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'Green News Report' 9/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama creates world's largest marine sanc- tuary; Humans wiped out 1/2 of world wildlife; Also to blame for AUS' hottest year ever; PLUS: Oil co. joins Google to dump ALEC...
Previous GNRs: 9/25/14 - 9/23/14 - Archives...
'BRAD BLOG May Be Sued for Telling the Truth About GOP Operative': Hartmann TV
Brad discusses bizarre threat of legal action by longtime Republican voter registration schemer Nathan Sproul...
BREAKING: 5-4 SCOTUS Ruling Restores GOP Restrictions on Early Voting in OH
Bad news for voters. Good news for Republicans who like to win elections by trying to limit voters' ability to cast their vote...
7th Circuit Deadlock Means WI Photo ID Law Still in Place
Longtime court vacancy likely made difference in 5-5 tie; Scott Walker, GOP rejoice as 'electoral choas' reigns in 'toss up' re-election race; SCOTUS likely next stop for plaintiffs...
Too Much Voting Going On!: GA County Repubs Block Early Sunday Voting
Board of Elections votes against 'partisan' proposal to make voting more convenient, even though County already funded it...
Stewart Explodes Over GOP Climate Science Deniers on House SCIENCE Committee
And who can blame him? As White House Science Advisor forced to 'push a million pounds of idiot up a mountain'...
Federal Court Panel Denies OH Attempt to Avoid Restoration of Early Voting
State Republicans keep trying and trying to make voting harder (for some). Courts keep denying and denying their attempts...
'Green News Report' 9/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Week Special Coverage continues: China will cut emissions; Experts say we're not doing enough; Admin makes econ case for action; PLUS: Corporate titans step up...
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GOP Values: Beating Wives, Suppressing Votes, Threatening Journalists - KPFK 'BradCast'
Latest on cases of GOP wife-beating judge Fuller; GOP voter operative Sproul; MORE...
Sproul Threatens BRAD BLOG With Legal Action After FL Confirms Our 2012 Reporting
GOP operative linked to years of registration fraud allegations sends bizarre email after yet another arrest of one of his workers...
'Green News Report' 9/23/14
GNR Special Coverage: Climate Week 2014 -- Climate March (largest in history), Wall Street protests (can ya hear us now?), special U.N. Climate Summit...
Report Cites Armed Walker Supporters Plotting to Target Democratic Voters in WI
'We can get our agents to watch polling location, identify the individual, and follow them to their residence'...
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife-Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 docs suggest domestic abuse of two wives and children by federal judge w/ lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after three-GOP judge ruling reinstates Photo ID law just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
DiCaprio's UN climate role; Jindal plays dumb; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from wife-beating incident by U.S. District Court Judge; ALSO: Calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Even While the Republican Governor of Florida (of all people and places) Restores Felon Voting Rights, Calls for a Ban on Touch-Screen DRE Voting, and Otherwise Succeeds in Shaming the Democrats...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2007 9:35am PT  

Florida's new Republican Gov. Charlie Crist continues to get far in front of Congressional Democrats concerning issues of Election Reform. Previously, he has called for the Sunshine State to replace all DRE touch-screen voting systems with paper-based optical scan systems (and touch-screen ballot marking devices for the disabled) and today, he succeeded in restoring voting rights for former felons to all but the most violent criminals after they've served their time.

While Democrats in Congress, and their public-advocacy group supporters such as People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, Common Cause, and VoteTrustUSA, continue to dally around the edges of reform vis-a-vis Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) in the House and a forthcoming companion bill from Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, shamefully, it's the Republican Florida Governor --- of all people --- who is proving to be the true Progressive in the fight for real reform.

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. The GOP Legislature in Florida is hanging on to their own share of shame in fighting Crist's bi-partisan proposals to replace disenfranchising, democracy-stealing DREs. In Maryland, it's the Democrats in the Senate who are killing Election Reform after House Dems had approved it (as tepid as that reform would be in only requiring useless, panacea "paper trails" for the state's paperless Diebold touch-screen systems. LATE UPDATE 3/6/07 5:07pm PT: Stunning turnaround suddenly in MD's Senate, support for a paper ballot bill! Breaking details here...)

