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...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Not-so-bad news in Haiti; Nuclear waste blocked in Germany; Obama vs. the Volcano in Indonesia; Climate scientists fight back (finally!); PLUS: Was money the matter in the BP Oil Spill? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Another salmonella egg recall from another DeCoster-related company; Proposition 26 will not stop AB 32; BPA is bad for your semen; KS environment official fired for slowing coal plant permit; Development changes bird flight patterns; Getting even more agressive about the super-energy efficienct Passivhaus; First gen. biofuels worse for climate than fossil fuel; Oil demand to rise for 25 years despite green push; Hillary Clinton's Canadian pipeline problem; CO2 caused catastrophic global warming 40 million years ago ...PLUS: To block EPA, Koch Industries launches lobbying campaign targeting children ...
No worries. The election officials in Stark County, OH say the Diebold touch-screen vote-flipping, as captured on iPhone video by voter and University of Akron freshman Ian Sanderson on Election Day last week, was just "an isolated incident"...
In 2007, Ohio's current Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, commissioned the largest independent scientific review of electronic voting systems the nation has ever seen. That report, known as EVEREST, resulted in her recommendation that use of all touch-screen voting systems be discontinued in every county in the state. Nonetheless, election officials in counties like Stark have so much contempt for voters that they persist in forcing them to use these 100% unverifiable, oft-failed, easily-manipulated systems a full three years later.
Last Tuesday, the Buckeye State reportedly elected Republicans once more to the offices of both Governor and Secretary of State. Should be another fun Presidential Election there in 2012, eh? Unless, of course, the Republicans were serious about the concerns they expressed, largely for the very first time this year, about e-voting systems like the one seen flipping votes above.
Prior to Election Day we saw reports in Texas, in Nevada and in North Carolina of Republican votes flipping to Democrats or other candidates during the early voting period. The NC GOP claimed to be so outraged by the reports that they filed (and won) a lawsuit suit after one of their attorneys even went so far as to suggest "the touch screen systems should be been banned."
Well, good news for Republicans! As of January, they will be the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives! If they really want to ban unverifiable touch-screen voting systems like the ones that failed this year in NC, TX, NV, OH and elsewhere, they've got their big chance! Democrats failed to do so over the last four years, so we'll be looking forward to the Republican legislation calling for exactly that come January, right?
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Video coverage of the incident from Akron's ABC affiliate WEWS 5 follows below...
Democratic operatives took pictures Tuesday of Lawrence Moretti near a polling place at 848 N. Mill Road in Addison wearing a black jacket and a blue cap with bright yellow letters emblazoned with the letters "ICE," the logo of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
"First of all, that polling place is located in a heavily Hispanic area," said DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Bob Peickert. "He had choices between hats that he could have put on his head and he chose one that could lead someone to conclude he was a law enforcement officer. What motivates him to stand out in front of that place if for no other reason than to intimidate?"
Local GOP officials in heavily Republican DuPage County say charges that Moretti's presence for hours in front of a heavily-Hispanic polling place wearing an "ICE" cap amounts to any kind of "intimidation" are baseless. Of course, this is the same county where the far Rightwing Republican Party operative, Dan Curry, who runs a blog called ReverseSpin.com is actually paid $3,000 a month by tax-payers [PDF] to serve as Public Relations director for the shamelessly partisan county Election Commission, as we described to the editors of the Naperville Sun following one of Curry's hit pieces on behalf of the Commission in 2008.
The issue also serves to put a long-manufactured and ginned-up Republican/Fox "News" charge of "voter intimidation" from 2008 in an interesting new light.
Here's the GOP's remarkable response to the charges of "intimidation" by Moretti in the Daily Herald...
Dan Wallach of Rice University was one of the computer scientists who worked on California's landmark 2007 "Top to Bottom Review" of the state's electronic voting systems. He's also a voter in Harris County (Houston), TX where a fire destroyed all 10,000 of the county's 100% unverifiable voting systems just a few weeks before the start of early voting.
