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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 21, 2018
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

ES&S Failures Continue Across the Country...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 1:00pm PT  

From the Pine Bluff Commercial...

Jefferson County's new touch-screen voting machines won't be making their debut until after the May 23 primary and June 13 runoff elections.

The Jefferson County Election Commission voted unanimously Monday afternoon to instead use the county's old lever machines. The panel had previously voted to use the new Electrical Systems and Software (ES&S) iVotronic Touch Screen Voting System, but Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said several ES&S "failures" forced a change in plans.

"With early voting beginning (Monday) May 8, ES&S hasn't provided us with many essential and critical tools necessary for us to conduct the election to the standards set by law and to our own high standards," Ashcraft said.

===
CORRECTION:
As you'll see below, in the flurry of today's breaking Primary Day news we had originally reported the above as having occurred in Jefferson County, Texas, as opposed to Jefferson County, Arkansas. The information following, concerning the problems in Jefferson County, TX, are still accurate, however, in regards to what happened in that Texas county, which also mirrors the problems as reported above in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Nonetheless, the original headline for the story, referring to Texas, was inaccurate. It should have said Arkansas, and we've now made that correction. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.
===

As regular readers know, The BRAD BLOG has been extensively covering the E-Voting meltdown issues, with a particular eye towards the failure of ES&S, America's largest E-Voting vendor.

Texas, in particular, has been a mess of late. See our previous coverage of the ES&S meltdown in the state where the Secretary of State has instructed to create "emergency paper ballots", purchase storage containers for them, and extra staff to manually hand-count them.

Jefferson County specifically had previously tried to withhold payment from their vendor, ES&S, after enormous failures by the company during the county's March 7th primary. Reportedly, however, they were strong-armed by ES&S and told they would not program machines and ballots at all for the upcoming runoffs if payment was withheld.

We are hearing quite a few reports of similarly thuggish behavior, threats and tactics from ES&S and hope to have more details in a future report.

Unfortunately, States and Counties have sold off their public responsibility to carry out accurate and transparent elections to private corporations to whom they are now entirely beholden. On one side, there are the failing private Voting Machine Vendors, and on the other side, the U.S. Dept. of Justice threatening to sue when states and counties don't comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which kicks in this year.

Of course, as we've reported previously, it's the voters who are paying the real price for their democracy vanquished.




Early Reports of Trouble During Primary Elections Today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 11:40am PT  

It's Primary Day in Ohio (and several other states) and, as we've been warning for some time, the meltdown is under way. This report in earlier, as with our previous report, from Akron's NewsCenter5...

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio --- There have been some problems at polling locations throughout Cuyahoga County, NewsChannel5 reported.

Because of some confusion at the polling locations, citizens are being given ballots to fill out by hand, said Micheal [sic] Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

At about 6:45 a.m. at Woodberry Elementary School in Shaker Heights, a resident left the polling location after growing extremely frustrated about the process.

There were several problems with the new electronic voting machines throughout Cuyahoga County.

More...




Man Smashes Diebold Touch-Screen Voting System in Ohio!
Arrested at Polling Place During Today's Ohio Primary Election
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 11:32am PT  

Just coming in from News Channel 5 out of Akron...

CLEVELAND --- A 61-year-old man was arrested after an alleged poll rage incident, NewsChannel5 reported.

Officials said the man was arrested after breaking a voting machine. He faces disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and resisting arrest charges.

It took several people to restrain the man who was trying to vote at a 4330 Jennings Road.

It's unclear what caused the man to become upset.

The report didn't specify, but the machine in question, and in the photos, was a Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) system. Look, people, those machines don't work anyway! Even when they're not smashed!

As today is Primary Election Day in Ohio, we'll do our best here at The BRAD BLOG, of course, to keep you up to date with any other "breaking news" out of the Buckeye State.

More photos...

UPDATE 5/3/06: WKYC has a video tape report. Apparently the man damaged at least two of the Diebold voting machines.




