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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, December 21, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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 Brad Friedman on 2/28/2006 9:54pm PT  

His Salon piece, entitled "Impeach Bush", starts this way:

The man was lost and then he was found and now he's more lost than ever --- and he's taking us into the darkness with him. It's time to remove him.

...and ends this way:

The U.S. Constitution provides a simple ultimate way to hold him to account for war crimes and the failure to attend to the country's defense. Impeach him and let the Senate hear the evidence.

Sounds about right to me.

Or better yet, Mr. Bush, show some courage for the first time in your life. Step down now and save the country from even one more day of the agony, danger, shame, harm and destruction that you've already inflicted upon us.

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By John Gideon on 2/28/2006 5:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

I'm back and today's DVN includes some articles from the past two days added in with today's articles. Early voting for this year's primaries is taking place in TX and IL. It looks like NY will be using their lever machines for another election year. It would be catastrophic for them to change this late in the game. PA is a mess with counties rushing to get anything and not much really certified by the state or federal authorities. ...

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

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72% of U.S. Troops Want Out of Iraq Within One Year
By David Edwards on 2/28/2006 10:33am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Rep. John Murtha was interviewed on yesterday's edition of CNN Situation Room.

Transcript:

MURTHA: They have to settle this themselves. They have to settle the underlying problems which have caused the insecurity there.

For instance, water supply, the electricity supply, the oil supply. All those things are prewar level. And there's no way they're going to settle.

Unemployment is 60 percent. There's no way they're going to settle this by talking about it. It's not rhetoric.

And the military has done everything they can do. They have done a marvelous job. Now it's up to the political leaders to take hold of this thing and settle it themselves.

And, you know, I keep getting different reports about the Iraqis being ready to take over, and then the next day they say there's no battalions ready. But the Iraqis themselves have more confidence in their police and in their army than they do in the United States Army.

We have become the enemy, and our troops, unfortunately, have become the targets. So it's time to redeploy our troops.

Related: Zogby poll via ThinkProgress - 72% of U.S. Troops Want Out of Iraq Within One Year. 29% of U.S. troops serving in Iraq favor "immediate" withdrawal.

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By David Edwards on 2/28/2006 9:26am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Three reports from three networks based in different countries:

  • MSNBC (U.S.) - Low poll numbers for Bush on approval of Iraq war. Latest tallies of today's violence.
  • BBC (U.K.) - More in-depth reporting on bombings in Baghdad earlier this morning.
  • Al Alam TV (Iran) - While American leaders have mostly blamed the bombing of the "golden dome" mosque on "terrorists", this report looks at suspicions from the "Shi'ite street" that American occupation forces should share some of the blame.

Please note that views expressed in the video are those of the broadcasters. We invite viewers to evaluate the material and make their own conclusions.

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Along with Michael Shure!
Tuesday, 6p-9p ET (3p-6p PT) - Listen in via Sirius Satellite Ch. 146 or WATCH the Video Webcast at www.TheYoungTurks.com!
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 11:26pm PT  

I was just asked last minute to jump in and Guest Host The Young Turks radio program on Tuesday from 6p-9p ET (3p-6p PT). When an opportunity arises to "Be the Media", you know I'm always happy to answer the call. As best as I can. Even at last minute. Cuz somebody's got to.

I'm happy to say I'll be sitting in along with the good Michael Shure once again.

Please tune in via Sirius Satellite Channel 146 or watch/listen to the LIVE video webcast at www.TheYoungTurks.com. Call in to say hey, if you like, at 866-99SIRIUS!

Amongst Tonight's Special Guests (so far) ...

+ Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections, Leon County, FL
(he, of the now-infamous Diebold "hack test"!)

+ Lowell Finley, Attorney, Co-Director of VoterAction.org
(he, of the CA Diebold decertification lawsuit, and Sequoia temp restraining order in NM!)

+ Kay Brown, Comm. Director for DNC in Alaska
(they, of the Alaska/Diebold 2004 Election Data bait and switch!)

More to be announced tonight. Feel free to call in to the show tonight and help us stir up trouble and save democracy at the same time!

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Bush Dead-Enders Poised to Hit Endangered Species List
American Minority Fringe Continues to Control Majority of Government
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 7:04pm PT  


Who are the Bush dead-enders? Latest poll...

