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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
CA Repubs Block State-Paid Automatic 'Recount' Bill
After gaping flaws in the law revealed by the closest statewide election ever, GOP blocks conservative Dem attempt to make oversight easier and election theft harder before Nov...
After a Year of Digital Detox, David Roberts Returns
The great climate blogger from Grist is finally back on the Internets, with some very helpful thoughts for the information overloaded...
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

GOP-requested review of several precincts in Richmond City gives Mark Herring (D) edge over Mark Obenshain (R)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2013 1:18pm PT  

For the first time since the bulk of votes were tallied in Virginia on Election Night last Tuesday, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, state Sen. Mark Herring appears to now have taken the lead over Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain in the razor-thin results of more than 2.2 million votes cast.

Herring just barely leap-frogged Obenshain's totals on Monday afternoon after tallies from a voting machine in the city of Richmond --- the results of which had been previously missing from official tallies since Election Night --- were added to the running totals. The addition of 190 votes from electronic voting machine #3791, plus a few other votes from seven other precincts re-reviewed by Richmond City's Electoral Board on Monday, resulted in what now appears to be a 115 vote lead for Herring over Obenshain.

While the results posted by State Board of Elections (SBE) do not yet reflect that change in the state tally (showing, instead, a 17 vote lead for Obenshain for now), a number of election experts following and closely documenting the post-election canvassing and correction of vote tallies from across the state have confirmed Herring's new lead. Those experts have been consistently and accurately ahead of the SBE in reporting results in many cases over the past week.

[Update, 9:50pm ET: The SBE website now shows Herring up by 117, as predicted. The extra two votes were from provisional ballots added to the tally in Montgomery County.]

Ironically, the review of the poll tapes printed out by the tabulation computers from eight different precincts in very-heavily Democratic-leaning Richmond City today, came at the request of the Republican Party...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Memo from State Board of Elections delays final tally in heavily Democratic Fairfax County, where hundreds of provisionals remain...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2013 7:53pm PT  

As of late Saturday, just 55 votes separated the Democratic candidate from the Republican in the Virginia Attorney General's race, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE) website. 55 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast after four days of canvassing, double-checking and processing a number of provisional ballots cast across the state during last Tuesday's election.

The state's 55 vote spread, however, is still larger than the margin cited by the election geeks who have been following this race on a county-by-county and often precinct-by-precinct (even ballot-by-ballot) level. And they have been consistently and correctly ahead of the SBE-posted numbers. One of them, Virginia political expert and self-identified "vicious campaign insultant," Ben Tribbett declared just a 15 vote margin earlier Saturday, after the spread had been just several hundred over the last few days. Late tonight, after a few more provisionals were tallied in the City of Richmond, Tribbett adjusted his tally to a 44 vote margin.

Another one of those geeks, Dave Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, predicted Friday night on Twitter that, after all provisional ballots are added in, "this thing could be single digits." It looks like he wasn't kidding.

For what it's worth, it's the Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain currently leading the Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring by either 55 votes or 15 votes or somewhere in between right now. But there still remain between 400 and 500 provisional ballots to be adjudicated and possibly added to the totals in heavily Democratic-leaning Fairfax County as of Saturday night, according to Michael McDonald, a specialist in American elections at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Indeed, it was a surprise edict concerning provisional ballots, as issued by the Republican State Board of Elections, that stopped the Fairfax County Electoral Board dead in their tracks on Saturday before they were able to adjudicate all of the county's provisionals as previously planned.

All of this, before a likely "recount" --- of 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes in most VA counties and, barring a court order, no more than a computer re-scan of most of the paper ballots in the others --- that is almost certain to be requested by whichever state Senator named Mark finds himself "the loser" of the final canvassed tally as of midnight, Tuesday, November 12th, the deadline for certification of the election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Diebold paper ballot optical-scan tabulator behind recently discovered 'unaccounted for' votes in Fairfax County
But there was yet another unexpected computer tally twist on Friday...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2013 9:07pm PT  

On Thursday night, we explained as much as we could figure out about thousands of seemingly "missing" votes suddenly "discovered" in the incredibly close Attorney General's race in Virginia between Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D).

