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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 30, 2015
TPP Secrets and Roads to Nowhere: 'BradCast' 5/29/15
Obama calls the TPP trade pact the 'most progressive ever'. Many Dems disagree. Who's right? Who knows? It's all a secret. Plus: NWF's Miles Grant on the 'new roads' scam...
HASTERT INDICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of blackmail, bribery allegations from years past, as former GOP House Speaker charged with paying $3.5m to cover up 'prior misconduct'...
Montana's Fight to Save U.S. Elections: 'BradCast' 5/28/15
MT's Commissioner of Political Practices discusses his disturbing court battle that may rock elections across the country; Nebraska does the right thing again; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly deluges in TX, OK; Deadly heat in India; Heat-driven fires shut down tar sands oil in Canada; Farmers concede in CA drought; PLUS: Obama protects drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/15 - 5/19/15 - Archives...
On 'White Fragility' and On Smearing Bernie Sanders: 'BradCast' 5/27/15
Journalist Austin Squire on privileged white males' tenous grip on power. Plus: The MSM continues to marginalize Sanders, even after his huge kickoff rally this week...
Roads to Nowhere: Do Voters Really Want New Ones?
Voters keep rejecting increased taxes for new and improved roads. Environmental reporter Miles Grant wonders if there's a reason above and beyond aversion to increased gas taxes...
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/15
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By David Edwards on 3/15/2006 7:43am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Ali Shalal Qaissi was the mayor of a town near Baghdad before he was arrested and taken to Abu Ghraib prison. While detained, Mr. Qaissi was subjected to torture including electrocution. He says, "I felt my eyes popping out. Once I bit my tongue and and blood started coming out of my mouth."

Mr. Qaissi underwent psychological and physical abuse techniques developed by the CIA and perfected at Guantánamo by General Miller. Under orders from Secretary Rumsfeld, General Miller spread his school of torture developed at Guantánamo to U.S. detention centers in Iraq and other secret prisons throughout the world. Take a look at this video interview with Professor Alfred McCoy for more information about how the Bush Administration has made torture a permanent policy of the U.S.

The New York Times initially reported that Ali Shalal Qaissi was the prisoner in the now-famous-picture of a hooded man standing on a box with electrical wires connected to his hands. While the media has produced only a few articles on the Ali Shalal Qaissi's horrifying story, scores of articles have been written about the fact that The Times may have misreported the exact photo in which Qaissi was pictured.

During Ali Shalal Qaissi imprisonment, his wounded hand was infected after "a US soldier stamped on it." As reported in the video, Qaissi's deformed hand makes him easier to identify in the photos.

UPDATE: VIDEO - CNN Reports on "Hooded Man" Photograph Confusion


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CNN's Kyra Phillips interviewed Salon.com author Michael Scherer who is challenging The New York Times assertion that Ali Shalal Qaissi appeared in the most famous of the Abu Ghraib "hooded man on box" photo.

CNN's interview (and many other reports in the media) focus on an error made The Times. Mr. Qaissi's claim that he was tortured in Abu Ghraib and that he appeared in one or more of the "hooded man on box" photos has not been challenged. Nonetheless, all of the attention on mistakes in reporting may taint Mr. Qaissi's reputation and hurt his efforts to bring attention to the atrocities being committed by our government.

At one point in this interview, Kyra Phillips actually asks "... are these prisoners trying to capitalize on these pictures? Are they looking for opportunities to make money?"

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By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2006 12:35pm PT  

"I don't do personal attacks...We don't do personal attacks."
-- Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/23/06.

MediaMatters.org disagrees...and has the evidence to prove it.

Do we feel sorry yet for Bill making such a continuous yutz of himself? Over and over...and over...again? Nah.

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Welcome to the First Day of 'Sunshine Week' in the State of Florida!
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2006 11:25am PT  

Meanwhile...Down in "the Sunshine State"...

