The Russians flew into town to talk to me last week. The result, from Russia Today, their huge worldwide English-language satellite/news outlet, follows (appx 3.5 mins)...
For the record, I take little joy or comfort in detailing, to folks from Russia, just how bad the current state of democracy is in the U.S.. Describing the failures of our corporate media to them was not much fun either. But I call 'em as I see 'em.
Describing our elections these days as "Russian Roulette," however, did seem to make some kind of perverse sense on Russian television, even if it's not the first time I've used that turn of phrase that way. But I looked Anastasia Churkina in the eye, found her to be very straight-forward and trustworthy, and we had a very good dialogue. In fact, I was able to get a sense of her soul, so I knew I could trust her.
POST-SCRIPT: Anastasia headed up to Portland to speak to the good Thom Hartmann, on many of the same topics, the day after she was here to interview me. The RT interview with Thom is here.
There were a few more technical/geek-ish items that I didn't include in the version that ran over there, thinking they were more appropriate for the real tech and election integrity geeks (like me) out there. Those issues are now published in a much shorter Q&A running today at ComputerWorld.
In these previously unpublished exchanges, posted to CW this morning, Brunner offers some insider detail about her recent lawsuit against Diebold/Premier, concerning the revelation that their tabulators simply drop thousands of votes without notice; the depth of her surprise at the results of her landmark "EVEREST" security tests of Ohio's e-voting machines; and what may lie beyond e-voting, such as the possibility of hand-counting in Ohio.
The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system, fiercely and independently, as no other media outlet in the nation does. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great election integrity documentary films in return. Details on that right here...
Late last week I had the "pleasure" of appearing on Tavis Smiley's public radio show, along with GOP "voter fraud" zealot and propagandist Hans von Spakovsky, about whom we've written quite a bit here over the years. The show was pre-taped last Thursday, ran over the weekend, and will continue to be available at Smiley's website throughout the week.
The audio discussion, which became rather heated at times, is posted at the end of this article.
In his introduction, Smiley credits von Spakovsky as being "from the Heritage Foundation." But in addition to being funded by those unapologetic Republicanists, it goes unnoted that vS, a former chair of the FEC, recess-appointed by Bush, then blocked by the Democrats in the Senate when his appointment came up again, was formerly embedded in the Bush DoJ's wholly-politicized Civil Rights Division voting section.
At the DoJ, he helped to deconstruct the beloved Voting Rights Act of 1965 by, among other things, pushing through polling place Photo ID restrictions in places such as Georgia, against the advice of just about every career employee in the division. (The law was later found to be an "unconstitutional day poll tax" by the courts, but ultimately allowed by a higher court, and still under challenge by Democrats in the state.) He was also instrumental in bringing phony "voter fraud" charges, such as those against ACORN workers in Missouri, filed just days before the razor-thin 2006 Senate election, in violation of the DoJ's own written rules against bringing such indictments just prior to elections where they are likely to affect the race.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, but unmentioned by Smiley, is that even with all of that, the disgraced von Spakovsky has been secretly hired, at tax-payer expense, as a consultant for Bush's similarly compromised, and now ironically-named, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to help monitor the job that the DoJ will (or won't) be doing to monitor the 2008 general election.
In any case, vS remains an unapologetic democracy hater, hell-bent on keeping Democratic-leaning voters away from the polls and, as you'll note during the interview, a liar.
Normally, however, he's not faced with anybody who can actually call him on his bullshit. That wasn't the case this time, as I was there, and was able to do exactly that...
I finally got the chance to watch the final cut (or so he says) of John Wellington Ennis' ingenious and inspiring Free For All! over the weekend. Taglined "One Dude's Quest for Democracy", the latest in the burgeoning election integrity documentary cannon offers yet another fresh look at our democracy on the precipice.
It's also damned funny --- which is a very nice change of pace --- and brings both the soul and spirit of your favorite Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock to the serious concerns of America's mindblowing electoral dysfunction.
