The man was lost and then he was found and now he's more lost than ever --- and he's taking us into the darkness with him. It's time to remove him.
...and ends this way:
The U.S. Constitution provides a simple ultimate way to hold him to account for war crimes and the failure to attend to the country's defense. Impeach him and let the Senate hear the evidence.
Sounds about right to me.
Or better yet, Mr. Bush, show some courage for the first time in your life. Step down now and save the country from even one more day of the agony, danger, shame, harm and destruction that you've already inflicted upon us.
I'm back and today's DVN includes some articles from the past two days added in with today's articles. Early voting for this year's primaries is taking place in TX and IL. It looks like NY will be using their lever machines for another election year. It would be catastrophic for them to change this late in the game. PA is a mess with counties rushing to get anything and not much really certified by the state or federal authorities. ...
MURTHA: They have to settle this themselves. They have to settle the underlying problems which have caused the insecurity there.
For instance, water supply, the electricity supply, the oil supply. All those things are prewar level. And there's no way they're going to settle.
Unemployment is 60 percent. There's no way they're going to settle this by talking about it. It's not rhetoric.
And the military has done everything they can do. They have done a marvelous job. Now it's up to the political leaders to take hold of this thing and settle it themselves.
And, you know, I keep getting different reports about the Iraqis being ready to take over, and then the next day they say there's no battalions ready. But the Iraqis themselves have more confidence in their police and in their army than they do in the United States Army.
We have become the enemy, and our troops, unfortunately, have become the targets. So it's time to redeploy our troops.
Three reports from three networks based in different countries:
MSNBC (U.S.) - Low poll numbers for Bush on approval of Iraq war. Latest tallies of today's violence.
BBC (U.K.) - More in-depth reporting on bombings in Baghdad earlier this morning.
Al Alam TV (Iran) - While American leaders have mostly blamed the bombing of the "golden dome" mosque on "terrorists", this report looks at suspicions from the "Shi'ite street" that American occupation forces should share some of the blame.
Please note that views expressed in the video are those of the broadcasters. We invite viewers to evaluate the material and make their own conclusions.
I was just asked last minute to jump in and Guest Host The Young Turks radio program on Tuesday from 6p-9p ET (3p-6p PT). When an opportunity arises to "Be the Media", you know I'm always happy to answer the call. As best as I can. Even at last minute. Cuz somebody's got to.
I'm happy to say I'll be sitting in along with the good Michael Shure once again.
Please tune in via Sirius Satellite Channel 146 or watch/listen to the LIVE video webcast at www.TheYoungTurks.com. Call in to say hey, if you like, at 866-99SIRIUS!
Amongst Tonight's Special Guests (so far) ...
+ Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections, Leon County, FL
(he, of the now-infamous Diebold "hack test"!)
+ Lowell Finley, Attorney, Co-Director of VoterAction.org
(he, of the CA Diebold decertification lawsuit, and Sequoia temp restraining order in NM!)
+ Kay Brown, Comm. Director for DNC in Alaska
(they, of the Alaska/Diebold 2004 Election Data bait and switch!)
More to be announced tonight. Feel free to call in to the show tonight and help us stir up trouble and save democracy at the same time!
The battle between Election Officials and Election Integrity Advocates has been simmering and intensifying for some time. Last week, in Arizona, one such confrontation boiled over briefly into an outburst at a public meeting which was documented on video tape. In what could be a preview for the Electoral Integrity fight still to come, Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson went into a short tirade last Tuesday as the video camera rolled during a local Democratic precinct council meeting in the state's 26th Legislative District.
The BRAD BLOG has obtained the exclusive video of the event which reveals the Republican Nelson flying off the handle and shouting as he confronts Election Integrity Advocate, John Brakey, "nose to nose" during a question about Diebold's DRE (touch-screen) voting machines. Before Brakey was able to get to his main question concerning Nelson's plans for Logic and Accuracy testing on the machines, he was interupted by Nelson's outburst over whether or not he had, in fact, signed a contract for use of the new voting machines in the county.
Diebold's hackable touch-screen machines have been recently approved for first-time use in the state by Arizona's Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
Ironically enough --- especially in light of this new video --- Brewer herself recently referred to election integrity advocates as "anarchists" in an interview with the Arizona Star after demonstrators concerned about Diebold interrupted her re-election campaign announcement just after the first of this year.
While Nelson's confrontational rant was just short of anarchic, it certainly sent a shockwave of concern throughout the room of stunned onlookers.
One of the witnesses present, Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, described the "intimidating behavior" displayed in the incident as "completely out of line for a public official". Straatemeier was so troubled by the display that she sent an open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for Nelson to be censured for the behavior. In the letter (posted in full at the end of this item, along with a text transcript of the event) Straatemeier says, "I really thought he was going to land a blow on Mr. Brakey and I was scared to death."