Police called to remove reporters
Public meeting turns private when Cobb restricts access to reporters

Sunshine Week started off with the slamming of the secretary of state's door Monday, when Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff and news reporters were shut out of an announced public meeting on county voting issues.

"I've always said I have no objection to the press, but we do make faster progress without people having to look at cameras - that's a fact," said Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb.

Tallahassee Democrat Political Editor Bill Cotterell, Associated Press reporter Brent Kallestad and cameraman Dave Heller also were threatened with eviction from a hallway outside Cobb's closed conference room by Capitol Police for trying to attend the meeting with Cobb, Leon County Commission Chairman Bill Proctor, Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and staff members.

"I'm very concerned and very confused," Democrat Executive Editor Bob Gabordi said. "I have to know that when reporters show up to a meeting that has been given proper public notice, that they will not be harassed and threatened with arrest."

This story is just incredible.

For those just jumping into this tale, SoS Cobb (Jeb's recent political appointee) has been threatening Leon County's elected Election Supervisor Ion Sancho because he revealed that the Diebold voting machines in Florida and elsewhere can be hacked and flipped without a trace being left behind.

In the bargain, all three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida have now refused to do business with Sancho. Nonetheless --- and incredibly --- the state is now targetting [PDF] the heroic Sancho with threats to remove him from his elected position.

All, at the same time that Florida sent a "technical advisory" to all Election Supervisors in the state, warning them of what Sancho found --- but without mentioning their friends Diebold by name, and certainly not bothering to laud Sancho for discovering a huge electoral integrity issue in the "Sunshine State."

And now, a meeting with officials which is supposed to be open to the press and the public --- on the first day of Florida's phony "Sunshine Week", celebrating open government (no, seriously) --- results in closed doors, reporters tossed and calls to the police.

Just amazing...Please read on...

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

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By David Edwards on 3/14/2006 5:36am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Senator Russ Feingold delivered this speech yesterday on the Senate Floor offering a resolution to censure President George W. Bush over illegal wiretaps.

The video runs about 25 minutes and is lower quality. We are not able to offer a Windows Media version because of the size. An MP3 Audio version is available.

Senator Feingold offers the resolution in PDF format on his website. The Raw Story has the complete text of the speech.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: That speech, by the way, starts this way, and then gets even better...

The President authorized an illegal program to spy on American citizens on American soil, and then misled Congress and the public about the existence and legality of that program. It is up to this body to reaffirm the rule of law by condemning the President's actions.

The Democrats have another opportunity to fail to do their jobs here. Looks like, aside from Feingold, they're prepared to take advantage of that opportunity. Call your Senators. Ask them if they support Feingold's Censure. If they don't, ask them why not. Firedoglake has helpful numbers and tips for ya.

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By David Edwards on 3/13/2006 9:12am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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As the third anniversary of the Iraq War nears, President Bush and other administration officials will begin delivering speeches today designed to bolster public opinion of the Iraq war. President Bush's first speech will focus on the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the readiness of Iraq troops.

Former presidential advisor David Gergen says that a PR campaign is the wrong direction. He says that the White House should tell the truth about the situation on the ground in Iraq.

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By David Edwards on 3/13/2006 7:16am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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CNN's Soledad O'Brien proved to be an effective proxy for the GOP noise machine as she challenged Feingold's proposed censure of Bush with flurry of misleading Republican talking points.

Not to be too critical of Soledad but she may be in over her head by sparring with Senator Feingold on the subject of illegal wiretaps.

Senator Feingold introduced the censure proposal yesterday on ABC This Week. You can see the full interview with George Stephanopolous here.

Feingold is expected to introduce the censure resolution in the Senate today.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2006 12:04pm PT  

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By David Edwards on 3/12/2006 4:02am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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This month, the ACLU premiered "Voting Rights". It's the latest in a series of "The ACLU Freedom Files" documentaries. The program premiered March 9th on LinkTV and March 11th on CourtTV.

