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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 20, 2014
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
That's not a news flash, but, as this segment makes clear once again, it's very very sad that The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic US-China climate agreement: The deal Repubs said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l climate treaty; Repubs freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but a very good start...
Previous GNRs: 11/11/14 - 11/6/14 - Archives...
Crucial Moment for the FCC and 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Thom Hartmann TV: More Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
Previous GNRs: 11/6/14 - 10/30/14 - Archives...
IN MEMORIAM:
Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, we're sad to report that America has lost another casualty of the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled and turnout was down by more than a quarter-million voters, despite larger population, contested governor's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for popular paper ballot computer tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes cast in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Day After...
Important re-re-re-reminder about when it is that probs in elections usually come to light, and a few more Election Day prob reports out of VA, NC, MI, IN & CT...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
Paper Ballots Ran Out in Ferguson, MO
Long lines at e-voting systems as St. Louis County offers both touch-screens and paper ballots. County said printing more ballots throughout day, night...
Electronic Voter ID System Fails in FL
Failure results in emergency court filing by state Democrats as Gubernatorial race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott is deadlocked in Sunshine State...
AR Voters Illegally Asked for Photo ID
Arkansas Times reports some poll workers attempting to enforce GOP Photo ID restriction found by state Supreme Court to violate constitutional 'right to vote'...
Round-up of Reported Election Failures (So Far) in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL
'Serious problems' reported at the polls in a number of states. Here is a quick summary of just a few of them...
Touch-Screen Votes Flip in VA [VIDEO]
RWers finally become 'believers' in those 'liberal conspiracy theories' about votes flipping on 100% unverifiable voting systems...now that it affects them...
AL Bars Use of Public Housing IDs for Voting
Last minute change of rules may further disenfranchise (certain) voters in state where bloody civil rights march gave rise to the Voting Rights Act in 1965...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'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...


By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2007 1:33pm PT  

I'll be on Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio's Ring of Fire today (Saturday) on Air America. We did a pre-recorded interview earlier this week, discussing Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR 811) and the Democrats and their public-advocacy group supporters who have failed to ensure that the bill will ban dangerous, disenfranchising DRE/touch-screen voting systems. I believe it'll be a very good interview if the bulk of what we talked about makes the edit.

Tune in to the live stream at 5pm ET (2pm PT) or check your local listings for when RoF airs in your hood.

Otherwise, I'll try to capture it and update this item with an .MP3 afterwards.

UPDATE 3/11/07: I was able to listen to part of the pre-taped interview on RoF yesterday, and noted that they had to cut out some of the good stuff for time. I've requested a copy of the full un-edited interview from the producers, and have been told they'll likely be able to send it to me on Monday. I'll post that version of the interview here as soon as I get it from them.

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Johns Hopkins Professor, E-Voting Security Expert Goes on Record Against Electronic Ballots at Congressional Hearings on Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2007 9:35am PT  

E-Voting expert, Johns Hopkins computer science and security professor, Avi Rubin, once again stated for the record, this time in his testimony before a House subcommittee hearing on "Ensuring the Integrity of Elections", that Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems --- with or without a paper trail --- are "not reasonable" for use in a democracy.

Period.

From his blog item Wednesday discussing his testimony (which also includes a link to his complete formal statement):

Finally, I was asked if I thought that a DRE with a paper trail was an adequate voting system. I replied that when I first studied the Diebold DRE in 2003, I felt that a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) provided enough assurance. But, I continued, after four years of studying the issue, I now believe that a DRE with a VVPAT is not a reasonable voting system. The only system that I know of that achieves software independence as defined by NIST, is economically viable and readily available is paper ballots with ballot marking machines for accessibility and precinct optical scanners for counting - coupled with random audits. That is how we should be conducting elections in the US, in my opinion.

So between Rubin's beliefs, and those of most every other computer scientist I've heard from, why do we (meaning Congress and their public-advocacy group supporters such as PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA and others) continue to play this DRE game???

