The Russians flew into town to talk to me last week. The result, from Russia Today, their huge worldwide English-language satellite/news outlet, follows (appx 3.5 mins)...
For the record, I take little joy or comfort in detailing, to folks from Russia, just how bad the current state of democracy is in the U.S.. Describing the failures of our corporate media to them was not much fun either. But I call 'em as I see 'em.
Describing our elections these days as "Russian Roulette," however, did seem to make some kind of perverse sense on Russian television, even if it's not the first time I've used that turn of phrase that way. But I looked Anastasia Churkina in the eye, found her to be very straight-forward and trustworthy, and we had a very good dialogue. In fact, I was able to get a sense of her soul, so I knew I could trust her.
POST-SCRIPT: Anastasia headed up to Portland to speak to the good Thom Hartmann, on many of the same topics, the day after she was here to interview me. The RT interview with Thom is here.
The RNC isn't even trying to pretend like they are independent from their media arm, Fox "News", anymore, apparently.
Here's today's RNC press release. It's, quite literally, a transcript of this morning's Fox & Friends, wherein the FNC/RNC clowns "report" on yesterday's PR stunt/raid on a Las Vegas ACORN office and then, for good measure, prime the pump for yet another similar raid in Missouri (another swing state, go figure.) Needless to say, it's utter stuff and nonsense, with zero evidence of "criminality" by ACORN --- as explained in our coverage yesterday, all civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems -- and includes plenty of unsubstantiated hearsay and garbage, as if it were actually fact. So, naturally, it's been released as a press release by the RNC, as is.
Unless they find that yesterday's PR stunt in NV has blown up on them (and it might, as folks, even some in the corporate media, are beginning to understand what a desperate scam this GOP "voter fraud" hoax really is) we'll expect a similar stunt or two, akin to the one in Vegas, soon in MO, OH, and anywhere the GOP feels they need a phony reason to challenge elections, intimidate voters, and otherwise cause havoc at the polls before, during and even after Election Day.
Earlier today, I was reminded that similar nonsense occurred just days prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, when the wingnuts falsely reported that ACORN had registered a terrorist to vote in Ohio. And, of course, the DoJ famously violated it's own written rules when it brought similar "voter fraud" charges against ACORN workers just days before the '06 election.
Why do these people hate democracy? Oh, yeah, because if legal voters are actually allowed to vote, and to have their vote counted accurately, the Republicans will lose. At least this year. So, let's hear it one more time for modern-day Republican Deity Paul Weyrich who sent out this year's marching orders some 28 years ago (the video is 40 seconds, but it should tell you just about all you need to know)...
It shouldn't be necessary --- at least if we had a corporate media which did their Constitutionally-protected jobs --- but since ACORN doesn't have the budget of FNC/RNC, here's an ACORN press statement, issued late this afternoon, concerning the bogus Vegas raid/PR stunt yesterday...
The day after the second Presidential Debate, one of CNN's top online headlines was:
Ticker: Obama actions called 'not presidential'
Naturally, readers might think this refers to something Barack Obama did or said during last night's debate. That it's possibly a response from a cross-section of undecided voters in a new poll. Or readers might think, having nothing to do with the debate, the headline refers to something Obama has done in the past, or something he may have even done today.
Whatever readers might think, they would have no idea --- unless or until they clicked on it --- that this egregiously misleading headline was actually referring to a new John McCain attack ad...
No, really. He did. So will the rightwing FNC "defenders of Jewish people against slime artists of all persuasions," such as Kristol, Krauthammer, Brooks, McCain or Palin condemn Hannity and company? Todd Gitlin seems to doubt it...
Americans - most notably right-leaning Americans - used to issue dire warnings about sliding down "the slippery slope" on any number of hot-button political issues. From the slippery slope of same-sex marriage to the slippery slope of gun control to the slippery slope of abortion rights to the slippery slope of immigration and on and on, various political interest groups in America guarded that slope, with no small amount of zeal, lest any of us find our God-given rights or once-vaunted rule of law lost for good before we even noticed.
