Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cornered on Credibility, Eureka Times-Standard Lashes Out Again

On Saturday, the Eureka Times-Standard ran an editorial (archive) which I commented on here because it took a shot at citizen efforts to safeguard elections. Today's Times-Standard sinks even lower. This is an excerpt from James Faulk's column, followed by an e-mail response I submitted. Please submit your own to jfaulk@times-standard.com and/or editor Charles Winkler at cwinkler@times-standard.com.


Article Launched: 06/27/2006 04:30:21 AM PDT

You sit there, I'll sit ... over here
James Faulk The Times-Standard


Breaking the law?

Repeated accusations from voting system advocate Dave Berman and others claim that Humboldt County and other jurisdictions throughout the state are breaking election law by using their Diebold machines to collect votes in Humboldt County.

By Diebold they mean evil vote collecting despot with a Republican bent and corporate agenda.

Berman and his comrades provide mountains of complicated documentation and decry journalists who they say have dropped the ball by not investigating these claims.

One has to wonder why these accusers don't mount a legal complaint in the courts, or seek other legal redress, if their case is as clear cut as they claim it to be.

Surely not every member of the nation's legal system is bought and paid for by the Grand Conspiracy.
Here is my response:


In your column today you ask about the lack of lawsuits over election conditions. Please visit VoterAction.org to learn about proceedings that are moving forward in several states. In particular, here is a link to the suit filed in CA:


While I am familiar with those pursuing this action, I am not a party to it. Part of the reason is that they have chosen to limit the scope of their suit to DREs only, excluding the optical scanners used in Humboldt. Read the case, however, and you'll see the evidence cited supports the arguments I've presented too.

I have tried for many months to find a lawyer willing to work pro bono to bring this or any of an array of other election related complaints to a Humboldt judge. That I can't afford a lawyer, and that none have volunteered, is not indicative of the merits. In fact, here is a new issue for you to ponder. Below is a link to a brief written by WA attorney Paul Lehto, who also wrote the Foreword to my book. Lehto argues that election machine vendors typically force upon counties a contractual clause asserting that the company is not responsible if their machines don't work right. Yet such an implied warranty is built into the law and cannot be waived. Not only are the machines illegal, the contracts to use them could be declared null and void. And why should we outsource and privatize elections anyway?


You are a good writer, James. But it does not shine the best light on your talents to say community members want you to be accountable to verifiable information, and then to flip it back around as if you don't legitimately have such a burden of responsibility. I also don't speak about conspiracies or talk in partisan terms. Introducing such language while attempting to undermine my efforts to get media accountability only conflates issues and further sullies the credibility you would have by doing the investigative work I've basically already done for you. That documentation is complicated does not excuse your obligation to simplify and report the facts you have verified.

In Respect and Peace,
Dave Berman

Posted by Dave Berman - 10:18 AM | Permalink
Comments (6 So Far) | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page

Read or Post a Comment

Thank you, Dave. Here is what i wrote to James Faulk...

Dear James,

RE: your recent opinion: http://www.times-standard.com/opinion/ci_3985328

I suggest that The Times Standard spend less time on editorials and more time investigating that which you believe is not a problem -- namely the lack of transparency in modern elections.

You did manage to spend your time and energy inserting inflammatory labels like comrade and conspiracy. Very creative, but I don't see any evidence of 'on the ground' investigation in your piece.

Ask the people who know rather than just writing what you think you know. You know?


Posted by Anonymous Dave Migliore @ Jun 27, 2006, 2:12:00 PM
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for keeping me up to date, since I don't get the T-S.

I sent this response yesterday:

Dear Mr. Faulk:

I would like to comment on your implication that Dave Berman doesn't have confidence in his own evidence just because he hasn't filed a lawsuit about it. It's easy to suggest someone take their case to court, but it's a lot harder to do this than your readers might realize.

First of all, representing oneself in court is a bad idea. If the system was that simple, we wouldn't have lawyers.

Second, it isn't easy to find a lawyer with experience in obscure matters such as the Elections Code. I doubt that anyone qualified practices in Humboldt County.

Third, lawyers charge by the hour, and can only afford a certain amount of pro bono work. Travel time to Humboldt County alone would make this too expensive for Mr. Berman to pay, or for an attorney to write off as
pro bono work.

