Worth remembering as 2008 is about to begin...
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
Worth remembering as 2008 is about to begin...
-- By Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
The BRAD BLOG spoke on Wednesday, by telephone, with Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, for an exclusive in-depth interview following the release of her state's unprecedented "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) review of e-voting systems.
While the bi-partisan, multi-teamed, scientific testing carried out, by a unique combination of both corporate and academic computer scientists and security experts, has won praise from most, if not all (see, predictably, here and here) quarters, the specific recommendations for changes to Ohio's voting system in its wake, as made by Brunner, have garnered a fair amount of criticism and concern from Election Integrity and Administration experts. Indeed, The BRAD BLOG has reported a number of our own concerns about those recommendations, as detailed last Friday upon the release of the report.
One thing is clear: the view from EVEREST is a mountain of "critical security failures" in Ohio's electronic voting systems --- the very same systems which will also be in use in other states and counties all across the U.S. in 2008. The question now is what can be done to mitigate the chances of yet another Ohio election meltdown next year, given the short time before before the state's primary in March, and the rapidly-approaching November general election when many eyes, no doubt, will again be on the Buckeye State.
In our interview --- the first of its kind to be published post-EVEREST --- we challenged the state's new Democratic Secretary, a former state judge, to answer to a number of growing concerns about her '08 recommendations, and whether she may be open to changing them in light of concerns. As well, we asked her about the criticism leveed against her by on-the-ground citizen Election Integrity advocates in the state, who have been critical of her for not having done enough to bring accountability following the J. Kenneth Blackwell regime, under whom Ohio's election system was so infamously gamed in 2004.
Our in-depth, exclusive interview with Ohio's new, and already embattled Secretary of State, follows in full...
Guest Editorial by Kenneth Anderson
Endlessly mundane and always uninformative, the moribund struggle for party nominations in what we so disrespectfully still call the "presidential campaign" inhabit a realm of such vacuous inanity one can palpably sense malignant tumors of ennui forming within.
While would-be Republican candidates spar for the GOP nomination by appealing to brain stem functions (that is, when they're not extolling us with tales of their heavenly devotion), Democrats carry themselves at only a marginally elevated level. This is not to say that there are not candidates --- on both sides --- who would like to raise the bar and address actual issues and policy, but those are shunned by our craven and cack-handed media mavens, who never seem to tire of their perceived role as king-maker in what has become --- for the world's "greatest democracy" --- an embarrassing spectacle of the most base and primitive dimensions. I suspect if media moguls could get Romney and Huckabee to square off in a cage fight, well, that would be next on the tour of the candidates. Who needs all this talk? Though the American public demand campaigns of substance, there appears too little of that on the political horizon, while furry idiots like Wolf Blitzer express puzzlement at the term "triangulating" as it pertains to Hillary Clinton.
What we constantly hear from the corporate media, though it is never stated quite so bluntly, is that those with the money become the kings. The American political campaign system is now a big-money bonanza for media corporations. These corporations prop up candidates with the most money knowing full well that that money will come straight back to them in the form of campaign advertising. The media are now simply advertisers for the biggest political spenders, which is perhaps the reason why the campaign cycle is now virtually continuous. It is a positive feedback loop, reinforcing in the minds of the public that the only viable candidates are the ones with the money, the polls reflect this, more money pours in for those "viable candidates," which in turn cycles right back to the media money machine.
Which is why I am constantly amazed that the so-called "progressive" blogs have chosen to endorse corporate-backed candidates like Hillary Clinton.
Though Dennis Kucinich espouses ideals resonant with most liberal voters, he is as marginalized by progressives as much as the mainstream media as "unelectable," though no one ever seems to understand or explain exactly what that means. Is it his ears?
By all appearances, blogs such as dKos, MyDD, etc, have now simply become another arm of the Democratic party and their backing of the major, big-money candidates simply because they are deemed "electable" entirely betrays the original purpose of their fora.
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
The members of the world-champion U.S. womens bridge team who faced harsh sanctions because they held up an anti-Bush sign during awards ceremonies in Shanghai last month have struck a deal with their professional organization, the United States Bridge Federation (USBF).
As the tournament was playing out, they were barraged with questions and criticism of George Bush and his policies by players from other countries. When they took the stage after they'd won the championship, one of Americans held up a hand-lettered sign that read, "We did not vote for Bush."
After the incident made international news, the women received emails from fellow members of the USBF who remain in Bush loyalists accusing them of "treason" and "sedition." But the harshest reaction came from the USBF leadership who threatened to impose a draconian settlement on the champions:
It would also require them to write a statement telling "who broached the idea of displaying the sign, when the idea was adopted, etc."
Alan Falk, a lawyer for the federation, wrote the four team members on Nov. 6, "I am instructed to press for greater sanction against anyone who rejects this compromise offer."
The sanctions had the distinct odor of Bush-era fascism about them, which led to an even greater uproar. Free speech advocates were up in arms. Supporters of the bridge team compared them to the Dixie Chicks, the all-female group from Texas who were ostracized by country music fans several years ago after they expressed shame that Bush was also from their home state.