State Election Director Appears on Radio Show ONLY if Brad is Not Allowed to Ask Questions...
PLUS: Brad Invites AZ SoS Jan Brewer to a Public Debate in Support of our Troops and Democracy on the Homefront!
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2006 11:15am PT  

Our Electoral System is supposed to be open and transparent and accurate. Our democracy is worth fighting for and, if you believe the politicians in D.C., worth sending our troops to fight and die in order to spread around the world. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) amongst other things, is supposed to help disabled voters vote in private and on their own. All of these things, I believe Arizona's Secretary of State, Jan Brewer would probably agree with. And yet, she seems to have a very different belief about how to ensure the integrity of our democracy at home and how disabled voters should be treated.

Therefore, I am inviting her to a public debate on the matter. I will travel to Arizona on a date of her choosing to accommodate her schedule. Tickets can be sold to the events, and all proceeds will go towards supporting our troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars for a charity which builds accessible housing for the most severely disabled of them. More on that below.

I appeared on the Jay Lawrence Show over the weekend on KTAR Newsradio 620 in Phoenix. (Link to full audio from the show at bottom of this article.)

Lawrence, and the entire station, are very rightwing. Nonetheless, to his credit, Lawrence is very concerned about the non-partisan crisis in our 2006 Electoral System vis a vis the proliferation of Electronic Voting Machines in the wake of the HAVA. This was my second time appearing on his show.

This time around, he attempted to invite his friend Jan Brewer to join us for a discussion on these important matters. Brewer has recently come under fire for her decision to bring Diebold systems into the state even after they were proven to be hackable in Leon County, Florida late last year. They were then confirmed to be even more unsecure than previously realized by an independent study [PDF] commissioned by CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson (a big Diebold supporter himself) after the security vulnerability was discovered in Leon County.

Lawrence said during the show that he had personally discussed some of these matters with her at a speech not long ago and learned that, apparently, she's no fan of The BRAD BLOG. As Lawrence reported during the show...

I went to a speech Jan Brewer made, and brought up the question of these machines and Diebold. And Jan --- who I've known for years and love dearly --- was almost angry about you, Brad. About BRAD BLOG, about the attacks on Diebold Electronic Voting..."

Of course, Brewer, despite many previous appearances on Lawrence's show, turned down the invitation to show up and discuss the matters along with me. She did, however, send a spokesperson instead who agreed to appear only if he would be allowed to do so without being questioned by me.

So at the bottom of the hour, after I'd been on for the first part by myself with Lawrence, SoS spokesman/attorney --- and, I've since learned, State Elections Director --- Joe Kanefield came on for a few minutes while I was made to sit on hold. Kanefield to tell several untruths to Lawrence and his listeners, to suggest that I have been "spinning" these issues, and then he scrammed before I was allowed to come back on the air to question or challenge his assertions "face to face."

During his drive-by appearance, Kanefield said that he's "absolutely confident" that Arizona's untested voting systems are "rock solid". But for an idea of just some of the misinformation and untruths that he gave to Lawrence and his listeners (while I was unable to respond) consider this exchange concerning the Leon County hack, and the statement The BRAD BLOG was able to receive from the Leon County Election Director, Ion Sancho himself, in response to it...

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




(Unfortunately, the nation who did so is Great Britain...)
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2006 9:24pm PT  

As John Gideon asked in today's Daily Voting News, why is it that the Financial Times of London is reporting on our nation's electoral meltdown this year, while the national mainstream media in America couldn't seem to care less?

Electronic voting switch threatens mass confusion

The last three election cycles in the US have been marked by controversy not only about candidates, but also about the fairness and accuracy of the voting process. And as voters head to the polls today for primaries in some jurisdictions, the coming cycle promises more of the same.

With about 8,000 separate election authorities managing approximately 175,000 polling places and perhaps as many as 150,000 different ballot forms that include choices for everyone from senator to dogcatcher, American elections are complex even when all goes well. But this cycle sees many states and smaller jurisdictions making last-minute efforts to switch to electronic voting, and early signs of trouble are appearing.

