Lomax: 'Integration is killing Black folks'
MATAH key to survival

February 9, 2004


by Chinta Strausberg

Integration along with a lack of knowledge about Black history is
literally
killing African Americans and are the primary reasons for the demise of
their businesses and communities, Dr. Walter Lomax Jr. told the Chicago
Defender. Lomax, the chairman emeritus of the MATAH Black distribution
company who is also the biggest investor in that economic movement,
blamed integration for the social and economic plight of Blacks today.

Lomax, who lives on the 570-acre Aspen Grove Plantation in Virginia
where his great-grandmother was once a slave, said Blacks have forgotten
their roots. African Americans, he said, haven't passed on the legacy of
their
history to the next generation, and that they have and still commit the
most
egregious of sins-- abandon their own businesses just to emulate and
brush
elbows with whites.

Saying Blacks spend more than $800 billion a year 95 percent of it with
white businesses, Lomax blamed the lack of their support as the primary
reason why so many youths are falling through the cracks.
Their sense of hopelessness and the void of financial solidarity could
be the slippery slope blamed for the over-representation Blacks have in
the
burgeoning prison and jail populations in America.

"It's stupid," Lomax said referring to Blacks turning their backs on their
own businesses. To leave their own community and take their dollars
elsewhere is economic suicide, he said.

"That is why integration is going to undo us because they (other ethnic
groups) are coming (into Black communities) because they know they have
somebody they can exploit. "We are so exploitable...."

Once the owner of the Correctional Healthcare Solutions, Inc. where he
provided health care to more than 20,000 inmates in 50 facilities located
in 14 states, the Healthcare Management Alternatives, Inc., and
AmeriChoice, Lomax urged Blacks to support each other economically.

That unity, he said, helps to build capacity among Blacks while
stabilizing
their communities. It is also a way of passing on the torch to another
generation of successful African Americans.
Lomax urged Blacks to learn their own history and said Black History
Month should be practiced every day.

"You don't know where you're going unless you know where you've come
from," Lomax said. "It's so easy to not want to know your history because
we are preoccupied with every day activity....
"It's important to know your history so you will know that a tree without
roots will not grow," said Lomax who practiced medicine for 30-years in
Philadelphia.

"Knowing Black history, he said, will help Blacks be "more concerned
about community. You'll have more self-esteem. You'll work harder...study
harder.... "You won't fritter away the $800 billion that we supposedly
control
now," said Lomax--an amount Blacks simply give back to people who
don't look like them. "When you know your history, you'll be more
concerned
about creating businesses in your own community. You'll follow the
principles of Claud Anderson's 'PowerNomics.'"

Asked who will teach Blacks these principles of economic, ethnic, and
legacy survival skills, Lomax said: "It will depend upon us" because it
won't
be taught in the classroom.

"What makes you think the people who have put us in this condition are
going to get us out of this state? It will have to be afterschool
programs in
churches or mosques.

"There has to be a concerted effort of reestablishing family values,
teaching the importances of education and reestablishing the importance
of economic empowerment," Lomax stated.

"Go back to 50-years ago when we didn't have these kinds of problems
because you had parents and communities that would discipline you and
who made sure you had a certain standard of conduct," he said.

"Part of our problem is that our whole moral fiber as a country has
deteriorated so much. We are the ones who try to act it out the most."
Reminded that today parents are younger and don't know any better,
Lomax explained: "They're going to have to learn better. If we're to
survive
as a
people, we are going to have to go back to the old fashion way of facing
values. "Otherwise, we will just fritter away. Just because the dominant
culture, or white folks, are going to allow themselves to be destroyed
doesn't mean we have to follow.

"But, not only are we following (the wrong values), we seem to be leading
in
our own self-destruction," warned Lomax.
He pointed to the influence of the major media coupled with "being
influenced
by what other people write in books, papers, and what they produce for
us to see and hear.

"Their goal is not to make us brighter and stronger people," he said.
"Their goal is to keep us just like we are and if they have to sacrifice
their
own to do that, they'll do that, too, and they have," he stated. Blacks,
Lomax
said, are abandoning their own businesses while supporting and
sustaining white-owned firms.

"That's because we don't know, and we don't have leadership. Most of our
> leaders are Black politicians and Black ministers, and that is not our
lea dership...." When asked how can Blacks get their economics together,
Lomax, said: "hopefully through MATAH. If we can breathe life into MATAH
and organizations like that...," this will help solidify the Black dollar
and
empower the community. "Traditional leadership is so preoccupied with
integration, and integration for them represents being like white folks,
being integrated into their society and culture," he said.

"The only way integration can work is if it's an integration of
equal...everybody brings something to the table; otherwise, in business
terms, you have not a merger but an acquisition.
"If people bring something to the table together, it's a merger. If you
bring
unequals, it's an acquisition. We've been acquired.... We're
colonized.... "Most of our leadership is so preoccupied with being fair
and integrating and being so pro-immigration, all these things that helped
to destroy us a a people...."

Lomax said Blacks probably have some African American "messiah" that
could help lead them out of this predicament. But, he said: "They don't
realize it because white folks haven't said we're Black messiahs. Until
they say
who your leader is, you don't have him."

"Black leadership is lacking. We are a leaderless people.... "We need an
ideology we can rally around...self-esteem, economic empowerment,
self-preservation, do-for-self, stop trying to be integrated all the time,
take advantage of your own culture...all those things that God gave us
that everybody tries to emulate and benefit from.

"We should take it for our own benefit," he stated.
"We're no more than before. We're the slaves whether it's sports or
entertainment. We're the work horse, and they sit on the patio and
benefit from it," said Lomax.

Referring to the end of the Civil War and how there were about 250,000
freed Blacks "and they controlled less than one-half of one percent of
the
wealth of this country," Lomax said in 2004 "with all the education we
have,
with all the politicians we have...," Blacks control the same percentage
of
wealth. There is a reason why Blacks remain stuck at the economic wrung
of the ladder. "We got social integration, but, we didn't get economic
integration." Before, Lomax said Blacks patronized their own businesses
but that today "all of that has been integrated and now all we have are
kids
standing on the corners with their britches hanging" down.

The state of Black America, Lomax said, "It's like the tale of two cities,
the best of old times, the worst of old times.

"It's the best of times for a small sliver of people who have achieved...,
but, if you look at the rest of our people...," Lomax said they're lost
and have been left behind.

"Before integration, it was always that Talented Ten that would reach
back and help the 90 percent who were less fortunate, less talented.
"Before integration, that happened because I don't care how talented you
were, you had to stay in your own community, but, the Talented Ten left
and the majority of the people, had to fend for themselves.

"Today, the Talented Ten have been integrated," said Lomax.
When Lomax looks out of his window, he sees the graves of the white
slavemaster, and in the back, is the resting place for their slaves. The
view from his once plantation window is a stark reminder of where Blacks
have been, how far they've come, and sadly where they are today.
Integration is slowly burying them as they become more politically and
financially
impotent...dispensable in a society that pits Blacks against Hispanics
for mere contractual crumbs--in a nation Blacks built at gunpoint for
free.
Embrace MATAH and let today begin the first day of your life and the
financial healing and stability of your own community.

===============================================================

Bush Supports Shift of Jobs Overseas
By Warren Vieth and Edwin Chen
The Los Angeles Times 

Tuesday 10 February 2004 

The loss of work to other countries, while painful in the short term, will enrich
the economy eventually, his report to Congress says.

WASHINGTON — The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries
is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes
short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said Monday. 

The embrace of foreign outsourcing, an accelerating trend that has contributed to U.S. job losses in
recent years and has become an issue in the 2004 elections, is contained in the president's annual
report to Congress on the health of the economy. 

"Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade," said N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of
Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, which prepared the report. "More things are tradable than were
tradable in the past. And that's a good thing." 

The report, which predicts that the nation will reverse a three-year employment slide by creating 2.6
million jobs in 2004, is part of a weeklong effort by the administration to highlight signs that the
recovery is picking up speed. Bush's economic stewardship has become a central issue in the
presidential campaign, and the White House is eager to demonstrate that his policies are producing
results. 

In his message to Congress on Monday, Bush said the economy "is strong and getting stronger,"
thanks in part to his tax cuts and other economic programs. He said the nation had survived a stock
market meltdown, recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals and war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
was finally beginning to enjoy "a mounting prosperity that will reach every corner of America." 

The president repeated that message during an afternoon discussion about the economy at SRC
Automotive, an engine-rebuilding plant in Springfield, Mo., where he lashed out at lawmakers who
oppose making his tax cuts permanent. 

"When they say, 'We're going to repeal Bush's tax cuts,' that means they're going to raise your
taxes, and that's wrong. And that's bad economics," he said. 

Democrats who want Bush's job were quick to challenge his claims. 

Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination,
supports a rollback of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and backs the creation of tax
incentives for companies that keep jobs in the United States. However, he supported the North
American Free Trade Agreement, which many union members say is responsible for the migration of
U.S. jobs, particularly in the auto industry, to Mexico. 

