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New EPA Rule Guts Science, Public Health for Corporate Polluters: 'BradCast' 11/12/19
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Results of Unprecedented Testing to Be Released Next Week, While Voting Machine Companies Continue in Denial, and CA Clerks Association Says They May Do What They Want Anyway...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2007 11:24am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's landmark "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems in California are due on August 3rd. (UPDATE: The SoS's Office informs us the report will be released this Friday. Details now posted here.) It'll be the first such official analysis, performed by several teams of testers, in which these voting systems have actually been tested for vulnerabilities and failures by "red team" hack/penetration testers, as well as having the system source codes fully and independently tested.

An article by Steve Harmon published in several CA newspaper this week offers a preview of the battle which may be ahead, including one exceedingly disturbing suggestion that California Election Clerks may be preparing to "ignore Bowen's findings and continue to use their systems" no matter what she may find, and whether or not she decertifies the systems for use.

Yours truly is quoted early in the piece, suggesting that "voting machine companies are quaking in their boots," as Bowen is doing precisely what she was elected to do and is fulfilling her campaign promises through the unprecedented series of tests.

John Gordon of Public Radio's Future Tense program followed up that printed report with his own four-minute audio report in which I'm also interviewed:

Of note in both reports, the voting machine company spokesholes are on the defensive, as expected. But the real battle after Bowen releases her findings may lie with the California Association of Clerks and Election Officers (CACEO), currently led by President Steve Weir, who makes some startling statements in the report...

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




'Most if not all prosecutions and investigations should await the end of the election' Has Been Removed from Guidelines, According to Senate Questioning of Gonzales Yesterday...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2007 9:51am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

It's difficult to keep up with everything from on the road, in a hotel without C-SPAN, and while being on air (at least) three hours every day right now. So we're grateful to reader SG, who took the opportunity to "be the media" and send us the following overlooked item from yesterday's Gonzales hearings in the Senate.

I haven't seen this covered on any of the blogs other than the liveblog on FDL. It strikes me as important enough that it might deserve some additional investigation and commentary on Bradblog.

During the Gonzo hearing yesterday, Diane Feinstein brought up the fact that the new 2007 version of the "Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses" [PDF] guidebook had significant alterations and omissions from the prior version (1995) in the area related to preventing new prosecutions from being timed in a manner that could impact the results of an election. As I'm sure you know, there were some pretty strict guidelines related to that which were violated by some of Bush's US attorneys in their quest to gain Republican advantage.

Here's the relevant portion of FDL's liveblog:

[FROM SEN. FEINSTEIN QUESTIONS] Read to you what has been dropped from the earlier addition of the DOJ manual. (1) restriction on bringing a voter fraud case close to an election. (2) Care for overt investigations in the pre-election period and while election is underway. “Most if not all prosecutions and investigations should await the end of the election.” — underlined in the prior volume — has been removed. Reason for that was to not impact the election. Gonzales, predictably, has no idea what Feinstein is talking about and can’t answer why those changes were made.

Feinstein says that this is relevent because two, possibly three, USAttys did not bring these small cases which could have impacted the elections. And when you look at the changes in the regs on this, something is rotten.

Hope that is helpful.

Helpful indeed. Thank you, SG.

BRAD BLOG readers likely recall the questions given to Bradley Schlozman during Senate Judiciary Hearings last May after the DoJ Civil Rights Unit "Voter Fraud" zealot turned Missouri US Attorney "Voter Fraud" zealot brought voter fraud indictments just days before the November '06 general election in the Show Me state, where a razor thin Senate election was raging. The indictments, so close to an election, were in contradiction of written DoJ policies, and led to an extraordinarily angry exchange between Schlozman and Sen. Patrick Leahy during those hearings (video here).

In that exchange, Schlozzie admitted that he could have brought the same indictments two weeks later --- well, after the election --- without otherwise damaging his case. He also blamed others at Main Justice for giving him the okay to bring the obviously politically-timed indictments. Shortly thereafter, facing pressure from those he'd blamed at DoJ, he was forced to recant his testimony to take responsibility himself for bringing the indictments.

Unfortunately, we can't dig deeper into the Feinstein/Gonzales exchange for the moment, but welcome readers who can to leave more info on this in comments as they are able to unearth it.




Tune in, Call in, LIVE Today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET) at www.PeterBCollins.com!
By Desi Doyen on 7/25/2007 8:22am PT  

Blogged by DES from Houston...

It's Day 6 and we're closing in on the last few laps of Brad's week-and-a-half long Guest Hosting stint on the Peter B. Collins Show! Listen in today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET), where we'll be continuing our live broadcasts from facilities of Pacifica's Houston station, KPFT.

Today's scheduled guests (subject to change/updates as warranted): MAX BLUMENTHAL of Huffington Post; MIKE LUX of American Family Voices on OpenLeft.com; BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent MARGIE BURNS (see Margie's newest article here); LARISA ALEXANDROVNA of RawStory.com; today's Daily Election Integrity Hour with JOHN GIDEON and ELLEN THEISEN of VotersUnite.org on today's Senate hearings for Diane Feinstein's new election reform bill, plus the latest news on Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom" voting system review in California, plus BREAKING NEWS and YOUR CALLS in the Free Speech Zone!

Listen LIVE via: http://www.PeterBCollins.com (or an on-air affiliate station)
Call in at: 1-888-5-PeterB (1-888-573-8372)
Open thread discussion during the show: In Comments below...


POST-SHOW UPDATE/ARCHIVES:

HOUR 1: Latest on Contempt of Congress in the House, Mike Lux on "Legislation 2.0" and Max Blumenthal on "Generation Chickenhawk" with some great audio from his recent video taped visit to a College Republicans convention...

HOUR 2: Audio from Gonzales hearings in the Senate, Margie Burns on where Team Bush came up with "Compassionate Conservative", and Larisa Alexandrovna on the questions about the ties to Iran in the latest National Intelligence Estimate...

HOUR 3: Election Integrity Hour! With John Gideon on the latest ES&S mess in San Francisco and the horrible idea to sell poll worker sponsorship to corporations in one Ohio County, a Brad rant on the California Election Clerks' Dick Cheney-like attempt to undermine Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems in the state, Ellen Theisen on the Senate hearings for Diane Feinstein's S.1487 Election Reform Bill, and a quick in-studio special appearance by 9-year old George W. Bush expert, Alister...




A Tribute to a Late Pope - a Genuine Compassionate Conservative - Ripped Off for a Campaign Slogan...
By Margie Burns on 7/25/2007 5:39am PT  

Guest blogged from DC by Margie Burns

(NOTE: Margie will appear on today's Peter B. Collins Show as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, to discuss this article.)

Team Bush began describing candidate George W. Bush as a “compassionate conservative” in 1998, when Bush began his open run for president, as opposed to the behind-the-scenes operation that had begun with his first run for governor of Texas in 1994. By the time the 2000 presidential campaign was in full swing, probably every American with a television had heard the label. In fact, as the actual election approached, the Bush campaign often took to preferring “reformer with results” --- reacting to a margin of diminishing returns for “compassionate conservative.”

Where did they get the “compassionate conservative” label? Hardly anyone would remember or notice in 1998, but the New York Times had run it front-page on August 7, 1978, when Pope Paul VI died and the Times ran his photograph, captioned prominently as a “Compassionate Conservative,” above the fold. Originally the phrase was a genuine tribute to honor a man who by all accounts deserved it (see below). Its recycling by the Bush campaign was a tactic designed to help Bush seem ‘centrist.’

But a 1978 issue of the Times was not the first step in resurrecting "compassionate conservative" as a campaign slogan...

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




91% Of Country Supports Legislation That Bush Has Threatened To Veto
By Alan Breslauer on 7/25/2007 12:00am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




Marian Wright Edelman appeared on Democracy Now today to discuss legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans in both houses, along with 91% of the American people, to extend health coverage to nine million uninsured children. Amy Goodman points out that the expansion of the so-called "S-CHIP program" to cover more children even enjoys "tepid" support from pharma and insurance groups.

Yet, while Americans overwhelmingly want to protect the most vulnerable among us, at least one person fervently disagrees:

President Bush: “I believe government cannot provide affordable health care. I believe it would cause --- it would cause the quality of care to diminish. I believe there would be lines and rationing over time. If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the S-CHIP program --- which, by the way, would entail a huge tax increase for the American people --- I'll veto the bill.”

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




By John Gideon on 7/24/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Last year Luzerne County, PA, spent $2.4M on 750 ES&S iVotronic DREs and a one-year warranty. Now that the first warranty is to expire ES&S wants $300,000 for a three-year warranty. The county Director of Elections has written the state and told them, in part, “In addition to not being able to meet the financial burden that ES&S is asking us to meet, we cannot individually deal with such a large, multi-national corporation and the mix of deception this company promulgates.” And he asked the state to ensure “that voting-system vendors doing business here do not have the opportunity to threaten the democratic process with such unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing.”...

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




Luzerne County's Leonard Piazza Furious at Attempt to Charge $300,000 for Extended Warranty on Touch-Screen Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2007 12:46pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

Michael P. Buffer at The Citizens Voice is reporting that Luzerne County, PA, elections director Leonard Piazza is furious at voting machine company ES&S for their attempt to charge some $300,000 for an extended warranty on their voting machines.

Decrying "the mix of deception this company promulgates" and the "unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing," Piazza penned a letter to state officials recently with his concerns.

We have now booked Piazza as a guest to discuss the issue on this evening's Peter B. Collins show, which we have been Guest Hosting. We also hope to be posting his letter in full here, and will update this item with it after we receive it. (NOTE: See update now at end of this article for full letter, and link to the archive of the radio interview with Piazza.)

For now, here's the lede today from Citizens Voice:

In a letter to state officials, Luzerne County Director of Elections Leonard Piazza bashed the company that provided the county’s voting machines and asked for financial help to pay for a three-year warranty priced at more than $300,000.

The county last year spent $2.4 million in federal money to buy 750 touch-screen voting machines from Election Systems & Software, and a one-year warranty has expired on roughly half of the machines and will expire on the rest this year.

“In addition to not being able to meet the financial burden that ES&S is asking us to meet, we cannot individually deal with such a large, multi-national corporation and the mix of deception this company promulgates,” Piazza wrote in a July 19 letter to Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth Thomas J. Weaver and Harry A. VanSickle, commissioner of the state bureau of commissions, elections and legislation.

Piazza asked the state to help ensure “that voting-system vendors doing business here do not have the opportunity to threaten the democratic process with such unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing.”

UPDATE: The two-page 7/19/07 letter from Piazza to state officials, complaining about ES&S and asking for help ends, "As I’ve come to learn from other jurisdictions, once the confidence is lost, it is virtually un-retrievable—and that would suggest that the democratic process itself has been broken." It is now posted in full here [PDF].

My on-air interview with Piazza --- which was both informative, and at times a bit contentious --- from today's Peter B. Collins radio show is now archived online here (in Hour 3).




Tune in, Call in, LIVE Today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET) at www.PeterBCollins.com!
By Desi Doyen on 7/24/2007 9:32am PT  

Blogged by DES from Houston...

It's Day 5 of Brad's week-and-a-half long Guest Hosting stint on the Peter B. Collins Show! Listen in today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET), where we'll be continuing our live broadcasts from facilities of Pacifica's Houston station, KPFT.

Today's scheduled guests (subject to change/updates as warranted): MARY MAPES, the Peabody-award winning former CBS Evening News producer and current Huffington Post contributor; Investigative Journalist and author of News Junkie, JASON LEOPOLD of Truthout.org; DUANE BRADLEY, General Manager of KPFT Pacifica Houston and OTIS MACLAY, formerly of the Pacifica Radio Network, old-school veterans of independent radio (and our generous hosts here in Houston), on the Fairness Doctrine and our ever-changing media landscape; today's Daily Election Integrity Hour with JOHN GIDEON of VotersUnite.org, Luzerne County, PA Election Director LEONARD PIAZZA on his county's problems with ES&S, plus BREAKING NEWS and YOUR CALLS in the Free Speech Zone!

