Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Send a Winning Email

You may have noticed the little envelope that now appears at the bottom right-hand corner of each post. This is a new feature that allows you to email posts to your friends. I encourage everyone to do so. Because it's always a good time to start an argument.

You might want to start by sending a couple to President Bush. He's eager for a serious debate on policy issues. That's why he subjects himself to tough interviews, like today's with Rush Limbaugh.

The United States should not privatize social security.

Why you're right:

1. Some seniors would be much worse off. It’s true, the “average” stock market return is higher than money received by the Social Security trust fund. But seniors don’t receive the “average” return. They would only receive their own, individual return which in many cases would be below the average. The stock market is risky and its returns are not guaranteed; what is guaranteed is some seniors inevitably will do much worse. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities)

2. It would vastly increase administrative costs. Currently, social security is administered out of a central fund – this keeps administrative costs quite low. Privatizing social security, even in part, would involve managing funds in more than 150 million individual accounts. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities)

3. There would be huge transition costs. Social security privatization schemes allow workers to invest their own money. That means they will no longer be paying into the Social Security trust fund. In order to transition to a private the Social Security system, the government would have to finance their obligations to the current generation of retirees. Economists estimate that full privatization would cost as much as $3 trillion. Costs for partial privatization schemes would obviously be lower, but still very expensive. (Paul Krugman)

Why they're wrong:

Advocates for Social Security privatization argue that the current structure is unsustainable. But even at current funding levels, Social Security, as it is presently structured, will be able to pay full benefits until 2052. Over the next 75 years, the Social Security shortfall is projected to be just 1 percent of all taxable income. (Congressional Budget Office)

Monday, August 30, 2004

California should not have a part-time legislature.

Why you're right:

1. Full-time legislatures are more independent. If being a state senator or representative is a part-time job, elected officials are forced to find other employment to make ends meet. This inevitably creates conflicts between the interests of their employers – on whom they are financially dependent – and the interests of their constituents.

2. California is a big state. Each member of the state senate represents 875,000 people – more than a member of the federal House of Representatives. Each state assembly member represents 440,000 people. This diverse state also has complex problems. A wide spectrum of people working full time is needed to find solutions to the varied problems. (Boston Herald)

3. A part-time legislature would magnify the impact of lobbyists. Currently, corporations and other special interests are forced to divide their lobbying budget between the legislature and the executive branch. By shifting power to the executive branch – which would be the only game in town much of the year – lobbyists would be able to concentrate most of their resources in the Governor's office. (Boston Herald)

Why they're wrong:

Calling for a part-time legislature is a staple of conservatives who want smaller government. But there are no assurances that a part-time legislature would lead to smaller government. The things that determine the size of government – like the budget – have to be accomplished regardless of how long the legislature is in session. A part-time legislature merely would mean people have less time to make important decisions. As a result, you might end up with government that is not only bigger but also less effective.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bush should stop using the Olympics in political advertisements.

Why you're right:

1. The ads violate the law. By federal law, the words "Olympic" and "Olympiad" cannot be exploited for political purposes. Bush uses the word Olympic in his campaign advertisements. (36 USC 2205 §§ 220506, 220507).

2. The ads damaging our status in the international community. They have drawn complaints from the International Olympic Committee because they feel the ads are "sullying a global trademark that has tried to remain above politics." The ads have also " provoked bitter feelings among some Iraqi Olympians." (Washington Post)

3. The ads are inaccurate. The advertisement implies that Iraq was able send athletes to the Summer Olympics because the United States invaded Iraq. The ads say "today, because the world acted with courage and moral clarity...[Iraqi] athletes are competing in the Olympic Games." But Iraq was represented in the 2000 Sydney Games. (George W. Bush, U.S. State Department)

Why they're wrong:

A Bush Cheney spokesman said that "We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics to make a factual point in a political advertisement." But the central purpose of a campaign advertisement – by definition – is to argue for one candidate to be elected. That is a prohibited use of trademarks of the United States Olympic Committee. There are some things in the advertisement that are factual and some things that are not. But presenting some factual information does not mean that there aren't problems – legal and otherwise – with running the ad.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

527 organizations should not be eliminated.