It's madness...

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your representatives!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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Role of Cheney and Bush in CIA Leak Scandal to be Probed in Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2007 9:15pm PT  

Impeachment, it seems to us, gets closer to "the table" every day now. From Truthout:

Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday he wants Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify before his committee about his investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity. Plame-Wilson, Waxman's office said, has agreed to testify before Congress on March 16.

The announcement comes on the heels of a story first reported by Truthout on Wednesday, which stated that some members of Congress were engaged in discussions Tuesday about the possibility of holding immediate hearings and asking Fitzgerald to provide evidence he obtained during the course of his three-year investigation about the roles Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials played in the Plame leak.
...
Waxman's letter [to Fitzgerald] states..."As a result of your investigation, you have a singular understanding of the facts and their implications that bear directly on the issues before Congress.... Your investigation had a narrow legal focus: Were any federal criminal statutes violated by White House officials?"
...
Waxman said the Libby trial raised important questions about whether "senior White House officials, including the vice president and senior adviser to the president Karl Rove, complied with the requirements governing the handling of classified information" related to Plame's classified status within the CIA.

Lest anyone think the buck stops in the Office of the Vice-President, however, it looks as if the not-insignificant evidentiary revelation concerning Cheney's hand-written note referring to "this Pres." may also be revisited by Congress.

Those two words were scratched out on Cheney's note, but were still clearly visible and discussed during trial testimony. Had they not been scratched out, Cheney's note would have read: "not going to protect one staffer & sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

To be honest, we're amazed that detail was overlooked as much as it was when it originally appeared. According to Truthout:

The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador raises the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA? That is a question that very well may be answered if and when Fitzgerald testifies before Congress.
...
If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

See the complete Truthout report for much more detail...

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Chairman Henry Waxman Lets the Sunshine In
Bills the GOP Tried to Pass Against Clinton Now Resurrected With Bipartisan Support...
By Margie Burns on 3/8/2007 2:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. correspondent Margie Burns

Four good bills were reported out to the full U.S. House today by the Oversight and Reform Committee. Each has an excellent chance of being passed in the House, where some of the legislation has been passed before, and a pretty good chance of passing the Senate. The four bills share the aim of letting sunshine in on the workings of government.

I sat in on this morning's mark-up session in the House, and the results, so far, are very encouraging...

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

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CONYERS: 'It is time to rein in this President and his Administration'
SÁNCHEZ: 'DoJ acted behind closed doors to intimidate appointees...Had no effective oversight during previous majority'
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2007 5:15pm PT  

Sent to The BRAD BLOG by the House Judiciary Democrats concerning this morning's oversight hearings on the U.S. Attorney firings (full statement posted at end of this article):

"Our country decided after the Watergate scandal that ideological partisanship has no place in our system of justice," said Chairwoman Sánchez. "Unfortunately, the firings of these attorneys indicate that the Bush Administration has once again acted in the interest of its political party instead of the good of the nation."
...
"Today's testimony signals that it is time to rein in this President and his Administration before they do any further damage to our democracy," said Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers. "Today, we received strong evidence that the firing of these U.S. Attorneys was politically motivated, and we clearly need to follow up on these developments with further investigations."
...
David Iglesias, former U.S. Attorney from New Mexico, testified that U.S. Senator Pete Domenici and U.S. Representative Heather Wilson called him in the days before the close 2006 elections to discuss issuing an indictment against a local Democratic official. Mr. Iglesias said that after Senator Domenici abruptly hung up the phone, "I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Six weeks later I got the call that I had to move on."

H.E. "Bud" Cummins III, a former U.S. Attorney from Arkansas, testified that Michael Elston, Chief of Staff to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty, called him with a warning that any of the fired prosecutors who publicly discussed their cases would be targeted by negative information campaigns.
...
"The Department of Justice, which had no effective oversight during the previous majority, has been acting behind closed doors to empower political cronies and intimidate its own appointees," said Chairwoman Sánchez. "This thuggish behavior is beneath our democracy and underscores the importance of Congressional oversight, a function that Chairman Conyers and I are committed to continue."