Campaigning Monday in Roanoke, Va., Kerry questioned the credibility of the administration's
job-creation forecast. 

"I've got a feeling this report was prepared by the same people who brought us the intelligence on
Iraq," Kerry said. "I don't think we need a new report about jobs in America. I think we need a new
president who's going to create jobs in America and put Americans back to work." 

In an evening appearance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Sen. John Edwards of North
Carolina mocked the Bush administration's economic report. 

Edwards, who also supports repealing tax cuts for the richest Americans and offering incentives to
corporations that create new jobs in the United States, said it would come as a "news bulletin" to the
American people that the economy was improving and that the outsourcing of jobs was good for
America. 

"These people," he said of the Bush administration, "what planet do they live on? They are so out of
touch." 

The president's 411-page report contains a detailed diagnosis of the forces the White House says
are contributing to America's economic slowdown and a wide-ranging defense of the policies Bush has
pursued to combat it. 

It asserts that the last recession actually began in late 2000, before the president took office,
instead of March 2001, as certified by the official recession-dating panel of the National Bureau of
Economic Research. 

Much of the report repeats the administration's previous economic prescriptions. 

For instance, it says the Bush tax cuts must be made permanent to have their full effect on the
economy. 

Social Security also must be restructured to let workers put part of their retirement funds in private
accounts, the report argues. Doing so could add nearly $5 trillion to the national debt by 2036, the
president's advisors note, but the additional borrowing would be repaid 20 years later and the program's
long-term health would be more secure. 

The report devotes an entire chapter to an issue that has become increasingly troublesome for the
administration: the loss of 2.8 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office, and critics' claims that
his trade policies are partly to blame. 

His advisors acknowledge that international trade and foreign outsourcing have contributed to the
job slump. But the report argues that technological progress and rising productivity — the ability to
produce more goods with fewer workers — have played a bigger role than the flight of production to
China and other low-wage countries. 

Although trade expansion inevitably hurts some domestic workers, the benefits eventually will
outweigh the costs as Americans are able to buy cheaper goods and services and as new jobs are
created in growing sectors of the economy, the report said. 

The president's report endorses the relatively new phenomenon of outsourcing high-end, white-collar
work to India and other countries, a trend that has stirred concern within such affected occupations as
computer programming and medical diagnostics. 

"Maybe we will outsource a few radiologists," Mankiw told reporters. "What does that mean? Well,
maybe the next generation of doctors will train fewer radiologists and will train more general
practitioners or surgeons…. Maybe we've learned that we don't have a comparative advantage in
radiologists." 

Government should try to salve the short-term disruption by helping displaced workers obtain the
training they need to enter new fields, such as healthcare, Mankiw said, not by erecting protectionist
barriers on behalf of vulnerable industries or professions. "The market is the best determinant of where
the jobs should be," he said. 

Bush's quick visit to Missouri — his 15th to a state considered a critical election battleground —
was the first of several events this week intended to underscore recent economic gains. Although U.S.
job creation remains relatively sluggish, the nation's unemployment rate fell from 6.4% in June to 5.6%
in January, and the economy grew at the fastest pace in 20 years during the last half of 2003. 

The format of his visit to SRC Automotive — one that he particularly likes — involved several
employees and local business owners sharing the stage with the president to discuss their
perspectives on the economy, with Bush elaborating on their stories to emphasize particular aspects of
his economic program. 

Today, Bush is scheduled to meet with economic leaders at the White House. On Thursday, he
goes to Pennsylvania's capital, Harrisburg — in another swing state that he has already visited more
than two dozen times since becoming president. 


Go to Original 

U.S. Retail Sales Down, Jobless Claims Up
By Reuters 

Thursday 12 February 2004 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales posted a surprise decline in January and claims for
unemployment benefits rose in the latest week, according to government reports on Thursday showing
the U.S. economic recovery stumbled a bit early in the year. 

The Commerce Department said retail sales -- a major component of U.S. consumer spending -- fell
0.3 percent to $322.87 billion in January, the first decline since September. Excluding autos, however,
retail sales posted a stronger-than-expected 0.9 percent increase. 

The Labor Department reported first-time claims for jobless benefits last week rose unexpectedly by
6,000 to 363,000. 

Financial markets showed little initial reaction to the data, despite its divergence from Wall Street
forecasts. 

Wall Street had expected a more robust showing for overall spending. Analysts' forecasts had
called for a flat reading on overall sales and a weaker 0.5 percent increase for ex-auto sales. Claims
had been expected lower at 345,000. 

While autos were the main factor in bringing down overall sales, weakness was also seen in other
categories. Motor vehicle sales dipped a sharp 3.9 percent in January, their steepest decline since
February 2003. Purchases at furniture and building materials stores fell 0.9 percent. 

"The auto component can be very volatile on a month-to-month basis, but it looks as if core sales
are holding up very well," said Gary Thayer, chief economist with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis. 

Buoyed by cold weather, clothing sales gained 2.9 percent, their biggest gain since October 2002.
Sales at grocery stores rose 1.8 percent. 

Earlier this month, the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported surprisingly strong
January sales, aided by colder weather that boosted demand for winter apparel. The Bentonville,
Arkansas,-based company said January sales at stores open at least a year were up 5.7 percent,
above its forecast of a 3 percent to 5 percent gain. 

==============================================================

Solar Power Hits Suburbia
By Mark Clayton
The Christian Science Monitor 

Thursday 12 February 2004 

When the day came to throw the switch turning her suburban New Jersey home into a mini power
plant, Gail Stocks could hardly believe her eyes. 

Outside, parked up and down the quiet, leafy street were at least a dozen utility company trucks -
and a gang of burly electricians were ambling toward her front door. 

"There had to be 16 of them," she says. "I don't think they had ever seen a solar panel before. They
just wanted to see the [electric] meter start spinning the other way after they flipped the switch." 

To watch the meter running backward - in essence, selling electricity back to the utility - was a
novelty in suburban New Jersey in fall 2001. Now, the concept is moving closer to being mainstream. 

In one of life's little ironies, solar power is gaining a toehold in the most unlikely of places - the world
of SUVs, big-screen TVs, and two-fridge families - the 'burbs. And if it can gain acceptance there,
some analysts say, the technology is on the cusp of widespread acceptance. 

"Even suburbia is starting to go solar," says Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power magazine,
the bible of the home-renewable energy crowd. "Some new houses and subdivisions are being planned
this way. It's not really common yet, but its happening." 

Prodded by fears of global warming, lured by falling solar-cell prices and strong financial incentives,
at least 10,000 US and 70,000 Japanese homeowners, along with tens of thousands more in Europe,
installed solar energy between 2000 and 2002, say industry experts. Total global solar-generating
capacity - including off-grid installations - is several gigawatts, Perez says. 

But by far the fastest-growing solar group is residents who also are connected to local power grids,
a segment that has gone from almost nothing in 1990 to an installed base of at least 730 megawatts in
2002 - about the size of a medium-size coal-fired power plant. 

Of course, there are plenty of skeptics. Solar power has been one of the longest-running jokes in
the energy industry - perpetually "just 10 years away" from becoming a significant source to a
power-hungry America since the 1970s. Solar power supplies less than 1 percent of the US power
needs. 

A recent "road map" report by the US Photovoltaics Industry envisions solar as providing a
"significant share" of the US energy market by 2020, and by 2030 meeting 10 percent of US peak
energy demand, equivalent to about 180 million barrels of oil in that year. To reach that vision, millions
of homeowners and businesses would have to go solar - which means solar power will have to become
more affordable. 

Though still expensive compared to commercial power, solar costs have fallen about 90 percent
since the '70s. When today's $4.50-per-watt cost for solar reaches the "magic number" of $2 per watt,
it will be cheaper than commercial power, Mr. Perez predicts. At that point, demand could skyrocket,
he says. 

But if solar power is to become standard on new homes, it will be due as much to its emerging
compatibility with middle-class lifestyles as its lower price tag. And it appears to be happening, many
say. 

Not so very long ago "going solar" meant being willing to adopt a rough-and-ready "off the grid"
lifestyle usually somewhere in the back woods far from utility lines, Perez says. Besides costing lots of
money to install a system, it conjured dreaded images of energy frugality - winter nights reading
beneath a bare bulb powered by batteries. 

But Massachusetts and other states are paving the way for homeowners to do their part for the
environment - without giving up their big-screen TVs. Spurred by energy deregulation, 38 states have
enacted "net metering" laws over the past five years that require utilities to hook residential solar
panels into the grid - and to compensate them for their energy output. Residents pay only for what they
take from the grid - over and above what their solar panels produce. 

"Most of our grid-tied customers today are average consumers - people with multiple TVs, pools,
even luxury homes. They are not trying to live an alternative lifestyle in a cabin," says Sam Nutter of
the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. It runs an alternative-fuels program. 