New Democratic Secretaries of State Debra Bowen in CA and Jennifer Brunner in OH are meeting their voter mandates and doing their respective best to correct dysfunctional, unverifiable, easily gameable voting systems, but they are also facing challenges from both Republicans and local Elections Officials alike who are fighting to put their own self-interests over those of the voters. As usual.

In the meantime, the currently-flawed federal bills in the U.S. House and Senate are on the verge of getting worse, not better, through the drafting, mark-up, and amendment process, as legislators bend to the demands of henhouse-guarding Elections Officials along with the uncritical support for "Election Reform, any Election Reform, whether it'll bring true Reform or not" by powerful groups such as MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA, Common Cause, and others.

By way of example, MoveOn sent out an email to members yesterday calling for unflinching support of the Holt bill, despite knowing it to be flawed and VoteTrustUSA yesterday sent out an "All-811-All The-Time" newsletter yesterday to members without a single article, from among the mountains available, critical of the bill. That, despite recent testimony to Congress by their own policy director, Warren Stewart, asserting that "the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy." Both the Holt and Feinstein bills currently drafted would allow for exactly such systems, and in fact, institutionalize the practice for years to come.

Both MoveOn and VoteTrustUSA declined to respond to our queries seeking explanation about their mailings yesterday.

So what's going on here?

Legislation that would have been smashing in 2005, but has since been shown to be desperately out of date in 2007 given the mountains of new evidence which revealed itself during the 2006 Election Cycle and beyond, is mired under the weight of bureaucratic deal-making and go-along-to-get-along public advocacy. All of which is by-and-large enabling the Democrats who seem to be fiddling as democracy burns.

It's all made worse, for the moment, by the largest and most influential of the public-advocacy groups, PFAW, who continues to dominate the debate on many levels. The group, which The BRAD BLOG has come to learn wields great power and proxy throughout a large swath of the civil rights community, is not only currently against a much-needed ban of DRE voting systems, but --- far more disturbingly --- is actually advocating in favor of their use.

We reported recently on that point, but the evidence is perhaps more clear in PFAW's own published analysis [PDF] (pages 2 & 3) of the Holt bill [emphasis ours]:

DRE technology offers better access options to voters with disabilities and voters who have minority language needs.
...
Whereas optical scan technology requires the printing of thousands, if not millions, of ballots in multiple languages, the distribution of those ballots in adequate numbers for each precinct, and the training of poll workers to distribute those ballots to those voters who seem to need them, DRE technology is much more effective for minority language voters.
...
Similarly, DREs afford voters with disabilities an opportunity to cast an independent secret ballot— something that optical scan paper ballots cannot fully do. It is important that jurisdictions with large numbers of minority language voters and voters with disabilities have the flexibility to use DRE equipment.

PFAW's position, as expressed above, is wholly unsupported by scientific evidence, common sense, or anything else as we have learned while investigating the matter over the past several weeks and months.

When a Republican governor from Florida has gotten ahead of Democrats on this issue, it's safe to say that something has gone terribly wrong.

If someone within the Democratic caucus doesn't stand up soon and bring the type of leadership to this issue that Crist has brought to Florida, they risk becoming the owners of a dysfunctional electoral system previously designed-for-disaster, via the Help America Vote Act of 2002, by the now-disgraced, Republican felon, former Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.

Is there nobody in the U.S. Congress with the leadership skills and courage to stand up and do what is both right and well-supported by scientific evidence in order to make America's broken system of democracy right again?

Is there nobody who will stare down the disingenuous and/or fearful and/or ill-informed and/or self-serving factions standing in the way of restoring America's once-great shining example of democracy to the world?

As the right to vote and to have that vote counted transparently and accurately underpins every other right we have in this country, we'll continue to keep digging, advocating, investigating, reporting, and hoping. The alternatives --- and consequences --- are far too dire to do anything less....

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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As we Sit Down for a One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert and Discuss American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats' and Why Elections Matter
Big Turnout and Good Press Coverage Accompany his Riverside Visit, Even if Jeff '1000 to 1' Stone Was a No Show...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 7:13pm PT  

Harri Hursti drove up to Los Angeles last Friday after his appearance that morning before the Riverside County, California, "Blue Ribbon" panel convened to investigate massive problems during the County's 2006 election, and continuing concerns from Election Integrity advocates about both the performance and security issues surrounding the Sequoia Edge II DRE touch-screen voting systems in use down there.

