This November, after all that we've learned over so many years, twenty percent of the nation will still engage in blind-faith voting on DREs that are 100% unverifiable, with or without a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT). Elsewhere, the vast majority of Americans will feed paper ballots into easily hacked optical scan systems and then quietly accept the results that the machines spew out without demanding a hand count of the paper ballots.
The corporate media will dutifully publish the reported "results" without so much as mentioning that in most jurisdictions not a single ballot will have been counted by a human being.
With Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen off enjoying some much needed R & R, I thought some levity was in order, courtesy of this hilarious, if somewhat dated, Onion video.
UPDATE FROM BRAD 9/6/10: Now that I'm almost back on the grid, a quick addition here to note that we ran this same video back on February 25, 2008. That it still has resonance and meaning today --- after all that we've learned about the 100% unverifiable nature of such systems --- says a great deal, since we're still foolishly using these things all across the country, as Ernie pointed out. Also related from The Onion, as we ran in November of 2008, there's this: "Sequoia Touch-Screen Elected 44th President".
As we noted in last Thursday's report, the Green News Report will be away until after Labor Day, as we enjoy our first week off EVER from the GNR since we began broadcasting in 2009!
Until we return (presuming we don't get eaten by bears while camping, which is entirely possible), please read Desi's "Katrina 5 Years Later: Have We Learned Anything?" if you haven't already, and when that's done, you can peruse a year and half's worth of our 6 minutes of independent green news, politics, analysis and snarky comment right here...
It's been a while since we've checked in with election fraud whistleblower turned would-be politician Clint Curtis, so let's bring everyone up to speed. Clint Curtis is the computer programmer who was allegedly asked to write election-flipping software by former Florida Speaker of the House-turned-U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney (R) back in 2000. Curtis blew the whistle and testified, under oath and on video tape, before a U.S. House Judiciary Committee panel shortly after The BRAD BLOG broke the extraordinary story in late 2004. (Quick recap of the Curtis story and links to our years-long, in-depth coverage right here.)
Curtis fought back, taking on Feeney twice for his congressional seat, only to lose both times - the first to a fishy vote count in 2006 (which Curtis challenged with evidence in hand, only to be shot down by a Democrat-led Congressional committee) and the second time to a pro-Bush Blue Dog millionaire put up by the Dems in the 2008 primary. Feeney, dogged by Curtis' allegations, and an FBI investigation into his dealings with disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, would finally lose his seat in '08. (Curtis' story is covered in depth in the award-winning 2008 documentary film Murder, Spies & Voting Lies.)
You'd think that'd be enough politics for anyone, but not Curtis. He loaded up the truck and moved several hundred miles north of Beverly… Hills, that is. Now armed with a brand-spankin' new law degree, he is mounting one more assault on a Congressional seat --- this time in Northern California's 4th Congressional district.
Will this be another quixotic attempt? Or will the progressive Democratic candidate who ran unchallenged in the recent CA primary, finally break through, giving Congress a much-needed voice of reason and election integrity advocates a serious ally in the House of Representatives?
I recent spoke to Curtis about all of the above, and much more...
On Saturday, Arthur S. Brisbane, the New York Times' new Public Editor, filed his debut column. He takes his difficult post following the reign of the former Public Editor Clark Hoyt, the disastrous 'weasel' (cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's infamous depiction, not ours, though we have no quibble) whose contract ended last June.
In the first column of his new thankless role, Brisbane mentions among others, as part of his description of the Times' "substantial infrastructure for responding to public complaints," Senior Editor/Standards Greg Brock. Readers of The BRAD BLOG will remember Brock for helping to kick off what became a 70-some part series here on the "paper of record's" horrendously damaging and inaccurate coverage of Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe, and Hannah Giles' ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
Brock, as some of you will recall, had responded to a reader's request for correction on a number of stories in which the Times had misreported that O'Keefe had dressed as, and represented himself as a "pimp" in the offices of ACORN, even though, as we reported repeatedly beginning early this year, he never had, as first based on the information in the independent report that had come out several months earlier from former Massachusetts Attorney General, Scott Harshbarger. Though the paper had reported on the "pimp" scam in a number of articles, they had never so much as even mentioned the Harshbarger report [PDF] which accurately stated that O'Keefe never dressed in the "outlandish" outfit the Times (and other media outlets) had reported him as wearing while interviewing ACORN workers.