In essence, by producing their own solar power - but also staying hooked to the grid - homeowners
can have their solar cake and eat it too. They can slash their use of commercial power from fossil-fuel
plants, but still be able to run their power-hungry amenities like electric dryers and air conditioners. 

In addition, at least 15 states now use "public benefits funds" to subsidize renewable energy
programs by taking a few pennies from each electric bill. And 24 states offer rebate programs that
cover a big chunk of the cost. California and Massachusetts rebate up to half the cost, not including
tax incentives. New Jersey and New York rebate up to 70 percent. 

Gail Stocks's husband, Ian, says his family's 2.5 kilowatt solar-panel system cost $21,000,
including installation. But their out-of-pocket cost was only $9,000. It cuts their electric bill by a third.
With commercial power costing him about 13 cents a kilowatt hour and rising, Mr. Stocks figures to be
paid back in about 10 years. 

Joanne and Stephen Hallisey, who live in Natick, Mass., just finished installing solar panels that
cost $18,000 - but got rebates from the state that cover half the cost. They've put in energy-saving light
bulbs and appliances, but draw the line on chopping their technology. 

"We do have a lot of electronics around the house, and we don't want to give up a lot of that," Ms.
Hallisey says. "We don't have a big-screen TV yet. We feel we are being less wasteful and, with solar,
still have the renewable energy we need to power the things that we really want." 

The Halliseys and thousands like them are adding to the nearly 40 megawatts of grid-tied
residential/commercial solar power installed in the US since 2000, more than was installed over the
past decade, says industry analyst Paul Maycock. With solar panels being sold in many Home Depot
stores and the cost of solar dropping, can the rest of America be far behind the Halliseys? 

Well, yes, actually. Even boosters warn solar has only just begun to enter the mainstream. "It
hasn't become so mainstream that people are just itching to jump on the bandwagon," says John
Livermore of Conservation Services Group, a Westborough, Mass., solar installation company. He's
trying to convince Massachusetts builders to put panels on new homes. 

But it's difficult - especially in areas where home prices are already through the roof - to persuade
buyers to shell out even a few thousand extra dollars to put a solar array on their roof. 

In some states, however, solar is a no-brainer. Energized by turmoil in the electricity markets,
rolling blackouts, and a new governor who favors solar - California has some of the best incentives in
the US. It also has a lot of sun. The result is that builders like John Suppes are creating entire
solar-powered subdivisions. 

As vice president and cofounder of Clarum Homes, Mr. Suppes faces many of the same issues
Massachusetts builders do - steep real estate prices and intense competition. So he can't just pass
the cost of solar on to customers. The installment costs about $20,000 for each of his new "zero
energy" homes, which cut utility bills up to 90 percent. "Our goal is to bring green to entry-level home
buyers," he says. 

So Suppes has decided that putting people in solar homes is something he wants to do - even if a
chunk of the cost comes out of his profits. He also thinks his homes will gain a competitive edge as
utility rates rise. 

"It's true we don't recoup the full $20,000 cost of solar and other energy-saving features," he says.
"We're looking at it more from an ethical and environmental standpoint and because, in the long run, we
feel this is the way home-building is headed." 

Margaret and Rick Ellis live in Clarum's 20-home Cherry Blossom development near Watsonville,
Calif. Every home has solar panels and an inverter that turns currents from solar cells into currents
suitable to be fed into the power grid. 

"We actually were not even aware there was solar on the roof until we were already in love with the
house," says Ms. Ellis. 

Even so, Ms. Ellis says living in a grid-connected, partially solar-powered house has made her
appreciate not just significantly lower electric bills, but the impact on the environment. "I don't think
most people who bought these homes made this a moral decision," she says. "But it's become
important to us." 

==============================================================

Climate Collapse
By David Stipp
Fortune

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/021004G.shtml


Monday 26 January 2004

The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare

The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little
time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly
remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has
become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual,
centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests
the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in
less than a decade—like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't
know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the
not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby
upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the Northern
Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. and Europe. Worse, it would cause
massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California
wildfires as a regular thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan
or Russia—it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.

Climate researchers began getting seriously concerned about it a decade ago, after studying
temperature indicators embedded in ancient layers of Arctic ice. The data show that a number of
dramatic shifts in average temperature took place in the past with shocking speed—in some cases,
just a few years.

The case for angst was buttressed by a theory regarded as the most likely explanation for the abrupt
changes. The eastern U.S. and northern Europe, it seems, are warmed by a huge Atlantic Ocean
current that flows north from the tropics—that's why Britain, at Labrador's latitude, is relatively
temperate. Pumping out warm, moist air, this "great conveyor" current gets cooler and denser as it
moves north. That causes the current to sink in the North Atlantic, where it heads south again in the
ocean depths. The sinking process draws more water from the south, keeping the roughly circular
current on the go.

But when the climate warms, according to the theory, fresh water from melting Arctic glaciers flows
into the North Atlantic, lowering the current's salinity—and its density and tendency to sink. A warmer
climate also increases rainfall and runoff into the current, further lowering its saltiness. As a result, the
conveyor loses its main motive force and can rapidly collapse, turning off the huge heat pump and
altering the climate over much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Scientists aren't sure what caused the warming that triggered such collapses in the remote past.
(Clearly it wasn't humans and their factories.) But the data from Arctic ice and other sources suggest
the atmospheric changes that preceded earlier collapses were dismayingly similar to today's global
warming. As the Ice Age began drawing to a close about 13,000 years ago, for example, temperatures
in Greenland rose to levels near those of recent decades. Then they abruptly plunged as the conveyor
apparently shut down, ushering in the "Younger Dryas" period, a 1,300-year reversion to ice-age
conditions. (A dryas is an Arctic flower that flourished in Europe at the time.)

Though Mother Nature caused past abrupt climate changes, the one that may be shaping up today
probably has more to do with us. In 2001 an international panel of climate experts concluded that there
is increasingly strong evidence that most of the global warming observed over the past 50 years is
attributable to human activities—mainly the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which release
heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Indicators of the warming include shrinking Arctic ice, melting alpine
glaciers, and markedly earlier springs at northerly latitudes. A few years ago such changes seemed
signs of possible trouble for our kids or grandkids. Today they seem portents of a cataclysm that may
not conveniently wait until we're history.

Accordingly, the spotlight in climate research is shifting from gradual to rapid change. In 2002 the
National Academy of Sciences issued a report concluding that human activities could trigger abrupt
change. Last year the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, included a session at which
Robert Gagosian, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, urged
policymakers to consider the implications of possible abrupt climate change within two decades.

Such jeremiads are beginning to reverberate more widely. Billionaire Gary Comer, founder of Lands'
End, has adopted abrupt climate change as a philanthropic cause. Hollywood has also discovered the
issue—next summer 20th Century Fox is expected to release The Day After Tomorrow, a big-budget
disaster movie starring Dennis Quaid as a scientist trying to save the world from an ice age
precipitated by global warming.

Fox's flick will doubtless be apocalyptically edifying. But what would abrupt climate change really be
like?

Scientists generally refuse to say much about that, citing a data deficit. But recently, renowned
Department of Defense planner Andrew Marshall sponsored a groundbreaking effort to come to grips
with the question. A Pentagon legend, Marshall, 82, is known as the Defense Department's "Yoda"—a
balding, bespectacled sage whose pronouncements on looming risks have long had an outsized
influence on defense policy. Since 1973 he has headed a secretive think tank whose role is to envision
future threats to national security. The Department of Defense's push on ballistic-missile defense is
known as his brainchild. Three years ago Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked him to lead a
sweeping review on military "transformation," the shift toward nimble forces and smart weapons.

When scientists' work on abrupt climate change popped onto his radar screen, Marshall tapped
another eminent visionary, Peter Schwartz, to write a report on the national-security implications of the
threat. Schwartz formerly headed planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group and has since consulted with
organizations ranging from the CIA to DreamWorks—he helped create futuristic scenarios for Steven
Spielberg's film Minority Report. Schwartz and co-author Doug Randall at the Monitor Group's Global
Business Network, a scenario-planning think tank in Emeryville, Calif., contacted top climate experts
and pushed them to talk about what-ifs that they usually shy away from—at least in public.

The result is an unclassified report, completed late last year, that the Pentagon has agreed to share
with FORTUNE. It doesn't pretend to be a forecast. Rather, it sketches a dramatic but plausible
scenario to help planners think about coping strategies. Here is an abridged version:

A total shutdown of the ocean conveyor might lead to a big chill like the Younger Dryas, when
icebergs appeared as far south as the coast of Portugal. Or the conveyor might only temporarily slow
down, potentially causing an era like the "Little Ice Age," a time of hard winters, violent storms, and
droughts between 1300 and 1850. That period's weather extremes caused horrific famines, but it was
mild compared with the Younger Dryas.

