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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2006 7:26pm PT  

Heading up to Santa Clara to speak this weekend (see "Media Appearances" section at top of front page, and come on by if you can!) Don't know if I'll be on or offline over the next week. Please assume I'll be off, and don't hold it against me. Need a break anyway. Though knowing me, I won't be gone long. Although I'm happy to leave the messes in TX, IL, CA and elsewhere to John Gideon anyway ;-)

He and David Edwards will be holding down the fort here. Treat them kindly. If anyone needs me, contact John or David and they'll know how to track me down!

And stay outta the liquor cabinet while I'm gone! Seriously, I marked the bottles, and I will be checking them when I get back.

P.S. Don't forget to VOTE FOR US!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2006 1:59pm PT  

We'll have another fairly enormous story shortly concerning the problems, as reported previously, in Tarrant County, TX where some 100,000 votes were incorrectly added to the results of the March 7th primary by ES&S and Hart InterCivic electronic voting machines in use there. For a bit more background on that, see our report on the Hart InterCivic whistleblower who also worked in Tarrant County. He tried, to no avail, to alert the Sec. of State of problems with both Hart and Tarrant as far back as July 2004. His alarming letters, included in the article, were ignored by both the TX Sec. of State and Attorney General.

But until the promised big story out of Tarrant...We received the following email last week after posting the aforementioned report. The writer, Jerry Lobdill, identifies himself as "a retired physicist and system engineer who has specified, designed, tested, and evaluated computing systems for the US Navy for 30 years." He was a supporter of Doreen Geiger who ran in Tarrant County for Democratic Party County Chair. Read Lobdill's note for details of how the Democratic Party seems to have rolled over in Tarrant County on this issue, chosing not to challenge the questionable results from the Hart InterCivic and ES&S machines.

All of which leads the Lobdill to conclude in his note: "Democracy is dead here."

That is, of course, particularly troubling considering the TX Sec. of State halted a recount in Tom Green County yesterday when the printed results differed from the reported results from Election Night by as much as 20%.

Lobdill's email follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Electronic Voting Machine Vendor is accused of doing the work of three men, 'Larry, Curly, and Moe'
After 30% Failure Rate of Memory Cards Revealed, Still More Problems Surface...
By John Gideon on 3/22/2006 8:51am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Summit County has recently had problems with failed memory cards as related by BRAD BLOG on March 9 and March 10. The problems in Summit County concerned a 30% failure rate found in pre-election testing for those cards. That problem alerted folks in North Carolina to test those same cards on their own ES&S machines where they discovered last week that more than 1000 of them failed to work!

Now that those problems have been in the media (Yes, even the MSM has reported the problems) the vendor has decided to not be cooperative with Summit County, OH.

The ES&S on-site project manager was not allowed by the company to attend a board of elections meeting to explain why there were problems with memory cards. Board members have also complained that ES&S staffers installing the system have suddenly become cold and getting any information is "like pulling teeth".

The Akron Beacon Journal also reports on other problems the board is having:

Delays in getting copies of the May 2 primary ballots to proofread, which has resulted in the board missing the date on its timeline for ordering ballots from the printer.

``They won't give us the opportunity to proofread the ballot,'' [Board Director] Williams said. He explained that the board, working in teams of Democrats and Republicans, routinely triple-checks the rotation of names on the ballots, but ES&S won't provide copies of the ballot to do that.

[Board Deputy Director] Donofrio said in early copies the rotation --- the order in which the candidates' names appear on the ballot --- was incorrect.

Williams said ES&S' attitude has been that the extra checking ``was not necessary,'' but the problems the board had with the company's performance have proven that it is.

He said the board hoped to order the ballots on Monday. ``We'll be lucky to have them ordered by the end of the week,'' he said.

However, that does not mean that ballots will not be printed in time for the May 2 election.

And in addition:

ES&S staffers, while training local poll workers, have actually broken three handicapped voting machines when they inserted the memory cards incorrectly.

Donofrio said she intends to ask the company to replace the broken equipment.

[Republican Board member] Arshinkoff accused ES&S of ``doing the job of three men --- Larry, Curly and Moe.''

``This is inexcusable. I think ES&S has failed in their capacity as a vendor. If this doesn't work in the May primary, we're going to have to make real hard choices,'' he said.

Meanwhile, SoS Ken Blackwell's office has, in effect, just shrugged their shoulders and said that they hope both sides can get along and adhere to their obligations. Of course it was Ken Blackwell who chose ES&S as the vendor for Summit County.

We will be sure to keep an eye on this situation and report back when there is more to pass on.

