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...
Last week, President-elect Barack Obama said he was open to "good ideas" from anyone, even from the New York Times' Paul Krugman. (Video here.)
"If Paul Krugman has a good idea...then we're gonna do it," said Obama. He was speaking about "good ideas" for his economic stimulus package at the time, but we'd written that we hoped the sentiments might extend to good ideas on any important issue that his administration might face, including some good ideas of our own that we'd offered to his transition team, who had consulted with us, as they are working on review of the dreadfully-failed U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
Well, as it turns out, the New York Times' Paul Krugman does have some very good ideas, as noted in an op-ed yesterday, this time on why the Obama administration must bring accountability for the crimes of the Bush Era. The must-read column, headlined "Forgive and Forget?" begins this way...
VotersUnite.Org is really two dedicated voters who care about how our votes are counted and who does the vote counting. We aren’t the types who find it easy to ask for money but it is a necessary evil that we have to take on occasionally. Even though the big, 2008 General Election is completed and many people are ready to move on to other issues we plan on continuing to do our work. This year we plan to continue to point out the invasive participation of the vendors in our election process and we will continue to work with local election officials to come up with ideas on how to get rid of the vendors as much as possible. We will also continue to give our opinions on federal and state legislation as it pertains to the election process. And we will continue to produce “Daily Voting News” as our way of educating the readers on elections matters. We need help to continue, however. So please help us out with a donation. All of the information you need to make a tax deductible donation can be found here:
TV and Radio flim-flam artist and Bush-era dinosaur Bill O'Reilly told listeners of his radio show today that his role in the next few years will be "to be Paul Revere." (Audio clip at end of article.)
O'Reilly had little explanation for his new-found patriotism and why he had decided, over the last eight years, to be a front line general for "the British" instead.
During much of this morning's Radio Factor w/ Bill O'Reilly, which he will soon be leaving for good, he chided so-called "Bush haters" who believe in accountability for the soon-to-be-former "President," for their unwillingness to simply "move ahead" and ignore the myriad crimes of the outgoing Administration.
The phrase, oft-repeated this morning by the wanna-be-patriot O'Reilly, was reminiscent of similar "get over it, move on" admonitions proffered by his ilk when Bush was awarded the Presidency by the Supreme Court in late 2000 despite his opponent, Al Gore, having received more votes in Florida [PDF] and across the entire nation.
"Move on" then, "move ahead" now, warns the new Paul Revere who has previously noticed no British either coming nor going...
The Pew Center on the States has just released a report on military and overseas voting (our featured article). This report “found that more than a third of states do not provide military voters stationed abroad with enough time to vote or are at high risk of not providing enough time. An additional six states provide time to vote only if their military personnel overseas return their completed absentee ballots by fax or e-mail—a practice that raises important questions about their access to this technology and the privacy and security of their votes.” This report also adds to the growing body of scientific/academic research that all agrees that sending completed ballots via the Internet is not a good plan.
The report is well worth reading for those who are concerned about the votes of our military personnel and overseas voters in general. ...
Eric Holder just told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the behavior of president Bush has been illegal, and that he, Eric Holder, will uphold the rule of law. It will be very hard to maintain those positions and not prosecute or appoint a Special Counsel to prosecute Bush's crimes.
Here's roughly what was said:
10:29 a.m. Leahy: is "waterboarding" torture and illegal?
Holder: yes, it is torture.
Leahy: Can other nations legally torture Americans?
Leahy: Can President of the United States immunize acts of torture?
Holder: Nobody is above the law. President has Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws. We have laws and treaties. The president acts most forcefully and has the greatest power when consistent with Congressional intent and directives. The president does NOT have the power that you have indicated.
Leahy: Washington Post yesterday reported that the top Bush Admin. official on military commissions says we tortured a detainee.
If he's confirmed, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings today, he'll review the Bush U.S. Attorney's decision to not prosecute former DoJ Civil Rights attorney Bradley Schlozman for his grotesque bastardization and politicization of the department as we detailed earlier this week. Schlozman, the DoJ's Inspector General found, broke federal law and custom vis a vis his hiring practices of only fellow whack-a-doodle wingnuts, and further went on to lie to Congress about during hearings (which is also a federal crime).
Said Holder during questioning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein...