For planning purposes, it makes sense to focus on a midrange case of abrupt change. A century of
cold, dry, windy weather across the Northern Hemisphere that suddenly came on 8,200 years ago fits
the bill—its severity fell between that of the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age. The event is thought
to have been triggered by a conveyor collapse after a time of rising temperatures not unlike today's
global warming. Suppose it recurred, beginning in 2010. Here are some of the things that might happen
by 2020:

At first the changes are easily mistaken for normal weather variation—allowing skeptics to dismiss
them as a "blip" of little importance and leaving policymakers and the public paralyzed with
uncertainty. But by 2020 there is little doubt that something drastic is happening. The average
temperature has fallen by up to five degrees Fahrenheit in some regions of North America and Asia and
up to six degrees in parts of Europe. (By comparison, the average temperature over the North Atlantic
during the last ice age was ten to 15 degrees lower than it is today.) Massive droughts have begun in
key agricultural regions. The average annual rainfall has dropped by nearly 30% in northern Europe,
and its climate has become more like Siberia's.

Violent storms are increasingly common as the conveyor becomes wobbly on its way to collapse. A
particularly severe storm causes the ocean to break through levees in the Netherlands, making coastal
cities such as the Hague unlivable. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento River area
are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.

Megadroughts afflict the U.S., especially in the southern states, along with winds that are 15%
stronger on average than they are now, causing widespread dust storms and soil loss. The U.S. is
better positioned to cope than most nations, however, thanks to its diverse growing climates, wealth,
technology, and abundant resources. That has a downside, though: It magnifies the
haves-vs.-have-nots gap and fosters bellicose finger-pointing at America.

Turning inward, the U.S. effectively seeks to build a fortress around itself to preserve resources.
Borders are strengthened to hold back starving immigrants from Mexico, South America, and the
Caribbean islands—waves of boat people pose especially grim problems. Tension between the U.S.
and Mexico rises as the U.S. reneges on a 1944 treaty that guarantees water flow from the Colorado
River into Mexico. America is forced to meet its rising energy demand with options that are costly both
economically and politically, including nuclear power and onerous Middle Eastern contracts. Yet it
survives without catastrophic losses.

Europe, hardest hit by its temperature drop, struggles to deal with immigrants from Scandinavia
seeking warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit
countries in Africa and elsewhere. But Western Europe's wealth helps buffer it from catastrophe.

Australia's size and resources help it cope, as does its location—the conveyor shutdown mainly
affects the Northern Hemisphere. Japan has fewer resources but is able to draw on its social cohesion
to cope—its government is able to induce population-wide behavior changes to conserve resources.

China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. It is hit by increasingly
unpredictable monsoon rains, which cause devastating floods in drought-denuded areas. Other parts of
Asia and East Africa are similarly stressed. Much of Bangladesh becomes nearly uninhabitable
because of a rising sea level, which contaminates inland water supplies. Countries whose diversity
already produces conflict, such as India and Indonesia, are hard-pressed to maintain internal order
while coping with the unfolding changes.

As the decade progresses, pressures to act become irresistible—history shows that whenever
humans have faced a choice between starving or raiding, they raid. Imagine Eastern European
countries, struggling to feed their populations, invading Russia—which is weakened by a population
that is already in decline—for access to its minerals and energy supplies. Or picture Japan eyeing
nearby Russian oil and gas reserves to power desalination plants and energy-intensive farming.
Envision nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, and China skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access
to shared rivers, and arable land. Or Spain and Portugal fighting over fishing rights—fisheries are
disrupted around the world as water temperatures change, causing fish to migrate to new habitats.

Growing tensions engender novel alliances. Canada joins fortress America in a North American bloc.
(Alternatively, Canada may seek to keep its abundant hydropower for itself, straining its ties with the
energy-hungry U.S.) North and South Korea align to create a technically savvy, nuclear-armed entity.
Europe forms a truly unified bloc to curb its immigration problems and protect against aggressors.
Russia, threatened by impoverished neighbors in dire straits, may join the European bloc.

Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Oil supplies are stretched thin as climate cooling drives up
demand. Many countries seek to shore up their energy supplies with nuclear energy, accelerating
nuclear proliferation. Japan, South Korea, and Germany develop nuclear-weapons capabilities, as do
Iran, Egypt, and North Korea. Israel, China, India, and Pakistan also are poised to use the bomb.

The changes relentlessly hammer the world's "carrying capacity"—the natural resources, social
organizations, and economic networks that support the population. Technological progress and market
forces, which have long helped boost Earth's carrying capacity, can do little to offset the crisis—it is
too widespread and unfolds too fast.

As the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern reemerges: the eruption of desperate,
all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies. As Harvard archeologist Steven LeBlanc has noted,
wars over resources were the norm until about three centuries ago. When such conflicts broke out,
25% of a population's adult males usually died. As abrupt climate change hits home, warfare may
again come to define human life.

Over the past decade, data have accumulated suggesting that the plausibility of abrupt climate
change is higher than most of the scientific community, and perhaps all of the political community, are
prepared to accept. In light of such findings, we should be asking when abrupt change will happen,
what the impacts will be, and how we can prepare—not whether it will really happen. In fact, the
climate record suggests that abrupt change is inevitable at some point, regardless of human activity.
Among other things, we should: 

Speed research on the forces that can trigger abrupt climate change, how it unfolds, and how
we'll know it's occurring.

Sponsor studies on the scenarios that might play out, including ecological, social, economic,
and political fallout on key food-producing regions.

Identify "no regrets" strategies to ensure reliable access to food and water and to ensure our
national security.

Form teams to prepare responses to possible massive migration, and food and water shortages.

Explore ways to offset abrupt cooling—today it appears easier to warm than to cool the climate
via human activities, so there may be "geo-engineering" options available to prevent a
catastrophic temperature drop.

In sum, the risk of abrupt climate change remains uncertain, and it is quite possibly small. But given
its dire consequences, it should be elevated beyond a scientific debate. Action now matters, because
we may be able to reduce its likelihood of happening, and we can certainly be better prepared if it
does. It is time to recognize it as a national security concern.

The Pentagon's reaction to this sobering report isn't known—in keeping with his reputation for
reticence, Andy Marshall declined to be interviewed. But the fact that he's concerned may signal a sea
change in the debate about global warming. At least some federal thought leaders may be starting to
perceive climate change less as a political annoyance and more as an issue demanding action.

If so, the case for acting now to address climate change, long a hard sell in Washington, may be
gaining influential support, if only behind the scenes. Policymakers may even be emboldened to take
steps such as tightening fuel-economy standards for new passenger vehicles, a measure that would
simultaneously lower emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce America's perilous reliance on OPEC oil,
cut its trade deficit, and put money in consumers' pockets. Oh, yes—and give the Pentagon's fretful
Yoda a little less to worry about.

==============================================================

Will the Election Be Hacked?
By Farhad Manjoo
Salon 

Monday 09 February 2004 

A Salon special report reveals how new voting machines could result in a rigged
presidential race -- and we'd never know.

A few weeks after Election Night 2002, Roxanne Jekot, a computer programmer who lives in
Cumming, Ga., began fearing demons lingering in the state's voting machines. The midterm election
had been a historic one: Georgia became the first state to use electronic touch-screen voting
machines in every one of its precincts. The 51-year-old Jekot, who has a grandmotherly bearing but
describes herself as a "typical computer geek," was initially excited about the new system. 

"I thought it was the coolest thing we could have done," she says. 

But the election also brought sweeping victories for Republicans, including, most stunningly, one for
Sonny Perdue, who defeated Roy Barnes, the incumbent Democrat, to become Georgia's first
Republican governor in 135 years, while Rep. Saxby Chambliss upset Vietnam veteran Sen. Max
Cleland. The convergence of these two developments -- the introduction of new voting machines and
the surprising GOP wins -- began to eat away at Roxanne Jekot. Like many of her fellow angry
Democrats on the Internet discussion forums she frequented, she had a hard time believing the
Republicans won legitimately. Instead, Jekot began searching for her explanation in the source code
used in the new voting machines. 

What she found alarmed her. The machines were state-of-the-art products from an Ohio company
called Diebold. But the code -- which a friend of Jekot's had found on the Internet -- was anything but
flawless, Jekot says. It was amateurish and pocked with security problems. "I expected sophistication
and some fairly difficult to understand advanced coding," Jekot said one evening this fall at a restaurant
near her home. But she saw "a hodgepodge of commands thrown all over the source code," an
indication, she said, that the programmers were careless. Along with technical commands, Diebold's
engineers had written English comments documenting the various functions their software performed --
and these comments "made my hair stand on end," Jekot said. The programmers would say things
like "this doesn't work because that doesn't work and neither one of them work together." They
seemed to know that their software was flawed. 

