In a final vote of no confidence, Ireland’s ill-fated e-voting machines are finally headed to the scrap heap.
An Offaly-based firm, KMK Metals Recycling, was declared the Government’s preferred bidder out of seven tenders.
The company paid a mere €70,267 for the machines – a steal when one considers the €55 million they have cost the State to date. The price paid also works out at just half the annual €140,000 cost of storing them.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he was “glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer”.
“From the outset, this project was ill-conceived and poorly delivered by my political predecessors and as a result it has cost the taxpayer €55 million.
“While this is a scandalous waste of public money, I am happy to say that we will not incur any further costs in the disposal of the machines,” he said.
To help put those costs in perspective, 55 million Euro --- the cost of the systems to the state of Ireland to date --- is about $69.5 million.
In this country, the U.S. wasted almost $4 billion (with a "b"), via the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, on the very same type of worthless, unreliable, easily hacked machines that the Irish are smart enough to get rid of entirely...
(By the way, Des will once again be sitting in today, Friday, co-hosting along with TYT top dog Cenk Uygur during the 4p-5p ET / 1p-2p PT hour. I'll try to remember to post the LIVE FEED here at The BRAD BLOG, but either way you can watch the full hour live at TheYoungTurks.com.)
A bunch of highlights from yesterday's two hours, on a bunch of topics covered --- from the health care ruling, to the RW push to close the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, to eating bugs to save the world, to new news on the Miami 'zombie' who tried to eat a guy's face --- all follow below. Enjoy!...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record heat, record wildfires & Michelle Malkin on the run; Record flooding in FL so GOP fiddles with federal flood insurance; Climate deniers smack-down by appellate court is good news for anyone who breathes; PLUS: 80% renewable energy by 2050? New study says 'Yup! And it's easy!' ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Exxon CEO calls climate change engineering problem; Chesapeake Energy Colluded With Rival To Lower Prices In Bid Wars; BPA Linked to Brain Tumors for the First Time; Feds Grant Approval for Southern Portion of Keystone XL Pipeline ... PLUS: Kardashians Get 40 Times More News Coverage Than Ocean Acidification ... and much, MUCH more! ...
In case you were watching the misreporting by CNN and Fox "News", it was a win for the Obama Administration and a crushing defeat to the Republican opponents of health care insurance reform in this nation. It's that simple.
With the exception of that portion of the Act which permitted the federal government to punish states by cutting off the entirety of their federal Medicaid funds if they declined to expand state Medicaid services from limited categories of individuals to all individuals with incomes below 133% of the poverty level, the U.S. Supreme Court, by its 5-4 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius [PDF], upheld all provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 [ACA] against the constitutional challenges that had originally been filed in U.S. District Court by FL, 12 other states and business organizations...
I was delighted to hear the Congressman was nearly as furious about both as I was. He also confirmed that nobody has been able to verify the "100 or so" alleged "non-citizens" that Scott says have been found on the rolls (out of 182,000 identified in the initial purge list and out of 11.2 million voters), and also that there are still three FL counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where the Supervisors of Elections may still be carrying out the faulty and disenfranchising systematic purge.
My rant explaining Scott's scam kicks off the show, before Deutch then joins us. Then, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report and we take a couple of quick amusing calls.
Oh, and though I mentioned it at the top of the show, I forgot to reiterate it again at the end of the show, so I'll do so now: FL Gov. Rick Scott, FL Secretary of State Ken Detzner and/or their spokesmen were invited to appear on the show to offer their response to our Monday exposé. They declined to even respond to the invitation.
I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture yesterday to discuss The BRAD BLOG's special exclusive report on Monday in which counselor Canning and I detailed how Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the state of Florida is attempting to deceive the media, the public, and apparently even the federal court system about this year's attempted voter purge in the Sunshine State. The Dept. of Justice has filed suit alleging that the systematic removal of voters within 90 days before Florida's federal primary is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
As documented in our investigative report, claims being made by Scott, his Sec. of State Ken Detzner and their surrogates in a recent media blitz, charging that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security was purposely restricting them from access to a federal immigration database in order to keep the state from using it, appear to be baseless. FL had hoped to use the SAVE database to help purge some 182,000 "potential non-citizen" voters they claim are on the rolls.
But FL's claims (which is used to underscore a dark conspiracy the actions of the federal government are all being done to enhance President Obama's re-election prospects), are belied by documented email concessions from the FL Dept. of State's Asst. General Counsel Maria Matthews who acknowledged, as long ago as October of 2011, that the state simply didn't have the unique numeric identifiers required by DHS to check those "suspected non-citizens" against their immigration and citizenship database.
Here's my conversation with Hartmann last night about our story...
Props to CNN's Soledad O'Brien for her dogged attempt to get an actual answer from Romney's Senior Advisor (and former Commerce Secretary) Carlos Gutierrez as to whether the presumptive GOP nominee supports Arizona's controversial "papers please" law, in light of yesterday's SCOTUS ruling striking down most of the law, but allowing the most controversial part of it to stand (for now.)
