalists argued that the United States could not follow the Geneva Conventions because Common Article Three, which has governed the treatment of wartime prisoners for more than half a century, was too vague. Which part of “civilized peoples,” “judicial guarantees” or “humiliating and degrading treatment” do they find confusing?
I'm most definitely going to be talking about this more, but in the meantime, here's some info from Bradblog about the DNC calling for a hand count in the Busby/Bilbray race.
I've been at Democracyfest since Thursday night. Today is the last day. It's been exhausting, but fantastic. I've been working as a volunteer, and attending discussion panels and workshops. I worked the CA Clean Money Campaign table on Friday. Then in the evening there are been parties, and concerts. Really fun and I've learned a lot about a lot. I've met a bazillion people too. Al Franken broadcast from there on Friday, and I got to go to that. I saw Howard Dean last night. I heard AJ Croce play the piano and sing, and Laurence Juber play the guitar this weekend. I went to discussion panels on issues and on improving the Democratic infrastructure. Talking about things like keeping the party alive between election cycles, making sure all races are contested, how to talk about issues. They've got media training so people can practice talking in front of a camera. Today the ACLU is giving a class on the right to protest. Brad from Bradblog has been there talking about electronic voting issues. All kinds of good stuff.

It's all been more than I can tell right now. I'm verry tarred.

And yes, I am a very bad real-time blogger, so I'll write up a better summary of the event, and I have sooooo much information to share, that over the next few weeks I'll be posting about the ideas that have been discussed at Demfest.

I'm going to Darrell's Famous Blogger Breakfast this morning. I trust they'll have large vats of coffee.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Woo. Two long, busy days. Mostly at Democracyfest. I'm want to put some pictures up here for the Newshound and then I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My birthday is Nov 7, and that's election day this year.

I'd like a Democratic House. (and Senate) please. Thankyouverymuch.

I agree with the sentiment in the quote at the top of the article. Even if Bush is never impeached, he should worry about it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Happy Sunday, kids.

I want to share some info about activist resources here in the San Diego area. One great organization is Activist San Diego. They've been mentioned here often in relation to specific events, but I want to talk about them today because they do great work and I think they provide a wonderful model for something that could be useful in any community. As their website header says, they're networking for social justice. The mission statement is as follows:

Activist San Diego is a social justice organization that promotes and facilitates the development of an active, inter-related, progressive community in San Diego through networking, culture and electronic technology.

They provide the forum for people involved in grassroots work for peace and social justice to network, and support one another. They sponsor a film series, nationally known speakers, and a very wide variety of events and organizations.

They promote events through a very informative weekly email newsletter, and have an online calendar and forum where people can post their events and updates. It's a peachy idea, and they're very successful in promoting cross-organizational cooperation amoung groups of people with common interests, but divergent paths.

Here is a list of their partners, and it's just a small portion of grassroots organizations they support. Yay for Activist San Diego!

* American Friends Service Committee
* City Heights Community Development Corporation
* The Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft
* Environmental Health Coalition
* North County Forum
* Peace Resource Center
* Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities
* Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization
* San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council
* San Diego Foundation for Change
* The Utility Consumers' Action Network
* The World Beat Center

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I don't really know what to say about the things I've been reading the last couple days about Neo-nazis in the military. Here's an especially disturbing story from Alternet.
Saturday Miscellany:

"Military commanders in Iraq say the day is fast approaching when we will start withdrawing our troops. I believe that day is called Election Day." --Jay Leno

Free GOP (Grand Oil Party) Bumper Stickers, anyone?

Huh. Is Dianne slooooowly moving toward the idea of troop deployment?

10,000 EPA SCIENTISTS PROTEST LIBRARY CLOSURES — Loss of Access to Collections Will Hamper Emergency Response and Research

Al Gore interview at Rolling Stone
It's finally almost time for Democracyfest. It starts this week, and I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be very interesting, and great fun. Woo and hoo. I was happy to see that MoveOn sent out an email announcing it. Hurrah, for MoveOn. I'm a HUGE fan of the concept of these big orgs like MoveOn, PDA, DFA, etc working together. That's nothing but smart.

Ok...maybe it can be difficult sometimes too, but mostly, it's smart.

imo, organizations on the left need to work together more. I'd be happy to see people realize that their groups can maintain their individual identity AND work with others. Thankfully, I'm seeing more of that mutual support. More more!

So, back to Demfest...I'm working to help with registration the first two days, and being the social creature that I am, that's a fitting job for me. On Thursday night there's a meet and greet. Then Friday morning is a live taping of the Al Franken Show.

