Congrats to David Earnhardt and company on winning "Best Documentary" at last weekend's San Diego Film Festival, for Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections! I'm quite sure the win was due to my appearance at the Q&A following the Saturday night screening down there.
And finally...if you'd like a copy of both great documentaries (I'm in both, but they're really good anyway!), a donation of $75 or more will get 'em both shipped straight to ya! (Snail mail also works for all of the above: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Congrats and thanks all around! People are getting the message because you are making noise!
Kansas City Star is among the first out of the box to review the film, calling it a "Must See!" and declaring that it "plays like a high-tension political thriller."
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It also tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-often frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.
The DVD of MSVL is finally available for purchase at VotingLies.com and will also be premiering beginning this weekend on LinkTV, for those of you lucky enough to get the satellite TV channel. See LinkTV's main Murder, Spies page for air dates and times, as well as an extended five-minute preview of the film. Sharaf has been kind enough to offer the DVD --- signed by herself and myself --- available as our newest, and perhaps most appropriate, BRAD BLOG premium ever! An online donation of $50 or more gets you your own copy! (And just in time for Halloween!) Snail mail works as well, if you prefer to send a check to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The support is greatly appreciated and very much needed.
LinkTV narrates their own 60-second preview of MSVL below...
For those who aren't familiar with the remarkable Curtis/Feeney story of the Florida software programmer who says he was asked by a powerful Republican to create vote-rigging software, where have you been? See this summary version for the quick details.
For those who are familiar with the story, you will learn details in MSVL you never knew, along with new interviews on the case from Gore Vidal, reporter Bob Fitrakis, computer security expert Harri Hursti, whistleblower Steve Heller, Curtis co-worker Mavis Georgalis, and many more!
While the Curtis story has been told, often beautifully, in a number of other documentaries, such as Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote, this is the first to go all the way into all of the frightening details underscoring this case, including the mysterious death of Florida's Inspector General Raymond Lemme while investigating the allegations, and the bizarre case of the convicted Chinese spy, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked at the firm with Curtis.
A few quotes from some of the early reviews:
"Must see!...Plays like a high-tension political thriller...Amazingly elaborate and detailed...Want to get hoppin' mad? This'll do it...Let's hear it for paper ballots." - Bob Butler, Kansas City Star
The film is also screening at a number of upcoming film-festivals around the country, including the New Jersey Film Festival this weekend. See the MSVL website for dates & times.
Four years later, I'm happy to still be here to see the release of the film, quite frankly. There were some pretty scary days back there. It's regrettable that nobody's yet gone to jail, but maybe we're getting closer. For many of you who found this blog because of the Curtis story back in 2004, thank you for all of the support throughout the years! I hope you'll get the film, enjoy it, and continue to spread the word.
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.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.
The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, is calling on the John McCain campaign to "immediately halt Republican vote suppression efforts," as seen recently in Michigan --- where a county GOP chair announced his intention to use home foreclosure lists to challenge voter eligibility at the polls on Election Day --- and elsewhere.
Conyers has announced hearings on these issues, and is calling on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to launch an immediate "full scale investigation" into these matters. He has sent letters both to McCain [PDF] and to Mukasey [PDF] (the latter signed by 23 members of Congress) to that effect, as well as issuing the following statement today...
On Tuesday, while the corporate media was helping along John McCain's faux controversy over lipstick and farm animals, and while Republicans were otherwise preparing to celebrate 9/11 on Thursday, a group of so-called "third-party" Presidential candidates gathered for a news conference at the National Press Club, as sponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)'s CampaignForLiberty.org. Paul's introductory statement, endorsing third-party candidates as a whole, is here.
Paul recently announced his refusal to endorse his party's nominee, John McCain, despite their personal entreaties. The entire press conference is on video here.
The three candidates who did show, all spoke to various aspects of the detrimental nature of the dangerous two-party duopoly the country is currently saddled with, thanks in no small part to the corporate media's unwavering support thereof. (See this condescending coverage from WaPo clown Dana Milbank, whose never run for even dog catcher, as far as I know, much less President on a national party ticket, by way of just one such example.)
