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Does he mean the MIT Professors funded by right-wing thinktanks?

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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 06:13 PM
Original message
Does he mean the MIT Professors funded by right-wing thinktanks?
Here's a blog entry with links to plenty of info. Sorry, this is a long one:

Nov 19 2004, 10:13 AM

More Caltech/MIT VTP Connections to Right Wing Think-tanks
by dennisv

Kudos to lawnorder 's excellent diary, Keith Olbermann: It's Berkeley vs Caltech

And thanks, lawnorder, for making reference to my own diatribe against the the November 11, 2004 Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP) report entitled Voting Machines and the Underestimate of the Bush Vote"

There are three associations connected with the Caltech/MIT VTP that I find unsavory.

1. MIT political scientists Charles Stewart and Stephen Ansolabehere both received Fellowships at the rabidly right wing Hoover Institution freeper factory, funded by just about every rich wingnut foundation in existence.

2. Caltech political scientists Ramon Michael Alvarez and Jonathan N. Katz received John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellowships. The Olin Foundation spends millions a year to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges.

3)David Baltimore is a member of the powerful and mysterious Council on Foreign Relations

Now grab your tin-foil hats, we're going for a ride!

The information about the political scientists is readily available in their online Curriculum Vitae:

Charles Stewart was a 1989-1990 National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Stephen Ansolabehere was selected a National Fellow by the Hoover Institution in 1993.
He was also awarded Olin Research Associate, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University 1987-88.

He was also awarded Carnegie Scholar 2000-01

Ramon Michael Alvarez was awarded:

U.S. Department of Defense, "Evaluation of the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting (SERVE) Project", DASW01-02-C-0027, ($236,140), May 2002 - October 2002, Principal Investigator.

Carnegie Corporation, co-principal investigator, 2000-2001. Project title: "MIT-Caltech
Voting Technology Initiative" ($450,000).

He was also awarded a John M. Olin Faculty Fellowship, 1994-95 ($45,000).

Jonathan N. Katz received a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, 1999-2000 ($110,000).

Now lets take a lok at the Hoover Institution and The Olin Foundation:

About Hoover Institution

Founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, the Stanford University-based Hoover Institution is one of the country's oldest research institutes. With eight fellows on the Bush administration's Defense Policy Board (DPB), as well as several current and former associates like Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice serving in the country's highest policy-making posts, the influence of Hoover is difficult to overestimate. Hoover DPB members include Richard Allen, Martin Anderson, Gary Becker, Newt Gingrich, Henry S. Rowen, Kiron Skinner, and Pete Wilson. (7)
Hoover's connection to the Bush administration and its hardline defense policies has been a source of continuing controversy at Stanford. According to journalist Emily Biuso, in early 2003, various campus groups organized a series of protests calling for Hoover's ouster from the university, which donates about $1 million to the institution every year. (3)
According to the Foundation Center, Hoover's $25 million annual budget is funded largely by a mix of conservative and corporate foundations, including Archer Daniels Midland, Bradley, Earhart, Donner, ExxonMobil, Ford Motor, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, and Scaife.

The Media Transparency's list of private foundation donors who pumped in $ 19,112,746 from 1995-2002 reads like a Who's Who of the right wing bagmen with Richard Mellon Scaife leading the charge having singlehandedly donated almost $9,000,000 over that period.

About Richard Mellon Scaife

Hoover Institution: Board member
Heritage Foundation: Trustee
Scaife Foundations: Chairman
Tribune-Review Publishing Co., Inc.: Owner
In his hilarious 2003 book Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them), Al Franken argues that the abusive tone of rightwing zealots like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter can be traced back to Scaife, and in particular to one episode in 1981 when Scaife verbally assaulted a reporter. When the reporter, Karen Rothmeyer of the Columbia Journalism Review, asked Scaife about his funding of conservative groups, he replied, "You "expletive deleted"ing communist "expletive deleted", get out of here." Franken writes that Scaife "went on to tell her that she was ugly and that her teeth were 'terrible.' Of Ms. Rothmeyer's mother, who was not present, he said, 'She's ugly, too.' Sensing that it was time to wrap up the interview, Ms. Rothmeyer thanked Scaife for his time. He bade her farewell with a cheery 'Don't look behind you.'" (4)
"That's the funny thing about tone," Franken continues, "It's so subjective. Usually, I find it's enough to call someone a '"expletive deleted"ing communist "expletive deleted",' without having to gild the lily by disparaging her teeth and issuing veiled threats."