As usual, BRAD BLOG readers were right in overwhelmingly determining, in our poll just after the New Year, that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would fold on his previous rhetoric promising to disallow the seating of anybody appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Roland Burris was sworn in as the newest U.S. Senator just minutes ago, as Reid and his fellow Dems stood in the background applauding.
Of course, as it turned out, it wasn't a difficult poll question to answer, given both the laws concerning such appointments, and the historical record of Reid's inability to either stick to his guns in any fight (ever) or, perhaps even more disturbingly, his failure to have even the slightest clue of when and with whom such battles should be picked.
Presuming Obama makes smart decisions at the White House (and that's certainly no safe assumption), there will only be so much he'll be able to accomplish --- ultimately, particularly after whatever honeymoon he's allowed is gone --- as long as Reid remains Majority Leader in the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are Speaker and Majority Leader, respectively, in the U.S. House.
They are all three dinosaur fossils of a failed era, have a record of miserable incompetence and need to be replaced. The only question is will it be before or after a thumping in the midterm 2010 elections.
A large majority of today’s news is, again, from Minnesota. The ballots are counted and lawsuits have been filed, now by both candidates. Its going to take some time for things to shake-out.
$1,850 for a ballot box? That’s what Diebold/Premier charged Hillsborough Co Florida for 220 boxes to be used with their optical-scan machines. Meanwhile other counties in Florida paid as little as $145 per box from different vendors....
Recently it was revealed that the Humboldt Election Transparency Project had found that the county’s Diebold/Premier voting system had lost 197 ballots. Today Kim Zetter of WiredBlog, in one of our featured articles, revealed that the GEMS audit logs not only don’t answer questions about how the 197 ballots were lost but don’t answer many questions at all. Zetter also reveals that the state of California is investigating the lost ballots and these “Greek” audit logs. One of the featured interviews in Zetter’s article is with Doug Jones of U of Iowa. His comments are discussed in our second featured article....
[Please note: While the "Challenge" is based on material from MediaBloodhound's pages, the experience of this annual trainwreck is universal. As one editor put it today, "This is funny and sad." - B. Jacobson, MBH]
The following are quotes and headlines culled from this past year at MediaBloodhound (keep in mind some were said or written prior to '08 but noted here during the year). Some are real (fact) and others are from satirical articles (fiction) posted under "The Wounded-Courier." See if you can distinguish between the two. Once you've answered all the entries --- but not before because multiple entries may come from the same post and checking one might give away another --- you'll find the answer key at the very bottom.
All right, news junkies and media mavens, the 2008 Fact or Fiction Challenge is on:
1) “Hey, tell Brokaw to suck it.” - Chris Matthews, following Tom Brokaw's on-air dressing down of Matthews during MSNBC coverage of the Democratic primary race
2) “If we had a state-run media, how would it be any different?" - Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman
3) “Worse than seventeen Donna Rices sitting on Obama’s lap on a luxury yacht called ‘Monkey Business.” - Gary Hart, one-time Democratic presidential hopeful, on John Kerry’s endorsement of Barack Obama
4) “Now and for the foreseeable future, virtually everything involving Britney is a big deal.” - Frank Baker, Associated Press Los Angeles Assistant Bureau Chief, in a memo to staff
5) Headline: "McCain Threatens Bombing China Over U.S. Flag Sales"
I've had this picture in my mind lately, an editorial cartoon-like drawing, of a dam about to break and someone (Obama?) leaning hard up against it in futile hopes of keeping it from bursting forth. The dam and its contents, in my mind's eye, are labeled "Bush Administration Crimes and Failures." I've been pondering, over the last several days, how we're soon likely to learn that everything we think we already know about the historically-unparalleled failures, crimes and cover-ups of the Bush administration, will likely prove to be barely the tip of the iceberg as the Bushies lose their power, and "the files" are finally opened for all to see.
It's likely to take years, after President Obama is sworn in next week, to unearth the entire breadth of the degradation, filth, corruption and dismantling of federal law and U.S. Constitution under the current administration, and to piece together all of the unshredded and likely-shredded evidence both, and to take in the information likely to pour forth from officials and former officials who finally find the courage to tell the world just how bad it all really was and is (even if many of them would now be doing so only to salvage their own hide.)