If the rest of the media insisted on actual answers from politicians and their surrogates before moving on (talking to you David Gregory), we might actually move the ball forward occasionally.
For the record, Romney has previously called AZ's SB1070, the law that was largely struck down yesterday, a "model" for the nation. But I guess we all get to pretend he didn't for a while, as he tries to Etch-a-Sketch his way out of the extremist positions he staked out in hopes of winning the GOP primaries.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Fire in the US; Summer of Floods in the UK; Fracking FAIL: Gasland's Josh Fox exposes new info on the dangers of natural gas fracking --- again; PLUS: Good news --- and bad news --- on rising sea levels in the US... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): BREAKING: U.S. Appeals Court upholds EPA greenhouse gas emission rules; NREL: US could be 80% renewable by 2050; Midwestern drought intensifies; Louisiana school voucher students taught creationism; Canada: Harper Admin seeks to "authorize" water pollution; SCOTUS: Can EPA regulate mud from logging roads?; Will US join Law of the Sea Treaty? ... PLUS: The Battle Over Climate Science --- death threats, hate mail, nuisance lawsuits, political attacks. How much worse can it get? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
-Special Report by Brad Friedman and Ernest A. Canning, The BRAD BLOG
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), his recently appointed Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R), and their surrogates are attempting to deceive the media, the public, and possibly even the federal court system about their state's effort to use a federal immigration database as part of a state program that could result in the purge up to 182,000 registered voters who, the state says, are "potential non-citizens".
A review of public documents and internal emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the state last week by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) --- charging that Florida's attempted purge of voter rolls violates federal law --- reveals that claims being repeatedly made by the Florida officials about both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DoJ are disingenuous at best.
Admissions made to DHS officials on at least two occasions, by a high-ranking attorney at the FL Dept. of State (FDOS), undermine the public assertions of both Scott and Detzner, who each claim that the federal government is purposely withholding access to a federal immigration database so that it cannot be used for scrubbing illegal voters off the state rolls.
The false allegation that the DHS has "refused" to provide access to the database, so as to prevent the state from lawfully removing illegally registered non-citizen voters, was also repeated in Florida's own federal complaint, which it recently filed against DHS.
In offering this deceptive claim, Scott and Detzner are knowingly inflaming an unsubstantiated conspiratorial scheme that the Obama Administration is working to keep illegal voters on the rolls in order to enhance the President's 2012 election prospects.
The first-hand evidence reviewed by The BRAD BLOG, obtained via public records requests under Florida's Sunshine Act, reveals that both Scott and Detzner are advancing the "refused access" canard --- echoed by both the Rightwing and non-Rightwing media --- in order to confuse the public and obscure the reality that the state's controversial purge could potentially disenfranchise thousands of perfectly legal citizen voters...
So much for states' rights from the so-called "conservative" U.S. Supreme Court --- as if 2000's Bush v. Gore didn't already tell you that they, like other "small government Conservatives", were largely full of shit when making that pretend claim...only when convenient to their policy goals, of course...
The Supreme Court reversed a decision by a Montana court supporting a state anti-corruption law passed in 1912 that prohibited corporate influence in state elections, reaffiriming that their Citizens United decision invalidates such restrictions. Montana, supported by 22 states and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), had argued that their law should be allowed to stand because of the state’s unique history of corruption around its mining industry, which led to its passage by referendum. The court ruled against them 5-4, the same majority that determined Citizens United.
You can read more about the courageous decision earlier this year by the Montana Supreme Court --- the decision struck down today by SCOTUS --- in Ernie Canning's coverage from January. In that case, even the dissenting MT Justice found the U.S. Supreme Court's "entire concept" of corporate personhood to be "offensive."
"Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people --- human beings --- to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government. ... Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons," wrote the dissenting Justice James C. Nelson who, clearly, disagreed with Citizens United, but dissented in the MT case because he believed --- as SCOTUS affirmed today --- that they, not states, can decide how campaign finance will or won't work for every state in the entire nation.
The 5-4 Citizens United majority has essentially told Montana --- and every other state in the union --- that they may not run their own elections as they wish. Even though Justice Anthony Kennedy had written for the majority in that case that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," the high court today decided not to review the record of corruption --- essentially, mining companies buying up the entire state legislature in MT back at the turn of the 20th century --- which gave rise to the now-dead Montana law.
In Justice Stephen Breyer's dissenting opinion of today's summary reversal (made without even hearing oral arguments), he writes: "[E]ven if I were to accept Citizens United, this Court’s legal conclusion should not bar the Montana Supreme Court’s finding, made on the record before it, that independent expenditures by corporations did in fact lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption in Montana."
"Given the history and political landscape in Montana, that court concluded that the State had a compelling interest in limiting independent expenditures by corporations," Breyer wrote in the dissent (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan). "Thus, Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so."
Amazingly, Accenture, which sold its crap-on-a-stick high-school sophomoric completely insecure malfunctioning voter registration software to a bunch of states, so unsuccessfully that Colorado refused to pay and others, like Wisconsin and Shelby County, bought out the source code in order to try to bandaid it into a functional system, has decided to issue a cease and desist against Black Box Voting for exposing its flawed software to the public.
