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Irresponsible Reporting 'Spins' Downhill Quickly From There!
Paper Helps Voting Machine Vendors and Elections Officials Blame Poll Workers --- Inappropriately --- for Their Own Failings!
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2006 2:31pm PT  

The coverage of Voting and Electronic Voting issues is increasing exponentially at this point due to 1) the impending November election (read: coming train wreck) 2) the fact that an electoral meltdown occured in last Tuesday's Maryland primary (they've been happening in every primary so far this year as BRAD BLOG readers know, but now that they've occured in Montgomery County, MD, where the DC media and politicos live, the problem suddenly "exists"!) and, of course, 3) the news of the VelvetRevolution.ussponsored Princeton University Diebold Virus Hack.

I'm doing my best to keep up, but there is now much to cover and as well, I'm now being asked to do many media events which are time-consuming but also necessary. So, expect much more cover here shortly on all of the latest, even if some of that coverage must (necessarily) be a bit more abbreviated than in "the old days" when none of this stuff actually "existed".

One such new story worth covering is on the front page(!!!) of today's Sunday Washington Post. It begins this way:

Major Problems At Polls Feared
Some Officials Say Voting Law Changes And New Technology Will Cause Trouble

An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat --- this time on a national scale --- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.

...That's a good start --- if it took Maryland for WaPo to "notice" what's been going on now for months (in fact, years!), I'll take it! But the "truthiness" of the WaPo coverage goes quickly downhill from there.

Little wonder it's linked from Drudge Report right now!

The framing of the problems as mostly "human error" is exactly the type of coverage that Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, Hart InterCivic and friends are no doubt delighted about. The facts of the matter, however, are far different from the incredibly "Fair and Balanced" (read: uneven playing field, levelled inappropriately to the advantage of bad guys who don't deserve it, so WaPo stays out of trouble) spin given to the story. Even the WaPo's own coverage defies their own attempted spin, bias or failure (whatever you wish to call it)...

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

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Plus Lou Dobbs and 97% of his viewers vote to do away with E-Voting, last night's emergency townhall briefly and other quick news applicable to the highly-questionable Busby/Bilbray results...
(The Democracy Train moves down to San Diego/Oceanside tonight! Please be there!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2006 11:49am PT  

Must hit the road shortly to take the Democracy Train down to San Diego for tonight's Emergency Townhall on the Busby/Bilbray election results fiasco. If you're anywhere near San Diego or Oceanside please come out tonight! We had a great time last night in Los Angeles!

More on all of these as soon as I can catch my breath. The fine lower-cased blogger, skippy the bush kangaroo, was amongst those in attendance last night (as was Joseph Cannon of Cannonfire) and so I'll defer for the moment to skippy's coverage (since I don't have time for any of my own right). Skippy got a coupla small points slighly wrong, but I suspect he'll update since I let him know. As BRAD BLOG readers realize, unlike with AP and NY Times accuracy counts for bloggers.

Lou Dobbs report last night on the Brennan Center's year-in-the-making report on 120 threats to E-Voting Security was fan-damn-tastic. When I can catch my breath, I hope to get it, along with the video, posted in full. And more thoughts on that Brennan Center report. But for now, by way of teaser, Dobbs started it this way: "More evidence tonight that an increasing number of elections in this country can be outright stolen. And no one would ever know. It's incredible."

And, as of this hour, here are the results from his "Quick Poll" on this topic last night (you can still vote yourselves if you want)

Any questions? We're told he'll still be on the same beat tonight (6pm ET, 3pm PT --- you can send thank you notes/comments here to Dobbs for all of his very responsible coverage over the past three weeks and counting!)

Last, but most certainly not least, Washington Post covered the Brennan Center report themselves this morning. They highlighted the very message we've been trying to convey to Francine Busby, the voters in San Diego and across the nation over the last three weeks. The WaPo article begins this way...

A Single Person Could Swing an Election

To determine what it would take to hack a U.S. election, a team of cybersecurity experts turned to a fictional battleground state called Pennasota and a fictional gubernatorial race between Tom Jefferson and Johnny Adams. It's the year 2007, and the state uses electronic voting machines.

Jefferson was forecast to win the race by about 80,000 votes, or 2.3 percent of the vote. Adams's conspirators thought, "How easily can we manipulate the election results?"

The experts thought about all the ways to do it. And they concluded in a report issued yesterday that it would take only one person, with a sophisticated technical knowledge and timely access to the software that runs the voting machines, to change the outcome...

See you tonight in San Diego!

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Admits: 'Originally Dismissed as Exaggerations, Criticisms Now Viewed With Increased Gravity'
Otherwise, Article Creates a False 'Balanced Debate' Where There is None...
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2006 3:06pm PT  

Again, we're always happy to see coverage of the mess concerning Diebold's proven and severe security vulnerabilities as well as the hackable electronic voting machines made by their compatriot (competitor) companies. All of that, as our electoral democracy crumbles out from under us while very few are paying attention or giving a damn even if they are.

So, we're happy to see the issue brought up again in today's Washington Post "A section" in a "special to WaPo" by Zachary A. Goldfarb who has done some decent coverage on these issues in the past.

