Monday, May 30, 2005

*US media censor uranium weapons stories

Depleted uranium turns to poison gas*

By Bob Nichols

May 27, 2005--A dedication in 2120 might say: Dedicated to the memory of
the Iraqi people. Many people believe Iraq was the birthplace of
civilization some 5,000 years ago. Iraq was destroyed and radioactively
contaminated in an early 21st Century Oil War by a fascist world power,
now extinguished.

*_____________________________________________________ *

Friday, May 13, 2005

from Bernie Ellis in TN--Get to Nashville TUESDAY!

To everyone,

Here's hoping all of you have a beautiful and restful weekend ahead. Because next Tuesday, May 17, we hope that you and many of your friends and family will show up, stand up and be counted for free, fair and verifiable elections in Tennessee. Here are the final details on our presentation before the House State and Local Government committee.

Instead of being scheduled before the committee convened, we have been put first on their formal committee agenda, which means our presentation to the full Committee should run from noon to 12:15 pm. (It can be extended if members have questions.) We are very fortunate to receive this time and this time assignment, as we will be followed on the agenda by a discussion of one of the ethics bills (on lobbyist disclosure), so the Tennessee media should be in the room en masse. We need to do everything we can do to pack the hearing room to the rafters.

If you have been looking for SOMETHING to do here in Tennessee NOW to repair and protect our election system, attending this legislative hearing is just the thing. And to maximize our potential impact, I would still like to ask as many people as possible to arrive early (around 11:30 am) to meet and greet legislators in the hallway outside Hearing Room 16. At the bottom of this memo are the grouped email lists for key House and Senate committees, as well as the rest of the legislature. There is also a sample invitation for the legislators to meet with us to discuss election reform next Tuesday. Please "cut and paste" these lists into an email and write the legislators yourself a quick note and an invitation to meet with us in the hallway starting at 11:30 am and to stay around to hear our presentation to the House State and Local Government committee at noon.

This week, we have had excellent meetings with the TN Secretary of State (three Gathering members, together with three legislators) and another excellent meeting with the Tennessee Disability Coalition, which will send representatives to the hearing. We still are in a good position to influence the future of voting here in Tennessee, if we act now and in a big way. We need to reach out to every person and organization we know here in Tennessee today and over the weekend to ask them to join us, for this one hour -- high noon next Tuesday -- to demonstrate to our legislature that we stand united for free, fair and verifiable elections. We need to keep building the momentum for reform, and a big attendance at this hearing will do just that.

Spread the word. Mobilize every Orange State patriot you know to show up, stand up and be counted May 17 at high noon.
Hearing Room 16, Legislative Plaza, across from the TN Perforning Arts Center. (Park at the Sheraton -- it's easiest.)

Bernie Ellis, Organizer
Gathering To Save Our Democracy
Sample letter of invitation to the legislators:

The House State and Local Government Committee will open next Tuesday, May 17, at noon with a fifteen minute presentation in Hearing Room 16 by citizens who are concerned about protecting the vote in Tennessee. This presentation will lay out suggestions for how Tennessee should be proceeding to improve the accountability and integrity of the voting process, and to make prudent but necessary improvements in how our votes are cast here in our state to protect our franchise.

I am writing to invite you to join us at that House State and Local Government committee hearing. A number of us are planning to arrive at 11:30 am and to meet in the hallway outside Hearing Room 16. If you can join us early, we would like to discuss with you the steps we need to take NOW to protect the vote in Tennessee. We look forward to seeing you then.

Cut-and-paste email lists of TN legislators: I would list the email addresses as "blind copies" so the legislators aren't aware we are sending these invitations en masse. Besides, you should send a personal invitation to your own legislator, and let them know who you are. Let's get these invitations out today and over the weekend. We'll see you all on Tuesday, May 17. Bernie
House Elections sub-committee of the House State and Local Government committee:

Cut-and-paste Email list:,,,,,,,
House State and Local Government Committee

Cut-and-paste email list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Senate State and Local Government Committee:
Cut-and-Paste Email list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Senate Finance Committee

Cut-and-Paste Email List:,,,,,,,,,,

Cut-and-paste list for the rest of the House:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Cut-and-paste list for the rest of the Senate:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Links to 30 ACTION ITEMS fo 5/10 week and beyond.

Even if you can't find any of these actions urgent (oh really?), there is a great list of media contacts below.  Thank you New Orleans for Truth List and "PG".

posting from

1. Don't Let Frist Eliminate the Filibuster! ( 2 actions) As it stands, Republicans have a narrow Senate majority that's not big enough to get their extremist judges approved. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-TN) solution to this "problem" is called the "nuclear option". What it is is a badly conceived scheme to change Senate rules and silence Democrats by eliminating the filibuster.

