Earlier this week, the Coleman camp was busted having withheld notes from Franken's team, and today, the end of Week 5, "all hell just broke loose in the Minnesota courtroom," according to TPM's Eric Kleefeld, when it was revealed that Coleman's team has also been hiding a witness, as revealed by secret email!
"Al Franken's lawyers [caught] Team Coleman in the act of yet more concealing of evidence --- and they've now made a motion to totally strike the Coleman camp's claims about double-counting of ballots, which the Coleman camp has hoped to use to subtract over 100 votes from Franken's lead."
Add to that what attorney Ernest Canning guest blogged here last week, explaining how Coleman's attorneys need to be sanctioned for having moved to un-count 933 ballots they'd previously signed a stipulation for, agreeing they were legitimately added to the total.
Just imagine what this case would look like by now, had Franken --- or any Democrat, anywhere, anytime --- been busted doing any of those things in regard to an election or an election contest.
UPDATE 3/3/09: Coleman fined for the incident. Slap on wrist includes stern warning that case could be dismissed if it happens again, according to the Star-Tribune:
One of the more contentious episodes in the trial so far ended Monday when the judges slapped Coleman with a $7,500 fine for failing to disclose a document from a Republican election judge who claimed votes were double-counted in Minneapolis. But they allowed her testimony to become evidence.
"In the event this sanction fails to deter future conduct on the part of [Coleman's] counsel, the court will not hesitate to impose harsher sanctions, up to and including dismissal [of the case]," the judges wrote.
We're on the road and off the grid most of today/tonight for duties in Phoenix, so without the time to offer proper context for the above. But suffice to say the latest report, as linked above, in concert with The BRAD BLOG's detailed series of coverage from last year --- linked below for your convenience --- suggests, the perpetrator or perpetrators of the most deadly biological attack ever carried out on American soil, still likely walks free.
And no, as we've also argued previously, George W. Bush didn't "keep America safe following 9/11".
Links to some of our noteworthy, and at times "Exclusive," coverage last year of the Anthrax case and the FBI's supposed "Anthrax Killer" follow below...
What is it about Sequoia’s spokesperson that she sits in court in New Jersey and then writes blog items about her opinion of what happened in court and those opinions are far from what really happened? Perhaps it is alright for her to spin the truth into something else in order to try to save the company from well deserved embarrassment? You always know when the disingenuous have no defense for the facts because they do all they can to attack the person who has the facts on their sides. Yesterday Sequoia posted another false blog item on their website and today, in our ‘Featured’ article, Professor Andrew Appel responds with the facts. ...
I'll be appearing at "An Evening with Brad Friedman: Exploring Citizen Journalism, Diversified Media and Election Integrity," emceed by ActionPoint's Cynthia Black tomorrow (Friday, 2/27) in Phoenix at 7pm.
It's at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1407 N. 2nd St. in Phoenix, and it's a fundraiser for DFA-Maricopa County! If you're within driving distance, please stop by and say hello!
Only in America can elected officials go on TV and confess to felonies (including torture and warrantless spying, not to mention aggressive war) and the resulting debate focus around the question of whether investigating the "possibility" of wrong-doing would be too radical. This week a coalition of dozens of human rights groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Society of American Law Teachers released a statement, as drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee, cutting to the chase.
It reads in its entirety:
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or "truth" commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.
I wrote this statement with some helpful tweaks from colleagues and have been screaming the same basic message for about three years, but I sense more than ever right now that more ears are open to it.
While actually enforcing laws and "getting tough on crime" is now considered the radical leftist position and a "truth" commission the reasonable compromise, it is clear that a bipartisan commission would create the bipartisan bickering our elected officials are so eager to avoid. It would also, in Senator Patrick Leahy's view, investigate the complicity of Democrats as well as Republicans in the crimes of the past 8 years, thus guaranteeing that neither Democrats nor Republicans will support it.
If Congress can't take the heat and won't even enforce its own subpoenas, it should leave well enough alone. Statutes of limitations are running out fast, and we don't have time for another commission. If President Obama wants to distance himself from enforcing the law, he can do what he is supposed to do and leave the matter in the hands of Eric Holder. And if Attorney General Holder wants distance he can do what is required and appoint a truly independent prosecutor. Doing so would please the following organizations. More are signing on every hour, and both organizations and individuals can sign on at ProsecuteBushCheney.org.
Was the 2006 RTA election in Pima Co. Arizona hacked? Did someone in local government actually get into the machines and change the vote totals? We may never know but the local Democratic and Republican Parties have joined forces in court along with some Election Integrity groups. They want to know the answer. The ballots have now been turned over to the state Attorney General’s office. The parties want a recount of those ballots. Will the AG do that? ...
From BlackBoxVoting.org's Bev Harris, on the section of the new Election Reform bill being proposed in the U.S. House by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), which would federally institutionalize secret software for vote counting, and the requirement of non-disclosure agreements for those who are lucky enough to be allowed permission to examine it...
I've been engaged in debate in private listservs on the so-called "new" Holt Bill, which is basically exactly the same as the old Holt Bill, and every bit as much a danger to our liberty as the other Holt Bill.
In fact, clause for clause, it's pretty much the same. Now, one wonders, in a new administration and with new political realities, why would one put forth a bill that supports secret vote counting?
The Holt Bill, like the persistent reappearance of Internet Voting proposals, reminds me very much of the process corporations followed in the late 1800s while grabbing "corporate personhood." They kept coming back to the well, year after year, defeat after defeat, until one year, someone fell asleep at the wheel and corporations grabbed the "right" to personhood.
