In a press conference held this afternoon in Juneau, Alaska's GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller, finally conceded the election to write-in candidate and incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. He has decided not to appeal his federal case as dismissed by a U.S. circuit court judge on Tuesday. See AP's coverage for more on today's announcement.
Having followed the failures of Alaska's Diebold election system for years, The BRAD BLOG followed the race between Miller, Murkowski and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams closely over the last several months, as it served to offer, yet again, another reminder of the importance of full transparency and citizen oversight in (small "d") democratic elections and the need to reconsider the use of electronic tabulation systems which ultimately leave all of us wondering if election results are accurate and if this nation can consider itself as having anything approaching the self-governance envisioned in our Constitution...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The Green News Report's 2010 Year in Review: Around the world and back again, the top green news stories of the year --- from politics to the planet, a quick look back over where we've been ... PLUS: Make the next year the greenest ever! .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Few mining sites restored after mining ends; Lower-carbon replacement for oil?: Pollutants, PCBs, retard boys' growth: study; GE to pay $500 million fine for PCBs in Hudson River; Road salt bad for environment, health, water supplies; OPEC keeps oil above $91/barrel --- heading to $200 oil?; China defends cuts in rare earth export quotas; EPA overstates coal waste's value ... PLUS: Antarctica: Unraveling the History Beneath the Ice ....
After requiring Alaska's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller to file his federal lawsuit by Monday (yesterday), the federal judge in the case has now dismissed it without even waiting for the reply from the state, which was ordered due by Wednesday (tomorrow).
A federal judge today dismissed Republican Joe Miller's federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the Nov. 2 election, clearing the way for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski to be officially declared the winner.
She's now scheduled to be sworn in for a new six-year term on Jan. 5.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline issued a 14-page order this afternoon in which he said Miller wasn't raising any federal issues that he needed to resolve. He ordered Miller's entire federal case dismissed.
Beistline wrote that he would not second guess the Alaska Supreme Court, which already had ruled against Miller.
Miller said in a statement that he was disappointed by today's ruling and thought the U.S. Constitution's election clause presented a significant federal issue.
"Specifically, should the courts be required to follow the legislature's standard for the selection of U.S. Senators or create their own?" Miller said in a written statement. "My legal team believes that the clear language of the Election Clause as well as precedent support our claims. Thus, we are evaluating the ruling and determining what our next step should be."
The judge said state lawyers didn't need to respond to Miller's latest filings in federal court. But he also said Miller's technical arguments were not frivolous.
"What we have before us is a poorly drafted state statute," Beistline wrote. "Wisdom would suggest that the Alaska Legislature act to clarify it to avoid similar disputes in the future. For now we have to work with what we have and that is what the Alaska Supreme Court has done."
Last night we published our detailed analysis of Joe Miller's federal complaint, in which he pointed out Constitutional questions about the way in which the Diebold optical-scan system was used to tally votes. We also pointed out what might have been a fatal flaw in his complaint. Whether Miller will appeal Beistline's decision remains to be seen.
The ignorance on display in this CNN interview segment concerning Wikileaks and Julian Assange yesterday is simply astonishing.
I'd expect the misinformed idiocy and/or out and out lying from one of the guests, former Bush Admin Homeland Security Advisor (now a paid CNN contributor) Fran Townsend. But the amount of ignorance about the profession of journalism, on display from CNN's very own journalist here, Jessica Yellin, almost defies words. Happily, Salon's Glenn Greenwald, a Constitutional attorney and actual journalist was the other guest on hand to help straighten both of these women out.
Watch the video, be amazed, and then I'll have a few more words on it below, as it mirrors another recent --- and embarrassing --- WikiLeaks-related segment on CNN, which we critically covered before later receiving a response from both CNN and host Don Lemon...
The week before last, we took CNN and host Don Lemon to task for a WikiLeaks segment in which, among other problems, they started off with a package that compared Assange to Bonnie & Clyde and other criminals who did things like, ya know, actually commit crimes, like killing people and stuff --- none of which either Assange or WikiLeaks has done. Not by a long shot. CNN's on-screen chyron for the segment was, shamefully, "ASSANGE: JOURNALIST OR TERRORIST" (no question mark even included)...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hot (yes, hot) winter weather across the Northern Hemisphere; EPA moves forward on regulating greenhouse gases; Breaking China's monopoly on rare earth's? ... PLUS: Surprise, surprise: the more you watch Fox "News", the less you know .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The reactor on your roof: Caltech breakthrough uses solar power to generate liquid fuel; Fmr. Shell president predicts $5-a-gallon gas by 2012; EPA develops neurotoxicants list; Obama admin takes aim at China’s renewable-energy subsidies;New House Science chair praises ‘tremendous’ BP spill, plans to subpoena climate scientists; WikiLeaks: Africa Offers Easy Uranium; 10 Green New Year's Resolutions ... PLUS: The "most heinous climate villains" of 2010 ....
