Thursday, November 11, 2004
by Thom Hartmann
Having lived in Germany and extensively interviewed many (now elderly) former members of Hitler's Nazi Party (and one spy for him) for a book I was writing on the religion of the Nazis, I can say categorically that Hitler had (or at least his people believed he had) a Vision. It was a vision of a world at peace (for 1000 years, no less), a world purified of disruptive or "undesirable" people, a world united in what Hitler called "A New Christianity," a world where things worked smoothly and people were happy because of "strong, steady leadership" (even during times of change), a world guided by a leader who held tenaciously to a singular vision. ...
Bush-Cheney campaign ‘pressured papers’ to kill story suggesting Bush chair was gay
Filed under: General— site admin @ 11:33 am Email This
By John Byrne | RAW STORY Editor
Two New York newspapers received calls from the Bush-Cheney campaign during the Republican National Convention urging them not to run a story suggesting that the campaign manager and public face of the campaign was gay, RAW STORY has learned.
Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman, who is now in the running to be chairman of the Republican Party, has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his sexuality in both public and private settings. ...
... So, if you were thinking like a Bush goon, you would expect that either Kerry would stand up to the mischief that went on, not conceding in the meantime, and so your booby trap would work perfectly, or that he would just give up and let it go, as wimpy Democrats are prone to do.
But John Kerry chose a smarter course. Ask yourself the question, what if John Kerry were to do both, concede publicly but, at the same time, look into every instance of mischief, and see if in fact the election was fair or fixed.
This would be a no lose situation for him. The booby trap set up for him would become irrelevant, as he would have done the right thing for the nation, not putting it into turmoil while its troops are in battle.
But at the same time, he is still just as free to look into any voting irregularities as he would have been had he not conceded. Even better, he could do it without the press going insane and the nation being kept on tension-creating edge. All of the lawyers he could have sent to look into things still could be sent to look into things, and if the election is truly called into question, he could then, with ample justification so as to make it legitimate, come out publicly and retract his concession. It is the prosecutor, also one of Kerry’s previous jobs, who knows well enough to thoroughly prepare and investigate his case be leveling charges. You may have a real hunch that someone is responsible for a murder, but until you believe you can win that case in court, you do not make the allegation.
This is called fighting smart. ...
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After the U.S. presidential election on November 2, 2004, some pro-Kerry sources have made allegations that data irregularities and systematic flaws occurred during the election. The overall official result of the election is not at this time being challenged by the U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, who is the only possible winner if the unofficial results change. This is however not relevant to the US electoral process in which the Electoral College not the candidate has the final say, and which may 'draft' him even unwillingly to serve unless he actually refuses, in which case they may select John Edwards as President.
At the moment any change in the result of the election highly unlikly due to that fact that Bush's margin of victory was greater than the number of alleged fraudulent votes. However, some people and groups (including the media, independent candidate Ralph Nader, Kerry's brother and legal advisor Cameron Kerry, members of the House Judiciary Committee, and many Democratic groups) are currently analyzing the available data.
Dan Hoffheimer (http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/politics/index.ssf?/base/politics-1/1100164141194251.xml&storylist=politics), the statewide counsel for the Kerry campaign, has said the Kerry campaign is not trying to challenge the election. "We're not expecting to change the outcome of the election," Hoffheimer said.
No comprehensive analyses have yet been produced, but there is a large volume of both primary and secondary data, and preliminary analyses, reports and observations have been made by a variety of commentators ranging from computer scientists to voting rights organizations, and many others. One preliminary attempt to analyze the issue (http://vote.caltech.edu/Reports/VotingMachines3.pdf) from Caltech concluded that "there is no evidence, based on exit polls, that electronic voting machines were used to steal the 2004 election for President Bush." However, this analysis used exit polls that had been weighted by the final vote count, thereby assuming the conclusion.
One part of the controversy are electronic and optical-scan voting machines, which were used in greater numbers than before as a result of concerns over the reliability of manual machines raised during the 2000 election. Other reported problems relate to abnormally high voter turnout (more votes in many precincts than registered voters in said precincts), discrepancies between exit poll data and actual results especially in swing states and the complications which arose due to long lines; particularly in high-population areas and in closely contested states. ...
Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.
Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.
Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.
Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.
When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.
I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.
But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.
In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.
So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Schneier on Security, Nov. 10:
The Problem with Electronic Voting Machines
In the aftermath of the U.S.’s 2004 election, electronic voting machines are again in the news. Computerized machines lost votes, subtracted votes instead of adding them, and doubled votes. Because many of these machines have no paper audit trails, a large number of votes will never be counted. And while it is unlikely that deliberate voting-machine fraud changed the result of the presidential election, the Internet is buzzing with rumors and allegations of fraud in a number of different jurisdictions and races. It is still too early to tell if any of these problems affected any individual elections. Over the next several weeks we'll see whether any of the information crystallizes into something significant.
The U.S has been here before. After 2000, voting machine problems made international headlines. The government appropriated money to fix the problems nationwide. Unfortunately, electronic voting machines -- although presented as the solution -- have largely made the problem worse. This doesn’t mean that these machines should be abandoned, but they need to be designed to increase both their accuracy, and peoples’ trust in their accuracy. This is difficult, but not impossible.
Before I can discuss electronic voting machines, I need to explain why voting is so difficult. Basically, a voting system has four required characteristics:
Accuracy. The goal of any voting system is to establish the intent of each individual voter, and translate those intents into a final tally. To the extent that a voting system fails to do this, it is undesirable. This characteristic also includes security: It should be impossible to change someone else’s vote, ballot stuff, destroy votes, or otherwise affect the accuracy of the final tally.
Anonymity. Secret ballots are fundamental to democracy, and voting systems must be designed to facilitate voter anonymity.
Scalability. Voting systems need to be able to handle very large elections. One hundred million people vote for president in the United States. About 372 million people voted in India’s June elections, and over 115 million in Brazil’s October elections. The complexity of an election is another issue. Unlike many countries where the national election is a single vote for a person or a party, a United States voter is faced with dozens of individual election: national, local, and everything in between.
Speed. Voting systems should produce results quickly. This is particularly important in the United States, where people expect to learn the results of the day’s election before bedtime. It’s less important in other countries, where people don’t mind waiting days -- or even weeks -- before the winner is announced. ...
The Onion, Nov. 10:
WASHINGTON, DC—The economically disadvantaged segment of the U.S. population provided the decisive factor in another presidential election last Tuesday, handing control of the government to the rich and powerful once again.
"The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. ....
Both of these news organizations didn't question the Bush administration's lies concerning Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, either. Apparently, nothing has changed. NBC and NPR are both still fawning lap dogs for an administration that has been proven to lie over and over.
If people were wrongly prevented from voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all, we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and so we can prevent this from happening again.
Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. The decision on whether or not there will be an investigation could come as soon as Monday. Join us in supporting the call for one now, at:
Then please invite your friends and colleagues to sign, as well. We need to show Congress that hundreds of thousands of Americans are serious about protecting the integrity of the vote.
We're all hearing the stories and wondering what's true and what isn't. But at least two cases of serious problems are accepted beyond doubt:
In Broward County, Florida, electronic voting machines counted backwards: as more people voted, the official vote count went down. 
In one Columbus, Ohio suburb, election officials have acknowledged that electronic voting machines credited Bush with winning 4,258 votes, even though only 638 people voted there. 
These are just cases where we know something went wrong. There were also lots of reports of people being denied ballots on Election Day. So far, these reports remain anecdotal, but they must be compiled and examined. And the Internet is abuzz with theories about why the official counts were so different from the exit polls.
Do you have a story? Were you prevented from voting? Tell us, at:
Six prominent members of Congress have called for an investigation. Representatives Conyers (D-MI), Holt (D-NJ), Nadler (D-NY), Scott (D-VA), Watt (D-NC) and Wexler (D-FL), have demanded that the U.S. General Accounting Office:
immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered, and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration. 
We've got to support their call by asking our own Representatives and Senators to join them.
If you have a personal story of disenfranchisement, tell us. These members of Congress have agreed to include our stories and comments in their call for an investigation. Please sign now -- we'll deliver our compiled statements to them on Friday.
Even if you don't have a personal story, your signature on our petition will still help build support for an investigation.
To keep our faith in democracy, we need to know the facts. Your signature, and your story if you have one, will help.
--Carrie, Joan, Lee, Marika, Noah, Peter, Rosalyn, and Wes
The MoveOn.org Team
November 11th, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
"Now if I wanna commit a murder, I ain't gotta break no county law."
Is it against the law to pray that Bush dies for this sin? When his decisions result in the murders of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, what kind of karma does he expect to receive, love and kisses?
Live Journal, Oct. 27:
For all my LJ (Live Journal) -loving friends, this is a word of warning, a word to the wise, and a word of utter exhaustion after the wringer I've been put through in the last twenty-four hours.
A couple of weeks ago, following the last presidential debate, I said some rather inflammatory things about George W. Bush in a public post in my LJ, done in a satirical style. We laughed, we ranted, we all said some things. I thought it was a fairly harmless (and rather obvious) attempt at humor in the face of annoyance, and while a couple of people were offended, as is typical behavior from me, I saw something shiny and forgot about it, thinking that the whole thing was over and done and nothing else would come of what I said.
I was wrong.
At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case. However, I do now have a file with the FBI that includes my photograph, my e-mail address, and the location of my LJ. This will follow me around for the rest of my life, regardless of the fact that the Secret Service knows that I am not a threat. ...
Washington Post, Nov. 10:
John D. Ashcroft, the combative attorney general whose anti-terrorism policies made him the focus of a fierce national debate over civil liberties, resigned yesterday along with Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans, one of President Bush's closest friends.
Ashcroft, 62, has been one of the most controversial and influential figures of Bush's first term. Ashcroft provided reliable fodder for Democrats on the campaign trail and served as a visible representative of the evangelical Christians who played a crucial role in reelecting the president.
Administration sources said Ashcroft's successor is likely to be White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales.
Congressional Democrats returned to Washington in a defiant mood yesterday, making no apologies for the campaign in which they lost congressional seats and the presidential race and vowing to hold President Bush accountable for his handling of the deficit, the Iraq war and other issues.
In his first public comments since conceding defeat to Bush, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) did not rule out a bid in 2008 and promised to keep pushing the issues he championed this year.
"Let me tell you one thing that I want to make clear," Kerry said in a brief meeting with reporters in the Capitol. "Fifty-four-plus-million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security. We need to be unified, and we have a very clear agenda. And I'm going to be fighting for that agenda with all of the energy that I have and all the passion I brought to the campaign." ...
AFP, Nov. 10:
Lady Madonna: "... Global terror is in California. There's global terror everywhere and it's absurd to think you can get it by going to one country and dropping tons of bombs on innocent people. ..."
Now disobey every possible assinine edict that the prick who calls himself president decrees. Don't be fooled by Ashcroft's resignation. It's Bush's preemptive strike, his effort to forestall the inevitable civil unrest in the U.S. that will result from his bungling of past, present and future foreign and domestic policies. Do you morons who voted for this asshole really believe the sane half of the U.S. population is going to put up with this bullshit for another four years? Get serious. This guy has no more of a mandate than he did the last time -- when the Supreme Court appointed him emperor.
Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.
And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?
Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard? ...
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Billion-Dollar HIV Suit Raises First Amendment Issues
The Dallas Observer, its parent company New Times Inc. and others have been targeted in a $1.1 billion suit by a plaintiff who alleges the alternative weekly wrongfully disclosed his HIV-positive status, referencing him by name in a published article last December.
In a motion for summary judgment filed on Aug. 20, three of the defendants seek the dismissal of the plaintiff's petition, which several First Amendment lawyers say raises significant constitutional questions never before ruled on by a state judge in Texas.
Filed in Dallas' 192nd District Court, the three defendants' motion asks Judge Merrill Hartman to dismiss Joe Doe v. New Times Inc., et al. (In his petition, the plaintiff does not disclose his name.)
The plaintiff doesn't dispute that he is HIV-positive; rather, his complaint is that the newspaper didn't have the right to disclose that information without his consent. By doing so, the plaintiff contends in his petition, the Observer violated 81.103 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Section 81.103 forbids disclosures -- without a patient's written consent -- of medical test results to other parties, except certain government health agencies, and provides for recovery of damages when such disclosures occur.
