Sunday, April 26, 2009

AZ Attorney General Recounts Pima County RTA Ballots in Secret, Foiling Citizen Efforts to Determine Whether or Not this $2 Bn Initiative Was Stolen

Bill Risner is interviewed by Tucson newscaster Bud Foster on this subject.

Tucson Citizen
April 27, 2009

Election integrity: Ensured or still in question?
Bill Risner: Full Transparency is the answer in achieving solid results - and public trust

The Pima County Democratic Party is in unanimous agreement that the accurate counting of our votes is fundamental, critical and non-negotiable. Some 1,500 of our volunteers work at each election to ensure the honesty of those elections. The recent RTA ballot count by the Attorney General’s office was a by-product of that effort but, by no means, a central focus. The central problem is that we use a computer system that makes cheating easy and detection difficult.

The RTA was endorsed by the Democratic Party. Our concerns had nothing to do with the plan. It had everything to do with the sworn affidavit in which the computer operator confessed to rigging the election on the instruction of his county bosses. That reported confession combined with our analysis of the database that revealed multiple anomalies consistent with such rigging required an investigation, in our view, to settle a supremely important question.

Local newspapers and the Republican and Libertarian parties joined in our request for a serious investigation. Since the ballots had been in the custody of Pima County officials for the past two and a half years, the issue of whether those ballots were the original ballots was a necessary issue to resolve. Pima County owns a ballot printing machine and the “GEMS” election software still contains all the printing instructions for that election. The original ballots were printed on an offset press by the Runbeck Company and Pima County’s ballot printing machine uses a laser printer. We asked the Attorney General to conduct a forensic examination itself, or to allow us to look at the ballots with a microscope to confirm that they were all offset-printed. The Attorney General refused both requests.

We noted that the simple non-destructive examination of sample ballots would serve our mutual goal of public confidence. Despite the presence of the microscope during the one-and-a-half weeks that the ballots were being counted, the Attorney General never permitted the examination of any ballots. We regret that he chose not to resolve that obvious issue since it was both important and easy to resolve.

However, our primary concern, by far, concerns future elections. The value of examining past election practices is to ensure that corrections and safeguards are in place for future elections. The entire election process is dependant on doing it right in the first place.

The common problem shared by all citizens in Pima County is that it is easy to cheat using our computer system and very difficult to do anything about it. The “easy-to-cheat” issue is agreed upon by all knowledgeable observers. Interestingly, those who know the most about computers are the least comfortable with them counting our votes using secret software instructions. Some sample quotes explain the problem.

“Because it can be easily manipulated, the bottom line in this whole thing is we’re only going to catch the stupid people, all right, because one could also alter the audit logs. One could do anything.” – Pima County Attorney’s Office Chief Civil Deputy, Chris Straub.

-iBeta report to the Arizona Attorney General: “During testing it was discovered that the GEMS software exhibits fundamental security flaws that make definitive validation of data impossible due to the ease of data and log manipulation.”

-David Jefferson, Ph.D.: “The security mechanisms that are there are ‘in general hopelessly inadequate to prevent manipulation of ballot records or vote totals by anyone with even a very short period of access to the system.”

-Arizona Election Director Joseph Kanefield: “…this is no secret. These issues have been known by not only our office but election offices all over the country.”

The “easy-to-cheat” problem must be combined with the impossibility to challenge any election. State law requires that an election challenge be filed within five days of the approval of the canvass with specific details as to why the outcome would have been different. The paper ballots cannot be examined. The electronic database cannot be examined within that narrow time frame and can be easily altered in any event. Finally, the courts have no jurisdiction after the five-day period. Therefore, it is impossible to challenge any crooked election. We know it is impossible and so do the election computer operators.

The answer is to use a graphic commercial scanner to scan all the ballots after they are counted and to make the totality of the ballots publicly available on the internet or other electronic means. Those ballots can then be counted by any person, candidate or political party using open-source free software.

-Bill Risner is a personal injury specialist trial attorney who has represented the Pima County Democratic Party in election matters.
PS If this should be the reader's first exposure to this issue and you would like to know more, please see this blog and play the video.

Monday, April 13, 2009

THE CHINA SYNDROME: How the Melt Down Will Likely Go

Blogger’s Note: The following is an abridged version of an article in the Business Section of today’s New York Times ...with my comments interspersed.

April 13, 2009

China Slows Purchases of U.S. and Other Bonds


HONG KONG — Reversing its role as the world’s fastest-growing buyer of United States Treasuries and other foreign bonds, the Chinese government actually sold bonds heavily in January and February before resuming purchases in March, according to data released during the weekend by China’s central bank.