Why you are right:

1. They are not shadowy. The IRS now requires 527s to disclose "the names and addresses (and occupation and employer if an individual) of all persons who contribute $200 or more...and of all persons receiving expenditures of $500 or more." This information is searchable and publicly available. You can find it here. (IRS website)

2. If 527s were eliminated it would empower wealthy individuals over groups. The constitution prohibits limiting an individual's own political speech. (The government can constitutionally regulate individual contributions that finance other people's political speech). If 527s were eliminated it would simply provide an additional advantage for people who have enough resources to fund their own political speech relative to those of limited resources. (Buckley v. Valeo)

3. Political speech is a good thing. The effect of eliminating the 527 form would be to reduce to amount of political speech because it would be harder for people to organize. Political debate is at the center of any functioning democracy. It shouldn't be only available to political parties, candidates and the very wealthy.

Why they're wrong:

Calls by President Bush and others to eliminate 527s are simply a political ploy to avoid directly condemning advertisements by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But the problem is not with 527s themselves. The problem is that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are lying.

Monday, August 23, 2004

George W. Bush was involved with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertisements

Why you're right:

1. The SBVfT ads features a member of the Bush/Cheney veterans steering committee. Kenneth Cordier appears prominently in the advertisement. Until late last week, he served on the national veterans steering committee for the Bush/Cheney campaign. The campaign only dumped him when his position was exposed last weekend. (Washington Post)

2. The SBVfT ads were funded by a longtime friend of Karl Rove. Their top contributor – Bob Perry – has been friends with Karl Rove for almost 20 years. He also gave $46,000 to Bush's gubernatorial campaigns. (International Herald Tribune)

3. The mastermind behind SBVfT is the same woman the Bush campaign used to smear John McCain. Merrie Spaeth has spearheaded the publicity assault for the SBVfT group. She also worked for a similar group, called Republicans for Clean Air, that smeared McCain's environmental record. (Dallas Morning News)

Why they're wrong:

The Bush campaign claims that, until this Friday, they had no idea that Kenneth Cordier was involved in the SBVfT ads. But the ads had already been running incessantly on television for days. The Bush campaign is monitoring the news constantly. The claim that they didn't know Cordier appeared in the ads until Friday is not credible.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

President Bush does not adequately support our troops

Why you're right:

1. Bush proposed cutting funding for military housing and medical facilities. In the fiscal year 2004 budget the President Bush proposed spending nearly $1.5 billion less on these critical facilities than the previous year. (House Appropriation Committees)

2. Bush proposed rolling back increases for imminent-danger pay. Soldiers on the front lines recieve a small monthly payment as compensation for being placed in imminent danger. Bush proposed cutting this fee from $225 a month to $150 a month. (Army Times)

3. Bush eliminated aid to schools located on military bases. He sliced $125 million in federal subsidies for education children of troops. The cuts affected "about 900,000 children nationwide and 63 percent of children in military families." (Seattle Times)

Why they're wrong:

Bush provides a lot of rhetorical support for the military. But members of the military and their families don't need rhetoric. Like everyone else, they need housing, health care, education and a decent wage. On these substantive measures, Bush has failed to provide support that the military deserves.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Ex-felons should be allowed to vote.

Why you're right:

1. The laws are a relic of a time when states sought to prevent blacks from voting. Because blacks are convicted of crimes at disproportionate rates, they are still achieving that effect. In Florida and Virginia, for example, 16% of the black adult population is ineligible to vote. (Washington Post)

2. It diminishes the right to vote. Granting the right to vote only if someone meets certain character requirements makes voting less of a right and more of a privilege. This threatens to undermine one of the primary goals of the civil rights movement. (Sentencing Project)

3. Granting ex-felons the right to vote enhances the rehabilitative goal of sentencing. Those who have "paid their debt to society" they should be welcomed back into the community fully. A primary goal of the criminal justice system should be "is to encourage offenders to become less antisocial." Therefore, it is in society’s interest to engage offenders in productive relationships with the community," like voting. (Sentencing Project)

Why they're wrong:

Opponents of voting rights for ex-felons stress the importance of being "tough on crime." But there is no evidence to suggest that someone who is ready to ignore the threat of incarceration will be swayed by the prospect of losing their right to vote. Anti-crime policy should focus on deterring crime, not branding people as criminals. (Sentencing Project)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Elections come and go but arguments are forever.

