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By John Gideon on 2/15/2006 7:59pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Today has been another busy day. There has been a lot of fallout from the court decision in Pennsylvania and that has caused a lot of counties to question what they can or cannot do as far as buying new machines. Some are just ignoring everything and they plan on continuing to sign contracts. There is also talk of an appeal to the courts ruling by the state. In Alaska the state is delaying releasing any election records to the state Democrat party. In New Mexico a paper ballot bill has passed the House and is near to going for a signature and to becoming state law. And Utah has turned their back on 'Early Voting'. And late breaking from Maryland is news that the Governor has joined Reps and Dems in the state legislature who are all asking for a voter verified paper ballot....

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




And anything else you want!
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2006 2:16pm PT  

I'll be sitting in to Guest Host with The Young Turks radio program tonight from 6p-10p ET (3p-7p PT) with a show so big they had to add an extra hour! (Usually, it's a three hour program). Listen in on Sirius Satellite Channel 146 and/or watch the Video WebCast at www.TheYoungTurks.com --- Tonight's Guests to include: Sibel Edmonds, Clint Curtis, John Conyers, a Live Feed from Dead-Eye Dick, and much more! Call in to the show at: 866-99SIRIUS

Otherwise consider this an Open Thread for discussion during the show and/or on any of the other Breaking News items you wish to blog about!




Former Republican turned Democrat says: 'I'm Purple with a Blue Tint'
On Opponent Tom Feeney and Friends: 'The values of the Republican party have ceased to exist', Will Ask Feeney to Take Polygraph!
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2006 1:03pm PT  

NOTE: In his first broadcast interview since the news of his potential run against Tom Feeney has been made public, Clint Curtis will be one of our guests this evening on The Young Turks radio program, where I'll be sitting in as Guest Host. Tune in via Sirius Satellite Channel 146 or at www.TheYoungTurks.com to listen, watch and call in from 6p-9p ET!

On Monday, we broke the story that vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis is exploring a run for the U.S. Congress in Florida's 24th district. He hopes to challenge Rep. Tom Feeney, the man who Curtis alleges asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype back in 2000 when they both worked at the same firm. Curtis was a software programmer, Feeney was the company's general counsel and registered lobbyist, even while he served as speaker of the Florida Legislature.

Curtis has now officially set up a website to support the campaign and raise much needed funding to take on both Feeney and an opponent in the Democratic primary race (Curtis was previously a life-long Republican until his experience with Feeney and friends left him with a distaste for Republican party politics).

See our previous item for more details on Curtis' extraordinary story and Feeney's alleged corruption and continuing failure to tell the truth about any number of things. If you're not familiar at all with Curtis' story, it's a remarkable one, and worth the read. A Quick Summary is available here.

I have been talking to Curtis for a while about running against Feeney since not long after The BRAD BLOG broke his story. In fact, I first brought up the notion with him back in January of 2005 when I met him in person for the first time at the Freedom Cinema Festival in Park City, UT where I was interviewing him on stage for a live festival event.

In hearing about Curtis' decision to finally go ahead and announce an exploratory campaign in hopes of running against Feeney --- and first against primary opponent Dr. Andy Michaud --- I sent several questions to Curtis via email last weekend. Here are those questions and his answers --- on his reasons for running, his chances of winning, how he plans to take Feeney head-on and confront him directly about corruption from the vote-rigging allegations to Feeney's cozy relationship with Tom DeLay. And of course, whether or not he'll ask Feeney to take a polygraph test, as Curtis himself has successfully done on questions relating to these matters...

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




Signs Someone Else's Address to Registration Form, Votes in Wrong Precinct!
Could face $5,000 Fine, Three Years Behind Bars for Third-Degree Felony...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2006 12:36pm PT  

According to the Palm-Beach Post, it looks like Ann Coulter, everyone's favorite hate-monger, may now be facing felony charges. For Voter Fraud!

She may be smart enough to earn millions from her acidic political barbs, but when it comes to something as simple as voting in her tiny hometown, hard-core conservative pundit Ann Coulter is a tad confused.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections records show Coulter voted last week in Palm Beach's council election. Problem is, she cast her ballot in a precinct 4 miles north of the precinct where she owns a home --- and that could be a big no-no.

