BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Last Thursday was a record day here at BRAD BLOG, exceeded only by the following day, Friday, when we had nearly 70,000 unique readers. Saturday, which is usually way off because it's the weekend, beat Thursday's total.
In all, we saw well over 200,000 unique readers stop by here since Thursday.
And, in all those days, we received one single donation for $10.
The BRAD BLOG is, and always will be free to all readers. But we sure could use some help in the form of DONATIONS to allow me, and those Guest Bloggers and helpers who give so generously of their time and hard work (and in the case of David Edwards, his bandwidth for videos!) to keep up the tireless work and investigative reporting that more than 200,000 of you have come to enjoy over the last few days alone.
If you can DONATE ONLINE with Credit Card or PayPal we'd certainly appreciate the support!
If you'd prefer a snail-mail donation, those can be sent to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
I hate asking at all, but I have no choice. The support would also make it just a bit easier to keep doing what we're doing, while being able to eat and have a place to sleep at the same time --- Thanks for whatever you can do, at least until those evil billionaire funders we hear so much about show up with an enormous grant to save the day!
This report from tonight's episode of MSNBC's Hardball suggests that Fitzgerald has expanded the 'traitorgate' investigation to include the forged documents that the Bush Administration used to mislead Americans into thinking that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon.
The report also says that Judy Miller's source, Ahmad Chalabi, was responsible for the forged documents.
Guest blogged by David Edwards
Just as he did for his mugshot yesterday, Rep. Tom DeLay continued to smile throughout his first day of court today.
In a statement to the media, DeLay said, "You may be surprised to hear this from me today but I find this is a very good day." We are pleased that DeLay appreciates spending time in court and sincerely hope that he continues to enjoy much more of the same.
Today's court appearance was little more than an opportunity for DeLay's legal team to spin the charges against him as partisan. What is most striking is the lack of voices in the media to balance DeLay's spin. Even so, it was a day long anticipated and every moment of the process may be worth savoring.
We have put together some video highlights from CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as they were broadcast live this morning. How do you rate the media's coverage of this event?
Republican talking head, author and gadfly, Ann Coulter spoke to an audience of supporters in Gainseville, Florida last night at a fundraiser for the Alachua County Republican Party, who paid $30,000 to have Coulter speak.
According to an article in today's Independent Florida Alligator, Coulter --- who makes her living, in no small part, by enjoying her Free Speech rights under the First Amendment --- pleased the rabid attendees by denigrating the U.S. Constitution...
"They're always accusing us of repressing their speech," she said. "I say let's do it. Let's repress them."
She later added, "Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."
Her statements received applause, and many attendees said they enjoyed her speech, but some added that they think she's somewhat extreme.
And they accuse the Left of hating American Values???
Can we serve you some more hypocrisy with that helping of hatred, Ann?
(In case you missed it, please see BRAD BLOG's exclusive report from yesterday concerning the Conservative group which is denouncing Ann Coulter and creating an Anti-Ann documentary.)
Guest blogged by David Edwards
On Sept. 20 2005, the military revoked the security clearance of Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who was scheduled to testify in Congress the following day. Shaffer was to testify about a cover-up by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). He alleged that the DIA withheld information about one or more of the 9/11 hijackers from the FBI and the 9/11 Commission.
Yesterday, Representative Curt Weldon appeared on CNN where he alleged that the DIA was smearing the whistleblower (Lt. Col. Shaffer) and continuing a cover-up of the 'Able Danger' program. Rory O'Connor of Media is Plural seems to have firsthand information about Representative Weldon's grievances:
"Lt Col Shaffer has done nothing wrong," he added. "This is a massive DIA effort to cover its ass because agency officials are embarrassed that a special unit of SOCOM came up with crucial information and DIA did not. DIA needs to be taken to task, not Lt. Col Shaffer."
I asked Weldon if he was at all concerned about going after high Defense officials from his own party in such a public way.