Listen LIVE via: http://www.PeterBCollins.com (or an on-air affiliate station)
Call in at: 1-888-5-PeterB (1-888-573-8372)
Open thread discussion during the show: In Comments below...


POST-SHOW UPDATE/ARCHIVES

HOUR 1: Joined in-studio by KPFT's General Manager Duane Bradley on the history of the station and Pacifica, and the KKK bombing of their transmitter in the 70's, and then by Pacifica legend Otie Maclay to discuss the Fairness Doctrine (which he's against)...

HOUR 2: Mary Mapes on George W. Bush and his brutal record of using the death penalty in TX (after commuting Scooter Libby's sentence for being "excessive") and the railroad she received after her CBS/Dan Rather story on Bush's National Guard service (or lack thereof). And Jason Liepold on Dick Cheney's coverup of his energy task force and the phony California power "crisis"...

HOUR 3: Election Integrity Hour, with...John Gideon's Daily Voting News update, and PA Election Director Leonard Piazza on the strongarming of his county by the ES&S voting machine company and a somewhat contentious exchange or two on DREs. Plus, Bill Richardson and his "touch stone" voting systems...




Richardson Answers, Wants 'Verified Paper Trails on Optical Scanners,' No More 'Touch Stones,' and an End to Republican Voter Suppression
By Alan Breslauer on 7/23/2007 8:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer and Brad Friedman

The question (video below) in the CNN/YouTube seems to be about "standardizing" voting systems around the country. The only one given the opportunity to answer it is New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson, who should have hit this out of the park since he signed a bill to outlaw the use of DRE touch-screen systems after disaster in NM in the 2004 election.

Though his answer uses the phrase "touch stones" (we'll chalk it up to nervousness, we guess) and he goes on to use the phrase "verifiable paper trail" (instead of paper ballot), he's clearly speaking about actual ballots since he calls for those "verifiable paper trails" with "optical scanners."

Richardson is theoretically trying to break out from the pack. He ought to be able to use his status as the only candidate to have actually outlawed dangerous, disenfranchising DRE touch-screens to distinguish himself from the others. It might help, however, if he got his words right. But at least someone spoke to democracy, finally, in the midst of this absurd Presidential Election campaign.

Anybody else in the pack care to speak up and stand up in favor of democracy? Anyone? Bueller? We're waiting.

The video of the question and answer, appx 1 minute, follows in full...







By John Gideon on 7/23/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The New Jersey Voting Machine Examination Committee has scheduled public hearings beginning tomorrow and lasting until Friday to discuss the three voting systems that have been proposed to be used in the state. Proposed for state elections are the Sequoia Advantage, Sequoia Edge, and Avante Vote-Trakker. Voter verified paper audit trail printers for all three were recently tested by New Jersey Institute of Technology and failed that testing. ...

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




After being hidden from the public for more than two years, records reveal apparent forgeries in the first city ward examined
How is it US Attorney Steven Biskupic missed this? Could he have been looking for voter fraud instead of election fraud?
By John Washburn on 7/23/2007 11:10am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Washburn

(NOTE: Washburn be appeared today on The Peter B. Collins show, as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, to discuss his findings. The archived interview is now available here..)

After a two year interruption, I am beginning to go through the copies of November 2, 2004 election records which were provided to me in the settlement of my lawsuit with the City of Milwaukee Election Commission.

People have asked me: "Why do you still pursue this after two years? Get a life. The election is over and John Kerry carried the state with 11,384 ballots."

The high minded reasons are:

  1. Because it is the duty of sovereign citizens to watch public officials vigilantly and eternally. This is a design principle of the American government; Citizens watch those in power.
  2. Process auditing is the act of verifying written procedures were actually followed as documented. As a software tester process auditing is in my professional "sweet spot." I thought I could do some process audits of the canvassing done by several cities and share the results with others. I considered this my contribution to the body politic if any of my fellow citizens would want to do the same.
  3. Election results are important. John Kerry carried Wisconsin by 11,384 ballots out of 3 million cast (2,997,007 to be exact). This is 0.38% of the vote. It is important to know which candidate won such a razor thin election; especially since the State of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee in particular were rife with problems.

But, to be brutally honest the answer is it has been primarily spite and anger which has kept me on this like a Jack Russell terrier clamped to the sleeve of a shaking arm. And the results of my initial examination of these records reveal immediately disturbing findings...

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




Tune in, Call in, LIVE Today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET) at www.PeterBCollins.com!
By Desi Doyen on 7/23/2007 11:05am PT  

Blogged by DES from Houston...

We're launching into the second week of Brad's week-and-a-half long Guest Hosting stint on the Peter B. Collins Show! Listen in today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET), where we'll be continuing our live broadcasts from facilities of Pacifica's Houston station, KPFT.

Today's scheduled guests (subject to change/updates as warranted): AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder and activist DAVID SWANSON, fresh from the scene (if he's not in jail!) of today's Impeachment March and Sit-in at Rep. John Conyers office; Media Matters' ERIC BOEHLERT; MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD, Editor of The Progressive and author of You Have No Rights; and live from Baghdad, Reporter and author of Baghdad Bulletin, DAVID ENDERS! Plus: today's Daily Election Integrity Hour starts a half hour early (4:30pm PT) with software expert, citizen investigative journalist JOHN WASHBURN on his new BRAD BLOG post below, JOHN GIDEON of VotersUnite.org, and YOUR CALLS!

Listen LIVE via: http://www.PeterBCollins.com (or an on-air affiliate station)
Call in at: 1-888-5-PeterB (1-888-573-8372)
Open thread discussion during the show: In Comments below...


POST-SHOW UPDATE/ARCHIVES...

HOUR 1: Eric Boehlert on the attempted Rupert Murdoch buyout of Wall Street Journal and Matthew Rothschild on Bush's troubling new Executive Orders...

HOUR 2: Bob Fertik of Democrats.com updates us with the latest on the 1,000,000 impeachment signatures dropped off today at John Conyers office, in place of David Swanson who was arrested there today with Cindy Sheehan and others. And, in the first half of our Election Integrity Hour today (which started early), John Washburn gives us inside details on his Exclusive today on the apparent ballot box stuffing and forgeries in Milwaukee's 2004 Presidential Election...

HOUR 3: John Gideon on the failure of Sequoia Printers in New Jersey, and Tom Courbat checks in from Riverside County, CA for the second part of our split EI Hour today, followed by journalist Eric Benders LIVE from Iraq...and not from the green zone!




By John Gideon on 7/22/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The New Jersey Institute of Technology has just released the results of testing done by their Center for Information Age Technology on voter verified paper audit trail printers provided by Sequoia and Avante International. The printers from Sequoia were for their Advantage and Edge voting systems.

According to the results, the printers accounted for 33 flaws. All three printers ran out of paper too fast, lacked concealed printer cables, and had problems alerting poll workers to malfunctions. It is important to state again that these printers were provided by the vendors so there is no reason to expect that these were not the best of the printers the vendors could find.

Anecdotal reports from users of the vvpat ["voter-verified paper audit trail"] printers of the other vendors show that there is no difference between the failures of the Sequoia or Avante as compared to Diebold or ES&S. These printers are the same printers that will be required by federal law with the passage of any legislation that allows the continued use of Direct Recording Electronic voting machines.

Links to the many other notable voting news stories this weekend, all follow below...

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




By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2007 2:58pm PT  

Not enough time today to give more than the quickest of notes on this, but I'm sitting in this evening on the Sunday Monitor as Guest Host here on Houston's Pacifica Affiliate, KPFT 90.1 FM.

I'll be taking the place of the good Pokey Anderson and interviewing "Diebold Document Whistleblower" Stephen Heller on both his plight and his feelings on the latest Election Reform issues.

Tune in, if ya can, via http://www.KPFT.org at 4pm PT (7pm ET, or 6pm CT locally here in Houston).


POST-SHOW UPDATE: Here's the audio archive of the full hour-long show. Including a new round-up of the week, my interview with Stephen Heller, and an interview on legal and impeachment issues with Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild...




Army Specialist Michael Vassell Challenges Bush To Ride Alongside Him In Iraq
By Alan Breslauer on 7/22/2007 11:55am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer







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Brad is an independent investigative
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