To Jekot, there appeared to be method in the incompetence. Professional programmers could not
be so sloppy; it had to be deliberate. "They specifically opened doors that need not be opened," Jekot
said, suggesting the possibility that Diebold wanted to leave its voting machines open to fraud. And,
ominously, the electronic voting systems used in Georgia, like most of the new machines installed in
the United States since the 2000 election, do not produce a "paper trail" -- every vote cast in the
state's midterm election was recorded, tabulated, checked and stored by computers whose internal
workings are owned by Diebold, a private corporation. 

Jekot was particularly alarmed -- and outraged -- to learn that company CEO Walden O'Dell is one
of the GOP's biggest fundraisers in his home state of Ohio and nationally. Right after the Georgia
elections, an O'Dell e-mail began making the rounds of Web logs and other Internet sites that were
tracking the Diebold security flaws, in which the CEO bragged that he's "committed to helping Ohio
deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." What better way to deliver electoral votes for
President Bush, some reasoned, than to control the equipment Americans use to cast their ballots? 

"I believe that the 2002 election in Georgia was rigged," Jekot insists today. "I don't believe that
Saxby Chambliss or Sonny Perdue won their races legally." 

Despite Jekot's technical expertise, officials in Georgia consider her theories baseless. Roy Barnes,
the defeated Democratic governor, says that blaming his loss on voting machines is "ridiculous." And,
to be sure, there is no evidence proving malfeasance, and there probably never will be. The only trouble
is, the state cannot furnish any definitive evidence to show that the 2002 election was not fraudulent.
Proving that the machines didn't malfunction, or that they weren't hacked, is impossible. And since
scores of computer scientists say that voting systems are vulnerable to attack, and because activists
have raised legitimate concerns about election equipment vendors' politics and processes, Jekot's
fears have come to seem, to many, entirely reasonable. 

Even a self-described Christian arch-conservative, former Diebold systems manager Rob Behler,
says the company failed to adequately test its troubled equipment -- and balked when he warned them
of widespread problems with the machines. Last summer, computer scientists at Johns Hopkins
University and Rice University found major security flaws in the Diebold machines, concluding that the
Georgia system falls "far below even the most minimal security standards." And in January, experts at
RABA Technologies, a consulting firm in Maryland, discovered additional failures in that state's Diebold
systems. Internal Diebold e-mail shows that company engineers knew about the problems and in
some instances chose to ignore them. 

Some elections officials are beginning to see the profound dangers inherent in this process;
California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has ordered that all systems in his state implement a paper
record by 2006. Activists hailed Shelley's decision as evidence that he understands the fundamental
principle at stake: Elections should be sacrosanct. 

But on Election Day this November, more than 20 percent of American voters will cast their ballots
on paperless electronic machines; voters across the nation will encounter them during the primaries.
Critics of touch-screen systems point to the controversy surrounding the vote in Georgia as a sign of
things to come nationally. If there's an upset in a close presidential race, will we be able to trust it?
Ironically, the paperless systems were supposed to restore trust in a democracy that saw the
presidency hang by a few thousand chads in Florida three years ago. In Georgia, and increasingly
across the nation, they're in danger of doing quite the opposite. 

Many in Georgia dismiss Jekot and her Web-based acolytes as blinded partisans, conspiracy nuts,
or even "wack-jobs." 

But if you dismiss Roxanne Jekot as a wack-job, you still have to deal with her friends. Jekot
represents only the most strident quarter of an emerging national movement aimed at slowing the
spread of the kind of touch-screen systems that were first used in Georgia. While the movement
counts as members some of the most shrill partisans on the Web, it also includes some of the most
well-regarded computer scientists in the world -- and together, these groups have been unexpectedly
successful in changing the national perceptions of touch-screen machines. 

Until just about a year ago, these systems were considered the natural replacement to the
punch-card machines that so roiled the last presidential election. The new machines are easy to
maintain, they can accommodate multiple languages, they can be used by people with disabilities,
and they have the backing of influential groups like the League of Women Voters and the ACLU. The
Help America Vote Act of 2002, which doles out a total of $650 million in federal money to state and
local officials who upgrade their aging voting systems, has already prompted dozens of counties and a
handful of states to deploy the touch-screen systems. 

The activists have upended the process. Fear of the voting machines is now a red-meat issue not
just for online lefties but also for libertarians, for many on the right, and, increasingly, for the
establishment. National newspapers run Op-Eds on the issue, network news shows feature the
movement's proponents, and officials like Shelley, in California, have been pressed to change their
positions on the systems. 

If you spend much time in the world of the activists, you'll understand why. In the fall, I sat with Jim
March, an anti-Diebold tech expert in Sacramento, Calif., while he showed me on his home PC how to
steal an election. March, an ardent libertarian whose apartment is decorated with political posters --
"Politicians Prefer an Unarmed Populace," one announces -- spent months investigating security flaws
in touch-screen systems. Thanks to his network of fellow geek-activists, he'd found flaws in the system
Diebold used to tally election results, a program called GEMS. The GEMS software runs on a standard
PC that's usually housed in a county election office. The system stores its votes in a format
recognizable by Microsoft Access, a common office database program. If you've got a copy of Access
and can get physical access to the county machine -- or, some activists say, if you discover the
county's number and call into the machine over a phone line -- the vote is yours to steal. 

While I sat at his computer, March helped me open a file containing actual results from a March
2002 primary election held in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. -- a file that March says would be
accessible to anyone who worked in the county elections office on Election Day. Following March's
direction, I changed the vote count with a few clicks. Then, he explained how to alter the "audit log,"
erasing all evidence that we'd tampered with the results. I saved the file. If it had been a real election, I
would have been carrying out an electronic coup. It was a chilling realization. 

The person who discovered the problems with the GEMS program -- she's singularly responsible for
almost every bit of attention recently paid to electronic voting machines, and for almost every juicy
detail uncovered about the vote in Georgia -- is a middle-aged publicist-turned-investigative-journalist in
Seattle named Bev Harris. Harris began thinking about voting machines in late 2002, when, after
reading some claims on the Web that the election equipment firms were being infiltrated by foreign
nationals, she decided, almost on a lark, to investigate the matter. 

Harris had no journalistic experience, but she'd always harbored fantasies of uncovering something
big. She turned out to be exceptionally talented at reporting. Within a few weeks of her investigation,
she'd dug up many compelling nuggets. She found, for instance, that in the early 1990s, before he was
elected to office, Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska Republican, served as the president of American
Information Systems, the company that built most of the voting machines used in his state. Harris also
discovered that Diebold, the firm that produced the machines used in Georgia, had left the software
used to run its systems on a public server online. Harris downloaded these files and looked through
them. She saw that she had the company's source code as well as several other curiously named files
-- one, for example, was called "rob-georgia.zip." 

Before Bev Harris found the files used in Georgia, the software in the machines had essentially been
secret. Although the code had been reviewed by government testing authorities, nobody outside those
labs had been allowed to see the programs, which is a standard provision in most electronic voting
systems. When the computing public got a peek at the files Harris found, experts were not kind. 

In July, a team of four computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University and Rice University
announced that they'd uncovered major security flaws in the machines used in Georgia's elections.
"Our analysis shows that this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards
applicable in other contexts," the team wrote. Diebold has long boasted that votes in its system are
stored in an encrypted manner, hidden to anyone who didn't have a valid password; the computer
scientists found that Diebold's programmers left the "key" to decrypt the votes written into the code,
which is a bit like locking your door and placing the key on the welcome mat. The Hopkins/Rice
scientists also said that they saw no adequate mechanism to prevent voters from casting multiple
ballots, viewing partial election results, or terminating an election early. 

On Jan. 19, a team of computer scientists working with RABA Technologies set up a red-team
exercise -- a one-day attempt to hack into Diebold machines configured as they would be on Election
Day. They were successful. In a short time, the hackers managed to guess the passwords securing
the voting system, allowing them to cast multiple ballots. They found that with a standard lock-pick
set, they could inconspicuously open up each machine -- sometimes in less than 10 seconds -- and
remove or attach various pieces of hardware, letting them erase or change electronic ballots. They
concluded that Diebold's touch-screen machines contain "considerable security risks," and they
suggested that Maryland put in place stringent safeguards before its March 2 primary, and that the
state overhaul the system before the presidential election. 

Diebold fiercely disputes that its technology is vulnerable to attacks. Mark Radke, a spokesman for
Diebold, says that the RABA study pointed out some areas in which Maryland could improve its voting
procedures, and he's pleased that Maryland is instituting those changes. As for the Hopkins study,
Radke says the scientists who looked at the system erred in their assessment by examining only a
small bit of the code and by neglecting the "checks and balances" that occur in an actual election. He
pointed to a study of the company's system that was performed by Science Applications International
Corp., a consulting firm, at the behest of the state of Maryland. The SAIC report gives Diebold a clean
bill of health, and Georgia officials say it proves their system is safe. (The study is available here in
PDF format.) 