"Am I concerned about retribution? Absolutely!" he replied. "But this is larger than the partyůthis is about 3000 dead people, the worst terror attack ever on U.S. soil. And, as (former FBI director Louis Freeh) told Tim Russert on Meet the Press last week, Able Danger is "the kind of tactical intelligence that would make a difference in stopping a hijacking.ö So why can't Congress and the American people hear about it? Ultimately, the buck stops with Rumsfeld."
Is Rep. Weldon pursuing the 'Able Danger' cover-up for political reasons or is he simply trying to expose the truth about corruption within the Pentagon and the DIA?
"[C]oncerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."
That's just one of the chilling revelations from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office's (GAO) 107-page report on the security of Election Voting Machines in America as just released moments ago. The report confirms many of the greatest concerns expressed by those who have called for Election Reform since the deeply flawed 2004 Presidential Election.
The report "analyzed over 80 recent and relevant reports related to the security and reliability of electronic voting systems." The results confirm a range of security vulnerabilities and violations in Electronic Voting Machines in recent elections and the accompanying systems used to administer elections in the United States of America. It goes on to say that the issues brought to the attention of the GAO by elected representatives, activists and other concerned citizens, "merit the focused attention of federal state and local authorities responsible for election administration."
The GAO report (download the complete report here [PDF]) was created in response to a request by several members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
A joint bi-partisan press release touting the findings of the report has just been issued by three Republican and three Democratic Congressmen including Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Judiciary Committee Chair F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), and Science Committee Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Ranking Member Bart Gordon (D-TN).
While The BRAD BLOG is still perusing the details of the extensive report, some of the key findings are listed right on the front page:
Examples of Voting System Problems and Vulnerabilities.
Speaking about the GAO report in the joint press release, one congressman described it as "a wake up call."
Republican Rep. Boehlert said, "I wholeheartedly endorse the GAO recommendations, which underscore the need for the Election Assistance Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to continue their work to establish standards and testing procedures for voting equipment. This work must move ahead on an ambitious schedule."
Democratic Rep. Gordon added, "The foundation of democracy rests upon the accuracy, integrity and security of our voting system"
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, a tireless champion for election reform and leading force behind the landmark report "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio 2004", has just blogged about the report.
He says the report "lends important credibility to the cause of election reform generally, and more specifically to requiring that every machine have a voter verified paper ballot that is used in election days audits and, if discrepancies are found in those audits, becomes the official record for the election."
"Despite the many official assurances that the problems of the past elections were isolated and few," Conyers writes, "the election system is indeed riddled with problems and flaws."
The "bottom line," says Conyers, is that until these matters are seriously addressed, and "significant security and controls" are put in place with our voting machines, "American citizens have no reason to have complete confidence in our democracy."
Conyers further enumerates a list of notable and troubling security shorcomings identified by the GAO:
2. It is easy to alter a file defining how a ballot appears, making it possible for someone to vote for one candidate and actually be recorded as voting for an entirely different candidate.
3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards.
4. Access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network.
5. Supervisory across to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords.
6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy.
7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail.
8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel.
The complete joint bi-partisan press release, issued by six U.S. House of Representative members, follows...
While the recent nomination of Hariet Miers for the Supreme Court by George W. Bush may have revealed more than a few cracks in the usually lockstepped Conservative Movement in America, Daniel Borchers has been calling out "fake Conservativism" --- as we refer here at The BRAD BLOG to those who use the tenets of the true Conservative Movement merely for cynical, opportunistic political gain --- for years.
Borchers' organization, Citizens for Principled Conservatism (CPC) is currently in-production of a documentary named The Truth About Ann which aims squarely at political and religious hypocrisy of Rightwing commentator and author, Ann Coulter.
As well, Borchers has created and released exclusively to BRAD BLOG, a PowerPoint presentation entitled "The Gospel of Ann".
The presentation, which we've converted into downloadable streaming video, excoriates the controversial Coulter's religious opportunism. It was inspired, according to Borchers, "by Ann Coulter's 'jaw-dropping' expression of faith in God, a faith which otherwise seems so empty in everything Coulter does."