The "Voting Rights" episode highlights some of the ways in which populations of minority voters have had their political power stifled by officials representing the majority voters. The program calls attention to the pending expiration and continued need of the Voting Rights Act.

This video contains about 9 minutes of clips from the full 30 minute documentary. The ACLU should have the full video for download soon. Check your local listings for additional show times on CourtTV and LinkTV.

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Thomas Swidarski Reveals He is Still Out of Touch With the Company's Problems
Brad Offers an Unlikely Olive Branch...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2006 4:42pm PT  

Cleveland Plain-Dealer promises a feature article on Diebold's new CEO (and former head of its Elections Division) Tom Swidarksi in tomorrow's Sunday paper. (UPDATE: That interview is now posted here.)

In their preview for that article, they refer to his plan for "cutting $100 million in operation costs" and Diebold's "core business of selling and servicing ATM's and security systems."

"But it's the company's smallest business segment - electronic voting products - that occasionally envelops Diebold in controversy," they report. "And that fanfare contributed to the downfall of Swidarski's predecessor, Walden O'Dell."

The article tomorrow is, apparently, based on a video-taped interview with Swidarski which is available online here.

Despite being Diebold's "smallest business segment," approximately half (or more) of that interview is dedicated to their "Elections Business". Most newsworthy, perhaps, is Swidarski's continued failure to say whether or not he plans on selling off that part of Diebold. Previous interviews have given that same indication. It seems clear, they're looking to get the monkey off their back. Who can blame them?

For a transcript of the key parts in the interview concerning their "Elections Business," followed by a few of my thoughts about that, along with what I feel is a friendly invitation to Mr. Swidarski...from me...see below...

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

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Pre-Election Test Results Less Bad, After Memory Cards Are Specially Provided by Company to Summit County, OH (After First Two Batches Failed 30% of the Time)
Election Director Suggest 'Product Recall' Might Be Appropriate!
By John Gideon on 3/10/2006 4:16pm PT  

As reported yesterday by BRAD BLOG - Summit County, Ohio is testing the memory cards for their new ES&S optical scan machines. Unfortunately their first test revealed that 30% of those cards failed, and as replacements were brought in, the cards continued failing.

Such memory cards are used in electronic voting machines to store the tallied votes. Similar cards were found to be hackable in Diebold optical scan machines after a targetted "hack test" was specfically performed on them in Leon County, FL, recently.

Today, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that a new batch of cards was supplied by ES&S to Summit County for the tests. And they are failing less often! Now only 10% of the time !

Lisa A. Abraham of the Beacon Journal reports:

Through the end of the workday Thursday, 438 properly working cards had been tested --- a figure that included the original 177 [30% of those tested failed], said Marijean Donofrio, elections board deputy director.

Donofrio said ES&S representatives working on the implementation told board staffers that they have never experienced a failure rate higher than 1 percent in other counties.

Donofrio wondered whether the company should consider a recall of the product.

She also expressed concern that ES&S continues to send memory cards to Summit County from the subcontractor whose product is being questioned. ES&S has not named the subcontractor.

Donofrio said the board was expecting Thursday's shipment to include only memory cards made by the company that made the original 177 that tested successfully, but that wasn't the case.

"They've been referring to the cards as finicky," she said of ES&S. "If that's the case, if they work fine in May, will they work fine in November? I would advocate for an entire new batch of cards. We don't need any problems (in the future) that we can head off now,'' she said.

I took the opportunity to send the Beacon-Journal's Abraham an email asking a very simple question: "I would really be curious what ES&S would say if they were asked how many other counties across the country have these same memory cards, and are they warning all of their customers to be on the lookout for bad cards."

Her response: "I've been asking ES&S that very question for two days now and they either won't say or don't call back. Stay tuned..."

So... I guess we stay tuned, and hope that those same bad cards do not end up on ES&S machines all over the country.

ES&S is the largest provider of voting machine equipment in America. Between them and Diebold, the two companies tally more than 80% of America's votes. (And they may be accurate in doing so 70% to 90% of the time.)

