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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...
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From AP today on the hostage stand-off that took place yesterday at a VA post office [emphasis added]:
Now I wonder where Taylor could have gotten those completely-misinformed ideas?
Of course, as non-disinformed folks know, there have been no moves --- zero, not even a peep --- by the Democratic-controlled Congress or White House about taking away anybody's "right to bear arms," and taxes have been lowered, not raised, since Obama took office, for 95% of working families. Though you'd be hard-pressed to know that if you did nothing more than watch Fox "News" or listen to talk radio on the public airwaves.
In one sadly ironic note, the AP article adds...
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Not a happy anniversary for a Tennessee town; Carping on invasive species in the Great Lakes; Oopsies for PA Childhood Lead Prevention Center ... PLUS: Have a Greener Christmas! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': UN Climate Chief urges avoiding blame over summit; China says "development right" key in climate talks; Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced $1 billion to stop deforestation around the world; New EPA shipping rule may exempt older vessels; Delay in tax extenders could hinder investment in biofuels, energy sector; IBM forecasts the next 5 big ideas for the next 5 years; New WaPo/ABC poll shows political polarization on environmental science; NOAA Warns El Nino changes in Pacific getting stronger....
PLUS: 5 Radical Green Actions That Could Get You Arrested and 5 Alternatives That Won't: Drastic times call for drastic measures ....
Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...
[Ed Note: On Monday, The BRAD BLOG published Frank Schaeffer's guest editorial, "Obama Will Win: Why and How His Critics from the Left and Right Will be Proven Wrong". Today, we're pleased to offer a counterpoint in reply by author David Swanson.]
Guest editorial by David Swanson
I've appreciated much of Frank Schaeffer's commentary at The BRAD BLOG but his column here this week on Obama winning was an exception. Schaeffer labels himself an "Obama supporter" and explains that Obama supporters are "sticking with our President." The language Schaeffer uses, after identifying himself as a "former religious Rightwing agitator", is helpful in illuminating a troubling pattern of thought that is widespread in our society:
"We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us."
Here is faith, or at least faithfulness, explicitly entering politics through the advocacy of a recovering religious advocate. As everyone knows who has tried to recover from a pattern of thought, it is far easier to reject or reverse the specifics than it is to step outside the framework. But it is the framework that I find disturbing. I disagree with the point of view above just as much as I disagree with rightwing religious agitation, and for the same reasons. I don't want to be a faithful, trusting supporter of a uniquely great and good being...
Earlier this month, a two-month independent investigation of ACORN, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found incidents of mismanagement, but no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN, the favorite whipping boy of Republican scammers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the GOP itself. That investigation (full report here [PDF]) also found that the "sting videos" used recently against ACORN were highly doctored and manipulated.
Of course, readers of The BRAD BLOG know the Republicans' entire, long, sad, anti-democratic (small "d" and large "d" both) campaign is based on little more than the fact that ACORN registers millions of legal low and middle income voters who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic (large "d") rather than Republican, and the GOP and their democracy-hating proxies will go to any lengths to keep those legal voters from exercising their legal franchise.
And today, once again, ACORN is cleared of wrongdoing vis a vis yet another independent investigation, this one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], as noted in a press release from U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers this afternoon (posted in full below).
Of most note to our readers, Conyers' statement points out what we've been pointing out - over and over and over again for years: "There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported 'attempting to vote at the polls.'" Who knew?! What a surprise! (At least to Fox "News" viewers, who probably won't hear about this report either.)
Also: "No instances were identified in which ACORN 'violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.'"
And: "Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts 'may have a sufficient basis' to conclude that the legislation 'violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.'" That finding is one that a federal judge also recently concurred with, when she issued an injunction earlier this month to keep the law from taking affect since ACORN had "been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt."
Finally, according to today's report, Andrew "Drudge's Poodle" Breitbart's phony video-taped "sting operation" against ACORN may, itself, have violated the law in both California and Maryland, about which we might ironically recommend to prosecutors: "Capital punishment" for Andrew Breitbart!
