At this year's Christmas, I'm happy to associate myself with my colleague, the good John Gideon of VotersUnite.org who offered these well-writ holiday thoughts at the top of last night's DVN:
[We'd] like to express our wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who have done so much for our democracy over this past year. Those of you who have been a part of the Election Integrity Community, Election Officials, concerned citizens and voters have all done a masterful job in helping to make our democracy work. Our job is not done yet but we have made strides and we will, with everyone’s help, continue to make strides to protect our democracy.
As well, I share the following from a moving note sent to me by another colleague today, one who happens to be a great, longtime civil rights champion. I believe his thoughts, and thanks, are due to all of those who have helped to support our work here at The BRAD BLOG and have made us a regular stop on an increasingly busy super highway, over the past year and more...
We all did what we had to do to change America's democracy. We moved it quite a few steps forward thanks to you and hundreds of others who were out there protecting the rights of voters. We held back the voter disenfranchisement goons long enough (2006-2008) to allow the majority of voters true voice to finally be heard. We won and moved democracy closer to where it needs to be.
I want to say an official thank you from the civil rights community for all you have done to protect the right to vote and help knock down the numerous administrative barriers that still exist.
Please take his kind words sent to me, as my sincere thoughts sent to you, in hopes we can all celebrate someday --- and perhaps even for a few hours this Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever holiday you enjoy --- what we all continue to strive for, in our long, strange journey together...
[Ed Note: Be sure to see the second of two UPDATES added to the bottom of the story below for Prof. Scott Althaus email sent in to note that his University of Illinois report does indeed cite The BRAD BLOG, several times, for our original contribution to their findings.]
The BRAD BLOG broke that story --- the first such scoop of ours to be noticed and picked up by the national media --- back in 2004, prior to the Presidential Election. At the time, the noise we helped cause with the revelations led to the WH being forced to restore terrabytes of documents, audio and video to their website in the week prior to the election. You're welcome.
We initially made the discovery of the missing WH website documents on the night of the Vice-Presidential Debate, after Dick Cheney claimed to be offended by John Edwards' assertion that the U.S. had "taken 90 percent of coalition casualties" in Iraq.
Cheney faked indignation in response, arguing that it was "beyond the pale" that Edwards was ignoring the sacrifices of Iraqis. Not recalling that Iraq was ever named as part of the "Coalition of the Willing," we checked the WH website, only to find the link to the list still there, but the page itself missing. Afterwards, we found many other pages, as well as audio and video, had been illegally removed from the website.
Here's our Special Coverage page, indexing our series of reports on the "White House Website Scrubbing" scandal, beginning in October of 2004.
We're very happy, in any case, that it's now "officially" news, and that the violation of the federal Presidential Records Act that we noted at the time is also confirmed, now that a professor at a university has found the same, and written about it. Guess we'll have to find a professorship somewhere. Haven't gotten to read his original report yet, but I'll assume he offered us the hat-tip we're due.
UPDATE: The above benefit-of-the-doubt, concerning credit where its due, may not be a safe assumption. The rather irony-laden coverage of professor of political science and communication Scott Althaus' findings, as reported by the Daily Illini today, follows. Get a load of this...
...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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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...