Coulter, who owns a $1.8 million crib on Seabreeze Avenue, should have voted in Precinct 1198. It covers most homes on her street. Instead, records show, she voted in Precinct 1196, at the northern tip of the island.
...
Here's the sticky part for The Right's own Lady Macbeth: She wrote down an Indian Road address instead of Seabreeze on her voter's registration application. And she signed to certify the information as true.

"She never lived here," said Suzanne Frisbie, owner of the Indian Road home. "I'm Ann's Realtor, and she used this address to forward mail when she moved from New York."

Coulter didn't respond to requests for comment. But the blond GOP pit bull's former agent, Joani Evans, last year told Page Two that Coulter left NYC to escape stalkers.

Is a desire to hold on to privacy the reason she gave the wrong address?

"I know but I'm not going to say," Frisbie replied.

No matter --- Florida statutes make it a third-degree felony to vote knowingly in the wrong precinct. Lying on a voter's registration can cost up to $5,000 and five years behind bars.

"We're not a policing agency," says Elections Chief Deputy Charmaine Kelly. "You do not have to show proof that you live at your address. But when you sign the registration application, you also take an oath that everything you wrote is the truth.

"If someone brings us proof that a person falsified a registration, we'll check into it, then refer the matter to the state attorney's office if necessary."

Well, the Republican phonys have been trying to make a case for Voter Fraud in this country (in order to distract from the real issue of Election Fraud) for some time. Looks like they've finally got a case to make for it!

Will the GOP front group "American Center for Voting Rights" be funding a lawsuit against Coulter the way they've attempted (and failed) everywhere else in the country? (But only where they see Dems as having committed fraud?)

We'll not hold our breath. But we'll hope someone brings such a case to the State Attorney's office in Palm Beach!

(Hat tip to Jane at FireDogLake for the heads up!)

UPDATE: Reporter says Coulter's denial of fraud charges is a lie...




...and Lou Dobbs is Pissed
By David Edwards on 2/15/2006 7:18am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards



Video in Streaming Flash format...

The GAO has release a report that details how the Bush Administration has spent over $1.6 billion on "advertising campaigns" in the last 30 months alone.

The report was requested by Congressional Democrats about a year ago after press reports indicated that the Bush Administration was engaged in using "covert propaganda" on the American people.

The GAO report list the following among a long list of abuses:

  • Spending on contracts with public relations firms increased 128% between 2000 and 2004
  • More than $1.1 billion PR was spent by the Department of Defense. This included $35 to promote golf courses and $10k to promote recreational cruises.
  • $179 million for Air Force recruiting. In all, about $1 billion was spend by the DOD to in an attempt to bolster military recruiting
  • The Army spent $2.5 million to promote its' global war on terrorism.
  • $86 million to promote the failed Medicare prescription drug benefit

The RAW STORY has some comments from House Democrats:

"The government is spending over a billion dollars per year on PR and advertising," said Rep. Waxman. "Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush Administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States."

"No amount of money will successfully sell the Bush Administration's failed policies, from the war in Iraq, to its disastrous energy policy, to its confusing Medicare prescription drug benefits," said Democratic Leader Pelosi. "The American people know the Bush Administration is on the wrong track and the White House PR machine won't change that fact."

"The extent of the Bush Administration's propaganda effort is unprecedented and disturbing," said Rep. Miller. "The fact is that after all the spin, the American people are stuck with high prescription drug prices, high gas prices, and high college costs. This report raises serious questions about this Administration's priorities for the country and I would hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle would agree that changes need to be made to reign in the President's propaganda machine."

"It is unbelievable that the Administration, on several occasions, has used limited taxpayer dollars to secretly promote initiatives such as No Child Left Behind, while underfunding money for our schools, books, technology, and after school programs," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.




The CPAC Microcosm of and Petri Dish for Conservatism in America?
Guest Blogger Dan Borchers' No Holds Barred Finale --- From the 'Excellent' to the 'Honored' to the 'Appalling' to the 'Intolerably Hypocritical'?
By Daniel Borchers on 2/15/2006 1:03am PT  

Guest Blogged by Special BRAD BLOG CPAC Correspondent Daniel Borchers


EDITOR'S NOTE: After an unexpected delay due to breaking news over the last three days?We now conclude Dan Borchers reports from the "Conservative Political Action Conference" (CPAC) held last weekend in D.C.

Borchers --- of Citizens for Principled Conservatism, Brother Watch & Coulter Watch --- covered the nation's largest annual "Conservative" gathering exclusively for The BRAD BLOG. As it does each year, the conference featured the biggest of the Rightwing wigs (see article below for a list). Nothing that we know of on the Left comes close.

