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Carly's Climate Clap-Trap or The Fiorina Follies:
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Unlike Articles of Impeachment the Hinchey/Feingold Resolutions, if Passed, Would Carry Absolutely No Actual Consequences for the Men Accused of 'Disregarding Rule of Law'
Was Hinchey Just Kidding When He Described the Admin Just Weeks Ago as 'The Most Impeachable in the History of Our Country'?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2007 10:46am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...in Texas...

Now UPDATED with a response from Hinchey's office. See update at end of article.

Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate have announced they are prepared to issue a very, very stern slap on the wrist to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales.

Moments ago, in a joint news release (posted in full below) issued by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), it was announced that Censure resolutions, which have absolutely no force of law or actual consequences if passed, would be brought against the three men in both chambers.

"From misleading this country into invading Iraq to establishing a warrantless domestic spy program, this White House has continuously misled and deceived the American people while disregarding the rule of law that guides our democracy," says Hinchey in the statement.

Of course, it could be argued that a resolution of Censure, in lieu of a trial on Articles of Impeachment, is one of the only ways the U.S. Senate can bring some form of historic accountability to the three accused men until such Articles of Impeachment are sent to them by the U.S. House. But where the Senate may be limited in that they cannot bring their own Articles of Impeachment, the U.S. House has no such excuse.

The Censure resolution brought by Hinchey seems to fly in the face of his own comments on the Peter B. Collins Show just weeks ago when he said that this administration was "the most impeachable in the history of our country." From the transcript/audio of the interview:

HINCHEY: I think that this administration --- both the President and the Vice-President --- are the most impeachable in the history of our country. They have engaged in activities that have not only made them impeachable, but they have engaged in activities that have violated, in a criminal way, very important federal laws.

And yet, Hinchey is now supporting only Censure, apparently.

If Hinchey and his 19 co-sponsors in the House believe the White House needs condemnation for the points they describe in their resolutions of Censure --- which read like a swell description of Impeachable High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- then they have little excuse not to perform their Constitutional Duty and bring forward Articles of Impeachment in the House for this precise set of serious crimes which, as Hinchey said, "disregard the rule of law that guides our democracy."

Then again, courage of conviction is not something Democrats are too often accused of.

While we were unable to reach the White House for comment, we are fairly well able to anticipate their expected reaction to the Democrats latest attempt at "accountability":

The press release from Feingold and Hinchey, announcing Censure Resolutions in both the House and Senate, follows in full below. Following that is an update with a response from Hinchey's office to the comments above...

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

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With People for the American Way (PFAW) Serving as Broker, Press Agent...
By Bob Bancroft on 7/30/2007 9:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Bob Bancroft of VotersUnite

Rep. Rush Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill has become an enigma. After years of healthy dialogue with the election integrity community, Congressman Holt’s office now seems unresponsive. Just last week, rumors began to circulate that the Holt bill was adrift, its future uncertain. We later learned that the bill had entered into a series of secret negotiations, involving Majority Leader Hoyer, Speaker Pelosi, and other undisclosed parties.

Despite repeated attempts to contact anyone from the offices of Holt, Hoyer or Pelosi for a simple update, the week went by without a single call returned.

Now, we receive our first glimpse of the newly compromised Holt. We learn of the bill not from its author, nor Leader Hoyer, nor any elected, public official. Instead, it would seem that communications surrounding the bill flow through People For the American Way (PFAW), in the form of a late-Friday press release.

On Saturday, the New York Times confirmed that it was PFAW's President, Ralph Neas, in fact, who brokered the deal.

At a time when public confidence in our elected officials, and indeed the very process by which they are elected, is badly shaken, this is not helpful. VotersUnite will form an opinion of Hoyer-Holt only after careful reading of the text, which remains unavailable at the time of this writing. However, we are troubled that our Representatives would choose to conduct themselves in this circuitous manner, especially while considering something as fundamental as our right to vote.

Following is the full text of the original press release on the new, compromise version of HR-811, as issued by PFAW on Friday...

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

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PLUS: Following up with Bowen on the ES&S LA County InkaVote Issue, and the Bizarre Comments from Steve Weir, President of CA Election Officials Association
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2007 10:31am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Texas...