ReddIt this story!



By David Edwards on 3/22/2006 7:01am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

WARNING: This video contains graphic images.


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

A video tape uncovered by Time Magazine showing evidence of an attack on Iraqi civilians in Haditha has renewed human rights calls for investigations into possible war crimes by the U.S. military. The Pentagon announced that 12 Marines were under investigation for the deaths shown in the video tape.

The video in this post has a BBC report on the U.S. military investigation as well as reports from the point of view of Arab television.

Here are some details from a March 21 AP report:

(AP) A videotape taken by an Iraqi shows the aftermath of an alleged attack by U.S. troops on civilians in their homes in a western town last November: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.
...
The video, obtained by Time magazine and repeatedly aired by Arab televisions throughout the day, also showed bodies of women and children in plastic bags on the floor of what appeared to be a morgue. Men were seen standing in the middle of bodies, some of which were covered with blankets before being placed in a pickup truck.

The images were broadcast a day after residents of Haditha, 140 miles west of Baghdad, told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.

Last week, the U.S. military announced that a dozen Marines are under investigation for possible war crimes in the Nov. 19 incident, which left at least 23 Iraqis dead in addition to the Marine.

ReddIt this story!



By David Edwards on 3/22/2006 5:04am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Last night on CNN Anderson Cooper 360, Rep. John Murtha reacted to comments made by President Bush during a rare press briefing. Responding to a reporter's question, Mr. Bush let it slip that all U.S. troops would not be removed from Iraq for the duration of his Presidency.

This is a short video clip of Murtha's response (transcript) in which he says:

I don't know how to believe this president or this administration. There's been so much mischaracterization, so many misstatements, so --- so --- it's just on and on and on, the rhetoric vs. the reality. And --- and it's just so confusing. I --- I don't have a clue who is accurate. They have --- they have --- they have not been accurate about anything they have predicted so far.
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And This is Before They've Even Started Counting the Results...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2006 11:57pm PT  

The second Primary Election night of the year, this time in Illinois. As predicted --- following on the heels of the various disasters two weeks ago in the primary in Texas (with much more news to come on that, by the way) --- the first reports out tonight begin to outline the latest raft of problems throughout the day on the newly deployed Electronic Voting Machines in the state.

Also as predicted, the problems are minimized as "glitches", and here in the first sentence no less. The word is used a total of three times throughout the Chicago Tribune's "High-tech voting hits snags" article quoted below.

These "glitches", mind you, are just those reported so far. And only the one that occurred on Election Day itself...the counting problems have yet to reveal themselves. But they soon will.

You've heard it here first, but based on the various disasters in just the first two Election Nights of 2006, it sure as hell looks like we're headed towards an E-meltdown with our Electoral System --- And at this rate, it's coming well before we make it to the Generals in November.

Here's just a few of the "glitches" and "snags" as reported by the Chicago Tribune (apparently, they're reserving "hiccups" and "snafus" for the follow-up articles.) These before Elections Officials and Voting Machine Vendors (this time, mainly from Sequoia Voting Systems) send out their Damage Control Goons. Take a look and decide for yourself how "minor" the problems are...

As election officials closed the polls Tuesday evening, reports of glitches from throughout the day continued as both voters and election officials learned how to deal with a new, high-tech voting system in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
...
"It was easier to worry about hanging chads," said Daniel Fore, an election judge in Oak Park's Barrie Center polling place.
...
In the past few elections, officials said, they have typically been able to report results from more than 90 percent of precincts within an hour of the polls closing. They refused to predict how long the count would take this year, though they stressed it may take several hours more.

At Lowell Elementary School on the city's Northwest Side, the only touch-screen voting machine was locked up around 6 p.m. It had been that way since about 4:30 p.m. after a voter tried to use it and the message: "Election verify. Please wait" appeared on the screen.

"We're not planning to use the machine any more," said election judge Julio Vargas. "What can we do other than vote the old fashioned way?"
...
City and county officials said they were dealing with glitches as they arose.
...
Voters from the North Shore to the South Side reported that selected touch-screen voting machines weren't working, and said they also encountered problems with new, oversized, optical-scan paper ballots.

Around the county, vital internal switches weren't flipped, power cords were missing or misplaced, audio equipment for blind voters was not installed or did not work properly, and the new touch-screen machines malfunctioned.
...
On the city's South Side, only Republican ballots registered on the optical scanner at the Providence of God Early Learning Center, 1814 S. Union St.

"It's a landslide," Republican election judge David Masak said, trying to diffuse the situation with humor. "As of right now, I can tell you we are officially the only precinct in Chicago that is going 100-percent Republican."

