On Tuesday, April 21, we gave Humboldt County, CA Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich a public records request for the two letters she read aloud (but declined to otherwise disclose) at a March 24 public meeting of the ad-hoc Humboldt Election Advisory Committee.
As The BRAD BLOG previously reported the two letters were from Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems). The primary purpose of both letters was to terminate all contracts between Premier and the county. The letters were dated March 17 and 18, the day of, and the day after, the CA Secretary of State's hearing regarding serious flaws found in Diebold/Premier's GEMS vote-tabulation system.
At that hearing, a Diebold/Premier spokesperson admitted that all versions of their GEMS systems --- as used in 20 counties in CA, and 34 states across the nation --- feature such flaws. Some of those flaws, including the wholesale deletion of ballots without notice to the system operator, were discovered to the surprise and dismay of Crnich and volunteers working on the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project following the certification of the November 2008 election. Crnich was subsequently forced to re-certify the election with new results. [Disclosure: Parke Bostrom is one of the volunteers on the Humboldt ETP.]
Last Tuesday, at the next monthly meeting of the ad-hoc committee, Crnich presented copies of the two one-page letters and allowed examination of the originals (copies of which are posted at the end of this article.) The letters' legal language is very plain, straightforward and troubling. The contracts' termination clauses are being executed, and those clauses specify the necessary steps and required time frames...no matter how it may adversely affect upcoming elections in Humboldt County...
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Global Swine Flu panic-demic?! Midnight and the Bush Administration; Utah student/ environmental activist faces prison time; Your dirty, dirty city; PLUS: ManBearPig!!!!! All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Obama's 100 Days Green Report card; Poo-powered golf carts; EPA pulls permit for coal-fired power plant in the Navajo Nation; ice action at both poles; Obama the Explainer on cap-and-trade, short and sweet; PLUS: Re-growing forests combats climate change ...See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
I'm sure that most, if not all, of you have heard of our loss of John Gideon. I'm also sure that you appreciated his faithfulness in providing you with up-to-the-day information about election issues.
He appreciated your faithfulness, too. Your work and personal engagement with him was a great inspiration to him and provided tremendous motivation for him to continue his work. Some of you expressed your gratitude to him in personal emails, which never failed to delight him. All of you expressed your appreciation by remaining subscribed to Daily Voting News. I don't say this lightly. He experienced your continuing subscriptions as appreciation for his work.
To state the obvious, John cannot be replaced. But DVN, John's personal brainchild and invaluable contribution to VotersUnite.Org, has become an essential resource in the election integrity community and beyond. I want to reassure you that I am working with other colleagues of John to figure out how VotersUnite can continue a form of DVN even in John's absence.
Hopefully, it will not be long.
Many tributes to John and his work have been posted on many sites. I am including links to three. Sharing our memories of John and even our sorrow in losing his active presence is one way to draw strength from this untimely loss.
It's been of some comfort seeing statements from public officials who John Gideon worked with --- sometimes in collaboration with, sometimes in opposition to --- issuing statements on his tragic passing.
Among the first I received was the following statement and note of condolence this morning from Nicole Winger, spokesperson for CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen...
War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”
And let's also not forget what Saint Ronnie similarly said on these matters. Seems to me the Republicans themselves have made a very compelling case for prosecuting war criminals, such as George W. Bush.
UPDATE: Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson on Bush's pre-war statement: "I think the message there is 'just kidding, folks.'" Details, video...
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Swine flu protection, nuthin' but pork, said the Republicans; California's new fuel regulations threaten corn ethanol; Does Al Gore profit from his environmental advocacy? PLUS: A tribute to our dear departed friend, John Gideon... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Sec. of State Clinton: U.S. "ready to lead" climate change fight; Crunch time for Chrysler and GM; Tesla charging station opens in California; Slowly overturning Bush "midnight regulations" on Mountaintop Removal; PLUS...Solar Power, even at night...See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.