We'll certainly have more, from various voices, in the days ahead concerning CA SoS Debra Bowen's landmark independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of electronic voting systems. The reports from the teams at University of California are now available online here.

As well, Bowen will be taking public statements on these reports both via email at votingsystems@sos.ca.gov and, in person, during a public hearing tomorrow (Monday, July 30) at her office in Sacramento beginning at 10:00am. She'll announce her decisions for decertification or otherwise next Friday, August 3rd. So your input is important, as she mentioned on during a media phone call last Friday.

But even while the results, as Bowen described them on that phone call just prior to their release, found that "the independent teams of analysts were able to bypass both physical and software security measures in every system tested," and as the report on accessibility for disabled voters found that none of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems met federal disability standards, Democrats and People for the America Way (PFAW) in the U.S. House were busy hammering out a deal to institutionalize the continued use of such disastrous voting systems into federal law.

Out of touch much? Which part of a transparent, counted, paper ballot (not a "trail" or a "record") for every vote cast in America do these guys not understand?

Late Friday, as Bowen's UC Report was being released, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) finally came to terms, reportedly, on a deal for a revision of Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill which allows for the use of DREs as preferred, almost exclusively, by PFAW, elections offficials, and voting machine companies. We've been reporting for months that PFAW was the main insider advocacy group moving the ball with this disappointing bill, and Saturday's New York Times confirms that it was "Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, [who] helped broker the deal" between Holt and House Leadership.

That despite Neas having previously chided me for suggesting that PFAW had the power to make or break this legislation in Congress. As we've also long reported, of course, by their own written admissions, PFAW prefers unaccountable DRE systems to paper ballot voting systems.

And though Christopher Drew's reporting at the New York Times is getting slightly better with each new story, it would be nice if "The Paper of Record" could learn enough about our voting systems so they could accurately report, and help Americans understand what's really at stake here and how the technology actually works.

Drew reported --- misleadingly --- that "The House bill would require every state to use paper records that would let voters verify that their ballots had been correctly cast and that would be available for recounts."

That's just plain wrong. The fact is that adding "cash-register-style printers to...touch-screen machines," as Drew describes it, does not allow a voter to verify that their "ballots had been correctly cast." It allows them only to verify that the paper record of their invisibly-cast electronic ballot accurately matches their intention. Maybe. The fact is: There is no way to verify that a voter's vote is correctly cast on a DRE touch-screen voting machine. Period.

Unless, of course, it's me who is out of touch in presuming that if a "ballot" is "cast" it means it will actually be counted by someone or something. Paper trails added to DRE systems are not counted --- only the internal, invisible, unverifiable ballots are. A "cash-register-style" print-out prior to the ballot being cast and counted internally does not change that.

But more on all of that, and Bowen's UC reports, as we move forward. For the moment, if you'll allow me, I wanted to touch base on a few items I asked Bowen about during the phone call which followed up on several specific issues that we've been reporting on here at The BRAD BLOG over the last several weeks.

Specifically, I asked her whether there had yet been a resolution to the discrepancies in version numbers for LA County's InkaVote system source code as turned in by ES&S, versus the version secretly stored in escrow. And whether or not she could explain the comments reportedly made by Steve Weir, Registrar-Clerk of Contra Costa County, CA and President of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO), that CA election officials could choose to ignore Bowen's recommendations if they wanted to.

According to Bowen (full transcript and audio below) the ES&S LA County InkaVote issue remains unresolved, and she's unaware of what Weir might have been referring to. A transcript of my questions with Bowen follows, and I hope to have more on Weir soon --- and the adversarial comments he's been making in the media on behalf of CACEO --- but this article has already become much longer than I had intended...

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

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Elizabeth De La Vega Says Attempt to use Executive Privilege to Stymie Contempt Proceedings by U.S. Attorney Would Be 'Grounds for Impeachment'
Conyers Asks 'What Are We Waiting For?' at Event in San Diego According to Caller on Peter B. Collins Show...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2007 4:41pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road in Houston...

Heat for Impeachment continues to build as a former U.S. Prosecutor told me yesterday that she feels "it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," and as Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) reportedly opened an appearance with a crowd of supporters on Friday by proclaiming, "What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out!"