That was at midday. The good humor melted away after four visits from elections officials failed to make the scanner work.
...
Electronic woes plagued other polling stations.

Read on...It gets worse...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

ReddIt this story!



By David Edwards on 3/21/2006 4:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...
Audio in MP3 format...

For the first time in three years, the President allowed Helen Thomas to ask question during today's press briefing.

Thomas appeared on CNN's Situation Room to explain why she does not accept the President's answer.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2006 11:52am PT  

If you have no case, just create some perceived enemies, and blame them instead...

It worked for McCarthy, after all.

ReddIt this story!



By David Edwards on 3/21/2006 6:54am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

Jon Stewart reports on the current status of the Iraq invasion.


Video in Streaming Flash format
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Democracy's Paper Tiger...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2006 1:53am PT  

Is this anyway to run a democracy?

Graphic details coming on Monday...Only on The BRAD BLOG...

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Demands Congress Hold Bush/Cheney Accountable, Stop Another Ill-Conceived War Before It Starts!
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2006 11:35pm PT  

This morning (Sunday), lawmakers and members of the media in Washington D.C. opened the Op/Ed section of the Washington Post to find VelvetRevolution.us' latest ad waiting for them.

VR is calling on both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to perform their Constitutional Duty and hold the criminal Bush/Cheney Administration accountable for their actions. As well, they must stop the reckless drumbeat towards War in Iran before we find ourselves in yet another disastrous foreign policy debacle.

Bush and Cheney, through their incompetence and dishonesty have lost the right to be trusted for any foreign policy decisions, much less the decision to start yet another unnecessary, unprovoked war in yet another country. It's time for Congress to draw a line in the sand against the Bush/Cheney administration and for the people to stand up and make sure they hear us!

-- The full ad, in a size large enough to read the complete text, is here.
-- A resizable PDF version is here.
-- A petition to demand Congress peform their Constitutional Duty to hold the Bush/Cheney Administration accountable for their actions and stop the march towards yet another ill-conceived war is here.
-- Donations to VR, to help us continue our no-holds-barred ad campaign, can be made here.

Please spread the word! And thank you for the support!

(DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us ... and couldn't be prouder.)

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By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2006 1:02pm PT  

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Two 'Accu-Vote' 'OpTech' Machines Confiscated for Examination by Attorney General After Results Fail to Add Up
(Just Another 'Glitch')
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2006 3:39pm PT  

ED NOTE: Diebold's Charles "Buck" Jones has sent us an email about the following story, with a scan of a correction published by the Union Tribune concerning the following story. The "Accu-Vote" machines referred to in their story, as originally reported below, are actually "Optech IIIp" optical-scan machines made by ES&S, not by Diebold. The complete correction, reportedly published by the Union Tribune, is posted at the bottom of this blog item. We appreciate the information from Mr. Jones, and only wish that Diebold was as responsive to answering questions and clarifying the mountain of problems and failures in their own machines as they are with ES&S's. We are also delighted to see that Diebold follows BRAD BLOG's reporting so closely. Even on a Saturday.

======

Diebold's hackable Accu-Vote (Hack-U-Vote?) machines fail again.

ES&S's "OpTech" (Op-Wreck?) machines fail again.

From New Hampshire's Union Leader on Thursday...

Grafton --- No matter how you do the math, 193 "yeas" plus 198 "nays" don't add up to 369 votes.

That faulty equation --- results of a warrant article vote from Tuesday's election ballot --- was the first clue for Grafton town officials that something was wrong.

As a result, two voting machines used to collect ballots in the annual town and school district meetings are now in the custody of the Attorney General's Office, removed from the town yesterday, said Grafton Selectman Jennie Joyce.
...
She said the voting machine showed no signs of malfunctions during two pre-election tests --- most recently one week prior to the election.

It's notable, by the way, that the Union Leader's story refers to the "Accu-Vote" machines being confiscated, but never mentions the maker of the machines --- in this case, Diebold. (Actually, ES&S, and the machines were "Optech" machines instead. See the clarification below.)

It's unclear from the story whether these were optical-scan or touch-screen machines, but apparently there is some paper that can be counted to get an accurate count of the election, instead of an "Accu-Vote" count of the election. According to the article, "Joyce said she is in favor of recounting ballots, both by hand and by machine." --- so it would seem there is something to actually go back and count.

And yes, the problem is referred to as a "glitch" at one point in the story. As it always is. This time in reference to a heretofore unknown issue (at least to us) concerning "dip switches" on these machines...