Some 2.2 million votes were cast on Tuesday in the contest, yet just a few hundred (depending on what time of day one checked, as tallies were being canvassed and double-checked and corrected from around the state) separated the two on Thursday. Obenshain was said to be in the lead, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE) website, by a few more than 700 votes at night's end.

That's when several election porn geeks --- like Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and Ben Tribbett --- who had been combing over the results for the past several days, confirmed with elections officials an unusually low rate of absentee votes in Congressional District 8 in Fairfax County, VA. If accurate, it would have been the lowest return rate for absentees in the state, and it was considerably lower than adjacent districts in the same county. Fairfax leans heavily Democratic and, if absentee ballots were cast at the same rate there as other districts in the county, Wasserman and Tribbett concluded, there were about 3,000 votes unaccounted for in the SBE tallies. Those "missing" votes, if tallied, would be enough to give Herring the lead and, potentially, the first AG victory for a Democrat in the state in twenty years.

So what happened to those 3,000 or so absentee votes? Why were they seemingly 'missing' from the tally? By late Thursday, one of the Republican officials on the Electoral Board, Brian Schoeneman, said he was "convinced now too that there is an issue" and promised to "figure this out". Late late Thursday night, Wasserman had received an email from Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Quinn acknowledging that VA08 totals were "in error" and that she suspected "machine totals that either didn't print tapes, or didn't show full tallies on the tapes." She said that the Electoral Board would "make figuring out what happened the first order of business in the morning" on Friday.

Unlike much of the state, which votes on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, Fairfax, the largest single voting jurisdiction in the state, uses paper ballot optical-scan systems made by Diebold. Those same systems --- as we described last night --- have a long history of failure, including dropping entire stacks of votes from the totals without notice to the system administrator. Could that be what happened?

Well, there were a few more twists and turns today, as the Fairfax County Electoral Board attempted to figure out what had gone wrong with their tallies, and as other counties wrapped up their canvass of the election. The Board plans to meet tomorrow to offer their official findings (their full statement below), but the only thing we know conclusively for the moment, is that one of Wasserman's tweets this afternoon was absolutely correct:

"Folks, I've been neck deep in MS Excel for 3+ days & I'm ready to make a projection," he said. "The next Virginia AG will be...Mark"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Inexplicably low absentee results in parts of Fairfax County, which uses paper ballot op-scan systems with history of dropping votes
UPDATED: Diebold op-scan probs 'suspected' by County Registrar: 'Machine totals either didn't print tapes, or didn't show full tallies'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2013 11:01pm PT  

We reported yesterday on the incredibly close race for Attorney General in Virginia. With more than 2.2 million votes cast, the margin between Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D) has been within a few hundred votes since Election Night on Tuesday.

Within the last few hours, an unexplained discrepancy has been discovered by those combing over the reported numbers in Fairfax County. The county leans heavily Democratic and, unlike much of the rest of the state which uses 100% unverifiable touch-screen, Fairfax uses optically-scanned paper ballots for its main vote tabulation system.

After Democrats reportedly won both the Governor and Lt. Governor races, only the AG's remains undecided at the top of the ticket. For the last 24 hours or so, the Republican Obenshain has been leading during the canvassing of ballots by about 700 votes, as absentee and provisionals are tallied and doubled-checked.

But now, thanks to some smart detective work by both a Democratic political team in Fairfax County and by Dave Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, the fortunes for the Democrat candidate Herring may just have taken a big turn, even as a new mystery is added to the equation...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Story said 'year in the making' removed from CBS News website
UPDATED: CBS correspondent Lara Logan admits 'We were wrong, made a mistake'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2013 7:58pm PT  

[UPDATED - Video added at bottom. CBS' Logan admits they blew the story. ALSO NOW: Simon & Schuster Rightwing imprint pulls book off shelves.]

A full week after serious doubts were raised concerning 60 Minutes' report on a supposed eye-witness to the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, CBS has finally issued a terse two paragraph statement tonight to announce they are "currently looking into" whether they were "misled" by their star witness.