While discussing the extraordinary claim reported Friday from an anonymous senior administration official in the Washington Post, charging that George W. Bush has the power to order his Dept. of Justice to not pursue criminal contempt charges as brought by the House against his own administration, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Elizabeth de la Vega made a rather notable point of her own.

Calling it "shocking" and noting that the claim was made only by an anonymous source --- not actually announced as official policy by Bush --- de la Vega, the author of United States V. George W. Bush et al., told me that, should such an extraordinary legal argument be made as official policy, that action in and of itself would be an impeachable offense as she sees it.

She made the point during our on-air discussion about Impeachment during Friday's Peter B. Collins radio show which I am Guest Hosting weekdays through July 27. (An audio clip of the exchange is posted at the end of this article)

"Congress really needs to get serious, at this point, because [the administration is] just being completely defiant and have absolutely no grounds for taking this position," she told me.

"I really think, it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," she said. "It is not true that the President can instruct the Department of Justice not to charge his own people. Especially when he's implicated in this as well."

In reference to the administration's claims of Executive Privilege to block the Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents from former Bush attorney Harriet Miers and current Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, de la Vega advised Congress to ignore the claims made by the unnamed official and proceed with contempt charges.

If Bush should make that legal argument officially, that in itself would be grounds for impeachment, according to the former federal prosecutor...

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

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As The New York Times Fails to Report on the Payola He and His Group Have Received from the Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2007 1:54pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

Christopher Drew at New York Times follows up his article yesterday on the possible/pending death of the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811). In today's piece, however, he begins to report on the fact that there are alternatives to DRE touch-screen machines which offer the same interface for disabled voters, but without the dangers, as I opined about yesterday.

Of course, even that option --- an electronic assistive device that offers touch-screen voting and/or audio voting for disabled and blind voters --- is not good enough for Jim Dickson of the American Assoc. of People with Disabilities (AAPD), who is quoted by the Times as continuing to use his considerable access and ability to bully Congress members into sticking with DREs only. What the New York Times fails to report when mentioning Dickson is that he's received thousands of dollars from various voting machine companies who also prefer that every American be saddled with their shitty, unaccountable, inaccurate, easily-hackable DRE technology.

Christopher Drew and the NY Times have a responsibility to disclose that point when quoting Dickson as a source in their stories. They were the ones, after all, who reported on Dickson and the AAPD having "received $26,000 from voting machine companies" in 2004 alone.

Instead, Dickson is reported by the Times only as "a lobbyist for the American Association of People with Disabilities...whose group prefers the touch-screens."

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2007 2:04pm PT  

I'll likely speak more about this today while Guest Hosting the Peter B. Collins Show, but I had some thoughts while reading the New York Times piece that John Gideon posted here late last night on the last minute compromises being attempted to keep the Holt Election Reform Bill from its rumored death throes.

The subject of accessible voting systems for the disabled comes up throughout the piece with Holt reportedly "express[ing] a preference for optically scanned ballots marked by voters, but...House leaders...siding with advocates for the handicapped, who fear that they cannot use optical ballots without help."

Later, it's reported that "Advocates for the blind and the disabled also threatened to oppose the bill if it went too far in discouraging the use of touch-screen machines before the optical scanners were made easier for them to use," with Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly concerned about "undercut[ing] any of the gains that the disabled had made in voting without assistance."

That issue has always been a concern of election integrity folks, even while a large swath of the disabled community, including the powerful blind lobbyist Jim Dickson, his organization The American Association of Persons with Disabilities, and the entire National Federation of the Blind, had long ago become compromised when they accepted huge donations from voting machine companies such as Diebold.

But the fact is nowhere in the Times piece is it mentioned that blind and disabled voters could still use non-tabulating electronic touch-screen voting systems which produce a real paper ballot to be counted by another means without posing the same dangers as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

Thus, both the blind and disabled communities, along with the apparently-less-than-educated members of the U.S. House and Senate, seem unaware that there are even such devices available. The lack of distinction between those two types of devices must really be laid at the feet of Rush Holt himself who has conflated the idea of DREs with non-tabulating Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) from the get-go...

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

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By John Gideon on 7/19/2007 8:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

In early editions of Friday's New York Times, Christopher Drew is reporting that Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ)'s controversial election reform bill, HR 811, has been sent back for a re-write. Pressure from state and local groups and disability advocates has caused House leadership to reconsider making sweeping changes before 2012, accordin to Drew.