"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Alaska's "Tea Party"-supported, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller said in a statement today calling for "fairness and transparency" in the election process, issued after filing an amended complaint in federal court. His statement concludes with the simple sentiment: "Election integrity is vital."
Miller has decided to press on in his election contest against the state's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and their Division of Elections (DoE), as overseen by Treadwell, by filing a Substitute Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in U.S. District Court in Alaska today. The filing comes after resounding losses in state court and --- if the state's hand-count of write-in ballots and the Diebold optical-scanner tallies of all the other ballots are to be believed --- to Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in November's general election for the U.S. Senate. As the unofficial state count now stands, Murkowski reportedly defeated Miller (and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams) by more than 10,000 votes.
In the statement (posted in full at end of this article) Miller explains that his team has decided to forgo challenging Murkowski's official certification as the winner, allowing her to be seated in the U.S. Senate on January 5th.
"The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month." he said, "This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."
But Miller's decision to drop his challenge to Murkowski's seating may prove to be a fatal blow to his case --- at least if precedent set by Republicans in Congress some years ago, ironically enough, is any indication. But more on that below.
After winning the GOP nomination against Murkowski, and then reportedly losing to her unprecedented write-in bid in November, Miller originally filed his election contest in federal court in November. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline subsequently responded by sending the case down to state court for initial adjudication on relevant issues of state law. Late last month, Beistline temporarily halted state certification of the race until those issues were decided, and last week the state's Supreme Court rejected Miller's appeal, siding with the state, on all counts.
Beistline had given Miller until today to re-file his amended complaint in federal court. His filing now includes just three counts asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution's "Election Clause" and "Equal Protection Clause" as based on both the DoE's liberal interpretation of state law in counting write-in ballots, as well as the disparate weight the hand-count of those ballots was afforded, versus those tallied by Diebold optical-scanners in the case of "pre-printed" candidates...
To date, the lack of alarm (by both media and, subsequently, the public) caused by the idea of major U.S. financial services companies serving as little more than instruments of unofficial U.S. governmental policy is troubling enough as is. That WikiLeaks, the organization being outrageously penalized by these enormous corporations, has been been charged with absolutely no violation of law, makes the actions of these banks even more extraordinary and chilling.
And finally, the entire affair is made most disturbing of all, perhaps, due to the fact that in 2010 none of this seems to come as much of a surprise to anybody, as reflected by the lack of concern expressed in the bulk of the mainstream media and, therefore, by the populace at large (most of whom, thanks again, MSM, likely have no knowledge of any of it, or why it's extraordinary in the first place)...
The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.
Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced in the past few weeks that they would not process any transaction intended for WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, Bank of America decided to join the group, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are "inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."
[A] bank's ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.
The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities. A telecommunications company, for example, may not refuse phone or broadband service to an organization it dislikes, arguing that it amounts to risky business.
The decisions to bar the organization came after its founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.
What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.
Islamabad, Pakistan: December 24 - America's NORAD tracking facilities in Virginia confirmed that at 2:06 PM today they lost contact with Santa Clause's sleigh. At the time the signal showed Santa's slay over the autonomous tribal regions that share a border with Afghanistan.
"We have no further information at this time," said a NORAD spokesman. "The last transmission we had from Santa was when he filed his flight plan upon leaving Iranian airspace headed for Afghanistan. We had issued Santa the standard travel warnings about the region, but he insisted on keeping to his traditional flight track."
Pentagon sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said a CIA listening post on the Afghan/Pakistan border picked up a garbled distress call around the time NORAD lost Santa's signal. "It was barely legible," the sources said, "but there was something about going down and something about a drone. After that all we heard were jingle bells ringing like holy hell followed by twelve 'splat-like" sounds and then silence."
As we went to press al Qaeda in Pakistan issued a statement on Santa's disappearance.