Only McKinney spoke directly to the issues surrounding Election Integrity. She is, to my knowledge, the only Presidential candidate of any party this year, to speak substantively to the most important matter underscoring every freedom we have and every serious issue we face in this nation.
She begins her remarks by pointing out: "What has not been mentioned this morning, and has rarely been mentioned throughout this presidential election season, is the issue of election integrity." She speaks rather eloquently both about "massive disenfranchisement" and "manipulation of electronic voting machines." The video clip of her comments on the topic (appx. 3 mins, courtesy Alan Breslauer) is below. A text-transcript is included at the end of this article…
None of the candidates, including McKinney, have yet signed the StandingForVoters.org pledge to challenge any questionable election results and not concede until every vote is counted, and counted accurately. We (The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us, the creators of the StandingForVoters.org initiative) welcome all such candidates, from any political party, running for any office on the national, state or local level, to sign the pledge and stand up for voters as they have/will stand up for them. The SFV campaign calls on voters to demand candidates sign the pledge, and makes materials available to hand to them during campaign events. For more info, see the website or write to info@StandingForVoters.org.
The text transcript of Cynthia McKinney's statement yesterday on Election Integrity, follows below…
Last night we offered the quick skinny on the abrupt resignation of Colorado's state Election Director, Holly Lowder, just 60 days out from what promises to be one of the largest and most important --- and potentially closest --- elections in the state's history.
We summarized some of the dizzying background on the exceptionally embarrassing and dysfunctional state of certification, decertification and recertification of e-voting systems in the Centennial State over the last two years, under current Sec. of State, Republican Mike Coffman (who is overseeing his own election for the U.S. House this November), and in previous years under two former Republican SoS' (one of whom was promoted by George W. Bush to do the same lousy job of e-vote testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission).
We also suggested, based on information from sources in the states, that the old euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting vendors" may well become more than just a euphemism when the full explanation for Lowder's sudden departure became known.
And today, as we'd hinted last night, some of that information has now become known...
If folks in Florida's 24th Congressional district don't dump this sleaze bucket (presuming he's not tossed in jail first for his involvement with Jack Abramoff, for which he's under FBI investigation), I can't even imagine what they'd be thinking,
Here's most of the 30-second robocall, as posted by the Sentinel, in which a Feeney volunteer endorses Curtis on behalf of Feeney's filthy campaign...
Just when you think he's hit rock-bottom, it turns out there is no dirty trick too unseemly for Feeney. Can there be any more question about Curtis' claims about him? What wouldn't Feeney do to try and gain an advantage in an election? Gaming the system again. As ever. (As he also did when Curtis ran against him in '06). What an appalling little --- very little --- figure of a man.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, had a brain hemorrhage and was in critical condition with limited brain function, a doctor said Wednesday.
Tubbs Jones, 58, suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in Cleveland Heights on Tuesday, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital in East Cleveland. The congresswoman had been driving erratically and her vehicle crossed lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said.
The hemorrhage was in an inaccessible part of the congresswoman's brain, Kious said during a news conference. A team of doctors who evaluated her determined she has limited brain function.
Update 4:31 p.m. PDT: The Associated Press and C-SPAN are reporting that Rep. Tubbs Jones died at 6:12 p.m. EDT today, in Cleveland. Our thoughts are with her family.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's appearance Monday at a West Los Angeles college to discuss her recently published book was marred by dozens of protesters and several angry outbursts by audience members who demanded Pelosi immediately authorize a House committee to hold impeachment hearings against George W. Bush.
The Speaker made it clear she would not support any effort to hold impeachment hearings against George W. Bush Bush saying that he "will be gone in a hundred days."
Halfway through her discussion at The American University of Judaism, where more than 300 people paid $30 each to hear Pelosi speak about her upbringing and her family's impact on her political career as detailed in her book Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters, the topic shifted to Congress's historically low approval rating and how it reflected on Pelosi’s tenure as Speaker.
