Guest blogged by Fin
What will be the tipping point of the Bush Presidency? Iraq? The Economy? Another terrorist attack in the U.S.? Another pretzel?
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Looking for something to read? Here's a great place to start: John Kaminski's newest piece at Serendipity, "The Ten Best Writers On The Internet".
Kaminski is a bit of a wild man, and I mean that in the best possible way. He digs deep, and writes passionate prose. He is beholden to nobody, and he always says exactly what he thinks. [Does that remind you of anyone? Somebody who's on his way to Utah, perhaps?]
As you will see when you read the article, Kaminski intended to list just ten writers, but he couldn't stick to that arbitrary limit. Instead, he's provided short introductions (and links) to twenty-five of his favorites.
You may find some familiar names here. You will probably find some new names as well. Some of my favorite writers didn't even make the list. Tough list! Greg Palast isn't on it. Neither is Brad. Neither is Freebird. Oh well. What are you gonna do?
Maybe someday I will write a piece about my favorite writers who are not on Kaminski's list. Maybe someday I will start an open thread where I ask you to do the same. But in the meantime, here's a way to get us all started on the same page (as it were)...
Please bookmark this page. Open it whenever you have nothing else to do. Familiarize yourself with the names, and explore the links. Then come back here and let us know what you think.
Guest blogged by Fin
I (like you, I'm sure) was thrilled and energized by the President's call to increase Freedom and Liberty across the globe. To that end, in today's L.A. Times comes an article that I'm sure will make our Dear Leader's heart leap. One in which a repressed group of people are finally being given the opportunity to cross over into the promised land of freedom. The money quote:
In the Islamic Republic of Iran... hundreds of people are having their gender changed legally, bolstered by the blessings of members of the ruling Shiite clergy.
Let's take a moment and think about this. How monumental that one of the original members of the Axis of Evil (back before it was trendy) has chosen to give liberty to a discriminated against group. (Now, for the sake of full disclosure, the excised text in the above quote did say "gay male sex still carries the death penalty and lesbians are lashed", but still this is a clear beacon of freedom for thousand of men and women yearning to be free of...well, being lashed and killed.)
What's that, you say, Mr. President? You didn't mean that kind of freedom? Oh, I see. I missed the fine print at the bottom of your speech. Funny, the list of unapproved freedoms listed is a lot longer than that other one. A few samples...
I will be appearing this Saturday, Jan 29th at the Freedom Cinema Festival with Clint Curtis in a live event co-sponsored by The BRAD BLOG. It'll be my first time meeting him in person, and it should be a fun afternoon/evening. (Don't worry, I'm told security will be very good).
The festival takes place in Park City, UT smack-dab in the middle of the Sundance Festival. So if any of you are in the area, please be sure to come on by and say hello after the event! There is a ton of terrific political films, events and speakers scheduled, including Greg Palast and Danny Shecter, and, of course, me, so come on by! Click the link above --- or better yet --- the advertisement for the festival at left for more info!
As I'll be interviewing Curtis live, I'd love to open up this comment thread for any questions you might like me to ask Curtis directly from The BRAD BLOG denizens during the event! If they're ones I haven't thought of, I'll try and get the goods for ya straight from the whistleblowers mouth.
I'm told the event will be videotaped, so we'll try and link it up next week upon our return if possible.
And finally...After nearly six months of nearly non-stop 24/7 bloggin' to save the world, countless stories broken, and buckets of muck raked, I'm gonna attempt to use this opportunity to take a slow roadtrip to UT and back and try and get a much needed break here for a week (or so).
Tomorrow, by the way, will be the One Year Anniversary for The BRAD BLOG. What a short strange trip it's been. Thank you all for your support every step of the way. I'd say something more poetic, but I gotta get outta here. So that's that until next year!
I hope you'll forgive my absense (I know Tom Feeney will) for a bit, as I will be attempting to stay away from all things net for as long as possible. We'll see how well I do. I may just jump in from the road as events warrant. But I hope they won't warrant. And I hope there's no net.
Until then, BRAD BLOG stalwart and official typo-corrector, Winter Patriot (of the fine eponymously- named blog and friend Fin (of the superb and silly What We Know blog) may jump in and do some guest-blogging and/or open thread-posting.
Please be nice to them, and keep a good eye on democracy while I'm gone! I would like it to be in much better shape than when I left it! So keep making noise in favor of Truth, Justice and the American Way over at Velvet Revolution while I'm gone as well! And stand by for some trouble-making over there when I return which I believe you will enjoy as well!