In regard to the alleged threats of retaliation against the attorneys for speaking out on this, an email from Cummins, published by Sacramento Bee, gives contemporaneous specifics. According to SacBee...

Former U.S. attorney Bud Cummins, who resigned in December and was replaced by Karl Rove assistant Timothy Griffin, sent this Feb. 20 e-mail to five other fired U.S. attorneys after receiving a phone call from the Justice Department following comments he made to The Washington Post for an article published Feb. 18.

Of course, Gonzales today said none of it ever happened, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

The complete statement issued by the Judiciary Committee Democrats follows below...

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

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The Whistleblower Turned U.S. House Candidate Continues His for Fight for Election Integrity and His Federal Challenge to his 2006 Race with the Corrupt Tom Feeney
By Jim Cirile on 3/4/2007 6:20pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** By Guest Blogger Jim Cirile

Clint Curtis just won’t roll over. And that, fellow Americans, is a very good thing.

Curtis came to prominence a few years back when The BRAD BLOG broke the story of his blowing the whistle on Republican congressman Tom Feeney (FL-24) who, as Curtis alleged in a sworn affidavit, asked him to write an election-rigging software prototype when both men worked at the same Oviedo, FL, software firm in 2000. Curtis was a programmer, Feeney was then Speaker of the Florida House as well as the general counsel and registered lobbyist for the company, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI)

A lifelong Republican, Curtis did as asked, believing the program was meant to be used to prevent election tampering by Democrats. When he learned the true purpose was to manipulate the vote in South Florida, Curtis went to the authorities and finally to the public. The BRAD BLOG has been following his story closely ever since.

Last year Curtis, who switched to the Democratic party in the wake of his experience and others like it with Feeney and YEI, challenged the powerful Feeney on his own turf --- he ran against him for the U.S. House seat in Florida’s 24th district, where Feeney had ascended in 2002.. Feeney's campaign against Curtis was as slimy as expected, with the powerful Republican friend of DeLay, Abramoff, and the whole bunch spending big bucks on a smear campaign in hopes of painting Curtis as a wacko conspiracy theorist, despite years of evidence shoring up Curtis’s original claims – including his successful passing of a polygraph test – and one report after another revealing massive holes in the claims of innocence by both Feeney and YEI.

Despite pre-election polls, including one from Zogby International, Inc., just prior to the election, showing the two men to be in a statistical dead heat, Feeney defeated Curtis 58% to 42% according to Florida’s officially certified election results.

But Curtis smelled a rat. Backed up by polling and his remarkable online vote verification tool, VoteNow 2006, he refused to concede. His race is now one of five challenges (four of them from the state of Florida, including the well-known FL-13 Jennings/Buchanan contest) currently pending in the U.S. Congress as having been filed under the Federal Contested Elections Act.

We spoke with Curtis late last week about what’s going on with those challenges, about his ongoing efforts to lobby Congress to finally bring reform to our broken election system, his experience with the Democrats "50 State Strategy," and whether he plans to run against Feeney again in 2008.

Suffice to say, like those three gals from Texas, Clint Curtis isn't "ready to make nice" either…

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

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Presidential Candidate Becomes First to Join Growing Movement When Queried About Issue at Campaign Event in California
Edwards Becomes Second Politician in a Week to Announce Support for the Election Integrity Movement After Being Asked About it at Public Event
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2007 11:05pm PT  

While it's unlikely to get as much attention as Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot" during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night, The BRAD BLOG has learned that John Edwards is the first Presidential Candidate to announce his support for a growing movement calling for a ban on the use of all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in American elections.

The BRAD BLOG was contacted late last night by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Board Chair Mimi Kennedy with the news that during a campaign event in Los Angeles Edwards agreed to join her organization in calling for an end to electronic ballots in American elections.