Borchers' previous reports on DAY 1 and DAY 2 offered an insider's view of photos, sounds, video and Ann Coulter's "ragheads" speech. His final dispatch follows, covering the hopeful, the still-to-be-determined and, yes, the dangerous American disgrace that is Ann Coulter as revealed yet again by this year's CPAC.

Borchers' coverage here (and even the VR "ImpeachMobile" in the bargain!) was picked up in a feature story on Monday by the Hard Rightwing Cybercast "News" Service.

For his efforts we are grateful and proud to bestow upon Dan the coveted and too-rarely-awarded BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award!" Well done, sir! And thank you?

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




By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2006 11:01pm PT  

Apropos to our weekend coverage of Coulter's "raghead" speech at CPAC, and indeed referencing said speech...I can't recommend this piece by Glen Greenwald (via Kos) enough.

For anyone with any questions about what the words "Liberal" and "Conservative" now actually mean in today's political "discourse", this is a must read. (HINT: Those words no longer mean either Liberal or Conservative...which regular BRAD BLOG readers likely already know. But Greenwald says it better than I've ever heard it said.)




Ranking Member, 43 Others Seeking NSA Domestic Eavesdrop Docs from DoJ
Says Resolutions are 'Nonpartisan Constitutional Check and Balance on Administration', Mark-Up Conference Scheduled for Wednesday
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2006 5:32pm PT  

In advance of tomorrow's scheduled U.S. House Judiciary Committee mark-up conference for two Resolutions of Inquiry concerning the NSA's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, The BRAD BLOG has obtained the statement to be given by the committee's ranking member, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).

The resolutions (H. Res 643 and 644) direct the Attorney General to submit all documents "relating to warrantless electronic surveillance...of persons in the United States conducted by the National Security Agency" to the Judiciary Committee for review.

As we reported exclusively last Saturday, in an unusual weekend email notification the Dept. of Justice announced to the committee they would be holding a last minute briefing on the program for them on Monday --- in advance of tomorrow's session. That briefing occurred yesterday as scheduled.

In his statement for tomorrow's mark-up conference on the resolutions (audio and video to be broadcast live via the Judiciary Committee website beginning at 10am ET on the web), Conyers explains what his resolution --- supported by 44 members so far --- does and doesn't ask for.

While seeking documentation from the Attorney General, Conyers will explain that the information is not sought "in a conclusory fashion."

"We are not saying that the President broke the law or has acted contrary to the Constitution," according to the congressman, "In fact, this resolution may well produce documents that rebut those allegations."

He points out that many of "the Nation's most preeminent legal and intelligence authorities," from both sides of the political aisle, have questioned the constitutionality of the program, and that even the Dept. of Justice, in last Monday's briefing, admitted that "some of the legal questions involved here are close calls."

Conyers goes on to laud the chair of the committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), for his recent letter sent to the AG requesting answers to 51 questions about the program. He adds, however, that other committee members have questions they'd like answered as well. Conyers' asks that those other members would also appreciate having their questions forwarded to the Dept. of Justice on behalf of the committee.

The congressman concludes by reaching out to both sides of the aisle:

"It is time that Congress begins to serve as a genuine check and balance on the Administration. This is not a partisan issue, to me it's a constitutional issue, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help us, before its too late."

John Conyers' complete statement for tomorrow's conference follows in its entirety...

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




By John Gideon on 2/14/2006 4:55pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Smartmatic paid up to $35M for Sequoia Voting Systems last year, depending on performance. This year they contracted with Cook County and Chicago, Illinois to sell them voting machines worth $50.2M. For that amount of money the state of Illinois could have bought the whole company. A court in Pennsylvania found that at least one county needed to go to the people and ask them, via referendum, how they want to vote. The Arizona legislature rejected a hand audit. Regular readers of DVN will recall that VoteTrustUSA has been sponsoring an Action Alert to ask voters to notify the EAC and demand that they take action with regards to the use of banned software on some voting systems. You all are responsible for 20,113 Emails and 2220 letters sent so far!...

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




By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2006 1:14pm PT  

THANK YOU...To those who have answered the call. You'd be stunned to learn how many read BRAD BLOG, yet how few contribute. It's never to late to help. Click here to contribute online.

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Thanks again to those who've helped. I'll take this down soon!