House Democratic officials say they are now working on compromise legislation that could allow hundreds of counties in 20 states to simply add tiny, cash-register-style printers to their touch-screen machines for the 2008 and 2010 elections, while waiting for manufacturers to develop better technology by 2012.

House officials said the compromise would ensure that all voting machines nationwide would have some kind of paper trail in 2008 through which voters could verify that their ballots were properly recorded and that could be used in recounts. Under the plan, New York, which has delayed replacing its old lever machines, would be the only state that would have to change its entire voting system by November 2008.

Drew goes on to report:

As a result, the proposed compromise is a blow to some computer scientists and other activists, who would like to get rid of the touch-screen machines used by nearly 40 percent of American voters. They had hoped that a tighter deadline would force states and localities to quickly shift from touch-screens to optical-scan systems, in which ballots are marked by the voters themselves rather than being generated by computers.

But state and local election officials, weary from all the changes they had already made, argued that it is already too late to make such significant changes without creating chaos next year. Advocates for the blind and the disabled also threatened to oppose the bill if it went too far in discouraging the use of touch-screen machines before the optical scanners were made easier for them to use. And House officials — led by the majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, who is trying to broker the deal — said they wanted to avoid another buying spree if better equipment might be available later.

We will continue to watch this story.

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'Not Dead Yet' Says Holt Office...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2007 11:16am PT  

Kim Zetter at WIRED has the latest at her Threat Level blog...

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By Rebecca Mercuri on 7/19/2007 9:52am PT  

Guest Blogged by Rebecca Mercuri

(NOTE: The archived appearance of Dr. Mercuri on the Peter B. Collins show, as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, discussing this article and other matters surrounding Holt's Election Reform bill is now available here....)

Anyone who has been anywhere in the blogosphere in the months since Rush Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill was introduced knows that a schism appears to have developed in the voting advocacy community. I say "appears" because it's not terribly clear to me at this point whether this schism existed all along and now the fires are being stoked by rogue insiders in order to fuel a "divide and conquer" effort that benefits voting system vendors who can rise like Phoenixes out of the ashes of the activists, or whether Congressman Holt's bill is a litmus test being used to decide who'll continue to get a seat at the table (to testify at hearings) and a chunk of the grant money and other set-asides for election "research" projects. Maybe both of these actions (and others) are in play.

This has been reminding me a lot lately of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, riding on the hippie bus to the 1964 New York World's Fair. Tom Wolfe quoted Kesey saying: "There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place --- then it won't make a damn." Wolfe went on to explain "And nobody had to have it spelled out for them. Everything was becoming allegorical, understood by the group mind, and especially this: You're either on the bus ... or off the bus."

That dividing line between where the bus ends and the rest of the world begins, right where Wolfe was sitting, is the only place to get some decent perspective on the whole situation. So I'm perched at that vantage point, and inside the voting bus I'm seeing Brad Friedman, Bev Harris, Lynn Landes, Rob Kall, Teresa Hommel, Ellen Theisen, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Ion Sancho, Doug Kelner, David Chaum, and Dennis Kucinich all arguing about something, but the vibe is upbeat. And outside the bus there's Doug Lewis, Wally O'Dell, Tom Wilkey, Theresa LePore, Linda Lamone, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Hans von Spakovsky, Jim Dickson, and Matt Damschroeder just milling around. These are not comprehensive lists (since I'm somewhat myopic and have never been very good with names or faces), and I'm certainly not saying that any of these folks have affiliations with each other, though maybe some do.

What's bugging me is that I can't tell whether Rush Holt and HR 811 are on the bus, or not, right now. Though the bill's predecessor versions (from the prior two Congresses) seemed to be on the bus, none of Holt's bills have ever made it totally clear that the voter verified papers would actually be the real ballots, by ensuring that 100% of them would be counted (preferably by hand, in public, and before the election night returns are reported).

The folks who are truly on the bus all seem to grasp this reality. Holt's latest bill, especially the revised version, comes with Avi Rubin, David Dill, Barbara Simons, and maybe even Ron Rivest, each of whom have wandered on and off the bus before. Plus now there's the Microsoft attorneys too, and Holt's backyard buddy Avante, who hopped on when the bus passed through their adjacent parking lots (see photo below).

