Riverside County, California public servants want to introduce a ballot issue to ask voters their opinion of electronic voting. But the watchdog group Save R Votes thinks it’s a waste of money. “"We don't doubt that people like electronic voting, but it is not safe, transparent or auditable," says Tom Courbat, the group’s founder.
Complaints from Georgia about the new citizenship requirement for voter registration are rebutted by Secretary of State Karen Handel, who argues that the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud. She claims discrimination by the federal government, arguing that it’s not fair that Ohio’s Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner can take actions favorable to her party without federal oversight, but Handel can’t do the same in Georgia. The debate about voter ID continues in Texas and South Carolina with some machine problems from Mississippi, Michigan, and Ohio....
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "My hope is that our Democratic colleagues - if you start listening to the bloggers - if we're going to let the bloggers run the country, then the country's best days are behind us."
Out of touch much, Senator? We suspect if the bloggers actually did run the country, we'd be much better off (if only because you'd be out of office.)
But perhaps Graham is confusing responsible, educated "bloggers" with the right-wingnut "bloggers" he's likely more familiar with. For example, here's the very popular (on the Right) Dijon deranged wingnut "Gateway Pundit," Jim Hoft, with his insightful perspective on the important news of the day yesterday:
They're just two ordinary metrosexual guys going out for a burger ... Obama and Biden, two ordinary guys, go out for a sandwich and Obama asks for Dijon mustard at Joe's Hell Burger. ...I hear it's delish with arugula lettuce. Yum-Yum.
If that's who you meant by "bloggers," Senator --- and we're ashamed that Hoft represents our former hometown of St. Louis, MO --- we might agree with you.
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Fires and bats and bears --- OH MY!; Congress to offer 'Cash For Clunkers'; Some Democrats side with Republicans in stalling climate legislation; PLUS: A new lightbulb that lasts for 25 years?!? .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Cotton vs. Corn for American farmers; U.S. exports giant industrial pig farms to Eastern Europe, but not environmental protections; Ethanol gets a boost from Obama; Big Shipping has bigger emissions...See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
Dori Smith of Talk Nation Radio has put together a wonderful tribute show to our late friend John Gideon. Ellen Theisen, his partner at VotersUnite.org and I --- and John --- join Dori in her remembrance. It was good...no, great...no, heartbreaking...but wonderful, to hear his voice again...
Dori, in addition to being a first-rate investigative broadcaster, is also a great election integrity advocate herself in Connecticut. She has a blog item, describing her beautiful tribute show, in honor of John, right here.
UPDATE 5/25/09: Part 1 of TNR's report is above. Part 2 of Dori's moving tribute is now posted here, in memory of John, on Memorial Day 2009...
Under the current Voting Rights Act, U.S. Department of Justice approval will be needed to implement a newly passed Georgia law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, a law which "opponents say would keep the poor, elderly and minorities away from the ballot box." Will a Supreme Court decision on the VRA nullify or uphold this law? The anticipated "stricter" Texas Voter ID law appears to be in progress....
"When any modern state tortures even a few victims, the stigma compromises its majesty and corrupts its integrity. Its officials must spin an ever more complex web of lies that, in the end, weakens the bonds of trust and the rule of law that are the sine qua non of a democracy. And, beyond its borders, allies and enemies turn away in collective revulsion." - Prof. Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture (2006).
Truth and justice are essential components of democracy and the rule of law. We cannot move forward unless we honestly examine our past. Accuracy is vital to every decision we make, be it impeachment, prosecution or a restoration of our nation’s honor and integrity.
This is the first in a five-part series of articles which will strive to correct misperceptions arising from the erroneous blending of military and CIA torture. This task has become especially relevant now that the Justice Department's the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the very section which had issued the torture memos, tasked by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey with investigating itself, has now released a recommendation that none of the authors of the torture memos be prosecuted. This recommendation stands in stark contrast to our nation's post-World War II decision to prosecute German judges for war crimes at Nuremberg.
Part I addresses the relatively public involvement of the U.S. military and private contractors at Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It will dispel the notion that the Bush White House sought out independent legal opinions from the OLC before deciding to torture.
Part II will discuss the CIA's dark beginnings, including its recruitment of former Nazis, its devotion to covert "psychological operations" as a founding principle, the experiments on unwitting subjects that were part of a maniacal quest to crack the code of human consciousness, and the scientific studies that led to KUBARK, the CIA's torture manual.
Part III provides a vital historical account of CIA torture applied by surrogates in developing nations as a component of empire, an account that belies the suggestion made by the The New York Times that CIA torture first arose as an aftermath of 9/11.
Part's IV and V will address the CIA's involvement in extraordinary rendition and an ultra-secret system of “black-sites” into which “ghost detainees” would disappear. It will show how the techniques used on "ghost detainees" are the culmination of a half-century of CIA research and practices...
Yet another state backs the conservative, Constitutional principle of equal protection under the law for all, as Maine's Gov. John Baldacci signs the legislature's newly approved bill, allowing for marriage equality in the state.
In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.
Maine's recognition of equal justice for all, follows Vermont whose legislature last month over-rode a gubernatorial veto to pass a marriage equality law. Prior to that, same sex marriages were recognized as Constitutionally protected by Supreme Courts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California. In all of the state Supreme Court decisions, it was a Republican-appointee who wrote the majority opinion.
California's court finding has since been overturned by Prop 8, the constitutionality of which is currently being challenged. For the moment then, five states in the union now protect the right of same sex couples to enjoy the same rights that couples of opposite sexes enjoy.