2. Call Senator Harry Reid's office and urge him to defend us from this right-wing assault on our Minority rights and on our Judges! He is under tremendous pressure and we don't want him to cave in ! Then call your own Senators. If Dems, tell them you expect them to stand strong. If Repubs, tell them you do not approve of the strong-armed tactics their party is using! Sen Reid: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327

3. Write letters to national media denouncing this power grab. See email addresses at end. Just remove the blanks around the @. To send to several at a time, place the addresses in the BCC field (sometimes found after clicking the cc field) of your email program. The bcc field hides the addresses of your distribution list, and you can just place your own address in the TO: field.

niteline @ , NETAUDR @ , wnn @ letters @ , cnn @ , Colmes @ , Jack.Cafferty @ , jconason @ , LarryKingLive @ , Lateedition @ , letters @ , PeterJennings @ , sidney_blumenthal @ , Ted.Koppel @

2020 @, thisweek @, nightline @, 48hours @, 60m @, 60w @, bpc @, evening @, earlyshow @, efm @, ftn @, mkx @, pma @, rbc @, sundays @,

grain @, aaron.brown @, InsideScoop @, am @, 360 @, andrea.koppel @, bill.schneider @, bruce.morton @, candy.crowley @, carol.lin @, crossfire @, daryn.kagan @, david.ensor @, daybreak @, kurtzh @, inthemoney @, crossfire @,

jeanne.meserve @, jeff.greenfield @, jim.walton @, deirdre.walsh @, kelly.wallace @,
kyra.phillips @, livefrom @, livetoday @, lou.dobbs @, loudobbs @, miles.obrien @, moneyline @, newsnight @, Paula.Zahn2 @, paula.zahn @, tom.hannon @, wam @, wolf @, dennis.sullivan @,

hardball @, countdown @, abramsreport @, dshuster @, norville @, imus @, joe @, jtrippi @, Lesterholt @, msnbcinvestigates @, feedback @,

rreagan @, viewerservices @, dateline @, mtp @, nightly @, today @, feedback @, jloven @, lmargasak @, msilverman @, npickler @, rfournier @, sjohnson @, pr @, thunt @, traum @, Editors @, howardfineman @, Letters @, @,

todd.eastham @, arshad.mohammed @, editor @, randall.mikkelsen @, steve.holland @, john.whitesides @, investigations_desk @, politics_desk @, letters @, greg.hitt @, jeanne.cummings @, dkeil @, wroberts @, ghall @, hprzybyla @, alan @, ontherecord @, MPossley @

Here are 2 more ways to fight the right-wing judicial power grab:

4. Sign the PFAW petition:

and donate if you can, to run their ads:

5. Urge your Senators to defend the filibuster:

6. Oppose Bolton nomination to represent us in UN!

This thug and liar is dangerous to our security as he has lied and coerced subordinates to distort intelligence! Email, FAX, call Senator Voinovich of Ohio to not be pressured and to defend and protect us from this dangerous nomination! Email to his helpers and make it clear "Vote NO on Bolton!" (remove the blanks around the @) on these:

Aric_Newhouse @,
Marcie_Ridgway @,
Dana_smullen @,
Scott_Milburn @,
Phil_Park @
PHONE: (202)224-3353, or(513)684-3265, or (216)522-7095
FAX: (202) 228-1382

You can directly call each of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Bolton nomination at:

Majority Phone (R)Sen Lugar: (202) 224-4651

Minority Phone (D) Sen Biden: (202) 224-3953

If you can't contact them all, urge Democratic Senators Russ Feingold (Wis) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) to stand their ground and vote NO for the good of the American people. And ask Republican Senators Lincoln Chafee (R.I) and Chuck Hagel (Neb) not to rubber-stamp this nomination for the safety and security of the American people. FAX, call, and mail them your message. Contact forms for the other committee senators:

7. Add-on issue- sign the petition to stop the wanton destruction of our old-growth forests for Kleenex:

8. Prevent drilling of our national treasure- the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

9. Say NO to oil!

>From NARAL: 10. Tell pharmacies: Dispense our meds, not your morality! (

11. Mad cow madness? Urge Congress to maintain the ban on Canadian beef ( )

12. Demand the restoration of a REAL Ethics Committee:

Follow the link to the list of Delay's transgressions and the gutting of the Ethics Committee:

13. Co-sponsor DCCC efforts to clean House:

and chastise Pat Robertson's rabid remarks about our judges:

14. Demand that Tom Delay resign:

15. Here's another letter you can sign:

16. The House has improved the House ethics rules after public outcry, but the Ethics Committee is still riddled with Tom Delay cronies and supporters. Read about them here:

All 5 Republican members of the Ethics committee have either contributed to Delay's defense or have taken money from Delay. All 5 should remove themselves from this committee. 2 have recused themselves. The remaining three: Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Melissa Hart (R-PA) have received donations from Tom DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority. Hastings and Biggert both received more than $1,000 in donations in 1998, and ARMPAC gave Hart a whopping $15,000 for the 2000 and 2002 elections.Only 2 of the 5 have removed themselves from the committee.