But now the controversy appears to be mostly smoothed over:
Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...
Apparently Texas oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, who funded the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" propaganda campaign against John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of $3 million, seems, like the group themselves, to have trouble with the definition of the word "truth".
Earlier this month, at a DC dinner celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rightwing publication American Spectator, Pickens made a very public challenge (not a bet), offering, as the Republicanist blog, American Thinker reported, "a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry."
The similarly Rightwing blog RedState echoed that the challenge was made to anybody who "can prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false."
But it looks like Pickens was lying, as he is now trying to renege on the challenge since Kerry himself decided to take him up on it late last week, writing in a letter to Pickens (posted in full at the end of this article): "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry said that the $1 million should then be given to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, concluding his letter with: "I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge."
Pickens, however --- wait for it --- has proven to be less than a man of his word. Who'd have thunk it? Rather than accept Kerry's offer to meet the challenge, he's moved the goal posts and Fox "News" Network stooge, Sean Hannity --- no man of honor either --- is entirely scummy enough to aide and abet Pickens in welching out of the challenge...
Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press
ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.
With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?
Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.
With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.
Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.
Rove, Ney and the Undead
Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.
All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.
Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.
Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.
The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.
That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.
Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...
Following up our earlier story today, the Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), has now released a statement in response to TPM Muckraker's story today with on-the-record comments from former DoJ officials questioning the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the "investigation" by the Department's chief Voting official, John Tanner, into the reported racial disparities at polling places during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.
In Conyers' statement (posted in full at the end of this article) he says he's "concerned about the extreme lengths Mr. Tanner went to in order to justify the reasons African-Americans were not treated equally in the 2004 Ohio election," and charges that "The Department of Justice – since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate allegations of voter suppression and discrimination, like those made in Ohio in 2004."
Tanner's "investigation" at the time had, remarkably, charged that the reason for long lines in minority areas of Ohio was because minorities chose to vote late in the afternoon, instead of earlier in the day as white voters did.
Essentially, as RAW STORY's coverage this afternoon says, "black voters caused their own lines in the Ohio 2004 vote," if Tanner is to be believed.
But a report from TPM Muckraker earlier today quotes a former colleague of Tanner's, who accompanied him on his trip to Ohio during the "investigation," as saying, "did black precincts get neglected? I know we didn’t try very hard to find out."
Conyers originally responded to Tanner's investigation in 2005 with a letter of his own back in 2005, writing to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he was "flabbergasted that your office could reach such a casual conclusion without addressing the most serious charges of mis-allocation of votes in the County." He also expressed outrage that the DoJ chose to look into reports of election irregularities in only one Ohio county (Franklin).
Both Tanner's and Conyers' letters were posted and reported by The BRAD BLOG in 2005.
Today, the chairman says that in his 2005 landmark (though largely ignored, at the time) report entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio", he revealed "huge racial disparities in how voting machines were distributed in white and black precincts, among other findings." Yet Tanner had "found no discrepancies in the number of voting machines and attributed the long lines to the tendency of African-American voters to vote after work, as opposed to in the morning hours."
The BRAD BLOG has received indications from Conyers' office that he intends to question Tanner on these topics directly in an upcoming hearing. His statement today gives further indication of that.
Still more folks are beginning to notice our disturbing Monday exclusive, including both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which will be taking up the matter, we are told (and a report at TPM Muckraker confirms), in upcoming sub-committee hearings.
While many blogs had covered our report, the MSM had yet to ring in until today's report from Al Kamen at Washington Post who picks up on our coverage of the recent controversial video-taped comments by John Tanner, the Chief of the Voting Rights section of the DoJ's Civil Rights division.
Tanner said last Friday in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso --- and our own Alan Breslauer was there with video camera and tough questions --- that while it's a "shame" that the elderly may be disenfranchised by restrictive Photo ID laws at the polling place, minorities needn't worry, as they are less disenfranchised, if only because "minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first."
The argument Tanner was making implied that, somehow, it's white voters who are more disenfranchised by such restrictions, rather than black voters. And, despite actual evidence to the contrary, somehow, that's all okay with him in any case, even as the GOP pushes for more such laws all across the country, with a presidential election year upon us, little if any evidence of actual voter fraud that would be deterred by such laws, and some 10 to 30 million legally registered American voters (most, coincidentally, Democratic-leaning) who might well be disenfranchised in the bargain.
That from, yes, the Bush DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief.
Unlike so many other MSM outlets who have picked up on our stories before, WaPo's Kamen properly attributes The BRAD BLOG, twice, concluding his column today with: "Please, take a moment --- you owe it to yourself as a citizen --- to watch Tanner's illuminating analysis on this issue at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5145."
Thank you, Al.
But Paul Kiel has still more goodies on all of this, including confirmation that the DoJ has now agreed to allow Tanner to testify at an upcoming House Judiciary Committee hearing, despite having rebuffed such an invitation previously. Moreover, The BRAD BLOG can confirm that, in fact, the committee has requested a copy of the video of Tanner's comments for possible use during the hearing to be held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
More than that still, Kiel reports in a MUST READ today, on what may finally be a bit of long overdue encouraging news for Election Integrity advocates in Ohio, in relation to their continuing efforts to see some sort of justice done and/or accountability brought for the 2004 Election debacle in their state...
