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97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
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VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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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
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
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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
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RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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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
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2006 2:32pm PT  

Yes, that appears to be what he actually said.

For my part, I'm somewhat agnostic about the Dubai Ports issue. However, if the law was broken, as some are contending, that's another story all together.

In general, however (and I realize this position may well earn me some ire from BRAD BLOG commenters) it seems to me the concerns about the Dubai ports deal from the Republican side is largely racist in nature. And on the Democratic side the outrage seems somewhat opportunistic in general --- despite the fact that they are doing what a loyal opposition party ought to be doing as far as oversight, checks and balances and all of that.

I reserve the right to change my position on this matter as I learn more (have been busy with a few other matters, as you may have noticed.) And, as I've said, if the deal is in opposition to the law, then the deal should die, and the law breakers should be held accountable.

Either way, the entire matter is clearly a politically tone-deaf move by Bush, outmeasured only by his incredibly foolish statement today that Americans "don't need to worry about security."

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Chair of Senate Elections Committee Sends Letter to SoS Calling for Reversal of Recent Decision Said to Also be in Violation of Several Federal Laws, Guidelines
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2006 1:04pm PT  

California State Senator Debra Bowen, chairwoman of the State Elections, Reapproprionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee has just released a statement of condemnation for Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's recent re-certification of Diebold voting machines in the state.

A press release just issued by her office includes a letter she has sent to McPherson (posted in full below) calling on him to reverse his recent decision to re-certify based on a number of apparent violations of California's state laws and regulations which seem to have been disregarded in his decision making process.

McPherson's decision to re-certify Diebold --- after they had previously been de-certified in 2004 for violation of state law; after at least 20% of their machines failed during a massive mock election test last summer; after the same machines were shown to contain hackable "interpreted code" which is banned outright by federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines; after previously announcing that certification review would not proceed in CA until those federal authorities re-examined that banned code (they didn't do so the first time they examined Diebold's machines); and after his own secretly-conducted independent analysis [PDF] confirmed that such unsecure and buggy code indeed existed in the machines and would put our elections at grave risk of being hacked and/or tampered with --- stunned virtually everyone when it was announced quietly last Friday night after the week's news cycle had ended and before the long holiday weekend began.

Only California County Elections officials and Diebold Reps seem pleased with the move.

Bowen's letter, calling for a reversal of McPherson's "conditional certification" points to at least three different violations of state laws and regulations.

In the release which includes the full letter, Bowen who is herself running for Secretary of State in 2006 and has been a champion of transparent government for many years, says, "The certification doesn't comply with state law and it breaks the commitment the Secretary made to Californians in December to wait for a federal review and testing process to be completed before deciding whether to allow Diebold's equipment to be used in California."

Further, Bowen continues, "Californians shouldn't be required to vote on machines that the Secretary's own internal review team found to be riddled with bugs and susceptible to tampering. For the Secretary to get that kind of a report, then turn around and re-certify the Diebold machines for use in California only serves to undermine the already low level of confidence many people have in the integrity of our elections."

The State Elections Committee, which she chairs, has been holding hearings on these matters of late, which both McPherson and all of the Voting Machine Vendors being considered for certification in California have refused to attend and testify in front of. A grassroots email and phone campaign has been launched to convince the Senate Rules Committee, on which Bowen sits, to allow for subpoenas to be sent to those parties compelling them to testify under oath before the State Senate. Such subpoena power, by tradition in the CA Senate, is rarely invoked.

Bowen's complete letter sent today to McPherson follows...

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

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By David Edwards on 2/23/2006 11:37am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

This video contains clips from CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight and MSNBC Countdown that focus on the financial concerns that are motivating President Bush to stand firm on the Dubai Ports takeover in the face of extreme public dissent, political pressure and possible national security concerns.

Lou Dobbs puts together financial connections between both Bush Presidents, the UAE, the Carlyle Group, Dubai Investment Fund, Neil Bush and John Snow.

The Bush appointment of a former Dubai Ports Executive, David Sanborn, as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration is also under scrutiny. In his new position, Sanborn now oversees all U.S. port operations. Dubai Ports has hired Bob Dole and two other Republican ex-senators to lobby Congress. The UAE paid over $750k to lobbying firms last year.

