After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
Our Spidey-sense started tingling before going to bed last night and hearing reports, on MSNBC, that there were 17 paper ballots cast in Dixville Notch, NH, in its midnight, first-in-the-country voting. The report said that there were only 16 registered voters in the tiny voting precinct, yet 17 votes had been cast --- suggesting that somehow, paper ballot "voter fraud" skullduggery was afoot.
Following on that, reports throughout the day appeared that NH precincts were out of paper ballots, and voters were unable to vote.
Trouble is, both reports are either completely untrue, or wholly misleading, or both, as The BRAD BLOG was able to confirm with two simple phone calls.
Each of those reports, however, would seem to go a long way towards giving the impression that paper ballots are a bad idea, and that "voter fraud" is easy to commit when using them. Given that one of those reports seems to have begun on The DRUDGE REPORT earlier today, we're not particularly surprised that the MSM kept repeating the easily-debunked stories running all day.
That, even while there are reasons to be concerned about how the paper ballots used in the New Hampshire Primary will actually be counted by the hackable Diebold optical-scan systems used in the state, as controlled and programmed by an outrageously bad private contractor there...
Good news! The bombshell report on the front page of London's Sunday Times on charges made by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has finally led to press coverage by the mainstream media!
From one side of the globe to the other, as expected, the explosive whistleblower allegations concerning highly-placed, well-known U.S. officials in the Departments of State and Defense involved in an illicit, for-profit scheme to develop and protect a network of spies, who then stole and sold American nuclear secrets to the international black markets via Turkey, Israel and Pakistan, is now worldwide news!
That, even though the Times only covered "about 20%" of the story she has to tell, according to Edmonds, with whom we spoke late last night.
Sunday's British blockbuster, detailing how nuclear secrets were then proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially even al-Qaeda, was picked up on Monday and reported by international mainstream outlets such as The Times of India, Pakistan's Daily Times, Iran's PressTV, Israel's Haaretz and even the Turkish Daily News.
Here in the United States, the mainstream media coverage included:
That's right. Nobody. None of them. Zilch. Not a one.
Edmonds told The BRAD BLOG last night that her phone had been ringing of the hook since the Times story hit. From reporters around the globe, she said. As to America: "Not a single mainstream media channel, not even a newspaper."
Apparently American nuclear secrets, stolen by "moles" at America's most sensitive nuclear installations, sold on the black market with the help and protection of highly placed American officials, which then found their way into the hands of America's enemies, is not notable news to Americans. According to the American corporate mainstream media, anyway. We suppose they're all too busy fighting the War on Terror in New Hampshire or something.
And you wonder how our country got into this mess?
Edmonds was no longer amazed by it all. We still are.
(Hat-tip to Mizgîn, a Kurdish blogger at Rastî, for her collection of foreign press articles covering the Sunday Times story. Note: Mizgîn also has some harsh words for the coverage of our friend Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY at that same link. We are friends with Alexandrovna, and are thus likely compromised on this point. So we'll stay out of it for now and let each of them deal with the particulars as they see fit.)
UPDATE 6:22pm PT Credit where it's due. Independent American broadcast media outlet, INN World Report, seen on some satellite TV providers, covered the report in detail, including an interview with yours truly...
Okay, we will ask again. We report on what the American people (and the world) need to know about. The corporate mainstream media does not --- as evidenced above. Therefore, we ask again for your support, so we can continue to do exactly that, via an online donation to The BRAD BLOG. If you don't support our efforts, make no mistake, nobody else will.
I was interviewed last week by IT Business Edge technology reporter, Carl Weinschenk, on the current state of e-voting as we head into yet another big election year.
During the course of the conversation, poor Carl was clearly growing increasingly distressed by the answers I had to offer to his questions. Understandably, he was looking for signs of hope. Here's a few snippets from what we'll call "the hopeful sections" of the full interview published over the week, and headlined "Bits, Bytes and Votes"...
Question: Are there hopeful signs? Friedman: We're beginning to turn the Titanic around. I think that people finally are beginning to understand.
Some folks like me have been running around with their hair on fire for years but were being virtually ignored by corporate mainstream media, government and election officials. The voting machine companies ran expensive campaigns to turn people like me into conspiracy theorists. As we now have seen, particularly late [last] year, one study after another is showing that those of us with those concerns are not conspiracy theorists. Now that all scientific reports across the country show that it is no longer just a theory that the system is vulnerable. Furthermore, and most disturbing, is that it doesn't take a conspiracy [to impact an election] because a single person can flip an entire election without detection.
... Question: You said the Titanic is beginning to turn. While I may have used another ship in the metaphor, the sense is that there is at least some good news. Friedman: Here's the good news: More people understand the threat and are concerned. More citizens are watching, more are paying attention, working at polls, asking questions. That makes it harder and harder for bad guys to mess with elections or for errors to go undetected. The answer is not to rely on media, not to relay [sic] on government because it will fail us, but to rely on people. People are really, really concerned about the issue and are paying attention.
In advance of Wednesday's hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court on the landmark case concerning the Republican Photo ID polling place restrictions in the state of Indiana, USA Today reports...