The rest of the piece covers much of the territory --- the lawsuits, the ES&S failures, the Dieobld hacks, etc. from all over the country --- that we've been covering here over the last several weeks in regard to our approaching E-Voting "train wreck". You know, the one that we've written article after article about, complaining that the local media is reporting the stories as if they are solely local problems, while both they and the national media fail to connect the dots which clearly show that these problems are happening everywhere...and on a massive scale.

FT even bothers to mention the almost completely ignored (by the mainstream corporate media in this country) GAO Report on electronic voting which we first broke here, and then waited and waited as every national newspaper and wire service in the country completely ignored it.

FT even managed to advance the story a bit! Go figure!...

Last September, the US Government Accountability Office issued a report with a litany of potential flaws in the reliability and security of electronic voting and warned that steps needed to ensure voter confidence in the integrity of the vote were unlikely to be in place in time for the 2006 election.

A principal author of the report, analyst David Powner, said in an interview that since last autumn, nothing had happened to change the report's conclusions.

Well, heck, how hard was that?! Thank you, FT!

Oh, well. To paraphrase what they say about Vegas...What's reported by the The BRAD BLOG, stays on The BRAD BLOG.

At least until it's picked up by a respected foreign media outlet.




Intel Sources Confirm White House Outing of Covert Operative Damaged National Security Interests!
Report Confirms RAW STORY Scoop from Months Ago, Includes Newest Video of Valerie Plame-Wilson
By David Edwards on 5/1/2006 3:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Shuster attended the White House Correspondent's Dinner. He was able to get a short interview with Joe Wilson. Republican operatives have renewed their baseless claim that Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity was not classified. For her part, Valerie Plame-Wilson stood silently by as her husband rejected the well used right-wing talking point.

More importantly, David Shuster reports that sources have told him how National Security was damaged when Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity was leaked by the White House. His intel sources say that she worked with gathering intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction. The outing of her name specifically damaged our national ability to collect intelligence on Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Says Shuster...

INTELLIGENCE SOURCES SAY VALERIE WILSON WAS PART OF AN OPERATION THREE YEARS AGO TRACKING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL INTO IRAN. AND THE SOURCES ALLEGE THAT WHEN MRS. WILSON'S COVER WAS BLOWN, THE ADMINISTRATION'S ABILITY TO TRACK IRAN'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS WAS DAMAGED AS WELL.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: It should be noted that RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna broke the Plame/Iran/WMD connection several months ago. They've got the text transcript of Schuster's report now up as well.

Crooks & Liars has several other noteworthy details and thoughts...




Iraqi Officials Pledge Suicide Bombers to Stop Attack on Iran
Israeli Propaganda TV: Iranian Threat Worse Than Nazi Germany
By David Edwards on 5/1/2006 1:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

Here are two recent news broadcasts from the Middle East. The first is from the city of Al-Basra in Southern Iraq and the other from Israel. Both clips are evidence that the threat of war with Iran has already become a reality for those who are living on its' battlefield.

VIDEO - Iraqi Officials Pledge Suicide Bombers to Stop Attack on Iran


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

Al-Basra City is located in the southern part of Iraq. The city has a seaport that is crucial for the export of Iraq's oil. Basra's location on Iran's southern border makes the city valuable strategically for the launch of a ground attack against Iran (map).

The City Council of Al-Basra has vowed that it will "do everything in their power" to prevent U.S. forces from launching an attack on Iran from Southern Iraq. The Council said that it wanted to maintain a good relationship with neighboring countries. The Council believes that Iran has a right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

The head of Basra's City Council stressed their resolve to stop any attack by saying, "I assure you when we talked about martyring that it wasn't a slip of the tongue. Iraqis are known for their willingness to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their principals."

Iran claims that coalition forces are already conducting operations along the southern Iraq/Iran border.

VIDEO - Israeli Propaganda TV: Iranian Threat Worse Than Nazi Germany


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

The Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) recently aired this segment of a new film, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."