PDA has been one of many groups calling for the ban and other important amendments to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election Reform bill (HR 811), recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kennedy, an activist and actress well known for her role as Dharma's mother on ABC's Dharma and Greg, told The BRAD BLOG that during a Q & A period following his address last night, she asked Edwards whether he would join PDA in their campaign calling for "the complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail."

Drawing an "X" in the air as the question was being asked, Edwards --- who was reportedly upset at Sen. John Kerry's decision not to contest the 2004 Presidential Election count, or lack thereof, in Ohio --- answered with a definitive "Yes!"

"Yes!" echoed Kennedy in response as the audience reportedly cheered and applauded.

Edwards's public support for a ban on DRE voting systems follows just over a week after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was asked a related question by an Election Integrity advocate at a public event at the University of California/Santa Cruz. Waters announced, in response to the query, that she would be withdrawing her co-sponsorship of the Holt bill in the wake of the growing concerns about several troubling shortcomings in the proposed legislation.

Kennedy attended the event, sponsored by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, with friend and former TAXI co-star Rhea Perlman, who unsuccessfully tried to video tape the Q & A session on her cell phone. The BRAD BLOG is attempting to locate a complete video of the event and we'll update this item if and when we do.

Before an audience estimated at 400, Kennedy rose and said to the former Vice-Presidential candidate...

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

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First Subpoenas Issued by Dems Since Taking Control of Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2007 3:51pm PT  

As The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday would happen today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Law has today voted to issue subpoenas in the matter of the forced firing of U.S. Attorneys at the Dept. of Justice after pressure from higher-ups.

According to a statement just received by The BRAD BLOG (full statement posted below), the subcommittee voted to issue subpoenas requiring former U.S. Attorneys David C. Iglesias, Carol Lam, H.E. Cummins, III, and John McKay to appear at a hearing next Tuesday.

"The former U.S. Attorneys are alleging very serious charges against the Administration and we need to hear from them," Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) says in his statement. "We want to hear their stories and we want the Administration to address the charges head on so that we can get to the bottom of this."

The subpoenas, issued as a "last resort" according to subcommittee Chairwoman, Linda Sánchez (D-CA), are the first to be issued by the Democrats since taking control of Congress.

We must run, so we'll refer you to the full statement below for more details for the moment...

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

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Common Cause Election Issue Rep Relies on Same Old Discredited Talking Point Chestnuts to Avoid Calling for Ban of DRE/Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Link to Complete Text-Transcript, Audio...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2007 3:38pm PT  

Last Friday, during my regular weekly appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show, Susannah Goodman of Common Cause was invited to join us for a discussion of the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811).

Common Cause is one of the groups which currently supports the bill as is, and doesn't believe it's necessary to amend it to require a full ban on DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) voting systems. As we've discussed here in some detail, a number of these large public advocacy groups, such as Common Cause, People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, and VoteTrustUSA have been not only supporting the Holt bill, but using disingenuous and/or very weak and/or very naive talking points to back up their support for the bill.

Susannah used most of those talking points in our discussion/debate from last Friday. I take no particular joy in pointing this out, or the similar behavior of the other groups, or Holt's office themselves, in regard to all of this. I believe them to essentially be "good guys" on these matters, but on this point, they are dangerously and irresponsibly wrong, in my opinion. Heading into another Presidential Election, still using disenfranchising DRE systems is a recipe for potential disaster that America simply cannot afford after two previously questionable (putting it kindly) elections.

The entire text transcript may be read online, along with the full audio, posted here...

Here's a quick sampling of our discussion...

BRAD: Susannah suggested that someone here is calling for a hand count [of paper ballots]. I’m not. I know that there’s a lot of folks who are and that’s fine by me. There are some places that do do hand counting – up in New Hampshire, I believe, they do some hand counting. But the point is, she had mentioned going back and counting 3% of the ballots in an audit later on. My question is why Susannah, or anyone else, wouldn’t be in favor of counting 100% of the ballots in the first place, using those optical scan machines or a hand count, either one. … Why wouldn’t we just count these ballots, these paper ballots, in the first place on Election Day? That’s what we need. That’s what Americans need…

PBC: And Susannah, in an ideal world I imagine you’d support elimination of the DREs. But do you think that’s an achievable goal in the near term, either by ’08 or 2010?

GOODMAN: Well, I actually think it’s a bit of a red herring. I mean, I think that, as Brad was saying, you know, you could take 100% of those ballots and you still scan them through an optical scanner. That’s still electronic.

BRAD: No problem. That’s great.

GOODMAN: It’s - the counting piece of this is electronic and it’s, it will absolutely, 100%, there will be a time when it absolutely fails, because it’s a machine and machines break.

BRAD: Well, that’s right, but we’ll have a paper ballot that’s been marked by the voter that they’ll be able to then go back and check, by any means necessary. We will not have that with the touch-screen system. And I’d be interested in - Peter said that you assumed that she’d be, Susannah would be in favor of banning those DREs. I’d like to actually know where Common Cause and Susannah is – would you guys be in favor of a ban on touch-screen voting machines?

GOODMAN: I, that’s not where we are, and the reason is that, I really see this bill as, I mean, what you have in, for example in New Mexico, is there are people that can mark a ballot by hand, but there are people that cannot mark a ballot by hand, because they have a vision impairment, or they’re blind, or they don’t have use of their hands, and…

Full transcript here...

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Tavis Smiley Asks Rep. Waxman Who Is To Blame For Missing Billions In Iraq
By Alan Breslauer on 3/1/2007 12:23pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

California Representative (and mine) Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, answers questions about Iraq last night with Tavis Smiley on PBS. After Waxman explains how at least $12 billion allocated for Iraqi reconstruction went missing, an incredulous Smiley states:

Can I ask a real simple question? Who would be in our government, so stuck on stupid, such an idiot, as to fly $12 billion in cash into a war zone.

Waxman lays most of the blame on the Republican-led Congress which failed in its oversight responsibilities. Similarly deplorable is what the reconstruction effort accomplished, considering Iraq's billions and our own additional $20 billion. According to Waxman:

The oil production is behind prewar levels. The electricity doesn't even last eight hours in Baghdad. In some places they have no electricity at all. And electricity is below prewar levels. Even drinking water is not available, and if you are going to measure it, it is not as good as it was before the war.

But while "Iraqis and the American people are not better off" for the war, Waxman does identify one group that has made out extraordinarily well:

But the ones who are really better off are all these contractors. Haliburton, Bechtel, all these different big contractors. They got mega mega monopoly contracts. They subcontracted and the subcontractors subcontracted and there are layers of costs on top of layers of costs. A lot of people made money out this who were the contractors.
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AlterNet Runs a Freshened-Up Version of BRAD BLOG's Story From Last Week
PLUS: New Holt Election Reform Bill 'Special Coverage' Page Now Live at BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2007 8:42pm PT  

AlterNet's front page today is featuring a fresh version of my story from last week on the false dichotomies being forwarded by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and the supporters of his Election Reform bill, HR 811 [PDF], as written. It outlines the unsupported talking points and disingenuous arguments being made to prop up the failings of the bill (most notably, its failure to ban DREs) by Holt's office as well as his public-advocacy group supporters like PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA, etc...

The original BRAD BLOG version was here. The updated Alternet version (including a bit more background on the brouhaha for newbies is here: "False Choices in the Debate on Voting Technology"

I've also now set up a new "Special Coverage" page for the Holt Bill Debate here: www.BradBlog.com/Holt. It includes the most notable BRAD BLOG stories since the bill dropped, as well as essential articles and calls to action elsewhere. I hope it'll be a useful source. It's also always available from the red "Special Coverage" box in the right sidebar.