MSNBC Countdown provides analysis from David Sirotaan who is an expert on big money's influence on government:

This is not a scandal about one deal with one country. What's especially motivating the President in his threat to issue a veto is the fact that he knows that if Congress is allowed to override this [deal] a precedent is set.
...
America's trade policy, for two decades, has entirely been [controlled by] corporate-owned free trade. If this deal is allowed to be blocked it would set a precedent that security concerns are now going to be put into the trade policy. That is something that [Bush's] big corporate donor's do not want.
...
During NAFTA we saw labor and environmental standards thrown out the window. During the China PNTR deal we saw human rights standards thrown out the window. And now what we're seeing here is essentially security concerns thrown out the window. Basically allowing corporations to pursue the profit motive no matter what they want.
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[UPDATE] Dems Send Letter Challenging Legality of Deal
By David Edwards on 2/23/2006 7:38am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

The White House says that the President didn't know about the Dubai Ports takeover deal until after it was approved.

Patrick Malloy is an attorney who help write the law that regulates the approval of foreign investments in the United States. He says that the law requires that the President be notified on all foreign investments that pose a national security concern. The law also says that the President must report his findings to Congress where the issue could be debated.

The White House is expected to begin briefing select members of Congress today. In the meantime, Secretary Rice will visit the UAE today to ensure them that the Dubai Ports deal will go through as planned.

Eric Dezenhall runs a crisis management firm. He explains that "Americans often have a harder time with inconsistency than we do with dishonesty." The President has a record of stong national security rhetoric including the protection of U.S. ports.

This video clip from CNN shows the President talking tough on security during speeches at several ports. During a speech at a port in Philadelphia, the President said "We will use all our power to keep out the terrorist and the criminals."


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

UPDATE: Dems send letter challenging legality of ports deal...

UPDATE #2: Video of Democratic Senators on the Armed Services Committee questioning the Bush Administration's CFIUS members about avoiding the law while approving the Dubai deal.

Video in Streaming Flash format...

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Lots of Electoral Stuff in One Neat Package...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2006 10:00pm PT  

Notable news around the nation in regard to Electronic Voting, Election Reform and Voting in general is coming now at a more and more frenetic pace. We've got much more we're personally working on, but today there were a few other small-ish, yet notable-ish stories worth mentioning. Here they are --- wrapped into one single, user-friendly, BRAD BLOG item...

1) California May Want to Get Ready for Diebold Related Lawsuits
Voter Action --- the group who has successfully received a Temporary Restraining Order against the purchase of Sequoia voting machines in New Mexico while they enjoy unprecedented "discovery" on such machines --- has turned their eye towards Diebold in California, given the latest developments/shenanigans concerning SoS Bruce McPherson's re-certification in apparent violation of state laws and regulalations. The Voter Action press release issued today indicates that litigation in California, similar to that in New Mexico, might be very appropriate. Stay tuned.

2) Greens/Libertarians Demand Reinstatement of Federal Ohio '04 Recount Suit
Yes, they're still fighting for your vote to be counted. A Federal judge recently dismissed their lawsuit charging that the 2004 Ohio Presidential Recount was gamed. The reason for the dismissal: The point was now moot, since the 2004 recount procedures would not be used again. But, according to 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb, what the judge didn't know when he dismissed the case, was that Ohio's SOB SoS, J. Kenneth Blackwell, recently announced that recount procedures would be the same in the future. Game back on, says Cobb in his motion to re-instate the case.

3) Diebold Whistleblower Charged With Three Felony Counts
The LA Times reports today (link above) that Stephen Heller, the man who released internal memos from Diebold's California law firm in 2002 showing they were aware of a number of election law violations pled "not guilty" to the charges. Says his attorney, "Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections." Diebold fought to keep the docs from being published. They lost. Eventually it all led to a multi-million dollar settlement with California and BlackBoxVoting.org, who has more on this...

