[Hat-tip Lee Camp on the Twitters]
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
[Hat-tip Lee Camp on the Twitters]
29-year old former CIA technical assistant and current NSA third-party contractor Edward Snowden has decided to out himself as the source of the leaked national security documents exposing the U.S. government's massive secret telephone records collection and secret access to nine major Internet services providers, as published by journalist Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian over the course of the past week.
"Any analyst, at any time, can target anyone...anywhere," he tells Greenwald in a video interview published this morning by the Guardian, as recorded in Hong Kong where Snowden has taken refuge for the time being. He adds that, "increasingly", secret intelligence collection is "happening domestically."
"Not all analysts have the ability to target everything," he explains. "But I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the President if I had a personal email."
Prior to his decision to leak certain classified and top secret documents about "this massive surveillance machine" he said is being secretly built by the government --- documents which, he says, he reviewed specifically to make sure nobody was personally exposed by them --- Greenwald reports, in a separate article, that he "had 'a very comfortable life' that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves."
"I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he is quoted as telling the Guardian. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."
Thanks to his leaks from the NSA, "Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning" writes Greenwald, with fellow Guardian journalists Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras today.
"The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong," Snowden tells Greenwald in the fascinating video interview...
A decade ago, Snowden had enlisted in the U.S. Army in hopes of going to Iraq with the Special Forces, the Guardian reports. He became disenchanted, he says, when "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone." Following a serious injury during training, he was discharged, and eventually made his way into the intelligence field, and now the pages of history.
When asked why he decided to expose these programs, and now come out publicly about them at this time, as opposed to staying in the shadows until otherwise discovered, Snowden explains in the video...
The first part of this segment from last Thursday night's Last Word on MSNBC includes a quick summary by NBC's Pete Williams of the first two different blockbuster releases of classified NatSec documents by the UK Guardian's Glen Greenwald this week. (Those two stories are here and here, and came before his third one on Friday.)
If you're familiar with those stories, you can skip to the 5:15 mark in the video below, where Greenwald's appearance begins, and as he responds to threats of investigation, etc. by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and others concerning his
release of these documents journalism.
The first part of Greenwald's response: "Let them go ahead and investigate. There's this document called the Constitution, and one of the things it guarantees is the right of a free press. Which means, as a citizen and as a journalist, I have the absolute Constitutional right to go on and report on what it is my government is doing in the dark and inform my fellow citizens about that action ... And I intend to continue to shine light on that and Dianne Feinstein can beat her chest all she wants and call for investigations and none of that's gonna stop and none of it's gonna change"...
That's what journalism should look like, and what every journalist should sound like, in my opinion.
I'm very proud to call Greenwald both a colleague and a fellow target of secretly planned cyberattacks back in 2011 by incredibly powerful corporate/government forces (one of whom, by the way, may well be one of the government Defense Dept. contractors involved in the second of Greenwald's leak reports this week.)
One more point on all of this I'd like to cite, for now...
In the wake of the latest revelations of our massive, secret, invasive national security surveillance state, I've been trying to remind folks how we got here, and how it was that many on both the Right and Left --- though far more robustly on the Right --- not only allowed for these outrageous intrusions into the private lives of Americans, but actually supported them, a great deal, for well over a decade.
The hypocrisy of some, particularly those on the Right, to be "outraged" about it all now, is laughable.
Nonetheless, for some of the very important context and backstory about how we got to this place --- and how, in fact, some Democrats tried (and failed) to reign in at least the most unlawful excesses of it (even while some also supported it --- talking to you, Sen. Feinstein & Sen./President Obama) --- Rachel Maddow's piece from last night's show is extremely helpful and educational...
Man, Glenn Greenwald at the UK Guardian has got a very good, and very high-level, source (or sources).
After his Wednesday blockbuster release of secret court documents detailing an order to release millions of Verizon phone records to the NSA, and his arguably more disturbing Thursday blockbuster release of classified documents detailing the secret PRISM program allowing the government "direct access" to the servers of giant Internet service providers like Microsoft, Yahoo!, YouTube, Google and Skype, he has, as promised earlier today, just released another major classified document.