Also related...A new "Anti-DRE Talking Points" document from VotersUnite.org (HTML version with links & grafs..., 2-Page PDF version...) features simple bullet-points on why DRE/touch-screen voting systems must be banned and the urgent need to reform the Holt bill to ensure it. Both versions of that doc are also linked from the new Holt Special Coverage page.

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'Subpoenas will be Issued,' Says House Judiciary Aide in Advance of Tomorrow's Vote, Next Week's Hearings
ALSO: House Judiciary Committee Will Hold Hearings Next Wednesday on 'Election Reform and Irregularities'
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2007 4:48pm PT  

Two media statements released from members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee indicate that subpoenas will soon be issued in the matter of the allegedly coerced firings of U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice. A vote will take place tomorrow in the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on whether to issue the subpoenas to Justice Dept. officials Carol Lam, David Iglesias, H.E. Cummins, III, and John McKay to compel them to appear before a subcommittee hearing next week.

As well, The BRAD BLOG has learned the Judiciary Committee will also hold hearings next week on matters related to "Election Reform and Irregularities."

According to a Committee staffer, "subpoenas will be issued" tomorrow in the U.S. Attorney matter. If so, it would be the first time the Democrats have exercised their newly-gained subpoena power since wresting control of Congress from Republicans...

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

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Comparison of Voting Data from 2004 to 2006 Shows Hispanic Undervote Plunged 69% as the 'Civil Rights' Case for DREs Continues to Fall Apart
ALSO: New Concerns Emerge About Racial Profiling vis a vis Touch-Screen Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2007 11:50am PT  

"We were looking for any impact the change to paper ballots may have had on New Mexico’s historically high undervote rate. When we found the dramatic drop in Native American precincts, we were shocked," says New Mexico's Theron Horton. The Election Defense Alliance (EDA) activist added, "something was going on with the DREs in those precincts in 2004."

Something indeed.

Details now out from New Mexico reveal that undervote rates dropped precipitously in both Native American and Hispanic areas after the state moved from DRE (Direct Recording Electronic touch-screen) voting systems in 2004 to paper-based optical-scan systems in 2006. In Native American areas, undervote rates plummeted some 85%. In Hispanic communities, the rate dropped by 69% according to the precinct data reviewed by EDA, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.org.

Ellen Theisen, then-Executive Director of VotersUnite.org, reviewed the original high undervote rates in the state after the 2004 elections, but hadn't broken it down to compare DRE/touch-screen vs. Op-Scan precincts. "When I heard of Theron’s work," Theisen says in today's press release, "I performed the comparison, and found that it’s the paper ballots that made the difference in the minority precincts.”

New Mexico banned the use of DREs across the state after their disastrous experience with Sequoia touch-screen voting machines during the 2004 Presidential Election. They now require a paper ballot for every vote cast statewide.

As he signed the bill which banned DREs into law in early 2006, New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson wrote a letter to Election Officials in all 50 states, warning that while "some believe that computer touch screen machines are the future of electoral systems...the technology simply fails to pass the test of reliability."

"One person, one vote is in jeopardy if we do not act boldly and immediately," Richardson implored, while decrying the failures of DREs in his state and supporting paper ballots. "When a vote is cast, a vote should be counted," he wrote.

The BRAD BLOG has reported on the urgent need to ban disenfranchising DRE voting systems --- with or without a so-called "paper trail" --- from all American elections.

Here's an easy to understand graph from the short, two-page report [PDF] published on the New Mexico data over the weekend along with the raw data at VotersUnite.org:

Any questions?

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

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Calls for a Return to Paper Ballots During Commemorative MLK, Jr., Keynote Address in Santa Cruz!
California Congresswoman is First of Bill's 192 Co-Sponsors to Pull Support Amid Heavy Criticism of Legislation by Election Integrity Advocates...
By Emily Levy on 2/21/2007 2:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

During a question and answer period after a speech at a Black History Month event last night sponsored by the University of California Santa Cruz, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) announced that she plans to withdraw her co-sponsorship of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Legislation, (HR 811).