'Birdshot lodged in heart' of Cheney Shooting Victim...
OCCURRED 'EARLY TUESDAY' --- YET NOT MENTIONED BY MCCLELLAN IN WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING!
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2006 10:53am PT  

Just breaking from AP:

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a "minor heart attack," a hospital official said Tuesday.

Peter Banko, the hospital administrator at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial, said Harry Whittington had the heart attack early Tuesday while being evaluated.

He said there was an irregularity in the heartbeat caused by a birdshot pellet, and doctors performed a cardiac catheterization.

Guess the incident --- which includes "birdshot lodged in his heart!" --- wasn't quite so minor as it has been downplayed as for the last three days. By the MSM and their sources from Cheney's group of apologists, anyway.

More if I can get anything additional on this from hospital sources or elsewhere...

MORE... Note the story says the heart attack occurred "early Tuesday". Apparently, it was not notable enough for McClellan to mention that in today's White House Press Briefing!

As well, note the section in the transcript where David Gregory asks about "Two timeline questions" in regard to the issue we discussed last night here. McClellan continues to dodge the sequence of events concerning how and when Bush and his people were notified by Cheney's people.

I'm not a big "cover-up" guy, but I see no reason to dispute that what we are now witnessing is indeed a cover-up in action. What they are covering-up, however, is still largely speculation, but I'd suggest this is exactly what one looks like from all the shifty, inexplicable ducking, dodging and dancing that these guys are displaying.

I am less concerned with why Cheney failed to notify the media or the nation in the 21 hours after the shooting, and more interested in why he seems to have failed to give full disclosure to the White House itself.

Thus, I continue to ask: What didn't the President know, and why didn't he know it?

It seems clear there was a fear that Whittington would die from the get-go, and Cheney's team was deciding whether to cover-up the matter if he did so. "Veep Kills Man" is not a great headline, no matter how one tries to spin it. Thus, it seems they "failed" to inform Bush about Cheney being the shooter in the early hours before they knew if Whittington would survive or not --- and we'll see if he actually does at this point, since his condition has changed from what they thought it was --- so Bush would have "plausible deniability" in the event they decided to literally white wash the entire affair.

Still open to less sinister intepretations. But I still fail to come up with any.

STILL MORE... In yesterday's press briefing (which still does not have the video posted along with it, as I pointed out last night!), the following question was asked, and subsequently dismissed by Scottie:

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Connie.

Q Is it proper for the Vice President to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation ---

MR. McCLELLAN: That's an absurd question. Go ahead, Ken.

I don't general do "predictions," but I'll go on record here as predicting that question will be arising more and more in the coming days and weeks.

SUSANHU AT BOOMAN OFFERS MORE... from a Texas attorney, concerning what Cheney may be "looking at" if Whittington dies...

My [hunting] friend further told me that if Whittington got hit with quite a few pellets, he was most likely closer than 30 yards away. [...]

If Whittington dies, Cheney is looking at negligent homicide (state jail felony, causing death by criminal negligence), or what is called here manslaughter (second degree felony, causing death by recklessness).

When I say "looking at,'' there are of course caveats to that.

FROM JOSH MARSHALL... The gang that couldn't shoot straight manages the media for the guy who couldn't shoot straight...

THINK PROGRESS CONFIRMS THAT WHITE HOUSE KNEW... about the heart attack prior to McClellan's presser today. But that they said nothing. They've got the video from the Hospital's press conference confirming the Hospital informed the White House of the heart attack "between 9:30 and 10:00 am this morning." The WH Press Briefing didn't begin until 12noon.

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By David Edwards on 2/14/2006 8:38am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

The GOP attacked Howard Dean's Sunday interview on CBS Face the Nation (video here). Dean responded to the attack on CNN's American Morning.

Dean also said that that Vice President Cheney "has to go" if he authorized Scooter Libby to leak the classified National Intelligence Estimate as court documents have indicated.


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...




By David Edwards on 2/13/2006 9:31pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards



Video in Streaming Flash format...




Why Was Cheney's Role as The Shooter Withheld for Hours from the White House?
PLUS: Video Still Not Posted from Today's WH Press Briefing
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2006 7:40pm PT  

I began asking questions about this when the story came to light on Sunday.

The nearly 24 hours between the time Cheney shot Harry Whittington and the time the story was finally disclosed to the media remains unexplained --- and raises many questions.