Specter's announcement reflects an estrangement from the increasingly authoritarian, hard-right ideologues who now control the shattered remnants of the Republican Party. In California, the Republican Party passed a resolution to deny funding to six Republican lawmakers who joined with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats, passing a budget to prevent this state from falling into an economic abyss. In the U.S. House of Representatives, every Republican acted as one to say “no” to a vital stimulus, offering only the very measures that led to the current economic meltdown—tax cuts for the wealthy. Three Republican Senators, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, had no sooner broke ranks in voting for a compromise version of the stimulus package before they found themselves targeted by conservative groups, with Specter facing a primary challenge from hard-right Republican Pat Toomey.
It is a testament to how far the remnants of the Republican Party have moved to the right that RNC Chairman Michael Steele suggests Specter would have been defeated by Toomey because of the former moderate Republican's "left-wing voting record."
As we pointed out previously, upon the anticipated denial of former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal by the MN Supreme Court, Senator-elect "Franken...would be in a solid position --- legally and politically --- to then lobby the Senate hard and directly for an immediate seating, even if Coleman chooses to continue his fool's errand with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." Franken would become the 60th member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, ending the ability of the 'Party of No' to block the Democratic agenda --- unless either Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe beat him to it.
UPDATE 4/29, 5:55pm PT: In an op-ed appearing in today's New York TimesSenator Snowe observed that "being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of 'Survivor' --- you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe." Whether that means that she would be prepared to follow Specter off the reservation remains to be seen.
"I will choose to celebrate his life." - Ellen Theisen, John Gideon's co-director at VotersUnite.org on his passing.
It was a very lonely time for advocates of democracy in the U.S. when John Gideon posted his first guest blog here in the dark days of October 2005, and when we began to carry his vital "Daily Voting News" on Election Day, one month later, in November of that same year.
While the fight for democracy in this country has become somewhat less lonely as the Election Integrity movement has grown since then, thanks in no small part to the tireless, daily contributions of John, it feels very lonely again today. My good friend passed away this evening in a Seattle hospital, having succumbed to a surprise and sudden bout with bacterial meningitis.
John held on as long as he could, but tonight he'll rest with his beloved wife who passed some years ago.
He was 62, and a Vietnam veteran who never stopped fighting for his fellow veterans and in service of our country. He is survived by his son Rick and grandson, and a life-long legacy of fighting in defense of his nation, and for all that it stands for. He has left that legacy behind as a gift --- and challenge --- for us all.
John's always-understated "Daily Voting News" --- which he filed, often seven days a week, for well over five years --- provided simple links to news of election reform, failure and success from around the nation, as culled from papers, blogs, press releases and official and academic reports around the country, and even the world. In so doing, he connected the seemingly disparate dots of local stories, and apparently anecdotal woes, into a cohesive tale of a nation struggling to regain footing on the pedestal on which it had once, and still hoped to stand.
The compelling narrative the DVN slyly wove together daily --- almost, as if in slow-motion, with each passing day --- was clear: We were, and are, a country whose promise of public, transparent democracy threatens to slip away forever beneath a cynical and foolish crush of ill-considered corporatism and greed, self-imposed expediency and often well-meaning, yet destructive naivete. In short: Unless we take care --- every single day --- what's left of our democracy will further wither to the whims of cold, disinterested privatization no longer resembling the self-governance our founders envisioned, and that we have convinced ourselves still remains.
If there is anything we can give back to the man, in thanks for his selfless service, over so many decades, on so many fronts, it is to continue to carry the torch of the man who fought for democracy until he had nothing more he could give...
Despite the new wealth of evidence that the Bush administration’s desire to torture suspects was driven by a desire to gin up phony links between Iraq and al Qaeda, not by concerns about another terrorist attack, former Vice President Cheney is sticking to his story that it was all about terrorism. In part II of his interview with Fixed News, the Dark Lord accusing the Obama administration of not believing that the U.S. is threatened by terrorism.