Scaife Foundations

Financed by the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune. At one time its largest single holding was stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation. Became active in funding conservative causes in 1973, when Richard Mellon Scaife became chairman of the foundation. In the 1960s, Richard had inherited an estimated $200 million from his mother, Sarah. Forbes magazine has estimated his personal net worth at $800 million, making him the 138th richest person in the U.S. He controls the Scaife, Carthage and Allegheny foundations. In 1993, Scaife and Carthage reportedly gave more than $17.6 million to 150 conservative think tanks. As of December 31, 1992, Scaife assets were $212,232,888 and Carthage assets were $11,937,862.

Top 12 Recipients by amount granted by the
Scaife Foundations

Name Total
Heritage Foundation, The 20,696,640
Free Congress Foundation, Inc. 15,662,000
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. 9,336,000
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace 8,818,900
Center for Strategic and International Studies 7,603,000
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc. 7,479,800
Carnegie Institute 7,176,375
Judicial Watch 6,740,000
Brandywine Conservancy, Inc. 6,442,000
Landmark Legal Foundation 5,260,000
Center for the Study of Popular Culture 5,250,000
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research 5,201,000
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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nick & Land Shark are a TAG TEAM
Right ON NICK,
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thanks. Isn't it amazing what one can find with a little digging?
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. There's more. Rebecca Mercuri rebuts MIT/CalTech voting systems analysis:

Nov 21 2004, 10:16 AM

I was forwarded the following press release from MIT/CalTech from a source at IEEE Spectrum> and am seriously concerned about the conclusions they have drawn regarding the recent Florida primary election. The MIT press release is here in its entirety, followed by my analysis/rebuttal. R. Mercuri.

NEWS RELEASE, September 24, 2002

Rebecca Mercuri rebuts recent MIT/CalTech voting systems analysis and calls for moratorium on new electronic balloting equipment purchases

After reviewing the press release issued September 19 by MIT and CalTech, electronic voting system expert Rebecca Mercuri revealed that "the conclusion that MIT/CalTech researchers has drawn, that Florida's new voting technology shows a 35% improvement, is based on a flawed analysis and is likely erroneous." She goes on to state that not only are the researchers comparing "apples to oranges" in terms of the types of technologies surveyed (punch-cards versus optically scanned and DRE machines), but they have misleadingly compared Gubernatorial general election results to Gubernatorial primary results (and only for the Democrats in the 2002 primary).

It is well known that voters in general elections turn out in far greater numbers (in Florida it is estimated that the November election will show a 400% increase or more) than in primaries, putting greater strain on the performance of systems as well as on poll workers and voters. The balloting style of the typical primary voter (usually a party insider, and certainly a partisan with a larger interest in selecting candidates for each race on the ballot) is quite different from the general election voter, where independents and other non-declared or minority party affiliation citizens are permitted to cast ballots. Thus, only in November will we be able to ascertain whether the residual vote rate has actually "improved." Hence, Dr. Mercuri asserts, "the conclusion is premature, as well as flawed."

Laudatory statements made by Stephen Ansolabehere, Charles Stuart and R. Michael Alvarez regarding Florida's new voting systems are also sorely misleading, and do not support their conclusion of 35% improvement. MIT Professor Stuart's comment that "most of the problems covered by journalists...did not concern equipment malfunctions" is not based on an analysis of the numerous and severe voting system problems that occurred throughout the state, but rather on the media reports that surfaced. Many equipment malfunctions were reported by the Associated Press and other news bureaus, but these were obfuscated by the public interest stories that alternatively showed voters "pleased with the new equipment" or being "turned away from the polls in droves."

A lot of the media attention focused on press comments by Governor Jeb Bush and members of his staff who erroneously characterized the problems as being based only in two counties (Miami-Dade and Broward) and blamed the poll workers and election officials there for the situation. In actuality, Miami-Dade and Broward could not have purchased the ES&S machines had they not been pre-certified by the state for use. Sadly, this certification failed to provide the counties or their poll workers with sufficient notification as to the fact that the voting machines would take 10 minutes to start up, with the ones outfitted for the visually impaired taking an astonishing 23 minutes. Some machines also contained a "safety feature" that did not permit them to be turned on before 6AM on election day. Since each unit is activated sequentially, simple math shows that a polling place containing 10 voting machines, with one outfitted for the visually impaired, would not be fully operational until nearly 8AM (an hour after the polls opened) under the best conditions. Mercuri states: "I certainly do not see how this can be blamed on the poll-workers, nor how it constitutes an improvement. I'm hard pressed to think of any computer equipment manufactured after the 1970's that takes 23 minutes to be started, especially those deployed for use entirely in time-critical operations. The failure by MIT/CalTech to raise serious concerns about the engineering of these products is remiss."

