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By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2010 10:50am PT  

Really, really dumb:

Waukesha - Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' decision to go it alone in how she collects and maintains election results has some county officials raising a red flag about the integrity of the system.

Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county's computer network - and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office - for security reasons.

"What it gave me was good security of the elections from start to finish, without the ability of someone unauthorized to be involved," she said.

Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county's information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus' claim that the system is secure from failure.

"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There's no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."

Cummings stressed that the voting process at local polling places is not in question. However, municipal clerks send their election night results by dial-up modem to the county clerk, where they are tabulated and stored.
...
Several years ago, Nickolaus discontinued reporting election results on her county website for individual municipalities, as was done under the prior clerk.

Hopefully, the citizens and county administrators in Waukesha County, Wisconsin (adjacent to Milwaukee) will realize how completely insane it is to allow one person, County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R), to have complete, unfettered, un-observable, un-overseeable control of such public information, and are willing to do something about it.

For the record, for just one tiny reason why election officials are not to simply be "trusted" (as the very best ones will tell you), here's the story of former Monterey County (CA) Clerk Tony Anchundo. And, if that's not enough, feel free to peruse the story of Clay County (KY) Clerk Freddy Thompson. Just let us know if you need more.

What part of 'public official' and 'public elections' to these sorts of folks not get???

[Hat-tip to Milwaukee's election integrity watchdog and periodic BRAD BLOG guest blogger John Washburn]

* * *

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Any guess which company supplies Bank of America's hackable ATM systems?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2010 5:45pm PT  

As we have long tried to get across to anyone who would listen, the greatest threat to "secure" computerized systems --- such as the electronic voting systems, incredibly, still in use in all 50 states for this year's crucial election cycle --- comes from insiders.

Late last week, another report, this one via ComputerWorld, underscored the point yet again:

BofA insider to plead guilty to hacking ATMs

IDG News Service - A Bank of America computer specialist is set to plead guilty to charges that he hacked the bank's automated tellers to dispense cash without recording the activity.

Rodney Reed Caverly, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is scheduled to plead guilty to a computer fraud charge next Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, according to his lawyer Christopher Fialko, who declined to comment further on the case.

Caverly was charged last week with one count of computer fraud for allegedly writing a malicious program that ran on Bank of America's computers and ATMs, according to court filings.
...
He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Caverly had worked in Bank of America's IT department where he designed and maintained computer systems, including those used by the ATMs. The alleged scam ran between March 2009 and October 2009.

The gullible are welcome to buy into the Rightwing propaganda that ACORN is somehow stealing elections, despite the complete dearth of any actual evidence that any vote has ever been illegally cast in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker.

But the facts, demonstrated yet again by the BofA story, are much as non-ideological computer scientists and security experts have been trying to warn for years in regard to electronic voting systems: the greatest threat to such systems comes from insiders, such as election officials who can manipulate results simply and directly and in such a way that they are unlikely to ever get caught doing it.

Even the sham 2005 Rightwing-created Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission --- created almost entirely to put an "official"-appearing imprimatur on the call for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places --- was forced to admit as much in their final report...

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

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Health insurance mandator Romney wins at hard Right Southern Republican conference
Tea Bagger Palin trails again...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2010 3:13pm PT  

This must drive the Neo-Cons even crazier than they are already. From the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC)'s straw poll over the weekend:

NEW ORLEANS --- In the presidential-preference straw poll here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Mitt Romney won by ONE vote over Ron Paul --- out of 1,806 cast.

Romney received 24% of the vote (439 votes) to Paul's 24% (438 votes).

Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin received 18% --- followed by Mike Huckabee at 4%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, Mike Pence at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.

Yes, Ron Paul lost to Mitt Romney, the man who signed legislation into law mandating health insurance policies for all Massachusetts citizens, by just one vote. That, after Paul easily won the straw poll at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in D.C. in February.

Paul's positions, however, are actually conservative, and thus run antithetical to most of the Neo-Con, Big Government, Bush/Cheney-era Republicanists who now call themselves Tea Baggers, as RAW STORY notes today here. How many more "Democrats in Disarray" articles will we have to read before the "Republicans in Disarray" articles finally begin in the corporate media?

One other related thought: When Palin came in a distant fourth at CPAC's straw poll, the Republican and Republican-enabling and TeaBag-promoting Chattering Class instructed us via the corporate media that she would have done better had she actually showed up and spoken at the event. Well, she showed up and spoke at the SRLC, received a larger percentage of the vote, but still managed to do no better than third place among the dyed-in-the-wool, hard Right Southern Republicanists at the conference. Go figure.

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A Solution to the 'Progressive dilemma' in U.S. Electoral Politics...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/20/2009 5:01pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

There have been a few occasions during my 62 years when I heard something profound that stuck with me.

The year was 1969. I was attending a freshman college history class, shortly after returning from Vietnam, when my professor said:

If the American Right can be criticized for its insensitivity to the plight of the common man, the American Left can always be criticized for its inability to count.

His words came back to me as Brad Friedman and I simultaneously made guest appearances on Live from the Left Coast with Angie Coiro.

While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2009 10:22am PT  

Who could have predicted the one man on the ballot with a weekly show on the Republican News Channel (RNC, nee: Fox "News" Channel) would win the 2012 Presidential straw poll at the 2009 (anti-American) Values Voter Summit this weekend?

(By the way, be sure to catch's Mike's latest not-ironic-at-all column at the Republican News Channel (RNC)'s website on the "The Death of Journalism"!)