What we are seeing in elections today is the surreptitious dismantling of self-government. Heck, if corporations can be persons, why not just choose our decisionmakers and in fact, just vote for us?
Well, we wouldn't allow that, because we'd know that is actually just slavery, giving up our inalienable right to self-government. So it must be done surreptitiously.
Last week, we analyzed the latest draft version [PDF] of Holt's soon-to-be-introduced "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" bill in depth. We detailed the dangers of its provisions allowing for secret software --- which even he and his office admit have been included in the bill because Capitol Hill lobbyists from "the proprietary software industry...won" the battle over full software and hardware disclosure --- along with Holt's continued insistence on allowing for the use of unreliable, unverifiable touch-screen voting devices.
The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system, tirelessly, fiercely and independently for years, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work, which only you help to fund, with a donation to help us continue the work so few are willing to do. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
[Updated at end of article, with details on hearing announced for next week.]
The Senate is quietly preparing plans to investigate allegations of torture under President George W. Bush, according to comments published Wednesday by Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
The Senate Judiciary Committee could announce a hearing to consider various plans to probe allegations of torture as early as today, according to Salon's Mark Benjamin, citing Committee Chairman Pat Leahy and members of his staff.
Leahy's office told Raw Story Wednesday morning that a press release would be sent out shortly.
Sen. Whitehouse said he's "convinced" the investigation will move forward.
"Stay on this," he told Benjamin. "This is going to be big."
Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island, is "spearheading" the efforts, and as a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, "is privy to information about interrogations he can't yet share," the magazine noted.
Neither Salon's nor RAW STORY's coverage made it completely clear whether the Senators are discussing an idea that is different from Leahy's previously-floated "Truth Commission" --- where immunity would be granted to many who testify, in questionable exchange for making "the truth" known --- though this investigation does seem to be distinct from that one. We'll try to keep our eye out for Leahy's press release today, in case it offers some clarity. [Update: See details of Leahy's announcement added at bottom of article.]
One point from Salon, also worth highlighting, is that the tenacious Sen. Whitehouse seems keen on using this investigation to help disprove the often asserted notion that the Bush, um, "enhanced interrogation" policies saved lives, despite the lack of evidence supporting that wishful thinking, and the growing body of evidence and testimony --- from those who actually know --- which plainly disputes it.
Retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba, who led the investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, is quoted from a recent interview as disputing those who have claimed --- from the comfort of their keyboards --- that torture saved lives: "Some of those activities were actually not effective and those who thought so were in the academic or pristine settings of their offices," Taguba told Salon. "What would they know?"
Whitehouse adds: "It is important to prove the point, because they keep saying, 'We saved lives. We interrupted plans. We did this, that and the other.'...Well, when you drill down, there is never a fact there. It turns into fog and evasion."
Again, with Whitehouse on both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, with access to much more information than has been made public to date, he oughta know. At least slightly more so than the Wingnuts who rule the public airwaves and, with it, the public "debate" on these issues to date.
UPDATE 1:34pm PT: On the Senate floor today, Leahy announced his plans for a hearing next Wednesday, March 4th at 10am ET (including a live webcast), called "Getting to the Truth Through a Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry."
Journalists, so concerned with being accused of having a liberal agenda, will at times overreact by self-censoring themselves, resulting in more favorable coverage of Republicans, a new analysis of television coverage finds.
A book by two Indiana University professors details their study of the three broadcast networks' --- ABC, CBS and NBC --- presidential campaign coverage from 1992 to 2004. According to the analysis, the coverage favored Republican candidates in each election.
"We don't think this is journalists conspiring to favor Republicans. We think they're just so beat up and tired of being accused of a liberal bias that they unknowingly give Republicans the benefit in coverage," said Maria Elizabeth Grabe, an associate professor at IU, who along with Associate Professor Erik Bucy, wrote Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections.
"Grabe and Bucy found the volume of news coverage focusing exclusively on each party --- one measure of media bias --- favored Republicans. Their research found there were more single-party stories about Republicans overall and in each election year except 1992," reads the release.
The authors found that Republicans were more likely to get the last word in every presidential election studied but the 2004 election.
Back in 2001, I wondered about the same thing. Why is the first address to a joint session of Congress in a new President's term not called a "State of the Union" address? And isn't a State of the Union message required by the Constitution every year?
I'm on the road this week (and next), so I'm short on time to find out the answers to those questions. If anyone has the answers, or any other thoughts on tonight's address to a joint session of Congress by President Barack Hussein Obama, please feel free to share them in comments...
EAC Commissioner Rosemary Rodriguez has tendered her resignation and will return to Colorado to be the State Director for Senator Michael Bennet. Commissioner Rodriguez joins ex-Commissioners Soaries and Martinez who resigned before their term was up and not, like ex-Commissioner Hunter, to take another job in DC.
Lawmakers in New Jersey have taken the state backwards as the State Senate agreed with the House that the state should scrap plans to provide any verifiability in their elections. A requirement signed into law a few years ago should have required a "Voter-verifiable Paper Audit Trail" [VVPAT] on all of the state’s Direct Recording Electronic [DRE] voting machines over a year ago. Instead the deadline has been a moving target and will now, with signature of the Governor, go away...
Tonight’s “Featured” article begins: “The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) works for the People. They don't work for special interests. They don't work for the voting system vendors. The EAC has an obligation, spelled out in their past advisories, public statements and, most importantly, in federal law, to carry out oversight of the voting systems we, the People, use in our federal elections. It does not matter that the EAC commissioners are not elected to their positions. They are still servants of the People.” ...