Welcome aboard to our latest network affiliate - Roots Up Radio.com, where the Green News Report is heard on Action Point with Cynthia Black!
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Mmmmmm...mercury in tuna --- Sorry, Charlie!; Idaho gunning for wolves, but Wyoming gets shut out; PLUS: Size matters --- the world's largest, and smallest, in solar power .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Is China really going green?; Corroded pipes discovered at New York nuclear power plant; The UK gets an all-electric family car, so why not the U.S.?; Philly is Goin' Green by 2015, and how they'll do it; PLUS: "Water is the oil of the 21st century" --- are we headed for Resource Wars? ...See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
The recent international flavor of the Daily Voting News continues today. India also wrestles with questions of voter ID and accessibility for people with disabilities. In the Philippines, the bidding to select a single vendor for the Election Automation Process, touted to make future Philippine elections “fraud-proof”, began today.
Rest assured not everything is international news; there are domestic election stories as well....
The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its own members - such as both Hastert and Harman - in matters of espionage and national security
I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending my thoughts - that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: "It's a sad day when you have members of Congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken."
The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is 'badly' broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results highlight how the American people's trust in their Congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our Congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place - without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out loud why, especially after they helped secure a major victory for the Democrats. The same Democrats who had for years pointed fingers at their big bad Republican majority colleagues as the main impediment preventing them from fulfilling what was expected of them.
The recent stunning but not unexpected revelations regarding Jane Harman (D-CA) by the Congressional Quarterly provide us with a little glimpse into one of the main reasons behind the steady decline in the integrity of Congress. But the story is almost dead - ready to bite the dust, thanks to our mainstream media's insistence on burying 'real' issues or stories that delve deep into the causes of our nation's continuous downward slide. In this particular case, the 'thank you' should also be extended to certain blogosphere propagandists who, blinded by their partisanship, myopic in their assessments, and ignorant in their knowledge of the inner workings of our late Congress and intelligence agencies, helped in the post-burial cremation of this case.
Ironically but understandably, the Harman case has become one of rare unequivocal bipartisanship, when no one from either side of the partisan aisle utters a word. How many House or Senate Republicans have you heard screaming, or even better, calling for an investigation? The right wing remains silent. Some may have their hand, directly or indirectly, in the same AIPAC cookie jar. Others may still feel the heavy baggage of their own party's tainted colleagues; after all, they have had their share of Abramoffs, Hasterts and the like, silently lurking in the background, albeit dimmer every day. Some on the left, after an initial silence that easily could have been mistaken for shock, are jumping from one foot to the other, like a cat on a hot tin roof, making one excuse after another; playing the 'victims of Executive Branch eavesdropping' card, the same very 'evil doing' they happened to support vehemently. Some have been dialing their trusted guardian angels within the mainstream media and certain fairly visible alternative outlets. They need no longer worry, since these guardian angels seem to have blacked out the story, and have done so without the apparent need for much arm twisting...
Mixed emotions accompanied the release of the first post-Gideon DVN - happiness to see John's important work taking some tentative new steps, sadness that he isn't here to do it. There also comes a profound realization of how much more went into the process than we ever appreciated. It feels like trying cook Grandma's signature dish based on the partial list of ingredients in collective memory. Thus, we're thankful for your encouragement and for those who surreptitiously spit their food into a napkin and convincingly said they were full but it was great.
Today's issue of the Daily Voting News contains some international flavor with thoughts on the Indian elections.
Domestically, the debate over photo ID continues in Texas and Mississippi as does the national debate on the Voting Rights Act....
We are thankful for the opportunity to honor the work of John Gideon by continuing the Daily Voting News. We appreciate the encouragement expressed and patience during this transition under trying times. Because multiple days are covered in this issue of the DVN, news items within a given state are in chronological order; the date of publication appears in headline of the article for this issue only.
Voter participation issues (such as photo ID and caging) have been much in the news....
A few developments this week in the case of Mike Connell, the GOP IT guru who died in a single-engine plane craft last December, just after being forced to testify in a long-standing OH 2004 voting rights case, but before the case could come to trial. As The BRAD BLOG has long covered both the lawsuit, and Connell's central role, I wanted to make sure the new developments were noted here. Forgive my quick copy and paste, necessarily, given the circumstances of the week which still have me otherwise distracted in many ways. Background links on the entire Connell story are included at the end of this item...
The sisters of Michael Connell, a GOP IT consultant and former associate of Karl Rove who died in a plane crash last December, are now questioning the circumstances surrounding his death.
“Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work,” a local Wisconsin paper reported Thursday. “She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.
“‘At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead,” the paper quoted Shannon as saying. “But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.”
“A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002,” the paper adds, “the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother’s death: ‘It doesn’t seem right to me at all.’”
John Gideon wanted the stewards of democracy to have a summary of each day’s news concerning a broad range of issues regarding the integrity of elections in the U.S. and elsewhere, so he created and published the free newsletter, the ‘Daily Voting News’ [DVN].
Despite our recent loss of John, the value and need for DVN – his creation – remains unchanged. A working group has been established to determine the best way to continue this service. More information about the effort and opportunities for you to contribute to DVN will be coming.
Until a stable, workable plan is implemented, a few us will produce DVN using John's example as a guide. The first order of business is to produce a DVN covering the news of this latest week. Please bear with us as we assemble both the latest news and the new DVN team at VotersUnite.Org.
I’d like to thank John Washburn and Dave Klein for stepping in quickly to help re-instate DVN in John’s absence.