This one is a classified 18-page Presidential Policy Directive issued by President Obama last October detailing "Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO)" which "can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging".
It is said, by an Administration national security spokesperson, to be an update to "a similar directive dating back to 2004."
Here are the key details from Greenwald's latest blockbuster report, written along with the Guardian's Ewen MacAskill...
Since the latest round of "ScandalMania" began, and long before it, we've been writing about how Fox "News" Republicans have been suddenly pretending to care about "Big Government" overreach.
In truth, they've never given a damn about any of it, unless it seemed to be something they could use to hurt Barack Obama and Democrats in some way. But, even then, the fake outrage was extraordinarily selective.
With yesterday's revelation by Glenn Greenwald at the UK Guardian, exposing the Obama NSA's secret FISA court order to obtain blanket access to months of records from "all telephone calls in [Verizon's] systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries," one might be dumb enough to think that Fox and the Republicans and, especially, U.S. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Darrel Issa, would be in an absolute uproar upon learning of the President's tyrannical Big Government overreach and invasion into the private lives of American citizens.
But, of course, we're not that dumb.
Other than Sen. Rand Paul, apparently, few on the Right could care less about any of it. That is, of course, because they never actually cared about Big Government or tyranny or invasions into the private lives of American citizens in the first place.
Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon explains it well, noting that between the time the story broke last night and about 2pm ET this afternoon, Fox "News" and Fox Business, together, had mentioned the story only three times. "Two were quick straight news segments, while the third was a little riff from the 'Fox and Friends' crew." At the same time, he writes, "Fox and Fox Business have mentioned the nine-month-old Libya scandal over 25 times"...
This afternoon, World Net Daily, the Birther news website, blasted out an email to readers: "Mother of all scandals: Obama’s war on Christians."
"This should be a litmus test for Republicans: either take action against this program, or never invoke liberty or limited government again," Conor Friedersdorf tweeted, regarding the NSA story.
And, of course, that was all before Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill's arguably even more alarming story today (also confirmed by Washington Post) revealing a massive, previously undisclosed, top secret NSA program named PRISM which now affords the agency "direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian." The program, they report, allows "officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats."
Fox and friends are, no doubt, scrambling, even now, to ignore that story as thoroughly and as quickly as possible as well. Because, ya know, Benghazi! Or something...Or, maybe its the fact that both programs were begun under George W. Bush, back when Fox and friends didn't even pretend to give a damn about Big Government overreach --- other than when they were calling for more of it.
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), on December 1, 2009, when asked what he'd do if Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died in office: "I don't think any responsible governor at this point would call for a Special Election that would cost ten million dollars."
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) on June 4, 2013, after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died in office: "I am calling for a special election to be held this year...I don’t know what the cost is and I quite frankly don’t care."
I've already offered a few of my own observations on the irresponsible Christie's cowardly, hilariously transparent, anything-but-fiscally-conservative hypocrisy in declaring a $24 million Special Election for the U.S. Senate this October, just three weeks before his own already-scheduled-anyway election in November. Now Jon Stewart offers his...
Not to say we told ya so, but... Rachel Barnhart of Rochester's WROC-TV just tweeted this: "Wow, state assembly intro's bill to allow NYC to bring back lever machines for primary."
...And then there was this, last night, from NY1...
A source tells NY1 a deal has been made in the New York State legislature that will allow the old machines to be used for the September 10 primary.
New York City Board of Elections officials say the new optical scanners are too slow to allow them to plan for a likely runoff in the crowded Democratic primary race.
A runoff is necessary if no candidate wins at least 40 percent of the vote.
It's unclear if the old machines will also be used for the November 5 general election.
The city spent more than $95 million on the new optical scanning machines, which were first used in 2010.
For much more on all of this, why NY is doing what it's doing, and what's really wrong with its new, oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scan computer tabulation system, please see our detailed report on all of this from March: "New York City Considers Move Back to Lever Voting Machines For September Elections".
