Via John Amato at C&L on Friday...
And there's more. Watch...
And for still more truth (which probably won't see much light of day on Fox "News") about the disastrous War on Iraq , please see our previous post...
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...|
Via John Amato at C&L on Friday...
And there's more. Watch...
And for still more truth (which probably won't see much light of day on Fox "News") about the disastrous War on Iraq , please see our previous post...
As Iraq seems to finally (and predictably) be imploding this week, longtime Republican apologists in this country are returning from their wingnut ghettos to mainstream spotlights once again to pretend this isn't the result of their unprecedented disaster of a criminal foreign policy.
Naturally, even eleven years later, they are still lying to themselves and everyone else about the Bush Administration and the Iraq War, including: The reasons we attacked the country, who did and didn't support the war of choice and why, and what role the entire clusterfuck of a disastrous pointless mess has played in our continuing American history.
Among the best and briefest responses to the newly invigorated round of Bush-era apologia disguised as (naturally, misleading and/or fact-free) Obama-era 'told-ya-so-isms', comes from Kurt Eichenwald on Twitter...
So grab a pencil to take notes and buckle up before listening. We've got a lot of exclusive reporting for you in this week's episode!
Among the stories covered this week: The ignored and unverified votes in the Eric Cantor Bombshell/Guessing Game; the shamefully retracted 2009 DHS Report on Rightwing Extremism in the U.S. in light of continuing and recent carnage from RW terrorism in the U.S.; the 'Tea Party' Trio's Mississippi Mystery Courthouse Caper in last week's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in MS; the CA legislature's move to restrict election recounts to all but the wealthiest of individuals.
And, as if all of that's not enough, a few callers and the delightful and ingenious Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report. Enjoy!
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
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Up until now, the state of California has been able to boast about one of the most liberal election "recount" statutes in the nation. It allows any voter or group of voters to request a post-election hand-count of any number of precincts in any race or ballot initiative in the state. The state election code allows crucial access to citizen oversight of public elections.
That may all be about to change, however, if a Republican proposal, currently being supported by Democrats in the state legislature and causing alarm among some who have carried out recent "recounts", becomes law.
[NOTE: The BRAD BLOG generally uses quotes around the word "recount" to denote post-election hand-counts of ballots which have never actually been counted by human beings, but rather, only tabulated by computers. It's impossible to know whether those computers actually tallied votes accurately unless paper ballots are examined by hand.]
Under current law, voters seeking such a post-election count have to pay for the cost, though if the outcome of the election is changed in favor of the requester, they are entitled to receive a refund. Over the years, The BRAD BLOG has also documented abuse by County Registrars who have arbitrarily priced such counts so high that they became cost-prohibitive, effectively blocking such citizen oversight from happening at all.
Still, the provision for post-election citizen oversight of election results in the state, until now, has been far better than most such laws elsewhere in the nation.
But now, a bill proposed by a Republican and broadly supported by Democrats in the state Assembly has moved on to the state Senate for approval. If it passes there and is signed by the Governor, it is almost certain to put a chill on post-election citizen oversight...for all but the wealthiest of voters...
The political world exploded tonight with the stunning reported defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to little-known "Tea Party" candidate Dave Brat.
Cantor's loss was so unexpected that Democrats didn't even bother to nominate anyone to run in Virginia's 7th Congressional District until last night, reportedly during a conference call, when they decided to put up a professor named Jack Trammell (from the same Randolph-Macon College where Brat works) as their nominee, just before today's deadline.
"A conservative challenger is expected to fall far short of defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in Tuesday's congressional primary," wrote Rachel Weiner in Virginia's local paper known as the Washington Post just this morning. "The question in this race is how large Cantor's margin of victory will be."
So, there's more than enough
speculative analysis complete guess work out there for you elsewhere about what all of this portends, from the same political pundits and geniuses and well-sourced insiders who had no clue that Cantor was about to become famous as the first sitting House Majority Leader to lose in a primary race since either 1899 or...forever, depending on who you listen to.
But, pretty much just as soon as it appeared that Cantor was about to be announced the "loser" in a blowout of an election late today, questions started coming in to us, via Twitter and elsewhere, with concerns about the integrity of the reported results and if there could have been any chicanery behind them...
In July of 2011, just days after the massacre of 77 mostly children at a youth summer camp by a Rightwing extremist in Norway, Brian Levin, the Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University interviewed Daryl Johnson, formerly of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).
