Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
The Nation's John Nichols on new revelations of Scott Walker lying about a criminal investigation and on the Black Lives Matter movement and Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
Catching up on a lot that fell through the cracks during last week's busy news week. From Jon Stewart to new toxic spill in SW to sentencing verdict for Aurora shooter to GOP debate answers media aren't discussing & more...
So we learned last week that new information concerning Republican high-tech guru Mike Connell's alleged participation in computer-aided fraud from Florida to Ohio to the Swiftboaters to RNC headquarters to Congress has helped lead Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck to reignite a long-standing federal lawsuit concerning Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election.
We learned this week that Connell may have been threatened by Karl Rove should the GOP's "high IQ Forrest Gump" --- so described for his uncanny ability to be found "at the scene of every [GOP] crime" --- fail to "take the fall" for election fraud in Ohio, according to a letter sent by Arnebeck to AG Michael Mukasey asking for Connell's protection.
The following clip (appx 6:45 mins) from the new documentary film, FREE FOR ALL! (downloadable in full, free for all, at www.freeforall.tv) by filmmaker John Ennis, gives us a small taste of who Connell is, and how he fits into the big picture.
BRAD BLOG readers will likely recognize a few faces here. Please enjoy...
Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who notified Attorney General Mukasey yesterday about threats made by Karl Rove against the GOP's high-tech guru, Mike Connell, as we reported last night, will join Peter B. Collins and me during my weekly Friday 5pm PT appearance on PBC's syndicated radio show.
You'll be able to listen online at www.PeterBCollins.com if his show is not aired in your town. And you may call in with questions and comments for Arnebeck or myself at 888-5-PeterB (or post them here, and I'll try to ask them). Hope you'll tune in!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Arnebeck joined us for the first half-hour of the show and dropped a few interesting details during our discussion. Among them: 1) Bush can't pardon someone convicted under a civil RICO case, which is what Arnebeck is compiling. (Also, can't remember if it came up during the interview, but as some have suggested that Rove simply invoke Executive Privilege to avoid being deposed in this case, Exec Privilege does not come into play in such a case. It only refers to Congressional testimony.) 2) Connell had agreed to meet with the House Judiciary Comm. several months ago, but so far Judiciary hasn't followed up. 3) Arnebeck makes a tantalizing reference to the finding in the Paula Jones case that sitting Presidents may be deposed in civil cases. More detail on those points and others in the audio interview. Download MP3 or listen online here...
Karl Rove has threatened a GOP high-tech guru and his wife, if he does not "'take the fall' for election fraud in Ohio," according to a letter sent this morning to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, by Ohio election attorney Cliff Arnebeck.
The email, posted in full below, details threats against Mike Connell of the Republican firm New Media Communications, which describes itself on its website as "a powerhouse in the field of Republican website development and Internet services" and having "played a strategic role in helping the GOP expand its technological supremacy."
Connell was described in a recent interview with the plaintiff's attorneys in Ohio as a "high IQ Forrest Gump" for his appearance "at the scene of every [GOP] crime" from Florida 2000 to Ohio 2004 to the RNC email system to the installation of the currently-used Congressional computer network firewall.
Connell and his firm are currently employed by the John McCain campaign, as well as the RNC and other Republican and so-called "faith-based" organizations.
In a phone call this afternoon, Arnebeck could not publicly reveal specific details of the information that triggered his concern about the threats to Connell. The message to the IT man from Rove is said to have been sent via a go-between in Ohio. That information led Arnebeck to contact Mukasey after he found the reports to be credible and troubling.
"If there's a credible threat, which I regard this to be," he told The BRAD BLOG, "I have a professional duty to report it."
Attempts to reach Connell for comment late this afternoon were not successful.
The motion was made following the discovery of new information, including details from a Republican data security expert, leading Arnebeck towards seeking depositions of Rove, Connell, and other GOP operatives believed to have participated in the gaming of election results in 2004. A letter [PDF] was sent to Mukasey at the same time last week, asking him to retain email and other documents from Rove...
As we broke earlier this week, after previous snubs and threats of subpoenas, Ohio's disgracefully-partisan former Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was finally set to testify to the House Judiciary Committee today (as well as another legendary GOP vote suppressor, former FEC chair and DoJ Voting Rights Division gamer, Hans von Spakovsky.)
After a late start, and a then a blackout of the Judiciary Committee's webcast feed just after Blackwell began his opening statement ("Thank you Mr. Chairman..." and then suddenly the feed went out), things picked up again during the opening statement of GOP propagandist/attorney Cleta Mitchell who went on and on about the same old nonsense concerning "voter fraud" via voter registration applications submitted by ACORN, the GOP's old "voter fraud" strawman...
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will be holding a hearing this Thursday on "Lessons Learned from the 2004 Presidential Election."
Though no press release has yet been sent out by the Committee, and the link to the hearing's page at the Judiciary website is currently broken, The BRAD BLOG has both good news and bad news to report here.
The good news: Ohio's former Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has been invited to testify and has confirmed that he will actually show up this time, according to several Judiciary sources. Blackwell had previously snubbed the committee's earlier invitation to testify back in February about the myriad crimes that were committed on and by his watch in the 2004 Presidential Election.
Following his last refusal to appear --- when he responded to the committee claiming "my schedule will not permit me to attend the hearings" --- Judiciary Committee spokesperson Jonathon Godfrey hinted that a subpoena might be forthcoming if Blackwell continued to refuse to appear. This time, at least as of today, it looks like he's coming, according to confirmation by Godfrey this afternoon. Thus guaranteeing what should be a very lively hearing.
More good news: Shameless GOP "voter fraud" zealot and disgraced former FEC chair Hans Von Spakovsky will also be appearing. By invitation of the Republicans on the committee, amusingly enough. What were they thinking in inviting this embarrassment? Beats us, but we're happy to hear he'll be back on the Congressional hot seat. Thanks Repubs!
'Whether He's Pulling the Gun or Not...He's the Guy Who Made the Gun,' Allege Buckeye Lawyers About Man Said to Have Been Behind Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, RNC Emails, Congressional Computer Networks, & More...
Last week Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck held a press conference in Columbus to announce his motion to lift the stay on the long-running King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell lawsuit in which massive improprieties, irregularities, and violations of the Voting Rights Act are alleged to have taken place in the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.
In the wake of the failure by the Buckeye State's Attorney General to properly investigate the allegations, and new evidence and testimony unearthed by Arnebeck and other private investigators, he is now asking that the stay on the lawsuit be lifted by the court in order to refocus the case and depose Karl Rove, and a number of other top GOP operatives believed to be involved in manipulating the results of the '04 election.
One of those operatives is Republican tech-guru Mike Connell.
Steve Heller covered last week's press conference for us, which featured comments from data security expert Stephen Spoonamore alleging fraud in the '04 election and Arnebeck's assertion that he believes "Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."
After last week's presser, Velvet Revolution's Brett Kimberlin sat down to follow up with Arnebeck and attorney/investigative journalist Bob Fitrakis, who participated in both the original '04 election lawsuits and has reported in detail on the related matters continuously since then at the Columbus Free Press.
In the video-taped interview, posted at right (appx. 10 mins), the two attorneys focus specifically on their concerns about GOP operative/IT specialist Connell, who, they allege, has been found to have been "at the scene of the crime" for numerous questionable elections since 2000. Connell's firm was also responsible for creating the RNC email systems used by Karl Rove and others. He is also said to have installed the existing Congressional computer networks for high-security House and Senate committees such as Judiciary and Intelligence.
The complete text transcript of the interview follows below...
Transcript of the 7/17/2008 VelvetRevolution.us Interview
with Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis
VELVET REVOLUTION: Cliff and Bob you just had a press conference, talking about the next steps you are going to take in litigation. It looks like you're looking for discovery to understand the facts behind what happened in 2004 and make sure this doesn't happen in 2008. Can you give us an idea of the kinds of people or the names of people that you intend to target?
CLIFF ARNEBECK: At the very top of the list is probably Mike Connell. For the same reason that Spoonamore is so valuable to us as a witness, Connell has a breadth of perspective in this stuff and when Connell, with his politics and his position, identifies Triad and the Rapp family as an area, as a point of vulnerability - Well, we're saying, if Connell makes the same observation --which we think he will because if you look at this objectively, it makes no sense. Here's a guy, he's a mathematician or an engineer or whatever; we anticipate he is going to say "Yeah, that looks odd."