We sat down to interview Hursti for a documentary film for an hour or two on Friday night, and we continued chatting into the wee hours. After getting home around 4am, we suspect we'll be playing catching up for a few days.

The headline from those discussions last night is probably that Hursti, now famous for his hack of a paper-based Diebold optical-scan voting system in Leon County, Florida, in late 2005 (as seen live in HBO's documentary Hacking Democracy), advocates digital optically-scanned paper ballots --- where the image of the scan can then be made available to all on the Internet --- as the most secure and most transparent method of voting for the type of elections we have in these United States.

That may come as a surprise to advocates of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, who have been pointing to the "Hursti Hack" as a way to suggest that op-scan tabulation is "just as bad" as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems. Holt's bill (HR811) would allow for the continued use of DREs, despite the continuing warnings from computer scientists, disabilities and minority rights advocates, and the Election Integrity community that the devices should be banned.

Hursti heartily disagrees with those Holt supporters and told us again that DREs are not safe for use in elections, with or without a so-called "voter verified paper audit trail." He's asked for us to help facilitate a meeting for him with Holt and his staff to discuss the matter, and we are attempting to do just that.

As well, Hursti's position may also come as a surprise to those who have pointed to the "Hursti Hack" in their call for 100% hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) in American elections. While Hursti said he recognizes that such a system works well enough in other countries where ballots are much simpler, he feels the thousands of ballot styles and pages and pages of candidates and propositions would likely make all HCPB unwieldy here. By contrast, he explained that in Finland, voters go to the poll and cast a single vote for President as the only race on the ballot, which is simple enough to hand count on the night of the election.

He rattled off the many different systems of democracy in many different countries, from Europe to Asia, as well as a history of how America has come to its current mess, going back as early as the late 1800's to discuss the evolution of our modern day system in this country. Clearly, he's done his homework and is well worth listening to on these matters.

Hursti also gave high marks to California's new Secretary of State Debra Bowen for her recent announcement of "red team" hack testing for all of the state's currently certified electronic voting systems, as part of her "top to bottom review" of those systems. Other computer scientists and security experts have lined up to join in praising Bowen for this unique, first-of-its-kind attempt to finally test the security of these systems.

On the other hand, many of the state's elections officials have come out against such testing of their precious, hackable, un-transparent voting systems. And, surprise surprise, so has the Santa Cruz Sentinel --- the paper once owned by thankfully-former CA SoS Bruce McPherson --- in a laughable editorial late last week claiming that "paper ballots carry an even greater risk" than electronic voting systems, and that Bowen's planned test criteria is a "solution in search of a problem."

We're not sure what cave the Santa Cruz Sentinel has been living in, but we're guessing they've been sharing their hard tack and canned spam with their buddy, the gone-but-apparently-not-forgotten McPherson, the one responsible for certifying these god-awful systems in the first place for the state, despite mountains of evidence suggesting it was unwise. We're also guessing they've never sat down to chat with Harri Hursti.

Hursti's visit to Riverside, as we reported here last week, was in response to County Supervisor Jeff Stone's challenge last December that nobody could manipulate the county's Sequoia election system. After Hursti volunteered to take Stone up on that "1000 to 1" challenge, the county has been waffling ever since. So quite a few members of both the public and the press were on hand yesterday for Hursti's testimony before the "Blue Ribbon" panel.

Although Hursti traveled all the way from Finland, Stone and every other member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors were apparently too busy to make it up the road to meet Hursti and listen to his presentation...

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

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All Eyes on Harri Hursti in Riverside County...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 12:53am PT  

FEATURING: Our One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert on American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats,' and Why Elections Matter...Pre-details back here...

UPDATE: Story now posted here...