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

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New York Congressman Has 'Very Serious Questions' About Election Bill, Says Bush and Cheney 'Have Violated Federal Laws in Criminal Ways'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2007 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

Radio host Peter B. Collins has been earning his keep of late. On his last show before a three-week Summer vacation today (we will be filling in to Guest Host for him for the next week and a half), Collins finished up a segment with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today concerning his efforts to renew the Fairness Doctrine with two quick, unrelated questions.

First, Collins asked whether the Congressman supported the controversial Rush Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811) "in it's current form." The legislation has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for its continued allowance of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting machines, and a host of other concerns.

Hinchey --- who is currently signed on as one of the bill's co-sponsors --- responded by saying he had "some very serious questions about it" and feels that "it has been compromised."

While there was no time to follow up with details, his comments likely referred to the troubling changes made to the bill by the House Administration Committee. Originally, the legislation had called for complete disclosure of electronic voting system source code to any member of the public interested in examining it. By the time the bill was voted out of committee, however, those important disclosure provisions had been changed to require that the source code be placed in escrow, to be examined only by so-called "experts" in the event that a problem is discovered during an election, and only under non-disclosure agreements.

Those changes led Holt himself to admit that "the vendors have won," according to reports from several Election Integrity advocates who attended a town hall event where the New Jersey Congressman spoke over the weekend. No word on whether Holt may be removing himself as a co-sponsor of the Holt bill in light of his reported admissions.

Secondly, Collins asked Hinchey, "What is your posture on the impeachment of Vice President Cheney?"

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

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Says 'Many Constituencies Important to the Democratic Caucus Express Frustration with HR 811'
Bill 'Falls Short of Intended Goals,' Ohio Congressman, Presidential Candidate Writes in Letter...
By John Gideon on 7/17/2007 10:01am PT  

Guess Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), several weeks ago, had expressed his intention to drop support for Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform Bill, HR 811. A week or so ago, he reiterated his lack of support for the bill, and his intention to drop off as co-sponsor.

Today, he has begun to circulate a "Dear Colleague" letter (posted in full below) to be sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urging her to ensure the legislative process addresses the concerns of the many groups who have spoken out in opposition to HR-811.

"For these constituencies," the letter says, "H.R. 811 falls short of its intended goals to ensure votes are cast and counted as intended by the voters."

The Congressman is looking for others to step up and co-sign the letter, and asking Election Integrity advocates to contact their Congress Members to ask them to join the effort.

On a related note today the Senate Rules Committee announced that they would be holding a hearing on Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) democracy-busting S-1487 election reform legislation in the Senate. This is the bill that will turn over our elections to corporations and the incompetent, compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The hearing is scheduled for July 25 at 10AM.

Below is a copy of an email that was sent out by Kucinich's office today, including the "Dear Colleague" letter now being circulated for signatures...

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

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Ron Paul Supporters Concerned Diebold DREs Will be Used to Deny 'Groundswell of Support' for Surprisingly Popular Candidate...
By John Gideon on 7/15/2007 10:34am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

August 11 is the date for the Iowa GOP presidential "straw poll." In this "straw poll" Republican voters from all over Iowa will walk, drive, or share a bus to the campus of Iowa State University where they will be allowed to pay $35 each for the honor of casting a ballot for their choice for President.

This "poll" is semi-important within the world of Republican politics. Both McCain and Giuliani have decided to pass and will not participate. However, for the candidates who are lower down in the polls this "straw poll" may be all important. The supporters of Dr. Ron Paul, for instance, claim that he has thousands of supporters within the state and that they are going to do all they can to get them to Ames.

With all of that the supporters of Paul have got another gripe and concern that sounds much like the same concern many in the Election Integrity community have; the poll, which used to be done on paper ballots, hand-counted in public, will be conducted on Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. The Ron Paul group is very concerned that the machines will be gamed in order to make their candidate's showing less than what it should be and in order to inflate the results for those whom the Republican National Committee (RNC) want to have a good showing.