Bad news. We've lost our God-given rights, at least our constitutional ones, and certainly the rule of law. The US is now in full-plummet down the slippery slope, due, in no small part, to a lack of courage, willingness, interest and imagination of those who might have kept it from happening long ago.
Today Laura Bush told CNN that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor, lacks experience in foreign policy.
You know, that's not been her role. But I think she is a very quick study, and fortunately John McCain does have that sort of experience.
Asked if she thought Palin's resume included sufficient foreign policy experience, Bush said, "Of course she doesn't have that."
If a similarly striking comment had been made by a powerful Democrat (or their spouse) about Barrack Obama or Joe Biden do you supposed it would have received a bit more coverage?
Nonetheless, I'll look forward to the wingnut commentary all weekend --- from the disingenous propagandists and their kool-aid chugging chumps alike --- following tonight's debate, about how the media is "in the tank" for Obama. And I'll look forward, as well, to the media internalizing that phony criticism and continuing to give every benefit of the doubt to a Republican, that they'd never even consider giving to a Democrat.
It is now a bit fun watching some previously silent news organizations fall all over themselves as they suddenly recognize that our election process is seriously flawed. Today CNN reported, and many smaller organizations picked up the report, that the GAO released a report this week on voting system testing that finds that the Election Assistance Commission [EAC] has not notified election officials across the country about electronic voting machine failures.
This has been no secret within the Election Integrity community and has been one of our main complaints about the EAC. Voting systems fail and the EAC does nothing about it. They argue instead that none of the voting systems were certified by the EAC so they have no right/mandate to do anything about them. The GAO recommends that congress step in with legislation to force this issue.
We agree but dislike the fact that we have to wait on a snail-slow congress to do anything. CNN also reports on the CommonCause/Century Foundation report that was also released this week and that points to 10 states that they believe will have problems in Nov. My guess is that the “ten states” will grow substantially to 40 or more by election day and on beyond.
Also in the news is that the re-re-recount of ballots in Palm Beach Co Florida is taking place today and tomorrow. One can only guess what they are going to find. Ballots from 2004? Punch cards with hanging chads?
And a member of the Washington DC council has subpoenaed Sequoia for records that may reveal what really happened in the recent primary. Could it be that the council will find that the Sequoia spokeswoman, Michelle Shafer’s, declaration that the company is not at fault; “No, no, no” is really “Yes, yes, yes”? ...
Tribune Media Services' Bob Koehler was one of the first voices, from within the corporate mainstream media, to speak about the bastardization of our current electoral system. He did so, beginning way back in the darkest days of 2005, when writing and/or saying such things aloud got folks fired, spiked, and otherwise Dixie Chicked for daring to speak such truths in a country which once claimed to believe in "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press."
From Ohio's 2004 abberation of democracy, to voting systems that don't work, to those who would do anything to win, such as keep voters from voting however they can, Koehler has continued to bang the drum, no matter the heat he has taken in return.
This week he continues to beat that drum, and offers us a few kind words in the bargain, yet again. Here's a few key grafs from his latest, headlined "Goo Goo Government"...
TALLAHASSEE — A new pitch for John McCain's presidential campaign aimed at older Democratic voters is causing complaints by Democrats and concern by elections officials.
The piece, paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain, tells voters it is seeking to double-check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations while asking for money. A letter signed by McCain tells the Democrats: "We have you registered as a Republican."
"I was a little bit shocked and a little bit surprised," said recipient Bill Smith, 81, of Tampa, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat and has been registered at his current address since 2000.
The RNC declined to discuss the mailer, which Democrats said has landed in five counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia.
The article goes on to note that FL's Republican SoS Kurt Browning believes the mailing is "confusing" and "unfortunate", but does not note whether or not he plans to do anything about it. We're not holding our breath. Neither are we holding it for Democrats down there to do much about it either.