Sign the petition to appoint an outside counsel to investigate Tom Delay at:

17. Still have a job ? Can you donate $10 ? Keep the heat on Delay

18. Sign the petition to protect Social Security ( ) and tell them to remove the cap! Why should salaries above $90,000 not be taxed?

19. Play the Privatization arcade! ({E9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03}/SSGAME_FLASH.HTM )

Play our Privatization Arcade

20. Dairy worker fired for speaking out on discrimination. Speak up for justice:

21. Protect the environment from invasive species. Send a letter here:

22. Watch the MoveOn Elephant Rampage ad: and contribute to air the ad:

23. Click this link again and again to sign the various petitions to Downsize DC and reclaim our democracy:

24. Tell your Senators you don't want polluter-friendly activist judges like William Myers. These other 3 may come to a vote this week: William Pryor, Terrence Boyle, Brett Kavanaugh. They are threats to civil rights, freedom of religion, and judicial integrity. They are all politically active and subject to Bush's influence and will vote for the benefit of corporations instead of for citizens. Priscilla Owen, William Pryor, and Janice Rogers Brown are anti-choice and will move to restrict women's rights. Please urge your Senators to oppose these nominees at: and:

25. Support students to Fillibuster Frist! Pass this on to college Democrats in your area:

26. No on CAFTA! Like NAFTA, CAFTA will undermine American jobs and ship them to workers in other countries who are paid peanuts for back-breaking labor. CAFTA will undermine workers' rights everywhere and give windfall profits to the corporations who ship our jobs to other countries: Say NO to CAFTA!

CAFTA and other PDA action alerts:

Bring the troops home:

27. Co-sponsor John Kerry's Kids First Initiative for healthcare:

28. Ask car manufactures to cooperate with Californians, not oppose us - Click here and sign our petition urging they drop their lawsuit against the Clean Car Bill. ( )

29. Yet another Bush assault has been heaped on us. One that will outlast him! Read about it here and then contact your Senators ( ) and DEMAND that they strike all language regarding the "Sunset Commission" from the budget.

30. Stop New Nuclear Weapons!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

HELP Tennessee and US Election Reform

Yesterday, I wrote all of you to ask you to suppoprt our effort to protect the vote here in Tennessee. I am writing to update you on yesterday's meetings with our legislators and to ask you to please write (and re-write) our Tennessee legislature to support steps to protect our vote.

Yesterday's meetings with legislators went even better than we anticipated. Representative Susan Lynn agreed to amend her bill to require all new voting systems purchased in Tennessee after July, 2005 have a voter-verified paper ballot, that all voting systems have a VVPB by July, 2008 AND that after 2008, all non-manual vote counting systems used in Tennessee would be verified by a mandatory random manual recount of between 5-10% of the votes cast. At the end of the day, Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, offered to co-sponsor Rep. Lynn's bill. That bipartisan support may be just what is needed to move this bill this session.

That, plus your letters and phone calls. Please take the time to contact all state legislators listed below. You can "cut and paste" the entire email list for each committee and send all committee members one email. (I would recommend that you "bcc" the addresses so the legislators don't know you're sending your email to multiple legislators at the same time.)

In order to expand the value of this email campaign, please write House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh to ask that he allow Rep. Lynn's bill to be heard this session. Speaker Naifeh must approve allowing Rep. Lynn's bill to move forward at this late date. His email address is . Also, I have added two more "cut and paste" email lists below, and that is for all other House and Senate members who are not on any of the committees already listed. With that list, you can communicate with the entire legislature in only a few minutes.

Please help us build on our momentum from yesterday. Take a few minutes to write the legislature and then forward this request to as many election reform-minded Tennesseans as you know. We just may be able to protect our vote here in Tennessee, if we all work together for free, fair and verifiable elections NOW. Thanks for your help. Bernie
To everyone concerned with the integrity of our elections in Tennessee:

On Tuesday afternoon, May 3, a group of concerned citizens will visit all Tennessee state legislators at Legislative Plaza to ask them to do several things NOW to protect our vote here in Tennessee. The cover letter that we will be handing them, along with other materials, is at the bottom of this email.