UPDATE 3/11/06: The answers to the questions many of us have asked have been answered by the Akron Beacon Journal today. The problem with the memory cards seems to be dead or low batteries. Apparently the subcontractor for the cards, Vikant Corp., a Long Grove, Ill., company has no quality control standards and just shipped out bad cards to ES&S for use in machines that will be counting our votes. ES&S, like Vikant, apparently failed to test the cards also.

On my question to Lisa A. Abraham, the Beacon Journal reporter regarding whether ES&S is trying to locate other customers who may have bad memory cards, she got an answer. Lisa reports that Ellen Bogard, ES&S spokeswoman told her:

``We're working with customers who may have received them. We're still contacting our customers,'' she said. Bogard said the problem would affect customers who received memory cards from ES&S in recent weeks.

``We're still working to determine the exact parameters,'' she said.

Bogard said no other county in Ohio or throughout the country has complained of failing cards.

There may not have been any complaints but I wonder how many of those bad cards may have ended up in Texas and been responsible for some of the disasters reported by BRAD BLOG last Tuesday.

FOLLOWUP QUESTION FROM BRAD: A "battery problem"? Not to be overly skeptical here, but my understanding is that these memory cards are magnetic media which are slipped into the PCMCIA slots, no? Power is supplied from the computer itself via the PCMCIA slot (if I understand things correctly), and thus no "battery" is needed on PCMCIA cards which simply store data magnetically. Am I missing something here? Does anyone here have more knowledge on this sort of thing for us? Please share in comments if you do...

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All Three Still Allowed to Work at Cuyahoga County Board Even While Under Indictment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2006 12:50pm PT  

In case you don't know, the ballots from the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio have never actually been counted. Or even recounted.

The "official" recount, called for by the Green and Libertarian Parties in the state, was gamed and carried out completely against state law by Ohio's Sec. of State (and Bush/Cheney's Re-Election Committee Co-Chair) J. Kenneth Blackwell.

The Green and Libertarian Parties are still challenging that recount in Federal Court. As well, two Cuyahoga County Election Officials were indicted last August for gaming that (non)recount.

And today, AP informs us, a third one has just been nabbed as well...

CLEVELAND (AP) --- The third highest ranking employee at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has been indicted on charges of mishandling ballots during the 2004 presidential election recount.

Jacqueline Maiden is the third board worker charged with six counts alleging that Ohio laws were not followed in the selection and review of ballots for the recount.
...
Maiden, now the board's elections coordinator, was the director of the elections division during the recount in December 2004.

Two other board workers, Rosie Grier and Kathleen Dreamer, were indicted in August and scheduled for trial May 8. Dreamer was the manager of the board's ballot department and Grier was an assistant manager.

Amazingly enough --- or perhaps not, since this is Ohio, after all, where the rule of law no longer actually applies --- the story also reports that "All three [indicted] employees continue to work at the board."

"We're in the process of converting to the electronic voting, and we need our best people," board chairman Bob Bennett said. "We've moved them from any responsibility of recount or responsibility of ballots."

Sure you have, Bob. We all feel much better. We guess by "best people" he means the ones who are most indicted.

(Perhaps he should consider hiring the affable Jack Abramoff to answer the phones for them during this busy season?!)

* * *

UPDATE 1/24/2007: Both Maiden and Dreamer are convicted for rigging the recount. Details now here...

UPDATE 3/13/2007: Maiden and Dreamer each sentenced to maximum of 18 months in prison. Judge and prosecutor at sentencing say they still believe the conspiracy goes higher. Full details...

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Washington Post Covers Story on Front Page, Describes Unanimous Vote to 'Ditch Diebold' as a 'Stunning Turnaround' in the State, Signals a 'National Shift' to Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2006 12:26pm PT  

A House united. That seems to be the effect that Diebold has had on the state of Maryland where they had initially deployed their paperless touch-screen voting machines in 2002 as one of two "showcase" states along with Georgia.