Citing the bill's failure to require paper ballots, allowing for uncounted "paper trails" instead, Waters replied to a question of mine that she would be "glad to withdraw [her] name from the bill" when she returns to Washington on Tuesday in the wake of recent conversations she's had in California with Election Integrity advocates. The announcement drew an enthusiastic round of applause from those in attendance at Tuesday night's 23rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Convocation at UCSC which was keynoted by Waters.

Waters would be the first of the bill's current 192 House co-sponsors to withdraw her support. (The full list of current co-sponsors is available here.) Given her leadership on civil rights and election-related issues over the years, Waters's move could be significant in the current debate which has seen Democrats and a number of their public-advocacy group supporters use the issue of civil rights, ironically enough, to support the continued use of DRE/touch-screen systems as allowed by the Holt legislation.

As The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday, "language minority" activists have contended that touch-screen systems are better able to serve voters whose first language is not English. That, despite any empirical evidence in support of the notion.

The Holt bill had received early support from a number of Democratic public-advocacy groups such as PFAW, MoveOn, Common Cause, and others, though the controversial bill has gone on to draw criticism, since it's filing, from Election Integrity advocates here at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for its failure to fully ban disenfranchising DRE/touch-screen voting systems and several other notable concerns.

Waters began her speech Tuesday Night by discussing the dire condition of our election system, asking, "What would Dr. Martin Luther King say" about the 2000 election in Florida, about the purging of supposed felons from voter rolls, about proposed voter ID cards, intimidation at the polls in Florida and Ohio, voting machines without "paper trails," and related issues. She did not discuss HR 811 during the course of her main address.

In the brief question and answer period following her speech, I asked Waters if she was aware that the Election Integrity movement --- the folks who have investigated, exposed, and challenged the horrors of electronic voting --- strongly opposed Holt's legislation.

"What would it take," I asked, "for you to withdraw your support?" ...

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

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Misrepresentation of the 'Opposition,' Fear of Failure, and a Bizarre, Unsubstantiated 'Civil Rights' Argument All Employed to Avoid Legitimate Debate on the Dangers of the Pending Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2007 1:01pm PT  

We've been discussing the pros and cons of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR 811 [PDF]) since it dropped two weeks ago in the House.

There is, no doubt, much more to say about the specific pros and cons in detail here as we move forward. For the moment, allow me to first address three false dichotomies opportunistically and/or disingenuously and/or naively being used by supporters of Holt's legislation in order to help see it passed by Congress.

In doing so, I'll share some of what I've learned over the past several weeks via my personal investigations into why the Democrats who support the bill, along with their closely-allied public advocacy groups, are currently unable or unwilling to show the necessary courage to insist upon the banning of disenfranchising, failed DRE/touch-screen voting system technology from all American elections.

The inability, or unwillingness, of such groups to stand up and call for what most know to be the right thing is occurring despite the fact that most of those groups actually agree --- and will admit privately, if not always publicly --- that DRE technology has no place in our electoral system and is a grave menace to true Electoral Integrity.

Collectively, these three arguments are being used to shore up support for a bill which offers much good (DISCLOSURE: I participated in the drafting of the bill myself, and did what I could --- sometimes successfully, sometimes not --- to improve its language and provisions), yet ultimately may prove to be as dangerous as the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and risks becoming known as HAVA 2 by 2008. And, as I've pointed out before, this time the Democrats won't have the Republicans or Bob Ney to blame.

FALSE DICHOTOMY #1:
It's Either Holt or Hand-Counted Paper Ballots...

The first of the three false dichotomies being forwarded by some of the bill's supporters is to suggest that there are only two choices: Pass the Holt bill 'as is,' or continue an unwinnable campaign for all hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

The now oft-repeated intimation is the very definition of a strawman, a canard, and a truly disingenuous false dichotomy. ...

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

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