Guest: Jenny Cohn, election security advocate on 2020 hacking concerns; Also: Climate-fueled fires keep breaking records; More hurricanes on the way; Trump claims climate change, like COVID, will just go away...
Americans finally stand up against the phony, democracy-hating town hall disrupting bullies. VelvetRevolution.us (of whom The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) was there to document it last night...
Will this event receive as much coverage in the corporate media as those where the wingnuts weren't outnumbered and shouted down?
And...as we've asked before...how long will this keep escalating before someone ends up dead? (And I'm not referring to those thousands of Americans already dead because a bureaucrat from the corporate healthcare industry was allowed to come between them and a doctor to help deny them healthcare.)
Several weeks ago, VelvetRevolution.us, in coalition with a number of other accountability groups, filed bar disbarment complaints against 12 different Bush Administration attorneys in four states and the District of Columbia in regard to their approval of banned torture techniques used during detainee interrogations.
In a press conference today we (Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is co-founder of VR) added two more to that list, both top CIA attorneys who continue to serve at the agency under the Obama Administration.
A grassroots coalition will file complaints today with the Washington, D.C. bar against two Central Intelligence Agency lawyers for their involvement in authorizing the use of controversial interrogation techniques against detainees in US custody.
Velvet Revolution, a coalition of over 150 grassroots groups, will register complaints against CIA lawyers Jonathan M. Fredman and John A. Rizzo. Fredmen, who is currently counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, served as the Associate General counsel for the CIA from 2001-2004. Rizzo is the current Acting General Counsel for the CIA but is retiring this month. His nomination to become full General Counsel has been held up for years over his alleged role in enabling the CIA’s controversial interrogation program.
DC lawyer and activist Kevin Zeese, along with a former Reagan administration Associate Attorney General Bruce Fein, held a press conference this morning at the National Press Club in which they discussed the complaints they will be filing later today.
“We call for dismissal of two torture architects still working in the Obama administration,” said Zeese. “The United States must face the reality of the extent of the torture program under the Bush-Cheney administration. War crimes were committed. The toxic poison of torture will not be removed from the body politic unless the rule of law is applied.”
Please see Alexandrovna's coverage today for details of revelations discussed at the presser this morning (eg. the "crucifixion" of a detainee who "died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs" and details on, and links to, the new complaints against Rizzo and Fredman, both of whom still serve in the CIA today, incredibly enough).
More information on the campaign, including all of the complaints filed, is available at VR's DisbarTortureLawyers.com campaign. A quick video of Zeese's announcement, summarizing the complaints after today's press conference follows below...
Today, VelvetRevolution.us announced our new campaign calling for the disbarment of 12 of the Bush-era torture lawyers in four states and the District of Columbia. The campaign, whose VR homepage is at DisbarTortureLawyers.com (where you can sign on yourself, read the complaints, etc.), calls for action to be taken by the state bar associations to revoke the law licenses of attorneys John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Mukasey, Michael Chertoff, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, Douglas Feith, David Addington, William Hayens, and Timothy Flanigan in NY, CA, TX, PA and D.C., following their exceedingly irresponsible and inappropriately liberal interpretation of U.S. law.
My colleague Kevin Zeese, an attorney himself, as well as executive director of VotersForPeace.us and a board member at VR, signed the complaints delivered to the appropriate boards for all 12 Bush attorneys. He announced the launch of the initiative at a press conference in D.C. this morning. His published statement, released today with the press conference, is posted in full here.
So far, the coverage in the corporate mainstream media today has been surprisingly decent and fairly widespread. We've seen reports from NY Times, CNN, LA Times, WaPo, Bloomberg, AP and others.
AP's coverage has been interesting, and instructive, to watch. When they first reported on the initiative early today, the lede on their story was [emphasis mine]:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two outside groups want Bush administration lawyers linked to memos on harsh interrogation techniques of detainees to lose their licenses to practice law.
Their updated version, which included a few more details, but the same headline, "Complaint seeks disbarment of Bush lawyers," had this as its lede [emphasis mine]:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of liberal groups filed petitions Monday seeking disbarment of Bush administration attorneys linked to memos on harsh interrogation techniques of detainees.
