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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
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IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2006 4:46pm PT  

It was only June of this year when Tony Snow blithely commented on behalf of the White House, upon the news that the 2500th American troop had been killed in Iraq, "It’s a number."

There is a certain warped and tragic sense of unavoidable poesy in the announced death of the 3000th fallen U.S. troop coming, as it does, today --the last day of 2006. Yet I can't help but be reminded that as awful as that "number" is, it comes nowhere near expressing the full pain, suffering, horror, mutilation, and unbearably high cost to humanity that this administration --- and their supporters --- have wrought on this world via their tragic arrogance and folly.

The 3000 "number" includes only American troops killed in Iraq. It doesn't include the number of those, thousands over, who have been injured for lifetime. It doesn't include American contractors who have also been killed. It doesn't include Americans killed in Afghanistan. Neither does it include the troops and citizens from other countries who --- for reasons good or bad --- were deployed to the region after having bought into the mercilessly cruel confidence game that these Administration cretins --- and their supporters --- have perpetrated on the people of this planet. Most disturbingly, however, the "number" 3000 doesn't even begin to include the uncountable --- and mostly uncounted --- hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who were born with the unfortunate trait of having being born where they were born, only to end up in the deadly literal crossfire ordered by people who neither know them nor give a damn about them.

"River" at Baghdad Burning, one of the citizens born with that unfortunate trait, has been chronicling the misery of such citizens from Iraq for the past three years when the power is on, and she is able to access an Internet computer and she has the stomach to share her pain with the rest of the world. She now shares the same sense, expressed by the White House via Snow, that these landmark statistics "simply represent numbers." The irony would likely be lost on this White House.

A few days ago, "River" reminded us once again of the real cost of this sham war. And as cold-hearted as her thoughts may seem, they are yet another wake up call. Yet another one most likely to be ignored by the desperate fanatics whose simple-minded sense of self-importance has left the rest of the world --- likely for generations --- with the burden of cleaning up behind their crushing cruelty, unforgivable arrogance, and indescribable incompetence.

I believe "River" offers a glimpse of what we all will be forced to come to cold, hard grips with in the year --- and years --- ahead...


Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?

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September through December...
(Phew...I'm exhausted.)
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2006 3:41pm PT  

I'm not sure if I'm exhausted from putting together the final part of The BRAD BLOG Year in Review 2006 or if simply being reminded of all that's gone on over the past year on these pages is enough to tucker me out all over again.

Either way, I couldn't be prouder of what we've done. Whatever it was, it was never enough, but I do believe that at least we helped move the ball forward. From helping to expose the criminal corruption in our government, to further exposing the failure of our once-great fourth-estate, I hope that we've had a direct positive affect on each of them.

Here then is the last entry in this thing I call "Year in Review" since it's not necessarily a "Best of" (too much to figure out what was "best") or a "Highlights" (since sometimes the lowest lights were the highest and vice versa), so we'll call it a pu pu platter of the year that was as seen on these pages. It's also, by the way, your last chance to tip the piano player before calling it a year, not that we won't nag you about that again in the near future.

As much as this joint has overtaken my life this year, it has been anything but a solo effort. I cannot adequately express my indebtedness to several folks whose tireless efforts manning the blog with loving care and expertise at various times and for various lengths over the past year have made it possible to keep things going here. They also allowed me to keep going by allowing a few stolen moments here and there to look at things like sunshine and trees. So my less-than-adequate year end gratitude goes out to John Gideon, David Edwards, Agent 99, Winter Patriot, Alan Breslauer, Desi Doyen, Emily Levy and Czaragorn for all of the gas they've put into this engine over the past year via extraordinary work in often less than ideal circumstances on a rather regular basis. Thank you is not enough, but it will have to do.

As well, thanks are due to many of those who have contributed once or twice or more via Guest Blogs on these pages this year including Joy and Tom Williams, Joseph Cannon, Jim Cirile, Rebecca Abrahams, Eric Brewer, Harvey Friedman, Steve Huff, Daniel Borchers, Sibel Edmonds, Stephen Heller, Warren Stewart, Michael Collins, Tova Andrea Wang, Dan Field, STOP George, Chris Floyd, Jeeni Criscenzo and if I left anyone off, I do apologize. Blame Canada.

