Monday, May 16, 2005

News Dedicated to Commencement

Around the country this month and next, there will be hundreds if not thousands of Commencement exercises held in every city and town nationwide. High school students, undergraduates and graduate students receive diplomas and degrees after years of hard work, financial sacrifices in many, if not most cases along with attendant deep commitments to various programs of study. Most Commencement events involve well-known political, academic, religious or nationally or internationally distinguished speakers. Most of them will talk to the students about their new beginnings and how one must live ones' dreams and achieve ones' goals.

In honor of all students who will graduate this spring, I post news that is a reflection of my future hopes and dreams for their generations - that one day they will experience a national media that is not corrupted by political and corporate interests. Not to mention a government that is not based on unchecked greed, power, serving the interests of a few and the drive to annihilate of our Constitution, thanks to their accomplices, the media.

On to the news.

While Charles Gibson interviewed an actress from Desperate Housewives at Tiffany's in NYC (how pathetic you looked Charlie, you sell-out, though I sense you KNOW you are a sell-out) on Good Morning America and the MSNBC (whomever) anchor interviewed the author of a book on Frank Sinatra (yaddya ya ya, blah, blah blah) this morning, while CNN continued its obsession with Michael Jackson, (you guys have a REAL problem- how are your ratings, by the way,- F-?) here is what is happening in the real world of news today. News found, naturally on the Internet and in the bloggosphere. By the way, however, CSPAN did an excellent piece on border patrol in Arizona this morning.

News unfit to print or air because it doesn't stay on right wing nazi message.


I received this report from Kathy Dopp, President of US Count Votes this morning. A new scientific study is released revealing the hypotheses on voter fraud remain credible. How the Bushies stole another election? You know the hell they did.

For Immediate Release - Press Conference Today

2004 Presidential Election: Hypotheses of Fraud Remain Credible; New Scientific Study Released

Contact: Kathy Dopp, US Count Votes, President

(435) 608-1382

The persistence of credible hypotheses of election fraud, six months after the election, underscores the fragility of the U.S. electoral system. US Count Votes continues its systematic statistical study of the discrepancy between the Edison-Mitofsky exit polls and November's reported presidential election results.

Miami, FL. – Ron Baiman, Ph.D. of US Count Votes and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs of Chicago, will release the new results at the meeting of the American Association of Political Opinion Researchers today, Saturday at a 2:15 p.m. Press Conference in the Hotel Fontainebleau Hilton Resort lobby, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140.

Peter Pekarsky, the lead attorney being sued by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, will be available to talk about what has happened in Ohio, and why the election needs to be investigated.

Mitofsky, of the Edison/Mitofsky group who released an analysis on January 19th of their November 2nd exit poll that had predicted a strong win for Kerry, will also be in attendance at the AAPOR conference.

The National Election Data Archive (NEDA) today has released a new report, demonstrating that data from the Edison/Mitofsky analysis is consistent with the hypothesis of a corrupted vote count, and inconsistent with the competing idea that Bush voters were under-sampled in the poll. Using numerical modeling techniques to simulate the effect of polling bias, NEDA scientists are able to reproduce signature patterns in the Edison/Mitofsky data by incorporating a general shift in the official vote tally in the model.

Most telling is the fact that the highest participation rates and the peak disparity between poll and official returns both occurred in precincts where Bush made his strongest showing. This feature of the data is inconsistent with the Edison/Mitofsky assumption that polling bias was responsible for the gap.

For the complete report, see

This paper follows an earlier study released on March 31, 2005, by a group of statisticians for the National Election Data Archive Project, Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies.

BILL MOYERS FIGHTS BACK. Bill Moyers, speaker at the Media Reform Conference in St. Louis this weekend, blasts the Bush administration lackies for their attacks on PBS. Moyers says he might come out of his rocking chair..PLEASE DO BILL. We need you more than ever now.

Another piece about Moyers found on NYT Business via Buzz Flash. According to Buzz Flash, Moyers says Tomlinson paid a right wing hack $10,000 of our tax payer $$$ to view "NOW" and report back anything smacking of "liberal bias." This is utterly outrageous! As Conyers said on his blog today, why is it that we find news in the opinion sections of the newspapers.


BARBARA BOXER SLOWS DOWN BOLTON'S NOMINATION. Says she'll lift her hold on the nomination when information requested by the Judicial Committee on Bolton is released to them. (Rice had refused to turn over the information requested earlier by the Judicial Committee on Bolton). You go girl. Found on the San Francisco Chronicle via Buzz Flash.


