Monday, November 3, 2014

You've Been Conned, Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, Run Amuck (The Republicans Most Aggressive Attempt to Suppress Votes Yet And It Looks Like it Will Succeed) Votes Being Flipped In Dozens of States Already (We Are Sooooo F*cked) Karl Rove Smirking?

Latest in on rightwing voter/voting attacks from our friend at News from the Underground:

The Hill has published a rightwing scammer's piece (with input from the very knowledgeable OH Secretary of State!) about how states are stopping electronic voting without paper trails, going back to paper ballots and, well, that no one has proven any problems arise with electronic voting anyway.

Except it's all a lie.

There are so many lies in this piece that it's hard for a software engineer to know where to start. Other than with the first sentence and that will be a very long writing task on the eve of the election.  And it's been detailed on many software-knowledgeable outlets many times in the past.

Mark Crispin Miller exposes the poseurs:

M -- Did you actually read through this appallingly misleading piece of crap??  Dear God!  For starters it equates "voting machines" with DREs, giving the impression that we've gone back to punch cards or HCPB! Oh it's so reassuring having all those paper trails and unviewable ballots in the bottom of those opscans!  Oh, opscans are computers?!  Why didn't you say so??!!  Somebody should take whoever this Cory Bennett is out to the woodpile for a little clarification session. There was so much to respond to (and so little time) but I did post a Comment:--J

“There's never been a proven case of manipulation of an electronic voting machine,” [Shamos] said.
Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that memory cards (where the counting program and the votecounts are stored) are completely off-limits to public inspection (that's right: neither citizens, nor candidates, nor election administrators can look; they're CORPORATE PROPERTY), as are the actual voter-marked ballots deposited in optical scanners, as is the computer code (again PROPRIETARY) running the machines. Kind of hard to produce a "smoking gun" when the entire system is more secret and guarded than our nuclear weapons program. But a mountain of numerical/statistical evidence has been compiled ( see ) for anyone with the stomach to look at it. For what it's worth, a typical optical scanner memory card contains 500,000+ lines of code. By adding in another FOUR lines, you can set the zero-counters (at what number the count begins for each candidate - should be "1" but remember these are computers, so it can be ANYTHING; the only limit is good taste) to, say, +100 for Candidate A (the one you want to win) and -100 for Candidate B; at the end of the night, the machine shows the "correct" number of total votes, matching the poll books, and the election administrator certifies a "clean" election in which a net of 200 votes have been stolen PER MACHINE SO MANIPULATED. 

"Voting machines are not connected to any network and not connected to each other, making them difficult to tamper with. “These machines are not hooked up or networked in any way that would make them vulnerable to external access,” said Matt McClellan, press secretary for the Ohio Secretary of State."

That is an OUTRIGHT LIE. A large propotion of voting machines now transmit their results to central tabulators via networks. The system is vulnerable to wholesale electronic rigging in the individual machines (tainted memory cards can be programmed and inserted by the thousands), in the central tabulators, and in the various cyber-pipelines that end up in the vote totals you see on TV. Moreover, where the machines are networked (e.g. OHIO in 2004, McClellan's avowals notwithstanding), the rigging can take place in "real time" (i.e., you don't have to guesstimate in advance the number of votes to be shifted - much more efficient and a much smaller footprint)

       “We’re confident that process is secure and the integrity is being maintained.”

I'l bet you are.  This entire article is staggeringly misleading.  Perhaps if we are talking about election integrity we should consider actually talking to someone who works as an election integrity advocate rather than shills for the computer industry and of all people Blackwell's successor as OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE.
 - - -
From Kathy Dopp:

Hi Mark,

There have also been several rebuttals to Shamos written by more mainstream computer scientists.
and this document also includes a brief rebuttal to Shamos' Congressional testimony:

Shamos seems to be the go-to guy for testifying in favor of unverifiable e-voting machines.
- - -

And now back to the pre-Election Day essay . . .

A major disorder has been detected in the "leadership" population?

It's waaaaaaay more wiiidespread than you would imagine (if you're not a world-beater yourself).

Empathy Deficit Disorder

You might expect someone who’s in the business of representing others to have a bit more empathy. In fact, you’d think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy.

. . . In any event, doesn’t hearing from constituents about what they need go with the job of representing them?

. . . Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder. Some Democrats have it, but the disorder seems especially widespread among Republicans.

These politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through.

. . . Almost two-thirds of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

And they’re worried sick about whether their kids will ever make it.

They need leaders who understand their plight instead of denying it.

They deserve politicians who want to fix it rather than blame it on those who have to depend on public assistance, or who need a higher minimum wage, in order to get by.

At the very least, they need leaders who empathize with what they’re going through, not those with Empathy Deficit Disorder.

Or psychopathy.

From our man Charlie ~ Your non-evening jemmy:

You've Been Conned, Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, Run Amuck

By Charles Peirce, Esquire

29 October 14

hy is any attempt to get Senator Professor Warren into the 2016 presidential race a bad idea, and why do I think that many of the people floating the notion don't have her best political interests at heart? Because, on the very issues on which she built her career, the country doesn't have the analytical skills god gave a stone, that's why. And they have been badly led. And they have been heavily - and effectively - propagandized.

Q: Do you think the U.S. economic system (generally favors the wealthy) or (is fair to most Americans)?

Generally favors the wealthy 71%
Is fair to most Americans 24%

Other polls show something ironic:  People trust Republicans more than Democrats to fix this and make the economy favor regular people again.
In other words, SPW's basic message - There is no pea under the shells. You've been conned, hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amuck etc. - has gotten through to almost three-quarters of the country.
That's not bad for someone who wasn't even a politician six years ago. But, because of the effective campaign of vandalism run by the Republican Congress, and because of the complete inability of the Democratic party to craft a consistent economic message that doesn't sound like warmed-over DLC hash, and (yes, dear friends) because the twice-elected Democratic President didn't choose to hold completely responsible the grifters and thieves who rigged the system in the first place, there is absolutely no way at the moment for any Democratic politician -- including SPW -- to take full advantage of the success of her message.
People want what Senator Professor Warren is selling. They just don't want to buy it from Democrats.
How can anyone possibly look at the past 14 years and conclude that the modern Republican party can be trusted to "make the economy favor regular people again"? The party of deregulation, privatization, obstruction, and Mitt Freaking Romney?
Well, one reason is that there is no apparent opposition to it on the core economic issues. There has been lip service, and moans of impotent frustration, and Tim Freaking Geithner as Treasury Secretary. So kids come to believe the darndest things.

Here's another irony:   With the annual budget deficit down two-thirds from what it was when President Bush left it, people think it's worse. This is from the October 13 Gallup poll:   "The GOP's lead on the federal budget deficit has also widened, to 20 points from 14 points in April, and is now higher than at any other time during Barack Obama's presidency." That last one is not a poll of opinion, that's a poll of people's understanding of basic facts. 
The deficit is way, way, way, way down, but people think it's up.
Yeah, this is about a kind of willful detachment and deliberately cultivated stupidity on the part of what is still allegedly a self-governing people. But it's also about every Democratic politician who made The Deficit more of a priority than stimulating the economy, all the Democratic politicians who fed Vaal on the Simpson-Bowles fiasco, and every Democratic senator in a "red" state, most of which took the brunt of the collapse right in the teeth, who chose austerity because that's what "my constituents" want.
This is Creationism in a political context, true. But it's Creationism that both parties pitched to the country. Come next Tuesday, we may see the true triumph of calculated and crafted ignorance. Nice job, everyone.

Can you get any more sublime?

Cannot stop the laughing?

Just listen.

From our buddy Gryphen at the Immoral Majority:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Republicans' Most Aggressive Attempt to Suppress Votes Yet. And It Looks Like It Will Succeed.

Courtesy of Slate:

According to a six-month-long investigation conducted by Greg Palast for Al Jazeera, “voting officials in 27 states, almost all of them Republicans, have launched what is threatening to become a massive purge of black, Hispanic, and Asian-American voters. Already, tens of thousands have been removed from voter rolls in battleground states, and the numbers are set to climb.” 

Specifically, officials have a master list of 6.9 million suspected “potential double voters.” And in Virginia, Georgia, and Washington the lists are “heavily over-weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel, and Kim,” all common to Democratic-leaning minority groups

The process for checking those names, a computer program called Crosscheck — touted by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a vocal supporter for voter identification — is incredibly inaccurate. “The actual lists,” notes Al Jazeera America, “show that not only are middle names mismatched, and suffix discrepancies ignored, even conflicting birthdates are disregarded. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores any Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected.” 

Given the tight races in Georgia and other battleground states, even a small number of false positives could turn the tide of an election, giving a strong advantage to Republican candidates for statewide and congressional offices.

In Georgia they simply misplace voter registrations that they don't want to accept:

On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from civil rights advocates to force Georgia’s Secretary of State to process an estimated 40,000 voter registrations that have gone missing from the public database.
All of that bullshit the conservatives have been throwing around about voter fraud, and the need for stricter restrictions at the polls, was all to lay the groundwork for crap like this.

You know there are a whole lot of reasons to vote for the Democrats in this next election. But perhaps one of the best is because they respect EVERY American's right to vote, and rather than attempt to suppress any group's ability to cast their ballot, they work overtime to make it easy for all of us.

I for one am beyond fed up with this underhanded shit.

First you step to the Right?

The BradBlog is the go-to source on all the bad things coming our way this election cycle:

By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2014

With the latest KPFK/Pacifica Radio fund drive behind us, it was great to be back on the air live today with The BradCast!

Just in time for Election Day next week, we got everybody up to date on all of the terrible SCOTUS rulings in regard to GOP voter suppression from over the past several weeks --- in OH, NC, WI and TX (and an important Photo ID ruling by the state Supreme Court in AR) -- for those who may have missed our coverage during the fund drive. Now it's up to the voters to try like hell not to be disenfranchised, particularly in TX, where it won't be easy this year.

Plus, our musical tribute to touch-screen vote-flipping now taking place all over the country -- yet again! And, the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen as the future of climate change is on next Tuesday's ballot.


Download MP3 or listen online below...
* * *
 Touch-Screen Votes Reportedly Flip R to D in MD
  Diebold systems have been failing in Maryland since the state was the first to install them (and cover up their failures) in 2002. So why should 2014 be any different?...


Unverifiable Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Systems Reportedly Flipping R to D in Maryland

The first state, along with GA, to install Diebold's 100% unverifiable systems in 2002 are still forcing them on voters in 2014...

By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2014

As we told you recently, after 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems reportedly began flipping votes from Democratic to Republican in Texas, and from Republican to Democratic in Illinois, and then from "NO" to "YES" on an anti-choice measure in Tennessee, there would be more. There always is, as we discussed on Thom Hartmann's TV show earlier this week.

Now it's reportedly happening in Maryland.


Yes, there are still many states and counties out there that have so little respect for their voters that they force them to use these horrible, completely unverifiable electronic voting systems because, clearly, they don't give a damn whether votes are recorded accurately or, more to the point, whether any voter can ever know that any election result actually reflects the will of the voters.

Whether these systems fail (as they often do), whether they are hacked (as they easily are), or whether they work accurately, voters can never know one way or another -- and that is the core problem with them.

Nonetheless, these machines are still in use across the country in 2014. One of the very first states to foist them on voters back in 2002 was Maryland, when they installed 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems across the entire state.

Those systems are still being used there today and -- whaddaya know? -- they are flipping votes, according to the state Republican Party which is now demanding an investigation after receiving complaints from "about 50 voters in 12 Maryland counties"...

On Tuesday, the Baltimore Sun reported that the state GOP in Maryland is "calling on the state Board of Elections to investigate reports that voting machines are switching ballots cast for GOP candidates to their Democratic rivals"...

Marsha Epstein of Pikesville said she ran into the problem when she went to vote at the Reisterstown Senior Center's Hannah More campus. She said she tried to vote for Republican Larry Hogan for governor but the machine recorded a vote for Democrat Anthony G. Brown. Epstein said she pointed out the problem to an election judge, who told her to try again.

"I had to do it three times to keep it on Hogan," Epstein said. She said she had no problems voting in the other races on the ballot. Voters from Howard and Harford counties called The Baltimore Sun to report similar problems.

William Childers of Havre de Grace said something similar happened to him when he cast his ballot Sunday at the Higher Education and Technology Center in Aberdeen. He said his vote for Hogan registered without a problem but when he tried to vote to re-elect Republican Rep. Andy Harris, that line lit up temporarily but then switched to Democratic challenger Bill Tilghman.

The state Democratic Party told the paper they have yet to receive any similar reports from their own voters this year. But the Republicans say they have an idea why that may be...

Joe Cluster, executive director of the state Republican Party, said he believes he knows the reason the vote-switching reports are only coming from Republicans. He said it's not a matter of fraud, but of ballot position. The Democrat in each race is listed above the Republican, he noted. His theory is the when the mistake crops up, it's more likely to penalize the bottom candidate.

That theory has been offered over the years. The top candidate is the "default", and if the selection is not made perfectly by the voter, or the screen is out of calibration, the selection may return to the default position. This year, though historically there have been far more reports of Democratic votes flipping to Republicans across the country over the years, apparently, its Democrats in that "default" position in Maryland.

