Voting Machine Problems, Exit Polls Kept Secret, Tidal Power, Free Hugs Campaign
Revealing News Articles
November 8, 2006
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. These news articles include revealing information on voting machine problems, exit polls being kept secret, tidal power as a promising new energy source, a "free hugs" campaign, and more. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Poll Workers Struggle With Vote Machines
November 7, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts Tuesday, delaying voters in several states and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead. In Indiana's Marion County, electronic optical-scan machines that read paper ballots initially weren't working right in more than 100 precincts. Election officials in Delaware County, Ind., and Lebanon County, Pa., extended polling hours because of early machine troubles blamed on bad programming. Republicans in Passaic County, N.J., complained a ballot had been pre-marked on some machines with a vote for the Democratic Senate candidate. In Colorado, Democratic Party officials said they would ask a state judge to keep Denver polling places open an extra two hours Tuesday because of long lines. A national Election Protection coalition logged 9,000 calls by noon on [their elections] hotline. In one case, a poll worker unintentionally wiped the electronic ballot activators. Some machines...jammed when they were turned on. One location suspended voting for 45 minutes because it received the wrong machine. But voting equipment companies said they hadn't seen anything beyond the norm and blamed most of the problems on human error. Nearly half of all voters were using optical-scan systems. Thirty-eight percent were casting votes on touchscreen machines that have been criticized as susceptible to hackers. Many states established voter registration databases for the first time and found problems matching drivers' license and Social Security data with voter rolls, sometimes simply because of a middle initial.
Analysts outraged over U.S. adjustments of employment data
November 7, 2006, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
U.S. non-farm payrolls data—arguably the most closely watched indicator in the world's largest economy—are revised so often and by so much that they can't be trusted, some strategists argued yesterday. Their comments come after Friday's report for October showed huge upward revisions for job creation in August and September. And last month, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said 810,000 more jobs were created between March, 2005, and March, 2006, than originally thought—the biggest revision ever made to the data. "How can you trust a non-farm payroll report that shows such massive revisions—we have never seen this before to such an extent," David Rosenberg, North American economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., railed in a note to clients. The U.S. report—which measures the creation of non-agricultural jobs—is usually released on the first Friday of the month and provides the earliest economic snapshot of the previous month. It tends to be one of the top market-moving indicators, influencing stocks, bonds and currency markets in the U.S. and beyond. "We find it utterly comical and at times almost contemptible that some in our business still wish to trade pending this report," [investment guru] Dennis Gartman wrote in his newsletter yesterday. "Such is nonsense, for the report itself is nonsense."
Report: Feds Refusing FBI Terror Cases
November 6, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
The Justice Department increasingly has refused to prosecute FBI cases targeting suspected terrorists over the past five years, according to private researchers who reviewed department records. The report being released Monday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University raises questions about the quality of the FBI's investigations. Prosecutors declined to bring charges in 131 of 150, or 87 percent, of international terrorist case referrals from the FBI between October 2005 and June 2006. That number marks the peak of generally steady increases from the 2001 budget year, when prosecutors rejected 33 percent of such cases from the FBI. The data "raise troubling questions about the bureau's investigation of criminal matters involving individuals the government has identified as international terrorists," the report said. It noted that prosecutions in traditional FBI investigations since 2001—including drug cases, white collar crimes and organized crimes—have decreased while the number of agents and other employees has risen. "So with more special agents, many more intelligence analysts, and many fewer prosecutions the question must be asked: What is the FBI doing?" the report said.
Note: With the current administration's frequent claims to be tough on terrorism, does this make any sense? Could it be that some of the accused are being protected from prosecution?
U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons
November 4, 2006, Washington Post
The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk. The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage." The battle over legal rights for terrorism suspects detained for years in CIA prisons centers on Majid Khan, a 26-year-old former Catonsville resident who was one of 14 high-value detainees transferred in September from the "black" sites to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public. An attorney for Khan's family, responded in a court document yesterday "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority...to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct." Khan's family did not learn of his whereabouts until Bush announced his transfer in September, more than three years after he was seized. Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.'"