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One of Several Reports 'Buried' by EAC, Shows Drop in Voter Participation in Wake of Poll Restrictions, Is Shamelessly Described as 'Draft'
Election Law Professor Warns: 'Chance for EAC to be an Honest Broker Above Politics Are Fading'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 4:51pm PT  

After recent Congressional oversight questioning by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission's Bush-appointed chairwoman, Donetta Davidson, has finally relented and agreed to release the commission's bi-partisan report on "Voter ID" issues which has been held back for months. That report, and another not yet released on claims of "Voter Fraud" have been withheld by the EAC, as we reported here and here and in a guest blog by Tova Andrea Wang, one of the two original lead researchers of the still-withheld "Voter Fraud" report.

Hinchey's statement on today's release, including a call for the release of the other related reports, is posted here.

Finally having released the June 28, 2006, report [PDF] today, in the wake of Congressional pressure, and shamefully titling it as a "Draft Voter ID Report" (since it didn't show what they had wanted it to show), the EAC today announced the following:

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has voted unanimously to launch a comprehensive study focused on voter identification laws after concluding that initial research it received in a report, which focused on only one election cycle, was not sufficient to draw any conclusions. The Commission declined to adopt the report, but is releasing all of the data to the public.

In other words, they'll get the "facts" they want, no matter how many reports they need to commission!

The report details how voter participation in minority areas had, in fact, declined after restrictive "Photo ID" laws were enacted at the polls.

"It appears that politics remains the EAC's main priority," said Michael Slater, Deputy Director of Project Vote who claims the commission responsible for overseeing elections systems in the U.S. continues to "play politics." In a statement posted after the report was released today he said, "It's disappointing that the Commission is building a reputation for ignoring or suppressing research findings that don’t satisfy everyone’s ideological position."

He added that the commission's disassociation from the report is another example of their string of continuing failures. "The EAC should be embarrassed by its attempt to impeach the report's findings by insinuating its methodology is unsound."

Are supporters of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill paying attention?! His bill, HR811, as currently drafted, would reward the EAC by making them a permanent body, despite their notable and repeated failures...

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

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'Why would you have a paper record if you don't count it?' Asks 'Losing' Candidate
Orange County, CA, Court Decision to 'Set Precedent' According to Both Sets of Attorneys...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2007 1:35pm PT  

The Los Angeles Times underscores everything that is wrong with relying on "paper trails" from Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems: Nobody ever counts them. Even in incredibly close contested elections as overseen by a court of law...

A judge ruled Monday that Janet Nguyen won the February election for an Orange County Board of Supervisors seat by a slim three-vote margin, rejecting arguments by her opponent that a recount wasn't completed because the paper audit of electronically cast ballots was not counted manually.

"All the votes were counted," said Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner. "There was a full and legal recount."
...
It was, he said, "perfectly reasonable" for Janet Nguyen to ask for about 35,000 paper absentee ballots to be checked by hand to contest ones that weren't filled out properly and then ask to have about 10,000 electronic votes recounted the way they were on election night — by machine
...
Trung Nguyen, who is not related to the winner, declined to comment and left the courthouse as his attorney, Michael Schroeder, said an appeal was likely. "Why would you have a paper record if you don't count it?" Schroeder said.
...
All sides agreed that Brenner's ruling could set a precedent.

Please note that Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR811), which mandates the hand-count of a very small minority of paper records in most federal races (which this race was not) via an audit after Election Day, allows no audit to happen at all in the case of an automatic state-mandated recount --- the type that occurs when an election is incredibly close, and when such an audit, arguably, might be needed the most.

UPDATE 4:58pm PT: Election Integrity advocate Tom Courbatt of Riverside County points us towards an October 31, 2006 statement [PDF] from former CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, who said: "The mandatory paper audit trail will be used for a full recount if necessary." That statement is at the bottom of the 5-page press release. Guess he was just kidding. Or the judge in Orange County didn't care. Or "paper trails" don't actually matter after all, no matter what any law or elections officials try to tell you...Which is why we need a paper ballot --- one that is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America!

# # #

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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San Diego County Chief Promotes Hard Rightwing Haas to Top Executive Position in County!
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2007 2:03pm PT  

From the San Diego Union-Tribune today:

Mikel Haas, a 13-year county employee who oversaw a slew of elections in two stints as registrar of voters, has been promoted to one of the top executive positions in county government.