The film compares the threat of Radical Islam to the threat of Nazism. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler.

Background music builds tension and suspense. Pictures of radical Islamists overlay film of soldiers marching in Nazi Germany. Hitler's followers cheer as he promises death to all Jews. Thousands of Iranians chant "Death to America". Writers and Historians speak with authoritative voices of dire warnings and predictions that this terrible history is repeating itself.

The film evokes feelings of helplessness along with the psychological terror of an impending nuclear Holocaust. It's emotional manipulation worthy of the most vile Bush/Cheney campaign advertisement.




By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2006 11:58pm PT  

From Charlie Savage in today's Boston Globe...

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office

WASHINGTON --- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

I began to try and pick and choose a few grafs to highlight from this extensive article. Upon reading it in full, however, I was generally so sickened I had no idea where to start.

Suffice to say, that --- unless someone can offer some alternative view to the situation about which Savage adeptly reports --- those so-called "Bush Haters" who've been saying for years that we are on a clear trajectory, hurling towards full-blown tyranny and/or fascism and/or dictatorship, were far more correct than I'd ever given them credit for.

Without some mitigating information in reply to Savage's work, the article suggests we are in a gravely serious Constitutional Crisis in this country. Far above and beyond what I believe has generally been understood. At least by me.

Please read the full article...

(A non-registration-required version here.)




As the Voters Continue to Pay the Price
And as We Continue to Connect the Dots the Mainstream Media Still Won't�
By John Gideon on 4/30/2006 6:20pm PT  

By John Gideon Executive Director VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager VoteTrustUSA.Org

When asked by a reporter, "Which is harder to manage, your two children or ES&S?" Marion County, Indiana Clerk Doris Ann Sadler told the Indianapolis Star this week, "Oh, ES&S, definitely. My children are really very easy. In fact, at times I think my children would have done a better job with the voting machines. And they're (ages) 7 and 4."

The Electronic Voting Machine Vendor locomotive is still running away down the track at an alarming speed. However, this week some states and county election officials seem to be beginning to notice and are now sending out signals that they intend to either stop the train or � barring that --- at least ensure that companies such as Election Systems and Software (ES&S) do not profit too much from their arrogance, ineptitude and now epidemic failures.

Legal complaints against the company were filed this week in West Virginia and Indiana to add to the one previously under way in Oregon. Threats have been heard from Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and elsewhere. Election officials have been forced to change voting procedures in many states and counties to accommodate for ES&S' growing array of failures.

Meanwhile no one seems to be talking about the people who will be most affected by this train wreck; the voters�

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




A 'Candorville' Double-Header for Democracy!
PLUS: LA Times Continues it's Self-Destructive Lurch to the Right...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2006 3:35pm PT  

It looks like The LA Times dropped "The Boondocks" some weeks ago --- we noticed no explanation given --- even while they continue to Fox "News"-ize themselves and add insipid, unfunny, and disinformative "comics" like "Mallard Fillmore" to their line-up. What the hell is up with that?! We guess they prefer to ensure their circulation keeps dropping. (letters@latimes.com)

UPDATE: Several readers have written to let us know that The Boondock's creator Aaron McGruder is on sabbatical. Darrin Bell, Candorville's creator, confirms in an email he just sent us:

About the Boondocks, Aaron Magruder is taking a 6-month sabbatical, so it's either rerun his old stuff or run something new until he returns. I think most papers opted for reruns, but the Times and others are subbing in new strips. Boondocks should be back in September, just in time for the elections.

That's good news. In the meantime, at least they still carry "Candorville". For now...

Another one follows...

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




By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2006 10:00pm PT  

WASHINGTON A blistering comedy "tribute" to President Bush by Comedy Central's faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2700 attendees, including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush impersonator.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, "and reality has a well-known liberal bias."
...
He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This administration is soaring, not sinking," he said. "They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg."
...
He also reflected on the good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "You should spend more time with your families, write that novel you've always wanted to write. You know, the one about the fearless reporter who stands up to the administration. You know-- fiction."
...
As he walked from the podium, the president and First Lady gave Colbert quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately.