Thanks also to all of those folks --- sources, whistleblowers or just random tipsters --- who have taken the time to send hot leads or, even more, put yourselves on the line by entrusting me to treat your information with the respect and attention it deserves along with confidentiality that many of you require for all number of reasons. To those whose tips I missed due to a still-out-of-control inbox, my apoligies. Please resend and let's see if I catch it this time!

Finally, I thank you, The BRAD BLOG readers at the end of another year. Whether it's the "6 or 7" of you who stop by with daily devotion for a tasty morsel with your morning coffee, or the millions more who blow by only long enough to pick up an occasional "sirened" hot headline. Thank you for stopping by, supporting our work, and even more so, for spreading the word and making noise.

All of that, and I haven't even been given an award. Oh, well. As the band plays me off for another year, a reminder that Part 1 (Jan - Apr) is back here, Part 2 (May - Aug) is back here, and Part 3 (Sep - Dec) of The BRAD BLOG Year in Review 2006 follows in full...

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

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By John Gideon on 12/30/2006 4:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"As 2007 rolls in, millions of Americans will have to make what looks like a momentous technical decision: Should they upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Windows? At the same time, legislators and election boards will be pondering a far more important decision: Do we want Microsoft Windows - or any operating system - running elections?" asks Mike Hemowitz of the Baltimore Sun. A very good question that can be answered easily. No! No software for casting ballots. No '1's' and '0's'. No DRE's in our elections. No! / On Jan. 4 and 5 Democracy will again be under attack as the vendor sponsored Election Center goes to Washington DC in hopes of influencing your congress people and Senators to vote against new legislation that we have been working for over the past couple years. Call your Senator and Congressman/woman and ask them not to be fooled by this group. They do not speak for the voters and they do not speak for Democracy....

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

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With Wise Words from Josh Marshall and Joseph Cannon...
As Bush Sleeps Through His Legacy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2006 2:51pm PT  

We had a few thoughts late last night on Saddam's execution. Today we have a few more, as Josh Marshall reminds us why he's likely both the best blogger and best writer in the business...

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur --- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.
...
The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it --- defined by it --- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off --- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'
...
This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30, or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?

Hat-tip for the pointer to the above to Joseph Cannon, who aptly adds:

The war had many motives, all of them bad. Among them was the determination of a churchmouse to play Churchill.

And while we're hat-tipping to the much beloved Cannon, we'll point to his brief, yet enlightening summary today of how the United States handcrafted its own, ultimately self-defeating, legacy named Saddam Hussein.

Of course, most of those who have spent the last 6 years mindlessly salivating to the sound of their master's voice will be unlikely to take the time to read it. Lest they take notice of anything to upset their creepy and cultish devotion to the notion of an infallible America. But the rest of us, with intellectual curiosity and honesty intact, can at least learn a thing or two about this whole nightmare having been the work of the self-same criminal crew who --- as the last of their "papier-mache grandeur" flakes away, for now --- cling pathetically to today's barbaric murder of Saddam as some sort of "victory."

Sadly --- and shamefully --- it is anything but.

I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but it's been said that criminals, after their arrest, tend to fall asleep in their holding cell, while the innocent stay awake, yelling and screaming in protest.

This from RAW STORY's coverage of today's hanging of Saddam Hussein...

Spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president was told of the impending hanging Friday afternoon and went to bed shortly before it took place, with instructions not to be woken up.
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By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2006 1:45pm PT  


If you watch only one funeral this weekend, we recommend James Brown's. CNN was carrying it a good deal, MSNBC a bit less, and Fox "News" a lot less than that (even while they have plenty of time to run Saddam's gallows video on a loop, and ran the Saddleback Christmas service several times in full, as if it was news, on Christmas Eve and Day.)

But since we didn't find any of the awesome performances from the Godfather's funeral yet up and online, and have yet to run an 'In Memoriam' for him, let's take the satirical way out. Imitation being the highest form of flattery and all. At right, Ed Murphy's hysterical tribute, from his early golden SNL days, to the once and forever Godfather of Soul.