Not sure what makes calling for a strict, conservative interpretation of the Rule of Law, versus the wildly liberal interpretations of the Bush Administration (and that's putting it mildly), a "liberal" cause, but that's what I guess we must come to accept from the news organization --- sorry, let me update that --- rightwing house organ that AP has become.
UPDATE: As I've been asked by a number of media folks for a comment on today's initiative, as co-founder of VR, I've been happy to offer them this statement:
"The wildly liberal interpretations of the rule of law by the Bush administration attorneys, in order to justify their torture schemes, should be offensive to the core, to anyone who believes in a strict, conservative interpretation of decades of established U.S. law on the matter, including treaties signed, on behalf of the U.S., by such conservatives as Ronald Reagan."
UPDATE 5/19/09, 8:44pm PT: AP's short video coverage of Kevin Zeese at the presser yesterday is here. But a more complete version of his statement follows below. Also, a big congrats to our Kevin for being honored with the prestigious BuzzFlash "Wings of Justice" award today for his tremendous effort on this campaign!
What follows below is a letter I sent to AG Eric Holder last week, on behalf of VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder), calling for his immediate investigation of all political prosecutions at the DoJ during the Bush era, including those of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney/Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor. On the heels of the DoJ's dismissal of charges against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the DoJ needs to similarly vacate charges against anyone who was specifically targeted, for political reasons, by the Bush Admin's perversion of justice at the DoJ.
There are now well over 700 organizations and individuals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ray McGovern and Scott Horton currently signed on to the letter, and you are invited to do so yourself via the campaign's main page at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com. More details are over there. We hope you'll both sign on, and help spread the word.
Here is the letter to Holder, sent last week just before Minor's wife passed away, and prior to the release of the Bush regime's appalling torture memos which we will, no doubt, be dealing with in a future campaign...
A county clerk in Colorado has finally done the right thing for the voters by removing a touch-screen voting machine from service, and quarantining it, after it was discovered to be flipping votes from one candidate to another. The failed machine in this case was a Diebold Accu-Vote, a frequent flipper.
An electronic voting machine in Adams County repeatedly failed to accept a vote for a Democratic state Senate candidate — instead registering the vote for her Republican opponent — at an early voting site last week and has been removed from service, the Aurora Sentinel reports Wednesday. Adams County Clerk and Recorder Karen Long told the newspaper the error doesn’t reflect wider problems in the county’s voting systems, but the candidate said the incident could lead to a lawsuit.
“I always just trusted the machines, and it opened my eyes,” said state Rep. Mary Hodge. “The way it works now, I’m told … is that those votes throw it to Mr. Hadfield that we’ll probably have a lawsuit and a court decision. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Hodge, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican Robert John Hadfield in the race to represent state Senate District 25.
“I have quarantined the machine,” Long told the newspaper. “It’s removed and it’s sealed up and it’s in a bag.” She said she is awaiting instructions from the secretary of state’s office.
Long is to be lauded for being the first election official in the country so far during the general election (that we're aware of) to have taken the correct action in such a vote-flipping case. And now that Hodge's eyes are "opened" we hope that both she and her Republican opponent, Hadfield will stand up for their voters by signing the StandingForVoters.org "no concessions" pledge immediately!
Late last night VelvetRevolution.us (a non-partisan, non-profit election watchdog co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) issued a press release calling on election officials to not recalibrate systems mid-election, but rather remove and impound them, and offer voters paper ballots as needed instead. The complete press release is posted at the end of this article.
Colorado has a troubling history with electronic voting, even as the Secretary of State found all of the state's machines to be faulty and easily hackable in late 2007, but has capitulated to pressure from election officials to allow them to be used by voters again this year anyway...
Velvet Revolution - co-founded by Brad Friedman - today launched its newest campaign at StandingForVoters.org, calling on candidates across the country to pledge to challenge elections when necessary.
"This election, let's make democracy the winner!" the Standing For Voters site proclaims. Readers of The BRAD BLOG know that's quite a stretch, that we're a long way from having a true democracy in this country. Yet challenges by candidates --- before, during and after the elections --- could be an important step in the right direction. In many situations, only candidates have standing to challenge elections.