Worse, the paper continued to misreport that point long after Harshbarger had disabused the world of that notion, by noting clearly that "at each and every" ACORN office visited by O'Keefe with his partner Hannah Giles (who was dressed as a "prostitute") he was "dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt" and even though ACORN had stated on the record, based on interviews with their employees who were there, that "O'Keefe was not wearting that absurd costume when he visited our offices."
The Times' inaccurate reporting directly preceded the passage of federal legislation which was passed overwhelmingly by the Democratic-majority Congress and signed by the President to defund the four-decade old, anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization, even though it was all a hoax. O'Keefe had never dressed as a pimp --- or even represented himself as one --- but merely edited his videos to appear that way, as acknowledged in at least three subsequent official reports. Nonetheless, lazy coverage in the NYT had bought it all, and reported it all, hook, line, and unverified sinker...
I'm ducking off the grid and into the mountains until after Labor Day for some much needed R&R under the stars (unless I get really unlucky and there's a cell signal up there!)
Aside from a story I wrote over the weekend, which will be waiting for you to enjoy on Monday morning here, Ernie will be largely holding down the fort here on his own, for the first time, unless another Guest Blogger or two jumps in while I'm gone. So please be nice to him, each other, everyone else and yourselves until I'm back --- at which time you can go back to being mean to everybody again.
Lemme know what I missed! Or...on second thought...just...Peace. --- Brad
Today marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina slamming into the Gulf Coast at New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 29th, 2005. What the Category 3 hurricane did not destroy, the man-made disaster finished off, drowning much of the beloved city, killing over 1800 people, and displacing over a million more, many permanently.
There are many ways to look at what happened five years ago today and in the horrifying days and weeks that followed. There are successes and plenty of failures to document for history. There are surely lessons to be learned, but have we even come close to learning the most important one?...
When it mattered, was based in terrifying reality, required actual selflessness and extraordinary courage...47 years ago today..."The greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation"...
Dr. Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream" Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
HOUSTON – A three-alarm fire swept through a northeast Houston warehouse early Friday wiping out more than 10,000 pieces of voting equipment. City officials said they are unsure what will be done when voting begins in the next few months.
The Harris County Election Technology Center, located on Canino at Downey, caught fire around 4:20 a.m., and the blaze quickly grew to three alarms.
The warehouse stored more than 10,000 pieces of equipment, including voting booths and eSlates, the computer-based machines used for collecting votes.
The fire comes just months before the general elections on November 2, which include the governor’s race. Early voting is scheduled to begin in October.
Former KPFT (Houston Pacifica) radio host and election integrity advocate Pokey Anderson tells us there are some 1.8 million registered voters in Harris County, the third largest in the nation. "Harris County is huge," she writes via email this morning, "est. pop for 2006 is 3.6 million people, which is larger than the population of 23 states. That is about the size of Iowa and Vermont combined."
KTRH NewsRadio reports County Clerk Beverly Kaufman is hoping to "depend on other counties around the state, even across the country, to donate similar machines." Until God tried to intervene this morning, Harris County used 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems made by Austin-based Hart Intercivic.
A source familiar with Hart Intercivic tells The BRAD BLOG that the nation's fourth-largest e-voting company has fallen on hard times of late and does not have machines to ship to replace those lost in the fire.
If they can't get "similar machines" from somewhere, how, oh, how will the citizens of Houston be able to have elections this year?! Especially since pieces of paper, pens, eyeballs, citizen oversight and common frickin' sense were all long ago outlawed in Harris County, Texas, apparently.
UPDATE 8/28/10: The early work into determining the cause of the 3-alarm blaze, whether or not it was an accident or arson, is underway...along with determining the plan for how the county will proceed with the upcoming elections in the wake of the loss of $30 million dollars worth of unverifiable electronic voting machines...
While barreling westward across the Great Plains yesterday, I received an urgent text message from Bev Harris of the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org. She and Susan Pynchon, an election integrity advocate from Florida Fair Elections Coalition, had traveled to Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee, following reports of massive voter disenfranchisement during the state's August 5th elections.
She and Pynchon have been in the county, on behalf of a number of the candidates affected by the apparent disaster for the last two weeks.
"Wildest election tampering yet in memphis," Harris' detailed text message read. "7 out of eight candidates black in black locations with 70 percent dems but white republican sweep."
