Re: Urgent Call for Comments

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Tue Nov 13 2007 - 20:37:25 CST

I'm impressed, Nancy. You manage to generate a considerable amount of
verbiage in the process of refusing to answer my simple questions. For
someone who claims not to want to "call out individuals," you do quite a
good job of insulting or attacking large numbers of people, myself
included. I've seen you engage in such tactics on other lists as a way
of shutting up people who have the temerity to challenge you about some
pronouncement you've made. I won't waste people's time by repeating all
of your nasty remarks about the technologists on the TGDC. They can
read those remarks for themselves in your emails.

We all know, Nancy, that David Wagner is a computer scientist on the
TGDC. By singling out Ron Rivest as being a good guy, you are
implicitly, if not explicitly, attacking David Wagner.

David is a colleague for whom I have enormous respect. David has made
major contributions to the cause of election integrity. I don't expect
you to withdraw your nasty remarks, since you don't do that sort of
thing. I do, however, find your rhetoric in this case not simply
overheated but in fact downright offensive.

And unless you come up with a real zinger that I cannot resist
responding to, I am finished with this bit of unpleasantness.

Regards,
Barbara

Nancy Tobi wrote:
> I do not think it is necessary for me to call out individuals, as you
> would have me do, Barbara.
>
> I have called out Dr. Rivest because I have something positive to say
> about him. I am comfortable doing calling out people by name when I
> have something positive to say about them.
>
> Others whom I have observed on that committee, however, seem to enjoy
> playing their role in the ugly enterprise pf technologizing and
> complexifying our election systems without any question as to whether
> or not their brilliant ideas meet the standard for democratic
> elections. And - I guess I must repeat - the standard for democratic
> elections is CITIZEN OVERSIGHT. Heh. Yeah, Barbara, I will yell it
> out. In a very calm way. Heh.
>
> Barbara, you may not intend to do this, but your tone really sounds
> very condescending, as though you have some sort of "I AM THE
> SCIENTIST HERE" chip on your shoulder, and the rest of us ordinary
> folks need to be taught a thing or two.
>
> I may or may not have my own scientific and technology background and
> areas of expertise. You don't know, do you? Nor do I feel compelled to
> tell you.
>
> And Ianyone else in this discourse may well have "credentials" we are
> unaware of.
>
> But this is immaterial. Because we are here to discuss DEMOCRACY and
> in this, as engaged citizen patriots of the United States of America,
> we are all experts, as we should be. So why don't you stop lecturing
> and talking as though we don't know about facts, study, observation,
> and all those other things that "scientists" like. What I have
> /observed /on this list is that everyone on the list seems to have
> these interests and skills too. We /all /observe and study what the
> hell is going on in our nation, and we are all engaged in gathering
> the facts, and we are all putting these things out to each other - as
> well as our own opinions - for the benefit of dialog, dissent, and
> debate.
>
> This is DEMOCRACY. I'll yell that out too.
>
> Washington, our first president:
>
> *"the greatest thing you can do for your country is extend your views
> beyond yourself." *
>
> And so we do. So you and I can perhaps spare the list this low level
> of dialog that you seem to desire, and let's just agree that I will
> accept your snotty upturned comments, and you can accept my plebeian
> contributions to the discussion. With this understanding, perhaps you
> can begin to refocus yourself on the issue at hand: DEMOCRACY, which
> is, at heart, the focus of the list, and not just open voting
> technology at all.
>
> To assuage your concerns about my "unsubstantiated and vague"
> observations, my "rigorous" study and observations result from
> attending TGDC meetings, speaking with its members, reading its
> documentation, and generally studying the committee, its parent
> organization, and its output. You, too, may do the same if you would
> like to validate for yourself any of my comments, but you will not
> bait me into a name calling exercise. It is the very nature of the
> TGDC, its mission, and its appointees themselves, that create the
> hubris-filled air of the NIST lounge where they meet.
>
> nd yes, I am well aware that not everyone is a /bona fide/
> technologist on the committee. People such as Whitney Quesenberry, for
> instance, come from a slightly different field, as do others.
> */However, their collective focus and raison d'etre is technoelections
> /*, and those without the computer science degrees nonetheless drive
> the same bus: technoelections, without questioning the appropriateness