That "showcase" has turned into yet another public relations fiasco for Diebold of late.

The Republican Governor there recently slammed Diebold's paperless system, called for paper ballots and announced he had lost confidence in the State Board of Election and its Diebold-supporting Director, Linda Lamone, to carry out a fair election. Then information surfaced that Lamone had allowed MD to use uncertified Diebold software in the 2002 and 2004 elections. Then revelations were made public of massive machine failures in 2004. And now this from MD's Democratic House...

The state of Maryland stands poised to put its entire $90 million investment in Diebold Election Systems Inc. touch-screen e-voting systems on ice because they can't produce paper receipts.

The state House of Delegates this week voted 137-0 to approve a bill prohibiting election officials from using AccuVote-TSx touch-screen systems in 2006 primary and general elections.
...
The bill was sent onto the State Senate for a vote after the House action, she said.

Healey said the effort was inspired in part by concerns raised by officials in California and Florida that the Diebold systems have inherent security problems caused by technological and procedural flaws.

Note the reference to the AccuVote-TSx system in the above is an error in ComputerWorld's reporting. Maryland uses the AccuVote-TS system which does not include a "voter-verified paper trail" --- unlike the newer TSx model which does.

Also note, the movement in the MD statehouse is calling for "paper receipts" or "paper trails" which is a far cry from paper ballots --- you know, those things which are actually counted, unlike paper "receipts" or "trails" which are not. Though their interim plan to lease optical-scan machines for 2006 would mean there would actually be ballots used --- at least until 2008.

Washington Post who ran a story on this on the front page of this morning's print edition (though it's labelled as page B04 on their website), led this way:

The Maryland House of Delegates unanimously passed legislation yesterday to ditch the state's touch-screen voting machines for the coming election in favor of a system that uses paper ballots.

The 137 to 0 vote in the House and the endorsement of the plan this week by Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. represents a stunning turnaround for a state that was on the leading edge of touch-screen voting in 2001, and it reflects a national shift toward machines that provide a paper record.

The MD Senate still has to approve the bill, and there is said to still be some opposition there. WaPo reports that the Senate is hoping to arrange for Diebold to bring in their newer TSx machines (which include an uncountable "paper trail") to avoid a massive state-wide switch to optical-scan machines this late in the year.

As well, the WaPo story allowed for an unchallenged quote from MD's former Sec. of State, and Diebold supporter, John T. Willis, who is quoted as saying, "There is no evidence of anything wrong with Maryland elections."

Wrong, John. We guess neither you nor WaPo read our previous article in which we wrote about an internal review by the MD State Board of Elections compiled after the 2004 election titled "Lessons Learned" [PDF]. The report reveals --- amongst many other problems --- that "189 voting units (7%) of units deployed failed on Election Day. An additional 122 voting units (or 5%) were suspect based on number of votes captured."

TrueVoteMD, as well, issued a massive document dump yesterday with loads of "evidence of anything wrong with Maryland elections" including information on a five-month "Diebold-imposed lockdown" on machines after Maryland's "November 2004 meltdown."

Still and all, of course, all of this is certainly a move in the right direction, and yet another stain on Diebold's atrocious record in the Voting Machine Industry and as once-great American company.

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By David Edwards on 3/10/2006 9:18am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Various sources are reporting that a Halliburton subsidiary may take over the U.S. ports for Dubai Ports World.

ThinkProgress noted that AEI scholar Norm Ornstein mentioned the Halliburton possibility on last night's PBS Newshour. On Hardball, Richard Wolfe mentioned Halliburton.

In an article published by Time, Daren Fonda explains an existing business relationship between Halliburton and another UAE owned company that is providing services for U.S. Navy Ships.

Halliburton denies the rumors.

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Excoriates State Officials Who Are Attacking Leon County, FL Election Supervisor for Exposing Security Flaw in Their Diebold Voting Systems
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 4:11pm PT  

If you haven't read already what's happening down in Florida to Leon County's Election Supervisor/Hero Ion Sancho, see this article from yesterday.