Indeed, Coulter's "faith" may be as empty and phony as her self-proclaimed "conservative" beliefs. The presentation points out the recent TIME Magazine profile of Coulter which implies that she is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian, an evangelical Christian church in New York, and yet the ministry at the church never seems to have heard of her!
The Redeemer church, "whose non-political stance is well-known, disavows all hateful and hostile speech," according to Borchers' presentation, had to "Google" her name to figure out who she was! Apparently Coulter is not a member of that church at all!
The complete "Gospel of Ann" video, along with selected excerpts and screenshots is available at the end of this article.
The Truth About Ann, the documentary DVD currently in-production promises to "expose the extremist nature of Conservatism's preeminent diva and reigning political icon," according to a press release given to The BRAD BLOG by CPC. The film is said to examine "Coulter's worldview, and the extremist polemics used to promote it."
"Ann Coulter is mainstreaming extremism within the Conservative Movement," warns Borchers. "Coulter has hijacked a substantial segment of the Conservative Movement and is re-creating it in her image. Her 'New McCarthyism' is poisoning millions of minds."
The explosive "truth" about Coulter revealed in the documentary, according to the release, is that while she may be a "conservative icon," in actuality she is "not really a conservative!"
The Truth About Ann is currently scheduled for release in June of 2006 to coincide with the release of Coulter's next book.
Borchers is a lifelong conservative, and a Vietnam-era veteran with intelligence analyst experience, according to his bio. In the fall of 2001 he became "disenchanted by the hypocrisy and corruption which invaded the Conservative Movement." That disenchantment led to his founding of CPC after having founded the conservative newsletter Brother Watch back in 1996.
In 2002, while attending a Conservative Political Action Conference, Borchers was stunned when the organizers attempted to confiscate the press kits he was distributing --- with prior permission --- to conference attendees. The materials denounced Coulter's extremism.
His "clarion call for character in the Conservative Movement", as he describes the incident in "The Gospel of Ann", was "inconvenient...because Ann Coulter is their most notorious speaker."
Following the conference, Borchers wrote an essay on Coulter entitled "Columnist does conservatives a disservice." [PDF] It's posted along with others on CoulterWatch.com, a site he created that "promotes the proposition that Conservatism can only endure as a viable and vibrant movement if it maintains a commitment to the core character traits of honor and integrity, honesty and virtue."
He describes the essay as "calling upon conservatives to seek the higher ground and renounce the hypocritical excesses of Conservatism's reigning diva." From the essay:
His call seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as he regretfully adds in the presentation: "The conscience of the Conservative Movement still sleeps."
We were contacted by Borchers not long after a recent radio debate we participated in with Coulter (who, for one reason or another, decided to leave half way through the program). He asked if we'd mind being interviewed for his documentary. Always happy to learn that there is yet another intellectually honest conservative left in America --- a vanishing breed, as Borchers is working hard to point out --- we were more than pleased to oblige his request.
In exchange for our interview, completed last weekend, he shared information about the documentary, along with the exclusive look at his PowerPoint presentation with us.
In reviewing the presentation, Borchers wishes he'd gone back still further in exposing Coulter's assertions about Christianity. "From as early as 1998 to the present - that there are no liberal Christians. None. According to Coutler, all Christians - that is to say, all true Christians - are conservatives. I guess exit polls from the last election, showing a fairly even split among Christians, don't count," Borchers wrote to us via Email as we finished the conversion of the presentation to video format.
Indeed, exit polls don't count, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know all too well, at least in America. But we digress...
While Borcher's presentation, which asks "Is Ann Coulter a Heroine or a Heretic?" can be somewhat on the dry side, the hypocrisy of the "polemical rants" of Coulter the "hate monger" are priceless and build as the presentation gets rolling.
By way of example of just one of Coulter's rather Anti-Christian hate mongering, here she is from 1999: "If you don't hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don't love your country."