Is that what happened? Who knows. Apparently, election officials in MD don't much seem to care. As usual, they are downplaying the problem --- even though it has occurred, reportedly, on some 20 different voting machines so far...

State elections board officials said they had received reports that fewer than 20 machines statewide had displayed votes for candidates other than the ones the voters selected. Deputy administrator Nikki Baines Charlson said 12 had been tested and no problems had been found. "These units are back in service because they couldn't replicate it no matter how hard they tried," Charlson said.

Another five were not tested because there was only one reported problem, she said. In three cases, Charlson said, machines were removed from service because of calibration problems -- the place a voter touched did not line up with their intended votes.

According to the Sun, Charlson "said election officials hear such complaints after every election, but voter error has been shown to be the reason for any faulty ballots."

Of course. It's the voters' fault. Not the election officials who continue to support the use of these systems, along with the elected officials, Republican and Democrat alike in Maryland, who have failed to replace the systems with ones that are actually verifiable -- like hand-marked paper ballot systems.

This problem has been occurring in MD ever since Diebold pushed its way into the state (along with Georgia at the same time, where the shitty machines are also still in use.)

MD has also worked very hard to cover up the enormous problems with these systems.

Back in 2007 The BRAD BLOG obtained and then released the "Risk Assessment Report" of Diebold's electronic voting systems, as commissioned by the state of Maryland from the Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in 2003. As we explained at the time, we obtained it from "someone very close to this situation" in the Maryland government.

The long-sought report was described as "The Pentagon Papers of Electronic Voting" by some in the computer science and security community at the time, as it documented all manner of vulnerabilities in the touch-screen systems and Diebold tabulators.

It was even withheld from state lawmakers for years, until we released it, and it contained redactions made by unknown sources who appeared to be either tied to Diebold itself or otherwise very close to the company and interested in downplaying what SAIC documented as enormous vulnerabilities.

After all of these years, supposedly the Diebold touch-screen systems in Maryland will finally be replaced with paper-ballot optical-scan computer tabulators before the 2016 elections. But we've heard that from Maryland before. (Here's some of our 2006 coverage of their touch-screen system meltdown that year and their Republican Governor's call for paper ballots at the time.) Somehow, they always seem to keep pushing the date to replace their systems with verifiable ones back, as if they didn't actually give a damn about their voters.

* * *
What to do if you notice your touch-screen vote flips? See our report from Friday which includes a list of steps you can and should take. The most important step you can take, however, is to avoid the problem all together by voting on a hand-marked paper ballot. If you are not allowed to do so on Election Day in your jurisdiction (and, you may want to check, because many states and counties allow it but don't go out of their way to tell voters), then vote on paper with an absentee ballot if you still can. Then deliver it on Election Day to your precinct, rather than mail it in. That's the best way to optimize the chances of your vote actually being counted and in the way that you had intended.

Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure

After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...

More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)

Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it  (please?)...

Christie:  GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016

NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...

Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error

Turns out U.S. Vets' ID can be used to vote under TX' new GOP voting restriction. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...

Computer Scientists Have Rebutted Michael Shamos

Hope you've voted.

On non-flipping machines if not on paper ballots.

And hope you have not fallen victim to the latest "scary" Ebola campaign madness:

When does Ebola look like a gift? Apparently, when you are a Republican candidate for the Senate who sees it as a handy pretext for bringing up immigration politics while scaring people into voting for you. Thom Tillis, in a campaign debate in North Carolina with Senator Kay Hagan, put it this way: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an Ebola outbreak. We have bad actors that can come across the border. We need to seal the border.”

In New Hampshire, Scott Brown started off by conjuring up ISIS fighters slipping through spongy borders, then casually switched to Ebola-sickened hordes. “One of the reasons why I have been so adamant about closing our border,” he said, “is because if people are coming through normal channels—can you imagine what they can do through a porous border?” Both ISIS and Ebola provoke enough anxiety for most people to contemplate them without being goaded.

There are, however, no reported instances of Ebola-infected immigrants crossing illegally from Mexico, and, with ISIS fighters busy in Iraq and Syria, it’s possible but not likely that they’re hanging out in Ciudad Juárez, planning a raid on Arizona, as Representative Trent Franks maintains. But, as Franks and his fellow-Republicans demonstrated, you don’t need to construct a plausible or even a coherent scenario to deploy such threats for political ends.

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