Back in late August, Harris County (Houston)'s warehouse with all 10,000 of our voting machines, burned to the ground. As I blogged at the time, our county decided to spend roughly $14 million of its $40 million insurance settlement on purchasing replacement electronic voting machines of the same type destroyed in the fire, and of the same type that I and my colleagues found to be unacceptably insecure in the 2007 California Top-to-Bottom Report. This emergency purchase was enough to cover our early voting locations and a smattering of extras for Election Day. We borrowed the rest from other counties, completely ignoring the viral security risks that come with this mixing and matching of equipment. (It's all documented in the California report above. See Section 7.4 on page 77. Three years later, and the vendor has fixed none of these issues.)
Wallach goes on to describe how difficult it was for him to actually get a paper ballot, despite their availability at his polling place this year, and how, even after various difficulties towards that end, he was still able to complete his vote before his wife, who chose to vote on the unverifiable, virus-prone e-voting system...
I asked the poll workers at the sign-in table if they were planning to offer paper ballots to anybody in line and they looked at me as if I was insane. I also mentioned that I finished voting faster than my wife and one poll worker went as far as to say "don't tell anybody!" as if that might (gasp!) cause people to want to vote on paper.
His report, particularly given his intimate, expert knowledge of the voting systems that most Houston voters were strongly encouraged to vote on, is, as noted, well-worth reading in full...
Oh, and by the way, where is all the evidence of that "massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" we were breathlessly told by the Houston Republican gr ... er ... I mean independent "Tea Party" group in Houston was scheduled to occur this year (in minority areas, naturally)?
Back to the real story of this election, which is the $4 BILLION spent–as much as (and possibly more than, when it’s all counted) the last presidential election. Most of the money, thanks to the Supreme Court’s outrageous Citizens United decision and the inability of Congress to pass the Disclose Act, is secret. We simply have no idea who is behind the spate of ugly attack ads that dominated the election, but we can certainly guess.
British Election Overturned Because of "False Statements"
The Independent reports that former British immigration minister Phil Woolas "lost his seat as an MP today after an election court ruled that he knowingly made false statements about an opponent in May's general election."
Bloomberg notes Woolas was guilty of "an illegal practice" by making statements "he had no reasonable grounds for believing were true and did not believe were true."
The Independent reports that Woolas, a Labour MP, "is to be barred from the Commons for three years and the election contest for his Oldham East and Saddleworth seat [will be] re-run." His crime:
The specially-convened election court had heard that Mr Woolas stirred up racial tensions in a desperate bid to retain his seat in Oldham East and Saddleworth.
His campaign team was said to have set out to "make the white folk angry" by depicting an alleged campaign by Muslims to "take Phil out".
Thank God we, the people of the United States of America, live in a land where there is no such need for laws to protect the electorate from the sort of dirty, disingenuously-divisive, knowingly-false, racially-based fear-mongering that might otherwise plague our totally free and respectable democratic elections!
Yesterday we posted Rachel Maddow's round-up of "top-of-ticket" races that were still un-"called" on Wednesday after Election Night. Last night, she did us the continuing favor of updating that list with a follow-up detailing a number of those up-in-the-air races that have since been "decided" as based on media calls, candidate concessions, and/or the completion of unofficial tallies by the computers which do that sort of thing...
Reminder: Neither projections of "winners" by the media or concessions by "losers" have any legal standing on the final outcome of an election. Only officially canvassed and certified election results from elections officials do. In all of the races declared as "over" to date, none of them have actually been certified by officials yet, and in virtually every one of them, ballots (where they exist, as they don't when it comes to Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen, voting machines) have been tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators, with few, if any, such ballots actually being examined by any human beings to assure the computer tabulators have been accurate.
Also, there are still many un-"called" and/or contested races across the nation which are not "top-of-ticket", but which still matter a great deal to both the candidates and voters affected by them.
Well, it's a good thing last Tuesday wasn't a Presidential Election with really huge crowds of voters in Utah County, UT. As polls opened at 7am, digitally encoded cards used by voters to begin the voting process on the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, 100% unverifiable Diebold AccuVote touch-screen voting systems didn't work at all 110 polling locations across the county. A programming error was blamed.
Voters were forced to wait in line for up to an hour while technicians struggled to figure out how to correct the failure. Many voters simply gave up, walking away and becoming disenfranchised in the bargain when they couldn't hang around to wait that long to vote on a work day. As usual, the wide-spread failure (county-wide, in this case) was marginalized by the media as little more than a "glitch". Of course, had the county used paper ballots, nobody would have been disenfranchised, or had to wait on line for an hour to cast their vote. Voters across the entire state are now forced to vote on the Diebold touch-screen systems on Election Day.