China’s foreign reserves grew in the first quarter of this year at the slowest pace in nearly eight years, edging up $7.7 billion, compared with a record increase of $153.9 billion in the same quarter last year.

China has lent vast sums to the United States — roughly two-thirds of the central bank’s $1.95 trillion in foreign reserves are believed to be in American securities. But the Chinese government now finances a dwindling percentage of new American mortgages and government borrowing.

This means China’s central bank currently owns about $1.3 trillion in American securities, which is a large investment to them but only about 17% of the current U.S. national debt (see below).

In the last two months, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese officials have expressed growing nervousness about their country’s huge exposure to America’s financial well-being.

The main effect of slower bond purchases may be a weakening of Beijing’s influence in Washington as the Treasury becomes less reliant on purchases by the Chinese central bank.

Uhh... Less reliant? With the national debt practically doubling in the Bush years from $5.7 trillion to $10.0 trillion – and as of 7 April is standing at $11.2 trillion – one has to ask: Just who is going to step in and buy our ever mounting debt if the Chinese stop buying ...or worse, if they start selling? Answer: No one but suckers.

Asked about the balance of financial power between China and the United States, one of the Chinese government’s top monetary economists, Yu Yongding, replied that “I think it’s mainly in favor of the United States.”

He cited a saying attributed to John Maynard Keynes: “If you owe your bank manager a thousand pounds, you are at his mercy. If you owe him a million pounds, he is at your mercy.”

But if you are known to have squandered that million pounds and then gambled away couple million more on top of that, your bank manager realizes he is no longer at your mercy. In fact he is left with no choice but to write off his loan to you ...and turn his thoughts to the most merciless punishment he can legally lay on you!

Private investors from around the world, including the United States, have been buying more American bonds in search of a refuge from global financial troubles. This has made the Chinese government’s cash less necessary and kept interest rates low in the United States over the winter despite the Chinese pullback.

Uhh... How many savvy investors truly believe American bonds are “a refuge from global financial troubles”? The only way I can think of that the Chinese government’s cash has been made “less necessary” would be if the Fed is buying this stupendous debt with taxpayer money.

There have also been some signs that Americans may consume less and save more money in response to hard economic times. This would further decrease the American dependence on Chinese savings.

Just “some signs”? The U.S. unemployment rate has been rising exponentially for two full years. Of course, Americans must consume less now and try to save more. But the more Americans who lose their jobs, the fewer there will be who have anything to save. And the bloated ranks of job seekers will depress the wages of those still working. So it is totally dopy to think that Americans’ savings can even slightly compensate for the Chinese government pulling out of their “T-bill” investments.

Mr. Wen voiced concern on March 13 about China’s dependence on the United States: “We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.”

The main worry of Chinese officials has been that American efforts to fight the current economic downturn will result in inflation and erode the value of American bonds, Chinese economists said in interviews in Beijing on Thursday and Friday.

“They are quite nervous about the purchasing power of fixed-income assets,” said Yu Qiao, an economics professor at Tsinghua University.

The Chinese Premier and other officials are talking about what the mainstream media repeatedly refer to as “ultra safe” U.S. Treasury bonds. Why are we being told they are “ultra safe” when the Chinese Premier is “definitely a little worried” about them? Answer: if a single country (e.g., Korea or Brazil) should ever start seriously selling, then so must China and Japan and everyone else. It would be a panic that would swiftly drive down the dollar values of all classes T-bills, pushing the interest rates the other way, that is, skyward. And in that instant most of those invested in U.S. T-bills and/or any other interest-paying U.S. bonds will loose their shirts.

The abrupt slowdown in China’s accumulation of foreign reserves ... seems to suggest that investors were sending large sums of money out of mainland China early this year in response to worries about the country’s economic future and possibly its social stability in the face of rising unemployment.

My thought: When Americans finally understand that their unemployment rate has reached about 20% when calculated by more realistic methods, possibly there will be social instability in the U.S. too.

Evidence of such capital flight included a flood of cash into the Hong Kong dollar. Mainland tourists were even buying gold and diamonds during Chinese new year holidays here in late January.

Well, the gold and diamonds are excellent hedges against currency devaluations...

China’s reserves have soared in recent years as the People’s Bank bought dollars on a huge scale to prevent China’s currency from appreciating as money poured into the country from trade surpluses and heavy foreign investment. But China’s trade surpluses have narrowed slightly as exports have fallen, while foreign investment has slowed as multinationals have conserved their cash.

Heavy purchases of Hong Kong dollars by mainland Chinese residents early this year also have the indirect effect of helping the United States borrow money. The Hong Kong government pegs its currency to the American dollar, and stepped up its purchases of Treasury bonds this winter in response to strong demand for Hong Kong dollars.