> thereof. With the exception, to my observation, of Dr. Rivest.
>
> On this OVC list, for instance, the questions of democracy, democratic
> elections, citizen oversight, and technology are all bundled together
> in one happy dialog. You do not ever see this happening with the TGDC.
> When there is a hue and cry - or even a little whimper! - about
> democracy from that group of people in the NIST lounge, who are
> happily and dreamily designing America's high tech, complex,
> extravagant, and opaque-anti-democratic, voting systems at the behest
> of the White House, then I will certainly be happy to write about that.
>
> Best,
>
> Nancy
>
> On Nov 12, 2007 6:28 PM, Barbara Simons <simons@acm.org
> <mailto:simons@acm.org>> wrote:
>
> Dear Nancy,
>
> You responded below that Ron Rivest is "the solitary member of that
> committee who does not present as hubris-filled." Therefore, I assume
> that you are accusing David Wagner of being a "hubris-filled"
> technologist. Since you referred to "technologists" (plural), perhaps
> you could give us the names of the other hubris-filled
> technologists on
> the TGDC. I am asking, because not everyone on the TGDC can be
> considered to be a technologist, even using the term loosely.
>
> Just to be clear, I am not defending the TGDC or all of the
> technologists on the TGDC. I have problems with some of the
> members of
> the TGDC. But I am also aware of the really good work being done by
> technologists such as Ron Rivest and David Wagner.
>
> As far as your use of caps goes, I wasn't suggesting that you
> switch to
> bold or italics. Rather, I was suggesting that you "speak" in a calm
> tone and focus on facts, rather than YELLING. I agree, however, that
> your use of caps, while annoying, is a relatively minor issue,
> especially compared to your attack on David Wagner.
>
> I thought this list was supposed to discuss various OVC
> technologies and
> options. As such, I would have expected people to address issues
> with a
> reasonable amount of rigor, instead of making vague unsubstantiated
> accusations.
>
> Regards,
> Barbara
>
> Nancy Tobi wrote:
> > Barbara,
> >
> > I do not need advice from you on whether or not to use CAPS for
> > emphasis. You may find this shocking, but I, too, have been "using
> > email for years" and I use ALL CAPS for emphasis because I am aware
> > that using formatting such as bold or italics does not work for
> those
> > on the list accepting plain text only in their email.
> >
> > The names of the hubris-filled technologists may be found at the EAC
> > website link to the TGDC, where they are all listed. Feel free to
> > peruse at your leisure. It will be easier for me to name the
> solitary
> > member of that committee who does not present as hubris-filled, and
> > that would be Dr. Ron Rivest, someone who appears to have a genuine
> > interest in asking the questions about whether or not any given
> > techno-solution meets the requirements for democratic elections.
> >
> > Frankly, I think it would help your own arguments if you could stay
> > focused on the merits rather than tend, as you do, to lecture on
> what
> > you believe is the appropriate manner for others to formulate and
> > express their own opinions.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Nancy
> >
> > On Nov 11, 2007 7:16 PM, Barbara Simons < simons@acm.org
> <mailto:simons@acm.org>
> > <mailto:simons@acm.org <mailto:simons@acm.org>>> wrote:
> >
> > Hi, Nancy. What are the names of the "hubris-filled
> technologists
> > sitting on guidelines development committee" and what have
> they done
> > that makes you use such rhetoric when referring to them?
> Please be
> > specific about who they are and what they have done.
> >
> > Also, what basis do you have for saying:
> > > they are sitting in a wonderland of their own making,
> oblivious to
> > > election realities or the requirements of democratic
> elections,
> > most
> > > specifically, those being CITIZEN OVERSIGHT and OBSERVABLE
> VOTE
> > > COUNTING. You might think they are just airily spinning
> off their
> > > piles of gold under the magic spell of some hidden and
> unbidden
> > > Rumpelstiltskin.
> >
> >
> > Furthermore, it would be a helpful if you could avoid vague
> > generalities
> > and RESPONDING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. You may feel that the
> use of
> > caps is
> > not yelling, but for many of us who have been using email for
> > years and
> > years, the use of capitals is in fact equivalent to yelling.
> > Frankly, I
> > think it would help your arguments if you would simply use a
> standard
> > font for your email and allow your arguments to speak for
> themselves.
> > If your arguments are sound, you won't need to use caps or
> italic or
> > bold fonts.
> >
> > I look forward to your response.
> >
> > Barbara
> >
> > Nancy Tobi wrote:
> > > Actually, it is not clear to what extent the EAC has
> listened to
> > the
> > > vendors on these guidelines. The guidelines represent