There is no evidence that someone tampered with the votes in Georgia. But certainly it is not
beyond the bounds of possibility that someone could do so in the future. The history of American
democracy is replete with allegations of vote fixing and stolen elections -- from Rutherford Hayes'
disputed victory over Samuel Tilden in 1876 to Illinois in 1960 (there were vote fraud allegations against
both Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy) to the Florida debacle in 2000. Leaving the security of such
a crucial government function in the hands of private companies motivated primarily by a desire to
make a quick buck seems like a loopy idea to many people. And the more one listens to the activists'
complaints about how Diebold does business, the more one comes to understand their worries about
election security. 

Bev Harris says that in August, a former employee at Diebold handed her a trove of documents from
the company, representing years of discussions on an internal company Web site. In the memos,
Diebold programmers seem to acknowledge security holes in their system, and they appear to discuss
methods of evading testing authorities. In one e-mail, Ken Clark, a programmer at the company,
acknowledges that vote data can be viewed with Microsoft Access, but he says that fixing the problem
will be difficult, and it would be easier to feel out the testing labs and "find out what it is going to take
to make them happy." In another e-mail, Clark recommends to his co-workers that if the state of
Maryland -- which has also purchased the company's touch-screen machines -- decides to require a
paper trail in its voting systems, the company should exact a high price for the required upgrades.
Diebold should charge Maryland "out the yin," Clark wrote. In yet another e-mail, Clark does an
impression of how voters in Georgia might react to touch-screen machines: "Yer votin thingamajig sure
looks purdy," he writes. (Calls to Clark were routed to Diebold's P.R. office. While the company
concedes that the memos are authentic, it disputes Harris' claim that the files came from a Diebold
employee. Instead, says Mark Radke, Diebold's computers were hacked. The firm initially threatened
to sue people who posted the files on the Web, but it has backed off that threat.) 

In the spring of 2003, Harris received an e-mail that read, "I think I may be the Rob in rob-georgia."
The message was from Rob Behler, a laid-off telecom worker who found a contract job at Diebold's
Atlanta warehouse in the summer before the midterm election. Behler, a friendly fellow in his 30s who
speaks with a disarming Southern drawl, paints a disastrously unflattering picture of the company that
provided his state with its voting equipment. He told Harris that his time at Diebold was marked by
confusion and chaos, a month of 16-hour days in which he did nothing but fix broken machines, broken
management techniques, and deal with incompetent people. 

On his first day on the job, Behler, who had never worked on election systems before, was
promoted to a manager's position and put in charge of the team assembling, testing and deploying all
of the voting machines in the state. He says that when he checked the machines that employees had
been assembling for months, he discovered that large numbers of them were defective. 

During the few weeks that followed, Behler spent his time fixing the machines. He says that each
time he discovered a new problem with the systems, he would call up the tech experts at Diebold, and
they would determine a way to fix it. The programmers would put a file on the company server -- a file
like rob-georgia.zip -- and Behler would download it to his laptop, store it on a memory card, then
install the memory card on the touch-screen machines. The process steered clear of any certification
authorities; no independent body was checking to see what was being installed on the system. 

Indeed, Behler remembers a conference call with Diebold executives in which they specifically
discussed what to tell Georgia authorities if Diebold engineers were caught installing software on the
machines. "Can't we just tell them we're updating?" Behler wondered in the meeting. "They're like, 'No,
no, no, no, no, you can't do that. It has to be certified.' And I say, 'Oh? So we don't want them to know
that we're fixing a problem?' So I was like, 'OK -- we can tell them that we're doing a quality check and
that we're making sure that they're all the same.' And that's exactly what we did." 

Mark Radke of Diebold says, "All I can tell you about these situations is that before the units are
deployed they are fully tested, and that final testing was proof-positive about how those units were
going to function." 

The Georgia secretary of state's office dismisses most of Behler's claims. Chris Riggall, press
secretary to Cathy Cox, the secretary of state, says that at some point before the 2002 election,
Diebold did discover that Windows CE, the version of the Microsoft Windows operating system that
runs on the touch-screen machines, needed to be upgraded. But this was a one-time fix that Cox was
fully aware of, he said. This fix was not formally certified by state and federal testing authorities, as
Georgia law requires. But Riggall says that the state's testing experts determined that because the
upgrade was only to the Windows operating system and not to the other software in the touch-screen
machine, it did not need to be certified. The election was fast approaching, Riggall said, and there
simply was no time for certification. Doing it this way was "not our preferred best option," he wrote in
an e-mail, "but nevertheless justifiable under the circumstances." As for Behler's claim that the
software was downloaded from Diebold's publicly accessible server, Riggall says that's not true. "No,
we never used that site during any aspect of the 2002 elections." 

Behler, who has seven children, is an arch-conservative. One night this fall, standing outside his
five-bedroom house in one of Atlanta's affluent northern suburbs, he described his politics in detail --
why he favored the ban on late-term abortions, why he considers the minimum wage a foolish idea,
why he prefers George W. Bush to Bill Clinton, and why, despite what he knows of working at Diebold,
he does not believe that the 2002 election in his state was rigged. For one thing, he doesn't consider
the GOP's wins very surprising; to him, the Republicans running that year were fine candidates. But he
does believe the Diebold flaws are an open invitation to election mischief. 

The transition to touch-screen machines in Georgia was proposed and championed by Democrats,
and the state's elected Democrats remain the machines' fiercest defenders. It is an irony of this story,
then, that while Roxanne Jekot and her friends claim that Republicans rigged the 2002 election, it is for
Democrats -- or, for one Democrat in particular, Georgia's secretary of state, Cathy Cox -- that they
reserve their contempt. Cox, a former journalist and attorney who was first elected to office in 1998, is
the nation's leading proponent of electronic voting systems. After the 2000 election, Cox grasped, long
before her peers in other states, that electronic voting would be the future of elections. It was a future
that she was determined to bring to her state. 

Georgia has 159 counties, more than any state except Texas, and, before the new machines were
installed, there were nearly as many different voting systems in use -- old-school lever machines
(which also produce no paper trail), punch-card machines, and optical scan systems (which use
SAT-style fill-in-the-bubble ballots), all of varying makes and models. Shortly after the 2000 election,
Cox commissioned a study on the accuracy of these systems, looking at one measure in particular,
the presidential-race undervote. (The undervote in a given race is the number of ballots on which voters
failed to register any choice for a candidate.) Cox found that the highest undervote rates occurred in
neighborhoods where there were large groups of minorities. 

In a sample of predominantly black precincts Cox examined, for instance, she found that the
undervote was an alarming 8.1 percent. What was mysterious was that optical scan voting systems --
which are really the only alternative to touch-screen machines still available for sale -- did not seem to
greatly improve the undervote rate among minorities. While the undervote rate on optical scan
machines in white neighborhoods was just 2.2 percent, in black neighborhoods it was 7.6 percent. The
situation in Georgia was so obviously discriminatory that in 2001, the ACLU sued Cox to force her to
upgrade the state's elections systems. Cox says that she chose touch-screen systems because,
among other attributes, they had the best chance of reducing the undervote. She was right: In the 2002
election, using the new machines, the undervote rate in Georgia was less than 1 percent. 

In the online forums where voting-machine critics assert that Republicans fixed the 2002 election in
Georgia, it's often said that the results in the state surprised everybody. This isn't exactly the case.
The Senate race, which pitted the incumbent Democrat Max Cleland against Saxby Chambliss, a
Republican, was widely considered a tossup by Election Day. 

The big surprise, perhaps the largest upset anywhere in the country that night, was in the governor's
race. Roy Barnes had been all but assured a win. He had everything on his side, including money
(Barnes outspent Sonny Perdue by a margin of 6 to 1), history (Georgia is the only state in the nation
that did not elect a Republican governor in all of the 20th century) and a commanding lead in the polls. 

But when Barnes eventually lost (with 46 percent to Perdue's 51 percent), his campaign did not
suspect the voting machines, not even for a second. According to Bobby Kahn, Barnes' chief of staff
and an old-time political hand in Georgia, there was an obvious political reason for the defeat -- the
Confederate flag. In an e-mail, Roy Barnes wrote that "you will see that the dominant factor in my
defeat in 2002 was anger over my actions in changing the Georgia flag to reduce the size of the
Confederate battle emblem. I knew from my travels around the state that there was a lot of anger over
the change -- I had believed, or at least hoped, I could overcome the anger, but I couldn't." Voter
turnout among white Georgians in 2002 was unexpectedly high, much higher than in the 1998 race. 

In his office this fall, Chris Riggall, Cox's press secretary, said that many of the computer scientists
who have questioned electronic voting systems have little firsthand experience in elections, and are
therefore unqualified to judge a voting system's security. And those who say there was something
amiss with the 2002 election don't have a clue about how politics works in Georgia, he said. "When I
see the Independent" -- the London newspaper -- "saying the only way Max Cleland could have lost
was because of the voting machines, I have to laugh. What in the hell do you know about Georgia
political history? The last time he won with [just] 30,000 votes!" 

"Our system is not perfect," says Riggall. "Our system is vulnerable, but we believe it's less so than
all of the alternatives. So our frustration is the lack of context, perspective and knowledge of what
happens in Georgia." 