No doubt the Republican News Channel (RNC), recently seen on video-tape "stage managing" the Teabagger protests they sponsored last week in D.C., is very proud. Though perhaps they missed an opportunity by not putting Glenn Beck into the poll? With a show five days a week on the RNC, and on your public radio airwaves --- unlike Huckabee, who's only seen on weekends (though he does do a short syndicated daily essay on your public airwaves in 500 radio markets) --- it's likely he would have been a shoo-in! Why waste all that valuable air time, Fox, when you could be using it to put your superstar in office?!

This weekend's summit in D.C., as in previous years, celebrated far-rightwing liberal interpretations of the Constitution and extremist judicial activism, such as the promotion of big government intrusion into the lives of American citizens, the "right" of that government to come between patients and their doctors, and other anti-American values such as ignoring the Rule of Law, and the Constitutional right to equal protection under the law for same sex couples who wish to be recognized by the government as married, just like their heterosexual counterparts.

The winners and losers, out of 597 votes cast in the straw poll, were reported to have been Huckabee with 28%, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a distant second at 12%, followed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, with the celebrity community organizer and former Alaskan Governor who aborted her term earlier this year, Sarah Palin tying with Indiana's U.S. Rep. Mike Pence for fourth/fifth.

Congratulations to them all! You're all both winners and losers in our eyes!

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2009 1:14pm PT  

I was taking a few (merciful) hours off yesterday, so missed Ms. Palin's farewell, as she completed her first term gubernatorial abortion to become America's premiere celebrity community organizer. But if you, as I, missed her speech, AKMuckraker kindly provides the transcript (Immoral Minority offers the video, if you prefer it) reinforcing the old saw about the 'difference between George W. Bush and Sarah Palin: Lipstick'. Oh, and speech writers.

Much of her theme throughout the weekend's "word salad" speeches, was the old "support our troops" strawman. She repeated over and over, that our military protects our freedoms. It is, perhaps, futile to point out, yet again, that our Military does not protect our freedoms. Our Constitution does. Our Military is supposed to defend it. So are folks like Palin, Bush, Cheney, Obama etc. who swear an oath to do so, but too often end up doing just the opposite.

Suffice to say, Washington's Farewell Address --- which, as EarlyAmerica.com describes, extolled the benefits of the federal government; noted the necessity of taxation; warned against the party system, permanent foreign alliances and "overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty" --- Palin's long "goodbye" was not.

Of the passages which jumped out at me for various, sometimes inexplicable, reasons:

  • "Together we stand."
  • "It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future."
  • "I remember on that December day, we took the oath to uphold our state constitution, and it was written right here in Fairbanks by very wise pioneers. We shared the vision for government that they ground in that document."
  • "[W]e have done our best to fulfill promises that I made on Alaska Day, 2005, when I first asked for the honor of serving you."
  • "Don’t forget Alaskans you are the resource owners per our constitution and that’s why for instance last year when oil prices soared and state coffers swelled, but you were smacked with high energy prices, we sent you the energy rebate. See, it’s your money and I’ve always believed that you know how to better spend it than government can spend it." (Ed Note: Why do Sarah Palin and the wingnuts applaud such socialism in Alaska, but nowhere else? Why does nobody in the media seem to point that out?)

So with another thanks to Mudflats (and sincerest apologies to our own Jeannie Dean), here are a few priceless photos for the scrapbook from Saturday's Governor's Picnic in Anchorage, one of the last stops on her Farewell-for-Now Tour...

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

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'Missing' Republican Gov of SC, one time GOP 2012 Prez hopeful, was in Argentina being 'unfaithful to my wife'...
UPDATE: Fox 'News' does it again! Labels Sanford as a DEMOCRAT!
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2009 12:49pm PT  

We've been covering this on the Malloy Show, but I haven't been able to keep up with it on the blog, unfortunately. So, this just in:

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admits to extramarital affair
Sanford admits to a love affair with an Argentine woman. 'The bottom line is this: I've been unfaithful to my wife.' He apologizes to his family and the people of South Carolina.

The very quick back-details:

Monday: Gov 'missing' for six days, didn't tell wife where he was, missed Father's Day with four sons. Wife says he was going off to write, staff says he was hiking Appalachian Trail.
Tuesday: Staff says Gov contacted them, was surprised at the hubbub, would return to office on Wed.
Today: Sanford caught by reporter returning from Argentina, not Appalachian Trail. Presser announced. Sanford admits affair.

All of that follows, of course, on the recent admission by the GOP's other (once) 2012 Presidential hopeful, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, that he, too, was having an affair. If I have time to fill in more back details here later, with links, I will.

UPDATE: Fox "News" does it again! Labels Sanford as a "(D)" Democrat as he was admitting to affair! Screenshot follows below...

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

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Only Three Out of the Last 45 Losing V.P. Nominees Have Gone on to Lead Tickets
Only One of Them Won the Presidency...
By Jon Ponder on 11/18/2008 12:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Within hours after Election Day 2008 was over, the punditocracy had moved on to speculation about 2012 and the political future of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, whom many conservatives consider to be the next GOP frontrunner.

If history is a guide, however, chances are next to nil that Palin will survive the primaries in four years, and even if she does, her odds of winning the presidency are even slimmer. In fact, based on past performances of losing vice presidential nominees over the last 180 years (see chart below), Sarah Palin's chances of becoming president at any point in the future are 45 to 1, at best.

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

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