So Connell's an important witness and because we're talking about a conspiracy, one of the problems is you say 'where's the coordination, where's the communication?' --- Here's one individual who's been part of all the elements of the things that we think are problematic.
BOB FITRAKIS: He's a high IQ Forrest Gump. It's like everything important --- 2000 election Florida; 2004 Ohio; firewall in Congress --- he happens to show up and be the builder of these [im]penetrable forces and also may know who has the key to get in.
VR: So he's at the scene of the crime... whether he's pulling the gun or not.
FITRAKIS: Every single crime --- Well even more than that. He's the guy who made the gun.
Arizona's election watchdog group, Audit AZ, went to the state Attorney General in its efforts to learn the truth about Pima County's 2006 RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) election. Attorney Bill Risner handed Arizona AG Terry Goddard a letter detailing the evidence suggesting that the RTA election was flipped. The clearly written letter is accompanied by dozens of documents as well as video links to depositions and testimony from the 2007 court case Risner won for the Pima County Democratic Party. As a result of that case, every political party in the county has access to Diebold's database files, recording how voters voted, from previous and future elections.
In May, 2007, on the heels of questions about the results of the '06 RTA election following polls and previous elections in which similar initiatives were rejected by voters, the Arizona Attorney General's office launched a criminal investigation into the RTA election. The software quality assurance firm, iBeta, was given computer databases to look over which indicated the vote counting might have been tampered with. Though iBeta saw instances of possible tampering, it decided they were simply the result of "human error." Using tortured logic, iBeta said the signs of possible tampering were evidence that there was actually no tampering, since anyone who knew how to manipulate the data would also know how to cover their computer tracks and leave no evidence behind.
Risner's letter explains how the direction of the AG's investigation was, incredibly, set by the suspects themselves, members of the Pima County Elections Division. Those officials, Risner details, purposely turned the investigation away from the very evidence which could have proven their guilt in manipulating the results.
Those very same officials are named in a startling new affidavit from a former county employee who recently came forward to allege he was told by a Pima County election official that they had "fixed" the RTA election...
At a press conference this morning in Columbus, Ohio, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case of King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell, announced that he is filing a motion to "lift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election."
Courtesy of our colleagues at Velvet Revolution, you can watch the entire press conference here, and an interview with Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis is here.
Arnebeck will also "be providing copies of document hold notices to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and the U.S. Justice Department for Karl Rove emails from the White House."
See PDFs of the hold letter to AG Mukasey here, the hold letter to the U.S. Chamber here, and the motion to lift the stay here.
This case has the potential to put some of the most powerful people in the country in jail, according to Arnebeck, as he was joined by a well-respected, life-long Republican computer security expert who charged that the red flags seen during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election would have been cause for "a fraud investigation in a bank, but it doesn't when it comes to our vote."
"This entire system is being programmed in secret by programmers who have no oversight by anybody," the expert charged, as Arnebeck detailed allegations of complicity by a number of powerful GOP operatives and companies who had unique access both to the election results as reported in 2004, as well as to U.S. House and Senate computer networks even today.
The presser was attended by some of the corporate-controlled media, including the head of the Ohio AP bureau, the Columbus Dispatch, and IndyMedia. Listening in by phone were ABC News, our friends from RAW STORY, and I, your humble blogger. I recorded the presser, so I have no links for the quotes in this post, but I transcribed them word-for-word and can vouch for their accuracy.
One of the more delightful and interesting quotes comes from Arnebeck, concerning what he expects to discover as the stay is lifted: "[W]e anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Earlier this month, writer, director, producer, and actor John Wellington Ennis released a free online election documentary titled Free For All. The trailer (4:21, at right) for the smart, informative, and hugely entertaining flick is below (with none other than Brad Friedman serving as the video thumbnail) while the entire movie can be downloaded here.
The Pima County, Arizona, Diebold vote tabulation system was manipulated to "pass" a 2006 ballot initiative when, in fact, the measure was actually voted down, according to a startling new allegation revealed today by the election watchdog group Audit AZ.
The long-running election integrity battles in Pima flared up again this afternoon as an explosive affidavit from a former county official was released at a press conference held by the tenacious local organization. On the heels of several recent Audit AZ court victories, resulting in the unprecedented if long overdue release of mountains of previously "proprietary" Diebold election databases, today's presser was well attended by much of the local media.
The conference was held as news comes that the ballots for the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election are set to be destroyed, according to a letter sent by the Pima County Treasurer to the Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, Vince Rabago. The June 2008 letter, posted at the end of this article, says that Rabago has the right to request that the ballots not be destroyed, which would save them temporarily. Bill Risner, the lawyer for the successful suit to obtain copies of the county's election databases, said at the press conference that the State Attorney General needs to step in and not only demand that the ballots be saved but order that they be counted to see if the total agrees with the "official" numbers that came out of the election department's computer given the extraordinary new allegations.
The potentially explosive new piece of information introduced during the press conference was a sworn affidavit from Zbigniew Osmolski, a former Pima County employee, stating that Bryan Crane, the computer operator at the Pima County Elections Division, told him, during a conversation in a bar, that the RTA Election was "fixed...on the instructions of his bosses."
According to Osmolski's affidavit (posted in full at the end of this article):
During that conversation Bryan Crane told me he "fixed" the RTA, or Regional Transportation Authority election on the instructions of his bosses and he did what he was told to do. Mr. Crane expressed his concern about being indicted and said he would like to talk but couldn't trust anyone.
The affidavit is the latest in a series of red flags concerning the RTA election. Other red flags include: (1) This was a sales tax increase, the type of vote that usually fails, and it looked like it was going down in the days prior to the election; (2) The database on the vote counting computer was erased and replaced a day into the early ballot scanning; (3) Unauthorized vote total summary reports were printed during the counting; (4) A tape of the original ballot layout stored with the Secretary of State --- which could have indicated if the vote was flipped --- was sent back to the County, which lost it; (5) An investigation into the election completed by the Attorney General's office was cursory and inconclusive.
A video of the press conference is now available here...
The Osmolski affidavit and County Treasurer's letter concerning the impending destruction of the ballots from the RTA election follow below...
Committee weighs risks, benefits of electronic voting machines Fla. 'vote-flipping' programmer voices doubts about tool
Clint Curtis touched a hidden button on the screen of a simulated electronic voting machine as onlookers witnessed votes switch from one candidate to another.
The House Committee on Elections invited Curtis, a computer programmer from Florida, to testify Wednesday on the accuracy, risks, benefits and security of electronic voting technology. The committee also heard from other expert witnesses, election officials and the Texas secretary of state.
Curtis said a Florida representative approached him in 2000 to design "vote-flipping" software to help the congressman win an election. Requesting a fraudulent program for a machine is not illegal in Florida, but using one is.
"You cannot trust electronic machines, no matter how many honest people you have. It only takes one person with access to the machine," said Curtis, an advocate for hand-counted paper ballots. "Programmers can be bought."
The committee watched as Curtis clicked on an invisible button that suddenly placed the losing candidate of his mock election safely in the lead.
"24 lines of code can flip an election," Curtis said.
He offered to write a new code from scratch in less than three minutes, emphasizing the ease of creating a "flipping" code.
On Wednesday, coverage of his testimony by the Dayton-Beach News-Journal (who endorsed Curtis during his 2006 run against Tom Feeney, the Republican U.S. House Rep who Curtis alleges asked him to create vote-rigging software) included this:
"They seem to understand," Curtis said in a telephone interview afterwards. "They seem to get it. I think they'll do what Florida did, get rid of (electronic touch screens) and get something voters can count on."
For those who don't know Curtis, where have you been? You can read his remarkable story, first broken by The BRAD BLOG back in late 2004, summarized here. He is now hoping to run against Feeney again in Florida again this year, though he must first win his Primary against a Democratic Party-backed candidate. If you'd like to help him beat the millionaire chosen by the short-sighted Dem insiders, please stop by (and feel free to donate!!!) at www.ClintCurtis.com.
DISCLOSURE: We were invited, by the Republican who heads the committee, to testify at the hearing this week as well. Due to prior travel plans, unfortunately, we were unable to be there, but happy that Curtis, and several others who we recommended, were able to show up and speak truth to power.
All that, just since the first few days of January this year.
We promised to keep an eye on the track conditions, even as everyone else was obsessed with the horse race, and so far, I think we've delivered.
If you are able to express your support with an online donation, it would be as appreciated as it is needed.
We have been forced to scale back our Summer travel plans for shortage of funds, and prices of fuel. But we've still got places we have to get to, beginning with a family commitment this coming week that will put us on the road again for the next several weeks.
Our 2008 Election Integrity Fund Drive continues, allowing you --- for as little as a $5/monthly commitment --- to receive any one of three items described at that link. If you can spare more per month, we'll toss in more Premium gifts in return.
If you can contribute at least $50 one time, we'll send you a collector's edition DVD of the remarkable documentary, Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, hand-signed by the filmmaker, David Earnhardt. (DISCLOSURE: I'm in it, but it's a good film anyway.)
I can't express how much I hate asking folks for help here. Especially these days. But as blog ads have largely dried up for much of the blogosphere so far this season, and as The BRAD BLOG has no corporate or foundational funding, we have nowhere to go but to you.
If you can help us keep going, I commit to continuing the same investigative, muckraking, cry-till-ya-laugh, laugh-till-ya-cry coverage of our American democracy that you will find nowhere else. Although if I can find a few days off between now and the conventions, I'm gonna try to take 'em. Not that I usually have much luck at that sort of thing. But it won't stop me from trying.
As always, your support means the world. Thank you, in advance... --- Brad
Looks like we're coming into rewards season at the White House for longtime Bush loyalists. Of course, we thought that's what the last seven year were about, but we digress.
Apparently, being named as a criminal co-conspirator in Articles of Impeachment is worthy of a prize from this particular White House, as Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.'s self-proclaimed "non-partisan" "longtime voting rights advocate" --- and not-self-proclaimed national champion GOP vote-suppressor Thor Hearne --- received yet another thank you gift from the White House today: A non-partisan appointment to a "non-partisan Commission" (according to the nationally renowned liar Thor) by George W. Bush.
Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one of the few reporters Thor will answer the phone for (other than those at "liberal media" outlets such as NYTimes, NPR, USA Today and again at USA Today) writes today, while failing to note Hearne's infamous entry into the history books on the floor of the U.S. House this week...
UPDATE: Now back home, and watching Kucinich myself on C-SPAN. He's been reading for hours, and may have hours ahead still. As mentioned on the air, I was consulted for these Articles of Impeachment and submitted a number of suggestions and material concerning impeachable offenses related to election tampering by George W. Bush and his agents. Don't know whether those articles are still in the final version. We shall see. But I wanted to be sure to disclose that.
No doubt we'll be talking about this tomorrow on the PBC Show (which I'm Guest Hosting all week). We're trying to get Kucinich for tomorrow's show...if he still has any voice left.
FURTHER UPDATE: Looks like the election-related Articles of Impeachment made it into the final version, including a mention of GOP "voter fraud" sheister Mark F. "Thor" Hearne of front-group American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). Nice to see Hearne get the recognition on the floor of the U.S. Congress that he so richly deserves.
Kucinich introduced a resolution last year to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. That resolution was killed, but only after Republicans initially voted in favor of taking up the measure to force a debate.
In fact, his Articles of Impeachment against Dick Cheney were not "killed," they were sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where they remain without action having been taken on them by the Dem leadership, despite best efforts by folks like Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), and others.
Article 28 - Tampering with Free and Fair Elections (7:20)
Article 29 - Violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Part 1 (8:54), Part 2 (9:39)
POST-ADJOURNMENT UPDATE: Just prior to midnight ET, Kucinich finally finished reading the list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Equal Justice Society writes:
"We've waited seven years to find one Member of Congress brave enough to stand up for our Constitution, for which generations of Americans have fought and died," said Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com. "We are thrilled and honored that Dennis Kucinich has chosen to be that one genuine patriot. We congratulate him on his historic leadership, and pledge to do everything in our power to persuade Congress to adopt all 35 Articles and put George W. Bush on trial before the Senate of the United States, exactly as the Founding Fathers wanted."
"Some might question why Congressman Kucinich has done this now," continued Fertik. "My question is why 434 other Congress Members have not done it before. Despite the uncountable and unspeakable crimes this administration has committed, George Bush and Dick Cheney remain in power and immune from prosecution. Congress must impeach Bush and Cheney now - before they further abuse their power by pardoning for all of their crimes."
Email or call (202-224-3121) your Member of Congress to support Rep. Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment. And sign the petition at Democrats.com.