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May through August...
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2006 10:42pm PT  

After an unexpected item or two of unexpected breaking news, we continue with Part 2 of our 3-part BRAD BLOG Year in Review 2006, highlighting some (but by no means all) of the most notable moments over this extraordinary year here in our own little corner of the world. A world which seems to have grown just a bit larger, if the following headlines are any indication.

For those who think we've grown quite big enough and thus don't think we need your support, well, we wish that was the case. So once again we include a shameless plea for your support via donation as you would be stunned as to just how few folks actually send such support given the number of readers we've had over the past year, and the arguably positive contribution we've made towards the betterment of our nation. If you can help, we (that actually means "I") would much appreciate it.

With that out the way, Part 1 (Jan - Apr) is back here, and Part 2 (May - Aug) follows below...

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

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'Revenge Accomplished' as Osama Still Runs Free, Uncountable Thousands Lie Dead in Bush's Path of Mass Destruction
Little to Change for American Troops in Harm's Way, According to Vet Group...
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2006 5:21pm PT  

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," one of Hussein's attorneys points out, according to AP, apparently without even a hint of irony.

The oxymoron aside, for our part we don't have much to say about all of this, other than how brutally disgusting it is, how Osama still runs free, how well more than the number of Americans killed on 9/11 have now been killed in Bush's appalling revenge plot on behalf of his father, and how neither Americans in general, nor certainly the troops on the ground, are any safer due to Bush's appalling failure as a U.S. "President."

Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org, an advocacy group representing vets of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, issued this statement earlier today:

"There can be no doubt that the execution of Saddam Hussein is justice for the Iraqis who died at his hands. For Americans, and our troops in Iraq, though, his execution means very little, ultimately. There is still a fierce insurgency in Iraq. Our men and women will continue to die every day in a war that has no direction or plan. For our troops in Iraq, when the sun rises tomorrow on a world without Saddam, it will look and feel no different than the day before."

For George W. Bush, however, who lives in the safe confines of his well protected mobile bunker, his presiding over this barbaric ending to the life of a barbaric man is ultimately just another shameful chapter in an already tragic-beyond-description tale.

Congratulations and Happy New Year, Mr. Bush. You got your man.

UPDATE 7:50pm PT: The deed is done. Good luck washing all of that blood off your hands, Mr. Bush. Only you could turn a despicable man like Hussein into a martyr. By year's end, in a few hours, the 3000 mark may be passed for dead U.S. troops in your war. Though, as Baghdad Burning points out so movingly today, 3000 Iraqis are lost in an average month. So I guess it's no biggie. You've had quite the reign, sir.

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By John Gideon on 12/29/2006 5:12pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"It is a matter of fundamental fairness, of good government, and of accountability that we get to the bottom of this election," said Rep. Rush Holt. "It is imperative that every election reflect the will of voters accurately. In the case of Florida-13, there is no way to know whether the result presented by the Florida Secretary of State is valid - in fact, there is significant evidence that it is not. 18,000 missing votes in a race certified on the basis of a 369 vote margin is an overwhelming indication that something went wrong." / Meanwhile the Judge who heard the Jennings evidentiary hearing has ruled against Democracy and for ES&S. Even though the state and ES&S have allowed computer scientists to look at the source code (presently an ongoing process) the judge refused to allow Jennings' experts the same courtesy. ...

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

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Judge finds Plaintiffs' Request for 'Access to Trade Secrets' of ES&S Would 'Result in Destroying, Gutting' Voting Machine Company's 'Protections,' Rules Jennings's, Voters' Motion Based on 'Nothing More Than Conjecture'
[FURTHER STORY UPDATES] Plaintiffs Announce They Will Appeal Decision, Additional Late Details on Congressional Challenge to House Seating of Buchanan...
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2006 1:27pm PT  

In a ruling issued this afternoon just prior to the Holiday weekend, the presiding Florida Circuit Court Judge William L. Gary denied the plaintiffs motion to allow review of the source code for the paperless touch-screen machines used in the contested U.S. House race in Florida's 13th district between Democrat Christine Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan.