But the movement to challenge electronic voting is not confined to Georgia, or to those who worry
about the 2002 election results. David Dill, a computer scientist at Stanford University, has been
among the one or two activists most responsible for the shift. Dill says that when he first heard that
systems were being installed in Georgia and in some of California's largest counties -- including his
own, Santa Clara -- he initially figured "that somebody was minding the store and making sure that the
equipment is somehow trustworthy." 

Then he did some research into how the systems were designed and implemented, and "I began to
feel that maybe that wasn't true," he says. Dill says that he was particularly annoyed that election
officials seemed to ignore the concerns of computer security experts, who've warned of the dangers of
electronic voting for decades. So early in 2003, Dill posted a petition online demanding that all
computerized voting equipment produce what he called a "voter-verifiable audit trail." 

The audit trail (an idea that was first developed by Rebecca Mercuri, a computer scientist who has
long studied the voting systems and is now a research fellow studying transparency in computational
systems at Harvard's Kennedy School) works as follows: When a voter casts a ballot on a
touch-screen machine, she'll be presented with a paper version of her votes to look over. Once she
approves this paper ballot, it becomes the official record of her vote (she is not allowed to remove the
paper ballot from the voting precinct). If there is a question about the accuracy of the electronic count,
election officials would be required to manually count the paper ballots; if there's a discrepancy
between the two counts, the manual count would be considered the official result of the election.
Thousands of computer scientists have signed Dill's demand; attaining it nationally has become the
paramount goal for the critics of the touch-screen systems. 

"It's not just one computer scientist whining about this," Dill says. "It's a lot of very reputable people
who are willing to say that as far as they can see this voter-verifiable audit trail idea is the only way you
can conceive the necessary level of confidence in the equipment." 

Kevin Shelley's decision, in late November, to require a paper trail in California's electronic voting
machines was gutsy -- and some say precipitous. No paper-equipped touch-screen system has ever
been used in a real election in the state, and a few election experts have expressed serious concerns
about the viability of such a machine. Ted Selker, a computer scientist at MIT who has studied election
procedures, fears that the paper trail would be prone to accidents and attacks: Paper ballots are tricky
to count accurately by machine, are almost impossible and time-consuming to count by hand, and, of
course, they can easily be tampered with. It's not clear how the paper ballots would be made
accessible to the blind, either, and nobody knows how much upgrading to the paper system would
cost. Selker, who worked on a landmark study of the 2000 election, says that millions of votes each
year are lost because of faulty registration databases, flawed ballot design, and poorly trained poll
workers. Spending money on a paper trail rather than to fix these known problems, he says, is a
waste. 

Officials in Shelley's office acknowledge the concerns with paper, but they insist that voting firms
will overcome them. Most major voting companies, including Diebold, already say they can build
systems that include a paper trail. "Our perspective is that voter confidence is paramount in terms of
the election process," Tony Miller, an attorney in Shelley's office, says. "Even if this costs a few
thousand dollars, the cost of democracy is not necessarily cheap and it shouldn't be the determining
factor." 

David Dill describes Shelley's decision as "the biggest breakthrough that the paper trail movement
has had to date," and he says that he's certain "it will affect the attitude of people in other states." He
was right: In December, Nevada also acted to require paper receipts. Dill also has high hopes for the
Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, a bill introduced in Congress by Rep. Rush
Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, which would require a paper trail nationally. Three Democrats in the
Senate -- Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton and Bob Graham -- have each proposed companion
legislation. 

But officials who've already invested in paperless machines will have a hard time joining the
paper-trail bandwagon. In Georgia, for instance, Cathy Cox is sticking by her decision. In a speech to
the state's political scientists in November, she assailed the critics who've lately attacked
touch-screen voting systems, saying they "approach the issue of election technology as if on a
mission to save humanity from the scourge of a worldwide conspiracy." But Cox, it should be noted, is
massively invested in the reliability of the Diebold systems she purchased, having staked her political
career -- and the millions it cost to purchase them -- on the new system. 

The people who insist that Georgia's 2002 election was stolen may well be wrong. But the attention
that they are focusing on voting machines is anything but misplaced. An election has to be above
suspicion, even above the suspicion of some of the most suspicious people in a democracy. Says
California's Tony Miller: "If people don't have confidence in the voting systems being used, then they
lose faith in the voting process itself." 

==============================================================

From: "Mustafa Ansari" <SONGHAI@peoplepc.com>
To: "TheBlackList Moderator" <moderator@theblacklist.net>
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2004 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Challenge to NCOBRA, NBUF on the issues


>
> Greetings, Peace and Power Afro-descendants
>
> After long thought, many discussions with NCOBRA board members, Deadria
> Farmer and consultation with the other International attorneys that sit a=
s
> Justices on the Indigenous African American Reparations Tribunal, we have=

> decided to publicly challenge NCOBRA', NBUF, Deadria Farmer,[and her
> attorneys' strategy to obtain reparations]. This is not a personal attac=
k
> but a challenge on their methods and strategies of Reparations.
>
> We are making this public challenge because we are deeply troubled by the=

> 'domestic agenda' of domestic lawsuits and domestic legislation. It is
> problematic that their collective strategy of obtaining support for H.R.=

40
> and domestic class actions not only has not borne fruit, but is the
> incorrect procedural method . In the first instance a Congressional plea
for
> a study does not replace the effectiveness of a Tribunal for several
> reasons. One, a Tribunal of your own scholars and lawyers is the vehicle
> that is normally used to 'study' and postulate remedies for 'Genocide' an=
d
> 'Crimes against humanity' i,e, Nuremberg, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sierra
> Leone. To instead use a passive study by a defendant and then stagnate fo=
r
> 14 years because Congress is not willing to consider a 'study' is just
not
> wise. Secondly, the Japanese had their own pow-wow [Tribunal] did their
own
> study and then handed the results to Congress, not the other way around.
> This leaving of our fate into the hands of those who are suppressing our
> advancement in employment, schools and housing is no longer acceptable
> without a challenge.
>
> Likewise, Individual lawsuits dressed up as reparations actions is the
> biggest misconception played on us since civil rights legislation and for=

> the same reason. For one, these Individual lawsuits will only allow a
> individual remedy by an individual Judge[Caucasian and Racist].
>
> Judge Norgle legal analysis that Ms. Farmer does not have standing to
> represent 40 million Afro-descendants was absolutely correct and just a
> restatement of the decisions by his fellow colleagues in the former
> Reparations cases .
>
> Moreover, no one has elected Deadria Farmer to represent us, so she canno=
t
> represent us. In order to be a collective you have to vote to be a
> 'collective', i.e a Plebiscite. To allow a Caucasian Judge who is the
> protectorate of the status quo an opportunity to further depress our
> community under the 'color of law' can no longer be tolerated.
>
> Moreover, it is just not intelligent. All of the points made by Judge
Norgle
> are easily overcome by the New Reparations Law [Which supercedes United
> States law] . For example, we do not have to link a injury with a slave,
> because the New International law allows a 'Collective injury' remedy.
> Secondly, their is not a problem with a 'statute of limitation' because
the
> New Reparations law says that their is no statute of limitations on
> "Genocide" and "Crimes against humanity"
>
> The political and legal sophistication of our movement towards reparation=
s
> needs a shot in the arm. I personally flew down to Dallas with the New
> Reparations Law passed by the U.N in 2000, not only did NCOBRA and NBUF
not
> know of the law most of their board members were visible shaken and
> belligerent when I delivered the law, except for Adjoa Aiyetoro and
Imhotep
> Alkebulan their attorneys. This is a disaster for our people. Here we hav=
e
a
> favorable forum [International forums] and because we are not familiar
with
> how it works, instead decide to repeatedly lose and depress our people by=

> losing time after time in a U.S. court. The last straw was Ms. Farmer
[and
> her attorneys] saying that she now was going to try a consumer protection=

> law suit.
>
> At the present time our suggested political and legal vehicles are not
> welcomed by Ms. Farmer, NCOBRA and NBUF and we are formally challenging
> NCOBRA , NBUF , Ms. Farmer and the other Reparationist to move forward
into
> the public arena and try different strategies..
>
> It is our contention that we will not move forward until we use more
> sophisticated political and legal vehicles, that involve and move our
> people .
>
> Therefore, we invite NCOBRA, NBUF, Ms. Farmer and your best lawyers and
your
> commissioners to publicly talk about strategies and methods with our
> International lawyers ,commissioners, and confederate organizations {
> CAAR-Bro. Pruitt, and NVPM- Kwaku Duren, 18 National organizations, the 4=
0
> Masajids of Imam Jamil Abdul Al-Amin {H.Rap Brown}
>
> Our ancestor are crying.
>
> YOUR DOMESTIC STRATEGY HAS BEEN CHALLENGED.
>
> Dr. Mustafa Ansari
> Presiding Chief Justice
> Indigenous African American Reparations Tribunal
>
> If you want to arrange a public discussions we can be reached at
> 1-800-564-2905, http://www.aareparations.com, Indigenous African-American=

> Reparations Tribunal ,366 Grand Ave. Suite 288, Oakland, California 94610=

or
> at our Southern office. International African-American Reparations
Tribunal
> c/o Dan Fodio Law Group, 5405 Memorial Dr. , Building I-2 , Stone
Mountain,
> Georgia 30083
>

===============================================================

This article appears in the November 15, 2002 issue of Executive
Intelligence Review. 