Haas, 49, will replace Alex Martinez, who retired March 16, as deputy chief administrative officer of the Community Services Group. In the post, Haas will oversee several departments, including the registrar, housing, animal services and general services.

Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard made the decision Thursday after considering several in-house candidates. He called Haas “a top-notch executive” with stellar management experience.
...
Haas earned $145,288 annually as registrar. His new salary has yet to be determined, county spokesman Mike Workman said.

In the North County Times' report on same, which focused on the difficulty the county may have in finding a replacement for Haas, and bothered, (unlike the as-ever rightwing U-T's coverage above) to note just some of the fire that Haas has been under for his horrible performance as head of elections in SD, added:

County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard...issued a statement through Workman praising Haas, who had been something of a "troubleshooter" for the county during his 13 years.

A "troubleshooter" indeed, for the hard rightwing San Diego County administrators.

A quick review of a just a few BRAD BLOG items concerning Haas will inform the initiated about one of America's worst, most dangerous, partisan Elections Administrators and the disaster that Diebold's man in San Diego has been for the voters of San Diego as he's overseen/mis-managed such elections as the Busby/Bilbray race and many more.

His failures have led both Democrats and Republicans to call for his resignation. Little wonder then, here in Bush's World, that he's now been rewarded for his bad work. Can the Medal of Freedom be far behind?

Heckuva job, San Diego!

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ALSO: A Clarification of Why I Wrote the Story in the First Place About the Alarming Position, Advocating for DRE Use, by People for the American Way...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2007 4:16pm PT  

If you missed our coverage of the concerns about the positions on Election Reform by People for the American Way (PFAW), including their advocacy of dangerous touch-screen DRE voting systems which originally ran here a couple of days ago, you've got another chance. AlterNet is now running the article from their front page today under the title "An Opposing View on the Progressive Voting Machines Debate."

As with the original, it includes the links to the audio and transcripts of both PFAW Executive Director Ralph Neas's and my appearances on Ring of Fire with RFK Jr. and Mike Papantonio, so you can decide what's going on here for yourself.

And if it wasn't 100% clear in the article originally, PFAW does not have the same position as some of the other groups (like Common Cause, VoteTrustUSA, MoveOn, etc.), who are generally opposed to DRE use, but have been afraid (for political reasons, legitimately or not) to support a ban.

PFAW, to the contrary, is actually advocating the use of DREs in their position and arguments to back it up.

I'm happy to run a response from Ralph or PFAW if they'd like to contact me in order to clarify anything they feel I've misrepresented. That was not my purpose. Similarly, my purpose was not to attack them, but to discuss openly what I see as a very troubling position that I spent much time trying to figure out --- and work out --- privately, before Ralph's public interview on RoF made it necessary for me to respond in kind to help clarify what seems to be going on here...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2007 2:52am PT  

It's a big day in the House on Friday, with hours of hearings set for Rush Holt's HR811 Election Reform bill in the House Adminstration Committee's Subcomittee on Elections, with four big panels set.

The witnesses this time may be more good than bad for a change, and include, among other familiar names, Debra Bowen (CA SoS) and Noel Runyan, the blind technology expert who, with many other disabled voter advocates released a statement here calling for "an immediate ban" on DREs last week. (My interview with Runyan, during last week's guest hosting stint for Action Point on Air America/Nova M Phoenix is here [MP3] for your listening pleasure. I'm back again this Sunday, btw, with a special exclusive broadcast interview premiere! Stay tuned for details!). The rest of the witnesses are listed below.

Unfortunately, I may be gone for much of the day, so let me know how they did in the event that C-SPAN picks any of it up (and if anybody spots Warren Stewart of VoteTrustUSA calling for an amendment to the Holt Bill to require a DRE ban during his public testimony, send him a few dozen roses, will ya?!)

By the way, now's a great time to email and call your Congress members to ask them nicely, but firmly, to amend Holt to include a ban on Electronic DRE Ballots!

The full panel breakdown is listed below...

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

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Voters, State Law, Rendered Meaningless, Plaintiffs Likely to Appeal Decision to CA Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2007 6:35pm PT  
"We need not (and do not) resolve the question of whether the election contest at issue here fits within the category of election contests that may be entertained without infringing on Congress' authority because the instant dispute can, and should, be resolved on a much narrower ground — mootness."
-- CA Court of Appeals (4th District), Majority Opinion, Jacobson v. Bilbray, 3/20/07

Need more evidence for why election results need to be right on Election Night? Look no further than the now-infamous CA50 Busby/Bilbray Special U.S. House Election to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham last June.