StandingForVoters.org is primarily directed towards candidates themselves and serves to educate them about election integrity issues, types of election challenges, and recent history of candidates who challenged elections. Voters are encouraged to participate by finding candidates who will pledge; tips about how to do this are provided on the site, including:
Attend candidates' nights or other campaign activities. During the Q&A portion of the program, make a statement about the importance of election integrity and ask the candidates publicly if they will sign the Standing for Voters pledge.
Call in to radio shows where candidates are being interviewed. Ask the candidates on the air to sign the pledge.
Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece in the local newspaper urging candidates to pledge. (You can also encourage the paper only to endorse candidates who have made the pledge.)
Visit candidates' websites and send them emails asking them to sign the pledge. Include a link to StandingForVoters.org.
Talk to your local political clubs. Find out who has direct contact with candidates and enlist their help.
Once one candidate for a particular office has signed on, call their opponents and ask them to match that pledge.
The first two candidates to sign the site's more robust pledge, "The Super Pledge," are no strangers to election integrity issues. Ellen Brodsky, candidate for Supervisor of Elections in notorious Broward County, Florida is a long-time election integrity advocate, founding Broward Election Reform Coalition. Brodsky was thrilled to pledge, saying, "You can count on me to speak about fair, accurate and transparent elections in every breath I take."...
Rove took the time to pose for a picture with Kimberlin and his daughter, after which he sent us both the photos and the following, rather amusing description of the encounter...
Brad, I sent you pics from my cell phone today of Karl Rove’s car and him in the Safeway Supermarket line. He saw me taking pictures of him, and said that I could take a picture with him, but his wife had to clear the writing on my T-Shirt first, which said, Nils Lofgren, Break Away Angel. Rove said, Nils is good, and that I must be good too so he took a picture with me and my daughter Kelsie.
He then asked what we were going to do today [Memorial Day], and I said we are going to remember all the troops that Bush sent to be killed in this godforsaken war in Iraq. He then asked where I was from and I said, "VelvetRevolution, we support regime change here at home." He looked sick.
I then looked at what he bought and it was an entire shopping cart of toilet paper, Barq's root beer, and Land o' Lakes butter. That's it. No food whatsoever.
The photos of Kimberlin and Rove, and his swell butter-transporting Jaguar, follow below...
We'll be the media on Election Night, reporting the meltdowns with the same kind of attention everyone else will devote to the "horse race" (which we'll cover as well). From 3pm PT to 1am or as events warrant. To be carried on multiple air affiliates and Internet streams. All invited to carry broadcast for free! More details to come as I can keep up. Please spread the word and ask your local station to carry the historic broadcast! Details for now right here...
UPDATE: Some of our air affiliates on board so far (we welcome all who are interested to carry all or any part of the broadcast, see link above for details) include: KRXA in Monterey, KSAC in Sacramento, KGOE in Eureka, KUDO in Anchorage with more hopefully coming soon!
FURTHER UPDATE: Brad and Peter preview the broadcast on last Friday's Peter B. Collins Show! Listen here... [5 minutes, MP3].
Debra LoGuercio, editor of the Winters Express in California, takes a look at our DIEB-THROAT stories in her latest column for McNaughton Newspapers. She closes with this graf:
If someone can refute the Dieb-Throat story and www.bradblog.com posts, please do. Because if they're true, our votes and elections are meaningless. Which means the very foundation of American democracy is meaningless. Which means our country as we know it is dead.
We're glad LoGuercio has noticed, and that more and more such folks are beginning to take notice of what we've been yelling and screaming about since at least November 3, 2004 here at The BRAD BLOG
We also join her call for refutation of the points made by DIEB-THROAT in our stories covering just some of the information that the still-anonymous source has shared with us. Those stories, if you haven't caught them yet, are respectively here, here and here. You can reach LoGuercio at this email address, and you can reach us at this one should you have any information or evidence that in any way questions the validity of our reporting or the information we've presented so far from DIEB-THROAT.
So far, that hasn't been done. As well, we are told that more coverage of our reporting from other media outlets (larger ones) is likely on the way.
Today, Diebold Inc's stock price stayed largely flat (gaining about .61%), closing at $36.15.