Bush Approval Rating: 34%
Cheney Approval Rating: 18%

Approval of Bush's Handling of War: 30%
Approval of Bush's Handling of Katrina: 32%
Approval of Bush's "War on Terror": 43%

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Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson Launches Outburst Towards Election Reform Advocate in Response to Question About New Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Letter Calls for Censure of Official as Onlookers Stunned by Encounter, Feared Violence Would Break Out...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:57am PT  

The battle between Election Officials and Election Integrity Advocates has been simmering and intensifying for some time. Last week, in Arizona, one such confrontation boiled over briefly into an outburst at a public meeting which was documented on video tape. In what could be a preview for the Electoral Integrity fight still to come, Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson went into a short tirade last Tuesday as the video camera rolled during a local Democratic precinct council meeting in the state's 26th Legislative District.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained the exclusive video of the event which reveals the Republican Nelson flying off the handle and shouting as he confronts Election Integrity Advocate, John Brakey, "nose to nose" during a question about Diebold's DRE (touch-screen) voting machines. Before Brakey was able to get to his main question concerning Nelson's plans for Logic and Accuracy testing on the machines, he was interupted by Nelson's outburst over whether or not he had, in fact, signed a contract for use of the new voting machines in the county.

Diebold's hackable touch-screen machines have been recently approved for first-time use in the state by Arizona's Secretary of State Jan Brewer.

Ironically enough --- especially in light of this new video --- Brewer herself recently referred to election integrity advocates as "anarchists" in an interview with the Arizona Star after demonstrators concerned about Diebold interrupted her re-election campaign announcement just after the first of this year.

While Nelson's confrontational rant was just short of anarchic, it certainly sent a shockwave of concern throughout the room of stunned onlookers.

One of the witnesses present, Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, described the "intimidating behavior" displayed in the incident as "completely out of line for a public official". Straatemeier was so troubled by the display that she sent an open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for Nelson to be censured for the behavior. In the letter (posted in full at the end of this item, along with a text transcript of the event) Straatemeier says, "I really thought he was going to land a blow on Mr. Brakey and I was scared to death."

In the video, Nelson charges towards the camera at one point --- which Brakey was standing near --- coming so close that it's impossible to see anything but his chest in full camera's full frame.

Straatemeier, in her letter, suggests the tirade was an attempt to intimidate Brakey --- and other election integrity advocates --- from further inquiry into the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting equipment now coming into Arizona despite a Dept. of Homeland Security warning that their tabulator software is hackable, a non-partisan GAO report confirming the failures and loss of ballots via electronic voting, and a recent independent analysis [PDF] commissioned by the Sec. of State of California which warns about the hackable "interpreted code" used in Diebold voting machines despite a ban on such code by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines.

As we reported in May of last year, Brakey has for some time been closely investigating a number of troubling anomalies in recent Arizona elections. His intensive work auditing his own precinct in Pima County, where he says evidence suggest fraud occurred in the 2004 election, was covered in detail last year by The Tuscon Weekly. That work has brought him in contact many times in the past with Nelson --- without incident apparently, until last week.

Last Tuesday, as the following video shows, the simmering frustration and growing anger roiling up between many Election Officials and Election Reformers, has finally begun to make its way to the surface and into the public eye...


Additional versions of the video...
-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

===
UPDATE 3/17/06: Tuscon's local NBC affiliate runs a report including this video, Nelson says he is sorry for the outburts. Full report here...
===

A complete text transcript of the incident, and a copy of Straatemeier's open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for censure of Nelson follows...

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

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Huffington Post Picks Up the Cause...
Please take action!
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:36am PT  

Last week we briefly discussed Stephen Heller who, out here in Los Angeles, is now facing three felony charges for exposing the illegal scheme by Diebold to use uncertified software on their voting machines in the state several years ago. The LA Times coverage is here.

Heller blew the whistle on the company's plan to defraud California voters when he exposed documents he saw while working as a temp worker at Diebold's California law firm, Jones Day. The courageous act, from which Heller stood to gain nothing (he, in fact, was fired for it) led to the decertification of Diebold in the state by former Sec. of State Kevin Shelley, and then to the eventual settlement between the company and the state of California for $2.6 million in 2004.

Today, several Huffington Post blogger take up on Heller's behalf, along with issuing some calls to action to contact the LA District Attorney's office to encourage tell them to drop this appalling case of punishing the patriot, Heller at the behest of the the bullies at Diebold.

Peter Soby Jr.'s coverage is the most complete. Here's a snippet:

Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!

Soby goes on to offer some talking points and helpful contact information for the LA District attorney. Please check them out and take action.

As well, Lyn Davis Lear (Norman's wife), speaks up in support as well.

...CONTACT...
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Email: lada@co.la.ca.us

Telephone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
TTY: (800) 457-7778 (8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)

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By David Edwards on 2/27/2006 7:51am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Thanks to a heads-up from Larisa at The Raw Story, we were able to captured this broadcast of CNBC's Tim Russert show. Russert interviewed James Risen and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. The video contains about 24 minutes of clips from CNBC's Saturday broadcast.