An outbreak of protest ensued leading to one protester being escorted out of the event by the Secret Service. Later, blogger Alan Breslauer was also yanked away from the Speaker by Secret Service agents, after attempting to ask a question of her during her book signing session. Some of those protests can be seen in the video at right.
American University of Judaism's Rabbi Robert Wexler, who led the 75-minute interview, asked Pelosi to analyze a recent Rasmussen poll that found nine percent of individuals polled believed Congress was doing a good job, far lower than Bush's overall approval rating.
Pelosi responded by defending her performance and the performance of her Democratic colleagues in Congress.
"I preside over the greatest collection of integrity and idealism," Pelosi said. Prior to her appearance in West Los Angeles Monday evening, CNN’s Larry King interviewed Pelosi. She told King she was willing to drop her staunch opposition to offshore drilling and would likely allow the House to vote on the issue.
She said, in her opinion, the reason behind Congress’s low approval rating was largely due to the fact that Democrats could not muster up the votes to end the Iraq war, which the Democratic Speaker from San Francisco said she could not do much about because of the Democrats’ razor-thin majority in both Houses.
Wexler, however, continued to press Pelosi to elaborate on her response given that the Rasmussen poll suggested that a wide-range of issues beyond the Iraq war was responsible for Congress’s single-digit approval. Pelosi, visibly flustered, said she was well aware that “much more work needs to be done.”...
Curtis called Kosmas a "conservative blue-dog Democrat." He said "She could change her name to Republican and never have to change a vote."
Kosmas, in return, might ask, "Curtis who?"
She said she doesn't know Curtis.
"I am running as a Democrat," Kosmas said.
"Running as a Democrat." A telling phrase, that.
While Kosmas claims to be against the war, it turns out she co-sponsored a resolution, adopted on March 21, 2003, while in the Florida legislature that pledged "support of President Bush in his stand against Saddam Hussein".
Unfortunately, Kosmas isn't the only hand-picked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) candidate being put up this year almost solely on the basis of the DCCC's short-sighted conjecture that they can win in a previously "red" district because the candidate either has lots of their own money, or is damned-near a Republican.
Yesterday, our buddy Howie Klein - who knows more about on-the-ground politics and the real positions of Congressional candidates than anyone we know --- decimated the DCCC for their drive to put "Democrats" in office, at any cost. The "Stalinist" effort, as he describes it, to put such candidates as Kosmas in office (whether or not they end up voting with Republicans more often than Democrats!) has been the basis of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program launched under the previous DCCC chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel and still in play under its new chair, Chris Van Hollen....
Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration's Forged Iraq Intelligence
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."
"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration's attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind's reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author's interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind's allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."
A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind's book to be reviewed include:
The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq's chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
The payment of $5 million to Iraq's chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind's research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson's notes were also confiscated.
[UPDATED: Florida Democratic Party responds to this report. See bottom of article for details.]
A Democratic candidate running in a contested primary for the U.S. House seat representing Florida's 24th Congressional District has filed an official complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), alleging that his opponent has been making illegal and deceptive campaign calls from within the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) offices, on party phone lines.
In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG blasting his opponent, Clint Curtis described the tactics being used by the Suzanne Kosmas campaign as "the worst example of Rovian dirty tricks."
Curtis, a Florida computer programmer turned well-known vote-rigging/anti-corruption whistleblower (see BRAD BLOG's years-long coverage of Curtis here) has filed a complaint charging that paid campaign staffers for his opponent in the August 26th Democratic Primary, former state Rep. Kosmas, "have been contacting Democratic primary election voters and fraudulently identifying themselves as calling on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party," according to the campaign's press release.
"The callers then go on to solicit votes for Kosmas in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary," the Curtis camp alleges.
The press release is posted in full at the end of this article, with a link to download the complete FEC complaint. Also at the end of the article is the full text of an email sent to Curtis and campaign manager Jerry Halberg, from a Curtis campaign staffer who also serves as a local Florida precinct captain. The precinct captain claims to have received one of the deceptive phone calls.
