UPDATE: The BRAD BLOG has heard from sources, though we've not been able to get confirmation from Congress, that HR 811 may come up for a vote on the floor as early as tomorrow (Thursday). Please read below and take action!
The bill, as written --- despite our having helped to draft it prior to its introduction --- currently fails on a number of levels. Most notably, in its institutionalization of the use of disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for all of America. Such machines use secret, unverifiable, invisible ballots to count your vote.
As The BRAD BLOG has shown many times previously, PFAW --- by their own multiple written and spoken admissions --- PFAW actually prefers the use of DRE touch-screen voting systems over paper based systems, and thus has become the number one supporter of the Holt bill. Worse, they are joining (perhaps even leading) Holt's office in misleading America about what the bill does and doesn't do.
As HR 811 comes towards the U.S. House floor for a vote, PFAW is ramping up their efforts by sending out emails to members requesting they call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965.
We suggest you do the same. But demand that Pelosi amend the bill to include a ban on DRE voting systems or otherwise vote against the bill.
Then send this item to everyone you know!
Among the dishonest information propagated by PFAW during their pro-Holt campaign: The claim that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress, despite such a ban passing recently passing in the state of Florida with a Republican House and Senate. PFAW has made the claim repeatedly and convinced other Election Integrity organizations of its validity, but has refused to offer a single name of a single Congress member who now supports Holt's bill, but who would vote against it if it included a ban on dangerous DRE voting systems.
Among the knowingly dishonest, Frank Luntz-like deceptions that PFAW is now shamefully using in their continuing disinfo campaign (online version here, excerpts posted below from their email sent yesterday) contain the following misleading and/or incorrect claims about provisions in the Holt bill:
It would avoid the problem that occurred last November in Sarasota when 18,000 votes were lost on touch-screen DRE systems. It wouldn't. And they know that.
It would require that "ALL voting machines must produce a paper ballot." It doesn't. And they know that.
It would require that "ALL voting machine vendors MUST make the machines' software available for inspection." It does. But only for so-called "experts," only after a problem is discovered in an election, and only if those "experts" sign non-disclosure agreements. Despite PFAW's claim that the bill will allow for "No Secret Source Code," the bill will continue to allow for secret source code in every American election.
PFAW should be ashamed of themselves. You can email PFAW at PFAW@PFAW.org or call them with your complaints at: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329.
Excerpts from their deceptive email, sent yesterday, follow below...
These are interesting times. A short update on the most recent legal motions in the Libby case:
As we know, in a Grant of Executive Clemency on July 2, George W. Bush commuted all prison terms for I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. The grant states that it leaves “intact and in effect the two-year term of supervised release, with all its conditions, and all other components of the sentence.”
What with Libby not having served any time, Judge Walton, the trial judge in the Libby case, ordered input from prosecution and defense on the question of whether there could be any “release” – and consequently any “supervised release,” i.e. probation.
First response came from Fred Fielding, Esq., now Counsel to the President. Fielding was the man who helped Nixon negotiate the shoals of the Watergate investigation --- speaking of no jail time --- concluding with Nixon’s resignation followed in short order by a presidential pardon even without a conviction – and, according to Nixon and then-President Gerald Ford, without even a request for a pardon. One sees why Fielding would be welcome aboard the current White House.
The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's "top-to-bottom review" of electronic voting systems previously approved for use by her predecessor is still underway. But before any of the findings from her teams of security specialists, software analysts, and voting systems experts have been made public, the unprecedented analysis has already revealed a disturbing anomaly which may have far-reaching implications for both state and federal voting systems laws across the country.
The King Coounty, Washington, County Council voted on Monday that there can be no bar-code or other unique marks on paper ballots. In a press release one council member said, “The Washington State Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to cast a secret ballot,” said Councilmember Dow Constantine, prime sponsor of the motion. “We must protect this right by accurately tracking the return and signature verification of every voter’s sealed envelope, while ensuring that the ballot inside cannot later be connected with a particular voter.” One can only hope that now the state legislature will follow the county’s lead and make the same decision for the whole state.
Those stories, and the other voting news notables today, all linked below...
Following on yesterday's Michael Moore smackdown of Wolf Blitzer, Sanjay Gupta, and CNN specifically and the MSM in general, Moore and Gupta had it out tonight on Larry King Live after Moore fact-checked Gupta's so-called "Reality Check" from the evening before.
The Moore/Gupta appearance is below, broken into three parts...
Parts 2 and 3 of the Moore/Gupta appearance on Larry King Live follow below...