James Risen broke the NSA warrantless domestic spying story for the New York Times. He also has a new book out, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA And The Bush Administration. Risen is known to have sources within various intelligence agencies and has recieved information from several NSA whistleblowers. One of those whistleblowers, Russell Tice, recently testified before congress that NSA domestic surveillance programs may be much more widespread than the "limited" program that the Bush Administration has admitted. Tice has said that some programs could be monitoring "millions of Americans".

Robert O'Harrow, Jr. is an award-winning reporter for the Washingon Post with an expertise data mining and privacy issues. His recent book, No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society, describes "a surveillance society that's less centralized and more a joint public/private venture".

Together, Risen and O'Harrow paint a picture of an enormous partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and private data collection firms. Spying agencies like the NSA can leverage its' massive computing power to mine data collected by these private firms. The result is a mind-boggling domestic surveillance capability with access to nearly any information imaginable. Phone calls, email, video as well as financial, criminal and other personal records can all be searched at the same time. The NSA's powerful computers can mine the data to find otherwise imperceptible links for profiling groups and individuals.

Russert calls it a "sobering" discussion. The interview only scratches the surface of how extensive the scope of Big Brother's monitoring of Americans may be. The surveillance programs are a dramatic departure from what the public has come to believe. It's easy to see why the Bush Administration has avoided legislation and oversight.

It's quite possible that the American people would not stand for Bush's spying policies if they had a sense of the true nature of the government's surveillance.

UPDATE 5/8/06: Luke has now posted a text transcript of this Russert/Risen/O'Harrow interview.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2006 3:35pm PT  


Don Knotts 1924-2006

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By David Edwards on 2/25/2006 9:13am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


Video in Streaming Flash format...
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As violence surges in Iraq, the death toll for journalists has risen to a new high. Depending on the source, between 76 and 82 journalists have been killed since the war began.

While covering the bombing of a revered Shi'ite mosque, Al-Arabiya's Atwar Bahjat and two of her colleagues were shot by two gunmen. Atwar Bahjat had recently left the Al-Jazeera television network for pro-American Al-Arabiya network. She was widely known and respected in the Arab world.

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Brad and 'Ryan from Salinas' on Today's Peter B. Collins Show
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2006 11:37pm PT  

"Ryan" seemed like a nice enough fellow...until a few tell-tale signs of trollishness seems to have slipped into his repartee. We'll let you see if you can spot them.

My weekly radio appearance on KRXA 540am in Monterey, CA with the always delightful Peter B. Collins was a gas as usual. This week we covered everything from Diebold in Alaska and California to Sequoia and Clint Curtis in Florida. Much to cover, and we didn't even get to all of it. It was a busy week in the trenches of the War on Democracy.

Late in the program came a call from "Ryan in Salinas" asking about Photo ID requirement laws at the polls --- a question I'm always happy to answer to. The ensuing exchange, I believe, is worth posting here for your listening pleasure.

-- Photo ID Call with "Ryan" [MP3, about 6 minutes]
-- Complete Appearance Today with Peter [MP3, about 30 minutes]

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State's Top Security Officer Refuses Public Record Release of Diebold GEMS Database Files
The Latest Chapter in the Rollercoaster Battle to Audit Puzzling 2004 Poll Numbers Continues...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2006 7:51pm PT  

A bizarre story concerning Alaska's 2004 Election has taken yet another even more bizarre turn this week, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."

But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now --- at the last minute --- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas.

"At this point," Democratic Party spokesperson Kay Brown told the Anchorage Daily News in January, "it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004."

Some of the questionable results from the 2004 Election were outlined in a January 23rd letter [PDF] to the state's Division of Elections from the Alaska Democratic Party chairman, Jake Metcalfe. Amongst the anomolies detailed in Metcalfe's letter: "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."

The state Division of Elections, which had previously relented and agreed to release the data after refusing at first to do so, announced its latest about-face in a letter to Metcalfe on Wednesday citing the following concern from Alaska's Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis after he reviewed the public records request:

"release of any security related information creates a serious threat to our ability to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our systems and services..."

The complete letters from Alaska's Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster and Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis are both available in full here [PDF].

The earlier twists in this strange tale occurred first in January and then in early February.

In late January, we reported that the state had refused to release the Election Data Files on the grounds that their contract with Diebold disallowed the release of the files. Their contract, apparently, recognizes the voter information to be a "company secret" and thus the proprietary property of the company which could not be released to the voters of Alaska.