Note: Interesting that not only the government documents, but even this article avoids mentioning the word torture, when that is clearly what this is all about.
A Rising Wave Of Tidal Power
November 4, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
In the quest for oil-free power, a handful of small companies are staking claims on the boundless energy of the rising and ebbing sea. The technology that would draw energy from ocean tides...is largely untested, but several newly-minted companies are reserving tracts of water from Alaska's Cook Inlet to Manhattan's East River in the belief that such sites could become profitable sources of electricity. The site that is furthest along in testing lies in New York's East River, between Manhattan and Queens, where Verdant Power plans to install two underwater turbines this month. If all goes well, New York-based Verdant could have up to 300 turbines in the river by 2008. The turbines would produce as much as 10 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for 8,000 homes. With 12,380 miles of coastline, the U.S. may seem like a wide-open frontier for the fledgling industry, but experts say interest will focus on only a few. Government and the private sector in Europe, Canada and Asia have moved faster than their U.S. counterparts to support tidal energy research. As of June 2006, there were small facilities in Russia, Nova Scotia and China, as well as a 30-year-old plant in France, according to a report by EPRI. Tidal power proponents liken the technology to little wind turbines on steroids. Water's greater density means fewer and smaller turbines are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as wind turbines. Wave energy technology is less advanced than tidal and will need more government subsidies...however, the number of good wave sites far exceeds that of tidal. But a few companies are working aggressively to usher wave power into the energy industry.
Note: To understand why the U.S. is moving slowly, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/newenergysources.
Election Exit-Polls to Be 'Quarantined' to Prevent Early Result Calls
November 4, 2006, Fox News/New York Post
Exit-poll data will be under lock and key Election Day to help networks avoid the Bush-Gore debacle of 2000 - and prevent bloggers from trumpeting results before the polls close. The crucial info - which could provide an early hint if a Democratic wave is in fact under way - will be squirreled away in a windowless New York office room dubbed the "Quarantine Room," the Washington Post first reported. A media consortium established to track polling results has set up ironclad rules to prevent leaks to news-hungry Web sites like the Drudge Report. Only two staffers from each of the TV networks and The Associated Press will be authorized to tear through the exit-poll data at the vote vault. Those staffers will have to surrender their cellphones, laptop computers and BlackBerrys - it's the price of admission. And they won't be able communicate with their offices until 5 p.m.
Note: Could this be a means of preventing "problems" with large discrepancies between exit polls and the elections results? How do we know that the two staffers selected from each network won't manipulate the results? Several TV networks had difficulties in the 2004 election describing sudden changes in the results of the exit polls during the elections. For lots more, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/electionscoverups
Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office
November 3, 2006, New York Times
Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces. And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen's supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip. An obscure provision...terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee. It has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who followed the bill closely as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that she still does not know how the provision made its way into what is called the conference report, which reconciles differences between House and Senate versions of a bill. Neither the House nor the Senate version contained such a termination clause before the conference, all involved agree. Mr. Bowen's office has 55 auditors and inspectors in Iraq and about 300 reports and investigations already to its credit, far outstripping any other oversight agency in the country.
Inside the Shocking HBO Film That Rocks the Voting Process
November 2, 2006, TV Guide
HBO's Hacking Democracy...tells the story of Bev Harris, a grandmother and writer who started investigating the subject of electronic voting in 2002 after questioning her county's switch to electronic touch-screen voting machines. Unsatisfied with their explanation, Harris set out to learn about electronic voting systems on her own, and in doing so stumbled upon shocking revelations about the vulnerability of the software and hardware. Harris, who went on to form the watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org, recently spoke with TVGuide. TVGuide: [Diebold is] taking issue with...the hacking demonstration which shows how central tabulators can be tampered with by modifying a single memory card. Harris: It's interesting they would bring that up because the State of California commissioned its own independent study. Diebold was ordered to cooperate with the study. All of the scientists said, "The hack is real, and it is dangerous." And they found 16 additional vulnerabilities. TVGuide: Watching this unsettling documentary, you come away feeling like paper-chad ballots are our best bet. Harris: Actually, those are counted by a computer, as well. This election, 45 percent of the jurisdictions in New Hampshire will be counting by hand. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has introduced a bill into the U.S. Congress to have the entire presidential race counted by hand in 2008. Canada counts their federal elections by hand, and they have the results generally in about four hours, and with little controversy. The missing ingredient has been the citizens. Any system that we end up with has to be one that citizens can oversee.