UPDATE 6/6/13: New York's Amsterdam News reports the bill to restore lever machine voting in NYC "has passed the Senate, and the Assembly is seriously considering returning to lever machines"...
“The new scanner machines were intended to move us forward, but unfortunately were a huge step back for many,” said Martins.
Gov. Chris Christie (R) could have made 24 New Jersey school teachers millionaires today. But, instead, he decided to spend the taxpayers money on a Special Election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) this October, just three weeks before his own previously scheduled election in November.
"Party leaders sent around a list of the kind of budget cuts that Mr. Christie could restore with the money to be spent on the special election," the New York Times noted. "$10 million he cut from after-school programs for children in the state’s most troubled cities; $8.6 million in tuition subsidies for college students; and $12 million in charity care at hospitals. Just weeks ago, they noted, Mr. Christie vetoed a proposal to establish early voting, saying the price tag — $25 million — was too high."
"I don’t know what the cost is and I quite frankly don’t care," said the Governor who has pretended, since coming to office in 2009, to be a fiscal conservative. "We’re not going to be penny-wise and pound-foolish around here," he said cryptically.
"Despite the governor's public denials, Christie allies were concerned that if a special election coincided with the gubernatorial election, Democratic candidate Barbara Buono could benefit," reports National Journal. "With [Newark Mayor Cory] Booker as the favored Democratic Senate nominee, less-reliable Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, would be more likely to show up at the polls. Even with a comfortable lead in the race, that's not a risk Christie welcomed."
Republicans, already incensed that Christie had the temerity to meet President Obama during a horrific natural disaster and not punch him in the face, are furious about it all.
While quietly working for a number of weeks prior to breaking the story of the Secret Koch Brothers Tapes and Christie's secret keynote stem-winder at their 2011 Summer Seminar, I recall, as I researched through hours of his speeches and various appearances, that this guy would have been the Democrats' worse nightmare had he decided to run for President in 2012. He was incredibly under-rated by Democrats who saw him only as a former Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney hack. He may have been a bald-faced liar, but he was really good at it, and really charming to boot, when he wanted (or needed) to be.
That, of course, was back when he was seen as a hard rightwinger (which he is, even today, as many have forgotten). Back when David Koch described him as "my kind of guy" after secretly meeting with him in New York City. Back prior to Christie's re-invention as a "reasonable bi-partisan Republican" --- a stroke of "luck" blown onshore by Superstorm Sandy and a common-sense willingness to not be a complete asshole while tens of thousands of his own constituents were literally drowning and/or fighting for their lives in the freezing cold, even if it was just days before a Presidential election.
That, in turn, earned him the eternal loathing of many of the base Primary voters in a party that hasn't a clue what's good for them, and stunningly high approval ratings from Democrats who may have forgotten who Christie really is, and just how opportunistically disingenuous he is willing to be.
His transparent edict today, declaring an extraordinarily wasteful Special Election only weeks before his own was already scheduled in the state, may remind Democrats about some of that, even as it further pisses of Republicans at the same time. But, at least just about everyone seemed happy to ignore his absurd protests that "There's no political purpose" to his purposely political move today. "The political purpose," he claimed with a straight face, "is to give the people a voice [because] the issues facing the United States Senate are too important not to have an elected representative making those decisions."
Yes, after waiting four months for that elected representative, the people of New Jersey simply couldn't have waited four months and three weeks. That would be a bridge too far. A bridge he'd be willing to sell you for about $24 million.
I don't have a whole lot to add right now to all of this, but it's a helluva fun story, so I figured I'd open it up to readers of The BRAD BLOG who may have some thoughts of their own to share on all of this. Will all be forgiven by the time the 2016 Primaries roll around? Will Christie be able to thread the impossible needle his party has created for him? Or will his rising star fall as quickly as it rose?
UPDATE 6/6/13: Jon Stewart now takes his own whack at Christie right here...
It seems we may now have at least a partial answer to the Miami-Dade absentee ballot request cyberhacking mystery we initially reported on in March.