Jennings, and a number of Florida voters and Election Integrity organizations, had filed suit asking for a revote and to allow them to review the software used on the voting machines made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), after some 18,000 votes seemed to have disappeared in the race to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by former FL Secretary of State Katherine Harris. The state has previously certified Buchanan as the winner by a 369 vote margin.

Gary's terse ruling [PDF], issued this afternoon denying the motion to compel the company to turn over their source code, states that ES&S has a right to keep their software hidden from review by both the Jennings camp and voters, supporting the company's "right" to keep their "trade secrets" protected.

An audit of the machines was previously conducted by a panel convened by the state. The various plaintiff groups had roundly criticized both the make-up of the panel and the procedures used during the testing, characterizing it as an "exercise in futility." The panel was led by a known hard-right Republican partisan and included the state's own official responsible for voting machine certification. No independent Election Integrity advocates were included on the panel.

That audit --- to nobody's surprise --- revealed no problems in the hardware or software as tested. But the plaintiffs have argued that only an independent investigation of the source code used on the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines might reveal reasons for the inexplicably large undervote rate in the race, more than 12%, only found on Sarasota's paperless touch-screen systems. Absentee paper balloting in the county, and on voting machines in other counties which make up the FL-13 district, revealed no such anomalous undervote rate. Undervote rates on paper absentee ballots in the same race, in the same county, were just over 2.5%.

Neither the Buchanan camp, nor anyone else, has been able to give a credible explanation for the disparity.

Gary's ruling denying Plaintiffs' motion to examine the voting machine source code finds that:

D. The machines now challenged were tested as required by law prior to the early voting and election day voting and were found to be working properly.

E. Because the election was a close one and due to Plaintiffs' allegations an audit was conducted on the voting system to verify its accuracy.

F. Two parallel tests were conducted on the subject screen systems and representatives of both Plaintiffs and Defendants were present. The test results revealed 100% accuracy of the equipment in reporting the vote selections.

G. Plaintiffs have presented no evidence to demonstrate that the parallel testing was flawed and or the results not valid.

H. The testimony of Plaintiffs' experts was nothing more than conjecture and not supported by credible evidence.

I. For this Court to grant Plaintiffs' motions would require this Court to find that it is reasonably necessary for the Plaintiffs to have access to the trade secrets of Defendant, Election Systems & Software, Inc., based on nothing more than speculation and conjecture, and would result in destroying or at least gutting the protections afforded those who own the trade secrets.

The plaintiffs had been requesting a revote for the election in the Florida circuit court. Jennings has filed a contest in the U.S. Congress, under the Constitutional provision which allows the House to determine the seating of members. When the new Congress convenes in January they must decide whether to seat Buchanan as is, seat him provisionally, seat Jennings instead, or leave the seat vacant, essentially forcing a Special Election in FL-13, or take some other action.

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

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January through April...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2006 7:13pm PT  

It's been quite a year. An exhausting one at that. Even gathering up some of the "Best of" stuff from The BRAD BLOG this year turned into a much taller order than we had planned on. So tall, in fact, that we're breaking it into three bite size pieces, to be posted over the next several days, for your reviewing pleasure.

It turned out to be an impossible task to choose "Best of" stuff from this extraordinary year, so we decided to focus only on this year's Exclusives and Breaking News for the most part. Mind you, even at that, as regular readers will quickly see, what we have room to remind you of here is very much just tip-of-the-iceberg stuff. Though even just the basics, in review, make for one helluva story --- about which someone should write a book or two some day (we wonder who that someone might be).

Anyway, until that big book advance comes through, we remind you again at year's end that we appreciate whatever BRAD BLOG DONATION you may be able to make to our continuing efforts. We also remind you that 2007 could be even more spectacular by kicking it off with a monthly subscription (as always, optional, and available via the blue form on the right of every page.)

So here now, Part 1 (Jan - Apr) of our 3-part look back at a few of the most notable stories in The BRAD BLOG Year in Review 2006...