The latest chapter finds an Appellate Court in California dismissing the case on the grounds that the issue is now "moot" because the six month term for the original election being challenged has now ended. That, despite the defense never even having raised the issue. And thus, the voters' right to even have a proper recount as afforded by state law, in order to find out who had the most votes in an election, is usurped by the U.S. Congress's ultimate Constitutional authority to decide who will be seated in its chambers....

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

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Lists Many Clinton AND Bush Administration Officials Who Have Been Allowed to Testify Under Oath Before Congress
Cites Previous White House Disclosure of Information, Communications...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 2:58pm PT  

Just out from Waxman's office. A letter [PDF] to House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairs Conyres and Leahy disputing Bush's contention yesterday that he is giving Congress "unprecedented" access to White House information and officials.

The letter begins this way...

Dear Chairman Leahy and Chairman Conyers:

Yesterday President Bush asserted that the White House would give Congress "unprecedented" access to information regarding the Administration's recent dismissal of U.S. Attorneys. This statement is misinformed. As you continue discussions with the White House regarding your investigation of the U.S. Attorneys matter, I wanted to bring to your attention relevant precedent.

The President said yesterday that he would not allow White House aides including Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, deputy counsel William Kelley, and political aide J. Scott Jennings testify under oath and on the record about the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys. Contrary to the President's contention, there is extensive precedent for officials in these positions to appear before Congress.

When Republicans controlled Congress during the Clinton Administration, they routinely insisted that White House officials appear before Congress. During the prior Administration, a series of White House Counsels testified to congressional committees publicly and under oath:

Click here for the full letter [PDF], which outlines not only numerous White House officials who testified under oath before Congressional committees during the Clinton Administration, but even Bush Administration officials who were allowed to do so, as recently as last week!

This page at the House Oversight Committee has links to additional info and reports on the matter.

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As Heard on 'Ring of Fire' with RFK Jr. & Mike Papantonio: I Support Banning DREs, Neas Opposes Such a Ban, and Speaks in Support of DREs
Papantonio: 'Brad, my bet is on you on this one' --- Audio & Transcripts Now Posted
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 1:51am PT  

The Saturday before last I was interviewed on Air America's Ring of Fire with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio concerning my call for the Election Reform Bill (HR811) by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) to be amended to include a full ban on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems.

The interview was pre-taped, and an edited-for-time version was aired. The complete, unedited version of that 15 minute interview, along with a text-transcript is now posted here.

This past Saturday, Ralph Neas, the president of People for the American Way (PFAW), one of the groups supporting the Holt Bill as is, and fighting against a ban on DRE voting systems, was interviewed on Ring of Fire. I had been critical of PFAW's unwaivering support of the bill during my interview the week before (as I have been in many articles here and elsewhere), so Bobby Kennedy asked Neas, a number of times, to answer directly to some of my criticisms.

The audio of that interview as well as a text-transcript, is also now posted here.

Now before I get to a huge number of concerns about the Neas interview and what I see as the dangerous PFAW position, and not to stack the deck (but I will anyway), Papantonio concluded his interview with me as follows, which I then promised to quote on the blog, so here it is...

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

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Conyers Statement: House Judiciary Prepared to Use Subpoena Power if Necessary...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2007 8:46pm PT  

3,000 pages were just released to the House Judiciary Committee by the Dept. of Justice in re: the U.S. Attorney purge. Judiciary is getting 'em posted as quickly as they can, even as we type. Says Conyers in a statement just released:

"While I appreciate the Department's willingness to make these voluminous documents regarding the U.S. Attorney firings available to us for review, I am disappointed that they are denying other important information to Congress without any real authority to do so. This investigation has uncovered serious charges of misleading congress, obstructing justice, and abuse of power. I hope we can resolve the outstanding issues over redactions, but if necessary, we are prepared to press ahead to get to the bottom of this growing scandal, using subpoenas if necessary."