Or this from 2002: "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they can be killed too."
Or this loving and very Christian chestnut from an appearance on Fox & Friends in 2004 prior to the election:
COULTER: I hope the results are similar, since Osama is D-E-A-D dead in Tora Bora since December, 2001"
More than a few classic Coulter "flip-flops" are revealed in the presentation as well. In 2000, for example, Coulter denounced the Christian Right for "fascism", the next year vociferously proclaimed there is no Christian Right in America and then finally announced herself a member of the Christian Right the next.
Or decrying the slaughter of innocent civilians on 9/11, followed shortly thereafter with her defense of the "War on Terror" by declaiming: "We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities: we killed civiliians. That's war. And this is war."
Then there are her "flip-flops" concerning her moral pronouncements about sex and Bill Clinton, versus her very own personal sex life which would seem to betray her denouncement of that of others who don't happen to agree with her political point of view.
But it's her use, or rather misuse, of "faith" for apparent political expediency that seems to get under the skin of Borchers. He appropriately winces at Coulter's statement in January of this year: "Oh, it was so much fun this year, because saying 'Merry Christmas' is like saying 'Fuck you!' I've said it to everyone. You know, cab drivers, passing people on the street, whatever."
"Speaking the truth in love is a Christian imperative," says Borchers, "But both truth and love --- core Christian concepts --- are foreign to Ann Coulter."
The final credit slide in "The Gospel of Ann" says that the work is "dedicated to Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and the One who commands that we should be nice to people (as well as loving them as He loves)." And finally, a special thanks "to Ms. Ann Hart Coulter, whose words and conduct have necessitated" it.
Here is the entire "Gospel of Ann" presentation, converted to Windows Media Player Video.
Selected excerpts and screenshots from the presentation follow...
Guest blogged by David Edwards
Mugshot and more at The Smoking Gun.
Guest blogged by David Edwards
NBC Today reports that Rove and Libby were "comparing notes about what they were hearing from reporters" before Novak first exposed CIA officer Valerie Plame's cover in an article on July 14, 2003.
Sources close to the investigation say Rove told Libby that he learned about Plame from Novak and Libby told Rove that he learned about Plame from Tim Russert. By process of elimination, we believe that this "source" is probably Rove's lawyer who is known to have leaked other information to the media.
The Associate Press reports that Libby's lawyer would not comment but fails to mention Rove's lawyer which probably means that he is the source for this leak:
Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, did not return repeated phone calls this week seeking comment.
Think Progress comes to a similar conclusion about leaks coming from Rove's lawyer noting that the White House official policy is not to comment on ongoing investigations.
So, why would Rove's lawyer leak information that contradicts testimony given by Judith Miller and Tim Russert?
We are also pleased to see that NBC is now being forced to report on Tim Russert's role. As Arianna Huffington notes, Russert has previously downplayed or neglected to report on his involvement in the scandal. A new article at the Booman Tribune closely examines the mystery behind Russert's silence and his connection with Libby.
UPDATE: AP is reporting that a GOP/White House effort to "blame the media" in the CIA leak case is not working. As new "leaks" reveal more details of the investigation, the White House's "unofficial" talking points become inoperative.
Details Coming Thursday...DEVELOPING...
As you can tell by the time stamp on this item, I'm up way too late, so please don't let the lack of description and analysis of the following two articles dissuade you from reading both of them.
Both are top-notch examples of quality journalism in America highlighting the fact that the fight for Election Reform in this country isn't over. Not by a long shot.
Miriam Raftery's extensive article, "MONKEY BUSINESS - A look at vote-counting mischief and the potential for more" in San Diego CityBEAT this week covers just about every base. From the recent disasters in that town's mayoral election, to Diebold's chicanery and their crappy, insecure, secret voting machines and software, to the Exit Polls, to the Warren County lockdown, to phony Ohio recount, to John Conyers, and yes, even Clint Curtis, about whom she says:
The article is a must read for the next jerk you come across who tells you that our election is just fine, both sides have been stealing elections forever, and that Democrats are just pissed because Kerry didn't win.