4) TV News Waking Up to Election Reform Issues!
WGAL in Philadelphia covers the Electoral mess hitting their state. The second of their two-part report takes a look into the unsavory legal backgrounds of virtually ALL of the American Voting Machine companies. From ES&S to Sequoia to Danaher to Diebold, etc. Here's to more local news outlets jumping into the game where the national media is failing!

5) George W. Bush Acts Like He Gives a Damn About the Voting Rights Act
A few years ago, he didn't know what it was. Now, with it coming up for renewal in 2007, after his Dept. of Justice has all but gutted it, Bush has the temerity to call for its renewal as if he cares about it. Says Bush in this short video today (thanks David Edwards!): The VRA is a "milestone in the history of civil Rights. Congress must act to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965." Like he could give a shit.

6) Parallel Universe: Election Reform as Covered by Fox "News"
A preview of how the MSM (led as usual by Fox) will likely cover Election Reform as soon as they notice the massive crisis. Which is to say, they'll report on everything that doesn't matter, but that which Fox and the GOP tells them is important. In their article, Fox, of course, puts the emphasis on States that haven't implemented HAVA fast enough, Photo ID requirement laws, the non-existent problem of "Voter Fraud" (yes, all the Baker/Carter Commission cretins, including our friend, the unrepentant Robert Pastor make unsurprisingly Fox-friendly cameos) and finally, at the end --- the very end --- a brief nod to a few concerns about Electronic Voting. The biggest concern there? "Inexperienced poll workers" having problems with the "new technology." Hey, it's the "#1 Name in News" for a reason, baby!

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By John Gideon on 2/22/2006 5:08pm PT  

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

From Alabama comes a report that ES&S had an internal communications problem and they provide the optical scan machines used in Belforest in their elections. "The company delivered "data packs" --- the electronic devices in which the voters' selections are stored --- programmed for absentee voting, causing the two machines to reject the ballots, Johns said. The situation did not affect the voting, as voters filled out their ballots and slipped them in an emergency bin used for occasions such as this one, he said." Imagine if that had been DREs instead of optical-scan. Just why is there an IrDA port on those Diebold machines? Just a reminder, that this will be the last Daily Voting News until next Tuesday evening. I will be off line until then. Have a great weekend....

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

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IrDA Protocol Can 'Totally Compromise System' Without Detection, Warns Federal Voting Standards Website
So far, no state or federal authority --- to our knowledge --- has dealt with this alarming security threat
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2006 12:06pm PT  

We hate to pile on... (Or do we?)

But, really, with all the recent discussion of California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's mind-blowing about-face re-certification of Diebold --- against state law, we hasten to add --- this may be a good time to point out one small item that we've been meaning to mention for a while.

As Jody Holder's recent comment points out, McPherson's silly "conditions" for re-certification of Diebold in California require a few much-less-than-adequate knee-jerk "safe guards" towards protection of the handling of the hackable memory cards in Diebold's voting machines. (Here's McP's full "Certificate of Conditional Certification").

Never mind, as Holder mentions, that the protective seals to be required are easily peeled away without tearing. Or that such voting machines have been stored in poll workers houses for weeks leading up to an election. More to the point, for the moment, there are ways to manipulate the information on those memory cards even without removing them or breaking the seals. This is more of a concern than ever, since it was recently proven, by the now-infamous Harri Hursti hack in Leon County, FL, that changing the information on the memory cards can force election results to be flipped...without a trace being left behind.

On that note, here's the little item we've been meaning to point out. It's a photograph from the side of a Diebold AccuVote TSx TS6 touch-screen voting machine:

Now we have no idea what that "IrDA" port is meant to be used for with a touch-screen voting machine, but we do know that the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) is an Infrared port used for wireless connection between two devices. We used to have one on the back of our notebook and desktop computers which we used to keep the two systems synched up via wireless data transfers over that Infrared port.

A few election watchdog groups, including some members of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who works with the federal authorities on these matters, have issued warnings about the IrDA port and protocols on voting machines. However, little --- if anything --- seems to have been done to mitigate the rather obvious security threat posed, as far as we can tell.

Here's how a page at Microsoft.com, last updated December 4, 2001, explains cable-free Infrafred data transfer on the Microsoft Windows CE operating system (the operating system which happens to be used in Diebold's AccuVote touch-screen voting machines --- like the one pictured above)...