Now it seems that the information that Cheney was the shooter in the incident was even withheld from Bush at the White House, at least for a time. In other words, the White House was informed that there had been "a hunting accident", but not that Cheney was the shooter.

It's not unusual in this White House, or any these days, that Presidents are only told the things they need to know, and nothing more. Particularly when the information could be damaging and they hope to retain "plausible deniability" should they have to testify or be asked questions about it later.

It is certainly starting to look like such a case where "plausible deniability" was on the table in the early hours, before they knew for certain if Whittington would survive the incident, after being admitted in critical condition to the hospital.

When the shooting was finally disclosed, it was by the property's owner, Katharine Armstrong. Cheney's office never actually announced it to the media, but simply "confirmed" the inquiries that came after the initial story in the Corpus-Christi Caller-Times. But media reports have said that Armstrong spoke with Cheney before doing so. In other words, he gave her the okay to let the news out finally on Sunday morning/afternoon.

In the meantime, back at the White House, as discussed in today's contentious Press Briefing, White House spokesman Scott McLellan makes it clear that though Bush was informed of the shooting Saturday evening, it wasn't until late Saturday Night --- or early Sunday Morning --- that he finally learned that Cheney himself was the shooter...

Q So as of Saturday night, you didn't know, the White House did not know that Vice President Cheney was involved?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, there were details coming in throughout that night and into the morning. There was additional information coming in at 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and even after that.

Q But, again, Saturday night, you did not know the Vice President was involved, you just thought someone from his hunting party was ---

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I, personally, was informed by the Situation Room that there had been a hunting accident, and that is was a member of the Vice President's hunting party. But I didn't have additional information other than that at this point. Obviously, I asked questions about --- is he okay, and who was involved --- and they didn't have those facts at that point.

Q So Sunday morning you first learned that it was the Vice President?

MR. McCLELLAN: Early Sunday morning, that's correct.

The timeline here would seem to add some fuel to the question I had asked previously: If Whittington had died, would the incident --- or at least Cheney's involvement in it --- have been disclosed at all to the American people?

Or to twist another infamous question: What didn't the President know and why didn't he know it?

The fact that the officials were able to inform the White House of "a hunting accident" not long after the incident, but it wasn't until 3:00am or so, that they were notified that Cheney was the shooter, would seem to point fairly squarely to the idea that initially they were keeping the idea of "plausible deniability" for the White House on the table for some reason. Perhaps as needed in the event that Whittington didn't make it out alive and they had determined a cover-up of Cheney's involvement was needed to avoid embarrassment. Or criminal charges.

If there's a less sinister explanation for all of this, I'd be more than open to it. But Scottie certainly didn't present one in today's Press Briefing.

Speaking of which... So far, no video of that briefing on the White House website. There is usually a link to it on the same page as the transcript. I wish I had saved the WH site's front page earlier, since --- as I recall --- it had said something along the lines of "Today's Press Briefing has now concluded, we will have a transcript and video posted shortly."

Now it says only, "Today's Press Briefing with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has concluded." with a link to the text only.

Can't imagine why they wouldn't want to post today's video. :-)

Let's see how long it takes 'em to get it up there. (Crooks and Liars has it in the meantime.)

UPDATE: The White House tacked the following on to the bottom of their Press Briefing transcript. Not certain what time they did so:

Q So when did the President definitively know that the Vice President had shot somebody?

A Chief of Staff Andy Card called the President around 7:30pm EST to inform him that there was a hunting accident. He did not know the Vice President was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the President shortly before 8:00pm EST to update him and let him know the Vice President had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington.

I'll let you decide about their credibility here and if they've earned the benefit of the doubt. But even with such benefit, why was Card told about the accident, but not told that Cheney was the shooter when they first notified him? Only after Karl "The Architect" Rove interceded was a decision made, apparently, to let Bush know. We report, you decide.

FURTHER UPDATE: Ron Brynaert looks at some related-ish timeline questions from Cheney's side of things.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Whittington suffers heart attack! McClellan fails to inform press corp! Thread continues now here...




By John Gideon on 2/13/2006 5:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Jefferson Co., Kentucky election officials have told the local media that they will be 'testing' their new accessible voting machines in tomorrow's election. This is the same thing we are going to be seeing from jurisdictions all across the country this year. "Testing"! We, the voters, are going to be asked to test these new machines, which will fail more than they should, in real elections. Training for election workers is scarce. Training for the voter is non-existent. I hope I am wrong but I fear not....

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




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