Please consider nominating Winning Argument (http://winningargument.blogspot.com) in the Washingtonpost.com's best political blog competition as the blog "Most Likely To Last Beyond Election Day."

Washington Post Conest

The United States Should Not Recall Troops From Germany and South Korea

Why you're right:

1. Recalling troops puts them farther away from where they are most needed. For the foreseeable future, it is far more likely that troops will be needed in the Middle East than in Canada. As long as that remains the case, it doesn't make sense to shift U.S. troops from Germany to Kansas. (Washington Post)

2. It will cost a lot of money. Taxpayers will need to finance the expansion of U.S. military bases to accommodate the influx of troops. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that relocating 60 to 70 thousand troops will cost upwards of $7 billion. The military will also likely forfeit over $1 billion in subsidies it receives from countries that host U.S. troops. (German Embassy; CBO)

3. It rewards North Korea for bad behavior. Pyongyang has been demanding that the U.S. withdraw from the Korean peninsula for years. The U.S. could have negotiated significant concessions in return for a partial withdrawal. Instead, it sends the unfortunate signal to North Korea that their hard-line tactics – including the aggressive pursuit of a nuclear weapon – are working. (LA Times)

Why they're wrong:

1. This is really about payback for Germany. Over a year ago if was reported that the Pentagon – upset at Germany for failing to support U.S. operations in Iraq – was considering the move as a punishment for Germany. (Guardian)

2. It doesn't help the situation in Iraq. The real problem is that our military is overstretched. We have already sent divisions stationed in Germany (1st Armored and 1st Infantry) to Iraq so simply moving their home base to the U.S. doesn't help matters. (New York Times)

3. We have already accounted for post-Cold War realities. In the 1990s over 200,000 troops were moved out of Europe.

Monday, August 16, 2004

America should be sensitive to other cultures when using military force.

Why you're right:

1. Insensitivity breeds more terrorists. When American forces attack without regard to cultural sensitivities it can make enemies of individuals who would otherwise support America's effort. This is the reason why American forces are showing restraint in combating forces loyal to Moqtada Sadr in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Attacking the city full bore risks damaging holy shrines which would have increased the popularity of Sadr among locals. (Washington Post)

2. Insensitivity makes it harder for other nations to help. Moderate Islamic nations such as Turkey and Jordan can play a key role in reducing the burden of U.S. troops in Iraq. But if the U.S. conducts itself in a way that is insensitive to Islamic mores, it makes it more politically difficult for such nations to offer assistance.

Why they're wrong:

We will not destroy international terrorist networks by being macho. We will do so by making smart strategic decisions. Ignoring the ramifications of pursuing a specific course of action isn't tough, it's brainless.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The costs of research and development do not justify the costs of prescription drugs.

Why you’re right:

1. A larger portion of pharmaceutical industry revenues go to profits than to R&D. In 2002, 17% of revenues for all Fortune 500 drug companies were channeled into profit, while only 14.1% of revenues were committed to R&D. 7 out of the 9 profitable drug companies in the Fortune 500 allocated more revenue to profit than to R&D. (Public Citizen)

2. Taxpayers subsidize R&D. A 2001 report by the National Institutes of Health found that its own grants had funded more than of the testing and trials that lead to the creation of new drugs. NIH further found that taxpayer-funded scientists and foreign universities had conducted 85% of the published studies leading to the development of five top-selling drugs. (Associated Press)

3. The pharmaceutical industry is consistently more profitable than others. Drug companies in the Fortune 500 consistently earn profit margins at least three times higher than those of Fortune 500 firms taken as a whole. (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Why they’re wrong:

Drug industry lobbyists and the politicians who support them claim that high drug prices are necessary to stimulate investment in new and potentially lifesaving drugs. But the profit motive does not direct the industry to create the most medically necessary or innovative drugs; it only pushes them to create the most profitable drugs. Often, it is more profitable to market a disorder—like erectile dysfunction, social anxiety disorder, or depression—along with a cure than it is to save lives. Current Medicare policy specifically bars the government from negotiating drug prices. This policy, along with nonimportation laws, actually insulates the industry from market forces, keeping prices artificially high. There is no reason to believe that the companies would cease to innovate if market forces or policy forced them to reduce prices, pushing their profits to levels in line with other Fortune 500 firms. (LA Times)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Bush was AWOL.