Historically, lawyers on both sides of the litigation agree, most attorneys have assumed the statute applied to parties in the medical and insurance industries -- not media organizations.
James N. Henry and Edward P. Perrin Jr., partners in Dallas' Hallett & Perrin, filed the petition for an HIV-positive member of the Dallas-based Cathedral of Hope church. Freelance writer J.D. Sparks identified the HIV-positive member by name in the article "Fallen Angel," published on Dec. 4, 2003. The Observer article focused on the Rev. Michael Piazza, who led the Dallas church.
In addition to New Times and the Observer, the petition names as defendants Sparks and Jean Morris, a former church administrator whom Sparks cited as a source in the article. James Hemphill, a partner in Austin's Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody who represents New Times, the Observer and Sparks, as well as Martha Hardwick Hofmeister, who represents Morris, say their clients deny they violated 81.103.
"The First Amendment gives us the right to print the truth, especially when it's not private," Hemphill says.
Section 81.103 allows for civil penalties of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 per disclosure. The Observer has a circulation of 110,000, the plaintiff alleges in his petition, which entitles him to $1.1 billion or more in damages.
Moreover, Henry says the Observer continues to keep the article posted on its Web site, and he says every time the article gets a hit, his client is entitled to more damages.
The Observer's editor, Julie Lyons, says although the "Fallen Angel" article remains posted on the weekly publication's Web site, www.dallasobserver.com, the paper's management considered removing it at one point. Lyons says she does not want to comment on why they decided to keep it posted.
In their motion for summary judgment, New Times, the Observer and Sparks say the newspaper did not release a test result and that they published "true, non-private, lawfully obtained information," and therefore are protected by the First Amendment.
But plaintiff's lawyer Henry says, "I think they are misreading the statute as to how test results are defined. The statute is not just referring to a piece of paper on which a test result is printed."
In its summary judgment, the three defendants further maintain that the HIV-positive plaintiff's identity was "far from 'private.'" Specifically, attached to the motion are exhibits that include a cover and liner for CDs featuring "Positive Voices," a choral group to which the plaintiff belonged. One of the CD covers includes a photograph of the plaintiff, and he is referred to by name in the liner seven times.
Jennifer Poe, a senior attorney with Hallett & Perrin who also represents the plaintiff, says the previous disclosure is irrelevant. She notes that 81.103 allows an individual to choose to whom and when to disclose his or her test results.
New Times, the Observer and Sparks further claim in the motion that the Texas Legislature never intended for the statute to apply to the media. Rather, the Legislature was targeting parties with access to "actual HIV blood test results such as medical laboratories." If the Legislature wanted to target the media, Hemphill says, lawmakers certainly weren't thinking about a fine applying to every single newspaper on the stand.
"Our position is that the court should not even reach that question because there is no liability. But if the court does, certainly it is not the Legislature's intention for multimillion-dollar lawsuits against newspapers," Hemphill says.
Poe stresses, however, that her client is concerned with the principle of the matter, not just the large sum cited in the damages section of his petition. Even if a court agrees with the defendants' position that the publication of the Observer article constitutes only one disclosure -- not 110,000 -- subject to a fine of $5,000 to $10,000, Poe says, her client will proceed with his suit for that dwarfed sum.
Hofmeister, who represents Morris, the former church administrator, says her client has engaged in settlement talks, although she declines to elaborate further. "Jean is not the primary target of this lawsuit," Hofmeister says.
A partner in Dallas' Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, Hofmeister says that Texas lawmakers had no intention when they drafted 81.103 for it to apply to the media or sources. And she says Doe, given his alleged previous disclosures of his HIV status, is "not the perfect plaintiff" to test the new application of the statute.
APPLY TO THE MEDIA?
Three First Amendment lawyers not involved in the suit say they believe an appeals court will eventually have to decide whether 81.103 is constitutionally deficient.
"It's kind of a screwy deal," says Bill Ogden, a partner in Houston's Ogden, Gibson, White, Broocks & Longoria. "This statute was not intended to apply to the news media. To the extent that someone intends to apply it to the media, it is unconstitutional, and it violates the First Amendment."
Thomas Leatherbury, a partner in the Dallas office of Vinson & Elkins who practices media law, agrees. "The case relies on a very broad statute that the plaintiffs are trying to push to the limit, and it could raise constitutional questions," he says.
Historically, courts nationwide have ruled repeatedly that newspapers have a constitutional right to publish lawfully obtained, truthful information of public interest.
There are exceptions. Ogden notes that a juvenile's privacy rights are considered heightened and, therefore, rise above public interest. Could it be that 81.103 affords that same kind of protection for HIV-positive individuals?
"It is a very broad statute," Leatherbury says, noting that a plaintiffs lawyer could advance that argument.
But Leatherbury and Ogden believe that ultimately the constitutional protections of free speech will serve the Observer well if the public interest was at stake in releasing the plaintiff's identity.
New Times, the Observer and Sparks argue in their summary judgment motion that the public interest was at stake. The December 2003 article, attached as an exhibit to their motion, generally focused on Piazza's church stewardship. In the course of evaluating his performance, Sparks also discussed in the article alleged insurance irregularities at the church involving attempts to put volunteers on Cathedral of Hope's group health plan -- allegations church officials denied.
"I considered the issue of putting unpaid volunteers on the church's health insurance policy to be a potential case of insurance misconduct by a tax-exempt entity and a matter of legitimate public interest and concern," Patrick Williams, the Observer's managing editor and the final editor on the December 2003 article, states in his affidavit, filed with the summary judgment motion.
An exchange of e-mails between then-church administrator Morris and Piazza arguing about the plaintiff's employment status also is attached to the motion. In the e-mails, Morris identifies the plaintiff as a volunteer, and Piazza describes him as a full-time staff member who does not receive a salary.
Henry alleges the article misrepresented his client as a volunteer of the church.
Writer Sparks counters by saying, "Everything I put in that article was accurate to the best of my knowledge."
But Henry says at the time the plaintiff was added to the insurance rolls at Cathedral of Hope, he was a paid employee. However, in his petition, Doe does not assert any allegations about factual errors in the Observer article.
Asked why he has not pursued any claim related to an alleged factual error in the story, Henry does not rule out the possibility that he will pursue a defamation claim in the future and says, "The focus for our lawsuit is that you can't disclose someone's test results and that's the focus of our lawsuit right now."
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Jacksonville, N.C. – More than 4,500 votes have been lost in one North Carolina county because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. Scattered other problems may change results in races around the state.
Local officials said UniLect Corp., the maker of the county's electronic voting system, told them that each storage unit could handle 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes.
Expecting the greater capacity, the county used only one unit during the early voting period. "If we had known, we would have had the units to handle the votes," said Sue Verdon, secretary of the county election board.
Officials said 3,005 early votes were stored, but 4,530 were lost.
Fort Lauderdale - It had to happen. Things were just going too smoothly.
Early Thursday, as Broward County elections officials wrapped up after a long day of canvassing votes, something unusual caught their eye. Tallies should go up as more votes are counted. Thats simple math. But in some races, the numbers had gone . . . down.
Officials found the software used in Broward can handle only 32,000 votes per precinct. After that, the system starts counting backward.
Why a voting system would be designed to count backward was a mystery to Broward County Mayor Ilene Lieberman. She was on the phone late Wednesday with Omaha-based Elections Systems and Software.
Bad numbers showed up only in running tallies through the day, not the final one. Final tallies were reached by cross-checking machine totals, and officials are confident they are accurate. ...
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004. ...
Others offer similar insights, based on other data. A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although Kerry got 48%. "The correlation between voting for the minimum wage increase and voting for Kerry isn't likely to be perfect," he noted, "but one would normally expect that the gap - of 1.5 million votes - to be far smaller than it was."
While all of this may or may not be evidence of vote tampering, it again brings the nation back to the question of why several states using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private, for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes inconsistent with exit poll numbers.
Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters ever since Election Day. ...
BlackBoxVoting.org, Nov. 7 2004:
We’re awaiting independent analysis on some pretty crooked-looking elections. In the mean time, here’s something to chew on.
Your local elections officials trusted a group called NASED -- the National Association of State Election Directors -- to certify that your voting system is safe.
This trust was breached.
NASED certified the systems based on the recommendation of an “Independent Testing Authority” (ITA). ...
What no one told local officials was that the ITA did not test for security (and NASED didn’t seem to mind).
The ITA reports are considered so secret that even the California Secretary of State’s office had trouble getting its hands on one. The ITA refused to answer any questions about what it does. Imagine our surprise when, due to Freedom of Information requests, a couple of them showed up in our mailbox.
The most important test on the ITA report is called the “penetration analysis.” This test is supposed to tell us whether anyone can break into the system to tamper with the votes.
“Not applicable,” wrote Shawn Southworth, of Ciber Labs, the ITA that tested the Diebold GEMS central tabulator software. “Did not test.” ...
... Black Box Voting has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history.
We need: Lawyers to enforce public records laws. Some counties have already notified us that they plan to stonewall by delaying delivery of the records. We need citizen volunteers for a number of specific actions. We need computer security professionals willing to GO PUBLIC with formal opinions on the evidence we provide, whether or not it involves DMCA complications. We need funds to pay for copies of the evidence.
Columbus, Ohio - An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.
Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct. Bush's total should have been recorded as 365. ...
by Greg Palast
Kerry won. Here's the facts.
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.
Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.
So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.
Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted. [See TomPaine.com, "An Election Spoiled Rotten," November 1.]
Once again, at the heart of the Ohio uncounted vote game are, I'm sorry to report, hanging chads and pregnant chads, plus some other ballot tricks old and new.
The election in Ohio was not decided by the voters but by something called "spoilage." Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of the vote is voided, just thrown away, not recorded. When the bobble-head boobs on the tube tell you Ohio or any state was won by 51 percent to 49 percent, don't you believe it ... it has never happened in the United States, because the total never reaches a neat 100 percent. The television totals simply subtract out the spoiled vote.
And not all vote spoil equally. Most of those votes, say every official report, come from African American and minority precincts. ...
Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday's elections.
The congressmen, Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Florida, New York and Michigan, cited a number of incidents that came to light in the days after the election. One was a glitch in Ohio that caused a memory card reader made by Danaher Controls to give George W. Bush 3,893 more votes than he should have received. Another was a problem with memory cards in North Carolina that caused machines made by UniLect to lose 4,500 votes cast on e-voting machines. The votes were lost when the number of votes cast on the machines exceeded the capacity of the memory cards.
There were also problems with machines that counted absentee ballots in Florida. Software made by Election Systems & Software began subtracting votes when totals surpassed 32,000. Officials said the problem affected only certain countywide races on one of the last pages of the ballot. Elections officials knew about the problem two years ago, but the company failed to fix the software before the election this year.
Reports from voters in Florida and Ohio also indicated that some of them had problems voting for the candidate of their choice. When they tried to vote for John Kerry, they said, the machine either wouldn't register the vote at all or would indicate on the review page that the vote was cast for Bush instead.
In their letter, representatives John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida asked the GAO to "immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration. ...
Associated Press,Nov. 6, 2004:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- An apparent mob of vandals attacked
the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, causing
minor smoke damage, breaking windows and leaving vulgar
messages, police said.
Three people were arrested.
In addition to the damage, the vandals left a burned effigy
depicting President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, police said.
A police officer reported Friday night that about 100
people wearing masks and gloves were walking down a street
near the headquarters, police Capt. D.S. Overman said.
Officers investigating that report found a second group
``vandalizing and damaging'' the GOP headquarters, said
police Maj. D.R. Lane.
The vandalism was a ``planned and orchestrated event,''
police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
``This is not a political statement,'' Sughrue said. ``A
political statement is what we made Tuesday. This is a
The officers found several spent fireworks, poster boards
with slogans and spray-painted expletives on the walls. At
least two windows were broken and police said it appeared
that the vandals tried to put incendiary devices inside the
``The people who did this are sick,'' said Kevin Howell,
communications director for the state Republican Party.
``People don't understand that debate and elections are
part of the process. This isn't how you act.''
Scott Falmlen, executive director of the North Carolina
Democratic Party, also denounced those responsible for the
The three people arrested were charged with malicious
damage to property using an incendiary device, a felony,
Lane said. They remained in custody Saturday afternoon in
lieu of $50,000 bail each, a jail spokeswoman said.