...That it's our last legitimate opportunity to use the following photos:
Fake turkey in Iraq.
"I could really use a pardon."
(Your alternative captions welcome in comments.)
...And, among other things, that so many of you have joined me, for so long, during this bizarre and often horrifying journey, for so many years. My thanks to you all, and hopes for a peaceful holiday for you and yours. -- Brad
A combination of factors, which I can get into at another time (but which include a still-very sore wrist that I've had to wrestle with over the last several months, despite doctor's orders, while trying to keep up with a helluva busy election season), has forced me to slow down a bit on this end over the last several days, while allowing time for a few more guest voices here in the bargain.
I thank you for your patience and understanding as I continue to tread water and do my best to chew well so much that I've bitten off over the last several years (much of which takes a while before it makes its way onto these pages) and offer an early heads-up that I am going to try to take a bit more down time --- in hopes of allowing my wrist to heal a bit, my brain to heal a bit, my body to catch up with some rest, my family to actually see me for a minute or two, as well as a number of other well-worth-it super-secret projects which require some time and attention --- over the next month or two (or even three if I can get away with it) during and after the holidays.
My hope is to bring on a few more guest contributors here to allow me some of that time. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to spend some much needed hours away from the blog in the bargain, though not immediately and certainly not indefinitedly. So, with much still on the plate, I'm still right here, and have much more to come (even today, on a number of important items, if I can catch up, with a TV taping scheduled for mid-afternoon to keep me further behind-schedule). But I just wanted to offer a quick status report, and explain why I've been a bit slower than I'd like in keeping up with a lot that continues to roll over the last several days in a number of places (AK, MN, and GA, to name just a few of them).
Hopefully, you haven't much noticed. But either way, as mentioned, thanks again for your patience and understanding, and for your support over so many months and years. I'll do my best to keep you all up to date on the above as things move forward, of course, and hope, in the meantime, you'll keep The BRAD BLOG high your list of daily must-reads in the ever-growing blogosphere...
I was live on the popular Riz Kahn program yesterday on Al Jazeera English, along with Clint Curtis (he in FL, myself in L.A.) to discuss the terrifying new documentary Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story and related concerns about electronic voting in our current general election. AJE, for those who don't know, is a very well respected, and widely viewed worldwide cable/satellite channel, run by former BBC folks like David Frost. Here's what aired live yesterday...
If you'd like your own DVD of the MSVL documentary --- which has been getting rave reviews from all quarters --- I'd be delighted to send you one, signed by both myself and the filmmaker, Patty Sharaf, in exchange for a $50 contribution to The BRAD BLOG.
Alternately, or in addition, if you'd like a copy of the award-winning Uncounted (which I'm also in, but it's still good anyway), signed by filmmaker David Earnhardt, a $50 contribution here will get you one of those as well.
Last week I ran the video of an interview that Russia Today (an extremely popular English language state-sponsored Russian satellite/cable channel) flew into town to conduct with me. That posting included some thoughts on the interview, which also included some of my thoughts on problems in the U.S. corporate media.
Now, the RT reporter Anastasia Churkina files a broader report on concerns about the e-voting systems to be used in our upcoming election, including more from my interview with her, and another with my friend Thom Hartmann. Here's that new report (appx 4 mins)...
ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves.
If that unflinching response to the wingnut democracy-haters doesn't underscore how ACORN is not a part of the Democratic Party, I don't know what does. But, in any case, in a comment in response to my article, longtime BRAD BLOG troll "Smithy" wrote this:
Anyone who has donated money to this site in order to presevre voting rights in this country should stop today. Every fraudulent vote that Acorn produced cancels the vote of a legal and rightful voter. Brads effort to cover this up shows us that he isnt interested in legal accurate voting, hes interested in party politics.
Brad, you should be ashamed.
Well, for a start, there are exactly zero "fraudulent vote[s] that Acorn produced," no matter what the liar "Smithy," and the rest of the shameless GOP liars, might try to tell you (with exactly zero evidence to back up their obnoxious and dangerous claims).
But I'm happy to thank "Smithy" for the reminder that it is yourdonations to The BRAD BLOG that keep it going, as we receive no corporate or foundational support, so that we can continue to do our part to "presevre voting rights in this country."
Like ACORN, "we will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves."
...And/or, feel free to support any of the candidates, from any party, who have gone on record pledging to Stand Up For Voters this year for a change!