The short press release from Conyers, announcing the new report's bullet points, follows below...
UPDATE: And coverage of the NYTimes burial of this report, now follows below it...
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Copenhagen Wrap-up: After high stakes diplomacy and high comedy, the U.N. conference ends with something resembling an agreement --- but is the glass half-full, or half-empty? ... PLUS: Was she lying then, or is she lying now? Sarah Palin was for action on climate change before she was against it ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': In Industrial Thailand, Health and Business Concerns Collide; NASA satellites show California's water problems worse than previously thought; Toxic legacy: public schools built on contaminated land; NASA, Google offer more precise emissions tracking; Acid oceans: the 'evil twin' of climate change; Climate activist youth groups: ‘There will be no decisions about us, without us’ .... PLUS: CBO Stunner: Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act cuts the deficit ...
Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...
[Ed Note 12/23/09: Author David Swanson has now published a counterpoint in reply to the following editorial. His guest editorial is now published here: "Will WE Win?: A Reply to Frank Schaeffer's 'Obama Will Win'".]
Guest editorial by Frank Schaeffer
Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted Left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled Right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds --- including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious Rightwing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter --- are sticking with our President. Why? Because he is succeeding.
We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.
Obama's steady supporters will be proven right. Obama's critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst...
$636 billion for annual military spending was approved by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, with little more than a hiccup of debate from Republican "conservatives," not a peep from the Democrats, and even less coverage from the corporate mainstream media.
But $850 billion for 10 years of what is ostensibly meant to be health care reform for the health and welfare of American citizens --- all while reducing the budget deficit by $132 billion over that period, according to the CBO? "A budget buster!," shout the phony "conservatives" in the same Senate.
Anyway, there's your "American Values," in a two-part nutshell, from today's Republicans and the Democrats and corporate media who enable their madness as if it weren't so.
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
The year was 1969. I was attending a freshman college history class, shortly after returning from Vietnam, when my professor said:
While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....
On Thursday we reported that Florida's AG office was investigating the recent acquisition of Diebold's voting machine unit by its larger/largest "competitor," ES&S, for possible violations of anti-trust statutes in the state. Today, the New York Post reports that the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also actively investigating the same thing --- along with 14 states in total --- and may "file a suit to unwind the deal" next month...
The Justice Department, Florida and 13 other states have opened investigations into the September marriage between Election Systems & Software and Diebold's Premier Election Solutions, which played a controversial role in the 2004 presidential election, according to a source with direct knowledge of the process.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is planning to hold hearings on the matter next month, the source said.
Even though the merger gave ES&S a whopping 70 percent of the voting-machine market share, the $5 million deal was too small to require government approval.
Now, the Justice Department is looking into the matter and next month could file a suit to unwind the deal, the source said.
Though the Post story seems to be based on a single, unnamed "source," they also note that "A Diebold spokesman confirmed the Ohio ATM maker was cooperating with a Justice Department investigation."
And while there are other "Justice Department investigation[s]" that Diebold is also cooperating with --- as The BRAD BLOG noted early this year, when the company's Chief Financial Officer was forced to stop down: "[Diebold has been] been facing a class-action securities fraud lawsuit from shareholders since 2005; under SEC investigation since 2006; and under DoJ investigation since 2007; and admitted overstating '07 earnings in early 2008" --- Reuters coverage of the story offers more direct confirmation of the DoJ probe of this particular matter. "Diebold spokesman Michael Jacobsen said in an email that the company was cooperating with the Justice Department review of the sale," they report tonight.
BlackBoxVoting.org's Bev Harris deserves much credit here, both for helping to get the anti-trust ball moving when the merger was first announced in September, as we reported at the time, but also for providing the DoJ a great deal of information, statistics, financial and legal analysis demonstrating the monopolistic nature of the sale, and the harm it presents to our already in-tatters system of election in the U.S.. See BBV's additional coverage here.