Paul Krugman asks "Stay What Course?" in Iraq. Couldn't have said it better, Mr. Krugman. The Bush Will to Power re doux.


Sent by Ken this morning - an article written by Bruce Schnier one of the most respected security experts in the U.S.

by Bruce Schnier
Bruce Schnier is one of the most respected data security experts in the US. -K

The United States will get a national ID card. The REAL ID Act establishes uniform standards for state driver's licenses, to go into effect in three years, effectively creating a national ID card. It's a bad idea, and is going to make us all less safe. It's also very expensive. And it all happened without any serious debate in Congress.

I've already written about national IDs. I've written about the fallacies of identification as a security tool. I'm not going to repeat myself here, and I urge everyone who is interested to read those essays (links at the end). Remember, the question to ask is not whether a national ID will do any good; the question to ask is whether the good it does is worth the cost. By that measure, a national ID is a lousy security trade-off. And everyone needs to understand why.

Aside from the generalities in my previous essays, there are specifics about REAL ID that make for bad security.

The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology." This will, of course, make identity theft easier. Already some hotels take photocopies of your ID when you check in, and some bars scan your ID when you try to buy a drink. Since the U.S. has no data protection law, those businesses are free to resell that data to data brokers like ChoicePoint and Acxiom. And they will; it would be bad business not to. It actually doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same information.

(Those who point to European countries with national IDs need to pay attention to this point. European countries have a strong legal framework for data privacy and protection. This is why the American experience will be very different than the European experience, and a much more serious danger to society.)

Even worse, there's likely to be an RFID chip in these licenses. The same specification for RFID chips embedded in passports includes details about embedding RFID chips in driver's licenses. I expect the federal government will require states to do this, with all of the associated security problems (e.g., surreptitious access).

REAL ID requires that driver's licenses contain actual addresses, and no post office boxes. There are no exceptions made for judges or police -- even undercover police officers. This seems like a major unnecessary security risk.

REAL ID also prohibits states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. This makes no sense, and will only result in these illegal aliens driving without licenses -- which isn't going to help anyone's security. (This is an interesting insecurity, and is a direct result of trying to take a document that is a specific permission to drive an automobile, and turning it into a general identification device.)

REAL ID is expensive. It's an unfunded mandate: the federal government is forcing the states to spend their own money to comply with the act. I've seen estimates that the cost to the states of complying with REAL ID will be tens of billions. That's money that can't be spent on actual security.

And the wackiest thing is that none of this is required. In October 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was signed into law. That law included stronger security measures for driver's licenses, the security measures recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report. That's already done. It's already law.

REAL ID goes way beyond that. It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses.

REAL ID doesn't go into effect until three years after it becomes law, but I expect things to be much worse by then. One of my fears is that this new uniform driver's license will bring a new level of "show me your papers" checks by the government. Already you can't fly without an ID, even though no one has ever explained how that ID check makes airplane terrorism any harder. I have previously written about Secure Flight, another lousy security system that tries to match airline passengers against terrorist watch lists. I've already heard rumblings about requiring states to check identities against "government databases" before issuing driver's licenses. I'm sure Secure Flight will be used for cruise ships, trains, and possibly even subways. Combine REAL ID with Secure Flight and you have an unprecedented system for broad surveillance of the population.

Is there anyone who would feel safer under this kind of police state?

Americans overwhelmingly reject national IDs in general, and there's an enormous amount of opposition to the REAL ID Act.

If you haven't heard much about REAL ID in the newspapers, that's not an accident. The politics of REAL ID was almost surreal. It was voted down last fall, but was reintroduced and attached to legislation that funds military actions in Iraq. This was a "must-pass" piece of legislation, which means that there was no debate on REAL ID. No hearings, no debates in committees, no debates on the floor. Nothing. And it's now law.

We're not defeated, though. REAL ID can be fought in other ways: via funding, in the courts, etc. Those seriously interested in this issue are invited to attend an EPIC-sponsored event in Washington, DC, on the topic on June 6th. I'll be there.

Text of the REAL ID Act:

Congressional Research Services analysis:

My previous writings on identification and national IDs:

Security problems with RFIDs:

My previous writings on Secure Flight:


EPIC's Washington DC event:

No comments: