Sunday, July 27, 2008

File This Under Interesting, Very Interesting

Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) accompanied Barack Obama on his “fact-finding” trip overseas. Interesting choice. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagel worked in the private sector as the President of McCarthy and Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Nebraska and served as Chairman of the Board of American Information Systems, the voting machine company .

American Information System received a major capital infusion from brothers William and Robert Ahmanson. (Prior to the capital infusion, the company was known as Data Mark). California newspapers have long documented the Ahmanson family’s ties to right-wing evangelical Christian and Republican circles.

According to Group Watch, in the 1980s Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr., uncle of Robert and William, was a member of the highly secretive far-Right Council for National Policy, an organization that included Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other Iran-Contra scandal notables.

In 1997, American Information Systems, after the purchase of Business Records Corp. (BRC), changed its name again to become ES&S.

The electronic voting industry is dominated by only a few corporations. Diebold and ES&S combined count an estimated 80% of U.S. black box electronic votes. At one point, Bob Urosevich was president of Diebold. His brother Todd was vice president of ES&S.

According to author Bev Harris in her book, Black Box Voting, " . . . one of the founders of the original ES&S (software) system, Bob Urosevich, also oversaw development of the original software now used by Diebold Election Systems."

In 1996, Chuck Hagel ran for the US Senate against Ben Nelson, who was the sitting governor of Nebraska. Although many people believed he had no chance of winning, he won a "stunning upset" in the election, receiving 56% of the vote. In 2002, Hagel overwhelmingly won re-election with over 83% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska history

In both the 1996 and 2002 elections, Hagel's ES&S counted an estimated 80% of Hagel's winning votes.

The UK's Times reports:

Senior [Obama] advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defence secretary[in an Obama Administration].

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