In a nutshell, we are asking our state legislators (and our county election commissions at the same time) to spend no more money (regardless of whether it is local, state or federal money) on non-verifiable voting systems in Tennessee. At the same time, we are asking the legislature to support current efforts to guarantee voter-verified paper ballots and mandatory random manual recounts be part of the voting process statewide in our state before 2006. (Please read the cover letter below now to familiarize yourself with these steps to protect our vote in Tennessee.)

By copy of this email, we are asking every individual and organization who is concerned with maintaining the integrity of our election process to take time NOW to let our state legislature and your county election commission know how you feel. Please take the time to write key legislators and tell them that you want no more money spent on "vapor ballot" voting systems in Tennessee AND that you want voter-verified paper ballots and mandatory random manual recounts to be part of every county's election process no later than 2006. We are asking you to do three things to show the legislature how many of us there are who are concerned about the integrity of our elections here in Tennessee:

1) Send emails and/or call key legislators NOW to let them know you support the few steps that we believe are necessary to protect the vote here in Tennessee. (Again, review our cover letter below before writing.)

To make this task easier, we have listed the key legislative committees below, in the order of their importance. You can get the phone numbers and other information on committee members by clicking on their names. In addition, we have also created a "cut and paste" list of email addresses for each committee, so you can "cut and paste" this email list to quickly address your own message to that committee about protecting the vote in Tennessee. This will make it possible for you to write the entire committee (or multiple committees) at the same time. (You could also "cut and paste" the cover letter below, or tell them your concerns in your own words.) Here are the key committees, in their order of importance:

House Elections sub-committee of the House State and Local Government committee:

Mary Langston, Committee Secretary
Lawrence Hall, Research Analyst
Lois Deberry, Tom Dubois, Joey Hensley, Ulysses Jones, Edith Langster, Judd Matheny

Cut-and-paste Email list:,,,,,,,
House State and Local Government Committee
Harry Brooks, Dewayne Bunch, Lois DeBerry, Tom DuBois, Joey Hensley, Curtis Johnson, John Litz, Judd Matheny, Larry Miller, Gary Moore, Jason Mumpower, Mary Pruitt, Randy Rinks, Park Strader, Harry Tindell, Curry Todd, Ben West, Jr.

Cut-and-paste email list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Senate State and Local Government Committee:
House Finance Committee
Craig Fitzhugh, Chair
Harry Tindell, Vice-Chair
  • Johnny Shaw, Secretary
  • Members:
    Joe Armstrong, Stratton Bone, Rob Briley, Tommie Brown, Kent Coleman, Charles Curtiss, Eugene E. Davidson, Tre Hargett, Jere L. Hargrove, Michael Harrison, Beth Harwell, John Hood, Mark Maddox, Steve McDaniel, Mike McDonald, Bob McKee, Kim McMillan, Larry Miller, Chris Newton, Doug Overbey, Phillip Pinion, Randy Rinks, Dennis Roach, Charles Sargent, Janis Sontany, Nathan Vaughn

    Cut-and-Paste Email list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Senate Finance Committee
    Douglas Henry, Chair
    Randy McNally, Vice-Chair
    Ward Crutchfield, Secretary

    Members: Tim Burchett, John Ford, Joe Haynes, Roy Herron, Jim Kyle, Jeff Miller, Ron Ramsey, Mike Williams

    Cut-and-Paste Email List:,,,,,,,,,,
    Cut-and-paste list for the rest of the House:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Cut-and-paste list for the rest of the Senate:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


    2) Send emails and/or call your own state House and Senate representatives and help reinforce our message about the few steps that we believe are necessary to protect the vote here in Tennessee that are covered in the cover letter below. You can use this link to locate the email and phone numbers for your legislators, if you do not already know them.

    3) Call and/or visit your county election commission offices in the next week and tell them that you don't want any more money spent on non-verifiable voting systems here in Tennessee. Find out when your county's next election commission meeting is to be held, and plan to attend and voice your concerns.

    We would be happy to provide anyone who needs and wants them with copies of several background papers on the perils of non-verifiable voting systems (several of them only one page long) that may help you as you speak with your legislators, your county election commission members and others. To obtain copies of these (MS Word and Acrobat) documents that support our two-step plan to protect our vote in Tennessee, please contact Bernie Ellis, Organizer, Gatehring To Save Our Democracy, at We will email them to you immediately.