Not as happy, however, to see this report as yet another indication that the Fox "News"-ization of WaPo seems to be complete.

In the name of phony "balance" (the word Fox "News" has perpetrated on a gullible public and a terrified mainstream media in order to level decidedly unlevel playing fields to the advantage of the bad guys), today's report, headlined "Debating the Bugs of High-Tech Voting," creates a completely false sense of "balance" in an otherwise unbalanced "debate."

Aside from the article appearing in WaPo at all, the biggest upside to it is this admission in the following graf:

Many of the criticisms of voting technology were originally dismissed as exaggerations promulgated by partisans displeased with election results. But the criticisms have been viewed with increasing gravity as prominent computer scientists have rallied behind them.

Beyond that, however, the article sets up a phony "level playing field" between Computer Scientists, all of whom now criticize the Diebold electronic voting machines --- even folks like Prof. Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon who had previously been a major defender of e-voting --- Goldbarb then goes on to frame things as if the points of the defenders of E-Voting (those who have a financial stake it in) are somehow equal to those who have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that that the defenders were lying and/or wrong about E-voting.

With E-Voting vendors and Elections Officials on one side and Computer Scientists and Election Integrity activists on the other, the appearance of a Fox "News" style one side versus the other side debate is created.

Goldfarb even manages to define Elections Officials as "strik[ing] a middle ground" between the vendors and the Election Integrity advocates when he then goes on to quote a spokesperson from CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's office repeating precisely what Diebold has said publicly about the latest huge security vulnerability discovered in Diebold systems [emphasis ours]:

"There certainly are potential security vulnerabilities that have arisen," said Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for California's secretary of state. "But you have to be realistic about it: When you're administrating elections, there's a very low risk of any" tampering.

That ain't a "middle ground", that's Diebold propoganda.

Here's a quote from a letter sent by Diebold to states after they could no longer conceal the vulnerability problems from the public. Note the similarities to Kerns quote above:

The probability for exploiting this vulnerability to install un-authorized software that could affect an election is considered low.

You can see the full Diebold letter, and the nearly identical (word-for-word!) "Directive" from Pennsylvania officials, who struck that same "middle ground" when they had to deal with the problem just days before their recent primary elections right here.

Beyond that, the article goes on to quote Diebold spokesman/known-liar, David Bear, repeating his same old "there are no evil election officials" canard, while otherwise doing a nice job, at least, of pointing out Shamos' apparent about-face concerning the security on these machines, after he had once been an ardent supporter/defender of e-voting.

Bottom-line, however: This is not an even debate. Nor even a "debate" at all!

The Computer Scientists and Election Integrity Advocates have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Diebold voting machines, both optical scan and touch-screen, are hackable and unsecure. They have also been federally certified despite violating federally created standards for certification. They should be decertified immediately at the federal level on that basis alone.

The other side is not debating. They are spinning in an attempt to downplay the issue as "not all that important."

That's not a debate. That is FACT versus SPIN and coverage of these issues ought to be clear on that. Especially from Washington Post where we'd expect them to be a bit more honest than Fox "News". But perhaps it's time to simply do away that expectation once and for all.

UPDATE: While WaPo misses the point (or chooses to), the smaller papers, such as the Lakeland Florida Ledger get it right anyway...

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(And Reminds Us Why We Love Conyers!)
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2006 11:25pm PT  

John Conyers op/eds in tomorrow's WaPo on Impeachment. Or a lack thereof. Or otherwise responds to the strawman nonsense from the Republicans of late running on the notion that a vote for Dems this fall is a vote for impeachment of Bush by the incoming Judiciary Committee Chair, John Conyers.

While it may ultimately turn out to be a vote for impeachment, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will have only themselves to blame. Not John Conyers.

And, as one might expect, his response in WaPo to those sad charges and transparently desperate attempts to scare America, displays his usual grace, dignity and old-style statesmanship...in stark contrast to the nattering nabobs of fear-mongering that are today's disgraceful Congressional Republicans.

Not to give anything away, since we hope you'll read the whole thing, but the last line underscores why John Conyers is a hero for all times...

Most important, before we have another presidential election, I believe we need to pass laws protecting the integrity of our electoral system --- the very foundation of our democracy.

Bravo. And thank you, sir.

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By David Edwards on 4/13/2006 12:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

Most people have little doubt that Americans were mislead into supporting an invasion of Iraq. As the war has continue, so have the lies. Here are a few of the latest...

ABC News Report on False Claims about Bio-Weapons Trailers


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The Bush Administration made claims that mobile biological weapons labs had been found in Iraq for at least a year after a several reports determined that the trailers were used for making weather balloons. The Washington Post first broke the story on Wednesday morning.

The White House would not say if the President or others had read the report before continuing to use the trailers as case for justifying their war on Iraq.

MSNBC Countdown Interview with Journalist Who Broke Phony Bio-lab Story


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Countdown provides another great report on the Bush Administration's misrepresentation of Saddam era weather balloon trailers as mobile bio-weapons labs.