MIT's Ansolabehere stated that "the machines used showed clear gains over the technologies used in past elections." To which Dr. Mercuri replies: "Yes perhaps, if one considers declaring a state of emergency (under threat of lawsuit by a major candidate) and extending the election day by two hours a "clear gain." How about in Union County, Florida, where 2,700 optically scanned ballots had to be hand counted, because the computers were erroneously programmed to only tally votes for Republican candidates? At least there, the ballots could be recounted because they were on paper. What about the precinct in southern Florida that showed a 1200% voter turnout (12 times as many voters as were registered) because the DRE activation cards permitted voters to cast ballots on machines in the same building that were not in their precinct? And what about some precincts in Miami-Dade and Broward where the vote cartridges reflected over 40% residual votes (lost or missing) and data had to be "extracted" from back-up memory inside of the machines (one wonders how trusted the reconstructed results can be)?"

CalTech's Alvarez states "we are learning important lessons about how to make such important changes in voting technologies" and Mercuri asks: "Is it fair to allow Florida and other states and communities to feel pressured to replace their voting systems while being treated as guinea pigs? Is the United States prepared to reimburse communities for defective and obsolete equipment once new standards are in place (since all election equipment is still being inspected by the National Association of State Election Directors testing authorities to the outdated 1990 Federal Election Commission guidelines)? Is it acceptable to certify voting equipment that can be reprogrammed internally via a portal on the device (as some were, only weeks before the election in Palm Beach County as well as elsewhere in the state)? These new technologies are playing a role in electing government officials - the confidence citizens have in the democratic process is at stake."

Mercuri, who has testified before the U.S. House Science Committee regarding the need for involvement of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies in establishing criteria for the procurement and testing of election equipment, feels that congressional election reform is sorely needed. But, she notes that many of the laws proposed at federal and state levels, or enacted since 2000, have been weakly worded so as to permit the production of election equipment that does not provide an independent means whereby voters can verify human-readable ballots that are secured and available for recounts. "Real election reform," Mercuri says, "is only possible within a context of adequate and enforceable standards for construction, testing, and deployment of voting equipment."

But Mercuri worries that the trend to full automation of the voting process could be used to conceal election fraud. She warns, "It is entirely possible that Florida and other states may smooth out their election day problems such that it appears that the voting systems are functioning properly, but votes could still be shifted or lost in small percentages, enough to affect the outcome of an election, within the self-auditing machines. Whether this occurs maliciously or accidentally, it presents a frightening prospect. Thankfully, new products are being developed that provide the voter with a way to determine that their ballot has been tabulated correctly, without revealing the contents of their vote, but deployment of such systems is a few years down the road."

For these reasons, Dr. Mercuri has requested a moratorium on the purchase of any new voting systems that do not provide, at minimum, a voter-verified, hand-recountable, physical (paper) ballot while appropriate laws, standards, and technologies are developed that will provide accurate, secure, reliable, and auditable voting systems. She urges MIT, CalTech, and other concerned scientists, public officials and private citizens to join her in this cause.
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
4. Also: CalTech/MIT VTP Anonymous report REFUTED by CalTech Dean
Did ya happen to notice that this famous CalTech/MIT report wasn't even signed?
Kinda like the bush v Gore decision by the traitorous Supremes.

Another blog entry on the same webpage:
The CalTech Dean not only disagreed with the findings of this report, he even stated that "an investigation is warranted".

Nov 22 2004, 06:20 PM

Cal Tech / MIT VTP Anonymous report REFUTED by Cal Tech Dean

An investigation is warranted says Dean

In a little unnoticed paragraph on today's MSNBC -(Keith Olbermann)'s blog we see that SOMEONE at Cal Tech decided to say something about that pitiful "Anonymous" report issued to repeat the Rovian tag line of "no fraud indications found"

...said "an investigation is warranted"

The Dean is PART of VTP too!

MIT Arts and Social Sciences Dean Charles Stewart - said more than that. "There is an interesting pattern here that I hope someone looks into."

Stewart is part of the same Cal Tech/MIT Voting Project that had earlier issued a preliminary report suggesting that there was no evidence of significant voting irregularity in Florida. Dean Stewart added he didn't necessarily buy the Berkeley conclusion .. and still thought there were other options...

He, he, he... I knew that an unsigned report meant no one at Cal Tech's / MIT VTP dared to publicly stand behind that pile of bushite! -- law
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