Internet Voting bill is absurd

On April 23, the AP Twitter account got hacked very publicly, and a false tweet went out saying there had been two explosions in the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured, causing widespread and immediate consternation.

The stock market dropped sharply, temporarily wiping out about $150 billion in stock value. Once again, we had glaring proof of the dangers and insecurity of the Internet.

That same afternoon, four California Assembly Elections Committee Democrats -- Rob Bonta, Raul Bocanegra, Isadore Hall and Henry Perea -- worked with another Assembly Democrat from San Francisco, Phil Ting, attempting to bravely deny the insecurity of the Internet.

They scrambled to throw together enough last-minute amendments to AB 19 to attempt to get us to believe they could make a foolproof Internet voting system for California.

Before they passed it, each side was allowed 10 minutes to state their case, for and against Internet Voting (IV). The "for" side had one person. The side against IV and AB 19 had representatives of the Secretary of State's office; Common Cause; David Jefferson, a world-renowned cyber security expert who works for Lawrence Livermore Labs; and about two dozen election integrity activists and concerned citizens, all speaking intelligently about the dangers and strongly urging a "no" vote. But for naught. The decision was made long before the meeting.

What fools we elect! How many long lists of cybersecurity experts need to warn against Internet Voting? How many glaringly extreme examples of the Internet's insecurity do we need (Google, the CIA, the Defense Department)?

The only Assembly member who spoke of the problems of Internet Voting, the insecurity of the Internet and the inability to audit or recount an IV vote, was Paul Fong, the Democratic chairman, who voted against the bill.

The committee seemed blinded by the unproven belief IV will bring in more young voters who will increase the Democratic plurality in future elections. So the Democrats voted for AB 19 and the Republicans voted against it.

They fail to comprehend that the young will come out and vote in greater numbers and more Democratic when they are offered champions of the people such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who will fight for them and won't bow to every demand of the corporate, wealthy and big government interests.

AB 19 moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, then the full Assembly. More fights loom.

Richard Tamm

Berkeley

Tamm is the co-chairman of The Voting Rights Task Force and treasurer of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club.

'Hack the Sky?' public debate

At 7 p.m. on May 9, at the Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley, corporate, billionaire- backed geoengineer, Ken Caldiera, will be laying out the scientists' plans to mitigate global warming by blocking sunlight from the earth with chemical jet aerosols, such as sulfur dioxide and aluminum oxide dust. Earth Island Institute, the sponsor of this debate, is calling the event, "Hack the Sky?"

An ethicist, not a scientist, was chosen to debate Caldiera. Is the Earth Island Institute telling us there are no scientific arguments against this scheme? Arguments like: These chemical dusts will fall to earth to be absorbed and breathed by humans and all living things. The sun gives the earth life. Sunlight is necessary for plants to perform photosynthesis, which takes carbon out of the atmosphere.

The sun is the source of vitamin D required for human health. I'd like to hear from some forestry scientists, soil scientists, ocean scientists, biologists, botanists, entomologists, and noncorporate atmospheric scientists.

It's time for those who truly care about the environment to question blind trust in scientists and established environmental organizations. Science at our universities is sponsored and directed by corporations now. Corporations have discovered the best way to control environmentalists is to fund them.

It seems the "neo" environmentalists are running the environmental wing of the global war on terror, scaring us into all sorts of banker, developer, corporation, scientist enriching schemes ala "disaster capitalism." I know there are plenty of well-meaning, caring people working with these groups, but has fear numbed their critical thinking?

Geoengineering is massive pollution of the earth and its inhabitants; nothing less than the corporate scientific takeover of our greatest commons, our sky and atmosphere, natural weather and climate.

It needs to be noted that the description of geoengineering matches what many already regularly observe in our skies. Please show up for this discussion on a subject that's been mostly hidden from the public.

Vivian Warkentin

Berkeley

Glop-from-hell pipeline

You and I don't want to be lied to about pipelines across the country or anything else, for that matter.

The promised benefits of permitting the Keystone XL Pipeline construction must remain forever a fevered pipe-dream of the overactive corporate imagination.

For example, the corporate media recently did the job of keeping as quiet as possible the recent pipeline spill in Arkansas of exceedingly toxic glop from Canadian tar sands.

The goo they propose to shove through a new pipeline to Texas refineries is clotted with chemicals you wouldn't let your family within 100 miles of. Tar-sands oil needs refining in Canada as close to the source as humanly possible.

Rational Canadians want absolutely nothing to do with new pipelines to their coasts carrying unrefined toxic tar-sands sludge. Therefore, let the oil companies build a new refinery in Canada. Please kindly forget and denounce all the dangerous glop-from-hell traveling across valuable environments and watersheds in the beloved, sacred United States.

"Jobs will be many," say pipeline advocates. "Not true," say analysts and critics.

"The environment will remain safe," assert advocates. "Laughably incorrect," reply knowledgeable experts.

"Energy independence for the United States," say pipe-dreamers. "That oil will go to foreign countries," reply experts.

Please stop dangerous unneeded projects such as this north to south pipeline, funds for which could build solar and wind renewable power sources of long-term high value, as do the Chinese.

Terry Cochrell

Berkeley