The mailings sent to registered Democrats appear to be classic "caging" letters, marked as "Do Not Forward", so that they will then be returned to the GOP if there is any problem with delivery. Those returned letters will likely then be used as a basis to challenge the legitimacy of those particular voters on Election Day....
Here's a welcome sign that at least some in the corporate media are finally beginning to understand the complicated threat to democracy that is the boondoggle of electronic voting.
Bill Mego, in the Naperville Sun, asks all of the right questions (and granted, they are complicated ones to understand, unless one tries) about the junk Diebold voting system irresponsibly employed, at great tax-payer expense, by the DuPage County, IL Board of Elections.
One could as easily replace "Diebold" in the above sentence with any other voting system vendor, and "DuPage" with almost any other county in the nation (even though DuPage features one of the worst Election Boards in the country, and you'll be hearing still more about them soon). But the "good news" for today: at least a few in the media --- okay, at least Bill Mego --- finally "get" it, and are beginning to serve their readership well.
Let's get a few hundred more and we'll be in business. (And I'd be out of it! Happily!)
Rather than being cowed by the press' mini-sermons about truth-telling, McCain and Palin are practically laughing at the press.
Can you blame them?
Nope, and Eric Boehlert explains why. After years of having abdicated their Constitutionally-guaranteed role as watchdog for the public, the corporate media's too-little, too-late, temporary stint at actually reporting is now regarded as little more than a joke. And one that not even McCain/Palin feel they need to take seriously. What they've sowed, so shall we reap.
Over at HuffPo, Nancy Scola files a nice piece asking whether or not "New Media's obsessiveness" can save democracy, given that "Elections in the U.S. involve countless moving parts and...so many different players [that] Improving the way we vote demands sustained, focused attention --- not exactly the strong suit of the American Press."
It's a job for bloggers, she suggests, since the corporate media have, at least so far, not proven up to the task. She may be right, even though the thought simply exhausts me more than I am already.
She goes on to mention a few of us (yes, she names me specifically) who have been fighting this battle for quite some time. "From the sidelines, their campaign often seemed quixotic," she writes, "But [as electronic voting machines are now being scrapped for junk, recycled and/or sold on eBay] we're watching history bend their way."
Nice. Though not as nice as the following turn of phrase, so well writ that I had to share it:
When it comes to injustice, there are the "overlooked Americans": soldiers and other overseas Americans voting still have to hop over hurdles to cast their vote. (While I'm on this point, it's inconceivable to me that someone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan should have anything less than a ballot served to them on a silver platter that's then carried directly to the ballot box in the beak of a bald eagle.)
Game, set, match. Well done, Nancy.
With that, one friendly critique for her if I could be so bold: Paperless electronic voting is not the problem --- as she suggests in the piece --- as if adding "paper trails" to touch-screens makes a damned bit of difference (this article and its accompanying video from the Computer Security Group at UC Santa Barbara should make that crystal clear, no matter what some computer scientists like Princeton's Ed Felten and Verified Voting's David Dill keep saying out loud.) The problem is that democracy in this country demands nothing short of the transparency offered by a hand-marked paper ballot --- one that is actually counted, and counted accurately --- for every vote cast in America. Period.
And that point should be served from a silver platter, and carried directly to every election official and election official in the country, in the beak of a bald eagle.
Continuing where Bush/Cheney left off in '04, it's clear that the John McCain campaign will say and do anything to "win." Their latest knowing lie, in an attempt to fool America (again): a new campaign video released today. The ad is a complete lie, and of course, they know it. But they don't care. It's politics first, country last for the McCain/Palin ticket.
The ad not only misrepresents Obama's comments about "lipstick on a pig," it also purposely misrepresents comments from Katie Couric on "sexism." Worse still, the shameless McCain/Palin campaign inaccurately displays the text of the ad on their website, furthering the misrepresentation of Couric's comments on sexism in "this election," as the actual ad says, even though the comment is represented as being on "the election" in the campaign's transcript of the ad.
Breaking it down to answer to the several purposeful lies and distortions within, here's the first part of the ad's script as posted this morning on McCain's website...