Editor & Publisher has more...

Crooks & Liars has the second half of the video (wherein Bush pats Colbert on the shoulder on the way out without saying a word.) We'll see if we can get the whole thing soon.

UPDATE: Complete text transcript of Colbert's presentation, along with links to the full video both available here...

UPDATE: Colbert's entire presentation as streaming video now available here...




We Have a Suggestion for a Rock the Prosecutors May Wish to Look Under...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2006 7:21pm PT  

Washington Post is reporting today...

Federal prosecutors signaled this week that they have decided to pursue a wide range of allegations about dealings between Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, rather than bringing a narrowly focused bribery case against the congressman.

As long as the investigation is widening into Ney's wrongdoing with Abramoff and friends, might we suggest the prosecutors look into this part of it.

Thanks!




Strikes Agreement With Prosecutor, Pleads 'Not Guilty' to Fraud
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2006 4:08pm PT  
"Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."
-- Rush Limbaugh, Oct. 5, 1995

Rush Limbaugh today became the latest in a long line of arrested Republicans smiling for their mugshots, though he made a deal to avoid being "sent up" unlike the little people who can't afford the expensive attorneys that he can. From AP...

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --- Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday on prescription drug charges, with his attorney saying he has reached a deal with prosecutors that will eventually see the charges dismissed if he continues treatment for drug addiction.

The subject of a three-year investigation by prosecutors, Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant charging him with fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail.

It's not about the sex drugs, it's about the lying.

Additional coverage:
-- RAW STORY...
-- CBS News...
-- Sun-Sentinel...

Prosecutors alleged that Limbaugh violated the state's "doctor shopping" law by getting four doctors to write overlapping prescriptions and failing to tell them about each other.
...
Prosecutors previously were investigating prescriptions that Limbaugh received from Florida and California doctors between March 2003 and September 2003, when he allegedly picked up 1,733 hydrocodone, 90 OxyContin, 50 Xanax and 40 time-release morphine pills.

In 2003, Wilma Cline, Limbaugh's former housekeeper and her handyman husband, David, gave the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office copies of e-mails and taped phone messages documenting what they allege became Limbaugh's 30-pill-a-day drug habit.

It looks like old Rush is gonna have to think about much more than just Florida drug rehab programs at this point! Sounds like he needs to be, to use his words, "convicted" and "sent up". That might be rehab for us all!




War/Bush Protest Album Available for Listening Online...
[UPDATE] EXCLUSIVE: 'LET'S IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT' Single Version Now Streaming Here...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2006 1:51pm PT  

Neil Young's new protest album, Livining With War, which includes "Let's Impeach the President" and other anti-war/anti-Bush tunes, is now released for listening online at NeilYoung.com.

It's also available, if you have any problem streaming from Young's site, at Justice Through Music (their version is handy, since it also allows you to pause listening, if needed.)

Jim Cirile provided an exclusive early preview of the album for The BRAD BLOG last weekend. Feel free to leave us your review here in comments!

UPDATE: "LET'S IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT" ONLINE HERE
Though we recommend listening the whole album, as you're required to do on the Neil Young site, etc. (we've now done so twice and the whole thing kicks ass), here is a streaming version of "Let's Impeach the President" only...


"Let's Impeach the President" in Streaming Flash format...

Care to sing along?

Let's impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He's the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war...

Complete lyrics here...




The Corporate Media Ignores More U.S. Human Rights Abuses
By David Edwards on 4/28/2006 12:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Earlier this week, a European Parliament committee released a report saying that the CIA had illegally detained people and used secret 'rendition' flights to transport them to other countries or secret CIA prisons where they were expected to be tortured.

Several members of European Parliament met in Macedonia today to investigate the story of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, who was abducted by the CIA. After being kidnapped, he was then 'rendered' to a U.S. prison in Afghanistan and held for 5 months.

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




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