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By David Edwards on 2/23/2006 11:37am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


Video in Streaming Flash format...
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This video contains clips from CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight and MSNBC Countdown that focus on the financial concerns that are motivating President Bush to stand firm on the Dubai Ports takeover in the face of extreme public dissent, political pressure and possible national security concerns.

Lou Dobbs puts together financial connections between both Bush Presidents, the UAE, the Carlyle Group, Dubai Investment Fund, Neil Bush and John Snow.

The Bush appointment of a former Dubai Ports Executive, David Sanborn, as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration is also under scrutiny. In his new position, Sanborn now oversees all U.S. port operations. Dubai Ports has hired Bob Dole and two other Republican ex-senators to lobby Congress. The UAE paid over $750k to lobbying firms last year.

MSNBC Countdown provides analysis from David Sirotaan who is an expert on big money's influence on government:

This is not a scandal about one deal with one country. What's especially motivating the President in his threat to issue a veto is the fact that he knows that if Congress is allowed to override this [deal] a precedent is set.
...
America's trade policy, for two decades, has entirely been [controlled by] corporate-owned free trade. If this deal is allowed to be blocked it would set a precedent that security concerns are now going to be put into the trade policy. That is something that [Bush's] big corporate donor's do not want.
...
During NAFTA we saw labor and environmental standards thrown out the window. During the China PNTR deal we saw human rights standards thrown out the window. And now what we're seeing here is essentially security concerns thrown out the window. Basically allowing corporations to pursue the profit motive no matter what they want.



[UPDATE] Dems Send Letter Challenging Legality of Deal
By David Edwards on 2/23/2006 7:38am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

The White House says that the President didn't know about the Dubai Ports takeover deal until after it was approved.

Patrick Malloy is an attorney who help write the law that regulates the approval of foreign investments in the United States. He says that the law requires that the President be notified on all foreign investments that pose a national security concern. The law also says that the President must report his findings to Congress where the issue could be debated.

The White House is expected to begin briefing select members of Congress today. In the meantime, Secretary Rice will visit the UAE today to ensure them that the Dubai Ports deal will go through as planned.

Eric Dezenhall runs a crisis management firm. He explains that "Americans often have a harder time with inconsistency than we do with dishonesty." The President has a record of stong national security rhetoric including the protection of U.S. ports.

This video clip from CNN shows the President talking tough on security during speeches at several ports. During a speech at a port in Philadelphia, the President said "We will use all our power to keep out the terrorist and the criminals."


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UPDATE: Dems send letter challenging legality of ports deal...

UPDATE #2: Video of Democratic Senators on the Armed Services Committee questioning the Bush Administration's CFIUS members about avoiding the law while approving the Dubai deal.

Video in Streaming Flash format...




By John Gideon on 2/22/2006 5:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

From Alabama comes a report that ES&S had an internal communications problem and they provide the optical scan machines used in Belforest in their elections. "The company delivered "data packs" --- the electronic devices in which the voters' selections are stored --- programmed for absentee voting, causing the two machines to reject the ballots, Johns said. The situation did not affect the voting, as voters filled out their ballots and slipped them in an emergency bin used for occasions such as this one, he said." Imagine if that had been DREs instead of optical-scan. Just why is there an IrDA port on those Diebold machines? Just a reminder, that this will be the last Daily Voting News until next Tuesday evening. I will be off line until then. Have a great weekend....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 10:17pm PT  

God bless the doctors...and the U.S. Constitution...Sanity prevails, if only for the moment, in California.

Morales, 46, was supposed to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. But the execution was put off until at least Tuesday night after two anesthesiologists backed out because of ethical concerns that they might have to advise the executioner if the inmate woke up or appeared to suffer pain.

"Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical," the doctors, whose identities were not released, said in a statement. "As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process."

The doctors had been brought in by a federal judge after Morales' attorneys argued that the three-part lethal injection process violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.




Says Iraq War a Mistake, Compares Bush Policies to 'Leninism'
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 9:48pm PT  

Crumbling down.

One of the original Neocon architects and a signer of the infamous PNAC letter, Francis Fukuyama, says the movement has failed and has "evolved into something I can no longer support," according to this report.

Further, he makes what can only be seen as an exceedingly uncomfortable --- yet perfectly apt --comparison between the Bush Administration policies and ... Leninism.

"The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues.

"Although the new and ominous possibility of undeterrable terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction did indeed present itself, advocates of the war wrongly conflated this with the threat presented by Iraq and with the rogue state/proliferation problem more generally."

Mr Fukuyama, one of the US's most influential public intellectuals, concludes that "it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly".

Going further, he says the movements' advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States".




By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 9:27pm PT  




By John Gideon on 2/21/2006 5:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Texas began early voting for their primary with the news that many counties still do not have their paper ballots or their ballot programming complete. In California the fall-out from last Friday's announcement by SoS McPherson is making news. One can only wonder when the lawsuits will begin....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




'Prisoner Mistreatment was a Bush Policy Decision'
By David Edwards on 2/21/2006 8:59am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

A recently revealed secret memo from general counsel of the U.S. Navy warned the Bush Administration to halt the "disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects."

The memo shows that torture and abuse of detainees was a policy of the Bush Administration despite legal warnings from lawyers within the Military. Determined to continue the abusive policies, the Bush Administration sought out legal opinions which allowed them to go "above the law."

The New Yorker exposes the secret document (PDF) in a newly published article by Jane Mayer. In an interview with CNN American Morning, Mayer said:

It's clear that [the Bush Administration ] were consistently resisting any criticism on this... instead of listening to [the Navy counsel], they basically found another lawyer, somebody in the Justice Department named John Woo, who told them what they wanted to hear which was they could pretty much do anything they wanted.

It was a policy decision on their part. This wasn't an accident - what happened at Guantánamo and what later happened at Abu Ghraib in terms of mistreatment of prisoners. They did this with their eyes wide open.

UPDATE: The name in CNN screenshot above should be spelled "John Yoo" instead of "John Woo". For more information on the history of torture policies in the Bush Administration and John Yoo, check out this video from the CBC report "A Few Bad Apples."


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By John Gideon on 2/20/2006 5:24pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

What's going on in Maryland? The Gov is against a vvpb; now he is for it. Democratic members of the legislature who are for a vvpb are belittling the Governor's change of heart as being political and are claiming he is creating chaos. Now kids! Can't we just get along and give the voter a vvpb like they want? Meanwhile in Pennsylvania the Governor has said he will veto the legislation that requires a voterID...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By David Edwards on 2/20/2006 4:53pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff repeated the Katrina talking points on at least three networks yesterday. Maybe he forgot his talking points to deflect questions about a decision by the Bush Administration which will allow a company located in an Arab country to takeover six of the largest ports in the U.S.

Dubai Ports is located in the United Arab Emirates which has a history that causes many Republicans and Democrats to believe that the proposed takeover will compromise national security.

The corporate media seem to have replaced their focus on the Cheney shooting scandal with the Bush port give-away scandal. This clip is a quick compilation from the last 48 hours of pundits, politicians and other talking heads as they wake up to the latest Bush blunder.

Video in Streaming Flash format...
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Says 'The integrity of Maryland's voting process is at stake'
Spanks MD's Election Administrator, Diebold Supporter Linda Lamone
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2006 2:54pm PT  

It's a curiously tardy call, WaPo, but welcome aboard.

From an editorial in today's Washington Post:

AFTER DAWDLING for a good two years and defending a certifiably untrustworthy voting process in Maryland, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced last week that he, too, has lost confidence in the state's ability to conduct fair and secure elections this fall. [ed note: See BRAD BLOG coverage of that here] A curiously tardy call, Governor, but welcome aboard: Time is short, but now an all-out effort to clean up the system before the elections can and should begin.

Lawmakers in both parties have warned repeatedly that the touch-screen machines that have been in use are seriously flawed. Voters cannot know for sure whether their choices are correctly recorded and tallied because the machines do not produce any paper trails showing each vote cast; that makes an audit impossible. Computer experts note, too, that results can be rigged without risk of detection.

Now Mr. Ehrlich has joined the paper-trail chorus, echoing concerns raised not only in Annapolis but also in dozens of states about machines manufactured by Diebold Election Systems.

There's more, but note WaPo's additional spanking of MD Elections Administrator and huge Diebold supporter, Linda Lamone:

State elections administrator Linda H. Lamone insisted Thursday that all is well, that the machines are reliable and that "you are asking for a catastrophe if you try to change" the system. After all, who needs audits or some paper record of how votes were cast? Just take it on faith that your vote was duly recorded and that the results are right.



By John Gideon on 2/19/2006 5:15pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The February 13 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




(And free ad, cuz I'm just generous that way)
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2006 1:28pm PT  




On Sundays.
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2006 1:22pm PT  

-- Executive Summary of the Study here...
-- More charts here [PDF]...




By John Gideon on 2/18/2006 5:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

The big news for the day is the announcement that California's SoS McPherson has conditionally certified Diebold AccuVote OS and TSx voting machines for use in the state. This announcement has many people puzzled and mad. Has McPherson bowed to pressure from the counties and, in actuality, set them up for legal problems? It seems that may be the case. Meanwhile in Maryland ES&S steps forward and says they have no idea what Linda Lamone is saying when she says no one can provide a paper based system to the state before November. They say they can do it no problem. Could it be that Linda Lamone has been caught in another lie?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




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