"The infidel Claus was struck from our skies by the hand of Allah who caused a US drone to fire on his craft. Our fighters reached the crash site and report that reindeer taste like goat, but tougher. The infidel Claus is alive and is being held for interrogation. Our demands for his release will follow shortly. In the meantime, thanks for the printer cartridges. As for the mens' underwear, we clearly asked for briefs, not boxers. You are not only infidels but also stupid."
A "turducken" is defined by Wikipedia as "a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey." Sounds pretty close to what we've just witnessed in the closing hours of the 111th Congress.
Conventional wisdom, at least that flogged by the MSM over the last 24 hours or so, has it that somehow Democrats shocked the nation by finally stepping up their game and doing the extraordinary in the lame duck session by passing an unprecedented number of their hard-fought initiatives, many thought to have been otherwise dead (or waiting for reconsideration in the next, more heavily Republican-weighted Congress).
Not to be a contrarian here, or even a Christmas curmudgeon, but while the Democrats deserve credit for hanging in there on a number of important initiatives, rather than tossing up their hands and walking away in the face of unprecedented, historic obstructionism by the GOP, it's a fact that the major legislation finally passed can hardly be seen as any sort of "progressive," or even "liberal," victory. It all may well represent a Democratic victory, if a short-lived one, but that only demonstrates how successful Republicans have been in pushing Dems far to the right, and how willing Democrats are these days to celebrate the passage of center and center-right (and even hard-right) legislation, almost all of which was depressingly low-hanging holiday fruit to begin with...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Paging Erin Brokovich: carcinogen found in tap water in 31 U.S. cities; California leads the way - again - this time on cap-and-trade; Not to mix metaphors, but there's a silver lining to that lame duck ... PLUS: Having a little fun over Christmas with your climate denier relatives ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage; Deep doo doo: What warming of 2C looks like; Undermining China's stranglehold on rare earth elements; BP Gulf Disaster: Conflict of interest questions raised in blowout preventer testing; Land grab: Foreign investors evicting African farmers; Green Marines: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy; Have a 'greener' Christmas! ... PLUS: Burying the Lede: We May Hit 400ppm by 2014: A Scientist, His Work, and a Climate Reckoning ....
As largely expected, the Alaska Supreme Court has rejected GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's contest against the Division of Elections, which has unofficially determined write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski bested both Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams on November 2nd.
The Alaska Supreme Court today ruled against Joe Miller on all counts, a decision that leaves his challenge of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s victory on life support.
“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified,” the Supreme Court declared in its unanimous ruling.
Murkowski leads Miller by more than 10,000 votes. Miller is quickly running out of options but he still has a chance to press his claim in federal court.
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline today gave Miller until Monday morning to argue the federal courts should take up any remaining constitutional issues.
Miller has indicated he might fight the election all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But his spokesman said today that Miller is weighing his next move.
And here's our detailed report from yesterday, describing the general issues at stake, and offering what seems to have been a pretty accurate preview of what the court appears to have decided today. The decision once again leaving thousands of paper ballots completely unexamined by human eyes, tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer systems, just as NY's highest court did earlier this week in a race that was far closer than the Miller/Murkowski/McAdams race.
And last Sunday, the good Mr. Swanson came to Los Angeles for a book event at the home of actress and PDA advisory board chair Mimi Kennedy where I joined him, along with KPFK's Lila Garrett and Truthout's Jason Leopold, on a panel to discuss it.
The over-flow event --- impressive for any day in laid back L.A., much less in the middle of record rainfall --- was video-taped and is now posted below in seven parts, if you're interested.
(If you're looking for me in the videos below, my opening statement is near the beginning of Part 3, and my closing statement is in Part 7, beginning just before the 4 minute mark. As mentioned in my remarks, please support independent media and, along with it, the truth. You can help do so, among other ways, by buying David's book here.) Enjoy...
[Update 12/22/10: Alaska Supreme Court decides against Joe Miller on all counts. Details here...]
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Having paper ballots is one thing. Seeing them actually be counted, unfortunately, continues to be quite another matter.
For those of you who may not understand why it's not enough to merely have hand-marked paper ballots that are tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computers --- even if those paper ballots could be counted by human beings "in the event there are questions about the results", as supporters of such systems like to say --- need look no further than the extraordinary finding on Monday from New York's highest court, its Court of Appeals.
And, for that matter, what is likely to happen in Alaska very soon, where Republican Joe Miller continues to wait for a similar decision from that state's Supreme Court in his fight for a hand-count of all paper ballots in his still-uncertified U.S. Senate race against Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams...