10 minutes on this morning's Stephanie Miller Show. Discussing why things like actually counting the ballots in New Hampshire would have been a great idea. And on the lunacy and self-destructiveness of progressives (like this uninformed front-pager over at dKos, and his even lesser-informed followers, such as Markos himself) buying into the conspiracy theory that the dozens of verified, independent, multiple-sourced pre-election polls were wrong, but the unverified and uncounted election results, as announced, are somehow magically known to be accurate.
The results might well be right. But unlike the transparent and verifiable polls, no human being has actually bothered to count or even examine 80% of the ballots in NH. So whose the irresponsible crackpot here? Some of these folks are digging their own November grave.
We stay up all night without sleeping and go on Steph's show, you decide...
Syndicated Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler bumps up our serious concerns about last night's wholly untransparent, and still-uncounted (by anything but a hackable Diebold computer, and a company with an executive criminal past, to say the least) New Hampshire Primary election results, from "blogger conspiracy theory" to mainstream media concern.
Here are the first few grafs of his column, set to run in tomorrow's editions of subscribing mainstream media papers...
By Robert C. Koehler Tribune Media Services
As the breathless sports coverage of the presidential primaries bursts around me this morning, I’m doing my best to resist surrendering to the contrived drama about “comeback kids” and the flying shrapnel of numbers and hold onto my troubled skepticism about the electoral process, or at least most of it.
First of all, before we get too enthusiastic about feminist solidarity or wax knowingly about New Hampshire Democrats’ traditional soft-heartedness toward the Clinton family, let’s ponder yet again the possibility of tainted results, which is such an unfun prospect most of the media can’t bear to remember that all the problems we’ve had with electronic voting machines — and Diebold machines in particular, which dominate New Hampshire polling places — remain unsolved.
Did the Hillary campaign really defy the pollsters? She had been trailing Barack Obama by 13 percentage points, 42 to 29, in a recent Zogby poll, as election watchdog Brad Friedman pointed out. And the weekend’s “rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama,” as the New York Times put it, “suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape.”
So when she emerged from the Tuesday primary with an 8,000-vote and 3-percentage-point victory over Obama, perhaps — considering the notorious unreliability, not to mention hackability, of Diebold machines — the media might have hoisted a few red flags in the coverage, rather than immediately chalk the results up to Clinton’s tears and voter unpredictability. (Oh, if only more reporters considered red flags patriotic.)
The fact is, whatever actually happened in New Hampshire voting booths on Tuesday, our elections are horrifically insecure. For instance, Bev Harris, of the highly respected voting watchdog organization Black Box Voting, recently wrote that the Diebold 1.94w optical scan machines used in some 55 percent of New Hampshire precincts (representing more than 80 percent of the state’s voters) are “the exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County (Florida)” a few years ago. They haven’t been upgraded; the security problems haven’t been fixed.
National, or at least media, denial about this situation doesn’t say much for the strength of our democracy.
The rest of the column is just as good, in which he discusses the MSM's "inability to incorporate news of ongoing voting-machine insecurity into actual election coverage."
Our Spidey-sense started tingling before going to bed last night and hearing reports, on MSNBC, that there were 17 paper ballots cast in Dixville Notch, NH, in its midnight, first-in-the-country voting. The report said that there were only 16 registered voters in the tiny voting precinct, yet 17 votes had been cast --- suggesting that somehow, paper ballot "voter fraud" skullduggery was afoot.
Following on that, reports throughout the day appeared that NH precincts were out of paper ballots, and voters were unable to vote.
Trouble is, both reports are either completely untrue, or wholly misleading, or both, as The BRAD BLOG was able to confirm with two simple phone calls.
Each of those reports, however, would seem to go a long way towards giving the impression that paper ballots are a bad idea, and that "voter fraud" is easy to commit when using them. Given that one of those reports seems to have begun on The DRUDGE REPORT earlier today, we're not particularly surprised that the MSM kept repeating the easily-debunked stories running all day.
That, even while there are reasons to be concerned about how the paper ballots used in the New Hampshire Primary will actually be counted by the hackable Diebold optical-scan systems used in the state, as controlled and programmed by an outrageously bad private contractor there...
Good news! The bombshell report on the front page of London's Sunday Times on charges made by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has finally led to press coverage by the mainstream media!
From one side of the globe to the other, as expected, the explosive whistleblower allegations concerning highly-placed, well-known U.S. officials in the Departments of State and Defense involved in an illicit, for-profit scheme to develop and protect a network of spies, who then stole and sold American nuclear secrets to the international black markets via Turkey, Israel and Pakistan, is now worldwide news!
That, even though the Times only covered "about 20%" of the story she has to tell, according to Edmonds, with whom we spoke late last night.