Imagine the following scenario: Two notebook computers are placed beside each other. A computer icon appears on both desktops with the name of the peer computer below it. Open one of the icons to display a folder with the contents of the peer computer's desktop. Drag-and-drop between your desktop and the open folder to move files between the two computers.

  • Imagine that the only configuration that this application required to be installed or used was the ability for the user to enable or disable it. Imagine that multiple such applications could be running at the same time without interfering with each other.
  • Imagine that this application could run on 23 million existing notebook computers at a transfer speed of 115Kbps, and on 14 million existing notebook computers at 4MBps. Imagine that all applications, regardless of the speed of the underlying hardware, would work with all other applications at a common fastest speed.
  • Imagine that the other notebook computer in this example was a digital still camera, a handheld personal computer, a data capture device or a device that supports electronic commerce.
  • As a bonus, assume that the two computers do not need to be cabled together.
  • This application is currently possible under Microsoft® Windows® CE and the Windows family of operating systems. The underlying technology is based on inexpensive, widely available short-range infrared transceivers that adhere to the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) standards. IrDA standards (available from the IrDA at http://www.irda.org) also enable non-Windows devices to talk to Windows-based applications.

    There ya go.

    The issue of the IrDA port on touch-screen voting machines hasn't been much discussed as far as we can tell. VotersUnite.org issued an alert mentioning it, with a photograph (seen at right), back on October 26, 2004. The alert warned:

    3) A dangerous port on the Diebold touch screen!!

    This from TrueVoteMD: Diebold AccuVote TS electronic voting machines have an infrared (IrDA) port installed. This is a remote communication port through which another remote device could communicate with the touch screen and change either its data or its software or both.

    If your county uses Diebold touch screens, let your county officials and election judges know that it is crucial to cover the IR port with opaque tape.

    The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) --- who works with the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop and recommend guidelines for electronic voting machines --- issued a similar warning [PDF] about the Infrared ports on voting machines in a report which warned "The use of short range optical wireless," like infrared, "particularly on Election Day should not be allowed."

    As mentioned, since touch-screen machines have been stored at poll workers' houses and other unsecured locations prior to Election Day, and since data can be transferred to the machines and their memory cards via Infrared --- even without removing the cards or breaking their protective seals --- the IrDA ports would seem to be a tremendous concern.

    The NIST report discusses such concerns and some of the troubling security issues with IrDA protocols:

    How Secure is IrDA

    IrDA does not provide encryption at the Physical Layer, and depends on the end systems to implement security if any.
    ...
    With optical, it is possible for a session to be ‘hijacked’ unless strong authentication measures are implemented between communicating systems. When a session is hijacked, a foreign device masquerades as a trusted system that is authorized to exchange data. Because the system has no way to distinguish the masquerader from the authorized system, it will accept anything from it as if [sic] was authorized.

    The undated report --- from the EAC's own standards body, NIST --- then goes on to describe how simple and readily available IrDA software drivers are to obtain for use with UNIX and most Windows Operating Systems, including Windows CE. As well, it points out that such software could add executable code to the machines on, or prior to, Election Day and could then delete itself after ithe code has completed its main purpose [emphasis ours]:

    IrDA Software

    IrDA software drivers are available form [sic] a number of sources for use with UNIX, Windows and other Operating Systems (OS). Most versions of MS Windows come with support for IrDA already included. This is true of the MS Windows CE operating system as well as Windows XP. Microsoft also provides a free IrDA driver which can be downloaded from it web site. Other suppliers of IrDA systems (e.g., Ericsson) offer their own drivers including source code (Texas Inurnments [sic]).

    With the source code available, an interrupt handler (executable code) could easily be added. For example, when the voting terminal receives a special bit configuration (caused by holding down multiple keys concurrently) that is outside the usually accepted range, a special interrupt could be generated invoking a handler that could be programmed to perform any desired function. This would require a small amount of code and could easily be hidden; such code would be difficult to discover.

    If such code was installed in the driver, which is considered to be Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) [even if compiled and installed by the voting system manufacturer] it would not be examined by the ITAs [the federal Independent Testing Authorities].

    Code in such a handler could be designed to place the voting terminal in a mode where it downloads and install [sic] an executable module, thus allowing unapproved logic to be added to the voting machine while in use on Election Day. Obviously this executable could perform any function the programmer desired including deleting itself when finished. The only recourse is to disallow communications with the voting terminal during use. It might be augured [sic] that such code could be added the day before Election Day.

    Obviously, that last paragraph is very troubling. But also note the section about COTS.

    The source code for that "Commercial-Off-The-Shelf" software is what Diebold recently argued that they couldn't provide to North Carolina after they changed their law to require all voting machine vendors to submit such code in order to receive state certification. Diebold went to state court arguing they shouldn't be forced to supply the source code for COTS software. Eventually, they lost that battle, and notified North Carolina they preferred to pull out of the state entirely (if the state wouldn't change the law for them) rather than complying with the state law requiring the submission of all such source code.

    And another comment posted to NIST's voting website [PDF] by James C. Johnson on October 5, 2005, also discusses the concern, revealing that the use of the IrDA protocols could be used at any time, even after final "Logic and Accuracy" tests have been performed, and thus "totally compromising the system":

    In Diebold System's AccuVote TS systems these [IrDA] ports are supported using Microsoft's Windows CE with Winsock. This makes the application interface easy to program to, and all required drivers are already installed in the OS.

    It is interesting that the VVSG [Voluntary Voting System Guidelines] currently under development, while mentioning this technology does nothing to restrict or prevent its use, not even on Election Day.

    It is understandable that communications technology be used for pre election preparation, but is totally irresponsible and inexcusable to allow it to be used during an election. The presence of this technology makes it possible to upload to the voting system anything that is desired after the final "Logic and Accuracy" test have been performed, thus totally compromising the system.

    Perhaps some of you have additional thoughts on this matter. Like why such a port would be needed, or even present, on a touch-screen voting machine at all. And why the existence of such a port --- to our knowledge --- has hardly been discussed at all in conjuction with these machines. Especially in light of the now-infamous Leon County, FL "hack test" proving that executable code can be added to Diebold's memory cards resulting in a completely flipped election...as we've said...without a trace being left behind.

    CORRECTION: We had previously identified the machine in the article's first photo as a TSx, when it's actually from a slightly older TS6 like those used in Maryland and elsewhere. The second photo, with all of the various ports identified, was originally taken from the Diebold AccuVote TS User's Manual. We have conflicting reports on whether the IrDA port is still used on the newer TSx machines and will try to follow up later with definitive information when we can get it.

    UPDATE 6/28/06: Something happened during our import to the new software here at BRAD BLOG to munge up the comments section of this post. We'll see if we can figure out how to restore them correctly. Until then, we've turned off the comments on this post.

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    By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 10:17pm PT  

    God bless the doctors...and the U.S. Constitution...Sanity prevails, if only for the moment, in California.

    Morales, 46, was supposed to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. But the execution was put off until at least Tuesday night after two anesthesiologists backed out because of ethical concerns that they might have to advise the executioner if the inmate woke up or appeared to suffer pain.

    "Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical," the doctors, whose identities were not released, said in a statement. "As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process."

    The doctors had been brought in by a federal judge after Morales' attorneys argued that the three-part lethal injection process violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

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    Says Iraq War a Mistake, Compares Bush Policies to 'Leninism'
    By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 9:48pm PT  

    Crumbling down.

    One of the original Neocon architects and a signer of the infamous PNAC letter, Francis Fukuyama, says the movement has failed and has "evolved into something I can no longer support," according to this report.

    Further, he makes what can only be seen as an exceedingly uncomfortable --- yet perfectly apt --comparison between the Bush Administration policies and ... Leninism.

    "The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues.

    "Although the new and ominous possibility of undeterrable terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction did indeed present itself, advocates of the war wrongly conflated this with the threat presented by Iraq and with the rogue state/proliferation problem more generally."

    Mr Fukuyama, one of the US's most influential public intellectuals, concludes that "it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly".

    Going further, he says the movements' advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States".