    In closing, we would like every individual and organization here in Tennessee who is concerned about the integrity of our voting systems, and the trust that we must place in our elections, to speak up now. If we work together on this issue, we will not be defeated. In order to rightfully and accurately confer the "consent of the governed" to our elected leaders, we must take time NOW to speak up for these needed changes in our election system. There are so many concerns that all of us have about the present course of our governments (local, state and national) on a host of issues. But regardless of our partisan positions on these issues, unless we can restore faith and trust in our election process by returning to verifiable and auditable voting systems in this country, no other issue has a chance of being addressed successfully through governmental means.

    Please help us demonstrate the strong support for free, fair and verifiable elections as the foundation of our government that we have here in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. Please contact key legislators (including your own) and your county election commissions NOW. If we work together and speak in unison for these few steps to protect our vote, we will succeed. Thanks for your help. (Now read the cover letter below.)

    Bernie Ellis, Organizer, Gathering To Save Our Democracy (
    Two Steps To Protect the Election Process in Tennessee NOW
    Gathering To Save Our Democracy
    May 1, 2005

    In the next month, members of the Tennessee legislature and our 95 county election commissions will be making important decisions about the future of our election process and voting systems that we will soon use in our state. These decisions need to insure the future integrity of our election process, and the continued value of our individual votes. We are asking you to insure that two necessary changes take place that will protect our vote in Tennessee.


    In recent years, Tennessee, like many other states, has taken steps to improve and modernize the voting process. Unfortunately, this upgrading of the Tennessee voting systems has led, in some instances, to adoption of electronic "touch screen" voting machines and other methods that record votes electronically. However, these machines produce no paper ballots or other visible records of the voter's choices that the voter can review and verify to know their votes were counted properly. In addition, without paper ballots, nothing is available to be recounted in the event of an election problem or challenge. In 2004, more than half of all votes cast in Tennessee were recorded on these non-verifiable "paperless" machines. These same machines also have produced many headaches for election officials around the country. They have malfunctioned, miscounted votes and otherwise have failed to record votes accurately. (See the attached materials: "Election 2004: A Partial List of Incidents Reported in the News", "No Review for Key Component of Voting System" and "Facts About Electronic Voting" for a short review of voting machine-related problems. If you want to receive a more comprehensive document which covers the issues we are concerned about in more detail, we would be happy to provide you a copy of "Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections.")

    Here in Tennessee, we wouldn't deposit our money in a bank that does not keep good records of our transactions and that could not be audited. Why then have we entrusted our election process and our votes to such a non-verifiable and unaccountable system of paperless voting machines? Today, too many Tennesseans cast their votes on "vapor ballots", not on paper ballots. For the sake of our democracy and to regain the trust of the voters, this has to change. That's why we are proposing two steps that need to be taken immediately to protect our votes in Tennessee. We're asking you to act now to support these two improvements in our election process. They must be in place before the 2006 election.

    Two Steps We Need To Take NOW To Protect Our Vote

    1) Voter-Verified Paper Ballots: By 2006, every voter in Tennessee should be able to use or review a paper ballot that shows their choices. Those voter-verified paper ballots should be the "ballots of record" and should be stored for recounts or other election audit purposes. Using voter-verified paper ballots, and maintaining them as the "ballots of record", we will increase the confidence of Tennesseans that their votes were cast as they were intended. All voting systems judged acceptable for use in the 2006 election must use or produce these voter-verified paper ballots.

    2) Mandatory Random Manual Recounts: This step means hand-counting a portion of the paper ballots in counties that use electronic voting or vote counting systems to insure that our votes are counted correctly by these systems. This step will involve introducing a "quality control" check of the accuracy of the reported vote counts whenever and wherever electronic methods are used to cast or count the votes. These small-scale manual recounts (involving 5-10% of the votes cast in a county) will help safeguard the election process from electronic machines which could incorrectly count the votes, either through innocent computer problems, mistakes in the software or intentional fraud.

    In the legislature, decisions are now being made about how counties may use federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to upgrade Tennessee voting systems. The legislature must decide not to spend any more federal HAVA funds on non-verifiable voting systems. In addition, Representative Susan Lynn has introduced HB 0312 (with its companion bill SB0491), a bill that may provide a framework for accomplishing the two steps we support. We urge you to review these bills, to consider amending them as needed and to support their passage. Taking just these two steps will go a long way to protect and expand voting here in Tennessee. Regardless of your political affiliation, let's work together for these necessary reforms to our Tennessee voting process. Thank you for your consideration and for your support for these two steps to protect the integrity of our election process, and our democratic foundations, here in Tennessee.

    O.K., folks. Thanks in advance for taking the time to contact our legislature. Let's be the small group of determined people who make all the difference. It's our turn -- we are the ones we have been waiting for. Bernie

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