Why you're right:

1. Bush did not complete the required 48 drill units in fiscal year 1973, as required by law. (At the time, the fiscal year lasted from July 1 to June 30 of the next year.) Payroll records released by the White House show Bush only completed 36 drill units during fiscal year 1973. According to Lawrence J. Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics under Ronald Reagan from 1981-1985, that proves that Bush was AWOL because “If you don’t show up, you’re absent without leave, by definition.” (13 U.S.C. 502; GLCQ; Blue Lemur)

2. Bush didn't make up that training within the required time period. According to Air Force policy all “substitute training” had to be performed “within 15 days immediately before or 30 days immediately after the regularly scheduled” training. Bush did not perform any substitute training 15 days before or 30 days after his missed drills in fiscal year 1973. And "transferring credits from year to year is in violation of military law." (Army Field Manual; GLCQ; Blue Lemur)

3. Bush did not receive special permission to miss his training or make it up at a later time. The Bush campaign does not claim he had special permission and has not provided any evidence that Bush made up the time at a later date. (Blue Lemur)

Why they're wrong:

Bush told Tim Russert, "I did report; otherwise, I wouldn’t have been honorably discharged.” But that doesn't prove that Bush served; it proves that Bush got away with it. It's like arguing that since you've never been convicted of a crime, that proves you've never done drugs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Porter Goss is too partisan to serve as CIA director.

Why you’re right:

1. Goss attacked John Kerry on the House floor. Holding up a sign with a quote by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Goss accused Kerry and his Democratic colleagues of weakening the American intelligence infrastructure and causing its problems. He said, “That [the quote featured on the sign] was in May of 1997 from the record. I got books full of that stuff. There is no doubt where the record is. The Democratic party did not support the intelligence community.” Unless he plans on serving a five-month term, Goss must entertain the possibility that he might work for John Kerry come January. (Congressional Record)

2. Goss co-authored an anti-Kerry op-ed featured on GOP.com. The piece, which ran originally in the Tampa Tribune, is entitled “Need intelligence? Don’t ask John Kerry.” In it, he wrote, “Especially in the early Clinton years, the cuts [to CIA funding] were deep, far-reaching and devastating to the ability of the CIA to keep America safe …Where was the junior senator from Massachusetts? Serving as a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee … Did he fight the cuts in intelligence spending or the restraints on U.S. intelligence operatives? Far from it. In fact, he was leading the way to make deep and devastating cuts.” (Tampa Tribune)

3. Goss consistently opposes investigations that would expose Bush administration failings. As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Goss led party line votes to oppose the investigations into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and into U.S. dealings with Ahmed Chalabi. When confronted with his opposition to the investigation of the Valerie Plame leak, Goss responded, “Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation'" (Congressional Quarterly, 6/17/04, Herald Tribune)

Why they’re wrong:

Despite Goss’ long time friendship with Florida senator Bob Graham and some bipartisan environmental policymaking, his record on intelligence issues has been an extreme and vocal version of the Republican party line. This record over the long term, combined with his recent efforts against John Kerry’s campaign, ought to disqualify him from serving in a position that demands the trust and respect of lawmakers and Americans of both parties.

A better idea:

President Bush should wait to fill the position of Director of Central Intelligence until it is more clear what that position will entail, at which time he should appoint someone who can be trusted to implement intelligence reform in an evenhanded fashion.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bush’s tax “cuts” hurt lower- and middle-class Americans.