As we detailed at that time, some 2,500 absentee ballots were fraudulently requested online for three different 2012 primary elections in Miami-Dade, FL. One race involved requests for Democratic absentee ballots in a U.S. House primary, the other two involved requests for Republican ballots in two different Florida State House primary races. All of the fraudulent "phantom" ballot requests are said to have been flagged as such at the Supervisor of Election's office and, therefore, never fulfilled.
Late last year, a grand jury and federal prosecutors [PDF] were unable to identify the person or persons behind the failed attempts, as well as why they were actually made, since the ballots, had the fraudulent requests not been flagged and prevented, were set to go to the actual addresses of real voters whose online identities had been fraudulently used to make the requests online.
One of the reasons that prosecutors were originally unable to identify those behind the attempted July 2012 cyberhack was because the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used for most of the requests were masked by proxy IP addresses from overseas. It was not until excellent investigative reporting from The Miami-Herald discovered that a number of the requests came from IP addresses located in the Miami-Dade area. For reasons currently chalked up to administrative confusion, the Elections Division never gave those Miami area IP addresses to the grand jury.
Armed with the new information offered by the Miami-Dade IP addresses, it now appears that prosecutors are closing in on suspects believed to be behind at least one of those sets of cyberhacks --- the ones involving the Democratic U.S. House primary. Over the weekend the investigation led to the resignation of the Chief of Staff of the Democratic Congressman who eventually won the primary in question, as well as last November's general election...
In case you can't read it, the text of the identical letters, believed to contain deadly ricin --- as sent last week to President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and to his gun safety organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (as well as to an Air Force Base and the CIA) from a Shreveport, LA post office --- follows below...
Well, that tears it! I'm convinced by his water-tight argument. We must fight to ensure every American --- just like the guy who wrote the letter above --- is able to buy any weapon he likes, with as much ammo as he likes, with as many magazines, of any size, as he likes, with no oversight, tracking or background checks whatsoever! I see no down side.
It is, after all, a "constitutional God given right" and who are we to put limits on what God wants (and wrote directly into our Constitution)?
Sure, laugh now. But, to paraphrase, "First they came for the attempted assassins," etc...
Rachel Maddow's quick take on the above, and a spate of similar incidents of late, follows below...
AP and others are reporting that President Obama plans to nominate, for FBI Director, Republican James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General under then AG John Ashcroft, during some of the darkest days of the George W. Bush Administration.
The news offer a moment to revisit what a real White House scandal looked like --- back when Republicans had no interest in them and back when there were real investigative Congressional hearings and no need to create pretend "whistleblowers" in order to gin up political "outrage" and "scandal"!
For those of you who believe Benghazi is an actual scandal, or even that the IRS idiocy has anything to do with "tyranny" or "abuse of power", you need only look back to Comey's riveting, could-hear-a-pin-drop, 2007 testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, as he described publicly, for the first time, a very real Executive over reach and astonishing abuse of power that concerned not only the federal government spying on all Americans without warrant or cause, but a White House willing to secretly take advantage of a critically ill Attorney General in order to get approval for a program by having it "certified as legal", even when it clearly was not.
That's what Comey described in his May 15, 2007 testimony --- during hearings on the U.S. Attorney Scandal (another very real one) --- about a remarkable event that took place on the night of Wednesday, March 10, 2004, which threatened to result in the mass resignation of the Attorney General, his Deputy AGs, much of their top-level staff, as well as the Director of the FBI. When asked during the hearing why he had determined to submit his resignation after what he saw and what had happened on that fateful night, he responds to Sen. Chuck Schumer: "I believed that I couldn't stay if the Administration was going to engage in conduct that the Department of Justice said had no legal basis. I just couldn't stay."
His testimony describes the night that the Bush's NSA warrantless eavesdropping program was set to expire, as then AG Ashcroft lay in a hospital Intensive Care Unit with a critical case of pancreatitis. Comey, designated as Acting AG during the AG's illness, had refused the White House demands to certify the NSA program as "legal", as was needed for it to continue. The White House was said to have been furious about it, so Dubya, reportedly, personally called Ashcroft's wife to inform her that his own legal adviser Alberto Gonzalez (who was not yet AG) and Chief of Staff Andy Card, were on their way over to the hospital to have the ailing AG personally sign off on the program.