Separately, and to make matters worse, the Vote.Utah.gov website for looking up voter polling locations crashed, multiple times, throughout the day. Here's Tuesday's report on those "glitches" from KSL TV 5:
Rachel Maddow did us the favor, last night, of rounding up the bulk of the "top-of-ticket" races from Tuesday which were still un-"called" as of last night...
There are still many more races undecided and going through calls for recounts, etc., around the country. Many of them are not "top-of-ticket" contests, so you may not yet have heard about many of them. I've been fielding calls and emails from representatives of many such campaigns over the last 24 hours or so while looking into various charges of irregularities, etc.
Also remember that in just about every race where you've heard a "winner" announced at this hour, those results are still un-official and un-canvassed for accuracy with virtually all of the ballots (where ballots actually exist) uncounted by nothing other than a computer tabulator. There has been virtually no human confirmation of accuracy of those (failure-prone and easily-manipulated) computer-reported results as of today.
Also remember that neither a media declaration of a "winner" nor a candidate's concession has any actual legal meaning on the official results of any race. Clearly, there are a number of races where counting, canvassing, and contesting will be continuing for quite a while.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Let the plutocracy begin! Republicans Rejoice: Victory in the midterm elections, re-shaping the House of Representatives, and re-writing the rules of "compromise," with consequences for clean energy and the planet; PLUS: To put it all into perspective: Another natural disaster bearing down on Haiti ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Jan.-to-Oct. 2010 tied for hottest in satellite record; Pakistan's emergency rations to run out in 30 days; Halliburton may be shielded from liability in BP Oil Disaster; Can SCOTUS whale ruling be used to halt other projects?; U.S. solar-panel maker to close a factory; WA state nuclear plant scores low in reliability; RFK Jr: ‘A coup d’etat against the carbon cronies’ ...PLUS: The best U.S. cities for electric cars ...
Still plowing through tons of incoming problem reports from yesterday in trying to help separate wheat from chaff before I bore you with any chaff here, and looking at a number of still-uncalled elections. (If you'd like to poke around at a few such issues, please see Joyce McCloy's Voting News today). All the while I've been trying to keep up with various scheduled media appearances and wrapping up other odds and ends from yesterday. Here's one of those odds and ends. My appearance on Thom Hartmann's new TV Show, "The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann", via (not-very-good) Skype webcam yesterday.
The 5-minute interview we did yesterday afternoon begins at around the :38 minute mark...
Our buddy Greg Palast is also interviewed a bit earlier in the show, on issues of Voter Caging, beginning just after the :31 minute mark. Hartmann's TV show now airs on RT America weeknight's at 9p & 11p ET. Here's their Youtube page...
And a few other appearances I've done over the last 24 hours, at least the few I was able to get copies of, which you may find entertaining and/or informative (hopefully both!):
• From yesterday's WBAI News with Rebecca Myles in NY (where I appeared the day before as well to discuss Citizens United). This appearance discusses concerns about touch-screen e-voting systems in yesterday's elections...
This is amusing. At least it would be, had not their entire phony, shameless, anti-democracy campaign been built on hopes of suppressing the legal votes of American minority voters.
But I guess that "epidemic" of "MASSIVE DEMOCRATIC VOTER FRAUD!!!" that Fox "News" and their easily duped viewers had been warning us all about for weeks/months/years (here's one recent example, and another, and another, and another) didn't exactly materialize yesterday. Who could have guessed it?
Fox News cancels Thursday segment on NV "Voter fraud" after Angle’s poor showing
Las Vegas Sun political columnist Jon Ralston posted the following to his Twitter profile this afternoon:
At least we know what Fox News was planning had the Senate race between Majority Leader Harry Reid and tea party darling Sharon Angle been tighter.
Media Matters' headline avers the segment was spiked due to "Angle's poor showing". There's another possible explanation for cancellation of the segment: No actual evidence of any such "voter fraud". Of course, that's never stopped Fox "News" from making a whole bunch of it up in the past. So perhaps Media Matters is more right than wrong there.
From last night's live Colbert Report, during which he used his "Action Midterm Outcome Prediction Verifier 2010 5400" to examine where "there have been reports of voting machine irregularities" across the country yesterday...