Sunday's British blockbuster, detailing how nuclear secrets were then proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially even al-Qaeda, was picked up on Monday and reported by international mainstream outlets such as The Times of India, Pakistan's Daily Times, Iran's PressTV, Israel's Haaretz and even the Turkish Daily News.
Here in the United States, the mainstream media coverage included:
That's right. Nobody. None of them. Zilch. Not a one.
Edmonds told The BRAD BLOG last night that her phone had been ringing of the hook since the Times story hit. From reporters around the globe, she said. As to America: "Not a single mainstream media channel, not even a newspaper."
Apparently American nuclear secrets, stolen by "moles" at America's most sensitive nuclear installations, sold on the black market with the help and protection of highly placed American officials, which then found their way into the hands of America's enemies, is not notable news to Americans. According to the American corporate mainstream media, anyway. We suppose they're all too busy fighting the War on Terror in New Hampshire or something.
And you wonder how our country got into this mess?
Edmonds was no longer amazed by it all. We still are.
(Hat-tip to Mizgîn, a Kurdish blogger at Rastî, for her collection of foreign press articles covering the Sunday Times story. Note: Mizgîn also has some harsh words for the coverage of our friend Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY at that same link. We are friends with Alexandrovna, and are thus likely compromised on this point. So we'll stay out of it for now and let each of them deal with the particulars as they see fit.)
UPDATE 6:22pm PT Credit where it's due. Independent American broadcast media outlet, INN World Report, seen on some satellite TV providers, covered the report in detail, including an interview with yours truly...
Okay, we will ask again. We report on what the American people (and the world) need to know about. The corporate mainstream media does not --- as evidenced above. Therefore, we ask again for your support, so we can continue to do exactly that, via an online donation to The BRAD BLOG. If you don't support our efforts, make no mistake, nobody else will.
Ron Paul says his exclusion from last night's debate on Fox "News" is an "awful embarrassment" for the Republican propaganda outlet.
The Republican Presidential candidate points out, during an interview this morning on CNN, that he received 10% of the vote in Iowa, where he finished well ahead of Rudy Giuliani --- who was allowed to participate in the Fox debate --- and that he's beating him "2 to 1" currently in New Hampshire. As well, Paul points out that his campaign has "raised more money than any other Republican candidate in the last quarter."
He also notes both the impossible and the obvious in a single sentence when he charges: "I think they're making a mockery of the whole situation...because they've lost all credibility."
Fox claims their criteria on deciding who would participate in the New Hampshire debate was based on who was receiving at least 10% in the national polls. RAW STORY has the story and video.
Paul supporters are seen in this video, chasing Fox "News" and ABC radio propagandist Sean Hannity down the street last night in New Hampshire, chanting "Fox News sucks" and yelling reminders to the Republican party mouthpiece that he is not, in fact, as his fans would otherwise claim, "a great American."
Similarly, Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was not allowed to participate in Sunday's (capital "D") Democratic debate on ABC. The Ohio Congressman is filing a complaint with the FCC, which points out, among other things, that the Disney-owned network is "violating its obligation to operate in the public interest," and that he "is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has qualified for Federal matching funds who is being excluded by ABC."
Meanwhile American democracy (small "d") gently weeps.
[Updated --- now several times --- with a number of significant items, additional info, background, reaction and analysis from around the blogosphere, all at the end of the article.]
Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.
"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets," reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."
In the article, just filed tonight, Edmonds reveals details overheard on wiretaps she translated during her time at the FBI, just after 9/11. Her disclosures to the Times reveal a maze of nuclear black market espionage involving U.S. Defense and State Department officials, that resulted in the sale and propagation of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli interests. In turn, that information was then sold to Pakistan and used by A.Q. Kahn for development of nuclear weapons. The secrets were subsequently proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, just weeks prior to September 11th, 2001.
The explosive allegations, shared with the Sunday Times over the last several weeks, follow on the heels of two reports published late last year by The BRAD BLOG, based on our own exclusive interviews with Edmonds.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a short, unambiguous and to-the-point directive [PDF] last night, to all 56 counties in Ohio still employing unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines, that they must make a paper ballot available at the polling place to any voter who wishes to vote on one.
Her directive even goes so far as to require those paper ballots actually be counted "on election night as part of the unofficial canvass."
Brava again! The requirement to actually count those paper ballots before unofficial results are release to the public and media is a key component that has been missing from the various federal legislative efforts, including Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) latest bill as currently drafted, as well as his previous one (HR811), that would begin to put paper back into the polling place.