Here's the full statement:

60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.

We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.

The statement coincides with new information this evening that appears to further undercut the 60 Minutes report...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Guests: Media Matters' Eric Boehlert; Act Blue's Howie Klein...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2013 9:55pm PT  

This week on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast, I was joined by Eric Boehlert of MediaMatters.org to discuss: a) The serious questions about CBS' 60 Minutes "train wreck" on Benghazi and the media's dreadful double-standard in comparison to the reaction to the Dan Rather/George W. Bush Air National Guard story from 2004 b) Media failure in reporting on "Obamacare" c) The double-standard at Fox "News" in covering the alleged "pissed-off patriot" who shot up LAX Airport last week and d) Rand Paul's plagiarism disaster.

Then, I was joined by the great Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny.com and the Blue America PAC to discuss the various progressive victories from Tuesday's elections (and a few of the failures), as well as concerns about the still incredibly close, 100% unverifiable Attorney General race in Virginia and its likely "recount".

Plus, Desi Doyen joined us as usual for the latest Green News Report. Enjoy the show!

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx. 58 mins]...

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Incredibly close race was run mostly on 100% unverifiable electronic touch-screen voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2013 12:33pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

As of today, following yesterday's off-off year Election Day 2013, the race for Virginia Attorney General is still uncalled by the media, and for good reason. Out of some 2.2 million votes cast in VA yesterday, the Democratic candidate for AG, Mark Herring and the Republican candidate, Mark Obenshain are now reportedly just a hair's breadth apart.

Depending on whose numbers you look at, as of 2p ET this afternoon, Obenshain is reportedly ahead by either 965 votes, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE), or by 286 votes, according to AP (which was often well ahead of the SBE numbers during reporting of results last night), with all precincts now said to have been accounted for in unofficial results.

The last numbers I had seen before going to bed last night at around 4am ET, showed Herring up over the Republican by 616 votes, but there were still said to be about 4 precincts out at that time, according to AP. The SBE's numbers had several more precincts unreported at that hour, as it looks like they had knocked off for the night several hours earlier.

Given the tightness of these reported numbers, and the fact that Republicans are certainly hoping to deny Democrats of a "clean sweep" win last night (the Ds took both the Governor's and Lt. Governor's race), a Commonwealth-wide "recount" is almost certain in the Attorney General's race. Current AG, and last night's failed Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli will likely oversee that "recount," as luck would have it.

But a "recount" in VA, may offer much less than one would think. So, here's why I put the word "recount" in quotes. This is what the map of Virginia looks like, courtesy of Verified Voting's 2012 database, as identified by types of voting systems used across the state...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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And how to maximize the likelihood of your vote actually being counted and counted accurately...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2013 12:30pm PT  

These tweets are from Col. Morris Davis, the former Chief Prosecutor at Gitmo, on how things went for him today as he was trying to vote in Virginia...

In another tweet, Davis notes that he "voted in Buckland Precinct in Prince William County, Virginia," and then noted to others that he "Hope[s] voters will double check their ballots before pushing submit to make sure they're right."

Good advice, of course. But, unfortunately, given the 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems used in Prince William County (and across much of Virginia and most of New Jersey), even checking the onscreen "ballot" for accuracy is no guarantee that the vote will be counted accurately, or even at all, unfortunately.

The same is true on systems that have so-called "paper trails" that print out for voters to examine before "casting" them. (On those systems, the "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" or VVPAT, is largely to make the voter feel better, somehow. In truth, those "paper trails" are almost never actually tallied. The internal computer numbers are used instead. And, even if the VVPATs were to be tallied by humans, there would be no way to know for certain that they actually reflect the intent of any voter.)

For the record, Prince William County uses touch-screen systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems, which is now owned by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting. To get an idea of the many problems and concerns over the years with Sequoia touch-screen systems, see this article detailing the day that Barack Obama early voted on one of them in Chicago last year. Those are also the same systems which managed to flip Oprah Winfrey's Presidential vote back in 2008. (The Obama piece also includes links to our articles detailing things such as Sequoia's "yellow button" on the back of each touch-screen system which, if pressed correctly, as an election official explained to us back in 2006, allows a voter to "vote as many times as you want. You won't ever have to stop until someone physically restrains you from voting.")

[Update: VA voter David Hutchinson reports similar problems with touch-screen flips today in BRAD BLOG comments below.]

Want to maximize the possibility that your vote will be counted and counted accurately? Try to vote on a hand-marked paper ballot where available. We were told today that, for the first time, some locations in Virginia are allowing voters to vote on paper if they like, though Charlottesville, VA voter David Swanson reports than when he voted at the precinct today, "Most people chose not to."

Of course, paper ballots are also almost always tallied by computers, instead of humans, so those are causing big problems for voters as well today...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Expired state driver's license not enough to vote or receive 'free' state-issued ID card for Democratic icon, and he's hardly alone...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright (D) was denied a Photo ID for voting purposes in Texas over the weekend by the state's Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The 90-year old Wright, who is lucky enough to have an assistant to drive him to and from the DPS office, says that while he believes he'll be able to get an ID in time to vote in this Tuesday's election, he's concerned the state's "unduly stringent requirements on voters" will reduce turnout.

According to the Star-Telegram, Wright's driver's license expired in 2010 and --- because he no longer drives --- he didn't bother to renew it. That expired license, he learned Saturday, is not good enough to obtain a Photo ID to vote under the law TX Republicans passed in 2011. That law will be in effect, for the first time, on Tuesday. The state statute had previously been nixed just last year by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and by a 3-judge federal court panel after being found discriminatory, in violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as based on statistics supplied by the state itself.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key provision of the VRA over the summer, however, Texas announced the law would finally be enforced for the upcoming election.

Wright is hardly the only well known figure to be stung so far by the Lone Star State Republicans' purposely disenfranchising law. And the hoops that many voters --- even ones like Wright, who says he's voted in every single election since 1944 --- must now jump through in order to have a chance at their vote even being counted at all, is remarkable...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2013 8:05am PT  

Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...

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'Harrowing account' of tragedy offered by British 'witness' on TV news mag appears completely untrue, says Washington Post
UPDATED: Davies responds, says lied to employer originally, but telling the truth now...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2013 3:11pm PT  

In what Washington Post's Karen DeYoung describes as an "explosive report" on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, the venerable TV news magazine offered "a harrowing account of the extremist attack that killed four Americans" at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya last year.

Naturally, Fox "News" and others on the Right --- such as Sen. Lindsey Graham who promised on Wednesday to block all of President Obama's nominees following the report --- have been trumpeting it all week.

In the report, CBS' Lara Logan interviews a man pseudonymously identified as "Morgan Jones", a British supervisor of security guards protecting the mission. He tells Logan that, as the attack that night went on and four U.S. officials were ultimately killed, he scaled the compound's 12-foot wall, took out an al-Qaeda terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and eventually was at the hospital to witness the lifeless corpse of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

But, as reported by DeYoung at WaPo today, that story by "Jones", as offered on 60 Minutes, appears to be completely untrue. That "harrowing account" by "Jones," whose real name is reportedly Dylan Davies, is completely at odds, according to the Post, with the written account that he "provided to his employer three days after the attack" when he said he was nowhere near the diplomatic compound on the night of the deadly tragedy...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2013 6:59pm PT  

Norm Ornstein of the very conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes this week at National Journal...

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.

The reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby County—that Section 5 of the act was such a spectacular success that it is no longer necessary—was the equivalent of taking down speed cameras and traffic lights and removing speed limits from a dangerous intersection because they had combined to reduce accidents and traffic deaths.

I won't be surprised if history finds the Shelby County ruling, along with Citizens United, to be right up there in the Dred Scott pantheon of terrible rulings by a U.S. Supreme Court. That both occurred within years of each others on the John Roberts Court speaks volumes --- and does not bode well for whatever may still be to come.