Therefore, failure to file a lawsuit does not indicate a lack of confidence in the evidence, merely the difficulty of getting into the court system. As you mentioned, there is a lot of complex material; therefore, expert assistance presenting it to the court is essential. It doesn't take a conspiracy theory to admit that what the court can't
understand, it will ignore.

Your implication that Mr. Berman is a conspiracy theorist was inaccurate and offensive. He has been careful to keep this matter non-partisan and let the facts stand on their own. Are your notes too sloppy to distinguish between who has said what, or are you attempting
to smear him by association? Your statements sure resembled an ad hominem attack on a critic.

His comments seem to cause discomfort at the Times-Standard. Our media watchdogs used to jump at any excuse to bark at possible intruders, but they have gotten too comfortable on the bed to awaken when a window breaks at night. Nudge them, and they growl at you instead. Isn't it time to get back to the excitement of checking out those bumps in the night?

Posted by Anonymous wormtorturer @ Jun 28, 2006, 10:31:00 AM
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This is the response I got this morning from Mr. Faulk. I'm not sure if my writing was really unclear or what, because he responds to things I didn't write and ignores things I did.

My point was that someone like Berman should file a case in court to
prove that HUMBOLDT COUNTY's voting systems are illegal, rather than
tell the local media they are failing if they don't believe him
without any clear evidence. I NEVER said voting system security was
not an issue. And with all due respect, there are lawyers from New
College and elsewhere who jump to work pro bono on many kinds of
cases, especially those so intimate with the American Left. Who said
they had to be from Humboldt County? And if not in the courts, then
how about higher legal authorities? When I asked that question, I was
told they were all in collusion — the AG would only defend the sec of
state. True or not, that sounds like a conspiracy theory. Quit
haranguing the media about unclear legal accusations, and make your
case in court. When that happens here, I will write the story. That's
my point, and I absolutely stand by it.

Posted by Anonymous wormtorturer @ Jun 28, 2006, 10:35:00 AM
Permalink to comment | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page

Hi Dave,

I'm sure your search for an attorney has been thorough, but just to see if my points about needing a specialist in elections law, and travel time being an obstacle could be confirmed, I looked up the New College. Although it has a Public Interest Law program, when I contacted Assistant Dean Sabrina Baptiste, she told me they do NOT have anyone who knows election law and had no idea who practiced in that area. I'd say this shows James Faulk is talking through his hat.

I would also say it supports MY point that an attorney's area of expertise is more important than any alleged political leanings. If an attorney doesn't practice election law, they're not going to take your case. Period. They're not even qualified to assess its merits.

She suggested I get a list of attorneys who specialize in election law from the Bar Association (which I'm sure you've done) and contact them all myself. The State Bar has no such list; they don't keep track of what fields of law their members practice. I don't think it's a good use of my time to conduct a survey that duplicates your research, when I still haven't started the FOIA requests.

Posted by Anonymous wormtorturer @ Jun 28, 2006, 11:22:00 AM
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Googling on "election law" led me to this webpage by someone who's probably way out of our league... presumably you've contacted him already.


Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Jun 28, 2006, 11:27:00 AM
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Here is the latest in pseudo-reporting from James Faulk. In the 7/17/06 Eureka Times-Standard he profiles John Jones, a Congressional candidate described as a "self-proclaimed" Eagle Scout. Actually, there are specific steps to becoming an Eagle Scout and a formal ceremony conferring such status. One cannot proclaim oneself an Eagle Scout. If Jones is claiming to be an Eagle Scout then it is a matter of factual record that should be verified. Jones could then either be described as touting his achievement or lying about it. Either way it should be determined for sure and reported as fact. Perhaps that is too much to ask of a self-proclaimed reporter such as James Faulk.

Posted by Blogger Dave Berman @ Jul 17, 2006, 4:22:00 AM
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"This is an important collection of essays with a strong unitary theme: if you can't prove that you were elected, we can't take you seriously as elected officials. Simple, logical, comprehensive. 'Management' (aka, the 'powers that be') needs to get the message. 'The machines' are not legitimizers, they're an artful dodge and a path to deception. We've had enough...and we most certainly DO NOT consent."

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