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

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By John Gideon on 12/28/2006 4:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The past two days news has been about change and lack of change. Kentucky is talking about change and entry into the voter verified world of elections. Meanwhile New York counties are talking about a lack of change. They have voting machines that have been working well for them and they don't want to get rid of those old lever machines. Can anyone blame them? And, at least one county in Pennsylvania is selling their old lever machines to a salvager....

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

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We Could Use the Money! (And Swell New Products!)
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2006 6:05am PT  

We've been accused from time to time of being, variously, a "CIA Internet Fake" or a Karl Rove plant or whatever other nonsense folks may dredge up here in Freedom of Speech land. Unfortunately, neither the CIA nor Rove nor "the Jews" have ever paid up. (Please see our blue donation form on the right of every page. We'll take whatever we can get. Even via PayPal. We're not proud.)

On that note then, NYPost reports on some of the companies who are paying bloggers in hopes of good reviews...

If you can't build online buzz for your brand, then just buy it.

That's the pitch from a handful of dubious Internet services offering to turn people into paid shills for advertisers. Their tactics have sparked a controversy similar to the one over fake blogs, or "flogs," launched by Wal-Mart and Sony.

Some of these services offer money to bloggers to endorse a company or product, while others pay people to manipulate popularity rankings on sites such as Digg, Delicious and Reddit.
...
PayPerPost is trying to take the lead in linking bloggers and advertisers, including the Speed Channel, PGA.com and Office Max. It recently changed its policy to require people it hires to disclose their advertiser connections. Bloggers aren't required to give positive reviews.

While we have little interest in either the Speed Channel or the PGA, we've spent the bulk of the Christmas quiet time backing up, reformatting and restoring a hard drive on our ailing computer and still have yet to either finish, or fix the problem that seemed to be there in the first place.

So with that in mind, if Office Max --- a fine, upstanding company, if ever we saw one --- wishes to help out, we certainly could use both a new monitor and, at least, one new computer.

Given the lack of donations The BRAD BLOG seems to receive, along with Office Max's reputation for offering only the best goods and services available at some of the most reasonable prices in the industry (now offering fast, free delivery on most orders over $50!), we believe it'd be the perfect fit!

At least until "the Jews" come through with the big money as promised.

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'It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times'
By Alan Breslauer on 12/27/2006 1:48pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Below is a sampling of statistics and fun comparisons contained within the newly released 2006 Injustice Index, which is part of the The Drum Major Institute For Public Policy's 2006 Year in Review:

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called “corporate welfare” by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $23.9 billion

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion

See more fun stats and the entire Year in Review at the Drum Major Institute.

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(Might Have Been #1, But Diebold Handled the Vote Tabulation)
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2006 1:03pm PT  

Tech Mag PCWorld named E-Voting #3 on their list of "The 21 Biggest Technology Mistakes of 2006"...

3. Hacking the Vote
Are electronic voting machines insecure? In May, security researchers discovered a previously unknown backdoor in Diebold's AccuVote-TS touch-screen voting machines that could allow an attacker to manipulate votes, cause malfunctions, or create a 'voting virus' that spreads from machine to machine--all in under a minute and with little fear of detection. Meanwhile, Princeton researchers also found Diebold's touch-screen machines could be opened with the same kind of key used for hotel mini-bars, offering easy access to the machine's memory card. Diebold promised to fix the vulnerability eventually, but also said they weren't too worried. Why? Because such hacks would require "evil and nefarious election officials"--who don't exist.

We feel much better now.

Big Mistake: Allowing insecure voting machines anywhere near this country's electoral process.

Bigger Mistake: Electing Homer Simpson president--which might happen if we keep using these machines.

We've come a long way, baby.

And we also take year-end great pride in that folks look back on Princeton's Diebold Virus Hack as one of the seminal moments in this whole sordid affair. (The machine used in the research was a DRE/touch-screen system supplied to VelvetRevolution.us by a BRAD BLOG source and we then gave it to Princeton for their now-infamous study.)

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they attack you.
Then you win.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/26/2006 9:19pm PT  


Gerald Ford 1913 - 2006

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