P.S. I'll be on The Randi Rhodes Show today at 4:30pm ET (1:30pm PT) to discuss the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud with Randi. Please consider supporting her and Mike Malloy's underdog progressive syndicator NovaM Radio as well!
I'll be Guest Hosting the The Mike Malloy Show tonight through Friday, from 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) each night. Hope you'll tune in!
Tomorrow, we'll be running the Veep Debate live for the first 90 minutes (or until Palin breaks down in tears), followed by a Blogger Roundtable with some world class bloggers (Marcy Wheeler from Empty Wheel, David "dday" Dayen from Digby's Hullabalo and Calitics, Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger from Winds Of Change, Pamela Leavey from The Democratic Daily, and maybe a few more --- even some Righties --- if we can get 'em!)
But tonight is looking pretty good as well, and is currently scheduled to include the following:
Congrats to David Earnhardt and company on winning "Best Documentary" at last weekend's San Diego Film Festival, for Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections! I'm quite sure the win was due to my appearance at the Q&A following the Saturday night screening down there.
And finally...if you'd like a copy of both great documentaries (I'm in both, but they're really good anyway!), a donation of $75 or more will get 'em both shipped straight to ya! (Snail mail also works for all of the above: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Congrats and thanks all around! People are getting the message because you are making noise!
Kansas City Star is among the first out of the box to review the film, calling it a "Must See!" and declaring that it "plays like a high-tension political thriller."
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It also tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-often frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.
The DVD of MSVL is finally available for purchase at VotingLies.com and will also be premiering beginning this weekend on LinkTV, for those of you lucky enough to get the satellite TV channel. See LinkTV's main Murder, Spies page for air dates and times, as well as an extended five-minute preview of the film. Sharaf has been kind enough to offer the DVD --- signed by herself and myself --- available as our newest, and perhaps most appropriate, BRAD BLOG premium ever! An online donation of $50 or more gets you your own copy! (And just in time for Halloween!) Snail mail works as well, if you prefer to send a check to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The support is greatly appreciated and very much needed.
LinkTV narrates their own 60-second preview of MSVL below...
For those who aren't familiar with the remarkable Curtis/Feeney story of the Florida software programmer who says he was asked by a powerful Republican to create vote-rigging software, where have you been? See this summary version for the quick details.
For those who are familiar with the story, you will learn details in MSVL you never knew, along with new interviews on the case from Gore Vidal, reporter Bob Fitrakis, computer security expert Harri Hursti, whistleblower Steve Heller, Curtis co-worker Mavis Georgalis, and many more!
While the Curtis story has been told, often beautifully, in a number of other documentaries, such as Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote, this is the first to go all the way into all of the frightening details underscoring this case, including the mysterious death of Florida's Inspector General Raymond Lemme while investigating the allegations, and the bizarre case of the convicted Chinese spy, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked at the firm with Curtis.
A few quotes from some of the early reviews:
"Must see!...Plays like a high-tension political thriller...Amazingly elaborate and detailed...Want to get hoppin' mad? This'll do it...Let's hear it for paper ballots." - Bob Butler, Kansas City Star
The film is also screening at a number of upcoming film-festivals around the country, including the New Jersey Film Festival this weekend. See the MSVL website for dates & times.
Four years later, I'm happy to still be here to see the release of the film, quite frankly. There were some pretty scary days back there. It's regrettable that nobody's yet gone to jail, but maybe we're getting closer. For many of you who found this blog because of the Curtis story back in 2004, thank you for all of the support throughout the years! I hope you'll get the film, enjoy it, and continue to spread the word.
In or near Los Angeles tonight (Tuesday)? Please come on by the Fairfax Cinemas (7907 Beverly Blvd.) at 7:30pm for a special screening of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections. I'll be speaking at a Q&A afterwards, along with filmmaker David Earnhardt, "Diebold Document Whistleblower" Steve Heller (who is both featured in the film and now also an occassional BRAD BLOG guest blogger!), Mimi "Dharma & Greg" Kennedy of PDA, and all of it hosted by the good Jerry Quickley of KPFK/Pacifica.
Oh, and psst...say the super-secret password "NO DIEBOLD!" at the box office tonight, and get $3 off your ticket! But don't tell anyone! We'd like to keep that as much of a secret as Diebold's own passwords for all of their voting systems ("1111").
If you can't make it tonight (for some crazy reason), and if you've yet to see Uncounted (for some crazy reason), and you haven't helped support The BRAD BLOG lately (for some crazy reason), special editions of the DVD, as signed by the filmmaker, are still available for online donations of $50 or more. Snail mail works as well, to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
We'd love the support, and you'll love the film. And we'd all love to see you tonight if you happen to be in the hood.
P.S. The film is also screening at the San Diego Film Festival this Thursday and Saturday at 5pm. I'll be heading down for a Q&A following the Saturday showing there, so I expect to see everybody in person by the end of this week! Thank you.
All in all, we'd rather be in St. Paul. But then again, nobody involved with the Republican National Convention (which we suspect will be much more fun) invited us to speak in Minnesota. We will, however, be speaking on a panel about "Clean, Fair and Transparent Elections" at a forum sponsored by The Nation magazine and the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) in Denver, so we're now on our way. Whether we like it or not.
We're also told that press credentials to the big show have been secured for The BRAD BLOG, so who knows what may happen? In truth, we have no idea what we'll find in Denver worth reporting, if anything, but many are the days we often awaken with no clue at all what nightmares and/or hilarity await us, requiring light and focus that sometimes only we seem to be able to help bring. It's with that same sense of wonderment and a not-bad-nose-for-news-found-nowhere-else that we head towards the Rockies.
While we're en route, and even while we're on the ground in Denver, the good Guest Bloggers of The BRAD BLOG will be joining us to keep things lively while your occasionally-humble eponymous blogger-in-chief strolls the grounds either with or without net access.
If you're in the mood to support our DNC efforts, whatever they may be, we'd not turn down a few dollars for a tank of gas or three to help get there and back safely. Donations may be left online here. If you're able to drop $50 or more in that tip jar, we'll be happy to send you a collectors' edition DVD of Uncounted, signed by filmmaker David Earnhardt, as a small thanks. (Our snail mail, for those who asked: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.)
Wish us luck. We'll do our best to stay away from the water cannons...
Having made all too precious-little headway in overcoming the failures of the U.S. corporate mainstream media --- see these comments from over the weekend on that point --- I guess I need to "go overseas" to see if we can make any headway from over there instead.
I'm now honored to be contributing to the UK's Guardian from time to time. My first column, posted today, picks up on the anthrax case, and the dismal, one-sided case made for the guilt of the now-deceased Bruce Ivins, by both the FBI and the mainstream corporate media outlets in this country, which were all too happy to pass on misleading report after misleading report from those prolific "unnamed government sources."
As with Iraq WMD, Valerie Plame, Torture, Secret Prisons, Spying on Citizens, the U.S. Attorney Purge, Election Integrity, and so many other almost-all-but-lost landmark issues from over the past seven years or so, it has been the remarkable efforts of the citizen media that managed, at least a bit, to mitigate the corporate media-propelled "conventional wisdom" in this entire sorry matter.
Please feel free to put in a good word over there for me.
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If you're not already signed up for those services, it takes two seconds for each of them, and then you can remain logged on, so you never have to log back in. Thanks for taking that extra coupla seconds! It matters! And helps the issues we cover --- frequently covered nowhere else --- get seen by a huge new set of eyeballs!
Just minutes ago, the ground gently rattled and rolled a bit here at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles for 15 seconds or so.
Wire services, TV and radio news responded within seconds to report a sizable 5.8 (later downgraded to 5.4) magnitude quake, centered some 28 miles east of downtown.
Don't have much more to offer for the moment, but wanted to report --- particularly for those who know we're back in L.A. --- that we're fine here. While the shake was noticeable, it was either far enough or deep enough (reports now say it was 7.6 miles down) that it didn't even much rattle the cupboards where we're located near Hollywood.
More later if we're able to offer any other notable developments...
The whistleblower lawsuit against voting machine company Hart InterCivic, as filed in federal court on behalf of former employee William Singer, has been withdrawn following a decision by the Supreme Court that makes pursuing the case nearly impossible, according to the law firm who originally filed the complaint.
The suit had been sealed for nearly two years as the Dept. of Justice asked for extension after extension during their decision on whether or not to join the case. Earlier this year, they ultimately decided not to join the case, as we reported last March, leaving the firm of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner & Proctor, P.A to proceed on their own. The DoJ declines to join some 76% of such cases.
In the interim, while waiting for the DoJ, the case of Rockwell Intl Corp. v. U.S. [PDF] came before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the findings in that decision, as attorney Mike Papantonio told The BRAD BLOG, has "made it next to impossible to proceed with any and all federal whistleblower (qui tam) cases."
The decision found that Rockwell was required to pay millions of dollars under the federal False Claims Act to the federal government, but that the relator of the case --- the insider who blew the whistle --- was not entitled to any of that money, nor even for the millions of dollars accrued in legal costs since the amended complaint, filed with the Justice Dept., included information about which the relator did not have direct inside knowledge.
The SCOTUS finding, as expressed for the majority by Justice Antonin Scalia, may well hamstring future whistleblower cases in federal courts, according to legal experts.
"I used to think qui tam was the way to go," Papantonio told me as his firm was weighing their decision on how to proceed after the case was finally unsealed, "but now I just don't know anymore."
Papantonio's Florida law firm has used the qui tam laws successfully in the past, and has taken on giants such as the Tobacco Industry. After he and his radio partner Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had learned about Singer's case from The BRAD BLOG --- we originally reported Singer's extraordinary saga back in early 2006 --- they decided to launch the federal fraud suit on his behalf later that year.
(I was interviewed about the withdrawal of the federal case by Mike Papantonio for this weekend's Ring of Fire radio program, which he co-hosts with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.. A video version of the interview is also posted on their GoLeft.TV site. Both versions are now posted in full at the end of this article.)
Though the attorneys working on the case have gone out of their way to express their faith in both Singer and his remarkable complaint --- detailing more than 40 federal fraud allegations, and accusing Hart of doctoring voting machines, covering up system failures, including the loss and miscounting of votes, and other malfeasance, in order to attain contracts and payment under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 --- the chance that millions of dollars spent pursuing the case might be unrecoverable at the end of the process, even if successful, in light of the Rockwell decision, forced them to withdraw the complaint from federal court...
Posting has been light as I've been on the road over the last several days due to a family event up here in the Great Pacific Northwest. In the bargain, I'm trying to sneak in some much needed off-the-grid time between now and the July 4th holiday. No doubt, however, I'll be showing up here from time to time when I just can't help myself.
Our friend Jon Ponder of Pensito Review and others will continue jumping in as they have been over the last several days, and as their time allows.
But for now, a quick heads up: I'll be appearing live and in-studio from Portland tomorrow (Thursday) with the nationally syndicated and far-far Rightwinger Lars Larson. I've done his show several times, and a good rumble between him and me is usually in the offing. (He's appearing, as I type this, tonight on Campell Brown's CNN show, coincidentally, trying to smash up Obama on the desperate premise that he's "arrogant.")
Last time I was up in Portland, he and I went mano-a-mano live in-studio for two hours (the last hour of his local show, and the first hour of his nationally syndicated show), prompting David Edwards, who guest blogged my appearance for The BRAD BLOG that day, in late 2005, to write:
During the course of the show, Lars' tone seems to change from mature discussion to outright brawling anger. At one point during the second hour, Lars may have been briefly channeling the venomous Bill O'Reilly.
The contentious audio from that appearance is back here, if you're interested.
We'll see what tomorrow brings, but I hope you'll tune in, call in, or whatever ya can --- not that I don't love taking on Lars' usual wingnut callers!
I'll be on his local Oregon/Washington show tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:30pm PT (call-in#: 866-HEY-LARS) and the nationally syndicated show beginning at 3:00pm PT (866-509-LARS). You can listen live here, if his show is not broadcast in your local area.
And no matter what happens, I'm happy to go on the record right now to say that Larson scores big points for having folks like me --- who strongly disagree with just about everything he has to say --- on his show. Wish one could say the same for cowards like O'Reilly, Hannity, Rush, et al., but oh well.
So, Kudos to Lars in advance. We'll see how I feel about him tomorrow Either way, looking forward to it! You'll let me know how I did, as usual!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Old Lars was obsessed with the SCOTUS decision today lifting the ban on handguns in D.C.. So that, despite my own personal interests in stuff that actually matters (versus grist for cynical political divisiveness) is what we talked about, for what seemed to be the bulk of the show. It was his house after all, and I appreciate his generosity in welcoming me to it. We did get a few other things in here and there however.
I was on for the full final hour of his local show, and the first half-hour of his national broadcast. With commercials and news removed (courtesy of LarsLarson.com) the audio archive is just 50 minutes. Download the MP3 or listen online below...