Important Note: Don't miss this powerful, highly revealing documentary now available for free viewing on the Internet at https://www.WantToKnow.info/electionsvideodocumentary. For future airing on HBO, click here.
Five myths about war and terrorism
November 2006 Issue, Ode Magazine (Wonderfully inspiring magazine)
If we believe what we see in the media, the world is on fire. The impression we get is that conflicts are increasing all around the globe while the stockpile of deadly weapons constantly expands. All this is very troubling–and quite untrue. The exhaustive Human Security Report offers a very different picture of our world. The 2005 report finds clear evidence that the world is becoming a more peaceful place. Myth 1: War is spreading. Yes, the number of armed conflicts increased sharply after World War II, but has just as sharply declined since 1991. In the last 15 years...the number of armed conflicts and wars actually fell at least 40 percent. The number of genocides and political murders declined by no less than 80 percent. In 1950, the average conflict claimed the lives of 38,000 people, while in 2002 that figure was 600, a decline of 98 percent. Myth 2: The weapons arsenal is increasing. International arms trade fell 33 percent between 1990 and 2000, and as a percentage of the value of the world economy, defence spending declined from 4.2 to 2.7 percent. Myth 3: Civilians are the vast majority of war victims. In the most recent wars, civilians account for somewhere between 30 and 60 percent of deaths. Myth 4: Women are the primary victims of war. War continues to be waged by men, against men. Ninety percent of the victims are men. Myth 5: Terrorism is the biggest threat in the world. Over the past 30 years, an average of slightly less than 3,000 people have died at the hands of terrorists each year. The chance of being a victim of terrorism remains exceptionally small. Between alleged and real threats, there is often little correlation.
Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers
February 4, 2006, New York Times
The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq. KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. Officials of the corps said that they had solicited bids and that KBR was the lone responder. A spokesman for the corps, Clayton Church, said that the centers could be at unused military sites or temporary structures and that each one would hold up to 5,000 people. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jamie Zuieback...added that she could not provide additional information about the company's statement that the contract was also meant to support the rapid development of new programs.
Free-hug man speaks out
September 28, 2006, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
The man behind the latest YouTube sensation has spoken out for the first time about his global cuddling controversy. Serial hugger Juan Mann describes the free hugs he hands out...as fast-food emotion. His cuddling campaign received an international dose of publicity today, after a clip showing his public displays of affection won a coveted front page spot on the video sharing website. An American television audience of millions also watched him at work, when the video was broadcast on the prime-time breakfast program Good Morning America yesterday. Today, the hugger was at it again, brandishing his "free hugs" sign in the busy pedestrian thoroughfare, and having quite a few people take him up on his offer. "It's a way to make people smile," Mann said. "For every person who gets a hug, you see five walk past with a smile on their face." But his efforts to spread the love became a little too popular for some people's liking, according to a blurb on the YouTube video, which said: "As this symbol of human hope spread across the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED." Undeterred, Mann collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition he presented to the City of Sydney council. Demands for a halt to the hugs petered out shortly after, and the end of the clip shows Mann hugging an official. City worker Elly Mitchell, who handed out a few free hugs on her lunch break today, said she was inspired to organise [an] event after seeing the video online. "We're going to hug the city," Ms Mitchell said.
Note: If you haven't seen this powerfully inspiring four-minute video clip yet, join the over 5 million who have seen it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4. The free hugs movement is rapidly spreading around the world! Click here and here to see more. For several other short, deeply inspiring videos, click here.
Note: For those interested in UFOs, an intriguing documentary titled UFO-The Greatest Story Ever Denied is now available for free viewing at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1891970137640135436. This very well done film provides amazing photos, videos, and testimony from highly credible witnesses on UFOs.
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Voting Machine Problems, Exit Polls Kept Secret, Tidal Power, Free Hugs Campaign