WASHINGTON — The League of Women Voters has tried to put names and faces on the people who could be hurt by a strict Indiana voter-identification law that the Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.
The league, in a court filing, refers to Mary Wayne Montgomery Eble, 92, who had no driver's license or ready access to the birth certificate she needed to get an alternative ID.
Ray Wardell, a stroke victim, made one trip to a state office for an alternative ID in vain. He did not have the proper document and returned home on foot with the aid of his walker.
Kim Tilman, a mother of seven whose husband, a janitor, is the family's sole source of income, found it would cost $26-$50 to round up the necessary papers for a proper ID.
The league is among the groups backing Indiana challengers to the law who say it impinges on the right to vote and mostly hurts elderly, disabled, poor and minority voters. A Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure in 2005.
Backers of the law have been unable to cite a single case of "voter fraud", apparently in Indiana history, that would have been prevented by this law, which is, as BRAD BLOG readers know well by now, meant to do little more than keep as many Democratic-leaning voters from being able to exercise their right to cast a legal vote in an election.
UPDATE 1/8/08: Where USA Today did themselves proud with the article linked above, they did themselves in by giving space to discredited GOP operative, snake-oil salesman, vote suppression front man, Thor Hearne to blog in reply. Hearne shouldn't be allowed outside of a jail cell, much less allowed to post his lies, disinformation and propaganda with impunity at USA Today. And I've said as much in the comments section (typos and all, in my middle-of-the-night, outraged response) below his blog item at the newspaper's website.
It's incredible that USA Today did not note Hearne's dozens of conflicts of interest with the very item he wrote on their pages. As to Hearne, it would hardly be the first time this conman has slid by without telling the truth about who he actually is.
Shame on USA Today. If readers here are unaware who and what Thor Hearne is, see our years long special coverage on him and the GOP propaganda scam he has been running right here: www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
Ron Paul says his exclusion from last night's debate on Fox "News" is an "awful embarrassment" for the Republican propaganda outlet.
The Republican Presidential candidate points out, during an interview this morning on CNN, that he received 10% of the vote in Iowa, where he finished well ahead of Rudy Giuliani --- who was allowed to participate in the Fox debate --- and that he's beating him "2 to 1" currently in New Hampshire. As well, Paul points out that his campaign has "raised more money than any other Republican candidate in the last quarter."
He also notes both the impossible and the obvious in a single sentence when he charges: "I think they're making a mockery of the whole situation...because they've lost all credibility."
Fox claims their criteria on deciding who would participate in the New Hampshire debate was based on who was receiving at least 10% in the national polls. RAW STORY has the story and video.
Paul supporters are seen in this video, chasing Fox "News" and ABC radio propagandist Sean Hannity down the street last night in New Hampshire, chanting "Fox News sucks" and yelling reminders to the Republican party mouthpiece that he is not, in fact, as his fans would otherwise claim, "a great American."
Similarly, Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was not allowed to participate in Sunday's (capital "D") Democratic debate on ABC. The Ohio Congressman is filing a complaint with the FCC, which points out, among other things, that the Disney-owned network is "violating its obligation to operate in the public interest," and that he "is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has qualified for Federal matching funds who is being excluded by ABC."
Meanwhile American democracy (small "d") gently weeps.
And I have to mention that there is an editorial for a state that I think I may have mentioned only once or twice before in the four-year history of “Daily Voting News”; Oklahoma and any previous mention was not due to problems with their machines. You see, in 1992 Oklahoma bought ES&S Optech III-P Eagle optical-scan machines then immediately kicked ES&S out of the state. Since then Oklahoma has done all ballot printing, software updates, ballot definitions, and maintenance themselves. They don’t have problems.
All of those stories, and many many more today, linked below...
And then, with facts and faces and names in mind...there's this to ponder over your breakfast, lunch, dinner or nightmare. Also courtesy of the good Mr. Ryland, as originally posted last summer, if somehow more fitting of late, as the noose begins to tighten...
Today’s news includes a lot of articles, opinion pieces, and editorials about the upcoming (January 09) Supreme Court hearing regarding Indiana’s restrictive Voter ID law. This case could decide whether you and I will be required to get a voter ID in the future.
A Civil Grand Jury in Monterey Co California actually interviewed four county election officials and toured the election office and then they found that the county should just go ahead and use their Sequoia Advantage voting machines because they are secure. They did not interview any computer scientists, members of the Election Integrity community, or members of the Secretary of State staff. Whether this Grand Jury has the ability to tell the county to ignore state directives is an unanswered question but we will keep an eye on this....
As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.
Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.
From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged --- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.
In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime.
There is much more. And then there's this...
I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?
How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?
Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.
Pretty powerful stuff, and of course, long overdue. Given what's become of the woeful WaPo however, the delay is hardly a surpise.
And yes, McGovern even uses the word "lie". In the pages of WaPo! Can ya believe it?!
[Updated --- now several times --- with a number of significant items, additional info, background, reaction and analysis from around the blogosphere, all at the end of the article.]
Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.
"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets," reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."