Why you’re right:

Four-fifths of Americans will pay more for the tax cuts than they receive. The tax cuts must be financed somehow, either through a reduction in government services or the addition of other taxes. Regardless of how this financing occurs, on average, households that earn less then about $76,400 will wind up receiving a cut smaller than the reduction in services that they accept. Thus, the “cuts” are better thought of as tax cuts for the wealthy subsidized by the rest of America. (CBPP)

Why they’re wrong:

1. It is not possible to postpone paying for tax cuts indefinitely. Government debt can safely grow no more quickly than the economy. With the deficit skyrocketing, and no plausible scenario for running surpluses for years in the future, we cannot afford to allow debt to increase any more. Thus, the tax cuts must be paid for with changes in the federal budget. (CBPP)

2. The recent tax cuts will not pay for themselves. The tax cuts increase the deficit, thereby decreasing national savings and, in turn, future national income. This substantial negative effect is more than enough to offset the small supply-side benefits created by a reduction in marginal tax rates. Studies show that Americans’ decisions about working and spending are relatively insensitive to changes in tax rates. (CBPP-2, NBER)

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Fair Labor Standards Act should not be amended to allow "comp time."

Compensatory time – or comp time – allows employers to offer extra time off to employees for overtime work instead of paying them time-and-a-half.

Why you're right:

1. Flexibility exists in the current system. Any employer can allow an employee to work 50 hours in one week and 30 hours in the next week. There are simply required to pay workers time-and-a-half for the 10 excess hours in the first week. Flex time is really about giving employers the flexibility to avoid paying cash for overtime. (Los Angeles Times)

2. Comp time is an interest free loan to employers. When "comp time" legislation has been introduced in Congress it has allowed employers to defer an employees use of extra vacation time for up to a year. As a result, "comp time" functions as an interest free loan – in the amount of the extra value of the overtime work – from the employee to the employer for the amount of time. (Economic Policy Institute)

3. Employees could be coerced into accepting comp time. In practice "workers would be pressured to accept time off instead of overtime pay" if it met the employers needs. Even if people weren't coerced "employers would channel overtime work to those who were willing to take comp time." (Los Angeles Times)

4. Employees may not have an opportunity to use comp time. In 2000 – when the economy was still booming – over 200,000 companies closed due to business failure. Workers in failed companies that are owed comp time would be out of luck. Other workers might find their professional obligations don't allow them to use all their banked comp time. (Economic Policy Institute)

Why they're wrong:

President Bush and others tout comp time as a solution for working mothers and others trying to balance their professional and personal obligations. But by lowering the marginal cost of overtime it makes long hours more likely. Longer, more irregular hours would make things worse for working mothers and other with demands on their time. (Economic Policy Institute)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

American women lack access to positions of political power.

Why you’re right:

1. The United States lags behind other nations in female elected officials. Out of 119 countries recently surveyed, the U.S. ranked 57th in proportion of women in the lower house of Parliament. Although we advocated provisions in the Iraqi and Afghani constitutions that aim for women in 25% of seats, women make up only 22% of state legislators and an appalling 14% in Congress. (The Boston Globe)

2. Combat experience still plays an all-too-prominent role in political campaigns. As David Brooks wrote in yesterday’s New York Times, “It also seems clear, looking at our history, that combat heroism is not an essential qualification for a wartime leader. It's much more important to have the political courage that Lincoln had and Kennedy celebrated.” Yet this presidential contest remains largely one of masculinity, pitting Kerry’s Vietnam heroism against Bush’s macho cowboy appeal. As long as races are cast in these terms, women will not be able to win in equal numbers. (New York Times)

3. Americans are especially uncomfortable with the idea of women in the executive branch. While voters may be able to see women working cooperatively, as legislators do, women are viewed as lacking the strength and decisiveness necessary for unilateral decisionmaking. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Why they’re wrong:

Apologists for this situation claim that it will take time for women’s political power to catch up with the strides made by the feminist movement since the 70s. Yet this does not appear to be true – numbers of women in Congress and state legislatures have essentially stagnated in the last decade. 86% of elected officials under thirty-five years old are male. The one encouraging trend is in statehouses, eight of which are now occupied by female governors. The fundamental problem is that our very concept of power seems to exclude qualities traditionally associated with femininity, and until that concept changes, women will not have as much influence as their proportion of the population and the voting population indicates that they should. (The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Kerry's vote against the $87 billion is nothing to be ashamed of

Why you're right:

1. John Kerry was backing the troops 100%. John Kerry voted against the funding package because Bush didn't provide a way to pay for it. His concerns have been proven well founded. This year the nation's deficit is expected be $455 billion. The bill Kerry preferred would have simply passed the funding but offset it by rolling back tax cuts for those making over $200,000 a year. (Cox)

2. George W. Bush threatened to veto $87 billion in funding for operations in Iraq. If the money wasn't provided in exactly the way Bush requested, he threatened to veto the bill. In other words, Bush did the exact same thing that he is criticizing Kerry for doing. Bush argued for a particular set of requirements for how the money would be appropriated and was willing to oppose the funding package if he didn't get his way. (CBS News)

Why they're wrong:

Kerry's vote was not a flip-flop. Voting for a spending proposal when it is responsibly funded and against it when it isn't responsibly funded does not show indecision. It shows a basic understanding about public policy. The two votes (one that included a tax rollback for the rich and one that didn't) were very different. There is nothing contradictory or weak about changing your vote based on how things are funded.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Failing to provide health insurance for every American impedes economic growth.

Why you’re right:

1. The government already pays for health care for the uninsured. Annually, the government spends approximately $30 billion on health services for the uninsured. This number includes Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share payments, state and local appropriations to public hospitals, and federal grants to community health centers, among other programs. (Kaiser Family Foundation)

2. The value of health lost due to uninsurance has been estimated at $65 - $130 billion. While a complicated and imprecise process, monetizing the value of life and health is a project policymakers and regulatory agencies must engage in constantly. The estimate’s wide range demonstrates the thorniness of ascribing a dollar value to quality of life, but it is imperative that this, the most important cost of uninsurance, not be ignored in dialogue because it is difficult to express. (Health Affairs)

3. The uninsured are less economically productive. One survey found that an uninsured employee is twice as likely to be absent from work due to a dental problem than a coworker with health insurance. Poor health causes increased absenteeism and worker turnover, as well as lower productivity for workers on the job. (The Commonwealth Fund)

Why they’re wrong:

Die-hard advocates of the free market claim that, were universal coverage really the most economically efficient outcome, we would reach it via the invisible hand, and that no policy change is therefore necessary. However, this analysis is flawed for several reasons.

1. It fails to take into account the role of information failure. The uninsured may not choose to invest in insurance because they do not fully understand the risks and costs associated with uninsurance.

2. Costs to productivity due to ill health are irrelevant to employers if those declines occur after retirement or among short-term workers, so the employer may be acting rationally in failing to provide insurance.

3. Overall, the aggregated costs of uninsurance are not absorbed by one group or another, so that, while it may make sense for each group (individuals, employers) to decline to provide coverage, universal coverage would create the best outcomes for society as a whole. (Health Affairs)

Monday, August 02, 2004

All electronic voting machines should be subject to an independent security review

Why you're right:

1. The machines likely have major security vulnerabilities. The four manufacturers of voting machine software keep their source code "strictly secret by contract with the local jurisdiction and states using the machines." But Diebold’s AccuVote-TS DRE voting system was leaked and posted on the internet. A subsequent study by John's Hopkins University found Diebold's "voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts." According to the report the security of the Diebold software was so week that "common voters, without any insider privileges, [could] cast unlimited votes without being detected." (The Nation, John Hopkins University)

2. The companies responsible for certifying voting machines have a conflict of interest. The for-profit companies that certify voting machines are "chosen and paid by voting machine companies, a glaring conflict of interest." There is no way for the public to know "how the testing is done, or that the manufacturers are not applying undue pressure to have flawed equipment approved." One of the largest testers of voting machines, Wyle Laboratories, "does not answer questions about its voting machine work." (New York Times)

Why They're Wrong:

Voting machine manufacturers have not earned our trust. Manufacturers of electronic voting machines like Diebold claim that their machines are "safe, secure and accurate." But the CEO of Diebold said in a fundraising letter for George W. Bush that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Leaked internal Diebold memos "acknowledge that their products aren't very secure, and...appear to discuss methods of hiding the problems rather than fixing them." California decertified all Diebold machines because "Diebold's persistent and aggressive marketing led to installation in a number of counties of touchscreen systems that were neither tested, qualified at the federal level, nor certified at the state level." (New York Times, Salon, California Secretary of State)