Every state in the country should follow suit! As well, we recommend that, at the very least, Brunner issue a further directive that signs shall be conspicuously and clearly posted in each polling place to inform voters of their right to vote on paper, if they wish. Better still, a directive that requires every voter to be asked by voting officials, before they vote, if they wish to vote on paper. We have previously recommended such a "paper or plastic?" requirement for any jurisdiction in America that still allows for the use of horrible DRE systems (including those with or without a useless, so-called "paper trail").
Until then, Democracy advocates in the Buckeye state will need to launch an important, and potentially expensive (but crucial), education campaign to inform voters of their right to vote on paper!
With the very good general news from Brunner, let's hope she soon realizes the underlying reasons for serious concerns about, and the great dangers of, not counting and posting precinct voting results at the precinct, before they are sent back to county headquarters for central tabulation.
Brunner's recent independent testing of Ohio's e-voting systems (known as EVEREST) led her to recommend the abolishment of all DRE systems in the state, although she did not issue a binding directive to that end. At the same time, her recommendation to ban precinct-based counting, in favor of central-based counting, has drawn a great deal of criticism from Election Integrity advocates. Rightly so, in our opinion, even if she came to her recommendation through well-meaning advice from some of the folks who advised on the study, including computer security experts, and election officials of the sort who would be inappropriately entrusted with complete control over that dangerously centralized counting process.
The Election Integrity advocate gets quoted in graf 3 of an AP story on Election Integrity. Go figure...
DENVER - With the presidential race in full swing, some U.S. states have found critical flaws in the accuracy and security of their electronic voting machines, forcing officials to scramble to return to the paper ballots they abandoned after the 2000 Florida debacle.
In December alone, top election officials in Ohio and Colorado declared that widely used voting equipment is unfit for elections.
"Every system that is out there, one state or another has found that they are no good," said John Gideon of the advocacy group Voters Unite. "Everybody is starting to look at this now and starting to realize that there is something wrong."
Nice. That, as opposed to the EI expert showing up, maybe, in the penultimate graf, only to be finally countered at the end by the voting machine company spokeshole or election official who then lies: "Everything's just fine! Our machines work great!"
What runs via AP matters, as its picked up by, um, everybody. So it's good to see them covering this issue finally, with our buddy John Gideon getting the featured prominence he deserves, in a story which will likely be widely read.
And now to be both beggar and chooser: there's a minor error or two, a couple of dubious points in the story, and, most notably, a quote or two (one from the CO SoS) that underscores the failure of AP, and the rest of the corporate media, to adequately report on this issue, at least up until now...
Likely worth watching this week is Dan Abram's "Bush League Justice" series at 9pm ET Mon - Thur on MSNBC.
Blogging at MSNBC and Huff Po, Abrams says the series is in response to his "increasing frustration and outrage over how the Bush administration has politicized the usually apolitical Justice Department," which, he writes, has "significantly abused its authority to try to enhance power at the expense of any sense of objective justice" and has "decimated some of the most fundamental and cherished principles that define justice in this country."
He also goes on to focus on the breathtaking failures of the DoJ's Civil Rights division, which we've taken considerable notice of here at The BRAD BLOG --- including, but not limited to, most recently its Voting Section chief John "Minorities Die First" Tanner --- over the past several years...
Maybe most egregious is the now nearly unrecognizable Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Since 1957, it has led the effort to enforce civil rights laws and the fight for minorities. Even Richard Nixon's effort to delay implementation of school desegregation was less radical than how this president has flipped the goals and mission of the Division and allowed it to become a tool of the radical right.
Instead of pursuing cases of discrimination against African Americans, the Division under President Bush has focused on supposed reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination cases against Christians. A Boston Globe report even showed that almost half of the new hires in that department who had "civil rights experience" had "experience" only in defending employers or --- fighting --- affirmative action.
Those in the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department must really feel like they are in an upside down world. From 2001 to 2006, not one voting discrimination case was brought on behalf of African-American voters. Instead they have focused on alleged voter fraud cases that effectively target minority communities rather than protecting them.
Abrams goes on to point out several more troubling points about the Bush League DoJ, including a "University of Minnesota study conducted this year [which] shows that for every elected Republican investigated during this president's tenure, there were seven elected Democrats investigated."
A line in his final graf caught our eye as both the most inadvertently self-critical as well as the most incisive: "This series is long overdue."
In discussing WaPo's failure to properly describe Karl Rove's most recent indisputable lie (claiming it was Congress, not Bush, who rushed the resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq), Greg Sargent hits upon one of the most maddening --- and demonstrably destructive --- failings of the corporate mainstream media agenda-setters...
As Glenn Greenwald notes, the unwillingness of news orgs to challenge GOP lies by taking that extra step and using the F-word --- "false" --- is "one of the most significant problems in how our establishment media functions." And as Timesproved yesterday, when this extra step is taken, the world doesn't get knocked off its axis. Yet WaPo's editors --- perhaps out of fear, perhaps for other not particularly admirable reasons --- simply refuse to label GOP falsehoods what they are.