Johnson was the agency's senior domestic terrorism analyst from 2004 to 2010. He was also the lead author of DHS' April 2009 draft report --- which was, shortly thereafter, retracted under pressure from Republicans, rightwingers and some veterans groups --- entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" [PDF].
After the public outcry from the Rightwing victimization industry, the DHS shamefully apologized for working on the report at all, even though it was begun during the Bush Administration; was being produced in response to a mandate from Congress; followed a DHS report on Leftwing extremism [PDF] (which received no similar outraged protestations) in January of 2009; and was authored by Johnson, who describes himself in the interview below as a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative Republican Mormon.
The draft 9-page DHS report had cautioned about the re-emergence of potentially violent extremist groups "that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely."
It warned that similar conditions to those in the 1990's (an economic recession, a Democrat in the White House) which had led to, among other domestic terrorist incidents, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, had brought about a "growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors."
The report cautioned that "lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States" and concluded that "rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength."
Following the deadly attack on two police offers and another person on Sunday in Las Vegas, allegedly carried out by two married members who self-identified as part of the so-called "Liberty Movement" and who appeared at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy during the recent armed protest against the federal government with others in the movement, it seems a good moment to revisit that 2011 interview with the lead author of that retracted DHS report.
The alleged killers in the tragedy over the weekend later killed themselves. They reportedly draped the dead bodies of the two cops they shot with the Gadsden ("Don't Tread on Me") flag, popular with those in the "Tea Party" and "Liberty" movements, and were said to have kept Swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia in their apartment.
Neighbors told reporters that the two "had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents."
In other words, the warnings of Johnson, both in the retracted 2009 DHS report and in his 2011 interview, seem extraordinarily prescient today, for some odd reason.
Here are extended excerpts, some of them chilling in retrospect, from that 2011 interview of Daryl Johnson by Brian Levin...
[Ed Note: Be sure to check out the great photos added at the bottom of this post! - BF]
To head into the weekend with some good news, a federal judge has now overturned Wisconsin's ban on marriage equality. So freedom comes to the Badger State, despite its Governor, Scott Walker's continuing effort against such freedom, and against Constitutionally conservative values. It's hardly the first time Walker has been on the wrong side of the Constitution, the wrong side of conservatism, and the wrong side of history.
"Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution," U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in her 88-page ruling [PDF] striking down a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006, finding it in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
There's a bit of a legal skirmish ongoing tonight in the state, as Crabb did not stay her ruling pending the inevitable appeal, though suggested she might do so later after hearing responses from both sides of the lawsuit which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of eight gay couples.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has vowed to appeal, just as he did recently after losing the federal challenge to state Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction. That statute, enacted by self-described "conservatives", was found by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to have placed draconian and discriminatory restrictions on yet another American freedom (the right to vote) in violation of both the Wisconsin state and federal Constitutions.
"Current law remains in force," Van Hollen says tonight about the ban on marriage equality, though few seem to be listening or agreeing. According to the Journal Sentinel, County Clerks in Dane and Milwaukee Counties have announced they will begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples immediately...
You may have already heard at least some of the bizarre story about three "Tea Party" supporters of Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who found themselves locked inside the Hinds County Courthouse around 2am on primary election night last Tuesday. McDaniel himself is now locked in a run-off for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against six-term Senator Thad Cochran, after the nail-biter on Tuesday which left the two men reportedly about 1,400 votes apart out of more than 300,000 cast.
Ultimately, neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, so they'll face each other again in a run-off for the GOP nomination on June 24. But the incident that left the three McDaniel supporters calling for help to let them out of the courthouse in the middle of the night after the last election official had locked the door and left almost three hours earlier is more than curious. It has many wondering what the hell the three were doing at the location where ballots are tallied and vote tabulators stored, in one of the last counties to come in with their results on the squeaker of an election night.
The details of the story, and why the three --- one a top campaign official for McDaniel (and a former Presidential campaign staffer for Newt Gingrich) --- were there at all, remain murky. On Wednesday, the Hinds County Sheriff's office said that there were "conflicting stories from the three of them." But by Thursday evening, despite what a Sheriff's spokesman described as a "fabrication" from the President of the Central Mississippi Tea Party who contacted a fellow Hinds County Republican executive committee member to seek his help in getting out of the courthouse, the county decided that she and the two men caught in the courthouse caper along with her broke no laws.
