This thread is completely open.
There's not even a question this time.
If you think we need a question, please consider this ...
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...|
This thread is completely open.
There's not even a question this time.
If you think we need a question, please consider this ...
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
In a previous post, I highlighted John Kaminski's list of his 25 favorite writers, mentioned that some of my favorites hadn't made Kaminski's list, and threatened to divulge a few names.
OK then. Here's a name: Manuel Valenzuela. And here's a sample: Because There Is No Cause.
If you haven't read this piece already, please do so. Cheryl mentioned it in a comment on another thread, and even said "WOW", so some of you may have read it already. But it's way too good to be buried in a stack of comments. Even with a "WOW". Isn't it, Cheryl?
It's a long story composed of long sentences. No sound bites here. But enormous food for thought, and masterful use of the language. Perhaps I can entice you with a few paragraphs...
Guest blogged by Fin
Brad just contacted me with this information from one of his sources inside the Judiciary Committee.
Among other things, their legislation will provide for a nationwide federal write in/absentee ballot; require states to provide for a voter verified ballot; insure that provisional ballots cast anywhere in a state are counted; eliminate disparities in the allocation of voting machines and poll workers; mandate early voting and election day registration procedures; and protect against improper purging of registration lists in federal elections.
“It is imperative that we have elections that count every vote of every eligible voter,” declared Dodd and Conyers. “A provisional ballot cast anywhere in the state of Ohio should count just as it does in the state of Iowa. There is no reason that voters in inner city areas should be forced to wait in lengthy lines, while their counterparts in the suburbs are able to vote immediately. If voters in Oregon can vote early, why can't voters in Michigan, and if citizens in Idaho enjoy same day registration, why can't voters in Florida?”
“Our elections are the very foundation of our democracy. We've made great strides in repairing cracks in that foundation, but clearly we still need to do more to strengthen and reinforce each American's right to vote and have that vote counted,” said Dodd. “This measure can hopefully act as the democratic mortar to anchor one of our nation's most precious rights and ensure that all voters are treated equally on election day.”
Conyers stated “Our nation has just endured the second consecutive presidential election which came down to a single state, and that state – Ohio – was riddled with irregularities and the appearance of partisan manipulation. If there is any issue that is central to our democracy, it is insuring that eligible voters are freely able to participate in our elections. I intend to do everything I can to insure that this issue does not go away until we have a set of uniform and non-discriminatory rules that respects all of our citizens' right to vote.”
In 2001, in the wake of the myriad problems that surfaced in Florida and around the nation in the presidential election, Sen. Dodd and Rep. Conyers jointly introduced election reform legislation that ultimately passed into law as the Help America Vote Act.
Guest blogged by Fin
Juan Cole puts it all in perspective:
Then again, our Dear Leader has always been graded on a serious curve, hasn't he? From his humble upbringing as a poor little rich kid, to his drug filled days at Yale and beyond, to his 'aw shucks isn't it funny I can't speak English' act, Bush has always been cut a serious amount of slack for his actions and inactions. But it's not cute or uplifting, it's embarassing.
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Check this out: I have a great new idea for scamming an election. What do you think of this?
Suppose you took a filled-in ballot, used a blank sticker to cover the oval filled in by the voter, colored in a different oval, and then fed the ballot into an optical scanner. How do you think the machine would count that ballot? Pretty slick, no? I am so clever! Nobody else would ever think of doing something like this, would they?
Tough question, no? OK, here's a hint: What's round on both ends and high in the middle? Did you say "Ohio"? Well, maybe you will guess after all. But you'll never guess which ovals had stickers on them...
Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law, and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont's Board of Elections and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla O'Donnell as complicit in these acts.
These volunteers, observing the recount on behalf of the Greens, Libertarians and Democrats, assert that during the Dec. 14, 2004 hand recount they noticed stickers covering the Kerry/Edwards oval, whereas the Bush/Cheney oval seemed to be “colored in.”
Some witnesses state that beneath the stickers, the Kerry/Edwards oval was selected. The opti-scan ballots were then fed into the machines after the hand recount.
Well, what do you think about that? I thought I had a good original idea here. Apparently it is a pretty good idea, but it's not exactly original. Oh well...
Read the entire story here. Then come back and scream and yell all you like. This really does call for a good rant.
But don't just rant here. Spread the pressure around.
Or as Brad would say: Go Make Some Noise!!
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
If you needed any further proof that the American government doesn't give a damn about its soldiers, here's a story to make you cry ... again! It looks like our Justice Department has fallen so deeply in love with torture, that in their view, it's not only OK for our guys to torture their guys, but it's also OK for their guys to torture our guys!
I quote the following passages from an article written by John Norton Moore, published by Slate, and headlined: Abuse of Trust: The POW scandal you haven't yet heard about.
Moore details the horrific treatment suffered by Americans who were held prisoner in Iraq during George Herbert Walker Bush's 'excellent Iraqi adventure', and describes their efforts to hold the Iraqi government accountable. These efforts culminated in a lawsuit against the Iraqi government, which the POWs won. But then something very strange happened...
Sadly, along came the Abu Ghraib scandal, setting aside this historic tradition and the professional judgment of our military JAG officers and State Department experts. As is now well known, one effect of the abuse scandal was to undermine deterrence against the torture of American POWs in future wars (this, along with its catastrophic political cost to the Iraq war effort and, more broadly, to our nation's reputation). But, in a perfect storm of bad news for future American POWs, while the now infamous abuse decisions were still policy, the Justice Department went into court to erase the POWs' judgment and its message of liability for torture.
This incredible situation may be reversed on appeal, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, and if it rules in favor of the POWs. But what is the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling against the Justice Department? And...
So there you have it. Our Justice Department won't even let the Geneva Convention protect our own troops! But at least they can't be accused of using double-standards! They don't want the Geneva Convention to protect anybody!!
Oh yeah! Freedom and Liberty are definitely On The March ... in the Land of the Formerly Free, and the Home of the Utterly Depraved!
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
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
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· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
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· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
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· Stuart Carlson
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