(To all the Emailers, forgive my inability to reply while I'm gone, much as you forgive my inability to reply when I'm here!)
After November 2nd, 2004, there were increasing reports from elections officials, small local papers, and, yes, bloggers who had bothered to studiously examine official election results, The New York Times published several articles labelling such concerns by Americans as "conspiracy theories".
So we sent them a list of "15 Unanswered Questions" --- all of them based on hard evidence --- that we'd hope they'd investigate and report on to the American people. That was on November 21st, 2004.
One of those questions concerned a single county in North Carolina which had used the UniLect voting machine and, as we reported on November 4th, 2004, had completely lost a full 4,438 votes. Those lost votes later spawned a Special Election in Cartaret County, NC to re-vote some of the local issues because of it.
We had asked suggested to The Times that such hard facts were hardly "conspiracy theories" and we had hoped they'd be able to investigate and report on which other states and counties had been using the identical UniLect machines which --- company officials admitted --- had contained memory chips that stored fewer votes than they had told state officials.
Since UniLect machines were also in use in Ohio, we thought it was a particularly germane point. But apparently The Times didn't agree. They neither investigated, nor reported on the matter to our knowledge.
And now, months after the election, and days after the inaugural, The Charlotte Observer reports this morning that the same model of UniLect machines used in North Carolina were also in use in Pennsylvania and seem to have lost votes there as well [emphasis added]:
"We continue to be uncertain about these machines," said Michael Coulter, who heads an independent committee examining voting machine mishaps in Mercer County, Pa., where he said machines in 13 precincts erased some voters' choices.
Mercer County, as well as Beaver and Greene counties, along the Ohio border, use the Unilect Patriot voting machine, an electronic mechanism that does not produce a paper ballot and is the same model that lost 4,438 votes in Carteret County, along the N.C. coast.
As well as lost and erased votes, there was also an unusually high rate of "undervotes" on the Presidential ballot where those machines were in use [emphasis again added] ...
In North Carolina, state lawmakers are scrutinizing why more than 10 percent of Burke County voters were recorded as not making a choice in the presidential race, an "undervote" rate that is four to five times as high as nearly all the other counties in the state. Burke and Carteret are the only N.C. counties that use Unilect machines.
[M]achines in 13 of Mercer's 100 precincts would let a voter select candidates in the races on several pages of the ballot and highlight the choice, but when the voter reached the sixth page the highlighting disappeared and all the candidates were unselected. The voter's choices had vanished.
"The voter's choices had vanished."
And we remind you again, The New York Times didn't find it necessary to look into which counties in Ohio used these same machines, if there were any lost votes or an unusually high rate of "undervotes" on them, presumably because such notions were simply the "conspiracy theories" of "leftist bloggers" as they had described them at the time.
That despite just 60,000 or so of 5.5 million in a single state (Ohio) which would have completely flipped a United States Presidential Election.
Repeating: Election officials and the voting machine manufacturer admit that 4,438 votes were entirely lost in just one North Carolina county where UniLect machines were used.
Repeating: UniLect machines were also in use in Ohio.
We will continue to press both the Mainstream Media, the States and the Voting Machine Companies to better serve the American Public whom they are failing to adequately serve at this time. But just in case you wonder why --- on January 23rd, 2005 --- this information is finally being reported by The Observer at all, it is because of inquiries in Pennsylvania that were demanded by the voters who spoke up, made noise, and created a petition to force their elected officials into taking action:
Your voice does matter. When you speak up.
We've set up VelvetRevolution.us to help you do that. Please visit and sign-up (it's free!), so you can speak up, make noise and take part in some upcoming actions that will be announced there in the coming weeks.
Count on no one but yourselves to make a difference.
Just out from Reuters, three months after it happened...
A senior US administration official, wishing to remain anonymous, says the White House replaced the 45-member coalition list with a smaller roster of 28 countries with troops in Iraq sometime after the June transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government.
The official could not say when or why the administration did away with the list of the coalition of the willing.
We, however, can tell you both when and why.
We, however, cannot tell you when the MSM became such miserable failures at their jobs, or why it is that some jerk with a blog who works for no salary in a smoky little office in Los Angeles seems to be able to report --- when it still actually matters --- on issues that effect both America and the entire world.
(If you feel sorry for us due to that snarky "no salary" comment above, feel free to make a donation here in order to immediately ease your pangs of guilt
The Washington Post, which recently donated $100,000 to President Bush's inaugural, was granted rare high-level access yesterday in the form of a coveted presidential interview. A spokesman insisted there was no connection, but one grizzled media observer, who requested anonymity so he could still submit op-eds to the paper, said: "Let's face it, the whole thing reeks."
The above was not actually written by us, but by The Post's Howard Kurtz last week in a WaPo article headlined "Influence Being Peddled!"
His piece, which followed-up a front-page article the previous day headlined "Big-Money Contributors Line Up for Inauguration" postulates how terrible it might look "if some blogger" led one of their items with just such a charge. So, Howard, consider it done.
[ed. Note: We've linked the MSNBC version of the original WaPo article above. It has a slightly different headline than the one in WaPo, but does not require a free sign-up to read. The Kurtz response in WaPo is unfortunately not posted on the MSNBC site.]
In regard to the Post's original page-one condemnation (explanation? apology? justification?) of the corporate glad-handing to the Bush Administration, which they themselves have done as well, Kurtz quotes from the pieces list of "well-heeled, favor-seeking supporters", and then says...
Oh, and by the way: The Washington Post Co. forked over $100,000.
So what the hell exactly does The Washington Post thinks it's doing by contributing $100,000 to the Bush/Cheney inauguration?!
Kurtz admits "the appearance is awful", but to his credit, he tried to get some answers...
The company has business interests that are affected by administration policies. It owns a bunch of television stations that have FCC licenses, for example. So are we being asked to believe that the Bush administration will not notice that The Washington Post Co. was neighborly enough to cough up 100K for the inaugural bashes? We --- meaning journalists who work in the newsroom --- don't believe that other corporations and trade associations give such contributions without expecting anything in return. In fact, we write about this sort of thing all the time, including yesterday.
And our corporate parent is now playing the same game.
So we appreciate, in this case, his willingness to call his corporate bosses on the carpet, but it hardly gets WaPo off the hook for this appalling business practice.
If we accept the explanation at face value --- that this is merely to provide major advertisers with "free tickets to the balls" --- then we're led to wonder who these advertisers are for which WaPo is willing to float $100,000 worth of tickets for.
Are they willing to post a list of the companies that benefited from this corporate gift?
Shouldn't we have that knowledge when next we read a story in their paper which may concern or affect one of those advertisers?
Do they believe that explanation should assuage our concerns for their impartiality in the future when reporting on affairs in Bush administration?
Their front-pager from last week fails to touch --- beyond a cursory mention that a donation had been made --- on what it was that WaPo had hoped to gain from the donation.
That question seems particular key since, as the article admits, "Practically all the major donors have benefited from Bush administration policies."
And also, should we now take closer notice that the article was co-written by Jeffrey Birnbaum, whose impartiality is already in grave doubt due to his association with the Republican Fox "News" Channel as an official salaried "Fox News contributor"?
Unfortunately, we came across this item too late today to get comment or answers to the above questions from The Post. We'll be on the road for the next week or so, and therefore unable to properly follow up. But we do hope some of the other responsible media sources out there (Hello, RAW STORY?) might be able to push for a more palatable and detailed response to some of the above questions than the one offered in the Kurtz piece.
It should be noted that Kurtz points out that WaPo made similar donations to Clinton's inaugural in '93 and '97, along with Bush's in '01.
It should also be noted that we don't give a damn about that and would like such --- theoretically --- impartial media sources as WaPo to have both propriety and appearance of same no matter which Administration they have a duty to report on for the American people.
Their coverage of affairs in D.C. and beyond is already under deservedly close scrutiny by "the new media" folks like us. We have criticized and will continue to criticize them for their continuing failures to cover the news that Americans need to know about.
We'd recommend, however, that they not make it any easier for those on the Right (who already opportunistically, inaccurately and cynically label them as part of the "Liberal Media") or those on the Left (who already find their coverage sorely and criminally wanting) to tar them with the brush of bias in a media world where they are already rapidly sliding towards dinosaur status.
A $100,000 gift to the Bush Administration, re-gifted as another $100,000 gift to major corporate allies and partners, does not bode well for a deceleration of The Washington Post's unfortunate descent towards irrelevance in a swiftly changing media landscape.
"When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated...during a time of war as you know...he had a very modest inauguration and a very tiny party where chicken salad was served. And that was when we were winning a war..." --- Judy Bachrach, Vanity Fair contributing editor manages to slip the truth onto Fox "News".
We have a feeling one of their guest bookers is about to fired.
Oliver Willis has the entire tale of the tape.
(Thanks BRAD BLOG commenters Nana and Toni for the tip!)
UPDATE: Thanks to all of those who have linked to the following photo essay.
Late last night, I was remembering having watched the scenes of protesters during the first inaugural parade in Fahrenheit 9/11. As I watched those scenes I had thought to myself, "I can't believe I had no idea that such protests had even occurred that day!" And I had watched virtually all of the "wall-to-wall coverage" of the inaugural back in 2001!
The Mainstream Media failed us then, and I have since learned well how they are failing us now.
It would be a travesty for people to remain similarly unaware of the hundreds of thousands who spoke out yesterday against a failed President who had to cheat to "win" and whose claims of having received a "mandate" are as arrogantly fallacious as having claimed to have been "a uniter, not a divider". So, though it took quite a while very late at night to collect the following, I was girded in the process by remembering the importance for all of us now to "Be the Media". It must be done.
To that end, you too must do your part. The wingnut cabal preys on ignorance. Don't allow that to happen. Pass the link to these photos around. Hitting the "Send it to someone!" button is a convenient way to do your part. Don't be fooled. It's up to nobody but us at this point. - BF
As we alluded to a day or so ago, Sun Myung Moon, owner of Republican "Newspaper" The Washington Times, spiritual head of the Unification Church and self-proclaimed Messiah, reportedly glad-handed some $250,000 to the Bush Inaugural Committee disguised as a donation from a company called "The Washington Television Center".
With all of the recent criticism of the Bush Administration throwing a $50 million inaugural during a time of war, it seems that the White House organ, The Washington Times, has now ridden late to the defense of their friends in the Administration by employing some fuzzy math about the "price" of the inaugural.
They've fallen back on the old "Clinton did it" routine notable as the defense employed for all indefensible Bush and/or Republican actions. They had to lie to do it.
RAW STORY has the story from Salon.com.
By the way, according to Ken Bode, that $250,000 from Moon --- the price of an inaugural lunch ticket with Bush/Cheney --- could have fully armored 10 Humvee's in Iraq. $50 Million could have fully armored 2000 of them. (Not to mention the $10 - $20 million spent on security today and the cost of giving everyone in DC a federal holiday.)
Nine Democratic House Judiciary Committee members (Conyers, Nadler, Scott, Lofgren, Jackson Lee, Meehan, Waters, Wexler, Schiff) have just requested that the committee "hold hearings and investigate the vital issue of protecting our citizens right to vote".
The text of their letter (without footnotes) to the Republican chair of the committee is as follows...
The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner
Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We write to you at the very outset of the 109th Congress, to request that our committee hold hearings and investigate the vital issue of protecting our citizens right to vote. The right to vote is the very foundation of our Democracy and is at the core of our Committee's jurisdiction, and we can think of no more important or urgent issue before us than protecting our democratic rights. While the election is settled, however, our job as legislators on the Judiciary Committee to make sure that the constitutional right to vote is protected is just beginning.
In congressional forums many of us participated in Washington D.C. and Columbus, Ohio, we learned of significant voter irregularities in Ohio. These irregularities are included in a 100 page report Mr. Conyers issued, and include the following:
ï¿½ The Ohio Republican Party's decision to engage in preelection ï¿½cagingï¿½ tactics, selectively targeting 35,000 predominantly minority voters for intimidation had a negative impact on voter turnout. The Third Circuit found these activities to be illegal and in direct violation of consent decrees barring the targeting minority voters for poll challenges.
ï¿½ The Ohio Republican Party's decision to utilize thousands of partisan challengers concentrated in minority and Democratic areas disenfranchised numerous legal voters, who were not only intimidated, but became discouraged by the long lines in the adverse weather. Shockingly, these disruptions were publicly predicted by Republican officials: Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, admitted the challenges ï¿½can't help but create chaos, longer lines and frustration.ï¿½
ï¿½ Numerous instances of intimidation and misinformation occurred across the state of Ohio that would appear to violate the Voting Rights Act. For example, the NAACP stated that it received over 200 calls regarding incidents of suspected voter intimidation or unusual election related activities, particularly actions taken by challengers who intimidated poll workers and voters. Other specific incidents involved a caller who reported that someone was going door-to-door telling people they were not registered to vote. A voter in Franklin County received information in the mail identified as being from the state that said he would have to vote by provisional ballot because he had moved; in fact, the voter had not moved and had lived at the address for 10-15 years. One polling place worker was reportedly only asking African American voters for their address.