How's that for a scary Halloween night posting?...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2013 10:37pm PT  

If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.

We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.

Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...

MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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Exclusive audio revealed Rightwing gathering cheered NJ Guv's rejection of landmark greenhouse gas initiative weeks after secret one-on-one with billionaire brother, just months before state coast devastated by global warming-linked 'Superstorm Sandy'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2013 6:06am PT  

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) up for re-election next Tuesday, we've been getting quite a bit of traffic here from Mother Jones where I originally broke my series of exclusive reports on audio recordings from inside the Koch Brothers' secret 2011 Summer Summit near Vail, CO that year.

As a quick reminder of what was heard on those tapes, and what happened there, Christie --- literally --- had snuck out of New Jersey to fly to Vail for the day to perform as the keynote speaker at the super-secret Koch Brothers gathering with a few hundred very select Republican millionaires and billionaires who were meeting to plot what Charles Koch described to the assembled as "the mother of all wars...for the life or death of this country." That, along with comparing President Obama to Saddam Hussein, was how he described what would be their fight for the 2012 Presidential election.

Billionaire brother David is heard introducing Christie at the event as "my kind of guy", describing him as "a true political hero". He boasted that he'd met with Christie secretly, not long before, "for about two hours --- just the two of us," in David Koch's New York City office, and that he was hoping the NJ Governor would some day have "a larger stage where, God knows, he is desperately needed."

Given that this week also happens to be the one year anniversary of "Superstorm Sandy" and Christie is out taking curtain calls for his performance in its wake, it's also well worth noting that, during his effusive introduction to Christie, David Koch also went on to laud him for pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a landmark agreement by a number of northeastern states to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the region...

DAVID KOCH: Another example of Governor Christie's commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause], which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]

Christie's surprise withdrawal from RGGI was met with great applause in the banquet hall in Colorado, as well as from Rightwing climate change denialists when it actually occurred. He pulled out of the landmark pact just weeks after Koch and Christie had their secret meeting in New York City, a little over a year before the global warming-linked Sandy would result in the loss of more than a hundred citizens and billions of dollars worth of damage. After we published the secret Koch tapes, Christie would claim that he never discussed RGGI with the Kochs --- it "never came up", he said --- though the Director of the NJ Sierra Club told me that Christie should not be believed.

As to Christie's secret speech itself that night in Colorado --- the security for which was so extreme there were speakers set up around the perimeter of the dining hall to pump "pink noise" into the mountainside to stymie long-range parabolic microphones --- the NJ Governor delivered a stem-winder to the Kochs' assembled high and mighty. He bragged about how he'd fooled Democrats in the state legislature into supporting massive cuts to state pensions, and how he'd planned next to "take on the teachers' union once and for all."

The full audio and text transcripts of the remarks by Charles and David Koch, as well as the speech by Christie, are posted in full here, in case New Jersey voters would like to review the record before heading to the polls next Tuesday.

The full series of stories and their fallout can be perused here.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

Okay. Now this is beginning to get completely absurd.

In an article at New Republic headlined "I Did Not 'Recant' on Voter ID Laws'," published Monday, 7th Circuit Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner now claims he hasn't actually disavowed his landmark majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board after all!

The record will show, however, the Reagan-appointed judge may have a bit of a faulty --- or, at least, selective --- memory.

The Crawford case is the now-infamous 2007 challenge to Indiana's then new polling place Photo ID restriction law which Posner voted to uphold in a 2 to 1 decision. The law was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. It is the only high-profile case to uphold such laws as Constitutional, even though Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the controlling opinion at SCOTUS, now believes dissenting Justice David Souter "got the thing correct."

Despite recent comments by Posner, in both his new book and at HuffPo Live, appearing fairly clearly to suggest he now believes he was wrong about his original decision in the case (which is often incorrectly cited by Republican supporters of such disenfranchising laws); and his expressed belief that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dissenter Judge Terrence Evans "was right"; and his assertion that such laws are "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention," Posner now appears to be wobbling back again in his latest response to his own controversy...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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