Last time a voting system company did a DMCA take-down notice (Diebold, in 2004) it got socked with punitive charges for abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, trying to use it to block distribution of material clearly published in the public interest.
If you want a copy of the voter registration software I posted Thursday, might as well get it right now --- and mirror it, torrent it, dropbox it, or whatever. I'll probably pull it down by June 27, not because their claim is valid, but because there are higher priorities for spending my time during this election season and thanks to Slashdot and some pals in Europe, this software has now been widely mirrored elsewhere.
The full takedown notice is here. The "highly problematic" Accenture voter registration software --- used by TN, WI, PA, CO, KS and others --- is still posted here, as of now if you'd like to download it, poke around into some of the source code, and/or mirror it on your site.
Other than "crap-on-a-stick high-school sophomoric completely insecure [and] malfunctioning", Harris previously described the software this way: "This voter registration and voter history system has been widely criticized --- in Colorado, where it reportedly assigned voters who are Republicans as Democrats, and vice versa, and in Tennessee where it has been proven to lose voter histories."
Most of the topics on this episode are a bit less political, and a bit more cultural, than usual (perhaps because the scheduled Republican guest failed to show?), and include everything from jobs and the economy (with a cameo by Jerry Springer) to lying on online dating profiles and the perils of Reality TV. All in all, at least as enlightening as anything you'll get by watching David Gregory on a Sunday...
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) --- The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state's execution law Friday, calling it unconstitutional.
In a split decision, the high court sided with 10 death row inmates who argued that, under Arkansas' constitution, only the Legislature can set execution policy. Legislators in 2009 voted to give that authority to the Department of Correction.
"It is evident to this court that the Legislature has abdicated its responsibility and passed to the executive branch, in this case the (Arkansas Department of Correction), the unfettered discretion to determine all protocol and procedures, most notably the chemicals to be used, for a state execution," Justice Jim Gunter wrote in the majority opinion.
But don't get too excited. You fans of Big Government --- the Biggest Government of All --- will likely be back in business and killing your fellow U.S. citizens again soon...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Good news and bad --- mostly bad --- from the Rio+20 Earth Summit; Deluged in Duluth - record storm, record floods; Awkward!: 3 new oil spills complicate Canada's Keystone XL pipeline dreams; PLUS: Greenpeace billboard rejected --- you'll never guess their offensive slogan (no, really!)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Outdoor recreation jobs outnumber oil jobs 3 to 1; CA leads the way on GMO labeling; US Dems demand stronger fracking rules; Senate rejects block to new mercury rules; L.A. to get much hotter (we ain't talking bikinis); AZ mining company wants pollution fines reversed; Not-so-bad farm bill passes Senate; Canada's new budget 'buts' environmental protections ... PLUS: 'It's madness' that waste isn't a bigger international priority ... and much, MUCH more! ...
So, remember way back in the not-so-cold month of January when, on the night of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses the GOP announced Mitt Romney as the "winner"? And then, a couple of days later when, thanks to publicly counted hand-marked paper ballots used by the GOP for their own caucuses across the entire state, a Ron Paul supporter was able to come forward to point out that the GOP had reported inaccurate Caucus Night tallies on their website? And then, several weeks later when the GOP was forced to admit their previously reported tallies were indeed wrong, and the citizens who actually witnessed the counting on Caucus Night with their own eyes were right and that, in fact, Santorum, not Romney had actually received the most votes?
Well, funny thing. Over the weekend, at the Iowa GOP State Convention, neither Santorum nor Romney was the winner. The winner of the state of Iowa --- at least the man who will have, by far, the most delegates representing him at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August --- is Ron Paul. Thanks to Paul supporters turning out in droves at district, county and then the state convention, Paul will have 21 of the state's 25 delegates at the RNC in August. And Iowa is not the only state where that has been happening.
Last week while I was guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, I interviewed Presidential historian, author and Ron Paul Campaign Senior Advisor Doug Wead about the fascinating strategy, and extraordinary, even violent push-back (see here and here for just two examples caught on video) from the GOP establishment against the Ronulans turning out in democratic support of their candidate at these conventions. And almost all of it seems to be quietly happening well below the MSM radar at GOP state convention after GOP state convention.
If you missed the interview last week, I ran the bulk of it again yesterday (slightly shortened) on my KPFK/Pacifica show here in Los Angeles. Afterwards a ton of callers phoned in --- from all sorts of political viewpoints --- in response.
Wead was coy in responding to my questions about what Paul's game is precisely, and he wouldn't answer directly when I pressed him (twice) as to whether Paul was still seeking the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination or something else entirely, but the conversation was often quite revealing --- particularly (and here I'm not quite sure Wead is reading Paul's supporters accurately), when he finally suggested that "the son also rises".
Give it a listen. I'd certainly welcome responses from all of you, Paul supporters or otherwise!