After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
IN TODAY'S REPORT: Democrats undermine Obama's climate legislation; the EPA steps up and gets stepped on? PLUS: Worldwide Blackout & more volcanic "fallout" for Bobby Jindal...All that and more in today's Green News Report!
It's been a bad month for Diebold (DBD), what with the findings in CA that their voting machines drop votes and their audit logs allows deletion of records; their admission that all of their voting machines fail to record ballot deletions, and that their ATMs were hacked, likely by insiders, just to point to a few of their recent embarrassing headlines.
Diebold Inc.'s chief financial officer has stepped down in the wake of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into possible violations of federal securities laws.
Kevin Krakora, 53, who also stepped down as executive vice president, will remain in a nonfinancial reporting capacity until the matter is resolved, Diebold said Wednesday in a filing with the SEC.
There are more details at the Dealer (though caution is advised: most of their reporting is based on statements given by Diebold, so bring plenty of grains of salt!).
That said, The BRAD BLOG broke an exclusive story, in August of 2007, concerning a mass sell-off by 10 Diebold officers who had all managed to unload hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of stock, each on the very same day on Aug. 7th, when the share price was near an historic high. It fell quickly and preciptously thereafter (15% in the next week alone) following news of Diebold spinning off its election company into a "new company" named Premier Election Solutions.
The largest sale of stock made on that day, Aug. 7th 2007, was by Kevin Krakora, the CFO who stepped down today. He had sold $167,107 worth of stock (3,150 shares) at the near-historic high of $53.05 per share.
Diebold stock plunged in value more than 50% over the next several months, following the mass Aug. '07 selloff. It's been falling ever since, with one exception in March of 2008 when United Technologies Corp. (UTC) attempted an unsuccessful takeover of the company. The stock shot up momentarily on that news, but has been largely falling again ever since.
Shares of Diebold closed on Wednesday at $21.53, down 5.4% on the day. The last time the stock was at that bargain basement price was prior to George W. Bush's "election" (aided in part, by the way, by a Diebold tabulator in Volusia County, FL, which gave negative 16,022 votes to Al Gore --- an anomaly which has never been explained by anyone).
But if we helped in any way, you're welcome, America!
The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system, tirelessly, fiercely and independently for years, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work, which only you help to fund, with a donation to help us continue the work so few are willing to do. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
According to our ‘Featured’ article Premier/Diebold has lost a customer for their voting system in Humboldt Co. California due to their admissions that the system used in that county loses votes under certain circumstances and that history of actions on the voting machines can be deleted from the internal audit file. The county has already made the decision to switch to another vendor for their voting system but they still use and pay annual fees for a Premier provided voter registration system. They did still use it anyway. In an apparent attempt to punish Humboldt Co a vindictive Premier has given the county a 90 day warning and a list of software and hardware that they want returned. Hopefully the county’s attorneys will take some action.
Guest Blogged by Parke Bostrom of the Humboldt Transparency Project
At the California Secretary of State's public hearing regarding the possible decertification of Diebold's tabulator systems, GEMS v1.18.19, in relation to the "Deck Zero" covert deletion of 197 ballots in the November election, the audit log's magical "clear" button, and the GEMS audit logs failing to report when ballots were manually deleted by the operator, Diebold/Premier representatives tried to shift blame for the 197 deleted ballots onto the Humboldt County, CA, Registrar of Voters, Carolyn Crnich.
Crnich responded, "If you're saying that your system needs to be checked every damn time we turn it on, I agree with you."
Crnich's use of an expletive seems to have pushed Diebold/Premier's legal counsel over the edge, causing them to reach for and firmly press the "nuke" button in response, by petulantly informing the county of termination of licensing for the use of any of the company's products.
Several days after returning to Humboldt, following the hearing in Sacramento, Crnich received two letters from Premier. Both letters arrived in a single envelope, but unlike Premier Khrushchev's two letters to President Kennedy, Crnich did not get to choose which letter to respond to....
"It will remain one of democracy's best jokes that it provided its deadly enemies with the means by which it was destroyed." - Joseph Goebbels
* * *
Gradually, as the veil of secrecy lifts, a growing number of Americans are beginning to comprehend the lawlessness of the cabal which seized control of the White House in 2000 in what amounted to a judicially-aided coup d'etat.[i] This lawlessness extended across the board. It included the packing of federal agencies with lobbyists from industries they were designed to regulate, deception to take this nation into a war of choice, fraudulent no-bid contracts, torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless NSA eavesdropping on the entire stream of domestic electronic communications, and, if Seymour Hersh's recent allegations are accurate, the creation of a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."[ii]
The reaction of leading Democratic politicians to these unprecedented high crimes has been ambivalent, at best. Even before she assumed the role of Speaker, Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment was "off-the-table," thereby enabling two more years of executive lawlessness, not to mention the nation's economic demise. Pelosi evaded so much as mentioning their high crimes until February 2009. President Obama acknowledged that "no one is above the law," but added that the focus of his administration is to look forward, not back.
There are fundamental deficiencies in the President's formulation. First, it is impossible to observe the rule of law without looking back. It would make no sense, for example, for a man charged with armed robbery to come before a judge and say, "Well, the robbery was in the past. You've got to look forward. I have every intention of abiding by the law in the future. So why prosecute me?" Second, looking forward does not mean handling current events at the expense of the rule of law. The point is to look far enough into the future to appreciate that the same people who brought us the last eight years of executive lawlessness could one day return to power...
In our ‘Featured’ article Greg Gordon of McClatchy News reports on a presentation given during an Election Assistance Commission hearing last month. The presentation was given by a CIA analyst concerning the use of electronic voting machines in foreign elections and the concerns about the machines’ vulnerability to tampering. The official said at one point in his presentation, “"You heard the old adage 'follow the money’. I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen."...
IN TODAY'S REPORT: Today we're gonna party like it's 1989...in Alaska...because it's the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska; and the 20th anniversary of the eruption of Alaska's Mount Redoubt, now blowing up again (and in Bobby Jindal's) face; and the 20th anniversary of the global agreement to save the ozone layer, thus saving Alaska, and everywhere else in the world...PLUS: Poo and Pee Power gives "bio-gas" a whole new meaning...All that and more in today's Green News Report!
Got comments, tips, love letters? Let's hear from ya, Alaska! Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived for disaster exhausted Alaskan's listening pleasure at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
Since I first covered the story of the arrest of election officials (including a circuit court judge, the county clerk, the school superintendent and other members of the county elections board) in Clay County, KY, for buying and selling votes, as well as manipulating votes on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, folks have been asking about the political affiliation of the conspirators and whether they were working on behalf of any particular political party.
The subject came up, as well, while I was on the Mike Malloy Show last Friday discussing these arrests, as they had just come to light.
You can download the MP3 of that interview, or listen to it online here (appx. 17 mins)...
While the federal indictment [PDF] notes that a number of those involved in the cabal appear to be members of the local Democratic Party, the scheme also involved at least one conspirator who served as the Republican Party's polling place judge at one of the precincts. Clay County is also a heavily Republican county.
On this point, a commenter who wrote in to respond to last week's article, who claims to be "from Clay County" and to know "each of the people arrested," writes that "ALL of the eight arrested this week" were actually Republican. "They registered as Democrat and took leadership roles in the local party to control precinct officer seats, ensuring all officers at the precinct were hand picked." I can't yet confirm that fact, but that reader's comment is posted in full below, with another one from a Kentucky writer, as both contain some helpful background.
Of course, it could still very well be the case that the crooks were Democrats at work. Either way, from what I'm able to understand about the scheme so far, it seems that it was more about personal power and financial enrichment than anything else. If they were Democrats, they don't seem to have been particularly successful in affecting Democratic wins in their county, even though their scheme was "successful" enough to be repeated election after election and year after year. At the heart of their scheme, after all, was bribing money out of candidates in order to be placed on a "slate" that the cabal would then help to get elected.
As the commenter suggests, it could well be that these "Democratic" officials were only signed up as such in order to affect primary elections (in order to ensure the weakest possible "D" candidate, for example) or even in hopes of adversely affecting general elections as "Democrats," secretly working on behalf of the Republican Party.
I've been unable to learn the party affiliations, yet, of the candidates who paid to be on their "slate," which, once we learn that, could be somewhat instructive. Maybe. But until then, a major point that I'd to make in any case: I don't really care what their party affiliations were.
We live in a world of complex computerized systems --- medical equipment such as MRIs and CAT scans; flight control software; an automotive fuel injection system; the databases that store, retrieve, and collate data. All these systems undergo stringent testing.
The primary purpose of any testing of computerized systems is to show either that the system works as designed or that it doesn’t. If the system does not work as designed, then the test results are expected to provide information on the nature, and perhaps the cause, of the defective behavior.
Using these criteria, this report evaluates one specific test --- a test designed to confirm or refute that a specific computerized vote-counting system meets the accuracy level required by federal law. The details that follow contain many numbers and many technical details, but the discussion centers on a single, simple question: did the test, which was approved by the federal agency tasked with certifying voting equipment, provide evidence that the accuracy requirement was met, or did the test provide evidence that the accuracy requirement was not met?
As the author demonstrates in this specific instance, the answer is: the test provided neither. The test, which was designed by a federally-accredited test lab for the sole purpose of testing the accuracy of the vote-counting equipment, cannot prove whether or not the system accurately counts votes, nor can the test yield any measure of the accuracy rate.
The author wants the reader to understand that such testing provides false assurance that a federally-certified vote-counting machine meets the accuracy requirements of federal law.
"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad." Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka "Baghdad Bob"),
Iraqi Information Minister, April 2003
Michelle Shafer is the "Baghdad Bob"-in-chief of the e-voting industry. She's the VP and spokesperson for Sequoia Voting Systems and spokesperson for the e-voting industry as a whole via the Election Technology Council (ETC), a "trade group" created and sponsored by the nation's top four e-voting companies (ES&S, Sequoia, Diebold/Premier, and Hart Intercivic) to help spread their anti-science, anti-reality, pro-e-voting propaganda.
In the very last line of an article published on Thursday, on yet another e-voting related issue (which we may cover in more detail later), Michelle "Baghdad Bob" Shafer is quoted thusly:
Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer noted, however, that no electronic voting system has been compromised in an election.
As irony would have it, Thursday was also the very same day that news broke of the arrest of a cabal of election official insiders --- including a circuit court judge, the school superintendent, and a number of both Democratic and Republican polling place judges --- charged with having used the electronic voting system to compromise election after election, from 2002 to 2006 in Clay County, Kentucky.
Of course, very strong evidence exists that many other elections have been similarly manipulated on electronic voting systems by election insiders (see here, for just one example), including by both election officials and employees of the various private vendors whom Shafer represents. Much of that evidence, however, has been held at arm's length from citizen election integrity advocates under the absurd argument that that information is a proprietary, legally-protected trade secret. That specious argument has been made for years by the very government-funded corporate welfare queens, like Shafer's companies, that have been paid by our government to privatize our public elections.
So it's been difficult, at least until last week, to point disinformation experts like Shafer to the very evidence that reveal her statement, repeated time and again, to be a lie --- thanks in no small part to the "trade secret" claims of folks like Shafer. Get it? It's a helluva self-perpetuating scam...
According to anti-virus provider Sophos – via ITWire – code has been discovered for a piece of malware that targets automated teller machines from US manufacturer Diebold, better known for its range of voting machines.
The code for the software uses undocumented features to create a virtual 'skimmer' which is capable of recording card details and personal identification numbers without the user's knowledge, which suggests that the creator had access to the source code for the ATM. While this doesn't directly point to an inside job, the possibility certainly can't be ruled out.
Sophos believes that the code was intended to be pre-installed by an insider at the factory...
ITWire explains: "It appears to be an inside job, as it uses undocumented functions of the ATM software and appears to use the printer. This suggests the people behind the malware have access to the Diebold software".
"Undocumented functions" just like those found on Diebold voting machines, naturally. And "access to the Diebold software" such as that gained by either a company insider, or someone who happened to find the source-code for Diebold's voting machine software just left by the company, available for download by anyone, on an unprotected Internet site...
A group of election officials in Clay Co Kentucky were arrested over the past few days for election rigging schemes that have taken place over the past few years. One of the schemes they used was to instruct some voters that when they finished on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machines they were to only push the “Vote” button once. The unsuspecting voter would then leave the booth and crooked poll workers would enter the booth with the last voter’s ballot still in “Review” mode. The poll workers would then select the names of candidates who had paid for the service and finalize the ballot. The FBI and DoJ should have a fun time with this one. ...
Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort from listeners of the Peter B. Collins Show earlier this week, Peter tells me that he will indeed be forced to wrap up his show tonight, at least in its current format, as announced last week. This afternoon, from 3p-6p PT, will be his final syndicated broadcast, and with it, the last of my weekly Friday appearances at 5pm PT on his show. (You can listen via this link as we wrap things up today.)
Peter tells me that he plans to return in podcast format --- no official announcements yet as to where and how, on that --- sometime this June. So we'll have that to look forward to, at least, even as the people's airwaves lose one of the nation's most important progressive voices.
I'm also informed that Scott Dick, progressive talker, military expert, retired army major and yes, foodie, will be taking PBC's place for two of the three hours on KRXA 540am in Monterey, CA , the original flagship station for Peter's show. I've been extended the invitation to continue on as a regular weekly guest on Scott's show as well, which I hope to work out, and will look forward to.
But, for now, thanks for everything Peter. It's been a helluva ride over the last 4 or 5 years. Oh, the places we've been...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: My final appearance on PBC's show, during his final hour today, follows, along with the final moments of the hour/his show --- and even a KRXA 540am ad stuck in the middle, a surprise to me, with Peter B's voice announcing he'll be a regular weekly guest on Scott Dick's show, and a plug for my weekly appearances there as well! (Guess that's been finalized then! )
Today I was happy to bring some very good news to the show, as a welcome coda on a whole bunch of the stories PBC and I have covered over the years. So it's a good day. Thanks for the kind words, my friend. And Happy Trails...
According to a transcript of a radio appearance this week by former Senator Norm Coleman's attorney, Joe Friedberg, the Republican will most likely lose his election contest against Al Franken for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.
"I think it's probably correct that Franken will still be ahead and probably by a little bit more," Friedberg admitted, after announcing that he was "done" with the case.
The Democratic challenger, and now apparent Senator-elect Franken was certified by the bi-partisan state canvassing board to have received 225 more votes than Coleman, out of some 2.9 million cast, at the end of the painstaking, transparent, post-election hand-count of all of the states paper ballots. During the course of Coleman's election contest, which followed that hand-count, Franken gained another 50 or so votes after it was determined that a number of legally cast absentee ballots were inappropriately rejected by election officials.
The 3-judge election contest panel may reach their verdict at any time. Among their decisions is expected to be a finding on whether another 2000 or so rejected absentee-ballots, submitted for consideration by both Coleman and Franken, were "legally cast" and if their results should be added to the final totals. Even so, statistics mavens --- and results of already-counted absentee ballots --- suggest that Coleman will likely have a difficult time closing the gap against Franken, even if all of those currently-uncounted ballots are counted and added to the totals.
Coleman's lead attorney, Friedberg, would now seem to be admitting that and hanging any last hopes he may have on "a constitutional argument, and it's an argument suitable for the Minnesota Supreme Court, not for the trial court."
Our previous coverage of the Coleman/Franken election contest, is indexed here.
The short transcript, posted by Hotline, from Wednesday's interview with Friedberg on KFAN's Dan Barreiro Show, hosted by fill-in Ron Rosenbaum, follows below...