Gold Dinar:
An Economic and Strategic
Response to Chaos

by Michael O. Billington 

Mounting concern around the world that the Bush Administration is
madly threatening to drive the world into perpetual warfare, while doing
nothing to address the global financial-economic collapse, has led to
the introduction of a number of defensive measures by nations and
groups of nations acting in concert. One such measure is the proposal
for creation of a Gold Dinar, intended as a replacement for the dollar as
the currency of trade among nations. With a war against Iraq looming
on the horizon, and U.S. threats against Saudi Arabia escalating in the
establishment's institutions and publications, it is increasingly probable
that the Gold Dinar policy will be implemented in the near term, among
certain Islamic nations at first, and potentially expanding to include
non-Islamic nations.

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad hosted a two-day
seminar in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 22-23, called "The Gold Dinar in
Multilateral Trade." This was the second major conference in Malaysia
on this subject involving representatives of members of the Organization
of Islamic Conference (OIC). The first conference, "Stable and Just
Global Monetary Systems," held in August, announced that the Gold
Dinar would be implemented as a bilateral arrangement between
Malaysia and certain unspecified partners by the middle of 2003, and
extended to multilateral agreements over time. At the more recent
seminar, Bijan Latif, the head of Iran's Central Bank, offered to support
the establishment of a secretariat in Malaysia to coordinate the
development of the Gold Dinar policy. Dr. Mahathir supported the idea.

Not a Gold Standard

In his speech to the October seminar, Dr. Mahathir made clear that the
proposal was not intended to establish a gold standard (as put forth by
fixated "gold bugs" around the world), but to return to the Bretton
Woods policy of a gold-reserve system, which was destroyed when
President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from a fixed peg to gold on
Aug. 15, 1971, allowing currencies to float at the whim of speculators.
Dr. Mahathir reminded the participants, that after World War II, "when
the Allied nations met in Bretton Woods to determine the principle for
the rate of exchange of international currencies in order to facilitate
trade, they decided to use gold as a standard." This worked until 1971,
when "the market claimed that it could determine the exchange rate
through the demand and supply of currencies freely traded in the
market. But the profiteers moved in and manipulated the value of the
currencies so that there was chaos in terms of exchange rates of
currencies."

The Gold Dinar policy intends to return to the former, superior policy.
Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, an economic adviser to Dr. Mahathir,
explained the system at the August conference as follows, using trade
between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as an example: "Malaysian
exporters will be paid in ringgit [the Malaysian currency] by Bank
Negara [the Malaysian National Bank] on the due date of exports....
Similarly, the importers will pay Bank Negara the ringgit equivalent of
their imports. The Saudi Central Bank will do the same for its exports
and imports. Say, at the end of a three-month cycle, the total exports
from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia is 2 million Gold Dinar, and the total
exports of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia is 1.8 million Gold Dinar.
Therefore, for that particular three-month cycle, the Saudi Central Bank
will pay Bank Negara 0.2 million Gold Dinar. The actual payment can
be by way of the Saudis transferring 0.2 million ounces of gold in its
custodian's account in the Bank of England in London, to Bank
Negara's account with the same custodian. The important point to note
here, is that the relatively small amount of 0.2 million Gold Dinar is able
to support a total trade value of 3.8 million Gold Dinar."

The weakness of the system as it is now proposed is that gold, too, is
subject to speculation, especially if it is pegged to a currency such as
the dollar, which is heading for a plunge due to the collapse of the U.S.
banking system. Dr. Mahathir is aware of the problem: "Gold prices
can also be manipulated," he said, "but not as easily as the U.S. dollar
or other currencies.... Speculation and manipulation will not be as easy
as when local currency is valued against the U.S. dollar."

EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche has proposed that the
necessary return to a Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates
must also peg currencies to a "basket of commodities" rather than to
gold, as a means of basing currency valuations to the real economy,
rather than tying the real economy to a speculative entity (see
Documentation). Although the Gold Dinar proposal assigns a value to
gold in terms of dollars, Dr. Mahathir suggested in his speech that he
is thinking along the lines of a "basket of commodities": "The value of
one Gold Dinar is one Gold Dinar, no matter what the exchange rate of
a currency is against the Gold Dinar. If the value of goods and services
is expressed in Gold Dinar, the value remains the same, no matter
which country is involved in the trade."

Whatever the case in this regard, the discussion and implementation of
the bilateral or restricted multilateral Gold Dinar policy can provide a
much-needed defense against the collapse of the dollar-centered
financial system, and could contribute to a more durable global solution
in the near future.

Strategic Necessity

Dr. Mahathir emphasized that the Gold Dinar policy is being driven by
the crushing reality of the economic and strategic crisis. The
disastrous situation in the Holy Land, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001, and the threatened war on Iraq, have resulted in "the whole
world's economy being unable to grow," he said. "The West, and in
particular the Americans, are very angry. So are the Muslims. Angry
people cannot act rationally." He concluded his speech: "Of course,
the Gold Dinar can be a trading currency for all countries, not
necessarily Muslim countries. But Muslim countries are in the best
position to demonstrate the viability of the system, ... and in the
process, show the world that they are capable of growing with stability
and peace. And this will do more towards countering oppressions by
their enemies, than the futile violent retaliations."

Other voices are also warning that the current folly in Washington will
only hasten this break from the bankrupt IMF system. James Sinclair,
the head of the mining company Tan Range Exploration, said in an
Oct. 28 editorial in Financial Sense Online: "It is perceived, and
correctly so, that the Islamic world is controlled via the use of the U.S.
dollar as the main settlement currency.... I am told there is a significant
possibility that when the U.S. attacks Iraq, the united Islamic salvo
back will be at the U.S. dollar via the Gold Dinar." The Saudis, he says,
"are less likely than most observers think to rescue the dollar this
time."

In fact, the Saudis are already repatriating deposits from the United
States, as reflected in the increase by $30 billion in deposits in Saudi
banks in September.

Sinclair also notes, as did Bijan Latif of the Iranian Central Bank, that
"the establishment of a gold-based currency is rebellion against the
IMF, as it is distinctly forbidden under IMF rules." Sinclair adds: "The
advent of the Gold Dinar would be the 'nadir' of the IMF and World
Bank."

Other commentators have noted the concern in Saudi Arabia that the
United States may freeze Saudi assets in U.S. banks, forcing them to
consider the Gold Dinar as a replacement for the dollar, and dumping
dollar holdings altogether if necessary. As amazing as this sounds,
given the long history of U.S.-Saudi friendship, there has been a
drumbeat of anti-Saudi hysteria in the United States recently,
escalating since the infamous presentation before the Defense
Department's Defense Policy Board on July 10 by the RAND
corporation's Laurent Murawiec, which declared Saudi Arabia the
mother of all terror, and calling for the overthrow of that country's
government and other Arab "dictatorships" (see EIR, Aug. 16, 2002).
Although Murawiec was fired by RAND for this mindless diatribe,
Richard Perle, who runs the Defense Policy Board, was never publicly
reprimanded, let alone fired, and the Saudis took note.

Even more blatant was the report issued by the leading think-tank of
the American establishment, the Council on Foreign Relations, in
October, "Terrorist Financing." The report is the work of a task force,
headed by Maurice "Hank" Greenberg of the AIG insurance cartel,
himself a notorious money-launderer. The report castigates Islamic
charities in general, but hits Saudi Arabia in particular: "For years,
individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most
important source of funds for al-Qaeda; and for years, Saudi officials
have turned a blind eye to this problem," says the report. Making their
intentions clear, the CFR adds: "It may well be the case that if Saudi
Arabia and other nations in the region were to move quickly to share
sensitive financial information with the U.S., regulate or close down
Islamic banks, incarcerate prominent Saudi citizens or render them to
international authorities, audit Islamic charities, and investigate the
hawala system—just a few of the steps that nation would have to
take—it would be putting its current system of governance at significant
political risk." Nonetheless, they argue, the Bush Administration must
proceed, and stop pretending that "Saudi Arabia is being cooperative,
when they know very well all the ways in which it is not."

With this madness as establishment policy, the Saudis, and others,
may well see no choice but to pull out of the dollar-based system. This
is one reason for the great interest in LaRouche and his proposals in
the Mideast today. It may well lead to the timely adoption of the Gold
Dinar policy among Islamic nations, and progress toward a New
Bretton Woods monetary system.