UPDATE: I'm told that CityBEAT editor David Rollin took some heat for running the article! Please send supportive email as you see fit to: email@example.com
Keep the article in your favorites file, along with James Renner's "Knocking the Vote - Diebold says its voting machines are bulletproof. Hackers say otherwise." just out from Cleveland's weekly SCENE.
It's also exhaustive, and oh, man...Diebold ain't gonna like that one at all.
And not just because it ends with a quote from Black Box Voting's Jim March, a Republican who was recently arrested while trying to view the tabulator screen in the recent Mayoral Election in San Diego. March is also the recipient of a multi-million dollar settlement after a suit he filed against Diebold in California. In reply to the reasons Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell gave to shareholders for the recent 15.6% plummet in Diebold stock prices, March makes no bones at all about his opinion of both O'Dell and Diebold: "These guys are liars, from top to bottom."
Enjoy the ride. I've gotta get some sleep...
As reports on the TreasonGate matter expectedly climb up the food chain from Rove and Libby to Dick Cheney, NY Daily News is reporting today that George W. Bush knew of Rove's involvement a full two years ago concerning the unprecedented outing by a White House of a covert CIA agent.
The Daily News story comes from their D.C. Bureau Chief, Thomas DeFrank, who --- as Josh Marshall points out --- has a unique relationship to senior Bushies as co-writer of James Baker's autobiography. Marshall suggests that because of that insider relationship "this article carries more weight than it would with another byline."
We're told that CNN is reporting --- to the surprise of absolutely nobody --- a denial by the White House of the entire story. We've yet to see the specifics of that denial, but we can well imagine it, and we've all learned that White House denials at this point are completely meaningless.
More newsworthy, however, is that David Corn points out that the Daily News report now seems to place Bush smack-dab in the middle of a classic "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up" scandal. You know, of the type that brought down Nixon and damn-near brought down Clinton:
See Corn's full story for the exchange.
Back in July the question of "What did the President Know and When Did He Know it?" had already surfaced in such places as Washington Post and even from David Gergen, advisor to three different Republican Presidents. This was the exchange we quoted from Gergen on July 24 (Windows Media Video version here):
[Stephanopoulos uses the opportunity to show the Scott McClellalan Oct 7, 2003 press briefing where he says that he spoke to Rove and Libby and can assure the media that "they were not involved." After discussion on things, it then come back to Gergen...]
GERGEN: There are two things about this. One about the President...If Scott McClellan was misled by Scooter Libby and by Karl Rove, was the President misled?...
GERGEN: ...Or if he was not misled and he was told the truth, how do they let Scott McClellan go out there with that statement?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Or does he think this is okay?
GERGEN: Yeah...Or does he think it's okay?...So I think...that's why I think this is increasingly gonna be about the President over time.
And now it's beginning to look like Gergen may have been exactly right...
UPDATE: Arianna tracks the food chain as it moves out sideways to John Bolton. Perhaps the real question should be: Who wasn't involved in either the crime or the cover-up in this White House?!
FURTHER SOMEWHAT RELATED UPDATE: The Dems make an interesting point concerning a story from AP today reporting that:
The perfectly appropriate question the DNC is asking:
STILL FURTHER UPDATE: Reuters reports on inquiry by Democrats into what Bush knew and when he knew it.
P.S. Additional red meat to be completely ignored by wingnuts: Warrant Issued for DeLay's Arrest
Guest blogged by David Edwards
UPDATE FROM BRAD: Just jumping in to say that "Colbert Report" is the most brilliant fucking thing I have perhaps ever seen on television. Be sure to catch it when you can! Hopefully David will keep us well-fed with clips here! C&L has a great one from the premiere on Monday if you didn't catch it.
C&L also has O'Reilly on Jon Stewart last night as well in case you missed it.
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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