It's time the Washington Post, and scores of other such news outlets like it, start using actual words, like "lie", to report on what is actually going on in this country. No doubt they'll get around to it soon enough. Just in time for Hillary.
That, even as WaPo apparently has no problem reporting out and out rumorslies (long ago disproven ones at that) on their front page --- at least when they involve Democrats --- to the point that even a WaPo cartoonist had to take them to task for it.
And about this "balance" bullshit...oh, don't even get me started...
In 1999, former Pres. George Bush famously said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."
John Gibson, the Fox "News" anchor, takes an opposite view. He says he wants to "give a medal" to the Bush officials who deliberately jeopardized a top-secret, well-established CIA program that tracked the sales of weapons of mass destruction in black markets worldwide.
Why would a rightwinger like Gibby want to pin a medal on these traitors? Because the traitors are Republicans --- a cabal led by Dick Cheney and that included Karl Rove and Scooter Libby --- while the covert agent in charge of the CIA's top secret WMD tracking program, Valerie Plame Wilson, made a campaign donation to Al Gore in 1999.
(Ed Note: It is our understanding that she and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, also contributed to George W. Bush's campaign at the time as well.)
In her 20 years as a spy for the United States, Agent Wilson worked for a front business, an oil industry consulting firm called Brewster Jennings and Associates. She frequently traveled overseas where she developed a network of secret "assets" --- foreign nationals who provided her with inside knowledge on the movement of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons and materials in the worldwide terrorist black market.
The CIA will not say, of course, how many of these foreign assets were compromised, killed, wounded or kidnapped and tortured as a result of Cheney's treasonous conspiracy to forfeit them by exposing Agent Wilson's covert identity.
And only time will tell how many weapons of mass destruction were transported undetected because Agent Wilson's network was forfeited --- and whether one or more of these weapons will be used to attack the United States.
But none of that matters to Republicans like John Gibson and his cohorts at Fox "News" and in the Bush White House, whose patriotism is as fake as the made-in-China American flags pinned to their lapels. Gibson's remarkable statement advocating giving a medal to Rove, Cheney and Libby --- the "most insidious of traitors" who betrayed vital national secrets --- exposes him for what he is: an ideologue who puts his party ahead of his country even at the risk of national security.
Earlier this week, Washington Post investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Jeff Leen hosted an online chat at washingtonpost.com. One of the participants asked Woodward and Leen how pervasive the voter suppression tactic known as "caging" is. The investigative reporters had no idea what it was:
Washington, D.C.: Don't you have a duty to report criminal activity to the appropriate authorities?
How pervasive is "caging"?
Bob Woodward and Jeff Leen: We publish what we can find and document. Many times over the years government authorities have pursued the information we have dug up and launched their own investigations. But we're trying to serve the readers, and we do not act as police or prosecutors. And please send us an e-mail explaing [sic] what "caging" is.
Woodward and Leen aren't the only Washington Post reporters who are clueless about caging. In a washingtonpost.com online chat with congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman in May, a questioner asked "why Congress didn't jump on Monica Goodling's testimony about caging." Weisman's response: "So what is this caging thing?"
So for all those Washington Post reporters out there, let's go over the facts again...
Check out TP for those facts (as if you need them), and how you can contact Woodward, and the rest of the clueless WaPo gang to give the poor folks some help on this very very (apparently) obscure topic.
BRAD BLOG's own dozens and dozens of articles --- apparently most of them just too "exclusive" --- on the topic, are posted right here in reverse chronological order.
Apparently Texas oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, who funded the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" propaganda campaign against John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of $3 million, seems, like the group themselves, to have trouble with the definition of the word "truth".
Earlier this month, at a DC dinner celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rightwing publication American Spectator, Pickens made a very public challenge (not a bet), offering, as the Republicanist blog, American Thinker reported, "a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry."
The similarly Rightwing blog RedState echoed that the challenge was made to anybody who "can prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false."
But it looks like Pickens was lying, as he is now trying to renege on the challenge since Kerry himself decided to take him up on it late last week, writing in a letter to Pickens (posted in full at the end of this article): "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry said that the $1 million should then be given to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, concluding his letter with: "I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge."
Pickens, however --- wait for it --- has proven to be less than a man of his word. Who'd have thunk it? Rather than accept Kerry's offer to meet the challenge, he's moved the goal posts and Fox "News" Network stooge, Sean Hannity --- no man of honor either --- is entirely scummy enough to aide and abet Pickens in welching out of the challenge...