The email notes that the Caller ID recorded showed the call as having come from "KOSMAS FOR CONG" with the phone number 407-365-7808. A call made by The BRAD BLOG to that number this afternoon, was answered by someone identifying the number as belonging to "The Campaign for Florida of the Florida Democratic Party."
The Curtis campaign press release, issued yesterday, details the main points of Curtis' complaint to the FEC:
* Kosmas and her committee knowingly misled the democratic primary election voters as to the origination of her telephonic communications and utilized state Democratic Party offices and telephone equipment for her federal campaign.
* The Kosmas campaign claimed the state offices, which are leased by the Florida State Democratic Party, as her campaign offices in public communications with Democratic voters.
* She knowingly led the voters to believe that the communication asking for support in the primary was from the Florida Democratic Party when in fact it was from paid staffers.
"The unlawful calls continued even after the Kosmas campaign was notified of the problem," the release continues, with Curtis adding, "Her campaign was given the opportunity to rectify the violations prior to the submission of FEC charges but apparently chose not to."
The Curtis campaign says photos taken of the Democratic Party offices in Oviedo reveal how the evidence of FDP support for Kosmas was "scrubbed" after they complained. Photos said to have been taken on July 31, before Curtis complained to both the FDP and the Kosmas camp, show campaign signs for Kosmas plastered throughout the local Democratic Party facility. After the initial complaints on Aug 3rd, as the following photos purport to show, the signs were removed...
A Bush-appointed federal judge has found that White House aides, such as Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers (and even Karl Rove, though he wasn't a part of this court case, and so not named) must show up when called by Congress to testify:
“The executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled Congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law,” Judge John D. Bates ruled in United States District Court.
Judge Bates, who was appointed to the bench by President Bush in 2001, said Ms. Miers cannot simply ignore a subpoena to appear but must state her refusal in person. Moreover, he ruled, both she and Mr. Bolten must provide all non-privileged documents related to the dismissals.
The NYTimes report goes on to note that "The White House is almost certain to appeal the ruling."
Of course they are. Tick, tick, tick...
In related news...Nancy Pelosi, said --- incredibly --- when asked about why she won't Impeach on ABC's The View this week: "I thought that Impeachment would be divisive...If someone had a crime that the President had committed, that would be a different story."
Huh? Did she seriously say that? Yes, she did. See the remarkable video at right for proof, along with Kucinich's response to her breath-taking comments.
Impeachment shouldn't be done, she continued, with two feet firmly planted in her Bizarro World, "unless you have the goods that this President committed a crime."
(Pardon us while we pick up our head from the floor...)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart publicly pursued possible punishments for an array of alleged past and present Bush administration misdeeds.
Voting along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broke the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats.
The committee decision is only a recommendation, and it was unclear whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would allow a final vote. Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.
...Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.
The White House's opinion that advisers cannot be compelled to testify does not address whether or not the witness is nonetheless required to appear in response to a subpoena. From Congress.
It remains to be seen whether Congressional Democrats will actually assert authority and re-establish parity as a co-equal branch of the federal government under the Constitution, or if this is just more sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Last February the full House voted to hold White House officials Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. They have failed to enforce that vote, which passed 223 to 32, and AG Mukasey has said he would not enforce the House's contempt finding.
Last December, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended finding Rove in contempt in a bi-partisan 12 to 7 vote, during which Republican Arlen Specter noted "we have no alternative," given Rove's snub of the subpoenas issued by the panel.
Despite the endorsement from even two Republicans on the committee, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid has failed to bring the recommendation to the full Senate for a vote. Will Pelosi hold the House committee's endorsement (and the will of the American people, and the Rule of Law) in similar contempt?
UPDATE FROM BRAD: In addition to the Committee's finding of contempt, the resolution passed today also recommends an interesting additional course of action recommended for the House, as noted in the Resolution's markup memo [WORD] that we received from the House Judiciary this morning...