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer with additional reporting by Brad Friedman
Unbelievably, the Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, John Tanner, contends that while it's "a shame" that elderly voters may be disenfranchised by new Photo ID restrictions at the polls because many don't have driver's licenses, minorities don't have to worry quite as much. Why? Because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
University of Pennsylvania professor Steve Freeman, author of the important book, Was The 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, sat down with The BRAD BLOG at the 2nd Annual National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles on Friday.
Below are clips from our video interview with Freeman, broken down into five easy viewing segments, including his contention that his initial investigations into electronic voting led him to believe "There has to be some safeguard, it can't be this easy to corrupt. But it is. Even worse. If you haven't looked into this it is worse than you can possibly imagine."
The video clips, and text snippets of his answers to our questions, all follow below...
Who won the 2004 presidential election? - Freeman's short answer: John Kerry. He explains that while the official vote count gave George W. Bush a narrow margin of victory in Ohio of 120,000 votes and a slim electoral win, exit poll data indicates that Kerry actually won Ohio by 500,000 votes and won the national vote by a 6 million vote margin.
More video Q&A's follow below...
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's Election Fraud Unit has just announced that felony charges have been filed against a Sacramento woman who appears to have forged the names of five voters while gathering signatures for a 2006 ballot initiative.
The initiative was sponsored by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which hired the woman to gather signatures for a petition to get the initiative onto the ballot. She earned 75 cents per signature, netting her a total of $3.75 from the allegedly fraudulent signatures, according to the press release just sent to The BRAD BLOG by the SoS's office. (Complete press release posted at end of article.)
The signatures were excluded before the initiative qualified for the ballot, which eventually passed during the June 2006 election.
So why all the effort and resources expended to bring felony charges for such a paltry sum, for an election that's already over, particularly when the signatures weren't even used?
The reason, as we see it, is two-fold. And there are lessons to be learned from both explanations. And not just in California where powerful GOP operatives are hoping to gain enough signatures to put an Electoral College busting measure on the June 2008 ballot in desperate and cynical hopes of splitting the Golden State's electoral vote on a proportional basis in order to game the 2008 Presidential Election.
The new Secretary of State of Ohio would do well to take away the important lesson, once again from her sister in Sacramento...
Fortunately, it happened at a John Kerry event. So we'll likely hear a whole lot about this incident. Had it happened at a Republican event, Fox "News" and the rest of the news channels that receive their assignments from them would have made this a one-day story at best.
The blurry-ish video version of the incident seen at right shows the entire statement and questions asked by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. He was waving the recently released paperback version of investigative journalist Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse and recommended the book to Kerry before asking him about his early concession to the 2004 Presidential Election.
"He says you won the 2004 Election, isn't that amazing?" proclaimed Meyer, referring to Palast's claims in the book. The 21-year-old student continued on to speak about "multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio on the day of the election" and "electronic voting machines in Volusia County, Florida, that counted backwards."
"So amidst all of these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day?" he asked as security guards surrounded him. "How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? In this book, it says there were five million votes that were suppressed. Didn't you want to be President?!"
Kerry is heard earlier in Meyer's statement acknowledging that he has the book and that he's "already read it." Though we've seen the incident now on all of the cable news channels, several times, we've not seen any of them show the actual statement and questions being asked by Meyer.
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
A great Election Fraud-themed country music video! Including some video of Clint Curtis and much more!
Visit Eliza Jane's website.
Blogged by Brad from somewhere in TX...
We've been largely off the grid for the last 24, and will likely continue to be over the next two or three days. At least. (On the road, with frustratingly spotty net access and several article deadlines looming.) So for now, we're happy to point over to AlterNet's coverage of the story listeners may have heard us cursorily break during a phone call from Ohio's Paddy Schaeffer on the air the Friday before last while we were Guest Hosting the Peter B. Collins Show from Houston.
Here's the lede...
The lost records violate Ohio law, which states federal election records must be kept for 22 months after Election Day, and a U.S. District Court order issued last September that the 2004 ballots be preserved while the court hears a civil rights lawsuit alleging voter suppression of African-American voters in Columbus.
The destruction of the election records also frustrates efforts by the media and historians to determine the accuracy of Ohio's 2004 vote count, because in county after county the key evidence needed to understand vote count anomalies apparently no longer exists.
"The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election," said Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney representing the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, which filed voter suppression suit. "We're in the process of addressing where to go from here with the Ohio Attorney General's office."
Read Steve Rosenfeld's excellent report in full for much more detail and reminders of the raft of apparently fraudulent cases which these missing ballots may have helped to explain one way or another. Such as the "10,000 voters from several Bible belt counties who voted for Bush and voted in favor of gay marriage, if the results are true," along with the "dozen rural counties, [where] virtually unknown Democrats at the bottom of the ballot received more votes than Kerry."
As well, we're given a few jarring reminders of where else these missing ballots might otherwise have filled in so many still-unexplained gaps (all, of course, completely ignored by the corporate mainstream media for years)...
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