ï¿½ In Franklin County, a worker at the Holiday Inn observed a team of 25 people who called themselves the ï¿½Texas Strike Forceï¿½ using payphones to make intimidating calls to likely voters, targeting people recently in the prison system. The ï¿½Texas Strike Forceï¿½ members hotel accommodations were apparently paid for by the Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did nothing. There were also reports of phone calls incorrectly informing voters that their polling place had changed.
ï¿½ The Cleveland Plain Dealer found that several Lake County residents received an official-looking letter on Board of Elections letterhead informing them that their polling place had changed or that they were not properly registered to vote. A fake voter bulletin from Franklin County Board of Elections was posted at polling locations, and fliers were distributed in the inner city, telling Republicans to vote on Tuesday and Democrats to vote on Wednesday due to unexpected heavy voter registration.
ï¿½ In Cleveland, the Washington Post reported that unknown volunteers began showing up at voters' doors illegally offering to collect and deliver complete absentee ballots to the election office. The Election Protection Coalition testified that in Franklin County, voters received fliers informing them that they could cast a ballot on November 3. Also, in Franklin County there were reports that about a dozen voters were contacted by someone claiming to be from the county board of elections, telling them their voting location was changed, and ï¿½door-hangersï¿½ telling African-American voters to go to the wrong precinct were distributed.
In our view, this course of events is not consistent with the right to vote as we understand it. The fact that many of these instances appear to be focused particularly on minority voters is all the more disheartening, and triggers even more clearly our jurisdiction involving civil rights.
We look forward to full and open hearings concerning these instances of disenfranchisement in Ohio and around the Nation. We very much would like to work with you and your staff to insure that allegations of improprieties by both Democrats and Republicans are looked into and considered.
Well, now we get a whole new story about what was "wrong" with the Exit Polls on November 2nd.
As you may recall, the original explanation for the disparity between the Exit Poll results and the Final Results was attributed to the theory that pollsters oversampled female voters. The results at the time, were therefore re-weighted to reflect that theory.
But today, according to CNN's report on a new "internal review" by the Exit Polling Consortium, we find that it was actually due to the fact that "more Kerry supporters participated in the survey than Bush voters".
In other words, had only more voters told the Exit Pollsters they had voted for Bush, the Exit Polls would have matched the Final Results.
In other words, there continues to be no explanation for the Exit Polls not matching the Final Results.
Quoting from CNN's report on the report:
The report said it is difficult to pinpoint precisely why, in general, Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit poll than were Bush voters. "There were certainly motivational factors that are impossible to quantify," the report said.
Could it be that Kerry voters were more likely to paricipate in the exit poll because there were more Kerry voters than Bush voters? The report, apparently, would like you to not believe that could be the case.
In other words, there continues to be no explanation for the Exit Polls not matching the Final Results.
But lest we determine that there is any reason to be skeptical of CNN's analysis of the report, let's take a look at this graf:
That, of course, is true.
Unless you look at actual evidence which shows they are lying. (While you're there, please notice in the two CNN.com screenshots how the Male/Female support for Bush/Kerry changed from one screenshot to the next posted just an hour and twenty minutes later with only 57 new respondents added to a poll of 2,020 respondents. Please also note that the percentage of Male vs. Female respondents stayed consistent over both screenshots at 47%/53%.)
But such unexplained phenomon simply didn't occur according to CNN, so it must be beside the point.
So if the problem was not oversampling of Female voters, what exactly was the problem that leads the consortium to instruct us that the Exit Polls were wrong but the Final Results were right?
CNN's report on the report seems to indicate that there is no reason. Above and beyond the fact that more Kerry voters said they voted for Kerry than Bush voters who said they voted for Bush.
And apparently this occurred --- by a complete freak of nature --- in 26 of 30 states polled:
Clear on all of this yet?
If not, CNN has neatly identified a few more helpful factors to look at:
Well, I'm glad that's all settled.
UPDATE: MSNBC continues the whitewash, declaring "Exit polls say Bush won fair and square: Report on surveys finds system worked, even with errors". Though their article similarly gives no explanation for what happened...other than saying it happened. Sometimes a headline is enough to sell the messaage apparently.
...All for a good cause, however.
So until further notice, consider this just a plain old open thread tonight.
Chat away. Though play nice, or I will pull this car over right now...
(P.S. Didja notice how the boys on the right are coming positively unhinged lately? Seems they'd be in a better mood with their man being re-coronated in a few days...but maybe that's just me. Discuss.)
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