Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Outrage and Rant: More lies!

! 2004 Presidential Election Fraud
American democracy, the American people and the world have been betrayed by those members of the Republic party that felt dirty tricks were all justified in their determination to seize control of the federal government. The following items are the beginning of a story that is breaking, and I think it will eventually bring down the current administration and set back the Republican party for a long time.

Robert F. Kennedy's in-depth article in Rolling Stone, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? link
mentioned at OOTJ earlier by Prof. Kennedy's proud librarian. Read the article and the sidebars, too.

! Ongoing issues with voting machines
"Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine" Report from the Center for Information Technical Policy at Princeton University link
An independent study of the Diebold voting machines that discovered they could be unlocked with a hotel mini-bar key. Of course, they found lots of other ways to hack the vote on the machines which are in wide use in U.S. elections, concluding in their executive summary:

We analyzed the machine's hardware and software, performed experiments on it, and considered whether real election practices would leave it suitably secure. We found that the machine is vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces.

! Hacking Net Neutrality Polls
Ars Technica reports (link) the
nationwide survey of 800 registered voters is being touted by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation because it purports to show that Americans are not interested in net neutrality legislation. Calling proposed net neutrality "onerous," the Committee's press materials say that the poll makes it clear that Americans prefer "video choice" over such regulations.

Ars Technica criticizes the poll as being misleading to the point of pushing opinions onto the polled individuals. The Committee seems to be creating its cover story.

! Fake Science Opposing Global Warming
And the UK paper, The Guardian runs this report. They detail evidence the big tobacco companies as well as Exxon have been funding fake citizen's groups and bogus scientific bodies to fight against the concept of global warming. Exxon, I can understand, but Phillip Morris? Here is an explanation of why they got involved:

Had it not been for the settlement of a major class action against the tobacco companies in the US, we would never have been able to see what happened next. But in 1998 they were forced to publish their internal documents and post them on the internet.

Within two months of its publication, Philip Morris, the world's biggest tobacco firm, had devised a strategy for dealing with the passive-smoking report. In February 1993 Ellen Merlo, its senior vice-president of corporate affairs, sent a letter to William I Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president, explaining her intentions: "Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report ... Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans."

To this end, she had hired a public relations company called APCO. She had attached the advice it had given her. APCO warned that: "No matter how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers."

So the fight against a ban on passive smoking had to be associated with other people and other issues. Philip Morris, APCO said, needed to create the impression of a "grassroots" movement - one that had been formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight "overregulation". It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one "unfounded fear" among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones. APCO proposed to set up "a national coalition intended to educate the media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars ... Upon formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in selected states."

APCO would found the coalition, write its mission statements, and "prepare and place opinion articles in key markets". For this it required $150,000 for its own fees and $75,000 for the coalition's costs. ...

There are clear similarities between the language used and the approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by Exxon. The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to challenge the scientific consensus. As a memo from the tobacco company Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." Both industries also sought to distance themselves from their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots".

But the connection goes further than that. TASSC, the "coalition" created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any other body.

TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon. The website it has financed - JunkScience.com - has been the main entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found its way into the mainstream press.

And of course, the image decorating this rant, (courtesy of Greenpeace at http://weblog.greenpeace.org/iraq/archives/000471.html) is just one more lie we've been given.


Marie S. Newman said...

Betsy, good for you for calling attention to the widespread voter fraud in 2004. I don't understand why the media haven't been all over this story, but the mainstream media have been eerily silent. It is an outrage, and I am afraid it will happen again in November.

Marie S. Newman said...

This is a follow-up to my last comment. Why am I afraid it will happen again in November? Because Bush, Cheney, Rove, et al. would do ANYTHING to hang onto power. They preach about bringing democracy to the Middle East while doing their best to undermine it here in the United States, and almost nobody sees through the lies and hypocrisy.

Betsy McKenzie said...

Thank you, Marie! I feel like I have dropped through the looking glass!

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