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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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
The Senate confirmation hearings for the nomination of Robert Gates to be the next Secretary of Defense were not carried live on any broadcast or cable news networks. Neither C-SPAN 1 or 2 carried it live either, although they have an excuse (by charter, as we understand it, they must carry live coverage from the House and Senate floor when in session.)
It's a good thing we're not at war, that we have a broad national consensus about the direction of the nation and its military, and that the matter of who will lead the Pentagon as the next Sec. of Defense isn't all that important to the country at this time.
Otherwise, we might have suggested the cable news outlets' decision to carry live coverage of a press conference on a missing man in Oregon (he's still missing), the auction of Princess Diana's death car (she's still dead), and Gwyneth Paltrow's comments about America (she didn't say them), was somewhat less than responsible or in the best interests of the nation they like to suggest they are serving.
Just one of the benefits of being at peace around the globe. Thank you, media.
(P.S. We were able to listen to the hearings live on the radio via NPR. Gates says we're not winning the War in Iraq, blah, blah, blah, who cares...)
UPDATE: Who needs cable? David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org decides to be the media, he's live blogging the event from within the hearing room.
Some BRAD BLOG readers may recall the story of Army Specialist Douglas Barber, who committed suicide last January after suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon returning from Iraq. We followed up with a letter that Barber himself had written in 2005 describing what some of the troops coming home from Iraq were dealing with. One graf:
In his letter, Barber wrote about the struggle that soldiers face in dealing with PTSD when they return stateside: "PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy." He then goes on to excoriate those in the media who claim to "support the troops" even while they ignore this enormous problem and the administration's lack of funding for VA programs:
Well, were it up to Sean and O'Reilly and Limbaugh, there would be no more NPR either. But thank god, they are still there.
Love 'em or hate 'em, they seem to be the only media outlet to have followed up on a GAO report [PDF] from back in May which they report says "that about 80 percent of the soldiers who showed potential signs of PTSD were not referred for mental health follow-ups" by the military.
While the Pentagon apparently disputes those numbers, according to the report from NPR's Morning Edition today, "Army studies show that at least 20 percent to 25 percent of the soldiers who have served in Iraq display symptoms of" PTSD.
And yet, with all of that, NPR's investigation of the treatment soldiers are (or aren't) receiving in at least one location, Colorado's Fort Carson, reveals a shameful reality. These troops who have been putting themselves in harm's way to serve their country are simply not getting the mental health support they deserve upon returning home. That, even while many of them are run out of the Army with less-than-honorable discharges --- which makes re-adjusting to civilian life even more difficult for them --- in order to mask the problem and avoid having to pay them benefits.
Shameful. The gauntlet such troops are reportedly forced to run in order to receive appropriate treatment is to all of our eternal shame.
I recall while broadcasting from Crawford, Texas, during the summer of 2005 --- even with Iraq and Afghanistan vets inside the tent at Camp Casey supporting Cindy Sheehan's stand --- the creeps who would drive by, honking horns, giving us the finger and yelling epithets as they waved their "Support the Troops!" signs in ignorance.
While I'd like to believe those days are coming to an end --- where the insidious chicken-hawk cowards and opportunists like Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, and George W. Bush were able to use their microphones to manipulate American citizens into believing those who were against the war were somehow against the troops --- I fear it'll be a long and hard battle to ensure the men and women of our armed forces actually receive the support they are due from this Administration, this military, and those in the future.
The NPR report does not bode well. I can't do it justice here and urge you to read their written report and/or listen to their audio report (linked from the same page) in full. But here are just a few examples of the shameful treatment some of the troops at Fort Carson have had to deal with...
"They said I had to wait a month and a half before I'd be seen," Davis said. "I almost started crying right there."
Perhaps most disturbingly, there are the ones who are treated like pariahs by friends, employers, and yes...the Army itself:
Jennings called a supervisor at Ft. Carson to say that he had almost killed himself, so he was going to skip formation to check into a psychiatric ward. The Defense Department's clinical guidelines say that when a soldier has been planning suicide, one of the main ways to help is to put him in the hospital. Instead, officers sent a team of soldiers to his house to put him in jail, saying that Jennings was AWOL for missing work.
And the purges of these troops from the ranks seem to be more than simply isolated incidents...
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan have at each other debating President Bush's stay the course policy in Iraq in this entertaining clip (10:00) from yesterday's Scarborough Country. Buchanan actually defends Bush despite calling the war a "horrible mistake" and suggesting that the President may be acting with his legacy in mind.
Scarborough finds Buchanan's stance perplexing since he knows that "there are not ten Republicans on Capitol Hill that agree with this President" and that the "President stands alone in the world in his view on Iraq".
The clip begins about 3 minutes into the segment while the real fireworks start at approximately the 7 minute mark. Finally, despite all appearances, the clip is not cut off at the end as Scarborough only goes on to thank his guests.
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Gore Vidal was typically funny and outspoken during an appearance yesterday on Late Night on PBS with Tavis Smiley. This clip (5:08) includes Vidal's views on Bush and Iraq as well as the following descriptive quote:
As we all know, nothing actually exists or is true or has happened until the corporate mainstream media says it exists or is true or has happened. So it's nice to know that what American citizens have by-and-large known all by themselves for some time actually exists and is true and has happened: "MSNBC Now Characterizing Situation in Iraq as Civil War".
To cover their asses, MSNBC is running a poll (results as of now seen below)...
Geez, other than 86% of us, we would have never known. Thank god for the CMSM.
What next? "MSNBC Characterizes Oxygen as Good for Americans"? "Daytime Seen as Brighter than Nighttime"? "American Electoral System Broken"?
(Cynical much today, Brad?)
Last month we reported on the Defense Department's newly announced scheme to allow military and overseas ballots to be cast via the Internet. It was pointed out, among other concerns, that in many cases troop and overseas citizen votes would be subject to conversion from unsecured email voting into faxed documents by a private company who, in turn, would then forward the vote to the appropriate county jurisdiction.
The San Jose Mercury News quoted experts at the time who charged the system was "ripe for fraud" as military voters would apparently not be warned that their ballots might be seen by others and transferred into faxes, etc. by "a private contractor whose top executives have made political contributions to Republican Party organizations."
Underscoring those initial reports today, a group of independent computer scientists and E-Voting experts including David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratories, Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins, David Wagner of UC Berkeley, and Barbara Simons, a former researcher for IBM, have released an alarming short paper warning of "significant risks" found in the newly announced plan from the DoD's "Federal Voting Assistance Program" (FVAP).
The group had been members of a scientific peer review panel for a previous DoD Military and Overseas Internet voting scheme in 2004. At the time, they found the plan featured "a large number of security risks and vulnerabilities, including denial of service attacks, insider attacks, viral attacks on voters' PCs." That experimental program was subsequently cancelled after the findings.
But now, in September of this year --- just over one month ago --- the DoD announced and implemented their new scheme for military and overseas citizen voting via the Internet, to be used this November 7th without any public testing or peer review whatsoever.
According to today's report, the new DoD voting scheme --- known as the "Interim Voting Assistance System" (IVAS) --- has been put in place without any "publicly available external security examination" and has "never been used in a public election before (not even in a primary)."
The scientists say that security concerns about the new, untested system include loss of privacy and identify theft for the military and overseas voters and, even more troubling, they found the system to be vulnerable to hackers and tampering by governments both foreign and domestic.
From the report's troubling introduction:
IVAS was announced to the public only last month (September), and has been designed and built only over the last several months, an extremely short time for a system of this complexity and importance. The current system has never been used in a public election before (not even in a primary), and has not been subject to any publicly available external security examination. The technical specifications have not been made publicly available.
In an email received by The BRAD BLOG this morning, Simons summarizes the report's three main findings, characterized as "serious concerns about the security issues posed by this new system."
Her succint, yet alarming, email is posted in full below....
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Through the eyes of Dr. Jamal Taha-Enad, an Iraqi trauma surgeon that Nightline has been following around Iraq for two years, this video provides a remarkable glimpse into life in Baghdad. Powerful and heart-wrenching, the video is also notable for evidencing the graphic violence of war --- something almost unheard of in today's mainstream press.
After the segment is a partial interview of President Bush by George Stephanopoulos that also aired on last night's program.
UPDATE: Video pulled from Blip.tv and my account was shut down. I could not find video on Nightline site either. Please post a link if anyone comes by the video elsewhere. Thanks. (Alan Breslauer)
Holy shit...They may even be losing Fox "News"!...
Welcome back to Planet Earth, Shep!
(Hat-tip Joy Williams!)
From Mercury News Thursday (Sorry, been running behind for some reason)...
Yet experts in computer security and election technology say the Pentagon's current attempt to keep those ballots from being rejected in large numbers, as they have been in past elections, has created a system that is ripe for fraud.
During the next six weeks, thousands of service members are expected to fax or e-mail ballots over international communications networks that are susceptible to interception and tampering, putting those votes at risk.
"I can't for the life of me figure out how the Defense Department decided this is the right thing to do," said Doug Jones, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Iowa.
And here's more...
See the full story, for more...it gets even worse.
Let us pause on this day of solemn remembrance and take stock of what our noble Leader has done in the world with the vast storehouse of "political capital" he received from the "new Pearl Harbor" that his noble captains Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby (and brother Jeb) once openly called for – in September 2000 – in a document published by their noble organization of selfless zealots for global altruism, The Project for a New American Century. Now, on this solemn occasion, as the noble Leader himself takes to the airwaves to remind us of his nobility in those dark days after the attack that his noble captains had so presciently yearned for, let us assay just one small gleaning of the great and noble crop of freedom the Leader has harvested with the seeds from what he has often called the "opportunity" provided by the murder of almost 3,000 American citizens and nationals from many other countries.
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
As reported here last Friday, General John Abizaid, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, sent shock-waves through the administration and the press when he admitted to Congress on Thursday that "Iraq could move toward civil war".
This nearly frozen blogger filled in a few of the missing details, explaining that there is already a civil war in Iraq, and that it is happening largely because the Pentagon has been so busy setting up death squads there. The Iraqi death squads are modeled after the death squads set up in El Salvador in the early 1980s, in what has been described --- I am not kidding --- as our "democratization" of that unfortunate Central American country. And now Iraq is unfortunate enough to be the newest victim of our so-called "democratization".
The administration is not about to admit that creating a Civil War in Iraq was part of the plan, nor will it admit that it never had any intention of winning a war in Iraq. But actions speak louder than words, and now it has become abundantly clear that their goal all along was to become embroiled in a long and difficult war there. In case you hadn't noticed, this is exactly what has happened.
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Cindy Sheehan has once again established herself as an anti-war presence in Crawford, Texas. She has a new campsite near the palatial estate that "president" Bush calls his "ranch", and she is inviting people to join her.
Our friend Leon Smith of the The Lone Star Iconoclast has more. Here's a sample:
When asked whether local residents were resentful about the way the property was purchased, through a third party, Sheehan said, "A lot of people have a third party buy land for them. I could have hired a lawyer, but it would have cost me more. I think they should be more resentful to a president that lied to the American public and lied to the world.
"I think Camp Casey III will be safer than where we were before, and we won’t be in the way as much as we were before. We are good neighbors. We were good neighbors out there. If they can’t put up with our presence for a few weeks, when our soldiers and the people of Iraq are suffering constantly because of what our other neighbor George Bush did, then I think they need to learn to relax a little bit and learn to live with us because, I promise you, I love Crawford and we will be good neighbors."
Leon is promising more coverage and we will try to keep you posted.
All the plans have been changing so fast! This recently-published interview is already way out of date, but still worth a read:
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
USA Today has the "latest":
U.S. commander expresses fear about possible civil war in Iraq
Much as I hate to disagree with the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, I have to question this assertion. Waddaya mean: "move toward civil war"? How many civilians have to get blown to bloody smithereens every day to qualify this mess as a civil war? How many death squads have to roam the country simultaneously before we can all just can the sleazy rhetoric and admit that the Iraqi Civil War is here now?
And as the Washington Post reported recently, some of our guys are starting to get the impression that they are simply 'Waiting to Get Blown Up'.
Steffey said he wished "somebody would explain to us, 'Hey, this is what we're working for.' " With a stream of expletives, he said he could not care less "if Iraq's free" or "if they're a democracy."
"My personal opinion, I don't speak for the rest of anybody, I just speak for me personally, I think civil war is going to happen regardless," Steffey responded. "Maybe this country needs it: One side has to win. Be it Sunni, be it Shiite, one side has to win. It's apparent, these people have made it obvious they can't live in unity."
Did you ever wonder why they can't live in unity now even though they could live in relative peace before the Americans came to destroy their country?
Did you ever wonder why American soldiers in Iraq are considering the possibility that maybe the country "needs" a civil war?...
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