George W. Bush's poll numbers are mired in the 20s, so he releases the hounds hoping to terrify the populace into rallying to him in fear:
Calling it "a gut feeling" based on past patterns of terrorists in Europe, recent al-Qaeda statements and intelligence he did not disclose, Chertoff said of terrorists: "Summertime seems to be appealing to them. ... We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."
A recent terror plot in London and Scotland has America's defense system on alert, Chertoff said. He urged Americans to be attentive if something appears suspicious. But he said there is an assessment "not of a specific threat, but of increased vulnerability."
The continuation of the well publicized brouhaha (ed note: ass kicking!) between Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer may not provide the fireworks witnessed around the country yesterday but it is still a worthy watch. Blitzer is considerably more conciliatory (ed note: tamed!) this time around referring to parts of Moore's new movie Sicko as "powerful" on more than one occasion. Moore, however, saved the best for last with a classic comment to Blitzer at the very end of the segment that had me laughing out loud and should not be missed.
"Cartoons are the acid test of the First Amendment," Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette once wrote [PDF]. We concur.
Marlette, whose work has been long recommended by The BRAD BLOG, was killed in a car accident in Mississippi earlier today. His independent, frequently politically-incorrect --- and even frequently right-leaning --- voice will be missed.
As reported by Mother Jones on heels of revelations that "Family Values" Senator David Vitter (R-LA) was on DC Madam's list of clients...
In 2004, when Vitter was a congressman running for a seat in the Senate, Vitter campaigned with a promise of "protecting the sanctity of marriage." He went on to become a co-author of the "Federal Marriage Act" that sought to prohibit courts from interpreting same-sex marriage laws, and said of marriage, "I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one."
Thought we were done? Nope. Vitter once compared same-sex marriage to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The first line of his official biography reads, "David Vitter is dedicated to making life better for his young family and all Louisiana families."
But then, hypocrisy runs across Vitter's "young family." After extramarital affairs by Louisiana rep and now-you-see-him-now-you-don't Speaker of the House Bill Livingston were revealed, Vitter's wife was asked how she would react if her husband had been caught in an affair, like Livingston and Bill Clinton. "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary [Clinton]," she said. "If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."
She also added, "I think fear is a very good motivating factor in a marriage. Don’t put fear down." But, as usual, Republicans' use of fear is clearly more of a bullying/control tactic (if normally an effective one) than anything else.
According to Vitter's statement last night to AP, he previously informed his wife about his "very serious sin in [his] past for which [he is], of course, completely responsible." And yet, we haven't noticed Vitter walking with a limp lately. Guess his wife was just kidding.
And credit where it's due. It was the folks at Hustler [DISCLOSURE: BRAD BLOG's creator and editor-in-chief, Brad Friedman, is a frequent contributor to that magazine, as well as Mother Jones for that matter] who found Vitter's phone number on Deborah Jeane Palfrey's list of clients and contacted him for comment yesterday afternoon, before Vitter then went running to AP for his confession in order to try and get out in front of the story.
The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's "top-to-bottom review" of electronic voting systems previously approved for use by her predecessor is still underway. But before any of the findings from her teams of security specialists, software analysts and voting systems experts have been made public, the unprecedented analysis has already revealed a disturbing anomaly which may have far-reaching implications for both state and federal voting systems laws across the country.
As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively almost three weeks ago --- precisely zero media outlets bothered to file their own reports on this matter until last weekend --- all voting machine vendors certified in California had submitted their source code to Bowen for the review, except for ES&S, America's largest voting machine company.
After their refusal to submit the code as required for the test, Bowen demanded the source code used for the InkaVote Plus voting systems marketed by ES&S, and used exclusively in Los Angeles, be released to the state by the escrow firm which had been holding it as per state law.
Following Bowen's demand to the escrow company, Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management, ES&S reluctantly agreed to give their own version of the source code to the state.
Oddly enough at the time, the voting machine company, in an arrogant letter to Bowen (posted here in full by The BRAD BLOG), demanded that she withdraw her request to receive the version of the source code already stored in escrow at Iron Mountain. The letter succeeded in keeping our already-raised eyebrows at full perk, as the demand that Bowen not review the code in escrow, but rather look only at the one ES&S was sending, raised several troubling questions. Among them, we wondered at the time if perhaps the version stored in escrow was not the version actually used on the county's voting systems during last year's election. If so, there could be enormous ramifications for the company, and for the idea of escrowed source code for voting systems in general.
Over the weekend, an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, the first organization to jump into this matter following our series of reports, filed a story on the matter which began to validate our suspicions. The paper reported that due to the late submission, the InkaVote Plus system would not be included in Bowen's "top-to-bottom review", presenting questions about which voting system would be allowed for use in 2008, in the country's most populous county. LA County is larger than many states in America.