Well, I don’t know to what extent Hong Kong has really been buying Treasury bonds. But I do have a hutch as to why mainland Chinese have been converting their greenbacks to Hong Kong dollars: When the American dollar ultimately crashes, you can count on Hong Kong to UNpeg their dollar from the freefalling greenback...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We MUST STOP Geithner’s $Trillion Payoff of the Gambling Debts of the Five Largest U.S. Banks!

Geithner’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: The Entire Global Financial System is at Risk
When the Solution to the Financial Crisis becomes the Cause

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

YES WE CAN!: Scientists Report Evidence of Explosive Residues in Dust Samples from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.

World Trade Center photos taken about 4 and 8 seconds after initiation of the collapse of the south tower. (N.B. These photos are used here for educational purposes only. The copyright holder is Steve Kahn).

Physicists: Note that ejecta has been thrown laterally about 0.8 building widths, i.e. ~50 meters, in the first 4 seconds. How could that have happened powered solely to gravity, given that 4 seconds of free fall would displace the upper block only 78 meters downward?


The Open Chemical Physics Journal
Volume 2
ISSN: 1874-4125
pp.7-31 (25)
Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen
doi: 10.2174/1874412500902010007

NO WE CAN’T: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

On April 12, 2007, a 32-page request for corrections was submitted to NIST asserting that NIST's Final Report on the Twin Towers violates information quality standards and harms the interests of the petitioners -- scientists Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan, architect Richard Gage, engineer Frank Legge, 9/11 family members Bob Mcllvane and Bill Doyle, and the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.

Below, I reproduce a single paragraph from NIST’s September 27, 2007, letter of response to these petitioners, interspersed by my reaction to what they are saying there:
“Your letter also makes three requests for changes to Section 6.14.4 under the objectivity standard to include: (1) supporting data with transparent documentation and identification of error sources, with regards to the potential energy released during the downward movement of the upper stories, the absorptive capacity of the intact structure below the collapse zone, and the increase in falling mass below the collapse zone; (2) to revise the section if NIST finds the absorptive capacity of the intact structure below the collapse zone was greater than the energy of the falling stories; and (3) to include the results of tests for explosive residue. With regard to the first request, NIST has stated that it did not analyze the collapse of the towers. NIST’s analysis was carried to the point of collapse initiation. The text of section 6.14.4 is based upon the analysis of photographic and video evidence of the collapses from several vantage points.”
So that’s it? I watch the videos; ergo the reality behind what I see is whatever I think it is?
“With respect to the second request for change, it was most critical for NIST to explain why the collapse initiated. Once the collapse initiated, it is clear from the available evidence that the building was unable to resist the falling mass of the upper stories of the towers.”
It “is clear”? Yes, it is clear the towers fell down... But the whole point of request (2) was to answer the question: Could the collapses have taken place in the absence of explosives to weaken or destroy the steel columns below “the point of collapse initiation”? NIST HAS CLEARLY DUCKED THIS QUESTION! However, they do continue...
“Finally, NIST has stated that it found no corroborating evidence to suggest that explosives were used to bring down the buildings.”
So how hard did they search?
“NIST did not conduct tests for explosive residue...”
Huh? Of course, they wouldn’t find any “corroborating evidence” if they didn’t look. So why didn’t they?
“ noted above, such tests would not necessarily have been conclusive.”
Well, any undergraduate college student giving this as an excuse for not bothering to do his assigned physics or engineering lab experiment would have been given a no-recourse F!

At the very least, NIST has convicted itself of incompetence here. But being that NIST was the lead government agency that was paid $30 million to answer the lingering questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks, I think they’ve also convicted themselves of criminal malfeasance and nonfeasance.

B.T.Y. Anyone who thinks that the need for explosives to bring down the WTC towers had long ago been debunked by experts might want to read my debunking of one of the more credentialed "debunkers".
Any reader inspired to get deeper in to the history of the scientific investigations leading to the conclusion that explosives were involved in the WTC collapses would be well advised to start here.
And anyone with frank doubts that the WTC towers could have been rigged with explosives without detection, should check out this highly plausible scenario.

And finally, some of you are bound to have your doubts that any pre-planted explosives could possibly have been synchronized with the arrival of a pair jetliners piloted by a couple Arabs who could barely fly a Piper Cub. But the bigger question is how the alleged hijackings of the four jetliners on the morning of 9/11 – and their choreographed guidance to three of their selected targets – could have been so well synchronized at all. To answer that question, I developed a comprehensive hypothesis capable of accounting for the entire aviation part of the 9/11 equation. To download my work, go here and select the first pdf and the two highly-animated PowerPoints – if you can play them – otherwise select all three pdf’s (the latter two being inferior un-animated versions of the PowerPoints).