Last February, when we launched our "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign at VelvetRevolution.us shares of Diebold, Inc. (DBD) stock were more than $53/share. The value of the company's stock has fallen more than 30% since we began our campaign, plunging some 20% in the last week alone since our first DIEB-THROAT story.
The DV4D Campaign put America's Voting Machine Companies on notice. We let them know we expected them to do the right thing for this country and introduce transparency, security and accountability into the electronic election systems which they were foisting on a misinformed electorate.
We hope that the other major American Voting Machine companies are taking note of what is happening right now at Diebold, and before they get too excited about trouble at their competition, we hope they all understand our promise (The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR) to do anything and everything legally and within our power to hold the anti-American owners and management of all of those companies accountable for putting our democracy at grave risk through their careless and unpatriotic business practices.
Democracy is not for sale. At least it shouldn't be. And we intend to continue to do something about it. Wherever and whenever possible.
We didn't set out to write a fundraising article for VelvetRevolution, but now that we've written it, we realize, this is as good a time as any to ask for your support of VR, so that we can keep up such work to help take our great country back from the cretins and bad guys that have --- and continue to --- hijack it from the good citizens of this country.
P.P.S. Katrina Wilcox, our Information Manager extraordinaire from VR, will be Guest Blogging here all weekend from D.C. where she's covering the rally for us! Please come back soon for thoughts, pictures and even video if we're lucky from on the ground in D.C. all weekend!
Activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock, best known for her cross-country walk for Campaign Finance Reform speaks out today with extraordinary eloquence about "Our Velvet Revolution".
(A RealPlayer slideshow of some of her heroic efforts over the last several years is available here.)
She will be participating in several of the upcoming Counter-Inaugural events in DC, and her 95th birthday will be four days later. Her statement, published by Democracy Week today, are meant as her 95th birthday remarks.
Having seen and done as much as she has in her lifetime, only a fool would disregard her wisdom.
And so, on velvet revolutions and the freedoms and pursuit of happiness, we'll quote just a few of her words from her beautiful piece:
We remember and honor the poet revolutionary Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia, where Charter 77 rendered the flowers and songs of a velvet revolution more powerful than the guns of oppression. We remember the shipyard hero, Lech Walesa, of Poland. We remember those who stood non-violently in Russia, in Yugoslavia, in Tiananmen Square, in East and West Germany.
When people stand united with certain courage, they get their way.
[T]he pursuit of happiness? There it is, a phrase central to the world's idea of America. If some people in this country could erase those words from our Declaration, they would do so--and replace them with something more religious or otherwise authoritarian and demanding of obedience instead of the nurturing of our human potential. But the words remain there on that parchment, and indelibly upon our hearts and imaginations. That is why there is a velvet revolution brewing, and it is not the whining of spoiled children, but the song of freedom of brave men and women who are prepared to let the bales upon their backs fall and mix with the old tea in the harbor.
I have long admired the Europeans for the fact that they discuss politics constantly. The sidewalk cafe conversation is superior for the maintenance of democracy, when compared to our sitting in front of endlessly dumbed-down news broadcasts and newspaper accounts. Even during this recent disclosure of election fraud in Ohio, the news channels all but ignored it, and the main story in the New York Times, even as Senators stood against a sham election, was a long report on the disruption made to Congress's mindless train schedule.
The sharing of email and our occasional standing together in protests is the best we Americans can do to create the community of democracy and raise the barricades of its defense. Or is it?
This is our Velvet Revolution, American style. We resist what we must and what we can, but our victory is not in defense, but in a cultural offensive made irresistible by the power of love and courage, pulling our people together, and our own lives together, over time.
We have tried this before in America. Things got in our way: drugs, wars, fears. We became parents. We became distracted. It is now time to get it right.
Dennis Burke of Democracy Week, who joined Granny D on her walk, follows up her article on the Democracy Week blog with a piece on our Velvet Revolution featuring a short interview with yours truly.
Despite our frequently self-promotional flair here on The BRAD BLOG!!! we assure you it is but a satirical literary device. Of sorts. And in fact even we find ourselves a bit too modest to quote somebody quoting us...At least this evening.