> software and
> > > hardware specifications for equipment that will be
> immensely complex
> > > and expensive to develop and then to market.
> > >
> > > Given that their target market is publicly funded
> municipalities, a
> > > market without deep pockets, and given that there is
> plenty in these
> > > requirements that will be next to impossible to produce in any
> > kind of
> > > marketable reality, it is actually a mystery to me what
> and who is
> > > really driving this new round of specifications.
> > >
> > > Watching the hubris-filled technologists sitting on the
> guidelines
> > > development committee, you kind of think they are sitting
> in a
> > > wonderland of their own making, oblivious to election
> realities
> > or the
> > > requirements of democratic elections, most specifically,
> those being
> > > CITIZEN OVERSIGHT and OBSERVABLE VOTE COUNTING. You might
> think they
> > > are just airily spinning off their piles of gold under the
> magic
> > spell
> > > of some hidden and unbidden Rumpelstiltskin.
> > >
> > > The vendor reps that I met at these guidelines committee
> meetings
> > > seemed to resemble shell shocked deer gazing into the blinding
> > > headlights of an oncoming and inevitable collision. Slightly
> > spooked
> > > by what they were seeing and hearing, and openly remarking
> on the
> > > impossibility of it all.
> > >
> > > Whoever is behind this boondoggle, the goal is clear:
> complexify
> > > elections to the point where there will be no citizen
> oversight
> > > whatsoever and nobody will understand what is going on
> with the
> > > elections other than a handful of "qualified" people (as
> Congressman
> > > Holt liked to call the elite few who would be granted
> access to the
> > > keys to the kingdom).
> > >
> > > And whoever is behind handing off the verbiage directly
> from the EAC
> > > guidelines to Congressional staffers like Michelle Mulder
> in Rush
> > > Holt's office, seems to be determined to make this
> complexified
> > > technoelection paradigm the law of the land.
> > >
> > > The anonymous, unseen hand behind all this is way ahead of
> all
> > of us.
> > > I suppose, in general terms you can try to trace the
> breadcrumbs to
> > > the source. In this case, we know that the EAC reports
> directly
> > to the
> > > Oval Office.
> > >
> > > Ultimately, the only solution to rescue our democracy from
> this
> > > nightmare is to abolish the EAC, innoculate against its
> deadly virus
> > > by killing its little cottage industry of federalized
> voting system
> > > design, and to swiftly and with finality eradicate its
> > technoelection
> > > kingdom from the land.
> > >
> > > Best,
> > >
> > > Nancy
> > >
> > > On Nov 11, 2007 4:54 PM, Richard C. Johnson <
> dick@iwwco.com <mailto:dick@iwwco.com>
> > <mailto:dick@iwwco.com <mailto:dick@iwwco.com>>
> > > <mailto:dick@iwwco.com <mailto:dick@iwwco.com>
> <mailto:dick@iwwco.com <mailto:dick@iwwco.com>>>> wrote:
> > >
> > > Folks,
> > >
> > > Now is the time for a concerned activists of whatever
> > persuasion
> > > to engage in public comment about the EAC's proposed
> Voluntary
> > > Voting System Guidelines. These guidelines are not truly
> > > voluntary; the states may adopt them and require them
> by law;
> > > California, for example, incorporates these guidelines
> into its
> > > requirements for voting systems.
> > >
> > > The EAC has listened to Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Sequoia
> and other
> > > vendors in formulating these guidelines. If you trust the
> > > vendors, fine. In not, please register your comments
> via the
> > > online tool provided at:
> > >
> > > http://www.eac.gov/vvsg
> > >
> > > The Glossary is the worst section, defining terms
> (Paper Trails
> > > are equivalent to Paper Ballots: see CVR in the
> Glossary) in
> > > strange and unusual ways to set the default for any
> > arguments and
> > > confuse the public. Truly, this is WAR=PEACE time.
> > >
> > > Note: when you comment, cite the target subject of
> your comment
> > > in the text, since they lump all comments under gross
> > categories
> > > (like, all Glossary comments are gathered under "g".
> > >
> > > We may not all have money, we may not have relatives
> who are in
> > > Congress, but all of us who are aware enough and have
> access to
> > > the internet can comment. It is a lot of work, but just
> > look at
> > > the Test section and see if you think a White Box
> Test is
> > just a
> > > spec with Black box modules. Some of us don't think
> you can do
> > > much White Box testing without Open Source; the EAC would
> > have you
> > > believe that White Box testing has a great deal of
> Black in it,
> > > but they still want to call it White rather than Grey.
> What
> > it is
> > > not is transparent!
> > >
> > > IMHO.
> > >
> > > -- Dick
>
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:23 2007

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