A week or so later, in early Februrary we reported that the state and Diebold had capitulated. Sort of. After conferring with Diebold, the state relented and agreed to release the files. However, they reserved the right to --- sit down for this --- "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing them!

As the Elections Director Brewster stated in a February 3rd letter [PDF] to Metcalfe announcing they would release the data:

To this end, we are consulting with the Enterprise Technology Systems in the Department of Administration as well as Diebold on this issue...please be advised that the Division will charge for its costs incurred in manipulating the data to provide the records you seek."

And now, the new wrinkle, the state's "security risks" lead them to announce that "after careful consideration," they "will not authorize the release of the GEMS database or audit files" after all.

"Delivery of the database itself, and some of the information contained within this database," says the letter from Davis, "presents numerous security risks to the State of Alaska Government."

We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

So just to recap: First the voters of Alaska were not allowed to see their own voting data from the 2004 Election because it was the proprietary "company secret" property of Diebold. Then they would be allowed to see it as long as the state and Diebold could "manipulate the data" before releasing it. And now finally it's determined that allowing the voters to see how they actually voted in the 2004 Election would be a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

No word yet on whether the Alaska Democratic Party will take the matter to court to seek resolution.

The American War on Democracy continues...

(Hat-tip to VoteTrustUSA.org for the heads up and additional information!)

* * *

UPDATE 4/18/06: The insane roller coaster continues. State Democrats are forced to file a lawsuit to get at the records showing how voters voted in 2004. Details now here...

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Audit Shows Electronic Voting in Disarray, Thousands of Re-boots, Re-Calibrations Required Throughout Election
PLUS: 'Butterfly' LePore is Back!
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2006 11:47pm PT  

AP --- yes, AP --- is now reporting the just released audit information obtained from Palm Beach County, Florida's 2004 Election. And the picture of the Sequoia paperless touch-screen voting machines used that night is not pretty. The information was obtained and released tonight by BlackBoxVoting.org...

From the AP story...

BlackBoxVoting.org, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens group, said it found 70,000 instances in Palm Beach County of cards getting stuck in the paperless ATM-like machines and that the computers logged about 100,000 errors, including memory failures.

Also, the hard drives crashed on some of the machines made by Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, some machines apparently had to be rebooted over and over, and 1,475 re-calibrations were performed on Election Day on more than 4,300 units, Harris said. Re-calibrations are done when a machine is malfunctioning, she said.

"I actually think there's enough votes in play in Florida that it's anybody's guess who actually won the presidential race," [BBV's Bev] Harris added.

The election officials in Palm Beach, however, say there are perfectly good reasons that their own election audit tapes showed thousands of errors and other anomolies...and, of course, they blame the victims...

Palm Beach County election officials said the BlackBoxVoting.com findings are flawed, and they blamed most of the errors on voters not following proper procedures.

"Their results are noteworthy for consideration, but in a majority of instances they can be explained," said Arthur Anderson, the county's elections supervisor. "All of these circumstances are valid reasons for concern, but they do not on face value substantiate that the machines are not reliable."

Meanwhile, the folks from Sequoia Voting Systems, who make the apparently error-prone machines in question, say "all is well"...

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer disputed the findings, saying the company's machines worked properly. Sequoia's machines are used in five Florida counties and in 21 states.

"There was a fine election in November 2004," Shafer said.

That "fine election", however, apparently seems to have included votes cast prior to the start of early elections...

Harris said one machine showed that 112 votes were cast on Oct. 16, two days before the start of early voting, a possible sign of tampering. She said the group found evidence of tampering on more than 30 machines in the county.

BlackBoxVoting.org now has many more details on all of this up at their site. Amongst a few of the other notable points from BBV not mentioned in the AP article:

  • Records are being turned over the the Palm Beach County office of the FBI Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
  • The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.
  • Black Box Voting had to sue former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election. (NOTE: Yes, that Theresa LePore..."Butterfly Ballot" LePore, "Democrat" in 2000 now Republican LePore)
  • Several dozen voting machines with votes for the Nov. 2, 2004 election cast on dates like Oct. 16, 15, 19, 13, 25, 28 2004 and one tape dated in 2010. These machines did not contain any votes date-stamped on Nov. 2, 2004.
  • In addition to the date discrepancies, most had incorrect polling times, with votes appearing throughout the wee hours of the night.
  • The evidence indicates that someone accessed the computers after the [Logic & Accuracy tests]and before the election, and that this access caused a change in the machine's reporting functions, at least for date and time. Such access would take a high degree of inside access.
  • One machine was powered down 128 times during the election.
  • Sequoia touch-screens are also used in Pinellas County (FL), Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Clara countis (CA), New Mexico, New Jersey, and formerly in Snohomish County (WA). (NOTE: We should have more soon on the Sequoia machines in Snohomish County, WA, where apparently the machines are not yet "formerly" in use, but still to be used through September of 2006, according to the current lawsuit by Paul Lehto and John Wells against Snohomish and Sequoia up there. As we say, more on that soon.)
  • See BBV for more anomolies, details and explanations on all of the above.