Keith Olbermann interview Washington Post writer Joby Warrick who broke the story. Warrick responds to the charge of irresponsible reporting from the White House.

ARAB TV - Iraqis Angry Over U.S. Military's Al-Zarqawi Propaganda


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Al-Alam TV reports on a Washington Post article exposing a U.S. Military plan to inflate the role of Al-Zarqawi as a source of terrorism in Iraq. As the deceptions continue, Iraqis are becoming increasingly angry with the American occupation.

The Washington Post article begins saying, "The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks"

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The Continuing Pro-Administration Bias of both WaPo and Fox News
And the Hypocrisy of One Very Dangerous Republican Congressman from Florida
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2006 5:12pm PT  

Hopefully this will be my last words on the disgraceful incident involving the arrest, removal and detention of Cindy Sheehan, who gave the life of her child in defense of this country, just prior to Tuesday's State of the Union address.

This latest canary-in-the-coalmine story made the front page of WaPo today, and reveals quite clearly both the Media's and at least one Republican's bias against those who do not agree with the George W. Bush Administration...As well as the disregard for our Constitutional Freedom of Speech. At least by the Republican.

The WaPo article, written by Petula Dvorak, first reveals the pro-administration media bias and/or their consistent inability to fairly report on an unfair situation. Note this early graf:

[Capitol Police Chief Terrance W.] Gainer said he also would ask that charges against Sheehan --- she was arrested; Beverly Young left before it came to that --- be dropped. "It was," he said, "a good-faith mistake by officers operating under poor direction."

In other words it's implied here that Beverly Young, the wife of Congressman Bill Young (R-FL), who was removed from gallery at some point during Bush's speech wasn't arrested because, unlike Sheehan, it didn't come to that. Mrs. Young must have been polite (she wasn't) requiring no arrest, while Sheehan must have been unruly (she wasn't) requiring arrest and hours of detention.

The fact of the matter, however, as clearly explained later in the article, is that Mrs. Young was never threatened with arrest at all, unlike Sheehan who was frog-marched out of the chamber and handcuffed from the get-go. And that was even with Sheehan being polite in every respect, by all accounts of the story, while Young was abusive towards the cops, calling them "idiots" (that night, and even later after their eventually apology) and, as WaPo points out, "Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before."

After a night of fingerprinting and booking and lockup, Sheehan departed the city. But Young had not, and her response as she enjoyed hugs from supporters yesterday after the apology was to call Gainer "an idiot." Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before.

As I mentioned yesterday in my article on "Cindy Sheehan's Unequal Treatment Under the Law", the Wingnuts who've been busy trying to equate Sheehan's treatment with Young's ("They were both asked to leave, so clearly there's no political bias here!" say the apologists) have also overlooked the fact that Young was asked to leave much later. After the cops already had an embarrassing situation on their hands. As WaPo reported...

About 45 minutes into the speech, an officer asked Beverly Young to step outside, where he told her: "We consider you a protester" because of her shirt, she said.

She said she angrily challenged officers to explain what law she had violated, and they threatened arrest.

She said an officer mentioned that Sheehan was removed earlier and therefore "it was kind of only fair" that she be asked to leave, too.

It's clear that Mrs. Young would have been left alone with her "Support the Troops" T-shirt and would not have been asked to leave, had not the cops already had the Sheehan situation on their hands, and needed to cover their asses.

Finally then, it's revealed in the story that the hypocritical Congressman Young himself would likely not have said a word about Sheehan's treatment (which was much worse than his wife's) had his wife not been asked to leave. He admits as much:

Young said he wouldn't be so mad if it were just Sheehan. "I totally disagree with everything she stands for," he said. But by removing his wife, Gainer's officers clearly "acted precipitously," Young said.

So the woman actually arrested, detained, and perhaps even "roughed up" was no problem for Young's "standards" because he "totally disagree[s] with everything she stands for."

Welcome to the amazingly slipperly slope...as it gets still slipperier and slopier every damn day in this country.

Still unclear? See how Judge Anthony Napolitano --- who defended Sheehan on Fox News, ostensibly, once it became clear she broke no rules or laws --- reportedly contrasted Young's T-shirt with Sheehan's. Young's, said Napolitano, in regard to the "Support the Troops" T-shirt, was "a Republican T-shirt."

Fox happily took up the meme on their website:

"Sheehan's T-shirt alluded to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: '2245 Dead. How many more?' ... Young's shirt had just the opposite message: 'Support the Troops --- Defending Our Freedom.'"

The "opposite message"?!

It's a dangerous fucking line we're crossing here in America 2006. Pay attention.

ALSO... It's not just the MSM who get the story wrong in their rush for political points. Blogger Glenn Greenwald reports on tons of Wingnut bloggers who couldn't wait to lie about the Sheehan story to their readers...and then refuse to correct themselves after it was proven how incredibly wrong they were.

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(Though I do believe none was intended.)
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2004 11:35pm PT  

"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse."
-- U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, 11/24/04. In regards to Ukraine's recent election and the announced U.S. rejection of the results. From The Washington Post.

Welcome to CrazyWorld.

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