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    By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 9:27pm PT  

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    By John Gideon on 2/21/2006 5:00pm PT  

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

    Texas began early voting for their primary with the news that many counties still do not have their paper ballots or their ballot programming complete. In California the fall-out from last Friday's announcement by SoS McPherson is making news. One can only wonder when the lawsuits will begin....

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

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    FEATURING: An EXCLUSIVE Video Tape Interview with CA's Clueless SoS Stating 'We'll Wait to Hear from the Feds About Diebold Before Certifying' (apparently, he was just kidding)
    ALSO: Action Items for Americans Who Care About Democracy --- Five Phone Calls is All We Ask Right Now to Force E-Voting Vendors to Answer Questions Under Oath!
    By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 2:18pm PT  

    Inveterate Huff Po contributor, R.J. Eskow picks up on our coverage of the latest mind-blowing Dieboldery by California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and what it may bode for the Golden State as the GOP sets their sights on political manifest destiny.

    Connecting a few dots, and noting big Bush Adminstration gunslingers, like Steve Schmidt, who are roving their way westward to help shore up the Governator's re-elect prospects out here, Eskow concludes:

    So what does this all mean? It suggests that California, with its treasure trove of congressional seats and 2008 electoral votes, is the next battleground. Yes, Gov. Schwarzenegger is wildly unpopular now. But, as the GOP proved in the 2004 Presidential race, unpopularity need not be a barrier to re-election - especially when Diebold machines are counting the votes.

    All the 'heavy hitters' are coming into town, their shiny cars pulling up to the curb. You've seen the movie. You know what happens next. If you live in California, my friend and blog-comrade skippy has a suggestion for how you can help.

    Note: Eskow's appropriate concerns about McPherson's inexplicable Diebold double-cross don't even mention the Dept. of Homeland Security's warning about their hackable tabulator software, the recently flipped-without-a-trace-left-behind mock election in Leon County, FL, the GAO Report confirming the dangers of electronic voting, and his link to a page describing the failure rate of Diebold machines in a massive election test last summer pins the percentage of failed Diebold touch-screen machines at just 10% (a later report confirmed the number was more like 20%, and a later one still pegged it at 30%.)

    It also still remains unexplained why McPherson didn't wait to hear back from the federal "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) --- which isn't actually independent, as it's created and funded by the Voting Machine Companies themselves --- to whom McPherson had sent back the Diebold memory cards after the Leon County hack test revealed their machines employed hackable "interpreted code" which is expressly banned by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines for software used in electronic voting machines.

    Back in December, McPherson's office sent a letter to Diebold explaining that they would not re-certify Diebold in California until the ITA completed their re-examination of the code in light of the hack test discovery:

    We require this additional review before proceeding with further consideration of your application for certification in California. Once we have received a report from the federal ITA adequately analyzing this source code, in addition to the technical and operational specifications relating to the memory card and interpreter, we will expeditiously proceed with our comprehensive review of your application.

    Apparently, the SoS's office was just kidding.

    They went ahead and re-certified Diebold out here last week without waiting to hear back. They announced their decision late on Friday, at the start of the long holiday weekend and in apparent defiance of state election law and McPherson's own "10 Strict Standards" [PDF] which include "State certification testing does not begin until the federal qualification testing is successfully completed."

    Apparently, he was just kidding about that as well.

    With all of that in mind, readers of this blog would be remiss if they failed to take the actions described in Eskow's link to Skippy. Five phone-calls and/or emails this week are all that may be needed to finally see representatives from these unpatriotic Voting Machine firms subpeonaed and forced to answer questions --- under oath --- in a public hearing before elected officials concerning their secret software, shitty machines and under-the-table efforts to work around state and federal election laws. Hit that link, and call the five members of the California legislature's Rules Committee now!

    By the way, McPherson himself also refused to show up at that hearing and refused to send a representative from his office to boot.

    It should also be noted that Diebold is not the only bad player here. Add ES&S, Hart-Intercivic, Sequoia and several others to the list of cowardly unAmerican firms who recently refused the invitation to show up to testify before the California State Senate's Election Committee last week. All of those companies, apparently, believe it's none of our damned business how they count the votes (or not) in our American democracy.