Friday afternoon the workshops begin, and you can attend a lecture/discussion group series about "Present Actions for Future Elections" or join "Precinct Day" activities where you can learn to support campaigns at the local level. It's training for on the ground, Democratic activists. A big thumbs up for THAT, since the Republicans have developed such a great grassroots base that they have enough people to send them where they need them, when they need them.

Friday night Robert Greenwald will be showing The Big Buy.

Saturday and Sunday will be a continuation of workshops and discussion groups, and will include individual lectures by David Sirota, Marjorie Cohn, Ann Wright, Maxine Waters and many others.

The ACLU will hold a protest rights workshop. There will be showings of several films, including The Ambassador (about John Negroponte,) and Celebrating Norman Corwin. There will also be opportunity to practice your on-camera interview skills. On Sunday there will be some workshops for those who build campaign websites. Good stuff.

Lots of info and lots of practical knowledge to be gained there.

It's not all work. We get to play too. We're going to put the party back in the party. For one, Franken should be fun. On Saturday night there will be a concert, bbq/Mexican dinner and some speechifying. Howard Dean will be the keynote speaker at the beautiful Outdoor Amphitheater at SDSU.

Sunday morning is Darrell's Famous Blogger Breakfast. Bring your laptop. I'm not famous, but I'm goin' anyway! Hope to see you there!


Friday, July 07, 2006

Announcing Camp Democracy on the National Mall starting September 8.

A camp for peace, democracy, and the restoration of the rule of law. Camp Casey will move from Crawford, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to create a larger camp focused not only on ending the war but also on righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress. Tents will provide activist activities, trainings, workshops, and entertainment on these themes: War/Peace/ Nonviolence | The Constitution/Accountability/Censure/Impeachment | Poverty/Katrina/ Immigration/Labor | Environment/Health Care/Education

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yolo County, CA Registrar on Voting Machine Sleepovers: 'If E-Voting Systems can't be secured, perhaps they ought not be used at all. Period.'

The response to questions about the voting machine sleepover has been less than satisfying. Both the local rag and the registrar of voters have basically said, stop being paranoid.

Sorry. No can do.

btw, the secretary of state's office never did write back when I wrote to ask them if it's ok with them for electronic voting machines to spend the night (and the week) with poll workers.
A little 4th of July reading.

Happy 4th of July!

Declaration of Independence

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Spy Agency Sought U.S. Call Records Before 9/11, Lawyers Say

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

Whoa! Not that I'm really surprised, but if they were working on this BEFORE 9/11 it undermines some of the justification they've been using for the program. Namely, that it's necessary in "war time".

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'll tell you what I'd like to see. A web resource of progressive/liberal/Democratic sites, books, media, films, art, and political resources. Some kind of portal. I'd like it to have book and film reviews. I'd like to see links to non-profits doing political and grassroots work. I'd like it to reflect that fact that Democrats do, in fact, have ideas. I don't know why we let that go unchallenged. Well, I do know. We don't always have the same access to the outlets that allow the Republicans to spout their plans and policies. In the areas where we DO, we've not exploited the opportunity.

We could use a bit more fusion between groups and organizations. I'd like to see a little more coordination. If the left isn't going to have strong leadership, that's all the more reason for us to work together rather than just next to one another.

Actually I even like the narrowed down idea of a site that talks about and reviews the progressive books and movies that aren't getting MSM attention.

In that spirit, I created a link to a terryfaceplace bookshelf at Powells. I threw a handful of books on there that I've either read or had recommended to me over the past months. If you know of anything I might add, just let me know. I've put the link in the sidebar too so you can purchase books anytime by way of the affiliate program, and terryfaceplace will get the credit. Thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Last night I finished reading How Would a Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald. Excellent writing about how this administration is truly neither liberal nor conservative, but radical in their views about presidential power. From holding prisoners without charges or counsel, to using torture to extract confessions, to spying on American citizens without a warrant, the administration of George Bush has consistantly taken the law into their own hands, and away from the American people.

Greenwald is clear and rational, and his thesis is powerful. As a country, we can not afford to abide by this administration's radical ideas regarding the founding documents of this nation. When you add up recent events that may seem isolated from one another, the fact is, they are all founded in the extremist notion that maintaining ultimate power in this nation rests in the office of the president, rather than in our democratic system of government. This is a stunning and radical departure from traditional American political ideals, and has no basis in American history, save our break from England that was caused by the very same type of abuses.

The last time we had a King George that believed he was the sole arbiter of the law, we had a revolution. Today's King George is treading on dangerous constitutional territory. It's beyond time for today's patriots to stand up and use their power, as expressed in the laws of this nation, to protect the constitution. The Bush administration has seriously breached our core democratic values. How would a patriot act?

Timely and informative, How Would a Patriot Act? is an important book that deserves more attention. It's common sense for these times. Thomas Paine would be proud.