One hint of what will be found beyond the tip of that iceberg, or inside that near-to-bursting dam (take your metaphorical pick) comes in today's remarkable report [PDF] from the DoJ Inspector General on the illegal politicization of the hiring practices at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division and "other improper personnel actions" in the division.
It's remarkable on several fronts. Not only because it describes the politicization of the department under the Bushies, their strictly illegal hiring practices; their determined dismantling of a core of career attorneys devoted to years of legal-processes in the fight for civil rights; as well as perjury and out-and-out lying to Congress, but also because the report itself --- in one last classic stroke of corrupt Bush Administration gaming of the system --- was completed last July, prior to the election, but held for release until today, just 7 days before the criminals (or at least those who won't be still-embedded like cancer cells within the federal buearocracy for years to come) take their leave.
And, as if all of that isn't bad enough, with the out-and-out finding of criminal wrongdoing in the report (such as illegal hiring practices and lying about them to Congress), the Bush Administration's own DoJ has decided that no prosecutions should be brought against the Bush Administration's own DoJ for the Bush Administration's own DoJ's now-well-documented actions in breaking federal law.
The bastardization of the DoJ Civil Rights division is a topic which we've covered closely over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, and even played a part in helping to expose, for example, when the head of the Voting Section in that division, John Tanner, was forced to resign from his post, not long after we'd video-taped and published controversial (and inaccurate) comments he made at a 2007 conference in Los Angeles declaring that disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place were more of a concern for the elderly than for African-Americans because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
(See our now-infamous video, shot by our own Alan Breslauer, at right.)
As today's (actually July's) report reveals, that wouldn't be the only unfortunate --- and one might say, "ironic", given his position --- derogatory remark made about African-Americans by Tanner. But the bulk of the report, it seems, is devoted to one Bradley Schlozman, who insidiously twisted the mission of the Civil Rights division, brought political prosecutions in order to try and affect the outcome of elections, in violation of written DoJ policy, and attempted (and arguably succeeded) in helping to engineer an outright illegal, and ideological purge --- an ethical cleansing, if you will --- at the department, in an attempt to stack it with far rightwing brethren from the Federalist Society, or "right thinking Americans" (RTAs), as he referred to them among friends...
It seems as if every year brings a new battle. This year some in state election administrations are going to be pushing internet voting as if it was a good idea. They will ignore all of the scientific evidence to the contrary. The simple fact is that the internet is a fine platform to get voting information and ballots to military and overseas voters but there is no way the internet is secure enough to allow voters to actually cast a ballot. This is not just my opinion but it was the opinion of the Dept. of Defense in 2004 when they cancelled their plans to allow the military to vote using the internet. It is also the opinion of the National Institute of Standards and Technology who recently issued a report that clearly states the internet is not yet a secure platform for voting....
Just a quick update...I've been on the road for the last month or two, and now finally nearing home. Not there yet, but hope to be soon. If any from our fine list of Guest Bloggers are available to jump in here, hopefully they will while I still have more hours of on-the-road, off-the-grid time ahead in the next several days. Otherwise, I should be back "full time" pretty soon. Frankly, the sooner the better, as there are a number of reports I've been working on, but haven't had time to complete for ya. They'll be coming soon. Even if not as soon as I'd like, while still on the roll.
Obviously, we could use more guest reporter/contributors around here, but they are very hard to come by, particularly given the type of blogging we tend to do here (more reporting than opinion) and particularly at the "price" I'm able to pay (approximately nothing, unfortunately). However, if you, or someone you know, might be interested in doing some BRAD BLOGGING, and think you have the investigative and writing and editing skills and/or the sense-of-humor (as appropriate) for this joint, please feel free to drop me a private note, along with a few links to a few short sample items that you feel may be appropriate BRAD BLOG-type stories which may give me an idea of your work. Use subject line: "GUEST BLOGGING!"
Would love to hear from you! And thanks, otherwise, for your continuing patience for our otherwise road-weary and still wrist-hobbled, nearly-one-man blogging band. We'll try to make it back to our home, before Obama gets to his...
As Humboldt Co California Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich reveals that the Humboldt Election Transparency Project has found another problem with the Nov. general election vote count it is also being revealed that the decision to move away from Diebold/Premier was made in Nov. The decision was made and those involved were sworn to secrecy. Now there is a move by some in the county, including the local Republican Party, to slow down the process so decisions can be discussed. This sounds like a smart decision. ...