In the video, Nelson charges towards the camera at one point --- which Brakey was standing near --- coming so close that it's impossible to see anything but his chest in full camera's full frame.
Straatemeier, in her letter, suggests the tirade was an attempt to intimidate Brakey --- and other election integrity advocates --- from further inquiry into the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting equipment now coming into Arizona despite a Dept. of Homeland Security warning that their tabulator software is hackable, a non-partisan GAO report confirming the failures and loss of ballots via electronic voting, and a recent independent analysis [PDF] commissioned by the Sec. of State of California which warns about the hackable "interpreted code" used in Diebold voting machines despite a ban on such code by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines.
As we reported in May of last year, Brakey has for some time been closely investigating a number of troubling anomalies in recent Arizona elections. His intensive work auditing his own precinct in Pima County, where he says evidence suggest fraud occurred in the 2004 election, was covered in detail last year by The Tuscon Weekly. That work has brought him in contact many times in the past with Nelson --- without incident apparently, until last week.
Last Tuesday, as the following video shows, the simmering frustration and growing anger roiling up between many Election Officials and Election Reformers, has finally begun to make its way to the surface and into the public eye...
Last week we briefly discussed Stephen Heller who, out here in Los Angeles, is now facing three felony charges for exposing the illegal scheme by Diebold to use uncertified software on their voting machines in the state several years ago. The LA Times coverage is here.
Heller blew the whistle on the company's plan to defraud California voters when he exposed documents he saw while working as a temp worker at Diebold's California law firm, Jones Day. The courageous act, from which Heller stood to gain nothing (he, in fact, was fired for it) led to the decertification of Diebold in the state by former Sec. of State Kevin Shelley, and then to the eventual settlement between the company and the state of California for $2.6 million in 2004.
Today, several Huffington Post blogger take up on Heller's behalf, along with issuing some calls to action to contact the LA District Attorney's office to encourage tell them to drop this appalling case of punishing the patriot, Heller at the behest of the the bullies at Diebold.
Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.
And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!
Thanks to a heads-up from Larisa at The Raw Story, we were able to captured this broadcast of CNBC's Tim Russert show. Russert interviewed James Risen and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. The video contains about 24 minutes of clips from CNBC's Saturday broadcast.
James Risen broke the NSA warrantless domestic spying story for the New York Times. He also has a new book out, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA And The Bush Administration. Risen is known to have sources within various intelligence agencies and has recieved information from several NSA whistleblowers. One of those whistleblowers, Russell Tice, recently testified before congress that NSA domestic surveillance programs may be much more widespread than the "limited" program that the Bush Administration has admitted. Tice has said that some programs could be monitoring "millions of Americans".
Together, Risen and O'Harrow paint a picture of an enormous partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and private data collection firms. Spying agencies like the NSA can leverage its' massive computing power to mine data collected by these private firms. The result is a mind-boggling domestic surveillance capability with access to nearly any information imaginable. Phone calls, email, video as well as financial, criminal and other personal records can all be searched at the same time. The NSA's powerful computers can mine the data to find otherwise imperceptible links for profiling groups and individuals.
Russert calls it a "sobering" discussion. The interview only scratches the surface of how extensive the scope of Big Brother's monitoring of Americans may be. The surveillance programs are a dramatic departure from what the public has come to believe. It's easy to see why the Bush Administration has avoided legislation and oversight.
It's quite possible that the American people would not stand for Bush's spying policies if they had a sense of the true nature of the government's surveillance.
UPDATE 5/8/06: Luke has now posted a text transcript of this Russert/Risen/O'Harrow interview.
As violence surges in Iraq, the death toll for journalists has risen to a new high. Depending on the source, between 76 and 82 journalists have been killed since the war began.
While covering the bombing of a revered Shi'ite mosque, Al-Arabiya's Atwar Bahjat and two of her colleagues were shot by two gunmen. Atwar Bahjat had recently left the Al-Jazeera television network for pro-American Al-Arabiya network. She was widely known and respected in the Arab world.
"Ryan" seemed like a nice enough fellow...until a few tell-tale signs of trollishness seems to have slipped into his repartee. We'll let you see if you can spot them.
My weekly radio appearance on KRXA 540am in Monterey, CA with the always delightful Peter B. Collins was a gas as usual. This week we covered everything from Diebold in Alaska and California to Sequoia and Clint Curtis in Florida. Much to cover, and we didn't even get to all of it. It was a busy week in the trenches of the War on Democracy.
Late in the program came a call from "Ryan in Salinas" asking about Photo ID requirement laws at the polls --- a question I'm always happy to answer to. The ensuing exchange, I believe, is worth posting here for your listening pleasure.