"Based on our findings and subsequent conclusion," the County Sheriff's office announced in a statement, "there is no reason to believe that the three individuals engaged in any criminal activity nor do we believe any laws were broken."
But with one of the original headlines about the story focused on the fact that the three had been locked in the empty courthouse "with ballots on Election Night," there remain a number of questions about what actually happened, despite initial reportage indicating that "ballots had been secured prior to the intrusion" and a subsequent report noting that "some precinct information wasn't sealed."
So, The BRAD BLOG contacted the Hinds County Election Commissioners to get more information on the exact type of voting system used there, which aspects of it might have been vulnerable to the three McDaniel supporters alone inside the courthouse, and what type of information was left unsealed there on election night.
We received detail answers to our questions from one of the five Hinds County Election Commissioners --- the one who would, perhaps, have the most reason to be suspicious of the trio of McDaniel supporters...
It's not really a question of whether one "believes" in man-made global warming or not. As astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the host of the fantastic revival of Carl Sagan's COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey on the Fox Network explained recently to Stephen Colbert, science is "true whether or not you believe in it. That's why it works."
Nonetheless, helping to shake those who have been long conned by the fossil fuel industry's extraordinary propaganda effort to hoax the public about the issue can only help to continue moving the needle towards the serious action we must now take to mitigate the worst of the global warming crisis.
To that end, this past Sunday's episode of COSMOS seems to have done the trick, for at least some previous "deniers", at least according to this private note sent to me from a colleague of mine:
High praise. And, now that I've seen the full episode as well, I'd concur that it is one of the clearest, smartest, most-accessible explanations of the undeniable mountains of scientific evidence for the explosion of CO2 emissions --- and the unspeakable dangers it poses to mankind --- that I've seen to date.
If you haven't watched the episode, you should. You should also let your climate denying friends know about it. It just may help to shake them out of their Big Carbon-induced stupor as well.
I'm not able to embed the episode here, unfortunately, but you can watch the entire climate change episode here for the next 38 days. (It's the one called "World Set Free".)
I hope you'll consider doing so, and I hope that Fox, or the individual producers of the series, will make this important episode available to all for much longer than just 38 days! Yes, it's that important.
First up, a bit of a rant on a few different things, including the good news/bad news results of California's primary election for Secretary of State and the disenfranchised voters this week in Alabama's primary (and beyond!)
Next, Desi Doyen joined us for an extended Green News Report to discuss the Obama EPA's landmark announcement of newly proposed nationwide CO2 emissions reduction and the fossil fueled freakout that followed.
Finally, listener phone calls on all of the above and more! Please enjoy it!...
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx :58 mins]...
P.S. The BradCast, as well as the Green News Report, as well as The BRAD BLOG for that matter, are sponsored only by you. Please consider donating to our efforts to inform the world about stuff that actually matters...so that we can keep doing so for a bit longer. We really need your support, guys, if you can help out.
Yesterday we covered the story of 93-year old Willie Mims, the African-American man who was turned away from the polling place in Alabama for lack of a Photo ID, after having voted successfully in nearly every election since WWII.
Mims had a drivers license, but it had expired. So, according to the polling place Photo ID restriction law enacted by state Republicans, even though Mims would have had his photo on it and even an address that matched his voter registration, he was not allowed to cast his vote during yesterday's primary election.
But Mims was hardly the only one who was kept from voting yesterday, under the first official statewide run of the AL GOP's polling place Photo ID law. (The law was passed in 2011, but didn't take effect until now, since the state was waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to knock down the section of the Voting Rights Act that would likely have blocked the racially discriminatory statute from taking effect.)
Kay Campbell of AL.com shared this story yesterday of another long time voter who lost her right to vote thanks to the same law...
The voter, a great-grandmother to five, was deeply embarrassed by the whole incident and declined to talk directly with AL.com, but she gave her go-ahead for her neighbor, who took her to the polls, to relay the incident, with the provision that her name not be used.
The license had expired in August 2013. She had not renewed it because her eyesight is failing and she has made the tough decision to quit driving. But she thought since it was so recent, it would work. She uses it to cash checks and in other rare incidences when she is asked for an ID.