The following email was sent by a member of Paul's support group to a large list of Election Integrity groups:

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Edwards: Other Candidates 'Not Serious', Clinton: 'We've Got to Cut the Number...Our Guys Should Talk'
By Alan Breslauer on 7/12/2007 10:18pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are caught on tape today at the NAACP Democratic presidential candidates forum seemingly making anti-democratic comments about shrinking the democratic field in future debate settings. (Video available at left.)

Fox "News", who filed the report during Brit Hume's Special Report on Thursday, included sub-titles for the "overheard" post-forum conversation between Clinton and Edwards. They also managed to get in several cheapshots against a number of other Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama.

As subtitled by Fox during the video clip, the exchange between Clinton and Edwards purportedly went as follows:

JOHN EDWARDS: ...at some point...(unintelligible)...maybe the Fall...We should try to have...a more serious and a smaller group.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well...we...we've got to cut the number...because they are...because they are just being trivialized.

EDWARDS: ...and they're...they're not serious. They're not serious.

CLINTON: No...you know...I...I...I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that. It got...it got somehow...detoured. We've gotta get back to it...because that's all we're going to do between now and then is that...(Barack Obama walks over)...thanks, Barack. (Obama walks away) So...we...us...(Dennis Kucinich walks over) thanks, Dennis (Kucinich walks away)...our guys should talk.

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Take Action to Counter Their Unapologetically Deceptive, Anti-Democracy Efforts to Misinform Nancy Pelosi!
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2007 10:49am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

UPDATE: The BRAD BLOG has heard from sources, though we've not been able to get confirmation from Congress, that HR 811 may come up for a vote on the floor as early as tomorrow (Thursday). Please read below and take action!

People for the American Way (PFAW) --- previously the "good guys" in many a fight for your democracy --- continues their dishonest and misleading campaign to support Rep. Rush Holt's dangerous Election Reform Bill (HR 811).

The bill, as written --- despite our having helped to draft it prior to its introduction --- currently fails on a number of levels. Most notably, in its institutionalization of the use of disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for all of America. Such machines use secret, unverifiable, invisible ballots to count your vote.

As The BRAD BLOG has shown many times previously, PFAW --- by their own multiple written and spoken admissions --- PFAW actually prefers the use of DRE touch-screen voting systems over paper based systems, and thus has become the number one supporter of the Holt bill. Worse, they are joining (perhaps even leading) Holt's office in misleading America about what the bill does and doesn't do.

As HR 811 comes towards the U.S. House floor for a vote, PFAW is ramping up their efforts by sending out emails to members requesting they call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965.

We suggest you do the same. But demand that Pelosi amend the bill to include a ban on DRE voting systems or otherwise vote against the bill.

Then send this item to everyone you know!

Among the dishonest information propagated by PFAW during their pro-Holt campaign: The claim that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress, despite such a ban passing recently passing in the state of Florida with a Republican House and Senate. PFAW has made the claim repeatedly and convinced other Election Integrity organizations of its validity, but has refused to offer a single name of a single Congress member who now supports Holt's bill, but who would vote against it if it included a ban on dangerous DRE voting systems.

Among the knowingly dishonest, Frank Luntz-like deceptions that PFAW is now shamefully using in their continuing disinfo campaign (online version here, excerpts posted below from their email sent yesterday) contain the following misleading and/or incorrect claims about provisions in the Holt bill:

  • It would avoid the problem that occurred last November in Sarasota when 18,000 votes were lost on touch-screen DRE systems. It wouldn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machines must produce a paper ballot." It doesn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machine vendors MUST make the machines' software available for inspection." It does. But only for so-called "experts," only after a problem is discovered in an election, and only if those "experts" sign non-disclosure agreements. Despite PFAW's claim that the bill will allow for "No Secret Source Code," the bill will continue to allow for secret source code in every American election.

PFAW should be ashamed of themselves. You can email PFAW at PFAW@PFAW.org or call them with your complaints at: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329.

Excerpts from their deceptive email, sent yesterday, follow below...

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

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As a New Effort is Mounted by Election Integrity Advocates to Contact Congress Members Concerning the Drive to Ban DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems Once and For All...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2007 10:22am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.

In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.

Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)

"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.

Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

PETER B. COLLINS: You have recently removed yourself as a co-sponsor of 811, am I correct?

KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.

That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.

And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.

PBC: Indeed, yes...

KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.

Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...

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

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