[ADDITIONAL BREAKING UPDATES NOW ADDED BELOW...]
Guest blogged by Desi Doyen
As we noted in yesterday's Green News Report, President Obama is in Copenhagen today at the U.N. climate summit, in an attempt to broker a deal at the historic conference which has been stalled in efforts to reach an international agreement on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
It appears his efforts have paid off: MSNBC is reporting that a U.S. official says Obama has brokered a "meaningful agreement" agreement with China, India, and South Africa to move the talks forward.
The talks have been deadlocked over emissions targets, and how reductions will be verified, with China balking at allowing international audits of progress. Obama was originally scheduled to return to the U.S. today after his speech, but canceled his trip in order to enter into intensive high-level negotiations with other world leaders.
LIVE UPDATES ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY FOLLOW BELOW...
Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams
Two weeks ago Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan named federal prosecutor Henry Schuelke to investigate whether gross prosecutorial misconduct tainted the government's case against now-former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. At issue, whether prosecutors withheld critical evidence from the defense or whether the case was improperly handled under pressure to meet deadlines.
US Attorney General Eric Holder, in a stunning move, threw out the government's corruption case against Stevens last April and issued the following statement:
Holder also relocated attorneys who worked on the case including William H. Welch II, who ran the Department's public integrity unit.
WaPo failed to report that William Welch is currently under criminal contempt of court for his role in the case against Stevens. Welch was also involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and served nine months in prison before his release was ordered pending appeal.
Despite Welch's pending legal issues, his name continues to be listed on recent filings in Siegelman's case. Siegelman finds this "quite curious as he's been hot after my prosecution for a good long time now."
Aside from alleged governmental misconduct in the Siegelman case, there are paramount legal issues that have been recognized by 91 former State Attorneys General and a group of First Amendment law professors across the country. And yet, while the DOJ is making a point to review Republican cases, not one case against a Democrat has been completely overturned and, as Siegelman told me in a recent interview, he believes very little has changed at the department, other than the names "at the top"...
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says "comity" in the must-see clip below, but "comedy" might have been more appropriate in regard to Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) shut down of Sen. Joe Lieberman (WhoKnows-CT), as Franken was presiding over the chamber, which left us laughing out loud, and applauding quietly to ourselves. (Via TPM with more background)...
And, if you missed it earlier this week, Franken's take-down of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is an absolute must-see as well. Though we've had our own beefs with Franken's politics over the years, we must concede that it's frickin' awesome to finally see and hear someone --- anyone --- speak this way in the U.S. Senate. We'd be delighted to see 60 more just like him! Check it out if you haven't seen it already (and again, TPM has more background)...
Take a bow, Sen. Franken. Please keep up the great work!
From the Herald/Times [emphasis added]....
McCollum's office has issued at least six subpoenas covering every major voting-machine company as part of a civil investigation of Election Systems & Software's $5 million acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s elections division --- a merger that would give a private company too much power over the machines used to cast votes, voting-rights groups say.
``Our office engaged in this issue because anti-competitive behavior can seriously harm consumers,'' McCollum said in a written statement. ``Competitive behavior encourages the best products be available to consumers, including technology, particularly in a market as sensitive as the voting systems market.''
Under the state's 1980 anti-trust law, McCollum could persuade a court to levy fines against ES&S or prevent the company from operating in Florida. By next year, the company is expected to be the exclusive provider of voting machines and services in 65 of the 67 counties in Florida, the nation's most important swing state.
That means, under the acquisition announced Sept. 2, ES&S will provide election services to 92 percent of Florida's 11.2 million voters.
More broadly, ES&S's purchase of the competitor company gives it control of the voting machines in nearly 70 percent of the nation's precincts, according to a federal lawsuit in Delaware filed by a rival company, Hart Intercivic. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own inquiry.
ES&S, of course, told the Herald/Times that their acquisition of Diebold "will result in better products and services for all customers and voters alike." And, if you believe that, we've got an unhackable voting machine to sell you....
[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG emailer JM]
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