    Take action.

    For full disclosure, we should also mention that we had the privilege of meeting both R.J. and Skippy in person over the weekend in an L.A. Blogger's get together out here. Good folks all of them, and we're delighted to see them jump into this most important game of all.

    And finally --- since we've been looking for a good excuse to post this video --- we'll take this opportunity to give you an exclusive peek inside the "brain" of the man whose perplexing decision to re-certify voting machines and software known to be flawed and hackable may well effect similar decisions by Elections Officials around the entire country.

    The following short Q&A with CA's SoS was video-taped by Dave Berman of GuvWurld about two weeks prior to the recent about face by McPherson. It's somewhat revealing --- particularly in the last couple of minutes where Dave gets to ask the questions --- as to the mindset and intellectual capabilities of the man currently appointed by Arnold to oversee free and fair elections in the country's largest "voting market" (as Diebold refers to it).

    At one point in the questioning, when asked about the re-examination of Diebold software by the ITA, McPherson says, "If they're going to be certified, they're going to have to meet those levels of satisfactions to me...We, uh, we've, uh, just said that, uh, you have to meet these strict requirements and if they do, we'll consider it."

    Apparently, McPherson was just kidding there as well....Since he recertified them without, apparently, waiting to hear back from the ITA.

    Without further ado then, we give you the man, the myth, the elusive and rarely seen genius that is California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson --- as videotaped exclusively about two weeks ago in Humboldt County, just prior to his re-certification of Diebold voting machines in this state.


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

    UPDATE: CA State Senator Debra Bowen (chair of the Senate Elections Committee) issues her own call to action to force McPherson to review his outrageous decision. Her reasons are summarized thusly:

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

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    'Prisoner Mistreatment was a Bush Policy Decision'
    By David Edwards on 2/21/2006 8:59am PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

    A recently revealed secret memo from general counsel of the U.S. Navy warned the Bush Administration to halt the "disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects."

    The memo shows that torture and abuse of detainees was a policy of the Bush Administration despite legal warnings from lawyers within the Military. Determined to continue the abusive policies, the Bush Administration sought out legal opinions which allowed them to go "above the law."

    The New Yorker exposes the secret document (PDF) in a newly published article by Jane Mayer. In an interview with CNN American Morning, Mayer said:

    It's clear that [the Bush Administration ] were consistently resisting any criticism on this... instead of listening to [the Navy counsel], they basically found another lawyer, somebody in the Justice Department named John Woo, who told them what they wanted to hear which was they could pretty much do anything they wanted.

    It was a policy decision on their part. This wasn't an accident - what happened at Guantnamo and what later happened at Abu Ghraib in terms of mistreatment of prisoners. They did this with their eyes wide open.

    UPDATE: The name in CNN screenshot above should be spelled "John Yoo" instead of "John Woo". For more information on the history of torture policies in the Bush Administration and John Yoo, check out this video from the CBC report "A Few Bad Apples."


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

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    By John Gideon on 2/20/2006 5:24pm PT  

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

    What's going on in Maryland? The Gov is against a vvpb; now he is for it. Democratic members of the legislature who are for a vvpb are belittling the Governor's change of heart as being political and are claiming he is creating chaos. Now kids! Can't we just get along and give the voter a vvpb like they want? Meanwhile in Pennsylvania the Governor has said he will veto the legislation that requires a voterID...

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

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    By David Edwards on 2/20/2006 4:53pm PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

    Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff repeated the Katrina talking points on at least three networks yesterday. Maybe he forgot his talking points to deflect questions about a decision by the Bush Administration which will allow a company located in an Arab country to takeover six of the largest ports in the U.S.

    Dubai Ports is located in the United Arab Emirates which has a history that causes many Republicans and Democrats to believe that the proposed takeover will compromise national security.

    The corporate media seem to have replaced their focus on the Cheney shooting scandal with the Bush port give-away scandal. This clip is a quick compilation from the last 48 hours of pundits, politicians and other talking heads as they wake up to the latest Bush blunder.

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

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    Total Pages (9):
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