A bizarre story concerning Alaska's 2004 Election has taken yet another even more bizarre turn this week, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."
But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now --- at the last minute --- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.
The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas.
"At this point," Democratic Party spokesperson Kay Brown told the Anchorage Daily News in January, "it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004."
Some of the questionable results from the 2004 Election were outlined in a January 23rd letter [PDF] to the state's Division of Elections from the Alaska Democratic Party chairman, Jake Metcalfe. Amongst the anomolies detailed in Metcalfe's letter: "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."
The state Division of Elections, which had previously relented and agreed to release the data after refusing at first to do so, announced its latest about-face in a letter to Metcalfe on Wednesday citing the following concern from Alaska's Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis after he reviewed the public records request:
"release of any security related information creates a serious threat to our ability to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our systems and services..."
The complete letters from Alaska's Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster and Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis are both available in full here [PDF].
The earlier twists in this strange tale occurred first in January and then in early February.
In late January, we reported that the state had refused to release the Election Data Files on the grounds that their contract with Diebold disallowed the release of the files. Their contract, apparently, recognizes the voter information to be a "company secret" and thus the proprietary property of the company which could not be released to the voters of Alaska.
A week or so later, in early Februrary we reported that the state and Diebold had capitulated. Sort of. After conferring with Diebold, the state relented and agreed to release the files. However, they reserved the right to --- sit down for this --- "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing them!
To this end, we are consulting with the Enterprise Technology Systems in the Department of Administration as well as Diebold on this issue...please be advised that the Division will charge for its costs incurred in manipulating the data to provide the records you seek."
And now, the new wrinkle, the state's "security risks" lead them to announce that "after careful consideration," they "will not authorize the release of the GEMS database or audit files" after all.
"Delivery of the database itself, and some of the information contained within this database," says the letter from Davis, "presents numerous security risks to the State of Alaska Government."
We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.
So just to recap: First the voters of Alaska were not allowed to see their own voting data from the 2004 Election because it was the proprietary "company secret" property of Diebold. Then they would be allowed to see it as long as the state and Diebold could "manipulate the data" before releasing it. And now finally it's determined that allowing the voters to see how they actually voted in the 2004 Election would be a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.
No word yet on whether the Alaska Democratic Party will take the matter to court to seek resolution.
AP --- yes, AP --- is now reporting the just released audit information obtained from Palm Beach County, Florida's 2004 Election. And the picture of the Sequoia paperless touch-screen voting machines used that night is not pretty. The information was obtained and released tonight by BlackBoxVoting.org...
BlackBoxVoting.org, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens group, said it found 70,000 instances in Palm Beach County of cards getting stuck in the paperless ATM-like machines and that the computers logged about 100,000 errors, including memory failures.
Also, the hard drives crashed on some of the machines made by Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, some machines apparently had to be rebooted over and over, and 1,475 re-calibrations were performed on Election Day on more than 4,300 units, Harris said. Re-calibrations are done when a machine is malfunctioning, she said.
"I actually think there's enough votes in play in Florida that it's anybody's guess who actually won the presidential race," [BBV's Bev] Harris added.
The election officials in Palm Beach, however, say there are perfectly good reasons that their own election audit tapes showed thousands of errors and other anomolies...and, of course, they blame the victims...
Palm Beach County election officials said the BlackBoxVoting.com findings are flawed, and they blamed most of the errors on voters not following proper procedures.
"Their results are noteworthy for consideration, but in a majority of instances they can be explained," said Arthur Anderson, the county's elections supervisor. "All of these circumstances are valid reasons for concern, but they do not on face value substantiate that the machines are not reliable."
Meanwhile, the folks from Sequoia Voting Systems, who make the apparently error-prone machines in question, say "all is well"...
Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer disputed the findings, saying the company's machines worked properly. Sequoia's machines are used in five Florida counties and in 21 states.
"There was a fine election in November 2004," Shafer said.
That "fine election", however, apparently seems to have included votes cast prior to the start of early elections...
Harris said one machine showed that 112 votes were cast on Oct. 16, two days before the start of early voting, a possible sign of tampering. She said the group found evidence of tampering on more than 30 machines in the county.
Records are being turned over the the Palm Beach County office of the FBI Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.
Black Box Voting had to sue former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election. (NOTE: Yes, that Theresa LePore..."Butterfly Ballot" LePore, "Democrat" in 2000 now Republican LePore)
Several dozen voting machines with votes for the Nov. 2, 2004 election cast on dates like Oct. 16, 15, 19, 13, 25, 28 2004 and one tape dated in 2010. These machines did not contain any votes date-stamped on Nov. 2, 2004.