It's as yet unclear whether Bowen will completely decertify the InkaVote Plus system for use, or whether she will take other steps.
Perhaps more disturbingly, however, the Daily News report includes comments from CA's Deputy SoS for Voting Systems, Lowell Finley, indicating that our concerns about differences in the submitted and escrowed source code may have been precisely on target.
We contacted Bowen's office for more details, and they shared with us the letter sent from Finley back to ES&S in response to the company's curious demands. The letter is posted in full at the end of this article. And if the issue Finley raises is indeed true, there may be a whole lotta trouble ahead...
We just saw Michael Moore's Sicko tonight in St. Louis, and so were pleased to return to our current home base, to find RAW STORY's video coverage of Moore's long overdue smack down with Wolf Blitzer and CNN from earlier this afternoon.
"Just apologize to the American people and to the families of the troops for not doing your job four years ago," Moore excoriated Blitzer after a "Reality Check" report on Sicko by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which the filmmaker declared "so biased it's unbelievable."
"We wouldn't be in this war if you had done your job. Come on. Just admit it. Just apologize to the American people," he continued in just one choice selection of his rant against the CNN and the mainstream media failures that sent us into --- and have kept us in --- this mess. (After checking out the video, you can send your thoughts to CNN here.)
Thank you, Michael. Again.
As to the movie, go watch that too. We'd have more to say about it, but we're still pondering it all. We had hoped to go with a couple of doctors (our cousins) so they could tell us what was "wrong" with the movie. But for some reason, they weren't interested in going. We hope you will be. It was exceedingly eye-opening even if --- despite all the kudos Moore has received for "his most mature film to date" --- we think he pulled a few punches. Perhaps we preferred him when he was less mature, but maybe that's just us.
But if that was any drawback to his film, and it really wasn't, he made up for it --- in spades --- today with dead on-target ass-whooping to the hapless Wolf Blitzer and friends.
UPDATE 7/10/07: As promised, during his fracas with Blitzer, Moore has now posted a fact-filled refutation of Gupta's so-called "Reality Check". We'll see if CNN and Blitzer, as promised, issues the appropriate apologies and corrections in light of it. Also, well worth reading in response to all of those MSM'ers who so diligently "fact check" when it comes to Moore's film (hey, they need to hold "power" accountable, right? Might as well try to do it once every three years when a Michael Moore film comes out!) see James Clay Fuller's "Commenting on the Commentaries" from Twin Cities Daily Planet. Finally, Moore appears for "Part 2" with Blitzer tonight at 7pm ET on CNN's The Situation Room, and perhaps more notably, with Gupta himself on CNN's Larry King Live tonight at 9pm ET. Someone feel like counting the number of commercials for Health Providers and Pharmaceutical Companies during those two hours alone on CNN, just for yucks?
LATER UPDATES: Video of Part 2 of the Moore/Blitzer interview, aired the next day, now posted here. Video of the Moore appearance with Gupta on Larry King Livenow posted here.
Also charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday. In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.
Those voting news stories, and others from today, all linked below...
Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns
Looking into the combination high-level and shadowy backstory of Marc Rich, pardoned unpardonably by former President Clinton on the latter’s last day of office, will throw further light on the longterm Libby-Cheney relationship.
While this little item below went rapidly down the memory hole, back in early 2001 (very early) the incoming Bush administration made little noise (very little, very quickly ceased) about revoking Rich’s pardon. No public emphasis by the administration that Libby, the new chief of staff for Cheney and Special Assistant to Bush, had recently been Marc Rich's attorney for twelve years.
Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.
In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.
Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)
"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.
Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:
Here's the transcript of the exchange:
PETER B. COLLINS: You have recently removed yourself as a co-sponsor of 811, am I correct?
KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.
That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.
And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.
PBC: Indeed, yes...
KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.
Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at Live Earth yesterday spoke truth to power in this fantabulous speech (video above).
Kennedy challenged the notion that environmental advocacy was in contradiction to sound economic policy. He charged that "the oil industry and the coal industry and their indentured servants in the political process" making the claim were presenting "a false choice."
Among his exhortations was a call to action to respond to environmental disinformation by holding advertisers who support the disinfo operatives accountable.
"The next time you see John Stossel or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity --- these flat-earthers, these corporate toadies, lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist," Kennedy said, "you send an email to their advertisers and tell them that you are not going to buy their products anymore."
A transcript of RFK Jr.'s comments at Live Earth follow in full below...