McDow, who is trained to operate the voting machine, said she learned more after placing a call yesterday to LHS Associates of Methuen, Mass., the company that services the town's Accu-Vote machine.

"They told me one of the dip switches let go, or the problem had to do with one of the dip switches not being set --- that's what LHS told me after I read them the information from the tally sheet," McDow said.

The toggle switch glitch likely caused some ballots to be counted twice, McDow said.

The "Glitch" that Would Destroy American Democracy. Cuz we let it.

UPDATE: According to a Diebold employee who notified The BRAD BLOG (see the Ed Note added to the top of this article) the Union Tribune posted the following correction to the story referenced above:

In a story about voting machines in Grafton that ran in yesterday's Union Leader, the machines were incorrectly identified as Accuvote machines. They should have been identified as Optech IIIp machines.

We have not been able to find the correction published on the Union Tribune website, but this New Hampshire state page seems to confirm that Grafton County uses the ES&S "Optech" machines instead of the Diebold "Accu-Vote" machines as most other counties in New Hampshire do.

We've also learned, since running this piece orginally, that New Hampshire does not allow for the use of touch-screen (DRE) machines. So the voting systems in question here, are all optical-scan machines, akin to the Diebold optical-scan machine used in Ion Sancho's recent "hack test" in Leon County, FL which demonstrated that such machines could be hacked to cause election results to be completely flipped without a trace being left behind.

ReddIt this story!



By David Edwards on 3/17/2006 3:08pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider awards Senator Feingold the "Political Play of the Week" for his bold introduction of a resolution to censure President Bush.

Bill Schneider describes Feingold as "principled" while he suggests that other Democrats might need "Spines. Backbones. They help you stand up for what you believe."

Schneider says "Acting on principle need not be political suicide."

ReddIt this story!



1000 Cards Fail Tests in N. Carolina After Massive Failures Discovered in Ohio!
ALSO: Testing Reports Say Voting Machines One-Third as Reliable as Incandescent Light Bulb!
By John Gideon on 3/17/2006 12:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As reported on March 9 and March 10 by The BRAD BLOG the folks in Summit Co. OH have discovered massive problems with memory cards on ES&S Electronic Voting Machines in recent tests. Some 30% of the cards completely failed.

ES&S, the largest voting machine provider in the country, attributed the problem to low or dead batteries on the PCMCIA memory cards. At the time, we inquired as to whether other states using ES&S equipment might be experiencing similar problems. The reporter covering the story for the Akron Beacon Journal told us she was able to get no response from ES&S --- but was then given an assurance that ES&S had contacted their customers to inform them about the concerns.

A week ago Tuesday, Texas experienced loads of problems (or "glitches" as Voting Machine Vendors and Election Officials enjoy minimizing them as) in their Primary Elections. Just a few of those reported in newspapers the day after are listed here.

Then yesterday the Akron Beacon Journal reported that, in fact, ES&S had contacted North Carolina. North Carolina, who lost some 4,500 votes completely via an electronic voting machine in Cartaret County during the 2004 Presidential Election, began checking their ES&S memory cards and have so far found more than 1,000 cards that to be bad!

Summit County, OH has also now confirmed that two-thirds of the cards failed due to "battery issues"; the rest failed due to "read-back errors".

ES&S officials contend that bad batteries were to blame for the problem memory cards, but Summit County officials now say that low batteries were the problem in only about one-third of the hundreds of faulty memory cards here.

``The majority of them were read-back errors, not a battery issue,'' Bryan Williams, director of the Summit County Board of Elections, said Wednesday.

``About one-third were battery errors. Two-thirds were read-back errors,'' Williams added.

He said after new batteries were installed in the memory cards, many still failed to work.

Marijean Donofrio, deputy director of the Summit elections board, said memory cards reading ``low battery'' began to work properly when new batteries were installed. But others that read ``dead battery'' still did not work when the batteries were changed.

She said the more common problem was the ``read-back error,'' which occurred when testers were attempting to run a mock election. The memory cards could not read the data programmed onto them.

It is important to point out that North Carolina state law requires any voting vendor to alert the state if there is a problem found on any voting system in another state that may be a problem in North Carolina. The law worked very well or the state may never have been warned except by the voting activist community who raised the 'red flag'.

Still unanswered is whether the recent myriad problems with ES&S systems in Texas had anything to do with the memory card failures. Also still unanswered is if there are any problems in other states like Indiana or West Virginia where primary elections are soon to be held and ES&S machines are in place.

ALSO: A newly released study of the reliability of voting systems shows that those voting systems studied and presently being sold across the country are one-third as reliable, at best, as an incandescent light bulb.

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