On Tuesday, Fred Grimm of the Miami-Herald wrote a tremendous editorial in support of Sancho worth reading in it's entirety. It's slightly out of date, since it says that two of the three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida have refused to do business with Sancho (all three have now done so, as we reported yetserday). Nonetheless, Grimm offers tremendous support to the heroic Sancho. His editorial starts this way:

Ion Sancho may be a hero in California, where grateful election officials have verified the ''serious security vulnerabilities'' in Diebold voting machines that the Leon County election supervisor uncovered last year.

Sancho is regarded a little differently in Florida.

Florida's secretary of state's office disparaged Sancho's finding, demonstrating considerably more interest in propping up vendors than protecting elections.

California, alarmed by Sancho's report, dispatched its independent, expert-laden Voting Systems Technology Assessment Advisory Board to conduct its own investigation.

Florida, meanwhile, threatened to sue Sancho.

The piece goes on to outline a letter of support sent to Sancho from David Wagner, a University of California computer scientist on California's assessment team which confirmed Sancho's findings of hackable Diebold voting machines. (That report, amazingly, was actually used as a basis to certify Diebold in California anyway!)

Wagner says, "Our report found all of Ion Sancho's concerns were valid and, in fact, worse than anyone realized...This is incredible how he has been treated...He's the leader everyone else in the nation has been watching."

Grimm concludes by quoting Wagner this way:

"If they can drive out Ion Sancho, this is going to have a chilling effect on election supervisors across the country."

He e-mailed Sancho: "I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that some of us are grateful for your dedication to election security, even if the state of Florida can't bring themselves to thank you.

''In my mind,'' Wagner added, "You are a real hero."

In Florida, real heroes just catch hell.

The Florida Secretary of State, who has threatened [PDF] punishment of Sancho (and possible removal from office) if he doesn't do business with one of the three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida --- all three of whom have now refused to do business with him --- can be emailed with your opinions of their treatment of Sancho and their disregard for reliable, accurate and transparent elections at this web page.

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Failure Rate So High on Memory Cards in Summit County Test, They Were Thrown Out for a New Batch...Which Then Also Failed!
By John Gideon on 3/9/2006 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In preparation for a May 2 primary, election officials in Summit Co., OH began testing their new ES&S optical scan voting machines. The Akron Beacon Journal announced today that ES&S has isolated the problem to a memory card made by one of their contractors.

The article also reveals that the county is not doing the testing themselves.

A consulting company that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired has been in the county since Monday testing all the new voting equipment before its planned use May 2.

Why would a county that has to conduct elections on their own equipment allow a consulting company hired by the Secretary of State, do the testing?

The article goes on to explain the memory card problem in more detail:

Tests on Monday and Tuesday showed that about 30 percent of the computer memory cards --- which should read and store vote tabulations --- did not work, Elections Board Director Bryan Williams said. ``We are noticing a high failure rate,'' he said Wednesday.

Election Systems & Software in Omaha, Neb., makes the machines. Williams said ES&S officials believe they have isolated the problem to the computer cards produced by one of its subcontractors. ES&S contracts with several companies to make the memory cards, Williams said.

"We're looking into the extent to which this affects others,'' said Ellen Bogard, spokeswoman for ES&S. "It will be remedied if there are other cards that need to be replaced.''

The first 177 cards tested Monday worked flawlessly, Williams said. When testing began on the remaining 348 cards, however, the failure rate was so high that the rest were thrown out. ES&S had a second batch of cards sent to Akron on Tuesday, but Williams said those cards experienced a similar failure rate. He said a third batch is expected to arrive today.

Unanswered questions abound. How many other ES&S customers have these bad memory cards? How many of these other customers will go into elections without knowing that their memory cards are bad? How many of the problems with ES&S machines in Texas on Tuesday are a result of bad memory cards? Does ES&S have any Quality Control at all?

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