In the article, just filed tonight, Edmonds reveals details overheard on wiretaps she translated during her time at the FBI, just after 9/11. Her disclosures to the Times reveal a maze of nuclear black market espionage involving U.S. Defense and State Department officials, that resulted in the sale and propagation of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli interests. In turn, that information was then sold to Pakistan and used by A.Q. Kahn for development of nuclear weapons. The secrets were subsequently proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, just weeks prior to September 11th, 2001.
The explosive allegations, shared with the Sunday Times over the last several weeks, follow on the heels of two reports published late last year by The BRAD BLOG, based on our own exclusive interviews with Edmonds.
Friday was another very bad for Diebold (DBD), poor dears, though arguably a very good day in kind for those who love America and democracy and stuff.
Their stock price plunged another full 6.13% to close at $26.81 --- another low for the once-great, now-disgraced company. Their value hasn't been this low since April of 2001, just after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Go figure.
Worth of the Diebold company has now plummeted a whopping 47.43% since August 7th of last year, when a number of Diebold insiders all cashed in a bunch of stock on the same day at $53.04, near the year's high.
Previous coverage of Diebold's most recent dumpster dive, reasons for the bad company karma, details on recent fraud lawsuits, and current SEC and DoJ investigations of 'em, can be found here and here.
Ohio counties have begun to fight back against SOS Brunner’s dictate that all DRE counties must provide a paper ballot for anyone who wants one. Counties are wringing their hands over how much longer it will take them to count the ballots --- a threat heard often from California counties. Of course they dismiss the fact that an accurate count of ballots that people can be confident in is much more important than having final results within a couple hours of the polls closing. Let the media wait for the results but count the votes accurately. County officials have also begun to show some concern about the added cost of having ballots printed. This is a valid concern, but would the counties really rather have voters standing in long lines in order to vote on a machine that flips their vote from one candidate to another or let those who want, vote on a paper ballot? They need to spend the extra money and do the right thing.
As usual, all of today's notable voting news stories, are linked below...
Was a fairly raucus hour on today's Peter B. Collins Show (where I appear regularly in the 5pm PT hour on Fridays), as PBC has now been added to San Francisco's Green960, his latest affiliate station for his syndicated daily radio show.
Tons of great callers today (including a great wingnut call at the end of the hour) along with much buzz about the West Coast premieres of Uncounted. Two screenings will be sponsored in part by PBC's show and KSAC 1240am in Sacramento and Green960 in Oakland, on January 15th & 17th respectively.
I'll be showing up at both to speak at the Q&A's, and would love to see ya there! The owner of Oakland's Grand Lake Theater, Allen Michaan, called in during the show today to say that he'd run another screening at 9:30pm if we filled up the first one at 7pm! With 600 seats in this great old movie palace (see pix at link above) our work is cut out for us, so I hope you'll come by if you're anywhere near. More info here, with more to come soon.
Here's the cool 60 second spot that PBC is running to promote the screenings...
And here's today's hour in full. MP3 download, or listen online...
A large majority of this evenings fare is again from Colorado and Ohio. The big story, though, may be the story that has not yet been made public. The New York Times Magazine, this Sunday, is running a massive article by Clive Thompson called “The Bugs In The Machines”. At one point Thompson says, "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government." I’m sure those disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks will be anxiously awaiting this article. I know, as a proud “disgruntled citizen”, that I will.
Links to details on all of the above and more, all follow below...
The entire debate over e-voting may well be just about to change. Hopefully for the better. Big time.
Editor & Publisher's editor Greg Mitchell, has tipped off The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, that the New York Times Magazine is set to run a "massive" cover-story this Sunday, on the entire e-voting disaster titled "The Bugs in the Machines."
Better late than never?
Mitchell describes the story as "quite chilling" in the exclusive preview he's just posted to his new personal blog. Here's the first coupla grafs from his scoop...
Coming between the Iowa and New Hampshire tallies, this Sunday's cover of The New York Times Magazine ought to strike a chord. It shows a man inside an exploding voting booth with a WARNING label over it and the words: "Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked."
The massive Clive Thompson article, titled "The Bugs in the Machines," is quite chilling. "After the 2000 election," it opens, "counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads. Is America ready for another contested election?" One key passage: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government."
One expert says that "about 10 percent" of the devices fail in each election.
UPDATE 1/5/08: The entire, nearly 8,000 world article, is now out, and posted right here. It looks very good on first glance. But more later as we get a chance to review it in full.
And no, for those who've asked, The BRAD BLOG was neither consulted for, nor mentioned in the Times lengthy story (unless you consider "fringe...disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks" to be a mention. Though we guess it's better than the Times original take on us, from November 20, 2004, which referred to election integrity issues as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers," just after we began investigating and reporting on the very issues which make up the basis of today's 8,000 word, better-late-than-never, New York Times report.)
We accept your apology.
One quick inaccuracy in the story, for now, which is small, but we feel important to correct for the record: Once again, Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University has misled the NY Times about the origins of the Diebold touch-screen system his team used for their landmark virus hack in the summer of 2006.
He is interviewed in the story, in relation to the study, in which his team was able to easily implant a virus. It's reported, in the story, that the machine was "anonymously donated" to him. It was not. Which he well knows...