Looks like it'll be a long night for the folks at Judiciary, and likely much longer for Josh Marshall and friends at TPM. Happy reading, all!

Earlier from U.S. News & World Report:

Paralysis Sets In as DOJ Faces Crisis
...
"You have no idea," said one Justice official, "how bad it is here."

The fear that virtually any piece of communication will have to be turned over has paralyzed department officials' ability to communicate effectively and respond in unison to the crisis...

Accountability sucks, huh? Welcome to it. We believe your nightmare is just beginning.

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Says 'Voting Machine Purists Should Not Let The Perfect be the Enemy of the Good'
We Disagree With Both the Premise and the Conclusion...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2007 5:57pm PT  

Using often inaccurate characterizations of my position, and the position of those like me who are in favor of amending Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) to include a ban on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, often called "touch-screen") voting systems, my friend Steve Rosenfeld filed an article today at AlterNet titled "Are Voting Machine Purists Standing in the Way of Reform?" which is critical of my position.

The piece is in direct response to an article of mine published at AlterNet several weeks ago on the false arguments being put forward by supporters of Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) --- folks like PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, etc. --- in trying to see the bill passes as is and in opposition to an amendment that would ban dangerous, unverifiable, disenfranchising DRE voting systems.

In the editorial, Rosenfeld, describes folks like me, misleadingly, as "voting machine purists" and inaccurately suggest we have an "all or nothing approach" to Election Reform. Further, he goes on to mischaracterize a number of provisions of the Holt bill, as well as many of the arguments that have been made in favor of banning DREs.

I just spoke with Steve...

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

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Seeking Just One Democracy-Serving Reason to Keep DREs Allowable Under the Holt Bill
Any takers?...
By Ellen Theisen on 3/19/2007 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.Org

I challenge anyone to put forward an actual disadvantage of amending Representative Rush Holt's bill (HR 811, "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007") to ban electronic ballots. With a few moments' thought, I can list five bad things (which opponents might anticipate) that such an amendment would NOT do and fifteen good — actually, critical — things it WILL do.

Is there even one way in which electronic ballots serve our democracy better than true paper ballots?

I claim that an amendment banning electronic ballots has LOTS of advantages and NO disadvantages — for our country and its democracy, anyway. And I challenge anyone to think of a democracy-serving reason why NOT to amend it. "The bill won't pass with the amendment" doesn't count. I'm looking for a genuine disadvantage of the amendment.

Here's what I see. Tell me if I've missed something….

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

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Letter to Josh Bolten Follows Earlier Congressional Testimony from WH Security Director That No Investigation Was Ever Conducted Into Disclosure of the Identity of Covert Operative Valerie Plame-Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 2:18pm PT  

Just in from Waxman's office after this morning's stunning revelation that the White House never conducted an investigation into the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, despite a number of promises from Bush to do exactly that and an executive order signed in early 2003 which requires such an investigation in the wake of such a disclosure.

In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG, Waxman's office explains that a letter just sent to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten asks for an explanation as to why the White House "did not follow the investigative steps prescribed by Executive Order 12958," as signed in March 2003. The order requires the White House to "'take appropriate and prompt corrective action' whenever there is a release of classified information," according to the statement. (Waxman's letter is posted in full at the end of the article.)

During this morning's testimony of James Knodell, Director of the Office of Security at the White House, it was revealed --- to the amazement of the assembled Congress members on the House Oversight Committee panel --- that no such investigation was ever conducted.

"Taken as a whole, the testimony at today's hearing described breach after breach of national security requirements at the White House," the letter reads. "The first breach was the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity. Other breaches included the failure of Mr. Rove and other officials to report their disclosures as required by law, the failure of the White House to initiate the prompt investigation required by the executive order, and the failure of the White House to suspend the security clearances of the implicated officials."

Waxman asked for the following from Bolten: "I request that you provide the Committee with a complete account of the steps that the White House took following the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity (1) to investigate how the leak occurred; (2) to review the security clearances of the White House officials implicated in the leak; (3) to impose administrative or disciplinary sanctions on the officials involved in the leak; and (4) to review and revise existing White House security procedures to prevent future breaches of national security."

Waxman's letter to Bolten follows in full...

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

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