What happened next, as Comey describes it in his testimony below, was an astonishing moment in a very real Constitutional crisis...
Despite another "no contest" plea to four charges of voter fraud today, Hamilton County (Cincinnati), OH's crackdown on voter fraud, has yet to produce a conviction for a crime that might have been stopped had GOP-supported polling place Photo ID restriction laws been in place.
Here's the latest, via Cincinnati's NPR affiliate WVXU:
The 58-year-old Richardson, a long-time poll worker at the Madisonville Recreation Center...voted twice for herself in the 2012 election; and in elections in 2012, 2011 and 2009, she cast ballots for a number of friends and family members - one of whom was in a coma at the time.
As usual, it was an election insider, in this case, a pollworker, who attempted to defraud the system. As a pollworker, she figured out how to cast ballots for folks she knew would not be showing up to vote in person themselves.
No polling place Photo ID restriction --- as favored by Republicans claiming to want to stop "voter fraud" (but, really, just hoping to stop legal, largely Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast a vote) --- would have deterred her insider efforts.
Out of the 421,997 votes cast in Hamilton County's 2012 November general election (and more in primaries last year) prosecutors have also been able to net two more convictions, both for absentee ballot fraud, which is also not affected in any way by the polling place Photo ID restrictions called for by Republicans...
As The BRAD BLOG has reported for years, based on empirical study after empirical study to back up the case, in-person polling place impersonation, the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, is extraordinarily rare. Republican-enacted laws passed (theoretically) to deter it, stand to disenfranchise far more perfectly legal voters --- exponentially so --- than fraudulent votes that might ever be deterred by such laws.
Last August, for example, we reported on a new nationwide analysis by a non-partisan news consortium which examined every single election fraud case in the U.S. going back to 2000. Their findings? Out of thousands of cases of fraud, and hundreds of millions of legal votes cast in all 50 states for more than a decade, the study identified just ten (10!) cases of in-person voter fraud that might have been deterred by Republican polling place Photo ID restriction laws.
At the same time, partisan Republican groups such as "True the Vote" continue to fraudulently claim a massive "voter fraud" epidemic in support of GOP Photo ID restrictions. As we reported last December, their website had boasted of "voter fraud convictions in 46 states", but deceptively failed to point out that ZERO of the allegations and convictions cited would have been deterred by polling place Photo ID laws.
In the meantime, if you're looking for actual fraud, please see our article from last August, detailing election fraud allegations and convictions, for very high profile Republicans --- including Mitt Romney and even the former Sec. of State of Indiana (who was convicted of 3 felony voter fraud counts, even while he was the chief election official tasked with overseeing and enforcing the state's first-in-the-nation polling place Photo ID restriction law). None of the cases cited in the article, of those very high-profile GOPers, would have been deterred by the type of voting restriction laws favored by Republicans.
So, I was minding my own business on Memorial Day afternoon, just starting to light up some coals for a backyard BBQ with a few neighbors, when --- THWACK! --- a dead rat fell from the sky and landed hard on the patio pavement no more than five feet from where I was standing.
It was gray rat, with some blackish spots, had a body about 8 inches long and a tail another 8 or 10 inches, and what appeared to be two bloody wounds of some type on the side of its body.
Since I am a wuss, it was Desi --- rescuer of enormous spiders and disposer of dead rodents --- who wasn't so grossed out that she couldn't pick it up with a rake and throw it away.
I am kicking myself now that all of us --- myself and the four other witnesses (after-the-fact witnesses to the dead rat, not the fall, since I was the only one lucky enough to be there for the THWACK!) --- were too freaked out and creeped out to think of taking a photo to prove this actually happened! But it did.
My preferred theory is that this real life B-Horror Movie moment was actually the result of a hawk with great eyesight and a lousy grip. In any case, if dead bloody rats raining from the sky isn't a sign of the coming apocalypse, I really don't know what is...
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