    A "fine election" indeed.

    ReddIt this story!



    No, Seriously, Really Bad...
    PLUS: Skippy Calls the Secretary of State!
    By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2006 11:36pm PT  

    Diebold continues to run their previously good name into the ground, as the Mainstream Media finally begins to notice what's been going on around here...Finally, the unAmerican Voting Machine Company who originally brung you the War on Democracy, seems to be getting the incredibly bad press they've always deserved...Now from coast to coast...

    In today's LA Times (in the Business section, because your elections are big business!) Michael Hiltzik condemns the recent inexplicable re-certification of Diebold in California:

    [T]here's no excuse for exposing the integrity of our election system to computer hackers. Yet that's what California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson may have done last week by approving electronic voting machines from Diebold Election Systems for use in California elections through the end of this year.
    ...
    As the last two presidential elections demonstrate, ballot results are of profound interest to everybody --- including determined hackers with partisan agendas. Therefore, it's proper to demand of the high-tech machines replacing the paper ballots and punch cards of yore that they be technologically bulletproof. The Diebold systems certified by McPherson --- an optical scanner that reads hand-marked ballots and a touch screen that totes up votes directly --- fall well short of that standard.

    And there's much more...This in regard to the panel assembled by McPherson to study the issue, after whose brutal report, he went ahead and --- incredibly --- re-certified the machines anyway!

    The panel found 16 software bugs that could cede "complete control" of the system to hackers who might then "change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates, change the races being voted on," and even crash the machines, bringing an election to a halt. Hackers wouldn't need to know passwords or cryptographic keys, or have access to any other part of the system, to do their dirty work. Voters, candidates and election monitors wouldn't necessarily know they'd been rooked.

    The bugs lead some computer professionals to believe that Diebold's software designers never treated security as a high priority. "It's like they were making a mechanical device, and never heard of computer security," says David Dill, an expert in electronic voting at Stanford University who wasn't on the panel.

    And then there was Tom Elias in today's column for Torrance Daily Breeze (syndicated in many other papers, as well):

    You can call it capitulation to local election officials likely to be called on the carpet if it turned out they had wasted tens of millions of dollars. You can call it practicality, assuring that California counties can put the most modern election equipment into use this year.

    But the undeniable fact is that millions of voters in as many as 21 counties will be voting this year on machines that can be hacked to alter election results.
    ...
    Although an evaluation by University of California, Berkeley computer experts concluded that hackers can easily change election results on them, thousands of Diebold machines will be in place for the June primary.
    ...
    "We found a number of security vulnerabilities," said that study, whose authors include some of America's most determined critics of electronic voting. "We determined that anyone who has access to a memory card ... and can (modify its contents) ... can indeed modify the election results from that machine in a number of ways."

    Well, heck, with rave reviews like that, no wonder McPherson re-certified 'em!

    Speaking of which, our new pal Skippy the Bush Kangaroo called the Secretary of State today to register his complaint about recertification. Guess what Skippy found out?

    Meanwhile, on the other coast, out in Diebold's one-time "showcase state" of Maryland where the Republican Governor recently declared he "no longer [has] confidence in the State Board of Elections' ability to conduct fair and accurate elections in 2006" on Diebold's machinery, Mike Himowitz in the Baltimore Sun rages against the machines and the pitfalls of secret software used to count our votes:

    With every jurisdiction in Maryland now using the same system, all it takes to ruin an entire statewide election is a single glitch in a single line of that secret code.

    In the systems business, this is known as a computer monoculture. It's a term borrowed from agriculture to describe a large area planted in a single crop - and hence vulnerable to devastating damage from a single source. Maryland is completely planted with Diebold's electronic cotton - all it needs for disaster is one electronic boll weevil.

    To all of this criticism, Linda H. Lamone, the state election administrator has had one response: "Trust us."

    Well, I don't and you shouldn't. Elections aren't based on trust. They're based on verifiable results. You can't throw technology at a problem and throw common sense out the window. There's no way to fix this system. I don't care how much we've spent on it.

    Ouch. We suppose the boyz in North Canton, OH, would be wise to find a buyer soon...before the lawsuits start hittin'.

    ReddIt this story!



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