While previous films in the genre have often focused more narrowly on the filmmaker's particularly favorite bête noire, such as voting machines, voter suppression, whistleblowers or the examination of specific aberrations of democracy (such as Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004), Free For All! uses Ohio's 2006 election --- featuring '04 villain, OH Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's quest for the Governorship --- to examine "all of the above", as Ennis himself serves as the Michael Moore-ian "Dude" trying to figure out just what the hell has gone wrong with the system. Answer: Just about damned near everything.
(Watch the FFA! preview at right.)
Ennis even manages to close a bit of a loop on 2004 by bringing in the "Don't Tase Me, Bro" FSU student who, in fact, was attempting to get a real answer from John Kerry on why he rolled over on the '04 election when he received a few thousand volts of thanks for his efforts. Real ones. As opposed to the imaginery ones that ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBCFOX used on themselves to shut down reportage on one several of the greatest crimes of modern times.
Ennis also succeeds in offering a solution to many of the discovered woes...
Rady Ananda at OpEdNews opens her review of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story by declaring it "the most explosive documentary produced in recent memory, involving murder, espionage, cover-up, electoral cyber fraud and a United States Member of Congress with ties to the Bush Administration."
More details, pull-quotes from other reviews, and video preview here.
Haven't seen it yet? If you've got LinkTV, you can still check it out there. Otherwise, DVDs are available for prchase at the MSVL website, or better still, for a few dollars more, you can get one signed by both myself and the filmmaker Patty Sharaf with a $50 donation right here!
What more could you ask for? Collectors versions of great documentaries for you to watch and share, and all the while supporting the work we do here, so we can keep on doing it! And maybe by the time we're done, democracy gets saved somewhere in the bargain and everyone's a winner!
(Snail-mail works for all of the above as well. Send to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Tonight's the last of my Guest Host stints, for now, on this week's Mike Malloy Show. We'll air live tonight from 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) and we should have another good one for you this evening.
Scrambling now to get over to the studio, because from 8p-9p ET (5p-6p PT), during my usual weekly Friday guest appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show, just prior to subbing on Malloy's show tonight, we'll have a very special guest appearing with us at the same time, for the first half hour, and you may want to tune in for that as well! It should be a very lively hour!
While I'll not give you the name of that special PBC guest, I can give you the names of a couple of my guests tonight on the Malloy Show. You may have heard of them...
RALPH NADER, independent candidate for President of the United States on the Wall St. bailout and more.
"Agent 99" will once again host tonight's Open Thread in the comments below...See ya tonight!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Wow. Big show! All four hours of 'em, if you count the first one on Peter B. Collins with cowardly, lying guest John Fund (who hung up during the first commercial break, guess he's not used to anybody being able to answer to his bullshit).
Each "hour" is actually about 37 mins. with the commercials removed, thanks to Ben Burch of White Rose Society. Here they are. Enjoy...
I'll be Guest Hosting a special "VP Debate" edition of the The Mike Malloy Show tonight. We'll carry the debate LIVE at 6pm PT (9pm ET), followed by an in-studio "Bloggers Roundtable" until 9pm PT (Midnight ET), featuring world class bloggers:
As always, "Agent 99" will be your rascible hostess here in our live Open Thread during the show. Hit comments below and give us your two-cents tonight! Maybe we'll read it on air!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively roundtable, with a lot of disagreements (the Rightwinger, Patrick Frey thought Palin dropped the ball, while the Progressives tended to think Palin did well, except for Danziger, and lord only knows what he is. My thanks to all of them, as well as the callers, including my father who offered an "Edward R. Murrow-esque" field report, live from St. Louis! Unfortunately, Pamela Leavy was not able to join us at the last second.
We ended the spirited discussion --- audio archive below --- with my request for a quick McClaughlin-style response to the following question: "Between now and the next debate on Tuesday, after tonight's debate, do the polls go up, down, or no change for Obama and McCain?" The answers from the bloggers...