As we also noted yesterday, via MSNBC's Zachary Roth, Alabama has a loophole built into the law, which the NAACP Legal Defense fund describes [PDF] as "an illegal relic of the Jim Crow South". It allows a voter without the very specific state-issued Photo ID now required to cast a ballot, to vote anyway so long as two poll workers at the precinct can vouch for them.
Campbell reports that Libba Nicholson, the neighbor who drove the elderly woman to the polling place, "said that the woman in charge of the Help Desk asked the other poll workers if any of them recognized her - just one more verification would have done it, Nicholson said, but no one did."
And then there was this...
It was Primary Day in Alabama on Tuesday and the first time since passage of the law that the state's Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction on voting has been in place. Sure enough, the voter suppression law was successful, as voters were immediately disenfranchised by the new restriction, according to Zach Roth at MSNBC...
Mims, as he explains in the video below, first voted back during WWII. He says he's voted in almost every election since then. Until now...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
As we noted last night, the global warming deniers were sure to start firing on all carbon-emitting pistons this week in response to the Obama EPA's landmark announcement today of proposed new rules to decrease harmful, climate-destabilizing CO2 pollution from existing dirty power plants, as per the U.S. Supreme Court-mandated enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
The deniers haven't disappointed.
The following quotes come from a press release sent out this morning from the fossil fuel industry-funded "Heartland Institute," which pretends to offer science-based arguments in support of their "mission...to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems."
In fact, the group serves as little more than a mouthpiece for Big Carbon and the modern Republican Party which, largely thanks to Citizens United in 2010, now eschews the use of actual science in the public sphere.
Despite their ironic "non-profit" status --- enjoying government subsidies for promoting "free-market solutions" --- the Heartland Institute is also little more than an arm of the Republican Party. In one of the responses to today's announcement, the Heartland Institute President argues that "Republicans in the House and Senate are right to oppose EPA's new global warming rules," and "Voters will do well to remember who was on their side during the coming political battles."
In another response, the "non-partisan" group says that challenging the Obama EPA's proposed policy could be great for the GOP. "If done intelligently," Heartland's Science Director(!) Jay Lehr writes, the challenge "could cost [Obama's] party the Senate in the November elections and dramatically increase the Republican majority in the House of Representatives - which will enable the Republicans to stymie any further legislative action by the president for the remainder of his term."
Now that's some good Science Directing! And some good non-partisanship! Of course, this is also the same group that purchased billboards comparing those who believe in science to "The Unabomber" and Charles Manson, so it's not as though anybody would take these folks seriously, right? Wrong. They are consistently featured and quoted by theoretically legitimate mainstream media outlets in coverage of the pretend "global warming debate".
Here then, in no particular order, are the top 7 most amusing responses from the Heartland Institute's "experts", as released this morning in response to today's EPA announcement...
Our too-infrequent guest blogger D.R. Tucker is now working the weekend shift at Washington Monthly's excellent "Political Animal" blog and, as expected, he's out of the gate like a lion on the climate crisis and the pre-wrangling over the Obama EPA's proposed landmark guidelines for restrictions on CO2 emissions by dirty coal-fired power plants (ya know, the rules they're required by law, under the 1970 Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to put in place.)
Over just this weekend, D.R. has published a number of sharp articles there on the topic, including "It's On: You can already hear the denialists screaming. And scheming."; "The Short-Timers"; "(Dirty) Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand"; and the ingeniously-named "If You Like Your Planet, You Can Keep Your Planet" (in which he quotes The BRAD BLOG at some length, from this recent piece).
You should read them all if you'd like to be smarter about actual facts in regard to climate change, the GOP denial industry (which will certainly be kicking into the highest of dudgeon once again this week), and the clear and present danger we now face thanks to run-away, human-caused CO2 emissions and the global warming it is causing.
But it was the following exchange in the comments section of the "If You Like Your Planet..." piece --- specifically the last line by commenter "Virginia" --- which made me smile...
We touched on this a bit in yesterday's Green News Report, but this new "I'm not a scientist" tactic now emerging from Republicans, as played most recently by Speaker John Boehner, is noteworthy enough --- and cowardly enough...and purposely deceptive enough --- to look at just a bit closer.
It's a fairly clever new ruse to avoid what folks like Boehner know to be absolutely true, but which, for a number of reasons, they're not allowed to say outloud anymore.
New York's Jonathon Chait helps kick this off...
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