The Fox "News" interview was vintage Cheney. He referred to torture as “a robust interrogation program on detainees” that was vital “to the very existence of the nation.”
CHENEY: What the Obama administration is doing, in effect, is saying that we don’t need those tough policies that we had. That says, either they didn’t work, which we know is not the case—they did work, they kept us safe for seven years...
You have to see a Cheney performance in order to appreciate the effectiveness of Cheney propaganda. Unlike George W. Bush, who was inclined to trip over his own tongue, Cheney has perfected the quiet lie. His words may be false but he delivers them as facts so uncontroversial you’d think he was a local network anchor reporting on traffic conditions...
I was scheduled to be on CNN's new online "Live" format last Thursday, before they knew what the "topic of the day would be". Turned out to be the FDA's approval to allow Plan B, a.k.a "the morning-after pill", to be sold to 17 year-olds after they were ordered by a U.S. District Court to do so. The judge also ordered the FDA to re-evaluate whether all age restrictions should be removed, following a determination that the Bush Administration's FDA had used politics, for years, instead of science, in determining whether Plan B was safe and effective enough to be sold over the counter.
Here's the video from my appearance along with a coupla other bloggers, Rachel Campos Duffy of AOL's parentdish and Gina Cooper from GinaCooper.com (she blogged about her appearance here). No comment on the use of the cutesy "Blogger Bunch" name for the segment, or for the allegation that Brad "leans to the Left" during the intro, even though Rachel, who doesn't "lean", but rather seems to live "on the Right" isn't described as such. But, as I say, no comment on any of that. I look forward to being invited back again soon...
Desi Doyen, my lovely co-host and managing editor of the The BRAD BLOG's smashing Green News Report, appeared today on KRXA's The Tasty Planet Show to discuss all things green-ish and food-ish. 'Tis a nice weekend break from all things torture. And ain't she brilliant? Enjoy!
MP3 download, or listen online right here [appx. 27 minutes]...
"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
My italics. Reagan was admant [sic] about prosecuting torture, but also prosecuting inhuman treatment that some might claim was not full-on torture. Now go read National Review or The Weekly Standard. And look what has happened to conservatism in America.
Reagan was, of course, part of the Blame-America-First crowd. Soft on terror. Friend of the evil-doers. Why did Ronald Reagan hate America?
UPDATE 7/11/09: NEWSWEEK reports that Holder "may be on the verge of" and "leaning toward appointing" a prosecutor to investigate Bush/Cheney-era torture. Their story notes that his initial deliberations on this matter seem to have coincided with his comments as noted above. Details on all now here...
Back in December 2007, when I wrote "Torture is Wrong, Illegal and It Doesn't Work," I mentioned that "the FBI agent who reportedly had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot, Ali Soufan, the only Arabic-speaking agent in New York and one of only eight in the country, and who has since resigned from the FBI, could and should tell people the truth of how the CIA's tactics were counterproductive."
Well guess what?! HE FINALLY DID SO ON WEDNESDAY! The points Soufan makes are very instructive as our country begins to unravel the differences between the fictional world of Hollywood's "Jack Bauer," and the real world dilemmas and questions of morality and legality as faced by actual intelligence and law enforcement officers.
"My Tortured Decision" is how former FBI Agent Soufan titled his New York Times op-ed, speaking out to specifically refute a number of Dick Cheney's lies about how torture "worked." The truth, according to Soufan, is quite the opposite from how Cheney continues to paint it...
[Updated with Premiere's official announcement at end of article.]
Following a nearly two-month absence from the airwaves, Progressive radio talker Randi Rhodes is set to return, according to an announcement this afternoon from John Scott of San Francisco's Green960 (KKGN). She will be syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks as reported in a video-taped announcement just posted on the Green960 website.
Premiere is known for their national syndication of far-right talkers such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura and Glenn Beck. Rhodes, known by fans as the "Goddess of Progressive Talk", had formerly been with NovaM Radio, which folded when she left, and at Air America Radio prior to that...