In addition to the date discrepancies, most had incorrect polling times, with votes appearing throughout the wee hours of the night.
The evidence indicates that someone accessed the computers after the [Logic & Accuracy tests]and before the election, and that this access caused a change in the machine's reporting functions, at least for date and time. Such access would take a high degree of inside access.
One machine was powered down 128 times during the election.
Sequoia touch-screens are also used in Pinellas County (FL), Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Clara countis (CA), New Mexico, New Jersey, and formerly in Snohomish County (WA). (NOTE: We should have more soon on the Sequoia machines in Snohomish County, WA, where apparently the machines are not yet "formerly" in use, but still to be used through September of 2006, according to the current lawsuit by Paul Lehto and John Wells against Snohomish and Sequoia up there. As we say, more on that soon.)
See BBV for more anomolies, details and explanations on all of the above.
Diebold continues to run their previously good name into the ground, as the Mainstream Media finally begins to notice what's been going on around here...Finally, the unAmerican Voting Machine Company who originally brung you the War on Democracy, seems to be getting the incredibly bad press they've always deserved...Now from coast to coast...
In today's LA Times (in the Business section, because your elections are big business!) Michael Hiltzik condemns the recent inexplicable re-certification of Diebold in California:
[T]here's no excuse for exposing the integrity of our election system to computer hackers. Yet that's what California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson may have done last week by approving electronic voting machines from Diebold Election Systems for use in California elections through the end of this year.
As the last two presidential elections demonstrate, ballot results are of profound interest to everybody --- including determined hackers with partisan agendas. Therefore, it's proper to demand of the high-tech machines replacing the paper ballots and punch cards of yore that they be technologically bulletproof. The Diebold systems certified by McPherson --- an optical scanner that reads hand-marked ballots and a touch screen that totes up votes directly --- fall well short of that standard.
And there's much more...This in regard to the panel assembled by McPherson to study the issue, after whose brutal report, he went ahead and --- incredibly --- re-certified the machines anyway!
The panel found 16 software bugs that could cede "complete control" of the system to hackers who might then "change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates, change the races being voted on," and even crash the machines, bringing an election to a halt. Hackers wouldn't need to know passwords or cryptographic keys, or have access to any other part of the system, to do their dirty work. Voters, candidates and election monitors wouldn't necessarily know they'd been rooked.
The bugs lead some computer professionals to believe that Diebold's software designers never treated security as a high priority. "It's like they were making a mechanical device, and never heard of computer security," says David Dill, an expert in electronic voting at Stanford University who wasn't on the panel.
And then there was Tom Elias in today's column for Torrance Daily Breeze (syndicated in many other papers, as well):
You can call it capitulation to local election officials likely to be called on the carpet if it turned out they had wasted tens of millions of dollars. You can call it practicality, assuring that California counties can put the most modern election equipment into use this year.
But the undeniable fact is that millions of voters in as many as 21 counties will be voting this year on machines that can be hacked to alter election results.
Although an evaluation by University of California, Berkeley computer experts concluded that hackers can easily change election results on them, thousands of Diebold machines will be in place for the June primary.
"We found a number of security vulnerabilities," said that study, whose authors include some of America's most determined critics of electronic voting. "We determined that anyone who has access to a memory card ... and can (modify its contents) ... can indeed modify the election results from that machine in a number of ways."
Well, heck, with rave reviews like that, no wonder McPherson re-certified 'em!
Speaking of which, our new pal Skippy the Bush Kangaroo called the Secretary of State today to register his complaint about recertification. Guess what Skippy found out?
Meanwhile, on the other coast, out in Diebold's one-time "showcase state" of Maryland where the Republican Governor recently declared he "no longer [has] confidence in the State Board of Elections' ability to conduct fair and accurate elections in 2006" on Diebold's machinery, Mike Himowitz in the Baltimore Sunrages against the machines and the pitfalls of secret software used to count our votes:
With every jurisdiction in Maryland now using the same system, all it takes to ruin an entire statewide election is a single glitch in a single line of that secret code.
In the systems business, this is known as a computer monoculture. It's a term borrowed from agriculture to describe a large area planted in a single crop - and hence vulnerable to devastating damage from a single source. Maryland is completely planted with Diebold's electronic cotton - all it needs for disaster is one electronic boll weevil.
To all of this criticism, Linda H. Lamone, the state election administrator has had one response: "Trust us."
Well, I don't and you shouldn't. Elections aren't based on trust. They're based on verifiable results. You can't throw technology at a problem and throw common sense out the window. There's no way to fix this system. I don't care how much we've spent on it.
Ouch. We suppose the boyz in North Canton, OH, would be wise to find a buyer soon...before the lawsuits start hittin'.