"Ten candidates filed lawsuit today," the message continued, as she explained that over the past two weeks she and Pynchon "watched as [election officials] wheeled cartloads of computers out of the building. Thousands and thousands of votes don't add up...poll tapes in trash and much more."
"Even the candidates could not get their own results and were told they were 'not available,'" she wrote. "They certified [the elections] and STILL did not give out results until threatened by a lawyer and even then the results said 'unofficial'. There is hilarious video of repub lawyer shouting 'keep those women away from me!'"...
"The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 do not represent Islam. Far better representatives of Islam are the over 100 Muslims who died at work in the towers that day. No one need apologize for Islam."—Hal Donahue, VoteVets.org
Seeing it as part of their duty to support and defend the Constitution and dismayed by the "toxic effect" of the never-ending "war on terror" upon our society by the process of "dehumanization" which has created "a propensity to violence, a devaluing of others, even our own citizens, and a decided lack of empathy," VoteVet.org, a nation-wide group of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is circulating an "open letter" in support of the right to build a Muslim community center near "Ground Zero"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Aid slowly reaches Pakistan as historic flooding continues; Plastic Bag Wars in California; Another BP employee pleads the 5th; Those hungry, hungry microbes ... PLUS: The 5th Anniversary of the Drowning of New Orleans ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fossil fuel industry outspends enviro groups 7-to-1; Obama Admin sides with nuisance polluters; Billionaire Koch brothers waging a war against Obama & the environment; Teens carry 30 per cent more BPA than rest of population; Egg recall exposes flaws in nation's food safety system; Why eggs became a hazard; U.S. rejected hen vaccine despite success in UK; China traffic jam could last weeks; German scientist hands Putin frosty climate rebuke; Hot river forces costly nuke plant shutdown in TN ...PLUS: Peak Helium? Get ready for the $100 party balloon ...
Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism.
Apparently Whitman now feels that campaigning exclusively by way of paid-for propaganda (political ads) will not be enough to evade scrutiny of her economic "plan" to "rescue" California's economy (a rehash of Bush tax cuts for wealthy people and business, the elimination of climate change regulations and imposition of further draconian spending cuts to a state government already operating on life support --- a plan which a group of economists, including Stanford University's Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel laureate, have derided as policies which would "deepen California's budget crisis and are likely to reduce employment and economic growth").
Whitman has now pandered to what she may mistakenly believe was a majority of Californians who voted against marriage equality in passing Proposition 8...
I may have more to say on this later, but short on time at the moment, and since it's an older thread you may not be checking it on your own. So, for now, I'll just point you towards his comment (and mine which follows it) in reply to my recent piece on hacking Pac-Man onto a Sequoia/Dominion AVC Edge touch-screen voting machine.
(Note: I'm setting this item to "No Comments", since I'd rather any comments take place on either the initial thread on the Pac-Man Hack article, or on a future one, should I find the time to do a more thorough follow-up of this situation before dropping off the grid entirely to do some camping in the coming week before arriving back in Los Angeles after Labor Day.)
We were on the road all day long yesterday, after getting the morning's Green News Report. We finally got off the road and back on the grid as the sun was setting here in the Midwest, and as "results" began coming in from some of the five different states (Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont) holding primary elections last night.
It seemed a good moment to ask a question on Twitter about what we'd missed so far. In the bargain, we received some interesting Twitter replies from NBC's Chief White House Correspondent and election results guy Chuck Todd, in regard to counting ballots and the fact that he (and others) were busy reporting "results" to the world, even as not one single ballot had yet to be counted by any human being in all of the United States by that point.
Here's how some of that conversation on Twitter went...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Egg-gregious egg recall gets egg-spanded (sorry); "Gulf Dead Zone" gets egg-spanded, too, as thousands of dead fish turn up, and oil continues to come ashore, as the Obama Administration gets slammed for low-balling oil spill estimates ... PLUS: The World's Longest Traffic Jam --- 10 days! And you thought your commute was bad ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Safety fears raised at French nuclear reactor; Hot river forces cutbacks at TN nuclear power plant; Chilean miners trapped for four more months; Earth's Plant Growth Fell Because of Climate Change: study; New website tracks fossil fuel lobbying; Koch brothers give over $100 million and counting to right-wing groups ...PLUS: Happy "Earth Overshoot Day" - We've Consumed the Planet's Resources This Year Faster Than Ever! ...