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.
Americans - most notably right-leaning Americans - used to issue dire warnings about sliding down "the slippery slope" on any number of hot-button political issues. From the slippery slope of same-sex marriage to the slippery slope of gun control to the slippery slope of abortion rights to the slippery slope of immigration and on and on, various political interest groups in America guarded that slope, with no small amount of zeal, lest any of us find our God-given rights or once-vaunted rule of law lost for good before we even noticed.
Bad news. We've lost our God-given rights, at least our constitutional ones, and certainly the rule of law. The US is now in full-plummet down the slippery slope, due, in no small part, to a lack of courage, willingness, interest and imagination of those who might have kept it from happening long ago.
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.
I'll once again be hosting KPFK/Pacifica's "Special Election Year Coverage" hour from 2p-3p PT (5p-6p ET) today (Wednesday).
I hope to be focusing on plans (or lack thereof) by both Democrats and Republicans to help protect your vote, though neither the Obama/DNC nor the McCain/RNC has so far been particularly forthcoming in offering a rep to discuss those plans. So if they don't show up, I guess I'll have to discuss their plans myself. To bad for them, I guess.
Guests scheduled for today...
JON GREENBAUM - Director of the National Lawyers Committee's Voting Rights Project, on their new, non-partisan, 866OurVote.org election protection effort announced today.
KPFK is heard at 90.7FM in Los Angeles and 98.7FM in Santa Barbara and streams live on the net at KPFK.org. Please tune in, stream in, and call-in at 818-985-5735, if you like.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: It was another lively, and hopefully very informative show today, with a bunch o' great calls and more. Unfortunately, our best laid plans for Mark Crispin Miller were for naught, as we lost him on the Long Island Railroad somewhere, but Jon Greenbaum was great, with a lotta good info, and some interesting information concerning the National Lawyers Committee's support for a bill that supported the continued use of touch-screen voting machines. I'm hopeful they will consider changing their position in the future, even as they're doing a great job of serving the voters with their 866-OUR-VOTE election protection effort this season!
BTW...I hope those within spittin' distance of L.A. will come to the screening of Uncounted in Los Angeles --- as mentioned during the show, next Tuesday (9/23) at Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd. --- where you'll be able to spit on me, filmmaker David Earnhardt, "Diebold Document Whistleblower" Steve Heller, and host Jerry Quickly of KPFK in the Q&A that follows. If you can't come, you can get the DVD at the website, OR help support our work here and get a special version of the DVD, signed by Earnhardt, in exchange for a contribution of $50 or more to The BRAD BLOG.
I'm delighted to be filling in for Randi this afternoon on The Randi Rhodes Show from 3pm-6pm ET (Noon to 3pm PT). Hope you all will join me!
If you're not lucky enough to have Randi on the air in your hometown (affiliates list here), you can stream us online via NovaMRadio.com. You can try to call in at 866-87-RANDI or leave your comments in the Open Thread right here, where Agent 99 will be your friendly host as always.
My thanks to local Randi affiliate KTLK am1150, "L.A.'s Progressive Talk," for allowing me, yet again, to broadcast from their fine studios in beautiful downtown Burbank!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Well that was fun! Archives now posted below, for download or online listening. Thanks to Ben Burch of White Rose Society for the commercial-free archives, which makes each "hour" just 37 fast-paced minutes long!...
HOUR 1: Lots of rants, lots of calls, guest Jeff Stein, and a focus on Republican and Fox "News" lies, and the rest of the intimidated media. Download MP3 or listen online...
HOUR 2: Lots of rants, lots of calls, guest Adam Kokesh and a focus on the reprehensible "Community Organizer" slurs from Palin and others. Download MP3 or listen online...
HOUR 3: Lots of rants, lots of calls, guest Stephen Spoonamore, clips from interview with former AL Gov. Don Siegelman on "stolen elections" and a focus on what you can do this year to reclaim your democracy. Download MP3 or listen online...